Nel's New Day

March 13, 2020

Covid-19: ‘I don’t take responsibility at all.’–DDT

To help his reelection chances, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) desperately wanted to eliminate payroll taxes “until after the November election,” as he told Republican senators. He wrote nasty tweets about not giving businesses $350 billion, including his own, in the next eight months, adding to the $1 trillion deficit for the year. He lost the fight to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who just announced that the White House has agreed to free testing of covid-19 for everyone and at least two weeks of paid emergency leave for workers who get sick or need to stay home to care for family members up to three months of paid family and medical leave. Republicans can’t vote for the bill without DDT’s permission. Pelosi added:

“We have also secured enhanced Unemployment Insurance, a step that will extend protections to furloughed workers.

“For families’ food security: we strengthened nutrition security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors’ nutrition, and food banks. 22 million children rely on free or reduced-price school meals for their food security; we must ensure that they have food to eat.

“For families’ health security: we increased federal funds for Medicaid to support our local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems, so that they have the resources necessary to combat this crisis.”

Gone from the bill are safety regulations to protect healthcare and workers from covid-19 exposure and a permanent Social Security emergency leave program for future public health emergencies. Republicans also refused the $1 billion reimbursement for diagnostic laboratory test service; they thought it would be used for abortions. A big problem for DDT is that he wants bailouts for the travel, tourism, and oil industries. Mnuchin said that a third bill may take care of this.

DDT may have caved in because of an ABC News/Ipsos poll about his responses and people’s concern about contracting the virus. Two-thirds of voters (66 percent) worry that they or someone they know will be infected, compared to a 78 percent approval for the government’s handling the virus when the U.S. had one case a month ago. As for DDT’s handling the situation, only 43 percent approved of his performance regarding the healthcare crisis. Much of the negativity comes from the CDC conducting only 11,000 tests when DDT said “the testing has been going very smooth.”

Scientists know that testing could have contained the movement of covid-19 across the U.S., but DDT thought the publicity from large numbers of infections would hurt his reelection. Politico reporter Dan Diamond said “infighting at the HHS and the need to flatter Trump impeded the response to the coronavirus.” Diamond said that HHS Secretary Alex Azar warned DDT in January, despite protests from DDT’s aides, but Azar didn’t tell DDT how bad the situation could get.

As of today, the world has 145,628 known cases of covid-19; fewer than half the people have recovered, and 5,421 have died. In the U.S., 2,285 people are infected, and 48 have died—seven of them today.

Thirty minutes before the stock market closed today, the entire White House covid-19 task force huddled with DDT in front of a gaggle of journalists to praise him for the fine work that he has done. DDT declared a national emergency to permit more flexibility to reduce healthcare mandates and to allow him to take $42.6 billion from FEMA. Deborah Birx took credit for state testing efforts such as drive-thru facilities created without federal support and highly praised CEOs of Walmart, Walgreen, Target, and CVS for their munificent help because drive-thru facilities can be put in their parking lots. DDT shook all their hands. Their stocks skyrocketed, and the Dow gained back yesterday losses.  

Memorable moments of DDT’s statements during the press conference:

Asked about the testing, DDT said, “I don’t take responsibility at all.” During DDT’s campaign, he said about the problems in the U.S., “I alone can fix it.”

Bitter about the Democrats’ refusal to eliminate the payroll tax, DDT said, “We just don’t think they’re giving enough. They’re not doing what’s right for the country.”

When Yamiche Alcindor asked about DDT’s disbanding the White House pandemic office,” DDT called it a “nasty question” and said, “You say me, I didn’t do it … I don’t know about that,” before he cut off the reporter’s microphone.

DDT accused President Obama of not acting on H1N1, the “swine flu.” Within a week after its discovery, DDT’s predecessor declared a national emergency, and one million people had been tested. The mortality rate in the U.S. was 0.002 percent. During DDT’s campaign, he said about the problems in the U.S., “I alone can fix it.”

The day before the press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health and a member of DDT’s coronavirus task force, said that current testing protocols are “not geared” to widespread access. He pointed out that the lack of testing doesn’t answer the question of the number of infected people in the U.S.

The Miami mayor, who has tested positive to covid-19, was exposed to the virus at the same Mar-a-Lago event where DDT was seated at dinner next to a top Brazilian aide (left) who also tested positive. To the right of DDT is Brazilian president’s communications secretary, also testing positive. When questioned about this exposure to the virus, DDT said he hadn’t seen the photo and didn’t remember it. Another person at the event has also tested positive. A senior Australian official tested positive just days after meeting with AG Bill Barr, Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Kellyanne Conway, and acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau, has tested positive. 

Asked about his proximity to people who have tested positive for covid-19, DDT claimed that all his doctors recommend that he not get tested because he had no symptoms. The Miami mayor said he had no symptoms for a few days. After being pressed about testing, DDT said he might get it but not because he had exposure to infected people. As part of his covid-19 emergency declaration, DDT told people not to run out and get a test.

Despite the shortage of tests, the FDA is requiring CDC to retest all positive coronavirus tests run by a public health lab for accuracy. Thousands of people in the U.S., some of them symptomatic, cannot get tests. The FDA also kept private labs from testing people for over three weeks.

In the editorial for the typically apolitical Science magazine, H. Holden Thorp writes about DDT demanding vaccines prepared quickly in “Do Us a Favor”:

“Asking for a vaccine and distorting the science at the same time are shockingly dissonant.

“A vaccine has to have a fundamental scientific basis. It has to be manufacturable. It has to be safe. This could take a year and a half—or much longer. Pharmaceutical executives have every incentive to get there quickly—they will be selling the vaccine after all—but thankfully, they also know that you can’t break the laws of nature to get there.

“Maybe we should be happy. Three years ago, the president declared his skepticism of vaccines and tried to launch an antivaccine task force. Now he suddenly loves vaccines.

“But do us a favor, Mr. President. If you want something, start treating science and its principles with respect.”

DDT’s speech Wednesday created chaos rather than calm: his ad libs were lies that Ken Cuccinelli and VP Mike Pence immediately had to correct. A few of them:

The health insurance industry is paying only for testing, not any treatment.

People were paying $20,000 to get flights out of Europe before they found out that citizens were exempted.

The bans to “Europe” are only for 26 countries in the EU, not the countries where DDT owns golf courses such as Ireland, Scotland, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. And it doesn’t apply to trade and cargo.

DDT’s refusal to notify the EU about the ban caused chaos in their stock markets; the plummet of 10 to 14 percent was their worst in history. That domino effect brought the 10 percent drop for U.S. markets. 

The next day, Biden gave a speech advising the administration about helping the U.S. during the current epidemic that went beyond testing. Hospitals need “surge capacity,” he said, proposing that FEMA work with local governments for “temporary hospitals,” if necessary, and that the DOD planning “for the potential deployment … medical facility capacity and logistical support.” Biden’s economic plan was meals for young people out of school, help for “people who have difficulty paying their rent or mortgage,” and interest-free loans for small-business owners. Already Biden looks far more presidential than DDT ever has.

September 12, 2019

Bolton, Science Gone But Not Forgotten

John Bolton is the latest person who Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) dumped: Bolton said he resigned, and DDT’s tweeted that he fired his national security adviser. DDT’s stated reason was that he “disagreed strongly” with Bolton, who has been criticized for being a hawk. A recent disagreement was bringing the Taliban to Camp David for “peace talks” during the anniversary of the 9/11 U.S. bombings in 2001. DDT ignored Bolton and VP Mike Pence who said that the idea was bad. Bolton wouldn’t defend DDT’s positions on Afghanistan, North Korea, and Russia. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) expressed pleasure, saying that DDT should have “people around him who will carry out his policies.” Another major Senate suck-up Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was less pleased, saying that Bolton’s agenda “makes America safe.” Three of Bolton’s top aids resigned the day after DDT fired Bolton. 

Although DDT said that he fired Bolton Monday night, Bolton was still scheduled the next morning to appear with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for a briefing about new sanctions against a “wide range” of terrorist groups and their supporters. Pompeo and Mnuchin (right) seemed to be downright giddy at the meeting with the press corps without Bolton.

DDT tweeted his firing of H.R. McMaster as national security adviser 17 months ago, but he’s been calling his ex-adviser for advice for almost a year and said he missed him. This pattern is not new: DDT called Reince Priebus after he became disenchanted with chief of staff replacement, John Kelly.

Charles M. Kupperman, Bolton’s acting replacement, might be worse than the war-mongering Bolton. Decades-long associates, they seem to be birds of a feather with Kupperman a past member on the boards of several defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Kupperman, a right-wing extremist, has connections to Islamophobe Frank Gaffney from when he served on the board of the misnamed Center for Security Policy that promotes Islamophobic conspiracy theories, according to Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Almost two weeks after Hurricane Dorian sat on the Bahamas for two days—and left Alabama untouched—1,300 people are still missing in the country of 395,000, and 50 people are dead. In the hardest-hit northern islands, almost 70,000 people of the 395,000 population have lost everything; on the Grand Bahama Island, population 50,000, three-fourths of the houses were underwater. A tropical storm is now headed for the Bahamas.

Not satisfied with the tragedies facing people from the Bahamas during the Category 5 hurricane, DDT turned on his cruelty to make it worse. He turned back over 100 people heading for refuge in Florida because they didn’t have visas. He refuses to grant temporary protected status to displaced people from the Bahamas, a status that would allow them to work and live in the U.S. until they could safely return home. Although existing visas permit Bahamans to come to the U.S., they won’t be allowed to work. DDT said some of those seeking aid could be “very bad people” and “very bad gang members” and “very, very bad drug dealers.” These statements were a 180-degree switch from DDT’s initial statement when he pledged U.S. help with recovery efforts. DDT said:

“We’re working hard, we’re with you, and God bless you.”

Florida GOP Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott asked that DDT permit Bahamians to live with their relatives in the United States, but DDT separated at least one family instead. CBP took refugee Kaytora Paul from her godmother and sent the child to a detention facility with migrant children. Paul’s mother were living in a wrecked car with Kaytora and her two younger children while Paul’s father stayed with an adult son after their home’s roof collapsed. Officials refused to release Kaytora to a biological aunt at the airport, and the mother, who went to Florida to get her daughter, was told she must apply to be her own daughter’s sponsor, a process requiring many documents and taking weeks. The mother would have been deported in two weeks, but immigration advocacy and publicity forced the reunification of Kaytora and her mother after the 12-year-old was in detention for four days.

DDT looks at all the federal agencies, even those supposed to be independent, as personal “fixers” for his whatever he wants, such as DDT’s forcing NOAA to back his lies about Hurricane Dorian badly damaging Alabama. Documentation shows that a top NOAA official ordered its staff to not contradict DDT’s lies about Hurricane Dorian doing great damage to Alabama. Media reports that DDT told his staff to deal with NOAA contradicting his weather forecast, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney called Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to fix the problem, and Ross threatened to fire people if they didn’t immediately take care of it. DDT said he didn’t tell NOAA to do this. No, he told his staff to tell NOAA. Democrats on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology are investigating the Commerce Department’s part in NOAA’s decision siding with DDT over its scientists and requested a briefing with Commerce Department staff. Former NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco said:

“It is truly sad to see political appointees undermining the superb, lifesaving work of NOAA’s talented and dedicated career servant.”

A meteorologist said that he had never before been told “to not say that truly is the forecast.” Other agencies have sided with DDT against facts, but accurate weather forecasts in disasters are vital to preserving lives. Acting NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs and NOAA director of public affairs Julie Kay Roberts, who had worked on DDT’s campaign, were responsible for the anonymous false statement trying to cover up for DDT’s “mistake.” The department’s Inspector General is reviewing NOAA’s statement supporting DDT’s false statement about the great danger to Alabama from Hurricane Dorian.

Most of DDT’s hurricane briefings were by people without meteorological expertise. A 2018 survey of scientists in 16 federal agencies revealed a culture of fear and self-censorship with sidelined scientific evidence in favor of political expediency.

Meteorology will become even more problematic if DDT gets his 5G cellphone networks that seriously degrade forecasting accuracy, up to 30 percent according to Jacobs’ testimony on Capitol Hill. He added that the loss in tracking could cut “forecasts’ lead time by roughly two to three days,” a catastrophic effect on human life. The 5G is already available from Verizon to corporate customers in some cities.

In his desire to return to 1986 in water pollution, DDT will roll back a 2015 regulation to protect waters that feed into But critics say the rollback will speed the conversion of wetlands and headwaters, which provide critical habitat for wildlife and support the nation’s drinking water supply. Americans drained about half of the 220 million acres of wetlands in the contiguous United States between the 1970s and 1980s, most of it to expand farmland. The 2015 rule gave the federal government authority to oversee a wide array of lakes, streams, wetlands, storm-water controls and ditches that feed into larger waterways that are clearly protected under the 1972 Clean Water Act. He justified the rollback with his claim that he wants “crystal clean water.”

The DDT-led Equal Employment Opportunity Commission plans to dump reporting rules by large companies, those with more than 100 workers, for gender and race pay disparities by large companies. In 2017, Mick Mulvaney, Director of Office of Management and Budget, froze the data collection, but a court ordered the collection for 2017 and 2018. DDT’s EEOC chair confirmed by 50-43, Janet Dhillon, is a former general counsel for Burlington Stores and JCPenney. The gender pay gap has not moved from 82 percent during the past year, only four percent higher than the 78 percent 12 years ago. The gap is 62 percent for black women and 54 percent for Latinas. Ivanka Trump opposed collecting the data after she tweeted on Equal Pay Day that “we must work to close the gender pay gap!”

Luckily DDT has Pompeo to lie for him. He was in Kansas when a state university a physics professor asked Pompeo if he supported “the suppression of scientific reports from the U.S. Department of State” because of the “exodus of scientists” from federal agencies after their work is suppressed. Pompeo said he disagrees because “no one supports the absence of science.” With a straight face, he said this and more on the same day that NOAA was told to support DDT’s falsifying science with his Sharpie line on a hurricane map. DDT also didn’t a pick a scientist to be the chief scientist at the USDA, and he hid dozens of government-funded studies warning about the climate crisis and potentially dangerous chemicals.

DDT, however, knows that his magical black sharpie pen that he uses to sign orders, make notes on his hands for speeches, and redirect hurricane warnings will solve everything. 

April 4, 2018

Scott Pruitt – Is He the Next To Go?

With more bad news about the Stormy Daniels’ and Russian scandals, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) needs another distraction. Firing his EPA secretary might be the solution, especially since Scott Pruitt is causing a number of scandals on his own. Pruitt came into the job lying at his confirmation hearings about private emails and then taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from taxpayers for massive security expenses although no one can track serious threats; and construction needs to hide away from his staff. DDT kept him on because he was following DDT’s direction by polluting the nation and killing people with dirty air and water which saved money for DDT’s business friends; and high costs for personal and business travel, sometimes first class, because he is afraid of his constituents. He spent $120,000 to attend the G7 climate conference with seven aides and several security staff where he went to only one meeting.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to postpone Pruitt’s hearings until thousands of emails were released. The day after his confirmation, the emails showed Pruitt’s collusion with the fossil fuel industry bribing him to falsify information supporting fracking. Thousands of concealed emails were released the day after his confirmation showing the his collusion with the fossil fuel industry that bribed him to build cases in favor of fracking companies and electric utilities.

In the last eight months of 2017, 770 EPA employees left the agency. Pruitt is so paranoid that employees may not take notes at meetings or talk about environmental issues. His security cost $830,000 for the first three months, the secret phone booth was $42,000, and special locks were $6,000 each. At the same time, the EPA budget dropped by over 30 percent in one year.

Pruitt’s latest scandal, however, is something that DDT may not be able to bear because it won’t go away. Pruitt’s expensive trip to Morocco regarding liquid nitrogen gas exports last December, something that has nothing to do with the EPA, caused great interest in the media when journalists found that he got a condo rental for $50 per night—when he stayed in—in an area that usually costs up to $5,000 a month for rentals. Pruitt’s renter is the wife of energy lobbyist J. Steven Hart who not only may receive an LNG deal for Pruitt’s cheap rent but also was awarded a huge pipeline expansion for Enbridge although EPA had previously fined the company $61 million for a 2010 pipeline disaster sending “hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan and other waterways,” according to the New York Times. The fine was the second largest in almost half a century just behind that for the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.  

The most recent scandal about Pruitt surrounds Millan Hupp, the 26-year-old staff member with the 33-percent raise who spent both office and personal hours in an extensive search for a house for Pruitt. Her work on this project constitutes a violation of federal rules that prevents federal officials from asking subordinates to do personal tasks. The White House refused to approve huge salary increases for both Hupp and another staffer, so Pruitt employed them under the Safe Drinking Water Act, permitting Pruitt to hire up to 30 people without White House or congressional approval. These employees do not have to sign ethics pledges about lobbying activities and other conflicts of interest. Pruitt signed off on their employment, but he denied it in a Fox interview today.

The Fox network, usually easy on Pruitt, was more harsh today. Asked about the additional $84,000 in salary for just two staffers, Pruitt said he knew nothing about it until this week. Interview Ed Henry said, “You run the agency. You don’t know who did this?” Until now, Pruitt managed the media by catering to conservative outlets and avoids environmental reporters. By withholding information, such as his schedule, Pruitt he kept out of trouble, especially because he threatens reporters with police removal at his events.

Pruitt began his first year running the EPA by vastly shrinking the agency and trying to destroy any regulations. Because he stopped enforcing civil penalties for companies breaking limits for hazardous chemicals, the amount of fines dropped drastically, about one-fifth of President Obama’s last year.

Pruitt has damaged children’s health and neurodevelopment by returning banned pesticides into the food supply, weakening standards to toxic metals, allowing corporations to release pollutants that increase asthma, permitting implementation of chemicals even if they can be dangerous, and closing an office that tests the effects of chemical exposure.

Pruitt’s drastic attempts to repeal the Clean Power Plan is opposed by a diverse population of coal miners, Missouri grandparents, and Wyoming healthcare workers.

A way for Pruitt to restrict environmental regulations is his proposed policy that all raw data must be made public, and that means personal health information that people want kept private if they participate in studies. Pruitt’s policy will result in narrow, incomplete research. He also ruled that scientists receiving EPA grants may not serve on the agency’s advisory board which blocks expertise about current science. Over 200 scientists left the agency last year. Over 200 scientists left the agency last year.

Pruitt told agency scientists that they cannot speak about climate change. Over 200 scientists left the agency last year. He replaced half the members on a key scientific review board that determines the quality of research.

Last week, Pruitt sent all employees his eight approved talking points about climate change stating that the level of human impact on changing climate is “subject to continuing debate and dialogue.” It added “clear gaps” about the role of human activity “and what we can do about it.”

The EPA programs on climate adaptation and the one that studies effects of chemical exposure on children have been closed, and Pruitt recommends no funding for ones that deal with rising seas and warming temperatures. He also erased climate change from websites.

Pruitt is saving utilities from $31 million and $100 million annually by eliminating rules that tightened restrictions on disposal of coal ash from coal-fired power plants. The toxic heavy metals seep into the groundwater, and living with a mile of a storage pond causes a greater health threat than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Coal ash is the second greatest toxic pollution threat in the U.S.

Pruitt eliminated the policy requiring polluters such as factories and power plants to be designated “major source” after they emit more than 10 tons of hazardous materials or 25 tons of combined dangerous materials in a given year.

Pruitt’s hires are highly questionable. Albert Kelly, banned from working in the banking sector for life, gets $172,000 from the EPA as senior adviser. He has no experience, but he loaned Pruitt money to buy a home and a minor league baseball team when he was an Oklahoma banker. Superviser for superfund cleanups, Kelly has had—and may still have—stocks in Phillips 66, one of the major polluters. Staffers at the EPA also have permission to keep their political consulting side jobs.

Pruitt suggested that global warming—which is causing floods, drought, famine, and war—might be helpful. He also said, “Science should not be something that’s just thrown about to try to dictate policy in Washington, D.C.”

Pruitt has been useful to DDT’s interest in big business and may save his job that way. This past week, he rolled back gas emissions regulations and just signed an executive order giving himself authority to determine regulations near streams, ponds, and wetlands, determining any possible negative environmental effects for projects such a coal refineries and power plants.

In 2016, Pruitt said, “I believe that Donald Trump in the White House will be more abusive to the constitution than Barack Obama and that’s saying a lot.” Pruitt became complicit in DDT’s crimes, but he may be on his way out. Asked about Pruitt yesterday, DDT said, “I hope he’s going to great.”

(If you’re not disgusted yet, Google Scott Pruitt. There’s a lot more, including his history while in Oklahoma.)

the way of improvement leads home

reflections at the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life

© blogfactory

Genuine news

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily News

Transformational News; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

Rainbow round table news

Official News Outlet for the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: