DONALD J AND JARED

Trump’s Circle of Trust

There is something not quite right about the relationship that President Donald Trump has with his family and his work. He cannot seem to separate the two. While the mingling of business and family might be common in some royal families, in America it’s viewed with some skepticism.

There are those who didn’t like John Kennedy appointing his brother Robert to Attorney General. And no one talks about Harry Truman giving his wife Bess a job in the White House. She rose to Chairman of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, a position that garnered a paycheck, but according to biographers, not a position in which she actively participated.

Now, we have the President’s son-in-law positioned in a role of intense involvement and power: Senior Advisory to the President. There was stretch where Donald Trump was assigning young Jared a new job every other day, from bringing peace in the middle east to reorganizing the government to fixing the judicial system. Really?

We should remember Jared’s blast into business started with this headline: Kushner took over the family business when his father went to jail. And the person who helped put Charles Kushner behind bars was Chris Christie. You know the one who got passed over by the Donald. Jared was forced into running the family business at the age of 26 while his father was in federal prison convicted of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering.

I have just read the full six-pages of Jared Kushner’s statement to the Congressional Committee. This well-written document seems rather honest and direct. He’s 36 years old, but he seems to be traveling in a space way over his head. He forgets people, he doesn’t recall meetings, but worst of all, he didn’t even read the whole email that Don Jr. sent him. Jared, you have to read from the bottom up. This is the problem with top-down rich kids. And come on, how could you forget the name of the Russian Ambassador to the US?

He doesn’t remember meetings, but clearly remembers getting an email from Guccifer400, huh? Then he admits asking if there was an “existing communications channel at his (Russian) embassy” and mere sentences later, says, “I did not suggest a ‘secret back channel.’” He needs to get his story straight.

His last paragraph raised some eyebrows, “I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector.” This is one of those sentences written by a skilled attorney. “I have not relied…” doesn’t mean, I have no Russian investors in my properties. It could simply mean “I had no financial help while building or buying a property.” In fact, many Russian investors have bought or rented space in Trump and Kushner properties. They are customers.

Mr. Kushner needs to be placed under oath and questioned about the meeting with the banker on December 13, 2016. The bank is a state-owned property and the banker, Sergey Gorkov, gave Jared presents from his grandparents’ home in Belarus. Wait, the Kushners are from Belarus?  Is that the same Belarus once part of Russia which became a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922. Oh boy, the story couldn’t get any richer.

So, Jared’s grand parents came from a Soviet bloc country and Donald Trump’s grand parents came from Germany. They are both second-generation immigrants. Of course, sons of different mothers, but this certainly makes the Trump anti-immigrant stance paradoxical.

Back to the President’s son-in-law, why does Trump need his daughter and Jared in the White House? What amount of insecurity do we, the American public, have to endure with Trump? We need him to make clear, objective decisions. The advice of family members can be tainted if they are more eager to please rather than providing truthful feedback. Ivanka could go on every Climate Change march and wear a skin-tight-fitting T-shirt that screamed Save the Planet and her father would ignore any action to help accomplish a better environment.

Jared, with his liberal views and democratic ways, is just a “yes man” and the “doer” while the Donald can jet around and scream to crazy-cult crowds of supporters. We know that Jared has contributed zero to the healthcare bill. As he said in his statement to the Congressional Committee, he’s so busy with thousands of emails, he doesn’t have time to read them all. He’s so busy, he doesn’t have time to do his job.

I almost laughed at the explanation about why the SF-86 had to be amended so many times. Jared Kushner’s excuse sounds like one of those ‘the dog ate my homework’ stories that so many parents and teachers have heard. Okay, you messed up kid, your assistant submitted a rough draft to the FBI. Wow, sure glad it wasn’t some important document.

All of this vividly reveals that Donald J. Trump and his associates are unaware of the laws of governance and uninterested in proper documentation. They are flying by the seat of their pants, and those pants aren’t even made in America.

In the movie Meet the Parents, Robert De Niro’s character, Jack Byrnes, introduces Ben Stiller’s persona, Greg Focker, to what Jack calls the “Byrnes Circle of Trust.” There’s this dialog: “See if I can’t trust you Greg, then I have no choice but to put you outside the circle. Once you’re out, you’re out. There’s no coming back.”

The difference between Trump and Jack Byrnes is when Trump sends someone away that he has endorsed in the past, he doesn’t send them out of the circle. He cannot admit he was wrong. He still speaks well of Michael Flynn, a person who could bring the Donald’s presidency to its knees. He says nice things about Sean Spicer. And maybe that is why he uses his family members as tools. Poor Don Jr. is a “good kid.”

It’s easier to be loyal to your family members than to those outside the circle of trust. Everyone will give Trump a pass on sticking up for his kids, but it’s getting harder to believe that Trump can shovel the same hackneyed phrases and conspiracy theories to all of the country without someone asking this question. Why do we want to be friends with Russia? Why is being friends with them so important to Trump and Jared? Are we worried more about protecting Belarus than the Ukrainian people from Russia?  Hey, just asking.

 


“I LOVE THE PRESIDENT”

Respect is Not Enough for Trump

 400 years before the birth of Christ the Greek physician Hippocrates, incorporated four temperaments into his early practice: sanguine (enthusiastic, active, and social), choleric (short-tempered, fast, or irritable), melancholic (analytical, wise, and quiet), and phlegmatic (relaxed and peaceful). And of course, no one person stays in one zone all the time. We all have mixtures of those temperaments at any given time.

Our current president, seems to live in the sanguine and choleric areas and for those around him.  The only way to stay on his team is to broadcast your open ‘love’ for him. With the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as Communications Director, we learned his modus operandi from the get-go was to praise his boss and proclaim his love for the Donald.

Mr. Scaramucci has obviously consumed the whole jug of Kool-Aid and will be framing the argument for and massaging the defense of Trump with the skill of a Wall Street tycoon, which is what he is. But that doesn’t change anything. Trump is still the President and his short-tempered, fast and irritating way of overreacting cannot be polished by a slick, well-dressed pitchman. Donald Trump is a high-risk investment.

The enthusiastic, active and highly social (Sanguine) Trump is hardly ever positive. Our great Orange Leader rails at and uses put-downs to intimidate his critics, while attempting to extort more love from his base. He’s like an abusive parent giving a treat after the beating. He has to front each topic with how bad things are to make himself seem the savior.

Maybe being loved is more important than facts, truth, honesty or transparency. Saying that his son’s extremely incriminating email release was being transparent lacks logic, credibility and honesty. Does he love his son more than he says he loves America? Would he lie for his son?

Scaramucci might think he can turn the gray battleship around, but in reality, he’s just a summer replacement player in the reality show known as the Donald J. Trump Presidency. Even Anthony S. said the President is 71-years-old, “You are not going to change him.” Perhaps, if we think a bit Freudian here, maybe Anthony Scaramucci is the son the Donald wish he had. He obviously likes Jared Kushner like a son. Maybe his kids, other than Ivanka, aren’t quite enough like him.

The new Communications Director Slick Anthony uses the term “mainstream media,” which is code for anything negative about the president reported by any news media outlet. They boxed up negative press as “mainstream” and are attempting to redefine it as “Fake.”

Fox News, a major ratings mass media channel, isn’t considered mainstream media because they usually agree with Trump. Why is that? Someone has to tell me what the true definition of “mainstream.” And then explain to me how a website with a few million readers is more important than any mass media outlet.

Truth has a way of rising and breaking the layer of scum on the surface of the swamp. If the mainstream media is trying to convince the 32% of America who caused this ridiculous embarrassment that Donald Trump was a bad choice, they are wasting their time.

Trump may control the Supreme Court picks while he is in power, but he should be very careful about who he pardons or even thinks about awarding a get-out-of-jail card. That roll of the dice could be as bad as Trump’s monumental failure at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. And when the Republicans finally admit that Trump is politically bankrupt, they will prepare his impeachment to save their own jobs.

One would think the Supreme Court would have a duty to block an aggressive attempt to remodel executive power. Any move that would force America into a constitutional crisis would verify to the other 68% of America that Donald Trump is not an honest human being. Trump will never win over those people.

The analytical, wise, and quiet people who work hard every day to make the government work for all the people are still there. They are in the Justice Department, they file into the Treasury, they sit on the Supreme Court and some are even in Congress. They want to do their job and keep the machine running.

The silliness and departures from normal protocols show the world only one man’s viewpoint on how things should be. There is no proof that what Trump is doing is good for America.

We never want a president to tell us what to believe. We never want a President to “explain” how things are as if they only know the truth.  We expect him or her to listen to us and then make some rational decisions that will benefit as many people as possible. Donald Trump wants everyone to love him every day, but doesn’t understand that he must give love in order to get love.

When the man with the most power in the United States of America can be provoked by the least little criticism, we should worry. When the man who will be his voice says he loves the president more than a half-a-dozen times in his first press briefing, he shows us how it’s done.

He shows us why Putin is more important than protecting America from cyber-attacks from Russia. We saw Macron in France use the love offensive to charm his way right into Trump’s small hands. I don’t want to love the president, I want to respect him.

Trump truly believes that if I don’t say he is 100% right all the time, that I am #1, the enemy and #2, against him. For all those people during the campaign who said that the Donald did not have the temperament to be president, they were right.  He is 90% choleric (short-tempered, fast, or irritable) and that is why we judge all that he does through a negative lens. No one can trust what he says. Just ask the Carrier workers in Indiana.

Scaramucci’s “new guy” enthusiasm is a nice change, but when he says, “The American people love this guy” I have to stop him there. Anthony, you need to do some research. More than 50% of American’s do not like this “guy;” your buddy. You need more than 50% to get a bill passed in Congress and we certainly ought to have a president who garners more respect and positive feedback than 32% of our citizens. Scaramucci’s job is to make more Americans favor and support the President. Good luck, Anthony.

The standard comeback by the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue talking heads when asked about low approval presidential ratings is that the President has higher ratings than the media or Congress. And they’re bragging about that?

I’m looking forward to a relaxed and peaceful time when we aren’t screaming at each other and the President of the United States has more than 50% approval rating and that his plans actually work. Right now, we have the wrong plans, the wrong message and the wrong President.

Again, we must ask, “What has gotten better?” Insurance rates are sky-high, wages are NOT moving up fast enough and taxes are the same. The big infrastructure plan is frozen. For a guy who said we would be winning really, really fast, we are waiting. Go for accomplishments Mr. President, not love.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.

 

 

 

 


MADE IN AMERICA

Fair Trade vs. Free Trade

One of the things you can say about Donald J. Trump is that he’s consistent, but he’s hardly ever right. For example, he thinks he knows a lot about money. The logic runs something like this: “I made a billion dollars, so I know how to fix things.”

It would be different if the stock market wasn’t at all-time highs. It would be different if the unemployment rate was in the toilet. But as the administration rolled out fire trucks and back hoes on the front lawn of the White House to promote their America First dogma, the headline in the Washington Post was “Trump’s ‘Made in America’ week is a hypocritical joke.” None of Donald and Ivanka Trump products are made in America. Ivanka’s shoes, handbags, blouses, dresses, jeans and shirts are made in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam and China and Donald’s ties and suits are made in China, Bangladesh and Mexico. When confronted with this fact, the two moguls say, “Everybody else does it.” Really?

Why does the press keep slapping this man? It seems like everything our President touches turns into a controversy at least and a bag of flaming crap at worst. Our very own Don “Quixote” Trump is not only fighting windmills, he is attempting to stop Niagara Falls with his bare hands. Our brave hero.

One of the lessons of war that escapes Donald Trump is what happened after the World Wars. The first war led to the losers to disastrous economic plights that turned people inward and voted for people like Hitler and Mussolini.

The nations of victors in WWII knew that they had to help the economies of many countries to make sure that peace would last. The United States basically took Japan on as a special project. We airlifted in experts and technologies to teach the Japanese how to make many products.

The hard-working Japanese culture and South Korean’s post conflict manufacturing produced some of the finest electronics for the world, and still does. The Donald must have been busy being rich in the 1950s and doesn’t remember how America was flooded with cheap products, like transistor radios, that were labeled Made in Japan.

As more and more American companies realized that they could get cheap parts for their products, the flood gates opened. Many of our automotive offerings needed more and more computer technologies, thus the need to import more parts from other countries. We also created giant discount box-stores that sold everything from TVs to T-Shirts at rock bottom prices. How did they do it? They bought products from other countries that were made by low wage workers.

While the United States knew that workers and factories here were being phased out, we kept thinking we could move those workforces to other industries. That only happened when the worker saw the writing on the wall early and had the capabilities to serve the needs of another field.

Training was essential to complete the migration from the agricultural age to the manufacturing age. Did we forget about this? Logic follows that it would take the re-education of millions of workers to pull off the conversion this time. Some people just don’t want to change.

Now, our great Orange Leader wants us to brand all our products with ‘Made in America.’ I get that, but it’s just a Band-Aid. In fact, the Band-Aid was invented in 1920 by Thomas Anderson and Johnson & Johnson employee Earle Dickson in Highland Park, New Jersey. Not all bandages are made in America, but they are a great example of an American invention that the world now uses. And the examples are countless. We design things, we just cannot make them at reasonable prices because Americans demand a wage to match our prosperous economy. Double-edged sword.

When NAFTA (North American Free-Trade Agreement) was signed, products moved from Canada and Mexico into the US without tariff. We also sold tons of stuff to those two countries.

According to the United States of America Trade Representative (an office of the President): The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Mexico was $55.6 billion in 2016. Mexico is currently our 3rd largest goods trading partner with $525.1 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2016. Goods exports totaled $231.0 billion; goods imports totaled $294.2 billion.

And their figures on Canada are similar: U.S. goods and services trade with Canada totaled an estimated $627.8 billion in 2016. Exports were $320.1 billion; imports were $307.6 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Canada was $12.5 billion in 2016. Canada is currently our 2nd largest goods trading partner with $544.0 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2016.

As you can see, this cry-baby tantrum about “fair trade” is foolish rhetoric by the President on the NAFTA deal. As far as China and other Pacific Rim countries are concerned it’s a different question, but best not to ask too loudly. With the amount of U.S. debt that Chinese banks hold, and our need for China to control North Korea, we might want to carefully plan what we say. Best not to Tweet.

Why does Trump keep complaining about trade? He skillfully convinced those workers who have been displaced by global trade to vote for him. He has to keep them in the hypnotic trance where he promises to magically take them back to a “better time.”

The mantra of “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” only means something if the great one can actually create more jobs. Focusing on coal mining is convoluted logic. Coal has been displaced by natural gas and the good news, the US is pumps lots of that resource. The symbolism might be rich, but Trump is regressive in his thinking. Why did China just take the lead on producing solar energy products? Did we miss that?

Trump actually thinks that getting rid of regulations will magically grow plants and jobs. Rules don’t keep people from being successful, global markets do. Even if we got rid of every regulation, we would still have to produce steel at a price that competes. ‘Globals’ will always be able to make things cheaper and we could tax the imports but that would increase the price here. Why make the America consumer pay for your trade myopia?

What Donald Trump really doesn’t understand is that he’s a President for 1959, not a president for 2017. It’s too late to stop the windmills of the world from turning. If they don’t sell to America, they will sell to someone else. The water will keep coming over the falls, because that is what nature does.

Trump’s one man fight against globalization might make him look like Captain America, but in reality he’s just another America businessman taking advantage of Free Trade for his own benefit. Buy one of his ties, you’ll see where it was made.


THE WHITE HOUSE IS NOT A FAMILY BUSINESS

Whatever Happened to Nepotism Rules?

Nepotism is the practice among those in power of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. The law is pretty clear in our government and it applies to anyone hired in the executive, legislative or judicial branch:

A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official.

This isn’t “Fake News”, it’s 5 U.S. Code § 3110 – Employment of relatives; restrictions.  I don’t believe that not taking a paycheck, negates this rule. It says “appoint to a civilian position.” The appointment alone is not allowed.

Why does Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter, have an office in the White House?  Why is her husband, Jared Kushner, a top adviser and “employee” of the White House? They said they put their companies in a trust, although many ethics experts say that they haven’t done enough. Trump, the President himself, is benefiting from money flowing from foreign governments through his properties, but the issue and violation of the Emoluments Clause, will be covered at a later time.

Let’s focus on nepotism for this article. Why is this important? Why is there a rule that prohibits this? One problem that can arise from the government advertising an opening at one of its agencies, interviewing applicants and then hiring a less qualified person to serve in the position. It’s bad business and shoddy business practice to hire the lesser able person.

Another possible violation can occur if someone is passed over and claims they didn’t get the job because of something other than their talent and qualifications. That could trigger a lawsuit based on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which, of course, bars discrimination because of race, color, sex, religion or national origin. You may not be able to prove the intent, but the embarrassment of a court battle would cost the country money and time.

A further problem can result when a senior male employee marries a lower ranking female member of the team. Who has to leave the agency, the senior male, or the woman? This opens up the possible legal problem of sexual discrimination. In the case of Ivanka and Jared, you don’t have that problem, but we do see the complications when offspring are given responsibilities.

The situation with Donald Trump, Jr. and his meeting with a Russian attorney exposes the President to the fact that he will probably lie for his kids, just as easily as he lies about so many other things. If Don Jr. was a mere employee of the campaign, like Paul Manafort, Daddy Trump would have thrown him under the bus. Parents don’t usually do the right thing with their kids, instead they do the right thing for their kids. Think about what Trump Sr. said about his son, “He’s a good boy.” He’s almost 40-years-old Mr. President, but you see him as a “boy?” And the praise for all his transparency was so father-like, while today (7-14-2017) we learned that there were two other people in the room during the meeting; previous undisclosed. What are they hiding?

According to Forbes Magazine, “Kathy Wiseman, a founder of and consultant at Working Systems, thinks everyone should be careful in such a situation. Wiseman advises family businesses and organizations, bringing them both sociology and 30 years of business experience. She estimates that nepotism among top executives works out only 40% of the time.”

So, if nepotism causes problems or at least complications and discomfort 60% of the time, why are we the people allowing Donald Trump to instate less qualified people in positions around him without anyone charging forward and waving 5 U.S. Code § 3110 in his face? Who checks the White House on the matter of employment?

We broke away from a King and a kingdom in 1776. Part of what the rebels here in the 13 States wanted to avoid was an unelected king operating freely and unchecked above the law. Their solution was to create a revolution and break away from the tyranny of Kings. Royalty is based on bloodlines and the children of Kings and Queens get to take over when the parent expires. Does the US now live in that world?

Why are any of Trump’s kids involved in this administration? Perhaps the President needs his “blankie” of his children blindly supporting him and telling him he’s right. But this is only going to end in problems. Don Jr. and the exposure of his emails is just an example of why there is a rule about hiring your kids. And one could ask, what does Ivanka do? What is her job description? As a tax payer, can I see that?  NEPOTISM is bad for business and worse for the United States.

I find it rather remarkable that seven months into this administration we hear the words, “innocent”, “unethical”, “illegal” and “hoax” more often than a normal White House would produce. We can only hope that the Democrats find some believable messenger between now and 2020. The king has no pants and not a lot of regard for the law.

 

 


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.


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!


“NOBODY REALLY KNOWS”

Trump Sows the Seed of Doubt

Donald Trump is an interesting speaker. After saying that “Nobody really knows” who hacked our 2016 national election, he says, “And there’s nothing wrong with that statement.” Much like salting his verbiage with the plea “Believe me,” it serves to block or deny the interviewer the next question, “What is the truth, Mr. President.” Clearly to him, the truth is what he says it is and one thing for sure, he doesn’t want anyone to question him.

When Trump says in his legal documents, which we call tweets: “North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been “playing” the United States for years.” We see that he is irritated at how the US has handled that country in the past. There are times when I feel sorry for President Trump. He lives in a world where everybody that came before him is stupid, or incompetent. In his little, inexperienced mind, everybody else is not smart and surely the solution is simple. He asks, “Why didn’t they do something?”

The reason I feel sorry for him is because as he gets closer to any real problem, he finally realizes it’s complicated, like healthcare. Because he believes only he knows a better solution, he fails to comprehend the reasons things haven’t been achieved before is because global problems are multifaceted. He does understand that three out of the five things you could do would be a total disaster. The two good ideas are only good for us. And for how long?

When asked earlier about what he would do if North Korea launched an ICBM (A rocket that could make it from Asia to US soil) Trump tweeted, “It won’t happen!” Well, I guess that was “Fake News” because in fact, Kim Jong Un carried out a test of what most experts agree was an ICBM capable of at least reaching to Alaska and Sarah Palin’s back porch.

In his unrelenting desire to denigrate the previous president, Trump cares not where he is or what audience is listening. He will do everything he can to put-down Obama. Does Trump realize that from Truman to Obama there were eleven presidents who had to deal with North Korea and nothing has changed? There have been eleven presidents before Trump since Israel was created and we still don’t have peace in the Middle East. Nobody really knows if Trump knows this.

Back to North Korea, Trump was very critical about previous administrations declaring “red lines,” whether they were in the sand, or in the snow or on poorly drawn maps, but now that President Trump is confronted with less than adoring support from many of the other nations of the world, he will have to make his due with the devil. And who is the devil? The very man who many think helped him get elected. Putin will want more than he gives.

Nobody really knows if Donald Trump is smart enough to be President, but we do know that the people around him have little sway on what he thinks, what he does or what a new world order should be. His ping-ponging between sword rattling and attempting to outsource his problems to Russia or China have failed. Both world powers have no intention of carrying out any plan that would weaken their economies or stature on the world stage. Both Russia and China like selling things to North Korea. Russia loves to sell things to Cuba, Iran and Syria. Most likely, Japan and Germany will craft a trade deal that will hurt Detroit and there is nothing Trump can do nothing about it.  If only Trump was open to some free trade that would help America.

Trump could use some strong counseling on the fact that his sowing doubt makes him sound unsure of himself. Why wouldn’t you want the leader of the free world to know things? He claims he knows more than everyone else, but on certain things he  is passive, clueless and uninvolved, perhaps posturing so that someone else can take the blame. A blamer always needs someone to blame.

Now, after saying he would be able to stop North Korean’s leader from testing rockets and nukes, he has thrown out increasingly stern warnings. According to the Washington Post (7-6-2017), In Warsaw, Trump said the United States was considering “some pretty severe things” in response to what he called “very, very bad behavior” from the North, although he did not mention any specific plans. “Something will have to be done about it.”

Nobody really knows what “something” could be. Perhaps, our great Donald is still formulating those ideas. It’s pretty clear to the world that if you want to stop someone from doing something you either talk to them or punch them. Trump sure does a lot of talking, but he doesn’t put his money where his mouth is. Perhaps he wants to use someone else’s money to solve problems that won’t go away.

With trade, climate and immigration on the table, with the EU and Syria, North Korea and ISIS being important to Russia, China, Japan and South Korea, our President should be prepared to listen as much as he talks.

Trump should work on knowing the issues and proper answers and stop watering down his speeches with anti-press, anti-Obama and anti-trade tirades. Nobody knows why he does it, and nobody outside of the US cares about his fake fight with CNN. Focus, Donald, Focus!

 

 

 


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.