183. The “Trump Experiment” Failed

9 Aug

After about 930 days in office, it is now more than obvious that the “Trump Experiment” has failed and we must do everything possible to protect our nation. There are three actions, with which to move forward: (1) Impeach, (2) Nullify, (3) Wait for the 2020 election. I believe that we should do everything possible in all three areas: full speed ahead on impeachment, nullify him in every way possible, and develop the best strategies for the election. Nullification includes various methods of preventing dangerous acts, such as California car milage regulations that override Trump’s rule.

I believe that our citizens need brief, clear statements of Trump’s failures so that they can effectively more forward.  Before continuing, I will acknowledge that a small number of Trump’s actions were beneficial, but usually were not significant. Here is my list (also see my previous blogs).

Failure to acknowledge global warming and to provide badly needed leadership in this area. There was a failure to provide international encouragement, relevant research funds, and to support exemplary efforts in industrial actions. The internet is full of info regarding this subject. This is a very serious problem and is recognized by the vast majority of nations

Failure to govern with dignity, morality, and reliability. Trump withdrew from several existing treaties and international agreements. He has failed to provide the promised improvements. Other nations now hesitate to form agreements with us because of his history of breaking agreements.

Trump often (thousands of times) lies, makes mistakes, and re-writes history according to his own agendas.

Trump has undermined our policing and intelligence agencies so that they can be influenced by his policies and agendas (see previous blog, 182). This is a clear and serious action, which is on the path to tyranny. The US Attorney General Barr is not independent and acts as a yes-man.

Trump has lied about his international tariffs: he says that the foreign countries pay for the tariffs, when it is the US importers that pay and pass on losses to our consumers. His trade policies overall have not been effective and other countries have countered our tariffs with their own. Resulting trade problems have seriously affected our farmers and manufacturers. Trump has not considered all of the possible negative effects of his policies. An important point is that he has tried to work alone, ignoring allies. For example, a group of nations would have been much more effective in dealing with China abuses.

The Trump administration is poorly coordinated and engages in petty quarrels. Calling other US leaders childish names does not engender respect. He is often at odds with his cabinet members and other staff.

Trump has admitted to favoring torture, and his policies regarding our Southern border illustrate his cruelty. He clearly supports racism and promotes hatred.

Trump did not “drain the swamp,” but swam in it. His staff includes wealthy Wall Street icons. His cabinet members were chosen from those opposing the goals of their agencies. He has encouraged the removal of regulations that protect us from pollution and toxins. A shocking number of his staff have been indicted for criminal actions. He has secret meetings with US adversaries, such as the Russian Putin. He has attacked our allies and NATO.

 

 

 

 

 

182. The Erosion of Policing and Intelligence under Trump

29 Jul

Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence,  may soon resign. Coats has a key role in coordinating all of our intelligence agencies. He is highly respected by all and his replacement by Trump could dangerously politicize these agencies, which have already been weakened.

This event calls into question the efficacy of our national policing and intelligence agencies. Weakening and controlling such agencies is a key step towards autocracy. Here are some of the considerations.

In at least one case, Trump revealed agency secrets to Russian officials, causing the distrust of our agencies by similar agencies of our foreign allies. Trump has generally ignored our agencies and instead supported foreign leaders like Vladimir Putin of Russia. He valued Putin over our agencies.

The office of Attorney General was filled by a Trump sycophant William Barr. Barr has supported Trump’s policies and interests and has disregarded the truth. Mueller has challenged him regarding his false characterizations of his report. The whole Department of Justice has been tainted by Barr.

The FBI has been attacked many times by Trump and his staff. The FBI, of course, plays a vital role in protecting all of us. Many have lost confidence in the FBI due to these attacks on specific agents and agency policies.

Trump has attacked unfairly the Special Counsel numerous times. He does not mention that Special Counsel Mueller is, in fact, a Republican. Trump has no respect and makes personal attacks with little substance.

Committees of Congress responsible for oversight of government agencies have been attacked by Trump. In addition to personal attacks of committee chairman and members, he ignores all requests for documents and testimony. He lies about their findings. He is also ignoring subpoenas.

A related problem is the appointment of radically conservative federal judges. Law enforcement is limited and weakened by these appointments.

Policing of our southern border has been eroded by Trump demands for harsh treatment to discourage attempts for asylum. No matter how many immigrants are involved, there is no excuse for what amounts to their torture by extreme over-crowding and unsanitary conditions. A good illustration of serious incompetence is the wrongful incarceration for 23 days of a US born citizen carrying a birth-certificate and drivers license. He and many others have reported horrendous conditions.  

Trump has gradually undermined and taken over  policing and intelligence agencies. This is a major step towards tyranny. Please see my Blog 179 and others for a comprehensive list of all such steps. We are getting close to a point where Trump’s take-over (autocracy) will be almost impossible to reverse. Control of the FBI, for example, would allow Trump to fulfill his dream of arresting political opponents and  members of the press.

 

 

 

 

181. Mueller Testimony and Implications for Impeachment

25 Jul

Robert Mueller has just provided testimony (July 24, 2019) related to his Special Counsel Report, before two House committees. His performance has been described as weak and not inspirational. (Note that Mueller is a Republican.)

.       Mueller’s voice was weak, but what he stated was powerful.

Mueller is almost 75 years old. I am an older person so I have a personal understanding of the effects of aging, as well as considerable research. After age 70 or so, it is common to have a gradually progressive memory loss and other physical problems. A couple of years ago, when he started the investigation, Mueller was probably more competent. I am sure that at that time he was quite capable of hiring an excellent staff and providing good leadership and organizational procedures. His report was created by a group of about 17 experts in this area. I think the report is sound and although his current committee performance was not perfect, it was effective. If you look at what was actually said by him and questioners, you could feel very confident. The important features of the report were clearly defined, a list of impeachable actions was confirmed, and appropriate warnings about future election interference were provided. He emphasized that there were no exonerations, and that there were serious findings in the area of obstruction. Trump’s claims of no collusion and no obstruction were false.

It is now up to Democrat leaders to do what is right for the USA, and not focus on irrelevant imperfections. In this area, opinion polls are also irrelevant, and impeachment even without conviction, has the value of making a statement. Below, I have provided more detail on this point.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi  has taken the position that the House should not move forward on impeachment without major Congressional and public support. She is concerned that  Senate acquittal, which is likely,  would be seen as a win for Trump.

Here are possible fallacies of her argument. First, with or without a Senate conviction, Trump will always claim that he has won and is totally innocent. What Trump and Republicans claim cannot be controlled and should not be considered. Second, As actual articles of impeachment are developed, public and leadership support could substantially increase. Third, and most important, impeachment without conviction still makes a profound statement: that Donald Trump does not represent a majority of our people. It will help assure that foreign leaders and people will not view us as crude and erratic. For many years the USA has been a leader in advancing good government and ethics, and an impeachment will help to preserve this image. Impeachment will also serve to define and clarify the improper and criminal acts of his presidency.

One further point: impeachment must be for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” That requirement is satisfied by public reporting — even without testimony or the M. Report. But, I think Congress must also consider other acts of wrongdoing, which are not defined by criminal laws. I am not going to detail a large literature (including my own blogs) of such infractions, which include: failure to divest financial interests, numerous well-established lies, failure to produce income tax returns, prevention of testimony, chosing statements of Putin and others over our intelligence agencies, lack of traditional transparency, governing by tweet, secret meetings with foreign adversaries, major inconsistencies and reversals, and creating a staff with many criminals and unethical wealthy people.

 

180. Is the Real Trump Racist? (Revised)

18 Jul

What do we know for certain about our President Trump? Most clearly, he has a desperate need for flattery, for dominating, for loyal followers, and for winning. His obvious goals are to destroy the legacy of President Obama, win battles against most other nations, and keep a very strong “base” of mostly uneducated racist voters. Trump found a way to succeed (win votes), by attracting these gullible racist citizens.

There is some evidence for the fact that Trump does not actually have a racist “trait,” but uses racist ideas to form his voting “base” and maybe for other purposes. First, he supports racism against people of color, yet he hired African-American Omarosa Manigault, a former “Apprentice” contestant. Later she turned against him and he attacked her. It appears that Trump will work with anyone who supports him. His speeches after the Charlottesville riots also provide a clue. He said on two occasions that there were: “very fine people on BOTH sides.” The two sides were the neo-nazis (and KKK), and the protestors. He is afraid to lose ANY votes.  He praises anyone who flatters and supports him, and abuses anyone who is critical. When attacked, Trump complains that people don’t like him, and often does not address the attack issues. In the case of the four congresswomen (“the squad”) he confuses criticism of him, with criticism of the country. He just lies, when he says they hate our country.

       SUPPORTING RACISTS IS WORSE THAN BEING ONE

If you have no ideals (good or bad) in your brain, then you are little more than a robot. Although he may have been different many years ago, Trump appears to have no deeper thoughts. He just says and does things to win votes and satisfy his ego. He admires dictators. If he could kill his political rivals and critical press members, I suspect he would. Trump constantly changes his positions based upon his perceptions of popular opinions. Also, he is often uncoordinated with his staff. The rapid changes in position indicate a lack of any strong ideals and a simplistic mode of governing. The simple analysis of complex situations appeals to his base. But foreign countries no longer trust us because of these inconsistencies, and the USA is losing its status as the world leader in many areas. It is clear that his major policy is intimidation, and he has little skill in other methods of interaction.

Final word: under Trump leadership, the Republican party has deteriorated to a group of sycophants (yes-men), in some ways, very much like their leader. Those with more conscience and integrity have left the party. Let’s impeach this erratic robot and restore dignity, integrity, and anti-racism to our nation. 

 

179. If the Economy is Good, then Trump Can be King?

15 Jul

I talked recently to several Republican folks who were so impressed with the rising stock market and low unemployment rate, that all else did not matter. Trump said that if he had not been elected, the market would have crashed — ignoring the fact that the market rose steadily under President Obama. Obama took over when the US economy was a disaster and Trump benefited from Obama’s successful recovery program.

The scary thing is that many people look at the world in a superficial way and just accept what leaders like Trump tell them. Several years ago, before he became President, I wrote in a blog that Trump’s worst trait is the rewriting of history, so his terrible record is obscured. This makes it possible for him to form a political “base,” with lies about his successes.

Several of my blogs have detailed the dangerous policies of Trump and the reasons why he must not continue is office. He is clearly moving towards a tyranny. These previous blogs are most relevant:

171. Why We Must End Trump Now.

170.  1000 Prosecutors Can’t be wrong.

169. In the USA, an Emerging Tyranny?

Here are the most important ideas from the above and some of his current actions. It is important for people to recognize the gradual progression towards tyranny, so that they can fight these dangerous steps.

Here are the usual steps in the transition from president to king. Trump has done all of the following:

Step 1. Form a “base” of poorly-educated gullible citizens that can be manipulated. Trump’s base was formed by exploiting already existing racism and scapegoating. The base can be violent and aggressive, to create fear and submission by others. Later, better-educated opportunists may join the base.

Step 2Get elected, using the base, intimidation, scams, illicit coalitions and whatever else works. Trump benefited from help by Russians.

Step 3. Make the appointments of all government leaders, judges, generals and admirals based on loyalty rather than competence.  This cadre of loyal officials helps to keep a tyrant in office, but produces serious mistakes.

Step 4. Change the law to benefit rich friends. An example is a reduction in pollution safeguards that help manufacturers, but put the citizens at risk.

Step 5Fight all actions against you. This can be done by attacking and limiting the press, by re-writing history, emphasizing your successes, suppressing investigations, ignoring subpoenas, and other negative legal actions. Trump viciously attacks political rivals like Hillary (“lock her up”).

Step 6. Most dangerous is any attempt to increase term limits or in any way prolonging the stay in office. All of the worst despots were able to find an illicit way to win elections or abolish elections so that they remain in power indefinitely. He has proposed that the first two years of his office were ruined by investigation and he should be given an extra two years to compensate. Thoughts like this are vile and dangerous.

As this pathway continues, the abuses increase and can be devastating. 

Here are some very recent facts. The Mueller Report finds 10 examples of Trump’s obstruction of justice. Mueller stated in a speech that his report did not exonerate the President in any way. Trump attacked four female House Reps of color (the squad) and told them to go back to where they came from. He attributed to all four, the questionable and inexperienced statements of House Rep. Omar. Trump claims transparency, but ignores subpoenas and will not release tax records. Perhaps worst of all, he still is not supporting vital efforts to limit global warming. Although the US is only about 15% responsible for the world-wide  production of greenhouse gases, it can make a big difference in leadership and financial support of relevant climate research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

178. Major Nations Question US Dollar “Reserve” Status

7 Jul

Trump’s obsession with balance of trade and being cheated is bluster.  The fact is that the US-Dollar is the global “reserve currency,” giving the USA a big trade advantage. US exporters and importers do not need to convert currency, which adds some cost to each transaction, and the US can borrow money at lower rates. So any US losses due to foreign trade tend to balance out because the US-Dollar has this special world status.  We can buy products from all major countries with US dollars and when we sell, we receive US dollars. This is a major financial advantage and high prestige for the USA.

Here is more information about “reserve currency.” It is also known as “anchor” or “hard” currency.

“Reserve currency is commonly used in international transactions, international investments and all aspects of the global economy.” (Wikipedia)

For centuries, the world has had various reserve currencies. These include the Dutch Guilder, EURO, and the UK Pound Sterling. Whichever country was doing the most world trade during a certain period, usually has its currency established as “reserve.” After World War II, there was an international agreement, “The Bretton Woods System,” which established the US-Dollar as reserve.  The rules and traditions of international trade, banking, and investment are complicated and I have only presented a few basic facts.

For the past few decades, many countries have questioned the status of the US-Dollar as reserve. China, for example, does a huge amount of trade and wants to use its currency to pay for oil. Trump and Republican lies and instabilities have  lead to global uncertainties, which trouble all investors.  Recent US political Government shut-downs and delayed Government payments have increased this questioning. Further complications occur in the area of international sanctions. We need reliable government to maintain our world leadership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

177. Foreign Policy Failures by USA Government

22 Jun
Here is my latest tweet (@RichardLeeWB) regarding the Iranian attack on US drone  (with some clarifications):
.
According to most sources, Iran did order the drone attack. That this was an accident, unintended, is not likely. As a response, approved by his staff, Trump ordered an attack on missile-launch sites in Iran. He then changed his mind, based on an estimate of casualties. Note that a real military planner would have had that info, early in the discussions. One source said he actually was informed on calualties early in the discussion.
.
I suspect that Trump’s raid approval and cancelling was a preplanned strategy.  He wanted to make a point without risking further conflict escalation. He intended to show what could be done (air attack on Iran) and then cancelling to show great humanity — a “saber-rattling” as the answer to downed drone. This could be the only good thing he did regarding Iran.  On the other hand, if this was not a pre-planned strategy, then it is a miserable display incompetence. 
.
.
The first and most serious mistake was Trump’s withdrawal from The Iran Nuclear DealAccording to every expert in this situation, Iran was conforming to rules that would prevent them from developing nuclear weapon’s.  All of the several countries involved in this deal still support this effective deal, but with Trump’s withdrawal, Iran is threatening to resume construction of nuclear weapons. The deal was limited to nuclear development and nothing else, because after many years of negotiation with several major powers, this was all that could be achieved. It is true that Iran causes trouble elsewhere, but what would have been better, would have been to add additional  agreements, without cancelling the valuable nuclear part. 
.
Now, the disaster of Trump is becoming more apparent. He has put the USA in an untenable position where he cannot start a war, cannot respond to Iranian attacks, and cannot control Iran nuclear development. He also has lost the trust of other nations involved in the deal.
.
Trump has performed poorly in other areas of foreign policy. His trade policies have alienated some good allies, have caused losses of jobs, have increased costs for our  manufacturers, and have cause increased prices for our citizens. He has been “in love” with the North Korean president, Kim, who has achieved his goals of nuclear weapon development while Trump got nothing in return. Another mistake was not recognizing that short range missile development would be threatening to South Korea and Japan. Kim manipulated Nobel-Prize dreamer Trump with flattery.
.
He got into a destructive trade war with China, that holds much USA debt. Because of trade agreement changes, China has gained in international leadership, while the USA is diminished. Perhaps even worse, Trump’s numerous mind changes and lies have lost the trust of many nations.