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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The two sides of Trump

{Nice with North Korea, nasty with Iran.]

Donald Trump: “When I make promises, I keep them.” [OK, you can get off the floor when you are finish laughing.]

So not surprising, Trump is killing the Iranian nuclear deal. He cited [as some of his excuses] the flawed and dated argument from Israeli prime Minister Netanyahu.

“Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States. America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail.” And then “Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie,” Trump said. But the Director of National Intelligence, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense have all said in last two months they are complying with the deal.

Iran has stated that the US would suffer if the deal disintegrates. However, short of using nuclear weapons, they can’t do too much of their own. However, leaving the deal could cause oil prices to rise as well as affect other areas of the economy. [Even if the oil prices don’t rise much if any, local gas stations will jack up the price anyways. Gougers.]

At one point Trump said “It didn’t bring calm. It didn’t bring peace.” Of course not, the deal says nothing about Iran stopping buying or using non-nuclear military hardware.

Now there is talk that at least one Sunni Muslim country, Saudi Arabia, who now intend on building their own nuclear missiles. Saudi Arabia and Iran are considered enemies.

Sanctions could return within 90 days against Iran. Companies that deal with Iran [including for an example an $8 billion US deal with Boeing] are at stake. Trouble could hit companies based in other countries who signed the original deal which could cause some further issues. The remainder of the countries that were part of the deal are still trying to work with Iran.

Is Trump playing with the lives of North Korea detainees? Last week, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s so-called lawyer but more like another spokesman who doesn’t know facts, claimed that three Americans detained [or taken hostage] by North Korea will be released that day. Two days later they still weren’t but he Giuliani said “there is a good chance” that three Americans detained in North Korea “will be released over the next several days.”

The question is whether Trump kyboshed the release so they can be released closer to when he is expected to have a meeting with Kim Jun Un in June. So are the three detainees being kept in a North Korean prison [which are probably far from being as nice as a room at the Trump Hotel in Washington] longer than they should? Just so that Trump an show he can make a “deal”? And if anything what is Trump giving up?

White House and State Department officials were still working to verify reports the three Americans had been moved from labor camps to a hotel in Pyongyang.

Trump, by making such a splash of the prisoners’ return, could be accused by critics of exploiting them as props for a presidency in crisis. Alternatively, Kim Jun Un could boast that an American president came to see him – something his father couldn’t do – and maybe use it for propaganda. Even with the three prisoners released, Un could say in North Korean media that Trump begged for their release.

Un has had various high profile American dignitaries come to North Korea before to seek release of American prisoners. Since all the prisoners were arrested and convicted on trumped [errr] up charges, Un could be taking prisoners in exchange of future public appreciation. Un took the hostages in order to release them later and to get rewarded for it. Trump himself thanked Un for the release – but as head of the country, it was probably on his orders to have them arrested.

Even though Trump has claimed there is an agreement for where and when to have his meeting with Un, all bets are off if Trump cancels the meeting.

Trump said at 3 AM, “I think you probably broke the all-time in history television rating for three o’clock in the morning.” Ummm. 3 AM? The administration probably did not notify US citizens when the prisoners would land on US soil. As usual, what ratings? You can’t get any ratings results at the same time you are at the location. There are ratings for TV shows and events that are announced. This isn’t either. Does he thinks this is like reality TV like The Apprentice? Trump has tweeted the word “ratings” 263 times since 2010.

Trump suggested that “angry Democrats” on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team could face legal action over alleged “conflicts of interest.” Trump did not provide proof of the alleged conflicts. Trump also suggested that the investigation was being dragged out so it could damage Republicans in the midterm elections.

Mueller’s investigators have questioned a Russian oligarch about hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments his company’s US affiliate made to Cohen, after the election. Viktor Vekselberg, chairman of asset manager Renova Group, is an oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and last month the Trump administration placed him on a list of sanctioned Russians for activities including election interference.

The purpose of the payments, which predate the sanctions, and the nature of the business relationship between Vekselberg and Cohen is unclear. Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti alleged the $500,000 from Vekselberg went into the bank account for Essential Consultants, a shell company that Cohen set up before the election that was used to pay Daniels. Avenatti added that the payments occurred from January to August 2017.

The Russian was questioned as well about $300,000 in political donations by Andrew Intrater, Vekselberg’s American cousin who is the head of Columbus Nova.

AT&T confirmed that it paid President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen in 2017 for “insights into understanding the new administration.” At the time, AT&T was seeking government approval for its acquisition of Time Warner.  A document released by Avenatti stated that “Essential received $200,000 in four separate payments of $50,000 in late 2017 and early 2018 from AT&T.”

Almost like a lobbyist, Cohen has been advertising him as the man who has Trump’s ear by saying “I’m the guy you should hire. I’m closest to the President. I’m his personal lawyer.” This is how over a period of time, he pulled in over $4.4 million from AT&T, Novartis, Korea Aerospace Industries, and others. Many were looking for supposedly information about Trump and his administration.

Even after he wasn’t offered a job in Trump’s administration after inauguration day or since, he nevertheless continued to portray himself as Trump’s go-to guy.

AT&T has claimed the company only paid Cohen to gain “insights” into Trump and that there was no legal or lobbying work. However, if it went farther than that, then there could be some legal issues. AT&T said they wish they didn’t do it.

As for Novartis, Cohen received $400,000 just before dinner Trump reportedly had with a Novartis executive in Davos, Switzerland. That could raise a few red flags. Novartis has regrets now.

Gina Haspel offered to withdraw her nomination as Trump’s pick to head the CIA after some White House officials raised concerns with her about her ability to get confirmed but she agreed to continue with her nomination. The White House has been concerned about her past involvement with the CIA’s controversial interrogation program.

Trump tweeted regarding Haspel “There is nobody even close to run the CIA!” And there is a possibility she won’t be approved!

“Our administration has provided more than a million documents; we’ve fully cooperated in it, and in the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up,” Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview. Can you say “obstruction of justice”? Two Republican senators replied that Pence has no decision making in the matter.

White House chief of staff John Kelly said he believes the vast majority of undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border into the US are “… not people that would easily assimilate into the United States into our modern society” because they are poorly educated.

At a rally, Trump claimed President Obama paid $1.8 billion for hostages from North Korea while he paid nothing. Where did he get that amount from? He didn’t say [as usual].

Trump commented that he would like to actually withdrawal the right for some journalists from reporting at the White House. Of course these are those who [in Trump’s mind] are anti-Trump. Of course this goes against the First Amendment.

Rudy Giuliani continues to be possibly big mistake in hiring when he left open the possibility that Cohen might have doled out payments like the one he made to adult film star Stormy Daniels to other women. When asked if there were other women paid, Giuliani said “I would think if it was necessary, yes.”

A reminder that Trump has also been accused by at least 15 women of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual harassment and lewd behavior. Trump has denied all the allegations, and at one point during the 2016 campaign, threatened to sue his accusers, although he has yet to do so.

Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen got into a lengthy, heated argument during a Cabinet meeting focused on immigration. Trump was furious with Nielsen, telling her he didn’t think she was doing enough to secure the border. Nielsen told colleagues she was close to resigning after the incident.

The Trump administration has decided to refer every person caught crossing the border illegally for federal prosecution, a policy that could result in the separation of far more parents from their children at the border. The move would also mean that even if immigrants caught at the border illegally have valid asylum claims, they could still end up with federal criminal convictions on their record regardless of whether a judge finds they have a right to live and stay in the US.

At least eight alt-right website domain names were registered to Columbus Nova, the company that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Within hours of assuming his new post, Trump appointed Richard Grenell triggered harsh criticism in Germany when he said “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.” The timing and tone struck some German politicians, journalists and business executives as a threat, offensive and inappropriate. The criticism was echoed by top officials elsewhere in Europe including Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister. Grenell claimed this was the “exact language” that the White House told him to use.

Trump continues to go after Amazon because he claims that the US Postal Service got a bad deal for shipping Amazon packages. Problem is that the deal hasn’t been publically disclosed [if it can be]. So we can assume that Trump is over blowing another issue. That and he dislikes Amazon owner Jeff Bezos who owns The Washington Post who aren’t a fan of Trump.

Trump’s luxury golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland, has banned the sale of Irn-Bru on the premises. The ban came to light after guests asked for Scotland’s favourite non-alcoholic beverage to be supplied at an event but were refused because staff were concerned about potential spills.

Trump tweeted “Thought he [James Comey] was terrible until I fired him!” So Comey was great after he was fired?

Trump urged voters in West Virginia to reject controversial Republican Senate candidate Don Blankenship in the state’s primary. Blankenship’s campaign — from its nativist tendencies to its use of conspiracy theories — takes many cues from the President’s 2016 playbook.

Blankenship is a former CEO of Massey Energy and who until recently was serving a year-long sentence for a misdemeanor conviction over his involvement in the deadliest US mine explosion in four decades. But Democrats have also tried to boost Blankenship. A super PAC linked to Democrats has been running ads in West Virginia attacking the two other Republicans nominated for weeks. In the end Blankenship came in third.

Ailing Senator John McCain is said to requested that Trump should not attend his funeral. He also has requested that George W Bush and Barrack Obama to deliver eulogies.  Wonder if Trump will comment about it on Twitter. Oh he probably will.

Trump tweeted “Five Most Wanted leaders of ISIS just captured!” Wow! All 5! Does that mean ISIS has no leadership? Not. Resolve Army Col. Ryan Dillon tweeted originally “5 key” – not “5 Most Wanted”. So Trump blows things out of proportions again. #FakeNews

Trump told reporters “Everyone thinks so, but I would never say it” when asked if he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement in the warming of relations with North Korea, the only prize he wants is a victory for the world. Wait until there is actually what could be described as peace before claiming your prize! In the meantime, is he forgetting Iran? He just killed a nuclear deal which has heightened tensions in the Middle East.

Could be something, or nothing. According to Senator Tim Kaine, the 4 American soldiers killed in Niger in 2017 were at least partially on an unauthorized mission when they were ambushed and killed by ISIS in a village. They were searching for a high value target, a mission they were not authorized, trained or equipped to conduct. They later reverted to an advisory capacity with the Nigerien forces they were working with.

 

Trump and Kim Jun Un to meet, or will they

North Korea, it seems, is looking to do some negotiations for possible peace talks. When Donald Trump was asked who should take credit for the change of heart by North Korea, Trump said “Me”. Wow. No American president has ever met with a North Korea leader.

Trump immediately approved of a meeting by May with Kim Jun Un even before most of his cabinet knew. For example, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson didn’t know. He also agreed even before there were any plans for the meeting. All we know is that there will be no missile testing [but nothing about research] at least until the meeting and the North Koreans aren’t expecting any sanctions to be lifted.

No matter what is the outcome of this expected meeting [after all, you got two men with huge egos and histories of scrapping plans], Kim Jun Un will be the real winner as it will put him on the world stage diplomatically. Unlikely but if the meeting is held on US or North Korean soil, it will be a bigger win for Kim Jun Un.

Trump accused the Obama administration of using the investigation into potential ties between his campaign and Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. He tweeted “Why did the Obama Administration start an investigation into the Trump Campaign (with zero proof of wrongdoing) long before the Election in November?” It’s unclear exactly what pre-election investigation Trump was referring to.

The surveillance of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign associate Carter Page was approved by the secret court that oversees domestic surveillance of American citizens under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In Page’s case, the FBI and Justice Department presented enough evidence to the court to convince Republican-appointed judges to continue the surveillance into mid-2017.

Trump also tweeted “Obama did NOTHING about Russian meddling”. Except Obama applied new economic sanctions on the Russian government, ordered the State Department to shut down Russian compounds in Maryland and New York, and expelled 35 Russian diplomats that he described as “intelligence operatives.”

Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg said he refuses to comply with a grand jury subpoena in the Russia investigation. “Screw that. Why do I have to go? Why? For what?” He blamed the investigation’s existence on Trump’s firing of James Comey as FBI director including an interview where Trump said he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he fired Comey and the fact that he held a meeting with top Russian officials in the Oval Office. “Donald Trump caused this because he’s an idiot.”

Nunberg said that he would not appear before a grand jury or spend time reviewing his communications in order to comply with the subpoena. “No I’m not protecting him, but he didn’t do anything,” Nunberg said. “You know what he did? He won the election.” The Trump campaign fired Nunberg in August 2015 after a series of racist Facebook posts came to light.

A Middle East specialist named George Nader with ties to Donald Trump’s team attended secret meetings during the presidential transition between the United Arab Emirates and Trump associates, and is now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller. Nader is a low-profile diplomatic go-between who has forged close ties to the Emirates, was stopped and questioned by the FBI at Dulles International Airport in January.

The Trump team says it views jobs in the steel industry as an economic-security issue, and therefore a national-security issue. Trump has excluded Canada and Mexico for steel and aluminum tariffs for now while the NAFTA talks continue. Previously he said that if Trump didn’t get his say during those talks, he would impose tariffs on them. But NAFTA is unrelated to national security, and excluding Canada and Mexico for that reason could prompt legal challenges at the World Trade Organization.

Trump has lobbed a grenade of uncertainty onto the NAFTA negotiating table, suggesting that tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel are now dependent on whether the countries agree to a new trade pact. He will implement the tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, a little-known trade law from 1962. To do that, Trump must claim that steel and aluminum imports hurt the country’s national security.

Trump escalated threats of a trade war, saying he would slap a new tax on European cars if the EU retaliated against his proposed steel and aluminum tariffs. “We will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S.,” he tweeted. I’m sure they don’t come into the US without any type of tax. If imposed, they would target, as retaliation, tariffs on the main industries for key [mostly] Republican Congressmen and Senators. Trump has declared that trade wars are “easy to win”.

A February 22 SEC filing shows Carl Icahn sold off his $31.3 million stake in the Manitowoc Company a week before Trump’s announcement, which is a leading global manufacturer of cranes for heavy construction based in Manitowoc, Wis., according to the company’s website. Since Trump’s announcement, Manitowoc’s stock has plummeted to about $26. Icahn had sold his shares for about $32 to $34 each, according to the SEC disclosure. Icahn is a major Trump supporter. Coincidence?

Trump actually claimed [as a great economist] that trade wars are actually a good thing. In a news conference, Trump promised his proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum will be applied in a “very loving way.” Whatever that “loving” means. Maybe he said he may exempt some other countries while some may see increases or decreases in percentages.

General Motors and Ford could each take a US$1 billion profit hit if the tariffs are put in place, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs and layoffs could be in cards as companies adjust to changing prices as much as 45,000 jobs.

Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn is resigning. Cohn, who had been rumored just weeks ago as a potential next chief of staff, will leave the White House in the wake of his fierce disagreement with Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

A new lawsuit filed by the porn star known as Stormy Daniels claims Trump never signed a hush agreement regarding an alleged sexual encounter between the two and therefore the agreement is void. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, signed the document on behalf of the President instead. She claims in the lawsuit to have had an affair with Trump several years prior to his presidency. The lawsuit says Cohen has continued his attempts at silencing Clifford — including as recently as February 27, 2018. Cohen also used a Trump Organization Email account when negotiating the payoff.

Trump is upset with White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders over her responses regarding his alleged affair with porn star Daniels. Sanders told reporters that the arbitration was won “in the President’s favor.” In fact it is a temporary restraining order last week to prevent a pornographic film star from speaking out about her alleged affair with Trump. The statement is an admission that the nondisclosure agreement exists and that it directly involves the President. It is the first time the White House has admitted Trump was involved in any way with Daniels.

Lawrence S. Rosen, a lawyer representing Trump’s legal counsel Michael Cohen, said in a statement that an arbitrator, who “found that Ms. Clifford had violated the agreement,” barred her from filing her lawsuit and making other disclosures of confidential information. Daniel’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that he did not consider the restraining order, dated Feb. 27, valid because it was brought on behalf of Cohen not Trump.

Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 of his own money using his home equity line, which he admitted to in February. Cohen and Sanders has said Trump “vehemently denies” any sexual encounter between the two. Then why pay her that amount?

When adult film star Jessica Drake accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct a month before the presidential election, Trump said through a spokesperson that he didn’t know the woman and had “no interest in ever knowing her.” Less than a week later, a woman named Angel Ryan was listed in a secret settlement agreement negotiated by Cohen. They are the same person – confirmed by Ryan’s lawyer.

The US Office of Special Counsel announced that White House aide Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions by “advocating for and against candidates” in last year’s Alabama Senate special election. The agency said Conway “impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election.” The agency sends its results to Trump for “punishment”. Good luck there!

Plans by the Trump administration to rescind an Obama-era rule that allows spouses of thousands of H-1B visa holders to work in the United States has been delayed until June, according to a court filing from the Department of Homeland Security.

Several tech companies – including Etsy, Kickstarter, Foursquare and Shutterstock – filed a petition challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s rollback of net neutrality protections. Many states are also taking the FCC to court over the issue.

A ProPublica report claims that the Trump Organization placed an order for golf tee markers displaying the presidential seal, which may be a violation of federal law.

Trump tweeted: “Lowest rated Oscars in HISTORY. Problem is, we don’t have Stars anymore – except your President (just kidding, of course)!” He was actually right regarding the ratings. I won’t comment on his other comment. Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel responded with his own tweet “Thanks, lowest rated President in HISTORY.”

A day before the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at the White House, Jared Kushner, who was the lead negotiator for the US paid him a visit. Remember that Kushner has lost some of his security clearance access.

he administration has hinted they are close to revealing a plan. Problem is that the Palestinian negotiators have refused to meet with the US following Trump’s announcement that the US embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but that hasn’t stopped the US from moving forward with the plan.

Diamonds from first daughter Ivanka Trump’s now-defunct fine jewelry line were allegedly used in a massive money-laundering and fraud scheme. The Commercial Bank of Dubai in late June sought and later got permission to subpoena Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, claiming its diamonds were vehicles in a scheme to hide about $100 million owed to the financial institution. This was based on filings at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York made over the summer.

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently consolidated power. Trump told a luncheon for Republican donors: “He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great.” Trump added, “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot someday.”

Trump had a meeting with the top executive is the video game industry in the unproven thought that violent video game users could be a contributing factor for mass shootings in the US. Of course, Trump has suggested rating both games and movies for violence. Such ratings already exist.

The Trump administration has quietly decided once again to allow Americans to import the body parts of African elephants shot for sport, despite presidential tweets decrying the practice as a “horror show.” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a letter dated March 1 announcing that the importation of elephant trophies will now be approved on a “case-by-case basis.” Trump’s two adult sons are trophy hunters.

After nearly a year of threats, the Trump administration made its most aggressive move to date against a familiar target of its ire: California and its immigration policies. The Department of Justice filed a federal lawsuit against the state and its top officials to stop a cluster of so-called “sanctuary state” bills — a move that puts the administration on offense but is nonetheless likely to generate heated litigation over the boundaries of immigration authority.

It wasn’t a good week or so for the Trump administration last week:

  • Joseph Yun, a top U.S. diplomat overseeing North Korea policy, announced his retirement.
  • Elaine Duke, the deputy secretary of Homeland Security, announced her retirement.
    Sally Donnelly, a prominent adviser to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, is resigning.
  • Reed Cordish, a senior aide to Jared Kushner, announced his departure from the White House.
  • George David Banks, a special assistant to Trump for international energy and environmental policy on the National Economic Council, resigned because of reported difficulties with his security clearance.

The National Rifle Association is suing the state of Florida after Gov. Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 7026 into law, the first gun control legislation enacted in the state after the Parkland school massacre on February 14. The NRA says it goes against the Second Amendment.

The new Florida law raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 from 18, bans the sale or possession of bump fire stocks, gives law enforcement greater power to seize weapons and ammunition from those deemed mentally unfit, and provides additional funding for armed school resource officers.

Trump reached a presidential milestone at his Palm Beach County, Florida, golf club recently with one hundred days in office at a golf club that bears his name. So roughly a quarter of his term has been spent at that specific golf course [true, he probably did SOME work that he was voted in to do on most of those days]. The same man who said in 2014 “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf” and during the 2016 campaign he said “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”

Since Trump entered office the number of GOP leaning independent voters have dropped at least 6% but those went to the “undecided” as the Democrats barely picked up anything.

People easily disgusted by body odors seem to prefer authoritarian leaders and were likelier to support Donald Trump, an unusual study into the origins of ideology. The seemingly obscure link, it said, may be rooted in a deep-seated instinct to avoid disease — whether in individuals whose smell suggests they are germ-carriers, or “unfamiliar” people such as immigrants or minorities.

A 2015 report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence pegged the total at 2,885,570 people for confidential and secret clearances and 1,363,483 for top secret clearances.

The 2018 Presidents and Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey and found Abe Lincoln the best president ever and Trump dead last. In fact, the first 7 presidents in the survey didn’t change from the same order when the survey was done 4 years ago. In order, the best 7 were Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.

Trump even ranked 40 out of 44 presidents when looking at Republicans and conservatives voters. Bill Clinton, who fell to 13th best after being ranked eighth in 2014. Obama came in eighth, up 10 spots from 18th in 2014. George W. Bush moved up five spots, from 35th to 30th. Reagan also moved into the top 10, ranking ninth. In 2014, he was at 11.

In a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, sixty-two percent of respondents said Trump is not doing enough to prevent mass shootings and 77% say Congress is doing an inadequate job on the issue. 57% said mass shootings in the United States were more of a reflection of problems identifying and treating people with mental health problems, while 28% blamed “inadequate gun laws.” Nine percent blamed both equally. Some 58% of those polled said stricter gun control laws would have prevented the Florida shooting.

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.

The battle of the man babies: Trump vs Un

Donald Trump, his arms crossed and his expression dour, warned “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” But his new chief of staff, John Kelly, sat across the table stone-faced. Some hoped Kelly could reign him in but that’s not happening Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to dial back some of Trump’s comments about North Korea to slow things down. This after North Korea warned that it would carry out pre-emptive military strikes against the US, including the Pacific territory of Guam. Of course, North Korea [a bit like trump!] have a history of rhetoric talk but no “action”.

Critics have always said that Trump’s temper and lack of diplomacy – either in person or on Twitter – could escalate issues and/or be taken the wrong way.

Kelly spoke with Trump in his first week on the job about his use of Twitter, which Trump has fiercely defended amid attempts by other confidants to moderate his voice. Trump has said [exaggerating] that Kelly will be one of the best chief of staff’s ever. Sure, if you want someone who won’t object to anything Trump does.

Trump tweeted “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before….” But nothing was ever completed.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has insisted that diplomatic efforts to contain the threat posed by North Korea are working, and remain the favored means for solving the crisis.

As if Trump doesn’t have enough things to get into, he has called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a dictator and had slapped sanctions after a July 30 vote that allowed the President to replace the opposition-held National Assembly with a new 545-member Constituent Assembly filled with his supporters.

H.R. McMaster, Trump’s National Security Adviser, said earlier this month that military intervention from any outside source was not a possibility. But Trump now says there is a possibility. For a guy who said he didn’t want to butt into other nations’ business [that didn’t affect the US directly], he is thinking of using the military?

Crucial divisions in the American government remain topped by vacancies and are currently run by temporary officials in only an acting capacity — including several pivotal to relations with North Korea. A major Defense Department slot — the Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs — is still vacant, currently run by a temporary fill-in. Meanwhile, a key State Department position called the Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs is also without a nomination. The ambassadorship to South Korea also remains vacant as Trump has not nominated anyone for the post yet.

FBI agents searched a home of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on July 26 , the day after Manafort met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate intelligence committee. The incident happened without advance warning before dawn.

Scratching your head time: Vladimir Poutine wants to expel 755 Americans in retaliation for a recent sanctions against Russia. Unsure if he was joking but Trump commented that the government will save money. Maybe save some money for the costs of having these people livening in Russia but unless they are fired, they will be getting a salary back in the US. In addition some are people who worked on visas as well as business transactions. So less Russians will visit the US [tourism drops] and less or delayed] business deals.

Five active duty transgender service members filed the first lawsuit against Trump’s directive announced on Twitter to prohibit transgender individuals from serving in the armed forces. The service members, who are not named, all say they have relied on the Defense Department’s current policy permitting open service by transgender service members and argue Trump’s ban, which may result in early termination or failure to renew their contracts, is unconstitutional.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said that he thinks that Sen. John McCain’s brain tumor and the early morning hours may have affected McCain’s no vote on the Senate bill to repeal Obamacare. Johnson believed [from what he interpreted] McCain would vote yes but in the end voted no.

Trump resumed his public feud with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over his party’s failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, a sign of the fraught relationship between two branches of government that are both controlled by Republicans. McConnell said Trump had “excessive expectations” for the legislative process and suggested there was a false perception that Congress is underperforming in part “because of too many artificial deadlines unrelated to the reality of the legislature, which may have not been understood.”

Anthony Scaramucci says the profanity-laced phone call that preceded his ouster as White House communications director was recorded by a reporter without his permission. Scaramucci insulted White House aides using vulgar language during the interview with New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza.

In an odd bit of news, former White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, may have a cameo appearance on a fall episode of Saturday Night Live.

Apple supplier Foxconn, which has announced a $10 billion investment in Wisconsin to build a LCD flat screen factory, has been hailed by Trump as “one of the truly great companies of the world.” But Foxconn has had plenty of issues related to poor working conditions. These aren’t high paying jobs that Trump has boasted. The plant will create 3,000 jobs with the potential to grow to 13,000 and should be completed by 2020. A factory in China cut 60,000 jobs last year thanks to automation.

In 2012, New York-based China Labor Watch found children as young as 14 were forced to work in Foxconn factories by technical colleges or they would not graduate. In 2011, 2.7% of the workforce of Foxconn Group consisted of interns, an average of 27,000 interns per month. An announcement in 2013 by Foxconn of plans to build a $30 million plant in Pennsylvania that have so far not come to fruition.

The Wisconsin governor is to give an incentive package that would award Foxconn $3 billion over 15 years in mostly cash incentives and waive several state environmental reviews. Included is that Foxconn can receive up to $200 million per year in refundable tax credits, capped at $2.85 billion if meets capital and employment compensation targets. It can also avoid paying $150 million in sales taxes on building materials, equipment and supplies. The government may use up to $253 million to rebuild part of Interstate 94 to accommodate the new plant.

Then presidential candidate Trump revealed a little-known episode of personal heroism from his youth, telling an Iowa audience that he narrowly avoided capture in Vietnam by remaining in the United States for the duration of the war. “The Cong were after me,” Trump said, visibly stirred by the memory. “And then, just in the nick of time, I got my deferment.” The Cong were after him? In New York or Florida? Coward.

In a poll, nearly half of Republicans (47 percent) believe that Trump won the popular vote. 68% of them believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted and 73% believed that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often. 52% said that they would support postponing the 2020 election and 56% said they would do so if both Trump and Republicans in Congress were behind this. [Of course, postponing the 2020 election could result in chaos and probably rioting in the streets – if it can even be done legally.]

70% of Americans believe the federal investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election in the US should be able to look into President Donald Trump’s finances, according to a new poll conducted by SSRS. 60% of those polled view the probe as a serious matter that should be fully investigated, and a significant minority, 38%, view it as an effort to discredit Trump’s presidency. By a roughly two-to-one margin, those polled disapprove of the way Trump is handling the Russia probe (59% disapprove, 31% approve).

38% say they approve of Trump’s handling of the presidency, according to a new poll conducted by SSRS, with 56% saying they disapprove. 38% is the lowest ever for a newly elected president since modern polling began. Dropped 6% since April. 47% say they strongly disapprove of Trump’s handling of the job, 24% approve.

Among Republicans, strong approval has dropped from 73% in February to 59% now. Among whites who do not have college degrees, a core component of Trump’s base, just 35% strongly approve, down 12 points since February. At the same time, strong disapproval among Democrats has held steady around 80%.

24% say they trust all or most of what they hear in official communications from the White House, while 30% say they trust “nothing at all” that they hear from the President’s office. (Even among Republicans, only about half say they can trust most of what they hear from the White House.) Americans feel things in the country are going well (53% say so), a number that’s held roughly steady since April. He gets a mixed 48% approve to 47% disapprove rating on national security, and Americans are also divided on his handling of the economy at 47% disapprove to 45% approve.

The majorities disapprove of Trump’s work, including on health care policy (62%), foreign affairs (61%), immigration (55%) and helping the middle class (54%). Nearly half (48%) disapprove of his handling of taxes while just 34% approve.

Six in 10 don’t consider Trump honest and trustworthy. Just 30% say they admire the President, and 34% say they are proud to have him as president. 55% say he has lowered the stature of the office of the president.

52% say his tweets are not an effective way for him to share his views on important issues, and 72% say they do not send the right message to other world leaders. Seven in 10 say they too often seem to be in response to TV news the President may have seen, and 71% that they are a risky way for a president to communicate. Six in 10 say they are easy to misunderstand, 63% that they too often turn out to be misleading.

Another poll said that only a third of those surveyed having confidence in Trump’s ability to handle the situation with North Korea.

Putin says don’t butt in our affairs, but he can for others

I’m really wondering if Vladimir Putin [or in French Canada’s press, they call him “Vladimir Poutine”] went to the same school as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. [I guess Putin was held back a number of years if you go by the difference of age.]

While he hasn’t gone as far as the real hostile threats that Kim Jong Un has uttered, he still has hinted it.

This week, Putin updated the country’s military doctrine where Russia could use nuclear weapons in retaliation to the use of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction against it or its allies, and also in case of aggression involving conventional weapons that “threatens the very existence” of the Russian state.

This came after Ukraine’s parliament dropped the nation’s nonaligned status recently, possibly paving the way for a bid to join NATO in defiance of the Kremlin’s wishes. Putin whined that this isn’t a good thing to do.

Funny. Putin can complain about Ukraine’s decision to change the nation’s nonaligned status [possibly join NATO], but dislikes when the west interferes in Russia’s economy because of the sanctions. He didn’t seem to blame OPEC for dropping the oil prices to almost half of what it was a while ago.

Russia’s main economic output is oil. If OPEC drops prices, Russia has to follow. At last check, Russia owes $185 billion to non-Russian banks and that amount is growing.

Even the KHL, Russia’s professional hockey league, has major problems where some players haven’t been paid [or much] for months and some are dumping the higher salaries [usually foreigners].

The Interview or not The Interview

[The title is a take on To Be or Not To Be.]

Well, Sony surprised a few after the backlash first by announcing a couple of small chains [last I checked] would show the movie The Interview. Then it was announced that the movie would be available to watch [but pay for] on various outlets in the US including YouTube, PlayStation, XBox and others.

So now, it has been released. What are people thinking.

The popular IMDB web site started with 9.8/10 for reviews and has since dropped to 8.8/10 which is still very good. I’m wondering if some Americans are doing their “patriotic duty” and giving the movie a 10/10.

Those who had a hand in the movie such as James Franco and Seth Rogen, of course, are giving it thumbs up, hyping it, etc. Sony has three PR firms helping them as well.

But I’m not sure if they can help the film. Most have given it an average rating. Some gave it above average. Some tanked it [no one stars though].

So I started to watch it. Unsure about you, but I could never get into any comedy that had Seth Rogen – even if he is Canadian.

Yes it is a comedy. It is supposed to be funny, but I don’t. I’ve seen some of the best comedies out there [just about any Monty Python movie, Blazing Saddles, MASH, Animal House, …] and this isn’t comedy. More like a movie infested with dumb jokes – usually half to do with someones anatomy parts.

I do have to admit that I stopped watching at about 45 minutes [almost half way] and it was 45 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

And stressing while it is a comedy [or supposed to be one], I stopped watching right after we have Seth Rogen’s character in the middle of a field trying to retrieve an object that was sent in by the CIA meanwhile have to fend off a tiger. What is a tiger doing there? No fences? Nobody noticed this object falling? The North Korean military couldn’t detect some type of rocket propelled object over their land? Where is the security – especially after Rogen’s character screeches in the middle of the field.

Why does he screech? Well, to hide the object that he retrieved [thicker than a corn dog] in a place where he wouldn’t be searched. You guessed it and I won’t say where.

The object bonked and killed the tiger in the head. Aside from a PETA issue [I’m sure they’ll complain], would security investigate how the tiger’s head has this huge hole in it?

Yes I know it’s a comedy.

I missed the parts where the Kim Jong Un character does whatever he does in the movie that caused the real one to p?ss him off.

President Obama was one of the many who were roasting Sony for refusing to show the movie. So I am wondering if Sony sent him the movie and whether he watched it. Or more like me, he saw the first part of the movie and then turned it off thinking how he just wasted part of his life.