Trump definitely back to “normal”

Addressing the general assembly of the United Nation, while scripted, Donald Trump was not even diplomatic calling North Korea’s Kim Jun Un “Rocket Man” – which was only added in the morning of the speech. He went after North Korea saying the US would “totally destroy North Korea” if forced to defend itself or its allies. He said while the US has “great strength and patience,” its options could soon run out.

“It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a nation but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world,” he said.

He also went after Iran saying the Iran nuclear deal all but dead, saying it was an “embarrassment” to the United States. He even suggested that Iranians should overthrow the regime.

After slamming the United Nations over the past few years, Trump finally visited the UN and was a bit more diplomatic – of course as he was reading from a script and not winging it. Of course he went after countries who weren’t pulling their weight of paying the UN costs for administration as well as military campaigns. [Was it just me or he was using his finger as an index when reading his script?]

At a lunch, in a speech Trump said “Africa has tremendous business potential, I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you, they’re spending a lot of money. It has tremendous business potential, representing huge amounts of different markets.” Hmmm. Looks like he is promoting more of how to make a load of money in Africa [stealing their resources] than helping the continent. Feels a whole lot like the colonialism of the continent by European powers in the latter part of the 19th century.

“Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient,” Trump said approvingly at one point. But there is no Nambia. Was he merging Zambia and Namibia together or just mispronounced Namibia as “Nambia”!!! [Zambia and Namibia do share a common border in a thin enclave barely 75 km wide in some areas.]

Trump said he has “decided” how he is going to proceed on the Iran nuclear deal struck by the Obama administration that he has long derided. But for whatever dumb reason that is floating up there, he has decided not to make it public. “Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it — believe me,” is what he said during his UN speech.

The Republicans are trying to squeak through the legislation being championed by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana by in a last-ditch attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare before their window to do so closes at the end of the month. But already, the current version won’t be endorsed by Senator John McCain.

Of the 50 states at least the 34 that would receive less federal dollars under Graham-Cassidy and that should worry Republican politicians. Among the states that would lose billions in federal funding: Pennsylvania ($6 billion), Ohio ($9 billion), Colorado ($6 billion) and Michigan ($8 billion). Those are all states Trump won in 2016. New data suggests that the Graham-Cassidy bill – if passed in its current form – would cut federal money to states by $215 billion over the next decade.

“I would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of preexisting conditions. It does! A great Bill. Repeal & Replace,” Trump tweeted. But just as in Obamacare, insurers could not turn away those with preexisting conditions. But it would leave it up to the states whether to continue other protections.

States could opt to once again allow carriers to base premiums on a person’s medical history and to sell skimpier policies that don’t cover Obamacare’s 10 essential health benefits. Also, insurers would be able to cap the amount they would pay for treatment outside of what their states deem an essential health benefit.

As if Trump doesn’t have enough battle fronts, he went after sports – particularly the National Football League and the national Basketball Association – criticized the NFL broadly and athletes who kneel during the national anthem specifically.

Trump said that if fans would “leave the stadium” when players kneel in protest during the national anthem, “I guarantee, things will stop.”

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said at a rally.

Trump also said NFL ratings are down “massively”. As usual he exaggerated as the ratings are only down modestly. He also criticized the NFL’s efforts to make the game safer for athletes.

Seattle Seahawk’s cornerback Richard Sherman responded on Twitter saying “The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!!”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Trump’s criticism of NFL players kneeling in protest during the National Anthem show a “lack of respect” for the league and its players.

“Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn! Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!” Trump tweeted after Golden State Warrior’s Curry decided not to go to The White House as is traditionally done when major sports teams are invited to be congratulated by the current president.

Opponents of Trump accused him of failing to respect the First Amendment rights of Americans. Most of the athletes that are protesting are African-American. Analysts are now predicting further on-the-field protests at games.

The Trump administration will unveil more tailored restrictions on travelers from certain countries as a replacement to the controversial travel ban which expires on Sunday [waiting to the last moment again?]. The new restrictions will vary by country. They could include a ban on travel to the United States, or new restrictions on obtaining a visa for citizens of particular countries.

Even now, Trump is still telling supporters that any Russian interference is a “hoax” even though three congressional probes are looking into this “hoax” and the Facebook ads that were clearly anti-Hillary Clinton during the election period were from Russian-linked accounts. He still whined in a tweet “What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?” It seems while Clinton has got over the election, he hasn’t.

Trump slammed Hillary Clinton over her new book “What Happened” earlier this week too, tweeting that she “blames everybody (and every thing) but herself for her election loss.” You think he actually read it because she does admin at least some guilt.

Democrats say they are planning to look into a report about Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price taking five work-related trips on private jets last week, costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars more than had he flown commercial. Price – who has vowed to cut wasteful spending in his agency –traveled to a resort in Maine where he was part of a discussion with a health care industry CEO, as well as community health centers in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania

The Education Department announced it is formally rescinding Obama-era guidance on how schools should handle sexual assaults under Title IX federal law. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos [picked by Trump] announced earlier this month that her department was concerned that previous guidance denied proper due process to those accused.

Trump signed another one of his many executive orders. This one has Treasury Department authorities to target individuals who provide goods, services or technology to North Korea. The order also bans ships and aircraft that have visited North Korea from entering the United States for 180 days.

After Trump took some hits by the host and winners at this week’s Emmy awards, Trump tweeted “lowest ratings ever”. But of course, this is Trump. Not the lowest ever.

Someone claiming to be the President of the US retweets an animated GIF. More childish antics from him. Clinton actually tripped. “Video” spliced together and the ball hitting Clinton was added.

In Zagreb, Croatia, billboards went up with the face of Melania Trump with the background of the American flag and the phrase “Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English”. But Trump’s image was used without permission. On Tuesday, the signs came down under the threat of a lawsuit by the first lady’s lawyers. The billboards advertised a local language school.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked the White House about the possibility of using a government jet for his European honeymoon this summer but later withdrew the request. Mnuchin made the request to ensure he had access to secure lines of communication when he and his new wife, Louise Linton, were traveling.

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Another week of controversies with Trump

[This is summer time. You would think things would slow down. Nope. Like this past week, I may have to add a mid-week post as well.]

In the wacky world of this Trump administration, Trump has decided to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his position as communications director, relieving him just days after Scaramucci unloaded a crude verbal tirade against other senior members of the Trump’s senior staff. This came at chief of staff, John Kelly’s request. Scaramucci lasted 10 days.

Trump insisted there was “No WH chaos!” but in a day or so, he let go Scaramucci. Some are saying the Scaramucci was getting too much attention when he wants most of it. Scaramucci not only lost his job but he may not even be invited back to his chief strategy officer post at the Export-Import Bank.

Scaramucci and his wife are reportedly calling it quits as she has filed for divorce just days after Scaramucci took on his new role in Trump’s administration. Deidre Ball was tired of Scaramucci’s “naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end,” and that “Deidre is not a fan of Trump and she hasn’t exactly been on board and supportive of Anthony and his push to get back into the White House.” Married for 3 years and 2 kids.

Prior to the election, Scaramucci sold his own company thinking that he would get a posting in the administration. Well, he didn’t then. Seems another reason why Scaramucci was in his wife’s doghouse [filing for divorce] is because he supposedly missed the birth of his latest kid. But a divorce could be a windfall for her: his/there assets exceed $50 million. Still, low down on the asset scale compared to others in this administration.

Scaramucci had been blocked from joining the administration during the transition by Priebus, only to eventually be hired by Trump a week-and-half ago. That decision, over the objections of Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, led to the resignation of Spicer and fueled Scaramucci’s profane vows of vengeance against White House staffers who had opposed him or leaked to the press. Priebus was force out last week but it was obvious as he wanted to stay but was gone later on.

Kelly has stated that he is in charge of the White House and none will go around him to speak to Trump. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Kelly “has the full authority to carry out business as he sees fit” and that all White House staffers will report to him, including powerful aides such as Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Wonder what Sean “Garlic” Spicer thinks of all this. Spicer was at the White House the day Scaramucci was fired and escorted off White house grounds but only for the “transition” phase of his ex-job.

Trump had tweeted in 2012 during President’s Obama’s first term the number of chiefs of staff that have changed [three in over 2.5 years]. Well, Trump is already on his third in not even 7 months – let alone the other senior staff members that left [supposedly] or were fired.

Trump unveiled a new immigration plan to move to a merit-based system, favoring green card applicants who speak English and can financially support their families. The over-arching goal for this bill is to install a system where immigrants are allowed into the US based on their skills and contributions, rather than familial connections or a lottery. But some of those who enter will have family connections that will allow them into the country. I would guess few current immigrants [who aren’t well off] have connections. These applicants won’t be allowed on welfare when they come into the country. No more of that “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” More like “Give me your filthy rich.”

Stephen Miller, an adviser to trump, claims at least part of the new immigration bill to bring in more Anglophones is based on the Canadian and Australian “points” system – where points are added or deducted according to the immigrant’s background. Extra points for example if fluent in English or advanced degrees or make 150% of the national average income. Deduct points if spouse is less skilled. Interesting – extra points for high achievers such as Olympic medals, Nobel prizes, etc. As it is, the bill won’t pass the senate.

There is some hints that lie detectors could be used to see who is doing the leaks in the administration, according to Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway.

Trump is planning to take a 17 day vacation. But will he still tweet?

While the US has gained about 1 million jobs in his tenure, the US dollar has hit a 15 month low. The biggest gains in jobs were from restaurants and bars – low wage earners.

Trump tweeted “Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!” Only thing he may be right is the highest stock market ever and his billionaire friend thank him for that. Unemployment rate is lowest in 16 years. Border may be secure but they are still coming in from Mexico.

Trump claimed 33,000 mining jobs created since his inauguration but just 1,000 are coal mining related [and 100 less today than a month ago]. The others are for oil and metals. As well coal mining jobs “created” in a mine near Pittsburgh actually started 2 months prior to his inauguration. He had nothing to do with it.

The administration may subpoena media outlets but could have problems as the journalists don’t have to divulge their sources [first amendment] but the government could go to court to force them to reveal sources or go to jail.

Trump dictated the initial statement from his son, Don Jr., regarding a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer and publicist Rob Goldstone, who had promised the younger Trump dirt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign courtesy of the Russian government. Trump has claimed that he knew nothing of the meeting until the issue blew up and yet he was able to dictate the initial statement?

“I wasn’t involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the President,” Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow said in July.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner offered an explanation to congressional interns why it was not possible for the Trump campaign to collude with Russia during the election: It was too disorganized for such a conspiracy.

Trump is upset because special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, will probably convene a grand jury aiming specifically at the Russian probe.

The White House worked with Fox News and a wealthy Republican donor to push a story about the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, according to a lawsuit. The story was pushed in an attempt to discredit the US intelligence community’s determination that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and obtained the emails released by Wikileaks, the lawsuit said. The plaintiff is Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and former homicide detective hired to investigate Rich’s death, who alleges that he was misquoted as part of the effort to put the story together. At this time, Fox News website doesn’t mention it.

Trump has reluctantly signed a new sanctions bill from last week against Russia but Russia has already retaliated by telling hundreds of American government employees to leave the country. The bill also added sanctions to Iran and North Korea. Trump said he signed it so the country wouldn’t be so divided. He had no choice. Couldn’t veto and a total of 5 congressmen [House & Senate combined] voted against the bill.

According to a Wall Street Journal interview transcript obtained by Politico, Trump claimed the leader of the Boy Scouts called him to thank him for his Jamboree speech, telling him it was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.” Of course, this is Trump. An official with the Scouts said they were not aware of any phone calls between the group’s leadership and Trump. I don’t think the Boy Scout President has his number.

Then Trump said “Even the President of Mexico called me. Their southern border, they said very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get to our border, which is the ultimate compliment.” Except President Enrique Peña Nieto hasn’t called Trump recently.

The Trump administration announced it will waive 37 environmental and other laws and regulations that would impede the first phase of construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border. The waiver applies to “a variety of environmental, natural resource, and land management laws” in the San Diego sector. The 15-mile stretch identified in the waiver also includes 14 miles of replacement secondary fencing. Despite the waiver, construction will not begin for at least several more months because federal officials are currently reviewing a protest by a company that competed for, but was not awarded, a building contract.

Trump, in a conversation with Mexican President Nieto, labeled New Hampshire saying “I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den” according to a transcript of Trump’s January 27 call that was published by The Washington Post. But Trump was again wrong as he narrowly lost the state to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election. Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan called Trump’s comments “disgusting.”

While North Korea tested an ICBM that could theoretically reach half of the United States, Trump was too busy sending out a bunch of tweets bashing the Republicans. [Can I really say his fellow Republicans?] But yes, he did mention North Korea.

After North Korea fired a ICBM, Trump said “We will handle North Korea. We are gonna be able to handle them. It will be handled. We handle everything,” but he offered no specifics about what he plans to do. He didn’t do anything when the first ICBM was fired earlier this month. He’s putting the blame game on China for failing to do anything.

Trump threatened to end required payments to insurance companies unless lawmakers repeal and replace the Obama-era health care law. He tweeted that if “a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” Except wheat the government is sending them is not a bailout but subsidies. Unsure if he knew that or used bailout so those with less knowledge would think the government is helping to keep insurance companies afloat.  The payments reduce deductibles and co-payments for consumers with modest incomes.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, it included a Republican amendment that forces members of Congress and their staff to purchase their health insurance on the law’s new online marketplaces. But unlike individuals purchasing their insurance on the exchanges, Capitol Hill customers would receive subsidies from their employer, the federal government.

Trump also told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reduce the number of votes in the senate to pass his healthcare bill to 51. Doesn’t he know that it was already set for 50 votes to pass and yet they still failed to pass?

Trump’s statement encouraging police officers to be “rough” with people they arrest has drawn criticism in law enforcement circles for sending the wrong message at a time of heightened tensions with the public. Trump praised the aggressive tactics of immigration officers and suggested that police shouldn’t protect the heads of handcuffed suspects being put in the back of a car.

The group Blue Lives Matter tweeted that Trump’s remarks were made in jest. “Trump didn’t tell police to go out & brutalize people as the media would have you believe,” the tweet said. “It was a joke.” Later Trump tweeted it was a joke but most police departments across the US didn’t think so.

Republican Sen. John McCain slammed Trump amid reports [including from NBC News] that Trump is weighing firing Gen. John Nicholson, the top US military commander in Afghanistan. “Our commanders-in-chief, not our commanders in the field, are responsible for this failure,” he added, referring to Trump and former President Barack Obama. Trump’s deputy assistant, Sebastian Gorka, said the President is confident in Nicholson’s military leadership in Afghanistan. That means Nicholson could be out very soon.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the Afghanistan strategy would be decided upon by mid-July but the plan has been delayed for months amid sharp disagreements between national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who is arguing for an increase of several thousand troops, and the President’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is opposed to getting the US more deeply involved in the conflict. More of Trump’s “no chaos” here. Shouldn’t he make decision?

 

Another resignation in Trumpland

They must be cranking out the pink slips at the White House.

Reince Priebus says he has resigned as White House chief of staff and was then replaced by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Sources close to Priebus insisted throughout the day he was not resigning, leaving the impression the aide was defiantly hanging onto his job amid public shaming by his colleagues.

Key members of Donald Trump’s inner circle said Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, among the President’s most trusted advisers, had lost faith in Priebus.

“John Kelly is one of our great stars,” Trump declared. “John Kelly will do a fantastic job.” He probably said that about Sean “Garlic” Spicer and Priebus. Look where they are now. Conversations between Trump and Kelly about the role began two weeks ago, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. You think White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was “preparing the groundwork” after Scaramucci went after Priebus all week? [See later.]

Senate Republicans voted to advance to floor debate on their efforts to re-write health care policy, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie. But hours later, the Senate decisively rejected a Republican proposal to repeal-and-replace Obamacare, a sign of the chaos expected to envelop Capitol Hill as GOP leaders work to find a plan their conference can agree to. Then they voted and rejected just to repeal Obamacare. Why bother. Trump should not be celebrating this small victory. The only reason why it got this far was because they had to compromise between feuding groups within the party.

And a day after a vote to repeal was also rejected.

Looks like a bit of a civil war as House Republicans are fed up and openly blaming their Senate colleagues across the Capitol for torpedoing their party’s pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare. Specifically they aimed their guns at the Republicans in the Senate who rejected the bill.

Trump jokingly threatened to fire his health secretary if a crucial vote to repeal ‘Obamacare’ fails. He made this comment during a speech to thousands of Boy Scouts where he also used some language that may be a bit too harsh for some of them. Bigger question. Why is he talking to politics to a bunch of Boy Scouts – most who can’t vote yet? He has to make everything political.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are Emails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!” Trump tweeted. So Trump continues to whine about Clinton’s mail server which is OK to him, but it is not OK for the Democrats to push for the Russian probe? Meanwhile Sessions was the first U.S. senator to endorse his candidacy. It was Trump himself who signaled during the transition that he was not going to appoint a special prosecutor to go after Clinton.

And then Trump tweeted “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign — quietly working to boost Clinton. So where is the investigation A.G.” Huh? He’s back to making comments with no proof.

And why is Trump whining about Sessions recusing himself from the Russian probe now – over a month after he did so? Sessions had to do so as he had contact with the Russians last year before his posting. Sessions should never have taken the job as attorney general if he was going to recuse himself according to Trump. [Democrats went after Sessions in his confirmation hearing for making some racist comments in his past. And yet Trump still hired him.] Trump considers Sessions recuse as the most grievous offence in the president’s mind.

Trump badmouthed Senator John McCain during the campaign. Trump wants to take healthcare away from 22+ million Americans. And McCain voted for his bill. It must be his medication. I am wondering what kind of medical attention he got if he was living on the streets or in poverty?

Mocking the Russian investigation in congress, Trump tweeted “Jared Kushner did very well yesterday in proving he did not collude with the Russians. Witch Hunt. Next up, 11 year old Barron Trump!”

Scaramucci all but blamed Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus for leaking information After Politico published a story about how Scaramucci  continues to profit from the sale of his hedge fund SkyBridge Capital, Scaramucci slammed the leak of his Office of Government Ethics forms. This was After wrongly asserting that someone “leaked” information about his finances. “In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept, he tweeted Wednesday night, adding, “#swamp @Reince45.” And the “If Reince wants to explain he’s not the leaker, he can do that.” Sounds like Scaramucci still believes Priebus is a leaker.

He later deleted the tweet claiming that he had only mentioned Priebus to show that all senior leaders are taking the leak crackdown seriously. The inclusion of Reince in the tweet was seen by some as an accusation. Scaramucci says today’s White House leaks are “so treasonous” that leakers would have been hanged 150 years ago. Scaramucci’s financial disclosure wasn’t leaked at all. It was released after a public records request by a Politico reporter.

Then in an interview published by The New Yorker, Anthony Scaramucci used an expletive to accuse chief of staff Reince Priebus of being a “f—— paranoid schizophrenic” and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon of trying to burnish his own reputation. He also threatened to fire White House staffers who leaked about a dinner he had with the president.

Scaramucci notably said he reports directly to the president, not to the chief of staff.

The bad blood stems from Scaramucci’s view that Priebus was insufficiently supportive of Trump at the end of the election campaign and his belief that Priebus persuaded the president to keep him out of the White House in January.

The president’s senior counsellor, Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway, had earlier speculated that unnamed forces were out to get Scaramucci, saying: “Somebody is trying to get in his way and scare him off.” Something from the Trump playbook.

If Trump were to fire Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would be elevated to the top post on an acting basis. But Trump has also criticized Rosenstein in the past. The name of one long-time Trump ally, Rudy Giuliani, was floated as a possible replacement for Sessions. Interesting to note that Giuliani said Sessions had the right to recuse himself.

According to law, Trump could move someone who has already been confirmed in another position by the senate to take Sessions’ job if Sessions resigns – not if he is fired.  Or Trump could appoint anyone of his choosing to be attorney general while the Senate recesses for 10 days or more in August. This would allow him to bypass Senate confirmation until 2019.

Trump often talks about making staff changes without following through, so those who have spoken with the president cautioned that a change may not be imminent or happen at all. But he also hired Anthony Scaramucci with much of notice to anyone including his own staff.

Trump went on another Twitter outburst saying “Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!” So Trump’s rule [for his opponents] is that if you or you know someone or you know someone who knows someone who donated to the Democrats, then you are biased.

“I would fire somebody that I did not believe could serve me well rather than trying to humiliate him [Sessions] in public, which is a sign of weakness,” said Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham.

“You can be disappointed in someone but still want them to continue to do their job,” said Sanders, Trump’s press secretary. In most companies, if unhappy with an employee they are fired. Trump should know that if he was a great businessman.

Federal law makes it a crime to “knowingly and willfully” give “materially” false statements to Congress, even if unsworn. The consequences are serious: one can face up to five years in prison. Right Jeff, Donald Jr and Jared?

Trump announced that he plans to reinstate the ban transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the US armed forces. The decision reversed a policy initially approved by the Defense Department under President Barack Obama, which was still under final review. The so-called excuse: “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

The military brass contradicted what Trump said by saying they were never consulted and until they get orders they will continue to have transgenders in the military.

A 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few in the military’s 1.3 million-member force. The cost could range from $2.4 million and $8.4 million, an amount that would represent an “exceedingly small proportion” of total health care expenditures, the study found. More is spent yearly on Viagra than transgender health.

Just over a year ago after the Orlando nightclub attack, Trump tweeted “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs” and he also said to them “I’m a real friend”.

“A landmark civil rights law doesn’t protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Trump administration said.” What’s next? Anything in law is just an advisory?

The Senate passed sweeping legislation slapping new sanctions on Russia and rebuking Trump in a bill that now will head to Trump’s desk. The bill, which gives Congress new powers to block Trump from easing sanctions against Moscow, passed the Senate 98-2. It passed the House at 419-3. Trump can either pass the bill or veto it, but if he does the latter there will be consequences.

The bill was passed with the House’s North Korean sanctions included, and in exchange, the House agreed to take up any future North Korean sanctions bills that go through the Senate. In addition, it could add protection for Russian probe investigator Robert Mueller in case Trump tries to fire him.

Trump visited the Boy Scout Jamboree this week and went political in front of mostly pre-teens [who can’t vote yet]. He went on and on about politics like how President Obama never went [the current President of the US has an open invitation] or about current rants of his [Obamacare, Jeff Sessions, Russia]. He was doing his speech in front of a big flag. With him waiting at one point, it almost looked like a Nazi salute – bring some to comment that it reminded them of 1938 and the Hitler Youth. Others suggested that the Boy Scouts came to see him. I guess Trump had nothing else to talk to them about. He was never a Boy Scout but President Obama was a scout.

The Boy Scouts of America apologized to the Scouting community for the political content of Trump’s speech at the National Scout Jamboree.

Former speaker of the House, John Boehner, said “…they’re not going to repeal and replace Obamacare. It’s been around too long. And the American people have gotten accustomed to it.”

Now the GOP senators are trying the “skinny repeal” which would likely eliminate the individual mandate and the employer mandate. It would also get rid of the Obamacare tax on medical device makers.

Twitter has made it clear that it won’t ban Donald Trump from its service, whether the president follows its rules against harassment or not.

A production company has acquired the rights to Joshua Green’s newly released “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency” for TV development as a limited/event series. It will tell the inside story of the partnership between Bannon and Trump which led to possibly the greatest political upset in U.S. history. Published last week, the book has earned strong reviews and has landed at the top spot of The New York Times bestseller list. It is based on dozens of interviews conducted over six years.

A mostly down but a bit up week for Trump

Donald Trump finally passed some real legislation [“Trumpcare”] this week when they repealed parts of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act after failing to do so in March and plenty of negotiations to get this revised one through. But it still has to pass the senate where the GOP have a slim majority. Assuming all Democrats vote against the bill, if three Republicans vote against, the bill is dead.

Paul Ryan pushed but it could affect moderates Republicans and those who won by slim majorities as well as areas that were in favor of the ACA.

Trump says he would be “honored” to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jun Un. Honored? To meet a thug who starves his citizens, sent thousands to labor camps, executed people because he didn’t like them [and sent relatives to labor camps] and to create anti-American videos such as nuking American cities.

He seems to like fellow dictators/thugs. Trump had a discussion with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Trump is headed to the Philippines in November. Meanwhile one of his admirers is France’s Marine Le Pen, leader of the country’s National Front – a party that is known for anti-Semitic, anti-Islam, anti-immigration, anti-EU. You get it.

A list of pre-existing conditions lost under Trumpcare: AIDS/HIV, acid reflux, acne, ADD, addiction, Alzheimer’s/dementia, anemia, aneurysm, angioplasty, anorexia, anxiety, arrhythmia, arthritis, asthma, atrial fibrillation, autism, bariatric surgery, basal cell carcinoma, bipolar disorder, blood clot, breast cancer, bulimia, bypass surgery, celiac disease, cerebral aneurysm, cerebral embolism, cerebral palsy, cerebral thrombosis, cervical cancer, colon cancer, colon polyps, congestive heart failure, COPD, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, DMD, depression, diabetes, disabilities, Down syndrome, eating disorder, enlarged prostate, epilepsy, glaucoma, gout, heart disease, heart murmur, heartburn, hemophilia, hepatitis C, herpes, high cholesterol, hypertension, hysterectomy, kidney disease, kidney stones, kidney transplant, leukemia, lung cancer, lupus, lymphoma, mental health issues, migraines, MS, muscular dystrophy, narcolepsy, nasal polyps, obesity, OCD, organ transplant, osteoporosis, pacemaker, panic disorder, paralysis, paraplegia, Parkinson’s disease, pregnancy, restless leg syndrome, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, seizures, sickle cell disease, skin cancer, sleep apnea, sleep disorders, stent, stroke, thyroid issues, tooth disease, tuberculosis, ulcers. Yes, pregnancy is a “condition” and is included.

Trump tweeted ” Our country needs a good “shutdown” in September to fix mess!” “Mess” meaning needs 60 votes in the senate. Congressional leaders announced Sunday that they’d reached a deal to avert a government shutdown until September but Trump couldn’t get money for his wall because the Democrats wouldn’t pass the deal if that was included. The White House touted a double-digit, multibillion-dollar increase in military spending and $1.5 billion in border security funding as political wins.

Trump’s tweet above was just a few days after tweeting “As families prepare for summer vacations in our National Parks – Democrats threaten to close them and shut down the government. Terrible!” So he’s first blaming the Democrats for a possible shutdown [before the bill was agreed] and then later he says he wants a shutdown.

The spending agreement was the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to emerge since Trump was sworn in as President, and leaders on both sides pointed to the deal not only as a political victory, but also as a successful exercise in bipartisanship. Took 102 days into this administration for Trump’s administration to finally do their first legislation.

The White House’s proposal to cut $18 billion in nondefense programs also got nowhere in the Republican-controlled Congress, with the budget deal instead delivering an increase to some of the very programs the White House had sought to cut.

If a shutdown would happen in September, it wouldn’t look good for the Republicans as they control the White House, Senate and House and still can’t get anything passed. People also generally hate the party behind the shutdowns. Already the Republicans aren’t popular. This would sink them even more.

At the same time as the White House Correspondence Dinner, Trump is at a rally in Philadelphia [well Harrisburg]. At the rally, he is poking fun at those at the dinner saying what is that dinner without him? The dinner was announced a long time ago. He’s the one that declined. According the NPR, it has been 36 years since a president wasn’t at the dinner. [Ronald Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt.] Trump claims all the “fake news” outlets [CNN, MSNBC, etc.] wish they were at his rally. Hah! Those at the rally were cheering “Drain the swamp” and yet in 100 days, he’s done nothing.

He claims 96% of journalists gave donations to Hillary Clinton. Unsure how he can get that information. He also says “according to a poll” 89% of Americans believe the media has been against him on purpose. Hmmm.

Trump makes the puzzling claim that Andrew Jackson “was really angry that he saw what was happening in regard to the Civil War.” But Jackson died in 1845, and the Civil War didn’t begin until 16 years later, in 1861. Right after, Trump then says, “People don’t ask the question, but why was there the Civil War?” The war was decades in the making, stemming from disputes between the North and South about slavery and states’ rights. Wasn’t he taught this in school? {Maybe he got exempted like in his military service.] Jackson, a slave owner, famously led the forced removal of 17,000 Cherokees across the country, which resulted in the deaths of thousands. Trump has praised Jackson repeatedly during the 2016 campaign. Figures.

As Trump can’t see to get any legislation through, he is lamenting Congress is “a very rough system. It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country”. “Rough system”? “It’s just a very, very bureaucratic system. I think the rules in Congress and, in particular, the rules in the Senate, are unbelievably archaic and slow-moving.” Maybe there are reasons for making it slow [a bit]. Say don’t do something you won’t regret in the future? Or maybe issue a bad piece of legislation? He further blamed the Democrats for trying to block him from furthering his agenda. Isn’t that what the opposition party is supposed to do? Looks like he just wants to have an easy ride with no opposition. Can you say dictator?

Trump’s team released a video celebrating his 100 days in office – and yet he previously stated the 100 day mark was useful. [But he then “celebrated” at a rally near Philadelphia.] Among them:

  • Trump’s ad claims 500,000+ jobs created, but hard to see where they came from and many were announced while Obama was still President.
  • “More energy independent” showing off the Keystone XL pipeline but that isn’t a contributing factor.
    Regulations that kill jobs were eliminated but automakers want the debate on vehicle fuel-efficiency standard reopened but never did the Obama era regulation cost any jobs.
  • The biggest tax cut plan in history – but no way to determine it is the biggest with few details.

Trump’s supporters are accusing CNN of censorship for not airing an advertisement touting the president’s accomplishments, which the network said Tuesday it rejected because it was its own form of fake news. The ad says that “America has rarely seen such success” and lists a series of actions from the first 100 days of his presidency. The faces of NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and CBS’ Scott Pelley are shown onscreen behind the phrase “fake news.”

In tweets, Trump called CNN [and others] “fake news” and “unwatchable.” Criticizing media coverage has been in the Republican campaign playbook long before Trump even emerged. So why should CNN allow it on a “fake news” network and Trump for allowing it on networks he despises?

Trump could take credit for something for once. He had tweeted regarding the possible averting a strike by Hollywood film and television writers and representatives of the big Hollywood studios. Of course his tweet wasn’t kind. But it seemed to have push the two to settle their differences.

Trump cut off an Oval Office interview with CBS anchor John Dickerson and gestured for him to leave the room when Dickerson repeatedly asked about the president’s unfounded wiretapping claims. Trump later insults “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson by calling his show “Deface the Nation”.

He says “Do we love our enforcement?” The same guy who berated the CIA, FBI and others. He claims he went over the arena’s capacity. Wouldn’t that be a fire hazard?

“We are keeping one promise after another” Trump said. Hah!

A recent poll in Canada have Canadians liking China over the US [who would of thought]. They are saying China seems to be bring more leadership, security and stability in addition to an improved economy over what the US has done lately.

Trump use to bash Barrack Obama for signing all those executive orders, but at now at 30+, he has signed more than any president in the last 70+ years. In a past interview he called executive orders “a basic disaster.” Yup. But he likes them. Another flip flop.

During the campaign, Trump promised to bar his generals from being interviewed on television. Yet, several senior military officers have done Pentagon news conferences in the past few months that are taped by the networks. Gen. John Nicholson, the top general in Afghanistan, appeared at a news conference within the last week.

Another campaign proposal was a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress. Good luck on getting approval for that. Many in Congress have been there for a long time. Unless this applies to new people in Congress, it will never fly.

As well, Trump informed his generals they have 30 days to submit a new plan for defeating the Islamic State group. He ordered them submit a plan. No idea if a plan was ever created – at least not mentioned publicly.

Mike Pence said in an interview that if they can’t get the GDP at least 3%, they won’t be able to afford the changes they want to make in tax reform and health care. Well, maybe they are asking for too much tax reduction to the upper class they wouldn’t have to hope for a 3+% instead of maybe a 2% increase in GDP.

Former Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, thinks even 3% is a “pretty long shot”. He pointed to long-term problems in the US economy, including an aging workforce, low productivity and a global savings glut.

Sebastian Gorka, a controversial national security aide in the White House, is expected to leave his job. How many have left in 100 days?

Trump’s choice for Army secretary announced that he is withdrawing his name from consideration. The decision by Mark Green, Trump’s second pick for the post, came after his nomination ran into trouble following a backlash after past controversial statements on LGBT issues, Islam and evolution were revealed.

Chief of Staff Reince Priebus says the Trump administration has looked into changing libel laws for press outlets. So again, Trump can’t take criticisms. So he wants changes to reduce those criticisms.

More than fifty thousand mental-health professionals have signed a petition [on change.org] stating that Trump is “too seriously mentally ill to perform the duties of president and should be removed” under the Twenty-fifth Amendment.

Trump’s top advisers insist Trump is focused on making deals with foreign leaders in a bid to create a more secure planet, despite the lack of foreign travel. They point to frequent visits from foreign leaders as proof that Trump has influence on foreign affairs from the White House. Sure.

Trump signed an executive order calls for easing of Internal Revenue Service enforcement of the so-called “Johnson Amendment,” which prohibits churches from getting directly involved in political campaigns. This will pave the way for churches and other religious leaders to speak about politics and endorse candidates without worrying about losing their tax-exempt status. The same executive order calls for those in the military not to receive any religious items.

Obamacare trumps Trumpcare

Donald Trump has warned GOP lawmakers that they could lose the majority in the mid-term elections if they vote against TrumpCare. But as above, most Americans do not like TrumpCare and could vote GOP lawmakers out in about 20 months. So the lawmakers either choose going against TrumpCare and probably keep their job and possibly the majority or vote for TrumpCare but get booted out in 20 months but no tweet wrath from Trump. Hmmm. Tough choices.

In the end, the vote on TrumpCare and to repeal ObamaCare was postponed on Thursday because there wasn’t enough votes even after some wheeling and dealing with various factions.

Then [after consulting with Trump] Speaker Paul ran canceled the vote on Friday. Trump quickly blamed the Democrats and the media even though it was the various factions in the Republican party that doomed it. Trump said he “learned a lot about loyalty” [in his own party].

He also said he’d let Obamacare “explode” – but no idea of what he meant by that comment.

They were unable to narrow the schism between Freedom Caucus conservatives, who believe the bill keeps too much of Obamacare intact and moderates who worry they will pay an electoral price if millions of Americans lose health insurance. The loser should blame them.

Ryan told reporters. “We are going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

There were at least 26 Republicans in the house that are also against the American Health Care Act [a.k.a. Trumpcare] for a number of reasons including the Congressional Budget Office study suggesting it could deprive 24 million people of insurance. Another 4 were leaning that way. If more than 21 Republicans are against AHCA, the bill will fail.

In addition, changes Republicans made earlier this week to the bill will actually only decrease federal deficits by $150 billion over 10 years, while the original measure would have lowered deficits by $337 billion.

A Fox News poll found that only 34% of Americans backed Trumpcare. Interesting as the GOP claim the majority of Republican voters like Trumpcare. It will probably affect the majority of Americans with many in mid and low income citizens being forced to pay more. Coupled with the chopping or reduced budget for many areas of the government and those who voted for Trump [tend to be the same people he’s hurting with the budget and Trumpcare] will not be to happy.

A report said that Mitch McConnell and speaker Paul Ryan at one time proposing repealing Obamacare first and then add Trumpcare. But wouldn’t that mean no healthcare coverage at all?

Trump was also upset that his advisor Jared Kushner wasn’t in Washington. He along with Ivanka and family and other Trump family members were in Aspen [see later]. I’m sure Trump new about it – they took the family plane there.

If he lost on killing Obamacare, Trump wants to tackle tax reform next and they say it could be an even bigger battle.

Just before FBI Director James Comey was to testify in front of congress regarding any association between Russia and the Trump administration, Trump went on his usual Twitter tirade accusing Democrats of making up allegations about his campaign associates’ contact with Russia during the election, to go after Hillary Clinton and find the leaks. Trump also suggested, without evidence, that Clinton’s campaign was in contact with Russia and had possibly thwarted a federal investigation.

In another blow to Trump, the top two lawmakers on the House intelligence committee said that documents the Justice Department and FBI delivered late last week offered no evidence that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower.

White House spokesman Sean “Garlic” Spicer tried to clarify Trump’s comments saying he wasn’t using the word wiretapping literally, noting that Trump had put the term in quotation marks. Trump “used the word wiretap in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities,” Spicer said. He also suggested Trump wasn’t accusing former President Barack Obama specifically, but instead referring to the actions of the Obama administration. OK. So why wait so long to say so? Not all the tweets contained quotes related to wiretapping.

Trump may have disclosed classified information that the CIA was “hacked” during an interview. Trump said the leak occurred while Obama was in office – shifting the cowardly blame to him.

Trump said he shouldn’t be blamed for quoting a Fox News analyst who had accused British intelligence of helping Obama spy on him. But shouldn’t he be verifying fake news first?

Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Fox News analyst who was praised by Trump, has apparently been benched by the network. He repeatedly relayed information from anonymous sources about former President Obama using the British to spy on Trump. His claims were strongly denied by American and British authorities and Fox’s own news anchors disavowed Napolitano’s claims.

Trump approved the Keystone XL pipeline and claiming that work can start right away. As usual, he is wrong. The state of Nebraska has to approve the pipeline path and that could take up to 8 months. Other portions of the pipeline were built before the Trump administration.

Spicer read off a script in announcing the pipeline complete with saying the previous administration did nothing in eight years while Trump did it in 2 months – except the US government didn’t get involved until mid-2010.

“I guess I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not,” Trump said in a Time magazine interview.

“I quoted the judge the other day, Judge Napolitano,” Trump told Time, referring to the Fox News contributor Andrew Napolitano, who reported the information on Fox News about British spying on behalf of President Obama using anonymous sources, on which Trump’s White House based the claim. So it is OK for Trump to use information based on anonymous sources but not everyone else.

Remember Trump claiming Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination? Trump referred to a newspaper story which had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast.” And where is that story and picture? He didn’t accuse Ted Cruz on being part of the assassination?

Presented with a litany of other falsehoods and mischaracterizations, Trump offered this nonchalant rebuttal to his critics: “I tend to be right. I’m an instinctual person, I happen to be a person that knows how life works.” Seriously?

“Brexit, I predicted Brexit, you remember that, the day before the event. I said, ‘No, Brexit is going to happen,’ and everybody laughed.” You don’t have to be a genius to know that Brexit could be coming very soon – just need to look at what’s going on at the time.

Despite previously stating that she would not take on an official role in her father’s administration, Ivanka Trump is now moving into an advisory position in the White House. Like father, like daughter. Liars. Ivanka Trump has started a job as an unpaid worker in the West Wing, complete with an office and staff. She also has a higher security clearance. As well as  divesting some of her assets [for ethics reason] and selling $36.7 million in assets to comply with ethics rules, she still owns her clothing and jewelry brand [will get a fixed amount but no shares as company staffers will manage the company for her].

While they were on spring break in Aspen, Colorado, the Secret Service “signed a contract last week for more than $12,000 with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club for rental ski equipment and clothing.” So another bill on the taxpayer’s dime, aside from the secret service, accommodations, food, airplane, vehicles, extra police, etc. Vanity Fair reported “annoyed” New York moms and limited availability at local dining hot spots. And “dozens” of protesters took to the town’s Main Street on Sunday morning, per the Denver Post.

At least Ivanka didn’t lose her $585 US Dior sunglasses in Aspen.

[Aspen was the site of a very public feud between the future President, Ivana, and Marla Maples, who later became Trump’s second wife. When the family was vacationing there in December 1989, Ivana, approached Maples at a popular mid-mountain restaurant and told her to stay away from her husband.]

Trump said that Germany owes “vast sums of money” to NATO and the U.S. “must be paid more” for providing defense, reiterating his stance that European allies need to meet their end of the bargain if they are to continue benefiting from the military alliance. But Trump said at the press conference that many countries owe “vast sums of money” — but he declined to identify Germany, at the time, as one of those nations. NATO uses 2% of the nation’s guideline for what they need to give to the alliance. While few give 2% or more, none have taken out loans.

Trump pushed back against the notion in Europe that his “America First” agenda means he’s an isolationist, calling such a suggestion “another example of, as you say, fake news.”

Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, revealed that communications of Trump and associates may have been picked up after the election by intelligence agencies conducting surveillance of foreign targets.

Trump said in December that “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done.” Yet he has spent 25% of his presidency at Mar-A-Lago.

Both New York City and West Palm Beach police have complained that the extra costs in protecting Trump and his family in either locations coming from their security budget reducing police presence elsewhere. For New York, it is $146,000 a day just for police. This would exclude state police, the FBI and Secret Service plus the inconvenience for those living, working or owning a business in Trump Tower and surrounding area.

Trump, once a critic of his predecessor’s golfing, has visited two of his golf courses in Florida – seemingly to play the sport – 11 times in the first two months of his presidency plus once in Virginia [unsure if he played though]. “I’m going to be working for you; I’m not going to have time to go play golf,” Trump said during a 2016 event in Virginia, jabbing at Obama. “I love golf, I think it’s one of the greats, but I don’t have time,” he said in December.

The Trump family’s south Florida golf club, Mar-A-Lago, doubled its entrance fee to $200,000 after Trump’s inauguration.

Meanwhile a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit, Trump went after Germany because they don’t spend enough on NATO and defense spending. Coward he is. What Trump fails to understand, part of the US’s spending in NATO is for NATO to secure all of the alliance’s countries. The European countries are a “first line” of defense for the US. The same reason why the US is in the Middle East – to stop terrorists there before they come to the US.

Seems Trump didn’t want to shake hands with Merkel. Lip readers said she asked him at the photo opp.

With the announcement of the first Trump budget, many departments will end up with major slashing in what they could spend. Almost every department will experience cuts with very few exceptions. Hardest hit includes the EPA, Corporation for Public Broadcasting [PBS, NPR, etc.], etc. Add the programs such as Amtrak, Meals on Wheels, Air traffic control [shift from FAA to a private non-profit company], program offering jobs to senior citizens, etc. [Many Americans will be asking why did they vote for Trump after this.]

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s credibility is being questioned after publicly defending President Trump’s conspiracy theories and falsehoods. He tried to defend Trump saying Paul Manafort had an insignificant “limited role” in the campaign when he was campaign chairman for 5 months. Spicer said he came on in June when Manafort was hired at the end of March 2016 according to a press release. Add his other issue such as arguing with reports, saying he has no idea when it’s already known, false statements about crowd size at the inauguration, and Obama using the British to wiretap Trump.

Trump announced that Charter Communications will spend $25 million US and create 20,000 jobs in the US as it brings back overseas call centers. Problem is that Charter announced this already in 2015. And he’s taking credit… Again. Charter didn’t seem to mind – the CEO was present at the re-announcement.

Trump cited a Bleacher Report that NFL owners were avoiding hiring San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick because they did not want to face Trump’s Twitter wrath. Kaepernick caused a problem for kneeling during the national anthem before kickoff at his games to protest racism and police brutality.

A bit of humor…. Trump-Induced Anxiety Disorder, or TIAD

 

A busy week for Mr. Drumpf

The White House [may have] has apologized to the British government after alleging that a UK intelligence agency GCHQ [the equivalent of the US National Security Agency] spied on Trump at the behest of former President Barack Obama. White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s comment from the White House podium about a Fox News report that said British intelligence helped wiretap Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.

The Fox correspondent suggested that Obama used the British to do the spying as it is illegal for Obama or his administration to order wiretapping without approval of a court.

And yet, while every politician not in the Trump administration [both Republican and Democrat] claim there is no evidence of wiretapping, the administration claims there is. Trump said he would produce evidence within the next couple of weeks. Why not now? [Maybe because he has none!]

Whether or not there is any evidence about Trump’s claim that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower in New York, the damage will be done. Trump supports will continue to claim this the same way Trump and supporters claimed that Obama wasn’t born in the US or many other lies that were mentioned through the election process.

Meanwhile Trump claims he used quotations in his initial tweets claiming he wasn’t specifically saying wiretaps but other forma. And yet his latter tweets about it didn’t have quotes around wiretapping word. Backpedaling didn’t work. No one believes him.

In an interview Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway, senior White House adviser, said “What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately,” including “microwaves that turn into cameras,….” Latest she said that comment was taking out of context. I hope so but I doubt it!

Conway said “we know (former national security adviser) General (Michael) Flynn was wiretapped,” with no proof, of course. Then she said it was “leaked” – not the same as wiretapped.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in town on Friday for a visit, supposedly was given a copy of Playboy – not for the pictures [although it may be the first edition with nude females in over a year, but I digress] but because it has an article on how Trump supposedly thinks. Doesn’t Germany have their own intelligence agency?

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, 14 million Americans who were using the Affordable Care Act won’t be able to afford Trumpcare. This could rise to 26 million by 2026. In total, an estimated 52 million people would be uninsured by 2026 under the GOP plan, compared to 28 million who would lack insurance under the current law [ACA].

While 5.9 million lost coverage with Obamacare, 22.8 million were added according a Forbes article. So in the end, maybe 35 million who were covered prior to Obamacare, may not be in 10 years with Trumpcare.

The American Health Care Act, would reduce the federal deficits by $337 billion over 10 years. Some of this is due to the wealthy Americans not paying the same share under ACA as well as large corporations paying less as well.

Thirty-one states – including 16 with Republican governors – elected to expand Medicaid under Obamacare and have found it to be a successful way of insuring low-income adults at little cost to their states. Trump said it could take several years before a drop in prices. Hmmmm.

Not surprising some Republicans and the Trump administration are downplaying the report. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said “If you’re looking to the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place.” [Would they be saying the same thing if the report favored them?]

“I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said. Even Conservative Breitbart News were laughing that the comment.

“The press is making Obamacare look so good all of a sudden. I’m watching the news, it looks so good,” Trump said. Dummy, actually it is the polls have stated that Americans like Obamacare.

While 5.9 million lost coverage with Obamacare, 22.8 million were added according a Forbes article.

Before one Trump controversy can finish, another one stirs up. It is common that the incoming President will ask those appointed to step down as the new government is set up. 46 US attorneys [who are appointed] were kept on but unceremoniously were let go this past Saturday. One of them, Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, tweeted Saturday that he was fired after refusing to resign as requested by Trump’s administration. The Southern District is special that it takes on the toughest cases in the US often lasting at least a year.

This gets interesting because Deutsche Bank which facilitated the laundering of ill-gotten Russian gains to the tune of $10 billion. And the US Attorney that was investigating Deutsche Bank was Bharara. Meanwhile Trump owes Deutsche Bank somewhere in the neighborhood of $364 million. So Trump delays or maybe even kills the investigation [and maybe Trump’s bill may even be reduced].

Bharara was brought in under Barrack Obama on the recommendation of Trump nemesis Senator Chuck Schumer. Bharara is considered neutral going after politicians on both sides. Trump informed Bharara that he wanted to keep him on as a gesture to Schumer – then the incoming minority leader – whom Trump had previously supported for years. By letting go the US attorneys do, this will delay the various ongoing investigations until new appointments are announced and confirmed.

Two days before the mass dismissal of US attorneys, Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave no indication in a conference call with US attorneys across the country that some of their jobs were in peril.

The former CEO of Deutsche Bank [Wilbur Ross] is now the CEO of the Bank of Cyprus and one of the major shareholder is a Russian billionaire who bought a mansion owned by Trump for over $95 million when Trump bought it for just $45 million earlier. The billionaire tore it down and never lived there.

Homeland Secretary John Kelly claims that his Customs and Border Protection agents will not ask those coming into the country their religion or political affiliation but there has already been at least a few cases where those trying to enter the country were in fact asked. Muhammed Ali Jr was asked. So was at least one Canadian trying to enter the US. The same goes for politics. See below.

In another example of continuous repeat of Canadians having problems entering the US, a woman of descent from India but born in Canada was hold for 6 hours and sent back home even though her two white friends could continue on. She was fingerprinted, photographed and questioned before being refused. She said she was told she was an immigrant without a valid U.S. visa even though her valid passport said she was born in Canada. She was told that she would need a visa if I ever went in the States again and the border agent told her “I know you might feel like you’re being Trumped.” A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman noted that possession of a valid travel document does not guarantee entry to the United States [this even though the border agent said she wasn’t a Canadian by birth].

Meanwhile, part of Trump’s 2005 tax return was leaked to Pulitzer prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston. The return said he earned US$153 million and paid $36.5 million but most of the tax came from the Alternative Minimum Tax. Without AMT, he would of paid 4%. Instead, he paid 25% – still below the amount he should of paid.

Trump tweeted “Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, ‘went to his mailbox’ and found my tax returns?” I guess he never heard of Johnson who won a journalism prize. The White House called it illegal. Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign website called for the end of the AMT, which is expected to bring in more than $350 billion in revenues from 2016 to 2025. Again he’s favoring the wealthy.

Khizr Khan, the Muslim Gold Star father who famously offered to lend Donald Trump his copy of the U.S. Constitution has cancelled a scheduled speech in Toronto because “his travel privileges are being reviewed,” according to the event organizer.

General Motors announced 1100 jobs will be cut. I’m sure Trump will blame it on the Obama administration somehow.

Jared Kushner [Trump’s son-in-law] and family are part owners of 666 5th Avenue in New York. It was purchased by a group including his family for $1.1 billion in 2007. Now a Chinese company with alleged ties to the Communist Party there could buy it for over $2.2 billion. The Kushners would get around $400 million of that. Double the price in under 10 years? Sounds fishy. The building was already probably one of the most expensive in the US. That same Chinese company wants to buy a hotel next to a US naval base in San Diego. The Obama administration said no but Trump may say yes.

The European odds makers came out with a few of them related to Trump:

  • 5/1 odds that Melania will end her marriage with Donald before his tenure is up.
  • 6/1 odds that Tiffany will be the first Trump child to denounce him. [Ivanka is 7/1, Barron is 16/1]
  • 1/10 odds the marriage remains intact until a successor is inaugurated.
  • 500/1 odds to ban the Irish [a bit odd there].
  • 5/6 odds that Trump will outlaw guns in a state.
  • 25/1 odds that Trump and Vladimir Poutine will win the Nobel peace Prize.

 

 

TrumpCare maybe – Maybe not

The Republicans finally release a “release candidate” of their health care bill. Not surprising it sounds like another Donald Trump election promise is going out the window. The Affordable Care Act [a.k.a. Obamacare] will not be completely ditch. Instead pieces will be kept.

Trump has warned of an electoral “bloodbath” in the 2018 mid-terms if it doesn’t get passed. He’ll blame the Democrats because Trump doesn’t have the 60 senators needed to kill Obamacare. I’m sure the Democrats are sitting back with all smiles.

The Trump administration keeps on saying replace and repeal Obamacare but it hasn’t been either. More like fixing it according to the Republicans.

Senator Rand Paul described the House bill as “Obamacare lite,” saying he breaks with the Trump-endorsed bill because of tax credits, continuation of Obamacare taxes, subsidies to insurance companies and what he called a “form of the individual mandate.” Trump said later that “He’s a friend. He’s going to end up voting for it.” Uh huh.

Mike Pence said the American Health Care Act will give Americans more freedom of choice and “if you like your Obamacare, you can keep it.”

Trump has whined that he’ll blame the Democrats if the bill doesn’t pass. Interesting considering he controls Congress. If anything, renegade/unhappy Republicans would be to blame. He also went after various Conservative groups for using the term “Obamacare lite” or “Trumpcare” or “Obamacare 2.0”.

This has angered some of the GOP. Under the new bill called the American Health Care Act:

  • Medicaid would be overhauled American Health Care Act by sending states a fixed amount of money per enrollee, known as a per-capita cap. This would limit federal responsibility, shifting that burden to the states. However, since states don’t have the money to make up the difference, they would likely either reduce eligibility, curtail benefits or cut provider payments.
  • Those making $20,000 at any age will see cuts roughly between 25% and 60% that Obamacare issued. Older Americans will pay more. Also chopped are part of the tax credits.
  • This means that younger Americans would likely see their annual premiums go down. Enrollees age 20 to 29 would save about $700 a year to $4,000, on average a refundable tax credit of up to $2,000 to offset the cost of their premiums.
  • The American Health Care Act would once again let insurers sell skimpy plans. But these bare-bones offerings — which come with lower premiums — are all some healthier Americans want. Restoring these options would draw in some folks who’ve opted to remain uninsured and pay a penalty.
  • Higher-income Americans could pay fewer taxes, get more tax benefits as it would eliminate two taxes that Obamacare levied on the wealthy to help pay for the law. Nearly everyone in the Top 1%, who earn more than $774,000 a year, would enjoy a hefty tax cut, averaging $33,000. Those in the Top 0.1% would get an average tax cut of about $197,000.
  • Insurance companies could get a big tax break. Obamacare allowed insurance companies to deduct only $500,000 of their executives’ pay as a business expense. The GOP bill would repeal that limitation, starting in 2018.
  • AHCA clearly is helping Trump’s buddies in big business. Wonder if Occupy Wall Street will come back. Experts fear with the changes that particularly hurt the lower class, many in the lower class will lose their benefits they had under ACA.

With some of the thousands of CIA documents stolen by WikiLeaks came what the CIA hackers thought of the security applications protecting computers. Some of the documents may be old as they deal with vulnerabilities that have been previously fixed. As one of the major vendors with easier access, F-Secure’s chief research officer said the CIA “considered it more important to keep everybody unsecure … and maybe use the vulnerability for its own purposes or counter terrorism purposes.” He didn’t defend their application but others who were on the CIA’s radar [such as AVG and Kaspersky] claimed their vulnerabilities were previous fixed or was simple to fix.

During the elections, after Hillary Clinton’s mail server was hacked and exposed by WikiLeaks, Trump said “I love WikiLeaks!” But is he saying the same thing after WikiLeaks exposed almost 9,000 documents of the CIA – this while he is the country’s leader?

Trump is concerned and yet it could be to his advantage saying that Obama’s “tapping” could of used some of the CIA’s technologies.

China has granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, paving the way for Donald Trump and his family to potentially develop a host of branded businesses from hotels to insurance to bodyguard and escort services, public documents show. Some are registered to a Delaware company that is owned by Trump [trying to hide something?]. There are still over 200+ trademarks with the Trump name in it – from other escort services to toilet maker to pacemakers to a hotel.

From September to November last year, while Michael Flynn was working as a top adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, Flynn was lobbying for a firm linked to the Turkish government, earning $530,000. He and his company Flynn Intel Group Inc. filed retroactive documents with the Department of Justice two days ago to register as a foreign agent.

Continuing with the feud between Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger and Trump, Arnie said “With Trump being involved in the show, people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show.” When “The New Celebrity Apprentice” ended its season last month, Trump tweeted that Schwarzenegger “did a really bad job as governor of California and even worse on The Apprentice, but at least he tried hard.” By most reports the Governator actually did quite well. But you knew that.

Ben Carson made his debut as secretary of Housing and Urban Development telling agency employees about the virtues of the “can-do” American society. Carson said this value system was best exemplified by slaves [from Africa], whom he characterized as immigrants who came to the United States with very little and worked very hard. Not the only time he has made odd comments. In 2013, Carson said Obamacare was “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

The software call Confide, used by some White House staff [supposedly including Trump], has been found to contain two vulnerabilities [both recently patched according to the company]. Of course not everyone updates the apps on their smartphone. Some experts suggest this “military grade” communication software doesn’t do a proper job in encrypting communication. In addition, using it by White House staff may be against some federal laws.

Over the last five weekends, Trump has visited his luxury resort four times – each trip costs American taxpayers about $3 million – and at one point, Trump had spent 31% of his presidency at Mar-a-Lago. He’s now played golf eight times since taking office six weeks ago [wonder how much that cost in security].