A collection of some of my favorite quotes and ideas that apply to the current situation we find ourselves in and offer hope to me.
On Trump and his fear of Muslims (well poor ones) and his attempts to ban them
On Trump and his ties to Fascism and the Alt- Right Movement
On Trump’s budget and all the people it hurts in order to make the rich richer
On Climate science and leaving the Paris Accord
On Congress’ conflicts of interest
On the Economy
On all the lies (alternative facts)
On Faux (FOX ) news
On Health Care
On Women’s Rights
On Trump himself (his character or lack there of)
On the GOP
On Christian GOP Hypocrisy
How the world sees us with Trump in charge
Things I wish Democrats would point out.
Today the GOP in the House showed their hands to everyone. They are for the Rich and only care about the Rich.
WE MUST NOT FORGET
They have shown time and time again to show the belief that healthy people are blessed by God and that the sick are somehow less than them and it’s their fault they are suffering. They do it all in the name of reducing costs for them and their friends.
“My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool,” he said, “thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives.”
Of these people who live “good lives,” he then added, “They’re healthy, they have done the things to keep their bodies healthy, and right now those are the people who have done things the right way and are seeing their costs skyrocket.”
WE MUST NOT FORGET
When the GOP is more worried about their rich benefactors over their constituents.
WE MUST NOT FORGET
When the GOP basically says being a Woman is a pre-existing condition
WE MUST NOT FORGET
When the costs of our insurance skyrocket due to illness or even just having a baby, while the Billionaires continue to get tax break after tax break
WE MUST NOT FORGET
Because their agenda has not changed. Their tactics and leaders might have, but in the end, selfishness and greed has been around from the beginning and we need to STOP FORGETTING
November 6th 2018. Remember this date. 33 senate seats and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be up for reelection. You can change this administration and get Trump out by 2020
Follow-Up the next morning
Winner: People who are young, healthy, and high-income
If you earn a good salary, are young and healthy, and want to buy a cheaper, skimpier insurance plan, the American Health Care Act could be pretty good for you. It would give Americans who earn upward of $100,000 tax credits to help purchase insurance. Right now, Obamacare’s tax credits are only available to individuals who earn less than $64,000.
the Republican bill makes it easier for insurers to charge lower prices to young people, too. Right now, insurance plans are required to only charge the oldest enrollees three times as much as the youngest enrollees. AHCA would change that rule to allow insurers to charge the oldest enrollees five times as much. This would raise premiums on the elderly but lower them for young Americans. Christine Eibner, a researcher at the RAND Corporation, estimates that this particular policy would lower annual premiums for a 24-year-old from $2,800 to $2,100
AHCA would let states apply for waivers so that insurers in those states could charge people with preexisting conditions higher premiums. For healthy people without pre-existing conditions, this would be a benefit: They would no longer have to pay more so that the insurance company could cover the high medical bills of other enrollees. Instead, the Republican bill would move the individual market closer to the one that we had before Obamacare, where health insurance premiums were meant to reflect how much an individual’s own coverage is expected to cost.
If you’re someone who uses little health care, that could be a good deal. If you’re someone who is expected to have high bills, however…
Loser: people who are older, sick, and low-income
For low-income people who get their coverage through either Medicaid or the individual marketplace, though, the AHCA will likely change things for the worse.
The bill would end the Medicaid expansion in 2020, a program that millions of Americans who earn less than 138 percent of the poverty line (about $15,000 for an individual) currently rely on. The end result would be that people eventually get moved into the individual market, where they would have to pay for private insurance coverage. They would get some help from AHCA’s tax credits, but likely not enough to afford to purchase a plan — keep in mind, these are people who are only earning $15,000 or less per year.
People already in the marketplace would see significant change, too. Right now, Obamacare’s tax credits are based on income, with those who earn less getting more help. Under Obamacare, people who earn less than 200 percent of the poverty line (about $24,120 for an individual or $49,200 for a family of four) get the most generous help, enough money so that a midlevel plan would cost no more than 6.4 percent of their income.
Under AHCA, which doesn’t base tax credits on income alone, those people would get substantially less help. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the average 40-year-old who earns $26,500 would see her tax credit fall from $4,800 to $3,650 under AHCA.
For an older Obamacare enrollee, the problem would be even more acute, because insurers would be allowed to charge the oldest enrollees five times as much as the youngest enrollees. This would have the result of raising premiums for Obamacare enrollees in their 60s.
CBO estimates that a 64-year-old earning $26,500 would see their annual tax credit decline from $13,600 to $4,900. The amount they pay out of pocket for their premiums, meanwhile, would go up from $1,700 in annual premiums under current law to $14,600 under AHCA. Right now, with the tax credit, that person spends very little of her own money on a premium. Under the new bill, she’d spend nearly half her annual income on health insurance.
Winner: the Freedom Caucus
The Freedom Caucus went into the Obamacare repeal fight with two non-negotiable demands. First, they wanted a bill that got rid of Obamacare’s requirement that sick and healthy people be charged the same premiums. Second, they wanted to end Obamacare’s essential health benefit mandate, which requires insurers to cover 10 types of medical care including hospital trips, maternity care, and mental health services.
This was a huge ask. These are two of the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act. American voters really like Obamacare’s ban on preexisting conditions; a recent Washington Post poll found that 70 percent want that part of the law to stay.
But the Freedom Caucus ultimately got its way, as the Republicans added an amendment that would allow states to waive out of these two provisions. This group of legislators moved the Republican replacement plan sharply to the right, and showed that they could sway the caucus toward a more conservative health care plan.
Loser: the Tuesday Group and moderate Republicans
The Tuesday Group, a loose affiliation of moderate Republicans, had the exact opposite experience in the health care debate. These moderates opposed the first version of AHCA because they felt it didn’t do enough to protect the Americans who rely on the health care law’s programs.
The Freedom Caucus then added a series of changes that made the bill more conservative, the ones described earlier. They let states waive out of the preexisting condition ban and cover fewer benefits.
Moderates, somewhat amazingly, signed onto these changes while getting incredibly little in return. Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan secured an additional $8 billion in funding to help cover people with preexisting conditions. He admitted that he didn’t know whether this would be enough to actually make sure those people receive quality health care.
The moderates went from opposing the more moderate version of AHCA to supporting the more conservative one — which doesn’t speak especially well to their leverage and muscle on Capitol Hill.
Winner: very rich Americans
The AHCA would amount to a huge tax cut for the wealthiest Americans by rolling back key taxes included in Obamacare. One analysis of an earlier version of the bill estimated that it contains $600 billion in tax cuts that would save the wealthiest 0.1 percent of Americans, on average, $200,000 each.
The single biggest tax cut included in the bill is the repeal of the 3.8 percent tax the Affordable Care Act applied to capital gains, dividend, and interest income for families with $250,000 or more in income ($125,000 for singles).
Repealing that tax is a change that, by definition, only helps affluent Americans. If you’re part of a married couple and, like the vast majority of Americans, make less than $250,000 a year, or earn more than that but have little investment income, it doesn’t affect you at all.
Loser: the Senate
The Senate has had the luxury so far of sitting on the sidelines of the health care debate and waiting to see what bill the House passes. Now, the ball is in their court — and they don’t sound entirely excited to receive it.
AHCA is an unpopular bill. Different polls find that somewhere between 17 percent and 37 percent of Americans approve of the Republican plan, and now it’s being dropped squarely in the laps of senators.
Senators presumably don’t want to be the roadblock to Obamacare repeal — a goal of the Republican party for years now — but also have major concerns about AHCA. Many of them worry about the bill’s deep cuts to Medicaid and changes to private insurance. Now they’ll have to hash out the issues on their own.
A few senators have suggested they will even draft their own competing bill — which will be just as challenging of an effort in the Senate as it has been in the House this year.
Winner: Donald Trump
Trump has spent months now campaigning on his promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare. He has promised, repeatedly, that a plan would be coming soon and Republicans would get it done.
In getting the American Health Care Act through the House, he finally gets to claim progress on that goal. He has a clear political victory he can point at, in a presidency where very little policy has been made.
Loser: Donald Trump
Trump has repeatedly promised a health care bill that will “cover everyone” and take care of people with preexisting conditions.
The bill that just passed the House is decidedly not that bill. The things Trump says are currently in the bill — protections for everyone with preexisting conditions, for example — are not in the American Health Care Act. The most recent CBO estimate says that 24 million fewer Americans would have coverage under AHCA. Clearly, not everyone is covered.
Trump has repeated these claims this week and he may well keep repeating these claims about AHCA in the future too. But eventually, if he signs this bill into law, the way AHCA actually works will become clear to the Americans who lose insurance and the Americans with preexisting conditions who suddenly have to pay more for coverage. That will be a rude awakening for the voters who have, for years now, been promised the exact opposite.
THE REPEAL OF OBAMACARE IS ESSENTIALLY CLASSWARFARE (the bill amounts to a reverse Robin Hood situation. The poor lose and the rich win.)
Right after Trump praised his party for passing the AHCA, he then praised Australia, which has universal care, for having better healthcare than the US.
“I shouldn’t say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better health care than we do.”
Trump is right on that point. Australia’s universal health care system, known as Medicare, provides high-quality healthcare with far more efficiency than the US’s.
A list of pre-existing conditions that will no longer be covered under #Trumpcare:
AIDS/HIV, acid reflux, acne, ADD, addiction, Alzheimer’s/dementia, anemia, aneurysm, angioplasty, anorexia, anxiety, arrhythmia, arthritis, asthma, atrial fibrillation, autism, bariatric surgery, basal cell carcinoma, bipolar disorder, blood clot, breast cancer, bulimia, bypass surgery, celiac disease, cerebral aneurysm, cerebral embolism, cerebral palsy, cerebral thrombosis, cervical cancer, colon cancer, colon polyps, congestive heart failure, COPD, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, DMD, depression, diabetes, disabilities, Down syndrome, eating disorder, enlarged prostate, epilepsy, glaucoma, gout, heart disease, heart murmur, heartburn, hemophilia, hepatitis C, herpes, high cholesterol, hypertension, hysterectomy, kidney disease, kidney stones, kidney transplant, leukemia, lung cancer, lupus, lymphoma, mental health issues, migraines, MS, muscular dystrophy, narcolepsy, nasal polyps, obesity, OCD, organ transplant, osteoporosis, pacemaker, panic disorder, paralysis, paraplegia, Parkinson’s disease, pregnancy, restless leg syndrome, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, seizures, sickle cell disease, skin cancer, sleep apnea, sleep disorders, stent, stroke, thyroid issues, tooth disease, tuberculosis, ulcers
Day after day, at the gym, I see on TV stuck on CNN and the other on FOX News and see people watch over and over again and gobble up all the noise and hate. The problem is it’s not real news. Please stay informed of true news stories, from places like NPR, PBS, and Reuters.
The news outlets that are considered trustworthy by every ideological group don’t equate to the most popular outlets, however. Americans say they get most of their political news from local TV, Facebook, and major networks like CNN and Fox News. Because of this, we are in an age of “alternative facts” and we feel we can still debate things like climate change, even when they are scientific fact.
SHANGHAI (AP) — On April 6, Ivanka Trump’s company won provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks, giving it monopoly rights to sell Ivanka brand jewelry, bags and spa services in the world’s second-largest economy. That night, the first daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, sat next to the president of China and his wife for a steak and Dover sole dinner at Mar-a-Lago.
The scenario underscores how difficult it is for Trump, who has tried to distance herself from the brand that bears her name, to separate business from politics in her new position at the White House.
As the first daughter crafts a political career from her West Wing office, her brand is flourishing, despite boycotts and several stores limiting her merchandise. U.S. imports, almost all of them from China, shot up an estimated 166 percent last year, while sales hit record levels in 2017. The brand, which Trump still owns, says distribution is growing. It has launched new activewear and affordable jewelry lines and is working to expand its global intellectual property footprint. In addition to winning the approvals from China, Ivanka Trump Marks LLC applied for at least nine new trademarks in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Canada and the U.S. after the election.
The commercial currents of the Trump White House are unprecedented in modern American politics, ethics lawyers say. They have created an unfamiliar landscape riven with ethical pitfalls, and forced consumers and retailers to wrestle with the unlikely passions now inspired by Ivanka Trump’s mid-market collection of ruffled blouses, shifts and wedges.
Using the prestige of government service to build a brand is not illegal. But criminal conflict of interest law prohibits federal officials, like Trump and her husband, from participating in government matters that could impact their own financial interest or that of their spouse. Some argue that the more her business broadens its scope, the more it threatens to encroach on the ability of two trusted advisers to deliver credible counsel to the president on core issues like trade, intellectual property, and the value of the Chinese currency.
“Put the business on hold and stop trying to get trademarks while you’re in government,” advised Richard Painter, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush.
To address ethical concerns, Trump has shifted the brand’s assets to a family-run trust valued at more than $50 million and pledged to recuse herself from issues that present conflicts.
“Ivanka will not weigh in on business strategy, marketing issues, or the commercial terms of agreements,” her attorney, Jamie Gorelick, said in a statement. “She has retained authority to direct the trustees to terminate agreements that she determines create a conflict of interest or the appearance of one.”
In a recent interview with CBS News, Trump argued that her business would be doing even better if she hadn’t moved to Washington and placed restrictions on her team to ensure that “any growth is done with extreme caution.”
China, however, remains a nagging concern. “Ivanka has so many China ties and conflicts, yet she and Jared appear deeply involved in China contacts and policy. I would never have allowed it,” said Norman Eisen, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer under Barack Obama. “For their own sake, and the country’s, Ivanka and Jared should consider stepping away from China matters.”
Instead, the first daughter and her husband have emerged as prominent interlocutors with China, where they have both had significant business ties. Last year, Kushner pursued hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate investments from Anbang Insurance Group, a financial conglomerate with close ties to the Chinese state. After media reports about the deal, talks were called off.
Publicly, Ivanka has taken a gracious, charming approach toward Beijing. During the Mar-a-Lago meetings, her daughter, 5-year-old Arabella stood in a gilded room and sang a traditional Chinese song, in Mandarin, for China’s president, Xi Jinping. The video, which was lavishly praised by Chinese state media, played over 2.2 million times on China’s popular news portal qq.com.
The week of the summit, 3.4 tons of Ivanka Trump handbags, wallets and blouses arrived in the U.S. from Hong Kong and Shanghai. U.S. imports of her merchandise grew an estimated 40 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to Panjiva Inc., which maintains and analyzes global shipping records.
Painter, the former Bush administration lawyer, recommended full recusal from issues related to trade with China. That is likely to be difficult because trade is so deeply embedded in the US-China relationship and has been linked with other matters, like North Korea.
“The danger is that with any discussion with the Chinese, one party or the other may try to bring up trade,” he said. “That’s a slippery slope that may require her or Jared to step out of the room.”
Gorelick, Ivanka Trump’s attorney, said that Ivanka and her husband would steer clear of specific areas that could impact her business, or be seen as conflicts of interest, but are under no legal obligation to step back from huge swaths of policy, like trade with China.
Under the rules, Trump would recuse herself from conversations about duties on clothing imported from China, Gorelick said, but not broad foreign policy.
“In between, you have to assess it case-by-case,” she said.
Trademarks can be signs of corporate ambition, though many countries — such as China, where trademark squatting is rampant — also allow for defensive filings to prevent copycats from using a brand.
Trademarks pose ethical, and possibly legal, implications for government employees because they are granted by foreign states and confer the monopoly right to sell branded product in a particular country — an entitlement that can be enormously valuable. Intellectual property lawyers say trademarks are also a crucial prerequisite for cutting licensing deals, which form the basis of both Ivanka and Donald Trump’s global business strategy.
Today, Ivanka Trump Marks LLC has 16 registered trademarks in China and 32 pending applications, along with a total of four marks granted preliminary approval since the inauguration, according to China’s Trademark Office. Altogether, they cover a wide range of goods and services, including cosmetics, jewelry, leather handbags, luggage, clothes, shoes, retail, spa and beauty services. There is no sign the recent approvals were particularly swift. China’s Trademark Office did not respond to a request for comment.
Globally, the company has more than 180 pending and registered trademarks in countries including Canada, India, Japan, Israel, Mexico, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, as well as the U.S. and Europe, public records show. In December, the company applied for five trademarks, covering handbags and wallets in Puerto Rico, and lingerie and other clothes in the U.S. After the inauguration, the company filed four more applications, for branded clothing and shoes in the Philippines, and perfume and other items in Canada.
The G-III Apparel Group Ltd., which makes Ivanka Trump clothes, said net sales for the collection increased by $17.9 million during the year that ended Jan. 31.
The brand itself claims revenues rose 21 percent last year, with early February seeing some of the “best performance ever,” according to a statement by Abigail Klem, president of the Ivanka Trump brand. Because it is privately held, the brand does not have to declare its earnings or where revenues come from. The actual corporate structure of Trump’s retail business remains opaque. Kushner’s financial disclosure form lists two dozen corporate entities that appear directly related to his wife’s brand. Trump herself has yet to file a disclosure.
Data from Lyst, a massive fashion e-commerce platform, indicates some of this growth coincided with specific political events.
The number of Ivanka Trump items sold through Lyst was 46 percent higher the month her father was elected president than in November 2015. Sales spiked 771 percent in February over the same month last year, after White House counselor Kellyanne Conway exhorted Fox viewers to “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff.” Conway was later reprimanded. The bounce appears somewhat sustained. March sales on Lyst were up 262 percent over the same period last year.
“You can’t separate Ivanka from her role in life and from her business,” said Allen Adamson, founder of BrandSimpleConsulting. “Her celebrity status is now not only being fueled by her wealth and her family connection, but by her huge role in the White House. All that buzz is hardwired to her products.” That, he added, is a competitive advantage other brands just can’t match — though it does come with risk.
Things could easily cut the other way for the first daughter. Ashley King, 28 of Calabasas, California, bought Ivanka Trump black flats and a cardigan several years ago. But King, who voted for Hillary Clinton, said she believes Trump’s role in the White House represents a conflict of interest.
“This is bothering me more and more,” she said. As for the Ivanka Trump items in her closet, she said, “I will be donating them.”
Daily change in Ivanka Trump’s orders on Lyst – https://w.graphiq.com/w/4VDhSHfGfQh
Monthly change in Ivanka Trump’s orders on Lsyt – https://w.graphiq.com/w/in9MnNw1FAN
The Ivanka Trump Collection Quarterly US Imports – https://w.graphiq.com/w/fCOZGxSvnTL
AP reporter Catherine Lucey in Washington, researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai, and reporters Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Teresa Cerojano in Manila and Elaine Kurtenbach in Tokyo contributed to this report.
A timeline provided by the AP
July 20, 2016: Ivanka Trump forms four new companies in Delaware to handle licensing contracts for baby products and costume jewelry.
July 21, 2016: Donald Trump accepts Republican nomination for president.
July 22, 2016: “Shop Ivanka’s look from her #RNC speech,” @IvankaTrump tweets, along with a link to her collection’s $138 blush sheath dress at Macy’s online.
Sept. 29, 2016: Her company announces two new licensing agreements, for affordable fashion jewelry and baby accessories.
Nov. 8, 2016: Donald Trump wins the election. Sales of Ivanka merchandise on Lyst.com, a large e-commerce platform, bump 46 percent higher for the month.
Nov. 13, 2016: Ivanka Trump appears on “60 Minutes” to discuss her father’s electoral win. Her jewelry company emails a “style alert” to reporters noting that she wore one of her “favorite” bangles, a $10,800 bracelet from her own collection, on the show. Ensuing criticism prompts the brand to apologize.
Dec. 4, 2016: The New York Times reports that Ivanka Trump sat in on a meeting with her father and the prime minister of Japan, as her company negotiated a licensing deal with a firm the Japanese government owned a large stake in. The deal was put on hold, according to Abigail Klem, who now runs Ivanka Trump’s brand.
Dec. 27, 2016: Ivanka Trump Marks LLC applies for five new trademarks covering purses, wallets and other leather goods in Puerto Rico, and clothing, including swimsuits and lingerie in the U.S., public records show.
Jan. 11, 2017: Ivanka Trump announces she will take a “formal leave of absence” from executive positions at the Trump Organization and her lifestyle brand.
Jan. 20, 2017: Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.
Feb. 8, 2017: Ivanka’s company applies for two more clothing trademarks in the Philippines, where it already holds three marks, according to the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.
Feb. 9, 2017: Speaking on the morning show “Fox and Friends,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway encourages viewers to, “go buy Ivanka’s stuff,” boasting about giving the brand “a free commercial.” It apparently worked, sparking a 771 percent surge in the brand’s sales that month on Lyst.com over Feb. 2016. The White House later “counseled” Conway for inappropriately promoting the brand.
Feb. 13, 2017: Trump meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House.
Feb. 20, 2017: Ivanka Trump Marks LLC wins preliminary approval for a trademark covering branded leather handbags in China, where the company has 52 pending or registered trademarks listed in the government trademark database.
Feb. 22, 2017: Ivanka Trump Marks LLC applies for another trademark, covering perfume, among other things, in Canada, where it holds 22 pending or registered marks, according to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
March 1, 2017: Ivanka Trump Marks LLC applies for another new trademark in the Philippines, covering clothes and shoes.
March 3, 2017: Ivanka Trump is photographed disembarking from Air Force One in a stripe asymmetrical skirt from her own collection, available on Lyst.com for $45.
March 29, 2017: Ivanka Trump joins her father’s administration as an unpaid employee.
April 6, 2017: Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, sit next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, at a state dinner at Mar-a-Lago. That same day, China grants her company preliminary approval for three trademarks that confer monopoly rights to sell Ivanka brand jewelry, bags and spa services in the world’s second-largest economy.
And of course the same can be said for Daddy Donald as well
Trademarks for Trump branded escort service- how Christian of you Donald
As I reflect on the past month and a half I can say what I have seen in this country is a continued slide towards a complete demise of the middle class and a growing divide between the haves and have-nots in this country. I believe the Trump presidency has put a fast track on this whole process, but it started long ago. It started with the push for supply-side economic policy and deregulation during the Regan years, continued to worsen during the housing crisis of 08, and then ballooned after the citizens united court case. The republican party did a great thing for their party the past 20ish years, focusing first on local and state elections, to then have the power to draw the congressional districts, then create districts that were sure wins for their party, which increased their power in Washington. What they didn’t account for, and that pushed them over the edge, was the racial backlash to the Obama presidency. All of a sudden racist good ol’ boys who never cared enough to vote were all of a sudden mobilized and then they found their demigod in the name of Trump who pandered to every one of their biggest fears about immigrants, Muslims, and minorities. He was able to bring them all out of the woodwork by promising them all a trip back to the 1950’s bliss they either remember or were told about by their parents. The problem is, he lied about everything and has gone so far to say it was all a lie. He used “drain the swamp” because it got cheers at rallies, not because he believed it and now all of us in the middle are going to pay for it “BIGGLY”
Here is a running list of all the Crazy, Ridiculous things this man has done so far as President (191 at the point of writing this)
Some of the highlights
- All of the contacts between people on his campaign and transition team who have been connected to Russia so far, with a list that keeps growing. So far– Manafort, Flynn, Page, Sessions, Kushner, Trump Jr. , Tillerson, Ross, Stone, Gordon, Caputo, Gates, Cohen, Papadopoulos, Prince, and Trump himself. Just remember where there is smoke there is fire.
- Also, here is a list of 179 outright lies he has committed since being president. A person with no moral center will say and do whatever they want to further their own purposes. The scary part is Trump doesn’t seem to think people can remember all the things he has said before or that things like Twitter and videos of his rallies are not a running list of all his promises.
- The Affordable Care Act repeal and replace plan- which is basically just a tax break for the wealthy. I have written about it extensively here, here, here, here, here, here, and here
- All the attacks on the environment through deregulation of pollution and rolling back almost every Obama administration plan to move us towards clean energy.
- His budget that prioritizes a military industrial complex over so many beneficial, and honestly cheap programs, considering many of the ones being cut could be saved if the First Lady would not live in Trump tower, or if Trump wouldn’t spend every freaking weekend golfing at his resorts. More on that here and here.
- If all the Russian hacking claims are true, then the GOP essentially stole the seat on the Supreme Court that will be in place for probably 40 years. Even if I felt Gorsuch was a good judge, the way he got there feels wrong on many levels, from not even giving Garland a change to removing the filibuster to get him through, this can possibly change the direction of the court and this country for years to come. I wrote about it here and here.
- Congress and Trump gave away your internet privacy and are now looking at removing Net Neutrality protections that could potentially turn the internet into a system like cable where you have to pay into different tiers to get to specific websites. I wrote about both here and here.
- Using military stunts like the bombing in Syria to try and shape the narrative about him and take the pressures off the Russia connection. Even having his “people” say and do ridiculous things to get the media to talk about it instead of the real news. I dug deeper here, here, and here.
- All the ways the Trump family is financially benefiting from the Trump presidency. Here is a short list that is ever growing as people dig more. For a short example, all Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago. For every trip the Secret service pays rent of his golf carts, all the people there are paying more for their memberships for special access to the president, and all the foreign officials he wines and dines there which all benefit his pocketbook.
- All of his policies, tax cut plans, deregulations, child care plans, and appointments to his cabinet positions all point to one thing, he plans to help the mega-rich
These are just 10 of the low points (in my opinion) of the past 45 days. I have struggled to understand how this man has risen to power, but now all I can do is hope and pray that he doesn’t get us into a world war with either North Korea or the Syria, Russia, Iran coalition before he gets impeached. I do believe its a matter of when, not if.
I have also continued to struggle with the connection of Trump and the GOP to the Christian Church, especially when I see the Right attack the poor and minorities time and time again. I feel like I got clarity when I did my exploration on the prosperity gospel. To me, it’s no longer about Jesus and his teachings, but instead about what God can do for me, like he is a savings account where they can make deposits to get their “blessings”.
In the end, this break has been good for me. I am no longer compelled to pick fights when I see falsehoods and hate being shared on the internet. I choose to dig deeper, build a stronger case, and have facts behind my arguments. I am choosing to take emotion out of it as much as possible and attack it from an intellectual place and while I know that some of the other side doesn’t do that as well I feel it is important for a healthy debate of ideas. Getting back to that is the only way we will move away from the extreme polarization our bipartisanship has brought us to and move us more to a middle common ground.
I choose to Respect ALL people
I choose to fight for the poor, minorities, women, and other disenfranchised of our country.
I choose to Resist Hate when I see it and help people move away from narrow-minded, bigoted attitudes.
I will continue to fight for fair economic policies, universal health care, and quality public education.
I choose to Love as Christ Loved, Serve as Christ served, and hopefully Live as Christ Lived.
He has spent 21 days of his 80-day presidency at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, at an estimated cost of $21.6 million.
After racking up an estimated $22 million travel tab in less than three months, Donald Trump is well on his way to spending more in a single year than Barack Obama spent on travel during all eight years of his presidency.
Trump has spent 21 days of his 80-day presidency at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, at an estimated cost of $21.6 million in travel and security expenses, CNN reported. In contrast, Obama spent a total of just under $97 million during his entire presidency, according to costs estimated by Judicial Watch.
At Trump’s current pace, he will spend $99 million by the end of his first year in office. That would add up to close to $800 million if he served an eight-year term as Obama did.
This coming from the man who said this on the campaign trail.
But with most things we have seen with Trump- what he said and what he is actually doing are polar opposites, which leaves people to try and defend his ridiculous hypocrisy.
So why does he need to leave every weekend?
Trump’s frequent visits to South Florida have also taken a toll on the area. Last month, Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) asked Trump to help pay for the extra security his visits require, a service that has already cost the community $1.7 million.
“Please step up to the plate and help us get this money back,’” said Frankel, per WPBF. “And if you’re unable to do that, consider curtailing your travel.”
She suggested Camp David as an alternative.
Florida lawmakers have also suggested imposing special taxes on Mar-a-Lago to help defray costs. Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw estimated that Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping cost the community $250,000 in police overtime.
Taxpayers are also footing the bill for a second presidential residence at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where first lady Melania and son Baron reside. NYPD officials estimated that they spend $500,000 a day on security, CNBC reported.
Trump’s inflated travel expenditures have become a particularly touchy subject, given the extensive budget cuts he has proposed. Voters and politicians have even started comparing Mar-a-Lago costs to federal funds that could save a program destined for the chopping block.
According to a report from CNBC, Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago raised membership fees from $100,000 to $200,000.
I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that he intends to use Mar-A-Lago as an occasional retreat from the White House. Oh, wait.
Either way, a membership at Mar-a-Lago now includes a chance to mingle with the 45th president. Trump plans to use the resort as his occasional “Winter White House.” He has visited twice since his election — first for Thanksgiving and then over Christmas and New Year holidays.
It would be instructive to know who will pay those higher fees. Will his foreign partners and friends be paying more for some access to the president?
Tell me more about how Trump isn’t benefitting financially from his office? But wait! There’s more. Bloomberg reports that the Trump Organization has changed their plans to build hotels around the world and instead plans more in the United States.
Trump Hotels Chief Executive Officer Eric Danziger suggested the company’s broad U.S. ambitions while saying it shelved plans for expansion in China, where the president’s comments have already led to rocky diplomatic relations.
“There are 26 major metropolitan areas in the U.S., and we’re in five,” Danziger said after a panel discussion Tuesday at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles. “I don’t see any reason that we couldn’t be in all of them eventually.”
Since Trump hasn’t actually transferred ownership of his businesses to his sons, but instead just the management, he will certainly benefit from the branding of his hotels here in the United States, right?
Of course, his foreign partners aren’t left in the cold. At the inaugural, they got VIP treatment according to Mother Jones.
But Trump made clear that existing foreign deals would remain in place. Partners in two of those projects—Tanoesoedibjo, with whom Trump is developing a pair of luxury resorts in Indonesia, and Hussain Sajwani, a Dubai-based real estate developer who has licensed Trump’s name for luxury villas and lush desert golf courses—attended the inaugural festivities.
Since Trump refused to divest from his businesses, he is now getting cash and favors from foreign governments, through guests and events at his hotels, leases in his buildings, and valuable real estate deals abroad. Trump does business with countries like China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, and now that he is President, his company’s acceptance of any benefits from the governments of those countries violates the Constitution. When Trump the president sits down to negotiate trade deals with these countries, the American people will have no way of knowing whether he will also be thinking about the profits of Trump the businessman.
“President Trump has made his slogan ‘America First,’” said Bookbinder. “So you would think he would want to strictly follow the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, since it was written to ensure our government officials are thinking of Americans first, and not foreign governments.”
While the president battles accusations of collusion with Russia, he is doing nothing to hide his glaring financial conflicts in Washington and Palm Beach.
Amid the many scandals threatening to tear down the White House brewing barely beneath the surface, it is easy to lose sight of the audacious pay-to-play operation President Donald Trump is not even trying to conceal. Such was the case this past weekend, like three of the six weekends before it, when Trump flew south to Florida, to unwind at Mar-a-Lago, his private Palm Beach resort.
At times, the “Winter White House” had the air of a family reunion, with Trump’s daughter Ivanka, son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and their three children all soaking in the Palm Beach sun alongside their patriarch. White House strategist Stephen Bannon flew down separately to meet his boss there, where he reportedly sat in on a working dinner with Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, White House counsel Don McGahn, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Sessions, perhaps more than anyone, embraced the slower pace of South Florida life after a trying week on the job. As the Palm Beach Post reported, Sessions greeted guests and shook hands as he made his way around the resort, giving paying members, once again, a front-row seat to the presidency.
But ever the showman, Trump did not miss the opportunity to put on a good face for the members and charities who pay him tens thousands of dollars to patronize his business. The Palm Beach Post reported that the president wandered into a gala in the club’s ballroom held to benefit the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, shaking hands and mingling with members.
This has become a pattern for Trump: he spends the weeks in Washington, heads down to Palm Beach for the weekends, where he plays golf during the day (so far, he has played eight rounds since he took office) and sits down for official business over dinner at night (including this weekend’s meal with Sessions, Ross, and Bannon, and, before that, his now infamous dinner with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, during which guests snapped photos of the two leaders handling a sudden diplomatic crisis). Later, he usually meanders through various events, like weddings, and galas at the club to make paying members happy.
This unfettered access to a sitting president by a privileged few is unprecedented, particularly because Trump stands to financially benefit from those interested in the access he provides to himself and his Cabinet. Mar-a-Lago, from which Trump has not divested, doubled its initiation fee, days before his inauguration, to $200,000, and doubled its annual dues. But it’s a small price to pay for those lining up to rub elbows with the president and his advisers. “Everyone wants to be close to the president,” a new member recently told Politico, noting that dinner reservations are now all booked weeks in advance. Charities that book events at the venue are also experiencing a Trump bump. The Lincoln Day Dinner gala set for later this month, for example, sold out earlier this year. “That was without confirming a speaker,” the chairman of Palm Beach’s G.O.P. told Politico. “They want to be able to say ‘I had dinner at the president’s house.’ ”
It is not just at Mar-a-Lago that people are looking for a piece of Trump. As the Associated Press reported, the Trump Hotel just down the road from the White House in Washington, D.C. has become a hotbed of Trump supporters looking to catch a glimpse of the president, who recently popped in for a steak one weekday night with Kushner and his wife, while his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson dined at a table nearby. Rooms, which were almost completely vacant when I stayed at the hotel two days before the election, are now mostly booked.
They’re not just occupied by anybody, either. Trump’s billionaire business partner Phil Ruffin, who donated $1 million to his inauguration committee, said he spent $18,000 per night in order to rest his head at a Trump-owned property, according to the AP. Three members of his administration—Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, and Linda McMahon—are all residing in the gilded Trump Hotel while they serve in Washington. Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr. posed with revelers at the hotel when they visited town to watch their father nominate a justice to the Supreme Court.
That President Trump opted to not divest from his businesses when he took office, and chose, instead, to turn the keys over to his sons, raised ethical flags. That the brand is experiencing this sort of renaissance raised them even higher. But it is the issue of foreign money pouring into Trump’s businesses that might elevate those conflicts into unconstitutional territory. The Emoluments Clause states that a president cannot lawfully accept money from foreign leaders or entities, and many worried that such leaders and entities would use hotel stays or banquet bookings in order to curry favor with the president and his family.
Trump’s lawyers have said this does not violate the Emoluments Clause because it is a fair value exchange. He said that he would donate any profits from foreign stays at the hotel to the U.S. Treasury, but he has not indicated how and when that will happen, or if it has happened already. Already one watchdog group, composed of former White House lawyers, constitutional scholars, and prominent litigators, is currently suing the president on precisely these grounds, arguing that accepting such payments violates the U.S. Constitution.
With the fate of Trump’s presidency potentially hanging in the balance, the Kuwaiti ambassador and his wife held a reception under the chandeliered ballroom in Trump’s new hotel last week, there money flowing into the Trump Organization’s coffers. Where it went after that remains unknown. (A spokesperson for the company did not respond to the A.P.’s questions about whether the money from the embassy has been or will be donated.) Before retiring to his room upstairs, Mnuchin reportedly stopped by.
my take- I think that Trump believes that now he is president, that he is basically the King of the USA and he can do whatever the F he wants.
This is how I believe he sees himself.
But what I see is a self-absorbed toddler who is abusing his power he won by lying to the American people and is going to use this office to 1. cancel his debts with Russia and other world leaders and 2. increase his global “brand” to make himself and his family boat loads of money and he doesn’t care if he takes the whole thing down with him because he will just buy more low so he can sell it once a democrat president comes in and cleans it all up.
How I see him
For an updated list of how many times Trump has visited Mar-a-Lago as well as how much it has cost taxpayers, CLICK HERE
Today as there were protests in over 100 countries over him not releasing his Tax returns, Trump made the drivers of his motorcade go through an unusually long route to avoid seeing the protests in Palm Beach