Nel's New Day

January 10, 2017

Trump: ‘You’re Fired’—Except for Putin

“You’re fired.” Donald Trump’s (DT) favorite sentence on The Apprentice has circled the world. In a break with decades of precedent, he has ordered all politically appointed ambassadors, 39 in all, to return to the United States by Inauguration Day. The order was given two days before Christmas, about the time that DT was offering ambassadorships to booking agents who could find performers for his inauguration. New ambassadors to all these countries have to be individually confirmed by the Senate. Forget any continuity; DT is king.

DT’s ten-year-old son gets to stay in his New York school after his inauguration, but ambassadors’ children will be left in limbo. For example, Stafford Fitzgerald Haney, U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, has four school age children, and his wife is fighting breast cancer. A question for DT’s Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson, is whether he thinks that diplomats should be treated in this manner.

“You’re fired” is also what DT said to the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and his deputy. This $12 billion-a-year agency “maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.” That includes responding to nuclear emergencies throughout the world, keeping the Navy in its guarding against terrorists acquiring nuclear material, and caring for the nation’s 7,000 weapons. For the first time since its creation in 2000 that the agency has no one in charge of this responsibility or its 2,300 employees. Never fear, however, because one of these days Rick Perry may be in charge as Secretary of Energy.

There are denials that the people in the top two NNSA positions were “fired,” but Gizmodo reported that “the Trump transition team has not asked the top two NNSA officials to stay on until they can be replaced.” Still sounds like being fired on the first day. And no replacements have been named.

No one knows how many more government officials will received the message of “You’re fired!” The executive branch has between 3,000 and 4,000 positions requiring a presidential appointment, and over 1,200 of these need to be confirmed by the Senate. In a recent petty DT act by DT,  he fired Charles Brotman, 89, by email and replaced him with a DT campaign volunteer. Brotman has served as official announcer for every inauguration parade since the second one for Dwight Eisenhower in 1957. That’s 11 inaugurations and 60 years.

DT will most likely not fire Vladimir Putin because of DT’s heavy financial involvement with Russia. Human rights lawyer Scott Horton has been investigating Financial Times studies that show how Russian crime lords bailed DT out of his seventh bankruptcy in the past decade and the cancellation of all his bank lines of credit.


One of DT’s many lies is that he’s a good businessman, but the above graph shows his failure during a decade from 1995 to 2005. That sham of a successful enterprise came from millions of dollars from Russian businesses fronting for mobsters and the GRU, the military intelligence service of the Russian Federation which was formerly the Red Army of the Soviet Union. One of the actors in DT’s pretend success is Sergei Millian, head of the Russian American Chamber of Commerce (RACC) in the U.S. when Donald Trump, Jr. explained the Trump solvency as coming from “money pouring in from Russia.”

Millian denied that the RACC has any relationship to the Russian government, but former Russian MP Konstantin Borovoi cited the chamber as a front for intelligence operations dating back to Soviet times. Millian called himself the Trump “exclusive broker,” and “in 2007-2008, dozens of Russians bought apartments in Trump properties in the US.” He told ABC television that the Trump Organization had received “hundreds of millions of dollars” through deals with Russian businessmen. DT denied any association with Millian despite documents and photos.

Another Financial Times article shows DT at the center of a money-laundering scheme when he used his real estate deals to hide both his infusion of Russian capital and launder hundreds of millions of dollars looted by Russian oligarchs through selling his apartments at highly inflated costs. The companies created for the laundering network were created in April 2013, a week before one LLC paid another LLC hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to buy apartments in Trump Soho—all transactions with companies having undisclosed ownership. DT’s only obligation was to ignore the background for the deal and deny any knowledge of ownership, as in the case of the Fort Lauderdale project, Bayrock.

Jody Kriss, a former Bayrock finance director, claimed the backers included “hidden interests in Russia and Kazakhstan.” Both Bayrock and DT were based in Trump Tower and collaborated in deals around the world. DT said that he had no idea who owned Bayrock, yet he was a partner who represented and took money from this corporation totaling hundreds of millions of dollars throughout the world.

DT’s involvement with Russian money came from his multiple corporate bankruptcies removing his ability to heavily borrow in the U.S. In the 2000s, he had become an entertainer who licensed his name to businesses wanting a brand. He was bankrupt but appeared to be a “successful businessman,” allowing him to carry out massive criminal activities. His only value was his image. DT still had some degree of ownership in apartments and buildings, and foreign crime bosses needs a place to hide their money.

Reports emerged today that both President Obama and DT have been briefed on compromising personal and financial information that Russian have about DT. The two-page synopsis was attached to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. It shows that Russia had material harmful to both political parties but chose to release only what damaged Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. The sources were credible enough to inform President Obama and DT.

The FBI was aware last August about the content of the memos that include contact between DT aides and Russian operatives as well as graphic sexual acts documented by the Russians. Whether this information is accurate has not been made public, but the United States has serious problems with just an indication that Russia can blackmail the president of the United States. Kellyanne Conway, DT’s counselor, said he is “not aware” about any briefing, but she also said that people shouldn’t believe anything he says.

Without DT’s tax returns, no one may never find out the extent of DT’s involvement  with the Russians. Yet he got money, oligarchs hid their money, and Russia got the U.S. president. And DT can’t afford to say to Russia, “You’re fired.” The real losers are the DT supporters who believed his lies about getting them jobs and a better future.

DT’s overriding motivation is revenge. His hatred for Barack Obama came with the president’s jokes at a White House Correspondent’s Dinner and throughout the years as he expressed his loathing for the “elites.” Right now he may be planning action against Meryl Streep and the Golden Globes because of Streep’s anti-bullying speech last Sunday. DT has evidenced no human decency, and now he’s in charge of millions of people who will be trampled by his fragile ego.

DT’s first press conference in six months is scheduled for tomorrow at 11:00 EST. The topic is supposedly how he plans to “divest” himself to avoid conflicts of interest. Will he show up? Will he spin? Will he lie? Last question is a no-brainer.


July 25, 2014

New GOP Rep Displays Colossal Ignorance

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 8:48 PM
Tags: , , ,

It’s Friday. That means there’s no new Daily Show. For those of you who go through withdrawal without Jon Stewart, you can watch Rep. Kurt Clawson (R-FL) as he addresses two Indians—actually Indian-Americans during a House sub-committee on Asia and the Pacific. Yesterday was Clawson’s first day on the committee after winning a special election last month. He replaced Trey Radel who pleaded guilty to trying to buy cocaine from an undercover police officer last year. Pressure from Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) led Radel to resign.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, senior officials of the U.S. government, to the committee. They serve as assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs and assistant secretary and director general of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service, respectively. Clawson was only too happy to welcome the two government representatives to the United States.

“I’m familiar with your country. I love your country. And I understand the complications of so many languages and so many cultures and so many histories all rolled up in one. Anything I can do to make the relationship with India better, I’m willing and enthusiastic about doing so…Just as your capital is welcome here to produce good-paying jobs in the U.S. I’d like our capital to be welcome there. I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that?”

After a long embarrassing pause, Biswal (below right) responded,

“I think your question is to the Indian government. We certainly share your sentiment, and we certainly will advocate that on behalf of the U.S.”


There was no indication that Clawson even understood his mistake. He grinned and said, “Of course. OK. Let’s see some progress.”


Clawson will be running for election this fall. The video may be shown many times before that. As Rachel Maddow said, “Your tax dollars at work.”

According to Chabot, Clawson’s “speaks four languages and all kinds of other great stuff.” According to Clawson’s statements, he also likes Bollywood movies.

Congressional members—at least some of them—are trying to strengthen ties between the U.S. and India after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected this past spring. Some lawmakers are circulating letters to have Modi speak to a joint session of Congress.

The U.S. disdain for foreign policy is echoed by the Senate’s refusal to confirm ambassadors. About 25 percent of the world’s countries are waiting for almost 50 ambassadors to be confirmed by the Senate.  The chamber leaves for a month-long vacation at the end of next week, making it unlikely that any of this action will happen until at least fall.  There have been complaints that nominated ambassadors lack diplomatic credentials, but three-fourths of the ambassadors-in-waiting are career diplomats who should easily pass through the confirmation process.

A month ago, Secretary of State John Kerry asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to confirm these ambassadors “en bloc” like military promotions as in the past. Now Republicans routinely refuse to give unanimous consent required to proceed on quick confirmation votes. Without that consent, confirming one single ambassador can take up to eight hours. The average waiting period for confirmation has been 262 days, and 75 percent of those not confirmed have waited for over a year.

  • Iraq’s and Egypt’s ambassadors weren’t confirmed until mid-June.
  • Egypt last had an ambassador in August 2013.
  • The nominee to Kuwait waited for 200 days while the crisis in Iraq is escalating into regional warfare. Neighboring countries such as Kuwait and Jordan are overrun with hundreds of thousands of refuses.
  • One-fourth of all countries in Africa are waiting for ambassadors while U.S. counterterrorism efforts are pivoting toward that continent. Places such as Niger, Cameroon, and Mauritania are part of the region that is fighting against the terrorist organization Boko Haram. Niger just got a U.S. ambassador this week.
  • The nomination for ambassador to South Korea just got out of committee in mid-June although North Korea has recently launched three short-range projectiles toward Japan, following Kim Jong-un’s threatening responses to an American film with a plot to kill him.
  • The Senate waited to confirm the ambassador for Honduras until early July; a vacancy still exists in Guatemala. Refugees are flooding across the U.S. border from both countries.


Lt. General Kip Ward, USA (Ret.), past Commander at U.S. Africa Command, described the problem in this way:


“When we create a void, or a void is allowed to exist, someone is going to fill it. When it’s filled by something that’s not in our national interest, reversing it requires extraordinary amounts of resources. The more voids that exist, the more difficult that path becomes.”

As Kerry said, “We can’t lead if we are not present.”

We’ll give the Senate some credit. They managed to confirm six ambassadors this month.  Now we hope that India, the country that Clawson so loves, will get a U.S. ambassador.

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