More privacy issues

Privacy issues have become a problem and governments aren’t doing much to curb the issue.

Manufacturers or software developers want the default to be automatically opt in to everything. That means [for example], you install software on a computer or a device, they want to get your information unless you turn it off.

Others such as privacy activists want the default to be opt out of everything. This means, you install software on a computer or a device, you need to allow enable the information they want.

Recently I bought a new smartphone. It allowed me to restore my applications and some of my settings from my previous smartphone. Some of the applications’ settings weren’t restored even though the application was.

Case in point, the HP Smart application for Androids. It allows you to print to a printer on a network but offers additional features that you may not get otherwise.

On first usage, it wants you to agree to various agreements or settings. Of course, if you don’t agree to certain settings [like below], you can’t use the application.

If most people were using the application, would use the application they would say “I want to print. I don’t need this” and then check the box on the screen above and click the “Start” button.

Now if some had the time, they’d probably click on each of the blue links on that page. “HP Privacy Statement” and “End User License Agreement” basically has no actions. You need to accept.

However, you can control the “Data Collection Settings”. Below is the screen you will see if you select that one.

Note that they recommend that you allow both accept both. It is up to you if you want to. Read it carefully.

I only used this application as an example.

After installing an application, go into the settings and see what it will send back to the developer or others.

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Trump signs first [of many] vetoes

In another busy week [is there ever a quiet week?], Donald Trump vetoed legislation attempting to strike down his declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. It will be the first time in his two years in office that Trump has used his presidential veto power to block legislation. Not surprising this is the first time. His administration has had a problem passing anything even when the GOP controlled both the House and Senate.

It is unlikely that Congress will have the two-thirds majority required to override Trump’s veto, though House Democrats will try nonetheless on March 26.

So far, at least seven lawsuits have been filed challenging the declaration. The argument at the core of each lawsuit is similar: Trump exceeded his authority and circumvented Congress in an attempt to achieve his signature campaign promise for an emergency that, plaintiffs argue, doesn’t exist.

Trump tweeted shortly after the Senate passed the resolution condemning his unilateral action. “I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!” Ummm. A dozen Republicans voted against him. Not a good sign.

Trump and White House aides making clear to Republican senators that a vote against Trump on this issue would have ramifications come re-election time. Still, a White House official said Trump won’t forget when senators who opposed him want him to attend fundraisers or provide other help. More thuggery. Trump said he had sympathy for the Republicans who voted against him and emphasized that he never truly twisted the arms of lawmakers, because he knew there were not enough votes to override the veto.

The Senate delivered a high-profile rebuke to Trump over his signature agenda issue when 12 Republicans joined Democrats to overturn Trump’s national emergency border declaration. The vote was 59-41, an overwhelming vote against the Trump’s executive action. However it isn’t enough to block Trump’s veto which he will do.

Trump had hoped the number of “yes” votes will stay below 60, aides say, a symbolic margin that he believes would save some embarrassment, though still require him to use his veto pen. But he reversed when asked if he would support a proposal to limit future national emergency declarations to 30 days which he could agree to – just not this national emergency. A number of prominent GOP lawmakers are against the emergency including Mitt Romney and Susan Collins.

“Prominent legal scholars agree that our actions to address the National Emergency at the Southern Border and to protect the American people are both CONSTITUTIONAL and EXPRESSLY authorized by Congress,” Trump wrote. I wouldn’t mind knowing which prominent legal scholars he is referring to. And “authorized”? The House hasn’t and it looks like the Senate won’t.

[If this is such a national emergency, why didn’t he pushed for this national emergency when he was elected? What has changed? Nothing. it is his signature election promise and one of many he has failed to do in his 26 months of this “presidency”. He couldn’t get anything passed even when “his” party had a majority for the first two party and definitely won’t when the Democrats took over the House.]

The House of Representatives passed a resolution with 420 members voting in favor of the resolution and zero voting against it. The resolution is calling for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be released to the public once it is completed. The resolution is not legally binding. So 185 Republicans vote in favor. But Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham moved to block a non-binding resolution in the Senate.

Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will serve a total of seven and a half years in prison for two cases. The latest sentencing was for two charges: conspiracy against the US and conspiracy to obstruct justice for attempting to tamper with witnesses.

“I have not even given it a thought as of this moment,” Trump said. “It’s not something now that’s on my mind.” Trump reiterated that he felt “badly” for his former aide.

After Manafort’s second sentencing, Trump said “Today, again, no collusion. The other day, no collusion.” Except the second sentencing had nothing to do with his collusion problems. Manafort’s lawyer Kevin Downing repeated Trump’s comments saying “So that makes two courts… Two courts have ruled no evidence of any collusion with the Russians.”

If Trump pardons Manafort for his federal convictions, the ex-lobbyist could still face years in jail on state charges that are beyond his reach.

Ex-acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker did not deny in a closed congressional meeting that he had spoken with Trump about a case involving Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen. This is involving Cohen’s allegation that a pardon had been dangled in exchange for him staying loyal to the President, in which he was purportedly told he could be sure he had “friends in high places.”

At best, such a conversation would appear inappropriate and unethical since the President is the country’s top law enforcement officer. At worst it could again raise suggestions that Trump may have obstructed justice.

An attorney who said he had been speaking with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani reassured Cohen in an April 2018 email that Cohen could “sleep well tonight” because he had “friends in high places.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would obey the law if he receives a written request from Congress to turn over Trump’s tax returns. “I will consult with the legal department within Treasury, and I will comply with the law.”

Republicans, who have argued that Trump has the right to privacy, quickly made clear they believe any request from Democrats wouldn’t be lawful — opening up the possibility of an extended fight over whether Mnuchin will hand over the returns if a request is made. Trump came the first major Presidential candidate in 2016 to refuse citing an ongoing audit. [That’s one long audit.] House Democrats have been preparing to ask the Internal Revenue Service for Trump’s tax returns under an obscure provision that gives the leaders of the House and Senate tax-writing committees the power to request taxpayer information from the Treasury Department. It states that “the secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request.”

Trump says he does not see white nationalism as a rising threat around the world following an attack targeting Muslims in New Zealand that killed at least 49 people.

Trump was just doing what he [thought] could to raise spirits when he signed Bibles at an Alabama church for survivors of a tornado outbreak, many religious leaders say, though some are offended and others say he could have handled it differently. Other Presidents have signed Bibles but they were generally one offs and for special occasions.

Trump should have at least signed inside in a less ostentatious way according to some faith leaders. Others said he shouldn’t of signed them at all. One said “It almost felt like a desecration of the holy book to put his signature on the front writ large, literally.” Others said it could be seen as a blurring of church and state and an endorsement of Christianity over other religions.

Trump wants to sell the military. No not that way. There are 100+ country that have US military presence. Trump wants to charge countries for the manpower and resources plus a surcharge [to make a profit]. Judging by how much it costs to buy a screw, that will be one big bill! They did, however, said it would be on a case by case basis.

Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and brother of Betsy Devos, proposed a plan to privatize the war in Afghanistan by turning military operations over to a mercenary force like his that wouldn’t be subject to Pentagon or civilian oversight and that would eventually fund itself by plundering the resources of the country. He sees that not only as a way of funding the occupation, but also as a way of making huge profits from the occupation of a foreign land. He envisages that as a template for future military adventures and seems to be in favor of deciding whether to engage in future oversees military operations not on the basis of US national interest concerns or human rights concerns but rather on the basis of whether a profit can be made. Not surprisingly, Trump seems to be in love with the idea.

Trump telling Breitbart News, “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump — I have tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point and then it would be very, very bad.” Well, he should have support for the military but for military purposes – not to become thugs and do his dirty job – like say beat up Trump’s critics. The same goes for the police. Both groups should be impartial. As for bikers, not surprised he’d want to be associated with most or at least some of them. While not all, quite a few bikers belong to criminal gangs.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump administration will deny or revoke visas for International Criminal Court staff. The move is meant to deter a potential investigation by the judicial body into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by US troops in Afghanistan. The restrictions include “persons who take or have taken action to request or further such an investigation.”

There is a legal phrase for this: Obstruction of justice. Something the administration is all too familiar with.

Over part of two tweets, Trump said “How do you impeach a man who is considered by many to be the President with the most successful first two years in history, especially when he has done nothing wrong and impeachment is for “high crimes and misdemeanors”?” OK. You can stop laughing now. Seriously. Stop!

After the GOP tweeted “The NY Attorney General called President Trump an “illegitimate president.” She has proven to have a vendetta against @realDonaldTrump & is using her position of power to baselessly smear the President & the work he’s done for the American people,” Trump retweeted that and added “All part of the Witch Hunt Hoax. Started by little [former NY Attorney General] Eric Schneiderman & [Governor Andrew] Cuomo. So many leaving New York!” There were 19.85 million in New York state in 2017 and 19.88 million in 2018. Yup. Leaving in droves! [This was a second tweet after the first one was deleted because he couldn’t spell Cuomo’s name correctly.]

Let’s not forget the Trump still has properties in New York such as his trump Tower. You don’t see him leaving the state.

According to excerpts from the forthcoming book “Kushner Inc.” obtained by New York Times, Trump told former Chief of Staff John Kelly he wanted Ivanka and Jared Kushner gone. The White House is denying these reports, calling the book “completely false.” Boy this could been interesting the next time they see each other. “Is it true daddy?”

After the latest Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet crash Trump tweeted “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly,” Trump tweeted. “Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger. All this cost for very little gain.”

“I’m not an email person,” Trump said during a July 2016 news conference. “I don’t believe in it because I think it can be hacked” as if no Twitter accounts have been hacked ever. Is tweeting any better? You send out an Email, it does normally to a finite number of users. You tweet something, it does to everyone of your followers.

Trump is also a big supporter of Boeing and has been a salesman for them. Most recently during his trip to Vietnam last month where he oversaw the sale of 100 Boeing 737 MAX planes — 20 of those MAX 8 models — for $12.7 billion. Vietnam has put the order on hold until the reason for the crashes are identified.

Within 48 hours, Trump was forced to order the halting of the airplanes because after Canada grounded them, they weren’t flying anywhere except in the US and even passengers were worried about them.

After Trump accused “The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They’ve become an anti-Jewish party,” press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders wouldn’t say whether Trump believes Democrats hate Jews, which is what he reportedly told Republican donors over the weekend at his Florida estate.

When Sanders claimed that the Democrats refusal to specifically condemn a freshman lawmaker for her controversial comments amounted to an “abhorrent” display, she was asked whether Trump condemned Rep. Steve King’s comments noting that King has a history of making what can be called racist comments but only recently stripped of various committee postings. She deflected the question. The Democrats did condemn the freshman who also apologized.

Trump also claimed that Jews are switching to the Republican party. Of course various polls from the past few elections say that Jews vote for the Democrats anywhere between 70% and 80% of the time.

A vote this week on Yemen was the first time Congress invoked the decades-old War Powers Act to try to rein in a president. That resolution seeking to end US backing for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition fighting in Yemen was approved in the aftermath of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and is expected to be the subject of Trump’s second veto.

The Trump administration is proposing $2.7 trillion in spending cuts following a directive by Trump to reduce spending by 5% across federal agencies, except for defense spending, as part of its budget plan for fiscal year 2020, which begins on October 1. The Democrats already have said that Trump will not get the $8.6 billion he plans to request for the wall.

“President Trump added nearly $2 trillion to our deficits with tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, and now it appears his budget asks the American people to pay the price,” said Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth, chairman of the House Budget Committee. “With severe cuts to essential programs and services that would leave our nation less safe and secure, the Trump budget is as dangerous as it is predictable.”

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted that Trump’s “record of accomplishment is why he’ll win re-election,” a significant difference from comments the he made earlier in the week where he described how he thought some Democrats could beat Trump in the 2020 election.

One of the very few items that Trump managed to check off on his platform list is sinking. Unless the Trump administration lifts the punishing tariffs it has imposed on Mexican steel and aluminum imports — duties it also imposed on Canada — Mexico is prepared to keep the status quo with the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump tweets “Republican Approval Rating just hit 93%. Sorry Haters!” From which poll he gives no data. So his “poll” [the one he invented in his mind] says 7% don’t like him. Still not good.

In 2011, Trump questioned whether President Obama was a born American in addition to his academic record. According to the Washing Post [and in recent testimony by Michael Cohen], days after he had threatened his high school, college and college board not to release his grades or SAT scores. In fact, Trump wanted all of his transcripts [which were on paper only] to be given to alumni Trump could trust.

In the more than two years since Trump took office, he has not hosted a women’s championship sports team for a solo event at the White House. WNBA teams were frequently invited to the White House during the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations. NCAA women’s basketball champion teams have visited the White House for the previous five administrations. The sole exception is of a November 2017 event honoring multiple NCAA championship teams.

Case in point: The North Dakota State Bison NCAA division 2 football team were at the White House and again they were served Big Macs, fried chicken sandwiches and other fast food on silver platters using fine china. “We could’ve had chefs, we could have, but we had fast food — because I know you people.”

Trump suggested the decision was aimed at supporting American business. “We like American companies, OK?” he said. Trump encouraged the team to “go and eat up,” noting that he would have a sandwich at the podium himself, but it would cause “too big a stir” with the reporters present. Ya. Sure Donnie.

In the computer department:

A researcher from France has detected in an app, nicknamed “Yelp for Conservatives”, was found with an open API [a set of functions and procedures allowing the creation of applications] leaking reams of user data without any real hacking. The developer said the app is designed “to keep conservatives safe as they eat and shop” has not taken kindly to the findings. He’s accusing the researcher of hacking his database and has threatened legal recourse.

The same researcher found another app called “Donald Daters” [coincidentally also pro-Conservative] which leaked users’ names, photos, personal messages and users’ authentication tokens. It is a MAGA-themed dating experience.

A recent polls says that 50% support Cohen, 35% support Trump.

Critical update for Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 users

Microsoft has announced that all Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 Updates will require an update in order to continue to get Windows Updates [the same will go if WSUS 3.2/3.0 SP2 is used]. This is for SHA-2 code signing.

After August 13, 2019, Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 Updates will not receive any updates.

As the update was just release this past Tuesday, you would of figured that the update would be included in this week’s updates, but so far I haven’t seen any.

For further information click here. Click here for the deadlines.

Miscellaneous computer tips – Volume 12

The new Windows Update

With Windows 10 comes a different Windows Update. The one thing you may notice is that if the Windows Update settings already lists updates to download and install, you can’t rescan for any newer updates. The old wuauclt /scannow doesn’t work.

Or can you…

There is a new Windows Update tool called usoclient.exe [which can be found in c:\windows\sydstem32]. It has the following options:

  • refreshsettings: Refresh the settings if any changes were made
  • restartdevice: Restart the device to finish installation of updates
  • resumeupdate: Resume the update installation after a reboot
  • startdownload: Start to download the patches
  • startinstall: Start to install the downloaded patches
  • scanInstallwait: Combines scan, download, and install
  • startinteractivescan: Will open dialogues and/or ask for user input as well as to show progress or report any errors
  • startscan: Start a scan

Example:

usoclient startscan

Notes:

  • By itself, you get nothing. There are no command line parameters that you can see [i.e. no /help or /?].
  • There is no hyphen or forward slash for the options.

What is Storage Sense?

In the background, Microsoft has been developing and updating Storage Sense. Storage Sense now has the capabilities of Disk Cleanup plus other features.

Storage Sense is intended to be a silent assistant that just takes care of your storage space on a Windows 10 device. When you configure all of the settings it just works in the background to keep your storage healthy and well maintained.

In Microsoft whacky and infinite wisdom, this feature is turned off. You can go to PC Settings > System > Storage and then select any of your systems storage devices to manually see what the situation is with disk space and perform maintenance right there yourself.

Corrupt system components?

If you are getting a sense that there may be some corruption among your system components, run the following command from the command prompt. Give it a few minutes to run.

DISM /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

This should help clean corruption among your system components.

A reminder that, as usual, research to see if these tips may help you. And as usual, use at your own risk.

Another crony sentenced

After his former 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to just 47 months after the prosecution asked for 19 to 25 years, Donald Trump spinned it differently tweeted “Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was NO COLLUSION with Russia” as the conviction was for bank and tax fraud and not for colluding with Russia.

However, on the counts that Manafort wasn’t found guilty, it was only because a single individual held out on guilty on those counts. [One could say that the individual could be a Trump supporter who knew the consequences if found guilty on the Russian related charges.] But the less than four-year term shocked many legal observers and sparked looks of astonishment among prosecutors. The judge only said that collusion wasn’t an issue for him to consider in the case. He did not assess whether it happens or not.

A judge in Washington, who has been less well disposed toward Manafort, will sentence him next week in a separate case, in which he has been accused of lying to Mueller and breaching a plea deal.

“They should be ashamed of their horrendous treatment of Paul Manafort who they pressured relentlessly because, unlike Michael Cohen, he wouldn’t lie for them,” said Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani in a statement. Except, Manafort is accused of lying in the other court case.

Even Manafort’s lawyer said outside court: “There is absolutely no evidence that Paul Manafort was involved in any collusion with any government official from Russia.” Seems for them Russian collusion is way more important than tax fraud.

Trump went on a two hour rambling speech – sometimes swearing – at the Conservative Political Action Conference rambling about the usual: collusion, witch hunt, presidential harassment, Green New Deal, Hillary Clinton’s Emails, etc. Would you want to hear the same ramblings over and over again?

At CPAC, Trump says he’ll be signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech. “If they want our dollars and we give them by the billions,” Trump said, “they’ve got to allow people to speak.” We’ll see if it backfires when those speaking go against him. If so, what he does after. This was because a conservative activist was punched on the campus of the University of California Berkeley last month.

Trump also said that all of the territory of the ISIS caliphate in Syria has been taken back, despite previously saying something similar just days ago. “As of today or tomorrow, we will have 100% of the caliphate defeated.”

During a stopover in Alaska on the way back from Vietnam, Trump said 100% of the caliphate had been taken. An official of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces disputed that statement, saying that the fight is ongoing and that they were surprised by Trump’s statement.

Trump said as well that he was being “sarcastic” when he asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s emails. If so, why does he keep on bringing it up? 28 months later, he still thinks the Democrats will null and void his election win and talks about Clinton’s emails. And yet, there is no way to erase his 28 months in office. He is [like it or not] the 45th president. Yes. It’s a form of fear mongering and definitely lying.

Trump claimed he fired former FBI Director James Comey in 2017 claiming “the good news is that this is going to be so bipartisan, everyone’s going to love it” since the Democrats were angry at Comey because of his investigation right before the election.

Trump said regarding possible obstruction from the firing of Comey “If you use your rights, if you use your power, if you use Article Two, it is called obstruction. But only for Trump, for nobody else.” So there are laws that don’t apply to him.

Trump reacted to a House vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, saying, without evidence, that the Democratic party is “anti-Jewish”. The House of Representatives passed a resolution broadly condemning hate and intolerance, including anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim discrimination, in the wake of controversy over Democratic freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar.

The vote was 407-23. Twenty-three Republicans voted against the measure, and all Democrats – including Omar – who voted in support of the resolution. But it seems like it is the Republicans who are against the resolution broadly condemning hate and intolerance, including anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim discrimination.

A photo published in the Miami Herald shows the founder and one-time owner of a spa, Li Yang, implicated in a human-trafficking ring attended Trump’s Super Bowl watch party at his West Palm Beach country club in February. Yang snapped a blurry selfie with a smiling Trump, who turned in his chair to look over his right shoulder for the photo.

Nineteen days later, Trump’s long-time friend and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in nearby Jupiter, which Yang had founded more than a decade earlier. None of the spas are registered to Yang or her family. They were sold 6 years ago and the current owner was charged with racketeering and running a house of prostitution and has pleaded not guilty.

Trump had pressured his then-chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn to grant his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump a security clearance against their recommendations. While Trump has the legal authority to grant clearances, most instances are left up to the White House personnel security office, which determines whether a staffer should be granted one after the FBI has conducted a background check.

But after concerns were raised by the personnel office, Trump pushed Kelly and McGahn to make the decision on his daughter and son-in-law’s clearances so it did not appear as if he was tainting the process to favor his family, sources told CNN. After both refused, Trump granted them their security clearances.

Trump pressured Gary Cohn, the former director of the National Economic Council, to tell the Justice Department to block AT&T’s Time Warner deal. At the heart of the theories is Trump’s public dislike of CNN, which was a division of Time Warner, and his close relationship with Fox News. Justice Department filed its lawsuit to block the deal.

While Trump openly criticized the AT&T-Time Warner deal, he publicly congratulated Murdoch for selling most of 21st Century Fox to Disney even before the deal had received regulatory approval. Rupert Murdoch is a close friend of Trump and the Murdoch family will make more than two billion dollars.

“FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes,” Trump tweeted. But some are questioning whether he is biased towards areas of the country that were hit by disasters but in areas that favor Trump over the Democrats. He was less than positive to the devastations in California [pull funding] and Puerto Rico [blame local leaders for slow relief efforts].

“When the Republicans had the Majority they never acted with such hatred and scorn! The Dems are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!” tweeted Trump. So he is already suggesting that Democrats cannot beat him fairly — raising the specter that if he loses next November, he will suggest that the election was not legitimate.

In the unemployment and employment section:

The White House is expected to announce that Trump will nominate Kelley Eckels Currie to serve as an ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues. That position, established under President Barack Obama’s administration, had been vacant since Trump took office. Currie currently serves as the representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Lynne Patton, a long time Trump family associate who made a controversial appearance at last week’s House hearing with Michael Cohen, says she has the President’s blessing to follow in his footsteps as a reality TV star, even as she serves as a high-ranking federal housing official. She will appear on a still-developing show about black Republicans.

The latest to jump the trump ship is White House deputy chief of staff and de facto communications director Bill Shine, who has stepped down to join the Trump campaign. He is the sixth to have the job in just over 2 years. But scuttlebutt said that Trump had questioned Shine’s judgment on a number of issues in recent months, from the midterm election to the government shutdown.

Shine had been slated to travel with Trump to Vietnam for the second North Korea summit but unexpectedly dropped off the trip two days before. Shine was wandering the halls of the Conservative Political Action Conference. Asked why he was there, he declined to answer. Dropping from communications director to a senior adviser is interesting.

In addition, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has resigned and plans to return to academia in the weeks ahead. Wilson had long been skeptical of Trump’s plans for a separate branch of the military devoted to space as much of the new organization would be formed from pre-existing Air Force units.

Trump did hire Kayleigh McEnany as national press secretary. She is an American political commentator and writer. She is also a former CNN contributor and a former national Spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has ended the controversial phone call record surveillance program exposed by Edward Snowden. The program was launched under the USA Patriot Act of 2001, originally to permit the collection of call records from telecommunications providers to search for patterns of connections between persons of interest.

Even Trump 2020 campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany got into the act by saying “These desperate Democrats know they cannot beat President Trump in 2020, so instead they have embarked on a disgraceful witch hunt with one singular aim: topple the will of the American people and seize the power that they have zero chance at winning legitimately.”

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said “They continue to be a group totally taken by small radical leftist fringe of their party and they’re completely controlled by it, they know that’s not enough to beat this President so they’re going to look for other ways to do that.”

Trump doesn’t like to lose even when he wins when three weeks after winning the 2016 election [but lost the popular vote] he said “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” It wasn’t considered a landslide.

Trump said he does not hold North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un responsible for American student Otto Warmbier’s death. He did however later said what he was “misinterpreted” but says he now hold North Korea responsible.

If Trump thought his so called Presidential Harassment is bad now, he hasn’t seen anything yet. Investigations into many of Trump’s cronies, former cronies and even family members are starting to take shape.

Trump tweeted “Presidential Harassment by “crazed” Democrats at the highest level in the history of our Country. Likewise, the most vicious and corrupt Mainstream Media that any president has ever had to endure – Yet the most successful first two years for any.” Considering that Trump invented the phrase “Presidential Harassment” how can you compare it against any level? And how do you measure it?

Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, is suing the Trump Organization, saying it failed to fulfill its contractual obligations to indemnify him or pay his attorneys’ fees relating to his work after he began cooperating with federal investigators. In his complaint, Cohen says his legal bills for the criminal investigations he faced totaled $1.9 million.

Trump claims now that Cohen wanted a pardon from Trump in person if convicted even though Cohen said under oath that he didn’t. So that could be a perjury charge. Problem is that it also sets up Trump that he would have to testify what Cohen had said – which could open up things.

The New York State Department of Financial Services has opened an inquiry into the Trump Organization’s insurance practices, sending a subpoena to the company’s long-time insurance broker.

GOP leaders and key committee chairmen are making clear that they believe there is no reason to probe whether Trump broke the law in engaging in a scheme to hide payments made to two women to keep their stories quiet in the days running up to the 2016 elections.

The US gained 20,000 more jobs but way less than the past few months. Trump touted growing wages, low unemployment and the stock market. On the stock market, Trump said, “Certainly since my election it’s up, getting close to 50%.” These statements are [of course] untrue as the stock market took a big tumble late last year and early this year and is slowly recovering.

It hasn’t reached its October 2017 peak and has tumbled since late February again. Dow Jones was at around 20,000 at the inauguration day and stands at around 25,000 at this time. [In comparison, with President Obama he started with about 8,200 and finished at around 20,000.]

Trump leaves Hanoi empty handed while Cohen blasts him

Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen will present to a House panel a check to support his testimony. It is dated August 1, 2017 for the amount of $35,000. While the image does not show what the payment was for, Cohen will say in his testimony the check was signed by Trump and was part of the reimbursement for “illegal hush money I paid on his behalf.”

Cohen testified that Trump was aware of long-time adviser Roger Stone’s efforts to reach out to WikiLeaks in advance of its release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Cohen said, according to his prepared testimony. Trump responded, according to Cohen: “Wouldn’t that be great.”

Cohen’s allegations, if true, would amount to the first time anyone with direct knowledge has said that the President had advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks dump of Clinton emails.

“Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately),” he wrote from his hotel in Hanoi. “He is lying in order to reduce his prison time.” Trump also said that Cohen “did bad things unrelated to Trump.” If you know your lawyer has done illegal activities elsewhere why would you continue to retain him? There has been no mention of anything illegal other than what he did for Trump.

Trump wasn’t too thrilled when Cohen’s testimony was scheduled during his summit calling it a “terrible thing”. But would there be a difference if he was back in Washington other than maybe tweeting that Cohen is a liar, no collusion, witch hunt, etc.

“I find it ironic, President Trump, that you are in Vietnam right now,” Cohen told Congress. Trump obtained medical deferments to avoid serving in the Vietnam War claiming he had bone spurs.

The New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan has disbarred Cohen after Cohen pleaded guilty last year to multiple felony charges, according to a decision. In New York, conviction of a federal felony triggers disbarment if the offense would constitute a felony under state law.

In his testimony, Cohen said:

  • He wouldn’t take a pardon even if offered.
  • Trump lied about his wealth to look richer to Forbes magazine [ranked 766] and less wealthy for tax authorities.
  • Trump said that black people “would never vote for him because they were too stupid” and “only black people could live that way.”
  • Trump may have been aware in advance of a 2016 meeting set up by Donald Trump Jr. and Russians at Trump Tower — something that Trump and his eldest son have long denied. Cohen will tell Congress that he witnessed Trump Jr., in June 2016, tell his father: “The meeting is all set.” Cohen acknowledges not knowing for sure that Trump’s son’s comments were in reference to the meeting with Russians.
  • Trump had told him [Cohen] that the Trump Jr. “had the worst judgment of anyone in the world.”
  • Trump Jr. “would never set up any meeting of any significance alone — and certainly not without checking with his father.”
  • Asked: You called Trump a cheat. What would you call yourself? Cohen: A fool.
  • Asked: How many times did Mr. Trump ask you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf? 500 times? Cohen: Probably, over the 10 years.
  • Cohen hired someone to rig two online polls for Trump. He said Trump knew about it and directed him to do so. Both attempts failed to help.

After North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un insisted all US sanctions be lifted on his country, there was no joint agreement. Trump left the summit early saying said Kim offered to take some steps toward dismantling his nuclear arsenal but not enough to warrant ending the debilitating sanctions regime on the country. This after he said Presidents before him couldn’t make a deal – he didn’t either.

Trump said he walked away from his second summit with dictator Un because Kim demanded the US lift all of its sanctions, a claim that North Korea’s delegation called a rare news conference in the middle of the night to deny. They insisted Kim had asked only for partial sanctions relief [United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed since March 2016] in exchange for shutting down the North’s main nuclear complex.

During an expanded session with aides, Trump and Kim discussed the prospect of opening a US office in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.

Here’s a shocker. Just before Trump and dictator Un were to meet in Vietnam for their second summit, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that North Korea remains a threat. In January, the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Review stated that North Korea remains an “extraordinary threat” to the United States.

So another contradiction in the administration as this contradicts Trump tweet in June 2017 after the first summit when Trump tweeted “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” Trump has never changed his mind since. When Pompeo was asked about what Trump had said, Pompeo try to spin it such that Trump meant to say that there is still a threat but not like what it used to be. [His tweet clearly says otherwise.]

Pompeo also said that core sanctions from the U.N. Security Council resolution on North Korea will be removed only after it fully denuclearizes but North Korea is moving its nuclear and ballistic weapons to hide them from potential US military strikes, according to a confidential UN report.

Trump tweeted that he has a “Great relationship with Chairman Kim!!” Yes. How did Un execute a defector? With a flamethrower. He imprisons, tortures and kills those accused of “political crimes.”

Chefs were still struggling to get a menu approved for the first dinner because officials from both the US and North Korea kept adjusting the menu to make it “super simple.”

Some administration staff are worried that Trump may finalize a deal with Un but may give too much in return. Trump could agree to ending the Korean War, an attractive prospect for someone intent on winning a Nobel Peace Prize. South Korea would have to agree. Luckily this didn’t happen.

Trump also tweeted that “without nuclear weapons” North Korea “could fast become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the World… Because of its location and people (and him), it has more potential for rapid growth than any other nation!” True. North Korea has an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people in labor camps – many for “re-education” – manufacture items and no pay to the workers.

Even before leaving Washington, Trump was giving off some hints that Americans shouldn’t expect too many positive changes from the summit. Of course if there is a [real] deal or progress, I’m sure he will take all the credit.

Dictator for life Un arrived in Hanoi at least a day before Trump and has been given a huge welcome by Vietnam. With Trump and his huge ego, I’m surprised he didn’t want to get to Hanoi before Un did.

Trump tweeted “So funny to watch people who have failed for years, they got NOTHING, telling me how to negotiate with North Korea. But thanks anyway!” This coming from a man with 4 bankruptcies.

Trump said he does not hold Un responsible for Otto Warmbier’s death after Kim denied knowledge of the American student’s maltreatment. “He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word.” This continues Trump’s “friendship” with Un just like his “friendship” with Vladimir Poutine. Warmbier died days after returning to the US from over a year in a North Korean prison that caused brain damage.

The family of Warmbier rebuked Trump for siding with dictator Un, who denied knowledge of their son’s maltreatment during his imprisonment.

Trump ordered then-chief of staff John Kelly to grant Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law and adviser — the clearance the day after the White House Counsel’s Office urged against it. White House officials had previously said that Kushner’s security clearance was handled “in the regular process” without pressure from anyone in the administration.

Trump wants to waste taxpayer’s money by holding a second parade which he is already calling it “one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C.”. He treated it” will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!” In his first two years, he played golf on July 4th.

A major 4th of July parade already takes place in the nation’s capital each year. The parade, called America’s National Independence Day Parade, goes through the heart of downtown Washington.

The House passed a resolution to overturn his emergency declaration to unlock money for wall construction at the US southern border. The vote was 245-182. Thirteen Republicans voted with Democrats to pass the measure. The Senate has 18 days to vote on the resolution. At least 3 GOP senators have signaled they will vote for the resolution.

In 2016 and prior, when there was a crisis in the world where two US allies got into an argument that escalated with a possible outcome of a military conflict, the US would come in and help stabilize the situation. In 2019, India and Pakistan have a bit of a conflict. Where is the US? Where is Trump ordering Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the area in order to defuse the situation?

[Not saying he would, but the US could actually profit in this if there is a conflict. Both countries would need new arms and hardware to replace what was used or destroyed. After all, Trump is/was supposedly a businessman.]

Two of Trump’s closest allies on the House Judiciary Committee referred Cohen to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution, claiming to have evidence that Cohen “committed perjury and knowingly made false statements” to lawmakers during his day-long testimony. These include that he did not seek a job in the Trump White House, his denial of committing bank fraud, as well as his assertion that the did not have any reportable contracts with foreign entities.

A staffer on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign says he kissed her without her consent at a small gathering of supporters before a Florida rally, an interaction that she alleges in a new lawsuit still causes her anguish. The staffer said she turned her head and the unwanted kiss landed on the side of her mouth, which she called “super-creepy and inappropriate.”

“This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts,” wrote White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders in a statement. Of course, what else would she says? It happened?

In [of course] a tweet, Trump accused filmmaker Spike Lee of making a “racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans…. than almost any other Pres!” Then he said it would “Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all.” But it is unclear exactly what part of Lee’s speech Trump interpreted as “racist.” Did Trump watch the right awards show.

Trump announced that because of “substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues” tariffs imposed by the United States on certain Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent has been delayed.

Trump tweeted “Since my election as President the Dow Jones is up 43% and the NASDAQ Composite almost 50%…. We are bringing back America faster than anyone thought possible!” Except the [real] presidents prior to him had higher increases. And “back” from where? Hell? [This was mentioned in a previous blog.]

Since the Trump administration announced it would end its practice of separating families apprehended at the southern border last June under its “zero tolerance” immigration policy, at least 245 children have been separated from their parents, according to a new court filing. The administration said the basis for the separation in the majority of cases was “criminality, prosecution, gang affiliation or other law enforcement purpose.”

The Department of Health and Human Services received more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors from 2014-2018, according to internal agency documents. In addition,1,303 complaints were reported to the Justice Department during that same time frame, according to the documents.

Trump supposedly tweeted “I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard.” Hello? We still don’t have 5G widely available. Or maybe the genius thought 5G was already fully deployed. 6G specifications may not even be finalized if it even exists.

There was a Trump look-a-like in Hanoi. He’s Canadian and his first name is Donald. Better skin complexion though.

Trump’s national emergency challenged on all fronts

So far, sixteen states filed a lawsuit challenging Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration. Led by the California Attorney General, it was filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The attorneys general from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia joined California in the lawsuit.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Border Network for Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union also announced lawsuits. At the core of each lawsuit is the argument that Trump is circumventing Congress to fund the wall along the US-Mexico border by declaring an emergency.

Not surprising Trump tried to hit back at California after the lawsuit announcement by tweeting “The failed Fast Train project in California, where the cost overruns are becoming world record setting, is hundreds of times more expensive than the desperately needed Wall!” Trump of course exaggerates especially when a mile of the Trump Wall is expected to cost $25 million. No whining about the other 15 states?

Just 24 hours after California and 15 other states filed a lawsuit challenging Trumps “national emergency” that the Department of Transportation cancelled a nearly $1 billion grant for California to build a high speed rail line. The grant stipulated to build the rail line and said nothing about the rail cars that would be used. Trump used the words “fast train” in a tweet instead of the adult sounding “high speed rail”.

Right after declaring a national emergency, Trump went golfing.

House Democrats introduced a resolution to block Trump’s effort to build a wall on the southern border through his emergency powers, setting up votes in Congress to rebuke Trump’s proclamation. The Democratic-controlled House appears all but certain to pass the resolution Tuesday and put pressure on Republicans in the Senate, many of whom have concerns with Trump’s action.

Key members of the Trump administration pushed a plan to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia in the months after the inauguration despite objections from members of the National Security Council and other senior White House officials, according to a new report from congressional Democrats.

The 24-page report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee is based on internal White House documents and the accounts of unnamed whistle blowers. It said the objectors — including White House lawyers and National Security Council officials — opposed the plan out of concern that it violated laws designed to prevent the transfer of nuclear technology that could be used to support a weapons program.

Trump tweeted “Wow, so many lies by now disgraced acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He was fired for lying, and now his story gets even more deranged. He and Rod Rosenstein, who was hired by Jeff Sessions (another beauty), look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught….. This was the illegal and treasonous “insurance policy” in full action!” Mr. Trump, what is the definition of the word treason?

McCabe recently came out with a memoir called “The Threat” and not surprising those in the Trump administration are fighting back the best they could. Not surprised they were calling McCabe a “disgrace”, a “liar”, Trump’s “illegal and treasonous”. Interesting how they were quiet before the book was released. The book’s release date was delayed because due to the lengthy pre-publication review process conducted by the Justice Department and FBI. I would guess that both of them didn’t have much objection to the content.

The White House argues that McCabe has no credibility because he is under criminal investigation for allegedly misleading investigators in their probe of the FBI’s handling of the investigation into the Clinton Foundation. But he suggested that an independent departmental report used as justification for his dismissal was improperly influenced by Trump.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia [and related] investigation could be complete as early as next week. Attorney General William Barr may be preparing to announce the completion of the Russia investigation.

Rosenstein is expected to leave the Justice Department in mid-March, according to a Justice Department official. A departure next month could potentially serve as another signal that special counsel Robert Mueller’s work is coming to a close.

A judge has approved a request from Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen to delay his date to report to prison from March 6 to May 6. In the request, Cohen’s lawyers cited his recent shoulder surgery and upcoming congressional testimony as reasons to delay the report date.

A report came out said that Trump called acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker late last year to ask whether it was possible that Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, who was recused from the case, could take over anyway.

Prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office have prepared a criminal case against Paul Manafort in the event that he receives a presidential pardon. The New York state attorney general’s office has also been putting together a case against Manafort. Although double jeopardy laws generally prevent defendants from being prosecuted twice for the same offense, New York has a tax-related exemption.

The revolving door continues. White House officials have begun to have preliminary discussions about replacing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats amid concerns that Trump may soon dismiss him, despite Trump’s public denial he’s considering the move. Of course we have heard this before.

Trump said he intends to nominate the current American ambassador to Canada, Kelly Knight Craft, to be the new US ambassador to the United Nations. Craft would be replacing the popular [and one of the very few competent people under Trump’s nominees] Nikki Haley. Trump’s announcement comes a week after his first pick to replace Haley, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, withdrew her candidacy.

You would figure that the Trump Wall would be built near the actual border but in some cases the Trump Wall could be as far as a half a mile away from the actual from the border turning the land between the actual border into no-man’s land.

Actor Alec Baldwin reprised his Trump impersonation for an “SNL” skit that recreated the president’s speech about the border, the budget, and assorted other subjects. Then Trump’s tweet asked “How do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into.”

Peter Baker of The New York Times noted on Twitter that “no other president in decades publicly threatened ‘retribution’ against a television network because it satirized him.” In the past, Trump has also suggested that NBC station licenses should be challenged, without any evident follow-up.

After Trump’s tweet, Baldwin tweeted, “I wonder if a sitting President exhorting his followers that my role in a TV comedy qualifies me as an enemy of the people constitutes a threat to my safety and that of my family?”

Mike Pence was in Munich for a security conference when Pence announces “I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump”. Now Pence paused for about 5 seconds or so, expecting to get some applause but none [noticeable] came. Awkward!

Meanwhile, also speaking at the same Conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called out the Trump administration over Trump’s claim that German cars pose a security threat. Merkel says a large chunk of BMW cars are built in the US. Ivanka Trump was at the conference.

Puppet, Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said that “The President far and away was the better candidate. He had a better message and he outworked Hillary Clinton. That’s why he’s President. He didn’t need to, nor did he, collude with the Russians.” She might as well record what she wants to say to save her voice.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has refused to deny that he nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in helping to ease tensions with North Korea. Do you blame him? Trump has claimed week that Abe had submitted the nomination to the Nobel committee. A Japanese newspaper reports that Abe made the recommendation after the US government “informally” sought his support for the prestigious award in the wake of the historic US-North Korean summit in Singapore last June. Trump made frequent references to the Nobel peace prize, saying in May last year that “everyone thinks” he deserves it.

Trump recently criticized European allies for not taking back their own captured citizens. Many countries are reluctant to repatriate them because of the difficulty of prosecuting suspected ISIS members based on evidence collected on the battlefield, causing frustration among US national security officials.

Some 59 Americans are believed to have joined the Islamic State, and 13 have faced terror-related charges after being returned to the US. Many more are believed to have died on the battlefield. Us citizens are small in numbers compared to the UK and France who have hundreds who went to fight.

Trump said that he directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to allow Hoda Muthana, an Alabama woman who left in November 2014 to join ISIS, to return to the United States — despite her recent public plea to come back and stand trial in America.

“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Under US law Muthana would be a US citizen by nature of her birth in the country, though the State Department could argue that her claim to citizenship is flawed because of the immigration status of her parents at the time of her birth. A family representative of Muthana showed her birth certificate to the press.

[Personally, she should be allowed back in the US to stand trial. You can’t remove someone’s citizenship for someone born in the country – especially without any type of legal proceedings. A court should decide her citizenship. Trump and Pompeo have no right to do this. Soon, they will use this tactic to toss out US born citizens for robbing a bank or maybe just a speeding ticket.]

Muthana filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC, to prevent what he calls an “unlawful attempt” by the United States to rescind his daughter’s citizenship. The lawsuit filed by her father “seeks injunctive relief preventing the United States government from unconstitutionally robbing [Muthana and her son] of their rights as United States citizens.”

Regarding the Jussie Smollett “scandal”, Trump got in the act [surprised?] by tweeting “@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?” The so-called attackers were Trump supporters after the attack. This coming from a man who has made racist comments to just about anyone not part of his base supporters.