The Trump administration has downgraded the diplomatic status of the EU mission in Washington, without informing the mission or Brussels, officials confirmed …
… they are quoted hundreds of times a day on Twitter.
For the record, I like a motivational quote as much as then next gal. The targeted quote used to introduce an article or chapter can be informational and inspirational, but thousands of quotes a day on Twitter are just Internet fodder.
Successful social media aficionados have to post and tweet many times a day even if they have nothing of consequence to say. Right? No. You can reach your desired audience with interesting and beneficial information while maintaining your decorum. Got to use a quote here – "Less is more" Robert Browning
Etiquette in the virtual space has the same rules as in the physical space. You would never spam someone at a dinner party and if you did you wouldn't be invited again. Before jumping into your sales pitch, you'd take time to get to know the person and establish rapport. Before sending endless correspondence, you'd ask permission and if declined you would happily respect the request.
Online does not mean anonymous. In fact, your local online community is a just that – a community. Although it's larger, it still has the same expectation of etiquette, manners and acceptable behavior as any community. You are expected to be polite in person and online.
Facebook and other online social sites give us the opportunity to have more friends than ever before. That's because we can more easily keep up with the activities that make us friends. It is estimated that before social media, we had an average of 150 friends. With social media, that average is up around 700. But we still expect kindness, politeness and courtesy from our friends. I like Aliza Sherman's 10 Golden Rules of Social Media as a guide to using the online communities. Regardless of the media, we are people communicating with people.
As the social media and marketing experts (that's all of us) decide what is an effective online strategy and as our expectations of social media as a marketing tool are redefined, we should remember what our mothers taught us –
" If you can't say something that's not spam, don't say anything"
"There is no substitute for good manners"
"Silence is golden"
and "Don't forget the Golden Rule."
Until next time … shhhhh
When I first picked up Donald Trump's book titled, "Trump: Think Like a Billionaire," I thought the book would be an insightful and easy read. The book was very easy to read, but not too insightful. Trump has divided this book into 100 or so chapters of about two or three pages each which describe a different tip or aspect of a billionaire's life.
Trump gives tips on every aspect of life, from finding an attorney, to which golf clubs to play with, to romance, to keeping up your appearances in the business world. He basically tells you how to live life like he does. Trump gives you his tips and tricks in five different chapters. Chapter one deals with real estate. Some of the topics in this chapter are how to get an appraisal and inspection on your property, how to deal with a broker and attorney, how to landscape, how to pick an interest rate and down payment, and how to find a good office.
Chapter two deals with the topic of money management. Trump gives you tips on topics such as how to divide up your portfolio, how to pinch pennies, how to save and pay for college, how to decide how much risk you should consider, and how to plan for retirement. This chapter is shorter and less informative than the real estate chapter. Donald Trump is the undisputed master of real estate buying and developing so it is expected that his real estate chapter should be the best of this book.
Chapter three is titled, "The Business of Life." This chapter is mostly about how to present your self and make the most out of life. Some of the topics Trump covers are how to make good friends, how to love your job, how to behave in a meeting, how to dress and present yourself at work, and how to balance work and pleasure. This section gives some interesting advice from a perspective many people do not know about. For example, how many of us really know what its like to dress like a billionaire and balance life at a billion dollar business with a personal life consisting of a model wife and super mansion? This chapter more than the others, gives a glimpse into the personal life and tastes of a billionaire.
Chapter four is titled, "Slices of the Billionaire's Life." This chapter is basically a hodge-podge of advice and organizations Trump is involved in. He speaks on topics such as the Statue of Liberty, Columbia University's land problems, beauty pageants, the value of audacity, the Mar-a-Lago beach club, and most importantly to Trump, hosting Saturday Night Live. The Saturday Night Live portion of the book is interesting as he takes you through what a host must endure during rehearsal, being asked to do the show, and the endless punishment the actors on Saturday Night Live delivered to Trump. This is one of the lighter and more entertaining sections of the book. Following this, Trump dedicates about thirty to forty pages to describing a week in his life. He tells the reader how he gets up early, stays at work for twelve hours, takes conference calls and attends meetings all day, and goes home to do more business and see his wife.
The final chapter is all about a former season of The Apprentice. Trump is very excited and praises his show repeatedly, and takes the reader through the logistics of his reality show. He even gives a brief background of all the upcoming contestants and why they qualified for his show and how they have all succeeded on their own outside of the show. Donald Trump will take you through a week in his life during filming of the apprentice and how even a billionaire with overwhelming confidence can really become nervous before filming.
While reading this book the reader will realize that Donald Trump's number one fan is Donald Trump. He has all the confidence in the world and it shows easily in his writing. Not only does he praise his business decisions, but he praises his Mar-a-Lago club repeatedly. He has a large amount of power and capability as a billionaire, and it is easy to see in this book that he truly enjoys the power. Personally, I would not recommend this book. The advice Trump provides is not unique, and when given in only two or three pages at a time, you do not get a true sense of how to take advantage of his advice. He only skims the surface of all of his topics, where all of the topics could really use at least a chapter to explain. If you are looking for a glimpse into a powerful billionaire's life, then this book is for you. If you are looking for business advice and how to be a more successful person, you would be better off reading something else.
In a September 2006 Trump University article, Richard Parker writes about "The Ten Critical Commandments for Entrepreneurial Success" ( http://donaldtrump.trumpuniversity.com/default.asp?item=194560 ), but doesn't elaborate much on where he's coming from. He makes some important points, and several of the items need to be explained and expanded upon, so we'll address those rather than rehashing the entire list.
In Commandment # 1, Richard says "Pay for the past, consider the present, but buy for the future."
What he's talking about is not paying for the future performance of the business. No one, not even Trump, can 100% accurate predict that. Paying a reasonable and fair price for the performance of the business in prior years is your goal – and in fact, the only thing that makes good sense unless there is some hidden gold that you've already detected (see # 7). That aside, what's going on today could change in a moment. You sure don't want to pay for what the current owner thinks might happen in the future. Presumably, you are better at strategic planning and execution, management and marketing BUT that is YOU. You aren't paying for you, you're paying for the assets. One note about that: the customer list, while generally ignored as worthless by most banks, is the real gold.
In Commandment # 2, Richard says "Buy a good business that you can make great."
In other words, buy potential, that so-called diamond in the rough. Buy something that your skills and the skills of your team can make substantially better. You dont want to spend 100% of your time in survival mode, because that's all you'll ever do. It's worth it to spend a more to get a business that you can spend time expanding and fine tuning, rather than just trying to keep it alive.
In Commandment # 4, Richard says "Fall in love with the profit, not the product."
Richard takes a lot of heat for this in the comments area on that page, but I believe thats because some didnt fully understand what he meant. Of course, he might have intentionally been vague to provoke some reactions from those who just didnt get his point. Hard to say. What he really is trying to get across is that your desire to buy a business has to be based on the numbers. You just cant allow yourself to be blinded into buying a bad business because of your love for the products and services it offers. You must be objective and matter-of-fact about your choices. You can ALWAYS use your love for that favorite product or service from that unprofitable business in some other way.
In Commandment # 6, Richard says "Look for a company that offers 'autopilot' and 'cruise control.' "
What he means here is that the company has systems in place to accomplish tasks. If you are required to repeatedly perform tasks that can be automated, or can be systemized, you'll get tied down doing that work. If the systems arent in place, but can be built in short order, that's ideal. When I say "systemized", think about McDonald's (not the food). Most of them are run day to day largely by a bunch of young teenagers on their first job. How can a billion dollar, global business do that ??
Simple. Systems are in place for everything. Manuals and procedures and automation define and / or control every process. Constant measurement. In other words, autopilot.
In Commandment # 7, Richard says "Find the hidden gold."
A few years back, I owned a software company. One of the frustrations that we faced early on was a struggle to convince our clients that they needed to backup their databases on a regular basis. After all, hard drives fail, power goes off, and computers die or get stolen. So, we created a small, easy to use backup program for our users. It worked great and helped both ourselves and our clients. It helped us because it saved us weeks of time over a year worth of dead hard drives, trying to recover critical data for our clients. Instead, we now had a tool that made the job easy. Obviously the clients benefited from that. So now we have clients with properly backed up databases (most of them anyhow) and we have occasional need to look at their databases. This was before gmail and other email services allowed for big emails, so we once again faced a challenge. We took our little backup program and gave it the ability to upload the backup to our web site so we could get a client's data. One thing led to another and we decided to offer the ability for our clients to backup their data on our web site, so they could sleep easier at night, knowing they had an off-site backup. This "afterthought" of a service, that started mostly as a convenience for something that challenged us … ended up being a upper 4 figure monthly increase to our bottom line. That's hidden gold. EVERY business has hidden gold, and most have more than one mine. Look carefully for them when examining a business for possible purchase, you may find that you choose differently based on the opportunities you discover.
In Commandment # 9, Richard says "Identify what is not perfect yet."
Everything is an opportunity. Look back at # 7. Having clients who didnt realize the value of backing up turns into substantial revenue. That business still isn't perfect. None are. Every flaw might be an opportunity for a product or service that your clients simply cant do without. Systemize processes. Make the business more efficient, and your employees not only get better jobs, but the net result is a staff that generates more revenue.
Copyright 2006 – Mark Riffey. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the active links, do not edit the article in any way, give author name credit where credit is due and follow all of the EzineArticles terms of service for Publishers.
As the 2016 presidential race heats up, the media machines are in full swing, churning out a steady feed of the usual political drama and controversy that accompanies election campaigns. Among the field of incumbents however, one stands out. He eclipses the other candidates with bombastic swagger and an unorthodox, unpolitician-like mien. He is Donald J. Trump. Real Estate mogul, reality star, outspoken gemini and now, potentially – president. Exactly what that would mean for America is not so clear but as the prospect of a Trump presidency grows, it is only fitting that we conduct an astrological background check and investigate the cosmic forces behind the Trump persona.
A GEMINI WITH SUBVERSIVENESS
Born June 14, Trump shares his birthday with the renown revolutionary, Che Guevara. He is a 3rd decan Gemini with the Aquarius / Uranus subinfluence. Uranus spices up the Gemini personality with a dose of eccentricity and maverick bravado. This may also contribute to the subversive outsider status with which he has alienated the rest of the republican base. Trump's personality is big and grandiose and so it should come as no surprise that he is a Leo rising. He expresses himself in a proud, casual but confident manner. Like any good businessman, he is glib and persuasive, and fittingly runs his campaign like a salesman trying to close a deal. This is definitely the most ambitious contract he has ever bid for and politicians are after all, salespeople (especially during campaign mode). Both rely on strong communication skills to win people over. It's a psychological game for popular and his histrionic personality allows him to do this intuitively.
A CYNOSURE PERSONALITY
His image-conscious narcissism, extroverted people-person orientation and unorthodox candor have made him a headline-grabbing cynosure. Whether you take him seriously or not, you cannot deny the flavor he adds to an otherwise bland political menu. The strength of Trump's campaign lies mostly in his appeal to American's burgeoning xenophobia and racially insensitive Republican logic. He has been promoting a competitive, jingoistic American nationalism that has even garnered comparisons to Hitler by his critics. Yet, for all the controversy he creates, he maintains a charm and likeable chutzpah that is admirable. His television and highly publicized real estate career has no doubt given him substantial advantages over other candidates and he certainly possesses the greatest name recognition, besides maybe Hilary. He is a populist who possesses a communication style that is amusing in it's aplomb and political incorrectness. Though he is not an eloquent or pithy orator, he has the characteristically-Gemini gift for gab and he knows how to use it.
A POLITICAL OUTLIER
The fact that he is self-funded and therefore unfettered by the special interest constraints that often bind other politicians, and the fact that he is not a politician, but instead comes from the corporate world and has openly divulged and validated the existence of political bribery , all give Trump a credibility and whistleblower cachet that career politicians could only dream of. This has been a refreshing aspect of the Trump campaign because it appeals to the disillusionment felt by Americans towards what has been one of the biggest issues in modern politics. If Trump can find a more diplomatic way to address illegal immigration and a more humane approach to fighting terrorism without alienating the Muslim community, the prospect of a Trump presidency would not seem so bad. Fortunately, Gemini is a mutable sign, which means his positions are malleable and open to change.
Here is a list of Trump's aspects pulled from his natal chart (courtesy of astrotheme.com).
1. Midheaven in Taurus
Conservative person, hard-working, and slow but very strong. Amasses possessions slowly but steadily.
2. Uranus in Gemini
Indicates originality, independence and cerebral energy bursting suddenly.
3. True North Node Gemini, in House X
Superficial, anxious, and adventurous character. Should the natal chart concur, one can achieve fame and wealth in politics thanks to the support of powerful and devoted friends.
4. Sun in Gemini
Outgoing nature and inquisitive mind made for communications. A will to process information endows a sociable character, a pleasant and often courteous demeanor.
5. Mercury in Cancer
Intellect and sensitivity are indivisible. Behaviors are influenced by ambiances and by emotions aroused by contact with other people.
6. Saturn in Cancer
Saturn is the great purifier. He represents our limitations but also our truth.
7. Venus in Cancer
Can really feel passion only within a subtle, refined and quite mysterious relationship. In love, imagination has unlimited powers.
8. Pluto in Leo
Pluto in Leo may give an authoritarian and, even, despotic nature. But charisma and radiance are intensified.
9. Mars in Leo
With Mars in Leo, there is a passionate nature and affectivity always on the alert with sentimental life on top of the list. Action taken according to personal rules and relies on sincerity above all.
10. Neptune in Libra
In an astrological chart, it indicates dilution, vagueness, understanding one's environment through emotions and the absence of clear and determined limits and structures.
11. Jupiter in Libra
Jupiter in Libra endows sociability, popularity and charm! Are very appreciated because of open-mindedness and generosity naturally prompt you to compromise in all things: what is important is not to have the last word, but to reach an agreement with an entourage and to establish nice relationships with them.
12. Moon in Sagittarius
The word stagnation does not belong to his vocabulary: effortlessly adopts foreign customs and habits that are different from initial behaviors.
If this event is affecting you emotionally, the first thing to ask yourself is: Is it Donald Trump who creates my reality? Or am I the creator of my reality? The answer is obvious: You create your own reality and would do so even if Hillary Clinton had won. When you let these events affect you in a negative way, you are, to some degree, giving power to strangers who do not really have control of your life unless you give it to them.
You probably begin to argue that this man's influence on the world is so great that it is inevitable that his triumph will affect you. We are speaking in a neutral way. Depending on who you, the reader of this article, are, you may support him or not. This really is not the point, and it does not matter in essence. The point is that you affirm that the influence of this man is inescapable in the creation of your reality.
I must tell you emphatically and make it clear to you conscientiously that it is the Law of Attraction that is in charge of the reality that you create. Aligning thought with the Universe to attract what you desire to your life is far more powerful than the influence that these famous people can have.
You bring into your life that on which you focus. It's the story that you tell about your life that really matters. If you focus on telling the story of your life as you want it to be and you feel good while you tell it-no matter what stories others tell-your story is what will manifest in your life. You can make it happen if you focus on it and feel positive, even though these other people are famous personalities.
According to experts, more than 99 percent of the population expects someone else to change their reality. They need to have a leader to trust, for example, or a national project to improve their country's lifestyle.
I invite you to be part of that minority that have empowered ourselves. We trust that we are the creators of our reality, no matter what world leaders are saying.
It does not matter if these leaders think they have control or not. Your freedom of thought is the most important thing, and the thoughts on which you stay focused give you total control of your life. That is what you will manifest in the near future.
Seeing it this way, the only thing that affects you now that Donald Trump is president is that you have a point of contrast to better clarify the story that you want to tell and to manifest in your life. It would have been the same if Hillary Clinton had won: You would have a point of contrast to the same end.
The world has gone positive again with our fearless leader's visit to Davos last week. His message was all positive, asking the world to invest in America, move their businesses here and only pay 15% taxes. The estimate now for money coming back to America is a robust 6.5 trillion dollars. At 15% the money going into the treasury would amount to 975 billion buckaroos just from the move.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
This would not of course include the jobs it would create and the taxes the new hires would pay. With the unemployment rate of 4.1% at a sixteen year low the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that blacks in the workforce is at 6.8% the lowest ever in forty five years it has reported these stats. We need to have more in the work force to keep my social security checks rolling in believe me.
Earlier this month tucked inside the new immigration bill there is a part called "Securing America's Future Act of 2018." This will amount to a new National ID card that everyone will need to work and vote that will rid us of illegal immigrants voting and companies hiring cheap labor.
Just this January World Net Daily reported and I quote:
"Abortion: President Trump on Jan. 19 became the first sitting president to address the March for Life, speaking in person to hundreds of marchers at the White House and via live telecast to the tens of thousands of marchers on the National Mall.
Tax reform: Trump praised Apple's announcement that it will repatriate overseas cash holdings and pour $ 350 billion into the US economy over the next five years, saying his policies allowed the tech giant to bring massive amounts of money back to the United States, which is a huge win for American workers and the USA!
Jobs: Americans' optimism about finding a quality job averaged 56 percent in 2017, the highest annual average in 17 years of gallup polling and a sharp increase from 42 percent in 2016.
Small businesses: Small-business confidence hit a record high in 2017, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Its Small Business Optimism Index was an average of 104.8 in 2017, the highest in the history of the survey. Juanita Duggan, the president and CEO of the NFIB, cited the optimism on policy changes from Washington under President Trump as the reason for the increase in confidence.
Stocks: The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded above 25,000 points for the first time Jan. 4, just five weeks after closing above 24,000 points for the first time. "
The jobs created by small business is going to rock the economy because lower taxes means business expansion, new employees, more entrepreneurs with money to invest in small businesses and above all new wealth for the masses with money in everyone's pocket as spendable income will increase massively .
Word from DC is the Donald wants to increase the federal minimum wage from the current $ 7.25 an hour to $ 15.00, but DACA and immigration reform will come first.
The Social Security Administration will give the 61 million retirees a 2% cost of living adjustment as even more is promised for next year. The average retiree will be getting an extra $ 27 per paycheck from the fed that will mean even more money for everyone to spend.
There has been EPA reform with 700 people leaving the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump wants to shrink it to Reagan-administration levels.
UN Budget Cut
Trump cut the United Nations budget by $ 285 million meaning they will have to go on an austere budget. This came after the UN mocked Trump's move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.
The biggest Tax reform in US history with $ 3.2 trillion in tax cuts and overall simplification of the tax code so that you can put it on a post card happened in December 2017.
The Donald's leadership of US Armed Forces forced ISIS to collapse in Syria and in Iraq.
There were 67 deregulatory reforms that ridded small business of intrusive regulations.
Well we could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. Trump has taken up the banner of prolife so eventually murdering babies in Planned Parenthood will be over and the agency abolished. The year old new administration is certainly a breath of fresh air. The President has a lot more on his plate for the next three years like ridding us of the swamp things, correcting the Veteran's Administration mismanagement, building up our military, cleaning up HUD where Dr. Carson said there was 500 hundred billion missing! He has a lot to accomplish, we just need to get out of his way and turn him loose!
There is an old phrase: "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." This may apply to this particular case. In a recent interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, Donald Trump went to task on global warming, clean coal and the economic competitiveness of clean energy. While Mr. Trump is an extremely savvy business man, I think he missed the point on clean energy and green jobs.
In the interview it was pointed out that ConocoPhillips, BP and Caterpillar are pulling out of a climate partnership. This is touted as proof of the issues with climate change. I am not here to debate climate change, as this takes away from the point that is about to be made. Conoco and BP spend millions if not billions of dollars on clean energy research. Recently Conoco awarded a prize for an Eco-Auger, which could revolutionize electricity from water. BP has a large section devoted to creating and making solar panels. While these companies may be worried about the climate gate backlash, they are far from declaring that clean energy is not a worthwhile cause.
It was also pointed out that India and China are not in the same realm of environmentally cleanliness as the United States in that they don't have the same pollution laws. This point is very silly; Thank God we have laws that keep our air clean! The United States has a long history of conservation and environmental protection. This is meant to not only keep the rivers clean, it helps keep our lungs clean as well. It is no surprise that our life expectancy is far beyond China. While the cleaning of coal may be slightly more expensive, the cost outweighs the environmental danger.
Clean energy production and energy independence is a national security and business security concern. The United States imports millions of foreign oil to keep the economy rolling. One needs to look no further, when oil prices skyrocketed, our economy was crippled. Secondly as the price of electricity in this country continues to rise, businesses are being choked off. Google is in the process of trying to produce its own energy to run all of their networks. There is much to be learned from what they are trying accomplish.
A third and final point to discuss is the constant bashing of clean jobs. I am unsure of where this criticism is logical. Green jobs cover an enormous spectrum of fields and businesses. People working in a solar panel production plant have green jobs. People working on Clorox Green research have green jobs. Broad generalizations about a large swath of industries are not helpful nor productive, let alone true. Neither side of the political aisle should engage in such things. While there may be some legitimacy to the value and detraction of some green companies and positions, it does not have an overall effect on a larger green industry. There are a lot of moving parts, so people need keep an open dialogue to find a way to creating long lasting clean energy.
Donald Trump has filed for bankruptcy four times. None of those times were personal. Recently, Trump stated via Twitter and other sources that corporate bankruptcy is a good business strategy. Is this really true? Here's a closer look at Trump's Chapter 11 past, and why it worked.
Atlantic City: a Good Lesson in Corporate Bankruptcy Back in its heyday, Atlantic City was the place to be. It was glitz and glam and a money-making machine (kind of like Las Vegas is today). Eventually Atlantic City fell due to time and other factors. In the early 1990s, Donald Trump wanted to reclaim the Atlantic City that once was by building a number of casinos and lavish hotels along the famed boardwalk.
Trump's first foray into reviving Atlantic City was a disaster. His 'Trump Taj Mahal' was financed largely by junk bonds (according Forbes.com), and the failure of the property to bring in revenue caused him to sell his Trump Shuttle Airline and Trump Princess Yacht. Since the investment that did not pay off cost him around $ 900 million in person – not corporate – debt, this was an excellent lesson for Trump.
Declaring corporate bankruptcy for the first time helped him secure his personal fortune while also eliminating the debt from Trump Taj Mahal. After going through that bankruptcy, Trump then went on to declare Chapter 11 three more times. How did he get away with it, and is it a good strategy for every business owner?
Corporate Bankruptcy As Business Strategy Trump was recently quoted as stating, "… basically I've used the laws of the country to my advantage and to other people's advantage." What he means by that is that Chapter 11 can shelter a company from complete destruction. Under the umbrella of corporate bankruptcy, a company that's struggling (as all four of Trump's Atlantic City ventures have) can restructure without the pressure of liquidating assets and making creditors unhappy.
It's a tactic that Trump has made popular largely because of his big persona and brand name, but it's not a strategy that he enjoys and owns alone. Numerous companies have gone through corporate bankruptcy for the same reason – because it's much better than losing money on a sinking ship. Allowing a company to restructure under the Chapter 11 clause will bring in more money than liquidating that company assets, and this is what most creditors want to see.
But can this strategy work for companies that are much smaller in size? Does declaring corporate bankruptcy work for a mom and pop shop? Here's where it gets sticky.
Applying Trump's Strategy to Your Business First, your business has to be registered as a corporation that is separate from your personal name and life (this should really be the first step to opening any business, long before you consider Chapter 11). Once that's done, you may be a good candidate for corporate bankruptcy if your business is not doing well and you want to restructure. Since a Chapter 11 filing is completely separate from personal bankruptcy, your personal assets will not usually be impacted by this decision.
However, there are a lot of different factors that come into play when deciding on Chapter 11. What worked for Trump many times might not work for your company without the right guidance. In some cases, Chapter 11 might not mean that a company owner has zero liability. In other cases, there are better alternatives to keeping a company afloat. On the other hand, Chapter 11 could be part of an early business plan, but there are various details included in that strategy that must be worked out with an attorney prior to any kind of filing.
Declaring Bankruptcy Steps What about for individuals? Bankruptcy for individuals can be viewed as a financial strategy. In many ways, bankruptcy is financial planning when you strip down the details – but, it's important to have a competent bankruptcy lawyer on your side in order to tie up all of those loose ends.
Trump's larger than life character is hard to ignore, and so are his various corporate bankruptcy filings. Every new business owner should have a bankruptcy attorney on speed-dial whenever they are making big financial decisions so that they thoroughly understand the financial implications to the business and themselves and their families.
"Drain the Swamp!" Wow, what an effective political slogan it was in 2016. It encapsulated public frustration with the boggy mess of lobbyists, money-grabbing congressmen, and regulation-making bureaucrats in Washington. Trump was just the one guy who would tear into those low-life hucksters like Mr. Clean.
As an image, swamps represent corruption and evil that must be cleaned up. Trump described Washington's swamp in terms of money's power to buy influence. Such a rich man of course would not be shackled to Wall Street and banks that had turned him down for loans. Essentially, Trump claimed to be a reformer immune to the murky diseases bred in swamps and capable of doing what no one else could do to the big money people.
That is what voters thought Trump meant when he referred to the swamp. What he really meant, as shown by cabinet appointments and personal example, was not at all what the public was led to believe.
Before comparing public expectations to what happened, we should realize that swamps are good things. Popular imagery, used so effectively by Trump, is not what our children are learning about environmental science. History books once praised the advance of civilization as swamp-draining was an impressive accomplishment in expanding human settlement. But swamps filter toxins and support wild life in ways that are extremely important. The Army Corps. of Engineers is now restoring swamps, not eliminating them, in the interest of environmental health.
Let's turn to Trump's idea of bad swamps. Before the election, there were reasons for skepticism about his independence from big money, especially when he refused to release his taxes and continued a bid to open a Trump hotel across the street from the White House. Right after the election we began to see that he intended to run the country and his personal businesses at the same time. The President, he seemed surprised to discover, is the only government official who can't have a conflict of interest. My what an announcement by a man who promised reform!
Then came his cabinet appointments. The choices were notable for wealth, connections to Wall Street, and lobbying interests. He also brought his family into the White House in ways never done before.
Trump's campaign in 2016 mirrored the themes of Warren Harding in 1920, promising a return to better times. His reputation rivaled the salacious activities of Harding as well – and Mike Pence looks and acts like Calvin Coolidge. He then imitated Harding by appointing a cabinet of the very rich people he promised to be free from. It should have been no surprise when it soon became apparent they were as corrupt as the scandalous choices of Harding.
Actions proved that the swamp Trump intended to drain was not the one voters thought he was talking about.
What did he attack? First, the intelligence community – all the agencies charged with defending national security through reliable information about our adversaries – were dismissed as they exposed Russian meddling in the election, the fruits of which Trump openly embraced and gleefully used. Next, he was warned by a Justice Department official (not a Trump appointee) that his choice for National Security Advisor was compromised by a foreign adversary. He refused to act until news leaked to the press. Realizing an investigation was under way, he tried to influence the FBI and fired the director when the investigation was not stopped. As congressional investigations led to a Special Counsel, Trump began an all-out assault on intelligence agencies, the FBI, and the Justice Department, in the process undermining a congressional committee, as he demanded loyalty to himself above all else.
On top of these actions, he failed to make appointments to important diplomatic roles and pushed Rex Tillerson to clean house at the State Department. Anyone who had been there under Obama and Hillary was tainted and not to be trusted.
The swamp that has been attacked is in fact the real swamp in Washington, the one performing the health-giving functions scientists know result from their activity. Beneath the level of political appointees in every federal agency are career officials who become specialists in their programs, serving whatever party controls congress and the presidency. Those officials have personal views that are not allowed to influence their actions. When they sometimes emerge into political roles, such as FBI Director, they conduct the job in a non-partisan way.
Career employees ensure competence, continuity, and national security to the American public as political winds blow one way and then another. To Trump this was an intolerable swamp. It had to be politicized. His people must be put in, no matter how incompetent, to ensure the main criteria of service – loyalty to Trump.
Unfortunately, this is not a new trend in the Republican party. They politicized selection of district and Supreme Court judges, claiming to limit judicial overreach but ensuring dominance of their political and social views. That strategy succeeded in 2000 as a majority of Republicans on the Supreme Court stopped the counting of votes and declared the Republican candidate winner. Then Mitch McConnell and a Republican Senate refused to honor Obama's appointment of a mainstream Supreme Court justice and campaigned in 2016 for a clearly Republican justice to be appointed.
Donald Trump carried Republican disrespect for nonpartisan competence to the extreme. Republicans have supported him because that is where they have been headed for a long time.
Now we need candidates, from whatever direction they may come, whose slogan is "Bring Back the Swamp." We need nonpartisan competence in federal agencies – and a less partisan Supreme Court – to filter out the toxins that destabilize our system of checks and balances when politics seeps in to undermine loyalty to the constitution.