The Licensing of the Presidency (White House for Sale)

It’s how Trump has done business the past couple of decades. After six bankruptcies, Trump did learn a new trick and started selling his name and not trying to run a profitable business. Trump doesn’t really own many of the properties with his name on them. In 2015, his name was on seventeen properties in New York of which he owned only five. At present, the number of buildings in New York with his name has dwindled to eleven, as the six“Trump Place” properties elected to have the Trump name removed. The Trump Organization continues to manage the properties. A typical deal involves Trump licensing his name which once attracted buyers/renters for a fee while also being paid for management duties.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

Trump’s new business model allowed him to eliminate risk while raking in a percentage, whether the venture succeeds or fails. When The Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City filed for bankruptcy in 2014. It was the owner Roger Khafif that took the hit, even though it was the mismanagement by Trump Panama Condominium Management LLC. that helped run the property aground, approving $2.2 million in unauthorized debts, and approving undisclosed bonuses to its executives.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

Trump had found a way to make money he couldn’t possibly screw up. Until he brought the same tactics to his campaign and ultimately to the White House. The first clue should have been when Paul Manafort volunteered to work with the Trump campaign for free. At the time, Manafort was being sued by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska for an allegedly misspent $19 million and had reportedly received an additional loan for $26 million. In all, Manafort was on the hook for up to $60 million dollars. How was he in any position to work in a highly visible position for free when people with ties to the Russian mob were trying to collect from him.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

The answer, which was part of a now obvious pattern is that Manafort provided services to Trump, and was allowed to run free with his own side deals, using access to Trump to make money. Among the first things he did was provide information to Deripaska about internal Trump polling data and get Trump to change the Republican Platform in a manner favorable to Russia.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

That change to the RNC platform didn’t go unnoticed but Trump and Manafort were able to stonewall efforts to pin down the story and it got lost in a sea of Trump scandals. One might think Trump would be wary of selling his name and position after that but apparently he was just getting started.

At the time of Scott Pruitt’s resignation as the EPA head, he was facing eleven investigations including his relationships with lobbyists which included a highly favorable housing arrangement while in D.C. Pruitt used his White House expense account to fly first class and use private planes. He had a woman on the payroll as an advisor that apparently rarely came to work. It was all good as long as Trump got his wishes which included gutting regulations that were protecting the environment.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry recently resigned as Energy Secretary (a department he couldn’t remember in a televised debate when running for President). It seems he took advantage of his role as one of the “Three Amigos” advancing Trump’s Ukranian policy to hook up his friends with a huge energy contract. Those friends were loyal Perry campaign donors and I consider it likely Perry would ultimately be rewarded for the favor.

Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Guiliani was apparently working his own side deals while allegedly doing the country’s bidding. He was paid $500,000 by recently-arrested Lev Parnas; a Ukranian-American businessman that was allegedly working for Rudy, digging up dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden in Ukraine. Who pays someone else half-a-million bucks to go work for them?

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

Recently released documents show Rudy was negotiating a contract with former Ukranian prosecutor Yuriy Letsenko with whom he was working to dig up Biden dirt. Their negotiations got as far as a deal memo which Guiliani signed for $300,000. Trump is suddenly “unaware” of what Rudy was doing in Ukraine. Weeks ago Rudy said Trump was his “only client,” while Trump claims Rudy has lots of other clients than himself. One of them is lying.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

Extend the pattern of grifters throughout the Trump administration. Take Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross whose net worth is over $700 million. He’s was sued by and later settled with former business partner David Storper who alleged Ross ripped him off for millions. Ross was Vice-Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus when he oversaw a Russian deal for which the bank was found to have laundered hundreds of millions of Russian money and was also Paul Manafort’s bank at the time. Birds of a feather. Throw in Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka who made $80 million last year while “volunteering” at the White House and it’s all so clear.

Last Two NYC Buildings Named ‘Trump Place’ Vote to Remove President’s Name

Government service is supposed to be honorable; serve your country for a few years at a government pay scale and perhaps you go on to make real money afterward. Trump and associates couldn’t wait that long. Everyone has a side hustle and is using Donald Trump’s name as collateral. The worst part is that many people within his own party know, but simply don’t care. If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ever pressed the issue, someone might start looking at the millions in gifts he’s received from his father-in-law who owns a Chinese shipping firm? Selling access and favors is a great job if you can get it.

The Pros and Cons of Trump Receiving a Pardon (What Happened When Nixon Got Pardoned?)

We know the Impeachment of Donald Trump is coming. That the House of Representatives will send multiple counts to the Senate for trial is a given. Whether Republicans are able to put Country before Party is another thing but despite the theory that if Trump survives Impeachment it allows him to declare himself a victor. The more likely outcome is that even if he’s not convicted by the Senate. American voters won’t want to put themselves through four more years of this perpetual madness. Once he’s out of office, he’ll be eligible to be prosecuted for his crimes and there’s a line forming of people waiting to charge him. The question is; should Trump receive a pardon as Nixon got? Allegedly to keep from tearing the country apart.

For those Ever-Trumper’s demanding to know what crimes he’s committed? The rest of the nation is sure he’s broken Federal Election laws and obstructed justice as well as violated the Logan and Hatch Acts. When his finances are finally revealed, we can add tax fraud, regular fraud, and money laundering to the list. There won’t be a question as to whether he and his family have broken the law. The question is; what are we willing to do about it?

When Nixon resigned in disgrace, President Gerald Ford pardoned him before charges could be brought in order to “spare the nation.” We’ll never be able to know how the nation would have responded had Nixon been jailed but America was pretty much in turmoil after he was pardoned. Ford discovered the voters held a grudge as he was beaten in the next election by a peanut farmer from Plains, GA. I’ve been to Plains and don’t suspect they’ll be producing any more Presidents anytime soon.

Yes, Trump’s base will be upset if he goes to jail. They’ll be upset if he doesn’t go to jail. They’d be upset if he managed to win re-election. When your constituency is glued together by rage, being upset is what they do. I’m less concerned about the Trump base than I am the next politician who wants to use the Office of the Presidency to enrich himself and his friends at the expense of the rest of us. It’s going to take enough to rebuild this nation as it is without a pissed-off Donald Trump on Twitter all day about how he was wronged.

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Donald Trump didn’t reach the highest office in the land with lofty aspirations to help the country and maintain high ethical standards. He was a crook when he arrived, surrounded himself with more crooks in his Cabinet and administration. It seems almost all of his political appointees were either crooks, white supremacists, or both. None of the people Trump pardoned went through the normal process of having been reviewed by the Office of the Pardon Attorney within the Justice Department. They were issued because someone knew someone or had a celebrity advocate like Kim Kardashian. Like every other American. Trump should have the opportunity to file for clemency. This usually takes place after someone has served a portion of their sentence and met all the guidelines.

I don’t want Trump to go to jail because I dislike him (although I do dislike him). Not because he’s a Republican (he’s not really a Republican although they are willing to follow him off a cliff). Not because he’s conservative (have you seen his deficits?). But because an example must be set. There’s a criminal right now thinking he can avoid a jail sentence if he can just get to be President and avoid prosecution. No, America doesn’t want to become a banana republic where politicians who lose or are ousted are thrown in prison. But America can no longer consider itself a nation of laws if its most visible citizen is above it.


What if Trump Won’t Leave?

It’s not as ridiculous a question as it seems. Trump has already hinted at the possibility of not leaving office; even if he completed two full terms in office. Of course, there are two distinct means by which he might not serve more than one term. He could be voted out of office in the 2020 Presidential Election, or he could be Impeached. The ongoing Impeachment investigation has reached the public hearing stage. America is learning more daily about Trump’s back-channel diplomacy and apparent extortion of Ukraine to improve his chances of staying in office.

“We’re cutting record numbers of regulations — we’ve cut more regulations in a year and a quarter than any administration whether it’s four years, eight years, or in one case 16 years. Should we go back to 16 years? Should we do that? Congressman, can we do that?”

The immediate threat to his presidency is the Impeachment inquiry. After the first week of public hearings, there is the testimony that Trump blackmailed Ukraine to force them to make public statements about an investigation of a political rival and his son; in order to receive hundreds of millions in military aid. Trump’s engaged in an unprecedented level of obstruction; refusing to let administration witnesses testify or release records and documentation. We’ve seen how an Ambassador was demonized, forced out, and even intimidated while on the stand testifying. He told a foreign leader she was “bad news,” and that:

“She’s going to go through some things!”

The official Impeachment inquiry began after a September 25th phone call during which Trump demanded a favor from the Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky; immediately after he brought up his willingness to purchase additional javelin missiles. An opening statement from closed-door testimony shows on September 26th, Trump talked by phone to Ambassador Sunderland and pressed him on the progress of Ukraine releasing the statement Trump wanted.

It is fairly certain, that the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives will formally Impeach the President and send the case to the Senate for a trial. Less clear is whether the Republican-controlled Senate will do anything other than to vote by Party line. Impeachment requires a two-thirds majority in order to oust the President and currently that isn’t likely. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he “won’t even read the transcripts” from the House investigations. He may not be alone.

There is a precedent, however; Republican support to impeach Richard Nixon was even less than it is for Trump. Yet televised hearings and public opinion pressured them to the point that Republicans went to Nixon and told him he “didn’t have the votes” to survive Impeachment. Nixon ultimately resigned “for the good of the country.” From what we know of Trump, the good of the country won’t cross his mind and resignation is unlikely. So what if he won’t leave?

“You know the last time I jokingly said that the papers start saying, ‘He’s got despotic tendencies, (staying in office longer) “No, I’m not looking to do it. Unless you want me to do it, that’s OK.”

The first thing Trump would likely do is to file lawsuits. Sue the House of Representatives, the Senate, the whistleblower; everybody. That he has no chance on the merits won’t bother him. He has claimed that the President has absolute immunity while in office and that the President cannot even be investigated; in his legal filings. He said publicly that he could “shoot someone on 5th Ave.,” and get away with it. People thought he was joking.

We’ve all seen how long he’s been able to avoid releasing his taxes as various lawsuits wind their way through the court system. He’s lost on every lower level, including appeals to the Federal courts. All that remains is the Supreme Court which these days is highly unpredictable. The goal for Trump won’t necessarily be winning, although he would like that. It would be the delay, up to two years. Certainly long enough to run in the next election. If Impeached during one term is there anything to stop him from running in the next election? He wouldn’t be a felon as he wouldn’t have been prosecuted or convicted while President.

“Do you think the people would demand that I stay longer?”

The other possibility where Trump might try to go against tradition and stay in office; is if he is defeated in November 2020, but decides not to stay. He would have no problem declaring it a “rigged election” and either declare himself the winner or demand a whole new election (or recounts in only the states he lost). He’d declare (as he did in 2016) that millions of illegal voters were allowed to vote, provide his own set of unverifiable numbers which would be instantly be backed up by his surrogates and Fox News. Because of our built-in transition period between the election and inauguration. For over two months after the election, Trump would still be President; with control over the Justice Department, the Secret Service, and the military.

America has always set itself apart from the rest of the world with its history of peaceful transition of power. Despite Trump’s constant declarations, there has never been a coup with a leader forced out of power. Usually, an attempt to illegally take power or stay in power involves the military. Whatever Trump believes, the military is not so ingratiated to him that they would obey any order. There’s also the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits American troops from acting on American soil. That doesn’t apply to the National Guard which is controlled by individual states. We might see some Governors call out soldiers in an attempt to defend the President. Trump has had a loyal base of 30–40 percent of the nation. Would they stick with him even in an attempt to unconstitutionally remain in power?

The one thing we can’t say is that Trump would never consider it. He put himself ahead of the country’s interest in Ukraine. He’s indebted to the Russians to a degree we’ll never know until his financial records are released. He will lie, cheat, and steal to stay in power. Overstaying his term will seem relatively minor in his view. He’ll do what he always does; make statements to test the waters, measure the level of resistance… act. Speaking of Chinese President Xi Jinping he said:

“He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

What Was True of Trump in 2016 is No Less True Today

I wrote this in May of 2016. Looking back it shows just how much we knew about Trump before he became President and if anything, he’s worse today.

“There is a long list of things that Donald Trump does not understand. The list is long and normally his ignorance would have seen him removed from consideration for the Republican nomination for President. But the one thing he does understand has proven to be enough to attract enough of the Republican base that he steamrolled 16 other candidates to finish on top and now has a chance to become our next President. To those who are supporting Donald Trump, you know the following:

  1. Donald Trump doesn’t know a damn thing about foreign policy. He has no beliefs you can count on. Everything he’s said regarding Mexico, Muslims, China and the few other countries he can name, is contradicted by something else he’s said on the same subjects. He says he is anti-war, yet he has a secret plan to destroy Isis which has no specific base of operations and is spread out amongst nations all over the world, mostly living in major cities intermingled with the civilian population. Ask him how much his wall will cost? How will he make Mexico pay for it? You know he has no plan but you don’t care.
  2. You know Trump has little respect for women. He cares little about them besides their appearance. He calls them “dogs” and rates their bodies. He calls out Hillary for allegedly “enabling” Bill Clinton yet you ignore that he himself is a serial cheater. He want’s credit for giving one of his wives a large role in a casino yet he paid her one dollar a year as salary.
  3. You know he doesn’t really tell it like it is. He lies! Not just an occasional lie but pretty much every public statement he makes is full of lies, many of which have already been disproven. He lies, you know he lies and he knows you won’t care.
  4. You know he doesn’t understand the economy. Being fair I’ll give him credit for taking advantage of tax loopholes, using eminent domain and using the system to enhance his personal wealth. But he has no clue as to how the economy operates, which you know, and it doesn’t matter.
  5. You know he doesn’t hold traditional Republican values. I’m not sure that he has many values at all but he certainly doesn’t believe in the conservative values the party claims to espouse. He just joined the Party, has threatened Party leaders throughout his campaign including possible riots at the Convention should things not go his way.
  6. He has no plan to replace Obamacare, you know his promises are not backed up by any coherent plan and you might not be able to state what specific promises he’s even making other than to be “the best” and “making America great again” and “winning”.

You hear a lot about people voting against their interests. I don’t think Trump supporters or most voters actually vote against their interests. Outsiders simply fail to dig deep enough to find out which interests they care about more than those you think they could be considering.

A Donald Trump Presidency would be a failure on so many levels for most Americans yet many would see him as a champion. Because for all the things Donald doesn’t understand, he knows the loss of white privilege. When he says he’ll “make America great again” he’s clearly saying he’ll reverse the gains made by minorities at the expense of white males. Of course, he’s disregarding that minorities have never had a level playing field in the first place and any gains were to simply get closer to even. His supporters understand that Donald Trump will stand up to any effort that diminishes white people which he lets you know as he bashes Mexicans and “the Blacks” and Muslims and China and Japan, and, and, and.

Donald Trump is xenophobic, he says “America first”. You not only know this but you like it. Donald Trump is clearly racist. He’s counting on you not to care. To vote for Trump is to convince yourself to ignore all the things you know he doesn’t know, in favor of the one thing you’re certain of.”

Although he is on the precipice of Impeachment based on events that weren’t predictable in 2016. His character was always clear. We didn’t know which crimes and abuses of power he’d commit. Just that he would do so.

No, Donald Trump, There’s Only One Kind Of Lynching!

In his most recent attempt to get Republicans to defend him against a looming Impeachment. Donald Trump reminds them that they are witnessing, “a lynching.” Let’s be clear. If you don’t end up dead at the end of the day, you haven’t been lynched.

“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN” Donald Trump

Lindsey Graham, who used to be John McCain’s friend and tried to claim some of his integrity by osmosis. Backed the President up in a statement by saying that what is going on is a “political lynching.” Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court called the investigation into him a “high-tech lynching.” Democrats were too afraid to face the possibility of being called racist so they opted instead to be sexist and misogynistic.

While some people debate whether anything other hanging counts as a lynching (most now agree that shooting and other causes of death count). It’s quite clear that if nobody is dead, nobody got lynched.

If it wasn’t so sick it would be amusing to see the biggest bully on the planet, throwing a pity party trying to rev up support. People who have been lynched have mourners. Family members that have experienced tremendous loss and buried their loved ones, assuming the body was left to be found or in the case of mass lynchings, distinguishable from other bodies. I could point you to the Ocoee Massacre where two men tried to vote and white people shot or burned out the whole black population of the town. Ocoee (a stone’s throw from Orlando) had no black residents for 40 years afterward). That was a lynching.

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Donald Trump has disparaged the entire continent of Africa calling them “shithole countries.” He literally left Puerto Ricans to die after a hurricane by making George Bush’s effort after Katrina look Herculean. Trump visited, laughing and threw paper towels. He tried to ban Muslims, put Hispanic children in cages, and now wants us to feel sorry for him because his crimes and abuse of power and being investigated.

His next move after his claim of being lynched was likely the golf course, making him the first lynched person to demand a mulligan. There and everywhere else he goes, he’ll cheat and lie and beg for protection from people he doesn’t give a damn about. Eventually, he’ll get on Twitter and lash out at others. On a good day, he might destroy a political career or cause someone else to suffer. That same Twitter is now mocking him for evoking the imagery of lynching, applying the term to one of the most privileged people on the planet. Trump should be made to see pictures of people who’ve actually been lynched but he’s likely too sensitive to endure it. There’s no situation ever comparable to lynching. Impeachment is far behind in comparison and Trump is fully deserving.

What is most likely to happen now is that an army of surrogates will support Trump’s use of the word lynching as Sen. Graham has already done. The opinion shows on Fox News will do the same, trying to make it acceptable to their viewers as well. Kamala Harris said what it would do well for them all to remember:

“Lynching is a reprehensible stain on this nation’s history, as is this President. We’ll never erase the pain and trauma of lynching, and to invoke that torture to whitewash your own corruption is disgraceful.” Kamala Harris

Hakeem Jeffries added:

“Thousands of innocent African-Americans were murdered during the lynching epidemic.

They were viciously slaughtered because of the color of their skin.

The House impeachment inquiry is mandated by the Constitution.

Keep. Your. Historically. Ignorant. Mouth. Shut.” Hakeem Jeffries

Congressman Jeffries’s last words deserve repeating. Keep your ignorant mouth shut!

Take a Letter Ivanka

Last night, as I got home, about a half-past ten

There was the woman I thought I knew, watching CNN

I kept my cool I ain’t no fool let me tell you what happened then

I packed some clothes and I walked out and I ain’t going back again

So take a letter Ivanka, address it to my wife

Say I won’t be coming home, gotta start a new life

So take a letter Ivanka, address it to my wife

Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life

You’ve been many things but most of all a very good daughter to me

And it’s times like this I feel… You’ve always been close to me

Was I wrong to cheat and lie, I gave her a very good life

Ever since I’ve been President, my life’s been full of strife

So take a letter Ivanka, address it to my wife

Say I won’t be coming home, gotta start a new life

So take a letter Ivanka, address it to my wife

Send a copy to Giuliani, gotta start a new life

When a man loves a woman, it’s hard to understand

Why she would turn from Fox News, and start watching CNN

I never really noticed, how sweet you are to me

It just so happens I’m free tonight

Would you like to have dinner with me?

So take a letter Ivanka, address it to my wife

Say I won’t be coming home, gotta start a new life

So take a letter Ivanka, address it to my wife

Think I’ll go to Russia, gotta start a new life

And now here comes Impeachment, it’s all based on fake news

Just because I used other countries, to make sure I couldn’t lose

I told Ukraine you’ll get no money unless you get the goods on Joe

I just don’t get why people think it’s some kinda quid pro quo

And now it’s out all over town that I keep two sets of books

One that shows I’m ultra-rich on top of my good looks

The other set says that I’m dead broke so my taxes are really low

I know you understand Ivanka because that’s the way we roll

So take a letter Ivanka, address it to my wife

Say I won’t be coming home, gotta start a new life

So take a letter Ivanka, address it to my wife

Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life

Apologies to R.B. Greaves

Who Thought John Bolton Would Be The Moral Center of Trumpworld?

I don’t pretend to like John Bolton. He is the warmonger of warmongers. He has no use for the rest of the world and thinks they deserve no input into anything.

“If I were doing the Security Council today, I’d have one permanent member, the United States, because that’s the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world. All international laws are invalid, meaningless attempts to constrict American power.”

His solution to problems with other nations is typically regime change.

“The only way to resolve the North Korean problem is to change the regime.”

“Iran has essentially mastered all of the complex science and technology that they need to have a completely indigenous nuclear weapons program. That means that our options on Iran are extremely limited, to regime change or as a last resort, the use of force.”

“It was right to overthrow Saddam Hussein. It was the regime itself that was a threat. I think in hindsight, what I would have done is turn authority back over to Iraqis much more quickly and say: “Your country, you figure out how to run it.”

When you look up “neo-conservative” in the dictionary. John Bolton’s mustache is next to the definition. Yet still, in one of the few bright moments from within the Trump administration. John Bolton saw a crime, refused to take part, and had it referred to White House lawyers for review.

“I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.”

Bolton went further according to former NSC Russia Expert Fiona Hill, he said,

“Giuliani’s a hand grenade and is going to blow everybody up.”

Bolton made sure that when shit goes down, and it will, he had absolutely nothing to do with it.

John Bolton recently left the Trump administration with differing accounts of the circumstances. Bolton says he quit… Trump says he fired him. Bolton has said almost nothing publicly since his departure but left no doubt he has plenty to say and will in due time. I didn’t like Bolton when he served as American Ambassador to the United Nations during the Bush administration. I didn’t care to hear and see him as a contributor to Fox News. I didn’t like him in the Trump administration. But when he’s inevitably called to testify in a House hearing. I’m getting the popcorn and pulling up a chair.