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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lying and Betrayal are Trump Hallmark

He spoke untruthfully throughout his campaign to sucker in unknowledgeable voters, praying on their fears, bigotry, and ignorance. All the while, the Republican Party hid their plans by covering them with patriotic gravy.

The Hill reports the CBO's findings.

"CBO: ObamaCare repeal bill would leave 23M fewer people with insurance
The GOP’s ObamaCare replacement bill that passed the House would result in 23 million fewer people with health insurance over 10 years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in an analysis released Wednesday.

Sorry, suckers, he likely also had a big deal in the works to expand his empire with his Russian partners. He got stopped by the rule of law, we hope.

Catch me if you can.

Trump's pattern of obstruction

The Hill characterizes the Trump administration's refusal to produce lobbyist waivers for review by the Ethics Office as being a feud. It is much more than that.

Donald Trump has demonstrated that he has disdain for laws and regulations that he is sworn to uphold and defend. The evidence points to that:

  • Failure to comply with the Emolument Clause
  • Committing Misprision of Fraud
  • Lying as a Federal Government official
  • Nepotism
  • Failing to comply with Ethics standards and conventions
  • Obstructing justice by failing to cooperate in investigations
  • Obstructing justice by actively interfering in investigations

That is a start.
"White House, ethics office feud escalates 
An escalating feud between the White House and the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has boiled over, with the Trump administration refusing to produce waivers it has granted to lobbyists that allow them to work in government agencies. 
Walter Shaub, the office’s director, wants to review the waivers and make them public to ensure the Trump administration is adhering to publicly stated policies and an executive order signed by the president. 
That would bring the Trump administration in line with practices followed under former President Barack Obama, who appointed Shaub to his current role."
Salon reports more.

"With Trump, that kind of pattern could include the following: 
His dinner with James Comey on Jan. 27. According to the New York Times, Trump asked Comey for a pledge of loyalty at least twice, and was politely rebuffed. 
His decision to invite Comey to that dinner, which the Times suggested was a last-minute affair ("Only seven days after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president... the F.B.I. director was summoned to the White House for a one-on-one dinner with the new commander in chief"). If that inference is correct, that means Trump decided he wanted to speak to Comey—and to get his pledge of loyalty—just one day after Sally Yates warned the White House that Michael Flynn had lied about his contacts with Russian officials and could be vulnerable to blackmail. 
The Feb. 14 Oval Office conversation described in the Comey memo the Times wrote about Tuesday. According to the Times, Comey wrote that Trump told him, "I hope you can let this go," and that the president did this after instructing several of his top advisers, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to leave the room. 
Comey's firing on May 9, and Trump's subsequent admission that he booted the FBI director after thinking about how “this Russia thing” was a “made-up story.” 
Trump's decision to publicly threaten Comey on Twitter by saying that the now-former FBI director "better hope that there are no 'tapes'" of their conversations."

I obstruct, your honor.

U.S. Afghanistan Endgame

The Afganistan situation is an instance of the great challenge to the free world that is manifest in ideologies that are rooted in anti-modern interpretations of Islam and the application of sharia law. The Taliban which was aligned with the Al Qaeda ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 during which they massacred civilians and starved UN supplies to 160,000 starving civilians and children.

The United Nations attribute about 80% of civilian casualties to Taliban insurgents. Estimates are that there are about 25-30,000 Taliban remaining in rural pockets around Afghanistan with some Pashtun tribesman hiding in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Following the developing Trump Foreign Policy, the Taliban are horrible "losers". If the Afghanistan government is a viable one, then after 16 years of UN and American presence, its combined police and military forces should be able to irradicate or otherwise transform this radical sect because a relatively small number can impose terrorism on the population as the world knows.

President Trump wants to increase the U.S. Troop level to what end? Is it to shore up the Afghan troops to finish the job? Is that what the Afghan government wants to accomplish? Do they request assistance? Do U.S. Military and State Department Leaders believe that is a winning strategy? What about the State Department where Trump wants to reduce the budget?

Congress has every responsibility to grill the administration about this.

The same type of problem exists everywhere in the Middle East where radical Islam exists. To deny that religious extremism is a problem is a mistake. To deny the cause that is economical and education depravity is also wrong. What must the free world do to eliminate the threat of terror from extremists that are intent on projecting violence?

Is it possible to reconcile with the Taliban?

"The Taliban's ideology has been described as anti-modern, combining an "innovative form" of sharia Islamic law based on Deobandi fundamentalism and the militant Islamism and Salafi jihadism of Osama bin Laden, with Pashtun social and cultural norms known as Pashtunwali, as most Taliban are Pashtun tribesmen." 


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Unraveling Trump and the Russians

Donald Trump and his campaign associates had direct contact with the Russians and were either dupes or naive or colluders, and maybe all of the above. In command is Donald Trump.

Trump had a history of trying to conduct business with the Russians, inside Russia, where he was unsuccessful. He and his businesses were successful in collaborating on projects together in other nations, according to his son. He and his companies benefited from Russian-sourced loans that were likely laundered through foreign banking entities. The Treasury and FBI can make those determinations with assistance from the NSA.

Republican investigators are doing everything possible to slow and impede the discovery process. Just listen to their line if inquiry and the emphasis they give to topics as evidence of this.

In business, Trump is a gambler and wins more than loses. However, when he lost big, who bailed him out? Who loaned him money and why? The line of inquiry goes straight to the Russians where either Trump is a happy business dealer securing their investments, or where Trump became compromised along the way. Questions remain about his business relationships and if there is any evidence of his being blackmailed?

Only a thorough investigation of his business relationships can answer those questions.

Now, Trump's having attempted to curtail investigations by multiple authorities by throwing his weight around makes him appear to be guilty of something. It surely makes him appear to be ignorant of the law or abusive. In either case, there is no excuse.

When Donald Trump comes home from his foreign policy tour, he must face many more questions.

"President Donald Trump may have nothing to hide when it comes to alleged links between his campaign and Russia -- but he is behaving in a way that makes it look like he does. 
The President is now facing questions about two potential incidents of obstruction of justice: applying pressure on and eventually firing FBI Director James Comey, and separately leaning on National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to publicly deny any collusion between his aides and a Russian operation to disrupt the election last year, according to sources cited by The Washington Post and CNN. 
Of all the rapid-fire revelations, these could be the most serious. They indicate not just a single decision, but a possible pattern of behavior -- the scope of which appears to be broadening. A key question moving forward will be whether the President or his advisers had the intent to influence the investigation into contacts between Russia and his campaign, or whether Trump's actions were solely an attempt to manage a bad public relations cycle."

Getty Image

'Taxpayer First' Sounds Greedy

The Trump administration and Republican-led Congress endeavor upon a budget plan called "Taxpayer First." It might as well be called "Me First." The spirit and theme are from the implication that American's can't afford the number of needy people that they now support. It means that the nation must accept impoverishment and that children and low-income families are destined to a sorry life. Too bad for them.

From the perspective of a responsible citizen and government, this approach is unacceptable.

As authored in How to Select an American President by James A. George and James A. Rodger (c) 2017 Archway Publishing, poverty in America should be illegal. The required outcome for government is to ensure that all citizens who are able to work have the basic support to apply themselves and to become sustainable. Those with families and who are unable to support them must have the gap filled by citizen taxpayers. The reason being is that people living in poverty are a greater burden than the cost of assisting them and getting into better shape through personal development. That is the cost of citizens living in a developed nation.

Republicans are dead wrong in whacking assistance and accepting impoverishment.

White House To Release 'Taxpayer First' Budget Plan, With Cuts To Safety Nets
May 22, 20179:01 PM ET
Heard on Morning Edition
Scott Horsley 
The Trump administration says it can balance the federal budget within a decade. Its blueprint calls for significant cuts to social safety net programs and assumes more robust economic growth. 
The administration plans to release what it calls a "Taxpayer First" budget on Tuesday.
"This is, I think, the first time in a long time that an administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people who are actually paying the taxes," White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters on Monday. 
The plan was crafted with a skeptical eye toward programs that serve the needy. Over a decade, it calls for hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and disability benefits. 
President Trump's Budget Proposal Calls For Deep Cuts To Education 
"We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs," Mulvaney said. "We are going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off of those programs to get back in charge of their own lives." 
Critics call the spending blueprint "Robin Hood in reverse." 
"The president is essentially abandoning many people the economy has left behind — a large number of whom voted for him — and is pursuing policies that would make their lives more difficult than they already are," said Robert Greenstein, president of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities."

The Image

Trump squandered opportunity

He can't erase his history. While the President is off on an international diplomacy tour, his administration has launched an assault back home with his budget. The attack is aimed at programs that affect the middle class and poor. His strategy is to support the "trickle down economic theory" that has proved to be a failure in the past.

Citizens are not blind to what he is doing. They see and hear his behavior that begins with his assault on the rule of law. His Executive Orders on immigration are struck down. His Obamacare repeal failed. He persists in attacking the environment.

His plan to overhaul the tax system hasn't a prayer in the political climate that he has created.

"President Trump’s job approval rating has hit a new low in the latest Harvard-Harris Poll survey, with weeks of controversy taking their toll on Trump’s embattled administration. 
Trump’s job approval rating has fallen to 45 percent from 49 percent in March.
The approval rating is at the high end compared with other surveys, which typically survey all residents, not just voters. 
In the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Trump has a 39.6 percent approval rating and 54.7 disapproval rating. 
The drop is largely due to dissatisfaction among independents. Trump’s job approval rating with that group is down from 47 percent in March to 40 percent in May."

In the weeds.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Don't Russian to Judgment

"Don't Russian to Judgment" is a Freudian slip. A handful of Republican loyalists brave dishonor and uphold the rule of law, cautioning not to get ahead of the evidence. Some complain the evidence is unsourced to anonymous leakers.

Why do leakers talk to the press? They are professionals who witness wrongdoing and untruthfulness and have no effective means to blow the whistle without retribution.

The free press is essential in a democracy because partisan politicians obstruct fact-finding beginning with the President of the United States and his Republican-controlled Congress.

President Donald Trump danced all over democracy by trying to get the leaders of the intelligence community to impune the investigation into Russian interference and possible collusion by members of Trump's campaign team. He obviously fired James Comey by his own words to stop the investigation.

Those actions are obstruction of justice.

Covering up Michael Flynn's transgressions and lying about it is Misprision of Fraud, an impeachable offense.

There are many more allegations and developing facts. We can wait for Robert Mueller to put the case together.

This doesn't wash off.

The 'con' in Trump

While the President does fine when in surroundings that are akin to Mar-a-Lago and when he sticks to the well-crafted script, don't be fooled. His international performance is 1) carrying out our American foreign policy that needed adjusting, and 2) distracting as best that he can from the lion's den that awaits him back home.

The "con" has two meanings: 1) con job as in persuading people to do or believe something, typically by use of a deception, or 2) consequences as in the actions that catch up with one who is deceptive.

Show us your tax returns.

Citizens have his number.

Got your number.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

No way out

Given the evidence that I have seen and heard about, there is no way that Donald Trump and Mike Pence are going to remain in office to complete their first term.

Mike Pence has been trying to plead ignorant about Donald Trump's many missteps. The trouble is that other evidence incriminates him every step of the way.

When Pence says he didn't know something, it may mean that he ignored or failed to attend the warnings or information.

At any rate, Trump and his entire campaign are in a bucket of collusion, and Robert Mueller is taking inventory of what is in the bucket. He readily gets the picture while agents continue to find the missing pieces.

They share everything.

Things can go right

Donald Trump's first couple of days have demonstrated what?

1. A well-choreographed visit planned by State Department Professionals can be executed correctly when the President stays on script.

2. American foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia needed adjustment to offset allied positioning against the Iranians.

3. Weapon systems sales are good for the American economy and producers and sound for allies, providing they do not abuse their use.

The next stop could be more difficult because President Trump stepped on his opportunity for success by sharing secret intelligence information with the Russians that was sourced to Israel. Israel is rightly angered.

Some aspects of the Trump manifesto and agenda are improvements in foreign policy where Obama's become tired and ineffective.

Maybe there should be a hiccup button when he speaks to shut off the mic.

'Barbaric criminals' replaces 'radical Islam'

First of all, replacing the notion of "radical Islam" with "barbaric criminals" is an excellent idea. That way, Americans and the free world are not at war with the Islamic religions and the Muslim world. Whose idea was that?

Past Presidents chose not to be at war against religion and picking sides based on religious beliefs because that is unConstitutional. Furthermore, the criminals who terrorize the world by exploiting religious beliefs should not be permitted to hijack religion. Hmm, not any more than Republicans seizing evangelical Christians for political gain, perhaps.

The "Deep State" has some good ideas, and "barbaric criminals" is one of them.
"President Trump during a major speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday is expected to characterize the fight against “Islamic extremism” as a battle against “barbaric criminals” instead of one between different faiths." 
The Hill 
It will be excellent if Trump sticks to the script.
"President Trump during a major speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday is expected to characterize the fight against “Islamic extremism” as a battle against “barbaric criminals” instead of one between different faiths. 
“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” Trump is expected to say in Riyadh, according to excerpts released by the White House.
“This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. 
“This is a battle between good and evil.” 
The excerpts provided by the White House do not include the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” which Trump frequently used on the campaign trail. 
Instead, Trump is expected to call on the Islamic world to confront the “crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.” 
“And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians,” he is expected to say. 
“Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory – piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and your soul will be condemned.” 
The Hill

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Can America have a royal family?

Could be we found a role for the Trumps.

Maybe we Americans missed the boat, trying to cast Donald Trump as a President and leader of the free-world. From his appearance in Saudi Arabia, he and his family look more like a "royal family" that fit right in.

It might be that American's missed an opportunity to embrace the British model. Casting the Trumps as King and Queen, Princess and Princes might be more appropriate.

Doing that, we need to find a President who can comply with our Constitutional laws and regulations.

Ponder institutionalizing the Trump model with Lords and Ladies, commoners and peasants.

Trump in Arabia

Friday, May 19, 2017

Demoralized Presidency

President Trump brought to The White House the brand that he wore on his sleeve.

Citizens don't need or want a demoralized presidency that The Hill described today. However, staffers can't do anything about it except to sharpen their resumes.
“Some of them think it will pass, some are frustrated because they look like amateurs in responding to all of this, and some are freaked out because there is an actual investigation now,” said one GOP operative in touch with White House officials. “It’s leaks and tweets and frenzy. They wake up every day and are continually slapped in the face, and it doesn’t look like it will stop. They’re demoralized.” 
The Hill
It is a mess, and he remains delusional about it as that is his usual coping behavior. Transparency is what Trump provides endlessly.

Republicans also are covered in mustard splashed by their 'hot dog' President.

Trump swaggers off to Arabia

The Washington Post is prepared for a field day. In the "daily newsletter" from "the Post," Ishaan Tharoor explores the possible scenario for a visit.

The image accompanying the article say it all, "Donald of Arabia."

The meeting with the Royal Oil Kings and Princes is the stuff that he is made of. There will be big deals, the biggest deals ever. Weapon sales will top the list because that is very good for the American economy.

Trump is all for oil, except, he wants more domestic production that doesn't bode well for the Arabs. Never mind that. Trump probably has large-scale commercial development ideas tucked away for his family to follow up.

Who knows?

Hopefully, no one will bring up "Muslims." Muslims, he loves Muslims. He's the most loving of Muslims so long as they are not too radical.

"Today's WorldView

From the beginning, it was a conspicuous choice. The first stop on the maiden overseas voyage of the Trump presidency would not be continental cousin Canada or anglophone chum Britain — or even erstwhile wall-funder Mexico — but Saudi Arabia. Yes, Saudi Arabia, the abode of the holiest sites of a religion President Trump once said “hates us,” a country he once suggested would not exist without “the cloak of American protection.”
Nevertheless, Trump heads to Saudi Arabia on Friday — with a cloud of intrigue and scandal tailing him all the way. According to a story in the New York Times, he is not happy about embarking on this trip and even told an aide that he wished to cut its nine-day itinerary in half. He is set for meetings with leaders in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Italy and Belgium, all of which could become gaffe-fests for the loose-lipped and inexperienced president. 
The Washington Post
Today's WorldView 

Hold your breath.

Trump Travel is 'Disconcerting'

President Trump will be traveling abroad for nine days. Hold your breath, America, because each day is one of many risks that he will blunder.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress are concerned too. The story today is that while Congress would normally hunker down to get work done while the President travels, now, they will be on pins and needles.

Truly, moderate Republicans could help save the legislative branch by working with Democrats. That combination can produce sufficient votes when the bills represent a product of collaboration and consensus. Set aside the right-wing agenda because that pig won't fly.

"The chaos, the incompetence, the confrontation and the conflicts of interest have been manifested almost daily in the Trump White House. And it is dangerous," says Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the House Minority Whip. "It has got to be extraordinarily disconcerting to our allies and extraordinarily disconcerting to the American people." 
Republicans are less harsh with their words, but perhaps more frustrated at the distractions of a president and White House that are, inadvertently or not, attention-grabbers. 
"They need to move to organize themselves in a very different way, and hopefully they will," says Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. "It's hard to make things happen here, really hard. You've got all kinds of forces working against you. Unless everybody's aligned, everybody throughout the White House and the cabinet, it's almost impossible. I think they're all very aware of that and hopefully, they're going to move to address it." 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has lamented the "drama" emanating from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a sentiment echoed by other GOP lawmakers."


(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images) 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Losers lose, Trey Gowdy

What makes him popular? He totally blew the Benghazi investigation and squandered millions of taxpayer dollars. Do Republicans believe that the likes of Trey Gowdy portend well for their future?

He clerked for a judge and worked for the US Attorney's office before becoming a full-on politician. What has he accomplished? Not a thing.

He will be marking time.

Trey Gowdy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 4th district
Assumed office January 3, 2011
Chair of the House Benghazi Committee
In office
May 8, 2014 – July 8, 2016
Personal details
Born    Harold Watson Gowdy III
August 22, 1964 (age 52)
Greenville, South Carolina,
Political party    Republican
Spouse(s)    Terri Dillard
Children    2
Education    Baylor University (BA)
University of South Carolina, Columbia (JD)
Here is a conflict of interest.

In July 2015, Republican nominee Donald Trump named Gowdy as a possible nominee for Attorney General in a Trump cabinet.
"Gowdy frontrunner to be next Oversight chair 
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) could be the next chairman of the House Oversight committee — if he wants the job. 
The popular South Carolina Republican and former Benghazi Committee chairman has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who made it official Thursday that he would resign from Congress on June 30. 
Gowdy, a key leadership ally, has been racking up endorsements from colleagues on the Oversight panel and the influential Steering Committee, which will choose the next chairman." 
The Hill

Trey Goudy

GOP Insider calls it 'a coup against Trump'

With Michael Regan as a spokesman, The GOP Insider, a newsletter propaganda communique, characterizes the Trump situation as being a coup against him.

A "coup," for your information is "a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government."

There is nothing sudden, violent, or illegal happening now. In fact, due process and the rule of law are in full gear to compensate for the alleged illegalities of the President and the obstruction of justice by Congress.

The GOP aka Republican Party is rendering itself useless as the nation seeks justice from possible criminal acts by the sitting government.

The use of such language and characterizing the media as the enemy is a false flag from a false President and party.

Flynn is lightning rod

First, thanks to excellent reporting from The Hill news organization for keeping the public informed about fast developing events in Washington.

Former General and National Security Advisor, and campaign surrogate for Donald Trump was subpoenaed by the Senate investigative committee to appear to answer questions. At first, he offered to testify if granted immunity. The committee prudently declined to provide protection.

Next, they still want to talk with him and asked him to appear. On the advice of his legal council, he refused. One might expect him to plead the Fifth Amendment protection at this point.

Flynn has a heap of trouble, personally. When Rober Mueller gets up to speed, it is going to get real ugly. There is no sense in witnesses getting ginned up for Congressional investigators at this point. They missed their window.

"In April, the committee sent a series of requests to several former President Trump associates asking for records on any dealings with Russia — a request Flynn’s lawyers declined to cooperate with through counsel, sparking the subpoena.  
Trump’s former foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, informal adviser Roger Stone and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort were also asked to provide documents. As of last week, the committee had received two responses, according to Burr. One of these, Page, is publicly known. Burr declined to reveal the second.   
The letters asked for the men to list any meetings they might have had with Russian officials between June 16, 2015 — the day Trump formally launched his presidential campaign — and Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, as well as records of any communications during that period. 
The senators also want details on any financial assets or real estate holding tied to Russia and a broader list of meetings between any Trump campaign aides and Russians.
In December 2015, Flynn was paid $45,000 to speak at an event hosted in Moscow by the Kremlin-backed network RT, during which he was seated with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also received payments for additional speeches to Russian firms Kaspersky and Volga Dnepr. 
As a retired military officer, Flynn is prohibited under the emoluments clause of the Constitution from accepting payment from a foreign government without advance permission from both the secretary of State and the secretary of the Army."

We know where this is headed.

Contracting for Justice

This morning I pondered the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the probe of Russian influence in Election 2016. Are Americans outsourcing justice, or is this insourcing, or is it contracting a service?

The normal institutional channels aren't working because they are corrupted by politics. What does that mean? The House and Senate leadership that is controlled by one party is too aligned with the President to put concern for the nation before their political agenda.

By the grace of wisdom from our Founding Fathers and the rule of law, there will be a pathway forward even when the collective legislative and executive branches have collapsed.

The trouble symptoms include the "Citizen's United" situation that permitted the erosion of one person, one vote with skewed campaign contributions in the name of free speech. I challenged Senator Mitch McConnell in a press event a couple of years ago in Washington when he admitted that the circumstances are not good for equality.

The indication before the nation today is that the Trump campaign gained support by Russian propagandists favoring Trump. Trump appears to have encouraged them.

Matters became worse when Trump appointed Michael Flynn as National Security Director when he knew that Flynn was an unregistered foreign agent conducting business with the Russians.

It appears that Trump encouraged members of his campaign staff to engage the Russians, including the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, among others.

With all of the publically known circumstantial evidence, the cloud around the Trump White House thickens, and now sparks are flying from the firing of United States Attorney General Sally Yates and FBI Director James Comey as they were pursuing the evidence surrounding him.

The story is that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein felt compelled to appoint a Special Counsel because the Executive and Legislative Branches were too biased to perform an independent investigation.
"Deputy attorney general appoints special counsel to oversee probe of Russian interference in election 
Former FBI director Robert Mueller will oversee the FBI probe, including any coordination between Trump associates and Russians. 
By Devlin Barrett, Sari Horwitz and Matt Zapotosky" 
The Washington Post

The Washington Post Image
Robert Mueller is back in town.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Crumbling Trump and New Equilibrium

Sylvan Lane can give you the details explaining why US stocks are falling in the article referenced here.

What I want to address are two observations: 1) Stock investors love the GOP agenda because they will benefit greatly from it at the expense of the middle class and poor. They don't care because they are neither socially nor environmentally responsible. 2) Democrats must act to give hope that there will be carrots in their agenda that will favor growth from invention and modernization, including infrastructure investment that is elusive now.

America needs a bipartisan and stable government that is not going to come from the present crop including the Trump administration and Congress.

Get ready to ride the interim wave of temporary management including outsourcing the Department of Justice to Robert Mueller.

"Stocks fall as investors fear for GOP agenda: U.S. stocks on Wednesday experienced their biggest losses since September. 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank roughly 370 points on the day. The S&P 500 dropped 1.6 percent while the Nasdaq fell 2 percent. 
Wednesday's drop was the largest for the Dow and S&P since September, after months of stable gains and few slumps under President Trump. Investors came into the Trump presidency optimistic that he could work with Congress to pass tax reform, an infrastructure bill and financial deregulation. 
That initial optimism appears to have faded as trouble passing healthcare reform delayed work on building a consensus around tax reform. Some investors say they're losing confidence in President Trump and the GOP's ability to execute its economic agenda. I explain here:"

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Caution: Trump investigation will take awhile

With Robert Mueller taking charge of the Russian and Trump campaign interference investigation, the first thing that will happen is his putting the brakes on. Mueller won't want Comey rattling around Congressional investigators stirring things up before he gets a grasp of the situation.

That will be frustrating and disturbing to some because they feel that enough time has been squandered already, leaving allegations and potential prosecution dead in the water.

What is the status of the Emolument Clause violation investigation?

What is the status of the Misprision of Fraud violation regarding Michael Flynn and the President's coverup and lying to the Vice President?

What is the status of Trump's lying about voter fraud and his false accusation against former President Obama?

These things are discrete observations with supporting evidence, so what is the Department of Justice Doing? What has the FBI discovered that is prosecutable now? What has the Treasury and IRS found?

Must everything be put into the same investigatory basket? If so, it could take years while Donald Trump governs merrily along.

At this point, it may feel comforting that Special Prosecutor Rober Mueller is in charge and operating independently.  The necessity casts a pall on Congress, however.

The Attorney General is neutered too.

Robert Mueller, a nightmare for Trump

Oddity about Speaker Ryan

Today, Speaker of the House Ryan was pretending to call for cool heads while being deliberate in considering the facts about the Trump and Comey debacle.

Here's the problem with that. The Emolument Clause Violation issue has been lingering from the first day of the Trump Presidency. He should not have been seated until his business was divested to the satisfaction of the Ethics Office and with scrutiny from the Treasury Department visa vi the IRS.

Furthermore, since the National Security Agency and FBI have long since established that Russians operated a propaganda campaign to support Trump, with the possibility that members of the Trump campaign colluded with them, that investigation should have been accelerated and attended by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

When Michael Flynn resigned for cause and was charged with being an unlicensed foreign agent while serving as National Security Advisor, Trump participated in a coverup that is called Misprision of Fraud.

Also, Trump made some false allegations including being Wired Tapped and surveilled under the direction of Barack Obama. Those things are determined to do to be false.

He also made false statements about election fraud.

Subsequently, he authored an Executive Order immigration ban that has been struck down as being illegal and unenforceable at least three times, in part because Trump made bigoted and unConstitutional statements.

So, what is the hurry, Speaker Ryan and Senor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may ask?

Apparently, there is no hurry at all to rescue the American Democracy from Tyranny that is both a fraudulent President and obstructionist Congress.


'No politician treated worse'

Excuse me, President Trump. Are you aware that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans declared war on the Obama administration and promised to obstruct him beginning by blocking his attempt to fill critical directorships?

The Republican strategy has been to block President Obama and Democrats at every turn. Still, Obama maintained decorum and respect.

The provocation for disrespect, President Trump, is not aimed at your office, it is aimed at you because you picked fights with a multitude of Americans.

You, sir, derided Mrs. Clinton mercilessly as you did Barack Obama with "fake" news and allegations. Now, we suspect you had a lot of help from more than Fox News. We know factually that the Russian propaganda machine was working in your support while we heard with our ears from you while cheering them on.

Don't cry poor boy to the Coast Guard graduates that people are mistreating you without cause.

"President Trump on Wednesday lamented “unfair” treatment by the media in his first public remarks since a bombshell report that he pressured then-FBI Director James Comey to drop his probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. 
“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly," Trump told graduates of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. 

Crying foul.

Keep Moving on Tax Reform

Cannot Congress juggle? Juggling is about prioritizing and acting to get things done. Surely, Trump is a distraction. However there are two audiences that demand attention: 1) Citizens, and 2) the Stock Market.

When the stock market performs well, so do all Americans. Attending the matter should be bipartisan.

The trouble is that the radical right is running from social and environmental responsibility to feather their financial beds. Democrats want tax reform to distribute the wealth and to attend to citizens' needs including the poor and middle-class.

When both parties address the making the middle-class great again, that should result in tax reform that simplifies the code, eliminates corporate and wealthy loopholes and makes business happy because their consumers are happy and can buy more.

"Some of the stock market’s sluggishness since the S&P 500 SPX, -0.85%  hit a record on March 1 has been blamed on the absence of meaningful policy change since Trump took office. As a result, hints that the president is committed to delivering on tax reform and deregulation have been helping to offset worries about soft economic data, most notably tepid auto and retail sales."

"Cut taxes for every working family, but not millionaires 
President Obama and Democrats in Congress cut taxes for every working family, putting more money in the pockets of Americans who need it most. A typical family has saved $3,600 during his first term. Now he's fighting to stop middle class families and those aspiring to join the middle class from seeing their taxes go up and to extend key tax relief for working families and those paying for college, while asking the wealthiest and corporations to pay their fair share. That is why we will always vigorously oppose the type of tax reform supported by Mitt Romney, which independent experts have found would require raising taxes on typical families with children by at least $2,000 if it were paid for. At the same time, Mitt Romney's plan would cut taxes for those making over $3 million by an average of $250,000 and would create incentives that will lead to hundreds of thousands of jobs going overseas at the expense of American workers.
Source: 2012 Democratic Party Platform , Sep 4, 2012 
Cut taxes for middle class, not the wealthy
Cutting taxes for middle class Americans. First, we must restore our values to our tax code. We want a tax code that rewards work and creates wealth for more people, not a tax code that hoards wealth for those who already have it. With the middle class under assault like never before, we simply cannot afford the massive Bush tax cuts for the very wealthiest. We should set taxes for families making more than $200,000 a year at the same level as in the late 1990s, a period of great prosperity when the wealthiest Americans thrived without special treatment. We will cut taxes for 98 percent of Americans and help families meet the economic challenges of their everyday lives. And we will oppose tax increases on middle class families, including those living abroad.
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p.23 , Jul 10, 2004
Cut taxes for working families, not richest 1%
Today, for most families, the federal tax burden is the lowest it has been in twenty years. The Bush tax slash takes a different course. It is bigger than any cut Newt Gingrich ever dreamed of. It would let the richest one percent of Americans afford a new sports car, and middle-class Americans provide a warm soda. Under the leadership of Al Gore, Democrats want to give middle-class families tax cuts that will not injure economic vitality."

There is a win-win when 1/2 of the Republicans in Congress join with Democrats to produce a meaningful compromise.

Competence and Reputations are on the line.

Trump acted without permission

When your ally shares intelligence for your eyes only, you don't share with your nemesis. Isn't that common sense?

Israel intelligence shared the ISIS laptop threat confidentially. Trump didn't hesitate to share it. Through channels, he may have sought permission giving due consideration about the consequences. He didn't do that.

His senior advisors shouldered him and were present. There was no time to shush the errant President who flaps his mouth with abandon.

True is that Presidents can act on their judgment. Also true is that American voters can elect a very bad choice for President.

"Two Israeli intelligence officials confirmed to BuzzFeed News Tuesday that Israel had shared specific intelligence with the US regarding ISIS plots to smuggle explosive laptops onto planes, and that it appeared that that intelligence had been shared with Russia without prior coordination. 
The revelation that Trump had shared that intelligence with Russian officials was Israel's "worst fears confirmed," said one of the intelligence officers. 
"We have an arrangement with America which is unique to the world of intelligence sharing. We do not have this relationship with any other country," said the officer, who spoke to BuzzFeed News on condition of anonymity as he was not granted permission to speak to the press. 
"There is a special understanding of security cooperation between our countries," he said. "To know that this intelligence is shared with others, without our prior knowledge? That is, for us, our worst fears confirmed." 
The officer previously spoke to BuzzFeed News in January, when he said that Israeli officials had specific concerns about what Trump would share with Russian officials. Israel, he added, routinely shared intelligence that included sources of information and asset names, he said — the type of information that could endanger the lives of those providing the raw intelligence."

Image from Buzzfeed News

The 'Right' is Wrong

There is a pattern beginning to emerge this morning that is coming from the Republican right-wing. They are trying to salvage a President who is "spiraling downward."

First, they want citizens to excuse President Trump's reckless and feckless behavior by blaming it on his spokespersons. They must be kidding.

Surely, Sean Spicer is not a professional political spokesperson. Look at his resume. Equally certain is that Reince Priebus is a competent political leader. Witness Priebus being a survivor in the Republican Party during turbulent times.

Wait a minute, maybe Priebus is part of the problem, the creator of turbulence. His product is also Donald Trump.

Does the lemon law apply to Presidents?

"Right pushes Trump to make staff, press changes
By Jonathan Easley

President Trump’s allies are pushing him to make drastic changes as the White House deals with persistent leaks and a communications strategy they believe has spun out of control. 
There is a broad sense among Trump’s media boosters and early supporters that his staff is failing him, beginning with chief of staff Reince Priebus and extending to press secretary Sean Spicer, whose job security has been the subject of endless speculation.
Now, some of the most influential figures in conservative media are openly auditioning for Spicer’s job, calling for the ouster of communications director Mike Dubke or pushing the White House to fight back against the media by ending press briefings altogether."

He's a lemon.

John Negroponte shrugs at Trump's situation

It is odd, if not ironic that John Negroponte shrugged at Donald Trump's situation this morning on CNN. The former Secretary of State emphasized the importance of the President of the United States in nurturing diplomatic relations with foreign allies.

The question to Negroponte is how does Trump do that with credibility when he has created chaos on the homefront. The chaos is unresolved.

What is the motivation by now Professor Negroponte to appear to be defending Trump?

To be fair, it is essential for Congress to move at once to get the facts. It is also imperative to appoint a special prosecutor because Congress is too conflicted. Maybe even John Negroponte reflects that Republicans put their party before the nation.

Maybe, Negroponte wants to underscore the importance for the nation to attend to business with greater urgency?

John Negroponte
United States Deputy Secretary of State
In office
February 27, 2007 – January 23, 2009
President    George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by    Robert Zoellick
Succeeded by    Jim Steinberg
1st United States Director of National Intelligence
In office
April 21, 2005 – February 13, 2007
President    George W. Bush
Preceded by    Position established
Succeeded by    Mike McConnell
United States Ambassador to Iraq
In office
June 29, 2004 – March 17, 2005
President    George W. Bush
Preceded by    Krzysztof Biernacki (Acting)
Succeeded by    Zalmay Khalilzad
23rd United States Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
September 19, 2001 – June 23, 2004
President    George W. Bush
Preceded by    James B. Cunningham (Acting)
Succeeded by    John Danforth
United States Ambassador to the Philippines
In office
October 26, 1993 – August 5, 1996
President    Bill Clinton
Preceded by    Richard H. Solomon
Succeeded by    Thomas C. Hubbard
United States Ambassador to Mexico
In office
July 3, 1989 – September 5, 1993
President    George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
Preceded by    Charles J. Pilliod Jr.
Succeeded by    Jim Jones
Deputy National Security Advisor
In office
November 23, 1987 – January 20, 1989
President    Ronald Reagan
Preceded by    Colin Powell
Succeeded by    Robert Gates


Difference Between Drama and Crisis

Former President Barack Obama was known for the phrase "No drama, Obama." That implied his aversion for public spectacles that distracted from the work at hand. He truly had plenty. They often precipitated from his Republican opposition throwing roadblocks before his legislative agenda.

Now, President Donald Trump is 180 degrees opposite. His style is a showman who thrives on chaos and controversy. The trouble from Trump is multi-fold: 1) the people's business is not the priority, 2) his behavior imposes risks to the nation, 3) his actions are fraught with illegality.

Obama was most able, while Trump is most unfit for the job.

"GOP nears total exasperation with Trump 
Exasperated Republicans in the House and Senate are growing tired of having to defend President Trump. 
Daily dramas from the White House are increasingly frustrating Republicans on Capitol Hill and threatening to derail the party’s agenda heading into the midterm elections. 
“Can we have a crisis-free day?” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) asked reporters on Monday, according to CNN. “That’s all I’m asking.” 
GOP lawmakers kept the president at arm’s length as they reacted to the White House controversy that Trump revealed highly classified information during an Oval Office meeting last week with two Russian officials." 
The Hill

No Drama vs Crisis

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

One of many Trump mistakes

Donald Trump allegedly sent at least three memos requesting that the FBI end the investigation into Michael Flynn and his connections with the Russians and following relationships with members of the Trump campaign. If true, and it is about to be verified, that would be obstruction of justice by President Trump that is an impeachable offense. 

In the meantime, the secondary story is that he recklessly shared information with the Russians.

It is essential that Congress move at once to 1) censor Trump from taking diplomatic trips and 2) initiate impeachment proceedings while 3) appointing a special prosecutor.

Trump's spiral downward was anticipated and reported here, step by step with full accuracy.

"It's a big deal, and we want to make sure sensitive information is handled properly," a European diplomat told CNN, adding that the country represented by the diplomat would not cut communications with the US entirely but could potentially reassess what information is transmitted at the political level. 
The diplomat -- who spoke to CNN on the condition that neither their name nor country was identified -- said allied agencies could explore ways to share specific information through channels used only by military and intelligence officials. 
Another European diplomat told CNN that Europeans are expecting cooperative exchanges with the US on this matter and avoiding US unilateral measures. 
An EU-US meeting on airline security and electronics devices Wednesday afternoon in Brussels will allow US Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke to share information with EU allies; the diplomat told CNN. 
"It is somewhat surprising, though, that Intel was shared on this issue, with Russian Minister (Sergey) Lavrov, before being shared with ministers of allied countries," the diplomat said. 
A third diplomatic source representing a country that shares intelligence with both Russia and the US told CNN that since Trump's reported revelations seemed to be a mistake, there is less concern than if the CIA deliberately shared the information to another country. 
"He made a mistake ... It likely won't happen again," the diplomatic source said.

You are disgracing the nation.

MacMaster's Immaculate Deflection

Donald Trump promoted his spokesmanship to former General McMasters who is now National Security Advisor.

Trump always distracts, deflects, and blames others when covering for his mistakes.  Here is an attempt at rebranding.

“I think the real issue and what I would like to see debated more is that our national security has been put at risk by those violating confidentiality," he said. "I think national security is put at risk by this leak and leaks like this," McMaster said

No, Trump, you errored. You are dangerous. You have committed so many violations with criminal liability that you stand only by the wall of obstruction built by Republican leaders.

Mr. President, tear down that wall or the free-press will do it for you.

On the spot.

Trump will rationalize anything

Trump can't be trusted. 

For humanitarian reasons, all that Donald Trump had to do was to tell the Russians, through proper channels, that we learned about ISIS' ability to plant explosives in computers that would likely be undetected by airport security screeners. He did not have to disclosed or discuss any more than that.

Trump said more because he wanted to cozy up to the Russians in the fight against ISIS. Wait a minute. The problem is not their combatting ISIS. The trouble is that they are supporting Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian renegade President.

And so it goes that Trump wants to be friends with Russians, not on their merit, but for other reasons to be determined by an independent special prosecutor.

Donald Trump cannot be trusted and must be censored and grounded until a full investigation is completed by an independent special prosecutor.

"President Trump Defends Sharing 'Facts' With Russian Officials
Mahita Gajanan 
Updated: 8:31 AM ET | Originally published: 8:01 AM ET 
President Trump appeared to confirm a report that he revealed highly classified information to Russian officials — tweeting Tuesday morning that he shared "facts about terrorism and airline flight safety." 
A Washington Post report published Monday, citing current and former U.S. officials, found that Trump shared highly classified intelligence about ISIS threats with Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week. The disclosure drew strong criticism from Democrats as well as some Republicans. 
White House officials immediately denounced the report Monday evening, saying Trump did not disclose intelligence sources or methods the Russian officials and only shared information about a range of common threats. 
But Trump's tweets contradicted the White House's message. The President said he shared information relating to terrorism and flight safety for "humanitarian reasons."
"Plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism," he said."

Can't be trusted

Monday, May 15, 2017

For reasons of national security

President Trump must be impeached at once for some reasons. First, it requires "high crimes and misdemeanors." 
  • Firing FBI Director Comey because he wanted the investigation into his campaign's connections with Russians stopped, is circumstantial, perhaps
  • Meeting the Russian Ambassador and a known spy in The White House was the day after was ill-advised and suspicious.
  • Having shared confidential information from an ally with the Russians to some level of detail is where we approach a high crime. The Washington Post and New York Times, among others, have more factual details. They are trusted sources. The Trump White House is not.

The classification of charges:

  1. Emolument Clause Violations are a Constitutional breach and are impeachable.
  2. Misprision of Fraud is an impeachable offense.
  3. Lying before American people including making false allegations against the former President is impeachable.
  4. Nepotism and other ethics violations rise to the level of impeachable offenses.

What is standing in the way? The Republican Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader have participated in the obstruction of justice. Leaders of Congressional investigations have been compromised and are conflicted.

  • The Attorney General of the United States is recused from the Russian investigation because he is a possible target of the investigation.

How much more should the majority of Americans be expected to endure from this corrupt and conflicted government?

This independent journalist believes the Americans need action by members of Congress who are not conflicted and participants in collusion with President Trump.

"High Crimes and Misdemeanors 
High Crimes and Misdemeanors, a reading on the meaning of this strange phrase that is the grounds for most impeachments and an activity in which students determine the outcome of hypothetical impeachment proceedings. 
The U.S. Constitution provides impeachment as the method for removing the president, vice president, federal judges, and other federal officials from office. The impeachment process begins in the House of Representatives and follows these steps: 
The House Judiciary Committee holds hearings and, if necessary, prepares articles of impeachment. These are the charges against the official. 
If a majority of the committee votes to approve the articles, the whole House debates and votes on them. 
If a majority of the House votes to impeach the official on any article, then the official must then stand trial in the Senate. 
For the official to be removed from office, two-thirds of the Senate must vote to convict the official. Upon conviction, the official is automatically removed from office and, if the Senate so decides, may be forbidden from holding governmental office again. 
The impeachment process is political in nature, not criminal. Congress has no power to impose criminal penalties on impeached officials. But criminal courts may try and punish officials if they have committed crimes. 
The Constitution sets specific grounds for impeachment. They are “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.” To be impeached and removed from office, the House and Senate must find that the official committed one of these acts. 
The Constitution defines treason in Article 3, Section 3, Clause 1: 
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

Trump shared secrets with Russians

Donald Trump is reckless and feckless. He shared secrets with the Russians when they visited The White House. That is an impeachable and treasonous violation, a high-crime that demands immediate action by Congress.

"Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador 
During the May 10 meeting at the White House with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, Trump began describing details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft, according to current and former U.S. officials.  
By Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe May 15 at 5:01 PM  
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. 
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.
The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency. 
“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.” 

Congress must move to censor Trump and to ground him while impeachment articles are prepared.

Impeach Donald Trump at once.

Do you trust Trump?

Nope. Donald Trump is about to fly off for a tour of nations, leaving behind a smoldering mess if his creation. His presidency is a pack of lies and baseless allegations. His actions are proven to be without proper preparation, analysis, and understanding.

He and the Republican Congress have failed on healthcare. The prospects of their passing meaningful legislation dim while the Republican Party is divided.

How do you feel about Donald Trump wandering into foreign relations as this time?

You tell me, and I will listen here.

Consider that Trump has appointed both a hostile and in many instances incompetent department heads, and the Republican Senate has rubber stamped his appointments. The Republican Senate materially changed the intent of the Constitution and Founding Fathers by eliminating the filibuster and changing approvals from 60 to 51 votes. That action should have required a Constitutional amendment.

Now, Congress is broken by obstruction of justice and the undermining of the US Constitution in multiple ways including failure to prosecute Trump for Emolument Clause Violations.

Next, he wants to rubber stamp the FBI. Are we citizens to allow that to happen?

Tell the US Department of Justice that you want a Special Prosecutor. I did.