Nel's New Day

October 31, 2019

Syria: DDT Makes Russia Great Again

Impeachment has overwhelmed the media, shutting out most other news including the travesty in Syria, started by a casual telephone call between Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and Turkish president Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 25 days ago. In a few minutes, DDT set the scene for the displacement and murder of former Kurdish allies along with the takeover of northern Syria by Turkey and Russia with at least 160,000 Kurds now forced out of their homes.

DDT first pulled troops out of northern Syria which allowed hundreds of ISIS prisoners to escape and then lifted all sanctions on Turkey despite their war crimes. As always, he fabricated a new reality with a multitude of lies. A few corrections:

  • Kurds did not “release” ISIS prisoners; the former U.S. allies were on the run.
  • Kurds were not “very thankful” about DDT’s pulling the troops; they pelted U.S. troops with rotten vegetables and rocks.
  • Troops were not pulled out of the Middle East; they were sent to Iraq and the Syrian oil fields. He also sent another 3,000 service members to Saudi Arabia.
  • The military deployment to Syria was not scheduled for only “30 days” because there was no timetable.
  • The deployment didn’t happen “almost 10 years ago” because airstrikes didn’t begin until 2014. Ground troops were deployed in late 2015.
  • Others had not tried to make this deal for “many, many decades” because DDT made an extremely narrow decision in the withdrawal of U.S. troops, not a broad accord resolving longstanding regional issues.  
  • Saudi Arabia won’t be paying for all the troops sent to protect their oil fields because White House officials know nothing about any deal. DDT’s next plan was to get NATO to pay for protecting Saudi oil fields, an unlikely scenario.
  • DDT doesn’t have “control of oil in the Middle East”; he has control over no Middle East oil fields. Russia, Iran, and Syria control the Syrian oil fields.  Russia’s state-owned Rosneft oil company, owned by Russia, controls 60 percent of the Kurdish area’s main oil export pipeline, and Iraq keeps the rest. DDT has given them 2.5 billion gallons of oil.

DDT’s later idea about putting troops in Iraq and Syria may also fail. In a face-to-face unannounced meeting, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told Defense Secretary Mark Esper (or “Esperanto,” as DDT called him) that U.S. troops don’t have permission to come to Iraq from Syria. Mahdi added that his government is taking “all international legal measures” in response to their recent entry. DDT’s plan to protect the oil fields in Syria—but not the Kurds—violates the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed after 9/11. AUMF can only target “nations, organizations, or persons” who were involved in the attack on the U.S. to prevent “future acts of international terrorism.” The law may block protection of oil fields.

Any plan for DDT to take the oil may also violate international law. He said that “we should be able to take some [oil]” and added a plan to make a deal with “ExxonMobile or one of our great companies to go in there … and spread out the wealth.” When DDT earlier said that the U.S. should have taken the oil from Iraq, Sarah Saadoun, researcher at Human Rights Watch, explained that this would be pillage, “the unlawful appropriation of public or private property in connection with an armed conflict.” An “occupying army” to “use the natural resources of the territory for the needs of the occupying army or for the benefit the local population.” The 1996 US War Crimes Act also criminalizes violations of the Geneva Conventions or articles of The Hague Regulations, including the prohibition on pillage. A sentence for these violations can be life in prison. DDT used the term “fools” to describe people who believe in enforcing U.S. and international law.

DDT’s pullout of troops gave ISIS a huge win: U.S. officials stated that they are losing the ability to collect critical intelligence about the terrorists’ group’s operation on the ground. The pullout also caused greater risk in the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr Badhdadi because it disrupted the careful planning by the Pentagon. Officials said that the success of the raid was in spite of, not because of, DDT.  

Throughout DDT’s attempt to divert attention from his impeachment with the killing of al-Baghdadi, he behaves like a buffoon. He awkwardly staged a photo supposedly taken during the raid in contrast to Pete Souza’s reality-based photo of President Obama and his team tracking the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The date and time for DDT’s picture show it was taken 65 minutes before the raid. Tweets ridiculed the image for scattered Ethernet cables that weren’t connected to anything, the placement of DDT’s chair higher than others at the table, and the few obscured documents in front of him compared to those in front of others. A later photograph cut off he man on the right to make DDT look larger. 

Former presidents were accompanied by their chiefs of staff during times of crisis, but Mick Mulvaney was at home in South Carolina during the raid. He learned about it from the same announcements as the rest of the public, perhaps an indication that he is not long for the White House.

DDT’s derogatory dog references have been prominent in the media, both written and video, because he commonly uses canines to denigrate people—including al-Baghdadi about his death—yet praised a military dog for its part in the raid. A number of his comments are cited here. DDT was so enamored with the animal helping to take down al-Baghdadi that he tweeted a photo-shopped image illustrating his giving the dog the Medal of Honor. Gone in the picture is the face of James McCloughan, the first person who received the award from DDT for his saving ten men in a days-long Vietnam battle.

Days after DDT removed U.S. troops from northern Syria, DDT hailed the Turkish “cease-fire agreement, which kept killing people, as “a great day for civilization.” He followed that with high praise for Russia and Turkey taking over part of Syria. His comments are reminiscent of those by then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in September 1938, who shook hands with Adolf Hitler after France and England signed the Munich agreement that allowed Germany to annex Czechoslovakia. Poland was next, and the price for this “appeasement” was World War II. Winston Churchill, a man who DDT says he admires, told Chamberlain:

“You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.”

DDT repeats Chamberlain’s mistakes: he takes dictators such as Vladimir Putin and Erdoğan at their word and ignores military and diplomatic advice; he disregards threats from his actions and consequences of his public statements; he dismisses an ally losing over 10,000 fighters while helping the U.S. destroy ISIS; and he emboldens Iran, strengthens Russia, alienates allies, damages U.S. credibility, and helps ISIS. Winston Churchill’s statement to Chamberlain fits DDT.  

October 19, 2019

How DDT ‘Deals’ with World Leaders

[Note: To readers who notice when postings disappear on Nels New Day for a while, I will be gone for several days. Looking forward to a recap of this week’s events next weekend—like the bedbugs at Doral are safe because Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) didn’t like all the criticism of holding the 2020 G7 summit at his personal resort. There goes his millions of dollars.] 

The following piece by Shay Khatiri  posted on Charlie Sykes’ The Bulwark analyzes the reason behind DDT’s relationships.

“On Wednesday, the White House published a letter, dated October 9th, that President Trump sent to his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. First, he issued a warning to Erdogan that he would ‘destroy the Turkish economy’ if Erdogan went ahead with his genocidal plan. Then, he gave Erdogan a carrot, that if he makes peace with the Syrian Democratic Forces’ leader General Mazlum Abadi, ‘history will look upon [Erdogan] favorably.’ That didn’t deter Erdogan. Instead, the letter ended up in the trash. It’s obvious to virtually all observers of foreign policy that this type of intimidation would not work, but not to the President.

“Surveying Donald Trump’s brand of personal diplomacy, one wonders whether the President of the United States is committing the fatal sin of mirror imaging.

“Mirror imaging is a cognitive trap that strategists fall into when they mistakenly assume that an adversary will behave the same way they themselves would. It is common—something strategists are wary of and teach inexperienced analysts to avoid. For example, the key mistake made by the United States that led to Pearl Harbor was mirror imaging. The attack surprised American strategists because they would not have made the same decisions had they been in Japan’s position.

“This is a trap that Donald Trump is falling into.

“Based upon his past actions, Donald Trump has made clear there are a few things that incentivize him: personal recognition and financial gain, chief among them. The notoriety and historical significance of being the first president to walk in the Korean demilitarized zone or being the guy who signs a deal with the Taliban to end the Afghanistan War on an anniversary of 9/11 are cases that attest to his desire for grandiosity at the expense of rational strategy. The consequences of his decisions that will come to fruition after he leaves the office are no matter to him.

“It is troubling to imagine then, that he thinks that all leaders function the same way.

“Trump’s most frequently (read: only) used foreign policy tool has been America’s economic power. Whether dealing with the Europeans or the Chinese, whether punishing the Iranians or the Turks, Trump’s only resort has been sanctions and tariffs. Issuing a threat to Turkey to deter it from massacring the Syrian Kurds, Trump vowed to destroy Turkey’s economy if Erdogan went ahead with his plan. Similarly, he has responded to Iran’s growing aggressions since the spring only with sanctions.

“He also tries personal appeasement. Trump infamously praises dictators regularly, even as he is slamming them with economic pressure. He also praises allied country leaders like Macron, Merkel, and May, again, as he is slamming their economies with tariffs and criticisms on military expenditure.

“Donald Trump was a New York real estate developer and TV celebrity. His previous life was almost entirely comprised of materialistic individuals driven by greed and ego. The characters he found himself surrounded by responded to straight-forward personal incentives. World leaders don’t. There are other and often greater factors heads of state take into consideration when they make decisions.

“But Trump thinks that they operate the same way he does, or at least are motivated by a similar type of selfishness. This is why he wrongly assumed that the threat of economic sanctions would deter Erdogan from massacring Syrian Kurds. The same logic applies to his thinking that sanctions would deter Iran in the Persian Gulf, something that hasn’t happened. Similarly, he tried to broker deals with China and North Korea with the stick of economic pressure and carrot of personal appeasement.

“In the case of Turkey, Erdogan has other concerns. He doesn’t want a Kurdish separatist group on his southern border. Fertility rates for Turks and Kurds in Turkey suggest that Turkey’s population could be majority Kurdish within a generation or two, which is unacceptable to Erdogan’s ethno-nationalist vision. These are factors that have never and would never cross Trump’s mind. This is the result of mirror imaging.

“Miscalculations by leaders pose “tremendous” threats to international security. Khrushchev’s miscalculation led to the Cuban missile crisis and almost brought on a nuclear war. Japan’s miscalculation and mirror imaging cost it to absorb two nuclear bombs.

Since the end of World War II, Americans have benefited from reasonably responsible leaders, the quality of our governmental institutions, and our power in most forms. These factors have minimized the costs, number, and magnitude of miscalculations like mirror imaging. As the power gap with our adversaries is narrowing, partially due to their rise and partially due to our self-inflicted wounds, we also must grapple with the fact that we have a leader religiously committed to miscalculations and weakening our institutions.”

Erdogan was highly offended by the language and message in DDT’s letter because he values himself as a strongman. DDT’s condescending language such as “don’t be fool” and DDT has “worked hard to solve some of your problems” shows Erodogan that DDT considers himself superior to the Turkish president. Erdogan sends people to prison for milder language and reacts negatively to criticism from other countries.

At first, Erdogan pretended he didn’t get the letter, and Faik Oztrak of the Republican People’s Party called the letter a “rag.” Former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu tweeted: “The Turkish nation has been insulted. [Erdogan’s planned] U.S. visit must be canceled unless an immediate apology is forthcoming.” Then a government official reported Erdogan’s rejection by saying the letter “was thrown into the trash.”

Fifty-five years ago, Lyndon Johnson wrote Turkish Prime Minister Ismet Inonu about the damage that a Turkish-Greek war would cause to NATO and warned of the Soviet involvement. Johnson threatened that he would not agree to the use of U.S. military equipment if that happened. Turkey didn’t take up arms against Cyprus, but the country restored relationships with the Soviet Union. Anti-Americanism peaked four years later in 1968 with the Vietnam War and western “imperialism.” Erdogan has scheduled talks with Vladimir Putin next week. 

DDT sent this letter during a time of shrinking U.S. popularity among Turks: 81 percent of them pick the U.S. as the greatest threat to Turkey, up from 44 percent three years ago. Last Thursday night, DDT bragged to a rally audience about his wonderful agreement, one that gave up everything for what he called a “ceasefire,” but Turkish forces began bombing Kurds almost immediately after VP Mike Pence, who brokered the non-deal, left Istanbul.

In a bizarre spin, DDT repeated Erdogan’s lies that there was only “minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated,” something that the Kurds “want … to happen.” He added that the Kurds should be grateful for this “ultimate solution.”

A series of DDT’s tweets included this one:

“The U.S. has secured the Oil, & the ISIS Fighters are double secured by Kurds & Turkey.”

No and no.

DDT desperately needs praise, and his actions have produced great acclaim from Russia

“Putin won the lottery! Russia’s unexpected triumph in the Middle East. Those who were convinced of Trump’s uselessness for Russia ought to think again… Trump’s mistake in Syria is the unexpected ‘lottery win’ that further strengthened Moscow’s position in the Middle East and undermined America’s prestige as a rational political player and a reliable partner.”—Mikhail Rostovsky in the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.

“All of this benefits the Russian Federation. You know, I’ve been watching Trump’s behavior lately and get seditious thoughts: maybe he really is a Russian agent? He is laboring so hard to strengthen the international image of Russia in general—and Putin in particular…In this situation, Americans—to their chagrin and our enjoyment—are the only losers in this situation.”—Maksim Yusin, editor of international politics at the leading Russian business daily Kommersant

“This is such a pleasure. Russian soldiers have taken an American base under our complete control, without a fight! Trump ran away!”—Olga Skabeeva, host of Russia’s state television program 60 Minutes

“It’s been a long time since America has been humiliated this way. For us, this is of great interest, because this is a key region where energy prices are being determined. That is a shining cherry on top.” —Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak, political analyst

 “They ran away in shame! I can’t recall such a scenario since Vietnam. For us, this is of great interest, because this is a key region where energy prices are being determined. That is a shining cherry on top.”

It’s the “art of the deal” from someone who believes that everyone thinks exactly like him.

October 18, 2019

DDT: Week 143 – A World on Fire

Perhaps the best daily rundown of politics comes from Rantt Media, created two years ago. Today’s summary covers the damage of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in Syria:

“President Trump has singlehandedly undone years of progress in Syria, enabled atrocities against our allies, and eroded America’s credibility in a matter of days. The situation in Syria was relatively stable until the self-proclaimed stable genius decided to launch a betrayal of historic proportions and throw the region into chaos.

“On October 6, Trump announced the spontaneous withdrawal of 50-100 troops from Northern Syria and the abandonment of Kurdish forces who helped us diminish ISIS. The announcement came after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who wasted no time commencing his slaughter of the Kurds.

“Since last week, the Kurds have reported at least 218 civilians killed, including 18 children, and 650 injured. More than 160,000 people have been displaced. Over 700 ISIS supporters have fled prisons the Kurds were guarding. There have been reports of white phosphorous used against Kurdish civilians, which would constitute a war crime on the part of Turkey. After all of that, the Trump Administration then cut a deal with Turkey that puts a rubber stamp on all of their goals…

“Turkey’s objective is to push the Kurds out of Northern Syria. What Pence announced was actually that the US is now backing Turkey’s objective and that the Kurds must leave their homeland or be slaughtered. Meanwhile, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and Russia are able to move into newly ceded land. The move was surrender. And before the day was complete, the idea that it was a ‘ceasefire’ at all quickly unraveled when reports of gunfire and shelling began to pour in…

“After the announcement, President Trump claimed this surrender was a victory.”

Rachel Maddow tweeted this summary:

  1. turkey wants to push the kurds out of that part of syria.
  2. trump gives ‘em the OK to invade.
  3. pence brokers a “deal” in which the kurds… must get out of that part of syria.
  4. the US agrees to un-sanction turkey.

After the Kurdish debacle, Budget Director and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney held a press conference and confirmed that he held up military aid to Ukraine to force the country to investigate DDT’s political rival. For months, Republicans, including DDT, claimed no quid pro quo despite evidence that DDT, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and DDT’s political appointees illegally tried to extort the Ukrainians into interfering in the 2020 election. Mulvaney justified the extortion with the assertion, “We do that all that time with foreign policy” and then told concerned people “Get over it.” Those close to DDT, including his lawyer Jay Sekulow, disavowed Mulvaney’s statement who then released a statement falsely saying that his words were “misconstrued.” Fox’s Laura Ingraham excused Mulvaney’s “mistake” because Mulvaney isn’t a lawyer. Mulvaney graduated from the law school at the University of North Carolina in 1992 and practiced law for five years.

Mulvaney also announced that DDT will host the 2020 G7 summit at his personally-owned Doral Miami Golf Club in a brazen violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emolument Clause. The facility has such a bad reputation for cleanliness that the nickname for next year’s G7 meeting is Bedbug Summit. Even Fox journalist Chris Stirewalt was stunned by this announcement and recent events, saying, “The world is on fire.” In 2012, President Barack Obama held the summit at the government-owned retreat at Camp David in Maryland. Eric Trump promised that his father would not overcharge people; the government paid $546 per night for each staffer’s lodging at DDT’s Mar-a-Lago Club. A lawsuit against DDT illegally profiting from foreign and state governments will be heard before the entire 4th Circuit Court on December 12. DDT says that his court defeats are temporary because he’s appointing all the judges.

A detailed look at DDT tax documents with businesses appearing more profitable to lenders and less profitable to tax officials could be “versions of fraud,” according to a tax expert. Taken from DDT’s property tax appeal for nine years, the information comes from expenses, profits and occupancy figures for two Manhattan buildings with no explanation for multiple inconsistencies. Two former DDT associates, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, went to prison, in part for falsifying tax and bank records, some related to real estate.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walked out of DDT’s Wednesday meeting, DDT accused her of having a meltdown. CNN correspondent Jamie Gangel, however, reported that Republicans were seriously alarmed about DDT’s behavior, describing them as “completely shaken,” “shell shocked,” and “sickened.” In public, Republicans defended DDT; in private, they said that he isn’t in control of himself. DDT’s frenetic frustration with the impeachment inquiry was demonstrated with a massive number of tweets—almost 50 of them five days after the impeachment inquiry started and many more since then. Hashtags started using the term “meltdown” after DDT’s erratic behavior during a press conference with the Finnish president, and comments about DDT’s mental fitness accelerated. Since that time, he’s played the martyr, heckler, autocrat, projectionist, conspiracist, and bully.  

Giuliani may have a connection to Dmitry Firtash’s attempt to avoid extradition to the U.S. Firtash’s associates worked to get dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for Giuliani’s help in Firtash’s legal case. Fox consultant Joe deGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing, both lawyers, billed Firtash $1 million that included costs for Lev Parnas, Giuliani’s associate who has been arrested for violating campaign-finance laws. Part of the “dirt” was a witness statement from Viktor Shokin, a former Ukrainian prosecutor-general, that helped Giuliani renew his conspiracy theory about Biden’s attempt to help his son in Ukraine. In June, diGenova and Toensing’s son, Brady Toensing, joined the DOJ as senior counsel in the Office of Legal Policy.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to break up the team that assesses the environmental impacts of major projects on the nation’s public lands and spread them across seven states. The Department of Interior already announced it would move Grand Junction (CO) in a building shared by Chevron with 300 staffers moved across the West. Only 61 employees would stay in D.C. The strategy seems to be a dismantling of the agency and its ability to conduct energy development.

In his claim to “drain the swamp,” DDT has thus far appointed 1 lobbyist for each 14 political appointments—a total of 261.

DDT’s Miami resort, Doral, was the site of a conservative event featuring Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Donald Trump Jr. The “entertainment” included a video with DDT in a church setting, slaughtering church worshipers and representatives of CNN, NPR, MSNBC and Black Lives Matter as well as politicians such as the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Hillary Clinton in the “Church of Fake News.” DDT never responded.

Conference-goers also chanted, “War! War!” after Pastor Mark Burns told the crowd three times, “We’ve come to declare war!” A white radio host Wayne Allyn Root also bragged about beating up black students at his high school and saying “it was funny.” Root added, “To win in politics … you’ve got to be a natural-born killer.”

Red-meat lovers rejoiced at a study that eating red meat isn’t the health problem purported in the past. Seems that the study was done by a group partially funded by the beef industry. Sort of like studies that Monsanto and GMO foods aren’t dangerous being subsidized by Monsanto.

It’s pretty shady when your international business success is all about your father’s name, Donald Trump Jr. said. DDT said that it was wrong that Hunter Biden make money off his father’s name. That was the same day that DDT said that the 2020 G7 summit would be at his personal resort, making him millions of dollars and charging taxpayers more millions of dollars for permanent upgrades–all also benefiting the man who carries DDT’s name, Donald Trump, Jr.

DDT was up to 13,435 false claims in his first 995 days, an average of 22 per day since the last check on April 26, 2019 and a drastic increase from the 5 to 7 during his first year. Ukraine alone accounts for over 250 lies in the past few weeks. One of the most dangerous was his accusation that Kurds deliberately released ISIS prisoners to get the U.S. involved in the conflict. The Kurds have always been U.S. allies. 

The wife of a U.S. senior spy killed a 19-year-old motorcycle rider in Britain because she didn’t know which side of the road to drive on and then fled the country. DDT wants to introduce her to the dead man’s parents in front of a gaggle of reporters. DDT defended the wife by saying that drivers have to “be careful” when driving on “opposite roads.” In Virginia, the woman had been ticketed for failing to “pay full time and attention.”

DDT’s approval ratings averaged 40.7% during his 11th quarter in office, beginning on July 20 and ending on October 19 and a two-percent drop from the previous quarter.

October 17, 2019

DDT: Kurds Need to be ‘Cleaned Out’

Eleven days after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) blew up the Middle East by pulling 50 U.S. service members helping Kurds in northern Syria, he declares victory by allowing Turkey to take over northern Syria and drive the Kurds, U.S. allies, from their land (green area). In the “agreement,” the U.S. will help Turkey fight “terrorists” (the term that Turkey uses for all Kurds) and protect the “safe zone” (the Kurdish land).

Because of DDT’s telephone call with Turkey, hundreds of ISIS supporters, including many leaders, have escaped from camps where the Kurds were keeping them, and U.S. troops were attacked by Turkey, supposedly a NATO ally of the U.S.

The end result for the United States is that ISIS now has a place to rebuild its forces, the world knows that the U.S. is unreliable, and DDT supported another autocrat. The U.S. even bombed its own base in an attempt to avoid embarrassment about its disorganized pullout. Europeans also further separate themselves from the United States. 

Tonight, DDT stayed indifferent to the plight of a former U.S. ally by saying that the area earlier occupied by Kurds has been “cleaned out,” a term for genocide. About the conflict that he generated, DDT said, “Sometimes you have to let them fight. It’s like two kids in a lot, you got to let them fight and then you pull them apart.” In this case, the “fight” displaced over 100,000 Kurds, causing them to lose their homes and killing many of them, while permitting Turkey to annex part of Syria. 

Turkey got everything it wanted, and DDT gave Vladimir Putin another favor. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said Trump’s decision to abandon Kurdish allies in Syria “will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history.” Brett McGurk, former civilian head of the administration’s U.S.-led counter-IS campaign, wrote that the deal was a gift to the Turks “with no ability to meaningfully influence facts on the ground” and “non-implementable.”

VP Mike Pence and State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo brokered the deal that gave away Syrian land to Turkey. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was far more clear about the strategy, saying that the only reason for the 120-hour hiatus was to allow Kurds to flee their homes. The U.S. has no way to monitor the agreement, and ISIS will have the land to build their forces.

Every day since DDT’s call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a disaster as he moved between surprise and disaster. His October 6 proclamation showed that he knew Turkey would attack the Kurds. Twelve hours later he threatened Turkey and then said that any conflict was not his problem. Three days later he wrote Erogan a letter that looks like a joke from beginning: 

“Let’s work out a good deal! You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people ….”

To his conclusion: “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” 

After nine days, he doubled tariffs on steel, increasing the percentage to the same as last May which had caused imports to sharply fall by 76 percent. He also lied about putting tariffs on the $100 billion in trade: reality is closer to $24 billion. DDT imposed sanctions on Turkey’s defense and energy ministries, as well as some high-profile Turkish officials. With these ineffectual measures, a bipartisan congressional coalition considered targeting Erdogan’s U.S. assets and suspending U.S. military support. For months, senators worked on bipartisan sanctions required by law to punish Turkey’s purchase of an advanced Russian antimissile system.

ISIS has reason to thank DDT: U.S. air surveillance turned from them to U.S. troops in an attempt to protect them from attacks by Turkey. Earlier this week, DDT tweeted:

“After defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land. I said to my Generals, why should we be fighting for Syria….”

As usual, DDT lied. The caliphate is not defeated, and DDT didn’t single-handedly win any victories.

Iran also benefits from DDT’s laissez faire toward the crisis. Monday, he tweeted indifference about the conflict because we are 7,000 miles away!” Russia moved into the vacuum that DDT left in northern Syria into a military outpost that the U.S. abandoned, and Vladimir Putman may be replacing DDT in Saudi Arabia, as indicated by Putin’s meeting with King Salman. China, alienated by DDT’s trade war, has reached out to Russia, and India is being folded into their partnership. Russia and China have joined in military exercises for joint power, and they work together in energy and aerospace. India’s external affairs minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, has said for two years that his country needs a relationship of “stability,” which doesn’t represent the United States. Together China, Russia, and India comprise over 36 percent of the world’s population; the United States has under 5 percent.

DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has also taken a part in Turkey in Erdogan’s desired attempted extradition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, hoping to send Gulen back to his death in Turkey. Living in exile for the past 20 years in Pennsylvania, Gulen is blamed for plotting the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan but denied any involvement in the plot. White House aides worried that Giuliani is working on behalf of the Turkish government. DDT frequently questioned officials about why Gulen shouldn’t be turned over to “my friend” Erdogan although officials explained that the extradition was illegal and would politically damage DDT. Giuliani’s aggressive work at Gulen’s extradition began after Michael Flynn, in prison for lying about his paid work for Turkey, lobbied DDT for the same purpose. Giuliani was also behind the attempt to stop prosecution of a Turkish Iranian man for money laundering which could violate lobbying laws.  

Advisers had told DDT that not doing anything about the Kurdish issue is costly, the lack of U.S. presence in the region strengthens Iran, and he will be politically damaged by the deteriorating situation. Another problem with Turkey is that the U.S. has stored as many as 50 nuclear weapons in the country at Incirlik, public knowledge because DDT frequently discloses sensitive information. On Wednesday, he appeared to confirm information about the weapons’ location which the U.S. attempts to hide. DDT claimed the weapons were safe because “we have a great air base there—a very powerful air base.” According to Vipin Narang, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Incirlik is Turkey’s air base.”

DDT has caused deaths in the United States with his endorsement of violence. Now he tacitly grants Turkey the right to kill Kurds. In the humanitarian disaster of the Turkish invasion, at least 100,000 Kurds have been displaced. Last weekend, Turkish-backed military executed Kurds, including a women human-rights activist. In 2018, when DDT was resistant to U.S. troops in Syria, the Pentagon and State Department persuaded Kurds not to plan for a U.S. departure. Without this betrayal, Kurds could have eased out of the relationship and moved on to a partnership with Syria and Russia. Instead, they were forced into a crisis.

Once again, DDT demonstrated his indifference to human life when he said yesterday that the Kurds would be fine because they “know how to fight.” He added, “There’s a lot of sand they can play with.” In a meeting with congressional leaders, he called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a “third-grade politician” and referred to former Defense Secretary James Mattis the “world’s most overrated general” after the House bipartisan resolution criticizing DDT’s pulling troops out of northern Syria. The vote was 354 to 60 with three Republicans and independent Rep. Justin Amash (MI) voting present. Although the GOP leadership were among the 129 Republican supporting the resolution, opposition came from the leaders of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, the co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus Tom Reed (R-NY), and VP Mike Pence’s brother Greg Pence (R-IN).  

In his delusion, DDT claimed that he himself “captured” the Islamic State after accusing Mattis not being “tough enough.” He falsely declared that U.S. soldiers “are totally safe” although they were “bracketed” by artillery fire by Turkey, supposedly a NATO ally, and may need to be airlifted away from Turkish attacks. DDT pulled out military forces with no contingency plan, no idea of how to rescue the troops under attack.

DDT briefly broke up his beautiful friendship sometime sycophant Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who said that DDT “will have American blood on his hands if he abandons Kurds because ISIS will come back, and if any American is killed anywhere because a resurgent ISIS, it will fall on the Trump administration like it did Obama.” Like other tiffs between DDT and Graham, the senator will likely back off: he thinks he needs DDT to get reelected next year. 

The goal of Republicans now is to convince their base, including the evangelicals, that killing the Kurds is a good idea.

 

October 9, 2019

DDT Kills Kurds, Fights Impeachment

This morning, Turkey invaded northeast Syria and attacked U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters who opposed ISIS, thanks to Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Turkish bombings put thousands of civilian lives at risk, and Kurds may have to release 10,000 imprisoned ISIS militants after DDT withdrew troops from the area. Russians are also mobilizing for invasion of the Kurdish area so that they can allow Iran to put its forces on Israel’s northern border. ISIS has already started bombing Kurdish military positions. DDT said that he wants to stop “endless, senseless wars,” but he just created another one. Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Saudi Arabia will pile on with Turkey, Russia, and the Kurds as DDT’s move gives Iran a chance to attack Israel and lose the evangelical vote for DDT.  

Instead of sending the 50 service members home, DDT moved them to another Middle East region. The U.S. launched the most airstrikes in Afghanistan during one month in about a decade, increased airstrikes in Libya, and continued its war in Somalia. 

Top officials in the Pentagon and the State Department recommended not removing the U.S. forces because the Kurds are the most reliable partners in fighting ISIS in that location. Last year, DDT’s threat to remove the forces caused his Defense Secretary James Mattis to resign. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), a former Marine who served in Iraq, called DDT’s current decision to abandon the Kurds “one of the most destabilizing moves we can do in the Middle East.”

A member of the National Security Council with firsthand knowledge of telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that DDT gave in to another authoritarian’s ranting. Furious with DDT’s snub at the UN last month, Erdoğan got his permission to invade Syria and visit DDT at the White House in November. DDT got nothing except “a state of increased danger [in national security] for decades to come,” according to the national security official. DDT consulted neither EU allies nor congressional members before his decision.

After the call, DDT said that he would sanction Turkey if it attacked the Kurds but made no claims about this to Erdoğan. Instead he tweeted:

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

This tweet was not the only strange one: he said Russia will be unhappy about his withdrawal of troops. They won’t. About the Kurds, DDT tweeted that they “fought with us” but “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.” About the Turkish attacks on Kurds, DDT mildly said it was a “bad idea.” Later he tweeted, “[The Kurds] didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy…” 

DDT made millions of dollars in profits from his Trump Towers in Istanbul, owned by Turkish conglomerate Dogan Holding, but four months ago, leaders of a major party in Turkey called for the government to seize the complex. The value of DDT’s name in Turkey has fallen in the past two years.  

The message across the world is that the U.S. will not meet their commitments and will not support its allies. In his regard for former allies, DDT wrote wasn’t worried about the escape of ISIS fighters because they’ll go to Europe. John Sipher, 28-year veteran in the CIA clandestine service including station chief in hot spots near Europe and Asia, said:

“Well, at least the Trump Administration is consistent. We are about screwing our allies, partners and friends. Don’t trust America, even if you shed blood on their behalf. If you want favors, build a Trump tower.”

Columnist Paul Krugman asked if DDT abandoned the Kurds because of (a) personal business interests in Turkey; (b) support of Erdoğan, another vicious autocrat; or (c) directions from his boss Vladimir Putin.

Even DDT’s GOP sycophants criticized DDT’s abandoning the Kurds to certain death. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called DDT’s actions “a disaster in the making.” He added, “ISIS is not defeated. This is the biggest lie being told by this administration.” Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends, echoed Graham’s term “disaster.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), in trouble for her strong support of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, stuck her neck out to declare DDT’s actions “a terribly unwise decision,” and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called it a “grave mistake.” Even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has supported DDT through thin and thin, told the government to “keep its word” with its foreign allies.

Senators now demand a hearing about DDT’s decision to withdraw troops in Syria, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated that leaving the Kurds to Turkish slaughter might be wrong. He called on DDT to reconsider the plan and said that a Senate supermajority disagreed with DDT and withdrawal “would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime.”

With one impulsive moment, DDT abandoned an ally, emboldened Iran, revived ISIS, offended Israel, and infuriated Republicans. While being blasé about DDT’s extortion attempts in Ukraine and China to get dirt on Joe Biden, GOP lawmakers are horrified by DDT’s refusal to protect the nation’s Kurdish allies. Israel, also shocked by DDT’s move, understand that he is not to be trusted.

Facing the danger of impeachment and the Kurdish disaster leading to war in the Middle East, DDT went on a demented rant today at the White House against California’ auto-emission guidelines and the shift from incandescent to LED light bulbs and their disposal—all lies:

“Of course, who cares about looks? But you do look better with incandescent, but they weren’t allowed, and you have the privilege of buying now a much more expensive bulb, under the passed rules, much more expensive bulb that doesn’t have a good looking light, but maybe very importantly when the bulb is out, and not good, it’s literally considered a hazardous waste site because of all the gasses. If it breaks, you’re supposed to bring it to a certain location, and I say who does that? Nobody. Nobody.”

The impeachment inquiry keeps plugs along with a 58 percent approval—over twice the 25 percent that DDT claims. His latest attempt to quash the process is an eight-page emotional letter filled with falsehoods from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and three committee chairs. In short, Cipollone states that DDT is banning everyone and everything from Congress, in opposition to his claim of transparency and no wrong-doing with the excuse that following the U.S. Constitution is unconstitutional. DDT’s demands for the rights to see all the evidence and question all the witnesses shows his ignorance of the law. The constitution does not require a vote by the House to open an inquiry. Like a grand jury, the House looks at the evidence in secret and votes to decide on impeachment which, if approved, moves on to the Senate for an open trial.  

Cipollone accused Democrats that they are using impeachment to overturn the 2016 election and kill DDT’s chances for reelection in 2020. The absolutist position in the letter demonstrates DDT’s belief that Article II of the constitution gives him unlimited powers, like a king. DDT defender and former U.S. attorney Joe diGenova supported DDT’s delusions by accusing Democrats of “regicide,” killing a king. Last summer, DDT said, “Article II allows me to do whatever I want.” Section Four of Article II gives Congress the power to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Because impeachment is a constitutional remedy, it cannot be “unconstitutional.”

DDT’s defense plan for impeachment is to stall, obfuscate, attack, and repeat. The letter combines all four of these strategies. Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who slammed President Obama for not turning over materials about the tragic deaths of four U.S. employees at Benghazi, is part of the team to prevent Congress from obtaining evidence. The Fox network has dropped Gowdy as a contributor.  At this time, DDT’s actions constitute obstruction of justice if not crimes. DDT keeps bragging about how he can’t be impeached because he’s “doing a great job” as president. Even if that were true—which it isn’t—he lost a great deal of cred by allowing Turkey to slaughter Kurds. China has refused to follow DDT’s directive to investigate the Bidens, and Republicans have no logical way to defend DDT. A second whistleblower negates criticism of the first one. And 24 percent of Republicans want an alternative to DDT. That percentage could grow.

A bad sign for DDT is a federal judge’s refusal to keep DDT’s tax returns hidden. The judge said that he could not grant such a “categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity.” DDT plans to challenge the order to release his tax returns to Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance.

In a Fox poll 55 percent think that DDT does what’s best for himself and doesn’t put the country first. This week, The New Yorker follows that belief in its illustration of DDT and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani throwing away the country.

March 25, 2019

World Condemns DDT’s Golan Heights Proclamation

Filed under: Religion — trp2011 @ 10:22 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) turned the Middle East upside down in his efforts to get Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu re-elected by his order that the U.S. recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights. Netanyahu faces a difficult re-election early April especially because he could be indicted on criminal charges, in his case for corruption, and DDT decided to shore him up.

Israel seized the Golan Heights in southwestern Syria during the 1967 when a six-day war also took over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. After deliberating for six months, the UN determined that Israel would return the territories in exchange for permanent peace. Israel declared that the West Bank and Gaza would be described as “disputed” instead of “occupied,” claiming that Palestine was not a sovereign nation. Israel decided to keep a legal presence through leaving military authority in the Palestinian territory and continually encroached on the Palestinian land.

Because Egypt and Syria were not questioned as sovereigns, only Israel disputed the disposition of the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. Egypt and Syria attacked Israel to regain its territories in 1973. Although Israel won the war, the UN passed a ceasefire and a U.S.-led Middle East Peace Process to return Arab territories in exchange for peace. Palestine was not recognized as a legitimate representative to regain the West Bank and Gaza until 1991, and Syria continue to object legitimizing Israel’s claims. The Camp David Accords in 1979, with the agreement of Israel and Egypt, returned the Sinai to Egypt and established permanent peace in which Syria would not go to war alone. Two years later Israel unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights despite Ronald Reagan’s rejection because of its violation of international principle blocking taking territory by force. Israel refuses to return to the 1967 lines since then because it would lose access to the Sea of Galilee which provides one-third of Israel’s fresh water.

DDT ignored this history, international law, and U.S. policy. He claimed that the Golan Heights is a security buffer against Syria, but Israel has settled 20,000 civilians and 167 businesses, including a ski resort, on this land. Jordan established permanent peace with Israel in 1994, and Syria has not waged war since 1973. Libya and Iraq no longer threaten Israel, and Hezbollah has not initiated war from Lebanon. Israel has no credible military threat from Syria’s southern border.

DDT spent his first two years trying to destroy the Palestinians. He “took Jerusalem off the table,” closed the Palestinians’ mission in Washington and America’s mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, and cut off aid to Palestinian civil society and humanitarian needs. His unilateral actions, however, oppose the support for both the U.S. people and the Israeli desire for peace with Palestine. For the first time since 2012, at least half of people in the U.S. favor the establishment of an independent Palestinian state “on the West Bank and the Gaza strip,” up almost 20 percent in the past four years.  In Israel, 71 percent of the Jewish public believe that Israel’s control over the Palestinians is a moral problem, and 78 percent of Israeli Jews think that control of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria is bad for Israel. The poll also showed that 78 percent of the Jewish public and 93 percent of the Arab public in Israel agree that peace with people of other faiths is an important value in their religion, and 51 percent of the Jews and 72 percent of the Arabs agree that religious leaders representing different religions in the region should take part in making decisions related to peace.

Before State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo left for a recent trip to the Middle East, he had a teleconference press briefing to discuss “international religious freedom”—with only “faith-based media.” He refused to submit either a transcript of what was said or a list of who was included. According to one invited news outlet, all those asking questions of Pompeo were Christian or Jewish. An invitation to a secular outlet was rescinded with the explanation that they were not “faith-based.” The House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Eliot Engel (D-NY), has demanded “more information” about Pompeo’s decision to exclude all non-Judeo-Christian media and what was said.

To Pompeo, U.S. military battles in the Middle East are part of a greater war of good against evil, including the elimination of both Israel and Islam. Regarding DDT’s meeting with evangelicals about his Middle East plan, Pompeo reported that this administration will achieve peace in the Middle East and that “persons of faith [i.e., only Christians] will have something to say about the plan.” DDT’s strong support of Israel comes from his evangelical base which needs the country to start Armageddon for the return of Jesus. A greater advantage for DDT in Israel’s takeover of Palestinian land, is that Jared Kushner’s family makes money from building developments on the West Bank.

On the Christian Broadcasting Network, Pompeo compared DDT to Queen Esther, celebrated on Purim last Thursday, saying that DDT was chosen by God to save Israel from Iran. Historian Jon Meacham called Pompeo’s position “idolatry,” a hypocritical approach toward the man who “never felt the need to ask God for forgiveness …, to ask Jesus to forgive him of his sins,” according to Joe Scarborough. Pompeo was caught off guard with DDT’s tweet about Israel’s authority over the Golan Heights after Pompeo’s statement that the U.S. policy had not changed.

The position to help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be re-elected likely destroys any hope for peace in the Middle East as shown by the anger reverberating throughout its countries:

Syria stated that DDT’s “blatant attack” on its sovereignty and territorial integrity will isolate the U.S.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas released this statement: “There is no legitimacy that can override UN Security Council resolutions, the UN General Assembly or the Arab Peace Initiative.”

Lebanon said the US recognition of Israeli sovereignty “violates all the rules of international law” and “undermines any effort to reach a just peace.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “clear that the status of Golan has not changed,” according to his spokesman. The UN spokesman is holding to the unanimous resolution by the 15-member Security Council resolution in 1981 that Israel’s “decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.”

Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected the U.S. move and said that the Golan Heights are occupied Arab land.

Saudi Arabia denounced DDT’s actions with the statement that “attempts to impose fait accompli do not change the facts” and that the Golan Heights was an “occupied Syrian Arab land in accordance with the relevant international resolutions. It will have significant negative effects on the peace process in the Middle East and the security and stability of the region.”

Turkey called the U.N. recognition unacceptable and said it would take action against it.

The Arab League condemned the move, saying that “Trump’s recognition does not change the area’s status.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called DDT’s “persistently violating international law … displays panic of an empire in decline.”

Other criticism directed at DDT’s land grab for Israel came from the EU, UK, Germany, France, Egypt, Russia, and Venezuela.

Pleased with himself, DDT and Netanyahu smugly grin at each other, but DDT’s decision to break international law leaves the U.S. even more isolated with only Israel as support. In the UN, 130 member countries have already voted against DDT’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem. DDT’s actions will exacerbate war in the Middle East. Israel no longer has leverage for peace agreements with Syria, and Syria’s President Bashar al Assad can argue that the U.S. no longer has a right in his country’s future governance. Iran and Hezbollah have justification for terrorism and military operations against Israel. Arab nations will be reluctant to oppose Islam countries to protect Israel. Russia may no longer tolerate Israeli strikes to prevent Iran’s adversarial movements, perhaps blocking Israeli’s freedom in Syria’s skies. DDT’s approval of Israeli’s takeover of Golan Heights supports not only Russia’s annexation of Crimea but also its destruction of “independence” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from the Republic of Georgia. With the disregard for international law, Saudi Arabia may take over Qatar.

Will DDT declare war on the world to continue his protection of Israel?

January 5, 2019

DDT: Week 102 – Shutdown Stalemates, Idiocy Continues

Day 15 of government shutdown: Not much progress was made in shutdown talks between White House officials and congressional aides today although acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney suggested that Democrats would not view a steel wall as a wall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the House will start with bills to open departments, beginning with the Treasury so that people can get IRS tax refunds. A meeting is scheduled for tomorrow.

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, gone this week in a cloud of ethics investigations, transferred public records to a political appointee who had advised the Koch brothers and proposed limiting new Freedom of Information requests by refusing these if they are “burdensome.” He also shortened the public opinion to 30 days, in spite of the shutdown. In that way, no one can determine damage caused by the government shutdown and uncover Zinke’s ethics violations. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation agrees that Zinke’s proposal violates the FOIA because it says nothing about the “vast quantity of material” requested. DOJ is also investigating whether Zinke committed the criminal offence of lying to the Inspector General.

Despite the shutdown, Robert Mueller’s investigation is still funded, and the federal grand jury has been extended for another six months.

Almost 400,000 federal workers are “furloughed” because they aren’t “essential,” and some of them won’t get paychecks when they go back to work because they are employed by a private contractor. Zach Fuentes, one of the lucky ones who keeps getting paid, needs six more months of work to qualify for a Coast Guard early retirement program that expired at the end of 2018. DHS pushed to have the program renewed, but reporters’ questions led legislation for the program to be removed from the House appropriations bill. John Kelly saved the 36-year-old with under 15 years of service by making him his deputy chief of staff. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney wanted another deputy but said that Fuentes will stick around. Mulvaney said, “Zach’s a good man; we’ll find something for him to do productive.” His new title is assistant to the president and senior adviser to the chief of staff. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chair of the committee with oversight over the White House, has promised an investigation into the Fuentes affair.

The stock of Goldman Sachs, former employer of several DDT appointments, went down 35 percent because Malaysian filed criminal charges against Goldman after country’s Prime Minster Najib Razak, DDT’s friend, took huge amounts of cash from a state investment fund. Malaysia has filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs, demanding $7.5 billion in reparations, and at least ten countries have probes into Goldman Sachs’ business. Before the 2008 recession, Goldman profited in the collapse in subprime mortgage bonds by short-selling subprime mortgage-backed securities. DDT’s White House is known for having employed a large number of Goldman Sachs alumni.

DDT’s rambling comments in a press conference yesterday followed his disastrous 90-minute meeting Wednesday when he offended India by accusing them of only building a small library in Afghanistan. India, which didn’t attack and destroy Afghanistan as the U.S. did, gave $3 billion to Afghanistan which included building the Parliament. DDT also parroted Vladimir Putin’s propaganda in his revisionist history that the USSR collapsed after declaring bankruptcy fighting in Afghanistan in retaliation for its terrorists going into Russia. The statement that “Russia used to be the Soviet Union” ignored the 14 other republics in the USSR, and DDT’s statement that the USSR was “right to be there” conflicted with U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. opposed the USSR in that conflict, the USSR went into Afghanistan to keep communism in the country, the Soviet economy didn’t go bankrupt, and its financial problems came from declining oil prices. DDT’s comments come directly from Vladimir Putin, and he went farther than Putin when he excused Russian aggression.

National Security adviser John Bolton assured Israel that DDT had no timeline for a military pullout from Syria two weeks after DDT declared it eminent. Mulvaney had said that DDT wouldn’t change his mind about the immediate pullout, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is taking credit for talking DDT into a “pause situation.” DDT decided to slow down the withdrawal of troops in Syria after tweeting that retired U.S. commander in Afghanistan, retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has “big, dumb mouth” in accord with Fox’s Laura Ingraham’s criticism of McChrystal caution against the pullout.

After George W. Bush’s judge’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the media addressed the possibility of “Medicare for All” (aka universal health care like every other industrialized nation). The judge has now decided that the ACA would stay in effect until the issue moves through the courts because “many everyday Americans would… face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal”—an obvious conclusion from his first ruling. A coalition of 17 states has appealed the decision, and the House plans to direct its Office of General Counsel to represent lawmakers in any litigation involving the act and authorize hiring of outside counsel.

DDT has starting to chip away at Medicare Part D by cutting some medications provided by Part D of Medicare—specifically those for HIV, depression, schizophrenia, cancer, epilepsy, and immunosuppressant drugs to prevent rejection of organ transplants. Despite DDT’s bragging that he had lowered costs of drugs, pharmaceutical companies raised prices at the beginning of 2019 for hundreds of prescription medications this week. The increases, as high as 133.4 percent, averaged 6.3 percent and included drugs for high blood pressure, pain relievers, and anesthetics.

Facing at least seven major investigations—campaign, transition, inaugural committee, presidency, business, charity, emoluments, and personal finances—DDT is looking at an eighth one about the employment of undocumented immigrants at his Bedminster (NJ) golf resort in New Jersey. Federal and state investigators are looking into the employment records of immigrants after several undocumented immigrants said they were recruited to work at the facility. An employer told Victorina Morales, assured that her immigration status didn’t matter, that she couldn’t do anything about abuse at work because she wasn’t documented and worked for the president. Employers at the club deliberately removed names of undocumented workers so that the Secret Service would not vet them, but the undocumented immigrants kept working.

Video from a privatized government Southwest Key facility for migrant children shows the staff physically dragging, pulling, and slapping children in their care, but Arizona authorities have determined that this abuse is not criminal. Maricopa County closed three cases of child abuse without interviewing staff or minors involved. The place, along with another operated by Southwest Key, had its license canceled two months ago because of faulty employee background checks. Taxpayers gave the company, holding more migrant children than any other corporation, $1.7 billion in the last decade, $620 million just last year. Salary for the owner, Juan Sanchez, was $1.5 million last year.

The IRS has more serious problems than the inability to refund taxes as the GOP guarantees that it fails to collect revenue. Its 9,510 IRS auditors are one third fewer than 2010 and fewer than the 10,000 revenue agents in 1953 when the economy was one-seventh of the present day. Over one-third of IRS employees is eligible for retirement next year. Corporations and billionaires are the biggest beneficiaries of these cuts because their audits require specialized personnel. Instead, the IRS audits the working poor who receive the earned income tax credit the highest priority. GOP policies are losing the United States tens of billions of dollars. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, also acting chief of staff, failed to pay over $15,000 in taxes for his nanny from 2000 through 2004.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis left his office on New Year’s Eve with his message for U.S. troops: “Hold Fast.”  With Mattis gone, US Strategic Command (StratCom) tweeted, “We are ready to drop something much, much bigger [than the ball in New York].” StratCom waited three hours to decide that a threat from the “guardians of several thousand nuclear missiles” about “raining death and destruction from above is some kind of joke,” as Derek Johnson, executive director of the anti-nuclear weapons group Global Zero, pointed out. Walter Schaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics, asked, “What kind of maniacs are running this country?” We’ll learn in the coming months. [visual]

DDT’s ICE celebrated New Year’s Day by teargassing migrants on the Mexico side of the border. They were seeking asylum according to law, lifting toddlers over the fence, but ICE claimed that they were throwing rocks. AP reported that no one threw rocks until after they were teargassed, and Mexico is investigating.

Over two decades ago, then House Speaker Newt Gingrich took money from staff for committees and outsourced policy making to right-wing think tanks and lobbyists. Last summer, DDT believed in a “red wave” and budgeted $129 million for staff “handy for investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails.” On January 3, the new House Speaker, likely Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), took control over that $129 million to hire more personnel for investigations—maybe into DDT’s administration. Welcome to the U.S. House of 2019!

December 21, 2018

DDT: Week 100 – Government Shutdown, Middle East Chaos

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:08 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is holding nine government agencies hostage to get his steel slats, DDT’s new name for his border wall.

  • Over 420,000 federal employees will continue to work without paychecks—41,00 in the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and other law enforcement and correctional officers.
  • Almost 90 percent of DHS employees working without a paycheck includes 53,000 Transportation Security Administration employees, 42,000 Coast Guard employees, and 54,000 employees from Customs and Border Protection.
  • Other unpaid employees are 5,000 Forest Service firefighters and 3,600 National Weather Service forecasters.
  • Another 380,000 federal workers who also lose their paychecks and not allowed to work include over 44,000 employees from the Forest and National Park Services, 52,000 IRS staff, and 7,100 Housing and Urban Development workers, and 18,300 Transportation Department employees. Robert Mueller’s investigation continues.
  • Departments shut down are Treasury, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Commerce, and Justice.
  • Services lost include income tax returns, availability of national parks and zoo, loan processing for housing, trade appropriations, paychecks for active-duty military members, WIC funds feeding low-income pregnant women and new mothers with their children up to five years old, with healthy food, detection and investigation of disease breakouts, and appeals for VA disability benefits.
  • Other losers are janitors, security guards, and other low-wage federal contractors who live paycheck from paycheck. Subsidized grocery stores for military families are closing.

DDT is in his third shutdown in 100 weeks, but the others were short. He is promising that this one will last a “long time.” The 17-day government shutdown in October 2013, the longest in U.S. history except for Bill Clinton’s 21 days over Christmas in 1996, cost $2 billion in just “lost productivity of furloughed workers.” A shutdown when one party controlled the government—both legislative and executive—hasn’t happened for over 40 years.

During the past few days, DDT has led everyone on a roller coaster with shutdown talk.  Without retiring senators, DDT might have gotten through a 60-day CR for the budget that included his steel slats. In a meeting with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), DDT said he was “proud” to cause a shutdown. That temper tantrum was followed by his claim that he would sign a short-term continuing resolution without funding for the wall. Congress took him at his word and passed the bill that he offered. At that point, he refused to sign the CR because it didn’t include $5 billion for a wall because the Fox network and other far-right pundits said he should demand the wall.

Members of Congress had already gone home and were forced to return for votes. Rep. Brian Schatz (D-HI) spent 17 minutes with his family before he had to go back to Washington, almost 5,000 miles away from his home, for a vote. The House caved and passed another CR with $5.7 billion for the wall, but the Senate needs 60 votes to move any bill forward. It managed 47 votes for a tie in a bill with the funding that VP Mike Pence broke. Tonight the shutdown began, and DDT is sitting by himself in the White House waiting for his direction from Fox and Rush Limbaugh. Congress may—or may not—return tomorrow to address the problem, depending on whether their work could bear fruit—or steel slats. DDT has decided to blame Democrats for the shutdown, but he is on record as saying that he “owns” the shutdown.

In ten days, the House will have the same majority of Democrats that the House enjoys now. They are less likely to pass a bill funding steel slats, and DDT has always guaranteed that Mexico, not U.S. taxpayers, will pay for a wall. From DDT came this tweet: [visual]

“A design of our Steel Slat Barrier which is totally effective while at the same time beautiful!”

While the government was responsible for averting a shutdown today, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who lost his re-election bid, held an emergency House meeting on the Senate “Curd Act” to define natural cheese. Amid all the following disastrous events of the past week—plus the government shutdown, Sessions considered the definition of “natural cheese” to be an emergency. Sessions lost to a black civil rights lawyer by six points after he was in Congress for 22 years.

For the first time in the history of the United States, a Defense Secretary has resigned to protest the actions of the man in the Oval Office. DDT’s intemperate decision to remove all the U.S. military from Syria appeared to be the last straw for James “Mad Dog” Mattis who went to the Oval Office seeking reason from the U.S. “leader.” According to DDT’s tweets, Mattis will be gone in two months. During his career in the Cabinet, James Mattis stopped a U.S. strike on North Korea, tried to preserve relationships with allies, stalled the proposed military parade, sided with keeping transgender military members, and worked, although failing, to keep the Iran deal, according to David Graham.

Mattis’ action came after DDT pulled all 2,200 military members out of Syria despite disagreement from his aides and secretaries of Defense and State as well as no plan. These officials were unable to convince DDT that the Kurd-dominated ground fighters trained and equipped by the U.S. are vital after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called them terrorists and threatened to attack them. Erdogan talked with DDT at the G20 Summit and again last Friday. Turkey has purchased Patriot missile defense batteries from the United States, indicating that DDT may operate on a purely commercial basis. DDT announced his decision on Twitter without telling anyone about the withdrawal except Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—not even congressional leaders. Even staunch DDT supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the move a “huge mistake.” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), said that DDT’s generals “believe the high-fiving winners today are Iran, ISIS, and Hezbollah.”

DDT falsely claimed the ISIS is defeated in Syria although senior officials concluded that this defeat could be months away with thousands of ISIS militants underground in Syria. The Pentagon estimates 17,100 ISIS in Syria and another 13,000 in Iraq, the same as in 2014. In 2016, DDT blamed President Obama as “founder of ISIS” because he withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq.

Turkey and Russia are both pleased with Putin’s move because they both support Syria’s Assad government and oppose the Kurds who are fighting ISIS. DDT lied in his tweet about Russia being “unhappy” about the withdrawal, and Russian officials corrected him, saying that it was a good idea. “Trump is God’s gift that keeps on giving,” said Russian columnist and foreign affairs analyst.

Iran is also delighted because DDT’s troop withdrawal opens a path for Iran to defeat Israel.  Netanyahu tried to put on a happy face, merely saying that Israel will escalate its fight against Iran.

White supremacists in the United States are also ecstatic about DDT’s removal of troops from Syria because they look on its president, Bashar al-Assad as a hero with the far-right white supremacists in the United States.

DDT’s 30-day timeline for withdrawing the military troops, equipment, and heavy weapons may be impossible. The Pentagon wonders whether to retake thousands of weapons distributed to Syrian ground forces and the equipment over a half-dozen military bases. The latter may be destroyed in place. And a serious question is what to do with Kurdish fighters and the 79-nation international coalition to erase ISIS. With cells throughout the world, ISIS routinely initiates attacks throughout Syria. NGO’s supporting U.S. agencies bringing water and sanitation back to the ruined town of Raqqa were ordered to immediately leave.

Pulling troops out of Syria doesn’t mean that DDT will stop killing civilians there. He is leaving the air power and may increase strikes after U.S. troops are gone. DDT is also strengthening Iran because they support Turkey in opposing the Kurds.

Although DDT didn’t tweet his orders, he plans to pull 7,000 military members out of Afghanistan, about half the number stationed there. The Taliban will most likely be satisfied with the pullout, but Israel is concerned that the U.S. will leave Iraq next.

Even Brian Kilmeade on Fox & Friends opposes DDT’s action, calling the pullout a “stunning and irresponsible” move. Ed Henry protested. DDT is sticking to the advice of Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham to pull out troops and shut down the government.

DDT’s creation of chaos by pulling troops out of the Middle East and causing a government shutdown provides his latest diversion from the multiple investigations of him, his campaign, and his associates. And “acting” Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney flunked his first task of handling Congress.

And much more to report about this week’s disasters–tomorrow.

April 27, 2018

DDT: Week Sixty-six – Worsening Quicksand

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:27 PM
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A U.S.-supported Saudi-led coalition airstrike killed at least 20 people at a wedding—most of them women and children—in northern Yemen this week. One of the dead is the bride. The groom was one of 45 wounded taken to a local hospital. Ambulances could not get to the bombing site because jets kept flying overhead. The airstrike was the third in the past few days, including a family of five killed in their home and at least 20 civilian commuters killed in a bus in western Yemen. The UN has accused the coalition of war crimes as their airstrikes his weddings, busy markets, hospitals, and schools. DDT’s distress at killing children in Syria stops when he helps the murders.

A strike against low-income people in the U.S. comes from HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s suggestion that rents be tripled for people receiving housing subsidies and that these people be required to work. Deductions in determining a tenant’s rent would also eliminate medical and child-care costs. At least the change would require congressional approval. When people asked where they would go, Carson responded, “This is a perfect example of what happens when the swamp gets ahold of people.” Nowhere in the country can a person working a full-time minimum wage job afford a two-bedroom apartment, and over half the people in the nation spend over 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities.

EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt’s science cred keeps shrinking. He told forest industry leaders in Georgia that burning biomass such as trees—in EPA policy—is carbon neutral when “used for energy production at stationary sources.” The next day he announced a new EPA rule preventing EPA policymakers from using scientific studies unless all the raw data is made public before posing with Marc Morano in a photo op for his new climate-denying book. This week, Pruitt also gave testimony before two congressional hearings, mostly about his ethics—or lack therof. Pruitt admitted that he knew about the huge salary increases to two staffers after lying about not knowing about it last month. Getting rid of him, however, might not do any good for the environment: his replacement would likely be his deputy climate-denier coal-lobbyist Andrew Wheeler.

DDT and Emmanuel Macron, president of France, shared many touchy-feely times during Macron’s visit this week, despite the refusal of DDT’s wife, Melania, to kiss him or even hold his hand. The “closeness” didn’t stop Macron from warning about the politics of “fear and anger” in his speech to a joint session of Congress. Macron said that the fear policy divides people and “only freezes and weakens us.” The speech also opposed DDT’s tariffs that “will destroy jobs, increase prices and the middle class will have to pay for it.” Macron’s “intimacy” may have come from his desire to persuade DDT not to dump the Iran nuclear treaty, an action that would cause Iran to start developing nuclear weapons. The deadline for DDT’s decision is May 12. DDT’s first state dinner was unique—no Democrats, no media, and only four GOP lawmakers.

North Korea generated news this week after Kim Jong-Un met with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in to talk about ending the Korean War, which has had a 65-year hiatus with an armistice. Kim’s goals are to keep his nuclear arsenal while stopping sanctions against his country and gain global significance. Leaders of North and South Korea signed peace documents in both 2000 and 2007, but neither one endured. In 2012, North Korea called its test missile, banned by the agreement, a “satellite” launch. Kim demands that the U.S. end an alliance with South Korea, where 30,000 U.S. military members are posted, and is highly unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons. Three U.S. citizens imprisoned in North Korea have not received any mention in discussions to talks, and DDT has yet to show any of the negotiation skills that he bragged about during his campaign. New Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has yet to demonstrate any diplomatic ability or attitudes.

DDT’s telephone call into Fox & Friends yesterday was called “another gift from heaven” by Stormy Daniels’ lawyer. Among other issues, DDT admitted that Cohen was representing him in the Daniels’ situation, something that he has previously denied and admitted that he had stayed in Moscow at least overnight, something else he had denied. Filled with craziness, DDT’s monologue included his claim that he was too busy to get his wife, Melania, a birthday gift so he went on Fox & Friends as a present for her. Here’s the interview. If DDT wasn’t so destructive to the nation, I might even feel sorry for him after hearing his pathetic monologue.

Fox thought they had a coup with the call from DDT, but hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt looked genuinely appalled by the end of his rambling, almost incoherent statements. Kilmeade even had to convince him to hang up by telling DDT that he had work to do. Charlie Pierce asked, “Has a president ever been cut off of an interview before?” Anderson Cooper said that DDT sounded like “a crazy person on a park bench with an onion tied to his belt, just mumbling incoherently.”  Heather Digby Parton has a summary of DDT’s rant if you can’t bear to listen to 31 minutes of his “manic and disjointed” commentary.

Federal prosecutors went into court immediately after the Fox program, and an hour later, a federal judge ruled that the documents seized from Cohen should be turned over to an independent “special master,” a reviewer to evaluate them for violation of attorney-client confidentiality rules before prosecutors or Cohen’s lawyers can see them. Federal prosecutors argued that DDT’s comments about Cohen enhance their claim that Cohen’s documents won’t be protected by attorney-client privilege and made the same argument about Sean Hannity who separated himself from Cohen.

A federal judge also rejected Paul Manafort’s lawsuit against Robert Mueller’s power in the Russian investigation.

Even Republicans know how dangerous DDT is. Five Republicans joined the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of a bill to protect Robert Mueller from being fired without good cause.

In other parts of the country:

Black humor in the new DDT normal: Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), facing felony counts from blackmailing a former mistress and misusing his veterans’ charity for his political interests, is keynote speaker at a St. Louis area police chiefs’ association prayer breakfast. Like DDT, Greitens blames the media.

In last week’s special election, a Republican won in a heavily GOP district by only five points where DDT had come in 21 points ahead less than two years ago. Republicans poured almost $1 million into the campaign, but the Republican might have been helped because Maricopa County failed to send out 140,000 ID cards for voters. Adrian Fontes, the county recorder who oversees elections in Maricopa County, called the issue a “little hiccup in printing.”

Teacher strikes are moving across the country’s red states with Arizona and Colorado the most recent entries. The first winner in increasing wages, West Virginia, brought out Gov. Matt Bevin’s hostile remark that the strike was causing sexual attacks against children left alone at home. Most of the states lack taxes to pay a decent wage at the low end because of drastically cut taxes and refusals to tax the fossil fuel industry. Paul Krugman has provided an overview of the funding crisis that pushed teachers into poverty.

DDT’s new minimal coverage in short-term health plans doesn’t include maternity care from two large private insurance companies in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Another 43 percent fail to cover mental health services; 62 percent don’t cover substance use disorder treatment; and 71 percent don’t cover outpatient prescription drugs. Republicans are right about these plans being cheaper: they lack even basic coverage in some areas.

DDT may not vet nominees, but he has a questionnaire for candidates before he will support them in the primaries. Loyalty evidently means ending foreign aid to Pakistan, supporting his Muslim ban and tariffs, repeal the healthcare individual mandate, and, of course, building DDT’s wall. Questions are here. Not all candidates are getting the questions although they are also sent to influential Republicans such as state-level committee members.

A white man kills four people of color in a Tennessee waffle house, and a black man saves lives of many people by single-handedly disarming the white man without a gun. DDT says nothing. As they say in golf, par for the course.

A study on DDT’s voters showed that their support for him came from a fear of losing their dominance in the United States, not threats to economic well-being. According to the researcher, DDT supporters see that society should come from hierarchy with themselves at the top.

Reporters without Borders has dropped the United States to 45th among 180 nations for press freedom, down two from U.S. ranking last year. DDT’s mentor, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, caused that nation to drop to 133rd. North Korea with a leader who DDT called “very honorable” is in last place.

April 13, 2018

Can DDT’s Airstrikes Cover Up His Problems?

After a very bad week for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT)—a fire in Trump Tower, search warrants taking a large number of documents from his lawyer Michael Cohen, the release of information about his attempt to cover up his affairs through lawsuits, former FBI director James Comey’s anti-DDT book hitting the airwaves—DDT ordered military attacks against Syria’s president in opposition to advice from his own generals. His reason in a short speech late Friday was the killing of civilians through chemical attacks.

DDT cited the horrifying ways that people died this month in an attack, but three-fourths of 6,047 civilians killed by the U.S. in the Middle East, mostly Iraq and Syria, during the past four years were under his “watch.” Until John Bolton came into the White House this week, DDT said he gave military generals “total authorization” to decide the military operations. The U.S. Constitution does not authorize the president to begin an armed conflict without congressional authorization; a 1973 law reinforced this constitutional position. Yet Congress passed a law, the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, allowing the U.S. president to take action against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. In the past 17 years, presidents have used this law to attack Afghanistan, Cuba, the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Libya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Turkey, and Congress refuses to curb an elected president the right to attack countries whenever they want.

The question about DDT’s air strikes, which could cause World War III if Russia carries through with its threats of retaliation, came from DDT’s weeks of temper tantrums. They started with the FBI raid on the office, home, and hotel room of Michael Cohen, DDT’s longtime attorney “fixer,” and the seizure of records about his clients and personal finances, including tax returns, as well as his computer and phone.  Cohen is being investigated for bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations. DDT, who led the birther conspiracy of President Obama for at least five years while he was in office and as recently as last November, continues to call the investigation of the Russian scandal as a “witch hunt.”

DDT raged for hours after the raid, attacking AG Jeff Sessions and special investigator Robert Mueller, yet Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein turned the raid over to FBI agents and prosecutors in New York. Several other high-level DOJ people had to sign off on the search warrants with no advance notice to Cohen, indicating strong evidence because these warrants were used instead of a subpoena.

Cohen also helped out DDT’s associates, arranging a $1.6 million deal late last year for a former pregnant Playboy model on behalf of Elliott Broidy, a major financial supporter for DDT and a married man. Cohen and Broidy are both deputy national finance chairmen for the RNC, and last month Broidy hosted a fundraiser for DDT’s 2020 presidential campaign. He also worked with George Nadar who is cooperating with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen had a tendency to tape conversations with his associates, and the FBI may now have these recordings.

Another object of DDT’s fury this week was Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, is overwhelming the media, and DDT called Comey a “slime ball, also writing, “It was my great honor to fire James Comey!” The memoir is available to the public on Tuesday.

Mueller has asked a Virginia judge for 35 blank subpoenas for Paul Manafort’s trial that begins July 10—witnesses to be filled in later. Manafort’s lawyers are trying to block business and finance papers from a storage area that a former Manafort employee showed the FBI last May. Both Manafort and his associate Rick Gates are listed as contacts for the lease.

Since the search warrant was executed on Cohen, DDT has decided he won’t be interviewed by Mueller which could move up Mueller’s release of an obstruction of justice report regarding DDT’s intent on firing former FBI Director James Comey, DDT’s role in writing the public statement that lied about a June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr and Russians, and DDT’s suggestion of his pardoning grand jury witnesses before they testified against him, and DDT’s pressuring AG Jeff Sessions to not recuse himself from the Russian investigation. Mueller would probably send a confidential report to Rosenstein, who could decide whether to make the report public and send the findings to Congress.

The biggest question about Mueller is whether DDT can fire him. DDT thinks he can, but according to law he can fire only the person in the DOJ who refuses to fire Mueller. That and DDT’s going to war around the world are the two greatest concerns today in the United States.

DDT’s pick for Secretary of State, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, struggled during today’s confirmation hearings.  His hawkish attitude for regime change in North Korea and opposition to diplomacy with Iran disappeared in his responses advocating diplomacy over military action and independence from president despite their close relationship. He faked answers and avoided questions, claiming a bad memory, and failed to recognize that the agreement with Iran involves the UK, France, and Germany. Pompeo also refused to say that he disagreed with DDT’s constant attacks on Mueller. Called out about his associations with anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists, Pompeo said that he couldn’t remember everything he had said during his 54 years. He opposed marriage equality but said that he has “respect for every individual.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could give Pompeo a floor vote even if he can’t pass the Senate Foreign Relations Committee because member Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is opposed to Pompeo. Some vulnerable Democrats from red states may feel pressured to vote to confirm, but Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), up for re-election this year, said:

“I am voting NO on Pompeo for Secretary of State because our top diplomat should believe in diplomacy. He has an alarming tendency towards military provocation and brinkmanship.”

To tell associates such as Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn that he will save them, DDT pardoned Scooter Libby yesterday. on Thursday. A jury convicted Libby of four felonies, including obstruction of justice and perjury before a grand jury, in connection to his revealing the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame when he was VP Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. Former FBI director James Comey, fired by DDT, helped convict Libby of lying under oath to the FBI about leaking classified information when Comey was Deputy Attorney General. George W. Bush had commuted Libby’s sentence of 30 months in prison and $250,000 fine but twice refused to pardon him. Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer for George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, tweeted:

“So what’s the message here? Lie to a grand jury to protect political superiors and you will get a full pardon?”

Scott Pruitt just stays in the news, making DDT look bad. This article, repeated on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, describes how Pruitt’s condo renters changed the locks to get rid of him.

Information came out about how the Trump Organization threatened Panama’s president, Juan Carlos Varela, with violating an investment treaty between Panama and the U.S. if he supports a court-order eviction notice for DDT’s management of Trump International Hotel Panama. The majority owner claims he won his case in firing the Trump Organization, and the name was removed. The Trump Organization refuses to admit defeat. The letter insinuates that the U.S. government will force Panama to protect DDT’s business.

DDT tweeted about his “well built hotel,” but one man died and six firefighters were injured in a fire on the 50th floor. There was no sprinkler system because DDT said they were too expensive, and residents were not told to evacuate.

DDT’s other business is going downhill in putting his name on other people’s products. Within three years, he has lost 17 of 19 companies that pay him to produce or distribute his branded consumer items. The only ones left are a Panamanian company selling bed linens and home goods and a Turkish company selling furniture. And the name isn’t even on the outside of the product. Even the DDT-branded urine test is gone, and the last items are being sold off at discount prices—for example, cologne down to $9.99 per ounce from $42.

DDT is losing a major constituency—older, white, educated voters. They now support Democrats over Republicans by two points after going for Republicans by ten points in 2016. That 12-point change is frightening Republicans, especially after House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) decision to not run for re-election in 2018, especially because this demographic tends to be reliable voters.

Another demographic is moving away from DDT—Southerners. Fifty-one percent of voters in the South disapprove while 48 percent approves of his performance. The poll also shows a 55-percent support from Southerners for same-gender marriage, and 69 percent think that undocumented immigrants should be able to get legal status in the U.S. Mississippi is sticking with DDT at 57 percent approval rating.

After a really hard week, DDT may hope that a big media explosion of air strikes in Syria might help his ratings. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the action a “one time shot”—at least until DDT gets more bad news and looks for a way to cover it up.

 

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