- Politics and Social Issues
President Donald Trump, the Disaster (only 1,291 day to go before he is gone, as of 7/9/17)
Donald Trump has been in the President's office for 8 painful weeks. By this time eight years ago, President Obama had:
- Stopped the nation from going into the worst depression in history
- Turned the stock market free-fall (Mar 6, 2009) and started it on an eight year Bull Market
- Saved the auto industry from total collapse and began its rise to record breaking sales today
- Slowed down the 800,000 job loss per month he inherited, beginning in April 2009 and turned it into the longest period of job growth in American history
On the other hand, what has Donald Trump done with is "On Day 1" promises ... Well you figure it out.
- Major Promise 1 - Ban Muslims from entering country until Congress figures out how to stop entry of Islamic terrorists 1. ACTION: Created "Travel Ban" executive order that has been stopped by several courts as probably unconstitutional. Created a new watered down travel ban which was likewise stayed by two federal courts (one other federal court in Virginia would not issue a stay.) Appeals Court upheld stay for the second time, next stop is the Supreme Court. On 6/29/17, the Supreme Court spoke. They will take up the travel ban next session, 2) continued most of the lower court stays on enforcement, and 3) did allow Muslims who have no valid connection to America can be banned for the time being.
- Major Promise 2 - Build a "big beautiful" border wall which Mexico will pay for. ACTION: None so far, but, Mexico has said it will not pay for the wall and will fight any tariffs to collect reimbursement. American business' also oppose tariffs as bad for business. GOP has said the wall is too expensive ($30B+). This has little chance of passing. Funding was not included in the House-Senate budget bill in May.
- Major Promise 3 - Repeal and Replace Obamacare while "insuring every American" (not just access) and "make insurance less expensive". ACTION: No plan developed as of yet. GOP is proposing a plan which the CBO says will cost 23 million people their insurance by 2026 and will increase costs until 2020 when they expect premiums to decrease slightly. At this point in time, it is problematic that it will pass the House and even more problematic of passing the Senate. - The AHCA bill was pulled for lack of support, changed a bit, Freedom Cause swallowed their pride and voted for it; AHCA passed by only two votes. It appears DOA in the Senate. As they enter the July break it is still unlikely the GOP can pass what they call, euphemistically, the Better Care Replacement Act (BRCA), a worse bill than the House version.
- Major Promise 4 - Pass massive tax cut for corporations. ACTION: None as of yet. Analysis of plan, however, says the major beneficiary of his plan are the wealthy. In June, the House took this up an already is running into major problems within the GOP caucus.
- Major Promise 5 - Propose a Trillion dollar in Infrastructure plan using tax credits and public-private partnerships. ACTION: None as of yet but will run into strong opposition from GOP because of cost. Also, independent estimates call into question Trump's plans feasibility. -- now its July 2017 ...maybe next year.
- Major Promise 6 - Reverse President Obama's Climate Change initiatives. Donald Trump is one of the few people that claims they do not to believe Climate Change is real. ACTION: Issued Executive Orders reversing President Obama's Executive Orders designed to protect the climate and support the obligations to the Paris Accords, an International Climate Change Pact
In my article titled An Anthology of Donald J. Trump's Presidency, I listed the promises Donald Trump made during the campaign with his first 100-day Contract With America. You will find that on a scale where a 90%+ of the 26 items in his list are completed = A, going doing in 10% increments such that less than 60% completed = D, Trump managed to complete or partially complete 6.5 of them. That gives him a 25% completion rate which means he got a solid F!
[The last section in this hub is a 17 point list from Robert Reich of what Donald Trump has promised, his supporters believed, and didn't deliver]
1. There have been no deaths from terrorists who immigrated as refugees since the late 1970s. There have been no deaths in the United States from foreign terrorists since 9/11. All terrorist acts in America since then has been from American citizens.
The First Controversy, Who Had Bigger Crowd?
In The Beginning - Crowd Size
Every week since Trump has been president, all eight of them, as been filled with vocal, frenetic controversy. It started with Trump and his surrogate's claim that his inaugural crowd was the "biggest in history." The battle raged on in tweets and press briefings for a week or more arguing over the size of Trump's crowd. In fact, Trump's crowd was estimated at 200,000 to 350,000 strong. The Million Woman March the next day drew over 500,000 in Washington D.C., over a million nationwide, and millions worldwide. President Obama's first inaugural crowd was estimated to be around 1.8 million. You judge from the above picture.
While brouhaha made for a lot of press and laughs, the serious side of this blow-up is it is the first look America and the World has of how President Trump is going to act, what he thinks is important, and his veracity when he says something. It wasn't good! It confirmed every bad thing said about Donald Trump (except his sexual harrassment) that was said about him during the campaign. The sad fact is, he starts out giving America a huge black-eye since his behavior is now American's behavior.
To this day, Donald Trump won't admit to the true size of his crowd and continues making false statements about it.
Voting For Donald Trump
If You Had It to Do All Over Again ,,,
It Didn't Stop There
WEEK 1 (Jan 21 - Jan 27): The same week, Donald Trump laid this whopper on the American people as an incredulous world looked on - "The reason he lost the popular vote is because 3 - 4 million illegal ballots were cast" (Hillary Clinton beat Trump by almost 3 million votes nationwide). This has been debunked in several different ways, but Trump continues to insist he is correct while offer on tangible proof in support. Again, as the world watches, Trump keeps repeating this falsehood to this day.
WEEK 2 (Jan 28 - Feb 3): Trump and his administration, in honoring the Holocaust Remembrance Day, failed to mention that the Jews were the ones who suffered most. Whether this was an oversight or not, is not the real embarrassment, it was his trying to defend the omission. Trump turned a possible oversight into an outright example of America's antisemitism; a label often associated with Trump's senior political adviser, Steve Bannon. This controversy lasted into his third week.
WEEK 3 (Feb 4 - Feb 10): In week three Donald Trump declared that America's mainstream media, e.g. CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Washington Post, NY Times, etc of being an "Enemy of the American People". Incredible, the President of the United States is calling the very institution that protects America from an abusive government an ... "enemy of the American people"! Further, he is telling the world of his official American position and thereby damaging the credibility of all free media all over the globe. This declaration is a quintessential embarrassment to all of America and he won't back down from that stance.
WEEK 4 (Feb 11 - Feb 17): The continuing revelations that Trump's National Security Adviser pick, Gen Michael Flynn, had unauthorized, and probably illegal, contact with the Russian Ambassador finally culminated in his firing (or resignation, depending on who you believe); the official reason is that Flynn lied to Vice President Pence about his interactions. This story dominated the headlines along with more reports of other Trump campaign staff and advisers meeting with the Russians prior to Trump assuming office. The combination of these leaks has galvanized Congress to get to the bottom of Trump's Russian ties. (
WEEK 5 (Feb 18 - Feb 24):
WEEK 6 (Feb 25 - Mar 3):
WEEK 7 (Mar 4 - Mar 10): Donald Trump began this week with one of his most ludicrous and incendiary tweet and accusation to-date: that President Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower
I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
This tweet has sparked expensive investigations, more ridicule for his spokesman Sean Spicer as he tries to defend the indefensible in front of an astonished world. Multiple intelligence agencies have exposed Trump's declaration as false as has several Congressional committees. This embarrassing controversy spilled over to week 8 (and probably many weeks more) as Trump took the issue worldwide by blaming British intelligence for conducting the wiretaps (blaming Fox #FakeNews as his source). Prime Minister May responded immediately telling the world Trump's claim is ridiculous and should be "ignored". He tripled down on the issue at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by blaming Fox commentary. The Trump White House apologized to England and then said it didn't.
WEEK 8 (Mar 11 - Mar 17):
WEEK 9 (Mar 18 - Mar 24): The Director of the FBI testified before the House Intelligence Committee that 1) Yes, the FBI Was investigating President Trump, his administration, and his campaign for illegal relationships with Russian government officials, 2) Yes, they have ascertained that Russia Did attempt to interfere with the American election process in favor of Trump, and 3) No, there is No evidence within the intelligence community or the Department of Justice that President Obama ordered a wiretap on his phone or any other surveillance.
In spite of being exposed as a fabricator Trump nevertheless continues to still contends that 1) the Democrats and mainstream media have made up the allegations regarding his Russian ties and 2) Obama did order the taps. This is the story of the week.
It Was the story of the week. Rep. Nunes (R-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee stole the headlines by first, on a March 21 evening, Nunes gets a text while riding in an Uber with a senior staffer. He has the car stop and he gets out and goes missing. The next day he holds a press conference, surprising even his staff, and reports he has seen “dozens” of intelligence reports that showed US intelligence agencies had “incidentally collected” material on members of the Trump transition team. He then briefed Trump (who felt "somewhat vindicated"), but no one else. Subsequent investigation showed Nunes met with a pair of White House staffers who provided the intel reports. When Republican and Democratic intel committee members finally saw the reports, they said that those same classified documents contradict what Nunes (and Trump) said.
WEEK 10 (Mar 25 - Mar 31): Donald Trump began his assault on initiatives to mitigate or reverse the impact of Climate Change; Trump is a Climate Change Denier. This week he signed Executive Orders to reverse the effect of President Obama's Orders that put in place measures to support the protocols of the Paris Accord on Climate Change. His reasoning is fighting climate change hurts jobs in America even though we are at full employment. Has he looked down the road far enough to see how many jobs will be lost when the sea rises only to be followed by a early on-set mini-ice age?
Week 11 (Apr 1 - Apr 7):
Week 12 (Apr 8 - Apr 14):
Week 13 (Apr 15 - Apr 21):
Week 14 (Apr 22 - Apr 28):
Week 15 (Apr 29 - May 5):
Week 16 (May 6 - May 12):
Week 17 (May 13 - May 19):
Week 18 (May 20 - May 26):
Week 19 (May 27 - Jun 2): Trump probably made one of the most harmful decision of his infant presidency - he pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Change Accord. In doing so, America joined Syria and Venezuela as the only countries in the world who have not signed the accord. According to virtually all climate scientists the world is on the edge of having its climate pass the point-of-no-return and it is getting faster than they had predicted only 10 years ago. Along with pulling out of the agreement, Trump has also initiated the process of taking the government out of most climate research and reversing all of President Obama's initiatives to reduce America's carbon footprint. The probable outcome of the totality of his anti-climate decisions will be to increase carbon dioxide emissions and hasten the day when the climate becomes unstable.
Week 20 (Jun 3 - Jun 9): This week, former FBI director James Comey, fired a short time earlier by President Trump, will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating the Russian involvement in the U.S. 2016 elections and any collusion with the Trump campaign with Russia to effect the outcome.
Donald Trump's love affair with Russia and Vladimir Putin is astonishing and worrisome. It is also long-term, ubiquitous, and is one of two things that has the potential to bring him down before his term is over. Throughout his campaign, it was apparent there was a soft spot in his heart regarding Vladimir Putin, who he views as a "great leader"; this in spite of Putin's penchant of killing his adversaries. Trump has been Putin's biggest defender outside of Russia itself.
Trump has had decades of documented financial involvement with Russia and Putin, yet he "says" he doesn't know the man. Over the course of the campaign, Trump has said he has "never met Putin" as well as
On March 20, 2017, FBI Director Comey testified that they are indeed investigating the President, his administration, and his campaign regarding their connections with Russian officials. Without question, this issue is one of two which has the potential to bring down Donald Trump's presidency.
On May 8, 2017, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates (who was fired by President Trump for not enforcing his stayed travel ban) testified she warned the White House on January 26th that 1) National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied about talking to the Russian ambassador, 2) the Russians knew this, and 3) Flynn was susceptible to blackmail by Russians. appBoth former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Yates testimony implied that there might be evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
Clapper said that in his earlier January testimony that he had seen no evidence of collusion between the President's campaign and Russia. He then pointed out that was before FBI Director James Comey publicly revealed that the FBI was, in fact, investigating that question. Yates avoided directly answering the question by saying she can't discuss classified information in public.
Clapper also put to rest President Trump's oft-repeated claim that the Russian investigation is "Fake News" by asserting
"To me, the evidence was overwhelming, and very compelling, that the Russians did this."
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST:
This is the other issue which endangers President Trump. Unlike any other presidents before him, Trump has enormous business interests throughout the world which is fraught with possibilities of foreign entities having the ability to influence Trump's decisions to their or his own benefit or possibly blackmail him if there are scandals hidden in those business dealings. Trump his also subject to the temptation to conduct his presidency such that his or his family are unfairly enriched. His leasing of the Old Post Office in Washington D.C. is a clear example given one of the terms of the lease is that he cannot hold public office. There is no way this issue will ever go away during his Presidency.
TRUMP vs TRUTH:
From the moment Donald Trump opened his mouth to announce his decision to run for President he began his estrangement from the truth, which includes hyperbole, yuge exaggeration, misrepresentation, falsehoods, and outright LIES or "purposeful falsehoods". It started with:
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us.They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
This, of course, is patently, provably false. And if Trump knew (how could he not) this not to be true, then it crosses the threshold to an outright lie. It has continued to this day (3/24/17) with his little fib that "This is the Democrats fault." speaking of the failure of the repeal of Obamacare. In between there have many hundreds more. In fact, fact checkers estimate that about 70% of everything he says is "Mostly False", "False", or "Pants-on-Fire False".
This, at a minimum, makes him a laughing stock as well as untrustworthy but his lack of varsity can have worldwide implications. You see, as fewer and fewer world leaders believe anything he says, it becomes impossible to conduct diplomacy or to figure out if he is serious. Further, the chances of misunderstandings, potentially leading to conflict, are greatly enhanced.
WAR ON MEDIA
The use of the word "ON" is purposeful because to use the word "WITH" implies Media is a willing part of the fight ... and they aren't. By media, of course, I mean the so-called "main-stream media"; the CNN's, ABC's, Washington Post's, and New York Times's of America. By and large these outlets clearly define what is reporting and what is opinion (unlike Fox where that line is very murky).
Trump is very correct correct when he asserts that most of the news about him is negative. But remember, these outlet's jobs are to 'report" the news as error free as they can and fix it when it is not1. It is not their fault that Donald Trump gives them so little positive to report.
1 A late June episode which gave Trump an early Christmas present is when CNN discovered that an anonymously sourced story and not been verified which turned out to be incorrect. Unfortunately, this was not an innocent error on the part of some of CNN staff. In the end, three staff members were fired and a retraction and apology to who the story was about was issued. The victim accepted the apology by Trump did not and add it to his arsenal of weapons to use against CNN
Trump Exposes His Real Agenda Through His Actions
There is no question Donald Trump is trying to keep his promises. Many that aren't unconstitutional will have significant problems getting through either the GOP or Democratic Congress. Still others he can do on his own especially the one about governing the same way he campaigned.
The rest of this hub will explore the practical impact on America and Americans IF he can manage to carry out his promises.
THE TRUMP 2017 BUDGET1. Donald Trump released his budget blueprint in March 2017 which reflects his major priorities. On the stump, he constantly kept promising that his main purpose for being President was to:
- Champion the average American.
- Fight free trade
- Support the battle against proposals to fight climate change
The question is, of course, does his budget reflect these priorities?2 Well, Yes and No. Here are sections out of his budget that address each of the above,
1 The bullet points below are paraphrases from a NY Times article Who Wins and Loses in Trump’s Proposed Budget by Alicia Parlapiano and Gregor Aisch. The names after each subsection are presumably the authors of that part. After each set of bullet points are this writers views.
2 Keep in mind, this budget won't see the light of day in Congress because it does not reflect GOP priorities and has too many controversial aspects to it.
President Trump's 2018 Budget Summary
2017 BASELINE (B$)
2018 PROPOSAL (B$)
$ CHANGE (B$)
DEPT of STATE
DEPT of AGRICULTURE
DEPT of LABOR
DEPT of JUSTICE
HEALTH and HUMAN SERVICES
DEPT of COMMERCE
DEPT of EDUCATION
DEPT of TRANSPORTATION
HOUSING and URBAN DEVELOPMENT
DEPT of INTERIOR
DEPT of ENERGY
DEPT of TREASURY
DEPT of VETERAN'S AFFAIRS
DEPT of DEFENSE
Champion of the Average American
AGRICULTURE - $4.7 Billion (21%) Reduction - Yamiche Alcindor
- Makes many cuts to the National Forest System
- Eliminates Loan and Grant Programs for water and sewage systems
- Provides a small increase of $200 Million to Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women and Children
- Makes no cuts to the Food Safety and Inspection Services
- Continues funding the Farmer-focused and Competitive Research Programs.
LABOR - $2.5 Billion (21%) Reduction - Yamiche Alcindor
- Scale back the number of job training programs including those aimed at helping seniors, disadvantaged young people and unemployed Americans
- Help states expand Apprenticeship Programs
- Help states expand training programs for disabled workers
- Eliminate training grants for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
HEALTH and HUMAN SERVICES - $12.6 Billion (16%) Reduction - Robert Pear
- Eliminates $4.2 billion in community services programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
- Cut spending at the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion, or about 18 percent.
- Increase the Cures Act, a biomedical research bill signed in December by $200 million (21%)
EDUCATION - $9.2 Billion (14%) Reduction - Yamiche Alcindor
- The budget illustrates a full-throated support for school choice programs with a $1.4 billion increase for public and private school choice programs
- Eliminates funding for before- and after-school and summer programs.
- Federal work-study would also be “significantly reduced”
- Eliminate the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, which is reserved for college students with the greatest need for financial aid
- Funding to historically black colleges would remain the same.
HOUSING and URBAN DEVELOPMENT - $4.3 Billion (12%) Reduction - Yamiche Alcindor
- Eliminates the Community Development Block Grant Program, which funds local improvement efforts and anti-poverty programs
- Cuts funding for rental assistance, home ownership programs, and affordable housing initiatives.
VETERAN'S AFFAIRS - $4.4 Billion (6%) Increase - Nicholas Fandos
- Most of the money is earmarked for veterans’ health care programs.
- Extends the Veterans Choice Program, which increases options for veterans seeking care outside of VA facilities when they are unable to provide timely care.
- Continues investment to improve the department’s claims system
- Continues investment to the VA's IT infrastructure.
Security and Foreign Affairs
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT - $52.3 Billion (10%) Increase - Helene Cooper
- Accelerate the fight against the Islamic State (Dasch)
- Increase the number of warships and fighter jets.
President Trump will face difficulty getting this proposal through Congress, where the threat of automatic spending cuts known as sequestration has acted as a brake on military spending. And many American military officials — the defense secretary included — have denounced efforts to cut foreign aid in favor of more defense spending. Many foreign aid programs, those officials say, contribute to global stability and are seen as important in helping avoid future conflicts
DEPARTMENT OF STATE - $10.9 Billion (29%) Reduction - Mark Landler
- Eliminate all funding for the United Nation's Climate-change initiatives
- Reduce regular contribution to the U.N.
- Limit Contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations to no more than 25 percent of the cost
- Cut support to the World Bank by $650 million over three years, and cultural programs, like the East-West Center in Honolulu.
- Safeguard the Fulbright Program.
- Significantly reduce budget of USAID culteral and infrastructure programs (opposed by the Defense Department)
- Leave Israel’s $3.1 billion annual military aid untouched
- Requests $12 billion in "Overseas Contingency Operations," funding for extraordinary costs, chiefly in war zones such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
(STILL WRITING, MORE TO COME, PLEASE COME BACK)
From Robert Reich [Former United States Secretary of Labor]:
1. Trump told you NATO was “obsolete,” claiming it doesn’t fight terrorism. You bought it. Now he says NATO is “no longer obsolete.”
2. He told you he’d “bring down drug prices” by making deals with drug companies. You bought it. Now the White House says that promise is “inoperative.”
3. He said he’d close “special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors but unfair to American workers." You bought it. Then he picked a Wall Street financier Stephen Schwarzman to run his strategic and policy forum, who compares closing those loopholes to Hitler’s invasion of Poland.
4. He said that on Day One he’d label China a “currency manipulator.” You bought it. Then he met with China’s president and declared "China is not a currency manipulator."
5. He said he’d “renegotiate NAFTA” on Day One. You bought it. He hasn't.
6. He said he wouldn’t bomb Syria. You bought it. Then he bombed Syria.
7. He said he’d build a wall along the border with Mexico. You bought it. Now his secretary of homeland security says “It’s unlikely that we will build a wall.”
8. He said he’d clean the Washington swamp. You bought it. Then he brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses, along with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are crafting new policies for the same industries they recently worked for.
9. He said he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “wonderful.” You bought it. Then he didn’t.
10. He said he’d use his business experience to whip the White House into shape. You bought it. Then he created the most chaotic, dysfunctional, back-stabbing White House in modern history, in which no one is in charge.
11. He said he’d release his tax returns, eventually. You bought it. He hasn’t, and says he never will.
12. He said he’d divest himself from his financial empire, to avoid any conflicts of interest. You bought it. He remains heavily involved in his businesses, makes money off of foreign dignitaries staying at his Washington hotel, gets China to give the Trump brand trademark and copyright rights, travels to promote his properties at taxpayer expense, manipulates the stock market on a daily basis, and has more conflicts of interest than can even be counted.
13. He said Clinton was in the pockets of Goldman Sachs, and would do whatever they said. You bought it. Then he put half a dozen Goldman Sachs executives in positions of power in his administration.
14. He said he’d surround himself with all the best and smartest people. You bought it. Then he put Betsy DeVos, opponent of public education, in charge of education; Jeff Sessions, opponent of the Voting Rights Act, in charge of voting rights; Ben Carson, opponent of the Fair Housing Act, in charge of fair housing; Scott Pruitt, climate change denier, in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Russian quisling Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.
10. He said he’d faithfully execute the law. You bought it. Then he said his predecessor, Barack Obama, spied on him, without any evidence of Obama ever doing so, in order to divert attention from the FBI’s investigation into collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives to win the election.
15. He said he knew more about strategy and terrorism than the generals did. You bought it. Then he green lighted a disastrous raid in Yemen- even though his generals said it would be a terrible idea. This raid resulted in the deaths of a Navy SEAL, an 8-year old American girl, and numerous civilians. The actual target of the raid escaped, and no useful intel was gained.
16. He called Barack Obama “the vacationer-in-Chief” and accused him of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods. He promised to never be the kind of president who took cushy vacations on the taxpayer’s dime, not when there was so much important work to be done. You bought it. He has by now spent more taxpayer money on vacations than Obama did in the first 3 years of his presidency. Not to mention all the money taxpayers are spending protecting his family, including his two sons who travel all over the world on Trump business.
17. He called CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times “fake news” and said they were his enemy. You bought it. Now he gets his information from Fox News, Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, and InfoWars.
Trump vs Comey
On January 8, 2017, the world watched an amazing, potentially earth-shaking event where a fired FBI director, James Comey, gave his considered observations, experiences, and opinions regarding his interaction with the President of the United States as it relates to a massive investigation into his campaign's involvement with Russia. The setting was the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing into the Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election. In the witness seat was ex-director Comey and what happened next was simply jaw dropping!
At the outset, Chairman Burr (R-NC) made it obvious that he and the other senators, Republican and Democrats, find James Comey honest, forthright, and truthful. One of the first things Comey made starkly clear is that in fact the Russian government did interfere with the American political process; something which, for a time, President Trump disagreed.
TRUMP TWEETS -
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