The new year starts continuing from the last year… a mess

Now in his second tweet of the year, what President would say “Happy New Year to everyone, including the haters and the fake news media! 2019 will be a fantastic year for those not suffering from Trump derangement syndrome”?

Donald Trump said that he is considering using emergency powers which would allow him to use military funding to build The Trump Wall on the US-Mexico border, saying “I can do it if I want.” Trump also said he believes he doesn’t need congressional approval to build the wall. How legally he can request to build a wall could end up in the courts.

“We can call a national emergency because of the security … I haven’t done it. I may do it but we can call a national emergency and build it very quickly,” he said during remarks in the White House Rose Garden. How do you build a wall “quickly”?

A US official said that there is other money available that Trump could use for the emergency spending of construction funds but that he would have to cancel existing military construction projects to do so. There are $13 billion in obligated funds from prior years that have not yet been spent and $10 billion in FY 19 funds already earmarked for various military projects.

A plan to end the Trump Shutdown late last year that was approved by the Senate was also approved with basically the same plan in the Democratic controlled House in 2019. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he won’t allow any House approved plan to be voted in the Senate if Trump rejects the plan before a Senate vote.

Trump is now calling the shutdown the “Schumer Shutdown” even though he said at the beginning that the shutdown is all his. He knows the longer it goes on the less good it looks for him.

The Democrats proposed several plans to end the shutdown giving pay for all the agency except DHS for a year and DHS until mid-February. The plans doesn’t give any money for the Trump Wall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear he will not move forward on any legislation until Trump signs off on it. Didn’t take long for Trump to outright reject them because of no money for the Trump Wall.

Trump “said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time — months or even years,” according to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who spoke to reporters in the White House driveway. “Absolutely I said that,” Trump affirmed from the Rose Garden shortly afterward. “I don’t think it will, but I’m prepared.”

Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without paychecks through the Trump shutdown, have called out from work this week from at least four major airports. At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, as many as 170 TSA employees have called out each day this week. Call outs have increased by 200%-300% at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where typically 25 to 30 TSA employees call out from an average shift.

This Trump Shutdown is not only affecting the 800,000 works but will also affect immigration asylum cases as the judges who preside over those cases aren’t working. Also affected are small businesses who have contractors working for the government. While small businesses are paying their contractors working at government sites, the small businesses may not get paid – possibly forcing some to close shop.

Trump tweeted “Mexico is paying for the Wall through the new USMCA Trade Deal. Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built. We have done a lot of work. $5.6 Billion Dollars that House has approved….” The USMCA trade deal [which has not been approved by any of the 3 governments] mentions nothing about paying for the wall and any money that comes from the deal must be approved by the House and Senate.

In addition, what part of the Trump Wall was built or renovated? Initial estimate said over $20 billion was required to build the Trump Wall and fix already built walls. Most likely none of the Trump Wall has been built but some was “renovated”. As for the House approving, when? Definitely not $5 billion.

Trump tweeted “The Shutdown is only because of the 2020 Presidential Election. The Democrats know they can’t win based on all of the achievements of ‘Trump,’….” Blah. Blah. Blah. So he thinks that the Democrats are trying to find ways to beat Trump in the 2020 election with all the 2-3 achievements Trump did in the last 2 years.

The American Federation of Government Employees is suing the Trump administration alleged that the government is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by forcing employees deemed essential to work without pay. 420,000 will work without pay due to the shutdown. The union’s president, J. David Cox, called the requirement that some federal employees work without pay “inhumane”.

Trump sought to deflect blame for the deaths of two Guatemalan children in US custody by claiming they were “very sick” when they arrived, even though immigration authorities have said both children passed initial health checks. The mother of the boy who died Christmas Eve told The Associated Press that her son was healthy when he left with his father on their journey hoping to migrate to the US. Attorneys for one of the children’s family have also denied claims that officials “hadn’t given her water in days,” as Trump wrote.

At least one of the laws Trump’s administration has blamed — legislation that prevents the immediate deportation of unaccompanied children from Central American countries — was signed in 2008 by President George W. Bush, a Republican.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended Trump’s border security rhetoric — including the assertion that “any deaths of children” at the border are “strictly the fault of the Democrats” — after a second migrant child died in US custody earlier this month. “They’re being promised something that people can simply not deliver upon.” So the Democrats promised this? When? They must of put up posters and radio ads in Central American countries. Right?

Outgoing chief of staff, John Kelly, claimed in an interview that Trump has toned down his push for a concrete wall over the past year with Kelly claiming he’d accept a wall made of slats, “barrier” or “fencing”. But Trump tweeted back it will be a concrete wall.

Add retired four-star Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal who have criticized Trump for his approach to the presidency. The former top commander of the US and international forces in Afghanistan label Trump as dishonest and immoral. “I don’t think he tells the truth.” When asked if he thought Trump was immoral, McChrystal responded: “I think he is.”

Took a few days for Trump to respond. “‘General’ McChrystal got fired like a dog by Obama,” Trump tweeted. “Last assignment a total bust. Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!” McChrystal resigned in 2010 over comments he and his top officers made in an article that belittled other administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden. Obama allowed him to retire at his full pay grade.

And then Senator-elect Mitt Romney said that Trump’s behavior since taking office “is evidence that the President has not risen to the mantle of the office.” Should be interesting on how much Romney follows the party or decides to be more independent and go against some of the legislation Trump likes or dislikes.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says he would not resign if pressured to do so by Trump. While Trump appointed him and approved by the Senate, there is a clause which states that the Federal Reserve Chairman cannot be fired if a disagreement over policy. So Trump can ask and Powell can refuse. However if Trump did something else [make comments about Trump’s mental state for example], then that would be an excuse.

Vice President Mike Pence and senior political aides may see their paychecks go up soon if Congress does not pass legislation that would extend a pay freeze for those officials, according to documents from the Office of Personnel Management.

After a meeting before the New Year, Trump it seems [and again] back paddled on the idea of removing troops from Syria. But it is unclear if he put the removal on hold or just removing them at a slower pace. Of course, this is Trump, any time within the next 30 days he could completely halt the removal or speed up the removal or denied he ever slowed or halted the removal.

After Trump defended for 18 months that the economy was doing great in the US as what seems to be the only factor, the stock markets in the US had their worst December since 1931. But I’m sure he will blame anybody but himself.

The US national debt stood at $21.974 trillion at the end of 2018, more than $2 trillion higher than when Trump took office, according to numbers released Thursday by the Treasury Department. That’s almost a 10% increase in 2 years.

With Trump’s second anniversary in office coming up this week, what accomplishments can he boast?

  • Economy? While there are less unemployed, the stock market [one of his early boasting] is tanking. There are still plenty of major bankruptcies and job losses.
  • Border security? Nothing. Even with a majority in the House and Senate he couldn’t pass any legislation to fund the Trump Wall.
  • Less taxes? He did this at the end of 2017 for corporations to pay less taxes. This resulted in a higher national debt and limited amount of bonuses passed down to employees while most corporations had higher revenue.
  • Added Supreme Court Justices? Is that considered an achievement? Most tend to be nominated and approved without an issue.
  • Definitely not shutdowns. He can boast that there has been three shutdowns in one year – the first time ever for any President.

 

About ebraiter
computer guy

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