Nel's New Day

July 8, 2017

DDT: Week Twenty-Four – Mostly Russia!

The last week of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) was dominated by North Korea, his world trip, the fallout from his commission’s demand to garner all the states’ voting data, GOP’s lies in their attempt to destroy health care, and, of course, his tweets. But there’s more.

The U.S. is rapidly losing its world leadership: a majority of people in the U.S. have more confidence in Angela Merkel, the chancellor of the country poised to take over the U.S.’s former position, than in DDT.

The White House publication of all its employees’ salaries shows a 37 percent discrepancy in male and female median earnings. Women’s median wage is $72,650 while men get $115,000. DDT’s gap is more than double the national gap of 17 percent and the largest since 2003. Of 22 staffers paid the highest in the White House, only five are women. In April, DDT revoked President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order requiring companies with federal contracts to comply with labor and civil rights laws. DDT made it possible for all companies to pay workers unfairly.

Science has literally left the White House. The last three employees departed the science division of DDT’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Although 222,000 jobs were added in June, new manufacturing jobs were half those in February, and 59,000 of the new jobs were in health and services—the area on the GOP chopping block with Trumpcare. DDT promised at least a four-percent increase in the economy in his first year, but Wall Street is forecasting half that or lower, about the average since President Obama brought the nation out of its Bush recession. The recent slump of the dollar comes from the world view of U.S. economy. As the Fed normalizes monetary policy by raising interest rates, the government has lost its opportunity for cheap loans to repair the nation’s infrastructure. Less federal tax revenue indicates faltering personal income. Although people think that the country is in good shape because of rising stock markets, some experts have expressed concern about the future of stocks.

DDT is clinging to his travel ban, but it’s alienating people—even grandparents—because of the highly restrictive definition of “close” relatives connected to people applying to come into the country. The exclusion of grandparents as “close family members” has hit social media.

The extremist radical policies from DDT are facing courts and sometimes losing. Scott Pruitt’s EPA huge favor to the oil and gas industry last month has been overturned. The Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Pruitt lacked authority to delay an Obama-era regulation cracking down on pollutants from drilling operations. /The EPA admitted that Pruitt’s two-year delay would have a bad affect on the health of children near oil and gas operations.

Tom Price’s HHS agency reported that the Affordable Care Act is “working as intended” because it protects insurers from big risks and moderates consumer premiums. The charge on plans with lower average risks that is transferred to higher-risk plans is neutral within every state. Another temporary plan, reinsurance, protects insurers from high-cost enrollees by paying companies for the first three years. Both plans are permanent in George W. Bush’s Medicare’s prescription program, Part D. Medicare Part D also assesses insurers collecting huge profits from the program and paying them to insurers with commensurate losses, but the GOP maintains that this is an insurer “bailout” for the ACA. Reinsurance reduced net claim costs by four to six percent in 2016. Stopping the program is driving up premiums for 2017 and 2018, thus the GOP is causing the infamous “death spiral” of health care.

Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia are suing Betsy DeVos because of her delay in regulations to protect federal student loan borrowers who have been defrauded by their schools. The rules, set to take effect last July 1, prohibit colleges from forcing students to settle complaints through arbitration instead of court and make it easier for the borrowers to seek debt forgiveness.

The Hatch Act prevents government officials in the executive branch from involvement in political activity; a 2012 amendment added disciplinary action to its violation. Dan Scorvino, DDT’s social media director, may have broken this law when he tweeted in April that DDT’s supporters should defeat Rep. Justin Amash (MI) in the primary. It goes far beyond his vicious tweets that almost equal those of DDT. During DDT’s campaign, Scorvino tweeted an anti-Semitic image of Hillary Clinton atop piles of hundred-dollar bills and a Jewish Star of David that read, “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” Another violator is UN Ambassador Nikki Haley for her retweeting a DDT message endorsing Ralph Norman, the Republican running for Congress in South Carolina’s 5th District. Norman won the special election.

Russia stays in the news:

Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, finalized a $285 million refinancing loan from Deutsche Bank the month before last November’s election when the bank was in court answering a federal mortgage fraud case and charges that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. DDT has also garnered almost $8 million from Russian government official Igor Zorin for Florida properties.

DDT’s longtime buddy Michael Cohen has lost his place in DDT’s inner circle to separate DDT from Russian connections. Cohen bought apartments from DDT, bullied DDT’s condo board into submission, and acted as intermediary with mafia-linked DDT business partner, Felix Sater, and Ukraine parliamentarian, Andrii Artemenko, soon after DDT’s inauguration. Artemenko gave Cohen documents to deliver to Michael Flynn before he was fired for Russian connections. Cohen denies reports that he met overseas with Russian officials and operatives, but he has acquired his own lawyer and refuses to provide documents to or appear before congressional intelligence committees.

Sater, a Russia-born real estate dealmaker who allegedly has organized crime links, is agreeing to testify in an international investigation into a Kazakh family’s dealings in the U.S. including the Trump SoHo in downtown New York City. Sater is a known mob informant who fled to Russia to avoid criminal charges. He was also in prison for slashing a man’s face with a broken cocktail glass. His history is here. DDT has said, “I am not involved in Russia.” That doesn’t mean that Russia isn’t involved with DDT. Others are also willing to report on DDT’s connection with financing the Trump SoHo in a front for money laundering.

Although Peter Smith, the man who may have been involved in Russian hacking, has died, the news about his attempts to get Hillary Clinton emails continues. A document of involved people lists senior members of DDT’s campaign, some of them now serving in the White House. Included are white supremacist Steve Bannon. DDT’s counselor Kellyanne Conway, senior Agriculture Department adviser Sam Clovis, and the fired national security adviser, Michael Flynn.  Security consultant Matt Tait, a Smith colleague, gave reasons “that the group was formed with the blessing of the Trump campaign.” The UK cyber-analyst wrote about how Smith recruited him to verify the accuracy of emails.

What has DDT’s Department of Homeland Security to investigate Russian cyber attacks on U.S. voting machines? Nothing.

Hackers from a foreign government—probably Russia—hacked at least a dozen U.S. power plants, including a nuclear facility in Kansas. DDT still hasn’t addressed the problem with Russian president, Vladimir Putin. After DDT’s talk with Putin in Hamburg (Germany) this past week, Putin came away with the impression that DDT agreed that there had been no hacking into the U.S. election.

The company that provides cybersecurity for the U.S. government, including the Pentagon, may lose its contract. Kaspersky Lab, based in Moscow, has certifications issued by the Russian Security Service (FSB) which allows the Russian government to examine anything from Kaspersky. Its security software is also sold at U.S. retail outlets such as Target and Walmart. U.S. intelligence is increasingly concerned that Kaspersky software could cyberattack U.S. infrastructure such as the electric grid, airlines, water utilities, etc. Former CIA station chief in Moscow, Steve Hall, pointed out the Russian control over all of Kasperky’s data:

“Any time [Russian President Vladimir Putin] wants Kaspersky to do something – anything – he’ll remind them that’s where their families are and where their bank accounts are. There’s no doubt in my mind it could be, if it’s not already, under the control of Putin.”

Last Sunday, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said, “I get so frustrated when we get focused on tweets.” DDT is responsible for Cassidy’s frustration, and over two-thirds of people in the United States wish that DDT would stop the tweeting. The miserable attacks on Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were followed by a view of DDT’s fat ass in the air while he pummels a character labeled CNN. He didn’t create the video, but he retweeted it which makes it an official communication from the White House.

While in Germany, DDT attacked Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, claiming that all the foreign powers were talking about her email serve and tweeting that he “refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA.” A few DDT mistakes: Podesta’s emails were not on the DNC server; he was not involved with the DNC; the CIA spies on foreign governments and wasn’t investigating cyber-attacks on Clinton.  And DDT continually says that Russia wasn’t involved in the hacking.

“‘The president of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. The president is the spokesman for democracy and liberty. Isn’t it time we brought back the pomp and circumstance and the sense of awe for that office that we all held?’”

The above quotation is from DDT’s 2015 book, Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again. He should read it sometime.

 

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July 24, 2013

The U.S. Could Be Detroit Because of GOP Capitalism

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:31 PM
Tags: , , ,

Capitalism is the system that conservatives worship, so much so that any deviation from it—in their perception—is called socialism. According to the GOP, President Obama is a socialist leading the country to failure. One example of capitalism in the United States is the city of Detroit.

During its automobile-driven economic growth in the middle of the last century, Detroit was recognized as an achievement of capitalist renewal after the Great Depression and World War II. High-wage auto industry jobs with security and benefits proved capitalism’s ability to generate and system the highly-vaunted middle class that cut across ethnic groups. as a system ought to be judged by its failures as well as its successes. The city was an example of the American Dream.

Success came from unions that struggled to take these quality jobs from automobile capitalists, who then bragged that they “gave” good wages and working conditions to their workers. Whatever the cause, Detroit was a prosperous city in the 1950s and 1960s, shaping the world’s music as its capitalism shaped the world’s industries.

Detroit is now in the midst of the biggest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the nation.

Decision-makers for General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, etc. made bad decisions that caused them to fail in competition with European and Japanese automobile capitalists. U.S. auto makers failed to develop new fuel-saving technologies and then responded to their failures by moving production out of Detroit in order to pay lower wages.

These decisions led to two economic disasters: manufacturers undermined Detroit’s economic foundation, and they led to the downfall of the nation’s middle class. The history of the past 40 years have shown the capitalist system’s inability—or unwillingness—to reverse, let alone stop, them.

Wages stopped growing in the 1970s although workers’ rising productivity created increasing profits for employers. For a few years, rising debt and overwork postponed the impacts of the lack of greater wages on consumption, but the crisis came in 2007. The resulting unemployment allowed employers to lower wages and benefits even more, and the falling dominos cut down the middle class.

The stimulus bailed out General Motors and Chrysler, but Detroit didn’t get any of that. The wage reductions in the auto industry guaranteed that Detroit’s wage-based economy would not be able to recover when production and profits rose. Auto industry capitalists took the lead and Detroit exemplified the economic decline that resulted.

After weakening the successes of unions, auto industry leaders undid the hard-won victories of the 20th century. Gone were the middle class and the “capitalist success” city built on their wages. The top-down structure of capitalist enterprises gave auto industry the ability to remove the good conditions that unions can sometimes win for their workers.

Worker co-operatives could have helped Detroit evolve in a far more positive fashion. Production would have stayed in the region, keeping jobs, families, and communities. Instead, lack of jobs dropped Detroit’s population from 1.8 million in 1950 to 700,000 in 2013. With worker co-operatives, owner dividends and manager salaries would have been less. The resulting savings could have lowered automobile prices, enabling better competition with European and Japanese cars.

Workers would most likely have greater incentives to improve technology in co-operatives they owned than if they do as employees in capitalist enterprises. Another achievement from worker co-operatives might have been the production of mass-transit vehicles as an alternative to the automobile production that fails to give long-term security for the automobile industry.

A democratic society does not give power to a minuscule number of people as it excludes millions of people from participating in decision-making.

Meanwhile this tiny number of people, centered in ALEC and controlled by the Koch brothers, has caused at least 117 bills in 2013 to further shrink wages, benefits, and worker rights. Their goal is also to eradicate any worker family’s participation in political and legislative processes to ensure that the top 1 percent will acquire even more wealth. ALEC’s anti-worker agenda started in the late 1970s and gained speed beginning with President Reagan, rapidly accelerating in 2010.

A few weeks after he took office, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker turned his state into the poster child for the northern states by eliminating collective bargaining for 380,000 school teachers, snow plow drivers, prison guards, nurses, bus drivers, and more. His law also prohibits government employers from using payroll deduction of union dues, removing more of their power. As Walker said, his goal was “divide and conquer”: first attack public sector workers and then go after the private sector.

Walker showed massive failure in his job programs: Wisconsin is now dead last in the 50 states in job creation. Things are so bad that someone called North Carolina the Wisconsin of the South.

ALEC’s “right to work” legislation was designed to make all the states like the poverty-stricken ones in the South that suppresses wages and keeps out unions. In 2012, Gov. Mitch Daniels (IN) succeeded in his state before Michigan pushed the law through in a lame-duck session at the end of the year. As Fox News bluntly put it, “bust the unions, and it’s over” for the Democrats.

Gordon Lafer, a political economist at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center and a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), explained the strategy: “ALEC’s efforts against the minimum wage, prevailing and living wage, paid sick leave, etc. are an across the board attempt both to worsen any kind of labor standard and also to undermine any institutional or legal basis through which workers exercise some control over the workplace in the labor market.” The fate of union workers and non-union workers are inextricably linked because unions raise standards for non-union workers. An EPI study shows that ALEC’s “Right to Work” law alone depresses wages for both union and non-union workers by an average of $1,500 a year.

New York City has Wall Street, Washington D.C. has the federal government, and Silicon Valley has Google and Facebook.  The rest of the country is facing a decline that began 60 years ago. Gone are the good jobs for people willing to work.

Conservatives recognize that the United States is headed in the same direction as Detroit with its unemployment, smaller wages, and educated people on food stamps. Yet they refuse to acknowledge that the conservative fiscal approach is causing these problems by increasing the income inequity and paying manufacturers to take their businesses overseas. Republicans refuse to acknowledge that huge corporations and the tiny portion of people at the top of the pyramid get their wealth from the loopholes not available to 99 percent of the country’s population.

Conservatives set up systems so that Wall Street can steal from most of the people in the country and then refuse to change them. Conservatives create a failing circular economic system: people cannot be produce services and material things because other people cannot afford to purchase these services and items, and so forth. This is the conservative view of capitalism.

If the Republicans were totally in charge, the United States would be declaring bankruptcy and selling all its assets to Europe and China.

The solution to the approaching disaster is to raise wages and close the loopholes. But the sole goal of the GOP is to defeat the Democrats and gain the presidency in the next round. To make the country a success would defeat the GOP grand plan, so almost everyone in the nation is forced to suffer.

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