Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Trump's Terrible Tariff Troubles: To Get Worse With Huge Consumer Price (Tax) Hikes

80-year old billionaire & Trump pal Commerce Secretary
(Wilbur Chicken Soup Fan Ross)

This story now on top of the second Trump tax cut proposal now pending is the tariff tax hike about to hit consumers hard. Story here with the headlines
The Trump consumer tax could be permanent 
for many products
I note this reminder from Wilbur Ross awhile back from this article on this subject:
•  Ross dismissed fears about the effects of President Donald Trump's trade war on American consumers.

•  Ross said: “Nobody's going to actually notice it at the end of the day” (re: possible price increases from tariffs on imported Chinese goods).

The raw arrogance of Trump and Ross - mind-boggling to say the least.

On September 24, over 5,700 goods imported from China will be hit with a 10% tariff tax and unlike previous tariffs, many of these items are things directly sold to consumers instead of steel, aluminum, and raw materials (Trump’s original target), But things like luggage and seafood and toys and electronics, yes, even clothing. By the end of the year, that tax will rise to 25%. 
Some analysts speculate that some (a few at least) companies will choose not to pass on price hikes to consumers, instead taking a hit on their margins to perhaps gain more market share of the items impacted; but consumers are expected to foot the bill larger overall; not the companies, and certainly not China. 
But not every market experiences the robust competition necessary to provide the downward pressure to push prices back to pre-tariff levels. 
In some of the 5,745 product categories defined, consumers will doubtless experience inflation as pre-tariff prices fail to return. 
If prices do not fall after tariffs are removed, the tariffs will have come at a much higher price than advertised: A permanent price (tax) hike.
My 2 cents: All this from the brilliant, best ever, most-successful (his own evaluation even with  tons of failures) the businessman who then became a  TV reality show host to now is our president. One-man show squarely on the job and on the ball, right? 
How about a reminder of what so many forgot or never knew — oops...!!!
[Click image to enlarge]

Now more like the current TV commercial says: “What’s in your wallet?” 
The short answer thanks to Trump: Not much. 
BTW: People like him or the billionaire Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross – well they are so rich they don’t give a damn about paying higher prices for anything (and they don’t shop at Walmart or Target, either). 
So, the more pricey and luxurious for them, so what; no biggie. Just a better product and showmanship and slick PR that favors them and their ultra-rich BFF’s.  
Ross’s has a shady past with Trump, too. He helped bail out Trump with his failed Casino projects. Those guys are all joined at the wallet. 
Related: The story on the 2nd Trump-GOP tax cut now in the works … and his plan to make some of it permanent here from The AP
Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

"Gaslighting" — Need for Power, Control, or Concealment Based on Lies and Denial

Seat of the National Gaslighting Center of America 
(Aka: Trump Empire, Inc. Annex)

Used frequently (daily actually) by the G-in-C


I first heard and read about the term “gaslighting” in the CNN article noted below wherein they pose this question:

“How can a highly unstable President, whose agenda revolves around white nationalism and “America First” so dominate politics in 2018?”

That article is from CNN vis-à-vis Bob Woodward’s top selling book: Fear — article by Julian Zelizer, CNN Political Analyst, and it is an excellent article.

(Note: Some of my editing and highlights are used to make it fit the blog … check out whole piece at the CNN link – it is keeper for sure).

Fifty years after the civil rights movement transformed the country by pushing it in a progressive direction on matters of social justice, we seem to have taken a massive step backward.

Fifty years after it seemed that George Wallace's brand of politics was banished forever, his legacy lives on in the Trump White House. Our political processes were so broken that a political novice with a checkered business history and claim to fame from reality television rode his way to the presidency.

While many people in the electorate were not happy with Trump or the system that produced him, and he actually lost the popular vote, the President was still able to win, thanks to the Electoral College. His victory was likely enabled by a combination of factors – including (1) a growing inequality and the uneven recovery from the Great Recession, (2) the rot in our campaign finance system, (3) the failure of Congress to govern effectively, (4) the flaws of Hillary Clinton, (5) the growth of conservative news media, (6) the use of social media by Russian hackers, and (7) the continued popular strength of reactionary social ideas in certain parts of the nation.

As a matter of fact, Trump's support among Republican voters stands at some 85%. They would not tolerate this from any DEM president (cite: Obama in particular), so why do they tolerate Trump?

Why is this happening? The answers have less to do with the President than with everything that surrounds him. These are questions that demand the historian's interest in context rather than the reporter's thirst for detail.

The questions need to start with the Republican Party, which has provided a safe home for the reactionary brand of politics that Trump champions.

As has been well-documented, despite every offensive or false statement and tweet that comes from this White House, and shocking policies such as family separation at the border, Republicans in Congress essentially do nothing.

When serious questions have been raised about the ethical practices of the commander in chief or about how much he will do to protect our election processes, congressional Republicans haven't acted to constrain Trump.

Even as the President mounts an all-out assault on the free press, some Republicans on the Hill yell and scream but undertake no real oversight. Partisan loyalty too often trumps political courage in an age of intense polarization.

More and more Republicans have been willing and eager to have the President's endorsement in the primaries. And so, the story of Trump has raised as many questions about the state of the GOP as it has about him.

The Trump presidency also raises serious questions about our cherished system of checks and balances. Just how much can we count on the checks to restrain an out-of-control president? Hollywood filmmakers have imagined scenarios where we end up with leaders willing to do dangerous things. But audiences tend to believe this couldn't happen in real life.

My 2 cents: Related to that assessment which I agree with is this from re: Trump blames the DEMS (as usual) for the high death toll following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico as their way to harm him. 

What a shameful, shameful man – yet one who remains shameless, too – how ironic is that? Pogo’s main point and excellent summary to all this is simply this: Gaslighting the country by pretending that thousands did not lose their lives is beneath the Office of the President.

Then this gaslighting ref from Psychology Today:

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Trump Again Praises Kim, Jung-un: Wants Second Confab Date & Place TBA

Good grief: He didn’t really say and propose that did he
(Old stink eye from Bolton noted)

Preparations are underway for a second face-to-face meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, the White House says despite the lack of any clear movement toward denuclearization three months after their summit in Singapore.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders told reporters that the White House had received a letter from Kim requesting a meeting. She described the letter as “very warm, very positive.” She cited the release of three American detainees in May, the return in July of possible American remains from the 1950-53 Korean War and a major military parade recently in Pyongyang that did not include any ballistic missiles for the first time in more than a year. The parade, she said, marked “one of the first times they have had a parade where they weren’t highlighting their nuclear arsenal. We consider that an act of good faith.” 
Sanders would not say how quickly or where a second summit might take place, or if it is likely before the November 6 midterm election.
One potential possibility is on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York. Trump is scheduled to address the gathering on September 25. At this point Kim is not scheduled to attend that session.
The announcement marks an about-face by Trump since August 24, when he complained of a lack of “sufficient progress” and abruptly canceled a scheduled visit to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Pompeo and a new U.S. envoy to the stalled disarmament talks.
Despite the lack of any demonstrable progress since then, Trump is moving ahead with preparations for a second summit based on what Sanders described as good faith efforts by Kim.
A day after Trump met with Kim in Singapore on June 12, he declared that North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat” even though the two leaders produced only a brief joint statement, with no timetable or specifics, about denuclearization. 
The two sides later differed about what the vaguely worded agreement meant.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – the UN nuclear watchdog agency – reported last month that North Korea was continuing to develop its nuclear weapons, and expressed “grave concern.”
I note: All that is despite Trump statements otherwise about progress…!!!
Other skeptics also weighed like this from Bruce Klingner, a former CIA analyst on the Koreas who is a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation who said: “It is premature to hold another summit meeting without any evidence of North Korean commitment to abandon its nuclear arsenal.”

Summary: Trump ordered a halt to the annual U.S. military exercises in and with South Korean military forces as a confidence-building measure while Trump also called the long-planned exercises “provocative and war games,” which is the precise lingo that Pyongyang uses in their tons of anti-American propaganda. Examples from their playbook:
Rip Old Glory; Bomb the Capital; Stomp on U.S. Forces
[click image for larger view]
Trump after ordering Pompeo to scrub his visit to Pyongyang last month toggled back last week after a new book (“Fear”) by famed journalist Bob Woodward that portrayed the White House in perpetual chaos came and instead Trump pointed to validation from a distant admirer tweeting (naturally a tweet): “Kim Jong-Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith” in President Trump. Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!”
My 2 cents: Ho Lee Sheet – praising Kim and North Korea while basting Americans who work day and night to keep us safe and before that praising Vladimir Putin in Helsinki – and yet Trump loyalists say: “Great job Mr. President, keep it up.”
Wow – loss of words to say the least.
More to come I am sure – wait and see – this reality show has months to run, the renewal of it is uncertain at this point –that is up to S/C Mueller in the end.
Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The $64,000 Question: What Leverage is Vladimir Putin Holding Over Donald Trump

Darkness surrounds this American president (what is it)

Introduction to this story here from the NY TIMES with this headline:

The Urgent Question of Trump and Money Laundering

Sub-Title: How Bruce Ohr, President Trump’s latest Twitter target, fits a suspicious pattern of behavior on Russia

Donald Trump has a long history of doing what he thinks is best for Trump. If he needs to discard friends, allies, or wives along the way, so be it.

Trump once said at a rally in Iowa: “Now, I’ll tell you, I’m good at that – so, you know, I’ve always taken in money. I like money. I’m very greedy. I’m a greedy person. I shouldn’t tell you that, I’m a greedy – I’ve always been greedy. I love money, right?” 

It’s important to keep this trait in mind when trying to make sense of the Russia story. Trump’s affinity for Russia, after all, is causing problems for him. It has created tensions with his own staff and his Republican allies in Congress

Most voters now believe he has something to hide. And the constant talk of Russia on television clearly enrages Trump.

He could make his life easier if only he treated Vladimir Putin the way he treats most people who cause problems — and cast Putin aside. Yet Trump can’t bring himself to do so.

This odd refusal is arguably the biggest reason to believe that Putin really does have leverage over Trump.

Maybe it’s something shocking, like a sex tape or evidence of campaign collusion by Trump himself.

Or maybe it’s the scandal that’s been staring us in the face all along: Illicit financial dealings — money laundering — between Trump’s business and Russia.

Continue at the TIMES link above – a very good read.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Is History Repeating Itself: Trump on the Path as Nixon to Resignation and Dishonor

This scenario leaves a lot to imagine but little wiggle room

Introduction: Timely topic for this moment in history with the Trump White House similar to that described below in the Nixon White House as Watergate came to a final chapter in 1974 when on that Richard M. Nixon resigned and left office – this historical reference comes from Politico (August 11, 2017).

The scene from the White House south lawn on August 9, 1974, is vivid in the nation’s memory. That morning, President Richard M. Nixon famously boarded Marine One for the final time, put on a wide grin and fired off a final double-V to the assembled crowd.

But one of the most interesting aspects of that day is what didn’t happen on the south lawn: Even though Nixon had more than two hours left in his tenure, the most critical tool of the modern presidency had already been taken away from him. He never noticed it, but the nuclear “football” didn’t travel with him as he boarded the helicopter, and later, Air Force One for his flight back to California.

In a democratic country without hereditary power, royal crowns or bejeweled thrones, the nuclear football is in some ways the only physical manifestation of our nation’s head of state.

Yet, on that August day, it had been quietly removed from Nixon’s hands – remaining behind at the White House with the incoming new Commander-in-Chief, Vice President Gerald Ford.

The key to this came from Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, who recalled years later that in the final days of the Nixon presidency he had issued an unprecedented set of orders this way, in part that said: That if the president gave any nuclear launch order, military commanders should check with either him or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger before executing them. 

Seems that Schlesinger feared that the president, who seemed depressed and was drinking heavily, might order Armageddon. Nixon himself had stoked official fears during a meeting with congressmen earlier in which he reportedly said, “I can go in my office and pick up a telephone, and in 25 minutes, millions of people will be dead.” 

Senator Alan Cranston then phoned Schlesinger, warning about: “The need for keeping a berserk president from plunging us into a holocaust.”

My 2 cents: So, would Donald J. Trump under that kind of pressure even consider or pull a stunt like that now?

Yes, I think he would, and would in the blink of a tweet. Why do I say that? 

These key points illustrate my view:

— Such an act would keep Trump in the #1 spot on the world stage as the man who triggered nuclear Armageddon — the place he hungers to stand daily.

— It would put and keep Trump in the historical spotlight ever since the world entered the nuclear age.

— It would keep that spotlight on Trump in whatever history were to follow, and that assumes anyone would be left to even write any more history.

— It would be right up Trump's alley.

— Trump probably would announce it in his usual way: via a series of tweets, once cleared by Fox and Friends.

Something to ponder isn't it? Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Sen. Booker Cites “Committee Confidential" Information: GOP Threatens to Expel Him

Sen. Booker (D-NJ) questions nominee Judge Kavanaugh on his
Racial Diversity” views

Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) had threatened to expel Sen. Booker from the Senate
(A very bad move - We the People have a right to know the truth)

Updated from NBC News, and just before the original story below – makes for a very good read:

Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) defended the decision to keep “committee confidential” documents private, saying that redactions were often needed to protect personal information.

A Grassley aide told NBC News shortly after the exchange that the email Booker referenced was now eligible for release, and no longer considered committee confidential.

Original post and stories here from and also from Roll here:

The designation: “Committee Confidential” itself is not uncommon...
If is used for intelligence hearings since a fair share of documents that are classified can be labeled as “committee-confidential.”

What is uncommon is the way that Kavanaugh’s documents have been vetted and designated, re: The National Archives would usually lead this process, but because their approach would purportedly take too long, Bill Burck (a private attorney for former President George W. Bush) ran and expedited a parallel process, and that process is what DEMS have repeatedly pointed out as completely unprecedented.

Sen. Durbin (D-IL): “By what right, by what authority can Mr. Burck designate a document as “committee-confidential” – he as the consent of the Republican committee.” The exceedingly partisan nature of that process has infuriated DEMS – as they say it offers no insight into how things are done and it chips away at the previously-established methods for doing that same thing.

Sen. Feinstein (D-CA): “There is no process for determining “committee-confidential” – it used to be that both sides had to concur. Now, this is just simply not the case. “Committee-confidential” becomes kind of a crock. For all I know, some Republican staffer could have made this decision. It becomes a way for the majority to put all information through a strainer.”

Background: From the beginning, DEMS have objected to the timeline GOPers have used to usher Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court before midterm elections even without fully releasing documents related to Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House and not as a District Judge, and that conflict has been simmering ever since Kavanaugh was nominated.

He served as both White House counsel and staff secretary during the Bush administration. As staff secretary, for example — a time that he’s characterized as a formative experience for his judicial practice, it is possible that he engaged with millions of documents, a trove that DEMS have been interested in mining.

His extensive document trail is one of the reasons GOP Majority McConnell (R-KY) warned before his nomination that Kavanaugh could take longer to confirm because the number of pages is said to run into the millions and McConnell feared could hand Senate DEMS an opportunity to delay the confirmation vote until after the new session of the court begins in October.

But once Kavanaugh was nominated, Senate Republicans changed their tune.

Now, and in the interest of expediting his confirmation process, they have decided to skip a great number of documents usually released as a matter of transparency, including the ones from his time as staff secretary.

My 2 cents: That is the heart of this story and confirmation process – and. it is potentially a very serious dilemma for the GOP this way: They constantly preach openness, candidness, transparency, and dedicated service to the people – but is method clearly shows their hypocrisy and total BS on a grand scale. Seeing it for what it is up to the people – the ones they profess to serve. 

So, I say, put up or shut up, or better yet: Get the hell out office with your petty BS phoniness.

Please do or say as much as possible to get involved in this mess and maybe help to straighten things out and anyway you … this divisiveness in name of democracy for the people must stop. But, how – that is the $64,000 question isn’t it?

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Most Presidents Speak of Unity, Loyalty, Honesty, Dedication to Values: Not Trump

In Trump's words (not mine) about two events

Very simply stated those two events and Trump's words about each show precisely what his view of Americans is and how we dissent, both good, bad and the ugly.

Trump always takes the low road, whipping up frenzy and turmoil getting cheering like-minded loyalists to agree no matter what he says or how he says it to keep them in tow.

Then he moves on the next hot button issue seeking more limelight unlike any president in modern times. That works for him but it definitely harms all of us and our proud American image (that is of course minus his loyalists).

Most presidents speak about and try to grow unity and build on our values and historical achievements for everyone on an equal and just basis including around the globe.

But, not Trump – he is content in keeping like-minded people in tow by throwing hand-grenades and red meat harshness to them anyway he can. That usually ends up being via his ugly dissent and insulting words for anyone around or near him who disagrees with him or does not stand faithfully by kowtowing to his terms,

In short, what a pitiful, insecure man. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Trump to North Korea Here 'ya Go: My Part of Our Singapore Deal — Where is Yours

Marine Corps (U.S. & ROK) operational training exercise
(Probably near Pohang, South Korea)

SEOUL (from the NY TIMES) — For six decades, joint exercises held by the militaries of South Korea and the United States have been the most visible and celebrated display of the alliance. The training exercises are always broadcast on prime-time television, and they have been a frequent reminder for South Koreans of how much the country depends on the alliance for its security.

Now they are dealing with a jarring new reality: an American president who does not like the drills, at least in part because they cost too much

Trump, who in June suspended the exercises after meeting with the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, reaffirmed his misgivings on Wednesday, saying he saw “no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games.”

His remarks on Twitter came a day after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis seemed to open the door to resuming the drills. Mr. Trump said he could do so “instantly” if he chose, and that, if he did, the joint exercises would be “far bigger than ever before.”

(I Note: That is so much like Trump: Fluff himself after inflicting damage and then covering his ass by backtracking and blaming others for his damage).

My 2 cents: Trump is clearly out of control, in way in over his head, lacks any government knowledge or even a basic understanding of the Federal system, and he keeps trying to run the country like another segment of this latest reality show and keep the spotlight on him anyway possible, or as a new housing project for the rich only...!!!

This move on his part is dangerous and plays right into the hands of North Korea … their two longtime goals: (1) End the exercises saying they were just plans to invade North Korea, and (2) get U.S. Forces moved out of the South.

If Trump stopping these critical joint training exercises between the U.S. and ROK after all these decades will somehow bring North Korea to the “peace table” then that is the most fool-hearted thing and thinking that Trump has ever proposed. 

Far worse would be his possible second move (e.g.., the total withdrawal of all U.S. Forces from Korea).

Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Trump on the World Stage and Can't Handle It: Like a Hotseat and in Over his Head

A terrific example for Donald J. Trump to follow - but he won't

WASHINGTON (whole complete article here from the LA TIMES) – highlighted below to fit the blog – an excellent piece – a real keeper:

1.  Sen. John McCain's decision to exclude President Donald Trump from his funeral is an extraordinary moment, McCain has always regarded the presidency as sacred – and that Trump now defiles the office.
2.  He has been unwelcome at funerals, cultural celebrations, and victory parties is another unprecedented aspect of his presidency.
3.  In April, Trump was asked to stay away from the funeral of Barbara Bush, wife to one president and mother of another.
4.  In December, he opted to skip the president's traditional attendance at the annual Kennedy Center Honors gala after several of the artists being feted threatened a boycott.
5.  The British royal family dispensed with inviting foreign dignitaries to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding in May partly to avoid having to invite Trump, whom Markle had attacked as “divisive and misogynistic.”
6.  Trump canceled the usual White House celebration for the NFL's Super Bowl champions when he learned most of the Philadelphia Eagles players were unwilling to attend.
7.  Only months earlier the Golden State Warriors had passed on their own invitation to celebrate their 2017 NBA championship title at the White House.
8. Trump has used such rejection to his advantage to mobilize his supporters at political rallies saying that the “elites” will never accept them – the “deplorables” the word he co-opted from Hillary Clinton to highlight their sense of the disapproval shown by the nation's political and cultural establishment for Trump and his core supporters. Update on that here – FYI.
9.  Example of Trump at MN rally in June: “You ever notice they always call the other side ... the elites? The elites. Why are they elite? I have a much better apartment than they do. I'm smarter than they are. I'm richer than they are. I became president and they didn't. And I'm representing the greatest, smartest, most loyal, best people on Earth - the deplorables.”

(The crowd yelled like crazy as the always do – he thrives on that kind of acceptance and honor and glory in his reality show on stage front and center – where he must always be – just him in the spotlight).

Trump has the same deep and abiding disdain for the elites that each and every one of the “deplorables” have today. His resentment was a constant throughout his career in business and entertainment where he was dismissed as more of a boastful, tabloid-seeking showman than the serious mogul he believed himself to be.

He is aggravated that the political establishment still will not accept him (says one longtime friend who asked not to be identified given the sensitivity of the subject). He really doesn't understand is that their objection is cultural as well as political and that they will never accept him. 

Others say Trump has created the isolation by his own occasionally outrageous behavior, by reveling in a politics that feeds conspiracy theories, humiliates rivals, and disdains basic notions of civility.

He lacks any kind of humility. He takes pride in kicking people around. Insults is his weapon of choice. When people strike back, he shouldn't be disappointed or surprised – because in many ways he has asked for it and indeed thrives on it.

Trump's response to McCain's death is just the sort of break from presidential tradition and civility that alienates many, e.g., after lowering the White House American flag to half-staff on Sunday (the day after McCain died) but by Monday it had been back to full staff therefore weaponizing the visual sign of disrespect even as flags remained lowered at federal buildings throughout Washington, including the Capitol, and in many states. Aides did not respond to requests to explain the decision.

The background on this is simple: Trump declined initially to issue the usual official presidential proclamation honoring McCain, or to answer reporters' questions about him in three appearances at the White House the day after. Instead, he spent the weekend playing golf and tweeting about the strength of the economy and his own popularity, despite polls to the contrary.

However, after petitions of protest from the nation's leading veterans' organizations, the White House later Monday released a proclamation that flags would remain at half-staff until McCain's burial on Sunday.

The White House also issued a statement expressing respect for McCain's service. Later, Trump told evangelical conservatives at the White House for dinner: “We very much appreciate everything that Sen. McCain has done for our country.”

McCain's longtime confidant, Rick Davis, read from McCain’s farewell statement – which served as McCain's final shot at Trump's brand of politics. 
McCain’s complete final last words to the country are here from the NY POSTworth reading for sure.

McCain sloughed off Trump's attacks on his military service and heroism while he focused his animus that was “more about his concern about where (Trump) was taking the country and his attacks on innocent people, on average people, on people who have sacrificed at the highest level. Like highlighting Trump's 2016 attacks on the parents of Humayun Khan, the Army Captain who died while serving in Iraq.

Trump tends to view such fights in terms of winning and losing. Even after he denigrated McCain's heroism as a Vietnam prisoner of war and disparaged the Khan family after they criticized him, and personal name calling and childish  attacks on opponents that many people said, at the time, said would sink Trump's candidacy (including the gross Access Hollywood tape), despite all that, Trump won his party's presidential nomination and then the election thus convincing him that his style is validated and that’s why he continues to this day – wounded, maybe, but just as mean and ugly.

My 2 cents: Finally, and today (*from Bloomberg here) Trump is calling for some legal action against Google and their massive search engine. He calls it “rigged against him (of course him), unfair, and should in essence be shut down.” As usual, this style from Trump:

A 2-minute video report at this site

FYI Mr. Trump: It isn’t not gonna happen at any of your whims. Those of us who search the internet whether via Google, Yahoo, or the other search engine sites – we decide what is “fake of a hoax” not you – deal with it. 

Stay tuned – this man is out of control on so many fronts it’s nearly impossible to keep score or keep up… but, it is he that needs to be shut down, not the free press or others like Google, et al, and ASAP would be better for our collective national sanity and I’d add, yes, even for our national security. Trump is a genuine menace to both. 

Our closest allies are turning away from us – thanks to Trump’s insults and bullying. Decades of friendship down the drain. He says we are #1 and need to be great again – does that mean alone?

My final assessment of Donald J. Trump – Seven “C” words: Conning; Cunning; Corrupt; Crooked; Conniving; Callous; and Contemptible.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Mueller Closing in on Trump Empire, Inc. and His Organization: All Newsworthy

The message is loud and clear except for Trump loyalists 
(Most can't even answer the 3 questions)

Both eye-opening and worrisome at the same time is this revealing article from the NY TIMES. The article is about Michael Cohen & Paul Manafort and persons cut from their same cloth as they pretty much brazenly run the country and do it open and freely as possible and outside the bounds of law – why? 

Because Law Enforcement staffing and manning levels working the so-called “White Collar Crimes” including prosecutors are in short supply”

(My Note: Worse a lot of it is backed either by or due to a lack of legislative actions and oversight – thus, the crooks are able to run wild by clever design as many in government simply look the other way until great pressure is put on them to act).

This the article’s basic introduction: Oh, the audacity of dopes. The crimes of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen are notable not just for how blatant they were but also for their lack of sophistication. The two men did little to hide their lying to banks and the Internal Revenue Service. 

One can almost sympathize with them: If it wasn’t for their decision to attach themselves to the most unlikely president in modern history, there’s every reason to think they might still be working their frauds today.

Key imperatives:

1.  How anomalous are Mr. Manafort and Mr. Cohen?

2.  Are there legions of K Street big shots working for foreign despots and parking their riches in Cypriot bank accounts to avoid the IRS?

3.  Are many political campaigns walking felonies waiting to be exposed?

4.  What about the world of luxury residential building in which Mr. Cohen plied his trade with the Trump Organization?

The answer is more disturbing than those four questions: We don’t know. We don’t know because the cops aren’t on the beat. Resources have been stripped from white-collar enforcement. For example, the FBI shifted a lot of agents to work on international terror following the September 11 attacks.

1.  White-collar cases made up about one-tenth of the DOJ’s cases in recent years, compared with one-fifth in the early 1990’s.

2.  The IRS criminal enforcement capabilities have been decimated by years of budget cuts and attrition.

3.  And, the FEC is a toothless organization that is widely flouted.

However, as we see now, beginning with a charge to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel, has fallen upon a rash of other crimes. In doing so, he has exposed how widespread and serious our white-collar-fraud problem really is, and how lax enforcement has been for years.

Related: Who Mueller has “nailed” to date from the NY TIMES.

At least Mueller is showing a way out of the problem. He and his team are demonstrating that the proper attention, resources and experience can go a long way to rectify the white-collar-prosecution crisis. Continue this enlightening story at the TIMES link – worth your time.

My 2 cents: Based this story and the reality of “white collar” crimes it’s no wonder Trump cautions Mueller, et al to “not cross the RED line into his business dealings.” 

They are as they expression goes “As crooked as a dog’s hind leg.”

My contention, like yours I suspect is painfully clear now more so with the Cohen and Manafort trials and so many other guilty verdicts and plea deals made. I suspect more will follow more so now that immunity has been granted to “the #1 bookie” of the entire Trump Organization (CFO Allen Weisselberg, who knows where all the money is or not, went to or not, and for what purpose) just announced (article from Politico). 

All this has a distinct mob odor about it. But, time will tell in that regard. No matter the outcome because already up to this point, this has been by far the darkest page in American presidential history hands down no contest not even close, not TEA Pot Dome Scandal or Watergate or minor ones in between – this Trump one will top them all. 

Yet, with the constant Trump BS-ing, insults, threats (e.g., aim at Mueller, Sessions, and Rosenstein the top three), the constant Trump tweeting, and sustained Trump conning via his campaign-style rallies and speeches – well that all clearly shows “it ain’t over till it’s over” as Yogi Berra would say. 

Stay tuned for the climax – it should be a barn-burning doozy as they say.

Thanks for stopping by.