Wasn’t this supposed to be a quiet week? Nope.

You would of figured with the US government on a holiday break that this would have been a quiet week. But nope!

Donald Trump says is battling to reduce regulations but the tax bill adds to it including new tax brackets.

Meanwhile, unlike corporations, the tax cuts will benefit households until 2025. Why would the cuts expire for households and not corporations? Hmmm. Republicans made individual tax cuts temporary so they could meet budget rules that let them pass their tax overhaul with no Democratic votes.

Republicans used a procedural tactic to avoid a filibuster, a maneuver that can only be used once every fiscal year.

In the lawn in front of the White House, Trump proclaimed it a win [definitely for him as it was his only major legislative win in his first year]. Talking to the media, Trump praised the people behind him who helped pass the bill – all Republicans – a sea of mostly older white males, a couple of females and one African-American [who is right near Trump].

Trump has made the rollicking year on Wall Street a centerpiece of his political message, repeatedly taking credit for the bull run, as if he personally steered the Dow Jones industrial average through a year of smashed record highs. We will see what happens if there is a “market correction” or the markets slowly fall. For him, I think he’d be celebrating even if the market was a single point over the amount when President Obama left.

Earlier this month House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a radio interview the House would be working to reform health care entitlements in 2018, calling them “the big drivers of our debt” and Medicare as being the “biggest entitlement that’s got to have reform.” But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “would not expect to see” the Senate tackle entitlement reform next year.” We will see who’s right.

After reviewing scores of statements made by politicians this year, non-partisan PolitiFact.com, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking media outlet, has declared that the big winner of “Lie of the Year” for 2017 goes to one told by Trump! Trump said on NBC that “This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

Trump’s had threatened to cut off US funding to countries that oppose his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has raised the stakes in a UN vote sponsored by Egypt and sparked criticism at his tactics, which could be called bullying or blackmail. “We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” he said, alluding to US aid. The Us lost the vote [128 countries voted yes] with a bunch abstaining. We will see how many [including Egypt] will lose aid.

US vetoed a resolution supported by the 14 other UN Security Council members that would have required Trump to rescind his declaration on Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and not move the US Embassy there.

Many expected Trump, after first taking office at the beginning of 2017, to do some bipartisan legislation – something that both sides could [mostly] agree on. This would of given Trump the passing of a first piece of major legislation early instead of about 2 weeks before the end of the year.

Despite promising a $1 trillion infrastructure bill during the campaign, Trump’s plan is shaping up differently and set to be unveiled in the middle of January. The plan would propose spending at least $200 billion on infrastructure projects over the next decade, with the hopes of spurring an additional $800 billion in state and local funding. The plan will provide the administration’s principles for infrastructure reform that lawmakers can then craft into a bill.

In his first presidential budget, Trump proposed allocating the $200 billion over 10 years for infrastructure projects. But Trump’s budget cut infrastructure spending overall by $55 billion by slashing programs that write grants for highway renovation, Native American water facilities and rural airports.

Trump again took to Twitter to criticize the FBI, this time singling out two FBI officials. “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” Trump wrote in one tweet. In another tweet, Trump said McCabe “is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!” Trump also took aim at FBI general counsel James Baker, who is being reassigned, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Trump is referencing donations to Dr. Jill McCabe’s campaign, something reported by the Wall Street Journal last year. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s political action committee made six contributions totaling $467,500 to McCabe’s campaign, the Journal reported. In addition, campaign records show that the state Democratic Party, over which McAuliffe has great influence, made two other payments totaling $207,788 in September and October 2015. These donations all occurred before McCabe took over as deputy director of the FBI and before he would have had any oversight into the Clinton email investigation. So again he tweets out fake news.

Trump said that he thinks special counsel Robert Mueller is “going to be fair” in his investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s team and Russian officials. His comments made during an interview with The New York Times come after Republicans and supporters of Trump had raised questions over Mueller and his investigative team.
Trump told the Times: “I have the absolute right to do what I want with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.” A bit like a dictatorship.

The White House strongly pushed back on a report that Trump spoke about immigrants in a dismissive and demeaning fashion with top administration officials. The denial came in response to explosive reporting from the New York Times, which wrote that, according to two unnamed officials, Trump said during a meeting in June that people coming from Haiti “all have AIDS,” that recent Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts” in Africa and that Afghanistan is a terrorist haven.

Trump claims he is ready to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] with Canada and Mexico in a minute. He is claiming the US had a $17 billion deficit with Canada when a government office says in fact the US had a $12 billion surplus. Where does he get his fake facts from?

Puerto Rico authorities say nearly half of power customers in the U.S. territory still lack electricity more than three months after Hurricane Maria. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said the entire island will have power by May – just in time for the next hurricane season.

Trump went after the US Postal Service because they charge too little to Amazon for delivering packages. USPS competes with FedEx and UPS to deliver parcels — but its rates are set by a commission appointed by the president, and almost every aspect of its operations are governed by Congress. But the USPS hasn’t been able to compensate for collapsing letter mail volumes due to a 2006 law that capped price increases at the rate of inflation and also limited the proportion of its budget that could be devoted to its parcel business.

Trump has sway over the Postal Service. He’s made four board nominations, who are currently awaiting Senate action. By law, it’s supposed to have 9 appointed members, and currently it has none. So in the end, Trump should blame himself. Trump went after Amazon because Amazon’s CEO is nemesis Steve Bezos.

Trump claimed that his approval ratings at this point in his presidency rival those of Barack Obama, citing a report from “Fox & Friends.” The three-day averages released on December 28, 2009 [the day Trump cited in his tweet] showed 51% approval for Obama with 43% disapproval. On December 28 of this year, Gallup released a three-day average showing 38% approval for Trump with 56% disapproval.

Trump has had the worst approval rating at the end of his first calendar year in the White House since the dawn of modern polling, sinking to a new low of 35% in a new CNN poll in December.

Trump tweeted on the day after Christmas that it is back to work. But he was seeing playing golf for part of the day.

May be not specifically targeting CNN, but an unmarked white truck was blocking CNN’s cameras from taking video of Trump playing golf this week. Every time Trump moved on the course, so did the truck. The truck was on a public road. Nice way for the truck driver to make a living.

Already at least one high speed rail station [not built yet], a renaming of a street in a Muslim area [this should set off fireworks], a park set to be open next year and a new street to be named after Trump as he pledged to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Guatemala is the only other country that announced that they will follow. The rail station will garner plenty of protesting as it goes near some holy sites [in addition to possible further issues if some archeological areas are uncovered].

A man claiming to be the person who delivered a gift-wrapped package of horse manure at the Los Angeles home of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he did it to protest the federal tax overhaul signed into law last week by Trump. Nice Christmas present!

For years, Apple CEO Tim Cook has called on Washington to make it less costly for his company to bring back the billions of dollars it holds overseas. As part of the tax bill signed last week by Trump, corporations like Apple (will enjoy a repatriation tax rate of 15.5% for returning money to the US from their overseas cash piles.

At the end of the most recent quarter, Apple had $268.9 billion in cash and marketable securities, more than $250 billion of which was held outside the US. The question is whether or not Apple will bring most or all the money back to the US and whether they will do something with the money. Apple has already committed to a $300 billion capital return program that includes buybacks and dividends for shareholders.

While visiting a fire station, in a speech, Trump said “We have signed more legislation than anybody — we broke the record of Harry Truman.” Nope! Trump signed 96 pieces of items in 2017 but almost all were Executive Orders and minor bills – not major legislation. Truman signed more than 250. He then got bored and talked about giving the police military style equipment. Why? Can’t he stick with fire station related comments? Some bills overhaul entire sections of US law while others rename post offices and other federal buildings.

While at his Mar-A-Lago, where the temperature was 72 degrees. “In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!” What Trump doesn’t seem to understand or maybe ignore is that “weather” and “climate” are not the same thing.

Oh. 8 of the warmest years on record in the US have occurred since 2008. So that is climate – not weather. From NASA: “Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over relatively long periods of time.”

A video posted by Vanity Fair on their web site before Christmas which featured a handful of Vanity Fair staffers offering cheeky New Year’s resolutions for Hillary Clinton, didn’t get much attention when it was first published on December 23. But after complaints by pro-Clinton supporters a few days later, Vanity Fair sort of apologized.

That’s when Trump came into the picture by tweeting [as the issue was dying] “Vanity Fair, which looks like it is on its last legs, is bending over backwards in apologizing for the minor hit they took at Crooked H. Anna Wintour …. is beside herself in grief & begging for forgiveness!” Wintour is Vogue [same owner as Vanity Fair]. Vanity Fair’s previous editor, Graydon Carter, has had a famous public spat going on with Trump for years. Carter dubbed Trump a “short-fingered vulgarian.”

So Roy Moore [I don’t want to mention his title because he doesn’t deserve it] is using Trump’s playbook by claiming there were massive vote fraud in Alabama from out of state Hispanics and African-Americans. But the state didn’t take this crap and issued a report that there was none. Doug Jones was certified the winner. [I wish the state would charge Moore with something and pay for any recounts and the investigation.]

For the first time in more than two decades, a sitting President has missed the Kennedy Center Honors. The annual recognition of the arts — lauding luminaries from various fields, as they rub elbows with the Washington elite. Trump’s rationale was that by staying away, he would allow the attendees to celebrate without “political distraction.” Most [if not all] of the honorees are Democratic party faithful.

In her opening remarks, Caroline Kennedy said that would have normally sounded benign felt pointed in the current climate, as she spoke of her father’s commitment to “the rule of law, to religious tolerance and racial justice, to nuclear disarmament and scientific innovation.”

Singer Joy Villa, a Trump supporter, has filed a police report against former Trump presidential campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who she says sexually assaulted her at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on November 28. Villa says Lewandowski slapped her bottom hard twice while posing for a picture.

Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pennsylvania, said Republican candidates facing re-election would have to surpass challenging hurdles, among them Trump’s divisive nature as the figurehead of the party. He is retired when his term ends in 2018.

Remember how Trump [and Wisconsin governor] were ecstatic that Foxconn would build a huge plant there with $3 billion in incentives? Those incentives have grown to $4 billion. It will take until at least 2043 for the state to recoup that lost tax revenue. On top of that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is at a low 3.2%. This could be a problem in finding an estimated 13,000 jobs [at $53,000 per year] to fill the plant. Would have been better in a state with higher unemployment.

A White House senior adviser, Frank Wuco, at the Department of Homeland Security promoted several far-right conspiracy theories in past radio appearances. Wuco is a former naval intelligence officer and conservative talk radio host Among the conspiracy theories Wuco pushed were claims that former President Barack Obama’s memoir was ghost written by former anti-Vietnam War radical Bill Ayers, claims that former CIA director John Brennan converted to Islam and claims Attorney General Eric Holder had been a member of the Black Panthers.

Wuco pushed false claims during radio appearances that Obama was not born in the US, made disparaging comments about the LGBT community, and lamented what he called the “Zimbabwe-fication” of America.

According to a CNN poll, just 35% of Americans approve of Trump, meaning it is not politically risky for Democrats to stand opposed to him. Additionally, the base of the Democratic Party is unified around their opposition of Trump as 93% of Democrats disapprove of Trump’s handling of the job.

 

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About ebraiter
computer guy

2 Responses to Wasn’t this supposed to be a quiet week? Nope.

  1. CathyW says:

    Thank you. Have a good New Year, Ed.

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