Life With Donald PART 1   Donald’s (Trump, not Duck) first wife has written a memoire called Raising Trump which reveals new slants on old news.  We learn that Donald had a poodle named Chappy but Donald didn’t like the dog. We learn that Donald did not want to name his son Don Jr. in case he turned out to be a “looser.”  Ivana goes on about how seldom they had sex and about Don’s affairs with showgirls.   Here is Gail Collin’s review of the book. She concludes that the happiest member of the Trump family was the dog.

Life With Donald PART 2   The Editorial Board of the New York Times decided to itemize just a few of the many outrageous behaviors by Trump which have embarrassed the country and its reputation around the world.  In a long half-page editorial called “The Republican’s Guide to Presidential Etiquette” the editors compiled a list of 68 Trump actions including:

 
* Refusing to release tax returns
* Concealing the White House visitors’ list from the public
* Vacationing at one of his private residences every weekend at public expense
* Appointing his family wedding planner to head a federal housing office
* Shoving aside a head of state to get in front of him at a photo-op
* Telling lies on an average of five times a day
* Using an unsecured personal cellphone
* Publicly criticizing businesses which dropped Trump family products
* Discussing highly sensitive intelligence openly at a restaurant
* Allowing the officer with the nuclear missile codes to be photographed and identified
* Calling the media “the enemy of the American people”
* Pardoning convicted criminals
* Continuing to repeat false stores about an American general committing war crimes
* Mocking the mayor of a major world city which was attacked by terrorists
* Stating that there are some “very fine people” among white supremacists and neo-Nazis
* Lowering ethical standards to the point where the government’s top ethics enforcer said that the United States is now “close to a laughingstock when it comes to ethics”
* Mocking a female television anchor’s appearance saying that she was “Bleeding badly from a face lift”
* Joking that his groping of women’s genitals is acceptable locker room behavior
* Calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel”
* Welcoming to the White House a man who threatened to assassinate Pres. Obama
* Calling Hillary Clinton a “worthless bitch”
* Forcing cabinet members to extoll Trump virtues before TV cameras
* Delivering a speech to the Boy Scouts which included references to sexual orgies and mockery of previous presidents
* Claiming with a complete lie that the head of the Boy Scouts said that the Trump speech was the best ever in Boy Scout history
* Spending a third of his time as president visiting his own properties
* Publicly humiliating the Attorney General for recusing himself from an investigation of Trump campaign abuses
* Saying nothing when a foreign leader’s bodyguards brutally attacked peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C.
* Criticizing victims of a hurricane.  Throwing paper towels to them to show he is helping
* Attacking a senator battling terminal cancer
* Using Twitter to threaten nuclear war
This list includes Trump behaviors only up until May 17, 2017
 
The GOP is Now the Party of Trump. Traditional Republicans, even staunch conservatives, are being forced out the GOP according to a front page story by the NYT subtitled “Acquiesce or Go Home.”  Critics are caving in and being squeezed out of the party which no longer wants a “big tent” but instead demands blind fealty to der Leader.  Steve Bannon, White Supremacist and long-time Trump aide, continues his attack on traditional Republican values.  The only Republicans courageous enough to speak out about what has happened to their party are those leaving office (Corker, McCain, and Flake).  Corker, for example, said that Trump is given to irresponsible outbursts and that he is a political novice who can’t make the transition from show business to politics. Trump singled them out with vicious attacks similar to what he did to other Republicans during the primary season.  Other Republicans are now afraid to come to their defense.  Even the Orange County Register ran a subtitle saying that nearly all Republicans now say “Good Riddance” to anyone criticizing Trump. And according to the Los Angeles Times, the way Flake was forced not to run for office again shows what happens to Republicans who cross Trump.  In the Governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey, both Republican candidates have started attacking immigrants in order to curry favor with Trump and avoid his wrath.  Trumps values (see the list above) now define what it means to be a Republican. Meantime, FOX News has become the Donald Trump Channel.  Tune in any night to see FOX extolling Trump virtues and airing anything that promotes him.  Like their idol, FOX rarely apologizes for its fake news.  
 
Trump Dossier Commissioned by Republicans.  It turns out that the controversial British Intelligence dossier documenting Trump’s collusion with Russians was first funded by Republicans, not Democrats (the Democrats later picked up the opposition research after Trump became the Republican candidate).  The 35 page report, still only partly verified, is full of embarrassing details that Putin could use to Blackmail Trump.  Some believe that Trump is terrified about this possibility which is why he praises the Russian autocrat, refuses to criticize him, and instead condemns Mueller investigation.  The entire dossier was published in Buzzfeed and is mostly about Trump’s attempts to bribe officials and get them to help swing the American presidential election.  Also revealed are Russian claims to have videotapes his sex orgies in St. Petersburg and having “golden showers” parties with prostitutes in Moscow. Trump’s claim is that the whole report is nothing but lies because it was funded by Democrats.  Now that is debunked because it was the Republicans not the Democrats who initiated the intelligence report.  
 
Dana Rohrabacher Cultivates Ties with the Kremlin.  Congressman Rohrabacher who represents CA-48 continues to be (after Trump) one of the leading Republican apologists for Putin.   Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy once said that both Rohrabacher and Trump are on the Putin payroll. Rohrabacher frequently visited Russia where he met with high-level officials to plot ways to reduce U.S. sanctions against Russia.  (Rohrabacher allegedly met with Trump’s son to discuss this.)  Recently Rohrabacher became the first member of Congress to go abroad to meet with Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder who released the Clinton emails supposedly obtained by Russian intelligence.  Formerly a Reagan Republican, Rohrabacher has changed and is now a Trump Republican.   http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-friedersdorf-rohrabacher-oc-20171026-story.html
 
New Report:  Economic Growth Benefits Mainly the Rich.  The Federal Research Board released a report showing that wealth in American continues to be concentrated mainly among the rich. The richest 1% of Americans now control 38.6% of the wealth, a figure that has increased over the last 4 years. In contrast, the bottom 90% control only 22.8% of the wealth. (By the way, the top 1% is 80% male and 96% white.)  An analysis of the Trump/Republican tax “cut” plan found that those with incomes over $730,000 would get 50% of benefit. In 10 years they would be getting 80% of the benefits.  True, the stock market has gone up nicely, but very few Americans own stock outside of their retirement accounts.  The wealth gap continues to grow.  Could it be true when they say: “The purpose of government is to benefit the rich?”  Read what the Washington Post and NYT have to say about this.
 
Equifax Scandal  Equifax Inc. continues to get mud on its face.  About 143 million Americans may have been affected not only by the sloppy (and greedy) way it conducted business but also by what it did after the hacking was discovered.  Names, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, you name it.  All this happened when Equifax was busy trying to make consumers give up their rights to sue the company. Equifax quickly went into action to make money off the breach.  It convinced the IRS to fund a $7.3 million no-bid contract so they could tell the government who they defrauded. The company also acted quickly when the breach was discovered: top executives immediately sold thousands of shares. But they deliberately stalled on informing the public of the breach.  GEO Richard Smith finally stepped down but why not? He fully retains his nice $18.4 million pension.  Read about rewarding incompetence and dishonesty
 
Republicans Overturn Consumer Protection Regulation.  Banks, credit card companies, corporations, and even doctors have been lobbying furiously to prevent people from joining class action lawsuits (read your agreements).  Their efforts have finally paid off with a one vote victory in Congress.  The Senate was deadlocked in a tie vote on allowing people to join class action lawsuits. To the glee of Republicans it was Vice President Pence who broke the tie so that corporations can now force arbitration (which they generally win) and avoid class action suits (which they often lose).  Now everyone is free to sue a corporation on their own.  Good luck fighting an army of million dollar lawyers.  The creep toward Plutocracy continues (Merriam-Webster definition: government by the wealthy).  
 
Ralph Nader Weighs In.  Remember Ralph Nader? Some remember him as a consumer advocate, others remember him for his disruptive entry into presidential elections which may have handed the White House over to George Bush.  At age 83 he recently had an Op-Ed entitled, “Trump Is Hurting Regular People.”  
 
Trump Turns Parts of National Monuments Over to Developers.  Ever been to the beautiful Bears Ears or Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah?  Trump plans to revoke their boundaries and also reduce the size of 8 other National Monuments comprising the West’s 500 million acres of public domain. 
The Republicans are also salivating over the prospects for opening the Arctic Reserves to oil drilling.    All this comes after the administration decided to allow coal miners to dump more pollution into rivers.
 
Chemical Industry Insider at EPA Now Allows Carcinogens  Nancy Beck used to be on the Executive Council of the American Chemistry Council.  That was until the Trump administration picked her to manage EPA’s Office of Water.  She promptly rolled back more than a dozen regulations so that it would be harder to track adverse health consequences of carcinogenic chemicals, much to the delight of her pals she used to work with. Toxic chemicals are enjoying a new renaissance at the EPA.  
 
Secretary of Education Betsy Devos Focuses on Religious and Charter Schools.  Major Republican Party contributor Betsy Devos (her brother Eric Prince founded Blackwater) is a billionaire who is now in charge of education even though she never attended a public school in her life.  About 90% of American children attend public schools, but Devos spends most of her time trying to divert money away from public schools and into vouchers which benefit religious and charter schools (at tax payer expense).  Among her achievements so far are rescinding 72 policy documents on the rights of students with disabilities.  Recently she campaigned to make it harder to prosecute college students accused of sexual assault.   Donald Trump has appointed yet another billionaire whose mission is to destroy the institution she is supposed to protect. She won her confirmation by one vote (again, VP Pence broke the tie).  Republicans love her and voted for her while Democrats voted against her.  More evidence of what it now means to be a Republican (see above).  
 
The “Me Too” Movement Expands but Not to the White House.  The lead front page story on the LAT for Oct. 29 describes how women are coming out in droves with stories about sexual harassment. But most reporters are afraid to pursue stories about Trump’s sexual assaults on women.  Trump was caught on tape during the election bragging about groping women by the genitals, even claiming that women enjoyed it.  When asked about this recently, the president’s press secretary said that the president’s position is that all of these women are liars.  
 
New Window on the Universe.  After all the sordid and depressing news about Trump, here is some truly important news:  the collision of neutron stars. On Oct. 16, scientists announced that they have verified such an event.  When stars much larger than the sun exhaust their hydrogen, they begin to collapse.  The collapse accelerates quickly and sets off cataclysmic explosions known as supernovas. The pressure from what is left over is so gargantuan that electrons and protons are squeezed together forming neutrons. A thimble full of a neutron star would weigh as much as millions of elephants. When these stars collide, they set off extreme magnetic and gravitational fields as well as bursts of intense radiation, just as Einstein predicted a century ago.  Scientists have now been able to detect this activity.  It will allow further refinement of how galaxies and solar systems came to be filled with elements that became planets, plants, people, and everything else.  The collision of neutron stars also explains the creation of heavy elements like gold, platinum, and uranium. 
 
 
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