Trade Wars Are Easy To Win!

Donald  J Trump says “Trade wars are easy to win.” Of course, history shows us that’s not true but that he says it does not surprise us. History to him is a story of how many people he (pardon my language) “screwed” along the way to conning them.

Trade wars hurt everyone, every side involved. Yes, one side somtimes comes out somewhat better than the other, but to the people hurt (this is not an abstraction, real people suffer in trade wars) it is of little satisfaction to say “Yes, it cost us but less than it cost our opponent(s).”

Today, as I write, Xi Jinping and his Chinese colleagues have announced the imposition of seventy five billion dollars of tariff’s on U S goods coming into China in retaliation for the tarrifs Donald J Trump has imposed and threatened to impose on Chinese goods coming to the U S. And surely Donald J Trump will respond with more from the U S side.

What is going on here is not a coordinated effort by the industrial wealthy world to push back on China, to reign in it’s effort to make trade a one-sided win for them, to reduce if not eliminate their theft of intellectual property and more. These imbalances  in world trade and honest dealing must be dealt with.

But what we have here is a contest between two bullies in the school yard begun by Donald J Trump to see who has the biggest, uh, biggest, uh, stick.

Our man Trump was taught by his father Fred and then by his mentor Roy Cohn that the great coach Vince Lombadi was right when he said “winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” But Lombadi did not add as Fred and Roy did that you win no matter what the cost, no matter who and how many people you hurt and no matter what tactics you use whether they are unethical or  illegal. 

Just WIN!

So, here we have a trade war that is hurting millions of real human beings and the longer and fiercest it goes, the more people and the more hurt it imposes because Donald J Trump must personally “win” to massage his massive but frightened ego.

Of course, Xi Jinping could fold, could cry “uncle,” as the saying goes, and knuckle under to U S demands. But he won’t because he doesn’t have to.

Yes, I know, between our two countries the U S is the stronger economically by far, we have the greater economic advantage in a trade war. But XI has the one big advantage that counts. He can make the one point three billion Chinese suffer the damage doing to them in this war whether they like it or not because he and his communist fellow rulers can decree it and back it up with lethal force if necessary. Donald J Trump for all his bluster, for all his attempt to appropriate unconstitutional powers, for all his command of cowering Republican office holders and his hold on thirty percent of the American public cannot. When Americans are unjustly hurting, we push back in overwhelming numbers and take it out on the big target sitting in the Oval office.

Simply put, Xi Jinping can  outlast him,

And our boy Trump knows it. Today, he lashed out at Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for not bowing to his demand for big interest rate cuts in order to ease the strain on the economy and the pain on American voters who may turn against him next year.

Powell said the Fed will do what it can to keep the economy on a good path by adjusting monetary policy but, he said, some present economic dislocations (and he pointedly said trade is one of them) can not be made to disappear by the Fed).

Donald J Trump, obviously frightened by the path he has chosen but unable because of his “winning” ego to adjust it, lashed out at Powell saying, quote, he “doesn’t know who the biggest enemy is, XI or Powell.”

Thus Powell joins “All Democrats, the vast majority of the American News Media, countless individual politicians, business people, artists, perhaps now the Queen and Prime Minister of Denmark, as “enemies.’ Fortunately for the majority of Jewish Americans (who voted for Democrats) they are presently only “disloyal.” But give him time, give him time.

As to the question of whether XI Jinping or Jerome Powell is the greater “enemy,” I can answer that.

Jerome Powell is not building nuclear missile submarines that, lying off our coasts, can destroy our major cities and populations within seven minutes of launch.

Oh well, take heart. As Voltaire taught us – We live is the best of all possible worlds and all is for the best. A world in which “trade wars are easy to win.”

Still, I have some advice. Set your sound activated alarm clock when it hears a deep underwater “whoosh” to six minutes and when it goes off, run like hell!

The Ballad of El Paso

Marty Robbins sang it true – The white cowboy, wanted for murder, risked returning for love of the Mexican maiden Fellina and died in her arms from the posse’s rifle shots…”one kiss and goodbye.”

That was the city I grew up in, that was the town where Anglos and Hispanics worked together, played together, married each other (my first wife was half Mexican) and generally got along just fine.

But today, the latest scene for mass murder in America.

Why would a stranger to El Paso. a young white man from Allen, Texas travel in a rage to El Paso intent on murdering innocent Hispanic people?

He posted an essay on line an hour before he began pulling the trigger of an AK-47 assault rifle complaining of “The Hispanic Invasion of Texas.” Okay, Texas belonged to Mexico before the Anglo Invasion in the early eighteen hundreds but what’s the deal in believing (and hating) there is a return Hispanic “Invasion” now?

Well, he was told Mexico was sending rapists to the United States. Nonsense.

He was told illegal Hispanic immigrants from Latin America were taking jobs from American citizens who wanted them. The data shows that is not true.

He was told that Hispanic gangs like MS-13 (which originated in Los Angeles not South of the border) were killing a great number of Americans. No, Federal authorities say the gang’s murders (mostly against fellow Hispanics) markedly declined last year and are so few as to be a rounding error in the national crime statistics.

He was told that caravans of Hispanics are “invading” our Country, caravans he says which include Muslim Al-Qaeda terrorists. There is no evidence of such terrorists in these caravans, only people seeking asylum from terrorism in their own countries and from poverty and hardship there, looking to that “shining city on the hill” that America has always been.

He was told four young women of color who are duly elected members of the U S House of Representatives hate America and should go back to the Countries they came from (three of them were born in the United States, the Country they came from, the fourth a naturalized U S citizen).

He was told all of this by the “highest authority” in the land, a man who along with assaults on Muslims and Blacks and “shithole Countries in Africa and other non-whites has relentlessly spread hatred and division on every side.

So, determined to act against “The Hispanic Invasion of Texas” why did this young man drive six hundred miles from his home in Allen, Texas to El Paso to carry out a massacre of Mexicans?

He had been told that El Paso was a “den of violent crime” committed by these illegal aliens who were storming across our border, told that by the same “highest authority” in the land who had come to El Paso to personally argue for his proposal to build a huge wall across the length of our Southern border.

Actually, with an average of 3.79 violent crimes for everyone thousand residents, El Paso was ranked last year as the sixth safest city in the Country but our “highest authority” has never paid attention to facts and those who believe what he says don’t know any better.

El Paso, then, was the perfect bullseye target in which to fight back against “The Hispanic Invasion of Texas.” And our white hot hate filled young man was ready.

Tonight, El Paso, Texas and the rest of the Country are grieving for the victims and the community in which they lived and died. And in the wider sense are grieving for the America with its values and sense of solidarity (E Pluribus Unum) which seems to be slipping away.

The debate over removing from civilian hands these deadly military assault rifles will be given new energy – someday a national consensus will triumph over the cruel and ignorant demands of the National Rifle Association.

And the usual calls for a rejection of hate and division when these violent acts occur are being heard. Let us hope that someday they will be answered.

One of them, eloquent in its words addressing this latest example of violent gun enabled national terrorism read “We must find a way to come together as a country to end this epidemic”

The author of this plea for unity is, believe it, none other than the “highest authority” in the land! This man who has done so much to encourage hatred, bigotry and has fanned the flames of white nationalism has the gall to admonish us to find a way to come together.

I know the way to begin coming together.

The present “highest authority” in the land must be removed from office by an election. He, all that he has stood for and those who have enabled him must be soundly defeated by an overwhelming majority of Americans.

I lay today’s massacre in El Paso at the feet of Donald J Trump. He has sowed the wind and we have reaped the whirlwind.

May God forgive him.

I cannot.

Racism Is A Threat – To Whom?

Charles W Blow, the NYT op-ed columnist, dissects Donald J Trump’s latest “tweets” telling four young women of color in the House of Representatives to go back to the Country where they came from (three of them came from the USA where they were born but never mind facts, he never does, why should we) and concludes, Blow does, that Trump is an inveterate and dedicated “Raging Racist”.

Right Charles, and I know you said that long before this latest proof.

Of course, in Trump’s case that is who he is at the moment. Remember, he has no fixed view on anything except what he perceives works for him at the moment. But he is stuck with this view because there in no other avenue toward re-election open to him but to energize his solid 30-33% of American rascist Troglodytes.

Yes, racism is a moral sin. That is a given. But when it comes to white racism, that is a mortal threat and the deadly truth is that the threat is overwhelmingly to whites.

Consider that of the almost eight billion people estimated to be on earth at this time only 11.1 percent are white. Does one with only a slight ability to reason believe that America can exist for long as a white enclave surrounded by almost ninety percent of the world’s population?

And as the third and fourth world gain power (see Asia and who comes behind) this overwhelming majority of non-whites will demand more and more of the World’s wealth and resources from their former masters.

As a white American I oppose white racism because it is morally wrong but I also oppose it for my own safety’s sake.

Spare The Rod

Many of us now of a “certain age” grew up with a personal understanding of an old rule embodied in the ancient saying: “Spare the rod and spoil the child (See KJV Proverbs 13:24).”

My mother on select occasions as I grew through early childhood administered two or three sharp whacks with a switch cut from a family tree when I threw tantrums aimed at getting my way and certainly later at New Mexico Military Institute during my plebe year the old cadets took up the task of applying the same rule using paddles, rifle buts and coat hangers.

Children must be taught that throwing fits and tantrums while sassing their elders in an effort to get their way must be countered with strong measures to impress on them the need to grow up apace learning while they grow and not think they can rule the world two minutes after shedding their swaddling clothes.

Well, I’m not for returning to corporal punishment, to whipping or spanking children but…

What can be done about AOC and her band of youthful insurgents? 

They seem bent on running amok, whining of mistreatment because they aren’t getting their way and throwing down the “race card” against their party leadership in an ill conceived and unjust personal attack.

Many of us believe there is no more vital objective than to bring our Country back from the abyss and defeat Donald J Trump and his merry bank of cruel and greedy enablers in 2020. To do that the Democratic party must come into that election totally unified in the objective of defeating Trump.

Trump defeated, the fight can be resumed over how far and how fast necessary changes to make people’s lives better can be made but not now.

Keep your eyes on the prize!

But no, not for AOC and her friends.  Speaker Pelosi pointed out that when four young members of her caucus  opposed the Border Bill because they said it wasn’t strong enough in protecting migrants they only got four votes – theirs. And AOC’s response was that the Speaker was attacking them and singling out “women of color” for her criticism.

That’s unfair – her record on civil rights is above reproach – and hurling the “race card” at your opponent is no way to win an argument of this kind or gain widespread support from your fellow Democrats.

So, what do we do about them, about the divisiveness in Democratic ranks they are intentionally fostering?

No, we can’t spank them and children eventually do grow up. To want to move quickly to change American lives for the better is a commendable aim but in life, all things must be weighed against the consequences.

If fighting the overwhelming majority of her House caucus and their Leader and splintering the Democractic party is more important than defeating Donald J Trump, okay, go to it and be prepared to accept the consequences of your action.

I can’t believe AOC wants that.

Although, I note that her Chief of Staff, if quoted correctly, seems to think that continuing this fight will result in a huge majority of voters swinging behind their program, throwing the party “moderates” out of power (goodbye Nancy), and defeating Donald J Trump on a platform of far-left reforms right now.

Oy, vey, so many children!

 

The popular saying is “Spare the rod and spoil the child” although the origin of that thought is found in the Bible

KJV Proverbs 13:24“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

Historic Meeting – And Hope Springs Eternal

When Richard Nixon traveled to Beijing to begin a relationship with communist China, that was historic. When Jimmy Carter traveled to the Mid-East to shepherd the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, that was historic. When Ronald Reagan stood before the Berlin Wall and exhorted Mikhail Gorbachev to tear it down, that was historic.

All these trips made the world better.

But when Donald J Trump traveled a few feet into North Korea with that countries murderous dictator Kim Jong Un, stayed a few seconds before scurrying back into South Korea, that “historic” event was simply another Act in a tragic opera that is making the world more dangerous.

And how did this event come about?

To hear Donald J Trump tell it, while attending the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, long planned and scheduled, he was simply struck with a brilliant thought.

“Yesterday I was just thinking ‘I am here, let’s see whether or not we can say hello to Kim Jong Un,” Trump told us.

So, using his favorite form of communication, our President “tweeted” to Kim his idea of meeting.  And presto, vola, Trump shot over to South Korea, Kim rushed down to the Demilitarized Zone and it happened.

Many observers don’t believe that, including one as quoted thusly in the Washington Post.

“Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University in Seoul, said it was inconceivable that the leaders of two powerful nations had arranged a meeting at such short notice, calling it a “show” designed to send a political message, without raising expectations about them making actual progress.

“They needed something that is strong on optics but weak on substance,” he said….Trump, under fire for inflaming tensions with Iran, wanted to portray himself as a diplomat who prevented war with North Korea….And Kim wanted to counter domestic criticism that his engagement with the United States had failed to yield results,” Lankov said.

But Trump insisted that this meeting further moved the two Countries toward reaching an overall settlement of differences because it further strengthened their personal relationship.

“We’ve developed a very good relationship and we understand each other very well. I do believe he understands me, and I think I maybe understand him, and sometimes that can lead to very good things.”

Let us pause here to explore these “understandings.”

Does Donald J Trump “understand” that Kim is a murderous dictator who had his Uncle and several of his Uncle’s aides publicly killed by putting them in front of anti-aircraft guns which then blew them to pieces. Does he “understand” that Kim had his half brother murdered with a nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur airport? Does he “understand” that Kim  finally released  his American college student prisoner Otto Warmbier who arrived home in a vegetative state and died soon after? Does he understand that the Kim family which has ruled North Korea for so long has never moved toward ending the Korean war which has only been suspended since the 1953 armistice agreement?

And Does Kim Jung Un “understand” who Trump is? Have his experts studied this poor, pathetic damaged man who is our president?  Have they watched him withdraw us from World organizations, tear up a treaty with Iran that prevented that country from continuing work on nuclear weapons for a decade, belittle our traditional allies and cozy up to Kim’s fellow dictators, promulgate policies at home and abroad of cruelty and hardship for ordinary people and strut about in the style of the late Benito Mussolini? 

Well,  there have now been two formal “summits” and this brief border “skirmish” between the two leaders. So who understands what and what will their understandings lead to?

Trump says these meetings may well lead to a denuclearization of North Korea, thus ending the threat of nuclear war initiated by North Korea and resulting in peaceful relations. He then foresees a North Korea that can be helped economically to provide a better life for its people and though he does not say it such an outcome might well lead to a democratization of that country. 

Good luck.

The reality is, at each meeting Kim Jong Un has re-affirmed what his father and his grandfather also said – that they are willing and even eager to consider ways for a complete de-nuclearization of the Korean theatre – but of course nothing has come of it . Because that would require a withdrawal of the United States forces from and guarantees for our allies in the region. The Kim family keeps trying and perhaps now hopes they have found someone who can be persuaded to give them the free hand such a withdrawal would allow. 

Trump’s first meeting with Kim resulted in nothing but the familiar language on Kim’s part of willingness to consider total de-nuclearization of both sides.

Trump’s second meeting with Kim resulted in the same failure to do anything but hear the same North Korea rhetoric followed by nothing more.

Now, as a result of this third “border skirmish,” we are told both sides have agreed to appoint new emissaries to consider ways not for agreement but ways to find a way to consider ways for an agreement (these are my words to describe was said as  the result but read what the two sides said and tell me I’m off the mark.

So, for us, for the United States, these meetings have led to nothing of substance that makes the Theatre or us safer but, I would argue, actually makes it more dangerous because of what Kim has gained.

For Kim, before only a dangerous and murderous “nobody,” he has gained world stature.

He has stood on equal photo op platforms with the President of the United States. He has now traveled to Moscow (first time any North Korean leader has been so invited) to meet Vladimir Putin and talk over common interests. He and China’s Xi Jinpjng have exchanged visits to also talk over common interests.

Would we have been able to sit in on all those meeting as a “fly on the wall,” what would we have heard? Valdimir and Zi advising Kim to denuclearize as the United States wishes, telling Kim it is in their three countries’ interest to agree to the reasonable demands of the United States which will lead to peace, harmony and prosperity for all?

I think not.

I believe we would have heard discussions of how the American President could continue to be “played” and led through his own ignorant sense of grandeur (Nobel prize material, he says) toward doing things and making concessions that will further the interests of those three countries who wish us ill, not well, as demonstrated by their  actions to date.

Okay, enough pessimistic talk. Let us hope people like me are totally wrong about all this, wrong about Trump, wrong about Kim, wrong about what we believe we see happening.

Maybe this time when our president returns from some future trip to meet Chairman Kim he can wave a piece of paper on which is written a firm agreement that really means “Peace for our time” and not once again down the dangerous rabbit hole of unfulfilled and unjustified expectations.

Let us hope.

 

 

 

s.”

I Stand With Nancy!

There is a growing clamor among Democratic ranks to begin Impeachment proceedings against Donald J Trump. And now a lone Republican member of the House – Representative Justin Amash of Michigan – says he believes the president has, indeed, committed impeachable offenses and should be held to account through the Constitutional Impeachment process.

I think Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right that to do so is a bad idea.

Why, because I don’t agree that Trump deserves by his conduct to be removed from office? Far from it. He has so disgraced the presidency and himself that a  catalogue of his crimes and failings would require hours to recite. Moreover, Trump presents a mortal danger to our Country that until recently has been the leader and envy of the world.

No, Impeachment is a bad idea for practical reasons. If the goal is to remove Trump from the Oval Office, the Impeachment process would at this point in time actually hinder that goal.

   -First, with Republicans firmly in control of the Senate removal from office would not occur no matter what evidence the House reports. When Richard Nixon was clearly headed toward a Senate conviction both parties led by the Democrats clearly had assembled the votes for removal.

In those days the evidence on the “tapes” in which you heard Nixon commit the felony of obstruction of justice by devising a plan to cover up the Watergate burglary was so conclusive as to  pierce any partisan cover Congressional Republicans might have attempted to give him. And in those days, many Republicans who had been Nixon supporters looked at the evidence and left his camp voluntarily.

But today, and I  hate to say it, Congressional Republicans either through conviction or fear of their Trump constituents are almost solidly the president’s sycophants no matter what. They see the same evidence the rest of us see and simply deny it. Is it really realistic to believe any bill of particulars presented to the Senate by the House would cause Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to lead his troops to vote  for removal?

But why not make the case in the House anyway? It would show a  willingness to do the right thing using the Constitutional process set up by the Founders for just such a circumstance that now exists. It would highlight the fact that a great majority of Americans want Trump removed and thus a rebuke to the minority who support him. It would show that the Democrats are up to doing their duty. But those arguments bring me to a second reason why Impeachment now is a bad idea.

  -Second, the Impeachment process in the House would take time. Court battles over House demands for evidence – records, tax files, testimony from Trump officials past and present – would require not weeks but months. To try to rush through the process would play into the hands of Trump crying to his supporters that he is being “railroaded.”

But let us assume by next year Impeachment by the House would be voted and despite the lack of Republican support in the Senate, a Senate Trial would be scheduled (see the Clinton time table) in early 2020. And now, for sake of a discussion, let us assume I am dead wrong and by mid-summer the Senate has voted to remove Trump from office.

What do you think happens then? Like Nixon, he leaves chastened without a murmur, waving from the door of his helicopter before he lifts off from the White House for the last time? And what do you think that hard core of Americans who have supported Trump despite all his lies and dangerous and cruel ignorant actions will do? Accept that he was fairly judged, that they were wrong, taken in by a con-man and retire to bitter but silent acquiescences?

I need not give you my answers to those questions but merely ask you to think about them and reach your own conclusions.

But removal appears highly unlikely. So Trump stays, again what harm in making the try?

I believe the main goal now is to remove Trump from office and I further believe the best chance to do that is in a fiercely fought 2020 election. An election that not only defeats him soundly but a defeat so overwhelming that any attempt on his part to subvert it would fail and one that would leave his hard core supporters no choice but to accept it.

Anything that gets in the way of that election, that distracts from that effort draining energy and risking public apathy or worse disapproval and energizing Trump’s hard corps supporters to defend him even stronger, would deporadize the main goal. And that’s what I believe a failed Impeachment proceeding now would do.

I can just see Trump’s call to his base for resistance to what he will say is the “deep states” attempted coup.

And with people now discussing the possibility of violence if Trump is fairly defeated in the 2020 election,  what do you think the possibility is of violence if he is under siege by an Impeachment process as the election approaches?

No, Impeachment is not the way. Keep the spotlight on his many sins against truth, facts, justice and regular order. Work hard for his removal less than two years away through the election process.

To get the job done then let’s stand with Nancy now!

Trump vs John Marshall

Donald J Trump says he, the president, will not obey the demands of Congress for records or testimony from administration officials, past or present, as Congress pursues its Constitutional oversight authority. 

Trump is used to getting his way. But in this fight he faces the most formidable opponent yet.

Not Joe Biden or any of his other political opponents.

But a man who has been dead for one hundred ninety four years named John Marshall who was the 4th Chief  Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

It was Marshall who established the bedrock principle that when a dispute of law and the Constitution must be resolved it is the Courts of our land that will resolve it.

And the Courts decision will be obeyed!

Thus it was in 1974, when president Richard M Nixon fought the Congressional subpoena that demanded he turn over his White House tapes. The case made its way to the Supreme Court.

The Court ruled against him and  he turned over the tapes.

Today, the first of several showdowns between the Congress and the President has received an initial ruling.

And Marshall wins the first round.

As the Washington Post reported: “President Trump on Monday lost an early round of his court fight with Democrats, after a federal judge ruled the president’s accounting firm must turn over his financial records to Congress as lawmakers seek to assert their oversight authority.

Trump called the 41-page ruling from U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of Washington, D.C. “crazy” and said he would appeal, adding: “We think it’s totally the wrong decision by obviously an Obama-appointed judge.”

An “Obama” judge?

Well, consider this. When the Supreme Court had to rule in the case of Richard Nixon’s tapes there was a vacancy so the unanimous vote against Nixon was eight to zero. Four of the eight Justices voting were nominated to the court including Chief Justice Warren Burger by – you guessed it, Nixon.

If Mr. Nixon thought  that was a “totally the wrong decision” by Judges not nominated by a political opponent but by him he had the good sense not to voice it.

Instead, he obeyed the court.

When the Congressional lawsuit against President Trump was filed, Trump’s private attorney Jay Sekulow said the president’s team “will not allow Congressional Presidential harassment to go unanswered.”

But Judge Metha flatly rejected the idea that the subpoena from Congress for records from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA was “harassment” that served no legitimate legislative function.  

 Judge Mehta wrote “It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry.”

Well, you say, when this and other cases of Subpoenas not obeyed reach the Supreme Court Trump will win in the end.

Don’t be too sure of that. 

I believe Chief Justice John Roberts will vote to uphold the Constitutional authority of Congress and guess who I believe will do so also – Justice Cavanaugh. In fact, it is not beyond reason to forecast that the vote would be unanimous or at least eight to one against President Trump’s attempt to obstruct Congressional authority.

No, Donald J Trump for all his boasting that he always is a winner will have met his match at last.

And from a dead man at that.

Deadbeat Donald & Me

The New York Times story that disclosed that in ten years to 1994, Donald J Trump lost over a billion dollars may have been a shock to some people but not to me.

I didn’t know the exact figure but twenty nine years ago, with the help of a Forbes magazine article and Trump himself  I knew this self-proclaimed billionaire was blowing smoke and was on track to lose every penny he had to his creditors.

In the Spring of 1990, the Forbes business magazine published an article on what they had learned from sources about Trump’s financial situation. It caught our eye on the ABC network program Prime Time Live which I co-anchored with Diane Sawyer.

I called Trump and asked to interview him about his finances. He said come on as long as I agreed not to ask questions about his marital difficulties with his first wife Ivana which was then spread all over the NYC papers. I readily made the deal.

On Thursday morning ,May 3, 1990, we taped an interview with Trump in his office and that night aired what he said about the Forbes article. We were both younger and looked better and he was able to finish his sentences without wandering off into irrelevances.

But the Trump Style of denying facts, spinning a false picture, stroking his own ego and attacking the message (me) was already in full bloom.

Watch for yourself. Here is the link.

Now, let’s look at what happened.

    -No one offered more than he paid for his airline and in fact Trump defaulted on his 380 million airline loan and in September of 1990, a consortium of banks led by Citibank assumed ownership.

    -In 1992, Trump declared Pre-Packaged Bankruptcy/Default on the Plaza Hotel. He had paid 407 million of borrowed money to buy the hotel and had put in 25 million more for renovations. His trophy the Plaza was sold in 1995 for 325-million.

    -The person who was going to buy the Princess in the next week after our interview for 115 million never showed up (didn’t exist?). Trump had paid 29 million for the boat and had renovated it for an additional 9 million. He sold this trophy in September of 1990, for 20 million

     -As for the 835-million Trump had borrowed to build the Taj Mahal hotel/casino in Atlantic City, Forbes magazine was correct. He couldn’t service the debt and arranged a Pre-packaged bankruptcy In 1991.

      And that would have “cooked him” for good except for the fact at this point Carl Icahn, a real billionaire friend, agreed to assume the Taj’s debt and allowed Trump to keep his name on the property under a Management agreement.

     The management didn’t go all that well – in 2015, the U S Treasury financial Crimes Department fined Trump 10-million for “Money laundering.” 

Since his failures in the early 1990s, the New York banks have refused to lend Trump money. But he got it somewhere in order to keep going in his wily pursuit of conning the rubes, in the process destroying others financial well being through a variety of schemes and refusal to pay his debts even to workmen and jobbers with whom he did business.

We may learn from whom and how much money he has borrowed since 1994, on the day we see Trump’s tax rerutrns.

The same day, I assume, that I will receive his books!

MUELLER PUNTS

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report has been turned in to the Attorney General and the Attorney General has now made public to Congress the bare-bones conclusions on two central questions.

On Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election – The Special Counsel’s Report says, according to Attorney General Barr’s letter to Congress, that the Russians did, indeed, try to influence the election and in the process committed crimes, however : “”[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

On Obstruction of Justice – The Special Counsel’s Report states, according to Attorney General Barr’s letter: “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

That means that Barr makes the decision on whether to prosecute Tump for Obstruction of Justice and on that, Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein concluded “that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

First, “hat’s off” as the old expression has it to Robert Mueller and his team. Any good prosecutor – and Mueller is one of the best – will not go forward with a criminal charge if he/she does not have rock solid evidence to convince a jury “beyond a reasonable doubt,” particularly in this case against this man.

Attorney General Barr told Congress “the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.”

Now, when we see, if we ever do, Mueller’s full report which will show us what evidence he had and how it was weighed any one of us is free to disagree with his decision not to take a yes or no position. It is important that we keep the pressure on Barr to release the entire Mueller report.

And in its own investigation of this matter, the House of Representatives has the ability to prefer an Article of Impeachment on Trump based on an Obstruction charge. However,  regardless of the mountain of evidence testifying to his unfitness  there is not enough support to remove Trump through the Impeachment process. His loyal, fanatical supporters could prevent it.

Second, another tip of the old hat to Attorney General Barr who points out in his letter that an Obstruction charge flows from an attempt to impede an investigation of a crime and in this case, says Barr, the Special Counsel concludes that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime relating to Russian election interference,” and while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction.”

Therefore, Barr says he and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein concluded “that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.” 

I’ll leave it up to the lawyers to argue whether a public effort to shut down an investigation of the Russian activities which did constitute a crime is enough to charge Trump with Obstruction of Justice even though he was not a participant in the Russian effort.

But for now, Trump has slipped the noose of a criminal court charge. Trump and his merry band of greedy enablers will hail this as a victory and try to convince the world that the President is home free.

Ha! That’s like trying to convince a sailor who makes it through the first hurricane wall and into the eye that the storm is over

The Special Counsel farmed out other matters being investigated in other jurisdictions. And the Attorney general of New York is hard at work investigating subjects which could bring Trump to criminal court.

But, there is a more important Court that Trump is already squarely in – the Court of Public Opinion . And the jurors in this court will have the final say.

Lincoln was right, Trump cannot fool all of the people all of the time. In fact, every indication we have is that a large majority of Americans is appalled at what the election of 2016 wrought and will rise up at the ballot box to correct it. 

We must work unceasingly to see that that happens.

Mueller punted, probably for good reasons.

Now the rest of us must kick this case through the goal posts.

And kick Donald J Trump out!

 

 

Rethink The 1st Amendment?

Yes.

In light of the latest example in the New Zealand massacre in which at least forty nine people were gunned down while the alleged gunner broadcast via the Internet platforms not only his intentions but delighted in exhibiting pictures of his massacre I am for rethinking this most important safeguard for the freedoms we  have enjoyed in our Country.

For years people have asked me how the news business has changed in my working (and non-working) lifetime. I always have begun my answer by saying every change in what we consider news, in how to package and deliver news, was preceded by a change in technology.

From the simplest of things – the ability of new cameras to broadcast color on television to the emergence of Cable to the World Wide Internet delivery we have adopted (meaning we have changed) how we think of what is news and how we deliver it.

I’m saying this in our own USA system, the (modified) capitalist system in which the profit motive is very important, if let loose out of hand (oh please deregulate some more)  the most important motive.

I learned to move from Here’s what we journalists think is important for you to know to What would you like to hear. Want to know about who is Jlowe’s latest boyfriend instead of the latest movement in controlling the proliferation of nuclear weapons, no problem. We can package “Jlow” as an important example of societal movement for a changing time and lead with it.

Which brings us to Facebook and Twitter and Google and those other methods for giving everybody, I mean everybody their ability to communicate.

So, isn’t that good?

Almost the day before yesterday, I might have said Yes. Remember, I’m a 1st Amendment guy.

Today, I say No. If you want to go up into the Sandia Mountains where I live in New Mexico and amid “baying at the moon” spew forth your hatred and twisted concept of human life, perhaps okay. Speak to the coyotes and occasional cougar.

But I would strip you of your “1st Amendment” rights to take to the Internet with your hatred and despicable speech which leads to violence. And the Platforms that you have been using must, by force of law if necessary, employ whatever technology available and at whatever cost to them to stop you, to render you silent!

Yes, I know, I am advocating that the meaning of the 1st Amendment which was designed to protect unpopular speech be changed to protect only speech that does not incite to violence and hatred and murder and that those who wish to speak it be banned from modern technology ability to do so.

And if you tell me how difficult it would be to know where to draw the line precisely, I fall back on Justice Potter Stewarts famous reply when asked how to define hard core pornography.

He said I can’t give you an all embracing definition, but “I know it when I see it.”

In the case of the suspect in the Australian massacre, we surely could have known it in his pre-massacre writings when we saw it.

And rendered him silent!