Trump hit on all sides this week

Another busy week. Long post!

Seems like every day there is a major news item. You would figure that Donald Trump would learn to keep quiet and maybe not do anything. Instead he has an interview with a “fake news” organization and then hires someone without telling his top aides.

Today, White House Press Secretary and quasi Communication Director, Sean “Garlic” Spicer, has resigned.

After Donald Trump decided to hire Anthony Scaramucci as the new White house Communication Director, this cut into Spicer’s job and coupled with others issues, he decided to resign. Trump didn’t even notify chief strategist Steve Bannon or White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus of the decision. Maybe they’re out next?

Spicer has been unhappy. Among other things, he was getting some flak from Trump [not surprised there] but also wasn’t invited on various trips including The Vatican [where he really wanted to go] and France. But he has been the subject of various media attacks including the Saturday Night Live skits. He also didn’t have a good start as Press Secretary when he over-inflated the crowd size of trump inauguration.

Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, who has been doing most of the press briefing, has said she doesn’t want to be Press Secretary. White House staffers are said to be shocked. But looks like she has it for now.

Trump asked Spicer to stay on in another capacity but Spicer declined. However, he will help in the transition.

Big question: What will Melissa McCarthy do now? 🙂

Scaramucci is a New York financier and former Trump campaign fundraiser with little to no experience in Washington politics or as a communication director. Trump likes him because he’s fiercely loyal and likes to attack opponents. During the presidential campaign two years ago, Anthony Scaramucci called President Trump “another hack politician” who is “anti-American.” He is also known to say to Trump that “He’s got a big mouth” and that Trump is “probably going to make Elizabeth Warren [a Democrat] his vice presidential nominee.”

Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, twice with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials. Sessions was then a top foreign policy adviser to candidate Trump.

Trump said that he would not have chosen Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself over matters related to the 2016 presidential campaign. Sessions was one of his earliest political allies. Is this a no confidence vote? Trump scolded Sessions for telling the Senate judiciary committee that he had not met with any Russians during the campaign. It was later revealed he had met with Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, at least two times. So Sessions should of lied.

This past Thursday marked 6 months for Trump as dictator or ruler or “fake president”. In that time…

  • He made 397 comments that were not completely or partially true. In the average of polls, his approval rating is a low 38% and just 50% in counties he won in the election.
  • 42 bills were signed into law – none of them big – and no major piece of legislation signed into law.
  • In addition he had 5 campaign style rallies [all in states where he won in 2016] and just one solo news conference. In comparison Barrack Obama had 11 in the first 6 months.  George W. Bush had 5. He has visited 16 states [as well as DC], most to visit his properties and all east of the Mississippi.
  • Not one mile of the wall between the US and Mexico has been built. Nothing may happen until early next year at the earliest.
  • Trump spent 40 days on Trump properties including 21 of 26 weekends. He claimed in 2012 that the Obamas gone on vacation 16 times in 3 years.
  • He pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – the only one of 21 campaign promises he kept. He also pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord [although some hints he may flip flop on this].
  • He has 1003 tweets of which former President Barack Obama has been named 36 times. “Obamacare” has featured in 45 posts. As well, “fake” news, media or stories have been mentioned 82 times. Hillary Clinton was mentioned in 22 tweets [mostly early o] and “jobs” have shown up on 46 times.

Trump’s signature campaign promise to repeal and replace Affordable Care Act came to a massive halt after Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas came together to announce that they won’t support the bill. Trump tweeted that Republicans should come together to pass a full repeal and worry about crafting a replacement with Democrats later. “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” he tweeted. If they can’t pass the current bill, forget about repealing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be to vote on a bill to simply repeal Obamacare with a two-year delay. That won’t fly either. It is also expected that in 2 years, there could/should be less Republicans in congress.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Susan Collins of Maine announced that they could not support any plan that would roll back significant parts of Obamacare without a replacement plan in place. This kills McConnell’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He still wants to hold a repeal-only vote “in the very near future.”

White House [deputy] press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the White House’s message to Congress is “do their job.” Aren’t they already?

Trump said that his new plan is to “let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us.” Sure Donnie.

Of the 21 promises by Trump during the campaign, the only one to be completed is to withdrawal from TPP and that needed just an executive order.

‘We’ll let Obamacare fail’ Trump said after the health care bill was defeated [again]. But according to a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, experts say the market has been on the mend this year. Many insurers stemmed the bleeding in early 2017 and some are on the path to profitability. The expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults is working well in the 31 states that chose to expand, extending coverage to roughly 11 million people. It could fail in rural areas [where Trump did well in the last election] which typically mean that all insurers pull out, leaving consumers who buy their own policies with no choice of subsidized coverage on the Obamacare exchange — or in some cases, any individual market coverage at all.

Trump asked Republican senators not to leave town for their August recess without passing a health care reform plan that makes good on seven years of promises to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Trump’s position is also at odds with comments he made over the last 72 hours, when he publicly pushed to let Obamacare fail and to repeal it without a replacement plan. Meanwhile Trump may still take his time off… to golf.

A super PAC tied to Trump ran ads against Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada who is up for re-election in 2018 and voted against the health care reform. After the Heller had a friendly exchange, Trump said, “Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?”

While Republican Senator John McCain recovers from serious surgery, the vote for the revised health care bill was put on hold [and eventually canceled]. Although he isn’t a fan of Trump he would of voted for the bill.

Senator John McCain is in a hospital after it was revealed that a blood clot near one of his eyes revealed that he has brain cancer. He will be sidelined for a while and with this type of cancer and at his age, it doesn’t look good in the long term. It also doesn’t look good on Trump either. While McCain was a very vocal critic of Trump [especially after Trump’s comments about McCain’s time in Vietnam] he did vote in favor of Trump’s health care bill.

But without McCain, there are 99 senators in which 51 are Republican. The previous legislation that went to the Senate [such as the health care bill] failed because at least 3 Republican senators voted against the legislation – which means the legislation would fail even with Mike Pence’s tie breaker vote. Now with one less Republican [until McCain either comes back or resigns and a special election is called], if at least 2 Republicans vote against, legislation dies.

Trump aides Marc Short and Brian Blase argued that Americans and lawmakers should give “little weight” to CBO projections that millions would lose coverage under the Senate GOP bill. “The CBO’s methodology, which favors mandates over choice and competition, is fundamentally flawed.” They have to blame someone when their facts aren’t proven right.

At closed door meetings with GOP and then all governors at the National Governors Association, Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma didn’t come away too happy. Their efforts left major questions unanswered, Republican and Democratic governors said. They urged governors to ignore Congressional Budget Office estimates that 15 million fewer people would be covered by Medicaid by 2026 and that $772 billion would be cut from the program, compared to current law. [BTW, at the same conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the first foreign leader to speak at the NGA conferences and walked away with a standing ovation.]

It was disclosed that Trump and an undisclosed [until now] second meeting with Vladimir Poutine at the G20. A senior White House said the discussion was “nearly an hour” but another said it was brief [not an hour]. Another one said it was a very long time. Trump spoke with Putin through Russia’s translator. The US translator at the dinner spoke Japanese, as Trump was sitting next to the Japanese. The White House statement said the conversation took place in full view of other world leaders and said Trump went over to his wife and spoke with Putin near the dinner’s end.

The lack of a US translator or other support meant the US would be without a scrupulous translation or a record of what was discussed. Since Trump didn’t bring a US translator and relied on Putin’s, a senator called it a “basic failure in terms of national security protocol.”

From a previous post, Trump did not have his Russian interpreter when he had his second chat with Vladimir Poutine at the G20 conference dinner. That was because each leader was granted just one translator at the dinner and he chose a Japanese interpreter as he was sitting next to the Japanese Prime Minister’s wife. Turns out the interpreter wasn’t used much as she didn’t want to chat with Trump – almost implying that she spoke no English. In fact she is fluent in English.

Trump suggested it would be wrong for Robert Mueller to investigate his family’s finances and said it would cross a line. He would not say what action, if any, he would take. “I think that’s a violation,” Trump said. “Look, this is about Russia.” Unless he has dealings in Russia which he has denied.

The Washington Post reported in June that Mueller was also investigating if Trump had obstructed justice. “I don’t think we’re under investigation,” Trump said. “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.” As a legal expert [sarcastically], does he knows what obstruction of justice means?

Trump’s legal team was trying to find ways to undercut Mueller’s role by amassing allegations of conflicts of interest against him.

The same team is exploring how Trump can use his pardoning powers. That include pardoning family, cabinet members and even himself before any charges are brought against them related to the Russian probe. [President Ford pardoned President Nixon before he was actually charged but they knew he would be charged.] Experts say it would be legal to pardon his family [but still not quite Kosher] and cabinet members and others but pardoning himself may or may not be quite legal. In addition, unsure how Congress would react.

Why would you pardon something if they haven’t done anything wrong? If, for example, Trump claims he has no dealings or properties in Russia, why pardon? [He recently hinted that he may have – he isn’t sure or doesn’t really know.]

The House Republicans are unveiling a budget resolution that would dramatically reshape the federal government, requiring more than $200 billion in cuts to mandatory programs and set the path for a major overhaul of the tax code. The conservative House Freedom Caucus continue to call for more sweeping spending cuts. Without them, the budget would fail.

After the mess with Trump Jr., Democrats are seeking to have Jared Kushner’s security clearance revoked. This would effectively have him removed from the White House. Kushner had to revise his security clearance form at least twice [at least 100 foreigners added to the form compared to the original version] and failed to disclose exactly how many people attended that meeting over a year ago with a Russian lawyer.

Most agree that if you are offered information about an opponent from another American, it may be at most unethical. If offered from a “friendly” contact [such as from the UK or France] it is probably unethical. But to get information from a country that isn’t friendly is an issue.

The eighth person to attend the Trump Jr meeting has been identified as US citizen Ike Kaveladze, a senior vice president at the company founded by the Russian oligarch who initiated the meeting. Kaveladze was asked to go to the meeting at Trump Tower last June with the understanding he would be Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s translator because she didn’t speak English, but she brought one. Kaveladze has been tied to a money laundering probe.

Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow suggested that the United States Secret Service may bear some responsibility for allowing Donald Trump Jr. to meet with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign. The secret service is there to protect Trump and family. Not to tell them who they can or can’t see. They are not people who you can ask legal questions. Just another blame game.

Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s longtime personal attorney who has been the lead lawyer on the Russia investigation, will see his role recede. John Dowd, the attorney defending Trump in the Mueller investigation, along with Jay Sekulow, will now be the President’s primary personal attorneys for the investigation. The spokesman for Trump’s legal team, Mark Corallo, resigned.

There was still more news [although not as critical]. Will probably send it off after the weekend.

 

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Trump was quietish this week – wow

Within hours, Donald Trump backtracked on various campaign issues. NATO, he said, is “no longer obsolete.” He backed down a threat to brand China a currency manipulator [was guilty of “rape” against the US economy]. Trump praised Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, whom he had previously pledged to replace when her term expires, and once accused of holding interest rates low as a political boost for former President Barack Obama.

White House press secretary Sean “Garlic” Spicer pointed to an interview with the Secretary General, where he indicated that NATO countries have been performing better in terms of their financial commitments. So it’s just about the money.

Paul Manafort’s [Trump’s former campaign chairman] finances and consulting work are drawing attention as Ukrainian officials try to determine whether he received improper payments as part of a corruption case into ex-President Victor Yanukovych—Manafort’s former client. US authorities also are investigating possible Ukrainian corruption and any role Manafort may have played in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

For example, from 2006 to 2012, records show, Manafort and his wife Kathleen spent $12 million on four residential units in New York City, including a $3.7-million apartment in Trump Tower. They also bought a $2.7-million condominium in Alexandria, Va., and a $1.5-million house home in Palm Beach, Fla.

Trump is threatening not to reimburse health insurers for covering low income people as a way of forcing Democrats to the negotiating table on health care. “I don’t want people to get hurt,” Trump said in an interview. Sure. This will hurt people. It is unfair to do this to low incomers when it is a political issue. Meanwhile, cowardly, the Trump administration this time is negotiating without doing it in the public’s view.

Garlic was widely condemned for claiming that Adolf Hitler, who gassed millions of Jews during the Holocaust, did not use chemical weapons. Comparing the Nazi leader with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Garlic told journalists during his regular press briefing at the White House: “We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War Two. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” He later apologized.

Trump tweeted in 2013 “What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.” Yet he bombed Syria twice in a week. No Congressional approval.

Moody’s Investor Service said earlier this year that the number of “distressed” retailers –those with cash problems and lots of debt that are facing strong competition — is at the highest rate since 2009. Some of the problems could be attributed to the economy or the administration. In addition Staples [in the US at least] wants a new owner.

Trump claims he was “the best baseball player in New York when I was young” in a book. Of course, this is Trump – the guy who exaggerates everything. In his narcissist ways, “he always wanted to hit the ball through people. He wanted to overpower them” even if they gave him the option to hit to the opposite field.

The surprisingly close results of a special election for a House seat in deep-red Kansas should serve as “a warning sign” to the GOP, Sen. Ted Cruz said. Trump had carried the Kansas district by 27 percentage points but on Tuesday, Republican Ron Estes only bested Democrat Jim Thompson for the seat previously represented by new CIA Director Mike Pompeo by 7 points.

Trump declared April to be National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Tina Fey, who was hosting a telethon for the ACLU at the end of March, commented: “Earlier tonight, in what is surely an April Fools’ joke, the president proclaimed that next month (April) will be National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, so now we know what he gave up for Lent.”

In the 14 weeks since his inauguration, Trump has been at his Mar-a-Lago estate seven times.

The Trump administration said it will not release logs of White House visitors, breaking with a precedent set by the Obama administration and shrouding Trump’s activities in the West Wing in secrecy. The decision was made in light of the “grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually,” according to White House Communications Director Michael Dubke. Funny how the Obama and previous administrations had no issues. Maybe they don’t want to show “visitors” that have entered the White House but shouldn’t.

The Trump administration was sued this week by several watchdog groups seeking access to the records, which have not been released since Trump took office, insisting the records are actually the property of the Secret Service, which is subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Meanwhile, the Democrats in Congress have also introduced legislation that would require the Trump administration to maintain and disclose the names of visitors at places aside the White House where he conducts business, including his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

The stock market had been on a nearly nonstop rip higher since Election Day on the belief that Trump and a Republican-led Congress will cut income taxes, loosen regulations for companies and institute other business-friendly policies. But now there are worries that the Trump White House may not be able to help businesses as much as once thought.

Sears and Kmart are just the latest U.S. retailers to jump ship on some Trump brand products.

Lawyers for Trump have sent not one, but two cease-and-desist letters to a website featuring his face being pawed by kittens, it is claimed. The person behind trumpscratch.com (be warned, not safe for work), a San Francisco teenager named Lucy, says she set the site up for a laugh, but was amazed to receive the letters from The Trump Organization informing her she was infringing the Trump trademark. Lucy has sold the domain to a UK organization, which has redirected it to another website featuring the name “Trump” – trumptytrump.com – a porn site. Lucy changed the name of the site to KittenFeed.com “But after changing, they still came at me,” she said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to Washington to visit Trump. Seems the Commander in Chief still likes to cozy up to dictators and thugs who ignore democracy or human rights.

Trump slipped 220 spots in Forbes magazine list of the world’s richest billionaires to number 544 with an estimated $3.5 billion. Forbes attributed Trump’s drop to sluggishness in the Manhattan real estate market which is responsible for a disproportionate amount of his wealth.

The heavily pro-Trump Drudge Report is the third most-visited media site on the Internet (behind only ESPN and MSN [the automatic homepage for many PCs]), and is one of a small handful of sites to have broken the 1 billion hits per month mark.

Trump’s job approval rating has dropped to 37%, while 58% of Americans disapprove of his performance so far as president, new Gallup figures show.

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said, “We really don’t quote [Conway] much anymore because, well, history,” as he reported on her explanation of “microwaves that turn into cameras.”

UPS announced that it will add Saturday delivery in the US, creating an estimated 6,000 new lower paying jobs in mostly delivery and distribution. I’m expecting to see Trump take credit for this.

Trump Hotels has planned to develop a $50 million property in downtown Dallas, using the organization’s new brand, Scion. The project is currently being developed with international investors and a Turkish businessman, Mukemmel “Mike” Sarimsakci, despite Sarimsakci’s history of lawsuits and tax trouble. Trump Organization had no signed agreement with Sarimsakci.

Yikes. The private account used by US Vice President Mike Pence when he was governor that was hacked was an AOL account. People still use AOL?

A White House statement congratulating ExxonMobil for increasing investment in Texas and Louisiana cribbed multiple lines from the oil giant’s statement as well as from ExxonMobil’s CEO without citation.

After the electronics ban for some Muslim countries, Royal Jordanian have they tweeted, “Stay tuned for more fun…” and “Every week a new ban”.

The Union for Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club and Earthjustice plan to jointly file a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by fossil fuel groups in March that asks the Environmental Protection Agency to delay or reconsider a rule that places more regulations on chemical plants. tHis was ordered by the Trump administration.

 

45*’s week in review

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is willing to testify before federal and congressional investigators in their ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the US elections, but only if he is granted immunity. Both Flynn and Donald Trump commented about how various Hillary Clinton associates received immunity and with Flynn saying “when you are given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime.” Trump doesn’t even mind if Flynn testifies. If you want immunity then you probably did something wrong. But why Trump would let it happen?

Meanwhile, Sean “Garlic” Spicer continues to claim that internal “leaks” [i.e. those anonymous sources] are more important to find than verifying if Russia did hack the country’s democracy. Sure.

Democrats are calling on Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes to recuse himself from an investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, widening a stunning partisan split over the probe. CNN reported that Nunes visited the White House grounds one day before going to the President with evidence that his transition aides’ communications were picked up in surveillance by US intelligence.

Garlic says that Trump has stopped commenting about the wiretapping that happened before the election but at any time. And now it is “surveillance”.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is possibly in a bit of trouble as he met with the chairman of a Russian state-run bank, Sergey Gorkov, in December. VneshEconomBank [or VEB] has been under US sanctions for almost 3 years. He was appointed to his job by Russian President Vladimir Putin after eight years at Russia’s biggest state-owned commercial bank. The meeting is raising questions both because of the sanctions and because Kushner spent years as a real-estate developer and was trying to attract financing for a building project of his in Manhattan. VEB confirmed the meeting with Kushner, though described Kushner in his role as head of Kushner Companies, not as a representative of Trump.

Trump signed a sweeping executive order at the Environmental Protection Agency, which officials said looks to curb the federal government’s enforcement of climate regulations by putting American jobs above addressing climate change. The order initiates a review of the Clean Power Plan and rescinds the moratorium on coal mining on US federal lands. Specifically, the order rescinds at least six Obama-era executive orders aimed at curbing climate change and regulating carbon emissions.

“I will also cancel all wasteful climate change spending from Obama/Clinton,” Trump said in October 2016. Bill Clinton’s administration is 20 years old. Hillary had Secretary of State – nothing really to do with the environment directly.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who routinely sued the EPA, argued incorrectly that carbon dioxide isn’t the “primary contributor” to climate change, a comment that goes against most scientific research. So if coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung disease, is bad for them, wouldn’t it be bad for the environment?
“They [coal miners] have not been treated well, but they’re going to be treated well now” said Trump in March. Yup with higher healthcare costs due to CWP.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt said the executive order signed by Trump will undo the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The 2015 rule has been on hold since last year while a federal appeals court considers a challenge by coal-friendly Republican-led states and more than 100 companies. Pruitt himself has sued the EPA numerous times before becoming the EPA head.

Meanwhile, the amount of coal miner jobs have been decreasing for the last decades under many Democrat and Republican presidents. In addition, various environmental groups are ready to take the government to court.

Steven Mnuchin is under fire promoting Lego Batman as a producer of the movie as he indirectly promoted his movie against ethics laws.

The House voted to block online privacy regulations issued during the final months of the Obama administration, a first step toward allowing internet providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to sell the browsing habits of their customers.

After the Trumpcare disaster, Trump blamed the Democrats but now is putting [some of] the blame on at least a couple of conservative group who voted mostly against Trumpcare. Trump said he believes moderate Democrats could help him in the future. Good luck there.

“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!” tweeted Trump as the Freedom Caucus was one of the guilty parties behind Trumpcare’s failure. The tweet represented a bold strike against the most conservative members of the House GOP coalition, who often come from safe districts and are frequently impervious to pressure from party leaders.

Trump, has reacted to the defeat of health care by predicting that Democrats will be willing to work with him down the road, especially if Obamacare spirals into decline. In his dreams.

Congress must pass and Trump must sign a spending bill that authorizes federal funding to succeed a current temporary spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, the current version of which expires on April 28. If not, there could be a government shutdown on April 29th – Trump’s 100th day in office. Once again, the GOP could be split along the same lines as the Obamacare repealing failure.

More complications if the GOP use the “nuclear option” confirmation of Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch to changing Senate rules to get around a Senate filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. Such a step would inflame passions even more in polarized Washington and likely leave Democrats even more resistant to crossing the aisle and working with Trump.

According to a report, the White House approved almost $1 billion to build 48 miles of a new wall on the border with Mexico and to replace another 14 miles. Considering these pieces of the wall are in areas [Rio Grande Valley region, San Diego] where it is mostly easy to move equipment to, I wonder what the price tag will be like in areas in the wilderness where there is no roads nearby or even a town.

It cost the NYPD and the New York City Fire Department a combined total of $25.7 million to protect President Trump‘s family, private home and office for the 75 days between Election Day and Inauguration Day [about $343,000 per day].

The U.S. Secret Service has also requested an additional $60 million in funding for the next year — $26.8 million of which would go toward guarding President Trump’s family and Trump Tower home [about $74,000 per day].

Finally, each weekend costs an extra $3.3 million per weekend [about $1.1 million per day] to protect Trump (and family) at the Mar-A-Lago location.

While campaigning in 2016 Trump claimed that “I don’t have time” for golf if President. Spicer has defended Trump’s golfing habit by citing the time he hosted the Japanese leader, arguing Trump utilized golf to “foster deeper relations.” And the other 12 times he has golfed [as of the end of March]?

A spokeswoman for the Washington Nationals said that the White House said Trump would not be at next week’s game at Nationals Park against the Miami Marlins because of a scheduling conflict. This breaks a tradition that was started in 1910 where the President through the first pitch to start the baseball season.

Wow! Despite President Donald Trump’s lack of evidence for his claim that millions of votes were cast illegally in last year’s election, some of his supporters are standing by the conspiracy theory. One New Hampshire Trump voter, said he saw “busloads of people” coming into New Hampshire to vote illegally. He did not provide specific details or evidence, but said he thought they were either undocumented immigrants or US citizens coming from other states. Another said he saw cars with out-of-state license plates full of people coming to vote, though he couldn’t provide any more details about them.

Katie Walsh, the White House’s deputy chief of staff, has left the administration but joined a nonprofit group supporting the President’s agenda. Second staff member to exit after disgraced Michael Flynn.

Not surprising LGBQ will not be an option in the next census due in 2020.
Although unknown which model, Trump finally switched to an iPhone but he may still have his Galaxy S3.

While there was a settlement approved in November after the election, where student should get about 90% of their fees back, a Trump university student/victim doesn’t want to settle until she sees Trump in court. The court still has yet to approve the settlement.

Two polls released recently asked Republican voters if what Trump said was true about the wiretapping and 60% believe him. “Trump would have never said that [Obama wiretapped him] unless it was true. That’s too much of a gamble for him to take. His reputation, you know?” said a senior in Ohio. Reputation? Trump?

A group of Democratic members of Congress are playing the clever acronym game again. One of the latest to be introduced and to target the Trump administration: the “Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act.” Yes, the “MAR-A-LAGO Act.”

The legislation would require the publication of White House visitor logs, something that was done regularly by the Obama administration but has since ended since President Trump took office. It would also mandate the release of visitor logs at other locations where the president conducts business — for example, Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort that he has recently called the Southern White House.

After claiming she would be one of the most photographed people in the world after threatening any media from claiming she was a high priced escort, she rarely steps outside of Trump tower in New York. Even at gatherings [from a White House luncheon to celebrate International Women’s Day to reading a Dr. Seuss book at a school], the media have been ordered to leave the premises when she speaks [hiding her accent?].

The hashtag #FreeMelania is now a pillar of Twitter-speak, while questions about the Trumps’ marriage inspire headlines such as “Melania’s Struggle,” an Us Weekly yarn that claimed the first lady is “secretly miserable.”

After Melania finally did something as First Lady by doing a keynote speech at a conference empowering women, her hubby claims her polling numbers went through the roof. Of course there wasn’t any poll. Of course he could have been joking. [She probably would have better polling numbers than he does and she’s basically done almost nothing.]

If you walk into Trump Tower in New York, you can find Ivanka Trump’s jewelry line is on display in the lobby. Visitors can find books, coffee mugs and after-shave lotion bearing the name and visage of him. Can imagine what they charge.

While campaigning in 2016 Trump claimed that “I don’t have time” for golf if elected president. Spicer has defended Trump’s golfing habit by citing the time he hosted the Japanese leader, arguing Trump utilized golf to “foster deeper relations.” And the other 12 times he has golfed [as of the end of March]?

[Note: “45*” is the 45th President of the United States. The asterisk is borrowed from the days when Roger Maris had an asterisk besides his name (for some) when he beat Babe Ruth’s then homerun record in a season but played more games to do it.]

 

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.

 

 

Another interesting week in Trumpland


From Donald Trump’s speech to congress…..

  • Trump was actually right when he said the crime rate was the highest increase in 50 years between 2014 and 2015 but that was because the murder rate in 2014 was the lowest ever.
  • Trump asserted his administration’s support of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are “creating tens of thousands of jobs.” But estimates maybe 15,000 temporary construction jobs and a further 42,000 indirect jobs with most disappearing once the construction is done.
  • “The stock market has gained almost $3 trillion in value since the election on November 8, a record,” Trump said. Yes but he’s taking credit for something he had little to do with. He hasn’t implemented much and the market is reacting to his pro-business stance.
  • “The vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country,” Trump said. Trump said he used data from the department of Justice – who didn’t verify. Other sources say maybe a 50-50 split between foreign and American “terrorists”.
  • ” Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force,” Trump said. Not true. The Atlanta Federal Reserve says some 44.1 million are retired, 15.4 million are disabled, 12.9 million are taking care of a family member and another 15.5 million are in college or job training. They are listed as not wanting a job.
  • “Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, …, Wal-Mart and many others have announced that they … will create tens of thousands of new American jobs,” he said. Many of the jobs announced since his election were previously announced. In some cases, the jobs would likely have turned up no matter who’s president. But his pro-business stance has helped.
  • “We’ve saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by bringing down the price of the fantastic … new F-35 jet fighter,” he said. The price per fighter dropped when an additional 90 more stealth fighters were ordered.
  • Trump characterized his proposal to increase the defense budget as “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” Maybe by amount but not by percentage as there was a huge spike when the US entered World War II as well as during the Vietnam war [for example]. $54 billion today is worth far less than $54 billion a century ago.
  • “The time for trivial fights is behind us,” Trump said. Considering he has had “fights” over things that shouldn’t concern him, I’m doubting they will end.
  • Trump confused some when he said [about Obamacare] that he doesn’t view it as government’s role to make sure Americans can actually afford that insurance but then said “no one (is) left out” by state governments.
  • When Trump ended with a call for bipartisan cooperation on repealing and replacing the “collapsing” Obamacare, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi shook her head no. Not surprised.

Trump offered big cuts to the corporate tax cuts, “massive” relief to the middle class, and $1 trillion infrastructure program but didn’t say how they will be paid. Wipe ISIS but said nothing about the issues in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. Build the Mexican wall but didn’t mention who will pay and it was coming soon. But when? The Executive Order was signed a month ago.

Almost nothing mentioned on immigrants [and his bans] or trade packs like NAFTA.

Trump started off the week well keeping fairly quiet and then his speech. Problem is that a new can of worms opened up regarding the Department of Justice secretary Jeff Sessions and his chats with the Russian ambassador during the elections – which is a no-no. He is now not involved with anything related with the Russian meddling [duh!] but that may not be enough.

A Republican congressman was whining about some women at the speech given by Trump wearing white suits [and a few comments about the looks] and claimed that these were supports of Hillary Clinton. In fact, they wore white to honor the Suffragettes as well as women’s month. Out of touch the congressman is.

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz criticized the White House on Wednesday night after Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway retweeted an allegation that Wasserman Schultz did not stand or clap during a standing ovation for the widow of a slain Navy SEAL during Trump’s address to Congress. In fact, video shows she did.

From the previous blog where CNN and New York Times were banned, add the BBC, Daily Mail, Politico and Los Angeles times to those that were banned at White House briefings. The White House correspondents association protested the decision to ban.

The ban came after CNN and the New York times both reported that White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, told the FBI to tone down the investigation related to the Trump administration chatting with Russian intelligence.

[I’ve said it before (although maybe not in this blog), with the Trump administration abusing the media, the media should boycott the White House briefings and any news conferences and events that involve the administration. Unsure if the right wing media would comply.]

Now Trump has gone one step further by deciding not to go to The White House Correspondents dinner. This is the first time a president has decided to do so in 35 years. I guess he can take a huge onslaught of criticism and jokes about him sand his administration.

Trump suggesting that Americans could get another chance to seize Iraqi oil as compensation for its military efforts there. This is basically one of the things that radicals has always said – grab Arab oil.

Not surprising, Trump delayed the replacement to his travel “ban” executive order. Supposed to be this week…. Maybe next week. Oh, it could be in October the way things are going.

The second version of the travel ban still hasn’t been released but a leak suggest Iraq has been pulled off the country list. The order won’t include any explicit exemption for religious minorities in the countries targeted by the travel ban.

A section of the international arrivals area at Dulles International Airport outside the nation’s capital [as well as other airports] has been transformed into a virtual law firm, with legal volunteers ready to greet travelers from affected countries and ask if they saw anyone being detained and in preparation for the second version of the travel ban.

The first Trump travel ban [or just his administration] may have had an effect on the tourist industry. Global searches for U.S.-bound flights are down 22 per cent from Jan. 1-Feb. 22. Interest in Florida cities dipped by up to 58 per cent, while searches for Las Vegas and Los Angeles were down by 36 and 32 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile it seems the US is popular with Russians with a huge increase.

The initial draft bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] has hit some snags from some Republicans. The draft bill itself was leaked. So I wonder how many had access to the bill.

“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” said Trump – already another hint that it will take quite a bit of work to change. So much for Trump’s election promise to make it a priority. He probably never saw the size and complexity of the resulting act until he was elected.

Fake News! Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly had someone on his show who is a “Swedish Defense and National Security Advisor.” Except few in Sweden had ever heard of him, much less taken advice from him. In fact, the man lives in the US and works for Modus which does “operations and management of possible kidnap and ransom situations.” He was also in trouble with the law in 2014 and also has no idea where Fox got his title from. Fox is expected to mention the error. Maybe not quite fake news but definitely a fake title.

CNN has a clock that shows when the last time Trump has attacked someone on Twitter.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer recently checked his aides’ cell phones to ensure they weren’t communicating with reporters as part of an aggressive effort to stem the recent tide of White House leaks. He informed them that the use of encrypted texting apps, like Signal and Confide, was a violation of the Federal Records Act. Such a hypocrite since some Trump staff have used Confide. A leak of the leaks?

Despite Trump’s anger about unnamed sources, White House budget officials insisted on anonymity as they outlined details of Trump’s spending plans to reporters on a conference call.

Hilariously, now Trump says Obama could be behind the leaks. He’s not in office and he has no say. So how?

In the 1990s, Trump was a frequent anonymous source of information about his social life and television series, “The Apprentice,” said newspaper columnist Linda Stasi. Once Trump called and pretended to be someone else delivering information about him; Stasi said she could easily recognize his voice.

Conway is a witch. How dare she site like that in the Oval Office couch with many guests in the Oval Office? It is one thing to do that with fellow Trumpians in a private chat but not that. Shameful. She claims she needed to do that for a better angle [as if she is a professional photographer]. As for the right wingers who poke fun at Obama, this was Obama’s office. Was his White house. Everyone else works for him.

Trump and his family’s extended stays in Mar-A-Lago in Florida and Trump tower in New York are costing the Secret Service millions daily. Donald likes to go to his sprawling estate while Melania is in New York with their youngest. It was Trump who said that Obama took too many vacations – spending taxpayer’s money in protecting him. But he has been in Florida probably every weekend since elected in addition to his other trips.

Vice President Mike Pence used a personal email account to conduct state business while he was governor of Indiana, discussing issues like the resettling of Syrian refugees and other matters on an AOL account that was hacked in a phishing scam. So if you get hit by a phishing scam you are not tech savvy much. The only difference between this issue and what happened to Hillary Clinton was that she was privileged to more national security issues but even he delved into national issues.

At a previous CPAC conference, Ted Cruz says Trump is not a Conservative. But he seems to support Trump. What a flip-flopper.

Trump on the Oscars and the mess at the end: “I think they were focused so hard on politics that they didn’t get the act together at the end,” Trump told Breitbart. “It was a little sad.” Actually most believe they were quite lite on the politics. Maybe that’s why it was boring according to most critics.  “Look, it just seems like the other side, whenever they’re losing badly, they always pull out the race card,” he said. Race card? Seriously?

“In fact I did much better than many other than other Republicans in the last election.” By popular vote, he was one of the worse. He’s not even close to the best for electoral votes.

Trump’s treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, financed and was an executive producer of “Suicide Squad,” which won for hair and makeup. Maybe he can help Trump and that thing on top of his head?

 

Another typical Trump week

The Justice Department warned the Trump administration last month that Michael Flynn misled administration officials regarding his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians. Flynn would later apologized.

The concern was raised after Flynn claimed he did not discuss with the Russian ambassador the sanctions being imposed by the Obama administration in retaliation for Russia’s interference in the election. Flynn was not yet in government. Flynn spoke to the ambassador on the same day Barrack Obama announced sanctions for Russia meddling in the US elections.

The message was delivered by then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Other top intelligence officials, including James Clapper and John Brennan, were in agreement the White House should be alerted about the concerns.

The chief of the propaganda department, Kellyanne Conway, stated just hours before Flynn’s resignation that Trump had full confidence of his National security adviser. So who was right?

Spicer first said Flynn was fired by Trump and then said Flynn resigned. Spicer blamed the Department of Justice for sitting so long even though Trump knew of Flynn’s mistake for almost 3 weeks. Flynn himself had the shorted time as National Security Advisor at 24 days – typical average is 2.5 years.

Just six days into his presidency, Donald Trump was informed his national security adviser had misled his vice-president about contacts with Russia. Trump kept his No. 2 in the dark and waited nearly three weeks before ousting the aide, Michael Flynn, citing a slow but steady erosion of trust, White House officials said.

Trump slammed intelligence officials and the media over what he called “very, very unfair” treatment of his ousted national security adviser Flynn. How else do you treat him. In addition, so he is again criticizing the CIA, NSA and others – the same departments that he just recently praised. I’m sure he is not going after the right wing media as they seem to be the only media he will take questions from.

Trump also accused holdovers from the Obama administration of leaking out information about his alleged contacts with Moscow to hammer his administration. No proof, of course.

“The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred.” He added that the news reporting was “merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.” She lost 3 months ago. Get over it. You think they’ll still be covering up things in 2 years?

Meanwhile, Trump also wants to go after the people who leaked the documents that got Flynn sacked. Of course we know that nothing will ever come out of it because there will not be any investigation. It will just be another part of Trump’s arsenal where he can whine about, to reflect blame, etc.

Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down Trump’s offer to be national security adviser replacing Flynn.

As well, the FBI is not expected to pursue any charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn regarding a phone call with Russia’s ambassador, barring new information that changes what they know.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, said that firing Flynn for his contacts with Russia is “not just paranoia but something even worse.” I guess they wanted him so he can be blackmailed.

Conway got a verbal spanking when she promoted Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. One of the rules state that senior government employees cannot promote and product. Conway was pushing Ivanka’s brand after the Nordstrom shopping chain dropped her brand. Normally anyone who violates the rule is let go. She wasn’t.

At his news conference Trump claimed he had the “biggest Electoral College win since Reagan”. Nope. President Obama won 332 electoral votes in 2012 and 365 in 2008. President Clinton got 379 in 1996 and 370 in 1992. The first President Bush received 426 in 1988. Trump couldn’t even get his total right. He said 306 when he got 302. Can’t remember 3 long months ago?

He also claimed that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had “set a record” of being overturned by the Supreme Court 80% of the time. In fact, the Supreme Court overturned 87% of the cases by the 6th Circuit Court and 85% by the 11th Circuit during the same period.

A year ago candidate Trump was whining that Boeing would close their South Carolina plant and move it to China. The plant is still there and Trump is there to tell Boeing to add more jobs.

After hiring 6 foreign workers in December, Trump Vineyard Estates LLC [owned by son Eric] wants to hire another 23 foreign workers. Here’s another kicker. The winery is using H-2 visa program – when allowed to bring in foreign workers when no American workers can do the job. Huh? You bring in someone high in the scientific field for a H-2 visa. Not someone to pick grapes or drive a tractor.

Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination as Labour Secretary because of his past. Quite a few Republicans wouldn’t approve of his nomination.

In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said that he’d like to see the U.S. Embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but noted that “we’re looking at it with great care.” That sounds a bit more like a bit of a reversal of his election campaign where he said he would move the embassy if elected. Another campaign promise out the window.

Supposedly, Trump may have blabbed about some top secret information at a supper he was at [I would assume with some people who didn’t have a proper level of clearance]. No. It wasn’t at McDonalds.

Trump said that he will do “everything within our power to stop long-simmering racism.” Problem is that the right [who voted him in] is more known to be anti-Semitic, anti-Islam and just racist than the left [think Fascism, KKK, etc.] Trump notes that he won 306 [not 302] electoral votes and fostered “tremendous enthusiasm” during his campaign. But some ugliness also appeared during his campaign and even now.

Trump his still using his unsupported [and outdated] Samsung Galaxy S3 [not made in the US, BTW] for his tweeting and Email. He is using it even though he was given a more secure phone to use. Two US senators have filed a letter [complaint?] to the US Department of Defense Secretary.

“I do get good ratings”, Trump said at a rare news conference. He’s looking for TV ratings?

“I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home and abroad, a mess.” Huh? It’s only a mess since he became the Commander in Tweet.

Trump continues to invent things that didn’t exist or was incorrect. Trump is even posting on Instagram with a quote from Abe Lincoln that were never attributed to Lincoln. And it wasn’t surprising that already someone investigated the quote.

Spicer said the recent Yemen raid was “obviously a huge success” and that “anyone who suggests it was not a success does a disservice” to William “Ryan” Owens, the Navy SEAL who was killed during the mission. That turned heads. Using his death for political reasons.

Recently, Spicer was scrutinized for saying, on three separate occasions over two days, that there was an unspecified terror attack in Atlanta. There wasn’t. They were in Orlando.

It seems that even Trump “is disappointed in Spicer’s performance during the first two weeks of the administration.” I’m sure both will deny that.

Spicer has repeatedly called for individual journalists to apologize for mistakes. Many of the White House correspondents aren’t too happy with him from day one.

Joining the Department of Propaganda is Stephen Miller. He claimed that Trump has done more in his 3 weeks of office than most presidents in their entire term.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visited Trump this past week. Seems that Trump feels the portion of the NAFTA deal with Canada won’t be tweaked/modified much compared to the US/Mexico portion of the deal.

Trudeau did get big brownie points when he presented a framed picture of Trump with Justin’s father [Pierre Elliot Trudeau] at a gala in 1981 when Trump spoke as the elder Trudeau was awarded a family man of the year award in New York. In addition Trump also got a Canadian made sculpture with the rock itself coming from Cleveland.

Spicer called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Joe Trudeau. A few cartoon images have since appeared.

joe_trudeau

Of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks, 15 were from Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Egypt, and one was from Lebanon. Yet none of these countries were listed in the executive order. With the exception of Lebanon, Trump has business interests in all those other countries plus Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Woops. At least 6 players of the Super Bowl winners, New England Patriots, are saying they will not visit the white House and Trump. The Patriots’ owners a good friend of Trump. See if he changes any mind.

Another loony week in Washington

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” That was related to the Statue of Liberty. Now? Not under the Donald Trump administration. For them it’s more like “Give me your rich, your well connected. Your billionaires yearning to get tax free shelters….”

The American Psychiatry Association has a nine-point checklist for narcissism – if someone displays just five of the traits, they have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. From what it looks like Trump has at least 5 and as many as all 9 of the traits.

Trump’s ban went out the window as a judge ordered it struck down. The administration will go back to the court for a stay.

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump wrote on Twitter. Of course if the judge went his way Trump would of tweeted something like “He deserves a raise for upholding the American values, blah, blah, blah.” The judge in question was appointed by George W. Bush.

Trump denied his immigration order was to blame for the chaos at the nation’s airports over the weekend, instead pointing to computer glitches, protesters and even the “tears of Senator Schumer.” And while there was a glitch last Sunday night affecting 150 flights for Delta, the protesting started on Saturday – way before the glitch. Trump even said the executive order was working perfectly.

How many terrorists were refugees to the US? None. But they even detained a 5 year old. Must be the mastermind to the next terrorist attack. Nobody would expect the kid. Another 4 month old girl from Iranian who needs surgery has been denied entry. Some Canadian hospitals may try to help out.

People were scratching their heads when spokesman Sean Spicer compared banning those from the 7 countries [they don’t want to use the phrase “Muslim ban”] to the shooting of 6 Muslims by a right wing nutcase in Quebec City. Huh? A white [probably] Catholic killed 6 Muslims – not a Muslim killed 6 whites. Idiot.

Some top experts in the economy believe the seven country ban will hurt the US economy in many areas. Already a higher dollar isn’t helping. In 2015 foreign tourist spent $199 billion which counts as an export [9% of all exports]. As an unfriendly country to some, the tourists will spend less – not just from those 7 banned countries but others. Building a wall along the border with Mexico and his vow to rip up NAFTA could discourage visitors and students from many countries. Education spending from overseas reached roughly $36 billion in 2015 — up nearly 50 per cent from three years earlier. It is also considered an export.

There is talk of friendly countries such as from Canada to require various biometrics taken [in addition to other countries]. Even those with Nexus cards, dual citizenship and others. Even the former Prime Minister of Norway was denied entry as he was in Iran for a human rights conference.

Over the past decade, the number of foreign students in the United States soared 73 per cent, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Overseas students typically pay the full tuition price, receive little financial aid and make up 8 per cent to 10 per cent of tuition revenue in the United States. More than 1 million foreign students studied in the United States during the 2015-2016 academic year, supporting 400,000 jobs in the process. Autos and auto parts totaled $152 billion in 2015 could also be at risk. Agricultural exports amounted to $137 billion.

Top Trump aides also defended the order, comparing it to a 2011 policy on Iraqi refugees. In 2011, President Barack Obama imposed additional checks on Iraqi refugees after two Iraqis were charged with terrorism offences in Kentucky. But that was for a known offence. Kellyanne Conway wrongly claimed that the 2011 policy “was never covered in the press.” She also falsely described it as Obama’s own “ban” on refugees.

Not to be outdone Rudy Giuliani [he doesn’t seem to have any official title] claimed he was the orchestrator of the ban with the legal help of the new attorney general as well as at least two Republican congressmen. Too bad he didn’t bring in some constitutional lawyers who would of told him he’s wrong – if he actually spearheaded the ban. Giuliani claimed he wanted to make the ban all legal. Uh huh.

Trump fired the acting attorney general of the United States after she publicly questioned the constitutionality of his refugee and immigration ban and refused to defend it in court.

Press secretary, Sean Spicer, accused the acting attorney general of having “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.” No. More like going against a legal order that is probably unconstitutional and morally wrong.

Conway was at it again claiming there was a cover-up or lack of media attention in 2011 during the “Bowling Green Massacre” in 2011. Problem is that there was never one. The two men lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky “admitted using improvised explosive devices against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and who attempted to send weapons and money to Al-Qaeda in Iraq for the purpose of killing U.S. soldiers.”

Trump signed an executive order to reduce regulations for small businesses in the Oval Office surrounded by small business leaders, saying it would “massively” cut regulations and calling it the “biggest such act that our country has ever seen.” I wonder how he measures this order versus others.

The acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement was removed but administration didn’t offer any explanation for the move, only said via Twitter that Daniel Ragsdale is returning to his previous position as deputy director.

A day after Donald Trump’s first call as president with Russia’s Vladimir Poutine, leading congressional Republicans made clear they oppose any attempt by the new administration to wipe away U.S. penalties imposed on Moscow by the Obama White House.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Rex Tillerson, who is awaiting confirmation to lead the State Department — have told associates they were not aware of details of the directive until around the time Trump signed it.

A state visit to Britain by Trump later this year will go ahead, the prime minister’s office said despite 1.8 million signed a petition on the government’s web site asking the government not to invite him. Any petition with more than 100,000 signatures must be considered for a debate in Parliament, though not a binding vote. Last year, Parliament debated whether to ban Trump, then a presidential candidate, from visiting Britain after a similar online petition. He had been invited to come to Britain later this year as the guest of Queen Elizabeth II.

Speaking of the British royalty, we knew for a while that Trump is a womanizing filthy pig. Here is another example related to the future Queen of England.

middleton

Being a Trump is sometimes not so good. Nordstrom dumped Ivanka Trump’s clothing and shoe lines because of low sales. The move comes amid an effort by what is called the #GrabYourWallet campaign to encourage shoppers to boycott products with ties to Donald Trump, his family and his donors.

A small group protesting a far-right commentator’s appearance at the University of California at Berkeley hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and sparked a massive bonfire, prompting officials to call off the event. Trump tweeted “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” I think he doesn’t get the point again. The meeting the commentator was canceled not because of his views but because of the violence. The commentator has already been banned from Twitter over his comments is a vocal supporter of Trump and a self-proclaimed internet troll whose comments have been criticized as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist.

Trump said he won’t roll back federal workplace protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people, giving a rare nod of approval to President Barack Obama’s work on the issue. Wow. One thing he won’t change back…. Although there is plenty of time.

Apple is considering legal options regarding Trump’s executive order for banning people from 7 countries, which has affected hundreds of its employees, CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Amazon and Expedia have joined a legal challenge.

Watch CNN’s Anderson Cooper laughing at how really dumb Conway is. 

Tom Price [nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services] has had stock trades call into question whether he will work in the public interest or his own, and the other, Steven Mnuchin [nominee for Treasury secretary], has appeared to have misled the committee on his company’s foreclosure practices after the Great Recession were under scrutiny. Democrats on the committees refused to attend and allowed the Republicans in the room vote to suspend the rules of the committee. Under committee rules, it is required that at least one Democrat be present for the panel to vote to send a nominee to the Senate floor.

Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, a Denver based judge. If confirmed, the 49-year-old Gorsuch would be the youngest justice on the court and could be shaping decisions for decades.