A Big week and a Reality Show

The “most expensive congressional race ever” and the Senate Republicans releasing their health plan would be a big week even without Trump tweets. Of course, Trump continued his tweets.  He and the Republicans applauded their success in retaining a couple of historically heavily Republican seats.  They seem to be saying, even if only one in three Americans thinks the President is doing a good job we can still retain control of congress over the lame old Democrats. We think this will prove to be Pyrrhic Victory.  If the Democrats had won they would’ve sat back and looked to ride the anti-Trump momentum to victory. No new leadership, bright candidates, ideas and organization would be needed. The Republicans would’ve had a wake up call to get their act together. Given his knowledge void, Trump would’ve possibly spent time learning about the issues both foreign and domestic. This would’ve left him with little or no time to tweet. Congressional Republicans might come up with health care and tax plans that didn’t look as if they were thought up by “old man Potter”.  Alas, they won and the tweets go on and the Senate Republicans gave us something we never thought possible, a plan worse than Obamacare. The same kind of unworkable Obamacare hodgepodge covering even fewer people. Now they face the 2018 election with an unpopular President who really fires up the Democratic base while they will have to defend a really bad health care law.  We’ve seen this play before in 2010.  Obamacare cost the Democrats the house even with a more popular President. Add new Democratic  leadership and bright candidates.  No callow youngsters living outside their chosen districts.  Hillary and Nancy Pelosi joining Harry Reid in the closet.  Well, maybe the Senate Republicans will fail to pass their Health care law. In that case, their impotence would be on display for all to see.  Harry Truman showed how you deal with a “do nothing Congress.” Either way the Democrat’s chances actually look better for 2018.

All this before we look at the latest Trump tweets. 41 days after threatening to release tapes of his Comey conversations, he finally tweets he doesn’t have any.  Really? Has anyone ever managed to look more guiltily when we’re not even sure a crime has been committed?  Going all the way back to the primaries and his refusal to release his taxes aroused our  suspicions. His disinterest in Russia’s Ukraine incursions and seemingly conceding Crimea to Putin, brought his praise of the Russian strong man into focus. When the damaging to the Democrat’s emails were traced to Wikileaks and by association the Russians, rather than blasting the Russians for interfering with our election he called on them to do more. Associates including his son-in-law failing to disclose meetings with Russians, only thickened this stew.  If Flynn’s lies and Trump’s actions in response doesn’t give you a creepy feeling, someone should check your pulse.

What to make of this? A doofus who keeps doing weird stuff? A Russian pawn? Just maybe it’s a Trump reality show to distract us. Here we have someone with signs front and back declaring “I’m Guilty”.  Given  a certain amount of clues, the contestants try to figure out  the crime. Sort of like Jeopardy, we know there is a criminal, but what is he guilty of?  This is getting huge ratings. You folks at home can play too.

We couldn’t wait to play.  It’s well-known Trump is involved with developing mixed use Towers and golf properties. This involves condos, lots and homes. Let’s look at say a prospective Trump Tower Little Rock.  Even with some commercial rental space, the project sinks or swims on selling the 200+ condos on the upper floors.  Given the Bank losses on Trump’s Atlantic City ventures, offering Trump or his partners a development loan would be problematic.  However, if a great part of those condos were already purchased, the project would go from speculative to a pretty sure thing.  Offer the permanent financing for the condos to a bank and the deal looks like a go. But who is going to pop for 100+ condos in a new project? A couple of corporate entities who don’t have to disclose who they are would be likely suspects. The latest Trump filing lists  several such entities as the principle buyers of their properties. But who needs a 100+ condos? Another clue, the Trump organization has a $400 million inventory of, you guessed it, condos lots and homes.  Why?  Possible secret buy back agreements with the corporate entities that  the original  condos? What if those corporate entities were Russian? Farfetched? Not really. Trump’s Projects with  Bayrock Associates, described by Fortune as ” a shady Russian-connected outfit” may just be the tip of the iceberg.  Put down cash for the condos and then later get bought out at a profit with nice clean checks. Money laundering anyone? Does anybody doubt the Russian mafia, the Russian oligarchs and the Russian government work together?  A good forensic accountant could find the links between sales and inventory in Trump’s taxes tax returns. No wonder we never see them.  Our guess is he was beholden to the Russians to obtain financing and they were in on for the buy back deals and money laundering. Under those circumstances we’d say nice things about Putin’s Russia too. Our pick for the crime is money laundering leading to bank fraud and obstruction of justice.

O)f course there are plenty of other plausible choices of crimes. Colluding with the Russians to throw the election. Trump was a Russian plant all along, sort of Manchurian Candidate. A secret strongman’s association working to subvert Democracy to keep each other in power. Membership surely would include Trump and Putin but open to all the other strongmen Trump speaks so lovingly, such as el-Sisi in Egypt, Duterte in the Philipines or Erdegon in Turkey.  Maybe election fraud in filing phony financial statements. The possibilities seem endless but that makes for a hit Reality Show. Trump may be a poor Commander-in-Chief but as Showman in chief he’s a ratings winner. Instead of focusing on the increased shooting in Syria, more troops to Afghanistan, the collapse of Obamacare and a host of other pressing issues, we’re  fixated on the “What’s the Crime Show.” Trump may go down in history as the “Great Distractor”.

 

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