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> Trump's transition
kimpossible
post Nov 21 2016, 03:59 PM
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Hello, after a years' long hiatus, I've been lurking on the boards the last few months. I'm happy to see some long time members still very active and engaging in debate!

I wanted to see what others thought of the current transition for the Trump administration. There's several different aspects of the transition that are worth discussing, including the transition team, (potential) appointees, Trump's conflict of interest and Trump University's fraud settlement. Forgive the somewhat disjointed writing, it's been awhile since I've had to gether my thoughts in a coherent manner! smile.gif

1. Actual transition team:

Most media reports I have seen note that Trump's transition has been in disarray from the start. Notably, Trump seemed unaware that he needed fill around 4000 positions, including all the White House staff, and has been scrambling to find people to fill these positions. He also dismissed Chris Christie, who seems to have been the only person working on finding appropriate staff for the transition. Additionally, at least one of Christie's suggested appointments, Rep. Mike Rogers for national security, has been let go.

Eliot Cohen wrote an opinion piece advising conservatives to avoid the Trump administration, after previously urging conservatives to work with the administration.

2. Administrative Appointments:

Trump has made a few appointments within the last week for Chief of Staff, Chief Strategist, Attorney General, and National Security Advisor. The NYT has this handy site to list the appointments and the shortlist of appointees for positions that have not yet been decided.

Most of these appointments have been met with heavy criticism, at least within my liberal media echo chamber. smile.gif

For example (from the article I linked above. I have plenty of other sources of criticism, but this just has them in one place):

QUOTE
Michael Flynn, Trumps new national security adviser, would be disqualified from a normal administration on multiple grounds. He is paid by authoritarian regimes in Turkey and Russia, as well as Russias propaganda apparatus. Multiple figures who worked with him in the military describe him as unhinged, a highly negative quality for a primary foreign-policy adviser.


QUOTE
Jeff Sessions, Trumps new attorney general, originally had the political profile of a white reactionary Alabama politician in the Old South mode. The Senate rejected his bid for a federal judgeship in 1986 over a series of racist remarks hed made, some of which he confirmed. Sessions called the NAACP un-American and accused it of forcing civil rights down the throats of people, and he allegedly called a black lawyer boy and warned him to be careful how he addressed white people.


And

QUOTE
Steve Bannon, Trumps chief strategist, has attracted perhaps the most controversy. That Bannons ex-wife has testified to his hatred of Jews has attracted a great deal of attention, but this fact both over- and understates the racial nature of his beliefs. Bannons journalistic work is centrally dedicated to the task of refashioning conservatism along white-identity lines.


3. Conflict of Interests:

Though there is no specific law prohibiting the president from also running a business during his presidency, presidents in the past have put their financial interests in a blind trust to prevent any potential conflicts of interest. Though Trump has said he will do the same, he has also said that he will turn over his business to his children, calling into question if Trump understands what a blind trust actually is.

Additionally, Trump is currently still meeting with business partners, and some are hoping to exploit their ties with the president.

QUOTE
Robert S. Stern, a lawyer who helped write Californias ethics law and the former president of the nonprofit Center for Governmental Studies, said that anytime Mr. Trump has a meeting with a foreign government leader where one of his projects is based a list that includes Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, Canada, Panama, Dubai, the Philippines, South Korea and Uruguay questions may arise as to whether he took any action that might benefit his investments.

It already looks like he is using his position as president-elect to promote something in India that would benefit him financially, Mr. Stern said. It is not presidential or at least presidential before him.


Another conflict of interest bonus story: Ivanka Trump sat in on the meeting with Japanese PM, and her jewelry company sent an email to promote her 'look' during the Trump family 60 minutes interview.

4. Trump University Fraud Settlement:

Three civil causes against Trump owned Trump University were settled for $25 million on Friday.

QUOTE
The lawsuits, two in California and one in New York, were filed on behalf of thousands of people, some of them elderly and of modest means, who alleged that Trump University had lured them into spending thousands of dollars on courses in real-estate speculation that turned out to be of little or no value. During the election campaign, Trump repeatedly claimed that the lawsuits were baseless, and vowed that he would never settle. But on Friday, just ten days before one of the cases was due to go to court in San Diego, he agreed to pay twenty-five million dollars in restitution and fines.


Questions for debate:

1. Is the Trump transition in disarray?
Does it matter?
How will this affect Trump's presidency (if at all)?

2. Are the appointees to the Trump administration problematic?

3. Does Trump's business interests present a conflict of interest for his presidency?
Is having his children run his business "good enough" to separate him from any potential conflicts of interest?
Are there other steps he should take to assure the public that he will not use his presidency for his own personal gain?

4. Is this settlement important for the Trump presidency? How will it affect the presidency?
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akaCG
post Nov 22 2016, 02:04 AM
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1. Is the Trump transition in disarray?
No.

QUOTE
...
There have been numerous news reports of disarray in Donald Trumps presidential transition process. But by selecting Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general on Friday, Trump made his first Cabinet pick at an earlier date Nov. 18 than most of his immediate predecessors as president-elect. According to The Washington Post, just two of the 70 Cabinet picks by newly elected presidents since 1980 had come by that date, both of them by George H.W. Bush.
...

Link: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-...ad-of-schedule/

EDITED TO ADD a helpful graph, courtesy of NPR: http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics...-right-on-track

EDITED TO ADD:

2. Are the appointees to the Trump administration problematic?

I have absolutely no doubt that they are, and will continue to be, problematic to anyone who doesn't agree with them. After all, ...

This has been true since the very beginning of our nation, going aaaaall the way back to when, eleven score and seven years ago, George Washington picked the members of his Cabinet.




This post has been edited by akaCG: Nov 22 2016, 02:07 AM
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Nov 22 2016, 01:57 PM
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Hey Kimpossible! Great to see you. flowers.gif flowers.gif

1. Is the Trump transition in disarray?
QUOTE
Eliot Cohen wrote an opinion piece advising conservatives to avoid the Trump administration, after previously urging conservatives to work with the administration.


I haven't read the linked article yet.
It's an interesting contrast to a left-leaning Bloomberg article, which notes theres No Shame In Joining The Trump Administration if your goal is harm reduction, and if you agree you can apply here.
So those with useful political/administrative experience, seem to be given an unusually easy route to getting a position of power where they can do useful (or unuseful, depending on one's perspective) things.
Trump's campaign commitment to avoid lobbyists eliminated use of the preferred method of just giving all the positions to lobbyists.

Trump has posted an online survey asking which of his plans he should prioritize during his first 100 days in office.
Left leaning people, to quote a left leaning person with a blog, "might not find anything super-great on there, but some of them are definitely worse than others, and it might be that by telling him to prioritize the less bad ones you can do a lot of good. Disclaimer: I have no idea if Trump plans to take the survey results seriously."
I have no idea whether he will take the results seriously either, but it's the most populist thing I've seen a president do and I don't see much reason to have put the survey up there if the intention was to ignore it.


2. Are the appointees to the Trump administration problematic?

I'm not familiar enough with the candidates to form an educated opinion on the matter. (exception Palin, who I don't think will be useful for anything)
I just read up on General Michael Flynn now and am unpersuaded that he is "a problem" because his company had contracts with the "authoritarian regime" of Turkey (this is a NATO ally country, our government has many many contracts with them...in all likelihood, as a General he has even resided there on a military base) or made a speech for a Russian television network (there was a guy who took a trip to the USSR while we were at war with them, this is behind the iron curtain...by contrast we are not at war with russia nor are they an isolated society a la the DRPK anymore...and that guy was elected president, not once but twice). A key person in that particular president's council was actually a member of a white-exclusive club.

3. Does Trump's business interests present a conflict of interest for his presidency?

That is one point that troubles me most about Trump's presidency. Conflicts of interest bother me. But I don't know enough on the particulars to comment. He has businesses around the globe. This could be a very very bad thing, or it might be a point of strength (negotiating contracts around the globe would give him experience).

Is having his children run his business "good enough" to separate him from any potential conflicts of interest?

Time will tell. Seems the right place for them. I'm glad he isn't appointing his wife or children to government positions.

4. Is this settlement important for the Trump presidency? How will it affect the presidency?

From the looks of things Trump is accustomed to legal settlements so no, I don't think this particular one will have an effect

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Nov 22 2016, 01:58 PM
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Dingo
post Nov 22 2016, 06:30 PM
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QUOTE(kimpossible @ Nov 21 2016, 08:59 AM) *
Eliot Cohen wrote an opinion piece advising conservatives to avoid the Trump administration, after previously urging conservatives to work with the administration.

Interesting piece. Even more interesting is the subsequent commentary. They show real tribal rally-around-the alpha-leader emotion, accompanying hatred and contempt for anyone who would question their great Trump.

1. Is the Trump transition in disarray?
Does it matter?

The list of reasons to not support Trump based on before and after the election are so numerous I've lost count. Any negatives directed his way are treated as positives by his core supporters.

A curious sidelight to his maintaining through his family his companies throughout the world is now enemies will have easy targets to strike at to make a political point. So I guess we will have to spend billions to defend Trump enterprises and maybe a few lives to boot.
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Nov 22 2016, 07:18 PM
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QUOTE(Dingo @ Nov 22 2016, 02:30 PM) *
A curious sidelight to his maintaining through his family his companies throughout the world is now enemies will have easy targets to strike at to make a political point. So I guess we will have to spend billions to defend Trump enterprises and maybe a few lives to boot.


That's a good point, I'm embarrassed to admit that I hadn't considered it until now.
Congress doesn't just hand out a check for military funding, it's all in different money piles and specific allotments go toward specific things.
So I doubt there's anything left to protect his personal properties at taxpayer expense.
But I'll bet he will need to invest more personal capital into private security.
It will be interesting.
Looking at it from another angle this does give him a lot of skin in the game. But it also opens him up for blackmail.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Nov 22 2016, 07:20 PM
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akaCG
post Nov 22 2016, 10:11 PM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Nov 22 2016, 02:18 PM) *
...
... But it also opens him up for blackmail.

How? What would a blackmail scenario look like in the case of, say, the Trump Tower in Mumbai, India?

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kimpossible
post Nov 24 2016, 12:53 AM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Nov 22 2016, 07:57 AM) *
Hey Kimpossible! Great to see you. flowers.gif flowers.gif


Hi hi!

QUOTE
2. Are the appointees to the Trump administration problematic?

I'm not familiar enough with the candidates to form an educated opinion on the matter. (exception Palin, who I don't think will be useful for anything)
I just read up on General Michael Flynn now and am unpersuaded that he is "a problem" because his company had contracts with the "authoritarian regime" of Turkey (this is a NATO ally country, our government has many many contracts with them...in all likelihood, as a General he has even resided there on a military base) or made a speech for a Russian television network (there was a guy who took a trip to the USSR while we were at war with them, this is behind the iron curtain...by contrast we are not at war with russia nor are they an isolated society a la the DRPK anymore...and that guy was elected president, not once but twice). A key person in that particular president's council was actually a member of a white-exclusive club.


I think his ties to Erdogan and Russia (and RT, the mouth-piece of Putin) are enough to warrant further scrutiny if not a total disbarment from any presidential administration (there doesn't seem to be any solid information about WHAT his consulting firm did with Erdogan, though in general, I think the PM of Turkey is dangerous [especially for Turkey]).

Additionally, this article in the New Yorker details that Flynn was let go from his position as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012 (after only 18 months on the job), having some difficulty prioritizing his work and building a cohesive staff. It appears that he's become more and more focused conspiracy theories of Islam (often repeating false information as fact).

And prior to all this, when people seemed to still like him and think he was competent at his job,

QUOTE
Flynn broke rules he thought were stupid. He once told me about a period he spent assigned to a C.I.A. station in Iraq, when he would sometimes sneak out of the compound without the €œinsane€ required approval from C.I.A. headquarters, in Langley, Virginia. He had technicians secretly install an Internet connection in his Pentagon office, even though it was forbidden. There was also the time he gave classified information to nato allies without approval, an incident which prompted an investigation, and a warning from superiors. During his stint as Mullen€™s intelligence chief, Flynn would often write €œThis is [censored word per AD]!€ in the margins of classified papers he was obliged to pass on to his boss, someone who saw these papers told me.


All this makes me think that Flynn is not the right person for this position, and at least a few other people who worked directly with him agree.

QUOTE
3. Does Trump's business interests present a conflict of interest for his presidency?

That is one point that troubles me most about Trump's presidency. Conflicts of interest bother me. But I don't know enough on the particulars to comment. He has businesses around the globe. This could be a very very bad thing, or it might be a point of strength (negotiating contracts around the globe would give him experience).


Surely his negotiating skills would remain intact (which, if his campaign is proof of anything, are questionable) , regardless of whether or not he is running his businesses.

It appears that Trump is doing little to assuage the concerns of his many conflicts of interest. Vanity Fair notes:

QUOTE
n the past week alone, Trump met with three Indian businessmen he has partnered with in building a Trump-branded luxury property in Mumbai, one of whom told the New York Times that they discussed expanding their business relationship. And Trump invited his daughter Ivanka to his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, further calling into question what role the Trump children will likely play in the incoming administration. Foreign leaders are already reportedly spending their money at Trump€™s new D.C. hotel as a way of paying tribute and culling favor with the president-elect.


Additionally, in a meeting with the New York Times, Trump seems to confirm that he doesnt see his businesses as an issue.

QUOTE
But in a wide-ranging hourlong interview with reporters and editors at The New York Times €” which was scheduled, canceled and then reinstated after a dispute over the ground rules €” Mr. Trump was unapologetic about flouting some of the traditional ethical and political conventions that have long shaped the American presidency.

He said he had no legal obligation to establish boundaries between his business empire and his White House, conceding that the Trump brand €œis certainly a hotter brand than it was before.€ Still, he said he would try to figure out a way to insulate himself from his businesses, which would be run by his children.


EDITED TO ADD: The Atlantic's "Crib Sheet" of Trump's Conflicts of Interest

QUOTE
Is having his children run his business "good enough" to separate him from any potential conflicts of interest?

Time will tell. Seems the right place for them. I'm glad he isn't appointing his wife or children to government positions.


What about his son in law? If Jared Kushner joins the Trump administration as an advisor, as rumored, the conflict of interest between Ivanka Trump running the Trump industries becomes even more obvious.

I also find it problematic that his children are part of the transition team.

QUOTE
4. Is this settlement important for the Trump presidency? How will it affect the presidency?

From the looks of things Trump is accustomed to legal settlements so no, I don't think this particular one will have an effect


I guess what I was hoping to actually get at with bringing up Trumps fraud settlement is the possibility of more fraud. I couldn't think of specific debate questions that weren't purposefully leading, so I had to settle with "How will this affect the presidency". Perhaps a better question would have been "Does this lawsuit have any bearing on your opinion of the Trump presidency?"

And as an added bonus, the New York Times reports that there is more shady dealings going on chez Trump, via his 'charitable' organization.

QUOTE
The Washington Post, which first reported the self-dealing admission on the 2015 form, earlier reported that Mr. Trump had used $258,000 from the charity to settle legal disputes involving his businesses, possibly violating self-dealing provisions.


QUOTE(Dingo @ Nov 22 2016, 12:30 PM) *
QUOTE(kimpossible @ Nov 21 2016, 08:59 AM) *
Eliot Cohen wrote an opinion piece advising conservatives to avoid the Trump administration, after previously urging conservatives to work with the administration.

Interesting piece. Even more interesting is the subsequent commentary. They show real tribal rally-around-the alpha-leader emotion, accompanying hatred and contempt for anyone who would question their great Trump.


Pretty par for the course this election season... sad.gif

QUOTE
1. Is the Trump transition in disarray?
Does it matter?

The list of reasons to not support Trump based on before and after the election are so numerous I've lost count. Any negatives directed his way are treated as positives by his core supporters.

A curious sidelight to his maintaining through his family his companies throughout the world is now enemies will have easy targets to strike at to make a political point. So I guess we will have to spend billions to defend Trump enterprises and maybe a few lives to boot.


This is an interesting point. New York City is currently spending over $1 million a day to keep the Trump's safe, and it's speculated to continue, as Melania Trump and Barron Trump do not plan immediately move into the White House, and Trump himself has considered not living in DC full-time .

This post has been edited by kimpossible: Nov 24 2016, 12:56 AM
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akaCG
post Nov 24 2016, 01:18 AM
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How our republic survived so many of our Presidents (e.g. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, ... FDR, ... JFK, ...) not having to resort to the "blind trust" solution or the "you must liquidate everything" solution in order to satisfy the "even the appearance of impropriety" standard, I'll never know.

/

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