Nel's New Day

September 7, 2019

More Investigations by and for DDT

Investigations into the abuses of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) using government funds for his own private piggy back does not end with the Pentagon supporting his Scottish Turnberry resort. VP Mike Pence added to DDT’s coffers during Pence’s European trip. While VP Mike Pence attended meetings in Dublin (Ireland), he stayed at DDT’s golf course, Doonbeg, requiring four extra flights in Air Force 2, four extra motorcade trips, and security. Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, said that the government “negotiated room rates” for DDT’s resort. DDT “suggested” (code for ordered) the stay at the golf course including Pence’s wife, sister, and mother. Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short said “suggested” and then denied he said it until the next day when he reversed the reversal, the same day that DDT said he did not “suggest” anything. Although Pence claims to be “personally paying all family expenses,” taxpayers covered expenses for staff, security, and transports for them.

Pence claimed that he wanted to stay close to his ancestral home, but the visit there was rather bleak. Only one couple finally showed up, a huge difference from the crowds in Ireland for President Obama. 

 

Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deer tried—and failed—to cover up for Pence’s homophobia:

 

“For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland.”

Pence also faced LGBTQ support for LGBTQ people at his next stop, Iceland, where he was greeted with row of rainbow flags from the technology company Advania across from his meeting with President Gudni Johannesson in the capital, Reykjavik. Johannesson and Iceland’s first lady, Eliza Reid, wore rainbow bracelets during the meeting.

Two House committees are investigating Pence’s stay at DDT’s golf resort and DDT’s suggestion that the 2020 G7 summit meet at his Doral resort in Miami. Representatives requested documents from DDT, Pence, and other officials about violations of the Emoluments Clause. The State Department enriched DDT by allowing seven foreign governments to rent luxury condos in New York’s Trump Tower in 2017 with no congressional consent from lawmakers as required by the constitution.

Pro-pollution DDT is is bad for businesses that cross him. The DOJ is accusing four automobile companies of antitrust violations because they plan to conform with California’s fuel efficiency standards. The EPA and Transportation Department also notified California that the deal “appears to be inconsistent with federal law.”

CEOs understand that DDT is causing them serious problems. In an August survey of CEOs, 62 percent said the trade war with its flipflops on tariffs is “highly detrimental” to outlook and strategy, and 72 percent believe that cutting interest rates won’t sustain the economic cycle. The 3.9 percent rate of investment DDT has fallen from President Obama’s 5.7 percent after the nation’s economy started to recover in 2010.

History shows that no one wins in a trade war. When President George W. Bush raised steel tariffs in 2002, the GDP declined by $30.4 million, and about 200,000 jobs disappeared, 13,000 in raw steel-making. The cost to taxpayers was $400,000 for every steel-industry job saved. The World Trade Organization also ruled that the Bush tariffs were illegal

With DDT, the U.S. trade deficit for the first half of 2019 is bigger than in the last two years.

Farmers may suffer more than businesses. Bob Kuylen, the vice president of the 50,000-member North Dakota Farmers Union, said that farmers “lost pretty much all of our markets since Trump took over” leaving farmers “land-rich and cash-poor.” He added that bonuses for his high-protein wheat crops have dropped 95 percent.

In more DDT corruption, the private company of DDT’s campaign manager Brad Parscale has received almost $1 million from a PAC supporting DDT and Pence. Law prohibits PACS from coordinating with candidates’ campaigns.

DDT may have defrauded the IRS by not paying taxes on a tax-avoidance $50-million dollar loan that he owes to one of his own companies. He says it’s a wash; IRS law states that a firm owed money and has no outstand debt is worth at least as much as it is owed.

To give DDT $3.6 billion for his wall, the Pentagon “deferred” 127 projects in 23 states, 19 countries, and three U.S. territories, including $400 million for military installations in Puerto Rico. Another $770 million of the money disappeared from projects in allied European nations to help deter a possible attack from Russia, and another one is for cybersecurity. The Pentagon plans to get Congress to replace the $3.6 billion for a wall that Congress voted down. Either the projects weren’t important in the first place, of the military thought they could blackmail Congress. 

Congressional members are losing status with their constituents because of the lost revenue after Pentagon projects were deferred. North Carolina is unhappy after losing $80 million dollars, and its GOP senator Thom Tillis voted to remove FEMA funds for detention centers. The biggest loser, Tillis is up for re-election next year. He’s also in trouble after DDT lied about signing an emergency declaration “at the request of Senator Thom Tillis.” Federal law allows only governors to make these requests, but DDT couldn’t bear to give a Democrat credit for anything.  

GOP Sen. Martha McSally, also up for re-election after being appointed last year, downplayed Arizona’s loss by saying the state loses only $30,000. Later she had to explain that the loss is $30 million. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) simply blamed the Democrats.

Seventy percent of residents in the 200-household living community for older adults, River Bend Resort and Golf Club in Brownsville (TX), found that DDT’s wall puts them on Mexico’s side of DDT’s 30-foot-tall barrier.

DDT wants to raise mortgage costs and the deficit by ending government control of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae that handle half the nation’s mortgages. Part of the strategy in stopping an even worse recession from the unraveling housing market in 2008 was to have government control of those companies. People are already struggling to find affordable homes, and the U.S. will lose revenue from the companies’ profits while Wall Street gets richer. After paying less than $200 billion to rescue Freddie and Fannie, the government received $300 billion in dividends from them. Neither company has capital to be sustainable for several years, and taxpayers would be forced to bail them out again in “exigent circumstances,” according to the 53-page proposal. Shares in the companies drastically fell last week.

DDT brought out his 85th mandate to destroy the planet by rolling back George W. Bush’s energy-efficient requirements for LED bulbs. Continued use of incandescent bulbs cost people more money. Eliminating inefficient bulbs nationwide would save electricity equivalent to the output from at least 25 large power plants, equivalent to powering all homes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Since 2010, energy consumption in U.S. homes dropped by 6 percent.

Only three incumbent presidents—Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush—faced primary challengers, and all three lost the general elections for a second term. With GOP politicians planning to run against DDT, Republicans have a solution: cancel 2020 presidential primaries and caucuses, already almost done in four states. One of the states is South Carolina, where Mark Sanford is considering an intent to run against DDT. DDT is right about the rigging of the election—at least for the GOP.

More NRA scandals: Former NRA president Marion Hammer obtained loans of over $250,000 at an interest rate down to two percent from the NRA’s Florida affiliate where she is the only employee. This affiliate reported a $28,389 shortfall when it gave Hammer a $200,000 loan. Most of Unified Sportsmen of Florida gets almost all its budget from the NRA. The IRS can impose tax penalties if the organization benefits a private shareholder or person.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who incited people to defend themselves from immigrants before the El Paso shooting, cannot understand how the killer at Midland-Odessa last week could obtain a gun without a background check. The shooter bought the gun in a private sale which, under state law, has no background checks.

“The economy is great,” says DDT, but new jobs slowed in August to 130,000, 34,000 of them government jobs included 25,000 short-term positions for the 2020 U.S. census. Reductions of June and July jobs numbers by 20,000 brought the 2019 monthly average down to 143,000, 25 percent below the 192,000 in 2018. President Obama’s monthly job growth averages were 251,000 per month in 2014, 227,000 in 2015 and 193,000 in 2016. The stock market went up but only because of DDT’s promise of trade talks with China in October. U.S. business investment and growth in trade-sensitive sectors slumped after fewer foreign sales, rising costs of imported goods, and the uncertain global outlook. People’s views of the economy are partisan, but they’re all going down—and independents are much closer to those of Democrats than Republicans. And the election is less than 14 months away.

August 16, 2019

DDT: Week 134 – New Rules Ruin More Lives

Only 14 percent of Republicans approved of President Obama’s executive orders. GOP approval of autocratic orders and rules escalated to 43 percent since DDT was inaugurated. He These rules are from the past week while he is on vacation at his resort in Bedminster (NJ).

The brand-new acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, is living up to the hopes of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). In defending new extreme financial restrictions on immigration, Cuccinelli said that only immigrants who can “stand on their own two feet” are welcome in the United States. In explaining the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty, he said that the poem referred to European immigrants who came from “class-based societies,” not from poverty. DDT’s new rule will turn down many green card and visa applicants with low incomes of little education who may have used Medicaid, food stamps, or housing vouchers. In a CNN op-ed, Cuccinelli wrote that “self-sufficiency has been a core tenet of the American dream.”

Thirteen states filed a lawsuit against DDT’s rule to deny visas and permanent residency to poor migrants who don’t meet high enough income standards or receive any public assistance. Washington state AG Bob Ferguson said that the rule to take effect October 15 violates the Immigration and Nationality Act by redefining “public charge” in a way unconnected to its original meaning and congressional intent.

While families—including small children—swam in the Rio Grande River at Juarez, border patrol agents fired rubber bullets at them. Rubber bullets, although defined as “non-lethal,” can cause serious injury and harm, especially when randomly shot into a crowd. Israel’s 2000 study revealed that inaccuracy in aim can lead to “substantial mortality, morbidity, and disability,” in particular if people are hit in such vulnerable areas as the head or neck. Matthew Bowen, the border patrol agent who deliberately hit a Guatemalan migrant with his truck, almost running him over, and referred to immigrants as “subhuman” and “mindless murdering savages” was allowed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge. Supposedly he will resign from the Border Patrol.

In an early Christmas present to big business, DDT bulldozed the Endangered Species Act in completing rollbacks to 46-year-old law to pave the way for business development. Hundreds of species, including the wolverines and monarch butterflies, could be gone if DDT succeeds in his goal. Gone, too, will be much of the habitat for threatened wildlife. DDT may be declaring revenge on the bald eagle that was saved by the 46-year-old law. 

The Labor Department has announced a new rule for private contractors allowing the government to more easily fire LGBTQ people and unmarried women who become pregnant—all with the excuse of “religious belief”—because these categories of people are not protected classes. DDT also has asked the Supreme Court ? in a case that it will hear in October. Another rule proposed this week excludes permission for hospitals, health care providers, and insurance companies that receive federal funding to refuse service to LGBT people and people living with HIV. DDT has also asked the Supreme Court to legalize firing workers for being transgender in a case to be heard in October.

DDT also has a new rule allowing states the ability for force drug tests on people receiving unemployment benefits. Required blood tests in other areas such as food stamps have already proved a failure, and the ACLU pointed out that the Fourth Amendment blocks unreasonable government searches.

DDT’s executive orders are always poison, and this one could destroy free speech in the nation. He believes that any criticism of himself is too much progressive speech so he plans an order to give federal agencies the ability to select the acceptability of internet information. According to a draft, the rule asks the FCC for new regulations about how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. These new policies would be considered in investigations or lawsuits against companies. DDT has consistently complained that conservative content on social media has been suppressed, ignoring the reasons such as misinformation and calls for violence. His censorship rule would eliminate the rights of private companies and allow the party in power to control speech on the internet.

The DOJ has started to decertify the union representing 440 U.S. immigration judges by filing a petition with the Federal Labor Relations authority defining judges as “management.” Judges are not happy about DOJ’s move. Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, stated:

“We are trial court judges who make decisions on the basis of case specific facts and the nation’s immigration laws. We do not set policies, and we don’t manage staff.” 

In ridiculing the concept of immigrations as management, Tabaddor said, “We don’t even have the authority to order pencils.”

The Department of Agriculture, possibly violating the law by moving its research agency far away from Washington, DC, now avoids the “latest available science” to help farmers by concealing its study on negative affects of climate change on nutritional value of rice. The results show damage of higher CO2 concentration on levels of protein, iron, and zinc levels. After the feds suppressed research from Lewis Ziska, the 25-year veteran of the department left for a job at Columbia University while morale at the EPA has drastically dropped.  

Massive numbers of bankruptcies and foreclosures from DDT’s policies and lack of concern for climate change has caused concern among farmers. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue had an answer for them at a Farmfest in Minnesota when he told a joke about what to call two farmers in a basement: “A whine cellar.” After he was booed, DDT tweeted the falsehood, “Farmers getting more than China would be spending.” DDT’s brief postponement of tariffs won’t help the farmers. Most of DDT’s welfare for farmers has gone to the wealthy, and net farm income dropped in the last five years from $123.4 billion to $63 billion. DDT promised to help them, but farm income is still shrinking. In the Nigerian language, the word MAGA, acronym for “make America great again,” is defined as a pawn in a scheme, a sucker or fraud victim. DDT has suckered in investors and millions of supporters. China refuses to play DDT’s games.

DDT’s trade war was partly to bring jobs back to the U.S., his promise during his campaign. In the first two years after DDT’s inauguration, companies announced the return of only 145,000 factory jobs, and only 30,000 are from his tariffs. Trade policies moved factories to low-cost Asian countries such as Vietnam. Reacting to a backlash toward the new draconian tariffs with China, DDT changed the deadline for “some” tariffs on Chinese imports—about 60 percent of those threatened— from September 1 to December 15. The investors followed his newest promise with their typical sheeple purchase: a day earlier, the Dow Jones dropped almost 400 points after Goldman Sachs told its clients that the trade war would continue until after the 2020 election. The day of the promise, the Dow regained almost all its losses but fell 800 points the next day. Once again, MAGA.

In July, Chinese imports of U.S. goods fell 19 percent from a year earlier while their exports to the U.S. declined 6.5 percent. China has delayed customs clearance for U.S. goods and licenses in finance and other fields. At the same time, other global areas have benefited from more Chinese exports to them after DDT’s tariffs. DDT lost his agreement with China by saying that he would keep the tariffs even if China returned to buying soybeans and other exports from the U.S. The U.S. trade deficit with China has fallen, but the U.S. overall trade deficit increased as U.S. exports remained flat and imports grew. Chief economist Mark M. Zandi for Moody’s Analytics warned that DDT’s trade war is doing economy damage, especially in manufacturing that is “pretty close to recession.”

Aides to DDT say he is “rattled.”  Anxious about the economy because he needs positive views for a re-election, DDT consulted business leaders and financial executives—and the news was not all good for him. The Dow Jones rose over 300 points today, but it is still down almost 300 points for the week after wild fluctuations of over 1000 points. It was a one-day reprieve: the next day the Dow dropped 800 points after the bond market announced the possibility of a recession. DDT is screaming for the Federal Reserve to save him, but is he taking advantage of selling short? At least, DDT may have learned to say the phrase “inverted yield curve.”

The US budget deficit also widened to $867 billion for the first 10 months of the fiscal year, an increase of 27% over this time last year. 

This week, DDT took credit for a major manufacturing complex in western Pennsylvania that was announced in 2012, the year that President Obama campaigned for his successful second term. DDT’s speech was filled with slurs about Democratic presidential candidates. 

DDT’s tax cuts have provided almost no benefit for economic growth, business investment, and worker pay. Half of surveyed corporate chief financial officers expect the economy to shrink by the second quarter of 2020, and two-thirds expect a recession by the end of 2020. Deficits have soared back to the levels of the crisis at the end of George W. Bush’s regime, and only five percent of growth from tax cuts have offset the losses. The interest cut last month was an attempt to counteract the slump in manufacturing and investment. The highly touted salary increase from the tax cuts averaged $28 per worker. That’s the picture of what DDT calls “the strongest economy in the world.”

August 6, 2019

Indicators Show Slowing Economy

Stock markets finished yesterday with the worst drop this year as Asian markets also badly slipped. As investors look for places to hide, gold prices jumped, and Japanese yen and Swiss franc advanced. They retreated to the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond with a 1.725 percent return while the volatility index temporarily leaped to 30 percent. During the last two weeks, the Dow Jones, down for five consecutive points, fell over six percent since its high on July 15. All 30 Dow stocks and all 11 market sectors went down yesterday, and tech-heavy Nasdaq plummeted 3.47 percent for the fifth worst session ever.

“The losers are anybody with big exposure to China,” said Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial Partners. After Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said he would levy more tariffs on almost all Chinese goods, China responded by allowing the yuan to slump below to its lowest exchange rate in 11 years on Monday to level the playfield. Chinese rationale is that a weakened currency will offset DDT’s new ten-percent tariffs on all the other Chinese goods already at 25 percent by making the goods more affordable to the world and U.S. exports more expensive for the Chinese. DDT is blaming China and the Federal Reserve for what he calls “currency manipulation.” Last month, DDT tried to manipulate the currency: he asked his aides to find a way to weaken the U.S. dollar to boost the economy ahead of the 2020 election. He also asked about this issue when interviewing Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller for the Federal Reserve Board in another attempt to control the supposedly independent agency.

DDT blames economic problems on the Feds’ not cutting the interest rate, but the Dow Jones dropped almost 300 points after he announced new tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports—taxing everything that people in the U.S. buy from China. New tariffs bring additional annual purchasing costs for the average U.S. family to about $1,000. His tariff announcement polished off two days of trade talks between the two countries. https://time.com/5642373/china-countermeasures-trump-tariffs/  China promised “countermeasures” because DDT violated the agreement with President Xi Jinping, and the global stock markets turned red. DDT’s trade adviser Peter Navarro, who Jared Kushner found on Amazon.com, said, “We love tariffs. Tariffs are a wonderful thing.”

Farmers, frustrated by their severe losses after DDT’s trade war are turning against him. They’ve already received $16 billion, but DDT is promising them more welfare. His growing unpopularity, however, may come from the fact that over half of DDT’s welfare to farmers after the tariff debacle went to ten percent of recipients: 82 farming operations each received over $500,000 through last April from the $8.5 billion in payments. DeLine Farm Partnership of Charleston (MO) already got $2.8 million. The top one percent of farmers received an average of $188,000 compared to the average of under $5,000 for the bottom 80 percent. Anyone can receive payments if they make “management decisions” even if they don’t live or work on a farm, and thousands of them live in the nation’s biggest cities. A searchable database covered only direct payments to farmers and not other programs, including commodity purchases and export promotion assistance, that was part of the $12 billion payoff after DDT’s tariff program.

DDT had promised farmers that China would buy more U.S. farm products, but he has now admits that agreement never existed. There never was a record of Chinese purchases of U.S. soybeans, meaning far more losses on this year’s crop as well as the ones in reserve that survived last spring’s flood. Farmers face record foreclosures, and former DDT economic adviser said that DDT’s tariffs do more harm to the U.S. than China, who now buys its soybeans from Russia.

Following DDT’s 25 percent tariff on metal imports last year, US Steel idled two furnaces and lost $5.5—70 percent—of its market value. Last March, GM closed its Lordstown (OH) car plant after union workers gave up an annual $118 million to save the plant 18 months earlier. Negative ripples through Ohio’s economy included the closure of Falcon Transport.

Today, the Dow gained back about 20 percent of the 1,500 points it lost since last Tuesday, but it’s still lower than DDT’s initiation of his trade war in early 2018. Economic problems disprove DDT’s arrogant and ignorant claim 17 months ago that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” All DDT’s advisers except China-hating Peter Navarro opposed the tariffs, and China is determined to project strength by not backing down. Late last week, DDT the bully said “it would be fine with me … and save a lot of money” if China doesn’t trade with the U.S., but he’s failing.

DDT’s goal to postpone a possible recession until after the 2020 election may not succeed. As the Treasury notes dropped to 1.7 percent, Bloomberg published its concern under the headline, “Yield Curve Blares Loudest U.S. Recession Warning Since 2007.” The temporary drop of 32 basis points less than three-month bills led to the biggest yield-curve inversion since the introduction to the 2008 crisis. In good times, the bond’s yield of interest after full term is bigger in longer terms. An inversion means that a three-month yield can be higher than a ten-year yield. This situation is not a cause of a recession; it can be a predictor of nervous investors and devastation of the economy.

The Republicans constantly tout current economy as the best it’s ever been, but DDT insists on interest rate cuts, a practice reserved for economic emergencies, and got a .25 percent reduction in the interest rate—the first one in the real 2008 emergency. Near-zero interest rates are an emergency measure, but the Federal Reserve may cut rates because they’re afraid that they’ll be a target during the 2020 campaign if the economy starts to suffer—as many economists predict. Anti-Fed sentiment could then cause its elimination. Cutting rates is a safe position for the Feds. Even so, DDT sulked about how small the cut was last Wednesday, and the Dow Jones market dropped by 333 points on the same day. Fed Chair Jerome Powell did not promise “a long series of rate cuts, and DDT blames him for not stimulating the economy after DDT caused problems with his trade war. DDT wants an artificial boost in the economy for his campaign next year. After that he doesn’t care.

Last week, DDT said he was waiting for a trade deal until after the 2020 election, but a few days later he tweeted he would be tougher with China if they waited and that he might never agree to any deal. Economists agree that DDT’s trade war is dragging down growth; it stops business investing and drives up costs, removing any advantage from tax cuts.

DDT will keep getting his prime interest cuts to benefit his personal loans. Trade wars weaken the economy, the Feds will cut the interest to help the economy, DDT will step up the trade war, and it all goes in a circle. The steep and steady decline in U.S. share of international travel from the trade war is expected to last until at least 2022.

Congress has passed a two-year budget bill that raises the debt ceiling for at least two years, which DDT claims “gets us past the Election. Go for it Republicans, there is always plenty of time to CUT.” That comes from the man who has increased the national debt by $2 trillion—20 percent—in his first two years. During President Obama’s two terms, Republicans constantly complained about expenditures, but they returned to former VP Dick Cheney’s position during GOP control that “deficits don’t matter.” In the Senate vote of 67-28 for the bill, 23 Republicans and five Democrats voted “no.” The House vote for the DDT-supported bill was 284-149 with one independent, 16 Democrats, and 132 Republicans voting against it. Now members of Congress can leave town for several weeks, knowing that they are saddling their children and grandchildren with more debt. In the new law, the gap between revenue and expenditures remains about $1 trillion a year.

People shouldn’t give a sigh of relief that a shutdown isn’t eminent. Because Congress is gone until September, it will have only two weeks to pass 12 government funding bills or a continuing resolution (CR) to extend the time limit. The House has passed 10 of these bills, but GOP senators may oppose them. The first markup is due on September 12 for the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the12 bills may have thousands of pages for argument. And DDT’s wall may come back into play.

The 164,000 extra jobs in July looked good, but revised figures for May and June came out with 41,000 fewer jobs, lowering the total number of the year. Plus industries dropped the workweek from 34.4 to 34.3, back to September 2017 which made the number of new jobs almost zero. GDP also fell to 2.1 percent in the second 2019 quarter from 3.1 percent in the first. The prediction for the third quarter is 1.9 percent annualized rate–far below DDT’s rediction of 3 percent to four percent. 

Far-right Steve Bannon falsely claimed that the large number of people to be killed in the El Paso Walmart proved how great DDT’s economy is. Connecting a mass shooting to the economy is evil, and Bannon is wrong. People were shopping back-to-school items. After this, the threat of mass shootings may move them online for purchases.

 

 

July 6, 2019

DDT: Week 128 – Attacks on Immigrants, Science

After last week’s July 4 private party on public Washington land, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has headed for three days of golf at his New Jersey resort and letting his lawyers in the DOJ figure out how to get a citizenship question on the 2020 census. The DOJ and Commerce Secretary obeyed the Supreme Court ruling against the question until DDT tweeted the reverse and sent them back to court. A Friday deadline for lawyers to report to a judge led them to say that they were continuing to fight the Supreme Court decision despite an earlier claim that July 1 was the deadline to start printing census forms.

The DOJ asked for “abeyance” until it found a “new final agency action” and said it will let the court know when they find a “new rationale.” The judge didn’t agree: putting the word “new” in quotation marks, he said that discovery would immediately begin because the lawyers had earlier argued that time was of the essence. Both discovery and the loss of time are blows to the DOJ because they were hoping, as in the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of DDT’s travel ban, that a “new” final decision would consider only the final version and overlook DDT’s earlier statements. Since the government lost its case in the Supreme Court, new evidence shows that Republicans deliberately planned the question to keep Latinx from voting. The ACLU has filed a petition with New York to stop DDT from delaying the census form printing or adding the question to the forms. 

To get the citizenship question on the Census, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied under oath that the DOJ needed citizenship data for the Voting Rights Act, and the government swore in court filings to the same false claim. New discovery will likely use DDT’s new excuse for the citizenship question that highlights the DOJ’s and Wilbur Ross’ lies:

“Number one, you need it for Congress—you need it for Congress for districting. You need it for appropriations—where are the funds going? How many people are there? Are they citizens? Are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons.

“Well you need it for many reasons. No. 1, you need it for Congress, you need it for Congress, for districting, you need it for appropriations, where are the funds going. How many people are there? Are they citizens, are they not citizens?”

The U.S. Constitution requires a decennial census to create districts based on the number of people, not the number of citizens, and allocates funds on human beings. The government has followed this constitutional requirement for 243 years.

Law professor Rick Hazen summarized the DOJ argument for the court:

“Forget if we had discriminatory racial intent before in adding a question, DOJ argues, because any new decision would be fresh and pure. And because of this purity, there’s no need to look whether the government had discriminatory intent to start with. Presto! Nothing to see here court, please move on.”

The Maryland court ruling on the issue won’t forget, especially with new discovery. Plaintiffs require written objections from the government in 20 days with a maximum of five depositions from DOJ and Commerce Department officials. Witness testimony should be on Sept. 3 & 4. A unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court, almost as rare as unicorns, should have warned the government that it may have difficulty with overturning the decision, even with new excuses. And the DOJ urgency for a resolution has disappeared.

Not satisfied with cruelty to immigrants, DDT plans a way to get rid of 80 percent of scientists in a little-known USDA agency that protects the U.S. farm industry. They study a huge diversity of influences from impacts of temperature changes on crop yields to GMOs. DDT is sending almost all of them to Kansas City on July 15 with no reason and at a cost of $182 million. Those who don’t want to be transferred will be fired on September 30. Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue claims that the savings is $20 million a year—five DDT weekend vacations.

The 76 scientists remaining in D.C. won’t work on projects “unpalatable” to DDT; i.e., dealing with the climate crisis. Even in Kansas City, two of the Economic Research’s six “core” systems, research models for projects, will have no staff members. One evaluates effects of weather patterns and economics on agriculture systems such as land and water resources, and the other, already with only three staff members, projects crop yields, price fluctuations, and crop management. Other scientist attrition reduces the ability to establish guidelines for entitlement programs’ benefits and the efficacy of USDA’s conservation programs on water quality. Almost eradicated is honeybee research because the current government doesn’t understand that food disappears without pollination. Research on deadly pesticides will also be gone. With this elimination of staff, policy makers will no longer have economic analysis for decision-making. DDT doesn’t like any bad news, and that’s the responsibility of the ERS, like when it told George H.W. Bush that the biofuel program was a waste of time.

Eighteen months ago, the ERS told DDT that his tax reform would primarily benefit only wealthy farmers; now he sent them to Kansas City. A good piece on the issue from Rachel Maddow.

DDT wows his supporters by making claims that please them. When he later backs off, right-wing media never reveals his flipflops. A recent change is his rule allowing medical workers to refuse participation in abortions or other treatments such as sterilization, assisted suicide, and care for LGBTQ people based on any moral basis. The mandate was scheduled to start on July 22, but DHS put off a final ruling until November 22 after a California lawsuit.

Kim Darroch, UK ambassador to the U.S., described DDT’s Iran policy as “incoherent” and the White House as “dysfunctional, clumsy, inept.” Leaked memos warned that DDT’s presidency can “crash and burn.” Describing DDT as “insecure” and “incompetent,” Durroch reported that the “vicious infighting and chaos” inside the White House is “mostly true.”

DDT promised he would bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, but the State Department is considering a waiver for China to import oil from Iran. Meanwhile DDT said he doesn’t want war with Iran, but he is frantically searching for excuses to attack the country.

The UN stated that the airstrike killing 53 people and injuring over 130 others in Libya constitutes a war crime; the U.S. is sorry about the deaths but claims that the strikes are collateral business as usual.  

After DDT claims he settled the Chinese tariffs—which he hasn’t—he’s threatening tariffs on European goods because of subsidies on aircraft manufacturing that he claims damages Boeing and the U.S. economy. Airbus received subsidies after Boeing received $19 billion from the U.S. government. The WTO ruled that Boeing is still getting illegal tax subsidies in Washington state. While Boeing fails to solve its massive 737 MAX problem, Airbus made a massive deal with China.

A new study reveals that Russian propaganda on social media helped DDT get elected in 2016. He won the election by 75,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania through a vast disinformation campaign. DDT has not commented.  

Anyone who doubts that the Fox network is acting as a government propaganda agent as in other autocratic countries needs to watch this similarity between its reporting and that of the state media in North Korea.

In an interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson, DDT expressed shock at homelessness and declared it “a phenomena that began two years ago.” DDT said,  “We never had this in our lives before in this country.” The biggest problem is “liberal” cities, according to DDT who said that he has eliminated homelessness in Washington, D.C. so that foreign visitors won’t have to “be looking at that.”

DDT’s fury toward New York indicates that he may be in trouble after the state started investigating his financial affairs.

Underwater in most polls, DDT faces 51 percent disapproval in his handling of the economy. Despite an attempt to raise his popularity by going to North Korea, DDT’s approval dropped two points last month to 41 percent. Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research puts him at 38 percent approval. Back home after basking in the warmth of the world’s autocrats and dictators, DDT falsely denied that he lost all three debates with Hillary Clinton and claiming that he’s ahead in the polls because “you can add 10 [points] to whatever poll I have, okay?” 

The good news? June added 224,000 jobs. The bad news? May’s job number was revised down to 72,000, and the average monthly job addition for the second quarter of 2018 is 171,000—unless June’s numbers go down too. State and local government jobs outside education comprised 32,500 of June’s jobs—almost 15 percent. And wage growth is slowing. Amidst claims that this is the best economy, 40 percent of people in the U.S. struggle to pay their bills. The bottom half has less wealth today than 40 years ago, and their “wealth” equals that of three people in the United States.

June 23, 2019

DDT: Week 126 – Other Than Iran

In an authoritarian move, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ordered the DOJ to investigate the CIA because it looked into the 2016 Russian election interference. In democracies, investigations come from evidence of serious wrongdoing; in authoritarian regimes, powerful politicians investigate situations that displease them—like chants of “lock her up” for Hillary Clinton with no evidence of criminal behavior. Republicans, especially DDT, have good reason to block investigations into Russian interference: the Russians elected them. The GOP has no interest in protecting the U.S. from undermining Western democracies. DDT uses law—and sometimes lawbreaking—to protect his and his supporters’ law violations while using the law as a weapon to defeat opponents. DDT emulates his mentor Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by attacking people like James Comey, John Kerry and Joe Biden while keeping protecting people like Kellyanne Conway who break the law. Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, also admired by DDT, begins corruption investigations to discredit opponents immediately before elections.  DDT now has an AG fixer with few scruples, Bill Barr, to carry through his authoritarian policies.

DDT issued a rule for HRAs, a health reimbursement account (HRA) for employers to reimburse employees’ medical expenses not company insurance covered, causing people to change their doctors. Republicans used that problem of the Affordable Care Act to defeat Democrats in 2016. DDT has not only weakened the ACA but also forced people to change their doctors.

In a U.S.-led meeting in Bahrain, quietly announced on a weekend with only a White House website posting, Jared Kushner will present his proposal for spending $50 billion, provided by Gulf states and private investors, to supposedly economically help Palestinians. Over half goes to the West Bank and Gaza, largely illegally taken over by Israel, with the remainder to Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that a Palestinian state should be discussed before the economic issues. Israel and Palestine were not invited, but Israel plans to send a delegation. Saudi Arabia will attend with lukewarm responses, greater uncertainty, and no confirmation from the others. The Arab League announced that “whatever is rejected by the Palestinian or the Arab side is unacceptable.” Its solution is a Palestinian state based on June 4, 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital.”  Almost a year ago, DDT stopped foreign aid to Palestine. After DDT illegally gave the Syrian Golan Heights to Israel, Israel’s temporary prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu put DDT’s name on the place. 

Since DDT’s debacle about attacking Iran, his supporters are pushing for him to fire Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his advice to move toward war and put DDT into a corner.

According to the New York Times, the U.S. is “stepping up digital incursions [hacking?] into Russia’s electric power grid.” DDT may not have been briefed about the “implants,” software code that can be used for surveillance or attack inside the Russian grid, because officials can’t trust him to keep his mouth shut. After DDT learned about the information from the article, he called it “a virtual act of Treason” and “ALSO, NOT TRUE!” because the media is “THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE.” [Caps in DDT’s tweets.] Both treason and false?

DDT told agencies to get rid of at least one-third of its advisory committees, eliminating people in the top of their fields who provide important technical advice. Boards qualifying for these cuts include considerations of EPA’s regulation of cancer-linked chemicals PFAS and bans on studies that don’t make underlying data public. In another anti-science attempt, DDT tried to move USDA researchers to Kansas City which would causing them to resign. They’re fighting back.

Elected only a few months ago, DDT’s South American lookalike, Jair Bolsonaro, is facing mass disruption in Brazil from trade union strikes a week ago, hours before a showcase football tournament. The strike against Bolsonaro’s pension reform plans has negatively affected 63 cities’ transportation with demonstrations in another 20. At least 45 million people belong to the trade unions in a country of over 200 million. Bolsonaro’s popularity has plummeted since the election, and his family and associates have been accused of the corruption that he promised to clean up. 

As David Axe wrote, “America Is Stuck With a $400 Billion Stealth Fighter That Can’t Fight.” Lockheed Martin leveraged the Pentagon into billions of dollars of unnecessary costs for taxpayers in attempts to build the F-35 fighter plane, long surrounded with scandal. The Pentagon may reclassify dangerous deficiencies as acceptable to get the F-35 into the air. Another fiscal disaster for taxpayers is the Navy’s Littoral Combat ship. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) proved that asking questions helps when defense contractor TransDigm refunded $16.1 million in price-gouging overcharges after Khanna asked for an investigation.

India has joined DDT’s trade war by raising tariffs on U.S. imports such as apples, almonds, lentils, and some chemical compounds in response to U.S. increased tariffs on India’s aluminum and steel. Over 600 retailers, including Walmart and Costco, wrote DDT about the damage of his tariffs onthe economy with a request to remove these taxes on U.S. consumers. DDT can assign tariffs only with the excuse of national security, making his taxes on washing machines, vacuum cleaners, toys, televisions, and other household needs a mystery. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says that additional costs for people will be minimal; a study shows a family of four will pay an additional $2,000 for DDT’s 25-percent tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods. These taxes hit DDT’s voter base, the most economically vulnerable in the nation.

China is the biggest producers of bibles, and DDT is raising their tariff by 25 percent. Evangelicals are not happy.

The poor are benefitting from DDT’s trade wars driving farmers into bankruptcy. DDT’s bailout package spending $1.2 billion for agricultural products in farmers’ storehouses after plummeting market prices increases donations of fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat to U.S. food banks. His second bailout will add additional millions of pounds of food to banks.

DDT’s new EPA pollution plan—to allow coal plants to pollute at will—will kill 1,400 people a year. Despite DDT’s lies about improving air quality, 2018 had 15 percent more days with dirty air than the average between 2013 and 2016. State AGs are joining environmental groups to sue the EPA about its decision to pollute the United States with the new coal plan.

Until two years ago, EPA Secretary Andrew Wheeler, replacement for the scandal-ridden Scott Pruitt, was lobbyist for Murray Energy, one of the nation’s biggest coal companies. He still is. DDT said at his campaign rally last Tuesday:

“We stared down the unholy alliance of lobbyists and donors and special interests, who made a living bleeding our country dry. That’s what we’ve done.”

DDT stared Wheeler and others down and hired them: new acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper was a Raytheon lobbyist until 2017 and replaced Boeing executive Pat Shanahan; Interior Secretary David Bernhardt lobbied for the energy industry; HHS Secretary Alex Azar oversaw lobbying for giant pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and worked with former drug industry lobbyist Joe Grogan who shaped DDT’s drug-pricing plan and went on to the Domestic Policy Council; and the rest of the Cabinet is filled with former executives and others highly connected to companies which they supposedly oversee.  

Two weeks away from July 4, Washington, D.C. can’t plan for DDT’s great event in town because he hasn’t told them what’s happening. He does plan a 10-block-long military parade.

The Supreme Court has a week to announce whether DDT’s bogus citizenship can be added to the 2020 census, but attorneys filed information to the Maryland U.S. District Court that a GOP strategist, now deceased, pushed the idea through private email with the chief of staff to the director of the U.S. Census Bureau. The documents provide evidence refuting defendants’ assertion that no link between the Secretary and the strategist “can be shown.” The recently revealed information shows that the government intended to discriminate against immigrants, Latinos and Asian Americans.

A Ukrainian-Russian developer complained he was bilked out of $200,000 for buying what he thought were VIP tickets to DDT’s inauguration and filed a lawsuit. Foreign nationals, such as Pavel Fuks who discussed a Moscow real estate deal with DDT, cannot legally buy tickets from committees hosting events connected to U.S. presidential inaugurations although U.S. donors can invite foreigners to attend.

In DDT’s formal kick-off to his 2020 campaign, the current liar-in-chief of the U.S. promised to end cancer and HIV if elected for a second term. DDT’s speech opener, Donald Trump Jr., ridiculed former VP Joe Biden for saying that he wants to cure cancer.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed that the new Harriet Tubman $20 bill wouldn’t be released until 2028 because of production problems. But the currency, scheduled to be released next year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, was almost done before DDT blocked it. The 19th-century formerly enslaved abolitionist leader would replace Andrew Jackson, and DDT likes the slaveholder “Indian killer.” During his 2016 campaign, DDT called the use of Tubman as “pure political correctness.” 

Corporate tax revenue dropped 31 percent in 2018, twice what the GOP thought would happen. Treasury officials promised a spike in 2019, but the decline has increased by another nine percent because companies moved deductible expenses into 2017 for more impact. Republicans promised more bonuses with decreasing the taxes for big business by 40 percent, but last year’s wages dropped.

After DDT’s own polls didn’t look good for DDT, he lied about the data, told people to “mislead” the public about the results, and fired his pollsters.  

June 11, 2019

How to Create More Problems with Immigration

When Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) purged the Department of Homeland Security, many people blamed his aide, neo-Nazi Stephen Miller, for the firings. Even GOP senators were upset about Miller’s ascension in DDT Land: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) called Miller the “guy behind the curtain.” Miller was behind DDT’s executive order banning Muslims from the United States and the family separation policy at the southern border. He crafted DDT’s anti-immigrant speeches, and his ideas mesh well with DDT’s bigotry toward people of color in an excuse of “law and order.”

During Miller’s high school at Santa Monica High School and college days at Duke University, he spread his philosophy of “Americanism,” especially in his push for English-speaking first. In a column for the college newspaper, he argued that multiculturalism threatens U.S. identity. In Washington, D.C., he worked for congressional members, such as then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) before he became senior policy adviser for DDT’s presidential campaign. Richard Painter, a White House ethics lawyer during President George W. Bush’s administration, called Miller “the most notorious racist in the Trump White House.”

According to former DHS officials, Miller got rid of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen by leaking information about asylum seekers at the southern border to the Washington Examiner and then giving copies of the newspaper reports to DDT. Nielsen was joined in April DHS departures by Randolph Alles, director of the Secret Service, and the White House withdrawal of Ron Vitiello’s nomination for head of ICE. On June 1, Miller dumped Lee Cissna, Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) former staffer as head of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Pushing out Cissna irritates Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) because he, along with other establishment senators, hates DDT’s replacement, Ken Cuccinelli. Cissna is a knowledgeable immigration hawk; Cuccinelli has only loyalty to DDT. Under Cissna, his department created systems to delay approvals and increase denials for immigrants, participating in DDT’s attempt to get rid of DACA and sunset Temporary Protected Status designations for several countries. Cissna was in charge of cracking down on asylum-seekers that returned thousands of them to Mexico where they remain in danger.

DDT needs Republican senators, including McConnell, to get Cuccinelli confirmed, but the former Virginia AG has no experience in immigration law and regulation. He also leads the Senate Conservatives Fund with the goal of defeating incumbent Republicans in primaries. Two years ago, Cuccinelli signed a letter calling for McConnell to step down.

Cuccinelli does have experience in persecuting immigrants by restricting them access to public services, employment, and citizenship. In 2010, he supported the Arizona law permitting police to investigate the immigration status of any person stopped by law enforcement and issued a legal opinion expanding a policy to include any suspected undocumented immigrant in Virginia. In the state senate, Cuccinelli proposed a law allowing employers to fire employees who didn’t speak English in the workplace and deny them unemployment compensation. Another of his bills would permit businesses to sue competitors for economic damages if they believed the employers hired undocumented immigrants plus $500 “for each such illegal alien employed by the defendant.” In 2008, he encouraged Congress to call a constitutional convention for the purpose of amending the 14th Amendment of the constitution by excluding citizenship for children born to undocumented immigrants.

After trying to hide his anti-immigrant past during his lost run for governor, he appeared on conservative media advocating the militarization of the border and prevention of all immigrants from Central America. He also wrote an op-ed for the Washington Examiner to support the deployment of troops to the southern border.  

As AG, Cuccinelli crusaded against the Affordable Care Act and fought to keep Virginia’s sodomy law, struck down by the Supreme Court a decade earlier. Equating being gay with pedophilia, he started the website VAChildPredators and listed the names of everyoneone convicted of sodomy. Despite his claim to protect children, the anti-sodomy law was only for consensual oral or anal sex between adults—no matter what gender. The Supreme Court struck down his attempts.

In other attacks on LGBTQ people, he fought to keep same-gender couples from adopting and tried to eliminate nondiscrimination protections in colleges and universities. If he heads immigration and citizenship, he can continue to block children born overseas to same-gender parents from becoming citizens. His appointment will be the destruction of same-gender families and death sentences for LGBTQ asylum seekers.

Cucinelli also opposes all abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, and the mother’s health. To Cuccinelli, any information about sexuality—even in higher education—is symptomatic of the “moral depravity that has crept across this commonwealth and this country.” The Catholic Church creates a “culture of dependency on government, not God,” according to Cuccinelli, because they want to care for the poor, immigrants, and uninsured. He ridiculed a Catholic diocese newspaper for putting these issues in its voter guides.

A vehement climate change denier, Cuccinelli frequently tells audiences to exhale carbon dioxide together to “annoy the EPA.” He investigated former University of Virginia climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann for fraud because Mann sought government funding for climate change research. Much of Cuccinelli’s funding came from fossil fuel companies that he inappropriately helped in coalbed methane extraction rights, according to a state judge and Virginia’s inspector general. He followed the “birther” conspiracy about President Obama’s birth place falsely being in Kenya and then asserted that the president was re-elected through voter fraud. At the site of the Virginia Tech mass shooting where 32 people were killed, he bragged about his NRA “A” rating.

In addition to Cuccinelli being a truly awful nominee, his appointment may be illegal. The 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act requires that nominees to lead agencies must have had another federal government position in the executive branch, G-15 or above, for at least 90 days before the vacancy or in another Senate-confirmed role. DDT slipped Cuccinelli into a newly invented “principal deputy director” position to carry out his nefarious activities for at least two years as “acting” and not requiring confirmation.

Cuccinelli’s competitor, Kris Kobach, is even crazier than Cuccinelli. A few weeks ago, Kobach was a media joke for the demands he made for being “immigration czar”: access to a government jet 24 hours a day; an office in the West Wing; a staff of seven; walk-in privileges with DDT; Assistant to the President rank with commensurate high pay; security detail; face of DDT’s immigration policy; guaranteed weekends off for family time; orders that secretaries of DHS, Defense, Justice Ag, Interior, and Commerce immediately follow his directives without question; and the promise that he would be appointed DHS Secretary by November. Kobach wrote anti-immigration laws, used faulty computer software to suppress the vote, and acted as adviser to the even crazier former Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

To suppress the U.S. vote, Kobach led DDT’s “election” commission, disbanded in 2018. The same year, Kobach lost his run for Kansas governor to a female Democrat—in Kansas! Now he’s considering a run for U.S. senator after Pat Roberts plans to not run again. Republicans are so unhappy about the possibility that National Republicans said they will “make sure he doesn’t make it past the primary.”

DDT seems to be bringing undocumented immigrants to the southern border in far greater numbers than President Obama. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) holds DDT responsible. In April, he said:

“I called up all the folks I’ve been working with on this, what’s going on. They said, well, there’s a couple of small reasons and one big reason. The small reasons are the elections in Guatemala and better bus travel from southern Mexico to northern Mexico. But the big reason? As Trump rants about the border, so many people are saying, ‘I’m in this terrible situation; if I’m going to go, I’d better go now.’ It’s all Trump-generated.”

Numbers at the southern border have increased since then. DDT advertises his wall and announces elimination of aid to Central America to improve the political and economic conditions. In 2014, U.S. aid to El Salvador drove down violent crime in the country, and migration dropped. Since then, climate warming and rainfall decrease eradicates corn crops in Honduras and loss of agriculture in Guatemala. DDT’s rejection of climate change and its problems will mean more “climate refugees.” He also may be causing worsening economic conditions in Central America forcing refugees as a rallying point for his 2020 election. Illegal immigration fell for eight years under a Democratic president before it steadily rose after the Republicans took over all three branches of government.

In DHS’ and privatization’s latest failure, photos of airport passengers and other personal data including license plate information collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have been stolen in computer hacking. The surveillance facial-recognition program, sold by Amazon, has thus far been proved to be faulty, especially for women and people of color. The private firm Perceptics, most likely the target of the attack, is part of an initiative to verify identities of all travelers at the border. Just another evidence of encroaching authoritarianism in the United States.  

June 2, 2019

Catching Up on the Last Few Weeks

Looking through my files, I see information about events that has fallen through the cracks. Here’s a bit of “catch up” with links for readers who want to read more about the subject. 

Tariffs/Taxes:

Solar energy, responsible in 2016 for 43 percent of employment in electric power and twice as much as the fossil fuel industry, has lost almost 20,000 jobs since DDT’s inauguration, much of the loss from tariffs.

Increasing tariffs to 25 percent on some Chinese goods could annually tax a family of four $767 and destroy over 934,000 jobs. Tariffs on all Chinese imports, as DDT threatens, would annually tax families $2,294. The combined $72 billion for all DDT’s tariffs constitute one of the biggest tax increases since 1993, and that amount doesn’t include his new tax on all goods from Mexico. People, not companies or countries, pay for tariffs making them a tax increase, the equivalent of a ten-percent increase in Social Security tax for an average family. DDT plans to annually cost every family $100 annually and add to health problems and death rates with enhanced pollution by erasing efficiency standards for light bulbs and causing LED bulbs to be much more expensive. Since President Obama’s action, LED bulbs, which last ten years, dropped 90 percent in price to about $1.

According to DDT’s Commerce Department, the $891 billion merchandise trade deficit last year is the largest in U.S. history, and the trade deficit with China hit a record high of $419 billion after DDT’s tariffs. The 19-percent jump from November and December 2018 to $59.8 billion made the highest monthly trade deficit in 10 years.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), ready to declare war on Iran, told farmers that they’re making far less sacrifices by losing their farms from tariffs than soldiers “in Arlington” make. DDT calls farmers losing everything from his tariffs as “patriot farmers.” Did they know that they were signing up for the war by growing food? Meanwhile, GOP senators up for re-election in agricultural states are getting nervous.

DDT’s tariffs are closing down a South Carolina plant that assembles televisions using Chinese parts with a loss of 126 jobs.

Climate/Pollution:

Earth’s concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) has reached 415 parts per million ( ppm). The first 280 ppm took 5,000 years until the Industrial Revolution; the last 5 ppm took two years. Ninety percent of all global fuel emissions have been released in the past 85 years. Excess carbon dioxide is causing men’s testicles to shrink from shortage of sperm. (Chemicals are also shrinking penises.)

The U.S. is one of two nations out of 189 to control movement of its waste across national borders, leaving the U.S. no place to send contaminated and plastic waste without other countries’ consent. 

Of the world’s 425,000 electric buses, China has 421,000. The U.S. has 300.

DDT may be able to escape any climate change penalties on the federal level, but New York is levying millions of dollars against his business because of pollution from DDT’s buildings. Without making improvements, DDT will pay annual fines of $2.1 million from 2030.

Not only has DDT failed to create more coal jobs, but he’s also losing the ones that existed when he was inaugurated. One-thousand jobs are at risk as the third-largest coal company declared bankruptcy because of a weak market, and over 50 coal plants closed under DDT’s leadership. A court ruling voided union contracts for another coal company, and lack of federal funding jeopardizes pensions of $600 a month for almost 100,000 workers. Transition to other jobs is highly problematic because coal workers aren’t well enough to work after leaving the mines.

Data:

DDT’s attempts to control the census by asking about citizenship isn’t the only way that he plans to skew information: poverty and pollution in the U.S. will be less severe once he changes all the numbers. After the EPA reported that DDT’s new energy policy to replace President Obama’s Clean Power Plan kills an additional 1,400 people, DDT ordered the number to be fixed.

DDT will allow oil and gas industry to drill places not within the safe drilling margin through the draft of guidelines that weren’t included for public comment last year.

Legislation:

DDT and the GOP hate net neutrality, which keeps prices lower for internet use, but love the idea of 5G wireless phones to speed up all those tweets. The result may be a 30-percent inaccuracy of weather forecasts because of interference, taking predictions back four decades. That means fewer days to prepare for hurricanes and incorrect tracking of storms’ paths to land. NOAA reported that the proposed 5G system would lose 77 percent data from its satellite’s passive microwave sounders. The FCC continues to auction off wireless spectrum, already making almost $2 billion.

Without legislation, Congressional Republicans will cause these catastrophes: lack of disaster aid; budget caps starting on September 30; not raising the debt ceiling resulting in calamitous financial crisis by the end of summer; government shutdown without passage of 12 appropriation bills by October 1; continued disintegration of infrastructure; no funds for Violence against Women Act which expired three months ago; no defense authorization or flood insurance which depends on the disaster bill; and lack of surveillance from sunsets on gathering metadata on domestic text messages and “roving” wiretaps—which might not be too bad.

DDT doesn’t think his ideas to use public-private relationships for infrastructure improvement “will work.

When the House passed the Equality Act, 173 Republicans voted in favor of discriminating against LGBTQ people. Only 21 states and the District of Columbia explicitly prohibit discrimination in employment and house, and one of those states permits public accommodation discrimination. One Republican legislator compared LGBTQ people to Nazis.

IRS:

Every year, the IRS loses hundreds of auditing agents, so they pursue the poor rather than the wealthy. In 2018, millionaires were 80 percent less likely to be audited than in 2011, but the 43 percent of people receiving the earned income tax credit are audited at a higher rate than anyone except the richest. Highest audit rates are in poor, rural, mostly black, and Southern counties.

 Over 1.3 million college students on scholarships are taxed at higher rates than billionaires, including DDT, thanks to the new GOP “tax cut” law. High tax rates have also hit tribal funds paid to Native American youth for education or living expenses. Republicans have not only fixed the problem but seemed to have deliberately created it.

Education Department:

Republicans plan to renew investigations into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server for her emails although she recorded all of them. The GOP will undoubtedly ignore Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s use of personal email accounts for government businesses and her failure to properly save the messages. The practice is common for Republicans, and DDT fails to preserve public records.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that the Education Department is blocking efforts to police the student loan industry and costing borrowers thousands of dollars for those who owe over $1 trillion in these loans by refusing to share information.

As DDT wants to increase the charter school budget, the Network for Public Education reported how charter schools have scammed the federal government for over $1 billion in nonexistent or short-lived schools. With no adverse consequences, one in three schools that have received $4 billion closed, never opened, or hadn’t yet opened. Other charter schools fall short of the charter program’s promise of “high-quality” schools for disadvantaged students.

Ignorance/Bigotry:

Fifty-six percent of people reject the idea of teaching “Arabic numerals”—like 56.

DDT:

DDT likened himself to Hungary’s far-right authoritarian leader Prime Minister Viktor Orbán because of his being “respected all over Europe” and doing a “tremendous job.” 

At this time, 138 nominees are awaiting confirmation in the Senate, and another 132 positions have no nominees. The reason comes from overwhelming turnover in the past two years.

Condo sales in Trump Tower have plummeted, some of them as much as 20 percent, compared to 0.23 percent of Manhattan homes. Occupancy rates dropped even with lower than average rents; net income is 26 percent below banks’s expectations in 2012. DDT still made $434 million last year, especially from the D.C. hotel.

DDT said that he will not use any campaign dirt on his opponents from foreign companies—if he gets the opponents he wants.

DDT’s trial balloon of getting another two years with no election because he was treated “unfairly” has failed: 77 percent of the people don’t agree. Only seven percent of respondents think that he should ignore the 2020 election if he loses, and 90 percent believe that the “peaceful handover of power after elections” and “both parties respecting the results of elections” were essential for the “healthy functioning of American democracy.” Large majorities agree that DDT “does not respect the customs or traditions of the Presidency” and “the laws of the United States.”

June 1, 2019

DDT: Week 123 – U.S. Continues to Sink

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 8:39 PM
Tags: , , ,

A major shock of the week came from the attack of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) on another ally, this time with his declaration of tariffs—taxes on U.S. people—of 5 percent on all goods from Mexico starting June 10. He has promised an increase of 5 percent each week up to 25 percent on $347 billion of goods until Mexico slows the movement of asylum seekers crossing the southern border. Even some Republicans object to his latest strike, and stock prices plummeted after the news after steadily dropping in the past month. DDT’s move may also tank his proposed trade treaty with Canada and Mexico. Three months ago, DDT added tariffs to $200 billion of goods from China, beginning his plan to tax almost every Chinese import into the U.S., and he’s threatening tariffs on billions of dollars of products from India. DDT’s whiplash shifts in tariffs could scuttle changes for trade deals with other nations because they won’t trust him to honor any agreements. Singapore and Hong Kong are now ahead of the U.S. as the world’s most competitive economy as DDT pursues his trade war with China.

In other major news this week, Robert Mueller, leaving the DOJ, said that DDT wasn’t charged with a crime because the DOJ did not permit doing this to a sitting—at least Republican—president. Mueller added that he did not exonerate DDT.  Mueller addressed the seriousness of obstruction of justice and told people to be highly concerned about the way that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“They used sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign. They stole private information, and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks. The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate…. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”

To summarize Mueller’s statements:

  • Russia attacked our elections;
  • Obstruction of justice is a serious crime;
  • DDT hasn’t been cleared;
  • DDT wasn’t indicted because he can’t be indicted while in office.

Conservative David Frum wrote that Mueller’s report states that “the social media campaign and the GRU hacking operations coincided with a series of contacts between Trump Campaign officials and individuals with ties to the Russian government.” Frum added that those contacts “were covered up by a series of lies, both to the special counsel and to Congress. Lying by the Trump campaign successfully obscured much of what happened in 2016.” Quoting Mueller’s report in an interview, Frum declared that DDT was “brazen” about doing everything he could to undermine the special counsel’s investigation—just as DDT is doing now to discredit the report. From Mueller’s report:

“The President engaged in a second phase of conduct, involving public attacks on the investigation, non-public efforts to control it, and efforts in both public and private to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation. Many of the President’s acts directed at witnesses, including discouragement of cooperation with the government and suggestions of possible future pardons, occurred in public view.”

DDT’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders continues to claim that DDT “has been fully and completely exonerated,” and DDT himself claimed that Russia had not interfered after he said it did. “I had nothing to do with Russia getting me elected,” DDT said before he declared nobody but “me” helped him get elected. Then he ranted about the courts’ not allowing him to be impeached although impeachment is completely the purview of Congress and not the judicial system. DDT accused Mueller of not like him and falsely bragged about his great powers granted in Article II of the U.S. Constitution.  

AG Bill Barr, DDT’s current fixer, reversed his earlier position that the Mueller didn’t disagree with Barr’s early translation of the investigation and blatantly said that Mueller was wrong in his analysis after Mueller’s press conference. Despite the DOJ order not to blame DDT for obstruction, Barr said he decided to make a decision that DDT was not guilty because he “didn’t agree with the legal analysis.”

DDT stays buddies with North Korea’s president Kim Jong-Un despite Kim’s executions of officials who negotiated with the U.S. for denuclearization. Purged are Kim Hyok Chol with four other foreign ministry officials for “poorly reporting” after spearheading talks with U.S. nuclear envoy Stephen Biegun. While DDT damned Mueller, he praised Kim for being a “funny guy” who “loves his people.”

Russia, another beloved country of DDT, is likely conducting low-yield nuclear tests in violation of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, according to director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley. Tests can help Russia design new weapons. DDT is opposed to arms-control treaties, and New START, a bilateral U.S.-Russia treaty to cut strategic nuclear weapons arsenals in half expires in 2010.

The Supreme Court, scheduled this month to announce whether the 2020 census is permitted to ask all people in the country if they are citizens, has received new inflammatory information about the reason for this question. Hard drives belonging to the deceased Thomas B. Hofeller revealed his study that the question could greatly favor Republicans in gerrymandering maps and deter people of color from being counted. The Constitution mandates counting people for districts, not counting citizens. Materials on Hofeller’s computer show that he was a source for the DOJ’s request that the question be added to the census.

A few stories came back from DDT’s trip to Japan last week—his fascination with sumo wrestling, the fancy meal of cheeseburgers, his declaration that he would put tariffs on Japanese goods, his siding with North Korea over Japan, his support in Kim’s badmouthing former vice-president and senator Joe Biden—but my favorite is his extreme pettiness regarding the USS John S. McCain. It started with the claim that he told officials to hide the name on the ship so that no one could see it while he spoke on the USS Wasp. There were denials that a tarp was placed over the McCain name, a barge was strategically placed to hide the name, that members of its crew were turned away from hearing his speech. Whether he gave orders to hide the name, DDT did say that “someone did that, and they were well-meaning.”

After years of corruption, Transportation Secretary and Senate Leader’s wife, Elaine Chao, is finally facing ethics charges in investments. Two years ago, she kept a financial stake in construction-materials company Vulcan Materials, and her recent sale of shares netted her over $40,000. Her problems follow those of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, former EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, current Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, former HHS Secretary Tom Price, former regulatory adviser Carl Icahn, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, former CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, among others.

Last week, Lynne Patton, a HUD administrator, wrote that she “honestly” doesn’t care if she breaks federal law, in this case the Hatch Act banning officials from using their “official authority for political purposes” to prevent “federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity.” Kelly Anne Conway echoed Patton’s disregard for the law through her comment about violating law:

“Blah, blah, blah. If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work.”

DDT’s team probably didn’t expect the backlash of the Treasury decision to leave DDT’s beloved racist Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill by pushing 19th-century black activist Harriet Tubman to the back of the bus. A movement is causing people to stamp Tubman’s image over Jackson’s picture on the bill, a totally legal action.

The New York Times has continued its support for DDT that helped him get elected the first time. This time, the newspaper published a “glam shot” of pretty Hope Hicks, who admitted that she sometimes lied for DDT, with a statement that she faces an “existential” question of whether to comply with a legal House subpoena for her to testify. Responses to subpoenas are black and white—either subjects do or don’t. human existence. Responses to subpoenas are black and white—subjects either do or don’t, such as whether to run red lights or shoplift or break other laws. As the Times supports DDT in violating the law by ignoring subpoenas, it told its reporters that they may not appear on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss their articles. Yet their reporters are welcome as “political analysists” on CNN and MSNBC, specifically on Morning Joe as Joe Scarborough campaigned for DDT. Note that the less biased news source Washington Post now has the inside track to discuss their latest findings.

It’s definite: DDT’s and GOP $1.5 trillion tax cuts didn’t fuel economic growth, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. The 2.9 percent growth in GDP reflected a small—if any—first year effect. Tax cuts didn’t pay for itself, didn’t help U.S. worker’s wages, and didn’t boost domestic capital investment. Corporations used the bulk of their 40-percent tax cut for stock buybacks.

May 25, 2019

DDT: More Week 122

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 7:32 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Always a bit more news about Dictator Donald Trump (DDT):

DDT dodged a congressional review to make 22 deals, selling $7 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, etc. by declaring an emergency to protect the countries from Iran. Saudis will be able to use the bombs, missile systems, semiautomatic rifles, drones, and support for manufacturing and production of F-18 combat jets to kill Yemeni civilians. The planes are provided to other countries such as Israel, India, and South Korea. DDT is greatly helping arms companies’ friends to make massive profits in exchange for massive killings throughout the world.

DDT is also profiting his Fox network by boosting its hosts. Media Matters reports that these on-air personalities made at least $500,000 in speaking fees by moonlighting in appearances not only at GOP groups and conservative organizations but also at events with DDT’s officials and on DDT’s properties. Top payments have gone to Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Greg Gutfeld, Jeanine Pirro, Pete Hegseth, and Laura Ingraham.

DDT is sending 1,500 additional military service members and a dozen fighter jets to the Middle East to provoke Iran into war on top of thousands sent earlier this month. The Pentagon claims intelligence about Iran’s escalating plans for attacks, but no other country supports the U.S. in this claim—sort of like 16 years ago with Iraq. There is no proof for the Pentagon’s claims. Acting DOD Secretary Patrick Shanahan has written members of Congress to tell them he will be concealing information from them, resulting in bipartisan protest.

DDT starting his trip to Japan by contradicting his host when he said he isn’t disturbed by North Korea missile tests.  North Korea also said it will not negotiate with the U.S. because of U.S. demands for disarmament.

DDT is pushing the Army Corps of Engineers to select a specific construction firm, Fisher Industries, to receive billions of dollars for building his wall. Fisher’s CEO is a GOP donor and frequent Fox network guest. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders described DDT as “one of the country’s most successful builders.” Fisher has already started building a border fence on private land with private funds within feet of an 1855 international boundary monument. DDT has called for “French doors” on the wall instead of a hydraulic sliding gate and demands that the wall be painted black. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction limiting additional border fencing in specific areas and blocking the $1 billion transfer from Pentagon funds for the wall.

DDT’s decision to stop the DACA program has been blocked by the majority of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that called DDT’s actions “not adequately explained” and “arbitrary and capricious.” An activist DDT appointee disagreed with the majority opinion.  The U.S. Supreme Court also permitted a Massachusetts law that bars for-profit corporations from making campaign donations. Neil Gorsuch joined the progressive wing of the Supreme Court to hold that the Apsáalooke Nation, also known as the Crow Tribe, can keep its treaty-guaranteed right to hunt on unoccupied lands outside its reservation. The case bodes well for tribes keeping their rights. A lower court had maintained that tribes lose their rights after statehood on treaty land.

DDT’s new immigration plan has succeeded with GOP lawmakers like a lead balloon. One of the provisions switches visas to a “merit-based” program that would have eliminated DDT’s wife and in-laws from coming into the United States.

DDT’s military budget for 2020 is actually about $1.25 trillion instead of the $700 billion he claims. The uncapped Overseas Contingency Operations account (aka “war”) has skyrocketed to $174 billion that shows DDT plans for military attacks around the globe. Together the nuclear weapons and Veterans Affairs, not part of the official budget, total about $240 billion. The rest of the $1.25 trillion comes from $156 billion in interest payments on the national debt from the military. The GOP Senate Armed Forces Committee gave DDT’s military budget an extral $16 billion, almost the same amount as the $19.1 billion for disaster relief that Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) is holding hostage because it doesn’t cut out other expenditures.

DDT’s Pentagon wants to give the Taliban $30 million for peace negotiations.

DDT has given farmers another $16 billion without anyone objecting about needing matching reductions for other costs. The amount sounds huge, but the average payout to farmers was $7,236—a fraction of what they lost to tariffs. In Iowa, corn farmers got 1 cent per bushel with a decline of 58 cents in corn prices. Soybeans are $2.50 less per bushel, about $150 loss per acre and $60,000 for farms planting 400 acres. Big farms that get much larger checks are using payouts to pick up land from smaller farms at bargain rates. Sharecroppers can’t complain because they will lose their land. At the same time, taxpayers pay twice, giving money to farmers and paying for the tariffs.

DDT may have helped Professional Bank CEO and president Abel Iglesias be appointed to the board of directors of the Miami branch of the Atlanta Federal Reserve after his bank loaned DDT up to $25 million for the purchase of a mansion owned by DDT’s sister. She recently retired as a federal judge to avoid an investigation into tax fraud.

DDT has said he has a literal “hit list.” Told that treason carries a death penalty, he listed these people to be convicted:

“You look at Comey. If you look at McCabe. If you look at people … probably people higher than that. If you look at Strzok. If you look at his lover, Lisa Page, his wonderful lover.”

DDT finished up his statement with “Bob Mueller and his group of 18 killers.”

DDT’s activist Supreme Court has temporarily blocked fixing gerrymandering districts in Michigan and Ohio until it makes a final ruling in June about the constitutionality of Republicans’ drawing districts to favor themselves.

DDT is carrying through his proposal to deny healthcare rights based on gender identity by mandating that sex is determined by genitalia. The new plan allows healthcare professionals and insurers to deny healthcare including gender reassignment needs although three of four courts determined that the Affordable Care Act covers gender identity. DHHS declares that “sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth” and uses sex on a birth certificate as “definitive proof.”

Anti-LGBTQ rights Roger Severino is behind the idea of “genitalia at birth.” Head of Human Rights at DHHS, he wants discrimination in all government agencies against non-traditional gender identity. People questioning the government’s definition of their sex could be forced to submit to genetic testing, causing problems for identification. Men with Klinefelter syndrome possess an extra X chromosome (XXY), two or three extra Xs (XXXY, XXXXY), or an extra Y chromosome (XYY). Women with Turner syndrome have only one X chromosome, and women (XX) with congenital adrenal hyperplasia may have masculinized genitals. Men genetically XY who have complete androgen insensitivity syndrome fail to develop masculine sexual characteristics. Children with Guevedoces appear to be female until their penis and testicles descend when they are about 12 years old. Other people may have XX chromosomes in some cells and XY in others. Intersex people don’t fit typical biological definitions of male or female. Scientists now believe that almost everyone has genetically distinct cells of a sex that fails to match the rest of their body. Sex is a spectrum and lacks a rigid binary system.

A coalition of 23 states is suing DDT’s DHHS for removing healthcare from patients under the guise of “moral” beliefs and terminating hundreds of billions of dollars in federal health care funding from their states or cities. The discrimination is scheduled to go into effect in July.

The NRA is in a world of financial hurt. On top of investigations by New York State and problems with CEO Wayne LaPierre spending $200,000 of members’ money to buy clothing, the PR firm Ackerman McQueen is counter-suing for $100 million for allegedly trying to sever business ties to benefit the expensive NRA legal firm. The NRA started the kerfuffle by suing Ackerman for $40 million, charging that the firm of “fomenting” an attempted coup and leaking confidential documents. LaPierre won the battle in driving out former president Oliver North, but he may lose the money argument and drive the NRA into bankruptcy. An earlier article shows how excessive spending has drained the NRA’s coffers.

Paul Krugman has a perspective of how DDT saved the Democrats when he rejected the infrastructure meeting and how DDT’s actions will put the United States into a world of financial hurt—possibly even a recession.

The man who ridiculed President Obama for golfing and promised he would never golf has spent over $100 million dollars for his personal golf trips with some of this money pouring into his own pockets. This coming month he plans another seven-figure trip to another country where he can play on his own course. During his campaign, DDT promised that he would not play golf at all. The $100 million is over three times the expenditure of Robert Mueller’s investigation, a net neutral cost because Mueller collected about $30 million from guilty subjects. His golf expenditures would fund the Special Olympics program for six years, the program that DDT refused to budget until public backlash.

Almost everyone who reads DDT’s tweets knows that he cannot spell, but his notes for the “impromptu” press conference after his tantrum led him out of the infrastructure meeting is more proof. He also misspells an opponent’s name in tweeting “Joe Bidan.” DDT’s notes about a “hoax” missed “37 total indicted … 26 Russians indicted … 4 people sent to prison … 7 guilty pleas” from the Mueller investigation. Plus the gains from the guilty plea made the investigation cost nothing.

[Note: Those who wish to read more about the news above and/or factcheck the material may wish to use the links.]

May 9, 2019

White House Threatens Freedom of the Press

Filed under: Media — trp2011 @ 8:57 PM
Tags: , , ,

Does DDT think that the media won’t find out about him if reporters can’t go to the increasingly rare press conferences? Yesterday, the White House eliminated passes for most of the press corps and then said they would take requests for “exceptions.” Columnist Dana Milbank was the only one of seven Washington Post pass holders who wasn’t granted an “exception.” No reason was given. Milbank wrote, “There’s something wrong with a president having the power to decide which journalists can cover him.”

“Exceptions” can be revoked at any time without justification. Last year, a judge described the revocation of Jim Acosta’s press pass as “shrouded in mystery.” New credential requirements include presence in the White House at least 90 out of the previous 180 days—seventy percent of the workdays. DDT may not even be there for that many days, and new policies prevent journalists from attending events—forcing them to miss the quota. The new guidelines also fail to recognize campaign-trail reporting or presidential trips abroad. Those possibly losing their livelihood are freelance camera operators and technicians. Those not granted “exceptions” receive a six-month pass which doesn’t necessary offer access.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) tweeted that DDT’s “curtailing a free press and undermining the public’s access to government is a hallmark of authoritarianism & has no place in America. This purge of reporters is un-American and needs to be reversed ASAP.” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) agreed, “This is what dictators do.”

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders may not listen to her words; she celebrated the release of two Reuters journalists jailed over 500 days in Myanmar, calling it a victory for the freedom of the press. She said:

“A free press, freedom of religion and the rule of law are fundamental principles for any democracy.”

DDT had ordered all his administrative officials to boycott the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, a fundraiser for scholarships. In the past, members have expressed great concern for the lack of free press throughout the world, but some statements this year focused on the United States. On April 27, 2019, Olivier Knox, the WHCA’s president and chief Washington correspondent for SiriusXM radio, said that his son was concerned about whether DDT would imprison his father. Knox said that the threats on his life as a foreign correspondent and to his career by former political administrations pale in comparison to DDT’s hostility toward reporters and the hostile environment DDT created. He said:

“And that’s because February 2017 is when the president of the United States called us the ‘enemies of the people. A few days later I was driving my then-11-year-old son somewhere, probably soccer practice, when he burst into tears and asked me, ‘Is Donald Trump going to put you in prison?’”

Knox said that later his son promised him that if Knox is ever thrown out of the U.S., one of the family’s relatives, who’s “a really good lawyer,” would be able to get him back into the country. Knox added:

“I’ve had to tell my family not to touch packages on our stoop. I’ve had death threats, including one this week. Too many of us have. It shouldn’t need to be said in a room full of people who understand the power of words, but ‘fake news’ and ‘enemies of the people’ are not pet names, punchlines, or presidential.”

Like at all his other rallies, DDT repeated the word “fake” to describe the press in Green Bay (WI) last week, and, like always, the hateful terminology brought cheers from the crowd. DDT complained about the harsh humor directed toward him and his administration by the comedian selected to entertain the audience at last year’s dinner so WHCA selected as keynote speaker an historian, a scholar who has written several books on powerful people in U.S. history. His 2004 of Alexander Hamilton inspired the Broadway musical hit Hamilton. In his speech, Chernow said:

“The thing that worries me most is the sustained assault on truth. What is happening today is … a relentless campaign against the very credibility of the news media.”

For credibility, the press needs to attend DDT’s press conferences, but the one today shows how useless these events are. Although the intended purpose was medical billing, DDT wandered away from its purpose:

He described his treatment of Puerto Rico as generous after the Hurricane Maria devastation, claiming that he gave them “91 billion.” Thus far, Puerto Rico has received about $11 billion. Hurricane Katrina cost $200 billion, most of it going to Louisiana.

He accused John Kerry of violating the Logan Act, which bans private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments without permission, and called for his prosecution. Last year, Kerry, a former Secretary of State, said he spoke with the Iranian foreign minister a few times since leaving office. Two people were indicted under the 1799 law, one in 1802 and the other in 1852, but no one was ever convicted

He deferred to Barr on Mueller testimony after he said that Mueller should not testify to Congress after he deferred to Barr about Mueller’s testimony.

He attacked Mueller, accusing him of a conflict of interest because Mueller had been considered a replacement for the fired former FBI director James Comey.

He claimed his son Donald Trump, Jr. was “exonerated” by Mueller.

He said he had been going easy on China and “gave China a break” on the tariffs. After tariffs are increased, DDT said, “We’re going to be taking in more money than we’ve ever taken in.”

About medical billing, not so much.

DDT attempts to hide the fact that U.S. consumers, not China, are paying for the fees and lies about the trade deficit size. DDT’s threat also caused his beloved stock market to drop the next day. Immediately before DDT tweeted his new tariffs, DDT met with Republicans who told him to end tariffs and not impose new ones. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) even tacitly held up the proposed North American trade deal as a bargaining chip. Earlier, GOP incumbents up for re-election argued against DDT’s efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

Because of DDT’s tariffs, taxpayers have paid $900,000 for every job created in the steel/uranium industry—over 14 times a steelworker’s salary and an additional $11.5 billion cost to the economy per year. Steelworker jobs averaged 3,000 jobs per month this year. Consumers are paying $815,000 for every job created in making washing machines. Legally DDT can declare tariffs only for national defense, which makes his fist tariffs that were on washing machines questionable, and the World Trade Organization may stop him. No matter what DDT says, consumers are paying the taxes on the tariffs.

DDT’s steel and aluminum tariffs added 9 percent to the price of steel products sold in the U.S. last year, for a total of $5.6 billion in extra costs passed along to consumers. Tariffs added about $11.5 billion in annual costs to the U.S. economy. Yet the government isn’t making much more money. Additional tariffs should add about $32.5 billion a year, but the reality is less than half that amount at $15 billion. And that’s a small percentage of the $3 trillion annual revenue for the United States.

Sanders, who has held only two press conferences in the first four months of 2019, denied the guidelines. She said, “No one’s access is being limited.” Maybe it was just another one of those offensive trial balloons to see if anyone noticed.

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