Rather than drain the swamp, Donald Trump has turned Washington DC into 'a federally protected paradise for predators on Wall Street'

Rather than drain the swamp, Donald Trump has turned Washington DC into 'a federally protected paradise for predators on Wall Street'

By Gareth Vaughan

When he was running for President, Donald Trump pledged to "drain the swamp" in Washington DC and make the United States Government honest again.

And in his inaugural address on January 20 last year, Trump said the day would be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of the US again.

"The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer," Trump said.

However a staunch Trump critic says what the Trump Administration is actually doing bears a stark contrast to what he promised.

David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and editor of DCReport.org who has probed and written about Trump and his businesses since the late 1980s, says Trump forgot about the forgotten man the day after he took office. And instead of draining the swamp, Trump has turned it into "a federally protected paradise for predators on Wall Street."

Johnston spoke to interest.co.nz in a Double Shot interview via Skype. This follows the release of his new book; It's Even Worse Than You Think - What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.

"What my book does is examine what Trump is doing to the Government as opposed to his tweets and remarks. And journalists generally don't cover government... And I show from the Government's own records and documents that he is acting directly contrary to what he called the forgotten man. The day after he took office he forgot the forgotten man," Johnston says.

"I document in my book that Donald has taken numerous actions that are contrary to the interests of American workers. For example, in America there are about 4800 workers a year killed on the job. The Trump Administration has stopped putting up the data [online] on these deaths. Each individual death hasn't been reported since last August. They have reduced the number of job safety inspectors and the number of wage and hour inspectors."

'Trump without doubt profiting from spending at his properties by foreign governments'

Johnston writes about Trump businesses benefiting from him being President, and raises issues about emoluments clauses - anticorruption - measures in the US Constitution. There are both foreign and domestic emoluments clauses. The domestic clause applies only to the President. The foreign clause was designed to prevent corrupting payments from foreign interests.

Trump has "without doubt" been profiting from spending at his properties by foreign governments, Johnston says.

"On his way from taking the oath of office to the White House Trump had his motorcade stop. And where did it stop? In front of the new Trump Hotel in Washington DC. A hotel that under his contract says no government employee may be involved in that hotel, and of course he's an employee of the American people," says Johnston.

"That sent a clear signal; 'You want favours from the Trump Administration? You rent rooms from us.' They're sky high prices. 'You buy our $60 and up steaks, you buy our $36 and up cocktails.' That hotel which Trump himself had projected to lose money in the first year, is making gangbuster profits. The government of Kuwait in its annual celebration of its national day, which includes thanking America for liberating it, moved its party last year and this year to the Trump Hotel."

"Everybody got the message; You want something from the Trump Administration, you gotta pay a bribe," Johnston says.

In his book Johnston writes about Washington DC's Cork Wine Bar, whose owners are suing Trump because diplomats, lobbyists and officials - including many foreign nationals - who used to frequent their bar, now go to Trump Hotel. The perception of many of these customers, the owners say, is that it would be to their advantage in dealing with Trump and the Government to patronize his hotel.

"Taken together Trump's lawyers crafted a legal argument for eating your cake and having it too," Johnston writes. "They were saying Trump's office made him immune, but he had no advantage compared to any other citizen."

The case was pending as Johnston's book went to press.

Johnston also writes that "the Trump presidency is about Trump. Period. Full stop."

"Every previous American president, and we've had good ones, bad ones, competent ones, corrupt ones, we've had a racist murderer Andrew Jackson whose painting Trump had hung in the Oval Office, all of them tried to do what they believed would make for a better America in the future," Johnston says in the Skype interview. "Donald Trump's presidency is about the glorification of the genetically superior, smartest person in the world, who has the greatest memory in the world, Donald Trump."

'Political termites'

In the book Johnston writes of the Trump Administration "depositing political termites throughout the structure of our government." He says many people appointed on a temporary basis are still there into "year two of Trump the White House reality show," illegally.

"And who are these people? In the area of student loans, which is a major scandal in America, they brought in executives from the companies that were profiting off students. In the environment they brought in people from the fossil fuel industries as part of the Trump promise that they were going to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency, which means more people will get asthma, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, but that will take years for us to see the results of that." 

"And through one agency after another they have put in people whose names have never been in the news, who in some cases the Government refuses to identify as temporary employees unless you file a Freedom of Information Act and fight for it. These folks are systematically weakening the ability of the United States Government to enforce the law to protect consumers, workers, investors and veterans," Johnston says.

'Donald doesn't know anything'

He also writes of Trump's attitude towards, and ignorance of, science and technology raising concerns about how the Trump Administration's attitude in these areas will damage America's competitiveness against other countries. There's an anecdote about Trump wanting the new US aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R Ford, to use a steam rather than a digital powered catapult to fling planes because "digital's too complicated. You have to be an Einstein to understand digital."

"Anybody who has ridden on a modern roller-coaster, which uses electromagnets to propel you forward, should understand that's a much better technology. Trump doesn't know any of this. He doesn't read, he didn't study in school, he claims to be super smart, and yet he speaks in word salad and adjectives," Johnston says.

"I show in the book all sorts of examples that make it quite clear, and I mean this quite seriously, Donald doesn't know anything."

"Donald is a master of rhetoric. He's a con artist and a grifter. And just as he swindled investors and cheated workers out of their pay and refused to pay small businessmen who supplied him with goods and services... what he promised the American people has nothing to do with what he's doing. He's forgotten that forgotten man," says Johnston.

"He ran [for President] against Goldman Sachs, but he put six Goldman Sachs managing directors and its former president in his cabinet [and other senior positions]. In the case of the swamp in Washington DC, rather than drain the swamp, he has turned it into a federally protected paradise for predators on Wall Street."

(Here's an article by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, who in 2010 described investment bank Goldman Sachs as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money," on members of Trump's team with Goldman Sachs backgrounds).

Tax reform 'not at all what he promised'

Even the tax reform that Trump and fellow Republicans managed to pass doesn't impress Johnston, himself a registered Republican.

"He got the Tax Bill past but it was not at all what he promised. He said married couples wouldn't pay any tax on their first $50,000 of income. Well, he made it $24,000, the law had been just under $21,000. And he took away a bunch of benefits. Police and fire fighters, for example, can no longer deduct the cost of their uniforms, guns and bullets and the cost of cleaning their uniforms because of Trump," says Johnston.

Closely following the passing of the Tax Bill, Apple announced it plans to repatriate profits to the US that will see it pay tax of US$38 billion and contribute US$350 billion to the US economy over five years. This money, Johnston points out, is profit earned in the US and "syphoned out" of the country in tax deductible expenses.

 "A lot of the money that should have been taxed at 35% will now be taxed at about 8%."

Johnston predicts a lot of the money repatriated will go to Apple shareholders via share buybacks.

Trump has talked a lot about regulation and Johnston says regulation is an area where the US could benefit from reform.

"Problem is he [Trump] isn't reforming rules. He's basically just said to polluters 'go ahead and pollute, to companies that don't follow good safety practices, 'go ahead and operate unsafely.' These [Trump Administration actions] have not been rules that will strengthen the economy and improve the lives of ordinary Americans." 

'There is no good ending to this story'

Johnston says we should be under no illusions, describing Trump as "appallingly ignorant about everything," and as "a clear and present danger to the safety of the whole world."

In the Skype interview I ask Johnston about how he sees the Trump presidency playing out, what the end game will be. He gives a detailed answer which in a nutshell comes down to this; "There is no good ending to this story."

*I also spoke to Johnston in November 2016. The video and story from that interview is here.


*This article was first published in our email for paying subscribers early on Tuesday morning. See here for more details and how to subscribe.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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12
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The more news I get and the more I hear from family based, the more concerned/worried/disillusioned about the US. What will be the spark for all out anarchy/protest..call it what you like? Things at ground level are way worse than being reported on msm. The US is in collapse mode.

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Another day another Anti-Trump article.

Is there any other kind of Trump article?

Nein - ist verboten!

to be fair, posting tweets from the man himself is enough.

Step back from the edge, Ralph. I'm concerned you're going off the deep end.

Yeap when it's fox news - fake news

Books don't just sell themselves you know.

True enough but not completely so. For instance, in its time, Mein Kampf.

LOL - Pretty sure he had a wide ranging speaking circuit though.

So what? Would you care to outline the deficiencies in any of the specific points highlighted in the article? I mean, do you actually disagree with any of it, and how so? He's discussing specific policy changes, how they're ACTUALLY playing out, other information that is publicly available.

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Oh come on, did you read the article?

1. “Donald has taken numerous actions that are contrary to the interests of American workers”
Name the prime minister or president who never had to make hard choices where somebody loses.

2. “Trump businesses benefiting from him being President”
Whilst this is undoubtably true it was written in banners during his campaign and America voted they were wiling to pay that price. The author might ask himself why.

3. “Every previous American president .. all of them tried to do what they believed would make for a better America”
Show me the proof Trump doesn’t believe the same thing about himself.

4. “Donald Trump's presidency is about the glorification of the genetically superior, smartest person in the world”
Yeah and David Cameron thought Obama was a narcissist. These are just opinions.

5. “depositing political termites throughout the structure of our government”
This is just the authors opinion, a generalisation about the type of people Trump hires. So do you think perhaps this guy is a democrat?

6. “Trump's attitude towards, and ignorance of, science and technology”
A new qualification for president apparently. Does he use the same ruler over all the previous presidents? It escapes the authors notice the man has a proven track record of running large enterprises. What are specialist advisors for if the president is supposed to know everything?

7. “rather than drain the swamp, he has turned it into a federally protected paradise for predators on Wall Street”
This doesn’t even have a rational argument behind it, he just states it as if it is fact.

8. “He got the Tax Bill past but it was not at all what he promised”
Truly amazing, a politician who didn’t deliver everything they promised. Have you ever heard of such a thing before??

9. “appallingly ignorant about everything”
How is the author in any position to make this judgement? With this criticism it becomes incomprehensible as to how the man ever made a dollar.

10. “There is no good ending to this story”
And to cap it all off he claims to know the future.

He just selling a book by playing to the confirmation bias of his chosen target audience.

In my opinion.

"So do you think perhaps this guy is a democrat?" David Cay Johnston is a registered Republican. And you might want to check out what else he has done over the years. Here's a brief flavour - https://davidcayjohnston.com/about-david/

 

Ha ha ha, brilliant!

And apologise to Mr Johnston if being mistaken for a Democrat is offensive to him.

I might have missed your point somewhat Gareth.

Are you suggesting he doesn't have any track record with large enterprise? (I assume not)

Are you suggesting he has track record but you don't approve of it? (maybe)

Would it be valid to reverse that argument to the other extreme (if that indeed is your point) and suggest that the conclusion must be the best people to run large enterprise (I suggest government is the largest) are those with no record and no experience?

(Just asking, not wanting to put words in your mouth)

..I think you miss the point ralph. "Proven track record' infers something of success. Trump was soooo succesful he needed to host a reality show to make ends meet - and help pay the the interest on his Russian debt.

No good has yet come from this president, only fear, deviseveness, corruption,looming bankruptcy of the US via unaffordable tax cuts, denigration of women, minorities, the disbaled, war vets,.....the list goes on.

He is the a product of ignorant, misinformed, social media driven herd. The worry? The US is the bastion of democracy..without effective and intelligent leadership from them, where do you think democracy might end up?

Not ideological for me (I dont care if he is repub or demo), but the clown and his stooges should be no where near the presidents office. Time will tell.

"No good has yet come from this president,"

This is just hyperbole. He way well be very average but he may well be no worse.

In my opinion.

..rubbish. Massive damage already done... and worst yet to come. If you can't see it, more the fool are you.

I didn't vote for Trump.
I suspect he is a weirdo.

But the level of irrational hysteria directed his way says much more about those who do it than him.

Ever louder, ever more stringent bellicose proclamations of disaster are not a rational argument.

In the words of Alan Greenspan, "it's a sort of irrational exuberance".

You're right Ralph.. some good has come from Trump.. the late night show hosts and comedians are drowning in material. The rest of the world reliased how distortting the US electoral college system is, and how partisan the US electorate is (if they hadn't already realised it).

Ill drink to that (Lee Marvin, Cat Ballou)

There was once a good NZ song titled “only time could let us know.” Whatever Trump gets right or wrong will in all odds, only be revealed in hindsight. By then it will be too late to avoid the seeds of disaster, if there are in fact any, that have been sown. Just like we all soon learned here with the EQ’s in Canterbury. Everybody is an expert after they happen.

""2. “Trump businesses benefiting from him being President”
Whilst this is undoubtably true it was written in banners during his campaign and America voted they were wiling to pay that price. The author might ask himself why.""

Not so sure Americans were expecting their government to be run on bribery, I could be wrong though with how mad the country seems to have become.

Hamilton lamented, way back in the beginning, that corruption was so prevalent that it may as well have been enshrined in the constitution. From living in the States, there is gigantic undercover and side industries based on corruption, but also wastage, and of course crime.

2. “Trump businesses benefiting from him being President”
Whilst this is undoubtably true it was written in banners during his campaign and America voted they were wiling to pay that price.

Here's an interesting article on the unethical abuse of power that the President can get away with because an exemption was made to Federal law: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/trump-holdings-conf...

No disagreement there Rick. My point was simply it was not much of a surprise.

Fair point. As with releasing his tax records, people should have known he was never going to front.

fRalph,

And as a Trump supporter,you no doubt agree with him that Global Warming is a myth. You will also support his appointment of Scott Pruitt to the Environmental Protection Agency- an agency he wanted to close down.

Stalin called Western supporters of Communism "useful idiots". I don' think you are useful.

fRalph,

And as a Trump supporter,you no doubt agree with him that Global Warming is a myth. You will also support his appointment of Scott Pruitt to the Environmental Protection Agency- an agency he wanted to close down.

Stalin called Western supporters of Communism "useful idiots". I don' think you are useful.

Your bad, I am not a Trump supporter.

Well - he's stupid and a **** - so he's going to get some bad press. (Inappropriate language removed. Ed).

You would be struggling to name a President over the last 30 years that didn't have a link to Wall Street in his top advisors or cabinet starting with Reagan.
Donald t Regan was his man.

I think the point being made is that he said he wasn't and yet is. Of course, many political promises are like that. But he ran on the platform very evangelically, so it's fair enough he is held to account for it right? Still, buyer beware, given his track record of saying or doing whatever was in the best interests of The Don. They deserve each other.

Were they also total hypocrites running against Goldman Sachs, then filling their government with ex Goldman Sachs staff in senior positions?

Another Trump hater why bother there must be more important news to cover

I don't buy Johnston's 'this is just a temporary glitch' / Civil War analogy. The Trump era was seeded in the Citizens vs United Supreme Court decision in 2010 that facilitated the flood of private money into US politics via wealthy individuals like the Koch brothers and Robert Mercer. It will take the Supreme Court to reverse that decision and with the benches stacked with neo-con appointed judges, that ain't happening anytime soon. The desire to loosen up the rules around the use of tactical nuclear weapons that Johnson speaks of reflects Mercer's worldview that nuclear wars are winnable. Trump's his man.

Put in a simple term -- Trump tries very hard to revive the Anglo Saxon civilization but somehow very much disliked by Anglos.

I hope that the civilization will not ruined by Baizuo

The Anglo Saxon civilisation??? BAHAHAHAHAHAH

Pretty sure William the Conqueror is turning in his grave at the suggestion. Trump is a whole other millennia, unless that's a really obtuse reference to Trump being like King Harold II?

Isn't Anglo-Saxon civilisation roughly synonymous with 'Dark Ages'?

It was, but I think contemporary historians have changed their mind on the whole "Dark Ages" idea now. Suggestion arising that it was based on a bias towards idealising Rome and Empire and actually, quite a lot of cool stuff happened after the Romans, with evidence of cultural and economic collapse being inferred without a lot of evidence. More recent evidence conflicts the "Dark Age" theory. and some more cynical types even suggest, the whole thing was a bit of propaganda, because it perpetuated the idea that empires were positive across the colonial world.

Oh yes, that was just a joke. I'm quietly obsessed with Rome, and the period of the empire falling over. Always have to consider that survivorship bias with the documentation, too.

Oops, missed that.

I think the very phrase "dark age" is so ill defined and badly used as to have little useful meaning.

The Bronze Age collapse?
The Greek 'dark ages'?
The Irish 'dark age'?
The 'dark age' describing the moral collapse of the Roman Empire before it's total failure?
The 'dark age' following the collapse of the Roman Empire?
The European early middle age around the times of great plagues?
The 'dark ages' of Cambodia?

In the so called European "dark age" of the Middle Ages there were tremendous advances in engineering in castles (concentric designs) and cathedrals (the flying buttress), metallurgy (the bloomery process), the founding of universities, glass, fabric and other arts, modern banking was invented and the Magna Carta was created and signed.

Well, essentially what defines a 'Dark Ages' from this remove is that the record-keeping craps out for whatever reason. Same for the Bronze Age collapse. Written word civilisations so disrupted that we don't even know what happened, except for what we can piece together from clues like children's bones with cooking-pot polish. But technology and culture don't stop because nobody's writing it down.

Although, a lot of what you're talking there isn't Dark Ages, but Middle Ages, generally defined as starting in 1066 and the Norman invasion.

Yeah, plus what writing there is, was just Gildas freaking tf out.

OMG Vikings WTF BBQ!

Sure, just a reference to the ways the phrase has been used.

Sorry! I could yap on about the Bronze Age collapse for hours.

Me too Kakapo! Although, i'm like that about most history tbh. When they completed the genome project and genetic anthropology was born, and they could start tracking actual migration patterns OMG happy geeky days.

Oh, that was the best.

I'm just listening to the audiobook of Mary Beard's 'Pompeii' whilst cooking meatballs.

Kakapo. Nice. Do you listen to the "In Our Time" podcast on BBC radio 4? Grade A academics debating juicy stuff, loads of history. The Byzantium one got a little heated if I recall. That show is where I first came to love Mary Beard.

I haven't listened to that one, will subscribe. Can't get enough Mary Beard. The British National Archives podcast is good too, although it tends to swing wildly between fascinating and super-dull unless you're an archivist. Also History of the World in 100 Objects.

I listened to that one and visited the exhibition at the British Museum twice. Was amazing.

You will love In Our Time and the entire back catalogue from the 90s is available to download, so just pick your favourite topic and enjoy.

So jealous I could tear out your ribcage and wear it as a hat.

I'm quietly obsessed with lots of subjects, so that should keep me busy for a while. As if I wasn't already subscribed to so many podcasts that my C drive is buckling under the strain.

Yes, In Our Time is an absolute gem

I've subscribed and got all giddy over what's in the feed. What's the Lancashire Cotton Famine? Can't wait to find out.

I've subscribed too. Love listening to this stuff on long journeys or while doing home maintenance.

What ! No dark ages Ralph. You just messed with one of my favourite things. When I go to Rome I always go to the Pantheon and look at the concrete roof. (shoving aside the other tourists who usually have no idea where they are)
What astonishes me is not that they did the concrete, but that we then forgot how to for about a thousand years.
Which always made me think that whatever your technology, organisational collapse of your society is always lurking just around the corner.
2000 - Smart phones. 2100 - signal fires.

Yeah that Portland cement has nothing on Roman cement.

Harold was a betrayer, hence the depiction of the arrow through his eye. If only Trump, and the world today, was that simple.

REVIVE?! LMAO. He's doing his best to undermine the tenets of liberal democracy - the crowning achievement of western civilization.

What utter nonsense! Trump's enemies are seeking to undermine democracy at every turn with their constant calls for impeachment and blocking him from fulfilling his campaign promises. Promises that won him the election in a democratic vote. Trump is the greatest advocate for human freedom currently in power.

As for Anglo Saxon civilization xingmowang is largely correct although I would broaden it to Germanic civilization covering all of North West Europe the British Isles and the former British colonies; basically where all the Germanic languages are spoken.

Go tell that to any woman who wants control over her fertility. He is a disgraceful swine kowtowing to the religious nutbars that pepper the Republican Party.

Something like 80% of American women support controls on abortion, particularly in the 3rd trimester. In fact as far as i am aware more women than men support abortion controls. In order to get support for abortion over 50% i believe the question has to framed as abortion in the first trimester.

Laminar, where anywhere in the world does any majority support abortion in the 3rd trimester apart from for dire health consequences? What are you trying to suggest?

@gingerninja I did not suggest that 3rd trimester abortions are supported, I stated that they are not supported by American women. The comment i was replying to was "Go tell that to any woman who wants control over her fertility." and I was clarifying that women do not support women having control over their fertility. Trump has left it to the supreme court and the supreme court supports abortion up until viability. A majority of women do not support that position and would rather controls were expanded.

3rd trimester abortions are only for life threatening, emergency situations, I am sure you knew that, and in life threatening situations must be available. And 50% plus have no business telling the rest they cannot abort early in a pregnancy, ie first trimester, most especially when it involves rape cases etc.

@PocketAces Yes i know 3rd trimester abortions are not allowed. A majority of women support that. Trump has said it is up to the supreme court and the supreme court says abortion is available up until viability. The supreme court position gives women more control than women would give themselves, if polling is correct on this issue. A majority of women would choose to have abortion banned in the second trimester. As such the comment "Go tell that to any woman who wants control over her fertility." is mistaken.

@Zachary Smith Was Trump going to the Russians to get dirt and fake news published at every turn about his opponents a democratic way to behave? not to mention possible hacking of the online vote, is that democracy at work?

Philthy, why do you believe such nonsense? This whole Russian thing is ridiculous.

Wow.

The more we learn about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the clearer it becomes that this was, if not quite an act of war, then certainly an act utilizing techniques of warfare—specifically, the branch of combat known as “information warfare.” The operation raises questions about whether social media should be subject to stricter regulation, especially whether the anonymity of Twitter might be hurting democracy more than helping it.

So Russia uses information? This is like war? I use petrol, so do some tanks, this is like war?
My god.
So, social media needs "stricter regulation", huh, Mr Kaplan? Want to take away our freedom over this tiny matter, do you, Mr Kaplan? Can't have the little people disseminating fake information, that's a job for the fourth estate. Crush the Fifth Estate!

The Russians, the Times reports, created hundreds or thousands of fake Facebook and Twitter accounts..

See that hundreds or thousands? Who says that? Deliberately designed that way by the Times for readers to mistakenly read it as hundreds and thousands. Indeed Kaplan himself made that error the first time he published this nonsense, war-mongering "article". High level fake news right there!

lol yeah totally Zachary, because Russian fake news websites are much more credible than the CIA and FBI in concluding Trump was helped by intervention from the Russians.

Just pointing out the obvious but its up to the CIA to prove Russia was up to something. Given the word of the CIA is worthless and given they presented no evidence linking Russia, then its a suckers game to believe Trump and Russia colluded.

The CIA must prove beyond any doubt everything it comments on, while Turmp is free to openly lie about anything and everything that comes into his head, interesting logic.

Like Iraqs weapons of mass destruction

Think you'll find that was the good ole republicans cherry picking parts of something that suited their agenda, which was pretty clear what they wanted to do by that stage,
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/heres-the-full-version-of-the-cias-20...
Now it's convenient for the GOP to try to blame this report, which they only took parts of that suited their cause, and ignored parts that didn't.
Report or no report, it was common knowledge that Hussain hadn't used any chemical weapons since 1991, but Bush just wanted to go after him, so anything that suited his agenda was gold for him.

@Zachary Smith:

You offer no evidence at all of Trump strengthening liberal democracy. Instead you point the finger at his detractors and try to convince us that they are worse. That is what little children do when they get in trouble.

1. Constant attacks on 'fake news' media. Straight out of the fascist playbook. Lugenpresse! Bring down the independent media and then you can proceed with your own propaganda and 'alternative facts'
2. Constant attacks on the independent judiciary. Perhaps you need to read up on separation of powers - a great principle from the enlightenment and a key tenet of liberal democracy.
3. Attempts to pal-around with Putin, who is actively undermining liberal democracies across the west.
4. Chanelling tax payer money back into his own businesses; Corruption of the highest order.
5. Constant threats to undermine freedom of speech when others say mean things about him. Poor Trump! So unfair!

And this is only what we know to be demonstrably true. When Mueller is done we will perhaps get a glimpse of what he has really been up to.

Over to you. Best of luck defending the 'greatest advocate of human freedom'. LMAO.

I dunno, I suspect half of these accusation could be levelled at half the politicians of the world.

Well a few points where he may be helping democracy:
Policy pressuring better female representation at NASA and the NSF
Pressing for maternity leave
For the most part hes authoritarian though so much like Obama, Bush and the others he will probably continue to allow the subversion of personal freedoms.

1) CNN and the others have been caught over and over lying and pressing their own agendas. Same as Fox and any other news outlet. Until Trump actually restricts their free ability to operate he is not doing anything remotely fascist.
2) Trump has done nothing to change the lay of the independent judiciary, the powers are as separated as before he took power.
3) Trump is not palling around with Putin, I wish they would get along but they are not. Hopefully they do soon. If you think Putin is undermining liberal democracy well look at the US support of Saudi... I think you dont have a very clear perspective on just how scummy the US has been for a long time.
4) Tax payer money in to his own company? Im not actually familiar.
5) Trump has made no changes to freedom of speech laws

None of your point held any water unless you have some evidence hes stealing tax payer money?

Thanks for pointing out these simple facts Laminar. What the hell is wrong with questioning the media and the judiciary?
Also, creating fake accounts is not a crime. I do it all the time. The account I am using now is kind of fake. Supporting a candidate in another country is not a crime either. Of course the Russians preferred Trump over Clinton, Clinton wanted to shoot down Russian jets flying in Syria. Russian jets fighting ISIS!
Putin himself endorsed Trump. This is not a crime and neither is it collusion. You are allowed to do this. It is quite sensible, especially if the other candidate wants to shoot down your jets to protect terrorists. The US was very proud and open about helping Yeltsin become the leader of Russia.
Trump supporters don't see Russia as the enemy like the evil Neo-Cons. Trump supporters and the Russians want to fight the same enemy.

Given that Highle Competent Mueller has failed to uncover ANY evidence of collusion, it is a vain hope to think he ever will. If however you are actually concerned about democracy (which I highly doubt) you may want to consider the many ways the US interferes in elections all over the world, not the least of which, would be Russian elections. Some people are freaking out at seeing their own shadow.

What can the US citizens do with this two horse system? Sure Donald is bad but the DNC want to import votes wholesale. Johnson goes on about workers rights but the traditional republicans and democrats have always undermined workers' livelihoods with excessive immigration.

BTW Gareth the audio needs some work. I've got you coming in one ear and the guest in the other ear, very weird.

People here wingeing about MMP need to look at what a mad house the FPP system has delivered to the US.

But I suppose one of the points of books like this is to make sure US workers are informed for next time that they vote, so they have no excuse to not know when they have been blatantly lied to.

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A simple test ....

Ask yourself ... would you be willing to undertake a sub-contracting job on one of Trump's building projects?

He has a long history of failed building projects that have destroyed many small contractors whom he has never paid (little people) - he folds and walks away - seemingly wealthier than before he started

I know a handful of Trump supporters here in NZ. The common trait they share is that they are unsuccessful.

After talking with them about why Trump appeals, it quickly becomes apparent that he allows them to blame someone else for their place in the world. Its either China, or its the 'elites', or its the government. Anyone but themselves is responsible for why they did not end up where they hoped they would end up. They are profoundly dissatisfied people, but they do not want to bear the any personal responsibility for their dissatisfaction.

This is, by the way, how Alex Jones makes so much money. He narrates these elaborate conspiracies so that his listeners do not have to confront the fact that they - before all others - are responsible for their lot in life.

Give or take a bit of racism, sexism etc

Just by way of clarification, when you say "unsuccessful", do you mean they are all uniformly short?

I mean they are profoundly dissatisfied individuals.

Im not sure about NZ but in the USA Trump voters are on average more wealthy than Clinton voters. So as far as wealth is a measure of success its dubious your comment has the strength to apply more generally.

This is where you put in a source for that statement..

Of course, since he is demonstrably racist and sexist, he did alienate that part of the electorate (the more than half of the votes cast for the other dodgy one). So it likely stacks up. But on a like for like (Middle Aged white men) does it hold true? He got a heap of votes from rust belt poor folk.

@MisterB Because I am responding to an unsourced claim it is for him to provide the evidence not me. Debate works such that the initial claim carries the burden. So in fact if you disagree and wish to support the initial claim, then you will need to provide evidence. Never the less its apparent that you dont support the initial claim. Feel free to look it up in google of course, there are a number of surveys on this topic that overturned the 'feeling' that trump supporters were all poor hicks. Still the swing that elected him was from the poorer class.

Well that is a fair point. There is a saying that the only difference between a Republican & Democratic administration, is that in the latter, the poor are allowed to be corrupt too.

You need to seperate out those that voted for Trump and all that he represents.. and those that took a deep breath, gritted their teeth and voted for the republican candidate who happened to be Trump. There are lots of lifelong republicans who can't stand Trump, but voted for him to get a nominally republican president. Some of them would vote for an orangutan if it had an R beside its name. (And probably same with some hardcore Democratic voters)

Exactly. These days people are often voting "against" someone and not "for" anything.

I think that's the same for both parties in the last American election. "Hold your nose and vote for Hillary" was the saying on the other side. The election was somewhat remarkable in featuring two ridiculously candidates who were running against the only candidate they had a realistic chance of beating.

The voting for one's side is interesting these days in that the sides have often ceased to represent the ideals or values people think they're voting for. The book Strangers in Their Own Land does a great job of highlighting how folk are often voting against their own interest, in line with ideals they hold but the parties don't.

Similarly in NZ, where if you really hold to right-leaning ideals then probably your only realistic choice is ACT - with the two major parties just having slightly different targets for redistribution.

Couldn't you say the same thing about the socialist leaning voters? It's all the straight white mans' fault so they need to take all his earnings because they deserve it because it's "equality".

Of course you could, everything this is the fault of straight White males who stole all of their inventions from POC, LGBTT+++++, and used them for oppression. Which is why they must pay reparations now!!!

The stakes are high—as reckless and unsettling as Trump’s Presidency has been thus far, he has yet to make a mistake anywhere near as costly as the Iraq War. If the proponents of that war support Trump’s apparent willingness to either risk or seek war, they would be giving the Administration’s dangerous approach credibility and Congress a rationale to go along. A more consistent response, given their criticism of Trump, would be to publicly acknowledge that an attempt by this Administration to confront Iran could have dangerous consequences, or that the President can’t be trusted to manage it effectively. Read more

Both parties are like protection rackets, I'm high enough up in a US based business to know, after direct cost, wages and tax the next necessary expense is donations to these two parties so you can operate and not be destroyed by said interests.

Yep go along with that. What surprised me when I was running a company over there was the total outgo of taxes, federal & state, & social security, health,unemployment & some others don’t care to remember, that came out of each payroll. A total take of near to 60% if I remember correctly?? Then there was the 401K’s & staff medical insurance. And then there was the fire brigade, police, library, multitude of church’s & charities all with their hand out. So too the elephant & goat. Bloody hard to get something out of a dollar spent after all that.

Corruption in Rest of the World = Lobbying in Western countries.

Choose to blame either Repubs or Democrats or both, but the US is now even closer to "Banana Republic"; "Sh*thole Country"; "Laughing Stock"; "Corporate Anarchy".

Kind of ironic that the US has become the very thing that it mocks countless Middle Eastern & South American countries for being....and very sad too given their potential for immense good.

Well there are some positive out comes from Trumps rants (Not that I like the guy in anyway).

Remember it was Trump and his Trump effect that has contributed to the Auckland housing market to slowly implode. With all his campaign promises regarding trade tariffs and a trade war with China. That certainly made China reexamine its financial situation, enough to enforce strict capital flight restrictions last year.

Without all that lovely jubbly top end buyer money pouring in from China, the Ozzy banks also had to hit the breaks for lending to foreign speculative investors which included us kiwi local investors. Now there's no top end buyers apart from some money launders to drive those huge prices increases. Hence the declining market.
Ahh Well, silver lining to every cloud.

Don't worry he's probably shot a lot of the US property market in the foot as well.

Amusing though it is to see Trump Derangement Syndrome in full cry on this 'ere thread, it is rather more sobering to listen to former Federal Prosecutor Joe DiGenova.....

From the Tea Party Waymad? Seriously?

Interesting - it's an Opinion (like belly-buttons - Everyone has one). Ad-hom arguments simply don't wash with me.

I prefer to follow the First Amendment and let common taters make their own judgment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So here's another Opinion about the Clinton saga - from a US ex -Legal-Eagle : bio as follows:

"Andrew C. McCarthy III is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others. The defendants were convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and of planning a series of attacks against New York City landmarks. He also contributed to the prosecutions of terrorists who bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He resigned from the Justice Department in 2003."

His opinion about the shenanigans at DoJ and FBI...

Sorry Waymad, but to me there are shades of the Birther Conspiracy and Pizzagate in all this. I shall await with interest to see who gets charged and with what.
Cheers.

Why blame Trump ? In my view he is hard to distinguish from the rest of the DC politicians. Look at Chuck Schumer. Vile bile spills out of his mouth, veiled only by a pompous manner of speaking, and stern demeanour. Don't be fooled.

Two wrongs don't make a right, by that logic every German politician can just say "look at how bad Hitler was, I'm not as bad as he was", it still doesn't justify anything.