Category Archives: Politics

Scouts Honor: Trump Vows To Fire Price (During Boy Scout’s Speech) If Healthcare Bill Fails

(SL) – Trump threatened to fire his Health and Human Services secretary, Dr. Tom Price, during a speech to the Boy Scouts, which he promised wouldn’t be political and would be about finding personal success.

Trump pulled Price onstage, saying that he ‘lives the Scout oath’ by keeping ‘millions of Americans strong and healthy’ in his role, before bringing up an important Senate Obamacare repeal vote tomorrow, and suggesting it would be the cabinet member’s head that would roll if Congressional Republicans came up short.

‘By the way, are you going to get the votes?’ Trump asked Price. ‘He better get them,’ Trump told the crowd. ‘He better get them. Otherwise, I’ll say “Tom, you’re fired.”‘

Laughable: Donald Trump Tweets Plans To Create An Impenetrable Cyber Security Unit WITH Russia To Protect US Elections From Hacking

(SL) – Donald Trump is tweeting AGAIN and this time he is disclosing possible plans to create an impenetrable cyber security to protect the United States from hacking with the very same crew that’s believed to have hacked the US election…..RUSSIA.

Trump claims he checked Putin about the rumors saying, “I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion…..,”
421E569900000578-0-image-a-2_1499605229110
Donald Trump is keen on burying the hacking rumors for obvious reasons.  For one, there are way too many reports of his people including his son meeting with the Russians before and during the election.  And secondly, it’s no secret that Donald Trump has clear business ties with Russia. Why would he ever turn on Putin?

Fortune gave an unequivocal account of Trump’s ties with Russia.

Donald Trump said in a recent interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, “I have had dealings over the years where I sold a house to a very wealthy Russian many years ago. I had the Miss Universe pageant — which I owned for quite a while — I had it in Moscow a long time ago. But other than that, I have nothing to do with Russia.”

The reality, however, is that Trump couldn’t be more wrong. The President has deep Russian connections that far exceed what he admitted to Holt.

In a 2007 deposition that Trump gave as part of his unsuccessful defamation lawsuit against reporter Timothy O’Brien, he describes efforts to launch real estate ventures in Russia through Bayrock Associates, a shady Russian-connected outfit. Bayrock had partnered with Trump on at least four major but failed American projects: the Fort Lauderdale Trump Tower, the Trump Ocean Club in Fort Lauderdale, the SoHo condominium-hotel in New York, and a resort in Phoenix.

Continue reading Laughable: Donald Trump Tweets Plans To Create An Impenetrable Cyber Security Unit WITH Russia To Protect US Elections From Hacking

He Who Laughs Last….Trump May Have Walked Into Impeachment With Comey Dismissal And Subsequent Tweet About Taped Conversations

(SL) – I don’t know what else has to be done before Capitol Hill does what it needs to do. Whether it’s the continuance of business profits while holding office, setting off bombs without consulting Congress, Mike Flynn, Steve Bannon..the list goes on. The Rolling Stone says it best:

ct-oregon-man-dies-trump-impeached-20170418We have watched this unfold in the open: Trump has thumbed his nose at custom and the Constitution by refusing to resolve the conflicts of interest that will now shadow his presidency. He has used his Twitter account – a 21st-century bully pulpit – not to unify Americans behind his agenda, but to settle personal scores in a sustained assault on freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.

Trump has installed an inner circle that aims to marginalize millions of our countrymen, even as it seeks to degrade the institutions of our government. Finally, Trump has clutched Russia in a perplexing bear hug. Whether he’s done this out of genuine admiration for its brutal regime, because he’s indebted to its oligarchs, or because Trump has somehow been compromised by former KGB colonel Vladimir Putin we have yet to resolve. For Americans, and for our NATO allies, none of these alternatives will be reassuring.

Republicans in Congress have stood by quietly, almost without objection. They’ve acted as enablers – even as Trump has inserted himself as the ur-chairman of publicly traded companies, blessing their manufacturing plans or tanking their stock prices with a single tweet. Republicans used to object to politicians “picking winners and losers.” Just last July, Speaker Paul Ryan called it “a recipe for a closed economy – for cronyism.”

History will judge this period harshly.

Conflicts of interest
Trump has not released his tax returns. The American public remains in the dark about the debts and deals that could bind the 45th president against the national interest or pervert the foreign policy of the United States.

The lack of transparency matters because Donald Trump has not divested from his businesses. His promises to set up a blind trust and to halt new business deals were both empty. As the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, described it, Trump’s decision to hand daily management of the Trump Organization to his adult sons instead is “meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective.”

Anti-Trump-protester-and-Donald-Trump-803651

Sounding more than a bit like Richard Nixon, Trump has proclaimed that “the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” By a lawyerly reading of 18 U.S.C. § 208, that may parse as true – but the claim is false from any moral perspective. The Supreme Court has written that when our leaders “engage in activities which arouse suspicions of corruption,” those office-holders endanger “the very fabric of a democratic society.” Trump, Shaub insisted in remarks delivered January 11th at the Brookings Institution, has failed to rise to the standards “that every president in the past four decades has met.”

In fact, during the transition period, Trump and his children appeared to trade on his status as president-elect: The Trumps have reportedly secured a stalled building permit for a tower in Argentina; Ivanka Trump joined her father in a meeting with the prime minister of Japan, where she has business with a state-backed enterprise; and the Trump Organization’s new leaders, Don Jr. and Eric Trump, took seats at the conference table for a once-in-a lifetime meeting with executives from Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Oracle, Microsoft and others at the “tech summit” convened by their president-elect father at Trump Tower. Even Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been pursuing lucrative business deals with foreign investors. Trump has now named Kushner a senior adviser, skirting anti-nepotism laws.

The president’s global business enterprise remains an invitation to corruption – from interests who may try to ingratiate themselves to Trump by leasing his properties, golfing at his resorts or lodging at his hotels, including the new Trump International, down the street from the White House.

donald-trump-impeachment-petitionTrump’s business conflicts raise not only ethical but constitutional concerns. Can profits earned from foreign governments paying exorbitant sums for luxury rentals, hotel rooms, golf retreats or $24 cocktails be construed as either bribes or “emoluments” (i.e., gifts)? Those would be impeachable offenses under the Constitution.

The Republican Congress could act to place limits on Trump’s ability to profit from his office. Congress could also force Trump to reveal his tax returns, which 74 percent of Americans want him to release. But the only move a Republican from the legislative branch has made on presidential ethics so far is to threaten the independent government watchdog who dared criticize Trump.

This has left our 45th president, in the words of Harvard legal scholar Laurence Tribe, “a walking, talking violation of the constitution from the moment he takes the oath.”

And then there’s Russia.

Continue reading He Who Laughs Last….Trump May Have Walked Into Impeachment With Comey Dismissal And Subsequent Tweet About Taped Conversations

France Elects Youngest President In History, First Lady Is Teacher He Had An Affair With As A Teenager

(SL) – Former President Barack Obama vouched for him and he got it right. Emmanuel Macron has beaten Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s election and taken more than 65 per cent of the vote, according to exit polls.

tdy_news_engel_france_elections_170424__306158.nbcnews-ux-1080-600Polling conducted by Ipsos, Ifop and BVA all gave Mr Macron, the pro-business candidate, a strong lead over Front National leader Marine Le Pen.

It comes after a massive hacking attack on Mr. Macron’s campaign database over the weekend which saw hundreds of thousands of private emails and official documents dumped online. Sound familiar?

Macron spoke saying, “I salute my adversary Ms Le Pen, I know why people chose to vote for an extreme party. I know the doubt, the fear they expressed.

“And it is my responsibility to take on those concerns and guarantee our unity and responsibility for our country.

“From tomorrow we will modernize politics, recognize pluralism, revitalize democracy. This will be my first mission, respecting everyone.”

macronPoised and committed, his campaign had been ruled by scandal after it surfaced that his 64-year old wife (Macron is 39) was a teacher that he had an affair with.

The Telegraph reports, the couple met in 1992, when Macron was just 15 years old, and a pupil at a private school in Amiens.

Brigitte, born into a wealthy family of chocolatiers in 1953, was his literature teacher, and a married mother of three.

Much has been made of their romance, and of the fact that Macron was just 17 when he declared his intention to marry Brigitte.

Macron’s parents, worried about the budding love affair, sent him away for his last year of high school. Brigitte eventually divorced and joined him in Paris.

The couple married in 2007.  They have no children together but Macron says his wife’s three children and seven grandchildren are his family.

Brigitte Macron often accompanies her husband on campaign stops, taking selfies and listening to people’s concerns. She also helps prepare his speeches.

A fashion lover, her style is often described as “modern” in French magazines.  She sat in the front row at recent Dior and Louis Vuitton shows.

She quit her job at a chic Parisian high school in 2015 to help her husband.  Former students at the Lycee Saint-Louis de Gonzague describe her as an enthusiastic, dynamic, joyful person keen to share her passion for French authors.

As a first lady, she has said she will continue to focus on young people. Different laws over there, I guess!

Trump Goes Against His Own Words With Attack On Syria, Russia Is Pissed And Syria Strikes Again

(SL) –  I can understand the moral pressure, but why kill more people to prove a point and put the imminent threat of WWIII on our heads? And……reportedly Syria flew more planes out of the same area that our  missiles hit. What’s more disturbing is the report that Syria hit the same area that was attacked with chemical weapons a few days ago again on Friday.

No report on who exactly executed the bombing, but only Russia and Syria have ordered hits on that particular area.

CNN reports, New airstrikes targeted a town in Syria that was hit by a chemical attack earlier this week, activists said, less than a day after the US bombarded a Syrian air base to “send a message” to the Assad regime.

It wasn’t immediately clear who conducted the strikes on Khan Sheikhoun, which was hit on Friday and Saturday, though only Russian and Syrian regime aircraft have been bombing that area of rebel-held Idlib province.

The latest attacks come after a missile strike early Friday by the United States on a base in western Syria that the United States says was used to launch Tuesday’s chemical attack, which left more than 85 people dead and hundreds more injured.

 The new strikes came as Russia, the Syrian regime’s main ally, sent a frigate armed with cruise missiles to a port in western Syria in an apparent show of force in response to the US action.

The strike is the first direct military action taken by the US against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s six-year civil war. It represents a substantial escalation of the US military campaign in the region, and could be interpreted by the Syrian government as an act of war.

0005D655.jpg

Shift in policy

Trump’s decision marked a dramatic shift in his position on whether the US should take military action against the Syrian President’s regime — which Trump opposed during his campaign for president — and came after the President was visibly and publicly moved by the images of this week’s chemical weapons attack.
Briefing reporters late Thursday night, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the strike did not represent a “change in our policy or our posture in Syria,” even though it marked the first time the US had decided to take military action against the Syrian government.
A senior administration official told CNN Friday that the strike should not be interpreted as the beginning of a wider campaign to weaken or remove Assad, but instead is aimed at dealing with the “unacceptability” of Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
hqdefault.jpg
This official said the President’s order to his national security team to develop a plan for defeating ISIS remains the priority for the administration. That strategy is actually well on its way to being completed, the official added.
But the strikes represented not only an escalation of the US role in Syria, but could have a ripple effect on the US’ relations with the Syrian regime’s powerful backer, Russia.
Russians were present at the base the US struck, a US defense official said, though the role of those Russians was not immediately known.

A warship armed with cruise missiles has joined the Russian battlegroup off the coast of Syria as part of Moscow’s response to US cruise missile strikes on the Syrian airbase of Shayrat.

Russia’s angry declarations, a world away from hopes of a rapprochement voiced in Washington and Moscow after Donald Trump’s election, have overshadowed US secretary of state Rex Tillerson’s planned visit to Moscow. His anticipated meeting with Vladimir Putin will now be dedicated to reaching an understanding on Syria and addressing concerns over Russia’s suspension of an agreement designed to keep the world’s largest nuclear powers from accidentally clashing there.

trumpputinap.jpg

The frigate Admiral Grigorovich, reached the group of at least six warships off the coast of Syria, Russia state media reported. It carries Kalibr cruise missiles, the Russian equivalent to the US Tomahawk missiles fired at Shayrat, and has previously fired them at targets in the war-torn country.

While many saw the US strikes as curtailing hopes for better ties between Putin and Trump, some Russians believe they were more posturing than precision warfare.

“There’s a bad scenario with this flexing of muscles. The danger of a clash between the US and Russia in Syria is not pleasant, and it could have bad consequences,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, a leading foreign policy analyst in Moscow.

War Games..Will Syrian Strike Lead To WWIII With Russia?

(SL)- In an attempt to protect Syrian people from their own leader, the United States has finally taken action against  Bashar al-Assad. Assad is accused of ordering a horrific nerve gas (Sarin) attack which killed more than 80 of the dictator’s own citizens including children.

Yes, it’s devastating. But at the end of the day, we’re going to kill people to help people? It’s understood that there will be some collateral damage but what about the bigger picture. Reportedly, Russia is not happy.

Putin called it an ‘illegal act of aggression’ and ripped up an agreement to avoid mid-air clashes between Russian and US fighter jets over Syria.

Allegedly, as an immediate act of payback, Russian or Syrian planes once again bombed the town of Khan Sheikhoun, the same location of the nerve attack.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, speaking alongside German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, said, “We do not want an escalation. We have to stop the hypocrisy. If Russia is acting in good faith it should stop and negotiate.”

World leaders praised the US strikes and urged Putin to hold urgent talks with Trump to prevent the Syria crisis escalating into a wider world conflict.

But is it too late? Sources say, Vladimir Putin has vowed to bolster Assad’s air power f leading to fears that the conflict will spiral into and all-out war between Russia and the West.

The Daily Mail reports, Russian warship the Admiral Grigorovich – armed with cruise missiles and a self-defence system – is docking in Syria today after it was immediately diverted from the Black Sea following Donald Trump’s airstrike on al-Shayrat military airfield near Homs, which killed six and destroyed nine Syrian jets.

3F09B65600000578-4388834-image-a-46_1491563803482
The US military fired 59 tomahawk missiles at 1.40am today after the US President blamed Bashar al-Assad’s regime for a horrific nerve gas attack which killed more than 80 of the dictator’s own citizens. Footage showing burnt out shelters and hangars and a damaged runway was cheered by tearful Syrians hoping that Trump’s intervention would lead to Assad being overthrown.

 

The US used a special military-to-military hotline to warn Russia it was launching an airstrike on a Syrian air base about 30 minutes in advance – but the Trump administration did not ask Moscow for permission. It is likely Russia alerted the Syrians about the incoming strikes but this has not been confirmed.

Viktor Ozerov, head of the defense committee in the Russian Federation Council, told state news agency RIA that the US strikes ‘may undermine the efforts in the fight against terrorism in Syria.

‘Russia will demand an urgent UN Security Council meeting after the US airstrike on Syrian aviation base. This is an act of aggression against a UN member.’ Russia’s foreign minister says no Russian servicemen have been hurt in the bombing raid. The strikes have won broad international support with officials saying that Canada and other allies were behind the move.

Britain backed the US missile strike, describing it as an ‘appropriate response’, as the government offered its full support to Trump’s targeted assault.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: ‘The UK Go164124716-bb65ad393eb1649b79473c971975221e2e28dc1d-s6-c10vernment fully supports the US action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks.’  German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said Syrian president Assad bore ‘sole responsibility’ for the US strike on a regime airbase.

In a joint statement on Friday, they said: ‘After the chemical weapons massacre of April 4 on Khan Sheikhun in northwestern Syria, a military installation of the Syrian regime was destroyed by a US air strike last night.

‘President Assad bears sole responsibility for this development.’ Hollande added that the US strike was what France had been calling for in the wake of another chemical attack in 2013.

Both he and Merkel said their countries would continue to work with UN partners in ‘efforts to hold President Assad responsible for his criminal acts.’

EU President Donald Tusk said the action demonstrated ‘needed resolve’ against chemical attacks. ‘US strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks. EU will work with the US to end brutality in Syria,’ Tusk said in a tweet.

3F06418000000578-4388834-image-m-8_1491547634030Israel’s prime minister also welcomed the US attack saying he ‘fully supports’ President Trump’s decision.

Benjamin Netanyahu said ‘in both word and action’ Trump ‘sent a strong and clear message’ that ‘the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.’

It is not yet clear what China’s response has been to Trump’s decision to brazenly announce the strike on Syria while the president was his guest. China has backed Syrian-ally Russia’s attempts to protect Assad’s government and vetoed six resolutions on Syria.

What’s more, Trump didn’t consult Congress before initiating the attack.

 

Steve Bannon Fired From National Security Council Post

(SL) – President Trump on Wednesday removed controversial White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon from the National Security Council, part of a sweeping staff reshuffling that elevated military, intelligence and Cabinet officials to greater roles on the council and left Bannon less directly involved in shaping the administration’s day-to-day national security policy.

The Washington Post reports, the restructuring reflects the growing influence of national security adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general who took over the post after retired general Michael Flynn was ousted in February and who is increasingly asserting himself over the flow of national security information in the White House.

06Steveson-master768.jpgMcMaster has become a blunt force within the administration who has made clear to several top officials and the president that he does not want the NSC to have any political elements.

Two senior White House officials said that Bannon’s departure was in no way a demotion and that he had rarely attended meetings since being placed on the council. They and others interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

In conversations Wednesday afternoon, several Trump associates described Bannon as overstretched, with multiple portfolios within the White House, and said the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has been paying close attention to how to better use Bannon’s skills as the administration works to recover from a rocky and dramatic first few months.

Continue reading Steve Bannon Fired From National Security Council Post

The Trumpcare Debacle That We Knew Would Happen And How Steve Bannon Wants Trump To Keep Enemies List Behind It

(SL) – Trumpcare had no chance of being implemented because simply put, Healthcare isn’t like turning on a light switch. It’s difficult and not something that can be constructed overnight.

New York Magazine reports,  The American Health Care Act is a truly horrendous piece of legislation. But it did not become the vehicle for the Obamacare repeal effort because Trump, or Ryan, or anybody insisted on it over some other option. It became the repeal bill because nobody in the Republican Party had a better idea.

Screen-Shot-2017-03-24-at-1.57.31-PM-800x430Reforming the health-care system is an inherently daunting project. What makes health care so resistant to change is that, the worse the system gets, the harder it is to change. More waste means more profit centers with an interest in protecting their income. And more uninsured people means more anxiety for those who do have insurance about losing it, and hence more resistance to change. The political miracle of Obamacare was its ability to design a way to cover the uninsured and to pay for the coverage in a politically viable fashion. The law found a way to solve a political problem that had frustrated would-be reformers for decades.

And they accomplished it against the ruthless opposition of a united party that has used every demagogic method to undermine it — in Washington, in the states, and in the courts.obamacare-trumpcare915If Republicans had not launched a legal battle to allow states to deny Medicaid coverage to their citizens, and then cruelly taken up the opportunity to do so; sabotaged small but crucial risk-corridor payments to encourage insurer participation; and denied funds for outreach to exchange customers, it would be functioning better than it is. Still, it is functioning.

Continue reading The Trumpcare Debacle That We Knew Would Happen And How Steve Bannon Wants Trump To Keep Enemies List Behind It

Donald Trump Attempts To Distract America From Russia-Gate By Accusing President Obama Of Tapping His Phone

(SL)- Donald Trump’s administration continues to mislead people with yet a new lie, this time about President Obama. The latest twitter rant accused the former POTUS of tapping his phone which is utterly ridiculous and unsubstantiated.

Trump, as he normally does, is basing his concerns off of a Breitbart article circulating that claims President Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower before the election in a Nixon/Watergate style scandal.

The Executive office can not do this on its own. His claim is baseless and if there was a wire on his phone FISA (The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance ) would have ordered it and there would be proof of it. Trump hasn’t provided any evidence but fired off these words early Saturday morning.

trump-wiretapping-tweets-a-new-low_17927172_ver1-0_640_360

A spokesman for Mr. Obama says any suggestion that the former president ordered such surveillance was “simply false.”

The New York Times reports, Mr. Trump’s aides declined to clarify whether the president’s explosive allegations were based on briefings from intelligence or law enforcement officials — which could mean that Mr. Trump was revealing previously unknown details about an investigation — or on something else, like a news report.

His decision to lend the power of his office to such a charged claim against his predecessor — without offering any initial proof — was remarkable, even for a leader who has repeatedly shown himself willing to make assertions that are false or based on dubious sources.

donald-trump-barack-obama-774958

It would have been difficult for federal agents, working within the law, to obtain a wiretap order to target Mr. Trump’s phone conversations. It would have meant that the Justice Department had gathered sufficient evidence to persuade a federal judge that there was probable cause to believe he had committed a serious crime or was an agent of a foreign power, depending on whether it was a criminal investigation or a foreign intelligence one.

Former officials pointed to longstanding laws and procedures intended to ensure that presidents cannot wiretap a rival for political purposes.

“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for Mr. Obama. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.”

Continue reading Donald Trump Attempts To Distract America From Russia-Gate By Accusing President Obama Of Tapping His Phone