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.]

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 CLEARLY UNFIT FOR THE PRESIDENCY by L. Milton Hankins

TRUMP CLEARLY UNFIT FOR THE PRESIDENCY by L. Milton Hankins

The Legal Information Institute informs “The 25th Amendment, proposed by Congress and ratified by the states in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, provides the procedures for replacing the president or vice-president in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation.”

Two presidents–Richard Nixon by resignation and Ronald Reagan by temporary incapacitation were subjects of the 25th Amendment.

It is time Congress and the Supreme Court seriously consider the mental “incapacitation” of President Donald Trump, declaring him “unfit for the presidency” and incapable of fulfilling the constitutional duties of the office.

Here’s why this writer suggests such a strong action:

President Donald Trump is a proven, pathological liar–to the extent that the American public, as well as leaders of foreign nations, cannot accept the president’s statements as reliable. As a matter of fact, The New York Times, PolitiFact, and I have catalogued hundreds of Trump’s public prevarications.

The president is incapable of carrying out the duties of his office. He has spent a major portion of his time in the Oval Office undoing the work of his predecessor. He obviously cannot work with Congress to move important legislation he promised during his campaign. He has failed to achieve a single, notable issue on his agenda except for the successful appointment of a justice to the United States Supreme Court.

 

 

Trump’s foreign trips have been unmitigated disasters! He lambasted NATO for its lack of contributions to defense spending, embarrassed foreign leaders, disavowed the Paris Climate Agreement, and declined to hold a single press conference. His one accomplishment, an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, was narrowly approved by the United States Senate.

Trump said during his campaign he would be so busy he would rarely leave the White House. He has spent nearly every weekend of his presidency far from the White House–most weekends at his plush Mar-a-Lago estate or golfing at various Trump resort locations.

Intentionally insulting the press and various personalities in the news media have precipitated a real breach between the president, news agencies, reporters and his own spokespersons. He calls the American press “the enemy of the American people” and regularly calls newspaper reports not to his liking “fake news.” The press is the only profession explicitly protected in the United States Constitution.

 

President Trump is legally and morally dubious. He is well-known for broken contracts, bankruptcies, and was sued for his role in the phony Trump University. He has been married three times, each time having a relationship with his future wife before divorcing his current wife. As a result, he has five children by three wives. Obviously, the Republican focus on family values has shifted dramatically!

Many other indicators favor application of the 25th Amendment, but perhaps most important is the fact that Trump, his campaign staff and, especially, Michael Flynn are under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Intelligence Committees of both houses of the Congress.

Never before would such a person have been considered for the presidency, or, tolerated in the highest office of the land. Dare the Congress and the Supreme Court much longer allow this unqualified individual to occupy the Oval Office?

 

  THE OVAL OFFICE

(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins (all rights reserved)

MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WORRY ABOUT TRUMP by Diane W. Mufson

MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WORRY ABOUT TRUMP by Diane W. Mufson

Shortly after our third child arrived, I needed housecleaning help. So we hired a woman noted for her efficiency and energy. As her recommendations promised, Jane (pseudonym) cleaned wonderfully well. Maury met her one evening, looked at her bulging eyes and insisted she see a doctor immediately.

President Trump’s behaviors are worrying mental health professionals in the same way that Jane’s eyes indicated that something was wrong. The president’s tweets and comments and his vacillating moods and positions, sometimes even undercutting his own party, are scary.

PRESIDENT TRUMP

Mental health professionals have expressed concerns about the president’s functioning, but cannot diagnose any individual they have not professionally evaluated.

True, I never thought President Trump would be the right person to lead our country. While some attributed Trump’s obnoxious comments about women, the physically impaired or Senator McCain’s prisoner of war status as simply “campaign rhetoric,” my feeling was that these comments were unfortunately a measure of the man.

I don’t think Vice President Pence’s goals and political positions are any more acceptable to most liberals or even some moderates than are Trump’s, but Pence’s demeanor, speech and personal interactions make him a much more desirable person to be leading our nation. At least, he would not insult our longtime allies, tweet incessantly or make impossible promises.

In February 2016, my column in this newspaper [Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch], “Narcissist as president would be dreadful,” identified some of the problematic characteristics of a narcissist. I noted that such personalities are often attractive because they ooze confidence and offer simplistic answers to difficult problems, such as the president’s promise to easily repeal and replace Obamacare with something much better. Finding that about 22 million Americans would be hurt by the proposed changes, while a small number of really rich folks will get a bonus, wasn’t what was promised.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 (DSM-5) is the accepted guideline that mental health professionals use for identifying and diagnosing mental health disorders. There are nine specific items that are linked to narcissistic personality disorder behaviors.

These include a grandiose sense of self-importance, a preoccupation with fantasies of power, success, intelligence, etc., and a sense of entitlement. Additionally, seeing oneself as special and unique and only associated with high status individuals, needing constant admiration from others, exploiting people for personal gain, lacking empathy, envying others and believing that others envy them and demonstrating arrogant and haughty behaviors and attitudes are seen frequently. This is a long-term behavior usually established by the beginning of adulthood. Genetic and environmental issues reportedly may influence this functioning.

When I worked as a licensed psychologist, I rarely encountered clients with narcissistic personalities. While this diagnosis is not overly common, the real reason I did not see such clients was that they usually are not uncomfortable and believe any problems they have are caused by others. Expecting change from a mature adult whose behaviors have much in common with a narcissistic personality is folly.

Our twittering president’s comments are not only ridiculously “unpresidential,” but also cruel, inappropriate and sapping energy and progress from our government.

THE MORNING JOE CREW

Following Trump’s recent irrational tweets regarding Mika and the “Morning Joe” show, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) chirped back, “Please just stop. This isn’t normal and it’s beneath the dignity of your office.”

“This isn’t normal” is the gist of President Trump’s behavior. While medication readily treated Jane’s medical condition, there’s no panacea for those who display characteristics of a personality disorder. It’s why many mental health professionals are worrying about the man leading our nation.

[Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist. Her e-mail is dwmufson@comcast.net.  Mufson regularly contributes to the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch editorial page and this article first appeared in the Herald-Dispatch on Thursday, July 13, 2017. Photographs by Pixabay.]


 

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?