GOP civil war with Trump

Donald Trump tweeted [Republican] “Senator Bob Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election” with Trump saying no and Trump said Corker would drop out when Corker had previously said he’d retire but Trump wanted him back. Then Trump tweeted “He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.’ He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!” Does this mean current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on the way out?

As another rip into Corker, Trump tweeted “Didn’t have the guts to run!” Corker has run 3 times and a senator for 10. Trump? After the final Tweet [for now from Trump, Corker tweeted “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.”

Trump is a President who is acting “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something,” said Corker later. Trump is setting the country “on the path to World War III.”

Mike Pence left a football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after some players knelt during the National Anthem, saying he did not want to “dignify” the event. Some are suggesting that it was a staged plan. They knew that some players would take the knee while Pence was in attendance. This short stay in Indianapolis cost an extra $180,000 as he  made a detour to see the game only to leave before the game started.

The pool of journalists accompanying the vice president were not allowed into the stadium and were asked to stay in their vans. They were told by a staffer that “there may be an early departure from the game.” So another hint that the stunt was expected.

Trump opened up the kneeing controversy again last week by tweeting “Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!” before this weekend upcoming games. He tweeted this within 24 after the Las Vegas killings. Doesn’t he have better things to do?

Now after a deal was struck regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, Trump decided to change the terms of the deal. Those measures include provisions to make it harder for unaccompanied minors to enter the country illegally, money for the President’s border wall and cuts to legal immigration. Trump has said the new requirements must pass.

So Trump is still trying to get additional funding for his wall and at the same time add other issues. Unsure if he wants the DACA issue settled at all and looks like he wants to scuttle it.

Trump tweeted that nothing has been done regarding North Korea for the past 25 year. Well, it’s probably been quite a bit more than 25 years that they were a threat. Then he claimed that “…massive amounts of money paid” presumably by the US to North Korea. But why? The US wasn’t going to give that country money if they are dumping sanctions on them.

Trump didn’t seem to want to go to Puerto Rico, spend a night somewhere [where US warships are nearby – wouldn’t he be safe enough] and then visit the US Virgin Islands. Instead he visited just Puerto Rico. Mike Pence went to the US Virgin Islands.

Errr. Trump claimed that when he threw the paper towels in Puerto Rico, the people wanted them because they were soft. Seriously?

Ken Starr, the former independent counsel whose investigation of former President Bill Clinton’s real-estate investments and extramarital affair led to Clinton’s impeachment, said that he has “a sense” there will be indictments in the federal investigation into allegations of possible collusion by the Trump campaign in Russia’s efforts to influence last year’s election.

After it happened on Facebook, Google has identified tens of thousands of dollars in ad buys by Russian accounts that used YouTube or Google advertising to try to spread misinformation and sow discord in American politics.

Trump is still complaining about wanting to get “equal time” – probably because all of the investigations are against him, late night comedians, various newspapers, etc. All Trump can get support is from Fox News and various [if lucky] second rate web sites. I am sure just about any network has told Trump that he can come onto their network at any time.

According to the New York Times, Trump has states 1145 false information comments in his first 232 days or almost averaging 5 per day.

Since the Trump administration can’t get the Affordable Care Act repealed, they are trying to sabotage the ACA by shortening the enrollment period and cutting the marketing funds that would let the public know about it.

Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the spring, dines with one coal company at lunch and then with another coal company for supper at the BLT Prime, a steakhouse inside the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Before that, Pruitt met privately with top executives and lobbyists from General Motors to talk about their request to block an Obama administration move to curb emissions that contribute to climate change.

Since he took over, from February through May, he has had briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates — and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates.

Some of these same companies and trade associations were allies of Pruitt when, as Oklahoma’s attorney general, he sued the EPA at least 14 times to try to block rules he is now in charge of enforcing. Yes. This is the Trump administration in action!

After well-known Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein got into trouble with alleged sexual assaults against actresses and underlings over a number of years, Trump was asked his opinion. He said that he has known Weinstein for “many years” and then said he was not surprised. Nice way to through a supposedly friend under the bus. We’re not surprised at his comments. [It is known rumor in Hollywood that Weinstein has a history of allegations of sexual assaults and similar problems.]

Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani rejected Ivanka Trump’s invitation to talk about her computer science education initiative. She I a daughter of a refugee and disliked the initial and other travel bans. Ivanka Trump referenced Saujani’s success story in her book, “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success.” In the tweet, Saujani said: “don’t use my story in #WomenWhoWork unless you are going to stop being #complicit.” So when Donald Trump directed the Education Department to invest a minimum of $200 million in grant funding annually to STEM and computer science education, Ivanka Trump met with corporate partners and nonprofits in Detroit. Girls Who Code was not invited.

Melania Trump chose Places You’ll Go!, which she read with her son, Barron, “over and over” when he was younger and nine other Dr. Seuss titles to send to an elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in celebration of “National Read a Book Day.” But a librarian at Cambridgeport School refused to accept the gift, criticizing Trump administration education policies and images in the books. Seuss’ illustrations are “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes,” said librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro.

Trump should instead be devoting resources to schools in “underfunded and underprivileged communities” that are “marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.” Critics view DeVos, a billionaire who has worked for decades to promote school choice, or alternatives to traditional public schools, as one of the most anti-public-education secretaries in the department’s history.

The Department of Education chose one high-achieving school in every state to receive a package of books from Trump, according to a statement from the White House. The Cambridge school system released a statement saying the librarian “was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district.”

The State Department is using longstanding but discretionary policy to ensure that evacuees are shouldered with the transportation costs, which according to the website are based off of “the price of the last commercial one-way, full-fare (not discounted) economy ticket prior to the crisis.” Evacuees who surrender their passports under this system don’t see them returned until payment is received.

“We’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and in Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico,” Trump said. Uh huh. Who did the grading?

Job openings in the United States reached a record high in July at 6.17 million, according to Labor Department data. Manufacturing had nearly 400,000 openings; construction 232,000; education and health 1.1 million; finance and insurance 270,000; retail 625,000. So jobs are available for various levels of education – not just for people with university degrees.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed September 5, noting that 950,000 African Americans and 870,000 Hispanics in the same age group as DACA recipients were unemployed. “Those are large groups of people that are unemployed that could possibly have those jobs.” Or maybe those 1.7 million people are not interested in the same jobs as the DACA recipients [r are they really looking]. It is this thought that Trump claims that he would want to deport the DACA recipients but with 6.17 million jobs available….

But in September, for the first time in 7 years, there were job lost. After forecasting initially 90,000 jobs gained, 30,000 were lost.

Trump’s approval rating has once again reached 40%, while earning high marks for his handling of the government’s response to recent hurricanes, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. A broad 64% of Americans say they approve of how Trump’s government reacted to the recent storms, including two in three independents (66%). Nine in 10 Republicans support his reaction (90%), and even Democrats are evenly divided on Trump’s response to the crises, with 44% both approving and disapproving.

Half say they disapprove of Trump’s handling of the situation with North Korea (50%) vs. four in 10 who say they approve (41%) — little changed from Trump’s rating in August on the topic. Trump’s rating on health care remains low at just 31% approval during the Senate’s last-ditch push to pass a reform bill. Overall, 55% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s job performance.

Ivana Trump, Donald’s first wife and mother of his oldest 3 children, release a book on her life with him and called herself the “First Lady” in an interview. Let’s just say Melania wasn’t too thrilled.

 

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A big week of failures, exaggerations and blunders

When Donald Trump tweeted recently “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”, it still didn’t go against Twitter’s posting rules which state users “may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.” Twitter is citing “newsworthiness” and the public interest as reasons why it didn’t remove Trump’s tweets.

[We always knew that one of Trump’s tweets would land him in hot water – not by Twitter but how someone would interpret his tweets.]

Under the UN Charter, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said, North Korea has the right to self-defense and “every right” to take countermeasures, “including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers even when they’re not yet inside the airspace border of our country.” Funny how North Korea will use the UN Charter to their advantage whenever it suits them but ignore the UN otherwise.

In July 2016, Pyongyang said US sanctions imposed on Kim were “a declaration of war” against North Korea and it made a similar statement after a new round of UN sanctions in December. While the December sanctions were from the UN, North Korea has blamed the US and declared war on them.

Meanwhile, the North Korean regime officials have been quietly attempting to set up meetings with Republican analysts in an apparent attempt to better understand the mixed messages coming from the Trump administration. Good luck in understanding him.

Trump’s son-in-law and official White House adviser, Jared Kushner, used a private email server – set up after the election – to conduct White House business. Kushner used the private account in tandem with his official White House email account to correspond with current and former senior White House officials, outside advisers and others, about subjects ranging from media coverage to event planning.

His lawyer stated that “Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business. Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account. These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal rather than his White House address.”

Wasn’t this what happened to Hillary Clinton? He didn’t notice they contained confidential information or contacted the sender about it? Expect Trump to have a double standard saying Kushner is innocent.

While Trump was upset with even owners who joined in the protest, when friend, supporter and New England Patriot owner Robert Kraft made some comments about Trump’s comments, Trump said “he’s a good friend of mine and I want him to do what he wants to do.” So Kraft gets a “pass” on Trump’s barrage of nasty comments.

Trump supports called this whole episode a win for Trump. Unsure how he won. In fact he has divided the country even more.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on ABC’s “This Week” that players have “the right to have the First Amendment off the field.” But what about on the field – especially if the ownership agree or have no opinion?

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says it is about police brutality – so they should protest at the police that protect them on the field. Seriously?

Trump tweeted about the athletes criticism 22 times over the weekend, more than all the other major items [health care, North Korea, etc.] combined. Nice priorities.

After the weekend, Trump tweeted “The booing at the NFL football game last night, when the entire Dallas team dropped to its knees, was loudest I have ever heard.” Yes, his hearing is a perfect way to judge things just like his eyesight during his inauguration.” But while Dallas dropped to its knees as a team, they all stood up for our National Anthem. Big progress being made-we all love our country!” Is he taking credit for this? “Progress”?

“It’s really caught on. It’s really caught on,” Trump said of his NFL comments to attendees at the dinner with conservative group leaders, according to someone who attended. “I said what millions of Americans were thinking.”

The First Amendment so often cited as a blanket justification for “free speech” doesn’t protect the employment of football players or race car drivers when they speak their minds. But NFL’s rulebook states it does not say players must stand during the national anthem.

Most sports do have clauses like in the NBA where “loyalty to the Club, and to conduct himself on and off the field with appropriate recognition of the fact that the success of professional football depends largely on public respect for and approval of those associated with the game.” But if the team isn’t against the idea…..

Following Trump’s tweets last week that players should be fired for going down on one knee during the national anthem and calling them “sons of bitches”, he tweeted “I never said anything about race.” While it is technically true, but many players were protesting because of how minorities in the US have been pushed around or abused.

Trump claims he spoke with NFL’s Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He was one of the owners who kneeled before his team played this past weekend. [I would guess he is a friend of Jones.] I guess Trump wants them to stand next week. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did – not because Trump wants them to but because it was a one weekend protest.

In another interview, Trump said “Because you look at the ratings [for the NFL], the ratings are going way down … the stadiums, there are a lot of empty seats, I couldn’t even believe it.” If only he had proof to back it up. At least in the early Sunday afternoon games, no one knew that the players [and management] would be protesting. Not those who went to the game or watched on TV.

49% of Americans disapprove of the NFL protests in a poll that came out. So, like everything else, America is divided.

Not a good piece of news: Twitter testing to increase to 280 characters!

Trump is calling Facebook “anti-Trump.” Trump’s comments came days after Facebook said it will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators and make political advertising on its platform more transparent related to the 2016 election. Trump tweeted: “Facebook was always anti-Trump.The Networks were always anti-Trump hence,Fake News, @nytimes(apologized) & @wapo were anti-Trump. Collusion?” Errr. They were requested by at least one of the ongoing investigations?

Trump tweeted “Virtually no President has accomplished what we have accomplished in the first 9 months-and economy roaring.” Yup. He accomplished nothing in 9 months. Who is he kidding?

Trump’s most recent tweets urging Alabamians to vote for Sen. Luther Strange mysteriously disappeared from his verified Twitter account after the candidate was projected to lose the Republican primary runoff for a Senate seat. “Luther Strange has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement. Finish the job – vote today for ‘Big Luther'” was one of them. Obviously he didn’t “shoot” up the polls! Took him almost 2 hours to congratulate the winner, Roy Moore, after Strange conceded.

Trump is infuriated at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP establishment after they pushed trump to back Luther Strange. Strange lost by 9.2%.

Trump often deletes tweets from his personal account over spelling mistakes and then quickly tweets corrected versions. Deletion of tweets have raised questions about how presidents’ social media should be handled and preserved. The question has also been raised whether Trump is violating the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which requires all the president’s records be preserved for eventual release to the public on a delayed basis long after the commander in chief leaves office.

So Trump just loves to poke at his [so-called] enemies. Case in point. He tweeted about the problems facing Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria by including “massive debt” and “with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with” instead of comfort or compassion for the humanitarians crisis. Does that mean Puerto Ricans won’t be given any clean water to drink until Wall Street gets its cut? He also said “Texas & Florida are doing great.” But still flooded, lacking power, heavily damaged. Has he seen the Florida Keys?

As they are not a state, Puerto Rico can’t vote for the president in an election and their congressman has limited power. So he’s not going to help them as fast as Texas or Florida – both large states with many Republican voters. Trump has tweeted how well the island is doing after the hurricane when in fact little has been done. Of note, some of his cabinet have big stakes in Wall Street.

Only 54% of Americans believe Puerto Ricans are American citizens according to a poll.

In addition, there is an obscure act called the Jones Act which is century-old law that requires all goods ferried between U.S. ports to be carried on ships built, owned and operated by Americans. When it was established in 1920, was meant to promote shipping by U.S.-owned and operated vessels. But it’s also had the unintended consequence of making it twice as expensive to ship things from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico as it is to ship from any other foreign port in the world, according to Republican Senator John McCain’s office.

Trump so far has not waived the rule, but that he is “thinking about” it. He claims “We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don’t want the Jones Act lifted.” The shippers have a monopoly, so they want the act kept. The kicker is that Trump waved the acted for Florida and Texas after their hurricanes.

Critics say the Jones Act costs American jobs by encouraging residents in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii to buy foreign-made goods that are shipped on foreign flagged vessels, rather than goods made in America. Cars, for example, cost about 40% more in Puerto Rico than on U.S. mainland, partly because of the law.

Even over a week after since Puerto Rico was hit with the hurricane, Trump still has to somehow throw in a point that the territory is in debt. Why? Does it make a difference now?

Republican Senator Marco Rubio from Florida traveled to Puerto Rico, something Trump still hasn’t done, and said that aid was not flowing out from the airport and port because of communication problems and confusion.

Yes. Strike 4. A four time failure Trump is now in trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump cited an unnamed senator being in the hospital as part of the reason why Republicans are unable to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Trump assailed two top Republican senators in a local Alabama radio interview when he took aim at Sen. John McCain for opposing the latest effort by Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by saying “… what McCain has done is a tremendous slap in the face to the Republican Party”. He also blamed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the “ridiculous filibuster rule” that he believes prevents his administration from having legislative accomplishments.

“That’s [60 votes in the filibuster rule] the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. So that means we need eight Democrats, and the Republicans can end it. And Mitch wants to keep it, which is ridiculous by the way,” Trump said. So Trump still wants to change rules so everything can go his way.

In the latest proof that Trump doesn’t came for Puerto Rico much, he still hasn’t gone there to see the problems there but was in Florida and Texas within a week and then again later.

Trump said he may soon sign an executive order on health care that would affect millions of people. Trump now seems to be backing health insurance reforms pushed by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul, who opposed the Senate repeal bill, wants insurers to be allowed to sell policies across state lines and for people to be able to form groups to buy coverage. Opponents say that it would split the market so that healthier folks would flock to the skinnier plans, while the sick would stay in the more comprehensive plans, pushing up their rates even more.

As if Trump doesn’t have enough on his plate, he tweeted “Iran just test fired a ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!” But US intelligence radars and sensors “picked up no indication” of an Iranian ballistic missile launch in the days surrounding a reported test. Seems Iran was playing games, releasing footage of a previous test.

The Trump administration has unveiled new travel restrictions on certain foreigners from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen as a replacement to a central portion of its controversial travel ban signed earlier this year.

Some are new to the list of affected countries. The new restrictions on travel vary by country and include a phased-in approach. Most of them are there for show as few Americans would visit those countries [maybe except for humanitarian reasons]. For example, of the under 100 from North Korea who come to the US, they are almost all diplomats serving at the UN. Would you really want to take a vacation in Syria?

Trump told a rally audience in Alabama that the media won’t show his crowd as the crowd was being broadcast. And yet CNN and other news outlets did show the crowd.