Trump getting hit on all sides

Wow! Donald Trump said that if Democrats “want to play tough” when they control the House of Representatives next year, he will declassify documents that will be “devastating” to them. “If they want to play tough, I will do it,” Trump told the New York Post in an interview. “They will see how devastating those pages are.” Democrats are poised to launch a series of investigations after winning a majority in the House in November.

Is this a so-called president of the U.S. or a blackmailer or a man child? And whether he can legally release them without damaging the country. If he can threaten the Democrats with this surely the Republicans know he can do the same to them if he doesn’t get his way.

It should be interesting with all the bashing Trump has had against the Supreme Court that if and when Trump [well his lawyers] go in front of the Supreme Court for one of this many legal issues [either personal or as part of the administration] whether the justices will have in back of their mind think of what Trump has said about them.

Trump publicly chastised General Motors CEO Mary Barra over her decision to close four plants in the U.S. because of sagging demand for sedans. “I was very tough. I spoke with her when I heard they were closing and I said, you know, this country has done a lot for General Motors,” Trump said, referring to the federal bailout of the company after the 2008 financial crash. Trump said he told Barra she had “better” reopen plants in the US soon. Don’t count on it.

“We have a lot of companies moving in,” Trump said at a rally, adding that the number of companies making products in the US is “actually going to be increasing.” Some 8,000 salaried employees and 6,000 hourly workers will either lose their jobs or be reassigned to other plants.

“Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland,” Trump tweeted. “We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars.” He left out Wisconsin. Not surprising, the subsidies don’t exist. GM is unaware of any significant federal subsidies the company is receiving beyond a $7,500 plug-in tax credit, which goes to the consumer, not the company.

Between 2009 and 2014, the Energy Department provided loans and grants toward the development of electric vehicles and energy saving technology. Tesla, Nissan and Ford participated, but GM did not. Chevy Suburbans are a staple for the Secret Service that protects Trump and other federal officials. GM also manufactured “The Beast,” the souped-up Cadillac that transports Trump.

Despite his last-minute requests and hopes, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos will still have to start his 14-day prison sentence on Monday for lying to federal investigators in the Russia probe. Papadopoulos’ full sentence includes the prison time, a $9,500 fine, a year of probation and 200 hours of community service.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about work he did on a Trump real estate deal in Russia by making false statements in 2017 to the Senate intelligence committee about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen said he lied about the timing of the tower negotiations and other details to be consistent with Trump’s “political message.”

One idea considered for the proposed Trump Tower in Moscow was to offer Russian President Vladimir Poutine the penthouse, according to Felix Sater, who was working on the project with Cohen. The penthouse was planned to be valued at $50 million but gifted to Poutine. It was not clear if Trump was informed of the idea.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight separate charges, including campaign finance violations that he said he carried out in co-ordination with Trump. At that time, Cohen said he secretly used shell companies to make payments used to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult-film actress Stormy Daniels for the purpose of influencing the 2016 election.

Departing for the G20 summit in Argentina, Trump called Cohen “a weak person” and said his former lawyer was just trying to finagle a more lenient sentence from prosecutors. When asked why he retained Cohen for so long, “Because a long time ago he did me a favour,” Trump said, without offering specifics. Trump has previously said that co-operating with prosecutors “should almost be illegal”.

Cohen, who is now a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, was under the impression Trump would offer him a pardon in exchange for staying on message in support of Trump in discussions with federal prosecutors. After the April 2018 FBI raid on Cohen’s office and home, people close to Trump assured Cohen that Trump would take care of him.

Donald Trump Jr. has provided testimony under oath to at least three congressional committees where he was asked about the proposed deal. Most of that testimony is not public and it isn’t clear how detailed the questions were about the project. Yet it could place him in legal jeopardy if anything he told Congress conflicts with information provided by Cohen if it is supported by other evidence.

Heading to the G20 in Argentina, Trump announced that he wouldn’t meet Poutine because “ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia”.

Trump woke up and one of the first things he did was tweeted “Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries.” If he said “a few are stone cold criminals” people may take him seriously. But nobody does. In any case, does he think his border guards and immigration officials can’t do their job and weed out the “criminals”? I guess that is another two agencies he doesn’t trust.

Trump tweeted “Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border, or if originating countries would not let them form (it is a way they get certain people out of their country and dump in U.S. No longer). Dems created this problem.” Actually I don’t think Mexico was hired to be the U.S.’s immigration department. In addition, being in power for almost 2 years he has done nothing yourself to fix the problem. Legislation? Trump Wall? All failures. Will he continue to blame the Democrats for something he could of fixed just before the 2020 elections?

Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan said there is only one type of tear gas used by them in their arsenal. This after Trump claimed “First of all, the tear gas is a very minor form of the tear gas itself. It’s very safe. The ones that were suffering to a certain extent were the people that were putting it out there but it’s very safe.” So border agents suffered more than the migrants. OK.

McAleenan said hundreds — perhaps more than 1,000 — people attempted to rush vehicle lanes at the San Ysidro crossing. Mexican authorities estimated the crowd at 500.

Trump suggested without evidence that some of the migrants who were tear-gassed at the U.S.-Mexico border recently were “grabbers” who took others’ children in order to protect themselves. “They grab a child because they think they’ll have a certain status by having a child. You know, you have certain advantages in terms of our crazy laws that frankly Congress should be changing.” I don’t think a child can enter the U.S. with a non-parent so easily. And again, almost 2 years and he hasn’t changed anything.

Trump said that three U.S. agents were “very badly hurt” by rocks and stones thrown by migrants during the unrest. McAleenan said four agents were struck with rocks but were not injured because they were wearing protective gear.

Trump denied that women and children were among those affected by the tear gas. But in his remarks to reporters here, he shifted his response, first claiming that the tear gas was “very safe,” then blaming migrants with children for being in harm’s way and finally questioning whether the children were theirs at all. Umm. Maybe because the children’s parent[s] were there.

Trump asked why parents were “running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming.” More like they were already there when agents shot the tear gas.

Trump retweeted a bunch of false facts. Among them, Trump retweeted: “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month. RT if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.” If he dislikes this why doesn’t he fix it. He’s been in office for 22 months. Stop complaining [or retweeting] and fix it then. [The $3,874 is for a family of 5 refugees in Canada – not the US. As for Social Security checks, the average payment is $1,413 a month, with a maximum payment of $2,788.]

The Trump administration announced in June it would open a temporary shelter for up to 360 migrant children in an isolated corner of the Texas desert. It is now up to 2,349 largely Central American boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17 were sleeping inside the highly guarded facility in rows of bunk beds in canvas tents, some of which once housed first responders to Hurricane Harvey. More than 1,300 teens have arrived since the end of October alone. More people are detained in this tent city than in all but one of the nation’s 204 federal prisons, yet construction here continues.

Costs appear to be soaring more than 50 per cent higher than the government has disclosed: What began as an emergency, 30-day shelter has transformed into a vast tent city that could cost taxpayers more than $430 million. Per child it’s $1200 a day and not $775 per day officials have publicly disclosed. Current average is $12 million a week.
Under federal policy, migrant youth shelters generally must have one mental health clinician for every 12 kids, but shelter officials told AP the facility has just one mental health clinician for every 50 kids.

Recently, 13 federal agencies working in coordination — released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a detailed document featuring the conclusions of more than 300 scientists that the planet is getting warmer, human activity is contributing to that warming and we are approaching a point of no return in terms of the damage to the climate.

The economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars — or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its GDP — by the end of the century. Without significant reductions in greenhouse emissions, the annual average global temperature could increase 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 Celsius) or more by the end of this century the report says.

Then “We think that this is the most extreme version and it’s not based on facts,” White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said. “It’s based on — it’s not data-driven. We’d like to see something that is more data-driven.”  So they are rejecting the findings of that study don’t comport with Trump’s long-held beliefs that climate change just isn’t a real thing. And yes, 13 more agencies the administration doesn’t believe [add to the list that includes the FBI, CIA, DoHS, ….].

The report’s findings run counter to Trump’s consistent message that climate change is a hoax. Trump tweeted, “Whatever happened to Global Warming?” as some Americans faced the coldest Thanksgiving in over a century. He obviously doesn’t know the difference between climate change and global warming.

“There really is no equivalency,” [versus Hillary Clinton’s mail issue] Ivanka Trump said in an interview regarding her personal mail account adding that her emails were focused on “mainly scheduling and logistics and managing the fact that I have a home life and a work life.” She was emphatic that “everything has been preserved” and stored in the White House system. What was not said is what kind of an account was it. Hotmail? Gmail?

Whether or not they were preserved, it is still a non-government server being administrated by who knows who with still confidential information. Clinton’s mail fault was the deletion of Email but at least she controlled the server where they were stored on. And after this mess with Clinton, you would think Ivanka Trump would know better by only using a government Email address for government purposes?

If she wanted an Email account that is not government controlled for her “home life”, that’s fine, but as long as she doesn’t use it for government purposes. Trump used her personal account to email Cabinet officials, White House aides and assistants.

As world leaders denounced Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Trump waited more than a day before offering a muted response about the clash, leaving the task of criticizing Moscow to the outgoing US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. He refused to condemn Russia after they open fired and seized Ukrainian ships and blocked the sea route. Russia actually accused Ukraine of provocation. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remained silent on the serious escalation in tensions between the two countries.

Again this shows that “friends” of Trump [but possibly not of the U.S.] can do what they want while Trump stays in the background. First the Saudi Arabia killing of as journalist and now this.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has “breached” his plea agreement with the Justice Department by lying to the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office two months after he started cooperating in the Russia probe.

Manafort shared extensive information with Justice Department prosecutors since he began cooperating, but that prosecutors also believe they are able to verify or refute that information. Manafort lied “on a variety of subject matters,” violating his plea agreement, prosecutors allege in the three-page filing signed by both the defense team and the prosecution.

So Trump has submitted his answers in the Mueller investigation questionnaire. I’m sure a team of people checked Trump’s answers for grade level writing and grammar, spell checking, profanity, orange ooze, …. And finally answers to the questions to make sure they were truthful-ish.

Want a good laugh? In Tupelo, Mississippi, which Trump called the “proud birthplace of the King of Rock n Roll,” Trump said “Other than the blond hair when I was growing up they said I look like Elvis.” When Trump attended New York Military Academy as a young man, it wasn’t even close to Elvis.

Another two resignations, more scandals, typical Trump week

National security adviser H.R. McMaster has resigned [did he really?] and will be replaced by former US ambassador and Fox News analyst John Bolton. McMaster claims he is leaving the military and retiring from public service. Bolton’s hard edged, hawkish views on issues like North Korea, Iraq and Syria make him a controversial pick.

As recently as March 8, the White House was denying reports that McMaster was on his way out, with White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders declaring on “Fox & Friends” that “General McMaster’s not going anywhere.” The Pentagon had been quietly looking to see if there is a four-star military job suited for McMaster.

Donald Trump’s lead lawyer, John Dowd, has resigned from his personal legal team handling the response to the Russia investigation. Dowd, who has urged Trump to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and resist attacking him publicly, resigned as his disagreements with Trump intensified and Trump stepped up his attacks on the special counsel.

At least four defense attorneys at major law firms were approached to join Trump’s legal team in recent weeks. This includes a former US Solicitor General and 2 lawyers that have worked for previous presidents. All turned Trump down, for various reasons, including concern that the President doesn’t listen to his lawyers and that their law firms represented other clients that would pose conflicts.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he received “assurances” that Trump is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller. “The special counsel should be free to follow through with his investigation to its completion without interference,” Ryan said during a House GOP leadership news conference on Capitol Hill. “Absolutely, I am confident that he will be allowed to do that.”

But Trump’s approach to the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as his rhetoric and his legal team have begun to reflect an increased focus on winning the fight for public opinion rather than cooperating with the actual probe. This include tweets like “Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime.”

“A total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!” Trump tweeted of the special counsel investigation. “”Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?” Except Mueller himself and Mueller’s boss [Rod Rosenstein] are both Republicans. Unsure about those under Mueller but there are more than 13.

Trump admitted that a majority of Americans may not be ready to support the death penalty for “the really bad pushers and abusers.” “It’s possible,” Trump said. “It’s possible that our country is not ready for that and I can understand it, maybe. Although personally I can’t understand that.” He added: “I think unless you do that, unless you have really, really powerful penalties led by the death penalty for the really bad pushers and abusers, we are going to get nowhere.” Maybe the pushers, but abusers?

Trump said his administration would be addressing the problem of overprescribing of opioids, adding that the Department of Justice is looking “very seriously” into bringing litigation against drug companies. “We’ll ensure opioid addiction is not subsidized by the American tax payer.” As if people are getting their opiods exclusively from drug companies.

Trump, who as a candidate used the Clinton Foundation to slam his opponent Hillary Clinton, heralded an opioid program backed by the Clinton family foundation. Trump touted the work of Adapt Pharma, a program that makes Narcan — a type of drug that can save someone who is overdosing on opioids — more available in colleges and universities. The program was made possible in 2017 because of a partnership with the Clinton Foundation.

Maybe a bit tongue and cheek, Chelsea Clinton, someone who has been critical of Trump throughout his administration, thanked the President for mentioning the effort.

Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill to keep the federal government open until September, then excoriated Congress for passing the plan in the first place. “I said to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again,” Trump said. And yet we know how much we take his word for. Right? He had threatened a veto early. More Fake Presidential News.

In a post bill signing conference/speech, Trump also called on Congress to give him a “line item veto” for all government spending bills, echoing a desire expressed by previous presidents who lamented parts of congressional legislation. He also called on Congress to get rid of the filibuster and “go to 51 votes in the Senate” in order to have “success” in Congress.

The Supreme Court has previously found that the line-item veto violated the Presentment Clause of the Constitution, which says the President does not have the power to unilaterally amend or repeal legislation (Clinton v. City of New York). Most senators oppose giving up the filibuster rule, which was designed to ensure the minority party has some say in the legislative process.

During his speech, Trump argued that Democrats have stood in the way of DACA recipients gaining permanent legal status, while casting Republicans as would-be saviors. “The Democrats fought us, they just fought every single inch of the way. They did not want DACA in this bill.” Will anyone believe him?

A $#.6 billion cut in spending offered by Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was chopped from the final bill.

Trump lamented the “ridiculous situation that took place over the last week,” saying the bill was quickly put together and lawmakers were given little time to read through it. At 2300 pages, I doubt it but it would be quite a read. Then again, the government would of shut down after today. Who’s to blame there? I thought he was commenting about the many things that happened in his administration. Scandals, resignations [really firings, right?], etc.

Trump tweeted “Got $1.6 Billion to start Wall on Southern Border, rest will be forthcoming.” $1.6 billion doesn’t go to [sic] far when building the Trump Wall. With the probably corruption in building the mess, expect just a few hundred feet if lucky.

Trump claimed during his speech that the stock markets were doing well. Unsure which stock market he was looking at as the Dow Jones dropped 425 that day. The market sold off after Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on about $50 billion of Chinese imports to retaliate for theft of intellectual property. 1100 points were lost in two days in the Dow Jones. The worry is that a tit-for-tat escalation between the two largest economies in the world will ruin the solid economic backdrop

After saying that Canada and Mexico received exemptions for any tariffs, the administration says that tariffs will be imposed on May 1st, if the NAFTA deal is not signed by then. No one is really surprised that Trump changed his mind…. again. The European Union, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea and Australia will not be subject to the trade penalties with [so far] no strings attached.

Meanwhile it looks like Trump is caving in again as he had thrown out the requirement that all vehicles sold in the US must have 50% or more American content. With that gone, an updated NAFTA agree is more likely – assuming Trump drops removing Article 19 [which is the trade arbitration – US has lost every time to Canada].

Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to Trump’s campaign, reportedly gained access to information about 50 million Facebook users. The data was collected by a professor for academic purposes in accordance with Facebook rules, the company said. But then the information was transferred to third parties, including Cambridge Analytica. The transfer violated Facebook policies.

One of the first uses of a trove of Facebook data on tens of millions of Americans that has thrown Facebook and Cambridge Analytica into crisis was in 2014 by a super PAC run by John Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser.

A former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, who allegedly had a nine-month affair with Trump is suing the company that kept her original account from publication. Shortly before the presidential election, American Media Inc., the company that owns The National Enquirer, paid $150,000 to McDougal, but did not run her story in a tabloid maneuver known as “catch and kill.” The contract did not require the Enquirer to run the story and required McDougal’s silence. American Media is owned by a major Trump supporter.

The Trump administration has offered a two-and-a-half-year extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. In exchange, the Trump administration wants $25 billion for the proposed Trump Wall with Mexico and other security measures. Democrats say for that amount, DACA recipients and people who might qualify for the program must get more: a chance at citizenship.

Trump initially didn’t congratulate Vladimir Poutine after his landslide election “win”. Poutine spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that maybe Trump’s schedule didn’t allow it and suggested he might call later. Maybe he’s too busy tweeting rants against Robert Mueller and doesn’t have time to congratulate Poutine in a tweet.

The White House said that it is “not surprised by the outcome” of Sunday’s election, and that no congratulatory call was planned. That quote sounds interesting. Trump did contact Poutine later and quite a few Republicans were upset that he did so – especially when not bringing up the subject of the election meddling or the fact that Poutine’s election win was suspicious.

Trump tweeted “I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory (in past, Obama called him also). The Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him.” The difference was 6 years ago, Vladimir Poutine wasn’t turning into a corrupt dictator who has amassed billions that should of gone to the people and his government wasn’t known to be involved in hacking US elections.

Trump was infuriated after it quickly leaked that he had been directly instructed by his national security advisers in briefing materials not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his recent election victory during their call. Warnings from multiple national security advisers and briefing materials that said “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” was included.

Trump will hire an attorney to join his personal legal team who has alleged that he is being framed by a group of FBI and Justice Department officials. Former US Attorney for the District of Columbia Joe DiGenova will be joining the legal team. This comes two months after DiGenova appeared on Fox News to allege that FBI and Justice Department officials carried out “a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton and, if she didn’t win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime.”

Wondering if fired Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will launch a lawsuit in case he can’t get his pension – although it sounds like he has had at least two offers from the Democrats to work at a federal agency [any that can have him] for at least a couple of days.

After McCabe’s firing, there is still rumbling that Robert Mueller will be next. Trump gloated in tweets at McCabe and then came around to attack Mueller and his Russian investigation. But senior Republics have warned him that firing Mueller will cross the line and probably open a constitutional crisis. It would be “the beginning of the end of (Donald Trump’s) presidency,” predicted South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Trump said Rick Saccone lost the Pennsylvania special election, despite the fact that he has not yet conceded the race. “We’re 5-0 and then we lost by 300 votes the other night, right? 300 out of 200-twenty-some-odd-thousand votes.” He said in a speech – but Saccone lost by 700.

Former FBI director James Comey’s book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” won’t be released until April 17 but is already a number one best seller.

A long-time Fox News analyst, Ralph Peters, sharply criticized the network, denouncing the outlet as a “propaganda machine” devoted to Trump, and saying that it was “wittingly harming our system of government for profit,” in a stunning internal email announcing his exit from the company.

 

Shocker! Vladimir Poutine wins the Russian election

So the Russian election is done.

But can you call them an election when the opposition “leader” is considered by most a puppet of Russian Prime Minister [or leader for life] Vladimir Poutine.

The real opposition leader Alexei Navalny, anti-corruption campaigner, was barred from running because he was convicted of fraud in a case widely regarded as politically motivated.

With ballots from 80 per cent of Russia’s precincts counted by early Monday, Putin had amassed 76 per cent of the vote. Turnout was expected to be at a bit over 60% – a bit less than previous elections.

There were quite a few irregularities when it came to voting. Among them:

  • CCTV recorded staff stuffing ballot boxes when there were no voters in the room in at least 2 locations.
  • Influx of people within a short period of time.
  • Some workers were require to prove that they voted in the election.
  • Last-minute voter registration changes likely designed to boost turnout.
  • A huge pro-Putin sign in one polling station.
  • Ballot boxes being stuffed with extra ballots in multiple regions.
  • An election official assaulting an observer.
  • Some voters feared losing their jobs or worse if they didn’t vote.

The Central Election Commission also claimed it had been the target of a hacking attempt from 15 unidentified nations that was deterred by authorities. You can laugh now.

Poutine took the helm in Russia on New Year’s Eve 1999 after Boris Yeltsin’s surprise resignation, that itself was suspicious.

Note: As usual, this information was taken from various sources.

 

Of Russia, Panama and Moore

Well after a fairly quiet week as he was in Asia, Trump was back in full force.

Sen. John McCain slammed Donald Trump for saying he believes Russian President Vladimir Poutine over senior US intelligence officials when he says his country didn’t interfere in the 2016 election. “There’s nothing ‘America First’ about taking the word of a KGB colonel over that of the American intelligence community,” said McCain.

“He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I think he is very insulted by it,” Trump added. Do Americans care that Poutine is?

A new report shows that for 10 years, a Trump property in Panama City collected millions of dollars from the Russian mafia and Colombian drug cartels. An investigation from Global Witness, an international NGO that probes corruption and money laundering, reveals how the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower turned a blind eye to crime lords looking for a safe haven to stash their blood money.

The property, with lead broker Alexandre Ventura Nogueira, listed units for three times the going rate in Panama City, thanks to the Trump name. Nogueira worked closely with the Trump family; he claims he attended at least 10 meetings with Ivanka Trump, who challenged him to sell 100 units in the building.

Nogueira later fled Panama after he was arrested for unrelated charges of real estate fraud. From his European asylum, he told NBC that at least half of his Trump Ocean Club customers were Russians, including some with “questionable backgrounds.” Only later did he learn of their ties to Russian organized crime circles.

Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore reiterated his denials against what he said were allegations of sexual misconduct, adding that “revelations” regarding the charges will surface over the coming days. Will he follow Trump’s lead by not actually announcing those “revelations”? He added that the alleged incidents happened nearly 40 years ago. Does that make a difference?

A former co-worker of Moore says it was ‘common knowledge’ that Moore dated high school girls.

Counselor to Trump, Kellyanne Conway, says that actions allegedly committed by Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore “should disqualify anyone”.

“I’ve been investigated more than anyone in this country,” claims Moore. Very Trump sounding. He is complaining that it is the Democrats who are after him and yet even Republicans [other than the hard conservatives] are against him now.

Keurig pulled its advertising from Sean Hannity’s Fox News show after his interview with Moore. In protest, some Twitter users posted videos of themselves destroying their Keurig coffee makers. Critics of the interview said Hannity went too easy on Moore. By Saturday, other companies including 23andMe and E-Trade all announced they would also pull their ads.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called allegations leveled against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore about pursuing relationships with teenage girls and committing sexual assault “credible” and that he should step aside.

The Republican National Committee has withdrawn from a joint fundraising agreement with Moore, according to a Federal Election Commission filing, as the GOP establishment continues to break ties with the Alabama Senate candidate.

A man who worked at the local mall in Moore’s hometown of Gadsden says Moore was on a mall watch list because he was “bothering girls in the mall.”

While Trump has stayed quiet on the Moore matter, Conway addressed the situation briefly on Fox and Friends by saying “The president will make a statement when he wants to make a statement.” Which is code word/phrase for never.

Moore allies will wonder if Trump dumped him because of the allegations. It’s not the first time he turned his back on fellow Republicans. The state’s party are still supporting him. Fearing a lawsuit and backlash, they are keeping him on the ballot. The governor’s office and entire state Legislature will be up for grabs in a year.

Moore’s attorney is trying to cast doubt at one of Moore’s accusers claiming a signature is fake in a high school yearbook. But what about the other 5 [so far]. Gloria Allred, the accuser’s attorney, later said her client would allow the yearbook to be examined only if Moore is questioned under oath by a Senate committee. So far, Moore’s side hasn’t agreed.

It’s too late to remove Moore’s name from the ballot, so fielding a Republican write-in at this point would almost certainly hand the election to the Democrats unless he should withdraw and persuade his supporters to vote for that substitute.

Trump, who has stayed quiet on the allegations of sexual abuse against Moore, blasted Democratic Sen. Al Franken after a woman said he groped and kissed her without her consent. The accuser accepted Franken’s apology. Franken said he would welcome an ethics probe into his conduct.

Back in October 2016, Trump said all the accusations against him from the 12 accusers were false and he would take them all to court after the election. Guess how many he took to court 13 months later? None.

A group of Alabama women in Montgomery were backing Moore saying the [at least] six accuses are liars and are in just for the money and fame. You don’t get fame for accusing someone and none asked for money or launched a lawsuit.

Trump’s repeated public comments attacking the Justice Department have not influenced the department or ongoing investigations, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said during a contentious House judiciary committee hearing. “To announce recusal from any investigation would confirm the existence of that investigation, and top officials have advised me I should not do so,” Sessions said.

Sessions said although his Justice Department will consider investigations into Hillary Clinton, he could not say whether he would recuse himself from the matter, contradicting his previous statements on the matter. News broke that Sessions has asked senior federal prosecutors to “evaluate certain issues” presented by House Republicans, including alleged ties between the Clinton Foundation and the sale of Uranium One.

Senate judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking member Dianne Feinstein sent a letter requesting more information on Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner related to his security clearance and questions over whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

The two senators specifically requested “transcripts from other committee interviews, additional documents from previous requests, communications with (former national security adviser) Michael Flynn and documents related to his security clearance,” according to their statement.

Kushner told congressional Russia investigators that he did not communicate with WikiLeaks and did not recall anyone on the Trump campaign who had. But Kushner did receive and forward an email from Donald Trump Jr. about contact Trump Jr. had with WikiLeaks, according to a new report this week and a letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte “briefly” discussed human rights and the Philippine’s bloody war on drugs during their closed-door conversation, the White House said. But a spokesman for the Philippine President told reporters that “human rights did not arise” during the meeting.

While Trump did nothing about the human rights abuses in the Philippines with Duterte, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directly raised human-rights concerns with Duterte — including extrajudicial killings carried out by security forces in his country — in a confrontation that the Philippine president later derided as a “personal and official insult.” Duterte also seemed to have a different recollection regarding the conversation. Who would you believe…. [Trudeau was the only leader to talk with Duterte about the issue.]

Before the vote, House GOP thinks it has the votes for tax overhaul. You would figure with an easy majority this would be a no brainer in any normal presidency.

The House of Representatives passed major tax reform legislation along party lines, advancing a key agenda item for President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans. The vote was 227-205, with no Democrats backing the bill. But expect an uphill battle in the Senate.

Senate Republicans plan to include a repeal of the individual mandate — a key piece of the Affordable Care Act — in their tax reform efforts. The mandate requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty. But getting rid of it has a cost.

Roughly 4 million fewer people would be covered in the first year the repeal would take effect, the Congressional Budget Office said last week, rising to 13 million by 2027, as compared to current law. Premiums would also rise by about 10% in most years of the decade, “Republicans just can’t help themselves,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “They’re so determined to provide tax giveaways to the rich that they’re willing to raise premiums on millions of middle-class Americans and kick 13 million people off their health care.”

Already the America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and the Federation of American Hospitals are against the plan.

The House leadership is now pressing those same suburban representatives [that did badly in last week’s elections] to back a tax reform bill that independent analysts say will raise taxes on many of their constituents, particularly in Democratic-leaning states and around the major metropolitan areas with the highest real estate values.

Already GOP Sen. Ron Johnson has come out against the current version of the bill. If two more GOP senators go against the bill [assuming all Democrats vote against the bill and that’s very likely], this bill will be dead in the water.

In the Senate tax plan, senate Republicans are proposing significant excise tax reductions for wine, liquor and beer — including one that slashes in half the rate for craft brewers. But the party could be short lived. Even if it passes, the proposed tax reductions are set to expire after two years. Coincidently the first day is New Year’s Eve 2017 and the last day is Year’s Eve 2019 [so it goes through 3 “Eves”].

House Democrats introduced articles of impeachment against Trump, though they acknowledged their efforts have no chance of success while Republicans control both houses of Congress. Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen introduced five articles of impeachment that include obstruction of justice for Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, two emoluments clause violations, undermining the independence of the federal judiciary and undermining the freedom of the press.

Sanders responded in a statement, saying time spent calling for Trump’s impeachment “would be better spent focusing on tax relief for American families and businesses. It’s disappointing that extremists in Congress still refuse to accept the President’s decisive victory in last year’s election.” Seems only the Republicans think that the Democrats are disgruntled because they lost the election.

The Trump administration is lifting a federal ban imposed by the Obama administration on the importation of body parts from African elephants shot for sport. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a written notice saying that allowing elephants in Zimbabwe to be killed will enhance the survival of the threatened species by raising money for conservation programs from the wealthy trophy hunters who pay to shoot them.

In probably a rarity this year, Republican and Democratic senators have joined forces on legislation to strengthen the FBI database of prohibited gun buyers after the Air Force failed to report the criminal history of the gunman who slaughtered more than two dozen people at a Texas church. The bill would ensure that federal agencies, such as the Defense Department, and states accurately report relevant criminal information to the FBI. The bill faces an uncertain future in the GOP-run House.

North Korea has reacted angrily to Trump’s recent comments [“fat and short”] about Kim Jong-un, saying, “the worst crime for which he can never be pardoned is that he dared [to] malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership. He should know that he is just a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people.”

With just 46% approval by Rasmussen’s polling, Trump says of Rasmussen that it was “one of the most accurate polls last time around.” Rasmussen survey only likely voters – not all voters. Rasmussen tends to be give trump 10% more approval percentage over other polls. Even then, most Presidents wouldn’t be excited if under 50%. With Trump, he’ll take anything.

Then Trump’s tweet adds a very Trumpian comment: “Some people think numbers could be in the 50’s.” “Some people” or “many people” is Trump’s traditional way of saying “nobody, but wouldn’t it be nice if.”

Trump tweeted “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” The three players are accused of shoplifting during a trip to China to play a game. Trump told the media that he spoke directly to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the case and were supposedly released right after. Demanding to be praised by three teenagers for what you did for them isn’t exactly presidential. [Do convicted shoplifters in China actually get 10 years?]

Trump has selected former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar as his newest pick to lead the department of Health and Human Services. Trump tweeted while overseas of his intentions to tap Azar, writing that Azar “will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!” There’s another billionaire added to the cabinet.

With Trump threatening to tear up the NAFTA agreement, possibly preferring bilateral agreements, at the Asia-Pacific summit, the remaining countries in the currently failed Trans-Pacific Partnership [the US dropped out] are working on reviving it without Trump and the US. As Mexico is part of TPP, should Trump scrap NATFA, Canada and Mexico would still have agreements, leaving the US out.

400 wealthy Americans, which include doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and CEOs signed a letter, say the GOP is making a mistake by reducing taxes on the richest families at a time when the nation’s debt is high and inequality is back at the worst level since the 1920s and are urging Republican lawmakers not to cut their taxes. The legislation which would add $1.5 trillion to the debt to pay for widespread tax cuts for businesses and individuals.

“I don’t believe that we’ve set out to create a tax cut for the wealthy,” Gary Cohn, the head of Trump’s National Economic Council, said in an interview last week. “Everything in our tax system is meant to encourage investment.” At the moment only 5,000 families a year end up paying the estate tax. Under the Senate plan, that would drop to just 1,800 families.

The letter specifically criticizes Congress for attempting to repeal the estate tax, which is only paid on assets worth over $5.49 million ($11 million for couples) that are left to heirs. The House bill would eliminate the estate tax entirely. The Senate plan would double the threshold so people could inherit up to $11 million for individuals ($22 million for couples) tax free.

A bit quieter for Trump, well almost

Well, with the July 4th celebrations and the G20 meetings, Donald Trump didn’t get into much trouble this week. Too busy to tweet or say something undiplomatic. Well, he did make some comments….

Trump posted to Twitter a doctored video clip that showed him slamming a man — with “CNN” superimposed on his head — to the ground. In the video [originally recorded in 2007], Trump then throws punches at the man’s head, before walking away. Journalists are upset that this could promote violence against journalists.

Seems like some don’t think anything is wrong with his tweet. Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said Trump was communicating directly in a “genuine”. way to Americans. Even though he initially looked shocked, Bossert said “I think that no one would perceive that as a threat.” But most congressmen didn’t like what was done.

Trump called his tweeting “Modern day presidential.”

CNN struck back at Trump, saying in a statement that Trump had engaged in “juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office” when he should have been preparing for an upcoming overseas trip.

“Mistakes have been made” by U.S. intelligence, said Trump. He is equating the weapons of mass destruction that were never found in Iraq almost 15 years ago [an argument is that they may have been moved while the US attacked Iraq]. And yet, while three intelligence services [including directors who he appointed] said there was the hack of Democratic Party email systems and attempted to influence the 2016 election to benefit Trump, he still doubts them. Again bashing the intelligence services that are protecting his country.

At least forty-one states have refused the Trump administration’s request for certain voter information. The information is for a commission to check into so-called voter fraud in November. State leaders and voting boards across the country have responded to the letter with varying degrees of cooperation — from altogether rejecting the request to expressing eagerness to supply information that is public. Some states would not provide birth dates or party affiliations. All wouldn’t provide Social Security numbers. Some flat out rejected the request saying to go to the states’ websites. Then Trump tweeted ” Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?”

Three state leaders also raised doubts about the integrity of the commission itself, and many questioned the existence of widespread voter fraud. “This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe “My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great State to launch from,” said Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Going back to Trump going after the two co-hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Trump tweeted said she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when he saw them at his Florida estate. In fact Mika Brzezinski said she “she did have a little skin under her chin tweaked” but not a face-lift. Who walks around bleeding?

She said the two and Trump were close up until about 2 years ago. Now Brzezinski in recent weeks has wondered whether Trump was mentally ill and said the country under his presidency “does feel like a developing dictatorship.” “The guy who is in the White House now is not the guy we know,” co-host Joe Scarborough said.

Surprisingly, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said “Obviously I don’t see that as an appropriate comment [the one made by Trump].”

“Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their low rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses,” Trump said. [Trump probably couldn’t figure out how to spell Brzezinski’s name.]

Brzezinski said that “Melania’s got the worst job in the country” and was doing it for her young son which then Melania criticized the “Morning Joe” co-hosts for using her to “further their own agenda.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president was “pushing back against people who have attacked him day after day after day….” Ever heard of “two wrongs don’t make a right” and the White House is not a kindergarten! If he can’t accept criticism….

At a 136 minute chat at the G20 conference, Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, reportedly told Russian media that Putin denied interfering and Trump accepted his denial. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a sharply different version of the conversation, saying the two countries could not come to an agreement on the issue. Lost in translation?

Interesting to note that in the “Class of G20” official picture, Trump was almost the farthest away from the center [President of France was at the edge]. Maybe the closest to center the longest you have been the country’s leader [except the host leader].

Even at the G20 summit just before his chat with Vladimir Poutine, Trump tweeted “Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta [former chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign] refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!” You think when he said “everyone” every leader was thinking of Podesta [- nope]. Another Trump exaggeration. As well, Podesta had no rights to the DNC server to begin with as he’s not in the DNC now. Finally, if the server was to be given it would be to the FBI. The CIA can’t investigate on US soil about US issues.

And even in front of the press with the Mexican President, Trump still believes Mexico will pay for the wall. Exactly how many miles of the wall has been built?

At a speech in Warsaw, Trump finally agreed with Article 5 of the NATO constitution which states that an attack on one NATO country is like an attack on any NATO country. This differs from his early weeks where he said some negative comments about NATO and not agreeing to Article 5. Yes. Another flip flop.

As well, Trump delivered a battle cry to defend Western civilization in Warsaw, but his political vision for the alliance in the West is one that few of its other major leaders would recognize, far less embrace. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” Trump said, citing his host nation’s long battles against tyranny as an example of the tenacity needed to preserve Western values.

The spouses of the other G20 leaders toured a climate change center in Hamburg and took a river cruise [except Melania Trump who couldn’t get out of her hotel because of protests – unless the hubby told her the climate change center is bogus].

Attorneys general from 18 states and Washington D.C. sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos after she delayed an Obama-era rule, the Borrower Defense to Repayment rule, which was created in 2016 and was set to take effect on July 1. But DeVos announced in June that she would delay its implementation. Instead, she directed her department to create committees to review and improve the rules.

Trump hired DeVos even though she had no experience in the management of education. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. She accused DeVos of “sid[ing] with for-profit school executives against students and families drowning in unaffordable student loans.”

“The assault on the automotive industry is over,” claimed Trump in a speech this week. Tell that to the soon to be unemployed Ford works [as I mentioned in a previous blog].

220,000 jobs were gained in June but the unemployment rate still ticked up. Trump claims that the economy is going up in “gangbusters”. 220,000 in a month isn’t that great. [For example, Canada can create 40,000 jobs a month and Canada is about one-eleventh the size of the US.] Also, no idea how many of those 220,000 are full-time jobs but did wages go up in general? No idea. Ironically that one in six new jobs was in health care.

If you noticed less foreign bands touring the US [and by extension in Canada], here is one reason why – a Trump executive order from March. In 2016, the US issued more than 63,800 “O” and “P” visas, which enable entertainers, athletes or people with extraordinary abilities in the sciences or business and those traveling with them to visit the US for short term performances as well as contractual employment. For March and April of this year [where the only months the State Department has released data for] the U.S issued only 697 of those visas. The monthly tallies for visas issued in the year 2016 were not available.]

Seen in a forum:

At the G20 meeting in Hamburg:

“Master Putin, how am I doing. Are you happy with my work?”

“Padawan Drumpf, you are doing an excellent job. Thank you for trying to hide Russia’s attack during the elections as well as the information about Clinton and the Democrats that we leaked.”

 

Wonder who the Russians prefer in the US election

The Russian state run TV networks shows what the Russian government wants the US elections to look like.

Seems that we now know where Donald Trump takes his cue from.

Viewers were told that Clinton sees Russia as an enemy and cannot be trusted, while the Democratic Party convention was portrayed as further proof that American democracy is a sham. They say the business and political elite determines who wins the convention.
The network intentionally added more negativity and anti-Russian comments – often tweaking something Hillary Clinton has said.

After all, the Kremlin prefers Trump’s view of NATO, where the United States might not honor its NATO military commitments, in particular regarding former Soviet republics in the Baltics. In comparison, Clinton wants the US to continue to be the major partner in NATO.

The US joined the European Union in sanctioning Russia for annexing Crimea but Trump says those living in Crimea would prefer to stay with Russia [wonder if he took a state sponsored poll]. Trump said NATO is a mess and couldn’t stop Russia from grabbing Crimea.

Clinton once compared the annexation of Crimea to Adolf Hitler’s moves into Eastern Europe at the start of World War II, a comparison that was deeply offensive in Russia.

When Clinton described Russia’s 2011 parliamentary elections as rigged. Vladimir Poutine then accused the U.S. State Department of financially supporting the protests that drew tens of thousands of people to the streets of Moscow to demand free elections and an end to Putin’s rule.

Channel One began its report by introducing Clinton as “a politician who puts herself above the law, who is ready to win at any cost and who is ready to change her principles depending on the political situation.”

Meanwhile Trump continues to not wanting to release his previous tax years because he is being audited by the IRS – but the IRS says nothing is stopping him from releasing them. Some say the real reason is because either the tax loopholes that Trump has used to reduce his taxes or that the information will reveal that there are Russian investors in Trump’s companies.

Trump said that Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t make a military move into Ukraine — even though Putin already has done just that, seizing the country’s Crimean Peninsula. I guess Trump already thought that Crimea is part of Russia. He also blames Obama for the Russians taking Crimea.

I think we can agree that the state run TV network gets their marching order from the government. So Putin probably ordered the biased reporting.

 

Predictions for 2015

So with about 0.20% of the year gone, here are some of my predictions [some incorporating rumors that started in 2014, some of them less likely, some are probable]:

In technology:

  • Apple will release a new iPhone in the spring – probably a slightly remade iPhone 5S. They did the same thing with the iPhone 5C which as a rebranded and slightly upgraded iPhone 4S [I think].
  • Apple will also have a major issue come to one of their products causing major problems. This would be as surprising as since Tim Cook took over from Steve Jobs, quality control has been less than stellar.
  • While Windows 10 does come out with plenty of fan fare, it still ends up being only a partial success as it still forces many desktop users to go though the tiles/modern interface too often.
  • Meanwhile, Microsoft decides to give a slight discount for some Windows 8.x users but not enough to satisfy them.
  • The Windows Server 2003 comes to a close in July but nasty bit of security attacks force Microsoft to further release some security updates after the end of support for the OS.
  • Google decides that it has had enough and begins to back away from both Google+ and the Chrome OS development. Both are bleeding the company dry even with Google’s advertising arm firmly entrenched in Google+.
  • Not really a surprise but there will be another major cloud breach similar to the one that hit Apple this past year [remember the celebrity nude pictures?]. One still wonders why people put nude pictures of themselves in the cloud.

In entertainment:

  • Yet another breach in an entertainment company, not as serious as Sony, but still high profile.
  • This will also be the year where movie distributors stop gauging the buying public and release Blu-ray movies at very similar pricing as a DVD.
  • The music shoppers will begin to get tired of the boy bands and scantly clad female singers that seem to come and go quite fast.
  • Justin Bieber will finally get arrested [he hasn’t already]?
  • Miley Cyrus will do something so wrong/disgusting that fans will turn their back on him.

In politics:

  • Vladimir Poutine [Putin] will finally cave in and force the Russian “separatists” in eastern Ukraine to come back to mother Russia or be left on their own. Still nothing resolved for Crimea. All this as the oil pricing by OPEC and the financial punishment still cripples Russia coupled by growing unrest by Russian citizens as price of goods continue to rise.
  • Putin gets tired of having OPEC dictating oil prices by trying to start “his” own oil council but fails.
  • In US politics, the early stages of preparations for the primaries in both Democratic and Republican parties fizzle as Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are almost crowned before they start. Meanwhile the Republicans get hit with a few scandals along the way as the Tea Part branch causes further strains within the party.
  • In Canadian politics, an early fall elections has current Prime Minister Stephen Harper ousted with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau taking over with either a slight majority government or a near majority minority government. The NDP party, getting blown back to smaller party status will prop up the Liberals [if a minority government] – this after the Conservative party saying throughout the election that the Liberals and NDP would form a coalition government after they see the writing on the wall and see no chance in forming a government.
  • Devastated by the loss, Harper would end up resigning his leadership with eventually leaving politics in late 2015 or early 2016. As well, NDP leader will decide to leave as leader of party but will stay around.