Saturday, November 4, 2017

What Japanese really think of Donald Trump

For the most part, Japan doesn’t really participate in political comedy.

Social norms combine to make sarcasm a hard thing to convey in Japanese, and so satirizing a world leader becomes an extremely difficult endeavor.

But Donald Trump has caught the Japanese public’s imagination in a big way, with his unique flair for the mellowdramatic in speeches and public appearances. His daughter got a hint of the REAL reception.

Trump has inspired manga (comic books), and masks in Japan, and he’s inspired a parody by Japanese comedian Razor Ramon RG in which the real estate-mogul-turned-politician is lampooned as relying on easy stereotypes and a pronounced fondness for the phrase “Get out [of] here!” (You're fired!)

Trump is seen as arrogant, unpredictable and divisive.

In Japan, Donald Trump would not have a prayer of getting into government.

A a mere 7 per cent have a positive personal impression of Donald Trump.

Asked to choose the attributes that most accurately describe Trump, Japanese people selected “arrogant”, “unpredictable” and “divisive”.

“Everything I have seen tells me that he’s eccentric and egocentric.”

“I can’t understand his policies; he hates immigrants yet his wife is an immigrant and his own family originally came from overseas. How can he be so black-and-white on such an issue?"

Every time I see him on television, he reminds me of Kim Jong-un.”

BTW, Tokyo contributes ¥192 billion (US$1.84 billion) every year to cover the costs of US forces in Japan.

“Trump’s kind of politics – the bombast, the arrogance, the anger – simply do not play well to a Japanese audience.” [Except as COMEDY!]

“From what they see of him on TV or read about what he has said in the papers, they see him as not a very pleasant person.”

“That kind of personality is very offensive to the Japanese people.”

Therefore, there is an exception - when it comes to making fun of -- and laughing at -- Donald Trump.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Behavior "unbecoming to a president"

In 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached for making “utterances, declarations, threats and harangues” that were “unbecoming” a President of the United States, thereby bringing the office of the President into “contempt, ridicule, and disgrace.”

I know my readers want the Articles of Impeachment - a .pdf HERE.

Many of Trump’s tweets are unbecoming a President and tarnish his office.

Andrew Johnson was also accused of having a “scornful spirit and a reckless brain.”

Without evidence, Trump calls the media “dishonest” and labels stories critical of him “fake news.”

It is especially troubling that by discrediting the media Trump actually weakens the President’s accountability to the people and undermines democracy.

There is also evidence abuses of power are common, though a president has wide discretion to exercise presidential power. However, there are legal and ethical limits to his discretion. The Clinton, Nixon and Johnson precedents make this clear.

A president may abuse his power without breaking the law. He needs only to make “utterances, declarations, threats and harangues” that bring the office of the President into “contempt, ridicule, and disgrace.”

Trump has brought the office of the President into international disgrace.

As the symbolic "head of state," the trumpster in the dumpster has made the United States of Americe look NOT like a scepter of power...

(The was-scepter may have been derived from a tent pole. Tent poles are an anchor - a stabilizing force.)

Under Trump, Americe look NOT like a scepter of power... but a plumber's friend!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Trump’s Russian Money Trail

When the trumpster in the dumpster said: "My financials are off-limits..." we should have known!

Robert Mueller is looking into the Trump Soho Hotel, and Donald Trump with Tevfik... all involved laundering money, and eventually defrauding investors who litigated and won a settlement.

Trump’s Ties to Russian Oligarchs Go Back Decades

The “smoking gun” between Russian money and Trump lies with a little-known case that was abruptly settled involving a holding company related to Russia’s oligarchs.

Look first to Prevezon’s lawyer—Natalia Veselnitskaya—the Russian woman who initiated the meeting with Donald Trump Jr. last June.

Look at the people who were in the room at that meeting. It’s clear that there are ties to Russian money.

People like the business partner of Aras Agalarov, a Russian oligarch that Trump has been doing business with for years.

People like Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer for a company called Prevezon, which was laundering hundreds of millions of dollars through New York City real estate.

Trump's casino was a money laundering concern shortly after it opened.

It’s no surprise that these names keep coming up, because this is definitely something that links Trump to Russia for a long, long time.

The 2012 Magnitsky Act was a result of a Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who was investigating a company in Russia that was linked to illegal activities by Russian oligarchs.

Magnitsky was put in jail, and Magnitsky was murdered in jail.

So, in 2012, the Obama administration enact the Magnitsky Act which essentially prevented Russian oligarchs from doing business in the U.S.

Russian oligarchs despise this act. They would like to see it repealed.

The lawyer who met with Don Jr., Natalia Veselnitskaya, has been lobbying against the Magnitsky Act for years.

With the Prevezon case, she was very happy to see it settled just a few months ago. -- And here, the timing is odd.
She meets with Donald Trump in June.
A few months after Donald Trump takes office, the Prevezon case is settled. It was settled in May, very suddenly and in a very strange way.
The DA was ready to prosecute. --- Then, suddenly, they settled it, no disclosure, no trial, no publicity.
2017-05-12 Prevezon settlement stipulation (a .pdf)

“This case was settled on Russian terms.”

So, if you’re looking for any sort of quid pro quo between Russian money and Trump, look here first.

Here we have a case where the Department of Justice, under Jeff Sessions, put pressure on a district attorney’s office—Bharara—to settle. Bharara was fired in March. And after he was fired, the case was settled.

So, it’s a nice series of coincidences. It is part of a pattern of deep ties between financial interests in Russia and Trump.

UPDATE: New York (November 1, 2017) -- A New York federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Justice Department and several Russian companies implicated in a high-profile tax fraud case back to court after the federal government accused the defendants of refusing to make a $5.9 million settlement payment.

Prevezon Holdings Ltd. and other companies controlled by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv and U.S. prosecutors both asked for a conference before they file renewed arguments over the deal. Federal District Judge William Pauley called for the meeting on Nov. 9!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Under the bus - boy!

Literate people are buying a 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt.

Why Arendt, a political theorist who died in 1975?

She’s hardly your typical best selling writer.

However, she said a lot about what’s wrong with the world today.

Arendt theorized about the nature of totalitarian societies — how they work, what they prey on, and why they spring up.

America is currently in the grips of growing totalitarianism.

Reaganomics left a hollow and fractured society full of dislocated, angry people when “trickle down” failed to produce the promised outcome.

The middle class is all but gone and Putin is helping Trump pit the rich against the poor, one minority against another.

For Arendt, the problem – or opportunity - was about the isolation of modern life, sexual repression, and the apparent emptiness of existence for the marginalized.

She understood that you don’t need to be living in a totalitarian state to experience totalitarianism (e.g. radicalization).

Her focus was on the modern loneliness of isolationism in diversity, the isolated individual who loses a “folk culture” in a diverse world. Tolerance is the enemy of totalitarians.

These marginalized types are prime material for the takeover of ideology, for the totalitarian narrative (e.g. religious fundamentalism) that gives life firm direction and absolute meaning.

As Trump lashes out in response to the RussiaGate investigation, it could very well be (that Jew) Kushner he throws under the bus next!

“You Can’t Go Any Lower”: Inside the West Wing, Trump Is Apoplectic as Allies Fear Impeachment

For the first time since the investigation began, the prospect of impeachment is being considered as a realistic outcome and not just a liberal fever dream.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Double Standard - on STEROIDS

If a Democratic President had played along with Russia 1/10th as much as Trump, and the Trump team, Republicans would be having FITS.

WASHINGTON — Monday brought a series of developments in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.

• Without mentioning Mr. Trump or his campaign, the initial indictment focuses on Mr. Manafort’s lobbying work for Viktor F. Yanukovych, the onetime president of Ukraine and pro-Russia politician., President Trump’s former campaign chairman, was indicted on charges that he funneled millions of dollars through overseas shell companies and used the money to buy luxury cars, real estate, antiques and expensive suits.

• Also indicted was a longtime associate of Mr. Manafort’s, Rick Gates.

• Both men appeared in federal court in Washington and pleaded not guilty to a string of charges slightly shorter than your Xmas Tree lights.

• Documents were unsealed revealing that a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump during the campaign, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I.

• According to those documents, a professor with close ties to the Russian government told Mr. Papadopoulos that Moscow had that contained “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

• Google, Facebook and Twitter revealed new information that underlines the breadth of the Kremlin’s efforts to sow political discord.

• Tony Podesta —brother of Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, John D. Podesta — stepped down from his firm as he came under scrutiny for his work with Mr. Manafort.

•The charges against Mr. Manafort and his associate stem from work done with a pro-Russia politician in Ukraine.

Without mentioning Mr. Trump or his campaign, the initial indictment focuses on Mr. Manafort’s lobbying work for Viktor F. Yanukovych, the onetime president of Ukraine and pro-Russia politician.

There have been more than a few Trump Team shake-ups since the "Love Fest" with Russia Story broke.

Time for a new Team Captain?