Trump definitely back to “normal”

Addressing the general assembly of the United Nation, while scripted, Donald Trump was not even diplomatic calling North Korea’s Kim Jun Un “Rocket Man” – which was only added in the morning of the speech. He went after North Korea saying the US would “totally destroy North Korea” if forced to defend itself or its allies. He said while the US has “great strength and patience,” its options could soon run out.

“It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a nation but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world,” he said.

He also went after Iran saying the Iran nuclear deal all but dead, saying it was an “embarrassment” to the United States. He even suggested that Iranians should overthrow the regime.

After slamming the United Nations over the past few years, Trump finally visited the UN and was a bit more diplomatic – of course as he was reading from a script and not winging it. Of course he went after countries who weren’t pulling their weight of paying the UN costs for administration as well as military campaigns. [Was it just me or he was using his finger as an index when reading his script?]

At a lunch, in a speech Trump said “Africa has tremendous business potential, I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you, they’re spending a lot of money. It has tremendous business potential, representing huge amounts of different markets.” Hmmm. Looks like he is promoting more of how to make a load of money in Africa [stealing their resources] than helping the continent. Feels a whole lot like the colonialism of the continent by European powers in the latter part of the 19th century.

“Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient,” Trump said approvingly at one point. But there is no Nambia. Was he merging Zambia and Namibia together or just mispronounced Namibia as “Nambia”!!! [Zambia and Namibia do share a common border in a thin enclave barely 75 km wide in some areas.]

Trump said he has “decided” how he is going to proceed on the Iran nuclear deal struck by the Obama administration that he has long derided. But for whatever dumb reason that is floating up there, he has decided not to make it public. “Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it — believe me,” is what he said during his UN speech.

The Republicans are trying to squeak through the legislation being championed by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana by in a last-ditch attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare before their window to do so closes at the end of the month. But already, the current version won’t be endorsed by Senator John McCain.

Of the 50 states at least the 34 that would receive less federal dollars under Graham-Cassidy and that should worry Republican politicians. Among the states that would lose billions in federal funding: Pennsylvania ($6 billion), Ohio ($9 billion), Colorado ($6 billion) and Michigan ($8 billion). Those are all states Trump won in 2016. New data suggests that the Graham-Cassidy bill – if passed in its current form – would cut federal money to states by $215 billion over the next decade.

“I would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of preexisting conditions. It does! A great Bill. Repeal & Replace,” Trump tweeted. But just as in Obamacare, insurers could not turn away those with preexisting conditions. But it would leave it up to the states whether to continue other protections.

States could opt to once again allow carriers to base premiums on a person’s medical history and to sell skimpier policies that don’t cover Obamacare’s 10 essential health benefits. Also, insurers would be able to cap the amount they would pay for treatment outside of what their states deem an essential health benefit.

As if Trump doesn’t have enough battle fronts, he went after sports – particularly the National Football League and the national Basketball Association – criticized the NFL broadly and athletes who kneel during the national anthem specifically.

Trump said that if fans would “leave the stadium” when players kneel in protest during the national anthem, “I guarantee, things will stop.”

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said at a rally.

Trump also said NFL ratings are down “massively”. As usual he exaggerated as the ratings are only down modestly. He also criticized the NFL’s efforts to make the game safer for athletes.

Seattle Seahawk’s cornerback Richard Sherman responded on Twitter saying “The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!!”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Trump’s criticism of NFL players kneeling in protest during the National Anthem show a “lack of respect” for the league and its players.

“Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn! Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!” Trump tweeted after Golden State Warrior’s Curry decided not to go to The White House as is traditionally done when major sports teams are invited to be congratulated by the current president.

Opponents of Trump accused him of failing to respect the First Amendment rights of Americans. Most of the athletes that are protesting are African-American. Analysts are now predicting further on-the-field protests at games.

The Trump administration will unveil more tailored restrictions on travelers from certain countries as a replacement to the controversial travel ban which expires on Sunday [waiting to the last moment again?]. The new restrictions will vary by country. They could include a ban on travel to the United States, or new restrictions on obtaining a visa for citizens of particular countries.

Even now, Trump is still telling supporters that any Russian interference is a “hoax” even though three congressional probes are looking into this “hoax” and the Facebook ads that were clearly anti-Hillary Clinton during the election period were from Russian-linked accounts. He still whined in a tweet “What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?” It seems while Clinton has got over the election, he hasn’t.

Trump slammed Hillary Clinton over her new book “What Happened” earlier this week too, tweeting that she “blames everybody (and every thing) but herself for her election loss.” You think he actually read it because she does admin at least some guilt.

Democrats say they are planning to look into a report about Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price taking five work-related trips on private jets last week, costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars more than had he flown commercial. Price – who has vowed to cut wasteful spending in his agency –traveled to a resort in Maine where he was part of a discussion with a health care industry CEO, as well as community health centers in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania

The Education Department announced it is formally rescinding Obama-era guidance on how schools should handle sexual assaults under Title IX federal law. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos [picked by Trump] announced earlier this month that her department was concerned that previous guidance denied proper due process to those accused.

Trump signed another one of his many executive orders. This one has Treasury Department authorities to target individuals who provide goods, services or technology to North Korea. The order also bans ships and aircraft that have visited North Korea from entering the United States for 180 days.

After Trump took some hits by the host and winners at this week’s Emmy awards, Trump tweeted “lowest ratings ever”. But of course, this is Trump. Not the lowest ever.

Someone claiming to be the President of the US retweets an animated GIF. More childish antics from him. Clinton actually tripped. “Video” spliced together and the ball hitting Clinton was added.

In Zagreb, Croatia, billboards went up with the face of Melania Trump with the background of the American flag and the phrase “Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English”. But Trump’s image was used without permission. On Tuesday, the signs came down under the threat of a lawsuit by the first lady’s lawyers. The billboards advertised a local language school.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked the White House about the possibility of using a government jet for his European honeymoon this summer but later withdrew the request. Mnuchin made the request to ensure he had access to secure lines of communication when he and his new wife, Louise Linton, were traveling.

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Back to normal with Trump

Another terrorist attack in London – this time in their subways with an improvised explosive device. Right away Donald Trump is adding it to another reason to have a larger travel ban. And right away, UK Prime Minister Theresa May saying “never helpful for anyone to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.” There is no indication at this time whether the bomber are foreign. UK has had some British-born citizens who have been behind various terrorist attacks – aside from the days of the IRA.

Trump even tweeted/whined that it was done not far from Scotland Yard [the rough equivalent of the FBI]. “Must be proactive!” Hmmm. London has the second more CCTVs than any city in the world but they can’t be everywhere.

Trump didn’t seem to rush to comment about the Charlottesville on US soil but did for London this time – and at least the last time when there was a terrorist attack not on US soil.

Trump said that building a wall along the US-Mexico border will come after a deal to help children brought to the United States illegally by their parents – DACA. “the wall is going to be built (and) it will be funded a little bit later.”

Later Trump, in Florida to view damage from Hurricane Irma, said he is not looking at “citizenship” or “amnesty” but that they are “looking at allowing people to stay here.” He added: “If we don’t have the wall, we are doing nothing.” This sort of contradicts his other statement.

The comments come hours after Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi announced that they had agreed to the framework for a deal to protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants in the United States that would also include a border security package that did not fund the wall along the border. The agreement was struck over dinner of Chinese food and chocolate pie at the White House on Wednesday night.

Trump pushed back on Twitter, saying that no final deal had been struck because a “No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent.” As usual from Trump – vague.

Trump also said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan were on board with his plan after he spoke with them. But Ryan, however, has not spoken to Trump since the last night’s dinner. The day after, Ryan says Trump’s meeting with Pelosi and Schumer “was a discussion, not an agreement or a negotiation.”

Conservative Ann Coulter tweeted after the plan was announced “At this point, who DOESN’T want Trump impeached?”

Rep. Steve King, arguably the most anti-immigrant member of Congress, tweeted that if there is a deal “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.” He added “Amnesty is a pardon for immigration law breakers coupled with the reward of the objective of their crime” – except they were children when they entered the US. It was their patents that broke the law.

Trump ally Sean Hannity added, “Weak R’s have betrayed voters. @POTUS needs to stay the course and keep his promises or it’s over! Pelosi and Schumer can never be trusted.”

House Democrats sent special counsel Robert Mueller what they say is evidence that former national security adviser Michael Flynn failed to disclose a trip he took to the Middle East to explore a business deal with the Saudi government and a Russian government agency. It is illegal under federal law to knowingly falsify or conceal relevant information from a security clearance form.

Trump said “we’ve had bigger storms than this” after Hurricane Irma devastated the Caribbean and parts of the south-east. Prior to it coming he tweeted “Hurricane Irma is of epic proportion, perhaps bigger than we have ever seen” and “Hurricane looks like largest ever recorded in the Atlantic!” Yes – Trump the hurricane expert.

The U.S. Department of Commerce in April imposed tariffs on Canadian softwood [i.e. lumber] imports after agreeing with the U.S. Lumber Coalition that Canada was unfairly subsidizing its lumber producers, an allegation Canada denies. Trump of course sided with the coalition. Since then cost of building a house or a large building has increased because there is a smaller supply of lumber in the US. But after the two recent hurricanes, America will need plenty of lumber. Most of the devastation came from house made mostly of lumber [because they can’t afford bricks].

Trump maintained his controversial position that people on both sides of the deadly Charlottesville clashes were at fault, one day after meeting with the lone African-American Senate Republican [Tim Scott from South Carolina] who publicly condemned him over it. Trump claimed that many people have said he had a point when he remarked that there was “blame on both sides.” Uh huh.

In a statement Scott said “Antifa is bad and should be condemned, yes, but the KKK has been killing and tormenting black Americans for centuries. There is no realistic comparison. Period.”

Meanwhile, Congress is sending a bipartisan joint resolution condemning the Charlottesville violence — as well as “white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups”– to Trump for his signature. The House passed the joint resolution by unanimous consent, a day after the Senate easily approved it. It’s embarrassing to have to force the President to approve it.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made a fresh push for Senate Republicans to change rules to make it easier to break filibusters of spending bills, echoing a similar call from President Donald Trump for the Senate to set aside long-held precedent that requires at least 60 votes for major legislation to pass. McCarthy tried and failed in 2015 to do the same.

Earlier this year, more than half of the Senate Republican conference signed a letter stating that they did not support changing the filibuster rules for legislation. This includes McConnell and Ryan. Sounds like Pro-Trump McCarthy wants to change rules when he thinks they need to be changed to fit his [or Trump’s] agenda.

A bipartisan group of senators is opposing President Donald Trump’s pick to head NASA, arguing he is a political appointee who doesn’t have the necessary experience to run the agency. Trump’s nomination is Jim Bridenstine a current GOP congressman from Oklahoma and former Navy aviator. But GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, said he supported the nomination. Figures.

Bridenstine graduated from Rice University with majors in economics, psychology and business and has an MBA from Cornell. After serving in the military, he worked a four-year stint as executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium. Running a space museum [with no science education] is not the same as running NASA.
It is interesting to note that North Korea’s missile testing has occurred with more frequency under Trump’s first 9 months than any previous presidents. Coincidence?

A pornographic video that was “liked” by Ted Cruz’s Twitter account has been removed and reported to Twitter. It’s unclear who was responsible for the like or if Cruz’s account was hacked. His communication director did not initially address how the tweet happened. Could be a hacked account but nothing else odd was tweeted. “It was a staffing issue and it was inadvertent, it was a mistake, it was not a deliberate action,” Cruz said. “We’re dealing with it internally but it was a mistake, it was not malicious conduct.” An aide to Cruz added that there would be an internal effort to figure out who was responsible.

Some of Trump’s legal team believed that his son-in-law Jared Kushner should have stepped aside before reports about his failure to disclose contacts with Russians during the transition became public this summer. Staffers had begun to prepare a statement in case Kushner did ultimately resign. Of course everything is denied.

Trump’s “Election Integrity” commission is in New Hampshire to look for evidence which is led by Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach and has scheduled a series of presentations from long-time advocates for stricter controls on voting. Kobach himself is already under fire after publishing a Breitbart op-ed in which he claimed out-of-state voters took advantage of New Hampshire’s same-day registration laws and cast fraudulent ballots that tipped the outcome of the state’s election in Clinton’s favor. So I guess Trump thinks Kobach is not biased then. And yes, New Hampshire with it’s huge population would make a difference in an election. Sarcasm.

Trump tweeted that ESPN “is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth.” What “price”? And why does he go after anyone with false comments about them [in this case programming]? Yet ESPN is the #1 cable network beating CNN and easily beating Fox News [2.5 times more viewers]. He was apparently referring to ESPN anchor Jemele Hill, who in a recent tweet said that “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”

ESPN later said that Hill’s tweets “do not represent the position of ESPN. We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate,” the network said.

Hope Hicks, who was named interim White House communications director in August, will now hold the job on a permanent basis.

Malaysia’s prime minister visited the White House and met with Trump amid a US Justice Department probe into the PM’s finances.

“Le Chateau des Palmiers,” Trump’s 11-bedroom mansion located on the Caribbean island of St. Martin was destroyed by Irma. Mar-A-Lago survived.

Some were wondering why Trump’s Mar-A-Lago wasn’t used for a shelter. It was eventually forced to evacuate. But in the end, that side of Florida did not get hit as hard.

 

Trump the “Comforter in Chief”? Nah

Trump went to Corpus Christi to view the damage and to meet state, federal and local officials. At one point said “What a crowd, what a turnout” as he remarked on the crowd size gathered to hear him speak. Does he think this was a rally? He’ll probably inflate the amount who turned out there. Corpus Christi itself had minimal damage and power has been mostly restored. He should of gone to hard hit Rockport or maybe flooded Houston.

Trump’s vow of swift action on billions of dollars in disaster aid is at odds with his proposed budget, which would eliminate the program that helps Americans without flood insurance rebuild their homes and cuts grants to states that would allow them to take long-term steps to reduce the risk of flooding before disaster strikes.

Trump’s budget for 2018 zeroes out the Community Development Block Grants. Among other things, the grants help people without flood insurance coverage rebuild their homes. In the 2017 budget, the Republican-led Congress restored some of the block grant money.

The budget proposed cutting several grant programs to states to help them reduce flood risks before a disaster strikes, as well as improve outdated flood maps to help communities plan for floods and take steps to better manage development in flood zones. All told, Trump proposed cutting such grant programs by about $900 million.

Trump pledges storm recovery “better than ever before”. Isn’t it still a rescue? Recovery is when the areas affected start rebuilding.

Trump has a history of overblowing his Twitter comments – call it sensationalism. Among his comments [where no verification of who are the “expert” or “people”, Trump tweeted “Wow – Now experts are calling Harvey a once in 500 year flood!” and “Many people are now saying that this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen.” And “Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!”

Trump’s tweets were proclaiming success before the worst of the storm had passed.

Following Hurricane Harvey, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, commended Trump for being “extremely professional”. Hmmmm.

On the first morning after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Trump’s first message of the day did not address the rising waters threatening the nation’s fourth-largest city. Instead, he pitched a book written by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, another supporter and controversial figure.

Later he went after Sen. Claire McCaskill instead of looking into Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised the federal government’s efforts to aid his state. Abbott endorsed Trump in the presidential campaign and urged fellow Republicans to do the same. Campaigning during a disaster?

The Trumps have promised to cut a $1 million check to Texas recovery efforts, has not yet determined which group or groups will receive the donation – or even if it was donated yet.

Wow. Who would of thought: Trump and FLOTUS were serving food [I wonder how long that was for] and greeting “victims” in Houston.

This could be interesting. After Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and New York in 2012, a $50.5 billion aid package was approved without the approval for any Texas Republicans [let alone any Republicans].

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed Sen. Ted Cruz morning over what he said was the Texas Republican’s double standard in opposing Superstorm Sandy relief but requesting federal aid for Texas after Hurricane Harvey.

When Trump has problems getting aid to Texas [a Republican state] he will blame the Democrats even though it won’t be just Democrats who voted against it for whatever reason.

Trump sought to reassert an American military threat against North Korea, saying that “all options are on the table” in response to its launch of a missile over close U.S. ally Japan. “Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world,” Trump said. “All options are on the table.”

Trump and his top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, went out of their way last week to credit the North’s leader for days of relative restraint. Noting that no missiles had been launched for three weeks.

Trump’s decision to pardon controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio – quietly and maybe cowardly, on a Friday night, with Hurricane Harvey set to make landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm – handed Democrats such a potent tool to turn out Latino votes that it might not matter who the GOP puts on the ballot.

He was convicted of criminal contempt last year for defying a 2011 court order to stop detaining people based on suspicion of their immigration status with no evidence those people had committed another crime.

Arizona’s senior senator, Republican John McCain, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as well as other Republicans plus Democrats came out against the pardon.

CNN had on this idiot Latino state senator on Saturday rooting for Trump, blaming everything on “the left”. What a joke! He claimed the convict [Arpaio, not Trump] did nothing wrong. Sure. You hold one specific ethnic group without charges and then defy a judge’s order. That state senator should be tossed.

Transgender service members filed suit in federal courts challenging Trump’s memorandum directing the secretary of defense to bar transgender Americans from military service and to halt the use of resources to fund “sex-reassignment” surgical procedures.

Jennifer Detlefsen, the daughter of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, is speaking out against the President’s policy banning transgender people from serving in any capacity in the military. “This man is a disgrace. I’ve tried to keep politics out of my social media feed as much as possible, but this is inexcusable.” And then “This veteran says sit down and shut the f*** up, you know-nothing, never-served piece of s***. #itmfa #wtf,” she added. ITMFA stands for “Impeach the mother f***** already.”

Trump again suggested the North American Free Trade Agreement be terminated, tweeting Sunday that both Canada and Mexico are being “very difficult and may have to terminate.” But no one really is believing him. Canadian and Mexican political leaders are shrugging it off. First round of talks completed and the delegations didn’t have any comments like this. Trumps hopes to renegotiate [or terminate] before the mid-term elections to show he has done something.

Raise your hand if you knew this was coming: The Justice Department said in a court filing that it has no evidence to support Trump’s assertion in March that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wiretapped the phones in Trump Tower before last year’s election. “Both FBI and NSD confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets,” the department’s motion reads. NSD refers to the department’s national security division.

President Obama issued an executive order in 2015 prohibiting the transfer of a host of equipment, including armored vehicles, grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons and camouflage uniforms following controversy over the “militarization” of the police response to unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Not really surprising, Trump will reverse this in another executive order.

In a bit of GOP infighting, in the Alabama’s Republican Senate race a primary runoff, it is pitting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump’s choice, Sen. Luther Strange, against Breitbart’s Steve Bannon who with other conservatives are backing another individual and to server a blow against the GOP establishment and McConnell. Could embarrass Trump if Bannon’s pick gets in.

800,000 people who could face deportation if Trump pulls the plug on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. The program gives Dreamers temporary work permits and protects them from deportation if they submit biometric data to the government, pass a background check and maintain a clean record.

The Department of Homeland Security will announce which vendors have been selected to build prototypes for President Donald Trump’s promised US-Mexico border wall, a step forward for the project after months of delays. This is for prototypes – there is still the time it will take to actually choose a design/structure and then years and billions to actually build – assuming they can get funding. DHS had originally targeted June for the beginning of construction, but the process had dragged further into the summer as the contracts were decided.

McCain issued a plea for bipartisan cooperation as Congress returns from its extended summer recess. “That has never been truer than today, when Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct,” McCain wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

The Trump administration has announced that it is ending an Obama-era rule on gender gap wage data collection, a move supported by Ivanka Trump. For a woman trying to help other women…..

Trump took the stage in Missouri to sell a tax reform plan that’s not yet complete and still lacking in detail. The bill is still in the drafting process.

Event organizer George Gigicos was told Trump no longer wanted him to work his rallies after the Trump was unhappy with his crowd size in Arizona.

Trump’s cybersecurity advisors resigned. The White House acknowledged that one quarter of the members of the National Infrastructure advisory council quit. In a group letter, they listed a broad range of reasons – from Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, to his remarks following the Charlottesville protests. It also said it wasn’t paying enough attention to cybersecurity of America’s critical systems.

In his first post-Trump administration interview, former White House counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka said former chief strategist Steve Bannon and others in their camp have been “systematically undermined” in the White House.

Gorka claimed he resigned. The White House claims he was dismissed. In any case, it was announced that he was out of the White House while Hurricane Harvey was pounding Texas [at the same time of the Arpaio pardon]. Seems the White House was trying to bury the news.

“Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in ’18. Tennessee not happy!” tweeted Trump. Corker has questioned Trump’s fitness for office.

A new poll by Pew Research shows a majority of those critics literally can’t think of one positive thing to say about what he’s doing as president so far. A broad 58% of people who disapprove of Trump’s job performance said there’s nothing they like about what he’s doing, named specific things they didn’t like instead, or, getting a little snarky, said they liked that his presidency has been ineffective so far. Another 23% didn’t answer the question.

People who approve of Trump are more willing to name concerns they have with what he’s doing. Only 11% of them say they have no concerns about what he’s doing, while another 16% say obstruction from other people concerns them. Trump’s use of Twitter tops the list of concerns among people who approve of him at 17%.

A Monmouth University poll that said six in 10 people who disapprove of Trump couldn’t imagine anything he could do to make them change their minds. For the record, six in 10 people who approved said the same thing.

Will there ever be a quiet week in Trumpland?

To end the week comes another resignation in Trump’s White House. Sebastian Gorka, an outspoken and combative defender of Donald Trump’s national security agenda, has left his position as a White House counterterrorism adviser. Considering his position, he did not play a major policymaking role, according to administration officials, and was not a member of the National Security Council. He was the former Breitbart national security editor.

Trump blamed the media in Phoenix for the widespread condemnation of his response to a Charlottesville, Virginia, protest organized by white supremacists that led to the killing of a counter-protester. He called the media “dishonest”. Blame the media? What about both Democrats and Republicans in Congress? They are following whatever the media says?

[Seriously, isn’t this just what a dictator would say. Blame the media for his problems. Only thing he hasn’t done is locked them up or executed them.] Trump often resurrects his free-wheeling 2016 campaign style, pinging insults at perceived enemies such as the media and meandering from topic to topic without a clear theme.

He skewered both of Arizona’s Republican senators – but coyly refused to mention their names [nemesis John McCain is one], describing his own restraint as “very presidential.”

Trump has lashed out at Sen. Jeff Flake, a frequent critic, using the same language in the past. He sided with Flake’s competitor in the mid-term elections even though it is 14 months away.

CNN listed 57 “outrageous” comments Trump said in his speech. Too many to mention here.

Trump has threatened to blow up NAFTA less than one week into the renegotiation of the trade agreement. “Personally, I don’t think we can make a deal,” Trump told a campaign-style rally in Arizona. “Because we have been so badly taken advantage of.” Hmmm. Not according to the experts who say the US has done quite well with the current deal with the only major hiccup being the tribunal to decide trade disputes.

It’s been a couple of weeks since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke with Trump even though Trump said they did recently. Hmmm. The last time, there was a shouting match. Trump continues to slam McConnell for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

A key moment in their public feud came earlier this month when McConnell told an audience in Kentucky that Trump had “excessive expectations” when it came to legislating, a statement that drove Trump to publicly attack McConnell’s leadership and Senate rules on Twitter.

Over the last several months, Trump has also threatened McConnell’s rank-and-file members, putting individual members’ re-elections and McConnell’s majority at risk.

Trump tweeted “I requested that Mitch M [McConnell] & Paul R [Ryan] tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval.” Unsure what one has to do with the other but one could drag down the other.

Trump suggested night that he would be willing to risk a shutdown if he didn’t get funding to build his long-promised border wall. Now this is Trump. Unknown if he is serious as he has threatened before and the threats whimpered out. Speaker Paul Ryan rejected a threat by Trump to shut down the government to force Congress to approve funding for a border wall with Mexico.

If Congress fails to increase the debt ceiling before the beginning of October, the federal government could struggle to pay nearly 25% of the country’s bills for the month. The Bipartisan Policy Center calculates that Treasury would fall short by $80 billion in October [$347 billion normally spent per month]. Credit ratings agency Fitch said it would review the United States’ sterling AAA credit rating “if the debt limit is not raised in a timely manner prior to the so-called ‘X date’ [the first day that Treasury won’t have enough money on hand to pay all the bills due that day].”

Terminating NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] would put any industries in Canada, US and Mexico into turmoil, including the auto industry, lumber and even shipping items across the border by container. The other sides know that it is a threat but doubt if it will improve a US deal. Others say just more whining from Trump like a spoiled little child.

An international economic law professor and former State Department lawyer said he believes it would ultimately end up in court where U.S. courts would ultimately conclude that the president can’t rip up NAFTA without congressional support. That’s because Trump can’t just erase the 1994 NAFTA Implementation Act passed by Congress. Only Congress can pass laws. In addition, the U.S. Constitution makes clear that Congress has power over international commerce. So more hot air for nothing. All show and no tell.

McConnell has said that the US actually has a trade surplus. So he doesn’t know why Trump would claim that various trade deals currently in use are not good for the US.

Trump laid out goals for the war in Afghanistan, saying he will not announce dates or troop levels but “from now on victory will have a clear definition.” During the election campaign, he kept on saying that he would pull troops from Afghanistan. He also contradicted himself on whether the war should have been fought. Now he will be adding.

Trump said a rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan is not feasible, pointing to the lessons the US learned from Iraq, where a vacuum allowed ISIS to grow in the wake of the American withdrawal from that country.

Trump was in Arizona and had discussed a pardon for Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, who was found guilty of criminal contempt of court when he defied a judge’s order in a case involving racial profiling. Arpaio was accused of disregarding a 2011 order from a federal district judge prohibiting deputies from detaining people simply because of immigration offenses.

Well Trump did pardon Arpaio. A pardon could deepen the racial wounds exposed recently and compound Trump’s political problems.

“Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” Trump asked during the Aug. 13 Fox News interview. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”

The ACLU tweeted: “No, President Trump. Arpaio was not ‘just doing his job.’ He was violating the Constitution and discriminating against Latinos.”

Very odd people seem to support Trump. Case in point is “Michael the Black Man” in Phoenix. He has appeared in probably all Trump events since during the elections and generally gets to stand a bit behind Trump with his sign “Blacks for Trump”. He once belonged to a black supremacist who was acquitted in the early 1990s in 14 murders and firebombing and later acquitted in 2 murders. He has called president Obama “The Beast”, Hillary Clinton belongs to the KKK and Oprah Winfrey is the devil.

The Washington Post has been keeping track of how many false or misleading claims by Trump. He hit 1,000 on August 4th or 5th and now stands at 1,057.

The Trump administration has halted a study of the health effects of a common mining technique in Appalachia, which is believed to deposit waste containing toxic minerals in ground waters. “The Trump Administration is dedicated to responsibly using taxpayer dollars and that includes the billions of dollars in grants that are doled out every year by the Department of the Interior,” the statement said.

Secret service can’t afford to protect Trump’s family. More than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances — which were meant to last the entire year.

In Trump’s administration, 42 people have protection, which includes 18 members of his family — an increase from the 31 people who had Secret Service protection in Obama’s administration.

In April, CNN reported that Trump’s travel to his private club in Florida has cost more than an estimated $20 million in his first 80 days in office, putting the President on pace to surpass former President Barack Obama’s eight years of spending on travel — in only his first year in office.

In 2014, Trump tweeted: “We pay for Obama’s travel so he can fundraise millions so Democrats can run on lies. Then we pay for his golf.”

New York City megachurch pastor A.R. Bernard said he left Trump’s unofficial evangelical advisory board after having distanced himself for several months as “it became obvious that there was a deepening conflict in values between myself and the administration.” The remainder of the board haven’t left.

The Trump administration has fired another shot at the scientific community, this time dismantling a federal 15-member advisory committee on climate change. It was done cowardly by Email.

Hillary Clinton has released some excerpts of her new book “What Happened” that goes though the elections last year. Clinton says Donald Trump’s pacing, hovering demeanor onstage during an October 2016 presidential debate made her so uncomfortable “my skin crawled.” Of note, excerpts of Clinton reading from the book had aired on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Yes. The same couple Trump went after a while back.

White House director of rapid response Andrew Hemming became the latest communications and former Republican National Committee staffer to depart the Trump administration. Hemming’s role involved circulating positive news articles, often from conservative media outlets, about the Trump administration to reporters.

Egypt’s top diplomat was to meet with Kushner and the U.S. delegation, but a modified version of the minister’s schedule showed the meeting had been called off, shortly after the Americans landed in Cairo.

The protest came after the Trump administration on Tuesday cut nearly $100 million in military and economic aid to Egypt and delayed almost $200 million more in military financing, pending human rights improvements and action to ease harsh restrictions on civic and other non-governmental groups.

At a show in Madison Square Garden in new York City during an encore, Billy Joel & Patty Smyth sing “Goodbye To You” with images of Stephen Bannon, Sean “Garlic” Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci and others on the big screens.

9 scheduled events at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago have been canceled since Trump’s original comments about Charlottesville. Included are those from The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, and The American Cancer Society.

Interesting that when it was announced on Wall Street that Steve Bannon had resigned, there was quite a big cheer by traders at the New York Stock Exchange.

With this past weekend protests, Trump flip flopped even in tweets. First he whined about the [anti-racist] “anti-police antagonists” in Boston and then shortly after praised those same people for going against racism, bigotry, etc.

German police say they have seized thousands of tablets of the party drug ecstasy in the shape of Donald Trump’s head, a haul with an estimated street value of $45,900. Yikes!

Another wicked week with Trump

Wow. Never though a week in Washington could get any nuttier. But it did.

Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is out of the White House. Breitbart, in a report, claims Bannon handed in his resignation on August 7th. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Bannon’s departure, but claimed the decision for him to leave was mutual.

Seems like he doesn’t like to play with fellow staffers and has already been at odds with Chief of Staff John Kelly. His job was on the line in April after Trump grew frustrated with his inability to cooperate and work with others. The chilling came as Bannon fought with Jared Kushner, a top Trump aide and Trump’s son-in-law. He also had run ins with chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and other more moderate members. Good riddance.

Bannon dismisses the ratcheting up of tensions stemming from North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile activity as “just a sideshow” and argues there is “no military solution” to the growing crisis. Trump was furious with his chief strategist after he was quoted in an interview with the American Prospect contradicting Trump on North Korea and asserting that Bannon was able to make personnel changes at the State Department.

Meanwhile, Bannon’s rivals inside the White House and some of the Trump’s outside advisers, including the conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch had urged Trump to fire Bannon.

In a bit of a surprise [considering where he came from], Bannon also offered criticism of white nationalists in the interview, rebuking them as “losers” and a “fringe element” in days just prior to leaving. This after a period of time where he had kept very quiet on things that were happening. This could be the period after the day he handed in his resignation.

The initial plan was to fire Bannon and then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at same time but Trump was told not to do so from a faction in the Republican party.

Bannon had advocated that the president delve into racial issues and applauded Trump’s widely criticized handling of the Charlottesville situation.

Following news of Bannon’s exit, he returned to Breitbart immediately, who started to prepare stories critical of people in the Trump White House. It’s most likely the site will not directly attack Trump, but will focus its fire on people in Trump’s circle who had clashed with Bannon, or who are viewed as Democrats, soft Republicans or “globalists.”

At one point Bannon said this “presidency was over”. Already Breitbart went after Trump after Trump went after Attorney General Jeff sessions – who is very popular with the alt-right media outlet.

The move also will bolster Bannon’s rivals within the administration, including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and top economic aide Cohn. His departure strengthens Kelly, who has sought to better organize a West Wing known for chaos and disorder.

Sebastian Gorka, a Bannon ally who previously worked with him at Breitbart News, also faces possible removal from his post as a counter-terrorism aide to Trump.

Trump himself said goodbye to Bannon in a tweet and then made a comment about the campaign and “Crooked Hillary Clinton”. That is all he seems to call her. Meanwhile to describe Trump would take quite a few tweets to do.

A car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against a white nationalist rally last Saturday in Charlottesville, killing one person, hurting at least two dozen more and ratcheting up tension in an increasingly violent confrontation.

Trump condemned “in the strongest possible terms” what he called an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” after the clashes. He later read a scripted page before going off script and talking about how great the economy is doing in the US. Huh? Trump also failed to call it what it is – domestic terrorism.

At no time did Trump mentioned white supremacy and yet he said “on both sides”. The anti-racist demonstrators were peacefully demonstrating. The car’s drive is obviously not one of those. Trump tried to say that these kind of issues were around long before he was in charge. But many are saying Trump himself has elevated the issue by allowing violence like this, bombings of mosques, desecration of Jewish cemeteries and other actions go unpunished.

Over 24 hours later, there was a statement released by the White House saying Trump “condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups”. But it was not “signed” by anyone which eliminates an individual’s responsibility for its truthfulness and often undercuts its significance.

Trump says the groups protesting against white supremacists in Charlottesville, were “also very violent.” Trump is calling those protesters the “alt-left.” He says there is “blame on both sides”. Trump says some of the facts about the deadly violence in Charlottesville still aren’t known. Like?

Trump denounced the removal of monuments to Confederate figures. “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it.” Removing a statue or plaque doesn’t change history.

“Before I make a statement, I wait for the facts” was why Trump claimed it took him over two days to respond. Seriously?

“Changing history. Changing culture” is what Trump said regarding taking down statues and plaques. The history is there.

Descendants of both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are OK with the removal of the statues of their relatives.

Almost a week after the rioting and killing Trump still hasn’t spoken to the Charlottesville mayor. A White House representative claim that Trump is waiting for the right time…. Like never. The victim’s step-mother doesn’t want to speak to Trump.

Trump also claimed that the alt-right actually had permits while those against them didn’t. He claimed to have one of the largest wineries in the United States [but of course how many works at the winery aren’t Americans].

Some of the senior staffers in the administration from Vice President Mike Pence and on down claimed that Trump did condemn those groups. But unless they were interpreting Trump’s Saturday’s comments, that wasn’t specifically aimed at those groups.

During the elections Trump was claiming that both President Obama and Hillary Clinton would not say the words radical Islamic terrorism – and yet he couldn’t condemn by name the groups involved in Charlottesville.

Trump’s homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, defended the president’s initial statement by suggesting that some of the counter-protesters were violent, too. Only after pushed on, Bossert included the various hate groups. Was it so hard?

Trump’s initial comments drew praise from the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, which wrote: “Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. … No condemnation at all.” The Daily Stormer lost their domain provider [GoDaddy] after showing an article on their web site about the derogatory story about the woman killed in Charlottesville.

But some of the white nationalists cited Trump’s victory as validation for their beliefs, and Trump’s critics pointed to Trump’s racially tinged rhetoric as exploiting the nation’s festering racial tension. Former KKK leader David Duke said the far right and other white supremacists had voted for Trump in the November elections.

Trump plagiarized a racist web site by claiming what will the left go after next? Slave owners? Some of the early US presidents were also slave owners.

A Twitter handle identified as “@MikeHolden42” tweeted to Trump “He’s a fascist, so not unusual.” The user suggested in subsequent tweets that he was calling Trump a fascist, not another individual. Trump retweeted the message to his massive following, triggering an avalanche of replies. @MikeHolden42 responded: “I’m announcing my retirement from Twitter. I’ll never top this RT.” After about 5 minutes, Trump deleted his retweet. Trump has a tendency to retweet things not taking a good look at what they are about.

Someone tweeted: “White supremacists are bad & wrong. There. Just copy & paste this, @POTUS. That’s all we need from you right.” Too hard for Trump.

And what did trump do the day after Charlottesville? Released [already] a campaign re-election ad. Does he think people will like this or that he will get elected? He still has to with the party’s candidacy in 3 years.

A personal lawyer to Trump, John Dowd, forwarded an email comparing Confederate General Robert E. Lee to founding President George Washington, and saying that the activist movement Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups”. The email was originally written by Jerome Almon, an online writer and government conspiracy theorist.

Trump had promised a “pretty big press conference”. Instead he was using a teleprompter so he wouldn’t go off script and say something [as usual] that is wrong. After reading, he walked away. Journalists and historians all agree that a “press conference” is a structured, seated event. That’s not what Trump did. His last actual press conference was 5 months ago.

Trump started the “press conference” by talking about the economy saying “Our economy is now strong. The stock market continues to hit record highs, unemployment is at a 16-year low and businesses are more optimistic than ever before….” Wasn’t this about Charlottesville? Trump almost didn’t seem to feel like he needed to give the follow-up remarks because he had already said it just fine the day of the riot.

Trump condemned the terrorist attack in Barcelona within hours, but resurfacing a myth about a general using pig’s blood on bullets to kill Muslims. In the myth, General John Pershing allegedly dipped bullets in pig’s blood, which is not halal under Islamic law, to execute early 20th century Muslim insurgents in the Philippines. There were no executions and the fact does not appear in Pershing biographies. So he “commented” about the Barcelona attack with 3 hours but not an attack on American soil?

Billionaire investor, Carl Icahn has quit as a special advisor to Trump amid allegations that the recommendations he was giving could benefit his own fortune. Icahn denied it though but he drew criticism for pushing a change in US biofuel policy that would benefit the company. Separate questions were raised last month regarding his role in regulatory decisions affecting American International Group Inc. (AIG), an insurer in which he holds a significant stake.

In a picture of Trump talking to Vladimir Poutine in January, Trump and Pence are the only one left in the group of 6 people in the picture [picture included Sean “Garlic” Spicer, Reince Priebus, Bannon, and Michael Flynn.

In a letter to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook has slammed Trump’s position on the recent violence between neo-Nazis and protesters in Charlottesville. “I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights,” Cook said. “Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.”

In an apparent reference to Kim Jong-Un’s suggestion that he could delay a decision to send a nuclear strike to Guam, the President praised the North Korean leader for his actions by saying “very wise and well-reasoned decision”.

Not surprised here:  Why the Trump administration is cutting teen pregnancy prevention funding.

Tony Schwartz, the man behind Trump’s biography in 1987 and who knows him well, claims that Trump will resign by the end of the year if things don’t improve. But already, some Democrats [even with minorities in both sides of Congress] have started articles of impeachment.

One of America’s most prominent black CEOs, Kenneth Frazier of Merck, quit Trump’s manufacturing council over Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacists saying “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy.” On the same day, Trump went after Frazier on Twitter by saying the resignation would give him “more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”. So he goes ballistics over the CEO but still hasn’t publicly gone against the far right groups [at that point].

Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour, quit the American Manufacturing Council later in the day followed by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich followed by Scott Paul, head of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Then the president and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company and the chief executive of 3M quit.

General Electric, Dow Chemical, Whirlpool, International Paper and Nucor said that they would remain with the council because it was important as the CEO of GE said to “participate in the discussion on how to drive growth and productivity in the U.S.” OK, maybe the like to work with a man who doesn’t seem to care about hatred, bigotry and group supremacy.

Shortly thereafter Trump tweeted [of course] that Trump has closed the manufacturing council and another advisory council for good.

The council started with 28 members and has dwindled over time for various reasons including these resignations plus retirements, replaced at the company, etc. If the council gets too small, it probably won’t be too useful.

Previously, in June, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk and Disney’s Bob Iger quit Trump’s business council in protest of his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. Goldman Sachs’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein CEO criticized Trump in his first tweet ever because of the Paris climate accord.

A stunning 50% of the CEOs, executives, government officials and academics surveyed at the Yale CEO Summit in June gave Trump an “F” for his first 130 days in office. Just 1% gave him an “A.”

Then the remaining 16 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned in protest. After looking at the list of members, I don’t recognize any except the actor who made the announcement: Kal Penn. [Of note, Penn is on the TV show Designated Survivor as the White House Communications Director and was in the Obama administration as well.]

Senior communications adviser Hope Hicks has been named as the interim White House communications director. She is 28 years old but also shy. Odd for her new job. Good luck to her. I wonder what the odds before she’s kicked out except she is supposedly very close to Trump.

Again, unsure what Trump is doing sometimes. He called Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo to give him support but then he takes a jab at his predecessors, telling Calvo, “They should’ve had me eight years ago, or at least somebody with my thought process because that was the time. Frankly, you could’ve said that for the last three presidents.”

And in more head scratching he says “your tourism, you’re going to go up like tenfold with the expenditure of no money, so I congratulate you”. Congratulate for what?  I don’t think Governor Calvo asked North Korea to point missiles at his island and I don’t think tourism is a priority at this time.

A web hosting provider, DreamHost, is fighting back against a search warrant that it claims would require them to turn over information on visitors to a website used to organize protests against Trump in January, according to court filings first published on the company’s blog. Federal prosecutors in DC are seeking “all records” related to the website disruptj20.org, which organized protests against the Trump administration. The warrant includes “all files” in DreamHost’s possession, as well as information on “subscribers” to distruptj20.org and information on those who “participated, planned, organized, or incited” the January protests.

Trump had also recently retweeted and deleted a cartoon showing a train labeled “Trump” running over a man with “CNN” covering his face. Unsure why he pulled that tweet as he’s hammered CNN in the past.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump will not attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors in December, the White House announced saying “The President and First Lady have decided not to participate in this year’s activities to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.” I guess they don’t expect it to be any better by then.

Protests planned at Google offices around the country over the firing of an employee who questioned company diversity efforts have been postponed. A statement on the “March on Google” website says recent one day protests were being cancelled because of threats from what it called “Alt Left terrorist groups.”

The battle of the man babies: Trump vs Un

Donald Trump, his arms crossed and his expression dour, warned “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” But his new chief of staff, John Kelly, sat across the table stone-faced. Some hoped Kelly could reign him in but that’s not happening Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to dial back some of Trump’s comments about North Korea to slow things down. This after North Korea warned that it would carry out pre-emptive military strikes against the US, including the Pacific territory of Guam. Of course, North Korea [a bit like trump!] have a history of rhetoric talk but no “action”.

Critics have always said that Trump’s temper and lack of diplomacy – either in person or on Twitter – could escalate issues and/or be taken the wrong way.

Kelly spoke with Trump in his first week on the job about his use of Twitter, which Trump has fiercely defended amid attempts by other confidants to moderate his voice. Trump has said [exaggerating] that Kelly will be one of the best chief of staff’s ever. Sure, if you want someone who won’t object to anything Trump does.

Trump tweeted “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before….” But nothing was ever completed.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has insisted that diplomatic efforts to contain the threat posed by North Korea are working, and remain the favored means for solving the crisis.

As if Trump doesn’t have enough things to get into, he has called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a dictator and had slapped sanctions after a July 30 vote that allowed the President to replace the opposition-held National Assembly with a new 545-member Constituent Assembly filled with his supporters.

H.R. McMaster, Trump’s National Security Adviser, said earlier this month that military intervention from any outside source was not a possibility. But Trump now says there is a possibility. For a guy who said he didn’t want to butt into other nations’ business [that didn’t affect the US directly], he is thinking of using the military?

Crucial divisions in the American government remain topped by vacancies and are currently run by temporary officials in only an acting capacity — including several pivotal to relations with North Korea. A major Defense Department slot — the Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs — is still vacant, currently run by a temporary fill-in. Meanwhile, a key State Department position called the Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs is also without a nomination. The ambassadorship to South Korea also remains vacant as Trump has not nominated anyone for the post yet.

FBI agents searched a home of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on July 26 , the day after Manafort met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate intelligence committee. The incident happened without advance warning before dawn.

Scratching your head time: Vladimir Poutine wants to expel 755 Americans in retaliation for a recent sanctions against Russia. Unsure if he was joking but Trump commented that the government will save money. Maybe save some money for the costs of having these people livening in Russia but unless they are fired, they will be getting a salary back in the US. In addition some are people who worked on visas as well as business transactions. So less Russians will visit the US [tourism drops] and less or delayed] business deals.

Five active duty transgender service members filed the first lawsuit against Trump’s directive announced on Twitter to prohibit transgender individuals from serving in the armed forces. The service members, who are not named, all say they have relied on the Defense Department’s current policy permitting open service by transgender service members and argue Trump’s ban, which may result in early termination or failure to renew their contracts, is unconstitutional.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said that he thinks that Sen. John McCain’s brain tumor and the early morning hours may have affected McCain’s no vote on the Senate bill to repeal Obamacare. Johnson believed [from what he interpreted] McCain would vote yes but in the end voted no.

Trump resumed his public feud with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over his party’s failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, a sign of the fraught relationship between two branches of government that are both controlled by Republicans. McConnell said Trump had “excessive expectations” for the legislative process and suggested there was a false perception that Congress is underperforming in part “because of too many artificial deadlines unrelated to the reality of the legislature, which may have not been understood.”

Anthony Scaramucci says the profanity-laced phone call that preceded his ouster as White House communications director was recorded by a reporter without his permission. Scaramucci insulted White House aides using vulgar language during the interview with New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza.

In an odd bit of news, former White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, may have a cameo appearance on a fall episode of Saturday Night Live.

Apple supplier Foxconn, which has announced a $10 billion investment in Wisconsin to build a LCD flat screen factory, has been hailed by Trump as “one of the truly great companies of the world.” But Foxconn has had plenty of issues related to poor working conditions. These aren’t high paying jobs that Trump has boasted. The plant will create 3,000 jobs with the potential to grow to 13,000 and should be completed by 2020. A factory in China cut 60,000 jobs last year thanks to automation.

In 2012, New York-based China Labor Watch found children as young as 14 were forced to work in Foxconn factories by technical colleges or they would not graduate. In 2011, 2.7% of the workforce of Foxconn Group consisted of interns, an average of 27,000 interns per month. An announcement in 2013 by Foxconn of plans to build a $30 million plant in Pennsylvania that have so far not come to fruition.

The Wisconsin governor is to give an incentive package that would award Foxconn $3 billion over 15 years in mostly cash incentives and waive several state environmental reviews. Included is that Foxconn can receive up to $200 million per year in refundable tax credits, capped at $2.85 billion if meets capital and employment compensation targets. It can also avoid paying $150 million in sales taxes on building materials, equipment and supplies. The government may use up to $253 million to rebuild part of Interstate 94 to accommodate the new plant.

Then presidential candidate Trump revealed a little-known episode of personal heroism from his youth, telling an Iowa audience that he narrowly avoided capture in Vietnam by remaining in the United States for the duration of the war. “The Cong were after me,” Trump said, visibly stirred by the memory. “And then, just in the nick of time, I got my deferment.” The Cong were after him? In New York or Florida? Coward.

In a poll, nearly half of Republicans (47 percent) believe that Trump won the popular vote. 68% of them believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted and 73% believed that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often. 52% said that they would support postponing the 2020 election and 56% said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress were behind this. [Of course, postponing the 2020 election could result in chaos and probably rioting in the streets – if it can even be done legally.]

70% of Americans believe the federal investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election in the US should be able to look into President Donald Trump’s finances, according to a new poll conducted by SSRS. 60% of those polled view the probe as a serious matter that should be fully investigated, and a significant minority, 38%, view it as an effort to discredit Trump’s presidency. By a roughly two-to-one margin, those polled disapprove of the way Trump is handling the Russia probe (59% disapprove, 31% approve).

38% say they approve of Trump’s handling of the presidency, according to a new poll conducted by SSRS, with 56% saying they disapprove. 38% is the lowest ever for a newly elected president since modern polling began. Dropped 6% since April. 47% say they strongly disapprove of Trump’s handling of the job, 24% approve.

Among Republicans, strong approval has dropped from 73% in February to 59% now. Among whites who do not have college degrees, a core component of Trump’s base, just 35% strongly approve, down 12 points since February. At the same time, strong disapproval among Democrats has held steady around 80%.

24% say they trust all or most of what they hear in official communications from the White House, while 30% say they trust “nothing at all” that they hear from the President’s office. (Even among Republicans, only about half say they can trust most of what they hear from the White House.) Americans feel things in the country are going well (53% say so), a number that’s held roughly steady since April. He gets a mixed 48% approve to 47% disapprove rating on national security, and Americans are also divided on his handling of the economy at 47% disapprove to 45% approve.

The majorities disapprove of Trump’s work, including on health care policy (62%), foreign affairs (61%), immigration (55%) and helping the middle class (54%). Nearly half (48%) disapprove of his handling of taxes while just 34% approve.

Six in 10 don’t consider Trump honest and trustworthy. Just 30% say they admire the President, and 34% say they are proud to have him as president. 55% say he has lowered the stature of the office of the president.

52% say his tweets are not an effective way for him to share his views on important issues, and 72% say they do not send the right message to other world leaders. Seven in 10 say they too often seem to be in response to TV news the President may have seen, and 71% that they are a risky way for a president to communicate. Six in 10 say they are easy to misunderstand, 63% that they too often turn out to be misleading.

Another poll said that only a third of those surveyed having confidence in Trump’s ability to handle the situation with North Korea.

Another mid-week Trump post

[This is a “mid-week” blog as too much is happening lately. Wish Trump would take an actual vacation – with no tweeting!]

Donald Trump is planning to host foreign leaders at his New Jersey golf club when he attends the annual U.N. General Assembly session next month, breaking decades of precedent for US presidents. An unspecified number of foreign meetings at the Bedminster, N.J. golf club over several days during the week of September 18. Typically foreign dignitaries hold meetings at hotels or the U.N. headquarters, taking advantage of a unique gathering of leaders and diplomats.

Holding gatherings 40 miles away from the UN headquarters could appear to be a snubbing by Trump who has already has a rocky relationship with the UN. In addition, as Trump owns various properties, what would he be charging the US government for holding meetings with foreign leaders at his club. After all, his club will lose money while it is shut down for maybe over a week. Already extra security will be needed to cover the area.

The New York Times claims the “shadow” campaign underway among ambitious Republicans to be prepared in the event that Trump doesn’t run for a second term in 2020. Supposedly multiple advisers to Mike Pence have already intimated to party donors that he would plan to run if Trump did not. The report notes Pence’s political schedule and active fundraising.

Pence says the story “disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team.” Pence knows Trump reads the Times; it’s his home paper and the one he cares the most about. So he has no other choice but the official reject the idea even if it is true. Pence aides and White House aides have also denied any campaign. The New York Times article noted Pence has set up a fundraising committee. Called the Great America Committee, it can accept checks of up to $5,000 from individual donors.

After the news went out, Trump went on a Twitter-storm, claiming all the things “he” has done since his inauguration such as deregulation [anything done?], Supreme Court [barely passed], “record stock market” [and what did he do?], “military strength” [congress hasn’t approved any additional funding], …. Meanwhile how many major legislative bills passed? None. Repeal and/or replace Obamacare? Nope. He said his “base” is growing thanks to rallies in Republican friendly states. Exactly why does a president need rallies 7 months into his presidency? [Although it does fit one of his narcissist traits.]

At a recent conference, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that “meddling in the elections is certainly a serious incident.” But I thought Trump said there was no meddling? Did Trump lie [again]?

While news broke that North Korea could possess miniature nuclear warhead that can fir in an ICBM, Trump had no comment instead decided to go after Hillary Clinton again with “E-mails show that the AmazonWashingtonPost and the FailingNewYorkTimes were reluctant to cover the Clinton/Lynch secret meeting in plane.” What Emails?

And to add to the propaganda “After 200 days, rarely has any Administration achieved what we have achieved..not even close! Don’t believe the Fake News Suppression Polls!”. Who is he fooling?

Trump is claiming a foreign policy win after UN voted to sanction North Korea after their ICBM testing. Even North Korean ally China as well as Russia signed off on it. But UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said “We don’t know that they’re going to work.” Even then, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been raising the possibility of talks with Kim Jun Un’s government, but Vice President Mike Pence has several times said Washington does not envisage negotiations. Who do you believe? “We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on (the) negotiating table,” said the North Korean Foreign Minister.

Trump’s retweeted a Fox News story claiming US satellites detected North Korea moving anti-ship cruise missiles to a patrol boat is raising eyebrows after US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley indicated that the information in the report is classified and was leaked. Fox News morning show promoted the story said to contain classified information. As well, questions are circulating whether new chief of staff John Kelly knew or had any role in this.

Trump signed a bill passed last week overwhelmingly by Congress imposing new sanctions on Russia. The bill’s passage drew growling from Moscow who responded by stripping 755 staff members and two properties from US missions in the country. It is dealing a serious blow to the reset in US-Russian relations that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had called for. Tillerson said he would respond to the matter by September 1. Why the wait of over 3 weeks?

With Trump requiring English to be included in his immigration bill, he is effectively cutting off many in the Middle East. If think of his watered down travel ban, you can consider this an extension if that ban as many from the Middle East will not know English.

When Senator Richard Blumenthal voiced support for continuing the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in last year’s election and expressed concern about the Department of Justice’s increased focus on rooting out administration officials who leak information damaging to Trump, Trump attacked calling him “a phony Vietnam con artist” on Twitter. Exaggerating, as usual, “Never in U.S. history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal.” Blumenthal came under sharp criticism for repeated remarks over the years that he had “served” in Vietnam, even though he did his full Marine service in the United States. So, what does one got to do with the other? Meanwhile, Trump shouldn’t talk [or tweet] after his father got him out of serving in the military.

The Department of Homeland Security’s CIO, Richard Staropoli, has resigned, just three months after taking the job. The department did not explain why Staropoli is leaving. Deputy CIO Stephen Rice will serve as the Acting CIO until President Trump appoints a new CIO for the department. The DHS CIO role does not require Senate confirmation. At DHS, Staropoli reported directly to then-Secretary John Kelly.

It’s never a good sign when you are 7 months into your 4 years as president and the party is looking for another leader. But that seems to be happening already. Already there are at least 5 Republicans that are kicking the tires. In addition UN Ambassador Nicki Haley could also be a future candidate although some rumors are floating around that she could replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. [If she is smart, she’d pass on that posting. Look at what happened to Hillary Clinton. One of the reasons why she lost in November was because of her “baggage” as Secretary of State.]

Trump is taking a 17 day “working vacation” claiming there is some repair work to be done at his shack, the White House. $3.5 million work in the West Wing including g the heating and air conditioning. Aside from this “vacation” he has been at his properties [New Jersey, Florida] a dozen times since taking office – that is twice a month. His tweeting continues. No vacation there.

Lawmakers reacted angrily to reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is not spending $80 million at his disposal to counter Russian disinformation and propaganda put out by violent extremists. State Department officials claim that the delay is part of a broader policy review intended to give Tillerson time to figure out what policies are best pursued and where money is best spent.

While the order for large trucks have gone up, orders for [family sized] vehicles have dropped over the past few months. I guess it shows the economy is good for business but not the consumer

Sam Clovis, Trump’s nominee to be the Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist, maintained a now-defunct blog for years in which he accused progressives of “enslaving” minorities, called black leaders “race traders,” and labeled former President Barack Obama a “Maoist” with “communist” roots as well as “no experience at anything other than race baiting and race trading as a community organizer.”. Clovis called out progressives for what they were – “liars, race traders and race ‘traitors'” in 2012.

Newly released emails among Agriculture Department officials as employees search for new ways to describe their work under the Trump administration. They are using the more generic term “weather extremes” instead of climate change.

Seems meeting Trump could break up a band: Members of Journey [except founder Neal Schon] were at the White House to meet Trump last week, taking pictures at the Oval Office. Schon became quite p?ssed because he didn’t know and the band has always has been neutral when it came to politics. The band refused to play for President Obama a number of times. This even though one band member’s wife is a “spiritual advisor” to Trump and Schon’s wife likes Trump [Schon didn’t say].

Elsewhere in Trump related entertainment, television network ABC denied that it had canceled comedian Tim Allen’s popular sitcom “Last Man Standing” due to its conservative politics. It was one of the  most-watched scripted series, a solid ratings draw. But Allen supported Trump. A petition claimed the comedy was canceled because it was the only entertainment program that was not constantly shoving “liberal ideals down the throats of the viewers.”

As well, Trump was reportedly in talks to play the president in the third incarnation of cult sci-fi disaster film Sharknado – until he welched on the deal to run for the real thing. The part eventually went to Mark Cuban, much to the chagrin of Trump’s team who went so far as to threaten to sue to filmmakers, although Trump’s attorney denied any “angry correspondence”.

Being associated in any way to Trump may not be good. At a New York Mets game, New Jersey governor Chris Christie – an early Trump supporter – was booed after snagging a foul ball during the game.

New York Post released an image on Twitter for the front page of the newspaper. Survivor: White House.

By the August recess the non-profit good-government group Partnership for Public Service [PPS] recommends having the most important 300-400 confirmed. Trump has 124 confirmed, 277 nominated and 8 withdrew. This is out if 1200 Senate confirmation and 40000 hires. PPs has identified 577 executive branch positions as being particularly essential — and Trump has only successfully filled about a fifth of them. President Barack Obama had 433 nominations and 310 confirmations at the same point, President George W. Bush had nominated 414 and had 294 confirmed, and President Bill Clinton had 345 nominations and 252 confirmed.

Trump has actually followed through with one post-election win promise: to get a cheaper replacements for Air Force One. An order of Boeing jets by a Russian airline that went bankrupt will now be used as the beginnings of the new planes. The planes [before retrofitting for the government] will cost about $390 million US each.

Then presidential candidate Trump revealed a little-known episode of personal heroism from his youth, telling an Iowa audience that he narrowly avoided capture in Vietnam by remaining in the United States for the duration of the war. “The Cong were after me,” Trump said, visibly stirred by the memory. “And then, just in the nick of time, I got my deferment.” The Cong were after him? In New York or Florida? Coward.

Some are suggesting Sex and the City’s Mario Cantone was to play Scaramucci on Saturday Night Live. Cantone would have been very busy!