Is there something wrong with Trump?

[Well aside from the usual.]

Wow! The last nearly 2 weeks have put the Trump administration and the stock markets on a lengthy roller coaster.

Beijing unveiling a new round of retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of US goods placing tariffs of 5% or 10% on US imports starting on September 1st, according to a statement posted by China’s Finance Ministry. This round affects beef, oil, soya beans, nuts, cream, turkey, and chemicals.

A second possible round on December 1st would affect coffee, corn, vehicles, whiskey wood, doors, etc.

The Ministry also announced plans to resume tariffs on US imports of automobiles and automobile parts. The tariffs would be 25% or 5%, and would take effect on December 15th. Recently, China said it would take countermeasures after Donald Trump announced it would impose 10% tariffs on Chinese imports worth $300 billion.

Not just as few hours after, Trump decided to increase current tariffs at 25% to 30%. Those at 10% will jump to 15%. The Dow Jones stock market – in just a short time – dropped more than 700 points after the announcement at one point. He claimed, in a tweet, that China’s tariffs are “politically motivated”. He ended his set of tweets with “Thank you for your attention to this matter!”

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said “It’s no surprise that China is slapping even more tariffs on American products. Every time Trump escalates his trade war, China calls his bluff — and why would we expect any differently this time around? And it’s no surprise that farmers are again the target.”

Trump said, “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” Trump can’t order American business to do anything as it is known as the “private sector”.

The Dow Jones had already dropped 300 points on the fear of another round of Trump tariffs. Trump also expressed anger at Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Powell in a speech today did not indicate if the central bank has plans for another interest rate cut. Trump has been calling for further cuts to rates.

Upsetting [saying it mildly] another ally, Trump tweeted “Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time.” Seriously? Frederiksen said the word “Absurd” for her answer.

Trump had accepted an invitation to visit Her Majesty Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark. Now it is a diplomatic snub that he has canceled the visit because of his vindictive pettiness. Trump confirmed his interest in buying the country, telling reporters at one point that Greenland is hurting Denmark. Doesn’t explain how – of course.

Oh it must be fun being a US ambassador in this administration.

Estimated minimum price to buy Greenland is over $1 billion, for 56,000 people and 9% unemployment. Add harsh conditions and plenty of ice. But it does have some untapped resources.

No shocker here [or I told you so]: Trump is reversing his stance on gun control. After the shootings he said “I’m looking to do background checks… I think background checks are important.”

Then he responded recently by saying “I don’t want people to forget that this is a mental health problem… It’s the people that pull the trigger. It’s not the gun that pulls the trigger… “I’m also very, very concerned with the Second Amendment”. These are basically the same phrases that the NRA has been pushing for. So you think that anything will happen?

“I had a very good meeting with Tim Cook,” Trump said in an interview. “I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook, and Tim was talking to me about tariffs. And one of the things, and he made a good case, is that Samsung is their number-one competitor, and Samsung is not paying tariffs because they’re based in South Korea.”

He also said that Apple “will be spending vast sums of money in the US. Great!” though he doesn’t appear to have mentioned any details of further US investment in his comments to reporters. He has said this before of more US investments in the past only to have nothing come out of it.

He has to remember that his policies are hurting American businesses. He is the one to blame for issues that American companies who are having issues with it. On the other hand, Apple has plenty of money and part of their problem is that their products have had slumps because of a combination of higher prices and poor quality control [think recently about keyboard and battery issues with their laptops].

Trump may in the end exclude Apple from getting hit with the tariffs. And so it unravels. He does it for one company and other American companies who have at least some manufacturing done in China will ask for the same treatment. Most of them may not be as wealthy as Apple.

“If I wanted to make a bad deal and settle on China, the market would go up. But it wouldn’t be the right thing to do,” Trump explained. “I’m just not ready to make a deal, China would like to make a deal, I’m not ready.” So his ego prefers the world end up in a recession.

Trump and his advisers insist their trade war with China won’t hurt American consumers. But analysts say otherwise. The tariffs Trump has already imposed on China are estimated to cost the average American household $600 per year, according to a report by JPMorgan Chase. That will rise to $1,000 if Trump carries through on his plan to levy tariffs on another $300 billion of US imports from China, the bank added.

Oh craps! Trump referred to himself as the “chosen one” while speaking on his role in the ongoing trade war between the US and China. Later he said “Nobody has done a job like I done.” He said at one point that China had the worst economic year in 50 year. Last week he said at one point it was 25 and then 37. How things change in a week or so.

Trump conceded that economies across the world are “not doing well like we are doing, the rest of the world, if you look at Germany, if you look at European Union, frankly, look at the UK, look at a lot of the countries, they are not doing well.” If the world’s largest economies [other than the US] re in a recession, then the US will follow.

Trump added that “most economists actually say we are not going to have a recession.” If you translate that, it usually means he asked one or two people who may know about the economy and generally agree with everything he says. Trump sent out some people to news channels to tell people everything is good with the economy.

Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown revealing growing concerns about the economy among Trump’s top economic aides. But Trump says that the economy in the US is doing well?

As if Trump doesn’t have enough to complain about this week: “Henry Ford would be very disappointed if he saw his modern-day descendants wanting to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn’t work as well, because execs don’t want to fight California regulators.” Wonder what he is dreaming about this time.

This after saying “My proposal to the politically correct Automobile Companies would lower the average price of a car to consumers by more than $3000, while at the same time making the cars substantially safer. Engines would run smoother.”

Not to be out done, he then whined about the US share of the NATO budget versus everyone else.

Go figure. He is the president of the US and he is still complaining about the 2016 votes – 30+ months later. He tweeted “Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued.”

He was referring to a study by psychologist Robert Epstein [hmmm], which was discussed on Fox. Epstein himself says Trump was wrong about his findings. Epstein did find “bias” in Google search results, but he says there is no evidence Google “manipulated” the results to favor Hillary Clinton. Epstein said the pro-Clinton bias was “sufficient to have shifted between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes” to Clinton – not 16 million.

Epstein used a whopping 95 people from 24 states. That is research? For statistical purposes, this has a wide error. He also didn’t even publish his findings in a credible journal or web site that is related to his research. Epstein said he is “suspicious” that Google is deliberately biasing its results, given the Democratic leanings of its employees and the allegations of company “whistle blowers.” Epstein didn’t divulge who he supports.

Trump wants Russia back into the G7 [as the G8] in time for the 2020 meeting in the US. Trump claimed that President Barack Obama wanted Russia out of the group because “he got outsmarted.” He didn’t say how Obama was outsmarted, but you know Trump. Imaginary thing. Russia was suspended from the group after the majority of member countries united against Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Trump held a lengthy phone call with his master, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre, recently. Now it looks like universal background checks are “off the table.” LaPierre reminded Trump how NRA members helped get him elected. No shock in Trump’s latest stance.

The Trump administration announced plans that could hold undocumented families detained together indefinitely, replacing the agreement that set a 20-day limit for holding children. The rule is meant to reduce the number of families trying to enter the US. Already this year, more than 430,000 family members have been arrested for crossing the southern border illegally, compared to around 100,000 for all of last year.

Then Trump said he is “seriously” considering ending US birthright citizenship despite the fact that such a move would face immediate legal challenge and is at odds with Supreme Court precedent. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees birthright citizenship and states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The White House has dropped its attempt to move forward with a controversial plan to eliminate up to $4 billion in funding to the State Department and the US Agency for International Development. Previously, Trump misrepresented the developments that led Turkey to purchase the Russian system, blaming the Obama administration for the situation.

The Trump administration has sought to decrease what it believes is wasteful spending and make foreign aid more conditional on support for US policies. White House officials believed they had the authority to cancel the funds without congressional approval.

The Trump administration has formally withdrawn its $3.5 billion offer for Turkey to purchase a Patriot missile system in retaliation for Turkey’s receipt of the Russian-made S-400 missile system. The US has also ejected Turkey from the F-35 jet program, preventing Turkey from acquiring some 100 of the stealth jets and removing Turkish companies from the production chain.

It’s been 5.5 months since the last official White House press briefing. Stephanie Grisham, White House communications director and White House press secretary as well as communications director for Melania Trump, has yet to have a press briefing in the nearly 1.5 months in her new job.

Russian state TV says that Trump wants Russian to be part of the G8 because “he owes Russia” after the US recently tested a land based Tomahawk cruise missile. “He feels guilty or ashamed…. They miss us.”

Vladimir Poutine partially blamed the US for the recent accident there in testing new military hardware.

Wow! He finally did something right: He is eliminating all federal student loan debt owed by American veterans who are completely and permanently disabled. Took him over 2.5 years to do something right.

Trump is expected to select Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to replace Jon Huntsman [resignation is effective October 3] as US Ambassador to Russia. At least Sullivan has some diplomatic experience. He was passed over as Secretary of State when Rex Tillerson resigned though.

Talk of to boost his way sagging popularity that Trump may dump Vice President Mike Pence and replace him with former UN ambassador, Nikki Haley. She tweeted “Enough of the false rumors.”

Trump also quoted radio host and conspiracy theorist/nut-case Wayne Allyn Root who said “…like he’s [Trump] the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God….” Seriously?

After recent polling numbers from Fox, Trump wasn’t happy saying “Fox has changed. And my worst polls have always been from Fox. There’s something going on at Fox, I’ll tell you right now. And I’m not happy with it.” He believes that since Fox is the only right wing leaning large news organization, he should have better polling numbers with them – as if Fox manipulates polling data. But he always used them as his propaganda “arm”.

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Trump, the chief of conspiracy theories

Donald Trump retweeted a conspiracy theory on Saturday evening alleging without evidence that former President Bill Clinton was connected to the death of wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, hours after Epstein was found dead by apparent suicide in his federal prison cell. Considering that Trump has claimed he hasn’t been around Epstein for something like 15 years, he has taken great interest in it.

“Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH ? Yeah right! How does that happen,” wrote Terrence K. Williams, a conservative commentator and comedian, in the message retweeted by Trump. In a two-minute long selfie video recording, Williams alleged that the Clintons were responsible for Epstein’s death and falsely claims that Epstein was on suicide watch in the prison at the time of his death. He wasn’t. Somebody is missing a handful of screws.

And not surprised with the conspiracy nuts going nuts. One claims that “Twitter Removes #ClintonBodyCount with 84,000 Mentions from Trending List After Epstein Death – Replaces with Trump, Barr Hashtags”. Others claim that Epstein is still alive.

With Trump himself denying that he has been involved with Epstein for over a dozen years, it could further bit him in the butt if [for example] Epstein said under testimony the Trump was involved in his sex session with underage girls. Trump would also benefit from Epstein’s death. As the so-called president, he has the means for someone to do it on his behalf.

Since he came into office, Trump has always claimed how great the economy has been. His indicator was primarily that the stock market was rising. He isn’t a financial guru. Far from it. His tariff wars with other big economies – claiming that they have huge trade surpluses – is starting to hit the US economy. Just recently Trump postponed hitting China with more tariffs acknowledging [finally] that tariffs will raise prices on items that American buy. So he has delayed the next round until after the holiday buying season has ended.

Meanwhile, the bond market, for the first time in over a decade, flashed a warning signal that has an eerily accurate track record for predicting recessions. Right after, the major stock markets dropped over 2% each with the Dow Jones dropping 832 points following the warning. All the major economies, from Germany to the UK to India [with the slight exception of Canada] has been hit with economic issues.

Trump went after Federal Reserve chairman and Trump appointee Jay Powell on Twitter, blaming him for the problem and claiming that his tariffs are not hurting the economy. Again, [not defending him] Trump isn’t a financial guru. Analysts have said trade wars were in part behind recent troubles in financial markets as they raised costs and cast a layer of uncertainty on businesses and consumers.

With an upcoming election coming in 15 months, what Trump doesn’t need is a recession. A recession will hurt his re-election chances if his base starts to lose jobs or pay more for items that they need. He won’t be able to claim that the economy is doing so well. But knowing him, he would [who’s he fooling?].

Even with the Trump administration trying not to allow Russians from affecting the US economics and politics, the administration allowed a major Russian company, Rusal, to get a 40% stake in an aluminum mill in Kentucky, the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The owner of Rusal is a friend of President Vladimir Poutine.

All this is even though the head of the Russian company has been sanctioned by the Mueller investigation. Two lobbyists working to get the mill built were formerly employed by McConnell. The owner is also friendly with the disgraced Paul Manafort.

One of Rusal’s lesser shareholders has since donated a total of $3.5 million to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC run by McConnell’s former chief of staff. Coincidence? McConnell pushed for Rusal’s eventual removal from sanctions.

With the unrest in Hong Kong, Trump tweeted ‘Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!”

He then added “Many are blaming me, and the United States, for the problems going on in Hong Kong. I can’t imagine why?” Some Chinese officials believe that the US [or west] are backing the protesters. Unsure how.

Meanwhile the US Navy’s requests for two ships to make port visits in the coming weeks have been denied by the Chinese government. The US Navy never had any issues previously.

The Trump administration has informally green lit a potential major arms sale to Taiwan involving dozens of new F-16 fighter jets. The new weaponry could further erode ties, since Beijing views the self-governing island as part of China. Beijing has frequently protested the sales as a violation of China’s sovereignty despite the Chinese Communist Party having never governed the island.

Last month, the Trump administration approved selling 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks and portable Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Taiwan, an arms package valued at $2.2 billion. Since 2010, the US has announced more than $15 billion in arms sales to Taiwan.

In response to another round of tariffs aimed at China on September 1st, $300 billion worth, Chinese buyers have cancelled multi-billion dollar purchases of US soybeans. Regulators are threatening to place American companies on an “unreliable entities” list that might face curbs on their operations. But the tariffs have been delayed now until December 15th.

Bipartisan lawmakers and foreign policy advocates have spoken out publicly against the move to cancel $4 billion in funds to the State Department and US Agency for International Development, warning about their impact on US foreign policy priorities. The Trump administration has sought to decrease what it believes is wasteful spending and make foreign aid more conditional on support for US policies. White House officials believe they have the authority to cancel the funds without congressional approval.

[Scratching your head time.] Trump has on multiple occasions brought up buying Greenland from the Danish government and the White House counsel’s office has looked into the possibility. The island’s government, however, said in a statement it’s not going to happen: “Greenland is not for sale.”

Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, is home to Thule Air Base, the US military’s northernmost base, located about 750 miles above the Arctic Circle and built in 1951. The radar and listening post features a Ballistic Missile Early Warning System that can warn of incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles and reaches thousands of miles into Russian territory.

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said that Republicans may need to find a candidate to replace Trump in 2020. “We are now in the early episodes of ‘Chernobyl’ on HBO, where the reactor is melting down and the apparatchiks are trying to figure out whether to cover it up or start the clean-up process,” Scaramucci, who was ousted from his job after 11 days.

Trump decided to go after Bill Maher by tweeting “So many lies. He said patients in El Paso hospital didn’t want to meet with me. Wrong! Had really great meetings with numerous patients.” Except is known that some did refuse to see him. “He is right about one thing, though. I will win again in 2020. Otherwise, he pays 95% in taxes!” Wonder where he got the ridiculous 95% from. Oh forget hit.

The fake facts in chief mentioned the following recently:

  • First claiming that China had just posted its worst economic growth in 27 years. Later he said it was 35 years. Nothing changed in a week.
  • The remains of the soldiers from the Korean War will continue to come through Hawaii. In fact, North Korea has stopped cooperating with the remains recovery initiative and that the effort has been suspended for this year.
  • “There have been no nuclear tests. The missile tests have all been short-range. No ballistic missile tests. No long-range missiles.” Actually, North Korea continues to test ballistic missiles, even short range ones.
  • “As you know, we’ve got 32,000 soldiers on South Korean soil, and we’ve been helping them for about 82 years.” Actually 26,000 active personnel and the US has been in South Korea since the end of World War II – 74 years ago.
    “You have drug dealers that get not even 30 days, and they’ve killed 25 people.” Good luck in finding any evidence that this is true.
  • Trump claims that he has given farmers $16 billion to offset their loss from Chines tariffs. In fact, his $28 billion pledge to farmers exceeds the total tariff revenues as of last month [$21 billion].
  • “Americans are not paying for the Tariffs — they are being paid for compliments of China, and the U.S. is taking in tens of Billions of Dollars!” What the stable economics genius forgets is that American importers make the actual tariff payments, and economic studies have found that Americans have borne most of the cost.

Here we go again. Trump spewing #fakefacts, this time at a speech in Pennsylvania that was not supposed to be a campaign rally. Instead it was about energy.

  • “Pennsylvania has the best numbers they’ve ever had in the history of this state.” – Actually the best since 1976 but not ever.
  • “I built good.” – Yes. This is president of the US talking.
  • “…now nobody looks at Obama getting $60 million for a book…” – You cannot be the President and have other income according to the constitution. But that doesn’t stop former Presidents. And in this case it is $65 million for both Obama and his wife.
  • “We’re building a lot of wall.” – Just 46.7 miles of border wall have been built since Trump came into office.
  • Virginia “hasn’t been won by a Republican in a long time.” – Before Obama in 2008, the last Democrats to win in Virginia goes back to Lyndon Johnson.

Note that this wasn’t a campaign rally but Trump representing the country. So the gathering used taxpayer money. And yet he started to whine about Democrat hopefuls and other political stuff in addition to the above.

Trump recently took credit for building a $6 billion Shell plant in Pennsylvania that was announced in 2012 under President Obama. I don’t think you can build a refinery and have it running in under 30 months.

Trump also claimed the steel manufacturing was “dead”. It has declined maybe 1800 jobs in the past 4 months but still has over 379,300 workers.

Trump claimed that US Steel was to open or expand six facilities in 2018. Instead US steel is reducing production in 2 plants because of tariffs.

Trump claimed that Exxon Mobil recently invested in the gulf coast was because of him administration’s policies in fact was started in 2013.

Trump also took credit as his idea to install solar panels on border walls when the idea came from a private company.

In the past, Trump even took credit for inventing the word caravan!

Trump claims that he has lost between $3 and $5 billion in taking the current job instead of whatever he normally does. Of course this may or may not include at least one bankruptcy. If he is upset that he supposedly lost that much then resign!

In the ongoing attempt to curb immigration, a new rule came into effect by the Trump administration where many green card and visa applicants could be turned down if they have low incomes or little education.

The Trump administration announced significant changes that would weaken how the Endangered Species Act is implemented, a move critics fear will allow for more oil and gas drilling and limit how much regulators consider the impacts of the climate crisis. That act was credited with saving the bald eagle and grizzly bear from extinction.

The rule was panned by environmental groups that question Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s motives, given his past work representing oil and gas companies. Conservationists and environmentalists will be lining up to challenge this revisions to the act.

In the usual “what was he smoking” announcement, Trump has claimed for years that he was once named “Michigan Man of the Year,” a title that does not exist. Who announces any “year” awards in the middle of summer?

Will there ever be a quiet week in this administration?

Where have you heard this before? Just create a template and fill in the blanks.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who probably shouldn’t have had the job in the first place, is rumored to be the next on the way out. This even after Donald Trump said “Keep your head up. Keep fighting. We got your back.”

The White House is “looking into” Pruitt’s housing situation amid reports that he rented a room in Washington, DC, from the family of an energy lobbyist. Meanwhile, a Democratic senator has said that Pruitt’s 24-hour security in Washington allegedly extends to at least some of his personal trips, including one family trips to Disneyland and another to the Rose Bowl Game.

As if Pruitt has enough problems, he bypassed the White House to give large pay raises to two aides [combined over $80,000], then conceding the raises “should not have happened,” while denying that he was aware the raises were given out in the first place. But The Atlantic reported that Pruitt requested pay raises for “two of his closest aides,” in March.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told special counsel Robert Mueller in a classified August 2, 2017, memo that he should investigate allegations that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was “colluding with Russian government officials” to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, prosecutors in the Russia probe revealed.

Mueller was also empowered by Rosenstein to investigate Paul Manafort’s payments from Ukrainian politicians, a cornerstone of the Trump adviser’s decades-long lobbying career that has resulted in several financial criminal charges so far.

Wondering if Rosenstein could get into hot water as Manafort could give up those above him in exchange for a lesser sentence – which could cause Trump further problems.

The Trump administration is unleashing additional sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs with ties to President Vladimir Putin along with 12 companies they own or control. The measures announced by the Treasury Department were also aimed at 17 senior Russian government officials and the state-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboronexport, which has long-standing ties to Syria and its subsidiary, Russian Financial Corporation Bank. One sanctioned is Vladimir Poutine’s son-in-law.

China responded to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs [$50 billion] with $3 billion of tariffs of its own. Beijing has yet to retaliate to Trump’s promised crackdown on Chinese intellectual property theft. Trump may still add further tariffs. Combined with Trump’s obsession of going after Amazon [with more untruthful tweets], stock market took a tumble on Monday.

China is punching back in the escalating trade dispute with the US, announcing plans for heavy new tariffs on dozens more US goods including aircraft and autos. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said it plans to impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of US exports. The 106 affected products will also include soybeans and chemicals.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s listed of about 1,300 Chinese exports — also worth about $50 billion annually — that it intends to target with 25% tariffs.

Now Trump said he could add a further $100 billion in tariffs against China if he decides to.

Meanwhile, those in rural America are getting nervous because the latest tariffs from China will affect them primarily. For example, most of the soy comes from rural states – the same states that gave Trump the presidency. With the mid-term elections in 7 months, Trump could lose some of the rural vote if the tariffs don’t disappear. China is obviously targeting Republican voters. [Will Trump whine – if he loses badly in the mid-term – that China meddled in their election?]

In good trade news, they are making progress in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

When Trump complains that the government is getting a bad deal with Amazon’s shipping, he shouldn’t be blaming Amazon but instead the US Postal Service. In the end they are agreeing to the shipping rates. If anything Trump should commend Amazon for doing a good deal – although I don’t they used his book as a reference.

One of Amazon’s biggest customers is the federal government. Amazon, through its massive Amazon Web Services cloud computing division, has a deal with the government to provide cloud services to the CIA and other intelligence agencies. That deal was first awarded in 2013 and Amazon was said to have beat out IBM for the business. It’s a massive contract, worth a reported $600 million over 10 years.

Trump complained at length about the amount of American money being spent in Syria, which he said had produced nothing for the US in return. Trump grew irritated with his top military brass and national security team when they advised him an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Syria would be unwise. Even CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who Trump has tapped to serve as secretary of state, has told him that an immediate withdrawal from Syria would be a mistake.

Trump wants to use money set aside for the military to be used to build his Trump Wall. But he can’t as the money was specifically set to be used by the military [for security, etc.]. Trump claims that the Trump Wall is about security. Congress would have to agree to the change.

In the meantime, Trump wants to send the military to guard the border with Mexico until his trump Wall is built. The way things are going, it could be there for a while. Trump claim that this has never done before. George W. Bush used the National Guard in 2006. Federal law prohibits the use of active-duty service members for law enforcement inside the US, unless specifically authorized by Congress. Does he know any of this?

With between 2000 and 4000 National Guard troops expected to defend the southern US border, politicians are starting to wonder who will pay for the deployment and whether they will be armed. Like true Trump fashion, he announces something with little details and the White House staff have to scramble to figure things out. Though numbers have rebounded to be more consistent with the past few years, the number of crossings in fiscal year 2017 were at a nearly five-decade low.

Trump administration officials said they’re crafting a new legislative package aimed at closing immigration “loopholes,” hours after Trump called on Republicans in Congress to immediately pass a border bill using the “Nuclear Option if necessary” [changing the Senate rules to require a simple majority of 51 votes to override a rule instead of 60] to muscle it through. Trump’s favoured DACA solution mustered only 39 votes in the Senate, meaning it couldn’t have passed even if the Senate did approve the changes.

Trump tweeted “Because of the Trump Administrations actions, Border crossings are at a still UNACCEPTABLE 46 year low. Stop drugs!” Wouldn’t that be “inactions” and “unacceptable 46 year high”?

In 2000, 1.6 million were apprehended in trying to cross the border from Mexico into the US. In 2017, it was just 310,000. So much for Trump claiming the numbers crossing are increasing. He should give himself pat on the back for the lower amount.

Trumps announcement of putting the national guard at the border caught everyone in his administration off guard and are scrambling to respond to what he said – with the little information they got.

Trump also declared protections for so-called Dreamer immigrants “dead,” claimed the U.S. has “no effective border laws” and Trump continued to blame Democrats for killing the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program despite the fact that he was the one who moved to end the program. He also claimed DACA, which has provided temporary protection from deportation and work permits to hundreds of thousands of young people, is luring people to cross the border illegally, even though the program have never been open to new arrivals.

Trump appeared to assert that women from Central America are raped at “levels that nobody has ever seen before” as an argument for strengthening US immigration laws. It is unclear where Trump derived the evidence for his seeming assertion that Central American women are being raped at unprecedented levels. More like another bit of “facts” that he created.

Trump warned Mexico to halt the passage of “caravans” of illegal immigrants or risk retribution. Individuals in the caravans often try to reach the US border but usually not as part of the caravan. The caravans typically don’t proceed much farther north than the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

“The big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our ‘Weak Laws’ Border, had better be stopped before it gets there. Cash cow NAFTA is in play, as is foreign aid to Honduras and the countries that allow this to happen. Congress MUST ACT NOW!” Trump tweeted. The so-called caravan is 1000 people [mostly Hondurans].

Trump appeared to claim credit for halting the caravan of about 1,100 migrants, many from Honduras, who had been marching along roadsides and train tracks in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. But the caravan of largely Central American migrants had never intended to reach the U.S. border. It was meant to end at a migrants’ rights symposium in central Mexico later this week.

Trump claims those in the caravan want to enter the US as part of DACA. But DACA is for those already in the US and were born there from parents who weren’t. It is an annual protest against Central America human rights abuses.

Trump also threatened to dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement if Mexico doesn’t reduce the flow of immigrants coming across the southern US border.

In your typical Trump fashion, during the annual Easter egg hunt on the White House grounds with small children, Trump decided to discuss politics including the trade war with China. In his speech in front of children, he says the economy is doing well – but the markets dropped quite a bit on the same day. [He goofed also in the past claiming the economy is doing well but the markets were sliding.]

Trump, a constant critic of what he calls “fake news,” will skip the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for a second year in a row. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders will attend to represent the administration at the head table.

In another bad sign for Republicans in November, a Democrat leaning candidate [had no party affiliation] won a 10-year seat on the Wisconsin’s Supreme Court – a state held with a Republican governor and a state won by Trump in the 2016 elections. In fact the winner won by double digits. It was the first time a liberal candidate who wasn’t an incumbent had won a seat on the seven-member court in 23 years.

Todd Johnson, political appointee, is a former Trump campaign state director in New Mexico who joined the Department of Defense in 2017 as an advance officer, a Pentagon employee with the sensitive task of providing logistical support related to the secretary’s events and appearances domestically and abroad. Johnson resigned after it was revealed on social media that he posted birther conspiracies about then-President Barack Obama and shared a video that claimed Obama was the Antichrist.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has already filed 29 separate lawsuits against the Trump Administration — and that doesn’t even include his defense of the state in the Justice Department’s litigation against the California law limiting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. Becerra’s list includes five lawsuits related to immigration, three on health care, three on education and 15 on the environment and climate.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner or operator of nearly 200 television stations in the US, is forcing its news anchors to record a promo about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. Sinclair is pro Trump and has many Fox stations but also ABC and others. Two-thirds are in Trump “country”.

According to a former Sinclair News Director, Sinclair has locked down the company where they have threaten anyone in the company who speaks publically about it. Sinclair enforces clauses if someone tries to leave before their contract is up.

Trump asked a federal judge to order private arbitration in a case brought by a porn actress who claimed she had an affair with him. Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, filed papers in federal court in Los Angeles asking a judge to rule that Stormy Daniels’ case involving a non-disclosure agreement must be heard by an arbitrator instead of a jury. Looks like Trump may want to keep the issue out of the media.

Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway responds to allegations in a new book by author Ronald Kessler that she is the “number one leaker” in the White House by saying that [obviously] the allegations are false.

A photo released of the White House interns show that almost all of the interns are white – lack of diversity. Well, it’s about the same for Trump’s cabinet. Anyone surprised? Is it accidental or intentional that the young man and woman of color are posed at the group’s edges and are the only 2 of 91 who are not white. Washington, DC has a large population of color. The Democrats showed off their intern picture. Plenty of diversity.

Trump seem to have battles in multiple fronts this week

[And in some cases he opened his big mouth to start them.]

Donald Trump defended embattled Alabama Republican Roy Moore, all but endorsing the Senate candidate who has been accused of sexual assault. Trump is taking Moore’s word at it even with at least 8 accusers. One or two could be questionable. But 8?

“He denies it. Look, he denies it,” Trump said of Moore. “If you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. And look, you have to look at him also.” Now what he said is confusing. What happened in the past 48 hours? And the last sentence?

Isn’t this a bit of favoritism? The Alabama Secretary of State said that on the election day and on the web site, the state plans to hand out how to write in a candidate on the ballot? This is like putting up a poster at the polling booth and say to write in another candidate. The Alabama secretary of state is a Republican, BTW.

The former Alabama GOP chairman said polls are useless and probably more Democrats were polled. This after a Fox News [not even a left wing] poll said Democratic candidate Doug Jones has a 12% lead. Wonder what he would of said if it was the other way.

The Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register and The Huntsville Times [all part of the Alabama Media Group] all rejected Moore saying that “there is only one candidate left in this race who has proven worthy of the task of representing Alabama. He is Doug Jones.”

Trump has not campaigned for Moore but one of his minions claimed as if it was because of the accusations when this issue came up after he won the Republican primary. As Trump has avoid commenting about Moore, looks more like he isn’t trying to help him. I guess Trump really doesn’t think he needs that Senate seat.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders previously said “Like most Americans, the President believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life. The President also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.” First, who is saying he hasn’t done anything more recently? Because it is [say] over 20 years ago that it is past a certain statute of limitations? If so what is the difference between a judge [and Senate candidate] and say a celebrity that has been accused 20+ years ago?

Trump shot back at Lavar Ball, the father of one of the UCLA basketball players arrested in China, for belittling the President’s role in the students’ release. “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar [sic] Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal,” Trump tweeted. “I should have left them in jail!”

Even Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, fire back saying “Wannabe @Lakers coach, BIG MOUTH @Lavarbigballer knows if it weren’t for President @realDonaldTrump, his son would be in China for a long, long, long time! #FACT.” Did Trump actually tweet that? Sounds like him. The three players did thank Trump at a press conference before Trump’s latest tweets. [Wow! Trump really likes to have his ego stroked.]

Trump said: “It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME.” And of course Trump has to go at Ball directly in his tweet by tweeting after “Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair.” And in another tweet, he ended with “Ungrateful fool!”

Apex Marketing Group said that Ball’s Big Baller Brand has received an estimated $13.2 million in advertisement as Trump and Ball exchanged barbs in recent days.

In another head scratcher, out of the blue, Trump tweeted “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is good for the Republican party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!” [I think most of us miss the 140 character tweet limit.]

Let’s break the tweet down. Clinton actually had more votes in the 2016 election than Trump and only lost by the way the electoral college is set up. In most countries, Clinton would of won the election. “She just can’t stop”. Stop what? She has been quiet. It is Trump that has been bring up the topic. Finally, Clinton has already stated she does not intend on running in 3 years.

Clinton did respond that Trump is “obsessed with my speaking out” and “between tweeting and golfing, how does he get anything done?”

Days ahead of what should be a major moment for Ivanka Trump on the world stage at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson isn’t sending a high-level delegation to support her amid reports of tensions between Tillerson and the White House. One source said “Rex doesn’t like the fact that he’s supposed to be our nation’s top diplomat, and Jared [Kushner] and now Ivanka have stepped all over Rex Tillerson for a long time.”

It is said that this not related to his key project of slashing the Department’s budget. No one higher than the deputy assistant secretary is allowed to participate. The secretary and his top staff have insisted on approving all travel. Tillerson won’t send someone senior because they don’t want to bolster Ivanka.

Speaking to five branches of the military serving overseas via satellite from Mar-a-Lago, Trump highlighted how the US military is “really winning” since he took office. “We know how to win, but we have to let you win. You weren’t winning before. They were letting you play even. We want to let you win,” Trump said, referencing the Obama administration. If you can figure what he said, good luck.

Problem is that while ISIS is on the run, it seems to be the Russians who did the brunt of the work.

[Note that I am not being negative to the military. I stand by them. I am more against the continuous exaggeration and taking credit by Trump.]

In his Thanksgiving speech, Trump said [among other things]:

  • “I still haven’t figured out how people take their boats out into a hurricane.” – I think no one would, except him.
  • “You saved 16,000 lives — nobody knows that — 16,000 lives.” – No one knows what that figure is about or came from. The Coast Guard did say they rescued 11,000 during Hurricane Harvey.
  • “But if you were looking at it as a brand, there’s no brand that went up more than the Coast Guard, with what happened in Texas.” – As if the “brand” is like Nike, Reebok or others. You can’t buy the Coast Guard – hopefully.
  • “I don’t know — I mean, they go out in a boat and they think, I guess, they’re — you know, they’ve got a wonderful boat, they’ve had it for years, it can weather anything.” – You scratching your head? I am.
  • “And it’s nice that you’re working for something that’s really starting to work.” – Another scratcher but I think he’s trying to say, they didn’t work under Obama but will with him. Need a Star Trek type Universal Translator to speak “Trump”.
  • “You know, when we sell to other countries, even if they’re allies — you never know about an ally. An ally can turn.” – That should help in selling American goods.

Remember those tax returns Trump didn’t want to be released claiming that he was being audited? Well, now the IRS has securely locked away those tax physical records in a vault. Very few have access. So what is he [or they] hiding?

Michael Flynn’s lawyers have told other defense lawyers in the ongoing Russia probe, including President Donald Trump’s legal team, that they’re no longer able to share information. The source added that the decision to cease informal information-sharing could be an indication Flynn is preparing to plead guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Trump said on the campaign trail that he wouldn’t have time to golf [“never see them (his golf courses) again”]. Well, as of November 24th, he has spent roughly a quarter of his first year in office at the golf courses.

Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway said “we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through” less than a week after Conway said that “no Senate seat is worth more than a child” in the wake of a series of sexual allegations against Moore. So getting the tax bill is more important than this alleged sexual harasser? [Although by the way this tax bill is going, whomever wins the Senate seat will be voting on it a few times next year.]

Trump tweeted “ObamaCare premiums are going up, up, up, just as I have been predicting for two years. ObamaCare is OWNED by the Democrats, and it is a disaster. But do not worry. Even though the Dems want to Obstruct, we will Repeal & Replace right after Tax Cuts!” So he’s not twinning Obamacare and his tax bill now?

Trump slammed Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, calling his political career “toast” after he was caught on mic criticizing Trump and Moore at an event a couple of nights prior. [Why so long in the delay?] Flake was fielding questions about the Republican tax reform plan and a possible 2020 run against Trump when the incident occurred.

Trump said “Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of Arizona (quit race, anemic polls)” Again, like previous times, Flake is stepping away as Senator, not because of “anemic” pools [how did Trump spell “anemic” right?]. But his polls are as anemic as Trump’s.

After photographs surfaced showing Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch standing during the Mexican national anthem and sitting during the US national anthem at a game against the New England Patriots in Mexico City, Trump called for his suspension and he had to add “Attendance and ratings way down”. Now you know of course attendance and ratings have dropped but Trump is as usual exaggerating. Of course the Raiders’ owner is probably laughing right now since it is unlikely that the NFL Players Association would allow that.

[Of course it is a rule for him to criticize anything he doesn’t like and then give some incorrect or exaggerated facts. The same in reverse when he praises something.]

Trump criticized a reported proposal that would ask NFL players to remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem rather than kneeling. “That’s almost as bad as kneeling! When will the highly paid Commissioner finally get tough and smart? This issue is killing your league!” Until 2009, players weren’t asked to be on the sidelines for the anthem.

Days later he added for no apparent reason “Can you believe that the disrespect for our Country, our Flag, our Anthem continues without penalty to the players. The Commissioner has lost control of the hemorrhaging league. Players are the boss!”

Trump had said previously he would push Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad out of office a number of times. But it looks like you can add this as another failure as Al-Assad’s military who once controlled just 19% of Syria a couple of months ago, now controls at least 50% of Syria including most of the major Syrian cities.

“Today the United States is designating the North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago,” Trump said. So after his name calling and threats, he only now decided to do it. 10 months into office. Trump said that North Korea has “repeatedly” sponsored acts of terrorism, including “assassinations on foreign soil.”

A former director of the US Office of Government Ethics says he filed an official complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for what he argues was a violation of the Hatch Act after she attacked GOP Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore’s opponent on television.

“I found the video. She’s standing In front of the White House. It seems pretty clear she was appearing in her official capacity when she advocated against a candidate,” said Walter Shaub.

 

More on the Sony hack and North Korea’s Internet going out

Seems the Sony hack front has turned a bit in different directions.

First, Sony announced that two small independent chains in the US will be showing The Interview, that movie that has driven North Korean to go ballistics. The chains aren’t huge but it shows that Sony has decided to give in after banning the movie. The movie still [at last check] has no openings in various other countries.

Both US President Barack Obama and a number of high profile celebrities [most of them who vote for the Democrats] have come out saying that Sony made a mistake.

At one point there was though of a straight to video release [but I’m wondering what the North Koreans would think about that].

Interesting to note that Sony’s world headquarters is in Tokyo but they didn’t seem to be threatened. I guess the US is the worse of two evils.

Flipping the coin, it was reported that North Korea got hit with a 9.5 hour blackout. According to a report, North Korea has for cable links for the Internet all going through China – a friend of theirs. But President Obama asked China if they could investigate to see if the Sony hack originated on their soil. I guess China is caught between two upset “friends”.

Unsure what North Korea would do as they threatened to do to the US a thousand times what any retaliation on them.  Problem is that the links go through China. So unless China cut them….

Also wondering what kind of redundancy they have as all four lines dropped.

Interesting to note that in a CNN report, as little as 4-5 years ago, North Koreans connected to the Internet by using dial-up modem into a Chines network. Wow.

Even now, the Internet is restricted to senior government officials and their cronies, those paid bribes, etc. North Korea has a country wide Intranet with a reported 5000 sites but they are strictly controlled.

Lenovo to buy Blackberry/RIM? I doubt it

There was a story that came out whether Lenovo would buy Blackberry/RIM. If any Chinese controlled company ever bought Blackberry/RIM you would see many governments – not just the US – would drop their Blackberries in favor of something else.

[Of course what to choose from: iPhones have limited enterprise support, Androids attract malware, Windows Phones aren’t popular (but at least has enterprise support) – but I digress.]

Blackberries still have the most secure network and the last thing any government wants is the Chinese from having the option to snoop around once they have the “keys” to get in.

That said, I don’t think the Canadian government would allow the sale anyways. They [obviously] also use Blackberries for government purposes.

If Lenovo actually did buy Blackberry, the sales and usage would drop like flies.

Remember how a few governments in the world with questionable human and civil rights were complaining to RIM [then] that if they didn’t get access to their citizen’s Blackberries they would drop Blackberries? Well, theoretically the Chinese not only could spy on their own citizens but anyone in the world who uses a Blackberry without any legal “check”.

NY Times hack starts the blame game

The New York Times reported recently that its own networks have been “persistently attacked” by Chinese hackers, and that they infiltrated computer systems and acquired passwords for its reporters and other employees.

Security experts were brought in to help “expelled the hackers” and “kept them from breaking back in.”

The Times believes that the timing of the attacks coincided with an investigation it carried out in late October 2011, where the investigation found that the Chinese Prime Minister had accumulated “several billion dollars through business dealings.”

The Times went after Symantec after the newspaper found that most of the malware floating around on its network wasn’t even detected by Symantec’s software that it uses on its network. “Over the course of three months, attackers installed 45 pieces of custom malware.”

Symantec responded that anti-virus software is not enough in this day and age and push the blame back on the Times.

In my opinion, the Times shouldn’t rely on just one security vendor. So Symantec provided the client based security. What about the perimeter security? Even if they used Symantec it is STILL the Times’ fault. No company should have to rely on a single security vender.  You need [properly] two vendors for firewall security – handling filtering as well. Even if crap gets by one, hopefully the other one will detect it.

Second, no AV/AM software is perfect. I had one friend who was running something on her system [unsure what it was] and Symantec didn’t detect it. Likewise, Microsoft Security Essentials didn’t detect someone else I know had some trojans and a rootkit. No AV/AM software is fullproof. It is nearly impossible to be so.

Third, why did it take the Times that many months to actually complain about it? Did they request Symantec’s assistance? I think most security vendors would definitely assist in the clean-up – if asked.

Finally, you have to wonder how so many Times employee accounts here hacked. Too simple passwords like Password or 12345678?