The Weiner Component V.2 #18 – Deja Vu

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the U...

It took Richard Milhous Nixon two years of his second term as President of the United States to reach a point where he had to resign his office or be impeached.  It may take Donald John Trump less than a year in office to reach the same point.

 

President Trump seems to be his own worst enemy, continually bringing up issues that diminish him as President of the United States.  One issue is voter fraud.  Because Hillary Clinton got three million more popular votes than Trump there must have been voter fraud.  His thin ego demands that he had gotten the majority of the popular vote.  With no proof other than what he feels and knows emotionally to be true Trump is about to begin an investigation of voter fraud in the last election.

 

To his Voter Fraud Commission, which he has brought about with an Executive Order, Trump has assigned people who, among others, have belonged to hate groups.  He has assigned Kris Kobach to help lead this new commission.  Kobach is a lawyer who has championed laws to suppress voting and has long represented the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which has been named as a hate group by the SPLC.  He has also put Ken Blackwell on the commission.  He is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT hate group.  The probable end result of this will be to restrict the vote among minorities and the elderly which many Republicans feel needs to be done since both those groups generally vote for the Democratic candidate.

 

But in point of fact from all past investigation, voter fraud is a very small fraction of one percent.  It is small enough to be practically nonexistent.  But Trump will loudly vent his feelings of outrage at not receiving the popular vote in this direction.  And he will follow past Republican practices of trying to suppress the non-Republican vote.

 

The group that blindly follows him will be egged on by him and will, in turn, egg him on with their cheering at his next rally.  Trump has stated that he could publically shoot someone and this group would cheer him on.  We’ll never really know, of course; but I suspect that it might be true for a part of his cheering groups, an ever decreasing number of the people who cheer him at his rallies.

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For the general public there is just so much idiocy or nonsense that they can take.  With Trump it seems that there is no limit as to how much he can dish out.  Also he seems to have a short-turn memory and is constantly or day by day contradicting himself or changing his mind.  He apparently forgets what he has agreed to or is continently contradicting himself.

 

Being President is the first political adventure Trump has had.  Prior to the 2016 Election he had never held any office, had never been a public servant.  He seems to have a limited or no knowledge of the presidents of the U.S. and of the nation’s history.  He either doesn’t realize or he doesn’t care that everything he says is instant news and is televised and that the media will show the public that he is constantly changing his mind.  Life is completely different than it was when he was just a businessman and could bully his way through almost everything.  He can no longer be contemptuous of the legal system and not pay contractors or employees the full amount they were supposed to get, or, for that matter, run a pseudo university for large amounts of student tuition.

 

Trump, by his own admission, is the world’s greatest negotiator.  But outside of business deals or his reality television contract he has never negotiated anything.  He feels he can get better deals than any of the professionals at the State Department.  He has, by the way, fired the entire upper echelon of the State Department and not hired anyone in their place.  I suspect he wants to do all the negotiating by himself or through his Secretary of State.  This is something that he cannot physically carry out.  But then to him negotiating is very easy and doesn’t take much time.

 

He is like a bull in a China shop.  Whatever he does he is upsetting something.  In many cases that something is himself.

 

We have seen him in action with the President of Mexico.  In terms of China he has had the President of China visiting his Florida Resort on a weekend and suddenly, according to Trump, China is no longer trying to exploit the United States even though their trading practices have not really changed.  We know he tried to have China bring pressure upon North Korea to stop its atomic and missile development.  By inference, since then I would assume that some sort of trade agreement between the two countries was worked out, but no announcements were made as to what they were and President Trump has mentioned more than once that China will help us with North Korea.  But North Korea is still developing its missile system.

 

In essence what President Trump has been doing is learning how to be President of the United States for the last one hundred and twenty some days.  Initially he thought he was in charge and thought he could do anything he wanted.  He has been limited by the Courts and by Congress.  Apparently he doesn’t understand or has never read the Constitution.  Knowledge has slowly come to him.  It has been a humbling experience and he doesn’t like it.  As a businessman he could do anything he wished and largely ignore the law.  As President there are Constitutional limits to his power.  He seems to be learning more about these limits every day.

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At this point of his Presidency, regardless of Trump’s indifference on the matter, it is generally agreed by both the press and most government agencies that the Russians interfered in the 2016 Presidential Election by, among other things, attempting to influence how people voted by publishing both real and fake news just before the actual election.  They also published a large number of WiliLeaks hacked Clinton Emails that tended to negatively impact her campaign.  To date no one has accused the Russians of trying to impact actual voter counts.

 

Also Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, attempted to set up a backchannel line of communication with Russia last December that would bypass US’ national security and the intelligence apparatus.  The action was totally illegal.

 

In addition American government intelligence agencies have conclusive evidence of at least 18 specific contacts between Trump’s people and Russian agents both before and during the 2016 Presidential Election.  Whether this evidence included transcripts of the contacts is presently unknown.  But evidence does exist.

 

Trump, himself, has refused to accept this information.  He tends to be positive about Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, stating occasionally that any nation could have done that.  Consequently he has rejected the idea that Russians interfered in the American election.  In fact for some unknown reason Trump has shared with Russian diplomats Israeli top secret information.

 

This bring us to Trump and the former Director of the FBI, James Comey.  Comey announced, early in May, that he had been conducting an investigation into relations between Trump’s people and Russia even before the actual Presidential Election of 2016.  Presumably, according to Trump, Comey was doing a lousy job as head of the FBI.  Consequently he fired him.

 

Supposedly, what actually happened is that Trump invited Comey to a dinner which then Director Comey did not really want to attend and there, among other things, asked for his loyalty.  The FBI has traditionally been kept separate from the rest of the government.  Comey refused to acquiesce.  Comey had later asked for more resources to continue the investigation of Trump.  Trump fired him, not long afterwards when Comey was on the Westcoast without informing him of the fact.

 

Since that time it has come out that Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation against his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn.  Flynn not only had contacts with Russian agents and been paid by the Turkish government he also lied about it.  Sally Yates, in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee stated that she warned the White House that Flynn could be blackmailed by Russia and was therefore a security risk.  Eighteen days after this he was fired by Trump for lying to the Vice President and replaced as National Security Advisor.

 

Flynn had been under investigation by the FB, even before the election.  On Tuesday, May 16, the New York Times published an article that Trump early in February, had asked the head of the FBI to drop the investigation against Flynn, stating that “He’s a good guy, I hope you let this go.”  Within minutes after the story appeared in the New York Times the White House posted a response to the newspaper’s website denying that the President ever made such a request.  According to the Times report, Comey wrote a memo immediately following a February meeting with Trump, when he made this request. In fact Comey wrote memos after every meeting with Trump.

 

It’s interesting to note that Michael Flynn, after he had been relieved of government office, offered to testify before a Senate Committee if he were given immunity.  During the Reagan administration Colonel Oliver North had been given immunity when testifying before a Congressional Committee and subsequently could not be prosecuted for misdeeds he had committed.  I suspect Flynn is in the same situation.  The committee turned down his offer.  What does Flynn know about Trump?

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The day prior, Monday, May 15, 2017, Trump had a meeting that lasted over an hour with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, another Russian official, and a Russian photographer in the oval office where he gave the Russians access to top secret information, information that was shared by Israel and was not supposed to be shared with anyone else.

 

Apparently only the President can instantly declassify materials.  This news dropped like a bomb-shell, shocking everyone.  Trump denied that what he showed the Russians was secret.  But what is generally believed is that Trump shared with them information which had come from one of the United States allies.

 

Whether it’s true or not isn’t the point here.  What is the point is how does this news affect America’s allies?  Will they be willing to share information in the future as they have in the past?  What does this do to international trust between its allies and the U.S.?

 

Why would President Donald Trump stand with Russia against all of America’s allies?  It would seem that Trump is somehow tied to the Russians.  Presumably to the Russian Plutocrats who are in Putin’s intimate circle.  Has he been involved in money laundering?  In other types of financial dealings?  In what?  Does he owe money to Russian banks?

 

It seems that Trump has definite ties with Russia.  And these have existed long before he became President of the United States.  Currently he is looking for a new Director for the FBI.  Will he find someone who will swear allegiance to him rather than the Government of the United States?  Will he add on more to all the “Yes, Men” he has in the White House?  How long will it take for one or more of the investigations of his ties to Russia to be completed?  I suspect, with all the new bombshells dropping daily he may at most last a year in office.  Currently he has been President for a over four months.  He has another eight to go to make a year.

 

On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, the controversy about Trump continues.  Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, has offered to send a transcript of the meeting with Trump in the Oval office.  This has been rejected because of the distrust of anything Russian by leading members of the U.S. Congress.  Some of the heads of European countries have said they will continue to share their secret documents with the United States.   Republican members of Congress have called for a special prosecutor.  Toward the end of the day a special Counsel, Robert Mueller, the former FBI Director, was appointed by the Assistant Attorney General to investigate Russian interference with the 2016 Election.  It was also reported on the next day by Kevin McCarthy, the House whip that he thinks Putin pays Trump.  In addition it came out that the Trump people knew that Mike Flynn was under FBI investigation before Trump hired him.

 

Every day there is new and exciting news about Trump.  He left on the weekend of May 20th for his first overseas trip, where he will probably practice his negotiating skill as the world’s greatest negotiator.  One of his stops is Israel.  It was top secret Israeli information that he shared with his Russian visitors to the oval office.  It has been suggested that as a businessman Trump had never faced any opposition.  He had been involved in over 2,000 lawsuits.

 

The merry-go-round, and round, Trump tends to go round and round.  When and where will it stop?  Something new and exciting seems to turn up every day.  There is a little over seven months to go before his first year as President is up.  Will he make it?

The Weiner Component #171 – The Trump Presidency

 

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Donald J. Trump was elected to the presidency of the United States.  He became the President-Elect and will assume office on January 20, 2017.  Currently he is in the process of organizing his new government.

 

Donald Trump has also recently ended three Trump University class-action law suits for a payment of 25 million dollars and a non-admission of guilt. By this he cannot be legally accused of fraud.  The first lawsuit had been filed in 2010.  There are over 7,000 members of the first class-action suit.  From what I understand the people who were conned into going to his seminars will receive about half of what they paid to attend.

 

 Trump had, on numerous occasions, accused the Judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel of being partial because he is of Mexican ancestry, even though he was born in Indiana. I suppose, following Trump’s thinking, and that since his antecedents are German it would follow that he has an affinity for white power.

 

The Judge had recommended that the case be settled out of Court.  Trump followed this advice.  I suspect this allows him to avoid being legally accused of fraud.  But there is a 40 million dollar law suit by the State of New York for fraud. I don’t know if he has wiggled out of that case.   His Foundation is also currently being investigated for fraud by the State of New York and possibly by the IRS.  Up to forty other states could also tie into this case since his foundation has functioned in many of the states.

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Trump was elected for a variety of reason, some of which were not too wholesome, but mainly because he was an outsider.  The national feeling toward the Washington, D.C. culture was/is fairly negative around the country.  Washington, or to be more specific, the government to the general public’s perception had not done much in terms of passing necessary laws or properly running the country over the last few years.

 

Trump was an outsider with no taint of Washington about him.  He also has no experience in running a government and has made all sorts of outlandish promises about what he would do as President.  He promised something to just about everybody.  But now that he has won the election he is bringing back to governmental power the old scandal-ridden politicians who have functioned on state and local government.  Three of the leading ones with checkered pasts are Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Chris Christie. 

 

Gingrich does not want to be Secretary of State or, for that matter, in the President’s Cabinet.  He seems to want to be a senior planner for the entire Federal Government.  This would be a new post whose line of authority would have to be specifically defined. 

 

Gingrich has a long record of misdeeds and foul statements.  His denunciation of Democrats and the Democratic Party go far beyond the pale of reasonableness.  His lack of any sense of propriety allowed him to serve his first wife divorce papers while she was in the hospital recovering from a cancer operation.  Divorcing his second wife was not so dramatic and he is still married to his third wife.  He had affairs with his second and third wives while he was still married to his previous wife.

 

Newt became a member of the House of Representatives in 1979.  He was able to dramatically work his way up to the position of Speaker of the House during Bill Clinton’s third year in office as President.  The Ethics Committee in the Republican dominated House of Representatives had 82 instances of ethics violations.  They eventually charged him with one ethnic breach.  Gingrich resigned as Speaker and shortly afterwards also resigned from the House of Representatives. There is no way he would get approval for any appointment that required Senate approval.

 

After his resignation from the House of Representatives Newt did not return to Georgia.  Instead he stayed in Washington as a political consultant and did numerous nefarious things to raise money over the years.

 

In July of 2016 it was announced that Gingrich was on Trump’s shortlist along with Chris Christie and Mike Pence for Trump’s Vice-President.  Pence was chosen.  What will happen to him in Trump’s presidency is anyone’s guess.  But as long as it doesn’t require Senate confirmation some sort of job is a possibility.

 

Rudy Giuliani was born on May 28, 1944.  He is currently 72 years old.  He has been through three marriages and is currently living with his third wife.  Medically at age 55 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer which was discovered and treated from April of 2000 on before it metastasized.  The treatments lasted several very uncomfortable months according to Giuliani.

 

His past is considered checkered because his philandering went on throughout his career and was fairly well known.   His second wife, by whom he had two children, locked him out of Gracie Manor, the New York major’s residence, when he was mayor of New York City.  She learned of the divorce from the local newspapers.  Earlier it was reported for the entire city that Giuliani was going about with the woman who would later become his third wife.   His second wife settled for 6.8 million dollars and custody of the two children. 

 

Giuliani started his political life as a Democrat up until 1975, then from 1975 until 1980 he became and independent, and finally in 1980 he became a Republican.  It would seem that mostly what he was, was an opportunist.

 

While mayor of New York City Giuliani had been widely criticized for locating the Office of Emergency Management headquarters on the 23d floor of one of the Twin Towers that would eventually face a terrorist attack.  He apparently wanted a convenient place to make his public announcements.

 

This decision was opposed by the NYC Police Department and others because it was considered a prime target for a terrorist attack.  The location the Police Department wanted was in Brooklyn, which would not be a convenient area for news conferences. 

 

 After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, blamed the choice of the Management Headquarters on one of his subordinates.  That individual came up with absolute proof that Giuliani had made that decision.

 

Giuliani was praised by some for his involvement with the rescue recovery efforts after 9/11 but others criticized him severely, saying that he exaggerated his role after the terrorist attacks.  Presumably he cast himself as a hero for political gain.  He collected 11.4 million dollars from speaking fees for the single year after the attack.  His net worth rose about 30 times after the attack.

 

In addition Giuliani downplayed the health effects of the collapse of the Twin Towers.  The destruction of the buildings filled the air of lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn with toxic and caustic dust containing, among other things, fine asbestos particles.  He moved quickly to reopen Wall Street, and it was reopened on September 17th some six days later.  He stated that, “The air was safe and acceptable.”  But in the weeks after the attack The United States Geological Survey identified hundreds of asbestos “hot spots” of debris dust that remained on buildings and was easily blown into the atmosphere.  In June 2007, Christie Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey and director of the Environment Protection Agency reportedly stated that the EPA had pushed for workers to wear respirators but that had been blocked by Giuliani.  She believed that subsequent lung disease and deaths suffered by responders were a result of these actions.

 

Currently, presumably, Giuliani is competing with Mitt Romney for the position of Secretary of State.  It’s not known whether Giuliani will be able to get Senate approval for the position if he is chosen.  It would be real embarrassing to Trump if the Senate refused to approve Rudy’s appointment.

 

Another member of Trump’s supporters is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  After dropping out of the 2016 Presidential Nominating race Christie became an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, who named him head of his transition planning team.  About the time some of Christie’s close New Jersey associates or subordinates were found guilty of largely closing down the George Washington Bridge (Bridgegate), some members of the State Legislature talked about impeaching Governor Christie whose term of office won’t end until 2018.  Since that time Trump replaced Christie from being in charge of his transition to the presidency with his Vice-Presidential running mate, Mike Pence.  Shortly afterwards three of Christie’s associates were also removed from the transition team.  Presently Christie seems to be still involved in the Trump presidency.

 

These three individuals were all close advisors of Trump until shortly after he became President-Elect.  What their relationship is to him now is not exactly clear.  Whether or not they would be approved by the Senate to be anywhere in Trump’s Cabinet is also not clear.  In fact it might be highly doubtful.

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Donald Trump has promised to surround himself with the best possible individuals in order to run the country.  On about Friday, November 18 Trump began making hard right choices for some of his top posts.  His version of the best possible people seems to rest with the Tea Party and even somewhat to the right of them with his appointment of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist, a position that does not require Senate confirmation.

 

For his Attorney General Trump has chosen Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Jeff Sessions, a conservative senator from Alabama.  Jeff Sessions is the perfect image of the traditional Southern white ultra conservative.  In 1986 Sessions was appointed by President Reagan to be a Federal District Judge in Alabama.  He was the second person in the history of these appointments to be rejected by the Senate. 

 

Representative Luis Gutierrez, D. Illinois, has called Sessions “anti-immigrant and anti-civil rights…. If you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man.”

 

Trump is loyal to people who support him.  Sessions was one of Trump’s earliest supporters.  This is the man who Trump would have straighten out Federal Justice in the United States.  In Trump’s words, he is the best man available.

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For CIA Director Trump’s nominee will be Republican Mike Pompeo, a Tea Party backed congressman from Kansas.  During his Congressional Campaign Pompeo received $80,000 in donations from Koch Industries and its employees.  On November 18, 2016 Pompeo was chosen to be Trump’s nominee for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

 

On May 9, 2013, Pompeo introduced the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act.  The Bill, which passed the House along party lines but was never even brought up in the Senate, set a time limit for the government to approve natural gas pipelines. 

 

Pompeo rejects many concepts about global warming.  He’s referred to President Obama’s environmental and climate change plans as “damaging and radical.”  He opposes the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and supports eliminating the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).  He opposes the Affordable Health Care Act.  He supported the government shutdown in 2013.  He has been critical of President Obama, who he alleged was indecisive and not properly respectful of military leaders such as General McChrystal, who was forced to resign after making negative remarks about President Obama to Rolling Stone magazine.

 

In terms of security Pompeo supports the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.  This is warrantless surveillance.  He wants Congress to pass a law reestablishing collection of all necessary data and combine it with financial and lifestyle into a comprehensive database.  Legal and bureaucratic impediments in surveillance should be removed.  This makes President George H. Bush’s Freedom Act look like nothing even though it allowed warrantless surveillance. 

 

On July 21, 2015 Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton alleged secret agreements which allowed limited inspections of Iran’s nuclear deal.  He wants Muslim leaders who refuse to denounce acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam “potentially complicit” in the attacks.

 

He also wants Guantanamo Bay detention camp kept open and he criticized the Obama administration’s decision to end the CIA’s secret prisons (the black overseas sites and the administration’s edict that all interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws.

                                  

This is the man that President-Elect Donald Trump announced he would nominate to be his Director of the CIA.  He will have to be confirmed by a Republican dominated Senate, which has a majority of two Republican votes.

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Trump’s choice for his National Security Advisor is retired Lt. General Michael Flynn. On November 18, 2016 he became Trump’s National Security Advisor.  He has suggested that Americans should fear all Muslims.  He has also been criticized for supporting Trump in calling for a thaw in relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  In 2015 he was paid to attend a dinner in Moscow hosted by the Russian government where he sat at a table with Putin.  He has also written critically of Putin and the danger Russia presents to the U.S. 

 

Flynn spent 33 years in the army as an intelligence officer, rising to Lt. General in April of 2012.  He was forced to retire a year earlier than he intended after clashing with the Obama administration officials.  Flynn has tended to exhibit a loose relationship with facts, leading his subordinates to refer to his dubious assertions as “Flynn facts.”

 

After retirement Flynn and his son opened a consulting firm which provides services for business and governments.  His company is allegedly lobbying for Turkey.  Flynn has sat in on classified national security briefings at the same time he was working for foreign clients.

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Perhaps Trump’s most controversial appointment to date is Stephen K. Bannon as his chief strategist.  Bannon has been the chairman of Breitbart News.  He turned the website into “a far-right ideology that promotes what many consider to be white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny.

 

Breitbart News has been and is a far-right news opinion, commentary website that has pushed racist, sexist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic material.  In March 2012 Bannon became executive chair of Breitbart News.  Under his leadership it took a more alt-right and nationalistic approach.  Bannon declared the website “the platform for the alt-right” in 2016.  Breitbart has been misogynist, xenophobic, and racist.

 

On August 17, 2016 Bannon was appointed Chief Executive of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign.  Bannon has been married three times.  Each marriage ended in divorce with each of his ex-wives claiming domestic abuse.  In early November of 2016 Bannon declared that he was a nationalist, not a white-nationalist.  Currently he has a leave of absence from Breitbart News.

            

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff in 2017 will be Reince Priebus, the former Republican National Committee’s Chairman.  Priebus got on the Trump bandwagon early in the campaign and has stringently supported Trump ever since.  To me he seems to have an insipid quality but seems to be loyal to those who are loyal to him.

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These are some of the people Donald Trump has appointed as President-Elect to run the government of the United States from January 20, 2017 on.  I would assume Trump has decided that they are the best people available.  They don’t strike me as being Washington outsiders or the best people available to run those offices.  In fact I get the feeling that Trump is scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with them.

 

It has been suggested that Trump will be impeached before his four year term has ended.  I can well believe the possibility.