Wednesday, April 26, 2017

It is all very curious, however, it is on the heels of the sit down with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

This is sort of the next step in establishing a fund to grow women entrepreneurs.

I think it is a chance for the global power structure to give Ivanka Trump status. As First Daughter and a grown woman with her own business, President Trump was interested in her taking on a White House identity. It is an indulgence the American people are not used to and it is awkward to say the least, but, it also is an acceptance of the power of the USA President and a daughter that is devoted to him and his success.

Are there ethical issues? Maybe. Is she lending her time as a volunteer or is there money involved. While Hillary Clinton was First Lady she was very visible and traveled to countries such as Pakistan where there was a woman Prime Minister at the time.

The FUND being discussed is suppose to be available through the World Bank. I think this is very similar to any Clinton Foundation effort. When Secretary of State Clinton  took office she had already resigned her position with the organization. These are very similar activities. Large pots of money for worthy causes funded by countries as well as large commercial enterprises.

It is rather odd to have the First Daughter involved, but, we already know the First Lady is devoted to her son and he is still in school. Would this normally be Melania Trump carrying all this forward, probably not. Mrs. Trump has a business, but, she is more or less known for her modeling career and not her business savvy.

The optics with Ivanka are not good and it all looks fairly awkward, however, world leaders are interested in giving her a seat at the table to a fund that will benefit women. For now, I think I can respect that and promote the idea of a global movement of capable women moving into positions of power. But, the fund has to benefit the women it was intended. Global leaders are involved, they are seeking monies for this fund and they certainly know how to secure large amounts of monies. It has merit. For now.

April 25, 2017

...Whatever (click here) else can be said about Ivanka Trump, she is a strange sort of American celebrity. It was her first official trip abroad with her new, Hydra-headed roles as First Daughter and assistant to the president on behalf of her father’s administration, and consummate D.C. power-couple-better-half. Then there was the deeper question of whether she was her father’s loyal defender, or somehow, behind the scenes, a positive force, and whether she could be both. She’d been invited to the event by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as precise a polar-opposite world leader to her father as can be imagined. During the campaign, Trump was harshly critical of her, and notoriously didn’t shake her hand at an Oval Office photo op, though now Trump says he simply did not hear her request for a handshake. During that visit, Merkel and Ivanka held a meeting on how to advance female entrepreneurs, and Merkel clearly saw her as a possibly useful emissary....

This is all about optics. Trump plans to act autonomously.

April 26, 2017
By Anna Fifield
 The U.S. military (click here) started installing a controversial antimissile defense system in South Korea overnight Tuesday, triggering protests and sparking criticism that it was rushing to get the battery in place before the likely election of a president who opposes it.

The sudden and unannounced move came only six days after the U.S. military command in South Korea secured the land to deploy the system, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD.

Moon Jae-in, a liberal candidate who has a strong lead in polls ahead of a May 9 presidential election, has promised to review South Korea’s decision to host the antimissile battery.

If that is true and Trump is seeking to influence elections in South Korea, he beginning to sound like Russia. If there is any cooperation with Russia in influencing the South Korean elections the loop closes as to his involvement in sabotaging the 2016 elections. There is a motive.

The problem is that THAAD is viewed by China and Russia as aggression against them. It is looking more and more as though Trump is a Russian puppet to provide a reason to major nuclear war.

Nuclear engagement is Putin and not China. China only acts in defense of itself. The entire 'Nuclear North Korea' looks like a trap to me and Trump is falling right into it.

“There’s a sense in Seoul that THAAD deployment has been rushed based on the timetable of South Korea’s presidential election rather than North Korea’s threats,” said John Delury, a professor of international relations at Yonsei University in Seoul....

The comments alone by Congress tells me they are not voting on any type of action toward North Korea. Trump has already stated he is sending a US carrier fleet to the North Pacific. This is all optics and he plans to act alone. He considers North Korea a priority. He does not have the cooperation of China or Russia. 

April 26, 2017
By Burgess Everett and Matthew Nussbaum

...“There’s so many options (click here) that we need to be taking that are a long ways away from a strike,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who is urging the administration to sanction Chinese officials that do business with North Korea. “I have supported putting North Korea back as a state sponsor of terror … no indication yet from the administration.”

President Donald Trump spoke for a few minutes at the classified briefing, according to senators and aides. His comments, said an attendee, were “long at the 30,000 foot, short on the specifics.” Though the session was classified, everything said was already public, the person said.

“It’s a very serious situation. As I knew before I went there,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I knew all about it. I didn’t hear anything new because I have been heavily briefed.”

Added Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.): “It’s good to get everyone together. I’m not sure I would have had it ... I knew what was discussed.”

The administration briefed House members afterward at the Capitol. No explicit explanation was given for why all 100 senators were hauled to the White House, though Trump's appearance was likely part of the reason. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accepted an invitation from Trump to move the briefing from the Senate, where such briefings are typically held, to the White House, according to spokesmen for McConnell and the administration....                          

Russia is interfering in German elections.

26 April 2017

The Friedrich Ebert (click here) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundations were targeted by hackers in March and April this year, Feike Hacquebord of IT security company Trend Micro told Reuters news agency.
A hacker group, dubbed “Pawn Storm” by the company, set up a server in Germany from where fake email were sent out to employees of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which is associated with Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats.
According to Mr. Hacquebord, a computer in the Ukraine was used in attempts to spy on the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which is linked to the Social Democratic Party (SPD). The cyber spy group, also known Fancy Bear or Apt 28, apparently targeted the foundation’s employees with email phishing tricks and attempts to install malware....

It is a global strategy by Russia. KGB. Putin.

April 26, 2017

...In the Netherlands, (click here) Dutch authorities counted paper ballots in a recent election by hand to prevent foreign governments—and Russia in particular—from manipulating the results through cyberattacks. In Denmark, the defense minister has accused the Russian government of carrying out a two-year campaign to infiltrate email accounts at his ministry. In the United Kingdom, a parliamentary committee reports that it cannot “rule out” the possibility that “foreign interference” caused a voter-registration site to crash ahead of Britain’s referendum on EU membership. And in France, a cybersecurity firm has just discovered that suspected Russian hackers are targeting the leading presidential candidate. “We are increasingly concerned about cyber-enabled interference in democratic political processes,” representatives from the Group of Seven—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S.—declared after meeting in Italy earlier this month. Russia, a member of the group until it was kicked out for annexing Crimea, wasn’t mentioned in the statement....

...What’s novel today is that 1) the Russian government does seem to have revived its Cold War-era “active measures” against the political systems of rival countries; 2) the digital era has afforded the Kremlin and other state and non-state actors new tools in such efforts, from phishing attacks against campaign staffers to fake news distributed through social media; 3) the targeted countries are especially vulnerable to this type of sabotage at the moment; and 4) targeted countries aren’t sure how to respond to this modern form of political warfare.

As the Russia expert Fiona Hill once told me, Vladimir Putin, in apparently ordering a campaign to hack and leak Democratic Party emails, didn’t create toxic partisanship or deep distrust of government in the United States. Instead, he exploited this political dysfunction by turning the strengths of an open, technologically advanced country into weaknesses. Barack Obama’s belated retaliation against Russia at the end of his presidency, and the beleaguered congressional investigations into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, speak to the U.S. government’s profound struggles to process Putin’s challenge to the soft underbelly of contemporary democracy....

...In February, Macron’s campaign reported thousands of attempted hacks of its computer servers and accused Russian state media outlets of spreading slanders about Macron, including an article in Sputnik—headlined “Ex-French Economy Minister Macron Could Be ‘US Agent’ Lobbying Banks Interests” and based on an interview with a pro-Russia French lawmakerthat aired rumors about Macron’s sexual orientation and personal life....

France is far more open about lifestyles and sexual identity. Europe has some of the most incredible schools for children that are transgender. A scandal in Russia is not necessarily a scandal in France.

Mr. Macron needs to address the truth and avoid any appearance of discrimination regarding the sexual identity of voters. People want the truth and it is that desire that creates the so called scandals. 

12 April 2017
By Joe Watts

Germany has warned Russia (click here) it must come to the negotiating table if it wants any other country to help bear the huge financial burden of rebuilding war-ravaged Syria.

The country’s Foreign Minister said it is impossible for Russia to alone pay for Syria's regeneration and that Moscow will have to ensure there are no more pictures of “children murdered by poison gas” if it wants to be a respected international partner.

Speaking following Boris Johnson’s failure to win strong backing for new sanctions on Russian and Syrian figures, German chief diplomat Sigmar Gabriel said there could be no “solution overnight” to the conflict....

The weather has been wicked.

A Moderate Risk of Severe Thunderstorms is Forecast Today and/or Tonight
Severe thunderstorms (click here) are expected across the Lower Mississippi Valley Wednesday. Tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds should focus from northeast Texas across southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana primarily during the afternoon hours. Isolated severe thunderstorms may extend as far north as Illinois and into the central Gulf States during the overnight hours.

Tornado forecast for today.

The tornado map by NOAA is exact. The current water vapor image shows extremely dangerous air over the same places noted in this map.

At Least 1 Dead (click here for video) as Widespread Flash Flooding Swamps Raleigh, North Carolina

26 April 2017

Santuary cities push back against federal requests or changes in law that require local law enforcement agencies to do the federal government’s job of enforcing immigration law.

April 20, 2017
By Glenn C. Smith

It was bad enough (click here) when candidate Donald Trump questioned the impartiality of the federal judge hearing the Trump University lawsuit. (Trump said that the judge’s ethnic heritage would make him biased.)

It was even worse when President Trump accused the federal judges temporarily halting his travel bans of purely political motivations and limited intelligence.

But it was especially disheartening last week to hear disrespect for a federal judge from the mouth of Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions — who is, after all, the nation’s highest-ranking law enforcement officer. After Hawaii-based U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson issued a temporary restraining order against the administration’s second travel ban, Sessions complained that “a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific” could issue a nationwide decree. The remark was eerily reminiscent of Trump’s earlier dismissive tweet that the U.S. district judge who stopped his first travel ban was a “so-called judge.”

Not that federal judges should be above legitimate criticism. These jurists deal with vital, and at times life-threatening, issues; federal judges need to hear well-informed and zealously advocated contrary views both inside the courtroom and out....

I suppose I could make excuses for bad manners in saying Hawaii is the fiftieth state of the country and it hasn't gotten the swing of things yet, but, that would be nothing short of an insult to Hawaiians.

Hawaii is every bit a state of the country as Alaska or Delaware, the first state of the the fifty. When a judge makes serious decisions in Hawaii he or she knows full well they are impacting the entire country.

What Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions do is use the so called "Bully Pulpit" to invoke fear that something worse is coming because the judge(s) didn't perform well enough and to their standard. Too bad. The Bullies of the White House have to get used to playing fair and working well with others. This is a democracy that has grown over 240 years into an incredible economic engine, expanded it's size seven times it's original inception and has grown in population by 132 times from 2.5 million in 1776 to over 330 million today.

As a matter of fact the USA would have a population about the size of Japan without immigration from it's earliest times.

United States Congress, (click here) “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

The point is the Trump White House is about 'originalism.' Going back in time. Taking the country all the way back to the "US Constitution" and nothing more. I doubt they even appreciate the "Bill of Rights." And Hawaii wasn't even known to exist in 1776, 

The country is not capable of running on laws ONLY from within the USA Constitution. It is romanticism. It is a feeling and not a practical approach to governing. The Trump White House does not believe in laws, they believe in actions. The USA is an incredible work of governance and not a piece of art. It is a rock solid country that does not make navigational changes with the ink of a pen. The USA makes incremental changes and slowly redirects it's course. The Bullies are not going to cause this country to collapse overnight, especially when the country's laws is based on a rock solid constitutional basis.

I still believe the Democrats need to explain how Sanctuary Cities work to prevent and deter crime and provide the statistics to back it up. Otherwise, they are looking as though they back criminals that don't belong within the borders of the USA and not the law EVERYONE ELSE FOLLOWS.

January 29, 2017
By Gene Demby

...But the available data (click here) on crime, immigration, and safety in cities does not support the premise for the president's actions. News outlets and researchers pointed out during the presidential campaign that immigrants who are in the country illegally are less likely to commit crimes or be incarcerated than the general population. The American Immigration Council noted in a 2015 study that the recent period of rising immigration to the United States from 1990 to 2013 also corresponded with plummeting crime rates across the country.

This past Thursday, a new study conducted Tom K. Wong, a political scientist at the University of California-San Diego, found that there are broad benefits for local jurisdictions that resist cooperating with federal immigration enforcement — they are safer in the aggregate and enjoy stronger economies. "For the first time we're kind of seeing that crime rates are lower when localities stay out of the business of federal immigration enforcement," Wong said....

Is available data the best data? For years there have been complains from those that work with crime in America that the statistics aren't as good as they should be. If that is the case, then are we seeing our cities for what they actually are? The police are probably the best litmus test of the statistics, in that they work those statistics and can tell if they seem accurate or not.

But the data available, is the data available and the information garnered from it is accurate enough for courts throughout the country. Reputable organizations work with these statistics and helps direct policy and money. There is no criticizing the statements of any legal action if the government purposely prevents accuracy.

The tail wagging the dog.

It is my opinion DC needs to get used to a far slower process in any aspect of the federal government. It is the way Donald Trump likes it. Donald Trump will respect his underlings, but, be pushed into carrying out their directives is nothing he will tolerate. He wants control because his base wants him to have control. Remember, this is an anti-mainstream administration. A work day is not going to be one that is so called 'normal.'

Donald Trump wants a smaller bureaucracy that he can manage. He wants hands on decisions without questions. He is not going to expand into 530 empty seats, he will probably eliminate them. 

April 25, 2015
By Lisa Rein

President Trump’s Cabinet secretaries (click here) are growing exasperated at how slowly the White House is moving to fill hundreds of top-tier posts, warning that the vacancies are hobbling efforts to oversee agency operations and promote the president’s agenda, according to administration officials, lawmakers and lobbyists.

The Senate has confirmed 26 of Trump’s picks for his Cabinet and other top posts. But for 530 other vacant senior-level jobs requiring Senate confirmation, the president has advanced just 37 nominees, according to data tracked by The Washington Post and the nonpartisan Partnership for

Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition. These posts include the deputy secretaries and undersecretaries, chief financial officers, ambassadors, general counsels, and heads of smaller agencies who run the government day-to-day.

That’s less than half the nominees President Barack Obama had sent to the Senate by this point in his first term.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has publicly expressed frustration with the process, has routinely peppered the White House Personnel Office for updates and called Trump directly to press for faster action on filling vacant jobs at the Interior Department, said two people familiar with his contacts, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity for this report because of the sensitivity of hiring discussions....           

Here we go again.

Financial reform via Goldman. When will Republicans have a 12 step program that works?

What would I look for this time? 


How to write the TPP permanently into financial reform.

The only thing sincere Americans need to know is governance and protection of local economies. We are doing fairly well on that, I think. But, Wall Street wants control of that money πŸ’°. There is over reach of government in there somewhere.

I know the bill is corrupt when financial reform is brought forward while there is a huddle about war going on.

Here is real genius. Scott Walker is asking Medicaid recipients to pay a monthly fee and there will be a limit of four years enrollment. The idea is that if a recipient gets used to paying the state they will develop behaviors over four years that translates into "good behaviors" and not "bad behaviors." Tell that to a senior citizen on a limited income. Also, if recipients have "skin in the game" they will be more interested in controlling costs. Here is one of the first steps to the Republican 12 Step Financial Program.