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Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
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Keep your eyes on BOTH Congress and Trump

...don't be lulled into believing he's just some clown. Whatever he is, he's going to be in control of one of the most powerful offices in the world.

What I would say to those who are dismissing the importance of paying attention to the raving lunatic, is that we are challenged to respond forcefully to both Congress and the presidency. However, the Executive's potential to employ a Bush-era disregard for the Constitution, the law, or the will of the people, with impunity, is the biggest danger we face.

Think of all of our major military engagements initiated by the POTUS and rubberstamped by Congress, afterward. IMO, that power to war is one of the most dangerous prospects, recalling, as if it were yesterday, how consequential Bush as president turned out to be after 911, and how his decisions in office transformed the nation.

In addition, the President has control and responsibility over immigration, environmental concerns, health, finances... all of which he can exercise and enact almost unilaterally, to a degree which affects the nation.

Trump can also be easily manipulated in the exercise of that Executive power. That terrifies and concerns me more than the deliberations of Congress, which, quite frankly, at least affords our party a voice, albeit a less influential one in the minority.

Lots of talk about the ethical and legal violations w/Trump finances, less about propriety

Most Americans couldn't fathom throwing money around like the Trumps, much less flaunt it the way that family does. There's going to be a point where even their most delusional supporters, imagining that Trump is going to make them wealthy, as well, are no longer going to be able to stomach the garishness of the first family, as working-class folks struggle to provide for their basic needs.

I was thinking about this as I read where the Trump sons who make sport out of killing threatened animals, were offering a chance for some average Joe or Jill to accompany them on a hunt, for a mere $500,000 to $1 million.

___Donors willing to write a check for $500,000 to $1 million would be granted access to Donald J. Trump the day after he is sworn in as president, along with the opportunity to participate in a multiday hunting or fishing trip with his oldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric.

Once this got out the sons backed off from the hunting trip, but the event is still scheduled, no doubt finding more than a few donors willing to pay and play.

Trump and his family can dodge accountability under the law. When they get caught, they just pay their relatively paltry fines and move on. Yet, most Americans can't begin to operate their financial affairs with the impunity the Trumps enjoy.

Most of our elected officials are wealthy. If they're not when they get to Washington, they soon will be, if they learn how to network their influence out into the corporate world.

Harry Truman was quoted saying: "You can't get rich in politics unless you're a crook." Great deal of truth there.

In his 1960 book, Mr. Citizen, Mr. Truman reflected on his refusal to accept the numerous corporate offers, even though he famously struggled to maintain his income when he left the presidency:

"I turned down all of those offers. I knew that they were not interested in hiring Harry Truman, the person, but what they wanted to hire was the former President of the United States. I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable, that would commercialize on the prestige and the dignity of the office of the Presidency."

Trump comes into office spinning off of a lifetime of privilege with virtually no substantial effort made which most Americans would understand as charitable or altruistic. Trump has no civic experience; no local government involvement; no political internships; and operates a 'charity' foundation which looks and functions like his personal slush fund.

It shouldn't surprise anyone to find this is the way he'll operate as president. He'll lead with his self-interest, all the while, insisting what's best for him is what's best for the rest of us, as he has throughout the campaign. He has zero experience in governance, but that's not his goal. He's coming to the WH to consolidate every measure or expenditure contributing to the public good he can manage, and squeeze and funnel whatever resources he can find into his golden chalice, with a miserly pittance devoted to measures benefiting the majority of us.

...and I go back to Harry Truman (1945), for contrast:

"The people will not go back to the day when their destinies were controlled by tight little groups of selfish men who made their policies in secret and exercised economic control over millions of people," he said.

Jesus, Harry, look at us now. I'm waiting for the country to get to the point of anger and resentment over these elitist grifters feathering their privileged nests with our taxes (which Trump boasts of avoiding), and assumedly, every other decision he makes in office, while most of us scramble to pay our basic bills.

Russia's Man at State

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald 15h15 hours ago
If Trump wants 2 end suspicions he's 2 close 2 Russia, shuld stop considering ppl 4 office who pose in Putin selfies http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2016/12/06/russia-ties-complicate-exxon-ceo-rex-tillersons-prospects-trump-secretary-state-gig

Russia ties complicate Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson's prospects for secretary of state gig

As head of Exxon Mobil, the world's 8th largest company, Tillerson has plenty of negotiating experience and face time with world leaders -- though limited experience when it comes to the gamut of issues the nation's chief diplomat deals with.

He's under pressure for ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, especially given questions about the president-elect's outspoken admiration for the Russian strongman.

Few Americans are closer with Putin than Tillerson, who has long represented Exxon's interests in Russia.

"He has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American with the exception of Henry Kissinger," John Hamre, a deputy defense secretary during the Clinton administration and president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank where Tillerson is a board member, told the Wall St. Journal.

In 2011 Exxon beat out BP and other competitors in a historic deal giving it access to Arctic and other deposits in Russia, while allowing state-owned Rosneft its first-ever access to energy projects in the United States. The next year, "the Kremlin bestowed the country's Order of Friendship decoration" on Tillerson, the Journal reported.

read: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2016/12/06/russia-ties-complicate-exxon-ceo-rex-tillersons-prospects-trump-secretary-state-gig

Kurt Eichenwald ‏@kurteichenwald 15h15 hours ago
Romney or Huntsman would skate into confirm as Sec State. Tillerson less qualified & would be an endless battle. Would Trump really do this?


Mark Murray ‏@mmurraypolitics 6m6 minutes ago
@mitchellreports reports that Trump has chosen Exxon-Mobil's Rex Tillerson to be his Sec of State.

Who's Looking Out for the Least Fortunate of Us in the Trump Presidency?

You know what's f'd up?

Every time Pres. Obama won an election, there was an endless drumbeat of concern that he was going to ignore the millions who voted against him. Not that the president ever intended to tune out his republican opponents. He practically bent over backward to include them in his policy deliberations, and in the policies, themselves.

We all know that Trump will treat those who didn't vote for him like traitors who deserve some kind of vengeance. It's his style to retaliate, and retaliate he most certainly will.

This isn't the first time I've wondered about when the time will come for someone to take my own interests, progressive Democratic interests, into account. It seems like every election cycle, no matter the outcome, there's always a push to accommodate conservative voters like it was heresy to disregard them. Indeed, this very election produced calls from Democratic and republican quarters to focus even more on whatever concerns white working-class voters may have, even though it appears the Trump WH will do little else.

I'm still waiting for an election cycle's end where the consensus was that we need to seriously address the needs and concerns of groups of Americans who have consistently done worse in our economy - namely, black and Latino Americans, respectively. They are our party's most dependable voters, yet there's always a push to look beyond and above them when the appropriations start. We never get around to their communities; never get around to issues which disproportionately affect them. Instead, they're scapegoated as obstacles to whatever politicians expect for the majority.

Almost every president elected has pledged to be the leader of ALL of our citizens, but Trump will only recognize those who kowtow to him. What these communities will actually provide us with is a true yardstick to measure whether Trump is president of all Americans, or merely for a select few, like the thousand fortunate Carrier workers who just got the better end of the bribe he and Pence gave to the company.

Others who have regularly been left out of consideration at policy time, like women, disabled individuals, and members of the LGBTQ community, are also benchmarks for the Trump presidency in translating his and his supporters' victory into success for the rest of the country. As those of us with the most acute needs which have gone unaddressed and unsolved over the decades go, so goes the nation.
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