Trump definitely back to “normal”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

So un-presidential is Tump

After keeping quite quiet for two weeks, the dark side of president-elect Donald Trump has come out.

First even with large enough leads in the three states that would make it impossible for Hillary Clinton to capture any of the states, it still bothers Trump that he has to lash out at anyone who wants a recount.

Trump announced that he is leaving his family’s business to concentrate on being the President but gave no details. His s three eldest children – Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka – are expected to run the operations. How he is going to do this will be a mystery as he may have requested top security clearance for the three and Ivanka’s husband. In addition, Trump owns golf clubs, office towers and other properties in several countries. He holds ownership stakes in more than 500 companies. He has struck licensing deals for use of his name on hotels and other buildings around the world. [If you think the supposedly connection between the Clinton Foundation and the state department (that Trump claimed during the election) could be an issue, wait until this progresses.] Ethics experts have pushed for Trump to fully exit the ownership of his businesses using a blind trust or equivalent arrangement.

Experts say Trump may have to sell off his stake in his new luxury Trump hotel down the road from the White Shack. It was originally the central post office and is still government property. Trump too a 60 year lease but part of the lengthy lease documents say anyone in public office can not own or lease the building. Trump put $200 million of his money [supposedly] into renovating the building.

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally” tweeted Trump. I wouldn’t consider the outcome a landslide [particularly if by some fluke the recounts in the three states went to Clinton.] Trump first alleged hat “millions” of undocumented immigrants voted against him and later directed the inaccurate charges at California, Virginia and New Hampshire. California is one state where he had no chance of winning. So unsure why he would even bother complaining about that state anyways. [That and most immigrants probably wouldn’t vote for him anyways.] Trump may have used the information tweeted by Gregg Phillips of True the Vote, whose baseless allegation was later picked up by some fringe media outlets.

“Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!” Trump tweeted.

Tom Rath, the former attorney general of New Hampshire said “This will probably cost me my spot in the Cabinet but there was no fraud, serious or other, in this election in NH. There just wasn’t.”

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla hit back at Trump, tweeting that his “unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd.”

In 2012, he tweeted: “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy” and yet he accepts his win from it. But right after his win he said “The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!”

Trump continues to ignore advisors and his national security briefings. The latest mess has him accepting a call from the President of Taiwan – considered a no-no to appease the Chinese. He could be just turning up the heat a bit as he went after China throughout the elections.

Trump continues to whine in his tweets against Saturday Night Live after the show made fun of him over his diplomatic goof with Taiwan. I’m sure Trump will sign an executive order killing the show in January – if he could. So presidential.

A petition has started on change.org as New Yorkers don’t want to pay the estimated $1 million per DAY security bill [and other costs] to have Melania Trump in New York.

President-elect Donald Trump is “irritated” with top aide Kellyanne Conway’s public campaign against Mitt Romney’s potential nomination as Secretary of State. There is an internal feud between Conway and chief of staff Reince Priebus, specifically about the choice between Romney and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani for the nation’s top diplomatic position. She said that Trump supporters felt “betrayed” by Romney’s consideration. Conway and others have pointed to the vicious personal attacks Romney lobbed at Trump throughout the campaign as being different and more severe than many other. Will she still be in the administration by January? New York Rep. Chris Collins called Romney a “self-serving egomaniac.”

Seems that that Donald Trump will have both the technology and the Constitutional authority to send a Tweet, should he wish to, to every phone of every American whenever he wants.

Meanwhile, Trump uses an Android phone. Probably not secure for his position. [I sure hope his Android phone is made in America. 🙂 ]

A CNN survey released last week found that Trump’s favorability rating had gone from 36 per cent a few weeks before the election to 47 per cent 10 days after the vote. A little less than half of Americans said Trump’s actions since the election had made them more confident in his ability to serve as president.

A Quinnipiac poll released last week found that nearly 6 in 10 Americans thought Trump should shut down his personal Twitter account. More than half were concerned that Trump might veto legislation that’s good for the nation if it hurt his business interests.

 

Time for electoral reform in the US?

Maybe it is time for some electoral reform in the United States. Only 2 states [Maine and Nebraska] do not follow the winner-takes-all rule like the other states. In those states, there could be a split of Electoral votes among candidates through the state’s system for proportional allocation of votes. So those two states have a slightly better representation of the vote.

In the case of this past US election, Hillary Clinton had 2 million more votes than president-elect Donald Trump and yet lost the election because Trump won more of the tighter races like Michigan and Pennsylvania while Clinton blew away Trump in California and the District of Columbia. [Note: Some information is still not final.] An estimated 136 million out of 232 million people voted in the US. So take the 232 million and divide into 538 seats and you have roughly 431,000 votes per seat. There was about 9 states [plus DC] that didn’t even get that many votes in this past election. California [the biggest prize] got a bit under 14 million who voted out of about 25 million.

While the constitution guarantees every state a minimum of 2 seats other states are given quite a bit more. Nebraska had just 835,000 votes but still had 3 seats [at a total of 1.3 million voters, they are about on par with the number of seats allocated].

But here comes the question: A state such as California is a winner takes all state. So whomever gets the most votes wins all the seats no matter how close. So [even after a recount] the winner could have taken all 55 seats with just a [say] 100 vote majority. What does that say to the people who voted for the wrong candidate. Instead of a 28 seats to 27 seats, those who were not on the winning side technically are not represented.

Maybe it is time to adjust the electoral college and maybe incorporate what is done in some countries in Canada and elsewhere.

In Canada [as of 2015] there are 338 seats [or ridings] in Parliament. With some minor exceptions, every riding in Canada is at the averages about 75,000 people and within the largest provinces there is a difference of about 15,000 [plus or minus]. Each riding is counted on election day. The winner of the riding means one seat for the party and its leader. So in British Columbia [with 42 ridings], it is not who wins the most votes in BC but who won the most ridings.

Like in the US elections, there will be some ridings were there will be a landslide win for one candidate or another but overall they were even out.

The largest province, Ontario has almost a third of the ridings. Can you imagine how easy it could be if it was a winner take all? Another 49 ridings and they won easily. [Quebec generally votes the same way as Ontario, so the election would be over before the western provinces are counted.] In the last federal election in Canada in 2015, the percentages of seats won were very close to that of the popular vote.

Going back to the US election, theoretically Clinton could of picked up about 272 of 538 seats.

[PS – There is talk of modifying the electoral process in Canada, switching to proportional representation. But that should never happen. With 2 large parties and a third almost as large, Canadian governments would end with constant coalitions like in Italy, Israel, etc. as there hasn’t been a party that has had more than 50% of the vote in years.]

 

Trump’s policies are changing fast

With Donald Trump’s election win, it seems his policies that he did announce [and revised] during the campaign have changed already.

The “extreme vetting” as well as banning Muslims was removed right after the election.
All throughout the campaign, Trump wanted to arrest Hillary Clinton because of her Email server situation. Now he is having second thoughts.

As well, he will not amount any challenge to same sex marriages saying the courts have made their decision but he still thinks who has the right to have an abortion [Roe vs Wade] can be changed.

He even may pick a conservative Supreme Court nominee that has some non-conservative thoughts.

Remember having Mexico paying for the wall? Now he may get it build and charge Mexico in addition that the wall he proposed may only be built in certain areas.

If the estimated 11 million illegals that he wants to deport, that down to an estimated 3 million – those who are troublemakers.

Before he wanted to dump “Obamacare”. Now he says he will keep the better parts of it.
NAFTA? Sounds like he’s thinking of renegotiating parts of it.

I am wondering what his supports will think when he softens his stance.

In other news, Trump gave equal partnership in running the administration to Steve Bannon. Bannon was the head of an “alt right” web site that would be consider farther right than the GOP. Going through the site you may find anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist articles. He didn’t even want his daughters to go to a private school because Jews would be there [his ex-wife claimed].

Trump’s team denied everything [nothing changes] claiming Bannon worked at Goldman Sachs. Maybe originally owned by Jews, less than 2% is owned by individuals. The rest is owned by the public or various investment companies. They also said he worked in Hollywood [the old stereotype where the [far] right thinks Hollywood is run by Jews.

 

Democrats to investigate loss

Well it has been a week since Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump with the latter becoming President-elect of the United States.

The democratic party, in shock, is trying to figure out what happened. They had a double digit lead a bit over a week before the election. That shrunk down to just a few percentages prior to the election.

While Clinton did actually get the most votes, it is the number of seats that decides who will become President. For example, Clinton demolished Trump in the District of Columbia [i.e. Washington] and did very well in the states that would be hers [such as California] but many states she was neck and neck with Trump. She lost key battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida where she should have won them. Probably just 1-2 of those states would have gone her way and she would be President-elect.

Clinton has blamed the FBI director [who for now will be keeping his job] but it wasn’t just the mail server. You don’t lose maybe 10% in the polls on an issue like that.

The Democrats couldn’t count on the minorities and younger voters that should of propelled her. Some believe she may have alienated the African American voters. She obviously did not get the same support as Barack Obama did in his two wins [of course he is African-American].

Now they have about 3 years to figure what happened and how to correct things.

[Of all things, there is now a movement in California to leave the union.]

 

 

America has spoken….

Well the Americans have spoken….

And good luck to them for the next 4 years.

Donald Trump defied the odds [if the right word] and became the 45th President of the United States.

The Democratic voters failed Hillary Clinton in the battleground states including Ohio, Michigan and Florida in addition to states she should have won [Pennsylvania was a big blow. She had a lead around midnight.]

To further see where Clinton lost, consider the fact that since April she hadn’t visited Wisconsin – one of the states she lost but should of won.

As for her faults, she had Email server issues, Benghazi reoccurrences, Husband Bill’s baggage and the fact that Clinton is a wooden campaigner with a tendency to put small policy things ahead of an actual policy vision.

Interesting, Clinton actually has less white voters voting for her than Obama while Trump actually had more minorities [even Latinos] that Mitt Romney who ran against Barrack Obama.

If you remove the super delegates during the primaries, Clinton didn’t do too well against Bernie Sanders. It showed you that she got in because she wasn’t much stronger than Sanders.

The question would be if there was a different candidate other than Clinton [or even Trump] instead. If Obama [if he wasn’t President] running against Trump or Mitt Romney or John McCain running against Clinton, would the outcome be different? Each of these three have fairly squeaky clean images. None had a spouse who was President. None held a cabinet post before.

The stock markets had dropped overnight but the Japanese and Mexican stock market took some of the biggest hits. The latter because the Mexican peso was already hurting because of the nervousness of a Trump win. Surprising the North American markets went back to positive territory by midday.

A question will be whether he stays for four years. Already some speculated that he may become bored and bow out before the 4 years. Unlikely. One other thought is that he was voted in as the oldest elected President. Will he have a medical issue that forces him to leave as he is already the oldest President on election day in US history. [A reminder that he claimed throughout the election that he was healthier than Clinton].

His friend/puppet-master Vladimir Poutine contacted him early Wednesday.

Many world leaders gave the standard congratulation comments but I’m wondering how many were sincere.

Unfortunately even the far right wing leaders in France and Germany were happy as well.

When it looked like he would win the election, he probably celebrated by excusing himself to go to the washroom, grabbed a couple of young female interns and groped them. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m sure certain areas of the US were out of moonshine and deep fried Oreos after the celebrations were over. 🙂