Friday, November 10, 2017


And I have to thank him here. :)

A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house:

Talking Dog For Sale 

He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy goes around to the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.

" You talk? " he asks.

" Yep," the Lab replies.

After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says:

 " So, what's your story ? "

The Lab looks up and says:

 " Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. 

I wanted to help the government, so ... I told the CIA.

In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. "

" I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running.

" But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. 

I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. 

I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals."

" Then I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just plain retired. "

The guy is amazed. 

He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

" Ten dollars,' the guy says.

" Ten dollars ? 

This dog is amazing! 

Why on earth are you selling him so cheap ? "

" Because he's such a bullshitter.  

He's never even been out of the backyard "

Wednesday, November 08, 2017




"Tax?  Tax what?  I'm broke!"

With all the nonsense about Russia interfering in our election, these Paradise Papers reveal what is really in control of the world.  We can play all we want about borders and immigrants and Parties, but it is all the banks these days.

Here is a discussion of it.  Again, it is just one more thing we always suspected, but just hadn't documented. 
This weekend, a slew of 13.4 million leaked documents revealed how the world's richest men stash away billions of dollars in wealth in offshore tax havens. The revelations, known as the Paradise Papers, implicate more than a dozen of President Trump's Cabinet members, advisers and major donors. The 13.4 million leaked documents also reveal how millions of pounds of the British queen's private estate were hidden in an offshore fund based in the Cayman Islands, and how the senior adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau helped funnel millions of dollars to offshore tax havens. For more, we speak with Frederik Obermaier, co-author of the Paradise Papers. He is an investigative reporter at Germany's leading newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung. Obermaier also worked on a separate investigation, the Panama Papers, and is co-author of the book "Panama Papers: The Story of a Worldwide Revelation."

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We end today's show with a slew of shocking revelations about how the world's richest people stash away billions of dollars in wealth in offshore tax havens. The revelations, known as the Paradise Papers, implicate more than a dozen of President Trump's Cabinet members, advisers and major donors, among them Wilbur Ross, who's continued to conduct business with Vladimir Putin's son-in-law through a shipping company, even after Ross became Trump's commerce secretary. The shipping company, Navigator Holdings, is also linked to a Russian oligarch subject to U.S. sanctions.
The papers also show President Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the director of a Bermuda-incorporated oil and gas company linked to ExxonMobil which ran a controversial scheme to export tens of millions of barrels of natural gas from the oil fields in western Yemen.
Trump's chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, served as president or vice president of 22 separate companies based in Bermuda between 2002 and 2006, while he was at Goldman Sachs. The registered addresses of all 22 Bermuda-based companies were 85 Broad Street in Manhattan, then the headquarters of Goldman Sachs.
Even the Trump administration's top banking watchdog, Randal Quarles, vice chair for supervision at the Federal Reserve, was the officer of two separate firms based in the Cayman Islands. The 13.4 million leaked files also implicate Trump's Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; Jon Huntsman, Trump's new U.S. ambassador to Russia; and Carl Icahn, Trump's billionaire former adviser.
They also reveal how millions of pounds of the British queen's private estate were hidden in an offshore fund based in the Cayman Islands, and how the senior adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau helped funnel millions of dollars to offshore tax havens.
The documents also take aim at the world's biggest companies, showing how Nike and Apple avoid taxes and how Facebook and Twitter received hundreds of millions of dollars linked to the Russian state.
The files [were] obtained by reporters at the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitungand then shared with International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The files were then analyzed by more than 380 journalists from over 90 media organizations across 67 countries.
For more, we're joined by Frederik Obermaier, co-author of the Paradise Papers, investigative reporter at Germany's leading newspaper, also worked on the Panama Papers investigation and is co-author of the book Panama Papers: The Story of a Worldwide Revelation.
Well, we do not have much time, Frederik, but if you could just start off by explaining how these papers were released, and then talk about some of the most outstanding examples within it, who this is implicating?
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: Hello. We started the Paradise Papers investigation more than a year ago. And it was the results—the first results were published yesterday noon or noonish U.S. East Coast time. The Paradise Papers show actually how the super-richest and how corporates hide their money offshore. Sometimes it's illegal. Sometimes it's still legal, but I think it's still illegitimate, because hiding and avoiding taxes means that there's money going away, money that our countries need, our societies need, for example, to building universities, to build streets, to build schools. So, I think this is a global problem. It's a problem in the U.S., but also in the European Union. And I think there's, therefore, a global approach needed.
AMY GOODMAN: So, can you talk about some of the most stunning findings in this, what you were most shocked by?
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: I was really surprised of the huge extent of how people being very close to Donald Trump being involved in offshore dealings. I think the case from Wilbur Ross shocked me the most, because we all know that there was—he was already questioned in regards to how he disinvested, but, I mean, nobody was aware of his connection to Russia. And, I mean, he now claims that the company, Navigator Holdings, where he is still holding some interest, that he didn't know that they—that the company they did business with in Russia, a company called SIBUR, that there is—one stakeholder is or one shareholder is, for example, Vladimir Putin's son-in-law or the oligarch Timchenko. And I think I must admit that from a secretary of commerce, I would expect to at least know this, to research it. And I think it shows a huge conflict of interest that, in my opinion, should now be investigated.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, explain, because the commerce secretary, when questioned, said he was divesting from his holdings. So, what does the Paradise Papers show?
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: The Paradise Papers show that he indeed did disinvest from most of his companies, but that he kept—even after becoming secretary of commerce, that he kept, via a chain of offshore companies, interest in Navigator Holdings and that he didn't disinvest from that one. And given the current debate in the U.S. about Russia's influence in the U.S., I think it is very important to have a close look at what went on there and that not only media, but also authorities and investigators, should have a look on that one.
AMY GOODMAN: You also uncovered, for example, Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state; Steve Mnuchin. Explain what you found.
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: Well, in the case of Mr. Mnuchin, it is interesting that his former bank, the CIT Bank, that they help their customers to set up structures, when they, for example, bought airplanes, to set up structures to avoid taxes. And this is things we have seen in many cases, and we have already seen that millions of dollars of taxes are avoided through such structures. And given the fact that nearly every country of the world needs money, needs tax money, to—basically, to keep up the infrastructure, keep up universities and schools running, I think this is something the public should be well aware of, that in the Trump government, in the Trump administration, there are many people with offshore ties and that this is something they should have a close look to.
AMY GOODMAN: And very quickly, the companies, like Apple and others, what role the Paradise Papers exposes them playing?
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: The Paradise Papers show that those multinational companies are looking for—to find always a loophole in the global tax system. So, when one loophole is closed, they try to find another one. They try to keep their taxes as low as possible. And it is countries like the U.S. that basically miss the taxes. So, for example, if—when a company like Nike sets up a complicated structure in the tax haven of the Netherlands, this actually means that it is a huge amount of taxes that the U.S. state misses.
AMY GOODMAN: Frederik Obermaier, we're going to have to leave it there now, but we're going to do Part 2 and post it online at He's co-author of the Paradise Papers. I'm Amy Goodman. Happy birthday, Andre Lewis!
In Part 2 of this conversation, Frederik, can you start off by explaining why it's called the Paradise Papers?
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: Well, actually, when we speak about tax havens, at least in Europe, we always speak about tax paradises. And as the Paradise Papers are not like the Panama Papers, focused on only one offshore provider, but on two offshore providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens, we thought that the title Paradise Papers would basically bring all these topics together, because the Paradise Papers shed light on around about a fifth of all global secrecy jurisdictions. So it is many of—we show how many tax paradises are in reality tax—a tax hell.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to a clip of the commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, speaking during his confirmation hearing earlier this year.
WILBUR ROSS: I intend to be quite scrupulous about recusal in any topic where there's the slightest scintilla of doubt.
AMY GOODMAN: He'll go to recusal if there's the slightest scintilla of some kind of conflict of interest. Frederik Obermaier, what does the Paradise Papers show about him?
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: The Paradise Papers show that there is indeed a huge conflict of interest in the case of Wilbur Ross, because if you profit from basically business activities with a Russian company that is owned by individuals very close to Vladimir Putin, in my opinion, that's a huge conflict of interest. And that's something Wilbur Ross should have made public before becoming secretary. So, I think there are—
AMY GOODMAN: Explain—explain exactly what you mean.
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: —lots of questions open that he should answer now.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain exactly what you mean. I think you're referring to Vladimir Putin's son-in-law. Explain the business that Wilbur Ross has with him.
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: Well, Vladimir Putin's son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov, owns shares of a company called Sibur. That's a company that is dealing, for example, in gas. And they rented ships of Navigator Holdings. So, actually, Navigator Holdings made a fortune by doing business with Sibur. And Wilbur Ross owns, via—indirectly owns, via a chain of offshore companies, owns shares in Navigator Holdings. So this means he actually profits from doing business with Putin's son-in-law.
And given the situation that we currently do face in the U.S., that there's a debate about Russia's interference in the U.S. election and Russia's role in the U.S., this is something that, in my opinion, raises suspicions, and it should at least have been made public. In my opinion, Mr. Ross should have stated clearly that there is this interest he still kept in Navigator Holdings. And he should have been aware with which companies Navigator Holdings is doing business, because Sibur is not one among hundreds of customers of Navigator Holdings, it's one of the biggest customers. And, I mean, Mr. Ross, or at least his ministry, yesterday announced in a statement that he would not have been aware of the shareholders in Sibur. I, myself, ask the question—well, you should only have looked on their homepage. This is not hidden information. On the homepage of Sibur, you find the name of Kirill Shamalov.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who we also discussed for a moment in Part 1 of our conversation. During his confirmation hearing earlier this year, the former Goldman Sachs executive defended himself against accusations he used a tax haven in the Cayman Islands in order to avoid paying taxes.
STEVEN MNUCHIN: Let me just be clear again: I did not use the Cayman Island entity in any way to avoid taxes for myself. I paid U.S. taxes on all that income, OK? So, there was no benefit to me from the Cayman entity. As I said, the Cayman entity was set up to accommodate nonprofit and pension funds that want to invest through offshore in a certain number of offshore—
AMY GOODMAN: So, Frederik Obermaier, can you respond to what Mnuchin said, now that you know what you know from the Paradise Papers?
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: Well, in his case, if we look closely, we do see that the bank he worked for before, that they actively helped their customers to go offshore, meaning that they helped them to set up complex structures to avoid taxes, for example, to be paid when you buy an airplane. So, even if he did not personally benefit from it, the bank he worked for actively helped to set up such structures. And I think this is also something that should be public, that he should have addressed, because, I mean, helping to set up those structures means also to help people to not pay taxes, for example, in countries like the U.S.
AMY GOODMAN: Goldman Sachs, the address, 85 Broad Street, links to Trump's chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, who served as president or vice president of 22 companies based in Bermuda between 2002 and 2006, while he was at Goldman Sachs. The registered addresses of all 22 Bermuda-based companies were 86 Broad Street in Manhattan, then the headquarters of Goldman Sachs.
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: Well, it shows again that within the Trump administration there are many people and many individuals that did either do offshore business or helped others to do so. And given the fact that Mr. Trump tries to promote get corporations back to the U.S., back from secrecy jurisdictions, I think this shows—or at least I would question if everyone in his administration really supports this course. And in my opinion, it shows again that so many richest and powerful businessmen did offshore business activities. And this is something that needs to be investigated by the public, by journalists, because it's an important issue.
I personally do see a danger for democracy, if there is a small minority, a small elite, that can afford to go offshore and therefore avoid or evade taxes, but at the same time that the majority does have to pay taxes. And if they have the feeling there is the rich 1 percent that doesn't stick to the same rules as they have, this may help populist movements to grow even bigger than they are already now.
AMY GOODMAN: And what does the queen of England have to do with this story?
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: Well, the queen of England actually, I suppose without her knowing it, indirectly invested in offshore funds. So, when we and other colleagues approached her and her officials, they claimed that they would have not known where actually the investment went to. And as far as 'til now, we don't have any contradictory information that she would have really personally known where she's investing to. But it shows that if you do invest money, you should have a close look where you do invest, because many of the world—a big amount of the money invested worldwide is funded through secrecy jurisdictions. And this is, of course, something the public should know and the public should discuss.
AMY GOODMAN: And finally, I know you have to go off to another interview, but I wanted to ask you about what happened last month in Malta. The investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated when a powerful bomb planted in her car exploded near her home in the Mediterranean island nation. She spent much of her time over the last two years reporting on revelations about Malta from the Panama Papers, that trove of more than 11 million leaked files that reveal how the rich and powerful in a number of countries used tax havens to hide their wealth. No claim of responsibility for the blast, although local media reported that Galizia filed a police report in early October to report on death threats. Can you talk about her assassination?
FREDERIK OBERMAIER: Well, Daphne Galizia was a brave journalist who stood up in Malta in the fight against corruption, fighting for more transparency. She was very outspoken, and she addressed a few issues many people in the government in Malta did not want to speak about. She was, I think, not an easy—like an easy reporter to deal with for Maltese—for the Maltese government and businessmen, because she always pointed her finger where it hurts. And it is a tragic loss that she was killed, but I personally do hope that other Maltese journalists now keep up the work and do investigate the stories she worked on before she was killed.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you for being with us, Frederik Obermaier, co-author of the Paradise Papers, investigative reporter at Germany's leading newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung.Obermaier also worked on the separate investigation, Panama Papers, and co-authored the book Panama Papers: The Story of a Worldwide Revelation. Thanks so much for being here.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

The Deep Establishment


Last week, the Earl of Sandwich was born.  He invented the sandwich.  So much for the good news.


A short time ago, someone posted an update on a new bombing of Yemen.  I sarcastically said "At least they didn't use a pick-up", as I was fresh from talking about the fuss made over "Allah Akbar" or "Allu Akbar" in NY.  Someone had wondered why we didn't talk about this crisis and I had just told him it was like the Las Vegas thing, now is not the time to talk.  So, when I saw that post, I reacted fresh from that discussion.  I had to explain where I stood on Yemen and then directed them to the site and suggest they look in the left column where all the topics were listed.  It was revealing.  I actually had about 12 there or more.  So, why am I bothering?  Well, these were all new followers or non followers I soon realized.   I SHOULD BE MORE CLEAR.  BTW: Anybody know what the vowel sound before Akbar should be? 


A number of things seem worth mentioning.  Next time, we'll just post the discussion of the ex-Greek Financial Minister on the "Deep Establishment".  Out alt-right morons have adopted the term "Deep State" to describe whatever they don't like about whatever good the government can still do with the remnants of the New Deal, Roosevelt's program to rescue capitalism by adopting some of the Ideas of Eugene Debs, a Socialist, who ran for President and was therefore put in prison.   It actually made things better for people.  It also made rules against what banks could do.

One thing that makes the new Tax program possible is Trump's base, which right now supports him at even a lower popularity rate than Herbert Hoover's at the peak of the Great Depression that was made possible by the Republican Party.  Since the Democrat Party instituted the reforms of the New Deal, these banks that now control our lives managed to infiltrate that party as well,  That is what gave Hillary Clinton the nomination and is now belatedly admitted by Donna Brazil.  Donald Trump is happy to see it as it is a handy deflection from the Russia investigation.  The complaint that Bernie is not a registered Democrat is just a deflection, as his state does not really have a party designation option. 

It doesn't matter.  We have the new tax program now.  The idea being used is to get all the lower classes and bigots, the intellectual south, at one another's throats so that the upper one tenth of one percent can grab more of the money.  Class warfare is the real goal behind it all.  It is just not the workers against the rich, but precisely the opposite.  Soon after then next crash, a new wave of austerity with come as a result of the increased deficit and cuts in more new deal programs will become needed.  After all, it's only immigrants that need social security and Medicare, right?  [We still remember one moron shouting "keep your government hands off my Social Security" to Arlen Specter who promptly had to become a Democrat.] 

It is worth mentioning that for the amount that this will cost, the government could instead issue a check for $17,000 to every family in the U.S.  As my favorite Math teacher in High School used to say on occasion, "How about them apples?"  (Spit).


When the charges started recently against Bill Cosby, I really wondered what the hell was going on.  After all, a guy who was that influential and powerful probably had females trying desperately to sleep with him in return for some sort of advancement or just to be able to say the had done it.  I thought it was very unlikely.  Roger Ailes as a predator I could understand as he was so fat and ugly that nothing would want to even be touched by him.  We also had O'Reilly, Weinstein (Fox made a great deal of this because he was not right wing), Dustin Hoffman (really?), and Kevin Spacey who apparently was very drunk and lifted a 14 year old boy across to a bed and lay on top of him.  Spacey claims not to remember this 30 year old incident,  but does admit he is gay today.  The thing is, I still don't get it.

No, I'm not a novice in Psychology.  I have degrees and certifications and all that type of stuff and practiced as well.  I understand Paranoids, Schizophrenics, and so on.  I even understand that our President is a sociopath.  But what is the point of such harassment?  Well, go figure.  Everybody, listen up!  If you have been near someone in a position of power and you don't like them, go to the papers or news and tell them you were sexually harassed.  Men or women.  I'd claim it about Betsy DeVoss except I never met her.

And that brings up to another point.   How's this for a nightmare?  Watch the show DESIGNATED SURVIVOR.  It is about the one cabinet member who has to stay behind in case there is a great disaster during the State of the Union address.  Imagine it is Betsy DeVoss and she becomes President.  Well, why not?


There is simply too much criticism of Trump not being a Republican.  It is true that once he said that if he ran for President it would be as a Republican because Republican voters are more stupid than the others, but he is learning.  He has even learned how to speak.  Do you Remember Dan Quayle saying that his visit to Latin America was so nice that he wished he has paid more attention in Latin Class in High School?  How about Georgie Bush talking about "Strategery"?  Well, Donald talked about the "Diverserary" as a sham making our justice system the laughing stock of the world.  He took it back saying that's what people are saying, despite all the tapes of him saying it.  


So, they made Perez head of the DNC instead of Ellison.  You will hear a great deal of BS about this in the days to come.  Again, this is merely an evolution from Eisenhower's warning about the "Military-Industrial Complex" to the "Financial Force" that has taken over.  It is so overwhelming that there is no point in even addressing it other than to say it is now the deep establishment.

Sunday, October 29, 2017



@honestcharlie  [twitter]

Trump and how he makes us look:  DONALD TRUMP: DEPLORABLE BULLY
If you need a compendium of facts and data concerning what Trump means or represents, this is the only account you can trust.  

I remember vividly a recent march, not for women's rights, or justice, or some other such cause, but a march in favor of FACTS!!!  Now just let that sink in for a second.  Who in their right mind would oppose facts?  Did you ever think that it would be a time to actually march or demonstrate in favor of facts?  The entire thing is absurd.

In fact, some time ago, we decided to cut way back, even cease or suspend publication as absurdity had become so obvious that we were not need in order for them to be recognized.  There are simply too many to keep up with.

Well, in the excerpt for the book cited below, Dennis Campbell and his team of "Muckrakers," a lovely and forgotten word evoking the days when news mattered, you can see what is in the one book I recommend. 

A few words about Denis himself: his biography is included below, but there are a few things I would like to add.  For example, he is well conversant with both United States and British Culture.  He spent some time as an MP in England as a Lib Dem.   While that party did little but give the conservative government a majority, its politics were not at all conservative.  It was actually high time that the so-called "New Labor" personified by the glib Tony Blair was ousted and given a chance to become the Labor Party again. He resigned his career in professional politics to return to journalism.

At one point I became aghast at the idiocy of the two women running to head the Conservative Party.  The one who lost actually said that she was a better candidate because she had given birth and implied that no other qualification was needed.  He actually brought that up on his podcast with his fellow journalists who actually thought I had made it up.  Nope, things were that bad in England that sane people could not believe it.  Well, it turns out that Brits had enough sense to realize how absurd things had become and yet many were surprised when Jeremy Corbyn, sort of a Bernie Sanders in the states, won his party's leadership swimmingly, so to speak.  The current Prime Minister called an early election and people were amazed at how she just managed to squeak by with the narrowest of margins as Mr. Corbyn opposed her. 

At any rate, here is a bit of the book and what it's about (he sent me this in a pdf file and this is the best I've been able to convert it, sorry sport!):

Denis G. Campbell is the author of nine books on politics, business and personal development.  For two decades, he continues to provide global political and business commentary to dozens of broadcast outlets and numerous newspapers and magazines. He is under contract to four international television, and five global radio, properties.  He is founder and editor of Magazine and Producer/co-host of The Three Muckrakers, a weekly political show that for three years has covered US, UK, EU and international politics.  He spent the last 14 years living and writing in Wales, United Kingdom from the seaside villages of Ogmore by Sea and Monknash.
Denis is a global business consultant in London, Singapore, Beijing, Washington, Miami and Los Angeles.
He was a director with Price Waterhouse and a business and
regulatory lobbyist in Washington DC and LA. He is the
managing director of the global consultancy Target Point
He is an Honors graduate of Boston College and has lectured at the Universities of Miami, Maryland, Johns Hopkins, American University (Washington, DC and Beirut), Erasmus Universiteit in Rotterdam, Zayed University in Dubai, UCLA, UWIC, Cardiff University, and others, on politics and business topics.  A dual British and US national, he lives and writes high atop the cliffs of the historic Glamorgan Heritage Coast.
Please follow him on:
·    Twitter – @ukprogressive
·    Facebook – Denis G. Campbell: World
Politics Series
·    Instagram – ukprogressive

The worry over what this angry, bullying, petulant, tweeting man-child will do next, scares us to death.  We are grateful for Sundays because that seems to be the only day in ANY week where we can catch our breath for about ten hours before he careens off, bored at the "dump" of a White House he feels he is forced to live in, and creates his next crisis. He has spent almost 60 days of the 230 or so in office at one of his hotel or golf properties.
There is a feckless meanness to every action he takes that terrifies us. He has been completely enabled by the mainstream media and a Republican tea party that turns its head the other way, sticks its fingers in its ears and sing, "La-la-laaa, I'm not listening!"
This book should have been written during the presidential campaign. Let me explain why wasn't.  In 2012, I wrote four books from various stops along the campaign trail. I followed the then "seven dwarfs," traditional Republican candidates standing that year against President Obama.
It was a traditional, conservative, red-meat feast within the Republican/GOP/Tea Party (they are by the way, one and the same. I use the terms interchangeably and the letters GOP stand for its nickname, the Grand Old Party). They followed predictable culture war memes in 2012. It all felt quite sane and digestible.  Seven candidates fought each other for the right to challenge a very popular President Obama in November.  It was orderly. It was measured. There was time to think and react to the news of the day. You could go out for lunch and know you would not miss earth-shattering headlines during that hour.
2016, however, was nightmare-inducingly insane.  There were literally no words to describe a 71-yearold man-child wandering around the world in his pajamas, yelling and tweeting at the world.
Forget a 24-hour news cycle. Trump made sure this was a two-hour, peripatetic, never-ending news cycle.  And his presidency continues down the same exhausting path. A month of activity in Trumpville can be measured in dog years.
So much crazy occurs in any 24-hour cycle, that every time I sat down to write about a topic, seven other things would happen to throw me off the scent due to the sheer frenetic pace.
The plan for 2016 was to do a reprise…sit and write four 60-page books and combine them at the end into a recap. That was made impossible in January of 2016 when seventeen candidates entered the race. And, if we were playing chess, Trump strode in like a carnival barker and threw the board and pieces into the air. He was a tweeting, insulting, exhausting, childish, pedantic, peripatetic, attention-seeking, whore-mongering celebrity who made any serious, real-issue discourse impossible.
And he was winning.
He was the perfect candidate for our social-mediafilled, celebrity-obsessed, culture. The media helped to create him, then complained about his antics. Every time he spoke it was like watching the 1970s E.F. Hutton television commercials: "When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen." Everyone fell silent to see what worldsalad nonsense Trump would release.
The campaign threw all political and journalistic science out the window. Indeed, it set the window and the house on fire. Forget discussing issues. This was a 140-character assault, aided and abetted by a complicit and pandering mainstream media. Everyone's senses and sensibilities were under constant emotional attack. You didn't know what to believe any more and you just wanted it all to stop.
Rather than discuss issues, this was the politics of Twitter and personal attack. That ensured any reasonable and qualified candidate would fall quickly by the wayside.
It was political campaign as reality show. Survivor on steroids, as each week another candidate was voted off the island.
In January, prohibitive favorite Jeb Bush was struggling. Just like his brother before him in 2000, the GOP establishment lined up with checkbooks in hand to give him a huge financial lead. More than $100m was in his war chest.
He did poorly in Iowa. But no worries, the Bushes always were uncompetitive in that state's corrupt beauty contest caucus system. He was still tapped as the prohibitive populist favorite in New Hampshire and South Carolina. These were the first real contests where the Bush family name and history always resonated with establishment Republicans.
So, Jeb pretty much ignored Iowa. Rose above the fray in the debates when Donald attacked him as "lowenergy Jeb" and got his ass whupped but good. Trump was landing massive body blows in the fight. Jeb brought a butter knife to a gun fight and he never recovered.  The fight was personal, nasty, and completely off most campaign operative's scripts. Jeb's team were like a production crew in the booth trying to find their place in the script and advance the teleprompter fast enough. It was classic Donald Trump.
Trump had no campaign staff. He conducted no opposition research. Produced no polls. Didn't buy any advertising. And yet he won New Hampshire in a field of fourteen candidates with 35% of all votes cast.  Jeb Bush gave lengthy policy speeches. Trump did pep rallies attacking his opponent and Hillary Clinton.  Bush finished a distant fourth behind Trump, Kasich and Cruz with only 11% of the vote.
South Carolina was to be Jeb's firewall. This was where he would spend every penny of what he had left to get on the field and in the game. He did even worse.  Jeb finished fourth again in a winner-take-all primary. In delegates, Trump led 61-3. The rout was on. $100m of 5 organization and media time bought Jeb two embarrassing fourth place finishes. He dropped out of the race a few days later.
Trump sold massive amounts of merchandise. His red Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats were a profit-making arm of his branding business. With no hint of irony, they were made in China and shipped by the container-load. Trump sold his hats and filled up arenas with angry supporters. Aside from arena rentals, his biggest campaign expense was merchandise, but it was income, not expense. Trump was about to run the first political campaign in history that made a profit for all his businesses.
His opponents were barnstorming across states with multiple stops each day. Trump showed up for one big event a day. The news media followed and usually broadcast it live because no one knew what he would say next. Trump was ratings gold because he was so unpredictable.
The rules of campaigning no longer applied. Nothing he said was outrageous enough to disqualify him because he was not a politician. He did what he wanted, when he wanted, how he wanted.
A Missouri politician in 2012 was crushed in his
Senate election when he uttered the words "legitimate
rape." Donald Trump bragged about "grabbing women
by the pussy." And yet, he won.
Most thought his stunts on the campaign trail were him just doing what he felt he had to do win the election.  Almost every pundit said, "Once there, the gravity of the office is such he would have to pivot towards running the country and become much more presidential." We were all very, very wrong.
The mainstream media ate his act up. He was the perfect candidate for our times. An internet troll who spoke his mind. People identified with that. I would reply during numerous interviews trying to explain that, "Look, my uncle speaks his mind too. That doesn't mean 6 he is qualified to be president."
At the end of the campaign, it was estimated that while other candidates spent millions on television and online advertising, Trump earned a massive $2.4bn in free advertising as his Trump-branded Boeing 757 pulled up to airport hangars filled with his supporters. Every media outlet covered each move and word. The media even covered his attacks against them for being fake news.  He'd bound off his jet, speak for 40 minutes and then fly home to sleep each night in his own bed.  Journalists and campaign operatives were befuddled.
It worked. He got the lion's share of the media coverage.  He also knew better than anyone how to touch a midwestern rust belt, racist, anti-immigration, raw, aggrieved white person's nerve. It was like what UKIP did in 2016 in the United Kingdom over Brexit.
The stream of angry @realDonaldTrump tweets was relentless; five new crises would befall the campaign daily over them. And, somehow, at the end of each day, despite condemnation by the other candidates and the President, he would move on untouched in the eyes of his base to fight another day.
His fans liked him because he was a straight shooter, despite the serial lies. He convinced people in closed factory towns that he would fight for them no matter what. He converted solid former Democratic Party voters, upset that their candidate Hillary was ignoring them and their plight. They wanted to send a message to Washington to focus on matters here in our country.  When the General Election votes were tallied, a mere 80,000 out of the more than 120,000,000 votes cast, decided three key industrial states. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were reliably blue states that were angry no one in either party was listening to them. Despite an overall national majority of 3,000,000 votes, Hillary lost these three states and, as a result, the Electoral College vote. That was the ballgame.
Trump was the only candidate who consistently 7 showed up at airports. He would pledge that he, and he alone, would help them, bring back manufacturing jobs and solve their problems. A huge majority believed him despite pledges that proved to be campaign-trail lies at Carrier Air Conditioning and other locations.  The more outrageous Donald Trump behaved, the crazier the coverage became of his airplane landing in a new city. That led to bigger voter turnouts for him in those primary states. He was Britain's Nigel Farage writ large. A place for voters to, at first, lodge a protest vote and a personality everyone wanted to want to have a pint with…if he drank.
Then, something funny happened. Hard-working folks believed he could win. They ignored Trump's oftrepeated lies as "fake news." He was as charismatic to them as a travelling Baptist preacher. He pledged to "drain the swamp" and clean up Washington. He would be the working white man's champion.  They believed his hype and refused anything that resembled a provable contrarian fact. They did not want to know, nor did they care, about his past. He alone would shake up Washington and bring change. This was a television reality star unleashing every trick in the book to build an audience.
And it worked.
No one in the political world understood what he was doing or how he did it. This was largely because no one knew what he would do next. His rallies gained steam and attracted thousand to venues. He placed the press in pens like circus animals, then blamed them for poor coverage, and called out reporters by name. They were subjected to incredible abuse online and offline from his minion followers and Russian social media bots.  He incited violence. Told supporters to "Knock the crap out of protestors," and that he would "Pay their legal bills," which, of course, he never did. The mediacreated monster climbed atop the Empire State Building swatting away the heavy artillery aimed at him.
At the point of writing this book, we are 45 weeks into an improbable election win and presidency. We start 12 days before the election with a real October surprise, assisted by then FBI Director, James Comey. He announced a reopening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. That saw her go overnight from a 10-point lead in the polls to a loss.
She never got back on the front foot and Trump used his time in those last few days to beat "Crooked Hillary," and "Lock her up!" drums. Despite her being cleared a second time a few days before the election, the damage was done. Hillary was a dead woman walking.  The book ends with a Friday night news dump as Hurricane Harvey hits Texas, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is pardoned, a detailed memo to the military demands they ban the service of transgender troops in the US military, Trump then clumsily handled the Harvey relief efforts, and his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program meant new chaos and fear on the immigration front. DACA temporarily lifted the threat of deportation for immigrants brought to the US before they were 16 now Trump was ending the programme and threatening them with deportation.  Oh, and a Category 5 hurricane, Irma, was taking dead aim at Florida and there still were no leaders heading The Federal Emergency Management agency (FEMA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) or the Department of Homeland Security since John Kelly was elevated to be his Chief of Staff.
The Three Muckrakers
For three years, I have produced a weekly current affairs programme and iTunes podcast in the United Kingdom called The Three Muckrakers. Our first broadcast was on the day of the 2015 Scottish Referendum to leave the UK. 133 episodes later, we have broadcast 44 weeks/year 9 covering US Congressional and Presidential Elections;
Brexit; the devolved government elections for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland; elections in France, The Netherlands, Germany and other EU states; and two UK General Elections.
I am joined weekly in the studio by the political and religious commentator, Paul Halliday. Past co-presenters included co-founders: Phil Parry, former BBC anchor and editor of The Eye Investigates and Dr. Dario Llinares, senior lecturer in media at The University of Brighton.  Many weeks we have been joined by as many as 40 news and thought leaders on various topics including:
North Korea; Mexican-American discrimination in the USA; healthcare; environment and anti-fracking; US, Dutch, UK and EU members of Parliament and Congress. We discuss political developments weekly in the US, UK and around the globe.
The as-aired scripts and topic rundowns form the basis of this book. It was, frankly, the only way we could keep up with the breathtakingly-mindless pace and continual misdirection, smoke and mirrors of this new administration.
Shameful "45"
In the USA, President Trump is often referred to as "45", his number in the line of presidential succession.  (Washington was number 1, Lincoln, 16, and Obama was 44).
It's been 45 shameful weeks of President 45. They truly feel like 45 months or even 45 years. It has been a wild ride so far. We will look at:
·    The Russian election hack and cozy Putin relationship.
·    The Mueller investigation.
·    The former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele's
10 dossier and related crimes that, even if pardoned, will continue in New York state.
·    His fight with the intelligence community.
·    Cabinet officers who fill vs "Drain the
·    His tweets and their aftermath.
·    The Charlottesville racist protest and death led by white supremacists / neo-Nazis.
·    His limited vocabulary and speech
·    "The Wall" and immigration.
·    His personal attacks on eleven US senators…in his own party!
·    The Administration labelling any news it does not like as "Fake News" and their dishonest media attacks backfiring spectacularly.
·    Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria: Trump's
·    Trump as a totalitarian leader, whipping up his
base and dividing the nation.
Let's start with how we got here.