Politics Roundup: January 2 – 8, 2017


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, 1/2/17:

What does President Elect Donald Trump know about the hacking into the Democratic National Committee and political operatives that we do not know?

Will he reveal, as promised, that information this week?

As Trump is sworn in on January 20, a new poll finds him at a low approval rating historically for incoming Presidents.

According to a Gallup survey, 46 percent of Americans, said they’re confident in Trump’s ability to handle an international crisis and 47 percent said they’re confident in his ability to use military force wisely.

The new Congress will be seated tomorrow with Republicans claiming a mandate to get things done their way.

President Barack Obama will deliver his farewell speech to the nation from Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday, January 10.

In Trump-like fashion, the Prez took to Twitter in a series of tweets defending and hoping to save his legacy.

Unexpected consequence?

Mexicans living in the US of A are sending home more money than ever since Trump won the election.

Naming Names: None today.

Scuttlebutt: The leading candidate to become Agriculture Secretary, so say “sources“, is ex-Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.

Could these Republicans cause trouble to President Trump after he takes office – John McCain, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, Marco Rubio and a sitting Governor John Kasich?

A traditionally black college in Alabama is getting grief over agreeing to play and march in the Inaugural Parade.

The move has lit up Talladega College’s social media sites with a sharp debate about the band’s decision to participate. Some people voiced strong opposition, while others support the band’s participation.

Who were the most interesting Governors in 2016?

Maybe these:

a. Maine Governor Paul LePage
b. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Ohio Governor John Kasich (The Anti-Trump Trio)
c. Montana Governor Steve Bullock
d. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
e. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory

The reasons why: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/01/02/the-5-most-interesting-governors-of-2016-ranked/

Global politics: Israeli police are questioning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about corruption in his Administration.

Netanyahu had this to say about the probe, “We’ve been paying attention to reports in the media, we are hearing the celebratory mood and the atmosphere in the television studios and the corridors of the opposition, and I would like to tell them, stop with the celebrations, don’t rush. There won’t be anything because there is nothing.”

Danish police have arrested the daughter of impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s friend, Choi Soon-sil, who is at the center of the influence-peddling scandal that has led to Park’s troubles.

Concern over the health of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as she battles a “heavy cold” are ramping up.

Tuesday, 1/3/17:

Today is the first session of the 115th Congress.

How long before the Affordable Care Act is repealed?

News conference planned by President Elect Donald Trump for January 11, the day after President Barack Obama delivers his farewell address.

Will the presser happen?

House of Representative Republicans in a closed door meeting Monday night gutted the independent Ethics Committee, returning oversight to House leaders.

The move would also bar the panel from reviewing criminal matters involving members of Congress.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy opposed the move.

Not happy with the action was the President Elect, who tweeted that the House should focus on more pressing issues.

After the uproar and tweet from Trump, those rebels in the GOP backed off changes to the Ethics Committee, letting it stay pat, as the full House voted to keep it as it is.

The President Elect took on both North Korea and China in tweets, telling the isolated, rogue nation that it won’t get its intercontinental nuclear capability while pressing its much larger neighbor to put the screws to Kim Jung Un.

Trump also turned his ire on General Motors, warning the company that making cars in Mexico and selling them in the US of A had consequences.

GM responded the cars were mainly for the global market with very few being sold in the US.

Ford announced today it is creating 700 jobs in the US, but stressed it is not because of Trump.

The jobs were supposed to go to Mexico.

Trump had previously criticized the plan to build in Mexico by Ford.

Ford did admit that policies espoused by Trump were a factor.

The announcement came after Ford talked with Trump and Vice President Elect Mike Pence this morning.

Ford’s CEO in an interview with CNN‘s Poppy Harlow also said the move to invest in the Michigan plant was a “vote of confidence” in the President Elect.

Senator John McCain said a select committee exclusively to investigate Russian hacking will probably not be empaneled, but rather it will be standing committees investigating.

In an exclusive, Reuters is reporting that the Trump Transition Team has requested the Department of Homeland Security to assess all assets available for border wall and barrier construction.

Democrats in the US Senate do not have the numbers to stop Trump’s appointments to his Cabinet, but they do plan to slow down the process on at least eight of those appointments.

This first day of the new Congress and the Trump Effect is already having an impact even though he will not take office for another 17 days.

Naming Names:

US Trade Representative – Robert Lighthizer, former Deputy US Trade Representative in President George W. Bush Administration, a trade lawyer

Scuttlebutt: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is accusing President Obama of trying to “deligitimize” Trump’s election.

They’re trying to delegitimize the Trump administration as it goes into the White House,” Assange said during an interview with Fox News‘s Sean Hannity airing Tuesday night, according to a transcript of excerpts from the network.

Global politics: South Korean President Park Geun-hye is refusing to testify in her impeachment trial.

Because of our active outreach, President-elect Trump and U.S. officials are clearly aware of the gravity and urgency of the North Korean nuclear threat,” South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck told a briefing about Trump’s tweet warning to North Korea. “They are maintaining an unwavering stance on the need for sanctions on North Korea and for close cooperation between South Korea and the US.

China’s efforts in this regard are perfectly obvious,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news conference. “As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council we have proactively participated in relevant discussions on the North Korean nuclear issue and have jointly passed several resolutions with other parties.

This shows China’s responsible attitude.”

The United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the European Union has quit over disagreement about Brexit.

Best seller in Germany? Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The Russian Navy will conduct war games with US ally, The Philippines.

Wednesday, 1/4/17:

With just over two weeks left in his tenure in office, President Barack Obama made the trek to Capitol Hill today to meet with Democrats to find a way to save his signature domestic legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

At the same time, Vice President Elect Mike Pence met with Republicans to strategize the dismantling of the ACA.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the first day of the 115th Congress fired the first salvo introducing a bill to start the process of tearing up the ACA.

Joining former President Jimmy Carter at the inauguration of President Elect Donald Trump will be former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Due to health concerns former President George H.W. Bush will not be at the ceremony.

After an uproar over the acceptance to play in the Inaugural Parade, Talledega College, the oldest and a traditional black college in Alabama, may not march after all. The school’s president says he’ll announce today whether the band will make the trip.

Six members of both the national and state NAACP were arrested in Alabama at the Mobile office of Attorney General designee Senator Jeff Sessions after staging a sit-in demanding the Senator withdraw from consideration for the top law enforcement office in the nation.

There should be no further releases from Gitmo,” Trump tweeted. “These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.”

So what does the White House announce?

President Obama plans to transfer more detainees from Guantanamo Bay before he leaves office.

New Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made it clear on Tuesday that Democrats would hold Trump accountable for his campaign promises. The top elected Democrat in the country also said he was hoping to find a way to work with the incoming Republican President.

The President Elect is still not convinced that Russia was involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and others. Trump even suggested the intelligence agencies are colluding in some way to alter the information pointing a finger at the Russians.

President Obama told dispirited Democrats on The Hill that voters will punish the GOP when they repeal the ACA. He also told the Dems that if the Republicans pass a bad healthcare law to call it “Trumpcare.”

The Prez also said that if the Republicans come up with something worse, “Don’t rescue them.”

Minority Leader Schumer, however, said the Dems were very “optimistic” about the ACA. Schumer said that Republicans are “stuck” and “have no idea how to replace Obamacare.” He also said that repealing the ACA would “blow a trillion dollar hole” in the deficit.

To repeal the ACA will make America sick again,” Schumer said as he played on Trump’s tag line of “Make America great again.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the ACA was a success.

Republican lawmakers came out of their meeting with Pence pumped up and ready to move on the ACA and their legislative agenda.

Pence said that repeal of the ACA was the “first order of business.”

It is looking more and more that it will be repeal and delay as Republicans figure out how to replace the ACA.

But Pelosi said, “To repeal and delay is an act of cowardice.”

While Republicans have little choice, but to repeal the ACA after winning elections on promises to do just that, finding a working solution to keep insurance for pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26 while gutting the rest is not going to be an easy row to hoe.

Of all people to cite, why is the President Elect trying to make Wikileaks founder Julian Assange a “credible” source?

The President Elect will receive his intelligence briefing on Friday from four of the intelligence chiefs – Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan and National Security Agency Director Retired Admiral Michael Rogers.

Republicans in Congress has plans to use a little-used law to rollback many of the actions and regulations that President Obama has implemented since June – so-called “midnight regulations.”

Stream from the floor of the House of Representatives and pay a fine. That’s the backlash after Democrats used such a tactic last year to stream their sit-in on the floor to protest GOP non-action on gun control.

Naming Names:

Securities & Exchange Commission Chair – Jay Clayton, a Wall Street lawyer who defended banks over the financial meltdown of 2008
White House Public Outreach – Former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault, who first worked in the White House as an asssistant to former Vice President Al Gore

Scuttlebutt: Did the Clinton Foundation use charity money to pay for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding?

The Washington Post cannot be certain:

We can’t really award Pinocchios here, since no specific person repeated this allegation. But we can fault the news reporting — and label this as a claim lacking any evidence. Readers (or their friends) who viewed this as the “last straw” about Clinton corruption need to be more careful consumers of the news.

Trump plans to pick William Hagerty as the next U.S. ambassador to Japan to replace Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy.

Bikers unite?

Not for the inauguration.

Three separate biker groups will have separate entries in the parade rather than a huge showing of biker pride.

Free pot for those attending the inauguration. At least that’s the plan of one pro-marijuana group, which have announced it will hand out free joints to the first 4,200 people they meet.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan stopped swearing in ceremonies to ask the son of a new Congressman to stop wiping his nose with his sleeve.

Former US Attorney General Eric Holder will be working for the State of California to thwart any policies and actions by Trump, the state does not find agreeable.

Having the former attorney general of the United States brings us a lot of firepower in order to prepare to safeguard the values of the people of California,” Kevin de León, the Democratic leader of the California Senate, said in an interview. “This means we are very, very serious.”

Global politics: Indonesia suspended military cooperation with Australia after a handbook with what was considered offensive information to Jakarta, Indonesia was found at an Australian military base.

Military cooperation with Australian forces has been suspended temporarily due to technical matters,” Indonesian military spokesman Wuryanto told AFP without giving details, but added he hoped the problem would “be resolved soon“.

Thursday, 1/5/17:

Weakening intelligence?

Word is President Elect Donald Trump is looking at limiting the power of the Director of National Intelligence, even as he prepares to meet with intelligence chiefs on Friday to be briefed on the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other entities and individuals this past election cycle.

The view from the Trump Team is the intelligence world [is] becoming completely politicized,” an individual close to Trump’s transition operation said. “They all need to be slimmed down.”

Not the truth said incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

These reports are false,” Spicer told reporters on a conference call Thursday morning. “All transition activities are for information-gathering purposes and all discussions are tentative.”

He’s (Trump) committed to finding the best and most effective ways to do it,” Spicer said. “But I want to reiterate, there is no truth to this idea of restructuring the intelligence community infrastructure. It is 100 percent false.

Warning GOP lawmakers to be careful as they go about dismantling the Affordable Care Act, Trump fired off several tweets for his fellow Republicans to “be careful” because Democrats “own” the law and it “will fall of its own weight.”

The US Senate has not weighed in yet, but the House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday seeking to fast-track Republicans’ effort to undo “midnight rules” enacted by President Obama near the end of his term. The legislation would give Congress the power to kill dozens of such regulations at once.

The heads of intelligence agencies made their way to Capitol Hill today to testify before Congress about what they know about Russia’s involvement in the DNC hacking over the past year.

Senator John McCain, Senate Armed Services Committee Chair, welcomed the spy chiefs to the Hill.

McCain opened the hearing by praising the intelligence committee which has been criticized by the President Elect.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said a report, redacted, will be released to the public next week on the Russian attempts to influence the US election.

Clapper said the chiefs would not discuss any details with the committee today other than reaffirm the October consensus that Russia did hack the DNC and others.

The spycraft honchos did agree to talk in generalities about cyber security.

We stand actually more resolutely on the strength of that statement than we did on the 7th of October,” Clapper told the committee. He went on to say Russia’s hacking “did not change any vote tallies.”

McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham are preparing more sanctions to place on Russia.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says a replacement from Republicans for the Affordable Care Act will be rolled out this year.

For his part, Trump tweeted this morning: “It is time for Republicans and Democrats to get together and come up with a health care plan that really works — much less expensive & FAR BETTER!”

Naming Names:

White House Political Director – Bill Stepien, who was banished from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s inner circle after revelations in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal
Deputy Chief of Staff – Katie Walsh, the chief of staff for Reince Priebus at the Republican National Committee
Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative, Intergovernmental Affairs and Implementation – Rick Dearborn, chief of staff to Senator and Attorney General designee Jeff Sessions

Scuttlebutt: The Trump Transition Team has reportedly trimmed the list of potential nominees to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia from nearly two dozen conservative jurists to just three. The focus is on filling two vacancies instead of just one.

Talladega College of Alabama will march in the Inaugural Parade in the face of criticism.

We respect and appreciate how our students and alumni feel about our participation in this parade,” Talladega College President Billy Hawkins said in a statement Thursday.

As many of those who chose to participate in the parade have said, we feel the inauguration of a new president is not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power,” Hawkins added.

Tennessee Republican Congresswoman Marcia Blackburn decided to use a Twitter poll to gauge the support in her district for repeal of the Affordable Care Act.


Of the respondents, 84% were against repeal.

Then again, the 8,000 people who voted may not all have been her voters. Seems the White House Deputy Press Secretary retweeted the poll to his 23,000 followers.

Vermont Senator and voice for the Democrats Bernie Sanders called on Trump to pledge, maybe through a tweet, to veto any measure to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

Former Virginia Democratic Congressman Tom Perriello says he is throwing his hat into the ring to be Governor, setting up a primary challenge to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s handpicked successor Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam.

Global politics: Former Mexican Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray, who lost his job for arranging the meeting with President Elect Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has been hired back as Foreign Relations Secretary.

Turkish officials are questioning the presence of U.S.-led coalition forces at an air base in southern Turkey over what they see as insufficient support for Turkey’s military operations against Islamic State in Syria.

Their presence (in Incirlik) is being questioned by our people and nation, and this issue is on the agenda of the government,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak told broadcaster A Haber.

South Korea has plans for a special unit to take out Kim Jung Un, the despotic leader of North Korea, if he launches nukes at the South.

South Korea has also put in place an officer to specifically monitor the tweets of Trump.

The JoongAng Daily reported: “The Korean government is still in the process of building ties with Trump and does not have a lot of insight into his foreign policies—like most of the world. His 140-character posts are currently the most effective insight into policies of the incoming administration.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro named Tareck El Aissami Vice President.

Friday, 1/6/17:

The House of Representatives and the Senate will meet in a joint session today to count the vote of the Electoral College then handing Donald J. Trump the keys to the White House.

But it may not be smooth sailing.

A handful of Democrats are planning to challenge the win by Trump in challenging the qualifications of some of the Electors, who cast ballots for the President Elect in the Electoral College vote on December 19.

One of those making the case is the #2 in the House of Representatives, Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland, making a case that the Russian interference did impact the election.

Hoyer believes that the Russians and the letter from Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey were to blame for the loss by the Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic House members who wanted to declare Trump ineligible were not able to find a Senator to go along with their objection, the joint session certified the vote tally.

President Elect Trump met with four heads of America’s intelligence apparatus today.

Prior to his meeting, Trump told The New York Times this morning that the search for Russians affecting the election was a “witch hunt.”

Did the head spies convince Trump of Russian complicity and orchestration of the hacks on the Democratic National Party and others during the election season?

President Barack Obama received the briefing on the alleged Russian hacks and dissemination of fake news on Thursday.

The second hand party which gave Wikileaks the hacked information have been identified.

Intercepts of missives in which Russian celebrate Trump’s win of the presidency and patting themselves on the back are part of the evidence pointing to Russia and its President Vladimir Putin as the culprits behind the hacks.

The Russians “felt pretty good about what they did,” a senior US official said.

Toyota is under Twitter fire from the President Elect for its decision to build in Mexico for the US market.

Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax,” Trump tweeted.

As Trump noted before the election in October, US taxpayers would pay for the wall on the southern border of the nation, then reimbursement would be made – one way or the other – by Mexico.

Trump tweeted this morning that “any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!”

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Thursday that Congress will vote to defund Planned Parenthood in the same bill being used to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The unclassified, read redacted, version of the intelligence report on the Russian hacking is being released this afternoon for the public to read for themselves.

I will publicly support a replacement if it is better, but I want to see it first,” President Obama said today about Republican efforts to repeal and replace his signature domestic legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

Breaking tradition, US Ambassadors appointed by the current Administration have until Inauguration Day to resign and move out of the embassies around the world.

In an interview yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden had some advice for the President Elect, “Grow up, Donald. Grow up.”

Naming Names: Director of National Intelligence – Dan Coats, former senior Indiana Senator

The Cornfield is well-represented in the incoming Trump White House:

Vice President Mike Pence, former Congressman and Governor
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, former Senator
Director of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Seema Verda, set up the Healthy Hoosier program expanding Medicaid in Indiana

Scuttlebutt: Defense Secretary designee Retired General James Mattis and the Trump Transition Team are feuding over who will be his deputies.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey has quit as an adviser to the Trump Transition Team since he is not being consulted and his advice would be ignored by Trump National Security Adviser Retired General Michael Flynn.

Senior Trump adviser KellyAnne Conway said today that part of the reason Trump and his team are pushing back on the issue of Russian impact on the election is that the issue is being used as a means to “delegitimize” the election and the Trump presidency.

Like a tsunami, a sea of women will wash over the nation’s capitol on Inauguration Day in protest of the Trump presidency.

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced today it will conduct an open hearing on Tuesday into the Russian hacking incident. Testifying will be: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers and FBI Director James Comey.

Team Trump has dumped the man who has voluntarily been the voice at every presidential inauguration parade since President Harry Truman’s in 1949.

Charlie Brotman, 89, received an email from the Team telling him he was out.

I was fired. I was destroyed the moment I read that,” Brotman said in an emotional telephone interview from his home in suburban Maryland. “I am heartbroken. I am the only person in the world to do that job for more than 60 years and now they found someone younger. I hope he knows what he’s getting into. There’s a lot more to it than just reading a script.”

The new announcer, Steve Ray, is 33 years younger and worked on the Trump campaign.

Add Virginia, like Texas, considering following in North Carolina’s disastrous steps and passing a bathroom law.

Another five states are also planning to enact a bathroom bill: Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina and Washington.

Global politics: Cuban strongman Raul Castro watched and saluted as troops marched and insulted President Barack Obama.

As the soldiers passed the reviewing stand their voices loudly chanted to Castro, “Commander-in-Chief, command us. Command over this land. We are going to make war if imperialism comes. Obama! Obama! With what fervor we’d like to confront your clumsiness, give you a cleansing with rebels and mortar, and make you a hat out of bullets to the head.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fabiola-santiago/article124836199.html

Soldiers in the Ivory Coast are staging mutiny in three cities demanding higher pay and bringing the threat of unrest back to Africa’s fastest-growing economy.

Protests against gas price increases up to 20% in Mexico has left two people dead and 700 under arrest.

Japan recalled its Ambassador to South Korea in protest of a statue commemorating Korean women forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War Two and that the statue violated an agreement to resolve the issue.

What to do with terrorists?

Czech President Milos Zeman urged citizens to arm themselves against a possible “super-Holocaust” carried out by Muslim terrorists. The Interior Minister has introduced a change to the Constitution to allow citizens to shoot terrorists with benefit of law.

Sunday, 1/8/17:

On Friday, the US intelligence community released its findings into the hack of the Democratic National Committee and others during the recent presidential election and other activities.

The report concludes that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” aspiring to “help President-elect Donald Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary (Hillary) Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.”

President Elect Donald Trump, following his intel briefing Friday, released a statement asserting “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.”

Then on Saturday morning, Trump tweeted, “Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!

Read the report: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3254237-Russia-Hack-Report.html

The President Elect remains combative and defensive this morning, tweeting, “Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!

Turns out the Trump Transition Team did not clear with nor ask for input from the Government Office of Ethics before submitting nominees for Cabinet positions, which have Democrats wanting to delay the confirmation process in the Senate.

Trump said that he is tasking his security team to come up with a plan to protect the US cyber community and how to respond to incursions within 90 days of taking office.

Placing blame, President Barack Obama says Vermont Senator and former presidential wannabe Bernie Sanders aided and abetted the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act, his signature domestic legislation.

In the ‘dissatisfied’ column are a whole bunch of Bernie Sanders supporters who wanted a single-payer plan,” Obama said in an interview with Vox.

I don’t think I underestimated him (Russian President Vladimir Putin),” Obama told ABC News’s This Week. “But I think that I underestimated the degree to which, in this new information age, it is possible for misinformation, for cyberhacking and so forth, to have an impact on our open societies, our open systems, to insinuate themselves into our democratic practices in ways that I think are accelerating.”

The Prez is set to give his “farewell speech” to the nation from Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday night.

Naming Names: None over the weekend.

Scuttlebutt: Director of Strategic Communications for the National Security Council nominee Monica Crowley has been accused of plagiarizing more than 50 passages of her 2012 book, What The (Bleep) Just Happened.

Word is Donald Trump Jr, soon to be First Son, wants to make it easier to purchase gun silencers. Don Junior says it is a “health issue” for people with hearing aids and other hearing concerns.

Global Politics: British Prime Minister Theresa May said in an interview today her plan for Brexit, the United Kingdom’s intended departure from the European Union, will be revealed in the next few weeks.

Our thinking on this isn’t muddled at all,” May said. “Yes, we have been taking time. I said we wouldn’t trigger Article 50 immediately — some said we should.”

The breakup of the European Union in the relative near future is not inconceivable, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Der Spiegel in an interview published Saturday.

Queen Elizabeth II is once more showing herself in public after dealing with a “heavy cold” through the holidays. The Queen was able to attend church this morning.

The Ivory Coast Defense Minister has been released after being held by soldiers who mutinied. The mutineers were joined by other troops across the country.

Following talks between a government delegation headed by Ivory Coast Defense Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi and representatives of the mutineers, President Alassane Ouattara announced he had agreed to some of the soldiers’ grievances but chastised them for sparking the unrest.

Nana Akufo-Addo was sworn in as Ghana’s president on Saturday.

The US Department of State issued a travel alert against visiting the tourist destination of Gambia on Saturday, and told those there to considering leaving, citing the risk of unrest as President Yahya Jammeh digs in despite losing an election.

NATO pilots have been engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with Russian fighters above the Baltic States.

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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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