Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Phrase of the Day: BLACK SNAKE STOPPED (AGAIN)

Seven months ago, I first posted about the Dakota Access pipeline and the struggle the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was having to get it stopped.  On the day of the posting (December 4, 2016), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced they would not be granting an easement for the pipeline to go through, stopping the progress in its tracks, in a major victory for Standing Rock.  President Obama ordered the permit to be pulled, and then said more study was required to see if the pipeline could be routed differently.  It was a time of celebration, but the celebration did not last long.

Just over seven weeks later, and merely four days in office, President Trump resurrected the Black Snake (as Standing Rock calls the pipeline) with an executive memorandum -- a document similar to an executive order -- to put the Dakota Access pipeline back on track.  Environmentalists and the Sioux tribe were appalled and in shock.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil, was seen as a key in getting any and all permits secured.  The fight went on, even though the Trump administration was seen, and still is seen, as a greater environmental threat.

Last month, Federal Judge James Boasberg ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers "did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline's effects are likely to be highly controversial" in its initial issuance of an easement one year ago.  Judge Boasberg did not, however, go so far as to say the pipeline should be shut down until a new environmental study is completed.

Where the Court had ruled against Standing Rock (i.e. the Corps did not act too quickly on permits earlier this year, the pipeline does not infringe on Standing Rock's cultural heritage), last month's ruling somewhat reversed that.  Earlier this week, Judge Boasberg ruled that the Trump administration's hastily-approved permits from the Corps violated the law.  Once again, Judge Boasberg did not rule that the pipeline should be shut down until a new environmental study is done.

The Standing Rock Sioux Chairman, David Archambault II, released a statement that read:
        "The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this
        pipeline, and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental
        considerations in favor of political and personal interests.
        "We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue
        political influence and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations
        immediately."


Jan Hasselman, an attorney from EarthJustice, an Environmental Law law firm that is representing Standing Rock, added:
        "This decision marks an important turning point.  Until now, the rights of the
        Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have been disregarded by the builders of the
        Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trump administration -- prompting a well-
        deserved global outcry.  The federal courts have stepped in where our
        political systems have failed to protect the rights of Native communities."


The Black Snake has been stopped ... again ... but not for good.  The fight goes on.

Terry

Monday, June 19, 2017

Term of the Day: FIFTH ANNIVERSARY

2 0 1 2  -  2 0 1 7


It's hard to believe that it has been five years since I began this blog.  It was on June 19, 2012 when I posted my very first entry here.  It dealt with a case in Texas in which an elementary school teacher dealt with bullying, taking a six-year-old into her classroom and having her students line up and hit the child.  (A misdemeanor conviction for "official oppression" was overturned.)


It wasn't long after that initial post that I was writing about a myriad of topics.  Some of the topics were the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, illegal immigration, the Dead Sea Scrolls, same-sex marriage, Barack Obama winning his second term in office, the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the death with dignity movement, the Boston Marathon bombings, and (at the time) the beginning of peeling back of voting rights for minorities.

And that was just the first year!

My initial intent was to have the "of the Day" title to always be simply the Word of the Day, although sometimes, the title has been Words of the Day.  That one-word title didn't last long, as my first Phrase of the Day post ("Connecting with the Past") was within the first month.  (There have even been Phrases of the Day posts.)  Weeks after my first Phrase of the Day, my first Term of the Day ("Same-Sex Marriage") appeared.  Two years ago, the affliction known as Meniere's Disease was the first Name of the Day.

B.B. King's passing was the occasion for the only Title of the Day ("King of the Blues"); the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, was the focus of the only Measurement of the Day ("Parts Per Billion"); and the only Question of the Day ("When Is This Crap Going to Stop?") was in response to the massacre at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and all of the shootings of black individuals here in the United States.

There have been several multi-part postings over the past five years.  There were, however, two occasions where the title was not "of the Day", but "of the Week".  The first was a seven-part post ("To Protect and to Serve") about the killings of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner by police.  Just last month, the second posting ("Treacherous") was a five-parter that addressed U.S. President Donald Trump.

Sometimes, the posting has been a Film/Movie of the Day, where I have shared some interesting documentaries, ranging from the Iraq War and 9/11 to Blues music and Halloween.  For these entries, I have always tried to choose documentaries that have had major theatrical releases as well as those that have been shown strictly on television.

My New Year's postings have changed over the years.  My first one (January 5, 2013) dealt a little bit with the Mayan "prediction" about the end of the world in 2012.  On January 2, 2014, my focus was on New Year's resolutions, including my belief that not making any New Year's resolution is, in an odd way, a resolution itself.  Beginning with my third New Year's post (January 1, 2015), I began the tradition of posting a video of a song as a kind of goodbye to the year gone by and hello to the new year ahead.  The first song was Dead Man Fall's 'Bang Your Drum'.  (I also recalled my elbow surgery in the summer of the previous year.)  I featured Greg Holden's 'Hold On Tight' in my fourth New Year's posting (January 1, 2016), while talking about friends getting me through some tough times in previous year.  This year's posting featured Elvis Presley's classic 'If I Can Dream'.

And yes, I already have a song picked out for my 2018 New Year's post.

As any regular reader of this blog will note, and as I have said in the past, I do not post every day, every week, or even every month.  My postings can be described as coming in fits and starts.  I like to post when I feel I have something to say on a topic.  Most of the time, it's in one post; sometimes, posts run over several days.  That is not to say there is very little that happens in the world that grabs my attention or makes me feel anything.  To the contrary, many things grab my attention or make me feel something, but my intent is to create post that is, hopefully, worthwhile to you.  I know it makes it difficult to maintain a steady audience, but I am not a fan of writing lines of words merely for the sake of writing lines of words.  (I went through that in grade school and high school.)

As this blog inches toward 10,000 views, I must be doing something right.

My thanks to all of you, my dear readers, for finding something of value here.  If you are a long-time reader, an occasional reader, or a new reader, keep hanging in there with me.  I can promise you that I will continue to do my best to provide you with something of value in these pages.




Terry

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Word of the Day: HACKED

There has been much talk about hacking for many years.  Such is the nature of computers and relative technologies.  We've seen hacking of companies' files of customers' information.  We've seen hacking of personal computers.  We've seen hacking of elections.  

However, the hacking being addressed today is quite different and the most pervasive.

The short film below does, I believe, express this kind of hacking quite well.  It comes from English animator and illustrator Steve Cutts. [website]



In his well-known novel 1984, author George Orwell includes the following quote...
        "To hang on from day to day and from week to week, spinning out a present that
        had no future, seemed an unconquerable instinct, just as one's lungs will always
        draw the next breath so as there is air available."
                                 [pt 2, ch 5]

It certainly feels that way from many, many people -- not such much intentionally ignoring, but mere acquiescence.  There is, however, another kind of ignorance that falls under self-absorption.  The following quote from a stage adaptation of Orwell's novel is quite appropriate for today:
        "The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough
        to notice what’s happening."

Thus, misdirection is the means; apathy is the end.  

In short, the greatest hack of all time is right in front of us because it is us.

Terry

Monday, May 29, 2017

Term of the Day: ULTIMATE SACRIFICE


It is Memorial Day here in the United States.  It is the day we honor those who served in the military and made the ultimate sacrifice, dying for their country in the line of duty.  Often confused with Veterans' Day, which is for those who served in the military and are still alive, Memorial Day is probably the most solemn of all the non-religious holidays celebrated in the U.S.

As a side note, regarding confusing the two holidays, how often do you go to a memorial for a living person?

My father served in the U.S. Army in Germany during World War II.  He came home, thank goodness, and was even awarded the Purple Heart, but many of those with whom he served, and so many others he never knew, did not come home.  The same is true of those who have served in all wars where the U.S. was involved.  A far from exhaustive list would include:
Revolutionary War 
War of 1812
American Civil War
Nez Perce War
Spanish-American War
World War I
World War II
Korean War
Cold War
Vietnam War
Gulf War
Bosnian War
Kosovo War
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan

And yet, as with a variety of holidays with deeper meanings than just days off from work or school (i.e. Veterans' Day, Christmas, Independence Day), the real meanings are lost on many Americans today.  The sense of civic awareness and responsibility seems a rare breed.


Civic ignorance at its finest.

I think civic ignorance is part of the problem.  I think another part of the problem is the public's perception of war.  It has diminished under the weight of mistrust and disillusion as, more and more, wars in the latter twentieth century and in the twenty-first century no longer fall under the same dynamic as, say, World Wars I and II.

As an anti-war individual, Memorial Day is not a day for me to gripe about the military.  My feeling is hate the mission, if you must, but love the soldier.  For me, it is a reminder of why I am against war: the only guarantee.is death.  Simultaneously, it is a reminder of those who sacrificed for this country in which I live so that I wouldn't have to go to war.  The two are not, for me, mutually exclusive of one another.

It is a reminder to stand up and work for a more peaceful world and to honor those who have fallen.



Perhaps it is the distastefulness of war that has also resulted in less observance of Memorial Day, but that ends up being disrespectful to those who died.  It is a melding together of missions (whatever their alleged outcomes are) and those who died in the line of battle.  They are not, and never have been, one in the same.  Remember, hate the mission, if you must, but love the soldier.

Memorial Day is not for the missions that occurred, but for the soldiers who died.  They deserve our honor and respect.




Terry

Friday, May 19, 2017

Word of the Week: TREACHEROUS [Part 5 of 5]

As you get older in life, you learn to care less about what others think about you than you may have when you were younger.  You decide, if not far sooner in life, to not let what others see about you dictate how you act.  Be yourself, as they say.

That is easier said than done in politics.  Sometimes you say or do what you want to say or do, others times not.  How a president and his administration behave is perceived and reflected back.  Trump's approval ratings very low.  Congress' ratings ... they have been terrible for years.  What you do or don't do is also reflected back around the world.  Not that people from other countries didn't have opinions about the U.S. president back in the days of strictly newspapers, but the global world connected by the Internet and twenty-four-hour news cycles in which we live amplifies their reactions and opinions.

No doubt, those opinions will be tested during President Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, and Belgium, for which he left today.  Not only what he has been saying while here in the U.S. will be factored in, but what he says during this trip will be listened to closely.  What will he say?  No one knows for certain, but it has been reported that Stephen Miller, who authored Trump's Muslim ban, is writing Trump's speech about Islam, which he will deliver in Saudi Arabia.  Fingers crossed.

One of the ways on reflecting back via the media is political cartoons.  The art form has been around for centuries and has continued to present day.  What a treasure trove of material Mr. Trump has been giving them!  I would like to offer a small sampling of what political cartoonists from around the world have been etching about President Trump, and let's see how he is perceived.  

Australia

© Cathy Wilcox


Belgium

© Cecile Bertrand


Netherlands

© Tjeerd Royaards


Israel

© Michel Kichka


China

© Lichuan Xia


India

© Akshita Monga


United Arab Emirates
© Paresh Nath


Netherlands

© Geert Jegrom


Germany
© Edel Rodriguez / Der Spiegel

Is this how the leader of the free world should appear around the world?  Is this how you want your president to be perceived?  I know I do not!

There have been plenty of political cartoons here in the U.S. about Trump as well, but one that stopped me in my tracks is the cover of the upcoming issue of Time magazine...  

Back in November, just two days after the election, I concluded a blog posting with the following:
        "I believe that Donald Trump is dangerous for this country, both domestically
        and internationally.  I think his proposed policies and actions are ruinous and
        will make us more unstable and divided domestically, more hated
        internationally, and far less safe as a whole, and I am worried about my
        country's future.  I am a big enough boy to eat my words and apologize if I
        am wrong, but I voted in this election and that is how I sincerely feel in its
        aftermath.  As a citizen of this country, Mr. Trump, please prove me wrong."



President Trump, sadly, you have proven me right.

Terry  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Word of the Week: TREACHEROUS [Part 4 of 5]

In the Broadway musical 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas', the character of the Governor of Texas opens the second act with the song 'The Sidestep'.  The song is about the oft-used political exercise of avoiding certain issues.  The chorus of the song is as follows:
Ooh, I love to sidestep
Now they see me, now they don't
I've come and gone and
Ooh, I love to sweep around the wide step
Cut a little swath and lead the people on


Let me be clear: Donald Trump is not the first politician to sidestep and lead the people on.  Sadly, he won't be the last.  And yet, for someone who kept saying he was not a politician time and time again, he certainly has found the ability to sidestep and lead the people on quite well.  Let's face it, being in business, particularly in big business, brings out those qualities in a person.  (The late comedian George Carlin once commented that businessmen don't even trust each other, particularly if making a deal.)

When you are a businessman -- and I am focusing on big business here, but this is true across the board -- you want your business to do well.  No big surprise there.  After all, you don't go into business to lose money and then fold.  If your focus, however, is so narrow on monetary gain, you may well be tempted to cut corners, keep certain information quiet, or engage in other activities to that end.  There have certainly been examples giving of Trump doing certain things through the years that were improper or unethical.  To that extent, Trump, being a global businessman, has dealings with not only cities and municipalities, but governments as well.  (I noted yesterday many of the countries Trump has dealt with for years.)

Aside from some of his dozens and dozens of executive orders affecting cities and municipalities (i.e. federal government involvement in education, the opioid crisis), Trump is still dealing with countries as President of the United States.  In business, there really is no system of checks and balances, per se, as established in the U.S. Constitution for the federal government.  A local Chamber of Commerce, a customer, or an employee may make note to at least local authorities about illegal activities, which may result in a subsequent investigation.  In government, all three branches of government can be used to keep the other branches from getting too big for their britches.

That, however, is part of the rub ... running the government like a business, a la Ross Perot (don't spend money you don't yet have) is pragmatic.  Running the government as Trump views the world (do whatever you have to, to make more money) is dangerous, reckless, and, frankly, un-American.  To be clear again: behind-the-scenes and back door deals by the U.S. government have been going on forever.  A lot of what Trump has been doing has not even been behind-the-scenes, but right out in the open.

Trump's business dealings with Russia, which go back roughly three decades, began with his attempt in the late 1980s to build a luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin with the Soviet government as a partner.  The deal fell through, but Trump did meet with members of the Politburo who worked on financial and economic matters.  In the mid-1990s, Trump proposed an underground mall, also near the Kremlin, but that, too, fell through.  Afterward, Trump contracted with a Russian law firm from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s in order to file for several trademarks in Russia.

Donald Trump's business dealings with Russia have continued throughout the 2000s and 2010s.  Those dealings include attempts to establish Trump name branding, a short-lived vodka brand,.and real estate pursuits.  To that last point, Trump's older son, Donald Trump, Jr., was a frequent visitor to Russia in the late 2000s and was even quoted saying in a 2008 interview for the Russian newspaper Kommersant, "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.  We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia."

Then there was the Miss Universe Pageant, which Trump owned until 2015 and brought to Moscow in 2013.  Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov forked over twenty million dollars to fund the pageant.  Agalarov has ties to Vladimir Putin and to Trump, with whom he has had business deals.  As much as Trump was excited for the pageant being in Moscow, he was also open about being excited at the potential to meet Vladimir Putin.

As far as we know, the two did not meet then.  Whether they did meet then, or at any point between then and now, is still unknown.   

As has happened in politics countless times before, always for dubious reasons, lies and deception have been, and are being, used by Trump and his staff and administration.  Not just lies that feed his ego (i.e. most electoral votes in an election win ever, size of his inauguration crowd) but other, larger, lies and deceptions have been utilized.


To start, Trump feels that his saying it makes it so just doesn't work for many Americans ... and several political leaders and citizens of other countries, too.  He uses Twitter, interviews, and appearances to distract constantly ...

He claimed he fired Michael Flynn because Flynn lied to Vice-President Mike Pence about his foreign dealings.  Some initial investigation (still ongoing) showed the connections Flynn had with Turkey, so Trump cut him loose, likely to end any attention to Russia.
He claimed he had no idea bout Flynn's foreign ties.  Yesterday, The New York Times revealed that Trump's transition team knew about Flynn being under investigation weeks before Inauguration Day.
He claimed the whole Flynn fiasco was not his administration's fault, but President Barack Obama's administration's fault.  If Flynn didn't have dealings with Russia until after he left the Obama administration, how is that the Obama administration's fault? 

He claimed he fired Sally Yates, who was the Acting Deputy Attorney General, because she refused to defend his first travel ban against Muslims.  True, she did, but she was also warning the Trump transition team and administration about Flynn's ties to Russia and he didn't want to hear it.
He claimed that former Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was fired because he would not resign voluntarily at the request of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which Trump directed Sessions to do to Bharara and forty-five other U.S. attorneys.  Bharara was investigating money-laundering by a Russian company that Trump may or may not have had any connection.
He claimed the reporting on what is going on with his administration was wrong, but not the doing itself, and that legitimate reporting was "fake news".  Don't pay attention and only report what I tell you to report is a move of a tyrant.
He claimed his bombing of a Syrian military airport in early April was a result of his seeing child victims of gas attacks and being deeply moved by it.  He may have been moved by the pictures -- they were horrific -- but bombing an airport where pretty much everyone there had cleared the area ahead of time did nothing.  It was a diversionary move away from the Trump-Russia story.
He claimed no administration had accomplished as much as his in its first ninety days.  That is simply false.  Ask any historian.
He claimed Barack Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped.  You can add this claim to his claim that Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen. 
He claimed the Trump-Russia story was made up by Democrats because of their loss in the Presidential election.  Oh. you mean like you and other Republicans claimed Obama was not a U.S. citizen and should be disqualified from office?
He claimed, based on the fruitless Hillary Clinton E-mail investigation, that mishandling of sensitive information would happen in abundance in a Clinton administration.  He freely gave away sensitive intelligence information, which came from Israel, to a Russian ambassador (Sergei Kislyak, with whom both Carter Page and Jared Kushner met) and foreign minister ... and with only Russian media present. 
He claimed, and continues to claim, he has no ties to Russia.  Alternative fact alert!

A weak argument, and it would be weak, could be made that Trump's business experience may have prepared him for politics.  In terms of how to function as the executive in the White House?  Absolutely not.  In terms of lies and deception?  Oh, yes ... clearly, and most emphatically, yes.

Terry



Part 5 Tomorrow

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Word of the Week: TREACHEROUS [Part 3 of 5]

When he ran for President in the 1990's, Independent candidate and businessman Ross Perot routinely stated that government needed to be run like a business -- his key point was to not spend more than you bring in -- and he was right.  Government is not just a body dealing with laws, since sometimes those laws are financially related, and sometimes it deals more directly with financial matters.

I remember when George W. Bush was running for President in 2000.  A lot of hub-bub was made about how he would be the first president with a business degree, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and how well he would perform his duties as such.  Whether that degree had anything to do with it or not, his political record stands as testament to his being a poor leader.

Donald Trump, as we know, is a businessman, and has been for decades.  He is most notably known in New York City, where he got his start, but his reach has become global to where his name is known around the world.  His business dealings extend to other countries, including Canada, Mumbai, Indonesia, Panama, Istanbul, Scotland, Russia (where he's been involved for the better part of thirty years), and (as of just two months ago) China.  The Chinese preliminary approval of Trump brands, which may become permanent next month, includes massage parlors and escort services.  (The latter being called "escort and concierge services".)  Trump's first public griping about China was just over a year ago, right around the time he applied for this brand approval in China.  Divert, divert, divert.

What about divest, divest, divest?  It is common practice for those elected President of the United States to divest themselves from any and all business ties.  First, and foremost, there is the "emoluments clause" in the U.S. Constitution:
        "[N]o person holding any Office [of the United States] ... shall, without the
        Consent of the Congress,
 accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title,
        of any kind whatever, from 
any King, Prince, or foreign State"                                                                                                                              (Article I, section 9, clause 8)


Donald Trump's acquisition of a preliminary green light on branding in China was done without the consent of Congress.

The emoluments clause -- an emolument is defined as "a salary, a fee, or a profit from employment or office" -- was added to the U.S. Constitution (in the words of South Carolina Senator Charles Pickney at the Constitutional Convention) to keep "foreign Ministers and other officers of the U.S. independent of external influence".  That was from the late eighteenth century.

Fast forward to the mid-twentieth century, there is the 1961 Supreme Court decision in the case of United States v Mississippi Valley Generating Company.  The case dealt with a representative of the MVGC entering into a contract with the Atomic Energy Commission to build and operate a power plant to serve the long-defunct Atomic Energy Commission.  Turns out, the representative was also an officer of an investment banking company which would have profited from the project.  (He was the Vice-President and Director of the investment company!)  The contract was terminated, since the project was deemed no longer necessary, by the Atomic Energy Commission.  The MVGC sued the U.S. in a lower court for costs and damages and won, but an appeal to the Supreme Court resulting in its agreeing to review the case,

In its 9-3 decision in favor of the United States, the Supreme Court overturned the lower court's decision on the basis of the representative essentially acting on both the government and MVGC's behalf as well as the behalf of the investment company simultaneously, setting up a conflict of interest.  As a result of the Supreme Court's decision, the contract was, in fact, rendered null and void.  In fact, this representative's actions were in violation of a statute that reads:
        "Whoever, being an officer, agent, or member of, or directly or indirectly
        interested in the pecuniary
[monetary] profits or contracts of any corporation
        joint-stock company, or association, or of any firm or partnership, or other
        business entity, is employed or acts as an officer or agent of the United States
        for the transaction of business with such business entity, shall be fined not
        more than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."
                                                                                                                                          (brackets mine)


Now, why, you may ask, bring up this case, as it has nothing to do with the office of President of the United States.  Good question!  Everything in this post up to this point means that, as a federal employee, you should be putting the interests of the United States first and foremost and not illegally profiting off such.

Yes, Donald Trump is President, but he is a businessman first and foremost.  It is what he knows best, what he is most comfortable in dealing, and where he has achieved his financial success.  He even admits to not being fully comfortable as President.  How do you go from focusing on what's best for yourself, primarily, and even for those select others in your business circles, to focusing on what's best for an entire country?  Well, "you don't" is not fully appropriate.  Rather, the answer to how is more aptly "difficultly, continually, and without exception".

President Trump either does not understand that or thinks it does not apply to him.  All of the previous presidents, sure.  Him?  Not so much.  Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the U.S., gave up his peanut farm which he started from scratch.  Richard Nixon, the 37th President, sold off most of his assets.  John F. Kennedy, President #35, put all of his conflicts of interest into a blind trust.  President Kennedy understood what a blind trust was.  President Trump ... do I really need to say?

A blind trust means that all of the assets held by someone in public office (or not in public office) are run by a third party, with no information going to, or coming from, the person who initially holds those assets.  It is done by presidents to help keep their focus on what is best for the country.  And Mr. Trump?  Well, at a Republican debate last year, when pressed on this issue, he responded by saying, "Well, I don't know if it's a blind trust if Ivanka, Don, and Eric run it.  If that's a blind trust, I don't know."

Yes, he knew!  Of course he knew!  The only people who believed him when him said that are those who didn't know what a blind trust is and had no interest in finding out.

I mentioned earlier about making money for yourself and some select others.  Let us look at the recent goings-on with the Kushner family -- yes, the family of Ivanka Trump's husband -- over in China.  On May 5th, President Trump signed bill H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, into law.  The bill is for the funding of the U.S. government to the end of fiscal year 2017.  However, as reported by The New York Times newspaper, smothered in the nether regions of the text of the bill, there is a renewal of a visa program from which Jared Kushner's family stands to benefit mightily.  The EB-5 visa program came out of the Immigration Act of 1990 and it allowed wealthy foreign investors to gain visas for permanent U.S. residence in exchange for investing at least one million dollars in companies that will employ -- get this -- at least ten workers.  You read that right, ten workers.  It has been riddled with scandals for years.

Even before Trump signed the bill into law, Jared's sister Nicole Meyer was already on a flight to China to participate in two Kushner Companies presentations to Chinese investors over that weekend.  What were the presentations about?  You guessed it, making a big investment in a U.S. business to gain visas.  The dollar amount kicked around was $500,000, which would have to come from each investor, and it would be invested in a pair of luxury apartment towers located in Jersey City, New Jersey, called One Journal Square, owned by Kushner Companies.  The total investment would be $15,000,000.  One big problem, though, was Nicole Meyer's mentioning her brother's name and showing a picture of President Trump during her presentations.  (Kushner Companies, back when Jared was in charge, received a whopping $50,000,000 investment from EB-5 monies for a condo high-rise called Trump Plaza, also in Jersey City.)

The military industrial complex has also been financially fruitful for Trump, and will continue to do so.  When he ordered an air strike on an airfield in Syria last month, the missiles used were Tomahawk cruise missiles.  Tomahawk missiles are made by a company called Raytheon.  After the strike took place, Raytheon's stock price rose.  And yes, you probably guessed it again, Trump owns stock in Raytheon.

And, lest we forget, Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort doubled its membership fees from $200,000 to $400,000 less than a week after his being sworn in as President, and he profits from everyone, including foreign dignitaries who stay at his D.C. Trump International Hotel, which opened in the fall of last year.  He's even looking into opening a second hotel in D.C.

My point is not that presidents should not be allowed to make money aside form their salary.  Many of them have paid speaking engagements and write books, including their memoirs, after they leave office, so to say other presidents can do that but not the current one is wrong.  However, the Trump presidency is turning the White House into a farm ... he's using the position as a cash cow ...

... like almost any big businessman would.

Terry

Part 4 Tomorrow