Trump’s Corruption Needs a Correction

My garbage man says that Trump is a billionaire so he can’t be bought, and thus is not corruptible. Did it occur to him that Trump may not need to be bought in order to be corrupt?

Trump has lived his life in service to Trump, and he is already using his elected position for personal gain.

In just these first few weeks as President-Elect, he has already avoided the press corp which can both keep him accountable and help him communicate in emergencies, ignored security briefings which are necessary to prepare him for office, and ignored is own transition team’s efforts to teach him. Instead he has:

1. asked U.K. leaders to block construction of windmills in view of Trump’s golf course (something Trump previously fought to the highest court in England, and lost),

2. asked Argentinian leader to help Trump’s building project get building permits in Argentina,

3. interrupted transition activity to meet with Indian businessmen on project that would pay royalty money directly to Trump, and

4.  broke with protocol and met privately with Japanese leader and Trump’s daughter Ivanka who had business to discuss.

Also, it is speculated that his politically controversial call with the leader of Taiwan may have been prompted by economic/business interests of his Trump organization.

If Hillary Clinton had done any one of these corrupt things, he would have demanded to “lock her up!”  If your local politicians had done it you would demand they resign.

His refusal to release his taxes was the first sign that he did not intend to behave ethically. Now he is behaving unconstitutionally, with intent to violate the highest laws of the land.

What you can do:

  • Read the excellent letter by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) and U.S. Congressman, Elijah Cummings, and their call for a government audit of Trump’s conflicts of interest and investigation of his use of unsecured lines to make transition calls to heads of state.
  • Contact the Government Accountability Office contact@gao.gov to note that you “support an investigation into the appropriateness of Trump’s use of tax payer dollars toward the presidential transition, and an audit of all potential conflicts of interest.”
  • Write to your U.S. Congressmen to demand action to protect our country from despot leaders.

 

Voting: The Fix is in!

Republicans seem to know the old adage… make sure you’ve won the game before it has even started. How do they do this? They write the rules. In elections that means pre-work as follows:

  1. Gerrymandering congressional districts to ensure your party retains power. While this may favor either or both major parties, systemic efforts by Republicans for two decades have resulted in a skew toward Republican victories and wasting votes of Democrats.  See the map in this article about a Wisconsin gerrymandering case, which also offers a glimmer of hope about a breakthrough method for identifying and fighting partisan gerrymandering.  Also see the hopeful steps happening in North Carolina where a special election may be held after court-supervised redistricting can take place. Also see news of more organized Democratic leadership to combat this issue.
  2. Caging, purging and otherwise reducing voter registrations to make it hard for people to vote, particularly  minorities who more frequently vote Democratic, thus favoring Republican victories. See this well-written summary on North Carolina  restrictions on voting (though people are now fighting back in NC)
  3. Undercounting votes, particularly of minorities, by methods such as “Crosscheck” which ensure that votes that were cast are not actually counted. See article by long-time election investigator Greg Palast. His totals on purged votes show how the exit polls were right about Hillary winning in those critical swing states, but then the votes were not counted. This is another tactic used by Republicans.
  4. Using manipulable computer voting machines from Republican controlled and connected companies (like Diebold) which have proven unreliable and skewing toward Republican victories.  See my earlier post with a movie link and more details (see the movie!)

Why are they doing this? See the Stick Figure video about perpetuating power that I linked previously. Classic tactics, particularly if you are moving away from a democratic model toward dictatorship model.

What can we do?

  • Get Democrats registered well in advance, and then get them physically to the polls with organized rides. Reach out to help in other states by calling those Democratic headquarters. Mid-term elections are essentially around the corner.
  • Write letters to Congress, to the Editor, to whomever, about the need for bipartisan districting. How else can we keep politicians of any party from becoming too comfortable or too corrupt? They need to feel the pressure come election day to prove they’ve earned our vote.
  • Connect with Holder’s efforts for fair redistricting.
  • Dispute, every chance you get, Trump’s notion that there is widespread in-person voting fraud (the Chicago equivalent of vote early and often). Every expert agrees this is simply not true and that the few cases are so few as to be inconsequential. He is tweeting this not as a sore loser rant, but rather as a strategy to gain political support for more voter suppression laws.

“I’m with her”, and her, and her, and her…

Move over angry white man; Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

I just had the pleasure of sitting with a roomful of women, many strangers to me, to bond over politics, passions and patriotism. This organic neighborhood meeting happened because over the course of these past three weeks many of these women naturally shared tears after the election, fears after the cabinet picks started rolling in, and jeers over Trump’s conflicts of interest and other corrupt and odious behaviors.

The big takeaway? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It was amazing to me how similarly we all felt about the election, about Trump, about the need to do something about it. So now we are organizing.

How about you? Have you met up with like-minded people yet? Reminds me of the organic rise of MoveOn.org and how people (including my previously apolitical sister in a swing state) started to have Move On meetings in their homes after the 2000 presidential election.

Time is ticking for Foster Campbell’s Dec 10 run-off election for the U.S. Senate so DONATE NOW!

See other things you can do now to “Restore Balance to the Force” such as book a rally bus to get yourself to the March for Women in Washington, January 21, 2017.

The Election Changes Everything (Most of All You)

Day 5 since Election Day. The body shaking lessens, but does not stop. There are moments each day when I can put out of my mind what just happened, but not most.

I shed tears at various moments during my son’s Bar Mitzvah yesterday, but only half of them were in reverence and awe of him and the beautiful tradition. The other half of those tears flowed because I could not reconcile the standard prayers (hope, love, peace, helping the sick, stopping oppression, embracing differences) with what our country just did: elect Donald Trump as our future president of the United States.

Every parent knows that parenting means growing your child from both the inside (good food, good morals, good information) and the outside (good role models, safe home/schools/community, and healthy environment). So every parental instinct is offended at a Trump election, which has already uncorked the stopper of hatred in otherwise safe and stable neighborhoods. On Halloween a swastika was displayed in our neighborhood. Post election someone displayed a “white kids only” sign on a bathroom door in a nearby town. And I live in a state that voted for Hillary. Bigotry. It is hard to put that genie back in the bottle, and even harder when its instigator and champion was just voted into office.

Trump has also announced his desire to decrease funding for environmental regulation, which signals more difficulty to come in raising our children, and our children’s children,  in healthy environments.

As to providing good role models for our children…Trump has repeatedly and unabashedly lied, cheated, bullied, sexually harassed, and otherwise dangerously misled the American people (weakening the Obama Presidency with the racially provocative birther lie for years, calling Hillary Clinton a crook without evidence and despite a lack of indictment or lawsuit, while he has an unbelieveable amount of litigation pending against him, declaring that American elections are rigged and mainstream media biased).

Had Trump been a major league baseball player, merely one instance of these many transgressions would have caused him suspension, a fine, or perhaps cost his job. But our country just rewarded him with the presidency. Had he been Hillary Clinton we would have hung her by now in torchlight, after the public dunking to conclude the Republican-Led Witch Hunt, (coming up short, thus leading to request for emails) the state-sponsored political persecution of Hillary Clinton in which the media was complicit and on which Trump capitalized.

Some people say we should just wait and see, he might moderate his approach in office. I am here to tell you he has already changed everything!

The rules of American politics have just changed. And Americans are the losers. People have always tolerated a certain amount of factual sidestepping in politics, but they don’t like a lot of it, and they don’t appreciate bold face lies. Like when Bill Clinton said “there is no sexual relationship” (a lie to protect his own skin prompted by a non-meritorious personal lawsuit against him). Like when George W. Bush concocted and convinced us of the lie that there was evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (a lie which eroded our moral authority in the world, propelled us into a decade long war, lost thousands of American lives, caused a hundred thousand other deaths and injuries in the Muslim world thus spawning stronger enemies in the shape of ISIS/ISIL/IS, removed a check on Iranian threat to the region, and increased our national debt to levels that cripple our economic growth now and in the future).  Americans don’t like this kind of thing once we realize we have been boldly lied to. It is part of why voters did not want to support a mainstream Republican candidate or Bill Clinton’s wife (guilt by association).

In this political contest, Trump, who was by far (very far) the more egregious liar, wins the day. Trump, who was a master manipulator clothed as a whiny school boy, won the day, rather than Hillary Clinton who preserved a modicum of professional and political decency in her response to his unprecedented behavior. But it was too late. He, and the Republican army before him, had already effectively penned her in. Who would believe her when she said he was lying, since she had already been brandished the liar? Because she had been tarnished as untrustworthy, she could not talk herself out of it, could not talk her way back into our good graces. Who would have believed mainstream media when he has labeled them as liars too?

Republicans have perfected the art of the Big Lie (telling the very opposite of the truth loudly and frequently, or accusing their opponent of their own crimes in order to inoculate themselves) and it paid off Big Time. And there is a word for this: Propaganda. And it leads to a democracy who no longer has correct information to help them vote for what they intend.

The change in rules for political contests are tantamount to when the rules of warfare itself changed from organized combat to jungle warfare. Very messy. Very hard to predict harm and control consequences. And because they have proved beneficial to Trump and the Republicans for these many years now…they are not going away. They have double downed on them.

You know this intuitively, that everything changed. It is why your stomach ached on November 9. It is why you  still shake a little bit sometimes. Your mind cannot fully believe it yet, but your spirit and body knows you–and everything you stand for, everything you thought our great country stood for–were just assaulted.

You also know in your heart that it means you have to stand up and do something about it. You are no longer a mere spectator in this democracy while working hard to feed and clothe  your family.  The political issues are no longer abstract, distant, or even complex. Trump made this personal. He attacked you, your wife, your neighbors, your employees, and possibly your honored ancestors, by his hate speeches. And he was elected for it, or despite it. This is personal. And no one talks to us like that and gets aways with it. You understand?

Wishing it away is not sufficient. These people play a long game.

Today my family will sit down to form a plan, just like you might form a household evacuation plan, a natural disaster plan, a college savings plan, or plan who will take care of a sick loved one. Our plan today will start with how to respond to bigotry wherever and whenever we encounter it, whether it be school, work , government officials, or media. We will build our plans from there to include more proactive steps to change political leadership in Congress and the White House, to limit their scope of power and influence.

I invite you to tell me what your plans are. And as the days and months proceed, I will post here any ideas we all have that help us to each take steps. Each of us can only take small steps while we work hard on other things. So think of it as one small step for man, but one giant step for mankind. We can do this together. I will post something every week if not more frequently. Let’s see what we can do.

 

 

Trump’s Taxes, Clinton’s Emails, and the Real Culprit

The issues related to Donald Trump’s taxes and Hillary Clinton’s emails are real and revealing all on their own without imagining criminal intent or rule-breaking that is not otherwise evident. But in a social-political climate that fans the flames of fear, we Americans let our considerable imaginations run wild, assuming the worst. The fact of the matter is that each of them acted in a manner supported by their respective settings/businesses, and we are the real culprits for presuming more guilt than really exists instead of focusing on what the known facts actually tell us.

It is a fact that as of October 2, 2016, Donald Trump has not released his taxes.  It is not legally required that he do so, but it has become a modern-day norm since the 1970’s for presidential nominees to do so. In fact, Trump advised Mitt Romney to release his taxes in 2012We are wrong to assume that these facts reveal an attempt by Trump to cover up criminal activity or shady business deals/partners. We can however assume that Trump holds himself to a different standard than his peers; a troubling ethical question, which has been underscored by his own conduct throughout this campaign. 

Meanwhile, the New York Times asserts that Trump may not have paid taxes for many years following an alleged 1995 tax filing of potentially 900+ million dollar loss, casting doubt on Trump’s business acumen. This does not reveal anything new or surprising. Tax codes make it fairly easy and even common for extremely wealthy individuals to avoid taxes. At the end of the day these facts merely reveal that Trump is probably just who he says he is: a rich man (albeit one who has filed multiple bankruptcies). If you do not like it, then vote for tax reform that does not favor the super rich.

As to Hillary Clinton, an extensive investigation was initiated following concerns about Benghazi, which falsely presumed misdoing and cover-up due to conflicting reports of the likely attackers in the first 13 hours after the attack. Meanwhile, her use of a personal email account at the Department of State came into question and the resulting FBI report, which reviewed roughly 40,000 emails, finds no criminal activity or intent, but rather reveals that personal emails were used by staff for expediency as a matter of “business as usual” in the Department of State, dating back even to Colin Powell’s personal AOL account. Apparently this was due to antiquated systems and classifications, and the need for real-time communications to be effective in their work. 

The real and troubling issue related to Hillary Clinton and email practices in the Department of State is that she evidently did not have technical savvy and did not provide the kind of modern, visionary leadership one would hope for in that regard. Wouldn’t it have been better if, upon entering the Department of State, she used her position to question and strengthen internal security practices, rather than negotiate a comfortable method for juggling her non-classified email communications? 

People say it comes down to trust. I trust them each to be exactly who they are. The question is, which one is most likely to have learned from their past such that they can become a better leader in future? Trump makes no apology and still dances on the question of releasing his taxes. Meanwhile Clinton says, “I am sorry and would not do that again.” For this factual reason alone, “I’m with her” on this one.