Trump moves embassy, Middle East takes a turn for the worse

While it has always been a US policy to keep the US Embassy in Tel Aviv so that it doesn’t increase tensions, Donald Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem brought tensions higher. Just on the day of the opening of the “new” embassy in Jerusalem, clashes killed quite a few and many more injured.

“While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American Embassy once they were in office, this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,” Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner said. Actually few if any previous president promised to move the embassy knowing the problems it could bring. As for making a promise, it is one of the few election promises that he kept.

Trump said he remained committed to “facilitating a lasting peace agreement” except few believe this will actually help bring peace to the region and most think it will raise tensions. More than half the representatives from various countries did not attend the opening.

A minor woops. Ivanka Trump, with microphone in hand, she beamed her 100-watt smile and welcomed the attendees on behalf of “the 45th President of the United States on America” to the “new” US Embassy in Jerusalem. If you missed it, she said “on” instead of “of”. But aside from the goof, aside from the fact that the embassy was a actually a consulate upgraded to an embassy – and it still cost US taxpayers millions to “upgrade”.

Thousands of pages were released by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The voluminous testimony and exhibits pertaining to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting tell us much about two key prongs of interest in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The first is attempted coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and the second is possible obstruction of justice regarding the investigation into that potential collusion.

Mueller’s team has informed Trump’s attorneys that they have concluded that they cannot indict a sitting president – this according to Rudy Giuliani. That conclusion is likely based on longstanding Justice Department guidelines. The inability to indict a sitting president has been the position of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department since the Nixon administration and reaffirmed in the Clinton administration, but it has never been tested in court.

But Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, says he thinks Trump could be indicted, despite Giuliani expressing otherwise.

Giuliani said that Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of a potential interview with Trump from five topics to two. Giuliani claims that the President has “complete discretion to fire anybody he wants.”

Giuliani said “he [a president] can [obstruct justice], but in the case of firing a subordinate who is going to be replaced by somebody else on an active basis immediately.”

A recent New York Times report that at least one government informant met several times with Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. But Giuliani said he didn’t know for sure if there were informants embedded with the Trump campaign who spoke to federal authorities. Trump’s lawyers “were told there were two embedded people in the campaign” but where did they get their information from. Trump tweeted about the “all time greatest political scandal.”

[Giuliani is always making comments that conflict (or not verified to be factual) with what others have said. The above are further examples.]

US officials said that the confidential intelligence source was not planted inside the campaign to provide information to investigators. The identity of the informant had been closely held at the highest levels of the FBI and intelligence community, and the individual has been a source for the FBI and CIA for years.

“Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn’t commit,” Trump said.

Trump blamed Democrats for immigration laws that force federal immigration agents to break up families during a roundtable to discuss California sanctuary state policies. “I know what you’re going through right now with families is very tough. But those are the bad laws the Democrats gave us,” Trump said during the meeting with California officials.

“We have to break up families,” Trump said. Interesting since Trump has undo many Obama era laws. So why not these? As well, an odd comment since getting rid of DACA will surely split up families, let alone deporting non-Americans from the US – the estimated 11 million.

The administration is using protocols described in a 2008 law designed to combat child trafficking that gave special protections to Central American children at the border. While the bill was authored by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, it unanimously passed both houses of Congress and was signed by Republican President George W. Bush as one of his last acts in office. A democrat authored law approved by Congress and a Republican president.

“These [MS-13 gang and other criminals] aren’t people, these are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level, at a rate, that’s never happened before and because of the weak laws…” And yet he has done nothing in 16 months to fix those laws.

Trump acknowledged for the first time that he repaid his lawyer Michael Cohen more than $100,000 for expenses Cohen incurred during the 2016 presidential election, according to a financial disclosure form. The document did not explicitly state what the payments were for.

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced that it agreed with the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Tell me something we don’t know…..

There goes Trump’s Nobel Prize. North Korea has threatened to cancel the planned summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, saying the US should carefully consider the fate of the upcoming meeting, in view of what it calls “provocative military disturbances with South Korea.” What they mean is the annual joint military drill conducted by South Korea and the US.

Trump reported on his financial disclosure, filed with the US Office of Government Ethics and released Wednesday, that his golf-related revenue made him about $67 million less in 2017 in comparison with 2016. Trump carries as much as $1.25 billion in mortgages that will mature in the next five to seven years for three of his golf courses.

A man who opened fire at the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami had been yelling “anti-Trump … rhetoric” there. The gunman is in stable condition after police shot him in an exchange of gunfire.

Previously, at the White House, Kelly Sadler, an aide to Trump “joked” that John McCain’s opposition to CIA nominee Gina Haspel was largely immaterial because “he’s dying anyway.” The Trump White House has refused to apologize for the remark. Now the White House is saying that is a secondary matter and are claiming that the real problem is that information was leaked from the meeting. Seriously? After how many days they came up with this excuse.

Then Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Conservative Union and husband of White House adviser Mercedes Schlapp, said on CNN’s “New Day” that Sadler is “a little bit of a victim here.” Yes. You read right. And still, she hasn’t apologized except to McCain’s daughter.

Christopher Wylie, a former Cambridge Analytica employee who blew the whistle on its alleged misuse of Facebook data, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the company offered services to discourage voting from targeted sections of the American population. He alleged that African-Americans were particular targets of Cambridge Analytica’s “voter disengagement tactics,.

“Mr. Bannon sees cultural warfare as the means to create enduring change in American politics. It was for this reason Mr. Bannon engaged SCL (Cambridge Analytica’s parent company), a foreign military contractor, to build an arsenal of informational weapons he could deploy on the American population,” Wylie claimed, referring to Trump’s former top political adviser Steve Bannon.

Cambridge Analytica is under investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI. The probe into the firm has led to prosecutors querying its former employees and banks that handled its business dealings.

Andrew Hughes, 32, who is now serving in a powerful senior level position as chief of staff to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, is a former Uber driver who lacks any government, policy and relevant experience at the agency. The department’s deputy chief of staff, Deana Bass, is leaving in June. She was Carson’s press secretary for his badly failed 2016 presidential campaign.

Not really surprising because Carson himself is a medical doctor with no government experience prior to taking the reins of HUD. Meanwhile nominees for three key assistant secretary slots have not yet been confirmed – 16 months after the election.

Trump has characteristically taken to Twitter to announce that he has directed the US Department of Commerce to allow ZTE to operate again as there are mounting job losses in China. ZTE said it was ceasing “major operating activities” due to export sanctions placed on it by the US government, after the Department of Commerce said ZTE lied to the Bureau of Industry and Security about disciplinary actions supposedly enforced on senior employees relating to the illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea, and paid full bonuses to employees who had engaged in illegal conduct.

So Trump decides that what ZTE was doing wasn’t so illegal. On top of that Trump seems to be caring more about Chines jobs than US jobs. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in April “ZTE misled the Department of Commerce. Instead of reprimanding ZTE staff and senior management.” So that went out the window. The company was subsequently slapped with a ban on purchasing components and software from US manufacturers for seven years.

Bill Gates talked recently about when he first met Trump. In one case, Trump didn’t know the difference between HPV and HIV. In another case he left a horse show only to return 20 minutes later ” o make a grand entrance in a helicopter”.

While still pathetically low for a president, Trump’s approval ratings have actually went up slightly in 3 areas 50-64 year olds and oddly those who weekly attend church and those who seldom or never attend church. At 42% it is around the same percentage when President Obama had his two lowest approval ratings [2011 near shutdown and a 2013 shutdown] as well a President G.W. Bush [right after Hurricane Katrina].

The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker blog has been keeping a strict count of Trump’s many misstatements, untruths and outright lies. And, over the weekend at a rally in Michigan, Trump hit a milestone: He topped 3,000 untrue or misleading statements in 466 days in office. Averaging 6.5 per day, over the past 2 months he’s averaged 9 per day.

“Girls. We left open the first female President of the United States if you want it.” Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway said to pre-teen children at the White House during Easter. So the US could have to wait probably at least 40 years before the first female president?

Rachel Crooks, who alleged that Donald Trump kissed her without her consent in 2005 when she was working as a receptionist in Trump Tower, secured her primary bid for state office in Ohio.

 

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No action from the Trump administration on guns

About 3 weeks ago, 17 people – mostly teenagers – were murdered at a Florida school buy an unstable individual.

Donald Trump and other politicians had promised that there will be changes but aside from some token responses from various states [ban bump stock, increase the age to purchase a gun], the federal government has failed to do anything other than blowing hot air.

On the day after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, Trump told confidants and aides that he was moved to do something his predecessors had failed to do. Like? We are waiting. {tap. Tap.]

Trump has already at least partially backed away from raising the age limit to 21 years old for any gun. As it is you can buy an assault rifle [such as the AR-15 model that was used in the shootings] at the age of 18 but for a hand gun, you need to wait until 21.

Then we have the problem of trying to keep guns away from those who are mentally unstable. Even the NRA is against this arguing that any American has the right to bear arms even if not quite all there. They also thing those of lower age than 16 should also be able to use a gun – and yet they can’t vote which is guaranteed under the constitution.

Trump and most Republicans had campaigned during the primaries and election campaign with policies that mirrored the NRA’s stances on guns.

Remember that the Republicans control the House and Senate and all but 6 of these Republican politicians received money from the NRA [some of them in the millions over their political life]. You think they want to cut off their food source by voting on something that goes against the NRA’s policies?

Trump gives a no confidence vote to the FBI and DoJ

House Republicans, with the approval of Donald Trump, released a disputed GOP intelligence memo that alleges FBI abuses of its surveillance authority. The memo from the GOP and House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes alleges that then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee that no surveillance warrant would have been sought for a Trump campaign aide without a disputed opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia.

The memo alleges that ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele had an anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations that were not included in the FISA application. Senior DOJ officials knew about Steele’s anti-Trump bias, according to the memo. Nunes admits he did not read the FISA applications before writing the memo.

A FISA court granted a warrant to monitor former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page and approved three subsequent renewals during the Trump administration, according to the memo. A judge has to approve of the warrant and renewals which includes verifying the evidence.

The memo alleges that the FISA application cited a September 2016 Yahoo News article on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow, but the application “incorrectly assesses that Steele did not provide information to Yahoo News. … The article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo news,” the memo states. They and discussed quid-pro-quo deals relating to sanctions, business opportunities and Russia’s interference in the election.

The Nunes memo glaringly omits any revelation of what other supporting information might have been submitted to the FISA judge, choosing instead to focus on cherry-picked alleged omissions.

Former FBI Director James Comey signed three applications, and McCabe and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates signed at least one. But the memo also states that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed off on at least one FISA application for Page. Rosenstein’s role in renewing the FISA warrants has sparked Trump’s ire. Dana Boente, who is currently the FBI general counsel and was appointed by Trump’s FBI director, signed off as well on one or more of the applications.

Trump believes the purported bias was a “disgrace” and said certain people should be “ashamed of themselves.” When asked whether he retained confidence in Rosenstein or if he planned to fire him, Trump said “You figure that one out.” What he is forgetting that many he is blaming were appointed by himself or his administration. This includes McCabe and Rosenstein.

Trump continues to tell his associates he believes the highly controversial Republican memo would expose bias within the agency’s top ranks and make it easier for him to argue the Russia investigations are prejudiced against him. [Must be interesting to be a FBI agent when the president of the US doesn’t trust you. Would you want to take a bullet for him?]

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff is accusing Nunes of sending a different version of the memo, crafted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, alleging FBI surveillance abuses to the White House than what the committee approved. This would now make four versions of the same memo are around.

Justice Department and intelligence community, both of which opposed the release of the document, which is based on classified intelligence.

Sen. John McCain blasted Trump for approving the release of the highly controversial GOP-Nunes memo, saying “if we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.” McCain characterized the memo and its release as “partisan attacks” on the FBI and the Department of Justice.

FBI Director Christopher Wray sent a striking signal to the White House, issuing a rare public warning that a controversial Republican memo about the FBI’s surveillance practices omits key information that could impact its veracity. Trump had already been angered by a letter that the Justice Department sent to the House Intelligence Committee last week warning the release would be “extraordinarily reckless.”

“With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

Specifically, these intelligence officials are concerned that the memo will reveal what goes into a decision to monitor targets, including what kinds of communications are targeted, and how those communications are intercepted.

Trump slammed McCabe, who has resigned, and said that he didn’t remember asking who the long-time law enforcement official voted for in 2016 in May 2017. McCabe did not vote in the 2016 presidential general election, but did vote in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. McCabe was set to leave the FBI later in the year.

The Dow closed down 666 points [hmmmm], or 2.5%, its biggest percentage decline since the Brexit turmoil in June 2016 and steepest point decline since the 2008 financial crisis. The drop is on the same day as the memo being released by the Trump administration.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley says Russia did meddle in the US election – going against Trump’s beliefs.

Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller and the Russia investigation, could be next to be fired. Trump is frustrated with the way the investigation has gone and may put the blame on him. He could argue that Rosenstein failed to scrutinize the information initially used to request the warrant and therefore didn’t do his due diligence.

The Trump administration has released a sweeping list of prominent Russian business and political figures, in defiance of Moscow and implementing a Congressional law designed to punish Russia for election meddling. It listed every senior member of the political administration at the Kremlin, and every Russian oligarch with a net worth of $1 billion or more. The administration stopped short of imposing any new punishments, saying the legislation was already doing its job.

Russia said a US Treasury report that could extend sanctions against Moscow for meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections is “a direct and obvious attempt” to interfere in its own upcoming presidential vote. They claim this because the Treasury must send Congress a list of rich Russian business figures and detail their ties to Russian President Vladimir Poutine.

Former Trump team legal spokesperson Mark Corallo had concerns that White House communications director Hope Hicks could be considering obstructing justice after a comment she reportedly made about emails between Donald Trump Jr. and Russians, according to a New York Times story. Hicks allegedly told President Donald Trump on a conference call that the Trump Jr. emails “will never get out.”

Unsure how US sanctions [in the US] affect some billionaires in Russia and their election unless the billionaires are using their US money to support Poutine. Russian elections are not for another 7 weeks or so in which Poutine is expected to easily win a fourth term in office [the main opposition leader is barred from running as he has a conviction for embezzlement, a charge that critics say is politically motivated.].

Haley is rumored to have an affair with Trump. The Grammy Awards had a skit of various celebrities who were reading from Michael Wolff’s best seller about Trump, Fire and Fury. She tweeted her disapproval over a skit involving Hillary Clinton candidate “auditioning” to perform the audio version of the book. She didn’t seem to care about the others in the skit.

Donald Trump Jr., tweeted his displeasure as well as some snark at Clinton claiming it was “a great consolation prize for losing the presidency”.

As if Trump’s end of the week wasn’t busy enough, Trump threatened to cut off aid to countries that allow drugs into the United States during a visit to the Customs and Border Protection National Training Center in Virginia. Trump specifically name-checked El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico in his criticism of countries whose citizens are coming into the United States illegally. [Maybe it’s cheaper if those countries cracked down on smuggling than him building his wall. Note that Guatemala is/was in Trump’s good graces when they agreed to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following the US’ decision].

Trump’s campaign website is offering this chance for a few seconds of fame to supporters who donate to his re-election effort. The campaign’s original pitch was $35, but a subsequent email from the Trump campaign provided a link for donors to contribute as little as $1 to have their name displayed during a livestream of President Trump’s State of the Union address.

Melania Trump went to the State of the Union before her hubby. White House Press Secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders claims it is to greet various politicians [as if she knows them by name] while the hubby can walk straight in.

Almost half of Americans who watched President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address [48%] say they had a “very positive” impression of the speech, down from 57% of speech-watchers after his first address to match Barack Obama’s rating after his first State of the Union address, according to a conducted by SSRS. There were more Republican voters who were watching the speech as SSRS conducted the poll only for those watching

Where have we heard this before? Trump said the 45.6 million people who watched his State of the Union was “the highest number in history.” Obama, Bush and Clinton had higher. He did tell the truth [for once] when he said Fox “beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in.”

Trump, in remarks at a Republican congressional retreat in West Virginia, knocked Democrats for a lack of applause or standing up during his State of the Union address and “To get it done we’ll have to make some compromises unless we elect more Republicans.”

Outside lawyers created a limited liability company called the Patriot Legal Expenses Fund Trust, which will raise money from donors to pay legal expenses for multiple individuals, according to emails between those attorneys and a government agency. This is for White House officials and former Trump campaign aides embroiled in the Russia investigation.

It will “pay for or help defray legal expenses, which can include attorneys’ fees, court filing fees, litigation costs or other related fees and costs,” according to a draft document.

This week was so busy [particularly with the memo], that expect another blog posting sometime early next week.

 

GOP civil war with Trump

Donald Trump tweeted [Republican] “Senator Bob Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election” with Trump saying no and Trump said Corker would drop out when Corker had previously said he’d retire but Trump wanted him back. Then Trump tweeted “He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.’ He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!” Does this mean current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on the way out?

As another rip into Corker, Trump tweeted “Didn’t have the guts to run!” Corker has run 3 times and a senator for 10. Trump? After the final Tweet [for now from Trump, Corker tweeted “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.”

Trump is a President who is acting “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something,” said Corker later. Trump is setting the country “on the path to World War III.”

Mike Pence left a football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after some players knelt during the National Anthem, saying he did not want to “dignify” the event. Some are suggesting that it was a staged plan. They knew that some players would take the knee while Pence was in attendance. This short stay in Indianapolis cost an extra $180,000 as he  made a detour to see the game only to leave before the game started.

The pool of journalists accompanying the vice president were not allowed into the stadium and were asked to stay in their vans. They were told by a staffer that “there may be an early departure from the game.” So another hint that the stunt was expected.

Trump opened up the kneeing controversy again last week by tweeting “Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!” before this weekend upcoming games. He tweeted this within 24 after the Las Vegas killings. Doesn’t he have better things to do?

Now after a deal was struck regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, Trump decided to change the terms of the deal. Those measures include provisions to make it harder for unaccompanied minors to enter the country illegally, money for the President’s border wall and cuts to legal immigration. Trump has said the new requirements must pass.

So Trump is still trying to get additional funding for his wall and at the same time add other issues. Unsure if he wants the DACA issue settled at all and looks like he wants to scuttle it.

Trump tweeted that nothing has been done regarding North Korea for the past 25 year. Well, it’s probably been quite a bit more than 25 years that they were a threat. Then he claimed that “…massive amounts of money paid” presumably by the US to North Korea. But why? The US wasn’t going to give that country money if they are dumping sanctions on them.

Trump didn’t seem to want to go to Puerto Rico, spend a night somewhere [where US warships are nearby – wouldn’t he be safe enough] and then visit the US Virgin Islands. Instead he visited just Puerto Rico. Mike Pence went to the US Virgin Islands.

Errr. Trump claimed that when he threw the paper towels in Puerto Rico, the people wanted them because they were soft. Seriously?

Ken Starr, the former independent counsel whose investigation of former President Bill Clinton’s real-estate investments and extramarital affair led to Clinton’s impeachment, said that he has “a sense” there will be indictments in the federal investigation into allegations of possible collusion by the Trump campaign in Russia’s efforts to influence last year’s election.

After it happened on Facebook, Google has identified tens of thousands of dollars in ad buys by Russian accounts that used YouTube or Google advertising to try to spread misinformation and sow discord in American politics.

Trump is still complaining about wanting to get “equal time” – probably because all of the investigations are against him, late night comedians, various newspapers, etc. All Trump can get support is from Fox News and various [if lucky] second rate web sites. I am sure just about any network has told Trump that he can come onto their network at any time.

According to the New York Times, Trump has states 1145 false information comments in his first 232 days or almost averaging 5 per day.

Since the Trump administration can’t get the Affordable Care Act repealed, they are trying to sabotage the ACA by shortening the enrollment period and cutting the marketing funds that would let the public know about it.

Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the spring, dines with one coal company at lunch and then with another coal company for supper at the BLT Prime, a steakhouse inside the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Before that, Pruitt met privately with top executives and lobbyists from General Motors to talk about their request to block an Obama administration move to curb emissions that contribute to climate change.

Since he took over, from February through May, he has had briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates — and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates.

Some of these same companies and trade associations were allies of Pruitt when, as Oklahoma’s attorney general, he sued the EPA at least 14 times to try to block rules he is now in charge of enforcing. Yes. This is the Trump administration in action!

After well-known Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein got into trouble with alleged sexual assaults against actresses and underlings over a number of years, Trump was asked his opinion. He said that he has known Weinstein for “many years” and then said he was not surprised. Nice way to through a supposedly friend under the bus. We’re not surprised at his comments. [It is known rumor in Hollywood that Weinstein has a history of allegations of sexual assaults and similar problems.]

Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani rejected Ivanka Trump’s invitation to talk about her computer science education initiative. She I a daughter of a refugee and disliked the initial and other travel bans. Ivanka Trump referenced Saujani’s success story in her book, “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success.” In the tweet, Saujani said: “don’t use my story in #WomenWhoWork unless you are going to stop being #complicit.” So when Donald Trump directed the Education Department to invest a minimum of $200 million in grant funding annually to STEM and computer science education, Ivanka Trump met with corporate partners and nonprofits in Detroit. Girls Who Code was not invited.

Melania Trump chose Places You’ll Go!, which she read with her son, Barron, “over and over” when he was younger and nine other Dr. Seuss titles to send to an elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in celebration of “National Read a Book Day.” But a librarian at Cambridgeport School refused to accept the gift, criticizing Trump administration education policies and images in the books. Seuss’ illustrations are “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes,” said librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro.

Trump should instead be devoting resources to schools in “underfunded and underprivileged communities” that are “marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.” Critics view DeVos, a billionaire who has worked for decades to promote school choice, or alternatives to traditional public schools, as one of the most anti-public-education secretaries in the department’s history.

The Department of Education chose one high-achieving school in every state to receive a package of books from Trump, according to a statement from the White House. The Cambridge school system released a statement saying the librarian “was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district.”

The State Department is using longstanding but discretionary policy to ensure that evacuees are shouldered with the transportation costs, which according to the website are based off of “the price of the last commercial one-way, full-fare (not discounted) economy ticket prior to the crisis.” Evacuees who surrender their passports under this system don’t see them returned until payment is received.

“We’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and in Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico,” Trump said. Uh huh. Who did the grading?

Job openings in the United States reached a record high in July at 6.17 million, according to Labor Department data. Manufacturing had nearly 400,000 openings; construction 232,000; education and health 1.1 million; finance and insurance 270,000; retail 625,000. So jobs are available for various levels of education – not just for people with university degrees.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed September 5, noting that 950,000 African Americans and 870,000 Hispanics in the same age group as DACA recipients were unemployed. “Those are large groups of people that are unemployed that could possibly have those jobs.” Or maybe those 1.7 million people are not interested in the same jobs as the DACA recipients [r are they really looking]. It is this thought that Trump claims that he would want to deport the DACA recipients but with 6.17 million jobs available….

But in September, for the first time in 7 years, there were job lost. After forecasting initially 90,000 jobs gained, 30,000 were lost.

Trump’s approval rating has once again reached 40%, while earning high marks for his handling of the government’s response to recent hurricanes, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. A broad 64% of Americans say they approve of how Trump’s government reacted to the recent storms, including two in three independents (66%). Nine in 10 Republicans support his reaction (90%), and even Democrats are evenly divided on Trump’s response to the crises, with 44% both approving and disapproving.

Half say they disapprove of Trump’s handling of the situation with North Korea (50%) vs. four in 10 who say they approve (41%) — little changed from Trump’s rating in August on the topic. Trump’s rating on health care remains low at just 31% approval during the Senate’s last-ditch push to pass a reform bill. Overall, 55% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s job performance.

Ivana Trump, Donald’s first wife and mother of his oldest 3 children, release a book on her life with him and called herself the “First Lady” in an interview. Let’s just say Melania wasn’t too thrilled.

 

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.

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.