The Trump Presidency: Who Knew “Bust” Would Be This Bad?

There were those who said if their candidate wasn’t the Presidential nominee, they would rather not vote. “Bernie or Bust” didn’t apply only to the supporters of Bernie Sanders but tens of millions of voters who sat out the 2016 Presidential Election, thinking it just didn’t matter. Politicians of either party were basically the same or those who wanted to see chaos, hoping something greater might rise from the ashes. I suspect now that we’ve actually seen a year of a Trump Presidency. Nobody knew it would be this bad.

It didn’t take long for signs to become clear. The very first White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told us not to believe our lying eyes and that the Trump Inauguration was the largest ever. In spite of pictures, estimates from the National Park Service and any known measurement that said it wasn’t true. The administration continued to push the lie, hoping to wear the media and public down with repetition instead of facts.

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Just before the inauguration, we heard of the Steele Dossier reporting secret meetings of Trump Campaign officials and Russian agents. It mentioned Trump’s attempts to do business with Russia. The White House denied all this but proof of several meetings had come to light along with evidence of Trump’s personal lawyer pushing the concept of Trump Tower Moscow.

24 days into the Administration, NSA Director Michael Flynn had to resign after being found to have lied to the FBI about his clandestine meetings with Russia. We later found he’d been an undeclared agent for Turkey, accepting undisclosed millions in payment along with his son. He later pled guilty to the charge and is a cooperating witness in the Mueller Investigation.

The Mueller Investigation exists because Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, later telling his Russian friends including the Russian Ambassador in the Oval Office that it, “takes the pressure off.” In the same meeting, Trump disclosed Top Secret information about another country’s intelligence resources, possibly risking lives.

All the while the lies kept coming, Sean Spicer soon lost his job after being parodied by a woman on Saturday Night Live. Trump was embarrassed by the portrayal so he had to go, leading to a string of Press Secretaries whose credibility ultimately ran out until we got to Sarah Huckabee Sanders who gave up any pretense of truth-telling and is America’s best comparison to Tokyo Rose. I’d be remiss to omit Kellyanne Conway and her, “alternative facts.”

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Trump exited the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), ceding that area of growth to China. He dropped out of the Paris Accords, thumbing his nose at climate change. He most recently imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on a whim, most likely to change the headlines from the porn star he paid off to hide his affair. One of the things Stormy Daniels is prohibited from talking about is “paternity,” raising the question as to whether Trump impregnated her and whether she had an abortion, or there’s yet another Trump offspring roaming the earth.

He has yet to respond to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 Election, clearing the way for renewed attempts in 2018 and 2020. Congress authorized sanctions which he didn’t enforce. They allocated funds which he didn’t spend. It’s alleged that Russia vetoed Trump’s original choice for Secretary of State because Mitt Romney was too hardline against Russia. Instead, we got Tillerson who has gutted the State Department.

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Well over a hundred people were working in the White House without security clearances. It took a man who has battered his two ex-wives to bring it to light and even then, it took a picture of one with a black-eye to get any action. Statements praising Rob Porter were issued by the White House, written by his present girlfriend (Hope Hicks) who had previously dated the former married campaign manager Corey Lewandowski less than a year before.

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One of those without clearance was son-in-law Jared Kushner who has been doing personal business deals in the White House, negotiating over a half-billion in loans for his family business which he still partially owns. He is part of several undisclosed meetings with Russians and the Mueller Investigation appears to have him targeted as well.

When is the last time we went a day, let alone a week without new breaking news about one scandal or another? One Cabinet member is trying to explain replacing the doors in his office for almost $139,000. Inept Ben Carson spent $31,000 on an office dining room table. One flew almost everywhere on private or military planes. One took his wife to Fort Knox on his honeymoon (at the taxpayer expense) while another had the public pay for him and his wife to go to Wimbledon. Trump himself spends a third of his time on his own properties, charging the secret service to stay there and protect him and doubling membership fees, selling access to the President.

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Trump has supported Neo-Nazi’s, white nationalists, skinheads, bringing some of them like Stephen Miller to work in the White House and write many of his speeches. While constantly tweeting his contempt for Jeff Sessions the Attorney General, he’s turned him loose to increase voter suppression and hyper mass incarceration in his attempt to Make America White Great Again.

Trump’s threatened war with several countries, nuclear war with some including North Korea who he’s taunted at every turn. He recently agreed to talks with the equally insane North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, except even that is likely to fall apart because of Trump’s vacillations. It would likely be worse if the “great negotiator” actually met with Kim Jong Un and follows his history of being swayed by the last person he talked to. He managed to screw up Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare despite controlling all branches of government. What could go wrong?

This Presidency has never been about serving the nation and almost every morning we wake up to tweets which send politicians, psychologists, and English teachers scurrying.

I know I’m leaving out a lot, Roy Moore, 19 women claiming sexual assault and/or rape over the years, attacks on black athletes, horrible spelling and grammar, Steve Bannon, Omarosa… More thought on how bad things are will cause me to lose sleep. If ever any of you consider not voting because, “How bad could it be?” Remember Donald Trump.

 

What Went Wrong When Bannon Tried To Testify And How House Republicans Were Complicit

So, Steve Bannon voluntarily appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, offering to answer their questions. He brought his lawyer as would be expected, but that evolved into a situation where his lawyer was calling White House attorneys, getting permission to answer each and every question. Before it was over, the White House had exerted Executive Privilege on conversations Bannon participated in during the transition (before Trump was the Executive). While Bannon worked in the White House. Even after Bannon was fired and no longer officially associated with Trump. This was an assertion of privilege that far exceeded anything ever claimed before. Despite being issued a subpoena on the spot, Bannon could not be persuaded to answer questions, promising however to answer all questions from the Mueller probe which has also issued him a subpoena.

But that isn’t the worst of it. It seems the White House had negotiated a deal with the House Intelligence Committee limiting the scope of the questions and when the questions began to exceed the pre-arranged limits, the White House shut it down. I should add that the Democrats on the committee were unaware of the secret arrangement, allowing the Republicans to continue to protect the President which has always been their goal. Republican leaders on the same committee have been actively trying to find out everything Special Counsel Mueller knows, presumably to leak the information to the Trump team.

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In a related story. Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski testified today before the same committee. Although he promised on Fox News he’d be answering any and all questions. It seems he too got non-responsive when it came time to actually give answers.

Before the interview was shut down, Bannon did reveal he had been in discussions with Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, and Trump outside lawyer Mark Corallo about the June 2016 meeting Donald Jr. held in Trump Tower with a Russian attorney.

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Of the things, we do know, Bannon hoods a grudge against both Jared Kushner and Donald Trump, Jr. We don’t know how he feels about the man who fired him, who has recently tried his best to throw him under the bus. Bannon has a story to tell and seems more than willing to tell it… to the right audience.

Sean Spicer: Gonna Miss You When You’re Gone

Sean Spicer is one of life’s guilty pleasures. He’s the chief spokesperson for arguably the most vile President in American history. Donald Trump (it pains me to say this) is the most powerful person in the world in many respects. He’s also barely literate, without a moral compass and totally inconsistent. This is the man that Sean Spicer has had to step to the podium and explain away his policies, statements and tweets. Peppered with questions by a relentless media armed with actual knowledge and a sense of Presidential norms and history. Sean Spicer is tasked with making Donald Trump look good. An impossible job!

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Photo: dailymotion.nz

On his first day on the job, Spicer lambasted the press for daring to question the inauguration crowd size. It is Sean that inspired the Kellyanne Conway term, “alternative facts!” Yes he lies. Constantly. But the truth is he’s a very bad liar and when he does so he sometimes smiles as if to let you know he’s in on the joke. He tries to be harsh at times and push back on the media. But you can see a sense of camaraderie developing between he and those who arrive to interrogate him each day. It’s like WWE wrestlers who dine together and play cards before becoming enemies when the camera’s are rolling.

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Photo: cbsnews.com

The job of Press Secretary is not one meant to last. It’s a sprint not a marathon. They either burn out or are replaced. No one lasts. Sean Spicer in particular is increasingly frustrating his boss that needs to blame others rather than accept responsibility. He thinks Sean is one of his problems. In truth he’s as much of a blessing as could be possible under the situation.

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Photo: twitter.com

It looks like Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been trying out for his job. She’s Sean’s Deputy but in the dog eat dog world of the Trump administration. It’s not shocking she wants his job and will step over him literally to get there. Trump has allegedly been trolling Fox News employees to see if one is willing to accept the post of Satan’s Spokesperson. Whether it be this week, this month or later this year. Sean is not likely to be with us much longer and I along with Melissa McCarthy of Saturday Night Live will miss him. He somehow retained a small spark of humanity while performing a thankless task as opposed to the soulless Sanders and others that will follow. I just wanted to say good-bye before you’re gone.

Featured Photo: playbuzz.com

Donald Trump: The Worst Hundred Days

The kindest thing I can say about Donald Trump’s first 100 days as President is that he doesn’t know, and doesn’t realize he doesn’t know. His bull in a china shop approach to legislation, filling out his administration and both domestic and foreign policy has made him a dismal failure on every level. The one thing he can claim. Getting a Supreme Court pick confirmed wasn’t really his win. The selection was made for him by right wing think tanks. The confirmation was navigated by Mitch McConnell who changed Senate rules to make it happen. Trump and Republican Senators overlooked plagiarism which has derailed past nominees. He most likely appreciates Gorsuch’s propensity for valuing corporations over people and dismissing the rights of women and the LGBT.

You Surround Yourself With People Who Demand So Little Of You

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Then are of course the lies. Even if we gave him a clean slate for every lie he told before the inauguration. He began anew on his first day in office by saying his crowd size topped that of Barack Obama’s first inauguration despite all the visual evidence refuting it. His administration is still deluged with new information about undisclosed contacts with Russia which many of them lied about as well. What should be worrisome to Trump is that his second hundred days may be even worse than the first given the various investigations closing in on members of his administration, his family and possibly Trump himself. Let’s review:

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  1. Trump’s inauguration would have went off without incident but for claims that it was “the biggest ever” which was obviously untrue. He then gave us his White House spokesman Sean Spicer who introduced himself to America and Saturday Night Live by dressing down the press and began the trend of “Trumpsplaining,” defined as trying to justify the lies Trump tells. The inauguration and related concerts and balls were noteworthy for his inability to attract major entertainers because there were some things they wouldn’t do for money.
  2. Technically, the failures of the Trump administration began during the transition. Perhaps due to not really believing they would win and having to relieve Transition Coordinator Chris Christie who had problems of his own (Bridgegate). They were unprepared to conduct normal transaction activities. Outsider Trump had few around him with any actual government experience and they frankly didn’t know what they were supposed to do. On a visit to the White House a month just before the election. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was overheard asking an Obama official about the hundreds of people working there, “How any of these people stay?” The answer was supposed to be, “none of them.” Because the Trump administration was unprepared to fill the jobs that ran a government. They ended up asking a large number of Obama staffers to remain temporarily. This doesn’t keep Steve Bannon and others from referring to the people literally bailing them out as “the deep state.” Viewing them as spies and leakers.
  3. Trump got to work on his image of being an impactful President. He rushed to sign executive orders. Some of them insignificant photo-op’s. Others harmful like the hiring freeze which did far more harm than good. Then there was the Muslim Ban which in two separate versions has been declared unconstitutional and would have kept out Iraqi translators who served alongside Americans in the Iraq war. The first would have blocked current Green Card holders who were already authorized to re-enter the country. Let’s not forget the “beautiful babies” from Syria that he rushed to allegedly save from chemical attacks from the Assad government in Syria. But his ban wouldn’t care those same babies died from starvation, barrel bombs or any number of causes that made them legitimate refugees.
  4. Trump backed a Health Care plan he had no understanding of in an attempt to have some sort of legislative victory. He reversed himself on campaign promises to preserve coverage for preexisting conditions and to make premiums lower. The actual plan would have thrown 24 million people off their healthcare and raised premiums for many. The only benefit would be to the rich who would have received tax cuts based on no longer participating in paying for The Affordable Care Act which was the Obama healthcare plan. This attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare was thwarted by the American people who showed up at town halls across the country to let their representatives know what they thought of the new plan. Although Trump tried to dismiss the protesters as being “paid.” Republican legislators got the hint and failed to bring the plan to a vote.
  5. Speaking of protests. The Trump Presidency has brought out a level of protest not seen since the Vietnam War and which may soon be exceeded. Not long after his Inauguration. We witnessed the Women’s March in Washington, DC which was also larger than the Trump’s big day although he denies that as well. All across the country since January we’ve seen continued protests against Trump policies.
  6. While Trump loved many of the polls during his campaign. He isn’t feeling them so much now. His approval ratings are the lowest in history for the first 100 days of a Presidency. His disapproval ratings are the highest. He hovers somewhere on average in the high 30’s. In his favor is that a high percentage of Trump supporters would vote for again. Fortunately the rest of the country sees him clearly and this mistake won’t be repeated after four years.
  7. His Cabinet is the wealthiest in the history of the nation. That isn’t bad in and of itself but some of them intend to go right on enriching themselves while allegedly serving the rest of us. Of course they are led by the example of the President himself. Starting with the Cabinet; DeVos, Price, Pruitt and others have clear conflicts of interest that remain unresolved. DeVos along with Carson have the secondary issue of being totally incompetent to run their Departments but they were loyal. Carson has apparently turned the other cheek after Trump said about him during the Republican nomination process that Carson had a “pathological temper.”
  8. Trump promised at every campaign stop that we would build a wall along our southern border and that, “Mexico will pay for it.” Another promise unkept as we aren’t building and Mexico isn’t paying. Trump just removed funds for the wall from his proposed budget with more promises he’d get back to it.
  9. There’s so much about Trump’s first 100 days worthy of mention but one thing that cannot be left out; Russia. The country except in some deep corners of Trumpland realizes that Russia interfered in our elections. The questions being asked louder and more often is, “Did the Trump campaign collude with Russia” and “What did the President know and when did he know it?” Michael Flynn left his role as National Security Advisor after 24 days once undisclosed contacts with Russia were exposed. We also learned about undisclosed payments from Russia and he retroactively disclosed his role as a Foreign Agent for Turkey. A role he still played during the Trump campaign. Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General with a history of racist comments, had undisclosed meetings with Russia as well. Something he denied under oath when testifying to Congress. He has since recused himself from the Justice Department’s Russia Investigation although he personally is pushing to find out who’s leaking about the same investigation where he may ultimately appear as a witness… or defendant. Jared Kushner had undisclosed meetings with Russian officials and bankers. Ivanka only met with China and on the same day got multiple patents approved in that country which is different I guess, but not so much. Carter Page has had FISA warrants out to uncover his full relationship with Russia. Paul Manafort left his role as campaign manager after cash payments from Russia friendly Ukrainians came to light. Trump himself has collected millions in real estate deals with Russians, some of those deals were far above the market value of the property. What we know now will forever taint his Presidency. What we learn later may end it.
  10. Apologies to all the issues I didn’t really get to. His misogyny, ongoing lawsuits from women he sexually harassed. The settlement of the Trump University lawsuit for $25 million. His vouching for fellow serial harasser Bill O’Reilly. His failure to pass any significant legislation despite having a Republican House and Senate to work with. His failure to condemn Russia for anything looms large given their actions and the charges against him. Bombing Syria doesn’t count because he warned them and told them to move. His child-like bickering with North Korea and lying about an aircraft carrier. Let’s not forget his continued blaming everything he’s done wrong on Barack Obama. The White House just refused to provide requested documents on Michael Flynn to the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Stay tuned for the Second Hundred Days, assuming he lasts that long.
  11. Also forgot tweets, nepotism and a whole article about Trump’s own conflicts of interest. The worst hundred days should actually be a book and not a blog post.

Featured Photo: cnbc.com

The Shadiest Administration Ever

In less than three weeks the Trump Administration has proven itself to be the shadiest of all time. Shadier than Nixon’s, Clinton’s, Andrew Johnson’s… Trump beats them all.

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What Trump has that the others didn’t is a Congress and a Party base eager to look the other way until some unknown line is crossed when they can ignore it no more. Starting with Trump; he of the unreleased taxes, failure to divest himself of his businesses and clearly making decisions in the best interests of the family fortune. He is more interested in his brand than the nation. His wife was selling her jewelry on Inauguration Day. He is hosting foreign dignitaries at his hotel a few blocks from the White House. He just doubled membership fees from $100,000 to $200,000 at Mar-a-lago which he calls the winter White House. He is blatantly selling access to himself. Those who care aren’t in power. Those in power don’t care!

He has his sons running the family business yet attending meetings with foreign leaders with access provided by Daddy. His son-in-law has been made a top advisor. His daughter Ivanka allegedly stepped away from her business yet has sat in meetings with foreign leaders whose state owned banks she’s negotiating financing from. A White House spokesperson speaking in front of the Presidential Seal made an appeal to support Ivanka’s business. Donald Trump tweeted his contempt for Nordstrom’s that dropped Ivanka’s clothing line due to declining sales.

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His Cabinet is being approved by a Republican Senate that has ignored situations where the Secretary is totally unqualified (DeVos and Carson), has a history of putting their profits ahead of the nation’s interest (Tillerson and Mnuchin), insider trading (Price) or racist (Sessions). Whatever their transgressions, the Senate just looked away and cast their “aye” vote.

For all the sins of those that had to be approved by the Senate. Trump’s political appointees are even worse. Bannon the White Supremacist. Kellyanne Conway, she of “Alternate Facts,” Sean Spicer the designated liar. Mike Flynn who we learn was discussing sanctions with the Russians even before taking office. There are those who say that wasn’t necessarily a problem. There is a problem with the fact that he lied about it, Pence lied about it, Spicer lied about it and of course Trump. Reince Priebus when RNC Chairman led the RNC effort to suppress black and minority votes.

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There is not a single one that hasn’t stood in front of the cameras and lied to the public. They don’t even tell good lies, most are easily disproved. There’s a theory that they have so many lies being told at the same time that no individual lie gets any real attention.

Then there’s Russia. We know the former campaign manager Manafort had to resign because of the millions in cash he’d received from Ukraine. Flynn and Tillerson have close Russian ties. One of Trump’s sons bragged about the level of business the company did with Russia. Donald now denies it but we never did see those taxes did we?

We saw the video of Trump talking about his ability to “grab them by the pussy” when discussing women. The rumors about a tape with Trump paying Russian prostitutes to urinate on a bed may or may not ever be proven true. Still, we know that there are unreleased video’s of Trump debasing and/or assaulting women on the set of Celebrity Apprentice. Lawsuits are moving forward from some of the women who came forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault. His own words validate their claims. An ex-wife (who is not the only woman) accused Trump of rape.

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Trump would be happy to know his Administration is record setting. Were it not for a Sessions in charge of law enforcement and a partisan Congress unwilling to investigate there would be more investigations underway than already are. Flynn and others are under FBI investigation for their relationship to Russia. Manafort is being investigated related to Russia. Kellyanne Conway is in theory being investigated for her comments urging people to buy Ivanka Trump’s products. Other investigations related to Russian hacking and influencing our recent election may yet snag some of the administration, possibly Trump himself. The smoke is billowing. Soon will come the fire. The shadiest Administration ever.

Featured Photo: aim.org

The Media’s Chickens Come Home To Roost

The national media is shocked, shocked that Donald Trump sent his Press Secretary Sean Spicer out to lie about the pettiest thing. The size of the crowd at the Inauguration. People are calling for Spicer’s resignation, pounding on tables demanding that he tell only the truth from the White House Podium.

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No offense but the media has been cultivating lies to build ratings for at least the past eight years. You have given a forum to candidates and surrogates who you know have lied and will continue to lie and now you complain. For every matter of truth you bring out, you’ve rushed to provide the “Alternate Facts” and take no stand as to which if either is correct. You have allowed the news to become a game, a formula, designed to attract viewers with no regard for the truth. There are people on both sides wandering around in bubbles of false information. This is something you not only perpetuated, you created.

Even in your attempts to corner the most recent prevaricators, you cannot bring yourself to say “You Lie!” The closest I’ve heard yet is, “he uttered falsehoods.” If you want honesty in Government, in elected officials and candidates. It starts with you requiring it. Stop bringing on guests with a history of lying to fill out your programming. Stop giving credence to liars when you have the power to put it to a halt. It’s not enough to characterize people after the fact as being “untruthful.” Call them out as a liar and cut off their microphone.

Stop letting guests “pivot” and run roughshod over the interviewer. Never answering the question asked and only talking about what they want to talk about. It’s not enough to “get” an important figure into your studio. It only matters if an interview provides information, or clarity, or heaven forbid… news.

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We the people deserve better information than you are showing a desire to provide. You promote your on-air personalities, the amount of “breaking news.” You give us informed opinions 24-7. I’d settle for the truth.

Your scolding of the Trump administration is well deserved by them. They are actually lying. In one sense Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and even Trump himself are just doing what they’ve always done, they lie. Just like you’ve always put up with in the past. The outrage you now proclaim rings hollow coming from you. Do better!

Featured Photo: rwstory.com