Nel's New Day

October 12, 2019

Impeachment Causes Panic, Disaster

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) presided over two campaign rallies in the past week, those in Minnesota and Louisiana, and ramped up his fury. While networks no longer televise his speeches because they lack information, the media publicizes clips, many of them “bleeped” because the man in the Oval Office uses such coarse language that it cannot be broadcast. Amidst abusive insults, DDT’s liberal sprinkling of “R-rated” vulgarities are delivered to an audience where small children are present. At one point, he seemed to be trying to imitate language during sex between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page. It’s the new normal for how the leader of the U.S. represents the nation throughout the world—foul fury delivered in profanities with no relationship to policy.

The visuals from DDT’s rallies always show wildly cheering people, ecstatic about every curse that comes out of DDT’s mouth. There is a reason: he orchestrates his rallies like a “reality” television program with section leaders guiding their every move. John Pence, VP Mike Pence’s nephew, acts as one of these section leaders who urge the audience to chant, leads them, and then tells them when to quit, according to Omarosa Manigault Newman. She added that Pence is “particularly responsible for all of the staging and choreography of the campaigns … to get the outcome that we saw from Donald Trump saying go back to your countries that you came from and if you don’t love it, leave it.” All of it is coordinated and manufactured “to stoke fear in this country and we’ve seen it, we feel it, and they’re going to continue on because they believe it’s a winning strategy,” Newman said. About the 13-second “send her back” chant in Greenville, Newman said:

“If he wanted to shut it down, he would have looked to his right which is where the lead is standing, and he would have given a signal. They would have been shut down immediately. The way that he stepped back and he basked in the glow of these ugly chants, it indicated to the section leaders to let them keep going, to stoke them up, to keep it going.”

DDT’s rallies look good for his campaign, but they’re bad news for city and county budgets. Knowing that DDT’s campaigns have already stiffed at least ten cities over millions of dollars in unpaid expenditures, Minneapolis demanded the $530,000 cost for this week’s rally upfront. DDT threatened to sue the city, and it backed down. 

At today’s speech for the hate group Values Voters Summit, DDT seemed to have a mental breakdown. After complaining about the IRS being used against him, he said:

“Generations of Americans before us … did not work. They fight. They sacrifice. They do so much.”

He apparently cleaned up his language for the evangelicals, however, who have criticized DDT for “using the Lord’s name in vain.”

The Scottish government also can’t get legal costs out of DDT after he lost his case to block windmills near his Aberdeen golf course and was ordered to the government’s bills. DDT lost $14.3 million at his two Scottish golf courses last year, adding to losses for each of several previous years.

DDT’s business is also selling off real estate—about $110 million—in about 100 transactions in a goal to hoard money.  In January 2018, the sale of land in the Dominican Republic for $3.2 million clearly violated DDT’s promise to have no foreign deals while he was in office. DDT’s mansion in Beverly Hills went for $13.5 million to a company tied to Indonesian billionaire and DDT’s business partner Hary Tanoesoedibjo. A woman running a business selling access to Chinese officials got a Manhattan penthouse. HUD Ben Carson okayed the $900 million sale of the biggest federal subsidized housing complex, Spring Creek Towers, with DDT having a four-percent ownership. Sales erased liabilities of $19 million in New York, $8 million in San Francisco, and $12 million in Las Vegas Condo as the business repaid $60 million liabilities since his inauguration. Details here.  

DDT has failed to live up to his campaign promises in every major way except getting rid of regulations, and that goal is to help himself and big business at the cost of public safety and economic benefit. His focus, “drain the swamp,” has shifted to “fill the swamp.” In 33 months, DDT has put more ex-lobbyists into his Cabinet than either President Obama or George W. Bush did in their entire eight years. The $3.4 billion spent on lobbying in 2019 is the most since 2010, and DDT uses his office to make money for his personal businesses. Without DDT’s executive orders for two years hiatus before appointments or avoidance of conflicts of interest, these former lobbyists represent their earlier employers’ interests in the departments of Defense, Interior, EPA, Labor, Trade.

During his campaign, DDT suckered in voters by claiming to be a fabulous businessman, and he continues to brag about having “a lot of business ability” to make the right decisions. His narcissism drives him to be the most aggressive micromanager ever seated in the Oval Office. Former Jim Mattis disagrees with DDT’s style of telling people what to do with no background for his orders. In his memoir Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Read, Mattis, who has a personal collection of over 7,000 books, wrote:

 “If you haven’t read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, because your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you. Any commander who claims he is ‘too busy to read’ is going to fill body bags with his troops as he learns the hard way. Reading sheds light on the dark path ahead. By traveling into the past, I enhance my grasp of the present.”

DDT doesn’t know if Rudy Giuliani remains his lawyer because he hasn’t spoken to Giuliani for several days, starting to throw Giuliani “under the bus.” Giuliani stated that he is still DDT’s lawyer, and DDT today defended Giuliani after federal prosecutors began a criminal investigation into Giuliani’s breaking lobbying laws while trying to drive Ukraine’s U.S. ambassador Marie Yavonovitch out of the country.

Giuliani may have incriminated DDT in the Ukrainian crimes by saying that he wasn’t guilty of foreign lobbying violations because he was following DDT’s directions. Referring to his work to get Marie Yovanovitch, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, pulled out of the country, he said:

“It would be kind of ridiculous to say I was doing it on [former Ukrainian prosecutor] Lutsenko’s behalf when I was representing the president of the United States.”

DDT’s withdrawal of assistance from Kurds to allow Turkish invasion has reached a new level of disaster: Turkish forces are deliberately attacking U.S. forces in Syria to take over the land. Turkey knows where U.S. forces are stationed in Syria, and Brett McGurk, former special envoy for DDT against ISIS, said that the attack against the U.S. was deliberate. DDT’s military leaders Mark Esper and Mark Milley said that the Pentagon would not abandon the Kurds but have withdrawn forces to protect them from Turkey’s invasion.

In another unprecedented anti-immigrant action, DDT signed an executive order requiring state and local governments to consent in writing before people can arrive. He announced his move at his Minneapolis rally when he called their U.S. representative, Ilhan Omar, “an American-hating socialist.” No GOP governments and state officials are commenting on DDT’s new order. Case history shows that refugee and immigration policy is federal, not state.

In AG Bill Barr’s attack on the First Amendment separation of church and state before the Notre Dame’s law school audience, he blamed “secularists” and “so-called progressives” for destroying U.S. society. He said:

“This is not decay. This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

Barr profited off these industries while serving as general counsel at Verizon, being paid as a Time Warner board member, and representing telecom GTE. To Barr, freedom of religion is a “moral upheaval,” especially in public schools. This is the man selected to protect all the people in the United States.

Other Bits:

Two valuable advisory boards to protect marine life and fight invasive species disappeared after DDT refused to fund them. Both NOAA’s Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee and the Interior Department’s Invasive Species Advisory Committee had operated for over a decade.

If DDT gets his way, reporters will be exempted from the White House, in conflict with the constitution’s First Amendment, if DDT gets his way.

Microsoft discovered that Iran tried to identify, attack and breach email accounts belonging to DDT’s campaign last summer. Will Republicans who aren’t bothered by Russian interference in past elections mind if countries opposed to them do the same thing for the other side in 2020?

December 22, 2018

DDT: Week 100 – Not Very ‘Positive’

Day One of GOP/Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) government shutdown: Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) who fought to close down the government said that workers without paychecks is “actually part of what you do when you sign up for any public service position.” Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) said, “Who’s living that they’re not going to make it to the next paycheck?” He’s talking about 78 percent of fulltime workers.

The House Judiciary Committee, under the leadership of Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), demanded that the FBI vet over 3,400 pages of transcripts of investigation into the DOJ, including former FBI director James Comey, within two days, but the FBI said that the shutdown kept it from meeting that deadline. Materials cannot be released without an evaluation for classified, sensitive, or personally revealing information. Goodlatte, retiring this year, is single-handedly holding up a bill, unanimously passed in the Senate, to hopefully lower the incredibly high rate of violence against Native American women. He complained that states with high percentages of this population would receive grants for this purpose.

Failing to get an agreement on the CR today, the Senate adjourned and took their paychecks home for Christmas, leaving 800,000 government workers, over half of them still working, without pay.

Yesterday, DDT told reporters:

“We have had a very busy two or three days. It’s been very positive.”

Some of these “positive” events:

DDT’s pullout from Syria worsened—if possible—after Brett McGurk, U.S. envoy to the global coalition fighting ISIS, Brett McGurk, quit because he disagrees with DDT’s decision and statement about ISIS being defeated.

DDT’s shutdown of the government after conservative media goading and the chaos that he’s causing by pulling troops out of the Middle East with no plan made even stalwart Republican legislators at least raise eyebrows, especially after his Defense Secretary resigned in protest.

A senior Justice Department ethics official concluded that acting DOJ AG Matt Whitaker should recuse himself from overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian scandal, but Whitaker refuses to ask for an official ethics decision. The DOJ has notified Congress of Whitaker’s refusal.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified that she has no idea how many immigrants have died in custody under her watch. In a hearing about the death of a 7-year-old girl while in DHS custody, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said, “There have been at least 12 deaths under your watch,” Jayapal said. Nielsen also lied again that “we do not have a policy of separating families at the border,” and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told Nielsen that his committee plans to do its job of “meaningful oversight,” beginning in January. Note that Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) tried to save Nielsen by comparing the situation to Robert Mueller separating Paul Manafort from “his two beautiful children”—who happen to be 30 years old.

Nielsen said later that asylum seekers will be kept in Mexico instead of allowed to enter the U.S. This decision may not hold up in court after two judgments the past week. The D.C. appeals court struck down DDT and DOJ policies that refused asylum to victims of domestic and gang violence, and Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices to block DDT’s attempts to turn asylum seekers from the border. The ruling supported the decision of U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, who DDT called an “Obama judge,” that DDT’s new rules were illegal.

Latest nominee for DOJ AG William Barr sent an unsolicited 20-page memo to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and Assistant AG Steven Engel last summer giving arguments against Robert Mueller’s right to investigate DDT for potential obstruction of justice and refuting the government’s ability to even question DDT. Barr also sent the memo to DDT before he was appointed.

In a tweet announcing the signing of the farm bill, DDT provided the clip of himself singing the Green Acres theme song at the 2005 Emmys, a performance not to be missed. When the final bill failed to punish some food stamps recipients who did not have jobs, DDT planned an executive order to eliminate legal waivers that would take food from almost 800,000 people, a decision that may be determined illegal.

Instead of going free for giving up information after lying to the FBI, former national security adviser Michael Flynn has another 90 days to tell more secrets after an irritated judge accused him of selling out his country for pushing Turkish interests in the U.S. during DDT’s campaign and blaming the FBI for his lies because they didn’t tell him it was a crime. Flynn’s business partner Bijan Kian has been charged as an illegal agent of Turkey and conspiracy in his efforts to get a Turkish cleric extradited from the U.S., an 80-year-old man who would certainly killed if he were sent to Turkey after living in the U.S. for almost 20 years. DDT said that he would “take a look” at the man’s extradition, obviously not concerned about killings after his indifference to the torture and dismemberment of longtime U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi royalty.

A conservative Texas judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, bad news for DDT and Republicans because 53 percent of people have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act. People voted Democrats into the House to keep their health care. Approval in a November KFF Health Tracking Poll:

  • 82 percent – Young adults stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26
  • 82 percent – Health insurance exchanges for small businesses and people to shop for insurance and compare prices and benefits
  • 81 percent – Financial insurance premium help to low- and moderate-income Americans who don’t get insurance through their jobs
  • 81 percent – Gradually closure of the Medicare prescription drug “doughnut hole” so people will no longer be required to pay the full cost of their medications
  • 79 percent – No out-of-pocket costs for many preventive services
  • 77 percent – State expansion of existing Medicaid programs to cover more low-income, uninsured adults (now in three-fourths of the states)
  • 65 percent – No denial of coverage because of a person’s medical history

Republicans were in the majority in all of the above.

DDT’s sort-of lawyer Rudy Giuliani contradicted his boss by saying DDT knew that fixer Michael Cohen was negotiating with Russia for a Trump Tower in Moscow long after DDT said it had stopped ten months before his election, perhaps after June 2016, the date that Cohen gave. A letter of intent from DDT to move forward with his negotiations four months into his campaign has also emerged. Giuliani claimed that DDT knew nothing about it, but  DDT signed a letter of intent four months into his campaign for the project.

Documentation proves that DDT also broke his pledge to have no new business deals while he is in the Oval Office by acting as partner in the development of a proposed beachside resort in the Dominican Republic. Taxpayers provide the high costs of business trips for travel and security by DDT’s children in a business that opens up opportunities for more money laundering on the part of the Trump Organization.

DDT’s charitable foundation, called “a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests” by the New York AG, has been closed with any assets distributed under court supervision. The AG office is now pursuing a lawsuit to prevent DDT and his three oldest children from membership on boards of any other New York charities and force the payment of $2.8 million in restitution and penalties.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who made her first appearance since November to declare that the FBI “ambushed” Flynn, also attacked Comey on her official government Twitter account, an ethics issue. After his second six-hour House hearing, Comey, a Republican until 2016, exhorted Republicans:

“At some point someone has to stand up and face the fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement but stand up and speak the truth.”

Instead of the spending spree called the “Santa rally,” the Dow Jones’ seven-percent fall had its worst week since 2008—the year of George W. Bush’s recession—and dropped to the same number as 15 months ago. The Standard & Poor, down 11.4 percent thus far this month, is headed toward its worst December since 1931. DDT is blaming the Federal Reserve, but long time Republicans are blaming DDT. Crude oil plunged 11 percent during the past week for its worst weekly performance in three months.

DDT tweeted that he was negotiating with Democratic leaders about the shutdown for a bipartisan deal and announced a “large group” for a White House lunch but invited only GOP lawmakers and officials, primarily immigration hardliners. Conservatives keep repeating the wall as DDT’s promise but avoid the other promise that Mexico would fund the project.

This NBC/Wall Street Journal poll was taken before DDT’s “positive” busyness this past week:

  • 71 percent: DDT regularly makes “misleading” statements.
  • 62 percent: DDT has not been honest and truthful about Russia.
  • 60 percent: Lawmakers should make compromises to reach consensus on legislation.
  • 54 percent: Disapprove of the job that DDT is doing; negative feelings about DDT.
  • 50 percent: Mueller’s investigation has provided more doubts about DDT’s presidency.
  • 33 percent: The country is headed in the right direction.

Who should take the lead in country’s policies? Trump – 19 percent; GOP – 21 percent; Democrats – 48 percent.

The funniest news of the week: Funds raised by an online campaign We the People Will Fund the Wall—up to $14 million for 241,601 donors for 2/3 of a mile—will end up in the general fund for “general use” or “budget needs,” according to law. These funds are controlled by congressional appropriations. With this law, funds may be returned because GoFundMe prohibits “not using funds for their stated purpose.” Brian Kolfage, creator of the funding project has a background of sites with conspiracy theories. Another GoFundMe site has been introduced called “Ladders to Get over Trump’s Wall.”

If necessary, the money will be donated to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.

November 14, 2016

Don’t Normalize Trump; He Really Is That Bad

“Oh, he really isn’t that bad.” That cry started after Donald Trump’s election for the White House with the hope that people would believe that he’s really a decent person despite his virulently racist, misogynist, bullying, pro-violent statements. Now Trump supporters are moving on to defend Steve Bannon, as Trump moves the right-wing fringe from the past into the mainstream of the executive branch, further normalizing racism and anti-Semitism. Most Republican politicians have avoided mentioning Bannon’s annointing, but Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) praised Trump’s choice. (Chris Matthews did say that Steve Bannon makes Rudy Giuliani look good.)

steve-bannonBannon called his outlet “the platform of the alt-right,” an online-based white nationalist movement with the goal of an all-white United States.  For example, his Breitbart.com published an article entitled “Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage” after a white supremacist killed nine blacks at the historic Charleston (SC) black church. Another article called Bill Kristol, conservative columnist who opposed Trump, a “renegade Jew.” Other notable Bannon headlines include “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” and “Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture.”

“The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office,” John Weaver, advisor of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted in response to the news. “Be very vigilant America.” Bannon is a good match for Trump in his treatment of women. After his former wife was beaten, Bannon was arrested and charged with domestic violence. Prosecutors had to drop the charges after she didn’t show up in court, possibly because Bannon threatened her and the children if she spoke against him. A court case also accused Bannon and his colleague of sexual harassment. More about Bannon here.

It’s been said that “personnel is policy,” and Bannon is a chief example of this as he has been named “equal” to former RNC director Reince Priebus, now Trump’s chief of staff. In fact, Bannon probably has more influence that Priebus, who is lucky to get the new job because the GOP had considered firing him from the national committee. Like Bannon and Trump, Priebus has no elected experience; Bannon’s only government experience is attacking it.

trump-obama

Trump will need to hire far more than these two people in his transition to the White House. Until talking with President Obama this week, Trump had no idea that he was responsible for hiring the 4,100 staffers in the West Wing. Over 1,000 of those new employees must be confirmed by the Senate and should be vetted for security clearances within two months. The 100 top officials—cabinet plus defense, homeland security, disaster and pandemic response officials—must be ready to start work on January 20 to keep the country safe. Desperate to keep some of the current staff members, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, asked them if they were willing to stay with the new administration. They weren’t. The State Department, preparing to turn everything over to Trump, have contacted him about the transition, but he hasn’t answered.

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat thinks that people have “a moral responsibility to serve”:

“For the next four years, the most important check on what we’ve seen of Trump’s worst impulses—his hair-trigger temper, his rampant insecurity, his personal cruelty—won’t come from Congress or the courts or the opposition party. It will come from the people charged with executing the basic responsibilities of government within his administration.

“This is particularly true in foreign policy, where presidential power has its fewest limits — where the chief executive can start wars with near-impunity, deal out death from the skies, rattle the global economy with an executive order, and decide with barely anyone else’s input to launch a nuclear weapon. In foreign policy, too, the choices that presidential appointees have to make on their own, in diplomatic and military contexts, can have life-or-death consequences very quickly. So to the extent that Trump’s approach to governance threatens world peace, that threat can be mitigated by appointees with experience and knowledge, and magnified if their posts are filled by hacks and sycophants instead.”

This Republican who writes that people should suffer abuse from Trump to keep him from making stupid mistakes, ignores the fact that Trump will not pay any attention to what public servants think is right.

Trump is also unaware of how time-consuming being a president will be. He indicated that he might spend most of the week in Washington—like members of Congress—but go to Trump Tower in Newport, his golf course in Bedminster (NJ), and his Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago estate for part of every weeks.

The president-elect most likely ran as revenge against President Obama’s ridicule at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. One week ago, he didn’t think that he would win. The past five days have introduced him to the responsibilities of the president of the most powerful country in the world, and he won’t like those responsibilities. His choice is to do the job poorly, assign the jobs to white supremacists, or resign. The last choice would leave the United States in the hands of a quiet megalomaniac who wants to make the country a white theocracy.

Trump won’t resign as long as he’s making money for the Trump Organization. Conflict-of-interest laws for the executive branch mandate that all of them divest themselves of investments affected by their decisions in public office—except for the president and vice-president. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, and he’ll refuse to divulge his involvement in his business. His claim is that it will be a “blind trust” run by his children. A true blind trust is one in which assets are controlled by independent parties who have no communication with the owner. Trump also wants security clearance for Donald, Jr., Eric, and Ivanka, and he appointed all three of the younger Trumps to the transition team that picks key administrative officials. Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, claims that the president-elect has no interest in growing his fortune as president, and Trump promises not to use his presidency to enrich his business, but experience shows that his word is worthless.

Already Trump has lied about his personal involvement with Russia, and his past history shows how involvements with foreign countries have financially benefitted him. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, for instance, salvaged Trump during his corporate bankruptcies in the 1990s, even buying Trump’s yacht and bad hotel debt. Trump’s judicial appointments can also be connected to his business activities. His sole proprietor LLCs already cover the country as well as Panama, Cozumel, and Dubai, and the Trump University lawsuit is scheduled for later this month.

Trump’s appointment of the new IRS commissioner will solve his tax audit problems, and his control of the Attorney General will also protect him. The appointment of the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission will protect his financial interests. Trump donated at least $35,000 to Alan Hevesi for his 2002 election as New York state comptroller, the same time as his successful $500 million lawsuit to reduce his property taxes. Of the 9,000 positions in the federal government, only 1,000 must be confirmed by the Senate. Trump can control gaming, environmental building codes, housing and urban development, etc.

If we’re lucky, Trump will spend his presidency making himself rich and not destroying the lives of most people in the U.S. And luckier yet, maybe the people who voted for him will get the message that change is not always positive. (Just trying to be positive while we work to keep the battleship from turning in the wrong direction.)

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