Politics Roundup: February 20 – 26, 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 Words of Wisdom: Politics is like WWE Raw
Governing is like 60 Minutes

Monday, 2/20/17:




What a week I have missed as I once more found myself in the hospital.

President Donald Trump conducted a wide-ranging, rambling press conference, which people in the Heartland seem to applaud while the national press corps and the chattering class are scratching their heads and discombobulated.

Vice President Mike Pence is shoring up ties in Europe.

Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis is re-enforcing US commitments in the Middle East and the war on the Islamic State.

A hunt is on to find a new National Security Adviser.

The candidates for the job reportedly included Trump’s acting adviser, retired Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, as well as former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, Army Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster and Lieutenant General Robert Caslen, the Superintendent of the US Military Academy at West Point.

One Cabinet nominee, Andy Puzder, is out for Labor and new nominee named.

The battlelines are drawn between the national press and the White House.

Both sides are right and both sides are wrong.

People are taking to the streets this Presidents’ Day in “Not My President” protests. Which is oxymoron to what we are – the United States of America.

It runs contrary to the idea of “one President at a time.”

Have these protesters renounced their citizenship?

Have these protesters made plans to leave the nation?

Like it or not until the next election or some other unforeseen outcome, agree or disagree with him, Trump is President of the United States of America and all of its citizens.

We’re not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil,” Mattis told reporters after arriving in Iraq on an unannounced visit today.

Vice President Pence told European Union officials today that the Trump Administration wants to “deepen our relationship” with the 28-nation trading bloc.

The Administration is working on a new pause in immigration, according to the President at a “campaign” rally in Melbourne, Florida over the weekend.

Speaking of campaign, reportedly the Prez has already filed for re-election in 2020.

Trump’s not planning going anywhere.

There are those prognosticating a mental burnout, calling for impeachment, calling for invoking the 25th Amendment by the Vice President and Cabinet declaring Trump unfit.

Another rough-and-tumble presidency was that of the 7th President of the US of A, Andrew Jackson.

Here is an interesting look at the similarities with between Jackson and Trump: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/trump-election-has-parallels-to-andrew-jacksons-presidency/2017/02/20/974b70d2-f745-11e6-aa1e-5f735ee31334_story.html

State Politics: New Jersey get ready. Funnyman turned talk radio host, Joe Piscopo, says he may run for Governor.

I’m very serious about it,” Piscopo said. “I’ve never been more serious about anything in my life.”

Global Politics: No, Sweden is not a hotbed of terrorist activity, though crime is up a tad – but not because of the refugees that have poured into he country.

People were not reassured,” said Daniela Schwarzer, Director of the German Council on Foreign Relations. “They think that Trump is erratic and incalculable.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ran a death squad that killed many people, including a journalist and a pregnant woman, when he was mayor of a southern city, a retired policeman who claimed to be part of the group said today.

North Korea’s Ambassador to Malaysia today denounced the country’s investigation into the death of the exiled half brother of North Korea’s ruler, calling it politically motivated and demanding a joint probe amid increasingly bitter exchanges between the once-friendly nations.

Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, has died in New York, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement today.

The hand-picked candidate of Socialist President Rafael Correa took the lead in preliminary results from Ecuador’s presidential election Sunday, and was just under the threshold needed to win outright and avoid a runoff against his nearest rival.

Iran today criticized what it said was coordination between Israel and regional rival Saudi Arabia, describing attempts to create an “international atmosphere” against Tehran.

Yemeni rebels have abducted a dozen local staff working for the Norwegian Refugee Council in the Red Sea district of Hodeida, a minister and local sources said today.

Tuesday, 2/21/17:

Get ready, a new travel ban may be out this week, if not today.

The same seven nations will be targeted, but the White House says it the new order will be compliant with the rulings of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the federal judges across the country.

The new order, according to a draft obtained by the Associated Press, would only bar entry to those without a visa and who have never entered the United States before.

Unlike the original order, people from those countries who already have permanent U.S. residency (green cards) or visas would not face any restrictions.

Provocateurs are finding out they do not have carte blanche to say anything and get away with it.

Just ask Milo Yiannopoulos.

As noted in Breaking News on Monday, active duty Army Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster has been named as National Security Adviser by President Donald Trump.

McMaster is getting praise from across both sides of the political aisle.

On those “Not My President” rallies on Presidents’ Day, “While we acknowledge that Donald Trump holds the current title, the policies he’s trying to put in place are not the beliefs shared by the majority of the people,” said Nova Calise, a TV production manager and an organizer of a New York rally.

After postponing his visit last month, the President toured the National Museum of African American History today.

This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms,” the President said. “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”

The national press corps and others have blasted the President for not coming out more forcefully in denouncing anti-Semitism before today.

At issue in part has been a question from a Hasidic Jewish reporter last week to the Prez about the uptick in activity, which the press corps said the President did not answer.

Today watching and listening to that reporter, the reporter’s reaction was different. He thought the President did respond and correctly. He also, contrary to the negative reaction to today’s statement by Trump, thought it was forceful and appropriate.

That reporter also said he was less concerned with what the Prez said and more about what actions the President may be taking out of the light to stem racism and anti-Semitism.

What a disconnect compared to the principal reporter!

Oh – and Hillary Clinton chided the Prez today in a tweet for not coming out sooner and more forcefully to condemn anti-Semitism.

The blueprint for the Trump Administration immigration program was released today.

Membership in the Democratic Socialists of America, founded in 1982, has surged since Trump’s election on November 8, putting the movement in a position to make inroads on the Democratic Party’s energized left.

The membership gains are fueled by supporters of Bernie Sanders, who mounted a vigorous challenge for the Democratic presidential nomination last year.

Vice President Mike Pence on Monday said both he and President Trump support a “free and independent press.”

But you can anticipate that the president and all of us will continue to call out the media when play fast and loose with the facts,” Pence said during a news conference Monday from Brussels, Belgium.

The truth is that we have in President Trump someone who has a unique ability to speak directly to the American people, and when the media gets it wrong, I promise you, President Trump will take his case straight to the American people to set the record straight.”

State Politics: Anti-vaccine parents in Texas are taking heart with a President who questions if there is a link between autism and childhood vaccines. They are making their case known to the Texas State Legislature.

Oh to be a fly: Ohio Governor John Kasich is tentatively scheduled to meet with President Trump this week.

Global Politics: Thousands of protesters rallied outside British Parliament Monday calling for lawmakers to oppose a planned state visit by President Trump. Though Members of Parliament are debating the issue vigorously, do not expect the invite to be rescinded.

Parliament does not have the power to cancel the visit and the government has defended it as an appropriate way to reaffirm the “special relationship” between the United Kingdom and the US.

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced Monday that the country is “increasing its support for family planning and safe abortion,” joining an international effort to raise money to offset President Trump’s ban on US funding for international groups that offer information on abortion.

Euro Zone Finance Ministers agreed Monday to start new bailout negotiations with Greece as soon next week.

China’s Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng appealed to the US Monday to avoid a trade war.

Cooperation benefits both, while confrontation can only hurt,” Gao said.

Very serious preparatory work is going on in the Kremlin, including a paper — seven pages — describing a psychological portrait of Trump, especially based on this last two to three months, and the last weeks,” said Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Fedorov, who said he has known Trump since 2000, when talking with NBC News.

Vote counting in Ecuador’s presidential election dragged into a third day today with ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno still just short of a definitive first-round victory and supporters and opponents of outgoing President Rafael Correa trading heated accusations.

Iran’s Supreme Leader called on Palestinians today to pursue an uprising against Israel, suggesting the Israeli government was a “cancerous tumor” that should be confronted until Palestinians were completely liberated.

“… by Allah’s permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping regime,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

Southeast Asian countries see China’s installation of weapons systems in the South China Sea as very unsettling and want to prevent militarization and urge dialog to stop “recent developments” from escalating, the Philippines said today.

Foreign Ministers of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) were unanimous in their concern about Beijing’s reclamation and militarization of manmade islands, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said.

Wednesday, 2/22/17:

Not enough.

That is the sentiment from critics after President Donald Trump condemned anti-Semitism on Tuesday during a visit to the African American Museum of History and Culture.

Civil rights activists and other critics said Trump’s comments were too little, too late.

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect called the President’s remarks a “pathetic asterisk of condescension” after his extended silence on the topic.

Denying that a deportation task force has been set up for mass deportation of illegal immigrants, this from the Department of Homeland Security:

All of those present in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention, and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”

New Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt had this to say to his regulators yesterday, “The only authority that any agency has in the executive branch is the authority given to it by Congress. We need to respect that.”

Democrats are out en masse similar to the Tea Party in 2010 taking on Republican lawmakers during town halls.

My take on the situation: Children of Liberty Rising

Remember when I wrote this one year ago: An American Revolution

Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, Rex Tillerson and John Kelly respectively, are traveling today to meet with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto to unruffle feathers.

The President is expected to revoke the guidance by the former Administration’s Education Department on transgender bathroom use in public schools across the nation. Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted on Tuesday that the President believes this is a states rights issue.

President Trump and his aides said today they will roll out a proposed budget, a revamped health care plan and a new tax reform package over the next two months.

The Prez will address his first joint session of Congress next Tuesday in prime time.

Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise visit to a historic Jewish cemetery near St. Louis to condemn the recent vandalism that took place there.

From the heart, there is no place in America for hatred or acts of prejudice or violence or anti-Semitism,” Pence said.

A month into office and the Prez is seeing his approval number starting to rise to 48%, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll.

House Speaker Paul Ryan made his first ever trip to the U.S.-Mexico border today as tensions over immigration policies mount and the initial work towards construction of President Trump’s wall is set to begin.

Rank-and-file Republicans are more concerned about leaks to the media of conversations between Trump advisers and the Russian government than they are about the conversations themselves, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

State Politics: A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked Texas from cutting off Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood over secretly recorded videos released by anti-abortion activists in 2015.

Global Politics: Ukraine is blocking the United Nations expressing condolences from the world body to the nation of Russia on the death of its UN Ambassador this week in protest of the Russian support of separatists in Eastern Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Amnesty International lumped President Trump in with other world leaders like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

The human rights group said their “divisive fear-mongering” was a danger to the world.

Former President Obama didn’t escape Amnesty’s wrath, either. The group also smacked his human rights record, labeling his legacy of mass surveillance and drone strikes as a human rights failure.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who in the past wouldn’t even admit to a problem, just announced an increase in food vouchers after a new study showed that on average his people have lost 19 pounds in weight due to lack of nourishment.

Malaysian police today said they wanted to question a North Korean diplomat and an employee of the North Korean state-owned airline Air Koryo in the investigation of the killing of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

I want to say clearly and emphatically that the government of Mexico and the Mexican people do not have to accept provisions that one government unilaterally wants to impose on the other,” Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray told reporters at the Foreign Ministry.

We will not accept it, because there’s no reason why we should, and because it is not in the interests of Mexico.”

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday appointed his glamorous wife as first vice president, the latest move seen as tightening the family’s iron grip on the oil-rich Caspian nation.

Iceland’s President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson was forced to clarify his views late Tuesday on, uh, well, pineapple as a pizza topping. (Although ham was not mentioned, which is technically needed to complete the “Hawaiian.”)

I like pineapples, just not on Pizza. I do not have the power to make laws that forbid people to put pineapples on pizza,” Jóhannesson wrote on Facebook. “Presidents should not have unlimited power. I would not want to hold this position if I could pass laws forbidding what I don’t like. I would not want to live in such a country.”

Thursday, 2/23/17:

South of the border.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly traveled to Mexico to smooth ruffled feathers and rekindle more friendly relations with that nation.

As expected, the Administration of President Donald Trump rescinded the opinion of the former Administration of President Barack Obama that denied restroom use by transgender students to the gender with which the student identifies.

In its statement, the White House emphasized that restricting bathroom use was not covered by Title IX and was a states rights issue, not federal.

Not all Republicans, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, are happy with the transgender decision. DeVos did eventually give, however.

Florida GOP Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, whose son is transgender, blasted the change in policy.

This lamentable decision can lead to hostile treatment of transgender students and studies have shown that bullying and harassment can be detrimental to the emotional and physical well-being of teenagers,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement Wednesday. “Evidence has shown that acceptance of transgender students lowers their risk of suicide. Jared and I introduced our SNDA bill to prevent discrimination of transgender young people and we will re-introduce it because our country benefits when everyone is accepted and we live up to our nation’s promise of inclusiveness.”

The Justice Department of Attorney General Jeff Sessions is poised to take a firmer and more aggressive stance on marijuana use, which is still illegal under federal law.

That position will even play out in those states where voters have legalize such use.

What a difference one word can make.

The Prez called the current operation to remove violent illegal immigrants from the country as a “military operation.” If he would have only made that “military-style“, there would have been no reason for Kelly to stress in Mexico today that no military troops are or would be participating in any of the activity of the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Oh…and “The Wall” never came up during a press briefing from Mexico City by Tillerson and Kelly with their Mexican counterparts.

A new nuke race?

The Prez stated late today in an interview with Reuters that he wants to strengthen the US nuclear arsenal.

I am the first one that would like to see everybody – nobody have nukes, but we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country, we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power.

It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” Trump said.

That new travel ban expected to be roled out this week has been pushed back to next week.

Reportedly, the White House asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation was asked to squash stories about members of the Trump Campaign having conversations with the Russians.

The FBI refused.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a memo today to the Bureau of Prisons rescinding the President Barack Obama Administration’s August 16 order advising the Bureau not to renew any contracts with private prisons.

Democrats are out en masse similar to the Tea Party in 2010 taking on Republican lawmakers during town halls.

My take on the situation: Children of Liberty Rising

Remember when I wrote this one year ago: An American Revolution

Speaking of Democrats, who will emerge as the new head of the Democratic National Committee when delegates vote on Saturday?

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, one of the leading candidates to chair the Democratic National Committee, left open the possibility of pushing for the impeachment of President Trump, in a break with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi just days ahead of the DNC election, last night.

Thousands of emails made public Wednesday revealed that new Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt was tangled up with the oil and gas industry when he was Attorney General of Oklahoma, filing numerous suits against the EPA.

CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Convention, got underway today in the nation’s capitol.

Today White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Political Strategist Steve Bannon took center stage together with Bannon talking about being the fiery one with Priebus being the one who makes it work for the President.

Bannon describe the US role in the world as a “culture that deserves to be a nation.”

Tomorrow the Prez takes his turn at CPAC.

Politico found the Prez with a 48% favorable rate, but Quinnipiac found him with a 38% favorable rate today.

Personally, I think it falls somewhere in the middle and depends on which political party you identify as favoring.

State Politics: Discrimination is alive and well in the Diamond State. The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down an anti-discrimination ordinance in Fayettevillw, because it provided protections for the gay community.

A Colorado judge has blocked a college town’s law against women going topless, saying the law is likely unconstitutional.

If you have ’em, guess, flaunt ’em.

Global Politics: The hunt for the assassin of North Korea’s Young Leader’s half brother has now gone global.

Thousands are leaving the United States for Canada and immigration advocates say the political rhetoric of the Trump Administration is playing a role.

There exists among Mexicans worry and irritation about what are perceived to be policies that could be harmful for the national interest and for Mexicans here and abroad,” Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray told a news conference, following meeting with Tillerson and Kelly today.

Mexico needs the United States, and the United States also needs Mexico, our countries will always be neighbors so the best thing would be to have agreements that work for both equally,” Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said.

North Korea has lashed out at its only international ally, China, accusing it of giving in to American demands.

This country, styling itself a big power, is dancing to the tune of the US,” the state-run news agency of North Korea said.

Argentina lawmakers launched a fresh conflict of interest case today against President Mauricio Macri, alleging airline routes were unfairly allocated to a company controlled by his family.

A relatively unknown medical doctor, Jack Guy Lafontant, was tapped to be Haiti’s new Prime Minister, tasked with steering the government’s legislative agenda through Parliament, President Jovenel Moise said late on Wednesday.

Friday, 2/24/17:


CNN and a few other news organizations were blocked today from covering and attending the White House Press briefing.

This is not good.

As I wrote before the inauguration: Mr. President Elect, You Are Wrong

And the Prez and White House are wrong today. Now the White House is saying that there was no press briefing, just a gaggle of  pool reporters.

Nothing ominous.

The fix is in.

If you paid attention to former House Speaker John Boehner in Florida yesterday, you heard him say that Republicans will not repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

What the GOP may do, however, is fix the healthcare law, Boehner said.

President Donald Trump spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference today before an adoring crowd. This is the same crowd which booed him when he last spoke two years ago.

Now the Republican Party is the party of Trump and not Reagan’s nor Bush’s GOP.

Remember when I wrote this one year ago: An American Revolution

People attending CPAC could be seen waving small Russian flags emblazoned with the word “Trump” during President Trump’s speech.

Democrats are out en masse similar to the Tea Party in 2010 taking on Republican lawmakers during town halls.

Some of those confronting lawmakers are being stirred up by political activists, but there are also those constituents with genuine concerns.

My take on the situation: Children of Liberty Rising

A plan to deal with the Islamic State is expected to land on the President’s desk today from the Pentagon.

The Prez signed a new executive order today to roll back regulations on manufacturers.

Who is at fault?

The Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who told White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus that an article in the New York Times about members of the Trump campaign having constant discussions with the Russians was not accurate?

Or was it Preibus asking the Assistant FBI Director to tell the public what he told Priebus?

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the White House “didn’t try to knock the story down. We asked them to tell the truth.”

Following talks in Mexico City with his counterpart, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged, “two sovereign countries from time to time will have differences.”

Democrats have tapped former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to deliver the party’s response to President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.

A Baltimore Orioles executive says he’d prefer President Trump not throw out a first pitch at Camden Yards without first apologizing for statements that could be viewed as problematic “from a race, ethnicity, religious, gender, disability” standpoint.

State Politics: The largest and busiest airport in Arkansas would no longer be named after the only president and first lady from the state if a bill introduced in the legislature on Thursday succeeds.

You have a president who was impeached for having an affair with an intern in the Oval Office and then disbarred,” said State Senator Jason Rapert, the bill’s author and one of the Arkansas Legislature’s most outspoken conservatives.

Democratic state senators in California on Thursday unveiled a series of bills designed to freeze in place President Barack Obama Administration-era environmental regulations in the event the Trump Administration moves to weaken them.

Global Politics: VX nerve agent, an internationally banned chemical weapon, was what was used to assassinate the brother of North Korea’s Kim Jung Un.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said the policies of President Trump could be “hurtful to Mexicans,” and that more talks were needed to “overcome the negative feelings that are prevailing now.”

Amid a presidential campaign that has been marred by scandal, conspiracy theories, and the specter of a new far-right leader, disillusioned French voters have called for an outsider to join the race: Barack Obama. A petition launched on Monday calls on the former US president to run in this year’s French elections, which will be held in April and May.

Sunday, 2/2617:

New face: the Democratic National Party.

By a vote of 235-200, on the second ballot, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez was elected the new Chair of the Democratic National Committee in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday.

Perez promptly named his chief rival, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, as his Vice Chair.

The recurring new theme for Democrats from the top down is: resistance.

Resistance to the President and his proposals, even if there are points of agreement.

Sounds like Republicans following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008.

We were united. And our unity is our greatest strength. And frankly our unity is Donald Trump’s greatest nightmare,” Perez said following his ascension.

We need a total transformation,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who backed Ellison, said on CNN‘s State of the Union.

We need to open up the party to working people, to young people and make it crystal clear that the Democratic Party is going to take on Wall Street, it’s going to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, it’s going to take on corporate America that is shutting down plants in this country and moving our jobs abroad,” he added.

No show.

President Donald Trump made known on Saturday that he will not attend this years Nerd Prom or White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Following barring some national news agencies from a gaggle with the White House Press Secretary on Friday, new security rules for the West Wing are being put in place to stop leaks.

The effort includes checks of both government-issued and personal electronic devices for White House staffers, according to Politico.

President Trump’s first budget proposal will spare big social welfare programs such as Social Security and Medicare from any cuts, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview broadcast today.

This Tuesday night, the Prez will deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress. It will be broadcast live during prime time.

State Politics: Governors are meeting in the nation’s capitol this weekend.

A major topic of discussion is what happens if and when the Affordable Care Act is repealed and all that Medicaid money is lost?

Republican Governors are grousing over the holes the loss will have in their state budgets.

GOP Governors intend to present Congress with a plan that they say would give states more flexibility to administer health coverage for poorer residents while protecting states from absorbing the costs of repealing the ACA.

Global Politics: French President Francois Hollande on Saturday took issue with an anecdote, which Trump shared in service to a point about fighting terrorism.

There is terrorism and we must fight it together,” Hollande said. “I think that it is never good to show the smallest defiance toward an allied country. I wouldn’t do it with the United States and I’m urging the US President not to do it with France.”

Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo previously responded Friday on Twitter, telling Trump she “celebrate[s] the dynamism and the spirit of openness of #Paris.”

Scheduled back-channel conversations between representatives of the United States and North Korea have been canceled, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, as the State Department retracted visa approval for the ranking foreign ministry envoy from Pyongyang, Choe Son Hui.

Iran’s former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad published an open letter to President Trump, welcoming his criticism of the US political system but taking issue with his visa ban and attitude to women.

Your Excellency (Trump) has truthfully described the US political system and electoral structure as corrupt and anti-public,” Admadinejad wrote.

Australia and Indonesia have restored full military ties less than two months after Indonesia suspended co-operation over “offensive” teaching material found at an Australian base.

A veteran opposition leader in Kyrgyzstan was arrested on corruption charges, security services said Sunday, as political tensions mount in the Central Asian country ahead of a November presidential poll.


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Politics Roundup: February 6 – 12, 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, 2/6/17:

Stand or fall?

Will the temporary ban on immigrants from seven countries be upheld or will the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agree with a federal judge in Washington State and block the executive order of President Donald Trump?

Is there an equivalency between the US and Russia?

What is fake and what is real?

This third week of the Trump Administration is awaiting the answers on these and many other questions.

Ninety-seven companies, including tech giants Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter, filed an amicus brief on Sunday opposing President Trump’s executive order on immigration, saying it was discriminatory and hurt businesses joining the argument of Washington and Minnesota ahead of the hearing by a 3-member panel of the 9th Circuit.

Immigrants make many of the nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies,” the companies said in the brief.

In his typical fashion, Trump tweeted about the judge who barred his EO, “If something happens blame him and court system.”

President Trump said in an interview broadcast on Fox News that Vice President Mike Pence would lead a commission investigating his claim of massive voter fraud in the November elections.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on CNN‘s State of the Union that there was “no evidence” that there was enough fraud to have changed the election result, “and I don’t think we ought to spend any federal money investigating that.”

The Prez spoke for the first time to a major gathering of the folk in uniform today at Central Command in Florida.

In measured tones, speaking from a script, the Prez affirmed his support for our military forces and his commitment to provide them with the necessary equipment to defeat Islamic terrorism.

But the Prez also blasted the media, without substantiation, of covering up terror attacks.

It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that,” Trump said.

President Trump spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Sunday evening and agreed to join a meeting of NATO leaders in May in Europe.

Mr. President, just because polls or news articles are negative about you does not constitute the criteria to make them “fake news.”

Put on your big boy pants and take the heat.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed today to fight what she called the President’s “massive con” to dismantle the Dodd-Frank financial law.

Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California is already calling for impeachment of the President who has only been office for three weeks.

Waters wants Trump impeached over his free speech.

Senate Democrats took the floor today, which they plan to hold for at least 24 hours, to delay a vote on Betsy DeVos to be the next Education Secretary.


In an interview Sunday with the Detroit Free Press, Dan Adamini, the Secretary of the Marquette County, Michigan Republican Party, had to apologize after suggesting in his social media posts there should be a Kent State type of crackdown on violent protests like the one that erupted at a university in California last week.

Adamini tweeted Thursday after violent disturbances at the University of California-Berkley shut down plans for a senior editor at the far-right website Breitbart to speak on campus, “Violent protesters who shut down free speech? Time for another Kent State perhaps. One bullet stops a lot of thuggery.”

Maybe it’s time for an intervention, but not just for Adamini, but other Republicans and Democrats as well unable to accept Trump is President of all of us.

Global Politics: Queen Elizabeth II today marks her 65th anniversary on the throne, becoming the first British monarch in history to celebrate her Sapphire Jubilee.

Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far right National Front party, hopes to ride the populist wave that resulted in Brexit and Donald Trump’s election all the way to the French presidency.

The election is in April.

The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow of Great Britain has told Members of Parliament he is “strongly opposed” to allowing President Trump to address both houses of Parliament when he comes to the UK on a state visit later this year because of his “racism and sexism.”

So much for an address to the English people by the President when he visits.

Meanwhile Russia’s Kremlin is demanding an apology from Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly for calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer.”

We consider such words from the Fox TV company to be unacceptable and insulting, and honestly speaking, we would prefer to get an apology from such a respected TV company,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian conservative allies threw their weight today behind her quest for a fourth term, putting aside a long-running argument over her migrant policies as Germany prepares for a national election in September.

Experts from Russia, Turkey, Iran and the United Nations have started a technical meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, to discuss in detail the implementation of the Syrian ceasefire agreement, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry said today.

Tuesday, 2/7/17:


Will President Donald Trump win in his fight to keep his executive order barring temporarily people from seven countries from entering the US of A?

Will the States of Washington and Minnesota be found to have standing and prevail with a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to continue blocking the President’s EO?

We may know the answer after 6 p.m. (ET) today.

New Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly took the blame today before a congressional committee for the rough rollout of the EO.

President Trump on Monday accused the media of choosing not to report on terrorist attacks.

It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” Trump told senior commanders at the U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, in Florida. “And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.”

Mr. President, the media is covering terror attacks.

Yes, there are some attacks that are under-reported, but still reported.

After pulling an all-nighter, Democrats had to accept that there would be a vote on Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education.

History was made when Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm DeVos.

Senator Jeff Sessions had to wait for a confirmation vote to become Attorney General to cast a vote for DeVos or scuttle her nomination.

A vote to confirm Sessions is slated for tomorrow.

We are going to be done legislating with respect to healthcare and Obamacare this year,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told a news briefing.

The question is how long does it take to implement the full replacement of Obamacare,” Ryan said, indicating that that could take longer.

We are going to be going out and talking about what our plan is. We hope to get this done as fast as possible,” Ryan said.

Over the weekend, the President said it may take until 2018 to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.


Secretary of Labor designee Andrew Puzder employed an illegal alien for years.

My wife and I employed a housekeeper for a few years, during which I was unaware that she was not legally permitted to work in the US.,” Puzder said in a written statement Monday. “When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status. We have fully paid back taxes to the IRS and the state of California and submitted all required paperwork.”

Will this torpedo his confirmation?

The US Army Secretary could make a decision on the final permit needed to complete the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline as soon as Friday, the government’s lawyer told a Washington, DC, court Monday.

California leaders pushed back on Monday against President Trump’s claim that the state is “out of control,” pointing to its balanced budget and high jobs numbers in the latest dust up between the populist Republican and the progressive state.

Global Politics: The protests in Romania continue, even though the government rescinded its decriminalization of corruption.

Seems the Romanian President, who is being investigated for corruption, is now trying to push through legislation in the Parliament to decriminalize the scandal, which would give him a “get out of jail” card.

The Israeli Parliament passed a law retroactively approving Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.

China and Iran, two countries that top President Trump’s enemies list, are pushing back against his tough talk this week with showy and provocative military drills.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines angrily dressed down more than 200 police officers on national television today, presenting them with a thorny ultimatum: Resign or be shipped off to a terrorist hotbed known for beheadings and attacks on police stations.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas today called a new Israeli law legalizing dozens of Jewish outposts built on private Palestinian land an “attack against our people.”

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said about Trump’s interview with Fox‘s Bill O’Reilly, “We are thankful to (Trump) for making our life easy as he showed the real face of America.”

Jovenel Moise was sworn in today as Haiti’s President for the next five years after a bruising two-year election cycle, inheriting a chronically struggling economy and a deeply divided society.

Wednesday, 2/8/17:

Stand, split or slam.

Will President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on people from seven countries stand up to scrutiny?

Will the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals split the baby and give a little to both the Prez and to the States of Washington and Minnesota?

Will the judges slam the gavel down and let the federal court judge’s block of the executive order causing the heartburn remain in place?

Out of order.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was officially silenced by the Senate on party lines last night for violating Rule 19 and “impugning a sitting Senator.”

Warren tried from the Senate floor to read a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. In the letter, Sessions was called out by name, contrary to Senate rules to not refer to a Senator personally, but as “the gentleman” or “the gentlewoman” instead.

Prior to being silenced, Warren was warned that if she continued she was violating the rule. Warren chose to ignore the rules and was officially barred from continuing to speak or to speak on the Senate floor for the rest this session.

Warren later took to Facebook Live to read the full letter, garnering over 2 million viewers.

Many see Warren as the best hope for Democrats to take back the White House in 2020.

Some now are turning this into a male Senator silencing a female Senator to make it an issue of men versus women. This morning male Democratic Senators are reading from the letter and not being censured.

The howls of sexism are growing.

The gag came as Democratic Senators for the second night in a row took the Senate floor in protest. This time Democrats spoke for more than 24 hours against the confirmation vote of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to become Attorney General.

As we go to press, the Senate is beginning the confirmation which is expected to pass along party lines with Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, up for re-election in a red state, to side with Republicans.

Are White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s days numbered?

Mr. President, what are you thinking?

During a meeting at the White House with county sheriffs, Trump said he would “destroy” the career of a Texas State Legislator who had proposed restrictions on seizures of property belonging to suspected criminals.

Do you want to give his name?” Trump asked Rockwall County, Texas, Sheriff Harold Eavenson after he complained about the Legislator. “We’ll destroy his career.”

It may have drawn laughter in the room, but it’s not playing well in Peoria.

The military is looking to lease space in Trump Tower, according to a report Tuesday by CNN.

A military spokesman told the news network that space in the skyscraper will likely be needed to support the new commander-in-chief when he stays with his wife, Melania, at their penthouse home.

The space is necessary for the personnel and equipment who will support the POTUS at his residence in the building,” Lieutenant Colonel J.B. Brindle told CNN.

President Donald Trump and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed to cooperate in the fight against jihadists in Syria, in their first phone call since the new US leader took office, Ankara said today.

Not smart, Mr. President.

While addressing a meeting with sheriffs and police chiefs from across the nation this morning, the Prez defended his travel ban by going after the three 9th Circuit Appellate Judges deciding the fate of the temporary block of his executive order by a federal judge in Washington State.

I don’t want to call a court biased, so I won’t call it biased,” the President said at a gathering of the Major Cities Chiefs Association in Washington DC. “Courts seem to be so political and it would be so great for our justice system if they could read a statement and do what’s right.”

Is First Lady Melania Trump trying to cash in on being FLOTUS?

Is it legal or moral?

US Embassies could ask visa applicants for passwords to their own social media accounts in future background checks, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Tuesday.

State Politics: A North Carolina court temporarily blocked a new state law today that stripped the new Democratic Governor of some of his powers and passed by Republican-controlled Legislature in the waning days of the former Republican Governor.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said in a joint statement the “judges are not legislators, and if these three men want to make laws, they should hang up their robes and run for a legislative seat.”

The GOP lawmakers are not happy that Governor Roy Cooper appointed several members of his cabinet before the Legislature came back from recess and want to remove those appointees.

Global Politics: German central bank chief Jens Weidmann on Tuesday rejected a Trump Administration allegation that Germany was helping its companies by keeping currency values low.

Germany is the leading economy of the euro zone, and no longer has its own currency that it directly controls, but Trump trade council head Peter Navarro said the euro was “grossly undervalued” and functioned as an “implicit deutsche mark.”

Weidmann said that German exporters are doing well “because they are well positioned in world markets and convince people with innovative products.”

Yemen, engaged in a civil war, has withdrawn permission for the US to conduct special operations in the country after civilians were killed in the first such operation under President Trump. Several civilians were killed in the raid, which also killed a member of SEAL Team 6, Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law decriminalizing some forms of domestic violence.

The legislation, known as the “slapping law,” downgrades a first offense of domestic violence that does not cause serious injury, making it just an administrative offense with a fine of up to about $500, up to 15 days in jail or up to 120 hours of community service.

A Russian court today found opposition leader Alexei Navalny guilty in the retrial of a 2013 fraud case, which formally disqualifies him as a candidate for President next year.

South African troops are being deployed in an unprecedented security lockdown of Cape Town’s parliamentary precinct for President Jacob Zuma’s annual state-of-the-nation address that’s taking place in the face of mounting opposition to his leadership.

The battle over Scotland’s constitutional future is now “a virtual dead heat” with support rising for independence as Britain prepares to leave the European Union, according to a new poll released today.

Voters in presidential elections in Somalia are gathering in a high security compound in the capital Mogadishu to choose a new leader for the unstable East African state.

Thursday, 2/9/17:


Is CNN‘s John Berman right?

Has the White House become the new Home Shopping Network?

Top Presidential Adviser KellyAnne Conway goes on Fox News, telling the American people to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff.”

This comes after proud papa, President Donald Trump, tweeted from both his personal Twitter account and the official POTUS account ridiculing high-scale retailer Nordstrum for dropping the First Daughter’s clothing line from its inventory for lagging sales.

By the way, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Conway has been counseled over her blatant plug for the Ivanka line.

Jeff Sessions was confirmed and now has been sworn in as the Attorney General.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, without calling out the President personally, told Democratic Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal that remarks critical of judges were “demoralizing” and “disheartening.”

The Prez pushed back saying Blumenthal did not state the Judge’s position correctly.

Many pundits believe that Gorsuch may have strengthened his position to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court with Democrats by showing his independence and willingness to criticize the President, even though he did not specifically call out the President.

Arizona Republican Senator and Chair of the Senate Armed Forces Committee John McCain and the Prez are having their own public spat over the raid in Yemen which resulted in the loss of a Seal Team Six member’s life.

Officials in Yemen said the government had not withdrawn permission for future US commando raids, as The New York Times reported, although it will have to approve any new US ground missions in advance.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the President to withdraw the nomination of Andrew Puzder to be Secretary of Labor, citing his record as a business executive and his position on labor issues.

They ought to withdraw Mr. Puzder before he further embarrasses this Administration and further exposes the hypocrisy of President Trump, who says one thing to the American worker and does another,” said Schumer about Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

So who is winning the battle for the hearts and minds of the American public?

The White House?

The national press corps?

A poll conducted by Emerson College found the Administration is considered truthful by a slim majority, 49% versus 48% of registered voters who said it was untruthful. By way of comparison, only 39% of registered voters view the media as truthful with 53% saying the news media is dishonest.


Senior defense and intelligence officials have cautioned the White House that a proposal to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization could endanger US troops in Iraq and the overall fight against the Islamic State, and would be an unprecedented use of a law that was not designed to sanction government institutions.

Will 2020 be a redux of 2016?

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren appears to be already running to face the President when he runs for re-election in 2020. And it looks, following a tweet from the 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Warren may be getting early backing from the former First Lady.

With Republicans Senators censuring Warren on Tuesday, but allowing male colleagues to read from the same letter which brought the hammer down on Warren, it appears the war between the sexes has been revved up for the presidential contest in four years.

State Politics: Mississippi lawmakers are advancing a proposal to add firing squad, electrocution and gas chamber as execution methods in case a court blocks the use of lethal injection drugs.

House Bill 638 is a response to lawsuits filed by “liberal, left-wing radicals,” said House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, a Republican.

Global Politics: Reports are coming out that terrorists and other bad subjects are taking advantage of Venezuela’s willingness to provide passports to allow the jihadists to travel around the globe.

A Venezuelan passport can grant entry into more than 130 countries without a visa – including 26 countries in the European Union (but not the US).

Venezuelan officials deny the claims.

The lower house of the United Kingdom’s Parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill to authorize starting the official process of leaving the European Union.

The bill goes next to the unelected House of Lords, which is expected to vote in early March.

Once both houses of Parliament have approved, Prime Minister Theresa May can trigger Brexit by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which spells out the rules for exiting the trading bloc.

Kenya’s high court today blocked a government plan to close the Dadaab refugee camp, the largest in the world.

South Africa’s Parliament descended into chaos today, with opposition lawmakers denouncing President Jacob Zuma as a “scoundrel” and “rotten to the core” because of corruption allegations and then brawling with guards who dragged them out of the chamber.

A list released by the US Treasury department showed the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was one of 5,411 individuals to renounce his American citizenship in 2016.

Friday, 2/10/17:


The temporary restraining order barring implementation of President Donald Trump’s executive order placing a travel ban on seven countries has been upheld unanimously by the 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The President vows to fight on.

What the Administration can do:

1. Appeal to the full 9th Circuit
2. Appeal to the Supreme Court
3. Return to the District Court Judge
4. Codify the ban with the Congress
5. Rewrite the Executive Order

The question about the EO’s constitutionality was not decided. The merits and substance of the EO has yet to be debated and decided.

Hot water for two top aides to the President.

The House Oversight Committee is asking the Government Ethics Office to look into whether Presidential Adviser KellyAnne Conway violated the law by plugging the clothing line of First Daughter Ivanka in an appearance on Fox News on Thursday morning.

National Security Adviser nominee Michael Flynn is accused of violating the 18th Century Logan Act for talking about impending sanctions with the Russian Ambassador before Trump was sworn into office.

Also at issue is if Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence, which then was the reason Pence went on national television to say Flynn told him he did not talk about sanctions with the Ambassador.

Flynn is now saying he cannot remember if the sanctions were brought up or not with the Ambassador.

The State of Washington, which brought the suit along with the State of Minnesota, is claiming complete victory.

A Virginia federal judge offered a blistering critique of the Trump administration’s travel ban today, citing a “startling” lack of evidence that travelers from the seven Muslim-majority countries represented a specific national security threat.

Turn-about – The President reconfirmed the commitment of the US of A to the “one China policy” while talking with the Chinese President on the phone on Thursday.

This goes a long way in thawing the icy relations that have developed since Trump was elected.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed relations with China with White House officials on Thursday, and reportedly rejected Trump’s suggestion that Taiwan could be used as a bargaining chip in broader talks with China.

President Trump told airline and airport executives on Thursday that he was interested in a proposal to remove the US air traffic control system from the Federal Aviation Administration’s control, and put it under a private nonprofit corporation.

Congressman Dr. Tom Price was confirmed by a divided Senate as Secretary of Health and Human Services last evening.

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz was shouted down and off the stage at townhall in Utah last night. Other GOP lawmakers faced similar protests as progressives flexed their muscles across the country.

The Prez, for the second time since being elected, had a sit-down today with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

At a news conference with Abe, the Prez said he would be putting out some type of new security measure next week, but would not go into any specifics.

The two leaders will spend their weekend together in Florida talking and playing golf. Their wives will be joining them also.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos encountered protesters this morning outside a Washington DC middle school and found her way barred as she tried to enter through a side door, forcing her to retreat into a government vehicle as a man shouted “Shame!” DeVos later was able to attend the planned event at the school.

I am deeply honored by any consideration that I may have received by Attorney General Sessions and President Trump for appointment as the Solicitor General, but I have asked them to discontinue any further consideration of me for that critically important position,” Supreme Court litigator Chuck Cooper said in a statement Thursday.

The hunt’s still going.

State Politics: Ohio Governor John Kasich on Friday delayed eight executions as a court fight continues over the constitutionality of the state’s lethal injection process.

Global Politics: Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied today marking the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Some marchers carried banners saying, “Thanks Mr. Trump for showing the real face of America.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said “inexperienced figures” in the U.S. and the region were “threatening Iran,” but “should know that the language of threats has never worked with Iran.”

Perhaps taking a cue from President Trump, Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad is calling reports of torture and indiscriminate killings by his regime “fake news.”

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, will be given a month’s notice to leave the Ecuadorian embassy if the country’s main opposition candidate wins the presidency in next week’s election.

A Peruvian judge on Thursday ordered former President Alejandro Toledo to spend up to 18 months in jail while prosecutors prepare criminal charges against him for allegedly taking $20 million in bribes from Brazilian builder Odebrecht SA. Toledo is not in country. The judge ordered a hunt to find and detain him, no matter what country he may be residing.

Sunday, 2/12/17:


Could National Security Adviser retired General Michael Flynn’s days be growing shorter in the White House?

Flynn says now he does not recall talking with the Ambassador from Russia about sanctions before President Donald Trump was sworn into office. Yet, both Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus went on the Sunday talk shows to say that Flynn told them he did not. The two then told reporters and the American people the sanction talk did not happen.

Now it comes out that Flynn did talk to the Ambassador about sanctions.

Are we seeing the rise of the Children of Liberty from progressives, the far left, disrupting town hall meetings with Republican Congress people across the country?

Is 2010 happening all over again, but not the Republican-leaning Tea Party, but as I am dubbing them, the Democratic-leaning Children of Liberty?

More than 200 protests in 45 states were held Saturday to oppose federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Add Sears and K-Mart to the retailers dropping Trump products from its inventory.

The national press corps and Democratic lawmakers are questioning openly and seriously whether the President is mentally stable.

Is this a lead-up to a move to impeach or remove the President from office?

The Prez hinted Friday on Air Force One that he may issue a new executive order tailored toward satisfying the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejection of his earlier EO and temporary travel ban on seven countries.

Will House Means and Ways Committee member, Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell, get his way using a 1924 law that allows the committee, which rights tax law, to review any tax returns it wants in order to examine the past 10 years of the President’s tax returns which he is loathe to share?

The question then will be if the committee will then share with the public the documents if Republicans allow Pascrell to have his way.

That law was used in 1974 when Congress looked at President Richard Nixon’s returns, and in 2014 when the Ways and Means Committee released confidential tax information as part of its investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of applications for nonprofit status.

Is Stephen Miller the new power behind the throne in the White House?

Could Presidential Adviser KellyAnne Conway possibly be taking over Chief of Staff from Reince Priebus?


The Department of Education on Sunday tweeted a quote about the importance of education from the late W.E.B. Du Bois, the revered historian and civil rights activist who helped found the NAACP.

But the effort to highlight Du Bois’ famous words backfired—because whoever sent the Tweet misspelled Du Bois’ name.
Global Politics: Former Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected Germany’s President today, the 12th person to hold the largely ceremonial post in the post-war era.

German tennis has responded with outrage after the United States Tennis Association made the embarrassing error of playing the Nazi-era version of Germany’s national anthem during a Federation Cup tie in Hawaii.

Voters in Switzerland decided today to make it easier for young “third-generation foreigners” to get Swiss citizenship, agreeing to extend to about 25,000 people under age 25 access to the fast-track process now available to foreign spouses of Swiss nationals.

My Thoughts: Children of Liberty Rising

Thanks for viewing!

Children of Liberty Rising

Back in 2010, we were witnesses to people pouring out of their homes to attend town halls across the country to protest the enacting of the Affordable Care Act. These fiscal conservatives of all stripes were upset with the individual mandate, which required all Americans to purchase health insurance. These protesters found this as over-reach by the federal government.

The people soon congealed into a coherent force called the Tea Party. They flexed their muscle upsetting the Congress, governorships and state legislatures.

The Tea Party became a driving force in the Republican Party.

Today we are seeing the opposite side of the ideological and political spectrum out in force, railing against Republican lawmakers. Again at issue by many is the Affordable Care Act.

This time around it is to keep the ACA in place rather than repeal and replacing the law as promised by President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress.

The range of protests, however, is far beyond just the ACA. The people are in the streets, in the town halls with the full gamut of progressive peeves.

The question is whether we are seeing, what I call, the Children of Liberty or will those protesting go the way of the Occupy movement, which burned hot, then fizzled?

In full disclosure, I have to say that my own sons and their wives are divided. My oldest son and daughter-in-law are conservative in thought. My youngest son and daughter-in-law, in his own words are “bleeding heart liberal, sorry.”

I stand in between the two positions, agreeing with both and disagreeing with both.

Will these Children of Liberty be able to do what the Tea Party did in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016?

Will the divergent wants and desires be able to gel into a coherent political force and upset the status quo?

Or will these Children of Liberty soon lose interest and move on to the next shiny object by 2018?

From the Cornfield, it will be interesting to watch over the next two to four years to see if progressives will manage to become one or continue to pull against each other by trying to make their individual cause the priority.

Politics Roundup: January 30 – February 5, 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, 1/30/17:

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 8 p.m.

Tune in tomorrow for the much anticipated announcement of President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy at the US Supreme Court.

That vacancy, a result of the death nearly one year ago of Justice Antonin Scalia, could impact the course of US law for decades.

Is the President, as many talking heads are saying, moving the nation to authoritarianism?

Hollywood made clear its feelings about the executive order banning entry from seven nations at the Screen Actor’s Guild awards ceremony last night.

It was not positive.

The EO has already had parts blocked by federal judges, but not the entire order.

Homeland Security came out with a clarification Sunday night on the order, noting that those with green cards would not be barred entry, but subject to questioning.

The countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

In December 2015 former President Barack Obama signed into law a measure placing some restrictions on certain travelers from Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria. A couple of months later, Libya, Somalia and Yemen were added.

President Trump said the executive order he signed on Friday “is not a Muslim ban” but a move to prevent terrorists from entering the country.

Trump said he had “tremendous feeling” for the refugees fleeing Syria, but “my first priority will always be to protect and serve our country.”

The former President spoke out today on the EO causing all the stir.

In his statement, Obama voiced his support for the protesters. He noted, in his opinion, it was an attack on American values, with which he strongly disagreed with President Trump.

A group of State Department officials sent a memo to the White House expressing their dissent with the travel ban.

The American Civil Liberties Union took the Administration to court over the ban and won several stays over the weekend. The ACLU also benefited from the ban with a whopping $24 million in donations compared to the usual $3-$4 million per year in donations.

“Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning,” Trump tweeted. “Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage…..protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer.”

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson plans to sue President Trump over the EO that suspended immigration from those seven countries. Ferguson and 15 other Attorneys General, all Democrats, released a statement condemning the EO.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer pointed out today that the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are by law members of the National Security Council and will continue to be.

He also noted that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency was being added to the NSC, which was not an inclusion during the Administration of President Obama.

But why did the Prez appoint the White House Chief Political Strategist to the NSC?

Keeping his promises, the Prez signed another EO today to slash regulations by as much as 75%.

There will be regulation, there will be control, but it will be normalized control,” Trump said as he signed the order in the Oval Office, surrounded by a group of small business owners.

Former President George H.W. Bush was discharged from a Houston hospital today after being treated for pneumonia, his spokesman said.

Global Politics: I regret to announce via this statement that I have decided to not attend the Academy Awards Ceremony alongside my fellow members of the cinematic community,” Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director of The Salesman, said Sunday.

The director is up for an Oscar. There has been much debate over if he would denied entry to the US for the ceremony.

Benoit Hamon, the most left-leaning of seven primary candidates, won the Socialist nomination for French President.

Iraq’s lawmakers today backed a “reciprocity measure” that would bar Americans from entering Iraq in retaliation for Trump’s banning of Iraqis from traveling to the United States. The vote is not binding and up to the Iraqi Prime Minister whether to enforce.

Britain takes a different approach to Trump on immigration restrictions but the United States is a close ally and an invitation for a state visit still stands, Prime Minister Theresa May said today.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein tweeted today insisting that “discrimination on nationality” violates international human rights codes.

The U.S. ban is also mean-spirited, and wastes resources needed for proper counterterrorism,” al-Hussein wrote.

Tuesday, 1/31/17:

Drum roll, please.

Will 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Neil Gorsuch, please step forward.

In dramatic and presidential fashion, President Donald Trump announced his nominee to fill the vacancy on the bench of the Supreme Court this evening during prime time at 8 p.m.

Now, will the judge who won unanimous consent went appointed to the Appeals Court win with bipartisan support the seat on the nation’s highest court?

The selection of Gorsuch, 49, could impact jurisprudence for the next several decades.


That was the message to Acting Attorney General Sally Yates late last night. The pink slip came after Yates put out a memo to Justice Department lawyers to not defend the executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Friday placing a temporary ban on people from seven nations coming into the US of A.

That EO sparked protests across the nation, which continue. Several federal judges have blocked portions of that EO.

A new Acting Attorney General Dana Boente, who was the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, was named, who immediately rescinded the Yates memo and sent out his own affirming Justice would defend the EO.

The White House said in a statement that Yates “has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States. … Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”

The Chairman of the House Rules Committee Pete Sessions, a Republican, agreed with Yates’ assessment, however, noting the similarity “to an evaluation that we made and that was it did not appear to be specific in nature. It did not appear to maintain the continuity of an effort that could be understood and followed through on. … It did not look as complete and succinct as what I think I would’ve wanted.”

President Trump signed an executive order Monday that he said would deliver on his campaign promise to slash government regulations.

President Trump will leave in place former President Barack Obama’s 2014 order creating new workplace protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, the White House said Monday.

President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBT rights, just as he was throughout the election,” the statement from the White House said.

Senate Democrats boycotted the Finance Committee preventing confirmation votes for Health and Human Services designee Dr. Tom Price and Treasury designee Steve Mnuchin.

Homeland Security Secretary Retired General John Kelly came out today to explain implementation of the temporary ban on entry to the US from seven countries. He emphasized it was not a a ban on Muslims.

Kelly said he was aware of the controversial EO and had known for over a year it would be coming, just not when. Kelly said he found out an exact day on Thursday, the day before the order was signed.

Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, was confirmed today as Transportation Secretary.

Attorney General designee Senator Jeff Session will get his vote in the full Senate after his confirmation was approved by the Judiciary Committee on strict party lines 12-11.

Likewise the nomination of Betty DeVos to be Education Secretary moved from committee to the full Senate for confirmation as did Energy designee former Governor Rick Perry.

Congressman Ryan Zinke is moving forward as well as designee for Secretary of the Interior.

Trump replaced the Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday night with Thomas Homan, ICE Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations since 2013.

Another group sued the President in federal court in Virginia Monday. The group of 27 plaintiffs from across the U.S. — says the controversial EO signed on Friday “implements an impermissible religious gerrymander that divides foreign nationals, even those lawfully present inside the United States, into favored and disfavored groups based on their faith.”

The suit asks that the EO be totally blocked and ruled unconstitutional.

The Pentagon is compiling a list of Iraqi citizens who have worked with the US military and recommending that they be exempt from Trump’s temporary ban on visitors from Iraq and six other predominantly Muslim countries, according to military officials.

Another executive order today. This one is on beefing up cyber security in the US.

Meeting with pharmaceutical company execs today, the President vowed to get drug prices lower.

The Department of Homeland Security said today it will allow 872 refugees to enter the country after they were initially barred from flying to the US under the President’s executive order on immigration.


The man who appeared on CNN and was cheered by the Prez for his expertise on voter fraud turns out to be registered to vote in three states.

He was listed on the rolls in Alabama, Texas and Mississippi, according to voting records and election officials in those states. He voted only in Alabama in November, records show.

San Francisco, California filed a lawsuit today challenging the President’s executive order directing the federal government to withhold money from cities that have adopted sanctuary policies toward undocumented immigrants.

Global Politics: The United Nations Security Council, which will include new US Ambassador Nikki Haley, will discuss Iran’s ballistic missile test in violation of a UN resolution.

We hope that Iran’s defense program is not used by the new US administration… as a pretext to create new tensions,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a press conference.

The Austrian government has announced plans to ban the full-face Islamic veil in public, part of a raft of measures to contain the rise of the far-right Freedom Party.

The British Parliament will hold a debate on calls to cancel Donald Trump’s state visit due to be hosted by the Queen this year, after 1.6 million people signed a petition in support of scrapping or downgrading the invitation.

Wednesday, 2/1/17:


Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, a 36-year-old from Peoria, Illinois, hero!

Owens was the first US casualty of the new Administration. He was killed during a weekend raid on an Al Qaida base in Yemen.

President Donald Trump, accompanied by First Daughter Ivanka, took Marine One to Dover Air Force Base this afternoon to honor the return of Owens remains.

Gloves are off.

Democrats boycotted for the second day the Senate Finance Committee to block confirmation votes on Dr. Tom Price and Steve Mnuchin for Cabinet positions.

Pushing back, Chairman Orrin Hatch suspended the rules and Republicans pushed through the votes to send the nominees for Heath and Human Services and Treasury to the full Senate for a vote.

Scott Pruitt’s committee confirmation vote was blocked today as Democrats boycotted the meeting for the Environmental Protection Agency designee.

In his meeting on Tuesday with pharmaceutical giants, President Trump had this to say, “For Medicare, for Medicaid, we have to get the prices way down. We’re also gonna be streamlining the process so that from your standpoint, when you have a drug, you can actually get it approved if it works instead of waiting for many, many years.”

Meanwhile in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrats mounted a strong objection to Senator Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General, but to no avail.

Sessions nomination now goes for a full Senate vote.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, during a CNN Town Hall, called Justice Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court “hostile.”

Some Democrats are aching for a very vigorous fight against the Gorsuch appointment. To most Democrats, Gorsuch is “stealing” the seat on the bench from DC Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Merrick Garland.

Garland was appointed by former President Barrack Obama, but was never afforded a hearing or vote by the Senate majority Republicans.

In a sign of his character, the first call Gorsuch placed following his nomination was to Garland.

When appointed to the 10th District Court by former President George W. Bush, Gorsuch received unanimous voice-vote approval by the Senate.

The Prez today urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to use the “nuclear option” if necessary to obtain Gorsuch appointment. The nuclear option would change the requirement of 60 votes to confirm a Supreme Court nominee to only a simple majority vote.

We have a Secretary of State.

Rex Tillerson was approved by the Senate today by all Republicans and four Democrats.

Chairman Jason Chaffetz, Republican Congressman from Utah, said on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s possible conflicts of interest could be among the more than 40 items his House Oversight Committee investigates.

California Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the chairs of four Democratic caucuses in the House of Representatives are demanding President Trump remove his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, from the National Security Council, arguing that Bannon’s appointment to the group is “dangerous.”

The Prez kicked off the commemoration of Black History Month with a sit-down and listening session with a number of members from the black community.

National Security Adviser retired General Mike Flynn told Iran today that the US was putting the Persian nation on notice, following its ballistic missile launch over the weekend.

Education Secretary designee Betsy DeVos may be in trouble of winning full confirmation. Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski said on the Senate floor today they will not approve her confirmation.

This means that Republicans cannot spare another defection. As it is, the now 50-50 split will be broke and confirm DeVos by Vice President Mike Pence.

President Trump canceled a scheduled visit to the Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee due to the motorcycle maker’s fear of protests over his immigration and refugee ban, an administration official told CNN Tuesday. Harley-Davidson released a statement saying there was never a visit planned this week to any of its facilities.

That said, Harley-Davidson execs are meeting with the Prez in the White House on Thursday.

Over 900 career diplomats with the State Department have signed the memo to the new Secretary of State, voicing concern and opposition to the executive order on the temporary ban of travel from seven countries.

However, a poll that came out yesterday, following the disastrous roll-out of the temporary ban, found that the majority of Americans support the President’s executive order.

Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia and New York are becoming the first states to sue the Trump administration with filings announced this week over the executive order restricting refugees and immigration. All four have Democratic Attorneys General.

More about Gorsuch, the nominee to the Supreme Court: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/31/neil-gorsuch-supreme-court-nominee-five-things-to-know/97083588/

Another political cartoon that is spot on: http://theweek.com/cartoons/677406/political-cartoon-trump-promises-ban

Global Politics: Former United Nations leader Ban Ki-moon has decided not to run in an election expected later this year to replace President Park Geun-hye, who was impeached in December over a corruption scandal.

British lawmakers are scheduled to vote today on a bill that would give Prime Minister Theresa May permission to trigger negotiations on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union by March 31.

French anticorruption police searched offices in the lower house of parliament on Tuesday as part of an investigation into whether presidential candidate Francois Fillon used public funds to pay family members for jobs they didn’t really do.

Romania’s governing Social Democratic Party shocked domestic and international observers Tuesday when it adopted an emergency measure to decriminalize official misconduct causing damage worth less than about $48,000.

Iran admitted today it had test-fired a new ballistic missile. Iran’s Defense Minister said the test did not breach the Islamic Republic’s nuclear agreement with world powers or a United Nations Security Council resolution endorsing the pact.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg today urged Russia to use its influence with pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine to halt what he called the worst upsurge in fighting in a long time.

Leftist independent Alejandro Guillier is tied with conservative Sebastian Pinera to win Chile’s 2017 presidential race.

António Guterres, the new UN Secretary General said today that border policies based on religion, ethnicity or race were “against the fundamental principles and values on which our societies are based.”

The United Arab Emirates’ top diplomat came out in defense of Trump’s order temporarily barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Gulf federation’s Foreign Minister, said, “The is a temporary ban and it will revised in 3 months, so it is important that we put into consideration this point.”

Some of these countries that were on this list are countries that face structural problems,” he continued. “These countries should try to solve these issues…and these circumstances before trying to solve this issue with the United States.”

Thursday, 2/2/17:

Tough talk.

That is what now President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail. And tough talk is what he is doing with both allies and foes.

Word has leaked out that the conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ended abruptly with disagreement over a deal worked out by former President Barack Obama to take in over a thousand refugees being kept on an island off the Australian mainland.

The call was scheduled for an hour, but lasted only about 25 minutes.

Trump has said he will go through with the deal with reservations, adding that he does not want to let into the US of A the next Boston bomber.

The refugees will have to go through “very extreme vettting,” according to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Then there was the call with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto where the Prez is reported to have offered to send in US troops to help the Mexicans quell the cartels and other “tough hombres.”

Couple those phone calls with the statement by unconfirmed National Security Adviser Mike Flynn announcing publicly to Iran that the US was “officially putting Iran on notice.”

Attending the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, the Prez told the assembled group about his tough calls with foreign leaders, “Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it.”

Turning to religious freedom, the Prez told the attendees he would “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, named for then Senator and later President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Under the provision, which was made in 1954, tax-exempt entities like churches and charitable organizations are unable to directly or indirectly participate in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate.

Specifically, ministers are restricted from endorsing or opposing candidates from the pulpit. If they do, they risk losing their tax-exempt status.

Trump wants to repeal this provision.

The wall will be built where it’s needed first, and then it will be filled in. That’s the way I look at it,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Fox News in an interview. “I really hope to have it done within the next two years.”

On undoing the Affordable Care Act, the House Republicans pushed through a proposal seeking to scrap regulations intended to prevent coal mining companies from dumping debris into streams.

Republicans also voted to drop a rule requiring mining and drilling companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments.

Republicans said they were just getting started reversing Obama administration regulations, and that they will move on to address rules on fracking, federal contracting, guns, and other matters.

The Senate Environmental Committee, facing a second day of Democratic boycott, moved ahead with advancing Environmental Protection Agency Director nominee Scott Pruitt to a vote in the full Senate after the Republican leadership suspended the rules to vote unanimously with only GOP Senators to confirm.

Out of the hospital, former President George H.W. and former First Lady Barbara Bush will flip the coin at Sunday’s Super Bowl LI.

The Prez asked for prayers for new Apprentice host, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to get better ratings, in remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast.

The Arnold responded, “I got a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs?”

Global Politics: It’s better that these things — these conversations — are conducted candidly, frankly, privately,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters about his conversation with President Trump on Saturday.

Turnbull also denied that Trump hung up on him as is being reported.

British lawmakers on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill authorizing the government to start negotiations to leave the European Union.

Israel on Wednesday started clearing Jewish settlers from a West Bank outpost called Amona, while planning to build a new settlement for the displaced settlers on disputed land.

Iran has responded to Flynn’s warning that it was “on notice” today, saying it would “vigorously continue its missile” program and testing.

Colombia’s ELN rebels freed hostage ex-lawmaker Odin Sanchez on today, the government confirmed, clearing the way for peace talks next week.

The Zimbabwe pastor who fled to the United States after launching the popular #ThisFlag protest movement faces up to 20 years in prison for organizing protests against Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in New York.

The death on Wednesday of Congo’s opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi leaves opponents of President Joseph Kabila seriously weakened in their bid to force Kabila to quit power after he defied constitutional term limits to stay on last year.

Friday, 2/3/17:

Two weeks in and President Donald Trump has the lowest approval rating of any new President in modern history at this point.

A new CNN/ORC poll reveals only 44% approve of the job the President is doing, even though he is following through with his campaign promises.

Another 53% disapprove of his job.

This is indicative of the popular vote, which he lost, where the majority did not want him to be their President.

The 44% represent Republicans, independents and disillusioned Democrats, mostly in the Heartland and South.

Since the President’s travel ban took effect, 60,000 to 100,000 visas have been revoked to travelers from the seven countries named in the controversial executive order signed one week ago today.

The President signed another executive order today to begin unraveling the tangled web of Dodd-Frank enacted at the height of the Great Recession to reel in the finance industry.

A federal judge in Seattle, Washington today granted a nationwide temporary restraining order on Trump’s executive order made last week that temporarily barred entry to the United States to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.

A federal judge in Boston, however, also today declined to extend a temporary restraining order on the same EO.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia ordered the federal government to give the state a list by Thursday of “all persons who have been denied entry to or removed from the United States.”

Any attack on the United States, or our allies, will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said at South Korea’s defense ministry, at the end of a two-day visit.

Mattis was clearly talking to Kim Jung Un and North Korea.

South Dakota Republicans just did something that backfired spectacularly for congressional Republicans earlier this year: They got rid of an independent ethics commission designed to watch over them.

Sunday, 2/5/17:



The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Sunday denied President Trump’s request for an immediate stay on a federal judge’s temporary block on enforcement of his immigration executive order.

The Court also ordered the State of Washington and the US Justice Department to submit arguments before Monday afternoon, before issuing a final ruling.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in “accordance with the judge’s ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,'” including “actions to suspend passenger system rules that flag travelers for operational action subject to the Executive Order.”

The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” tweeted the President. “When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in & out, especially for reasons of safety & security – big trouble!”

The Prez added, “Interesting that certain Middle-Eastern countries agree with the ban. They know if certain people are allowed in it’s death & destruction!”

That remark about “this so-called judge” has Republicans and Democrats alike crying, “foul.” Judges in the US of A are “real judges,” not “so-called.”

It is also getting cheers in some circles for doing as the Vice President said, “He was speaking his mind.” Supporters cite Trump’s plain talk as one of the reasons they voted for him to be President.

For the third straight weekend, protesters marched in a number of major US cities, as well as in cities abroad including London, Paris, and Jakarta.

“Well, I respect a lot of people but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him,” Trump said of Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding that Russia could be a valuable ally to the United States in the war on terror.

But he’s a killer, though,” Fox pundit Bill O’Reilly pushed back. “Putin’s a killer.”

Trump nodded, and said, “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”

We are going to win the arguments because we’re going to take the steps necessary to protect the country, which the president of the United States has the authority to do,” Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News today, as he made his the rounds of the Sunday talk shows.

Vincent Viola, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Army, withdrew his name from consideration Friday, citing business dealings. Viola said it was too difficult to divest and cut his business holdings.

Make no doubt, repeal and replace is still the name of the game in Congress in dealing with the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act.

If you’re going to repair the American health care system, and fix its problems, you have to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better: Patient-centered health care,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told Chuck Todd on NBC‘s Meet The Press. “And that is how you repair this health care system.”

A couple of studies suggest that the recent executive order on illegal immigrants who are criminals could net six to eight million undocumented individuals by including those “suspected” of committing crimes.

Global Politics: On second thought, Romania’s leaders are scrubbing a new order which decriminalized some government corruption. It will be back to all corruption bad after the people rose up in protest.

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