Trump gives his ego a boost but it didn’t go too well

Donald Trump gave his ego a boost on the 4th of July celebrations when he decided he wanted to speak at the celebrations – something that no US leader has done before. He kept it non-political but pushed everything about the military like celebrating the various victories as well as American war heroes. He briefly thanked those who helped out in medical and technology advancements. I would guess Trump wanted to boast military exploits… like a dictator would.

Trump blamed a faulty teleprompter for his claim during remarks he made at a July 4th event that the Continental Army “took over the airports” during the Revolutionary War. “It kept going on and at the end it just went out,” Trump told reporters at the White House the day after. “It went kaput… I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter.”

In addition, a large group of seats near the stage will be reserved seating. Trump gave his cronies and other supporters seats there – and maybe a token few Democrats [probably sitting at the back]. The Republican National Committee have received their reserved seat tickets? Democrats? Nope.

Trump wants his generals and chief of staffs to be in full uniform and on stage with him. He called them “my generals”. This is what dictators and despots do for their parades – not the best military in the world. At one point it sounded like some generals may not appear – sending in subordinates.

His original plan was to have tanks and heavy trucks rolling in Washington but that would of ripped up the infrastructure. A while back, Trump blamed Washington officials but it was the cost. He said “it will be like no other”. Uh huh. Those military equipment brought in were behind fences – so few could see them anyways.

To help pay for the extras, Trump is diverting $2.5 million that was supposed to go to parks to renovate some of them. On top of that Trump claiming bringing in the tanks and military vehicles as well as the jets, Air Force One and the future Marine One flying over will cost very little but he is forgetting fuel, transportation, people preparing, moving the equipment, extra security, etc.

If Trump had make this a campaign style event then it could be considered illegal as you can’t use public money for party events.

At the G20, six weeks after Huawei was blacklisted by the US government, Trump had what the Chinese telecom firm described as a “U-turn” saying “US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei,” allowing the transactions won’t present a “great, national emergency problem.” Of course, Trump did not mention what [if anything] changed Trump’s decision.

However, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Trump a few weeks back, Trump would speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping about Huawei, Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and 2 Canadians that have been arrested after Meng was arrested as requested by the Americans. It took over a week for a confirmation that Trump did speak to Xi.

Trump lightheartedly told Russian President for Life Vladimir Poutine, “Don’t meddle in the election” when asked by a reporter if the topic would come up during their bilateral meeting. Trump’s general unwillingness to criticize Putin, despite his efforts that butt against American interests from the Middle East to Ukraine to election security. Trump lobbed criticism at Japan, India and Germany over trade and defense matters but not toward Russia.

Trump shook hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and took 20 steps into North Korea, making history as the first sitting US leader to set foot in North Korea. The encounter at the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone — their third in person — came a day after Trump raised the prospect of a border handshake in a tweet and declared he’d have “no problem” stepping into North Korea.

Trump claimed that President Barak Obama always wanted to meet Kim but was denied. He claims the Obama administration was “begging” for a meeting. Yet during his time under Obama, former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said Obama never wanted to go to North Koreas. He said would go if it was for the right reason. FOX New at the time criticized Obama constantly for even thinking of seeing Kim or any other dictator. Guess what? FOX News anchors were all praising Trump for meeting Kim.

Expect Trump to use in his re-election campaign that he was able to meet Kim [and walk in North Korea] while Obama [or any Democrat president] didn’t do so. More like a big whoopee.

It didn’t take long: Trump walk over to the North Korean side has been made into a propaganda film by them including slow motion as he stepped over the border and patriotic music.

The Democrat candidates didn’t really have much of anything positive: from just a photo-op, to wasted time, to helping Kim more than the US [sort of like “See. The President of the US came to me!”], and so on. There was no agreement or anything except Trump inviting Kim to the White House.

The new White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, on her second day on the job, got into a scuffle with North Korean officials during a chaotic scene outside a meeting room where Trump and Kim talked privately. Grisham was bruised a bit in the scuffle.

After the second Democratic debate of the week where Kamala Harris went after front-runner Joe Biden for his record on race and segregation, Trump surprisingly defended Biden. He said Harris got “too much credit” while Biden “didn’t do well, certainly,” but he “answered the question a little bit differently, it would have been a different result.” Trump generally goes after the person most likely to be his biggest threat. Is that Harris now?

Donald Trump Jr. retweeted, and then deleted, an alt-right commentator named Ali Alexander, stating, “Kamala Harris is implying she is descended from American Black Slaves. She’s not. She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners. That’s fine. She’s not an American Black. Period.” Trump asked if it was true but later deleted it. Those who disliked the tweet claimed it was a like father like son thing to so. His father has quite often retweeted alt-right and neo-Nazis and didn’t really care if true.

At the second debate, Harris told Biden that his past stance against federally-mandating busing black students to white schools was personally hurtful because she had benefited from that educational opportunity as a little girl. Afterward, some people on social media falsely claimed that Harris couldn’t lay claim to the afflictions of African Americans. Harris is the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. When she’s asked how she identifies herself, Harris will often say, as “an American.”

The detention centers near the southern border holding migrants got pushed to the front after very overcrowding in the centers. About a third of those detained have been detained for longer than laws allow. I am expecting Trump to lash out at the Democrats blaming them for this.

Trump said his administration is “looking at” delaying the 2020 census after the Supreme Court blocked the administration from adding a question about citizenship status on the decennial survey. “I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census… until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter,” he tweeted. Which means find a way to get that question included.

Just when we thought the census question about citizenship was dead, Trump, growing frustrated at his administration’s handling of the question is even exploring whether to issue an executive order on the issue. An executive order or another kind of directive with an alternative rationale would be subject to court injunctions over the next several weeks that could further complicate and an already tenuous timeline.

Trump threw the situation into disorder earlier this week when he tweeted he wouldn’t give up the battle even after his Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the census forms would be printed without the question. Trump had signed off on earlier in the week. The internal dispute has led Trump to privately air frustrations at his 81-year-old commerce secretary. Could be be next to go?

Trump could include a potential executive order or adding the question as a supplement with the upcoming census forms, which are already being printed. I guess this is another example of Trump changing his mind. Won’t be the last.

The government had earlier told the courts that time was of the essence to render their rulings, because the deadline to tell the printing company which version of the census form to use — with the citizenship question or without — was July 1. Trump said the citizenship question is a natural part of counting the population, but critics have said it will deter minority groups and non-citizens from responding. The census is supposedly determined to help decide how government money is spent.

Federal law sets constraints on when the decennial count of the country’s population will be taken. April 1, 2020, is the official census day, although counting is set to begin as early as January in some areas, and the law requires the tally that is used to draw legislative districts “shall be completed within 9 months,” meaning by the end of 2020. Could the administration change the law? I wouldn’t be shocked.

During a speech to US troops at the Osan Air Base in South Korea, Trump said that he had given them their first pay increase in almost a decade saying “You know, it was close to 10 years before you had an increase.” Actually they got 2.4% in 2018. As well, every year for the last 10 years they received raises from 1.9% to 3.4$ [that one in 2010].

Not the first time he lied about military wage increases. In October, he said “President Obama starved the military. He didn’t give them raises, he didn’t give them anything. I gave them a 10% pay increase, they haven’t had it in a decade.” In December, he said “You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years — more than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one.” 10% increase in a year?

Oh you have to wonder about Trump. On multiple occasions, he has called his National Security Adviser John Bolton’s name but said Mike Bolton – the 80s crooner.

Woops. In Trump’s Make America Great Again re-election campaign ads, they used videos from iStock including a sign from Tokyo and a blonde woman walking on a beach was from a Mediterranean beach. If you read very carefully and fast, the voice overs are [supposedly] actual testimonies and the videos are not.

GOP Rep. Justin Amash, the only Republican in Congress who says the Mueller report contained impeachable offenses, has left the party. He’s a libertarian who said “No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us.” It didn’t take long before Trump went after him. So much for freedom and democracy.

Apple is reportedly shifting production for its new Mac Pro computer from the United States to China. The company’s latest Mac Pro computer will not undergo final assembly in Austin, Texas, as its previous version did. This won’t go well with Trump who thought Apple would build more plants in the US.

FedEx is seeking relief from being “essentially deputize[d]” by the Department of Commerce, following Trump’s effective blacklisting of smartphone and telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei in May. The placement of Huawei and its subsidiaries on the “Entities List,” which severely limits any business interactions American companies can have with the Chinese phone giant, has caused a number of logistical problems for FedEx.

A free, 8-million strong social network for knitters, crocheters and others in the fiber arts has banned any mention of support for Trump and his administration. The new policy on Ravelry.com says the site took the action because it can’t provide a space “inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy.” The post went on to say that support of the Trump administration is “undeniably support for white supremacy.”

Advertisements

Trump’s world is beginning to unravel

Federal prosecutors said for the first time that Michael Cohen acted at the direction of Donald Trump when Cohen committed two election-related crimes in 2016, as special counsel Robert Mueller outlined new contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian nationals. Mueller also revealed that a Russian national who claimed to be well-connected in Moscow spoke with Cohen in 2015 and offered “political synergy” with the Trump campaign.

And yet Trump tweeted, “Totally clears the President. Thank you!” He did not offer further explanation of his comment. Go figure that one out.

Trump tweeted “He [Cohen] lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence” after Cohen is working with the prosecution and has asked for no prison time. We will see if and what Trump says if he is convicted and is required to spend prison time.

“He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, and get……his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free,” People are wondering who “Scott Free” is. Should be “scot-free”.

After Trump canceled his meeting with Vladimir Poutine at the G20 [Trump claiming it was because of Russia’s capturing of Ukrainian navy boats and sailors], various pro-Poutine surrogates in the media [a.k.a. puppets] went after Trump claiming Poutine was in fact the real leader of the free world, Trump is a flunky, untrusted, unbalanced, old, etc. [Stuff we already know.]

One actually used an interesting name: Donald Fredovych Trump. Fredovych would mean “son of Fred” but also could imply “Fredo” as in the disloyal Fredo Corleone who disappointed “the Godfather.”

Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to halt new trade tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks. At a post-G20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires, Trump agreed not to boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25% on January 1st. Not surprising National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow corrected Trump, stating that the 90-day clock on trade negotiations with China began December 1, not January 1.

The administration says China agreed to “purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries”. Of course ” very substantial” could mean really a lot or not that much.

The administration also says Beijing agreed to designate Fentanyl as a controlled substance. The opioid – much of it thought to be made in China – is driving a huge rise in drug addiction in the U.S.

Trump claims that China has agreed to cut tariffs on cars it imports from the United States as part of their deal which currently stand at 40%. But the Chinese government has made no mention of cutting car tariffs as a result of the meeting between the two leaders in Buenos Aires.

The original NAFTA deal has landed back atop Trump’s hit list, with Trump again declaring he intends to terminate the 24-year-old trade pact — a move that appears designed to pressure lawmakers on Capitol Hill into approving its recently negotiated successor. That move would give lawmakers six months to approve its replacement once formal notice is delivered.

“It’s caused us tremendous amounts of unemployment and loss and company loss and everything else,” said Trump. Exactly what is the unemployment rate in the US again? Recent job losses have been mounting under his administration but have been low for a while.

A number of Democrats in Congress said they won’t support it without more stringent enforcement mechanisms for new labour rules and environmental protection. Some Republicans say they, too, are disinclined to support the agreement in its current form.

Trump, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto signed the new U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement during an awkward ceremony at the outset of G20 meetings Friday in Argentina.

When Trump tweets “‘I will never testify against Trump.’ This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!'”

Stone is telling congressional committees that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in order to not testify in response to requests for documents and testimony. In 2016, Trump criticized those who invoke their Fifth Amendment right.

But George Conway, who is a lawyer and not a Trump supporter and Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway’s husband, said that under the portion of the US Code that deals with witness tampering in a federal investigation that Trump was doing just that in his tweet praising Stone for publicly refusing to testify against him.

But expect Trump to go after Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser. Mueller told a federal court that Flynn has given “substantial assistance” to the Russia investigation and should not get jail time. His early cooperation gave prosecutors a road map for their Russia investigation and may have helped to encourage others to cooperate, the filing states.

There is talk that White House chief of staff John Kelly will be leaving very soon. It has gone to the point where he doesn’t talk to Trump even though it is a job requirement that Kelly to do so. When hired, Kelly curbed access and ruled over staffing. But recently Trump began circumventing many of the policies and protocols he enacted. Daily staff meetings became weekly.

The leading potential replacement is Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff who is known to be quite loyal. He’s climbed up the political ladder to the point where Ayers would even join Trump and Pence for lunch. Several of Trump’s top advisers, including Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway, have voiced concerns to him about Ayers, with some threatening to quit if he is tapped for the job.

Kelly was also interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in recent months where he responded to a narrow set of questions from special counsel investigators after White House lawyers initially objected to Mueller’s request to do the interview earlier this summer.

The Mueller questions to Kelly centered on a narrow set of issues in the investigation of potential obstruction of justice, chiefly Kelly’s recollection of an episode that took place after new reporting emerged about how Trump had tried to fire Mueller.

Trump has decided to nominate former attorney general William Barr to be the next permanent head of the Justice Department, Trump told reporters. Barr, a former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, has been emerging this week as a consensus candidate to succeed Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

As news about Trump administration shuffles involving the attorney general, Trump is tweeting about a different shakeup from months ago as he called former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell,” while he praised his replacement, Mike Pompeo. Trump fired Tillerson back in March and nominated Pompeo, then the CIA director, for the role.

Emails from top officials at the National Republican Congressional Committee were hacked before the 2018 midterm elections, exposing the GOP’s House campaign arm to an intrusion by an “unknown entity.” So why announce it now? Trump has mocked his political opponents when they got hacked by foreign actors, and he has praised Republicans for investing in stronger cyber protections.

Trump said in a tweet “Looking forward to being with the Bush Family to pay my respects to President George H.W. Bush.”. You don’t really look forward to a funeral! And you didn’t respect him in life either!

“I have read every piece of intelligence that’s in the possession of the United States government,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “And when it is done, when you complete that analysis, there’s no direct evidence linking him to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Maybe on their own there is no smoking gun, but according to experts, when you add them all up, it becomes more likely.

CIA has a high confidence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s involvement. The Wall Street Journal also reports that the intelligence agency’s assessment includes electronic communications the crown prince sent to a close adviser who oversaw the 15-man team that killed Khashoggi.

Bin Salman had reportedly said “we could possibly lure him outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements [to go to a consulate]” in a recording. Reportedly, they tried to do the same luring to another Saudi activist living in Montreal but the activist was smart enough not to go to a consulate when offered.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a NATO meeting that Washington will suspend its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days, citing Russian “cheating.” Russian officials the day after warned of unspecified “retaliation” to the U.S. decision to walk out of a key arms treaty.

The House of Representatives approved a two-week extension for a government funding deadline in an effort to avert a partial government shutdown this week but setting the stage for a partial one on December 21. Congressional leaders in both parties have indicated they do not want a partial shutdown, but Democrats and Republicans remain at an impasse over Trump’s demand for $5 billion for his long-promised Trump Wall.

Trump earlier tweeted “We would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall” and yet he doesn’t explain how billions will be saved by building a wall. There will surely still be border guards.

A federal judge has finalized the schedule for when state challengers suing Trump over proceeds from the Trump International Hotel get to seek evidence for their case. They allege in the lawsuit that Trump violated a constitutional clause banning gifts and advantages from foreign and domestic governments because of his family company’s stake in the Trump hotel in Washington.

Subpoenas have been served on the Trump Organization and a dozen linked entities in a lawsuit challenging Trump’s ongoing business ties while in office. The lawsuit by DC and Maryland claims Trump is in violation of the Constitution’s ban on emoluments, or payments, from foreign or domestic government entities to the President because of his continued interest in the Trump International Hotel.

DC and Maryland have said the Trump International Hotel’s operations put other nearby hotels and entertainment properties at a competitive disadvantage, and that the Trump hotel got special tax concessions. The hotel won its lease on federally owned property before Trump’s election.

Trump getting hit on all sides

Wow! Donald Trump said that if Democrats “want to play tough” when they control the House of Representatives next year, he will declassify documents that will be “devastating” to them. “If they want to play tough, I will do it,” Trump told the New York Post in an interview. “They will see how devastating those pages are.” Democrats are poised to launch a series of investigations after winning a majority in the House in November.

Is this a so-called president of the U.S. or a blackmailer or a man child? And whether he can legally release them without damaging the country. If he can threaten the Democrats with this surely the Republicans know he can do the same to them if he doesn’t get his way.

It should be interesting with all the bashing Trump has had against the Supreme Court that if and when Trump [well his lawyers] go in front of the Supreme Court for one of this many legal issues [either personal or as part of the administration] whether the justices will have in back of their mind think of what Trump has said about them.

Trump publicly chastised General Motors CEO Mary Barra over her decision to close four plants in the U.S. because of sagging demand for sedans. “I was very tough. I spoke with her when I heard they were closing and I said, you know, this country has done a lot for General Motors,” Trump said, referring to the federal bailout of the company after the 2008 financial crash. Trump said he told Barra she had “better” reopen plants in the US soon. Don’t count on it.

“We have a lot of companies moving in,” Trump said at a rally, adding that the number of companies making products in the US is “actually going to be increasing.” Some 8,000 salaried employees and 6,000 hourly workers will either lose their jobs or be reassigned to other plants.

“Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland,” Trump tweeted. “We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars.” He left out Wisconsin. Not surprising, the subsidies don’t exist. GM is unaware of any significant federal subsidies the company is receiving beyond a $7,500 plug-in tax credit, which goes to the consumer, not the company.

Between 2009 and 2014, the Energy Department provided loans and grants toward the development of electric vehicles and energy saving technology. Tesla, Nissan and Ford participated, but GM did not. Chevy Suburbans are a staple for the Secret Service that protects Trump and other federal officials. GM also manufactured “The Beast,” the souped-up Cadillac that transports Trump.

Despite his last-minute requests and hopes, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos will still have to start his 14-day prison sentence on Monday for lying to federal investigators in the Russia probe. Papadopoulos’ full sentence includes the prison time, a $9,500 fine, a year of probation and 200 hours of community service.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about work he did on a Trump real estate deal in Russia by making false statements in 2017 to the Senate intelligence committee about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen said he lied about the timing of the tower negotiations and other details to be consistent with Trump’s “political message.”

One idea considered for the proposed Trump Tower in Moscow was to offer Russian President Vladimir Poutine the penthouse, according to Felix Sater, who was working on the project with Cohen. The penthouse was planned to be valued at $50 million but gifted to Poutine. It was not clear if Trump was informed of the idea.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight separate charges, including campaign finance violations that he said he carried out in co-ordination with Trump. At that time, Cohen said he secretly used shell companies to make payments used to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult-film actress Stormy Daniels for the purpose of influencing the 2016 election.

Departing for the G20 summit in Argentina, Trump called Cohen “a weak person” and said his former lawyer was just trying to finagle a more lenient sentence from prosecutors. When asked why he retained Cohen for so long, “Because a long time ago he did me a favour,” Trump said, without offering specifics. Trump has previously said that co-operating with prosecutors “should almost be illegal”.

Cohen, who is now a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, was under the impression Trump would offer him a pardon in exchange for staying on message in support of Trump in discussions with federal prosecutors. After the April 2018 FBI raid on Cohen’s office and home, people close to Trump assured Cohen that Trump would take care of him.

Donald Trump Jr. has provided testimony under oath to at least three congressional committees where he was asked about the proposed deal. Most of that testimony is not public and it isn’t clear how detailed the questions were about the project. Yet it could place him in legal jeopardy if anything he told Congress conflicts with information provided by Cohen if it is supported by other evidence.

Heading to the G20 in Argentina, Trump announced that he wouldn’t meet Poutine because “ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia”.

Trump woke up and one of the first things he did was tweeted “Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries.” If he said “a few are stone cold criminals” people may take him seriously. But nobody does. In any case, does he think his border guards and immigration officials can’t do their job and weed out the “criminals”? I guess that is another two agencies he doesn’t trust.

Trump tweeted “Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border, or if originating countries would not let them form (it is a way they get certain people out of their country and dump in U.S. No longer). Dems created this problem.” Actually I don’t think Mexico was hired to be the U.S.’s immigration department. In addition, being in power for almost 2 years he has done nothing yourself to fix the problem. Legislation? Trump Wall? All failures. Will he continue to blame the Democrats for something he could of fixed just before the 2020 elections?

Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan said there is only one type of tear gas used by them in their arsenal. This after Trump claimed “First of all, the tear gas is a very minor form of the tear gas itself. It’s very safe. The ones that were suffering to a certain extent were the people that were putting it out there but it’s very safe.” So border agents suffered more than the migrants. OK.

McAleenan said hundreds — perhaps more than 1,000 — people attempted to rush vehicle lanes at the San Ysidro crossing. Mexican authorities estimated the crowd at 500.

Trump suggested without evidence that some of the migrants who were tear-gassed at the U.S.-Mexico border recently were “grabbers” who took others’ children in order to protect themselves. “They grab a child because they think they’ll have a certain status by having a child. You know, you have certain advantages in terms of our crazy laws that frankly Congress should be changing.” I don’t think a child can enter the U.S. with a non-parent so easily. And again, almost 2 years and he hasn’t changed anything.

Trump said that three U.S. agents were “very badly hurt” by rocks and stones thrown by migrants during the unrest. McAleenan said four agents were struck with rocks but were not injured because they were wearing protective gear.

Trump denied that women and children were among those affected by the tear gas. But in his remarks to reporters here, he shifted his response, first claiming that the tear gas was “very safe,” then blaming migrants with children for being in harm’s way and finally questioning whether the children were theirs at all. Umm. Maybe because the children’s parent[s] were there.

Trump asked why parents were “running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming.” More like they were already there when agents shot the tear gas.

Trump retweeted a bunch of false facts. Among them, Trump retweeted: “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month. RT if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.” If he dislikes this why doesn’t he fix it. He’s been in office for 22 months. Stop complaining [or retweeting] and fix it then. [The $3,874 is for a family of 5 refugees in Canada – not the US. As for Social Security checks, the average payment is $1,413 a month, with a maximum payment of $2,788.]

The Trump administration announced in June it would open a temporary shelter for up to 360 migrant children in an isolated corner of the Texas desert. It is now up to 2,349 largely Central American boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17 were sleeping inside the highly guarded facility in rows of bunk beds in canvas tents, some of which once housed first responders to Hurricane Harvey. More than 1,300 teens have arrived since the end of October alone. More people are detained in this tent city than in all but one of the nation’s 204 federal prisons, yet construction here continues.

Costs appear to be soaring more than 50 per cent higher than the government has disclosed: What began as an emergency, 30-day shelter has transformed into a vast tent city that could cost taxpayers more than $430 million. Per child it’s $1200 a day and not $775 per day officials have publicly disclosed. Current average is $12 million a week.
Under federal policy, migrant youth shelters generally must have one mental health clinician for every 12 kids, but shelter officials told AP the facility has just one mental health clinician for every 50 kids.

Recently, 13 federal agencies working in coordination — released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a detailed document featuring the conclusions of more than 300 scientists that the planet is getting warmer, human activity is contributing to that warming and we are approaching a point of no return in terms of the damage to the climate.

The economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars — or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its GDP — by the end of the century. Without significant reductions in greenhouse emissions, the annual average global temperature could increase 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 Celsius) or more by the end of this century the report says.

Then “We think that this is the most extreme version and it’s not based on facts,” White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said. “It’s based on — it’s not data-driven. We’d like to see something that is more data-driven.”  So they are rejecting the findings of that study don’t comport with Trump’s long-held beliefs that climate change just isn’t a real thing. And yes, 13 more agencies the administration doesn’t believe [add to the list that includes the FBI, CIA, DoHS, ….].

The report’s findings run counter to Trump’s consistent message that climate change is a hoax. Trump tweeted, “Whatever happened to Global Warming?” as some Americans faced the coldest Thanksgiving in over a century. He obviously doesn’t know the difference between climate change and global warming.

“There really is no equivalency,” [versus Hillary Clinton’s mail issue] Ivanka Trump said in an interview regarding her personal mail account adding that her emails were focused on “mainly scheduling and logistics and managing the fact that I have a home life and a work life.” She was emphatic that “everything has been preserved” and stored in the White House system. What was not said is what kind of an account was it. Hotmail? Gmail?

Whether or not they were preserved, it is still a non-government server being administrated by who knows who with still confidential information. Clinton’s mail fault was the deletion of Email but at least she controlled the server where they were stored on. And after this mess with Clinton, you would think Ivanka Trump would know better by only using a government Email address for government purposes?

If she wanted an Email account that is not government controlled for her “home life”, that’s fine, but as long as she doesn’t use it for government purposes. Trump used her personal account to email Cabinet officials, White House aides and assistants.

As world leaders denounced Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Trump waited more than a day before offering a muted response about the clash, leaving the task of criticizing Moscow to the outgoing US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. He refused to condemn Russia after they open fired and seized Ukrainian ships and blocked the sea route. Russia actually accused Ukraine of provocation. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remained silent on the serious escalation in tensions between the two countries.

Again this shows that “friends” of Trump [but possibly not of the U.S.] can do what they want while Trump stays in the background. First the Saudi Arabia killing of as journalist and now this.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has “breached” his plea agreement with the Justice Department by lying to the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office two months after he started cooperating in the Russia probe.

Manafort shared extensive information with Justice Department prosecutors since he began cooperating, but that prosecutors also believe they are able to verify or refute that information. Manafort lied “on a variety of subject matters,” violating his plea agreement, prosecutors allege in the three-page filing signed by both the defense team and the prosecution.

So Trump has submitted his answers in the Mueller investigation questionnaire. I’m sure a team of people checked Trump’s answers for grade level writing and grammar, spell checking, profanity, orange ooze, …. And finally answers to the questions to make sure they were truthful-ish.

Want a good laugh? In Tupelo, Mississippi, which Trump called the “proud birthplace of the King of Rock n Roll,” Trump said “Other than the blond hair when I was growing up they said I look like Elvis.” When Trump attended New York Military Academy as a young man, it wasn’t even close to Elvis.

Trump hit on all sides this week

Another busy week. Long post!

Seems like every day there is a major news item. You would figure that Donald Trump would learn to keep quiet and maybe not do anything. Instead he has an interview with a “fake news” organization and then hires someone without telling his top aides.

Today, White House Press Secretary and quasi Communication Director, Sean “Garlic” Spicer, has resigned.

After Donald Trump decided to hire Anthony Scaramucci as the new White house Communication Director, this cut into Spicer’s job and coupled with others issues, he decided to resign. Trump didn’t even notify chief strategist Steve Bannon or White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus of the decision. Maybe they’re out next?

Spicer has been unhappy. Among other things, he was getting some flak from Trump [not surprised there] but also wasn’t invited on various trips including The Vatican [where he really wanted to go] and France. But he has been the subject of various media attacks including the Saturday Night Live skits. He also didn’t have a good start as Press Secretary when he over-inflated the crowd size of trump inauguration.

Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, who has been doing most of the press briefing, has said she doesn’t want to be Press Secretary. White House staffers are said to be shocked. But looks like she has it for now.

Trump asked Spicer to stay on in another capacity but Spicer declined. However, he will help in the transition.

Big question: What will Melissa McCarthy do now? 🙂

Scaramucci is a New York financier and former Trump campaign fundraiser with little to no experience in Washington politics or as a communication director. Trump likes him because he’s fiercely loyal and likes to attack opponents. During the presidential campaign two years ago, Anthony Scaramucci called President Trump “another hack politician” who is “anti-American.” He is also known to say to Trump that “He’s got a big mouth” and that Trump is “probably going to make Elizabeth Warren [a Democrat] his vice presidential nominee.”

Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, twice with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials. Sessions was then a top foreign policy adviser to candidate Trump.

Trump said that he would not have chosen Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself over matters related to the 2016 presidential campaign. Sessions was one of his earliest political allies. Is this a no confidence vote? Trump scolded Sessions for telling the Senate judiciary committee that he had not met with any Russians during the campaign. It was later revealed he had met with Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, at least two times. So Sessions should of lied.

This past Thursday marked 6 months for Trump as dictator or ruler or “fake president”. In that time…

  • He made 397 comments that were not completely or partially true. In the average of polls, his approval rating is a low 38% and just 50% in counties he won in the election.
  • 42 bills were signed into law – none of them big – and no major piece of legislation signed into law.
  • In addition he had 5 campaign style rallies [all in states where he won in 2016] and just one solo news conference. In comparison Barrack Obama had 11 in the first 6 months.  George W. Bush had 5. He has visited 16 states [as well as DC], most to visit his properties and all east of the Mississippi.
  • Not one mile of the wall between the US and Mexico has been built. Nothing may happen until early next year at the earliest.
  • Trump spent 40 days on Trump properties including 21 of 26 weekends. He claimed in 2012 that the Obamas gone on vacation 16 times in 3 years.
  • He pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – the only one of 21 campaign promises he kept. He also pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord [although some hints he may flip flop on this].
  • He has 1003 tweets of which former President Barack Obama has been named 36 times. “Obamacare” has featured in 45 posts. As well, “fake” news, media or stories have been mentioned 82 times. Hillary Clinton was mentioned in 22 tweets [mostly early o] and “jobs” have shown up on 46 times.

Trump’s signature campaign promise to repeal and replace Affordable Care Act came to a massive halt after Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas came together to announce that they won’t support the bill. Trump tweeted that Republicans should come together to pass a full repeal and worry about crafting a replacement with Democrats later. “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” he tweeted. If they can’t pass the current bill, forget about repealing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be to vote on a bill to simply repeal Obamacare with a two-year delay. That won’t fly either. It is also expected that in 2 years, there could/should be less Republicans in congress.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Susan Collins of Maine announced that they could not support any plan that would roll back significant parts of Obamacare without a replacement plan in place. This kills McConnell’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He still wants to hold a repeal-only vote “in the very near future.”

White House [deputy] press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the White House’s message to Congress is “do their job.” Aren’t they already?

Trump said that his new plan is to “let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us.” Sure Donnie.

Of the 21 promises by Trump during the campaign, the only one to be completed is to withdrawal from TPP and that needed just an executive order.

‘We’ll let Obamacare fail’ Trump said after the health care bill was defeated [again]. But according to a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, experts say the market has been on the mend this year. Many insurers stemmed the bleeding in early 2017 and some are on the path to profitability. The expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults is working well in the 31 states that chose to expand, extending coverage to roughly 11 million people. It could fail in rural areas [where Trump did well in the last election] which typically mean that all insurers pull out, leaving consumers who buy their own policies with no choice of subsidized coverage on the Obamacare exchange — or in some cases, any individual market coverage at all.

Trump asked Republican senators not to leave town for their August recess without passing a health care reform plan that makes good on seven years of promises to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Trump’s position is also at odds with comments he made over the last 72 hours, when he publicly pushed to let Obamacare fail and to repeal it without a replacement plan. Meanwhile Trump may still take his time off… to golf.

A super PAC tied to Trump ran ads against Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada who is up for re-election in 2018 and voted against the health care reform. After the Heller had a friendly exchange, Trump said, “Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?”

While Republican Senator John McCain recovers from serious surgery, the vote for the revised health care bill was put on hold [and eventually canceled]. Although he isn’t a fan of Trump he would of voted for the bill.

Senator John McCain is in a hospital after it was revealed that a blood clot near one of his eyes revealed that he has brain cancer. He will be sidelined for a while and with this type of cancer and at his age, it doesn’t look good in the long term. It also doesn’t look good on Trump either. While McCain was a very vocal critic of Trump [especially after Trump’s comments about McCain’s time in Vietnam] he did vote in favor of Trump’s health care bill.

But without McCain, there are 99 senators in which 51 are Republican. The previous legislation that went to the Senate [such as the health care bill] failed because at least 3 Republican senators voted against the legislation – which means the legislation would fail even with Mike Pence’s tie breaker vote. Now with one less Republican [until McCain either comes back or resigns and a special election is called], if at least 2 Republicans vote against, legislation dies.

Trump aides Marc Short and Brian Blase argued that Americans and lawmakers should give “little weight” to CBO projections that millions would lose coverage under the Senate GOP bill. “The CBO’s methodology, which favors mandates over choice and competition, is fundamentally flawed.” They have to blame someone when their facts aren’t proven right.

At closed door meetings with GOP and then all governors at the National Governors Association, Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma didn’t come away too happy. Their efforts left major questions unanswered, Republican and Democratic governors said. They urged governors to ignore Congressional Budget Office estimates that 15 million fewer people would be covered by Medicaid by 2026 and that $772 billion would be cut from the program, compared to current law. [BTW, at the same conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the first foreign leader to speak at the NGA conferences and walked away with a standing ovation.]

It was disclosed that Trump and an undisclosed [until now] second meeting with Vladimir Poutine at the G20. A senior White House said the discussion was “nearly an hour” but another said it was brief [not an hour]. Another one said it was a very long time. Trump spoke with Putin through Russia’s translator. The US translator at the dinner spoke Japanese, as Trump was sitting next to the Japanese. The White House statement said the conversation took place in full view of other world leaders and said Trump went over to his wife and spoke with Putin near the dinner’s end.

The lack of a US translator or other support meant the US would be without a scrupulous translation or a record of what was discussed. Since Trump didn’t bring a US translator and relied on Putin’s, a senator called it a “basic failure in terms of national security protocol.”

From a previous post, Trump did not have his Russian interpreter when he had his second chat with Vladimir Poutine at the G20 conference dinner. That was because each leader was granted just one translator at the dinner and he chose a Japanese interpreter as he was sitting next to the Japanese Prime Minister’s wife. Turns out the interpreter wasn’t used much as she didn’t want to chat with Trump – almost implying that she spoke no English. In fact she is fluent in English.

Trump suggested it would be wrong for Robert Mueller to investigate his family’s finances and said it would cross a line. He would not say what action, if any, he would take. “I think that’s a violation,” Trump said. “Look, this is about Russia.” Unless he has dealings in Russia which he has denied.

The Washington Post reported in June that Mueller was also investigating if Trump had obstructed justice. “I don’t think we’re under investigation,” Trump said. “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.” As a legal expert [sarcastically], does he knows what obstruction of justice means?

Trump’s legal team was trying to find ways to undercut Mueller’s role by amassing allegations of conflicts of interest against him.

The same team is exploring how Trump can use his pardoning powers. That include pardoning family, cabinet members and even himself before any charges are brought against them related to the Russian probe. [President Ford pardoned President Nixon before he was actually charged but they knew he would be charged.] Experts say it would be legal to pardon his family [but still not quite Kosher] and cabinet members and others but pardoning himself may or may not be quite legal. In addition, unsure how Congress would react.

Why would you pardon something if they haven’t done anything wrong? If, for example, Trump claims he has no dealings or properties in Russia, why pardon? [He recently hinted that he may have – he isn’t sure or doesn’t really know.]

The House Republicans are unveiling a budget resolution that would dramatically reshape the federal government, requiring more than $200 billion in cuts to mandatory programs and set the path for a major overhaul of the tax code. The conservative House Freedom Caucus continue to call for more sweeping spending cuts. Without them, the budget would fail.

After the mess with Trump Jr., Democrats are seeking to have Jared Kushner’s security clearance revoked. This would effectively have him removed from the White House. Kushner had to revise his security clearance form at least twice [at least 100 foreigners added to the form compared to the original version] and failed to disclose exactly how many people attended that meeting over a year ago with a Russian lawyer.

Most agree that if you are offered information about an opponent from another American, it may be at most unethical. If offered from a “friendly” contact [such as from the UK or France] it is probably unethical. But to get information from a country that isn’t friendly is an issue.

The eighth person to attend the Trump Jr meeting has been identified as US citizen Ike Kaveladze, a senior vice president at the company founded by the Russian oligarch who initiated the meeting. Kaveladze was asked to go to the meeting at Trump Tower last June with the understanding he would be Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s translator because she didn’t speak English, but she brought one. Kaveladze has been tied to a money laundering probe.

Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow suggested that the United States Secret Service may bear some responsibility for allowing Donald Trump Jr. to meet with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign. The secret service is there to protect Trump and family. Not to tell them who they can or can’t see. They are not people who you can ask legal questions. Just another blame game.

Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s longtime personal attorney who has been the lead lawyer on the Russia investigation, will see his role recede. John Dowd, the attorney defending Trump in the Mueller investigation, along with Jay Sekulow, will now be the President’s primary personal attorneys for the investigation. The spokesman for Trump’s legal team, Mark Corallo, resigned.

There was still more news [although not as critical]. Will probably send it off after the weekend.

 

A bit quieter for Trump, well almost

Well, with the July 4th celebrations and the G20 meetings, Donald Trump didn’t get into much trouble this week. Too busy to tweet or say something undiplomatic. Well, he did make some comments….

Trump posted to Twitter a doctored video clip that showed him slamming a man — with “CNN” superimposed on his head — to the ground. In the video [originally recorded in 2007], Trump then throws punches at the man’s head, before walking away. Journalists are upset that this could promote violence against journalists.

Seems like some don’t think anything is wrong with his tweet. Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said Trump was communicating directly in a “genuine”. way to Americans. Even though he initially looked shocked, Bossert said “I think that no one would perceive that as a threat.” But most congressmen didn’t like what was done.

Trump called his tweeting “Modern day presidential.”

CNN struck back at Trump, saying in a statement that Trump had engaged in “juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office” when he should have been preparing for an upcoming overseas trip.

“Mistakes have been made” by U.S. intelligence, said Trump. He is equating the weapons of mass destruction that were never found in Iraq almost 15 years ago [an argument is that they may have been moved while the US attacked Iraq]. And yet, while three intelligence services [including directors who he appointed] said there was the hack of Democratic Party email systems and attempted to influence the 2016 election to benefit Trump, he still doubts them. Again bashing the intelligence services that are protecting his country.

At least forty-one states have refused the Trump administration’s request for certain voter information. The information is for a commission to check into so-called voter fraud in November. State leaders and voting boards across the country have responded to the letter with varying degrees of cooperation — from altogether rejecting the request to expressing eagerness to supply information that is public. Some states would not provide birth dates or party affiliations. All wouldn’t provide Social Security numbers. Some flat out rejected the request saying to go to the states’ websites. Then Trump tweeted ” Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?”

Three state leaders also raised doubts about the integrity of the commission itself, and many questioned the existence of widespread voter fraud. “This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe “My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great State to launch from,” said Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Going back to Trump going after the two co-hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Trump tweeted said she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when he saw them at his Florida estate. In fact Mika Brzezinski said she “she did have a little skin under her chin tweaked” but not a face-lift. Who walks around bleeding?

She said the two and Trump were close up until about 2 years ago. Now Brzezinski in recent weeks has wondered whether Trump was mentally ill and said the country under his presidency “does feel like a developing dictatorship.” “The guy who is in the White House now is not the guy we know,” co-host Joe Scarborough said.

Surprisingly, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said “Obviously I don’t see that as an appropriate comment [the one made by Trump].”

“Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their low rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses,” Trump said. [Trump probably couldn’t figure out how to spell Brzezinski’s name.]

Brzezinski said that “Melania’s got the worst job in the country” and was doing it for her young son which then Melania criticized the “Morning Joe” co-hosts for using her to “further their own agenda.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president was “pushing back against people who have attacked him day after day after day….” Ever heard of “two wrongs don’t make a right” and the White House is not a kindergarten! If he can’t accept criticism….

At a 136 minute chat at the G20 conference, Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, reportedly told Russian media that Putin denied interfering and Trump accepted his denial. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a sharply different version of the conversation, saying the two countries could not come to an agreement on the issue. Lost in translation?

Interesting to note that in the “Class of G20” official picture, Trump was almost the farthest away from the center [President of France was at the edge]. Maybe the closest to center the longest you have been the country’s leader [except the host leader].

Even at the G20 summit just before his chat with Vladimir Poutine, Trump tweeted “Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta [former chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign] refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!” You think when he said “everyone” every leader was thinking of Podesta [- nope]. Another Trump exaggeration. As well, Podesta had no rights to the DNC server to begin with as he’s not in the DNC now. Finally, if the server was to be given it would be to the FBI. The CIA can’t investigate on US soil about US issues.

And even in front of the press with the Mexican President, Trump still believes Mexico will pay for the wall. Exactly how many miles of the wall has been built?

At a speech in Warsaw, Trump finally agreed with Article 5 of the NATO constitution which states that an attack on one NATO country is like an attack on any NATO country. This differs from his early weeks where he said some negative comments about NATO and not agreeing to Article 5. Yes. Another flip flop.

As well, Trump delivered a battle cry to defend Western civilization in Warsaw, but his political vision for the alliance in the West is one that few of its other major leaders would recognize, far less embrace. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” Trump said, citing his host nation’s long battles against tyranny as an example of the tenacity needed to preserve Western values.

The spouses of the other G20 leaders toured a climate change center in Hamburg and took a river cruise [except Melania Trump who couldn’t get out of her hotel because of protests – unless the hubby told her the climate change center is bogus].

Attorneys general from 18 states and Washington D.C. sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos after she delayed an Obama-era rule, the Borrower Defense to Repayment rule, which was created in 2016 and was set to take effect on July 1. But DeVos announced in June that she would delay its implementation. Instead, she directed her department to create committees to review and improve the rules.

Trump hired DeVos even though she had no experience in the management of education. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. She accused DeVos of “sid[ing] with for-profit school executives against students and families drowning in unaffordable student loans.”

“The assault on the automotive industry is over,” claimed Trump in a speech this week. Tell that to the soon to be unemployed Ford works [as I mentioned in a previous blog].

220,000 jobs were gained in June but the unemployment rate still ticked up. Trump claims that the economy is going up in “gangbusters”. 220,000 in a month isn’t that great. [For example, Canada can create 40,000 jobs a month and Canada is about one-eleventh the size of the US.] Also, no idea how many of those 220,000 are full-time jobs but did wages go up in general? No idea. Ironically that one in six new jobs was in health care.

If you noticed less foreign bands touring the US [and by extension in Canada], here is one reason why – a Trump executive order from March. In 2016, the US issued more than 63,800 “O” and “P” visas, which enable entertainers, athletes or people with extraordinary abilities in the sciences or business and those traveling with them to visit the US for short term performances as well as contractual employment. For March and April of this year [where the only months the State Department has released data for] the U.S issued only 697 of those visas. The monthly tallies for visas issued in the year 2016 were not available.]

Seen in a forum:

At the G20 meeting in Hamburg:

“Master Putin, how am I doing. Are you happy with my work?”

“Padawan Drumpf, you are doing an excellent job. Thank you for trying to hide Russia’s attack during the elections as well as the information about Clinton and the Democrats that we leaked.”