A shift from ‘campaign’ to ‘administration’?

Whilst reading the news this morning, I noticed that the appointment of Robert Mueller was reported on Ozy as “to investigate Russian election meddling and possible collusion with President Donald Trump’s administration.”  (Viva’s bold of administration.)

And so maybe there IS progress.  I’ll say it again, the campaign is over, the election is history, there is a president resident in the White House.  And it is unlikely there would be any repercussions from proven campaign connivery#.

But the administration.  Yes!  I believe we should demand transparency from President Trump* — that he release his income tax returns, divest or operate a blind trust.  Prove that the Presidency is not just an acquisition of the Trump Organization because it’s not operating like any Presidency I’ve seen in my lifetime.  Good grief!  Jimmy Carter sold the peanut farm …

So finally, stop looking at the campaign! It’s over and done.  Investigate the repercussions, i.e. the administration we’re living with.  Demand disclosure or fully investigate this administration’s ties to, well, Russia’s a good start …


# Conniver:  verb, to operate secretly; conspire.

Connivery: noun, the completed action of operating secretly; conspiring.  Viva suggests connivery be added to the English lexicon as she is a supporter of making nouns verbs and verbs nouns.

* Yes, Ann.  I die a little every time I type these words.

Fake News: Sanctions on North Korea

Yesterday President Trump invited the Senate to the White House for a briefing on North Korea.  Trump is going to subject North Korea to stronger sanctions.  Bold move. Wow. Oh wait.

When I look at the numbers the US Census Bureau publishes regarding US foreign Trade with North Korea,  it looks like the US has exported a total of $1.1B worth of goods to North Korea since 2000.  Divided by 16 years, the US average annual export to North Korea is $6.9M/year.   Putting that into units of Trump tower security running about $500K/day, the average annual exports to North Korea are approximately a 2-week security detail at the Trump Tower in New York …

So from my seat out in the bleachers, here is the Trump playbook:

  1. Create a “crisis”. (For this example, Tweet about North Korea behaving badly.  As President, he may have oh, I don’t know, a cabinet member, a whole department devoted to international relations? That would take too long and require a stated strategy, maybe some policy … but a Tweet!  A Tweet shortcuts all that and gets Spicer involved.)
  2. Announce loudly and boldly what you are going to do to address the crisis.  Make it sound creative and new and sort of like ‘I don’t know why no one else hasn’t thought of this before’.  (For this example, the Senate was summoned to the White House; Trump announced imposing stronger sanctions North Korea.  Let me pause to point out that the 2016 exports/net trade with North Korea was $100,000.  $100,000 for the.entire.year.for.an.entire.country.  Putting that in units of Trump tower security detail, we are going to impose stricter sanctions with North Korea adding up to 5  hours of Trump Tower security.)
  3. Take credit.  For what?  Senators at White House for national security briefing?  Swift, decisive action that doesn’t include war?
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’m going to pay more attention to how crisis are created and diverted.  Today, other news outlets note that having the Senate over for a non-announcement-event was really just a photo op.

But then, this is now really all yesterday’s news.  Today has moved on:  Government shutdown? Taxes? ACA repeal?

Buckle up.

Some Vox Validation, (2017.04.05).

The investigation of the Trump campaign ties to Russia is distracting. I’ll say it again, it takes away from the now. We are sitting at the circus but are looking at the popcorn vendor three sections over. We are missing out on the action right in front of us.  Pick a ring, any ring, and there are more than three to choose from — Supreme Court nominee, healthcare, budget, immigration, and on and on.  And just in, perched on the high-wire, that swinging international bomb, Syria.  Focus.  We need focus.

I’ve been wondering how the investigation into links between the Trump campaign and the Russian hack of the DNC would conclude. The investigations don’t seem to be going anywhere what with all the other distractions.  Although there are millionaires, billionaires, career military and career politicians involved, I cannot think of a punishment or consequence that would result in justice.  These people operate in the shadows.   My curiosity was piqued when I read about Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s erstwhile campaign manager.  His name won’t appear on a ballot, and although the Wiki states he is a lobbyist and political consultant, I would add a shady operative.  Low friends in high places.

But the election was last year.  The campaign was last year.  A businessman is visiting the White House and calls himself President.  Or is a President living in the White House and visiting his businesses?

Trump won the electoral college, he was inaugurated.  He needs to prove he belongs there because he sure doesn’t act like it. And we need to move on.

So I felt a bit of validation Wednesday when Vox summarized the case against the Trump campaign and administration.

tl;dr?  The biggest issue would be political fallout, and it’s entirely possible that “neither Trump nor anybody in his White House will end up facing any charges at all.”

So I ask, what are we looking for?  How much of our energy, time, money, distraction do we want to spend pursuing a shard of justice?

And I will cop to being incredibly naive, but if Trump releases his income tax statements, even if it is only reviewed by a select bi-partisan group of Senators who can summarize their findings, we might get a hint of the extent of The Donald’s indebtedness not just to Russia, but to other foreign interests.  How much is it costing the U.S. to have a President with business ties all over the world?  How much of the budget is profit to the Trump empire?

WE SHOULD INSIST:

  • Trump release his income tax statements; or resign.
  • Trump divest of his businesses while in office; or resign.

The current relationship between the President, his family, and his businesses is only ethical if “ethical” means “we’re above, below, and outside the law and we play by our own rules“.

Let’s move along NOW!

So the web of contacts between Russia and members of the Trump administration is pretty thick. (See Chicago Trib – 2017.03.03, New York Times – 2017.03.03 )

And the focus seems to be communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Can we move along please?  Campaigns are so last year.  The election is over. The inauguration?  Over.  Depending on who you ask, and be careful who you ask, the US has either installed a terrific guy or an unhinged narcissist in the White House.  Opinions of President Trump run the gamut.  But they are opinions.

So let’s get to the facts.  How much is #45, Donald Trump – US President, owned by foreign interests?  And specifically, how much is Donald Trump owned by the Russians?  The campaign staff, the members of the administration might just be providing cover.  The Secret Service might just be providing an extra layer of security.

How much is THE PRESIDENT indebted to foreign interests?  We should:

  • Insist that he release his income taxes.  Or resign.
  • Insist that he divest himself of any business interests while President.  Or resign.
  • Insist that he disclose information consistent with his 44 predecessors.  Or resign.

Continuing to focus on past digressions distracts from the now.  And now Trump is doing so much to distract us from what is really important in the now.  (See also gaslighting –  Lauren Duca – Donald Trump is Gaslighting America)

We, the American people, regardless of political affiliation, deserve a President who is not driven by, or beholden to, any foreign interests or business associates.  If he wants to remain POTUS, prove it.  NOW.