Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Want to Be an Official Trumpling? Get Ready for Some Mind-blowing Hypocrisy

by Nomad

Following the nation-shattering victory of Donald Trump in the 2016- I never dreamt I would be typing those words- the transfer of power is now underway.
Already it has become obvious that we are soon going to be living in an upside and ridiculous world where nothing makes sense. The hypocrisy will be institutionalized and the contradictions will be impossible to ignore. 
This one, taken directly from his transition team page, is no doubt only the first splash of a coming flood.

Remedied by Divestiture

There's a web page for any patriot American who might be   thinking about serving in the new Trump administration. That page provides information regarding the application process and instructions.
A full FBI background check in which an applicants history of employment, personal, travel, medical, financial, legal, military and education background will likely take.
Consideration is taken for possible conflicts of interest. Financial holdings and sources of income must be disclosed. Any conflicts must be remedied by divestiture, the creation of special trusts, and other actions.
When it comes to conflicts of interest, Trump has simply ignored the problem. Just this week, his own daughter accompanied him on an official meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 

Who vetted her, we might ask? Did the FBI actually do a background check on Trump's daughter?
The inclusion of Mr Trump’s children - none of whom have been elected to any public office - in the political process has raised questions over how Mr Trump would deal with potential conflicts of interest between his business and political duties.
There's another reason why Ivanka should not have been there. She is directly tied to Trump's business arrangements. She is supposed to be running his blind trust, not sitting in on an official meeting. Just weeks into his presidency and suddenly, these rules about conflicts of interest become meaningless.
Except for those applying along official channels.

As Judd Legum of ThinkProgress points out, Trump never bothered to liquidate his assets and Qualified Diversified Trust, as George H.W. Bush did when he was Reagan's vice president. Trump could also have invested his loot in index funds and government bonds, but he didn't bother with that either. What he did was to create an arrangement with his own family and called it a blind trust.
A blind trust is when you hand marketable assets over to a neutral third party to control. The contents of the trust, since they can be traded at any time by the administrator, are soon unknown to you. Trump knows what his assets are and says he is handing them to his children.
A few days ago, Time magazine attempted to chart the financial conflicts of interests that Trump brings with him to the Oval Office.
Trump’s conflicts of interest range from small matters like his investment in a controversial oil and gas pipeline in North Dakota that he may ultimately have to rule on, to large trade issues with China that will affect Bank of China ties to his business organizations that will be managed by his three children.

Presidency as a Promotional Tool

Trump isn't even bothered to maintain the appearance of propriety, no matter how phoney that actually is. Take note of what was reported just yesterday by the Washington Post. 
President-elect Donald J. Trump met in the last week in his office at Trump Tower with three Indian business partners who are building a Trump-branded luxury apartment complex south of Mumbai, raising new questions about how he will separate his business dealings from the work of the government once he is in the White House.
Based only on the evidence we have seen, President-elect Trump has every intention to use his office to enrich his private business interests. In some ways, Trump's blurring of his corporate interests and his political responsibilities- something he sworn not to do while campaigning- represents America's shift toward corporatocracy, a political system that is governed or controlled by corporations.
How it will affect his policy is anybody's guess, but there are good reasons why conflict of interests laws exists.
Ironically, the authors of this application form are more aware of these problems than Trump is.  

Giuliani's Friends and Associates

Other items found in the application instructions point to hypocrisy in hiring Trump's staff too. When it comes to conflicts of interest, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has his own set of problems.

As the leading candidate to become secretary of State in the Trump administration, Giuliani has quite a few business ties that would make a mockery of this application form. 
Since leaving the New York mayor's office, Giuliani has made millions as a lawyer and consultant, including for some clients at odds with U.S. foreign policy.
The specifics about Giuliani's business ties are stunning. Altogether, they have been described as an unprecedented conflict of interest. As one source explains:
After leaving the mayor's office in 2001, Giuliani served as a lawyer and consultant with ties to clients such as an Iranian political party that had formerly been designated a terrorist organization, a Qatar state-run oil company, a Singapore gambling tycoon linked to North Korea and involved in organized crime in the U.S., and an oil company at one point run by late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, among others.
That's not a small matter when it comes to a person being nominated to be secretary of state.
For a campaign that was so heavily critical of Clinton's foundation and the implication of conflicts, the newly-emerging Trump administration doesn't seem to worry about the subject much, post election. 
As Lipton pointed out in the interview, there are a fair number of overlaps between what Rudy Giuliani did since he left office and some of the stuff that Hillary Clinton did. 

Bannon the Nationalist Crusader

The application form lays out rules beyond financial conflicts of interest. 
You will be asked fill out a Personal Data Statement if you are considered for a specific position. You will be asked about possible conflicts of interest deriving from your sources of income; all aspects of your personal and professional life, including organization which you belong or once belonged; speeches you may have given and books, articles and editorials you may have written; legal, administrative and regulatory proceedings to which you may have been a party; in short, anything that might embarrass the President or you if he should choose you for a position in his administration.
What about the former executive chairman of Breitbart News-“the platform for the alt-right"- Steve Bannon? Trump appeared to have no qualms about hiring Bannon as his chief advisor despite clear violation to hiring criteria. 

Bannon has been accused of being both a racist and an anti-Semite by left-wing journalists. 
Bannon, who became infamous of slinging the slimiest mud he could manufacture at Democratic politicians (and anybody else), was offended by the accusations. 
In his defense, Bannon claimed that he wore the attacks on him as an “emblem of pride.” 
I am an America first guy. And I have admired nationalist movements throughout the world, have said repeatedly strong nations make great neighbors."
One thing Bannon didn't mention was what the "N" stood for in the word "Nazi." Poland in 1939 learned the hard way about Bannon's dangerous notion that strong nations make good neighbors. Would the Kuwaitis, who witnessed the invasion of Saddam, agree? Ask the Hungarians who lived through the Soviet invasion of  1956 and ask the Ukrainians of today whether strong nations make great neighbors. (And this will be the man who'll be advising Trump on NATO policy?)   

For its part, the Anti-Defamation League-a US-based international Jewish civil rights organization- notes that Breitbart News has "served as a platform for a wide range of bigotry." However, it is 'not aware of any anti-Semitic statements made by Bannon himself."
A statement from the group added:
"Nevertheless, Bannon essentially has established himself as the chief curator for the alt right. Under his stewardship, Breitbart has emerged as the leading source for the extreme views of a vocal minority who peddle bigotry and promote hate."
Bannon's quotes include remarks in which he seemed to suggest that the leaders of the women's liberation movement were "a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England." 
He advised people who watched a film about the Occupy Wall Movement protests  “to go home and shower because you’ve just spent an hour and fifteen minutes with the greasiest, dirtiest people you will ever see.”
It was not intended to promote the film, we can assume. Yet, to see the unintended irony of that statement one just needs to take a look at the scruffy person (the politest words, I can think of). 

Like Anne Coulter, Bannon has built his brand on being repellent and shocking. Saying outrageous things is how he got to where he is and, as Trump's White House advisor, he isn't likely to change his ways.
Not a problem for Trump. Bannon's just one of the gang. 

You will Be a Subject of Scrutiny

Those people who wish to serve the new president must consider their backgrounds carefully. If you have financial conflicts of interest, think twice. Unless you happen to be a close friend of Trump's, you will be investigated carefully by the authorities. Your tax returns going back years will be subject of scrutiny, for instance.
As the application information pages point out, you will be asked to complete FBI and financial disclosure forms for review and consideration. Unless, that is, you are Trump family member or in-law.

In short, anything that might embarrass the President could be a cause for disqualification. You have been warned.
But don't let that discourage you. 

This is the man- your president, I mean- who has bragged about sexually assaulting women, after all. Your prospective boss-man, Donald Trump is the guy who bragged about cheating on his wife with married women. This is the man who settled a case for fraud and racketeering by paying out $20 million. 
It's not all that easy to embarrass the President. 

(A special round of applause for cheeriogirl for this tip.)