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136. Trump & Putin, Just Infatuation?

13 Jan

If you don’t know that Trump has excessively supported Russia and Putin then you must have been in a 4-year coma. The NY Times just reported that the FBI has been investigating this inappropriate relationship since the firing of FBI Dir. Comey. For those who need some reminders, here is a list of relevant information. One or two factors might not be significant, but so many interactions (many with secrecy) with one country is very suspect.

Failure to condemn Russian attacks on Ukraine and the take-over of Crimea.

Failure to believe his own intelligence agencies, that it was Russia that interfered with the US elections.

Significant delays in implementing some Russian sanctions.

Failure to agree (in a timely fashion) that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England. Months later, after congressional pressure, he finally acted.

Several meetings with Russian leaders and Putin himself without publishing any details. He confiscated translators notes and swore the translator to secrecy. There usually was no sharing of info with his team, and often Trump associates were not present in the meeting room.

Putin’s policies with regard to Afghanistan and other topics were parroted by Trump, and are generally considered lies. Putin claimed that terrorists from Afghanistan attacked Russia, and that led to the Russian attack.

Numerous Trump associates have had excessive interactions with Russians. Some have been indicted, some pleaded guilty, and some were convicted.

On TV, Trump asked Russians to reveal info on Hillary Clinton’s emails.

There is evidence that Trump was planning a hotel in Moscow and was communicating with Putin about this.

Trump implemented to some extent, Putin’s goals of breaking breaking up NATO, which has protected us and Europe from Russian invasion.

In the Helsinki meeting, Trump believed Putin over his own intelligence agencies, and showed an unusual amount of friendship.

Numerous statements on TV that the US must have a good friendship with Russia, even though they interfered with our elections and attacked Ukraine.

Donald Trump Jr. stated that Russians had financially supported the Trump family, when US banks rejected him.

Many of Trump’s foreign trade and military policies have provided opportunities for Russia to take more leadership roles.

There is evidence that Russians have provided income for Trump by paying excessive prices when buying his condos.

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135. “Shut-Down” Resolution

12 Jan

This government shut-down dilemma could be ended by some intelligent negotiation. The last meeting could have led to something more productive, but was cut short by fear and anger. Each party has vital needs. Trump is desperate to keep his voting-base and have a win to raise his spirits, in the face of frightening investigations.  “Chuck and Nancy” are really angry about a betrayal by Trump reversing his gov funding position; caused by radical right-wing dingbats (Rush and Ann). Dems  know an expensive full wall is very wasteful and the five or so billion could be spent in better ways.

A really good negotiator could quickly resolve this difference. Fear and anger emotions play a part in preventing a compromise, but I also think both sides are not very skilled in this type of situation. It might be good to call in a top professional negotiator to work with a representative from each side.  I would suggest Trump himself and Chuck Schumer alone with the chosen negotiator. The result would be a compromise that both parties could stomach.

Here is a possible resolution. Three or four billion would be allotted for Southern border security to include improved fencing/walls and implementing a variety of relevant electronic devices. The details could be left to border control experts. This or some similar variation could work for both sides. Dems could accept some improved fencing and Trump could say some wall would be built — shut-down over.  I had hoped for a clear win for the Dems, but this terrible destructive situation must be ended. We NEED A WIN FOR THE COUNTRY. 

Added thought: Democrats, being more idealistic, should lead the way and a  representative should send an email or other message to Ivanka Trump (or someone similar) proposing this method of shut-down resolution.  She could convince her father to work on this.

 

 

 

 

 

130. Current Impeachable Actions

5 Dec

Many legal experts believe that a number of Trumps actions and tweets are illegal and/or serious enough to be used in an impeachment.  Below, I have listed possible relevant violations, without a comprehensive presentation of conclusive facts. The related details are complicated and beyond the scope of an ordinary blog. I have provided an outline of areas for investigation that interested readers can use.  So far, the Republican Congress, which consists mostly of blind followers of Trump, has ignored these possible violations. Mueller’s ultimate findings will be the best source of “facts.”

TAMPERING WITH WITNESSES:  Trump has been tweeting regarding these witnesses: Roger Stone, Michael Cohen, and Paul Manafort. An internet search will quickly lead to relevant statements. For example, just search:  “Trump praises Roger Stone” or “Trump may pardon Manafort”, or “Trump discusses the witness Michael Cohen”

OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE The above “tampering” could also be interpreted as an obstruction of justice. Also the firing of FBI Director Comey and Trumps statement to Lester Holt that he did it because of the Russian investigation, in incriminating.

EMOLUMENTS AND FAILURE TO DIVEST.  Trump has not actually separated himself from a financial interest in his many hotels and golf courses. Having his sons running these businesses still maintains an interest. Foreign leaders stay at his hotels and provide substantial income. Russian oligarchs buy his condos at greatly excessive prices.  Trump stated that he has sold many things (non-gov) to the Saudis.  And this may have influenced his unusual support for “MBS”  who was identified (by the CIA) as responsible for ordering the Kashoggi assassination.

Also, he has stated his admiration for autocratic foreign leaders, like Korean Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte, Erdogan of Turkey, etc.

COLLUSION WITH RUSSIANS TO INFLUENCE OUR ELECTIONSThe notorious Trump Tower meeting with Trump staff and Natalia Veselnitskaya (June 9, 2016) during the campagne, suggests a collusion. The associated details including POTUS announcements, emails, testimony by several participants, etc. are all very convincing. Mueller has gathered a significant amount of info regarding this meeting. It appears that there is evidence that Trump knew about the meeting and approved it.

OTHER OFFENSES  There are other lesser Trump offensives that should also be considered.  Serious offenses include statements that undermine important agencies such as the FBI and CIA. In several instances, he has chosen to believe foreign leaders over our own intelligence agencies. For a long time he denied that the Russians influenced our elections. He also refused to believe that the Saudi Prince MBS was responsible for the assassination of a US resident reporter Jamal Kashoggi.

Even though Trump might not be convicted after impeachment, I still think it would send a valuable message at home and abroad.  I look forward to January, when the new House congressmen are sworn in.

 

129. Trump vs Hillary Administration

24 Nov

I often think about how the USA would be different if Hillary Clinton had won the election. Here is my comparison of the real Trump and my speculation about Hillary, based on her extensive experiences: first lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and a successful candidacy for POTUS (won popular vote by 2.7m).

Trump: Because of a questionable history involving fraud (Trump Univ, etc), failure to divest (hotel revenue from foreign leaders), and election irregularities, and other failures, Trump could not hire top cabinet members and advisory personnel. His primary concern had to be loyalty, rather than ability.
Hillary: Her varied experiences and association with Pres. Obama would have enhanced her ability to hire top personnel. There would be no loyalty limitations. She could hire top university professors, top scientists, top officials, top economists, and experts in many areas. Look at Trumps turn-over rate.

Trump: A horrendous record of thousands of lies and extreme exaggerations.
Hillary: No need to lie. She would value a reputation for truth and reliability.

Trump: Efforts to fulfill ridiculous campagne promises, like a South border wall to prevent illegal immigration.
Hillary: Realistic campagne promises that could be worked on during her office.

Trump: Petty name calling and childish conflicts, often with very respectable people.
Hillary: She would treat good people with proper respect, even if they made critical remarks.

Trump: He tried to break up NATO and destroy our valuable relationships with traditional allies.
Hillary: She would have preserved NATO, the UN, and other international organizations. We would have maintained our powerful and helpful, long-term allies.

Trump: No respect from foreign leaders.
Hillary: Her past experience as Sec of State and many other relationships with leaders would have engendered great respect.

Trump: Refuses to respect and believe our intelligence agencies. This promotes distrust by many parties and bad international actions.
Hillary: Always respected the intelligence agencies.

Trump: Makes impulsive decisions, not considering all the implications that are relevant. Example is our trade policies that have resulted in job loss.
Hillary: Trained to make careful decisions based on real gov experience.

Trump: Does not believe human-influenced climate change, that all reputable scientists confirm.
Hillary: Would have promoted responsible actions to avoid climate disasters. She also would have encouraged many energy-saving plans.

Trump: Gave us conservative Supreme Court justices that could undue numerous valuable laws and regulations.
Hillary: Better justices in all courts.

Trump: Withdrew the USA from several important treaties. This makes the US appear unreliable and discourages agreements with other nations.
Hillary: Most existing treaties would be maintained.

Trump: Is influenced by countries such as Russia likely because of financial entanglements. He clearly favored actions by Putin. Also he supported Saudi leader that murdered a Wash-Post associate.
Hillary: No foreign influence. Decisions only made which are for the good of our country.

Trump: Developed a policy of reducing gov regulations. Some of the regulations provided pollution safeguards. People will die from toxins.
Hillary: Would keep all appropriate regulations and would emphasize health.

Trump: Promotes seriously bad immigration policies such as separation of parents and children. He does not care about human suffering. He also moved thousands of troops to the border for only political purposes.
Hillary: Would never make such policies.

Trump: Our various agencies have been gutted and the Secretaries often sabotage the agency traditional goals; example EPA.
Hillary: Just the opposite.

Trump: Promised to drain the swamp but hired extremely rich agency chiefs that have wasted money and misused various funds.
Hillary: Would have hired responsible leaders.

Trump: Inappropriate in dealing with many important situations. For example, he said that bad forest management was responsible for the fires and promoted a ridiculous plan of raking 33 million acres of forest.
Hillary: would have been appropriately concerned and would have provided financial assistance.

Trump: Was tricked by the North Korean leader. He is still working on bombs and inter-continental missiles. Kim raised his international position at our expense.
Hillary: Knew that Kim would not be reliable and would have anticipated his tricks.

Trump: Ignores experts at our gov agencies, like the State Dept. He does not coordinate well which his agency secretaries so that foreign leaders don’t know what to believe.
Hillary: Would have made great use out of experts throughout the gov.

Trump: Press is enemy of the people.
Hillary: Not enemy.

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I could add more, but I think I will stop here. You get the point. Hillary Clinton would have provided responsible and reliable leadership (no short-sighted tweet decisions), would have enhanced respect for the USA, and would have gathered around her the very top-most experts to guide her decisions.

128. China-USA War?

18 Nov

I made a comment to a good TED talk:

Graham Allison (at We the Future) September 2018
“Is war between China and the US inevitable?”  

There is and will continue for a time, a certain type of war between the USA and China. Instead of bombs and guns, the war will be fought with cyber attacks, trade policies, and clever diplomacy. The Chinese leader will be very good at this, but Trump, by himself, will do poorly. Success for the USA will require highly intelligent and knowledgable leaders. Democrats in the House may be able to provide the brilliant leadership required.

A few years ago, the world changed. No major country now wants a violent war. The ambitions of politicians today can be satisfied by more subtle conflicts. (But wouldn’t it be great if nations could be sold on the concept of friendly cooperation.)

Below are two of my recent Tweets (Nov 18, 2018) that are relevant this topic. (There are slight modifications, which could be applied with less space limitations.)

@RichardLeeWB
Trumps negative trade policies and his lack of attendance at important international meetings, will diminish the USA world leadership. As a result, the power of China will increase. China needs to develop more fair trade practices,  but experts agree that the USA must have a strong and large coalition of allies to achieve this goal.
.
@RichardLeeWB
To understand Trumps international trade failures, I recommend reading:  F. Zakaria (WashPost Nov. 15) “What effect does the Trump circus have on the world?” In 1988 President Reagan promoted a  positive trade policy based on strong allies, opposite from Trumps concept of “nationalism” and financial attacks on our friends. The Trump method is failing, causing job loss and a decline in our worldwide leadership.

 

 

 

118. President Cornered

25 Aug

Today is August 24, 2018, marking 581 days of Trump presidency.
The case against Trump (and staff) is accelerating. In the last few weeks, there have been very significant events. I have tried to document the most important factors and much of the emphasis is based on Trump denial arguments. Here is my list.

A very significant event was back on April 9, 2018: Michael Cohen‘s (Trump personal lawyer) office was searched and documents confiscated. This influenced many of the events below and also the subpoena for Trump’s long-term accountant, CFO Allen Weisselberg in July 2018. Just added, Allen W. was given immunity.

The following all occurred within about a week.

Recently reported: White House counsel, Donald McGahn, was interviewed for 30 hours by the Mueller investigators, and provided extensive valuable information.

Trump has been accused of treasonous actions (for example, Steve Schmidt) in his dealing with Putin. Maybe worst of all is that he often did not recognize (or respond to) Russian attacks on our election system. There are claims that you cannot have “treason” without a war — but there is a very real and dangerous USA-Russian cyber war with ongoing covert battles.

Trump’s first supporter in Congress, Chris Collins (R-NY) was charged with
insider-trading. His second supporter, Duncan Hunter (R-CA), was indicted for misusing campaign funds.

August 21, 2018: Paul Manafort convicted on eight counts. He was Trump campaign manager starting June 20, 2016, although he worked on the campaign starting in March 2016. He resigned August 19, 2016. So, he worked for the campaign for about six months and was manager for two months. Trump had occasional interactions with Manafort since around 1980.

Trump, when in debt, likely earned millions by helping Russians launder money. It was done by Russians buying Trump-owned over-priced condos. This occurred over many years, but recently came to light in the writings of Craig Unger. Unger also describes possible interactions of Trump and the Russian Mafia. These Russian relationships may explain his strange favoritism towards Putin.

Omarosa Manigault just published a tell-all book “Unhinged” about Trump. She has tapes recording various interactions with Trump and staff, which she will make available to Special Counsel Mueller.

Michael Cohen confessed to crimes associated with Trump’s election, and implicated Trump as a director of illegal actions.

David Pecker, publisher of National Enquirer, and long-term friend of Trump, was granted immunity in the Michael Cohen investigation. He may have important info regarding Trump’s questionable activities.

Jeff Sessions (Attorney General) answered Trump back regarding recent criticism of his running of the DOJ. Sessions strongly disagreed with the assertion that he “never took control” of the department. He also praised its personnel and affirmed its independence. This is the first time that he has really defended himself from Trump’s numerous attacks.

Trump has recently admitted to criminal actions because he does not understand our laws. For example, he admitted to campaign expense violations because he thinks that the source of funds must be strictly from the campaign. Campaigns can be financed by many means including by the candidate himself.

Robert Mueller has indicted or secured guilty pleas from a total of 32 persons. Please note that Mueller is a Republican and highly respected by both parties.

Looking at all of the above, the Trump claim of “witch hunt” is ridiculous. He has a long history of shady practices (like Trump University) and he has illegally profited from his presidential status in several well-documented ways.

 

 

 

112. Mounting Pressure on Pres. Trump

28 Oct

Here is a list of significant persons that have been openly critical of and/or urged the termination of Trump’s presidency. My personal feeling is that he must be removed from office ASAP to stop the serious erosion of our laws and government.

* Congressmen:

US Representative Al Green(D): calls for impeachment.
Senator Bob Corker(R): says Trump “debases” our country and is untruthful.
Senator Jeff Flake(R): wrote anti-Trump book: Conscience of a Conservative
John McCain(R): negative comments and voted against recent bill.
Two Senators have voted against Trump health bill: Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

* Republican Past Presidents

George Bush(R) and his father: critical of Trump
(Dems, of course, have also been critical.)

* Others

Joe Scarborough (former US Rep.): turned independent and is critical.
George Will: critical of Trump and left GOP for independent.
Megyn Kelly: critical of Trump and left FOX for MSNBC
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: called Trump a “moron”
Tom Steyer, billionaire environmentalist calls for impeachment.

* Would not join Trump cabinet or staff after invitation: Numerous people. This is a serious problem because many gov positions are not filled. The office in-charge of sanctions is way under-staffed and so far has not implemented Russian sanctions (the deadline was Oct. 1). But then, Trump is not very enthusiastic about this.

* Artists who would not play at Trump Inauguration:
At least a dozen, including Elton John.

* Just in: Special Counsel Robert Mueller is starting to issue indictments to Trump associates. This, of course, is the most frightening pressure.
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Not to be too negative, there is support from one party:
David Duke of the KKK