Nel's New Day

February 1, 2019

DDT: Week 106 – Mass Shootings, Corruption

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 2, 2014

GOP’s Latest Issue: A Captive’s Release

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:22 PM
Tags: , , ,

Once again GOP members of Congress prove their belief that President Obama can do nothing right. After chewing him up on the problems of the Department of Veterans Affairs, they castigated him yesterday on the Sunday talk shows for his negotiating the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for sending five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay prison to be imprisoned in Qatar.

  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): “Disturbing.” (ABC’s This Week)
  • Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI): “Dangerous.” (CNN’s State of the Union)
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “We need more information about the conditions of where they’re going to be and how.” (CBS’s Face The Nation)
  • Reps. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK): “[The exchange] may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk.”

Taking U.S. captives is not a new idea for the Taliban. They try to do it every day. It’s also odd that the right-wing is opposed to trades because they don’t mind when their model, Israel, does it. Israelis swapped 1,000 prisoners to get one back, but the captures of Israelis haven’t increased.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said that the president acted within his constitutional authority as commander-in-chief. “We didn’t negotiate with terrorists,” Hagel said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Sgt. Bergdahl is a prisoner of war, that’s a normal process in getting your prisoners back… We don’t let anyone out of Guantanamo, and I will not sign off on any detainee coming out of Guantanamo unless I am assured…that we can efficiently mitigate any risk to American security.”

On CNN, Rice said:

“Given the acute urgency of the health condition of Sgt. Bergdahl and given the president’s constitutional responsibilities, it was determined that it was necessary and appropriate not to adhere to the 30-day notification requirements because it would have potentially meant that the opportunity to get Sgt. Bergdahl would have been lost.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) summarized the GOP attacks on the president on Fox News Sunday:

“We save an American life on foreign soil, the president gets criticized. We lose American lives on foreign soil, the president gets criticized. Are you seeing a theme here? It’s politics.”

GOP congressional members can complain as much as they want, but they gave up their right to stop it in the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Prior to that time, Congress had to give permission for releasing prisoners from Guantanamo Bay prison. The new law requires that the Defense Secretary notify Congress when releasing prisoners. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel did, in fact, notify Congress of the U.S.’s exchange. He was smart to wait until the last minute to do this because GOP members of Congress have proved that they can’t keep their mouths shut about classified information.

Republicans claim that this country does not negotiate with terrorists. A bit of history negates any fact in that myth.

William Howard Taft negotiated with Filipinos before he was president. Theodore Roosevelt granted a general amnesty for Emilio Aguinaldo’s resistance fighters after the 1902 U.S. occupation. In South Vietnam, the U.S. negotiated with the Viet Cong who would be described as “terrorists.” The U.S. negotiated with them in 1973 for the release of captured U.S. soldiers. At that time the right-wing was angry about 1,300 U.S. soldiers who were never released. Forty years later, many of the Viet Cong “terrorists” are in government with cordial U.S. relations.

During the 1980s, GOP icon Ronald Reagan began his first term by negotiating the release of 52 U.S. hostages. After radical Shiites took U.S. hostages in Lebanon, Reagan took anti-aircraft munitions from Pentagon warehouses and shipped them to Tehran, sending the money that they received to right-wing death squads in Nicaragua. The State Department had listed Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini as a terrorist, and selling weapons to Iran was illegal. During Reagan’s regime, taxpayer moneys were secretly funneled to al-Quaeda because they fought the Soviet Union.

Following the bombing of Pan Am 103 in 1988, George H.W. Bush negotiated in secret to protect state secrets. The secrecy continued into the first term of George W. Bush when the U.S. and Britain negotiated with Libya over the Quaddafi regime’s nuclear weapons. Quaddafi gave up his weapons, and the U.S. wouldn’t demand a regime change.

Just months before 9/11/2001, Bush supported the Taliban by giving them $43 million despite Osama bin Laden’s terrorist operation that made two attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. Although $43 million doesn’t go far in the United States, it was the main sponsor of the Taliban because that sum of money gave a huge advantage to the Taliban.

In 2007, Bush paid Sunni insurgent leaders in Iraq to stop bombing U.S. troops and join the fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq. The insurgents were well-known as terrorists by officials in 2005-2006. Throughout the Iraqi war, the U.S. secretly supported al-Qaeda operations in eastern Europe.

More about the U.S. history of negotiating with terrorists and rogue regimes is in Mitchell Reiss’ book, Negotiating with Evil, starting with the Founding Fathers’ making agreements with pirates. The author, who worked in the State Department under President George W. Bush and served as national security adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, wrote:

“[Negotiation with terrorists] may be new to certain individuals. Whether it’s new or not is not as important as whether it’s sound policy and promotes national security. That’s the ground where there’s a more legitimate debate.”

Another right-wing complaint is that the five Taliban officials now in Qatar are the worst of the worst. Yet the U.S. left big Afghan warlords of the 1990s to operate freely in their country. Gen. Rashid Dostam was a vice presidential candidate, and Abu Sayyaf serves in parliament. A current criteria of terrorism in the Middle East is whether the men are cooperating with the Karzai government.

People commonly refer to the Taliban as “terrorists,” but the group is not on the State Department’s official list of terrorist organizations. The men released to bring home Bergdahl have no history of plotting attacks against the United States.

Under GOP presidents, Republicans claim that negotiating with terrorists is a diplomatic solution to save U.S. lives. Under Democratic presidents, GOP regards the diplomatic solutions as negotiating with terrorists.

As Todd Robberson wrote in the Dallas News:

“Once you acknowledge (as we have) that you cannot win a war militarily, there are only two other ways to end it: surrender or negotiate with your enemy. The United States might be capable of winning the war in Afghanistan militarily, but the sacrifice and cost in civilian lives would be too unpalatable to contemplate. This was the conclusion reached by civilian and military leaders years ago.”

After he was captured in Afghanistan, Bergdahl was held for nearly five years by the Taliban after being captured in Afghanistan. He was the only remaining U.S. soldier captured during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. All the living captives have now come home.

The Republicans have a major problem. They abandoned opposition to the Affordable Care Act to create a special committee to investigate Benghazi. Attention for that was lost with the information about problems in the Department of Veterans Affairs, and focus changed to the exchange of Bowe Bergdahl for five Gitmo prisoners. Almost immediately the crisis moved to the new EPA standards. This week will likely produce another issue that they want to use against the president. By now GOP members look like dilettante butterflies.

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