Politics Roundup: November 28 – December 4, 2016


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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I am Mark Ivy, a born and bred Hoosier. I am father to two wonderful sons, Dave and Kev, of whom I am very proud; two terrific daughters-in-law, Anna and Hailey; three beautiful granddaughters, Dylan, Alaina and Amelia. On May 9, 2017, my lung specialist hit me with the news I had maybe six months to live if the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the damage caused by the histoplasmosis described below, ran its normal course. I am now on hospice at home. Content and ready to cross over the river to the other side. On September 2, 2014, I was diagnosed with disseminated histoplasmosis, a fungal infection, discovered by a biopsy of my larynx. The infection is fatal if left untreated. For 2 1/2 years I lived under a death sentence being misdiagnosed with a non-specific bacterial infection which left my right lung a "dried up sponge" and non-functioning. I was aggressively treated for the infection with antifungals. The treatment ended October of 2015 and fortunately did not take two years. I suffer from chronic Horton's Syndrome. The effects vary widely causing various problems. Statistically, Horton's affects only 0.1% of the population. Major depression also attacks me regularly.

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