Tying Together Loose Ends in Trump’s Russian Connections

I spent two decades conducting research for many global technology firms. What I learned to do reasonably well is to look at boxes full of data and see patterns. That same approach can be used when it comes to investigating Trump’s Russian connections and resulted in my new book on that subject.

We live in a strange world filled with real news and fake news. One very disturbing study revealed that many Republican voters get all their information on how to vote from Fox News and the ultra-conservative media including radio crazies and loony website columnists that see conspiracies behind everything a Democratic candidate does. It’s true some progressives are just as limited in their search for information. I tried to be far more objective.

Take the news reports on the dossier that Christopher Steele put together. Rather than rely on second hand sensational reports on golden showers, I read a published version of that dossier. It’s always better going for primary data whenever possible. Similarly, I also relied on published interviews by many people around Trump as well as many of his own comments.

Finally, I focused on a small select subset of the press that I found to be most scrupulous when it came to factual reporting. I would include journals like Foreign Affairs as well as the New York Times and Washington Post. There are reasons why journalists from these two newspapers win awards every year.

Did you know that many cable news shows make transcripts available? When Rachel Maddow interviewed a significant figure, I was able to go back to the transcript to see what this person said and not what I thought I heard him say.

Several things struck me when I investigated Trump’s history long before he ran for office:

Trump’s Psychological Profile Formed Early: Donald was raised in a very Darwinian way by Fred Trump. This cold, very nasty man instilled the value that only winners counted. It’s not how you play but whether you win that is important. He bullied his son. Young Donald had a lot of anger as a result. He once struck his teacher. He was discovered carrying a knife and sent to military school. His later bravado and constant bragging reflected a small frightened boy with low self-esteem who covered up for that with a loud facade. Psychologists say that if he allowed part of himself to see just who he really is deep inside, he might crack completely. This explains why he so viciously attacks anyone who has anything negative to say about him.

He Doesn’t Know What he Doesn’t Know: One very clear pattern with Trump is that he never placed much value on learning anything other than those things that he could apply directly to making money. He never has been a reader. More importantly, like George W. Bush before him, Trump has absolutely no intellectual curiosity. As a result, he often expresses amazement over something most people consider self-evident. He is shocked that healthcare is complicated or that China and North Korea have a complex relationship. Even worse, though, Trump often cannot admit he doesn’t know something because it would show weakness. He bragged that he didn’t need to take intelligence briefings because he was “smart” or that he knew more than the generals. He also remarked that he knew more about war than most people even though he didn’t serve because he went to military school and that was his Viet Nam.

He is Comfortable Dealing with Mobsters: Because Donald does not have a core set of values, he simply views people in terms of what they can do for him regardless of their values. Real estate development in Manhattan required him to deal with many shady people with mob connections. I believe Trump saw that as just a cost of doing business. Because of that, I don’t think he sees anything wrong with dealing with Russian oligarchs or even Putin himself. My book chronicles the many people he associated with early who were involved in illegal activities.

Everything is Personal: Because Trump’s self-esteem is so wrapped up in everything he does, he reacts violently at any setbacks. Rather than view attacks on his program as “just business” and not “personal,” everything is personal. If he ever feels he is threatened with impeachment or removal from office because of his psychological problems, he will react violently.schatt-72dpi-1500x2000

 

Discovering the Secret Pattern to American Presidential Elections

There’s a fascinating pattern to American presidential elections that should help us forecast the likely candidate who will run on the Democratic ticket in 2020, particularly if it is against Donald Trump. Now that is an issue, though, because an awful large number of pundits are predicting that Trump will not serve his full term, let alone run for a second term.

Let’s assume for the purpose of argument that he somehow survives and runs again. He already has filed for re-election, by the way. How does the secret pattern in American presidential elections help us understand the likely winner in 2020?

Let’s go all the way back to H.W. Bush and look at the emerging pattern. Papa Bush was an elitist or, as Ann Richards delighted to say, he was born with a silver shoe in his mouth. Papa had a pedigree all right, as well as all the experience you could ask (representative, senator, CIA director, VP). Running against him was Bill Clinton, a man who was born dirt poor and had little experience besides being the governor of a very small state. Papa was more of an introvert while Bill Clinton never saw anyone he didn’t want to shake hands with and talk his ear off. Papa had been an air force pilot while Bill ran as fast as he could to avoid the draft. Clinton, the anti-Papa Bush, won.

The next big election was Al Gore Jr. against George W. Bush. Gore was part of the elite crowd while W was one of the people. Gore talked in long, complex sentences while W even had trouble with short sentences. Still, W was a much better communicator and someone regular folks could identify with so he won. He barely won, but he won. Gore did not even carry his own state.

What about Barack Obama as the man who followed W? They could not have been more different. W was an extrovert, a man who talked like the common folks. He preached a moral crusade against the “evil doers” and pursued an aggressive military posture. Obama was much more an introvert, a loner not happy mixing with the Washington crowd. He was an intellectual who wrote books. Remember that Bush wanted everything he read presented on one page with bullet points. Obama’s rhetoric was soaring and he read lots of books and was often photographed leaving bookstores. He preached caution and he wanted to extract us from Iraq. He had trouble pulling the trigger on military actions because he thought deeply about the “what happens after?” question. In other words, he was far from impulsive. Obama also rarely bragged about himself. He tended to use the pronouns “we” and “us”  quite a bit. Bush wore his religion on his sleeve and even said God talked to him. Obama’s religious faith was  a private matter for him except when he had to defend himself against charges he went to the church of a radical preacher.

Trump obviously was the anti-Obama. He was expansive, particularly  when it came to talking about himself. He spoke at about a fourth grade level and never was seen reading a book. He once said he only read books about himself. He bragged that he operated by his “gut” rather than by studying briefing books. He didn’t want to take intelligence briefings because he already knew the stuff because he was “smart.” I think you see the pattern. He was the anti-Obama.

What about Hillary? Wasn’t she the anti-Trump? The answer is that she had so much baggage that it made it relatively easy for Trump to paint the two of them in the same picture. She constantly attached Trump and came across as “strong” like Trump, but that hardness or strength probably was viewed negatively by evangelical women.  Did Trump’s foundation have issues? Well, just look at the issues with Hillary he would say. Does Trump have issues with his Trump University? Well, he would answer, look at Hillary and her email server. She’s going to be indicted and probably go to jail–do you want a president who is indicted? When Hillary rightfully accused Trump of being a bigot, he just answered the way a first grader would and said “you are also.” The press never made him explain himself because they were getting incredible ratings.

What about Trump’s affairs? Well, he would say, look at Bill Clinton. Do you want him in the White House? I could go on, but I think you see that Trump had probably the one candidate he could label as no better than he was.

So, now we have a president who loves the limelight, loves to brag, loves to threaten his opponents as well as other countries, and does not get along with his own Republicans. He’s not a deep thinker, and he relies on his gut. He’s loud and crude. Who’s the anti-Trump?

At this point I would say Karen Gillebrand is the anti-Trump. In media terms, she comes across as soft but thoughtful and competent. She has worked on bi-partisan legislation. She has worked on women’s issues but also veterans’ issues. She has moved from being a blue-dog Democrat to being more of a progressive. Still, Trump can’t paint her as someone as liberal as Elizabeth Warren. She has represented a relatively conservative and rural set of voters in upper state New York and been re-elected. She knows how to use guns, so ads can show her as “tough”. She is articulate and good looking. She is much  younger than Trump. Because of Trump’s emphasis on being on the wrong side on every major women’s issue, she can be his polar opposite. She can be compassionate for those people in danger of losing their healthcare (or those who already have). Trump lacks the compassion gene and the empathy gene.

The pattern is that the public usually grows tired of a president and wants a polar opposite change. Every Trump year feels like a dog year. After a few of those the public will be eager to hear a softer, more thoughtful and compassionate voice. I think she can be less threatening to conservative women than Hillary was and that could be worth some votes.

The Much Too Early 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Forecast

Right now all the drama is over on the Republican’s side, but don’t forget about the Democrats, particularly as we get closer to 2020. As a former analyst, I’ve been sifting through the early signs and have come up with my forecast for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. You might ask who will run against Donald Trump, but I suspect that by 2020 it very well might be John Kasich or even Mike Pence, depending on the fallout from the Trump earthquake that’s bound to occur before then. So, without further delay, here are the horses in the race wearing blue colors.

The Women

Run another woman? There are positives and negatives to running a woman. I firmly believe that Hillary brought about her own loss along with lots of help from Republican propaganda and Russian fake news, but let’s not ignore the millions of conservative white women who still believe that a woman’s place is still in a subservient place in the home and that any woman trying to run for president must be uppity and arrogant. Remember that Donald Trump won primarily by running as an authoritarian alpha male figure that would take charge. Some psychologists have written that a significant portion of the population sees the world in Biblical terms of black and white, good and bad, and yearns for an authoritarian Daddy like figure. They seem someone to tell them what to do. So, a woman running for president starts with a group of people already solidly against her.

Of course women also start with the support of a lot of other women as well as young people. A woman other than Hillary might be able to offer a softer image that would serve as a nice contrast to Trump’s nastiness. Women also project more compassion and might be better messengers in moving the country toward a one-payer health system, a less expensive prescription drug program, and more support for public education and the arts and sciences while offering a small defense budget.

Elizabeth Warren has squirreled away millions of dollars in her campaign fund. She will face a tough election in 2018 and might be asked to promise to fulfill her term. Assuming she escapes that trap and wins re-election (not a sure thing since her approval rating in her home state is under 50%), she will start with very high name recognition and a reputation for fighting for the average person against big corporations. Her positives include a very solid progressive reputation,  the complete support of the Bernie wing of the party and heavy support from younger people. Negatives include a lack of attention to the traditional Democratic Party’s black and Hispanic voters. Can she excite them to get out and vote?

The other problem I believe Warren has is her personality. She looks and sounds like an angry school marm or librarian. In media terms, she comes across as harsh rather than soft. One talking head described her as “preachy.” While that tone works during Senate hearings when she balls out CEOs who have raped and pillaged the public, it doesn’t work with common people. My concern about Warren is that she will excite the progressives, turn off the moderate Democrats, and mobilize some moderate Republicans to come out and vote against her.

Karen Gillibrand is New York’s junior senator, and a very interesting candidate. She has gradually moved from being a conservative blue-dog Democrat representing a conservative area of New York state to a more progressive position. She has worked with Republicans in a bipartisan way when possible (It’s rarely possible now). She has a much softer image than Warren or Clinton and might not turn off more traditional women. She’s also attractive and has taken a leadership position in working on veteran and gay issues. I consider a definite dark horse in the race.

There are not a lot of strong male candidates, and some of the ones who are out there seem to want the nomination a bit too much. Martin O’Malley, as an example, this former governor of Maryland needs to find a job rather than run perpetually. He comes across like the kid who always runs for student body president but never wins. The question is who would make a great foil against the Republican candidate. Cory Booker has been running for President from the day he was elected Senator. If Barack Obama had never been president, then he might actually have a chance. This country is still even more racist than it is anti-woman. I think Booker is articulate, truly progressive, and heroic in some ways, but he has baggage going back to his time as Mayor. He never has married, and let the whispers begin in the Midwest and South. While Booker would excite some progressives and minority voters, he would not do well enough in the suburbs.

If Karen Gillibrand doesn’t get the nomination, another dark horse is Brian Schweitzer. He’s the former folksy Democratic governor of Montana. He left with over a 60% approval rating in a very conservative state. He has supported green energy initiatives, cuts in prescription drug costs, and other positions that would make a nice contrast with the Republican candidate. He is folksy and quirky enough to appeal to both suburban and small town voters, particularly in the Midwest states that cost Hillary the election. He’s not perfect. He sometimes puts his foot in his mouth, and he has been accused of some ethical violations that I’m sure the right-wing media would exploit. Also, he signed a bill that promoted Montana’s home produced firearms. One other item of interest is that he speaks Arabic because he spent a few years doing business in the Middle East. Can you imagine the contrast with the Republican candidate?

Some of you are probably wondering why I didn’t mention Tim Kaine. I really like the guy and think he has a very good heart and stands on the correct side of most issues I care about. The problem is that he did not distinguish himself in his VP debate against Mike Pence (not the world’s greatest orator). He comes across as very earnest, but he doesn’t cause excitement. Most pundits thought he represented the “safe choice” for Hillary. He checks all the boxes, but he won’t cause people to become excited enough to devote months to getting him elected. I think he’s great to have in the Senate. If the Democrats can win back the Senate, he could really help chairing some important committees.

So, here’s hoping someone new comes riding out of nowhere on a white horse and captures the public’s imagination and their votes. If not, here are the candidates in my opinion.

Donald Trump’s Russian Connections

schatt-72dpi-1500x2000I spent two decades in the research industry, and became a pretty damned good researcher. The last decade I’ve been writing mysteries that include the Frankie and Josh series published by Pen-L Press. The relationship between Trump and his associates and Russia is a fascinating mystery, so I used my research skills and my experience solving mysteries I created to examine this issue.

The result is Trump’s Russian Connections. The book is available as an ebook and soon as a paperback on Amazon. Among other things, I investigate the psychological analysis of Trump by several well-respected psychiatrists and then compare that analysis of the president’s psyche with what we know about Vladimir Putin’s long-term global strategic plan.

If you honestly want to learn more about this issue, I think you’ll enjoy the book!