Trump’s travel tales and other odd stuff

Former CIA chief John Brennan said “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals.” Brennan wasn’t saying that he believed that the Trump campaign actively colluded with Russia.

Donald Trump is expected to hire attorney Marc Kasowitz to represent him on matters related to the inquiry into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, according to a senior administration official and a person close to Trump. Taxpayers footing the bill?

White House lawyers have even been researching impeachment procedures in order to prepare for such a possibility including need to hire a personal legal team to represent Trump.

Jared Kushner, is willing to co-operate with federal investigators looking into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, his attorney said. The FBI was investigating meetings Kushner had in December with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, and Russian banker Sergey Gorkov.

On his trip to Saudi Arabia, Trump would not talk about the issues at home as well as women’s right and human rights. [In case you don’t know, at restaurants there for example, men walk in through one door while women and children walk in another with a wall separating them.]

In Trump’s speech, he said “…in just a few months, we have created almost a million new jobs, added over 3 trillion dollars of new value, lifted the burdens on American industry, and made record investments in our military that will protect the safety of our people….” Let’s see, where did he get a million jobs from? “New value”? In what? “… lifted the burdens on American industry”? Does he mean regulation? He hasn’t really done anything yet. “… made record investments in our military…” Record? Trump announced an increase to $650 billion. Not even close to the roughly $700 billion about 8 years ago when President Obama took over.

“… includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase – and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defense companies.” In order for the Saudis to get a “good deal”, it would probably mean reducing the price to purchase say a jet fighter. The manufacturer will then have to cut costs somewhere.

” Saudi Arabia also joined us this week in placing sanctions on one of the most senior leaders of Hezbollah.” Wow! A single leader! It’s a token thing really.

Trump complained in 2015 that Michelle Obama didn’t cover her head in a trip she took with President Obama and Trump whined about it. He says Saudi Arabia was “insulted”. Fast forward two years and Trump’s entourage including Melania an Ivanka aren’t covering their heads. Saudi Arabia’s policy states that dignitaries do not have to cover their heads unless they want to.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had pledged $100 million for the bank’s proposed Women Entrepreneurs Fund, which was first proposed by Ivanka Trump. Didn’t Trump complain about the various Arab state giving the Clinton Foundation donations during the campaign?

During his campaign, Trump accusing Saudi Arabia of wanting “women as slaves and to kill gays” and suggested they were being behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks. In his speech he said “I am honoured to be received by such gracious hosts.”

It is interesting to note that very conservative Saudi Arabia were happy with how Melania dressed and acted [no word on the hubby]. Unlike her husband, Melania planned what they would wear at each stop so she would not offend anyone. She also brushed up on protocols. Him? Nope.

It blows the mind what Trump does. While visiting Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial in Israel, it is tradition for world leaders to leave a message. When President Obama visited the memorial a few years back, he wrote “I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife…” [There was more.] What did Trump write “It’s a great honor to be here with all of my friends—so amazing + will NEVER FORGET!” [I am almost sure Melania told him to write the last part.] It’s like he just signed one of his books. See it here.

As the Trump entourage landed in Israel, on the tarmac, looks like Melania is still unhappy with Trump:
And it happened again while landing in Italy.

As well, he confirmed that he never mentioned Israel as the source of the secret information that he gave to the Russians. Huh? So he did give them secret information – something he denied earlier.

At one point, he told an audience in Jerusalem he was happy to have arrived in Israel “from the Middle East”. So Israel is not in the Middle East? Who knew?

Seems the Trump administrations still is disorganized. The U.S. has never recognized Israeli sovereignty over parts of the Old City in Jerusalem. And yet Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley declared the site part of Israel but other officials avoided answering the question.

Melania and Ivanka covered their heads in a sign of papal respect when meeting the Pope, a gesture they did not partake in Saudi Arabia. [Aside from the fact that Ivanka isn’t Catholic.] I guess pointing to Trump’s size, the Pope had a light moment with Melania, asking via translator, “What do you give him to eat, potizza?” referring to a favourite papal dessert from her native Slovenia.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” the Pope said at one time in the past. Trump then called the Pope “disgraceful” for doubting his faith.

White House press secretary Sean “Garlic” Spicer fumed to colleagues after being excluded from the President’s meeting with Pope Francis. He discovered at the last minute that he was not on the shortlist of White House officials selected to join the President for the private audience. Hope Hicks [Trump’s communications adviser], Keith Schiller [Trump’s deputy assistant with the title director of Oval Office operations and former bodyguard!!!], and Dan Scavino [his social media master] were invited.

Trump was basically bully the other NATO leaders saying they weren’t living up to the agreement of using 2% of their respective country’s GDP on military spending. Only 5 meet or exceed the 2%. In his speech he said “This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.” Well, nobody asked the US to spend $650+ billion a year. He also claims that if the other countries met their expectations it would they could counter terrorism better. That’s debatable.

Nearing the end of Trumps trip he tweeted “Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.” Unsure where money was saved [or made] and if “millions” of jobs were saved.

Trump appears set to defy presidential tradition and not hold a press conference during the entire trip.

Wow. Trump will go over a week without playing golf…..

Trump issued a statement saying the White House intends to get to the bottom of what he called “deeply troubling” leaks of information after some information related to the Manchester bomber was released. “I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” He’s been saying this for how long already?

At the NATO conference, you can see in the video where Trump shoves a prime minister aside so that he could be in front and center of the attention. Not surprised.

In rejecting the travel ban, the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals zeroed in on the comments Donald Trump as a candidate and president, the government’s national security justifications, and the role of the courts. The travel ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”

The Trump administration announced a $4.1 trillion US budget for 2018. The proposal is laced with cuts to domestic agencies, student loan subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid, highway funding and medical research. Democrats and some Republicans have already shot it down as dead on arrival. The proposal projects that this year’s deficit will rise to $603 billion, up from the actual deficit of $585 billion last year. The budget claims that by 2027 there will be a projected small surplus of $16 billion. But that has many factors. Trump’s new budget is based on sustained growth above 3 per cent, sharply higher than the expectations of most private economists.

In special elections, two seats [New York and New Hampshire] easily won by Trump 6 months ago switch to the Democrats in special elections for state legislative seats.

A Republican candidate in a special election in Montana has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he allegedly body slammed a reporter and broke his glasses on Wednesday night. Three newspapers have dropped support in the candidate who reportedly has nearly $250,000 in shares in two index funds that had investments in Russian companies which were under U.S. sanctions. The reporter never touched the candidate. The special election is because the previous House seat winner joined Trump’s cabinet.

The Montana Republican in the end won by single digits after Trump won by 20 points in November. It was only after he was declared the winner he apologized for his actions after blaming the reporter for the altercation [even though witnesses said he was to blame]. If this would of happened a few weeks ago [before many went to the advanced polls], it could have been different.

Michael Flynn will “plead the fifth” [as in 5th Amendment] when he is questioned on the controversy involving the Russians. During the campaign, Trump called those who plead the fifth basically as cowards.
“So many young, beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life,” Trump said following the Manchester bombing. “Losers”? He couldn’t find something more forceful?

Trump said once: “When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same. The temperament is not that different.”

In an effort to better control the perceived risks of small drones, the Trump administration is asking Congress to grant it the ability to track, seize, disrupt, and destroy any drone that it perceives to be a security threat. And it’s asking to do these things without prior consent.

Not long after [black] Democrat congressman Al Green called for the impeachment of Trump, did he start to receive calls like “You’re not going to impeach anybody, you f—— n—– … You’ll be hanging from a tree.”
Evan Williams, founder and former CEO of Twitter, says Twitter’s role in Trump’s populist rise is “a very bad thing”. “If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.”

A “toolkit” provided to House Republicans to defend US communications watchdog the FCC’s recent decision to tear up net neutrality rules was written by the cable lobby. It was written by the assistant director of “industry grassroots” at the US cable industry’s main trade association, the NCTA. It is amazed of what the Trump administration allows.

Miscellaneous computer tips – Volume 5

Tip #1:

If you have a Hotmail.com/.ca, outlook.com/.ca or live.com/.ca account and use the web site [not just an application] this may be of interest for you. Microsoft added a feature called “Focus” I guess it highlights new Emails. If you don’t want it, follow these steps to disable it:

  1. Towards the upper right corner within the web page, click on the wheel and then “Options” down at the bottom.
  2. Scroll down on the left [near the bottom] and choose “Focused inbox”.
  3. On the right, if you don’t want the feature, select “Don’t sort messages”.
  4. Click on the “Save” button above.
  5. To go back to your mail, click on the left arrow next to “Options” near the top left of the web page.

You can return to the focused inbox by reversing things any time you want.

Tip #2:

For those on the run around the world or maybe you have clients in multiple time zones, you can add 2 additional clocks in Windows that can be visible when you click on the date and time in the right corner. But say 3 isn’t enough. You can add as many as you want by modifying the registry. Note that this is a per user setting.

  1.  Open the registry editor, REGEDIT.
  2.  Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\.
  3.  Add the following keys in sequence: TimeDate, AdditionalClocks, 1. So it should look like HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\TimeDate\AdditionalClocks\1
  4. Under the 1 key, create a new 32-bit DWORD value called Enable and set its value data to 1.
  5. The create a new string value named DisplayName and set it to any desired name which will be used when viewing the time. You can call it a specific place or something like “Home”, “Bob”, etc.
  6. The create a new string value named TzRegKeyName. This will be one of the manu actual time zones around the world. Choose one from: Afghanistan Standard Time, Alaskan Standard Time, Arab Standard Time, Arabian Standard Time, Arabic Standard Time, Argentina Standard Time, Atlantic Standard Time, AUS Central Standard Time, AUS Eastern Standard Time, Azerbaijan Standard Time, Azores Standard Time, Bahia Standard Time, Bangladesh Standard Time, Belarus Standard Time, Canada Central Standard Time, Cape Verde Standard Time, Caucasus Standard Time, Central America Standard Time, Cen. Australia Standard Time, Central Asia Standard Time, Central Brazilian Standard Time, Central Europe Standard Time, Central European Standard Time, Central Pacific Standard Time, Central Standard Time, Central Standard Time (Mexico), China Standard Time, Dateline Standard Time, E. Africa Standard Time, E. Australia Standard Time, E. Europe Standard Time, E. South America Standard Time, Eastern Standard Time, Eastern Standard Time (Mexico), Easter Island Standard Time, Egypt Standard Time, Ekaterinburg Standard Time, Fiji Standard Time, FLE Standard Time, Georgian Standard Time, GMT Standard Time, Greenland Standard Time, Greenwich Standard Time, GTB Standard Time, Hawaiian Standard Time, India Standard Time, Iran Standard Time, Israel Standard Time, Jordan Standard Time, Kaliningrad Standard Time, Korea Standard Time, Libya Standard Time, Line Islands Standard Time, Magadan Standard Time, Mauritius Standard Time, Middle East Standard Time, Montevideo Standard Time, Morocco Standard Time, Mountain Standard Time, Mountain Standard Time (Mexico), Myanmar Standard Time, Namibia Standard Time, Nepal Standard Time, New Zealand Standard Time, Newfoundland Standard Time, North Asia East Standard Time, North Asia Standard Time, N. Central Asia Standard Time, Pacific SA Standard Time, Pacific Standard Time, Pacific Standard Time (Mexico), Pakistan Standard Time, Paraguay Standard Time, Romance Standard Time, Russia Time Zone 3, Russia Time Zone 10, Russia Time Zone 11, Russian Standard Time, Samoa Standard Time, South Africa Standard Time, SA Eastern Standard Time, SA Pacific Standard Time, SA Western Standard Time, SE Asia Standard Time, Singapore Standard Time, Sri Lanka Standard Time, Syria Standard Time, Taipei Standard Time, Tasmania Standard Time, Tokyo Standard Time, Tonga Standard Time, Turkey Standard Time, US Eastern Standard Time, US Mountain Standard Time, UTC, UTC-02, UTC-11, UTC+12, Venezuela Standard Time, Vladivostok Standard Time, West Asia Standard Time, W. Australia Standard Time, W. Central Africa Standard Time, W. Europe Standard Time, West Pacific Standard Time, Yakutsk Standard Time

So it could look like something below if you created a registry file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\TimeDate\AdditionalClocks\1]

“Enable”=dword:00000001

“DisplayName”=”Home”

“TzRegKeyName”=”Hawaiian Standard Time”

Tip #3:

Ever wanted to change the boot-up, login and locked screen in Windows 7? [This feature is in the Settings section in Windows 8.1 and 10.]

Find or create an image. Requirements:

  • must be less than 256 KB in size
  • convert to JPG
  • match resolution of the screen if possible
  • the name should be backgroundDefault.jpg [note the capitol “D” – strange].

Open the registry and go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background
  • Create or change value named OEMBackground to 1 [it’s a REG_DWORD].
  • Go to C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds
  • If not there, create the missing folder(s).
  • Copy backgroundDefault.jpg into the backgrounds folder.
  • The change takes effect immediately. There is no need to restart your computer.

Note:

As usual, when modifying the registry, take precautions such as backing the registry up first. Use at your own risk.

WannaCrypt may have been a dud for most

While the WannaCrypt/WannaCry ransomware caused some havoc, primarily in Europe and mostly of them in eastern Europe, with the infection hitting in the 6 figures, it turned out to be a big dud.

First, many did not pay the ransom. I am guessing many of those in eastern Europe cannot afford $300+.

Second, while it heavily affected those with Windows 7 computers, I suspect many of those are unprotected or not patched as they could be pirated copies of Windows 7. Eastern Europe and Asia [also hit hard] are notorious for high piracy rates. Many with pirated copies do not want to possible compromise their system with an update that could botch their copies.

Third, even though somewhere around an estimated 10 percent of computers are still using Windows XP, an operating system that has had no support for about 3 years, those who programmed botched things up because when WannaCrypt got onto those computers they wouldn’t spread to other computers and many of them would crash.

Kaspersky claims almost 98% of machines infected were Windows 7 based. Servers were just over 1% and most of those were Server 2008 R2.  Windows 10 accounted for 0.03% [I guess some turned off Windows Updates]. Servers account for 1.4% with most of them on Windows Server 2008 R2 – the server version of Windows 7.

Can Trump do nothing and still cause problems?

We’ll see. Trump is off to the Middle East and Europe.

Trump asked James Comey to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a request documented in a memo written by the former FBI director. According to Comey’s memo, Trump said “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” This is obstruction of justice.

At one point, Trump claimed that he fired Comey on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Previously he said he would fire Comey regardless of Rosenstein’s recommendation. But Rosenstein said Trump was ready to fire Comey prior to the release of Comey’s memo.

Meanwhile, Russian officials bragged in conversations during the presidential campaign that they had cultivated a strong relationship with former Trump adviser retired Gen. Michael Flynn and believed they could use him to influence Donald Trump and his team.

Flynn told Russia’s ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak, that the Trump administration would look favorably on a decision by Russia to hold off on retaliating with its own sanctions. The next day, Putin said he wouldn’t retaliate. Flynn also told Kislyak that the incoming Trump administration would revisit US sanctions on Russia once in office.

Trump bragged to two top Russian officials last week that firing “nut job” Comey eased “great pressure” on him.

Trump lashed out at the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations that his campaign collaborated with Russia to sway the 2016 election, saying that it is “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” But the day before, he was happy for the investigation to once and for all clear him. The Justice Department on Wednesday appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the investigation. Mueller will have sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes he uncovers. Maybe Trump has a change of heart because of Mueller.

The announcement was made by deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The White House counsel’s office was alerted only after the order appointing Mueller was signed. Mueller has butted heads with the White House previously. Mueller is a lawman with deep bipartisan respect.

Trump tweeted “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel (sic) appointed!” He did not provide examples or evidence of any alleged “illegal acts” as usual. And another piece of evidence that he can’t spell.

First reactions from Congress were mainly positive. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee are among the Republicans who welcome Mueller. We will see if they have a change of heart in the upcoming months.

The author of Trump’s controversial travel ban, Stephen Miller, which targeted people from six-majority Muslim countries, is the principal speechwriter for the President’s speech on Islam in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Trump shared highly classified information with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador to the US in a White House meeting last week. Two former officials knowledgeable of the situation confirmed. Supposedly the information Trump leaked came from Israel regarding using laptops on bombs on airlines. CNN was cautioned by Trump administration officials not to report certain details about the threat, including the city in which the intel was collected. Trump later revealed that city in a meeting with Russians.

Vladimir Poutine has said that Russia is ready to provide US Congress with a transcript of the talks between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. One has to wonder why the Russians recorded the conversation [we’ll assume without Trump’s knowledge] and whether the tapes could be doctored. How would it look if Trump allowed Putin to defend him? Is this Russia meddling in US affairs? Poutine dismissed outrage over Trump’s disclosures as U.S. politicians whipping up “anti-Russian sentiment” for being either “stupid” or “dangerous” and “political schizophrenia”.

Trump contradicted his aides-and confirmed on Twitter that he had indeed shared sensitive information: “As President I wanted to share with Russia which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.”

The disclosure put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk and Trump later was informed that he had broken protocol.

Trump boasted about his access to classified intelligence in last week’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. An excerpt to an official transcript of the meeting reveals that Trump told them, “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” he said.

Trump spent the campaign arguing that his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should be locked up for careless handling of classified information. And him?

A senior White House official was asked would accelerate President Trump’s demands for a crackdown on national security leaks, the aide simply replied, “Oh, definitely.”

A senior Trump appointee involved in counter-ISIS policymaking said “I miss candidate Trump. Now he’s just a pathetic mess.” Another former FBI official said “I think he shared because he thinks he’s playing chess when he’s actually playing checkers. International affairs is not like buying a golf course.”

A former FBI official said “He thinks he’s arranging some business deal except that he’s not.”

In front of United States Coast Guard Academy graduates [a good place to mix politics, eh?], Trump complained that ” No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.” Wonder how he knows? Maybe he’ll sue the government and ask for compensation. Some in the crowd wore “Make America Great Again” hats. Wonder if his people gave them out – hats that weren’t sold in November.

In the same speech, he said “We’ve saved the second amendment,” he said, after touting his work on immigration, job creation and tax reform. What did he do again?

As of May 11, Trump’s odds of being impeached during his first term were sitting at a whopping 60 percent. The odds are part of a host of “Donald Trump Specials” offered by the Irish betting house Paddy Power. (Vegas doesn’t let you bet on anything but sports.) It includes bets that Trump will be impeached for treason (6/1 odds) and on who his next FBI Director will be (Trey Gowdy leads with 4/7 odds). On the more soothing side, Paddy Power has 13/8 odds — 38 percent — that Steve Bannon will be the next one fired from the White House.

Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker said the wave of negative stories related to Trump and intelligence meant the White House is in a “downward spiral.” Republican Susan Collins, a Maine senator, said “Can we have a crisis-free day? That’s all I’m asking.”

Republican Senator John McCain said that the recent developments had reached “Watergate size and scale” and if Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week, then it is “deeply disturbing.”

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, said simply, “It would be helpful to have less drama emanating from the White House.”

In my previous blog, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that FBI employees had “lost confidence” in James Comey go. But former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who works with the FBI, says FBI employees at the FBI were shocked.

In a letter sent to Republican and Democrat Congress and Senate leaders, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that Trump “intends to initiate negotiations with Canada and Mexico regarding modernization” of NAFTA. The letter gives Canada and Mexico a 90-day notice before the negotiations could begin.

Nonpartisan congressional research concluded in 2015 that NAFTA had not caused an exodus of jobs, nor was it a major job creator. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, 14 million US jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico. Exports and imports between the three countries have boomed since NAFTA became law in 1994.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program promises to cancel any remaining student debt for those who work for the government or non-profits if they have been making on-time payments for 10 years. Many teachers, public defenders, Peace Corps workers, and law enforcement officers fit the qualifications. This numbers 400,000 student loans with some exceeding $300,000 in debt. The median borrower in the program has more than $60,000 in student debt and almost 30% of them have more than $100,000 in debt.  The Department of Education is planning to propose ending the program. Another cut from the Trump administration.

Trump signed his long-awaited executive order on cyber security, laying out his plans for addressing security in federal IT and across US infrastructure. The most ambitious mandate was that all federal IT systems move to the cloud.

One of Trump’s new surrogates, Conrad Black, looks like is defending Trump for Canadians. Black is a billionaire Canadian who spent time in prison related to 8 counts of fraud. Black also said that James Comey was not likable at the FBI.

Trump claims his book The Art of the Deal [out since 1987], is “the No. 1 selling business book of all time.” While hard to put business books in a specific category [since an biography such as the book Steve Jobs is business related], Trump’s book sold an estimated 1 million copies. In comparison, the Steve Jobs book sold 3 million copies and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People sold at least 10 million copies.

Trump is taking credit for a phrase. For “prime the pump” he said ” I just… came up with it a couple days ago and I thought it was good”. It actually dates back to 1933.

A bill called Stop Waste and Misuse by the President (SWAMP) Act, states that Trump’s travel “results in the American taxpayer effectively subsidizing the president’s businesses.” The bill would also require that Trump reimburse the government for Secret Service costs derived from visits to his properties.

As the $6 million in “campaign funds” that Trump spent in the first quarter of 2017, $500,000 was directed right back into Trump-owned hotels, restaurants and golf clubs. In total, since the start of his campaign, over $14 million has been funneled back into Trump-owned properties.

Congress is set to approve $61 million to reimburse local police departments for protecting Trump and the first family when they travel outside of Washington. Most of it will head to New York as Melania and Barron are there. New York estimates it spends between $127,000 to $146,000 a day to protect the first family when Trump is not in town, and more than $308,000 a day when he visits.

The Trump administration is discontinuing a signature girls education initiative, “Let Girls Learn”, championed by former first lady Michelle Obama, according to officials. Also being modified is Michelle Obama’s lunch program. [Make America Fat Again?]
There are 238 members of the House Republican conference, and just 21 of them are women (that’s less than 9%). As for Democrats in the House, 62 of the 193 members are women (that’s 32%).

Bebe Stores [168 stores across Canada and the US with unknown number of employees] will close its stores in May adding to the other store chains that are closing stores [Macys, Sears and JC Penney among others] and those that want news owners [Neiman Marcus and Staples among others]. Trump won’t take credit but I’m sure he’ll blame the Democrats. Ford will cut roughly 9600 jobs in the US. Let’s see if Trump can save them and at what cost to taxpayers.

“South Koreans are more concerned that Trump, rather than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will make a rash military move, because of his outrageous tweets, threats of force and unpredictability,” said an intellectual from South Korea.

Dan Heyman, a reporter for Public News Service, said he was arrested at the West Virginia State Capitol after trying to ask Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price a question about the House-passed healthcare bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Dictatorship?

As if Trump has nothing else to butt in, he tweeted “Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader.” Manning stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks and served 7 years before being pardoned by Obama. Ungrateful because she went after Obama even though Obama released her. Wow. Trump defending Obama.

 

WannaCry/WannaCrypt Microsoft Windows patches

If you are up to date on Windows patching, you should be covered. If not, you can still get the patch at http://catalog.update.microsoft.com/v7/site/Search.aspx?q=4012598.

It is important to know that Microsoft also release patches for unsupported Windows XP SP3 and Windows Server 2003.

One wacky week with wacky Trump

Warning: It is a nutty week. This blog is “extended today”.

In a signed letter, Donald Trump informed [former] FBI Director James Comey that he was “hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately,” explaining that he reached the conclusion that Comey is “not able to effectively lead the bureau.” Trump was praising Comey during and after the election. 5 months later, Trump had a change of heart?

The White House said that Comey was fired based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In a separate letter, Rosenstein laid out the reasons for Comey’s firing, arguing that it was his transgressions over the Clinton email investigation that were the cause of his dismissal. Errr. Trump didn’t even meet him. Comey was in Los Angeles.

In his letter to Comey firing him, Trump thanked him for telling him three times “that I am not under investigation.” The FBI has not confirmed that Comey ever made those assurances to the president. Former FBI agents said such a statement by the director would be all but unthinkable.

Comey reportedly thought his removal was a prank. Trump had been planning to oust Comey for at least a week Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been charged with finding a good pretext.

Then Trump tweeted “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.”

Days before he was fired by Trump, Comey requested more resources to pursue his investigation into Russia’s election meddling and the possible involvement of Trump associates, U.S. officials say, fueling concerns that Trump was trying to undermine a probe that could threaten his presidency. That same type of action help bring down Richard Nixon.

Trump said that he was going to fire Comey with or without Rosenstein’s memo criticizing the director. Meanwhile White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “…the rank-and-file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director.” Sure Sarah. Took a poll?

Seems Trump was also jealous that Comey was getting more of the spotlight than him saying he was a show-off, agreed about Obama’s surveillance and would not exonerate him in the Russia mess. White House officials said Trump’s confidence in Comey had been eroding for months and Trump was persuaded to take the step by Justice Department officials and a scathing memo, written by Rosenstein, criticizing the director’s role in the Clinton investigation.

Andrew McCabe, top deputy to ex-FBI Director Comey, could be a contender for the Director’s role. He is now acting director. But McCabe’s actions are among the decisions being scrutinized in an ongoing Justice Department inspector general probe of the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. One issue is whether McCabe should have recused himself from the Clinton case after his wife [running for senate] received large campaign contributions from the political action committee of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close Clinton ally.

As well, Trump may kill the press briefings [what will Sean “Garlic” Spicer do?] by releasing press releases to keep the answers accurate. This maybe because deputy WH press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders contradicted some things Trump said.

Garlic literally hid in the bushes to avoid press after Comey was fired. Didn’t know what to do. Maybe unrelated, Spicer is spending his week at the Pentagon for Navy reserve duty for the rest of the week. Huckabee-Sanders replaced him.

“When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?” Trump tweeted. Clapper, however, qualified his remarks by saying he had been unaware of an FBI investigation into the matter until Comey announced it to the public at a House hearing in March. So Trump using more outdated information.

President Barack Obama warned then-President-elect Trump in November against hiring retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security adviser during their Oval Office meeting on November 10, former Obama administration officials confirmed to CNN.

Trump’s travel ban is back in the spotlight with a high-stakes legal battle in front of a dozen federal judges in Richmond, Virginia. Normally, such an appeal from a district court’s decision would be heard by a randomly assigned panel of three judges, and the losing party may ask for it to be reheard by the full court. Yet in this case, the judges on the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals decided it should be heard by the full court — otherwise known as “en banc” — in the first instance. Ten of the 15 active judges on the court are either Clinton or Obama appointees.

“Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care,” said Raul Labrador, the Republican congressman in response to a statement by a woman that the “lack of health care was essentially asking people to die.” The Democrats confirmed with this quote that they are out of touch with the average person and simply don’t understand (or don’t care) about the real-world implications of their policy proposals.

Canada may retaliate against Trump’s softwood [a.k.a. house] lumber by either adding stiff tariffs to Oregon plywood, wine, flooring, wood chips and packaging materials [a congressman from there was one of the hawks in the lumber tariffs] or maybe coal from Washington state [which is shipped through harbors in British Columbia] to Asia [Trump wants to increase coal productivity. Another option is to lean heavily on 35 states that trade quite a bit with Canada. While none of the tariffs would affect Canadians as much, it would affect 2 US industries. The Trump administration says it won’t be pressured by trade threats from the Canadian government. I guess they don’t care who gets hurt.

Several American companies that rely on Canadian softwood say thousands of American jobs are at risk unless the U.S. Department of Commerce exempts them from hefty duties imposed on imported softwood lumber.

In an interview, Trump said “Oh, at some point I’ll release them. Maybe I’ll release them after I’m finished because I’m very proud of them actually. I did a good job.” This won’t stop him for being prosecuted if he said something that contradicted his tax returns such as owning property in Russia.

Revelations that the sister of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, promoted a program offering a path to U.S. citizenship to Chinese backers in a Kushner family project bring new scrutiny to a foreign investor visa program. Marketing materials for the event promoted Nicole Kushner Meyer as Jared’s sister, and cited the Kushner family’s “celebrity” status. Yes, celebrities like in one of Trump’s shows. The project promoted by Meyer in Beijing is a 79-story apartment building called Kushner 1.

As part of such deals, investors typically accept below-market investment returns to qualify for a visa, allowing the developer to pocket the savings on financing costs. After as little as two years, participants can apply for a fast-track green card and later U.S. citizenship.

Meanwhile, after seeing advertisements for what was described as a “Kushner event featuring Jared’s sister,” in Beijing a Canadian reporter decided to attend. Then she was asked to leave. The Beijing-based correspondent for the Washington Post, was seated apart from her colleague, who faced similar resistance from the hosts. Some of her colleague’s video and audio was deleted by the event organizers on the Chinese side. “I later heard from another reporter — who tweeted a picture — that there was indeed a picture of President Trump … on a slide that said ‘key decision makers.'” Seems that Nicole Kushner Meyer has now been removed of her duties.

In signing an omnibus bill, Trump said in a statement: “My administration shall treat provisions that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender … in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.” This could be code wording for “Unlike previous administrations, I won’t give historically black college financing, Native American housing block grants and minority business development anything more than what is required by law.” [i.e. Bare minimum.] I am assuming someone wrote this because I’m not sure how much of the constitution he knows and it doesn’t sound like him.

Maybe Trump finally did something right. The recently signed cybersecurity executive order requires federal agencies to adopt the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (Cybersecurity Framework; the agency heads have 90 days to prepare a report describing how they will implement the Framework. The previous administration had encouraged adoption of the framework, but did not make it a requirement.

Don’t you just love Trump? “[Former Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is “no evidence” of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.” Except Clapper said that he was unaware of evidence suggesting there was any.

Then he said “Biggest story today between Clapper & Yates is on surveillance. Why doesn’t the media report on this? #FakeNews!” Except the idea that the surveillance story is a bigger deal than Russia having compromising information about the national security adviser is nonsense.

Steve Munoz, a political appointee hired by the Trump administration for a significant State Department role was accused of multiple sexual assaults as a student several years ago at The Citadel military college. Five male freshmen alleged that Munoz used his positions as an upperclassman, class president and head of the campus Republican Society to grope them. So he fits in well with Trump’s crowd.

Ivanka Trump was reportedly reduced to tears by her father after he refused to issue a full apology for his comments about groping women. But according to the New York Times [one of the “fake news” outlets – so Papa will not accept it!], Ivanka repeatedly attempted to convince him to offer a full apology for the comment, but he had only agreed to say sorry for any offence he caused.

Another court loss for Trump: A US federal court has declined to rehear a case in which telecommunications companies seek to overturn net neutrality rules established during the Obama administration by the FCC.

If Trump were an officer in the Air Force, with any connection to nuclear weapons, he would need to pass the Personnel Reliability Program, which includes thirty-seven questions about financial history, emotional volatility, and physical health. (Question No. 28: Do you often lose your temper?) “There’s no doubt in my mind that Trump would never pass muster,” said a researcher.

Ivanka Trump, at a Berlin conference on women called W20 Summit, drew scattered groans and hisses for describing Trump as “a tremendous champion of supporting families.” “Some attitudes toward women your father has publicly displayed in former times might leave one questioning whether he’s such an empoweree for women,” said the moderator of the summit. Ivanka responded saying the media continues to bring that up. Then she said “I grew up in a house where there was no barrier to what I could accomplish beyond my own perseverance and my own tenacity.” Of course, if you are a daughter of a billionaire, there are few barriers.

 

A mostly down but a bit up week for Trump

Donald Trump finally passed some real legislation [“Trumpcare”] this week when they repealed parts of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act after failing to do so in March and plenty of negotiations to get this revised one through. But it still has to pass the senate where the GOP have a slim majority. Assuming all Democrats vote against the bill, if three Republicans vote against, the bill is dead.

Paul Ryan pushed but it could affect moderates Republicans and those who won by slim majorities as well as areas that were in favor of the ACA.

Trump says he would be “honored” to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jun Un. Honored? To meet a thug who starves his citizens, sent thousands to labor camps, executed people because he didn’t like them [and sent relatives to labor camps] and to create anti-American videos such as nuking American cities.

He seems to like fellow dictators/thugs. Trump had a discussion with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Trump is headed to the Philippines in November. Meanwhile one of his admirers is France’s Marine Le Pen, leader of the country’s National Front – a party that is known for anti-Semitic, anti-Islam, anti-immigration, anti-EU. You get it.

A list of pre-existing conditions lost under Trumpcare: AIDS/HIV, acid reflux, acne, ADD, addiction, Alzheimer’s/dementia, anemia, aneurysm, angioplasty, anorexia, anxiety, arrhythmia, arthritis, asthma, atrial fibrillation, autism, bariatric surgery, basal cell carcinoma, bipolar disorder, blood clot, breast cancer, bulimia, bypass surgery, celiac disease, cerebral aneurysm, cerebral embolism, cerebral palsy, cerebral thrombosis, cervical cancer, colon cancer, colon polyps, congestive heart failure, COPD, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, DMD, depression, diabetes, disabilities, Down syndrome, eating disorder, enlarged prostate, epilepsy, glaucoma, gout, heart disease, heart murmur, heartburn, hemophilia, hepatitis C, herpes, high cholesterol, hypertension, hysterectomy, kidney disease, kidney stones, kidney transplant, leukemia, lung cancer, lupus, lymphoma, mental health issues, migraines, MS, muscular dystrophy, narcolepsy, nasal polyps, obesity, OCD, organ transplant, osteoporosis, pacemaker, panic disorder, paralysis, paraplegia, Parkinson’s disease, pregnancy, restless leg syndrome, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, seizures, sickle cell disease, skin cancer, sleep apnea, sleep disorders, stent, stroke, thyroid issues, tooth disease, tuberculosis, ulcers. Yes, pregnancy is a “condition” and is included.

Trump tweeted ” Our country needs a good “shutdown” in September to fix mess!” “Mess” meaning needs 60 votes in the senate. Congressional leaders announced Sunday that they’d reached a deal to avert a government shutdown until September but Trump couldn’t get money for his wall because the Democrats wouldn’t pass the deal if that was included. The White House touted a double-digit, multibillion-dollar increase in military spending and $1.5 billion in border security funding as political wins.

Trump’s tweet above was just a few days after tweeting “As families prepare for summer vacations in our National Parks – Democrats threaten to close them and shut down the government. Terrible!” So he’s first blaming the Democrats for a possible shutdown [before the bill was agreed] and then later he says he wants a shutdown.

The spending agreement was the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to emerge since Trump was sworn in as President, and leaders on both sides pointed to the deal not only as a political victory, but also as a successful exercise in bipartisanship. Took 102 days into this administration for Trump’s administration to finally do their first legislation.

The White House’s proposal to cut $18 billion in nondefense programs also got nowhere in the Republican-controlled Congress, with the budget deal instead delivering an increase to some of the very programs the White House had sought to cut.

If a shutdown would happen in September, it wouldn’t look good for the Republicans as they control the White House, Senate and House and still can’t get anything passed. People also generally hate the party behind the shutdowns. Already the Republicans aren’t popular. This would sink them even more.

At the same time as the White House Correspondence Dinner, Trump is at a rally in Philadelphia [well Harrisburg]. At the rally, he is poking fun at those at the dinner saying what is that dinner without him? The dinner was announced a long time ago. He’s the one that declined. According the NPR, it has been 36 years since a president wasn’t at the dinner. [Ronald Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt.] Trump claims all the “fake news” outlets [CNN, MSNBC, etc.] wish they were at his rally. Hah! Those at the rally were cheering “Drain the swamp” and yet in 100 days, he’s done nothing.

He claims 96% of journalists gave donations to Hillary Clinton. Unsure how he can get that information. He also says “according to a poll” 89% of Americans believe the media has been against him on purpose. Hmmm.

Trump makes the puzzling claim that Andrew Jackson “was really angry that he saw what was happening in regard to the Civil War.” But Jackson died in 1845, and the Civil War didn’t begin until 16 years later, in 1861. Right after, Trump then says, “People don’t ask the question, but why was there the Civil War?” The war was decades in the making, stemming from disputes between the North and South about slavery and states’ rights. Wasn’t he taught this in school? {Maybe he got exempted like in his military service.] Jackson, a slave owner, famously led the forced removal of 17,000 Cherokees across the country, which resulted in the deaths of thousands. Trump has praised Jackson repeatedly during the 2016 campaign. Figures.

As Trump can’t see to get any legislation through, he is lamenting Congress is “a very rough system. It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country”. “Rough system”? “It’s just a very, very bureaucratic system. I think the rules in Congress and, in particular, the rules in the Senate, are unbelievably archaic and slow-moving.” Maybe there are reasons for making it slow [a bit]. Say don’t do something you won’t regret in the future? Or maybe issue a bad piece of legislation? He further blamed the Democrats for trying to block him from furthering his agenda. Isn’t that what the opposition party is supposed to do? Looks like he just wants to have an easy ride with no opposition. Can you say dictator?

Trump’s team released a video celebrating his 100 days in office – and yet he previously stated the 100 day mark was useful. [But he then “celebrated” at a rally near Philadelphia.] Among them:

  • Trump’s ad claims 500,000+ jobs created, but hard to see where they came from and many were announced while Obama was still President.
  • “More energy independent” showing off the Keystone XL pipeline but that isn’t a contributing factor.
    Regulations that kill jobs were eliminated but automakers want the debate on vehicle fuel-efficiency standard reopened but never did the Obama era regulation cost any jobs.
  • The biggest tax cut plan in history – but no way to determine it is the biggest with few details.

Trump’s supporters are accusing CNN of censorship for not airing an advertisement touting the president’s accomplishments, which the network said Tuesday it rejected because it was its own form of fake news. The ad says that “America has rarely seen such success” and lists a series of actions from the first 100 days of his presidency. The faces of NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and CBS’ Scott Pelley are shown onscreen behind the phrase “fake news.”

In tweets, Trump called CNN [and others] “fake news” and “unwatchable.” Criticizing media coverage has been in the Republican campaign playbook long before Trump even emerged. So why should CNN allow it on a “fake news” network and Trump for allowing it on networks he despises?

Trump could take credit for something for once. He had tweeted regarding the possible averting a strike by Hollywood film and television writers and representatives of the big Hollywood studios. Of course his tweet wasn’t kind. But it seemed to have push the two to settle their differences.

Trump cut off an Oval Office interview with CBS anchor John Dickerson and gestured for him to leave the room when Dickerson repeatedly asked about the president’s unfounded wiretapping claims. Trump later insults “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson by calling his show “Deface the Nation”.

He says “Do we love our enforcement?” The same guy who berated the CIA, FBI and others. He claims he went over the arena’s capacity. Wouldn’t that be a fire hazard?

“We are keeping one promise after another” Trump said. Hah!

A recent poll in Canada have Canadians liking China over the US [who would of thought]. They are saying China seems to be bring more leadership, security and stability in addition to an improved economy over what the US has done lately.

Trump use to bash Barrack Obama for signing all those executive orders, but at now at 30+, he has signed more than any president in the last 70+ years. In a past interview he called executive orders “a basic disaster.” Yup. But he likes them. Another flip flop.

During the campaign, Trump promised to bar his generals from being interviewed on television. Yet, several senior military officers have done Pentagon news conferences in the past few months that are taped by the networks. Gen. John Nicholson, the top general in Afghanistan, appeared at a news conference within the last week.

Another campaign proposal was a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress. Good luck on getting approval for that. Many in Congress have been there for a long time. Unless this applies to new people in Congress, it will never fly.

As well, Trump informed his generals they have 30 days to submit a new plan for defeating the Islamic State group. He ordered them submit a plan. No idea if a plan was ever created – at least not mentioned publicly.

Mike Pence said in an interview that if they can’t get the GDP at least 3%, they won’t be able to afford the changes they want to make in tax reform and health care. Well, maybe they are asking for too much tax reduction to the upper class they wouldn’t have to hope for a 3+% instead of maybe a 2% increase in GDP.

Former Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, thinks even 3% is a “pretty long shot”. He pointed to long-term problems in the US economy, including an aging workforce, low productivity and a global savings glut.

Sebastian Gorka, a controversial national security aide in the White House, is expected to leave his job. How many have left in 100 days?

Trump’s choice for Army secretary announced that he is withdrawing his name from consideration. The decision by Mark Green, Trump’s second pick for the post, came after his nomination ran into trouble following a backlash after past controversial statements on LGBT issues, Islam and evolution were revealed.

Chief of Staff Reince Priebus says the Trump administration has looked into changing libel laws for press outlets. So again, Trump can’t take criticisms. So he wants changes to reduce those criticisms.

More than fifty thousand mental-health professionals have signed a petition [on change.org] stating that Trump is “too seriously mentally ill to perform the duties of president and should be removed” under the Twenty-fifth Amendment.

Trump’s top advisers insist Trump is focused on making deals with foreign leaders in a bid to create a more secure planet, despite the lack of foreign travel. They point to frequent visits from foreign leaders as proof that Trump has influence on foreign affairs from the White House. Sure.

Trump signed an executive order calls for easing of Internal Revenue Service enforcement of the so-called “Johnson Amendment,” which prohibits churches from getting directly involved in political campaigns. This will pave the way for churches and other religious leaders to speak about politics and endorse candidates without worrying about losing their tax-exempt status. The same executive order calls for those in the military not to receive any religious items.