Trump’s first month of lies – video

with narration by , Source: Guardian/Reuters/Getty Images/CNN/Fox News

In his first month as president, Donald Trump made numerous false statements on subjects that ranged from the extremely petty – such as crowd sizes – to those of national and international significance. The Guardian examines his most egregious falsehoods and considers what to do about a serial liar in the White House,

Source: The Guardian news web site.

Trump cites non-existent terror attack

Donald Trump appeared to invent a terrorist attack in Sweden during a campaign-style rally in Florida on Saturday, inviting questions that he may have confused the Scandinavian country with a city in Pakistan.

With thousands of supporters gathered in an aircraft hangar in Melbourne, Florida, Trump used his speech to talk about migration in Europe and linked it to terror attacks in Brussels, Nice and Paris. He then added Sweden to the list, incorrectly stating that an attack had happened there on Friday. More fake news by Trump.

Trump told supporters: “We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden.”

“Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris.”

The source of Trump’s remark is unclear, but it came after Fox News aired an interview with film-maker Ami Horowitz, whose latest documentary examines whether high crime rates in areas of Sweden is linked to its previous open-door policy on people fleeing war and persecution.

According to the 2016 Swedish Crime Survey, crime rates in Sweden have stayed relatively stable over the last decade, with some fluctuations. In 2015, there were 112 cases of lethal violence in Sweden, an increase of 25 cases compared with 2014, but assaults, threats, sexual offences, car theft, burglary and harassment all reduced compared to the previous year – as did anxiety about crime in society.

Read more of this story on The Guardian news site here.

Why Trump’s travel ban didn’t include a 9/11 terrorist country

Donald Trump’s failed Muslim ban involved no countries with terrorist connections to 9/11. We now know why Trump failed to include in the Muslim ban one country with ties to the terrorist attack on 9/11. It begs the question of Trump and ethics.

I wrote in an earlier article that hijackers in the September 11 attacks were 19 men affiliated with al-Qaeda. Yet 15 of the 19 were citizens of Saudi Arabia, and the others were from the United Arab Emirates (2), Egypt and Lebanon.[1]

None of those countries were mentioned in Trump’s original attempt at a Muslim ban. We now know why one of those countries in particular, the United Arab Emerates, wasn’t mentioned in the travel ban.

Eric Trump (second from left) and Donald Trump Jr. (second from right) attended an an invitation-only ceremony Saturday to formally open the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai.

Eric Trump (second from left) and Donald Trump Jr. (second from right) attended an an invitation-only ceremony Saturday to formally open the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai.

Billionaire Hussain Sajwani’s DAMAC Properties partnered with the Trump Organization to build the golf course at the heart of a development of villas and apartment blocks called DAMAC Hills. Among them are some 100 Trump-branded villas selling from 5 million dirhams ($1.3 million) to over 15 million dirhams ($4 million).

Ties between the Trumps and Sajwani remain strong. One of the Trump Organization’s subsidiaries received from $1 million to $5 million from DAMAC for running the golf club, according to a U.S. Federal Election Committee report submitted in May.

Sajwani and his family also attended a New Year’s Eve celebration at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where Trump referred to them as “the most beautiful people from Dubai.”

Trump days later told journalists that DAMAC had offered the Trump Organization $2 billion in deals after his election, something DAMAC also confirmed.

The Trump Organization has said it won’t make new foreign deals while its namesake is president. A previously planned Trump-branded golf course designed by Tiger Woods is still being built by DAMAC further down the road.

It would appear that $2 billion in deals after the election between Trump’s companies and a country with terrorist ties to 9/11 keeps you off any Muslim travel ban.

It would certainly would appear to go against Trump’s assertion of no new deals while he is president.

As Trump would say, “No problem I can see”. That’s the problem. Donald doesn’t see the chaos going on in the White House, doesn’t see the chaos his idiotic travel ban caused, and doesn’t see the problem with tweeting threats to foreign countries.

Trump chastised Obama and Clinton for notifying foreign powers in advance of any potential event like retaliation or military action. Now Trump is doing exactly the same thing on Twitter. If Trump does it then it’s okay. If anyone else does it, then it’s bad.

Read more in ABCnews article here.

 

Trump’s own White House Shopping Channel

Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Weekend’s at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago, membership formerly $100,000/year but now $200,000 and perhaps $300,000 next year, Trump charging Secret Service millions for rooms in Trump Tower in New York or other Trump owned properties, staff promoting Trump products, Trump tweeting about Nordstrom dropping his daughters line because of poor sales, these are just a few of the examples of Donald Trump using the White House as his personal Shopping Channel.

The blatanly obvious promotions by Trump during his presidency should worry everyone who thought Trump would form an honest and ethical government. But another, more odious connection is between Trump interests and foreign powers.

As long as Trump continues to profit from his business empire — which he does whether or not he is nominally in charge — the possibility that outside actors will attempt to affect his policies by plumping up his pocketbook will remain very much in play.

Take the Mar-A-Lago as an example. Trump doubles membership fees once he is president, then decides he will spend his weekends there. Trump didn’t personally benefit, but his properties did. If you were a foreign power wouldn’t you want to purchase a few memberships for the opportunity to be close to the President and have the opportunity for a ‘chat’.

Let’s face it, after Trumps disastrous TV appearance this week and his equally disastrous Mar-A-Lago national security blunder with diners popping away with cameras everything Trump was reading and signing, you have to admit Trump isn’t the sharpest pencil in the pack.

Notably, the Trump Organization simply cannot turn over to the US treasury all profit from interactions with foreign powers. For example, consider the significant benefit conferred by a foreign state that decides to host a series of widely advertised functions at a local Trump hotel, greatly increasing the property’s cultural cachet and thus markedly boosting its profit margins and those of other properties branded “Trump”.

For these and other reasons, Trump will remain in violation of the emoluments clause even if he adheres to any plan he offers government. While his lawyer denied that the clause applies to “fair value exchanges” – presumably as distinguished from sweetheart deals – that conclusion defies common sense.

Why should an otherwise forbidden foreign payment to the president be allowed, but only if the president gives that foreign government its money’s worth in services, advancing interests that may be contrary to the U.S.’s own?

This week, some of Trump’s critics moved forward with legal action. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump’s business holdings violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which makes it illegal for government officials to “accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” CREW’s bipartisan legal team includes, among others, Norm Eisen and Richard Painter, who served as ethics lawyers under Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, respectively; Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University; and Zephyr Teachout, a professor at Fordham University (and former congressional candidate) who is considered an authority on the Emoluments Clause. All have been vocally critical of Trump’s continued refusal to sell off his business, and are now taking their case to court to argue that several of Trump’s businesses present avenues by which foreign governments could seek to influence the president by, for example, booking stays at one of his hotels or renting space at one of his properties. Additionally, the lawsuit seeks to force Trump to reveal his tax returns, something every president has done since Gerald Ford but which Trump has refused to do, significantly limiting the public’s ability to understand the president’s finances. When asked about the lawsuit, Trump described it as “totally without merit.” Eisen was quick to respond on Twitter, offering to “debate Trump (or his chosen champion) on the merits of our case anytime,” making it clear that CREW intends to continue to pursue its case. (CREW has also filed a separate complaint to the General Services Administration arguing that Trump has violated the lease on his Washington, D.C. hotel, which states that “no … elected official of the Government of the United States … shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.”)

Trump has appointed officials which may turn a blind eye to such lawsuits merely because the lawsuits are vexing.

Read more here.

If you are middle class, or poor, or sick don’t read this. You may get sick or sicker.

affordablecareact

House Republican leaders on Thursday presented their rank-and-file members with the outlines of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, leaning heavily on tax credits to finance individual insurance purchases and sharply reducing federal payments to the 31 states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility.

What does ‘expanded Medicaid’ mean?

ACA Medicaid Expansion – What is it?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) called for a nationwide expansion of Medicaid eligibility, set to begin in 2014. Under health care reform law, nearly all U.S. citizens under 65 with family incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) ($15,415 for an individual or $26,344 for a family of three in 2012) will now qualify for Medicaid.

Some states opted in to expanded Medicaid, some states did not. An interactive map by state of Medicaid and expanded Medicaid recipients is available here.

As of January 2016, 72.9 million people were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. Over two-thirds of enrollees resided in states that have implemented the ACA Medicaid expansion.

Between Summer 2013 and January 2016, there was a net increase of nearly 15.5 million or 27% enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP among the 49 states reporting data for both periods. Most of this growth occurred in year one. Most of this growth was in large states in the West that implemented the Medicaid expansion.

Expansion states experienced significantly greater enrollment growth over the two year period, although there was variation across states. States that implemented the Medicaid expansion experienced over three times greater enrollment growth compared to states where the Medicaid expansion is not in effect (36% vs. 12%). Over the period, growth ranged from a high of 95% in Kentucky to slight decline in Wyoming and Nebraska.

Children account for a greater share of total Medicaid and CHIP enrollment in nearly all states that have not expanded Medicaid compared to states that have expanded. Reflecting higher eligibility levels for children, children accounted for a greater share of total Medicaid and CHIP enrollees in non-expansion states compared to states that have implemented the expansion to adults (68% vs. 44%). Read complete report from Kaiser Family Foundation here.

The federal government now pays more than 90 percent of the costs for newly eligible beneficiaries in states that expanded Medicaid. Under the House Republican plan, the federal share would decline to 50 percent in states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California, resulting in a significant loss of federal revenue.

In a number of states that have expanded Medicaid, Republican governors and Republican members of Congress have made clear that they do not like the idea of a block grant or a per-beneficiary allotment.

The Congressional Budget Office says that 12 million people have insurance because they became eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and it estimates that federal spending for this group will be $70 billion this year. This 12 million figure differs from the 15 million reported by Kaiser Family Foundation. The KFF figure is net amount, the CBO doesn’t state how they arrive at their smaller figure.

The House Republican plan would immediately eliminate tax penalties for people who do not have insurance and employers that do not offer it.

It would also eliminate taxes and fees that help pay for the expansion of coverage under the 2010 health care law. These include fees collected from health insurance companies and manufacturers of brand-name prescription drugs and an excise tax on makers of medical devices.

The Republicans are removing any fees or taxes charged medical related companies which went towards providing funding for at least 12 million Americans.  They are also shifting the cost of providing health care away from the federal government and pushing costs onto the states. This means you the lucky taxpayer will have to pony up more cash in the way of taxes or fees or other costs to cover the lost revenue from the federal government.

So if you are middle class, poor, sick or may become ill during the time the Republicans are in office my word of advice to you or your family or your childen is ‘you can’t afford to get sick‘.

Read more about the Republicans health care plans on the New York Times web site. State Mandated Benefits map and legislation information by state.

The Trump Train Tragedy

Watching Donald Trump’s freak show of a press conference, it’s painfully clear that we have all made a terrible mistake.

For the last several months we all thought we were watching the presidential version of Celebrity Apprentice. Trump was going to walk into our living rooms, fire somebody at random, and then happily walk out.

In fact, we have our shows all mixed up. This is actually a very long season of The Office, with our new president playing the role of a self-obsessed buffoon who clearly thinks he’s smart, funny, kind and successful.

Trump is the boss we all know so well, and never want to see again. The one winging it at every turn, in every sentence. The one who just read something, or talked to somebody, and is now an Olympic-sized expert.

“I have been briefed,” he declared, as he explained what passes for his poodle-like policy towards Vladimir Putin.

“And I can tell you one thing about a briefing that we’re allowed to say, because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it: Nuclear holocaust would be like no other. They’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are we. If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Coming from the mouth of Ricky Gervais or Steve Carell, this might be rather funny. But as we know from the guests at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump travels with military aides who carry real nuclear codes.

It’s great that he’s reading the most basic books about that nuclear holocaust. Who knew it could be so awful to obliterate the planet?

He’s also been reading about uranium, which is cool. It’s best if he explains this one in his own words: “You know what uranium is, right? This thing called nuclear weapons, like lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things.”

But enough with all the briefings about bad things. Let’s get to the important stuff that President Trump wanted to tell us.

In theory, the press conference was called to reveal the name of the all-important Labor Secretary, whose identity will only get recalled on Jeopardy. He’s replacing the guy who quit after a reporter dug up the video tape of his ex-wife on Oprah. Talk about a bad hombre.

But all that was just a bait-and-switch for the real subject of Trump’s obsession: himself. In painful detail, the president took the trouble to explain his thought process in real time, as problems bubble up to the thing that sits under his combover.

Most White House reporters and presidential historians long for this kind of insight: how does a commander-in-chief deal with a crisis? What is his decision-making approach to all the world’s challenges?

Sadly in Trump’s case, it turns out the answers are astonishingly simple.

Let’s consider the first big test of Trump’s management of this branch office of the paper company: the strange firing of General Mike Flynn, formerly one of his closest and craziest advisers, handling bad things like uranium.

“As far as the general’s concerned, when I first heard about it, I said huh, that doesn’t sound wrong. My counsel came, Don McGahn, White House counsel, and he told me and I asked him, he can speak very well for himself. He said he doesn’t think anything is wrong, you know, really didn’t think.”

So now we have two people in the Oval Office who think, kind of: huh, nothing wrong with talking to the Russians and lying about it.

But let’s hear more from the 45th president: “I waited a period of time and I started to think about it, I said “well I don’t see” — to me, he was doing the job.”

So even after a period of reflection, Trump still couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. (Note to the nervous: good to know he waits before he acts.)

Read the complete article on The Guardian newspaper web site.

And the Oscar for worst President EVER goes to….

Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Donald Trump.

And the Oscar for the worst supporting actor to the President is…

Stephen Bannon, chief strategist for Donald Trump. CNN.

Stephen Bannon, chief strategist for Donald Trump. CNN.

Stephen Bannon, the chief strategist for Donald Trump. Isn’t he doing a terrific job? Just fabulous. Wonderful. The best. The greatest. Ask him. Ask Donald. They’ll both tell you Stephen Bannon is amazing. He’s done such a fabulous job so far. It’s amazing. Really. It’s amazing.