Trump definitely back to “normal”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump attacks Obama, MSNBC co-hosts

“Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it,” Trump said in an excerpt of his interview on Fox News. “The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even — before the election.”

The Washington Post reported the Obama administration’s efforts to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for trying to sway the presidential election in Trump’s favor.

Before the election, the Obama administration issued several warnings to Moscow about its activities, including one delivered by the President to Putin in September, the Post reported.

But as a person who has full clearance for the last 6 months, why is this coming out now? Trump didn’t know until now?

And I guess Trump finally agrees that Russia did meddle in the US election in November after calling it a hoax and fake news for the last 8 months.

Yet still White House counselor Kellyanne The Witch Conway dismissed the idea that Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election. “I think it’s very important to show no nexus has been proven between what Russia or any other foreign government tried to do in the actual election result,” Conway said. “Really the only person making that case prominently is Hillary Clinton.” Didn’t she get the memo [from her boss]?

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, cohost Mika Brzezinski said that “it’s not normal behavior” for any leader to be tweeting about people’s appearances, bullying, lying, undermining managers and throwing people under the bus if any business executive behaved the way Trump does, “There would be concern that perhaps the person who runs the company is out of his mind.” Trump then tweeted “I heard poorly rated @Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came … to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

White House social media director Dan Scavino similarly attacked the hosts saying “#DumbAsARockMika and lover #JealousJoe are lost, confused & saddened since @POTUS @realDonaldTrump stopped returning their calls! Unhinged.” What a pair of classy people!

After members from both parties are upset at his comments, the White House is blaming the left wing media for who knows what.

Then just a day later the two hosts from MSNBC were told that if they apologized to Trump [not the other way around], the Nation Enquirer will release some most likely ridiculous story about them. Blackmail. Trump and the publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, are friends and allies.

Melania Trump says when someone goes after her husband, he fights back 10 times. She supports even the latest comment. This also shows he can’t take criticism.

Now the health care vote in the Senate has been delayed until after July 4th so they can negotiate with the hold-outs in the Senate to get the bill going. The House version of the bill would have 1 million less people go uninsured. But there are big names who are voting no or leaning to vote no. They include Ted Cruz, Susan Collins and Rand Paul. Several others also are leaning towards voting no. CBO warned that in some rural areas, either no insurer would be willing participate in the individual market or the policies offered would be prohibitively expensive. Rural America was a stronghold for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Only 16 senators have given full support.

Already at least 5 senators are so far voting no – anything more than 2 Republican senators leaving and the bill will fail. This was before the Congressional Budget Office released a devastating report on its impact where an additional 32 million Americans insured under ObamaCare would lose their health care insurance. [Not surprising some Republicans think the CBO is now biased – if they don’t like things to go their way they mustn’t be unbiased just like everything else that hasn’t gone the Republican way.]

Even prostitutes are protesting Trumpcare as they will lose coverage and seniors [which make up a chunk of their clients] may not be able to afford both them and higher health care costs.

Trump was celebrating that his travel “ban” was allowed by the Supreme Court – rejoicing that all 9 judges agreed – but he obviously didn’t want to think about that it was only a partial victory. It was the no brainer part – ban those with no US connection from entering the US. But the remaining portion of the travel “ban” will not be decided by the court for a few months.

After it was reported, Time magazine asked Trump to remove some fake magazine covers that shows Trump on the cover of a fictitious Time magazine

Being childish as usual, Trump accused former President Obama of stealing his terminology when Obama said last week that there was a fundamental meanness at the core of the Republican health care bill. “Well he actually used my term, ‘mean.’ That was my term,” Trump said. I’m expecting him to copyright the word mean(TM) soon.

The Republicans [and in particularly Trump] keep on lashing out at Hillary Clinton almost 8 months after the election. At the same time, anything the Democrats do against Trump and right away the Republicans claim sore losers. So why is it that a year later [when Clinton won the nomination], Trump has nothing to do but whine?

Just this week Trump tweeted “Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!” Wow! Trump is defending Bernie. Not. Trump has nothing else to do but to open up another hornet’s nest?

The Trump International Hotel and Tower has been bought by a creditor for $298 million. As part of the change, the Trump brand and management will be dropped. Trump Organization did not own the place. Since it went up in 2012, there has been a series of issues such as delays in opening, construction issues, and twice glass fell below. The building has also been the target of a lawsuit from individual investors of units who allege they were misled by Trump and the building’s developer. Investors said they were led to believe the residential units, which were to be rented out as part of the hotel, would generate returns ranging from 7.74 per cent to 20.9 per cent, but instead they lost money. A court ruled in favour of the investors last year.

With no specific reason why but Vice President Mike Pence is replacing chief of staff John Pitcock with Nick Ayers. A source close to the Vice President says that the change of hands has been in the works for a while, insisting it not a shakeup, and the timing was to coincide with the congressional recess.

Trump has broken with recent precedent by not recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month. He did recognize the month for National Caribbean-American Heritage Month and African-American Music Appreciation Month among others. Ivanka trump did mention LGBT Pride Month at the beginning of the month.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been fighting to legalize sports betting and will make its case before the Supreme Court. He hopes that legal sports betting can help the state’s economy, particularly beleaguered Atlantic City casinos. So far, lower courts have ruled against him. Lawyers for the Trump administration had also urged the Supreme Court not to take up Christie’s appeal.

Nineteen US Senators have written a letter asking the White House “to direct the Department of Energy (DoE) to conduct a thorough analysis of Russian capabilities with respect to cyberattacks on our energy infrastructure.” Legislators made a similar request in March but received no response.

Ivanka Trump made an interesting statement saying that she tries “to stay out of politics.” This for a woman whose current job title is “adviser to the President of the United States.” Question is what does she advise her father on? Fashion [see below]? In most cases, when you are an adviser, you must have some expertise in something. [On the other hand, her father has some people in his cabinet assigned to departments where they have no expertise either.]

Ivanka Trump must give a deposition in a lawsuit by an Italian shoemaker claiming her fashion label copied its designs, a federal judge has ruled. Aquazurra Italia filed the suit against Ivanka Trump and her company in June 2016. It claims the brand has produced cheaper knockoffs of Aquazurra’s “coveted” and highly publicized shoe designs.

Before Donald Trump came into office, Ed Amoroso, the former chief security officer of AT&T, published an open letter recommending that Trump focus on a few simple initiatives in cybersecurity. Despite the fact that the Trump administration adopted some of the recommendations in its executive order on cybersecurity, Amoroso was not impressed with Trump’s approach.

“The executive order was terrible,” said Amoroso at the 2017 Borderless Cyber conference in New York. “It’s this amazing jumble of page after page after page of requesting reports… Who the hell is reading all those, and who’s writing them? … A thousand reports are just going to confuse us all.”

After a poll was done from some 30+ countries, only one country was all around happy with Trump in office. Russia.

Trump will be thrilled [or not] to know that even with the threats before the elections of left leaning voters and celebrities heading to Canada, very few did.

 

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?