Of Sharpies, a hurricane and resorts

So when Donald Trump decided not to attend the 80th anniversary festivities regarding World War II, he ended up staying “home” – well at one of his resorts to play golf – twice. His excuse was that he needed to be in the US to monitor the Hurricane Dorian situation. Sure, he spoke to FEMA and coast guard officials.

While the hurricane made a bit of a dent in the US but only after the weekend, he could of flew back after.

“He’s clearly busy dealing with a hurricane out on the golf course,” jabbed London Mayor Sadiq Khan, a frequent critic of Trump. Trump responded with “… Kahn was bothered that I played a very fast round of golf yesterday…. People are afraid to even walk the streets. He is a terrible mayor who should stay out of our business!” How do you play a “fast” round? He always has to end a tweet with an untruthful jab at someone or some place. That’s his ego talking.

Vice-President Mike Pence flew back and forth from Doonbeg to Dublin for his meetings – more than an hour flight each way. Both Pence and an aide defended the arrangement, claiming that the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel was “the one facility” in Ireland that could accommodate the delegation traveling with Pence. All of Ireland and nothing in Dublin?

Doonbeg is his ancestral town [population is supposedly 200]. It has an airport? Since 2017, Pence’s political group has spent about $224,000 at Trump properties.

George W. Bush decided to stop playing golf halfway through his first term as president. “I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.” Bush explained at the time. Trump wouldn’t care.

With Hurricane Dorian heading towards the US east coast, Trump claimed he has never known that a Category 5 hurricane has ever hit the US – there has been 4 since his term started. In addition, Trump claimed that Alabama would be hit by the hurricane. The National Hurricane Center had to correct Trump [as usual] by saying that Alabama would probably just get heavy rain. Alabama is a bit too west to get it by the hurricane.

Even days after he said it, while the hurricane has basically gone past Georgia, Trump is still saying that Alabama, along with the Carolinas and Georgia, “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wrote in an email, “The current forecast path of Dorian does not include Alabama.” Trump even showed a NOAA produced map with someone putting a semi-circle around parts of Alabama.

Trump even pulled a Fox News reporter over to tell him that Alabama was threatened by Hurricane Dorian. Seems nobody wants to believe him.

Can’t make this up: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration later disavowed a tweet from the National Weather Service’s Birmingham, Alabama, office that had contradicted Trump’s false assertion that Hurricane Dorian was likely to hit the state. “…The information provided by NOAA and the National Hurricane Center to President Trump and the wider public demonstrated that tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama.”

After another mass shooting, Trump said background checks would not have stopped the mass shootings that have roiled the US over the past few years, and declared the US’s gun violence problem a mental health issue. Yes, we know he’s a medical expert – just like in climatology, psychology, etc.

The Trump administration is preparing a package of legislative measures which will include legislation that would expedite the death penalty for people found guilty of mass killings. Other potential steps include so-called red flag laws, which seek to prevent mentally ill people from getting guns. If death penalty given to mass killing shooters, that would mean sane people since it’s unlikely that the court would allow someone insane to be put to death. So then sane people are committing at least some of the mass murders.

“If the President is in favor of a number of things that he has discussed openly and publicly, and I know that if we pass it, it will become law, I’ll put it on the floor,” said Senate Majority Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell. Problem is that trump flip flopped so many times already on his positions.

McConnell has for months blocked nearly every piece of legislation passed by the Democratic-led House, including gun measures popular with the public that enjoy bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Trump expressed openness to expand background checks after the Dayton and El Paso shootings but backed off under pressure from the National Rifle Association.

The Pentagon’s announcement that it will divert $3.6 billion in military construction funds to help fund the Trump Wall has sparked bipartisan anger from lawmakers who learned that their states will be impacted by the decision. Domestically, just under $1.8 billion is being shifted away from projects in 23 states and three US territories. Add another $1.8 billion in military construction projects overseas.

Among the sites affected are facilities used to store hazardous waste, repair Navy ships and conduct cyber operations, that had been identified as being in need of repair or additional construction. Puerto Rico was among the hardest hit of all US states and territories as it will see more than $400 million in funding for planned military construction projects diverted to the wall under the Pentagon’s plan.

Construction is expected to begin in about 135 days in areas where the federal government already owns the land along the border totaling about 95 miles. The rest is on private land that needs to be acquired for 81 miles won’t be completed until probably after 2020. 176 miles at $3.6 billion or about $20.5 million per mile! [The administration said 762 miles which comes out to over $15.5 billion.

This could be interesting. McConnell said he would defend funding for a new middle school in Fort Campbell in his home state of Kentucky after it was selected as one of the military projects the Trump administration will delay in order to fund border wall construction.

Trump, in his push to make good on his promise to supporters by Election Day, has told officials he will pardon them should they break any laws in attempting to finish construction on the wall at the US-Mexico border. Trump has instructed aides to speed up the process of building the wall, directing them to rush through billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, blow past environmental regulations and to “take the land” necessary by eminent domain.

In early Spring of this year, an Air National Guard crew flying a C-17 military transport made a routine trip from the US to Kuwait to deliver supplies. What wasn’t routine was where the crew stopped along each way: Trump’s Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland. The House Oversight Committee has been investigating.

The military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport — the closest airport to Trump Turnberry — since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for US military members.

Interesting to note that national security adviser John Bolton hasn’t been invited to has been shut out of sensitive discussions on Afghanistan due to fears that he may leak information and clash with Trump. [If anything Trump will most likely leak information.] Bolton has also been left out of at least two North Korean related meetings. Bolton and Trump have also clashed about what to do about Iran and Syria. How long will he have his job?

The House Judiciary Committee, headed by Democrats, is broadening its investigation beyond former special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings as lawmakers confront lingering hurdles over impeaching Trump. Democrats say they will also focus heavily on questions over whether Trump is enriching himself while violating the emoluments clause in the Constitution, reports Trump dangled pardons to officials who were at risk of breaking immigration laws and his involvement in hush-money payments to over his alleged extramarital affairs — all of which could form articles of impeachment against Trump.

Former chief of staff John Kelly made a pact with Trump when he left saying if Trump doesn’t attack him, he won’t release any book until after Trump is out of office. Unsure how that makes a difference as you know Trump will attack him in either case.

When Trump’s personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, was pushed out of the White House for sharing intimate details about Trump’s family with reporters. Supposedly said Westerhout said disparaging things about Tiffany Trump during the off-the-record dinner with reporters and mentioned Trump’s youngest son, 13-year-old Barron. Westerhout referred to Tiffany’s weight and that she should lose it before taking pictures with her father and at one point said Trump loves Westerhout more than his own children.

Trump tweeted “While Madeleine Westerhout has a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement, she is a very good person and I don’t think there would ever be reason to use it.” The agreement could be a bit of a threat as some former inner circle members for Trump have written tell all books. Westerhout has not given any indication she would.

As for her confidentiality agreement, that could be debatable. She is a public civil servant. So other than not revealing any classified secrets, she wouldn’t have any agreement. However, however she probably signed an agreement during Trump’s campaign. Whether or not that would continue into her former position is debatable.

As if Trump has nothing to do [another mass shooting, a hurricane, trade wars], Trump went after actress Debra Messing saying “…when it [The Apprentice] then became a big hit, helping NBC’s failed lineup greatly, @DebraMessing came up to me at an Upfront & profusely thanked me, even calling me “Sir.” How times have changed!” This was after Messing tweeted that Trump should release a list of donors for a fundraiser in Beverly Hills.

A group of Trump’s allies is trying to raise at least $2 million to investigate reporters and editors Trump doesn’t like. In a fundraising pitch, the group claims it will provide damaging information about reporters and editors to “friendly media outlets,” such as Breitbart, as well as traditional media when possible.

Again, it’s the G6 and Trump

Donald Trump was notably missing from the G7 meeting on climate control. Asked about it during one of his news conferences, Trump appeared to suggest the climate talks were yet to happen. But French President Emmanuel Macron later said Trump only missed the climate session because supposedly it clashed with other bilateral meetings with Germany and India – except both were at the climate control meeting. So who [if any] did he actually see?

Yet, Trump insisted [again] that he knows more about climate control than “most” people. Uh huh. He wants clean water and clean air. Not when you want to increase coal production and relax regulations for oil drilling, tree cutting, etc. And he basically said windmills are useless.

Macron staged a major surprise at the G7 meeting, unexpectedly inviting the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the gathering. The other G7 leaders were told the night before but Trump said he didn’t know anything about the visit but after said he knew it was happening and didn’t interpret it as a sign of disrespect. But US officials said they weren’t given significant advance warning that Zarif would be in Biarritz for talks.

Trump seemed to indicate he regretted his trade duel with China in comments that rocketed around the world amid concern about its economic impact. “I have second thoughts about everything,” he said, leaving critics to hope he was trying to make himself political room to deescalate the showdown. But Trump, who hates to look like he’s being backed into a corner or is climbing down, then sent out his aides to say that on the contrary, his only regret was not being tougher on China.

Trump’s top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow [in the Sunday news talk show circuit] argued that Trump had misheard the question from the press pool whether he was having second thoughts about China. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also was talking on Sunday giving out the same response.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the American people have “just got to accept the pain that comes with standing up to China,” in terms of higher prices for consumer goods. Oh ya. They will like that. Not. Trump has insisted inaccurately that China and not US consumers are paying the price for the tariffs.

Trump has in recent days also accused the media of talking down the economy to hurt him. “You people want a recession because you think maybe that’s the way to get Trump out,” Trump told reporters in France. More like the media is speculating where the economy is going, using sound logic from economists and others instead of his guessing.

Trump tweeted “The question I was asked most today by fellow World Leaders, who think the USA is doing so well and is stronger than ever before, happens to be, ‘Mr. President, why does the American media hate your Country so much? Why are they rooting for it to fail?'” Ummm. Right Donnie. I’m sure if the other leaders were asked if they actually said this, they’d say no.

Trump tweeted “It’s a very big transaction, and we’ve agreed in principle. It’s billions and billions of dollars” on a potential free trade deal with Japan. It’s potential.

Trump also discussed the replacement NAFTA agreement called USMCA. While Mexico has ratified the deal, Canada and US hasn’t. Canada will wait until after an October general election to approve. The US is a different story. Trump claims that the House and senate will approve the deal – yet the house is controlled by the Democrats and they want some changes before agreeing. If the ratification falls apart Trump will surely blame the Democrats on this even though he opened his big mouth by saying it would be approved.

Trump is pushing for Russia to rejoin the G7 in time for the 2020 summit. But the other leaders aren’t receptive to the idea. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Russia won’t join until the Ukraine situation is fixed. Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in the Ukraine in 2014 was the reason why they were kicked out.

At the end of the G7, Trump took some questions on his own and no shocker, he said some things which are proven false. Among them:

“The first lady has gotten to know Kim Jong Un, and I think she would agree with me he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential.” – White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said later Melania Trump never met him but Trump has talked about him. [Will Grisham be losing her job soon?]

China had been “taking” $500 billion from the US for “many, many years” and “every single year.” – At most, it was $381 billion in 2018 when counting goods and services, $420 billion when counting goods alone and the government had tariffs on China for more than two centuries.

“The United States, which has never collected 10 cents from China, will in a fairly short period of time be over $100 billion in tariffs.” – Again he knows little about trade. Americans make the actual tariff payments, not people in China.

“We’ve had many calls. Secretary Mnuchin is here, and you’ve had many calls over the last 24 hours, but certainly over the last 48 hours.” – A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said earlier in the day that he was “not aware” of any new phone calls between the two countries.

Of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, that “we gave them $150 billion.” – More like $56 billion but that was their own assets. The government gave them nothing.

The Iran nuclear agreement is “almost expiring, if you think about it.” – Actually most of the deal is permanent but some will last for another 10 to 15 years.

“But we are now the number one energy producer in the world and soon it will be by far.” – It was the number one energy producer in 2012 under President Obama, according to the US government’s Energy Information Administration. The US became the top producer of crude oil in particular during Trump’s tenure.

“But I own Turnberry and I own in Aberdeen and I own in Ireland as you know, Doonbeg.” – Ireland, where Trump’s Doonbeg golf club is located, is not part of the United Kingdom.

Russia was suspended from the G8 because of Barack Obama’s personal embarrassment about being “outsmarted” by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea. – It is the other members of the G8 who voted all in favor of kicking Russia out. It wasn’t just Obama’s decision. While Obama wasn’t happy with the annexation, Crimea isn’t part of the US.

Trump confirmed reports that he is “possibly” looking at hosting the next G7 summit in 2020 at his Trump National Doral Golf Resort in Miami. Trump discussed the pros of hosting the G7 at his Miami-Dade resort, including its close proximity to the airport and infrastructure that he said could easily accommodate the large presence of global leaders, delegations and press. Hosting at his resort could be an ethical violation as he shouldn’t be making money off anything while being president.

Trump tweeted “No bedbugs at Doral. The Radical Left Democrats, upon hearing that the perfectly located (for the next G-7) Doral National MIAMI was under consideration for the next G-7, spread that false and nasty rumor.” Oh ya? You don’t settle a lawsuit if bed bugs didn’t exist.

In a CBS poll, only 38% of those asked said they were feeling optimistic about the future of the US economy and 54% said Trump tries to make the economy sound better than it really is. While Trump still had majority approval for his handling of the economy in the poll – 53% – only 25% of those asked said they believed his handling of trade with China will actually work.

“We are tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico. FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it, and give them a big Thank You – Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!” Trump tweeted. He really knows how to whine.

Whatever was fixed in Puerto Rico since 2017’s Hurricane Maria, could be undone with Dorian. Trump and local officials — namely San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz — have consistently sparred in the aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane Maria over funding.

Nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the storm and aftereffects, including widespread power outages. Trump has consistently denied any fault for his administration in the aftermath of the storm. Trump has instead sought praise for his handling of Hurricane Maria, calling it “an incredible, unsung success” last year. And yet, there was lack of infrastructure for months in many areas.

Trump tweeted “Congress approved 92 Billion Dollars for Puerto Rico last year, an all time record of its kind for ‘anywhere,'” But more than half of that $92 billion is based on the White House’s estimates for costs FEMA could incur in years to come. $42.7 billion of relief has been appropriated by Congress, with $20.8 billion obligated to be spent by the federal government, and $13.8 billion actually spent.

“The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran,” Trump tweeted except he also included classified imagery publicly. Trump claimed “I released a photo, which I had the absolute right to do.”

It looks like it was a photo taken of the original image. A professor at the US Naval War College, noted that the “quality of image Trump tweeted appears beyond the capabilities US has previously been willing to demonstrate to public.”

Trump took his complaints about Fox News, his biggest bastion of support on television [and propaganda department], to a new level, claiming that the network “isn’t working for us anymore.” His tweets made explicit Trump’s long-held belief that Fox belongs to him and his supporters. Trump suggests that the network is not sufficiently loyal to him.

“We have to start looking for a new News Outlet,” he tweeted, inadvertently lending credence to critic’s claims that Fox is akin to state-run TV. Trump has lodged complaints about Fox more than a dozen times this year, oftentimes when he sees Democratic candidates and analysts on the air. Recently he also commented to members of the media that “Fox is a lot different than it used to be.”

Trump continues to go after Fox by rating Fox News hosts in a radio interview according to how much they suck up to him.

Trump claimed he has the “absolute right” to “order” US [private sector] companies to stop doing business with China that would involve using his broad executive authority in a new and unprecedented way under a 1977 law called the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The IEEPA has never been invoked to impose tariffs.

The IEEPA, passed in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam, gives Trump “broad authority to regulate a variety of economic transactions following a declaration of national emergency” and can be used “to deal with any unusual and extraordinary threat….to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.”

Attorneys general for 19 states and the District of Columbia sued Trump’s administration on Monday to block a sweeping new rule to indefinitely detain migrant families seeking to settle in the United States. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, was the first in an expected flurry of litigation seeking to stop the rule from taking effect in October.

Even if the courts allow the rule to take effect, there are also practical problems: paying for thousands of additional family detention beds. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has only three family detention facilities — two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania — that have between 2,500 and 3,000 beds. More than 42,000 families, mostly from Central America, were arrested along the U.S. southern border just last month.

The new rule seeks to scrap the 1997 agreement, known as the Flores settlement, which puts a 20-day limit on how long children can be held in immigration detention. The court overseeing the settlement expanded its interpretation in 2015 to apply not just to unaccompanied children but also to children traveling with their parents.

Attorney General William Barr is planning a holiday bash at the Trump International Hotel, Washington, DC, could wind up costing more than $30,000. A Justice Department official told CNN that the party is not an official Justice Department event and will be paid out of Barr’s pocket. Still, it is raising concerns from ethics experts and comes as the Justice Department defends President Donald Trump’s businesses in court over claims that they’re benefiting unlawfully from his position.

Already with about 15 months before the next election, 12 Republicans [and 2 Democrats] have confirmed they won’t run in the House again. Ten are leaving politics completely. This happens when as a politician you can see the writing on the wall after a disastrous term by your party leader. 4 years ago the Republicans easily won 11 of 12 seats. Some [claiming] are leaving for family issues. [This is happening in Canada with many in the ruling Liberal government leaving politics after their term as they suspect not good results in the next election.]

As fires rage in Brazil, Trump tweeted “Just spoke with President @JairBolsonaro of Brazil. Our future Trade prospects are very exciting and our relationship is strong, perhaps stronger than ever before. I told him if the United States can help with the Amazon Rainforest [sic] fires, we stand ready to assist!” Seems like Trump’s priority is more into trade than the climate – not surprising.

Trump tweeted “When the “Age of Trump” is looked back on many years from now, I only hope that a big part of my legacy will be the exposing of massive dishonesty in the Fake News!”, Twitter users mocked him with comments like “4 years old is ‘The Age of Trump'” [and other ages] or compared to “Age of Obama” or “Age of Trump should be a video game” [p__sy grab is a move].

Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, owns Red State Data and Digital, has received $910,000 from Trump’s flagship political action committee, America First Action, which is barred from coordinating with the campaign.

Hitting it where it hurts: American Outdoor Brands, the maker of Smith & Wesson firearms and other outdoor products like hunting and fishing accessories announced weaker than expected earnings because of a drop in gun sales related to the US-China trade wars because much of their products are made in China.

Trump has floated multiple times the idea of thwarting hurricanes headed for the US by bombing them, including by dropping nuclear bombs on hurricanes to disrupt their course. Sources were briefed on a National Security Council memo that recorded the comments. Trump denied the report, claiming that he “never said” what was in it.

But at that NSC meeting “You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting. People were astonished. After the meeting ended, we thought, ‘What the f—? What do we do with this?'” Trump also raised the idea of using bombs to stop hurricanes during a 2017 conversation with a senior administration official. Another lie.

White House communications director Stephanie Grisham said “I don’t think they’re lies. … I think the President communicates in a way that some people, especially the media, aren’t necessarily comfortable with. A lot of times they take him so literally.” Seriously? So how do you know when he’s telling the truth or not? If he says “I’m going to nuke Iran in 5 minutes”, Iran may take him seriously.

Joining the unemployment lines: Trump’s personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, who’s been with him since the start of his administration, has abruptly left the White House after sharing intimate details about Trump’s family with reporters. None of what she revealed was made public. But when Trump found out, she was abruptly declared a “separated employee” and barred from the White House.

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog counted more than 12,000 false or misleading statements from Trump in his first 928 days in office, an average of 13 inaccurate claims a day.