Tag Archives: political news

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.

 

 

 

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115. Voting in Desperate Times

1 Jul

Our democracy ordinarily works in wonderful ways, but as the founding fathers anticipated, could be corrupted. It is now on a dangerous path. Republicans and their top leaders (Trump, McConnell, Ryan, etc.) are quite willing to sacrifice our ideals, integrity, and world leadership, to survive, and to support their wealthy patrons. The “desperate times” are caused by the factors described below.

In order for Republicans to survive, they feel that they must tell lies, create havoc, and engage in ruthless character assassination. An example is the many repetitions of the investigation of Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, which NEVER resulted in significant findings. The basic reason why Republicans must lie is that they cannot say “vote for us, so that our extremely rich donors can be made even richer.” They fool people by saying that their financial programs will help the middle class, but history shows that they do not. The often used “trickle-down” concept is not supported by fact (even the Pope stated this).

Below I will discuss voting, but it is important to first really define the Republican problem so that the urgency will be apparent. Here is a list of current and future dangers:

1. Alienation of our long-standing and faithful allies (example: NATO and G7 members) in favor of Russian Putin and other ruthless dictators. Difficult international decisions are best made with the support of allies.
2. Encouragement of racism through lies and false data. On two occasions, Trump provided some support for Neo-Nazis, saying “some were very fine people.”
3. Creating an ultimately unfavorable world trade policy, that is not good for us and creates world leadership openings for China and Russia. All of Trump’s tariffs were countered by foreign equivalents. The final result was a loss of many USA jobs. 
4. Shattering our reputation for honesty. World leaders never know where we stand because Trump frequently and impulsively keeps changing his mind.
5. Judicial appointments are based primarily on loyalty to Trump rather than appropriate reputation and experience.
6. Failure to seriously deal with Russian attacks on our election system and also Republican gerrymandering, voter suppression, and other election scams.
7. Failure to separate politics from the functioning of the FBI and other agencies. Inane attacks on the FBI will have long-term effects on its important functioning.
8. Abolishing government regulations that protect us from various forms of pollution, and from financial scams that are often aimed at the elderly and those poorly educated.
9. Degrading government agencies that were established to improve international relations and decisions, such as the State Department.
10. Failure to fill important offices. We lack ambassadors, judges, agency leaders and experts, etc. Republicans want to blame the Democrats, but there is a failure to present nominations, and those nominated are often unqualified and simply Trump sycophants.
11. Disorganized border procedures keep worsening and are establishing rules that will negatively affect border policy for many years. Desperate decent people that are seeking asylum are locked up like criminals and have had their children taken away. It is well-known that certain Latin American countries have been essentially taken over by criminal gangs, and that decent people have needed to escape. Some of the money spent on their jailing could have been spent on helping these desperate countries.
12. Failure to support the problem of climate-change. This could be the most serious problem in the list. Eventually millions of people may die, and the mass migrations due to changes in rainfall patterns, could be horrendous.
13. Policies that negatively affect education and science can ultimately have serious harmful effects. Every nation needs educated people and will benefit from scientific research. Republicans fear education because knowledgeable voters will see through their schemes. Science is discouraged because some manufacturers may lose a little money in doing the right thing.
14. Future Supreme Court justices could be disreputable Trump loyalists that will create laws that a majority of Americans don’t want.
15. Corruption of the Census rules likely will eliminate non-citizens from being counted. This will have a negative political impact.
16. In general, current USA policies emerge from impulsive, simplistic decisions – often by Tweets. Frequently there is little study of all possible outcomes and all relevant factors when a decision is made. The traditional and effective process for making decisions based on hearings and the knowledge of experts is ignored. An example of poor judgment is the very biased tax-cut bill, which will affect infrastructure repair and other important programs. Trump’s advisors are mostly his friends, relatives, and yes-men rather than experienced leaders in relevant fields.

Now that the very real dangers have been described, we know that the most effective way (not the only way) to deal with all these long-term dangers is by voting Trump and Republicans out of office. Voting is critical.

Voting is so important now, that we must consider certain factors. It is sad to say that voting is often based on superficial subjective features like appearance, familiarity, religion, attractiveness, speaking voice, appearance of strength, etc.
We must choose candidates that will get maximum votes.
Of course, candidates must also be intelligent, well-educated, reliable, and supportive of the best policies.
What to avoid in getting maximum votes:
1. A certain number of people will not vote for those with foreign names and accents.
2. People that appear weak. Many voters require an appearance of physical strength.
3. People that lack charisma and a really fluent speaking ability.
4. I hate to say it, but a tall, white, Christian, articulate man is optimal. No one in the USA will reject someone like this, but someone lacking some or all of these features will definitely lose some votes.

A final thought:
I must admit that when the leading Democrat candidates for the presidency were Hillary and Barack, I was worried. Still, it was a great joy for me when Barack Obama emerged, and overcame these petty limitations. (I would also have been very happy with Hillary C.)
There are some really good trends now that hopefully will prevail. For example, women are more and more capable of getting votes. I see really good leadership ability in women like Elizabeth Warren. 

113. Do Good Candidates Make Good Officials?

13 Mar

For several years, I have been concerned about the nature of our USA election process. The traits that promote election, are not necessarily the same as those required for good governing. Successful candidates can have any or all of the following:  1. rich donors,  2. a powerful appearance,  3. an ability to convincingly lie and exaggerate,  4. an ability to say what people want to hear, such as subtle racism or anti-science sentiment.
Emerging from this process may be leaders lacking necessary experience, temperament, intellect, and/or decision-making skills. Focus is often on pleasing wealthy donors, instead of making life better for our citizens. The recent “tax reform” bill is an example of this.
Our current election process was formed by legislation, judicial decisions, and by questionable traditions. It needs revision.  We could start with election campaign laws such as those giving rich donors almost complete control over the election process. It would also help to have more voter education. There are no easy ways to reform elections, but we should at least make every effort to do this.

80. Dirty Tricks Win Election

13 Dec

A number of actions occurred during the recent U.S. election process that can be classified as dirty tricks — and led to the Trump win. Here are the most important:
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1. Suppression of voters resulting from Republican state-government legislation. One method was to decrease the number of voting days, which caused a decrease in minority voting. A Republican supreme court recently abolished rules to control voter suppression laws and red state governments rapidly took advantage of this.
.                        THE FBI DIRECTOR WAS A REPUBLICAN
2. Republican FBI director Comey interfered with the election process. The first problem was his assessment of Hillary as “extremely careless.” He has no baseline, no data from other similar officials, to make this conclusion. Maybe if other leaders were examined in detail, they would have been worse. The next problem was his announcement of an additional email investigation, 11 days before the election — violating agency rules. Comey and many FBI officials are Republicans. It is well established that there were FBI-agent leaks and excessive investigative actions.
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3. Russian hacking influence. All the major U.S. intelligence agencies agree that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee. They then chose to release a number of private emails by high ranking Democrat officials. There was nothing illegal in the emails, but private conversations can be misinterpreted in a negative way.
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4. Hillary was dogged by numerous unjustified congressional investigations, which ultimately led to nothing.
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5. Women that Hillary’s husband had affairs with were paraded in the audience during one of the debates.
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6. Online web sites that pretended to be valid news sources spread lies about Hillary and her campaign. This was a serious problem, as many voters get most of their info from such social Internet sources.

             VOTE FOR US SO THAT WE CAN BECOME EVEN RICHER

In addition to the “tricks”, Trump lied about many facts, painting a terrible picture of the Democrat candidate. One of the most ridiculous lies was that Hillary initiated the Pres. Obama “birther” movement. He also said that Pres. Obama founded ISIS. Some of the lies were later retracted, but they still had an effect. Trump’s lying exceeds everyone else that has run for major office, but he belongs to a party that has a major lie as a premise: if you lower taxes for very rich people, and make them even richer, somehow the extra money will “trickle down” to the rest of us. There is a history of lowering taxes for the very rich, which shows that the “trickling” does not happen. They get richer and we stay the same. Even the Pope pointed this out. They can’t be honest and say: vote for us so that we can become even richer. There are many other similar GOP lies.

                      YES !  HILLARY WON BY 2.5 MILLION VOTES
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If you combine the small effects of each the “dirty tricks” and lies, you have enough influence to shift the election from Hillary to Trump. Remember that voting was very close in the swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — and that Hillary actually won the popular vote by 2.5 million — YES !! 2.5 million more citizens voted for Hillary than Trump. This will go down in history as the greatest injustice in the U.S. history of presidential elections. I hope members of the electoral college will change their votes accordingly. The future of our country and others could be markedly affected by this outcome.

79. Heroes of Trump Attacks

8 Dec

I think we need a special medal, maybe called “The Peoples Medal of Honor”, for those who criticized Donald Trump and were personally attacked by him (or his associates).
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The latest of these is Union Chief Chuck Jones who corrected the number of Carrier Co. jobs not moved (saved) to Mexico. Trump simply makes up facts in attacking Jones: “He has done a terrible job representing workers …. no wonder companies flee country.” Both of these statements by Trump have absolutely no objective basis — just made-up ideas to suit his needs. If Trump has no facts to prove his point, he just makes them up.

.                                                         Truth  Matters
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Other heroes include: the Khan family (gold star parents of war hero), many major Republican leaders, members of the press, Hillary Clinton, Judge G. Curiel, news anchor Megyn Kelly, and numerous others. Megyn Kelly is a special hero for having endured endless inane attacks by Trump supporters. (I disliked Kelly for many years, simply because of her association with Fox, but now I like her and admire her bravery.) Remember, he even criticized John McCain, a POW war hero, for getting caught !!! How can Trump be trusted to deal with foreign leaders. NATO allies are already worried about his leadership.
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Just after Trump’s election, I was hopeful that he would become more responsible and cause only a minimal amount of damage to USA prestige and effectiveness. His meeting with Pres. Obama was encouraging. But gradually this optimism disappeared as I saw the continuation of his petty revenge actions, and as he gradually filled his administration positions with “yes-men” and bizarre misfits. He clearly is more concerned with loyalty and control rather than the good of our country, at least at this point. There is still some slight hope that when he actually becomes president, he will make mostly reasonable decisions.

  Let’s Fight Trump’s “THEATER” with our own more noble theater.
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But getting back to our heroes, I fantasize a special USA national organization for those attacked by Trump, with regular meetings for the presentation of “The Peoples Medal Of Honor.” All medal presentations would be delayed for six months to exclude victims who later become Trump “yes-men”. This of course is a fantasy, but I want to emphasize the importance of counteracting Trump using his own methods. Let’s fight Trump’s “theater” with our own more noble theater. We must find ways of supporting, publicizing, and rewarding our hero critics.

77. Reflections Post-Elections

10 Nov
I am mostly concerned here with reasons for the Democrat losses.
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There is a tendency to blame the president for everything that happens to the country. Hillary was viewed by many as an extension of Pres. Obama, who was wrongly blamed for a lack of progress, even though it was mostly GOP obstructionism that was at fault.
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It is hard to prove, but the Democrat loss could be the result of FBI Director Comey pronouncements at critical times.  The first problem was his assessment of Hillary as “extremely careless.”  He has no baseline for comparison.  Maybe if other leaders were examined in detail, they would have been worse.  The next problem was his announcement of additional email investigation, 11 days before the election — violating agency rules.  The election was very close, and without Comey’s electioneering Hillary might have won.  Comey and many FBI officials are Republicans.  It is well established that there were FBI-agent leaks and excessive investigative actions.
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I really like Hillary, but I felt from the beginning that she was not the best choice in the primaries.  Hillary is a popular person, has a good organization, and would make a good president, but subjectively, does not fit the picture that most people have of a powerful leader.  The primary process does not always work in the best way, and we need to figure out how to improve it.
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It is not her fault, but an old woman is going to appear weak compared to an old man.  Leaders just have to look strong.  Her husband once said that it is better to be strong than right.  I really think she could have done better, 20 years younger.
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Another factor is that Hillary is a good speaker, but not a great one like her husband and Pres. Obama.  Her answers about emails and other issues were OK but could have been  better.
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Hillary may have spent too much time criticizing Trump and not enough time detailing her plans for America.  She could have presented charts comparing herself with Trump on major points.
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Republicans were very clever in repeating investigations and negative characterizations almost continuously for the entire time of her presidential candidacy.  If a large group of people keep saying that you are bad, even if not true, it can have an effect.
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Many people have rigid beliefs that interfere with good judgment.  They often start with a simple belief that Republicans are good and Democrats are bad.  Then if you want change, you are stuck with Trump as the only Republican that really promotes new ways.
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The press, in their efforts to make money, tend to cover exciting people like Trump, more that reliable people like Hillary.  There also seemed to be a fear factor: reporters often avoided asking Trump the really important questions and instead focused on insults and revenge.  Really challenging Trump could banish you from certain types of coverage, and/or you could suffer other effects of infamous vengeance.
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It is sad to say, most people everywhere, here and abroad, do not have the ability to tell truth from fiction, do not really research candidates, and rely on biased sources of info, such as Fox News.  Only a small percentage of the population has the ability to process election facts and info, and to draw the best conclusions.
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I am not going to add much on problems going forward with Trump’s leadership.  But one thing really stands out in my mind, and that is the re-writing of history.  If Trump or his administration makes a mistake, he will simply deny or change the facts to make it look like someone else’s fault (judging from past strategies).  Or he will intimidate agencies to alter their data and/or analyses.  This could keep him and destructive governmental leaders  in power indefinitely.  Rich donors and leaders (our USA royalty class) are firmly entrenched in our society, now, and probably well into the future.

74. Best Hillary Endorsement

2 Nov
Hillary Clinton, candidate for President, has received numerous excellent endorsements.  To name only a few endorsers:  President and Mrs. Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and even ex-President Bush may be voting for her.  And all the major endorsers have done so with enthusiasm. (Most of Trump’s endorsements by elected officials were apathetic.)
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But to me, the most impressive and meaningful endorsement comes from an unlikely source. In an interview by Rachel Maddow, Libertarian Party Vice President candidate Bill Weld says “She deserves to have people vouch for her other than members of the DNC, so I’m here to do that.” An endorsement from a competing party candidate is remarkable. He also says that the FBI examination of her emails is “incomprehensible and there’s nothing there”.  When I first saw an interview of the Libertarian candidates, I felt that Bill Weld was the more capable of the two.
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Furthermore, regarding the release of Comey’s investigation information, Weld says:  “I have on my former Justice Department hat. And I’m outraged by what’s going on here because it’s such a violation of Justice Department policies [and] procedures.”  This is wonderful support for Hillary and justly accuses Director Comey of electioneering.
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I have followed the entire career of Hillary Clinton and fully trust her to do a good job as President.   None of the accusations made by Republicans has merit — it’s all distortions of unfortunate events and normal mistakes that anyone would make.  You could look at the life of any Republican leader in great detail and find actions that can be interpreted in a sinister way.  And what great strength is shown by Hillary in fending off all the insults and running a very vigorous campaign.
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