Is there something wrong with Trump?

[Well aside from the usual.]

Wow! The last nearly 2 weeks have put the Trump administration and the stock markets on a lengthy roller coaster.

Beijing unveiling a new round of retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of US goods placing tariffs of 5% or 10% on US imports starting on September 1st, according to a statement posted by China’s Finance Ministry. This round affects beef, oil, soya beans, nuts, cream, turkey, and chemicals.

A second possible round on December 1st would affect coffee, corn, vehicles, whiskey wood, doors, etc.

The Ministry also announced plans to resume tariffs on US imports of automobiles and automobile parts. The tariffs would be 25% or 5%, and would take effect on December 15th. Recently, China said it would take countermeasures after Donald Trump announced it would impose 10% tariffs on Chinese imports worth $300 billion.

Not just as few hours after, Trump decided to increase current tariffs at 25% to 30%. Those at 10% will jump to 15%. The Dow Jones stock market – in just a short time – dropped more than 700 points after the announcement at one point. He claimed, in a tweet, that China’s tariffs are “politically motivated”. He ended his set of tweets with “Thank you for your attention to this matter!”

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said “It’s no surprise that China is slapping even more tariffs on American products. Every time Trump escalates his trade war, China calls his bluff — and why would we expect any differently this time around? And it’s no surprise that farmers are again the target.”

Trump said, “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” Trump can’t order American business to do anything as it is known as the “private sector”.

The Dow Jones had already dropped 300 points on the fear of another round of Trump tariffs. Trump also expressed anger at Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Powell in a speech today did not indicate if the central bank has plans for another interest rate cut. Trump has been calling for further cuts to rates.

Upsetting [saying it mildly] another ally, Trump tweeted “Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time.” Seriously? Frederiksen said the word “Absurd” for her answer.

Trump had accepted an invitation to visit Her Majesty Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark. Now it is a diplomatic snub that he has canceled the visit because of his vindictive pettiness. Trump confirmed his interest in buying the country, telling reporters at one point that Greenland is hurting Denmark. Doesn’t explain how – of course.

Oh it must be fun being a US ambassador in this administration.

Estimated minimum price to buy Greenland is over $1 billion, for 56,000 people and 9% unemployment. Add harsh conditions and plenty of ice. But it does have some untapped resources.

No shocker here [or I told you so]: Trump is reversing his stance on gun control. After the shootings he said “I’m looking to do background checks… I think background checks are important.”

Then he responded recently by saying “I don’t want people to forget that this is a mental health problem… It’s the people that pull the trigger. It’s not the gun that pulls the trigger… “I’m also very, very concerned with the Second Amendment”. These are basically the same phrases that the NRA has been pushing for. So you think that anything will happen?

“I had a very good meeting with Tim Cook,” Trump said in an interview. “I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook, and Tim was talking to me about tariffs. And one of the things, and he made a good case, is that Samsung is their number-one competitor, and Samsung is not paying tariffs because they’re based in South Korea.”

He also said that Apple “will be spending vast sums of money in the US. Great!” though he doesn’t appear to have mentioned any details of further US investment in his comments to reporters. He has said this before of more US investments in the past only to have nothing come out of it.

He has to remember that his policies are hurting American businesses. He is the one to blame for issues that American companies who are having issues with it. On the other hand, Apple has plenty of money and part of their problem is that their products have had slumps because of a combination of higher prices and poor quality control [think recently about keyboard and battery issues with their laptops].

Trump may in the end exclude Apple from getting hit with the tariffs. And so it unravels. He does it for one company and other American companies who have at least some manufacturing done in China will ask for the same treatment. Most of them may not be as wealthy as Apple.

“If I wanted to make a bad deal and settle on China, the market would go up. But it wouldn’t be the right thing to do,” Trump explained. “I’m just not ready to make a deal, China would like to make a deal, I’m not ready.” So his ego prefers the world end up in a recession.

Trump and his advisers insist their trade war with China won’t hurt American consumers. But analysts say otherwise. The tariffs Trump has already imposed on China are estimated to cost the average American household $600 per year, according to a report by JPMorgan Chase. That will rise to $1,000 if Trump carries through on his plan to levy tariffs on another $300 billion of US imports from China, the bank added.

Oh craps! Trump referred to himself as the “chosen one” while speaking on his role in the ongoing trade war between the US and China. Later he said “Nobody has done a job like I done.” He said at one point that China had the worst economic year in 50 year. Last week he said at one point it was 25 and then 37. How things change in a week or so.

Trump conceded that economies across the world are “not doing well like we are doing, the rest of the world, if you look at Germany, if you look at European Union, frankly, look at the UK, look at a lot of the countries, they are not doing well.” If the world’s largest economies [other than the US] re in a recession, then the US will follow.

Trump added that “most economists actually say we are not going to have a recession.” If you translate that, it usually means he asked one or two people who may know about the economy and generally agree with everything he says. Trump sent out some people to news channels to tell people everything is good with the economy.

Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown revealing growing concerns about the economy among Trump’s top economic aides. But Trump says that the economy in the US is doing well?

As if Trump doesn’t have enough to complain about this week: “Henry Ford would be very disappointed if he saw his modern-day descendants wanting to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn’t work as well, because execs don’t want to fight California regulators.” Wonder what he is dreaming about this time.

This after saying “My proposal to the politically correct Automobile Companies would lower the average price of a car to consumers by more than $3000, while at the same time making the cars substantially safer. Engines would run smoother.”

Not to be out done, he then whined about the US share of the NATO budget versus everyone else.

Go figure. He is the president of the US and he is still complaining about the 2016 votes – 30+ months later. He tweeted “Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued.”

He was referring to a study by psychologist Robert Epstein [hmmm], which was discussed on Fox. Epstein himself says Trump was wrong about his findings. Epstein did find “bias” in Google search results, but he says there is no evidence Google “manipulated” the results to favor Hillary Clinton. Epstein said the pro-Clinton bias was “sufficient to have shifted between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes” to Clinton – not 16 million.

Epstein used a whopping 95 people from 24 states. That is research? For statistical purposes, this has a wide error. He also didn’t even publish his findings in a credible journal or web site that is related to his research. Epstein said he is “suspicious” that Google is deliberately biasing its results, given the Democratic leanings of its employees and the allegations of company “whistle blowers.” Epstein didn’t divulge who he supports.

Trump wants Russia back into the G7 [as the G8] in time for the 2020 meeting in the US. Trump claimed that President Barack Obama wanted Russia out of the group because “he got outsmarted.” He didn’t say how Obama was outsmarted, but you know Trump. Imaginary thing. Russia was suspended from the group after the majority of member countries united against Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Trump held a lengthy phone call with his master, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre, recently. Now it looks like universal background checks are “off the table.” LaPierre reminded Trump how NRA members helped get him elected. No shock in Trump’s latest stance.

The Trump administration announced plans that could hold undocumented families detained together indefinitely, replacing the agreement that set a 20-day limit for holding children. The rule is meant to reduce the number of families trying to enter the US. Already this year, more than 430,000 family members have been arrested for crossing the southern border illegally, compared to around 100,000 for all of last year.

Then Trump said he is “seriously” considering ending US birthright citizenship despite the fact that such a move would face immediate legal challenge and is at odds with Supreme Court precedent. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees birthright citizenship and states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The White House has dropped its attempt to move forward with a controversial plan to eliminate up to $4 billion in funding to the State Department and the US Agency for International Development. Previously, Trump misrepresented the developments that led Turkey to purchase the Russian system, blaming the Obama administration for the situation.

The Trump administration has sought to decrease what it believes is wasteful spending and make foreign aid more conditional on support for US policies. White House officials believed they had the authority to cancel the funds without congressional approval.

The Trump administration has formally withdrawn its $3.5 billion offer for Turkey to purchase a Patriot missile system in retaliation for Turkey’s receipt of the Russian-made S-400 missile system. The US has also ejected Turkey from the F-35 jet program, preventing Turkey from acquiring some 100 of the stealth jets and removing Turkish companies from the production chain.

It’s been 5.5 months since the last official White House press briefing. Stephanie Grisham, White House communications director and White House press secretary as well as communications director for Melania Trump, has yet to have a press briefing in the nearly 1.5 months in her new job.

Russian state TV says that Trump wants Russian to be part of the G8 because “he owes Russia” after the US recently tested a land based Tomahawk cruise missile. “He feels guilty or ashamed…. They miss us.”

Vladimir Poutine partially blamed the US for the recent accident there in testing new military hardware.

Wow! He finally did something right: He is eliminating all federal student loan debt owed by American veterans who are completely and permanently disabled. Took him over 2.5 years to do something right.

Trump is expected to select Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to replace Jon Huntsman [resignation is effective October 3] as US Ambassador to Russia. At least Sullivan has some diplomatic experience. He was passed over as Secretary of State when Rex Tillerson resigned though.

Talk of to boost his way sagging popularity that Trump may dump Vice President Mike Pence and replace him with former UN ambassador, Nikki Haley. She tweeted “Enough of the false rumors.”

Trump also quoted radio host and conspiracy theorist/nut-case Wayne Allyn Root who said “…like he’s [Trump] the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God….” Seriously?

After recent polling numbers from Fox, Trump wasn’t happy saying “Fox has changed. And my worst polls have always been from Fox. There’s something going on at Fox, I’ll tell you right now. And I’m not happy with it.” He believes that since Fox is the only right wing leaning large news organization, he should have better polling numbers with them – as if Fox manipulates polling data. But he always used them as his propaganda “arm”.

2 mass shootings and it looks like Trump is campaigning

Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are citing video games as one of the reasons behind mass shootings in the US. Trump said video games that “celebrate violence” need to be addressed. After the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Trump signaled he believed violence in video games is partly to blame for real life violence but nothing was done.

Trump also blamed the internet saying it has “provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts” and said that “hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.” But if they didn’t have a gun, they can’t fire it.

Trump tweeted “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform.” Is he thinking that the two mass shootings are related to immigration issues? Both shooters were non-immigrants although the one from El Paso was immigration.

A sweeping gun control bill that passed the House with bipartisan support in February that requires universal background checks has not been considered by the Republican-led Senate and the White house said it would veto the bill.

Trump said during his White House statement that he’s “directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty.” Did he really direct them? Of course he had promised to so something at each of the previous mass shootings but never did anything.

More than 200 House members – all Democrats – have urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call back the Senate and get to work to pass their background checks bill. McConnell has hinted at some type of changes but won’t approve of any ban on assault rifles, some background checks and only block people from owning guns if there is instability [i.e. mental issues].

Trump called the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso Texas a “wicked man” and urged the country to condemn bigotry, racism and white supremacy. He stopped short of acknowledging his own divisive and racist rhetoric.

“We have done much more than most administrations,” Trump said, without elaboration. If he has done more, wouldn’t there be less shootings. Exactly what legislation have passed or executive orders to curb these mass shootings? Try none.

Trump tweeted by offered prayers for “those who perished in Toledo.” Ummm. Something wrong there especially when his teleprompter said Dayton.

The El Paso shooter has been using the word “invasion” – the same word Trump has used in many of his speeches describing the migrants headed towards the US borders.

Acting [Isn’t everyone in this administration “acting”? Even the Commander in Chief is an actor.] Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney claims that all the shooters in mass shootings are sick and are not politically motivated. So let’s go with that. Why are these mass shooters keep on getting weapons they should not have? The shooter at the food fair in California went to Nevada to get his weapons because Nevada has one of the most relaxed gun laws.

Trump also has put the blame on the mainstream media [surely not Fox News!] saying in a tweet “The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country. Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years.” Yes Donnie. The mainstream media are using fake quotes from your press conferences, fake tweets from you, etc.

Trump has said that “I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.” A red flag law enables those who have seen warning signs (aka red flags) to seek a court order to intervene and temporarily prevent someone who is in crisis from having access to a firearm. For example, under California’s red flag law, it’s legal for family members to ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat.

Not surprising he gave no indication if he wants the states to enact laws, a federal law or just saying it. Now whether or not he actually acts on what he’s calling for. At this time, only 17 states plus Washington, DC, have passed such laws. Most of these states are in the heavily Democratic voting areas of the country. Not surprised.

During a visit to a Toledo [errr] Dayton hospital to visit those hurt as well as the responders, Trump supposedly said “You had God watching. I want you to know we’re with you all the way.” I won’t go there. Interpret as you wish.
When Trump visits Dayton, The Baby Trump balloon – which will be filled with air rather than helium – will be carrying a sign that says, “Welcome to Toledo Dayton! Don’t be a baby – Stand up to the NRA.” On the sign, the word “Toledo” will be crossed out.

A bunch of signs in Dayton: “President Cheetos, we’re not Toledo” and “Drain the your swamp.” [“the” was crossed out] and “Welcome to Toledo” and “Even my dogs hate you”. Trump visited those injured and first responders with no press conference or anything else. He was in Toledo … errr…. Dayton for less than 3 hours.

The Ohio shooter was expelled from his school for having both a hit list [his sister was on it] and a list of women he wanted to rape. Was that all was done? Did the school inform the police or others?

After going to Dayton and then El Paso, Trump said “We had an amazing day.” Not the right words to say really. Meanwhile some of those who were injured didn’t want to meet Trump.

For a good laugh: “No, I don’t think my rhetoric has at all. My rhetoric brings people together,” he told reporters. Then added “I have toned it down.” Well after the past couple of weeks attacking The Squad, Elijah Cummings, etc.

Trump was also tweeting about the Dayton shooter “supporting political figures like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and ANTIFA,” despite the fact authorities have not determined a political motivation for the perpetrator. How pathetic that he uses a shooting to go after the opposition. The Dayton shooter, based on what the FBI has said, has not suggested a political motivation.

In El Paso he said “they shouldn’t be politicking”. So he is allowed but others aren’t?

He said he would not politicize his visits and yet not long after his visits, Trump release a promotional video of him visiting one of the hospitals, shaking hands, slowed down video, etc. You think this will show up in his re-election campaign in 12+ months?

Trump said “tried to stay out” of politically dividing aspects of the mass shooting which happened over the weekend, even though he went after Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on Twitter hours beforehand. Footage showed him saying at the hospital in El Paso that he had a bigger rally than O’Rourke.

Trump, his press secretary and his director of social media accused Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, both of whom are Democrats, of misrepresenting the reception Trump received from shooting victims during his visit to a Dayton hospital. At least in public, none of them said anything negative about Trump.

“I’m at a loss for why all this vitriol came immediately after he had a good visit at the hospital,” said Whaley. Trump kept the visit private with no press. I know – E G O.

“Very SAD to see Ohio Senator Brown, & Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley – LYING & completely mischaracterizing what took place w/ the President’s visit to Miami Valley Hospital today,” Dan Scavino Jr., who serves as White House director of social media tweeted. “They are disgraceful politicians, doing nothing but politicizing a mass shooting, at every turn they can….”

In a June 2015 poll, Trump had a measly 1% for 11th place among 16 Republicans in a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. In the same poll, it was asked “Could you see yourselves supporting this candidate or not?” 32% said them could see themselves supporting Trump but 66% said they can’t.

White House officials have been talking to top officials from the National Rifle Association since the back-to-back mass shootings. I guess it shows who’s really in charge of policies related to security. Later, supposedly NRA chief Wayne LaPierre has told Trump that support for a background check bill from Sens. Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin would not be favored among Trump’s base and argued against the bill’s merits.

The NRA are very against any background checks or “red flags”. So if you think they will allow Trump to do them, that is very unlikely. Will Trump listen to this master like he listens to his other master, Vladimir Poutine.

Trump is in favor of background checks and “red flags”. He said the same thing about the checks after the Parkland shooting. So you know how serious Trump is. In addition, between him and McConnell, they can force Congress to come back from their August vacations. They haven’t. I would say barring further mass shootings, they will let the rush to get background check simmer and eventually people will forget… Again.

The White House will host internet and technology companies for a summit focused on violent extremism online. It’s the first public engagement meeting convened following last weekend’s deadly shootings. Trump is not expected to attend the session. A list of participants isn’t yet available.

In the 8 years under President Obama, there were 38 mass shootings. In just over 31 months, there has been already 31 mass shootings under Trump. It’s been close to 20 years since there was a year without a mass shooting [as defined as at least 4 deaths].

Both Venezuela and Uruguay issued travel advisories warned their residents about violence and hate crimes in the United States. With what’s going on in Venezuela, I can’t see many people vacationing in the US.

Trump is suing the state of California challenging a state law that requires candidates for president to disclose income tax returns before they can appear on the state’s primary ballot. The law adds an “unconstitutional qualification” to the fixed set of qualifications for the presidency set forward in the Constitution and violates the First Amendment, Trump’s lawyer William Consovoy argued.

A second similar lawsuit was also filed by Republican voters along with the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of California who argue that this a political maneuver that takes voting rights away from Trump’s supporters. Exactly what is Trump hiding that he doesn’t want us to see? Business interests in Russia, for example?

With Trump threatening further tariffs against China over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology policies, the Chines yuan further weakened at below 7:1. American officials complain a weak yuan makes China’s exports too inexpensive, hurting foreign competitors and swelling Beijing’s trade surplus.

Trump tweeted “China dropped the price of their currency to an almost a historic low. It’s called “currency manipulation.”… This is a major violation which will greatly weaken China over time!” So Trump jacks up tariffs which lowers China’s currency which allows a further increase in the Chines trade surplus. Something Trump doesn’t want. You can say Trump is feeding a fire with gasoline.

Trump told reporters “What I’ve done for African Americans, no president, I would say, has done…. They are so happy, because I get the calls.” Which is why polls show he would have less African Americans voting for him today if there was an election compared to the meager amount [roughly 8%] he has in 2016. They have his direct number at the White house?

Trump has claimed more than 75 times that he was the one who got the Veterans Choice health care program [where veterans should be allowed to see private doctors if they are facing long waits in the VA system] passed, though Obama signed it into law in 2014.

“We’ve sold tens of thousands of tickets, and you know, at the sale prices, we keep it nice and low, but keep it nice and low,” said Trump at a recent rally in Cincinnati. Tickets to his rallies are free.

“The cages for kids were built by the Obama Administration in 2014. He had the policy of child separation. I ended it even as I realized that more families would then come to the Border!” Obama’s administration built chain-link “cages” to detain migrants. But separations were rare under Obama; Trump made them standard.

According to a new report that came out, ISIS is making a comeback five months after Trump said they were “defeated”. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others in the administration are downplaying the report saying they haven’t made a comeback. Of course we know the history of this administration where at least Trump does not believe anything that comes out of any government intelligence agency. So this will be no different.

Trump had a campaign event in El Paso and left without paying a $400,000+ bill for law enforcement, first responders, level one trauma center [on standby], etc.

Trump had announced on Twitter that he was nominating Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas for director of national intelligence. Late that week he blamed the “LameStream Media” for the questions that were raised about Ratcliffe’s qualifications and announced he would be going with someone else for the role. Or more like the media was doing their job investigating an appointee instead of just choosing someone he likes or who will suck up to him.

Trump announced that Joseph Maguire, the leader of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, is his new pick to be the acting director of national intelligence. The announcement came not long after Trump tweeted that Sue Gordon, the country’s number two intelligence official and an intelligence veteran of more than 30 years, would resign. Gordon was not viewed by some in the administration as the type of political loyalist Trump wanted in the role.

The number of Trump nominations who were ultimately rejected by congress or withdraw hit 54 people. Then add 12 federal judges were also withdrawn.

While this portion of the blog is about Trump, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said that white supremacy is “actually not a real problem in America. The combined membership of every white supremacist organization in this country would be able to fit inside a college football stadium.” Having them in one place gives some people some ideas…. Carlson has since took some time off. The fifth from Fox News anchors in 2 years.

Lawyer claims client with “severe traumatic brain injury and has problems with impulse control” and “uber patriotic” slams kid to the ground for not removing his hat during the national anthem. Lawyer says client is influenced by the rhetoric of Trump.

Yes a new defense strategy in court: client is influenced by the rhetoric of Trump.

What happened to the gun lobby in the US?

Donald Trump naturally responded to the synagogue shooting by calling for more armed guards in houses of worship and other public places.

The number of people in the US who died in massacres from the “popular” AR-15 was 176. That jumped to 225 in 2016 [if including the AR-15 cousin, the SIG Sauer MCX].

Following a series of deadly mass shootings in the late 1980s and early 1990s the AR-15 and similar were banned in the US. Fatalities caused by such rifles dropped, although killings by other semi-automatics went up.

When the ban came up for renewal in 2004, the Republican controlled Congress let it lapse, despite polling that suggested it remained a popular gun control measure with the public. Surprised?

According to a recent Gallup poll, support for stricter gun control is at 61 per cent. Support is very strong among Democrats at 87 per cent. Sixty-one per cent of independents are also in support. Not surprisingly just 31 per cent of Republicans support gun control.

As of last week, gun control groups have outspent the pro-gun supports. In comparison, in 2016, $55 million were donated to the gun supporters and around $5.5 million for gun control.

A Wall St. Journal report counted 102,000 gun-control-themed ads that had been aired in battleground states, versus just 4,500 in the 2014 midterms.

The National Rifle Association, the big gun rights group/lobby in the US, had spent just $1.6 million US on ads and campaign contributions, compared to $16 million by the same point in the 2014 cycle. Part of the reason is that the NRA membership has plummeted [less $35 million in 2017] and they are now in a deficit.

US politicians [almost all are conservatives] that are supported by the NRA will feel the loss of funding compared to previous election years and will have to rely on other donors. Some of them received millions from the NRA.

 

No action from the Trump administration on guns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on the Florida shooting and what Trump has or hasn’t done

Donald Trump “is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system” for gun purchases. The questions is whether he will act on this or will be held back by his friends at the NRA.

Trump ran for president as a pro-gun candidate and tied himself to the National Rifle Association throughout the campaign. He also said he was open to banning bump stocks in the wake of last fall’s Las Vegas shooting, but there hasn’t been significant further action by the White House on that front. But Trump ran as an anti-gun control candidate in 2016, before he was a political figure he backed a ban on assault weapons and a longer waiting period for people to buy a weapon.

“I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” he wrote in his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve.” Of course now he reversed his thinking because he needed the NRA’s help to win the election.

Trump’s only action on guns as “president” undid restrictions aimed at mental illness by signing a measure that nixed a regulation that required the Social Security Administration to disclose information quarterly to the national gun background check system about certain people with mental illness.

So while the funerals were going on in Florida for some of the 17 killed in the shooting, Trump did not do work as a president. Nope. He went golfing and tweeted.

Trump says at a meeting with some shooting survivors, that if one of the victims, a football coach, had been armed “he would have shot and that would have been the end of it.” Revisiting an idea he raised in his campaign, Trump’s comments in favour of allowing teachers to be armed come as lawmakers in several states are wrestling with the idea. Obviously Trump’s idea isn’t approved by the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers.

Trump criticized the armed school resource officer in Parkland, Florida, who stayed outside of the school during the shooting for at least 4 minutes as the shootings began , saying during a White House news conference that the deputy Scot Peterson “doesn’t love the children, probably doesn’t know the children.” I guess the person was in shock and/or nervous. That and there is no match between an AR-15 and a hand gun.

Meanwhile, Trump was camera caught that he had a crib sheet of things to say or ask during the survivors meeting.

“Both kids in the picture [students at the school in Parkland] are not students here but actors that travel to various crisis when they happen,” an aide to state Rep. Shawn Harrison told the Tampa Bay Times. The aide was later fired. Another conspiracy nut said that the students were plants of the FBI, because Hogg’s father is a retired FBI agent. [FBI has taken quite a bit of criticism.] “Why would the child of an FBI agent be used as a pawn for anti-Trump rhetoric and anti-gun legislation?” asked the alt-right conservative blog. “Because the FBI is only looking to curb YOUR Constitutional rights and INCREASE their power. We’ve seen similar moves by them many times over. This is just another disgusting example of it.”

Then there is “Do we really think – and I say this sincerely – do we really think 17-year-olds on their own are going to plan a nationwide rally,” said former Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston. Some of these nut jobs think 9/11 was an inside job and the Sandy Hook shooting never happened.

Trump said that he has directed his attorney general to propose changes that would ban bump fire stocks, which make it easier to fire rounds more quickly. The move adds his voice to a process that began in December in the Las Vegas mass shooting. Then he said he would do something but didn’t. Will this be any different?

Almost a week after the shootings at the high school, the state legislature voted 71-36 against a measure to consider a ban on semi-automatic weapons but they did declared pornography to be public health risk.

The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island form coalition to combat “gun violence epidemic”. They are working collectively while waiting for “Congress and the President to take federal action.” [If the latter ever does take action.]

Trump asserted that the Obama administration bears some blame for the election meddling, insisted he never denied that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 U.S. campaign. Trump has focused on the fact that the Russian effort began in 2014, before Trump announced his White House run. Obama confronted Russian President Vladimir Poutine in September 2016 telling him to “cut it out.” This days after an indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians with a plot to interfere in the US presidential election.

Trump said the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, California Rep. Adam Schiff “is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election.” But what Schiff said was that the Obama administration needed “more forceful deterrent” against cyberattacks. In addition, no one knew that Russian was meddling until this investigation.

Trump asserted that he “never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” and felt vindicated [but the investigation has said there has been no American – at this time – that conspired with the Russians]. He added that “The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!” which for now may be true. He also said that national security adviser H.R. McMaster left out some details on how “… McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians. He knows this how especially after this indictment?

In November, he said he believed the conclusion of US intelligence agencies that there had been meddling. But Trump also said he believed Poutine was sincere when he said Russia didn’t interfere. So someone in Russia did it behind Poutine’s back?

Former Trump presidential campaign aide Rick Gates has agreed to testify against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and will plead guilty to fraud related charges. A revised plea will be presented in federal court “within the next few days.” Gates can expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence,” to likely about 18 months in prison if he cooperates with the investigation and is also likely going to have to forfeit any cash or valuables obtained through his alleged illegal activity.

Later Gates and Manafort were handed additional charges in the investigation. Now Gates will plead guilty to two criminal charges in special counsel Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation. Gates said that despite his “initial desire to vigorously defend myself,” he has had a “change of heart” in order to protect his family. Mueller may have more to go after Manafort who could then point to those higher in the food chain.

The Trump administration is once again calling for the complete elimination of a heating assistance program that helps to keep the homes of low-income families warm. And once again, program supporters are vowing to fight it. The administration is saying it’s rife with fraud and that no one would be left freezing if the program goes away. So where do low incomes families will get their supplement?

The program, known as LIHEAP — Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program — helps families pay their heating bills primarily in the form of a grant that’s sent directly to utility companies or heating fuel vendors. So the government is sending money directly from them to the utility companies. Wonder where the fraud is. In the government?

As if Trump doesn’t have enough going on, he read the lyrics of an anti-immigrant song titled “The Snake” at CPAC, reverting to a campaign staple that Trump has used to criticize United States’ immigration policy.

The Golden State Warriors have reportedly budgeted time to meet with local children in lieu of making an appearance at the White House to commemorate their 2016-17 NBA title during their upcoming road trip to Washington. Trump tweeted the Warriors’ White House invitation had been rescinded after point guard Stephen Curry told reporters at media day he didn’t want to attend the ceremony.

Trump said he was considering withdrawing Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE} agents from California as punishment for what he claimed was a “lousy management job” in patrolling illegal immigration. “If I pulled our people from California, you would have a crime nest like you’ve never seen in California.” Let him try….

It was not clear how serious Trump was about the proposal. His administration has stepped up enforcement of immigration laws in California as an effort to pressure sanctuary cities. There is also no particular statistics made public that says patrolling illegal immigration isn’t working there.

With Trump pushing to remove “chain migration” from the immigration portfolio, without chain migration Melania Trump’s parents may have not been legal permanent residents of the United States. Viktor and Amalija Knavs have been living in the United States with green cards. Chain migration is when someone gets citizenship and then sponsors family member. Once those family members become citizens, they sponsor other family members.

Trump and his congressional allies have fought to slash chain migration dramatically, limiting sponsorship to spouses and minor children, including dropping the threshold for minor children from 21 to 18. Experts estimate that could cut overall immigration to the US by 40% to 50%.

Trump described Oprah Winfrey as “very insecure” and accused her of “biased and slanted” after an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that addressed his presidency. She had asked 14 pro-Trump supports whether they would still back him after is recent issues. Back in 1999, Trump told Larry King: “Oprah — I love Oprah — Oprah would always be my first choice…. I mean if she’d ever do it [run for President] — I don’t know that she’d ever do it …. she’d be sort of like me.” Yikes!

Just 20 years ago, in 1988, Trump told Oprah he probably would never run, adding: “I think I’d win — I tell you what, I wouldn’t go into lose. I’ve never gone in to lose in my life.”

Donald Trump, Jr. went to India. His schedule includes dinners in at least two cities with buyers of Trump-branded apartments, which could fuel ethical concerns about the links between his father and his family business. According to reports, those who purchase an apartment will get a conversation and dinner with Trump Jr. which could get investors access [indirectly] to Donald Trump Sr.

One of the dinners, for people who have pre-booked condos in Trump Towers near New Delhi, was heralded by a series of front-page ads in two of the country’s biggest newspapers over the past few days. “Trump has arrived. Have you?” says one ad.

Another reads, “Trump is here. Are you invited?” Developers say that the Trump on a building name allows them to add a premium of as much as 40% to the apartments compared with the price of similar luxury properties in India.

Real estate developer Al Hoffman Jr., a top GOP donor, said that he would not give money to lawmakers if they did not spring into action to ban on assault weapons, confirming he had sent an email to GOP leaders explaining his decision. “The more I realized that what I had been doing, which was hounding elected officials to vote for better gun law control, was not going to happen. So I felt I had to do it on my own.”

Just months after Republican Kevin Nicholson announced his bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in 2018, his own parents donated the legal maximum to her primary campaign. Nicholson’s parents, Donna and Michael, donated $2,700 to Baldwin in December 2017. Woops!

With the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement, maybe Trump is getting nervous. Trump is complaining about Canadian trade practices while threatening some as-yet-undefined international tax that has revived fears he might be contemplating new American import penalties. This is when he said “Canada does not treat us right in terms of the farming and the crossing the borders. We cannot continue to be taken advantage of by other countries.”

The administration officials have expressed anger over Canada’s wide-ranging attack at the World Trade Organization on the U.S. system for imposing duties. “Some of them are so-called allies but they are not allies on trade. … So we’re going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax and you’ll be hearing about that during the week and the coming months.”

Trump did promise more clarity on a new tax. More details could be coming soon, he suggested. But in the US, Congress sets tax rates — not the president — and Congress, which just completed a major tax reform, has shown little inclination to hike taxes. Tariff rates are negotiated at the WTO.

Vivieca Wright Simpson, the chief of staff for Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, altered an email and made false statements to a department ethics official that led to taxpayers covering expenses for Shulkin’s wife on an official trip to Europe last summer, the agency’s inspector general.

Officials at the White House have been working to devise a plan this week that would allow Jared Kushner to continue in his role handling sensitive foreign policy matters without forcing President Donald Trump to personally intervene and grant him access to classified information. The scramble came after chief of staff John Kelly issued a memo a week ago declaring the White House will no longer allow some employees with interim security clearances access to top secret information if their background investigation has been pending since before last June — a category Kushner falls into.

A bit of humor: With the passing of evangelist Billy Graham, the following scene could of happened in the Oval Office:

Pence: Twitler. I am going to Billy’s funeral. One of us has to go and it’s me because I’m the real right-wing conservative crackpot here.

Trump: But I want to go. Huff. Puff. Huff. Puff. [Trump can’t jump up and down like a whining baby because of his weight and just after finishing 2 double big Macs.]

Obama releases gun recommendations. NRA won’t budge.

Well US President Obama came out with some recommended changes regarding guns in the US.

Among the recommendations is to spend money on research on why there are gun issues in the US. Most developed countries do not have issues such as mass shootings and yet it seems to be common in the US.

Another recommendation is to have more screening in who is purchasing a gun. For example, mentally fit, no criminal activities, etc. There is talking of also getting tougher on gun trafficking. The National Rifle Association [NRA] doesn’t seem to mind those.

What they do mind is limiting the number of bullets in a gun clip as well as the ban of assault weapons. [Do you need an assault rifle with a 30 bullet clip to kill a helpless dear?]

Other measures include closing a loophole that allows gun sales by private sellers to go ahead without background checks, as well as measures to keep gun buyers from purchasing firearms on behalf of someone else.

Since the Newton massacre, the NRA in the US has argued for more guns – to protect children in schools. And yet at the Columbine massacre around ten years ago, there were two armed guards and that didn’t stop the killings.

According to history, the NRA was set up after the US Civil War to show civilians how to shoot guns. In the 1930s, with the violence going on [think John Dillinger and the like], the NRA was actually in favor of gun control. But sometime in the mid-1970s, the NRA was hijacked by right wing conservatives who basically hijacked the NRA.

Now, during the last US election, they spent $19 million on candidates opposing the Democrats. They intend to spend more to stop Obama from coming out with any legislation that will reduce the number of guns in the US.

Just recently, the NRA announced that over 250,000 new members have joined the NRA since the Newport massacre – roughly a 6% increase in members in just a month.

On Tuesday, the NRA released a 30-second video accusing Obama of being an “elitist hypocrite” because his daughters have Secret Service protection at school, yet he does not advocate armed guards in all of the country’s schools. Hmmm. Let’s see – to prevent the kidnapping of the family of the President, maybe?

On Tuesday, the New York Assembly approved by a vote of 104-43 strict measures that call for a tougher assault weapons ban and restrictions on gun and ammunition sales.

The new legislation includes measures aimed at keeping the mentally ill from owning firearms, requires background checks for private sales of assault weapons to anyone other than immediate family, reduces magazine capacity from 10 to seven bullets and bans the online sale of assault weapons in New York.

Not surprising the NRA called the New York laws as “draconian”. They also are comparing Obama to a king [i.e. fought the war of independence to get away from the monarchy but it has come back].

One Republican on the hill has even suggested an impeachment of Obama.

Gun rights advocates go after CNN host

Figures. A right wing leaning person in Texas have started a petition to deport CNN host Piers Morgan to be deported from the United States for his “hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution.”

Morgan, a British citizen, is a long-time advocate for stricter gun control laws in the U.S. He has been especially outspoken following the recent shooting of 20 school children and a number of adults in the Newtown, Conn. massacre.
In a December 18th interview on CNN with gun advocate Larry Pratt, Pratt had argued that stricter gun control encourages violence by making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. Morgan lost his cool, saying: “You’re an incredibly stupid man, aren’t you?” Pratt shot back with a few comments at Morgan.

A few days later, a citizen Austin, Texas created a petition on the White House website calling for Morgan’s deportation, saying Morgan was attacking the U.S. constitution.

The petition included the following: “We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”

Think about it. Being someone who is in front of cameras, fiercely pro gun control laws and the right wing leaning [I’ll assume] gun advocates want to toss him out of the country because of his stance. Unlike other talk show hosts, he isn’t an American.

Why not go after the other pro gun control advocates? There are plenty out there.

Maybe go after some politicians as well. Outside of losing his cool [which his guest fought back], what is the difference between Morgan and another talk show host who has come out against the NRA or who wants stricter gun control? Other than Morgan is British? Nothing.

They can’t have a petition to deport the others because they are Americans but they can try and go after Morgan, who isn’t.

Oh ya. One man can’t “undermine” the Bill of rights.

Once a petition receives 25,000 signatures it qualifies to be reviewed by the Obama administration, and a response is issued.

Among the petitions on the White House website is a petition asking for permission for the state of Texas to withdraw from the U.S. and create its own government, and one asking for Westboro Baptist Church [known for its extreme ideologies, especially those against homosexuality] to be recognized as a hate group. The Texas petition has more than 121,000 signatures, while the Westboro petition has more than 53,000.