RATS LEAVING SHIP

Trump’s Creeping Corruption

When Donald Trump ran for President he promised us he would “drain the swamp,” which was a terrific marketing slogan. Part of the 10-square miles that make up Washington, DC was built on swampland so the language worked. What Donald didn’t comprehend was that once the water was gone he would have lots of angry alligators ready to take him down.

Surveying how Washington works, you find out that one cannot just come in and push all the institutions, customs and traditions aside. I’ve never thought of Donald Trump as anybody but a third-rate entertainer who is addicted to the roar of the crowd, the smell of the grease paint (or orange makeup). He doesn’t take anything seriously until he doesn’t get what he wants. Then he uses the claws of lawyers and influencers and pouts like a little spoiled brat.

As the clock ticks, we learn more and more about Donald Trump and his associates. Today (7-21-2017) it was disclosed that Exxon Mobil violated sanctions by doing business with Russia. The company, which at the time had Rex Tillerson as its CEO, was fined $2 million for this infraction. Immediately, Exxon Mobil announced that they would sue Steven Mnuchin and the Treasury Department, which Mnuchin heads. How can this be happening? During Tillerson’s confirmation hearing he was asked about this. So much for extreme vetting. Under any other administration, the now Secretary of State would be asked to step down during this lawsuit. How can he testify against the very government that employs him?

Ties with Russia seem to be woven into Trump’s words, actions and deeds. We have stopped sending arms to the rebels in Syria, which is what Putin wants us to do.

If the United States returns those two seize properties that were allegedly used for Russian intelligence, we will see that Trump truly is Putin’s puppet.  We were warned this would happen.

If Trump deletes the Magnitsky Act, which puts sanctions on Russia for Human Rights violations, that is just one more give-away to Putin by Trump.

The lack of transparency about Russia seems more like creeping corruption than good diplomacy. The first thing I would ask Trump is this.  What are we getting out of it, Mr. Big-Shot-Dealmaker?

When Trump rambled on in his New York Times interview (7-20-2017), he seemed to threaten the Special Counsel that his companies, his family’s and his own private finances were off-limits. The accused doesn’t get to the block the investigator’s vision while seeking the truth.

Now we learn that Robert Mueller has sent a letter to the White House saying they must preserve all the documents, text messages, voice mails and correspondence pertaining to the 2016 meeting with Don, Jr., et. al. and Russians. The plot thickens.

And if Friday wasn’t hot enough outside, inside the administration just got hotter. Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned. He told President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci to the position of Communications Director. Will we see more rats leaving the ship?

Whether true or not, it has been leaked, probably by Trump himself, that his team of lawyers are discussing how Presidential pardons work. Aren’t they getting the cart in front of the horse here? You don’t talk about how to get out of jail before you are caught doing the crime.

As our great Orange Leader disparages his Attorney General in the interview with the Times and seems to fail to understand the old yarn about not hanging out your dirty laundry.  He is circling his wagons with more loyalists. Trump being loyal to the people around him is one royal LIE.

The theme has been heard before from the Donald. If a legal mind or someone in the judiciary makes a decision against our 14-year-old leader, he wars against judges with his words. He is not fit to be President and something must be done.

The creeping corruption is slowing working its way to the very man who could end it all, just by telling the truth. Those who stay by his side will be dragged into this mess. Time to be a patriot and get away from this madman. Absolute corruption, corrupts absolutely.

 


HEROES & VILLIANS

The Undisclosed Trump

Robert Mueller has a lot of work to do. The press is drilling to find their “deep throat” and the drip, drip, drip of facts surrounding the presidency only lead to more questions. We know that there is, indeed, a connection between the campaign and Russia, but we still don’t have the complete story.

What Congress must do is pass a law that says anyone running for President and every President in office, must disclose all their financial entanglements. We have never had a leader with this much money and as high an international business profile as Donald Trump. One could ask, can anyone with that many on-going enterprises be outside of the window of conflict of interest? We might be able to know if the tradition of releasing tax returns should become codified by a law.

Lawyers can argue that the President is above the normal conflicts rules and laws because we wouldn’t want his every judgement to end up in the court. That would be extremely distracting, but we have to hold the man in the White House to ethical standards. If not, then we need to rewrite the laws to make him or her more transparent than private companies or sole proprietors. The president’s position is not a limited liability corporation, he’s the leader of the country and the people deserve to his debtors and cash flow.

Donald Trump has pulled another con by saying that his sons will run his businesses, without a firm trust or sell off. He brought his daughter, who still has her own company, into the White House along with his son-in-law.  Why? Was it so he could control them or protect them? Under this unique arrangement both Ivanka and Jared should release their complete income tax returns and financial entanglements as well.

If I really trusted Trump I wouldn’t be asking for this kind of information to be made public. The President of the United States has said some things on twitter, in public and in his proclamations and executive orders that beg the question, why did he say that? Why can’t our great Orange Leader simply release of all the material and prove that he was born in America, ah, I mean, that he has no connection to Russia.

Mr. President says that the “Russia thing with Trump is a hoax” and “This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history.” Really? Why would this be “FAKE NEWS” when his own son put it on the front page by releasing his emails? We have no idea how many emails Don Jr. and the Trump campaign have deleted, but I am sure someone has them.

The Donald cannot get out front of this story because he keeps throwing more wood on the fire. If he wants a story to go away he should stop talking about it. Maybe Trump has a blood clot in his brain.  That could explain his misuse of the bully pulpit. The simple truth is he’s not getting anything done

We should be able to see the President’s medical records for the safety of this country. For someone so important, we have a right to know if he is hiding any deep and dark medical secrets that could affect the way he governs. It’s only fair that the American understand as much as they can about the person holding their trust. And of course, if he has some creeping disorder or disease, like Ronald Reagan endured, then we the people should have a legal path to replace him. We know the amazing military record of a real American hero, John McCain; let this President release his medical records so we can see what kept him out of military service.

Donald Trump never talks about his mother. This bothers me greatly. I have never respected a person who seems to have no connection to the lady that brought him to the dance. I wonder what that means? He needs to disclose the things that gave him this distorted view of his wealth, fame and ego. He likes to keep too many things secret, which makes him “unpredictable.” Do we really want a fickle leader? If he made a capricious move with some of the bad guys in the world, he could get us into a war.

Donald Trump worships money. He has proven he will lie, cheat and steal to get more of it. He will sue his way out of any situation that damages his weak self-esteem. He will attack people, even if they are innocent, with all the fury of a madman. He is just what many say he is, unhinged. But most people agree on one point, he is not forthcoming.  He thinks that secrets have value, and maybe so, but there is a cost to pay for keeping them.

TRUTH; the American people deserve honesty, openness and truth from its President. The art of the lie might be making some people laugh, but for most citizens in the country his lack of candor is slowing eroding trust, even in his base. People are starting to admit that this President lies. Perhaps they feel okay with their guns and Bibles right now, but in the end, they will be screwed just like the sub-contractors of a Trump building. Those who voted for Trump will have to come to the realization soon, that Donald J. Trump is not Making America Great.

 

 

 

 


OBAMACARE vs. TRUMPCARE

Trump Alone Can Fix It, Except Healthcare

Well, here we are again. The Democrats gave the country the gift of healthcare and like an addict, we do not want the Republicans to take it away. After 7-years of complaining about Obamacare, the elephants in the room forgot to actually pen an alternative bill. No one was working on a rewrite of the plan?

But the blame this time sits in the lap of the 45th President of the United States. Donald Trump has brought nothing to the debate and his actions are embarrassingly superficial and valueless. His language about how the plan will be “beautiful” and “really great” are terms he could have used for one of his beauty pageant contestants. His lack of understanding of healthcare was exposed when he admitted that healthcare was “complicated.”

If all those great and “really smart” people that Trump brought into his cabinet and administration were really smart and great, they would have revised the 906-page Affordable Healthcare Act and made it a better law. But no, they were so busy signing executive orders they took their collective eyes off the ball.

As we watch this drama and dysfunctional relationship between Congress and the White House play out, we learn how little influence Donald Trump has on the process. The Congress must stand behind their work while getting an earful from their constituents when they hold town meetings. Some say that people are being bused in from out of their districts to do these protests, but we are talking about a national bill, right? Why would it matter where the people come from if they are against a healthcare act that will affect all Americans?

This whole episode has vividly exposed the great divide between Republicans. We hear little about those snarly Tea Party people, but they are still around and they are against anything the government might do that has any hint of helping people. We are also seeing the imaginary line between “normal” GOP members and the neo-conservatives. The reason I use the “neo” prefix is because they aren’t old line conservatives like Ronald Reagan, who never walked away from a tax increase that could fix a problem. These new conservatives, like Rand Paul, seem to have some deep-seated reason to not like a good idea. Might Rand Paul be a plant in the Senate for doctors?

Trump should be listening to the CBO scores because the organizations and lobbyists that are paid to protect groups like kids and retired people use the data to send emails to millions of people.

Scare headlines like: Pregnancy to cost 425% more under Donald Trump’s health plan compared to Obamacare, are being splashed on the front pages of newspapers all over the world. Why? Because most of those countries have a single-payer system and they find Trump’s battle with healthcare to be rather humorous. See, they have already solved that problem.

The Donald has once again showed his lack of understanding about how government works and how Congress moves like a turtle. If he was a bit wiser he would have gone right into rebuilding US infrastructure, moving forward with something that would have helped commerce in our country. Most products move on rail, road or runway and if they are in disrepair the economy suffers. Healthcare, in its present state, keeps people at work and that helps the country. Why kill it?

How can the President of the United States sit by and let this happen? It’s as if he is powerless and has no ability to fix what is there now. He really doesn’t care. Just listen to him: “Let Obamacare fail. It’ll be a lot easier, and I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.” Once again, it’s blame the other guy and let the people suffer. The atrophy of this “leader” is demoralizing.

This morning (7-18-17), USA Today ran a story asking the question, Will Trump exercise? “He’s 71, holds down an incredibly stressful job, and is overweight. He doesn’t exercise. His eating habits are less than ideal. And to top it off, he doesn’t get enough sleep.” The good news for Trump is that he doesn’t smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. But after rolling back all the nutritional standards on school lunches, he’s guilty of being part of the problem on healthcare in more ways than one.

The anxiety and stress that Donald is feeling with his new job is the same as the stress he has created for undocumented people and those with pre-existing conditions. Clearly, Donald J. Trump is bad for the health of America. Wait until we discover more lead in the drinking water somewhere in America. In short, Trump hasn’t fixed healthcare for America, he’s made it worse.

 


PROOFLESS PRESIDENT

Poor Donald the Victim

Missouri has a great nickname, The Show Me State.  They say that people from Missouri have a devotion to simple common sense. In 1899, Representative Willard D. Vandiver said, “Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I’m from Missouri.”

When Donald Trump and his father, Fred, were accused of violating the Fair Housing Act in New York in the early 1970s, the Human Rights Commission claimed that Trump rental agents had used a code on applications to note if the applicant was African-American or Hispanic so they could prevent them from renting a Trump property. The company was sued by the DOJ in 1973. The case was settled out of court and Trump claimed he did nothing wrong. He had no proof of the Feds’ accusation nor did he have proof of innocence.

He then created the Trump Foundation which, according to public records, has raised $9.3 million from outside sources. Trump hasn’t put any money into the Foundation since 2008, but that is not the problem. The organization never registered the charity with the state of New York. Vince and Linda McMahon, the wrestling people, gave the Foundation a bunch of money, and now Linda runs the Small Business Administration, a political appointment. Was that a long-term pay to play scenario?

It has been alleged that Trump diverted taxable incomes (personal and business) into the Foundation by urging people who owed him money to pay it back directly into the foundation. Without tax returns from Donald J. Trump, we cannot disprove that the Foundation was laundering money. Again, no proof of innocence.

According to the very well-written book, The Case for Impeachment by Allan J. Lichtman, Donald Trump and his organization broke laws by trying to put a casino in Cuba when there was a total embargo on that country. They spent $68,000 in Cuba to explore investment opportunities. The embargo disallowed money to be spent in Cuba. Was Trump changing the rules on travel to Cuba, really just a way to hurt the Marriott corporation’s current efforts to build hotels there?  Again, no proof of innocence.

Lichtman also points out that “Trump was fined $200,000 by New Jersey regulators for removing African-American and female employees from the crap tables at the request of a high roller.” Again, no proof of innocence.

We all know about Trump University, which turned out to be a scam to defraud hopeful students out of their hard-earned money for nothing of real value or opportunities in real estate. Trump claimed no wrong doing, but settled out of court. Again, no proof of innocence.

Trump building projects have exploited undocumented workers. Look no further than the Polish undocumented laborers who were employed on the demolition project for the buildings removed to construct Trump Tower. According to Time magazine, “The men were putting in 12-hour shifts with inadequate safety equipment at subpar wages that their contractor paid sporadically, if at all. A lawyer for many of the Poles demanded that the workers be paid or else he would serve Trump with a lien on the property. One Polish worker even went to Trump’s office to ask him for money in person, according to sworn testimony and a deposition filed under oath in a court case.” Again no proof of innocence.

For years Donald J. Trump claimed that President Barack Obama was not born in America and his crusade of delegitimizing the 44th President. Trump claimed he hired investigators who went to Hawaii and then had the audacity to call victory when Obama finally released a copy of his birth certificate. Trump never apologized for his unproven farce, but his statement on the issue had no empathy or comprehension of the damage his charges caused. He simply said, “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.” Again, no proof of innocence.

And that brings us to his biggest cover-up of all. His public denials that no one in his administration met with any Russians during his campaign or transition to the presidency. He lied, or if you want to give him the benefit of the doubt, he had no idea what his comrades were doing while he wasn’t in the room. Really? I thought he was on top of everything.

He keeps tweeting that this “Russia-Trump story” is a “hoax” and he uses language like, “With all of its phony unnamed sources & highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting, #Fake News is DISTORTING DEMOCRACY in our country!” (7-16-2017)

When reading the Don Jr. emails, I keep asking myself, did they make this up? It’s so revealing and stupid that it really does feel like “FAKE NEWS.” But it’s not and it proves that Donald Trump is not the victim here. If Jared Kushner didn’t tell candidate Trump about that meeting, he should be fired. Again, no proof of innocence.

There is not much “frothy eloquence” from those in power right now, but they need to step up and show us something. They must prove they had nothing to do with the possible desecration of our election process. Hey, Trump, the longer you wait to explain what really happened the more your lies collide with each other in the ether of history. So far, I have seen no proof of his innocence.

 


RUSSIA! RUSSIA! RUSSIA!

Shameful Abuse of Stupid

The idiom, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” is what first came to mind when I read the emails that were sent to Donald Trump, Jr. He believed they were sent by a Russian government lawyer who was willing to give him dirt on the Clinton campaign. What was a weekend of misdirects from Don Jr. finally turned out to be his release of the emails the New York Times was citing on the affair.  By the way, his release came only minutes before the Times divulged the emails.  Coincidence?

Another fact that whooshed through my brain was the old P.T. Barnum line, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” This is true in business and, I guess the Circus, but in politics and governance that is only a semi-fact. Trump has always fed fact fragments and partial truths to the press, believing deep down inside that they are stupid enough to print it. Worse, the Donald believes that citizens are gullible and unaware, and, therefore, will believe anything he says.

This news of a meeting in the Trump Tower between Don Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, was documented in an email that the New York Times craftily obtained. This revelation was clearly bad news for the Trump White House, because their defense has always been that they never met with Russians. Well, the cat is now out of the bag and a conspiracy has been revealed. Even with Don Jr. protecting his Dad, this stinks like a dead skunk on a country road.

Maybe Donald Trump and his extended DNA believe that only children and fools tell the truth, but when you become President of the United States, you are expected to be honest. The oath that the President elect takes, says:  I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Now, I might be accused of being presumptuous here, but I do believe the framers were assuming that the President would always tell the truth. Right?

The defense of little Don-Don is quite fantastic. Lawyers are paid to spin, deny and deliver a positive verdict for their clients, but wait, why do they all have different attorneys? Oh my, does this mean, they are agreeing that something is there? Are they afraid of individually being in legal jeopardy? Clearly, the release of Don Jr’s. own emails can be called “transparent” by his father, but in fact, the son of a POTUS released the missives to get out in front of the Times story. This is much like James Comey releasing his notes to the New York Times before the President claimed something different was said at their meetings.

The legal team’s disguise was constructed on the basis that Don Jr didn’t know who he was meeting with and the event was so insignificant that he never told his father who was then the candidate for President. In fact, Jared Kushner also “forgot” to include the meeting in his security clearance form. It has been said that he amended that form which started the press inquiries into what was discussed at that meeting.

The President’s plausible deniability will be based on Kushner, Manafort and Don Jr never telling him about the meeting, but there is a way to find that out? They all need to be put under oath.

The meeting with the Russian operative was thought to have some meat, thus the CC to Manafort and Kushner. All three men attended the meeting.  At least Donald Jr and Jared Kushner can make sure they have their story straight, but Paul Manafort, a person who received millions of dollars from a Kremlin backed candidate in the Ukraine, surely has his own lawyer and perhaps a different recollection of the meeting.

The government could very easily “turn” Manafort and Michael Flynn against the President himself if they squeeze the vice tightly and make it clear there could be jail time. If I am reading this right: Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. That is the Logan Act and surely, Manafort and Flynn have discussed sanctions with the “agent thereof” the Russian government. Would protecting the President be worth three years in jail?

Now I know that the Trump Teams will defend this “little” twenty-minute meeting with nothing of value was exchanged.  Even though the content of the emails clearly shows Don Jr’s delight at the prospect of getting what they are terming “opposition research” from this Russian lawyer, time will tell if that was only one meeting, or were there a series of meetings or communications? Indeed, the “so-called” research ended up at the doorsteps of Wikileaks and was published, so we do know something happened in the late summer timeline that Don Jr desired in writing.

Today (7-12-2017) Donald Trump tweeted, “My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!” The President was referring to an appearance on the Fox News channel where he admitted to Sean Hannity, a known Trump operative, “In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently.” Good boy, good boy, sit, roll over, good little Donnie. Here’s a little treat, now go back to your office and shut up. So much for “Witch Hunt” Mr. President, you cannot escape from the truth with flashy jargon.

One of the most irritating things that our President and all his men and women do is deflecting to the past.  It’s like a child getting caught and then, responding straight from an over-grown amygdala, “Bobby did it first Mommy.” Even Donald Trump, the father, cannot stop this repetitive invective for things: “Why aren’t the same standards placed on the Democrats? Look what Hillary Clinton may have gotten away with. Disgraceful!”

The only change of tone was the use of the phrase “may have gotten away with,” which psychologists say is one typically used when threatened with the truth.  It’s an attempt to throw doubt on someone else. In this case, however, Trump seems to be less cavalier and a bit more legalistic with his words saying “may have.”

The word Russia is being said more and more each week as the forces claw their way closer to the truth. We may have to step on some “stupid” to get the facts, but we will get there. And as we get closer, more and more Republicans will realize that their party has been hijacked and they will surely start to get into position to take it back. Republicans are tired of hearing the chant of Russia, Russia, Russia and the American people will settle for a President Pence to get this behind us.


SERIOUS TRUMP – GOOFY DONALD

Can We Have the Serious One?

Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post was on Meet The Press this week (7-9-2017) using the term “Teleprompter Trump.” She was describing the person who reads someone else’s words and gets better grades for being presidential than the man known as “Twitter Trump.” And may I suggest a third person inside the human Cheeto?  How about the “Impromptu Trump?” This persona appears when Trump goes on camera to make a point that everyone else in his administration has been making for the previous 24-hours, except he says something completely different than they did!

With our multi-personality President, we must divert the different streams of verbiage into the appropriate buckets. When POTUS spoke last week in Poland, we heard from Teleprompter Trump. In that speech we heard this, “We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran, and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and the defense of civilization itself.”

We live in a sound-bite/headline word. Out of the speech in Warsaw came the line about whether the west has the will to survive, while the warning to Russia was buried in the rest of the lecture. The big speech was a few days before Trump and Tillerson met with Putin and Kislyak. And this meeting, produced more controversy.

Kislyak and Putin claimed in their press briefings at the G20 that, indeed, Trump brought up cyber meddling in our election.  They also said that Trump had accepted Putin’s denial. Trump did not have a press briefing, therefore the story got out in front of him.

The administration thought Trump’s Tweet would soften the astonishment of those who thought he left the Russians off the hook.  Trump wrote, “Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded.”

Donald Trump has said that it’s easy to be a critic. I, for one, don’t have to try very hard to muster up some serious criticism about things that Twitter Trump types. But really, are we going to get together with the fox and talk about security at the hen house? Will dinner be served?

As Air Force One made its way back to Washington, the story broke in the New York Times that Donald, Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer who offered “information” on Hillary Clinton. This meeting occurred right after the Donald won the Republican nomination.

As the weekend progressed, more and more “adjustments” were made to the story.  Finally, we received the official word that, yes, the meeting took place, but the nominee, Donald Trump, was not at the meeting and knew nothing about it. Kushner and Manafort were working for the campaign at that time.

While the super hawks of the Senate, Lyndsey Graham and John McCain, were on the Sunday talk shows making fun of the suggestion of a cyber security unit with Russia, it wasn’t long before the great Orange leader was taking back his own words on Twitter: “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t-but a ceasefire can, & did!” (7-9-2017)

The big question is what would Teleprompter Trump say about this? We hardly ever get to see Impromptu Trump, so we probably won’t get to confront that personality on this issue. But, for sure, if Donald J. Trump was in front of cameras and asked about this he would start to defend himself and then make a quick turn to talk about the ceasefire that is taking place in an area of the least problematic in Syria. But then, Twitter Trump drives the narrative and thus action plan of this White House.

May I point out that what was once known as Multiple Personality Disorder is now called Dissociative Identity Disorder? It’s a condition under which a person’s identity is fragmented into two or more distinct personality states. It’s said that people with this rare condition were often victims of severe abuse. Maybe the metal in the silver-spoon in Donald’s mouth leeched into his tiny brain when he was young. Dissociative Identity Disorder is D.I.D., as in “Did I say that?”

Those who lie and exaggerate are often forced to retract, restate and reform the things they said. With Trump’s tribe of surrogates on-call to course correct Our President’s words, one could honestly ask whether Donald Trump has any talent for clarity. In fact, he continuously and clearly steps on his own proclamations. How can this be good for America?

Trump can restate his mantra of “No Connection, No Collusion” all he wants, but the intent of getting information on Clinton was the reason for the meeting with the Russian lawyer. Don, Jr. threw himself under the bus to protect the old man and now we have an admission of the desire for dirt, thus the first step toward collusion.

Donald Trump should think about negotiating a cease-fire with the free press by giving them some real facts. Slowly, the conflict between Teleprompter Trump, Twitter Trump and Impromptu Trump will continue to plague this administration’s ability to create a positive presidential presence for the majority of Americans; you know, the Popular Vote.

Editor’s Note: We borrowed the “Cheeto” moniker from SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR singer Corey Taylor from his book: “America 51: A Probe Into The Realities That Are Hiding Inside ‘The Greatest Country In The World'”


FAKE NEWS vs. REAL JOURNALISM

Trump’s Attempt to Muddy the Waters

Back in February, 2017 Trump tweeted: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” Then he deleted that tweet and posted something similar, but took ABC off his enemies list. Trump, obviously not a student of history, missed this fact: Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin used the term “enemy of the nation/people” to refer to those who disagreed with the Bolshevik government. Did you write that one, Steve Bannon?

Trump went on a rant July 1, 2017, after receiving heavy criticism from both sides of the political spectrum due to his attacks on MSNBC talk show hosts, “The FAKE & FRAUDULENT NEWS MEDIA is working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media – but remember, I won the 2016 election with interviews, speeches and social media. I had to beat #FakeNews, and did. We will continue to WIN!”

And on that same day, Mr. President continued, “My use of social media is not Presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!”  Along with his jingoistic rhetoric, Donald Trump, like so many other power-hungry leaders around the world, wants to control the media. He attempts to distort whatever truth is left and brands his lies as official doctrine. And the term Modern Day rings like “Modern Day Prophet” for those following along in church.

For those of us who were schooled in the trade of journalism, we take the responsibility of our craft seriously. The Fourth Estate is usually reserved for the printed press and credible broadcast news teams. The Fifth Estate, the newer term, stands for groupings of outlier viewpoints in contemporary society, such as bloggers and journalists publishing in non-mainstream media outlets and social media. The right of center to Alt-Right people use the term “mainstream media” as a pejorative term, whereas, Breitbart represents what was called “Yellow Journalism” in the 1950s.

The “fourth estate” comes from the European concept of the three estates of the realm: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. The Press was supposed to hold the three other estates to a standard with information gathering, storytelling based on truth and distribution to everyone equally. Yes, the King could read that he had no pants.

We know that Donald Trump has tapped into a raw exposed nerve in the disadvantaged and struggling middle class. With much of America moving away from reading the newspaper and getting their news from the internet, the line of what is credible or legit has become extremely blurred.

The price of entry into the newspaper business in most cities is so great that even large companies attempting to bring a new paper to market have an uphill, if not impossible, climb. With the internet providing more outlets than needles on a porcupine’s back there are plenty of free opinions and micro-targeted sites that can sanction what consumers think.

This tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories even has its own term: Confirmation Bias. It is so important to be right in today’s society that many people spend hours of every day watching a news channel that corroborates their baseline beliefs. Fox News leans to the right, while MSNBC leans to the left. That is their branding positions and, depending on who is in power, they will have better ratings.

CNN, the new Trump target, has decided like many channels and programs that there are millions of people who don’t like Trump, so that is a built-in audience. The sad part of all of this is that I haven’t mentioned journalistic integrity or award-winning writing. Those are less important in this instant gratification world. Trump produces ratings and it doesn’t seem to make a difference if you are building him up or beating him down.

THE LATE SHOW with STEPHEN COLBERT on CBS-TV has increased almost 30% according to TV News Desk (7-6-2017) and you can chart his increases with his direct aim at Trump. The Donald, whether he likes it or not, is easy to parody because of what he says and how his administration attempts to govern. Writing jokes and monologues about Trump has a built-in benefit, because if you manage to get under his thin skin he mentions you. Better yet, if he attacks you, your ratings go up even more.

I may be in the minority but I think the “news” that the President maligns is less news than fake. To our great Orange Leader, when confronted with anything that makes fun of him, or puts him down, or (can I say this?) bullies him, he launches into an overly emotional rebuttal.

The people doing the real investigative journalism are at the newspapers. Think about it, every major break or leak has come from the newspapers. The Michael Flynn lies came from the newspapers. The Comey meetings with Trump came from the newspapers. And the ethics conflicts of Kushner and the Trumps all come from the print medium.

The TV journalists at CNN are hampered by the overload of trying fit real journalism into a small box of endless talking heads and opinionated “experts” who, at times, do more harm than good. Stop and think about it, do we need Rick Santorum giving his opinion on what the news means?  He’s a failed neo-conservative right-winged politician spewing nothing by RNC talking points. What about Sean Hannity? Well he couldn’t write a lead to save his life.  Then, of course, we know what happened to poor old Brian Williams. These are the people most Americans would say represent the “news” business.? Really?

The one investigative reporter I want to hear from isn’t a journalist at all. His name is Robert Mueller. I would like to hear his story, in fact, now that would be BREAKING NEWS!


PLAYING THE TRUMP CARD

The Jester at the World Leader Table

If you play a trump card during a game of Spades, you take the whole trick, or in non-card terms, you get to pick up every card on the table. That makes you the winner. The trump card sounds like the strong member of the deck, but the name has slightly different roots. From old English(1500s), trump meant to “deceive, cheat” and then from Middle English trumpen. The old French tromper also meant “to deceive.”

We should remind our readers that Trump’s last name is not the original version of his name. His family were Drumpf’s in Germany and they changed their name to Trump. Another deception in play here, but either way, the word Trump doesn’t always have positive connotations.

The leaders of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union will gather at the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. The meetings will begin on Friday, July 7, 2017.

In an interview in the German weekly, Die Zeit, Angela Merkel said, “While we are looking at the possibilities of cooperation to benefit everyone, globalization is seen by the American administration more as a process that is not about a win-win situation but about winners and losers.”  It was clear that she was taking the first shot across the bow of the USS Donald Trump.

This is a great lesson in the destructive power of over-statement. In the hours and hours of titillating campaign tirades and over-modulated microphones, the Donald made it very clear that it was going to be “America First!” In his bombast, he belittled the whole notion of globalization.

His raspy bleating convinced many voters that the rest of the world was ripping America off and they were the reason for the torment of our middle class. Guiltless, in Trump’s accusations, were the rich Wall Street oligarchy, who Trump relates to more than the common man.

The President’s conundrum was produced by his own reckless mouth. He talks about how it would be good to befriend Russia so that they can help us beat ISIS, without any apparent regard that Russia is an ally of Iran and will only go so far in the Middle East quagmire. Can Donald Trump not comprehend that Putin likes Assad and wants him to stay on top of Syria? You know, the guy who gassed the kids.

Trump probably forgot that Russia (Then, the USSR) spent nine years of direct involvement and occupation in Afghanistan. They may fly some sorties and drop some bombs, but they certainly aren’t going to bomb Damascus. They don’t even believe that chemical weapons have been used in Syria. What Trump wants from them, they have no intention giving him. It’s what THEY WANT that should make us nervous.

As far as China goes, why would they want to thwart Kim Jong Un now? Trump tweeted this morning (7-5-2017): “Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!” This tweet comes right before the dealer is ready to split the deck, so Trump farts at the table.

Why would the G20 nations think that Trump can be trusted after not even restating the commitment to Article 5 at the NATO meetings? Yes, he finally said he would, but what a dud not uniting the NATO group when they were all face-to-face.

When the bully is being attacked by another bigger bully from another playground, why does the home bully think that he can rally the tormented to help him thump the invader? Merkel wants to make sure the EU is protected and that means keeping Russia in its own borders and off line. Russia wants only to disrupt America. China wants to make sure Trump thinks he’s in charge. And the other kids on the playground just want to make sure that a global unity helps them maintain stability in their own homes.

What Donald Trump thought he needed to say to get elected has isolated him from those who really listen and want America to be successful. Trump sacrificed his credibility with all the players around the table with lies, exaggerations and ludicrous statements about how things work.

When everyone else shows their strong face cards, Trump will be left with the cards he pilfered from the deck before the other people arrived. Trump has continually played the isolation card and sadly, he’s been showing the Joker more than any other card at the world table. Someone needs to tell our great “Orange Leader” that the Joker has no value at this table.

 


FAKE NEWS OR FAKE PRESIDENT?

Trump’s War on the Constitution

Occasionally I see, hear or read a journalist saying that Donald Trump has some grand strategy. And when pressed, the author says that this latest move was pure genius, or the tweet did exactly what he designed it to do, as if the Donald is some intelligent media designer.

There’s not much difference between Trump and a 9-year-old boy grapping the microphone at Walmart and yelling stupid kid-things into the store’s PA system. The kid’s grand plan is to get attention, same as the “leader” of the free world.

In the President’s latest tweet (7-2-2017), he proclaimed, “The FAKE & FRAUDULENT NEWS MEDIA is working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media – but remember, I won the 2016 election with interviews, speeches and social media. I had to beat #FakeNews, and did. We will continue to WIN! My use of social media is not Presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!”

When I read this my mind heard a spoiled 9-year-old brat saying, “Mommy made me president. I’m the president. I get to be president and do whatever I want!”

This over complaining and endless whining about news coverage in the media isn’t new to presidents. Trump has decided, however, that anyone who disagrees with him, critiques him or attempts to cover his achievements or lack of them, is the enemy. One could change the term “Fake News” to “People who hate me” and it would fit perfectly in all contexts.

Steve Bannon, the administration’s dark, Spiro Agnew evil twin, has said openly that the media is the “opposition party.”  He, along with Trump surrogates, Miller, Conway and that overtly obnoxious, fake intellectual Sebastian Gorka, have crafted a White House position that is obstinate and cantankerous. Any thinking America hearing them speak can clearly see through the pretentious, defensive droning of their propaganda.

Richard M. Nixon did the same thing when he was president, even using the same terms about the media.  However, Trump is no Nixon. The 37th President had to resign in disgrace. This president, when the time comes, will have to be removed from his current residence by the Secret Service, Capitol Hill Police or maybe the Army.

Even Trump’s slogan is not new. It is a total rip-off of Ronald Reagan’s campaign motto, demonstrating that Trump is an even better actor than Ronald Reagan. An actor takes the stage and plays a part while not being the real thing. We now have a fake President and everything he does is directed to making his character likeable, rather than forging policy and decisions that are right and good for the country. #FakePresident

Trump bellyaches that his achievements are not covered in the “fake news” but he broadcasts his tirades on the very same “fake” mainstream media he continually slams. His complaints about not being covered are total lies. The media covers every speech, every signing, every tweet. His “key promises,” such as reforming healthcare, getting a better, fairer, tax code and creating jobs, have become fake, rally fodder rather than reality.

Months ago, President Trump and VP Mike Pence rode their white horses into the Carrier furnace plant in Indianapolis to announce they had convinced the company to abandon a plan to move to Mexico.  They stated publicly that this would save hundreds of jobs.  Update: many employees will soon be losing their jobs at the plant.  CNBC reports (6-22-2017) that Carrier’s plant in Indianapolis is scheduled to lay off about 600 workers by the end of the year. The jobs are going to Mexico. Nice work, little boys.

Donald J. Trump will probably write that off as “FAKE NEWS,” but the road to success for this president has to go through the media. You cannot be a great president in a vacuum. You cannot guard so dearly the Second Amendment and spit in the face of those who employ the First Amendment to keep democracy strong. Without the First Amendment, we don’t need the Second Amendment.

Fake means fraudulent, and the usage of that term by our president in the context of media coverage is troublesome on many levels. When something is fraudulent it is obtained, done by, or has involved deception – especially criminal deception. The American public, the Congress and the courts must be on-guard with this president. There’s a very small step from complaining to outlawing and, in this case, the outlawing would be executed by an elected outlaw.

At this date, the Fake President may not like the Fake Media, but if all the media outlets stopped talking about Trump, he would probably melt into a damp pool of man tan and makeup.  Sad.


THE CYBER BULLY-IN-CHIEF

Trump: Unhappy in His Own Skin

Donald Trump has once again demonstrated his thin skin and relentless mean streak. In a morning tweet, the President of the United States decided to do a silly immature, cruel and misogynistic post deriding MSNBC morning host Mika Brzezinski.

The tweet read as follows:

“I heard poorly rated @Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

Now, I could have simply chalked it up to his M.O. and how Trump shows us his true colors through Twitter, but there is a problem here that is not going to go away. There is no respect for the office of the President of the United States with Trump and all his men and women.

Melania Trump, the first lady of this country, through a spokesperson said, “When her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder.” I know that English is not Melania’s first language and I hope we didn’t miss anything in translation, but I have to say, there goes that whole bullshit concept of her being the titular head of some anti-cyber bullying campaign. Now, zero credibility.

If that was not bad enough, the protectors of the drunk uncle president were out in full force today. Sarah Huckabee Sanders commented, “I don’t think that the president’s ever been someone who gets attack and doesn’t push back. There have been an outrageous number of personal attacks, not just to him, but to frankly everyone around him. This is a president who fights fire with fire. And certainly, will not be allowed to be bullied by a liberal media and the liberal elites within the media or Hollywood or anywhere else.”

I’m not sure that the president of a country with a 1st Amendment can allow or disallow what others say about him. We have now seen the real enemy of the state and they are, indeed, those who work for the state. We are all getting burned by Trump’s fire and disregard for human beings.

The people around our president are soulless. They lie and disregard common decency to show their love for this power-hungry tyrant, Donald J. Trump. How do they sleep at night?

Whether you like Joe Scarborough or Mika or not, you have to consider that the imagery battles between the free press and the oppressive regime of Trump are now, in fact, real. The media, be it liberal, conservative, or far right, has a duty to find facts, write stories, conduct broadcasts and inform the American people.

Some talk show hosts do live in glass houses, but this president doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Those who support his abuse of power will be tried not only in the court of public opinion, but perhaps even called to testify in real court about whether they were instructed to lie to the American people. If lying to the citizens is not an impeachable offense, then what is?