Our Future, 2017

July 14, 2017

From the 11 O’clock KTVU News (Fox)

In other news, last night, a group of 10 Bay Area CEOs sent an email to President Trump.  In their email, they asserted their dissatisfaction with the President on a variety of issues, most especially including immigration, the Wall, his visa decrees, his most recent insults to the Chinese, Mexico and our other trading partners, and Trump’s continued and deepening cuts to funding coming into the state.

July 18, 2017

From the San Francisco Chronicle

Early this morning, President Trump responded by tweet to what is now being call the CEO letter.  “CA. Funding. Gone.”  It is unclear exactly what his words mean, but given that his war of words has already given rise to a net drop in funding to California, proclamations against tech, entertainment, and construction, and that Congress has either been unwilling or unable to stand up to him, we are all watching to see how this will play out.

July 19, 2017

NY Times

This weekend, we seem to be witnessing what is turning into a showdown.  What was initially an email from 10 Bay Area CEOs has morphed into over 300 CEOs writing individual letters.  These letters are being published at http://www.notfakenews.com.  The tone of the letters has been firm, but reasoned.  Through the day on Saturday, President Trump tweeted repeatedly and increasingly confrontational comments, and late last night, issued a Presidential Order that all federal funding to California cease until the government of the state of California could prove that all money will be spent according to federal guidelines.  Further, he said that any sanctuary laws that violated or circumvented federal guidelines outlined in June were an immediate and presumptive bar from all federal money.

July 29, 2017

AP

Tax revenue numbers have just been published for 2016.  It appears that California again paid a disproportionate share of Federal taxes relative to their population.  Further, based on OMB numbers, it also appears that California pays $1.90 cents for every dollar of benefit they receive.

August 1, 2017

From the 11 o’clock news on KGO TV (San Francisco ABC affiliate)

Today, the Google art we’ve become so amused by and accustomed to seeing carried a much stronger message than usual.  In a 200-word message signed by Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt, the three clearly stated that they intend to find a way to withhold both Google’s and their personal taxes from the federal government.  They also were clear in stating that they wanted to pay taxes, but that their taxes would not go to a Trump government.

August 5, 2017

Tweet from @realdonaldtrump

If Google doesn’t pay taxes, I’ll kick them out.  The immigrant goes first.

August 9, 2017

SFGate.com

CEOs from over 7,500 companies in California have published letters on notfakenews.com as of this morning at 7am, and the number is growing.  The companies started out all in tech, but construction and entertainment companies quickly joined as well (both have been targets of Trump’s tweet tirades these past few months).  The letters now include broad representation, including almost all large companies in California, public and private.  Also, the most recent surge has come from smaller companies.  Two security companies who were involved early have protected the site, and are ensuring that only companies registered and truly residing in California can post.

August 10, 2017

From Reddit

FireEye and Palo Alto Networks are reporting that a honeypot on the notfakenews.com site was hacked into 2 hours ago.  The attackers evidently believed they were on the real site.  They first deleted letters, then they posted letters that provided information from compromised email accounts of some of the CEOs.  They have traced these attempts back to computers in the White House.  Their characterization of the attempt was “amateurish.”

August 18, 2017

From KABC, Los Angeles

As first reported on the web site Reddit, two Northern California security companies traced attacks on notfakenews.com back to a computer at the White House.  This has sparked outrage among tech workers in Silicon Valley.  Engineers disgusted by looting and violence that have existed in protests, seem to have instead decided go to directly to Trump.  Today, there have been reports that three of Trump’s hotels cannot accept payments, and that heating and air conditioning systems in many of the Trump properties were not working properly.  It is not clear yet whether these glitches arose from hacking or from active decisions by businesses to cut off services being provided to Trump’s hotels, but the glitches do seem to be coordinated.

August 20, 2017

From the BBC, London

Trump properties around the world evidently are seeing challenges from no electricity to no water, to computers that don’t work, to sick-outs by employees.  Gas companies are refusing to deliver fuel for backup generators, and Trump property managers are calling in outside security, as crowds are starting to gather at many hotels.

August 21, 2017

NY Times.com

Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided to run for Governor of California again.  Initial polls indicate that his brush-up with Trump earlier this year has given him a broad base of support, much deeper than he had when he was Governator.  Schwarzenegger has published his core beliefs, and these include working against Trump’s government-by-tweet.  He has also advocated the plan that has been circulating in corporate circles, to have corporations pay their federal taxes to a proxy–a super-corporation that takes on their tax liability, that can pay the federal government.  President Trump has yet to tweet his response.  It seems likely that he is still asleep.

August 27, 2017

LA Times

This morning, former Governor Schwarzenegger began canvassing for his candidacy.  In a move with possibly longer-range ramifications, he also announced his strong support of a ballot initiative that would establish a “Council” to accept federal taxes, both on behalf of corporations and individual citizens.  The plan would not require Californians to pay their taxes to the Council, but would accept taxes and tax documents on their behalf.  The Council would have a mandate (according to the paperwork filed with the ballot initiative) to only pay the taxes to the federal government if specific criteria are met.  It is also presumed that the Council would be more secure that the IRS given the highly visible breaches that have occurred in the past year.  The first three points the initiative requires to pay the federal government are:

  1. No taxation without representation.
  2. No penalties can be levied against California, and no federal funds withheld.
  3. Bans on Muslim immigration (by any name) and federal government discrimination must stop.
  4. A clear path to citizenship must be established for those who are already in the US, and reasonable immigration process must be established for those working in the US from Mexico.

The details include having the CEOs in California (as verified by notfakenews) nominate 200 board members from among them (likely executives at the companies), and the governor will choose 9 of those members to lead.  The 200 board members can overrule a decision by the 9 members by simple majority, but the 9 members will be tasked with leading the Council.  The members are elected for 5 years (although the board will stagger finishes initially, to help ensure stability).  This will be coupled with a $500,000 fee on the largest 100 companies who wish to be participate in California.  This money can only be used to hire staff to administer the Council.  Trump lawyers have already said they will pre-emptively file briefs to have this initiative stricken from the ballot.

September 2, 2017

LA Times

In early polling, it appears that the Council initiative is gaining strong support in the Bay Area, among Latinos, among women, among minorities, and in urban areas.  It is polling weakly the Sacramento metro area, the Central Valley, and in some suburban areas (especially in Orange County, where the initiative’s poll numbers are in single digits).  Currently the LA Times poll (+/- 3%) is showing the initiative in positive territory, with 67% in favor.

September 6, 2017

Al Jazeera, 9:45am (Saudi Arabia)

Americans and Europeans were evacuated from a Saudi Hotel owned by US President Donald Trump today.  It was reported that there was a bomb threat at 5:05am from an undisclosed group.  The power went out at 6:07am, and a fire of unknown origin broke out at 7:18am in one of the opulent restaurants.  Everyone was evacuated with no injuries, few with more than the clothes on their backs, many in their sleeping clothes.  The fire is still burning, although it appears to be under control.  Rooms adjacent to the restaurants have been destroyed, but it appears that structural damage has been limited.  It does not appear that guests will be allowed back into the hotel today.

September 7, 2017

Wired Magazine

The White House has acknowledged that the email accounts of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump were compromised.  No group has taken credit.  Over the past week, Trump has been publishing increasingly threatening tweets apparently directed at Silicon Valley executives.  In his last tweet threat, a new message appeared:  “The NSA will hunt you down. Silicon Valley beware.”

September 11, 2017

NY Times, Posting on Symantec web site main page

Today, the CEO of Symantec announced on the main page of their web site that they had proof that the NSA had broken into their systems.  Symantec stated clearly that the breach had been discovered as it was happening through security monitoring, and the vulnerability had been eliminated.  Symantec was certain that no user data was lost in this attack.

September 16, 2017

BBC 6pm News

Tonight, Apple and Microsoft both announced that there had been attempts to hack them by the NSA.  Both companies believe that they have foiled attacks so far.  The companies, in statements made together today, agreed to release all external logs to the Internet in near real time to allow others to understand how the attacks are being crafted and where they are coming from.  While it may take a week or longer to fully analyze the logs, initial reactions among security experts are that the attacks indeed did come from the NSA, and that they were quite sophisticated.  Trump responded by tweet with two words:  “Fake news.”

October 1, 2017

Translated from the Frankfurter Algemein

Today, it appears that in retaliation for the NSA attacks, American hackers have unleashed a somewhat coordinated attack on the NSA.  The attacks were loosely coordinated based on protocols and communication channels that had been previously used by Anonymous.  However, these actions appear to be far more mainstream than Anonymous was.  The attacks are not only using hackers to disrupt business, but they are also employing social channels like Facebook and Twitter.

Locations of NSA facilities (some of which were classified) were communicated via Facebook and Snapchat.  Foot and car traffic in and out of these facilities has been effectively and completely stopped, meaning no workers can enter or leave the NSA today anywhere in the US, except by helicopter.  The protests were non-violent.  At what was until earlier today a mostly unknown Utah facility, over 25,000 people protested, some coming from quite far away.  They are promising to stay for weeks, and have even started setting up shifts.  Local police are monitoring the situations, but thus far have refused to intercede.

Hackers are also claiming that the NSA is “offline.”  This could not be confirmed.

On a related topic, President Trump activated 16 national guard units, and has tweeted that he plans to “arrest all the troublemakers.  Law And Order will rain [sic].”  Many in Congress, even on the Republican side of the aisle, are openly questioning Trump’s decisions.

October 3, 2017

NY Times

It was confirmed today that most of the hotels and properties affiliated with President Trump have come under attack from local businesses and larger companies who are refusing to do business with any entity associated with the President.  At this time, it appears that the resorts and hotels are still able to procure services and products, but interviews have confirmed that the going prices for services being provided to Trump properties are two to three times higher than they are for other similar hotels in those areas.

To date, we have no information on the effect this is having on the properties or the organization’s financial health.  Many people have said that they are staying away until they are sure that they know what is going on, but it is unclear how this has affected occupancy rates.

October 9, 2017

Detroit Free Press

With the help of four Silicon Valley security and technology firms, the state’s Attorney General has confirmed that there was voter fraud in the election of Donald Trump.  The Attorney General has called for a recount, based on the finding of voter fraud.  The recount is being challenged by the Trump administration, and ultimately will likely end up at the Supreme Court.

October 11, 2017

San Francisco Chronicle

More details have come to light regarding the voter fraud in Michigan.  One of the security groups working with the State of Michigan was not a security company at all, but rather Visa.  It appears that over four hundred thousand votes were cast fraudulently based on a statistical analysis of voting patterns.  While this doesn’t mean that there will be a swing of four hundred thousand votes, it does appear extremely unlikely that President Trump won Michigan.  While statistical analysis has been used for years to understand credit card fraud, this is the first time it has been applied to voting.  Visa and the data consulting firms have already pledged to work with two other states as well.

In other news, WikiLeaks says that a new batch of documents will be revealed tomorrow.  The San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times will both be publishing them at midnight online.

October 12, 2017

KCBS–24 Hour News, San Francisco

A few minutes ago, the Chronicle and the New York Times published a new batch of documents from WikiLeaks.  Much to our surprise, they were not about the US government, but rather the Russian government.  It appears that, as was the case with Snowden, a technology contractor had access to documents he should not have had. He put them on a USB key, and left Russia (his whereabouts are not known at this time).   This data appears to show three things: that Russian hackers engineered the attacks on the electoral processes in Michigan and three other states; that Putin ordered and paid for the attacks; and that Putin did so as a favor to President Trump, with President Trump’s full knowledge.  The veracity of these documents still has yet to be confirmed, but on their face, they do not look good for the President.

October 16, 2017

Tweet from @realdonaldtrump

Google doesn’t pay taxes.  We’re taking steps to kick them out of the USA.  Make America Great Again!

October 16, 2017

Wall St. Journal

It was confirmed that Google has placed corporate and personal taxes into a trust fund that is administered by Kamala Harris, the junior Senator from California.  It is not clear if any action can be taken by Congress to force Harris to patriate those funds to the IRS.  Senator McCain has voiced support for Harris.  Trump is said to be contemplating action against Senator Harris, California, and Google.

October 19, 2017

Wall St. Journal

Executives at Apple, Symantec, Salesforce, and Cisco have stated that they have joined Google in placing their taxes with Senator Harris.  Additionally, Apple has pledged $1M immediately to assist Ms. Harris in administering the fund.  Symantec and Salesforce quickly agreed to do the same.  Cisco could not be reached for comment.

October 23, 2017

NY Times

President Trump today suspended all H1B, L, and B visas from 17 countries, and ordered all holders of those visas from those countries to leave the US within 72 hours.  It appears that Trump is losing his mandate, as Harris called for a vote on a bill suspending the president’s ability to issue executive orders if they violate state’s rights to conduct commerce within their states.  The bill passed in the Senate by 2 votes with more than a dozen Republicans either voting in favor or abstaining.  The house is expected to vote on its version of the bill later today.  Many at the State Department and Department of Homeland Security have pledged to not comply with the order.  The Trump administration has already filed a brief with the Supreme Court to overturn the bill should it become law.

October 24, 2017

NY Times

Senator Harris’s bill was ratified by the House just after lunchtime today.  Within hours, the Supreme Court refused to grant certiorari to President Trump.  In a rare statement from the bench on the reasons for not hearing the case, they said that protecting states’ rights, as represented by the Senate bill, is a legitimate use of power afforded to Congress by the Constitution. The President can still veto the bill, but in the past 24 hours, it appears that the tide has started turning in Congress, and it is not clear whether the veto would stand.  Overriding a veto requires a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress.

October 27, 2017

Washington Post

It has been nearly four weeks since the blockades started at the NSA.  The crowds have not dissipated.  In fact, services are popping up–from food trucks to laundry services.  This is happening not just here in Washington, but around the country at NSA facilities.  The government is continuing to pay NSA employees to stay home from work.

In other news, President Trump’s financial empire seems to be crumbling.  Two of his hotels have been temporarily shut down, and three more have laid off employees.  To the casual observer, it appears that few guests are arriving or leaving most of the hotels.

In still other related news, work began today on the Wall in New Mexico, despite allegations that the contractor has close ties to the Trump administration.

October 29, 2017

Wired

President Trump, it appears, has solved the H1B problem, at least for security specialists.  Tech companies here the in the Bay Area, in Boston, in Virginia, and in New York are noting huge hiring increases, with key technical positions that have stood vacant finally being filled.  All of these hires appear to be Americans, a very large proportion of them from the NSA.  A Google spokesperson told reporters that they had hired 65 cryptologists and over 300 senior technical resources from the NSA just in the last 2 weeks.  Other technical and security companies are keeping more to themselves, but anecdotal information suggests that many companies are hiring former NSA specialists.   It appears that the spy agency is bleeding talent.

October 30, 2017

CNN

In an odd turn of events, Vice President Pence has resigned.  No reasons were given for his resignation, and he has not been available for comment.  We will have guests on this evening to discuss the state of the country without a vice president and likely replacements for him.

November 7, 2017

Sacramento Bee (website)

With 98% of precincts reporting, what is being called the “Council Initiative” was approved by voters overwhelmingly–by an 81 to 19 margin.  In the coming weeks, the details of the law will need to be worked out, but as this is not a government agency, it seems highly likely that it can be in place before January 1st.

In other election news, despite an early lead in the polls, Arnold Schwarzenegger was not elected as Governor in the special election.  Governor Brown will continue to the 2018 election.

November 12, 2017

LA Times

Three major companies have decided to stop doing business with all people and entities associated with President Trump.  Apple has stated that they will no longer sell computers, phones, or service to anyone associated with the President.  Two weeks ago, Salesforce gave Trump 30 days to stop using their services entirely.  And in the biggest hit, Google has begun to cut off access to all things Google for all Trump domains, and has suspended accounts for all people associated with Trump.  Google has stated that they will reinstate personal Google accounts for people who reasonably demonstrate that they have severed ties with the President.

November 16, 2017

San Jose Mercury News

In the past four weeks, there has been a surge in new LLCs being formed in California.  Filings are up by over 400 this month.  Looking at names and websites, and by making some calls, it is easy to see the pattern.  These companies are being formed by former NSA people, most of whom are moving to California.  In what appear to be correlated stories, home prices have reached new highs in many Bay Area cities, and there has been a spike in new funding coming from the venture community this month.

November 19, 2017

Washington Post

As expected, President Trump’s nomination of his son for Vice President was voted down today by a vote of 93 to 3.

November 22, 2017

LA Times

Yesterday, a block of five California companies made a joint announcement, showing their continued support for President Trump.  Yesterday this wasn’t news.  Today, it is.  Yesterday, these five companies collectively employed over 2,400 people.  Today, if reports from workers at these companies are correct, they now employ less than 900.  In one day, over 1,500 people quit their jobs at these companies.  Tweets, LinkedIn posts, and Facebook posts have shown overwhelming support for the departing workers, with hundreds of impromptu job offers flooding out to those who have quit.

December 7, 2017

The Today Show, NBC

Later today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the Council created in California violates the federal government’s right to levy and collect taxes, and conversely, whether a state (or a body loosely tied to a state) has the right to withhold taxes if there is taxation without representation, or if the federal government disrupts their intra-state commerce.  The court granted review on this three weeks ago, and arguments will be made today.  We expect to get some indications of which way the justices are leaning based on the questions they ask, but a decision will probably take about three to six weeks.

December 12, 2017

CNN

In an effort to appease lawmakers, President Trump has nominated Paul Ryan to be Vice President.  Given the Republican domination, his nomination is not expected to encounter any opposition.

December 20, 2017

Columbus Dispatch

Ten months to the day, we’re calling it.  The promise to “Make America Great Again” was a lie.  The economy here is worse than it has been since 2008.  Unemployment has risen by 4.5%, with African-American unemployment up by 22%.  Home foreclosures are up sharply, and two manufacturers that Trump pressured have been sold to the Chinese and the manufacturing moved to China.  All while the economies in New York and California have been steadily rising.  In the interest of fairly reporting both sides of the story, we sought out Trump supporters here in Columbus, but we could not find any credible supporters–the cries of fake news and other slogans were the only things being echoed.  The question now being debated in barbershops is whether he should be prosecuted after he is impeached, and why Congress is moving so slowly.

December 23, 2017

CNN

As expected, Paul Ryan has been confirmed as Vice President.

January 4, 2018

AP

A Trump family spokesman has confirmed that 4 of Trump’s hotels have been sold.  In other news, workers at five other Trump properties are on strike.  Their complaint:  they have not been paid.

January 6, 2018

London Times

Today, President Trump’s taxes were revealed.  It appears that the IRS was compromised by hackers who were only looking for one thing:  President Trump’s tax returns.  They appear in full in the second section today.  While the numbers are not surprising (we knew he was wealthy), where he has received money from is truly staggering–he’s had his hands in every pot.

January 18, 2018

Washington Post

Impeachment hearings began today for President Trump.  The allegation is that President Trump made decisions relative to his foreign policy that benefitted him personally.  The President thus far has refused to appear before Congress in any capacity, and has refused to comply with legal paperwork associated with the proceedings.

January 19, 2018

Sacramento Bee

The “Council” is keeping to its promise of complete transparency.  Today it revealed that it holds $72 billion.  While 60% of this money has come from large corporations, 39% percent has come from many Californians who make quarterly tax payments (mostly small business owners).  One of those who’d made payments to the Council rather than the IRS (who wished to remain anonymous) said, “I don’t trust the Democrats, but I really don’t trust Trump.”  The Council estimates that it will collect approximately 40% of all federal taxes due in California by April 15.

January 20, 2018

New York Times

In a vote that was a surprise to no one, the House today voted to impeach President Trump.  The charges now move to the Senate where 2/3 of the Senate must vote to convict him of the charges.  The impeachment charges come one year to the day after his inauguration.

January 24, 2018

New York Times

The Senate voted 99 to 0 to convict President Trump on the impeachment charges levied by the House. Former Vice President Paul Ryan assumed the Presidency effective at 2:02pm today.

January 31, 2018

Wall St. Journal

Today, the Trump brand declared bankruptcy.  The bankruptcy proceedings are expected to be some of the most complex ever examined by the court, given the former President’s ties to foreign government, classified information, and the general complexity of his empire.

February 3, 2018

Washington Post

President Ryan acknowledged the legality of the Council in California today.  He has also agreed to work with both Senator Kamala Harris and the Council.  President Ryan has now reversed more than half of the executive orders issued during the Trump presidency, and announced a cooperative effort to “do immigration reform right” working on both sides of the aisle.  He said he wishes to improve and strengthen NAFTA and other treaties, bring more technology professionals into the US, and subsidize training in the rust belt by an entry tax on those wishing to come to the US.  While details are on his plan are still thin, Diane Feinstein (D, CA) has already endorsed it, which likely indicates that it is going to satisfy a lot of Democrats.

After meeting with President Ryan today, Elon Musk and Ryan announced plans to open a new lithium battery manufacturing facility in Michigan; the first of many around the US.  These facilities, however, are not just industrial plants–they will require educated workforces, and Ryan has pledged to provide training for those workers through the entry tax he has proposed.  Musk has also gained assurances from the Ryan administration of significant federal tax subsidies for consumers buying electric cars.

In other news, President Ryan nominated Arnold Schwarzenegger to be his Vice President.  Schwarzenegger is not expected to encounter any significant resistance given his popularity among Republicans.

March 10, 2018

Washington Post

Today Donald Trump was held in contempt, and ordered detained until he produced the records requested by the bankruptcy court.  He has thus far refused to cooperate with the court.  Before being led from court in handcuffs, he tweeted, “That so-called judge knows nothing.  I’m sure his family is Muslim.”

 

Although there are real characters in this story, none of the actions attributed to any of them are real.  This is a work of pure fiction created on Feb 9, 2017.  If any of the events turn out to actually happen, things are worse than we think.

 

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