On Transition and Conflicts of Interest

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Nov 14, 2016 (San Diego) There are signs of trouble ahead. They had to do with two things that who is appointed to the White House Staff, and who is getting clearances. First off, Steve Bannon getting nominated as one of the two top advisors by president-elect Donald Trump is the former manager of Breitbart.com.  The problem with this is that Bannon has been pushing alt. right, racist, antisemitic ideology for years. This ideology is very dangerous and brings to the United States the type of European white nationalism that is problematic.

Bannon has boasted that Breitbart is the home of the Alt Right. This is a very poisonous, and dangerous brand of white nationalism. He was behind the hate speech we heard during the campaign. He is also one reason why we have protests in the streets. There is fear in the streets.

We are a country that prides itself in being a diverse country. Those are our highest ideals. Or at least, that is what we like to tell ourselves. This is validating a subsurface ideologically, that could get very ugly very fast.

The Clinton Foundation Redux

Here is the deal. If you thought the Clinton Foundation was a way for the Clintons to enrich themselves. and that they used her position as Secretary of State to benefit the foundation, it is time for you to complain again. If you thought all was fine with the Clintons and all this was a political scandal cooked for political convenience, please stay silent. You lost your moral authority a while ago.

But if you are one of those who perceives a potential conflict of interest in a non-partisan manner, here is one where we will see, at the very least, a perception of a conflict of interest. President-elect Trump just requested that his 3 oldest children, the same children that will be running his businesses, get a top secret security clearance. It might be for the best of intentions. Trump sees his children as some of his best advisors and has relied on their counsel for decades. But, having access to that high-level government, at times very sensitive information may, at the very least create a perception that the Trump Empire will benefit, because if you own a business and you know a government deal is coming, you can apply before others do.

For the record, this was at the heart of the argument with the Clinton foundation. We know now that the barriers, real or not, were likely not enough to avoid at the very least that perception. We really do not know (and I will be honest I suspect we will never know) if actual laws were broken. This is why Presidents, though not required by law, put their businesses in blind trusts, and put a large wall between themselves and their former businesses. The same goes for other cabinet level political appointees.  Incidentally, since you are reading this in San Diego, our city mandates that no city council member run a business while in office, to prevent these conflicts. They usually put them in blind trusts.

There are a few other things already at work, that tell me that president-elect Trump will not carry through most of his campaign promises. Also, some of the people considered for high-level cabinet positions, are part of the neocon right, that loves regime change. Among them are John Bolton, who is on the extreme right of the Neoconservative movement, and a signer of the America in the 21st Century Project, that among other things led to the disaster in Iraq.

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  1. Conflicts of Interest and Pay for President Trump – Reporting San Diego

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