Wednesday, March 29, 2017

With all the talk...

...about "repeal and replace," the budget, and now tax reform, it's easy to overlook two other troubling aspects of the Trump presidency: his massive conflicts of interest and the ongoing controversy concerning Russia. I don't pretend to understand either one very well; and I haven't paid as close attention as I have to the fight over health care.

(Health care has been one of my hobbyhorses ever since I temporarily "lost" my insurance -- long story -- back in 2008. I got it back after a few months, but I realized first-hand just how vulnerable we all are in this incredibly important area of our lives.)

So now that Republican efforts to "repeal and replace" Obamacare* are effectively over (and, despite what anyone is saying, they most certainly are), I'm turning my attention (a little bit) to this whole Russian "thing." (What are you supposed to call it?) Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo is one of my go-to guys on pretty much any subject and in his post last night, "The Gravity Is Strong, Part #2," he has this to say which is just too long to retweet:

Trump built his "second act," starting in the first years of this century, on a free flow of money from the former Soviet Union. Numerous Trump business ventures partnered with people tied to the Russian or post-Soviet criminal underworld. This pattern is so widespread and consistent that it is a hugely important story in itself, though it tends to get overshadowed by the hunt for ties to President Vladimir Putin. Many of these ventures bear key hallmarks of money laundering. The most straightforward explanation is that Trump needed capital but had ruined his access to legitimate lenders and scared off most sensible investors. He was a perfect match for overseas money, specifically post-Soviet money, which needed to get out of its countries of origin and into the safety of the US, particularly US real estate. This was money you couldn't ask a lot of questions about; and Trump was happy not to ask.

As I said, most of this is above my paygrade, but I'm beginning to believe this "thing" may be what ultimately takes Trump down. I know that sounds a little hyperbolic, but the smoke keeps building and building and spreading and spreading and involves so many people. There just has to be a fire here somewhere.

* Obamacare was the Republican health care plan; single-payer was the Democrats'. One of the many, many morals of the health care story last week is that Republicans should have worked with Democrats to craft a health care bill back in 2009. That ship has sailed!

No comments: