Another typical Trump week

The Justice Department warned the Trump administration last month that Michael Flynn misled administration officials regarding his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians. Flynn would later apologized.

The concern was raised after Flynn claimed he did not discuss with the Russian ambassador the sanctions being imposed by the Obama administration in retaliation for Russia’s interference in the election. Flynn was not yet in government. Flynn spoke to the ambassador on the same day Barrack Obama announced sanctions for Russia meddling in the US elections.

The message was delivered by then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Other top intelligence officials, including James Clapper and John Brennan, were in agreement the White House should be alerted about the concerns.

The chief of the propaganda department, Kellyanne Conway, stated just hours before Flynn’s resignation that Trump had full confidence of his National security adviser. So who was right?

Spicer first said Flynn was fired by Trump and then said Flynn resigned. Spicer blamed the Department of Justice for sitting so long even though Trump knew of Flynn’s mistake for almost 3 weeks. Flynn himself had the shorted time as National Security Advisor at 24 days – typical average is 2.5 years.

Just six days into his presidency, Donald Trump was informed his national security adviser had misled his vice-president about contacts with Russia. Trump kept his No. 2 in the dark and waited nearly three weeks before ousting the aide, Michael Flynn, citing a slow but steady erosion of trust, White House officials said.

Trump slammed intelligence officials and the media over what he called “very, very unfair” treatment of his ousted national security adviser Flynn. How else do you treat him. In addition, so he is again criticizing the CIA, NSA and others – the same departments that he just recently praised. I’m sure he is not going after the right wing media as they seem to be the only media he will take questions from.

Trump also accused holdovers from the Obama administration of leaking out information about his alleged contacts with Moscow to hammer his administration. No proof, of course.

“The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred.” He added that the news reporting was “merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.” She lost 3 months ago. Get over it. You think they’ll still be covering up things in 2 years?

Meanwhile, Trump also wants to go after the people who leaked the documents that got Flynn sacked. Of course we know that nothing will ever come out of it because there will not be any investigation. It will just be another part of Trump’s arsenal where he can whine about, to reflect blame, etc.

Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down Trump’s offer to be national security adviser replacing Flynn.

As well, the FBI is not expected to pursue any charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn regarding a phone call with Russia’s ambassador, barring new information that changes what they know.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, said that firing Flynn for his contacts with Russia is “not just paranoia but something even worse.” I guess they wanted him so he can be blackmailed.

Conway got a verbal spanking when she promoted Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. One of the rules state that senior government employees cannot promote and product. Conway was pushing Ivanka’s brand after the Nordstrom shopping chain dropped her brand. Normally anyone who violates the rule is let go. She wasn’t.

At his news conference Trump claimed he had the “biggest Electoral College win since Reagan”. Nope. President Obama won 332 electoral votes in 2012 and 365 in 2008. President Clinton got 379 in 1996 and 370 in 1992. The first President Bush received 426 in 1988. Trump couldn’t even get his total right. He said 306 when he got 302. Can’t remember 3 long months ago?

He also claimed that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had “set a record” of being overturned by the Supreme Court 80% of the time. In fact, the Supreme Court overturned 87% of the cases by the 6th Circuit Court and 85% by the 11th Circuit during the same period.

A year ago candidate Trump was whining that Boeing would close their South Carolina plant and move it to China. The plant is still there and Trump is there to tell Boeing to add more jobs.

After hiring 6 foreign workers in December, Trump Vineyard Estates LLC [owned by son Eric] wants to hire another 23 foreign workers. Here’s another kicker. The winery is using H-2 visa program – when allowed to bring in foreign workers when no American workers can do the job. Huh? You bring in someone high in the scientific field for a H-2 visa. Not someone to pick grapes or drive a tractor.

Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination as Labour Secretary because of his past. Quite a few Republicans wouldn’t approve of his nomination.

In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said that he’d like to see the U.S. Embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but noted that “we’re looking at it with great care.” That sounds a bit more like a bit of a reversal of his election campaign where he said he would move the embassy if elected. Another campaign promise out the window.

Supposedly, Trump may have blabbed about some top secret information at a supper he was at [I would assume with some people who didn’t have a proper level of clearance]. No. It wasn’t at McDonalds.

Trump said that he will do “everything within our power to stop long-simmering racism.” Problem is that the right [who voted him in] is more known to be anti-Semitic, anti-Islam and just racist than the left [think Fascism, KKK, etc.] Trump notes that he won 306 [not 302] electoral votes and fostered “tremendous enthusiasm” during his campaign. But some ugliness also appeared during his campaign and even now.

Trump his still using his unsupported [and outdated] Samsung Galaxy S3 [not made in the US, BTW] for his tweeting and Email. He is using it even though he was given a more secure phone to use. Two US senators have filed a letter [complaint?] to the US Department of Defense Secretary.

“I do get good ratings”, Trump said at a rare news conference. He’s looking for TV ratings?

“I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home and abroad, a mess.” Huh? It’s only a mess since he became the Commander in Tweet.

Trump continues to invent things that didn’t exist or was incorrect. Trump is even posting on Instagram with a quote from Abe Lincoln that were never attributed to Lincoln. And it wasn’t surprising that already someone investigated the quote.

Spicer said the recent Yemen raid was “obviously a huge success” and that “anyone who suggests it was not a success does a disservice” to William “Ryan” Owens, the Navy SEAL who was killed during the mission. That turned heads. Using his death for political reasons.

Recently, Spicer was scrutinized for saying, on three separate occasions over two days, that there was an unspecified terror attack in Atlanta. There wasn’t. They were in Orlando.

It seems that even Trump “is disappointed in Spicer’s performance during the first two weeks of the administration.” I’m sure both will deny that.

Spicer has repeatedly called for individual journalists to apologize for mistakes. Many of the White House correspondents aren’t too happy with him from day one.

Joining the Department of Propaganda is Stephen Miller. He claimed that Trump has done more in his 3 weeks of office than most presidents in their entire term.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visited Trump this past week. Seems that Trump feels the portion of the NAFTA deal with Canada won’t be tweaked/modified much compared to the US/Mexico portion of the deal.

Trudeau did get big brownie points when he presented a framed picture of Trump with Justin’s father [Pierre Elliot Trudeau] at a gala in 1981 when Trump spoke as the elder Trudeau was awarded a family man of the year award in New York. In addition Trump also got a Canadian made sculpture with the rock itself coming from Cleveland.

Spicer called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Joe Trudeau. A few cartoon images have since appeared.

joe_trudeau

Of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks, 15 were from Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Egypt, and one was from Lebanon. Yet none of these countries were listed in the executive order. With the exception of Lebanon, Trump has business interests in all those other countries plus Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Woops. At least 6 players of the Super Bowl winners, New England Patriots, are saying they will not visit the white House and Trump. The Patriots’ owners a good friend of Trump. See if he changes any mind.

Microsoft delays February patches until March

Microsoft has decided to delay the February patches until March – even though there is a possible critical vulnerability not addressed.

While not officially disclosed, some believe it is the “build” mechanism for the patching that is an issue and not a patch itself.

 

Microsoft’s updates for February delayed a bit

Microsoft has delayed releasing the February patches due to a last minute issue found:

“Our top priority is to provide the best possible experience for customers in maintaining and protecting their systems. This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today.

After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this change to the existing plan.”

Miscellaneous computer tips – Volume 4

Tip #1:

If you have upgraded to Windows 10 Anniversary Update [v1607], you may come across the error “Unspecified Error” when you open File Explorer from the task bar or other locations.

To correct the problem, change the default view of File Explorer from “Quick Access” to “This PC”. To do so, go to Control Panel and click on the File Explorer Options applet. Change the “Open File Explorer to” option to “This PC”. Then you’ll be able to open File Explorer from the taskbar or elsewhere.

 

Tip #2:

One change in the Anniversary Update [v1607] of Windows 10 is that the User Access Control window [the window that pops up asking for your permission if you try to change, install or uninstall something] has changed. If you are use to the old UAC prompt, at least in v1607, you can revert back to the old prompt with this registry fix:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

;

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\TestHooks]

“XamlCredUIAvailable”=dword:00000000

If you need to turn on the modern UI version in future, just set its value to 1.

 

Tip #3:

In their infinite ways, Microsoft pulled the popular screen capture tool out of OneNote 2016 so it can be a part of Windows 10. And if you don’t have Windows 10? At this time, the following registry fix should allow the screen capture to return to OneNote 2016.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

;

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\16.0\OneNote\Options\Other]

“ScreenClippingShortcutKey”=dword:00000058

 

Note: As usual, before you apply the registry fixes, you should test, backup and verify the settings. Use at your own risk.

 

Strike two for Trump

In a 3-0 ruling, the 9th Circuit rules against reinstating travel ban from Donald Trump’s executive order which [among other things] banned people from entering in 7 countries. “The government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States,” the judges wrote.

Trump has already tweeted that he may go to the Supreme Court. But given that the Supreme Court currently lacks its ninth member, there a real chance of a 4-4 split on the bench along ideological lines, which would have the effect of affirming the ruling of the 9th Circuit, inflicting a more permanent blow to the new administration.

The court chastised the Trump administration for failing to provide an explanation for how national security concerns justified an “urgent need” for the executive order to be immediately reinstated.

Even after Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, said to Sen. Richard Blumenthal that he found Trump’s attack on a federal judge on Twitter “disheartening” and “demoralizing” and an aide to Gorsuch spokesman confirmed that Gorsuch said those words [as well as other senators], Trump claims Gorsuch never said those words. “Alt-words“? We will see if he stays impartial like this if confirmation.

Then Trump said Sen. Blumenthal never fought in Vietnam – associating this “lie” with a misrepresentation. Blumenthal apologized for misrepresenting his service but enlisted in the Marine Reserve after multiple deferments. Trump, on the hand, never enlisted, instead obtaining multiple student deferments and ultimately a medical deferment for a bone spur to avoid the military draft.

Even nuttier, propaganda department spokesman, Sean Spicer, is claiming that Gorsuch’s comments is not about Trump.

“But courts seem so political…” Trump said in a speech. Well, when the Supreme Court is divided by political parties and Trump has already nominated a Republican judge, well it is one thing he got right all week.

Both Republicans and Democrats are distancing themselves from Trump. In an interview on GP friendly Fox News, Trump said “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?” After Bill O’Reilly said about Vladimir Poutine, “But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.” During Putin’s years in power, a number of prominent Russian opposition figures and journalists have been killed.

Trump seems to care more about his daughter Ivanka’s fashion line got dumped by Nordstrom store chain by tweeting about the issue. But where was he at that time [according to a schedule]? In a national security briefing. So his daughter’s petty issues take precedence over national security? The same man who whines about the security of the country as the reason to have that 7 country ban? [It is possible a lackey of his tweeted the message but no indication of that.]

Nordstrom claimed it was because of declining sales. White House propaganda specialist, Sean Spicer, claims because it was because of the ban on 7 countries. Indirectly it could be as people who would buy her junk, maybe stopped because of her father’s politics. This also goes back to the original issue of Trump [and family] separating themselves from the family business.

After the Nordstrom mess, there is talk of how Trump can still run his Washington hotel. The hotel is on government land and he spent millions to convert to a hotel but part of the deal was no government employee could own the hotel. Clearly, he is a government employee.

There are rumors flying that Trump could appoint Sarah Palin as US Ambassador to Canada. A Canadian MP says if Palin was named the top U.S. representative to Canada, it would be tantamount to having to deal with two Donald Trumps. If you recall, Palin claimed she could see Russia from her state of Alaska. It is 55 miles away. She must have good eyes. 🙂

There are 693 high-level positions that require Senate confirmation to be filled. Trump’s tram has filled 35 at this stage. In comparison, Obama filled 38 in 2009. But 8 years ago Obama had 23 member of his administration filled. Trump has 8 with Jeff Sessions confirmed. In total, there are 1,200 positions that require Senate confirmation and about 4,100 appointed positions.

Trump tweeted it was a “disgrace that my full Cabinet is still not in place, the longest such delay in the history of our country,” charging, “Obstruction by Democrats!” But Obama’s Cabinet wasn’t completely confirmed until late April 2009. Democrats contend the administration has failed to fully vet the nominees.

In an early February poll, it showed CNN/ORC’s latest poll results, starting with 44% approval and 53% disapproval of Trump’s job performance. As for the travel ban, 53% of Americans oppose the travel ban, 47% in favor. 90% of Republicans think he’s doing a good job. [I guess that part of the poll is fine with him but he still may disallow the poll as not a 100% of Republicans like him.]

“Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election” tweeted Trump. So if it does show favorable results, it’s fake. During the campaign trail, when the polls turned sour, he made unfounded claims about “crooked polls” and “They are rigged just like before” just before taking office.

“People want border security and extreme vetting” tweeted Trump. He obviously didn’t get that from any real poll. Maybe in his mind though.

Nice, in a call with the Australian Prime Minister, Trump hung up on him. The great statesman.

From my previous blog, Kellyanne Conway claimed she made a mistake just once using the word “massacre” when Conway brought up her infamous “masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre” with MSNBC but she used the same phrase when interviewed by Cosmopolitan 4 days earlier [quote wasn’t printed at the time because the reporter couldn’t find anything about that massacre]. Later she told Fox News that her “haters” would be talking about it “for a week.” [She’s finally right!]

The chief information security officer for the White House’s Executive Office of the President has been removed from his position. Cory Louie was appointed to the position by former President Obama in 2015, charged with keeping safe the staff closest to the president — including the president himself — from cyber-threats posed by hackers and nation-state attackers. It’s thought he was either fired or asked to resign one evening recently, and was escorted out from his office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street from the West Wing.

Now everything is quite but one source said it’s because the remaining staff have “targets on their back” and are afraid of speaking out, calling the actions a “witch hunt” for former Obama appointees. Accusations of poor management were said to be reasons or excuses for his forced departure amid what was described as a “toxic” working environment. Maybe Louie asked Trump not to use his personal Twitter account – especially on his unsecure Android phone.

Mike Pence had to vote in favor of confirming Betsy DeVos as Trump’s education secretary – showing that not all Republicans are happy with the choice [or Trump]. Not a good sign.

Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Labor Department, employed an undocumented immigrants for years, the business magnate said in a statement. He later said at one point up to 40% of them were undocumented.

Melania Trump has re-filed a libel lawsuit against the corporation that publishes the Daily Mail’s website, this time in New York, for reporting rumours that she worked as an escort. It could hurt her chances to promote products, “each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which Plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.” Asking $150 million. Funny. I don’t see her ever endorsing anything. In addition, I don’t remember any previous First Lady [while in office] endorsing anything. She hasn’t appeared in public at one point for almost 3 weeks and she is claiming to be photographed so much?

[If you recall, when Melania came to the US to model in one of Trump’s agencies, according to sites on the Internet she did not have a work visa. But according to some reports she hauled in something like $20,000 over 3 months. Probably unless you are a known model you don’t make that much money. So what else did she do? Hmmmm.]

Trump accused the media of deliberately minimizing coverage of threat posed by the Islamic State group, saying news outlets “have their reasons” for not reporting what he described as a “genocide” underway at the hands of group. White House released a list of 78 attacks it described as “executed or inspired by” the Islamic State group since September 2014. The AP could not verify that each of the incidents had connections to the Islamic State group. The list appeared to be hastily assembled, including several misspellings of the word “attacker”. [Surprised?]

As a professional attention seeker, Trump is whining that the media does not report terrorist attacks in Europe “…And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” It’s not that they don’t want to report some but it’s because according to the Global Terrorism Database, maintained by the University of Maryland, of the 321 attacks in Europe in 2015, many were not reported [in the US] because while there was damage, few had any deaths and they weren’t newsworthy. I don’t think people want to see daily terrorist attacks in the news in addition to the other news. It is not dishonest. News editors have to decide whether it is a good news story and whether those following their news will want to see it.

Trump visited the headquarters for U.S. Central Command where he said “we strongly support NATO”. Huh? Didn’t he want to leave NATO during his campaigning? Trump once dismissed the trans-Atlantic military alliance as “obsolete,” and said he would decide whether to protect NATO countries against Russian aggression based on whether those countries “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”

The Trump administration has started removing language praising the Affordable Care Act from federal websites. It has made several changes to the online pages of the Health & Human Services Department, which oversees the law.

In another false claim, Trump says the murder rate in the US is at a 47 year high. In fact, it has dropped from 1970 at 8 murders per 100,000 to 4.9 murders in 2015.

Trump says California’s consideration of legislation to become a statewide sanctuary for people living in the country illegally is “ridiculous.” He suggested withholding federal funding as a possible punishment. He seems to use that against anyone who doesn’t follow his rules.

Trump is already back paddling on the plans to enact a complete replacement for the Affordable Care Act. “I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year.”

A $50 book about Donald Trump was displayed at the very front of the National Museum of American History’s gift shop right after the inauguration, its red-white-and-blue cover featuring Trump’s “signature” stare-and-hair. The book contains a series of false assertions such as he won but had just 200,000 less votes than Hillary Clinton, “is a kind-hearted philanthropist and humanitarian” [but hasn’t given to his own foundation in years], etc. The book was pulled from the shop within 48 hours of release. [I guess if you got one it’s a collector’s item now.]
 

Another loony week in Washington

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” That was related to the Statue of Liberty. Now? Not under the Donald Trump administration. For them it’s more like “Give me your rich, your well connected. Your billionaires yearning to get tax free shelters….”

The American Psychiatry Association has a nine-point checklist for narcissism – if someone displays just five of the traits, they have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. From what it looks like Trump has at least 5 and as many as all 9 of the traits.

Trump’s ban went out the window as a judge ordered it struck down. The administration will go back to the court for a stay.

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump wrote on Twitter. Of course if the judge went his way Trump would of tweeted something like “He deserves a raise for upholding the American values, blah, blah, blah.” The judge in question was appointed by George W. Bush.

Trump denied his immigration order was to blame for the chaos at the nation’s airports over the weekend, instead pointing to computer glitches, protesters and even the “tears of Senator Schumer.” And while there was a glitch last Sunday night affecting 150 flights for Delta, the protesting started on Saturday – way before the glitch. Trump even said the executive order was working perfectly.

How many terrorists were refugees to the US? None. But they even detained a 5 year old. Must be the mastermind to the next terrorist attack. Nobody would expect the kid. Another 4 month old girl from Iranian who needs surgery has been denied entry. Some Canadian hospitals may try to help out.

People were scratching their heads when spokesman Sean Spicer compared banning those from the 7 countries [they don’t want to use the phrase “Muslim ban”] to the shooting of 6 Muslims by a right wing nutcase in Quebec City. Huh? A white [probably] Catholic killed 6 Muslims – not a Muslim killed 6 whites. Idiot.

Some top experts in the economy believe the seven country ban will hurt the US economy in many areas. Already a higher dollar isn’t helping. In 2015 foreign tourist spent $199 billion which counts as an export [9% of all exports]. As an unfriendly country to some, the tourists will spend less – not just from those 7 banned countries but others. Building a wall along the border with Mexico and his vow to rip up NAFTA could discourage visitors and students from many countries. Education spending from overseas reached roughly $36 billion in 2015 — up nearly 50 per cent from three years earlier. It is also considered an export.

There is talk of friendly countries such as from Canada to require various biometrics taken [in addition to other countries]. Even those with Nexus cards, dual citizenship and others. Even the former Prime Minister of Norway was denied entry as he was in Iran for a human rights conference.

Over the past decade, the number of foreign students in the United States soared 73 per cent, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Overseas students typically pay the full tuition price, receive little financial aid and make up 8 per cent to 10 per cent of tuition revenue in the United States. More than 1 million foreign students studied in the United States during the 2015-2016 academic year, supporting 400,000 jobs in the process. Autos and auto parts totaled $152 billion in 2015 could also be at risk. Agricultural exports amounted to $137 billion.

Top Trump aides also defended the order, comparing it to a 2011 policy on Iraqi refugees. In 2011, President Barack Obama imposed additional checks on Iraqi refugees after two Iraqis were charged with terrorism offences in Kentucky. But that was for a known offence. Kellyanne Conway wrongly claimed that the 2011 policy “was never covered in the press.” She also falsely described it as Obama’s own “ban” on refugees.

Not to be outdone Rudy Giuliani [he doesn’t seem to have any official title] claimed he was the orchestrator of the ban with the legal help of the new attorney general as well as at least two Republican congressmen. Too bad he didn’t bring in some constitutional lawyers who would of told him he’s wrong – if he actually spearheaded the ban. Giuliani claimed he wanted to make the ban all legal. Uh huh.

Trump fired the acting attorney general of the United States after she publicly questioned the constitutionality of his refugee and immigration ban and refused to defend it in court.

Press secretary, Sean Spicer, accused the acting attorney general of having “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.” No. More like going against a legal order that is probably unconstitutional and morally wrong.

Conway was at it again claiming there was a cover-up or lack of media attention in 2011 during the “Bowling Green Massacre” in 2011. Problem is that there was never one. The two men lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky “admitted using improvised explosive devices against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and who attempted to send weapons and money to Al-Qaeda in Iraq for the purpose of killing U.S. soldiers.”

Trump signed an executive order to reduce regulations for small businesses in the Oval Office surrounded by small business leaders, saying it would “massively” cut regulations and calling it the “biggest such act that our country has ever seen.” I wonder how he measures this order versus others.

The acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement was removed but administration didn’t offer any explanation for the move, only said via Twitter that Daniel Ragsdale is returning to his previous position as deputy director.

A day after Donald Trump’s first call as president with Russia’s Vladimir Poutine, leading congressional Republicans made clear they oppose any attempt by the new administration to wipe away U.S. penalties imposed on Moscow by the Obama White House.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Rex Tillerson, who is awaiting confirmation to lead the State Department — have told associates they were not aware of details of the directive until around the time Trump signed it.

A state visit to Britain by Trump later this year will go ahead, the prime minister’s office said despite 1.8 million signed a petition on the government’s web site asking the government not to invite him. Any petition with more than 100,000 signatures must be considered for a debate in Parliament, though not a binding vote. Last year, Parliament debated whether to ban Trump, then a presidential candidate, from visiting Britain after a similar online petition. He had been invited to come to Britain later this year as the guest of Queen Elizabeth II.

Speaking of the British royalty, we knew for a while that Trump is a womanizing filthy pig. Here is another example related to the future Queen of England.

middleton

Being a Trump is sometimes not so good. Nordstrom dumped Ivanka Trump’s clothing and shoe lines because of low sales. The move comes amid an effort by what is called the #GrabYourWallet campaign to encourage shoppers to boycott products with ties to Donald Trump, his family and his donors.

A small group protesting a far-right commentator’s appearance at the University of California at Berkeley hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and sparked a massive bonfire, prompting officials to call off the event. Trump tweeted “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” I think he doesn’t get the point again. The meeting the commentator was canceled not because of his views but because of the violence. The commentator has already been banned from Twitter over his comments is a vocal supporter of Trump and a self-proclaimed internet troll whose comments have been criticized as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist.

Trump said he won’t roll back federal workplace protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people, giving a rare nod of approval to President Barack Obama’s work on the issue. Wow. One thing he won’t change back…. Although there is plenty of time.

Apple is considering legal options regarding Trump’s executive order for banning people from 7 countries, which has affected hundreds of its employees, CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Amazon and Expedia have joined a legal challenge.

Watch CNN’s Anderson Cooper laughing at how really dumb Conway is. 

Tom Price [nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services] has had stock trades call into question whether he will work in the public interest or his own, and the other, Steven Mnuchin [nominee for Treasury secretary], has appeared to have misled the committee on his company’s foreclosure practices after the Great Recession were under scrutiny. Democrats on the committees refused to attend and allowed the Republicans in the room vote to suspend the rules of the committee. Under committee rules, it is required that at least one Democrat be present for the panel to vote to send a nominee to the Senate floor.

Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, a Denver based judge. If confirmed, the 49-year-old Gorsuch would be the youngest justice on the court and could be shaping decisions for decades.

Another record chain bites the dust

While this story is more of a Canadian story, it shows [in some cases] the incompetence of management.

HMV Canada, related to HMV in the UK and elsewhere, went into receivership last week after being in business for 30+ years. Currently the largest Canadian record chain in Canada, they have shut down various stores across Canada over the past few years.

I am not really surprised at what has happened. Gone will be 100+ stores and something like 1300+ jobs by the end of April.

Back in the 1980s into the 1990s there were doing well with stores all over. There was country and regional chains competing such as Sam the Record Man, A&A, Discus, Sunrise and Phantasmagoria. Most of those chains have also reduced stores or have closed up but none as big as HMV.

HMV started an online store in the mid-1990s, but sometime in the late 1990s as online purchases were increasing, HMV suddenly closed their online store.

They would later re-open the site more like a catalog where you couldn’t order but then did re-open to purchase online. By then they weren’t doing so well. Add to the problems is that the site was slow and the search engine was slow. Even worse, they would not include any pre-orders [unlike Amazon and others]. As well, no download option available. Many items sold had no description and many had ridiculous prices.

They also opened up a points system where for every purchase you would get points that can be cashed in for discounts. Problem was [for me] I wasn’t purchasing much and they charged a fee to join. It took me 2 years to get back the money to join. I cashed in and tossed my card into the garbage.

I remember the days when you would huddle in the cold outside on Boxing Day [the big sales day in Canada the day after Christmas] waiting for the doors to open with excellent deals and Guns N Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle blasting as the doors opened.

In later years they would change the deals to 4 for the price of the most expensive 3. More recent, they would just give a decent deduction on selected items [very few recently released] while everything else was at their usual price.

HMV was known to jack up their prices during the Boxing Day sales to claim a bigger discount. A few days before, I would routinely walk into the main store near me and “scout” the deals of what they could be selling it for before the Boxing day discount. So something at a selling price of $50 prior to the sale was now $80 but they are offering it at $40. So that $40 off was really $10 off. [An office store is known to do the same thing selling (for example) a printer at a regular price at $150 but the competition’s regular price is $100.] In recent years just hours after the Boxing Day sale began, the number of people in the store looks like any other day. In the old days, you would walk in the store 5 hours after the sale began and it would still be quite busy.

Then there was their policy regarding matching prices [just matching, no further discount]. A regional chain had a promotion for a CD advertised in a newspaper for $10. HMV initially would not match it. It was above the price they claimed they get from their distributer. Eventually a manager allowed the discount. That regional chain had 4 stores at the time versus 130+ stores for HMV. Don’t they have buying power?

Another time they pulled all the merchandise from Elton John after another chain got an exclusive box set. They did the same thing twice to The Rolling Stones and probably others. [They did leave a note that clients could still order from them but did not leave a reason why the stock was pulled. But I’m sure some people guessed.] But when lesser known artists gave another chain an exclusive, they didn’t pull anything. With stock pulled, it was an incentive to just buy elsewhere.

Recently, even with new releases they are just not competitive even with fewer competitors. They’d charge $30 for a new Blu-ray release while the competition could be charging $25. [This was not the norm as you could get some good deals in some cases.] In some cases you would see a CD or a movie priced at $20 and in the same bin the exact same moving at two for $20. Doesn’t make sense.

Finally, they would waste store space in front as you walk in to try and sell you movies and music at discounted prices but it is the same stock they’ve been trying to push for months if not years.