Trump was quietish this week – wow

Within hours, Donald Trump backtracked on various campaign issues. NATO, he said, is “no longer obsolete.” He backed down a threat to brand China a currency manipulator [was guilty of “rape” against the US economy]. Trump praised Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, whom he had previously pledged to replace when her term expires, and once accused of holding interest rates low as a political boost for former President Barack Obama.

White House press secretary Sean “Garlic” Spicer pointed to an interview with the Secretary General, where he indicated that NATO countries have been performing better in terms of their financial commitments. So it’s just about the money.

Paul Manafort’s [Trump’s former campaign chairman] finances and consulting work are drawing attention as Ukrainian officials try to determine whether he received improper payments as part of a corruption case into ex-President Victor Yanukovych—Manafort’s former client. US authorities also are investigating possible Ukrainian corruption and any role Manafort may have played in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

For example, from 2006 to 2012, records show, Manafort and his wife Kathleen spent $12 million on four residential units in New York City, including a $3.7-million apartment in Trump Tower. They also bought a $2.7-million condominium in Alexandria, Va., and a $1.5-million house home in Palm Beach, Fla.

Trump is threatening not to reimburse health insurers for covering low income people as a way of forcing Democrats to the negotiating table on health care. “I don’t want people to get hurt,” Trump said in an interview. Sure. This will hurt people. It is unfair to do this to low incomers when it is a political issue. Meanwhile, cowardly, the Trump administration this time is negotiating without doing it in the public’s view.

Garlic was widely condemned for claiming that Adolf Hitler, who gassed millions of Jews during the Holocaust, did not use chemical weapons. Comparing the Nazi leader with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Garlic told journalists during his regular press briefing at the White House: “We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War Two. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” He later apologized.

Trump tweeted in 2013 “What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.” Yet he bombed Syria twice in a week. No Congressional approval.

Moody’s Investor Service said earlier this year that the number of “distressed” retailers –those with cash problems and lots of debt that are facing strong competition — is at the highest rate since 2009. Some of the problems could be attributed to the economy or the administration. In addition Staples [in the US at least] wants a new owner.

Trump claims he was “the best baseball player in New York when I was young” in a book. Of course, this is Trump – the guy who exaggerates everything. In his narcissist ways, “he always wanted to hit the ball through people. He wanted to overpower them” even if they gave him the option to hit to the opposite field.

The surprisingly close results of a special election for a House seat in deep-red Kansas should serve as “a warning sign” to the GOP, Sen. Ted Cruz said. Trump had carried the Kansas district by 27 percentage points but on Tuesday, Republican Ron Estes only bested Democrat Jim Thompson for the seat previously represented by new CIA Director Mike Pompeo by 7 points.

Trump declared April to be National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Tina Fey, who was hosting a telethon for the ACLU at the end of March, commented: “Earlier tonight, in what is surely an April Fools’ joke, the president proclaimed that next month (April) will be National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, so now we know what he gave up for Lent.”

In the 14 weeks since his inauguration, Trump has been at his Mar-a-Lago estate seven times.

The Trump administration said it will not release logs of White House visitors, breaking with a precedent set by the Obama administration and shrouding Trump’s activities in the West Wing in secrecy. The decision was made in light of the “grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually,” according to White House Communications Director Michael Dubke. Funny how the Obama and previous administrations had no issues. Maybe they don’t want to show “visitors” that have entered the White House but shouldn’t.

The Trump administration was sued this week by several watchdog groups seeking access to the records, which have not been released since Trump took office, insisting the records are actually the property of the Secret Service, which is subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Meanwhile, the Democrats in Congress have also introduced legislation that would require the Trump administration to maintain and disclose the names of visitors at places aside the White House where he conducts business, including his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

The stock market had been on a nearly nonstop rip higher since Election Day on the belief that Trump and a Republican-led Congress will cut income taxes, loosen regulations for companies and institute other business-friendly policies. But now there are worries that the Trump White House may not be able to help businesses as much as once thought.

Sears and Kmart are just the latest U.S. retailers to jump ship on some Trump brand products.

Lawyers for Trump have sent not one, but two cease-and-desist letters to a website featuring his face being pawed by kittens, it is claimed. The person behind trumpscratch.com (be warned, not safe for work), a San Francisco teenager named Lucy, says she set the site up for a laugh, but was amazed to receive the letters from The Trump Organization informing her she was infringing the Trump trademark. Lucy has sold the domain to a UK organization, which has redirected it to another website featuring the name “Trump” – trumptytrump.com – a porn site. Lucy changed the name of the site to KittenFeed.com “But after changing, they still came at me,” she said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to Washington to visit Trump. Seems the Commander in Chief still likes to cozy up to dictators and thugs who ignore democracy or human rights.

Trump slipped 220 spots in Forbes magazine list of the world’s richest billionaires to number 544 with an estimated $3.5 billion. Forbes attributed Trump’s drop to sluggishness in the Manhattan real estate market which is responsible for a disproportionate amount of his wealth.

The heavily pro-Trump Drudge Report is the third most-visited media site on the Internet (behind only ESPN and MSN [the automatic homepage for many PCs]), and is one of a small handful of sites to have broken the 1 billion hits per month mark.

Trump’s job approval rating has dropped to 37%, while 58% of Americans disapprove of his performance so far as president, new Gallup figures show.

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said, “We really don’t quote [Conway] much anymore because, well, history,” as he reported on her explanation of “microwaves that turn into cameras.”

UPS announced that it will add Saturday delivery in the US, creating an estimated 6,000 new lower paying jobs in mostly delivery and distribution. I’m expecting to see Trump take credit for this.

Trump Hotels has planned to develop a $50 million property in downtown Dallas, using the organization’s new brand, Scion. The project is currently being developed with international investors and a Turkish businessman, Mukemmel “Mike” Sarimsakci, despite Sarimsakci’s history of lawsuits and tax trouble. Trump Organization had no signed agreement with Sarimsakci.

Yikes. The private account used by US Vice President Mike Pence when he was governor that was hacked was an AOL account. People still use AOL?

A White House statement congratulating ExxonMobil for increasing investment in Texas and Louisiana cribbed multiple lines from the oil giant’s statement as well as from ExxonMobil’s CEO without citation.

After the electronics ban for some Muslim countries, Royal Jordanian have they tweeted, “Stay tuned for more fun…” and “Every week a new ban”.

The Union for Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club and Earthjustice plan to jointly file a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by fossil fuel groups in March that asks the Environmental Protection Agency to delay or reconsider a rule that places more regulations on chemical plants. tHis was ordered by the Trump administration.