Tag Archives: NY Times

‘Lock him up, lock him up’?

What in the name of national security is going on here?

The New York Times reports that Donald John Trump is using an unsecured cell phone to talk about, oh, matters involving national security. And … the Chinese and the Russians are eavesdropping on him.

Wait just a doggone minute, will ya?

Weren’t the Republican mobs yelling “Lock her up!” when questions arose about Hillary Rodham Clinton using a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state during the first term of the Obama administration? Didn’t the Republican nominee for president say that “if you’re listening,” the Russians should look for the missing e-mails?

Of course, the president challenges the NYT’s reporting on the story. He said in a tweet: The so-called experts on Trump over at the New York Times wrote a long and boring article on my cellphone usage that is so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it. I only use Government Phones, and have only one seldom used government cell phone. Story is soooo wrong!

I’ll take the president at his word that the Times is “soooo wrong” when the newspaper retracts or “clarifies” the story.

In the meantime, I’ll refrain from leading any “Lock him up” chant, given that I’ve been highly critical of the GOP mobs’ call to lock up Hillary Clinton without anything approaching due process.

Although this also must be said: Even though Hillary endured “due process” through endless congressional hearings on the e-mail matter, and was found to have committed no crimes, the “Lock her up!” bellowing has persisted.

We’re better than that now, though. Aren’t we?

Why worry now about Trump’s business history?

Someone, somewhere — maybe a lot of folks out here in Trump Country, where I live — may be asking: Why are the media obsessing now about Donald Trump’s business practices when he was a much younger man, an up-and-comer in the real estate development industry?

I think I might have an answer. It’s because Donald Trump sold his presidential candidacy largely on the notion that he is a self-made man, that he had a “little bit of help” from his father, Fred Trump, as he sought to build a business empire.

The New York Times has put the lie to that boast. It has revealed in an exhaustive investigation that Trump received a lot of help from his father and that he well might have used fraudulent tax schemes to benefit his father’s business.

Donald Trump’s status as president of the United States of America makes this a legitimate issue of discussion, particularly as he prepares to campaign for re-election in 2020. The issue of his truthfulness in describing his pre-political business career must be brought up and it must be discussed thoroughly.

I doubt seriously that Trump himself will engage in that serious discussion. He’ll toss out insults at the media and his foes. He will energize his base of supporters. The president isn’t likely to provide forthright answers to direct questions about the Times’s story.

However, the president’s business history and the huge disparity between what a media outlet has uncovered and what he has said about that history demand a full and complete airing.

I hope the president would explain himself. My fear is that he won’t.

A tip of the hat to the ‘enemy of the people’

I want to tip my proverbial hat to the media, the institutions labeled by the president as the “enemy of the American people.”

They continue to do their jobs. The men and women who practice their noble craft do it with honor and distinction.

The New York Times has just published an astonishing — and lengthy in the extreme — article that peels the bark off the disguise under which Donald Trump hid while campaigning for the presidency.

He told Americans he is a “self-made business success.” The Times story tells an entire different tale, that Donald Trump relied heavily on the generosity of his late father, Fred, and that he manipulated the tax system to obtain cushy deals all along the way.

Now, to be sure none of this likely will change the political balance. Anti-Trump Americans — such as me — will use the material to criticize the president; pro-Trump Americans will use it to bash the media. Trump himself will bash the media and the Times specifically. That’s his modus operandi. It stinks.

However, the media continue to step up. They continue to do what their professional journalists are trained to do. They are holding government accountable.

Every one of Donald Trump’s predecessors as president has understood the media’s role in building our representative democracy and their contributions to strengthening it.

Exhaustive and meticulous reporting by media outlets such as The New York Times demonstrate for all the world the power of a free press, the only privately held business expressly protected against government interference/bullying/coercion in the U.S. Constitution.

None of this, of course, will dissuade Donald Trump from demonizing the media. He’ll continue to speak of what he calls “fake news,” even though he is the No. 1 purveyor of outright lies and prevarication.

Many of the rest of us know better. The media are standing tall. I am proud to have been a member of the mainstream media.

Mitt was right: Trump is a first-class ‘fraud’

The next U.S. senator from Utah, Mitt Romney, was absolutely spot on when he delivered that blistering speech two years ago about Republican presidential nominee Donald John Trump Sr.

Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” in a 17-minute tirade against the man who would become the 45th president of the United States.

I have just read that lengthy New York Times investigative article about how Trump acquired his wealth. It is quite clear, based on some of the most exhaustive reporting I’ve ever seen in a newspaper article, that Trump is the farthest thing possible from a “self-made” billionaire, which is how he presented himself while running for the presidency.

Read the NY Times piece here. Make sure you have a good bit of time to read this piece.

What will happen with this information? Will it change minds? Probably not.

I am an avid Trump critic. This report merely cements my own view of what I and many others have suspected all along about the president, and which comports with Mitt Romney’s view: that the man is a charlatan and a bald-faced liar.

Trump’s “base,” though, will see it differently. They’ll take aim at The New York Times, which they’ll contend is a “mainstream liberal media outlet” that is out to “get” Donald Trump. They will disbelieve the meticulous reporting by a team of journalistic professionals and choose to side with a man known to be a liar.

Such is the state of play on today’s political landscape.

I’ll just declare once again that Mitt Romney had it right in 2016. If only his fellow Republicans would have listened to him.

What? Trump didn’t earn his fortune on his own?

The New York Times has reported something that many of us have suspected all along about Donald John Trump.

The man who would become president of the United States of America has long boasted about his business acumen, how he is a self-made zillionaire, how he is so damn smart.

Many of us out here have known that real business geniuses, real rich individuals, real smart men and women don’t brag openly about all of that.

The Times now reports that young Donald leaned heavily on his late father, Fred Trump, who gave his son lots and lots of money to bankroll his many business ventures.

Oh, and that Donald Trump well might have defrauded the U.S. government out of tax revenue through these questionable schemes.

What a revoltin’ development! I am just shocked, I tell ya, just shocked that Trump well might not be the self-made man he has boasted of being all these years.

Trump had all kinds of help

The Times is reporting that Trump received an estimated $413 million in “today’s dollars” to help build his business empire.

I guess it’s worth asking: Will any of this matter when — or if — the president seeks re-election in 2020? I’ll make a stab at answering it. Probably not, at least not to the base of supporters who continue to support the president.

Trump has bragged about getting a million bucks back when he began his business career. According to the NY Times, he got a lot more than that.

This guts of this story doesn’t really surprise me, although the detail in which the Times has reported it does reveal the amazing scope and depth to which the president sought to manipulate the system in his favor.

Yep, this is the guy who won an Electoral College victory in 2016 in his first-ever quest for any public office of any kind. It happened to be the presidency of the United States.

Gosh, I am so not proud of what we have gotten as a result.

Parlor game continues: Who wrote that op-ed?

Conservative commentator/gadfly/rabble rouser Ann Coulter believes she knows the author of that infamous op-ed published the other day in The New York Times.

She says it’s Jared Kushner, son-in-law of Donald John Trump. Why did Ivanka’s husband write it? She believes Jared and Ivanka think Daddy Trump will be kicked out of office and want to high-tail it to the Hamptons.

Fine. Whatever.

MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell, a liberal/progressive/gadfly/rabble rouser, posited a notion that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats did it. He said Coats has nothing to lose; he’s holding his final public office and is miffed that the president keeps undermining him at every turn regarding the Russian attack on our 2016 election.

There you go.

Op-ed mystery deepens

Others have suggested someone on Vice President Mike Pence’s staff wrote it, inserting the “lodestar” term that the VP is fond of using.

Hey, this is all nonsense. I am becoming less concerned with who wrote it than I am with the content of the essay. It’s a devastating critique of the way the president governs. It speaks to the “resistance” within the West Wing that seeks to protect the nation from Trump’s more dangerous impulses.

We’ll know eventually who wrote it. If the president’s team is allowed to ferret out the ID of the author, the name will come forward. Whoever wrote it will be canned, or he or she will resign.

Meanwhile, the parlor game continues. It does create grist for gossip. That’s all.

‘Lodestar’ emerges as an entrapment tool

Vice President Mike Pence likes to use the word “lodestar,” an archaic word not usually associated with 21st-century normal word usage.

So, when the word “lodestar” showed up in that New York Times op-ed essay written by some mystery man or woman, many observers stated their belief that the VP had to be the author of the piece.

Pence denies writing it. And that begs the question: Was the vice president set up by someone else?

Pence told Fox News’s Chris Wallace he didn’t know if that’s the case. Well, I’ll offer a wild guess: Yes, someone tried to implicate Pence with the use of the term “lodestar,” which defines how you navigate a ship.

The NYT essay is full of assertions that have sent Donald Trump into a fit of apoplexy and outright rage. It says a “resistance” team is working to prevent Trump from acting on his more frightening instincts.

Would the team include Pence? I suppose it could, given the VP’s own history as a member of Congress and a governor of Indiana. He has legitimate government experience, something that Trump lacked the moment he declared his presidential candidacy.

But … the vice president is trying to clear himself of any responsibility regarding this anonymous essay. Good luck with that, Mr. VPOTUS.

If he doesn’t know who set him up with the “lodestar” reference, I kind of believe Vice President Pence needs to get busy looking for whoever is responsible.

What happened to the GOP?

Barack H. Obama has asked a question that has been on the minds of political observers/junkies ever since the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

“What happened to the Republican Party?” Obama has inquired.

What, indeed, has become of the Party of Lincoln, the Party of Ike, the Party of Reagan? Is has become the Party of Trump. Why is this a critical question? Because the current president brought no ideological mooring to the office to which he was elected.

The former president didn’t say it in so many words during his re-entry into the political debate this week, so I’ll say it here. The GOP has fallen victim to the cult of personality that Trump embodies.

Indeed, we have gotten a peek into that cult through the soon to be published book “Fear” written by veteran journalist Bob Woodward and by that anonymous essay published the other day by the New York Times.

Woodward and the mystery essayist both contend that Trump doesn’t adhere to any form of “conventional” Republican orthodoxy.

Moreover, as Obama said in Illinois, Republicans ought to be aghast that the president is making nice with the former head of the KGB, given that Republicans’ signature foreign policy issue for decades — during the Dwight Eisenhower years — was to oppose communism, led by the former Soviet Union.

Republicans during the Ronald Reagan era would rail against the annual budget deficit. On Trump’s watch, we’re watching the deficit escalate, yet GOP members of Congress give the president a pass.

The Party of Lincoln never would give moral equivalence to Nazis and Klansmen to the people who opposed them at the Charlottesville, Va., riot in 2017.

Yes, the question posed by the 44th president of the United States is a valid one.

What has happened to the Republican Party?

‘Treason’ gets misused yet again

Donald J. Trump has this fetish involving the word “treason.”

He tosses it out there, accusing others of committing such acts without understanding how the U.S. Constitution actually defines the term. It’s quite specific and has not a damn thing to do with newspapers publishing anonymous op-ed essays submitted by someone at the inner circle of the Trump administration.

Article III Section 3 says this about treason: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

“Levying war … or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

How is the president misusing the term? He tweeted a message “TREASON” immediately after word came that The New York Times had published the anonymous op-ed essay. Trump is wrong. I would say “deliberately” wrong, except that he likely hasn’t ever read the constitutional definition of “treason.” The essay speaks to a “resistance” movement within the White House that seeks to protect the nation from the president’s more troublesome instincts.

As for the “aid and comfort” clause in Article III, perhaps the president ought to be a whole lot more circumspect if he is going to toss the t-word out at his foes. The closest thing I’ve seen to providing aid and comfort to hostile powers has been Trump’s shameful refusal to condemn specifically the Russian attack on our 2016 presidential election.

A president who knows better is likely to avoid playing fast and loose with a term that defines the worst crime one can commit against the United States.

What’s more, the punishment for such a crime is, um, death. Is that what Donald Trump is suggesting should happen to whoever is responsible for an anonymously written essay?

I mean, seriously?

Memo to POTUS: Leave the NY Times alone

Donald Trump continues to demonstrate his breathtaking ignorance of what the U.S. Constitution guarantees in the treatment of media in this country, which is that government mustn’t interfere with the practice of a “free press.”

However, he’s at it again, saying that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should” investigate the New York Times over its decision to publish an anonymous op-ed essay from someone inside the Trump administration. The mystery writer has alleged that the president is out of control and that a “resistance movement” within the administration is pushing back against the president, seeking to curb his more, um, impulsive instincts.

Trump is enraged over the anonymity aspect. He is trying to find out who did it. Hmm, does the term “witch hunt” apply?

Moreover, he wants the Department of Justice to pursue the New York Times over what he calls a “national security” concern.

It’s a reach, Mr. President.

The First Amendment specifically and explicitly protects a “free press” from government interference, intimidation, bullying or coercion. It’s in there. Honest. I’ve read it. So have you.

Trump also has said he is considering some sort of punitive action against the Times. “I’m looking at that right now. It only happened yesterday,” he said.

C’mon, Mr. President! You can’t expect to succeed in bullying a major American newspaper into doing your bidding. I get that he’s angry that someone possibly within his inner circle has spilled the beans on the goings-on in the White House. I expect him to learn the identity of the whistleblower.

However, the notion of punishing the New York Times for giving someone — even someone close to the levers of power — a forum to express their grievance against the federal government goes way beyond what’s acceptable.

Read the Constitution, Mr. President. Start with the First Amendment. You’ll see what it says.