Tag Archives: Government

Salt spread on winter snowy/icy roads is the draining into the nations freshwater…

Image result for salt trucks winter

The stuff melts, or runs off into rivers and streams close to highways….

During the past half-century, annual U.S. sales of road salt grew from 160,000 tons to about 20 million tons, as a group of environmental scientists pointed out in a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of the Sciences. NaCl kept roads free from slippery ice, but it also changed the nature of North America’s freshwater lakes. Of 371 lakes reviewed in the new study, 44 percent showed signs of long-term salinization.

Extrapolating that finding for all of North America, at least 7,770 lakes are at risk of elevated salt levels — a likely underestimate, the researchers said.

Theirs is the first study of freshwater lakes on a continental scope. “No one has tried to understand the scale of this problem across the continent in the Northeast and Midwest, where people apply road salt,” said study co-author Hilary Dugan, a University of Wisconsin-Madison freshwater expert….

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image…The Rome Sentinal

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About filling those empty slots to run the American Government?

One might come to the conclusion that the Trump Admin will NEVER fill those slots, thus being able to advertise to their base that THEY have shrunken government?

There are worries that Trump & Co might even lay-off MORE people…

Example ….

Sec of State Tillerson REALLY ain’t in this with his heart and it shows…

From bio media, to a smaller airplane, to no interaction with State staff to NO REAL connection with a mission…

Others are gonna be stuck because as with Bill Clinton?

Congress is simply inacapable of doing a LOT of things at once….

And NOT as Bill Clinton…

Trump & Co. is a closely held operation that knows NOT WTF they are doing and worst?

Does NOT TRUST it’s government….

Oh?

Did I NOT mention THEY ARE the Government?

In another illustration of what President Trump thinks of as a “fine-tuned machine,” he defended his failure to move faster on filling the hundreds of top-level administration jobs that require Senate confirmation by suggesting he plans to keep them unfilled for the duration. Here’s what he said to Fox News this morning:

“A lot of those jobs, I don’t want to appoint someone because they’re unnecessary to have,” Trump said. “In government, we have too many people.”

Keep in mind the jobs we are talking about here include the top sub-Cabinet positions that set policies and provide the day-to-day operations for vast government departments. Just yesterday, the conservative Washington Examiner explained that these are precisely the positions someone like Trump needs to fill if he is serious about “draining the swamp” in Washington:

Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University, said the quality of political appointees below the Cabinet level can have a dramatic effect on how administration policies are ultimately executed.

“Do they affect the operation of government? The short answer is very much,” Reeher said. “These are the folks who actually attempt to implement the policy changes that the administration is trying to push down from above.”…

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Supreme Court limits president’s appointment powers…

…from the Wash Post….

The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it more difficult for the president to quickly fill vacant top government jobs in a case centered on the appointment powers of the executive.

In a 6-to-2 ruling, the court limited the president’s ability to put certain high-level officials in positions in an acting capacity while awaiting confirmation by the Senate.

The court was reviewing the scope of a federal law intended to prevent presidents from temporarily slipping someone into a top position to circumvent the Senate’s process for reviewing an appointment to the permanent post.

The majority rejected the government’s view that the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 applied only to people serving in the role of “first assistant” and not to other officials. The statute, the court said, prohibits anyone who has been nominated to lead a federal agency from performing the job in an acting capacity, according to the majority opinion written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

“Congress’s failure to speak up does not fairly imply that it has acquiesced in the board’s interpretation,” Roberts wrote….

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President Trump’s Second Week of Action…The White House

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S SECOND WEEK OF ACTION

7: Presidential Actions to Make America Great Again
4: Diplomatic conversations with foreign leaders to promote an America First foreign policy.
4: Meetings to get input from workers and business leaders on jumpstarting job creation.
2: Events for the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
2: Events to commemorate African American History Month
2: Members of President Trump’s Cabinet sworn in.
1: Bill signed into law
1: Meeting with cyber security experts
1: Commemoration of American Heart Month
1: Speech at the National Prayer Breakfast
1: Letter of Recognition for National Catholic Schools Week

Following Through On His Promise To The American People, President Trump Nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch To The Supreme Court

• On Tuesday, President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to become Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, filling the seat left behind by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

The next day, President Trump met with various stakeholders to thank them for their input in making such an important decision.

President Trump Continued To Drain The Washington Swamp And Further Protect All Americans

PROTECTING AMERICANS: President Trump signed two executive memoranda to protect Americans and sanctioned the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism in Iran.

• On Friday, the Trump administration sanctioned twenty-five individuals and entities that provide support to Iran’s ballistic missile program and to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.
• Last Saturday, President Trump ordered a 30-day review and development of a new plan to defeat ISIS.
• Last Saturday, to better get advice and information needed to ensure the safety and security of the American people, President Trump signed an executive order that modernized the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.

DRAINING THE SWAMP: President Trump used the power of his office to promote government transparency, preventing lobbying influence, and limiting regulatory overreach.

• Last Saturday, President Trump signed an executive order establishing new ethics commitments for all Executive branch appointees to limit the influence of lobbyists and Washington insiders.
• On Monday, President Trump signed an executive order to reduce government regulations by requiring two existing regulations to be ended if a new one is approved.
• On Tuesday, President Trump signed into law the “GAO Access And Oversight Act Of 2017” (H.R.72) allowing the Government Accountability Office to gather records from all federal agencies so it can be more responsive to civil action.
• President Trump Continued To Put Jobs Front And Center Through Two Executive Actions And Holding Four Stakeholder Meetings With Labor And Business Leaders

FREEING UP THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM: President Trump made two Presidential actions to better enable the financial system to promote job creation and serve all Americans

• On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order to regulate the financial system in a way that protects consumers while promoting economic growth and job creation.
• On Friday, President Trump issued a memorandum to prevent the unintended consequences of financial fiduciary rules from limiting economic opportunity and American’s investments.

HEARING FROM STAKEHOLDERS: Throughout the week, President Trump met with labor and business leaders to get input on how best to jumpstart job creation for all Americans.

• On Monday, President Trump met with small business owners to get input on how to spur job creation and help businesses like theirs succeed.
• On Tuesday, President Trump met with leaders in the pharmaceutical industry to discuss how jobs can be brought back to America and reduce prices so all Americans can afford quality healthcare.
• On Thursday, President Trump met with the executives of Harley-Davidson and union representatives to encourage American manufacturing.
• On Friday, President Trump met with his economic advisory council to discuss ways to deliver jobs to all Americans.

To Start African American History Month, President Trump Honored The History Of The African American Community And Their Vast Contribution To American Society

• On Wednesday, President Trump met with African American community leaders to honor their contribution and listen to their input on what can be done to improve the lives of all Americans.
• The same day, President Trump signed a proclamation honoring February 2017 as Black History Month.

Despite Historic Democratic Obstructionism, President Trump Continued To Get His Cabinet Nominees Confirmed By Congress

• On Tuesday, Elaine Chao was sworn in as President Trump’s Secretary of Transportation.
• On Wednesday, Rex Tillerson was sworn in as President Trump’s Secretary of State.

President Trump Held Three Conversations With Foreign Leaders To Promote American Interests Around The Globe

• On Sunday, President Trump spoke with King Salman bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia on creating safe zones in Syria and Yemen to help refugees and strict enforcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran.
• On Sunday, President Trump spoke with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan of the United Arab Emirates to reaffirm the strong partnership between both countries and combating radical Islamic terrorism.
• On Sunday, President Trump spoke with Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn of the Republic of Korea on the important of the their mutual alliance and defending against North Korea.
• On Thursday, President Trump met with King Abdullah II of Jordan where he conveyed the U.S.’s commitment to Jordan’s stability and defeating ISIS.

To Further Protect America’s Cyber Security, President Trump Met With Experts

• On Tuesday, President Trump held a listening session with cyber security experts to help fulfill his campaign promise of securing America against cyber threats.

President Trump Spoke At The National Prayer Breakfast

• On Thursday, President Trump continued to champion repealing the Johnson Amendment to allow representatives of faith to speak freely and without retribution.

President Trump Commemorated American Heart Month

• On Friday, President Trump proclaimed February 2017 as American Heart Month.

President Trump Recognized National Catholic Schools Week

• On Friday, President Trump issued a letter recognizing National Catholic Schools week.

In Two Weeks Of Action, The President Has Been Relentless In This Effort To Make America Great Again

21 Presidential Actions
16 Meetings With Foreign Leaders
10 Stakeholder Meetings
6 Cabinet Members Sworn-In
4 National Proclamations
3 Agency Visits
2 Speeches
1 Legislation signed into law
1 Supreme Court Nomination
1 Manufacturing Initiative Launch
1 Thank-You Reception
1 Letter Of Recognition

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/04/president-trumps-second-week-action

Courtesy of DSD…

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Trump’s ‘No Enter’ order splits America…Poll…

But NOT as much as one would think according to a Huffington Post/You Gov Poll…

Americans are split in their opinions of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds, with the divides falling largely along partisan lines.

Forty-eight percent of Americans approve of Trump’s executive order banning travel for people from seven Muslim-majority countries ― Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen ― for 90 days, and suspending the admission of refugees for 120 days, while 44 percent disapprove. Intensity is nearly equal on both sides, with 33 percent strongly approving, and 34 percent strongly disapproving.

Views on implementation of the ban are also divided, with 41 percent saying the government has done a somewhat or very good job carrying it out, and 38 percent that the government’s handling of it has been not very good or not good at all.

About a third of the public, 34 percent, say the ban is “good the way it is,” with 19 percent saying “it’s basically a good idea, but it goes too far” and 36 percent that it’s “basically a bad idea.”

Despite the administration’s insistence otherwise, a 52 percent majority of Americans say the ban is intended to target Muslims, with just 29 percent saying that they don’t think it is….

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Trump transition people fail to do background vetting First….

And it is causing Trump ‘s Administration picks problems….

Oh, and Chris Christie TRYING to run things in the beginning didn’t help at ALL….Now the media is a doing some of the leg work and getting headlines for it….

Actually?

NO ONE THOUGHT TRUMP WOULD WIN…..

According to a person involved in the process, a team led by Gov. Chris Christie initially provided a cursory vetting of more than 200 proposed nominees before the election.

That list included a number of people Trump eventually picked to join his Cabinet. But the review was based on publicly available documents, rather than questionnaires or interviews, because the team didn’t want the names of those under consideration to leak, this person said. “Many of the Cabinet members were on the list,” this person said.

Amid the shock and jubilation at Trump Tower in the days that followed the election, a transition operation was re-established under the control of Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

The office, based in Washington while the president-elect remained in New York, was staffed by a number of attorneys with experience overseeing transitions and preparing nominees for their congressional hearings. Several of them were new to the Trump operation. “No one thought they were going to win, so they didn’t have a lot of people,” said one source close to the campaign.

The process bore little resemblance to the one conducted in 2012 by Romney, who wanted FBI background checks and other reviews conducted to unearth red flags before the press or opposition researchers could. Trump told his aides to not conduct a background check on him.

After the election, Trump’s team took a largely dismissive approach to paperwork in the weeks after the election, two people involved said…..

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Trump on Healthcare replacement….‘insurance for everybody’….

That’s what the guy said this weekend….

No details as usual…..

And of coures no cost estimate’s….

Problem is?

Trump doesn’t DO the details….

Congress does….

And within his adopted Republican party there are questions and doubts already….

And the Democrats, who WILL be needed in the Senate for a replacment, are just watching this whole thing swing in the wind….

President-elect Donald Trump said in a weekend interview that he is nearing completion of a plan to replace President Obama’s signature health-care law with the goal of “insurance for everybody,” while also vowing to force drug companies to negotiate directly with the government on prices in Medicare and Medicaid.

Trump declined to reveal specifics in the telephone interview late Saturday with The Washington Post, but any proposals from the incoming president would almost certainly dominate the Republican effort to overhaul federal health policy as he prepares to work with his party’s congressional majorities.

Trump’s plan is likely to face questions from the right, after years of GOP opposition to further expansion of government involvement in the health-care system, and from those on the left, who see his ideas as disruptive to changes brought by the Affordable Care Act that have extended coverage to tens of millions of Americans….

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Conservatives push for Congressional Term Limits….

No chance of this passing…

But it continues the pushing against the political establishment by some in BOTH parties …..

Honestly?

People I have spoken to ain’t happy if this is gonna result in MORE Donald Trump types getting elected….

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) have already offered a constitutional amendment that would limit senators to two six-year terms and House members to three- two-year terms. Several other lawmakers are preparing to roll out similar legislation.

And the far-right House Freedom Caucus, to which DeSantis belongs, has been discussing whether to take a formal position in the coming weeks to support restricting congressional terms.

Term-limit proponents have a key ally in Trump, who will be sworn in as president on Friday. On the campaign trail, the political outsider and billionaire business mogul vowed to press for term limits and end the “decades of failure in Washington and decades of special interest dealing.”

But Trump faces huge hurdles in trying to enact such reforms. For one, the institution of Congress is slow to change, run by leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who’ve spent decades roaming the halls of the Capitol.
Second, changing term limits requires a constitutional amendment, meaning any proposal will need to clear a two-thirds threshold in both the House and Senate, then be sent to the states for ratification.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who is starting his 10th House term, has said he’s “always” backed term limits but that he won’t be the one leading the charge. Instead, he said he’d leave it to the Judiciary Committee to take up the issue — yet another hurdle…..

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Personally?

I’m against the idea….

You don’t the politican?

Vote’m out….

Barack Obama would have beat Donald Trump and had a 3rd term saving all of us from the Bull Shit show going on….

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Sen. Lamar Alexander floats Obamacare transtion plan…Things WILL take time in his plan….

While the Media has been reporting on the Immediate Repeal /Replace notion….

The REALITY is that few Republicans have an actual plan to replace the Affiordable Healthcare Law…

Furthermore ?

A LOT of the existing law IS gonna be left in place…..

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has offered up a start in how Republicans would move ahead….His plan (Which may not be THE plan) leaves the program IN TACT for a while, something that WILL be in the final process no matter what some Republicans are saying to media….

…….“If they don’t want to crash the system this is the only way they can proceed, which is very carefully,” said Timothy Jost, a health law specialist at the Washington and Lee who is supportive of Obamacare. “Not following President-elect Trump in trying to replace it in one hour, but rather by taking time to disassemble it, in a very thoughtful and careful basis.’

In his speech, Alexander proposed holding off on full repeal until an alternative has been offered, in likely a piecemeal fashion. In the meantime, he pitched a set of short-term measures that would keep insurers incentivized to stay in the marketplaces while a replacement could be hashed out. Those measures included maintaining certain subsidies to insurers promised by the Affordable Care Act, as well as a continuation of the Obamacare individual marketplaces, but with the option for consumers to use their tax credits on state-approved plans outside of the exchanges.

“These are standard, reasonable ideas,” said Joseph Antos, a health policy scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, “which is a sign we’ve seen, not just from Sen. Alexander, but others in the Senate, especially, that they will go along with a repeal bill but as part of that they want to signal very strongly — either with an actual bill or signal very strongly — what will go in a mainstream replace bill.”

Congressional leaders have promised that in theory replacement measures will come after the law is repealed, but they have offered few details about what proposals are on the table or even the timing to expect them. This has prompted a fair number of Republicans to express their discomfort with repealing Obamacare without a replacement ready. Alexander has taken the next step of elaborating on his ideas for going from the ACA through a transition period and ultimately into a replacement….

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Note….

While the Republicans cand and will repeal the Healthcare Law….

Any replacement will need Democratic support in the Senate….

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TRUMP ADMINISTRATION UPDATED PICKS AS OF JAN. 11, 2017

Officially-announced choices as 2:30 p.m. EST Wednesday 11 January 2017

Only Cabinet Secretary still be chosen is the Sec. of Agriculture.

The only other open office currently of Cabinet status which I can see at a glance is the Chairmanship of the Council of Economic Advisers….

**********

Department of State
Secretary – Rex Tillerson
Ambassador to the United Nations – Nikki Haley
Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China – Terry Branstad
Ambassador to the State of Israel – David Friedman
Special Trade Representative – Robert Lighthizer
Special Representative for International Negotiatons – Jason Greenblatt

Department of the Treasury
Secretary – Steven Mnuchin

Department of Defense
Secretary of Defense – Gen. James Mattis
Secretary of the Army – Vincent Viola
Secretary of the Navy – ??
Secretary of the Air Force – ??

Department of Justice
Attorney-General of the U.S. – Jeff Sessions
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (fixed-term) – James Comey
Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration – ??

Department of the Interior
Secretary – Ryan Zinke
National Park Service – ??
Bureau of Indian Affairs – ??
Bureau of Land Management – ??

Department of Agriculture
??

Department of Commerce
Secretary – Wilbur Ross
Deputy Secretary – Todd Ricketts

Department of Labor
Secretary – Andy Puzder

Department of Health & Human Services
Secretary – Tom Price
Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – Seema Verma
Commissioner of Food and Drugs (FDA) – ??
Surgeon-General of the U.S. – ??

Department of Housing & Urban Development
Secretary – Dr Ben Carson

Department of Transportation
Secretary – Elaine Chao

Department of Energy
Secretary – Rick Perry

Department of Education
Secretary – Betsy DeVos

Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Secretary – Dr David Shulkin

Department of Homeland Security
Secretary – Gen. James Kelley
Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency – ??

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

National Security Council
National Security Advisor – Gen. Michael Flynn
Deputy National Security Advisor – Kathleen T. McFarland
Chief of Staff – Lt Gen. Keith Kellogg
Senior Director of Strategic Communications – Monica Crowley

Homeland Security & Counterterrorism Advisor
Special Assistant to the President – Thomas Bossert

Director of National Intelligence
Director – Dan Coats
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency – Mike Pompeo

Office of Management & Budget
Director – Mick Mulvaney

National Economic Council
Chairman – Gary Cohn

Council of Economic Advisors
Chairman – ??

Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator – Scott Pruitt

Small Business Administration
Administrator – Linda McMahon

Securities & Exchange Commission
Chairman – Jay Clayton

National Trade Council (new)
Chairman – Peter Navarro
Deputy Director for the Defense Industrial Base – Alexander Gray
Deputy Director for “Buy American, Hire American” – Rolf Lundberg

Domestic Policy Council
Director – Andrew Bremberg
Deputy Director – Paul Winfree
staff:
Healthcare Policy – Kay Talento
Urban Affairs & Revitalzation – Ja’Ron Smitth
Education Policy – Rob Goad
Justice and Homeland Security Policy – John Zadrozny
Regulatory Reform, Legal and Immigration Policy  – Zina Bash
Senior Policy Analyst – Peter J. White

*******************************************************************

Office of the President
Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus
Deputy Chief of Staff – Katie Walsh
Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations – Joe Haglin
Legislative Affairs, Intergovernmental Affairs & Cabinet Affairs – Rick Dearborn
Chief Strategist – Steve Bannon
Counsel to the President – Donald F. McGahn II
Counselor to the President – Kellyanne Conway
Special Advisor on Regulatory Reform – Carl Icahn

Presidential communications staff
Press Secretary – Sean Spicer
Director of Strategic Communicatons – Hope Hicks
Director of Communications – Jason Miller (withdrew)
Director of Social Media – Dan Scavino

 

Senior Adviser to the President for Policy 
Senior Adviser- Stephen J. Miller
Director of Policy and Interagency Coordination – Carlos Diaz-Rosillo
Advisor for Policy, Strategy and Speechwriting – Vince Haley
Advisor for Policy, Strategy and Speechwriting  – Ross Worthington
Advisor for Policy Development and Speechwriting – Ryan Jarmula
Special Assistant to the Senior Advisor  – Robert Gabriel

Note….

Cabinet Secretaries and some others will need US Senate confirmation …..Those hearings before the US Senate have begun….

Courtesy of DSD

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Trump’s son-in-law to work in the White House…

Image result for jared kushner

Jared Kushner, who married Trump’s daughter Ivanka, is thought to to be the last person Donald Trump speaks to before making a decision …

He, like his father-in-law is a businessman….

He will have enormus power in the Trump adminsistatrion….

(Many hope he can be a moderating one to his father-in-law)

He’s a piece on the New Yorker, who is moving to Washington and will live down the road from Barack Obama….

Until very recently, and to all outward appearances, Jared Kushner was just another socially striving young businessman with inoffensively Bloombergian political values. But over the past year, something seems to have changed — in his beliefs, in his manner, in his relationship to his peers among New York City’s elite….

“Jared Kushner is the man,” said Stephen Schwarzman, the private-equity billionaire, as he introduced Trump’s emissary. (This account is based on interviews with multiple attendees.) Kushner, the 35-year-old husband of Ivanka, Trump’s favorite child, sat in a director’s chair, wearing a gray sweater and blazer over an open-collared shirt and a pair of gleaming white sneakers. He still has a boyish mien and a polite, ingratiating manner. But these days, he carries himself with the assurance of a man who just received the ultimate validation.

With little experience, and against all predictions to the contrary, Kushner had managed Trump’s way to the White House, and was now poised to be his most trusted adviser and enforcer in the West Wing. This left many of the staid business leaders in the audience confused about whether Kushner really shared their values and worldview — indeed, whether he had ever really belonged to their world at all.

Many were hoping — perhaps desperately — that Trump, a formerly unthinkable president, might at heart be a pragmatic dealmaker. If that were true, then maybe he could be moved by Kushner’s quiet advice, and maybe all his maximalist stances — build the wall, ban the Muslims, bring on the nuclear-arms race — were negotiable. After the election, the financial markets were buoyed in part by this (still unproven) theory. Three days before Kushner’s appearance, the Dow had closed at a record high. He had come to offer a message to his old friends: Be unafraid….

More….

image…Town and Country Mag

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Trump orders ambassadors to come home ASAP…

 By David Nir   @ Daily Kos….

Belgium's Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo (L) welcomes US Ambassador Denise Bauer prior to their meeting on November 5, 2013, in Brussels. AFP PHOTO / BELGA / BENOIT DOPPAGNE ***BELGIUM OUT*** (Photo credit should read BENOIT DOPPAGNE/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Ambassador Denise Bauer with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo. Bauer is being forced to return to the U.S. even though her daughter is just months from graduating high school. 

It wouldn’t be a story about Donald Trump if it didn’t start with “in a break with precedent.” In this case, it’s a break with decades of precedent: Trump has told all politically appointed U.S. ambassadors around the world that they must return home by Inauguration Day, full stop, end of story, consequences be damned.

And the consequences are plenty. For starters, it means that America won’t have diplomats in place in many countries by the time Trump is sworn in. That’s a situation that would endure for months, since the Senate has to actually confirm each new ambassador, one by one. It’s also liable to frighten our allies and embolden our not-so-allies, though if anything, that’s probably to Trump’s liking.

But it’s for exactly these reasons that past presidents have always made exceptions, even for political appointees from the other party, to ensure continuity in our diplomatic relations, and also just not to be raging dicks to people who’ve gone overseas to serve our country. Lots of them, for instance, have families and young children abroad with them—children who are in the middle of their school year. Without visas, these people can’t remain in their host countries and are scrambling to either find a way to stay, or to uproot their kids and place them in new schools back home.

It’s fucking obnoxious, is what it is:

In Costa Rica, Ambassador Stafford Fitzgerald Haney is hunting for a house or an apartment as his family—which includes four school-age children and his wife, who has been battling breast cancer—struggles to figure out how to avoid a move back to the United States with five months left in the school year, according to the diplomats.

Some anonymous Trump apparatchik claimed “there was no ill will in the move,” so of course that means there was. And you can be doubly sure, because you know who didn’t have to uproot her child in the middle of his school year when her husband suddenly had to leave town? Oh right!

At a White House farewell reception that Mr. Obama held on Wednesday night for noncareer ambassadors, many of them commiserated, attendees said, comparing notes about how to handle the situation.

Some expressed dismay that Mr. Trump, whose wife, Melania, has chosen to stay in New York to avoid moving the couple’s 10-year-old son, Barron, to a new school midyear, would not ensure that such allowances were made for American ambassadors.

Yeah, her. But none of Obama’s ambassadors. Who needs ambassadors, right? Not Donald Trump. He has a very good brain, uses the best words, and knows more than the generals, so he definitely knows more than our ambassadors do—I mean, he’s obviously terrific at diplomacy.

This is yet another reason why Senate Democrats need to grill the living daylights out of Rex Tillerson, the oilman who’s Trump’s nominee for secretary of state and would be in charge of our diplomatic corps. Does Tillerson think it’s a good idea to leave our embassies leaderless for an indefinite length of time, and to send a message to future diplomats that you’ll be treated like shit once your term is over? And if not, what does he plan to do about it?

If he doesn’t have good answers—and he won’t—Chuck Schumer & Co. need to do everything in their power to thwart Tillerson’s nomination. We’ll be watching.

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Trump Administration Updated picks as of Jan. 4, 2017

The new list, as of 2:30 p.m. EST, Wednesday 4 January:

Department of State
Secretary – Rex Tillerson
Ambassador to the United Nations – Nikki Haley
Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China – Terry Branstad
Ambassador to the State of Israel – David Friedman
Special Trade Representative – Robert Lighthizer
Special Representative for International Negotiatons – Jason Greenblatt

Department of the Treasury
Secretary – Steven Mnuchin

Department of Defense
Secretary of Defense – Gen. James Mattis
Secretary of the Army – Vincent Viola
Secretary of the Navy – ??
Secretary of the Air Force – ??

Department of Justice
Attorney-General of the U.S. – Jeff Sessions
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (fixed-term) – James Comey
Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration – ??

Department of the Interior
Secretary – Ryan Zinke
National Park Service – ??
Bureau of Indian Affairs – ??
Bureau of Land Management – ??

Department of Agriculture
??

Department of Commerce
Secretary – Wilbur Ross
Deputy Secretary – Todd Ricketts

Department of Labor
Secretary – Andy Puzder

Department of Health & Human Services
Secretary – Tom Price
Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – Seema Verma
Commissioner of Food and Drugs (FDA) – ??
Surgeon-General of the U.S. – ??

Department of Housing & Urban Development
Secretary – Dr Ben Carson

Department of Transportation
Secretary – Elaine Chao

Department of Energy
Secretary – Rick Perry

Department of Education
Secretary – Betsy DeVos

Department of Veterans’ Affairs
??

Department of Homeland Security
Secretary – Gen. James Kelley
Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency – ??

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Office of the President
Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus
Deputy Chief of Staff – Katie Walsh
Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations – Joe Haglin
Legislative Affairs, Intergovernmental Affairs & Cabinet Affairs – Rick Dearborn
Chief Strategist – Steve Bannon
Counsel to the President – Donald F. McGahn II
Counselor to the President – Kellyanne Conway
Special Advisor on Regulatory Reform – Carl Icahn

Presidential communications staff
Press Secretary – Sean Spicer
Director of Strategic Communicatons – Hope Hicks
Director of Communications – Jason Miller (withdrew)
Director of Social Media – Dan Scavino

National Security Council
National Security Advisor – Gen. Michael Flynn
Deputy National Security Advisor – Kathleen T. McFarland
Chief of Staff – Lt Gen. Keith Kellogg
Senior Director of Strategic Communications – Monica Crowley

Homeland Security & Counterterrorism Advisor
Special Assistant to the President – Thomas Bossert

Director of National Intelligence – (Dan Coats?)
Director – ??
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency – Mike Pompeo

Office of Management & Budget
Director – Mick Mulvaney

National Economic Council
Chairman – Gary Cohn

National Trade Council (new)
Chairman – Peter Navarro

Council of Economic Advisors
Chairman – ??

Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator – Scott Pruitt

Small Business Administration
Administrator – Linda McMahon

Securities & Exchange Commission
Chairman – Jay Clayton

Note….

Cabinet Secretaries and some others will need US Senate confirmation …..

Courtesy of DSD….

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Trump Administration Updated picks as of Jan. 3, 2017

List revised and updated to 8 p.m. Tuesday 3 January 2017:

Department of State 
Secretary – Rex Tillerson
Ambassador to the United Nations – Nikki Haley
Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China – Terry Branstad
Ambassador to the State of Israel – David Friedman
Special Trade Representative – Robert Lightizer
Special Representative for International Negotiatons – Jason Greenblatt

Department of the Treasury 
Secretary – Steven Mnuchin

 Department of Defense 
Secretary of Defense – Gen. James Mattis
Secretary of the Army – Vincent Viola
Secretary of the Navy – ??
Secretary of the Air Force – ??

Department of Justice 
Attorney-General of the U.S. – Jeff Sessions
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (fixed-term) – James Comey
Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration – ??

 Department of the Interior 
Secretary – Ryan Zinke
National Park Service – ??
Bureau of Indian Affairs – ??
Bureau of Land Management – ??

Department of Agriculture 
??

 Department of Commerce 
Secretary – Wilbur Ross
Deputy Secretary – Todd Ricketts

Department of Labor 
Secretary – Andy Puzder

 Department of Health & Human Services 
Secretary – Tom Price
Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – Seema Verma
Commissioner of Food and Drugs (FDA) – ??
Surgeon-General of the U.S. – ??

 Department of Housing & Urban Development 
Secretary – Dr Ben Carson

 Department of Transportation 
Secretary – Elaine Chao

 Department of Energy 
Secretary – Rick Perry

 Department of Education 
Secretary – Betsy DeVos

Department of Veterans’ Affairs 
??

 Department of Homeland Security 
Secretary – Gen. James Kelley
Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency – ??

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Office of the President 
Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus
Chief Strategist – Steve Bannon
Counsel to the President – Donald F. McGahn II
Counselor to the President – Kellyanne Conway
Special Advisor on Regulatory Reform – Carl Icahn

Presidential communications staff 
Press Secretary – Sean Spicer
Director of Strategic Communicatons – Hope Hicks
Director of Communications – Jason Miller
Director of Social Media – Dan Scavino

 National Security Council 
National Security Advisor – Gen. Michael Flynn
Deputy National Security Advisor – Kathleen T. McFarland
Chief of Staff – Lt Gen. Keith Kellogg
Senior Director of Strategic Communications – Monica Crowley

 Homeland Security & Counterterrorism Advisor
Special Assistant to the President – Thomas Bossert

Director of National Intelligence 
Director – ??
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency – Mike Pompeo

 Office of Management & Budget 
Director – Mick Mulvaney

 National Economic Council 
Chairman – Gary Cohn

National Trade Council (new)
Chairman – Peter Navarro

 Council of Economic Advisors 
Chairman – ??

 Environmental Protection Agency 
Administrator – Scott Pruitt

 Small Business Administration 
Administrator – Linda McMahon

Note….

Cabinet Secretaries and some others will need US Senate confirmation …..

Courtesy of DSD…..

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Key Calendar Date’s for 2017….

The Washington Post  lists Political, Governmental, Sports and what else dates to mark on your calander if ya much care….

The liberal world order faces existential threats in the year ahead, as Donald Trump tries to eviscerate Barack Obama’s legacy, Vladimir Putin maneuvers to install additional allies in other western capitals and Angela Merkel seeks to survive the continuing populist backlash.

The Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal are in danger. The future of Syria, Ukraine and the South China Sea hang in the balance.

The stock market is surging and consumers are more confident, but the economy is fragile and CEOs are terrified that the new president might target their business next. The Federal Reserve increased interest rates for the second time in a decade last month, and the board plans to do so again in 2017. But how much and when remains unclear.

There are many other “known unknowns” about the coming 12 months. Congress will vote to “repeal Obamacare,” but what comes next? Will conservatives cave on a trillion-dollar infrastructure package, ballooning the deficit? Will the Wall Street guys who Trump has stocked his government with be able to stop him from launching destructive trade wars? How young will Antonin Scalia’s replacement be?

There are also “unknown unknowns.” The hard truth is that more terrorist attacks, perhaps on American soil, are inevitable. There are scandals we can foresee, but many others we cannot. And we’re being careful not to offer firm forecasts after so much conventional wisdom turned out to be so wrong last year. As Yogi Berra said: It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.

Since the start of the decade, I’ve produced an annual list of notable dates to prepare for in the upcoming year. It’s a useful exercise that forces planning and facilitates longer-term thinking. The 2016, 2015 and 2014 versions hold up well. Continuing the tradition, here is what I am putting on my calendar for 2017…..

Jan. 3: The 115th Congress convenes today. Republicans have control of both chambers and the presidency for the first time since 2006 and now plan to push the most ambitious conservative policy agenda since the 1920s.

Jan. 4: Dueling Obamacare rallies. President Obama visits the Capitol for a photo opp/pep rally with congressional Democrats about the importance of defending the Affordable Care Act, while Mike Pence visits his old stomping grounds to discuss repealing it.

 

Jan. 5: John McCain holds a hearing on Russia’s election-year hacking. Liberated by his reelection, the 2008 Republican nominee may emerge once again as the main maverick in the Senate. Trump wants to move onto “bigger and better things,” whatever that means, but the former POW still has scars from his service on the frontlines of the Cold War. Literally. So he’s not about to look the other way as an ascendant Russia wages a quiet war against the United States just because his party now controls the White House. The Director of National Intelligence and the head of the National Security Agency are among the witnesses that Mack the Knife is hauling before his Armed Services Committee. (Walter Pincus has more in his new column this morning.)

Jan. 10: Obama delivers his farewell address. The White House said yesterday that the speech at McCormack Place, where Obama spoke on election night in 2012, will “offer some thoughts on where we all go from here.” Since George Washington began the practice in 1796, farewell addresses have often been among a president’s most memorable speeches, often played on a loop in their libraries. Recall Dwight Eisenhower’s prescient warning about “the military-industrial complex” and Ronald Reagan’s inspiring paean to “the shining city upon a hill.

 

Jan. 20: Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. Watch for a flurry of executive orders and bill signings during the hours after he’s sworn in. The transition team will huddle this week to discuss which ones will get top billing.

Jan. 21: Demonstrators will gather on the National Mall for the 2017 “Women’s March on Washington,” protesting the newly-minted President Trump. The event is expected to attract thousands….

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19 States will have higher Minimum wage hikes after Jan. 1, 2017

These gains have been done Locally or on State levels….

The minimum wages in Colorado and Maine will grow by smaller margins, but will wind up at $12 an hour by 2020 as well.

Washington State voters passed Initiative 1433, which will raise the minimum wage to $13.50 an hour by 2020. Washington is home to SeaTac, the first city in America to raise its lowest wage to $15 an hour, though that rate only applies to workers at Seattle’s airport.

Workers in California and New York are also getting pay bumps as part of their own incremental increases. California’s lowest wage will hit $15 an hour by 2020.

Seven states — Alaska, Missouri, Florida, Ohio, Montana, South Dakota and New Jersey — are raising minimum wages by tiny margins of ten cents and hour or less. Those states have indexed the minimum wage to inflation, or to the Consumer Price Index, meaning workers get annual — though usually pretty small — raises.

Workers in Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan and Vermont will also get pay raises beginning the first of the year. Two more states, Maryland and Oregon, will see minimum wages increase by July.

Voters in the District of Columbia also approved a wage increase for the lowest-paid workers, to $10.10 an hour.

About two dozen cities also voted, either through city councils or in voter referenda, to hike the minimum wage. Seattle workers will make at least $15 an hour beginning in January, while those who work at the airport in SeaTac will make $15.35 an hour.

Workers in New York City will ring in the new year at $11 an hour. The Portland, Maine, minimum wage will rise to $10.68 per hour. And thirteen cities in California will see boosted minimum wages, from $13 an hour in Mountain View and Sunnyvale to $10.50 an hour in San Jose and Sacramento.

Governmentwage increase has lost at the ballot box for about a decade….

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