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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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