The Trump Organization and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Donald Trump, as we all know, has business ties all over the world. This includes the Former Soviet Union, like Azerbaijan for example. It is well-known that Vladimir Putin is aggressively trying to recreate the sphere of influence the former Soviet Union used to have an iron grip on during the Cold War. The Soviet leaders decided, a common strategy in the days of old because the effect is a buffer between the USSR and their adversary in the United States and Eastern Europe. This is less important now given the satellites and other means to discover whether nefarious things are happening near your “frontier” as it used to be called now just a border.

The former Soviet states have slowly been reclaimed by Russia by placing their desired leaders in power by hacking, spreading misinformation disguised as news, and the new “weaponized trolls” that were very active in the 2016 Presidential election. Putin has been honing his techniques before attacking the US in what I feel is nothing short of a Cyber-Pearl Harbor, thankfully without the loss of life and damage to the US Navy. (New developments in this story breaking today.)

By now we all know that Donald Trump has been effective in marketing his brand and continues to build Hotels and golf resorts. Being familiar with building in foreign countries, Donald Trump is aware of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977  (FCPA).

According to that law, it is incumbent upon American businesses that is precisely what brings me to the former Soviet bloc five-star hotel in residence called the Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku. In 2012 the Trump Organization entered into multiple contracts with Azerbaijani developers, the Trump Organization made plans to transform the tower into an all ultra-luxury hotel with large guest rooms that would occupy the first 13 floors and the higher stories featuring residences widths spectacular views of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and the beautiful Caspian Sea.

There are many oddities surrounding the development which are clearly explained in this excellent article in The New Yorker by Adam Davidson in the March 13, 2017 issue.
What I intend to focus on herein is the Trump Organization’s business partner in this venture. The Azerbaijanis behind the projects were relatives of Ziya Mammadov, the Transportation Minister and one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful oligarchs. As stated in the New Yorker article, the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index rates Azerbaijan as among the most corrupt nations in the world.

Ziya Mammadov became the Transportation Minister in 2002, around the time the regime began receiving enormous profits from government-owned oil reserves in the Caspian Sea. Presumably this is how mamma dogs, who spent his career as a government official with the salary equivalent to about $12,000 became a billionaire.
Once Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president mother Jones, the AP, the Washington Post and other publications ran articles raising questions about Trump’s involvement in the Baku project. Interestingly, these articles referred to a series of tables sent from the US Embassy in Azerbaijan in 2009-10, which were publicized by none other than wiki leaks. In one of those cables, an American diplomat referred to as I have mamma dogs as “notoriously corrupt even for Azerbaijan.” Alan Garten, the chief legal officer for the Trump Organization, told reporters the Baku hotel project raised no ethical issues for Donald Trump as his company never engaged directly with Mammadov.

According to Garten, Donald Trump was involved merely as a licensor, allowing his famous name to be used by a company headed by Ziya Mammadov’s son, Anar, a young and well-connected entrepreneur. It is unknown the revenue the Trump Organization received from the licensing agreement, although his Public Disclosure pursuant to the election revealed he received $2.8 million apparently there was an additional payment of $2.5 million in 2012 though no other payments or income has been disclosed. Donald Trump also signed a contract to manage the hotel upon its opening for an undisclosed fee tied to the hotel’s performance. Once Donald Trump was elected president, Garten announced the Trump Organization severed its ties with the Baku hotel project and brushed off the transaction as mere housecleaning. Unfortunately for Donald Trump, Adam Davidson’s reporting tells a very different story about the Trump Organization’s involvement in the Baku project. “I was in Baku at the time, and it had become clear that the Trump Organization’s story of the hotel was incomplete and inaccurate.” Trump’s company had made the deal not just with Anar Mammadov, but also with Ziya’s brother, Elton – an influential member of the Azerbaijani parliament.” Elton even confirmed it in an interview he founded Baku XXI Century, the parent company that owned the Trump Tower Baku. When he was asked who owns Baku XXI Century, he called it a “commercial secret” but added that he “controlled all its operations” until 2015, when he “cut ties to the company.”

Further reporting reveals the Trump Organization was involved far more than initially revealed. In addition to the licensing agreement, it also signed a technical-services agreement promising to help its partner meet Trump design standards. This appears to be a contract allowing Donald Trump extensive oversight in the back to project the attorney revealed “we were always following their instructions. We were in constant contact with the Trump Organization. They approved the smallest details.” He continued stating Trump staff visited the site monthly in order to inspect & approve further progress. The article details the very extensive, almost micromanaging of the project, even Ivanka Trump’s involvement in nearly every aspect of the project from the landscaping, the paneling, the ballroom doors – all of which were of the highest quality and commensurate expense. Ivanka Trump even posted a photograph of herself wearing a hard hat on the side of the project, which was about half completed, and the caption reads: “Ivanka has overseen the development of Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku since its inception, and she recently returned from a trip to the fascinating city in Azerbaijan to check on the project’s progress.” Interestingly, Ivanka Trump declined to discuss the project with reporter Adam Davidson.

Read More

Continue reading The Trump Organization and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard


Hurricane Trump… hold on!

A Barrage of lies and Propaganda… Un-American Policies Executed with the Incompetence Demonstrated Throughout Trump’s Campaign & That Weaken Our Security at Home & Abroad.

This is absolutely insane! This president seems to attack or alienate, disparage and weaken all of our most important alliances, the latest being with Australia. Of course, Republicans like Sen. Kori Gardner of Colorado refused to say anything but talking points regarding how they feel about trumps “diplomacy” with our allies – not our adversaries – these are our long-standing allies.

In 20 days we’ve seen conflict with Mexico – we’ve threatened to send US Troops into Mexico if they can’t address their drug problem, a personal insult to Germany’s Angela Merkel, our strongest ally in remaining in Europe, a public disagreement with the majority of the rest of the world as evidenced like that of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who had the audacity to say Canada will welcome Syrian immigrants (mostly women and children) fleeing to escape the horror in Syria, a horribly hostile call with an ally that has been in every war with us since World War II – of all countries to fight with, we fight with our best ally.

America & the World hold on as Hurricane Trump’s rapid fire barrage of hot-air has them scrambling: BNPS


I fully believe this is an intentional strategy from Steven Bannon, a strategy is to constantly change the subject with one controversial move or ill-advised tweet, in an effort to get the media to shift focus. That is precisely why Trump moved up his announcement of the Supreme Court nominee to distract from the Muslim Ban. Now we know that he may have, without Trump’s knowledge or consent, slipped into the “Modernization” of the National Security Council (NSC) a permanent seat on the NSC, while taking permanent seats away from the Direction of National Intelligence – the highest intelligence officer in the Nation whose job is to advise the President on Intelligence issues.

As you try to follow and think about the ramifications are of this machine gun of errors, it is almost impossible to keep up much less write a serious piece with links to the examples of the constant lies from this administration. I was glad Kellyanne Conway finally admitted that the President was offering “Alternative Facts.” It doesn’t take a genius to realize there is no such thing as alternative facts. In the real world these are LIES and correctly called lies. There are way too many lies to even keep up with them all, but let’s just look at the very first White House Press Briefing the Trump Administration had.


In the very First Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, whose job is to speak for the President. Spicer too no questions but read from a statement excoriating the media and flat-out lied to the American People four (4) times:

  • There were 3-5 million votes cast by illegal in the election;
  • That it was the “Largest crowd in history” to have seen an inaugural ‘both in person and on TV’;
  • There were magnetometers on the mall that slowed people joining the crowd before; and
  • The Parks Service never used white grass protectors; making it seem like the crowd was smaller.

Taken in reverse order, it took just a few minutes to debunk the last lie from Sean Spicer’s mouth: 4) was proven a lie after a simple Google search revealed images shots of workers placing the white grass protectors on the ground during President Obama’s Inauguration in 2013. 3) Though the Secret Service generally does not issue statements demonstrating the President LIED to the American people, the did issue a statement to verify there were NO magnetometers on the National Mall. (2) Trump Inauguration was not even remotely close to either of President Obama’s inauguration and even George W. Bush after another peculiar electoral process had a larger audience.

Let’s be honest, no one in their right mind thought Trump had anywhere near the crowd of either of president Obama’s 2009 crowd of 1.8 million and 2013 was only 1 million. Just having functional eyes and a brain is all that one needs to discern that assertion is so completely ridiculous it barely deserves discussion. YET that story dominated the new President’s thoughts for at least a week. His thin skin is so bad that he has to make up a completely obvious lie, that no one outside Trump believes and points to the complete lack of any evidence whatsoever, that 3-5 million illegal votes were cast… otherwise he could have won the popular vote. The most laughable assertion he has made yet. It is no coincidence the Oxford word of 2016 is “Post-Truth.”



I believe shorter, single issue posts is the way to try to keep up with the barrage of steps this “learn-on-the-job president keeps firing at us hoping there is no time to focus on one thing before the next distraction is manufactured by the big “ratings machine -DJT.”

I also think reposting other very well done posts is a great idea as well. The more the truth is circulated to defy the Trump Propaganda machine modeled after his idol, Vladimir Putin, and his use of propaganda and now fake news. Trump also has the first “news” channel that is solely devoted to making him look good, making everything Democrats do as evil and un-American, and freely spread the fake news and lies the right uses to confuse so people don’t know what to believe. All of us are guilty of echo-chambers because social media is designed that way… that makes the more extreme politicians attractive to badly misinformed voters and stoked by Right-Wing Media so we get “the party of NO.”

The same is true for Democrats though maybe not quite so bad – but I want democrats to really Stand for Something again – like being the party of the middle class in Deed and not just in word. The party left the unions… heck they let unions be weakened to the point of extinction. Now Corporate Interests dominate the media, political system, and they are executing their takeover of the Courts, which we see is the last line of defense in the brilliant Separation of Powers our Founding Fathers established. Unfortunately is has been slowly gobbled up and now serves Corporate interests rather than being “beholden to The People, alone.”

Democrats need to repay the GOP for the awful Republican treatment given to President Obama by the right – like Mitch McConnell saying on 1/20/09 that his “number one priority is making Barack Obama a one-term president.” Remember, that was said as the Country was hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs per month. He didn’t want to help the President that actually had an electoral mandate guide the country through the Great Recession. Thankfully he succeeded without any Republican help at all. Despicable.  As much as I despise Trump, I want him to somehow become a great president because that means American is doing well.

Unfortunately, the only evidence available is not encouraging. As a result, all Americans should watch like they never have before and educate themselves on what is really happening despite what ALL the Corporate media tells people. But this does not mean the Democrats should work to make compromises unless it pertains to issues that are actually good for America, and make him expend every bit of political capital on fights that distract him from killing Americans by just ending The Affordable Care Act (ACA or ‘Obamacare’) or starting a war with an adversary or even an ally because Trump’s has no idea to act with grace and diplomacy which he sees as weak… the rest of the sane world calls it good governance.

Trump Will Tell You He’s Keeping Us Safe from all the Terrorist Attacks Suffered Under Obama & Bush? Problem is, what attacks justify this Executive Action – which Republicans would have called ‘an Imperial fiat from King Obama’ while they are now silent as Trump equates the morality of America versus Russia. Guess he means the ‘Lone-Wolf’ attacks  the Muslim Ban would not have prevented.

This Blog is Changing…

The United States is the Only Country That Has Always Had a Peaceful Transfer of Power For Our Entire History.

That Said, There Will Always be a Cloud Over This Administration. For the First Time in Our History There Was Unquestionable Russian Interference in Our Free & Fair Elections

This is usually a tremendous day for the United States. There is always one party in the 2-party system, but everyone puts down their clubs to witness the peaceful transfer of power. I believe the US is the only nation that can say we have never had a coup, martial law or things we see in the so called Banana Republics where this is commonplace related to transferring power from one leader to the next.

It is with great discomfort that I write that our entire Intelligence Community (IC), the massive 17 agency apparatus meant to keep the Commander-in-Chief the best informed person on the planet. At this moment, as Trump prepares to take the oath – ready or not and there is plenty of news to suggest he is far from done. So far Trump asked President Obama if 50 or so staffers can stay around for what the President-Elect’s spokesperson, Sean Spicer, called “continuity of government.” This is an admission the Trump Team is not prepared to get to work at 12:00 noon today as they should be, they need Obama’s people to help show them how things operate on a daily basis. This is a sad statement of Trump’s overall preparedness for  the office. Nothing during the campaign or transition gave one the impression they are gunning for January 20th.

This is similar to Trump’s cabinet nominees being rushed through as fast as Obama’s were, but what is NOT spoken is the fact that all disclosures were submitted for review by the relevant committee the Monday after the inauguration so by the time the hearings occurred, the senators had all the materials well in advance of the hearing so the conflicts of interest can be explored and satisfactorily addressed. Mrs. DeVos, the nominee for Secretary of Education wanted to address questions to the nominee on her billions and whether any conflicts of interest were present in such a massive portfolio. But to this moment, as far as I know, she has still not provided her basic disclosure handed in by President Obama’s nominees on the day after the election in 2008.

The Cloud Hanging Over This Inauguration: RUSSIA.

This cloud will remain until the investigations are completed. We know from an article published yesterday that investigations into intercepted communications and inappropriate communication and Financial Transactions between senior members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials since around April 2016. An article published January 18, 2017 – just 2 days ago – in McLatcheysDC revealed the “FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into the well-established Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump.”

In addition to the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) were involved with the investigation for several months according to the article’s two (2) sources.

“Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.”

That Russia hacked into the election and used their known pawn, Wikileaks, to make sure a daily dribble of sometimes embarrassing emails were leaked t o the Press on a daily basis to guarantee domination of the news cycle, which was achieved. This was known and included in a Joint Statement from the ODNI that there was “a consensus” that Russia was behind the attacks. Russia has long done conducted these cyber-ops in every former Soviet states to delegitimize the government to allow Russia to increase its old “sphere of influence” that existed under the U.S.S.R

Our NATO allies have been telling us this was happening regularly in the former Soviet spy agency. The US knew its old nemesis, Vladimir Putin has been trying to reestablish the old-Soviet sphere of influence. The election of an authoritarian figure like Trump has the entirety of Europe frightened as to Russian intentions to destabilize democratically elected Governments in former Soviet States. These former Soviet bloc countries have been subject to Russian cyber-attacks for years and the US knew it, but I sincerely doubt we ever expected the “oldSoviets” to conduct an operation of this magnitude against the United States election. But they did and it and, at minimum, delegitimize the electoral process and confidence American citizens have in that sacred democratic process. One could argue they are already skeptical of elections and participated at an embarrassingly low 47% d in that process in this of all years. That seed of doubt sown by the Russians is already a major success if it goes no farther but the investigation continues since April.

In the hacking realm, nothing more damaging than revealing what observers knew already: that the DNC clearly “greased the wheels” for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders resulted in enough Sanders’ supporters home on election day to have swung it in Trump’s favor. I hate to say that, not only have I suspected precisely this exact collaboration between the Russian Intelligence Service (FSB) and Wikileaks, I also suspected direct collaboration between Trump and the FSB – formerly known as the KGB where Vladimir Putin spent his entire career as a Soviet Spy.

This fact along with the well-known reality that Russia opposes everything the US and our European allies stand for based on the NATO treaty in place since the end of WWII. A very important alliance which has as the most significant part of the alliance – the Article V provision which means an attack on one NATO country is an attack on ALL NATO countries. Few realize that provision was only used once – after al Qaeda attacked the homeland on September 11, 2001. Those allies are still fighting with us today. This makes any notion that our NATO allies owe us something seem a statement in poor taste. Perhaps some behind the scenes discussions, but not for the Public Realm  and most certainly not appropriate for Twitter.

President-Elect Trump has been making statements that are completely opposite U.S. Policy and every president since WWII. It happens to be a complete 180 degree turnaround from consistent and bipartisan policy for 75 years. There have been no major wars in Europe partly because of the NATO alliance. Vladimir Putin sees it as a threat to his goal, which is to remedy what he calls the “greatest tragedy of the 20th Century: the fall of the Soviet Union.” Now he has an ally in the White House that calls “obsolete” NATO alliance

Eliminating the Sanctions placed on Russia after their invasion into the Ukraine and ultimate annexation of the Crimean Peninsula – the first time one country has annexed another since the Second World War. Trump has mentioned lifting those sanctions and recognizing the Crimean Peninsula as part of Russia. That will pay a serious debt, if one is owed, to Russia and  the oligarchs that we would know about if we had seen a tax return. But we did not for the first time in modern US History despite there being no law against disclosing part of that tax return for public consumption. This is a way to ensure our president has no conflict of interest that may be present if he or she were to owe billions in debt to foreign banks or individuals. We do know Mr. Trump owes $627 million to the Bank of China.

Foreign Blackmale

We know since President Obama met with Director of National Intelligence,  James Clapper, the individual who is in charge of all 17 intelligence agencies, on Thursday and President-Elect Trump Friday. During that meeting, the 2 page summary of the 35 page dossier that purports to lay out the Russian effort to obtain “Kompromat” or compromising information on a Presidential candidate.

After that meeting, James Clapper released a statement that led to another ill advised tweet in which Trump mischaracterized the information relayed to him, leading Director Clapper to issue a statement indicating Trump mischaracterized the information and that the IC (intelligence community) determined the dossier “crap & Fake News.” Like so many Tweets, that was definitely NOT  what the statement said. The DNI had to clarity in writing – a rare step by anyone in the IC – that the IC reached no conclusions as to the reliability of the information contained in the dossier (different from saying we have concluded it is not reliable).

More importantly it said no information from the dossier was used in any conclusions. We have to again look at what was not said. We know there’s an investigation looking into possible collusion between what is now our 45th President (just sworn in), and we have known since the before the dossier was leaked. That means the dossier simply corroborated (at least partially) other information that originally led to the investigation being initiated. Trump failed to notice the nuance and reading between the lines.

Regardless, a President was sworn in that is being investigated for potentially colluding with a foreign adversary that we know to have affected and interfered with the cornerstone of our Democracy – Free &  Fair Elections. The investigation also includes an alleged transfer of funds from the Kremlin to Trump. I hope there is nothing more to this than we already know… but I doubt it. I hope President Trump exceeds all expectations…but I doubt it. I hope there is not the corruption that seems imminent given the new President paid $25 million to settle a lawsuit for defrauding our fellow Americans. The President takes office with a 30% approval rating – precisely 1/2 the 60% of an immensely popular, now former President Barack Obama. We hope he succeeds because if he succeeds, America theoretically succeeds.

Time will tell. From this point forward, he now has to Govern the United States of America rather than campaign. Let us hope he studies more and tweets less. Most importantly, lets hope he does well for America.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

The ancient Greeks were adamant that philosophy (literally translated to Love of Wisdom), be a deeply useful skill that should be learned and practiced by all as instructive to humans living and even dying well. The very well-known PLATO (circa 423-347 BC), believed in the usefulness of philosophy more than most of his contemporaries. Plato viewed philosophy was a kind of therapy for the soul. One of the most compelling and widely known of the stories or dialogues Plato wrote on the usefulness of philosophy in what is now known as the Allegory of the Cave; perhaps the most famous allegory in all of philosophy. The purpose of the allegory was to “compare the effect of education and the lack of it on our nature.”

As part of his masterpiece, The Republic, Plato describes The Cave – a prison where people are born as prisoners and are to remain for life. Without the ability to ever venture outside the cave in which they are chained, they are deprived of natural light in the cave so all that the inhabitants can see are shadows of things projected on the wall by the light of a fire behind the objects and prisoners. Being the only reality they know, the cave dwellers become fascinated by the shadows of animals, plants & people. Moreover, they believed the shadows were real and, if studied, will provide them with knowledge to allow them to succeed in life. Obviously, the dwellers have no idea they see only shadows… mere phantoms of the thing it purports to represent. The dwellers even begin to talk among themselves about the shadowy things and take great pride in their sophistication and wisdom.

Then something very unusual happens when one of the cave dwellers happens to find his way out of the cave into the blistering noon sunlight. At first his eyes are overwhelmed but adjust soon enough. For the first time in his existence, he finally sees things as they really are when properly lit by the sun. Gradually he begins seeing ‘real’ objects and begins to recognize these are the things he has previously only as shadows on the cave wall. His finally adjusted eyes see actual flowers, the colorful sky and its many birds, and he touches and feels for the first time the foreign texture of everything he touches as everything is new to him. The night comes and he is flabbergasted by the stars and gradually begins to contemplate the vastness and sublime nature of the universe. As Plato put it, “[p]reviously he had been looking at only phantoms; now he is nearer to the true nature of being.”

From a natural feeling of wanting to share his discoveries with his former cave-dwelling companions still blinded by the confusion and error of the shadows, he decides to leave the sun-lit world and return to the dark and damp cave he used that used to make up his world. His eyes area again required to adjust from bright light of the outside world and he struggles to acclimate to the cave. He stumbles and, unable to see clearly, to his companions seemed very awkward and confused. He clearly did not impress his companions as one bestowed with knowledge of “the real world.” He quickly realizes his former cave-dwellers were unimpressed with him and he is equally unimpressed with them. The animosity heats up badly enough that when he insists on explaining what the sun is, or what a real tree is like, the cave-dwellers initially get very sarcastic and poke fun at him. His persistence engenders anger as they feel the newly enlightened escapee has perhaps lost his mind. They then get angry with him and the discord leads to an eventual plot to kill him.

Plato Those that see beyond shadows

The solution, according to Plato, was a broad, carefully administered philosophical education. He understood the effectiveness of a method of inquiry pioneered by his master Socrates, which is where the type of  inquiry is now known to us as the Socratic Method. Done properly, it should be a gentle process. One must avoid condescending lecturing at or forcing pupils to read a particular text. Instead, start with a general pronouncement of intellectual modesty. Be honest with each other in admitting that no one knows very much, and that true wisdom starts with owning up to that ignorance.

Simply confess that you don’t know what policies the government should implement, what war is meant to achieve or how relationships work. Then attempt to get the other person to state what they think and you together start a journey to find the answers. It is likely the other person will be confident, sometimes even overconfident. They may quickly tell you the answer you seek is rather simple and most people know the answer already. This is where real patience is needed to deal with this type of bravado. If the inquiry goes off-topic, you cheerfully bring them back around and be prepared to have many discussions with them, often over many days.

This method of is based on a confidence that with the right encouragement, people have the ability to work things out themselves and eventually learn to detect errors in their own reasoning. But dialogues often go awry unless you gently and quietly draw your interlocutor’s attention to sticky and difficult points without ever casting blame or getting annoyed. You cannot teach anything by making your pupil feel stupid, even if they are at first.

We ALL must begin in our Cave, but it was Plato’s deepest insight that we need not remain in the darkness and ignorance of the cave by remaining. Plato enlightens us by informing us that the way out of the darkness is philosophy. Philosophy is the beacon whose light we learn to slowly follow until the true nature of things become clear.

How Does This Apply To Me?

This allegory has never been more applicable than in modern society and in a most serious way. More than  ever America is stringently divided into echo-chambers where no one is even exposed to other views much less presented with a coherent argument of all sides of the many complicated issues we face so one can arrive at an informed opinion through their own informed, well-reasoned thinking. Sadly intellectual laziness pervades and far too many are content to be told what to think and the mental muscles used in critical and/or analytical thinking are atrophied to uselessness.

Then, for some inexplicable reason, people knowledgable on just one side of a debate believe themselves to be unrivaled experts on the subject. That misguided belief is most often accompanied by an arrogance justified only in a true expert that has spent years in study and/or training to acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities of an honest expert. This is why we use a surgeon to repair a damaged body, a lawyer to argue a complicated case before a judge, and a mechanic to repair our cars. The glaring distinction is the true expert has devoted immense time and effort to obtain the knowledge, and her well-developed knowledge is constantly updated and sharpened by the inquiries and challenges by more accomplished experts. The end result is someone with unique ability and knowledge to address a particular problem needing a remedy.

By contrast, the pseudo-expert does not have her ideas and beliefs challenged but only reinforced, no matter the ideas proximity to truth. After constant reinforcement these unrefined ideas eventually seem infallible. This is a dangerous and growing phenomenon made more complicated by the recent phenomenon of “fake news” to further cloud the issues. How is an individual living his or her busy life, even a relatively well-informed citizen, expected to devote the time and energy required to become adequately & thoroughly informed and to make a decision on a complex or nuanced issue? Without making an immense individual effort to discern fantasy from reality, which not every citizen has the time, energy or ability to do, it is tough for one to locate and study the right sources to address the inquiry even if inclined to do so in the first place. There are trustworthy sources that are reliable and factually accurate, even some still using the journalistic standards that we used to be able to take for granted but no more.

It now takes time and effort to determine whether a source is reliable or if it also has an agenda that colors the objectivity of the reporting or analysis built into everything they report on or if its accurate but it can be done and, I would argue, must be done as we go forth in this brave new world of post-truth politics we have quietly entered. Let’s reign in this monster before it becomes an accepted as the “new-normal.”

I do not know if you agree but I cringe at the idea of living in a “post-truth” world and that becoming the new normal. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

It is understandable to be tempted to throw up your hands, say “to hell with it” and just disengage. Should that happen, we will quickly slide into a permanent state of post-truth politics and the power of the people will be a thing of the past – which I believe is precisely what the establishment wants. flag-eagle-constitution

Sometimes circumstances dictate the action one must take and this is one of those times. To be clear, I cannot emphasize enough how much I truly hope I’m wrong. I want President Trump to act for the benefit of all Americans and successfully build on President Obama’s work in steering the Ship of State out of the Great Recession and building on the stable economic foundation of slow but steady economic growth (free of bubbles), drastically reduced unemployment and focusing on increasing real household incomes that have been stagnant since the 80’s – a trend that finally started to reverse as we saw a considerable increase in household incomes in recent months.

Making matters exponentially worse, our gridlocked political system has been put up for sale to the highest bidders, which are inevitably the wealthiest families & large corporations. As a result, our elected officials that should be “beholden to the people alone” are rather blatantly beholden to their donors and ignore the needs & desires of the people. This explains why members of congress spend up to 70% of their time fund-raising and yet we the people are supposed to naively believe the unlimited millions donated to their campaigns, their leadership PACs, and SuperPACs give these mega-donors no greater access to or influence over our elected officials than you or I have? An utterly absurd notion.

Corruption has always been a part of politics but there is no longer even a superficial attempt to conceal it. Where our politicians used to try to hide their conflicted interests, they now barely pay lip service to their constituents while publicly and without a hint of shame, do the obvious bidding of their donors. I believe it is because they know – or at least believe – that there is nothing “we the people” can or will do about it.

As it stands, the only ones with the power to change the rules are the ones grossly enriched by those rules. We have allowed the Fox to take possession of our Hen House and does anyone believe the Fox will voluntarily change the rules and ban Foxes from the hen-house?

Or do you suppose he will now gorge himself until sick then hand out the rest to cronies? I think it is the latter. The best book I know on the subject is “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress – and a Plan to Stop It.” It is such an enlightening work I wish I had the power to require every voter to read it and to compel the people to implement a plan to end corruption.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Now is the time to remind ourselves that our great Republic depends on an informed electorate. I add to that what I believe the founders took for granted – an energized and participating electorate. Apathy was painfully evident in the 2016 election. Decisions to stay home and not participate could easily have changed the outcome of the contest. The decision lies with each one of us. We can choose to stay in the echo-chamber that is the Cave we have made for ourselves or fallen into that keeps us insulated from the thoughts and opinions of others. In the alternative, we can make a choice as an act of our individual will to get out of the Cave and move into the light to become part of a truly informed electorate for the benefit of our nation and our children’s future. What will you do? Only you can decide, but I humbly suggest get you leave the intellectual comfort of the Cave, move into the light and accept the challenge to think for yourself so you can arrive at your own well-informed and well-reasoned decisions as our Founding Fathers intended. Now decide.