Tag Archives: Donald Trump

For Reference: House Intel Committee members who are shilling for Trump

Today, the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee voted to (1) release the memo drafted by Chr. Devin Nunes’ staff calling FBI investigations into question; and (2) to disallow the release the Minority memo on the same subject.

The Republican Members are:

Devin Nunes (R-CA 22)

Peter King (R-NY2)

Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ2)

Tom Rooney (R-FL17)

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL 27)

Michael Turner (R-OH 10)

Brad Wenstrup (R-OH 2)

Chris Stewart (R-UT 2)

Rick Crawford (R-AR 1)

Trey Gowdy (R-SC 4)

Elise Stefanik (R-NY 21)

Will Hurd (R-TX 23)

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Oh Heck, he’s not being very transparent

Heck Trump Hat Representative Joe Heck (R-NV3) candidate for the Nevada Senate seat in this election reveres the secret ballot, and tells constituents it’s nobody’s business who he’ll vote for in the upcoming presidential election. [RGJ]  While this is an honorable position, it doesn’t answer a crucial question. Is Heck supporting Donald J. Trump?

One of the problems for down ballot candidates who are associated with a presidential contender who has insulted 282 people, places, and things during this season, is how to finesse the prospects.  There are several ways and Heck’s about to try them all.

I will vote for the candidate of my party.”  OK, however the fact that you can’t say the name out loud indicates a level of discomfort not usually a function of the  normal campaign process.

I will endorse but I will not support…”  And what on Earth might this mean? Let’s guess it means I begrudgingly offer my official endorsement for my party’s candidate but don’t expect me to defend or explain the candidate’s campaign messages, and for Heaven’s Sake don’t put me on the same stage with him.

“I endorse my party’s candidate fully…” Until he or she does something so egregious I can’t stomach it and the poll numbers are cratering?

“I cannot endorse my party’s candidate…”  Usually announced after the top of the ticket does something egregious and the poll numbers have cratered.

“I won’t tell you who I’m voting for and you can’t find out.”  True. No one will ever know, and you can pray heartily that the candidate never finds out how you voted unless you voted for him, and the candidate’s fervent supporters will never find out you didn’t vote for him, or the candidate’s detractors in your own party never find out either way.  Good luck with that, because when you finally announce how you cast your ballot no one is going to believe you.

And why should they? – you’ve been as ‘transparent’ as Donald Trump’s tax returns.

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Filed under Heck, Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

When Did the Hat Come Off? Heck Withdraws Trump Endorsement

Heck Trump Hat Representative Joe Heck (R-NV3) candidate for the Nevada senate seat, issued a nice long statement about why he can no longer support the candidacy of Donald Trump. [RGJ]  This is Saturday, October 8, 2016. 

Wasn’t it enough when Trump insulted Mexico, the third largest US trade partner (Census)?  It’s not like we don’t get $280.5 billion in imports from that country, and export $226.2 billion in US goods and services.

“Trump lambasted the southern neighbor. “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” he said on May 30 at his campaign launch. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” The remarks led a number of businesses to cut their ties with him.” [The Hill]

It isn’t like some 28% of Nevada’s population is of Hispanic heritage.  Or, that 43% of Hispanic Nevadans are homeowners, or they represent 41% of all Nevada’s k-12 students.  [Pew]  Nor, could Mr. Trump abide the idea that an Indiana born judge of Mexican heritage could be impartial. [HuffPo] Insulting about 1/3 of Nevada’s population wasn’t enough to make Representative Heck remove the hat – and the endorsement? 

Wasn’t Representative Heck just a little disturbed to discover that the Department of Justice had to sue the Trump Management firm not once, but twice, for housing discrimination in the 1970’s. [HuffPo] Wasn’t it troubling that years later Trump disparaged his black casino workers as “lazy” (1991)?

“And isn’t it funny. I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and Trump Plaza. Black guys counting my money! I hate it,” O’Donnell recalled Trump saying. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”

“I think the guy is lazy,” Trump said of a black employee, according to O’Donnell. “And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.” [HuffPo]

That commentary managed to be both anti-black and anti-Semitic at the same time – a two’fer.   It’s not like this is any kind of news – this and other statements have been in the public domain for ages.  Longer than the highly inflammatory statements about the Central Park Five.  No matter the coerced confessions, the lack of physical evidence – no matter that DNA evidence clearly demonstrates the five young men were innocent – no matter that a legitimate confession came forth in 2002 – to Mr. Trump they’re still guilty.  No apologies forthcoming.  Chalk off another 9.3% of the Nevada population – the African American percentage.  And still Representative Heck kept the hat.

And, then there was that entire Birther debacle, with Mr. Trump leading the charge, with Mr. Trump sending “investigators to Hawaii, with Mr. Trump rick rolling the press into covering his hotel opening in DC with a snippet in which he declared that he’d “solved” the President’s problem – the President (who just happens to be African American) didn’t have a birth certificate problem until Mr. Trump decided to make a major issue of it – and NO the stories didn’t emerge from the Clinton Campaign in 2008. [Snopes] African Americans are unlikely to forget Mr. Trump’s attempt to de-legitimize the first African American president of the US.  Nor are they likely to forget that Representative Heck didn’t seem to have doubts at the time about Mr. Trump’s candidacy.  Then, there was that matter of White Supremacists as part of Trump’s base of support:

“His white supremacist fan club includes the Daily Stormer, a leading neo-Nazi news site; Richard Spencer, director of the National Policy Institute, which aims to promote the “heritage, identity, and future of European people”; Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, a Virginia-based white nationalist magazine; Michael Hill, head of the League of the South, an Alabama-based white supremacist secessionist group; and Brad Griffin, a member of Hill’s League of the South and author of the popular white supremacist blog Hunter Wallace.

A leader of the Virginia KKK who is backing Trump told a local TV reporter earlier this month, “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in.” [HuffPo]

Surely, when this pile began to grow it was time to head for the exits?  Heck kept wearing the hat.

But wait, there’s more – Native Americans:

In 1993, when Trump wanted to open a casino in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that would compete with one owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Nation, a local Native American tribe, he told the House subcommittee on Native American Affairs that “they don’t look like Indians to me… They don’t look like Indians to Indians.”

Trump then elaborated on those remarks, which were unearthed last year in the Hartford Courant, by saying the mafia had infiltrated Indian casinos. [HuffPo]

There goes another 1.6% of the Nevada population.  Still Heck kept the hat.

Was Representative Heck getting edgy when the story of how Trump insulted (nay, humiliated) Alicia Machado? Speaking of cruel and unusual punishment… “Miss Piggy?” Miss Housekeeping?” Still Heck kept the hat on his head.  Some publications were keeping track of Trump’s insults to women, Cosmopolitan counted 23 major incidentsHuffington Post accumulated 18 in that category. Fortune magazine published a ‘history’ of Trump’s comments about women in August 2015.   It’s not that the information and the incidents weren’t in the public realm; it’s not that no one knew about Trump’s attitude towards women were – surely Representative Heck wasn’t surprised by the Access tapes?  Heck is on the horns of a dilemma herein: If he knew Trump’s history with women and still endorsed him he falls neatly into Secretary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” as a willful misogynist; If he didn’t know of Trump’s history of uncomplimentary and downright nasty statements about women he has to be the least well informed candidate since … Aleppo? Name a major world leader?  That’s not likely to make women, who constitute 49.8% of Nevada’s population very happy either.

So NOW Representative Heck says:

“I’ve spent much of my life serving in the military where I stood beside some of the bravest men and women this country has to offer — willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect the freedoms upon which this country was founded. They live by a code of honor, of decency and of respect.

“As a husband and a father, I strive to bring that same code of honor into my personal life.

“I believe any candidate for President of the United States should campaign with common ethical and moral values and decency. I accept that none of us are perfect. However, I can no longer look past this pattern of behavior and inappropriate comments from Donald Trump. Therefore, I cannot, in good conscience, continue to support him nor can I vote for Hillary Clinton.” [RGJ]

Well, there was the  little flap with the son – that code of honor seemed to slip a bit in the Heck household.  What was “common ethical and moral values and decency” in a man who was twice sued by the Department of Justice for housing discrimination?  Where was the decency when Trump launched into snide and disparaging comments about breast feeding? Diaper changing? Women in the workplace? Women’s physical attributes?   How many incidents have to stack up before Representative Heck is willing to call out a “pattern of behavior and inappropriate comments?”

Heck goes on:

“My hope is that this will not divide us and that we can unite behind Republican principles. We deserve a candidate who can ask him or herself at the end of the day, ‘Did I live my life with honor and do I deserve to be elected president of the United States.’ [RGJ]

Mr. Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, or 480 days ago. For the meticulous that’s one year, three months, and twenty-two days since the announcement.   Are we to believe that it took Representative Heck 479 days to figure out that Mr. Trump didn’t meet the standards of “common ethical and moral values and decency?”

We might look to another source of wisdom about consorting with those who lack ethical and moral values.

He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled therewith; and he that hath fellowship with a proud man shall be like unto him. 2 Burden not thyself above thy power while thou livest; and have no fellowship with one that is mightier and richer than thyself: for how agree the kettle and the earthen pot together? for if the one be smitten against the other, it shall be broken. 3 The rich man hath done wrong, and yet he threateneth withal: the poor is wronged, and he must intreat also. 4 If thou be for his profit, he will use thee: but if thou have nothing, he will forsake thee.  Ecclesiasticus 13:1

In endorsing the candidacy of Donald J. Trump, Representative Heck surely stuck his hand in the pitch pot.  Meanwhile, as of September 21 Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) was Trump’s man on the ground in Nevada; it remains to be heard if he’s removed the hat and gotten his hands out of the pitch pot.

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Filed under Amodei, Birthers, Heck, Nevada politics, Politics, Republicans, Women's Issues

The Gaslighting of America: For Your Reference

Gaslight poster

“The classic example of gaslighting is to switch something around on someone that you know they’re sure to notice, but then deny knowing anything about it, and to explain that they “must be imagining things” when they challenge these changes.” [Urban Dictionary]

And now, some reference material on Donald J. Trump and the use of gaslighting in American politics.

Nicole Hemmer, “Trump is Gaslighting America,” US News & World Report, March 15, 2016.

Melissa Jeltsen, “Donald Trump is Successfully Conning the Entire Country,” Huffington Post, March 16, 2016.

Andrea Grimes, “The GOP is Gaslighting America – On National Television,” Texas Observer, July 20, 2016.

Mary Elizabeth Williams, “A Gaslighting Codependent Circus: The Trump Train Wreck is America’s Dysfunctional Family”, Salon, August 3, 2016.

Brian Beutler, “Trump’s Racist Birther Gaslighting Strategy has Taken Over the GOP,” The New Republic, September 19, 2016.

Karoli Kuns, “Which Polls? Trump Surrogate Tries to Gaslight CNN.” Crooks and Liars, August 17, 2016.

Matt Gertz, “What To Do When The Trump Campaign is Gaslighting Your Network,” MMFA, June 8, 2016.

David Marcus, “Lewandowski Case Shows How Donald Trump is Gaslighting America,” The Federalist, March 30, 2016.

You’ve seen the numbers. 

“According to the CDC and Census data, for the first three months of of 2016 the uninsured rate is 8.6% down from 9.2% last year, and from 15.7% before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. For just the 18 -64 demographic the same study shows the uninsured rate at 11.9%, down from 13% in 2015, down from 22.3% in 2010 when the ACA was signed into law. These represent the lowest uninsured rates in over 50 years according to the studies (which are all based on census data).” [OCF]

So, when Donald Trump tells you the Affordable Care Act and Patient’s Bill of Rights is a ‘failure.’ You’re being gaslighted.

When Donald Trump tells you that inner city crime is reaching record levels, you’re being gaslighted.

“The patterns for homicide are the same as they are for violent crime generally — they have been declining since the early-to-mid 1990s.

The same pattern holds for the subset of the nation’s very largest cities — those of 1 million or more residents. In 2014, the violent crime rate in these largest cities was 658.7 per 100,000 residents, a significant decline from 868.9 in 2006 (and even higher in earlier years). Over the same period, the murder rate in these cities fell from 12.3 per 100,000 residents to 7.4 per 100,000 residents.

A cursory look at a few specific cities shows that the number of murders, even at their somewhat elevated rate today, are well below their peaks in the 1990s.” [Politifact]

When Donald Trump tells you that Stop and Frisk was successful in reducing crime, you’re being gaslighted.

“Trump praises stop-and-frisk policies under former New York City mayor Rudolph Guliani. But it’s debatable whether the stop-and-frisk policies had such a direct impact on crime, as Trump suggests. Crime is affected by many factors, and New York’s decline in crime mirrored the decline in many other major cities at the time. Moreover, crime was declining for four years before Giuliani took office, and it continued to decline for 14 years after he left.” [WaPo]

On these, and several other issues, Mr. Trump is flickering the lights, hiding the watch, pocketing the brooch, and moving the picture.  And, we can’t say we haven’t been warned.

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Filed under Nevada politics, Republicans

Trump’s Childcare Plan: Advantage to the Advantaged

Econ value of tax deduction

NBC offers this summation of a crucial portion of the Trump and Clinton child care proposals:

“Trump: Working parents – and parents who stay home to care for children – can deduct the costs on their taxes via the Earned Income Tax Credit. The campaign estimates that middle class families could receive a $1,200 tax break.

Trump also proposes a Dependent Care Savings Account that allow the accumulation of funds and are tax deductible and appreciate tax free. Dependent care accounts already exist but must be used by the end of the year and only available through an employer.

Clinton: She wants to cap child care costs at ten percent of a family’s income. To do that, she’d rely on tax cuts or state block grants for the government to subsidize costs exceeding ten percent.”

Fuzzy stuff:  Notice the portion of the Trump explanation which says  the family can deduct the costs on their taxes via the Earned Income Tax Credit.”  Tax deductions and tax credits are two very different animals.

“Deductions reduce taxable income and their value thus depends on the taxpayer’s marginal tax rate, which rises with income. Credits reduce taxes directly and do not depend on tax rates. However, the value of credits may depend on the taxpayer’s basic tax liability.” [TaxPolicyCenter]

Drilling down we find some more variations:

“Some tax credits, however, are fully or partially refundable: if their value exceeds a person’s tax liability, the excess is paid to the filer. The earned income tax credit (EITC) is fully refundable; the child tax credit (CTC) is refundable only if the filer’s earnings exceed a $3,000  threshold.” [TaxPolicyCenter]

The problems with interpreting Trump’s proposal is the conflation of a tax credit with a tax deduction.  It’s either a deduction or a credit but it can’t be both at the same time.   And, some families need help before April 15th:

“Experts say that Trump’s plan is a good start and a recognition that the issue is important to women and families, but Vivien Labaton, co-executive director of Make It Work Action, said Trump’s plan offers less than Clinton’s.

“His childcare proposal is really designed for the Ivanka Trump’s of the country more than the working families who need help,” Labaton said.

She said any plan, including Trump’s, that offers a tax rebate won’t work for many lower income families. Many struggling families don’t make enough to pay taxes and other struggling families who do pay taxes need up-front relief up before tax time.” [NBC]

And, from the Los Angeles Times:

“On child care, Trump would lessen the burden by giving parents a tax deduction for the average cost of child care in their state. For example, his campaign said a family earning $70,000 and paying $7,000 a year in child care would get an $840 tax cut — or about a month’s worth of day care. But the deduction would provide the greatest benefit to wealthier families, who pay more income tax. Low-wage workers, who often spend a disproportionately large share of the income on child care, pay little or no income tax. For families that pay no income taxes, Trump would increase the Earned Income Tax Credit by as much as $1,200 a year. But a once-a-year-check from the government is not always helpful for families struggling week-to-week to pay their childcare bills.”

When comparing the proposals on their potential immediate and positive impact on working families, score the point for Secretary Clinton.

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Filed under family issues, Hillary Clinton

Charity Begins At Home: Trump vs. Clinton Foundations

Clinton Foundation logo Before the discussion of the Clinton Foundation gets any more ridiculous – it’s time to do a bit of push back on the attacks.  First, there’s the mission of the charity: “We convene businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.”

The mission statement all but invites attacks from the radical right wing; What? The charity supports global health, places a focus on projects that help women, supports efforts to reduce childhood obesity?  Oh, and then there’s the “climate change” element which generally sends the Deniers into a low orbit.   We should come back to these efforts after dealing with some of the more idiotic charges leveled by the Trump Campaign.

Here’s Trump’s latest:

“It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins,” Trump said at a rally in Austin. “It is now abundantly clear that the Clinton’s set up a business to profit from public office. They sold access and specific actions by and really for I guess the making of large amounts of money.” [NBC]

Hogwash.  And we know this is hogwash because, as the article continues:

“Trump cited no evidence of any quid-pro-quo between the foundation’s donors and Clinton’s State Department Tuesday night, but still described Clinton as having been “bought and sold” and characterized the foundation as “a threat to the foundation of Democracy.” [NBC] (emphasis added)

Thus, on the basis of NO evidence whatsoever, Mr. Trump has decided that a charitable organization must be Investigated! Prosecuted! because….why? Perhaps it’s because the interminable Benghazi investigations turned up exactly zilch, and the emails proved absolutely nothing, the GOP is attempting to manufacture another “outrage” for low information public consumption.

Comparing the Clinton and Trump Foundations

Clinton Foundation: The Clinton Foundation is not rated by Charity Navigator, one of the more popular check sites available online.  The rationale for non-rating is made clear:

“We had previously evaluated this organization, but have since determined that this charity’s atypical business model can not be accurately captured in our current rating methodology. Our removal of The Clinton Foundation from our site is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of this charity. We reserve the right to reinstate a rating for The Clinton Foundation as soon as we identify a rating methodology that appropriately captures its business model.   A lack of a rating does not indicate a positive or negative assessment by Charity Navigator.”

Translation: It is NOT that the Clinton Foundation couldn’t be rated, it is not rated because CN’s rating methodology doesn’t fit the business model.   But, But, sputter the critics, the Clinton Foundation was put on the Watch List by CN… Not. So. Fast.

The charitable organization rating group placed the Foundation on its watch list after several negative reports were published in the news between February and November 2015.  After which the Foundation was removed from the watch list because:

“In accordance with our policy for removing charities from the CN Watchlist, Charity Navigator removed the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation from the Watchlist in December 2015 because the charity provided publicly accessible information regarding their amended tax Forms for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. This information, along with the public memorandum submitted addressing the other issues raised in the Watchlist entry, meets our requirements for removal.”  [CN] (emphasis added)

Now, let’s compare the Clinton Foundation, which provides “publicly accessible information,” which and The Trump Foundation, of which Charity Navigator reports:

“This organization is not eligible to be rated by Charity Navigator because it is a Private Foundation.
Private foundations receive the majority of their money from only one individual, family or corporation. This differs from the public charities that Charity Navigator evaluates. Public charities have a broad-base of support from the general public as well as variety of other funding sources. The IRS requires that private foundations file a Form 990-PF which differs from the document public charities file. This makes it impossible for us to compare the financial performance of private foundations to public charities.” [CN]

There is a whopper sized difference between not being able to rate because of data indicating a different business model, and not being able to rate because it’s impossible to evaluate the financial performance of a private foundation.  Put more simply – it’s the difference between a public charity, fully transparent, with publicly accessible information about programs and projects, and a private foundation about which practically nothing is known.

There is a way to drill down on the Trump Foundations listed but it requires more key strokes.  The portal was created by ProPublica, and from thence on to the individual 990-PF downloads in PDF.  The drilling exercise is instructive.

The Mission is the Message

One of the names appearing on the 2013 Trump Foundation 990-PF is Richard Ebers. whom Huffington Post has already noticed:

“A New York-based ticket broker named Richard Ebers has given more than $1.8 million to Trump’s foundation since 2011. When asked by phone what prompted the donations, Ebers, who’s been described as a high-end scalper, said he had “no comment.” Representatives for the Trump Organization also declined to answer any questions about the money from Ebers.”

The New York Times devoted a full piece to the Ticket Man.  Perhaps Mr. Trump believes that foundations are for “getting something” because that’s the way he has used his?  Again, the Huffington Post reports:

“…the foundation’s money has come from people and companies that do business with Trump or want something from him. In 2006, People magazine gave the foundation $150,000. Trump gave the magazine exclusive photos of his newborn son, Barron, in April of that year. NBC Universal gave the foundation $10,000 in 2007 and another $500,000 in 2012. Trump’s popular reality shows “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice” aired on NBC from 2004 to 2015. And in 2011, Comedy Central gave the foundation $400,000 as an appearance fee for the billionaire’s participation in The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump.”  [HuffPo]

Perhaps this is the origin for the attacks on the Clinton Foundation? A person who believes that as he acts, thus does everyone else?  Compare this to the projects associated with the Clinton Foundation, as exemplified by the following two examples:

A self help, entrepreneurial, project in Peru — “Chakipi (meaning “to your home” in Quechua, an indigenous Andean language) Acceso is a last-mile distribution enterprise that equips women in various regions in Peru with sales training and products such as nutritious foods, personal care items, pharmaceuticals, and solar lamps. The Chakipi entrepreneurs then sell these products to others within their communities – providing essential, life-changing goods that are otherwise hard or impossible to access.”

Or CHAI, Building on the work of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), a separate, affiliated entity, to scale up HIV testing and treatment for children, CHAI’s Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) program takes a comprehensive approach to stopping new pediatric infections. CHAI supports mothers and babies “across the cascade,” meaning from pregnancy and delivery through breastfeeding and into long-term care for HIV-positive mothers and children. Unlike many PMTCT efforts that focus only on one part of the cascade, CHAI’s work is demonstrating that a comprehensive, integrated system of care will be critical to reaching the ultimate goal of eliminating new pediatric HIV infections.”

Not to put too fine a point to it, but I’d much prefer the operations of the Clinton Foundation which does things like help women establish home based business enterprises or seeks to prevent the transmission of HIV between mother and child, to the smaller and rather more self serving projects described in the Huffington Post article.  As one of the two Corinthians might have said to Mr. Trump:

A final word from Matthew (7:5)

Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

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Filed under Clinton, Politics, Republicans, Women's Issues

DIY Ukraine Briefing: Will Trump Stand Up To The Russian Tanks?

Ukraine Map

Yes, Mr. Trump, the Russians are in Ukraine. They’re occupying Crimea, and supporting “rebel” groups in eastern Ukraine. [HuffPo]  More distressing still is baffling inarticulateness which came after Mr. Trump was reminded that the Russians were already in Ukraine:

“Asked about the scrubbing of pro-Ukrainian language from the Republican platform, Trump offered up a word salad in which he seemed unaware that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been meddling in Ukrainian politics for years.

“[Putin’s] not going into Ukraine, okay, just so you understand. He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want,” Trump said. (1)

Stephanopoulos pushed back, reminding Trump that Putin’s “already there, isn’t he?” Trump quickly changed the topic to Obama bashing.

“Okay — well, he’s there in a certain way. (2) But I’m not there. You have Obama there,” Trump said. “And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you’re talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this. In the meantime, he’s going away. He takes Crimea.” (3)  [ThinkProg]

(1) The Russians are obviously already in Ukraine, and are currently building up forces along the border (again).

“Kremlin is supposedly to deploy three more brigades near the Ukrainian border. The Russian Federation is actively regrouping its two armies near the border with Ukraine and new divisions are being formed, according to the representative of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency.

“The 1st Tank Army, which is stationed in Moscow region, is being built up, as well as the 20th Army with Headquarters in Voronezh. Three new divisions are being created. The plans of the Russian leadership are changing,” told the representative of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine Vadym Skibitskiy.” (emphasis in original) [Ukraine Today, July 26, 2016]

Skibitskiy further commented that the three brigades formerly deployed along the border with Ukraine have now turned into three divisions.

(2)He’s there in a certain way?”  Well, yes, if “certain way” means occupying Crimea, supporting eastern pro-Russian rebels against the Ukrainian government and moving in like the proverbial brother-in-law who takes over the couch and then the living room. Liquidating status and changing place names.

July 28, 2016: “Russia liquidates the federal district status of the annexed Crimea.”

July 30, 2016: “U.S. tech giant Google has reinstated existing Soviet-era place names on online maps of Russia-annexed Crimea after it angered Moscow by changing them to correspond with names that Ukraine hopes to adopt in future under its “decommunization” law.”

(3)He’s  going away.” Certainly not if the Russians are building up units like the 1st Tank Army and the Russian army units based in Voronezh.  Putin is not going away any time soon, but he would like the Sanctions imposed in March and April 2014, April 2014, and the third round of sanctions imposed from April 2014 to the present to go away. Putin would really like it if the EU sanctions extended on December 12, 2015 to July 31, 2016 went away.

A door prize to anyone who can figure out what this means, which might be perilously close to “I can see Russia from my house:”

And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you’re talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this.”

Ah yes, THIS from the man who suggested he would seriously consider not supporting Article 5 of the NATO agreement – one for all and all for one.  Yes, that self-same article 5 that was invoked by NATO after we were attacked on September 11, 2001.  The Lithuanians certainly don’t find Mr. Trump’s bombast comforting –  a large segment of the Lithuanian population remember all too vividly what the Russians did to them when they asserted their independence in 1991. [WaPo]

Mr. Trump obviously isn’t listening to people like Erika Verberyte, Lithuanian diplomat and foreign policy expert: “Almost every family in Lithuania had someone killed or deported by KGB. I was 19 and a student at Vilnius University during the events of Jan.13, 1991, when we rallied to stand up to Soviet tanks.” [WaPo]

The question is will Mr. Trump stand up to the Russian Tanks?

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Politics, Republicans