Archive for February, 2017

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His Lips Are Moving

February 27, 2017

Donald Trump presidential campaigning, Las Vegas, America - 21 Jan 2016

His Lips Are Moving.

There’s an old joke that has become standard fare on every film production, passed on by crew and cast alike to each new generation of the production community.  It’s in the form of a question and answer and it goes like this:  “How can you tell when a producer is lying?” The answer is, “His lips are moving.”

Donald Trump is nothing if not a producer.  As the producer of so-called reality television this joke takes on additional meaning for our so-called president because far from real, the show itself is a lie.  It can be said that it is also true for his surrogates, who must propagate his falsehoods in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary, buffering him from accountability, absorbing the blame and suffering the embarrassment of his obvious deviations from recorded fact.

But, some lies are less obvious because they are half-truths. Skilled politicians understand that the best way to pass a lie is to surround it in a wrapper of partial truth, thus blending the objective of the lie with a widely accepted truth.  Take for example the recent example of two candidates, Vincent Viola and Phillip Bilden, who refused to accept Trump’s appointment as Secretary of the Army and Secretary of the Navy, respectively.  I’m sure there are any number of reasons for refusing the posts. They follow Vice Admiral Harward’s example, declining a Trump appointment for “family and financial” reasons, a safe choice, which, while totally accurate, may only be half the reason, possibly less. One has to believe that given the choice between profit or patriotism, they would have seen the advantage to patriotism.  All were offered the opportunity to be seen center stage in a national arena making a significant difference for their country.  Seems to me that a savvy candidate would understand the long term financial advantage and career advancement after office of a decision to accept, rather than to decline because of an immediate short term disruption and inconvenience to their finances.  No, I think there was another factor.  The Donald factor.

Sylvester Stallone was another who refused a Trump appointment (it’s almost forgotten by now) to be Head of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Smart guy that he is, he recognized deep conflict brewing and Rambo hightailed it like a scalded dog in the other direction, masking his retreat with the suggestion to run Veteran Affairs.

No, I think they, like Harward, saw the choice to accept as likened to eating a shit sandwich and who would want to be remembered as one with shit on his face?

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Mr. Thin Skin

February 26, 2017

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Mr. Thin Skin, Donald Trump, the bipolar narcissist of American Presidency, alternately a petulant child or a school yard bully, won’t be going to the Whitehouse Correspondent’s DInner this April. Mistakenly seeing this as an opportunity to “punch back” he has only punched himself in his soft, fat gut, and is now crying in the corner with only insults as his best defense.

Not since Richard Nixon have we seen such animosity for the press, but Trump has foolishly raised the stakes, making Nixon’s transgressions and his attempts to silence the media appear innocent by comparison. Banning major national news organizations from the Whitehouse briefing, CNN, the NY Times and the LA Times among them, betrays a weakness to withstand scrutiny, and openly displays his fear that simply pointing a camera at reporters asking questions that cannot be answered, of an angry puppet spokesperson who must deflect, spin or lie, might reveal to the nation the ultimate hopelessness of his grand plans or give credence to his misdeeds.

Surely, denying news organizations access to the briefings can only be seen as a “punishment,” an act of retaliation, another “punch back” for the media Trump cannot control, the media who do not have an agenda other than reportage.  Does he not understand that it only shows his weakness?  I’d like to see news organizations support each other’s right to attend briefings in an all-for-one, one-for-all display of unity, and boycott the briefings.  I’m sure the room would be empty save for Fox News, the ever loyal media arm of Republican conservatives and their wealthy supporters, all dancing snakelike in a twisted conga line at Trumps wedding reception. How long can the party continue without the coverage he so depends on?

Every president before him has attended the Whitehouse Correspondents dinner, except for the one time Reagan was hospitalized.  In a previous year, we all laughed with Bush as he watched his doppelganger address the audience of correspondents.  And who can forget Steven Colbert’s devastating remarks to the press, now immortalized on youTube.  Yet Bush endured it all with great dignity, and in the process further endeared himself to the public, supporters and critics alike. Even a political figure with diminished mental capacity, Sarah Palin, understands the value of self-deprecation and has appeared numerous times with Tina Fay on SNL. So Donald, you must see that you are only punishing yourself.

Grow up Donald.  You are a sad disgrace to the office and the nation.

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It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To.

February 25, 2017

dnc-party

It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To.

DAY 35.

Last night CNN hosted a debate consisting of eight rivals for the DNC chair.  I’m not exactly sure why this debate was needed, as no one in the viewing audience gets to vote on the outcome. It’s going to be decided by 447 DNC members, party insiders.  Nevertheless, it continues the spectacle of the election while encouraging the notion that what we think matters.  Trouble is, elections are not about what we think but how we feel.  If the last election proves anything, it’s that we don’t elect a president on his or her stand on issues but on personality. Do we like them?

Given even the least amount of thought, any analysis would have to conclude that the more a candidate defines themselves on issues, the less likely they are to win.  It’s simple math, really.  Let’s say a candidate supports one side of the right-to-life issue.  Doesn’t matter which side.  That effectively cuts the supporters roughly in half.  Now take that half and split them on gun rights issues and you have around 25% left who might just vote for you  Further split that group over other issues and it continues, so on and so on, until there is little support left in voters that will agree with them wholeheartedly.  That is why candidates try to stay in the middle of the road and talk broadly about patriotism, family values, the constitution, mumbo jumbo about the economy that neither they nor anyone else understand, the troops, veterans, terrorism and national security, defining problems not solutions, while remaining as vague as possible on all other issues that can split their voters.

Consider the optics.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz never had the kind of appeal that the DNC chairperson needed to project.  She looks too uptight and shifty with that overdone permed hair and beady eyes. Ultimately she proved herself shifty, reinforcing what we all believed and so it was “hasta la vista Debbie, baby”… whooooosh! 097-wass-up-450
On January 30th Nancy Pelosi took center stage at a rally on the Supreme Court steps protesting Trump’s travel ban. She fumbled helplessly with the microphone looking all the while like a grandparent with a new iPhone, totally befuddled. No one told Nancy that its one of those devices that has to be plugged in and turned on to work. So instead she chose to shift gears and lead those attending in a Woody Guthrie singalong.  Sorry Nancy, you just became yesterday’s news.  That ended it for you.  Not that your positions are what the party needs anyway, but as I have said, its not about issues.  It’s about optics.

Democrats protest Trump's travel ban outside Supreme Court

So that failed act was followed by Chuck Schumer, over compensating as always, with an abundance of fiery political zeal, a loud voice and exaggerated facial expressions, lecturing rather than engaging, a different case of bad optics, but sealing the failure of both personalities on national TV.  They just looked weak and incompetent.

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So we left that story with the Democrats searching for leadership in the form of a new DNC chair and Trump supporters snickering over their chaos. The leading candidates are now Keith Ellison and Tom Perez.  Tom has a slight edge but Keith has the backing of Bernie Sanders, who, being an independent rather than a Democrat, is free of party restrictions, big money and big business, Wall Street connections and the like, free to push a truly progressive agenda.  I support Bernie and Keith over Tom, but not so much on the issues, although we are in total agreement, but on the optics.  I don’t like Tom Perez.  He comes across as a zealot in the style of Rudi Giuliani.

I hate Giuliani, an opportunist and hollow braggart, an empty ringing bell from 911 who mined that disaster for political gain, so it’s hard for me to even watch Perez.  He wants it too much. Bad optics again.  The other candidates include Jamie Harrison, Sally Boynton Brown, Peter Peckarsky, Jehmu Greene, Pete Buttigieg and Samuel Ronan, a USAF vet.  Ronan had some good things to say and Buttigieg presented himself well and made a lot of sense, but the star of the evening was Jehmu Greene.  She handled herself well, spoke with great clarity, ease and warmth and her ideas were right on. Her goal may be to change the party from within, but her success will be changing it from without because she presents well and people will like her.  I hope she gets it because I believe she will be effective and she is on the right side of political thought. She’s progressive.

So maybe now’s a good time to take a look at the terms “progressive” and “conservative”, how they have been defined for us and what they really mean.

“Progressive” has been defined for us by conservatives to mean free wheeling, free spending, uncontrollable big government. We are told that progressives are against our most basic American traditions by supporting gay marriage, abortion, gun control and a preference for diplomacy over conflict.  Progressives are regarded as weak.

In reality progressives are very traditional and quite conservative from a constitutional viewpoint.  They wish to protect our most basic civil rights for all people.  They support free speech.  They understand the need for social policies that protect all, including the least among us.  They demand a fair distribution of the tax burden to all classes.  They know that a country’s future lies in its educational system and that none of this matters if we do not protect the environment we live in by reducing pollution and shifting to green energy policies. Clean water is a right.  Clean air is a right.  Healthcare is a right. It’s called a “right to life” (liberty and the pursuit of happiness).  It’s in the constitution. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that coalminers have the right to mine polluting coal just to have a job.  Nor does it say that tobacco growers can continue to grow a plant that when smoked by millions of Americans causes cancer, burdens our insurance and fills our hospitals with cancer patients.  Thank you, Mitch McConnell for doing all you can for Kentucky at the expense of the nation. Ah, but I digress.

Conservatives would have us believe that they alone understand and respect the constitution.  They are against “big government.” That’s why they prefer the privatization of government agencies and natural resources moving more money into the hands of big business who maximize profits by doing less. They support freedom of choice in all things. Consequently, they decry regulations that restrict our freedom to act irresponsibly with negative impact on society. That is how they justify the right of mentally ill people to purchase firearms.  They don’t like to spend money on other people. Its part of their notion about “independence.”  “Let them spend their own money,” they say.  They are against social welfare but are for corporate welfare.  They believe in a strong military but spend money on veterans only when they are embarrassed into doing so. They believe in religion over science.  They deny climate change. They support torture and militarizing local police as a means of protecting our freedoms.  They believe in enforcing morality through inhumanity and brutality.  It makes us “strong.”

So in this polar climate of ideologies we have to ask “just what does it mean to be a Democrat?” because in choosing a new DNC chair, Democrats will be deciding the direction of the party for the immediate future.  Now that Republicans have embraced Trump as a means to pass their agenda into law, they have tacitly accepted his nationalist, anti-global, anti-social agenda and waded into the chaos of an administration determined to minimize government according to Steve Bannon’s Leninist philosophy demolishing the establishment and rebuilding something new and paradoxically, un-American.  Funny thing is, they are the establishment.  According to the populist view of government as the enemy, progressives might be the ultimate anti-establishment ideology as they sit in direct opposition to a Republican establishment.  The quandary they find themselves in is how to present that case in such a way as to build a consensus from a fractured electorate divided by ideologies along liberal versus conservative lines—way too hard.  Take a lesson from Trump.  It’s about optics not ideas.  It requires dominating the news.  PR is free.  Ads are not.  It’s about looking good.  It’s not about being good.  So Democrats must pick a new chair that can sell the idea that being a Democrat is somehow sexy in more than just an intellectual way, that being a voting Democrat is desirable not just needed.  It requires someone who is likable, level headed and speaks with clarity.  Dems, you’re already on the right side of the issues, just on the wrong side of the mirror.  “Talk to Alice, I think she’ll know.”

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Ass Backwards

February 23, 2017

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Ass Backwards

It is truly surprising how little we Americans know about the intricate machinations of our government.  Each new day of the Trump administration brings fresh revelations about its inner workings.  In many respects its like a game of rock/paper/scissors, but you have to know who reports to who to understand the rules and appreciate the consequences.

Take for example the news about Ned Price, a CIA analyst since 2006 who just recently resigned his post rather than continue in a Trump administration. “I reluctantly concluded that I cannot in good faith serve this administration as an intelligence professional.”  Price added that his decision to leave was largely based on the reorganization of the National Security Council, where he had been assigned to work these last three years. “The choice I faced was in some ways a simple one. Do I return to the CIA and write reports and analysis that would go to the White House and could well just gather dust? Or do I fulfill the charge that I signed up for in 2005 and serve the American people in another way?”

To put Price’s decision in context, one must understand the reorganization that has occurred. Phil Mudd, has a lot to say about it.  He is the former Deputy Director of the CIA Counterterrorist Center, a CIA analyst and himself a former member of the National Security Council and is now a source for commentary to News Media regarding intelligence matters.  Phil wasted no words to describe the current situation.  He called it “ass backwards.”  The problem centers on Trumps insertion of Steve Bannon into the council, providing this self described Leninist with a top security clearance enabling  the committee to report to him.  Bad idea. In plain language Mudd put it this way “The White House should be saying Mr. Bannon is not welcome in the Principals Committee. They shouldn’t put the onus on the new national security adviser.”

Price was an eleven-year CIA veteran who worked proudly for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama before calling it quits. He went on to say, : “As intelligence professionals, we’re taught to tune out politics. The river separating CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, from Washington might as well be a political moat. But this administration has flipped that dynamic on its head: The politicians are the ones tuning out the intelligence professionals.”

One of the things that disturbed Price was the manner in which intelligence flows through the system, only to end up in the hands of  Steve Bannon, Trump’s political commissar, who can interpret and decide what the president sees. Price maintains that the president needs to get neutral, political-free intel and not have Bannon interfere in the process.

Reflecting on that Mudd continued, “ I do believe — and I talk to a lot of my friends at the agency. There’s a lot of nervousness about the president that goes beyond Democrat and Republican. I think, when you look at the substance of what the president has done, for example, his quick comments on foreign policy don’t always seem to be well-considered. He talked about a one-state solution for Israel and his advisers immediately say, no, that’s not what we’re doing. In terms of style, he’s been abusive toward the intelligence community, including both the FBI and the agency.”

Today Mudd’s characterization “ass backwards” was given more weight by the Trump administration when it asked the intelligence community for a report to justify its travel ban.  All former Whitehouse administrations have used intelligence to determine policy.  In “Trump world” intelligence is used to support existing policy.  Phil Mudd could not have said it better.  That is truly “ass backward.”

But as a measure of the Trump’s shameless embrace for continued misuse of intelligence it gets worse, as evidenced today when the Whitehouse asked the FBI to “knock down” the intelligence reports of the involvement between the Trump team and Russian agents. One can only deduce that the term “knock down” means either to refute or diminish the effect of the report.  Knowing that the creation and distribution of propaganda does not fall within the FBI purview, they wisely declined.

 

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What Does It Mean To Be A Jew?

February 21, 2017

neonazis2

What Does It Mean To Be A Jew?

I don’t know where this particular blog is going just yet.  Regardless I want to be clear up front that it is not anti-semetic, anti-muslim, anti-palestinian or anti anything but hate.  It’s hard to wrap my mind around what’s going on today with all the threats and the rise of hate crimes against Jewish Community Centers in the United States. We’ve never seen anything like it and I have to ask myself if a new atmosphere has been created by Trump that seems to give haters the freedom to act out their hate, haters like The Klan and Neo-Nazi groups, or if it’s a reaction against Trump by Palestinean stakeholders and Arab supporters spilling over in the United States in their fight with Israel over Palestine.

I heard it said yesterday that the term “Muslim” is somehow unique because it has an inseparable religious and political meaning based in Sharia law—religious laws and secular laws that are tied as one system of governing beliefs.

For those unfamiliar with Sharia law, here is a list of some of the core principles.

According to Sharia law:

• Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand.

• Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.

• Criticizing Muhammad or denying that he is a prophet is punishable by death.

• Criticizing or denying Allah is punishable by death.

• A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.

• A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.

• A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.

• A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage once she is 9 years old.

• Girls’ clitoris should be cut (Muhammad‘s words, Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251).

• A woman can have 1 husband, a man up to 4 wives. Muhammad can have more.

• A man can beat his wife for insubordination.

• A man can divorce his wife; a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.

• A divorced wife loses custody of all children over 6 the age of six.exceed it.

• Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.

• A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).

• A woman’s testimony in court in property cases, carries ½ the weight of a man’s.

• A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.

• A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).

• A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.

• Edible meat must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah

• Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.

If to be Muslim means to adhere to Sharia law, then Westerners must surely  live in the fear that Trump’s policies play on.  However, if to be Muslim can mean that one believes in a morality outside Sharia law, then to be Muslim can be a different state of mind for each type. How can anyone know another’s true beliefs?  How can American law be designed to vet a mind that holds secretive beliefs?  That is the policy dilemma we face as “Trump Nation.”

However, unlike the word “Muslim” we have become comfortable with the word “Jew” in spite of the fact that it has a seemingly inseparable meaning that fuses both religious and political beliefs… but that word can mean ever so much more.  It can refer to a religion, yes, but also to just simple heredity, or it can mean a citizen of the country of Israel.  It is possible to be born from Jewish descent or to be a citizen of Israel without being of the Jewish faith. So just who are these hated Jews anyway?  Who is being hated?  All of them?  Why?

It must have its roots in the stubborn Jewish belief that they are “the chosen people” by God.  In the simplest terms this is an arrogant and divisive belief,  contrary to the core constitutional principle of our country that “all men are created equal.”  (Do haters see this and no one else?  Is that the problem?) As a result, Jews believe they have a right to the territory defined as Israel because of Biblical references to their ancestral lands?  If that is the case, then surely Palestinians must have the same right to claim Palestine as theirs.  (Following that logic, should we return the land we call the United States to the Native Americans, all here before us, who rightly believed that you do not own the land, but the land owns you?)  And then to that morass of twisted gobbledy-gook we must consider the fate of Jerusalem, another layer of confusion, because it is the historical epicenter of Jewish, Muslim and Christian beliefs.  Alas, it would take a Solomon to split this baby, surely not a world leader founded on the principle of the separation of Church and state.  Yet here we stand in the middle of an ugly dogfight drenched in religion.

So I think we have to consider whether hate crimes against Jewish Community Centers are an expression against a religion or against a political system.

Consider this: This recent wave of crimes arose right after Trump met with Benjamin Netanyahu and endorsed his one state solution to the Israeli/Palestinean conflict in the most ambiguous way.  Suddenly, long-standing US policy for a two state solution to the conflict was cast on the rocks.  Might we suspect logically that it is a reaction to that change of heart?  Maybe, just maybe.  The best we can hope for is that is political and not religious.

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Because I Say So.

February 21, 2017

Reince Priebus

Because I Say So.

Regarding the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian hacking of the presidential election of 2016 and the relationship between the Russians deeds and potential contact with Trump’s team, Reince Priebus had this to say,

“As long as they do their job and we cooperate with them, they will issue a report and it will say there’s nothing there.”

Hey that’s great, Reince.  Thank you for setting us straight.  With that pronouncement, spoken with all the certainty of misplaced party loyalty and the arrogance of one who is being judged to defy judgement by ordering its outcome, well Reince I’m almost speechless!  Well… not quite,  not just yet.

That’s just a little too convenient for you, buddy.  If the conclusion of the investigation is already foregone, then why waste the time?  We can just take your word for it because you take Trump’s word for it and we all know we can depend on his word to be completely accurate and absolute.  Why would he purposely mislead the American people?  Do we need to review the reasons or do we all know them by now.

No, I think we all know them.  But Reince you are a disappointment realized all too early.  Your conversion from simple political hack to willing co-conspirator is stunning.  You should have given it just a little more time and let the other messengers do Trump’s dirty work.  But after Kellyanne Conway’s recent ban from ever appearing again on “Morning Joe…”  well then, I’m sure everyone on “the team” can see the dominos falling. You may have been the only credible one left.  Lucky you.

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Blurred Lines

February 20, 2017

Music Review Robin Thicke

Blurred Lines

Hey, hey, hey

If you can’t hear, what I’m try’na say

If you can’t read, from the same page

Maybe I’m going deaf

Maybe I’m going blind

Maybe I’m out of my mind

Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke was not thinking politically when he penned that song, but as a piece of poetry it is equally applicable to today’s political crisis. Trump’s burred political lines are as obvious as the blurred lines around his eyes, separating his pasty white skin from his fake orange spray tan. Let’s look at just a few.

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Trump’s use of Air force One is a blurred line.

Trump now has three residences:  His New York Flat in Trump Tower, the Whitehouse and Mar-a-Lago. In his first three weeks in office he flew Air Force One to Mar-a-Lago every weekend. Air Force One costs $206,000 per each hour of flight time.  From DC to  Mar-a-Lago that’s 2 1/2 hours, or roughly half a million dollars.  With the return flight to DC that’s a million dollars in taxpayer money for Trump to visit his club in Florida each weekend.  Well not exactly, there’s more, much more.  A fleet of C-17’s accompany Air Force One carrying the presidential motorcade, a fleet of armored limousines and security cars.  Add another two million.  Several fighter jets fly with the plane for protection and a commercial plane is used to carry staff and the press.  Air Force One boasts two kitchens that can serve gourmet food to 100 people at a time. In case of an emergency, a doctor is always on board along with a medical suite that functions as an operating room. Air Force One is complete with a gym, 87 phones and 19 televisions.  That’s some perk, even for a billionaire pussy-grabbing playboy, a longtime member of the “Mile High Club.”

Specific security details for the plane are top secret, but what is known is that it can function as a bunker in a nuclear attack; it can repel airborne missiles and its electronic defense system can defeat enemy radar.

No actual cost has been divulged but a safe bet is that it easily hovers at around 5 million dollars per weekend to fly Air Force One and all it’s support to and from Mar-a-Lago. That’s probably a conservative estimate.

So in the first three weeks in office, Playboy Trump has already spent fifteen million dollars in travel costs just to visit his club.  Is he flying on government business or are these trips using Air Force One for personal use? A seat on a commercial jetliner can be had for $227. And then Trump has his own plane as well.  He continues to use his personal cell phone which is easily hacked rather than use the secure phone provided to him by the Secret Service.  If only he had the same attitude regarding the use of Air Force One, we could all be spared a lot of money that is better spent on any of the programs he is destined to cut to satisfy his end of the deal he made with McConnell and the GOP hypocrites at the convention.

Secret Service costs are a blurred line.

Yes, that’s a lot of wasted money, but it doesn’t stop there.  Secret Service costs are rising at an incalculable rate.  Since Melania has chosen to remain in New York with son, Baron, and since Trump insists on regular visits to Mar-a-Lago, The Secret Service must provide protection to the President and his family at three locations concurrently.  Until now all first families lived in the Whitehouse and flew to their other homes for vacations but not every weekend. The cost to provide Trump protection in New York’s Trump Tower is estimated alone at a million dollars a day.  Total cost for three locations could possibly be a billion dollars per year.  That’s a lot of student loans as Bernie Sanders might say.

Trump’s visits to Mar-a-lago are a blurred line

Mar-a-Lago has about 500 members who now pay $200,000 per year to join his exclusive club.  That’s one hundred million dollars a year to Trump.  Members include real estate developers, Wall Street financiers, energy executives and others whose businesses are all affected by Trump’s policies like William Koch, one of the infamous Koch brothers. Three  members are being considered for ambassadorships. Flying to the club every weekend provides members easy access to Trump, but is this government business or is this just good-ole-boy backroom dealing with the “best dealmaker ever?”  Is Trump using the presidency to promote membership in Mar-a-Lago through his regular visits?  Activities at the club are mostly masked from public view, unlike visits to the Whitehouse where visitors are exposed to the press as they enter.  Pretty nifty, huh?

POTUS’s salary has  been set at around four hundred thousand dollars, which Trump has said he would decline to accept, an empty gesture from a charlatan who spends fifteen million dollars a week to support the $100 million he gets for membership in his club, all the while blurring the lines between government and personal business.

Trump’s continued campaigning is a blurred line.

When should a presidential campaign begin?  It’s reasonable to suppose it begins after a candidate registers with the election commission and announces his candidacy for the upcoming term. George W. Bush waited 842 days after his inauguration to register.  Barack Obama waited 846 days.  Donald Trump waited 0 days.  That’s right, he registered the day of the inauguration. He’s running a continuing campaign for re-election.  Regarding his recent trip to a rally in Melbourne, Florida, both Trump and his very obedient fall-guy, Spicer, referred to it as a “campaign.”  In the past, presidents who flew Air Force One to a campaign had to reimburse the government for that expense.  If it’s not official government business, then Trump should be required to pay for the expenses.  Is anyone looking into it?  How long will this go on?

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kuschner’s administration roles are a blurred line.

Ivanka’s role in Whitehouse administration is not official, but Trump refers to her “unoffically” as his closest advisor.  Nepotism laws prevent her from having an official position.  As to Jared, the same laws apply, but are ignored, as he has been appointed Senior Advisor to the President. Initially Trump was considering requesting security clearances for each of them, but decided against it.  Why focus attention on something that can be easily ignored? And so we see Ivanka trailing her dad to private meetings with foreign leaders and staying in the room for those secretive discussions.  But the question we have to ask is this:  “How can someone be the closest advisor to the President, and another be appointed senior advisor if they do not have access to the top secret data that must be considered to make sound decisions?”  Are we to believe that the Donald doesn’t share the secrets he is privy to with his family of trusted advisors?

Trump’s actions regarding Taiwan & China are a blurred line.

Back in December, 2016 then president-elect Trump spoke to Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen on the telephone. Regarded as the first such call between the leader of Taiwan and any US president or president-elect since ties between the two countries were cut in 1979. The US closed its embassy in democratically ruled Taiwan after Richard  Nixon’s China visit because Beijing still considers it a province of China, not an independent country.  Since then, the US has maintained a “One China Policy” which officially considers Taiwan as part of the Chinese mainland.

Taiwan’s National Security Council secretary general Joseph Wu, foreign minister David Lee, and acting secretary general Liu Shih-fang, were all present during the call. The two leaders discussed the economic, political, and security ties between Taiwan and the United States in a conversation that lasted about 10 minutes in which they exchanged views and ideas about future governance, economic development and national defense, as well as the broader regional situation in Asia and strengthening bilateral relations between Taiwan and the US.

The call infuriated China’s leaders who saw it as a provocative action.  In just ten minutes, Trump created an atmosphere  of mistrust and a competition for US-China relations.  Wow, not even in office yet and he’s shaking things up!

In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Kellyanne Conway said Trump was “fully briefed and fully knowledgeable about these issues”.

Oddly, prior to Friday’s call with Tsai, Trump’s team had been looking into the possibility of investing in luxury hotels in Taiwan.  Even more odd is the fact that for the last ten years Trump has been trying without success to get the government of China to allow him to put the Trump name on his Chinese construction projects.  After taking office he suddenly and sharply reversed his “Two China” views to conform with China’s wishes and China responded by subsequently granted him permission to put the Trump name on his construction projects.  Funny how things work for “the best dealmaker ever.”

Trump’s endless efforts to make reality conform to his opinion blurs many lines.

Trump accuses all the major news agencies (except Fox News) of reporting “fake news,” lying.  But consider this, how is it that all those unrelated news agencies come to the same conclusions with the same exact facts and Donald and Fox differ?  Well as Donald’s recent campaign comment regarding terrorism in Sweden handily points out, he just repeats what he hears on Fox News, without considering its veracity or filtering it with advice from knowledgable advisors. I draw a distinction here as a knowledgable advisor is different from a “closest and trusted” advisor, all being family members.  So the many falsehoods, exaggerations and outright lies put forth by Fox News are not lost on an admiring Trump because they compliment him and his views and he compliments them back by repeating what they say.

But this should come as no surprise to us as the Donald has a long history of being on the wrong side of truth.  Take for example his many pronouncements about the Central Park Five or Obama’s birth certificate, his claim of three million illegal votes, or the bussing of illegal voters from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, the size of the crowds at his inauguration and the absence of rain,  or that his elctoral college win was the biggest since Reagan (it wasn’t by a long shot), and most importantly his denials that the Russians hacked the election even after the top secret briefing that he received along with Obama from the 17 intelligence agencies that contradicted his stubborn opinion.

One has to ask, “is Trump dumb as a brick or wily as a fox?”  Consider this.  A few days ago in Melbourne, Florida after all of Trump’s campaign bluster repeating the many old and familiar, empty promises the nationwide television viewing audience were treated to the sight and sounds of his supporters exiting to the playback of the Rolling Stones singing a very familiar tune, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”  Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?  Is Trump that ignorant or is he the wily fox rubbing it in our faces?  Fifth Avenue looks wider than ever.