Hot summer and politics is heating up as well

Longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg has been subpoenaed. Weisselberg has served as something of a jack-of-all-trades for Donald Trump. He worked for the Trump Organization and the Donald J. Trump Foundation, yes, but he also handled personal stuff – up to and including tax returns … and apparently consulting with Cohen on how to handle paying for the rights to a story about an alleged Trump affair with a Playboy Playmate, just two months before the 2016 election.

Weisselberg has now been tied to both the potential Karen McDougal payment (his name is also mentioned a released tape recording) and to the payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who has also claimed an affair with Trump, in which he set up Cohen’s reimbursements from Trump.

The probe has clearly expanded into Trump’s business, which constituted Trump’s previously expressed red line. It could also mean investigation into possible abuse of the organizational structure to serve Trump’s personal purposes.

A dozen audio recordings seized by the FBI from Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, were forwarded to federal prosecutors after lawyers dropped challenges on attorney-client privilege grounds. The recordings were among millions of files taken from Cohen in April as part of a criminal probe of his business practices

Barbara Jones, a court-appointed lawyer and former Manhattan federal judge helping to decide which of the seized files are protected by privilege. She Jones notified US District Judge Kimba Wood, who appointed her, that Cohen, Trump or the Trump Organization had designated 4,085 items seized from Cohen as privileged among the most recent items she reviewed.

She wrote that she agreed that 2,633 were privileged, in full or part, but that 1,452 items were not. She said lawyers for Cohen still disagreed about 22 of those items but said they would not pursue their objections. With that, Jones released them all to prosecutors.

In another audio tape, recorded by Cohen, Trump and Cohen can be heard discussing how they would buy the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story about an alleged affair she had with Trump years earlier, which Trump has denied since the subject first came up. So he lied [again].

Trump tweeted “What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before?” Again, is he that dumb that no lawyers record conversations with clients? I guess he never told Cohen not to record their conversations.

Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis says the only people who use cash in large transactions are drug dealers and mobsters. Davis is a former special counsel to President Bill Clinton.

Cohen claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Cohen’s claim would contradict repeated denials by Trump, Donald Trump Jr., their lawyers and other administration officials who have said that the President knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting until he was approached about it by The New York Times in July 2017.

If Cohen can show federal prosecutors credible evidence that Trump knew in advance about the infamous Trump Tower Russia meeting of June 9, 2016 — as Cohen now reportedly claims — Donald Trump Jr. could be facing perjury charges. Trump has repeatedly denied being told about the meeting before it happened but apparently never to federal investigators or under oath.

Trump’s lawyer in the Russia investigation, Rudy Giuliani, called Cohen a “pathological liar.” “I don’t see how he’s got any credibility,” the former New York City mayor said. Giuliani lost his credibility since joining Trump.

Now special counsel Robert Mueller was also looking at Trump’s negative postings on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and fired FBI Director James Comey.

Trump asserted without evidence that newly released documents relating to the wiretapping of his onetime campaign adviser Carter Page “confirm with little doubt” that intelligence agencies misled the court that approved the warrant. But lawmakers from both political parties said that the documents don’t show wrongdoing and that they even appear to undermine some previous claims by top Republicans on the basis for obtaining a warrant against Page.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said the documents detail “just why the FBI was so concerned that Carter Page might be acting as an agent of a foreign power… It was a solid application and renewals signed by four different judges appointed by three different Republican presidents.”

Page said “I’ve never been the agent of a foreign power” but had described himself as an “informal adviser” to the Kremlin. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said he didn’t think the FBI did anything wrong in obtaining warrants against Page.

Members of Congress are pushing back against a floated White House idea of pulling the security clearances of top former intelligence officials in the Obama administration who have criticized Trump.

White House spokeswoman Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said that Trump is “exploring the mechanisms” to strip clearance from former CIA director John Brennan, along with former FBI director Jim Comey, former national intelligence director James Clapper and others. Comey’s assist said his clearance was already pulled [as in didn’t they check?].

Simpleton said that Trump was considering revoking the clearance for their comments about Trump regarding “accusations of improper contact with Russia” or him “being influenced by Russia.” Doesn’t this sound like a dictatorship? If you can’t agree with the leader you get booted.

To make this happen at the agency level, Trump could follow the decades-old executive order in place, which provides a written explanation to the clearance holder and an opportunity to reply. Officials could also try to invoke the “interests of national security” clause, which is found in that section, and avoid the detailed procedures. Finally, Trump could decide he is revoking eligibility for the former intelligence officials unilaterally.

In a tweet, pro-Trump supporter Sen. Rand Paul claimed that Brennan could be “making millions of dollars divulging secrets to mainstream media”. No proof of course but could it really be because Brennan harshly condemned Trump’s performance at the Poutine press conference calling it “nothing short of treasonous.” And yet several House Republicans have accused Brennan of political bias and not Paul for suggesting in pulling Comey’s clearance?

Trump tweeted “I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!” With just the first sentence, you would think that Trump finally admits that Russia has done some hacking. But that second sentence throws that out the window. Is Russia going after the Democrats and not him or want the Democrats to win? [Scratch your head.]

Trump appeared to return to a previous position that Russia’s election interference was a story dreamed up by Democrats to excuse Hillary Clinton’s defeat — despite saying in a scripted statement recently that he held Vladimir Poutine personally responsible for it.

After Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was dumbfounded with his on-camera reaction at a security forum in Aspen, Colorado, to the breaking news about the invitation to Poutine to the US, the day after he said “My admittedly awkward response was in no way meant to be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the President.” This after Trump wasn’t too happy with the way he acted.

After the Kremlin was only lukewarm on having Poutine visiting Washington [so soon after the Helsinki mess], the White House announced it was pushing off plans for a second Trump-Putin Summit in Washington, DC, scheduled for this fall – just a few weeks out from the 2018 Midterms. Now set for sometime in 2019. Of course why did it take over a week for the Kremlin to decide….

Did Poutine somehow signal to Trump that it probably wasn’t in their mutual self-interest to be seen in public together so soon after Helsinki — particularly after the trashing Trump received after returning to Washington? Multiple senior Republicans were against the idea of a visit.

But Poutine said he is ready to go to Washington and has invited Trump to Moscow, but there “has to be necessary conditions” [which weren’t mentioned]. Simpleton says no invitations received. Stuck in the Email.

The White House rejected a Poutine-backed effort to hold a referendum in eastern Ukraine on the region’s future, distancing itself from the idea in the aftermath of Trump’s controversial summit with the Russian leader.

Poutine’s gift of a soccer ball to Trump last week set off a chorus of warnings – some of them only half in jest – that the World Cup souvenir could be bugged. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina even tweeted, “I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.” Markings on the ball indicate that it contained a chip with a tiny antenna that transmits to nearby phones. But rather than a spy device, the chip is an advertised feature of the Adidas AG ball. The chip allows fans to access player videos, competitions and other content by bringing their mobile devices close to the ball.

Republican House Freedom Caucus leaders Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan escalated their fight with the Justice Department, introducing a resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In a statement, Meadows said Rosenstein should be impeached because of the Justice Department’s stonewalling of congressional subpoenas and hiding information from Congress, and for signing one of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant renewals for Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended Rosenstein, saying he has “the highest confidence” in him one day after House conservatives introduced a resolution to impeach the deputy attorney general overseeing the special counsel Russia investigation. Of course “the highest confidence” with this administration means nothing.

A Russian anchor says that Trump is blaming US stupidity for bad US-Russian relations makes him smell like a Kremlin agent.

US District Judge Denise Casper denied the Trump administration’s bid to throw out a lawsuit that alleges its decision to end special protections shielding Haitian, Salvadoran and Honduran immigrants from deportation was racially motivated. She also rejected the administration’s request to remove Trump as a defendant in the case.

The Trump administration was warned State Department in October 2017 that ending US protections for more than 300,000 Central Americans would strengthen and grow MS-13 and gangs that President Donald Trump has called “animals”. They also warned that ending the “temporary protected status” program could also hurt US national security and economic interests, including by driving up illegal immigration.

Trump tweeted “Countries that have treated us unfairly on trade for years are all coming to Washington to negotiate.” May if they are waiting in line they should rent some Port-o-Johns at the White House gates. So exactly who has stopped by?

According to a report, a week before Election Day in 2016, young men and teens in the [North] Macedonian town of Veles were running over a hundred websites that pumped out often false viral stories that supported rump.

The “news agency” was not launched by teens but a well-known Macedonian media attorney, Trajche Arsov, who worked closely with two high-profile American partners for at least six months during a period that overlapped with Election Day. One of those Americans, Paris Wade, is now running for office in Nevada. Arsov also employed other American and British writers, including at least one who currently works for US right-wing conspiracy site the Gateway Pundit.

But now Macedonian security agencies are cooperating with law enforcement in the United States and at least two Western European countries to probe possible links between Russians, US citizens, and the pro-Trump “fake news” websites.

In an 86-9 vote, the United States Senate has confirmed Robert Wilkie as our new Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Trump won something! And he can’t blame the Democrats for this.

Trump will end releasing summaries of conversations he has had with foreign leaders, a policy that has been used for decades.

Trump said that he and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to work toward eliminating tariffs and barriers on trade, reducing tensions for now in a brewing trade war. “We agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods,” Trump said.

Trump claimed that he struck a deal with the European Union that has “opened up Europe” to American exporters, in particular farmers, even though a substantive deal has yet to be signed. The discussions with Juncker yielded only a commitment to broad parameters for future trade negotiations and EU pledges to increase imports from the US.

Trump claimed he has “ended” efforts by foreign countries to abuse the US in trade and steal American jobs, even as the trade feuds he has engaged in are still ongoing on several fronts. Trump argued that the US has been “abused like no nation has ever been abused on trade before,” including by US allies. So how did he end it? Free trade with the world wasn’t announced.

The United States is taking the fight over steel and aluminum tariffs to the World Trade Organization, arguing retaliatory trade actions launched by Canada, China, the European Union, Mexico and Turkey violate WTO rules. The U.S. imposed the so-called Section 232 tariffs earlier this year on national security grounds. The retaliatory tariffs were considered not excessive. If the other countries counter with the WTO, they could argue that the national security reason is flawed.

The Trump administration announced it is offering up to $12 billion in aid to farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs stemming from the Trump’s widening trade feud with other countries. Numerous Republicans including Trump ally Sen. Rand Paul said “Tariffs are taxes that punish American consumers and producers. If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers – the answer is remove the tariffs.”.

Many of the Republicans whom blasted the Obama administration for bailouts during his first term have tough decisions. Handing out billions to the agriculture sector runs counter to conservative orthodoxy, but abandoning farmers who have struggled because of an escalating trade war may not be politically tenable with just months until the midterm elections.

The US Commerce Department sought feedback on Trump’s plans to consider taxing auto imports. It got an earful at an all-day hearing. Critics lined up to urge the administration to reject auto tariffs. They argued that the taxes would raise car prices, squeeze automakers by increasing the cost of imported components and invite retaliation from U.S. trading partners — and allies — like the European Union and Canada.

Auto tariffs would escalate global trade tension dramatically: The U.S. last year imported $192 billion in vehicles and $143 billion in auto parts — figures that dwarf last year’s $29 billion in steel and $23 billion in aluminum imports.

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer faced pointed questioning from a Senate committee Thursday about the decision, and at one point was asked directly if Canada was a national security threat to the United States. “In the case of steel, yes,” he said. Lighthizer couched his remarks by saying no one was declaring war on Canada, and called the country “one of America’s closest friends and trading partners.” You can’t have it both ways.

Coca-Cola has hiked prices on its carbonated drinks in cans because the recently enacted 10% tariff on imported aluminum has made Coke cans more expensive to produce. It will be up to the retailer to decide on the increase. [Pepsi will probably follow.] In March, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the aluminum tariffs is “a lot to do about nothing” and U.S. customers wouldn’t notice.

At one point, with 1 day left as many as 914 parents won’t be reunited with their children by the deadline imposed by US District Judge Dana Sabraw. Judge Sabraw had said “The government has to be commended for its efforts in that regard.”

191 parents can’t be have serious criminal records or declined to be reunified. In other cases, 463 parents have already been deported without their children. 217 parents have been released from federal custody. Some may be wearing ankle monitors as they await immigration hearing proceedings. A small number still haven’t been linked to children, let alone tracked down. 260 parents’ cases require further investigation [can’t be tracked or unsure if the children belong to the parents]. But 1,012 is the number of families the government has already reunited.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence threatened to impose “large sanctions” on its NATO ally Turkey if that country does not release an American Pastor Andrew Brunson, currently under house arrest. Brunson was arrested in 2016 during a government crackdown on journalists, academics, and Christian minorities, that followed an attempted coup. Question is why now and not in 2016 or last year? [For once they’d do something right. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a real dictator.]

Trump tweeted “Twitter ‘SHADOW BANNING’ prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints.” Sounds like “shadow banning” means to reduce the visibility of some accounts. In this case, certain prominent conservatives. This is because a report that found Twitter’s search feature did not return prominent conservatives as easily as their Democratic counterparts.

If it was any other media [think CNN, Washington Post] Trump would of roasted them. But this is Twitter. His livelihood.

Trump retweeted from Dan Scavino Jr. “Lockheed Martin will add 400 workers to boost production of the F-35 fighter jet, the most expensive in U.S. history, after making a good on an earlier promise to President @realDonaldTrump to increase the aircraft’s workforce by 1,800.” So in the meantime it is the most expensive jet in US history. I though Trump was trying to cut costs? Where is the art of the deal?

Trump’s military parade in Washington is likely to cost nearly as much [an estimated $12 million] as the now canceled military exercise with South Korea that Trump called “tremendously expensive”. One may be briefly good for morale. The other is training. Which one is more useful.

The parade would focus on celebrating veterans and involve US troops in period uniforms as well as US military aircraft but no heavy vehicles like tanks in order to prevent damage to infrastructure.

Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was destroyed by a man with a pickax early Wednesday morning, according to the Los Angeles police. A man is in custody and is being questioned. Police said a man turned himself in at the Beverly Hills Police Department Wednesday morning. They better have plenty of spares.

Trump was upset that Melania Trump’s Air Force One television tuned into CNN on a recent trip.

The Democratic National Committee tried and failed three times to serve Jared Kushner with a lawsuit at his Manhattan apartment and was turned away by a US Secret Service agent when it attempted to deliver the packet to his Washington home, according to court filings. The lawsuit alleges Trump’s presidential campaign conspired with the Russian government to disrupt the 2016 election.

Trump tweeted about Amazon again with “Next up is the U.S. Post Office which they use, at a fraction of real cost, as their “delivery boy” for a BIG percentage of their packages….” Didn’t he whine months ago about this? He has done nothing. Another failure.

The Justice Department charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, also known as Maria, with conspiring against the US as a secret agent as she infiltrated the Republican Party as well as the National Rifle Association and tried to access corporate leaders. This all occurred in 2015 through 2017. She had discussions of a possible pro-Russian conference that US members of Congress could attend. Wonder how Trump will respond.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has requested to return Butina. The Trump Administration denied the request.

In continuing their pettiness against CNN, the White House took retaliatory action against Kaitlan Collins, a White House reporter for CNN, after Collins asked President Trump questions at an Oval Office photo op. “They said ‘You are dis-invited from the press availability in the Rose Garden today,'” and she didn’t want to go anyways Collins said in an interview. “They said that the questions I asked were inappropriate for that venue. And they said I was shouting.”

To add to the lies, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters aboard Air Force One that Collins was barred not because of the questions she asked but because of her refusal to leave the Oval Office during an earlier pool spray. Other reporters who were with her have sided with Collins saying she wasn’t shouting, ask anything inappropriate or refused to leave.

 

1469 days until the next Presidential inauguration!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of the year, near the beginning of Trump year 1 of 4

Happy New Year!

Donald Trump announced that he will shut down his foundation so there won’t be any issues between his presidency and the foundation. But he is being investigated for some tax issues and the foundation can’t be shut down until the tax issues are settled according to the IRS.

Meanwhile Trump claims that 100% of all donations went to charities. This is virtually impossible unless he personally paid for the foundations expenses [which may not be legal either]. In Canada, for example, under 20% of donations go to expenses is acceptable.

Trump continues to deny that Russia was involved in the hacking of the Democratic Party as well as some government sites even though a couple of federal agencies that will be under him soon says Russia did. I guess trump has given them a vote of no confidence.

Trump supporters continue to downplay Russia’s role in the election. “Let’s assume it’s true,” Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming chief of staff. “There’s no evidence that shows that the outcome of the election was changed because of a couple dozen John Podesta emails that were out there.” The number of leaked emails by Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, was actually closer to tens of thousands. And it’d be difficult to prove exactly what influenced voters. But even the slightest bit of evidence would be a problem even if not big enough to change the final vote.

On President Barack Obama’s vow to retaliate against the Russians for hacking, Conway said: “It seems like the president is under pressure from Team Hillary, who can’t accept the election results.” Or maybe it is the right thing to do.

Obama retaliated and Trump praised Vladimir Poutine for not retaliating himself. Who’s side is Trump on? Is he actually a Russian?

Trump signaling that Russia wasn’t involved or couldn’t care less that the government he will soon run will be open season to others.

Jason Miller, President-elect Donald Trump’s spokesman, has decided he will not take the job of White House communications director he was tapped for just two days earlier. Citing family reasons, Miller announced he will not continue on to the White House and will hand off his responsibilities as communications director to Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee communications director. Not a good sign.

For his inauguration, Mormon Tabernacle Choir [with some controversy] and America’s Got Talent star Jackie Evancho [WHO? And I guess whatever career she has will tank shortly after the shin dig.] have confirmed. It looks like just Ted Nugent and Kid Rock could be performing – there is no confirmation yet. Lee Greenwood is also apparently in discussions. Declining include Garth Brooks, Radio City Rockettes, Elton John [a Trump favorite and Trump’s team said he would appear but Elton said he never agreed], Celine Dion, David Foster and others.

Trump adviser Conway even made a plea on national TV a few weeks ago, asking Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars to call her to be part of the festivities.

“The so-called ‘A’ list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!” Trump tweeted that several stars had requested to attend his inauguration but without naming any stars seeking inauguration access.

Still, all Trump has lined up are non-performing celebrities like maybe Clint Eastwood [but he is a good piano player – so he may be the only one to perform] and Gary Sinise. Trump is even having a problem of ex-living Presidents to confirm. So far only Jimmy Carter has confirmed. Not even the last two Republican presidents want to join.

According to the inauguration committee, for prices ranging from $25,000 to $1 million, donors can purchase attendance at a variety of special events across the weekend. For example, a $1 million check will buy four tickets to a “leadership luncheon” with “select cabinet appointees and House and Senate leadership” [ever heard of lobbying?], eight tickets to a “ladies luncheon,” another eight tickets to a dinner that features Melania Trump and tickets to official inaugural events and the swearing-in ceremony. Estimated cost it $75 million for the events. I wonder if any of the donors will “influence” Trump.

Wonder what happens if they have trouble getting tickets sold. I guess Trump can always call up his donor buddies to help out. Maybe Mr. Poutine will take $1 million out of the billions he has syphoned over the years and buy a set of 4.

A New York man says he and his husband were removed from a JetBlue flight recently after his husband “expressed displeasure” about flying with Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.

“Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King.” This was a release made by RNC chairman [and party of Trump’s inner circle] Reince Priebus and co-chair Sharon Day said in the statement. Twitter users interpreted the phrasing about a “new King” as a comparison of President-elect Donald Trump.

In the IT section, George A. Polisner, who for the last four years has worked in Oracle’s managed cloud services team, has quit the company over co-CEO Safra Catz’s decision to join president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team and her expression of Oracle’s intention to support his policies. “I must resign from this once great company.”

As well, IBM staff have petitioned the company to – among other things – express concern that “IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s open letter to President-elect Donald Trump does not affirm IBMers’ core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct.” The petition has been live for over a week and at the time of writing had recently passed 100 signatories, a slow take-up attributed to limited circulation and end of the year.

 

Recounts and hacking elections

There was some grumblings by the right wing in the US when Green Party leader, Jill Stein, was requesting recounts in three states. They should have nothing to fear.

They are assuming that she did it so that maybe the vote would change and Hillary Clinton would take the states. They also said it was a waste of money.

They were wrong on both accounts. Donald Trump has enough of a lead that unless something was very fishy, he would still win all three states. As well Stein’s supporters were paying millions fore recounts

[And the only way Clinton could win the election is if she won all three recounts. Unlikely.]

Even if there wasn’t a recount, it is still a way to audit the election results to show that the votes were counted [roughly] correctly. I think most people want a fair election and verifying that the count was accurate is one way.

If there were more votes counted on election night or in the recount, then something is fishy. While there will probably be a very small discrepancy in the number of votes counted, if there was a big difference [but not enough to change the final results] then there should be a bit of worrying. [Did someone on purposely count wrong?]

Similarly, the right wing [well mostly Trump and his supporters] arguing that no foreign government [think of some country in eastern Europe] has meddled in the US election. Supposedly both the Democratic and Republican parties were hacked and yet only the Democrats had their dirty laundry leaked. Why is that? Of course Trump is chummy with Russian dictator [or President] Vladimir Poutine. Would Mr. Poutine want to hurt his buddy?

And of course Trump is denying it even though he [as usual] has no facts that Russia was not involved. He even went after the CIA giving the lousy excuse about the so-called weapons of mass destruction excuse to invade Iraq. Meanwhile he forgets of what the CIA has stopped from happening. [I guess those security briefings he is missing would shed some light. Either that or he could ask what the CIA has done for the country?]

Wouldn’t it be proper to actually have these issues thoroughly checked once and for all so that American citizens can be at ease. Consider it an audit to show the American citizens that their voting rights aren’t being attacked.

For some countries, if a foreign country meddled in another country’s election, it could lead to war.

 

 

Simple passwords are still being used

According to a report, an estimated one billion hacking attempts were made in 2012. The most commonly hacked password found was “password” followed by “123456”. Also included were “letmein” and “ABC123”. Also commonly used are simple names such as a [common] street name or the name of a pet.

Security experts say many use the same [weak] password for multiple sites and accounts.

The Ontario Privacy Commissioner, Ann Cavoukian, suggested combining two words from two different languages and gave the dumbest example of “tablemesa” [part English and part Spanish]. Anyone see the problem here? Here is a few issues with the example:

  • no special characters
  • no numbers
  • not mixed case
  • composed of two words that are probably used in a dictionary for brute force attack
  • possibly a bit short

2012 was a bad year for hacking. Career social network LinkedIn and dating site eHarmony both reported stolen passwords. In many cases, individuals used the same password on multiple sites

In some cases, the same password was used for mail servers. So then the hackers sold the password or used them to send out spam, malware or other stuff that were sent to others in the hacked account’s contacts.

In some cases, hackers will destroy everything in the account such as years of Emails, documents and pictures. If on a social network site they could wipe out the history or post some nasty information.

Changing passwords may be too late. The best thing to do is close down the accounts and open up new accounts – hopefully with difficult passwords.

There are a number of free or open source software to keep track of all the accounts and their passwords. Among them are Keypass, LastPass, Password Corral. If the passwords are kept locally, most of them should have some type of encryption on the actual database. You will need a password to see the passwords inside. Some allow you to copy the database to other computers or maybe multiple platforms.