Saturday, August 20, 2016

ReMaking America's Great Image

"Paul Manafort offered and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign."
"I am very appreciative for his work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process."
Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate

"If you had had one of these things happen, it would have been survivable. But you had two of these things in concert. One thing I don't think Trump will tolerate is the focus being on someone else rather than himself."
Republican strategist

"He knows he's been doing this stuff. It was going to become an issue. He wasn't prepared to tamp it down When he decided to re-enter high-profile American politics, and he ratcheted it up with lots of Sunday shows and TV appearances, he had to know he was putting himself out there as a target."
Manafort associate

Donald Trump isn't so much averse to his trusted agent being involved in past deals with Russian interests as he is offended that a scandal has erupted focusing the limelight on Paul Manafort, rather than on Donald Trump. Trump's own awkward manifestations of doltish intelligence vis-a-vis relations and impressions with and of Vladimir Putin engendered his share of notoriety, but as far as Trump is concerned that old truism that publicity, negative as well as positive is all to the good is good only when it features himself.

He simply leers and babbles his way around any scandal that would undo anyone other than chutzpa-laden Trump, a man whose celebrity founded on bluster and lunatic assertions appears to have secured him a place in American voters' hearts and minds. The fact that one business failure after another has been unearthed, with ample proof of the huckster's deliberate fleecing of those who believe his tall tales appears irrelevant.

The New York Times has just revealed other lies underlying Trump's success as a peerless business manager and entrepreneur; that his real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have amassed some $650 million in debt — double what appears on public filings he has submitted related to his bid for the White House

The Associated Press reported confidential emails from the Manafort firm put the lie to his claims he had never lobbied in the United States on behalf of Ukrainian political figures aligned with the former Russia-linked political executives, and was paid handsomely for his efforts, scuppering his claims of non-involvement and trustworthiness. But why should a Trump lieutenant be any more trustworthy than the man whose political fortunes he has fronted?

Manafort was listed as the recipient of payments coming in at $12.7 million. Notes describing "Payment for Manafort's services",  or "Contract payment to Manafort", dated 2011 and 2012 implicate him without excuse. He's Trump's man in every sense. But in a sense, how different is that from Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton's questionable donations to their charity?

While she was American Secretary of State with all the prestige, power and influence inherent in that exalted position internationally, within the bureaucracy and the White House, she was also linked with the Clinton charitable enterprise; emails have surfaced with direct links between the State Department and the Clinton charity. A charity that was accepting walloping donations from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Russian interests. Is there a difference there?

Where one would-be office holder has been irremediably tainted by association, while another in the same situation but with a background that includes some of the same powers also includes the same issues. Unwholesome, unethical and un-American. Or is it?

America: Is this really the best you can do?!

Bill and Hillary Clinton's charitable foundation reportedly hired a security firm to examine its data systems after seeing indications they might have been hacked.  (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

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