Tension between Trump and Iran increases

Trump was ready to authorize the attack on Iran but reversed course “10 minutes before the strike” when he learned 150 people could die in the attack, Trump said in a series of tweets. But according to Fox News [of all places], it was reported that Trump knew about the estimation of casualties hours before his decision.

In addition, Trump initially said he thought “Iran made a very big mistake” [negatively] but later said “I have a feeling it was a mistake”. And now he’s back to his war mongering mode. What will he said next? It wasn’t Iran?
“Everybody says he is a war monger and now they say I’m a dove… I’m a man with common sense” said Trump before boarding Marine One. Who said he is a “dove”? Probably nobody.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the White House is “suffering from mental disability” and behaving as “no sane person,” in the wake of new sanctions. Sounds like he’s talking more about Trump.

Trump whined why the US is protecting oil shipping lanes, contradicting what his own Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said about the Strait of Hormuz. Pompeo said just the week before that they would do everything to make sure ships can go through the Strait. Trump is also complaining that the US is paying for something to protect that it doesn’t use.

Trump doesn’t believe he needs congressional approval to make a military strike against Iran. “I do like keeping them — they have ideas, they’re intelligent people, they’ll have some thoughts. I actually learned a couple of things the other day when we had our meeting with Congress, but I do like keeping them abreast, but I don’t have to do it legally.” So he’s doing it illegally?

Trump signed an executive order imposing fresh sanctions on Iran, amid increased tensions between the long-time foes and told reporters the sanctions will target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office. Already 80% of Iran’s economy is sanctioned. Khamenei obviously has no wealth stashed in the US and probably little elsewhere

Trump claimed the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the order was in the works before last week’s downing, but was in response to that as well as to previous Iranian actions in the Gulf.

In a non-shocker, Senate Republicans tallied enough votes to block a largely Democratic-backed amendment that would require Trump to get congressional approval before striking Iran militarily.

Trump announced that he’s delaying for two weeks US Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that were planned to take place in 10 major US cities, saying deportations will proceed unless Congress finds a solution on the US-Mexico border. Of course you know that if nothing occurs in the two weeks, Trump will blame the Democrats and not his part for the failed talks.

“Some cities are going to fight it, but if you notice, they’re generally high crime cities. If you look at Chicago, they’re fighting it. If you look at other cities, they’re fighting it. Many of those cities are high crime cities and they’re sanctuary cities,” Trump said. You know he has no statistics to back him up other than knowing Chicago has crime issues but no correlation that it is related to illegal immigrants.

The House of Representatives voted by 230-195 to approve $4.5 billion in aid for the growing crisis at the US southern border — a vote that followed Democratic infighting over the package and a White House veto threat. It is not clear whether the House and Senate will be able to reach an agreement the President will sign off on. Four liberal Democratic freshmen voted against the measure, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. 3 Republicans voted with the Democrats.

With a man and his 23 month-old child found dead near the US-Mexican border, Trump right away blamed the Democrats for what happened. He puts the blame on them even though both the House and Senate approved $4.5 billion in spending while he may veto the spending and he has pushed to block migrants desperately trying to enter the US from Mexico. Where will they go?

On top of this, there are major issues at the detention centers where young children there are lacking food, water, sanitation, medical or psychological help. Parents weren’t supposed to be separated from their children but it is still happening.

Trump left the White House last weekend for a last-minute trip to Camp David. Maybe it was to escape Washington at a moment when he appears increasingly disenchanted by advice from his inner circle and out of sorts with some of the mainstays in his Cabinet. No members of Trump’s cabinet came along, nor did his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

Ahead of the G20 summit in Japan, Trump said “We have a treaty with Japan. If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III. We will go in and we will protect them and we will fight with our lives and with our treasure. We will fight at all costs, right? But if we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They can watch it on a Sony television, the attack.” Got that?

There was some talk of Trump killing the treaty. [The treaty says that Japan can’t have a full military except for defensive purposes in exchange for US to defend Japan if attacked and allow US forces to have bases in Japan – this during the Cold War.] Trump also went after Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany saying that Germany isn’t paying their share of the NATO budget while “We pay for close to 100 percent of NATO” and “seven are paid up”. In fact, the US pays 22% and none of the countries are behind their payments. The seven are actually those who spend 2 percent of their national economies on their own armed forces by 2024 and not what they pay for NATO’s budget. Makes him look like a fool… again.

Robert Mueller’s long-awaited public testimony in mid-July will give Democrats their best and perhaps last chance to seize on the Russia scandal to try to inflict a decisive political wound on Trump. Of course, expect Trump to start calling Mueller name and other comments. He already said “Presidential Harassment!” after the announcement. Trump also claimed that Mueller deleted FBI text messages.

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders is resigning amid the dramatic increase in the number of undocumented migrants crossing the border, a fight over how to address it and controversy over how children are being treated. Reports say children are living in such bad condition full of filth, sickness and other issues.

As usual, Trump claims that he is concerned about what’s happening at the detention centers and claims [don’t ask me how he measured it] that it is better now than under President Obama’s eight years. Interesting because I don’t remember so much media coverage and the fact that there has been a large increase of immigrants crossing the border compared to when Obama was President.

Tom Homan, the former ICE director and now a Fox News contributor, seemed to suggest that Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan leaked information about the ICE operation to media. McAleenan was resistant to the plan, concerned in part that it could hurt negotiations with congressional Democrats for ICE funding. Trump named Honan as “border czar” but Honan has not yet accepted the job.

Eric Trump said he was spat on by an employee at a Chicago-area restaurant. “It was purely a disgusting act by somebody who clearly has emotional problems” and who then cast blame for the incident more broadly on the Democratic Party. So he thinks the Democrats were the ones who told the individual to do it and is the only party who have followers with “emotional problems”? Maybe the employee was a Republican voter who dislikes his father.

And the real witch hunt begins: The House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena testimony from White House counselor Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway after a federal agency recommended that she should be fired for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act that limits the political activities of federal employees. The panel would vote to hold Conway in contempt if she ignores the subpoena.

Earlier this month, the independent Office of Special Counsel sent the Trump administration a letter outlining Conway’s “numerous violations” of the Hatch Act, finding that from February to May she publicly criticized the field of Democratic presidential candidates and sought to boost the Trump campaign while in her official role at the White House.

Trump’s protocol chief, Sean Lawler, has been suspended indefinitely just ahead of the G-20 meeting in Japan pending the outcome of a State Department investigation into his conduct. A large chunk of the protocol office was aware of this behavior for a long time. They’re surprised, to be honest, that this hadn’t been dealt with sooner.

In something that is not a real shocker, the Palestinians and allies aren’t really already panned the economic part of a peace plan proposed by Trump and delivered by Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner which includes $50 billion in grants, low-interest loans and private investments over 10 years. The political portion will be announced after the Israeli elections in September.

The New York Post’s former top editor, Col Allan, a supporter of Trump and an old “lieutenant” of owner Rupert Murdoch and current paper advisor, ordered the removal of a story about writer Jean Carroll’s sexual assault allegations against Trump. The Post’s story about Carroll’s sexual assault allegations was mysteriously scrubbed from the tabloid’s website. Was Allan thinking that nobody reads, watches or listen to the news other than the Post?

Tweets that Twitter deems to involve matters of public interest, but which violate the service’s rules, will be obscured by a warning explaining the violation and Twitter’s reasons for publishing it anyway. Users will have to tap through the warning to see the underlying message. Twitter said the new policy applies to all government officials, candidates, and similar public figures with more than 100,000 followers. This will include Trump.

Trump claimed he wouldn’t watch the first Democrat debate – but did. After 30 minutes into the debate, he tweeted “BORING!”

Former President Jimmy Carter suggested that a full investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election would show that Trump didn’t win the presidency. Expect a Twitter storm by Trump shortly. Until now, the former one-term Democratic president had shared a warmer relationship with Trump more than Trump has had with any other living president.

The battle over adding a citizenship in the Trump administration proposed census could affect future voting. The Census Bureau’s own experts concluded including a citizenship question on the census would discourage undocumented individuals and other minorities from participating. It would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites. Advocates for those groups say their absence from the count would disadvantage their communities when government resources are distributed and dilute their constitutionally granted representation in Congress.

Trump picked Stephanie Grisham to be the new White House press secretary and communications director. Grisham has been a member of Trump team since the summer of 2015, when she signed on as traveling press secretary. She went on to become a close confidante of not just Trump but, just as importantly, first lady Melania Trump — for whom she has served as communications director. Grisham is keeping that role. We will see how often she has press briefings.

American women’s soccer co-captain Megan Rapinoe, on asking about going to the White house if the team wins the world cup: “Psssh, I’m not going to the f_____g White House,” she fired back before the reporter finished the question. “No. I’m not going to the White House. We’re not gonna be invited. I doubt it.”

Trump extended a White House invite to Rapinoe and the team, regardless of whether they win or lose. The only problem? Trump tagged the wrong person. He later corrected the tag and saying “…but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!…”

Ummm. While tweeting about the Rapinoe issue, trump also adds ” Other than the NBA, which now refuses to call owners, owners (please explain that I just got Criminal Justice Reform passed, Black unemployment is at the lowest level in our Country’s history, and the poverty index is also best number EVER), leagues and teams love coming to the White House.” So he’s putting the NBA, criminal justice reform and black unemployment in there for what reason? Oh ya.

“Megan should never disrespect our country, the White House, or our flag, especially since so much has been done for her and the team,” Trump tweeted. I don’t think it is really any of the three Rapinoe has a problem with, just one person.

Will there ever be a quiet week in this administration?

Where have you heard this before? Just create a template and fill in the blanks.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who probably shouldn’t have had the job in the first place, is rumored to be the next on the way out. This even after Donald Trump said “Keep your head up. Keep fighting. We got your back.”

The White House is “looking into” Pruitt’s housing situation amid reports that he rented a room in Washington, DC, from the family of an energy lobbyist. Meanwhile, a Democratic senator has said that Pruitt’s 24-hour security in Washington allegedly extends to at least some of his personal trips, including one family trips to Disneyland and another to the Rose Bowl Game.

As if Pruitt has enough problems, he bypassed the White House to give large pay raises to two aides [combined over $80,000], then conceding the raises “should not have happened,” while denying that he was aware the raises were given out in the first place. But The Atlantic reported that Pruitt requested pay raises for “two of his closest aides,” in March.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told special counsel Robert Mueller in a classified August 2, 2017, memo that he should investigate allegations that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was “colluding with Russian government officials” to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, prosecutors in the Russia probe revealed.

Mueller was also empowered by Rosenstein to investigate Paul Manafort’s payments from Ukrainian politicians, a cornerstone of the Trump adviser’s decades-long lobbying career that has resulted in several financial criminal charges so far.

Wondering if Rosenstein could get into hot water as Manafort could give up those above him in exchange for a lesser sentence – which could cause Trump further problems.

The Trump administration is unleashing additional sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs with ties to President Vladimir Putin along with 12 companies they own or control. The measures announced by the Treasury Department were also aimed at 17 senior Russian government officials and the state-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboronexport, which has long-standing ties to Syria and its subsidiary, Russian Financial Corporation Bank. One sanctioned is Vladimir Poutine’s son-in-law.

China responded to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs [$50 billion] with $3 billion of tariffs of its own. Beijing has yet to retaliate to Trump’s promised crackdown on Chinese intellectual property theft. Trump may still add further tariffs. Combined with Trump’s obsession of going after Amazon [with more untruthful tweets], stock market took a tumble on Monday.

China is punching back in the escalating trade dispute with the US, announcing plans for heavy new tariffs on dozens more US goods including aircraft and autos. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said it plans to impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of US exports. The 106 affected products will also include soybeans and chemicals.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s listed of about 1,300 Chinese exports — also worth about $50 billion annually — that it intends to target with 25% tariffs.

Now Trump said he could add a further $100 billion in tariffs against China if he decides to.

Meanwhile, those in rural America are getting nervous because the latest tariffs from China will affect them primarily. For example, most of the soy comes from rural states – the same states that gave Trump the presidency. With the mid-term elections in 7 months, Trump could lose some of the rural vote if the tariffs don’t disappear. China is obviously targeting Republican voters. [Will Trump whine – if he loses badly in the mid-term – that China meddled in their election?]

In good trade news, they are making progress in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

When Trump complains that the government is getting a bad deal with Amazon’s shipping, he shouldn’t be blaming Amazon but instead the US Postal Service. In the end they are agreeing to the shipping rates. If anything Trump should commend Amazon for doing a good deal – although I don’t they used his book as a reference.

One of Amazon’s biggest customers is the federal government. Amazon, through its massive Amazon Web Services cloud computing division, has a deal with the government to provide cloud services to the CIA and other intelligence agencies. That deal was first awarded in 2013 and Amazon was said to have beat out IBM for the business. It’s a massive contract, worth a reported $600 million over 10 years.

Trump complained at length about the amount of American money being spent in Syria, which he said had produced nothing for the US in return. Trump grew irritated with his top military brass and national security team when they advised him an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Syria would be unwise. Even CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who Trump has tapped to serve as secretary of state, has told him that an immediate withdrawal from Syria would be a mistake.

Trump wants to use money set aside for the military to be used to build his Trump Wall. But he can’t as the money was specifically set to be used by the military [for security, etc.]. Trump claims that the Trump Wall is about security. Congress would have to agree to the change.

In the meantime, Trump wants to send the military to guard the border with Mexico until his trump Wall is built. The way things are going, it could be there for a while. Trump claim that this has never done before. George W. Bush used the National Guard in 2006. Federal law prohibits the use of active-duty service members for law enforcement inside the US, unless specifically authorized by Congress. Does he know any of this?

With between 2000 and 4000 National Guard troops expected to defend the southern US border, politicians are starting to wonder who will pay for the deployment and whether they will be armed. Like true Trump fashion, he announces something with little details and the White House staff have to scramble to figure things out. Though numbers have rebounded to be more consistent with the past few years, the number of crossings in fiscal year 2017 were at a nearly five-decade low.

Trump administration officials said they’re crafting a new legislative package aimed at closing immigration “loopholes,” hours after Trump called on Republicans in Congress to immediately pass a border bill using the “Nuclear Option if necessary” [changing the Senate rules to require a simple majority of 51 votes to override a rule instead of 60] to muscle it through. Trump’s favoured DACA solution mustered only 39 votes in the Senate, meaning it couldn’t have passed even if the Senate did approve the changes.

Trump tweeted “Because of the Trump Administrations actions, Border crossings are at a still UNACCEPTABLE 46 year low. Stop drugs!” Wouldn’t that be “inactions” and “unacceptable 46 year high”?

In 2000, 1.6 million were apprehended in trying to cross the border from Mexico into the US. In 2017, it was just 310,000. So much for Trump claiming the numbers crossing are increasing. He should give himself pat on the back for the lower amount.

Trumps announcement of putting the national guard at the border caught everyone in his administration off guard and are scrambling to respond to what he said – with the little information they got.

Trump also declared protections for so-called Dreamer immigrants “dead,” claimed the U.S. has “no effective border laws” and Trump continued to blame Democrats for killing the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program despite the fact that he was the one who moved to end the program. He also claimed DACA, which has provided temporary protection from deportation and work permits to hundreds of thousands of young people, is luring people to cross the border illegally, even though the program have never been open to new arrivals.

Trump appeared to assert that women from Central America are raped at “levels that nobody has ever seen before” as an argument for strengthening US immigration laws. It is unclear where Trump derived the evidence for his seeming assertion that Central American women are being raped at unprecedented levels. More like another bit of “facts” that he created.

Trump warned Mexico to halt the passage of “caravans” of illegal immigrants or risk retribution. Individuals in the caravans often try to reach the US border but usually not as part of the caravan. The caravans typically don’t proceed much farther north than the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

“The big Caravan of People from Honduras, now coming across Mexico and heading to our ‘Weak Laws’ Border, had better be stopped before it gets there. Cash cow NAFTA is in play, as is foreign aid to Honduras and the countries that allow this to happen. Congress MUST ACT NOW!” Trump tweeted. The so-called caravan is 1000 people [mostly Hondurans].

Trump appeared to claim credit for halting the caravan of about 1,100 migrants, many from Honduras, who had been marching along roadsides and train tracks in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. But the caravan of largely Central American migrants had never intended to reach the U.S. border. It was meant to end at a migrants’ rights symposium in central Mexico later this week.

Trump claims those in the caravan want to enter the US as part of DACA. But DACA is for those already in the US and were born there from parents who weren’t. It is an annual protest against Central America human rights abuses.

Trump also threatened to dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement if Mexico doesn’t reduce the flow of immigrants coming across the southern US border.

In your typical Trump fashion, during the annual Easter egg hunt on the White House grounds with small children, Trump decided to discuss politics including the trade war with China. In his speech in front of children, he says the economy is doing well – but the markets dropped quite a bit on the same day. [He goofed also in the past claiming the economy is doing well but the markets were sliding.]

Trump, a constant critic of what he calls “fake news,” will skip the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for a second year in a row. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders will attend to represent the administration at the head table.

In another bad sign for Republicans in November, a Democrat leaning candidate [had no party affiliation] won a 10-year seat on the Wisconsin’s Supreme Court – a state held with a Republican governor and a state won by Trump in the 2016 elections. In fact the winner won by double digits. It was the first time a liberal candidate who wasn’t an incumbent had won a seat on the seven-member court in 23 years.

Todd Johnson, political appointee, is a former Trump campaign state director in New Mexico who joined the Department of Defense in 2017 as an advance officer, a Pentagon employee with the sensitive task of providing logistical support related to the secretary’s events and appearances domestically and abroad. Johnson resigned after it was revealed on social media that he posted birther conspiracies about then-President Barack Obama and shared a video that claimed Obama was the Antichrist.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has already filed 29 separate lawsuits against the Trump Administration — and that doesn’t even include his defense of the state in the Justice Department’s litigation against the California law limiting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. Becerra’s list includes five lawsuits related to immigration, three on health care, three on education and 15 on the environment and climate.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner or operator of nearly 200 television stations in the US, is forcing its news anchors to record a promo about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. Sinclair is pro Trump and has many Fox stations but also ABC and others. Two-thirds are in Trump “country”.

According to a former Sinclair News Director, Sinclair has locked down the company where they have threaten anyone in the company who speaks publically about it. Sinclair enforces clauses if someone tries to leave before their contract is up.

Trump asked a federal judge to order private arbitration in a case brought by a porn actress who claimed she had an affair with him. Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, filed papers in federal court in Los Angeles asking a judge to rule that Stormy Daniels’ case involving a non-disclosure agreement must be heard by an arbitrator instead of a jury. Looks like Trump may want to keep the issue out of the media.

Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway responds to allegations in a new book by author Ronald Kessler that she is the “number one leaker” in the White House by saying that [obviously] the allegations are false.

A photo released of the White House interns show that almost all of the interns are white – lack of diversity. Well, it’s about the same for Trump’s cabinet. Anyone surprised? Is it accidental or intentional that the young man and woman of color are posed at the group’s edges and are the only 2 of 91 who are not white. Washington, DC has a large population of color. The Democrats showed off their intern picture. Plenty of diversity.