Politics Roundup – December 19 – 25, 2016

politicsroundup

Welcome to the weekly compilation of the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the comings and goings from the alternate world of reality – politics!

My Word of Wisdom: Politics is like WWE Raw
Governing is like 60 Minutes

Monday, 12/19/16:

Today is the day.

All 538 Electors gathered in state capitols and the District of Columbia to formally cast ballots for the 45th President of the United States of America.

So far, the hopes of those wanting mass defections to deny Donald Trump the presidency are being dashed in a big way.

The official results will not be released until January 6, 2017 when revealed and confirmed by the House of Representatives.

Ultra-liberal film maker Michael Moore said he would pay the fines of Electors who choose to be “faithless” and not vote for Trump.

President Barack Obama, in his last press conference before leaving for Hawaii for Christmas, said that when the told Russian President Vladimir Putin to “cut it out” when he pulled Putin to the side back in September that there was no more Russian attempts to interfere in the election process.

However, Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile said Russian hackers kept trying to hack into the organization’s computers “daily, hourly” until after the Nov. 8 election.

Naming Names:

Secretary of the Army – Vincent “Vinnie” Viola, owner of the Florida Panthers, former U.S. Army infantry officer and the founder and chairman of Virtu Financial

Trump finally spoke with reporters on Sunday, but only off-record.

It looks like outgoing North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is coming to his senses.

McCrory is calling the State Legislature back to consider repeal of the infamous bathroom law. The controversial law has been very costly to the state.

Ahead of today’s vote by Electors in Georgia, an anti-Trump Elector was replaced by the GOP.

President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland will return to his Appeals Court post as of January 18, 2017.

On this Elector College vote day, it should be remembered that though Hillary Clinton won nearly three million more votes than Trump, Trump won 30 state elections compared to Clinton’s 20 states.

President Obama had this to say about the Electoral College, “There are some structures in our political system as envisioned by the founders that sometimes are going to disadvantage Democrats.”

The Prez also cautioned against blaming the system itself for the Democrats’ loss, noting that “if we have a strong message, if we’re speaking to what the American people care about, typically the popular vote and the Electoral College vote will align.”

Here is a good history of how the Electoral College came to be: https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/27fea733-07d2-34df-ac0e-a2439b059bf4/ss_why-our-presidents-are.html

Scuttlebutt: Sylvester Stallone has turned down an offer to be on the National Endowment of the Arts board.

In global politics:

The corruption trial of Choi Soon-sil, the jailed longtime friend of impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye began today.

While Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro may have put a halt for now on getting rid of the 100-bolivar note, the military had to be called out Sunday to quell violence of protesters to the President’s plan to change the currency.

Ireland with an assist from Apple is taking on the European Union over an order for the country to negate its laws and collect billions in taxes. Ireland says the EU is stepping on national sovereignty.

International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde has been convicted of negligence in a French court, but will not be subjected to any punishment.

Polish President Andrzej Duda is engaging in mediation talks with protesters to quell a third day of violence after he sought to restrict the rights of a free press.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani rolled out a “Bill of Rights” which included freedom of speech, right to protest and rights to fair trials.

The European Union formally extended sanctions on Russia over its continued operations against Ukraine.

Tuesday, 12/20/16:

It is official.

Donald J. Trump has secured the Electoral College vote with 304 ballots to become the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017.

That big push to get Electors to be “faithless” sizzled, burned and went up in smoke.

Only two Texas Electors balked and cast votes for other than Trump.

On the flip side, four Electors were “faithless” and refused to cast ballots for Hillary Clinton.

Looks like Michael Moore offering to pay the fines and that slick video by Hollywood stars along with the thousands of snail mail and death threats were all for naught.

Speaking of Hillary, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, happened to be an Elector in New York. Following casting his vote for his wife, the former Prez said it was not Hillary’s fault that she did not win, but that letter from Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey with an assist from the Russian government.

This has sparked a bit of a Twitter war between the two men, who did agree on one thing – President Bill called Trump to congratulate him on his victory on election night.

Both men also accused each other of knowing nothing. Prez Bill did say, however, that Trump knew how to get votes from “angry white men.”

Trump is brandishing terms ahead of the investigations into the attacks in Germany and Turkey and mislabeling the attack in Switzerland, by saying all were acts of Islamic terrorism.

A federal judge unsealed the warrant used to look at emails on that laptop of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, estranged of husband of Clinton confidante, Huma Abedin. We still know nothing in the heavily redacted document.

The Trump Transition Team have inquired of State Department officials to disclose how much money it provides each year to international environmental groups.

In a new Politico/Morning Consult poll, only 32% of Americans believe Russia influenced the election. Another 44% said there was no influence while 24% said no opinion or unsure.

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reveals 54% of Americans have either an uncertain or pessimistic and worried view of the incoming presidency of Trump compared to 45% who have an optimistic and confident view.

Although President Barack Obama has been unsuccessful in fulfilling a campaign promise made in 2008 to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, he is doing his best to empty the prison before Trump is sworn in on January 20. The Prez plans to relocate 17 or 18 detainees leaving a few more than 40 terrorist prisoners.

Soon-to-be First Sons Don Jr. and Eric Trump are using access to dear ole Dad as a way to raise money for a private charity.

A Texas-based non-profit recently formed by Trump’s two adult sons and two associates in Texas is already selling the opportunity to meet with President Trump — on the day after his inauguration — for as much as $1 million, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has nixed a new select committee to investigate Russian influence on the election.

Naming Names: None today

Scuttlebutt: Jovita Carranza of JCR Group is being considered for the position of US Trade Representative.

Jewish donors have sent a message to those wanting to be head of the Democratic National Committee: Support Palestinians at your own peril.

In global politics:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is dealing with more intense pressure following last evening’s truck attack on a Christmas market over her refugee policy.

Poland’s President and ruling party caved under pressure and will allow journalists to cover Parliament.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde will remain in her post even though a French court found her guilty of corruption.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila has refused to leave office, though his term expired last night and he lost election. In protests in the nation’s capitol today at least nine people have been killed.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is speaking out against a second vote on Scottish independence.

Wednesday, 12/21/16:

The Trump Transition Team has released the inauguration week schedule of President Elect Donald Trump.

You can get all the details: http://www.presidential-inauguration.com/

58th Presidential Inaugural Schedule of Events

Thursday, January 19, 2017
Wreath Laying Ceremony
Arlington National Cemetery
Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration
Lincoln Memorial

Ticket required for special viewing areas.
No ticket required for general public viewing areas.

Friday, January 20, 2017
Inaugural Swearing-in Ceremony
U.S. Capitol

Inaugural Parade
Pennsylvania Avenue

Ticket required for special viewing areas.
No ticket required for general public viewing areas.

Inaugural Balls
Ticket required – limited availability.

Saturday, January 21, 2017
National Prayer Service
Washington National Cathedral

An American man and woman with two young boys born in captivity are being shown in a video produced by their Taliban captors to attempt to influence incoming President Donald Trump.

The couple are being held prisoner in Pakistan for the past four years. The children have been born during this time.

Rather than acquiescing, the demands by the Taliban, which gave safe harbor to Al Qaeda, Trump will likely be more resolute in striking a hard line with the terror group.

Supporters of Hillary Clinton continue to blame Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey for her loss of the presidency. The charges have grown louder after the release yesterday of the affidavit for a search warrant of the laptop used by disgraced former Congressman Anthony Wiener and his estranged wife, Clinton confidante Huma Abedin, did not reveal the reason for Comey’s letter to Congress about finding emails of interest on the computer.

Clinton and her supporters, including former President Bill Clinton, refuse to accept any responsibility on the part of Clinton for her loss.

Don Jr. and Eric Trump are moving away from the event scheduled by a private charity in Texas, which they are board members, after word came out that as a fundraising stunt time with Trump on the day after inauguration could be had for a mere $1 million donation to the charity. Also nixed is a hunting trip with the Trump boys for half a million dollars.

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the $1 trillion infrastructure plan being touted by the President Elect “sounded good to me.”

Schumer also said he would not oppose something simply because it is proposed by Trump.

Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew warned the Trump economic team about making too drastic of cuts in taxes, which would deepen the nation’s deficit.

Missouri Democratic Senator Clair McCaskill will be taking a seat on the Senate Finance Committee. California Democratic Senator Elect Kamala Harris will be joining the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Mending fences, the President Elect met with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim on Tuesday.

The State of Texas has officially removed Planned Parenthood from its Medicaid program.

The North Carolina State Legislature is meeting in special session to consider repeal of the infamous bathroom law today. But Republican lawmakers are refusing to caucus with their other party members, holding up the expected vote to repeal.

Naming Names:

National Trade Council Chair – Peter Navarro, a professor of economics and public policy at the Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, author of Death by China
Special Adviser – Carl Icahn, billionaire investor, on overhauling federal regulations

An announcement of Press Secretary is expected any time. The front runner is Sean Spicer of the Republican National Committee.

Scuttlebutt:

FBI Director James Comey is mulling speaking out on why he sent the letters to Congress, which are being blamed on Clinton’s defeat in the presidential election.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich says that Trump is leaving “drain the swamp” in the swamp and moving on.

In global politics:

The Obama administration on Tuesday added seven Russian businessmen, eight companies, and two vessels to the list of entities targeted with sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support of separatist rebels in Ukraine.

Russia announced today that all dialogue with the US of A is “frozen.” A spokesman said, “We do not talk to each other. Or we do it to a minimum.” But US State Department spokesman John Kirby disputes the Russian statement.

Could German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open arms policy to refugees sink her re-election bid in 2017?

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom has divested herself of some of her charity functions as the 90-year-old monarch is slowing down. The Queen and husband, Prince Phillip, 95, has also postponed Christmas travel plans due to both suffering with “heavy colds.”

Russia, Iran and Turkey have effectively boxed out the US of A in discussions and action on ending the bloody civil war in Syria.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined with President Barack Obama in placing offshore areas of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans off limits to drilling.

Indonesia’s Narcotics Agency chief seems to be mirroring Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, telling his agents, “Don’t hesitate to shoot drug traffickers, drug dealers and drug users.”

Israel and Sweden continue to be on the outs since the 2014 decision by the Scandinavian country to recognize Palestine.

Thursday, 12/22/16:

President Elect Donald Trump met with active military generals and admirals on Wednesday.

The President Elect also received a full Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) from the intelligence community directly rather than through incoming National Security Adviser retired General Michael Flynn. He followed up with another today.

The CEOs of Boeing and Lockheed Martin met with the President Elect at the Southern Trump Tower of Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on Wednesday.

Following that meeting, Boeing’s CEO said that his company would lower the cost and keep the price down on a new Air Force One.

We’re going to get it done for less than that, and we’re committed to working together to make sure that happens,” said Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

Trump had said that if the cost was $4 billion to cancel the order for Air Force One.

Trump tried to strong-arm Lockheed Martin, but no word if the company will try to lower the cost of new F-35 fighter jets or not.

Trump spoke out against a now-postponed vote by the United Nations on a resolution demanding Israel halt and uproot settlements in the disputed West Bank. Trump called for a veto of the resolution by the US.

Naming Names:

Counselor to the President – Kellyanne Conway, the successful campaign manager for Trump and a pollster
In her position, Conway will continue her role as a close advisor to the president and will work with senior leadership to effectively message and execute the Administration’s legislative priorities and actions,” the Trump Transition Team wrote in a statement.
White House Press Secretary – Sean Spicer, Republican National Committee spokesperson
Strategic Communications Director – Hope Hicks, who served a similar role in the campaign
Director of Communications – Jason Miller, who served a similar role in the campaign
Director of Social Media – Dan Scavino, who served a similar role in the campaign

Senate Democrats released a list of requirements for nominees of the President Elect today.

According to a poll from Suffolk University/USA Today, the majority of Democrats want a new face to run for President in 2020.

But if they have to choose from known party celebs, they prefer Vice President Joe Biden, who will be 78 years young by the next election.

That same poll found that 62% of Democrats and independents do not want Hillary Clinton to run again.

President Barack Obama has ended a program that tracked Arab and Muslim men, the basis for the registry which the President Elect has talked about on the trail.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is set to perform at the inauguration of Trump.

The Radio City Rockettes will be taking part in the celebration.

As previously announced, America’s Got Talent phenom Jackie Evancho will be singing the national anthem.

There will be three inaugural balls instead of 10 as there was in 2008 and 2012.

The President Elect tweeted today that the US needs to expand its nuclear capabilities “until such time the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

Will the US Privacy Board be the first casualty in the Trump presidency?

Team Trump floated the idea of a 5-10% tariff on foreign-made goods produced by American companies abroad.

Trump tweeted, “Someone incorrectly stated” that he was no longer using the phrase, “drain the swamp.” Trump said, “Actually, we will always be trying to DTS.”

OOPs! Looks like Newt Gingrich missed the mark and landed in the swamp.

A man was removed from a JetBlue flight after he began hurling insults at Ivanka Trump Kushner as she traveled with husband Jared and children to Hawaii for the Christmas holiday.

The Kushners were slumming it and flying commercial.

Scuttlebutt: His mustache may have sunk former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton’s chances of landing the #2 spot at Foggy Bottom.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch when apprised that FBI Director James Comey was going to send a letter to Congress about new found emails relating to the investigation into a private server used by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, chose not to stop him.

Fearing a “quagmire” Eric Trump will no longer solicit for charity events.

As unfortunate as it is, I understand the quagmire. You do a good thing that backfires,” Eric said.

Colorado’s Secretary of State has referred the state’s “faithless” Elector to the state’s Attorney General for investigation.

The City of Charlotte, North Carolina kept its part of a deal with the State of North Carolina and repealed its anti-discrimination ordinance. The State Legislature, however, failed to hold up its end of the bargain.

A special session called to repeal the controversial and expensive bathroom law ended in logger heads with the law intact.

In global politics:

United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said Wednesday that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte should be investigated for murder after boasting that he once “personally” killed three drug suspects.

Outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said that if South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment is upheld by the Constitutional Court, he wants to the nation’s next President.

Ghana’s President Elect Akufo-Addo will have to wait until January 10 before the country’s Supreme Court rules on legal objections from the defeated President of the election results.

The United Nations voted to set up a panel to prepare for Syrian war crimes cases.

Before Trump called for expansion of US nuclear capabilities, Russian President Vladmir Putin earlier today called for an expansion as well.

We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems.

We must carefully monitor any changes in the balance of power and in the political-military situation in the world, especially along Russian borders, and quickly adapt plans for neutralizing threats to our country,” Putin said.

Friday, 12/23/16:

Broken bromance?

Looks like playing nice is coming to an end between President Elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The two men have been going back in forth in what looks like a display of testosterone concerning the nuclear power of each others country.

Trump said that if Putin wants an arms race to bring it on – the US will win. This has caused some stir from Capitol Hill to the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom. The chattering class is nearly apoplectic.

But then Putin sent Trump a letter calling for constructive relations between the two countries.

Trump’s response was that he hoped that would happen and an alternate path would not have to be taken.

On the issue of Israeli/Palestinian relations, Trump posted to Facebook, “Peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.”

This came after the President Elect called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at Israel’s request to ask him to postpone a vote in the United Nations Security Council on a resolution condemning and demanding Israel stop and shut down construction of settlements in the disputed West Bank.

The vote was conducted today after four other nations requested it.

Not caving to pressure, President Obama allowed the vote to proceed, as the US abstained. Thus the resolution passed ordering Israel to end its West Bank settlements.

Fallout has already begun, coming from both Republicans and Democrats.

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, along with four other Democratic Senators, prior to the vote, urged the President to veto the resolution.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called the US abstention, “absolutely shameful” and a “blow to peace.”

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has pledged to present legislation to limit funds to the UN following passage of the settlement resolution.

Arizona Senator John McCain called the vote “marks another shameful chapter” in the UN’s dealings with Israel.

Palestinians naturally saw the vote as a “victory for international law, a victory for civilized language and negotiations and a total rejection of extremist forces in Israel.”

Trump remarked, “Things will be different after January 20th.”

Putin is also putting the blame squarely at the door of Democrats for the loss of Hillary Clinton of the presidency and of losses in the Congress and state houses across the US of A.

This is something Democrats seem loathe to admit – their own shortcomings.

Democratic Senators had wanted tax returns from Secretary of State designee Rex Tillerson, but Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker said that ain’t happening.

In an attempt to save taxpayers money, the President Elect asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet fighter jet to Lockheed Martin’s F-35.

Naming Names: None so far today.

Scuttlebutt: President Barack Obama is planning a major speech in Chicago, Illinois in the waning days of his Administration in January. Details not known, but it is being billed as a farewell speech.

Reportedly, Secretary of Health and Human Services designee Dr. Tom Price traded more than $300,000 in share of healthcare companies.

As of now, only one former President will be attending the Trump inauguration on January 20 – Jimmy Carter, the 92-year-old, 39th President.

Washington State has fined its four “faithless” Electors who refused to cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, $1,000 each.

The Trump Transition Team wants information from the State Department on “gender-related staffing, programming, and funding,” raising questions over whether the incoming Administration will slash US efforts promoting women’s equality worldwide.

The so-called “A” list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration,” Trump tweeted. “But look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!

In global politics:

The United Kingdom’s Prince Charles warned Thursday that the “aggressive” attitude of rising populist groups toward people practicing minority religions had “deeply disturbing echoes” of the Nazi era of World War II.

The Israeli government is accusing President Barack Obama of working behind its back with the Palestinians in pushing the settlement resolution proposed by Egypt in the United Nations Security Council.

Traditionally the US has vetoed any such resolution in defense of Israel, but this time the President ordered abstaining on the resolution.

We knew that relations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama were strained, but this shows that relationship is strung tighter than a guitar string ready to pop.

A pro-Kurdish Member of Parliament in Turkey has been detained by police.

West African nations pledge to send troops if Gambia’s President continues to refuse to step down after losing the election by January 19, 2017.

Lawmakers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have agreed in principle to a deal with President Joseph Kabila which will allow him to remain in office until the end of 2017, though his term ended Monday.

After the UN Human Rights Commissioner called for investigation into murder by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who admitted to the killings, said about the UN, “I will burn it down, if I go to America.”

Thanks for viewing!

Politics Roundup – December 12 – 18, 2016

politicsroundup

Welcome to the weekly compilation of the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the comings and goings from the alternate world of reality – politics!

My Word of Wisdom: Politics is like WWE Raw
Governing is like 60 Minutes

Monday, 12/12/16:

Not being dictated.

President Elect Donald Trump indicated that he may not adhere to the “One China” policy honored by Republican and Democratic Presidents for decades.

This has prompted a warning from China.

We urge the new U.S. leader and government to fully understand the seriousness of the Taiwan issue,” Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said, “and to continue to stick to the one China policy.”

A Chinese newspaper referred to Trump “as ignorant as a child” for suggesting a change in US policy on China.

Motive is the issue.

Did Russian hackers break into the Democratic National Party and attempt to influence the recent election?

Most likely.

Did the Russians succeed in throwing the election to Trump?

No.

Four Senators – two Republican, two Democrat – want and will get an investigation into what influence Russia did have in the election. Those Senators are John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed.

The Senators wrote in a letter: “While protecting classified material, we have an obligation to inform the public about recent cyberattacks that have cut to the heart of our free society. Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyber-attacks.”

During a press briefing this morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave his blessing into a probe of Russian activity in the election.

It’s over:  A judge in Pennsylvania put the kibosh on the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein for a recount in the Keystone State today.

Unless there is new information to report, Trump only wants to hear from the intelligence community once a week.

Retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid accused Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey of ignoring a request for an investigation into Russia interfering in the US election on partisan grounds to get Trump elected.

Reid also accused the Trump campaign of coordinating with the Russian government to throw the election Trump’s way.

Going on in the interview on CNN, Reid said it was “obvious, Wikileaks was bought and sold” to get Trump elected.

Singlehandedly“, Reid accused Comey of costing Democrats the majority in the Senate and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton not winning the White House.

The Illinois Republican Party was informed by the FBI in June that their email had been hacked.

Possible #2 at the State Department in the incoming Trump Administration, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, suggested the hack of the DNC was a covert op by the Administration of President Barack Obama.

Talk about your fake news!

After the President Elect tweeted today that cost of the new fighter jet, F-35, was “out of control“, stock price in Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer, too a tumble.

A group of Electors are demanding an intelligence briefing on the role of Russia in the election prior to the December 19 vote to choose the 45th President.

One of those Electors is the daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who penned an open letter to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper:

The Electors require to know from the intelligence community whether there are ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations,” the letter read. “We further require a briefing on all investigative findings, as these matters directly impact the core factors in our deliberations of whether Mr. Trump is fit to serve as President of the United States.

Separate from Mr. Trump’s own denials of Russian involvement in the election, the confirmed communication between Trump’s aides and those associated with the Russian election interference activity raise serious concerns that must be addressed before we cast our votes.”

In addition to Pelosi, eight other Democrats and one Republican signed the letter.

With just over a month left in office, President Obama is enjoying his highest approval rating of 56%.

Scuttlebutt: Former Texas Governor and presidential rival Rick Perry is being considered for Secretary of Energy.
Former presidential rival Carly Fiorina was interviewed today to be Director of National Intelligence.
New Jersey Governor and former rival turned surrogate Chris Christie wants no position in the White House since he was not offered the one job he wanted – Attorney General.

In global politics:

Romania’s leftist Social Democrat Party won the majority in parliamentary elections with 45.5% of votes.

The ruling Conservatives claimed victory in elections in Macedonia, but the opposition claims victory as well.

New Zealand’s new Prime Minister is Bill English, who won leadership of the National Party.

Thailand’s new King is stirring good will by pardoning minor offenders and cutting jail terms.

Even with US urging to accept the election results and go, Gambia’s President continues to hold out and call for a new election.

Tuesday, 12/13/16:

When will the President Elect conduct an actual news conference?

The planned Thursday press availability to discuss divesting business interests to run the presidency has been postponed until some unknown future date.

President Elect Donald Trump and his lawyers need more time to sort it out dicing up a global business empire.

Still – Trump could have a presser to answer questions on a deluge of other topics.

Trump did tweet yesterday, “No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.”

Naming Names:

Secretary of State – ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, awarded the Russian Order of Friendship, facing opposition from Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, no government or military experience
Secretary of Energy – Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, of the department he wanted to do away with when runnng for President in 2011 and famously forgot in the viral “OOPs!” moment
Secretary of Interior – Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL commander
Senior Policy Adviser – Stephen Miller, a former staffer to Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions

Republican Congresswoman Cathy McManus Rodgers of Washington, a member of the House leadership, had previously been leaked to be Interior Secretary, but will instead keep her seat and power in the Congress.

The man who led the campaign of Hillary Clinton and whose emails were rolled out day-by-day, John Podesta, is backing Electors who want an intelligence briefing on Russian incursions that may have impacted the election before the Elector College meets Monday to elect Trump President.

Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed,” said Podesta.

The number of Electors now calling for an intelligence briefing has risen from nine to 40.

After visiting Trump Tower, Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin says he is staying put and not moving to the West Wing.

Scuttlebutt: Ivanka Trump Kushner and husband, Jared, will be playing a role in the Trump White House and not in the Trump Organization.

Could Ivanka take on First Lady duties while Melania stays in New York with little brother Barron?

Former Fox News chief Roger Ailes is being considered for position of Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy.

Those two Colorado Electors who went to federal court to protest the requirement that Electors follow the state’s law mandating voting for the candidate who won the state’s popular vote got scolded by the judge and sent home.

Republicans tried to talk the Securities & Exchange Commission from implementing new rules until the new Trump Administration, but were rebuffed.

Say goodbye to any more probes into the 9/11 attack on Benghazi, Libya as the House closed it down.

Afraid that weather and climate data and research will disappear once Trump takes office, scientists are copying it all to backup disks and servers.

House Intelligence Committee Republican Chair Devin Nunes informed Director of National Intelligence James Clapper he wants a briefing on “alleged Russian involvement in cyber activities” in elections.

Nunes said he was “dismayed” that Clapper did not inform him of “conflicting assessments” on Russian hacking.

President Barack Obama today signed the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes Vice President Joe Biden’s “Moonshot” cancer cure program and billions for treatment of opiod abuse.

So much for the Trump Transition Team getting names of Department of Energy personnel who worked or participated in climate change programs. The union said, “Stuff it.”

New York Police took into custody a man with a knife and fireworks in his backpack at Trump Tower after he was stopped by the Secret Service.

Washington State Governor Jay Islee proposed $4 billion in new taxes to pay teachers.

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a 20-week ban on abortions bill, but vetoed the very controversial and likely unconstitutional heartbeat legislation.

An Oklahoma law restricting abortion has been struck down as unconstitutional. The Oklahoma Supreme Court said the 2014 law “places an undue burden on a women’s access to abortion.”

With President Elect Donald Trump choosing so many people from the world of business, who like him have no government nor military experience, is he draining the swamp or setting up the country to be drowned in the marsh?

Share your opinion: http://fromthecornfield.com/623-2/

In global politics:

The Cherokee Nation’s Attorney General declared tribe’s bans on same-gender marriage unconstitutional.

Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres was sworn in as United Nations Secretary-General on Monday.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny announced he is officially running in the 2018 presidential election.

Gambia security forces have taken over the Election Commission as the President continues to reject the results of the election which ousted him.

Brazil’s Senate approved a 20-year spending freeze.

The US of A is cutting back on arm sales to Saudi Arabia in reaction to the kingdom’s involvement in the civil war in Yemen.

Turkey was given the bad news the European Union will not consider its bid for membership under the current world climate.

The Governor of Jakarta, Indonesia, a Christian, is now on trial for blasphemy.

Wednesday, 12/14/16:

Silicon Valley made a pilgrimage to Trump Tower today, meeting as Kernels From the Cornfield goes to press.

Noticeably absent was the CEO or anyone from Twitter.

In Wisconsin last night as part of his “Thank You Tour“, President Elect Donald Trump joked about House Speaker and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, with whom he has had disagreements at times, “He’s like a fine wine. Every day goes by, I get to appreciate his genius more and more. Now if he ever goes against me, I’m not going to say that, okay?”

Naming Names:

Republican National Committee Chair: Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, niece of Mitt Romney

Ronna McDaniel, what a great job you and your people have done,” Trump told thousands at Deltaplex Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan, last Friday. “I was very impressed with you. She didn’t sleep for six months!”

Scuttlebutt:

The Trump sons, Don Jr. and Eric, have been involved with selecting Cabinet positions. Most notably was interviewing and pushing for the selection of the Interior Secretary, Montana Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke.

There may be as many as 20 #NeverTrump Republican Electors who may buck their state voters and in some cases state law and vote their conscience against Trump.

If there are 36 “faithless” Electors, the choosing of the President will fall to the House of Representatives.

Seems the Administration of President Barack Obama knew that Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, but did not speak out for fear of giving the Trump campaign ammunition to use against Hillary Clinton or to use as an excuse of why Trump lost the election.

Of course Trump did not lose.

The White House is also putting out other reasons for not doing something or saying more about Russian involvement in the hacks, but some Democrats are not buying it and blaming the President for Clinton’s loss.

Outgoing Labor Secretary Tom Perez has mounted a challenge to Congressman Keith Ellison to be the Democratic National Committee Chair.

The Trump Transition Team is now saying that questionnaire asking for names of scientists in the Department of Energy who participated in any climate change programs was not authorized. The Team also says the person who sent out the questionnaire was “properly counseled.”

One Democratic Congressman from Connecticut, Jim Himes, wants Republican Electors to block Trump from becoming President. Himes is calling into question the temperament of Trump, saying he is “temperamentally unfit” to serve as President. The Congressman admits the chance of this happening is a “very low percent.”

Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, plans to launch an investigation into Russian hacking of the DNC and other entities.

Democrats in the House of Representatives are pressing the President Elect to divest his newly opened hotel in Washington DC or be in breech of the lease the day he is sworn in as President.

Jackie Evancho, the young girl who won national attention on America’s Got Talent a few years ago, now 16, will sing the national anthem for the inauguration of Trump.

Press conference watch: Still waiting, Mr. President Elect. The last presser was back in July.

Does business prowess equate to good governance?

Share your opinion: http://fromthecornfield.com/623-2/

In global politics:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte admitted to personally killing suspected drug users and dealers while he was a mayor. He urged his people to do the same.

The French National Assembly extend the state of emergency until mid July, 2017.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has rolled out Saudi Vision 2030 plan to provide a decent livelihood for his subjects.

The United Nations has called on security forces in Gambia to vacate the Electoral Commission premises, which they occupied on Tuesday.

Iran sent out congratulations to the Butcher of Syria on taking Aleppo, Syria.

North Korea’s Kim Jung Un finds the presidential crisis in South Korea as a reason to laugh.

Thursday, 12/15/16:

Obviously aware” is how White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest described President Elect Donald Trump’s knowledge of Russian hacking and attempts to affect the outcome of the US presidential election.

Seems former surrogate and former South Carolina lawmaker Jack Kingston visited Russia to talk with American business people to reassure them about the President Elect’s plans which may affect their dealings in that country, including considering lifting sanctions imposed on the country.

Everyone played nice during the summit of Silicon Valley and Trump Tower on Wednesday, but nothing of substance has emerged.

We want you to keep going with the incredible innovation,” Trump told the gathering of tech giants. “There’s nobody like you in the world.”

Amazon CEO and owner of The Washington Post Jeff Bezos quipped this after the meeting, that he and the others were “super excited about the possibility that this can be the innovations administration.”

Twitter was noticeably not invited for allegedly not allowing a #CrookedHillary emoji to be used by Trump.

To court we go after a Washington DC Superior Court Judge ruled Trump must answer questions in an ongoing lawsuit between him and a celebrity chef, who refused to work for the President Elect at his new Washington DC hotel down the street from the White House.

Naming Names:

National Security Council – Fox News commentator Monica Crowley, to be Strategic Communications Adviser
National Security Council – Retired Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, to be Chief of Staff and Executive Secretary

Scuttlebutt:

Idaho Governor Butch Otter is being considered to head up the Department of Agriculture.

Republican National Committee spokesperson Sean Spicer has the inside track to become White House Press Secretary.

Admiral Michelle Howard is being considered to be Secretary for Veterans Affairs.

Word is the President Elect is now “concerned” about Russian hacks.

No daily White House briefing? That seems to be what incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus seemed to insinuate on Wednesday.

Secretary of State designee Rex Tillerson is not so keen on the idea of having former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton as #2 at Foggy Bottom.

Looks like incoming First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner will be occupying an office in the West Wing of the White House as his wife, Ivanka, takes on duties usually executed by the First Lady with an office in the East Wing.

Intelligence officials are saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the break into Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign workers emails to keep Hillary Clinton from winning the US election due to her accusing him of shady dealings in the 2011 Russian election.

South Carolina Senator and former presidential candidate Lindsey Graham revealed his campaign email was hacked as well during this past year.

What is in the water North Carolina Republicans are drinking?

GOP lawmakers are trying to strip power from the incoming Democratic Governor, who happens to be the current Attorney General in the state.

New Mexico Secretary of Taxation and Revenue Demesia Padilla has resigned amid charges of official misconduct.

It was reported earlier this year about the breech by incoming National Security Adviser retired Lieutenant General and former Director Military Intelligence Michael Flynn in providing classified information without permission to Pakistani allies.

Now comes news another similar breech occurred with foreign allies in Afghanistan in 2010.

Electors surveyed by The Associated Press are not interested by-and-large in rocking the boat when they convene to vote on Monday.

Looks like Trump will sail through to another victory.

One thing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is not doing is going quietly into retirement.

Intelligence agencies denied a briefing to the House Intelligence Committee about the Russian hacking situation, citing a much larger probe is being undertaken.

Once the review is complete in the coming weeks, the Intelligence Community stands ready to brief Congress – and will make those findings available to the public consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a statement.

It is unacceptable that the Intelligence Community directors would not fulfill the House Intelligence Committee’s request to be briefed tomorrow on the cyber-attacks that occurred during the presidential campaign,” Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of California said in a statement Wednesday.

The Committee is deeply concerned that intransigence in sharing intelligence with Congress can enable the manipulation of intelligence for political purposes. The Committee will continue its efforts and will insist that we receive all the necessary cooperation from the relevant leaders of the Intelligence Community.”

While refusing to sign legislation extending sanctions on Iran, President Barack Obama allowed the law to take effect by not acting within time limits.

In his last Economic Report of the President, Obama said the nation’s economy had moved from “crisis” to the “strongest and most durable in the world.”

Senate Democrats are moving ahead with introducing legislation to force Trump to shed conflicts of interests. In other words, make Trump sale Trump.

The Delaware Supreme Court has ruled the death penalty unconstitutional and made its ruling retroactive to take in inmates on death row.

Press conference watch: Still waiting, Mr. President Elect. The last presser was back in July.

Does business prowess equate to good governance?

Share your opinion: http://fromthecornfield.com/623-2/

In global politics:

After brazenly telling the world that he had personally killed suspected drug users and drug dealers while he was a mayor, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is hearing calls for impeachment.

Senator Leila De Lima, a staunch Duterte critic, said his boasting amounted to an admission of “mass murder,” which would qualify as high crimes that are grounds for impeachment under the country’s constitution. A second Senator has now come out in favor of impeachment as well.

India’s Supreme Court has banned the sale of liquor on national and state highways.

Great Britain has called on the carpet the Ambassadors of Russia and Iran over the Aleppo, Syria humanitarian crisis.

Canadian Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson plans to question Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about cash-for-access fundraising.

Friday, 12/16/16:

Is President Barack Obama shifting responsibility to the incoming President Elect?

Obama said the US will retaliate at a “time and place of our own choosing” for the Russians hacking into our electoral system.

The Prez said he spoke personally to Russian President Vladimir Putin when they met in China earlier this fall, telling him to “cut it out” and if Putin did not, there would be consequences.

We can do stuff to you,” Obama said to Putin.

He also said the response to Russia would be “proportional.”

My take: When You’re Right, You’re Right

Meanwhile, the hacks go on and expected to continue into the unforeseeable future.

Former chairman of the Hillary Clinton campaign, John Podesta, is putting a good amount of blame on the election loss on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its non-response to the Russians hacking the Democratic National Committee and his personal email.

The Russians are saying to the Obama Administration, “Put up or shut up.”

Clinton told supporters last night that the hacking was a “personal” attack on her by Putin for her support of protesters in Russia following the 2011 election in that country.

The former First Lady did not stop there.

She laid her loss to Trump squarely at the feet of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey – but not at her own doorstep.

It is being reported that attempts by the Russians to hack the Republican National Committee were thwarted by security precautions put in place for the RNC computer system.

The Central Intelligence Agency continues to ignore a request to brief the Senate Homeland Security Committee on the Russian hacks impacting the 2016 election, according to Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

First Lady Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfrey she has no hope, but Trump supporters are saying they have found hope.

President Obama had his last news conference of his Administration today.

The President took advantage of the press to tout his accomplishments over his 8-year tenure.

The Prez smirked and insinuated that Trump was well aware of the Russian involvement and Putin working to get him elected.

Obama quipped, “Not much happens in Russia,” without the involvement of Putin.

In a strong defense of the FBI, following Clinton and her supporters putting blame on Comey for her loss, the President praised the agents’ and Comey’s work and that “they save lives every day.”

The President also came to the defense of intelligence operatives.

The Prez and family jetted off to Hawaii for the holidays following the presser.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has found himself the subject of Trump tweets. Earnest is not taking it lamely, but is striking back with tweets of his own.

Naming Names:

Ambassador to Israel – New York bankruptcy lawyer David M. Friedman, who is against a 2-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pro moving US Embassy to Jerusalem

Scuttlebutt:

Word is that Ivanka has been calling Republican lawmakers to discuss child care legislation.

David McCormick, Bridgewater Associates Management Committee President, is said to be in the lead to become Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said it is not an issue for Ivanka Trump Kushner and her husband Jared to work in the White House along side her father, the President Elect.

The anti-nepotism law apparently has an exception if you want to work in the West Wing, because the President is able to appoint his own staff,” Conway said.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will investigate the Russian hacking situation.

President Obama may be heading out the door in about 30 days, but that does not mean he is doing nothing as the transition takes place. Yesterday, he announced some key appointments to the US Civil Rights Commission and other boards:

The Massachusetts Attorney General and other Democratic Attorneys General across the country have come out to warn the incoming Trump Administration it will be watching and ready to take the White House to court if they perceive missteps.

The row between the North Carolina Republican lawmakers and the incoming Democratic Governor Roy Cooper is getting more heated after the State Legislature in an “emergency session” passed legislation to curb the power of the Governor’s Office.

If I believe that laws passed by the legislature hurt working families and are unconstitutional, they will see me in court,” Cooper said.

Several people were arrested in the State Capitol building in Raleigh, North Carolina as they protested the power grab taking place during that emergency session to curb power of Cooper.

Press conference watch: Still waiting, Mr. President Elect. The last presser was back in July.

Does business prowess equate to good governance?

Share your opinion: http://fromthecornfield.com/623-2/

In global politics:

The South Korean Presidential Office has barred investigators of Parliament looking into the scandal involving impeached President Park Geun-hye.

Northern Ireland’s Deputy Foreign Minister is calling on the Foreign Minister to step down due to an investigation into a controversial green energy scheme.

Palestinian Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said that moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, Israel to Jerusalem would end chances for peace.

Doubling down, a defiant Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had this to say about killing drug users and dealers:

To spare you embarrassment about the crawlers on television that have been running on CNN and even the BBC since yesterday that says Duterte admits killing or shooting the criminals: they were not mistaken. Sons of whores I will really kill these idiots. My campaign on drugs will not end, until the end of my term six years from now when every drug pusher is (killed),”, making a throat-cutting gesture.

Electoral College Set to Vote – Monday is the day when the official vote is taken by the 538 members of the Electoral College in 51 locations across the nation.

When the American people voted on November 8, 306 Electors were selected and pledged to Donald Trump.

Another 232 Electors were selected and pledged to Hillary Clinton.

It takes 270 of the Electors to officially select the 45th President of the United States.

By law the vote of the Electoral College must be held on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, which this year is this coming Monday, the 19th.

Electoral College voting is conducted between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. local at various state capitals and at the District of Columbia.

Learn more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/electoral-college-voting-unfold-monday-102405396.html

Sunday, 12/18/16:

Changing role.

In a rally that is part of President Elect Donald Trump’s “Thank You Tour” in Florida Friday night, Trump promised America’s foreign policy will no longer move “from one reckless intervention to another.”

Earlier this week, I met separately with FBI [Director] James Comey and DNI Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election,” CIA Director John O. Brennan said in a message to the agency’s staff.

However, Comey is not commenting.

Monday is the day when the official vote is taken by the 538 members of the Electoral College in 51 locations across the nation.

Results will not be revealed until January 6, 2017.

Will at least 37 Republican Electors change their vote to cast the election into the House of Representatives?

Don’t hold your breath.

The President Elect pushed back at a “Thank You Tour” rally in Mobile, Alabama Saturday night against First Lady Michelle Obama’s statement to Ophrah Winfrey of being without hope.

We have tremendous hope, and we have tremendous promise and tremendous potential,” Trump said. “And beyond hope, we have such potential. This country has such potential. You watch, it’s going to be so special.”

Naming Names:

Office of Management and Budget Director – South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney, a fiscal conservative and co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus

No talking business with family, that is the word from Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks. She also said that the President Elect is not against restrictions being placed on his business talks with his family.

Former campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton, John Podesta refused today on NBC’s Meet the Press to say whether or not the recent election was free and fair. Instead Podesta said the election was “distorted” by the intervention of Russia into the electoral process. Podesta referred to the President Elect as a “lap dog” of the Russians.

Following the boss’s lead, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had this to say on Fox News today about whether the Russian government and Putin were behind the hacking of Clinton campaign and DNC emails, “It sure would be nice to hear from everybody. I mean, if there is this conclusive opinion among all of these intelligence agencies, then they should issue a report or they should stand in front of a camera and make the case.”

Scuttlebutt:

It was rumored that the President Elect would stay in his Washington DC hotel down the street from the White House ahead of his inauguration on January 20. Spokesperson Jason Miller says that is not the truth, but that Trump will stay in Blair House, the official location for visiting dignataries.

Turns out that Secretary of State designee Rex Tillerson is a director of a Russian American oil company based in The Bahamas, according to a German news source.

Soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and fellow Democratic Senator Jack Reed have joined with Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham in a statement to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that a special committee with wider investigative powers be empanelled to investigate Russia’s involvement in the recent election.

We need to get to the bottom of this,” McCain told CNN‘s Jake Tapper on State of the Union this morning. “There’s no doubt they were interfering. There’s no doubt. The question is now, how much and what damage? And what should the United States of America do?”

The Senators said, in part, in their statement to McConnell:

This cannot become a partisan issue. The stakes are too high for our country. We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner, and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security.”

Global Politics:

Bolivian President Evo Morales looks headed for a 4th term after the ruling party bucked a referendum and cast its support behind the President.

The Mayor of Cuernavaca, Mexico, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, a former soccer star, has gone a hunger strike as a way to counter those who question his mayorship.

Impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye says that there is not sufficient legal grounds for her impeachment and no serious crime was committed.

The United Nations is considering today whether or not to send observers into war-torn Syria to monitor the situation in the City of Aleppo. Russia has vowed to veto the measure, keeping outside monitors out of what has been described as the scene of multiple war crimes. Russia this afternoon submitted an alternative that would give the Syrian regime veto power over placement of monitors to observe evacuations in Aleppo.

After major civil unrest and blowback, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro is postponing his plan to do away with the 100-bolivar bill until January. Meanwhile in reaction to the plan, Colombia and Brazil have closed their borders to the country.

Saad Hariri has formed a new government in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia is denying reports that the US of A has curtailed selling weapons to the kingdom over concerns of its involvement in the Yemeni civil war.

Thanks for viewing!

When You’re Right, You’re Right

Seldom will you find me thinking or agreeing with The New York Times Tom Friedman, but something he said tonight on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, has me shouting, “Amen!”

Friedman noted that he cannot understand and takes issue with why President Barack Obama has not retaliated against Russia for hacking and interfering with our election process, if that is what happened.

As Friedman pointed out, if so, this is an attack by a foreign entity on the very core of our democracy.

The US intelligence community and the Administration knew for months and months, long before the October 7 press release about the issue.

Reportedly they knew that Russia characters were up to their eyebrows in the swamp of hacking into the Democratic National Committee, the private email of John Podesta and others.

And – have done nothing.

The Administration has known about the fake news site emanating out of Eastern Europe. 

And – have done nothing.

Why?

As Friedman said, an attack at the core of our electoral system is an all out attack on America and trumps all other issues.

So what if the President was worried about getting Russia on his side in Syria or with the Iran deal or any number of issues?

So what if Donald Trump could use it, if he lost to Hillary Clinton, as an excuse to cry, “Foul!”

Russia has attacked the US of A, according to what intelligence agencies are saying.

From the Cornfield, the number one job of President of the United States is to protect the country and the Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

If in fact, as the intelligence indicates, the Russian government – all the way up to Russian President Vladimir Putin – launched a cyber attack on our electoral system – then do your job, Mr. President.

Do not wait for the next President and expect him to do it for you.

Politics Roundup – December 5 – 11, 2016

politicsroundup

Welcome to the weekly compilation of the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the comings and goings from the alternate world of reality – politics!

My Word of Wisdom: Politics is like WWE Raw
Governing is like 60 Minutes

Monday, 12/5/16:

Picking a fight.

Is President Elect Donald Trump trying to start a trade war with the second largest economy in the world, China?

Trump tweeted, “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!”

By the way, the US does tax Chinese products entering the US of A.

China is playing it cool, but seriously.

Not a casual congratulatory call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen after all, according to The Washington Post. The Post says the call had been in the planning for weeks.

A federal judge ordered the State of Michigan to start the recount of the presidential election as requested by the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein today.

The bipartisan No Labels organization has set up a number of political action committees (PACs) to raise $50 million to protect moderate lawmakers in Congress from primary challenges in 2018.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has sent a $35 million bill to the US government for security at Trump Tower for protection of the President Elect and his family.

Soon-to-be First Daughter Ivanka Trump Kirschner will meet with former Vice President Al Gore to talk about climate change.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory finally conceded he lost in a YouTube video today.

Attorney General Roy Cooper won and will be the next Gov.

About time.

Naming Names:

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – Dr. Ben Carson, neurosurgeon, former 2012 presidential candidate

She has no vote, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement on the nomination of Carson to be HUD Secretary:

pelosioncarson

Democrats in the Senate are also concerned with Carson’s lack of experience in the field for which he has been nominated.

Believe it or not: If the press would cover me accurately & honorably, I would have far less reason to “tweet.” Sadly, I don’t know if that will ever happen!

That’s what the President Elect tweeted today.

Forbes is reporting that the incoming Trump Administration may not propose a budget for the 2018 Fiscal Year, contrary to federal law.

The State of California is exploring its options to protect against policies, which the state may disagree, implemented by Trump, once he takes office.

Throughout the presidential campaign and since, the president-elect has made many troubling statements that run counter to the principles that define California today,” said Kevin de León, the Senate president pro tempore, who is backing the package of laws being introduced to block enforcing immigration rules from the feds. “There is no greater policy area than immigration where the comments run headlong to the values we share as Californians.”

In global politics:

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi lost the referendum to change the nation’s constitution on Sunday and now will be leaving office.

In a surprise, center-left candidate Alexander Van der Bellen defeated the far-right Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer in Austria’s presidential election on Sunday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make history visiting Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the site of the sneak attack by the Japanese Imperial Navy on the US Pacific Fleet on December 7, 1941, which brought the US of A into World War II.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key resigned for family reasons.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has thrown his hat in the ring for President.

Shavkat Mirziyovev won the presidency in Uzbekistan.

China warned the US of A not to disrupt the Iran nuclear deal:

The agreement’s implementation is the “joint responsibility and duty of all parties” and “should not be affected by any changes in the domestic situations of the countries concerned“, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told a press conference after meeting his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The United Kingdom’s Brexit plan is now in the hands of the nation’s Supreme Court.

Tuesday, 12/6/16:

Back to North Carolina this evening for President Elect Donald Trump in the second stop on his “Thank You Tour.”

Thursday the tour will travel to Iowa and wind up in Michigan on Friday.

What was to be a talk between Ivanka Trump Kushner and former Vice President Al Gore turned into a long talk with with the President Elect on Monday.

Whether the talk was on climate change or other issues, both men are staying mum.

Was he joking or being serious?

Vice President Joe Biden said he was leaving the door open to a presidential run in 2020. Biden will be 78 years young by that time.

The White House is concerned Trump talking to the President of Taiwan may inadvertently have an impact on US and Chinese relations.

Democratic progressive groups want the President Elect to fire his incoming National Security Adviser, retired Director of Military Intelligence Lieutenant General Mike Flynn for promoting fake news stories.

Flynn’s son, who once was his chief of staff, is perpetuating a fake news story about a pizzeria in Washington DC being site of a child abuse scandal involving former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Trump does not want the new Air Force One being built by Boeing at a cost of $3 billion. He called to cancel the order today.

We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money,” Trump said to reporters.

boeing

The President Elect sold all his stock in Boeing back in June.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act may be a breeze. Replacing it may be a pain in the you-know-where, however.

President Barack Obama defended his counter terrorism policy in his last such speech today at Central Command headquarters in Florida today.

Oil companies are urging the President Elect to follow through for the Dakota Access Pipeline once he takes office. But Trump sold his stake in the company building the pipeline.

Scuttlebutt: Add West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin to the possible members of the Trump Cabinet as Energy Secretary.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is in the mix for Ambassador to China.

Speaking to the Court, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said about the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein seeking a recount of the presidential vote, “Her insistence on a recount despite only getting 1% of the vote has created chaos for our county clerks and will cost Michigan taxpayers millions of dollars. I am asking the Court of Appeals to rule on the side of Michigan voters and end this frivolous recount.”

Another Texas Elector says he will be “faithless” when the Electoral College casts its vote on December 19. Says Electors should unite around an alternative Republican for President instead of Trump.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is putting committee assignments on hold until January.

Missouri’s Governor Elect Eric Greitens’ wife was robbed at gunpoint. The soon-to-be First Lady of Missouri is shaken, but otherwise OK.

Three voters in central Florida have filed a longshot for a recount in the Sunshine State in hopes of overturning Trump’s win. The three are claiming Clinton won because there was hacking, malfunctioning voting machines and other problems.

That 35% tariff Trump keeps threatening?

Do not believe it will be a flick of the pen. Congress, including Republicans, are not too keen on that idea.

Reportedly 1996 GOP presidential nominee and former Senator Bob Dole arranged that phone call between the President Elect and the Taiwanese President.

Still smarting over Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, one New York Democratic State Legislator is introducing a bill to force the President Elect to reveal his tax returns if he decides to run for re-election in 2020 or not allow the state’s Electors to cast votes for any candidate who does not produce tax returns within 50 days of the General Election.

Michigan is running into a problem with the recount – the ballot box and poll book numbers do not add up. This means the precinct, under state law, is not recountable and the original results stand. This is happening in several precincts.

In global politics:

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has been appointed Prime Minister.

The scandal surrounding South Korean President Park Geun-hye has pulled in CEOs of nine of the biggest businesses in the country, such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai.

Iran says it will not allow President Elect Trump to rip up the Iran nuclear deal once he takes office in January.

With 89.5% support, Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, retains leadership of her Christian Democratic Union.

Wednesday, 12/7/16:

President Elect Donald Trump is taking credit for an infusion of $50 billion into the US economy and adding 50,000 jobs in the US of A by SoftBank, a Japanese company, which also owns telecommunications company Sprint.

Apple supplier Foxconn also said it was involved in preliminary talks to expand in the U.S.

The head of the workers union at Carrier in Indianapolis, Indiana says that both the President Elect and Vice President Elect, Governor Mike Pence, straight up lied about the number of jobs saved by keeping the factory in the Cornfield.

This morning, Trump said he would announce his Secretary of State pick next week. He added that former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is still in the running for the position.

The President Elect officially rolled out his pick for Defense Secretary at a “Thank You Tour” rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina last night. That choice, as we already knew, is retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis.

Naming Names:

Ambassador to China – Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, the longest serving governor in US history, has personal relationship with President of China

Secretary of Homeland Security – Retired Marine General John Kelly, yes another general surrounding Trump, former Commander, Southern Command

Director of the Environmental Protection Agency – Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a long-time critic of the EPA, which in his role as AG is currently suing
Director Small Business Administration – Linda McMahon, businesswoman known for ties with professional wrestling and unsuccessful run for Senate

In probably his last speech on national security and terrorism, President Barack Obama warned his successor to stay the course in the fight against the Islamic State, during an address to military members at Central Command in Florida yesterday.

The Prez said that as his term of office is nearing an end, under his policies on terrorism, the US and its allies are “breaking the backs” of the Islamic State.

Obama said “upholding our values” in the fight is key.

The whole objective of these terrorists is to scare us into changing the nature of who we are and our democracy,” the Prez said.

The conversations between the 44th President and the incoming 45th President are continuing, with Trump.

Trump said this morning that he has asked the man in the Oval Office his advice on possible picks for the coveted Secretary of State position.

The President Elect said he even took Obama’s advice on one of the picks he has already made, without disclosing which one.

The talk of the chattering class today is that there are two Trumps. Funny I wrote about this months ago: Person Versus Persona.

Michigan’s Court of Appeals says that Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein’s showing in the recent presidential election was so poor, she does not deserve a second look at the vote count.

The federal Appeals Court, however, refused to stop the Michigan recount.

The judge in a suit by Stein in Pennsylvania for a recount has set Friday for a hearing on her request.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants to amend the US Constitution to restrict the powers of the federal government over states.

Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met with the President Elect today in Trump Tower and delivered a letter signed by 14 mayors concerning Dreamers, those children who were brought to the US of A by their parents in violation of immigration law.

Georgia Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he will launch an investigation into the hacking alleged to have been done by Russia on the Democratic National Committee and campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Graham also plans to probe what influence Russia may have had in this past presidential election.

The House Republican Freedom Caucus tried to force a vote to impeach Internal Revenue Service Director John Koskinen, but were rebuffed.

Two Colorado Electors have filed suit in federal court to block Trump, saying state law that binds Electors to vote for winner of popular vote is unconstitutional.

Scuttlebutt: Former US Attorney Debra Wong Yang is being considered to head up the Security and Exchange Commission.

Trump plans to visit with victims of the Ohio State terror attack tomorrow.

The Mayor and City Council President were both recalled in a special election in East Cleveland, Ohio.

A Bloomberg National Poll has found the majority of Americans have no issue with Trump keeping his businesses.

While 2/3s of Americans think Trump should choose between being businessman or be President, 69% think he and his family should not be forced to sell off to avoid conflicts of interest.

Read it for yourself: http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-12-07/majority-of-americans-say-trump-can-keep-businesses-poll-shows

Trump hushed supporters booing the press corps during his rally in North Carolina last night.

In response to New York City’s $35 million bill for security at Trump Tower, the US House approved $7 million. Mayor Bill de Blasio is not a happy camper.

Minnesota Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison, who is running to head the Democratic National Committee, says if he wins the chair, he will vacate his seat in Congress. Many Democrats say the party needs a full-time chairman.

The US Senate paid respect to outgoing Vice President Joe Biden today.

The House and Senate sent a sweeping new health bill to the President today, which addresses the nation’s opioid epidemic.

In global politics:

Keeping native languages alive and revitalized is the impact of a new legislation proposed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Indigenous Languages Act.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who announced his resignation, appears to be headed to take the chair of the International Monetary Fund.

Russia was condemned for bombings in Aleppo, Syria by leaders from Canada, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and the US of A.

Thursday, 12/8/16:

President Elect Donald Trump displayed his typical counter-puncher behavior yesterday, but it was not flattering.

Trump tweeted disparaging remarks about the local union leader at Carrier in Indianapolis, Indiana for pointing out the number of jobs not moving to Mexico from the Hoosier State was not accurate.

Mr. President Elect, we know your brand.

Move on and leave the little guy alone.

You have much more consequential issues with which to deal than a local union boss bruising your ego.

Apparently, the President Elect has either never listened to or does not understand the message in Kenny Rogers’ Coward of the County.

The union boss’s complaint seems to be that not all jobs were saved. Some 550 workers will still be out of a job.

Pharmaceutical companies saw stocks drop in price on Wednesday after the President Elect tweeted that drug prices were too high. Trump vowed to get costs down for Americans who need the medications.

A federal judge halted the recount in Michigan, dashing Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein’s hopes. The judge said he could not argue with the state court’s rationale that Stein was tilting at windmills.

The President Elect visited victims of the Ohio State University terrorist attack and first responders today in Columbus, Ohio.

Trump’s “Thank You Tour” is taking him to Des Moines, Iowa this evening. He will be joined by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, his pick for Ambassador to China.

Naming Names:

Secretary of Labor – Fast food executive Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., believes machines are the answer to rising wages

Scuttlebutt: Ivanka Trump Kushner will leave the Trump Organization to become an advocate. Her brothers, Don Junior and Eric, will run the day-to-day operations of the global business empire. The President Elect will keep his ownership stake in his massive organization.

A foreign policy adviser to the President Elect, Carter Page, is scheduled to meet with businessmen and politicians in Russia.

With 70% of the Wisconsin recount complete, Trump has added 410 votes to an additional 492 for Hillary Clinton. Milwaukee as yet to be recounted.

The President Elect has managed to turn his unfavorable rating to at least a draw with his favorable rating with half of voters since the election.

The rating was 33% favorable to 63% unfavorable on Election Day. Now it is 50% favorable and 47% unfavorable.

The US House passed on 326-96 vote a spending bill to keep the government open, but Senate Democrats are vowing to shut the government down.

Why?

There is no language about helping coal miners or a provision to push “Buy America.”

Conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who is being considered for a possible role in the Trump Administration, said about no provision for miners, “I want to shut her down. I mean this is ridiculous. We need an extension to the CR (continuing resolution) until people come to their senses. You can’t throw 16,000 people out.”

Oregon Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio is on board helping the President Elect.

DeFazio today introduced to the House for consideration the DRAIN the SWAMP Act (Deter Revolving-Door Appointments in Our Nation; Stop Washington Appointees From Becoming Manipulative Petitioners).

The National Defense Authorization Act is now on the desk of President Barack Obama with veto-proof margins in both chambers of Congress.

Quote of the Year:

You can bet that the men and women we honor today — and those who died that fateful morning 75 years ago — never took a knee and never failed to stand whenever they heard our national anthem being played.” – U.S. Pacific Command Commander Admiral Harry Harris, during commemoration ceremony at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 2016

In global politics: Brazil’s Senate President gets to remain in office, but cannot stay in line of succession as the ongoing investigation into corruption continues which has already ousted the Brazilian President.

British lawmakers approved the government’s plan to trigger Article 50 in March, 2017 to begin exit from the European Union as required by the Brexit vote earlier this year.

Bill English is poised to become New Zealand’s new Prime Minister after two other candidates withdrew.

The President of the Aleppo, Syria City Council said the ongoing siege of the city has condemned 150,000 people in eastern Aleppo to death.

Nova Scotia, Canada civil rights leader Viola Desmond will become the first Canadian woman to appear on a banknote.

Ghana has abandoned electronic transmission of election results over concern the system may have been compromised.

Philippines Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana says his country will not become a springboard for US Navy ships to patrol disputed South China Sea waters.

Friday, 12/9/16:

When Celebrity Apprentice returns in January with host Arnold Schwarzenegger, expect to see the President Elect listed in the credits as executive producer.

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appeared on Capitol Hill yesterday to pay tribute to retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

While there, Clinton decried the “epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda” that has flooded social media.

It’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences,” Clinton said.

Naming Names:

Secretary of the Interior – Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the only female in the House GOP leadership, a strong advocate of domestic oil drilling
Director National Economic Council – Gary Cohn, Goldman-Sachs President and COO, also to serve as economic policy assistant to the President, would make third pick with ties to the banking firm

Scuttlebutt: The President Elect has pared down to two his choice to lead the Republican National Committee – Ronna Romney McDaniel, Mitt Romney’s niece who’s the favorite of current chair Reince Priebus, and Nick Ayers, an aide to Vice President-elect Mike Pence who has the backing of Trump adviser Steve Bannon and megadonor Rebekah Mercer.

Rudy Giuliani has decided he does not want a position in the incoming Trump White House.

One intelligence briefing per week is all Trump is listening to, according to the talk around Trump Tower. Vice President Elect Mike Pence, on the other hand, is sitting down daily for briefings.

Looks like the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein has a refund coming from the State of Michigan after a federal judge upheld a state court ruling to stop the recount.

A court ruling on the Pennsylvania recount request is expected today.

A Wisconsin judge is considering halting that state’s recount.

The Cornfield union boss who has been in a Twitter war with the President Elect offered his hand today to work with Trump on saving even more jobs for Hoosiers facing company plans to move those jobs to Mexico.

No response yet from the President Elect.

One California lawmaker wants to make sure the incoming Trump Administration will not find cooperation with the state in enforcing immigration laws. A lawmaker has introduced a bill to setup “immigration safe zones” in the state.

The bill “will make it clear California public schools, hospitals, and courthouses will not be used by the Trump regime to deport our families, friends, neighbors, classmates and co-workers,” said Assemblyman Marc Levine (Democrat), the bill’s chief sponsor in the lower chamber.

Out-of-pocket cost to win the presidency: $66 million, the amount shelled out by Trump. That’s a third less than the amount he planned to spend.

The President Elect may be much farther along than most of his predecessors in selecting his Cabinet and top posts, but most Americans are not so happy with his transition, per a new poll.

According to Pew Research only 41% approve of his efforts to-date. Also only 40% approve of his picks for his Administration.

Trump flew to Louisiana today to stump for the Republican candidate John Kennedy involved in a run-off election for the US Senate from the Pelican State on Saturday.

This evening, the President Elect is in Grand Rapids, Michigan as part of his “Thank You Tour.”

President Barack Obama today ordered intelligence services to conduct a full investigation and review into the role foreign entities may have played in the recent election. The Prez instructed that the review be on his desk before Trump takes the oath.

The President has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process … and to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders, to include the Congress,” Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco said during an event hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Trump’s new slogan?

Buy American, Hire American

While calling on an improvement in relations with China during a “Thank You Tour” rally in Iowa last night, the President Elect also slammed the Asian powerhouse.

Americans got to see Trump in the role of Comforter-in-Chief Thursday when he visited victims and first responders in Columbus, Ohio dealing with the knife wielding terrorist last week at Ohio State University.

In global politics:

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been impeached and out of office until the country’s Constitutional Court decides her fate.

I’m deeply sorry to the people because the nation has to experience this turmoil because of my negligence and lack of virtue,” Park said.

South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will assume duties until Park’s fate is decided.

Unsure of the incoming Trump Administration, Iran is racing to sign oil contracts with Western energy companies.

Ignoring, Trump’s pledge to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Japan approved the deal earlier today.

Ghana’s main opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addado appears to be defeating President John Mahama as election results roll in.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying will not seek a second term.

Filipino Senators let President Rodrigo Duterte know that his war on drug dealers must follow the law.

The war against illegal drugs must be won within the legal system, and the president must lead in reminding the people of this important message,” the Senators said in a report after conducting an inquiry into extrajudicial killings.

Foreign-born same gender spouses will be granted citizenship in Israel like opposite gender spouses, after direction by the country’s Attorney General in response to Israeli Gay Fathers’ Association filing a case before the Israeli Supreme Court.

Sunday, 12/11/16:

Did Russia influence the US election and change the outcome?

That is the debate in Washington.

Russia has forever tried to influence elections here and throughout the world. Most Americans are smart enough to know that.

Following President Barack Obama’s ordering of a review of foreign influence in the recent election, a statement came out from the Central Intelligence Agency.

It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” a senior intelligence official said Friday night, referring to a secret CIA assessment shared with congressional leaders in a closed-door briefing last week.

The CIA also believes Moscow hacked the Republican Party, much as it did the Democratic Party, but did not leak the information it obtained from the GOP.

Sean Spicer, spokesperson for both the President Elect and the Republican National Committee flatly denied in an interview with CNN‘s Michael Smerconish on Saturday that the RNC had been hacked.

Trump calls claims by the Central Intelligence Agency that Russia influenced the election in his favor “ridiculous.”

Not all intelligence officials are seeing roses in the relationship between agencies and the President Elect.

Given [Trump’s] proclivity for revenge combined with his notorious thin skin,” said Paul Pillar, former Deputy Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, “this threatens to result in a lasting relationship of distrust and ill will between the President and the intelligence community.”

It should be noted there is a consensus, but no official report from the intelligence community or any of its members made public that specifically identifies Russian influence on the election.

Is it more likely than not that Russia did attempt to influence the election?

Absolutely.

Expect a bipartisan probe into what role Russia played in the election when the new Congress convenes in January.

Naming Names: American Manufacturing Council Chair – Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris, tasked to find ways to bring industry and manufacturing “back to America

Scuttlebutt: ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is said to be in the lead to become Secretary of State. There are concerns over having received the Russian Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has no political background. After meeting Saturday with the President Elect, Tillerson said he would be “honored” to be SoS.
Question is if Tillerson can make it past Republican stalwarts, Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio.
The thinking is that #2 at State will be former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, a diehard hawk and controversial figure in his own right.
Reportedly, the Trump Transition Team sent a questionaire to the Energy Department asking the identity of personnel who have participated in climate change meetings.
North Dakota Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp is the leading contender to become Secretary of the Agriculture. This would open the Senate seat to a probable Republican take-over.

Senate Democrats huffed and puffed and threatened to shutdown the government Friday night. In the end, Dems caved and passed the stopgap measure to keep the government functioning for four months.

Senate Democrats, lead by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, had been holding out for an extension of health benefits for retired coal miners.

The Prez signed the bill early Saturday morning to keep the government running.

Call it ironic or tragic, the head of the Prince George’s Country Liquor Board was arrested for driving under the influence following a car crash after attending a casino opening.

Trump has, according to the Associated Press, shut down four of his companies that may have been involved in a possible business venture in Saudi Arabia.

The President Elect, who will be listed in credits as an executive producer, tweeted he will not do any work on Celebrity Apprentice when it returns in January.

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on whether to confirm Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions will be conducted on January 10-11, says Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

Republican John Kennedy won the run-off election in Louisiana on Saturday to keep the US Senate seat squarely in GOP control. This gives Republicans a 52-48 majority in the upper chamber of Congress.

Global Politics:

South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn has warned North Korea against “attempting a provocation.” Hwang will serve as South Korea’s acting President, while the impeachment of President Park Huen-gye plays out. Hwang went on to warn of “resolute retaliation if North Korea misjudges the situation” unfolding in the southern half of the peninsula.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh is rejecting the election that ousted him and is calling for a new round of voting.

Gambian President Elect Adama Barrow called on Jammeh to accept the will of the people.

For what it is worth, the United Nations on Friday voted 122 to 13 demanding an immediate truce in Aleppo, Syria.

Mexico’s Culture Secretary Rafael Tovar y De Teresa has died.

Brazil’s new President Michel Temer, who took office when the former President was impeached for corruption, is now being charged with at least 44 counts of corruption.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni has been asked to form a new government in the country left without a Prime Minister following last Sunday’s defeat of expanding constitutional duties of the Prime Minister.

Thanks for viewing!

Indelibly Etched in My Mind

My ex-in-laws were at Pearl Harbor on that “Day of Infamy.”

My ex-mother-in law wrote about her experience so her daughter who was 9 months old at the time would know what it was like.

When she finally got to leave Hawaii for the mainland they spent a month aboard a ship from Hawaii to the east coast.

Here is what she wrote:

December 7, 1941

Indelibly Etched in My Mind
by Margaret Huey

Each year around December seventh, countless individuals recall, with unerring detail, exactly what they were doing when the bombing of Pearl Harbor occurred. For those of us who were there, the events of that and succeeding days are indelibly etched in our minds.

I was twenty years old, the wife of a Marine Corps Lieutenant, and mother of a five month old baby girl, Kay. Today, I am seventy, wife of the same Lieutenant, now a retired Colonel, mother of seven children and grandmother to sixteen. The fifty year old memory is as vivid in my mind as if it happened last Sunday.
On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, my husband had taken our 1940 Ford and driven the fifteen miles from our home in Honolulu to the base at Pearl Harbor. He was to assume his post as Duty Officer of the Day, beginning at eight o’clock.

I left Kay with my neighbor, Amy Jean, wife one of my husband’s classmates, to attend mass. She was alone with her 15 month old son, Tommy, as her husband was on Midway Island. I walked the nine blocks to Waikiki Avenue to church for the seven thirty mass. At approximately seven fifty-five the mass was interrupted by noise which was reminiscent of the finale of a Forth of July fireworks display. The priest intuitively knew something was wrong. He gave us a quick blessing and told us we could leave but to proceed in the manner of a fire drill. Everyone was stunned but there was no panic. With God’s blessing, I wanted to return home as quickly as possible, but had no car.

I had put all my change in the collection plate and entered a phone booth in hopes someone had forgotten to pick up a nickel from the coin return slot. I found it empty. I dumped the contents of my purse on the floor. Luckily I found a nickel to make a call to Amy Jean. She tried to assure me everything was okay, saying the disturbance was nothing more than maneuvers off Sand Island. I looked at the sky and saw it peppered with flack and large gray puffs of smoke from anti-aircraft guns. I begged her to bring the babies and pick me up.
She arrived with the babies and a neighbor, a sailor who had come home for shore leave Saturday, December 6th. His ship was the U.S.S Arizona. She felt if there was trouble, we could take him to his ship.

The Hawaiian National Guardsmen were on the streets and the traffic was getting horrendous. We drove as far as Hickam Field, near the prison, when a guardman told us we could go no further. I argued saying my husband was Lt. Huey and Duty Officer of the Day at the Marine Corps Base. “Lady,” he shouted, “I don’t care if he is Admiral Dewey, you cannot proceed. This is war! I am sure he will be busy all day.” He told us to drive the car into the old sugar cane field to our right and take cover. He instructed our neighbor, the sailor, to go with him, joining other sailors in a truck to Pearl Harbor.

We sat in the car with our babies and wondered what would happen next. We were not afraid, only angry we could not proceed to Pearl Harbor, or go home. We had the car radio on and all stations were broadcasting, “This is not a drill, this is war! Stay in your homes.” Requests were being made for motorcycles, delivery trucks and ambulances. Doctors and nurses were told to report to their hospitals.

Within a few minutes, army trucks, filled with soldiers, were proceeding from Hickam Field to Pearl Harbor. They seemed like a happy lot, yelling and waving. It was like watching a parade. They too knew little of what they would see at Pearl Harbor.

Not far from us, about two city blocks, a plane descended and strafed some cars. We could see the red ball markings and knew it was not our plane. In truth, we did not know whose plane it was. We saw more coming and, for the first time, we were scared. Funny how one automatically ducks when something flies overhead. We soon raised our heads to see what was happening. We saw very little except for the large black puffs of smoke. The sound of bombs was deafening.

It was one o’clock before we were able to leave. The exodus from the sugar cane field was like traffic pouring out of a parking lot after a world series game. The return to Honolulu was very slow. We had to take many detours through the city as the streets were closed. King Street and Waikiki Avenue were closed. We lived just off of Waikiki Avenue. The traffic was so heavy that I did not really see any damage. The policemen, almost like a broken record, said, “keep moving”.

It was after three in the afternoon when we finally arrived home. The babies were starving and crying. We were physically and mentally exhausted, but filled with that natural supply of adrenaline which accompanies fear. When I went home, I found a bullet had, at sometime, entered the corner of the living room and lodged into the bedroom wall. This so unnerved me that I took Kay and went to Amy Jean’s to spend the night.

I could not get a call through to Pearl Harbor to find out about my husband. Amy Jean’s husband was on Midway. She was sure they had been hit too. We tried to call our families in the states but were told to keep the lines clear and stay off the phones.

Instructions from Civil Defense were repeated continually on the radio. We were to maintain total blackout and stay off the streets. If a light was needed, we were to cover a flashlight with blue paper or cloth.

We could think of nothing but the fate of our husbands. We tried to occupy our minds. We thought we should make some identification markers for the babies in case we should be separated if another attack should occur. I took a large strip of adhesive tape and printed Kay’s name, age blood type, address in the states and the fact that she was breast fed. I put it down the middle of her back, thinking she might possibly lose a leg or arm. I shivered at the thought and knew our attempts to put the fate of our husbands out of our minds was only being replaced with equally morbid thoughts.

We finally got the babies to sleep. We could not sleep. We crawled out of the bathroom window on to the carport roof to watch the red glowing skies and listen to the off and off explosions from the ships being hit in the harbor. In the distance it looked as though a forest was on fire. I remember thinking we were like cats on a roof, not afraid, but filled with curiosity.

While climbing out the window, the screen hit the back of my head and cut badly enough that I felt the hair sticking to my neck. We went back into the house to check the babies. I went into a closet and used a flashlight to see how badly I was cut. I was sure I needed a stitch or two, but we were not allowed on the streets. I applied a cold wet washcloth and returned to the roof to watch the glow from the fires most of the night. When we finally went to bed, we were still unable to sleep. The heavy trucks from Fort Ruger, three blocks away, thundered down our street throughout the night.

We were glad to see daylight and fully expected our husbands to come home. My husband finally returned on Tuesday, December ninth, at two thirty in the afternoon, in a jeep. He was wearing a steel helmet and a pistol was on his hip. For the first time I saw the career Marine I married. He brought home rolls of black tar paper to black out our windows. While working on a ladder covering the windows, I noticed he had a bad cut on his leg. He explained it happened while unloading ammunition boxes. One had fallen on his leg. I showed him the cut on my head. We both realized how lucky we were to have only superficial wounds.

We learned later in the day Amy Jean’s husband, and our sailor friend were safe. I did not realize how fortunate we all were until a few days later when I took a bus to King Street and saw hundreds of wooden coffins piled six feet high in front of mortuaries.

The following weeks were hectic. My husband put in long hours at the base. Amy Jean and I occupied ourselves building a bomb shelter, which was never more than three feet deep and could not accommodate more than one person, much less two women and two babies. It did keep us busy.

At the Punahou High School we were given gas masks and instructed how to use them. Babies were not given masks. Mothers were told to carry a washcloth and a bottle of boric acid solution for them. we were worried about what we would do if we had to wear masks when the babies had none.

My husband was sent to the Island of Palmyra, about a thousand miles southwest of Honolulu, on December 23rd, two days before Christmas. We were told to pack all of our personal effects for evacuation at a moment’s notice. I sold our 1940 Ford to Army Procurement for $650, and felt fortunate as others were getting about $250 for the same year on used car lots in Honolulu.

Kay spent her first Christmas and several succeeding months in a packing box lined with quilts as all of our furniture was packed for evacuation. We finally evacuated the ship to San Francisco in late March. I arrived in Washington, D.C.,on April 11, 1942, the day before my 21st birthday.

My sister lived in Indian Head, Maryland. She had saved their Christmas tree for Kay and me. I knew my nine month old daughter would remember neither the tree or Pearl Harbor, though I would all my life.

In the years that followed, every December 7th, Amy Jean and I talked to each other on the telephone no matter where we were stationed. On December 7, 1989, Amy Jean called from Bakersfield to say “Aloha dear friend.” Her cancer was in an advanced stage. She passed away December 28, 1989.

Amy Jean was a model of courage. She taught me to remain cheerful and hopeful in spite of adversity. I am grateful to have been with her.

‘Day of Infamy’ Remembered

cornfieldlogo

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the attack by the Japanese Imperial Navy on the US of A’s naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared the Monday after the attack:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

The attack on Pearl Harbor was the oomph that helped push the US into World War II on the side of the Allies. But it was not the only factor, there were many more as well.

Not only did the Japanese launch an attack at Pearl Harbor that peaceful Sunday morning, but that same day attacked Guam, Wake Island, The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Midway.

Eventually General Douglas MacArthur would utter the immortal words, “I shall return,” as he fled The Philippines as the Japanese occupied.

Thousands of American sailors and soldiers lost their lives that sleepy morning. Battleships still lie in rest in the harbor, the watery grave for American lives lost.

In recent years, commemoration of Pearl Harbor Day has seemed to fade. Perhaps in part it can be attributed to the fact that more and more of whom Tom Brokaw called, “The Greatest Generation“, die off. The memory of that tragic day begins to fade as well.

An article detailing 5 myths about Pearl Harbor at TwinCities.com from a few years ago noted:

The attack on Pearl Harbor awoke America from its isolationist slumber and bolstered its charge into the Pacific war, but it did not spur entry into the European war. That happened when Nazi Germany and fascist Italy declared war on the United States on Dec. 11, compelling Roosevelt to respond in kind – thus committing the United States to a world war.

http://twincities.com/opinion/ci_19476298

From the Cornfield, I am hoping those who read this will stop and remember those sailors and soldiers whose lives were lost.

To “The Greatest Generation“, we salute your service, your action and how you kept the world “safe for democracy.”

Politics Roundup: November 28 – December 4, 2016

politicsroundup

Welcome to the weekly compilation of the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the comings and goings from the alternate world of reality – politics!

My Word of Wisdom: Politics is like WWE Raw
Governing is like 60 Minutes

Monday, 11/28/16:

President Elect Donald Trump is tweeting that he won “by a landslide” the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

Mr. President Elect, give it a rest.

You won.

Why stir up unfounded conspiracies that cast you in a poor light?

One such unfounded allegation by Trump is that there was “serious voter fraud” in New Hampshire, California and Virginia.

Bipartisan denials and denunciations are being voice by election officials in those three named states.

This all comes in response to losing Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein filing and receiving a recount in Wisconsin to “ease voters’ minds” about the election.

Stein has been joined by the losing campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton, which says the outcome will be the same.

The Clinton campaign says it is sending lawyers to the recount simply because they can.

What is going on with the very public tug-o-war over who will be Secretary of State in a Trump Administration?

Today Trump met with former retired General David Petraeus, up for SoS.

Tomorrow Trump meets with Senator Bob Corker and for a second time, this time over a private dinner, with Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee.

The first woman to ever successfully pilot a presidential campaign, Kellyanne Conway, is reportedly in hot water for her remarks in opposition to Romney with her boss, the President Elect.

Not so, says Conway. Conway called the report “sexist.”

The President Elect is open to dealing with Cuba, especially now that Fidel Castro has gone to face his Maker, but he tweeted, “I will terminate the deal,” which President Barack Obama crafted with executive orders to normalize relations.

Trump put Raul Castro on notice that to keep “the deal” Cuba must make concessions in the interest of the US of A and of the Cuban people.

The Wisconsin recount will begin Thursday if Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein ponies up the cost of the recount by 6 p.m. (CT) Tuesday.

Stein supporters have filed for recounts in 100 of 9,000 precincts in Pennsylvania.

Stein has gone to court to seek an extension of today’s deadline to file recount requests in other precincts in the Keystone State.

The Senator who colleagues love to hate, Ted Cruz, is warning of “pitchforks and torches” if Republicans do not deliver on Trump’s promises.

It’s official. Michigan has finally finished counting and declared Trump the winner of the state’s 16 electoral votes.

Trump’s Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions will have a sit down with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley on Tuesday.

The process has begun.

Democratic members of the US House of Representatives will vote Wednesday on whether to keep Nancy Pelosi of California has House Minority Leader or go with Tim Ryan of Ohio to pump new blood into the leadership position.

The Texas Elector who noted he may cast a “faithless” vote rather than follow being bound by the state to vote for Trump has opted to resign instead.

Quick – when was the last news conference Trump conducted?

It has been since July!

Time to face the full press, Mr. President Elect.

If you have not read my thoughts yet: Electoral College Genius

Get caught up with last week’s: Politics Roundup

In global politics:

Cuba is in an official state of mourning through Sunday after despot Fidel Castro died Friday night.

North Korea, in a show of solidarity with communist Cuba, has declared a 3-day period of morning for the former Cuban dictator.

Three South African Ministers are calling on President Jacob Zuma to resign. Zuma is facing another no-confidence vote in Parliament as thousands protest his presidency in the capitol of Pretoria.

Houthi rebels in Yemen have formed a government in opposition to the recognized government in the country mired in civil war.

After the backlash from his gushing tweet of praise of the Cuban despot, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not go to the funeral in Cuba.

With no shots fired, no armies facing off, Belgium and The Netherlands exchanged parcels of land because “it made sense.”

Tuesday, 11/29/16:

The national press has been obsessed with the tweets of President Elect Donald Trump.

Often Trump has been described as a squirrel chasing a nut or a cat seeing a shiny object.

But who really is the squirrel or cat?

Trump or the national press corps?

Case in point, today Trump tweeted the sentiment of many people who find burning the US flag abhorrent, suggesting loss of citizenship or one year in jail for those who desecrate the flag in this manner.

The Supreme Court has already ruled, including the late Justice Antonin Scalia, that flag burning was protected speech under the 1st Amendment.

Because Trump said what many people think, is the press preoccupation with the tweet overblown?

The tweet was, it seems, was in response to small Hampshire College in Massachusetts, which took down the flag from campus after it was burned by students on Veterans Day.

Naming Names:

Secretary of Health and Human Services – Georgia Congressman Dr. Tom Price, an avid opponent of the Affordable Care Act and an orthopaedic surgeon
Secretary of Transportation – Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a former Cabinet Secretary
Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – Seema Verma, a health policy consultant, who headed up the Healthy Indiana Program, Medicaid expansion for Vice President Elect and Indiana Governor Mike Pence (remember last week the meeting with Trump when I speculated a possible job?)

Tonight the President Elect is having a private dinner with the 2012 GOP presidential aspirant Mitt Romney, who is being considered for Secretary of State. This is the second meeting between the two.

Will the dinner bring an announcement of appointment or serve as a let-down to Romney?

Joining their husbands will be incoming First Lady Melania Trump and Anne Romney.

The imprint of Pence on the incoming Trump Administration is becoming evident with the appointments of Price, Chao and Verma.

The North Carolina Board of Elections has dismissed election protests, disputing voter eligibility, from Governor Pat McCrory that affects 52 counties.

Democrats have clinched super majority in both chambers of the California Legislature.

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple stepped into the Dakota Access pipeline standoff and ordered the protesters removed due to the harsh winter conditions of the state. The Governor is also blocking supplies from being delivered to protesters.

Trump will launch the first of four “Thank You” tours with a rally on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The price tag for the Wisconsin recount Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein must pony up is $3.5 million by 6 p.m. (CT) today. Stein calls the cost “unconscionable.”

A Cornfield Congressman Marlin Stutzman is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee over whether he used campaign funds for a family trip.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell hopes to have several nominees for Cabinet positions ready to start with confirmation on January 20, when Trump is sworn into office.

Even though there’s a lot going on that day, we hope to be able to vote on and confirm a number of the President’s selections for the Cabinet so he can get started,” the Kentucky Republican said.

In global politics:

South Korea’s embattled President has agreed to resign if Parliament does the paperwork and “minimize any confusion.”

Banana exporter Jovenel Moise won the first round in the election of a new President in Haiti.

Thailand’s Parliament has offered Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn the throne to the kingdom, after his father’s death last month.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was re-elected to a 5-year term as Fatah leader.

Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad plans with Russian allies to take Aleppo, Syria from rebels before Trump becomes the 45th President.

Wednesday, 11/30/16:

Carrier caves.

The air conditioning manufacturer will keep 1,000 of 1,400 jobs in Indianapolis, Indiana rather than moving those jobs to Mexico.

The company released a statement saying it had reached an agreement with the President Elect Donald Trump.

If they’re saying they’re going to retain 1,000 jobs, that would mean 400 are going away,” said Chuck Jones, President of United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents Carrier workers.

Details of the why Carrier has reversed its decision to move south are not yet known.

Naming Names:

Secretary of Treasury – Steven Mnuchin, who was finance chairman for the Trump campaign, former Goldman Sachs partner, Hollywood producer, hedge fund owner
Secretary of Commerce – Wilbur Ross, billionaire investor, sharp critic of China, hedge fund owner
Deputy Secretary of Commerce – Todd Ricketts, billionaire co-owner of the World Series winning Chicago Cubs, major Republican donor

Following dinner with the President Elect last night, 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is in the running to become Secretary of State, said he had “increasing hope that President-elect Trump is the very man who can lead us.”

This is in stark contrast to what Romney said during the 2016 campaign, when he called Trump a “con man.”

The wives, Melania and Anne, were expected to join their husbands for the dinner at the posh Trump-owned restaurant, but were no-shows.

Instead, playing third wheel at the table was incoming White House Chief of Staff and Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus.

Cutting ties with his business. That is what the President Elect tweeted out this morning.

Trump said that “legal documents are being crafted” to take him “completely out of business operations” in his sprawling, multi-billion-dollar empire.

Trump said he will hold a press conference with his children on December 15.

The President Elect said that in the press conference he will address his decision to leave his “great business in total” to focus on the “far more important task” of being president.

But will this end the concern over conflict of interests around the globe?

The Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein had until shortly after 2 p.m. today to file for a recount and submit a check to pay the costs to the State of Michigan. She filed that request.

Stein did wire a $3.5 million check to the State of Wisconsin on Tuesday meeting the deadline for a recount in that state.

A Wisconsin court rejected Stein’s request for a hand count in the recount of the state election results slated to begin tomorrow.

By 134 to 63, Nancy Pelosi staved off a challenge from Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan to her position as Minority Leader in the House of Representatives.

The California Congresswoman made history when she became the first female Speaker of the House in 2007, serving until 2011.

New York Congressman Joseph Crowley was elected Democratic Caucus Chair.

California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez has become the first woman of color to become part of the House Democratic leadership by winning the Vice Chair of the Caucus today over California Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

Talk of privatizing Medicare as proposed by nominated Health and Human Services Secretary Senator Tom Price of Georgia is not sitting well with the Cornfield’s Democratic Senator Joe Donelly.

Donelly voiced his opposition in an email today to constituents, one of which is me:

I want to let you know about concerning discussions that are already under way by some in Congress to privatize Medicare, which would saddle seniors with higher out-of-pocket costs for health care.

Let me say unequivocally to you now: I have fought to protect Medicare for this generation and for future generations. I will oppose any effort to privatize Medicare or turn it into a voucher program.”

Showing he will not be an “in-the-wings-waiting” Vice President, Mike Pence was on Capitol Hill today working out details to implement the Trump agenda with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

A federal judge ordered the North Carolina lawmakers to redraw district lines and conduct an election in 2017 for the General Assembly.

Scuttlebutt has it that Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, is being considered to head up Veterans Affairs.

Is someone playing games with the Twitter account of the Office of Government Ethics?

North Carolina Governorn Pat “No I Won’t Go” McCrory blocked the state election board from getting outside lawyers to defend it against his lawsuit against the board for ruling against him in his efforts to recount the recent election, which he lost.

Pat, give it a rest and be a good sport – YOU LOST, time to leave.

The Washington Post has out an article (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-takeover-of-the-gop-is-now-complete/2016/11/30/bf5f8dc2-b714-11e6-a677-b608fbb3aaf6_story.html) which seems to confirm my synopsis several months ago: An American Revolution.

In global politics:

South Korean President Park Geun-hye says she is ready to accept whatever outcome the Parliament deems as calls continue for her resignation. Two opposition parties have agreed to impeach her.

Colombia’s Senate approved a peace deal worked out with FARC to end the nation’s nearly 50-year civil war.

Two pro-independence lawmakers lost their appeal to be seated in Hong Kong’s Parliament after China stepped in and blocked their election to the positions.

For what it is worth, the United Nations imposed new sanctions on North Korea over its continued development and testing of nuclear weapons.

The Supreme Court of India has ordered the national anthem be played in all movie theaters before rolling the camera.

Stop the debate: Time for women to drive,” Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia said on his official Twitter account.

Thursday, 12/1/16:

Promise kept.

Back home again in Indiana!”

President Elect Donald Trump and Vice President Elect Mike Pence, who happens to be the Hoosier Governor, were in the Cornfield today to celebrate Carrier keeping a nearly a thousand jobs in the state that were bound for Mexico.

Apparently, in Pence’s role as Governor, incentives (read tax breaks) were offered Carrier to stay in the state. Then again those incentives have been on the table for awhile.

The deal calls for some $7 million in tax breaks from the state over the next decade.

Or could it be that United Technologies, the parent company of Carrier, was concerned about losing its billions of dollars in federal contracts?

Democratic wannabe Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is not happy with the deal with Carrier, but workers do not care about Sanders’ and other Democrats’ criticism.

Workers are more concerned with keeping jobs. Something that the campaign of Hillary Clinton seemed to ignore or not understand during the run up to the General Election.

As adviser to four US Presidents David Gergen said today, the win for Carrier workers sends a message from Trump to American workers, “I am on your side.”

But has the President Elect raised expectations for other companies by picking up the phone and calling the United Technologies CEO personally to keep Carrier in Indiana?

Trump said from Indianapolis today that he called the CEO after seeing an interview with a Carrier employee who said that Trump had promised to keep the company in Indiana.

Tonight Trump and company will be in Cincinnati, Ohio for the first rally in a “Thank You Tour” for supporters sending him to the White House.

On December 1, 2008, then President Elect Barack Obama had named only one Cabinet pick. Compare that to Trump who has named around 10 top level positions already.

Could yet another Hoosier end up in a top position in the Trump Administration?

Scuttlebutt is that retiring Indiana Senator Dan Coats is being considered for Director of National Intelligence.

Is Democratic North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp being considered for a Cabinet position?

Democrats are worried that if Heitkamp is asked and agrees to serve it will open up a seat in a red state for another Republican to add to the majority in the Senate.

Democrats in Congress are raring for a fight over the President Elect’s business dealings and conducting US business at the same time.

Wisconsin has begun the recount requested by the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein.

Disgraced former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner has been busted for using campaign funds to pay for his personal cell phone.

An Elector from Michigan is receiving death threats.

This is not right.

Many in the chattering class and the national press corps are making a deal of the number of billionaires being selected for the Trump Administration.

Is the money Cabinet Secretaries are worth an issue for you or are you more concerned if they can do the job?

In global politics:

Is Pakistan trying to suck up to President Elect Trump by releasing a statement that Trump praised the Prime Minister and country which is an erstwhile ally?

The US, Australia and Japan are warning citizens to steer clear of Jakarta, Indonesia tomorrow as protesters will take to the street against the minority Christian Mayor of the island nation’s capitol.

If traveling to Australia, be prepared to pay a 15% backpacker tax to encourage tourists to pick fruit in the country.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkor has officially assumed the throne in Thailand. Coronation is set after the cremation of the King who reigned for 70 years.

Friday, 12/2/16:

President Elect Donald Trump said this morning that “almost all” Cabinet picks will be named next week.

Speaking of Cabinet picks…

Naming Names:

Secretary of Defense – General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, retired Marine, former Commander Central Command, will need congressional waiver to serve

New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has already made it clear she will oppose the nomination of Mattis.

Things got testy at Harvard last night between the camps of Trump and former rival Hillary Clinton. The Clinton team claimed that the Trump team won by running on a white supremacist platform.

In his rally at Cincinnati, Ohio last night, Trump said emphatically, “We condemn racism and bigotry.”

But those opposed to the President Elect ain’t buying it.

The Congress passed and sent a 10-year extension of sanctions on Iran to the desk of President Barack Obama on Thursday. The White House announced the President would sign.

While appearing at Carrier in Indianapolis, Indiana on Thursday, the President Elect informed companies planning to take jobs out of the US of A there would be “consequences.”

California Congressman Xavier Becerra is stepping down to become the state’s new Attorney General.

Scuttlebutt: West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin being considered for Secretary of Energy position.

Pennsylvania Congressman Lou Barletta said he has been in talks with the Trump Transition about the Secretary of Labor job.

The Michigan Attorney General has gone to court to block the “frivolous” recount request from the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein.

Team Trump filed a similar suit in Pennsylvania.

Trump supporters filed to stop the recount in Wisconsin today.

The Michigan Election Board deadlocked 2-2 over not allowing a recount requested by Stein today. Unless the court intervenes, the recount will begin next week.

The President Elect now has a board of business advisers, including the CEOs of Blackstone, GM, Disney and Walmart.

Tennessee Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen filed a proposed constitutional amendment to do away with the Electoral College.

The Electoral College is an antiquated system that was established to prevent citizens from directly electing our nation’s president, yet that notion is antithetical to our understanding of democracy,” Cohen said. “In our country, ‘We the People’ are supposed to determine who represents us in elective office.”

Democratic lawmakers are calling for the tax returns of Cabinet nominees. The Trump team calls the request a “PR stunt.”

No special prosecutor to look into the involvement of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie with the closing of the Washington Bridge, a judge ruled today.

President Obama has come out in favor of including women in the draft or the Selective Service. Of course that would take an act of Congress.

The Prez also said in an interview that marijuana should be treated the same as cigarettes and alcohol.

Did Trump make a big protocol no-no by accepting a call from Taiwan’s President?

In global politics:

French President Franҫois Hollande will not run for re-election.

As a Socialist, because that is my life’s commitment, I cannot accept, I cannot come to terms with the dispersion of the left, with its splitting up,” Hollande said. “Because that would remove all hope of winning in the face of conservatism and, worse yet, of extremism.”

Brazil continues to be scandal-plagued as the Senate President is charged with embezzlement.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon apologized to Haiti for the slow response by the world body to a 2010 cholera outbreak on the island, but did not admit it was carried by UN forces sent to assist in the natural disaster.

South Korean opposition parties have set a date of December 9 to vote on impeaching embattled President Park Geun-hye.

President Yahyah Jammeh of Gambia, after 22 years in office, conceded being beat in presidential election on Thursday. Adama Barrow will become the new President.

Hoping from a boost from Trump’s win in the US of A, the far right is hoping for wins in Italy and Austria this weekend.

Austria is poised to elect the first far-right leader in Europe since World War II to the traditionally ceremonial post of President.

Angola President José Eduardo Dos Santos is stepping down.

Sunday, 12/4/16:

A dog with a bone.

That seems to be the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein. Facing a $1 million price tag, Stein withdrew her recount request in Pennsylvania state court and is going to federal court on Monday to demand a recount in the Keystone State.

PA’s election law and recount process raise serious questions about due process and whether fundamental democratic rights are protected,” Stein tweeted.

A federal judge is expressing skepticism about Stein’s quest for a recount in Michigan.

Rather than admit that Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate, her campaign team put all the blame on her loss to Donald Trump on Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey release of two emails in the last week of the campaign about her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.

This comes even though internal data shows that the undecided voters moved to Trump significantly after Clinton called Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables.”

Praise came from a foreign source today for the President Elect, who “is already a statesman, he is the head of the United States of America, one of the world’s leading countries,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview aired Sunday.

Because he achieved success in business, it suggests that he is a clever man. And if [he is] a clever man, then he will fully and quite quickly understand another level of responsibility. We assume that he will be acting from these positions,” the Russian President added.

At the same time, the national press corps and the chattering class are reacting in outrage and shock that Trump spoke to the President of Taiwan, breaking four decades of protocol.

The Chinese, who should be the aggrieved party, are taking it in stride, registering a complaint to the White House, but otherwise blaming it as a “shenanigan” of the Taiwanese.

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has agreed to meet with the tribal chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux to discuss the ongoing protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Scuttlebutt has it that former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman may now be in the running for Secretary of State.

The President Elect is taking aim at companies planning to leave the US of A on Twitter.

Targeting another Indiana company, Trump tweeted, “Rexnord of Indiana is moving to Mexico and rather viciously firing all of its 300 workers. This is happening all over our country. No more!”

Consequences” are promised to those companies who do not heed Trump’s warning.

New York City is billing the US government $1 million per day for securing the President Elect’s Trump Tower.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said that even once the Islamic State is defeated in Iraq, the US and its allies will need to remain in the country.

Alec Baldwin said he would end his impersonation of Trump on Saturday Night Live if the President Elect produces his tax returns.

Unclean hands: Turns out North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who is behind by more than 10,000 votes in his re-election bid, and his opponent Attorney General Roy Cooper are both guilty of using private email servers for state business.

Both are hitting the other on the use with McCrory comparing Cooper to Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State.

The Governor who refuses to concede he lost is as guilty as Cooper in having unclean hands.

Global Politics:

South African President Jacob Zuma continues to keep his job, asking the nation’s highest court to ignore a report that calls for judicial review of influence peddling in his administration.

At least 320,000 people gather in Seoul, South Korea demanding embattled President Park Geun-hye be impeached and step down.

Gambia’s newly elected President Adama Barrow is calling on exiles to return home now that the 22-year reign of the former President is ending.

Cuban President Raul Castro said that no streets or public monuments will bear the name of his late brother, Fidel Castro.

Iran is demanding that President Barack Obama allow sanctions to expire and not sign the 10-year extension approved by Congress on the Persian nation.

Philippines Vice President Leni Robredo is resigning.

After a decade of handing out fake visas, a fake US Embassy in Ghana has been shut down by the US State Department.

Austria is choosing a new President today, a mostly ceremonial post which the far right seems fated to win.

But in a surprise, he lost and conceded defeat today to the Independent candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen.

Italy votes on constitutional changes which may topple the government today.

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