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207. We Don’t Need a King Trump

25 Mar

0KingTrumpTrump has actually expressed his admiration for dictators, such as those controlling Russia, N. Korea, and Turkey. In an exchange with Joe Scarborough, when told that Putin “kills journalists that don’t agree with him”, he replied that “our country does plenty of killing, too.”

I am seriously concerned that Trump supporters really do not understand why he is a great danger to the US and must not continue as President. Here is a partial list of his worst abuses.

In January of 2020 he disregarded intelligence agencies and highly regarded epidemiologists and ignored the clear dangers of Covid19. This delayed our understanding and actions regarding the disease and probably caused thousands of unnecessary deaths. Testing for the virus was definitely delayed by Trump and his administration. He downplayed the virus so that it would not affect his precious stock market, which helps with his future election. He could have begun working on associated supplies, like protective masks and gloves and equipment like ventilators. He terminated a special White-House group dealing with epidemics. He blamed Obama for having ineffective procedures, when he had three years to correct them.

He left the Paris Climate Accord and ignored the dangers of climate change. He should have worked on our own climate efforts and on supporting valuable research programs. Ultimately, millions of people will die from the resulting hurricanes, fires, floods, droughts, and possible wars.

He withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal, which included several major nations, and was preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The deal was working, according those most familiar with it. Now we have no deal, worse relations with Iran, and more potential dangers.

He failed in his dealing with North Korea. He boosted world respect for them and they continue to develop dangerous nuclear missiles. Expressing his “love” for Kim made him look foolish.

He has lost world respect for the US Presidency because of his childish and rude behavior. By breaking several existing international deals, other nations do not trust him. There is also less trust because what he says is often different from staff statements.

Knowledgeable people throughout the world cannot believe what he says because he makes obvious mistakes and lies. Fact-checkers have counted over 16000 “false or misleading claims” during his three years in office. To show that this count is plausible, one can simply read his speeches and note how the “truth” varies from time to time. For example, he made up a story about why he fired FBI Comey, and then three days later gave an entirely different reason. Another lie is the “do-nothing” Democrat congressmen, that, in fact, created hundreds of bills, which were not acted on by the real “do-nothing” Republicans.

He supported Russia in several ways. In one situation he believed what Putin said, instead of what his intelligence agencies stated. He significantly delayed the imposition of Russian sanctions approved by US Congress. His impeachment was based on an action that favored Russia.

He undermined the FBI, intelligence agencies, and other governmental offices, like the Attorney General. He promoted actions that benefited him instead of our country. His A.G. Barr, a yes-man lied in his description of the Mueller Report.

He appointed many Federal Judges that are radically conservative and in many cases, without appropriate qualifications.

He supported tax changes that primarily support already rich people and corporations, while ordinary people got very little and nothing permanent. His financial policies have greatly increased our national debt.

He made a deal with Turkey, which resulted in the deaths and loss of homes for thousands of Kurds. Kurdish soldiers helped the US fight and destroy the Islamic State. This action has led to further distrust of the US in international matters.

Trump was impeached because he pressured Ukraine to help him with his 2020 election. This was harmful to our ally Ukraine in their fight against Russia, and the delay of needed military support was a major setback for them. This increased global distrust of the US.

He hollowed out many US government agencies, such as the State Department. We lost many valuable experts that helped with vital decision making. Trump said he could make the best decisions on his own (with Tweets, of course). Most of his staff and cabinet were chosen on the basis of loyalty and subservience, rather than competence and experience. Many had to resign and many were fired for calling him “moron” or simply disagreeing.

Many immigrants at our Southern US border suffered because of poorly thought-out policies. Disorganization caused children to be separated from parents in a way making reuniting them very difficult, and still is incomplete. In many cases, Trump has rushed to implement policies without considering the negative effects.

Some of his trade policies were OK, but trade deals with China were a disaster for many farmers and others in the US. Some of our farmers were paid by our government for their losses. The total is more than $20-billion per year. Many losses to others are not compensated at all. In January of 2020 he signed an initial trade agreement with China, that includes many uncertainties. As usual, many people have to suffer to satisfy Trumps ego.

Trump has damaged ObamaCare and tried to abolish it without the promised Republican replacement plan. US citizens were saved by one vote, that of Republican John McCain. Trump has falsely claimed that he was preserving the “pre-existing conditions” feature. It seems that McCain is the last Repub with the guts and patriotism to stand up to Trump.

A vote for Trump is support for a government in which all of the above will continue and likely get worse. The tyranny of Trump must be terminated.

201. Current Issues, Briefly #7

20 Jan

This is the 7th of a series of blogs with brief discussions of current issues. The material is based on my Tweets (@RichardLeeWB), unpublished thoughts, and descriptions of various publications that I feel are valuable and worth emphasizing.

I just listened to Alan Dershowitz, stating that “abuse of power” is not a high crime. His extensive research trying to understand the thoughts of early leaders is really pointless, and not a justification for this confusion of issues. His problem is that he does not recognize different levels of abuse. Trump’s abuse was very serious, involving elections, delayed military support, and making Ukraine more vulnerable to Russia. Ukraine is like a buffer zone for us, limiting Russian expansion. It is frightening to think that Trump aids in Russian efforts to dominate.

.   Dershowitz Fails to Recognize Different Levels of Abuse-of-power

Famous attorney Alan Dershowitz says that Trump is King, in fact, even more powerful. Well, if Trump is King, then Dershowitz is the court jester. Trumpism is like a disease that infects everyone near him. Star Ken Starr is also participating.

The NY Times just endorsed Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. For many years I favored Warren, but recently her arguments with Bernie were a little discouraging. For the last year or so, I have been impressed by Klobuchar, who has high intelligence and good judgement.  I also think that Tom Steyer could make a good candidate and president, if elected. Note, any of the Democratic candidates would be a great improvement.  In the end, whoever gets the most public support is probably going to be our best choice for beating Trump. Another four years of him would be a catastrophe for all Americans.

Rachel Kleinfeld in a 2019 TED talk looks at the relation between politicians, gangs, and police; in an effort to understand high murder rates in certain surprising locals. She writes that several major US cities have very high murder rates. For example, in “New Orleans, more people per capita are dying than in war-torn Somalia.” Throughout the world, there are many small areas that have very high murder rates, surpassing those in wars. The ultimate cause for this, is various patterns of corruption. This TED talk is well constructed and fascinating, and the analysis is impressive.

It seems that every human system in existence for some years becomes corrupted. I just read that drug companies are manipulating patents to limit competition and raise prices.  See this December 2019 TED talk by Priti Krishtel.

Don’t be fooled by the RISING stock market. The market rises when investors believe that major corporations will be profitable. Increased corporate profits generally have little or no effect on middle-class wages. Most important: does a full-time salary cover reasonable expenses?  Also, under President Obama, the market was rising at a steady rate and when Trump took office the market simply continued this rise. Obama had major financial problems when he took office, while Trump had the benefit of Obama’s policies.

Imagine a president that encourages and supports scientific methods for improving our lives; rather than growing military, insulting our allies, withdrawing from worthy treaties, and using government for private enrichment. We need a President that works well with scientists and innovators.

Trump is desperate to win in 2020 because when he leaves office, he is very vulnerable. Briefly, the problem is that investigations of criminality will be easier and likely, tax returns will be revealed. Desperation led to the Ukraine extortion, aberrant  military actions, and other mistakes.

A sure sign of a dictator is that he uses government systems to attack his political opponents. Trump and Republicans have had numerous investigations of Hillary Clinton. The latest three-year investigation found nothing. Six Republican Benghazi investigations found nothing. These unethical investigations are not consistent with our traditional American values.

Major World problems are: climate-change and food-supply. Both can be solved with improved laws and methods for ocean fishing and policies. See TED Talks by Johnson & Davis: “Underwater farms vs climate change“.  And, see Savitz: “Save the oceans, feed the world.” National leaders must understand and use science to solve many of our problems, like depletion of fish and acidification of oceans. The same methods for increasing ocean food-supply, also help with global warming.

To Adam Schiff: Dedicated people like you should be proud to receive Trump insults. I would like to see a website that provides a medal for the most vicious Trump abuse. Adam, you are so effective and patriotic that he must attack. Keep up the great work.

Candidate Tom Steyer is becoming a top contender for US President. It is true that he has 1.6 billion and is spending much on his campaign. But that isn’t a negative because he has spent the last 9yrs on worthy causes, like climate-change and health care. Tom Steyer is a good choice.

How many Republican voting citizens have essentially said that domestic factors are great under Trump and the international policies don’t matter much. Well, Trumps disastrous dealing with Iran, which started with withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal, brings us close to a major war.

If you like people that really tell it like it is, then Steve Schmidt is your man. Earlier, he was a major Republican strategist. Starting June 2018, he has forcefully denounced the Republican party and Trump, in graphic terms. I also like the honesty in Morning Joe, and others.

Considering all aspects of the Iranian military leader assassination, it seems the dangers somewhat exceed the benefits. First, killing one official does not change government goals or policies. Second, Trump acted alone, ignoring Congress and allies. Third, major retaliation is likely. 
The Iran Nuclear Deal according to those involved, was working properly. But Trump, who is obsessed with winning and proving his superiority, decided to abandon it and impose more powerful sanctions. As a result, military actions are increasing and we are closer to war. Trump should have worked with allies on improving the treaty, rather than abandoning it. One reason for this serious mistake is that Trump’s unethical history requires him to find loyalists rather than competence.  Note that money given to Iran was mostly frozen assets that belonged to them. Some money was interest on a debt.

 

 

 

199. Trumps international Assassination Policy

4 Jan

00Soleimani-General-Iran

Major General Q. Soleimani of Iran was assassinated by order of our President Trump on January 3, 2020. This General was commander of the Quds Force, a division responsible for various operations include clandestine. Our Secretary of State claimed that the General  was plotting  actions “that would have put dozens, if not hundreds of American lives at risk.” Critics state that the consequences, retaliations, of this assassination will be more harmful than the benefits.

The benefits of this action are claimed to be American lives that will be saved. Trump pointed out that General Soleimani “has killed or wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more.” He ordered the death “to stop a war and not to start one.” Our military blamed Soleimani for recent attacks on our bases in Iraq, which resulted in the death of a US contractor and some Iraqi personnel. Also, he was blamed for the attacks by protestors on the US Embassy in Baghdad. The Trump administration provided no details on potential attacks by Iran on our people.

The most important criticism for this assassination is that killing this popular General will elevate the US – Iran conflict, moving us closer to war. Severe retaliations have been threatened. Here are other considerations.

Killing one official does not change a governments goals or policies. There always are others that can take over. An “imminent” Iranian attack would already be planned and could be executed by other military officers.

Trump acted alone, ignoring Congressional leaders, which would usually participate in major decisions. Also, as a general rule, any serious attack would be more acceptable if our allies were consulted in advance. Our role in international conflicts, is always more justified if we work with other nations. Our previous Presidents always worked with others.

The assassination of a government official in a major nation is a serious and unusual act. History tells us that this is only done when an actual established “war” is in effect, or the terrorist is not in government. It is a real break of international tradition, to assassinate foreign leaders; and it makes no sense if you want to do valid negotiations.

I suspect that Trump ordered this radical action, more for his personal benefit than for our country.  So far, the effect is more troops in foreign countries and the disruption of many lives, mostly due to evacuations. More of our soldiers will be exposed to dangers.

 

 

 

 

 

191. Voters: Don’t let Trump Mislead you Again

15 Nov

It pains me to think that many voters have believed the false promises of Donald Trump, and in 2016 voted for him. Here is a list of his lies and distortions of facts that must be considered.

Trump said that when he took office, there would be a new Republican health care system that would replace ObamaCare. There was no Republican system and he and Republicans were going to abolish ObamaCare without a replacement. Fortunately, John McCain, by his one vote, saved us from a disaster.

Trump mislead voters about the wall for our Southern border. He did not say the truth, that a wall could only be built if the Congress approved it, and he did not say that Mexico was not likely to pay for it. He lied when he said it was the best plan for that immigration problem.

Trump told voters that he was so rich that he would never need to accept money from donors. A few months later, he started to do just that. He actually was not that rich and had to borrow money to survive. American banks did not trust him, but he managed to get loans from a foreign bank.

Trump said he would drain the swamp, but instead he swam in it. He hired billionaires from Wall Street. Most of his staff  and appointees were hired on the basis of loyalty, rather than expert knowledge and experience. He and his staff supported big business rather than the ordinary people that voted for him. His policies have produced a massive national debt, partially due to major permanent tax reductions for millionaires. He gave the middle class small temporary reductions. Also swampy is Trump’s profits from businesses he illegally promotes through his presidency. He even wanted (for a while) to have an international meeting at one of his golf clubs, Doral.

He promised to abolish regulations, but did not tell you that regulations are mostly for the safety of ordinary people, while rich manufacturers, of course benefit. There is a long history in the US of  toxins produced during manufacturing, that have killed many people.

Trump promised improved trade policies. What he did was poorly planned and damaged farming and other businesses both here and abroad. The final effect was small successes and major failures. He did not consider that every tariff he imposed could be matched by a foreign tariff. He lied that tariffs are paid by the foreign countries. A US tariff is paid by US importers and usually results in higher US prices.

Perhaps most serious of all, is that he mislead you on the dangers of global warming. Aberrant weather patterns due to climate change are already causing floods, fires, and farming problems. These dangers will soon become more widespread and will lead to major population migrations. Desperate people will likely cause wars and increased crimes.

He promised at times to become more “presidential” but, in fact, he still calls people names, has a ridiculous, large turnover in staff, and governs by whims expressed in tweets. He is more interested in personal winning than in the success of our country. Trump is in favor of torture (Pres. Ronald Reagan opposed this) and cares little for human suffering.

Maybe the real issue for many Trump supporters is that they like his policy of rejecting Mexicans, Muslims, and others. They will have to weigh these policies against all the harms that Trumps other policies will cause.  Also note that achievements touted by Trump, such as a rising stock market and low unemployment, were continuations of  remarkable eight-year trends established by President Obama.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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):
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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.
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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. 
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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. 
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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.
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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.
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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.

164. Mueller Report: Obstruction

18 Apr

I downloaded both parts of the approximately 400 page Mueller Report as a PDF file. There are extensive findings regarding obstruction of justice. I could find no evidence listed in the report that would disprove obstruction.  Attorney General Barr’s summary did indicate that there was no exoneration with respect to obstruction. He could have added that there is a sizeable amount of evidence that proves obstruction.

The parts of the report presented contained a considerable amount of important information. My impression is that the redactions were (at least mostly) proper. We probably can thank Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller’s participation for that.

There are several sections in the report that deal with different types of obstruction.  I found particularly interesting a section that starts on Volume 2 page 131, titled “Analysis.” The parties involved were Flynn, Manafort, and Cohen. For each of these, a considerable amount of information was provided. I have listed below some brief excerpts that reflect the arguments. The reader can download the Report from several sources, read the full section (and other areas) and make his own judgements. As opposed to what AG Barr stated, Mueller did feel he was limited in drawing conclusions because of the special status of “President.” This is noted in several areas. As a result, Mueller chose not to accuse Trump of obstruction and assumed that Congress could make that decision.

Michael Flynn.   Some excerpts:   “The President sent private and public messages to Flynn encouraging him to stay strong and conveying that the President still cares about him.” As Flynn provided testimony against him, Trump’s statements became negative.

Paul Manafort.    Some excerpts:   “there is evidence that the President”s actions had the potential to influence Manafort’s decision whether to cooperate with the government”,  “pardon was possible” for Manafort,  he “did not want Manafort to flip“, “the President called the prosecution a terrible situation and a hoax

Michael Cohen.  Some excerpts:  “The President publicly asserted that Cohen would not ‘flip’ and privately passed messages of support to him”,  “Cohen also discussed pardons with the President’s personal counsel”  Later, the President called him a “rat” and “suggested his family members had committed crimes.”

A President of the USA should know that remarks and promises made to a party under investigation are improper and certainly can affect testimony. 

I am still reading the long report. To understand it, you must realize that Mueller is considering strict interpretations of criminal law. However, Congress has much more leeway in making decisions and conclusions. Although some behavior does not fit the exact definitions of a specific crime, they can look at a constellation of illicit actions and make conclusions. The 400 page report documents numerous improper and possibly criminal actions. Regarding the complicated “collusion” concept, there are numerous documented interactions with Russians, many secret, that are highly suspicious. Several of my previous, older blogs cover these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

163. Current Issues, Briefly, #4

18 Apr

This is the 4th of a series of blogs  with brief discussions of current issues. The material is based on my Tweets, unpublished thoughts, and descriptions of various publications that I feel are worth repeating and emphasizing.

Here is the very latest info regarding the Mueller Report presentation. Tomorrow, Thursday,  A.G. Barr will have a news conference at 9:30am. About two hours later, the redacted report will be available. Having the press conference before the report is provided, is illogical and without precedence — it is shameful. Reporters will not have the report to allow appropriate questions. Bill Barr is a feckless puppet of the President. Barr was hired to protect the President and obscure corruption.

In a TED talk by Carole Cadwalladr 2019, Trump’s relationship to rich people dedicated to corrupting voting in USA, UK, and other countries is described. Watch this talk to see how this works and see the suspect names involved. We must develop ways to protect voting from illicit influence.

Facebook role in BREXIT is the subject of TED talk by Carole Cadwalladr. Misleading covert Facebook ads turned a very close BREXIT vote, similar to how Trump was elected. Certain vulnerable voters are targeted. 2020 elections are vulnerable! Fight lies that influence voting!

Republican leaders want you to believe that “socialism” is bad. True, it is bad for millionaires (and more) as they would lose money, but good for you as you would gain. True socialism means everyone earns the same. Democrats  believe in capitalism mixed with a little socialism, like Medicare/caid. No one believes in pure socialism.

Rebuilding marvelous Notre Dame? Spending a billion or so, and decades of time in total restoration is questionable. There are reports that the whole structure is not optimally sound.  Perhaps it should just be cleaned up and its great workmanship preserved and exhibited in some way. What would exact restoration prove?  The money saved could be used in a Christian way to help poor people and to improve infrastructure. Another plan would be to fix the roof and other unsafe areas in an attractive way,  without an expensive attempt at exact duplication.

Bernie Sanders was attacked (on Fox) for not paying more tax, because he advocated a specific tax increase. Here is the logic: if everyone applicable pays more tax then no party has an unfair advantage. If only Bernie or Democrats pay more, then Republicans have a political financial advantage.

“Devil agent” Steve Bannon, who spawned Trump, is now attacking Pope Francis. His child-abuse argument is a deception. The attack is really based on the Pope’s liberal values. The Pope spoke against “trickle-down economics” and other bad ideas that affect the non-rich. The Pope that most favors ordinary people, and should be commended, is Pope Francis.

Republicans have been on a downward track for a long time. But it was bizarre and dangerous Trump that really triggered a broad and powerful Democrat effort for positive change. The new Democrat presidential candidates and elected officials provide us with a lot of realistic hope. I might add that a traditional Republican, Bill Weld, just declared his presidential candidacy. History suggests that this challenge to Trump could be very significant.

According to Itep, itep.org/notadime/, the Trump/Repub 2017 TAX cuts have allowed numerous highly profitable corporations to pay ZERO (or less) federal TAX. Examples are: IBM, Netflix, Amazon, GM, Delta, and MGM. The tax cuts by Republicans have greatly increased the national debt and greatly favored the rich, while the non-rich received only temporary small benefits. Because of the loss of income, Trump is now talking about reducing popular social programs like Medicare. In a short period after the cuts, the economy improved somewhat, but those gains are disappearing. In the end, it is only the rich Republican donors that benefitted. 

“Spies”, says Attorney General Barr, attacked Trump and staff. Hmm? How could “spies” get indictments, confessions, and convictions of the Trump crew. The biggest record of Trump is the amazing number of CRIMINAL associates, and staff turnover. Finally, Trump has a real A.G. puppet. Research has shown that Barr’s inaccurate summaries were also perpetrated many years ago. Barr is doing great disservice by undermining the FBI.

L. O’Donnell on MSNBC said that on the last day of office, Trump would pardon himself, and escape prison. But, what about STATE criminal charges. He can’t pardon them, and I will bet there are some.

Eric Swalwell is running for USA President. I have thought about his candidacy for some time. He is less experienced, but has many winning qualities, such as intelligence and charisma. He would be 40 at time of taking office. Although I like many of the candidates, Swalwell could have the best chance of beating Trump. Other candidates would lose some votes of racist folks. I hate racists, but it may take some to beat one.

Trump is threatening the “Mercury and Air Toxics Standards” rules. If modified, many people could suffer and die from toxins. We must impeach Trump or nullify him ASAP. He is a danger in many ways.

The childish method of Trump is simplistic and ignores all facets of a problem. He is mostly ineffective in what he does because he only relies on his instinct and ignores experts. Even worse, he imitates and befriends tyrants. His gutting of our government leaves it barely functional.

Trump’s main method of negotiation is deranged. He builds up our military and then uses threats to achieve goals. For example, instead of threatening Central American nations he should be supporting them. Obama knew that and he was better able to control immigration from there.

Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen resigned. Just another sad event in the defective Trump admin. Choosing staff only on the basis of loyalty to him, and then attacking them is just madness. Actually, some of his choices were not too bad, but the good ones were conflicted and left.

Right now, I am waiting to see the citizen-paid-for Mueller Report tomorrow.