Of Sharpies, a hurricane and resorts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there something wrong with Trump?

[Well aside from the usual.]

Wow! The last nearly 2 weeks have put the Trump administration and the stock markets on a lengthy roller coaster.

Beijing unveiling a new round of retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of US goods placing tariffs of 5% or 10% on US imports starting on September 1st, according to a statement posted by China’s Finance Ministry. This round affects beef, oil, soya beans, nuts, cream, turkey, and chemicals.

A second possible round on December 1st would affect coffee, corn, vehicles, whiskey wood, doors, etc.

The Ministry also announced plans to resume tariffs on US imports of automobiles and automobile parts. The tariffs would be 25% or 5%, and would take effect on December 15th. Recently, China said it would take countermeasures after Donald Trump announced it would impose 10% tariffs on Chinese imports worth $300 billion.

Not just as few hours after, Trump decided to increase current tariffs at 25% to 30%. Those at 10% will jump to 15%. The Dow Jones stock market – in just a short time – dropped more than 700 points after the announcement at one point. He claimed, in a tweet, that China’s tariffs are “politically motivated”. He ended his set of tweets with “Thank you for your attention to this matter!”

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said “It’s no surprise that China is slapping even more tariffs on American products. Every time Trump escalates his trade war, China calls his bluff — and why would we expect any differently this time around? And it’s no surprise that farmers are again the target.”

Trump said, “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” Trump can’t order American business to do anything as it is known as the “private sector”.

The Dow Jones had already dropped 300 points on the fear of another round of Trump tariffs. Trump also expressed anger at Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Powell in a speech today did not indicate if the central bank has plans for another interest rate cut. Trump has been calling for further cuts to rates.

Upsetting [saying it mildly] another ally, Trump tweeted “Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time.” Seriously? Frederiksen said the word “Absurd” for her answer.

Trump had accepted an invitation to visit Her Majesty Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark. Now it is a diplomatic snub that he has canceled the visit because of his vindictive pettiness. Trump confirmed his interest in buying the country, telling reporters at one point that Greenland is hurting Denmark. Doesn’t explain how – of course.

Oh it must be fun being a US ambassador in this administration.

Estimated minimum price to buy Greenland is over $1 billion, for 56,000 people and 9% unemployment. Add harsh conditions and plenty of ice. But it does have some untapped resources.

No shocker here [or I told you so]: Trump is reversing his stance on gun control. After the shootings he said “I’m looking to do background checks… I think background checks are important.”

Then he responded recently by saying “I don’t want people to forget that this is a mental health problem… It’s the people that pull the trigger. It’s not the gun that pulls the trigger… “I’m also very, very concerned with the Second Amendment”. These are basically the same phrases that the NRA has been pushing for. So you think that anything will happen?

“I had a very good meeting with Tim Cook,” Trump said in an interview. “I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook, and Tim was talking to me about tariffs. And one of the things, and he made a good case, is that Samsung is their number-one competitor, and Samsung is not paying tariffs because they’re based in South Korea.”

He also said that Apple “will be spending vast sums of money in the US. Great!” though he doesn’t appear to have mentioned any details of further US investment in his comments to reporters. He has said this before of more US investments in the past only to have nothing come out of it.

He has to remember that his policies are hurting American businesses. He is the one to blame for issues that American companies who are having issues with it. On the other hand, Apple has plenty of money and part of their problem is that their products have had slumps because of a combination of higher prices and poor quality control [think recently about keyboard and battery issues with their laptops].

Trump may in the end exclude Apple from getting hit with the tariffs. And so it unravels. He does it for one company and other American companies who have at least some manufacturing done in China will ask for the same treatment. Most of them may not be as wealthy as Apple.

“If I wanted to make a bad deal and settle on China, the market would go up. But it wouldn’t be the right thing to do,” Trump explained. “I’m just not ready to make a deal, China would like to make a deal, I’m not ready.” So his ego prefers the world end up in a recession.

Trump and his advisers insist their trade war with China won’t hurt American consumers. But analysts say otherwise. The tariffs Trump has already imposed on China are estimated to cost the average American household $600 per year, according to a report by JPMorgan Chase. That will rise to $1,000 if Trump carries through on his plan to levy tariffs on another $300 billion of US imports from China, the bank added.

Oh craps! Trump referred to himself as the “chosen one” while speaking on his role in the ongoing trade war between the US and China. Later he said “Nobody has done a job like I done.” He said at one point that China had the worst economic year in 50 year. Last week he said at one point it was 25 and then 37. How things change in a week or so.

Trump conceded that economies across the world are “not doing well like we are doing, the rest of the world, if you look at Germany, if you look at European Union, frankly, look at the UK, look at a lot of the countries, they are not doing well.” If the world’s largest economies [other than the US] re in a recession, then the US will follow.

Trump added that “most economists actually say we are not going to have a recession.” If you translate that, it usually means he asked one or two people who may know about the economy and generally agree with everything he says. Trump sent out some people to news channels to tell people everything is good with the economy.

Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown revealing growing concerns about the economy among Trump’s top economic aides. But Trump says that the economy in the US is doing well?

As if Trump doesn’t have enough to complain about this week: “Henry Ford would be very disappointed if he saw his modern-day descendants wanting to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn’t work as well, because execs don’t want to fight California regulators.” Wonder what he is dreaming about this time.

This after saying “My proposal to the politically correct Automobile Companies would lower the average price of a car to consumers by more than $3000, while at the same time making the cars substantially safer. Engines would run smoother.”

Not to be out done, he then whined about the US share of the NATO budget versus everyone else.

Go figure. He is the president of the US and he is still complaining about the 2016 votes – 30+ months later. He tweeted “Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued.”

He was referring to a study by psychologist Robert Epstein [hmmm], which was discussed on Fox. Epstein himself says Trump was wrong about his findings. Epstein did find “bias” in Google search results, but he says there is no evidence Google “manipulated” the results to favor Hillary Clinton. Epstein said the pro-Clinton bias was “sufficient to have shifted between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes” to Clinton – not 16 million.

Epstein used a whopping 95 people from 24 states. That is research? For statistical purposes, this has a wide error. He also didn’t even publish his findings in a credible journal or web site that is related to his research. Epstein said he is “suspicious” that Google is deliberately biasing its results, given the Democratic leanings of its employees and the allegations of company “whistle blowers.” Epstein didn’t divulge who he supports.

Trump wants Russia back into the G7 [as the G8] in time for the 2020 meeting in the US. Trump claimed that President Barack Obama wanted Russia out of the group because “he got outsmarted.” He didn’t say how Obama was outsmarted, but you know Trump. Imaginary thing. Russia was suspended from the group after the majority of member countries united against Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Trump held a lengthy phone call with his master, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre, recently. Now it looks like universal background checks are “off the table.” LaPierre reminded Trump how NRA members helped get him elected. No shock in Trump’s latest stance.

The Trump administration announced plans that could hold undocumented families detained together indefinitely, replacing the agreement that set a 20-day limit for holding children. The rule is meant to reduce the number of families trying to enter the US. Already this year, more than 430,000 family members have been arrested for crossing the southern border illegally, compared to around 100,000 for all of last year.

Then Trump said he is “seriously” considering ending US birthright citizenship despite the fact that such a move would face immediate legal challenge and is at odds with Supreme Court precedent. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees birthright citizenship and states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The White House has dropped its attempt to move forward with a controversial plan to eliminate up to $4 billion in funding to the State Department and the US Agency for International Development. Previously, Trump misrepresented the developments that led Turkey to purchase the Russian system, blaming the Obama administration for the situation.

The Trump administration has sought to decrease what it believes is wasteful spending and make foreign aid more conditional on support for US policies. White House officials believed they had the authority to cancel the funds without congressional approval.

The Trump administration has formally withdrawn its $3.5 billion offer for Turkey to purchase a Patriot missile system in retaliation for Turkey’s receipt of the Russian-made S-400 missile system. The US has also ejected Turkey from the F-35 jet program, preventing Turkey from acquiring some 100 of the stealth jets and removing Turkish companies from the production chain.

It’s been 5.5 months since the last official White House press briefing. Stephanie Grisham, White House communications director and White House press secretary as well as communications director for Melania Trump, has yet to have a press briefing in the nearly 1.5 months in her new job.

Russian state TV says that Trump wants Russian to be part of the G8 because “he owes Russia” after the US recently tested a land based Tomahawk cruise missile. “He feels guilty or ashamed…. They miss us.”

Vladimir Poutine partially blamed the US for the recent accident there in testing new military hardware.

Wow! He finally did something right: He is eliminating all federal student loan debt owed by American veterans who are completely and permanently disabled. Took him over 2.5 years to do something right.

Trump is expected to select Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to replace Jon Huntsman [resignation is effective October 3] as US Ambassador to Russia. At least Sullivan has some diplomatic experience. He was passed over as Secretary of State when Rex Tillerson resigned though.

Talk of to boost his way sagging popularity that Trump may dump Vice President Mike Pence and replace him with former UN ambassador, Nikki Haley. She tweeted “Enough of the false rumors.”

Trump also quoted radio host and conspiracy theorist/nut-case Wayne Allyn Root who said “…like he’s [Trump] the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God….” Seriously?

After recent polling numbers from Fox, Trump wasn’t happy saying “Fox has changed. And my worst polls have always been from Fox. There’s something going on at Fox, I’ll tell you right now. And I’m not happy with it.” He believes that since Fox is the only right wing leaning large news organization, he should have better polling numbers with them – as if Fox manipulates polling data. But he always used them as his propaganda “arm”.