Trump gets his only legislative win in his first year

The tax bill in the House of Representatives passed along sharp partisan lines, 227 – 203, with 12 House GOP members opposing the legislation, and no Democrats voting for it. The senate eventually passed the bill and Donald Trump signed the bill into law.

GOP Senator Bob Corker said he didn’t request any modifications to the tax bill even though he as well as Trump and many cabinet ministers will eventually benefit from a provision that could help his bottom line. Corker was the only GOP senator to vote “no” on the bill the first time it went through the Senate.

Newt Gingrich says the “mainstream” media is lying about the tax bill but offered no apparent reason for the lying except saying that the typical American should see more money in their paycheck and maybe in their taxes but fails to mention how corporate America and the rich in general will benefit even more and how much will be added to the national debt. [The GOP always complained that the Democrats want to add to the debt while they don’t. Sure.]

Minutes after the House of Representatives  vote, White House Press Secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders started the daily briefing by listing off what the Trump administration sees as the past year’s major accomplishments. Here are some of them:

  • Nearly 1.7 million new jobs
  • Unemployment fell to 4.1%
  • Stock market reached a record high, closing above 24,000 for the first time in history
  • 22 regulations rolled back for every new regulation
  • The US withdrew from or renegotiated trade deals
  • Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline
  • Designed and built eight border wall prototypes
  • ISIS lost all of its territory and important strongholds in Iraq and Syria
  • Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch was confirmed

Under a normal administration, many of those wouldn’t even be mentioned as there are more important accomplishments, but with the exception of the tax bill [in the last week congress is in session], there were no major legislations passed. “The President has delivered on promise after promise, issue after issue, time after time. And we are just getting started,” Sanders said. Uh huh.

Sanders stood by claims that the tax bill will cost Trump money – this time specifically saying it will cost him money on the “personal side.” While it’s impossible to say specifically how Trump would be affected, since Trump  has never released his tax returns, an analysis of the tax bill has found this claim to be false.

Trump thinks the tax bill also repeals the Affordable Care Act. It didn’t, although the bill does chip away at one of the Affordable Care Act’s foundations. “The individual mandate is being repealed. When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means Obamacare is repealed. Because they get their money from the individual mandate. So the individual mandate is being repealed. So in this bill, not only do we have massive tax cuts and tax reform, we have essentially repealed Obamacare and will come up with something that will be much better…”

I am guessing most Americans [who believe Trump] will think the ACA is gone after what Trump said but will be surprised that it is almost all still there. You also can’t kill ACA until you replace it with something. This basically chops away at one section of ACA. The only thing removed was removing the fine for individuals who didn’t secure insurance. It is not repealing. Does he know the difference?

Ivanka Trump has also been pitching the tax bill that became law. But she had goofed when she said Americans will be delighted when they see their “relief that will be starting as early as February” of this year when in fact tax payers will only see it in 2019 for the 2018 tax year. The bill’s major provisions don’t kick in until January 2018. That means all the changes the bill includes won’t have any impact on tax filings until April 2019. And she’s a business woman?

Trump boasted that companies like Boeing, ComCast and AT&T have decided to give out “bonuses” to employees claiming it was the result of the tax bill being passed. That’s all but nice but those receiving them shouldn’t forget that employees will be taxed on it. As well, were those “bonuses” already decided in advance. Each of those three companies had good financial years.

“We broke every record” on the tax bill, Trump said in a speech. There are records for tax bills? Let me check Guinness Book of World Records. Nope.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the firing of Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller would be a “gross abuse of power” and called for Congress to respond with “significant consequences” if Trump took that step. As well, pardoning of those charged in the special counsel’s investigation would represent crossing his “red line.”

Warner’s speech comes as Mueller is facing a growing number of Republicans who have been critical Mueller’s probe for being biased against Trump. They’ve pointed to the text messages of FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was removed from Mueller’s team after the anti-Trump messages surfaced. That is just one individual. Do they equate the whole team being biased if one was?

Deputy White House Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn will leave the administration early next year and is expected to pursue work in the private sector. Dearborn had a wide portfolio in the White House and oversaw its political operation, public outreach and legislative affairs. Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser, is also expected to leave.

The US delegation [with Ambassador Nicki Haley at the head] vetoed a resolution to force the US to reverse their decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem. Later on in the week, the UN voted overwhelming [in a non-binding resolution] to get the US to change their mind. Aside from the US and Israel, no ally or “major” country sided with the US. 30+ abstained. This was even after the administration would “take names” and threaten to cut funding for those countries. Haley has suggested having a “party” for those who voted against the resolution – 8 countries besides the US. Unsure if Abstained countries would be invited.

Trump is heading to his Mar-A-Lago resort for the holidays – including the New Year’s Eve bash that he attends. Now the resort is charging more this year. Conflict of interest? Profiting from being the “President”? $750 if not a member, $600 if you are.

Trump sent our Christmas cards that are about 4 times the size of the Christmas card sent out by the Obamas last year. Thankfully, his picture is not on the front.

In total, Trump will have spent 106 days of his first year in office at one of his own properties when he arrives in Florida a couple of days before Christmas.

Departures were buyouts, retirements and individuals quitting, but at the Environmental Protection Agency, a total of more than 700 employees, including more than 200 scientists have left this year.

The Trump administration wanted to chop 3,100 jobs but is actually budgeted to chop over 4,000 jobs.

After a deadly train crash in Washington State Trump said that “It is all the more reason why we must start immediately fixing the infrastructure of the United States.” This is before the National Transportation Safety Board can say if it’s too early to know if the crash was due to high speed. The train was reportedly going about 50 MPH over the speed limit – passing vehicles next to the tracks.

“The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!” is what his first tweet after the deadly train crash, Trump didn’t mention victims and first responders. He followed up with a tweet about victims 10 minutes later.

After adding a possible $1.5 trillion to the deficit for his tax plan that helps the wealthy more, he wants to spend possibly an additional $7 billion on infrastructure and yet he has been office and hasn’t made this a priority. Instead he is too busy with failed legislation and Executive Orders [travel ban for an example] and approving another country’s capitol.

Donald Trump Jr. suggested that the investigation around his father’s campaign has been fueled by government higher-ups who have conspired to block his father’s agenda. “There is, and there are, people at the highest levels of government that don’t want to let America be America,” Donald Trump Jr. told a gathering of young conservative activists in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Trump Jr. railed against special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and attacked the media’s coverage of the Russia story, saying the ongoing probe was emblematic of the kind of “rigged system” his father had railed against during the campaign. Of course, like his father, no proof.

The Trump administration will propose revoking a rule that makes spouses of thousands of immigrant workers eligible to work while in the U.S., potentially complicating a major driver of technology jobs. Since 2015, the spouses of H-1B, or high-skilled, visa holders waiting for green cards have been eligible to work in the U.S. on H-4 dependent visas. India accounts for 70% of all H-1B workers. The visa is valid for three years, and can be renewed for another three years.

Twitter has suspended at least three accounts tied to far-right group Britain First, including one that had been retweeted by Trump. Trump retweeted three inflammatory videos posted by Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen in November, setting off a political firestorm that strained relations between London and Washington.

Sanders defended Trump’s retweets at the time, telling reporters that he shared them to start a conversation about border security and immigration.

Trump disputed a Washington Post story alleging that he considered pulling his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court after Gorsuch privately criticized Trump’s attacks on the judiciary. “I never even wavered and am very proud of him and the job he is doing as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The unnamed sources don’t exist!”

The Washington Post, citing 11 sources familiar with the episode, reported that the comments left Trump fuming at the time, worrying that his nominee would not be “loyal” on the bench and considered pulling his nomination.

The Trump administration formally accused North Korea of creating the WannaCry cyberattack that briefly paralyzed the British health system and placed ransomware on computers in dozens of countries around the world. Homeland security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, wrote in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal that the conclusion was “based on evidence” that he did not disclose.

Trump tweeted “Together, our task is to strengthen our families, to build up our communities, to serve our citizens, and to celebrate AMERICAN GREATNESS as a shining example to the world….” Reminds me of a bit of Fascism there.

Trump retweeted from Maria Bartiromo [of the Wall Street Journal] “Year One has been nothing short of excellent from an economic standpoint…” Note the “economic standpoint”. Not the rest I’m sure.

Trump tweeted “It will be the BIGGEST TAX CUT and TAX REFORM in the HISTORY of our country!” which was already a false claim.

If you want to know how wacky this right wing administration is, the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] were presented with seven banned words why the White House. On the list: “diversity,” “fetus,” “transgender,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “science-based” and “evidence-based.” As well, they were told to use alternative word or phrases for others. For instance, instead of “evidence-based” or “science-based,” an analyst might say, “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” The CDC did remove some references to sex in previous surveys.

Meanwhile, References to climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of renewable energy have been removed from several of its web pages, according to an analysis by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative. Not surprising news here since Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, was making changes to the site right after he got the job. Pruitt’s previous job was Attorney General of Oklahoma and doesn’t believe in climate change.

In a bit of wackiness, Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr says his committee is examining the campaign of Green Party 2016 presidential candidate Jill Stein as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the US election.

Opposition to the Trump tax bill has grown 10 points since early November, and 55% now oppose it. Just 33% say they favor the GOP’s proposals to reform the nation’s tax code. Two-thirds see the bill as doing more to benefit the wealthy than the middle class (66%, vs. 27% who say it’ll do more to benefit the middle class) and almost four in 10 (37%) say that if the bill becomes law, their own family will be worse off.

More than six in 10 (63%) see the tax bill as leaving Trump and his family better off. Just 5% think it harms the Trump clan and disapproval of Trump’s handling of taxes has risen six points in the last month, to 57%. Still almost three-quarters, 73%, say Trump should release his tax returns for public review, about the same share that said so as his inauguration approached in January.


About ebraiter
computer guy

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