And the shutdown continues, and he rants

“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” Donald Trump tweeted. “Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!” So he’s becoming the Blackmail President.

He also said that he could kill the renegotiated NAFTA and the US would terminate aid with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, which he said are doing “nothing for the United States but taking our money” if he didn’t get his Trump Wall money.

Meanwhile, he has been “President” for almost 2 years now. Why hasn’t he changed the laws? Blame everyone but himself. He is getting nervous because when the Democrats take over on the 3rd, not only will it be more difficult to get rid of the shutdown but he knows the Democrats will begin investigations in him and his administration. So instead of trying to tone down and be willing to compromise, he goes the other way.

Did he really write The Art Of The Deal? Because he seems to have problem making deals. North Korean deal? Nothing really came out of it. The new NAFTA deal? May not pass in at least 1 of 3 countries. Can’t seem to get a long term deal with the third shutdown this year.

Trump tweeted “Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can’t. If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try! The two children in question were very sick before they were given over to Border Patrol. The father of the young girl said it was not their fault, he hadn’t given her water in days.”

Holy craps! Where to begin. He’s been in office for 2 years and he hasn’t changed the policies of the Democrats even though he HAD a majority in the House and Senate. No water in days? Is that a federal regulation not to give migrant people water [or food or medical attention]? Bloody lying fool.

In a sign the deadlock will continue, Trump announced he would travel to Texas in late January to observe part of the wall being built – if there is a wall being built there as he claimed in a tweet “I am in the Oval Office & just gave out a 115 mile long contract for another large section of the Wall in Texas.”

Problem is the White House administration knows nothing about it. As well, where did the funding come from and whether there were any tenders as is required by government [this alone takes time]. If he is thinking of getting it from the battle over the shutdown, good luck there.

Trump tweeted “This isn’t about the Wall, …. This is only about the Dems not letting Donald Trump & the Republicans have a win.” Oh ya. For sure Donnie.

Trump claimed, without evidence, that “… many of those workers have said to me and communicated, stay out until you get the funding for the wall.” Yes. I’m sure he polled them all. He claimed “Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?” The president of the American Federation of Government Employees [which represents 700,000 federal employees] debunked that by saying to his knowledge, workers are evenly split when it comes to the party they support.

Trump tweeted “Virtually every Democrat we are dealing with today strongly supported a Border Wall or Fence. It was only when I made it an important part of my campaign, because people and drugs were pouring into our Country unchecked, that they turned against it.” Yes. He asked them all and why. Not.

As if it can’t get worse for federal employees, Trump issued an executive order freezing federal workers’ pay for 2019 [for non-military employees], following through on a proposal he announced earlier in the year. The move, which nixes a 2.1% across-the-board pay raise that was set to take effect in January. Merry Christmas from Trump the Grinch. Waiting for him to blame the Democrats on this.

In Trump’s Christmas Day talk, the drugs are flowing over the border, the Federal Reserve is imperiling the economy and the Democrats are preparing to harass him with oversight requests. “It’s a disgrace, what’s happening in our country,” Trump fumed after decrying Democrats as hypocrites. “But other than that,” he said, his hands gesturing outward, “I wish everybody a very merry Christmas.”

Trump claims that drugs flow through the border but the DEA and DoHS say that drugs go through legal ports of entry. So who do you think is right?

Once again, no class from him. You look at any Christmas message – from the Queen of England to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – none of them complained about what’s going on in their countries [or equivalent]. Even go back to previous Presidents. They didn’t whine.

The Trump administration said it is appealing a federal judge’s order that blocks the administration from implementing asylum restrictions on the southern border.  Trump signed a presidential proclamation last month that would bar migrants who illegally cross into the United States over the southern border from seeking asylum outside of official ports of entry.

Trump is predicting “presidential harassment” – as he calls it – when the Democrats take over the house in under a week and begin investigations in the administration. Already, it looks like they will add another as another young illegal migrant died while in Customs and Border Protection custody. There are still over 15,000 migrant in US detention centers.

Trump continues on his rant against outgoing Secretary of Defense James Mattis by tweeting “We are substantially subsidizing the Militaries of many VERY rich countries all over the world, while at the same time these countries take total advantage of the U.S., and our TAXPAYERS, on Trade. General Mattis did not see this as a problem. I DO, and it is being fixed!” So blaming on Mattis. He whines about issues like this and yet he knows about the subsidizing since before he became the US leader and has done nothing. Blame everyone but himself. And how do they take “advantage”? [Notice how I still don’t call him by his title]

The daughters of a Queens foot doctor say their late father diagnosed Trump with bone spurs to help him avoid the Vietnam War draft as a “favor” to his father Fred Trump, according to the New York Times. The Times did not find documentation to help corroborate the family’s account and one daughter was unsure whether her father ever examined The Draft Dodger.

Trump called some children across on Christmas. Sounds normal. Except he asked one 7 year old child “you still a believer in Santa?” Seriously?

Trump took a secret trip to Iraq to finally visit US troops in a war zone – first time in his term as Commander in Chief. So the 11 hour flight had Air Force One escorted by fighter jets, set with lights out and “windows closed”. Hmmm. I hope they were closed!

Speaking to troops at Al Asad Air Base during his surprise visit to Iraq, Trump told troops: “You protect us. We are always going to protect you. And you just saw that, ’cause you just got one of the biggest pay raises you’ve ever received. … You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years. More than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one.”

Ummm. They have received raises every year. The last two years were over 2%. The last 4 years of the Obama administration were a bit under 2% But the first few years of the Obama administration actually went over 3%. For 2019, it will be 2.6%. Trump told the troops about the latest pay raise. “I said, ‘No. Make it 10%. Make it more than 10%.'” Retired General John Kirby said Trump’s lie to troops is “unconscionable”.

Trump tweeted “CNN & others within the Fake News Universe were going wild about my signing MAGA hats for our military in Iraq and Germany.” Ummmm. I was on CNN’s web site and they mentioned nothing about his cheap made in China hats. But how did those hats get to Iraq?

Trump has canceled his New Year’s plans at held at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, in order to remain in Washington until a deal over border wall funds is reached and the partial government shutdown ends, according to the President’s incoming acting chief of staff.

Mar-a-Lago guests will pay a hefty $1,000 to ring in the New Year at Trump’s private Palm Beach club, up from $750 last year and $575 the year before. This year Mar-a-Lago members will pay $650 for New Year’s Eve tickets, sources said, up from $600 last year and $525 the year before. The ticket prices don’t include a 20 percent gratuity and 7 percent tax, which can add another $270 to a $1,000 guest ticket. But as a bonus, you won’t see him!

A federal judge has denied a Justice Department request, because of the shutdown, to pause all deadlines in a DC federal court case challenging the administration’s asylum restrictions. The judge wrote that those challenging the asylum restrictions view this as a case related to human safety and as such, despite the shutdown, deadlines for case filings remain in place.

Trump supporter, Republican Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, commented about attending a “public hanging” sparked weeks of controversy, given the state’s history of racially charged lynchings. It prompted major corporate interests, ranging from health insurance giant Aetna to Facebook to Major League Baseball, to demand refunds of their political donations.

Major League Baseball, Amgen and the National Cattlemen’s Association received their donation refunds, however the filings indicate that MLB and Amgen received refunds by stopping payments on their checks. She returned contributions to three individuals — including San Francisco Giants’ principal owner Charles Johnson and his wife, Ann, who each donated the $2,700 maximum.

And a Happy New Year to one and all.

I am hoping it would be good for all of us. But for that Orange Idiot in the US….

 

 

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Soggy crisis after crisis

Well in a week where one hurricane devastated south central America and another hurricane expected to go straight through Florida, it was for the most part a quiet week with Donald Trump. But it wasn’t quiet!

Trump surprised the leaders of his own party in Congress when he backed a deal pushed by Democrats to attach hurricane relief money to a shorter-term bump in the debt ceiling as well as keeping the government open, cutting off his own Treasury secretary to strike a deal. Republican congressional leaders, in control of both chambers of the legislative branch, were “shell-shocked” and “visibly annoyed”. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin was in the middle of arguing for a longer-term deal in the meeting when the President abruptly cut him off and sided with the Democrats. The House easily approved with the deal where all but 90 Republicans approved.

House Republicans unleashed their fury over Trump’s deal with the Democrats at Steve Mnuchin, with conservatives calling the treasury secretary’s appeal to them to “vote for it for me” insulting and inappropriate. Most rank-and-file House Republicans don’t know Mnuchin and more than one said they believed he was a Democrat, based on his previous donations to political candidates.

Republicans were hoping to get am 18 month extension of the debt ceiling. Do the math. The 18 months would expire after the mid-term elections. 18 months would of helped many Republicans up for mid-term elections tell their constituents that it would have been a big win – maybe [so far] the only big win in this session of Congress.

Trump will phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [or DACA] that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children. Trump tweeted “Make no mistake, we are going to put the interest of AMERICAN CITIZENS FIRST!” Sure, but most of these people are taking courses in colleges and universities. Others have graduated. Microsoft has 27 of these “Dreamers” working for them.

Trump was expected to end the program with a potential six-month delay, during which Congress could potentially pass legislation protecting people who would otherwise lose their legal protection under DACA. Trump claims he is sympathetic to the plight of the immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children and in some cases have no memories of the countries they were born in. During the elections, his campaign rhetoric blasting DACA as illegal “amnesty”. Last week, Trump said, “We love the ‘Dreamers'”.

Javier Palomarez, the head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said he plans to work until the “bloody end” to sway Trump to keep intact an Obama-era program extending legal protections to young undocumented immigrants. “If he gets rid of DACA, he’s showing that he is a liar.” He changed his mind as he announced he would step down from Trump’s National Diversity Coalition.

If the Dreamers left, it would cost the government $60 billion over 10 years and $400 billion in the economy over 10 years.

In 2011, Trump said that it would be very wrong to deport the Dreamers. They do a good job, good marks, etc.

A coalition of 16 Democratic and nonpartisan state attorneys general filed suit in New York federal court on Wednesday to stop Trump’s sunset of DACA and they say Trump’s comments about Mexicans should be used against him. The lawsuit also devotes a section to Texas, the state that pushed Trump to end the program, using a section to describe Texas as “a state found to have discriminated against Latinos/Hispanics nine times since 2012.”

Trump, who styles himself a master negotiator, threw himself into the middle of the fight between Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE by offering to mediate the dispute at the White House. You know they won’t take him seriously.

A watchdog group is looking into a trip that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made recently with his wife, Louise Linton, aboard a government plane. He supposedly went there to discuss tax reform and later the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. The group is investigating whether the purpose of the trip was actually to view the total solar eclipse. Has he visited anywhere else regarding the tax reform or is it a coincidence that he went to one of the best locations to see the eclipse at the same time?

Trump always boasted that his Mar-a-Lago mansion can withstand any storm. His boasting will get the big test this weekend with Hurricane Irma heading its way. Strikes by four major hurricanes have done little damage to Mar-a-Lago in the 90 years. The mansion’s walls are 1 meter thick, anchored by steel and concrete beams embedded into coral rock.

[While I think we hope there is no damage to the joint, I’m sure a few hope that the place does get hit a bit so it would put Trump in his place.]

An AP investigation last year showed Trump received a $17 million insurance payment for Mar-a-Lago damage in 2005 after hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Wilma hit in two years, but he said in an unrelated lawsuit deposition in 2007 that he didn’t know how much was spent on repairs. He conceded to pocketing some of the money. Anthony Senecal, Trump’s longtime butler and Mar-a-Lago’s unofficial historian, told the AP the roof lost some tiles and some trees were flattened. Town of Palm Beach records showed no permits were issued for major repairs during that period.

Woops. White House aides reportedly refer to Ivanka Trump as “Princess Royal” behind her back, and it’s definitely not meant to be a compliment. Ivanka Trump has little to no political experience and was not elected to office, so many questioned what qualifications she had to act on the president’s behalf in such a formal, international setting at the G-20 summit, during which at one point she sat in for her father.

According to Vanity Fair, one former Trump adviser responded by stating, “Excuse me. This is not a royal family, and she’s not the princess royal,” which helps explain the nickname.

Former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon claims that illegal aliens are filling the churches of America. The church “have an economic interest”. James Rogers, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’s chief spokesman, called Bannon’s comments “preposterous” and accused the conservative agitator of presenting a false choice between compassion and security. “Our pro-immigration stance is based on fidelity to God’s word and honors the American dream. For anyone to suggest that it is out of sordid motives of statistics or financial gain is outrageous and insulting.”

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, more than a quarter of American Catholics (27%) were born outside the country, mostly from the Americas; and one out of three American Catholics now identify as Latino or Hispanic. Of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States in 2011, for example, 82% were Christian, mostly from Latin America.

How the Trump family is profiting from charities [updated]

Updated. See slow….

According to Forbes, the charity Eric Trump Foundation, brought in $1.2 million from donors in 2015, And while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids with cancer, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities [some not related to cancer or sick kids foundations], many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.

All of this seems to defy federal tax rules and state laws that ban self-dealing and misleading donors. It also raises larger questions about the Trump family dynamics and whether Eric and his brother, Don Jr., can be truly independent of their father. Foundation had no actual employees until 2015 and all board members were friends of his. In 2014, 4 left and 14 were added. Almost half had connections to the Trump Organization.

Holding an annual charity golf tournament at Mar-A-Lago saw cost balloon from $59,000 in 2012 to $230,000 in 2013 jumping to $322,000 in 2015 as Donald Trump insisted nothing is for free and charged Eric’s foundation. After calculations, no one can figure out how they were billed that much at full cost in 2015. While the event pulled in $2 million in donations, in subsequent years, it never went reached $2 million.

It seems after a “successful” charity golf tournament at Mar-A-Lago, the foundation added a few other golf events and fundraisers.

Eric Trump also used foundation money for non-foundation purposed such as a copper wine still and an antique bottle washer. The foundation used money to send it to another foundation where a painter created a portrait of Donald Trump. That portrait ended up hanging over the couch in Eric Trump’s house.

But in 2015, with other people’s’ money, a new intensive-care unit at St. Jude opened with Eric Trump’s name on it, and the foundation’s money has funded research into a rare form of cancer. Last year, the Eric Trump Foundation donated $2.9 million, according to St. Jude.

More recently, the foundation has rebranded itself as Curetivity. A spokeswoman for the organization said it would continue hosting golf tournaments to raise money for St. Jude.

[Forbes will have a detailed article at the end of the month, the Trump family and foundations declined to comment when Forbes asked.]

Updated 2017/06/10:

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is “looking into” a charitable foundation founded by Eric Trump, a spokesman for Schneiderman said, after Forbes magazine raised questions about whether Donald Trump’s son had made misleading statements about how the foundation spent its money. It was at an early stage and could not be considered a formal investigation.

One item at issue was that the Eric Trump Foundation has rebranded itself “Curetivity” and held a fundraiser under that name. But, after a query from The Washington Post morning, the attorney general’s office said the charity had not officially changed its name with New York charity regulators

Schneiderman’s office is already investigating the Donald Trump’s own name-branded foundation. Trump had used his charity’s money to settle lawsuits involving his for-profit businesses or to buy portraits of himself. That investigation is ongoing, a spokeswoman for Schneiderman said.

[Not surprising, those pro-Trump supports claimed that Forbes has no evidence. I am sure a respectable magazine like Forbes would not publish a story unless there are facts – unlike Fox News, Breitbart, etc. Changing the registration of a charity should be easy for anyone to confirm.]

 

 

Trump and immigration

Businesses run and owned by Donald Trump and his adult children have been certified to legally hire 1,371 foreign visa workers since 2001. In addition, Trump-branded real estate has raised at least $50 million in foreign investor money through a program that gives foreign investors access to green cards, according to the company that did the development of the real estate. The Trump enterprise has made use of low-skilled permits for vineyard seasonal workers, for example, and has used high-skilled visas to bring in models for its modeling agency.

Trumps’ businesses have received 283 H-1B visas since 2001. The high-skilled visas have been used for Trump’s modeling venture, Trump Model Management, Mar-A-Lago, the Trump Corporation and businesses associated with his hotels and resorts. Yes, the H-1B visa is to be used for scientists, doctors and the like – not for models, cooks and accountants [all which can be found quite easily].

Trump businesses have received 1,024 H-2B visas since 2000, according to Labor records. Those visas have gone to Mar-A-Lago, Jupiter Gold Club, Lamington Farm and the Trump National Golf Club for jobs like cooks, waiters and waitresses and housekeepers. Trump Vineyards has received 64 H-2A permits since 2006 for agricultural work.

Melania Trump is Slovenian, but began modeling in the US with H-1B visas and was given a green card in 2001, before she married Trump. Trump self-sponsored herself for residency, according to a letter by her attorney released during the campaign. She became a US citizen in 2006. [She also had some run-ins with others claiming she was an escort while at Trump Model Management.]

Trump’s first wife, Ivana, was also an immigrant, coming to the US via Canada from Czechoslovakia. Ivana became a US citizen in 1988, 11 years after she married Trump.

Trump faced a lawsuit in the 1980s that accused him and business partners of withholding wages from undocumented Polish immigrants and union workers hired by a contracting company called Kaszycki & Sons to demolish the building that would make room for Trump Tower.

A judge ruled in 1991 that Trump and his associates owed the workers more than $300,000 plus interest. The ruling was appealed, and the case was eventually settled under a sealed agreement, according to a source familiar with the proceedings.

The Washington Post reported in 2015 that it interviewed workers on the construction of Trump’s hotel in the nation’s capital who said they entered the country illegally, several of whom were still lacking authorization to live and work in the US.

Ever notice that the only Trump business that didn’t fit the same area of ownership is the Trump Model Management which would have little to do with the other businesses unless the models need a room to stay or take a vacation at Mar-A-Lago.