Posts Tagged ‘Ivanka’


Collateral Damage

April 11, 2017

Blindfolded trump target

There seems to be an endlessly repeated refrain among Trump and his surrogates that began during his campaign and continues to this day:  He has a plan, but he’s not going to tell anyone.  Trump’s reasoning is that he doesn’t want to let his adversaries know what he is going to do, that they might devise a defense against his moves.  It could just be a poker bluff or he may really be holding all the cards, but either way, it’s a strategy designed to confuse and defeat his enemies. and the collateral damage is the American people, Congress and in turn any investigative bodies.  But consider this, it gives him the freedom to move in any direction without bearing the stigma of failure.

That’s right, if you don’t have a stated plan, then it can’t fail.  You can’t miss the target if you don’t have a target.  Take Syria for example, or healthcare, or the economy, or global climate change, or immigration, he has no plan.  Take anything he claims to embrace and the hard facts are that he has no plan at all.  Oh sure, he has the wall you say and Mexico will pay for it.  That’s a campaign slogan.  That’s not a plan.  When the cards are on the table and his bluff is called, his campaign slogans crumble under the weight of facts.  The wall is too costly. Mexico will not pay for it and neither will the American people pick up the exorbitant tax required to sustain an idea that has no positive net effect on its intended outcome. Healthcare? Well we all know what happened with that.  And how many more natural disasters, tornadoes, hurricanes, mudslides, floods and forrest fires will it take to convince him that the global climate has changed and we cannot stand idly by and simply say that we have no controls that we can exercise to create a positive effect other than to pick up the costs for the damage?  And why?  To protect a few coal jobs?  To support American petroleum companies by continuing an energy plan based on fossil fuels?  This is his plan?  To restore the do- nothing policies of the party of “no.” To poison our food supply by deregulating farmer’s use of insecticides?  To allow fracking which is proven to pollute drinking water?  This is a plan?  This is his target?  It goes on and on.  So he does one good thing and fires a few Tomahawks at Syria and whoop-de-do, we all cheer his bold move, but truth be known, he did it at Ivanka’s urging, because she empathizes with the death of the small children pictured in the news.  After all, she has small children of her own.  This is his conscience.  It’s external and lives outside his human form, as do his “plans.”

No, Trump is all about winning and that’s all there is for him.  He can’t lose if he never stakes his position with a plan. He’s untethered and blowing in the wind, a sail without a mast.  If we the American people are that mast, then he must tether himself to us by sharing a plan that works.  He must embrace the press as an ally, the congress as a partner, both parties and the entire political spectrum of the diverse population he claims to represent, and involve us in a cooperative way that begins with a stated plan.  It can’t remain a secret.

Or is that truly it?  Maybe not. There is another possibility, one supported with facts, and that is that Trump is really just plain clueless.  According to insiders and by Trump’s own admittance, he’s really from the same reading club as Sarah Palin and it seems obvious when questioned.  He exhibits the same depth of knowledge, but handles his response in a different way.  He says he has a secret plan.

Why?  Maybe because he seems to disdain reading and prefers to get oral reports.  After all in the days leading up to his presidency, he avoided his intelligence briefings, both written and oral.  Not on his agenda or was it just over his head?  Did he need someone else to explain it to him or did he just not care? His writing abilities seem to fit well with the Twitter limit of 140 characters. He watches Fox News about 4 hours each day. K I S S…  Keep it simple, stupid. This is where he gets his ideas from, but results, ah, there is where the line is drawn.  It wasn’t until H.R. McMaster took over the NSC and began cleaning it up that we started to see real results.  There’s an important lesson there. Governmental agencies work best when Trump stays the hell out of the way.

So give him his ballcap with the scrambled eggs, chicken feathers and lightning bolts and let him parade around our armada for photo-ops with all the pomp of a third world Generalissimo. Who cares.  Trump is a rubber stamp, a signature on other peoples ideas and policies.  He’ll say or do whatever he has to, to be perceived on the winning side. Eventually he may just come around and have to replace the many other bad choices he made in cabinet appointments.  He just has to figure out how to make it look like a win.  It’s our job to help him in that regard.  We have to get rid of the losers in congress and start electing winners who will get things done.  I don’t care on which side of the political spectrum you come from, we have to pull together, work together and channel this idiot to do the right thing for our sake.


The Crown Prince

April 6, 2017


Day 76 of the Trump presidency

Not so very long ago, it used to be that our nation was run by elected officials.  It’s looking less so with each passing day.

In previous centuries nations were largely governed as monarchies ruled by Kings protected from the masses they reigned over by high walls and castle towers. The line of succession fell to the Prince. Both King and Prince were attended to by many advisors, conspiring henchmen of all sorts, the royal court, the religious clergy, and just plain thugs and assassins, all vying for position and favor, paying homage to the King while plotting against him. The wretched masses the working class were kept in check by the religious clergy who promised eternal damnation to those who failed to conform to the dictates of their rulers as interpreted by the Church.  They were an easily managed population that still wallowed in superstition and believed in fairy tales. Witches and heretics were treated harshly, often burned alive atop a pile of kindling or drowned in a religious test at the end of a dunking arm. Such were the times. Such was fear. Such was the nature of order.

Things went well for the rulers until the ruled subjects, the 99%, realized that they had power over their own lives, power achieved through revolution.  Revolutions persisted, even until this day,  but historically we only educate our children regarding certain prominent ones—The American Revolution, the French Revolution with it’s guillotine, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Cuban revolution and so on.  With the exception of King George, all ended very badly for the rulers. A couple thousand miles of ocean provides a nice buffer against losing your head.  Not so for King Louis and Marie Antoinette who lost their heads along with just about every other member of the aristocracy who remained in France.  In Russia Czar Alexander and the entire Romanoff family, including his young children, were all executed.  In Cuba General Battista was stood up before a firing squad along with his entire cadre of associates both military, political and wealthy landowners. It’s the familiar pattern of  how corrupt systems are purged of diseased elements.  The two exceptions to this formula for reform were both in British colonies with movements infused with the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela respectively, historical anomalies to be sure.

Today, we have a new paradigm of government in the United States.  We are being ruled by a neo-monarch who assumed power through election, but nevertheless who has tasked his Prince, an unelected appointee to a fabricated position beyond the normal scope of regular government appointments, cabinet positions and so on, with the actual function of running the government. It’s the old concept of the family dynasty reborn in modern times, complete with a tower and a palace, and no shortage of intrigue. Jared Kushner is that prince.

As of today Jared has been tasked with the following responsibilities:

1 The mission to Iraq to meet with the Prime Minister to develop a strategy to defeat Isis.

2. Planning the visit of the Chinese President to Mar-al-ago.

3. Brokering Middle East Peace.

4. Reforming the criminal justice system.

5. Running the newly established office of American Innovation.

6. Reforming veteran care.

7. Stemming the opiod epidemic.

8. Revamping the entire federal government.

Now am I mistaken, but do we not have a Secretary of State whose responsibilities just might include foreign relations such as those in items 1, 2 & 3?

And as for items 4 through 8, don’t those fall to the many other cabinet secretaries?

So to say that Jared Kushner is charged with these responsibilities places him above these others in the pecking order to the King.

If Steve Bannon is the idea man, Sean Spicer is the carnival barker and Mike Pence is the cleanup man following the elephant in the parade, then it remains that someone must be running the country while we are being entertained.  The recent failures of healthcare reform, lack of a working budget and the foibles of “The Wall”  indicate that Trump is incapable of delivering on his promises or managing a system that relies on mutual cooperation rather than dictates from above.  While Trump may be clueless and many of his advisors may be incompetent or unqualified, the appointment of the Prince, on the surface a foolish move, may in fact be the only smart thing he has done in his first 75 days in office.  Jared may still be wet behind the ears, but by all accounts, it is his views and those of Ivanka that have moved Trump, if ever so slightly, off his entrenched positions to consider policy changes for the better.  I pray that is true.


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.


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.