Sunday, April 30, 2017

President Trump, Week 14

Here's this week's list of national embarrassments coming from President Trump, and the White House, for the week beginning 2 PM Friday, April 21st to 2 PM Friday, April 28th.  This is likely not all of the Trump team's transgressions, but it's most of them.

Weekly explanation: I'm making this list for one reason.  If the President in the White House had a 'D' next to their name, the same House and Senate Republicans who are quietly mumbling "ignore the man behind the curtain" would be having a very different reaction. Everything on this list would've garnered at least a press conference, many would've triggered official Congressional investigations, and some would've lead to impeachment proceedings.  Instead, the GOP's insisting the demon baby isn't theirs.

This list is longer, with Easter out of the way, so prepare for April showers! (let Trump know that phrase has nothing to do with urine...sigh...)

  • Trump goes after Canada, calling their trade practices a disgrace, when all Canada actually did was allow their domestic milk producers to sell their product at the same price as imported milk
  • The CIA's White House liaison was fired after he clashed with one of Rep. Devin Nunes' White House sources, Ezra Cohen Watnick, over intelligence issues
  • The Department of Justice once again threatens the entire state of California, as well as 8 other cities/metro areas nationally, with a funding cut if they don't help in the Federal immigration roundup
  • Reports are Trump is frantically pushing everyone in the White House, and all Republicans in Congress, to give him some sort of win he can tout for his 100 day mark
  • Trump fires the Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy
  • Vice President Mike Pence now admits the US will have to honor their refugee deal with Australia, the one Trump called dumb, and promised to not uphold
  • Trump, a man who gleefully encouraged the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, or Brexit, now says the US will favor a trade deal with the EU over Britain
  • The House Oversight Committee is asking Trump to provide more information on his business profits from foreign governments, asking him to prove he's not violating the Constitution
  • Vice President Pence forces an entire plane of journalists to watch the movie 'Hoosiers,' insisting "they are all required to watch"
  • CNN reports the Russians ordered former Trump Campaign Foreign Policy Advisor Carter Page to infiltrate the Trump Campaign, and to keep an eye on him
  • Attorney General Jeff Session's office refers to New York City as "a population center with gang murder after gang murder," blaming the carnage on the city's humane treatment of undocumented immigrants.  NYC's murder rate has actually gone down dramatically in recent years
  • It's reported there is a new playground game kids are playing across the country.  It's an updated version of 'cops and robbers,' only the new version has a bad guy named 'Trump' whose goal is to round up everyone
  • The White house releases what is a very strange, amateurish video of a White House visit of recently released US aid worker, Aya Hijazi, who was being held in Egypt.  Why the video looks like an elementary student made it, or why the White House released the video at all, remains a mystery
  • On Earth Day, Trump touts his commitment to the environment, even though in less than 100 days he's approved multiple oil pipelines, repealed the stream protection rules, dismantled clean water rules, deleted methane emission studies, removed the word "science" from the EPA's science and technology mission statement, rolled back auto emission standards, slashed the EPA's budget, weakened former President Obama's clean energy initiatives, opened new coal leases, opened national parks to oil and gas drilling, nixed mercury and air toxins standards, allowed power plants to not have to clean up their messes, has told American businesses they can pollute at will with no consequences, and far more anti environment actions, any of which would make even the most loyal Trump follower question his "commitment" to the environment
  • To avoid the White House Correspondence Dinner, a dinner which Trump and the White House have refused to attend, Trump announces he'll have a political rally in Pennsylvania at the same time
  • For the second weekend in a row, hundreds of thousands of non-paid, operating of their own free will, protesters march against Trump; this time being the March for Science
  • Trump aides are worried anytime Trump has "free time"(???), as that's when he screws up the most.  As one aide said, "Anything could happen"
  • Trump's Kentucky Campaign manager is charged with three crimes:  1) giving alcohol to a minor, 2) inducing a minor into a sexual act, and 3) human trafficking of a minor
  • An Iranian-American State Department official was demoted after Breitbart news questioned her loyalty to the US.  Her heritage was their only justification for their questioning her patriotism (it's not like she colluded with Russia to illegally win a Presidential election)
  • Trump Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says the Democrats are guilty of obstructionism because they won't take the first step in repealing Obamacare, a GOP/Trump initiative
  • Mulvaney goes on to say the border wall will keep millions of low income Americans safe after the repeal of their health insurance by the GOP(?)
  • Trump, the White House and the GOP have all decided to sound like complete idiots, as all of them seem to have forgotten the last 6 years of GOP outrageous obstructionism 
  • Trump has a bizarre interview with the AP.  We'll start with his insistence that he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have good chemistry.  That isn't even remotely true
  • Trump, in the AP interview, takes full credit for NATO's fight against terrorism.  He hasn't helped in any way since taking office
  • Trump, in the AP interview, says "don't hold me to the 100 days promise" then immediately brags about how he's exceeded his 100 days promise
  • Trump, in the AP interview, refuses to condemn Wikileaks or it's founder Julian Assange, insisting the really guilty party in the hacking of the DNC was actually the Democrats
  • Trump, in the AP interview, says he watched CNN, then 2 minutes later says he never watched CNN, and then he denies her originally said it
  • Trump, in the AP interview, states he has the best television ratings "since the World Trade Centers came down." Yes, 9/11! Not only was that in horrifically bad taste, it makes you wonder why the man would ever compare himself to such a national tragedy
  • White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus says Congress will give Trump the billions needed of the border wall because "he won overwhelmingly." Once again, the promise from Trump was Mexico would pay for it, period
  • According to Vanity Fair Magazine, First Lady Melania Trump's relationship with First Daughter and White House staffer doing...something(?) Ivanka Trump is described as "frosty"
  • Melania also reveals she never had any interest in being the First Lady
  • North Korea is threatening to sink our aircraft carrier (hahahaha...sure you can) in response to the continued saber rattling from Trump
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions refuses to apologize for insulting the entire state of Hawaii, implying they didn't matter.  He claims, as all Republicans do when they get caught saying something bone stupid, 'they can't take a joke'
  • Sessions refuses to state how exactly the border wall will be paid for.  Once again, the promise from Trump was Mexico would pay for it, period
  • Trump vows to shutdown the Federal Government if the border wall isn't paid for.  Once again, the promise from Trump was Mexico would pay for it, period
  • Politico reports the White House Press Office often has no idea what Trump is doing at any given point, with one staffer adding, "Their ass is on fire all day"
  • On a Twitter rant, Trump insists Mexico will pay "at a later date" and "in some form" for the border wall.  Once again, the promise from Trump was Mexico would pay for it, period
  • Trump claims his poll numbers are "very good." They're actually historically bad poll numbers for a President at this point in their Presidency
  • Republican Rep. Mark Sanford says Trump is openly threatening to primary GOP politicians who don't vote for his Obamacare repeal
  • Jeff Sessions thinks people should just "lighten up" about his past racist statements and actions
  • In terrifying comments, Homeland Security Director John Kelly apparently has NO plan to deal with homegrown, domestic terrorism.  "I don't know how to stop that." "I don't know how to detect that."
  • After Trump stated there wasn't a growing anti-Semitism problem in the US, and that his campaign wasn't fueling the growing hatred (something they seemed to indeed be doing), anti-Jewish attacks against people and sites are up 34% from last year, and are up 86% in the first three months of 2017
  • Trump invites the Supreme Court Justices to the White house for a dinner, which isn't too unusual, but then immediate cancels the dinner
  • A report out says Trump has an undeniable TV addiction, demanding a TV to be on constantly whenever he's around, something his staff is struggling to manage
  • Trump is also known to spend his private time "hate watching" cable news shows which are critical of him, leading to additional staff worries because "no one is managing him"
  • Trump vows he will never fire White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, even after his constant blunders, because "he get's ratings"
  • In a report on the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into the Trump/Russia affair, it's revealed Senate Republicans have allotted almost no money for the investigation, the investigative staff is only 7 part time employees, none of them are trained investigators, and not one interview has been conducted, even with the Administration officials which have been caught red handed lying about their Russian connections.  To compare, the 8th Benghazi investigation in the House had 3 million dollars to begin with, 30 full and part time employees, 10 round the clock investigators and a near constant interview process in place
  • On Meet the Press, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus continues to blame the Democrats for all of Trump's failures, with even host Chuck Todd stating, "That does't make a lot of sense."
  • A day after Trump praised polls from ABC and NBC, he realized he'd misread the polls.  The polls actually show Trump is the most unpopular President at this point in history.  Trump then attacks ABC and NBC
  • Trump tweets he won the popular vote, and outright lie
  • Trump orders the corporate tax rate to be lowered from 35% to 15%, guaranteeing the budget deficit will explode
  • The EPA held secret "public" hearings for feedback on environmental regulations.  Most of the feedback actually ended up coming from utility based lobbyists
  • According to a longtime colleague, Senior Presidential Advisor Steve Bannon is a huge fan of Nazi Propagandist Leni Riefenstahl 
  • Another Fox News hire in the Administration as Heather Nauert will be the new US State Department Spokesperson
  • It's revealed that when Trump offered to host a dinner for the US Supreme Court Justices, he never formally invited them
  • Trump officially starts a trade war with Canada, one of the US's largest trading partners.  What started over a disagreement on milk prices now has Trump imposing a stiff import tariff on Canadian Lumber, claiming Canada subsidizes their lumber industry unfairly, something the Canadians dispute
  • The US State Department officially promoted Mar-A-Lago, a Trump owned, privately held property, on the government's State Dept. website 'Share America.' They also included a gushing review of his private resort
  • Vocal Trump supporter, and a man being considered for numerous Administration positions, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke cut off water to a mentally ill man being held in his jail.  The man died of dehydration(!!!) after 7 days
  • First Daughter and White House staffer doing...something(?) Ivanka Trump is booed ferociously at the W20 Conference in Germany, after she praised her father as a "tremendous champion" of families
  • It's discovered former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, a man who was paid by Turkey last year to campaign on their behalf, something he did not disclose while working for the Trump Campaign/Administration, had a large portion of his substantial lobbying paycheck paid for by Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish man with direct ties to Russia and Putin
  • Trump Advisor George Lombardi hosted a fund raiser for ultra far right/racist French Presidential Candidate Marine Le Pen at Trump Tower
  • Trump's FCC chair Ajit Pai is expected to release his plans to turn internet access from an unlimited access product into a tired product, very similar to cable TV.  This will undoubtedly limit access to sites, without identifying who exactly will determine what sites are limited to public access, and the cost for unlimited access will be dramatically higher
  • It's revealed Steve Bannon was the White House staffer who convinced Trump to shut down the Federal Government if the border wall wasn't funded in the budget bill.  Once again, the promise from Trump was Mexico would pay for it, period
  • Trump's new child care tax rebate policy will give a family of 4 making $68,000 or less a year around $5.55 TOTAL, FOR THE YEAR, to help those families pay for child care.  The average family of four making $295,000 will receive around $7,329
  • For the first time, the White House has formerly refused to hand over documents to the Congress related to the Trump/Russia investigation.  The documents in question were documents related to the hiring and firing of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn
  • Trump defender Rep. Jason Chaffetz says Flynn did indeed break the law by being an active duty military officer taking money from a foreign government
  • Rep. Elijah Cummings says Flynn appears to have committed a felony. "This is a major problem."
  • An ABC/Washington Post poll shows 61% want ObamaCare left in place, not repealed
  • Trump's Inauguration Committee admits to "many errors" on the FEC report of who donated to the committee, and they vow to figure out who exactly gave them money
  • On Tuesday, a Federal Judge in San Francisco blocks Trump's Executive Order targeting so called Sanctuary cities, stating the order violates the Constitution
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell states he wishes Trump would stop Tweeting
  • Trump formally rescinds his demand that funding for the border wall be in the temporary spending measure.  Once again, the promise from Trump was Mexico would pay for it, period
  • TN State Senator Mark Green, Trump's pick for the Secretary of the Army, a man mentioned previously for his numerous anti-Muslim stances, is now under fire for his numerous and well documented anti-LGBTQ views.  He blames the criticism on liberal groups.  There are numerous Army soldiers who fall within the categories of LGBTQ 
  • Press Secretary Sean Spicer stuns the White House Press Corps when he states that Trump was not responsible for hiring Michael Flynn as Trump's National Security Advisor, even implying former President Obama hired him
  • Trump, at tax payer expense, has set up a red button on his desk which summons a butler to bring him a Coke whenever he pushes the button.  Mind you, he could stand up, go to a fridge and grab one, but...actually I have nothing else to add to that
  • Sean Spicier says the funding and building of the border wall is not delayed, even though there are many Administration reports which state it is
  • Trump takes aim at the US's National Monuments, saying preserving the land is not as important as the development of drilling an mining
  • After being studied, it's determined Trump's tax plan is a massive handout to the wealthiest Americans with almost nothing for people who make less than $200,000 a year
  • First Daughter and White House staffer doing...something(?) Ivanka Trump's private clothing line is linked to a Chinese sweat shop factory, where factory workers are paid $62 a week
  • After the Trump Administration and all Republicans insisted the Clinton Foundation was compromised, too susceptible to foreign government checks, Ivanaka says she's starting her own international foundation, and brags it will be funded by private sector donations and foreign governments
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says Trump has zero intent of EVER releasing is tax returns
  • The White House says Trump is preparing to sign an executive order to withdraw the United States from NAFTA
  • Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have a phone conversation in regards to the escalating trade war.  Both leaders recall very different conversations as Trump called it constructive and amicable, while Trudeau instead the Canadians will not back down
  • Trump is now vowing to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after judges on the panel have twice blocked his proposals
  • It's revealed Steve Bannon is not telling the truth when it comes to his claims he has a profit share of the sitcom 'Seinfeld'
  • After reviewing the Trump tax proposal, one undeniable winner in the tax proposal is Trump himself
  • Trumpcare, Trump's replacement to ObamaCare/ACA, is so unpopular that House and Senate Republicans are demanding they be omitted from Trumpcare, and they be allowed to stick with ObamaCare.  They actually have written this into the compromise to ensure enough Republicans vote for it
  • After Trump's border wall funding collapsed, and after Trump vowed to not fund ObamaCare subsidies unless the wall was funded, Trump has conceded the Administration will continue, begrudgingly, to pay for the ObamaCare subsidies
  • Trump buses most of the Senators to the White House to talk about North Korea.  Trump was apparently in the meeting for less than a minute, and every Senator asked about the meeting stated they still have no idea what Trump's plan actually is
  • Trump signs an Executive Order to begin removing the Federal Government from the K-12 public education standards
  • In another terrifying statement, Trump admits he doesn't read the Executive Orders he's signing
  • After Trump talked to the countries of Canada and Mexico, getting the big picture of what would happen if he followed though on what he promised he'd do, and after undoubtedly getting an earful from American Business interests, and after undoubtedly getting a lesson in which industrial and economic sectors would be be crippled under his plan, Trump changes his mind and says he'll keep NAFTA in place and seek to renegotiate it, whatever that means
  • The Trump Administration says it is too dangerous to release the Spill Report it made in regards to the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and refuses to release it
  • Treasury Secretary Mnuchin refuses to answer whether the taxes on the middle class would actually go up under Trump's plan
  • It's discovered, in 2015, Michael Flynn was indeed warned by his superiors to not take money from foreign entities/countries, an order he openly ignored repeatedly
  • Republican Representative Dan Donovan cuts through the lies and directly states that under Trumpcare, sick people will pay A LOT more than they currently do
  • The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, is trying hard to keep his public movements unbeknownst to the public, because he doesn't want to have to answer HUD budget cut questions from the people
  • Democrats officially tell the White House they will not help repeal ObamaCare, adding if he wants it repealed, he'll have to unite the GOP to do so
  • Sean Spicer once again doubles down by continuing to deflect blame for Trump naming Michael Flynn National Security Advisor without proper vetting, insisting it was former President Obama's job to properly vet him for THEIR Administration
  • It's revealed Michael Flynn indeed required additional vetting to be named National Security Advisor for the incoming Administration, something Trump's team clearly did not do
  • The Immigration Crime Engagement Deportation Force (ICE) is furious their hotline they set up to help enforce Trump's potential Unconstitutional Immigrant/Refugee/Muslim travel ban has been flooded with calls about space aliens
  • In a terrifying interview with Reuters news service, Trump says the US could end up "...having a 'major, major' conflict with North Korea. Absolutely!"
  • The Secret Service says NRA members will not be allowed to bring guns to Trump's NRA convention speech.  Apparently they didn't get the memo from the NRA stating guns make everyplace safer
  • Senator Mark Warner wonders why, if Trump and his Administration really did nothing wrong, they wouldn't be trying to help the investigation into Michael Flynn.
  • In one of the most bone headed things any leader of any country has ever said, a man, who was trying to attain an office which ages it's holder 15 years for every four year term, an office in charge of the well being of 330 million Americans, an office which controls the world's largest budget, an office with the most powerful military on the planet, and an office which has to deal with issues ranging from tornado relief, to space missions to Mars, to fighting drug wars EVERY DAY, states "I loved my previous life.  I had so many things going.  This is more work than in my previous life.  I thought [being President of the United States] would be easier."  WOW!!!
  • Trump orders a review of offshore drilling bans in an effort to determine what can be reopened for the oil industry, even though current demand is at a low
  • The House once again is putting off a new vote on a revised Trumpcare bill, as they do not have the votes within their own party to get it passed.  This prevents Trump from fulfilling his promise of having the repeal of ObamaCare done within his first 100 days
  • Farmers are starting to have difficulty finding workers to harvest their crops, and are blaming Trump's crackdown on undocumented workers as the cause
  • Trump finds another trade deal he wants to undo as he vows to renegotiate South Korea's trade deal, insisting they will pay for the one billion dollar missile defense system WE deployed there
  • Trump then goes after Saudi Arabia, saying the Saudi's don't treat us fairly and how the US is losing money helping to defend them, phrasing it in a mafia shakedown fashion, implying 'it'd be a shame if something bad were to happen to your country...'
  • Trump, while talking to Astronaut Peggy Whitson currently on the International Space Station, dramatically speeds up the timetable for the US to fly to Mars, implying he wants us there by the end of his first term, second term(?) at latest.  NASA seems baffled by this statement and is seeking clarification
  • South Korea, nearly immediately, issues a statement, stating it refuses to pay for the US's deployed missile defenses
  • As we approach the 100 day mark of Trump's Administration, most of his international diplomatic posts remain unfilled.  So far, only the Ambassadors to Israel and the UN have been confirmed, five more have been named but not confirmed, and 181 Ambassadorships have not even had a nominee named for their country yet
  • Senate Democrats are mulling the idea of suing Trump over his numerous conflicts of interest, in regards to holding political office and his private businesses
  • Congressman Ted Lieu has told Jared Kushner to "lawyer up" in regards to his failure to disclose his meeting with the Russians during his security clearance process
  • Trump put out a press release touting '100 Days of Accountability' on the same day Michael Flynn falls under investigation by the Defense Departments Inspector General.  It should be mentioned he's also stacked his Administration with lobbyists
  • China is refusing to back claims by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that China is imposing unilateral sanctions on North Korea.  China insists it's actions will be internal, without US influence
  • Former Trump Campaign Chair Corey Lewandowski has created a secret lobbying firm, Washington East West Political Strategies, which offers their clients private meetings with Trump, Vice President Pence and other White House officials.  The revelation comes from an Eastern European politician, who was offered Lewandowski's 'shopping list,' who then forwarded it onto Politico.  It should be noted Lewandowski still hasn't registered as a lobbyist
  • Trump, after embarrassing the US when he questioned the US's One China policy right after the election by taking a call with Taiwan's President, has learned his lesson (and basic world history from the last 30 years) and turned down an offer to take a second conference call from Taiwan, saying he supports the Chinese President completely.  Should be noted, since the first incident with Taiwan, China has rewarded Trump and Ivanka Trump numerous trademarks in China
  • The White House is now demanding it reviews and vets UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's speeches before she gives them.  Haley has contradicted Trump multiple times with her comments about Russia
  • The Department of the Interior has scrubbed its website of all mentions of climate change since Trump took office
  • California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra thumbs his nose at the Trump Administration, insisting California will not help Trump go after undocumented families
  • The US's GDP grew at only 0.7% in the first quarter, Trump's first, the slowest rate in three years.  Since the Republicans quickly blamed President Obama for the W. era spending come due on the first day of Obama's Administration, I mention this to point out their lack of concern
  • Trump decides to take on a new enemy of the US, Puerto Rico, a US territory, an island we're responsible for, an island with 3.5 million American citizens.  Trump states stopping Puerto Rico from going bankrupt and continuing healthcare for it's citizens is a bad investment
  • The NRA Director Wayne LaPierre, at a Friday rally with Trump, calls Senator Bernie Sanders and "Political Predator," luring young Americans astray
  • Trump joins Spicer, blaming former President Obama for their lack of vetting Michael Flynn as their National Security Advisor
  • Jeff Sessions says he will recuse himself from any felony investigation into the lies of Michael Flynn
  • Trump at the NRA speech refers to Senator Elizabeth Warren with the undeniably racist Native American reference to 'Pocahontas,' as he vows to build his border wall
  • Trump announces he will nominate Charmaine Yoest to Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the US Department of Heath and Human Services.  Yoest is an anti-abortion extremist who has embraced the modern Republican standard which vows to make abortion illegal for everyone but the wealthiest Americans
  • Trump claims "I'm a Nationalist and a Globalist." Fails to explain how exactly he can be both at the same time  
  • It's pointed out at after the first 100 days in office, the only undeniable successful thing Trump has done is make himself and his family far richer than they were 100 days earlier

WOW!  One of the things to keep in mind when you go through these lists is how no Democratic President had a list of this magnitude, displaying this level of bad behavior, poor judgement, law violations and partisan agenda mandating, each week!  Nope, no Democrat ever came close to having a weekly list this bad for an entire year in office.  Every Republican who ignores these weekly disgraces undoubtedly had red hot meltdowns when Former President Obama or Hillary Clinton did anything 1/20th a serious as any ONE item on this list.  Trump is a horrific President, the worst kind of leader; a self centered opportunist who's only concerned about what the office can do for him and his family. And he's guilty of committing treason!!! 

But be careful!  The evil entities behind Trump are already working their long game.  The limiting of internet access, the suing of the media, the crackdown on the legal system by going after individual courts...we need to make sure this country doesn't slide into Fascism while we all focus on this buffoon's Twitter temper tantrums.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Friday Link for 4/28/17

I really liked 'La La Land,' even though the ending created a lot of mixed emotions within my family.  But enough about that.

I traveled to LA twice on business, and frankly, I never saw the fun side of the LA.  I thought it was interesting.  You can feel the stress of desire everywhere you go, and that's one of the things I felt they captured in the movie.  There are tons of movies about a town where the steel mill, or the coal mine, or the manufacturing plant, or the military base are the the center of their local solar system, the catalyst for the plot.  Los Angeles is no different.  It's a place where instead of a shipyard or a large farm, it's the entertainment business.  Even though the two main characters are portrayed as being on a trajectory of success, it displays the ugliness of the industry (especially in Emma Stone's character), while at the the same time relishing in the beauty of Hollywood.  It's definitely written from a local's perspective.

I especially liked how Ryan Gosling's character was portrayed; the jazz musician trying to make it in a town known for movies.  My whole family enjoyed it.

Here are some clips.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Damn Wild

Last night, the St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen, who was described as "dominant," and "one of the best playoff goalies ever"(?!?), was beaten by the 8th seeded Nashville Predators 4-3 in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Western Conference 2nd round playoff series.  Those four goals were more than the Minnesota Wild scored in their first three games against the Blues in their first round matchup, combined!  So is Allen, as he was described repeatedly during the first round match up, really that good, the second coming of Jacques Plante, or did the Wild really lay an egg?

Cluck cluck!

On paper, an NHL team in Minnesota should be a dynasty team.  A knowledgeable and loving fan base; a never ending steam of America's best young high school hockey players all dreaming of being on their home state's NHL roster; money never being a real issue; a top of the line facility with arguably the best sheet of ice in all of hockey; and a state population who's been let down repeatedly by professional sports teams, a population looking for any reason to clear the family photos off the mantle and build a shrine to honor the sport TRUE Minnesotan's understand!  Over the years, Minneapolis/St. Paul has gone back and forth favoring the Vikings and Twins in their respective sports, but trust me; this city wants to be a hockey town.

Instead we've been treated to a milquetoast version of hockey.  In 17 seasons of Minnesota Wild play, they've only made the playoffs 8 times, less than 50% of the time, in a league where over 50% of the teams make the playoffs every year.  The furthest the team has gotten is the Western Conference finals, in the third year of their existence, where they were quickly swept aside by Anaheim.  Two times we made it to the Western Conference 2nd round, only to get knocked out both times by Chicago, and five of the 8 times we've been to the playoffs, we didn't even make it past our first round opponent.

This year particularly hurt.  If you watched the Wild this season, they looked different.  They were crisp and clean, tough when they needed to be, and made good teams look weak.  And they could score at will!  During the cold of January and February, I found myself starting to believe a Stanley Cup Final was finally within our grasp!  Could this be the year?

Then came March.  Seventeen games between March 1st and April 1st.  Total wins: 4.  I understand the schedule bunched up a lot of games towards the end, but the Wild didn't even look like the same team.  We lead the Western Conference by 6 points.  By the end of the season, we were lucky to be in 3rd.  The Chicago Blackhawks seemed to be the main catalyst for the fall, having gotten under the Wild player's skin, making Minnesota look like doe eyed teens ogling their childhood heroes.  They had a chance to vanquish the demon.  Instead they allowed the demon to control them again, ruining the teams chemistry and flow.

They had a four game winning streak at the end of the season, leading to false hopes they'd righted the ship as they limped into the playoffs.  They were matched up against St. Louis, coached by (in my opinion) one of the worst coaches in the NHL, former Wild coach Mike Yeo.  The Wild quickly handed away home ice by losing Game 1.  Before anyone says "Matt, in Game 1 the Wild threw everything at them and the still could't win," well whose fault is that?  Nashville didn't seem so intimidated by the Blues, on the road, for their Game 1.  The Wild then put themselves in a nasty hole by losing Game 2.  Instead of bouncing back for Game 3 in St. Louis, they once again played like a bad Big 10 team. They finally played like the pre-March Wild in Game 4, getting their only win in the series, but then pathetically exited the playoffs, losing a game of catchup in Game 5.  What made this exit sting even worse was the only team which might've given Minnesota fits in the entire NHL, Chicago, was eliminated in four games themselves.  This was our year, and the Wild blew it.

But it's how the Wild lost the series which points to a long term mentality problem within the organization.  In every game outside of 4, they had to come back, seeming to not take the game seriously until deep into the third period.  If the team had played in Games 1-3 like they played games 4 and 5, they would've probably won the series in 5 games.  This has been the history of the Wild.  They've learned they don't need to play great, just play good enough to keep the critics from ripping them apart.  If this team was in Canada, the media and fans would be tearing them to shreds.  In polite Minnesota, we say "well they tried their best."  The only reason the team won Game 4 is because the fan base started to turn on them.  The roster, loaded with talent, realized they needed to do the very least to keep the wolves at bay.  Anyone who comes off that series feeling anything positive is delusional, but already, the Wild are putting forward their chipper chants of 'we'll get them next year!'  No, no you won't.

After 17 years, the Wild have finally graduated to the pantheon of Minnesota sports franchises, embracing the motto:  "Watch us, enjoy a game, but don't ever think we're going to win it all.  If you do, we'll only break your hearts!"  They join the Vikings, T-Wolves and Twins ('91 was 26 years ago...sigh...) in our deep pool of sports pain and ambivalence.  At least I can enjoy Minnesota United FC.  As an expansion team, any wins they get are unexpected.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

President Trump, Week 13

Here's this week's list of insanity coming from President Trump and his White House for the week beginning 2 PM Friday, April 14th to 2 PM Friday, April 21st.  This is likely not all of the Trump team's transgressions, but it's most of them.

Weekly explanation: If the President in the White House had a 'D' next to their name instead of an 'R', the same House and Senate Republicans who are purposely ignoring the disaster unfolding around them would be having a very different reaction.  Everything on this list would've garnered at least a press conference, many would've triggered official Congressional investigations, and some would've lead to impeachment proceedings.  Instead, they're terrified anyone who dares look at the never ending scandals consuming the White House will turn to stone; an orange, hairy, urine soaked stone...

Let's roll the dice to see if we get Yahtzee!
  • Trump, while the country is under a very real threat of military conflict with North Korea, decided to golfing for his 17th and 18th times since becoming president, 85 days earlier
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden absolutely smacks down Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for her decision to weaken the enforcement of Title IX.  "The real frightening message she's our culture says it's okay."
  • Trump's budget slashes funding for NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Redirect Mission, a program designed to help prevent the utter annihilation of the planet
  • Trump's nominee for Secretary of the Army, Tennessee State Republican Senator Mark Green has a troubling history of anti-Muslim comments.  FYI, there are quite a few Muslims currently serving at various levels within the US Army, as well as in support roles
  • A former Breitbart spokesperson states that Senior Presidential Advisor Steve Bannon will 'absolutely' seek revenge if fired
  • The online troll behind Pizzagate has threatened the GOP, by promising to release information which 'will destroy marriages' if Bannon is fired
  • The Secret Service has had to spend $35,000 of tax payer money on golf cart rental since Trump was inaugurated 
  • Rep. Jerry Nadler bluntly states Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a Senior White House Advisor, committed perjury by lying about Russian meetings on his FBI disclosure forms
  • As Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos prepares to roll out a plan to vastly expand America's Charter schools, at the expense of the better performing K-12 public school system, a University of Oregon study shows the Charter School system has wasted hundreds of millions in tax payer dollars with unwanted and unneeded schools, schools which have a far lower success rate at educating students compared to Public schools
  • After Trump publicly accused Former President Obama of wiretapping him, he had to be educated on how exactly FISA warrants were obtained, and how they operated.  He didn't know
  • A shocking claim from British Intelligence speculates one of the reasons Rep. Jason Chaffetz might not be calling for an investigation into the Trump/Russia connection is because the Russian Government might have compromising information on him
  • A reports states the real person pushing to have Steve Bannon removed from the Administration is Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump
  • The lawyers for an elderly white male Trump supporter who attacked an African American female protester at a Trump Kentucky campaign stop insists Trump's the real guilty party as Trump urged the crowd to be violent to the protesters
  • Trump has demanded a golden carriage ride from Queen Elizabeth when he visits England
  • Protesters numbering in the hundreds of thousands take to the streets in an anti-Trump, tax day protest, with demands that Trump release his tax returns
  • According to police reports, pro-Trump protesters violently attacked a Berkeley, California anti-Trump Tax protest, tearing down barriers while wearing masks.  I mention this because after supposed liberal protesters attacked pro-Trump protesters at Berkeley in January, Trump and all Republicans demanded apologies from all Democrats
  • Trump sent out a Twitter tweet to commemorate Easter.  He then proceeded, on Easter, to have a Twitter temper tantrum agains the Anti-Trump Tax protesters.  He then tweeted, on Easter, a call to military arms
  • Trump, via Twitter, says his winning the election negates him from having to release his tax returns.  No, it doesn't
  • Trump, via Twitter, insists all of the anti-Trump Tax protesters were paid to protest.  No, they weren't
  • Trump also lashes out on Twitter saying it's impossible for Republicans to easily win the electoral college, like he did.  1) Many Republicans have easily won the electoral college, 2) only a sad person needing a false feeling of accomplishment would insist Trump's electoral college victory was 'easy'
  • In an interview on MSNBC, a Russian expert claims Putin has "something" on Trump and will use it against him if their relationship sours
  • Trump, a man many of his supporters insist is a VERY Christian President, goes to only his 2nd church service since taking office.  The last time he was in a church was on Inauguration Day
  • Vice President Mike Pence tells North Korea the US will not tolerate any further missile tests, pointing to the bombing of Syria and Afghanistan to show we mean business.  This leads to questions of whether the bombings of Syria and Afghanistan, both of which lead to very limited results, were actually done to give the White House the ability to threaten others
  • Homeland Security Director John Kelly insists you can't call Trump's Deportation Force a deportation force, rather you need to refer to them as a 'law enforcement force.'  In their first month, the Trump Deportation Force's arrests of deportees spiked 36%
  • Trump's apparently furious with Steve Bannon's Time Magazine cover from February, a cover which labeled Bannon "The Great Manipulator"
  • Deputy National Security Advisor KT McFarland, a former Fox News host who was removed a week ago from the National Security Council (NSC), implies "big changes" are coming to the NSC
  • Trump announces his nominee to be President of the Export/Import Bank is former Representative Scott Garrett, a vocal critic of the Export/Import Bank
  • On Easter Sunday, the White House starts downplaying expectations for Monday's Easter Egg Roll, a White House Tradition.  They waited too long to start planning it.  The wooden egg supplier, Wells Wood Turning, had to actually remind the White House they were approaching the deadline to get their order in.  They couldn't find celebrities to attend, primarily due to the lateness of asking for availability, and the main talent, the Nashville family act the Marcus Family Circus, an act who said they were only contacted a few weeks earlier, still had no idea how many sets they were going to have to perform, or even where they were going to park the family RV while in Washington DC
  • Eric Trump as the Easter Egg Roll got underway, felt it was the best time to discuss detailed foreign policy issues with Fox & Friends, even though he's supposed to be running his dad's businesses, not working on White House Policy
  • First Lady Melania Trump has to nudge her husband to get him to put his hand on his heart for the National Anthem at the Easter Egg Roll
  • At the Easter Egg Roll, Trump goes up to a kid with a MAGA hat, signs the hat at the child's request, and then throws the hat to the crowd with a big smile, not giving it back to the kid
  • Boris Epshteyn, the former Trump Spokesperson, and possible 'Source E' in the Steele Dossier, announced he is joining Sinclair Broadcasting, while still not explaining his abrupt and sudden departure from the White House
  • Trump friend and confidant Roger Stone states InfoWars, the far right wing news outlet based in speculation and loony conspiracy theories, was a major source of information for Trump and the campaign during Election 2016.  InfoWars was susceptible to Russian attempts at pushing certain propaganda, and was also the major player pushing the laughable 'Pizzagate' scandal
  • In a Twitter attack on Georgia 6th Congressional Democratic Candidate Jon Ossoff prior to the special election, Trump misspells 'Congressional'
  • In a Snapchat post about Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at the Easter Egg Roll, The White House misspells 'Education'
  • White House spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway says America needs to thank Trump for hosting the Easter Egg Roll, an event every President has hosted for the last 139 years
  • A report emerges from the same source which stated in November there were FISA warrants issued against the Trump campaign, Louise Mensch.  This new report says former Trump Campaign Advisor Carter Page presented a tape recording of Trump to the Russians, a tape which stated if the Russians helped Trump win in 2016, Trump would lift sanctions against Russia for their invasion of the Ukraine 
  • A report surfaces Steve Bannon's role in the White House has been further downgraded
  • Kellyanne Conway demands Democratic leaders need to tell the protesters to stop their protests because Trump won.  Apparently Kellyanne doesn't understand how protests work, and no one remembers any Republicans telling the Birthers/Tea baggers to be quiet after President Obama won, twice
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer once again insists Trump can't release his tax returns because he's under audit.  When asked why he just doesn't say Trump will never release his tax returns, Spicer says, "I'll have to get back to you on that"
  • Sean Spicer defends the White House not releasing the visitor logs for the White House and Mar-A-Lago, something Trump promised repeatedly he'd do, with Spicer stating some people need to keep their privacy when they come to the Administration to express their views
  • Less than half of Americans think Trump honors his promises
  • Trump relaxed ethics regulations, eliminating the requirement barring lobbyists from joining any government agencies they lobbied for up to two years prior 
  • Trump goes golfing for the 19th time since being in office
  • Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had his appeal denied to keep private the documents he showed Trump on overhauling the US's immigration policy, and was ordered to produce the policy papers
  • Trump BFF Roger Stone says the only thing Jared Kushner wants Trump to do is "kiss ass"
  • Trump's saber rattling with North Korea backfires as North Korea promises weekly missile tests, directly thumbing their nose at Trump's demands
  • In a heck of a coincidence, China approved a multitude of new trademarks for Ivanka Trump on the day she met with the Chinese President
  • Senator Ted Cruz states the fact Trump seems "terrified" of releasing his tax returns suggests there's a "bombshell" in them
  • House Democrats and Republicans confirm that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice did absolutely nothing wrong or illegal by wanting to release the names of the Trump campaign personnel under surveillance for questionable contact with Russia during the Election of 2016, directly contradicting numerous Trump/White House claims
  • In a surreal moment from the Easter Egg Roll, White House Spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway is caught answering a question on Fox News about possible war with North Korea, while the Looney Tunes theme plays loudly behind her
  • Trump's bizarre comments on Fox & Friends points to the very real possibility that he doesn't know who exactly the leader of North Korea actually is
  • Trump blames the emergence of the violent MS-13 gang in the US on Obama, a gang who actually emerged in the US during W. Bush's first term
  • The majority of deep red Texas opposes Trump's border wall
  • The Aircraft carrier Trump allegedly sent to the Sea of Japan, the same aircraft carrier Sean Spicer bragged about entering into the Sea of Japan, was actually no where near the Sea of Japan, instead it was thousands of miles away heading into the Indian Ocean
  • A lawsuit with its basis rooted in Trump violating the Emolument Clause of the Constitution can move forward.  It alleges Trump used the office of the Presidency to advance his private businesses/wealth, which is big time illegal
  • In the hours after Trump's 'Obama wiretapped the Trump Tower' tweets, the White House sent out an all points bulletin to all Administration agencies and all Republicans in government to help find ANYTHING that could help back up his claim.  In the weeks since then, they've found nothing
  • Not only are there multiple ongoing investigations into Trump's ties to Russia, but Talking Points Memo had a story about Trump's other questionable ties; the ones he's had for decades to organized crime
  • Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Representative who's been a major Trump defender, announces he will not seek another term
  • Trump claims a "Big Republican win" in the GA-06 special election race, a race which saw the Democrat win 48% of the vote compared to the 2nd place finisher, a Republican, who received 19% of the vote.  The two candidates will compete in a run off election
  • Kellyanne Conway calls her critics "unhappy people with poison keyboards." For the record, I'm a very happy person (2017 City Pages Radio Personality of the Year!!!) and my keyboard isn't poisonous, it's an iMac
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, after being called out on his aircraft carrier blunder, defends his comments by insisting the aircraft carrier would've eventually gotten to the Sea of Japan. Apparently they were going the long way around
  • New England Patriots Quarterback, and vocal supporter of Trump, Tom Brady announces he will be skipping the annual Super Bowl White House visit and Presidential photo op for "personal family matters"
  • The head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt says the EPA is immediately deleting the compliance date on new rules for regulating green house gases, and is reconsidering the rules outright
  • Trump's nominee for Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, Eric Hargan has massive conflicts of interest through his work at a law firm which represented many and varied health insurance groups, health insurance businesses, and health industry individuals
  • Trump Administration officials state Iran is indeed complying with President Obama's Nuclear Deal, but they still accuse them of supporting state sponsored terrorism. 
  • The world's largest international airline, Emirates, is cutting back substantially on flights to the United States, due to Trump's attempted travel bans, and due to the dramatic decrease in international tourism travel to the US
  • Speaking at a Buy American event in Wisconsin, Trump refers to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as "Ron"
  • Trump goes after Canada for an emerging milk scandal.  Canada now allows Canadian milk producers to sell filtered milk at the same price as imported filtered milk, which for some reason was cheaper than their domestic product.  This is limiting American imports.  Although this is undoubtedly hurting American dairy farmers, I don't believe Trump has the ability to force Canada to make their own local milk producers charge a higher price than imported product
  • The South Korean government and media are relentlessly mocking Trump and his Administration for their complete lack of historical knowledge of the Korean peninsula and for the aircraft carrier fiasco
  • Over half of the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots football team didn't show up for the traditional White House visit and Trump photo op
  • Chemical companies, led by Dow, are pressuring the Trump Administration to kill studies which show the harm their pesticides are doing, primarily to the US's bee populations
  • Trump has decided to close down the sidewalk around the White House grounds permanently, in an attempt to prevent protesters from using them
  • Exxon has made an application to the Treasury Department to receive a waiver to the sanctions on Russia, so they can enter into a partnership with Russia to drill in the Black Sea.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently ran Exxon, and they've apparently already been given one waiver to the sanctions
  • Sean Spicer reiterates what Trump said, insisting a 48%-19% margin in the GA-06 special election was a "tremendous victory" for the Republicans and a "big loss" for the Democrats
  • In what seems like a Simpson's episode come to life, Trump proudly welcomes former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, rock musician(?) Kid Rock, and disgusting excuse for a human being, spokesperson for the NRA, and former music(?) player Ted Nugent, to the White House, for a photo op in the Oval Office, a mocking photo op in front of the portrait of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and, I guess, to discuss North Korean policy (???) as that's where you'd think Trump's focus should be
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions apparently isn't aware that Hawaii is a US state, as he said he was amazed a judge on "an island in the Pacific" could stall Trump's Unconstitutional Immigrant/Refugee/Muslim travel ban
  • The Department of Justice is seeking to arrest Wikileaks' Julian Assange, a person who did everything he could to help Trump win in 2016, and a man with clear ties to Russia. The DOJ feels he's a non-state hosted Intelligence agency, abetted by state actors, such as Russia
  • Trump insists Iran has failed to comply with their portion of President Obama's Iranian Nuclear Deal.  Meanwhile the State Department says Iran IS complying
  • Roger Stone, super bestie to Trump, tweets a threat to do bodily harm against the Communications Director for Media Matter, an action which gets his Twitter account temporarily closed down
  • It's revealed many members of Trump's cabinet are having a weekly bible study meeting with Pastor Ralph Drollinger, a man whose own church disavowed him, claims Catholicism is the worlds largest fake religion, claims women who work after child birth are sinners and homosexuality is abhorrent.  Yikes
  • The list of people who donated to Trump's Inauguration Fund contains clear and massive evidence of fraud.  Many people on the list are not real people, are people who have no idea how their name got on the list, or are people who couldn't have donated the amounts they supposedly donated
  • Trump slams the '1st 100 days' hurdle as a "ridiculous standard", this after bragging for 2 years about how much he'd accomplish within his first 100 days in office
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejects Exxon's attempt at getting a waiver around the Russian sanctions
  • Trump weighs in on the French election, calling the far right, racist candidate Marine Le Pen the strongest in the field
  • Trump breaks history again as he claims the Korean Peninsula was recently part of China, something the South Koreans are quick to point out is not true
  • White house Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says any budget bill must contain funding for Trump's Mexico border wall, a wall Trump promised for over a year would be paid for by Mexico.  To get the funding Mulvaney says health insurance subsidies will be held hostage until the funding is approved.  FYI, Mexico is still not going to pay for the wall
  • Jeff Sessions implies he will begin to prosecute media outlets and news organizations who publish leaked material
  • Trump's lawyers, trying to get the Kentucky lawsuit which states he instigated the beating of protesters by the crowd thrown out, argues there's no right to protest at Trump rallies
  • Trump appoints the Ambassador to New Zealand that New Zealand didn't want, nominating former Senator Scott Brown, a man who's described by the government and media of New Zealand as a "former nude model who is pro-water boarding"

The list this week was not as long, nor did it have nearly as many bombshells as usual.  I think Easter had a lot to do with that.  With the House and Senate off for a good part of the week, there weren't any Republican committee hearings with begrudged acknowledgments of more damning evidence of Trump/Russia connections.  Then again, until the Chinese intervened, it was looking likely the US would be at nuclear war with North Korea by the time the Easter Bunny arrived, so...progress???

On Bill Maher's show on Friday, Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts called out Republicans, saying 'they're not stupid.  They lack courage.'  They're too afraid to do their job.  Please call your Senator and Representatives and demand a full INDEPENDENT investigation into the connections between the Trump Campaign/White House and Russia.  These cowards need to understand they should be far more afraid of the American people than they are of Trump.  

And for God's sake people, VOTE!!!