Trump deals with a bomber and fails

Donald Trump pointed the finger at his opponents and the news media for the turbulent national political environment, on the same day explosive devices were mailed to the Obamas, the Clintons, other public officials, actor Robert De Niro and CNN. A total of 14 were delivered in the New York area, Washington area, California and in Florida. All of them who have been targets of Trump.

“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” he said in a tweet. “Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!” You laughing?

During a rally in Wisconsin, Trump promised to bring those responsible for mailing the explosive devices to justice and broadly condemned violence, without specifically naming the targets of the bombs. Trump took no responsibility for his own rhetoric — which has included attacks on news outlets and Democratic opponents.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump could not have been more presidential in his response to the suspicious devices that have been sent around the nation. Yes, compared to his other previous responses. However, he did say anything immediately and waited quite a bit before he did. Maybe he was watching the coverage on Fox… or his favorite cartoon show.

Sanders also said that there’s a big difference between “comments made and actions taken.” She compared these bombs with the shooting of the 2017 shooting of Republican congressman Steve Scalise by a Bernie Sanders supporter. How can she compare the two?

Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs, who is prone to peddling conspiracy theories and is a prominent supporter of Trump, asserted without evidence that they were “Fake bombs–Fake Bombs. Who would possibly benefit by such fakery?” in a tweet and then removed it after immediate and widespread condemnation. Authorities have said that the bombs found in the packages were rudimentary, but functional.

High-profile conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh suggested the culprit was a “Democrat operative” aiming to portray Republicans in the worst possible light ahead of the midterm elections. I’m surprised Trump didn’t use this “information”.

After the alleged bomber was caught but not charged, Trump said at a political rally in Charlotte, North Carolina “We have seen an effort by the media in recent hours to use the sinister actions of one individual to score political points against me and the Republican Party.”

Those remarks came just hours after Trump complained on Twitter that he was being blamed for the spate of mail bombs, claiming “CNN and others” were comparing it to 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing. It was unclear who he believes has made such comparisons. Trump’s critics have charged that his inflammatory rhetoric against Democrats and the press has created a climate for politically motivated violence.

“Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror,” former CIA director John Brennan tweeted. “Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act….try to act Presidential.”

Trump retreated from his stance that Saudi Arabia’s story about the killing of the journalist inside their Turkish consulate was credible but still gave a strong vote of confidence to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Trump said the evidence that so many of the crown prince’s close associates were involved in the killing did not convince him that MBS was to blame. Seems that Trump always chooses the wrong person.

Trump once again touted that the Saudis plan to buy $110 billion in military equipment, but many of those deals have yet to be formalized and some analysts consider the overall number fanciful. Trump also said that if the US doesn’t get the deals [aren’t they finalized?] the Russians or Chines would get the deals.

Trump now thinks the Saudis engaged in “the worst coverup ever” after the Saudi changed their story and now say the journalist was killed. That is until his administration gets investigated soon and still no sanctions.

Experts don’t believe the excuse. Why not admit the death instead of bringing in a crew to dispose of the body. It also sounds like he will not “severely” punish Saudi Arabia because it will kill the thousands of jobs in the US if arms deals are canceled.

White House officials said there has been a deliberate effort during the controversy to sideline Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, who has developed a strong relationship with the Saudi crown prince. Trump has supposedly grown frustrated with Kushner.

“Jared doesn’t do business with Saudi Arabia. They’re two young guys. Jared doesn’t know him well or anything,” Trump said. “They are just two young people. They are the same age. They like each other I believe. Jared has done a very good job. I think he’ll make peace with Israel.” Interesting. He says Kushner doesn’t know him well but Trump is describing them as if they are good friends.

Trump told reporters that he intended to withdraw the country from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed by the Soviet Union and United States in 1987 during the final years of the Cold War. The agreement has helped eliminate thousands of land-based missiles from the US and Russia, and Trump’s plans have raised concerns of a renewed arms race between the two nations.

Trump said he was pulling out of the treaty because Russia has “been violating it for many years.” US and NATO officials have long criticized Russia for testing a cruise missile that they say is banned under the accord. The Russian government has said it would be forced “to take measures” if the US began developing new missile systems. Another issue id that China could build them as they are not part of the pact.

With the increase in number of El Salvadorians, Hondurans and Guatemalans getting ever close to the Mexico/US border, now numbering 7000, Trump threatened to cut off aid to those countries. It seems that cutting aid and adding tariffs is the only thing he knows how to do.

Trump claimed he would declare a “national emergency” over an issue that has frequently piqued his attention — migrant caravans moving toward the United States through Central America and Mexico. He also claims that “unknown Middle Easterners” are “mixed” in with the caravan. Yet there have been no reports, in the press or publicly from intelligence agencies, to suggest they are embedded in the caravan.

White House press secretary Sanders said that the administration “absolutely” has evidence of Middle Easterners in the caravan, “and we know this is a continuing problem.” However, she did not provide the specific evidence supporting that claim. Uh huh.

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, upon arrival at the border, the caravan asylum-seekers would surrender themselves to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. Providing they have not had a previous asylum claim rejected by the US, they are eligible to make an affirmative asylum request. So all Trump can do is block the border but eventually it does have to open up and they will come in.

Trump has repeatedly tied the Democrats to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. At a Houston rally, “The Democrats have launched an assault on the sovereignty of our country, the security of our nation and the safety of every American.” And yet almost 2 months into his term, has he corrected anything? He has the majority in the House and Senate.

China denounced a U.S. newspaper report that it is listening to Trump’s phone calls, and suggested he exchange his iPhone for a cellphone made by Chinese manufacturer Huawei. A 2012 report by a congressional panel said Huawei’s equipment was a security risk.

Trump even backed China by saying in a tweet “The New York Times has a new Fake Story that now the Russians and Chinese (glad they finally added China) are listening to all of my calls on cellphones.”

As if he doesn’t think declining revenue [thanks to his tax cuts to business] will hurt his administration, Trump is planning to woo voters to the Republicans by giving a 10% tax cut to the middle class. Call it a pre-election bribe. As Congress is out until after elections, there won’t be any vote until then.

“By the way, a lot of people in California don’t want them, either. They’re rioting now. … A lot of these sanctuary cities you’ve been hearing about in California and other places, but California, they want to get out, they’re demanding they be released from sanctuary cities,” said Trump recently at a rally in Nevada. Rioting? If you believe that I have a farm to sell you 500 miles east of Bermuda.

After former Vice President Joe Biden made a comment about Trump looking out for himself, Trump responded at a rally with “He never had more than one percent. So we call him either Sleepy Joe Biden or One Percent. Which is better?” One percent of what?
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Wednesday that President Donald Trump “is a liar” and that he “should probably dial down the lying.” The guy is peddling his new book “Trump: The Blue-Collar President”.

Trump tweeted. “I’m picking the biggest stadium in Texas we can find. As you know, Ted [Cruz] has my complete and total Endorsement. His opponent is a disaster for Texas – weak on Second Amendment, Crime, Borders, Military, and Vets!” The rally will take place at Kyle Field in College Station which can hold maybe 102,000. It will look a bit embarrassing if there are plenty of empty seats. Trump also says the same words about every opponent. “Weak on….”

Trump is laying the groundwork for a possible fraud excuse if his party loses badly when he tweeted “All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING. Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!”

In one study, Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt tracked US elections from 2000 to 2014 in search of “specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls.” How many examples did he find? Exactly 31 — out of more than 1 billion instances. 31! In the 2016 election, in which more than 135 million votes were cast, there were a total of four documented cases of voter fraud.

Remember that tax break the Trump administration gave to [mostly] the wealthy Americans? The federal deficit is up 17% to $779 billion for the fiscal year, the most since 2012. While the administration thought the rich would pass along the cuts to their businesses, revenue has dropped.

Ah. The economy is doing so well in the US under Trump. Kmart had 2100 stores in 2002. They are down to 360 stores with 110 stores about to close or have.

Last month, the Washington Post’s fact-checking team documented what it called a “tsunami of untruths” uttered by Trump over a two-day period that brought his total number of false or misleading claims past 5,000 on his 601st day in office.

Richard Pinedo has been sentenced to six months in prison for establishing American bank accounts using stolen identities for Russians attempting to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. The accounts were used to funnel money into the US to be used to pay for ads with PayPal. In his plea deal, Pinedo admitted to one count of identity fraud. He is cooperating with federal investigators.

Singling out the new Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis (EI-ISAC) Center as the fastest growing ISAC in history, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the network of sensors established by the ISAC and the sharing network that is in place with more than 1,000 governments signed up so far. The department is ready for the mid-term elections against cyberattacks. Well if there are reports that there were cybersecurity issues, she should resign.

So if Trump says that the Russians did not meddle in the US elections, he is slowly been proven otherwise. Of course he will then say that the Democrats were involved but he still won the election [even with the Russians and Democrats joining “forces”].

A Florida man accused of groping a passenger on Southwest Airlines told an FBI agent after his arrest that the “President of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts,” according to a criminal complaint. I’m surprised this probably hasn’t happened sooner.

To date more than $150 million US has been spent on 280,000 immigration-focused ads in this election cycle which is five times what was spent on similar spots during the 2014 midterms.

A survey released by the Pew Research Center asked likely voters to identify the most important issues facing America. Democrats said health care, gun violence and ethics in government. Republicans said illegal immigration, and to lesser extent drug addiction, and not much else.

A bit of humor. At an interview:

  • “What did you do at the Washington Post?”
  • “I was working full time with plenty of overtime, checking what Trump said during his speeches.”
  • “That must of kept you quite busy.”
  • “A full time job and then some. I need a change in scenery. Very stressful.”
  • “So working in the cafeteria as a bus boy?”

 

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Trump thinks NK deal still alive, meanwhile Pruitt departs

Donald Trump tweets that “All of Asia is thrilled” that North Korea has halted missile testing and only the “Opposition Party” Democrats, including the “Fake News” is complaining. Halt testing missiles but judging by the recent satellite photos, they are still doing work on them. How does the media doctor photos from his own administration and display them?

Trump also claims “If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!” Let’s see. If anything the US and North Korea were closer to war than probably any of the past few administrations. Did North Korea fire missiles towards Japan or elsewhere prior to this administration? Or fire missiles that often?

Experts say there is no proof North Korea’s halt of nuclear and missile tests means the North will take concrete steps to give up such weapons. They also say the U.S. has an unrealistic approach to North Korea’s denuclearization.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned [or maybe he was fired] amid ethics investigations of outsized security spending, first-class flights and a sweetheart condo lease.

Pruitt, at one point, directly appealed to Trump this spring to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and let him run the Department of Justice instead. In an Oval Office conversation with Trump, Pruitt offered to temporarily replace Sessions for 210 days under the Vacancies Reform Act, telling Trump he would return to Oklahoma afterward to run for office.

Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry executive, will assume the acting administrator position. Poor guy. He was a lobbyist and a lawyer.

The federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 gives the President the authority to temporarily fill a vacancy at a federal agency if the official “dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office.” Obviously Sessions didn’t die or resign and is able to do his functions and duties. So good luck there Scott!

With the way Pruitt has handled his own department [see below] – let alone his own life – I am sure Trump did the right thing [for once] and turned him down. Hopefully after Pruitt left, trump had a good laugh. I know I would of.

Meanwhile, Pruitt and his aides have kept “secret” calendars and schedules to overtly hide controversial meetings or calls with industry representatives and others, according to a former EPA official who is expected to soon testify before Congress. A review of EPA documents found discrepancies between Pruitt’s official calendar and other records.

Everything that was spent by him during his tenure hit over $4 million.

Trump had told Republicans in Congress recently to stop wasting their time on immigration until after November’s elections, but now Trump is insisting that Congress “FIX OUR INSANE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW!” Then he said “When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave … just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn.”

At a rally, Trump mocked the #MeToo movement as he repeatedly attacked Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren over her heritage by saying “I want to apologize. Pocahontas, I apologize to you. I apologize to you. To you I apologize,” he said. “To the fake Pocahontas, I won’t apologize.” He has called Warren Pocahontas a few times previously. And if she won the Democratic nomination for 2020 he would ask her to take a DNA test to prove she has Native American blood in her. Like a true racist he used the word “Indian” in his further comments.

Not surprise, Trump also defended Republican candidate Rep. Jim Jordan against allegations he overlooked sexual abuse during his time as a wrestling coach at Ohio State University.

Trump continued a long running fight with California Rep. Maxine Waters by saying “… honestly she is somewhere in the mid-60s.”

Trump then attacked, without naming him, Arizona Sen. John McCain for voting against Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and he mocked President George H.W. Bush’s slogan during his rally.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club has applied for permission to hire originally 40 foreign workers to serve as waiters and cooks during the winter social season in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump’s club has asked to hire another 21 who would be cooks from overseas and employ them from October to May.

The postings show that – despite Trump’s insistence that immigration is holding down wages and crowding out native-born American workers – his club believes it cannot find any Americans in South Florida who are qualified to hold two very common restaurant-industry jobs. Mar-a-Lago’s pay for cooks starts at $13.31 per hour, down 3 cents from the year before. The base salary his club is offering to waiters is higher in 2018: It rose from $11.88 per hour last year to $12.68 per hour this year.

Trump appeared to rely on a dubious Fox News report to unleash an attack on his predecessor, accusing President Barack Obama, without any real evidence, of granting citizenship to 2,500 Iranians as part of nuclear deal negotiations. Fox News’ website cited an Iranian news agency that cited an Iranian newspaper that quoted the single Iranian cleric who is also a member of the country’s parliament.

In a whacky bit of news, at a meeting in August 2017 in the Oval Office to discuss sanctions on Venezuela was concluding, Trump turned to his top aides and asked an unsettling question: With a fast unraveling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can’t the US just simply invade the troubled country? The suggestion stunned those present at the meeting, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom have since left the administration.

Breaking with their House Republican counterparts, the Senate Intelligence Committee said that the intelligence community properly concluded in January of last year that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to help Donald Trump when Moscow meddled in the 2016 election.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is tapping additional Justice Department resources for help with new legal battles as his year-old investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 election continues to expand. He is making more use of career prosecutors from the offices of U.S. attorneys and from Justice Department headquarters, as well as FBI agents — a sign that he may be laying the groundwork to hand off parts of his investigation eventually.

Mueller and his team of 17 federal prosecutors are coping with a higher-then-expected volume of court challenges that has added complexity in recent months. The special counsel’s charter, issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, includes investigating whether Trump or associates colluded with Russia and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

The White House announced that former Fox News president Bill Shine has been appointed as the White House’s new Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Shine was one of Roger Ailes [the former chairman of the Fox News Channel] deputies for years. When Ailes was accused of sexual harassment by numerous women in 2016, Shine was accused of covering up the alleged misdeeds.

Trump is demanding that Norway ramp up its defense spending as a NATO partner, according to a letter he wrote to Prime Minister Erna Solberg. The letter was one of a series that Trump sent to NATO allies, including Germany, Belgium, Canada and others, demanding they boost spending and threatening to shift the US military presence in Europe if they do not.

According to a report, a draft of a bill from the Trump administration would propose having the US abandon key World Trade Organization principles and offer Trump significantly more discretion over US trade policy. The proposal would give Trump the authority, based on the administration’s assessment of trading policies between nations, to renegotiate or apply tariffs as he sees fit to push individual countries on trade.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders says that Trump is always seeking “good trade deals”. Imposing tariffs is not the right way of doing this. She, meanwhile, also said that during the G7 summit in Canada that Trump proposed that Canada remove all tariffs and subsidies. Of course he said nothing about removing all of the US tariffs imposed on Canada.

She also said that “the US is very nice to Canada” and that Canada took “advantage” of the US. Sure Sarah.

Trump said the World Trade Organization treated the US “very badly”. Hmmm. If you impose tariffs and other trade issues that are imposed for no real reason, what do you expect when you lose probably every trade dispute. By leaving the WTO he doesn’t have to worry about any court cases.

With a new Mexican President, Trump couldn’t wait to say that he had already talked to Mexico or but the Mexican president mentioned nothing about bilateral trade deal.

Unsure if Trump wants a NAFTA trade deal or not. First he wanted to wait until after the Mexican election this past weekend. Now he says he could wait until after the mid-term election which actually could make sense if he thinks he can get a large majority in the Senate that he has now. Good luck there.

July 1st was Canada’s 151st birthday. So the US Ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft, decided to have a party in Canada’s honor. But no senior government official will attend. The opposition Conservative Party will have maybe 2 senior party members. Why? Protesting against the US tariffs imposed on Canada. In the end, while previous parties usually had 4,000 [!!!] invitations, this one had about 1,000 and excluded a chunk of Ottawa’s [Canada’s capitol] elite.

Canada through $13 billion US tariffs at the US on July 1st. Like the European Union, the tariffs were aimed at specific states where Trump is more popular. More than 40 US steel products attract tariffs of 25%. A tax of 10% has been levied on over 80 other American items including toffee, maple syrup, coffee beans and strawberry jam.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar now estimates that under 3,000 kids who may have been separated from their parents are in government custody — a figure far higher than his department released just recently. HHS had previously reported that it had 2,047 children from separated families in its care. Approximately 100 children under the age of 5.

Trump told space industry notables that he was directing the Department of Defense to create a Space Force, a sixth branch of the military that sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie. But retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly — a former Navy pilot, combat veteran, four-time space-flyer — doesn’t support it, and some members of Congress are also voicing their distaste for the idea. “This is a dumb idea. The Air Force does this already. That is their job. … What’s next, we move submarines to the 7th branch and call it the ‘under-the-sea force?'”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s official Twitter page mocked Trump over misspelling “pore” in a tweet where Trump was bragging about his writing ability.

Write if you can get work like this: Trump’s 27 year old assistant’s salary was $95,000 last year [matching President Obama’s last assistant] and is now at $135,000.

Michael Cohen dropped the reference “personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump” from his Twitter biography recently.

A new Quinnipiac University poll has a striking result: 49% of people said they believe Trump to be a racist while 47% believe he is not.

Trump ordered American flags to be lowered to half-staff for less than a day or to honor of the victims of deadly shooting at an Annapolis, Maryland, newspaper recently. The city’s mayor said the request was initially denied. Trump has repeatedly called journalists the “enemy of the people.”

I guess you can call this good news: The current version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes provisions that place restrictions on the president’s authority to direct generals to launch cyberattacks. NDAA in its current form also requires the president to develop and abide by a cyberwarfare strategy document that describes which activities merit cyber retaliation. It also could limit retaliatory attacks by the military without a certain level of confidence in attribution.

Welcome to the crackpot convention

No not the Republican National Convention in Tampa but the so-called “non-aligned nations”. And it is being held in crackpot central – Tehran.

With exceptions, this is a week-long convention of something like 120 nations and representatives. Aside from Iran, North Korea is probably the next “biggest” country with the biggest chunk coming from African and Eastern Europe countries.

Of course, Iran started the ball rolling complaining that the five permanent UN Security Council members have too much clout. Hmmm. They didn’t complain much for the past 65 years. One of their friends [an ally may be too much], Russia, may not be too thrilled with that.

And Iran suggested that nuclear weapons should be wiped off the world map by 2025 but still denies they have nuclear weapons capabilities and still complain that their foes still do. Meanwhile, their allies from North Korea have capabilities but left the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

And Iran blamed three recent car bomb blasts on “agents” of the Great Britain and the United States as well as the killing of various nuclear scientists in the past couple of years. Of course, they still don’t offer any proof.

I’m sure over the remaining days of the conference, Iran and fellow despots, nutcases and your typical dictators will be spewing out more garbage.