Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Follow The Money" to Get Rid of Trump and Co.

"Follow the money" — a  still shot of Deep Throat in All The President's Men. See video at:
All the President's Men (8/9) Movie CLIP - Deep Throat (1976) HD - Duration: 2:33. Movieclips 28,971 views 

The advice is still as good as it was in the Watergate episode when Deep Throat whispered it to Bob Woodward in a shadowy parking garage over 40 years ago: 
                                  "Follow the money."

With Trump and Co. the advice is even more pertinent because Trump and Co. are supremely motivated by money, whereas Nixon's crimes arose from his desire to preserve his power.

As I've said before, Trump and Family view the White House as their own cash register. Ka-ching, it goes! Music to their ears, as money flows into Trump golf courses and hotels because of his presidency.

But that stuff is comparatively chump change. So is Trump's daughter's line of expensive gim-crackery jewelry, etc. and her newly-acquired brand protections in China. So is Jared Kushner's sister's attempt to peddle American visas using the Trump status. 

The real money is off-shore. Way off-shore. It's in Trump dealings with Azerbaijania and Moscow and Ukraine and Cyprus. It's in the billions being laundered by the Trumps for the Moscow/New York Mafia and for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. It's in the loans given the Trumps by Russian banks when US banks would no longer pony up after being burned repeatedly by Donald Trump's business practices and Jared Kushner's recklessly paying double the going price for Manhattan real estate footage.

Donald Trump is not a big businessman. He's a crooked one. His favorite ploy is like that depicted in the wonderful Mel Brooks' comedy "The Producers", in which a down-and-out Broadway producer and his accountant raise far more money than their latest production, "Springtime for Hitler", requires. "Springtime"is carefully designed to be a sure-fire failure so it can close after the first night and be declared a bankruptcy, while Producers Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder walk off with all the money they raised and didn't spend.

That's how Trump has managed casinos and hotels. He borrowed bigtime to create hotels and casinos. Then he stiffed the guys who built the projects and the suppliers who sold him the construction materials. He stiffed the little working guys too and the people who helped the facilities function. He pocketed the money he had been loaned to pay these people and then declared bankruptcy so he could walk away with the banks' money.

He also stiffed his attorneys in the flock of lawsuits brought on by his crooked ways. In fact a New York attorney was laughing his head of on MSNBC last week at the news that Trump is lawyering up. "Not in New York City", the attorney said. "The word is out on him in the New York legal community that he stiffs his attorneys."

Want an amazing example of Trump's crookedness? This involves not only crooked business practices re raising money on false pretenses, but violates at least three major federal laws: dealing with the forbidden Iranian Revolutionary Guard, money laundering, and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This last not only carries huge fines, but unlike most white-collar crime, also carries stiff prison sentences. Read about this huge Trump-brand hotel and why it never opens because of its criminal parentage.

Donald Trump's Worst Deal - The New Yorker  (Also see footnote below.)

Trump's "worst deal", this pictured Azerbaijanian project, not only violated various business laws but also constituted a form of treason. As the New Yorker article explains, the Azerbaijanian hotel deal involved the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. This gang of hoods not only controls Iran's oil proceeds but is the godfather of the Iranian nuclear bomb efforts. Trump is footsie with people designing a nuclear weapon with our name on it. Further, Americans are expressly forbidden to do business with Iran about oil, this being one of the sanctions that drove Iran to agree to halt development of a nuclear weapon.  

Playing footsie with these Iranian guys is clearly aiding and abetting an enemy of the United States. Trump is supporting a force that threatens our very survival. He is a traitor. 

And it's all for money.

That will be his undoing. Money dealings leave paper trails. They have to because the crooks don't trust each other. Money trails are harder to defend against than the "he said v. they said" of witness testimony in, for example, collusion trials. Hopefully one or more of the current investigations, including the one by the fraud unit of the Treasury Department, will indeed follow the money.

Ka-ching may thus turn to Ka-clunk, the latter being the sound of the closing of a prison door.

It is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

FOOTNOTE: The excellent article in the New Yorker referred to here — "Donald Trump's Worst Deal" — came out in March. The mainstream print media saluted it, but it got little traction on TV or social media. No investigators or Trump critics have made anything of it. Perhaps it's a little too complicated for them. But not for us, right! Because we know that the more complicated the coverup, the bigger the underlying crime. In due course this chicken will come all the way home from Azerbaijania to roost on Trump. I wrote about this "worst deal" once before and will do so again. 

This money must be followed.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Kushner Proposal Is Treasonous?

Trump's security chiefs H.R. McMasters and John Kelly went on TV  this past week to proclaim that Jered Kushner's proposed "back channel", as they termed it, was "a good thing", a useful way for "governments to communicate discreetly".


Kushner wasn't proposing an ordinary "back channel". Such are indeed useful, JFK having used one to Krushev so as to avoid nuclear war in the Cuban missile crisis. 

But as George W. Bush's State Department adviser Elliot Cohen says,“There’s no way that it can be appropriate to say, ‘I want to use a hostile government’s communications system to avoid our government knowing anything about it.’ ”  As White House defends Kushner, experts criticize his alleged back-channel move

What Kushner proposed was a "covert" channel for the Trump familyIt was to have nothing to do with our government. That's why it was to originate in the Russian embassy and go from there to the Kremlin. This was Kushner's idea of how to keep our government from knowing anything about what was going on. The ignoramus hadn't learned or even suspected that the US government monitors every message going in or out of the Russian embassy. 

Why distrust our own government but trust the Russians? A senior State Department official has raised that point: Kushner's effort shows "that the Trump team had less trust in the American government than in a foreign adversary that undermined our election. And the million-dollar question then becomes: What was so urgent and so sensitive that the president needed it to be handled this way? Every explanation offered so far has been wholly unsatisfying.” 
On December 1 and 2, the dates of Kushner's alleged proposal, the Obama administration was still in office, but what was Kushner trying to hide from them? By December 1, Obama had smacked Russia with additional sanctions beyond those imposed for aggression in the Ukraine and Crimea. These new sanctions were for interfering with our election. Did Kushner want to hide discusssion of the Trump role in this interference?

Or was it about illict family business? 

How do we know the proposed discussions may have involved Trump family business and not our government's business? 

Here's the tip-off. The embassy link was supposed to also connect Kushner with the Russian bank virtually run by Putin and on a US list of  Russian players who are sanctioned.

So it's obvious this wasn't a traditional back channel to do government business. There is no USA government business conceivable that would have included that proscribed bank. 

What is very troubling is that McMasters and Kelly, the very tippy-top of Trump's intelligance advisory team, are so dumb they didn't spot this. 

Or are they so devoted to being Trump's puppets that they will say anything to cover for their boss?

Either way, we have to get rid of Trump and His Gang That Can't Shoot Straight.

Because, my friends, we are talking about national security. We need smart security people and not just dummies or puppets. 

Howard Dean was on a Sunday talk show, pointing out that this Kushner proposal would be a "covert" operation dedicated to the Trump family, not a back channel for diplomacy. May we please have Howard Dean as president? Or Bernie Sanders? Or six others I can think of. All of them smart. And all loyal to the USA.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Fool Me Twice? Is the Krushner Story a Russian Hoax?

Maybe you too have wondered for a moment about the validity of the story that Trump's son-in-law wanted a covert channel to the Kremlin via the equipment in the Russian embassy. After all, we apparently know about this because the Russian ambassador in D.C. told Moscow about it via the Russian embassy equipment while the US was listening in. 

Did the Russian ambassador plant the story in order to throw our wildly confused government into even greater disarray? 

We know the Russians fed then-FBI director James Comey a fake report last summer, claiming the then-Attorney General had secretly pledged Hillary Clinton would not be indicted for her email carelessness and violation of rules. As a result, Comey felt obliged to exclude the Attorney General from the Clinton matter and on his own hook announced Clinton had been careless but nothing more. 

You know the rest: he rescinded that conclusion when he found out that some of her emails had been forwarded to the laptop of her aide's disgusting and perverted husband, he of the unfortuante but apt name of Anthony Weiner. Even though the investigation closed again a few days before the election, the Hillary forces maintain the non-fruitful reopening cost her the election.  (See footnote as to this being incorrect.)

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Has Russia fooled us again? 

Two things made me wonder. First, why are we only learning of the Krushner matter now? It supposedly happened last December 1 or 2. Since we monitor the Russian embassy constantly (that's how the FBI caught Michael Flynn), why has this even more startling Kushner story taken so long to emerge? It consists of what the Russian ambassador supposedly relayed to the Kremlin, i.e. we have only his word for it as far we now know.

Second, why would the Russian ambassador relay the story to the Kremlin via equipment he surely knew was tapped? If he didn't already suspect it, he damn well should have. He is tightly enough wrapped into the Russian espionage establishment to know that we monitor all the embassy communications. Discussing Kushner's proposal on monitored equipment makes it seem that the ambassador  wanted us to know what Kushner was up to.

In politics you always ask why? Why does the other guy do something. What does he want? Why would Russia feed us a fake story making us think the worst of the family member closest to the president and virtually in charge of everything going on in the Oval Office?

That question sort of answers itself. To sow discord, suspicion and distress in rival goverments is a pretty effective thing to do. Look at the mileage the Russians got from hacking the Democratic National Committee and playing into the Clinton email mess. The United States, the world's oldest and strongest democracy, is now looking a bit punch-drunk.

I think there's some reason to be cautious about anything connected with Russia over which they had control, such as the control they had here in letting this story supposedly leak from their embassy-to-Kremlin comunications. They could have sent this information by diplomatic pouch and it would have been absolutely secure. So why was it going over a transmission system they knew we were monitoring?

Our problem is we don't really know what the Russian stakes are in their relationship with Trump. What's their ultimate goal? 

If it's to have the sanctions removed that are strangling the Russian economy, then their best course would seem to be to allow Trump sufficient status and credibility to remove those sanctions, not look like a dithering idiot in league with Russia as against US interests. 

Keeping Trump in power to undo the sanctions seems to me to be a far more valuable goal than making the Trump & Co cortege look bad. Why falsely make his son-in-law look like a traitor when you can use the son-in-law to rescue your country's economy and save Putin from being tossed out by a suffering populace?

Well, I know which road I'd take if I was Putin. 

But I'm not Putin. 

And I am really glad of that because I wouldn't want a ride like this!

Watch this video and get a good laugh! We need all the laughs we can get these days!   Putin on the Ritz
_______________FOOTNOTE: Clinton's loss of the presidency cannot be explained by Comey's opening and closing of the email investigation. Her poll numbers were sinking before he reopened the investigation. She was already toast. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Trump Team Appearance of Treason: Is Money the Motive?

This week's Friday night block-buster was a double-header. The first news to break was that Trump son-in-law and White House power, Jared Kushner, tried in early December to set up a secret "back channel" to Russia — now get this! — with him talking from the Russian embassy. He proposed to the Russian ambassador that he be allowed to use the Russians' equipment so as to be secure from US surveillance. He wanted to talk to the Kremlin and to a bank run by Putin that's under US sanctions. 

(The second part of the double-header, reported 5 minutes later, was that the Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the Trump team for all campaign emails, phone records, and documents from the Trump campaign going back to its beginning in 2015. This is highly significant but let's hold off on it for now.)

The Kushner revelation is stunning. No one of any rank in D.C. or the media can recall such a flagrant disregard of the strictures against sneaking into the arms of a US adversary the way Kushner proposed. In a lame attempt at push-back, today the Trump puppet national security adviser, H.R. McMasters said he "wouldn't be concerned" about back-channel communications but noted he was speaking "in general" and then refused to comment on the Kushner matter. 

In fact, he did some self-protective distancing: "It's not something I have been involved with or have any knowledge  of."

Why in heaven's name would someone in Kushner's position make such a bizarre and traitorous-appearing move? By early December hadn't President Obama just announced that the Russians had tried to interfere with our election? Hadn't he just smacked them with more sanctions on top of the ones he imposed because of their invading Ukraine and the Crimea? Russia is certainly our adversary, to use the polite term for an enemy we are not actaully at war with. Sure, Trump has shown he's too stupid to weigh the appearance or substance of what he does, but is the son-in-law that stupid too?

Probably not. But I suggest that he has a very strong motive that would blind him to the an outcry that his proposal may be traitorous. That powerful motive is money. 

As I've written before, the White House is the Trump family's idea of a big cash register, ringing a constant "ka-ching" for the family fortune. Even as I write Trump is raking in money from a major golf tournament at one of his courses, and one of his sons is boasting what "a great marketing job" it was booking the event there. 

Why talk to a Russian bank on a secure line that is protected from surveillance by your own government?  Gosh, doesn't the word "money" come to mind when your hear "bank"?  And don't you want to be "secure" from anyone knowing you're dealing with forbidden entities?

I suspect that the Trump family and their cohorts have simply sold themselves to Russia. They are not traitors of the usual persuasion, i.e. idealogically driven.  Nor are they like the spies in John LeCarre's books, honey-trapped by women or black-mailed for their tawdry ways.  Naw, they're just your usual prostitutes, people who  
will do anything for money.

What did the Russians get, or hope to get, in return? Pretty big stuff, actually. The lifting of sanctions isn't just so Russia can regain some kind of respect. It's survival. With oil prices way, way down for years, the Russians have hit very hard times. Oil is virtually their only export. With sanctions further strangling Russian trade, their economy is on the verge of collapse.

And for people who have had a burst of prosperity, as the Russians did when oil prices were up, a return to poverty is doubly hard to take. They are going to punish someone.

Most likely it will be Putin. He knows that. Elections are next year in Russia. And so he wants those sanctions gone. That's why Michael Flynn was talking to the Russians about the sanctions when the US "listeners" caught him while eavesdropping on the Russian embassy. 

If Flynn, Kushner, and others of the Trump team have been conspiring to undercut a measure adopted by our federal government to punish and curtail an "adversary", i.e. the sanctions against Russia, that sure looks like traitorous activity.

Maybe we are indeed going to celebrate the centennial of the 1917 Espionage Act by enforcing it against the highest ranks in the White House.

Do you think the Trumps might lend their brand to a "Trump Prison"? 

If the price is right?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Trump's Pushing and His Montana Man's Body-Slamming.

 Only six month ago, this is what our president and vice-president were like. They didn't shove or attack people. Their hands were for comforting, for greeting, for support.

Contrast with Trump yesterday at NATO in the moment of shoving the leader of Montenegro out of his way so that he — the almighty Trump — can be in the front of the group picture. and scroll to see the pushing in progress)

J.K. Rowling said of this atrocious moment, "You tiny, tiny, tiny little man."

Brave little Montenegro and its leader had defied Russia in order to join NATO. This was the first meeting of NATO Montenegro attended. Here Trump steps in for Russia and pushes Montenegro around. No wonder Trump admires Russia. It too is a bully-boy.

Our revulsion at his violence and bullying in politics will be Donald Trump's signature legacy as president. 

During the campaign he encouraged his followers to beat up on protesters and the news media. As of Wednesday night that's exactly what the GOP candidate in Montana did. He body-slammed a reporter and pummeled him ..... for asking questions! 70% of the vote had already been cast, so he paid no price at the polls. He is, however, headed to court on a criminal charge of misdeamenor assault. But that doesn't right this wrong! Throwing him out of office next year is also required.

He was smothering one of our freedoms. Asking questions is what the press does in a democracy. Freedom of the press certainly includes freedom from being beat up by the politicos. We have got to protect the press because freedom of the press is our freedom. It's our freedom to know.

At almost the same time as this disgrace in Montana, Donald Trump — the instigator of bullying in politics — was shoving the leader of Montenegro. 

I never thought that I would live to see violence like this in American politics. What's next? Brown Shirts? Jack-boots. Goose-stepping?

We have to get rid of this and not just from the arena of politics. We have to get rid of the support it has in 30% of our people, based in their ignorance and hate-filled resentment and racism. The healing of these people will take time, but unless we rid ourselves of the disgusting and dangerous examples of Trump and that Montana man, the job of purging it from our society will get only harder.

Our presidents all the way back through my 81 years have never behaved like Trump. They were all good and classy men. We could be proud of them. Let's look again at the opening picture of the leadership that was ours just six months ago.

I feel like calling out to them as they go through the door, "No wait! Don't go! We desperately need you!"

I am broken-hearted this evening. Can we ever set this right?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump's Wrong! Here's Heartland America on the Rise!

Here's the real America — heartland America — getting great again without Donald Trump and his hate-filled ideas. Read this and be encouraged. America is still America. Innovative, community-based, full of initiative. As the longshoreman/philosopher Eric Hoffman said 50 years ago, "You can put a group of Americans on the side of a mountain and they would form a successful community."

From Thomas Friedman in the NY Times: Opinion | A Road Trip Through Rusting and Rising America


               Thomas L. Friedman A Road Trip Through Rusting and Rising America   

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dumb and Dumber: Flynn and Trump Share Today's Spotlight

Let's start with Donald Trump.

Today he hit the bottom of the "dumbness" barrel. He stood in front of TV cameras in Israel and emphatically proclaimed to the world that he had NOT mentioned the name of Israel when telling the Russians about the spy secrets he knew.  He didn't, he emphasized, identify Israel as his source.

Well, nobody official had yet revealed that the source was Israel. So far it's only been "leaked".

Until Trump shot off his big mouth in front of those TV cameras in Israel.

Now it's official: the USA will betray its spy allies at the drop of a hat. Or even without the drop of a hat. And then acknowledge doing so.

Israel's leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, looked stunned for the flicker of a moment. He probably had already figured out that Trump is a dumb bunny, but the depth of the dumbness was still startling. He seemed unable to look at Trump, as if afraid he'd break out in a guffaw.

One of Israeli's big shots had just finished an on-camera interview, explaining to someone at CNN that Israel still is a best buddy with the US in sharing intelligence. As one who is repeating Israel's official stance, he can say that, but it doesn't mean his espionage service or that of any other country will feel comfortable hereafter sharing with us. Probably they will need assurances that Trump will never see their stuff or know where it came from.

In other words, don't let the three-year-old carry the lighted kerosene lamp.


Now for Michael Flynn as the other half of Dumb and Dumber.

Except he is dumb in the old sense of going silent. In fact, — unlike Trump — he is playing it smart by shutting up. Today his attorneys informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that Flynn is invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and will not conform to their subpoena for his records.

Flynn is probably waiting for an offer of immunity from the FBI in exchange for becoming an informant. The Senate Committee could offer him immunity but it might not cover as broad a reach of naughtiness as the FBI is turning up.

Alternatively, the Senate Committee might not offer him anything. The FBI has probably asked the House and Senate investigating committees to refrain from providing immunity to any of the participants in the Trump & Co/Russian affair.  Why make the FBI's job harder?

So Michael Flynn is smart to dumb up until the FBI makes him an offer he can't refuse. And if the FBI doesn't want to bargain with him, he will at least have avoided convicting himself out of his own mouth.

Which is something his former boss — Donald Trump — has never learned. Trump went on camera and identified Israel as his source. He went on camera only a week ago and told Lester Holt he fired Comey because he wanted to stop the FBI investigation. He brags on a bus to a casual acquaintance about sexually assaulting women. He is a serial confessor of bad acts!

Maybe he'll make a real confession to the Pope?  (Don't hold your breath.)

In the ranking implied by the words "dumb and dumber", clearly one of the Flynn/Trump duo is stupider.

Can you figure out which one?


Friday, May 19, 2017

Mueller's Probe MUST Block Some Public Knowing

Don't be alarmed when you hear that there is a downside to Robert Mueller's being named to investigate Trump.

The appointment of Mueller as special counsel is a huge step forward, though it comes at a bit of a price. Because Mueller is conducting a criminal prosecution, complete with a grand jury, we will not know all that his investigation uncovers unless such results in an indictment. Grand jury proceedings are secret and kept under wraps.

Further, those Mueller may call as witnesses, or who think they may be called,  have to be careful not to give testimony in other forums, such as a Congressional hearing, that can be used against them. Therefore, witnesses in front of any Congressional committees will be tight-lipped.

Also keep in mind that any evidence that gets made public from Mueller's investigation has to have been part of a scenario which has met the high bar of being adequte evidence for a criminal prosecution. This is a much higher test than that used in impeachment proceedings, the latter being a political procedure and not a criminal one. 

We will therefore possibly end up knowing a somewhat limited amount about the shenanigans of Trump and Co. (Or it could be a lot.)

But the alternative to Mueller's investigation was worse. It was extremely clear that the GOP-controlled investigative committees were going nowhere and doing it slowly. Further, Trump was actively influencing them. (Remember Rep. Devlin Nunes playing hide and seek in the dark on the White House grounds?) 

In fact, just before Mueller was appointed, House Speaker Paul Ryan and other hot-shot GOP were demanding that the just-fired FBI chief, James Comey, produce his notes memorializing Trump pressuring him to drop the investigation of Michael Flynn. The GOP was trying to switch from Trump to Comey the burden of being a bad guy who can't be believed on just his word. 

It certainly hasn't looked like the GOP was going to do anything meaningful about Trump.

By contrast, with Mueller in place, we at least have the prospect that someone may be criminally prosecuted. 

But is that what we want? Sort of. But don't we really want the whole truth a lot more? 

We want to know what the Russians did to our election process in 2016 and whether they had help from Trump's campaign. We also want to know what Trump's puzzling bond wih Putin actually consists of, i.e. has he been engaged in any treasonous-leaning relationship with Russia. Have any in his circle? With other countries, such as Turkey and Iran? Are his financial affairs wrapped into Russia, Azerbaijan or other countries inappropriately? Has he been money-laundering or even violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act? (Donald Trump's Worst Deal - The New Yorker)

There's more. But how much of this comes within the category of criminal? Something can be very bad but not be a crime. And not all crimes can be prosecuted because there may not be sufficient evidence.

The insufficient evidence of a crime is nevertheless evidence of a kind. It can still be adequate for impeachment. It can still be adequate for political punishment at the polls. 

The problem is that maybe we will never know about it. Mueller has to shield all evidence and witnesses that do not make up a prosecutable crime. 

Conceivably, Trump & Co. may get away with a lot, as far as Mueller's investigation goes. 

But the alternative was that Trump & Co were going to get away with everything. And also be free in the interim to destroy our democracy.

Can the GOP-run Congressional committees yet redeem themselves by having meaningful hearings so we can hear this other evidence? 

But why would they want to do anything any more? Things are fine for them now. Trump is now Mueller's problem, not theirs. They can smile and say, "It's all being taken care of."

Meantime Karma will likely get 'em anyway! Because Trump will go on being Trump and likely make more problems for the GOP Congress folks. They dined with the Devil and didn't use a long enough spoon. Now they are stuck with him.

Donald Trump is the gift that never stops giving. He will yet generate more than the GOP Congress can put a lid on. He's just too stupid to know what terrible jeopardy he is in now that hard-headed Mueller is running an investigation.

Just possibly Trump should be getting measured for a new suit. "You want that in stripes or in orange, Mr.Trump?"

NOTE: Keep in mind that other investigations and lawsuits are going on that may get into things Mueller doesn't. There are private suits against Trump and investigations by other federal agencies. Almost all of these are focussed on money questions and his investments. Most likely involve transactions on paper and are thus larely free of witnesses taking the Fifth.These suits and investigations may continue unabated and bear fruit, answering things Mueller doesn't. I'll write about them when I finish getting info on them. Meantime, smile. It ain't over till it's over! This horse has legs!


Fun Time! Trump's Traveling So Let's Have Some Laughs While We Can....

Here's a present for you. The nicest I could give anyone. Comedy is our answer to life and its weirdness.

Enjoy these fun clips while Trump is winging along in Air Force One and out of our hair for a while. (I shouldn't have mentioned hair?)


Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Special Counsel Means Trump Has Seven Choices

A sigh of relief: we have a Special Counselor, a man of good repute, to investigate Trump and Co. But what now from Trump? Will he do one or more of the following?

1. He can stay calm and try to show he is fit for the job, exuding quiet confidence that the Special Counsel's investigation will exonerate him and his campaign.

2. He can note the likelihood that his taxes and other financial secrets will be made public and therefore choose to resign because (a) he really isn't rich and doesn't want people to know the truth, or (b) he's been money laundering for Russia, et al, or (c) he did prohibited business with Iran's military (SEE: Donald Trump's Worst Deal - The New Yorker), or (d) all of the foregoing.

3. He could panic and shoot himself in yet another foot with yet another wild violation of the Constitution or an outrageous idiocy.

4. He could sink below panic into his normal obtuse arrogance and ignorance and continue screwing up America at home and abroad.

5. He could play the poor-me pathetic dictator and rouse his troops to violence against "the elites", (Trump Calls Himself the Victim of a ‘Witch Hunt’) calling himself the victim of the elites, i.e. people who know how to hold a fork and can read without moving their lips.

6. To retaliate against the grown-ups now moving in on him, he could launch a nuclear war just to "show them".

7. He may try to fire the Special Counselor.  (Soon I'll wrote about why he can't in reality.)

Well, what do you think he'll do?

I wonder what odds Vegas would give on these alternative scenarios.

In any event, welcome aboard, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, our new Special Counselor. The ship of state sure has needed you!

Monday, May 15, 2017

I Was Wrong About Trump. HE'S A DANGEROUS TRAITOR!

(Note: White House officials are now denying this happened. But can we ever trust them again? And who will our allies and our intelligence sources believe? The wording of the denial is the same non-denial/denial word game the Nixon White House played. Analysis The White House isn’t denying that Trump gave Russia classified information — not really )

So help me God, I started this post this morning before we knew about Trump giving classified information to the Russians. I used the same title, i.e. "I Was Wrong About Trump", referring to posts a couple of weeks ago:Why We No Longer Need Impeach Trump Nor Want To  and I'm Happy! Trump Is Just An Ignorant, Frightened M...

Now I have to admit I was wrong, and now add: "HE'S A DANGEROUS TRAITOR."

My text had originally begun with the following, "Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) appeared Friday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and spoke the essential truth: 'I think we ought to get to the bottom line here. President Trump is dangerous'.” Opinion The amateurish autocrat E.J Dionne Washington Post. 5-15-17. He was talking about Trump destroying our government.

We are beyond that now. We are beyond the danger Trump poses to our constitutional democracy and the rule of law. He is now endangering our national security and our safety.

His disclosures to the Russians in the Oval Office last week have destroyed one of our key secret sources of intelligence in the Middle East which was focused on ISIS, so important a source as to have warned us about bombs being put in laptops to be carried on planes.

He has also destroyed the confidence of all our sources of intelligence because they see now that can't trust us to keep our president's big mouth shut. He even gave the Russians the city in Syria where our source is located, that being sufficient information for Russia to figure out who our source is.

God help that poor agent, if he or she isn't already dead and the Russians perceive a threat to their Syria agenda.

If the GOP Senators don't take action now about Trump, they too are traitors.

If you think I am being melodramatic and if you have any aging relatives who worked in intelligence, ask them about this incident.

Here's the Washington Post story that just was published revealing Trump's act of treason: Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Why Trump Must Be Impeached

The article linked below says it all far better than I can. It is by the nation's leading authority on the Constitution, Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School.

I would only add two things.
(1) As long as the GOP in Congress think they can get their agenda done with Trump, they will keep him in power. They will also not dump him if he is still popular with the GOP voters. Last week 85% of GOP voters viewed him favorably. This was prior to his firing Comey. Though his rating with Independents is slipping, it's the GOP voters in next year's primaries who are of concern to incumbent GOP Congress members up for re-election. If GOP voters continue to like Trump, GOP candidates will be scared to go against him.

(2) Trump should also be impeached for his stupidity. As I pointed out in my two previous postings, he has been stupid and ignorant enough to blatantly commit obstruction of justice and then own up to it even after his staff hasd concocted a cover story that might have saved him. We can't have this stupid, ignorant egomaniac as president.

Please read this piece: Trump must be impeached. Here’s why.

Trump, the World's Dumbest Man, Shoots Self in Both Feet

“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.’ ”  Donald Trump in Lester Holt NBC interview 

With the enemy Donald Trump has, he doesn't need any friends. Because they can't do him any good. He is his enemy, his own worst enemy. Against him, his friends are powerless.

This past week, in the wake of his firing FBI Director James Comey, Trump's staff gallantly tried to protect him from legal repercussions, but he defied them and walked right into culpability for an impeachable offense and possibly jail time for the crime of obstruction of justice.

Immediately after the firing, the staff repeatedly told the media that Trump fired Comey because of a Department of Justice recommendation. This reason could negate a charge of obstruction of justice by showing Trump's motive had nothing to do with protecting himself from Comey's increasingly heated investigation of possible Trump campaign/Russian collusion in interfering in the 2016 election.

But ever the willful egotist, Trump defied his staff's protective efforts and went on NBC with Lester Holt to announce most forcefully that, all on his own, he had decided to fire Comey. President Trump's Full Interview With Lester Holt: Firing Of ...   In the very same sentence, he said it was  because he "told myself" that the Russian story was a fake and had gone on too long. (Also see  Comey’s firing shows White House problems go far beyond communications strategy)

Well, there you are. In referring to the Russian investigation Trump has enunciated a criminal motive for obstruction of justice. Out of the mouth of the idiot...

Help yourself, you folks on the coming impeachment panel in the House and you federal criminal prosecutors. Trump is serving up the case against himself. Smile and help yourselves to all you need.

He did the same thing and scuttled his own defense of the Muslim ban.  The courts used his prior anti-Muslim remarks to decide that the ban was unconstitutional. Because he actually voiced his anti-Muslim sentiment he provided a clear picture of his real intent.

Trump didn't understand why he kept losing his Muslim ban case in federal court. Nor does he understand that he just blew his best defense against obstruction of justice. He can't understand that he has to keep his mouth shut.

Someone in the White House apparently tried to explain the rudiments to him of the importance of motive in an obstruction case. Thus that odd sentence in Trump's letter firing Comey, i.e. Trump's claim that Comey had three times told him that he was not under FBI investigation. That looks like a rather feeble and awkward attempt to preclude the motive required for obstruction of justice. From that sentence, supposedly Trump knew he had nothing personal to fear from the investigation.

Is that peculiar sentence enough? Is it enough even now when Trump himself has publicly stated that ending the Russian investigation was his actual motive?

To believe Trump, a judge in this case would likely have to see some proof that Comey had given this reassurance to Trump. Then she'd have to consider whether Trump's asking three times was evidence that assurances weren't enough to preclude his having personal motive. She'd also have to wonder if he realized, or perhaps was told, at any point, that today's focus of an investigation can change tomorrow.  A judge wouldd also look at the fact he's bragging about having brought in "a very big team of the very, very best attorneys" to advise him. Even if they are not actually the very, very best, wouldn't they at least have told him that he can't rely on an investigation continuing to exclude him.

And what's a judge to think of Trump's asking Comey if the latter was loyal to him. What is it he fears that requires him to have Comey's "loyalty"? Is he afraid of the Russian investigation and this still has a motive to obstruct it?  And hasn't he made things even worse by tweeting that Comey had better be careful of what he now says because of what Trump may have taped of their conversations.

Whoa, Nellie! Isn't that intimidation of a potential witness?

We can never truly know what's in a person's mind regarding motive so — up to a point — the law allows us to infer motive from words and actions.  Frankly, I don't think there's a very big jump here to infer that Trump was scared to death by what Comey was doing and wanted it stopped and/or Comey gone.

If the issue goes to a House committee drafting articles of impeachment, the test of what constitutes sufficient evidence of motive is whatever the committee members say it is. The bar for proof is lower in the House than in a court because an impeachment proceeding is a political one, not a criminal one.

Anyway, it appears that Trump and his big mouth have caused him to shoot himself in one foot (the Muslim ban case) and then in the other foot (the firing of Comey).

Why does Trump do such stupid stuff? Because he can't help playing to his base. He thinks they want him to be the Lone Ranger who shot down Comey all on his own, not someone merely enforcing a recommendation from a department head. That'd be like the Lone Ranger taking orders from Tonto.

And Trump's right about the needs of his base. That's exactly the strong-man I-don't-need-no-stinkin'-badges persona that his deluded base wants. They feel helpless in a world wheeling out of their control. No more high-wage laboring jobs. No more white male supremacy. They can't even openly express disdain for groups they disdain.  Political correctness, equality, international trade, robots taking jobs. How do they fight such stuff?

They hire the Lone Ranger.

But this isn't the Old West. And Trump sure ain't no Lone Ranger.

In fact, Trump is just plain Lone. Tonto long ago went to college and then started his own techie company.

As soon as the GOP perceives big losses coming in the 2018 election, Donald Trump will be even more Lone. He will be so lone, that he will be a Hopalong Cassidy. Yeah, hopping along right out of the presidency by impeachement or loss of a second term in 2020 or being handcuffed and off to prison.

Hi Ho Silver for sure! Even "big fella" will have deserted Lone.

One more thing. Tonto made it big in tech, is now a Democrat, and contributes to political campaigns and environmental efforts. He's very happy and doesn't miss Lone at all.  His grandchildren have no idea what he's talking about regarding the "bad old days", but being Native American they have too much respect for their elders to discourage his speaking to them about anything, even about cow-catchers on steam trains. They consider it an honor. They are glad, however, that he didn't wear a mask in the old days.


Friday, May 12, 2017

What Trump Is Hiding

Whatever Trump is hiding must be serious because he has taken enormous risks to cover it up. In firing Comey, he committed an act inarguably punishable by impeachment. Firing the official investigating you is patently an obstruction of justice. The first article of impeachment againt Nixon was obstruction of justice.

There may be other, earlier acts by Trump to obstruct justice in the matters now under investigation, but this one was right out in front of God and everybody. It was brazen, to say the least. It was also crudely done in haste in an amazing whirl of White House confusion, with no coherent White House version of what it was all about. To everyone's astonishment Trump has even contradicted his own spokes-people as to whether he was following the recommendations of the Justice Department leadership or just following his own whim.

Ironically, if he wanted to create a furor that has legs he has certainly done it! But as some commentator has said, to avoid a scandal a bigshot may risk a furor.

This could become more than a furor, however.  Trump has actually chosen to risk prison, since obstruction of justice is also a jailable offense.

What's he hiding? It could be one of four things:

1. Treasonable collusion with the Russians to tip the election or do other anti-American acts.

2. More ordinary criminal acts like money-laundering. (Why is there a servor in Trump Towers connected to a Russian bank? Why has the Senate asked the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Treasury to investigate Trump's financial doings?)

4. Violating heavy duty laws against organized crime, e.g. (RICO) or doing business with overseas wrong-doers (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act).

3. Not being rich. This is not a crime, except in Trump's own propaganda about himself. If the investigation went after his money ties to Russian, his tax returns would likely become public especially now that his attormeys are claiming to have read them and that they include no Trump businesses in Russia. (Naive attorneys! Never heard of frontmen corporations?)

There's a fourth thing that may be motivating Trump's awkward, pathetically crude attempt to hide the truth. It may be that he's just too stupid to act other than he is acting. In other words, he isn't really hiding a crime nor hiding the fact he isn't rich. He's just an idiot who doesn't understand obstruction of justice, who genuinely doesn't understand that a president is not above the law and, most, of all does not understand that Donald Trump is not above the law. He may have fired Comey simply because the investigation into Russian interference in our election raises a spectre that Trump did not actually win the presidency fair and square. Trump wants that inference gone! He HAS to be seen as the big winner of the election. His ego requires that. So he wants the investigation ended.

Keep this in mind: the recurring theme in Trump's blatherings is his chest-beating about having won the presidency. He can't get over it. Winning is everything to him, and winning the presidency appears to have genuinely surprised him. More than that, it confirms this very insecure man's hype about how wonderful he is. He can start to believe his own propaganda.

No one must take this blue blanket of security away from him. He needs it. Desperately. He refers to it over and over. By contrast I can't recall any prior president publicly boasting of his win. Weirdly, Trump is still harping on it almost seven months after election day. (The day after I posted this the NY Times did a piece on this obsession of Trump's. Trump Still Seethes Over Lack of Credit for Election Win)

Whether he is now acting out of stupidity or in a deliberate cover-up, it is bizarre that this desperate need to cling to his "win" might have driven him to do the very thing which actually can cause him to lose the presidency.  In firing Comey he has done something which is in and of itself an impeachable act. It would likely be a lot harder to make out a convictable charge on any treasonous aspects of his conduct vis-vis the Russians or to prove the "mens rea" (guilty mind or intent) of money-laundering. But obstruction of justice is pretty simple as an impeachment offense. While a criminal court would demand evidence of mens rea, the impeachment process doesn't have such standards. An impeachable offense is what a majority of each house of Congress says it is, and so is the standard of proof.

Nor does the underlying act being covered up have to be a serious offense criminal offense. Recall that Bill Clinton was charged with obstruction of justice in the impeachment proceedings against him on the basis he had lied about his affair with "that woman".  It didn't matter whether or not the underlying act (sex) was impeachable. The lying was enough to support a charge of obstruction.

Cover-ups are very risky but the temptation to bury one's sin is often too great. Any such attempts inevitable involve lying or destroying evidence or getting rid of the investigators or bribing witnesses. All of these techniques of coverup are relatively easy to discover and to prove. I always told my candidates that: "There are no secrets. If there is something in your past that is not good, let me know now so we can prepare for dealing with it appropriately when it comes out. Because it will come out."
(But note:I did not work on behalf of people who had done truly bad things.)

Aside from the no-secrets aspect of life, is Trump just too stupid to do a cover-up? Is he actually just floundering around, trying to hush the talk of Russian interference simply because it annoys him? Has he created the appearance of terrible guilt inadvertently?

Yes, that is possible. This is an extremely stupid man. He is cunning in some ways but what intelligence he has, modest as it is, is often derailed by his very warped personality. He is the classic spoiled brat, the little rich kid who has never been denied anything. At the same time, like many rich people, he is very insecure. Inheriting a fortune from Daddy is often debilitating. Now — finally — he can say to himself, "I've done somthing really big on my own. I have won the presidency."

Maybe the terror of losing that sense of achievement is making him do stupid stuff and look guilty when he isn't.

Naw. On second thought, the weight of the evidence is that he is guilty of something. For example, here's just one chapter in the Trump saga that points strongly to serious guilt, including collusion against the USA with our enemy Iran. Yes, Iran. The possible range of Donald Trump's very serious crimes just takes my breath away. Some of that range, including the Iran dealings, are laid out in this compelling article:  Donald Trump's Worst Deal - The New Yorker.

Read it and weep. Not for Trump. For us.

The Trump Tower that never opened.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Trump and House GOP Doomed by Mutilating of Obamacare

Trump is one of three things:


Stupid politically, or

Doesn't give a damn except about a (fake) image of "winnning".

Actually he is all three, isn't he?

Paul Ryan and the House GOP didn't want to vote on the Ryan/Trumpcare bill, but Trump pushed them into it. The House members and their Speaker could see the extreme opposition to it among voters. Nationwide only 17% approve of it. And the GOP House members will have to stand for re-election next year with this dismal bill hung around their necks.

Trump doesn't care. He is all about appearances and his own needs. In his play-book, he personally needed an appearance of a victory on something. So he threw a celebration to salute his fake victory yesterday of the House voting on the Trumpcare bill. He placidly ignores the fact that a bill aproved in just either just the House or just the Senate isn't a law. It's nothing.

Either he doesn't understand that he won nothing yesterday or he doesn't care because he assumes his base wants even a hollow victory.

Since his inauguration he's been on a spectacular losing streak. His executive orders are toothless. He lost to the courts on his Muslim ban. His deportation efforts are nasty but small. And he lost to the courts on punishing sanctuary cities. He also lost the money for the wall when the Republicans decided to resurrect past practices and work with the Democrats by passing the budget bill instead of shutting down the government to finesse the wall funds. He also had to give up on scuttling Nafta, on labeling China a currency manipulator, on starting a nuclear war with North Korea. (Instead he misplaced a giant aircraft carrier.) He also failed to prove Obama had wire-tapped him and was "sick" or "bad".

Most of all, he's lost his long struggle to make everyone forget about the Trump & Co. connections to Russia and possible Trump/Russia collusion in tipping the election. In fact, right along with pictures yesterday of Trump applauding the House vote on Trumpcare, were pictures of the co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee with their announcement the Senate is demanding Trump's people hand over documents regarding contacts with Russian operatives.

If the White House doesn't comply, the Senate leaders said there will be subpoenas. Refusing compliance with a subpoena means a judge sends you to jail until you comply.

Against this latest piece of bad news for Trump, the House's passing the health non-care bill is no more than a squeaky toy. By contrast a giant gate has just swung open against one Donald Trump.

The biggest piece of bad news for Trump is, however, waiting for him around the bend in 2018. If he loses the House, he's toast. He already is toast for all intents and purposes, according to polls that give him only a 40% approval rate, but then he'll be soggy toast. Without the House, he can have little impact. And he will have done most of this damage to himself all by himself.

No matter what revisions the Senate now comes up with in Trumpcare, some of the GOP and independent Trump voters will remember in 2018 that their Congressman originally voted for one of the cruelest bills in American history. The House bill would  throw 24 million off their health insurance and put millions more at risk of cancellation due to pre-existing conditions. (The funds voted by the House to help pay higher premiums would last only a few months.) It will also wipe out Medicaid funding of school programs for millions of children with special needs. It will also subject older Americans (50 to 65) to paying insurance premiums five times as great as paid by younger ones.

All this cruelty so as to offset the giant tax cut Trump/Ryan plan for the rich as their next legislation. Keep in mind: Trump alone would save $31 million a year under their proposal to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax.

But Trump may pay for this financial windfall by losing the presidency. A political ignoramus, Trump keeps forgetting some political basics. First, he lost the popular vote and only narrowly won the electoral college.  In three and a half years the rules regarding the electoral college may be changed, a scheme for such having already been adopted by half the number of states needed. (See an upcoming post on this.)

Alternatively the few thousand voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania who gave Trump his 2016 win in the electoral college may wise up by 2020. Especially if they have a family member with a pre-existing condition or are themselves over 50 or were dependent on Medicaid. These last two groups are, in fact, predominately Trump voters.

Nothing like stabbing your own voters in the back. And in the front. And pushing them over a cliff!

The man is a canny fool. He is shrewd about cheating and selling snake oil. But he's basically a fool.