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Friday, 31 March 2017


Dateline: March 26, 2017

How Trump Spent His Time Between Being Elected And His Inauguration
For starters he spent a lot of time watching TV according to his Tweets.
In Trump’s acceptance speech he promised to work hard at uniting the country. How did that work out?
It was no big surprise that Trump couldn’t stop bragging about his election win. If anyone thought he was going to pivot and become a more serious politician (as in being an adult) they were wrong. He was still using Twitter every day and ranting about petty things.
Almost immediately the guy who was supposed to head Trump’s transition team, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, was ousted in a coup. A decade ago Christie had sent Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner’s father off to a federal penitentiary for criminal activities. VP Mike Pence took over Christie’s duties.
It didn’t take long for Trump to get into some spats with some other world leaders including the Prime Minister of Australia who Trump hung up on during a phone call and the President of Mexico who Trump tried to browbeat. Trump also made the US’s NATO allies nervous.
Candidates for cabinet positions filed into Trump Tower to be interviewed by Trump. Some who had condemned Trump before the election looked like they were begging, including Mitt Romney. It soon became pretty obvious that Trump was going to nominate the most extreme Republicans he could find to fill the cabinet posts.
During the transition Trump flew off to a few rallies to get a reaffirmation of the devotion of his followers. It was like he was still running for president.
With the inauguration coming up, Trump and the Republicans were struggling to find grade A entertainers to perform at the inauguration balls. The best they could do was  16 year old singer Jackie Evancho who had competed on the TV show America’s Got Talent. The irony in her accepting the singing job at the inaugural of the Republican president is that Ms. Evancho’s sister is transgender. President Obama had passed a law protecting transgender kids in schools across the US. One of the first things the Republican congress did was kill that law and let the states decide how to treat transgender kids in schools.

Trump being sworn in.
Trump bragged that more people came out to his inauguration than ever before. Photos of Obama’s first inauguration clearly proved that Trump was greatly mistaken.
Trump’s Inner Circle
There have been some constants and some morphing in Trump’s inner circle of advisors from the time he first decided to run for president. He dismissed 2 of his campaign managers, Paul Manafort and Corey Lewandowski, before settling on Kellyanne Conway. At the beginning of his campaign it looked like Trump was getting a lot of advice from Newt Gingrich and former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani.
Ivanka Trump (Scary)

Trump’s daughter Ivanka is closer to him than anyone else. They totally adore each other. Like her father, she grew up wealthy and joined the family business. She is often presented as a very smart businesswoman. Apparently her acumen wasn’t missed by her businesses in 2016 as she spent long periods of time on the campaign trail with her dad.
For some strange reason (not really) Ivanka Trump is known as Ivanka Trump even though she has been married to Jared Kushner for 8 years and has 3 children with him.
At one point Donald Trump attacked the department store chain Nordstrom’s for dropping Ivanka’s line of products as if people should have to buy her stuff because he is the president. Nordstrom’s sells sneakers for as much as 500 dollars and more and sometimes they have a person playing a grand piano while shoppers wander about. I know this because I’ve seen it first hand at their flagship store in Seattle. This isn’t a place most Americans can afford to shop at.
Ivanka has White House security clearance and now has a second floor office. She still has no official title.
Jared Kushner (Very Scary)

Jared Kushner is a wealthy Jewish NYC based real estate developer. Like his father in-law he grew up wealthy and joined the family business. His father often donated money to the colleges Jared attended. His father also raised money to build Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine.
Kushner has been at Trump’s side since Trump decided to run. One has to wonder how he managed to run his business empire while being away for close to a year.
Kushner has no political experience at all other than being a part of Trump’s campaign. On January 22nd he was sworn in as Senior White House Advisor. He and his wife and kids now own a home in Washington, DC.
Trump put Kushner in charge of brokering a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal. Both Kushner and his wife Ivanka frequently sit in on key meetings at the White House and private conversations with foreign leaders.
Kushner, his wife Ivanka, and their kids are Orthodox Jews and they don’t work on Saturdays. Recently Kushner and Ivanka took their family on a ski vacation to Aspen during spring break. Kushner was on the slopes while Donald Trump was trying to push through the Republican healthcare bill.
A few days ago Trump put Kushner in charge of reinventing the way the federal government does business and being the primary contact for foreign leaders.
Kellyanne Conway (Very Scary)

Before Conway became Trump’s campaign manager she worked for Ted Cruz. When she was with Cruz she claimed that Trump was extreme and not a conservative. Like her or not she was an asset in getting Trump elected.

Once Trump got elected Conway started to go off the rails. She called the lies told by Trump and the White House “alternative facts”. At one point she made up a story about “The Bowling Green Massacre”. There was no such thing. She also pitched Ivanka Trump’s clothes brand on TV. Ms. Conway told so many lies that TV networks started to refuse to have her on as a guest.
A pro-life advocate, Ms. Conway recently confessed that in her younger years she had driven more than one friend to a hospital to have an abortion and in fact helped pay for the procedures.
General Mike Flynn (Extremely Scary)

Flynn joined the Trump campaign in February of 2016 as Trump’s chief military advisor. He had previously been a general in the Obama administration but was dismissed for being a disruptive manager with weird ideas.

In 2015 Flynn attended a gala in Moscow and gave a paid speech. At that time Flynn and his son were running a consulting business that included working and lobbying for foreign clients including Turkey.
Flynn’s son Michael is a total crackpot and a creator of “fake news”. He’s the guy that created the bullshit story about Hillary Clinton running a child prostitution ring out of a pizza parlor. Michael Flynn was so off the wall that he was fired from the Trump transition team.
A number of times during Trump’s campaign Flynn would lead the crowds in chanting “lock her up”, revving up their hate for Hilary Clinton.
At the end of December 2016 President Obama had 35 Russians sent home from the US and applied other sanctions against Russia after it was proven that Russia had interfered in the US’s election process. Russia did not retaliate.
In early February of 2017 General Flynn denied having talks with the Russians in December of 2016 about the removal of the sanctions once Trump was inaugurated. Vice President Mike Pence backed him up but it was later found out that Flynn had lied to him. Flynn’s 24 day tenure as National Security Advisor was the shortest term in the 63 year history of the office. He gave his resignation on February 13, 2017.
Steve Bannon (Extremely Scary)

The scariest person in Trump’s inner circle is Steve Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News, a far right website that has commonly been recognized as the home of the “alt-right”.

Bannon believes that the US is going to go to war with China in 5-10 years. This might explain why so many who are close to Trump want to have stronger ties to Russia. He also claims that godlessness is weakening the West. He has stated a number of times that he wants to destroy the Republican Party. Strange as it may seem, he also claims to be against the wealthy and Corporate America. He has told a story about when he was working for Goldman-Sachs that he realized that those he worked with were closer to people who live in places like Berlin and Moscow than they were to Americans living in places like Kansas and Colorado. Actually that does make some sense.
Bannon is flat out a White Supremacist and racist. He is somebody the world should know a lot more about because he is leading Trump into a pretty dark future. To get a better idea of who Bannon is, I suggest reading an overview of one of his favourite books, The Camp of the Saints.
Tier 2 In The White House
These are some of secondary people in Trump’s White House.
Vice President Mike Pence (Extremely Scary)

Before Pence was chosen to be Trump’s running mate Trump, Trump’s daughter and two older sons, and Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner visited Pence and his family at Pence’s home in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pence was the governor of Indiana at the time and his approval rating was well below 50%. As a devout Christian, Pence spent public tax dollars trying to implement a program that would “degay” gay people.

It has been said that it was Kushner who convinced Trump to go with Pence. He was kind of the perfect fit with lots of contacts to Republicans in the Senate and House. Most important though was that he is very loyal and could be lead about very easily.
It is doubtful that Trump ever asks for Pence’s advice. He’s just a useful tool. Trump knew that General Flynn had lied to Pence and didn’t let Pence know he knew for more than 2 weeks. That’s not a lot of respect for the 2nd in command.
The optics of how little Trump thinks of Pence can often be seen at bill signings at the White House. Once Trump has signed a bill he takes the pen and gives it to Pence over his shoulder without looking at Pence. It is a subtle kind of thing but it speaks volumes.
Sean Spicer (Very Scary)

Spicer is both the White House spokesperson and the White House attack dog. He seems to spend most of his time explaining that Trump didn’t mean something he has said. Spicer is a pushy kind of guy and petty at times. During his time as spokesperson the main stream media has been blocked from some press conferences.

Reince Priebus (Very Scary)

Priebus is Trump’s White House Chief of Staff. He used to be the Republican National Committee chairman. As Chief of Staff he is the gatekeeper to the White House. Reportedly Trump is not thrilled by Priebus’s influencing him to hire Sean Spicer. Priebus has close ties to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and they are both from Wisconsin.  A betting person might guess that both Spicer and Priebus will be not around 6 months from now.

Stephen Miller (Very Scary)

Miller is just 31 years of age. He is Trump’s main speech writer. At one time he was Michele Bachmann’s press secretary. If you think Sarah Palin is looney, Bachmann is loonier still. Miller also worked for current Attorney General Jeff Sessions. During Trump’s campaign, Miller was often the warm-up act throwing the red meat at the crowds.
A few weeks ago Miller went on all of the Sunday morning political TV shows and his basic message was that as president Trump can do whatever he wants and he shouldn’t be questioned about whatever he chooses to do or say.
Trump’s Cabinet Appointments
The Rogues Gallery of Billionaires, Major Political Donors, Denizens Of Wall Street, And Friends of Russia That Trump Selected to “Drain The Swamp”.
About half of the members of Trump’s cabinet are from the American Deep South.
Jeff Sessions-Attorney General (Extremely Scary)

As a senator from Alabama Sessions was one of the first from the Republican establishment to endorse Trump. A short man with a thick southern accent he is kind of the poster boy of a southern “cracker” to many left leaning Americans. His middle name is Beauregard.

He is the ultimate Republican conservative. As a senator he wanted to ban same sex marriage, voted for the Iraq war, was and is against legalized pot and of course Obamacare.
In 1986 he was nominated by President Reagan to be a district judge. 4 justice department lawyers who Sessions worked with stated that he commonly used racially offensive remarks. Martin Luther King’s widow wrote a letter opposing his nomination and in the end he didn’t get the job.
Over 1,400 law professors signed a letter asking the Senate to reject his nomination. It was to no avail. Sessions was appointed Attorney General after a vote of 52 for and 47 against in the Senate on February 9th, 2017.
During his confirmation hearings Sessions told Democratic senator Al Franken that he did not have any communications with the Russian government prior to his appointment. This was later learned to be a lie. He had private meetings with Russian government officials at least twice.
On March 2, 2017 Sessions “recused” himself of being involved in any investigations of Trump’s campaign being connected to the Russians. Basically Sessions is now “damaged goods” in that as the person holding the highest legal office in the US he can’t be involved in a major legal investigation.
Rex Tillerson-Secretary of State (Very Scary)
Tillerson with Putin
Before becoming US Secretary of State Tillerson was the CEO of Exxon/Mobil. He had direct ties to Russian President Vladamir Putin and they knew each other well. Exxon/Mobil and the Russian government were co-investors in oil drilling in the Arctic.
Tillerson was totally opposed to the sanctions President Obama had placed on Russia at the end of 2016 for their interfering in the US election process.
Tillerson has donated over a half a million dollars to the Republican Party in his lifetime.
In 2013 he was awarded “The Order of Friendship” by Russian Premier Putin.
In NIMBY fashion he actively opposed fracking near his home in Irvin, Texas.
Recently Tillerson stated they he never wanted to be Secretary of State and only took the job because his wife thought he should.
He rarely talks to the American press and travels the world with only 1 reporter, a writer for a right wing blog.
Betsy Devos-Secretary of Education (Very Scary)

Devos grew up in Michigan, the daughter of a billionaire auto parts supplier. She married a billionaire herself who is an heir to the Amway fortune. In her lifetime she has donated close to ½ a billion dollars to the Republican Party. Devos’s brother, Erik Prince, is the founder of Blackwater USA, a private military services contractor. (sometimes called mercenaries).
Almost 90% of American children attend public schools. Neither Devos nor her children ever went to a public school. She hates public schools and has spent years trying to redirect tax payer’s dollars away from them towards vouchers for private and charter schools.
Poverty plays a big role in why a number of American students, particularly minorities like blacks, have a hard time passing exams. Most Americans wouldn’t argue with poorer kids getting more scholarships. What Ms. Devos doesn’t address is the obvious, and that is many Americans grow up in really stupid environments where parents often consider bright people to be snobs and eggheads.
The US by and large is a very gullible country. The things that many of them believe are totally shocking including a lot of religious nonsense. Knowledge requires research and time and many Americans are too lazy to make the effort. If you are 18 years of age and can’t name the vice president but came name a number of the 7 dwarves you are simply not very bright. That’s not the teachers fault.
Part of her plan in funding private schools with taxpayer’s dollars is to have the Christian faith taught in grade schools and high schools.
Steve Mnuchin-Secretary of The Treasury (Very Scary)

Mnuchin was a hedge fund manager at Goldman Sachs for 17 years. In 2009, along with some partners, he bought a number of failed banks that were in receivership for below their market values. In the next few years his company foreclosed on over 16,000 elderly clients who had reverse mortgages.
Ben Carson-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (Very Scary)

Carson is a retired neurosurgeon and amazingly dumber than a bag of rocks. He is the lone black person in Trump’s cabinet. For a number of years he was a pitchman for a pharmaceutical corporation that marketed dietary supplements. The corporation was fined 7 million dollars for claiming its products could cure autism and cancer.
In 2015 he decided to run for president and for a short period of time was the front runner among the Republicans. It didn’t last long. Republican voters got past his very slow talking speaking manner and realized that he was totally Looney Tunes.
A deeply religious man and a 7th Day Adventist, he claimed the pyramids were built to store grain. He said that gayness must be a choice because prisoners who are raped in prisons come out gay. He thinks that Obamacare is worse than slavery. Recently he said that black slaves who came to America were low paid immigrants.
A while back he stated that he shouldn’t be a cabinet member because he knows very little about politics or managing a large group of people. It didn’t seem to change Trump’s mind about appointing him.
Wilbur Ross-Secretary of Commerce (Very Scary)

Ross is a billionaire and is known as “the king of bankruptcy”. In 2014 Ross paid 81 million dollars to settle a suit brought against him by shareholders in a merger he had engineered. In August of 2016 he was forced to reimburse investors 11.8 million dollars and fined 2.5 million dollars by the Security and Exchange Commission.
The man is basically a crook.
Tom Price-Secretary of Health and Human Services (Extremely Scary)

Contrary to Price’s and the Republican’s opinions about Obamacare, as of the end of February 2017, more Americans have a favourable opinion of Obamacare than those that don’t.
The pre-existing health condition part of Obamacare and allowing children to be part of their parent’s health care plan were never Republican ideas.
Price is and out and out con man. When asked if anyone who currently has Obamacare will lose their health care coverage, his answer is that he would like to see everyone covered and have “access” to the Republicans plan. It is like him saying that he would like everyone to have “access” to buying a new car. It doesn’t mean much when you don’t have the money to pay for one.
I will write more on the Republican Health Care Plan later in this piece.
Linda McMahon-Administrator of Small Business Administration

McMahon is the wife of Vince McMahon, and both were owners of the World Wrestling Federation. She twice ran for public office and lost. At one point, 10 years after they married, the couple was so broke that they lived on food stamps and filed for bankruptcy.

The McMahons have donated over 5 million dollars to a Trump charity.
It is widely known that almost all professional wrestlers use steroids. More than 100 of them have died before their time in the past 20 years.
Ryan Zinke-Secretary of the Interior (Scary)
Zinke is a former Navy Seal. On his first day in office he rescinded a law that banned the use of lead in fishing tackle or bullets on national wildlife refuges.
Rick Perry-Secretary of Energy (Scary)

Perry is a former governor of Texas and twice ran for president of the US. For a number of years he owned a hunting camp called “Niggerhead”.
In in his 1st run for president he said he would get rid of 3 government agencies but had a brain fart and couldn’t recall the 3rd one. It turned out to be the energy agency which he is now the head of.
Elaine Chao-Secretary of Transport (Not Scary)
Elaine Chao is married to Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. She served 8 years as George W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor. She was born in Taiwan.
James Mattis-Secretary of Defense (Not Scary)
Mattis is a retired Marine general. His selection as Secretary of Defense received almost unanimous approval by both the Democrats and the Republicans. He is considered to be an intellectual by many and has over 1000 books in his personal library.
David Shulkin-Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Not Scary)
Shulkin was unanimously confirmed to his current position. He has a medical background in both the private and public sectors.
John Kelly-Secretary of Homeland Security (Scary)
Kelly is a retired Marine Corps general. One of his sons, also a marine, was killed in Afghanistan. There were only 11 Democratic objections to his appointment in the Senate.
Mike Pompeo- Director of the CIA (Scary)
Pompeo is a former congressman from Kansas who had financial backing from the Koch brothers. He doesn’t believe in climate change. 32 Democratic senators voted against his appointment.
Nikky Haley-US Ambassador to the United Nations (Not Scary)

Haley is the former governor of South Carolina. Her parents imigrated from India to Canada before moving to the US. During the Republican primaries she first backed Marco Rubio and after he dropped out she changed her allegiances to Ted Cruz. She described Trump as “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president”
Scott Pruitt-Administrator of The Environmental Protection Agency (Very Scary)
Pruitt rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. As Attorney General for the state of Oklahoma he was suing machine going after anyone he felt threatened oil producers and other polluters.
Mick Mulvaney-Director of the Office of Management and Budget ( Very Scary)

Mulvaney is a former congressman from South Carolina. In hearings on his appointment it was revealed that he failed to pay $15,000.00 in taxes for a nanny he employed. He also earned over 5 million dollars on a real estate development deal that was mostly funded by public tax dollars.
Sonny Perdue- Secretary of Agriculture (Scary)
Perdue is a former governor of the state of Georgia. For many years he was a Democrat. While he was governor he was personally involved in a number of land deals in Georgia which made him millions.
The Republican Controlled House and Senate
Democrats lost control of the Senate in the last election and now the Republicans control all 3 branches of the US federal government including The White House. The only minor restriction they have is that sometimes 60 votes are needed in the Senate to pass bills.
Paul Ryan-Speaker of the House

Ryan is a huge Ayn Rand fan. He is a career politician with almost zero business experience. His main goal in life appears to be to completely destroy every entitlement program in the US. He is the chief architect of repealing Obamacare. Any political reform concept he has ever presented always includes more tax breaks for the very wealthy.
During his 13 years in Congress he attempted to pass 70 bills and was successful twice, once in the renaming of a post office and the other lowering a tax on arrow shafts.
Like other Republicans before him who claimed to be fiscally responsible, every budget he has presented involved increasing the US national debt considerably. He doesn’t even make an attempt to curb the US military costs.
He has gone all in on killing Obamacare as have the rest of his party. He clearly has no compassion for the less fortunate but what is equally disturbing is that he doesn’t seem to have a clue what insurance is and how it works. He doesn’t understand that healthy people, who often get sick later in life, compensate for older people who are now sick.
Ryan could hardly control his giddiness when Trump was elected president. Now he could do just about anything he wanted without it being vetoed by Obama.
The first thing the Republican run Congress tried to do in 2017 was try and gut the ethics Committee. When that proved unpopular they moved on to trying to sell off federally owned land. This too didn’t go anywhere when the Republicans realized that nobody wanted to buy public land and pay taxes and buy insurance when they could use that land for free.
I will write more on Ryan in regards to the Republican Healthcare plan later in this piece.
Mitch McConnell-Majority Leader of the Senate

Like Paul Ryan, McConnell is a career politician. His political career goes all the way back to 1964. His main claim to fame has been as an obstructionist to anything President Obama wanted to do. Right wing Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia died in February of 2016 and McConnell blocked Obama from replacing him even though Obama had almost a year left in his presidency.
McConnell is one of two Republican senators representing the state of Kentucky. The other is Rand Paul who is a libertarian. Kentucky is one of the poorer states in the US. It ranks 47th in household incomes.
Over 400,000 Kentuckians get their health care through something called Kynect which is basically a part of Obamacare. Kentucky is one of the most federally subsidized states in the union.
Tobacco and coal mining are still significant parts of Kentucky’s economy, 2 products that cause considerable health problems.
Trump’s Russian Connection?
In July of 2015 Trump stated that he didn’t think John McCain was a hero because he had been captured during the Viet Nam War. Trump went on to say that he preferred heroes who weren’t captured. His statement didn’t seem to bother Trump’s fans one iota. I believe it may have been the turning point when Trump realized he could say just about anything negative about America and not get any significant blow back.
Throughout his campaign Trump praised Russian Premier Putin as a great leader. He wasn’t the first Republican president to express admiration for Putin. Years ago Bush Jr. said he looked into Putin’s eyes and said he saw a man who was straightforward and trustworthy.
Even after 17 American intelligence agencies asserted that the Russians had interfered in the US election process including hacking the Democrats, Trump wasn’t buying any of it. After NBC’s Matt Lauer stated that Putin is a murderer Trump responded by saying “You think we don’t have our own killers?”
In August of 2016 Trump said that Russia was not going to go into the Ukraine. He didn’t seem to understand that the Russians were already there.
There are several theories as to why Trump has avoided saying anything negative about Russia. Currently the FBI, Congress, and The Senate are investigating Trump’s connections to Russia and their interference in the US election.
Here are a few of the theories…..
#1 It could be as simple as the Russians having information that they can use to blackmail Trump. Perhaps there are photos of Trump and his friend, financier and registered sexual offender, Jeffrey Epstein, attending parties with underage girls?
#2 Trump has been influenced strongly by Steve Bannon and his worldview. As I stated before, Bannon believes that the US and China will go to war with each other in the next 5-10 years. It is quite possible that Bannon believes that the US could use a powerful ally in fighting either the Chinese or Muslim countries. Russia is a predominantly white country. Former KKK leader David Duke also believes Russia could be a key ally in the future. Russia has had its own internal problems with some Muslims who make up 12-15% of their population.
Here’s some math. There are 340 million people in the US, 144 million people in Russia, 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, and 1.4 billion people in China. The white guys are outnumbered by a ratio of about 6 to 1.
Fighting Muslims in Afghanistan in a costly long term war had a lot to do with the break-up of the Soviet Union.
#3 Follow the money. Years ago US banks stopped lending Trump money after his casinos went bankrupt. He then got some financing through the German Deutsche Bank. This bank operates in over 70 countries worldwide. Over the years this bank has paid billions in fines for illegal business practices including money laundering for the Russian oligarchs.
The Island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea has some similarities to the tax haven countries in the Caribbean. For years now Cyprus was where the Russian oligarchs laundered their money. Trump’s new Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, was at one time the vice chairman of The Bank of Cyprus.
It is doubtful that Trump has ever met Putin in person. He has, however, had direct dealings with the Russians. Several years ago Trump bought a property in Florida for 40 million dollars. 2 years later he sold the property to a Russian oligarch for 100 million dollars making a profit of 60 million dollars.
Trump’s own son, Donald Jr, claimed that at one time that Russian money was pouring into Trump investments.

Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort is an American lobbyist who has represented a number of foreign dictators and at least one guerilla leader. It has been reported that he received close to 13 million dollars for his services representing a pro-Russian Ukrainian president who later fled his country. Manafort became Trump’s second campaign manager in April of 2016. He resigned in August of 2016 and his duties were taken over by Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon.
In August of 2016 the Republican platform was softened in the condemnation of Russia for annexing The Crimea and the sending of Russian troops into Ukraine. In December of 2016, then president Obama kicked 35 Russian diplomats out of the US in response to the Russians interfering in the US election. Putin and Russia did not retaliate. 

Julian Assange
WikiLeaks was founded in 2006 by Australian born Julian Assange who is also its chief spokesperson. He is currently living in political asylum at the Equadorian embassy in London. England.
For the past 10 years WikiLeaks has hacked into various governments and businesses in a number of countries around the world. Quite often they have jeopardized private information about people who are not politically active but merely ordinary citizens. It seems WikiLeaks thinking is that the end justifies the means and collateral damage is not their concern.
What seems to have changed in the past year or two is that WikiLeaks seems to have altered its worldview and that they are picking winners and losers with the winners commonly being the Russians. Recently the CIA was exposed by them with details of how they spy and gather data. There hasn’t been any data produced by WikiLeaks on the activities of the KGB, the Russian oligarchs, or the inner workings of the Republican Party.
There is also something called Guccifer 2.0 that seems to have hacked the Democratic headquarters and passed along data to WikiLeaks. The Russians claim that Guccifer 2.0 is a lone hacker while many in the West believe it is an arm of Russian intelligence.
So far the list of Trump’s associates and advisors who have communicated with the Russians or done business with them includes Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Rex Tillerson, Wilbur Ross, Jeff Sessions, Carter Page, Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, and Rick Gates.
Many in the US media and the left believe that the reason Trump has never shown his tax returns he because they believe he is deeply in debt to Russian businessmen. If Trump has lied to the IRS he could find himself in jail. The IRS usually doesn’t mess around about taxes.
Russia has a lower per capita income than China does and China has 10 times the population. Why all the interest in Russia by a number of Trump’s associates? It certainly isn’t trade. Russia accounts for .2% of all of the US’s imports annually and .1% of the US’s exports annually. Trump’s friends have recognized that since Putin came to power there have been over 150 new billionaires created when there was none before. The oligarchs have hundreds of billions of dollars that they need to get laundered. Any piece of that is a nice chunk of money.
The Trump Timeline Since He Was Elected President
January 20th: Issues executive order to scale back parts of Obamacare.
January 21st: 4 million people around the world protest against Trump in The Women’s March. Trump claims that his inauguration was attended by the most people ever. Facts prove him wrong. He attacks the media.
January 23rd: Claims that Mexican illegals cost him the popular vote. Trump withdraws the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
January 24th: OK’s the Keystone Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline.
January 25th: Issues an executive order to start building a wall at the Mexican border.
January 26th: Suggests that import tax of 20% will be added to Mexican goods to pay for wall. Mexican president cancels meeting with Trump.
January 27th: Suspends the travel of people from 6 Muslim countries to America including Iraq.
January 28th: Speaks to various world leaders by phone, gets into fight with Australian Prime Minister.
January 29TH: Tweets about other things while US Seals go on raid in Yemen. One Seal dies in attack.
January 30th:  Signs an executive order to reduce all federal regulations and fires acting Attorney General, Democrat, Sally Yates.
January 31st: Nominates Neil Gorsuch to fill empty spot on Supreme Court.

February 1st: Goes to Dover Air Force Base for the arrival of dead Seal’s body from Yemen.
February 2nd: Speaks at national prayer breakfast. He warns Israel about new settlements on West Bank.
February 3rd: Orders reviews of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Senior federal judge blocks Trump’s temporary immigration ban.
February 4th: Appeals judge’s block.
February 5th: More appeals on judge’s block.
February 6th: More appeals on judge’s block.
February 7th: Betsy Devos is confirmed as Secretary of Education 51-50. Vice President Mike Pence casts deciding vote.
February 8th: Jeff Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General by Senate 52-47.
February 9th: Signs 3 executive orders regarding law enforcement.
February 10th: Meets with the Japanese Prime Minister who stays at Trump’s Florida resort for the weekend.

February 11th: Plays golf with Japanese Prime Minister.
February 13th: Meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. One of Trump’s chief advisors, General Michael Flynn, is asked to resign after lying to VP Pence.

February 14th: The Senate confirms Linda McMahon as Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
February 15th: Meets with Israeli Prime Minister at White House.
February 16th: Goes on a 105 minute rant at a press conference. Calls out the press repeatedly, accusing them of being dishonest.
February 17TH: Visits Boeing plant in South Carolina on way to a weekend in Mar-a-Lago. Scott Pruitt is approved as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
February 18th: Holds rally in Melbourne, Florida, and about 9,000 attend. His crowds are getting smaller.
February 21st: Visits the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. He announces 15,000 new positions in immigration enforcement.
February 23: Meets with a dozen manufacturing CEOs. 6 of Trump’s staff have to leave White House after failing FBI background checks.
February 24th: Bars a number of news organizations from a press briefing.
February 26th: Trumps first choice for Secretary of the Navy turns down Trump’s offer.
February 27th: Proposes spending an additional 10% (54 billion) on the military while cutting back on expenses for The State Department and The EPA. 120 retired generals and admirals sign a letter criticizing his plan.
February 28th: Trump makes his first speech to Congress and uses a teleprompter. Avoids rambling and going off topic as he usually does in his speeches.
March 1st: The Justice Department confirms that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice with a Russian ambassador during Trump’s campaign. Sessions had denied meeting any Russians at any time.
March 2nd: Sessions recuses himself from any investigations into Russian interference in US election. Ben Carson and Rick Perry confirmed. White House confirms that Trump’s son-in-law met with Russians in December 2016.
March 4th: Trump accuses Obama of bugging Trump Tower. Sparse crowds attend Trump rallies around the US, some with as few as a dozen people.
March 5th: Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, says there is no evidence of Trump Tower being wiretapped.
March 6th: In a reworked executive order to ban Muslims coming to America, Iraq is removed from the previous list.
March 8th: Formal drafting of the repeal of The Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) begins. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform informs Trump that he is not allowed to erase Tweets as they are part of government records.
March 9th: Trump meets with US bankers and pledges to remove a number of financial restrictions that prevent recklessness on the part of the banks. 6 US states challenge Trump’s Muslim countries travel ban.
March 10th: Trump and Jeff Sessions order the resignation of 46 US attorneys from the Obama administration. Trump’s friend Roger Stone admits to communicating with hacker Guccifer 2.0.
March 13th: White House spokesperson Sean Spicer claims Trump’s tweet about Obama wiretapping Trump was misinterpreted and that Trump meant the Obama administration.
March 16th: Trump administration releases a preliminary draft of the 2018 budget.

Trump and Angela Merkel
March 17th: Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at White House. Trump refuses to shake her hand.
March 19th: German defense secretary rejects Trumps assertion that Germany owes money to NATO.
March 20th: Trump holds a political rally in Louisville, Kentucky.
March 21st: The repeal and replacement of Obamacare goes down in flames and the vote on the bill is cancelled due to lack of support from various factions within the Republican Party.
The Ryan/Trump Healthcare Bill Failure
Health care is 20% of the US economy. The new Republican healthcare bill (American Healthcare Act) was designed by Republican House leader Paul Ryan with virtually no input from Donald Trump. The bill broke a number of promises Trump had made when he was campaigning including covering everyone with much lower premiums, avoiding Medicaid cuts, spending more money on opioid abuse treatment, and not hurting the very poor.
The Congressional Budget Office, which is directed by a Republican, stated that as many as 24 million people would lose health care coverage under the Trump/Ryan plan. Part of the bill includes a 600 billion tax cut that would only go to households with more than 200K income annually.
Ryan and The Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Tom Price, claimed that the new bill would slash the federal budget by 134 billion dollars, an amount that is only about 2% of the US’s national debt.
It was pretty clear that Trump had no understanding of how America’s health care works. What was clear is that he and Ryan wanted to kill Obamacare and replace it with their bill very quickly with hardly any debate. They tried to jam their bill through Congress in just 17 days. Obamacare took about 10 months to get passed.
It was pretty obvious from the outset that the bill was going to cause a lot of grief and pain to millions of Americans, particularly lower income types and those that are over 50 years of age. A 60 year old could see their premiums quadruple.
Only 17% of Americans thought that the Ryan/Trump plan was a good idea. Neither Trump nor Ryan cared a whit about what the other 83% thought. They were determined to serve up their “shit sandwich”.
Republican politicians were getting hammered at town halls by their constituents, including many who had voted for Trump. Their phones were ringing off the hooks with complaints about the new bill. A number of Republican politicians were getting nervous about losing their seats in the 2018 mid-term elections.
Freedom Caucus
What really killed the bill more than anything else was a secretive group of about 36 far right Republican congressmen who call themselves The Freedom Caucus. There is no official count of how many members there are. They are the same people who had John Boehner replaced as Speaker of the House. The Freedom Caucus didn’t think Ryan’s bill went far enough. They wanted more draconian measures in the bill and referred to Ryan’s bill as Obamacare 2.0 or Obamacare Lite.
What is forgotten by some is that the Ryan healthcare plan was split into 3 parts and what was being jammed through congress was just the first part. All 3 of the parts also had to be approved by the senate where Republicans only have a few seats as the majority.
The end result of this fiasco is that Trump doesn’t have as much power as he thought he had. He has flopped as the great deal maker he boasted he was. Things Trump thought would be easy like his plan to spend 1 trillion dollars on rebuilding the US infrastructure and financial reform could be quite difficult to achieve now that it has been proven that there are some in his party who are willing to stand up to him.
Trump’s Budget
You may or may not know what the Heritage Foundation is. It is an American right wing think tank that was founded in 1973. At the time they thought Nixon was far too liberal. Nixon expanded Medicare in 1972 and if he hadn’t been thrown out of office he might have passed a healthcare bill similar to Obamacare.
The Heritage Foundation has influenced Republican politics for close to 40 years. In Reagan’s first year in office 60% of The Heritage Foundation’s proposals were either implemented or initiated. Their basic beliefs are as follows....

-Conservative public policies.
-Free enterprise.
-Limited government.
-Individual freedom.
-American values.
-Strong national defense.
One could argue with their basic beliefs. There is no free enterprise when a limited number of major corporations control whole industries like healthcare insurance. Limited government really means that businesses can get away with almost anything without any legal jeopardy. Individual freedom sounds good but many Americans don’t experience it. American values really means being Christian or Jewish and believing in god.
Trump’s budget blueprint has The Heritage Foundation written all over it.
In simple terms what Trump (and The Heritage Foundation) is proposing is increasing the funding for the Defense Department by 10% (54 billion dollars), increasing the cost of Homeland Security by about 7% (2.8 billion dollars), and increasing the cost of Veterans Affairs by about 6%.
In order to pay for the above, Trump plans to slash spending in a number of federal bureaus. Here is a list of some of the cuts.
-EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) -31.4%
-US Aid -28.7%
-Agriculture -20.7%
-Labor -20.7%
-Health and Human Services -17.9%
-Commerce -15.7%
-Education -13.5%
-The State Department -30%
The Republican Congress cut back on State Department expenses when Obama was in office. One of those cuts resulted in the American ambassador in Benghazi having no military protection.
-HUD (Housing and Urban Development) -13%
Hundreds and hundreds of federal programs will no longer exist. Thousands of federal employees will lose their jobs. Here’s a brief list of just some of the programs that will be terminated and will no longer receive government financing.
- PBS and NPR (National Public Radio).
- The National Endowment For the Arts.
- Meals On Wheels.
- Home Energy Assistance (helps pay heating for lower income families in the winter).
- The elimination of 400 million dollars used to pay for nursing training.
- A program that helps poor people pay rent.
- Aid for poor college students.
- After school and summer programs.
- Nutrition for kids in developing countries.
- Emergency food assistance.
- The Legal Services Corporation which provides legal services to low income families.
Although Trump’s budget cuts education costs for public schools it increases government funds for private and charter schools.
If Trump gets his way millions of Americans, particularly the poor, are in for a lot of misery.
The blueprint for Trump’s proposed budgets reflects a deep paranoia by Trump. 54 billion more dollars would be spent on defense and the military annually amounting to a total of about 655 billion.
Apparently Trump is oblivious to the fact that the US is lousy at winning wars with ground troops. Iraq. Afghanistan, and Viet Nam were all “disasters”. Spending billions on defense isn’t going to change those losses. Yes the US has some technologically superior weapons compared to a number of third world countries but what is the US going to do when those countries become efficient at using drones too.
Trump really knows very little about the world. Basically what he is planning to do is restart the arms race. It’s a blind ambition with serious consequences.
I’m a Canadian. Some who read this story might ask why I should care about what goes on in the US.
Like many other Canadians my age (69) I grew up with rock and roll. We watched the same TV shows and went to the same movies as our neighbours to the south did. Many of us have fond memories of road trips to the US as kids.
At times we were a bit befuddled by the overfriendliness we witnessed in American stores. Americans seemed to be more zealous entrepreneurs than us Canadians. Would any of us create a Santa Claus Village in Upstate New York and call the area the North Pole?

We watched America come apart in the 1960s. There were 3 assassinations in 1 decade. The Viet Nam War split the US down the middle. Racism was still prevalent particularly in the US south. Hippies and pot scared the crap out of conservative America.

In the middle of the 1960s President Lyndon B. Johnson introduced The Civil Rights Act, public broadcasting, Medicare, and Medicaid.
There were still some Republicans around like Rockefeller and even Nixon who were open to some progressive ideas. That started to change when Reagan became president. His trickle-down economics never worked but Republicans today are still pushing the same bullshit.
The US seemed to flip flop about every 8 years or so from a Republican president to a Democratic one. 9/11 was a reset in America. Air travel became a whole new experience. The US found itself mired in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, two countries that had nothing to do with 9/11. In 2008, in Bush Junior’s last year in office, the US went into the tank and America saw its biggest decline in employment since The Great Depression. Most of the US’s banks had to be bailed out with taxpayer’s money and it looked like the end for GM and Chrysler.

America elected its first black president. The Republican Party, as a whole, refused to cooperate with Obama in any way. Still the economy was revived, the stock market soared, and steady job growth continued in each of Obama’s 8 years. GM and Chrysler were thriving again.

For decades now the Republican Party has not hidden its bias towards corporate America and the very wealthy. America’s poor and middle class would be hard pressed to come up with anything the Republican Party has done in the last 50 years that has benefitted them.
Flags wave on front lawns and front porches across the US. It’s a nationalistic thing. Indeed America is a great country but a closer look quickly reveals that it often isn’t great for everyone. Americans are often not in the same boat. The armed services are made up mostly of young people who had few economically sound choices in life. Many come from small towns where industries have departed. No politician in America is ever going to tell a dead soldier’s family “I’m sorry your son and daughter wasted their life in a war where we achieved nothing.”

50% of Americans live pay check to pay check and have less than $1000.00 in the bank. Over 43 million Americans live in poverty. On the other side of the ledger, the past 40 years have seen an enormous amount of wealth shift from the middle class and the poor to the top 10% earners in the US. Taxes on the rich have been slashed over and over again by Republican presidents. A reasonable person would ask why very rich people should need to become richer and richer on the backs of their fellow citizens. 1% of the population of the US owns 40% of the nation’s wealth.
Giving more wealth to the very rich is the Republican way. Basically it is just greed. To distract from their greed Republicans create fear and nobody has been better at doing that than Donald Trump, fear of terrorists, fear of religious beliefs being under attack, fear of illegal immigrants, fear of gays, fear of minorities, fear of guns being taken away, and fear of legalized abortions.
In 2016 54 Americans lost their lives to Muslim American terrorists. 49 of the 54 lost their lives in a massacre at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. No Americans were killed by foreign born terrorists in the US. Of the 7 Muslim countries that Trump tried to ban people coming to America, not one person from any of those countries had committed a terrorist act in the US in the last 50 years. On average more than 12,000 Americans are shot to death each year. On a per capita basis that’s about 51 times more than in Canada.
America has enough wealth and resources for the whole population of 330 million to live comfortably and enjoy their lives. Trump and the Republican Party don’t think that way. As they say….the proof is in the pudding. Here’s a partial list of what Trump and the Republicans have done to middle class and poor Americans since Trump’s inauguration.
Trump talks about the US being ripped off in trade deals. Why then has the stock market been soaring for years and Corporate America making record profits? Why has everyone else’s wages remained stagnant for years while CEOs are making far more than they ever have?
The US is living in bazaar times when it comes to their president and the federal government.
-First president in 40 years not to show his tax returns.3 times now the Republican Congress has voted down Democrats requests that Trump show his returns.
-Trump’s wife doesn’t live in the White House.
-Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in law Jared Kushner have offices in the White House and are chief advisors although neither has any political experience.
-Trump takes every weekend off and often spends the two days at his Mara Lago resort in Florida where he sometimes mixes with guests.
-Has played golf 13 times in his first 9 weeks in office. He said he wouldn’t play golf when he was president.
-Starts firestorms regularly through his tweets.
-Trump has had verbal fights with the press, foreign leaders, and some in his own party. Nothing is too petty for him to comment on including the ratings for The Apprentice.
-Lies every time he gives a speech.
-Said he would “drain the swamp” as president. Instead he appointed billionaires, lobbyists, and carpet baggers.
-Broke a number of promises and tried to jam a terrible healthcare bill through Congress without knowing everything that was in the bill.
-Trump’s Muslim ban excluded countries he has done business with.
-Rescinded The Clean Water Act.
-Trump administration and campaign being investigated for ties to Russia interfering in the US election by the FBI, Congress, and the Senate.
-EPA chief refuses to ban pesticide linked to brain damage in children.
-States are now allowed to defund Planned Parenthood.
-Congress rescinded Obama’s executive order on overtime pay.
-Congress voted against internet privacy allowing internet providers to sell their customer’s traffic records to advertisers and others.
-Congress approved coal mining on federal land.
-Trump produces blueprint for new budget. Severe cuts to many government agencies and the elimination of others that many US citizens rely on.
A week or so ago I saw a segment on ABC News where a reporter visited a small coal mining town in either Kentucky or Tennessee. A couple in their late 50s or early 60s was interviewed. The husband is a former coal miner who now has Black Lung Decease. He can barely talk and he breaths through an inhalator. His wife has diabetes and a heart condition. Together the drugs keeping them alive cost over $12,000.00 per month.
Because of their low income of about 20K per year between them, they managed to get healthcare coverage through Obamacare. They both voted for Trump. Without Obamacare the husband would be dead in no time if Trump’s healthcare bill got passed. It’s very likely she would follow him not much long after.
The couple didn’t seem to have any guilt about receiving benefits of more than a 100 times what they had paid into Obamacare. Although Trump could have been responsible for their early deaths, both of them said they still liked Trump and would vote for him again. Some folks just aren’t equipped to deal with logic!
Prediction: Trump is impeached in next 6 months and some of his henchmen end up in the Crowbar Hotel.