Taking up where Las Vegas Lounge Entertainment Magazine left off and offering an up-to-date guide to karaoke bar entertainment in Las Vegas, Pahrump, Indian Springs, Goodsprings, Laughlin, and Needles: where, when and who’s hosting the shows.
Note: Whitetrashtest.com claims no credit for any of the photographs, illustrations or images which appear on this website with the exception of the photographs shown in MICE: The adventures of Speedy.
All is Wrong With Trump’s Proposed Border Adjustment Tax
With a lengthy commentary by your host.
Kate McKinnon’s Satire of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on SNL is Really Good
Trump Chronicles from March 2 to March 5, 2017
Diagram of Trump’s Advisor’s Communications with the Russians
Evidence is Building that Trump is in the Control of the Russians
With a lengthy commentary by your host.
Trump’s Former Advisor J.D. Gordon Admits Having Discussions with the Russians
Trump Denies Having Anything to do with the Softening of the RNC Platform on the United States Protecting the Ukraine — Later Debunked
The Interview of Former Trump Advisor Carter Page Shows Him to Be a Weasel
Trump Continues to Fail to Present Any Evidence of Voter Fraud
Trump Proves He Doesn’t Care About Clean Air
With a commentary by your host.
Bill Maher Comments on Trump’s Speech to a Joint Session of Congress
Another Piece of Evidence Emerges Showing a Trump-Russia Connection
More on the Russian Billionaire Who Appears to be Following Trump Around
Trump’s Muslim Ban is All Washed Up
With a lengthy commentary by your host.
It Looks Like Trump’s Appointee to Attorney General Committed Perjury at His Confirmation Hearing and Should Resign
With a lengthy commentary by your host.
In conformance with the Trumpian status quo, that being never to apologize or admit to any misstatements or wrongdoing, Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, who was caught three days ago in multiple lies at his first news briefing when, among other things, he said Trump’s inauguration was the most attended and most seen U.S. presidential inauguration “period,” as part of the statements Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway described two days ago to Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press as “alternative facts,” said at today’s news briefing in justification of his prior fibs and fabrications that he has the ability to “disagree with the facts.” Be aware, that is not the same as Spicer disagreeing with what the facts may be, but his disagreeing with facts which can be objectively proven beyond a reasonable doubt by substantial, credible evidence and which he knows to be true.
Spicer apparently feels such disagreement, whether his or Trump’s, is sufficient to justify his lying about what the facts actually are simply because he or Trump would prefer the facts be different than what are actually the case. With that as Spicer’s standard, we will never know whether what he is saying is true or false. Will the words coming out of Spicer’s mouth be stating “facts” or, conversely, “alternative facts,” otherwise known as lies, because he doesn’t like what the real facts may be and wants to disagree with the true reality which has been placed before him and with which he must contend?
Spicer went on to say, “Our intention is never to lie to you,” but that sounds to me to be another one of those “alternative facts” as it is contrary to Spicer being able to “disagree with the facts” without correction or apology once confronted with evidence to the contrary.
“American Carnage,” sounds like a good name for a new reality television show or, perhaps, will best describe Trump’s presidency. Trump has consistently tried to make us believe everything is worse than it is, and only he has the fix. Yet, three of the biggest domestic problems facing America are global warming, the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, and conflicts caused by discrimination, all of which Trump plans to make worse.
Adviser Kellyanne Conway: ‘He is not going to release his tax returns’ as WikiLeaks calls for someone to leak documents so they can be published
theguardian.com|By Alan Yuhas
Trump’s action with respect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has so far been 99.9% symbolic. Can the Republicans really do anything to fully repeal the ACA without causing a complete uprising in consideration that the ACA becomes more popular every day? Tweaks and improvements to the ACA are in order. Repeal and replacement of the ACA are not.
To be a member of the mouthpiece portion of Trump’s administration, one apparently needs to be a dutiful liar, and his chief liar is now going to be his press secretary, Sean Spicer. In Spicer’s lame attempt to make it appear the press was lying about the lousy turn out at Trump’s inauguration, Spencer told 4 lies in 5 minutes.
1. It was the first time floor coverings were used to cover and protect the grass on the National Mall. Nope, happened at Obama’s second inauguration. (This allegation was made to support the idea the white floor coverings put down to protect the grass made the empty spaces on the mall more noticeable.)
2. All the space between Trump’s platform and the Washington Monument was full. Nope, pictures show otherwise.
3. More people used D.C. Metro public transit to attend Trump’s inauguration than Obama’s inauguration. Nope, ridership of 133,000 vs. 317,000 during the applicable time period before Trump’s and Obama’s swearing in, respectively.
4. Largest audience to ever witness a U.S. presidential inauguration. Nope, beaten by live crowd estimates and Nielsen inauguration television ratings for Reagan (’81 — largest TV rating), Obama (’09 — largest crowd and second largest TV rating), Carter (’77), and Nixon (’69).
This was Spicer’s first introduction to the press as Trump’s press secretary, and his provably false statements didn’t present a good first impression of him as a credible person — something upon which all press secretaries need rely.
Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President of the United States and Trump’s fast-talking, expert fabricator with an obnoxious knack for quick tangential exits from hard questions, characterized Spicer’s lies the following day on Meet the Press as “alternative facts.”
When NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd kept pressing for an answer of why Spicer was sent out by Trump to state “falsehoods” at his first press briefing, Conway threatened to shut off Todd’s access to further interviews with the words, “Chuck, if we’re going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms, I think that we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”
When Todd said Spicer being sent out to state falsehoods at his first press briefing “undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office on day one,” Conway said, “No it doesn’t. Don’t be so, don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What it, you’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that,” referring to Trump’s need to refute press reports about the lesser size of his live inaugural audience when compared to Obama’s live inaugural audience.
After rattling off his four lies and then finishing the press briefing, in Dan Rather’s words, Spicer then walked “out of the briefing room without the cojones to answer a single question.”
During his speech to the CIA, Trump said, “As you know I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth. And they sort of made it sound that I had a feud with the intelligence community. . . I was explaining about the numbers. We did a thing yesterday . . . Everybody liked the speech. . . We had a massive field of people, you saw them, packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, they show an empty field, and I say, ‘Wait a minute. I made a speech. The field looked like a million, a million and a half people.’ They showed a field where there was practically nobody standing there, and they said Donald Trump did not draw well, and I said, ‘It was almost raining. The rain should have scared them away, but God looked down and said, “We’re not gonna let let it rain on your speech,”‘. . . . Honestly, it looked like a million and a half people, but whatever it was, it was, but it went over all the way back to the Washington Monument, and I turn around, and by mistake, I get this network, and it showed an empty field, and it said we drew 250,000 people. Now that’s not bad, but it’s a lie, we had 250,000 people literally around in the little bowl we constructed. That was 250,000 people. The rest of the 20 block area all of the way back to the Washington Monument was packed, so we caught them, and we caught them in a beauty, and I think they’re gonna pay a big price . . .”
At the end of his CIA speech, Trump ironically said, “I like honesty. I like honest reporting.”
But Donald Trump doesn’t really like an honest press because, honestly, the final estimate by crowd counting scientists, Mercel Altenburg and Keith Still, from the Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain, which was based on an analysis of photographs and videos taken of the National Mall and the surrounding vicinity at the time of Trump’s speech, was that Trump’s inauguration only drew 160,000 people. Sorry President Trump, but see the prior post.
As for Sean Spicer himself, I have witnessed few people as abrasive as this horrible man. Press secretaries are usually people who are naturally nice and easy to speak with, the word “affable” would usually describe their demeanor, but not this guy who came across like an absolute jerk. If you watch and listen to his press briefing, you will see exactly what I mean. It is available at this link:
With my comments in brackets, Spicer said in pertinent part,
“Some members of the media were engaged in false reporting. . . . Photographs of the inaugural proceeding were intentionally framed in a way in one particular tweet to minimize the enormous support that it gathered on the National Mall. This was the first time in our nation’s history that floor coverings have been used to protect the grass and the mall. That had the effect of highlighting any areas where people were not standing while in years past the grass eliminated this visual. This is also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the mall preventing hundreds and thousands of people from being able to access the mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past. [The estimates given accounted for all people in the area.]
“Inaccurate numbers involving crowd size were also tweeted. [The numbers reported, about 250,000, actually turned out to be generous since the scientifically determined number was only160,000.] No one had numbers because the National Park Service which controls the National Mall does not put any out. [The media is certainly free to make its own estimates.] By the way, this applies to any attempts to count the number of protesters today in the same fashion. We do know a few things, so let’s go through the facts.
“We know that from the platform where the President was sworn in to Fourth Street holds about 250,000 people. From Fourth Street to the media tent is about another 220,000, and from the media tent to the Washington Monument another 250,000 people. All of this space was full when the President took the Oath of Office. We know that 420,000 people used the D.C. Metro transit yesterday which actually compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama’s last inaugural. [That was an apples vs. oranges comparison and did not accurately account for the time period when people would be traveling to the mall. No one can figure where Spicer got his 420,000 ridership number.]
“This is the largest audience to witness an inauguration, PERIOD, both in person and around the globe. [Spicer loudly and definitively stated the word “period” as if no further discussion could ever be had as if his words were inspired by allmighty God himself.] Even The New York Times puts a photograph showing that a misrepresentation of the crowd in the original tweet in their paper which showed the full extent of the support, depth, and crowd and intensity that existed. [A representative from The New York Times said they did not know what Spicer was talking about.]
“These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm with the inauguration are shameful and wrong. . . .
[After discussing Trump’s speech to the CIA, Spicer continued.]
“The Senate Democrats are stalling the nomination of Mike Pompeo [Trump’s nominee to be appointed to head up the CIA] and playing politics with national security. That’s what you guys should be writing and covering than this, instead of sewing division about tweets and false narratives.
“The President is committed to unifying our country, and that was the focus of his inaugural address. [Most of what I heard was insulting to President Obama and misstating the condition of the country as if it is an apocalypse.] This kind of dishonesty in the media, the challenging of bringing about our nation together is making it more difficult. [Like Trump’s New Year’s tweet referring to his many enemies.]
“There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable, and I’m here to tell you it goes two ways. We’re going to hold the press accountable as well. [More threats against the media and disrespect for the First Amendment.] The American people deserve better, and as long as he serves as the messager for this incredible movement, he will bring his message directly to the American people where his focus will always be.”
In my opinion, Spicer is not fit to be the White House press secretary, but he should fit well within the Trump administration. Expect the press to be called “among the most dishonest human beings on Earth” more times during the next four years.
It looks like I was wrong. Trump’s inauguration was a bigger flop than I thought. According to crowd counting scientists who have now thoroughly analyzed the data, the Women’s March had three times more people attending it than attended Trump’s inauguration. So here’s how it breaks down: The estimate of the crowd during Obama’s 2009 inauguration was 1.8 million. The estimate of the crowd during Saturday’s Women’s March was 470,000. The estimate of the crowd during Trump’s inauguration speech, at its presumed height, was only 160,000. No wonder he’s crying like a baby. If Trump had left bad enough alone, we wouldn’t be reading article after article about how unsuccessful his inauguration turned out. What did the least popular person to be sworn into the presidency in modern times and who couldn’t get any A-list talent to perform at his inauguration expect? The pictures of maps presented in this detailed article are quite enlightening.
Trump said he saw 1 million to 1.5 million people cheering him on at his inauguration. Trump also said he saw thousands and thousands of Muslims on the banks of the Jersey City shore cheering on the fall of the Twin Towers. Let’s face it, Trump sees what he wants to see in his alternative reality.
Update: In the aggregate when one counts all the people who protested in all the American cities it is estimated that 3.2 million people participated in the March of Women in America making it the largest number of people protesting for a common cause in America in American history.
To transfer control of his companies, the president has to submit filings in Florida, Delaware and New York. We spoke to officials in each of those states.
propublica.org|By Derek Kravitz, Al Shaw
Trump may have finally admitted that humans expect climate change, but I wouldn’t expect him to do anything about it if it means reducing profits he might earn for any investments he may have in fossil fuel industries.
The turn out for Trump’s inauguration was no more special than his steaks — a disappointing crowd. When he learned the news the next morning he went into denial mode, and he and his new press secretary have been lying about it ever since, just like his “landslide” victory. Tomorrow will come the March of Women, and Trump will see what a big crowd on the National Mall really looks like.
President Donald Trump’s team says his inauguration was watched by more people than any other. It wasn’t.
Here is the Tweet that’s a member of the National Park Service got in trouble for retweeting which shows Obama’s inauguration crowd estimated at 1.8 million compared to Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd estimated at 250,000.
President Trump accused the media of lying about the size of the crowds.
vox.com|By Timothy B. Lee
Here is the historical estimate of the number of people who attended Obama’s inauguration: 1.8 million. One media source estimated Donald Trump’s crowd at 250,000. I give him more than that but not as many as there were angry women on the National Mall the next day, estimated at 500,000.
The internet was not the only source of mockery for Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway’s ill-advised inaugural look on Friday, with
Now Trump, our Egoist in Chief, through his press secretary, Sean Spencer, is whining and crying that the press is being mean to him by claiming the press misreported the size of his inauguration crowd. The pictures tell the story. Trump’s inauguration crowd was significantly smaller than Obama’s inauguration crowd. The Metro ridership records tell the story. There were even more women protesters the next day. Trump’s dismal inauguration approval rating tells the story. At 38% to 40%, it is the lowest since they began recording it. Cry, Donald, cry, and make up lies about how beloved you are. I guess Trump will now ban any member of the press from coming to his next “press” conference who doesn’t love him as much as the nonpress Trump supporters he uses to pack the room to laugh, cheer and bemoan on que.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer berated the press for incorrect reporting on crowd size at the National Mall, but then he cited incorrect numbers for Metro ridership and…
According to this article in The Washington Post, the women protest marches on Saturday, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, were extremely successful in terms of numbers. I previously reported there were about 200,000 RSVPs from women agreeing to come to the Washington, D.C., protest, but in Washington, D.C., the estimated crowd of protesters turned out to be in excess of 500,000, which probably outnumber the number of people who attended Donald Trump’s inauguration with more trips being recorded on the Metro line than on any other weekend in history–a total of 597,000 trips. The Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., was daluged with women carrying signs with slogans like “Pussy Power” and “This Pussy Bites Back.” During Donald Trump’s actual inauguration, documentary activist filmmaker Michael Moore estimated there were twice as many people protesting in Washington, D.C., than who actually attended Trump’s presidential inauguration.
But Washington D.C. was only the base of the iceberg. There were other protests not just in American cities but in London, England; Paris, France; Milbourne, Australia; Tel Aviv, Israel; Barcelona, Spain; Berlin, Germany; Mexico City, Mexico; and Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territory where a temperature of 6 degrees below 0 did not keep the women inside. Never before has the inauguration of an American president engendered such a showing of worldwide scorn.
In Chicago where 150,000 demonstrators turned out, they pushed and shoved each other to parade around the Loop. In Boston, 125,000 women showed. In Los Angeles, side streets had to be closed as was the case in Lexington Kentucky. Huge gatherings were to be found in New York, Miami, Denver, Seattle, Philadelphia, and New Orleans were they marched to the playing of brass instruments.
In total, the women protest organizers claim there were 670 planned events nationwide and another 70 in cities outside the United States. Who says Donald Trump isn’t a uniter?
From Washington to Los Angeles to London, the crowds were gigantic and historic
Trump’s Department of Justice seems to be waiting for orders whether to back black voting rights in Texas or not. This will be President Donald Trump’s and his selection for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions’, first, “Are they really bigots?” test.
Rachel Maddow reports that among the Trump administration’s first actions was a request to delay the Justice Department’s case against Texas over a…
Now that Trump is President, the hate begins. Let’s start with the hate against brown-skinned immigrants. I don’t have any particular problem with Trump deporting two million immigrants who have committed crimes so long as the crimes amount to more than just jay walking or driving five miles over the speed limit or spitting on the park grass. There is already an aggressive criminal deportation program in place under Obama. Perhaps Trump has in mind diverting funds from investigating corporate tax fraud, violation of life-safety codes by big businesses, and emergency disaster relief to locate and toss some immigrants playing craps in the street.
Trump says he’s going to start building the wall, but who knows where he’s going to get the money to do that. Money bills have to first be passed by the House of Representatives and then approved by the Senate. To start his wall, Trump will probably use whatever money has already been authorized for other uses like stem cell research, Planned Parenthood or who knows what — something to appease the religious, anti-abortion part of his base I suspect.
The biggest item of hate when it comes to the immigration issue is Trump removing the legal status granted by Obama to 700,000 immigrants who were brought here as children. Trump can now deport them to an unknown and uncertain fate.
The attack against the middle classes has begun by Trump raising fees on some federal mortgages, reversing environmental protections, and removing fiscal burdens placed upon states and local governments to provide funds for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Who knows what doctors and hospitals are going to go unpaid and stop providing medical care to the poor.
Trump has certainly brought a sad chapter to American history. And as one final aside, that outfit Melina Trump was wearing at the inauguration looked like a loose, blue, ill-fitting, wool blanket with a Kremlin collar.
Looks like one and one-half times as many people attended Obama’s inauguration as attended Trump’s inauguration even though it was only 20 degrees during Obama’s inauguration and was a more pleasent 40 degrees at Trump’s inauguration with very light, occasional sprinkles.
Protesters were kept out of the National Mall area where these pictures were taken, so there is no telling how many more protesters were at Trump’s inauguration (a lot) than Obama’s (hardly any), but the number was very, very substantial as the protesters were mostly peaceful, and yet there were 217 arrests at last count among a small minority of protesters who started fires in the streets, broke windows, and threw bricks at police, when there were only 9 arrests during the protests which occurred during George W. Bush’s first inauguration, the last inauguration where protests were a major factor. The Trump inauguration protests are to continue for several days, if not for four years, beginning with the Women’s March on Saturday where more than 200,000 are expected to participate, probably a lot more as there have been more than 200,000 RSVPs. A hundred different protest event permits have been issued.
There were also major protests across the country in Los Angeles, San Francisco (29 arrests), Oakland, Denver, Austin, the Tennessee statehouse, Kansas City (Missouri), Boston, Philadelphia, and in Chicago where the Darth Vader theme was played by a matching band. Da. Da. Da. Da. . . . Da, da. . . . Da, da, da.
Update: Department of Interior employees were ordered for a period of time not to tweet anything and not tweet without department approval after a member of the National Park Service retweeted the picture comparing Obama’s inaugural crowd to Trump’s inaugural crowd because it was considered insulting to the new president. Chalk that up as one of our Thin-Skinned in Chief’s first executive orders.
Update: The picture taken from the opposite direction from the top of the Washington Monument is much more revealing and is the one retweeted by a NPS employee which got them into trouble. Trump’s crowd was less than an eighth of Obama’s. Further details and analysis in later posts.
Lacking in any memorable or inspiring lines, Donald Trump’s inauguration speech was self-centered, selfish, insulting of our country, made grandeose promises he cannot keep, turned America’s back on the world, and hypocritically promised holding government accountable to and inclusive of the common man while Trump packs his cabinet with and plans massive tax cuts benefitting the ultra rich and politically connected.
Maryland House Representative Jamie Raskin, one of the 68 Democrats who boycotted Trump’s inauguration, said, ” Donald Trump’s oath of office means nothing. He has nothing but disdain for the rule of law and the Constitution. He refused to divest himself of his corporate concerns all over the world which are doing business with governments, continues to collect millions of dollars presumably from the Trump Hotel which is renting out space every single night this weekend and through the weeks to foreign governments and foreign embassies. He’s on a collision course with the Emoluments Clause, and the whole governmental administration looks like a money making operation . . . Despite the fact he said he was going to put America first, he is putting the Trump family first.”
Trump has so far failed to file in three states where he is required to do so, New York, Delaware, and Florida, any documents showing he has turned control of his many enterprises over to his sons (which is not nearly enough to end his conflicts of interest) as he claimed he would be doing last week during his news conference when he pointed to a stack of unlabeled file folders, which appeared to be filled with blank pieces of paper, saying they contained all the necessary documents which he had signed.
Raskin went on to say when questioned why he did not attend when Hillary Clinton brought herself to do so, “When I watched that speech, which was the meanest, most low down, insulting inaugural address in American history, I mean deeply divisive and offensive to the Obamas, I felt completely vindicated . . . People understood . . . There is an erratic and deranged quality to the things that he says and does. This is a very scary moment for the American public.”
US President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech, delivered to the nation outside Capitol in Washington, DC.
The New York Times lists ten times Donald Trump spread fake news. Trump’s top ten fake news items are:
1. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would result in “death panels.”
2. President Obama issued a holiday message for Kwanza but not for Christmas.
3. President Obama’s birth certificate is a fraudulent document.
4. There is secret oil deal to control gas prices.
5. Vaccinations cause autism.
6. The unemployment figures are much higher than reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
7. President Obama cut the domestic bomb prevention budget in half leading to the Boston Marathon Bombing.
8. Ted Cruz’s father teamed with Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate President John F. Kennedy.
9. A protester who charged up on stage toward Trump was a member of ISIS.
10. Trump won the Electoral College in a “landslide” and also won the popular vote if one were to deduct the millions of votes cast illegally. None of these assertions are true.
Donald J. Trump has used false claims to attack political opponents, question the legitimacy of the Obama administration and undermine the news media. The practice has paralleled his rise from reality TV star to holder of the nation’s highest…
nytimes.com|By Sapna Maheshwari
The New York Times reports a “broad investigation” has been launched seeking links between Russian officials and Donald Trump and Paul Manafort. The investigation is being led by the F.B.I. with the assistance of the C.I.A., the National Security Agency, and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. Four of Trump’s associates have close ties to Russia; they are Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort; Trump’s former foreign policy adviser, Carter Page; Trump’s longtime friend, advisor, and Manafort associate, Roger Stone; and Trump’s National Security Advisor, Retired Army General Michael Flynn.
Interestingly, Hillary Clinton was under investigation while she was running to become president, and Trump will be under investigation while he is actually president, just like Richard Nixon. Will Trump try to compromise the investigations as did Nixon?
It is not clear whether the communications had anything to do with Donald J. Trump or his campaign.
nytimes.com|By Michael S. Schmidt, Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo
In this video, after stating the history of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s second woman appointee along with Elena Kagan, and the first Hispanic appointee to the Supreme Court, Rachel Maddow rattles off a list of President Obama’s accomplishments as follows:
1. He named the most diverse cabinet (Trump’s cabinet is the first from the 1980’s which does not have a single Latino nominated, and Trump’s cabinet nominations consist of 15 white men, 1 black man, 2 white women, and 1 Asian woman)
2. The high school graduation rate hit 83.2%, the highest ever.
3. The unemployment rate as reported by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics fell from 10% to 4.7%.
4. There was a record number of 82 straight months of job growth.
5. We landed a rover on Marsl
6. We had a first drop in the federal prison population in decades.
7. Homelessness of American veterans dropped by half.
8. Sixteen -countries gave up all of their highly enriched uranium.
9. Bi-annual nuclear security summits were held for the first time.
10. A credit card reform law was passed disallowing credit cards from raising one’s rate without first informing them.
11. Federal contractors can no longer discriminate against members of the LCBT community.
12. Our dependence on foreign oil plummeted, and the price of regular gas is now about $2.30 a gallon.
13. Obama sent Navy SEALs into Pakistan who killed Osama Bin Laden.
14. The C.I.A. published copies of documents recovered in the Bin Laden raid, referred to as the Bin Laden Bookshelf.
15. Obama appointed America’s first Technology Officer.
16. Syria was convinced through negotiations to give up its chemical weapons which were all destroyed.
17. The United States government banned torture.
18. A U.S. Embassy opened in Cuba and relations began to be normalized.
19. The ban on stem cell research was lifted.
20. V.A. mental health care services received billions of dollars of additional funding.
21. Obama was the first to release lists of people who visited the White House.
22. In his second term, gay couples received the same rights, including the right to marry, as did straight couples.
23. The F.D.A. began to regulate tobacco requiring cigarette companies to list all of the ingredients in its cigarettes.
24. The federal deficit dropped from 9.8% of U.S. gross domestic product to 3.2% of U.S. gross domestic product.
25. Banks now need to pass “stress tests” measuring their financial strength so there is not another crisis as caused the Great Recession, and banks can no longer use depositors’ money to make risky bets.
26. The registry targeting Muslim men began by George W. Bush (and little used) was abandoned.
27. Scam for-profit colleges who encouraged its students to take out federal loans when the jobs for which they trained them could not adequately cover the loan payments needed to meet new requirements which clamped down on their activities.
28. Solitary confinement of minors was banned from federal prisons.
29. America’s secret overseas prisons, C.I.A. “Black Sites,” were shut down.
30. The U.S. Government paid for travel expenses of families so they could be at Dover Airport where the remains of their sons and daughters who died in service to their country were flown home, and the press was no longer banned from photographing the unloading of the caskets.
31. The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban was repealed as was the ban of transgender solders openly serving in the military.
32. All military combat positions were opened to women.
33. Obama slowed down the growth of health care costs allowing Medicare to stay solvent for years to come arguably saving Medicare.
34. Obama saved the American car industry by bailing out G.M. which paid all the money back and is now financially healthy, saving 1.5 million jobs in the process.
35. Tens of millions of dollars which went to the banks to write student loans now to Pell grants of up to $5,815 each.
36. People can no longer be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, and women cannot be charged more for their health insurance than men, and insurance companies cannot put a life-time cap on benefits, and parents can carry their sons and daughters on their health insurance until they are 26 years old, and 20 million more Americans became insured for their health, and more than 90% of Americans now have health insurance.
37. Obama appointed the largest number of women and minority judges.
I should also add that the Obama administration convinced China and India to commit themselves to limiting their fossil fuel energy production and enter into the Paris Climate Accords so all the nations of the world could fight global warming with a cohesive plan.
This is quite a record in consideration that the Republicans fought Obama every step of the way hoping to keep him an impotent, single term president by voting against legislation just to impede Obama even if they previously supported such legislation.
The only thing left for Trump to do is screw it all up.
On President Barack Obama’s last day in office, Rachel Maddow reviews the extraordinary list of accomplishments that comprise his legacy and points out that it is the job of Obama’s supporters as citizens to defend those accomplishments.
Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to become Secretary of Education who wants to use federal funds to finance religious schools which teach students the world was created in six days, proves herself incompetent when questioned during her confirmation hearing.
DeVos, who apparently was chosen to head the Department of Education simply because her family gave $200 million to Republicans over the years, and has no credentials to speak of, has never been a teacher, doesn’t have an educational degree, and never headed up a school in her life, not even as a kindergarten principal, slipped and evaded questions or acted as if she didn’t have a clue.
She refused to say whether or not she thought guns should be allowed in the schools citing a ridiculous example in Wyoming where guns might be necessary to protect against grizzly bears. When asked whether or not she would support the ending of gun-free zones around schools simply because Trump supported it, she said, “I will support what the president-elect does.”
Senator Tim Kaine had asked her repeatedly whether she would “insist upon equal accountability and in any K-12 school or educational program that receives taxpayer funding whether public, public charter, or private,” before DeVos eventually answered, “Well no.” That way religious schools which end up receiving public funds at the expense of public schools don’t have to teach science which might be at odds with whatever superstitious, debunked nonsense they spew upon their students such as the moon generating its own light instead of reflecting the Sun.
There has been a lot of private schools which convince applicants to take out excessive student loans with the promise they will be able to get well-paying jobs after they graduate. Often times that does not prove to be the case. To fight these fraudsters, legislation was passed establishing gainful employment regulations whereby statistics needed to be compiled comparing the students’ loan payments to the amount the students were actually able to earn after graduation. If the average loan payments are too high a percentage of average student’s postgraduate income, then the school would no longer be entitled to have its students receive federal guaranteed loans. DeVos appeared to have no clue or knowledge about the gainful employment regulations and refused to commit herself to enforcing them.
When questioned where she would weigh in on the debate between whether to use a student’s raw test scores or a student’s increase in test scores as a means of measuring the student’s proficiency, a subject which has been debated by the educational community for years, DeVos developed a deer-caught-in-the-headlights look causing Senator Al Franklin to say, “It surprises me that you don’t know this issue.”
When Senator Michael Bennett asked DeVos what she had learned about the failure of Detroit’s public charter schools, which she had highly supported in Michigan where she lives, to out perform the low-performing Detroit public schools, her answer was, “I think there is a lot that has gone right.”
DeVos apparently had no understanding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law that applies to all public schools requiring the developmentally disabled be offered an education equivalent to that offered by those who are not developmentally disabled. When asked by Senator Maggie Hassan, “So were you unaware when I just asked you about the IDEA that it was a federal law?” DeVos answered, “I might have confused it.”
When asked by Senator Tim Kaine whether she believes all schools that receive federal funding should be required to meet the requirements of the IDEA, DeVos kept repeating that it would be “best left up to the states” and repeated the same answer when Senator Kaine asked, “So some states might be good to kids with disabilities and other states might not be so good and, what then, people could just move around the country if they don’t like how kids are being treated?”
It’s not like DeVos didn’t have an opportunity to prepare for these hearings and at least get somewhat up to speed on educational issues if she expects to be confirmed as the new Secretary of Education. The next question is, “Will the Republicans be equally stupid in confirming DeVos just because Trump nominated her apparently because her family gave so much money to the Republican Party?” DeVos would appear to meet Trump’s definition of a quintessential swamp creature, one who receives an appointment because of who they know rather than what they know – one who buys their way in with money and political support rather than with their qualifications? Trump’s promise to appoint the best and the brightest is no better here than it was at Trump University.
“Mexico absolutely will not pay for” the wall, Enrique Peña Nieto said.
huffingtonpost.com|By Alana Horowitz Satlin
A border wall 35 feet high. What a horrible, ugly thing it would be and an expression of mean-spirited, elitist racism. And then they only have to dig down 8 – 10 feet to burrow underneath it. What a complete and utter waste of $25 billion which could be spent so much more productively.
Think how much it would cost to build a similar border wall between the United States and Canada. That’s some heavily forested area through which roads would need be built. It’s a significantly longer distance with less natural barriers. Of course there’s no big desire on Trump’s part to build a wall between the United States and Canada. After all, their skin is mostly white, and they mostly speak English, even though they overstay their visas more often then do the Mexicans.
Trump’s plan to hand the company reins to his sons does not address how he will handle government decisions that might affect the company.
newyorker.com|By Sheelah Kolhatkar
Recently, congressional members questioned FBI Director James Conway, and some of the Democrat members walked away extremely upset about facts which came out in the last 15 minutes of their inquiries, but they cannot talk about it. Without question, leaks by Comey’s subordinates constantly put Hillary Clinton on the defensive with unsubstantiated claims she would be indicted for conducting State Department business over her private email server. Then there was Comey’s announcement to Congress that insufficient evidence existed to indict Clinton while at the same time expressing his personal opinion that she was careless. Finally, with only 11 days left before the election, Comey dropped the bombshell that new evidence had been uncovered that could be pertinent to the FBI’s investigation of Clinton even though the FBI was looking at copies of the same emails they had already previously examined.
The independent auditor will also look into if James Comey notifying Congress of newly discovered information 11 days before election was a policy violation
theguardian.com|By Oliver Laughland
Trump’s news conference was a masterful example of showmanship but created as many questions as it answered and set the stage for some conflicts between Trump and the Republican Congress. To call it a news conference is a slight misnomer because half the audience were people who were Trump supporters rather than news reporters so Trump could get the proper applause or crowd reaction at the appropriate times.
The news conference began with an opening satement by Sean Spicer who condemned, as Trump was later to do, the publication by BuzzFeed News of the dozier of Trump’s alleged activities colluding with Vladimir Putin and engaging in other nefarious activities in Eastern Europe. BuzzFeed has received a lot of flack for having released the 34 page report because its content cannot be substantiated even though a two page summary was provided to Obama and Trump and Congressional leaders making it news which in my opinion was worthy of reporting. Further, BuzzFeed stated in its news story the report contained allegations BuzzFeed could not confirm. Spencer also called pathetic CNN’s decision to run with the story which said nothing about what allegations were actually made but which mentioned they were published by BuzzFeed News. Later in the news conference, Trump refused to take a question from a CNN reporter saying CNN was “fake news” even though there was nothing false about CNN’s report. Trump called BuzzFeed, “a failing pile of garbage,” and using threatening words said, “I think they’re going to suffer the consequences.” Later on, Trump said “BBC news. That’s another beauty.”
Trump began with an opening statement which naturally contained some self-aggrandizing fishing for compliments as he implicitly took credit for some of the auto manufactures maintaining jobs in America which they had previously decided to do before his election.
There were two announcements which progressives can appreciate. The first was Trump’s chiding the drug industry by saying, “They’re getting away with murder. Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists, and a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly. We’re going to start bidding, and were going to save billions of dollars over a period of time.” That statement caused the NASDAQ Bioteck Index to drop 3.36% in value within three hours.
The second small piece of optimism came from Trump saying with respect to the Affordable Health Care and Patient Protection Act, “It’ll be repeal and replace. It will be essentially, simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably, the same day, could be the same hour.” Up to now, the Republicans have not even considered a national health care plan, and in consideration of their lack of enthusiasm, coming up with one may take forever. Being able to substitute one plan for the other which will maintain all which is good about Obamacare, not result in the immediate cancellation of the health insurance for the more than 20 million people who have signed up through the government marketplace and need their payments subsidized, and retain the requirement that health insurance companies insure preexisting conditions, the most popular aspect of Obamacare, is not going to be easy in the least, and Trump may soon find he has inadequate control over the Republican Congress to fashion a plan to his liking. The Republican Congress wants to repeal Obamacare immediately so businesses don’t have to provide their employees with health insurance, and then the Republican Congress wants to take their own sweet time replacing it, if ever.
Trump said he had stopped giving news conferences “because we were getting quite a bit of inaccurate news.” He said he would get the cost of the F-35 airplane down and get the plane to be even better. He said he would be “the greatest jobs producer that God ever created” but “with a little bit of luck.”
Trump said there was going to be “great . . . tremendous talent” at his inauguration even though all the top stars opted out, but he praised the U.S. military bands who would be playing since, of course, they have no choice in the matter. He said, “we’re going to have massive crowds because we have a movement,” neglecting to say that most of that crowd would probably be protesters along his parade route which will keep Trump locked in his car with his head down. I think the movement he must have been talking about was a bowel movement, because his approval rating has been going down steadily since shortly after his election.
Trump said, “Our veterans have been treated horribly,” but he wasn’t talking about his failure to honor his pledge to donate $1 million to the veterans before being called on it by the Washington Post. Instead, he said the 15 to 17 days some veterans needed to wait to see a doctor was causing some “minor early-stage form of cancer” to become “terminal.” I thought it took substantially longer for a minor early-stage form of cancer to become terminal, there usually being four identifiable stages, but what do I know.
With respect to the allegations contained in the dozier released by BuzzFeed News under the caveat that none of it could be verified, Trump saw conspirators all around him and said, “it was gotten by opponents of ours, as you know, because you reported it and so did many of the other people. It was a group of opponents that got together–sick people–and they put that crap together.” As for me, I thought the report was put together by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who is now a director and co-owner of the London based intelligence firm Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd., who has a good reputation in the intelligence world, and was stationed in Russia for years.
When asked whether he would release his tax returns, Trump said no, he didn’t think so because he won and, therefore, the only people who care about his tax returns are the reporters, and he doesn’t think the public cares at all. As for me, I would like to see the polling data to support that claim, although we always knew Trump wouldn’t release his income tax returns, didn’t we? I just didn’t know it was because we American’s didn’t care.
Trump then had Sheri Dillon explain how he was going to let his sons, Donald, Jr., and Eric, manage his holdings thus supposedly avoiding any conflicts of interest and how profits earned from foreign governments were going to be donated to the U.S. Treasury. Okay Donald, yeah, sure, we’ll just take your word for it. And what about the Trump International Hotel Washington D.C. lease in which you can hold no interest? Seems you have a problem there which you are ignoring in the hope the U.S. General Services Administration, the head of which is appointed by the president, will overlook the provision of the lease which says,
“No member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the Government of the United States or the Government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.”
Seems if the hotel makes any profit, Trump is going to benefit sooner or later. Dillion said, “No one would have thought when the Constitution was written that paying your hotel bill was an emolument. Instead, it would have been thought of as a value-for-value exchange; not a gift, not a title, and not an emolument.” It that’s true, then why was Trump inviting foreign dignitaries to stay at his new hotel? It sounded like he was planning to make some extra money from them. Dillion said Trump wanted to do more than the Constitution requires so, “he is going to voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotel to the United States Treasury. This way, it is the American people who will profit.” I guess we will see what records are kept by all of Trump’s hotels in the United States, and whether records are kept recording a foreign government official who stays at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas instead of at The Bellagio.
Trump reiterated his lie that there are 96 million Americans really wanting a job they cannot get. Trump failed to mention that about 91.5 million of those people are young people in school, retired people, and people who chose to remain at home. The unemployment rate is only about 4.6% now days, the best unemployment rate we have had in years, and all measured in the same way by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Trump talked for some length of his border tax which would require companies that produce products outside the country, like Trump’s suits and ties, to pay a substantial tax to import them into this country. It is the same old trade war talk, and it is probably not likely to work out well.
Trump said he was going to build that wall between the U.S. and Mexico, but that he could “wait about a year-and-a-half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which will start immediately after we get to office, but I don’t want to wait. Mike Pence is leading an effort to get final approvals through various agencies and through Congress for the wall to begin.” Trump said, “I respect the people of Mexico. I love the people of Mexico.” Based on Trump’s past statements, that means he loves drug dealers and rapists, but go ahead and ignore that for now. Trump said, “The government of Mexico is terrific,” although I thought Trump said it was the Mexican government who was sending us all those drug dealers and rapists.
In a reversal of course, Trump said he did not think Obama went too far with the sanctions he placed on Russia for its interference with the American election. Trump then sidestepped and failed to answer a question about whether he trusted his intelligence officials.
The president-elect unveiled his plan to leave his business while in office. But he’s not divesting completely and experts say the plan to have his sons run the…
As I predicted Donald Trump has no intention of ever releasing his income tax returns. You will recall Trump said on more than one occasion during his presidential election campaign that he would release his income tax returns after the IRS completed its audit. We have never received evidence that an audit is even taking place. Now we need to chalk up another lie to the Donald because he’s never going to show us his income tax returns acting as if we the people don’t care because he won as if at least some of his supporters didn’t go ahead and vote for him believing he would be transparent at a later date.
The Trump tax returns will apparently never come out.
Donald Trump exceeded the margin of Electorial College votes needed to win the election by 32 votes. Now if 50 of those electors were to be disqualified, then the presidential election would be decided by the state legislatures with each state entitled to one elector with one vote. Since there are more states controlled by Republicans than Democrats, a Republican would be elected president regardless. One always has to be careful of that for which they wish, but I doubt this revelation of there being 50 illegal electors is going to gain any traction. It gets to the point where I begin to wonder whether anything about this last presidential election has been on the level.
More evidence surfaces as calls mount to challenge congressional ratification of Electoral College vote.
The initial reactions are that Trump’s plan to address his conflicts of interest falls short of what is required for him not to act in the interest of making him and his family more money. As the details are sorted out, expect the situation to get progressively worse.
Five posts back I discussed BuzzFeed News having published a complete copy of the 34 page report allegedly written by a former British intelligence officer about the relationship between Donald Trump and Russia, the collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, and the various pieces of information Russia had which it could use to blackmail Trump in the future. Now, The Wall Street Journal has identified 52-year-old Christopher Steele as that former British intelligence officer who wrote the report. Steele is now a director and co-owner of the London based intelligence firm Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd.
Apparently, Orbis was privately retained to investigate Trump’s dealings in Eastern Europe. The report Steele produced is a series of memos thought to have been authored by him between June and December, 2016, but according to The Wall Street Journal, “No presidential campaigns or super PACs reported payments to Orbis in their required Federal Election Commission filings. But several super PACs over the course of the campaign reported that they paid limited liability companies, whose ultimate owners may be difficult or impossible to discern.”
The Wall Street Journal cited John Sipher, who worked in the CIA’s clandestine service for 28 years specializing in Russia and counterintelligence and who now works for technology company CrossLead Inc., for vouching that Steele “had a good reputation in the intelligence world and was stationed in Russia for years.”
When asked about the substance of the report, which no major news organization has yet been able to do more than sporadically verify, Donald Trump said at his January 11, 2017 news conference, “It’s all fake news. . . . It’s all phony stuff. It didn’t happen,” and The Wall Street Journal reported that according to U.S. officials, “The FBI has found no evidence . . . supporting the dossier’s claim that an attorney for Mr. Trump went to the Czech Republic to meet Kremlin officials.” The Wall Street Journal also cited Andrew Wordsworth, a principal with Raedas which also does investigations on Russian issues, as saying “If the head of the CIA were to declare he got information of this quality, you wouldn’t believe it.”
There is one reason to believe it or at least part of it, and that is the confirmation of the continuing exchange of information between the Russian government and Trump surrogates during the campaign. Bloomberg Politics reported Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov admitted Russia’s American embassy “held talks with the Trump camp that ‘were on a sufficient responsible level'” and were “‘part of routine everyday work’,” but Trump and Kellyanne Conway claim no such talks ever occurred.
The Washington Post reported that according to Ryabkov, “Russian government officials conferred with members of Donald Trump’s campaign team,” and that Ryabkov said, “Obviously we know most of the people from his entourage,” referring to Trump’s campaign team, statementsTrump’s surrogate, Hope Hicks, denied, but which Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Sakharova, confirmed.
I do not find the information contained in the report inconsistent with what we have learned about Donald Trump since he came down his golden escalator and announced his presidential candidacy on June 16, 2015. That notwithstanding, the major media would probably not be discussing the report, which has apparently been available to various news agencies for some time with BuzzFeed News being the only news outlet with the cohunes to publish it, had it not been for the FBI having summarized it and provided its summary to Obama, Trump, and the eight heads of the same congressional committees to whom 11 days before the presidential election, FBI Director James Comey wrote his infamous letter saying additional evidence was found of emails which might be pertinent to its investigation of Hillary Clinton.
I find it hard to accept that various news agencies were knowledgeable of the existence of the report, but the Trump campaign was not knowledgeable of its contents, and yet Trump’s campaign staff may have missed looking for the dirt others had on their candidate knowing it would fill several books and knowing their candidate was so expert at denial and misdirection.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Senator John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, “said he received a copy of the document late last year and forwarded it to the FBI.” McCain apparently did not forward a copy to Trump who questioned McCain being a war hero and whose racist comments were hampering the Arizona Republican being reelected to his Senate seat because of Arizona’s large Hispanic population and McCain’s begrudging commitment to support the Republican presidential nominee.
Conspiracy theorists need consider whether Comey, who some have accused of intentionally sabotaging Hillary Clinton’s campaign in its final hours, provided the report to Trump and the other parties for the purpose of tipping Trump off about the allegations which BuzzFeed News only published after the FBI’s two-page summary was given to Obama, Trump, and the congressional intelligence-related committee heads. Another possibility is that Comey wanted Trump to back off supporting Russia now that the cat was out of the bag. It would seem that the better course of action would
have been for Comey to keep the report under wraps while investigating the allegations made in the report for evidence of criminal wrongdoing at least until January 20, 2017, when Trump will be sworn in as our 45th president. Did Comey try to tip Trump off so he could take evasive action, or did Comey produce the report to Trump as a warning that his gig was up so he better not betray his country, or because Comey felt obligated to do so, or for some other reason?
A former British intelligence officer now working for a private security-and-investigations firm produced the dossier of unverified allegations about…
wsj.com|By Bradley Hope, Michael Rothfeld and Alan Cullison
A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows 62% of Americans think Donald Trump should give up his personal Twitter account. It’s the first thing he needs do if he is ever to appear presidential with so many of his tweets being thin-skinned, ill-advised reactions to someone saying something not so nice about him, or his taking credit for events he had little or nothing to do with, of his engaging in constant self-praise while demonstraings an embarrassing failure to be sympathetic or empathetic at the right moment, or, like his New Years tweet, implying that he considers many Americans to be his enemies and losers.
It is natural that after being elected president the candidate’s favorable rating goes up, and for Trump it was no different. Upon being elected, Trump’s favorable rating rose from 34% to 44%, but then instead of acting presidential, he remained his same, old self, and he also had to disappoint some of his ardent supporters by filling rather than draining the swamp. As a result, Trump’s favorable rating has now dropped to 37%, and 51% of the American electorate consider him unfavorably.
Nevertheless, 52% are still optimistic about the next four years under Trump, and why shouldn’t they be with Trump being handed on a silver platter a recovered economy. As for me, I am anything but optimistic Trump and the Republicans will do anything right, with their first mistake being to lower taxes on the rich giving little concern for the rise in the deficit and the national debt, unlike their supposed conservative leanings when Obama was trying to get his stimulus package passed when the country actually needed it.
In my opinion, the only thing Trump has done right so far is to discourage Congress from further investigating Hillary Clinton and seemingly demanding that the Republicans have a plan to replace the Affordable Health Care and Patient Protection Act with something else before they abolish it altogether.
Only 45% of the electorate believe Trump will take the country in the right direction, which I still consider absurd and attribute to most of them being too dumb to understand Keynesian macro economics and what is in their actual best financial interests. With the stock market going up, unemployment going down, inflation remaining low and steady, and workers’ wages rising, it seems all the Republicans can do by making major changes is screw everything up.
I also fail to understand how 39% of the electorate can consider Trump, one of the most pathological liars of all time, to be honest, or how 44% of the electorate can consider Trump, who ripped off common people by breaching contracts and running scams like Trump University and who has given so little of his fortune to charity and who proposes to reward large construction companies with tax breaks while forcing average working citizens dish out more money for toll roads and bridges, can actually have compassion for average Americans.
Fox News talking head, Monica Crowley, has been chosen by Trump to be his Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications and as his Speechwriting Designate. The allegation that she is a serial plagiarizer would not necessarily interfere with her job even if true although it does reflect on her character. By far the most serious allegation is that she plagiarized portions of her PhD dissertation.
In 2000, Crowley earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in International Relations, and that degree could be yanked from her if the plagiarism allegations prove to be true. Columbia has previously rescinded one Ph.D. degree for plagiarism.
According to Politico, Crowley’s Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Clearer Than Truth: Determining and Preserving Grand Strategy: The Evolution of American Policy Toward the People’s Republic of China under Truman and Nixon” contains “more than a dozen sections of text that have been lifted with little to no changes from other scholarly works without proper attribution.”
Crowley’s position does not require Senate confirmation.
Rachel Maddow reports on the steady stream of plagiarism accusations against Monica Crowley, who Donald Trump hopes to make his deputy national security…
Rachel Maddow and Richard Engel discuss the report on Trump’s Russia connection released by BuzzFeed News (see below post) and how Engel has not been able to confirm any of the allegations which, if confirmed, would make for “the story of the century.”
Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent, talks with Rachel Maddow about a report that Donald Trump and President Obama were briefed on unverified…
This BuzzFeed News article contains a complete copy of the 34 page report allegedly written by a former British intelligence agent about the relationship between Donald Trump and Russia and the various pieces of information Russia could use to blackmail Trump in the future. This is the information the intelligence agencies recently boiled down into two pages of information and released to Obama, Trump, and Congressional leaders.
I like the part about Trump renting out a hotel room used by the Obamas while they were in Russia and then having prostitutes pee on the bed where the first couple slept. Then there are the allegations of.the bribes Trump paid to the Chinese which is in violation of US law. Finally, there are reports of the multiple communications between the Trump campaign organization, especially through his attorney, Michael Cohen, and the Russians during the election campaign along with further verification, if this report itself could be verified, that Russia and Vladimir Putin were behind the hacking of the Democrat National Committee’s and Podesta’s emails and then released those emails in order to help Trump get elected, but that Putin was disappointed their release did not have more effect.
Trump and Cohen deny the allegations with Cohen posting a copy of his passport on Twitter to prove he has never been to Prauge, Check Republic, or to Russia, where the events allegedly took place.
Now the question is, do I believe it? I think what is in the report pretty much dovetails with everything we already know, but so far it wouldn’t hold up in court. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
With that said, I already don’t trust Donald Trump in the least because he lies about everything imaginable. I already believe Trump capable of paying women for sex and engaging in strange sex acts. I already believe Trump has bribed public officials in the United States to end Trump University litigation in Texas and Florida, so I have no trouble believing he would bribe public officials in foreign countries. I already believe Trump wants to buddy up with Putin. I have already predicted Trump will lift all sanctions against Russia. The release of this document may make him less likely to do so.
Ttrump was suppose to have a lengthy and complete news conference addressing Molina’s immigration history. He did not. Trump was suppose to come out with some revelation last week about something he knew discrediting the claims of Russia influencing the election. He did not. Trump said he was going to come out with a plan to relieve himself of all conflicts of interest before he gets sworn in. So far he has not. He hasn’t even put the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. up for sale even though the second he is sworn in, he will be in violation of his lease. Trump said he would release his tax returns after the supposed IRS audit is completed. Don’t hold your breath. I predict he will not.
It has become painfully clear in recent years that partisan gerrymandering is one of American democracy’s worst illnesses. Although the Supreme Court h …
If the United States needs to borrow money, it should be used to pay for infrastructure improvements which creates good paying jobs and leads to greater productivity. Instead, the Republican Congress only wants to borrow money and raise the national debt $9 trillion over the next ten years so they can cut taxes for the rich, and that kind of borrowing dries up available funds resulting in less private investment which only hurts the economy. Obama is leaving Trump an economy nearing full employment (considered to be 4% unemployment to account for people between jobs), rising wages, and greater stability because of increased financial regulations, and less people in danger of being wiped out because of medical bills. Now Trump and the Republicans seem to be in a race to see if they can screw it all up in only four years.
The material was considered so potentially explosive that the intelligence agencies decided that the president and the president-elect needed to be told and that the…
nytimes.com|By Scott Shane, Adam Goldman and Matthew Rosenberg
If ExxonMobil traded with Iran using a European company to do so with its CEO and Trump’s pick to be Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, knowledge during the time of the U.S. led embargo, then Tillerson may be guilty of a crime regardless of the amount of money involved.
ExxonMobil did business with Iran, Syria and Sudan through a subsidiary while Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of State led the company and those…
I have to give Kellyanne Conway credit where credit is due. She lies so quickly and changes any subject so rapidly that it’s amazing, and she comes up with so many absurd notions. Recently, when being interviewed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Conway said, ” Why don’t you believe him? Why is everything taken at face value. You can’t give him the benefit of the doubt on this (Trump’s consistent denial of mocking a disabled reporter which everyone has seen a dozen times on video), and he’s telling you what was in his heart. You always want to go by what’s come out of his mouth rather than look at what’s in his heart.”
So what is in Donald Trump’s heart? I guess we can only figure that out by looking at his history. Sued twice by the Department of Justice for violation of the Fair Housing Act for refusing to rent to people of color, having a reputation of welshing on every contract he ever entered, violating gaming laws in Atlantic City by having his father purchase three and a half million dollars of chips and not cashing them in as a means of making his casino a secret, illegal loan, leaving banks and contractors hanging out to dry while he paid himself large management fees and then declared bankruptcy, hardly ever giving to charity (about five ten-thousands of one percent by my recogning) and using charitable funds given to him by other people to pay off his business debts and influence a public official, ripping off people desperate to make extra money with his Trump University scam, bragging about sexually assaulting women, and lying about practically everything especially his mocking of the disabled reporter, subjecting the people of New York City to traffic jams and one million dollars a day in additional security expenses so his ten-year-old kid can stay in the same school while at the same time demanding every American ambassador to another country who has children in schools in those other countries return immediately to the United States, and not apologizing to the Central Park Five for advocating they be put to death even after the real killer confessed and was linked to the crime by DNA evidence — if those examples provide a window to what’s in Donald Trump’s heart, I would say that it is black, malignant, and depraved.
So Kellyanne, do you want me to look at what’s in Donald Trump’s heart, or simply listen to whatever new lie or outlandish opinion (i.e., Meryl Streep being one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood) he has come up with today?
Rachel Maddow looks at the important role of vetting in the selection of past cabinet officials and notes the concerned of the Office of Government Ethics about how the Trump team has barged ahead with nominations, heedless of the vetting process.
Back in the day, they referred to it as the spoils system where the winner of the election appointed all his friends and contributors to important positions without regard for the person’s qualifications. Donald Trump has reinvented the spoils system by awarding his friends and contributors with designated appointments to important cabinet positions regardless of their qualifications. In an unprecedented move, Trump has also cleared the decks of all United States ambassadors so he can also fill those positions with his friends and contributors. Trump’s premature demand that all ambassadors head directly back to the United States in time for his inauguration so they can be fired as soon as he assumes office will leave serious gaps in America’s representation in foreign countries as new ambassador appointments may take months to be confirmed by the Senate. Imagine being stuck in a foreign country needing desperately to speak with the American ambassador and being told there is none. Will any of Trump’s new ambassadors understand the culture and language of the country to which they are assigned? I doubt it.
In a cruel move without any merit except to reward another announcer who openly supported his election, and totally screwing with a great American tradition, Trump’s transition team sent an email to 89-years-old Charles Brotman telling him, not this year. Brotman has been the announcer for the presidential inaugural parade since President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s inauguration in 1957, and he has announced a total of 15 inauguration parades. Brotman’s wife died last year, so up to the time he received the callous email, he had committed himself to his work preparing to announce the parade. He said receiving the email was like Mohammad Ali slugging him in the stomach.
Never since before President James A. Garfield has there been such an indication of appointed positions being handed out as personal rewards. Perhaps one of the most obvious of many examples is Donald Trump’s appointment of Linda McMahon to head up the Small Business Administration as a token of Trump’s appreciation after she gave $7.5 million to a Trump super pac.
Garfield would be considered a great president had he not been assassinated so early into his first term by a disgruntled job seeker. Garfield was the original swamp drainer, and he believed the spoils system was damaging to the presidency. After winning the presidency in 1880, Garfield carefully chose his cabinet, he supported black civil rights, he cleaned up corruption in the Post Office, he believed in an educated electorate and proposed a universal education system funded by the federal government, and he worked to establish a civil service system so federal jobs would be awarded based on qualifications instead of who one knew. Then came Charles J. Guiteau.
Guiteau was a prominent preacher, lawyer, and author who gave a couple of speeches in support of Garfield’s presidential run. He felt his speeches were instrumental in getting Garfield elected, so when Garfield was elected, Guiteau tried to cash in. He sought ambassador appointments to Vienna and Paris, but Garfield rejected his requests, and in retaliation, Guiteau lay in wait in the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station where he shot Garfield twice in the back on July 2, 1881, less than four months after Garfield assumed office. Garfield died less than two months later.
Trump is like Guiteau in terms of trying to rid America of the idea that appointments should be based on qualifications. Instead of draining the swamp, Trump is filling it with a new set of reptilian creatures consisting of billionaires, millionaires, Wall Street insiders from Goldman Sacks, campaign contributors, friends, and old-fashioned insiders. Trump now has the full support of senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and all that was necessary to gain McConnell’s support was to designate McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, to be his cabinet appointment as Transportation Secretary. Chao may be Trump’s most qualified appointee, but her appointment still apparently came with strings attached.
Traditionally, prospective cabinet appointment designees are not sent to their confirmation hearings until being completely vetted with an FBI background check and a letter from the Office of Government Ethics clearing them of all conflicts of interest. In a situation like Trump’s pick for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, an heir to the Amway direct marketing fortune and worth upwards of $4 billion, she will need to divest herself of any investments which may cause her to have any conflicts of interest. That could take quite some time. The President may not be forbidden from having conflicts of interest (although all recent presidents have placed all their holdings in a blind trust, something Trump has so far refused to do), but his cabinet members are considered federal employees and cannot have any conflicts of interest or, otherwise, they are in violation of federal law. So far, DeVos and three other Trump cabinet appointee designates, including fellow billionaire Commerce Secretary designate Wilber Ross, have not been fully vetted. Perhaps they don’t want to hand over their income tax returns anymore than does Donald Trump. But all that is now just fine with Mitch McConnell who in 2009 wrote then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid demanding all relevant financial documents and committee questionnaires be completed and disclosed prior to beginning the confirmation hearings for Obama’s cabinet designees. McConnell’s February 2, 2009 letter said,
“The Senate has the constitutional duty to provide its Advice and Consent on Presidential nominations, a duty which we take seriously. In consultation with our Ranking Members, we reaffirm our commitment to conduct the appropriate review of these nominations, consistent with the long standing and best practices of committees, regardless of which political party is in the majority. These best practices serve the Senate well, and we will insist on their fair and consistent application.
“Therefore, prior to considering any time agreements on the floor on any nominee, we expect the following standards to be met:
“1. The FBI background check is complete and submitted to the committee in time for review and prior to a hearing being noticed.
“2. The Office of Government Ethics letter is complete and submitted to the committee in time for review and prior to a committee hearing.
“3. Financial disclosure statements (and tax returns for applicable committees) are complete and submitted to the committee for review prior to a hearing being noticed.
“4. All committee questionnaires are complete and have been returned to the committee. A reasonable opportunity for follow-up questions has been afforded committee members, and nominees have answered, with sufficient time for review prior to a committee vote.
“5. The nominee is willing to have committee staff interviews, where that has been the practice.
“6. The nominee has had a hearing.
“7. The nominee agrees to courtesy visits with members when requested.
“8. The nominee has committed to cooperate with the Ranking Members on requests for information and transparency.
“There will be additional requirements, honoring the traditions of the Senate, for judicial nominees. These common sense standards and long standing practices will ensure that the Senate has had the opportunity to fairly review a nominee’s record and to make an informed decision prior to a vote.”
Now, in reaction to the Democrats’ asking for the same courtesies, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer taking McConnell’s February 2, 2009 letter and simply changing to who it was address from Harry Reid to Mitch McConnell, McConnell has said that these requirements which he was so adamant about in 2009, and with which Obama’s cabinet designees all complied, are simply “little procedural complaints” which he blames on the Democrats’ “frustration at having not only lost the White House but having lost the Senate.” Hypocrisy is nothing new, but this takes the cake, and all it apparently took to swing McConnell’s thinking around 180 degrees was to designate his wife for an appointment to Trump’s cabinet.
The fact of the matter is that most of Trump’s designated cabinet appointments are very unqualified to hold the cabinet positions to which he has designated their appointment, and the Republican’s do not want a full vetting of their qualifications but to shoot them through the confirmation process as fast as possible so as few voters as possible, especially those fooled into supporting Trump upon his promise he would appoint the best and most qualified based on merit and not juice, figure out they have been taken in by the consummate con man who now has no intention of draining the swamp.
Shocks to the $3 trillion-a-year health system could send ripples through the entire economy.
Trump ordering all of our ambassadors home before he has even named their replacements is bad enough because it breaks the continuity of America’s representation at all our embassies throughout the world, but not asking Under Secretary for Nuclear Security Frank Klotz and his chief deputy Madelyn Creefon of our National Nuclear Security Administration to stay on until their replacements are designated for appointment (Trump has not yet named anyone for those posts) and confirmed by the Senate is getting a little bit insane. It will be the first time in the 17-year history of the National Nuclear Security Administration that it will be left without the heads of its command structure. Numerous others working for the National nuclear Security Administration composed of Secretarial administrative appointments which don’t require Senate confirmation have also not been asked to stay beyond the time of Obama’s reign after Trump’s inauguration. Klotz and Freedom have informed Trump’s transition team they remain available to remain at their jobs until their replacements are ready to take over, but they have received no response. Just plain stupid and unorganized if you ask me.
The irony is that Klotz and Creedon would be the people who would appear before Congress to argue for federal funding including the proposed nuclear weapons refurbishment program begun under Obama. This modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal has already been in the works for some time; it is not the brainchild of Donald Trump although he would have us believe that Obama allowed our nuclear deterrent to utterly deteriate under his command. Not true, and if Trump wants to keep up the our nuclear arsenal modernization program, then he better begin to get on the ball.
Gizmodo interviewed Bob Rosner, the co-chair of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and former director of Argonne National Laboratory, who told Gizmodo, “When it comes to budget negotiations, the fact is that without political leadership, they will be struggling for money. If (Trump) says he wants to invest heavily in the nuclear weapons program, and they don’t have anyone to defend the program, that’s going to be a pretty big problem for him. He didn’t understand that we have a refurbishment programm. He didn’t understand that under Obama that we’ve rebuilt the entire production complex, so exactly what he would mean by strengthening the nuclear program, it’s a bit of a mystery. I don’t know what he’s talking about. We’ve done it already.”
The National Nuclear Security Administration is within the Department of Energy. Donald Trump has designated former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head up the Department of Energy as his Secretary of Energy even though Rick Perry appears to have absolutely no qualifications for doing so, at least when it comes to nuclear science.
Trump Just Dismissed the People in Charge of Maintaining Our Nuclear ArsenalBetween the Trump transition team’s infighting, incompetence, and high-profile resignations, any decisions that signaled even a modicum of stability for the…gizmodo.com|By Ashley Feinberg
Trump Attacks Hillary Clinton’s Health Without Any Evidence
Recently, the weird conspiracy theorists in a last ditch effort to malign Hillary Clinton have been proffering the theory that she’s about to fall down dead from a variety of ailments (including syphilis) even though she has released her medical records which, unlike the medical records of Donald Trump, possess some credibility in confirming her physical fitness to serve as President. One picture being circulated shows Hillary being steadied after a slight trip which didn’t even result in a fall, which picture was taken more than six months ago, and other pictures which show her, God forbid, using a pillow in her chair. The sad part about this is that these conspiracy theories have weaseled their way into the Fox News stream of mainstream media. I suppose something like this is to be expected given the slide of Donald Trump’s poll numbers and his selection of a Breitbart news guy as his campaign CEO which I suppose is one step up from having a National Enquirer type guy be his campaign CEO although Trump has relied on stories planted in the National Enquirer to claim, among other things, that Ted Cruz’s father knew Lee Harvey Oswald. One has to wonder whether one of our most celebrated presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who suffered from polio, could have ever been elected president. Back then, a more accommodating press respected Roosevelt’s privacy by never publishing a picture of him in a wheelchair.
Rachel Maddow reports on a bizarre conspiracy theory developed in right-wing media that Hillary Clinton suffers from a variety of ailments, and notes the effort by…
Donald Trump’s Self-Serving Tax Plan Throws the Poor Under the Bus
Without question, Trump’s tax plan would favor the very rich, increase the federal deficit, and make it impossible for Trump to pay for any of the grandiose infrastructure and military spending he is proposing. Clinton’s plan would increase taxes on the very rich allowing for actual infrastructure and educational spending to occur and actually allow for the middle class to re-establish itself.
WASHINGTON (AP) — For America’s wealthiest families, the presidential campaign presents a stark choice: A big tax increase if Hillary Clinton wins the election — or…
Donald Trump’s Connections to Russia
Trump’s relationships with Russian backed powers gets more suspicious every day. One of the reasons Trump does not want to release his income tax returns may very well be because of the large amount he owes to Russian financiers. Russian influences seem to be supporting Trump in this election, including hacking into Democratic National Committee emails, and now we learn that his campaign manager, Manafort, has very close Russian backed connections for sure and may have skirted federal law in representing their interests.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s campaign chairman helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way…
Donald Trump’s Strange Medical Record
Donald Trump’s medical “certification,” the one he released last December which described him as the picture of health, has a lot of flaws and a suspicious character and has always sounded like a paid-for-fake as I suspect was his bone-spurs-in-his-heel doctor’s letter which Trump used to evade the draft during the Vietnam War after engaging in a number of athletic sports while in college and playing eighteen holes of golf on a regular basis. Trump’s bone spurs allegedly went away on their own never to return. When I worked as an attorney and read many an “expert” medical examination which always just so happened to favor the side of the argument of the attorney paying for the “independent medical examination,” I became quite aware that many a distinguished medical doctor will whore themselves out for a price.
Kurt Eichenwald asks if there’s a real doctor in the House of Trump.
newsweek.com|By Kurt Eichenwald
Trump Cannot Get His Middle East History Right
It looks like Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech was filled with the same falsehoods as most of his rally rhetoric. Incidentally, stealing the Iraqi oil would be in violation of the Geneva Convention, in particular Article 50 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I, Article 51 of the 1949 Geneva Convention II, and Article 147 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, which provides that “extensive . . . appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly” are grave breaches.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump on Monday painted the Middle East as an oasis of stability before Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, arguing that she and President Barack Obama “launched” the Islamic State…
Proof When Trump Said Obama Founded ISIS He wasn’t Being Sarcastic
In case you missed Hugh Hewett’s interview of Trump when Trump says Obama founded ISIS. Doesn’t sound like Trump was being sarcastic.
Lawrence O’Donnell talks to conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, who gave Donald Trump a chance to correct his claim that Obama is the founder of ISIS. Counter-terrorism expert Malcolm Nance breaks down the truth about who started…
Trump Unpopular Among Thinking Republicans
Trump cannot form an army of Republicans, and as these two interviewees point out renigged on one of his major campaign promises, that being to self fund his campaign to be free from the control of special interests. It was after receiving money from the fat cats that Trump came out with his tax plan, Plan B, which reimposed taxes on the poorest Americans and cuts taxes even more for the rich.
Dozens of Republicans have signed a letter asking the RNC to defund Donald Trump. Former Rep. Tom Coleman and former Rep. Mickey Edwards, who both signed the letter, join to discuss.
Trump Pays His Women Employees On His Campaign Staff Less
There is nothing new about this story, but it goes well with Trump’s phony claim about child care, and that is that Trump hires a low percentage of women on his campaign staff and pays them a third less than the men.
Donald Trump has paid women 74 percent of what he has men, while Hillary Clinton has compensated men and women equally, according to a Globe analysis of…
Trump’s Child Care is for Guests Only
It turns out that once again Donald Trump lied, this time by having conned the public into believing that he provides day care services at his businesses for his employees. Not. Turns out that day care services are only offered at a few properties for paying guests. Also, about that tax deduction for day care services, poor people rarely have deductions in excess of their standard deduction and do not itemize their tax deductions and, therefore, the only people who will benefit from Trump’s day care deduction are those people wealthy enough to itemize their income tax deductions. When is the last time you would have benefitted by itemizing your deductions? Enough said.
Take a look at Donald Trump’s ten most recent outrageous statements.
Trump claims that if he loses in Pennsylvania (where he is down 10 percent in the polls), then the election must be rigged.
As Trump slides in the polls in response to his barrage of inane statements, he is preparing to blame his loss not on himself (oh God forbid) but on a rigged election system. Trump’s statements may set the stage for his ardent supporters to resort to violence in the event he loses.
Trump’s running mate claims creationism should be taught in public schools.
Mike Pence believes “intelligent design” (meaning the religious precepts found in the book of Genesis) should be taught in the public schools. When did the Republicans become the party of non-science (and you can also throw in their denials of global warming)? Incidentally, teaching religious dogma in the public schools would be in violation of the First Amendment.
Trump outrageously claims Obama is the founder of ISIS.
The American public and the new Iraq leadership wanted us out. Clinton said we should stay in. Trump said we should leave quickly. Then he said we should only protect the oil from Iran (who also hates ISIL and ISIS because it sees them as political threats). Obviously, Obama is not a founder of ISIS, and Clinton actually wanted to leave some troops in Iraq. Donald doesn’t have a clue but is only speaking to his choir at this point.
Trump hints that some gun nut might want to assassinate Hillary Clinton to stop her from nominating justices to the Supreme Court who might want to limit their right to bear arms.
For years Congress and the Courts have limited the right of the American public to bear arms, something with which a majority of American citizens agree. For example, it takes a Federal Firearms License for a person to purchase machine guns or silencers, and a $200 stamp must be purchased for each transfer. No one outside the police or the military are allowed to possess hand grenades. No one outside the military can get close to a nuclear weapon. Thus, there are already limitations on the arms to which the public has access. Second Amendment advocates, some of which wish they could have their own thermonuclear weapon on top of their own ICBM, are concerned that Clinton may want to reimpose the assault weapons ban which was previously in effect. That is as far as Clinton has gone — she doesn’t want to do away with the Second Amendment as Trump has often said.
Now it sounds like Trump was hinting that some Second Amendment advocate might assassinate Clinton if she were to win the presidency. A real nut case in Nevada, Sharon Angle, back when she was challenging Harry Reid for his Senate seat, talked about “Second Amendment remedies” to “protect themselves against a tyrannical government” and “the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out”. Now Trump says, “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know, but, but I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day, if Hillary gets to put her judges in”.
Trump’s campaign has put a spin on Trump’s off-the-cuff remark claiming that he was referring to Second Amendment advocates being able to get out the vote, but why would getting out the vote matter once Hillary was already elected and there was nothing to be done (“nothing you can do folks”) about who she selected as her Supreme Court nominees? Maybe Trump meant the horrible day would by the day Hillary assumed the office of the presidency. His statement invoked in this host’s mind the day Kennedy was assassinated; that was truly a horrible day. In Trump’s demented stream of consciousness, Trump clearly suggested, as did Sharon Angle, that Second Amendment advocates, not the main stream supporters, but the real wackos, in an exercise of their Second Amendment “rights,” resort to violence to achieve their goals, and in this case, the insinuation was the assassination of either Hillary Clinton if she were to be elected or her Supreme Court justice nominees. Threatening to assassinate or facilitating the assassination of a presidential candidate is a federal crime. It only takes one nut case to interpret Trump’s remark the same way as did so many in the media.
Trump’s campaign then blamed the media for unfairly covering what he said as if they were distorting Trump’s words by first exactly quoting his words and then stating the obvious implication to be drawn from those words. Can you imagine working for the Trump campaign when he reaffirms being the loosest of cannons by saying something incredibly stupid setting his whole organization (if it can be called an “organization” at this point) into full damage control for the umpteenth time? As Trump’s campaign staff pray every night that Trump just stay on script, they need eventually admit that Trump just can’t help himself from blurting out offensive comments as if he has political Tourette’s syndrome. The idea that Trump the candidate would begin to act presidential once he became the official Republican nominee and that his nomination as the Republican standard bearer would “make the man” has been soundly debunked. Trump is a spoiled, narcissistic brat who is too immature to change. At first Trump was amusing as the nation wondered what would be the next bigoted thing to come out of his mouth. Now Trump is simply frightening and potentially inciting violence. The Secret Service will inevitably feel a need to step up its protection of Hillary Clinton, so Trump’s statement, even if innocent and misconstrued, has already cost every American.
Fifty national security experts representing both parties denounce Trump.
As people knowledgeable in the national security field, such as generals, ex-CIA officials, former national security advisors, and others who work with and study this stuff as their profession, consider all the erratic, misinformed, shoot from the lip, ignorant, and outright dangerous things Trump says, whether it be encouraging nuclear proliferation, abandoning NATO, denying obvious Soviet aggression, encouraging torture, or threatening to use nuclear bombs on civilian populations, they all are coming to the same conclusion regardless of their party affiliation; to wit, Trump has neither the knowledge nor the temperament to be President.
Trump’s economic speech recants on giving tax relief to the poor and, instead, gives huge tax relief to the rich.
Having reviewed Trump’s economic speech, it looks like Trump has decided to favor his self interests over the interests of the poor. His previous tax plan was going to tax someone with less than $25,000 of income a year (or a household of two people earning less than $50,000 a year) at zero percent, meaning they would pay no tax. Now Trump wants to tax those people at 12 percent. For the rich, he now wants to lower the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. For the very rich who would need pay an estate tax on that portion of an estate in excess of 5.45 million dollars (twice that for a husband and wife), he wants to do away with that tax entirely. Seems like a single person inheriting 5.45 million dollars before any tax is due is not enough. The rich want it all, or at least the selfish rich, like Trump (or his children), want it all.
Trump also spoke of lowering the repatriate tax, and with respect to those trillions of dollars stuck overseas, those dollars aren’t stuck, it’s just that the people and companies which earned their money overseas don’t want to pay US income tax on their overseas earnings if they want to bring those earnings into the US even though the repatriate tax rate is substantially below ordinary income tax rates. But these aren’t patriots we’re talking about. They rather leave their money overseas than pay their fair share in US taxes. Trump wants to lower the repatriation tax rate not to 15 percent but to only 10 percent, two percent less than he wants the poorest Americans to pay on their income.
Trump also spoke about cutting down on regulations, and getting rid of pesty, conscientious, government regulators who would unnervingly enforce the remaining regulations so Trump and other employers could more easily pollute the air and water, subject workers to unsafe working conditions, skirt the minimum wage, endanger the public with major disasters, and engage in other unfair, irresponsible, and dangerous actions. For example, Trump made mention that the auto industry was heavily regulated. Does the American public really want to unregulate the auto industry so they can sell cheaper cars which don’t have seat belts or airbags, get seven miles per gallon while billowing out pollution, and suffer $5,000 worth of damage from a three-mile-per-hour frontal impact? It is easy to forget how bad and dangerous it use to be. Much of the decrease in auto fatalities despite America’s growing population has been because of safer car design.
Trump’s speech was also laced with a few pants-on-fire lies, such as that Hillary Clinton said she wanted to raise taxes on the middle class (she didn’t), that Obama gave $150 billion to Iran (he didn’t), and that Iran was paid $400 million in ransom money (it wasn’t).
Trump pulls his tax plan from his website which would grant the poor tax relief.
Trump pulled his tax plan which gave huge tax cuts to the poor and the rich which would have resulted in huge deficits. Presently new job creation as seen under the Obama administration should help reduce future deficits if those reductions are not eliminate by messing with the present tax structure. Trump’s tax structure as previously set forth on his website favored the rich and needs progressive modification. Trump announced he would give an economic speech to announce his “Plan B”. Plan B, like Plan A, will still call for reduced regulations, meaning allowing for more dangerous working environments, fewer employee rights, and pollution galore, mostly to benefit the rich who don’t care about crating a toxic environment for their grandchildren. See this host’s comments on Trump’s Plan B (above).
Trump may be blaming Melania Trump’s plagiarism on a fictitious person.
Melania Trump initially claimed credit for writing most of her speech given at the 2016 Republican National Convention which was highly plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s speech given at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Now the person who allegedly took credit for the plagiarism, who has never physically come forward, has been ruled by Twitter to be a fake non-person. If Twitter is correct, then Trump committed perjury during a prior deposition, the same charge which led to Bill Clinton being impeached. So if Trump were to be elected, he could immediately be facing two impeachable offenses. The first would be racketeering arising from his role promoting Trump University, a charge for which he may initially be found civilly liable at a trial scheduled to begin following the election, and now a possible perjury charge arising from making up Meredith McIver who might never have existed.
According to an NBC news article by Elizabeth Chuck published on June 21, 2016, McIver is listed as a co-author of several of Trump’s books and has a biography on an All American Speakers website as having worked for the Trump Organization since 2001. She supposedly was born in San Jose, California, has an English degree from the University of Utah, trained as a ballet dancer at the George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet in New York, and was “a cast member on the 1981 revival of ‘Can-Can’.” This information should be fairly easy for any congressional committee to check using its power of subpoena. Can the actual person be produced, or is her entire biography just a fictional account? Her suppose ex-boyfriend, Stephen Palitz, was interviewed by Jason Horowitz of the New York Times. There is even a picture of her shown in the New York Times web article. Is it all an elaborate hoax based on information fed to the New York Times by Trump operatives.
Trump continues to refuse to release his income tax returns.
Is there’s a single Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, or independent who doesn’t want to know what’s in Trump’s income tax returns? Is it that his net worth is less than half of what he claims? Is it that he manipulates the system so he doesn’t pay his fair share of taxes? Is it that this year he is finally going to be nailed for income tax evasion? Is it that he hardly gives anything to charity?
Did Malina Trump engage in a false marriage for the purpose of getting her green card?
If Melina received a green card based on marriage four years before she married Trump, she may have engaged in immigration fraud. If she married four years before marrying Trump, got married to another American but forgot to get divorced before marrying Trump, then she committed bigamy? Is everything associated with Trump a hypocritical fraud? Trump has announced that he and Melina will be addressing her immigration, but there has been one delay after another.
Reports surface that Malina Trump probably committed immigration fraud.
This host is not familiar with this news source, and it sounds rather slanted, but all the facts should be documented. Obama produced his long-form birth certificate to prove Trump’s opinion of he not being a natural born citizen was malarkey, and Melina could give permission for the INS to release all of her immigration records to prove this bigamy allegation and immigration fraud allegation are malarkey as well, but will she? So far she has not. Are the Trumps going to leave this one hanging? Trump could argue it is hypocritical to make this issue relevant to the election given the Democratic Party supporting not clamping down on immigration, except that it could evidence Trump’s own hypocrisy. The Democrats also fail to support Trump’s wall or support his plan to hunt down and throw out any undocumented person.
So far as the nudie pictures taken of Melina in America in 1995, the story-line is now that she wasn’t paid for those pictures even though they showed up in Max magazine, so Melina didn’t work in America in violation of the visa she had at the time. She was only establishing a portfolio, and the photographer who sold her nudie pictures to Max magazine supposedly paid her nothing. Did he get a freebie from a young woman desperate to take her cloths off to get into the modeling business? What a deal, “Hey little girl, let’s make your portfolio.” There has been no response from Melina or the Trump organization, except for Trump telling Melina at one of his rallies that she would have to get out if she came in illegally in a manner easily withdrawn as being purely sarcastic.
Did Melina Trump lie about graduating from college?
There has been no response to the more significant claim that Melina lied about graduating from college. Melina’s biographical history was taken down from the Trump Organization website which is some evidence she did not graduate from college as previously claimed. One has to respect that Melina speaks five languages, although her fluency in move than two has never been tested. Don’t ever expect her to lose that eastern European accent, one of the hardest to lose. Melina’s shifty immigration status with allegations of having defrauded the immigration officers is at odds with Trump’s major campaign theme. If true and Trump knew it, maybe his plan all along is to dump Melina and move on to another younger model befitting of the President of the United States. Melina cannot hide from her gold digger, home wrecker status, and her nude photos are unbecoming of a future first lady. Any comparison of Melina to Jackie is utter nonsense and can only be imagined by those who can’t tell the difference between ass and class.
Trump gets rescued from an elevator by Colorado Springs fire fighters and then berates one of its fire marshals for doing his job.
In Colorado Springs, Colorado, Trump was staying at the Mining Exchange where his campaign had leased out the hotel and was controlling the elevators. Some Trump staff member with the key to the elevators made a mistake resulting in Trump being trapped in an elevator for five minutes until Colorado Springs firefighters opened the top elevator hatch and lowered down a ladder allowing Trump and ten other people to climb to safety. Later the same evening during a rally at the University of Colorado, Trump criticized the Colorado Springs’ fire marshal (later identified as Brett Lacey) for limiting the number of people who were allowed into Trump’s campaign event. Lacey was only doing his job. Construction within the building had blocked some of the exits requiring the number of people allowed into the event to be limited.
Trump actually admits he lied when he said he saw a video of cash being unloaded in Iran.
Shortly after Trump’s campaign denied he saw a video of cash being unloaded in Iran, Trump repeated the lie. It was only after the video was identified as being a video of hostages being let off the airplane did Trump finally tweet a retraction. Mark your calendar as this may be the only time Trump ever admits he was wrong. Now what about those thousands and thousands of American Muslims Trump said he saw on television cheering the fall of the World Trade Center? Will he ever admit that was a lie?
It looks like Trump’s “campaign” admitted he lied about seeing a video of cash being unloaded in Iran, but Trump himself continued to spew his fabrication, make the same lying statement, at a subsequent rally. Is this the definition of a psychopath, someone with no conscience?
Trump lies about Obama paying Iran $400 million for hostages.
First Trump claimed he saw thousands and thousands of Muslim Americans on the New Jersey shore cheering the collapse of the World Trade Center, a complete fabrication. Then Trump claimed he saw millions and millions of dollars being off loaded from a plane which landed in Iran which he falsely claimed was ransom for hostages, another complete a fabrication of what he claimes he saw with his own two eyes. Yes, the US paid Iran back money (with some but not all of the interest Iran would have been awarded by the international court) for an arms sale which was halted after the deposing of the Shaw of Iran and the taking hostage of workers at the American Embassy in 1979. Iran never got the arms, but America kept the money, so America needed to pay Iran back the money with interest. Coincidentally, as the result of separate lengthy diplomatic negotiations, four American hostages were released, but in an effort to deceive the public into thinking President Obama paid money for hostages, to promote that lie, Trump came up with another lie, that he actually saw a video of the money being off-loaded from a plane in Iran. When are Trump’s supporters going to come to the realization that Trump is a psychopathic liar, a con man who, incidentally, will need defend himself from a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act charge for helping scam thousands of ordinary, hard working people out of tens of thousands of dollars each by hawking his phony Trump University and similarly lying about almost everything having to do with with that hotel-ball-room-seminar, hard-sell, scam.
Evidence emerges that Malina Trump worked in American before she had a valid visa for doing so.
Looks like Melina Trump committed immigration fraud in consideration of all the facts by first entering the US on a visa which would not have allowed her to do her nude photo shoots in 1995. So what’s Trump going to do about that? Dump her on the other side of the wall?
Trump blames others for writing that Mrs. Kahn remained silent as her husband addressed the Democratic National Convention because she was a Muslim woman, the insinuation being she had to be entirely submissive to her husband. When making that statement when interviewed by George Stephanopoulos, Stephanopoulos failed to follow up by asking Trump who wrote that. This host’s Google search failed to reveal anyone who wrote this slander (although this host believes he heard on Morning Joe that it might have originated from a Laura Ingram tweet). Claiming other people have written or said things is the main way Trump derides people while trying to avoid personal responsibility for coming up with the idea in the first place or giving credence to a single thought from a single person. Trump’s insult of the Kahn “gold star” family has been condemned by many writers, and that is a statement easily confirmed.
Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention promises huge spending programs with no way to pay for them.
The RNC is over, and Trump’s family is very happy with him; at least some people are pleased with him, if only his immediate family. Ted Cruz certainly was not. In his acceptance speech, Trump failed to explain that if America has the greatest tax decrease ever how he was going to double the military, double our response to the needs of our veterans, double our efforts against the terrorists near and far, see that every child has the best possible educational opportunities, rebuild the country’s entire infrastructure, definitively clamp down on all crime, replace the Affordable Health Care Act with something substantially better, build the wall, and throw 11 million Mexicans out of the country along with every other foreigner not carrying their papers?
Donald Trump apparently does not understand how scientists measure the rise in average world temperature. To measure global warming, climate scientists take measurements from all over the earth. They then compare those measurements to prior measurements taken from those same locations. Then they compare the average of all those temperature increases and decreases from one year to the next. Donald Trump must think it is all about him, meaning that the earth’s average temperature is where he happens to be. If Trump happens to be cold, he extrapolates the temperature where he is to the entire world and considers the fact that he is cold evidence global warming does not exist.
On November 1, 2011, Trump tweeted, “It snowed over 4 inches this past weekend in New York City. It is still October. So much for Global Warming.”
At first it appears Trump is trying to be funny, but instead of thinking of the cold as an anomaly in a world warming trend which 98 percent of all climate scientists agree is both happening and accelerated by man’s burning of fossil fuels, Trump chooses to believe unusually cold weather near where he happens to be proves climate change is a hoax.
On March 21, 2013, Trump tweeted, “It’s snowing & freezing in NYC. What the hell ever happened to global warming?”
On March 22, 2013, Trump tweeted, “Looks like the U.S. will be having the coldest March since 1996 – global warming anyone?????????”
On April 3, 2013, Trump tweeted, “Another freezing day in the Spring — what is going on with ‘global warming’? Good move changing the name to ‘climate change’ — sad!”
On May 27, 2013, Trump tweeted, “It’s 46º (REALLY COLD) AND SNOWING IN New York on Memorial Day – tell the so-called ‘scientists’ that we want global warming right now!”
On December 6, 2013, Trump tweeted, “Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee — I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!”
On December 30, 2013, Trump tweeted, “What the hell is going on with GLOBAL WARMING. The planet is freezing, the ice is building and the G.W. scientists are stuck — a total con job.”
On January 24, 2014, Trump tweeted, “NBC News just called it the great freeze — coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX?
On January 28, 2014, Trump tweeted, “Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!”
Trump then put his mind to work. Who would stand to benefit the most if the United States cut back on its burning of fossil fuels? In China’s attempt to catch up with the western world they started to burn a lot of coal and oil without strict pollution controls, and one needs only look how dirty the air is over their cities to confirm their lack of pollution control. Instead of following America’s lead, Trump figures the Chinese will not invest in clean air and water, and he thinks China wants to trick America into greater environmental consciousness while the Chinese continue to pollute as if they like to walk their streets wearing masks and, therefore, the Chinese must have been the ones to come up with the ideal of global warming, and they must be the ones who have convinced scientists the world over to fudge their data so they could all come to the same conclusion that the earth is warming, and the oceans are rising.
The Chinese are sick of all their pollution and want to do something about it. They do not like walking around in masks on “smog day.” Trump does not understand the Chinese want clean air just like everyone else, just like we do in the United States. They are not stupid.
On November 1, 2012, Trump tweeted, “Let’s continue to destroy the competitiveness of our factories & manufacturing so we can fight mythical global warming. China is so happy!”
On November 5, 2012, Trump tweeted, “We can’t destroy the competitiveness of our factories in order to prepare for nonexistent global warming. China is thrilled with us!”
On November 6, 2012, Trump twitted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
On December 15, 2013, Trump tweeted, “We should be focusing on beautiful, clean air & not on wasteful & very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit! China & others are hurting our air.”
On December 28, 2013, Trump tweeted, “We should be focused on clean and beautiful air – not expensive and business closing GLOBAL WARMING – a total hoax.”
More recently, on December 30, 2015, Trump told the crowd at a rally in Hilton Head, South Carolina, “Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and . . . a lot of it’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. I mean, it’s a money-making industry, OK? It’s a hoax, a lot of it.”
Bear for a moment for some history related to the Trump induced conspiracy theories.
The Manchurian Candidate written by Richard Condon was published in 1959. It is about a sergeant in an infantry platoon, Richard Shaw, who is the son of two prominent political parents. Shaw and other members of his platoon are kidnapped during the Korean War and taken to Manchuria where they are brainwashed by the Russians and Chinese to believe Shaw saved their lives in combat. They are then released, tell their story, and Shaw is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor which allows Shaw to gain access to prominent political figures. Shaw has been programed to follow embedded, subconscious commands to assassinate people when he plays solitaire and sees the Queen of Diamonds. He then forgets what he has done. Shaw is directed to assassinate a presidential candidate during a national convention so Shaw’s father, Senator Johnny Iselin, a vice-presidential candidate, is elevated to the party’s presidential candidate. Senator Iselin will then serve as a puppet dictator beholden to the Communists’ powers if he wins the presidency. The book was made into a very good 1962 movie staring Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh and a less worthy but still good 2004 remake staring Dezel Washington and Meryl Streep.
Donald Trump has tried to capitalize on the prejudice many Americans can be convinced to embrace against anyone of the Muslim faith following the 9/11 attacks. Trump and about half of all Republicans appear to embrace the conspiracy theory that Obama is some sort of Manchurian candidate born a Muslim in Kenya who wants to work with foreign powers to take down the United States. Trump demanded Obama produce his long form birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii and is a natural born American citizen constitutionally qualified to hold the office of the presidency. No rich person with high access to the press who had generously donated to so many politicians had ever previously made a public demand for a sitting president to prove he was a natural born citizen thereby encouraging vicious rumors and a litigation mill. The President’s attorneys swung into action least they allow an unelected, egomaniac, conspiracy theorist to deflect the president’s time from what he was elected to do. Trump’s demand always had a racial overtone in its attempt to de-legitimize a black man’s assent to the world’s highest office. Even after Obama produced his long form birth certificate personally vouched for by the highest official in Hawaii responsible for maintaining such records, the conspiracy theorists refused to believe it and called it a fake.
Had Obama been born in Kenya, as many conspiracy theorists claim, to be a Manchurian candidate, Obama would have needed to be completely brainwashed in the year following his birth before his mother moved with him to Seattle so she could attend the University of Washington or, possibly, Obama would have needed to be brainwashed while he lived in Indonesia attending school from 1967 to 1971 when he was between six and ten years old.
The Soviet-Afghan War did not begin until 1979 when Obama was already 18 years old. There were not many Muslim jihadists in Kenya or Indonesia back in 1971, and if there were, they would have needed to correctly predict that young Barrack would excel and someday be elected President of the United States, a tremendous long shot which, according to the conspiracy theorists, somehow paid off.
A member of the Taliban in alliance with the United States aims a US made FIM-92 Stinger surface to air missile at a Russian helicopter during the Soviet-Afghan War.
Following the June 12, 2016 mass shooting at the LBGT friendly Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, by nutcase Omar Mateen, the subject of this website’s post “Sorry John McCain, but the Orlando shooting wasn’t caused by ISIS,” Trump, working upon the assumption the shooting was caused by ISIS, implied that Obama was in cahoots with the Muslim terrorists who caused the massacre by saying that Obama “doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands. . . . Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind – you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”
Trump must similarly think Obama is plotting with the Chinese who never had a chance to brainwash him. Trump must figure the Chinese are behind a global warming hoax in a plot to hurt American industries, and since Obama believes in global warming, then Obama must be in cahoots with the Chinese.
In furtherance of revealing such a plot, on November 23, 2013, Trump tweeted, “The people that gave you global warming are the same people that gave you ObamaCare!”
On December 30, 2013, Trump tweeted, “The con artists changed the name from GLOBAL WARMING to CLIMATE CHANGE when GLOBAL WARMING was no longer working and credibility was lost!”
On March 25, 2016, Trump tweeted, “They changed the name from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ after the term global warming just wasn’t working (it was too cold)!”
Taking Trump seriously leads to the following conclusions: First, there is no global warming. Second, any attempt by Obama to slow and/or eliminate pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels must be because Obama wants to hurt the American people and benefit the Chinese. Third, therefore Obama is a traitor, probably of a Manchurian candidate variety since he was born in Kenya and later raised in Indonesia, because one can assume from his behavior that he was brainwashed by Chinese and Muslim operatives (just as unlikely as the Russians and Chinese working together .in 1959 when The Manchurian Candidate was released) and, now, proven in part by Obama’s failure to expose global warming as a conspiratorial fraud, Obama must be working with the terrorists to bring down America.
Terrorism participated in by a United States president seeking to further a global warming hoax must have originated in 1992 when George H.W. Bush went to Rio de Janeiro to attend the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, otherwise know as the Earth Summit, and said in a statement given at a June 13, 1992 news conference:
“We’ve signed a climate convention. We’ve asked others to join us in presenting action plans for the implementation of the climate convention. We’ve won agreement on forest principles. We found a warm reception among the G – 7 and many developing countries to our Forests for the Future initiative. Many U.S. proposals on oceans and public participation on the importance of economic instruments and free markets were included in this mammoth Agenda 21 document and the Rio Declaration.
George H.W. Bush signs the Rio Declaration
“Let me be clear on one fundamental point. The United States fully intends to be the world’s preeminent leader in protecting the global environment. We have been that for many years. We will remain so. We believe that environment and development, the two subjects of this Conference, can and should go hand in hand. A growing economy creates the resources necessary for environmental protection, and environmental protection makes growth sustainable over the long term. I think that recognition of that fact by leaders from around the world is the central accomplishment of this important Rio Conference.”
President Bill Clinton must have been the next conspirator as his administration helped negotiate the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which was the world’s first climate change treaty, but it was not submitted to the Senate for ratification because the Senate had already expressed its disapproval of any international agreement that did not require all countries, including developing countries, to make emission reductions and if the agreement would “seriously harm the economy of the United States.” The second requirement was window dressing since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol only required industrialized countries to “take the lead” in reducing emissions, and the administration knew without the first requirement being satisfied, the Senate was not going to ratify the treaty.
Representatives from all nations meet in Kyoto, Japan
In November, 2014, President Obama invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to a State Visit in Washington, D.C., after which they announced a U.S.– China Joint Announcement on Climate Change expressing their personal commitment to having a successful climate agreement in place after meeting in Paris, affirming their shared conviction finding climate change a great threat facing humanity, acknowledging their critical role in addressing it and their need to move ahead to implement domestic climate policies, and affirming their joint commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation and promoting sustainable low-carbon economies.
President Barack Obama meets with Chinese President XI Jinping at the Whitehouse (Reuters photo)
Climate scientists confirmed that 2014 shattered warm weather records across the entire globe with 14 of the 15 hottest years in history taking place in the first 14 years of the twenty-first century. The world’s average temperature has risen 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1985. Worse, according to the climate report, the earth could warm more than an additional two degrees Celsius by 2045. It is much more of a big deal than it sounds.
According to the experts, three quarters of existing fossil fuel reserves will need stay in the ground for that two degrees increase to be avoided. That is a lot of oil and coal which will not be burned, and a lot of revenue lost by their suppliers such as Saudi Arabia and, yes, West Virginia.
A method of compensating fossil fuel producing nations (and states) needed to be worked out. Oil, gas, and coal companies would see billions of dollars worth of extractable fuel wiped off their balance sheets. In that regard, the Canadian tar sands have been described as “the largest carbon bomb on the planet.”
Syncude Aurora tar sands mine in the Boreal Forrest, Canada. (Photo by Greenpeace/Jiri Rezac)
World Bank leader Jim Yong Kim warned that a two degree Celsius temperature rise would impoverish millions of people by depriving them of food and water as crop land becomes unproductive, and lakes and rivers dry up. At the present rate of increase, by 2100, the average world temperature will increase another four degrees Celsius. According to scientists, life on earth may not survive a seven degree Celsius temperature rise.
Obama’s pledge to China was to cut America’s emissions by 2025 to 26 percent to 28 percent from 2005 levels. Failure to keep temperatures below a two degree Celsius temperature rise would spark provisions to help poor countries adapt to the consequences of climate change. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged the United States would work to have $100 billion annually transferred from rich countries to poor countries by 2020 by establishing a United Nations Green Climate Fund.
After two weeks of thousands of delegates from around the world haggling in Paris, and bringing to a conclusion nine years of diplomacy, sometimes with all-night sessions, on December 12, 2015, it was announced that representatives from 195 nations had signed the United Nations Global Climate Accord committing every country on earth to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, including China and India.
Secretary of State John Kerry signs the United Nations Global Climate Accord on behalf of the United States. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Associated Press)
President Obama stated in a televised address from the White House, “This agreement sends a powerful signal that the world is fully committed to a low-carbon future. . . . We’ve shown that the world has both the will and the ability to take on this challenge.”
Secretary of State John Kerry had spent a whole year negotiating with the Chinese and Indians and said, “The world has come together around an agreement that will empower us to chart a new path for our planet.” New Environmental Protection Agency regulations Obama enacted which regulated and slashed greenhouse gases emitted from America’s coal-fired power plants and growing internal criticism in China over air pollution from coal-fired power plants helped convince representatives from all the other nations on earth to sign the agreement.
Senior Chinese climate change negotiator Xie Zhenhua (seen below), said, “The agreement is not perfect, and there are some areas in need of improvement [but this] does not prevent us from marching forward with this historic step. . . [The deal is a] fair and just, comprehensive and balanced, highly ambitious, enduring and effective.”
Climate scientists said the agreement represented the world’s best hope of averting the most devastating effects of global warming. If all countries live up to the agreement, greenhouse gas emissions will be cut in half avoiding a two degree Celsius increase in temperature which the vast bulk of climate scientists have concluded would cause rising sea levels, severe droughts, flooding, food and water shortages, and destructive storms. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (seen below) said the stars “were aligned” for the agreement to come to pass as it represented a major shift in the domestic politics and bilateral relationships between China and the United States, the world’s two largest greenhouse gas polluters followed by India. Prior to the Paris talks, 186 nations submitted detailed plans showing how they would cut carbon emissions. Beginning in 2020, and every five years thereafter, the countries’ representatives will reconvene with updated plans to increase their emission cuts. Unfortunately for some of the small developing countries, the $100 billion a year Hillary Clinton pushed for to establish a United Nations Green Climate Fund is only mentioned in the Paris agreement’s preamble, and is not a legally binding portion of the agreement.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
All countries of the world agreed that climate change “represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet,” and “requires the widest possible cooperation by all countries.” In accordance with its Article 20, the Agreement shall be open for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City from April 12, 2016, until April 21, 2017, by States and regional economic integration organizations who are Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
If elected president, Donald Trump wants to sabotage the United Nations Global Climate Accord, making all those long negotiation sessions in Paris for naught, and endangering the planet. On May 17, 2015, Trump told Reuters, “I will be looking at that very, very seriously, and at a minimum I will be renegotiating those agreements, at a minimum. And at a maximum, I may do something else. . . . those agreements are one-sided agreements, and they are bad for the United States.”
Even though Chinese investment in clean energy technology far exceeds that of the United States and even though China may very well outperform the reduction of greenhouse gases to which it agreed in Paris, Trump said, “Not a big fan because other countries don’t adhere to it, and China doesn’t adhere to it, and China’s spewing into the atmosphere.” Every reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases helps, but Trump has been too busy denying the existence of global warming unless it directly affects him, and he will be unable to fully appreciate the magnitude of the problem until he sees the Atlantic Ocean seeping under the front door of Mar-a-Lago, his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida (seen below).
The problem is that Trump relies on information received from conspiracy theorists instead of from scientists. Trump’s position on fighting climate change would be considered more extreme than his position on the proliferation of nuclear weapons if it were not for so many climate change deniers in the Republican Party who either cannot scientifically appreciate the problem, or just don’t care if the world becomes a fiery hell so long as they win their next election. One of Trump’s energy policy advisers is United States Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who is expected to remain a climate change skeptic so long as North Dakota benefits from its present oil bonanza. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton advocates shifting America to 50 percent clean energy by 2030.
On May 26, 2016, Trump said as part of his “energy policy speech” given in the oil boom town of Bismarck, North Dakota, “This [Paris] agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use right here in America . . . We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs. We’ve got big problems folks and can’t send our money all over the world.”
What Trump and some of the Senate Republicans need do is speak with Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum (seen below) who wore a wreath at the Paris conference made of dried coconut fronds, a symbol of his country, as the Marshallese have plenty to celebrate over the signing of the United Nations Global Climate Accord. The Marshallese have already been shorted once by the United States, and they now face total displacement if the United States does not follow through on its pledge to fight global warming.
Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum
The Marshall Islands consist of 1,200 specs of land rising an average of only six feet above sea level. The five islands and numerous atoll groups which are arranged into 29 collections are seriously endangered by a rising sea. The Marshallese population will need leave the Marshall Islands as ocean water begins to invade their homes and causes their streets to give way. Freak surge tides can no longer accept all the blame for the eventual, devastating floods to come.
The Marshall Islands lie about halfway between Hawaii and the northern tip of Australia. Some of the atolls making up the island chain are famous for the atomic and hydrogen bomb testing which took place there after the United States wrestled control of the islands from Japan during World War II. From 1946 to 1958, a total of 67 atomic bombs were detonated within the Marshall Islands, the most famous going by the code name Ivy Mike which was actually a factory sized 82 ton building built to test the first thermonuclear explosion, otherwise known as the hydrogen bomb, on the Enewetak atoll. It created a nuclear fission explosion with a yield equal to 10,400,000 tons (10.4 megatons) of TNT leaving a crater two miles in diameter with a maximum depth of 164 feet. The Enewetak atoll disappeared and was covered by ocean water when the tide rolled back. See the blast here. Now, the remaining snippets of land are being covered by the sea as the polar ice caps begin to melt and the seas experience thermal expansion from ocean warming.
Many of the atolls in the Marshall Islands are uninhabited, so back in the 40’s and 50’s during the beginnings of the Cold War, no one figured it made any difference to blow some up. The second H-bomb test took place on the Bikini Atoll. It had a yield of 15 megatons of TNT. Before they blew it up, 167 Bikini islanders needed to be evacuated and were told they could come back and would only have to leave their atoll temporarily “for the good of mankind.” America moved the Bikinians 125 miles away to the Rongerik Atoll and left them only enough food for several weeks. The fishing was slim, and the crops were sparse, so the displaced Bikinians began to starve. They were then moved to the Kwajalein Atoll and housed in tents next to a concrete military airstrip. Six months later, they were again relocated to Kili Island, but it had no lagoon, and once again they began to starve because of the poor fishing.
Meanwhile, the United States began Operation Castle which tested the first hydrogen bomb small enough to be carried and dropped from a plane. The bomb was code named Bravo and had a 15 megaton yield (see below). This time the sea-water-filled crater left by the blast was 200 feet deep. After all the atomic and hydrogen bomb testing, there were still a number of high spots left in the Bikini Atoll. In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson told the 540 Bikinians living on Kili they could return to their islands because the US Atomic Energy Commission said no radiation remained, and they could find, “no discernible effect on ether plant or animal life.” They lied. Radioactive cesium 137 worked its way into all their bodies through the island’s food and water supplies, and the Bikinians could not eat ripe fruit from the trees or drink from the coconuts without being infested with radioactive particles. Their existence could only be sustained if the food and water was imported. Other than that small inconvenience, things were fine, and the Bikini Atoll began taking in tourists in 1996. Scuba divers remain interested in visiting the USS Saratoga, a 900 foot long aircraft carrier, and the Japanese battleship Nagato, both sunk during Operation Crossroads when Baker Shot, a bomb no more powerful than the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki, about 22,000 tons (22 kilotons) worth of TNT, was detonated 90 feet below the surface of the ocean creating a title wave sinking the big ships.
Another exodus is coming because this time there may be no further high ground in the Marshall Islands on which to retreat. If the Earth warms another two degrees, the Marshall Islands are finished. They will all be covered by a rising sea. The United States granted the Marshall Islands independence in 1986, and as part of that agreement, any citizen of the Marshall Islands, all of the Marshallese people, can come live and work in the United States without needing to have a green card or visa, so if xenophobic Donald Trump does not want to see unvetted, Marshallese refugees invade America, he better get with the program and start taking global warming seriously.
Welcome to the Marshall Islands at high tide. Perhaps Trump would like to come visit. (Picture by AFP)
Because of the rising Pacific Ocean, a third of the Marshalles, more than 25,000 people so far, have already left the Marshall Islands, and some now already live in rural America. On the prairies of the American continent, the Marshallese no longer need more than fifty words and phrases to describe their ways of fishing, and as they assimilate into the American culture, their heritage is being drained from them.
Montana photo by Rich Flynn
There are other low-lying islands destined to the same fate if the world’s people do not act decisively to end global warming. Tuvalu is a Polynesian island paradise and home to 10,000 people. It consists of three reef islands and six atolls south of the equator at about the same longitude as the Marshall Islands. Closer to the equator where the centrifugal force of the Earth’s rotation thrusts the water further from the center of the Earth and where La Nina easterly trade winds push warm waters toward the western tropical Pacific (the El Nino westerly trade winds have the opposite effect), Tuvalu is experiencing ocean rises at a rate greater than the world average. Satellite measurements confirm it is not because the land is sinking, but because the ocean is rising, about two-tenths of an inch a year, three times the global average. Tuvala has an average elevation of nine feet above sea level, but it should all be covered by the sea more quickly than the Marshall Islands.
Another day in Tuvala (Photo by Gary Bragsch)
To the north of Tuvala and straddling the equator is Kiribati consisting of one coral island and 32 atolls. This island chain totals only 313 square miles but is a long as the United States is wide. Twenty-one of those islands are inhabited and are home to about 110,000 people who are now trying to purchase land in Fiji to escape the rising sea. Some of the lower uninhabited atolls have already been covered by the Pacific. Most of the 112,000 Kiribatians live on the atoll of Tarawa. There, its capital city of Tarawa is less than 9.8 feet above sea level. Beach erosion and the contamination of its freshwater supplies have already become problems.
Kiribati is being lost to the sea (Photo by Richard Voge)
Then there is Maldives, a chain of islands in the Indian Ocean about 600 miles southwest of the lower tip of India where almost 400,000 people live on 115 square miles of land. Known for its beautiful white beaches, deep blue lagoons, and crystal clear waters, Maldives is a popular tourist destination. Its president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was among the first to warn of the effects of global warning when he addressed the United Nations Earth Summit in 1992 and said, “I stand before you as a representative of an endangered people. We are told that as a result of global warming and sea-level rise, my country, the Maldives, may sometime during the next century, disappear from the face of the Earth.” Maldives only solution so far has been to build sea walls and pump sand up from the ocean floor in an attempt to raise the levels of its islands. Maldives is the lowest lying country on Earth with its highest point only 5 feet above sea level, so one can understand President Gayoom’s early concern. In 1987, surge tides flooded the capital, and the 2004 tsunami submerged the islands for several minutes, so they know what to expect.
Maldives (Photo by Shahee Ilyas)
In the Pacific Solomons, about 1000 miles northeast of Australia, the islands of Kale, Rapita, Kakatina, Zollies, and Rehana, were over the last two decades vanquished by the sea through rising sea levels which, like in Tuvalu, are rising at three times the world average and for the same reason. Those five islands were uninhabited, but the island of Nutambu is next in line where already half of its inhabitants have left, and 11 houses have been lost since 2011. Twenty-five families remain on the island.
Pacific Solomons (Photo by Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)
No one wants to believe in global warming until it happens to them, and want even less to believe global wcarming and rising sea levels are due to or, at least, significantly contributed to, by the burning of fossil fuels. People who own boats in Florida with high masts are beginning to reconsider, even Republicans. In Coral Gables, Florida, near Miami, James Carson ran for mayor on the Republican ticket and won. When he heard a lecture by scientists predicting a sea level rise in South Florida, unlike Donald Trump, he listened. He had been presented with a map showing parts of Coral Gables which would be underwater in thirty years. Why had the prior city leaders never addressed the problem he wondered as the city’s streets were already flooding with seawater seeping from beneath low-lying areas. What were the legal ramifications he asked. Vulnerable places such as hospitals, schools, and key roads were identified, but some of his constituents said they had other things to do, and one said he would leave it to his grandchildren to figure out.
The lawyer Carson hired to advise the city, Abigail Corbett, from the Miami law firm of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, had not previously given the matter much thought. When she did, she realized her own house was only two feet above the present sea level. Did the city have a duty to insure people could get to their homes if their streets were flooded by a rising sea? Did real estate agents need tell prospective home buyers about the problem? When the sea level rise kept people’s five million dollar yachts with high masts from clearing the bridges, what then? At what point would property owners no longer need to pay taxes as their land began to be covered by the Atlantic? When was the city relieved from its duty to providing services such as fire and police if they were blocked by sea water? How much would the city’s credit rating be affected by rising sea levels? A plan needed to be devised. The public needed to be warned.
A projection of the Florida coastline if global warming is not addressed. (Courtesy NASA)
Global warming causes rising sea-levels through glacier melting and the expansion of ocean water as it warms. In the twentieth century, average sea levels rose 0.07 inches per year. From 1993 to 2003, that average rate of increase was 0.12 inches per year. Scientists expect that if nothing is done to check global warming, the average sea level will rise by as much as 23 inches by 2100. Significant efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions can stem the rise to at most 15 inches. Given the recent accelerated shrinking of glaciers and ice sheets, scientists have revised this projection to a rise of 2.6 feet, and up to 6.6 feet by 2100 with sea surface temperatures rising by as much as 3° Celsius. Given that rate, by 2080, the risk of flooding in the above-mentioned island countries and low lying cities in Florida is likely to be 200 times greater than in 2000. The country of Kiribati could lose about 34 percent of its 1998 GDP by 2050 because of climate change and rising sea-levels.
Donald Trump acts like he does not know there is a problem. On September 21, 2015, when interviewed by Hew Hewitt, Trump said,
“And actually, we’ve had times where the weather wasn’t working out, so they changed it to extreme weather, and they have all different names, you know, so that it fits the bill. But the problem we have, and if you look at our energy costs, and all of the things that we’re doing to solve a problem that I don’t think in any major fashion exists. I mean, Obama thinks it’s the number one problem of the world today. And I think it’s very low on the list. So I am not a believer, and I will, unless somebody can prove something to me, I believe there’s weather. I believe there’s change, and I believe it goes up and it goes down, and it goes up again. And it changes depending on years and centuries, but I am not a believer, and we have much bigger problems.”
Conservative radio talk show host Hew Hewitt
Later that month on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Trump said, “I consider climate change to be not one of our big problems. I consider it to be not a big problem at all. I think it’s weather. I think it’s weather changes. It could be some man-made something, but you know, if you look at China, they’re doing nothing about it. Other countries, they’re doing nothing about it. It’s a big planet.”
Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe
On January 18, 2016, after Bernie Sanders had attacked Trump on the climate change issue, Trump told Fox & Friends, “Well, I think the climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. I know much about climate change. I’d be – received environmental awards. And I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China. Obviously, I joke. But this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change. They burn everything you could burn; they couldn’t care less. They have very – you know, their standards are nothing. But they – in the meantime, they can undercut us on price. So it’s very hard on our business.”
But as usual, Trump is a hypocrite. In February, 2014, Trump purchased a golf resort in Ireland. That winter, an unusually high number of severe storms hit the Irish west coast. Just before Trump concluded his purchase, about eight meters of ocean frontage had been eroded away in a single storm. In May, 2014, to protect Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland, Trump International Golf Links proposed building a sea wall consisting of 200,000 tons of rock piled up along two miles of beach. Trump International Golf Links submitted with its application an environmental impact statement which argued that erosion was likely to accelerate as sea levels rose more quickly and because of extreme weather.
(Photo by John Kelly/The CLA)
Trump’s environmental impact statement acknowledged an Irish government study which assumed a steady rate of erosion through 2050, but argued “If the predictions of an increase in sea level rise as a result of global warming prove correct, however, it is likely that there will be a corresponding increase in coastal erosion rates not just in Doughmore Bay but around much of the coastline of Ireland. In our view, it could reasonably be expected that the rate of sea level rise might become twice of that presently occurring. . . . As a result, we would expect the rate of dune recession to increase.” Trump’s impact statement also argued a bigger problem would be erosion caused by larger, more frequent storms and said, “As with other predictions of global warming and its effects, there is no universal consensus regarding changes in these events . . . . Our advice is to assume that the recent average rate of dune recession will not alter greatly in the next few decades, perhaps as far into the future as 2050 as assumed in the [government study] but that subsequently an increase in this rate is more likely than not.” Trump’s environmental impact statement goes on to argue that rising sea levels made taking action unavoidable and said, “A Do nothing/Do minimum option will have the least impact on [natural] processes but the existing erosion rate will continue and worsen, due to sea level rise, in the next coming years, posing a real and immediate risk to most of the golf course frontage and assets.”
An advocate of conservative solutions to climate change, former South Carolina Republican House member Bob Inglis, said, “It’s diabolical. . . . Donald Trump is working to ensure his at-risk properties and his company is trying to figure out how to deal with sea level rise. Meanwhile, he’s saying things to audiences that he must know are not true. . . . You have a soft place in your heart for people who are honestly ignorant, but people who are deceitful, that’s a different thing.”
Donald Trump’s statements are irrational not only because he acknowledged global warming as being behind the erosion of his golf course shoreline, but because prior to the Copenhagen summit in December, 2009, Trump joined a group of concerned American business leaders and liberals who took out a full-page ad in the New York Times in which they argued for aggressive climate action in an open letter to President Obama and the US Congress. Trump and his children, Donald, Jr., Eric, and Ivanica, were all co-signers. The advertisement declared,
“If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet. . . . We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today . . . . Please allow us, the United States of America, to serve in modeling the change necessary to protect humanity and our planet.” The open letter called for passage of climate legislation, investment in the clean energy, and leadership to inspire the rest of the world to fight climate change. So Trump knows, and Trump has known all along, and Trump’s plan to sabotage the Paris agreement is outrageous and dangerous gamesmanship seeking the favor of greedy oil and coal big business leaders and to take advantage of ignorant global warming deniers.
On May 26, 2016, Trump promised an oil industry conference in North Dakota that if elected he would scale back President Obama’s environmental regulations, and Trump called for faster development of America’s energy resources saying, “The government should not pick winners and losers, instead it should remove obstacles to exploration . . . . Political activists with extreme agendas will no longer write the rules,” and Trump said he would “cancel” the Paris Agreement and end “totalitarian taxes” which he said had been levied by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to his speech, Trump said at a press conference, “The market forces are going to be what they are . . . . To me a market force is a beautiful force.”
Market forces are only concerned with maximizing profits. Left unchecked, market forces can result in unwarranted risks and often ignore scientific facts in the search for short term profits. Trump wants to risk the future of the world for a few dollars. As usual, he wants to go back on America’s word, as he wants to renegotiate America’s role in the United Nations Global Climate Accord. This extremist position is as dangerous as Trump wanting to encourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons as described in this site’s post Donald Trump’s 14th and most extremist position — encouraging the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Even the Pentagon has described climate change as “an urgent and growing threat to our national security.”
Two months after signing the open letter, Trump told members of the Trump National Golf Club that Al Gore should be stripped of his Nobel Prize because that winter had been cold.
Fortunately, according to a Yale/George Mason poll, the number of Americans who agree climate change is real has risen from 66 percent two years ago to 73 percent now, and those who changed their mind and now believe in global warming was greatest among Republicans, with a 16 percent increase from just two years ago, and the margin of increase in the acceptance of global warming is even higher among conservative Republicans with a 19 percent gain from two years ago, but will Trump ever wise up?
John McCain blamed President Obama for the Orlando shooting claiming Obama allowed for the rise of ISIS by pulling out of Iraq prematurely, but Omar Mir Seddique Mateen (seen above) never had any direct contact with ISIS, and ISIS was not the cause of the Orlando shooting. Mateen’s attack on the Orlando nightclub was personal, not business. McCain blaming the Orlando killings on President Obama was a desperate attempt to gain attention because McCain endorsement of Donald Trump for president is losing him the Hispanic vote in Arizona and may cost him his senate seat.
On June 10, 2016, Omar Mateen prayed at a Fort Pierce, Florida, mosque for three hours with his 3-year-old son. On June 11, 2016, he posted on his Facebook page “America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state . . . I pledge my alliance to abu bakr al Baghdadi . . . may Allah accept me. . . The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west . . . You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes . . . now taste the Islamic state vengeance.” The 29-year-old, natural born American Muslim citizen whose parents had immigrated from Afghanistan and were naturalized American citizens, then traveled from his home in Fort Pierce about 100 miles north to the LGBT friendly Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He arrived at 1:00 am on Sunday morning, June 12, 2016, hung around outside the club for about an hour, then entered the nightclub, and shot 102 people with a Sig Sauer MCX assault rifle, killing 49, in the largest mass shooting in American history. He was also armed with a 9mm Glock 17 automatic pistol. After the initial rampage, Mateen blockaded himself in a bathroom where he held a number of people hostage. He called his wife, Noor Zahi Salmam, a natural born American citizen whose parents live in California and are naturalized American citizens from Palestine, bragging to her that he was on the news. He placed a call to 911 and told the operator he was pledging his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who Mateen perceived to still be the leader of ISIS, and reiterated the message he had posted on his Facebook page. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (seen below) was never able to fully appreciate Mateen’s pledge. Within a couple of days, the Syrian ambassador to Moscow, Riad Haddad, announced Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed or, at the very least, badly wounded. Some reports say al-Baghdadi has been dead since last December.
None of the above-described facts mean Mateen was recruited by, influenced by, or indoctrinated by ISIS. Mateen’s terrorist rampage was not caused by a desire to advance his Muslim religion. Mateen’s terrorist rampage was not caused by a desire to save innocent women and children in ISIS controlled territory from American and Russian bombs. Mateen’s terrorist attack was not caused by his desire to advance Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s agenda. Instead, his motive was entirely personal, and the ISIS affiliation was just window dressing to hide his real motive which, even he, himself, did not fully understand.
In 2016, the Islamic month of Ramadan was between June 6, and July 5. During the month of Ramadan, Mateen’s father had taught him Allah would punish gay and lesbian behavior. Mateen appears to have be preparing for his day of redemption and retribution. Two months prior to the attack, he transferred his share of his home to his sister and brother in law.
Mateen’s terrorist attack was not random. It was specifically targeted at an establishment he was sore at – where he had been embarrassed and ignored and where everyone was tired of his act. Mateen was a dumb, antisocial, mentally ill, sexually conflicted, homophobic in need of attention, who bothered other people, hated other people, and who imagined carrying out a mass murder ever since he was a punk kid. No one who knew him well (except for his rather strange father who himself has delusions of grandeur) should have been surprised by what Mateen did. He was always a nut case.
It did not help that occasionally people made fun of Mateen or belittled his religion, but he and his family members had played down their practice of Islam. In Mateen’s case, even though he went to a mosque to pray three times a week, he did not strictly practice Islam in any sense of the word, except it does appear he prayed regularly to the point of upsetting some residents of the gated community where he served as a gate guard when he could not come out of the guard shack fast enough because he was praying, but Mateen’s major problem was that he was a jerk who did not know how he felt about his sexual identity and could not come to terms with his repressed homosexuality. He struck out against the LGBT community at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, (seen below) as a result of his mental illness and personal problems. He did not engage in a random act of mass violence against America to draw attention to a political cause. That was the excuse he used in an attempt to gain attention and to mask his deranged effort to remove his sexual temptations in order to prove to himself that he was heterosexual and to redeem himself. No one directed him. No one coached him. Not a single record of any two-way communication between Mateen and ISIS has been found, and none is likely to be found although the FBI is diligently searching through his desktop computer, his notepad computer, and his smart phone. Simply put, if ISIS never existed, Mateen would have carried out his murderous attack regardless. He was just that kind of guy. He didn’t need to be radicalized.
The idea thrown out by Arizona Senator John McCain (seen below), who looked like he had not slept for two days when he made it, that President Barack Obama was “directly responsible” for the Orlando attack because he “pulled everybody out of Iraq” which allowed for the formation of ISIS being “what it is today thanks to his failures” and that “responsibility” for the Orlando attack “lies with President Barack Obama and his failed policies” is demonstrably false and patently absurd. McCain’s statements evidence an aging politician desperately trying to hold on to his power as he is ripped in three directions trying to appeal to the hard right, to the moderate right, and to the moderate left in an election made exceedingly difficult for him by Donald Trump’s racist statements and unworkable, divisive proposals. In McCain’s case, Trump’s rhetoric has alienated Arizona’s large Hispanic population. If the Arizona Hispanic population shows up in large numbers and votes against McCain for supporting Trump, then McCain will lose his coveted senate seat.
Arizona Republican Senator John McCain (AP Photo)
McCain finds himself needing to appease Trump’s fanatical supporters while at the same time embrace Hispanics who make up 30 percent of Arizona’s population and 22 percent of Arizona’s electorate. There are also 350,000 Arizona Hispanics eligible to register to vote who the Democrat Party is actively recruiting and getting registered, and this year the Democrats claim they are going to finally get all those Hispanics to the polls dab nab it. This election year it makes sense for Hispanics to make it to the polls in larger numbers than ever before because of Trump commitment to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and “make Mexico pay for it” by stopping if need be any transfer of money from people living in the United States to their relatives in Mexico. Trump has called Mexicans coming into the United States killers and rapists. Trump claims Mexicans are pouring over the border into the United States when net immigration is practically zero. Trump claims illegal immigrants commit crimes at a greater rate than the general population when the opposite is true. Trump claims the Mexican government is purposefully sending over the “bad ones” they “don’t want to take care of” when there is no such plan. By his inflammatory rhetoric and his plan to deport every undocumented Mexican immigrant from the United States, all eleven million of them in his first four years of office, similar to the accomplishment of President Eisenhower deporting less than one-seventh the number of people in Operation Wetback, Donald Trump is setting the stage for every American person who appears to be of Latin decent, whether they are an American citizen or not, whether they have a valid visa or not, having to live in fear of being stopped, harassed, and detained until they can “show their papers” least they be suspected, transported, and held in a pre-deportation facility pending proof of their United States citizenship or right to remain in the United States. Not since George Wallace ran for governor of Alabama in 1970 has their been such an extensive hate mongering campaign in America directed at a specific group of people.
McCain admits he may be in for the race of his life after he endorsed Trump as the Republican Party’s prospective presidential nominee saying he had “to listen to people that have chosen the nominee of our Republican Party” and because he thought it would be “foolish to ignore them,” and yet McCain has to contend with Trump further inflaming the Hispanic population by his tweets, such as the one in which he referenced Jeb Bush opening up his campaign with a sprinkle of Spanish in his announcement speech, “Who cares that he speaks Mexican” (it is Spanish by the way; there is no language called Mexican – another ignorant slight by the Donald) because “this is America, English!!” (And so much for Trump supporting bi-lingual anything.) McCain has to contend with Trump explaining the actions of two of his supporters who beat up a Hispanic man as having taken place because the assailants “passionately want this country to be great again.” McCain has to contend with Trump kicking the best known Hispanic news anchor, Jorge Ramos (seen below on the cover of Time magazine), out of one of his press conferences telling Ramos to “go back to Univision.”
Most recently, McCain has to contend with Donald Trump’s most contemptuous, racist, insult which he directed toward the federal district court judge presiding over one of the three class-action lawsuits against Trump and Trump University when Trump publicly called Judge Gonzalo Curiel (seen below), who was born in Indiana 62 years ago and is a natural born American citizen, “a hater” and “a Mexican” and argued that Judge Curiel had “an absolute conflict” of interest because he was “proud of his heritage,” thereby insinuating that Judge Curiel, who was so qualified for his job and so uncontroversial in his nomination that he was approved by the United States Senate on a voice vote, must be as bigoted as his accuser, the Donald, and, therefore, must have an “inherent conflict of interest” prohibiting him from ruling fairly in accordance with the law because Trump is going to be “building a wall” between the United States and Mexico. This most recent evidence of Trump’s racism must be extra hard for McCain to explain, not that he has to explain it or ever will, because the Trump University lawsuit is valid and came about because Trump lied when he illegally called his overpriced, overrated real-estate seminars given in rented hotel meeting rooms “Trump University,” when it was never a licensed university, because Trump lied when he said students were going to learn his personal, money-making secrets, when he had nothing to do with writing the Trump University curriculum, because Trump lied when he said he personally hand-picked the Trump University instructors who were allegedly the best in their fields, when he never actually met them, when they lacked academic and professional credentials of the caliber Trump had advertised, and when they were simply slick salesman whose job it was to up-sell the seminar participants to higher priced seminars and, further, now that some of the evidence is coming out in the case, proof abounds that the salesman were instructed to capitalize on the prospective seminar participant’s vulnerabilities and dreams by encouraging them to max out their credit cards and pay for seminars they could not afford which left many of them in debt and worse off financially than when they stepped into the room.
Arizona’s junior Republican Senator, Jeff Flake (seen below), who does not run for reelection until 2018, has never endorsed Trump, has said he does not plan on endorsing Trump, and has condemned Trump by saying, “His statements . . . on the judge – that’s a new level . . . because it’s not just . . . ill-informed or ignorant statements, but they suggest that when he’s president . . . perhaps he ought to go after that judge. . . that’s a whole new level. . . . it’s very disturbing.” If Trump were to be elected president and then retaliate against Judge Curiel as he suggested he would do, it would be more than a whole new level in nasty politics, it would create a constitutional crisis as Trump would be breaching the Constitution’s separation of powers.
Knowing Hispanics are justifiably lining up against Trump and are likely to oppose anyone who fails to condemn his racist statements, McCain vented his frustration by copying a move from Trump’s play book – saying something extreme and outrageous and ultra right wing – which was to blame Obama for the Orlando terrorist attack because Obama prematurely withdrew U.S. ground troops from Iraq as demanded by the American people after eight years and nine months of war and occupation. McCain’s statements were even more extreme and outrageous because he cannot prove for a fact for one minute that ISIS caused Mateen’s terrorist attack.
Omar Mateen had previously visited the Pulse nightclub where he had become a regular. He was like Colonel Fitts played by Chris Cooper in the movie American Beauty (seen below) who was conflicted about his sexuality identity and masked his desire to be gay or bisexual by overtly acting homophobic. Mateen tried to joke and laugh. He tried to put his arm around other men. He tried to be macho, but being unsuccessful at picking up other men, he watched and stewed, got drunk as he sat alone in a corner of the club, became loud and obnoxious, and festered within himself a hatred for the homosexuals around him. Some in the Orlando LGBT community recognized him from advertising himself on gay apps and remember seeing him hanging around other gay bars. Now, few of them want to admit to the FBI having anything to do with him although they had no problem talking with reporters immediately following the incident. Maureen’s first wife, Sitora Yusufiy, reportedly said the FBI told her not to tell reporters of Maureen’s homosexual ideations. A spokesperson for Pulse said Mateen was never previously in the bar. However, the number of reports which describe Mateen of wanting to dabble with homosexuality are overwhelming. Some of his co-workers at various jobs even assumed he was homosexual.
Still frame from American Beauty (Dreamworks)
Mateen’s first wife, Sitora Yusufiy, immigrated from Uzbekistan (see map below), a former Soviet block country north of Afghanistan, when she was eleven years old. She and Mateen had an online, arranged marriage. Their marriage festered, and she said Mateen confessed he enjoyed going to gay clubs. She said he was abusive, unstable, and “would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.” He would slap her with an open hand and pull her hair. He would confiscate the paychecks she earned from her children’s day care job. He would not let her telephone her family and held her hostage until she was rescued by her father who literally pulled her out of Mateen’s arms and pushed her in his car after four months of a hellish marriage. She described Mateen as an unstable man who would “get mad out of nowhere,” had a history of taking steroids, was mentally ill, disturbed, and traumatized, but she never heard Mateen say anything to indicate he had been radicalized by Muslim jihadists. After separating her from Mateen, Sitora’s family brought her to California. Mateen stayed in Florida, and their divorce became final in 2011 after two years of long-distance, legal haggling. Sitora’s family warned Mateen not to follow her to California and told him to never try to contact her again. Within three months of their divorce becoming final, Mateen married another woman, Noor Salman, another product of an online, arranged marriage.
Mateen radicalized himself out of a sense of isolationism and a hatred for all those around him. When he was barricaded in the Pulse bathroom, he texted, “America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state . . . You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes … now taste the Islamic state vengeance,” but it was only his personal vengeance at best, because the ISIS leaders had never heard of him. Mateen’s belated claim of allegiance to ISIS shortly before his death is contrary to the instructions ISIS gives to rogue terrorists over the internet. If Mateen had spent enough time on any ISIS website to be indoctrinated, he would have known that ISIS wants rogue terrorists to declare their allegiance before they act so ISIS can legitimately claim credit and maybe even warn of a terrorist attack in advance. Only after the event, when the ISIS leadership learned Mateen was Muslim and had expressed his loyalty to ISIS as reported in the press, did ISIS claim credit, but unlike in the San Bernardino terrorist attack by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, (seen below) ISIS was claiming credit when it had no credit due. ISIS had blundered taking credit for Farook’s attack on the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and Christmas party, but by the time of Mateen’s terrorist attack, ISIS had figured out that it should claim credit for any such lone wolf attack before the passage of time made such a claim completely lacking in credibility.
Mateen in Orlando and Farook in Riverside share a number of similar characteristics. They were both losers who had to rely on marriages which were first arranged over the internet. Mateen and Farook were both deranged, excluded, antisocial loners with few friends. Mateen and Farook were both sore at a particular group of people for reasons unrelated to advancing ISIS’s agenda, Mateen with the people at an LBGT nightclub which irritated his suppressed homosexuality, Farook with the people at his place of work with whom he did not get along. Neither Mateen nor Farook were recruited by ISIS. Neither Mateen nor Farook had any two-way communications with ISIS. Both Mateen and Farook (through his wife) made claims pledging themselves to ISIS as last minute afterthoughts. Both Mateen and Farook used assault rifles which are (at present) an easily acquired means of killing and, therefore, neither Mateen nor Farook needed any technical or organizational support from ISIS. People who knew Mateen and Farook, co-employees and the like (since they had no friends), were not particularly surprised they went berserk and expected their acts of violence would one day come to pass.
Mateen did not come from the Middle East. He was born in New Hyde Park, New York. Mateen’s parents were from Afghanistan, and he was a Muslim, but having parents from Afghanistan and being a Muslim were such small concurring causes for the shooting as to be completely inconsequential, except for the guilt which Islam (as is true with a number of Christian religions) place on people who are not of a sexual orientation consistent with their anatomy. Mateen had already begun to fit the profile of a mass murderer in the making when he was a pudgy kid who got bullied at an Islamic kindergarten in Westbury, New York, sometimes referred to as a melting pot community (see below). Back then, Mateen retaliated by stealing other kid’s toys. Back then, Mateen retaliated by bullying girls who were weaker than him.
Photo by Kathy Kmonicek for The New York Times
By the time Mateen was eight, his family had moved to Florida, and once enrolled in public school, Mateen’s teachers had documented him constantly moving around, having his hands all over other children, being rude, disruptive, manipulative, impulsive, abusive, aggressive, and having talked a lot “about violence & sex.” (Signs of being bipolar and/or suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder although he was never diagnosed.). By the time Mateen was nine, he lacked control and was academically two years behind the other children. By the time Mateen was ten, he lacked remorse, could not stay focused, and actually threatened to bring a gun to his elementary school and kill everyone. (Signs of a borderline personality disorder and/or a psychopath.) In that one year, when Mateen was in fifth grade, he had 17 disciplinary actions recorded against him. By the time Mateen was thirteen, his teacher noted he had an “inability to show self-control in the classroom,” created “distractions” and she felt Mateen would find “greater social acceptance” if he could “improve his self-control.” That year, Mateen was suspended from school for 25 days. When Mateen was fourteen, he was suspended from high school, that time for 18 days, five of which were for he being charged with battery and disturbing a school function after he got into a fight with another student in math class resulting in the other student being injured. Mateen then needed to be enroll in an alternative school for students with behavioral problems. In the eighth, ninth, and tenth grades when Mateen was 13 to 15 years old, he was suspended from school a total of 48 days.
Beginning in 1979 and ending in 1989 just before Mateen turned three years old, there was the Soviet-Afghan War. The Soviet Union had been invited into Afghanistan at the request of its President Taraki who was heading up a Communist regime to support him in a civil war against his adversary Prime Minister Amin who had ties with the United States. Other Muslim states sent in fighters who wanted to wage an Islamic jihad war against the atheist Communists, including a contingent of 2,000 fighters from Saudi Arabia headed up by Osama bin Laden. At the time, Osama bin Laden was considered to be on the American side. In retrospect, the world would probably have remained a safer place if America had sided with the atheists and not the jihadists, something made impossible because the Russians were killing (and intentionally maiming) women and children, The Muslims eventually forced the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan with the help of American supplied arms. (See below a member of the Taliban aiming a U.S. made Stinger missile.) The Tom Hanks movie Charlie Wilson’s War tells some of the story. Unfortunately, the victors in Afghanistan then decided all western influence, including that of the United States, needed to be excluded from the Middle East as well ( something which probably could have been avoided if America had helped rebuild the country). Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique Mir Mateen, who obviously suffers from denial and delusions of grandeur, told stories to young Omar about bin Laden as he dressed in fancy uniforms and represented himself as a candidate for the President of Afghanistan on a satellite television show where he expressed gratitude for the Taliban having kicked the Russians out. (See Seddique Mir Mateen below in one of his fake uniforms.) With considerably less than 52 cards in his own deck, Seddique Mateen failed to recognize the mental illness in his son Omar. He was disrespectful to Omar’s female teachers and dismissive of their complaints, and he always took Omar’s side. As the Muslims in Afghanistan became more extreme in wanting to rid the Middle East of western influence least they break out of their eighth century thinking, the Mateen children began to describe themselves as Persian and discarded their Islamic dress. None of Mateen’s three sisters wore veils. By the time Omar Mateen was fourteen and witnessed the twin towers going down on 9/11, he had already known about Osama bin Laden. As he and his classmates watched the news on television and saw the second tower get hit, Mateen stood up and claimed that Osama bin Laden (who had not been identified as the mastermind behind the plot at the time) was his uncle and taught him to shoot an AK-47, all of which was utter nonsense. Mateen later mocked the tragedy on his school bus home ride home pretending he was an airplane as he made explosive sounds. Two days later, Mateen was suspended from school for five days for another disciplinary violation.
Mateen’s actions at school were consistent with his need for attention. His thrill came from the death and destruction he saw happening close to where he use to live. He was trying to act superior to his classmates by saying bin Laden was his uncle. He wanted to act unpredictable, angry, and threatening. By the time he graduated from high school, he had engaged in shoplifting and underage drinking and had racked up a total of 31 disciplinary write-ups. In short, Mateen was an obnoxious fuck-up from day one and a disaster waiting to happen.
As Mateen grew into a young man, he suffered through a number of minimum wage type jobs which probably made him want to crap on the world. He worked as a bagger at Publix, a cashier at Chick-fil-A, a salesman at Circuit City, a cashier at Walgreens, a cashier at Nutrition World, and a sales clerk at Hollister. He got into bodybuilding and steroids and worked as an assistant trainer at Gold’s Gym and a sales clerk at a GNC nutritional supplement store during which time he is said to have gotten along well with the gay employees who worked at the Ruby Tuesday restaurant next door. For once in his life, Mateen then applied himself and earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice in 2006 from Indian River State College with a B minus average. A misguided police officer working for the Port Saint Lucie Police Department Community Programs Division wrote Mateen a glowing recommendation to help him find a job as a correctional officer, but after six months, the Florida Department of Corrections threw him out of its correctional officer training program in Martin County when a classmate reported that shortly following the Virginia Tech shooting in April, 2007, in which 32 died and 17 were wounded, Mateen asked him if he would tell if he brought a gun on campus. Mateen had also begun sleeping in class, failed to complete his training program, and his instructors began considering him “at best extremely disturbing” leading to him being administratively terminated from his probationary start with no reason needing to be given. Mateen did, however, find there was one thing he could do well, and that was shoot a gun. Mateen was like Private Leonard (Gomer Pile) Lawrence played by Vincent D’Onofrio in Stanley Kubrick’s war film Full Metal Jacket (see below), and was the guy who couldn’t do anything well but shoot a gun, and like Private Lawrence who later killed Gunnery Sergeant Hartman before committing suicide, Mateen was also nuts.
Still from Full Metal Jacket produced by Stanley Kuprick
After being kicked out of the correctional officer academy, Mateen decided he would try working for a security company. Wackenhut did not want him, so he settled working as a security guard for G4S. Finally he had the authority of wearing a uniform, and he was granted a special firearms permit. While assigned to the St. Lucie County Courthouse, his co-workers reported he claimed to have ties to al-Qaeda and said he had joined Hezbollah.
St. Lucie County Courthouse
These reports caused enough concern that Mateen’s conduct was reported to the FBI. The FBI questioned Mateen on three separate occasions and watched him for ten months, but the FBI could find “no ties of any consequence” and no charges were ever filed. Mateen had told the FBI that he had made the statements he did out of anger because his co-workers were teasing him. The FBI figured Mateen would settle down once it learned that he got married, had a child, and was working a steady job, and Mateen was removed from the terrorist watch list. When G4S learned the FBI had questioned Mateen, it did not fire Mateen but transferred him to an unarmed position where he did not carry a gun, and G4S subjected Mateen to another background check, which he passed. A G4S spokeswoman said G4S was “not made aware of any alleged connections between Mateen and terrorist activities.”
Mateen came to the FBI’s attention a second time when he expressed his sympathy for American turned Syrian al Nusra al-Qaeda suicide bomber Moner Abu Salha (seen below) who had blown up Syrian soldiers in 2014. There is some question of whether Mateen and Abu Salha attended the same mosque since Abu Salha was also from Florida, but the FBI concluded at the time that Mateen had no ties to Abu Salha. The fact that Mateen was claiming to be allied with al-Qaeda and Hezbolla and ISIS is more evidence Mateen was not involved with any of those terrorist organizations because those groups are all in competition with one another. In Syria, Hezbollah is presently fighting on the side of Syrian President Bashar Assad against rebels led by ISIS, which is the main reason it is hard for America to definitively choose sides. They’re all scum, and there’s no telling what free elections would yield, leaving the best alternative for America to take out the worst of the leaders one by one with snipers and targeted drone strikes as is presently happening.
While continuing to work for G4S, Mateen unsuccessful tried to become a Florida state trooper in 2011 followed by an unsuccessful attempt to enroll in the police academy at Indian River State College in 2015. There were discrepancies on his application. He admitted to using steroids and pot. He admitted to having been arrested for the math class fight. He failed to answer whether he was taking any prescription medications. He lied when he claimed he did not drink alcohol when he would sometimes get drunk to the point of blacking out.
Mateen continued to work for G4S for nine years and was serving as a guard at PGA Village Verando (seen below), a gated community in Port St. Lucie, up to the time of the Orlando shooting. Like a phony looking for attention, he had a U.S. Marines license plate on his car even though he had never been in the Marines. One of his coworkers described him as “unhinged and unstable,” said he made homophobic, racist, and sexist comments, and talked about killing people. One of the community residents described him as acting like “a straight-up predator.”
Mateen did not like being teased. He got loud and angry at a picnic when his Florida Department of Corrections academy classmates made fun of him for not wanting to eat pork cooked on a grill. He denied being a Muslim even before Trump began classifying all Muslims at odds with America. He did not sport a beard. He did not cover his head. In August 2006, he legally added the Mateen surname to the end of his name in the American style. He was conflicted because his Muslim religion condemned the homosexuality to which he felt himself shamefully attracted. Once when asked if he was Muslim, Mateen denied it, and when his questioner said, ‘It doesn’t matter to me if you are,” Mateen “got mad, really angry.”
On May 25, 2016, McCain said, “If you listen or watch Hispanic media in the state and in the country, you will see that it is all anti-Trump. The Hispanic community is roused and angry in a way that I’ve never seen in 30 years.” With Trump leading the Republican ticket, one can understand McCain’s desperation causing him to lash out against President Obama in an attempt to grab a headline shooting from the hip while knowing nothing about Mateen’s long term homicidal ideations and sexual dissidence which caused him to gun down 102 people in the Pulse LGBT nightclub. Had Mateen’s actions been motivated by any true political philosophy he would have known the difference between al-Qaeda, Hezobollah, and ISIS, he would have been visiting ISIS websites on a regular basis, he would have been communicating with ISIS, he would have notified ISIS of his plans so ISIS could first make demands, could first threaten a terrorist attack, and could have then legitimately taken credit, and he would have committed his terrorist act against people with whom he had no connection to add to the randomness of the terror. Mateen’s nutty father also disagree that his son’s attack was caused by ISIS when he told MSNBC the shooting was not about his religion and said he witnessed his son became very angry after he saw two men kissing in Miami two months prior.
McCain was forced to backtrack his blaming Obama causing the Orlando attack, but he did not backtrack blaming ISIS as he said, “I mis-spoke. I did not mean to imply that the President was personally responsible. I was referring to President Obama’s national security decisions, not the President himself. As I have said, President Obama’s decision to completely withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 led to the rise of ISIL.”
Donald Trump blames the rise of ISIS on President George W. Bush taking out Saddam Hussein creating the power void in the first place, one of the few policy positions Trump has been right about, but Trump has also lied on numerous occasions which he says and repeats that he was against the war in Iraq from the beginning and warned it would destabilize the region.
Mass shootings in the United States are nothing new. Between 1966 and 2012, there were 90 such shootings defined as involving four or more victims not including gang killings or the slaying of multiple family members. Just because the Orlando shooting involved a Muslim who gave a lame “I’m with ISIS” excuse for his actions does not make it notably different from the rest since it was, as Michael Corleone would say, personal and not business.
When everything is considered, the American people should not be terrorized by terrorism. Terrorist attacks in the United States from 1995 to 2014 resulted in 3,264 deaths, and that includes the 2,948 people who died on 9/11. During the same time period, more than three times as many people were killed falling out of their own bed, and more than seven and one-half times as many people were killed falling down stairs, and yet people walk up stairs and go to bed and live their lives without a second thought. If one removes the number of people killed on 9/11 from the calculation, an American is three times more likely to be struck by lightening than killed in a terrorist attack.
If one considers the real killers of people, not including medical conditions such as heart disease and cancer, which combined kill about 1,200,000 Americans every year, the biggest threat to life is transportation accidents which kill about 46,000 people every year, and yet the average person is not afraid to board a plane or a train or a bus or a ship or a ferry or drive their car. The lone-wolf nut cases are exceedingly difficult to identify or stop. Perhaps the internet arranged marriages should be the first red flag. If you see it, say it. Otherwise, relax.
So far as gun violence is concerned, the United States has 31 percent of all public mass shooting but only five percent of the world’s population? There is an average of one gun for every man, woman, and child in America. The Second Amendment became obsolete with the invention of the machine gun and hand grenade. It became entirely absurd with the invention of the atomic bomb. Technically, under the Second Amendment, every citizen should be able to have their own thermonuclear weapon to protect themselves from being enslaved by a president who wants to make himself into a dictator and who has the United States military behind him. How the Second Amendment is interpreted needs to evolve with the times.
While Congress debates whether or not people who have already been identified as terrorists to the point of being put on the no-fly list should be able to walk into a gun store and purchase an assault rifle, Donald Trump came up with his own plan for stopping mass shootings – have everyone in the bar packing heat, a position he backed away from when the NRA took the position that people should not be drinking alcohol and messing with guns at the same time. Oh Donald.
Donald Trump will not rule out using nuclear weapons on ISIS, whether in the Middle East or in Europe, and Trump encourages world nuclear weapon proliferation.
When Barry Goldwater was asked if he would use nuclear weapons on the North Vietnamese, he said he would leave it up to his generals. That was the last chance Goldwater had of being elected president. Goldwater lost in a landslide to Lyndon Johnson with Goldwater receiving 52 electoral votes to Johnson’s 486. Goldwater only carried his home states of Arizona and the five deep south states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. The public expected Goldwater to say the use of nuclear weapons was only to be authorized by civilian authority.
Worse than Goldwater ever did, Trump plays fast and loose when it comes to the use of nuclear weapons. He has not ruled out using nuclear weapons against ISIS, he has said Japan and Korea should pay the United States more money or protect themselves by developing their own nuclear weapons, he has suggested Saudi Arabia should pay the United States more money or protect itself by being allowed to develop its own nuclear weapons, and Trump has shown himself lacking in knowledge regarding the United States’ nuclear weapons delivery systems. The New York Daily News mocked Trump’s statements about making Japan, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia pay more or go unprotected with the headline, “LEADER OF THE FEE WORLD.”
In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said with respect to Russia’s new cruise missiles which had been launched from a submarine and had struck ISIS targets, “With regard to strikes from a submarine, we certainly need to analyze everything that is happening on the battlefield, how the weapons work. Both the [Kaliber] missiles and the Kh-101 rockets are generally showing very good results. We now see that these are new, modern, and highly effective, high-precision weapons that can be equipped either with conventional or special nuclear warheads. Naturally, we do not need that in fighting terrorists, and I hope we will never need it. But overall, this speaks to our significant progress in terms of improving weaponry and equipment being supplied to the Russian army and navy.”
Putin’s statement was followed up by a statement from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (seen below) who sought to dispel any suggestion Russia would consider using nuclear weapons on ISIS. Lavroy said, “Of course not, and the president has stated this, that there is no need to use any nuclear weapons against terrorists, as they can be defeated through conventional means, and this is fully in line with our military doctrine.”
Some conservative commentators misread these statements interpreting them to mean that under some circumstance, Russia would use nuclear weapons against ISIS. For example, WRKO’s Jeff Kuhner (seen below) who describes himself as “liberalism’s worst nightmare,” asked Trump, “Would Donald Trump be open, like Putin, to using nuclear weapons to defeat Islamofascism and to wipe out ISIS?”
One should remember that ISIS is composed of about 40,000 members who have dispersed themselves among the civilian populations. As stated by Lawrence S. Wittner (seen below), Professor of History at State University of New York/Albany before his retirement in 2010, writing for The Asian-Pacific Journal in an article published in April, 2005, “But how, exactly, are nuclear weapons useful against terrorists? Terrorists do not control fixed territories that can be attacked with nuclear weapons. Instead, they are intermingled with the general population in this country and abroad. Unless one is willing to attack them by conducting a vast and terrible nuclear bombardment of civilians, dwarfing in scale any massacre that terrorists have ever implemented, nuclear weapons have no conceivable function in combating terrorism.”
The best way to take out ISIS is with commando raids, snipers, and drone missiles selectively killing ISIS targets. These assasinations are taking place on a regular basis first targeting ISIS leadership positions. In May, 2015, Delta Force Commandos conducted a raid deep in Syrian territory and killed ISIS oil and gas minister Abu Sayyaf. On January 23, 2016, Abdullah Hamad Al-Ansari became one of three ISIL commanders in Obari, Libia, who had been shot dead at long range in the city of Sirte, Libya. Some speculate the three killings were the work of one lone sniper who was a militiaman from Misrate, Lybia. Others speculate this was the work of American special forces, a belief held by this host. At the beginning of March, 2016, Omar “the Chechen” al-Shishani, said to be one of ISIS’ most capable commanders and who had a $5 million reward on his head, was in a convoy and critically injured in an airstrike, probably a missile launched from a drone. At the end of March, 2016, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the killing of ISIS finance minister Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli (known as Haji Iman), struck by United States Special Forces from a helicopter, and Carter said, “We are systematically eliminating ISIL’s cabinet . . . . We’ve taken out the leader who oversees the funding for ISIL’s operations, hurting their ability to pay fighters and hire recruits.”
Trump answered Kuhner, “Now, understand what I’m saying; I don’t wanna give you an answer to that because part of the problem that we have with Obama is they’re so predictable. They give answers to everything. They sent troops over there, and they announce they’re sending fifty people over there, and now those troops have a target on their head. So I don’t want to answer the question. I will tell you this: we will be defeating ISIS big league.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated it was obvious, the word he used was “naturally,” that there was no need to use nuclear weapons to fight terrorists like ISIS, and Putin was only describing with some pride the accuracy of the new Russian cruise missile and how it could be outfitted with a nuclear warhead. Further, Putin expressed his hope Russia would never need to use nuclear weapons against any enemy. Meanwhile, Trump left open the possibility of using nuclear weapons against ISIS, and Trump implied that he might do so by saying the United States would defeat ISIS “big league.” Is there a distinction between allowing for the use of nuclear weapons and a threat to use nuclear weapons?
Then came the statements of Katrina Pierson (seen below), a Trump spokeswoman who satisfies Trump’s need to reach out to minorities as she was born to a white mother and a black father and grew up in poverty. Pierson says she turned her life around after being caught shoplifting clothes she needed for job interviews from a J.C. Penney store in Plano, Texas in 1997. She was 20 years old at the time and was accompanied by her three-month-old son, inevitably riding in a stroller in which she was stashing stolen clothes. Pierson is considered a Texas political activist having been from one end of the political spectrum to the other, wherever opportunities presented themselves, before settling in with Trump. First, Pierson voted for Barack Obama, then she joined the Tea Party. Being enthralled with the Tea Party, Pierson founded her own local Tea Party group in Garland, Texas. She then campaigned for Ted Cruz when Cruz was running to be elected to the United States Senate in 2012, and she appeared with Cruz on stage the night Cruz won the election. Pierson then received the endorsement of Sarah Palin and ran for political office, but she lost her bid to be elected to the United States House of Representatives from Texas’ 32nd Congressional District when she lost the Republican primary to incumbent Congressman Pete Sessions by a hefty 27 percent margin. In January, 2015, while attending a Tea Party rally in Myrtle Beach with Ted Cruz, Pierson met Donald Trump and later introduced Trump at a rally in Dallas, Texas. By November, 2015, Pierson had been hired by Trump’s campaign to act as a national spokesperson on Trump’s behalf. She has no apparent expertise when it comes to nuclear weapons. In December, 2015, while being interviewed on CNN, Pierson wore a necklace made of bullets.
Neither Donald Trump nor any other member of his campaign staff have backed away from what Pierson said in her capacity as a Trump spokesperson when she was interviewed on Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor on December 18, 2015. At the time, conservative commentator Kurt Schlichter was reflecting on the prior Republican debate when the subject of the nuclear triad came up, and Schlichter said, “. . . the point of the nuclear triad is to be afraid to use the damn thing. You want to scare the hell out of the other side.” Pierson, as Trump’s spokesperson, then responded, “What good does it do to have a good nuclear triad if you’re afraid to use it? . . . . That’s where we are today. We need to be discussing how we fix their problems, not just complaining and name-calling about who started this and who started that.” So according to Trump’s spokesperson, America should not be afraid to use its nuclear weapons since that’s what they were made for in the first place. As if, “every bullet is meant to be fired.” Trump confirmed Pierson’s explanation of his policy by his failure to correct and by his silence.
On January 5, 2016, North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb (seen below) leading Trump to tell CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “South Korea is a money machine but they pay us peanuts . . . South Korea should pay us very substantially for protecting them. . . . Japan is better if it protects itself against the maniac of North Korea. . . . We are better off frankly if South Korea is going to start protecting itself . . . they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us.” When Blitzer asked Trump if he would remove the 28,000 troops America has stationed in South Korea, Trump said, “I would want South Korea to pay us a lot of money. . . . South Korea is a money machine. . . . We get paid nothing, we get paid peanuts . . . I have many friends from South Korea. . . . but South Korea should pay us and pay us very substantially for protecting them.”
Trump called South Korea a “money machine,” but South Korea’s gross domestic product per capita is only $25,000 compared to America’s GDP per capita of $53,000. South Koreans live in relative poverty compared to Americans, and South Korean unemployment is on the rise especially among young people (seen below protesting their lack of jobs). According to United States Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert, South Korea pays for 55 percent of all non-personnel American military costs. According to former United States Ambassador to South Korea Christopher Hill, “I don’t know what [Trump’s] talking about but, clearly, neither does he.” South Korea, which is still technically at war with North Korea with hostilities only ended by a cease fire which has been in effect since the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953, has shouldered part of America’s cost for stationing troops in South Korea since 1991.
Under a five-year cost-sharing accord reached two years ago, South Korea agreed to contribute $867 million toward the cost of America stationing troops in South Korea in 2014, which comes to about 40 percent of the total cost. The agreement provides for South Korea to increase its payments annually to account for inflation.
The New York Times reported in its March 26, 2016 issue that Trump described himself as “not isolationist,” but believed in a policy of “America First,” and said he was willing to reconsider traditional American alliances, meaning he is willing to turn his back on prior American treaties and agreements, if the allied countries were not willing to pay “in cash or troop commitments” for the presence of American forces. Presently, the United States maintains a presence at about 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories outside the United States. There are also Marines guarding American embassies in 160 foreign countries and territories. The Navy refers to each of its 11 aircraft carriers as “four and one-half acres of sovereign US territory” and they can sail to different spots in different seas at different times. (America’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, is pictured below.)
America’s military bases around the world, and they are literally around the world, often act as the need arises. For example, a base in Thailand served as a logistics hub during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. America still maintains a large presence in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. One of America’s larger military bases is on Diego Garcia, an atoll south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean (seen below). Navel ships from the port in Diego Garcia, which is basically in the middle of nowhere like Midway Island is in the Pacific, joined in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. A lot of these foreign US military base installations may seem fairly useless unless one is in trouble, shipwrecked, out of gas, chased by pirates, in need of emergency medical attention – then one would be very glad the Sun never sets on the American empire. There are about 1.3 million active duty American military personnel. They have to be housed and trained somewhere, and it wouldn’t make sense for all of them to be located in the United States. There are shipping lanes to maintain, and the disbursed bases allow for a quicker response to any part of the world which is what the generals want and what America needs to most effectively fight terrorism.
The American presence in Europe has been steadily decreased following the end of the Cold War, and on April 29, 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced American troops remaining in Saudi Arabia since the gulf wars would be withdraw in response to opinion polls showing a majority of the Muslim community objected to America maintaining a permanent presence. American lives are being placed in danger by remaining in Saudi Arabia.
In sum, American maintaining military bases throughout the world is a valuable asset. These bases are essential in deterring military adventurism, protecting commerce, gathering intelligence, and quickly responding to any part of the world on a moment’s notice. The additional cost of having American military personnel stationed overseas rather than in the United States is between $10,000 to $40,000 for each person. Therefore, it costs America annually from $490 million to $1,960 million to station 49,000 American military personnel in Japan, $380 million to $1,520 million to station 38,000 American military personnel in Germany, and $280 million to $1,120 million to station 28,000 American military personnel in South Korea, which when all three of these foreign troop commitments are combined account for between 2/10ths to 8/10ths of one percent of the total US annual military budget, and that is where the Pentagon wants its troops stationed for maximum area effectiveness.
On March 29, 2016, at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Republican Presidential Town Hall hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the following exchange took place:
Cooper: Let’s talk about nuclear issues because you talked about this in a really interesting article in The New York Times.
Trump: One of the very, very big issues. I think maybe the biggest issue of our time.
Cooper: That’s what you said to The New York Times. You said you worried about the proliferation of nuclear weapons…
Cooper: . . . .You also said, though, that you might support Japan and South Korea developing nuclear weapons of their own. Isn’t that completely contradictory?
Trump: No, not at all. Look, you have North Korea has nuclear weapons. And he doesn’t have a carrier yet but he has got nuclear weapons. He soon will have. We don’t want to pull the trigger. We’re just — you know, we have a president, frankly, that doesn’t – nobody is afraid of our president. Nobody respects our president. You take a look at what’s going on throughout the world. It’s not the country that it was.
Cooper: But if you’re concerned about proliferation, letting other countries get nuclear weapons, isn’t that proliferation?
TRUMP: No, no. We owe $19 trillion, we have another $2 trillion because of the very, very bad omnibus budget that was just signed. It’s a disgrace, which gives everything that Obama wanted. We get nothing. They get everything. So that’s going to be $21 trillion. We are supporting nations now, militarily, we are supporting nations like Saudi Arabia which was making during the good oil days which was a year ago, now they’re making less but still a lot, $1 billion a day. We are supporting them, militarily, and pay us a fraction, a fraction of what they should be paying us and of the cost. [According to FactCheck.org, in 2014, America’s monetary military aid to Saudi Arabia was only about ten thousand dollars ($10,000) used for military education and training. Meanwhile, “Saudi Arabia purchased more than $2 billion dollars of military equipment and construction services.” However, Saudi Arabia qualifies for “a substantial discount on the millions of dollars of training it purchases through the Foreign Military Sales program, according to a 2016 Congressional Research Service Report.”] We are supporting Japan. [According to FactCheck.org, America does not give any military financing to Japan.] Most people didn’t even know that. Most people didn’t know that we are taking care of Japan’s military needs. [That is a slightly different story.] We’re supporting…
* * * *
. . . .We’re supporting Germany. We’re supporting South Korea. . . . . [According to FactCheck.org, the United States supplied no foreign military financing to Germany or South Korea.]
[According to FactCheck.org, “All told over that decade (2005-2014), Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia received $2.7 million, with most of it consisting of Defense Department funding for Germany for ‘Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities.'”]
Cooper: It has been a U.S. policy for decades to prevent Japan from getting a nuclear weapon.
Trump: That might be policy, but maybe…
Cooper: South Korea as well.
Trump: Can I be honest are you? Maybe it’s going to have to be time to change, because so many people, you have Pakistan has it, you have China has it. You have so many other countries are now having it…
Cooper: So some proliferation is OK?
Trump: No, no, not proliferation. I hate nuclear more than any. . . .
Cooper: But that’s contradictory about Japan and South Korea.
Trump: . . . . Iran is going to have it very – within…
Cooper: But that’s proliferation.
Trump: Excuse me, one of the dumbest I’ve ever seen signed ever, ever, ever by anybody, Iran is going to have it within 10 years. Iran is going to have it. I thought it was a very good interview in The New York Times.
Cooper: So you have no problem with Japan and South Korea having . . . . nuclear weapons.
Trump: At some point we have to say, you know what, we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea, we’re better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself, we have . . .
Cooper: Saudi Arabia, nuclear weapons?
Trump: Saudi Arabia, absolutely. [First he says yes. . . ]
Cooper: You would be fine with them having nuclear weapons?
Trump: No, not nuclear weapons, but they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us. [Then he says no. . . ] Here’s the thing, with Japan, they have to pay us, or we have to let them protect themselves.
Cooper: So if you said, Japan, yes, it’s fine, you get nuclear weapons, South Korea, you as well, and Saudi Arabia says we want them, too?
Trump: Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen, anyway. [Then he says maybe.] It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. They’re going to start having them or we have to get rid of them entirely. But you have so many countries already, China, Pakistan, you have so many countries, Russia, you have so many countries right now that have them. Now, wouldn’t you rather in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons? And they do have them. They absolutely have them. They can’t — they have no carrier system yet but they will very soon. Wouldn’t you rather have Japan, perhaps, they’re over there, they’re very close, they’re very fearful of North Korea, and we’re supposed to protect.
Cooper: So you’re saying you don’t want more nuclear weapons in the world but you’re okay with Japan and South Korea having nuclear weapons?
Trump: I don’t want more nuclear weapons. . . . . So it’s not that I’m a fan — we can’t afford it anymore. We’re sitting on a tremendous bubble. We’re going to be — again, $21 trillion. We don’t have money.
Cooper: So you have no security concerns…
Trump: We’re using all of the money . . .
Cooper: . . . about Japan or South Korea getting nuclear weapons?
Trump: Anderson, when you see all of the money that our country is spending on military, we’re not spending it for ourselves; we’re protecting all of these nations all over the world. We can’t afford to do it anymore. [And yet Trump has not proposed cutting the US defense budget by a single dime and, if anything, is proposing just the opposite.]
Cooper: But isn’t there benefit for the United States in having a secure Europe. Isn’t there benefit for the United States in having a secure Asia.
Trump: There’s a benefit, but not big enough to bankrupt and destroy the United States, because that’s what’s happening. We can’t afford it. It’s very simple. Now, I would rather see Japan having some form of defense, and maybe even offense, against North Korea. Because we’re not pulling the trigger. The bottom line on North Korea is China, if they wanted to, they’re a tremendous supplier of North Korea. They have tremendous power over North Korea. If they wanted to, if they weren’t toying with us, Anderson, China would be the one that would get in and could make a deal in one day, okay . . .
Trump, and all the other Republican candidates for that matter, misrepresent the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the “Iran deal” which was signed in Vienna, Austria, on July 14, 2015, and the affect the agreement is having on halting Iran’s quest for a nuclear bomb. On January 16, 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency separately verified that Iran had complied with the agreement ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program would be used for only peaceful purposes. Since the signing of the Iran deal, Iran has shipped 25,000 pounds of enriched uranium out of Iran, dismantled and removed two-thirds of the centrifuges needed to enrich uranium, removed the reactor core from its Arak plutonium heavy water reactor (seen below) which was then filled with concrete, and allowed inspectors unprecedented access to its nuclear facilities and its nuclear material supply chain. The agreement is working and doing what it was designed to do.
Hamid Foroutan/AP photo
The day following Donald Trump’s interview by Anderson Cooper, on March 30, 2016, at a Town Hall in Green Bay, Wisconsin, hosted by Chris Matthews of MSNBC, the following exchange took place:
Matthews: Okay, your most controversial suggestion was don’t take nuclear weapons — I mean, you may have been hooked into this by (inaudible).
Trump: Don’t take what?
Matthews: Nuclear weapons off the table. I have been trying to think of how we could conceivably use a nuclear weapon in the Middle East or in Europe in fighting ISIS. Where can you — and why put it on the table or leave it on the table if you can’t imagine where to use it?
Trump: Well, I didn’t say, “Don’t take it.” I said I would be very, very slow and hesitant to pull that trigger.
Matthews: Well, why would you — why wouldn’t you just say, “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about nuclear weapons. Presidents don’t talk about use of nuclear weapons?”
Trump: The question was asked — we were talking about NATO — which, by the way, I say is obsolete and we pay a dispropor . . .
Matthews: But you got hooked into something you shouldn’t’ve talked about.
Trump: I don’t think I — well, someday, maybe.
Matthews: When? Maybe?
Trump: Of course. If somebody . . .
Matthews: Where would we drop– where would we drop a nuclear weapon in the Middle East?
Trump: Let me explain. Let me explain. Somebody hits us within ISIS, you wouldn’t fight back with a nuke?
Matthews: No. To drop a nuclear weapon on a community of people that are . . .
Trump: No, no, but you can’t say — first of all, you don’t want to say, “Take everything off the table . . .”
Matthews: No, just nuclear.
Trump: . . . because you’d be a bad negotiator if you do that.
Matthews: Just nuclear.
Trump: Look, nuclear should be off the table, but would there be a time when it could be used, possibly, possibly?
Matthews: Okay. The trouble is, when you said that, the whole world heard it. David Cameron (seen below) in Britain heard it. The Japanese, where we bombed them in ’45, heard it. They’re hearing a guy running for President of the United States talking of maybe using nuclear weapons. Nobody wants to hear that about an American president.
Trump: Then why are we making them? Why do we make them? We had (inaudible).
Matthews: Because of the old mutual assured destruction, which Reagan hated and tried to get rid of.
Trump: . . . I was against Iraq. I’d be the last one to use the nuclear weapon.
Matthews: So can you take it off the table now?
Trump: Because that’s sort of like the end of the ball game.
Matthews: Can you tell the Middle East we’re not using a nuclear weapon on anybody?
Trump: I would never say that. I would never take any of my cards off the table.
Matthews: How about Europe? We won’t use it in Europe?
Trump: I — I’m not going to take it off the table.
Matthews: You might use it in Europe?
Trump: No, I don’t think so. But I’m not taking . . .
Matthews: Well, just say it. “I will never use a nuclear weapon in Europe.”
Trump: I am not — I am not taking cards off the table.
Trump: I’m not going to use nuclear, but I’m not taking any cards off the table.
Matthews: Okay. The trouble is, the sane people hear you, and the insane people are not affected by your threats. That’s the trouble. The real fanatics say, “Good, keep it up.”
Trump: I think — I think they’re more affected than you might think.
Matthews: Okay, your call.
The United States use of a nuclear weapon in the Middle East would likely create a world backlash for a century to come, and Trump’s threat he might use a nuclear weapon is, in itself, extremist, and that extremism is compounded by Trump’s apparent lack of knowledge relative to the United States’ nuclear weapons arsenal. On March 10, 2016, during the CNN GOP Presidential Debate, the following exchange took place between moderator Hugh Hewitt (seen below), a conservative radio talk show host, and Donald Trump:
Photograph by Slav Zatoka
Hewitt: Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson just referenced the single most important job of the president, the command, the control, and the care of our nuclear forces. And he mentioned the triad. The B-52s (seen below) are older than I am. The missiles are old. The submarines are aging out. It’s an executive order. It’s a commander-in-chief decision. What’s your priority among our nuclear triad?
Trump: Well, first of all, I think we need somebody absolutely that we can trust, who is totally responsible, who really knows what he or she is doing. That is so powerful and so important. And one of the things that I’m frankly most proud of is that in 2003, 2004, I was totally against going into Iraq because you’re going to destabilize the Middle East. I called it. [On September 11, 2002, Trump was asked by Howard Stern if he supported invading Iraq, and Trump said, “Yeah, I guess so. You know, I wish it was, I wish the first time it was done correctly.”] I called it very strongly, and it was very important. [In actuality, Trump didn’t call it very strongly. See a complete list of Trump’s pre-Iraq War comments here at FactCheck.org] But we have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ball game. Frankly, I would have said get out of Syria; get out — if we didn’t have the power of weaponry today. The power is so massive that we can’t just leave areas that 50 years ago or 75 years ago we wouldn’t care. It was hand-to-hand combat. [World War II was considered the first modern war using tanks and air power, not hand to hand combat.] The biggest problem this world has today is not President Obama with global warming, which is inconceivable, this is what he’s saying. The biggest problem we have is nuclear — nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon. That’s in my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces right now. [Except, when sea water starts to lap at the front door of Mar-a-Largo, Trump’s palace in Palm Beach, Florida, he may have to renegotiate his opinion with himself.]
Hewitt: Of the three legs of the triad, though, do you have a priority? I want to go to Senator Rubio after that and ask him.”
Trump: I think – I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.
Hewitt was attempting to discuss with Trump the three main means America has of delivering its strategic nuclear weapons; to wit, jet bombers, land based intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine launched ballistic missiles. Shorter range bombers can be launched from aircraft carriers, and cruise missiles can be launched from ships and short range bombers, but the first three delivery systems are considered America’s nuclear triad, and they initiate from ground, sea, and air and can hit any spot in the world. The three main components of the nuclear triad are nearing the end of their life expectancies, or they have exceeded their life expectancies, and the Pentagon has estimated it will cost $18 billion a year over the next 15 years to modernize all three delivery systems. America’s nuclear powered Ohio-class submarines armed with Trident ballistic missiles are more than 30 years old. America’s most dominant bomber jets are still 60-year-old B-52s. There are currently 450 Minuteman-III land based intercontinental ballistic missiles (seen above and below) in silos located in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. By 2018, the number of nuclear armed American ICBM’s is scheduled to be reduced to 400 in number, but each missile can carry three nuclear warheads with a yield of between 300 and 500 kilotons of TNT. The bomb “Little Boy” (seen below, 29 inches in diameter, 126 inches long, 9,700 pounds) which was dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of 15 kilotons, so each Minuteman-III ICBM can carry three warheads with each warhead having as much explosive force as 33 Little Boys. It’s excessive overkill, and that is only one leg of America’s nuclear triad.
Consider this: the bomb set off at the Nevada Test Site most responsible for the fallout which poisoned St. George, Utah, released Strontium-90 which ultimately found its way into the bones and teeth of children. That bomb was 32 kilotons, the equivalent of two Little Boys. If 450 Minuteman-IIIs were launched each carrying three 500 kiloton warheads, that would amount to 675,000 kilotons or 675 megatons of TNT explosive force, the equivalent of 45,000 Little Boy bombs, and such a release of nuclear radiation would probably be enough to poison every part of the world to some degree. It is a tragedy all these weapons have not been disarmed. In the 1950’s Americans thought each additional missile and bomb made them safer. Now, more nuclear explosive devices simply create more pathways to making a mistake leading to disaster.
In Stanley Kuprick’s dark satire masterpiece Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, General Jack Ripper circumvents civilian authority and orders a wing of nuclear armed B-52 bombers to fly past their fail-safe holding patterns and attack their assigned targets in the Soviet Union. As time winds down and the military commanders are unable to communicate with the bomber wing, George C. Scott in one of his most memorable big screen performances playing General Buck Turgidson, enters into the following dialog with President Merkin Muffley played by Peter Sellers:
General Turgidson: Mr. President, there are one or two points I’d like to make, if I may.
President Merkin Muffley: Go ahead, General.
General Turgidson: One, our hopes for recalling the 843rd bomb wing are quickly being reduced to a very low order of probability. Two, in less than fifteen minutes from now the Russkies will be making radar contact with the planes. Three, when the do, they are going to go absolutely ape, and they’re gonna strike back with everything they’ve got. Four, if, prior to this time, we have done nothing further to suppress their retaliatory capabilities, we will suffer virtual annihilation. Now, five (as he raises and lowers his eyebrows in a between-us-boys moment), if, on the other hand, we were to immediately launch an all out and coordinated attack on all their airfields and missile bases we’d stand a damn good chance of catching them with their pants down. Hell, we’ve got a five to one missile superiority as it is. We could easily assign three missiles to every target, and still have a very effective reserve force for any other contingency. Now, six, an unofficial study which we undertook of this eventuality, indicated that we would destroy ninety percent of their nuclear capabilities. We would therefore prevail, and suffer only modest and acceptable civilian casualties from their remaining force which would be badly damaged and uncoordinated.
President Muffley: General, it is the avowed policy of our country never to strike first with nuclear weapons.
General Turgidson: Well, sir, I would say that General Ripper has already invalidated that policy!
President Muffley: That was not an act of national policy, and there are still alternatives left open to us.
General Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, the truth is not always a pleasant thing, but it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless, distinguishable post-war environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.
President Muffley: You’re talking about mass murder, General, not war.
General Turgidson: Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say… no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh… depending on the breaks.”
Dr. Strangelove was released in 1964 when there were still some people who thought a nuclear war could actually be won, but that was before the dangerous effects of low levels of radiation were known. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster (seen below) released the radioactive equivalent of 400 Little Boys and is expected to cause 50,000 excess cancer cases and 25,000 excess cancer deaths without any “nuclear blast” occurring. The Chemobyl exclusion zone became 1000 square miles. No one can live there anymore. 675 megatons of nuclear blast from America’s Minuteman-III missiles would release more than 112 times the radiation as was released at Chemobyl, and it would be composed of fallout, enough to poison 112,000 square miles of land area, but which land area depends on the wind and the weather. There may be no place to hide.
Trump claims he is going to make the United States’ military twice as powerful as is already the case. America already spends more on its military budget than the next seven nations combined. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the United Kingdom, India, and Germany, in that order, spend a combined total of $601 billion dollars a year on their defense, $9 billion less than America’s annual defense budget of $610 billion according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s April, 2015 database. (See the chart below from a different source, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which has Japan in seventh place instead of Germany, with Japan’s primary military expenditure being to pay the United States to station troops in its country.) Trump claims he is going to make America’s military twice as powerful not by increasing its funding but by cutting out waste, fraud and abuse, cutting out what the generals say they do not need, and buying for the military what the generals say they really want.
Interestingly, President Barack Obama has been criticized by Trump for reducing military spending, and without citing specifics (as he never seems to do), Trump has called Obama’s policies disastrous for the America’s military. In actuality, money spent on America’s weapon modernization under Obama has been roughly equal to the money spent on weapon modernization under President George W. Bush. Military cuts which have taken place during Obama’s administration, of which the Republican presidential contenders now complain, were approved by both Republicans and Democrats in a Republican controlled Congress. The Pentagon encouraged the closing of bases and the abandoning of equipment it said it no longer needed so the money which was being spent to maintain the obsolete bases and equipment could be put to more efficient use. The closure of certain domestic military bases was part of the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan. The Pentagon takes the position that 20 percent of its military bases and infrastructure are underutilized, and its goal is to build a high-tech force consisting of small, quickly deployed, nimble units which are better able to defeat terrorist organizations like ISIS. After a first wave of base closings, the Republicans in Congress blocked the closure of more bases despite the Pentagon’s recommendations. Each base which was closed adversely affected the local economy, and members of Congress with a base in their district wanted it to remain open because of the positive economic impact it brought to their constituency regardless of whether keeping the base open was in America’s best interests or not. It was old-fashioned, pork barrel politics as usual.
Despite Trump saying he loves the military and that he is the military’s best friend, Trump has been unable to articulate with any specificity a policy of military expansion other than to say he would ask the generals what they want, to make their wish list so to speak, and then he would follow their advice, something the Republican Congress has so far been unwilling to do. As a presidential candidate, Trump owes it to himself and the American electorate to get in front of the ball, learn the issues, and not espouse his thoughts in glittering generalities proving himself to have a dangerously poor understanding of the military and its nuclear issues.
Had Trump previously studied the problem of America’s aging nuclear arsenal delivery system, which should be part of Running for President 101, he would have been prepared to address the various questions involved, such as whether America still needs all the nuclear ordinance it presently maintains, whether America still needs three redundant delivery systems, which delivery system is most critical for national security, which delivery system offers the most flexibility and chance or recall, which delivery system has the greatest survivability, and which delivery system is most cost efficient and/or has the lowest maintenance costs. Trump should have been prepared to discuss which of the three delivery systems he would first modernized and upgrade if each system is to be kept operational, and which delivery systems, if any, he would recommend be phased out. Trump should have been prepared to discuss which of the delivery systems should be revamped. For example, a large number of B-52s should perhaps be replaced with a smaller fleet of the more expensive, newly revealed, stealthy B-21 bombers (seen below). The Trident missile carrying Ohio-class submarines should perhaps be replaced by more versatile, stealthy, Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyers (seen below) or with more Arleigh Burke-class destroyers which are also capable of launching nuclear tipped Tomahawk cruise missiles and, like the Zumwalt-class destroyers, will be able to launch the AGM-158C LRASM cruise missile currently under development. This is not information Trump can expect to learn simply by watching television news shows. Trump claims to be his own expert, but he needs to speak with real experts in the field and become versed on the advantages and disadvantages of each delivery system so he can talk about them intelligently. Being president is hard work and a tough job.
Trump’s rambling, unresponsive answer to Hewitt’s question of how he would prioritize spending on America’s nuclear defense triad shows Trump sadly lacking in his knowledge of America’s nuclear weapon delivery systems and the problems they face. Trump’s answer shows he did not know what Hewitt meant when he spoke of the nuclear triad even though the preamble to Hewitt’s question referenced America’s B-52 bombers, its land silo launched intercontinental ballistic missiles, and its submarine launched ballistic missiles. Since Trump is running for President of the United States and refuses to rule out ordering nuclear strikes in Europe and the Middle East to fight ISIS terrorists, it is manifestly irresponsible and extreme for Trump not to have educated himself with regard to America’s nuclear capabilities and delivery systems.
Is Trump’s saying he’s going to defeat ISIS “big league” puffing or perilous? How far would Trump go if he actually had the power of the presidency? In the movie The Caine Mutiny, Lieutenant Steve Maryk, first mate of the USS Caine, an old destroyer minesweeper during World War II, relieves Lieutenant Commander Philip Francis Queeg under Article 184 of Navy Regulations when Queeg begins to suffer from a paranoid personality disorder preventing him from properly navigating the USS Caine which was about to flounder in a typhoon. According to Lieutenant Tom Keefer, Article 184 states, “It is conceivable that most unusual and extraordinary circumstances may arise in which the relief from duty of a commanding officer by a subordinate becomes necessary either by placing him under arrest or on the sick list. Such actions shall never be taken without the approval of the Navy Department except when it is impracticable because of the delay involved.”
If Trump ordered the indiscriminate use of a nuclear weapon in the Middle East, and it is hard to imagine any use of a nuclear weapon in the Middle East not being indiscriminate with ISIS fighters being widely disbursed among the civilian populations, there would likely be a justified mutiny such as fictionally occurred on the USS Caine. According to former CIA Director General Michael Haydon (seen below), who also led the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005, when interviewed by Bill Maher, “I would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign . . . the American armed forces would refuse to act [because military commanders] are required not to follow an unlawful order.” (The Caine Mutiny, a four star Humphrey Bogart movie released in 1954 based on Herman Wouk’s 1951 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name and is highly recommended viewing, and the book is highly recommended reading.)
Kevin Wolf/AP Photo
America’s nuclear nonproliferation policies date back to the Quebec Agreement of 1943 when the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada agreed not to share nuclear weapon technology with any other country without the consent of the other two member countries. High standards were imposed in an attempt to keep the Soviet Union from developing the bomb. When Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (seen below) leaked nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union, they were tried and executed.
After the Soviet Union successfully detonated its first nuclear weapon in 1949, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sought to share nuclear information related to civilian use and began the Atoms for Peace program in 1953. Critics blame this program for having created lax standards which allowed China and India to profit from dual-use technologies purchased from nations other than the United States.
In 1958, the Irish Minister for External Affairs Frank Aiken (seen below left) drafted the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, otherwise known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT was designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and seek complete nuclear disarmament. Under the treaty, the nuclear states are limited to the United States, the Soviet Union (later limited to Russia), the United Kingdom, France and China, all permanent members of the United Nations Security Counsel. A total of 191 countries have signed the treaty. Indonesia withdrew from the treaty in 1966 but never developed a nuclear weapon. North Korea withdrew from the treaty in 2003. Four United Nations member states have refused to sign the treaty, and they are India, Israel, Pakistan, and South Sudan. South Sudan did not come into existence until 2011, has been in various states of civil war, is not capable of developing a nuclear weapon, and is expected to sign the NPT when it finally gets its act together. India, Pakistan, and North Korea have developed nuclear weapons and have openly tested them. Pakistan claims it developed nuclear weapons in response to India developing nuclear weapons, and India claimed it did not sign the NPT because it saw the world being divided up into nuclear haves and nuclear have nots. India is, after all, the second most populous country with roughly four times the population of the United States. Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons but has never confirmed it has them.
In 55 years since 1964, when China first developed the bomb, nuclear weapon proliferation has been held down to four countries outside the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Counsel, and limiting the development of nuclear weapons to nine countries out of a total of 196 world countries is an admirable feat. It is not like we “have so many countries right now that have [nuclear weapons],” as Trump has said as if America should simply give up on the idea of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. In fact, after reaching their highest number in 1985, the number of nuclear weapons worldwide has dropped from 61,662 to 15,853, still an ungodly number, but this decrease still represents a 74.3 percent reduction in nuclear weapons. South Africa phased out its nuclear weapons program entirely. At the NPT review conference in 2000, the states who have declared they had nuclear weapons (which did not include Israel and which did not include North Korea which at that time still did not have a nuclear weapon) committed themselves to an “unequivocal undertaking . . . to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.”
Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1963 President John F. Kennedy proposed a complete ban on nuclear explosive testing. Such a treaty would in Kennedy’s words, “. . . check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas. It would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963 – the further spread of nuclear arms. It would increase our security – it would decrease the prospects of war.”
The United States signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in July, 1968, and is committed by that treaty to discourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons. This represents yet another treaty Trump wants to dishonor, another contract he wants America to breach and “renegotiate.”
India (one of its missiles seen below) and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons in 1998. In conformance with the NPT, President Bill Clinton imposed economic sanctions on India and Pakistan. The United States’ sanctions against India were lifted in 1999. The sanctions against Pakistan remained because a military government had taken over the country. After 9/11, President George W. Bush lifted the sanctions against Pakistan because the United States was seeking the Pakistani government’s help in the Afghanistan War. President George W. Bush credited his policies favoring nonproliferation as being responsible for Libya abandoning its nuclear ambitions. Chalk one up for W.
Proliferation of nuclear weapons has been opposed by many nations whether they have nuclear weapons or not. The prevailing world opinion is that increasing the number of countries with nuclear weapons inevitably increases the possibility of nuclear warfare, either by intent or by mistake or by unauthorized use or by the theft of nuclear materials.
The United States is the only country to have used a nuclear weapon as a weapon of war. That was more than 70 years ago. Treaties, common sense and calmer heads have kept nuclear weapons at bay since that time. Proliferation can only complicate the matter, the most recent and dangerous complication being North Korea having set off a nuclear explosion in 2006. The most dangerous country is probably Pakistan which is estimated to have about a hundred nuclear weapons. When a splinter group of Pakistani Taliban terrorists murdered 72 Christians by setting off a bomb in an Islamabad, Pakistan, amusement park on Easter Day, March 27, 2016, no one seemed to care, and it was off the news within a couple of days unlike the Paris bombings which stayed in the news for months. Suppose the Taliban terrorists were to gain control over the Islamic Republic of Pakistan government — what then?
After the American bombing of Hiroshima (seen below) and Nagasaki forcing Japan into an unconditional surrender bringing an end to World War II, the Japanese people abandoned all military ambitions and, in fact, developed a constitutional government with their constitution barring any military adventure. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution states,
“(1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.
“(2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”
General Douglas MacArthur (seen below accepting Japan’s surrender aboard the USS Missouri), who was in charge of the allied occupational forces in Japan, gladly accepted Japan’s proposal to outlaw war and was deeply moved to learn of this decision by the Japanese people, and America was extremely willing to place Japan under its defense umbrella. People in Japan really hate war and with plenty of good reason.
Japan has absolutely no desire to develop nuclear weapons, and consistent with the NPT, the United States has discouraged any country, with perhaps the exception of Israel whose nuclear program is entirely covert, outside the five countries named in the NPT, the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China, all allies of the United States during World War II, from developing nuclear weapons. For more than half a century, the policy of the United States has been that it would rather provide for the defense of South Korea and Japan than face the additional danger of either of them developing nuclear weapons which could then begin an Asian arms race, justify North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons, and potentially lead to a big game of chicken in the South China Sea. Consider it an insurance policy which the United States pays for but hopes never to use.
Trump may have a chance of winning the presidency, he may not, but regardless, world leaders are taking note of what Trump is saying and are concerned so many Americans are listening to him. It is the first time in 70 years so many dangerous positions have been staked out by one potentially powerful man, especially when it comes to nuclear weapons.
According to The Herald, Daniel Pinkston (seen below) of Troy University and associate editor of The Nonproliferation Review since 2004, said allowing Japan and South Korea to develop their own nuclear weapons would play into North Korea’s hands, and Pinkston said, “The hardliners in Pyongyang [North Korea] would just love such an outcome because if that were to occur, it would completely justify their nuclear status … and validate Kim Jong Un’s policy line as absolutely brilliant and absolutely correct.”
Photo from The Official CTBTO Photostream
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (seen below) said, “Whoever will become the next president of the United States, the Japan-US alliance is the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy. . . . It is impossible that Japan will arm itself with nuclear weapons,” a position echoed by Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.
Allowing Saudi Arabia to go nuclear is even more frightening. One of the reasons for the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, and the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks was the continued presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia following the 1990-91 Gulf War. According to the now defunct Osama Bin Laden, the prophet Muhammad banned the “permanent presence of infidels in Arabia.” According to Donald Trump, “If Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection, I don’t think it would be around,” and Trump is probably right on that one particular point.
Saudi Arabia is a disbursed dictatorship run by the Saudi royal family headed up by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (seen below), who inherited his power in 2015 upon the death of his half brother, King Abdullah, who inherited his power upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd, who inherited his power upon the death of his half-brother, King Khalid, who inherited his power upon the assignation of King Faisal, who gained his power by cunning, intimidation, and the backing of the Muslim religious establishment in a coup wherein his elder brother, King Saud, was ousted from power and fled to Greece. King Saud had inherited his power from King Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, who was the founder of Saudi Arabia and the House of Saud through three decades of military conquests during which time he fought against the Ottoman Empire during World War I with the help of the British government which in the 1915 Treaty of Darin made the house of Saud a British protectorate and defined the boundaries of Saudi Arabia. The British backed King Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud in return for his pledge to war against Ibn Rashid, an ally of the Ottomans who were allied with Germany.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud rules Saudi Arabia with the help of 2,000 Saudi princes of which 200 wield the most power and influence. Members of the inner royal family are filthy rich, while about 13,000 other members of the royal family merely do very well for themselves, and most of the remaining 28 to 29 million people in Saudi Arabia are dirt poor. Further, the Saudi Arabian government stands accused of horrific civil rights violations, heavily discriminating and repressing women (who aren’t even allowed to drive a car or leave their home without a male chaperone, and a teenage woman who did so was then gang-raped and punished by the court by being given more lashes than her rapists), imposing the death sentence for being homosexual (usually by beheading), and punishing dissidents. Saudi Arabian writer Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 yeas and 1000 lashes for “insulting Islam.” In short, the House of Saud is a group of pigs who would be stuffed and roasted in pits with apples in their mouths by the Saudi Arabian people if it were not for the Saudi Arabian military which the United States supports in return for oil contracts. The Saudi Arabian people understandably want the power of self-determination, and they will eventually get it one way or the other as always turns out to be the case as the United States learned in Vietnam. Encouraging the Saudi Arabian government to develop its own nuclear weapons would make matters worse when that revolution inevitably comes to pass, and the Saudi Arabian populace understandably blame the United States for their many years of oppression.
Trump stated his rational for abandoning the Middle East by saying, “The reason we’re in the Middle East (seen below is a US military base in Saudi Arabia) is for oil, and all of a sudden we’re finding out that there’s less reason to be there now.” However, there are other factors to consider such as whether a withdraw from the Middle East would encourage Iran to dominate the Persian Gulf and decrease Israeli security. For now, American military bases in the Middle East serve as centers for gathering intelligence, for launching drones, and for quickly deploying Special Forces units.
Trump is not well versed on twenty-first century warfare. He has called America’s capability when it comes to cyberweaponry “obsolete” even though America’s cyberweapon capabilities are cutting edge, right up there with the Israelies.
In March, 2016, President Barack Obama attended a Washington, D.C., summit devoted to nuclear security which was attended by 50 world leaders seeking to hammer out ways to reduce the threat of a nuclear attack, whether from the leakage of nuclear fuel or from the theft of a bomb by a terrorist group. In an article which ran in The New York Times on April 1, 2016, President Obama said Trump’s comments on nuclear proliferation reflected a person who “doesn’t know much about foreign policy or nuclear policy or the Korean Peninsula or the world generally. We don’t want somebody in the Oval Office who doesn’t recognize how important that is” and Obama told the press world leaders and other participants at the summit expressed concern about Trump’s comments. “Even those countries that are used to a carnival atmosphere in their own politics want sobriety and clarity when it comes to U.S. elections because they understand that the President of the United States needs to know what’s going on around the world,” Obama said. America’s alliance with Japan and South Korea is “one of the cornerstones of our presence in the Asia-Pacific region.” It is one paid for with American lives during World War II which “has underwritten the peace and prosperity of that region.”
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes (seen below) said, “Frankly, it would be catastrophic were the United States to shift its position and indicate that we somehow support proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional countries. . . . The entire premise of American foreign policy as it relates to nuclear weapons for the last 70 years has been focused on preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional states. . . . That’s been the position of bipartisan administrations — everybody who’s occupied the Oval Office.”
At the Washington summit it was agreed to reduce stockpiles of highly enriched uranium in Poland and Kazakhstan, and there was an agreement to remove separated plutonium from Japan. The process will continue so long as America exerts responsible leadership rather than simply leaves each country to make its own decisions of whether to go nuclear depending on how much they’re willing or not willing to pay the United States.
To Trump it is all about dollars and cents even though he has also pledged to double the strength of America’s military which are two diametrically opposed positions. To Trump is is not about world security, just like his position on global warming is all about dollars and cents and not about maintaining the fragile balance which allows life to exist on Earth. Any decision to allow South Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia to develop nuclear weapons should not be based on dollars and cents but upon dollars and “sense,” like in pragmatic logic, not like a bag of loose copper pennies.
Trump says “its going to happen anyway.” But that is the whole point — to stall the development of nuclear weapons in countries whose populations have not yet developed the civility to guarantee their responsible use — if there is any such thing as the responsible use of nuclear weapons. Bringing an end to World War II was probably the most reasonable use to which a nuclear weapon will ever be put.
According to Secretary of State John Kerry, “Any suggestions by any candidate for high public office that we should be building more weapons and giving them to a country like Korea or Japan are absurd on their face and run counter to everything that every president, Republican or Democrat alike, has tried to achieve ever since World War II.” The former head of the US Pacific Command, Tim Keating (seen below in white meeting with Air Marshal Pradeep Vasant), said, “[Japan and South Korea] are at the very core of our national security strategy in the Asia-Pacific . . . There is no need for either South Korea or Japan to pursue a nuclear weapons program. Japan provides significant financial support for the thousands of US troops stationed there, as does South Korea. Trump’s position is not helpful.” For Trump to speak flippantly with respect to the use of nuclear weapons knowing of his own ignorance of the issues or, worse, not realizing the magnitude of his ignorance of the issues, is extreme.
In an attempt to generate votes by fostering a needless fear, Trump constantly misstates the strength (or to Trump the weakness) of the American military the same as he tries to convince the American public that Mexico is intentionally flooding the United States with rapists. Trump said, “There’ll be a point at which we’re just not going to be able to do it anymore” and he claims America has a “severely depleted” military. Without knowing the definition of the nuclear triad, Trump said, “We have nuclear arsenals which are in very terrible shape . . . They don’t even know if they work . . . . If the United States keeps on its path, its current path of weakness, [Japan and South Korea are] going to want to have [nuclear weapons] anyway with or without me discussing it, because I don’t think they feel very secure in what’s going on with our country.” Right now, the only insecurity in the minds of America’s allies is the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency.
Unfortunately, most people, especially Donald Trump, do not know just how powerful the American military has become with America’s evolving targeting technology beginning to make it possible that America could potentially launch a successful first strike as General Buc Turgidson recommended in the movie Dr. Stangelove. This is discussed in some detail in a 2006 paper written by Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press published by the President and Fellows of the Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (read it here) wherein the authors claim that since the end of the Cold War, the nuclear balance of power has shifted dramatically, and “the United States now stands on the cusp of nuclear primacy,” meaning the United States is “developing the ability to destroy its adversary’s nuclear retaliatory capabilities in a disarming strike.” It is literally too much power for any one nation to have, even the United States, as it creates too much temptation for the General Rippers and the General Turgidsons of the world. Obama acknowledged a tension has developed because of America’s relentless effort to improve the efficiency of its existing stockpile of nuclear warheads. American technological advances have understandably rattled Russia and China, and it has been cited as a pretext for Russia and China to develop new weapons systems.
In sum, Donald Trump’s cavalier approach to nuclear weapons and suggesting American allow, even encourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons, is his most extreme and fundamentally flawed position.
Some people believe that if Donald Trump is elected president, he will back off his extremist positions, act respectable, and the job will make the man. Until that time comes, here are 13 of Donald Trump’s most extreme positions.
1. Trump wants to build a wall along the Mexican boarder and make Mexico pay for it.
So far as securing the southern boarder, the idea of a tall, continuous wall is mostly symbolic, as there is no particular reason to believe a wall would be any more effective than the fence, the sensors, the patrols, the aerial surveillance, and the many other means by which the boarder is presently secured. No wall can be so high that no ladder can scale it. No wall can be sunk so deep into the ground that no one tunnel can be dug beneath it. No wall can be made so thick that no one can break through it. In consideration that net immigration from Mexico into the United States has dropped to zero, there is little need for further border security.
Former Mexican president Felipe Calderon (December 1, 2006, to November 30, 2012) said, “We are not going to pay any single cent for such a stupid wall.” Former Mexican president Vicente Fox (December 1, 2000 to November 30, 2006) said, “I’m not going to pay for that fucking wall.” Now, according to NBC News, Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto (December 1, 2012 to present) said when asked if there was any scenario in which Mexico would pay for Trump’s proposed wall, “There is no scenario . . . I have to say that I regret [Trump’s plan to build a wall] and of course, I can’t agree with this American politician’s position. . . very easy, simple solutions to problems that are obviously not that easy to solve . . . and there have been episodes in human history, unfortunately, where these expressions of this strident rhetoric have only led to very ominous situations in the history of humanity . . . That’s how Mussolini got in, that’s how Hitler got in, they took advantage of a situation, a problem perhaps, which humanity was going through at the time, after an economic crisis.”
The wall would be an environmental disaster. In an article published in Newsweek, Melissa Gaskill pointed out the following things wrong with the present fence barrier: (1) it looks like a “scar across the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, (2) it bisects and isolates public and private lands since twists and turns in the Rio Grande River cause the barrier to not follow the actual border but to sit “as far as several miles north” of the border, (3) parts of the barrier cross where the Rio Grande turns, (4) land in the United States has “ended up on the Mexican side of the barrier, including private homes, a former Audubon Society sanctuary, parts of several state Wildlife Management Areas and significant portions of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Laguna Atascosa and Santa Ana national wildlife refuges, (5) it has resulted in the reduction by as much as 75 percent the numbers of some animal species which have already been “listed as endangered or threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature,” (6) it has disrupted the movements and distribution of various species of animals reducing the “exchange of genetic material and makes the animals more vulnerable to disease, (7) it could mean “the loss of certain species, including those that people have spent decades working to protect” and, (8) it “threatens millions of dollars of commerce and cross-border relationships nurtured for generations.” Former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff already needed to waive various environmental laws for the construction of the present barrier.
Either the wall would need be placed even further back from the border isolating even more U.S land, or the wall would need cross the river at some points. At those points, it would be called a dam, which is entirely unrealistic. Of course, since Trump plans to make the Mexicans pay for the wall, he may as well also make them build it on their side of the boarder sufficiently inland so no waterways would be impaired.
Trump has not revealed how he plans to get Mexico to pay for the wall, but it would appear he would either seek to cut off trade with Mexico or impose sever tariffs on all Mexican goods imported into this country until Mexico complies and pays for the building of the wall. Initiating such a trade war would hurt the Mexican worker, raise prices for the American consumer and ruin America’s relationship with Mexico.
If America had an immigration problem, and in recent years it has not, then building a wall might make a sliver of sense, but willing to start a trade war with Mexico which will only hurt American consumers in an attempt to have Mexico pay for the wall is extremist.
2. Trump wants to round up and deport 12 million undocumented American residents.
With 12 to 14 million undocumented immigrants located throughout America, some here for many years, it is hard to see how every undocumented immigrant is to be identified, removed from their family, and deported to their country of origin. Since it would break the budget to hire thousands upon thousands of new federal agents to track down and deport the “illegals,” it makes sense that Trump would try to organize a mass of volunteers, perhaps with their own uniforms — brown-shirted skinheads on street corners pointing out suspected Mexicans like in the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers pointing toward the suspect and calling out with shrill screams until more brown-shirts respond to the scene and round up the person who is suspected of being an illegal immigrant because of their brown skin or because they were speaking Spanish or because they were eating Mexican food at a Taco Bell. Sun tanning salons would go out of business least any white risk getting so brown they become hassled in public. Of course, there are blonde haired, blue eyed Mexicans who speak good English who might be able to pass for years? What then happens to the suspects? Will everyone who might be mistaken for a Mexican or other foreigner need carry their “papers” at all times. It is already illegal to ask for a person to identify themselves without a reasonable suspicion they have committed a crime. Will looking Hispanic become reasonably suspicious enough?
Trump says those deported will be treated very humanly. How much would all that cost, and what would be the additional cost to the American consumer? Assuming there are no brown-shirted volunteers, there would have to be a new police organization dedicated to the illegal immigrant problem.
If one officer could deport one hundred people a year, including his testifying at necessary court hearings designed to protect “real Americans” from being accidentally deported, and the process was to be accomplished in four years, and there are 12 million undocumented immigrants, and the cost of each new federal agent’s salary, fringe benefits, administration and overhead is $100,000 per year, then the four year cost of deporting every undocumented immigrant would be $48 billion calculated as follows: (12,000,000 people) x (1 officer/ 100 people) x (4 years) x ($100,000/year salary) = $48,000,000,000. That is just for the 30,000 temporary federal enforcement officers.
The cost of the additional courts, the cost of the additional holding facilities, the cost of transportation back to their foreign country of origin, and the assistance they are given to humanly help them assimilate back into their native society before they starve to death, would add to the cost. Suppose each of the 30,000 agents arrests an average of 8.33 people per month, and with rapid speed, each person is processed through the immigration court within a month. That would require holding facilities for 250,000 people. If each holding facility cost $50 a day to humanely hold and feed each detainee, the four year cost of holding the detainees from time of arrest to time of deportation would be another 14.6 billion calculated as follows: (250,000 people) x ($50.00/ day) x (365 days/year) x (4 years) = $14,600,000,000.
Then there is the cost of building the holding facilities. A minimum security prison costs about $48,000 per bed. With 250,000 people to house, the cost of building all the new holding facilities would be another 12 billion calculated as follows: (250,000 people) x ($48,000/person) = $12,000,000,000.
If it takes an average of one day to adjudicate each person before they are exported, then each judge would need handle 1460 cases during four years, which would take 8,220 new temporary federal judges which at $250,000 per year including staff and facilities would be an additional $8.22 billion, calculated as follows: (8,220 judges) x ($250,000/ year) x (4 years) = $8,220,000,000.
If there is a $4,000 cost associated with sending each person back home and resettling them humanely, that would be an additional cost of 48 billion calculated as follows: (12,000,000 people) x ($4,000/person) = $48,000,000,000. Add up these costs, and the total is $130.82 billion. Of course that assumes everything goes smoothly under a Trump perfect management scheme which it may or may not. The costs could easily escalate. That is this host’s estimate.
According to an article by Philip E. Wolgin which was released by Newsweek on August 18, 2015, based on an analysis by the Center for American Progress, deportation would cost an average of $10,070 per person. That would equate to 120.84 billion to deport 12 million people, but that does not account for much resettlement money which would appear necessary if the mass deportations were to be conducted humanely.
There is also the economic cost to the United States from deporting all the undocumented workers. Employers of manual labor jobs like farm harvesting, construction laboring and garment manufacturing, which have historically employed undocumented workers, would have difficulty finding people to replace all the workers they would lose due to the deportations, and the cost of the products made by those workers, some, but not all of which, work below minimum wage, would increase to the average consumer. With respect to more skilled positions held by undocumented workers, many of whom have lived in the United States for a decade or more, their removal from the work force would upset the flow of commerce.
More than anything, the conflict caused, where some neighbors rat on other neighbors, and some neighbors hide other neighbors in an underground system of protection, where everyone is afraid to leave their house without their papers, would tear the country apart as much as the Vietnam War.
Then there is the social cost of raising the children who are citizens of the United States who the parents choose to leave behind rather than subject them to the living conditions they thought they had escaped. If Trump has his way, then through a constitutional amendment or an unprecedented and extraordinary Supreme Court decision, the kids will be declared never to have gained American citizenship and forcibly shipped off with their parents with an extra water bottle.
That is not likely to be the case. The Fourteenth Amendment states in pertinent part, “All persons born . . . in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Some people have used the phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” as a means to argue that children of people who are in the country illegally are not citizens. However, the phrase, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” means to include America’s territorial waters (i.e., within the 12 mile limit), America’s territories, like Guam and Porto Rico, and American military bases overseas. If an American authority can arrest a person where they be, then that person is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
Think of this ugly scenario. Suppose some 19-year-old punk born in America to undocumented parents wants to blackmail his parents? “Give me date money, or I’ll turn you it. You’ll be deported, but I won’t!”
If the Fourteenth Amendment were to be interpreted otherwise, the next question would be how far back in the family tree would one need to look. Suppose a resident descended from Hispanics who illegally slipped into this country several generations ago. Would they be tainted with illegality, be rounded up and deported regardless of how much their “wetback blood” had been diluted by generations of breading with “real American stock.” White Canadians are, or course, exempt since they are white, generally speak English, and no prejudice has risen up against them.
Attempting to round up 12 million undocumented residents and deport them, breaking up families, depleting the manual labor workforce, raising prices Americans have to pay for goods and services, putting a glut in the housing market by suddenly having millions of empty residences with no one to pay the rental or mortgage payments, spending more than $120 million, and fostering hatred and ill will is
3. Trump wants to ban all Muslims from entering the United States for an indefinite period of time.
Banning a group from entering into the United States because of their religion would be a novel concept which runs counter to what originally set this country apart from other countries which imposed religious tests for inclusion. Everyone is taught in grade school that the Pilgrims came to America to avoid religious persecution, and one of the things that makes America great is that each person can freely practice their religion.
In 2010, 23.4 percent of the world were Muslims, so Trump would be banning roughly one out of every four people in the world from coming to the United States if they dared say they are Muslim when asked by the American customs agent at point of entry. If they are dressed like a Muslim but deny being a Muslim, then maybe they would be waterboarded until they finally admit to being a Muslim. Would Muslim’s be allowed to enter the country if they renounced their religion at the border and declared themselves Christians, preferably Presbyterians like Donald Trump?
The United States itself is 0.9 percent Muslim. Washington, D.C., is 2.1 percent Muslim. New York City is 1.6 percent Muslim. Chicago is 1.3 percent Muslim. Houston is 1.2 percent Muslim. According to Trump, some peaceful Muslim living in Indonesia or Suriname is going to have to hear from his relative in Houston why he can’t come to America.
The First Amendment guards against disparate treatment of people based on their religion. The First Amendment states in pertinent part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” Trump’s plan would prohibit the free exercise of the Islamic faith if one were a Muslim seeking to enter America. Trump’s plan would require a constitutional amendment. Trump’s plan to track Muslims who are legally within the United States legally would also violate the First Amendment.
Of course, Trump also wants to conduct surveillance over mosques and keep a database on Muslim refugees.
Treating Muslims differently from all other people seeking to come to America or living in America as citizens based solely on their religion is in violation of the First Amendment and is extremist.
4. Trump wants to torture prisoners suspected of terrorism by waterboarding and other more severe forms of torture banned by international law.
At the Republican debate in Detroit on March 3, 2016, Trump said America should go further and worse than waterboarding, and if his U.S. military and intelligence officials objected, Trump said they, “are not going to refuse me. . . If I say do it, they are going to do it.” Although softening his position in response to public pronouncements that certain military leaders would refuse to violate international law, Trump said he would not order his officers to violate international law, but Trump suggested international law should be expanded to allow the kind of enhanced interrogation techniques he wants. Basically, Trump wants to recklessly torture people who are suspected of having information about terrorism.
For example, Trump said he thought Saira Khan, the sister of the San Bernardino terrorist, Syed Rizwan Farook, knew more than she was letting on and said, “I’d get it out of her.” No evidence has been found linking Farook’s sister to any of Farook’s plans or indicating that she had any knowledge of what her brother was planning to do. Khan told CBS News, “I can never imagine my brother or my sister-in-law doing something like this, especially because they were happily married, they had a beautiful 6-month-old daughter.” Nevertheless, Trump would “get it out of her” anyway. In other words, Trump was saying he wanted Saira Khan tortured to make her talk about things no one knows whether she knows and when no evidence has been uncovered to show she has any knowledge of her brother’s terrorist activities.
Encouraging the torture of people suspected of having information related to terrorists is a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, is a violation of the Geneva Convention and is extremist.
5. Trump wants to kill terrorists’ family members.
According to Trump it is just being politically correct to not kill the family members of terrorists. Not killing family members is more than just politically correct, it is in compliance with the Geneva Contentions. On the Fox & Friends December 2, 2015 broadcast, Trump said, “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.” When Trump was asked during the CNN Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas to comment on a statement by a Georgia Tech student who pointed out that Trump’s plan “violates the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants in international law,” Trump responded, “I would be very, very firm with families . . . they do care . . . about their families’ lives.”
Common Article 3 of all four Geneva Conventions refers to “armed conflict not of an international character,” which describes America’s war with ISIS and other terrorists who do not have their own sovereign state. According to Article 3, people taking no active part in the hostilities, such as some terrorist family member, “shall in all circumstances be treated humanely . . . to this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever . . . violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.”
In addition, Article 51.2 states that civilian populations “shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.” Civilian casualties can occur as part of an overall attack to secure a military objective, but it must not be excessive in relation to the military advantage expected to be gained. The Defense Department’s Law of War Manual published in June, 2015, says civilians are not to be made the object of an attack.
Thus, Trump’s stated intent to purposefully kill the families of terrorists to punish the terrorist and not for the purpose of killing the family members because they stood in the way of any particular military objective would clearly violate international law.
Trump encouraging the killing of innocent family members, including women and children, because one of their family members is suspected of being a terrorist is a violation of the Geneva Convention and is extremist.
6. Trump wants to bomb the oil wells supplying ISIS with revenues and take the Mideast oil to pay for American military adventures.
Under the Obama administration, the United States armed forces have been taking out the oil trucks which ISIS has been using to move its oil to market, more than 400 ISIS oil trucks by December 1, 2015, according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. The United States has not been bombing the oil wells because it has not wanted to destroy the infrastructure which will be needed to support the populace once ISIS is gone. In addition, there are major environmental concerns. Nevertheless, without bombing the oil wells themselves, the U.S. military and coalition forces have damaged or destroyed 260 oil infrastructure targets from August, 2014, to November 13, 2015, in a way which best protects the environment and stops production while minimizing damage. In sum, up to now, the United States has been focusing on oil transportation networks and secondary oil infrastructure objectives, and this targeting is designed to limit the environmental impact and is in accord with the Geneva Conventions. Russia on the other hand has been targeting larger refineries and storage facilities, but Russia is lacking in smart bombs capable of being targeted with the same precision employed by the United States.
By the present method, in one month, America was able to reduce ISIS’s ability to produce oil from 70,000 to 20,000 barrels a day.
The Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 55 as adopted by consensus, states in pertinent part,
“1. Care shall be taken in warfare to protect the natural environment against widespread, long-term and severe damage . . .
“2. Attacks against the natural environment by way of reprisals are prohibited.”
The [United States] Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations Naval Handbook (1995) states,
“Destruction of the natural environment not necessitated by mission accomplishment and carried out wantonly is prohibited. Therefore, a commander should consider the environmental damage that will result from an attack on a legitimate military objective as one of the factors during targeting analysis.”
ISIS only earns about 15 to 30 percent of its revenue from oil. Other sources of income come from taxing the people under its control, stealing from the people under its control, extortion and kidnappings, tolls to travel, organ harvesting, donations from rich Arab Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait not under the direct control of their governments, and, by far the worse manner of all and a crime against the world, by looting archaeological sites, selling the artifacts dating from 9,000 BC to 1,000 AD and letting those important sources of world history scatter to the wind. The historical artifact looting is enough to make one rethink about torturing every suspected ISIS member, but then the American citizenry would have to forget what the United States represents and the moral example it owes the world.
According to an article written for NewSecurityBeat, an environmental blog, by Wim Zwijnenburg and Annica Waleij, the environmental damage caused by oil fires consists of the release of “sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, poly cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and lead” which can cause groundwater contamination, “respiratory disorders, liver problems, kidney disorders and cancer.” Further, the land and people affected would not be limited to those living in ISIS controlled territory, but many innocent others who live downwind from the fires.
The world was relatively lucky with respect to the environmental damage done when the Iraquis set fire to about 400 oil wells in Kuwait. At the peak of the Kuwait oil well fires, the smoke absorbed up to 80 percent of the Sun’s radiation, and in some parts it was “pitch black at noon” with temperatures dropping 7.2 to 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The smoke plumbs rose to up to 20,000 feet but, fortunately, did not reach the stratosphere which begins at 43,000 feet. Had the smoke risen into the stratosphere, it would not have been “rained out” and would have possibly made for a “year without a summer” the same as when the Indonesian volcano Tambora erupted in 1815. As it was, the smoke from the Kuwait oil well fires only reached as far at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 322 miles from Kuwait City, giving it smoke filled skies and dropping carbon soot with the rainout/fallout. The fires only affected weather patters in the Persian Gulf and surrounding territories. The world might not be so lucky if Trump has his way.
Trump told Anderson Cooper which asked to elaborate on his plan for dealing with ISIS, “I would bomb the hell out of those oil fields. I wouldn’t send many troops because you won’t need them by the time I’m finished.”
On Fox & Friends, Trump said he wants to knock the hell out of Iran and “take the oil.” It seems not to matter to Trump that the United States has not been attacked by Iran and is not at war with Iran. The last bad dealings the United States had with Iran was during the hostage crisis from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981. That ended 35 years ago. Basically, the premise is that Iran has taken over Iraq, which would assume Iran and ISIS are one and the same, which they’re not and, therefore, the United States should take the oil from Iraq and from Libya where ISIS controls large areas of territory.
Essentially, Trump wants to maintain U.S. ground forces in Iraq. When Trump was asked by Wall Street Journal reporter Kelly Evans in July, 2015, “So you would keep troops in Iraq after this year?” Trump answered, “I would take the oil . . . I would not leave Iraq and let Iran take the oil.” Trump later told George Stephanopoulos, “In the old days, you know when you had a war, to the victor belong the spoils. . . You go in. You win the war and you take it . . . You’re not stealing anything . . . We’re taking back $1.5 trillion to reimburse ourselves.”
With respect to Libya, Trump told Greta Van Susteren, “We don’t know who the rebels are, we hear they come from Iran, we hear they’re influenced by Iran or Al-Qaeda and, frankly, I would go in. I would take the oil – and stop this baby stuff. . . . I’m only interested in Libya if we take the oil. If we don’t take the oil, I’m not interested.”
Taking the oil would be another violation of international law. Article 50 of the 1949 Geneva Convention I, Article 51 of the 1949 Geneva Convention II and Article 147 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, provides that “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly” are grave breaches.
There are other international laws that speak to this matter going back to the Hague Regulations of 1899 which, under Article 23(g), states that it is especially prohibited, “to . . . seize the enemy’s property, unless such . . . seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.”
Trump has offered no details about who is to operate the oil fields if the United States begins to simply take the oil. Trump’s desire to bomb the oil fields, re-invade Iraq and invade Libya, the only purpose being to take their oil, maintain a permanent U.S. ground troop presence in those countries, deprive the innocent people of those countries the resource they need to rebuild, incur the wrath of the world and violate several more international laws is extremist.
7. Trump wants to shut down the Internet to help stop the spread of terror.
When Wolf Blitzer asked Trump during the Las Vegas Republican presidential debate, “Are you open to closing parts of the Internet?” Trump answered, “I would certainly be open to closing areas where we are at war with somebody . . . I sure as hell don’t want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet. Yes, sir, I am.”
Trump apparently wants to shut down the Internet in ISIS controlled parts of Iraq and Syria by knocking out the infrastructure that provides Internet services to those areas. This would probably involve a military operation where special forces would sever fibre-optic cables, destroy satellite dishes, and disable cellular towers. These are portions of a nation’s infrastructure upon which the people will need rely when the war ends. From as strategic viewpoint, it would mess with the terrorist’s recruitment efforts, and it would put pressure on telecommunications companies to assist further in the fight against ISIS.
Shutting down the Internet is extremist because doing so would end our ability to communicate, educate and provide news to people within the terrorist laden areas. Transmitting the truth is suppose to end oppression. That is what all the ads seeking support for Radio Free Europe told us during the cold war. America is suppose to be against censorship, especially when it comes to the Internet which is suppose to be the garden of ideas to which everyone has access. Besides, everything the terrorists post online gives us a clue about how to fight them. Encryption is more the problem.
8. Trump wants to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA was proposed by President Richard Nixon and began operating at the end of 1970. Its purpose is to protect human health and the environment. Congress passes laws designed to protect people’s health and maintain a clean and safe environment. The EPA then uses the most recent and credible scientific studies to write regulations in furtherance of the goals the law seeks to achieve. The EPA determines levels of individual pollutants, such as parts per billion of lead in drinking water, over which human life is endangered.
The EPA is charged with enforcing 8 acts of Congress seeking to control air pollution, including the Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act passed in 1965 which set the first federal vehicle emissions standards. The EPA is charged with enforcing 9 acts of Congress seeking to control water pollution including the Safe Drinking Water Act passed in 1974 which is the principal federal law intended to ensure safe drinking water and which requires the EPA set standards for drinking water quality. The EPA is charged with enforcing 7 acts of Congress seeking to control the disposal of hazardous wastes such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act passed in 1970 which is the principal federal law governing the disposal of solid and hazardous wastes. The EPA is charged with enforcing the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act passed in 1970 which oversees the sale and use of poisonous pesticides. Without the EPA there would be no regulatory or enforcement mechanism to give meaning to the environmental laws Americans now take for granted.
The EPA has been criticized for writing and enforcing regulations which are too strict, and the EPA has been criticized for writing and enforcing regulations which are too lenient. The EPA has been sued by businesses claiming is is overzealous in its enforcement, and the EPA has been sued by environmentalists for not actively enforcing some of its regulations. Americans believe in a clean and healthy environment. No one likes pollution except someone making money from it. Abolish the EPA, and selfish business people will allow their businesses to pollute and damage the environment with impunity if it means earning more money for themselves. Throwing away environmental protections for the sake of business is an extremist position taken by Trump who has also said that climate change is a “con job,” “hoax” and “bullshit” “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Climate change is a truth accepted by 98 percent of the scientific community. Trump now claims his saying climate change was a Chinese plot was a joke, but he has also described climate change as a money-making industry and has said that a lot of it is a hoax.
9. Trump wants to impose a 35 percent tax on cars Ford makes in Mexico and impose a 45 percent tariff on goods manufactured in China.
In December, 2015, Trump said he would impose a 35 percent tax at the border on cars made by Ford in Mexico to discourage Ford from building plants across the border or overseas. “Every car and every truck and every part manufactured in this plant [referring to a plant Ford plans to build in Mexico] that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35 percent tax, and that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction, and that’s it,” Trump said.
Trump’s plan would require congressional approval, so it is not something he could do by fiat. Trumps plan would also violate the North America Free Trade Agreement. According to NAFTA, new vehicles and parts which contain 60 percent North American manufacturing content are allowed tariff free access to the three countries involved, Mexico, the United States and Canada. Trump’s plan would also probably violate the World Trade Organization agreements which do not allow an increase in a tariff once it has been lowered with the exception of anti-dumping fines, and the dumping allegations must be proven.
Trump’s threat was specifically directed toward Ford Motor Company. Enacting a specific tariff which would only affect cars Ford began manufacturing in its Mexican plant would violate the constitutional Equal Protection Clause which states in pertinent part, “. . . nor shall any State . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Equal Protection Clause would require that all U.S. manufactures that purchase cars or parts from overseas would be obligated to pay the same 35 percent tariff. Dodge would need pay the same tax on the supercharged 6.2 liter Hemi SRT Hellcat V8 engine it imports from Mexico to be placed into the Challenger SRT Hellcat automobile which it assembles in Ontario, Canada. The net effect would be to raise American consumer prices.
In Trump’s 2011 book, Time to Get Tough, Trump proposes eliminating the corporate tax and replacing it with a 20 percent tax on all imports and a 15 percent tax on American companies who outsource. In Ford’s case, that 15 percent has been raised to 35 percent. Trump wants to impose a 45 percent tariff on goods imported from China. For the American consumer, think of nearly everything sold at Wal-Mart costing 35 percent more.
Trump’s eagerness to slap high tariffs on all imported goods is not shared by any member of Congress. Tariffs imposed prior to World War II were blamed for worsening the Great Depression. After World War II, the trend has been to lower tariffs which became the subject of international conferences led by the United States. Presently, the average U.S. tariff on imports from WTO members is only 3.4 percent. If the U.S. raised tariffs, other countries would probably retaliate by imposing their own tariffs on the importation of American goods, and Trump will have started a trade war the like of which has not been seen since prior to World War II. A brief surcharge on imported goods from countries which have manipulated their currency exchange rates would be a more reasonable alternative and may be permissible under existing trade agreements.
Congress could vote to revoke NAFTA and withdraw from the WTO, and other politicians have criticized NAFTA and the WTO, but what makes Trump’s plan to tax Ford 35 percent on every new car it builds in Mexico and ships to the U.S. an extremist position is Trump’s desire to single out and target Ford Motor Company, his inability to recognize the limits of presidential authority and his disregard of the American consumer.
10. Trump has proposed diametrically different tax plans.
In 1999, Trump proposed a 14.25 percent one-time tax on individuals and trusts who held at least 10 million or more in net assets, at which time Trump said his proposal would raise $5.7 trillion. According to Trump, the tax would all be paid by the upper 1 percent, half would go toward financing middle-class tax cuts and the other half would go to Social Security. In 2011, Trump told George Stephanopoulous that he no longer supported the tax. Trump’s new tax plan which was announced after he became a presidential candidate would reduce the top tax rate on individual income from 39.6 percent to 25 percent and, instead of being the largest tax increase on the wealthy, would be the largest tax cut for the wealthy. Trump’s present plan also would reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent.
Whereas Trump’s 1999 tax plan would reduce the federal debt by $5.7 trillion, Trump’s present tax plan would increase the federal debt over the next ten years by about $10 trillion according to the Tax Foundation and the Tax Policy Center, and that is even when taking into account economic growth caused by the decreased tax rate. Trump also wants to do away with the estate tax, and that loss of revenue has not been factored into the equation. Trump’s plan does not include any budget cuts. Trump has promised to greatly increase the defense budget and veterans’ benefits. Any shortfall in taxes and any increased spending would have to be offset by Trump’s promise of better management and the reduction of waste, fraud and abuse.
Trump’s shifting from a tax plan which would greatly increase taxes on the rich and greatly reduce the federal debt to a tax plan which would greatly cut taxes for the rich and greatly increase the national debt and then explaining that everything will work out fine because of the money saved through better management and the elimination of waste, fraud and abuse without any specifics of how that is to be accomplished is extremist.
11. Trump wants to do away with political correctness.
Over the last 50 years, a trend has emerged in the United States of not wanting to offend other people. Instead of retards, it is now the developmentally disabled. Instead of broads, it is now women. Instead of negros, it is now blacks. Instead of Indians, it is now native Americans. Instead of all brown skinned people being referred to as Mexicans, it is now Hispanics or Latins. And of course names like Spastic, Faggot, Spic, Wop, Greaser, Chink, Jap, hillbilly, Oakey, Jewbait and Nigger are out. In a professional or work environment, women are suppose to be considered co-workers and not sex objects judged solely by their looks. Polite company and distinguished presidential candidates are not suppose to curse or swear or degrade any particular group, are not suppose to make reference to any portion of a person’s anatomy or their height or weight, and are not suppose to mimic the disabled.
To show his disdain for political correctness, Trump said he won’t go to the Ringling Brothers Circus because it phased out its elephants because of the protests made by animal rights activists. The animal rights activists were bringing to peoples’ attention that the elephants were being subjected to bullhooks, whippings, electric shocks and three-day train rides without breaks.
Trump has referenced the attractiveness, or lack thereof, of Carly Fiorina’s face, Megyn Kelly’s menstrual period, Rosie O’Donnell’s weight, Hheidi Klum’s aging appearance, and the sexual attractiveness of his own daughter by saying he would perhaps be dating Ivanka if she wasn’t his daughter. When Trump was being interviewed by Larry King years ago, he told King on the air that he had bad breath, which might have been true or not, but it shows a complete lack of tact, especially in front of a national audience.
Political correctness is a sign of the evolving standards of humanity and decency which mark the progress of a maturing society. It may be less convenient not to be overtly offensive, but it maintains a more peaceful world and treats other people with respect and as one would like to be treated. Trump’s examples of political incorrectness and his rejection of the notion that people should try to be politically correct misunderstands what political correctness is all about, and for a presidential candidate to ask an audience member to repeat that they consider one of the other presidential candidates a “pussy” or for a presidential candidate to mimic the arm movements of a disabled person is extremist.
12. Trump wants his followers’ to pledge allegiance to him.
It’s not quite a sieg heil salute, but it comes close. As Trump comes to understand that some of his followers are fanatical, he said he could shoot someone with a gun on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes. Now, Trump has begun to ask his audience to pledge themselves to him by raising their right hand in what appears to some to mimic the Nazi salute with the extended right arm in the air and their straightened hand pointed toward him.
At a Trump rally in Florida on Saturday, March 5, 2016, Trump asked his crowd, “Can I have a pledge, a swearing? Raise your right hand, . . . I do solemnly swear . . . That I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there’s hurricanes or whatever . . . will vote on or before [March] the 12th for Donald J. Trump for president.” Despite knowing the reaction he was getting on social media comparing his requested salute and oath to what Hitler required of his troops, Trump on Monday, March 7, 2016, repeated the request at a rally in North Carolina.
The former National Director of the Anti Deformation League Abraham Foxman, who escaped Nazi Germany in the 1940’s, said Trump is “smart enough . . . to know the images that this evokes. Instead of asking his audience to pledge allegiance to the United States of America . . . he’s asking them to swear allegiance to him,” and Foxman described Trump’s pledge to the Times of Israel as “disgusting as anything I thought I would ever witness in the United States of America.”
Coming up with the pledge and raising of the right hand was a mistake, but for Trump to repeat the process after it was widely compared to the Nazis saluting Hitler is extremist.
13. Trump wants to go back on America’s word.
Whenever Donald Trump says he “renegotiates a deal,” what he is actually saying is that he routinely breaches the contracts which he has entered and to which he previously agreed. If Trump thinks he can put the squeeze on the other party to accept less than that to which was originally agreed, he’ll do it.
For the average person, renegotiating deals is hard. Most people have enough of a conscience not to go back on their word. Most people do not have the power to renegotiate. If the average man buys a car for $30,000 cash, signs all the paperwork, and then drives away, he’s stuck. If he goes back to the dealership a month later and asks them to renegotiate the deal so he need only pay $27,000 for the car and asks for $3,000 in change, he is told no. On the other hand, if a rich person threatened to cancel an order to purchase a dozen more cars for his corporation from the same dealership, then that economic pressure may force the dealership to lower the price of the car the president of the corporation bought for his personal use. What is more common is the holdout scheme which works something like this: A small subcontractors invests his time and effort, his muscle and sweat, and he has sunk every dime of his credit into a job. That subcontractor desperately needs to be paid so he in turn can pay his workers and suppliers. Then, the general contractor wants to “renegotiate the deal,” and holds up payment to the subcontractor unless the subcontractor takes 10 percent less than that to which they originally agreed. In that case, the subcontractor has two options, either take what is offered, cut his profit to less than half of what he expected and keep from going into bankruptcy, or sue the contractor and go into bankruptcy waiting for his day in court. The holdout scheme where the rich attempt to get richer by leaning on the poorer happens all the time. Whenever Trump brags that he renegotiates deals, he is admitting to have breached contracts, and he has admitted that he cannot be trusted.
Trump wants to turn his propensity to go back on his word into American foreign policy. Trump wants to “renegotiate” or abandon agreements America has made with other countries. Trump wants America to use its economic or military advantages to apply pressure on other countries whose leaders and people thought they had an agreement with the United States in an attempt to pressure them to sweeten up the deal.
Trump’s desire to renegotiate extends beyond trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump wants to renegotiate agreements the United States has entered to defend South Korea and Japan, to support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and even to abide by the Geneva Convention, which agreements have helped kept to peace in Europe and most of Asia for the last 60 to 70 years. Regardless of the consequences of these agreements, regardless of the second thoughts some may have about the wisdom of the United States entering into these agreements, all of these agreements were the result of lengthy negotiations by the top people representing of all the governments involved. All these representatives from around the world gave of their time, acted in good faith, represented their countries’ best interests, were willing to enter into compromises and were willing to take some risks. A good settlement agreement is measured by whether all sides walk away equally unhappy–Kossack’s law. Threatening to walk away from a trade agreement or attempting to renegotiate a trade agreement because it did not work out exactly as planned or based on speculation that it might not work out as planned, is like a child whining for more. When Oliver Twist said, “Please sir, I want some more,” he was whisked out of the house. See how Oliver was treated here. Trump trying to expand the definitions of torture and permissible military conduct as set forth in the Geneva Conventions borders on pure evil.
Trying to walk away from allied military commitments, such as NATO, requires more careful consideration than Trump has given it. Are all the countries of the world destined to learn that America cannot be expected to keep its word? America is suppose to be the good guy. America is suppose to be the most trustworthy. Each president must come to terms with their ability to bind America to the agreements which they and their diplomats propose and which the United States Senate approves and, similarly, each president must be bound by the agreements which preceding presidents and their diplomats have made which the United States Senate has approved and which other countries of the world have relied. America’s standing in the world is measured by its honor. Trump wanting to go back on America’s word on every trade deal, military negotiation and military commitment is, therefore, extreme.
This host is filled with admiration for Mika Brzezinski (seen below), the co-host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, whose opinions closely mirror his own. Mika is the daughter of Zbigniew Brzenziski who was President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, and her mother is the grandniece of Czechoslovakia’s former president Edvard Benes, so Mika Brzeninski hails from a superior genetic brain pool making her recent comments regarding Michelle Fields who was manhandled by Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corry Lewandowski, all the more inexplicable.
In 1990, Mika Brzenzinski began her journalism career as an assistant at ABC’s World News This Morning. In 1992, Brzenzinski began working at a CBS affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut, where she served as a correspondent and news anchor for its overnight Up to the Minute news program. In 2000, Brzenzinski worked with co-anchors Gina Gaston and Ashleigh Banfield for MSNBC’s weekday afternoon show HomePage. When the three newswomen were described by Entertainment Weekly as the “Powerpuff Girls of Journalism,” Brzenzinski objected to the characterization as she wanted to be judged on the quality of her work rather than the quality of her appearance. In 1997, Joe Scarborough selected Brzezinski to co-host Morning Joe, and her primary function was at first to read the prompts for lead-ins and breaks. Brzenzinski did not like being referred to as the “hot anchor,” and on June 26, 2007, she attempted to set fire to a news story script she was suppose to read because it was about Paris Hilton’s release from jail. Brzezinski believed such “trivial journalism” had no place leading the story of Republican Senator Richard Lugar’s disagreement with President Bush over Bush’s handling of the Iraq war. When co-host Willie Geist physically stopped Brzezinski from setting fire to the script, she tore it up and then an hour later fed another copy of the script through a paper shredder. Brzezinski received fame over the internet for her on-air protest favoring hard news over entertainment news. Brzenzinski also mentioned on air that Sarah Palin’s reaction to President Obama’s speech about the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people in Tucson, Arizona, was not newsworthy. This host could not agree more.
Thus, it was with considerable consternation and disappointment when this host saw Mika Brzezinski on Friday, April 15, 2016, with a scowl on her face, something this host has never previously witnessed, show she could be dead wrong when she blindly accepted the excuses fabricated by the Palm Beach county prosecutors to justify their failure to follow through with the prosecution of Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corry Lewandowski (shown below), for manhandling former Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields on March 8, 2016, following Donald Trump holding a press conference at the Trump National Golf Course ballroom in Jupiter, Florida.
The story of Lewandowski’s battery of Michelle Fields (shown below) has been covered in some detail on this website, and readers are invited to go to the post “Is Donald Trump’s campaign manager guilty of battering Michelle Fields?” if they are not familiar with the facts leading up to the Palm Beach County Attorney’s Office making its cowardly announcement not to prosecute Lewandowski. The update recently added to the prior post has been removed, placed in this post, and immediately follows with some additional facts and comments.
On Thursday, April 14, 2016, the Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg (below right with Adrienne Ellis, the deputy prosecutor who oversaw the Lewandowski case) announced that Corey Lewandowski would not be prosecuted for battering Michelle Fields because there was “a reasonable hypothesis of innocence.” There may be good reasons not to proceed with the prosecution of Lewandowski for battering Michelle Fields, but a reasonable hypothesis of innocence is not one of them.
To be clear, the Palm Beach County Attorney’s decision not to prosecute Lewandowski in no way cleared Lewandowski of any wrongdoing and in no way debunked or discredited the facts laid out by Michelle Fields in the statement she gave to the Jupiter police. The prosecutors were merely concerned they might lose the case if the prosecution was pursued to its ultimate conclusion. The failure to prosecute is no admission Lewandowski is innocent of battering Fields. The prosecutors merely claimed they were concerned that under one theory of the case presented by Lewandowski’s attorney, they might have been prevented from proving the State’s case beyond a reasonable doubt, meaning that the finder of fact might be tricked into thinking that Lewandowski might be innocent and, quite frankly, it looks like Mika Brzenzinski and some others in the media did, in fact, swallow the bull and actually now think Lewandowski is innocent.
Aronberg admitted the video shows Lewandowski make physical contact with Fields as Fields and Washington Post reporter Ben Terris alleged (see below). Aronberg admitted Lewandowski denied ever touching Fields. So Lewandowski obviously lied, but Lewandowski would never have to lie again because Aronberg admitted no one interviewed Lewandowski prior to the decision being made to drop the misdemeanor battery charges against him.
Lewandowski was allowed to have his lawyer do his lying for him. Had Lewandowski been interviewed, then one or two of four things could have happened. First, the prosecutor could have bought into some cockimany story like the one Lewandowski’s lawyer came up with — that Lewandowski was playing Secret Service agent and protecting Trump. Aronberg said in the video it appeared Fields touched Trump’s coat, and Aronberg said he was given some expert witness opinion from an ex-FBI agent that sometimes some of the presidential candidate’s aids help form a bubble around the candidate working with the Secret Service to create a safe exit pathway. This is no big deal. Expert witnesses are for sale the same as high heeled, short skirted women on the street. Attorneys sometimes ask one another, “What whore can I get to testify to this?”
Aronberg and Ellis even bought into the story that Fields touching Trump made Trump flinch. Utter horse dump in this host’s opinion as will be shown. Ellis said Trump drew back his arm when all Trump did was move his right hand over to his left side as he retrieved a pen from his left inside coat pocket to sign his autograph to one of his books which he was holding in his left hand. This host saw the same frame by frame stop action of the video, and those frames will later be discussed in some detail. The main problem with the video, as is the problem with most security videos, is that it did not take 24 images a second, the generally required minimum number of frames which need be taken per second so the action does not appear jerky like a lot of consecutive still photographs. The security video is composed of individual pictures taken one second or one-half seconds apart according to their time stamps. The video shows Trump reach for his pen, listen to Fields’ question and then become per-occupied autographing his book. He doesn’t flinch at all. Why should a reasonable finder of fact come to a different conclusion? Second, Lewandowski could have been charged with obstruction if in addition to his prior tweet he further lied to the police during their investigation. Third, Lewandowski could have refused to speak to the police by exerting his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, but that would have looked bad to the public. Fourth, Lewandowski could have been tripped up into confessing to being a bore who throws people aside to more quickly get to where he’s going like Leslie Nielsen in some Naked Gun movie or, maybe, he would have confessed to having heard Fields’ question and considered it unfriendly, a second theory which this host considers less likely than the first — that Lewandowski was simply being a rude bastard.
Aronberg admitted the Secret Service agent standing right behind Trump and Fields, “appeared to show no concern over [Fields’] actions.” That should tell anyone all they need know to conclude Lewandowski’s defense is pure bunk. It was the Secret Service agent’s job to protect Trump. The Secret Service agent was standing right behind Fields and Trump with a clearer view of what was happening, a better view than Lewandowski ever had. Aronberg admitted Lewandowski could have sought the agent’s help if he perceived a threat, and Aronberg admitted Lewandowski did not do so. According to his assistant prosecutor, Adrienne Ellis, “We’re not charging [Lewandowski] because he was reacting to what he perceived as a potential threat.” This would have been an impossible determination for Ellis to make because Lewandowski never submitted a statement to the police or county attorney’s office saying that is why he grabbed Michelle Fields. Ellis had to have wanted to believe Lewandowski was innocent as she could have only speculated about what was going through Lewandowski’s mind as told to her by Lewandowski’s attorney. The only statement from Lewandowski which Ellis should have considered was Lewandowski’s tweet in which he denied the event ever took place. Therefore, by Lewandowski’s own admission by exclusion, he did not grab Lewandowski to protect Trump or for any other reason, since according to Lewandowski, he did not touch Fields at all. It required a leap of faith spanning the Grand Canyon for Ellis to conclude Lewandowski was reacting to what he perceived as a potential threat when Lewandowski’s own tweet evidenced he did not remember there being any threat at all, and he did not respond to any threat, perceived or otherwise. The fact that the Secret Service agent did not perceive any threat when he was in a superior position to perceive such a threat evidences that Lewandowski could not have perceived any threat. It is also notable that no mention was made by anyone from the prosecutor’s office of them making any attempt to identify and/or interview the Secret Service agent who was closest to the action and who would have witnessed whether Fields actually touched Trump or not. The video lacks sufficient perception of depth to tell one way or the other whether Fields’ hand barely brushed up against Trump’s right coat sleeve. No eyewitness said Fields touched Trump. Fields says she did not, but she was never asked the question by the prosecutors. Otherwise, she could have pointed out to them (which they could see on the video themselves) that Trump was merely reaching for his pen rather than flinching in reaction to being touched. Trump has commented on one picture which shows Fields’ hand superimposed over Trump’s coat sleeve but, again, because of the angle, one cannot tell from the picture (see below) whether any touching actually took place, and even if it did, it was not a threat.
From the audio Fields recorded on her smart phone, one can hear Lewandowski say as he yanked Fields back, “Excuse me. Thank you.” That not something one would say consistent with that person perceiving a possible assignation attempt. We know Lewandowski spent no time on Fields or directed the Secret Service to further watch her. Instead, the video shows Lewandowski immediately moving forward to be with Trump which shows he never considered Fields a threat and was probably unaware of the damage caused by his grabbing her left arm. As stated in the previous post, the evidence is that Lewandowski was merely pulling Fields aside to pull himself forward like a school yard bully trying to be the first one out the school bus. That would explain why Lewandowski did not remember the incident. Otherwise, Lewandowski just plain lied about it, not knowing at the time that the statement he tweeted would be proof that the later excuse his lawyer concocted was bogus.
We know Michelle Fields is a delicate woman who was working as a reporter as reporter’s do. We know the eyewitness to the event, Ben Terris of the Washington Post, exclaimed at the time, “Holy shit . . . he just threw you!” Such statements made at the time of an incident in reaction to the incident are inherently reliable. As kids say, “First word’s truth.” We know Michelle Field’s reaction was to say, “I can’t believe he just did that. That was so hard.” We know the bruise marks on Field’s left arm (shown below) were consistent with the way Fields and Terris described the incident and were consistent with what is shown and heard on the video and audio recordings.
Aronberg admitted there was probable cause for the Jupiter police to charge Lewandowski with a misdemeanor battery. That means a reasonable and prudent person in light of all the circumstances would believe that a crime had been committed, in this case a battery, and that the person charged committed the crime, meaning Lewandowski. It also means that the evidence established a prima facie case and, therefore, there was sufficient evidence to go forward and sustain a conviction which would survive an appeal.
Aronberg is wrong when he says there is a reasonable hypothesis of innocence created by Lewandowski’s attorney’s argument that Lewandowski was protecting Trump. Lewandowski’s attorney must have made that argument because Lewandowski never communicated with the police except when he publicly tweeted and denied the incident ever took place, said he never touched Michelle Fields, said he never met Michelle Fields and said Michelle Fields was delusional. In this host’s opinion, no county attorney could reasonably come to a conclusion from the evidence which the police had presented to the Palm Beach County Attorney’s Office, which included Lewandowski’s tweeted denial that the event ever took place, that Lewandowski used reasonable force on Fields to protect presidential candidate Donald Trump. There is only an unreasonable hypothesis of innocence. Nevertheless, there were other reasons for the Palm Beach County Attorney’s Office to shy away from prosecuting Lewandowski, none of which have anything to do with justice or legal ethics. The prosecutors just don’s want to admit what they may be.
Readers of this website will recall that this host’s conclusion in consideration of the video and all the facts and evidence in the case was as follows:
“If one looks at the video, it becomes clear, or at least to this host it is quite evident, that Lewandowski was not seeking to batter Fields and was not removing her from Trump’s presence because of the question she was asking, but that he was merely trying to get to the front of the line to “catch up” as Detective Bujnowski described it, to be with his candidate.
“Lewandowski doesn’t need impulse control counseling; he needs to cut a switch and report to the woodshed to be taught some manners.”
Thus, there is a lack of evidence of malicious criminal intent. There is evidence of a battery because Lewandowski grabbed Fields’ arm and yanked her back, but there is no evidence this was done with a malicious intent to cause Field’s physical harm. It is not necessary for the state to prove malice to prove the offense. It is not even necessary to prove Fields was injured. Proving a nonconsensual touching is enough to prove a battery, but being able to prove malice is a relevant factor when making the decision whether or not to prosecute especially given the expense this case promised to cost Palm Beach County.
If the trier of fact was a jury, the verdict would become a referendum on Donald Trump and not a judgement of Corry Lewandowski’s actions. If the trier of fact was a judge, the verdict would still in most likelihood be a referendum on Donald Trump and not a judgment of Corry Lewandowski’s actions. (If judges were completely unbiased, we wouldn’t be seeing so many Supreme Court decisions split along the lines of the party of the president who appointed them.) So the county attorney had plenty of reason to be afraid Lewandowski’s case would not be decided on the facts, but on the song and dance. Further, these two prosecutors likely admitted to themselves they were going to be inferior when compared to the heavyweight legal talent Donald Trump could afford to bring in to defend Lewandowski, and whenever prosecutors think they are in over their head and stand a chance of losing, they punt. Further, if Lewandowski was found not guilty, then Lewandowski might feel more empowered to jerk around innocent women, and pretty soon everyone following Trump would start throwing everyone aside in a continuous riot.
To be perfectly clear, if this battery case did not involve three national figures, and if the defendant had just been an average Joe, and if there was the same amount of evidence against the defendant, meaning a video tape, an audio tape, an eyewitness, and pictures of bruises to the victim’s arm, the case would have gone forward, and securing a conviction would have been a piece of cake. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the public defender would have persuaded the defendant to cop a plea, and if the defendant refused and went to trial, there would be a near certainty he would be convicted if tried by a judge, and if tried by a jury, the defendant would have had another chance equal to ninety-nine out of a hundred of being convicted.
Trump and people willing to give money for Lewandowski’s defense could have made the prosecution of this one misdemeanor case very expensive for the State, very expensive, and the most Lewandowski was facing was a small fine and some counseling. Further, the charges would never have been brought if Lewandowski had just apologized, something most real men would have done. (Lewandowski claimed he called Fields to do so. He probably only let the phone ring twice just so he would have a record of a call being made. He left no voice mail message. He left no text message. He sent no email.) Lewandowski did say, “excuse me” and “thank you” as he yanked Fields back to accelerate himself forward, but that was it. Privilege is an affirmative defense the defendant would present after a prima facie case of battery had been presented by the prosecutor. Lewandowski would present evidence he was privileged to thrown Fields aside to protect Trump from harm, and it is hard to see how such evidence could sufficiently overcome the prima facie case absent Lewandowski testifying on his own behalf, since the only statement Lewandowski released claimed the incident never happened which refuted any claim made by Lewandowski’s lawyer that Lewandowski was acting in Trump’s defense.
Whether or not to prosecute is a discretionary matter. The county attorney needed to consider whether prosecuting Lewandowski on the misdemeanor battery was worth being accused by radical and not so radical Trump supporters of being part of an establishment conspiracy or that he did it to help Hillary Clinton. Further, it is reasonable to opine that Aronberg received a few death threats given the craziness of some Trump’s supporters just the same as Michelle Fields received death threats which are presently being investigated by the Washington, D.C. police. Aronberg also may have acted to protect Trump to protect his own self interests. According to Fields, based on what Aronberg’s wife had posted on her public relations firm’s website, Aronberg and his wife had reason to curry Trump’s favor for financial gain.
Economically, the county attorney was looking at an extraordinary amount of staff time being consumed responding to motions and discovery demands, hiring expert witnesses to contradict the testimony being offered by Lewandowski’s expert witnesses, responding to petitions for writs from higher courts, and potentially needing to brief and argue an appeal. Aronberh had to consider, perhaps had a fiduciary duty to his county constituents to consider, that the personnel and overhead costs needed to prosecute Lewandowski could be more efficiently used bringing dozens of ordinary criminals accused of greater acts of violence to justice. Michelle Fields had already received death threats. The cost of security and crowd control would have been immense. That was another cost which needed be taken into consideration.
It is also not outside the realm of possibility that there could have been riots in Palm Beach County if Lewandowski was convicted. Palm Beach didn’t need dozens of white supremacists and Ku Klux Klan members, perhaps led by John “Quick Draw” McGraw, the 78-year-old man who sucker punched black rights activist Rekeen Jones at a Trump rally in North Carolina, raiding its community, turning over trash cans and burning Aronberg and Fields in effigy on the courthouse steps. With radical elements prone to violence supporting Trump, these possibilities had to be considered.
So Michelle Fields first got yanked back hard enough to have bruise marks appear on her arm. Then the incident was truthfully reported in the Washington Post. Then Lewandowsky denied the event ever happened and called Fields “delusional.” Then Lewandowski insinuated Fields falsely claimed former Congressman and conservative political commentator for Fox News, Allen West, groped her because she was an attention seeker. Then Breitbart News failed to stand by Fields because her claim was not friendly to Trump, so Fields and three of her colleagues, Ben Shapiro, Jordan Schachtel and Jarrett Stepman, felt compelled to resign. (At that time, Schachtel wrote, “Breitbart News is no longer a journalistic enterprise, but instead, in my opinion, something resembling an unaffiliated media Super PAC for the Trump campaign.”) Then Trump and his campaign spokespeople got behind the story that Fields was failing to follow protocol, that she left an assigned press area and entered a “protective bubble” which was maintained by the Secret Service agents (except, apparently, by the Secret Service agent standing right next to Fields and Trump at the time of the incident), and that Fields reached out and touched Trump with her left hand causing Trump to recoil (not remembering doing so for weeks and it not appearing on the video) and, Lewandowski, standing at the ever ready (and apparently far more vigilant than the assigned Secret Service agents) sprung into action coming to Trump’s rescue by jerking Fields’ left hand down and back (and in such an instinctive manner that he forgot all about it the next day). Then, after Trump discovered the video showed Fields might have touched him, Trump called Aronberg’s office and apparently wanted Fields charged with battery. (Aronberg admitted Trump contacted his office, argued against Lewandowski being charged, and pointed out that Fields had touched him, but Aronberg said Fields’ contact was considered “incidental,” so it did not rise to the level of criminal conduct.) So Trump wanted Fields thrown in jail because his campaign manager yanked her around. Nice guy. Shortly following showing bruising to her arm over a tweet, Michelle Fields began to receive death threats from fanatical Trump supporters. No young, innocent woman should suffer from such mistreatment, but she still tried to be nice about it, and she agreed to simply accept an apology, something she says her editor at Breitbart News told her was on its way but which never arrived.
According to Michelle Fields, she received a telephone call from the county attorney’s office, and she agreed to let the charges be dismissed in return for an apology. She did not hear back from the prosecutor, and Aronberg admitted, “had an apology been given at the beginning of all this, we could have avoided this mess.” Then the prosecutor leaked to the press that he intended not to pursue the charges the day before his press conference. What was that about, and why was Fields blind-sided by the announcement?
There is no evidence Michelle Fields ever received any sort of an apology. Like in the movie Love Story, being in love with Trump is never having to say you’re sorry. Being with the Trump campaign is largely about retaliation. Nixon had an enemies list. How long will Trump’s enemies list become?
Then, after all that, and adding insult to injury, were the ill informed remarks made by Mika Brzenzinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe less than one day after the prosecutors made their announcement, which remarks appeared to be made with an air of disdain for Michelle Fields, almost as if Brzenzinski didn’t like Fields because she was young and pretty and challenging Brzenzinski’s historical preeminence in that field. This host doubts that was the case, but it was as if. . . The real reason is probably because Brzenzinski was upset that incidents like this take away from female reporters’ credibilities, but female reporters should not be separately judged just because they are not “tough enough” or willing to take it “like a man.”
Three days after the Palm Beach County prosecutors announced on Thursday that they would not be proceeding with the prosecution of Lewandowski, Michelle Fields was interviewed on CNN’s Reliable Sources by Brian Stelter. Apparently, Fields took too much time to respond to the prosecutors’ decision to please Mika Brzezinski or, maybe, Brzezinski was simply disappointed Fields did not grant her first post-decision interview to MSNBC.
Mika Brzenzinski said with a scowl on her face less than 20 hours after the prosecutors’ news conference,
“For the first time we’ve heard nothing from the reporter who’s made these accusations, just nothing at all. She tweeted a lot about it, she was very upset when it happened. You could hear on the audio tape. She was saying, ‘Oh my God, oh my God . . . she was very upset about it.”
Brzenzinski then asked the remaining members of the panel on Friday morning’s Morning Joe (Joe Scarborough was absent that day), “Are you sure she told the truth?”
Nothing said by the prosecutors and none of the evidence suggest Fields had not been telling the truth, so why would Brzenzinski question Fields’ credibility? Contradictions in the statements made on behalf of the Trump campaign cause the defense Lewandowski’s attorneys presented to the prosecutor’s office, that Lewandowski came to Trump’s rescue, to be highly questionable. Conversely, there have been no contradictions in the statements made by Fields and Washington Post reporter Ben Terris. Even if Lewandowski’s attorney’s theory of the case is true, even if Lewandowski worked his way between the Secret Service agent and Trump, grabbed Lewandowski’s left arm and yanked Fields away from Trump because Lewandowski falsely perceived Fields was posing a physical threat to Trump, even if all that were true, finding all those facts true would not impeach the truthfulness of Field’s or Terris’s statements, especially because those statements mirror what they spontaneously said at the time of the event.
Brzenzinski then attempts to goad the remaining members of the Morning Joe panel to turn on Fields and make her the bad guy by saying, “I think you all . . . are talking about very important parts of this . . . but you’re failing or afraid to talk about where it all began. . . . but why are you all afraid to talk about both sides of this” meaning taking the Trump campaign’s position.
Mika Brzenzinski then makes a false statement when she says referring to Fields, “She said she was almost thrown to the ground.”
According to Jupiter Police Department Detective Marc Bujnowski’s Probable Cause Affidavit, “After [Fields] had asked the question, she felt someone yank her left arm. She added that she fell back but caught herself from falling.”
Ben Terris reported in the Washington Post based on his own personal observation,
“I watched as a man with short-cropped hair and a suit grabbed [Field’s] arm and yanked her out of the way. He was Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s 41-year-old campaign manager. . . . . Fields stumbled. Finger-shaped bruises formed on her arm.”
The statement Fields wrote for Breitbart News stated,
“Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.”
Ben Terris can be heard on the audio saying immediately following his witnessing the incident, “He just like threw you out of the way, like what threat were you?”
According to Detective Bujnowski’s Probable Cause Affidavit,
“On March 11th, 2016, I contacted Ben Terris. Terris confirmed what Fields had told me about the incident. Terris indicated that he saw Lewandowski pull Fields’ arm, and Fields stumble right after the pull. Terris specifically used the term ‘yank’ as far as what type of action Lewandowski took onto Fields’ arm.”
* * * *
“Lewandowski then grabbed Fields left arm with his right hand [in the video it appears Lewandowski actually used his left hand], causing her to turn and step back. This motion cleared a path for Lewandowski to walk past Fields, allowing him to ‘catch up’ and get closer to Trump, who was walking during this entire incident.”
As seen on the video, Lewandowski does not attempt to squeeze through Fields and Trump until Trump had begun to move forward.
From his observation of the video, Detective Bujnowski confirmed that Lewandowski pulled Fields left arm hard enough to cause her to turn and step back. Since the video is only one frame per second or half second, it doesn’t record everything that happened. Terris was an eyewitness three feet away, and he observed Fields stumble. Fields told the police she fell back, as would be expected if someone yanked one’s arm from behind with enough force to cause one in high heels to pivot and turn around, but Fields said she had caught herself and had prevented herself from falling. Fields wrote she almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain her balance. All these statements are considerably different from Mika Brzenzinski’s statement that Fields said she was “almost thrown to the ground.” The video confirms that Fields’ arm was yanked back and in a downward motion, and it also shows Fields’ knees buckle. Notice the bend in Fields’ knees in the following still shot taken from the security video and see how Fields’ lower legs are not in line with her back.
Brzenzinski then blamed Fields for not being tough enough by saying, “I’m going to tell you right now, a lot worse has happened to me in a press scrum (an impromptu press conference often held immediately outside an event), a lot worse.” Brzenzinski gives no examples, and it is not clear whether the “lot worse” was the result of and accident or an intentional act.
If this host was standing behind Brzenzinski in an elevator and as soon as she began to step off the elevator, this host were to grab Brzenzinski’s left arm and yank it back hard enough to cause Brzenzinski to rotate on her high heels, be pulled back into the elevator, need buckle her knees to keep from falling and, as a result, this host left bruise marks on Brzenzinski’s left arm because of an overly hard grip, this host would expect Brzenzinski to charge him with battery, and this host would be guilty of battery. Maybe Brzenzinski would press the charge, maybe she would not. It would probably make a difference if the battery was done by a stranger in an elevator rather than by a fellow reporter pushing and shoving their way to the front of the pack to interview a subject. It would probably make a difference if Brzenzinski was also pushing and shoving her way to the front of the pack to interview the same subject. Maybe it would make a difference if this host denied he ever touched Brzenzinski and if this host publicly called Brzenzinski delusional. Maybe it would make a difference if this host defamed Brzenzinski in a tweet insinuating that she made up the entire incident because she was seeking attention. Maybe it would make a difference if this host suggested Brzenzinski faked the bruises by applying makeup to her arm. Maybe it would make a difference if in addition to the battery, this host did what he could to impugn Brzenzinski’s credibility, integrity and professional reputation. All those factors would probably make a lot of difference. They did to Fields.
Michelle Fields did not intend to file a police report charging Lewandowski with battery until the Trump campaign forced her into it as she explains in her interview with CNN.
Brzensinski goes on to say, “I just, I’m not going to say it, but I’m surprised that . . . even now when you see Florida state officials literally spelling out what happened totally debunking the story . . . and saying there was no crime.”
That’s not what the prosecutors said at all. The prosecutors said they did not think they could prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. They debunked nothing. How could Brzensinski be so in error on these points?
Perhaps Brzensinski’s next statements gives a clue to the answer. Brzenzinski said, “I don’t like what happened. I don’t like what happened. I’m just going to be very careful . . . but I think we . . . I think women have a responsibility to make sure that we . . . that we bring to the table valuable credibility and that we . . . we don’t . . . I think something really . . . something that is sort of hard to talk about happened here, and I’m not going to push it forward and lead to any more problems, but this was a joke from the beginning, it was.”
Brzenzinski seems to think that because the prosecutors dropped the ball that Fields somehow impugned the credibility of all women reporters. Somehow this whole case was suppose to have become a women versus men thing, and the men won to Brzenzinski’s chagrin.
Michelle Fields made a charge the prosecutors did not have the guts to pursue because they probably would have lost with a jury firmly divided based on whether or not they voted for Trump or planned on voting for Trump. Does Brzensinski also believe O.J. Simpson did not murder his ex wife simply because he was found not guilty in the criminal case? The sad thing about this is that money and politics bought injustice and stopped the prosecutors from pursuing the charges, stopped the prosecutors from relying on the overwhelming evidence available to them and caused the prosecutors to take the easy way out rather than be embarrassed by a loss.
The prosecutors needed to come up with an alternative to prosecution in order to save face. They said the press was directed toward the back, and there was a bubble created around Donald Trump as he left the news conference. No witness has come forward who said the press was directed toward the back but it can be seen on a video. However, the person who would have been in charge with enforcing the bubble, the Secret Service man standing directly behind Trump and Fields, did nothing to distance Fields from Trump. The prosecutors said Fields made slight contact with Trump. Yet when looking at the picture cited for proof that contact was made, one cannot tell if any contact was made or whether Field’s hand is slightly ahead of Trump’s coat sleeve. The prosecutors said that when Fields touched Trump, he recoiled his right arm. That was the biggest lie of them all. Trump moved his right hand to retrieve a pen from his left inside coat pocket, and Trump then turned his attention back to Fields. He then began signing autographs. The incompleteness of the video made it impossible to detect a recoil in any event, but the fact that Trump returns to speaking with Fields after the supposed “recoil” shows it was not a recoil at all. Further, Lewandowski did not grab Fields until four and one-half seconds later. The prosecutors said they looked at the evidence and decided there was no way they could prosecute the case and move forward, and as already explained, the prosecution had a prima facie case and could have moved forward.
The security video released by the Palm Beach County Attorney’s Office which will be analyzed herein consists of 16 different frames. The frames are not taken at equally distant times. The time between frames is a one second interval, followed by two half-second intervals, followed by a one second interval, followed by two half-second intervals, followed by a one second interval, and so forth. A frame by frame analysis of the security video is as follows:
Frame 1 (21:57:41.963) shows Michelle Fields in a yellow jacket beginning to approach Trump in a dark suit and red tie to ask Trump a question. Corry Lewandowski in a dark suit, blue shirt and grey tie is behind Trump and to his left. The Secret Service agent in a dark suit and a dark tie is to Lewandowski’s left. Terris in a red plaid shirt is directly behind Fields and looking at Lewandowski.
Frame 2 (21:57:42.963) shows Fields leaning toward Trump asking him a question as Trump has his right arm by his side and appears to be listening to what Fields is saying. Everyone has moved forward except Terris who is now looking at the Secret Service agent. Lewandowski remains in the background to Trump’s left. It was at this point when Fields was closest to Trump when the picture was taken which the prosecutor claims shows Fields touched Trump.
From the pictures it is not clear Fields touched Trump as one cannot tell if there is distance between Field’s hand and Trumps right coat sleeve front to back, but obviously there was no threat, and Trump did not react to any touching.
Frame 3 (21:57:43.463) shows Trump reaching into his left inside coat pocket to retrieve a pen as he continues to pay attention to Fields’ question. The Secret Service agent has moved forward as Terris remained in place. Lewandowski remained in place still behind and to the left of Trump. Terris is looking at Lewandowski and reportedly was wanting to interview him.
Frame 4 (21:57:43.963) shows Trump still reaching into his pocket to retrieve his pen. The Secret Service agent has stepped forward and is observing the situation. Trump is looking directly at Fields.
Frame 4 (21:57:44.963) shows Trump retrieving his pen from his inside left coat pocket as he continues to appear interested in listening to Fields’ question. At this time, Lewandowski appears disinterested in Fields as he is looking back at Terris who may be asking him a question. The Secret Service agent appears to be making sure that Fields is not a threat to Trump and is looking between her and Trump. If Lewandowski thought Fields touched Trump in Frames 2, then how come instead of springing forward at that time, Lewandowski becomes disinterested in Fields and looks back at Terris? Whoops, looks like the prosecutors missed that one.
Frame 5 (21:57:45.463) shows Lewandowski begin to cut in between the Secret Service agent and Trump in the direction of Fields as the line begins to move forward at a faster clip. Lewandowski uses his left arm to hold the Secret Service agent back to make a path for himself. At that time, Trump is holding on to his pen in his right hand and one of his books in his left hand getting ready to sign an autograph. At the same time, Trump appears to be listening to Fields finish her question. The Secret Service agent behind them has everything under control. Lewandowski begins moving toward Fields two and one-half seconds after the alleged touching to which Trump’s campaign claims Lewandowski was reacting. A full clip of a .45 automatic could easily be emptied in that time. Lewandowski’s turning his attention to Terris and delaying two and one-half seconds before beginning to cut between the Secret Service agent and Trump in the direction of Fields after Lewandowski supposedly saw Fields touch Trump evidences that Lewandowski was not acting in response to Fields touching Trump but that his movements were motivated by some other factor. In addition, it is highly unlikely Lewandowski would be blocking the Secret Service agent from Trump by extending his left arm if he thought Trump was in any danger.
Frame 6 (21:57:45.963) shows that as the entire crowd moves forward, Lewandowski continues to move toward Fields cutting between the Secret Service agent and Donald Trump. Trump becomes preoccupied signing his autograph .
Frame 7 (21:57:46.963) shows Lewandowski slowing down his movement as he is blocked somewhat by the Secret Service agent. One and one-half seconds have passed since Lewandowski began moving in Fields’ direction, and Lewandowski has not spoken to the Secret Service agent who blocked him, and both facts are inconsistent with Lewandowski perceiving Fields as a threat to Trump.
Frame 8 (21:57:47.463) shows that as the Secret Service agent moves to the right to get out of Lewandowski’s way, Lewandowski reaches in with his left hand and grabs Fields’ left arm and begins to pull Fields’s left arm back and down while Terris looks on. Lewandowski pulls Fields with enough force to cause Fields to spin a quarter turn to her left (counterclockwise) causing her right foot to come into line with her left foot. Trump continues to move forward and appears to be signing his autograph to the inside of the book he is holding.
Frame 9 (21:57:47.963) shows Lewandowski moving forward past Fields, not looking at Fields and apparently paying her no mind. In the half-second from the time Lewandowski first began to yank Fields, she has moved her left foot from in back of her right foot to the left of her right foot, and Fields’ knees look partially buckled. Fields’ right leg is bent at the knee, and her left leg is stretched behind her consistent with movements needed to keep her balance. Terris is looking closely at what is happening between Lewandowski and Fields. The Secret Service agent has moved forward with Trump and off to Trumps’ right. Trump continues to pay attention to the book he is holding and appears to still be writing in it.
Frame 10 (21:57:48.963) shows Lewandowski move past Fields paying her no mind and looking ahead on an apparent mission to be even with Trump. Fields looks on as if to say, “Why did you just do that to me?” Terris is standing directly behind Fields. The Secret Service agent has kept up with Trump and is behind and to the right of Trump as Trump begins to turn left and drop out of the video.
Frame 11 (21:57:49.463) shows Lewandowski continuing to move forward behind Trump while Fields and Terris remain behind. Trump begins to turn to his left with the Secret Service agent behind him.
Frame 12 (21:57:49.963) shows Lewandowski following Trump and looking to his right. At this point, the back of Trump’s head can be seen, and he still has the book in front of him. Fields and Terris follow from behind. The Secret Service agent is at the bottom of the screen behind Trump.
Frame 13 (21:57:50.963) shows Lewandowski turning to his right to apparently speak with Terris. Fields is in back of Terris and to his left. The back of Donald Trump’s head can be seen in the lower right corner of the screen. Two Secret Service men work their way toward Trump to the left of Fields and Terris.
Frame 14 (21:57:51.463) shows Lewandowski speaking with Terris. Fields is behind Terris. Trump is no longer visible on the screen. This would have been an ideal time for Lewandowski to have apologized to Fields for grabbing her roughly to let himself through putting an end to the entire conflict.
Frame 15 (21:57:51.963) shows Lewandowski listening to a question being put to him by Terris. Two Secret Service agents can still be seen making their way through the crowd. Trump is no longer visible.
Frame 16 (21:57:52.963) shows Lewandowski in the lower right of the screen. Trump, Fields and Terris are no longer visible.
From the time the Trump campaign would like everyone to believe Michelle Fields touched Donald Trump or, at best, barely brushed against Trump’s right coat sleeve, and the time Lewandowski grabbed Fields and began to yank her back, four and one-half seconds passed, and none of the Secret Service agents, including the agent who was looking directly at the interaction between Trump and Fields, reacted at all. Because of Lewandowski’s failure to react for two and one-half seconds before he began to move in Fields’ direction, because of Lewandowski’s failure to grab Fields for four and one-half seconds after the claim (not his claim, but his attorney’s claim) that Fields touching Trump causing Lewandowski to perceive that Fields constituted a threat to Trump, because of the lack of continuity in Lewandowski coming to Trump’s rescue by taking time to look back at Terris, because of the failure of the Secret Service agent directly at the scene to react in any way and because the only statement attributable to Lewandowski was that he never touched Fields, it is entirely illogical to believe that Lewandowski was reacting to Fields touching Trump and was acting to protect Trump. The Lewandowski defense has less credibility than Trump’s claim he saw thousands and thousands of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey as they watched the World Trade Center towers collapse on September 11, 2001.
If Lewandowski was a Secret Service agent, and if it was his job to protect the presidential candidate, then Lewandowski would need be fired for being grossly incompetent. This host’s conclusion is that the entire story Lewandowski was privileged to yank on Fields’ arm hard enough to cause her bruising because he was acting to protect Donald Trump is nothing but a sham, as big a fairy tale as Lewandowski’s initial lie that he never touched Fields. Further, Lewandowski has no privilege to jerk anyone around unless they pose an immediate threat, which Fields obviously did not. If Lewandowski’s thinking was that he just wanted to give Donald Trump more space, even though Trump was taking the time to listen to Fields’ question, then at best he could only use reasonable force, and the bruising to Fields’ arm demonstrate the amount of force Lewandowski used was not reasonable. No Secret Service agent was interviewed by anyone from the Jupiter Police Department or the Palm Beach County Attorney’s Office. No Secret Service agent has said they solicited Lewandowski’s assistance to form a protective bubble around Trump. No one has ever alleged that Lewandowski was deputized. Lewandowski did not exceed his authority; Lewandowski had no authority.
Deputy prosecutor Adrianne Ellis’s statement that Trump recoiled his right arm in reaction to Fields’ touching him when the video clearly shows that if Fields brushed up against Trump’s coat sleeve, then Trump would not have been able to feel it (which would also explain why it was several weeks before Trump joined in on the defense’s story line) and, further, that Trump was merely reaching with his right hand to retrieve a pen from his left inside coat pocket, proves Ellis is either grossly incompetent or simply a liar. If her statement was the result of incompetency, think of what a pushover she would have been at trial. If you don’t have the tools, best not to work on the car. According to Harry Callahan, “A man has got to know his limitations,” and the personnel at the Palm Beach County Attorney’s Office apparently knew their limitations and decided not to duke it out with magnum force.
Whether is was because of Brzezinski statements that Fields had remained silent since the Palm Beach County prosecutors held their press conference or in spite of Brzezinski’s comments or wholly unrelated to Brzezinski’s comments, Fields was on CNN being interviewed by Brian Stelter within three days of the prosecutors’ decision to abandon the case, and here is a transcript of that interview:
Stelter: So [Mika Brzenzinski’s] calling it a joke, and some people suggested the media typically jumped onto the story seizing on the anti-Trump story because of the bias. Well Michelle Fields is joining me now here in Washington for her first TV interview since the charges were dropped. Michelle, I want to ask you about Mika Brzezinski’s comment, the idea that this was a joke, was this a joke to you?
Fields: Well, I do think that this shouldn’t have been such a huge story. If I had just received an apology, as I was told I was going to receive, which was why I was quiet the first two days, this wouldn’t have been a huge story. The reason why it is such a huge story is because Corry lied. Donald Trump lied. They defamed me, and they went on this huge smear campaign against me, and I think it sheds light on the character of the campaign. And I think a lot of people were surprised by their blatant lies about me. That’s why it became such a huge story. It’s the defamation, not so much the arm . . . grabbing of the arm.
Breitbart News CEO Larry Solov (seen below) had asked for an apology to put the matter to rest. The day after the incident, March 9, 2016, he issued the following statement,
“It’s obviously unacceptable that someone crossed a line and made physical contact with our reporter. What Michelle has told us directly is that someone ‘grabbed her arm’ and while she did not see who it was, Ben Terris of The Washington Post told her that it was Corey Lewandowski. If that’s the case, Corey owes Michelle an immediate apology.”
Instead of an apology, Lewandowski claimed he never touched Michelle Fields and that she was delusional.
The CNN interview continued,
Stelter: . . . . According to the prosecutor this week you went around trying to get access to Trump, suggesting you working around the area the press wasn’t suppose to be in. Do you think you did anything wrong trying to get access to the candidate that night?
Fields: I think the prosecutor’s . . . decision, the way they handled this entire situation was very unprofessional.
Stelter: So were you wrong for trying to get to Trump that night?
Fields: Of course not, no, they say this thing like . . . call . . . like a bubble, even Katy Tur of NBC who is an implant for the Donald Trump campaign, even said that this bubble thing is ridiculous, that I went and violated Donald Trump’s bubble, and then you know the prosecutor went and got information, they didn’t even go to get an independent source, and said, their independent source was actually just a source, an expert, that the Corry camp gave to them, I mean this is . . . the entire situation just seems a little sketchy.
There is a video which initially shows some reporters being directed toward an area where Donald Trump would be walking through to leave the room. Fields left the area later to return a little further up to be the first reporter able to interview Trump as he left the room. Ben Terris was in the same area. No Secret Service agent then directed Fields or Torris to go to any specific location, and there were Secret Service agents around Trump the entire time.
The CNN interview continued,
Stelter: So you feel it did not, it was not treated fairly by the prosecutor’s office
Fields: Well I just don’t agree with obviously . . . their decision, you know they talked about oh Trump is lifting his arm, therefore I must have touched him. I didn’t touch Trump. I didn’t grab him. The reason why he’s lifting his arm is because he’s getting a pen out of his jacket. . . . I think a lot of this is just really weird. You look at the prosecutor’s and his wife’s social media. They are at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s resort, all of the time. You look at the prosecutor’s wife owns a a PR firm. You look at the PR firm’s website, and she talks about why you should work with her PR firm because she has lots of great working relationships, and the first picture is her and Donald Trump and . . . her and Melania Trump. . . . I can’t speak for anyone else, but if I were a prosecutor, and my wife was trying to monetize her relationship with Donald Trump, and it’s right there on her website, and I’m partying all the time at Mar-a-Lago, I would recuse myself from the situation and the case.
The plot thickens, and yes, if Aronberg’s wife was trying to monetize her relationship with Donald Trump thereby creating within Aronberg a conflict of interest or the appearance of impropriety, then he should have recused himself and ask the State’s Attorney General to take over the case.
The CNN interview continues,
Stelter: . . . I want to go back to the night of this incident, because afterwards you said that you were jolted, quote grabbed tightly by the arm quote I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance, but I was shaken. People want to know if you somehow exaggerated that story by suggesting you almost fell to the ground.
Fields: Well after this had all happened I was told to write something up of what . . . of what happened.
Stelter: But did you overstate it?
Fields: That’s what I felt. . . . I walked up to him with a cell phone, a pen and a notebook in my hand. and I was going up to him, and I felt someone pull me back. I’m in high heels. I’m not expecting anyone to yank me. That is how I felt, and if you listen to the audio, that was my reaction right afterwards, Ben Harris who –
Stelter: You felt you were pulled to the ground. The video doesn’t show that.
Fields: I, no, no, no, no, no, no, I wasn’t pulled, I never said I was pulled and I hit the ground, I said I was yanked towards, like towards the ground. That’s what I felt, and if you hear the audio that was Ben Torris’s reaction as well who the prosecutors also did not . . . interview.
It was not unreasonable for Fields to have described the event as she did, and the video supports her version of the event. There is another video floating around the internet which makes it appear as if Fields suffered no discomfort, but that video appears to have been slowed down, does not show her twisted around as can be seen in the overhead shot, and the bruising to Fields’ arm and Ben Terris’s exclamation at the time “He just like threw you out of the way,” are the best pieces of evidence and support Fields’ description of the event.
The CNN interview continues,
Stelter: . . . Let me ask you then about the next step. The other criticism I’ve read about this situation is that you went to the press before going to the police. That you spoke out about it before going to the police and asking for an investigation. Why is that?
Fields: Well I, I never wanted to go to the police. That was not . . . I did not want to blow this up. I was going to get an apology. I never heard from Corry.
Stelter: Let’s talk about not hearing from Corry. Let me play a sound bite of what Corry Lewandowski said on CNN’s New Day about that the other day.
Lewandowski: That evening after I read her boyfriend’s twitter account saying that something had occurred, I made a phone call to Michelle, and then I never heard back. To this day, I’ve never heard back from Michelle. So it’s not that we didn’t try to reach out to try to get to the bottom of it. It seems to me she wanted to interject herself into making it a story, and now I’m glad the story’s over.
Michelle Fields’ boyfriend, Daily Caller editor Jamie Weinstein (seen below), twitted on March 8, 2016 at 7:28 pm, “Trump always surrounds himself w thugs. Tonight thug Corey Lewandowski tried to pull my gf @Michelle Fields to ground when she asked tough q”
Those were Weinstein’s words, not the words of Fields, coming from an upset boyfriend after seeing the bruising to his sweetheart’s arm.
As for Lewandowski calling Fields to apologize, why if she failed to answer her phone did he not leave a voice mail message, send a text, send an email, try calling again or publicly apologize. Did Lewandowski let the phone ring more than once, or was he just establishing a phone log which he has bragged about? If Lewandowski had called twice, maybe he would have received an answer. The postman always rings twice. Lewandowski’s claim that he called Fields for the purpose of apologizing to her is entirely inconsistent with his tweeting that he never touched her and then calling her delusional and, later, an attention seeker.
The CNN interview continues,
Stelter: He says the phone logs show he made a call that night. Did you receive a call?
Fields: I did not hear from him, no. I did not get a call from my knowledge.
Stelter: He did not leave a message?
Fields: There was no voice mail. There’s no text. There was no email following up apologizing to me.
Stelter: Your saying if he had apologized that night, you’re saying that we wouldn’t be talking about this at all today.
Fields: Of course, that’s why I stayed quiet in the beginning because I was told by my editor that I was going to receive an apology so I didn’t want this to blow up. I didn’t do interviews. I was getting tons of requests. I stayed quiet. I didn’t want this to become a story. The only reason I went to the police is because – well Donald Trump said I made it up. He was questioning the bruises. Katrina Pierson, a spokesperson for Donald Trump, was going on TV and saying, “Well, if this really happened, why didn’t she go to the police? She should go to the police if this really happened,” and was saying this didn’t really happened. I felt they forced me to. I had no choice. I had to go get my bruises documented. Show the police that yes, in fact, this did happen. These weren’t – they said I put makeup on my arm, that they weren’t real bruises. I had to bring someone objective into the situation to take down the facts.
On March 10, 2016, the disinformation campaign began when Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks issued a statement calling Fields’ accusations “entirely false.” Hicks claimed there were no witnesses to the encounter, despite the fact that Terris saw the entire event and reported on it for The Washington Post. Hicks claimed no member of Trump’s staff saw the battery even though Lewandowski obviously saw what he did. Hicks claimed the incident wasn’t caught on camera when Trump should have known about the security cameras inside the Trump National Golf Course ballroom later claiming to Bloomberg Politics that he produced the video as if the police didn’t need go get it. Hicks said, “This individual has never met Corey ( a lie), nor had the only reporter that supposedly identified him (another lie).” Hicks said, “There are often large crowds aggressively seeking access to Mr. Trump and our staff would never do anything to harm another individual (wrong), while at the same time understanding that Mr. Trump and his personal space should never be invaded (which he allows to be done on a regular basis and did not object to Fields being in his personal space, however far that extends, at the time).”
The CNN interview continues,
Stelter: Will you file a defamation suit now against Lewandowski or the Trump campaign?
Fields: I’m not gonna rule it out. Do I think that they defamed me? Absolutely. Corry said that he hadn’t met me, he had never touched me. We know that that’s a lie. Donald Trump after it happened said that the Secret Service told him that nothing happened. Weeks later Donald Trump says that the Secret Service said that I was grabbing at him.
No one from the Secret Service has ever issued a statement. This host does not advise Fields pursue a libel suit because the jury would deadlock voting the same way they did in their primary or in the general election.
Some of the misleading and defamatory things Lewandowski tweeted about Michelle Fields between March 10, 2016, and the time he was served with a summons to appear on March 29, 2016, to answer the battery charge, were as follows,
“@MichelleFields you are totally delusional. I never touched you. As a matter of fact, I have never even met you.”
“Michelle Fields is an attention seeker who once claimed Allen West groped her but later went silent.”
“Daily Caller reporter assaulted by NYPD during ‘Occupy’ protests — professional reporting or attention seeking?”
Michelle Fields actually was assaulted during the occupy protests when she was reporting for the Daily Caller, and below is a picture of it.
The CNN interview continues,
Stelter: There were certainly contradictions in the Trump campaign’s reaction to this.
Fields: And I think there is a reason why. I think they were trying to defame me. And I think it shows malice.
Stelter: You quit Breitbart and said they didn’t support you effectively. What will you do next?
Fields: You know, I’m taking it day by day. This has been absolutely crazy, has not been a fun experience. I had to move out of my apartment because Fox News accidentally published my address and now we’re dealing with threats.
Stelter: This is in a court document that they uploaded to the web.
Fields: Yes and they didn’t redact my information.
Stelter: So you’re not even living in your own home now.
Fields: No, I had to leave, and the D.C. police have been incredible, and . . . working on . . . hopefully getting some of these very serious threats handled.
Stelter: . . . when someone comes forward the victim tends to become the villain. Do you feel that’s what happened to you?
Fields: I think that the Trump campaign tries to paint me as the villain, but I think there’ a lot of smart people in America that see right through this, and they see that . . . they defamed me. And there is another thing that . . . in the conservative movement, I think is also becoming apparent. There are people who are providing favorable coverage to Trump in order to maintain access and kind of helping him, and there are others who realize the truth in Trump and realize the truth about the situation and trying to shed light on it.
It was not until after Lewandowski was charged that Trump spoke up about it, falsely claimed Fields changed her story and suddenly came up with his story that Fields was grabbing him causing him to move his arm away from her. On March 29, 2016, Trump told Bloomberg News,
“. . . . If you look at her initial statements before she knew we had tapes of her, she was talking about being pulled down or dragged down or something to that effect, and all of a sudden when she saw that there were tapes she changed her tone a little bit . . . . and she was grabbing me, . . . . does that mean that I’m suppose to file charges against her? She was grabbing me. That’s why you see the picture of me like that (holding his arm up and pointing toward his left).”
Trump’s statement that Fields said she was being pulled down or dragged down and then changed her tone after the video was produced was rated by PolitiFact as a Pants on Fire lie. The video proves Trump also lied about Fields grabbing him and that he then crossed his arm over his chest because she was grabbing him when the video shows Trump was merely retrieving a pen from his left inside coat pocket.
The CNN interview continues,
Stelter: Does that mean you think you would be blacklisted by a Trump White House?
Fields: I certainly would not be invited. I don’t think so. I would at least like an apology from. . . the Trump campaign before I would consider going to a Trump White House event.
Stelter: And there are people who say you owe an apology to Corry Lewandowski for dragging him through this. What do you say to them?
Fields: It’s laughable. He grabbed me. He denied it. He defamed me, and if anything he should provide an apology, but this is a man as Politico reported threatened to blow up the car of his former boss. I don’t think I’m going to get an apology anytime soon, but it would be nice.
Mica Brzenzinski may never read this post, and there are always other fish to fry, but it would be nice if Brzenzinski would revisit this subject on Morning Joe with more of the facts in hand. Michelle Fields had already been put through more than enough of a disinformation campaign, and she deserves better.
According to the polls taken since March 15, 2016, Bernie Sanders beats John Kasich by an average of 2.7 percentage points if the two were to face each other in a national presidential election. The poll with the most recent start date, the McClatchy/Marist poll which surveyed 1,297 “adults 18 years of age and older residing in the contiguous United States [who] were contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English by telephone using live interviewers . . . [from] telephone numbers randomly selected to ensure that each region was represented in proportion to its population” had Sanders leading Kasich by 11 percentage points with a 3 percent margin of error – Sanders’ largest polling lead to date over Kasich if the two went against each other head to head. The Quinnipiac University poll which began on March 16, 2016, and ended March 23, 2016, conducted live telephone interviews with 1,342 registered voters nationwide, and it had Kasich leading Sanders by 1 percentage point with a 2.7 percent margin of error, so Sanders’ lead over Kasich appears to be widening.
The more people get to know Bernie Sanders, the more they learn that as a socialist democrat he doesn’t plan to do much more than increase the minimum wage, progressively raise taxes on the rich, cut out loopholes which let the rich in some instances pay no taxes, switch the Affordable Health Care Act into an expanded Medicaid plan so there is universal health coverage, and extend public education to include four years of college for those Americans who show an aptitude for learning. Once people learn enough about Sanders to ignore the false allegations that Sanders is a Communist or that Sanders wants the government to take over all means of production, they feel more comfortable voting for him. As a result, Sanders has done best in the caucus states where there is no early voting so that by the time the votes are cast in the caucuses, he has had time to introduce himself to the state electorate. Sanders ideology favors a more equalized economic distribution of wealth and the protection of the middle class. It does not favor a totalitarian regime and, in fact, seeks greater equality of participation in the democratic process by lessening the effect large campaign contributions by a few rich people or corporations seeking to buy an election for their individual, selfish gain, has on the election of candidates. Sanders is also the candidate most committed to battling global warming recognizing it at the same threat level as do most climatologists.
While losing to Sanders, Kasich routinely beats Hillary Clinton in the same kind of polls which put him head to head with Clinton. In the latest McClatchy/Marist poll, Kasich beat Clinton by a 9 percent margin with a 3 percent margin of error, and for polls beginning after March 15, 2016, Kasich leads Clinton by an average of 6.6 percent.
Meanwhile, both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz lose in the polls to Clinton and to Sanders. In the latest McClatchy/Marist poll, Clinton beats Trump by a 9 percent margin with a 3 percent margin of error, and for polls beginning after March 15, 2016, Clinton beats Trump by an average of 10.5 percentage points. Also, in the latest McClatchy/Marist poll, Clinton is tied with Cruz, but for polls beginning after March 15, 2016, Clinton leads Cruz by an average of 2.8 percentage points which is within the margin of error.
Sanders fares better. In the latest McClatchy/Marist poll, Sanders beats Trump by a 20 percent margin with a 3 percent margin of error, and for polls beginning after March 15, 2016, Sanders beats Trump by an average of 16.5 percentage points. Also, in the latest McClatchy/Marist poll, Sanders beats Cruz by a 12 percent margin with a 3 percent margin of error, and for polls beginning after March 15, 2016, Sanders leads Cruz by an average of 10.1 percentage points.
So if the Republican front runners really want a Republican to win the presidency, then Trump and Cruz would defer to Kasich, and if the Democrat front runner really wants a Democrat to win the presidency, then Clinton were to defer to Sanders, but don’t expect any of these candidates to put their party over their pride just because it makes political sense and is in the best interests of their individual party or what they perceive to be best for the country.
Cruz has begun to waffle on whether he’ll support Trump should Trump win the Republican presidential nomination. If Cruz is serious about stopping Trump, then Cruz would want Kasich to remain in the race for any delegates Kasich can take away from Trump in the remaining primaries, and Cruz would want to team up with Kasich to amend notorious Republican Rule 40(b) which requires a candidate “demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination.”
The applicable language in Republican Rule 40 is “majority of the delegates,” not “plurality of the delegates,” and the key word is “delegates,” not vote count. In a winner take all contest such as Florida, the plurality winner receives all the delegates from that state and, therefore, receives from that state a “majority of the delegates.”
The following information is available from Politico with calculates the delegate count as best it can, although contests at state and national convention levels could change the delegate count from what may be initially anticipated:
Iowa: No candidate received a majority of the delegates.
New Hampshire: No candidate received a majority of the delegates.
Nevada: No candidate received a majority of the delegates.
Alaska: No candidate received a majority of the delegates.
Arkansas: No candidate received a majority of the delegates.
Minnesota: No candidate received a majority of the delegates.
Oklahoma: No candidate received a majority of the delegates.
Virginia: No candidate received a majority of the delegates.
Kentucky: No candidate received a majority of the delegates.
Louisiana: No candidate received a majority of the delegates.
Michigan: No candidate received a majority of the delegates.
North Carolina: No candidate received a majority of the delegtes.
South Carolina: Trump with 32.5 percent of the vote received all 50 delegates in this winner-take-all state.
Alabama: Trump with 43.4 percent of the vote received 36 of 50 delegates, a majority.
Georgia: Trump with 38.8 percent of the vote received 42 of 76 delegates, a majority.
Massachusetts: Trump with 49.3 percent of the vote received 22 of 42 delegates, a majority.
Tennessee: Trump with 38.9 percent of the vote received 33 of 58 delegates, a majority.
Hawaii: Trump with 42.4 percent of the vote received 11 of 19 delegates, a majority.
Mississippi: Trump with 47.3 percent of the vote received 25 of 40 delegates, a majority.
Florida: Trump with 45.7 percent of the vote received all 99 delegates in this winner-take-all state.
Illinois: Trump with 38.8 percent of the vote received 53 of 67 delegates, a majority.
Missouri: Trump with 40.9 percent of the vote received 25 of 40 delegates, a majority.
Arizona: Trump with 41.1 percent of the vote received all 58 delegates in this winner-take-all state.
Wisconsin: Trump with 48.2 percent of the vote received 36 of 42 delegates, a majority.
Donald Trump has already won the majority of delegates in 12 states, and Trump’s name may be placed into nomination pursuant to Rule 40.
Colorado: At a convention, Cruz received all of Colorado’s 34 delegates at state and congressional district conventions, a majority.
North Dakota: Cruz received at the state convention 18 of 25 delegates, a majority.
Texas: Cruz with 43.8 percent of the vote received 104 of 155 delegates, a majority.
Kansas: Cruz with 48.2 percent of the vote received 24 of 40 delegates, a majority.
Maine: Cruz with 45.9 percent of the vote received 12 of 23 delegates, a majority.
Wyoming: Cruz with 66.3 percent of the vote received 9 of 12 delegates, a majority.
Idaho: Cruz with 45.4 percent of the vote received 20 of 32 delegates, a majority.
Utah: Cruz with 69.2 percent of the vote received all 40 delegates in this winner-take-all state.
Ted Cruz has won a majority of delegates in 8 states, and Cruz’s name may be placed into nomination pursuant to Rule 40.
Ohio: Kasich with 46.8 percent of the vote received all 66 delegates in this winner-take-all state.
John Kasich has not won a majority of delegates in 8 or more states, and Kasich’s name may not be placed into nomination pursuant to Rule 40 unless Kasich wins a majority of the delegates in seven of the sixteen remaining states.
States remaining and their number of Republican delegates:
New York 95
Rhode Island 19
West Virginia 34
New Jersey 51
New Mexico 24
South Dakota 25
Interestingly, in Vermont, 16 Republican delegates are awarded, which Trump and Kasich have split with 8 each, so Vermont shouldn’t count. In the District of Columbia, Marco Rubio with 37.3 percent of the vote received 10 of 19 delegates, a majority, but the District of Columbia is not a state, so it doesn’t count either toward the eight state minimum for one’s name to be placed into nomination.
According to Republican Rule 14, the membership of the Republican National Convention consists of: ten delegates at large from each state (50 x 10 = 500), the national committeeman, committee woman, and the chairman of the state Republican Party of each state and American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands (2 + 50 + 6 = 58), three district delegates for each House of Representatives member from each state (435 x 3 = 1305), six delegates at large from American Samoa, sixteen delegates at large from the District of Columbia, six delegates at large from Northern Mariana Islands, twenty delegates at large from Puerto Rico, and six delegates at large from the Virgin Islands (6 + 16 + 6 + 20 + 6 = 54). After that the numbers become more difficult and would require some research to calculate the correct number. If the state went for Mitt Romney in the last election, then the state receives four and one-half delegates (no, they’re not amputees) at large plus sixty percent of the number of that state’s electoral votes, and if that sixty percent and/or the combination of that sixty percent and the four and one-half delegates earned by the state last going for Romney is a fraction of a number, then the number of delegates is increased to the next whole number (eliminating the need for amputees to fill the delegate positions). Added to that is one delegate at large for each of the following: if the state has a Republican governor; if the state’s House of Representative members are at least half Republican; if the majority of any chamber of the state’s legislature is Republican; and if the Republican party controls both chambers in the state legislature (for a potential of up to 4 more delegates). Then, in addition, each state receives one delegate at large for each Republican United States Senator from that state.
In order to secure the Republican nomination, the candidate must receive “a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the convention” as per Rule 40(d). Note that the majority is based on the votes entitled to be cast, not on the votes actually cast. There is nothing in the rules which presently keep a delegate from abstaining. Thus, if nothing is done to change the rules, and if neither Kasich nor Rubio can be nominated at the Republican National Convention because of Rule 40(b), there is nothing to stop the Kasich and Rubio delegates from refusing to vote at all so that neither Trump nor Cruz can secure a majority of the votes which are entitled to be cast. This could go on for days through multiple ballots until and unless Rule 40(b) is repealed or modified to allow Kasich and Rubio or some dark horse candidate (Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney for instance), to have their names placed in nomination.
Already, based purely on the numbers, Clinton should defer to Sanders for the Democrats to have the best chance of winning in November, but that is not absolutely necessary. For the Republicans, the issue is much more difficult. Technically, Trump and Cruz should defer to Kasich, who has the best chance of beating Clinton in the general election, but unlike Sanders, Kasich has no wind at his back. What is more likely, is that we see at this year’s conventions what we saw in 1984, but just the opposite. In 1984, the Democrats looked like a disorganized mess with Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow coalition attempting to unseat the Illinois delegates and with the Chicago delegation still run by Mayor Richard Daley’s machine. In contrast, the Republicans were quietly sitting in their chairs and respectfully listening to the various speakers and renominating Ronald Reagan. This time, expect a complete reversal. If Sanders loses, and he probably will, he will still be on stage raising Hillary Clinton’s hand expressing party unity. But with the Republicans, expect turmoil and hatred, bitter contests, accusations of conspiracy, allegations of threats of violence, and maybe a few instances of actual violence between some Trump and Cruz supporters. It will be bad politics but a political reporter’s dream. If Trump is denied, will he walk away from the Republican Party and run as a third party candidate? Expect a Democrat landslide if he does.
It’s understandable that people have difficulty figuring out where Donald Trump stands on abortion, but if his stance is the same as Ronald Reagan’s was in 1980 and 1984 as per the Republican party platforms in effect at the time, Trump is still behind the times even when communicating with the Republican party’s base.
Back when Donald Trump was a liberal, when he was giving money to Democrats, when he was proposing a one time massive tax on the rich to wipe out the national debt, when he was flirting with running for president in 2000, Trump was interviewed on October 24, 1999, and he was asked by Tim Russert on NBC’s Meet the Press, “Partial birth abortion, the eliminating of abortion in the third trimester, big issue in Washington. Would President Trump ban partial birth abortion?”
Trump answered: “Well if I’m. . . I’m very pro choice. I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject. But you still . . . I just believe in choice, and again it may be a little bit of a New York background, because there is some different attitude in different parts of the country and, you know, I was raised in New York, and grew up and worked and everything else in New York City, but I am strongly for choice, and yet I hate the concept of abortion.”
Russert: “But you would not ban it?”
Russert: “Or ban partial birth abortion?”
Trump: “No. I would . . . I would . . . I am pro choice in every respect.”
So in 1999, Trump said he hated the concept of abortion and hated everything for which it stands, yet in 1993, six years earlier, when Marla Maples announced to him that she was pregnant, Trump considered her having an abortion as the preferred alternative as indicated by this transcript of when Trump was being interviewed by Robin Quivers on the Howard Stern Show:
Trump: [Melania’s] on the pill.
Quivers: You know, you fell for that one time before.
Trump: I did, that happened: [Marla Maples said to me,] “Darling, I’m so happy, we’re about have a child.” I said, “uh, excuse me?” I didn’t know about this . . .
Trump: But you know at that time, it was like, “Excuse me, what happened?” And then I said, “Well, what are we going to do about this?” She said, “Oh, are you serious? This is the most beautiful day of our lives.” I said [with no enthusiasm in his voice], “Oh, great.”
Tiffany Trump was born to Marla Maples and Donald Trump on October 13, 1993. Trump met his present wife, Melania [Knauss] Trump in 1998.
By the time of the 2016 presidential election season, Trump supposedly saw the error of his ways (or that his beliefs needed to be modified to gain the Republican presidential nomination), and during the first Republican debate on August 6, 2016, Trump said he had changed his position when a couple he knew were thinking of aborting their child, the child was not aborted, and Trump said the kid turned out to be a “total superstar.” Trump did not say how his position on abortion would have changed, if at all, if the kid turned out to be just average or, worse, a juvenile delinquent. Trump did not cite the birth of Tiffany as the reason for his change of position. The daughter of Marla Maples, Tiffany has been a party animal and did not support her father’s presidential bid until halfway through the primaries.
Then came the town-hall controversy in which Trump was being interviewed by moderator Chris Matthews of MSNBC, which town-hall interview was broadcast in its entirety on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. At that time, the following exchange was seen to have taken place:
Matthews was asking Trump that if abortion were to be banned, how that ban would be enforced. After attempting to turn the topic around by questioning Matthews how he reconciled his stance on abortion rights with his being a member of the Catholic church, Trump said,
“You go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places, but you have to ban it.”
Matthews: “This is not something you dodge, if you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder. Should abortion be punished?”
Trump: “Well, people in certain parts of the Republican party and conservative Republicans would say, ‘Yes, they should be punished.’”
Matthews: “How ‘bout you?”
Trump: “I would say that it’s a very serious problem, and it’s a problem that we have to decide on.”
Matthews: “You say you want to ban it. What’s that mean?”
Trump: “I am against. . . I am pro-life yes.”
Matthews: “How do you ban abortion? How do you actually do it?”
Trump: “Well, you know, you go back to a position like they had, where people will perhaps go to illegal places, but you have to ban it.”
Matthews: “You ban it, and they go to somebody who flunked out of medical school? Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principal?”
Trump: “The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.”
Matthews: “For the women?”
Trump: “Yeah. There has to be some form.”
Matthews: “5 years, 10 years, what?“
Trump: “I don’t know. . . . It would have to be determined.”
* * *
Matthews: What about the guy that gets her pregnant, is he responsible under the law for these abortions, or is he not responsible for the abortion decision?
Trump: . . . I would say no.
Before the Matthews town-hall interview aired, at 3:30 pm on March 30, 2016, Trump issued the following statement,
“This issue is unclear and should be put back into the states for determination. Like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions, which I have outlined numerous times.”
Then, one and one-half hours later, at 5:00 pm on March 30, 2016, Trump’s campaign issued the following statement,
“If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.”
By Friday, April 1, 2016, Trump had again been interviewed, this time by John Dickerson of CBS’s Face the Nation in a segment scheduled to be aired on Sunday, April 3, in which Trump was quoted as saying,
“The laws are set now on abortion, and that’s the way they’re going to remain until they’re changed. I would’ve preferred states’ rights. I think it would’ve been better if it were up to the states, but right now the laws are set. . . . At this moment, the laws are set, and I think we have to leave it that way.”
Trump went on to say in explaining his earlier answer to Matthews at the town-hall meeting,
“I’ve been told by some people that was an older line answer and that was an answer that was given on a, you know, basis of an older line from years ago on a very conservative basis.”
This answer outraged the pure anti-abortionists, and the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List issued a statement saying Trump’s position on abortion would disqualify him from being the Republican nominee.
By April 1, 2016, at 9:00 pm, the Trump campaign had again re-framed his answer and released the following statement:
“Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today and made clear it must stay that way now — until he is president. Then he will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn. There is nothing new or different here.”
It is important to note that Trump did not state his support for an amendment to the Constitution to ban abortions or to declare the fetus a person under the Fourteenth Amendment. Instead, Trump said the law should be left up to the individual states.
Trump and the Republican party have evolved when it comes to punishing the woman if she gets an abortion. If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned and the individual states were allowed to regulate abortion and impose whatever scheme of enforcement each state saw fit to impose, then women would certainly be punished. In fact, until 1998, the Republican platform allowed for woman to be punished.
When Roe v. Wade was decided, the law in the State of Texas which was being challenged stated in pertinent part,
“If any person shall designedly administer to a pregnant woman or knowingly procure to be administered with her consent any drug or medicine, or shall use towards her any violence or means whatever externally or internally applied, and thereby procure an abortion, he shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than two nor more than five years . . . .
“Whoever furnishes the means for procuring an abortion knowing the purpose intended is guilty as an accomplice.”
Under the Texas law which Roe v. Wade held to be unconstitutional, a position Trump says he would want the Supreme Court to overturn, a woman who sought out an abortion would “knowingly procure to be administered with her consent any drug or medicine, or shall use towards her . . . violence or means . . . thereby procur[ing] an abortion,” and the woman would be liable to be sentenced to two to five years in prison. In addition, any one who might pay for the abortion, or give the woman a ride to the clinic, whether it be the woman’s parents, or her man, or one of her girlfriends, or even if it were to be the woman herself who was getting the abortion, they or she would be furnishing the means for procuring an abortion, and would also be guilty as an accomplice and face two to five years in prison. In fact, back in the day before Roe v. Wade was decided, a number of states made it illegal for a woman to leave the state if her intent in leaving the state was to have an abortion, and if the woman had an abortion in another state, then she could never return to her home state without facing arrest. That is what this nation could go back to under Trump’s suggestion to leave regulating abortions back up to the states, as each state could then decide how much it wanted to punish the woman, the doctor, or anyone who might assist.
Trump claiming his position matches that of Ronald Reagan is no longer valid if Trump does not want to punish the woman. A review of the Republican party platform language through the years is as follows:
In 1972, Richard Nixon was running for his second term. Roe v. Wade had yet to be decided. There is no abortion language in the Republican 1976 platform.
In 1976, abortion still was not much of an issue, and a fairly obscure, vague piece of language was added to the Republican platform mixed into a paragraph speaking of family values as follows:
“Because of our concern for family values . . . that will make our country a more hospitable environment for family life . . . a position on abortion that values human life . . .”
It wasn’t much at the time, but the anti-abortion forces had not yet taken over the Republican party. By 1980, things had changed, and the anti-abortionists began to control the writing of the Republican platform. In 1980, the Republican platform stated in pertinent part,
“There can be no doubt that the question of abortion . . . is ultimately concerned with equality of rights under the law. . . . we affirm our support of a constitutional amendment to restore protection of the right to life for unborn children. . . .”
With the passage of the 1980 Republican platform, the case for charging a woman and her doctor with murder for performing or having an abortion was beginning to be set, but not quite. The language in the 1980 Republican platform is fairly vague. The language of the proposed constitutional amendment is not stated. If the constitutional amendment was to “restore protection of the right to life for unborn children,” that constitutional amendment could merely restore the issue to the states to individually decide, and the state would not be banned from punishing the doctor or the woman if the state saw fit to do so because the constitutional amendment would take away from the woman her Fourteenth Amendment privacy rights when it came to having an abortion. By 1980, many states had removed their anti-abortion statutes from the books and were not about to re-enact them.
Things because more extreme by 1884 as the pro-life advocates gained power and began to take over the Republican party. By 1984, the Republican platform stated in pertinent part,
“The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We therefore reaffirm our support for a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. . . . We commend the efforts of those individuals and religious and private organizations that are providing positive alternatives to abortion by meeting the physical, emotional, and financial needs of pregnant women and offering adoption services where needed.”
By 1984, the pro-life component of the Republican party had taken over. By 1984, the anti-abortion, pro-life crowd wanted a constitutional amendment which would give an unborn fetus Fourteenth Amendment protections, meaning that fetuses would no longer need be born or naturalized in the United States to be a citizen of the state wherein it’s mother may reside, and no state would be able to deprive to any unborn fetus within its jurisdiction “the equal protection of the law.” Under such an amendment, anyone causing or assisting an abortion could be charged with murder because the fetus would be entitled to the same rights as any other United States citizen.
This kind of Republican platform language continued for eight years. The applicable language from the Republican platform for 1988 reads the same as it did in 1984. The language then became a little stronger, especially in terms of public school children. The Republican platform in 1992 stated in pertinent part,
“[W]e oppose programs in public schools that provide birth control or abortion services or referrals. Instead, we encourage abstinence education programs with proven track records in protecting youth from disease, pregnancy, and drug use.
“We believe the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We therefore reaffirm our support for a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. . . . We commend those who provide alternatives to abortion by meeting the needs of mothers and offering adoption services. . . .”
No longer did the Republican platform commend the efforts of those individuals and religious and private organizations meeting the physical, emotional, and financial needs of pregnant women.
It was not until 1996, eight years after Ronald Reagan left office, that the Republican party decided to discourage the punishment of women who found herself with an unwanted pregnancy and chose to have an abortion. The 1996 Republican platform states in pertinent part,
“The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. . . .”
“Our goal is to ensure that women with problem pregnancies have the kind of support, material and otherwise, they need for themselves and for their babies, not to be punitive towards those for whose difficult situation we have only compassion. We oppose abortion, but our pro-life agenda does not include punitive action against women who have an abortion. We salute those who provide alternatives to abortion and offer adoption services. . . .”
Thus, for the first time, the pro-lifers were willing to give the woman who had an abortion, like Kay Corleone, a break. Hang the doctor. Don’t hang the woman. One might remember Kay Corleone explaining to Michael in Godfather Part II,
“Oh, Michael. Michael, you are blind. It wasn’t a miscarriage. It was an abortion. An abortion, Michael. Just like our marriage is an abortion. Something that’s unholy and evil. I didn’t want your son, Michael! I wouldn’t bring another one of you sons into this world! It was an abortion, Michael! It was a son Michael! A son! And I had it killed because this must all end! . . . I know now that it’s over. I knew it then. There would be no way, Michael . . . no way you could ever forgive me not with this Sicilian thing that’s been going on for 2,000 years!”
Kay Corleone then receives a hard slap from Michael. If the anti-abortionists had their way, and the right to life amendment was passed between the years, 1984 and 1996, Kay would be looking at life in prison or death in the gas chamber, and yes, even in Nevada, as the constitutional amendment would become the supreme law of the land, and aborting a fetus would become the equivalent of murder.
In 2000, the Republican party got out of line with young people and the sexual revolution which started back in the 1960’s with the introduction of the birth control pill. In 2000, the Republican platform called for abstinence until marriage and strengthened its language that a fetus should be considered a human life, and the platform referred to the proposed amendment as the “human life amendment.” The 2000 Republican platform stated in pertinent part,
“We renew our call for replacing ‘family planning’ programs for teens with increased funding for abstinence education, which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and expected standard of behavior. Abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, when transmitted sexually. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for contraception and abortion. . . . .
“. . . . As a country, we must keep our pledge to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence. That is why we say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.
“Our goal is to ensure that women with problem pregnancies have the kind of support, material and otherwise, they need for themselves and for their babies, not to be punitive towards those for whose difficult situation we have only compassion. We oppose abortion, but our pro-life agenda does not include punitive action against women who have an abortion. . . . .”
With the reference to a human life amendment, the Republican party made clear in its platform, that murder charges would need be filed against any doctor performing an abortion. As for the woman, regardless of her getting pregnant, regardless of her being the one to make the choice to have an abortion, she was to get off scot free, but that would require the right to life amendment to do away with portions of the equal protection clause as women would be protected from being treated the same way as the doctor since both of them participated in terminating the woman’s pregnancy. There were always positions in the official Republican stance on abortion which did not appear to be all that well thought out, and this was one of them.
In 2004, with “born again” President George W. Bush riding high on approval ratings by a public anxious to stay in a war, the Republican party became even more forward with the anti-abortion language contained in its 2004 platform. The 2004 Republican platform kept the abstinence language and had a separate section devoted to the “Human Life Amendment” which repeated the language about supporting a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorsing legislation to make it clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children and which repeated the disclaimer that the pro-life agenda did “not include punitive action against women who have an abortion.”
In 2008, the Republican platform stated in pertinent pert,
“We lament that judges have denied the people their right to set abortion policies in the states and are undermining traditional marriage laws from coast to coast.
* * * *
“. . . we fully support parental rights to consent to medical treatment for their children including mental health treatment, drug treatment, alcohol treatment, and treatment involving pregnancy, contraceptives and abortion.
“We oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for abortion and contraception. Schools should not ask children to answer offensive or intrusive personal nonacademic questionnaires without parental consent. It is not the role of the teacher or school administration to recommend or require the use of psychotropic medications that must be prescribed by a physician.
“Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. . . . .
“. . . . We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. At its core, abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life. Women deserve better than abortion. Every effort should be made to work with women considering abortion to enable and empower them to choose life. We salute those who provide them alternatives, including pregnancy care centers, and we take pride in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.”
By 2008, not only did the Republican party not blame the woman who received an abortion, but women who were in a position to want an abortion were said to deserve better, and they needed to be enabled and empowered to chose life, not the woman’s life or her schooling or her career or what her economic conditions required, but only to chose that her fetus be carried to term and thereby survive. So the woman was not to be empowered to choose what she felt was best for herself, but only empowered to carry her fetus to term, regardless of her choice, because she, as men are apt to say to divert blame from themselves, “went out and got herself pregnant.”
The last Republican platform was written in 2012 and approved at the 2012 Republican National Convention. In the same section in which it discusses abortion, it also strikes out against gays, more specifically gay marriage, which some Republicans think goes hand in hand with being against abortion because it is part of “family values” which has got to be the most hypocritical expression ever devised in political discourse.
With respect to abortion, the 2012 Republican platform states in pertinent part,
“Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.
“We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions—gender discrimination in its most lethal form—and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a ban on the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
“We also salute the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life . . .”
Even if one feels aborting a fetus is a bad thing, and it is a tragedy which is most often caused by lousy parents who don’t keep a close enough eye on their daughters’ relationships, there is no logical reason to not attempt to turn that tragedy into some productive use, but not for the Republicans, who want those embryonic stem cells, which could help save other lives, to go to waste.
The 2012 Republican platform is the position many Republicans would have expected Trump to adopt. However, Trump believes there are three exceptions in which an abortion should be legal, those being in cases of rape or incest, and to protect the life of the mother. Under the proposed human life amendment, rape and incest would not serve as an excuse for having an abortion, much less wanting to put an end to “this Sicilian thing that’s been going on for 2,000 years.” An abortion performed because the fetus was the product of incest or rape would not weigh one life against the other as might be needed to protect the life of the mother. Instead, passage of the human life amendment would mean that a 13-year-old girl who was raped by his evil uncle would have to carry the fetus to term, and if that fetus suffered because of the genetic overlap, then so be it.
Allowing for exceptions in the cases of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother, keeps Trump on the land side of the cliff and is an acceptable position to more voters than the position taken by die hard, anti-abortionist Ted Cruz who believes an abortion should not be allowed in a case of rape or incest, as Cruz has written, “Every human life is a precious gift from God and should be protected from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death.”
Ted Cruz’s position on abortion is even move problematic as it would end the use of the birth control pill. Going back to sex education 101, a course people like Cruz probably do not want to have taught in high school, a woman is born with about a million immature eggs in each of her two ovaries containing the same number of ovarian follicles from whence the eggs emerge. Most of the woman’s eggs die through a process called ovarian follicle atresia. By the time most women reach puberty and begin to menstruate, they have about 400,000 eggs left in 400,000 ovarian follicles. Following intercourse, a woman’s egg is most likely to be fertilized by just one of the millions of ejaculated sperm. The sperm usually enters the woman’s egg while the woman’s egg is still in one of the woman’s Fallopian tubes. The fertilized egg then begins to make its way down the woman’s Fallopian tube to the woman’s uterus.
According to Ted Cruz, by the time the fertilized egg begins its five day journey to the woman’s uterus there has already been conception – there was conception the moment the sperm entered the egg. According to Cruz, by the time the egg begins its journey to the uterus, the fertilized egg is human life which needs be protected. Birth control pills are designed to stop ovulation so no egg is released from a woman’s ovary. However, in addition, if an egg is released from the woman’s ovary and is fertilized, birth control pills also make the uterine lining inhospitable to the fertilized egg. By Ted Cruz’s reasoning, if the fertilized egg is to be “protected from the moment of conception,” birth control pills which contain synthetic progestin will need be outlawed. So much for the sexual revolution.
Of course, if Trump’s plan were adopted, whatever that plan may be, it now looks like he would want each of the states to individually decide, even though some states may choose to punish the woman, even if she went to another state to have the abortion. If, per chance, each state were to follow Trump’s lead and allow abortions in the cases of rape or incest, there could be a lot of cases where the woman claims to have been raped when she was not, and there could be plenty more cases where the clothes hanger with the slash through it would take on its old meaning.
Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski (seen below to the left of Trump), has been charged with battery in Jupiter, Florida. Donald Trump maintains his mansion in Palm Beach. Six miles north of Palm Beach is Jupiter, a small town with more than a dozen championship golf courses including the one at Trump National Golf Club. Within the Trump National Golf Club ballroom on March 8, 2016, pretty 28-year-old Michelle Fields in her role as a reporter for Breitbart News attended a Trump press conference. As Trump left the podium and was making his way to the exit, he continued to talk to reporters and sign autographs. Fields asked Trump a question. Lewandowski is alleged to have then battered Fields by grabbing her arm and pulling her back.
Fields asked Trump as she recorded the interview on her smart phone, “Mr. Trump, you went after the late [Supreme Court Justice Anthony] Scalia for affirmative action . . . are you still against affirmative action?” Lewandowski is then alleged to have strongly grabbed Fields’ left arm and yanked her back causing her to need catch her balance so she wouldn’t fall. During his campaign, Trump has avoided discussing the issue of affirmative action bringing up the question of whether Lewandowski was trying to protect Trump from being questioned by Fields. Fields had not been called upon to ask a question at the press conference before Trump left the podium.
Ben Terris of the Washington Post witnessed the event and reported the story as follows:
“As security parted the masses to give [Trump] passage out of the chandelier-lit ballroom, Michelle Fields [pictured below], a young reporter for Trump-friendly Breitbart News, pressed forward to ask the GOP front-runner a question. I watched as a man with short-cropped hair and a suit grabbed her arm and yanked her out of the way. He was Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s 41-year-old campaign manager. . . . . Fields stumbled. Finger-shaped bruises formed on her arm.
“‘I’m just a little spooked,’ she said, a tear streaming down her face. ‘No one has grabbed me like that before.’
“She took my arm and squeezed it hard. ‘I don’t even want to do it as hard as he did,’ she said, ‘because it would hurt.’”
On March 10, 2016, at 9:28 am, Lewandowski tweeted, “@MichelleFields you are totally delusional. I never touched you. As a matter of fact, I have never even met you.”
On March 10, 2016, at 11:02 am, Michelle Fields tweeted, I guess these just magically appeared on me @CLewandowski_@realDonaldTrump. So weird.” Fields included the picture of the bruises to her left arm as seen below.
On March 10, 2016, at 12:02 pm, Lewandowski tweeted, “Michelle Fields is an attention seeker who once claimed Allen West groped her but later went silent.”
Fields’ former comment about Allen West was completely justified. Allen West, former Republican Congressman from Florida’s 22nd congressional district, is known for requesting President Obama issue a pardon to Jonathan Pollard, who provided classified information to Israel, pleaded guilty to violating the Espionage Act and was sentenced to life in prison. Allen West is also known for being a sexual harasser of women. Gotnews.com reported it independently confirmed from more than three different sources at PJ Media where Allen West worked that West grabbed Fields’ breast in front of an elevator. Fields chose to leave the Allen West incident behind her and declined to be further interviewed about the event — not the act of an attention seeker, just the act of someone who wanted to go on with their life.
Fields was named one of The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People in Politics in 2015 and was reportedly a 27-year-old Republican from Woodland Hills, California working as a Fox News Channel contributor. Fields turned 28 this last January. So Fields was a Republican working for a Trump leaning publication.
Lewandowski brought up Fields’ complaint against Allen West in an attempt to discredit Fields. Lewandowski’s statement implies victims of sexual harassment (in the case of Allen West grabbing Fields’ breast, a sexually motivated battery), must follow through with their complaint and let themselves be subjected to countless interviews by the media or, otherwise, they are nothing more than lying attention seekers. Sounds rather sexist, and instead of apologizing for any touching or misunderstanding, Lewandowski attempted to discredit Fields and impugn her credibility in response to Terris’s report on the Washington Post website and in response to Fields’ tweet which she only made in response to Lewandowski’s denial that he ever touched her. Lewandowski began a credibility war he should have been prepared to win. Did Terris and Fields both lie or did Lewandowski really touch Fields, really grab her left arm, really grab her left arm hard and really leave bruises consistent with Fields being grabbed and yanked?
On March 10, 2016, Michelle Fields wrote a post for Breitbart News which stated,
“I wasn’t called upon to ask a question during the televised press conference, but afterwards Trump wandered around, stopping at every reporter to take their questions. When he approached me, I asked him about his view on an aspect of affirmative action.
“Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.
“The Washington Post’s Ben Terris immediately remarked that it was Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who aggressively tried to pull me to the ground. I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together. No apology. No explanation for why he did this.”
In an interview Fields granted World News Tonight later that evening, Fields added that the incident had “been really hurtful because obviously no one wants to be touched and violated like that. . . . I would just ask him to just put himself in my shoes and imagine if I was his daughter.”
There was a bruise on Fields’ left arm. Ben Terris was a witness to the event. There was an audio tape of the incident. Lewandowski had denied the incident ever took place. Neither Lewandowski nor anyone from the Trump campaign offered Fields an apology. Lewandowski sought to smear Fields as a reporter by implying she was an opportunist who made false claims for the sake of gaining attention. So at that point, Fields filed a criminal complaint against Lewandowski with the Jupiter Police Department. Jupiter Police Department Detective Marc Bujnowski authored the Probable Cause Affidavit; it begins:
“Fields indicated that Donald Trump had given a speech at Trump National in the ballroom. At the conclusion of his speech, Trump had left the podium, and was walking towards the exit of the ballroom. Trump was taking questions from reporters and signing autographs as he made his way towards the exit.
“At this time (which investigation later revealed to be March 8th, 2016 at approximately 9:57 PM), Fields asked Trump a question, while holding her cell phone up to Trump as a recording device. After she had asked the question, she felt someone yank her left arm. She added that she fell back but caught herself from falling.
“Fields then turned around in reaction to having her arm grabbed, where she saw Ben Terris . . . a reporter for the Washington. Post. Fields asked Terris if it was ‘Corey’ who had grabbed her, indicating the defendant, Corey Lewandowski . . . Terris confirmed with Fields that it was indeed Lewandowski who had grabbed her arm.”
Detective Bujnowski’s first course of investigation was to search for physical evidence. He asked Fields to show him her left forearm and noted in his affidavit,
“Fields showed me her left forearm, which revealed bruising from what appeared to be several finger marks indicating a grabbing type injury.”
The next step was to listen to the audio recording of what was captured by Fields’ cell phone when she intended to record her question and Trump’s answer. Detective Bujnowski continued writing in his affidavit,
“Fields also played me the audio from her interaction with Trump when she asked him a question. During the audio portion immediately after the incident, Fields is heard saying “Holy shit, I can’t believe he just did that –, that was so hard, was that Corey? you should have felt how hard he just grabbed me”. Also, Ben Terris is heard say “he just like threw you out of the way, like what threat were you?”
Detective Bujnowski first needed to confirm Fields’ story with Washington Post reporter Ben Terris. Bujnowski’s affidavit continues,
“On March 11th, 2016, I contacted Ben Terris. Terris confirmed what Fields had told me about the incident. Terris indicated that he saw Lewandowski pull Fields’ arm, and Fields stumble right after the pull. Terris specifically used the term ‘yank’ as far as what type of action Lewandowski took onto Fields’ arm.”
Now days most everything seems to have been recorded on some video somewhere, and such recordings are one of the first things the police look for during their investigation. Detective Bujnowski was thorough in his work, and so he checked to see if there was any video footage taken of the ballroom where the alleged incident took place. His affidavit continues,
“On March 12, 2016, I obtained video footage from Trump Security at Trump National in Jupiter. I specifically obtained video from the ballroom the night and time in question. The video parallels what Fields had told me, in that Trump was walking towards the exit of the ballroom, taking questions, and signing autographs. Fields is seen on video, holding her phone up to Trump, appearing to ask him a question. Trump had looked in her direction, and then Lewandowski extended his left arm out, stepping between Trump and another male subject believed to be U.S. Secret Service. After extending his arm out, Lewandowski appeared to reach for Fields’s left arm with his left hand, allowing him to get closer to Fields.
“Lewandowski then grabbed Fields left arm with his right hand, causing her to turn and step back. This motion cleared a path for Lewandowski to walk past Fields, allowing him to ‘catch up’ and get closer to Trump, who was walking during this entire incident.
After Lewandowski was charged, on March 27, 2016, he responded by signing a promise to appear in North City Court, 3188 PGA Boulevard, on May 4, 2016, at 8:30 am, to answer to the charge of battery in violation of FSS 784.03(10(A)(1) agreeing that he could be held in contempt of court if he were to fail to appear and acknowledging that a warrant would then be issued for his arrest.
The affidavit and the promise to appear refer to the charge as Battery-Simple (Touch or Strike). In actuality, the crime is one of Battery, the word “Simple” does not appear in the statute. In Florida, battery is a misdemeanor of the first degree which carries a maximum jail sentence of 1 year and a maximum fine of $1,000. It is a greater crime than a misdemeanor of the second degree which carries a maximum jail sentence of 60 days and a maximum fine of $500.
The video which has been released by the Jupiter Police Department shows Lewandowski in a business suit yank Fields in a yellow sweater back by the arm while Washington Post reporter Ben Terris in a short sleeve plaid shirt looks on.
The audio recording of the incident referenced in Detective Bujnowski’s affidavit was originally obtained by Politico and evidences that what was said by Ben Terris and Michele Fields at the time of the incident. If the recording is deemed authentic, meaning a correct recording of what was said at the time of the incident, and it passes all foundational requirements, the tape, or portions of it, will come into evidence in addition to Fields’ and Terris’s direct testimonies.
What Terris and Fields were recorded to have said immediately following the incident is hearsay if sought to be introduced to prove the truth of the statements made on the tape, but what is said on the audio recording falls within an exception to the hearsay rule. This exception is called the present sense impression exception. The idea is that what one says at the time of an incident in reaction to the incident and to describe the incident and its effect upon them has enough indicia of truthfulness to be considered reliable, perhaps the most reliable of all testimony because it is given before the witness has time to think about it, put their best foot forward or color their testimony. As kids say, “First word’s truth.” The first words out of one’s mouth may also be admitted into evidence under a separate exception to the hearsay rule known as the excited utterance exception. “Oh my God, did you just see that car run that guy over?” would be an example of an excited utterance.
The first words out of Ben Terris’s mouth after he witnessed the incident between Lewandowski and Fields was, “You okay?” This initial remark would fit within the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule. It can also be argued it is not hearsay because it would not be offered to prove Fields was okay but would be admitted to show that Terris immediately wanted to inquire about Fields’ well being because Terris had just seen Fields yanked aside. The second set of words spoken by Terris following Fields saying, “Holy shit,” was, “Yea he just threw you.” That statement would be hearsay since it would be admitted to prove that Lewandowski did, in fact, throw Fields, but it may fit within the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule. It should definitely satisfy the requirements of a present sense impression, thereby coming into evidence under one or both hearsay rule exceptions.
Fields then says, “I can’t believe he just did that. That was so hard. Was that Corey?” To which Terris responds, “Yeah. Like what threat were you?” And Fields then says, “That was insane. You should have felt how hard he grabbed me. That’s insane. I’ve never had anyone do that to me from a campaign.” These recorded statements might come in separately as Fields’ present sense impressions, and Fields can also testify from the stand about the pain and suffering she experienced.
Viewing the video taken in the club ballroom, Fields is seen standing to Trump’s right side, and there is an unidentified man who Detective Bujnowski thinks is a Secret Service agent (later confirmed to be a Secret Service agent), who is standing behind Trump and Fields. Lewandowski is in back of the unidentified man and to his right. Most everyone is moving forward at the time, although Trump appears to have stopped to consider Fields’ question, and he looks in her direction and then down at what appears to be some papers in his hand to which he is signing autographs. For Lewandowski to touch Fields, he had to squeeze in between the unidentified man and Trump and reach over to Fields. Ben Terris is behind the unidentified man and Lewandowski.
Lewandowski then cuts between the unidentified man and Trump, pulls Fields back by her left arm with his right hand as if he is moving her aside, and with Fields out of the way, Lewandowski cuts through to the front and to the right of where Trump was standing and then begins following Trump who had already begun to walk forward. However, at the end of the video, Lewandowski appears to veer to the side in an attempt to keep Terris from following after Trump. When Trump had been asked a question by Fields, he looks at her, he looks down, he continues to sign an autograph, and the next thing he knows Fields is gone, and so he continues to walk toward the exit.
Detective Bujnowski finishes his Probable Cause Affidavit by writing,
“Based on the above-describe investigation, probable cause exists to charge Corey Lewandowski . . . with (1) count of Simple Battery, per FSS 784.03(1)(a)(1), in that he did intentionally touch Michelle Fields . . . against the will of Michelle Fields.”
The statute under which Lewandowski was charged states in pertinent part,
“(1(a) The offense of battery occurs when a person:
“1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other. . . ”
Technically, Lewandowski should be found guilty of first degree misdemeanor battery. He touched Fields, his touching of Fields was intentional; it was not an accident as if he fell or had an epileptic fit, and his touching of Fields was against her will, meaning he did not have her permission. What are Lewandowski’s defenses?
One defense might be that Lewandowski acted in defense of another, that he had attempted to stop Fields from touching Trump because he perceived her as a threat even though the Secret Service agent standing right right next to her did not. Field’s hand may have brushed against Trump’s coat sleeve; Fields did not grabbed on to Trumps coat sleeve. Acting in the defense of Trump is a defense which shouldl not fly because Fields, like everyone else in the room, had already been screened by the Secret Service, Fields had no weapon in her hand, and Fields offered no threat to Trump. In addition, and most importantly, if Lewandowski is to claim to have been a hero coming to save Donald Trump from assassination, then he would not have previously denied touching Fields in any way or knowing anything about the incident or who she was.
In the movie Goodfellows, the Joe Pesci character shoots the kid they call Spider in the foot because he’s trying to act like the Oklahoma Kid and make him dance. Pesci then tells him not to make a big thing out of it and says, “an accident, fuck it” before going back to playing poker. Another defense might be that Lewandowski’s touching of Fields was an accident. That defense does not fly without some facts to support it, and there are no facts to support it. Lewandowski could not have accidentally grabbed Fields’ arm and yanked her back leaving hand impression bruises. Lewandowski needed to intentionally grab Fields’ arm and yank her back. Lewandowski has made no claim he was falling and instinctively grabbed out to keep from falling or was about to suffer any sort of accident or did suffer from any sort of involuntary spasm caused by a medical condition. Lewandowski further destroyed any accident defense because he claimed he never touched Fields.
One defense which might work is that Lewandowski’s touching of Fields and the injury she received was so slight that it fits within the legal maxim deminiums curex lex meaning that judges will not sit in judgment of extremely minor transgressions of the law. This maxim keeps half the passengers from making battery claims following a crowded subway ride. However, Lewandowski’s actions as shown in the video, what was said at the time as heard on the audio and the amount of the bruising to Fields’ left forearm arm as shown in the picture she took of her injury along with Detective Bujnowski’s eyewitness description of the bruising to her left arm based on his experience and police training definitively evidence that Lewandowski’s grabbing and yanking of Fields’ arm was more roughhousing than Fields should expect to receive as part of daily living. The defense that Lewandowski’s transgression was so trivial that the maxim of deminiums curex lex should apply should fail, and no court should dismiss the battery charge because it concerns too trifling a matter to merit the court’s time.
Lewandowski could possibly be tried by a judge, not a jury, on the misdemeanor battery charge because it is a petty offense, especially if the prosecutor does not seek jail time. If the prosecutor seeks jail time, which is unlikely, then Lewandowski might be entitled to a jury. The prosecutor will seek to avoid a jury because, otherwise, the trial would certainly become a referendum on Donald Trump as a political candidate rather than simply determining the facts of the case.
Jail time is not indicated. If one looks at the video, it becomes clear, or at least to this host it is quite evident, that Lewandowski was not seeking to batter Fields and was not removing her from Trump’s presence because of the question she was asking, but that he was merely trying to get to the front of the line to “catch up” as Detective Bujnowski described it, to be leading with his candidate. It would be as if someone wanting to cash a check was about to enter the door of a bank when some bully trying to get in the door first yanks them aside. The only evidence Lewandowski was trying to keep Fields from asking Trump a question was that on the video Lewandowski appears to try to stop Terris from approaching Trump as well. However, Terris has not indicated that after Lewandowski pulled Fields back that Lewandowski also tried to block him from asking Trump a question. Therefore, without further evidence from Terris, this host’s conclusion is that Lewandowski wasn’t acting criminal to be criminal, Lewandowski was acting crass, brash and discourteous to the point of being criminal. The audio tape supports this conclusion because as Lewandowski throws Fields aside, he says, “Excuse me. Thank you.” Further, Lewandowski immediately moves forward to be closer to Trump and spends no time on Fields indicating he is unaware of the damage caused by his rude behavior although at this stage it is clear Lewandowski would not care what damage he caused a young woman because he denied it and is not about to apologize for it. It is clear to this host that Lewandowski caused the bruising to Fields’ left forearm, and he doesn’t care and would rather trash her name with false insinuations than admit he did anything wrong. It is also becoming clear that Trump has also chosen to minimize the incident and claim nothing happened. Michelle Fields is now just the latest of a long list of names on Trump’s enemies list.
Lewandowski doesn’t need impulse control counseling; he needs to cut a switch and report to the woodshed and be taught some manners. His mother and father obviously failed to impress upon him that one doesn’t throw a women aside simply because one is in a hurry. Has Lewandowski been hanging around Trump so long and gotten so into himself that a blustering, violent push, shove or yank seems normal and a correct alternative to political correctness? Has Lewandowski been led into thinking it is much easier and more efficient to bully and barge through than to ask, “Could you please excuse me? I need to get by.” To Lewandowski, courtesy is not what a take charge guy exercises when not confined by manners, political correctness and the norms of a respectful society.
If being in a hurry and horrible manners are the reasons behind Lewandowski’s battery of Fields, and if the amount of harm caused was unintentional, does that mean Lewandowski is innocent? The answer is no. Proving Lewandowski battered Fields does not require proving his motive or that he had an intent to harm her. The only intent which need be shown is that he intended to grab her arm and pull her aside, and Lewandowski clearly had that intent according to this host’s and Detective Bujnowski’s viewing of the Trump National security video. The fact that Lewandowski grabbed Fields’ arm hard enough to cause bruising and the fact that Lewandowski jerked Fields hard enough for another reporter to immediately ask her, “You okay?” evidences that the incident was not of such a trifling nature that the law should not concern itself. Just because people bump into each other on the subway on a daily basis does not give cause for some bully to intentionally pull a smaller, weaker person aside so they can sit where they want while the little guy is forced to stand.
Was Lewandowski knowingly lying when he tweeted that he never touched Fields? Not necessarily, or at least now knowingly, or at least in such a psychopathic way that he did not recall. Lewandowski may be so use to taking cuts in line and tossing others aside that he doesn’t even consider it as intentionally touching another person for the purpose of causing them harm. So when Lewandowski was accused of yanking Fields aside, maybe it didn’t ring any bell in his head because bullying and rudeness are so much a part of his personality that yanking Fields aside to more quickly get to where he was going didn’t even register, and all he can remember is that he was in a hurry to be up front with his candidate and people were in his way.
Hopefully, some impulse control counseling can teach Lewandowski some manners his mother forgot to teach him.
Trump, who apparently never apologizes, initially claimed Fields made up the assault because his Secret Service agents did not see it. No Secret Service agent has released a statement, and so the truth of Trump’s claim cannot be tested. The Secret Service agent standing right behind Trump and Fields should have seen it, but there is no report that man has ever been interviewed. Now Trump claims there is nothing on the video showing anything wrong as if Trump has viewed the same video as did this host and Detective Bujnowski, but Trump was wearing glasses from a different universe.
And to address some of the idiocy which is injecting itself into the argument in support of Corey Lewandowski and in support of Donald Trump, no, it’s not up to Michelle Fields to “toughen up.”
There seems to be no end to the madness when Trump supporters get involved. Michelle Fields has reportedly needed to flee her home because BuzzFeed and Fox News published her home address, and she has received a number of threats.