Trump moves embassy, Middle East takes a turn for the worse

While it has always been a US policy to keep the US Embassy in Tel Aviv so that it doesn’t increase tensions, Donald Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem brought tensions higher. Just on the day of the opening of the “new” embassy in Jerusalem, clashes killed quite a few and many more injured.

“While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American Embassy once they were in office, this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,” Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner said. Actually few if any previous president promised to move the embassy knowing the problems it could bring. As for making a promise, it is one of the few election promises that he kept.

Trump said he remained committed to “facilitating a lasting peace agreement” except few believe this will actually help bring peace to the region and most think it will raise tensions. More than half the representatives from various countries did not attend the opening.

A minor woops. Ivanka Trump, with microphone in hand, she beamed her 100-watt smile and welcomed the attendees on behalf of “the 45th President of the United States on America” to the “new” US Embassy in Jerusalem. If you missed it, she said “on” instead of “of”. But aside from the goof, aside from the fact that the embassy was a actually a consulate upgraded to an embassy – and it still cost US taxpayers millions to “upgrade”.

Thousands of pages were released by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The voluminous testimony and exhibits pertaining to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting tell us much about two key prongs of interest in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The first is attempted coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and the second is possible obstruction of justice regarding the investigation into that potential collusion.

Mueller’s team has informed Trump’s attorneys that they have concluded that they cannot indict a sitting president – this according to Rudy Giuliani. That conclusion is likely based on longstanding Justice Department guidelines. The inability to indict a sitting president has been the position of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department since the Nixon administration and reaffirmed in the Clinton administration, but it has never been tested in court.

But Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, says he thinks Trump could be indicted, despite Giuliani expressing otherwise.

Giuliani said that Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of a potential interview with Trump from five topics to two. Giuliani claims that the President has “complete discretion to fire anybody he wants.”

Giuliani said “he [a president] can [obstruct justice], but in the case of firing a subordinate who is going to be replaced by somebody else on an active basis immediately.”

A recent New York Times report that at least one government informant met several times with Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. But Giuliani said he didn’t know for sure if there were informants embedded with the Trump campaign who spoke to federal authorities. Trump’s lawyers “were told there were two embedded people in the campaign” but where did they get their information from. Trump tweeted about the “all time greatest political scandal.”

[Giuliani is always making comments that conflict (or not verified to be factual) with what others have said. The above are further examples.]

US officials said that the confidential intelligence source was not planted inside the campaign to provide information to investigators. The identity of the informant had been closely held at the highest levels of the FBI and intelligence community, and the individual has been a source for the FBI and CIA for years.

“Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn’t commit,” Trump said.

Trump blamed Democrats for immigration laws that force federal immigration agents to break up families during a roundtable to discuss California sanctuary state policies. “I know what you’re going through right now with families is very tough. But those are the bad laws the Democrats gave us,” Trump said during the meeting with California officials.

“We have to break up families,” Trump said. Interesting since Trump has undo many Obama era laws. So why not these? As well, an odd comment since getting rid of DACA will surely split up families, let alone deporting non-Americans from the US – the estimated 11 million.

The administration is using protocols described in a 2008 law designed to combat child trafficking that gave special protections to Central American children at the border. While the bill was authored by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, it unanimously passed both houses of Congress and was signed by Republican President George W. Bush as one of his last acts in office. A democrat authored law approved by Congress and a Republican president.

“These [MS-13 gang and other criminals] aren’t people, these are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level, at a rate, that’s never happened before and because of the weak laws…” And yet he has done nothing in 16 months to fix those laws.

Trump acknowledged for the first time that he repaid his lawyer Michael Cohen more than $100,000 for expenses Cohen incurred during the 2016 presidential election, according to a financial disclosure form. The document did not explicitly state what the payments were for.

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced that it agreed with the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Tell me something we don’t know…..

There goes Trump’s Nobel Prize. North Korea has threatened to cancel the planned summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, saying the US should carefully consider the fate of the upcoming meeting, in view of what it calls “provocative military disturbances with South Korea.” What they mean is the annual joint military drill conducted by South Korea and the US.

Trump reported on his financial disclosure, filed with the US Office of Government Ethics and released Wednesday, that his golf-related revenue made him about $67 million less in 2017 in comparison with 2016. Trump carries as much as $1.25 billion in mortgages that will mature in the next five to seven years for three of his golf courses.

A man who opened fire at the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami had been yelling “anti-Trump … rhetoric” there. The gunman is in stable condition after police shot him in an exchange of gunfire.

Previously, at the White House, Kelly Sadler, an aide to Trump “joked” that John McCain’s opposition to CIA nominee Gina Haspel was largely immaterial because “he’s dying anyway.” The Trump White House has refused to apologize for the remark. Now the White House is saying that is a secondary matter and are claiming that the real problem is that information was leaked from the meeting. Seriously? After how many days they came up with this excuse.

Then Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Conservative Union and husband of White House adviser Mercedes Schlapp, said on CNN’s “New Day” that Sadler is “a little bit of a victim here.” Yes. You read right. And still, she hasn’t apologized except to McCain’s daughter.

Christopher Wylie, a former Cambridge Analytica employee who blew the whistle on its alleged misuse of Facebook data, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the company offered services to discourage voting from targeted sections of the American population. He alleged that African-Americans were particular targets of Cambridge Analytica’s “voter disengagement tactics,.

“Mr. Bannon sees cultural warfare as the means to create enduring change in American politics. It was for this reason Mr. Bannon engaged SCL (Cambridge Analytica’s parent company), a foreign military contractor, to build an arsenal of informational weapons he could deploy on the American population,” Wylie claimed, referring to Trump’s former top political adviser Steve Bannon.

Cambridge Analytica is under investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI. The probe into the firm has led to prosecutors querying its former employees and banks that handled its business dealings.

Andrew Hughes, 32, who is now serving in a powerful senior level position as chief of staff to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, is a former Uber driver who lacks any government, policy and relevant experience at the agency. The department’s deputy chief of staff, Deana Bass, is leaving in June. She was Carson’s press secretary for his badly failed 2016 presidential campaign.

Not really surprising because Carson himself is a medical doctor with no government experience prior to taking the reins of HUD. Meanwhile nominees for three key assistant secretary slots have not yet been confirmed – 16 months after the election.

Trump has characteristically taken to Twitter to announce that he has directed the US Department of Commerce to allow ZTE to operate again as there are mounting job losses in China. ZTE said it was ceasing “major operating activities” due to export sanctions placed on it by the US government, after the Department of Commerce said ZTE lied to the Bureau of Industry and Security about disciplinary actions supposedly enforced on senior employees relating to the illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea, and paid full bonuses to employees who had engaged in illegal conduct.

So Trump decides that what ZTE was doing wasn’t so illegal. On top of that Trump seems to be caring more about Chines jobs than US jobs. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in April “ZTE misled the Department of Commerce. Instead of reprimanding ZTE staff and senior management.” So that went out the window. The company was subsequently slapped with a ban on purchasing components and software from US manufacturers for seven years.

Bill Gates talked recently about when he first met Trump. In one case, Trump didn’t know the difference between HPV and HIV. In another case he left a horse show only to return 20 minutes later ” o make a grand entrance in a helicopter”.

While still pathetically low for a president, Trump’s approval ratings have actually went up slightly in 3 areas 50-64 year olds and oddly those who weekly attend church and those who seldom or never attend church. At 42% it is around the same percentage when President Obama had his two lowest approval ratings [2011 near shutdown and a 2013 shutdown] as well a President G.W. Bush [right after Hurricane Katrina].

The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker blog has been keeping a strict count of Trump’s many misstatements, untruths and outright lies. And, over the weekend at a rally in Michigan, Trump hit a milestone: He topped 3,000 untrue or misleading statements in 466 days in office. Averaging 6.5 per day, over the past 2 months he’s averaged 9 per day.

“Girls. We left open the first female President of the United States if you want it.” Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway said to pre-teen children at the White House during Easter. So the US could have to wait probably at least 40 years before the first female president?

Rachel Crooks, who alleged that Donald Trump kissed her without her consent in 2005 when she was working as a receptionist in Trump Tower, secured her primary bid for state office in Ohio.

 

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Wasn’t this supposed to be a quiet week? Nope.

You would of figured with the US government on a holiday break that this would have been a quiet week. But nope!

Donald Trump says is battling to reduce regulations but the tax bill adds to it including new tax brackets.

Meanwhile, unlike corporations, the tax cuts will benefit households until 2025. Why would the cuts expire for households and not corporations? Hmmm. Republicans made individual tax cuts temporary so they could meet budget rules that let them pass their tax overhaul with no Democratic votes.

Republicans used a procedural tactic to avoid a filibuster, a maneuver that can only be used once every fiscal year.

In the lawn in front of the White House, Trump proclaimed it a win [definitely for him as it was his only major legislative win in his first year]. Talking to the media, Trump praised the people behind him who helped pass the bill – all Republicans – a sea of mostly older white males, a couple of females and one African-American [who is right near Trump].

Trump has made the rollicking year on Wall Street a centerpiece of his political message, repeatedly taking credit for the bull run, as if he personally steered the Dow Jones industrial average through a year of smashed record highs. We will see what happens if there is a “market correction” or the markets slowly fall. For him, I think he’d be celebrating even if the market was a single point over the amount when President Obama left.

Earlier this month House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a radio interview the House would be working to reform health care entitlements in 2018, calling them “the big drivers of our debt” and Medicare as being the “biggest entitlement that’s got to have reform.” But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “would not expect to see” the Senate tackle entitlement reform next year.” We will see who’s right.

After reviewing scores of statements made by politicians this year, non-partisan PolitiFact.com, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking media outlet, has declared that the big winner of “Lie of the Year” for 2017 goes to one told by Trump! Trump said on NBC that “This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

Trump’s had threatened to cut off US funding to countries that oppose his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has raised the stakes in a UN vote sponsored by Egypt and sparked criticism at his tactics, which could be called bullying or blackmail. “We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” he said, alluding to US aid. The Us lost the vote [128 countries voted yes] with a bunch abstaining. We will see how many [including Egypt] will lose aid.

US vetoed a resolution supported by the 14 other UN Security Council members that would have required Trump to rescind his declaration on Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and not move the US Embassy there.

Many expected Trump, after first taking office at the beginning of 2017, to do some bipartisan legislation – something that both sides could [mostly] agree on. This would of given Trump the passing of a first piece of major legislation early instead of about 2 weeks before the end of the year.

Despite promising a $1 trillion infrastructure bill during the campaign, Trump’s plan is shaping up differently and set to be unveiled in the middle of January. The plan would propose spending at least $200 billion on infrastructure projects over the next decade, with the hopes of spurring an additional $800 billion in state and local funding. The plan will provide the administration’s principles for infrastructure reform that lawmakers can then craft into a bill.

In his first presidential budget, Trump proposed allocating the $200 billion over 10 years for infrastructure projects. But Trump’s budget cut infrastructure spending overall by $55 billion by slashing programs that write grants for highway renovation, Native American water facilities and rural airports.

Trump again took to Twitter to criticize the FBI, this time singling out two FBI officials. “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” Trump wrote in one tweet. In another tweet, Trump said McCabe “is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!” Trump also took aim at FBI general counsel James Baker, who is being reassigned, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Trump is referencing donations to Dr. Jill McCabe’s campaign, something reported by the Wall Street Journal last year. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s political action committee made six contributions totaling $467,500 to McCabe’s campaign, the Journal reported. In addition, campaign records show that the state Democratic Party, over which McAuliffe has great influence, made two other payments totaling $207,788 in September and October 2015. These donations all occurred before McCabe took over as deputy director of the FBI and before he would have had any oversight into the Clinton email investigation. So again he tweets out fake news.

Trump said that he thinks special counsel Robert Mueller is “going to be fair” in his investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s team and Russian officials. His comments made during an interview with The New York Times come after Republicans and supporters of Trump had raised questions over Mueller and his investigative team.
Trump told the Times: “I have the absolute right to do what I want with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.” A bit like a dictatorship.

The White House strongly pushed back on a report that Trump spoke about immigrants in a dismissive and demeaning fashion with top administration officials. The denial came in response to explosive reporting from the New York Times, which wrote that, according to two unnamed officials, Trump said during a meeting in June that people coming from Haiti “all have AIDS,” that recent Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts” in Africa and that Afghanistan is a terrorist haven.

Trump claims he is ready to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] with Canada and Mexico in a minute. He is claiming the US had a $17 billion deficit with Canada when a government office says in fact the US had a $12 billion surplus. Where does he get his fake facts from?

Puerto Rico authorities say nearly half of power customers in the U.S. territory still lack electricity more than three months after Hurricane Maria. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said the entire island will have power by May – just in time for the next hurricane season.

Trump went after the US Postal Service because they charge too little to Amazon for delivering packages. USPS competes with FedEx and UPS to deliver parcels — but its rates are set by a commission appointed by the president, and almost every aspect of its operations are governed by Congress. But the USPS hasn’t been able to compensate for collapsing letter mail volumes due to a 2006 law that capped price increases at the rate of inflation and also limited the proportion of its budget that could be devoted to its parcel business.

Trump has sway over the Postal Service. He’s made four board nominations, who are currently awaiting Senate action. By law, it’s supposed to have 9 appointed members, and currently it has none. So in the end, Trump should blame himself. Trump went after Amazon because Amazon’s CEO is nemesis Steve Bezos.

Trump claimed that his approval ratings at this point in his presidency rival those of Barack Obama, citing a report from “Fox & Friends.” The three-day averages released on December 28, 2009 [the day Trump cited in his tweet] showed 51% approval for Obama with 43% disapproval. On December 28 of this year, Gallup released a three-day average showing 38% approval for Trump with 56% disapproval.

Trump has had the worst approval rating at the end of his first calendar year in the White House since the dawn of modern polling, sinking to a new low of 35% in a new CNN poll in December.

Trump tweeted on the day after Christmas that it is back to work. But he was seeing playing golf for part of the day.

May be not specifically targeting CNN, but an unmarked white truck was blocking CNN’s cameras from taking video of Trump playing golf this week. Every time Trump moved on the course, so did the truck. The truck was on a public road. Nice way for the truck driver to make a living.

Already at least one high speed rail station [not built yet], a renaming of a street in a Muslim area [this should set off fireworks], a park set to be open next year and a new street to be named after Trump as he pledged to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Guatemala is the only other country that announced that they will follow. The rail station will garner plenty of protesting as it goes near some holy sites [in addition to possible further issues if some archeological areas are uncovered].

A man claiming to be the person who delivered a gift-wrapped package of horse manure at the Los Angeles home of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he did it to protest the federal tax overhaul signed into law last week by Trump. Nice Christmas present!

For years, Apple CEO Tim Cook has called on Washington to make it less costly for his company to bring back the billions of dollars it holds overseas. As part of the tax bill signed last week by Trump, corporations like Apple (will enjoy a repatriation tax rate of 15.5% for returning money to the US from their overseas cash piles.

At the end of the most recent quarter, Apple had $268.9 billion in cash and marketable securities, more than $250 billion of which was held outside the US. The question is whether or not Apple will bring most or all the money back to the US and whether they will do something with the money. Apple has already committed to a $300 billion capital return program that includes buybacks and dividends for shareholders.

While visiting a fire station, in a speech, Trump said “We have signed more legislation than anybody — we broke the record of Harry Truman.” Nope! Trump signed 96 pieces of items in 2017 but almost all were Executive Orders and minor bills – not major legislation. Truman signed more than 250. He then got bored and talked about giving the police military style equipment. Why? Can’t he stick with fire station related comments? Some bills overhaul entire sections of US law while others rename post offices and other federal buildings.

While at his Mar-A-Lago, where the temperature was 72 degrees. “In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!” What Trump doesn’t seem to understand or maybe ignore is that “weather” and “climate” are not the same thing.

Oh. 8 of the warmest years on record in the US have occurred since 2008. So that is climate – not weather. From NASA: “Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over relatively long periods of time.”

A video posted by Vanity Fair on their web site before Christmas which featured a handful of Vanity Fair staffers offering cheeky New Year’s resolutions for Hillary Clinton, didn’t get much attention when it was first published on December 23. But after complaints by pro-Clinton supporters a few days later, Vanity Fair sort of apologized.

That’s when Trump came into the picture by tweeting [as the issue was dying] “Vanity Fair, which looks like it is on its last legs, is bending over backwards in apologizing for the minor hit they took at Crooked H. Anna Wintour …. is beside herself in grief & begging for forgiveness!” Wintour is Vogue [same owner as Vanity Fair]. Vanity Fair’s previous editor, Graydon Carter, has had a famous public spat going on with Trump for years. Carter dubbed Trump a “short-fingered vulgarian.”

So Roy Moore [I don’t want to mention his title because he doesn’t deserve it] is using Trump’s playbook by claiming there were massive vote fraud in Alabama from out of state Hispanics and African-Americans. But the state didn’t take this crap and issued a report that there was none. Doug Jones was certified the winner. [I wish the state would charge Moore with something and pay for any recounts and the investigation.]

For the first time in more than two decades, a sitting President has missed the Kennedy Center Honors. The annual recognition of the arts — lauding luminaries from various fields, as they rub elbows with the Washington elite. Trump’s rationale was that by staying away, he would allow the attendees to celebrate without “political distraction.” Most [if not all] of the honorees are Democratic party faithful.

In her opening remarks, Caroline Kennedy said that would have normally sounded benign felt pointed in the current climate, as she spoke of her father’s commitment to “the rule of law, to religious tolerance and racial justice, to nuclear disarmament and scientific innovation.”

Singer Joy Villa, a Trump supporter, has filed a police report against former Trump presidential campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who she says sexually assaulted her at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on November 28. Villa says Lewandowski slapped her bottom hard twice while posing for a picture.

Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pennsylvania, said Republican candidates facing re-election would have to surpass challenging hurdles, among them Trump’s divisive nature as the figurehead of the party. He is retired when his term ends in 2018.

Remember how Trump [and Wisconsin governor] were ecstatic that Foxconn would build a huge plant there with $3 billion in incentives? Those incentives have grown to $4 billion. It will take until at least 2043 for the state to recoup that lost tax revenue. On top of that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is at a low 3.2%. This could be a problem in finding an estimated 13,000 jobs [at $53,000 per year] to fill the plant. Would have been better in a state with higher unemployment.

A White House senior adviser, Frank Wuco, at the Department of Homeland Security promoted several far-right conspiracy theories in past radio appearances. Wuco is a former naval intelligence officer and conservative talk radio host Among the conspiracy theories Wuco pushed were claims that former President Barack Obama’s memoir was ghost written by former anti-Vietnam War radical Bill Ayers, claims that former CIA director John Brennan converted to Islam and claims Attorney General Eric Holder had been a member of the Black Panthers.

Wuco pushed false claims during radio appearances that Obama was not born in the US, made disparaging comments about the LGBT community, and lamented what he called the “Zimbabwe-fication” of America.

According to a CNN poll, just 35% of Americans approve of Trump, meaning it is not politically risky for Democrats to stand opposed to him. Additionally, the base of the Democratic Party is unified around their opposition of Trump as 93% of Democrats disapprove of Trump’s handling of the job.

 

Some of Trump’s campaign promises that he has failed to fulfil

As we get close to the first year of the Trump administration, here are the mostly misses in campaign pledges:

  • Repealing the Obama era health care law [Affordable Care Act] is a promise unfulfilled.
  • Withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] remains unfulfilled.
  • Congress has yet to approve money Trump has requested for his promised border wall. Even the sample walls have yet to receive any endorsement/approval.
  • The successful confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch [but was it a campaign pledge]. This is also probably the easiest to accomplish in this list.
  • He refused to recertify the Iran nuclear deal, but left the matter of new sanctions to Congress.
  • He pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement but left open the possibility of rejoining it later.
  • He ordered an end to a program protecting young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as kids [DACA], but gave Congress six months to find a way to protect them from deportation.
  • He pledged during the 2016 campaign to recognize Israel’s claim to the city and to move the American embassy there from Tel Aviv. He offered no timeline for the embassy relocation and signed a waiver officially delaying any move for six months.
  • He three times released executive order for travel bans only to have them go to courts. Only the second ban has gone through – but just partially.

Did you notice that many of the items what could be considered a “done deal” have backdoors which allow him to switch back or let others take the blame in case it doesn’t go through.

 

Trump’s travel tales and other odd stuff

Former CIA chief John Brennan said “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals.” Brennan wasn’t saying that he believed that the Trump campaign actively colluded with Russia.

Donald Trump is expected to hire attorney Marc Kasowitz to represent him on matters related to the inquiry into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, according to a senior administration official and a person close to Trump. Taxpayers footing the bill?

White House lawyers have even been researching impeachment procedures in order to prepare for such a possibility including need to hire a personal legal team to represent Trump.

Jared Kushner, is willing to co-operate with federal investigators looking into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, his attorney said. The FBI was investigating meetings Kushner had in December with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, and Russian banker Sergey Gorkov.

On his trip to Saudi Arabia, Trump would not talk about the issues at home as well as women’s right and human rights. [In case you don’t know, at restaurants there for example, men walk in through one door while women and children walk in another with a wall separating them.]

In Trump’s speech, he said “…in just a few months, we have created almost a million new jobs, added over 3 trillion dollars of new value, lifted the burdens on American industry, and made record investments in our military that will protect the safety of our people….” Let’s see, where did he get a million jobs from? “New value”? In what? “… lifted the burdens on American industry”? Does he mean regulation? He hasn’t really done anything yet. “… made record investments in our military…” Record? Trump announced an increase to $650 billion. Not even close to the roughly $700 billion about 8 years ago when President Obama took over.

“… includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase – and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defense companies.” In order for the Saudis to get a “good deal”, it would probably mean reducing the price to purchase say a jet fighter. The manufacturer will then have to cut costs somewhere.

” Saudi Arabia also joined us this week in placing sanctions on one of the most senior leaders of Hezbollah.” Wow! A single leader! It’s a token thing really.

Trump complained in 2015 that Michelle Obama didn’t cover her head in a trip she took with President Obama and Trump whined about it. He says Saudi Arabia was “insulted”. Fast forward two years and Trump’s entourage including Melania an Ivanka aren’t covering their heads. Saudi Arabia’s policy states that dignitaries do not have to cover their heads unless they want to.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had pledged $100 million for the bank’s proposed Women Entrepreneurs Fund, which was first proposed by Ivanka Trump. Didn’t Trump complain about the various Arab state giving the Clinton Foundation donations during the campaign?

During his campaign, Trump accusing Saudi Arabia of wanting “women as slaves and to kill gays” and suggested they were being behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks. In his speech he said “I am honoured to be received by such gracious hosts.”

It is interesting to note that very conservative Saudi Arabia were happy with how Melania dressed and acted [no word on the hubby]. Unlike her husband, Melania planned what they would wear at each stop so she would not offend anyone. She also brushed up on protocols. Him? Nope.

It blows the mind what Trump does. While visiting Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial in Israel, it is tradition for world leaders to leave a message. When President Obama visited the memorial a few years back, he wrote “I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife…” [There was more.] What did Trump write “It’s a great honor to be here with all of my friends—so amazing + will NEVER FORGET!” [I am almost sure Melania told him to write the last part.] It’s like he just signed one of his books. See it here.

As the Trump entourage landed in Israel, on the tarmac, looks like Melania is still unhappy with Trump:
And it happened again while landing in Italy.

As well, he confirmed that he never mentioned Israel as the source of the secret information that he gave to the Russians. Huh? So he did give them secret information – something he denied earlier.

At one point, he told an audience in Jerusalem he was happy to have arrived in Israel “from the Middle East”. So Israel is not in the Middle East? Who knew?

Seems the Trump administrations still is disorganized. The U.S. has never recognized Israeli sovereignty over parts of the Old City in Jerusalem. And yet Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley declared the site part of Israel but other officials avoided answering the question.

Melania and Ivanka covered their heads in a sign of papal respect when meeting the Pope, a gesture they did not partake in Saudi Arabia. [Aside from the fact that Ivanka isn’t Catholic.] I guess pointing to Trump’s size, the Pope had a light moment with Melania, asking via translator, “What do you give him to eat, potizza?” referring to a favourite papal dessert from her native Slovenia.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” the Pope said at one time in the past. Trump then called the Pope “disgraceful” for doubting his faith.

White House press secretary Sean “Garlic” Spicer fumed to colleagues after being excluded from the President’s meeting with Pope Francis. He discovered at the last minute that he was not on the shortlist of White House officials selected to join the President for the private audience. Hope Hicks [Trump’s communications adviser], Keith Schiller [Trump’s deputy assistant with the title director of Oval Office operations and former bodyguard!!!], and Dan Scavino [his social media master] were invited.

Trump was basically bully the other NATO leaders saying they weren’t living up to the agreement of using 2% of their respective country’s GDP on military spending. Only 5 meet or exceed the 2%. In his speech he said “This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.” Well, nobody asked the US to spend $650+ billion a year. He also claims that if the other countries met their expectations it would they could counter terrorism better. That’s debatable.

Nearing the end of Trumps trip he tweeted “Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.” Unsure where money was saved [or made] and if “millions” of jobs were saved.

Trump appears set to defy presidential tradition and not hold a press conference during the entire trip.

Wow. Trump will go over a week without playing golf…..

Trump issued a statement saying the White House intends to get to the bottom of what he called “deeply troubling” leaks of information after some information related to the Manchester bomber was released. “I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” He’s been saying this for how long already?

At the NATO conference, you can see in the video where Trump shoves a prime minister aside so that he could be in front and center of the attention. Not surprised.

In rejecting the travel ban, the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals zeroed in on the comments Donald Trump as a candidate and president, the government’s national security justifications, and the role of the courts. The travel ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”

The Trump administration announced a $4.1 trillion US budget for 2018. The proposal is laced with cuts to domestic agencies, student loan subsidies, food stamps, Medicaid, highway funding and medical research. Democrats and some Republicans have already shot it down as dead on arrival. The proposal projects that this year’s deficit will rise to $603 billion, up from the actual deficit of $585 billion last year. The budget claims that by 2027 there will be a projected small surplus of $16 billion. But that has many factors. Trump’s new budget is based on sustained growth above 3 per cent, sharply higher than the expectations of most private economists.

In special elections, two seats [New York and New Hampshire] easily won by Trump 6 months ago switch to the Democrats in special elections for state legislative seats.

A Republican candidate in a special election in Montana has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he allegedly body slammed a reporter and broke his glasses on Wednesday night. Three newspapers have dropped support in the candidate who reportedly has nearly $250,000 in shares in two index funds that had investments in Russian companies which were under U.S. sanctions. The reporter never touched the candidate. The special election is because the previous House seat winner joined Trump’s cabinet.

The Montana Republican in the end won by single digits after Trump won by 20 points in November. It was only after he was declared the winner he apologized for his actions after blaming the reporter for the altercation [even though witnesses said he was to blame]. If this would of happened a few weeks ago [before many went to the advanced polls], it could have been different.

Michael Flynn will “plead the fifth” [as in 5th Amendment] when he is questioned on the controversy involving the Russians. During the campaign, Trump called those who plead the fifth basically as cowards.
“So many young, beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life,” Trump said following the Manchester bombing. “Losers”? He couldn’t find something more forceful?

Trump said once: “When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same. The temperament is not that different.”

In an effort to better control the perceived risks of small drones, the Trump administration is asking Congress to grant it the ability to track, seize, disrupt, and destroy any drone that it perceives to be a security threat. And it’s asking to do these things without prior consent.

Not long after [black] Democrat congressman Al Green called for the impeachment of Trump, did he start to receive calls like “You’re not going to impeach anybody, you f—— n—– … You’ll be hanging from a tree.”
Evan Williams, founder and former CEO of Twitter, says Twitter’s role in Trump’s populist rise is “a very bad thing”. “If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.”

A “toolkit” provided to House Republicans to defend US communications watchdog the FCC’s recent decision to tear up net neutrality rules was written by the cable lobby. It was written by the assistant director of “industry grassroots” at the US cable industry’s main trade association, the NCTA. It is amazed of what the Trump administration allows.

Is Romney another George W. Bush?

Seems the presumptive Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, needs to learn a bit of diplomacy.

Like any other politician during election time, Romney says what the people want to hear. In this case the Israelis. If he goes to Nebraska, he would promise more government funding to corn growers. If he goes to Colorado he would promise more snow in the winter. 🙂

Anyways, he started with a trip to London where British politicians criticized him for saying some of the city’s preparation for the games were “disconcerting.” [Romney was one of the big honchos during the Olympics in the US a while back.]

Romney then went to Israel to try and pull some of the Jewish vote away from Barack Obama by making a few comments that pleased Israelis and also was way less than favourable to the Palestinians in the area by basically stating to Jewish donors that their culture allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians.

[Jewish Americans still favour Obama by almost 70% in recent polls even though some are complaining that Obama hasn’t help Israel much in his 3.5 years in office. American Jews have traditionally voted for the Democrats. So this could show that Romney is a weak candidate.]

While it may or may not be true, diplomatically you don’t say that. Is Romney taking lessons from George W. Bush – a president that was known to put his foot in his mouth almost daily?

He also stirred the pot by suggesting that he may break American policy by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv even though the US and others kept their embassies in Tel Aviv after Israel decided to make Jerusalem the capital [and thereby sparking criticism for it as Jerusalem has also been an iffy issue].

In Israel, he met Israeli leaders but only met Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in a brief meeting – probably also not to the delight of the Palestinians.

Romney is next heading towards Poland [if I read right] – don’t ask me why – and expect further goofs by Romney.