Nel's New Day

December 8, 2018

The Ins and Outs of DDT’s World

After months of rumors that John Kelly, chief of staff to Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), would depart the White House, the latest comments that the two of them were no longer speaking bore fruit. DDT announced that Kelly would be out of the House by the end of the year, probably to be replaced by 36-year-old Nick Ayers, currently VP Mike Pence’s chief of staff. As with other DDT’s changes in personnel, he’s looking for someone who won’t disagree with him. Less than 17 months ago, which DDT called “almost two years,” optimists hoped that Kelly would curb DDT’s unruly impulses, but Kelly had his own problems of lying and refusing to back down on fact-checks of his falsehoods, specifically his attacks on Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL). Kelly also supported Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the family separation travesty at the U.S.-Mexico border. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner will be delighted to see the last of Kelly, although he is also testifying in Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Other openings also give DDT a chance to appoint more high-level officials. With the failure of Matt Whitaker as acting AG because of his criminal activities, DDT found a more confirmable AG candidate with the same credentials as Whitaker—supports the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, wants to investigate Hillary Clinton, believes that Robert Mueller’s investigation is wrong, and has a pattern of handing out pardons for the president. Bill Barr, AG for George H.W. Bush, considers Jeff Sessions an “outstanding attorney general” and gave pardons for H.W.’s friends implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal.

Pro-lifers are also delighted that Barr opposes Roe v. Wade. He also supports harsh drug laws and mass incarceration. Barr can protect DDT with his belief that the executive branch should oppose attempt from Congress to obtain executive data, a position that Republicans will approve. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) called Barr “a man whose writings endorse the anti-democratic notion that the president is effectively royalty, unaccountable to laws, the Constitution, or constraint by Congress.” He added that Barr “supported unconstitutional surveillance of Americans … and advocated for the use of torture.”

Another, far more unlikely, DDT appointment is Heather Nauert, State Department spokeswoman, to replace Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador for the United States. A former long-time employee for the Fox network, Nauert had no experience in foreign policy, government, or politics until DDT put her into the State Department in March 2017. Twenty years ago, she was hired among many other young female cable personalities to publicize the Bill Clinton scandal with Monica Lewinsky. Bill Shine, now White House deputy chief of staff for communications after he was forced to leave Fox for his handling of sexual misconduct, brought Nauert to Fox. She explained her popularity by saying, “It’s more interesting to see a young person talking about issues than a big, old, fat white guy.”

On the Fox network, sometimes as host of Fox & Friends, Nauert complained about migrant children bringing “disease” into the U.S., ranted about “illegals,” and lament As a talking head on Fox News, she peddled the Benghazi conspiracy, claimed that immigrant children are bringing “disease” into America, railed against “illegals,” and protested about “sharia law … now changing everything” in the United States because a Minnesota YMCA accommodated Somali-American Muslim girls during swimming class.

Nauert is known for her gaffes. Last June, she gave the D-Day invasion attacking German forces in World War II as an example of the “strong relationship with the government of Germany.” Nothing about the German reunification in 1990 and the end of the Cold War. Most recently, she posted a photograph of herself cheerfully smiling in front of the Saudi Royal Court while she represented the United States on a “fact-finding mission” into the torture and dismemberment U.S. resident and WaPo journalist orchestrated by Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam. During the same time, her boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also grinned and laughed with MBS. [visual]

In talking about why Nauert is “clearly not qualified” for the job, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said:

“Our foreign policy is a mess, and the president was laughed at in his last speech before the U.N. I’m not sure anybody would advise him that the way to correct all his mistakes is to put a Fox & Friends anchor as our top ambassador to the United Nations…. These days it seems that the most important qualification is that you show up on Donald Trump’s TV screen, and if you’re successful in that endeavor, then you seem to be a top candidate to get a whole bunch of top positions in the U.S. government.”

Peter Baker and Michael M. Grynbaum wrote about DDT’s reshaping the role of the ambassador, a position that became part of DDT’s Cabinet at Nikki Haley’s insistence:

“If confirmed, Ms. Nauert may serve more as a public face for the administration than as a policymaker, leaving Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, to dominate decision-making back in Washington. Many in Washington saw the appointment as a way for Mr. Bolton to consolidate power.”

Even an opinion piece in The Hill, a conservative publication, disagreed with DDT’s choice with the understatement that Nauert is not “one of America’s top diplomats,” that the choice is “downright silly.” Chances are good that DDT selected Nauert to downgrade the U.S. involvement in the UN.

Another new DDT nominee is Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley for the new chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. An odd choice, Milley disagrees with several DDT positions. Milley has said:

  • The duty of soldiers and officers is to the U.S. Constitution, not any political party or figure.
  • Russia and China are the most dangerous potential foes; “the faint clouds of a coming storm are visible on the horizon.”
  • Korea is “the most dangerous near-term threat to the U.S.”
  • Barring new transgender recruits from enlisting has no military rationale. Earlier this year, he testified year that he’s “received precisely zero reports of issues of cohesion, discipline, morale and all those sorts of things” as a result of the presence of transgender troops.

Like DDT, Milley does believe in a big military budget. He said:

“Failure to pass the budget, in my view as an American citizen and the chief of staff of the United States Army, constitutes professional malpractice.”

One of DDT’s judicial nominees, Thomas Farr, may lose a confirmation for the fourth time despite VP Mike Pence’s vote to advance him. Known for his racist positions on segregation and voter suppression, Farr alienated even Tim Scott (SC), the GOP’s only black senator, who wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal to keep Farr from representing a region with 30 percent black population.

“I am saddened that in the editorial “Democrats and Racial Division” (Dec. 1) you attempt to deflect the concerns regarding Thomas Farr’s nomination to the federal bench. While you are right that his nomination should be seen through a wider lens, the solution isn’t simply to decry ‘racial attacks.’ Instead, we should stop bringing candidates with questionable track records on race before the full Senate for a vote. […]

“We must not seek to sow the seeds of discord, but rather embrace the power of unity. Simply put, if the Senate votes on a candidate that doesn’t move us in that direction, I will not support him or her. Our country deserves better.

After voting to confirm over 99 percent of DDT’s judicial nominees, many of them racist, Scott finally drew a line when he refused to follow his party to confirm Farr. Scott’s white cohorts have not reached that line yet; they continue to support nominees with “questionable track records on race.”

Robert Wilkie, VA Secretary, one of these “questionable” appointments, praised Confederate President Jefferson Davis as a “martyr to ‘The Lost Cause'” and an “exceptional man in an exceptional age.” He also called abolitionists who opposed slavery “radical,” “mendacious,” and “enemies of liberty” and said the Confederate “cause was honorable.”

Race isn’t the only line that the administration crosses:

  • Karen Budd-Falen, an ally of right-wing extremist Cliven Bundy who led an armed standoff with federal officials, is the deputy solicitor for Parks and Wildlife working on issues related to endangered species, wildlife refuges, and national monuments.
  • Adrian Zuckerman, nominee for Romanian ambassador, was sued for sexual harassment by his former secretary.
  • Lane Genatowski, nominee to head a cutting-edge research program in the US Department of Energy (DOE), is personally invested in various natural gas-based utilities and gas pipeline companies.
  • Andrew Smith, head of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, has over 120 conflicts of interest after working for a law firm with a huge number of corporate clients including Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Uber.

Almost all DDT employees are endangered species except his family. The latest one to surface is DDT’s vice president. Trump’s 2020 strategy meeting last Monday questioned whether Pence should be on the ticket because he “doesn’t add anything.” DDT has been questioning Pence’s loyalty for weeks, and advisors are pushing DDT to replace Pence with Nikki Haley. Pence has spent years lying for DDT, covering for him, and swallowing criticisms. But DDT has no loyalty to others: he just demands it for himself.

October 29, 2017

DDT: Week Forty – Problems Continue

So much has happened during the past week that it seems forever since the beginning of last week when Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) accused Myeshia Johnson, the Gold Star widow of La David Johnson, of being a liar.Everything he does follows this MO as described by the Washington Post: “Make it a fight, use controversy to elevate the message and never apologize.”

DDT’s latest word on the deaths of four U.S. soldiers in Niger: “I didn’t [authorize the mission]. But I have great generals ….” As with the death in a Yemen mission after his inauguration, the un-commander-in-chief blames the generals. “This was something that was, you know, just, they wanted to do …. and they lost Ryan.” A few years ago, the coward-in-chief wrote, “Leadership: Whatever happens, you’re responsible. If it doesn’t happen, you’re responsible.” No longer.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), once a DDT supporter, continued expressing his concerns about the man inaugurated as president last January:

“I don’t know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard, and debases our country in a way that he does, but he does.”

Corker, head of the Foreign Relations Committee, also said that DDT “has great difficulty with the truth” and that “world leaders are very aware that much of what [Trump] says is untrue.” As Josh Chafetz, Cornell Law School professor, recently: “Politics is, among other things, a discursive practice. Words are actions.” In response, DDT ridiculed Corker’s physical short stature.

Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) announcement that he won’t run for re-election in 2018 brought out DDT’s ire after Flake’s 17-minute speech about DDT’s “reckless, outrageous and undignified” behavior. Flake’s decision went from a “chem-trail” Kelli Ward (so called because she thinks that the government is poisoning people with the jet trails) being a slam-dunk in the GOP primary to chaos in a state that is slowly turning purple.

The rest of the GOP has a position about DDT’s fitness—nobody cares and don’t tell anybody about it. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said, “I don’t think the American people care about that. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said Republican senators worried about DDT’s fitness should keep their fears “private” and talk about it “within the family.” Republican patriotism.

Deaths from the opioid overdose crisis have hit the same level as HIV during the 1980s and 90s, but DDT has declared it an “emergency,” not a “crisis,” with no additional funding. (Maps of its growth here.) DDT’s solution? “Just say no,” just like the failures of Nancy Reagan.

Claiming that it refuses to “facilitate” abortions, DDT’s administration imprisoned a girl who had crossed the border into the United States and wouldn’t allow her to see a lawyer or visit a doctor for a month until the administration quit appealing the judgments of four courts in her favor. Immigration took her to a Christian “pregnancy center” that told her why she should carry the fetus to full term and keps stalling in the hope that she would go beyond 20 weeks before the case was settled. After Washington D.C. appeals court voted 6-3 in her favor, she had the procedure last Wednesday at 16 weeks. Federal officials also violated a court order when they told the girl’s mother she was pregnant. The girl had said that she didn’t want her parents to know because they beat an older sister who was pregnant to cause a miscarriage. In control of the girl was E. Scott Lloyd, the former attorney for the Knights of Columbus and a fierce opponent of abortion who heads up the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

DENVER, COLORADO – OCTOBER 26:  (Photo by Daniel Brenner/Special to the Denver Post)

Over 100 women—“handmaids”—marched and protested against the GOP’s attack on women’s reproductive rights in Denver when VP Mike Pence came for a state GOP fundraiser. The image comes from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel A Handmaid’s Tale inspired by Ronald Reagan’s restrictions on women. In the book, women were forced to become pregnant and bear children. House Republicans introduced a bill preventing doctors from performing abortions after six weeks, usually before women know they are pregnant. The 20-week ban has passed the House and gone to the Senate.

Prototypes for DDT’s “wall” are up, and the New York Magazine asks which one is the “worst.” Your choice of “soothing slat design,” “light-toned wood,” an abandoned “project,” “monolith from 2001,” “experimental,” “vulnerable to breach by Slenderman,” iInfected rusty comb,” and “straight-up boring.” Matt Novak discovered how easily a drone can take drugs from Mexico to the U.S. USA Today described the fiasco of the bidding and building process based on emails with contractors.

The U.S. Air Force is reportedly preparing to put nuclear bombers on 24-hour notice, a position not taken since the Cold War.

The U.S. tried to prove that that Kabul was safe because of this week’s visit by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but they lied about his location. Tillerson never got off the Bagram air base.

From Ron Paul: The U.S. occupies 53 out of 54 African nations.

When DDT ran for president, he said he would eliminate crime on his first day. What he’s done is to eliminate crime statistics.

The majority of Houston Texans players knelt during the national anthem despite the comment from owner Bob McNair that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison.” He later apologized to the players, saying that he didn’t mean them.

The Trump administration wants to as much as triple the fees to visit 17 National Parks — including Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone. Families would have to pay $70 during peak season. The fee increase won’t happen until after a public comment period ending on November 23. Ben Schreiber, Senior Political Strategist for Friends of the Earth, said:

“The Trump administration is turning our National Parks into an exclusive playground for the rich. Secretary Zinke has given our public lands to oil companies, slashed budgets, and attacked the regulations that ensure taxpayers receive a fair price for their natural resource.”

Women are responsible for sexual assault, according to Carl Gallups, a right-wing pastor and conspiracy theorist who spoke at Trump campaign rallies during the 2016 election. It’s because women dress provocatively. In an interview with Mike Shoesmith, Gallups agreed with Shoesmith’s statement:

“Men are visually stimulated and unwanted stimulation should meet the basic definition of assault. Women who dress in a suggestive manner are] guilty of indecent visual assault on a man’s imagination, which does cause mental anguish and torment. When a man sees a naked or partially dressed woman, a chemical reaction happens in his brain. Neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are released, giving him an involuntary surge of pleasure. Notice the word ‘involuntary’ … “

DDT continues to make horrifying appointments. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Thomas Farr with a vote of 11-9 to the federal District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. After George W. Bush first nominated him in 2006, the Senate didn’t advance his name and then blocked President Obama’s new nomination for his two terms. The Congressional Black Caucus wrote, “It is no exaggeration to say that had the White House deliberately sought to identify an attorney in North Carolina with a more hostile record on African-American voting rights and workers’ rights than Thomas Farr, it could hardly have done so.”

Another worst of the week, confirmed to manage tax policy at the Treasury Department with a 26-0 vote, is David Kautter, who will be acting head of the IRS starting on November 12. Through his 30 years of work with work with Ernst & Young, Kautter developed skill in helping clients avoid taxes. In his confirmation hearing, he said he wasn’t involved in these tax shelters and said he felt bad about not preventing the scheme. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said that Kautter promised “he would maintain the highest level of ethical and professional standards if he is confirmed.” Robert Mercer, who paid at least $20 million for DDT’s election, is $7 billion in income tax arrears from his tax-avoidance scheme. Wyden can now find out whether his trust in Kautter is misplaced.

Kelly Knight Craft, wife of coal billionaire Jon Craft and DDT’s new ambassador to Canada, says she believes in both sides of the climate warming question. She finished her statement about the world’s environment to Canadian media by saying that the U.S. is interested in what’s best for the United States.

The acting administrator for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration—who doesn’t need confirmation—is connected to a company that makes money from the sale of oil spill equipment.

The New Yorker has another cover of DDT that he can post at his golf courses.

The White House is so embarrassed about DDT’s golf-playing that it’s trying to hide his activities—like his 75th day of golf last weekend In 280 days of office. Yesterday DDT was on his Virginia golf course for the fourth weekend in a row.

Too much for one blog post! More coming.

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