Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The "Closer Picture" of What Russia and Trump Did To the USA

Please Forget About "Widespread Hacking"
The Trump/Russian attack on the election
disemboweled the American democracy.
There was much more than "hacking" involved in the scheme.

As the details of the Russian Federation attack on the US election continue to "drip, drip. drip" into the daily, "objective" reporting of the US media, the technical complexity of the Russian scheme has almost immediately moved quite beyond the comprehension capabilities -- that is, beyond the "technical savvy" -- of American audiences. The "hacking" term was, no doubt, useful at first because plenty of Americans have suffered the damages of being "hacked." 

The word resonated with everyone with either the personal experience of being hacked or who had heard about the experience from a friend or acquaintance. Although characterizing the Russian attack as "hacking" was a very incomplete effort to describe the Russian hostilities, most television viewers at least "connected" to a story based on that word. This "happy result" served to completely justify the media editors' obvious decision to limit their corporate "due diligence" pledges.

For a network executive there is no need to venture too far beyond "comprehension," "resonance" or "connection" if one's first, corporate priority is to sell toothpaste.

Although geriatric MeanMesa can claim very little "technical savvy," at all, it is the intention of this post to provide the blog's visitors with a bit more explanation and a nice collection of references to the real, troubling "specifics" of what Trump and the Russians did to us.

There WAS Actual "Hacking."
Although not everything that was done to the country,
 still quite significant.

MeanMesa LOVES CNN reporting. The network has actual investigative reporters out in the world digging through the deception, and some of the CNN staff are hard working, ardent archivists. The quoted material below should more than justify such an opinion. [The article below is packed full of links which explain the reporting, and those links remain enabled in this post. If you see something interesting, just hit the GOOGLE.]

2016 Presidential Campaign Hacking Fast Facts

CNN Library
Updated 12:37 PM ET, Sat June 10, 2017

June 14, 2016 - The Washington Post reports hackers working for the Russian government accessed the Democratic National Committee's computer system, stealing oppositional research on Donald Trump and viewing staffers' emails and chat exchanges. The Kremlin, however, denies that the government was linked to the hack, and a US official tells CNN that investigators have not yet concluded that the cyberattack was directed by the Russian government.

June 15, 2016 - A cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC posts a public notice on its website describing an attack on the political committee's computer network by two groups associated with Russian intelligence. According to the post, two Russian-backed groups called "Cozy Bear" and "Fancy Bear" tunneled into the committee's computer system. In response, a blogger called Guccifer 2.0 claims that he alone conducted the hack, not the Russians. As proof, he posts internal DNC memos and opposition research on Trump. Furthermore, Guccifer 2.0 claims to have passed along thousands of files to WikiLeaks. Trump offers his own theory on the origins of the attack: suggesting in a statement that the DNC hacked itself to distract from Hillary Clinton's email scandal.

July 22, 2016 - Days before the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks posts nearly 20,000 emails hacked from the DNC server. The documents include notes in which DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz insults staffers from the Bernie Sanders campaign and messages that suggest the organization was favoring Clinton rather than remaining neutral. Wasserman Schultz resigns in the aftermath of the leak.

July 25, 2016 - The FBI announces it has launched an investigation into the DNC hack. Although the statement doesn't indicate that the agency has a particular suspect or suspects in mind, US officials tell CNN they think the cyberattack is linked to Russia.

July 27, 2016 - During a press conference, Trump declares Russia may have hacked the State Department. He connects the suspected Russian cyberattack on the DNC to Clinton's use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," says Trump. Newt Gingrich, a Trump surrogate, defends Trump in a Tweet, dismissing the comment as a "joke."

August 12, 2016 - Hackers publish cell phone numbers and personal email addresses for Nancy Pelosi and other members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Pelosi says she has received "obscene and sick calls" from strangers. She advises targeted colleagues not to allow children or family members to answer the phone or read text messages.

September 1, 2016 - During an interview with Bloomberg News, President Vladimir Putin says that he and the Russian government have no ties to the hackers. He says that the identity of the culprit or culprits is not as important as the content of the leaks, and ultimately the hackers revealed important information for voters.
September 22, 2016 - Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Adam Schiff, ranking members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, issue a joint statement declaring that based on information they received during congressional briefings, they believe that Russian intelligence agencies are carrying out a plan to interfere with the election. They call on Putin to order a halt to the activities.

September 26, 2016 - During a presidential debate with Clinton, Trump questions whether the DNC cyberattack was carried out by a state-sponsored group or a lone hacker. "It could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."

October 6, 2016 - DCLeaks, a self-described collective of "hacktivists" seeking to expose the influence of special interests on elected officials, publishes a batch of documents stolen from Clinton ally Capricia Marshall.

December 9, 2016 - The Washington Post reports the CIA has determined that Russian hacking was conducted to boost Trump and hurt Clinton during the presidential campaign. The Trump transition team dismisses the CIA's findings, releasing a statement, "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction." President Obama asks intelligence agencies to review the hacking incidents in 2016 and other cyberattacks on political campaigns dating back to 2008. The agencies are asked to deliver their findings before Obama leaves office on January 20. A Russian foreign ministry spokesman expresses skepticism about the review and asks US investigators to share their evidence of government-sponsored cyber espionage. Meanwhile, media critics question the Post's reliance on anonymous sources for the CIA report and advise readers to be wary of claims in the article due to the lack of publicly available evidence to support the spy agency's conclusions.

December 11, 2016 - Sources tell CNN that although US intelligence agencies share the belief that Russia played a role in the computer hacks, there is disagreement between the CIA and the FBI about the intent of the meddling. While the CIA assessment shows that the Russians may have sought to damage Clinton and help Trump, the FBI has yet to find proof that the attacks were orchestrated to elect the Republican candidate, according to unnamed officials. Furthermore, some sources say the hackers also infiltrated the Republican National Committee's computers.

December 12, 2016 - CNN reports that Russian hackers accessed computer accounts of Republican lawmakers and GOP organizations. A source with knowledge of the investigation says that even though hackers breached the GOP computers, they opted not to release documents en masse.

December 13, 2016 - The New York Times publishes a detailed account of the DNC's delayed response to initial warnings in September of 2015 that its network had been infiltrated by hackers. The report outlines how phishing emails and communication failures led to a sweeping cyberattack. The story also lays out evidence that Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were linked to Russia. A second article in the Times chronicles the hacking of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, housed in the same building as the DNC. According to the report, Guccifer 2.0 stole tens of thousands of documents and offered them to reporters in districts where Democratic candidates were engaged in competitive races for House seats.

December 29, 2016 - President Obama issues an executive order with sanctions against Russia. The order names six Russian individuals who allegedly took part in the presidential campaign hacking. Additionally, 35 Russian diplomats are ordered to leave the US within 72 hours.

January 3, 2017 - Julian Assange of WikiLeaks says that the Russian government did not provide him with the hacked DNC emails during an interview with Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel.

January 3-4, 2017 - In a series of tweets, Trump questions the US intelligence community's claims that the Russian government interfered with the election. He alleges that intelligence officials have delayed a scheduled meeting with him but sources tell CNN that there has been no change to the schedule. Trump also cites Assange's interview to back his assertion that a rogue hacker, not the Russian government, may have meddled in the election.

January 5-6, 2017 - Intelligence officials meet separately with Obama and Trump to present the results of their probe into cyber espionage during the presidential campaign. After the president and the president-elect are briefed, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases a declassified version of the report. According to the report, hackers did not breach voting machines or computers that tallied election results but Russians meddled in other ways. Among the findings: Putin ordered a multifaceted influence campaign that included hacking and pro-Trump propaganda; bracing for a possible Clinton win, Russian bloggers were prepared to spread a hashtag #DemocracyRIP on Election Night; paid social media users, aka "trolls," shared stories about Clinton controversies to create a cloud of scandal around her campaign.

January 6-7, 2017 - Trump issues a statement after his meeting with intelligence officials. In the statement, he acknowledges that the Russian government may have been linked to the DNC hacking but declares that cyberattacks did not impact the outcome of the election because voting machines were not breached. In a series of tweets, he repeats that hacking did not affect election results and says that he wants to improve relations with Russia.

February 9, 2017 - The Washington Post reports that Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials said in January that Flynn did not talk about policy when he spoke to the ambassador. The Washington Post story is based on interviews with nine officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. One day after the report is published, Trump tells reporters that he has not read the story and says he will look into it.

February 13, 2017 - Flynn resigns. In his resignation letter, he explains that, "because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador."

February 17, 2017 - Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee meet with FBI Director James Comey in a closed-door session. One attendee tells CNN that Russia was the topic of the briefing and after the meeting, committee member Marco Rubio says in a tweet that the Senate will conduct a bipartisan investigation into alleged meddling by Putin.

March 10, 2017 - In an interview with the Washington Times, Trump ally Roger Stone says that he had limited interactions via Twitter with Guccifer 2.0 during the campaign. He says the exchanges were "completely innocuous." The following day, the New York Times publishes its own interview with Stone, in which he says that his communication with Guccifer 2.0 took place after the DNC hack, proving there was no collusion with the Trump campaign to arrange the cyber attack.

June 1, 2017 - In public remarks, Putin says that hacking during the presidential election campaign may have been carried out by patriotic Russian citizens who felt compelled to respond to perceived slights against Russia from America. Putin says, however, that the Russian government played no role in the cyber attacks. During an interview days later, Putin says that a child could have easily hacked the American presidential campaign.

June 5, 2017 - An investigative website, the Intercept posts a report that the Russian government coordinated a spear-phishing attack on computers at an American voting machine company and compromised at least one email account. The article is based on an NSA memo that was leaked to the Intercept. Hours after the story is published, the source of the leak is identified as a government contractor named Reality Leigh Winner, 25. She is charged with transmitting classified information.
Brain Dead Republicans Still Think
 Trump Won the Election
A shocking new low for the uninformed, misinformed,
disinterested and politically illiterate among the US electorate.
Did Rupert Murdoch and the oligarchs win after all?

The cold light of morning shows an election which was deeply flawed. The actual mechanism of the election would have already been flawed without the Russian propaganda and hacking attack. The evidence of the Russian interference is over whelming. The US media has been aggressively tracking  both the instigators and the results of this damage.

MeanMesa has been watching Dr. Rachel Maddow daily [MSNBC, The Rachel Maddow Show] to keep up with the almost daily, additional revelations. Maddow's reporting has been excellent and relentless, and the picture being patiently revealed is compelling. In fact -- after painful decades of FOX dominating the domestic US ratings -- Maddow has now dislodged Rupert Murdoch's Hannity-O'Reilly-Limbaugh media cess pool. [Read about the latest cable ratings  here - Rachel Maddow Skyrockets Past Fox News And Is Now The Most Watched Show On Cable News/PoliticusUSA]

However, reportage such as what is seen on Maddow's MSNBC show has essentially no impact whatsoever on the voters who fell for the Trump con job. Instead of having even so much as a "passing chance" to consider the facts of the present situation, the minority Trump voters are suffocated by a wave of consistently deceptive propaganda channeled directly to them by truly rancid, right wing media.

[Pay close attention to the polling criteria noted on the chart's label.] The main title is directed at the specific question: "Did Russian interference AFFECT the election's outcome?"

The Americans polled by NBC already agreed with the premise that the "Russians INTERFERED in the election."

First title: 

Second title:

MeanMesa will be posting about the propaganda used to usurp the Presidential election soon. Thanks for visiting MeanMesa!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Trump's GDP "Growth" - Watch Out

The Trump Administration's "Last Refuge"
  Deceptive  GDP Growth
"It's beginning to look like pretty slim pickin's, Big Daddy."
Since health care, tax reform and immigration are stuck,
starting a war and GDP growth are about all that's left.

Trump's Administration has now performed a painfully mediocre effort to "appear" as an actual Presidency -- at least, Donald hopes -- to appear as such to the "lower echelons" of the Russian cultured, heavily maneuvered nihilists who elected him. However, to those with a more objective expectation of a "reasonably effective administration" from either Party, the Trump charade is rapidly wearing thin at an alarming rate.

This GDP "growth rate" is
fantastic, Big Daddy!

With the President's health care plan and the President's tax reform plan both mired in the current scandal around the White House and the Russians Donald Trump will, most likely, now turn to either starting a war or attempting to force Congress into a "raw effort" to demonstrate national economic growth -- or something simpler which might appear to be roughly the same to his low information voter base

Of course, this President might take both tracks simultaneously. However, if "walk and chew gum" is to be the new model of the Executive Branch, we can probably still expect additional results which are similar to those we have already seen. This post is about economics. We can leave the "un-elected Republican President's appetite for war" topic for a future post.

Given this, MeanMesa now presumes that the most important political priority in Trump's mind has everything to do with the behavior of the US GDP. The reasons for this unusual [that is, unusual for an un-elected Republican President] interest in the national economy are best explained as a desperate political ploy adopted as a priority only after the other possible priorities are no longer politically accessible.

In terms of Trump's image as a successful business man, and in keeping with the irritatingly ridiculous, self-aggrandizing promises during his campaign, a national GDP which was "showing growth" at some point in his first year would be "roses, simply roses" for his unshakable fear of being revealed as utterly incompetent.

We should note here that the Trump budget proposal, an unabashed, reincarnation of the same trickle down policy disastrously inflicted on the country by previous GOP Presidents, is touted as "justifiable" based on a presumption of a 3%+ growth rate for the GDP. The mortally injured US economy "left in the land fill" after Bush W's 2008 Republican disaster has not been able to muster such a 3% growth rate since then. [Can the US Ever Get Back to a 3% Growth?/FORBES]

The Trump Administration is currently arguing that this 3% growth rate becomes, essentially, inevitable after Big Daddy's "Fat Trimming, Fiscal Austerity Ax" has eliminated lots of waste and abuse in government spending. Trump's proposal for gleefully dropping an additional $50 Bn on the Pentagon's "military spending doorstep" like an abandoned baby probably won't help that much, either.

A Quick "Refresher" Course on the US GDP
Naturally, any 800 different politicians would like
 to specifically define it 400 different ways.

[From SPARKSNOTES, link  here to read the entire article.]
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The Gross Domestic Product measures the value of economic activity within a country. Strictly defined, GDP is the sum of the market values, or prices, of all final goods and services produced in an economy during a period of time. There are, however, three important distinctions within this seemingly simple definition:

GDP is a number that expresses the worth of the output of a country in local currency.

GDP tries to capture all final goods and services as long as they are produced within the country, thereby assuring that the final monetary value of everything that is created in a country is represented in the GDP.

GDP is calculated for a specific period of time, usually a year or a quarter of a year.

The "Trick" Trump Will Try
Watch out for the "trickle down!"
Not really.

MeanMesa suggests visitors begin by watching a 1 minute video explaining how the GDP is calculated: How to Calculate a GDP/INVESTOPEDIA. Pay especial attention to the "income approach" part of the video.

The Income Approach

Considering that the other side of the spending coin is income and since what you spend is somebody else’s income, another approach to calculating GDP is based on a tally of the national income. Income earned by all the factors of production in an economy includes the wages paid to labor, the rent earned by land, the return on capital in the form of interest, as well as an entrepreneur’s profits. An entrepreneur’s profits could be invested in his own business, or it could be an investment in any outside business. All this constitutes national income.

Importantly, this explains that "income" received by the oligarch class of Americans "folds right into" the national calculations. When the rich get richer, the national GDP increases to reflect it. This is important because Trump voters have been led to believe that an increase in national GDP under Trump economic policies would result in increased prosperity at their level.

If this were to actually work out with this result, it would vindicate the right wing's historical claim that "trickle down" economic policies actually worked. They don't. They never have. In fact they have never worked anywhere they have ever been tried.

The "GDP Question" Becomes
 the "Wealth Redistribution Question"
Will Trump's economic policy "successes" be "trickle down" or "trickle up?"

Trump may well be able to increase the national GDP, but if he does, the "shiny new wealth" will not get very far beyond the Goldman-Sachs bankers surrounding him in the Oval Office. Rectifying a crippling trend which sends almost all increased "earnings" directly to the top 10% of the economy turns out to be a far more complex policy challenge than boosting the GDP by selling off the national parks.

To "flesh this out" a bit MeanMesa has selected 6 of the 11 charts in a recent Mother Jones article. [Visit the original the original article here - 11 Charts That Show Income Inequality Isn't Getting Better Any Time Soon/12-22-2016/MOTHERJONES]

The middle class is still struggling

First, some good news: Last year, middle-class households reaped an income gain of 5.2 percent, the highest level since 2007. Now the bad news: Despite such overdue gains, average American households are barely making more than they did in 1980. Median household incomes have risen just 17 percent (in real dollars) during the past 35 years, lagging far behind GDP growth. Meanwhile, the corporate profits and the average income of the top 1 percent of earners has skyrocketed.

The superrich are still thriving

The average income for the top 0.01 percent of households grew an astounding 322 percent, to $6.7 million, between 1980 and 2015. Despite seeing 3.9 percent growth in the last year, the highest rate since 1998, the average income of the bottom 90 percent has effectively flatlined, increasing just 0.03 percent since 1980.

Most post-recession gains went to the top

Like millions of Americans, top earners took a hit during the Great Recession. But when the slump officially ended, they bounced back much faster and further than most. In fact, more than half of all income gain during the six years following the downturn went to the top 1 percent.

Minimum wage can’t keep up

The situation for workers earning minimum wage remains bleak. In real dollars, the current federal minimum wage is worth 26 percent less than it was in 1970. Compare that to the increase in top incomes (like those of Trump’s pick for labor secretary, fast-food CEO Andy Puzder, a staunch opponent of minimum-wage hikes).

It’s not just about income, but wealth

The richest households have not only seen an upsurge in incomes, but also an accumulation of wealth in the form of property and assets. The recession tanked many Americans’ net worth: The median household net worth dropped 45 percent between 2007 and 2010.

More wealth is trickling up

Here, too, the superrich are capturing the lion’s share of gains. Since 1983, the 1 percent’s share of total net worth has jumped to 37 percent, while the share of net worth held by the bottom 90 percent has slumped to 23 percent. “Income inequality has a snowballing effect on wealth distribution,” Saez and Zucman wrote in a May paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. “[T]his snowballing effect has been sufficiently powerful to dramatically affect the shape of the US wealth distribution over the last 30 years.”

Monday, June 12, 2017

"Breaking the Spell" - Can Trump Voters Be Lured Back to the Democracy?

Can this ever go "back together?"
Has Trump crystallized permanent division?

If We Want To Change the Way Things Are,
We Must First Look At How We Got Here.

Events have left us with no sensible alternative to "embracing the inescapable."

Fevered Trumpkins fantasizing about what
"Make America Great Again" might  possibly mean.

At this juncture we are forced to conclude that whatever wreckage may remain of our country's democracy is now firmly in the hands of the US oligarchs and the Russian oligarchs. Moreover, with the current minority in control of Washington it is painfully clear that decades of rancid media, voter suppression and gerrymandering have finally succeeded, too. Seated behind the locked gates of their country clubs, our craven billionaires are -- at this moment -- still panting from their "victory lap." The Republicans who have enjoyed the criminal benefit of all this anti-democracy effort remain almost comatose, thoroughly inebriated with their sudden, unexpected ascendancy.

In fact, given the extreme degree of this "drunkenness," a reasoned estimate of what's coming next for us may well be described as a descent into the "arrow in the eye hang over phase." MeanMesa is headed to WalMart to buy extra ammo.

President Trump's Theatrics "Placate
His Base Without Anything "To Announce"
Amazingly,Trump voters remain absolutely besides themselves
 with his zero accomplishment of "policy successes."
Rats. It's always tricky to try to pick really
 great birthday presents for dour, grumbling nihilists.

There's nothing.
Like it. [image]
The brutally hideous House version of the American Health Care Act should have been more than enough to "surgically separate" hordes of mindless Republican voters from their "lemming-like," repetitive, quadrennial pilgrimage to the polls to painfully reelect their Congressional tormentors. [MeanMesa employs the term "Congressional" to include both House members and Senators. At least in theory, bit groups comprise the "Congress."]

A truly weird "injury priority" has colored most of the few discernible shards of the Trump "proposals" on matters ranging from tax reform to immigration to infrastructure to the nation's budget. None of this should present any sort of an "imponderable mystery" to those observing the destruction. Trump's base has a single obsession. It is one which may take a myriad of incomprehensible political forms, but it exists nonetheless.

What obsession?

Trump and his supporters want more than anything else "to get even." 

Neither the President nor his rambling, largely incoherent voter base are burdened with any matter as
The prospect of vengeance [image]
abstract as actual policy. The Trumpkins don't particularly care about infrastructure, wealth inequality, NATO, GDP figures or, probably, even what twisted form their health insurance might take in a few months. Only a barely detectable, ghostly, statistical demographic of the Trumpkin base care a whit about the President's embarrassing proximity to literal clouds of Russian oligarchic mobsters swirling around the Oval Office like gnats at a picnic.

For the "to date" duration of the Trump Administration we have seen an obsession with "getting even" which has repeatedly manifested itself in the grisly procedure of:

 1. identifying "enemy targets" among the citizens, 
 2. justifying "injury priorities" which will consistently strip away any existing benefits enjoyed by these "enemy targets," and, 
 3. re-framing each such an attack as some sort of economic or political "necessity" required to "get things under control" again.

Trump's supporters will need
LOTS of VooDoo dolls. [image]
The Trump base has no idea that the results of these "getting even" efforts will have, at best, a minuscule impact on either the national economy or their traditionally pathetic personal finances. Recent polling suggests that, even though the GOP now controls the entire Potomac, Trump supporters continue to blame Washington Democrats for Donald's increasingly troublesome lack of accomplishment. When the President does something -- anything -- which horrifies the more rational players in politics, his base is elated. Trump has "served" them even if the banquet's main course is "best served cold come the dawn." The new political reality must not be dismissed in favor of comfort.

Trump voters were not seeking relief, 
they were seeking revenge

Trumpkins spelling out "legislative
changes" they consider crucial. 
Their politically groomed "grievances" were a carefully inculcated fantasy, and all aspects of their "revenge" is equally fantastic. Worse, their hunger for this strange "revenge" is as chaotic and petulant as they are. Almost none of them would be able to agree on exactly what insult or injury -- real or imagined -- their "revenge" might conceivably redress. Trump supporters have been cast into this strange state by decades of Murdoch-style, incendiary media and a telling lack of education and information, both vulnerabilities artfully exploited to further enrage their long duration inferiority issues.

So, in terms of "inspiring" Trump voters to be attracted by some sort of policy, "nothing is real," right? No. Unhappily this is all painfully real -- not to mention, terrifying.

So far this tactic has served the President fairly well. Polls suggest that Trump's 35% base has eroded very little while confronted what is now clearly seen by others as complete paralysis in the government.

So, What Do We Expect Next?
MeanMesa Offers an over view of short term
 possibilities that might map out some of our likely futures.

Although, amid this current chaos this type of speculation can become quite "wordy," we can, hopefully, simplify things to a more manageable discussion by considering the likely course of events with respect to structural elements of US government and policy which will "set the tone" for the next few months. The specific areas which seem most likely to set the stage seem to be:

1. the GOP Congress
2. the Trump Presidency
3. the US economy, and 
4. international affairs.

1. the GOP Congress

MeanMesa suspects that the Republicans currently controlling the government will continue to passive "tolerate" Donald Trump as President just as long as the "investment continues to deliver a profit." The "line in the sand" will probably become more and more visible as the President's approval rating drops closer and closer to around 30% -- a politically caustic nightmare for anyone needing to win an election.

Nothing feels better than being a victim. [image-YOUTUBE]
As of this posting the political weight of this continued support is dwindling for a number of lethal, political reasons. The chilling void of any legislative "products" beyond the frantic shoveling of everything "not bolted down" into the pockets of the billionaires who own the Republican Party may, over time, become a frightening political disadvantage.

The most ardent Trump supporters will, undoubtedly, remain utterly unaware of this legislative paralysis, but the "independent" voters in that demographic may become restive with the complete inaction. On the other hand, as mentioned above, once the "bleeding" starts among the first victims of the cruel health care proposal and the painful austerity of the Trump "budget proposals," many of the original "Trump gang" will wander off grumbling.

Hopefully, this pit of illiterate despair and low information frustration will be literally seething by the 2018 mid-terms.

2. the Trump Presidency

Donald Trump's White House is already under siege. The President, suffering with his reputation for being dangerously incompetent and untrustworthy, isn't even able to retain quality counsel for his glacier of legal problems "sprouting up everywhere." The Democrats have shown an admirable appetite to stand up to Trump, but MeanMesa suspects that there are a shocking number of cases of quiet enmity boiling behind the scene in Trump's Congressional Republican "colleagues," too.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of Trump's political affections and administrative competence can be seen in the present state of vital governmental capabilities. The Justice Department has been, necessarily, castrated with an insipid toady as Attorney General and internecine mayhem raging through every cubicle and hall way. The State Department, still largely un-staffed, is functioning at roughly 30% of its pre-Trump capacity. Most of the remainder of the Executive branch has been sold to the highest bidder -- primarily inexperienced billionaires and Goldman-Sachs imports.

Trump's "surviving" political career -- shockingly, not even yet navigating to its inevitable nadir -- is careening to a static state where nothing necessary can be done and nothing which might help has been proposed. The President's foreign relations gaffs seem to be impatiently converting disastrous possibilities into disastrous realities.

Of course, absolutely none of this so much as "perturbs the naps" of the mindlessly unaware and uninterested Trump voters or the Republican Congressmen opening fat checks from the billionaires -- billionaires who happen to be "enjoying a sudden, undreamed of prosperity."

3. the US Economy

[MeanMesa intends to look into this in more detail in a future post.]

To date Trump has, actually, done very little with the economy. The same cannot be said for the Congressional Republicans. They have demonstrated an emboldened legislative avarice to a degree not previously thought to even be possible. In all aspects this legislative action has been a quiet wealth distribution. In ten years the Republican "Trump Care" bill alone would obliterate $100 billion in the taxes imposed to pay for Obama Care [these were the "mandates" which initially served to make the ACA "revenue neutral"].

Trump's fever dreams for tax reform would propel these cuts into truly unexplored realms. Adding those totals to his big plans to aggressively expand military spending paints a really gloomy future for the nation's future annual deficits. The GOP Congress has been well paid to vaporize almost every law passed to deter the economy from repeating the 2008 free fall -- notably, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street "discipline" legislation. The new administration has clearly flashed the green flag for the GOP Congress to "sell" the repeal of every regulation which is worth anything to an eager benefactor ready to pummel the crooks with "campaign donations" -- this has very clearly included an unprecedented "flood of sweet favors" to hedge fundies, bankers, brokers and other corporatists.

With the Oval Office now surrounded by ex-Goldman-Sachs "heavy hitters" and defiantly brazen insider traders, Trump has begun to install generals to make up for what appears to be a recruitment shortage for more racist billionaires.

4. International Affairs

Presidents generally arrive at the White House with a robust -- although often not strongly formalized -- "foundation" concerning foreign affairs around the world. This foundation is comprised of rather impressive amounts of raw, public data, enough knowledge of history to have a "perception" of historical vectors in other countries, a, perhaps intuitive, understanding of both visible and hidden explanations of the behavior and motivation of their counter parts and, importantly, a very well understood of their own, private ideals with respect to what such a President thinks the country ought to be doing.

However, President Trump is not really motivated to particularly "fit into" the analytical processes and "guidance" models of traditional Presidents. Although there may indeed be more deeply rooted , stable characteristics of Trump's personal ideas which remain obscured by his maudlin, lurching, public relations jolts, in the visible frame he is careening right and left on so many issues that no one is currently claiming to be able to anticipate his position, minute to minute, based on an understanding of his fundamental policy positions.

While there are almost certainly financial ties to the Russian mafia/oligarchs, and there seems to be a fundamental religious bent against "everything Muslim," the most pressing issue of Trump's foreign policy possibilities rests squarely on his yet unrevealed war making penchant.

Recent US history has already shown us that un-elected Republican Presidents, as their administrations inevitably slide into disrepair and Congressional paralysis, gradually become politically desperate. At this point the "war making impulse" presents itself as a political remedy. Given the flavor of the advice from those currently surrounding the President, the intrinsic danger of this impulse is even further aggravated.

While Trump might prefer to attack Muslims, political imperatives may well serve to shift his attention to North Korea. Worse, although a deep, conventional weapons attack on North Korea would probably accomplish just about any military objective, he may choose to use nuclear weapons to impress his base support. [who, as an electoral demographic, generally have no understanding or information about nuclear]

Additional Reading:

The Dark Side - American Oligarchs and American H-Bombs/MeanMesa