TRUMP TRUMPS THE SCANDALS OF PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS by Milt Hankins

TRUMP TRUMPS THE SCANDALS OF PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS by Milt Hankins

Almost no presidential administration has escaped the taint of a scandal or two. Scandal substantially tarnished the administrations of Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding. More recently, most of us recall Watergate, Whitewater/Lewinsky, and Iran-Contra.

TEAPOT DOME SCANDAL

I selected only a few to make my point. I could have mentioned many more. Readers can google “Presidential Scandals.” Seth Cline, a staff writer with U.S. News and World Report, began his article “The 7 Worst U.S. Presidential Scandals” (March 1, 2017) mentioning Grant.

If you research Trump administration scandals, you will discover a hefty list of Trump’s disgraces, and you will realize these articles have been published in the first eight or nine months of his presidency. We may have three more years to go. Simply untenable!

JARED KUSHNER

We should have done more than raise our eyebrows when, from the beginning of the Trump administration, nepotism (“favoritism shown to relatives in appointing them to jobs”) reared its ugly head. Nepotism is illegal (see 5 U.S. Code #3110, Sub-Part B: “A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official.”)

The responsibilities President Trump has given to his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka will prove extremely troublesome. Kushner is already a major subject of current investigations by the Congress. He and Donald Jr. are also under scrutiny for their involvement in questionable meetings with Russian operatives.

TRUMP AND DAUGHTER IVANKA

According to an article in Politico by Sarah Holder (July 26, 2017) “13 Trump Scandals You Forgot About,” Ms. Holder barely mentions some potential problems for Trump before listing 13 in bold type. Combining the most dubious, Holder documents that Trump and his family are taking advantage of his position to increase their own personal wealth.

MAR-A-LAGO

Holder begins with “Foreign Governments Are Paying Trump. The White House is promoting Melania’s Jewelry and Ivanka’s Clothing Line, Trump has ‘jacked up’ Mar-a-Lago’s rates, with his campaign paying his businesses and the government writing him a $15,000 check” for use of the plush facility.

 

Secretary Wilbur Ross is keeping investments he oversees as Commerce Secretary and the Kushners tout Jared’s White House connections to do business in China. Jared Kushner failed to disclose key assets, while he and Ivanka are still raking in cash from their businesses.”

PRESIDENT TRUMP “BUDDIES UP” WITH RUSSIA’S VLADIMIR PUTIN

Bluntly, the above plus Donald Trump’s solicitous attitude toward Vladimir Putin and the obvious (proven) Russian interference in our most recent presidential election will, I suspect, prove the Trump presidency to be the most scandal-ridden administration in American history.

Trump supporters take the attitude, “Who cares?”

These actions/behaviors suggest that Trump is unfit to serve as president of the United States–that he is using the highest and most important office in America for his and his family’s personal, financial benefit.

Investigations will likely show a collusion with Russia during the campaign and still influencing the Trump presidency. Unacceptable!

 

L. MILTON HANKINS

[This opinion-editorial first appeared in the Huntington WV Herald-Dispatch on September 11, 2017. Hankins is the publisher and editor of Columnist with a View. He lives in Ashland, Kentucky with his wife Deborah and furry buddy Jose. He is the author of two books “Ashes on the Snow” and “A Sensible Theology for Thinking People.” Both are available through Amazon.com.]

CENSURE. IMPEACH. REMOVE by Jo Comerford

CENSURE. IMPEACH. REMOVE by Jo Comerford

This past weekend, a mob of white men marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, carrying flaming torches and shouting, “Heil, Trump!” As a columnist in the Washington Post said, Trump might as well have “lit every one of those torches in Charlottesville.”

And now, after this weekend’s horrific murder, Trump just keeps piling on the hate. Yesterday he again cast blame on “all sides” and refused to disavow his advisers with ties to white supremacist organizations.

Not only did Trump stoke the fires of racism and white supremacy to get elected, but once in office, he chose white supremacists Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Stephen Miller to be among some of his closest White House advisers.

That’s why we’re launching an emergency campaign to demand that lawmakers

1. CENSURE DONALD TRUMP. Censure is a formal, public statement of disapproval that requires a vote by Congress. A bipartisan vote would send a strong message to Trump and the world that his behavior is unacceptable and doesn’t represent American values.

 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

2. BEGIN THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS. For months now, we’ve been demanding that Congress begin the process to remove Donald Trump from office. Yesterday’s behavior was yet another example of just how unfit he is for the office of the presidency. And how urgently impeachment is needed.

3. REMOVE TRUMP’S WHITE SUPREMACIST ADVISERS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE. Congress controls Trump’s budget, which gives them tacit control of his staffing and the power to demand the removal of white supremacist advisers from their positions.

Our work ahead won’t be easy. But we have no choice but to work hard as we can for as long as it takes–to condemn, isolate, and ultimately remove racist, neo-Nazi sympathizers from the White House and confront the stain of white supremacy wherever it appears in our country.

Here’s some of what we’re doing together already:

CAPITOL AND SEAT OF GOVERNMENT

♦ Demanding that Congress immediately censure Donald Trump, and begin an impeachment inquiry.

Standing with and amplifying the calls from allies and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who are condemning hate, calling for congressional hearings, and demanding the immediate removal of Trump’s white supremacist advisers.

♦ Cohosting a huge Sunday night call to identify ways all of us can engage in the essential work of dismantling systemic white supremacy and its symbols in America.

Growing MoveOn’s proven Video Lab–which uses compelling and accessible fact-based content to cut through smoke screens and lies about Bannon, Gorka, Miller, the rise of hate groups since Election Day, and Trump’s own hatemongering–and has already generated more than 300 million views in just over a year.

MoveOn members have opposed Trump’s to white nationalist adviser, Steve Bannon, since the beginning. We issued a clarion call of outrage mere hours after Trump’s announcement that he had appointed Bannon as a special adviser–and we’ve demand his removal ever since.

        STEVE BANNON                                                                                                                                            

In December, we worked tenaciously with more than a dozen allies to deliver more than one million petition signatures to Congress, putting lawmakers on notice by channeling grassroots fury and pressure. And we promised that we would not yield. Then, alongside veterans groups, MoveOn members campaigned for Bannon’s immediate removal from the all-too-powerful National Security Council and cheered together when he was finally ousted.

And then in June, we demanded that Congress launch an impeachment inquiry over Trump’s flagrant abuse of power.

We know that our non-stop organizing is making a difference.

Trump’s approval ratings are tanking. Media reports indicate that Bannon is on thin ice, openly reviled as the “lunatic fringe.” And lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are speaking out against hate–but not nearly enough. Speaking out ourselves, and making sure our lawmakers join in and then take meaningful action, is what we must do.

With your help, it’s time to expand our efforts to demand the formal censure of Trump, to redouble our efforts to push for an impeachment inquiry, and to demand the removal of not just Bannon, but of Gorka and Miller, too–men who are equally dangerous.

We don’t have a moment to lose: news reports indicate that “alt-right” gatherings are spiking across the U.S.

It’s time to censure and remove the “alt-right’s” most powerful and dangerous champions from inside the White House–before this toxic tidal wave gains more ground.


Will you chip in $3 to help launch and drive forward the campaign to kick hate out of the White House?  Want to support the work of MoveOn? The MoveOn community will work every moment, day by day and year by year, to resist Trump’s agency, contain the damage, defeat hate with love, and begin the process of swinging the nation’s pendulum back towards sanity, decency, and the kind of future that we must never give up on. And to do it we need your support, now more than every. Will you stand with us? Go to MoveOn.org to see how you can contribute. Chip in $3, or whatever you can afford.


Thanks for all you do–Jo, Stephen, Mark, Amy, and the rest of the team

LET’S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON BEING “LIBERAL” by L. Milton Hankins

LET’S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON BEING “LIBERAL” by L. Milton Hankins

Ok, I’m sick and tired of […..] columnists using the word “liberal” and “liberals” in a cravenly insulting manner. According to the Oxford American Dictionary, liberal means “giving generously…not strict or literal…broadening the mind in a general way…tolerant, open-minded especially in religion and politics…favoring democratic reform and individual liberty, moderately progressive.”

 

None of these definitions are inappropriate, disgusting or worthy of disdain! And, certainly not undesirable! If there is a “liberal agenda,” it naturally aligns itself with these principles.

As a liberal, these values are precious to me.

Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. These freedoms are guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. I am opposed to anyone or anything which threatens these freedoms. I am deeply disturbed by people who contribute to false or “fake news” or suggest the “media is the enemy of the American people.”

Liberals believe that every American has a right to quality education at all levels. We support public education fervently. Personally, I believe the time has come for all students who maintain high standards of achievement to receive tuition-free education–at a minimum through community college levels.

Liberals believe that every American has a right to medical care. No American should be turned away or refused treatment in a hospital. Medical care should be equally applied, across the board, to everyone. Unfortunately, although several ways to afford this type of medical care have been proffered, I do not have space to go into detail. I personally support a single-payer, graduated system based on family and/or individual annual income levels.

Government must be of, by and for the people and large enough to provide for the general public what it cannot provide for itself, i.e. adequate infrastructure; police, fire and military protection; Social Security; and care for the indigent.

Liberals accept, appreciate and support all races, creeds, nationalities and sexual orientations. This liberal “belief” includes the axiom that whatever is acceptable for any homogeneous group is acceptable for all other homogeneous groups. As human beings “made of one blood,” we are in fact one huge homogeneous humanity.

Liberals welcome immigrants and believe our nation has achieved greatness because it is a melting pot of languages and cultures.

Liberals, in general, disapprove of despotism, bigotry and bullying; that is, one individual “lording over” or implying that he or she is innately better than others because of his/her social, political or financial status.

I wrote this column to suggest that part of the discontinuity that proscribes (“rejects as dangerous”) and separates political parties (liberals, independents, conservatives) is a lack of understanding of the basic values of opposite points of view. But, also, lack of understanding of the basic value of diversity.

One might get the impression from reading some opinion pieces that liberals are bad people–that they are people who have purposely set out to destroy everything that is good and right in America. Nothing could be further from the truth!

(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins. [This article first appeared in the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch.]

 

 

IGNORE THE ATTENTION WHORE…PLEASE! by J. William St. Clair

IGNORE THE ATTENTION WHORE…PLEASE! by J. William St. Clair

“Please ignore the attention whore.” This is the response I wanted to give in response to a number of questions asked of me during my recent travel abroad. My wife and I had the good fortune of taking a walking tour along the Dodogne River in Southern France. We met great people on the path, some of whom, upon learning we were Americans, were truly inquisitive, asking us about the President of the United States. The question was often, “So tell me about Trump,” or some similar open-ended question.

    DONALD TRUMP

It appeared to me they could not comprehend him. Being advised in advance that it is considered bad form in polite European company to offer open disrespect of one’s country and its leaders, my wife and I chose a middling response: “We pay no attention to him.” This response was often met with more questions seeking our opinion of the Trumpster, to which we hung to our position - “We give him no mind,” and similar responses. Being pushed further by one British couple, I finally equated Trump to another’s child in the grocery check-out line whining and crying for candy. It is not my job to fix that kid. I endure it.

Journaling while flying back to this great country leads me to conclude that Donald Trump wants, desires, demands and maybe even craves your attention. “The Donald” does not care if you praise him or loathe him. He wants only that your attention is aimed towards him, that your energy is focused on him, that he is your first thought when you awake and the final thought when you fall asleep. And then he wants to be the sandman of your dreams.

 

A possible bromide - Pay no attention to the attention whore. My hope is this prescription may be considered by my hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, which braces itself to receive The Donald on August 3, 2017. My soul was lifted upon learning that tickets remain available for those willing and able to endure his whining and crying for candy. Yet, I fear that any deprivation The Donald may feel for each empty seat inside will be offset by The Donald seeing a sea of protesters outside.

As a final shot - To every local politician considering an apprenticeship on the continuing “Donald Show” by standing on stage with him…REALLY?

MIND IS MUDDLED BY SO MUCH CHAOS by Milt Hankins

MIND IS MUDDLED BY SO MUCH CHAOS by Milt Hankins

Rarely do I find myself in a situation where, as we say, “I don’t know what to think.” I have one of those very active brains where various matters of interest constantly swirl around like bees before a hive. Then, all of a sudden, a particular subject will begin to develop and coalesce and force its way to the forefront of my mind, and I am ready to write a draft.

Over the past several weeks, I have been mulling over the opposing perspectives of the Donald Trump administration. On the one side, the “died-in-the-wool” Trump supporters seem to believe that Mr. Trump is doing just fine. They point to the executive orders he has signed; his appointment of a well-qualified, conservative justice to the Supreme Court; and, his reversal of many of the Obama administration policies which they found particularly odious. For example, EPA environmental protection regulations and the ban on transgender persons serving in the military.

 

On the other side, the “resistance, indivisible” Trump despisers point out that Mr. Trump has still not accomplished a single one of his major campaign promises, i.e. repeal and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a restructuring of the tax code, or any infrastructure improvement plan–all of which were strongly emphasized during his campaign.

And, overshadowing all of the pros and cons–that is, whether or not anyone believes the president is an enormously successful administrator or a failing, loudmouth buffoon–no one can deny that the Donald Trump administration is awash in scandal! Not merely a tiny, insignificant wrinkle in the start-up; the administration, since the campaign itself, has continually teetered on the brink of implosion.

My mind is constantly asking itself–no matter what news media I turn to–what can I believe is true? Or false? How do I assemble a rational presentation of what the future holds? And sometimes, I think it doesn’t matter. Everything will work out in the end.

Then, North Korea tests another intercontinental ballistic missile which its leaders hope can deliver a nuclear bomb to the Golden Gate Bridge! Some incident, i.e. shooting down an enemy military jet in Syria, the collision of a U.S. military vessel and a Japanese container ship, or a terrorist attack anywhere in the world get all stirred into the common, everyday Washington, D.C., cesspool of obstruction over this or that.

It’s enough to drive a sane man bonkers!

Just the other day, in our local post office, the lady in front of me glanced up at the television (which is generally set on the Weather Channel) and said to nobody in particular, “We’re going to keep on ’til we start a war with Russia!” I heard her, and I thought, “Lady, it might take a war with Russia to get us back on track!” It startled me when I realized what I had said. After all I grew up during the Cold War! But nothing seems to bring us together than a good old-fashioned international crisis. It’s just that I am not sure we can ever again have a “good old-fashioned international crisis.” A cringe ran down my spine. The truth is that there are rogue nations on both sides of us who would like nothing more than to annihilate us!

I’d like to think that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was absolutely right when he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” but he said those words long before the age of nuclear weapons. 

When will everything no longer work out well…in the end? I suspect we are rapidly approaching that time, if we are not already there, when we have a lot more to fear than fear itself!

(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins (all rights reserved)
TRUMP:  IS HE PRESIDENT OR A REAL ESTATE AGENT? by L. Milton Hankins

TRUMP: IS HE PRESIDENT OR A REAL ESTATE AGENT? by L. Milton Hankins

Let’s follow the money — if only we could!

We have a scandalous presidential administration right now unrivaled since the days of Warren G. Harding and the Teapot Dome Scandal, et al. The Trump scandals make the Richard Nixon administration resemble, as someone has said, “a conclave of the cardinals at the Vatican.”

All presidents since Nixon (minus one–Ford) have made their income taxes public. A president’s income taxes, like yours and mine, effectively reveal where a president’s money comes from, deductibles, and with a little effort, how it is spent. President Trump has no reason to withhold his taxes unless, clearly, there is evidence therein of transactions he does not want his constituents (you and me–all of us!) to know about.

The Trump administration has, without shame, employed the scandalous “Pay to Play” ploy when appointing members of his cabinet and sub-cabinet positions. Secretary of Education Betsy De Vos said, according to the Los Angeles Times, it’s “possible” her family has contributed $200 million to the Trump campaign. Would De Vos, who is absolutely devoid of qualifications for the post, have been chosen Secretary of Education without the aforesaid contribution?

According to the Washington Post, “together with their families, Trump’s nominees gave $11.6 million to support his presidential bid, his allied super PACs and the Republican National Committee….One single appointee–WWE co-founder Linda McMahon–contributed $5 million to back his White House run before Trump selected her to run the Small Business Administration….” The McMahon family were top outside donors to Trump’s private foundation!

Follow the money! What happened to the $500,000 that was donated to the Trump inaugural festivities by a Venezuelan oil magnate? The minimal festivities were already paid for when this donation was received. Oh, by the way, this businessman from Venezue3la (which is not exactly friendly to the United States right now) finagled, within days of his “gift,” a private meeting with the National Security Council. Huh?

President Trump says that he is not taking a salary while serving as president. So, I would assume he’s not billing the United States government for official high-level meetings (i.e. the Chinese president Xi Jinping) at his enormously expensive, private club Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. Or is he? According to ethics expert Steve Schooner, “It’s just another example of his consistent efforts to exploit public office for private gain. He’s using his official office and the fact that people have to travel with him, meet him, and follow him to promote his commercial enterprise, in this case, his privately owned club.”

 

TRUMP’S MAR-A-LAGO

 

USA Today has reported extensively on President Trump’s real estate holdings, which, contrary to promise, were never put into a “blind” trust. Any monies for the rental or sale of Trump’s real estate holdings go directly into his pockets. MSNBC reporter Rachel Maddow has suggested, and rightly so, it would be easy for a foreign government, or anyone, for that matter, who wants to curry favor with the president of the United States, to merely purchase an expensive piece of Trump property. Which is it–Trump the President? Or Trump the Realtor?