Soggy crisis after crisis

Well in a week where one hurricane devastated south central America and another hurricane expected to go straight through Florida, it was for the most part a quiet week with Donald Trump. But it wasn’t quiet!

Trump surprised the leaders of his own party in Congress when he backed a deal pushed by Democrats to attach hurricane relief money to a shorter-term bump in the debt ceiling as well as keeping the government open, cutting off his own Treasury secretary to strike a deal. Republican congressional leaders, in control of both chambers of the legislative branch, were “shell-shocked” and “visibly annoyed”. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin was in the middle of arguing for a longer-term deal in the meeting when the President abruptly cut him off and sided with the Democrats. The House easily approved with the deal where all but 90 Republicans approved.

House Republicans unleashed their fury over Trump’s deal with the Democrats at Steve Mnuchin, with conservatives calling the treasury secretary’s appeal to them to “vote for it for me” insulting and inappropriate. Most rank-and-file House Republicans don’t know Mnuchin and more than one said they believed he was a Democrat, based on his previous donations to political candidates.

Republicans were hoping to get am 18 month extension of the debt ceiling. Do the math. The 18 months would expire after the mid-term elections. 18 months would of helped many Republicans up for mid-term elections tell their constituents that it would have been a big win – maybe [so far] the only big win in this session of Congress.

Trump will phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [or DACA] that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children. Trump tweeted “Make no mistake, we are going to put the interest of AMERICAN CITIZENS FIRST!” Sure, but most of these people are taking courses in colleges and universities. Others have graduated. Microsoft has 27 of these “Dreamers” working for them.

Trump was expected to end the program with a potential six-month delay, during which Congress could potentially pass legislation protecting people who would otherwise lose their legal protection under DACA. Trump claims he is sympathetic to the plight of the immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children and in some cases have no memories of the countries they were born in. During the elections, his campaign rhetoric blasting DACA as illegal “amnesty”. Last week, Trump said, “We love the ‘Dreamers'”.

Javier Palomarez, the head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said he plans to work until the “bloody end” to sway Trump to keep intact an Obama-era program extending legal protections to young undocumented immigrants. “If he gets rid of DACA, he’s showing that he is a liar.” He changed his mind as he announced he would step down from Trump’s National Diversity Coalition.

If the Dreamers left, it would cost the government $60 billion over 10 years and $400 billion in the economy over 10 years.

In 2011, Trump said that it would be very wrong to deport the Dreamers. They do a good job, good marks, etc.

A coalition of 16 Democratic and nonpartisan state attorneys general filed suit in New York federal court on Wednesday to stop Trump’s sunset of DACA and they say Trump’s comments about Mexicans should be used against him. The lawsuit also devotes a section to Texas, the state that pushed Trump to end the program, using a section to describe Texas as “a state found to have discriminated against Latinos/Hispanics nine times since 2012.”

Trump, who styles himself a master negotiator, threw himself into the middle of the fight between Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE by offering to mediate the dispute at the White House. You know they won’t take him seriously.

A watchdog group is looking into a trip that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made recently with his wife, Louise Linton, aboard a government plane. He supposedly went there to discuss tax reform and later the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. The group is investigating whether the purpose of the trip was actually to view the total solar eclipse. Has he visited anywhere else regarding the tax reform or is it a coincidence that he went to one of the best locations to see the eclipse at the same time?

Trump always boasted that his Mar-a-Lago mansion can withstand any storm. His boasting will get the big test this weekend with Hurricane Irma heading its way. Strikes by four major hurricanes have done little damage to Mar-a-Lago in the 90 years. The mansion’s walls are 1 meter thick, anchored by steel and concrete beams embedded into coral rock.

[While I think we hope there is no damage to the joint, I’m sure a few hope that the place does get hit a bit so it would put Trump in his place.]

An AP investigation last year showed Trump received a $17 million insurance payment for Mar-a-Lago damage in 2005 after hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Wilma hit in two years, but he said in an unrelated lawsuit deposition in 2007 that he didn’t know how much was spent on repairs. He conceded to pocketing some of the money. Anthony Senecal, Trump’s longtime butler and Mar-a-Lago’s unofficial historian, told the AP the roof lost some tiles and some trees were flattened. Town of Palm Beach records showed no permits were issued for major repairs during that period.

Woops. White House aides reportedly refer to Ivanka Trump as “Princess Royal” behind her back, and it’s definitely not meant to be a compliment. Ivanka Trump has little to no political experience and was not elected to office, so many questioned what qualifications she had to act on the president’s behalf in such a formal, international setting at the G-20 summit, during which at one point she sat in for her father.

According to Vanity Fair, one former Trump adviser responded by stating, “Excuse me. This is not a royal family, and she’s not the princess royal,” which helps explain the nickname.

Former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon claims that illegal aliens are filling the churches of America. The church “have an economic interest”. James Rogers, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’s chief spokesman, called Bannon’s comments “preposterous” and accused the conservative agitator of presenting a false choice between compassion and security. “Our pro-immigration stance is based on fidelity to God’s word and honors the American dream. For anyone to suggest that it is out of sordid motives of statistics or financial gain is outrageous and insulting.”

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, more than a quarter of American Catholics (27%) were born outside the country, mostly from the Americas; and one out of three American Catholics now identify as Latino or Hispanic. Of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States in 2011, for example, 82% were Christian, mostly from Latin America.

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Another resignation in Trumpland

They must be cranking out the pink slips at the White House.

Reince Priebus says he has resigned as White House chief of staff and was then replaced by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Sources close to Priebus insisted throughout the day he was not resigning, leaving the impression the aide was defiantly hanging onto his job amid public shaming by his colleagues.

Key members of Donald Trump’s inner circle said Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, among the President’s most trusted advisers, had lost faith in Priebus.

“John Kelly is one of our great stars,” Trump declared. “John Kelly will do a fantastic job.” He probably said that about Sean “Garlic” Spicer and Priebus. Look where they are now. Conversations between Trump and Kelly about the role began two weeks ago, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. You think White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was “preparing the groundwork” after Scaramucci went after Priebus all week? [See later.]

Senate Republicans voted to advance to floor debate on their efforts to re-write health care policy, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie. But hours later, the Senate decisively rejected a Republican proposal to repeal-and-replace Obamacare, a sign of the chaos expected to envelop Capitol Hill as GOP leaders work to find a plan their conference can agree to. Then they voted and rejected just to repeal Obamacare. Why bother. Trump should not be celebrating this small victory. The only reason why it got this far was because they had to compromise between feuding groups within the party.

And a day after a vote to repeal was also rejected.

Looks like a bit of a civil war as House Republicans are fed up and openly blaming their Senate colleagues across the Capitol for torpedoing their party’s pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare. Specifically they aimed their guns at the Republicans in the Senate who rejected the bill.

Trump jokingly threatened to fire his health secretary if a crucial vote to repeal ‘Obamacare’ fails. He made this comment during a speech to thousands of Boy Scouts where he also used some language that may be a bit too harsh for some of them. Bigger question. Why is he talking to politics to a bunch of Boy Scouts – most who can’t vote yet? He has to make everything political.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are Emails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!” Trump tweeted. So Trump continues to whine about Clinton’s mail server which is OK to him, but it is not OK for the Democrats to push for the Russian probe? Meanwhile Sessions was the first U.S. senator to endorse his candidacy. It was Trump himself who signaled during the transition that he was not going to appoint a special prosecutor to go after Clinton.

And then Trump tweeted “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign — quietly working to boost Clinton. So where is the investigation A.G.” Huh? He’s back to making comments with no proof.

And why is Trump whining about Sessions recusing himself from the Russian probe now – over a month after he did so? Sessions had to do so as he had contact with the Russians last year before his posting. Sessions should never have taken the job as attorney general if he was going to recuse himself according to Trump. [Democrats went after Sessions in his confirmation hearing for making some racist comments in his past. And yet Trump still hired him.] Trump considers Sessions recuse as the most grievous offence in the president’s mind.

Trump badmouthed Senator John McCain during the campaign. Trump wants to take healthcare away from 22+ million Americans. And McCain voted for his bill. It must be his medication. I am wondering what kind of medical attention he got if he was living on the streets or in poverty?

Mocking the Russian investigation in congress, Trump tweeted “Jared Kushner did very well yesterday in proving he did not collude with the Russians. Witch Hunt. Next up, 11 year old Barron Trump!”

Scaramucci all but blamed Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus for leaking information After Politico published a story about how Scaramucci  continues to profit from the sale of his hedge fund SkyBridge Capital, Scaramucci slammed the leak of his Office of Government Ethics forms. This was After wrongly asserting that someone “leaked” information about his finances. “In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept, he tweeted Wednesday night, adding, “#swamp @Reince45.” And the “If Reince wants to explain he’s not the leaker, he can do that.” Sounds like Scaramucci still believes Priebus is a leaker.

He later deleted the tweet claiming that he had only mentioned Priebus to show that all senior leaders are taking the leak crackdown seriously. The inclusion of Reince in the tweet was seen by some as an accusation. Scaramucci says today’s White House leaks are “so treasonous” that leakers would have been hanged 150 years ago. Scaramucci’s financial disclosure wasn’t leaked at all. It was released after a public records request by a Politico reporter.

Then in an interview published by The New Yorker, Anthony Scaramucci used an expletive to accuse chief of staff Reince Priebus of being a “f—— paranoid schizophrenic” and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon of trying to burnish his own reputation. He also threatened to fire White House staffers who leaked about a dinner he had with the president.

Scaramucci notably said he reports directly to the president, not to the chief of staff.

The bad blood stems from Scaramucci’s view that Priebus was insufficiently supportive of Trump at the end of the election campaign and his belief that Priebus persuaded the president to keep him out of the White House in January.

The president’s senior counsellor, Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway, had earlier speculated that unnamed forces were out to get Scaramucci, saying: “Somebody is trying to get in his way and scare him off.” Something from the Trump playbook.

If Trump were to fire Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would be elevated to the top post on an acting basis. But Trump has also criticized Rosenstein in the past. The name of one long-time Trump ally, Rudy Giuliani, was floated as a possible replacement for Sessions. Interesting to note that Giuliani said Sessions had the right to recuse himself.

According to law, Trump could move someone who has already been confirmed in another position by the senate to take Sessions’ job if Sessions resigns – not if he is fired.  Or Trump could appoint anyone of his choosing to be attorney general while the Senate recesses for 10 days or more in August. This would allow him to bypass Senate confirmation until 2019.

Trump often talks about making staff changes without following through, so those who have spoken with the president cautioned that a change may not be imminent or happen at all. But he also hired Anthony Scaramucci with much of notice to anyone including his own staff.

Trump went on another Twitter outburst saying “Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!” So Trump’s rule [for his opponents] is that if you or you know someone or you know someone who knows someone who donated to the Democrats, then you are biased.

“I would fire somebody that I did not believe could serve me well rather than trying to humiliate him [Sessions] in public, which is a sign of weakness,” said Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham.

“You can be disappointed in someone but still want them to continue to do their job,” said Sanders, Trump’s press secretary. In most companies, if unhappy with an employee they are fired. Trump should know that if he was a great businessman.

Federal law makes it a crime to “knowingly and willfully” give “materially” false statements to Congress, even if unsworn. The consequences are serious: one can face up to five years in prison. Right Jeff, Donald Jr and Jared?

Trump announced that he plans to reinstate the ban transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the US armed forces. The decision reversed a policy initially approved by the Defense Department under President Barack Obama, which was still under final review. The so-called excuse: “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

The military brass contradicted what Trump said by saying they were never consulted and until they get orders they will continue to have transgenders in the military.

A 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few in the military’s 1.3 million-member force. The cost could range from $2.4 million and $8.4 million, an amount that would represent an “exceedingly small proportion” of total health care expenditures, the study found. More is spent yearly on Viagra than transgender health.

Just over a year ago after the Orlando nightclub attack, Trump tweeted “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs” and he also said to them “I’m a real friend”.

“A landmark civil rights law doesn’t protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Trump administration said.” What’s next? Anything in law is just an advisory?

The Senate passed sweeping legislation slapping new sanctions on Russia and rebuking Trump in a bill that now will head to Trump’s desk. The bill, which gives Congress new powers to block Trump from easing sanctions against Moscow, passed the Senate 98-2. It passed the House at 419-3. Trump can either pass the bill or veto it, but if he does the latter there will be consequences.

The bill was passed with the House’s North Korean sanctions included, and in exchange, the House agreed to take up any future North Korean sanctions bills that go through the Senate. In addition, it could add protection for Russian probe investigator Robert Mueller in case Trump tries to fire him.

Trump visited the Boy Scout Jamboree this week and went political in front of mostly pre-teens [who can’t vote yet]. He went on and on about politics like how President Obama never went [the current President of the US has an open invitation] or about current rants of his [Obamacare, Jeff Sessions, Russia]. He was doing his speech in front of a big flag. With him waiting at one point, it almost looked like a Nazi salute – bring some to comment that it reminded them of 1938 and the Hitler Youth. Others suggested that the Boy Scouts came to see him. I guess Trump had nothing else to talk to them about. He was never a Boy Scout but President Obama was a scout.

The Boy Scouts of America apologized to the Scouting community for the political content of Trump’s speech at the National Scout Jamboree.

Former speaker of the House, John Boehner, said “…they’re not going to repeal and replace Obamacare. It’s been around too long. And the American people have gotten accustomed to it.”

Now the GOP senators are trying the “skinny repeal” which would likely eliminate the individual mandate and the employer mandate. It would also get rid of the Obamacare tax on medical device makers.

Twitter has made it clear that it won’t ban Donald Trump from its service, whether the president follows its rules against harassment or not.

A production company has acquired the rights to Joshua Green’s newly released “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency” for TV development as a limited/event series. It will tell the inside story of the partnership between Bannon and Trump which led to possibly the greatest political upset in U.S. history. Published last week, the book has earned strong reviews and has landed at the top spot of The New York Times bestseller list. It is based on dozens of interviews conducted over six years.

Trump’s travel tales and other odd stuff

Former CIA chief John Brennan said “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals.” Brennan wasn’t saying that he believed that the Trump campaign actively colluded with Russia.

Donald Trump is expected to hire attorney Marc Kasowitz to represent him on matters related to the inquiry into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, according to a senior administration official and a person close to Trump. Taxpayers footing the bill?

White House lawyers have even been researching impeachment procedures in order to prepare for such a possibility including need to hire a personal legal team to represent Trump.

Jared Kushner, is willing to co-operate with federal investigators looking into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, his attorney said. The FBI was investigating meetings Kushner had in December with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, and Russian banker Sergey Gorkov.

On his trip to Saudi Arabia, Trump would not talk about the issues at home as well as women’s right and human rights. [In case you don’t know, at restaurants there for example, men walk in through one door while women and children walk in another with a wall separating them.]

In Trump’s speech, he said “…in just a few months, we have created almost a million new jobs, added over 3 trillion dollars of new value, lifted the burdens on American industry, and made record investments in our military that will protect the safety of our people….” Let’s see, where did he get a million jobs from? “New value”? In what? “… lifted the burdens on American industry”? Does he mean regulation? He hasn’t really done anything yet. “… made record investments in our military…” Record? Trump announced an increase to $650 billion. Not even close to the roughly $700 billion about 8 years ago when President Obama took over.

“… includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase – and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defense companies.” In order for the Saudis to get a “good deal”, it would probably mean reducing the price to purchase say a jet fighter. The manufacturer will then have to cut costs somewhere.

” Saudi Arabia also joined us this week in placing sanctions on one of the most senior leaders of Hezbollah.” Wow! A single leader! It’s a token thing really.

Trump complained in 2015 that Michelle Obama didn’t cover her head in a trip she took with President Obama and Trump whined about it. He says Saudi Arabia was “insulted”. Fast forward two years and Trump’s entourage including Melania an Ivanka aren’t covering their heads. Saudi Arabia’s policy states that dignitaries do not have to cover their heads unless they want to.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had pledged $100 million for the bank’s proposed Women Entrepreneurs Fund, which was first proposed by Ivanka Trump. Didn’t Trump complain about the various Arab state giving the Clinton Foundation donations during the campaign?

During his campaign, Trump accusing Saudi Arabia of wanting “women as slaves and to kill gays” and suggested they were being behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks. In his speech he said “I am honoured to be received by such gracious hosts.”

It is interesting to note that very conservative Saudi Arabia were happy with how Melania dressed and acted [no word on the hubby]. Unlike her husband, Melania planned what they would wear at each stop so she would not offend anyone. She also brushed up on protocols. Him? Nope.

It blows the mind what Trump does. While visiting Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial in Israel, it is tradition for world leaders to leave a message. When President Obama visited the memorial a few years back, he wrote “I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife…” [There was more.] What did Trump write “It’s a great honor to be here with all of my friends—so amazing + will NEVER FORGET!” [I am almost sure Melania told him to write the last part.] It’s like he just signed one of his books. See it here.

As the Trump entourage landed in Israel, on the tarmac, looks like Melania is still unhappy with Trump:
And it happened again while landing in Italy.

As well, he confirmed that he never mentioned Israel as the source of the secret information that he gave to the Russians. Huh? So he did give them secret information – something he denied earlier.

At one point, he told an audience in Jerusalem he was happy to have arrived in Israel “from the Middle East”. So Israel is not in the Middle East? Who knew?

Seems the Trump administrations still is disorganized. The U.S. has never recognized Israeli sovereignty over parts of the Old City in Jerusalem. And yet Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley declared the site part of Israel but other officials avoided answering the question.

Melania and Ivanka covered their heads in a sign of papal respect when meeting the Pope, a gesture they did not partake in Saudi Arabia. [Aside from the fact that Ivanka isn’t Catholic.] I guess pointing to Trump’s size, the Pope had a light moment with Melania, asking via translator, “What do you give him to eat, potizza?” referring to a favourite papal dessert from her native Slovenia.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” the Pope said at one time in the past. Trump then called the Pope “disgraceful” for doubting his faith.

White House press secretary Sean “Garlic” Spicer fumed to colleagues after being excluded from the President’s meeting with Pope Francis. He discovered at the last minute that he was not on the shortlist of White House officials selected to join the President for the private audience. Hope Hicks [Trump’s communications adviser], Keith Schiller [Trump’s deputy assistant with the title director of Oval Office operations and former bodyguard!!!], and Dan Scavino [his social media master] were invited.

Trump was basically bully the other NATO leaders saying they weren’t living up to the agreement of using 2% of their respective country’s GDP on military spending. Only 5 meet or exceed the 2%. In his speech he said “This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.” Well, nobody asked the US to spend $650+ billion a year. He also claims that if the other countries met their expectations it would they could counter terrorism better. That’s debatable.

Nearing the end of Trumps trip he tweeted “Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.” Unsure where money was saved [or made] and if “millions” of jobs were saved.

Trump appears set to defy presidential tradition and not hold a press conference during the entire trip.

Wow. Trump will go over a week without playing golf…..

Trump issued a statement saying the White House intends to get to the bottom of what he called “deeply troubling” leaks of information after some information related to the Manchester bomber was released. “I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” He’s been saying this for how long already?

At the NATO conference, you can see in the video where Trump shoves a prime minister aside so that he could be in front and center of the attention. Not surprised.

In rejecting the travel ban, the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals zeroed in on the comments Donald Trump as a candidate and president, the government’s national security justifications, and the role of the courts. The travel ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”

The Trump administration announced a $4.1 trillion US budget for 2018. The proposal is laced with cuts to domestic agencies, student loan subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid, highway funding and medical research. Democrats and some Republicans have already shot it down as dead on arrival. The proposal projects that this year’s deficit will rise to $603 billion, up from the actual deficit of $585 billion last year. The budget claims that by 2027 there will be a projected small surplus of $16 billion. But that has many factors. Trump’s new budget is based on sustained growth above 3 per cent, sharply higher than the expectations of most private economists.

In special elections, two seats [New York and New Hampshire] easily won by Trump 6 months ago switch to the Democrats in special elections for state legislative seats.

A Republican candidate in a special election in Montana has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he allegedly body slammed a reporter and broke his glasses on Wednesday night. Three newspapers have dropped support in the candidate who reportedly has nearly $250,000 in shares in two index funds that had investments in Russian companies which were under U.S. sanctions. The reporter never touched the candidate. The special election is because the previous House seat winner joined Trump’s cabinet.

The Montana Republican in the end won by single digits after Trump won by 20 points in November. It was only after he was declared the winner he apologized for his actions after blaming the reporter for the altercation [even though witnesses said he was to blame]. If this would of happened a few weeks ago [before many went to the advanced polls], it could have been different.

Michael Flynn will “plead the fifth” [as in 5th Amendment] when he is questioned on the controversy involving the Russians. During the campaign, Trump called those who plead the fifth basically as cowards.
“So many young, beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life,” Trump said following the Manchester bombing. “Losers”? He couldn’t find something more forceful?

Trump said once: “When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same. The temperament is not that different.”

In an effort to better control the perceived risks of small drones, the Trump administration is asking Congress to grant it the ability to track, seize, disrupt, and destroy any drone that it perceives to be a security threat. And it’s asking to do these things without prior consent.

Not long after [black] Democrat congressman Al Green called for the impeachment of Trump, did he start to receive calls like “You’re not going to impeach anybody, you f—— n—– … You’ll be hanging from a tree.”
Evan Williams, founder and former CEO of Twitter, says Twitter’s role in Trump’s populist rise is “a very bad thing”. “If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.”

A “toolkit” provided to House Republicans to defend US communications watchdog the FCC’s recent decision to tear up net neutrality rules was written by the cable lobby. It was written by the assistant director of “industry grassroots” at the US cable industry’s main trade association, the NCTA. It is amazed of what the Trump administration allows.

Trump was quietish this week – wow

Within hours, Donald Trump backtracked on various campaign issues. NATO, he said, is “no longer obsolete.” He backed down a threat to brand China a currency manipulator [was guilty of “rape” against the US economy]. Trump praised Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, whom he had previously pledged to replace when her term expires, and once accused of holding interest rates low as a political boost for former President Barack Obama.

White House press secretary Sean “Garlic” Spicer pointed to an interview with the Secretary General, where he indicated that NATO countries have been performing better in terms of their financial commitments. So it’s just about the money.

Paul Manafort’s [Trump’s former campaign chairman] finances and consulting work are drawing attention as Ukrainian officials try to determine whether he received improper payments as part of a corruption case into ex-President Victor Yanukovych—Manafort’s former client. US authorities also are investigating possible Ukrainian corruption and any role Manafort may have played in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

For example, from 2006 to 2012, records show, Manafort and his wife Kathleen spent $12 million on four residential units in New York City, including a $3.7-million apartment in Trump Tower. They also bought a $2.7-million condominium in Alexandria, Va., and a $1.5-million house home in Palm Beach, Fla.

Trump is threatening not to reimburse health insurers for covering low income people as a way of forcing Democrats to the negotiating table on health care. “I don’t want people to get hurt,” Trump said in an interview. Sure. This will hurt people. It is unfair to do this to low incomers when it is a political issue. Meanwhile, cowardly, the Trump administration this time is negotiating without doing it in the public’s view.

Garlic was widely condemned for claiming that Adolf Hitler, who gassed millions of Jews during the Holocaust, did not use chemical weapons. Comparing the Nazi leader with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Garlic told journalists during his regular press briefing at the White House: “We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War Two. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” He later apologized.

Trump tweeted in 2013 “What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.” Yet he bombed Syria twice in a week. No Congressional approval.

Moody’s Investor Service said earlier this year that the number of “distressed” retailers –those with cash problems and lots of debt that are facing strong competition — is at the highest rate since 2009. Some of the problems could be attributed to the economy or the administration. In addition Staples [in the US at least] wants a new owner.

Trump claims he was “the best baseball player in New York when I was young” in a book. Of course, this is Trump – the guy who exaggerates everything. In his narcissist ways, “he always wanted to hit the ball through people. He wanted to overpower them” even if they gave him the option to hit to the opposite field.

The surprisingly close results of a special election for a House seat in deep-red Kansas should serve as “a warning sign” to the GOP, Sen. Ted Cruz said. Trump had carried the Kansas district by 27 percentage points but on Tuesday, Republican Ron Estes only bested Democrat Jim Thompson for the seat previously represented by new CIA Director Mike Pompeo by 7 points.

Trump declared April to be National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Tina Fey, who was hosting a telethon for the ACLU at the end of March, commented: “Earlier tonight, in what is surely an April Fools’ joke, the president proclaimed that next month (April) will be National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, so now we know what he gave up for Lent.”

In the 14 weeks since his inauguration, Trump has been at his Mar-a-Lago estate seven times.

The Trump administration said it will not release logs of White House visitors, breaking with a precedent set by the Obama administration and shrouding Trump’s activities in the West Wing in secrecy. The decision was made in light of the “grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually,” according to White House Communications Director Michael Dubke. Funny how the Obama and previous administrations had no issues. Maybe they don’t want to show “visitors” that have entered the White House but shouldn’t.

The Trump administration was sued this week by several watchdog groups seeking access to the records, which have not been released since Trump took office, insisting the records are actually the property of the Secret Service, which is subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Meanwhile, the Democrats in Congress have also introduced legislation that would require the Trump administration to maintain and disclose the names of visitors at places aside the White House where he conducts business, including his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

The stock market had been on a nearly nonstop rip higher since Election Day on the belief that Trump and a Republican-led Congress will cut income taxes, loosen regulations for companies and institute other business-friendly policies. But now there are worries that the Trump White House may not be able to help businesses as much as once thought.

Sears and Kmart are just the latest U.S. retailers to jump ship on some Trump brand products.

Lawyers for Trump have sent not one, but two cease-and-desist letters to a website featuring his face being pawed by kittens, it is claimed. The person behind trumpscratch.com (be warned, not safe for work), a San Francisco teenager named Lucy, says she set the site up for a laugh, but was amazed to receive the letters from The Trump Organization informing her she was infringing the Trump trademark. Lucy has sold the domain to a UK organization, which has redirected it to another website featuring the name “Trump” – trumptytrump.com – a porn site. Lucy changed the name of the site to KittenFeed.com “But after changing, they still came at me,” she said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to Washington to visit Trump. Seems the Commander in Chief still likes to cozy up to dictators and thugs who ignore democracy or human rights.

Trump slipped 220 spots in Forbes magazine list of the world’s richest billionaires to number 544 with an estimated $3.5 billion. Forbes attributed Trump’s drop to sluggishness in the Manhattan real estate market which is responsible for a disproportionate amount of his wealth.

The heavily pro-Trump Drudge Report is the third most-visited media site on the Internet (behind only ESPN and MSN [the automatic homepage for many PCs]), and is one of a small handful of sites to have broken the 1 billion hits per month mark.

Trump’s job approval rating has dropped to 37%, while 58% of Americans disapprove of his performance so far as president, new Gallup figures show.

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said, “We really don’t quote [Conway] much anymore because, well, history,” as he reported on her explanation of “microwaves that turn into cameras.”

UPS announced that it will add Saturday delivery in the US, creating an estimated 6,000 new lower paying jobs in mostly delivery and distribution. I’m expecting to see Trump take credit for this.

Trump Hotels has planned to develop a $50 million property in downtown Dallas, using the organization’s new brand, Scion. The project is currently being developed with international investors and a Turkish businessman, Mukemmel “Mike” Sarimsakci, despite Sarimsakci’s history of lawsuits and tax trouble. Trump Organization had no signed agreement with Sarimsakci.

Yikes. The private account used by US Vice President Mike Pence when he was governor that was hacked was an AOL account. People still use AOL?

A White House statement congratulating ExxonMobil for increasing investment in Texas and Louisiana cribbed multiple lines from the oil giant’s statement as well as from ExxonMobil’s CEO without citation.

After the electronics ban for some Muslim countries, Royal Jordanian have they tweeted, “Stay tuned for more fun…” and “Every week a new ban”.

The Union for Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club and Earthjustice plan to jointly file a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by fossil fuel groups in March that asks the Environmental Protection Agency to delay or reconsider a rule that places more regulations on chemical plants. tHis was ordered by the Trump administration.

 

Another interesting week in Trumpland


From Donald Trump’s speech to congress…..

  • Trump was actually right when he said the crime rate was the highest increase in 50 years between 2014 and 2015 but that was because the murder rate in 2014 was the lowest ever.
  • Trump asserted his administration’s support of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are “creating tens of thousands of jobs.” But estimates maybe 15,000 temporary construction jobs and a further 42,000 indirect jobs with most disappearing once the construction is done.
  • “The stock market has gained almost $3 trillion in value since the election on November 8, a record,” Trump said. Yes but he’s taking credit for something he had little to do with. He hasn’t implemented much and the market is reacting to his pro-business stance.
  • “The vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country,” Trump said. Trump said he used data from the department of Justice – who didn’t verify. Other sources say maybe a 50-50 split between foreign and American “terrorists”.
  • ” Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force,” Trump said. Not true. The Atlanta Federal Reserve says some 44.1 million are retired, 15.4 million are disabled, 12.9 million are taking care of a family member and another 15.5 million are in college or job training. They are listed as not wanting a job.
  • “Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, …, Wal-Mart and many others have announced that they … will create tens of thousands of new American jobs,” he said. Many of the jobs announced since his election were previously announced. In some cases, the jobs would likely have turned up no matter who’s president. But his pro-business stance has helped.
  • “We’ve saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by bringing down the price of the fantastic … new F-35 jet fighter,” he said. The price per fighter dropped when an additional 90 more stealth fighters were ordered.
  • Trump characterized his proposal to increase the defense budget as “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” Maybe by amount but not by percentage as there was a huge spike when the US entered World War II as well as during the Vietnam war [for example]. $54 billion today is worth far less than $54 billion a century ago.
  • “The time for trivial fights is behind us,” Trump said. Considering he has had “fights” over things that shouldn’t concern him, I’m doubting they will end.
  • Trump confused some when he said [about Obamacare] that he doesn’t view it as government’s role to make sure Americans can actually afford that insurance but then said “no one (is) left out” by state governments.
  • When Trump ended with a call for bipartisan cooperation on repealing and replacing the “collapsing” Obamacare, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi shook her head no. Not surprised.

Trump offered big cuts to the corporate tax cuts, “massive” relief to the middle class, and $1 trillion infrastructure program but didn’t say how they will be paid. Wipe ISIS but said nothing about the issues in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. Build the Mexican wall but didn’t mention who will pay and it was coming soon. But when? The Executive Order was signed a month ago.

Almost nothing mentioned on immigrants [and his bans] or trade packs like NAFTA.

Trump started off the week well keeping fairly quiet and then his speech. Problem is that a new can of worms opened up regarding the Department of Justice secretary Jeff Sessions and his chats with the Russian ambassador during the elections – which is a no-no. He is now not involved with anything related with the Russian meddling [duh!] but that may not be enough.

A Republican congressman was whining about some women at the speech given by Trump wearing white suits [and a few comments about the looks] and claimed that these were supports of Hillary Clinton. In fact, they wore white to honor the Suffragettes as well as women’s month. Out of touch the congressman is.

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz criticized the White House on Wednesday night after Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway retweeted an allegation that Wasserman Schultz did not stand or clap during a standing ovation for the widow of a slain Navy SEAL during Trump’s address to Congress. In fact, video shows she did.

From the previous blog where CNN and New York Times were banned, add the BBC, Daily Mail, Politico and Los Angeles times to those that were banned at White House briefings. The White House correspondents association protested the decision to ban.

The ban came after CNN and the New York times both reported that White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, told the FBI to tone down the investigation related to the Trump administration chatting with Russian intelligence.

[I’ve said it before (although maybe not in this blog), with the Trump administration abusing the media, the media should boycott the White House briefings and any news conferences and events that involve the administration. Unsure if the right wing media would comply.]

Now Trump has gone one step further by deciding not to go to The White House Correspondents dinner. This is the first time a president has decided to do so in 35 years. I guess he can take a huge onslaught of criticism and jokes about him sand his administration.

Trump suggesting that Americans could get another chance to seize Iraqi oil as compensation for its military efforts there. This is basically one of the things that radicals has always said – grab Arab oil.

Not surprising, Trump delayed the replacement to his travel “ban” executive order. Supposed to be this week…. Maybe next week. Oh, it could be in October the way things are going.

The second version of the travel ban still hasn’t been released but a leak suggest Iraq has been pulled off the country list. The order won’t include any explicit exemption for religious minorities in the countries targeted by the travel ban.

A section of the international arrivals area at Dulles International Airport outside the nation’s capital [as well as other airports] has been transformed into a virtual law firm, with legal volunteers ready to greet travelers from affected countries and ask if they saw anyone being detained and in preparation for the second version of the travel ban.

The first Trump travel ban [or just his administration] may have had an effect on the tourist industry. Global searches for U.S.-bound flights are down 22 per cent from Jan. 1-Feb. 22. Interest in Florida cities dipped by up to 58 per cent, while searches for Las Vegas and Los Angeles were down by 36 and 32 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile it seems the US is popular with Russians with a huge increase.

The initial draft bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] has hit some snags from some Republicans. The draft bill itself was leaked. So I wonder how many had access to the bill.

“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” said Trump – already another hint that it will take quite a bit of work to change. So much for Trump’s election promise to make it a priority. He probably never saw the size and complexity of the resulting act until he was elected.

Fake News! Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly had someone on his show who is a “Swedish Defense and National Security Advisor.” Except few in Sweden had ever heard of him, much less taken advice from him. In fact, the man lives in the US and works for Modus which does “operations and management of possible kidnap and ransom situations.” He was also in trouble with the law in 2014 and also has no idea where Fox got his title from. Fox is expected to mention the error. Maybe not quite fake news but definitely a fake title.

CNN has a clock that shows when the last time Trump has attacked someone on Twitter.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer recently checked his aides’ cell phones to ensure they weren’t communicating with reporters as part of an aggressive effort to stem the recent tide of White House leaks. He informed them that the use of encrypted texting apps, like Signal and Confide, was a violation of the Federal Records Act. Such a hypocrite since some Trump staff have used Confide. A leak of the leaks?

Despite Trump’s anger about unnamed sources, White House budget officials insisted on anonymity as they outlined details of Trump’s spending plans to reporters on a conference call.

Hilariously, now Trump says Obama could be behind the leaks. He’s not in office and he has no say. So how?

In the 1990s, Trump was a frequent anonymous source of information about his social life and television series, “The Apprentice,” said newspaper columnist Linda Stasi. Once Trump called and pretended to be someone else delivering information about him; Stasi said she could easily recognize his voice.

Conway is a witch. How dare she site like that in the Oval Office couch with many guests in the Oval Office? It is one thing to do that with fellow Trumpians in a private chat but not that. Shameful. She claims she needed to do that for a better angle [as if she is a professional photographer]. As for the right wingers who poke fun at Obama, this was Obama’s office. Was his White house. Everyone else works for him.

Trump and his family’s extended stays in Mar-A-Lago in Florida and Trump tower in New York are costing the Secret Service millions daily. Donald likes to go to his sprawling estate while Melania is in New York with their youngest. It was Trump who said that Obama took too many vacations – spending taxpayer’s money in protecting him. But he has been in Florida probably every weekend since elected in addition to his other trips.

Vice President Mike Pence used a personal email account to conduct state business while he was governor of Indiana, discussing issues like the resettling of Syrian refugees and other matters on an AOL account that was hacked in a phishing scam. So if you get hit by a phishing scam you are not tech savvy much. The only difference between this issue and what happened to Hillary Clinton was that she was privileged to more national security issues but even he delved into national issues.

At a previous CPAC conference, Ted Cruz says Trump is not a Conservative. But he seems to support Trump. What a flip-flopper.

Trump on the Oscars and the mess at the end: “I think they were focused so hard on politics that they didn’t get the act together at the end,” Trump told Breitbart. “It was a little sad.” Actually most believe they were quite lite on the politics. Maybe that’s why it was boring according to most critics.  “Look, it just seems like the other side, whenever they’re losing badly, they always pull out the race card,” he said. Race card? Seriously?

“In fact I did much better than many other than other Republicans in the last election.” By popular vote, he was one of the worse. He’s not even close to the best for electoral votes.

Trump’s treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, financed and was an executive producer of “Suicide Squad,” which won for hair and makeup. Maybe he can help Trump and that thing on top of his head?

 

207 more weeks of this guy?

Donald Trump opened another large can of worms when he banned people from 7 [Muslim] countries for at least 90 days. It happened so fast in an executive order that many travelers from those country were off guarded and were either detained at airports or told to go back to where they came from. New York mayor said the executive order was so disorganized.

In addition, accepting refugees have been also halted. Not surprised, many countries – aside from those 7 – were upset because of the executive order. Iran responded by banning Americans to Iran for at least 90 days. Others wonder why Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, North Korea and other major terrorist [growing] countries were not included.

Trump claims that Muslim refugees could get into the US easier than Christians but [again] offered no logical reasons or proof.

Catching some off guard [in terms of time, not the expectancy], Trump announced that the US will go ahead and build a wall between the US and Mexico – with Mexico paying. The Mexican president went on TV to say that Mexico will not pay for any wall and was not happy with the announcement that the wall will be built. The Mexican president is considering canceling his trip to see Trump very soon. [The Mexican president’s poling numbers are actually lower than Trump.]

Trump claims that he and the Mexican president decided to postpone their meeting even though the Mexican president said that he canceled the meeting after Trump tweeted basically that if Mexico doesn’t pay for the wall then don’t come.

Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Poutine had a chat with his padawan [Starr Wars lingo for apprentice] Donald Trump. [Of course the name “Apprentice” is also the name of Trump’s show he hosted and is somehow still listed as producer.]

The entire senior level of management officials of the State Department resigned recently, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era. Those resigned have worked with both parties. All had submitted their resignations prior to Trump’s January 20 inauguration as is required of officials holding jobs appointed by the president but some were not appointed. They were not required to leave the foreign service but chose to retire or resign for personal reasons, the department said.

Trump is ready to allow torture [such as waterboarding] against foreign detainees and to keep Guantanamo Bay, Cuba open after Obama tried [unsuccessfully] to shut down the prison as well as to reopen CIA detention facilities outside the United States. The draft directive also orders a review of interrogation methods used on terror suspects and calls for suggested modifications that would not violate the U.S. legal ban on torture. Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo would be consulted but they didn’t know of the draft executive order. House Speaker Paul Ryan said the administration looked at it during the elections but won’t be used. So why is it mentioned now?

Senior members of the Trump administration have been accused of blatant hypocrisy after it was revealed they are continuing to use personal email accounts. Key advisors to the president, Kellyanne Conway and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as press secretary Sean Spicer and chief strategist Steve Bannon, all have accounts on the Republican Party’s rnchq.org domain, and are continuing to use them in addition to their official government accounts, according to Newsweek.

According to hacker WauchulaGhost [who claimed to have hacked 500 pro-ISIS accounts], the Twitter accounts for Trump, Melania Trump and Mike Pence are more vulnerable to hackers because of a basic Twitter security setting they’re not using. With a little bit of work “he” figured out that the Twitter account for Pence is a associated with a less secure Gmail account and both Trumps also use Gmail accounts.

While Trump says he wants to create American jobs, why is his personal phone a Samsung phone – clearly not made in the USA.

Not too smart. Sean Spicer may have tweeted his password for something. 

Trump is still using his less secure Android smart phone to send out his tweets and make calls even though he was supposed to give it up 5 days ago.

“Social media postings sometimes provide an important window into a person’s mental health,” the Department of Defence tweeted. “Know what to look for.” Didn’t take long for comments such as: “@DeptofDefense have you look at the posts by your Commander in Chief? @potus needs immediate help” and “Medal of Freedom for whoever at @DeptofDefense was responsible for this, please.”

Trump tweeted that he is ordering a “major investigation” into voter fraud, revisiting unsubstantiated claims he’s made repeatedly about a rigged voting system. Trump has been fixated on his loss of the popular vote in the election and a persistent frustration that the legitimacy of his presidency is being challenged by Democrats and the media. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have finalized their election results with no reports of the kind of widespread fraud that Trump is alleging.

Trump “does believe that, I think he’s stated that before, and stated his concern of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have brought to him,” Spicer said. And then he said only that Trump “has believed that for a while based on studies and information he has.” No evidence has been made public – if it exists. Probably not.

[Unsure why Trump would bring up this nonsense. He won the election. Again this makes him look a bit unbalanced. Does he always want controversies in his term?]

A number of studies have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. The Truth About Voter Fraud, a report written by experts at The Brennan Center for Justice, found voter fraud rates were between 0.00004% and 0.0009%.

Trump’s own daughter, Tiffany is registered in both Pennsylvania and New York. Did she vote in both? Trump’s Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon is registered in Florida and New York. Did he vote in both?

Spicer said that Trump believes in widespread voter fraud, in part, as a 2014 study by Jesse Richman and David Earnest found more than 14% of non-citizens in 2008 and 2010 “indicated that they were registered to vote.” But the sample was so small that it had a huge error range.

“I am to a large extent an environmentalist” Trump said. What? From a guy who doesn’t believe in climate change.

From Trump’s own Twitter account, he says 2 pictures from his inauguration will be hung in the press room at the White House. But if you look closely, the date is January 21st, 2017 – not 20th. [Click on the image in this link showing the crowd.]

In other news, amateur hour. The Trump administration had to recall a press release after they spelled UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s first name wrong. No “H” in the first release.

Trump already signed at least 14 executive orders. Way more than the last half dozen presidents combined.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says that recent threats have forced her to receive an extra layer of security, and she apparently blames the news media. She has Secret Service protection. “We have packages delivered to my house with white substances.” But remember that she’s on the propaganda team. Did she actually get threats and received “white substances”.

A Trump administration freeze on new Environmental Protection Agency contracts and grant awards raised fears that states and other recipients could lose essential funding for drinking water protection, hazardous waste oversight and a host of other programs — while a communications blackout left them dangling in uncertainty. Emails to staff banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts contributed to the information vacuum. Some have created “rogue” Twitter accounts to get around the decree.

Buried at the end of a confirmation hearing last week of Jeff Sessions, who if confirmed will take the helm at the Justice Dept. under the new administration, is a note saying as attorney general is in favor of putting backdoors in encryption.

An online reporter from LifeZette [a pro-Trump site] was able to ask a question at a White House press conferences and briefings where normally only major news outlets are traditionally allowed. I guess we’ll see Breitbart soon…

Trump warned business leaders that he would impose a “substantial border tax” on companies that move their manufacturing out of the United States, while promising tax advantages to companies that produce products domestically. So companies can either jump ship [say to Canada as it is close to the US] or build in the US and watch either their profits to shrink [which won’t help their stock] to keep the prices steady or increase prices because the labor in the US is higher than most countries.

A lawsuit alleged that President Donald Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his business to accept payments from foreign governments. Trump is violating the so-called emoluments clause in the Constitution that prohibits him from receiving money from diplomats for stays at his hotels or foreign governments for leases of office space in his buildings, according to the suit filed by a legal watchdog group.

Trump said that he would hand over control of his company to his two adult sons. He announced several other measures in an attempt to mollify critics who contend that his financial interest as head of a global real estate company could conflict with his pursuit of the public good. Problem is that there has been no indication he has done anything about it.

Humor time – not fake news:

British PM Theresa May almost did not make the trip to Washington recently after rumors when out that Donald Trump was about to issue an executive order for the US to build a wall between the US and the UK and the UK would have to pay.

 

1469 days until the next Presidential inauguration!

A bit of trivia: Name the action movie in the mid-1990s mentions both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the movie? Scroll to the bottom…]

“I know a lot about hacking.” Boy now Trump is a computer specialist! Trump claimed to have inside information on the matter, which he said he would reveal within the week of saying so – and didn’t. Judging from the history of Trump, it won’t be during that week, the next or the week after. Or maybe ever.

All sixteen federal intelligence agencies in the US plus two private independent security firms all concluded that Russia was involved in the hacking.

“What I can say is that we don’t believe that intelligence efforts should interfere into politics, certainly,” Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump said. So this is the equivalent of saying the intelligence agencies should not say that their government was hacked into.

“This report that everyone keeps talking about is not final,” the President-elect’s incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer said. So why was the report released? Did the report say it wasn’t final?

“As President-elect he is privy to information most people aren’t,” Spicer said. Ok, so why mention anything until you can release it.

“And if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong.” True but who knows. With the time wasted going in, the WMDs could have been moved or buried.

Trump’s people can’t get things right. Reince Priebus stated that Trump finally acknowledged that the US was hacked and Trump has promised to retaliate but Trump advisor [and all around odd-ball – for the lack of kind words] Kellyanne Conway keeps on using “alleged” hack because the Russians [she claims] were unsuccessful.

Trump is blaming the DNC for the lack of security to their network but Trump fails to blame the RNC [they were hacked but supposedly (or on purposely)] no leaked data or various government agencies.

Trump having his children or son-in-law as advisors could go against a law created in the mid-1960s which stipulates that family members cannot be advisors or paid. They may be one some committees but unpaid and clear of advising the President. But remember – this is Donald Trump. What’s another potentially broken law?

A full repeal of Obamacare by Trump would cost $350 billion over the next decade, according to a new analysis from the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. This makes its wholesale dismantling much more complicated. Trump himself said [depending on the weather it seems] will either pull all of Obamacare or take the “best” pieces.

The GOP and Trump claim removing Obamacare would be their first item of business. But they have not said what they would replace it with. There is talk that even giving children of illegal immigrants health care as part of Obamacare would be pulled as well as the guarantee of health care even with pre-existing conditions. An estimate 20 million Americans who didn’t have health care prior to Obamacare could potentially lose their health care.

Trump went to Twitter [as usual] to lash out at Meryl Streep after she made comments about him at the Golden Globe Awards. He responded in his usual fashion calling her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood” and denying he “groveled” at someone during the campaign. If The Pope was to make comments about him I wonder how he’d respond? “Over-rate Pope”? “Pope who has done nothing?” He is a humorless and easily offended public persona.

Trump to criticize Saturday Night Live as “biased” and “unwatchable” on Twitter during the campaign after Alec Baldwin made fun of his looks and manner. But the show just recorded its best ratings in 24 years, thanks to a toxic and highly divisive U.S. presidential election.

Actor Alex Baldwin making fun at Trump with a knock off of “Make America Great Again” in Russian….

Arnold Schwarzenegger took over as “host” on Celebrity Apprentice [which Trump still has a production credit but doesn’t do anything]. Trump went after “Arnie” after the ratings have dropped but also poked fun at him because he supported (John) Kasich and Hillary (Clinton). Arnie did respond in Twitter with “I wish you the best of luck and I hope you’ll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.”

Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton have decided to attend the inauguration to do so out of a sense of duty and respect for the American democratic process. So has George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter [who previous agreed to attend].

In another about face [well partially] Trump has said he will push to build the “Great Wall” between the US and Mexico now and send Mexico the invoice later. He doesn’t want to wait on the wall. There are currently 700 miles of fence along that track, with another approximately 1,200 miles either open, nearly impossible to actually build on or impassable.

Melania Trump, taking lessons from her husband, has warned that she will sue anyone who calls her an “ex-hooker”. If you recall, a story stated that she came to the US with a non-work visa and yet she was supposedly a model at Trump’s modeling agency. The story said she pulled in $20,000 within months. I would guess not all was modeling – especially since the agency couldn’t put her on their payroll legally. Get the drift?

Conservative author and television personality Monica Crowley, whom Donald Trump has tapped for a top national security communications role, plagiarized large sections of her 2012 book, a CNN review has found. The review of Crowley’s June 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened,” found upwards of 50 examples of plagiarism from numerous sources, including the copying with minor changes of news articles, other columnists, think tanks, and Wikipedia.

Trump wants to create a “team” within 90 days of his inauguration on how to tackle hacking. First, you know Trump. It will be long after 90 days – if ever. Second, doesn’t the US already have an intelligence division to handle this? Oh ya. Trump doesn’t trust them.

Trump’s tweeting could cause problems. As of now they have been minor but if he tweets a bad comment, it could cause ripples.

In an example of bad tweeting Trump said “General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!” In fact most Cruzes are made in Ohio for the US market. The Cruze hatchback is made in Mexico for the international market although maybe 4500 care shipped to the US. After the tweet, GM’s stock market price briefly went down.

During the election campaign, Trump repeatedly pledged to force Canada and Mexico to renegotiate or scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement as a means of protecting and creating U.S. jobs. But while NAFTA is still valid, dishing out a “border tax” isn’t allowed.

Then Trump whined again on Twitter about Toyota opening a plant in Mexico and again with the “border tax” except he was technically defending Canada because the “lost” jobs would actually be Canadian jobs. Oh. He got the location in Mexico wrong.

It’s been a policy that when a new president comes in, all the appointments from the previous administration are recalled. Generally they leave by inauguration day. But with the Trump administration, they want everyone out by inauguration day. No exceptions or extensions. That means pulling kids out of school in the middle of the school year, canceling charity galas and supposedly in one case cancer treatment.

Oh. What ever happened to Trump releasing his tax returns. Maybe it includes the fact that it will show Trump’s connections to Russian businesses.

Trivia answer: Die Hard With A Vengeance [the third Die Hard movie with Bruce Willis]. At one point in conversations between the characters of Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, both names came up. Interesting to note that Clinton’s name came up related to the presidency.