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.  

The Weiner Component #167 – The 2016 Presidential Election

Mark Twain observed, among his many comments, that young people, adolescents, feel they know everything, but as they grow older their ignorance of the world around them grows and, in turn, they learn a lot more.  This is not true for Donald Trump.  He felt as a younger man that he did know everything worth knowing and has refused to learn anything since that time.  In essence he never mentally passed beyond adolescence.

 

If we look at his first debate with Hillary Clinton in late September, it becomes obvious that he had not really prepared.  He had apparently felt that he was ready to handle himself easily with her.  Later he blamed the moderator, Lester Holt of N.B.C. News and a faulty microphone.  These were responsible for him not doing well at the debate.  None of it was his fault or his responsibility.  He even presented a theory that Clinton was secretly signaling Holt.

 

The item, at that debate that seems to have unhinged Donald Trump, was the former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, who won a 1996 Miss Universe beauty contest that he owned and ran.  He had called her Miss Piggy because she gained weight and Miss Housekeeper since she was Hispanic, a native of Venezuela.  She is now an American citizen and lives in Los Angeles.  Incidentally she has recently stated that he was cruel to her and that she is, as an American citizen, voting for Hillary Clinton.

 

What was Trump’s response after the debate to Hillary Clinton and later, separately, to negative remarks about him from Alicia Machado.  He encouraged voters to check out a “sex tape” presumably featuring the former Miss Universe.  Hillary Clinton’s campaign is suggesting that a better rental would be the adult Playboy film in which Trump himself appears.

 

In the last week of September Trump went wild over this mention of Machado.  Other Miss Universe contestants have since come forward telling how bad their treatment by Trump was.  What’s emerged even among members of his own election staff is that this counter attack by him will further alienate female voters whose support he needs to win the election.

 

His middle of the night tweeting tore into the 1996 Miss Universe whose weight gain he said created trouble.  In addition her contract stated that she wouldn’t gain any weight.

 

“Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M. become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?”  This he tweeted at 5:30 a.m.  It was one of a series of late night tweets.  Trump, himself appeared in a soft-porn, Playboy video.  Neither of them appeared in the nude.

  

Did he do better at his second debate on Sunday, October 9th?  I understand he’s showed little interest in preparing again.  Actually he prepared by running a separate Town Hall by himself on Thursday night, October 5.  The problem with this preparation is that he will have only his supporters present and they should all ask friendly questions.   He has also stated that he will attack Hillary for her husband’s sexual misbehavior during his Presidency.

 

In his Second Presidential Debate with Hillary Clinton he acted like an anxious caged animal, pacing the floor, and looking like he wanted to attack Clinton physically at times.  It was 90 minutes long and filled with back and forth insults.

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What I find fascinating about Donald Trump threatening Hillary about her husband’s earlier sexual behavior with other women is that Donald Trump and his two cohorts and ardent supporters, Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich have each been married three times.  That makes a total of nine wives for the three of them. 

 

Giuliani, after twelve years of being married to Regina Peruggi (1968 – 1982), his childhood sweetheart, discovered that he was married to his cousin.  He got both a civil divorce and an annulment from the Church because good Catholics couldn’t get divorces.  He cheated on his first wife with his soon to become second wife.  While being married to his second wife, Donna Hanover (1984 – 2002) he was openly carousing with another woman.  His second wife, Donna Hanover, locked him out of Gracie Manor, the residence for the mayor or New York City.  Apparently getting a divorce this time was enough for him.  His ex-wife got several million dollars and custody of their two children.  His third wife, Judith Nathan, had been married twice before and brought him two stepchildren.  I fail to see how Giulani could be morally indignant about anyone else’s behavior.

 

Newt Gingrich is another example of moral ineptitude in more than one way.  He is the only Speaker of the House of Representatives to be censored for ethics violations; 395 members favored the reprimand, 28 opposed it.  He would shortly thereafter resign both as Speaker and as a member of the House of Representatives.  In addition his first wife was several years older than he.  She was his high school geometry teacher; and was 26; he was 19 when they got married.    He had begun an affair with his second wife while still married to his first wife; and he served his first wife divorce papers while she was in the hospital recovering from a cancer operation. 

 

He was married to his first wife Jacky Battley from 1962 to 1981.  They had two daughters.  Newt married his second wife four months later in 1981 and remained married to her until 2,000.  Presumably she didn’t want to be the wife of an eventual President of the United States.  He began an affair with his third wife, Collisla Gingrich, who was 21 years younger than he, while he was still married to his second wife and married her several months after his second divorce.  She, it seems, was fit and attractive enough to be the wife of a future President.  However his one attempt at running for that office failed in 2012.

 

Of Trump, there have been three marriages and five children.  During his first marriage he touted, what he considered, the fact that his mistress who he later married gave him the beat sex he ever had.  He has also touted his promiscuity over the years.  His wives, when he marries them all seem to be the same age.  He, however, got continually older.  At present he is 70. 

 

At some point in the late 1990a Trump told Howard Stern, the radio jock, that Virginias’ were expensive.  Stern later made that a topic for one of his radio broadcasts with Trump as his guest.

 

These three people denounced Bill Clinton’s immoral acts in a state of shocked innocence.  To quote Donald Trump, “Give me a break.”  In addition, with absolutely no evidence, Trump has announced that Hillary Clinton had an affair in one of his rambling speeches not long ago.  Obviously he had no evidence; the announcement was strictly inspirational.

 

So much for moral pretentions!

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Clinton in a Florida ad, both in English and Spanish using information provided by a Newsweek article demonstrated how Trump broke the law and was two-faced in 1998 when it was illegal to spend money in Cuba.  He addressed a Cuban-American crowd in Florida, denouncing Fidel Castro as a murderer while he had sent a group to that country to explore the possibility of doing business there, specifically opening a casino.  Nothing came of the trip but they illegally spent $68,000 in the process.  The expense was later disguised as charity.

 

This was a good example of Trump’s hypocrisy.  Another is the use of steel in his structures.  He rants about Chinese trade abusing the United States and the American workers, taking their jobs.  Trump bought Chinese steel for at least one of his structures because it was cheaper than American steel.  It is cheaper because it is not the same quality as American steel.  How many American jobs did he eradicate by this move?

 

Trump touted that he was making a contribution of $10,000 for the 9/11 first responders fund.  There is no record of him ever making any contribution to that fund.  Rudy Giuliani stated that the contribution was anonymously made.  Trump never did anything in his life for which he did not take credit.

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 At one point during the election Donald Trump was musing, during one of his many speeches before his followers, that he could be still doing “The Celebrity Apprentice” on television and not be bothered with all the vicissitudes of running a Presidential Campaign.  He was paid a million dollars for each reality episode.

 

It was, however, too late to change his direction.  Perhaps the one thing he didn’t fully realize in the beginning was that he and his past life would be subjected to a microscope by the press and presented to the public.  What is currently happening is that his charity scandal is just beginning.

 

There are some earlier blogs that examine the multitude of scams that Trump has pulled over the years.  One, however, that has earlier emerged and that is now only beginning to be investigated by the different state Attorney Generals and also, I would suspect, by the Internal Revenue Service is the Donald J. Trump Foundation.  It would seem that this charity, into which he puts none of his own money, serves as a “piggy bank” for Trump personally and also for some of his businesses.  It seems that what he has done with this tax deductible enterprise has been totally illegal.

 

The Attorney General of New York State has begun an investigation of the actions of the Donald J. Trump Foundation.  On Monday, October 3, 2016 he ordered the Trump Foundation to immediately stop fundraising in the state.  They had not properly registered to do so.  In addition they will be required to provide financial records about their charitable activities.  All this three weeks before the Presidential Election.  Four Trump Foundation donors will also be investigated.

 

This process began in January when Trump refused to attend a Fox Debate of potential presidential candidates and held a fundraiser for veterans that night.  The $6 million he collected that night went into the Trump Foundation.  And later, under pressure, it was distributed to veterans’ organizations.

 

Earlier in 2016, Donald Trump held a veterans fundraiser in Iowa which gained nationwide TV coverage and millions in donations without proper certification to do so.  Trump seems to have a propensity to ignore state laws.

 

The records of the Foundation by law have to be made public.  After the veterans’ charity issued the records of the Foundation were closely examined by the press.  It was found that he had contributed nothing to the Foundation for years and that he used it to serve his own needs, individual, business, and political.  It has served as his piggy bank when he wanted money to solve problem or buy toys.

 

While New York has begun this investigation 40 other states have similar laws concerning charities within their boundaries.  His Trump Foundation may have broken the laws in dozens of states.  The New York cease and desist letter may be only the first such order he receives.  Trump, it seems, just goes ahead and does what he wants, ignoring possible laws.

 

The president of the National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy stated that, “It is likely that other states will follow suit and they will be issued cease and desist orders denying them fundraising privileges in other states.  That is the probable next step.”

 

The states most likely to do this are those who have historically been robust in their enforcement of charity laws, such as Illinois, California, and Pennsylvania.  This from Marc Owens, who formerly headed up the section of the IRS that dealt with charities.

 

The New York probe has already gone beyond its boundaries.  A Palm Beach lawyer upon request from N.Y. has sent them documents about a 2007 flag pole incident wherein a large fine leveled against Trump was settled by a $100,000 check to a charity. 

 

When queried, a woman from the campaign staff stated that, “The Trump Foundation will not comment further at this time.”

 

Conceivable Trump can have as many as 41 investigations going on by the different states or some or, even all of them, could combine with the New York investigation.  The charges could be a multitude of fines from the different states.  If the Foundation was used to mainly benefit Trump it might even generate criminal charges.  And in additions to all this the IRS is probably running its own audit.

 

On November 28, 2016 the first of his class action trials will begin in California.  Trump has already insulted the presiding judge.  It should be interesting to watch.