Mueller testifies – was it a draw? Anyone won?

Former special counsel, Robert Mueller III [a.k.a. “Robert Three Sticks” by a right wing news anchor], said before the hearing he would not offer anything new that hasn’t been said in the 448 page report. He was asked to appear at two committees to answer and clarify his report. But some Republicans were expecting new information.

Donald Trump said he would “probably” not watch the testimony, before quickly saying he might “see a little bit of it.” Oh I’m sure he watched more than a little. His ego wants to watch. Well he stopped before the hearing began and then resumed tweeting after 10 AM. So much for “a little bit”.

On the same morning at the hearing, Trump accused Democrats of having “illegally fabricate(d) a crime” and “pinning it on a very innocent President” and later added “this illegal and treasonous attack on our Country.”

Then he added that Mueller should of investigated himself, Hillary Clinton, James Comey and just about anyone who he dislikes before described Mueller’s investigation as “the Greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history, by far!”

Right away all the right wingers are saying that this hearing shows that Trump is innocent of all charges, vindicated, etc. What hearing were they watching? Republicans said Mueller was a failure at the hearings. Even Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said so. So it must be true. Other Republicans have said there is nothing wrong and the Democrats should give up and get back to help govern the country.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who claimed Mueller’s testimony “has been a disaster for the Democrats” and “a disaster” for Mueller’s reputation. Other right wing commentary said the Democrats bombed because Mueller basically said there was nothing new in his testimony. Duh. He said in advance he would not offer anything new.

“The Democrats lost so big today. Their party is in shambles right now….. The Democrats had nothing, and now they have less than nothing.” was what Trump said outside the White House. What an exaggerator.

“President Trump’s tenure in office may very well have been extended by four years as a consequence of this hearing,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, the Republican’s chief attack dog on the judiciary committee.

One area where the two warring sides did manage to briefly come together was on Mueller’s bleak assessment that the Russians were most certainly still trying to undermine the integrity of the country’s electoral system.

Republican Rep. Louie Gomert whines that former FBI agent Peter Strzok hates Trump and should of been off the team. You think they have nothing else to do but grill each member of their politics. Surprised he didn’t go after any other Democrat leaning agent.

The day after the Mueller hearings, a Republican blocked the advancement of four bills aimed at strengthening election security. Two of those bills would require campaigns to report to federal authorities any attempts by foreign entities to interfere in US elections, and the third is aimed at protecting from hackers the personal accounts and devices of senators and some staffers. The Republicans claim that the upcoming elections are already secure while the Democrats say the 3 bills enhance that security.

From an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity:

  • “So, I ended up watching more than I wanted to.” – So much for watching very little [see the first paragraph in this blog].
  • “This was a fake witch hunt and it should never be allowed to happen to another president again.” – Except 199 criminal counts against 37 people and entities. Seven people pleaded guilty. Five sentenced to prison.
  • “I watch as people scream at these poor Democrats, the congressmen, scream like I’ve never seen.” – Screaming?
  • “I think the press has lost all credibility, much of it. But it’s lost a big part of it. I mean, a very substantial part of it, lost all credibility.” – Except that would exclude Fox News, Breitbart, any nationalist web site,…
  • “It’s fake news, but it’s the enemy of the people, more importantly.” – Trump says that the free and independent media is the enemy of the people.
  • “Well, [James] Comey is a liar and a leaker and that’s obvious.” – Except while lying to Congress can send you to prison for 5 years, he isn’t in prison. Why is that?
  • “We have some very, very bad people in government that would be willing to do very bad things and for bad reasons.” – Except if they are bad, have they resigned or being investigated?
  • “I mean, this was — this was a coup attempt, in my opinion.” – Except where were the military? Didn’t see them take over anything. Like the word treason, he doesn’t know the definition of the word coup.
  • “Had Hillary won this election, you’d be at war right now with North Korea, and I have no doubt about that.” – Except meanwhile North Korea fired two missile tests this past week after 3 meetings with dictator Kim Jong Un [including one in North Korea] and of course has no idea what the US and North Korea would be doing if Clinton was President. We probably do know that the US’ reputation wouldn’t be damaged, allies wouldn’t be angry [or not as many], and tariff wars wouldn’t have started against them.

The Supreme Court cleared the way for the Trump administration to use $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense to construct parts of a wall along the southwestern border that the government argues is necessary to protect national security. The Supreme Court voted 5-4, along ideological lines. The decision overrules the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that had blocked the transfer of funds while appeals played out.

Members of the US military will spend roughly a month painting parts of one mile of the wall along the southern border in Calexico, California “to improve the aesthetic appearance of the wall.” There “may also be an operational benefit” to painting it as “individuals appeared to have greater difficulty” scaling recently painted bollards in Nogales, Arizona.

Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib vowed to hold her ground during a speech in Detroit, clearly responding to Trump’s attacks on the four Democratic congresswomen of color known as “the squad” by saying “I’m not going nowhere, not until I impeach this President.”

This was after Trump tweeted “I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country,” accused them of “destroying the Democratic Party,” and said they should “apologize to America”. After Tlaib’s comments above he tweeted “The ‘Squad’ is a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart.” When you say anything negative about Trump, he goes after you. It’s an ego issue.

Just a couple of days after Trump praised North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, North Korea sent two test missiles which landed in the water between them and Japan. Are they poking fun at Trump? Nah.

Trump tweeted Sweden has “let our African American community down” by not freeing rapper A$AP Rocky, who is facing assault charges after a confrontation last month where he and 2 from his entourage beat up someone. Trump offer to post his bail. Nope. Sweden has no bail system.

He added “We do so much for Sweden but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around. Sweden should focus on its real crime problem!” Now look at the first sentence. Where have we’ve seen this tactic before? Yes. He does the same thing when it comes to countries before pushing tariffs. As for the second sentence, there would be no crime in this case if the rapper and friends didn’t beat up the other person.

Afghanistan has demanded the United States clarify remarks made by Trump, who said the country “would be wiped off the face of the Earth” if he wanted to win the war in Afghanistan. Trump on Monday had suggested that he could put an end to the Afghanistan war in a week, but that it would cost millions of lives and wipe the country.

Trump also said that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan would like him to mediator in the decades-long conflict between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region. Trump had claimed that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally asked him if he would like to be a mediator. A spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs said on Twitter that “no such request has been made” by Modi. India prefers direct talks with Pakistan and no mediator.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly 90 to 8 to confirm Trump’s pick for secretary of defense, Mark Esper, giving the Pentagon its first permanent chief since James Mattis stepped down in January. 5 Democratic presidential hopefuls voted against.

US attorney general William Barr has said consumers should accept the risks that encryption backdoors pose to their personal cybersecurity to ensure law enforcement can access encrypted communications. Law enforcement says encryption thwarts their access to communications they claim they need to prosecute criminals. Well, the US is slowly turning into a dictatorship.

Bill Weld, challenging Trump for GOP party leader says he is a “raging racist.” Duh. Chance of him winning is the same chances of Trump resigning this week.

White House officials in recent weeks have shown Trump a document that alleges a large conspiracy to award Amazon a 10-year, $10 billion contract to build the Pentagon’s cloud computing network. Trump has well-known animosity toward the online retail giant and its founder, Jeff Bezos. Oracle, IBM and Microsoft are also fighting for the contract with Microsoft having a slight edge.

The Trump administration’s latest step is to clamp down on the food stamps program, which covers 38 million Americans, and other public assistance services. It wants to require more poor people to work for SNAP benefits, and it is looking to change the way the poverty threshold is calculated, a move that could strip many low-income residents of their federal benefits over time.

It would curtail so-called broad-based categorical eligibility, which makes it easier for Americans with somewhat higher incomes and more savings to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the formal name for food stamps.

Trump ripped into [surprisingly] Fox News for reporting poll numbers that show him trailing multiple Democratic presidential candidates. Shocker!

Trump made 61 false or misleading claims last week. Over a year, that would come out to 3,172 of them. Ouch. Trump has gotten less truthful over time: in 2017, his average was 2.9 false claims per day; from 2018 through May 2019, it was 8.3 per day.

Four of the world’s largest carmakers — Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW – are going forward with plans to make more fuel-efficient vehicles for the US market, despite the Trump administration’s plans to roll back the rules.

Turkey would retaliate against what it called an unacceptable threat of US sanctions over Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defenses, its foreign minister said, adding he thinks Trump wants to avoid such measures. Turkey began receiving deliveries of the surface-to-air S-400 systems earlier this month, prompting the United States to begin removing the NATO ally from its F-35 stealth fighter program over security concerns. A US official said it would cost some $500 million to $600 million to shift F-35 manufacturing from Turkey.

Trump floated placing tariffs on French wines and other French products in retaliation for that nation’s new tax on large American technology companies, telling reporters in the Oval Office that he “might” impose the tax ahead of the G7 summit in August.

Trump continues to try to help defend American rapper A$AP Rocky who is being held for trial in Sweden on charges that he and two of his entourage beat up and individual there. He also complains that why is he doing this to a African American – as if he has supported African Americans in the past.

One of the reviews of Mueller’s testimony at the hearings: “Like watching a passionate conversation with an answering machine.”

Trump seem to have battles in multiple fronts this week

[And in some cases he opened his big mouth to start them.]

Donald Trump defended embattled Alabama Republican Roy Moore, all but endorsing the Senate candidate who has been accused of sexual assault. Trump is taking Moore’s word at it even with at least 8 accusers. One or two could be questionable. But 8?

“He denies it. Look, he denies it,” Trump said of Moore. “If you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. And look, you have to look at him also.” Now what he said is confusing. What happened in the past 48 hours? And the last sentence?

Isn’t this a bit of favoritism? The Alabama Secretary of State said that on the election day and on the web site, the state plans to hand out how to write in a candidate on the ballot? This is like putting up a poster at the polling booth and say to write in another candidate. The Alabama secretary of state is a Republican, BTW.

The former Alabama GOP chairman said polls are useless and probably more Democrats were polled. This after a Fox News [not even a left wing] poll said Democratic candidate Doug Jones has a 12% lead. Wonder what he would of said if it was the other way.

The Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register and The Huntsville Times [all part of the Alabama Media Group] all rejected Moore saying that “there is only one candidate left in this race who has proven worthy of the task of representing Alabama. He is Doug Jones.”

Trump has not campaigned for Moore but one of his minions claimed as if it was because of the accusations when this issue came up after he won the Republican primary. As Trump has avoid commenting about Moore, looks more like he isn’t trying to help him. I guess Trump really doesn’t think he needs that Senate seat.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders previously said “Like most Americans, the President believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life. The President also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.” First, who is saying he hasn’t done anything more recently? Because it is [say] over 20 years ago that it is past a certain statute of limitations? If so what is the difference between a judge [and Senate candidate] and say a celebrity that has been accused 20+ years ago?

Trump shot back at Lavar Ball, the father of one of the UCLA basketball players arrested in China, for belittling the President’s role in the students’ release. “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar [sic] Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal,” Trump tweeted. “I should have left them in jail!”

Even Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, fire back saying “Wannabe @Lakers coach, BIG MOUTH @Lavarbigballer knows if it weren’t for President @realDonaldTrump, his son would be in China for a long, long, long time! #FACT.” Did Trump actually tweet that? Sounds like him. The three players did thank Trump at a press conference before Trump’s latest tweets. [Wow! Trump really likes to have his ego stroked.]

Trump said: “It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME.” And of course Trump has to go at Ball directly in his tweet by tweeting after “Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair.” And in another tweet, he ended with “Ungrateful fool!”

Apex Marketing Group said that Ball’s Big Baller Brand has received an estimated $13.2 million in advertisement as Trump and Ball exchanged barbs in recent days.

In another head scratcher, out of the blue, Trump tweeted “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is good for the Republican party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!” [I think most of us miss the 140 character tweet limit.]

Let’s break the tweet down. Clinton actually had more votes in the 2016 election than Trump and only lost by the way the electoral college is set up. In most countries, Clinton would of won the election. “She just can’t stop”. Stop what? She has been quiet. It is Trump that has been bring up the topic. Finally, Clinton has already stated she does not intend on running in 3 years.

Clinton did respond that Trump is “obsessed with my speaking out” and “between tweeting and golfing, how does he get anything done?”

Days ahead of what should be a major moment for Ivanka Trump on the world stage at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson isn’t sending a high-level delegation to support her amid reports of tensions between Tillerson and the White House. One source said “Rex doesn’t like the fact that he’s supposed to be our nation’s top diplomat, and Jared [Kushner] and now Ivanka have stepped all over Rex Tillerson for a long time.”

It is said that this not related to his key project of slashing the Department’s budget. No one higher than the deputy assistant secretary is allowed to participate. The secretary and his top staff have insisted on approving all travel. Tillerson won’t send someone senior because they don’t want to bolster Ivanka.

Speaking to five branches of the military serving overseas via satellite from Mar-a-Lago, Trump highlighted how the US military is “really winning” since he took office. “We know how to win, but we have to let you win. You weren’t winning before. They were letting you play even. We want to let you win,” Trump said, referencing the Obama administration. If you can figure what he said, good luck.

Problem is that while ISIS is on the run, it seems to be the Russians who did the brunt of the work.

[Note that I am not being negative to the military. I stand by them. I am more against the continuous exaggeration and taking credit by Trump.]

In his Thanksgiving speech, Trump said [among other things]:

  • “I still haven’t figured out how people take their boats out into a hurricane.” – I think no one would, except him.
  • “You saved 16,000 lives — nobody knows that — 16,000 lives.” – No one knows what that figure is about or came from. The Coast Guard did say they rescued 11,000 during Hurricane Harvey.
  • “But if you were looking at it as a brand, there’s no brand that went up more than the Coast Guard, with what happened in Texas.” – As if the “brand” is like Nike, Reebok or others. You can’t buy the Coast Guard – hopefully.
  • “I don’t know — I mean, they go out in a boat and they think, I guess, they’re — you know, they’ve got a wonderful boat, they’ve had it for years, it can weather anything.” – You scratching your head? I am.
  • “And it’s nice that you’re working for something that’s really starting to work.” – Another scratcher but I think he’s trying to say, they didn’t work under Obama but will with him. Need a Star Trek type Universal Translator to speak “Trump”.
  • “You know, when we sell to other countries, even if they’re allies — you never know about an ally. An ally can turn.” – That should help in selling American goods.

Remember those tax returns Trump didn’t want to be released claiming that he was being audited? Well, now the IRS has securely locked away those tax physical records in a vault. Very few have access. So what is he [or they] hiding?

Michael Flynn’s lawyers have told other defense lawyers in the ongoing Russia probe, including President Donald Trump’s legal team, that they’re no longer able to share information. The source added that the decision to cease informal information-sharing could be an indication Flynn is preparing to plead guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Trump said on the campaign trail that he wouldn’t have time to golf [“never see them (his golf courses) again”]. Well, as of November 24th, he has spent roughly a quarter of his first year in office at the golf courses.

Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway said “we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through” less than a week after Conway said that “no Senate seat is worth more than a child” in the wake of a series of sexual allegations against Moore. So getting the tax bill is more important than this alleged sexual harasser? [Although by the way this tax bill is going, whomever wins the Senate seat will be voting on it a few times next year.]

Trump tweeted “ObamaCare premiums are going up, up, up, just as I have been predicting for two years. ObamaCare is OWNED by the Democrats, and it is a disaster. But do not worry. Even though the Dems want to Obstruct, we will Repeal & Replace right after Tax Cuts!” So he’s not twinning Obamacare and his tax bill now?

Trump slammed Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, calling his political career “toast” after he was caught on mic criticizing Trump and Moore at an event a couple of nights prior. [Why so long in the delay?] Flake was fielding questions about the Republican tax reform plan and a possible 2020 run against Trump when the incident occurred.

Trump said “Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of Arizona (quit race, anemic polls)” Again, like previous times, Flake is stepping away as Senator, not because of “anemic” pools [how did Trump spell “anemic” right?]. But his polls are as anemic as Trump’s.

After photographs surfaced showing Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch standing during the Mexican national anthem and sitting during the US national anthem at a game against the New England Patriots in Mexico City, Trump called for his suspension and he had to add “Attendance and ratings way down”. Now you know of course attendance and ratings have dropped but Trump is as usual exaggerating. Of course the Raiders’ owner is probably laughing right now since it is unlikely that the NFL Players Association would allow that.

[Of course it is a rule for him to criticize anything he doesn’t like and then give some incorrect or exaggerated facts. The same in reverse when he praises something.]

Trump criticized a reported proposal that would ask NFL players to remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem rather than kneeling. “That’s almost as bad as kneeling! When will the highly paid Commissioner finally get tough and smart? This issue is killing your league!” Until 2009, players weren’t asked to be on the sidelines for the anthem.

Days later he added for no apparent reason “Can you believe that the disrespect for our Country, our Flag, our Anthem continues without penalty to the players. The Commissioner has lost control of the hemorrhaging league. Players are the boss!”

Trump had said previously he would push Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad out of office a number of times. But it looks like you can add this as another failure as Al-Assad’s military who once controlled just 19% of Syria a couple of months ago, now controls at least 50% of Syria including most of the major Syrian cities.

“Today the United States is designating the North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago,” Trump said. So after his name calling and threats, he only now decided to do it. 10 months into office. Trump said that North Korea has “repeatedly” sponsored acts of terrorism, including “assassinations on foreign soil.”

A former director of the US Office of Government Ethics says he filed an official complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for what he argues was a violation of the Hatch Act after she attacked GOP Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore’s opponent on television.

“I found the video. She’s standing In front of the White House. It seems pretty clear she was appearing in her official capacity when she advocated against a candidate,” said Walter Shaub.

 

Scamming telemarketers fine and ordered not to call

[Ya. Right.]

The CRTC has fined two companies based in India for breaking Canada’s telemarketing rules [Do Not Call registry]. Pecon Software Ltd. and Avaneesh Software Private Ltd. were making unsolicited telemarketing calls to Canadians even though they registered their phone numbers on the national do-not-call registry.   The scammers would warn people their home computer was infected with a virus and offer to sell them online technical support or anti-virus software. In fact, there was generally no problem with their computer. In some cases, the scammers would convince their victims that they should remotely connect into the victim’s computer to show the issues and or “fix” the problem.

The scammers generally said they were either from Microsoft or saying something like “Windows Support Group” [tricking the victims to think that they are from Microsoft but without saying so directly].   Pecon Software has been fined $495,000, while Avaneesh Software has been fined just $12,000. The CRTC has also ordered both companies to stop making the calls.   As the two companies are based in India, I don’t think the CRTC’s “arms” can stretch that far and I suspect the two companies could ignore the fines and orders. According to someone I know, the only way the CRTC could see the fines if either company has assets in Canada or there is some type of treaty with India.

It is a bit odd that the CRTC went after them just for breaking the telemarketing rules [telemarketing?] and ignoring the obvious fasct that what they did was at least fraud. There are probably hundreds if not thousands who have complained on the Internet.

Problem is that no one seems to either care about the fraud part or they can’t do much about it.

Update [2012/10/05] : In the US, the FTC sent after six companies and individuals forking for them including Pecon Software. According to the FTC, the scammers tried to avoid detection by using virtual offices that turned out to be mail-forwarding operations, and by using 80 disparate domain names and 130 different phone numbers.

A U.S. District Court in Maryland ordered a halt to the scheme in 2008, and through a settlement in 2011, a father and son were ordered to pay $8.2 million in restitution. Two other defendants settled the charges against them, and default judgments were issued against three others.