GOP civil war with Trump

Donald Trump tweeted [Republican] “Senator Bob Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election” with Trump saying no and Trump said Corker would drop out when Corker had previously said he’d retire but Trump wanted him back. Then Trump tweeted “He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.’ He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!” Does this mean current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on the way out?

As another rip into Corker, Trump tweeted “Didn’t have the guts to run!” Corker has run 3 times and a senator for 10. Trump? After the final Tweet [for now from Trump, Corker tweeted “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.”

Trump is a President who is acting “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something,” said Corker later. Trump is setting the country “on the path to World War III.”

Mike Pence left a football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after some players knelt during the National Anthem, saying he did not want to “dignify” the event. Some are suggesting that it was a staged plan. They knew that some players would take the knee while Pence was in attendance. This short stay in Indianapolis cost an extra $180,000 as he  made a detour to see the game only to leave before the game started.

The pool of journalists accompanying the vice president were not allowed into the stadium and were asked to stay in their vans. They were told by a staffer that “there may be an early departure from the game.” So another hint that the stunt was expected.

Trump opened up the kneeing controversy again last week by tweeting “Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!” before this weekend upcoming games. He tweeted this within 24 after the Las Vegas killings. Doesn’t he have better things to do?

Now after a deal was struck regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, Trump decided to change the terms of the deal. Those measures include provisions to make it harder for unaccompanied minors to enter the country illegally, money for the President’s border wall and cuts to legal immigration. Trump has said the new requirements must pass.

So Trump is still trying to get additional funding for his wall and at the same time add other issues. Unsure if he wants the DACA issue settled at all and looks like he wants to scuttle it.

Trump tweeted that nothing has been done regarding North Korea for the past 25 year. Well, it’s probably been quite a bit more than 25 years that they were a threat. Then he claimed that “…massive amounts of money paid” presumably by the US to North Korea. But why? The US wasn’t going to give that country money if they are dumping sanctions on them.

Trump didn’t seem to want to go to Puerto Rico, spend a night somewhere [where US warships are nearby – wouldn’t he be safe enough] and then visit the US Virgin Islands. Instead he visited just Puerto Rico. Mike Pence went to the US Virgin Islands.

Errr. Trump claimed that when he threw the paper towels in Puerto Rico, the people wanted them because they were soft. Seriously?

Ken Starr, the former independent counsel whose investigation of former President Bill Clinton’s real-estate investments and extramarital affair led to Clinton’s impeachment, said that he has “a sense” there will be indictments in the federal investigation into allegations of possible collusion by the Trump campaign in Russia’s efforts to influence last year’s election.

After it happened on Facebook, Google has identified tens of thousands of dollars in ad buys by Russian accounts that used YouTube or Google advertising to try to spread misinformation and sow discord in American politics.

Trump is still complaining about wanting to get “equal time” – probably because all of the investigations are against him, late night comedians, various newspapers, etc. All Trump can get support is from Fox News and various [if lucky] second rate web sites. I am sure just about any network has told Trump that he can come onto their network at any time.

According to the New York Times, Trump has states 1145 false information comments in his first 232 days or almost averaging 5 per day.

Since the Trump administration can’t get the Affordable Care Act repealed, they are trying to sabotage the ACA by shortening the enrollment period and cutting the marketing funds that would let the public know about it.

Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the spring, dines with one coal company at lunch and then with another coal company for supper at the BLT Prime, a steakhouse inside the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Before that, Pruitt met privately with top executives and lobbyists from General Motors to talk about their request to block an Obama administration move to curb emissions that contribute to climate change.

Since he took over, from February through May, he has had briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates — and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates.

Some of these same companies and trade associations were allies of Pruitt when, as Oklahoma’s attorney general, he sued the EPA at least 14 times to try to block rules he is now in charge of enforcing. Yes. This is the Trump administration in action!

After well-known Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein got into trouble with alleged sexual assaults against actresses and underlings over a number of years, Trump was asked his opinion. He said that he has known Weinstein for “many years” and then said he was not surprised. Nice way to through a supposedly friend under the bus. We’re not surprised at his comments. [It is known rumor in Hollywood that Weinstein has a history of allegations of sexual assaults and similar problems.]

Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani rejected Ivanka Trump’s invitation to talk about her computer science education initiative. She I a daughter of a refugee and disliked the initial and other travel bans. Ivanka Trump referenced Saujani’s success story in her book, “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success.” In the tweet, Saujani said: “don’t use my story in #WomenWhoWork unless you are going to stop being #complicit.” So when Donald Trump directed the Education Department to invest a minimum of $200 million in grant funding annually to STEM and computer science education, Ivanka Trump met with corporate partners and nonprofits in Detroit. Girls Who Code was not invited.

Melania Trump chose Places You’ll Go!, which she read with her son, Barron, “over and over” when he was younger and nine other Dr. Seuss titles to send to an elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in celebration of “National Read a Book Day.” But a librarian at Cambridgeport School refused to accept the gift, criticizing Trump administration education policies and images in the books. Seuss’ illustrations are “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes,” said librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro.

Trump should instead be devoting resources to schools in “underfunded and underprivileged communities” that are “marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.” Critics view DeVos, a billionaire who has worked for decades to promote school choice, or alternatives to traditional public schools, as one of the most anti-public-education secretaries in the department’s history.

The Department of Education chose one high-achieving school in every state to receive a package of books from Trump, according to a statement from the White House. The Cambridge school system released a statement saying the librarian “was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district.”

The State Department is using longstanding but discretionary policy to ensure that evacuees are shouldered with the transportation costs, which according to the website are based off of “the price of the last commercial one-way, full-fare (not discounted) economy ticket prior to the crisis.” Evacuees who surrender their passports under this system don’t see them returned until payment is received.

“We’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and in Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico,” Trump said. Uh huh. Who did the grading?

Job openings in the United States reached a record high in July at 6.17 million, according to Labor Department data. Manufacturing had nearly 400,000 openings; construction 232,000; education and health 1.1 million; finance and insurance 270,000; retail 625,000. So jobs are available for various levels of education – not just for people with university degrees.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed September 5, noting that 950,000 African Americans and 870,000 Hispanics in the same age group as DACA recipients were unemployed. “Those are large groups of people that are unemployed that could possibly have those jobs.” Or maybe those 1.7 million people are not interested in the same jobs as the DACA recipients [r are they really looking]. It is this thought that Trump claims that he would want to deport the DACA recipients but with 6.17 million jobs available….

But in September, for the first time in 7 years, there were job lost. After forecasting initially 90,000 jobs gained, 30,000 were lost.

Trump’s approval rating has once again reached 40%, while earning high marks for his handling of the government’s response to recent hurricanes, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. A broad 64% of Americans say they approve of how Trump’s government reacted to the recent storms, including two in three independents (66%). Nine in 10 Republicans support his reaction (90%), and even Democrats are evenly divided on Trump’s response to the crises, with 44% both approving and disapproving.

Half say they disapprove of Trump’s handling of the situation with North Korea (50%) vs. four in 10 who say they approve (41%) — little changed from Trump’s rating in August on the topic. Trump’s rating on health care remains low at just 31% approval during the Senate’s last-ditch push to pass a reform bill. Overall, 55% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s job performance.

Ivana Trump, Donald’s first wife and mother of his oldest 3 children, release a book on her life with him and called herself the “First Lady” in an interview. Let’s just say Melania wasn’t too thrilled.

 

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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.

Final test for Trump is on Monday

The Electoral College’s 538 members gather Monday at 50 state capitols to cast the ballots that matter the most when it comes to electing a U.S. president. They have the final say in whether to ratify Donald Trump as the 45th President of the US. It is a long shot that he won’t get what is needed as 37 Republicans would have to vote not for him.

It would be unprecedented in US politics and could bring a bit of a “constitutional crisis” – the phrase Trump used in the elections. Even if a few went against Trump, it would show Trump that he may have a rough time as president. By some counts, maybe 20 Republicans are thinking of not voting for Trump. What happens if 37 or more did switch. I’m not a US constitutional expert but it would cause turmoil. And I’m sure Trump and his cronies would go back to their “rigged” election call during the elections.

Wasn’t it rigged? He won when few expected it.

Trump went after the media during the election campaign including Time magazine. How things have changed. A month after his election Time magazine awarded him Person of the Year and he had nothing but praise for the magazine [except a few areas such as “dividing” the country]. He’s the master flip flopper.

ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson will be the new Secretary of State under Trump. He has no diplomatic experience and Tillerson has connections to the Russian state owned and is friends with Vladimir Poutine. Tillerson has many links with the Russian government and state gas company. Talking about conflict of interest. He may be as bad as this as his possible future boss.

Trump claims Tillerson is “among the most accomplished business leaders and international deal makers in the world.” Yes, a deal maker but there is a difference between making a multi-billion dollar with Russia’s Gasprom and trying to stop the bombardment in Syria by Russian airplanes.

During Tillerson’s reign at Exxon, they didn’t take part in the shale oil and gas revolution in the US which created roughly 233,000 jobs between mid-2009 and late 2014. Exxon instead concentrated elsewhere. Also indication of how many of the 73,500 jobs are in the US. Exxon did get into shale but later on and paid dearly for it. And yet his boss, Trump, criticize Ford, Carrier and others for “shipping” jobs overseas. In the 8 ears under Obama’s administration, oil production went up around 90%.

Some of Trump’s people were pushing for Mitt Romney to apologize for the comments he made about Trump during the election campaign. [I wonder if Trump would apologize…] Romney won’t. The interesting thing is that Romney was one of the finalists for the Secretary of State. Because of his ties to Russia, there is no guarantee that Tillerson will survive the hearings to approve him for the job. Which means that Trump would have to choose another candidate such as Romney, Rudy Giuliani or others.

Some dozen CEOs [and one COO] went to Trump Tower in New York to meet Trump, Pence and the rest of their crew. Some CEOs did not appear or were not invited. Some of the attendees were checking to see what Trump plans on doing with the tech industries, US jobs, visas for tech workers, etc. Some called the meeting OK, others found it weird and some wondered why so many Trumps [Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr] were at the table aside from a bunch of Trump’s political team – wasting spots where other CEOs could have joined.

Trump’s transition team is disavowing a questionnaire sent to the Energy Department requesting the names of employees working on climate change issues. “The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled.” The Trump team has been criticized for asking for the names of federal government employees working on climate change issues. At least 97% of actively publishing climate scientists agree that “climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities,” according to NASA.

Trump still is defending Russia that there was no shenanigans during the elections. This is probably the first time an incoming [or any sitting] president is supporting Russian as much as he has. This in addition to announcing a potential Secretary of State who is so close to Russia.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is expected to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. He has been a reliable booster of the fossil fuel industry and an outspoken critic of what he derides as the EPA’s “activist agenda.” Pruitt has been a vocal public denier of the science showing that the Earth is warming and that man-made carbon emissions are to blame. Representing his state as attorney general since 2011, Pruitt has repeatedly sued the EPA.

Trump claimed 1100 jobs were saved at an Indiana Carrier factory. In fact, only 800 Carrier factory jobs were saved. The other 300 were white-collar administrative and engineering jobs at a different Indianapolis facility, positions Carrier never planned to ship to Mexico. Trump whined that the local union president “has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!” As if the union president could do anything about jobs elsewhere. Carrier expects to add more automation which means some of those 800 jobs will be lost eventually.

Americans are less approving of President-elect Donald Trump than they were of previous presidents during their transitions into office, a new Pew Research Group poll shows. As Trump prepares to take office, 41% say they approve of the job he has done explaining his plans and policies for the future of the American people, while 55% say they disapprove of the job Trump has done. President Barack Obama had 72% in December 2008 and President George W. Bush’s 50% in January 2001 — in the wake of a disputed election. It’s also lower than President Bill Clinton’s 62% in January 1993 and President George H.W. Bush’s 65% in March 1989.

During a Fox News interview, Trump acknowledged he’s not receiving daily intelligence briefings, but argued he doesn’t need them because he’s “a smart person.”

Trump may choose his first Supreme Court nominee from one of the states that helped him get elected [such as Michigan and Wisconsin] and maybe a judge that has some political experience. Trump is looking for a kind of diversity the current court lacks. [So I guess he’ll choose another white male for a judge.] As most of the Court has spent their lives in DC, New York and Boston, maybe he’ll choose somewhere farther west. Supreme Court justices tend to hire clerks from the Ivy League and they have all attended elite schools. He will possibly chose from elsewhere.

Some supporters of President-elect Donald Trump have praised his choice of Ben Carson to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, noting that the retired neurosurgeon had lived in public housing himself. Except he didn’t according to a Carson aide. Carson claims he was raised “in the ghetto” and “in dire poverty.” Dr. Carson’s mother worked 3 jobs at a time to keep them out of public housing. So that doesn’t look like “in dire poverty”.

Meanwhile former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, in an attack on House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi saying “is she racist or just dumb”. Huckabee later apologized for tweeting the inaccurate information and said he had been relying on the New York Times — which he jabbed as a “fake news” site. Maybe he mixed that up with the LA Times.

Exxon steadily expanded its Russian business even as its rivals faced expropriation and regulatory obstacles, and in 2013 Putin bestowed the Order of Friendship on Tillerson.

Energy made in America is not as important as energy simply made wherever it is most economic,” he said in 2007 – which means rape the resources of another country before doing the same in the US. Tillerson has argued against sanctions that the U.S. and European allies imposed on Russia after it annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team slammed the CIA, following reports the agency has concluded that Russia intervened in the election to help him win. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” probably written by Trump. Trump continues to defend his buddy Putin.

“What proof does anyone have that they [Russia] effected the outcome because I’ve heard zero,” said Sean Spicer, Republican National Committee Communications Director.

Trump has officially backed away from going after Clinton even after crowds still chant “lock her up.” That is another promise he has already broken. “That plays great before the election – now we don’t care, right?” I’m sure some of his followers will care. Now they have been betrayed.

Incoming national security adviser General Michael Flynn’s son defended the baseless “pizza gate” conspiracy, the name given to a theory peddled online that claims the Comet Ping Pong restaurant in Washington and its owner were involved in a child sex operation. Some even claim Hillary Clinton was involved. Incoming Vice-President Mike Pence claims the son is not an advisor or part of the transition team and yet the son had [since suspended] an official government transition email address. “Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it’ll remain a story” tweeted the son even though saying Clinton was involved is ridiculous. Getting pointers from Trump? Flynn Jr. has served as his father’s top aide and chief of staff, and regularly shares conspiracy theories, expletive-filled posts, and racially insensitive sentiments on Twitter and Facebook.

Flynn claimed in an August radio interview that Arabic signs were present along the United States border with Mexico to guide potential state-sponsored terrorists and “radicalized Muslims” into the United States. Flynn further said in the interview he had personally seen photos of such signs in Texas.

Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year LeBron James opted to stay elsewhere than the team’s official Trump-branded hotel in New York.

Trump wants to continue to be executive producer on The Apprentice. Shouldn’t be too difficult as the show probably has a dozen or so producers, executive producers, etc. But he already said he won’t be doing any work for the show.

Trump had Kanye West as a visitor recently. After a meeting that didn’t last an hour they were at the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. “We’ve been friends for a long time,” Trump told reporters – which is Trump language for being friends for just over an hour.

Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner says he is thankful that he did not have to participate in the 2016 presidential election. “Thank God I’m not in the middle of this.”

The CEO of IBM has pledged to recruit 25,000 Americans over the next four years, but wants Uncle Sam to pay for it. This is the CEO’s present to Trump during the tech meeting in New York. IBM has more workers in India than the US.

The number of Americans seeking refugee status in Canada has experienced a significant bump this year – maybe because of Trump’s win – increasing more than five times in November 2016 from the same period a year earlier. A mere 170 Americans claimed asylum at Canada’s land borders through the first 11 months of this year [it was 73 in 2015 for the first 11 months]. Yet that was more than twice the total from 2015 – and it was led by a noticeable five-fold increase in the month of November, with 28 people claiming refugee status last month compared with merely five in November 2015. For 2015, no successful U.S. refugee claims last year before the Immigration and Refugee Board. Trump related?

 

Recounts and hacking elections

There was some grumblings by the right wing in the US when Green Party leader, Jill Stein, was requesting recounts in three states. They should have nothing to fear.

They are assuming that she did it so that maybe the vote would change and Hillary Clinton would take the states. They also said it was a waste of money.

They were wrong on both accounts. Donald Trump has enough of a lead that unless something was very fishy, he would still win all three states. As well Stein’s supporters were paying millions fore recounts

[And the only way Clinton could win the election is if she won all three recounts. Unlikely.]

Even if there wasn’t a recount, it is still a way to audit the election results to show that the votes were counted [roughly] correctly. I think most people want a fair election and verifying that the count was accurate is one way.

If there were more votes counted on election night or in the recount, then something is fishy. While there will probably be a very small discrepancy in the number of votes counted, if there was a big difference [but not enough to change the final results] then there should be a bit of worrying. [Did someone on purposely count wrong?]

Similarly, the right wing [well mostly Trump and his supporters] arguing that no foreign government [think of some country in eastern Europe] has meddled in the US election. Supposedly both the Democratic and Republican parties were hacked and yet only the Democrats had their dirty laundry leaked. Why is that? Of course Trump is chummy with Russian dictator [or President] Vladimir Poutine. Would Mr. Poutine want to hurt his buddy?

And of course Trump is denying it even though he [as usual] has no facts that Russia was not involved. He even went after the CIA giving the lousy excuse about the so-called weapons of mass destruction excuse to invade Iraq. Meanwhile he forgets of what the CIA has stopped from happening. [I guess those security briefings he is missing would shed some light. Either that or he could ask what the CIA has done for the country?]

Wouldn’t it be proper to actually have these issues thoroughly checked once and for all so that American citizens can be at ease. Consider it an audit to show the American citizens that their voting rights aren’t being attacked.

For some countries, if a foreign country meddled in another country’s election, it could lead to war.

 

 

America has spoken….

Well the Americans have spoken….

And good luck to them for the next 4 years.

Donald Trump defied the odds [if the right word] and became the 45th President of the United States.

The Democratic voters failed Hillary Clinton in the battleground states including Ohio, Michigan and Florida in addition to states she should have won [Pennsylvania was a big blow. She had a lead around midnight.]

To further see where Clinton lost, consider the fact that since April she hadn’t visited Wisconsin – one of the states she lost but should of won.

As for her faults, she had Email server issues, Benghazi reoccurrences, Husband Bill’s baggage and the fact that Clinton is a wooden campaigner with a tendency to put small policy things ahead of an actual policy vision.

Interesting, Clinton actually has less white voters voting for her than Obama while Trump actually had more minorities [even Latinos] that Mitt Romney who ran against Barrack Obama.

If you remove the super delegates during the primaries, Clinton didn’t do too well against Bernie Sanders. It showed you that she got in because she wasn’t much stronger than Sanders.

The question would be if there was a different candidate other than Clinton [or even Trump] instead. If Obama [if he wasn’t President] running against Trump or Mitt Romney or John McCain running against Clinton, would the outcome be different? Each of these three have fairly squeaky clean images. None had a spouse who was President. None held a cabinet post before.

The stock markets had dropped overnight but the Japanese and Mexican stock market took some of the biggest hits. The latter because the Mexican peso was already hurting because of the nervousness of a Trump win. Surprising the North American markets went back to positive territory by midday.

A question will be whether he stays for four years. Already some speculated that he may become bored and bow out before the 4 years. Unlikely. One other thought is that he was voted in as the oldest elected President. Will he have a medical issue that forces him to leave as he is already the oldest President on election day in US history. [A reminder that he claimed throughout the election that he was healthier than Clinton].

His friend/puppet-master Vladimir Poutine contacted him early Wednesday.

Many world leaders gave the standard congratulation comments but I’m wondering how many were sincere.

Unfortunately even the far right wing leaders in France and Germany were happy as well.

When it looked like he would win the election, he probably celebrated by excusing himself to go to the washroom, grabbed a couple of young female interns and groped them. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m sure certain areas of the US were out of moonshine and deep fried Oreos after the celebrations were over. 🙂

 

 

 

Some bit of voting commentary for the US election

A short bit of commentary before the big vote in the US tomorrow.

First, after reading articles about the crazy voting issues that are affecting many states, it is high time that the federal government intervene.

They should allow a minimum requirements set for any voting. For example, the number of hours the voting booth will be available on Election Day or the [minimum] type of voter ID required. The state could add to that but federal rules would be the minimum. Say the federal government allows a minimum of 10 hours for voting, the state could stay open for more than that but not less.

They should follow the Canadian example where when a Canadian does his/her taxes in the spring of every year, they confirm to be on the voters list. [Note that even if you pay no taxes (i.e. didn’t work that year) you are still required to submit a tax form.] Those that do not submit a tax form are most likely left off voting lists but probably can request to be added.

This will remove some of the confusion in the US where some states removed votes who [for example] didn’t vote in the previous election. But it will also have removed those who have moved to other states [or countries] as well as those that are deceased.

Advance polling is also all over the place. Not all states allow it. Some offer it over a month in advance.

Voting ID is another issue. In Canada a driver’s license, passport or a provincial medical/health card are allowed or a combination of others.
Some states allow voters to be pulled if an ordinary citizen challenges on why a person should be allowed to vote. Theoretically you could get your nemesis off the voters list.

Finally, some consider Canada the 51st state because Canada and US ties are close in many areas from security, to transportation to area codes. Maybe it’s time that Canada had a right to vote? After all Canada has to put up with this mess from them every day of the year.

 

We’re almost there: A bit more Trump news

With another batch of Emails appearing, no one knows if they are damaging. The new controversy centers on emails found on a device of Hillary Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin’s estranged husband, Anthony Weiner. The FBI’s Director, James Comey, indicated that this is another part of the investigation that he exonerated Clinton back in the summer. Comey didn’t even mention if any Emails are confidential or even if Clinton is involved directly. So why did he announce this over the disagreements of top DOJ officials, including Attorney General Loretta Lynch [his boss]? Not he is under the gun for releasing this so close to election day. He can probably kiss his job goodbye when Clinton gets elected.

The protocol is for the FBI and the Department of Justice not to comment on investigations and to stay silent on politically sensitive matters less than 60 days from an election.

Not surprising, Donald Trump says this new information has [partially] reversed his comments about the judicial system. Surprised, though, Trump didn’t go after Abedin harder [she’s Muslim] except to get her bounced from Clinton’s campaign.

Even Republican Newt Gingrich said it was not right to announce this so close to election day – particularly when nothing was mentioned.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said “Had he sat on the information, one can argue that he also would be interfering in the election,” but supposedly the FBI knew for at least a couple of weeks already prior to the disclosure. So why did Comey wait until a week before the election date.

Minority Leader Harry Reid [the senate’s top Democrat] said that Comey himself could be charged with interfering in the election by waiting until the last full week to disclose this is – especially since there has been no indication that Clinton is even involved. “My office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election.” [Reid underscored that he has been a supporter of the FBI director and fought for Comey’s Senate confirmation when Republicans blocked the nomination.]

Former Attorney General Eric Holder and dozens of other former federal prosecutors [some Republicans] signed a letter critical of Comey’s recent actions in the Clinton email case.

“I think we hit the mother lode, as they say,” claims Trump even though no information about the emails have been released. Trump [jokingly] thanked both Abedin and Weiner.

A woman in Iowa has been arrested [a felony] for voting twice in advance pools. Once in the main polling building and another one in a satellite polling station. She claims she thought her original ballot would be given to Clinton even though she is a registered Republican. Yes, Donald. Maybe wide scale cheating. Wrong side.

Jessica Drake, an adult film performer and director, is at least the 11th woman to accuse Trump of unwanted sexual advances. Drake claimed that Trump asked her for her phone number and invited her to his suite the night they met in 2006. She went and brought along two other women to accompany her because she said she did not feel comfortable attending alone. “He grabbed each of us tightly, in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission.”

When she left after 45 minutes, first a Trump representative said Trump wanted to see her alone. Then Trump himself then got on the phone with her, asking her to come back and to go out to dinner or attend a party with him, but she again declined. He then asked, “What do you want? How much?” She said he eventually offered her $10,000 and use of his private jet if she accepted. Trump, of course, denied everything.

Trump also warned that he would take all 11 women [and any others] to court. “All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”

Trump often threatens to file lawsuits without actually doing so. Earlier in October, he threatened to sue The New York Times when it published assault allegations against him, but nearly two weeks later, he has declined to follow through.

Trump told a television station that the First Amendment to the Constitution may give the press too much freedom. He suggested that America adopt a system like England’s, which makes it easier to sue the media. Of course he is saying this because most of the media is against him. Doesn’t go his way? He wants to change it so it does. Good luck in an amendment. Would need three-quarters of the states plus two-thirds in both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States Congress.

In a 2009 radio interview with Don Imus, Trump said that he did not vote for George W. Bush in 2004. But after the election in 2004, he is on file saying that he did vote for Bush.

Now Trump believe that Democrats are making up poll numbers to suppress his candidacy. But why care? Trump, a connoisseur of polls, said he had even lost faith in the few surveys that have him ahead. “Now even though we’re doing pretty good in the polls, I don’t believe in the polls anymore,” he said.

Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway admitted “We are behind. “She has tremendous advantages,” Conway said of Clinton. “She has a former president, happens to be her husband, campaigning for her, the current president and first lady, vice president, all much more popular than she can hope to be.” Not really surprising since former Republican Presidents and Presidential nominees aren’t even backing Trump.

CNN interviewed Conway and her time so far with Trump. “I believe — Donald Trump has told me and his family, and the rest of America now, that none of this is true. …. And I think that it’s not for me to judge what those women believe.” So Trump can tell her the sky is actually orange and she’d believe him. She made a name for herself as a pollster by teaching politicians and corporate clients how to reach female voters and consumers. Obviously she isn’t helping much. [Conway’s husband George, is one of the lawyers who defended Bill Clinton accuser Paula Jones in the 1990s.]

“Go out and vote and that includes helping me re-elect Republicans all over the place,” Trump said. “I hope they help me too! It’d be nice if they help us too, right?” Even though many GOP candidates aren’t getting and help from Trump or giving him help.

Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani insisted that Democrats overwhelmingly engage in voter fraud because they “control the inner cities.” No proof of course.

On AB’s Good Morning America, Melania Trump was asked if she would do some speeches within the last couple of weeks of the campaign. She says “we’ll see”. And she appears surprised when the hubby says 2-3 appearances.

“…all the accusations, they should be handled in a court of law,” Melania Trump said. “To accuse somebody of — without evidence, it’s very hurtful and it’s very damaging and unfair.’ Except many have evidence or those who know of the sexual assault years before they came to light frequently.

Asked if he still planned to sue his accusers as he recently said he would. “We’ll see what happens, OK? Let’s see what happens on November 8,” Trump said. Changing his mind again.

“Hey, look, it’s [Twitter] a modern-day form of communication,” Trump said, laughing. “It’s a big asset. You have to use it right. But it’s a big asset.” But he doesn’t use it right.

Trump supporters are forced to cherry pick everything that show their candidate competitive. Eric Trump said his father had 10,000 people in Cleveland but Clinton could only get 600 in a gym in Pennsylvania.

In an June 2012 interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, Trump said he didn’t believe in deporting undocumented immigrants. Yet he wants to do that now. “…they’ve done a great job, they’ve done wonderfully, they’ve gone to school, they’ve gotten good marks, they’re productive – now we’re supposed to send them out of the country, I don’t believe in that…” Trump kicked off his campaign in June 2015 by calling saying “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has become the first major American newspaper to Trump. The paper is owned by Republican casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Numerous journalists either quit or were fired in the months after the purchase by Adelson 10 months ago. The newspapers who endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012 but are now siding with Clinton include the Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News and the Arizona Republic.

Trump cut an interview with WCMH short when he was asked about criticism over his treatment of minorities and women.

Trump claims that many of his employees are paying a lot more because of “Obamacare” but then backtracked when it was revealed that most of his employees are under his company’s plan.

One Trump supporter claims that Vladimir Poutine said that if Clinton wins, Russia will go to war with the US. He’s taking lessons from his hero.

The Log Cabin Republicans, one of the country’s most influential LGBT Republican groups, announced that it would not back the party’s presidential nominee, Trump. Not really surprised there and I don’t think Trump cares. Oddly the group, while praising Trump as “perhaps the most pro-LGBT presidential nominee in the history of the Republican Party,” does not like the views held by some of Trump’s advisers [record of opposing LGBT equality] and his support for a bill that would protect people who disagree with same-sex marriage from federal penalties. The bill would have allowed businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers in the name of religious freedom. The Republican platform expressed opposition to same-sex marriage, a lack of support for allowing transgender people to use the restrooms of their choice and support for conversion therapy.

The Trump “brand” is hurting. Even with his new Trump International Hotel in Washington, there are plenty of empty room at cheaper rates than the five major luxury competitors in the city – they generally charged more – sometimes hundreds of dollars more – or were sold out. By the end of the week, rates were cut by 10%. The managing director claims that it “has been the most successful in terms of opening bookings, interest from groups and large events” [for any Trump hotel].

Trump calls his hotel “One of the great hotels of the world.” Yes probably slightly better than a hotel where you can buy a room by the hour.

Trumps former chef – who was supposed to chef/run the premier restaurant in the hotel was on stage endorsing Clinton. Trump and the Chef had a major fall-out earlier in the year after the chef killed the deal after Trump made some comments about immigration. Trump is taking the chef to court.

Meanwhile, an event planner in Chicago cut all ties with his hotel. She removed herself from the list of “preferred vendors” and even pulled pictures related to the hotel from her web site.

A woman angry about Trump’s groping comments, and that his daughter still supports him, has created the hashtag “GrabYourWallet” on Twitter to boycott the Ivanka Trump Collection.

Some charities, including the Susan G. Komen Foundation are considering moving events from Trump’s properties. The U.S. Golf Association faces pressure from protests to move the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open from a course owned by Trump, although no decisions have been made.

Trump Place in Manhattan has new uniforms for doormen and other staff, ones that will no longer bear the Trump name. A petition is asking the owners to pull the Trump name. Those who live there don’t mention the name – only the address.

After several big-name brands including NBC, Macy’s and others severed ties in July 2015 following Trump’s derogatory remarks about Mexican immigrants, but there has been no similar high-profile exodus since. But no additions either.

A research firm, which monitors brand perception for 3,500 brands, said that the Trump brand was “collapsing” among people with a household income of over $100,000 a year. But gained for those under that amount.

Trump says “I’m fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” Or maybe he has no shares. Of course this all left wing Democratic Party controlled media and he doesn’t want to make them too powerful. Trump also said that if he is elected, his administration would look at breaking up the 2011 merger of Comcast and NBCUniversal. Unsure how he can do that.

The comments shocked some regulatory experts. Republicans are usually supportive of mergers and acquisitions while Democrats are generally more skeptical.

There is already talk that Trump could start his own network, particularly after having his own commentators after the third debate.

“I think it’s a very rude question, to be honest with you,” said Trump when a CNN ask a simple question – where he will be spending his time in the last two weeks of the campaign. This took place on the day he opened his Washington hotel.

Trump claims the hotel opened under budget and before the actual completion date. Clinton claims it was under budget because he used undocumented workers. He could also pulled back on some of the luxuries to reduce the cost.

“A long time ago, before I was married, I met Kelly Preston at a club and worked like hell to try and pick her up,” Trump wrote. “She was beautiful, personable, and definitely had allure. At the time I had no idea she was married to John Travolta.” She married Travolta since 1991. “Before” he was married makes it unlikely before Ivana Trump as he married her in 1977. While not married he was with Marla Maples during the period from his divorce to Ivana [and before that!] to Marla Maples. So that leaves the period from his divorce to Marla Maples and his marriage to current wife Melania Trump. But would he gone after Preston at age 37 with his history of going after younger women?