Nel's New Day

April 28, 2017

DDT: Week Fourteen, More Failures

The quarterly GDP report just came out, and the average 0.7 percent increase is bad news for news for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) who bragged that his leadership would move the gross domestic product skyhigh. Instead the GDP for his first quarter is the worst in three years. Why do people vote for Republicans? In a statement of how DDT is struggling, he said, “I thought it would be easier.” This is DDT’s classic statement as he reflects on his first 100 days. “I loved my previous life. I had so many things going.” Many other people wish he were back in his previous life too after his string of failures.

Alienation of South Korea: After picking a fight with North Korea, DDT attacked South Korea by threatening to terminate the U.S. trade agreement with South Korea because the five-year-old accord was “a horrible deal” that has left America “destroyed.” To make things worse, he told South Korea that they should pay the $1 billion for the U.S. missile-defense system, Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense (Thaad), to be installed in South Korea as protection against a North Korean attack.

Flynn’s Failure: When Michael Flynn, National Security Adviser for 24 days, started the chant of “Lock her up” about candidate Clinton last summer, he said that he’d be in prison if he did one-tenth of the things that she had done. Maybe he will be incarcerated. The investigation into Flynn has already shown that he likely took money from Russia without notification to the U.S. after the Pentagon warned him against doing it and that his work for Turkey has a Russian connection. Meanwhile, DDT is trying to cover for Flynn’s illegal activities by refusing to release any information about him. Now the Pentagon has joined the investigation into Flynn, and DDT’s AG Jess Sessions has recused himself from the whole problem. Maybe if FBI James Comey had been more worried about real treason and not Hillary Clinton’s emails?

The Wall: Press Secretary Sean Spicer is trying to cover for DDT’s backing off from his main promise by saying that it was a priority and not a demand, but DDT tweeted that the drug problem will never be solved without a wall. Yet 56 percent responses to a poll agree that DDT hasn’t accomplished much, and 47 percent of the blame goes to DDT. The GOP gets 25 percent blame and Democrats only seven percent. At the same time, the majority of people—a number that is growing—oppose building the wall, and an increasing number want money put into infrastructure instead. Texans oppose the wall as much as Mexico on the possibility of making Mexico so instable that it becomes another Venezuela as well as flooding and sewage in the Rio Grande River.

Tax Increases: DDT may have hoped that his shiny new tax plan would distract from his other problems, but it’s going downhill fast. Presenter and Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin knows that it gives cuts to the wealthy but can’t guarantee that “no one in the middle class is gonna pay more.” At least DDT will get a big cut with his own plan. A 65-year study by the Congressional Research Office found no correlation between cutting taxes and economic growth.

Latest Executive Order Overturned: Judge William Orrick, of the federal Northern District for California, has blocked DDT’s threat to cut off funds to sanctuary cities if they refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked an executive order by Donald Trump which threatened to cut off funds to sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. The injunction retains the right to identify sanctuary cities and withhold certain grants but cannot alter the way federal funds are spent because that power lies within the congressional, not the presidential, branch of government. The Justice Department said that the order applies only to the failure in sharing citizenship information as required by law and three federal grants that require compliance as a pre-condition. Orrick said that this defense is worthless because law already permits it, leaving no purpose for the executive order. He also said that DDT’s rhetoric and surrogate statements, including those from the AG, contradicted the interpretation that the Justice Department tried to place on it. Orrick said:

“The President has called it ‘a weapon’ to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his preferred policies of immigration enforcement, and his press secretary has reiterated that the President intends to ensure that ‘counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cites don’t get federal government funding in compliance with the executive order.'”

Press Secretary Sean Spicer had said that the administration stood behind its threats to eliminate law enforcement funding to those cities. The federal government is now trying to decide on a definition of “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

Massive Donor Errors for Inauguration: Inauguration Donor Fraud?: Follow the rubles. A crowdsourced data project at HuffPost found massive mistakes in DDT’s final campaign report with the was filled with mistakes—missing addresses, vacant lots used for addresses, anonymous or fake names, etc.—showing that even basic checks on accuracy were made.

Failure of Conservative Press Control: Unhappy with the sometimes factual reporting in the mainstream press, DDT has been wooing the far-right outlets and frequently failing. After they didn’t support his healthcare plan, he called them to the White House last Monday to tell them—gently, for him—to shape up. It wasn’t a success: they’re still complaining about the lack of attention that DDT has given them despite his favoritism. They’re also upset that they were told to leave their phones outside the room and not to report on what was said until 30 minutes into the meeting. The result was bad press from conservatives about DDT’s communications team. 

Empty Rooms: Cite Priebus: The Senate has confirmed 26 of DDT’s picks for his Cabinet and other top posts, but he’s nominated only 37 people for 530 other vacant senior-level jobs requiring Senate confirmation.

Disappearance of Zombie Healthcare Bill—Again: Once again, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) couldn’t get the votes for the revised healthcare bill. The ultra-conservatives loved it because it takes insurance from more people, but the more centrist GOP members balked. One embarrassment for the GOP is that the failed bill exempted members of Congress and their staff: they can keep all their benefits. Once this fact came to light, GOP representatives talked about changing their minds about piece of the bill.

No Budget: The House passed a one-week extension on passing the budget to keep the government functioning for another seven days. The reason may be to prevent a shutdown on DDT’s 100th day tomorrow. The GOP House follows the pattern of teenagers who do no school work and then ask for an extension. And the action saves DDT the embarrassment of a government shutdown on his 100th day.

The United States has become so racist—including some law enforcement officials—that Sanya Gragg has published a book on the “talk” with black children: what they should do to stay ALIVE. Momma, Did You Hear The News?, a picture book for small children, gives this directions if they are confronted by the police, even if they’re just innocently walking down the street.

  • A – Always use your manners
  • L – Listen and comply
  • I – In control of your emotions
  • V – Visible hands always
  • E – Explain everything

Something else that white children don’t have to face.

Much more about DDT’s last week, but tomorrow is his 100th day—and lots more for another post.

Meanwhile, cheers for recently retired GOP Judge GOP Judge Doug McCullough, who resigned from the North Carolina Appeals Court a month before his date of mandatory retirement to allow the Democrat governor to replace him. McCullough is disgusted with the legislature’s blatant attempt to strip the new governor of any appointment abilities, going so far as to pass a bill to reduce the court from 15 to 12 so that newly elected Roy Cooper cannot fill any vacancies. An attempt to override Cooper’s veto leaves the governor with a small window of opportunity. Cooper’s new appointment, Judge John Arrowood, is the first openly gay member of the North Carolina court of appeals. McCullough is a man with ethics.

April 1, 2017

The Great Wall of DDT

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:07 PM
Tags: ,

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) walked out of his Oval Office yesterday without signing the executive orders on trade and dodged questions about granting immunity to Michael Flynn. He refused questions and left the folder with the orders on a desk in the next room. After failing to get him to come back, VP Mike Pence grabbed the folder and followed him out. DDT supposedly signed the orders later, one for a 90-day study of the country’s trade deficits to identify potential abuses and the other one for stricter enforcement of anti-dumping laws to prevent foreign manufacturers from undercutting US companies by selling goods at an unfair price.

Evidently things are not going well for him. He’s also having trouble with the centerpiece of his campaign, building an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall” between the United States and Mexico. He first announced that he would make Mexico pay for it, but they refused. Then he said he would charge them tariffs which would pay for it. Congress refused. He has sent out RFPs for construction, but he currently has no funding.

The “wall” has many more problems for its construction:

Cost: DDT says that the total cost will be $10 billion for the remaining 1,000 miles, but conservative GOP estimates are $15 billion. More realistic guesses are $25. The existing 650 miles have already cost over $7 billion, and it is not tall, impenetrable, powerful, or beautiful. In trying to get the money through border-crossing fees, taxing imports, and other methods would work, according to DDT, “if you know something about the art of negotiating.” He hasn’t evidenced any ability in that era yet. 

Private Land: Some of the cost will be purchasing property that people don’t want to sell or taking the land by legal force. Only two-thirds of the 2,000-mile border are federal and tribal lands with private and state-owned lands comprising the remainder. In Texas alone, 225 miles are not federally owned, and the government quit in 2009 when it still had to negotiate with over 480 landowners. In order for the government to take land away from people, federal law requires the government to consult with “property owners … to minimize the impact on the environment, culture, commerce, and quality of life for the communities and residents located near the sites at which such fencing is to be constructed.” Then the government would need to declare a taking and undergo condemnation proceedings. In addition, the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment mandates compensation for the existence of the wall on owners’ property.

Tribal Land: Although DDT may think that he has control over tribal lands, the treaty before the Mexican-American War of 1853 says differently for Tohono O’odham territory, a 2.8 million acre area the size of the state of Connecticut bridging the Arizonan/Mexican border. To the tribe, a wall would damage their “sacred sites, ceremonies, relations with relatives, and respect for ancestors’ burial sites,” according to Nellie Jo David, a Tohono O’odham law student at the University of Arizona. A steel barrier already separates tribal members on parts of the border with barbed wire in other places, but they were allowed to freely travel across the border until 9/11. A wall such as DDT envisions would stop water flowing into the Tohono O’odham land and prevent animals from moving back and forth to breed and find food. Tribal members talk about having convenient water sources nearby, but being blocked at the border requires miles of travel for water.

Eco System: Building a wall would destroy the natural movement for animals between the north and south of the North American continent. Without this migration, endangered species such as the North American jaguar and black bears will be increasingly threatened. Eighteen federally protected species are found on the California border, and at least 39 federally endangered, threatened, or candidate species live along the Arizona border. The border is also home to natural flooding zones and large areas of sand with movement of land.

Food for People in the U.S.: Inexpensive undocumented labor is the foundation for food in the nation. Without them, crops rot in the field because no one else will do the work. If the wall is effective, the price of fruit and vegetables, both highly labor intensive, will skyrocket. Then comes prices for animal products, starting with dairy and moving on to eggs and meat. Grains and beans will follow. With DDT’s freeze on people who inspect food, work with farmers, and do research to improve food system sustainability and efficiency, people will have less—and more contaminated—food.

Economy: U.S./Mexico trade is over $1 billion every day; the 13 million Mexicans who traveled to the U.S. in 2010 spent $8.7 billion, and trade with Mexico sustains 6 million U.S. jobs. Over 20 percent of all U.S. jobs are tied to trade along the border.

Lost Land: DDT hates to give up anything, and building the wall will lose him part of the United States. He can’t put it on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande because Mexico won’t let him. He can’t put it in the middle of the river because that’s impossible—or unbelievably expensive. When he puts it on the north side of the border, he can’t always put it exactly on the edge of the river. For example, he will have to go through the second hold of the River Bend Resort & Golf Club in Brownsville (TX). The Texas wall would most likely be on a federally-owned flood levee. Fifteen of River Bend’s 18 holes are located on the south side of the levee in addition to over 200 plots where retirees park their RVs. Some of these people voted for DDT and want the wall—just not on their property.

Laws: A 1970 boundary treaty governing structures along the Rio Grande and Colorado River at the Mexican border requires that they not disrupt the flow of the rivers. These flow across Texas and 24 miles in Arizona and define the US-Mexico border, according to The International Boundary and Water Commission, a joint US-Mexico agency that administers the treaty.

Appearing more rational than his boss, Ryan Zinke, who DDT chose for the Secretary of Interior, seems to understand the improbability of the “big, beautiful wall.” In discussing how complicated building such a structure could be, he suggested electronic monitors in some areas and nothing in places with large natural features. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stated that at least parts of the wall but will instead “rely on sensors and other technology.”

DDT continues to insist that he will build the wall, but he has a very short attention span. And at least 62 percent of the people oppose the building of the wall. Of course, a majority of Republicans supports it although the closer they live to the proposed wall, the greater the opposition. None of the congressional members from Texas supports its building. Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) described The Wall as “the most expensive and least effective way of securing the border.”

According to DDT, building the wall would be easy. That statement comes from a man who has never built anything in his life. On the other hand, a professional engineer describes how difficult the project would be. To be effective, cheap, and easily maintained, it must be built from readily available materials and use an existing labor force. To avoid tunneling, it must go five feet into the ground; to avoid climbing, it must be 20 feet above the ground.

The continuous, non-porous construction would be built from concrete that would have to be pre-cast because of the hot, dry climate—three times the amount of concrete necessary to build the Hoover Dam and with a greater volume than all six pyramids of the Giza Necropolis. The materials could pave a one-lane road from New York to Los Angeles, going the long way around the planet. The rebar to reinforce the concrete would weigh about 5 billion pounds, perhaps from melting down four Nimitz-class aircraft carriers plus a few cruisers. Facilities would have to be built to create the pre-cast part of the wall and then shipped across the desert. Workers would need food, water, shelter, lavatory facilities, safety equipment, transportation, and medical care. Who would do that—other than immigrants?

Humans have built a 2,000-mile-long wall just one time in a centuries-long process that required the forced labor of millions of Chinese peasants.

[More thoughts on building the wall.]

February 11, 2017

DDT: Week Three – Part 2

trump-signature-photoMost of Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) publicity during his first three weeks was vigorously signing Steve Bannon’s executive orders, actions, and directives and then proudly holding up leather-bound documents like a toddler being potty trained. Some of these, such as the recently overturned Muslim ban, had teeth, but many of them are just—publicity. For example, the three on “strengthening” police. They were supposedly “designed to restore safety in America,” to “break the back” of cartels, and “stop as of today” violence against the police. Yet the text reveals that policy steps were missing. Instead they showed DDT’s displeasure with the cartels and order task forces that will actually stop investigations into the spike in killings of black people, many of them by law enforcement officials.

An earlier order about ISIS asked for a plan—not really a news breaking concept. The one on killing the Trans-Pacific Partnership merely fired another shot into the TTP’s decaying carcass. An examination of his 26 “executive actions” disclose most of them to lack substantive value, according to Mark Rozell, the dean of the government school at George Mason University. Yet he presents them as if “he’s doing something very dramatic, very significant.” That’s DDT—a theatrical showman signifying nothing. [DDT’s signature with his inauguration photograph.]

Yet pieces of what he has done are extremely destructive:

Return of Dakota Pipeline: The Army Corps of Engineers will approve the final easement allowing the pipeline to cross underneath Lake Oahe, the primary source of drinking water for the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. DDT said he didn’t get a single phone call opposing his pipeline approvals. Maybe because the White House has removed the availability for calling and people can’t call the White House anymore? And the fact that DDT still has money invested in the company building the pipeline.

Disappearance of Fair Internet Use: After the election, Breitbart.com bragged that net neutrality would be “dead” under Trump. DDT’s appointment for the Federal Communications Commission, former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai, is achieving that goal by cutting the federal assistance program for low-income broadband users and refusing to defend existing FCC rules that cap inmate intrastate calling rates. He also stopped an investigation into Verizon and AT&T that offer free data for preferred apps.

USDA Purge of Animal Welfare Information: All inspection reports about monitoring of animal treatment at thousands of research laboratories, zoos, dog breeding operations and other facilities have been removed from the federal website and now accessible only through FOIA requests, requiring years for approval. That means that puppy mills and other animals abuse are back with impunity.

CNN’s Refusal to Interview Kellyanne Conway—and Its Backtracking: Last week, the White House declared a boycott on CNN, and DDT accused the news network of being “fake news” at his speech about Black History Month. The position was briefly reversed: CNN turned down the White House for a number of guests, including Kellyane Conway, to be on CNN’s State of the Union. The network declined. Conway wanted to appear to discuss her MSNBC complaint about the media not covering the fictitious “Bowling Green massacre” caused by refugees. There has never been a terrorist attack in Bowling Green (KY), but two Iraqis were arrested for donating to Al Qaeda. The situation was covered in at least 90 major newspaper articles as well as on television news. If the term “massacre” was a slip of the tongue, as Conway declared, she has had other slips about the situation in Bowling Green, including false details for an interview with Cosmopolitan. CNN told a reporter that Conway was turned down because the network has “serious questions about her credibility.” Within two days of its bravery, CNN caved, and Conway was back on the network peddling her lies—like how DDT deserved credit for not lying some of the time.

hitlerWhite Supremacists Rejoicing at White House Direction: Last week we reported on DDT’s removal of white supremacist groups from the government’s attempts to stop “homegrown” terrorism within the United States so that they are no longer targeted. The Daily Stormer, named after a Nazi propaganda publication, wrote:

“Yes, this is real life. Our memes are all real life. Donald Trump is setting us free.”

The publication sees DDT’s action as the same as their own writing and their reward for helping elect him, and their colleague, Steve Bannon, is running the White House. Bannon called himself “the platform for the Alt-Right [aka white nationalism]” when he published Breitbart.com. Just one example of joy from the white supremacists is a post on another neo-Nazi site, Infostormer:

 “We may truly have underestimated President Trump’s covert support of our Cause (at least in some form), but after this proposal, I am fully ready to offer myself in service of this glorious regime.”

Deportations: For the party supposedly supporting “family values,” the saddest piece of the new DDT regime is the massive ICE roundups of parents to separate them from their children. These sweeps, primarily in California which voted against DDT, do not target dangerous criminals. Other deportations were of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos in Arizona which she reported into ICE as she always did after being caught in a workplace raid ten years ago and Francisco Alvarado who was taken from his three children and wife. Garcia de Rayos came to the U.S. when she was 14 years old, and Alvarado fled Honduras because the “Maras” gang begun in the U.S. killed several of his wife’s family members. ICE agents find their prey by following children home from school.

Among those detained are two U.S.-born children with no criminal background and another youth considered a “gang member” simply because of old speeding tickets and tattoos. Lawyers cannot find their clients because ICE refuses to reveal information about whether they have been deported. These people are not the “killers and rapists” who DDT said he would deport.

Super Bowl ads were a highlight of last Sunday. The ads—costing $10 million a minute—were remarkable. During more progressive times, many of these ads bashed women, but DDT’s ascendancy changed that focus. Check this out for a great piece on the television commercials shown last Sunday.

ryan

It’s been only three weeks, and the victorious Republicans are “moving the goal posts” of their dreams. Promises of dumping Obamacare, overhauling the tax code to benefit the rich, and funding a wall to separate Mexico are being stalemated by budget deadlines. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) bravely says that things are better between the GOP Congress and DDT, but conservatives are upset by their slow pace. The House Freedom Caucus, worried that the entire agenda will be halted until a repeal of Obamacare, doesn’t see any urgency for the task. They’re also amazed by the virulent attacks from constituents highly disturbed by the loss of the Affordable Care Act although they maintain that the protests are from big money.

Just the wall that DDT promises will run $21.6 billion, according to the Department of Homeland Security, and take almost four years. That’s $157.31 per person for everyone who paid income taxes last year–even the 63 percent of the people who don’t want the wall. And Mexico won’t be paying for the wall. Raise the tariff as DDT said? People will have to buy 36 billion avocados to pay for a wall. Then consider the problems of terrain, Native American treaties, and problems with eminent domain in Hillary Clinton territory. And maybe the fact that DDT doesn’t have an investment in construction companies for the wall. And that entire issue just one facing the Republicans in 2017.

[Correction: Although Adolf Hitler made a comment similar to the one above, he actually wrote in Mein Kampf that “they will more easily fall victim to a large lie than a small lie … the most bold and brazen lie is sure to stick.” Joseph Goebbels stated, ““If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” He also stated, “The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” ]

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