The post mid-term election blues

CNN’s White House reporter, Jim Acosta, who has had some previous “run ins” with Donald Trump had his “hard” press pass revoked.

Trump seemed to get upset when Acosta asked him about the invading caravans from Central America. Trump tried to stop him but Acosta continued to press on.

“White House staff don’t pull passes over personal pique, only over threats to the president,” professor Martha Joynt Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project. But White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders claimed that Acosta grabbed a White House intern’s arm when the intern tried to grab the microphone away from Acosta.

The video shows that arms brushed. That was it. Sanders cited this alleged “inappropriate behavior” to suspend Acosta’s pass. Trump’s boosters used words like “pushed” and “slammed.” They screamed “assault” and “abuse.”

And who’s right?

Various reporters, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and The White House Correspondents’ Association sided with Acosta.

In June 2016, Trump told CNN in an interview that, if elected, he would not revoke credentials. At the White House, “it’s a different thing,” he said. “When I’m representing the United States, I wouldn’t do that.”

Trump claims Acosta was a reporter going back to the Reagan years. According to his biography on CNN, he seemed to start in the new business around 1998. Reagan was out in 1989. How does Trump know Acosta 20+ years ago – except maybe he likes to watch the news constantly.

With the mid-term elections over, special counsel Robert Mueller may be writing his final report. Trump made clear once again that  he believes the investigation is a waste of time and money. “It’s a disgrace, it should have never been started because there was no crime,” Trump said. If nothing wrong was done, why does he continue to complain.

Even after Mueller completes his work, the midterm election results mean that House Democrats will also be in a position to expand investigations of Trump. That means Mueller will not be the end of Russia-related questions of Trump and his campaign.

Trump is considering former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Senator Lindsey Graham and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to replace fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Does this mean Sessions’ chief of staff Matthew Whitaker will go back to that job or maybe take over from Rosenstein. Graham would less likely be a candidate since Trump would take that [slim] chance that in a special election, Graham’s replacement would lose.

Now it has been revealed that Whitaker was on the advisory board of a Florida company that was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission and served with a $26 million judgment earlier this year for what court documents called “a scam that has bilked thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars.” The company, World Patent Marketing, promised to help inventors get patents. He was paid by the company and the company donated to his failed run for the US Senate.

Whitaker was so involved in the company he sent a threatening email to a disgruntled customer, which was filed in the case by the FTC. In it, Whitaker accuses a customer of “blackmail or extortion” because the customer had threatened to complain to the Better Business Bureau.

Not surprising after the lead for the Republican nominee for governor started to shrink, both the nominee and Trump claimed there was fraud going on. Now that and a senate seat and agriculture commissioner will head for a recount as the Republican majorities are quite thin.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals court upheld a ruling blocking the Trump administration from ending the Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from being deported. This means a nationwide injunction allowing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to continue will remain in effect. The Trump administration has already asked the Supreme Court to review the injunction.

Trump called a federal court ruling halting construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline a “disgrace” and suggested that his administration intends to appeal. “It’s a political decision made by a judge. I think it’s a disgrace. 48,000 jobs, I approved it, it’s ready to start,” he told reporters. How is it political? Oh forget it. You know that won’t go anywhere.

The judge found that the US government’s use of a 2014 environmental review to justify issuing a presidential permit for construction of the cross-border pipeline violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

In former first lady Michelle Obama forthcoming memoir in which the former first lady said she would “never forgive” Trump for his role in the “birther” movement, “She got paid a lot of money to write a book and they always expect a little controversy,” was Trump response.

Then he said “I’ll give you a little controversy back, I’ll never forgive (President Barack Obama) for what he did to our US military. It was depleted, and I had to fix it. What he did to our military made this country very unsafe for you and you and you.” Depleted? Trump’s budget is easily an under 10% increase from the last Obama military budget. “Depleted” would describe a military with nothing spent.

Trump signed a presidential proclamation that will bar migrants who cross into the US illegally through the southern border from seeking asylum. The proclamation put into effect a new rule that would ban migrants from applying for asylum outside of official ports of entry. The American Civil Liberties Union has already called the rule “illegal,” and legal challenges are expected to follow.

After French President Emmanuel Macron suggested earlier on in the week that Europe needs its own “army” to counter Russia, Chines and US threats, Trump came [as usual] testy by saying that then the US doesn’t need to “subsidize” the military in Europe. Could that also include NATO where he’s not a fan of? Probably. Trump also found it “very insulting”.

While in Europe to commemorate that 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, a White House statement said the planned visit had been “canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather. An American delegation led by Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford will attend on their behalf.” So they can’t go but the weather is OK to send his Chief of Staffs?

Trump tweeted “I am in Paris getting ready to celebrate the end of World War One. Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?” To me it sounds like it will be a big party.

Trump has consistently complained that NATO members don’t adequately contribute to the shared defense agreement, suggesting the other 28 members somehow owe the US money. Actually, all alliance members commit to spending 2% of their GDP on defense. While few have reached that threshold, most members have increased spending in recent years and are nearing the suggested level of spending.

As forest rage in California again Trump tweeted “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” He then blamed the Democrats on the state level for them. Except almost all the forests in California are on federal government lands!

Campaigns and PACs spent at least $3.2 million at Trump-owned and branded properties throughout the two-year midterm election cycle. And the total could rise after post-election financial reports are published by the commission. No single group spent more than the Republican National Committee, which spent at least $1.2 million at the properties since the start of 2017.

How good is the economy under Trump, another 40 stores belonging to Sears Holdings will close early next year in addition to the 200 already announced. In just over a year, they have shut down about half their stores in the US – under 500.

 

Fired or resigned? In this WH, nobody knows

Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has repeatedly insisted that the White House fired him from his job at the department. The White House says Shulkin resigned. If he resigned, the White House should have his resignation letter.

When Donald Trump announced on Twitter last week that Shulkin would depart the agency and that a Defense Department official, Robert Wilkie, would serve as acting secretary, he side-stepped Shulkin’s deputy, Thomas Bowman, who was next in the line of succession. Given the lengthy process for Senate confirmation, Wilkie could serve in an interim capacity for months should Wilkes want the job permanently.

Trump nominated White House physician Ronny Jackson to become the VA’s next secretary, but lawmakers and veterans’ groups have raised questions about whether or not he has the right experience to lead the government’s second largest bureaucracy. [Will the chief janitor at the White House be the next secretary in charge of infrastructure?] There are allegations about nominee Jackson’s questionable behavior including excessive drinking [even on the job], overprescribing drugs and a “toxic” work environment under his leadership. Hearings into Jackson’s appointment has been delayed because of the allegations.

Jackson drunkenly banged on a woman’s hotel door on an overseas trip and was known as “the candy man” inside the White House, according to a senator.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders defended Jackson’s experience calling him a “very highly qualified, highly respected person in the military and the medical community.” Sanders suggested that Jackson’s current position as the White House physician meant that he had been more thoroughly vetted than other Cabinet nominees.

But in the end, Jackson withdrew his nomination. Jackson slammed allegations of improper behavior leveled against him as “completely false and fabricated.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee have voted against Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of state which would lead the committee to report out his nomination without a favorable recommendation. Pompeo may still have enough votes to barely get approved for the position as one Democrat had agreed to vote in his favor.

Trump tweeted “Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before.” Hello. There is something called democracy. What Trump is saying is vote for someone who may or may not be appropriate for the job.

Remember the individual who as seeking some legal job in the government and yet never tried a case or knew some basic terminology?

Trump’s pick to replace Pompeo leading the CIA, Gina Haspel, isn’t scheduled to have her confirmation hearing until May 9, but late last week the agency declassified an internal memo that absolves Haspel of responsibility for destroying videotapes showing the waterboarding of terrorism suspects in 2005, an issue that’s been a key sticking point for senators weighing her confirmation.

In the end, the Senate approved Pompeo’s nomination as the next secretary of state on Thursday, installing the former CIA Director as the nation’s top diplomat at a time when several high stakes negotiations are underway around the globe. With a 57-42 vote, Trump can’t whine about the lack of Democrats approving. Just days before Trump tweeted [of course] “Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people….”

Trump twice gave James Comey an alibi for why a salacious report about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow couldn’t be true: He never even spent the night in Russia during that trip, Trump told the former FBI director, according to Comey’s memos about the conversations. Trump said the Moscow trip was so quick that his head never hit a pillow — even for one night.

Trump flew to Moscow on a Bombardier Global 5000 private jet owned by Phil Ruffin, his partner in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas in the morning of November 8, 2014 and landed at Vnukovo airport early morning. He attended a birthday part of Miss Universe pageant’s host and developer Aras Agalarov followed by the pageant and after-party. Trump even tweeted “I just got back from Russia-learned lots & lots. Moscow is a very interesting and amazing place!”

Trump acknowledged for the first time that his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is representing him with regards to legal matters involving Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she had an affair with Trump. The revelation came after Cohen asserted his Fifth Amendment rights in the matter. Cohen filed court papers indicating he would assert his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in the Daniels case. The case has been put on hold for 90 days.

Trump distanced himself from his personal attorney, whom Trump said has overseen “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work. If so, the President may have inadvertently boosted the arguments of prosecutors who have said that communications between the two men shouldn’t be considered confidential under attorney-client privilege provisions.

Prosecutors have argued in federal court that because Cohen has few clients and has done little legal work, there wouldn’t be a lot of privileged information in documents seized by the FBI earlier this month.

Trump insists he “won’t be involved” in any attempt to interfere with the investigation into Russian election meddling but “I may change my mind at some point, because what’s going on is a disgrace.”

Trump is increasingly relying on his personal cell phone to contact outside advisers as Trump returns to the free-wheeling mode of operation that characterized the earliest days of his administration. Part of chief of staff John Kelly’s job was to restrict who Trump contacts and who contacts him. Now by using his cell phone, he is bypassing Kelly. Maybe even to push Kelly out or at least Trump doesn’t want Kelly to know who he’s talking to.

Trump said North Korean dictator “Kim Jong Un, he really has been very open and I think very honourable from everything we’re seeing.” The same man he berated by calling him “Little Rocket Man”. Honorable? Him and his father have consistently broke deals that were approved by all parties. Trump has threatened to deliver “fire and fury” upon North Korea and taunted Kim Jung Un on Twitter that his nuclear “button” was larger than the one in Pyongyang.

Sanders said that the US goal was the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea would probably accept not developing any new nuclear weapons but not accept losing the weapons they currently have.

Republicans won the special election in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, but once again Democrats have over performed in a deep red district, in another sign the national environment is in the their favor. Republican Debbie Lesko won over Democrat Hiral Tipirneni by about a 5-point margin. But in 2016, Trump won by a 21 point margin.

Trump tweeted “Congratulations to Republican Debbie Lesko on her big win in the Special Election for Arizona House seat. Debbie will do a Great Job! Press is so silent.” Press wasn’t silent – more like Lesko was expected to win in a safe seat. Was only a big win because she could of easily lost if there was a scandal [like Roy Moore] but she was clean.

Trump tweeted ” Arizona, please get out today and vote @DebbieLesko for Congress in #AZ08. Strong on Border, Immigration and Crime. Great on the Military….” That sounds like what he wants, not what she is running for. Surprised no Trump Wall mentioned or it would be obvious it was what he wants.

Is Trump plagiarizing himself? In another tweet, he said “@MarshaBlackburn is a wonderful woman who has always been there when we have needed her. Great on the Military, Border Security and Crime.” Look at the previous tweet quote.

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration must resume DACA, a program that has shielded hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. It would also require the administration to accept requests from first-time applicants for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

After Kanye West launched an ongoing series of tweets about his admiration of Donald Trump calling him “my brother”, he sort of retracted by saying “I don’t agree with everything Trump does.” However, he did get his hat signed. Trump then tweeted “Kanye West has performed a great service to the Black Community.” Like what service?

Trump tweeted “The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup. It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?” Maybe either because of your comments or the fact that sporting events and politics shouldn’t mix or maybe because soccer [football] is bigger elsewhere.

Trump tweeted “Kim Strassel of the WSJ just said, after reviewing the dumb Comey Memos, ‘you got to ask, what was the purpose of the Special Counsel? There’s no there there.’ Dan Henninger of the WSJ said Memos would show that this would be one of the weakest obstruction cases ever brought!” Are they [practicing] lawyers? Probably just Trump loving reporters.

Trump admitted on Fox News that he’s been too busy to get a birthday gift for his wife, first lady Melania Trump, who turned 48 years old this week. Trump added that he did get the first lady “a beautiful card and some beautiful flowers.” [Of course actually bought by someone else. Did he actually pay?]

Trump tweeted “I would rather deal just with France. The [European] Union is very tough for us. They have trade barriers that are unacceptable.” Is there anything acceptable to him?

As part of the fallout from Trump’s tariff increases on steel and aluminum, prices for everything from razor blades to pop/soda will be increasing up to 30% this year.

A former Cambridge Analytica director claims that during the 2016 election campaign, the company had exclusive access to user data from breitbart.com – former chief of staff Stephen Bannon’s web site.

The Washington Post reported that only two companies still sell Trump-branded products, down from 19 listed by Trump in 2015. A Trump cologne, one of his few remaining items, costs $9.99 an ounce, marked down from $42.

Canadian singer Shania Twain “apologize to anybody I have offended in a recent interview with the Guardian” where she said she would of voted for Trump if she was an American.

“I can die happy now with Trump Job performance,” stated Mary Matalin and tweeted by Trump. “A great overall President, stunning!” Of course she works with the Republican Party. If he was doing so well, wouldn’t these comments be more often?

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.

The other memo could be released

With a busy week or so, here is a catch-up post of anything Donald Trump.

The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to make public the Democratic memo rebutting GOP allegations that the FBI abused surveillance laws, a move that will put the issue back on Trump’s desk this week. If Trump refuses to approve, the House of Representatives will vote and if they get a majority, they could release the Democratic memo once the FBI and Department of Justice approves.

Trump claims that the House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes memo “totally vindicates me” in the Russian collusion. Another piece of propaganda. I think only his faithful will believe that.

Trump first learned of the House Intelligence Committee document last month from some Republican allies in Congress and he watched it take hold in the conservative media, including on some of his favourite Fox News programs. Trump told confidants in recent days that he believed the memo would validate his concerns that the “deep state” — an alleged shadowy network of powerful entrenched federal and military interests — had conspired to undermine the legitimacy of his presidency, according to one outside adviser.

Trump had dismissed forceful pleas from the FBI director, Christopher Wray, and the second-ranking Justice Department official, Rod Rosenstein, to keep the memo under wraps. They said the four-page document was inaccurate and lacked critical context, and they made their views known in a remarkable public statement objecting to its release. Democrats said the memo, which disclosed material about one of the most tightly held national security processes, selectively used Republican talking points in an effort to smear law enforcement.

Trump accused the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat “Little Adam Schiff” of criminally leaking sensitive information by “…illegally leaking confidential information.” Trump did not provide evidence that Schiff has illegally leaked confidential information. [Shocking!]

Former CIA Director John Brennan scorned Devin Nunes for the release of the controversial GOP memo alleging FBI surveillance abuses, calling aspects of the move “exceptionally partisan” and saying Nunes has “abused the office” in refusing to allow Democrats on his panel to make their rebuttal document public.

Stocks went into free fall on Monday with the Dow plunged almost 1,175 points, by far its worst closing point decline on record. The White House Press Secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said in a statement that Trump was focused on “our long-term economic fundamentals, which remain exceptionally strong.” The statement cited strengthening economic growth, low unemployment and increasing wages for workers. The Dow and S&P 500 have lost just about everything they gained since the beginning of the year. [After always taking credit for the stock market increases since his first day in office, how will Trump react if the markets continue to fall.]

As Trump touted his economic agenda in Ohio, his face stared out of millions of television screens next to blaring red graphics and yellow numbers whirling like the reels on a slot machine, telling the story of a full-bore stock market plunge.

Trump has previously boasted that the stock markets broke 84 records at one point. Add the 85th: The worst single-day point fall ever.

As the market tanked, Trump was hitting Democrats for not applauding during his State of the Union speech last week. “They were like death and un-American. Un-American. Somebody said, ‘Treasonous.’ I mean, Yeah, I guess, why not,” the President said. You think someone said ” Treasonous” to him? Does he know the definition of the word?

The Trump administration is dismissing an immigration deal brokered by a bipartisan group of lawmakers as a non-starter just hours before it is expected to be formally introduced in the Senate. The bill would grant eventual citizenship to young undocumented immigrants who have been in the country since 2013 and came to the US as children, but it does not address all of the President’s stated immigration priorities. It would not immediately authorize the $30 billion that Trump is seeking to build the border wall. The bill is a companion to a piece of House legislation that has 54 co-sponsors split evenly by party.

Trump tweeted “March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!” Actually, 27 co-sponsors of the DACA bill were Democrats. More like he doesn’t care about them.

The House intelligence Committee was also prepared to interview Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, as part of the Russia probe. But that meeting was put off, as Bannon refused to be interviewed. He has been subpoenaed and has now delayed answering the panel’s questions three times as the committee negotiates with his lawyer and the White House over the terms of his interview.

At issue is whether the White House will allow Bannon to answer questions about his time in the Trump administration. It was unclear if the House would hold Bannon in contempt.

The Democrats raised questions about whether the committee chairman, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, coordinated with the White House in drafting the GOP memo. Nunes was asked during a Jan. 29 committee meeting whether he had coordinated the memo with the White House. “As far as I know, no,” he responded. [“As far as I know?” Either you did or you didn’t.] Trump praised Nunes in a tweet, calling him “a man of tremendous courage and grit, may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero for what he has exposed and what he has had to endure!” [What did he “endure”? You say that to a person who risked his life – not for a memo lacking facts.]

A train derailment in South Carolina that killed 2 people and involved an Amtrak train could be some trouble for Amtrak as a piece of train technology was not implemented on that stretch of track that could of prevented the derailment. The same technology could of also prevented at least 2 other previous train derailment. Congress keeps on giving Amtrak and others postponement of implementing the technology continuously since it became a law to implement about 10 years ago. This includes the Trump administration.

In a since deleted Twitter post, but retweeted elsewhere, House Speaker Paul Ryan said a secretary at a school was “pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week”. Others criticized the tweet saying it isn’t much compared to the $500,000 he received from the Koch brothers. In addition, he has also said “I have heard time and again that the middle class is getting crumbs, but I’ll take it!”

A CNN employee discovered copies of Department of Homeland Security documents, along with other sensitive DHS material, in the seat-back pocket of a commercial plane. The documents critiquing the response to a simulated anthrax attack on Super Bowl Sunday were marked “For Official Use Only” and “important for national security.”

Trump said that it was “disgraceful” that Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson was killed by a man who police believe is an undocumented immigrant in a suspected drunk driving accident over the weekend. “We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!” Trump tweeted. So he has to take advantage of a death for his own gain.

Already at least 4 members of the Super Bowl winners, Philadelphia Eagles, will not visit the White House. Chris Long, who didn’t attend last years as a member of the losing New England Patriots, won’t attend this year either.

The U.S. trade deficit hit the highest level in nine years in 2017 at $566 billion in 2017, highest since 2008. This defying Trump’s efforts to bring more balance to America’s trade relationships. Another failure of his.

Eleven Democratic state attorneys general sued Trump’s administration over its decision to delay implementation of an Obama-era rule that would have expanded the number of wetlands and small waterways protected by the Clean Water Act. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said last week’s decision by the Republican administration to postpone implementation of the 2015 Clean Water Rule for two years is an assault on public health.

The latest figures means nearly $2 of every $10 the campaign has spent last year has gone toward legal fees. And in the last three months of 2017, about 41% of the Trump campaign’s spending went toward legal fees, according to the campaign’s most recent Federal Election Commission filing. The firm representing Trump’s former private attorney Michael Cohen, who was also a top surrogate during the campaign, was paid $214,467 by the campaign in the final months of 2017.

Seems Trump continues to like to be a “sh?t disturber”. Trump attacked the UK’s National Health Service, claiming it is “going broke and not working” and then claimed that the “Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care.”

Britain’s Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt replied that ” I may disagree with claims made on that march but not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28m [as in 28 million] people have no cover…. where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance.”

Since at least May of 2016, the National Security Agency prominently displayed a mission statement with “honesty” atop its core values. It appears its priorities have changed. On January 12, the NSA removed the mission statement before replacing it with a newer version. The new “Mission & Values” statement not only removes “honesty” as its top priority, but strips any mention of “trust,” “honor,” and “openness” from the page.

A National Security Council official presented senior members of the Trump administration and other agencies with information suggesting that the United States needs to centralize its 5G network by the end of Trump’s first term [if he gets that far] as a safeguard against Chinese cybersecurity and economic threats, according to the documents.

Sanders said “the country would be better for it” if Nancy Pelosi smiled more often. Seriously?

An FBI special agent, Josh Campbell, says he’s turned in his badge so he can publicly voice his concerns over the politicization of the bureau by Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration. Campbell served as a special assistant to former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired last year.

The Trump administration has withdrawn its controversial nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality, Kathleen Hartnett White, whose selection a year ago had failed to gather momentum with some Senate Republicans raising questions about her expertise. Not surprising, her position stirred controversy because of her statements on climate change where leading scientific assessments have repeatedly found that recent climate change is fueled largely by human greenhouse gas emissions.

UN Relief and Works Agency is claiming that “We signed our new framework agreement with the U.S. in the beginning of December in which every aspect of our relationship from funding to reform discussions was covered and agreed,” Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl told The Associated Press. “They did not explain the current decision by reform-related elements.” He said he believed the funding cut was linked to the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and a subsequent vote by the UN General Assembly to denounce the decision.

New polling on that first year of Trump shows that he has a lot of work to do in bringing the country together. There are just 12 states where Trump’s job approval rating was above 50% for the entirety of 2017. That pales in comparison to the 41 states where then-President Barack Obama was above 50% approval for his first year on office.

Analysts believe a government run 5G network would be costly. Most likely the US government will simply offer financial incentives to encourage US carriers to avoid using Chinese equipment, rather than building its own network. This would reduce the choice of hardware to choose from. The same would go for any phone connecting to the network.

Crackpot dictators and wanna be dictators are using Trump’s fake news and media assaults to go after their own media. But they are going further including [errrr] trumped up charges like distributing fake news, national security issues and conspiracy. [Wonder when that will hit the US.]

Trump said he would apologize for retweeting a series of posts by a UK far-right group in November, saying he didn’t know who they were at the time. Far right groups aren’t racist? Seriously?

In an impromptu news conference [scratching your hard time], Trump said “When you have a river that is un-crossable, that you cannot cross, you don’t build a wall, OK?” And then “But we’re saving hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars, by building that wall.” {which is it? A big difference.] Then after talking about the current immigration lottery system and how flawed it is, he adds “… we are going to build a wall.” Are they related?

Something Trump can try soon: Eugene V. Debs, who had been imprisoned for speaking out against World War I and had run for president from prison.

 

 

 

The shutdown [part 1] fallout

Well, with a week off, I won’t be going over some of the things that came up in Trumpland.

Now onto business real – not fake – business.

The shutdown has been finished – well for 3 weeks. On February 8th, another shutdown could occur. The agreement says that immigration issues will be tackled very soon.

There are some on the Republican side who suggest that the Democrats lost when they “caved in” to the Republicans. When in fact they got their way. It will force the republicans to settle the DACA issue while looking good by ending the shutdown after one business day.

And if the Republicans don’t settle the DACA issue by February 8th [the next scheduled possible shutdown] it will paint the Republicans as a part that can’t be trusted or to negotiate in good faith. If Trump allows DACA recipients to stay, it could be a move that could hurt him with some of his most fervent supporters. Trump said during his campaign that he would “immediately terminate” what he called President Barack Obama’s illegal executive amnesties.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to resume negotiations over the future of DACA and other issues. If those talks don’t yield a deal in the next three weeks, the Republican promised to allow the Senate to debate an immigration proposal — even if it’s one crafted by a bipartisan group and does not have the backing of the leadership and the White House Senate passed the final bill by the same 81-18 vote but some members of both parties opposed it.

Well, the US government was in shutdown mode. And of course you know that the Democrats will blame the Republicans and vice versa.

Consider House Speaker Paul Ryan’s comments that what has DACA got to do with the shutdown. Ummmm. What legislation in any government doesn’t include pieces that have nothing to do with the main chunk? In fact, even Trump’s Wall is included in the mess.

McConnell must be losing it. He kept on repeating the same thing over and over again about 12 hours after the shutdown – blaming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

Schumer withdrew funding for Trump’s border in negotiations over immigration issues with the White House. A staffer who works for Schumer called the White House on Monday and said the proposal, which Schumer put on the table during a Friday meeting with Trump, was no longer operative. Meanwhile, Trump had a framework for an agreement with Schumer on Friday but two hours later, Trump changed his mind. Trump later said there will be no DACA funding if there is no wall funding.

The Republicans failed to remind others that it wasn’t just DACA that the Democrats wanted to be included but as well the same increase in funding the military is receiving to be applied elsewhere.

In order to protect the Dreamers, Democrats will have to agree to the White House immigration wish list — scrap the diversity lottery program, end so-called chain migration and give greater latitude to immigration officials to deport people who are apprehended.

A more recent plan calls for 1.8 million people []so not only DACA people] to gain citizenship eventually but another 1 million or so other immigrants. In exchange, Trump wants $25 billion fund for the wall plus drastic changes to the immigration lottery using “merit” [not diversity] and preventing people from sponsoring their parents, adult children, or siblings to immigrate to the US. The staunch conservatives are upset of the extra immigrants added to the total. Some democrats are upset over the other concessions and changes to the immigration lottery.

Trump only seemed to have time for a short mid-day meeting with Schumer. That’s it. Is that what you call leadership? [Seems White House Press Secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders thought so.] Unlike the useless [probably photo-op] meeting, Schumer at least negotiated. At the last shutdown in 2013, with President Obama in office, Trump then said it is the President that is lacking leadership.

The Republicans released right after a TV ad which called Democrats “complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.” Last I checked, with exception of the DACA issue and Trump’s Wall funding, there is no connection. [Even if the government added money for Trump’s Wall that wall won’t go up overnight and the way it looks, it won’t go up for a long while.] Even Ryan said “I don’t know if that’s necessarily productive.”

Trump tweeted at one point his call for McConnell to invoke the so-called nuclear option and thereby remove leverage for Senate Democrats. Senate Republican Conference does not support changing the 60-vote rule. Senate rules impose a threshold of 60 votes to break a filibuster, and Senate Republicans currently hold a slim majority of 51 votes.

Eliminating the 60-vote threshold to break a legislative filibuster would remove significant powers for the minority party in the Senate, and party leaders have been reluctant to do so in the past because of the consequences it would pose when their party returns to the minority. Wonder if Trump knows this or cares. He could be a head of a probably minority in the senate after November and even in the house.

With the shutdown, Trump canceled his appearance at his first inauguration anniversary at Mar-A-Lago where Republican donors shelled out $100,000 a seat to be there. Instead, they will get Eric Trump and his wife. Is that an improvement?

When calling the White House at one point you would get the message: “Unfortunately, we cannot answer you call today because congressional Democrats are holding government funding – including funding for our troops and other national security priorities – hostage to an unrelated immigration debate. Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down.” Isn’t the White House supposed to be neutral?

A recent re-election campaign ad from Trump, released just hours after the shutdown began, that called Democrats “complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”

Trump has hinted that he may push the DACA deadline in March back further. There goes another promise.

Meanwhile on the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, aside from the shutdown, tens of thousands were protesting across the US in anti-Trump rallies mixed in with Women’s rallies across the world.

Trump supposedly said “I’ve got another nut job here who thinks he’s running things.” This is about his White House chief of staff John Kelly. It’s not just because of Kelly’s interview on Fox News recently, in which Kelly said Trump’s policy for the US-Mexico border wall had “evolved.” But the day after the interview Trump reportedly said “He is great, I think he is doing a great job.”

Round 6 of talks for updating NAFTA will began in Montreal. Trump made NAFTA a core campaign issue. He argues that Mexico is taking jobs and billions of dollars in commerce away from the United States. He also believes a new deal will help the U.S. finance payment for the border wall. [How’s that?] Trump also wants NAFTA to be terminated every five years unless all three countries agreed to sign on for another five years. Mexico and Canada object to this.

Trump’s trade team wants to raise that threshold up to 85% from 62%. The problem is that Trump’s negotiators are proposing that half of auto parts sourced from North America come specifically from the United States. About 14 million U.S. jobs in about two-thirds of the states depend on trade with Canada and Mexico with a potential 300,000 jobs lost if NAFTA is killed.

Trump’s legislative affairs director, Marc Short, said that the immigrants in question are law-abiding and “productive to our society.” Short said the administration wants to “find a pathway for them” to stay in the U.S.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s request to question Trump, and news that his team has already interviewed fired FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, indicate that the special counsel has a clear picture of where he is headed in what could turn into an obstruction of justice case, legal experts said.

If called upon, a poll says the 95% of Democrats, 75% of independents and 59% of Republicans think Trump should testify.

Trump called for Mueller’s firing last June, White House counsel Don McGahn refused to order the Justice Department to fire Mueller because he disagreed with Trump’s reasoning, the source said. However, according to the source, McGahn did not threaten to resign directly to Trump.

Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign staffer who pleaded not guilty in October to eight charges of money laundering and failing to register foreign lobbying and other business, may be ready to cooperate with Mueller.

The White House said Trump was ready to declassify a memo written by GOP committee staff in the House claiming misconduct by FBI officials investigating Trump. [But remember, they haven’t yet. Is there a memo?]

FBI Director Chris Wray threatened to resign as Attorney General Jeff Sessions called on him to fire his outgoing Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is eligible to retire in March and to clean out senior leadership figures dating from the Comey era who the President believes are biased against him. Trump has publicly called on McCabe to step down over the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and his connections to anti-Trump messages sent between two FBI employees during the campaign.

Trump had asked acting FBI director Andrew McCabe who he voted for in the 2016 election in an introductory Oval Office meeting in May 2017, The Washington Post reported. McCabe responded by telling Trump that he didn’t vote.

McCabe’s wife, when she was a candidate for state Senate in 2015, got a $467,000 contribution from a super PAC associated with then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Yes, McAuliffe is a long-time friend of the Clintons.

This is laughable. Conservative media is aflame of late with talk of a “secret society” within the FBI which has as its goal the undermining of Donald Trump’s presidency. This all starts with text messages exchanged between two senior FBI officials named Peter Strzok and Lisa Page during and after the 2016 election.

Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy said that he had seen a text message between the two officials on the day after the November 2016 election that said [jokingly], “Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society.” Another Republican also threw in the Department of Justice as part of this “society”. A third GOP says that “we have an informant talking about a group that was holding secret meetings off-site” but never mentioned who.

All this on top of 5 months of missing texts between FBI agents on government phones which according to the Department of Justice, this is actually normal but it is not from specific people but everyone at the FBI – an estimated 10% of all texts. The texts have since been recovered.

“As a business person I was treated well by the press … I’ve always had a good press. It wasn’t until I became a politician that I realized how nasty, how mean … how fake the press can be, as the cameras start going off in the background,” Trump said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He was booed by the press.

Trump claims that 84 stock market “records” were set this past year in his first year in office. This is the equivalent of saying that a baseball player hits 75 home runs [breaking the record of 70 in a season] that the player set 5 records [one for each home run] when in fact it is just one record.

With no real facts, Trump claims that the stock market would be down 50% if Hillary Clinton won.

He also said that a few people [he never named anyone of course] said Davos this year was harsher [or rougher] than previous years and equated it to the Academy Awards.

In case you missed it, there are allegations that porn actress Stormy Daniels and Trump engaged in a sexual affair in the 2000s and she was paid $130,000 in hush money just prior to the 2016 elections. She has kept mum on the subject but never really denied. Trump, obviously, denies it [it would of happened while he was just at the beginning of his marriage to Melania].

If the affair never existed, then why did Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, set up a company in Delaware [a state notorious for its lack of corporate transparency] and make a $130,000 payment to Daniels right before the 2016 election? Cohen did not deny making the payment.

The president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said “These alleged affairs, they’re alleged with Trump, didn’t happen while he was in office.” Oh sure, he’s in office for just a year but has 70+ years otherwise out of office. Probably no proof he hasn’t had anything since in office. And this from a man who’s made various vulgar comments and on his third wife.

Trump approved tariffs on both washing machines [but not dryers?] and solar panels in order to protect U.S. manufacturing. Prices could jump 15% to 20%. Because washers and dryers are typically sold as a pair, prices for both appliances could go up.

In Zurich, according to a New York Times photographer in the press pool, someone had written “CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL” in the snowy patch next to the landing zone in Davos so it was visible from the air.

Is he normal?

This will be my last blog for a little while.

Donald Trump slammed reports questioning his mental stability in a series of tweets after the publication by Michael Wolff “Fire and Fury” about his first year as President put the White House into damage-control mode by saying “Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star … to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius … and a very stable genius at that!” Or just luck.

Remember how Trump said he never spoke to Wolff? Records show he did speak with him during the campaign, around the transition time and in February 2016.

Trump continues to go after former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon as Bannon didn’t deny the comments made in the book by Wolff by saying that Bannon cried when he was told that he was fired and still calling him “Sloppy Steve”.

Bannon was only minutes away from attacking Wolff over quotes attributed to Bannon, but he decided not to do so after Trump attacked him after the release of excerpts from the book.

Bannon has since back peddled away from his comments in the book, he praised Donald Trump Jr. as “both a patriot and a good man”, this after describing a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York between Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign aides and a Russian lawyer as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” So why did he take 3 days to reverse things?

Bannon said his description was aimed at former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who also attended the meeting, and not Trump’s son. Uh huh. So it’s OK for his son to be at the meeting but not Manafort.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said “I’m always amazed at the lengths people will go to, to lie for money and for power.” I guess she doesn’t want to upset fellow Republicans as she is rumored to be running for president.

Chief policy adviser Stephen Miller described the book as “nothing but a pile of trash through and through.” Right after it was obvious that Miller was torched by CNN’s Jake Tepper, Trump tweeted: “Jake Tapper of Fake News CNN just got destroyed in his interview with Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration. Watch the hatred and unfairness of this CNN flunky!”

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders for saying people are “not entitled to their own facts” during a press briefing.

Trump has repeatedly invoked Ronald Reagan, tweeting that the former president “had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!” It was rumored that Reagan had Alzheimer’s disease while in office but doctors said Alzheimer’s was not to blame, noting the disease was diagnosed years after he left office.

But Bannon said he left by “mutual agreement” in August and was not fired. Trump said he was fired. So why did Trump say he was fired in August?

Bannon has stepped down from Breitbart, the far-right website he returned to over the summer as executive chairman after being ousted from the White House. After Bannon didn’t deny [most of his] his comments in the Wolff book, this upset those at Breitbart.

Trump has complained about the nation’s libel laws and tried to stop the publication of Wolff’s book by threatening to sue the publisher. He threatened but that went nowhere. And of course, if he can’t get his way, change the law to do so [and probably would do it retroactively to the beginning of the year].

The Trump administration has revealed its master plan for securing the border — and it’s going to cost $33 billion. Of that total, $18 billion will be required for Trump’s long-promised border wall, according to Customs and Border Protection documents. The document says the $18 billion investment will cover 722 miles of border wall with about 316 new miles of primary structure and about 407 miles of replacement and secondary wall. Unsure if $18 billion is enough.

Even after a bipartisan meeting on the future of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], Trump tweeted that he still wanted to see a wall on the southern US border as part of any immigration deal. But at other times during the meeting, he was looking at a stand-alone fix for DACA. At the end of the session, Trump suggested that ultimately, he would sign whatever he was presented with. Trump’s change of tone has angered some of the hawkish GOPs.

A district court ruling blocking the Trump administration’s wind-down of the DACA program. This may give the Democrats extra ammunition to keep the DACA issue separate from paying for the wall and could force a government shutdown.

Nearly one year to the day after the Russia dossier’s publication, Trump’s personal lawyer hit both the research firm that produced it and the news organization that released it with lawsuits, saying its allegations about him are wrong. Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer for Trump who is named in the dossier, says BuzzFeed and several of its staffers defamed him when it published the 35-page document and an accompanying article last January. He also says that Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson, its founder, similarly defamed him after it hired an ex-British spy to compile the document as part of its opposition research against the Trump campaign. This is Trump’s lawyer who has filed the lawsuit for himself – not Trump.

Trump claims there is collusion between the Democrats and Russia – but of course offers no proof of the claim. He meanwhile denies every collusion between his team and the Russians. Trump is also sidestepping any questions on what he will be asked by Robert Mueller.

“The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history continues. There was no collusion, everybody including the Dems knows there was no collusion, & yet on and on it goes. Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. Republicans should finally take control!” Trump tweeted. Take control of what?

Trump administration is ending Temporary Protected Status [TPS] for 200,000 migrants from El Salvador is also rattling nerves in neighbouring Honduras where there are more than 50,000 Hondurans living in the United States under TPS. With El Salvador, an untold number of their U.S.-born children — threatens to exacerbate already-grave problems like high rates of murders and other crime, political instability, widespread poverty and income inequality. In the US, who will take the jobs they had?

Last month Honduras was one of just nine countries to vote against a U.N. resolution condemning Washington’s decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. If Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez were to make a similar decision to move its own embassy, as neighboring Guatemala has already done, it could curry further favour with the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, immigration enforcement officers are making 98 7-Eleven stores a target in their crackdown on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. 7-Eleven headquarters claim these are franchises and have nothing to do with the hiring practices. This is part of Trump’s plan to “quadruple” the effort to find illegals.

Remember during the holidays, a white truck was moved in to block the view of CNN’s cameras who were filming Trump playing golf [again] at Mar-A-Lago? Well, new trees were planted to block the view now.

Trump backtracked by saying there will not be any oil drilling along the coast of Florida. Guess he still wants Florida’s votes.

Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders told reporters that Trump “believes in making sure that information is accurate before pushing it out as fact.” Sure Sarah…

Trump’s official schedule in the White House has gotten shorter since the beginning of his presidency as he often spends that time in his residence, watching TV, tweeting and making phone calls. More recently, Trump has often started his time in the Oval Office at around 11 a.m. or later and he has often tweeted from the residence in the morning and mentioned TV shows in some of those tweets.

Sanders said “The President is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen and puts in long hours and long days nearly every day of the week all year long.” Ya. When not golfing, tweeting, watching Fox News, etc.

When Trump visited Atlanta to attend college football’s national championship game, he may not remember just a year ago he described the city as “in horrible shape,” “falling apart” and “crime infested.” Various groups including Refuse Fascism ATL and the Atlanta chapter of NAACP will be protesting.

 

Some of Trump’s campaign promises that he has failed to fulfil

As we get close to the first year of the Trump administration, here are the mostly misses in campaign pledges:

  • Repealing the Obama era health care law [Affordable Care Act] is a promise unfulfilled.
  • Withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] remains unfulfilled.
  • Congress has yet to approve money Trump has requested for his promised border wall. Even the sample walls have yet to receive any endorsement/approval.
  • The successful confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch [but was it a campaign pledge]. This is also probably the easiest to accomplish in this list.
  • He refused to recertify the Iran nuclear deal, but left the matter of new sanctions to Congress.
  • He pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement but left open the possibility of rejoining it later.
  • He ordered an end to a program protecting young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as kids [DACA], but gave Congress six months to find a way to protect them from deportation.
  • He pledged during the 2016 campaign to recognize Israel’s claim to the city and to move the American embassy there from Tel Aviv. He offered no timeline for the embassy relocation and signed a waiver officially delaying any move for six months.
  • He three times released executive order for travel bans only to have them go to courts. Only the second ban has gone through – but just partially.

Did you notice that many of the items what could be considered a “done deal” have backdoors which allow him to switch back or let others take the blame in case it doesn’t go through.