Nel's New Day

June 13, 2020

DDT: Week 177 – Beyond Well-Publicized Disasters

While Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) worries about re-election—his only focus—he has Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to protect him from the International Criminal Court.

Afraid the International Criminal Court will discover U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, DDT signed an national emergency executive order allowing him to threaten economic sanctions and visa travel restrictions on its staff. That includes any foreign person in human rights organizations researching and reporting on criminal activity if it is used by the ICC, for example a Netherlands-based group investigating rape and torture by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and at CIA interrogation sites. Unlike most allies, the United States is not part of the Rome Statute creating the ICC, but Afghanistan is. The U.S. could handle torture internally but has not tried any “rendition program” cases. The current CIA chief, Gina Haspel, ran an agency black site using “interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding. An analysis from David Scheffer, first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues:

“The argument essentially boils down to the contrarian view that U.S. forces and intelligence personnel can commit atrocity crimes inside any of the 123 states parties of the Rome Statute (including all but one NATO ally, every country of the European Union, all of South America, and much of Africa, East Asia, Central America, and the Caribbean) without accountability before the ICC.”

DDT coordinated the sanctions with Israel during Pompeo’s visit to Jerusalem last month after ICC’s prosecutor opened an investigation about Israel’s alleged crimes in the West Bank and Gaza. Although briefings did not mention the plot, Israeli officials leaked the information. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought Yuval Steinitz, leader of the team countering the ICC investigation, to the meeting, and the two countries continued the secret coordination on the issue since Pompeo’s visit.

Federal officials are hiding information about their distribution of $511 billion taxpayer monies to “small businesses” despite promising in mid-April to make the information public. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin called the data “proprietary” and “confidential information” during a Senate hearing and did not require any proof for need and eligibility from applicants. Eleven news organizations are suing for information about amounts and recipients. 

Congress assigned three bodies to oversee the $2.3 trillion law: a Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR); the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee with inspectors general from the agencies involved in the bill  under the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency; and a congressional oversight commission. After an agreement to the oversight, DDT made a signing statement erasing it in a claim that it violated the separation of powers and the rights of the president.

Often accused of no empathy, DDT’s accusation about the police brutality toward a 75-year-old peace activist went as viral as the police assault on Martin Gugino. DDT got falsehoods from the evidence-free right-wing, Russia-related One America News Network after two police officers in Buffalo shoved the man to the sidewalk and left him bleeding from the head. DDT’s tweet:

“Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN  I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

Gugino approached a police officer with his cellphone in his right hand, and police yelled, “Push him. Push him.” After nine days, Gugino is out of the hospital but can’t walk because of his skull fracture. The two officers are facing assault charges. Russian national Kristian Rouz, author of the false story, also writes for the Kremlin-owned news outlet Sputnik. Rouz puts Kremlin propaganda into his articles without explaining the “allegations” are hoaxes from Vladimir Putin and associates. 

Vincent D’Andraia, facing multiple charges including misdemeanor assault and menacing against a woman, became the first NYPD officer arrested for police brutality in the protests. The woman said she was peacefully protesting when D’Andraia told her to get out of the street. When she asked why, he pushed her and called her a “stupid f—— b—-” before he hit her cell phone out of her hand and violently shoved her to the ground and into the curb. The woman was hospitalized and treated for a seizure and concussion. Afterward, D’Andraia, his lieutenant, and several other officers who were watching kept on walking.

Minnesota’s Department of Safety and the Anoka County Sheriff’s office admitted troopers and deputies slashed tires on cars during protests in Minneapolis after presented with video reports. The state spin:

“State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tires … in order to stop behaviors such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement.”

Several journalists found their tires slashed, including Andrew Kimmel, a Los Angeles TV and documentary maker, with cut tires on his rental car. Officers promised to watch the car of New Yorker writer Luke Mogelson. He returned to find his tires cut and the officers “laughing” with “grins on their faces.”

Posts from Lt. Robert Gamin, president of the Brevard (Florida county) Fraternal Order of Police, promoted more police brutality recruiting law enforcement members suspended, fired, or arrested for violent behavior. He deleted the posts and “apologized,” saying he was frustrated.

Congress gave Customs and Border Protection funding for food and medicine after migrants kept dying. The agency spent the funding on dirt bikes and ATVs before trying to conceal it in the wrong budget categories.

Failing to react to DDT’s acceptance and even promotion of police brutality, most GOP legislators use the same policy as the willful blindness from the mythical three monkeys: hear no evil; see no evil; speak no evil. Reporters, tired of legislators expressing ignorance of anything DDT says, printed out DDT’s tweet about Martin Gigino to show Republicans. Most of those asked for responses refused to look at the post and declined to answer as they dashed away.  

Yesterday’s spike in the stock market replaced over one-fourth of its plunge from the day before. Investors bought after Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, said he’s “not the health expert” but “there is no second spike …. No second wave” of COVID-19. Roughly half the states show significant spikes. My own small county on the Oregon coast went from ten cases less than three weeks ago to almost 200 by today partly from an outbreak from fish processing plant Pacific Seafoods—workers, friends, family, etc. Fourteen months before the current recession starting in February—before COVID-19 hit—Kudlow said he couldn’t see a recession. Kudlow isn’t an economist either. Back in the time of George W. Bush, Kudlow Kudlow denied the housing bubble and said at the beginning of Bush’s recession, “There’s no recession coming.” In early March this year, Kudlow also said the virus was “contained” and the economy “looks sound.” Kudlow isn’t an economist either.

Because of COVID-19, DDT shut down four of his five top-earning hotels and resorts, leading to laying off or furloughing 2,800 employees with the loss of tens of millions of dollars. Revenues weren’t good before the virus, and he couldn’t even pay $20,833 per month rental fee for his golf club in Pine Hill (NJ). The new COVID-19 law keeps him from making up revenue from the government, but Great Britain plans to give him an almost £1m tax rebate for his Scottish golf courses. Both resorts avoided corporation taxes because of heavy losses’ reports, supposedly £155m in 2018. Democrats in the House asked for documents regarding loans and other funds by May 21 regarding the bailout funds as a possible gift from a foreign government but received no responses.

The latest Trump book covers Melania. Among other topics, Mary Jordan’s The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump explains the First Lady waited to move into the White House to negotiate her prenup. Her marital problems are no business of anyone else except for the exorbitant cost to taxpayers. Flights on Air Force jets during the first three months of her 2017 sequestration in New York cost $676,635, and security at Trump Tower expenses averaged between $127,000 and $146,000—a day. Melania didn’t move to the White House for almost five months, and Secret Service received an additional $60 million to protect DDT’s family. A WaPo article describes Jordan’s view of Melania Trump’s mythmaking the media has swallowed, debunked through over 100 interviews with her associates. Jordan said, “She is . . . much more like DDT than it appears.”

Frustrated by CNN’s polling and disappointed by ones from Fox, DDT went to evidence-free OAN promising him one that “looks as though it will be in favor of” the president. After using loaded questions to move approval to DDT, the poll came out a perfect 50-50 split in Florida, a statistical improbability. It also gives a lead to DDT among undecided voters—which makes Joe Biden a lead among decided voters. The poll came out with an article accusing the “deep state” working with Democrats to create polls demoralizing GOP voters.

On June 13, another 25,000+ COVID-19 cases for a total of 2,142,224 with 117,527 deaths.

 

April 1, 2020

April’s Fool Moves the Goalposts

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:16 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Today is April Fool’s Day. Centuries ago, a “fool,” or court jester, cleverly entertained in the home of a nobleman or monarch, and other jesters traveled around to entertain at fairs and town markets. Now, however, fool has other meanings:  

  • Fools refute reason, common sense, and morals.
  • Fools say that they are unaccountable to anyone.
  • Fools are vengeful and harbor grudges.
  • Fools take information and reverse it.
  • Fools think that their delusion is reality.
  • Fools bully and blame everyone else for their own mistakes.
  • Fools cannot think deeply but consider themselves infallible.
  • Fools are mentally unstable.
  • Fools make more mistakes than others but refuse to learn from them.
  • Fools do everything for their own benefit.
  • Fools say, “I can do whatever I want.”

Foolishness is the result of a person misusing the intelligence God has given him.

On April 1, in 2020, we acknowledge the leading fool in the United States: Dictator Donald Trump (DDT).

People and Places DDT Blames for COVID-19:  

China: For not telling DDT about the new virus. [U.S. intelligence told DDT in January about the virus.

Past Presidents: For not having a stockpile of medical equipment. [After DDT was warned about the virus, he gave 17.8 tons of it away to China. Three months into the crisis, he’s unable to coordinate dispersal of the supplies he hoards.]

Governors: For ventilator shortages. [He said he wasn’t a “shipping clerk,” failed to enact the Defense Production Act to make more ventilators, and drove prices up by bidding against states for ventilators and other supplies.]

Hospitals: For ventilator and mask shortages, accusing hospital workers of stealing supplies. [DDT has no idea how many masks are needed to care for hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 patients.]

DDT takes credit for actions he didn’t initiate:

Closing borders to China in January: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) made DDT act.

The $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package: Congress passed this under the guidance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin; DDT only signed it.

DDT’s Reversals:

First, the virus was under control; now up to 240,000 people might die in the U.S.

First, the virus doesn’t infect without prolonged physical contact; now virus transmission is through the air.

First, only old people and those with compromised immune systems can die; now anyone can die.

First, people will leave their houses on Easter; now the quarantine is at least until April 30.

First, people don’t need masks; now masks might be recommended.

First, everyone can have a test because they are available and easy to get; now people shouldn’t get tested.

First, Google is building a website to help people determine if they need to be tested and where to go; now a website is up in only four California counties while Jared Kushner’s brother’s company is supposedly building one.

First, ventilators are plentiful; now a top New York hospital is telling doctors to “think more critically” about who gets help.

The timeline of DDT’s mistakes:

January 13, 2017: DDT and his officials ignored complete briefing about response to “Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.”

May 2018: DDT’s Director for Medical and Biodefense Preparedness Dr. Luciana Borio said “pandemic flue” is the “number 1 health security issue” and the U.S. is not ready to respond. One day later, the head of the health security team, Timothy Ziemer, is fired and the team disbanded. No one was put in charge of a pandemic.

January 2019: The director of National Intelligence issues an assessment of threats to national security, predicting DDT’s current problems.

January 2020: COVID-19 arrives – (1/3/20) CDC alerted; (1/6/20) CDC issues travel notice for Wuhan, but DDT waits ten weeks before treating the virus as a problem; (1/8/20) CDC issues official health advisory; (1/20/20) DDT’s former Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert warns about “a global health threat”; (1/18/20) HHS Secretary Alex Azar talks to DDT about the virus who changes the subject to vaping; (1/20/20) first U.S. virus case is announced in Washington state; (1/21/20) CDC official Dr. Nancy Meissonier is criticized for warning about “additional cases in the United States”; (1/27/20) White House aides ask acting chief of state to focus on the virus threat because it will “dominate life in the United States for many months”; (1/28/20) two of DDT’s former administration officials try to persuade him to “Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic”; Dr. James Hamblin publishes another warning about the shortage of protective garb, especially masks; and DDT bans travel from China for “foreign nationals who had been in China for the last 14 days.” Many other people keep coming from China, and Amazon and major New York City stores are sold out of masks and gloves.

February 2020: (2/4/20) Former DDT officials warn him about an “inevitable” pandemic and call on him to drastically expand testing, labs for test reviews, and guidelines for testing people; (2/5/20) intelligence officials brief Senate Intelligence Committee about the virus as a “serious” threat, and Azar requests $2 billion for hospital supplies and equipment but gets only one-fourth of the amount; Sen. Chris Murphy tweets:

“Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom line: they aren’t taking this seriously enough. Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now.”

(2/12/20) DDT’s former FDA director testifies to Congress that actions need to be taken because of shortages; (2/20/20) DDT’s former officials write that tests must be ramped up immediately “while we can intervene to stop spread,” but DDT doesn’t do this for almost two more weeks and destroys any time for intervention; (2/23/20) experts warn about lack of test capability because CDC-created tests are flawed; (2/24/20) DDT asks Congress for under $2.5 billion to combat the virus spread; (2/25/20) Messonier is muzzled after her message of virus “community spread”; (2/26/20) Congress offers DDT $6 billion in addition to his request, and DDT ridicules them; (2/27/20) Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) compared COVID-19 to the 1918 pandemic.

Another DDT timeline in his own words:

Jan. 22: “We have it totally under control.” [The first U.S. case the day before; WHO classifies global risk as high.]

Feb. 10: “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” [In Singapore, with temperatures like the U.S. summer, cases reach 45.]

Feb. 24: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” [Global markets fall sharply.]

Feb. 28: “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” [Community transmission begin in the West Coast states.] “I think the 3.4 percent [fatality rate] is really a false number.”

March 4: “I think the 3.4 percent [fatality rate] is really a false number.” [More states announce community transmission.]

March 4: “Some people will have this at a very light level and won’t even go to a doctor or hospital, and they’ll get better. There are many people like that.” [California has its first virus-related death.]

March 9: “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power … to inflame the CoronaVirus situation.”  [Stock markets keep rapidly declining.]

March 10: “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away.” [The next day, WHO announced COVID-19 as a pandemic.]

March 15: “This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control over.”

March 16: “We have an invisible enemy.” 

March 17: “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

March 18: “I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously and have done a very good job from the beginning.”

March 23: “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”

March 24: “I’d love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”

March 26: “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.”

On March 28, the U.S. , with late intervention, had 121,478 confirmed cases; today the number is 215,215, over 77 percent more in four days. Over 5,000 people in the U.S. have died, almost two-thirds more than in China and up from 89 deaths in the U.S. one month ago. The world has 934,033 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 46,922 deaths.

DDT is a fool.

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.

March 9, 2020

Markets—Stocks, Bonds, Oil—in Crisis

Reminiscent of the 2008 crisis, a full-flown trading panic sent the New York Stock Exchange shooting downwards as the Dow Jones dropped over 2,000 (7.8 percent) to the same level as 30 months ago, and the Standard & Poor and Nasdaq each lost over 7 percent. The radical drops during the first few minutes after the bell rang to open stock trading caused a 15-minute trading hiatus for all trading. The automatic trigger mechanism was created during the 1987 recession, and it’s only the second time since then that the stoppage has gone into effective, the last time in 2008 during the Great Recession. It’s the first time since 2008, during The Great Recession, that the trigger mechanism was utilized.  [Floor trader Peter Tuchman watches the stock numbers drop during the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange on March 9, 2020. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images.) 

The losses were predictable. Global markets began shrinking over the weekend, setting up the scene for the losses in the U.S. London’s FTSE returned to three years ago by falling 8 percent, Japan’s Nikkei index went down over 5 percent, and Australia’s stocks lost over 7 percent.

Bonds also hit an historic low as investors sold stocks to because of covid-19 and the oil war. All yields fell below 1 percent for the first time ever: the 10-year Treasury bond is 0.62 percent, and the 30-year yield dropped almost 2 percent to crawl back up to 1.08 percent. 

 

 

 

 

 

The covid-19 pandemic has roiled the global markets, but the slumps were also caused by Saudi Arabia’s initiating an oil war with Russia which caused prices to collapse 30 percent to the level of the 1991 Gulf War. Despite a glut of oil on the market, the Saudis won’t scale back production after Russia flooded the market. Finishing down 24 percent, Brent was $34.44 per barrel and West Texas International crude at $31.13 per barrel. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) blew aside the destructive impact from uncertainty and fear by praising oil prices to save money at the gas pump. Lower oil prices also slash inflation that may match the 2008 financial crisis.

Last Friday, Russia refused an agreement with OPEC on cuts in oil supplies to bolster prices. Price drops hurt Venezuela and Iran, already suffering from U.S. sanctions. Highly indebted U.S. oil companies will have added pressure, and more of them may go out of business with ensuing decline in production. Oil producing states such as Texas have laid off workers. Canada will be hard hit, and developing companies such as Nigeria, Angola, and Brazil will face economic slowdowns. Shares of the Saudi national oil company, Saudi Aramco, dropped by 9 percent. If the Saudis increase output to make up for lower prices, prices in the world will continue to collapse, already about one-third this year.

Last week,  J.P. Morgan told clients that markets indicate a 90 percent chance of a recession, meaning six continuous months of economic contraction. Hits to the economy come from almost empty airplanes and hiring freezes. Middle-class people will stay at home to eat instead of patronizing restaurants and buy cheaper products.

DDT keeps talking about how strong “the economy” is, but people’s economic life and livelihood are not “the economy.” DDT’s policies on taxes, tariffs, education, healthcare, the environment, etc. have badly hurt most people’s finances. The 34 percent addition to the deficit negates the idea that the economy is booming, as are the frequent drops in the prime rate. Since his inauguration, DDT has run the government as if the U.S. was already in a recession. Education enriches the economy, but it’s cut in DDT’s budget as are service. Taxpayers have already paid $28 billion to bail out farmers because of DDT’s tariffs, and DDT wants to take the Affordable Care Act away from most people in a case before the Supreme Court. Climate change takes more money from taxpayers, but DDT and his administration ignore its problems of floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes. The economy hurts most people.

Years before the 2008 financial crisis, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) warned about a vulnerable economy with trends of “shady subprime lending, rising household debt, a mortgage market where lenders didn’t bear the risk of their loans.” [Note: I sensed disaster coming too, but I’m not an expert.] Warren wrote another post less than a year ago about an eminent disaster:

“I see a manufacturing sector in recession. I see a precarious economy that is built on debt—both household debt and corporate debt—and that is vulnerable to shocks. And I see a number of serious shocks on the horizon that could cause our economy’s shaky foundation to crumble. Seventy-one million American adults—more than 30% of the adults in the country—already have debts in collection.”

She added that consumers were getting squeezed by “a generation of stagnant wages” and the rising costs of basic goods and services. The solution for U.S. households is to take on debt at historic levels with student loans, credit card debt, auto loans. Warren also wrote about corporate debt:

“Leveraged lending—lending to companies that are already seriously in debt—has jumped by 40 percent since Trump took office.”

This leveraged debt helped consumer debt to tank the economy in 2008. Like subprime mortgages, new corporate loans are “poorly-underwritten loans with minimal protections that are then packaged and sold to investors.”

The recession for U.S. manufacturing sector, tied to DDT’s trade wars, began in the beginning of 2019. Warren wrote, “For the first time ever, the average hourly wage for manufacturing workers has dropped below the national average.” Her solution was reducing household debt by canceling some debt and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour; creating regulations to decrease heavily leveraged corporate lending; and investing trillions of dollars into new environmental research, production, and exports to strengthen manufacturing.

Instead, DDT kept wages low, blocked regulations, stopped investing in the country, and cut taxes for the wealthy and big business.

DDT is fond of comparisons to him with biblical figures such as Cyrus, David, Abraham, Moses, the apostles, Jesus, and even Queen Esther. Running out of Judeo-Christian figures, DDT quote-tweeted an image of himself as Nero and wrote, “Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!” Former ethics director Walter Schaub replied:

“It means Rome is burning and you’re fiddling around a golf course, Nero.”

When he was young, the emperor Nero had lavish palaces, threw wasteful parties, slept around, and went on the stage. In 64 A.D., he announced his plan to destroy Rome and build it back up in his preferred architectural style. The Senate refused, and Rome began to burn for nine days. According to legend, the extravagant emperor Nero “fiddled while Rome burned,” but violins didn’t come into existence until many centuries later. Nero’s first biographer claimed he sang while Rome burned. Other biographers asserted that witnesses saw Nero set the fire or hired thugs to do it. Nero committed suicide four years later after fleeing Rome and discovering that he was condemned to death as a public enemy. The people celebrated his death. [Left: A float depicting DDT as Nero in the traditional Carnival parade in Mainz, Germany, on Feb. 24. Michael Probst/AP]

The United States is burning, and DDT plays golf and blames the Democrats.

March 5, 2020

DDT, Government Create Dangers from Covid-19

Joe Biden accomplished something Tuesday night that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) couldn’t manage even with a 0.5 percent decrease in the prime interest rate—a spike of 4 percent in the stock market. That increase came after Biden won ten of 14 states toward becoming the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, including delegate-rich Texas. Right now, Biden is ahead of Sanders 565-506 heading into the ten primaries on the next two Tuesdays. Healthcare stocks caused most of the climb with a decreased concern for Sanders’ “Medicare-for-all” program: Cigna and UnitedHealth Group up over ten percent, Humana rising 12.7 percent, and Anthem topped at 14.4 percent increase.  

Today DDT drove the Dow down by almost 1,000 points with his lies about covid-19. Last night, he told Sean Hannity to downplay the virus and claimed that the deaths reported by World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimate of a 3.4 percent global death rate from coronavirus is a “false number.” According to DDT’s “hunch,” it’s far below 1 percent. He also failed to discourage people from going to work with symptoms because others gone to work and gotten better. The CDC had already told people with symptoms to stay home unless they are seeking medical care.

Covid-19 has spread to over 70 countries and 21 states in the U.S. Pence said the U.S. has enough test kits for everyone in the country. Nope. He then said that there would be one million kits by today, and they are about 900,000 short.

A cruise ship with 3,500 people is not allowed to dock because of infections on board. People cannot be brought on shore because the U.S. lacks a place where they can be quarantined. Already 21 people are symptomatic, and one person from the ship has died of covid-19.

The conservative press are covering up for DDT’s failure in coping with the covid-19 entry into the United States. Bradley A. Blakeman and Christos A. Makridis wrote about the “rapid federal response to secure the country and create a cure,” lauding the task force led by VP Mike Pence. Blakeman is head of the lobbying 1600 Group with the job of “controlling messages during chaos.” DDT’s administration has focused on this process of “controlling messages,” treating the crisis like a PR campaign.

Conservative media such as Fox frequently use the word “calm” to describe the White House politicians as if people prefer “calm” to facts, which DDT considers hysteria and alarmist. Frequent Fox consultant Dr. Mark Siegel, whose patients gave him 2.5 stars out of five, wrote:

“I have never seen a new virus or bacteria handled as well by our public health officials as this one, with sober attention paid to identifying, isolating and tracing contacts of known or suspected cases along with restricting travel as best they can.”  

The CDC lost valuable time to slow down the spread of covid-19 because it rejected existing tests and devised its own to identify a range of similar viruses. The test did identify covid-19 but had false positives for other viruses in all except six state labs. Only those state labs were allowed to use the test which considerably slowed down the process for three weeks until CDC decided to check only for covid-19.

Almost two weeks ago, a top scientist from FDA was blocked from entering the CDC in Atlanta and made to wait overnight. Timothy Stenzel had been sent to the facility to help coordinate the stalled testing and was expected. Once admitted Stenzel found lab contamination which may have contributed to the delays and other problems.

Other delays:

  • The National Security Council’s global pandemic team was disbanded.
  • DDT minimizes the seriousness of covid-19 by lying about it.
  • CDC didn’t update testing guidelines beyond travel and contact with infected people.
  • For four days, CDC delayed testing a person with covid-19 because of narrow restrictions despite a doctor’s request.
  • The 80 percent cut to CDC funding for fighting global pandemics reduced the emergency response from 49 countries to ten.
  • DDT discontinued the program Predict monitoring the threat of animal-born diseases to humans which had discovered over 1,000 viruses.
  • The State Department forced the CDC to put 14 infected people with 300 other passengers on two different flights.
  • With no training or protective gear, HHS personnel were told to tend to quarantined people.
  • HHS planned to fly infected patients to a FEMA facility in Anniston (AL) that lacked medical capability to operate as a quarantine zone.
  • The newly created task force took time off on the second day to attend the Conservative Political Action Convention.
  • An infected patient was permitted to leave a San Diego hospital after a CDC test gave a negative result, rejoined the quarantined group flown to the U.S. from China for a day, and was then returned to the hospital.
  • CDC also refuses to explain the treatment for patients recovering from the virus so that it can be replicated.

When all other excuses failed, DDT blamed President Obama for slowing down new diagnostic testing, but an aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said that the Obama administration made no such rule change. It did recommend that the FDA have greater oversight on approving diagnostic tests, but the rule didn’t go through. Peter Kyriacopolous, a policy expert at the Association of Public Health Laboratories, agreed with Alexander’s aide. The White House did not comment on clarification of DDT’s falsehood. In 2004, the Project Bioshield Act allowed the FDA to require agency permission from labs for some tests during a public health emergency. DDT’s administration mandated that the CDC must approve the covid-19 test, keeping private labs from testing without CDC approval.

Alexander also told DDT that he should “let the professionals do the talking” after DDT keeps contradicting medical professionals about the epidemic.

When HHS official Dr. Robert Kadlec said that the U.S. had only ten percent of required respirator masks, 35 million out of 3.5 billion, someone pointed out that this figure is only 1 percent. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of World Health Organization (WHO), said manufacturers need to increase personal protective gear supplies by 40 percent. The 3.4 global percent death rate according to WHO is higher than previous estimates of about 2 percent.

In another serious concern, Chinese scientists report that covid-19 may have mutated after they found another strain of the virus. The more aggressive coronavirus accounted for 70 percent of analyzed strains, and the remainder were linked to a less aggressive type.

The greatest asset in a crisis is credibility, and DDT and his administration lack that asset. VP Mike Pence followed DDT’s lies about covid-19 with orders that all federal health officials must run their appearances and information through himself. Following complaints about lack of transparency, DDT said that no one was muzzled and even pushed his medical expert Dr. Anthony Fauci to say that he wasn’t muzzled. Yet Pence replaced five of Fauci’s scheduled appearances the following day on Sunday news shows with himself and HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

Pence was lucky: interviewers didn’t ask him about the HIV epidemic he caused in Indiana or his “health” beliefs that “smoking doesn’t kill” and condoms don’t stop STIs.

Fauci appears increasingly frustrated with DDT’s ignorance and refusal to listen. DDT doesn’t understand how vaccines work; he thinks that a new one can be spun off from the flu vaccine and won’t need testing. In a meeting with ten pharmaceutical executives, Fauci asked them to educate DDT:

“Would you make sure you get the president the information that a vaccine that you make and start testing in a year is not a vaccine that’s deployable? So he’s asking the question, ‘When is it going to be deployable?’ And that is going to be, at the earliest, a year to a year and a half, no matter how fast you go.”

When DDT rushed pharmaceutical executives to quickly create a vaccine, one of them said that a bad vaccine could make a disease worse. He said, “You don’t want to rush and treat a million people and find out you’re making 900,000 of them worse.” DDT answered, “Good idea,” but he wasn’t listening. The next day he said at the National Association of Counties:

 “We’re moving at a maximum speed to develop the therapies, not only the vaccines, but therapies. Therapies is sort of another word for cure.”

DDT told airlines executives last Wednesday that there was no danger in continuing flights. About hygiene, he said he hadn’t “touched his face in weeks.” (The photo was taken two days earlier.)

DOD Secretary Mark Esper has also muzzled U.S. military commanders, ordering them to tell the DDT administration before urgent decisions about protecting service members from covid-19. Gen. Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, told Esper that he would make decisions without permission to keep safe.

Banks have a solution for taking care of the epidemic—roll back regulations. DDT has another one: more tax cuts for the wealthy and big business.

Republicans held up funding appropriations for the covid-19 emergency on Monday with the excuse that guaranteeing affordability of vaccines would stop research and development. A senior Democratic aide explained:

“Democrats want the supplemental to include significant funding for the federal government to purchase large quantities of coronavirus diagnostics, treatments and vaccine [when it becomes available], which will then be made available to the public without cost.”

By Wednesday, bipartisan negotiators from the House and Senate agreed to an $8.3 billion emergency spending package to fight COVID-19. The House passed the bill 415-2 with only Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Ken Buck (R-CO) dissenting. The bill passed the Senate with only Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voting against it.

Pence’s anti-science bungling and DDT’s lies have cost time–and lives.

March 3, 2020

DDT’s Economy before Covid-19

As the new coronavirus, covid-19, continues its creep across the world, the economy—which had many cracks before the health crisis—may take a bit hit.

Financial markets: Last week, U.S. stocks’ drop of at least 10 percent had not been seen since 2008 in the great recession at the end of George W. Bush’s second term. Damage is being done to retirement accounts, especially if interest rates are again cut, and consumer confidence. Stocks went up this week but only because governments and banks promised to take care of the problem.

Retail: Reduction in discretionary spending influences an area providing for over two-thirds of U.S. economic growth. A covid-19 outbreak in the U.S. would also drive people to online outlets, threatening jobs in a sector showing no employment growth in 2019.

Travel and hospitality: Cancelation of conferences and meetings have already led to a drastic decline in global travel and tourism, hurting airlines, lodging, casinos, restaurants, concert/sports venues, and other businesses with close contact.

Technology: Factory shutdowns in China and neighboring countries already restricted supply of technology products and parts, necessary for huge companies such as Apple and Microsoft. Almost 80 percent of small and medium-sized industrial plants in China are still closed.

Automobiles: Lack of parts from China hurts the U.S. industry already suffering from DDT’s tariffs.

For the one argument to vote for him, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) bragged about creating the “best economy” people have ever known—low unemployment rate, lies about new jobs, and the high stock market. Even before the onslaught of covid-19, DDT’s economy was going downhill. He pushed through the tax cuts with promises for a GDP up to six percent but averaged $1 trillion deficit per year, twice President Obama’s last year. He hasn’t even hit three percent GDP growth for a year: 2.3 percent last year, 2.9 percent in 2018, and 2.4 percent his first year. President Obama hit over 4 percent in four different quarters. Goldman Sachs now estimates GDP for the first quarter of 2020 at 1.2 percent. Ed Hyman, Evercore ISI Chairman and widely followed economist on Wall Street, predicts 0.0 percent GDP for both second and third quarters of 2020. 

An update from early November showing DDT’s growing economy problems:

  • Private-sector investment had negative growth for most of 2019 as big business stores profits offshore and buys stocks in their companies.
  • Job growth of almost 2.1 million in 2019 was below that of 2018 and among the worst since 2011 when the country was crawling out of a big recession. DDT’s best year of 2018, with 2.31 million new jobs, was still under jobs gains during any of Obama’s last three years.
  • About 1 in 7 U.S. men between 25 and 54 (over 14 percent) aren’t employed, higher than the year before the economic disaster in 2007. Many of them don’t appear in unemployment statistics because they gave up looking for work. Most do not have college degrees and live in a handful of rural, low-income regions across the country.
  • Median household income rose only $1,400 during DDT’s first two years, compared to the $4,810 increase during President Obama’s last two years.
  • Wage growth dropped in states that didn’t have minimum-wage increases, and median wage for “blue collar” workers has gone down 12.3 percent since 1979. The $7.25 minimum wage, established 11 years ago, just shrank to $6.05 after adjusted for inflation.  U.S. households are poorer than before the 2007 financial crisis.
  • The median wage of a full-time male worker is still more than three percent below what it was 40 years ago. DDT’s change in the overtime rule means that eight million workers will receive lower wages, $1.4 billion less than under the 2016 rule.
  • The typical US male worker needs one additional week every year to support a family of four compared to the 30 weeks in 1985 that gave him the money. Now a man needs $54,441 for expenditures compared to the $13,227 required in 1985. Women are worse off, requiring 45 weeks in 1985 compared to 66 weeks in 2018.
  • Median household income in Democratic districts is $61,000, compared with $53,000 for Republicans.
  • Conservative policies are responsible for millennials’ huge college debt, stagnant wages, unaffordable health care, climate change problems, and massive federal deficits.
  • Nine of the last ten recessions began under Republicans: 1953, 1958, 1960, 1969, 1973, 1981, 1990, 2001, and 2007. The only Democratic one was in 1980, resulting from the oil crisis in the late 1970s.
  • In the employment figures that DDT praises, 57 million workers, one-third of all employed people, have gig economy jobs without any benefits such as health insurance. People in those jobs, as well as other ones that don’t provide sick leave, are likely to spread covid-19 by working while sick and having contact with a large number of people.  
  • In two years, the uninsured rate increased from 10.9 percent to 13.7 percent, and life expectancy dropped in the first two years after DDT was inaugurated—in 2017 the highest rate of midlife mortality since World War II.
  • Almost 60 percent of people in the U.S. cannot cover an emergency expense of $1,000 such as a car repair
  • In a Monmouth University poll, only 12 percent of people in the U.S. said their families had “benefited a great deal” from recent economic growth, and only 18 percent said that middle-class families had benefited a lot from Trump’s economic policies. 

DDT wants people to overlook his soliciting foreign interference to get elected, incessantly lying, obstructing justice, and destroying the lives of people through his domestic and foreign policies. His demand for votes based on a continuation of Obama’s economy ignores the indicators of a coming recession.

  • The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index dropped to 47.2, its lowest level since June 2009. Unemployment has increased in Ohio and Pennsylvania for the past six months, and Michigan and Wisconsin manufacturing unemployment has eroded.
  • Manufacturing cut 12,000 jobs in December; mining shed 8,000; and transportation and warehousing dumped 10,000. US Steel shuttered its Detroit plant and laid off 1,545 workers. Two hundred workers lost their jobs earlier last year.
  • Shipment volume dropped 9.4 percent in January 2020 compared to an already weak January the previous year. The decrease was for the 14th month and the steepest since October 2009. In December, the Celadon Group, with 3,000 drivers and 2,700 tractors, became the largest truckload carrier to file for bankruptcy, and barge operator American Commercial Lines, with 3,500 barges mostly the Mississippi River, declared bankruptcy in January. Two of the largest US railroads, CSX and Union Pacific, dropped revenues and reported massive layoffs from weak transportation.
  • Car sales have declined since 2016 to below their level in 2000, and new-vehicle registration in California, the biggest U.S. market, dropped 5.5 percent in 2019. New-vehicle sales have dropped to
  • Five percent of auto loans are delinquent.
  • Credit card delinquencies increased in 2019 to 8.36 percent. Subprime credit-card delinquency rates are at an all-time high.
  • One in nine borrowers of student debt, now over $1.5 trillion, were reported 90+ days delinquent or in default in 2019. This figure might be understated because half of student loans aren’t in the repayment cycle because they are in deferment, grace periods, or forbearance. Delinquency rates are projected to be about twice as high when those loans enter the repayment cycle.
  • The size of the stock market relative to the size of the economy is at its highest level ever, showing that it’s overvalued. Because of stock over-evaluation, asset managers expect a recession this year or in 2021.
  • Capital spending by S&P 500 companies grew less than 1 percent in the third quarter and would have fallen without Apple and Amazon because uncertain business environment causes companies to cut back on spending.

GOP Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley encouraged DDT and his economists, including Peter Navarro, to read about parallels to the booming 1920s in Dan Henninger’s Wall Street Journal op-ed by Dan Henninger. The economic growth, when Congress cut taxes three times in a time of huge income inequality, was followed by the financial crash and almost a decade of deep fiscal depression. Herbert Hoover, elected in 1928, loved tariffs that damaged an already declining economy and signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff law in 1930, a policy that severely restricted trade and strained the economy by raising import taxes.

After a cash shortage in financial institutions last September, the Federal Reserve flooded the market with overnight “repos,” repurchase operations by purchasing $60 billion a month in short-term Treasury bills. Banks buy them overnight and sell them back the next day at a higher price to meet federal requirements for minimum reserves. 

The economy would have shown greater signs of tanking without the Federal Reserve acting as if the U.S. were in a recession instead of a sound economy. The agency practiced quantitative easing, buying assets such as bonds. The last time the government did this to get out of the great recession, the Fed stopped the practice as soon as the economy recovered. Now, the Fed is purchasing bonds at a $60 billion per month–$720 billion a year or about three-fourths of a trillion dollars—more debt for future generations. This system moves more wealth to the top, away from most people.

The Fed has also cut interest rates several times since DDT was inaugurated, most recently the 0.5 percent this morning which dropped the rate to below 1.25 percent—the largest cut since 2008. The purpose is to encourage people to spend, an unlikely behavior during a health crisis.

A recent Pew research poll found that “[s]even-in-10 U.S. adults say the economic system in their country unfairly favors powerful interests.” William D. Cohan wrote that covid-19 gave investors the reason for grabbing their profits in a shaky economy and DDT an excuse to blame the stock market on something other than his economic policies that “widened the gulf between the rich and poor” to the biggest divide since the Gilded Age of 150 years ago.   

February 25, 2020

Coronavirus Hits the Economy

The latest victim to fall to the coronavirus in the United States was the economy: in the past two days, the Dow Jones stock market dropped almost 2,000 points, the worst two-day point drop on record. The three biggest indexes—Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq—each averaged three-percent drops for both yesterday and today. Goldman Sachs, citing the dangerous virus, cut its growth forecast for the U.S. economy to 1.2 percent for the first quarter, well below the 2.3 percent rate in 2019 and nowhere near the 4 to 6 percent that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) promised when he pushed through his massive tax cuts for the wealthy and big business.

DDT largely ignored the coronavirus until the drastic drop in stock markets. That’s when he considered a request from Congress for first $1 billion and then $2.5 billion to ameliorate the disease–and raise the Dow. Asha George, director of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, said an immediate package of $3 billion is necessary for funding vaccines and antidotes, stockpiling medical supplies, manufacturing medications, creating and sending diagnostic kits to doctors and hospitals, and planning and guidance. She said that agencies already need the $200 million taken from other programs to fight the disease. HHS has already transferred over $130 million from some of its accounts into combatting the virus, including an emergency infectious disease rapid-response fund. DDT wants to move $535 million from an Ebola preparedness account, a disease killing tens of thousands of people, making people vulnerable to that disease.

DDT attacked Democrats for wanting more money, but they aren’t alone. When HHS Secretary Alex Azar asked Congress for the $2.5 billion, some Republicans agreed that it might not be enough. “If you lowball something like this, you’ll deal with it later,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) told Azar. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said that senators will “decide the final numbers.”

DHS acting deputy secretary, Ken Cuccinelli, demonstrated DDT’s low level of competence in appointments when Cuccinelli frantically tweeted for help in in finding a map showing the coronavirus spread. When he couldn’t locate the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering department’s map showing the latest COVID-19 numbers and locations, he tweeted that it “seems like bad timing to stop helping the world.” Curiosity had caused the site to be overwhelmed, but meanwhile Cuccinelli had publicized his ignorance to the world. The article about his experiences is well worth reading just because of Twitter responses.

Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf did almost as badly as Cuccinelli during a Senate hearing when he couldn’t accurately state the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., didn’t know how many cases came into the US. from cruise ships, couldn’t explain how the virus is transmitted, and was unaware of mortality rates for both coronavirus and influenza. According to the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu deaths are about 1 in 1,000 people in the U.S. compared to 1 in 50 deaths from coronavirus. Wolf doesn’t know whether the U.S. has enough respirators and masks. His ignorance was made obvious by questioning from Louisiana’s GOP Sen. John Neely Kennedy. Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.).

On her MSNBC news program, Rachel Maddow pointed out how DDT has weakened the U.S. fight against the coronavirus health crisis: In 2018, DDT “fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command back in 2018 and never replaced them with anyone,” according to Pulitzer Prize winning science journalist Laurie Garrett. He fired the point person on all global health security matters on the National Security Council and didn’t bother to find someone else for the job. President Obama had one person in charge of the Ebola crisis, but DDT has left the coronavirus response to different agencies with difficulty in cooperation. The National Security Council’s entire global health security unit was shut down, and John Bolton pushed out a similar team from the DHS. Many of the CDC global health section were cut along with a reduction of countries where CDC worked from 49 to only 10. DDT is eroding the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and wants to cut it by 40 percent. In addition, DDT’s cuts to the National Institutes of Health and CDC hurt the possibility for research into the disease.  

DDT has come up with two solutions for the growing pandemic: it will be over in April with warmer weather, and the U.S. is “very close to a vaccine.” The severity of some viruses lessens in spring and summer, but CDC is concerned that the coronavirus may not be one of them. Under optimum conditions, a vaccine for coronavirus might be available between 12 and 18 months. The White House tried to cover for DDT in his mistake with the claim that DDT referred to the Ebola virus in talking about being close to a vaccine.

The CDC opposed putting people with coronavirus on the same plane as those who tested negative to fly them from Japan for quarantine, but DDT’s administration ignored the recommendation. DDT said there wouldn’t be any problem in mixing presumably healthy people with sick ones. Director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Michael Osterholm called that decision “one of the cruelest human experiments I’ve seen in my entire career.” The administration, however, is protecting DDT. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was told not to go to India with DDT because Mulvaney had a cold.

DDT, supported by his National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, is endangering public health in the U.S. by encouraging people to buy “these dips” in order to make DDT look good before his election while minimizing the danger of a disease that has already killed thousands of people. DDT’s claim that the virus is “under control” has no proof. A public health crisis needs trusted information, something that people will never get from DDT.

Rush Limbaugh, the most recent recipient of DDT’s Medal of Freedom, complained about how “the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump.” Limbaugh has his own alternative fact about coronavirus that he shared with millions of conservatives and says that he’s “dead right on this.” He falsely claims that “coronavirus is the common cold.”

With no evidence for his conspiracy theory, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) maintains that China deliberately created the coronavirus that is killing its citizens and destroying its commerce. Experts debunked Cotton’s theory, but he continues to talk about the proximity of a lab to a market, falsely considered the virus’ starting point. His justification for his myth is “China’s duplicity and dishonesty” and persists in identifying the false “hypothesis” of an engineered virus. According to the highly reputable medical journal Lancet, scientists from several countries outside China conclude that this virus, like many other recently emerging viruses in humans, originated in wildlife

The CDC sent out faulty coronavirus testing kits to U.S. labs, but officials aren’t saying how many of the 200 kits are in that category. These kits, each testing 700-800 specimens, were intended to provide results faster than shipping samples to CDC in Atlanta. Over 30 kits intended for other countries weren’t shipped because of the flaw. One ingredient in the test caused the problem. Mislabeled samples in San Diego allowed a woman with coronavirus to be discharged from a hospital. Tests cannot also identify infected people still in the incubation period.

A few facts about Covid-19, the new strain of coronavirus:

  • Symptoms: Coughs, fever, and breathing difficulties that can lead to pneumonia. Some people who test positive have no symptoms.
  • Cure: Recovery depends on a person’s immune system because antibiotics have no influence on the virus.
  • Transmission: Person to person within six feet through air, coughs, and sneezing.
  • Extent: 80,000 people in 31 countries, the worst being China. China has 2,663 deaths among 77,658 cases. Over 12,000 people in China have recovered. Italy, Japan, and South Korea have hundreds of cases, and deaths have occurred in Hong Kong, Taiwan, France, Iran and the Philippines.
  • Mortality rate: 2 percent in the epicenter of the outbreak.
  • Other coronaviruses: Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).

Market Watch posits that the drop in stocks is more than the effect of the Covid-19 on the world economy. The uncertainty of the virus consequences may be equaled by the uncertainty of the 2020 election outcome. Economists have been waiting almost a year to see when over-valued stocks would “correct” as DDT kept using the high stock markets as an indicator of economic growth. Recession in the U.S. has been a concern for at least a year, and the virus concern may kick these worries into overdrive.

December 25, 2018

DDT’s Version of ‘Merry Christmas’

Day Four of Government Shutdown: Retroactive pay doesn’t mean anything for small businesses when people stop spending for the holidays out of fear that paychecks will not be coming for a long time. No more perks like manicures or more presents. After Christmas, forget sales for clothes and other things that people load up on at the sales. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) says he won’t stop the shutdown until he gets his money. Sounds like blackmail on Christmas Day.

DDT wants people to say “Merry Christmas,” but he debunked Santa Claus to a seven-year-old girl when she called to check on Santa’s progress on NORAD. When DDT answered the phone, he asked While answering telephone calls from children tracking Santa’s progress on NORAD, DDT asked Collman Lloyd of Lexington (SC) if she is “still a believer in Santa Claus.” After she said yes, DDT said, “Because at 7 that’s marginal, right?” Fortunately, Collman doesn’t know the meaning of “marginal,” and she still believes in Santa because the milk and cookies left for him overnight disappeared. DDT, who threw rocks at other toddlers in play pens before he was three years old, just shot down Santa Claus for a lot of people.

The day before DDT tried to burst Collman’s bubble, he moaned on his Twitter account:

 “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security.” [DDT’s version of “all alone.]

Earlier this year, DDT turned down $25 billion in border security, but he claims that “the wall is different” and that it “will be built with shutdown money plus funds already in hand.” He’s missed the fact that the shutdown costs money; it doesn’t increase funding. And that’s just part of the anger-filled, hateful tweets that he sent from the White House in the days before Christmas when he wanted to be cheered on with Mar-a-Lago members.

In several tweets, DDT scapegoated Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for his own mistakes that led to the massive drop in stock markets during December. After a disastrous week, the Dow Jones plunged another 653 points in a half-day session yesterday. Economists have been muttering about an upcoming recession for months, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, formerly king of foreclosures who didn’t let an elderly widow escape when she owed $.27, tried to block the fall. On Sunday, Mnuchin tweeted that the public has plenty of money to borrow because he talked with CEOs of six large banks. The CEOs were confused by his tweet, and the stock market had its worst Christmas Eve in history. The other major stock exchanges dropped in equally disastrous percentages, and crude oil fell over six percent to below $43 a barrel.

DDT added to the roiling market by threatening to fire Powell, his own appointment, and asking if he has the right to carry through with his threats. Mnuchin told DDT Saturday night that Mnuchin didn’t have the right to fire Powell although the law permits the president to fire a Fed board member “for cause.” Mick Mulvaney, Budget Director/acting chief of staff, said Saturday that DDT wasn’t going to fire Powell, whose term as chair ends in 2022 and board member in 2028. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said that DDT’s war on the Fed has caused some of the problems:

“Investors are increasingly spooked by the president’s wrong-headed attacks on the Fed and the Treasury Secretary’s ham-handed efforts to convince everyone Trump doesn’t mean it and that everything is fine.”

Although DDT claimed today that he was happy with Mnuchin, insiders are saying that he is upset with him. Mnuchin may follow former Defense Secretary James Mattis out of the Cabinet.

Christmas 2018 is the date that DDT cut off aid for abused women. Funding for the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) stopped when DDT’s shutdown began. Women lose their resources to be safe just before the holidays, a particularly dangerous time for them.

DDT has cut off paychecks for about 800,000 federal workers as well as planning to cut food stamps from another 800,000 people. Upset because the farm bill did not have provisions to starve people, DDT has announced his own orders last week to circumvent a law passed by Congress. DDT follows the conservative argument that people who get benefits aren’t working because they are lazy. DDT’s proposed rule removes the 20-year-old states’ rights to issues waivers if unemployment is 20 percent over the national average or there are significantly fewer jobs available than people who need work. DDT’s order to remove waivers in areas of unemployment under 7 percent will be made worse with bureaucracy such as Arkansas’s Medicaid overhaul where no waivers can be issued even in places with proof of insufficient jobs. Less than ten percent of food stamp recipients qualify as “able-bodied adults without dependents,” and over half of them work or volunteer enough time for the 20-hour work rules.

The Fox network final salvo in its “war against Christmas” blended with its war on gender identity and came from Tucker Carlson’s diatribe against gingerbread people with his guest Tammy Bruce. She claimed that gingerbread men are “obviously… they’re men.” She did indicate that she couldn’t tell the gender, “because they’re also not wearing clothes. So, it’s hard to say what they are and what they’re doing and not doing.” She probably refers to the fact that gingerbread cookies lack external genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics. Carlson called on people to not participate in the “spiritual neutering” of cookies. Part of the outrage came from false news reporting that the Scottish Parliament had banned the use of the term “men” when referring to gingerbread cookies. With 30 percent of women in the Scottish Parliament building stating they had been sexually harassed, the bakery renamed their cookies in solidarity.

A true war on Christmas this year is the war by DDT and the GOP against immigrants both documented and undocumented, especially those seeking asylum. A Guatemalan child died in DHS custody early this morning, the second one in less than three weeks. The cause hasn’t been announced, but children are put in extremely cold rooms when first in custody, supposedly to kill germs, and experience limited medical screening only for scabies, lice, and chickenpox. Children sleep side-by-side on mats on the floor with only a Mylar blanket. All their belongings are removed. The facilities were built in the 1980s and 1990s to temporarily house migrant adults. The 8-year-old boy’s death went unnoted in DDT’s furious tweets. Felipe González Morales, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, has called for an investigation of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin after her death in custody on December 7, 2018 although the death was kept secret from Congress for almost a week.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) told DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during her testimony to a House hearing that DDT’s immigration policies are unchristian and that they would have blocked Jesus Christ and his family from their flight to Egypt:

“During Christmas, a time in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ—a Jesus Christ who had to flee for his life with Mary and Joseph—thank God there wasn’t a wall that stopped him from seeking refuge in Egypt.”

DDT skipped a presidential tradition on Christmas by avoiding any direct contact with military members on Christmas Day, instead addressing some service members on safe bases. He told them that drugs are flowing across the southern border, the Federal Reserve is endangering the U.S. economy, and Democrats are planning to harass him with oversight hearings. He said, “It’s a disgrace …, but other than that, I wish everybody a very merry Christmas.” Merry Christmas to you too, DDT!

On this Christmas Day, 705 days since DDT’s inauguration, I am grateful for a safe home with food and warmth. I don’t live in a war-torn area, I’m not a refugee from violence, I no longer teach where someone could come in to kill me and my students, I have health insurance—I could keep going on and on with the privileges that many of us have, even more privileges after DDT has declared war on every minority. The best gift for my Christmas Day—for my year—is that the nation may have a chance to save a small piece of its democracy. After Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had two malignant nodules removed from her lung last week, she’s back at work in her room at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Doctors say that that there is “no evidence of remaining disease.”

December 7, 2018

DDT: Week 98 – Furious Tweets Show Fear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More about the new sycophants later.

March 19, 2018

Data Mining Elected DDT, ‘Corrected’ the Stock Market

Stock markets have been drastically dropping during the past six weeks although sometimes crawling upward only to drop again. Today, the closing Dow Jones as over 2,000 points below February 5 with “corrections by Facebook and tech investments. While investors try to guess why stocks lose ground, today’s loss in Facebook—as much as seven percent at times—was clearly from the problems in a company working to control the win of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the presidential election.

With the help of Russian oligarchs and officials, multi-billionaire Robert Mercer bought the presidency for DDT, and Mercer’s political-data firm Cambridge Analytica was instrumental in this success by targeting people’s emotional needs with information from social media. Last Friday night at the same time that AG Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe, Facebook admitted that Cambridge lied about deleting Facebook user data obtained from Facebook in violation of the social network’s policies.

A detailed Facebook post stated that Russian-American psychology professor, Aleksandr Kogan, obtained 50 million Facebook users’ information in 2014 with his app “thisisyourdigitallife.” Kogan collected data from people and their friends who took that quiz. Only 270,000 people took the quiz, but Kogan gathered data on another 50 million people from network connections. He promised that the data was exclusively for research purposes and then sent the data to Cambridge Analytica for political purposes. The company funded his app for $800,000, and the Russian government also paid Kogan for his research into the psychology of specific Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica was also involved in the Leave.EU leading to the success of the Brexit vote for separating Britain from the European Union.

Cambridge’s control over voters comes from its “psychographic” targeting that creates psychological profiles to “effectively engage and persuade voters using specially tailored language and visual ad combinations” that appeal to each person on an emotional level. Kogan claimed that his data predicted individual neuroticism, political views, agreeableness, and interests in subjects such as militarism, horoscopes, and the environment that could be used for targeting voters. Cambridge built profiles by maximizing the use of “up to 5,000 data points on over 230 million American voters,” according to the company’s website.

In August 2016 when Cambridge was targeting voters without their knowledge for DDT’s campaign, Facebook said it was deleting the collected data but didn’t tell Facebook users that GOP operatives were in possession of their data. Kogan’s company Global Science Research had paid people $1 or $2 in 2014 to complete its quiz and required that they download an app and share data about themselves and their social network. Facebook let app developers access data, such as their friends’ names and personal information about both themselves and their network. In 2015, Facebook claimed to receive certification that Kogan, Cambridge Analytica, and founder of Cambridge Christopher Wylie had destroyed all data collected by the quiz. They didn’t.

Wylie, a data analyst for Cambridge, shared the company’s activities with The New York Times and London’s The Observer in addition with UK cybercrime investigators. Former employees and contractors of Cambridge maintain that the company still possesses all or most of the data. In an interview on Today this morning, Wylie said that Cambridge worked with Corey Lewandowski, DDT’s first campaign manager, and Steve Bannon in 2015. Wylie described the method that Cambridge used:

“This data was used to create profiling algorithms that would allow us to explore mental vulnerabilities of people and then map out ways to inject information into different streams or channels of content online so that people started to see things that may or may not be true. This is a company that took fake news to the next level.”

Facebook blocked Wylie, and he retorted:

“Suspended by Facebook. For blowing the whistle. On something they have known privately for two years.”

Tracking responses to social media messages in real time showed the locations where DDT should go and the words that his audience would want to hear. Bannon said just before DDT’s election:

“I wouldn’t have come aboard, even for Trump, if I hadn’t known they were building this massive Facebook and data engine. Facebook is what propelled Breitbart to a massive audience. We know its power.”

Theresa Hong, an IT member of DDT’s campaign, told BBC in an interview last year, “Without Facebook, we wouldn’t have won.” She explained how a working mother could be targeted with information about child care instead of war with a more “warm and fuzzy” ad without DDT’s voice. She said, “It wasn’t uncommon to have about 35 to 45 thousand iterations of these types of ads everyday.”

Cambridge emerged in Robert Mueller’s investigation last December through its employee emails that revealed the FEC violations about non-U.S. people working on political campaigns. Cambridge’s CEO, Nix, is British, and many of the company’s employees are European or Canadian. In its Russian connections, Cambridge contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in June 2016, and the DDT campaign started paying Cambridge in July–almost $9 million by the end of the campaign.

In now-deleted tweets, Facebook’s head of security, Alex Stamos, tried to justify Kogan’s actions by stating that he “didn’t break into any systems, bypass technical controls, or use a flaw in our system to gather more data than allowed.” Yet Facebook did not permit Kogan to give data to a voter-targeting operation.

An undercover reporter has video of  Cambridge CEO Nix who suggested that his company could use honey traps and bribery to discredit politicians. In defining “deep digging,” Nix said that a way to target someone is to “offer them a deal that’s too good to be true and make sure that’s video recorded” and “send some girls around to the candidate’s house…” He added that Ukrainian girls “are very beautiful, I find that works very well.” Nix said, “I’m just giving you examples of what can be done and what has been done.”

Mercer has largely stayed out of the limelight while he funds Cambridge Analytica, which keeps a shell company in the United States, and he pours his money into electing nationalist candidates. Former CEO of the investment firm Renaissance Technologies, Mercer was also a main funder of Breitbart News and the biggest donor to DDT-supporting Super PACs. Steve Bannon was VP of Cambridge Analytica while he chaired Breitbart News but quit to join DDT’s campaign. Bannon is gone from the White House, but Kellyanne Conway, close friend of Mercer’s daughter Rebecca and creator of the term “alternative news,” stayed.

Some of Mercer’s beliefs:

  • During the 1990s, Hillary Clinton used the CIA for drug trafficking.
  • Blacks were better off economically before the civil rights movement.
  • The only racists in the U.S. now are black, not white.
  • The U.S. should have stripped Iraq of oil.
  • Radiation outside the immediate blast zones of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made Japanese people healthier.
  • Nuclear accidents aren’t any big deal.
  • Climate change would cause future generations to “enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life,” as Art Robinson wrote.
  • The U.S. should return to the gold standard.
  • (And many more wacky, radially far-right conspiracy theories.)

Mercer used Breitbart.com as a weapon to promote negative stories about Hillary Clinton that got the most clicks and likes. He put his daughter, Rebekah, on DDT’s transition team where she picked people for top government jobs including Cabinet positions. Her push for John Bolton as Secretary of State failed, but now he’s being considered for national security adviser. She was also behind Michael Flynn’s selection for that job. On the board of Cambridge, Rebekah Mercer plans to stay there.

Elizabeth Denham, Britain’s information commissioner, plans to apply for a warrant to access Cambridge’s servers because the company has not cooperated with her investigation into its illegal activities. The EU and Democrat officials in the U.S. have joined her in demands for further investigation. Republicans, some of whom used Cambridge in their elections such as Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Thom Tillis (NC), are mostly staying quiet about the problem.

Cambridge Analytica wasn’t totally responsible for the loss in investment value today: under a new chairman, Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates with another two increases planned before the midterm elections. Rational influences on DDT from former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and economic adviser Gary Cohn are gone, replaced by Mike Pompeo who wants to go to war and Larry Kudlow who is usually wrong about economics. Add to that DDT’s rabid tweets against special investigator Robert Mueller last weekend, and the nation has plunged into an uncertainty that frightens investors.

As for data mining, the future may bring regulations.

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