Friday, January 6, 2017

Wolfgang Hampel, Betty MacDonald, Hollywood and all about ego



mrs. piggle wiggle_swedish_1948_paperback_FRONT
Hello 'Pussy' this is Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle:  

Your War on the Intelligence Community Is All About Ego 

And it won't end well—for you or for America.

Do you have any idea why they feel so ashamed? I do!  

Should I remain in bed, leave my country or fight against the dragon?

( see also the story by Wolfgang Hampel
' Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say ' )
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The Egg and I Film Illustration


The Betty MacDonald Networks Foto.

Click images for alternate views

Betty MacDonald in the living room at Vashon on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle author Betty MacDonald on Vashon Island
<p>Time Out of Mind (1947) - avec Betty et Don MacDonald et Phyllis Calvert</p>

Betty and Don MacDonald in Hollywood

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Bildergebnis für Betty MacDonald Christmas

Wolfgang Hampel - and Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

we are very curious to learn more of Betty MacDonald's fascinating experiences in Hollywood. 

Betty MacDonald,  husband Donald, daughters Anne and Joan and Betty's  sister Mary Bard Jensen had two suites at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

They met Jack Benny, Claudette Colbert, Danny Kaye, Joan Bennett, Rosalind Russell and many other Hollywood icons.

Do you know any favourite actors by Betty MacDonald?

Let us know, please and you might win several new Betty MacDonald fan club items.

Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter January includes the updated Betty MacDonald fan club essay ' Betty MacDonald in Hollywood '. 

There will be also a report about Betty MacDonald fan club letter collection.

We got very important info regarding the original 'The Egg and I' and the way Betty MacDonald described her first husband Robert Eugene Heskett and their neighbours.

We'll never forget the magical fireworks in London.

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel thinks that Edinburgh would be ideal for one of the future Betty MacDonald fan club events.

We totally agree with Wolfgang. 

Vita Magica by Wolfgang Hampel is really fascinating and very interesting.

Wolfgang Hampel introduces life and work of Betty MacDonald at Vita Magica January 2017.

Wolfgang Hampel and Friends of Vita Magica visited Minister of Science of Baden-Württemberg, Theresia Bauer in Stuttgart.

They visited Landtag and had a great time there.

We are looking for your favourite city for International Betty MacDonald fan club event 2017.

Send us your votes please.

Deadline: January 31, 2017

Edinburgh is the first UNESCO city of Literature.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay New Year's Eve Fireworks 2016 /2017 are great. 

My favourite is Heidelberg.

Heidelberg is UNESCO city of literature too.

Do you have any books by Betty MacDonald and Mary Bard Jensen with funny or interesting dedications? 

If so would you be so kind to share them?

Our next Betty MacDonald fan club project is a collection of these unique dedications.

If you share your dedication from your Betty MacDonald - and Mary Bard Jensen collection you might be the winner of our new Betty MacDonald fan club items.

Thank you so much in advance for your support.








Thank you so much for sending us your favourite Betty MacDonald quote.

You'll be able to read more info during January.

We are so glad that our beloved Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli is back.

New  Betty MacDonald documentary will be very interesting with many new interviews.

Alison Bard Burnett and other Betty MacDonald fan club honor members will be included in Wolfgang Hampel's fascinating project Vita Magica.
Very exciting Betty MacDonald fan club news! 
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel is going to present life and work of Betty MacDonald in Vita Magica January 2017.
You'll be able to read more info during January!
Vita Magica December was very successful.

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel invited a very famous author.

The visitors enjoyed Vita Magica very much.  

A great event! 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel interviewed Betty MacDonald's daughter Joan MacDonald Keil and her husband Jerry Keil.

This interview will be published for the first time ever.

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New Betty MacDonald documentary will be very interesting with many interviews never published before.

We adore Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli 

Thank you so much for sharing this witty memories with us.

Wolfgang Hampel's literary event Vita Magica is very fascinating because he is going to include Betty MacDonald, other members of the Bard family and Betty MacDonald fan club honor members.

It's simply great to read Wolfgang Hampel's  new very well researched  stories about Betty MacDonald, Robert Eugene Heskett, Donald Chauncey MacDonald, Darsie Bard, Sydney Bard, Gammy, Alison Bard Burnett,  Darsie Beck, Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde Reynolds Jensen, Sydney Cleveland Bard, Mary Alice Bard, Dorothea DeDe Goldsmith, Madge Baldwin, Don Woodfin, Mike Gordon, Ma and Pa Kettle, Nancy and Plum, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and others.

Vita Magica was very witty and enjoyable.

We know the visitors had a great time there.

Congratulations dear Letizia Maninco, Wolfgang Hampel and Friedrich von Hoheneichen!

Linde Lund and many fans from all over the world  adore this funny sketch by Wolfgang Hampel very much although our German isn't the best.

I won't ever forget the way Wolfgang Hampel is shouting ' Brexit '.

Don't miss it, please.

It's simply great!

You can hear that Wolfgang Hampel got an outstandig voice.

He presented one of Linde Lund's favourite songs ' Try to remember ' like a professional singer.

Thanks a million!

Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli  and our 'Italian Betty MacDonald' - Betty MacDonald fan club honor member author and artist Letizia Mancino belong to the most popular Betty MacDonald fan club teams in our history.

Their many devoted fans are waiting for a new Mr. Tigerli adventure.

Letizia Mancino's  magical Betty MacDonald Gallery  is a special gift for Betty MacDonald fan club fans from all over the world.

Don't miss Brad Craft's 'More friends', please. 

Betty MacDonald's very beautiful Vashon Island is one of my favourites.

I agree with Betty in this very witty Betty MacDonald story  Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say by Wolfgang Hampel.

I can't imagine to live in a country with him as so-called elected President although there are very good reasons to remain there to fight against these brainless politics.

Donald Trump has long resorted to Twitter as a forum for childish feuds. It was on Twitter that he famously taunted comedian Jon Stewart for having a stage name (which led Stewart to respond with a meme that Trump’s original name was Fuckface Von Clownstick, which set off even more angry Trump tweets). Despite now being president-elect, Trump has continued to use social media to attack his foes, which include not just foreign countries (as when he berated China for “one-sided trade” and not helping to contain North Korea) but the government agencies he’s going to have to work with in order to protect the American people.
On Friday, Trump is scheduled to meet with heads of the intelligence community, who will brief him on their findings about Russian interference in the election. But he has already made clear this week that he doesn’t really want to hear what they have to say.

Don't miss these very interesting articles below, please.

Did dinosaurs fart their way to extinction?

We don't know what those other cycles were caused by in the past. Could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows? - Dana Rohrabacher

Lately, it appears Trump has gone back into the field to drag in a whole new bunch of State contenders. 

My favorite is Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, a person you have probably never heard of even though he’s been in Congress since the 1980s and is currently head of the prestigious Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.
Rohrabacher is also a surfer and former folk singer who once claimed global warming might be connected to “dinosaur flatulence.” 

Did dinosaurs fart their way to extinction?

Don't miss the very interesting articles below, please.

I think the future dinosaur flatulence will be the behaviour of 'Pussy' and his very strange government.

Poor World!    Poor America! 

The most difficult case in Mrs.Piggle-Wiggle's career

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Hello 'Pussy', this is Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. 

You took calls from foreign leaders on unsecured phone lines, without consultung the State Department. We have to change your silly behaviour with a new Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle cure. I know you are the most difficult case in my career - but we have to try everything.......................

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sent his brilliant thoughts. Thank you so much dear Wolfgang! 
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Hi Libi, nice to meet you. Can you feel it?

I'll be the most powerful leader in the world.

Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say

Copyright 2016 by Wolfgang Hampel

All rights reserved 

Betty MacDonald was sitting on her egg-shaped cloud and listened to a rather strange guy.

He said to his friends: So sorry to keep you waiting. Very complicated business! Very complicated!

Betty said: Obviously much too complicated for you old toupee!

Besides him ( by the way the  First Lady's place ) his 10 year old son was bored to death and listened to this 'exciting' victory speech. 

The old man could be his great-grandfather.

The boy was very tired and thought: I don't know what this old guy is talking about. Come on and finish it, please. I'd like to go to bed.

Dear 'great-grandfather' continued  and praised the Democratic candidate.

He congratulated her and her family for a very strong campaign although he wanted to put her in jail.

He always called her the most corrupt person ever and repeated it over and over again in the fashion of a Tibetan prayer wheel.

She is so corrupt. She is so corrupt.  Do you know how corrupt she is? 

Betty MacDonald couldn't believe it when he said: She has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.

Afterwards old toupee praised his parents, wife, children, siblings and friends. 

He asked the same question like a parrot all the time:

Where are you? Where are you? Where are you?
I know you are here!

Betty MacDonald answered: No Pussy they are not! They left the country.

They immigrated to Canada because they are very much afraid of the future in the U.S.A. with you as their leader like the majority of all so-called more or less normal citizens. 

By the way keep your finger far away from the pussies and the Red Button, please.

I'm going to fly with my egg-shaped cloud to Canada within a minute too.

Away - away - there is nothing more to say! 

Real vs. Ersatz

I can understand the reason why Betty MacDonald, Barbara Streisand, other artists and several of my friends want to leave the United States of America.

I totally agree with these comments:

This is incredible! I'll You get what you pay/vote for and Trump is the epitome of this ideology. America I won't feel bad for you because you don't need my sympathy for what's coming but I am genuinely scared for you. 'Forgive them lord for they know not who they do' or maybe they do but just don't care about their future generations who will suffer for this long after the culprits have passed away. 

Is the USA like North Korea where you can't trust other politicians?

That's it. 

Put Ivanka in! Put Ivanka in! Put my whole family and friends in! '

What about Putin? 

Or the leaders from China and North Korea?

Wouldn't it be a great idea to put them in too?

What about very intelligent and qualified Sarah Palin? 

André Maurice Dayans Foto.

I found this in Wikipedia about her:

In 2006, Palin obtained a passport[88] and in 2007 traveled for the first time outside of North America on a trip to Kuwait. There she visited the Khabari Alawazem Crossing at the Kuwait–Iraq border and met with members of the Alaska National Guard at several bases.[89] On her return journey she visited injured soldiers in Germany.[90]

That's the reason why very intelligent and brilliant Sarah Palin knows the World very well. 

Sarah and ' Pussygate '  will rule America and the World - what a couple. 

I am neither Christian enough nor charitable enough to like anybody just because he is alive and breathing. I want people to interest or amuse me. I want them fascinating and witty or so dul as to be different. I want them either intellectually stimulating or wonderfully corny; perfectly charming or hundred percent stinker. I like my chosen companions to be distinguishable from the undulating masses and I don't care how. - Betty MacDonald

Daniel Mount wrote a great article about Betty MacDonald and her garden.

We hope you'll enjoy it very much.

I adore Mount Rainier and Betty MacDonald's outstanding descriptions

Can you remember in which book you can find it?

If so let us know, please and you might be the next Betty MacDonald fan club contest winner. 

I hope we'll be able to read Wolfgang Hampel's  new very well researched  stories about Betty MacDonald, Robert Eugene Heskett, Donald Chauncey MacDonald, Darsie Bard, Sydney Bard, Gammy, Alison Bard Burnett,  Darsie Beck, Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde Reynolds Jensen, Sydney Cleveland Bard, Mary Alice Bard, Dorothea DeDe Goldsmith, Madge Baldwin, Don Woodfin, Mike Gordon, Ma and Pa Kettle, Nancy and Plum, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and others - very soon.

It' s such a pleasure to read them. 

Let's go to magical Betty MacDonald's  Vashon Island.

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund  and Betty MacDonald fan club research team share their recent Betty MacDonald fan club research results.

Congratulations! They found the most interesting and important info for Wolfgang Hampel's oustanding  Betty MacDonald biography.

I enjoy Bradley Craft's story very much.  

Don't miss our Betty MacDonald fan club contests, please. 

You can win a never published before Alison Bard Burnett interview by Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel. 

Good luck!  

This CD is a golden treasure because Betty MacDonald's very witty sister Alison Bard Burnett shares unique stories about Betty MacDonald, Mary Bard Jensen, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Nancy and Plum. 

Wolfgang Hampel's Betty MacDonald and Ma and Pa Kettle biography and Betty MacDonald interviews have fans in 40 countries. I'm one of their many devoted fans. 

Many Betty MacDonald  - and Wolfgang Hampel fans are very interested in a Wolfgang Hampel CD and DVD with his very funny poems and stories.

We are going to publish new Betty MacDonald essays on Betty MacDonald's gardens and nature in Washington State.

Tell us the names of this mysterious couple please and you can win a very new Betty MacDonald documentary. 


Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerl is beloved all over the World.

We are so happy that our 'Casanova'  is back.

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel and Betty MacDonald fan club research team are going to share very interesting info on ' Betty MacDonald and the movie The Egg and I '. 

Another rare episode (from March 21 1952) of the short-lived comedy soap opera, "The Egg and I," based on best selling book by Betty MacDonald which also became a popular film.

The series premiered on September 3, 1951, the same day as "Search for Tomorrow," and ended on August 1, 1952. 

Although it did well in the ratings, it had difficulty attracting a steady sponsor. This episode features Betty Lynn (later known for her work on "The Andy Griffith Show") as Betty MacDonald, John Craven as Bob MacDonald, Doris Rich as Ma Kettle, and Frank Twedell as Pa Kettle.

Betty MacDonald fan club exhibition will be fascinating with the international book editions and letters by Betty MacDonald.

I can't wait to see the new Betty MacDonald documentary.

Enjoy a great breakfast at the bookstore with Brad and Nick, please.

Take care,


Don't miss this very special book, please.

Bildergebnis für Betty MacDonald Christmas

Vita Magica 

Betty MacDonald 

Betty MacDonald fan club

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( Polski)   

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Academic ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel -   

Wolfgang Hampel - DBpedia  ( English / German )

Wolfgang Hampel - people check ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Memim ( English )

Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Wikipedia ( English)

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I  

Betty MacDonald fan club groups 

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund  

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Greta Larson

Betty MacDonald fan club fan Heiderose Teynor

Rita Knobel Ulrich - Islam in Germany - a very interesting ZDF  ( 2nd German Television ) documentary with English subtitles 

Trump’s War on the Intelligence Community Is All About Ego

And it won't end well—for him or for America.

Donald Trump has long resorted to Twitter as a forum for childish feuds. It was on Twitter that he famously taunted comedian Jon Stewart for having a stage name (which led Stewart to respond with a meme that Trump’s original name was Fuckface Von Clownstick, which set off even more angry Trump tweets). Despite now being president-elect, Trump has continued to use social media to attack his foes, which include not just foreign countries (as when he berated China for “one-sided trade” and not helping to contain North Korea) but the government agencies he’s going to have to work with in order to protect the American people.
On Friday, Trump is scheduled to meet with heads of the intelligence community, who will brief him on their findings about Russian interference in the election. But he has already made clear this week that he doesn’t really want to hear what they have to say.

What’s notable about these tweets isn’t just that Trump is, rather suspiciously, disputing a briefing he hasn’t yet heard. He’s also making a false claim: The briefing wasn’t delayed, having always been scheduled for Friday.Still, that’s par for the course when it comes to Trump’s tweets. But now we’re learning that his feud with the intelligence community goes beyond Twitter. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Trump believes the nation’s top spy agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has become “bloated” and “politicized.” Trump and his advisors are “also working on a plan to restructure the Central Intelligence Agency, cutting back on staffing at its Virginia headquarters and pushing more people out into field posts around the world.” An anonymous source close to the Trump transition told the Journal, “The view from the Trump team is the intelligence world has become completely politicized. They all need to be slimmed down. The focus will be on restructuring the agencies and how they interact.”
As president, Trump would be perfectly within his rights to question findings by the intelligence community and restructure it to suit his needs. He also wouldn’t be the first president to feud with the intelligence community—at his own risk. “No president has ever taken on the CIA and come out looking good,” an unnamed White House official told the Journal. This is perhaps too sweeping a judgement, but there is definitely a troubled history.
John F. Kennedy, angered by the failure of the Bay of Pig invasion and inadequate information during the Cuban Missile Crisis, was preparing a wholesale revamping of the CIA in the months before his assassination. Jimmy Carter came to office during a time when the CIA was widely discredited by revelations of its involvement in overseas assassinations, and he pushed for the agency to do less covert operations and focus on providing analysis. Carter explicitly condemned the “CIA’s role in plotting murder and other crimes.” Carter would change his policies in the tail-end of his presidency, when he found that CIA covert actions were necessary to respond to the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Kennedy and Carter fought the CIA on policy grounds. But Trump’s feud has a much more personal cast—in part because it springs from questions about the legitimacy of his presidential victory, and in part because Trump tends to invest every dispute with narcissistic rage. In this way, Trump is closer to Richard Nixon, whose fight with the CIA was entangled with his wounded ego and insatiable pride.
Nixon used to refer to the CIA as “those clowns out at Langley.” As historian Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones wrote in the book The CIA and American Democracy,
“Neurotic personal feelings underlay that bias [against the CIA]. For example, he was unable to justify his assertion that the Agency conspired against him in the 1960 election. He also clung to a similar, largely irrational suspicion that the American social elite was pitted against him.” Resentful and fearful of the CIA, Nixon tried to ensnare the agency in his corruption, at one point trying to set it up to take the fall for the Watergate break-in. He wanted the CIA to tell the FBI to lay off the investigation because it had national security implications. CIA head Richard Helms refused to let the agency be a scapegoat.

He’s Making a ListTrump is more paranoid and dangerous than Nixon.
Nixon is a revealing parallel to Trump. Both can be seen as maestros of resentment with a populist anger fuelled by a sense that snooty experts are looking down on them. Unappeasable in their rancor, both men adopted a stance of reflexive hostility toward the professionals who administer the state. This anti-professionalism is very different in spirit from attempts to reform the intelligence community as pursued by Kennedy or Carter. The goal of anti-professionalism is not just to get the bureaucracy to work better, but to subdue it, to bring in under the command of the president so that it lacks the independence to offer analysis that displeases the leader. On CNN on Wednesday, former CIA official Philip Mudd said Trump “can question the intelligence. He cannot humiliate the people who have offered their lives to collect that intelligence.” The word “humiliate” is key. The president-elect, as always on Twitter, is playing a game of dominance, asserting his alpha-male right to rule. The problem is that a humiliated intelligence community will also be a hobbled one, much more likely to tell the president what he wants to hear and not offer the critical analysis that informs good decision-making. Such an intelligence community might also seek a more receptive audience, in the form of leaks to the press, and then Trump himself would be the humiliated one.

Jeet Heer is a senior editor at the New Republic.

Donald Trump's Interests vs. America's, Indonesia Edition

Proposed developments in Bali and Java have entangled the president-elect with a number of controversial Indonesian politicians.

President-elect Donald Trump
Carlo Allegri / Reuters

Despite President-elect Donald Trump’s assurance that he has stopped pursuing deals since the election, his namesake organization is currently moving forward with a pair of projects in Indonesia. According to The New York Times, the two properties that will bear the Trump name, one overlooking a Hindu temple in Bali and the other abutting a theme park in West Java, presented ethical problems even before the election.
To begin with, through his Indonesian partner on the projects, the billionaire media mogul Hary Tanoesoedibjo (known in Indonesia as Hary Tanoe), Trump has forged relationships with several top Indonesian politicians. One such leader is Setya Novanto, the speaker of the country’s House of Representatives who temporarily lost his post for trying to extort $4 billion from the American mining company Freeport-McMoRan (a company which counts Carl Icahn, who will be serving as a special adviser in Trump’s administration, among its largest shareholders, and which has been frequently criticized by labor advocates and environmentalists). Trump had lunch with Novanto and several other Indonesian politicians during the campaign in September 2015 to discuss the Trump Organization’s planned expansion into Indonesia. At a post-luncheon press conference, Trump pulled Novanto in front of the cameras, calling him “an amazing man” and “one of the most powerful men” and asserting, “we will do great things for the United States.” (It is unclear exactly whom Trump meant when he used the word “we.”) Trump then asked Novanto to confirm that “they like me in Indonesia,” which Novanto did.
Another of the politicians who attended the lunch with Trump is Fadli Zon, the vice chairman of Indonesia’s House of Representatives, whse district includes one of the cities in which one of the Trump-branded properties will be built. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Zon is associated with a political movement seeking to unseat and jail the current governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known by his nickname, Ahok, and has spoken at rallies against Ahok. The anti-Ahok movement is rooted partly in centuries of ethnic tension within the country: Ahok is both Christian, which has made him the target of attacks by hardline clerics claiming to represent Indonesia’s Muslim majority, and a member of the country’s historically oppressed Chinese minority, which was the target of a massacre in 1998. Aside from an interim governor appointed half a century ago, Ahok is the first governor of Jakarta to fall into either category, and is currently on trial for blasphemy for allegedly insulting the Koran, although Ahok’s supporters claim that it is Ahok’s accusers who are guilty of blasphemy for denigrating Ahok’s Christianity.
Both Trump’s question to Novanto and Zon’s presence at the meeting underscore another difficulty the president-elect introduces into the United States’ relations with Indonesia. Indonesia is both the largest predominantly Muslim country in the world and the nation with the largest population of Muslims. Novanto received significant blowback for his statement that, yes, Indonesians do like Trump, because it turns out that, no, many Indonesians don’t like Trump, in large part because of his on-again, off-again proposal to ban Muslims from immigrating to the U.S.; in fact, faced with mounting criticism, Novanto’s party apologized not only for Novanto’s statement but also for his mere attendance at the luncheon. Since Trump’s victory, both Novanto and Zon have stood up for the president-elect, arguing that Trump’s hardline stance toward Muslim immigration was merely campaign rhetoric and not actually reflective of the president-elect’s own beliefs, something Novanto claimed Trump personally assured him was the case. Regardless, it is clear that the Trump Organization’s planned expansion into Indonesia—which, again, is the reason Trump met with Novanto and Zon in the first place—could introduce major complications into the relationship between the president-elect and the political leaders of the world’s largest Muslim country, not to mention a significant trade partner and an important ally in the South China Sea region.
As if that weren’t enough, Tanoe himself has shown increasing interest in becoming involved in Indonesian politics. In 2014, Tanoe publicly supported the retired general Prabowo Subianto in the nation’s presidential election; Subianto lost to the country’s current leader, Joko Widodo. Then, in 2015, he helped found a new political party, the United Indonesia Party, or Partai Perindo, which intends to field candidates for national office in the near future, including Tanoe himself: Shortly after The New York Times reported on the project, Tanoe told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that, “If there is no one I can believe who can fix the problems of the country, I may try to run for president.” If Tanoe does so, it will create the possibility that Trump will be dealing with a head of state with whom he has shared business interests, which, as Richard Painter told The New York Times, “makes it impossible to conduct diplomacy in an evenhanded manner”—especially considering that, after Trump’s election, stock in Tanoe’s company rose significantly. Moreover, Tanoe, like Ahok, is both Christian and ethnically Chinese, which some insiders consider an obstacle to his electoral chances, although Tanoe argues that it is not Ahok’s religion but his lack of firm leadership that has led to the large-scale protests against the governor. Nevertheless, if Tanoe does choose to run for office, it is difficult to see how his race, religion, and business partnership with a president-elect many see as blatantly Islamophobic could do anything other than create further difficulties both within Indonesia and in the country’s relationship with the U.S..
In other words, even though Trump’s projects in Indonesia are only in the planning phase, they have already created a remarkably complicated situation among the president-elect and politicians and businesspeople involved in the country’s political scandals and ethnic divisions. Even if Trump avoids active involvement in the decision-making process for the properties in Bali and Java, he will likely still be profiting off of them, jeopardizing his ability to appropriately interact with the nation’s leadership.

The Background
Since his election, an ever-increasing level of attention has been paid to the unprecedented conflicts of interest that President-elect Donald J. Trump seems likely to bring with him when he assumes office. His responses to the concerns have been varied and, at times, contradictory. His first statement on the subject, which came via Twitter, suggested that he would make little effort to avoid entangling his business and his office, and would instead attack those who point that out:
A few days later, in a conference with the editorial staff of The New York Times, he appeared similarly defiant, asserting, “The law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”
The president-elect’s public stance since the election has been inconsistent at best and contradictory at worst. In an early-morning tweetstorm on November 30, Trump announced that he would be “holding a major news conference” on December 15 about a plan “being crafted which take[s] me completely out of business operations,” although he stressed again that he is “not mandated to do this under the law.” As the date approached, his spokeswoman announced that he would be delaying the press conference until January. Soon after, Monica Langley of The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump Organization will not be selling off its global real-estate holdings; instead, Trump will be stepping down from his leadership role in his business empire and leaving it to his adult sons. However, as long as the president-elect retains a financial stake in the company, the move does not mitigate his many conflicts of interest. As such, several Senate Democrats, led by Elizabeth Warren, have drafted legislation aimed at forcing Trump to divest or face impeachment.
So far, the only indication that Trump may actually be distancing himself from his financial holdings is that, on December 6, Trump and his spokesman Jason Miller announced that Trump had sold off his stocks in June. However, neither provided any evidence of the sale, and considering the president-elect’s history of questionable or downright false statements regarding his finances—see, for example, David Fahrenthold’s months-long, exhaustive debunking of Trump’s claims regarding his charitable giving and namesake foundation—the claim remains suspect. Until proof of the transaction has been established, such as by releasing broker records, this article will proceed based on his FEC filings, which remain the most recent documentation of his financial holdings.
Central to the discussion is that, as Trump has repeatedly pointed out, the president and vice president are exempt from the Office of Government Ethics’ rules preventing conflicts of interest within the executive branch. More recently, attention has shifted to the Emoluments Clause, a relatively obscure section of the Constitution barring the chief executive from receiving gifts from foreign governments, which numerous experts say Trump might violate if his properties receive preferential treatment from other world leaders. However, case law on the clause’s possible application is sparse.
At any rate, legality does not imply propriety. Unless Trump acts to put appropriate distance between himself and his business ventures, these questions are likely to continue throughout his time in the Oval Office. Below is an attempt to catalogue the more clear-cut examples of conflicts of interest that have emerged so far; the most recent entries appear at the top.

That Emirati Businessman
Though the biggest controversy over the New Year’s Eve celebration at Mar-a-Lago, President-elect Donald Trump’s Florida estate, was apparently whether or not Joe Scarborough could accurately be described as having “partied” there, video footage taken by a guest and obtained by CNN the next day brought renewed scrutiny to President-elect Donald Trump’s own presence at the event. During a 10-minute speech given in front of the party’s 800-odd attendees, Trump praised his Emirati business partner Hussain Sajwani and Sajwani’s family, saying, “The most beautiful people from Dubai are here tonight, and they’re seeing it and they love it.” CNN identifies Sajwani as a “billionaire developer in Dubai” who has “paid Trump millions of dollars to license the Trump name for golf courses in Dubai.” Trump’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, defended the remarks by clarifying that the president-elect and Sajwani “had no formal meetings of professional discussions. Their interactions were social.”
Whether or not Hicks’s statement was true, Trump’s commendation of Sajwani is part of a pattern in which the president-elect praises his business partners in ways that suggest he has little interest in extricating himself from his company’s interests. Previously, he has name-dropped business partners in Turkey and Argentina while on official calls with the countries’ leaders; he also met, and took photos, with associates from India shortly after the election. Moreover, as with several of the countries in which Trump-branded buildings are located, the United Arab Emirates has a questionable record on human rights; Human Rights Watch specifically states that the nation “uses its affluence to mask the government’s human-rights problems.”
By singling out Sajwani, Trump also runs headlong into accusations that he and his family are selling access to his administration through their organization and family foundations. According to Politico, tickets to celebrate with the president-elect at Mar-a-Lago, went for upwards of $500; the stated attendance of at least 800 people means that the Trump Organization made at least $400,000 off of ticket sales for the event. (There is no indication that the party was a fundraiser for any outside organization, such as a charity or campaign fund, as is often the case when politicians attend such an event.) Whether or not the president-elect sees it as such, the event offered attendees the opportunity to be in the same room as Trump and bend his ear for a price. This follows consternation regarding an auction for a face-to-face meeting with Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and a charity event that offered a reception with the president-elect and a hunting trip with his two sons, both of which have since been cancelled, as well as ongoing speculation that foreign entities will attempt to curry favor with Trump by booking rooms and events at his hotel in Washington, D.C. That Trump singled out Sajwani at the New Year’s Eve party lends credence to these concerns—it’s an instance of someone receiving the president-elect’s attention simply by buying a ticket to one of his events.

That Virginia Vineyard
Among the dozens of properties President-elect Donald Trump owns is Trump Vineyard Estates and Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia, the source of his namesake wine. Since Trump was elected, the property has requested temporary H-2A visas for six foreign workers, according to The Washington Post. The visas, which are administered by the Citizenship and Immigration Services wing of the Department of Homeland Security, allow businesses to temporarily hire foreign, unskilled workers provided that the employer proves that there are not enough domestic candidates to fulfill a one-time or seasonal shortage and that the hiring will not depress wages for U.S.-born employees. Trump, of course, will be in charge of appointing a new Secretary of Homeland Security once he assumes the presidency, which gives Trump authority over the very department responsible for deciding whether to grant the visas that the vineyard has requested. His current nominee, retired general John Kelly, has a relatively scant track record when it comes to immigration, leaving open the question of how much influence Trump himself will have over the DHS’s policy on the matter.
On top of the fact that Trump will soon be able to influence the outcome of the request, that his organization has continued to request visas after his election underscores a tension in the president-elect’s stance on immigration. From the moment that he announced that he would be running for president, Trump made antagonism toward immigration the central aspect of his campaign, arguing that both legal and illegal immigrants are taking jobs that should be filled by native-born Americans and depressing wages for others. Though he did not specifically single out the H-2B visa, the president-elect has on multiple occasions spoken critically about the H-1B program, which enables employers to temporarily hire foreign workers for skilled jobs like those in the tech industry.
But the Trump Organization has long been a beneficiary of immigrant labor. For example, according to a Reuters report from August 2015, nine companies of which Trump is the majority owner have requested at least 1,100 foreign visas since 2000. The majority of these requests were from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, which has requested at least 787 foreign visas since 2006, including 70 applications in 2015. (Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that, since 2010, only 17 of the nearly 300 domestic applicants for positions at the Mar-a-Lago have been hired.) The Trump Organization also famously may have benefited from illegal immigration: There is significant evidence that many of the Polish construction workers at the Trump Tower construction site in New York in 1980 were in the country illegally. In other words, Trump’s track record includes not just taking advantage of the very visa process he claims to abhor but also actually subverting existing law for his own profit. Now, by applying for visas for his vineyard, Trump is signaling that he expects that his business will continue to be able to profit from one of the very immigration programs he continually denounces.

That Las Vegas Labor Dispute
On top of owning various properties and enterprises, Trump and his company employ roughly 34,000 people, according to an analysis by CNN. On December 21, several hundred of those workers resolved a labor dispute against the president-elect—one in which, had it continued for even a few weeks more, Trump would have had the unprecedented power to make appointments to affect its outcome.
Here’s the situation: In October 2015, several hundred employees, primarily housekeeping staff, at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas voted to join the local branch of the Culinary Workers Union. Trump Ruffin Commercial LLC, which owns the hotel and is itself owned by Trump and the casino magnate Phil Ruffin, contested the vote, first by enlisting an anti-union consulting firm (for whose services it paid $500,000) and then by filing complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Shortly before the election, the NLRB not only rejected Trump and Ruffin’s complaints but also found that, because the pair had refused to negotiate with the nascent union, they had violated federal law and their hotel was operating illegally. Trump and Ruffin have since appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
On December 21, more than a year after the hotel’s workers first voted to join the union, the workers announced that they arrived at their first first collectively-bargained contract, achieved, according to an employee quoted in ThinkProgress, despite significant pressure from ownership that attempting to unionize would cost workers their jobs. According to the union, the new agreement “will provide the employees with annual wage increases, a pension, family health care, and job security” comparable to that of other Las Vegas hotels. Moreover, the Culinary Workers Union’s parent organization, UNITE HERE, has reached an agreement to represent workers at Trump’s recently-opened hotel in Washington, D.C..
Although this dispute has been resolved, it is included here because it exemplifies the type of situation in which Trump’s business interests are likely to overlap with his duties as president. Once he assumes office, Trump will be tasked with appointing members to fill current openings on the NLRB, the very body that ruled against him shortly before the election and will be tasked with resolving any future disputes between the hotel’s owners and its employees. Moreover, as Slate noted, the chief justice of the D.C. Court of Appeals is none other than Merrick Garland, whose nomination to the Supreme Court has spent months languishing in the Republican-controlled Congress and will likely be withdrawn once Trump becomes president. Finally, if disputes of this nature go beyond the Court of Appeals, the case would go to the Supreme Court, to which Trump will be appointing a justice once he assumes office, which is expected to tip the balance decisively in a more conservative (and likely anti-union) direction. In other words, no matter how far up the chain future disputes of this nature go, Trump’s presidency will give him new power to influence the results.

That Kuwaiti Event
According to an anonymous source and documents obtained by ThinkProgress, representatives from the Trump Organization pressured the ambassador of Kuwait to hold its embassy’s annual celebration of the country’s independence at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The event, held annually on February 25, was originally scheduled to take place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown; the location was allegedly changed after members of the Trump Organization contacted the country’s ambassador. ThinkProgress’s source “described the decision as political,” suggesting that the embassy chose to relocate the event in an effort to curry favor with the president-elect. The Kuwaiti ambassador has since disputed the report, telling The Washington Post that he had not been contacted by the Trump Organization and that the move “was solely done with the intention of providing our guests with a new venue.”
If ThinkProgress’s account is correct, Kuwait’s decision represents an escalation of a situation that has been developing since Trump’s election. The Trump International Hotel has been the subject of continual scrutiny for the conflict of interest it poses, in part because its lease explicitly bars elected officials from holding it, but mainly because Trump’s ownership of the hotel will almost definitely result in a violation of the Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president from receiving payments from foreign powers—something that will arguably be happening any time a foreign government books a room at the hotel. Already, the hotel has begun advertising itself as a destination for diplomats and dignitaries, and the embassies of Azerbaijan and Bahrain have both scheduled events in the building. However, before the ThinkProgress report, there was no evidence that the Trump Organization had individually reached out to a foreign government in hopes of getting it to relocate an event to the hotel.

Those Certificates of Divestiture
In addition to the many possibilities for President-elect Trump to pursue his financial interests in office, the unique makeup of his cabinet also creates a new set of financial motivations. While Trump’s own fortune automatically makes his administration the wealthiest in history, he has also surrounded himself with an unprecedented collection of billionaires and multi-millionaires whose investments are likely to also come under scrutiny.
Unlike the president-elect himself, those who are up for Trump’s cabinet, such as his proposed Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, will be legally obligated to divest from any holdings which may pose a conflict of interest. However, as The Washington Post noted, even selling off their holdings offers an opportunity for Trump’s cabinet members to enhance their fortunes. A federal program known as a “certificate of divestiture” allows executive-branch appointees and employees to avoid capital-gains taxes when selling their assets. The program has existed since 1989, and most recently received attention when President George W. Bush appointed Hank Paulson, then the chief executive of Goldman Sachs as his Treasury Secretary in 2006. Paulson was forced to sell off $700 million in shares of the bank; the certificate of divestiture enabled him to avoid a potential $200 million in capital-gains tax liability. According to The Washington Post, the Office of Government Ethics is currently researching whether the president-elect himself would qualify for the tax break; even if he doesn’t, the unprecedented wealth of Trump’s cabinet promises to push this provision, and the financial incentives it creates, to the limit.

That Carrier Deal
One of President-elect Donald Trump’s first major economic moves as president-elect was the deal that he and Vice President-elect Mike Pence struck with the air-conditioner manufacturer Carrier, which had planned to move 2,100 jobs from its Indiana plant to Mexico. Finalized on November 29, the compromise kept 730 of the plant’s jobs in Indiana in exchange for $7 million in tax breaks over 10 years. The deal immediately attracted praise and criticism on both sides of the aisle, with much of the scrutiny going toward the tradeoff between jobs and tax breaks and Trump’s idiosyncratic, ad-hoc negotiation techniques.
An additional detail soon emerged regarding the deal: According to his FEC filings (which, despite Trump and his spokesman Jason Miller’s unverified statements that the president-elect sold off his stock in June, remain the most recent public record of the president-elect’s finances), Trump holds stock in Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies. In 2014, his investment in the company was between $100,001 and $250,000, while in 2015, the stock is listed as worth less than $1,001, which could indicate that he sold some or most of the stock; each year, his holdings earned him between $2,500 and $5,000.
The paucity of information in the FEC filings makes it difficult to ascertain why his holdings appear to have decreased; regardless, the investment is not only one of several hundred but also a relatively minor one among Trump’s many holdings, some of which are worth over $5,000,000. As a result, it’s difficult to know how much, if at all, Trump may have considered the stock, particularly considering that he didn’t appear to remember his initial promise to save the Carrier plant. Additionally, Trump does not have stock in the next company he called out on Twitter, Rexnord Corporation (which is also based in Indiana), or its parent company, The Carlyle Group. Still, Trump’s deal with Carrier demonstrates the unprecedented challenge the president-elect’s conflicts of interest create: Unless he either puts his holdings in a truly blind trust or divests completely, a significant number of the decisions he makes will involve some level of financial incentive for himself as well as for the country.

Over the past few months, a number of experts have called for President-elect Donald Trump to either sell off his business holdings or, if the illiquidity of his assets prevents him from doing so, to put as much as possible into a blind trust managed by a lawyer or other trustee with whom he will have no contact. Pursuing one of these two options is seen by many as an important step to distancing himself from even the appearance that he will be considering his own financial prospects in addition to those of the nation while in office. In response, Trump repeatedly said during the campaign that he intends to cede control of his business to his three adult children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, although, as has been previously noted, doing so would barely even create the appearance of a blind trust given how his children are close advisers, members of his transition team, and, well, his children. (Trump has also alluded on Twitter to an upcoming press conference in which he intends to more fully explain his plans, although doubts remain that the arrangement he proposes will actually create the necessary barriers between Trump and his business.)
Moreover, even if one does take take the president-elect at his word that his children will be entirely separate from his administration, events since his election strongly suggest otherwise. All three have been seen in contexts that significantly diminish the appearance of separation Roughly two weeks before the election, Donald Jr. met with a pro-Russian group in Paris to discuss his father’s policy toward Syria and, according to Politico, was involved in his father’s search for a Secretary of the Interior; he was also spotted hunting in Turkey shortly after his father’s phone call with Turkish President Recep Erdogan in which the president-elect praised a Turkish business partner. Eric, meanwhile, appeared in photos with his father and a group of Indian businessmen mere days after the election. Officials within the State Department have begun to express frustration with the optics of the Trump family’s current system.
Much of the focus, though, has been on Ivanka, whom many consider to be among her father’s most trusted advisers, and the various ways she has indicated that she will remain a part of both the family business and her father’s administration. Ivanka also appeared in the photos with the family’s Indian business partners, and she and her husband Jared Kushner—also one of Trump’s advisers—sat in on a meeting between the president-elect and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; reports later emerged that, at the time, Ivanka was in negotiation with the Japanese apparel company Sanei International, whose parent company is owned in large part by the Japanese government. A number of outlets have reported that, while Melania Trump will be the official First Lady, Ivanka plans to assume a policy portfolio akin to that of previous first ladies; one issue she apparently plans to take on is climate change, on which she recently met with her father and former Vice President Al Gore. Even the optics of physical distance are diminishing: According to CNN, Ivanka and Jared plan to move from New York to Washington, D.C. once the Trump administration begins. That the president-elect’s children appear involved in both the Trump administration and the Trump Organization presents a major threat to the long-established norm that presidents should distance themselves from business interests that could interfere with their official duties.
Finally, removing himself from day-to-day operations will do little to change the fact that Trump will retain substantive knowledge of the illiquid assets involved in his business, such as the numerous buildings and other products that bear his name, especially if he remains in frequent contact with his children. Even assuming that Trump does separate himself from any consideration of his holdings, his children will still likely be major players in the family’s organization, which will still bear at least the Trump name—arguably one of their most valuable properties, as much of the family’s wealth derives from licensing the name to third-party companies. Given the family’s oft-touted brand-consciousness (Ivanka, for example, briefly appeared to be distancing herself from the campaign, and several properties considered rebranding under the name “Scion” when it appeared Trump would lose), the situation epitomizes the way Trump’s, and his family’s, business interests may very well prove inextricable from his actions as president.

Those Fannie and Freddie Investments
After railing against elites during the campaign, Trump has so far stocked his prospective cabinet with an array of billionaires whose policy positions seem likely to significantly benefit those who are also doing very well. Trump’s putative treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, is no exception: His resume includes stints as a banker at Goldman Sachs, a Hollywood producer, and the operator of a bank that has been described as a “foreclosure machine” and once foreclosed on a homeowner over a 27-cent discrepancy.
One of Mnuchin’s apparent beliefs is that the government should cede control of the mortgage guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the government acquired during the 2008 financial crisis. The two financial institutions’ stocks rose by more than 40 percent after Mnuchin stated that he believes the Trump administration “will get it done reasonably fast.”
Doing so would be broadly compatible with Trump’s general antipathy toward regulation of the banking industry. However, The Wall Street Journal identified an additional wrinkle to the story: When Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s stocks rose, one major beneficiary was John Paulson, an adviser to the Trump campaign and a business partner of Mnuchin’s. Paulson’s hedge funds include significant investments in both Fannie and Freddie. Trump himself has invested between $3 million and $5 million across three of Paulson’s funds, according to his filings with the Federal Election Commission (which remain the only available window into the president-elect’s financial holdings). In other words, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s stock prices increase—and they have so far more than doubled since the election on the expectation that the incoming Trump administration will be more lenient toward the financial sector than Obama—Trump’s portfolio benefits.

That Phone Call With Taiwan
When news first emerged that the president-elect spoke on the phone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on December 2, the immediate reaction was uproar over his apparently impetuous breach of decades of U.S. protocol toward China and Taiwan. As my colleague David Graham explained, since 1979, the United States has participated in the “artful diplomatic fiction” of officially recognizing the mainland People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate Chinese government while maintaining loose, unofficial recognition of—and significant economic and military ties to—Taiwan. That Trump would speak to the president of Taiwan, especially before doing the same with Xi Jinping, the president of the PRC, flies in the face of a diplomatic tradition that has undergirded almost 40 years of U.S.-China relations.
Amid the days of dissembling that followed the phone call, an additional worrisome detail came out: The Trump Organization has apparently been exploring expansion into Taiwan. Soon afterwards, the Trump Organization denied that it planned to do so; however, even before the controversy arose, the mayor of Taoyuan, Taiwan, the municipality in which the Trump Organization allegedly wants to build, described in a televised interview a meeting with a representative of the Trump Organization in September to discuss prospective real-estate projects, and at least one Trump employee was found to have posted on Facebook that she was in Taiwan at the time on a business trip.
The phone call, and the many statements that have followed, are of particular interest because of the extent to which they dovetail with some of the biggest concerns about Trump’s approach toward governance. In the ensuing 48 hours, Republican officials offered several, sometimes entirely contradictory, explanations of what initially appeared to be an impulsive move by Trump; depending on who was speaking, the phone call was actually initiated by Ing-wen (which, if technically true, ignores that it was Trump’s staff who arranged the conversation), was just “a courtesy,” or manifested a policy shift weeks in the making—although, regardless, it was made without first consulting the White House or State Department. The defense of the move, and the questions it creates regarding conflicts of interest, have largely hinged on the belief that, since voters apparently don’t mind, the reaction was overblown.
On this issue, though, whether or not voters care is immaterial to the central question. The president-elect of the United States breached decades of international protocol created to preserve a precarious balance of power. That decision raised not only the possibility that Trump was blundering into a potential international incident but also that he may have done so in part out of consideration for his business prospects.

That Deutsche Bank Debt
Though he often brags about leveraging corporate-finance law to become “The King of Debt,” Trump’s numerous bankruptcy filings have left most large Wall Street banks reticent to lend to him, according to The Wall Street Journal. Among the few exceptions is Deutsche Bank, which “has led or participated in loans of at least $2.5 billion” to the president-elect since 1996, with at least another $1 billion in loan commitments to Trump-affiliated companies; more than $300 million of those loans have come since 2012.
The president-elect’s indebtedness does not itself pose a conflict of interest, but Deutsche Bank’s ongoing legal troubles very well might. The Justice Department is currently negotiating with Deutsche Bank regarding a preliminary settlement of $14 billion to resolve probes into allegedly misleading predatory lending practices in the leadup to the 2008 financial crisis; while it is believed that Deutsche Bank will push back against the sum, there has been no public news regarding negotiations since the initial figure was reported in September. Trump will soon be naming many of the officials with jurisdiction over this and other deals, prompting several House Democrats to send a letter to federal financial agencies calling for close scrutiny of how Trump may seek to influence the settlement through his appointments—although doing so would be just as in keeping with his general stance toward financial regulation as with active protection of his pocketbook. Other Democrats have called for the proactive appointment of independent prosecutors to avoid any appearance of conflict if the case is not resolved before Trump takes office.
Fears that Trump may unduly consider his indebtedness to Deutsche Bank in deciding his administration’s policy toward the financial sector go beyond general anxiety about deregulation. Deutsche Bank is undergoing a period of struggle that may have it on the verge of failure already. Its stock valuation has dropped by more than half since July 2015; in January, it posted its first full-year loss since 2008; and one of its many tranches of bonds—one specifically designed to be a high-risk, high-reward safety valve in times of trouble—has recently begun to crash. In June, the International Monetary Fund called Deutsche Bank “the most important net contributor to systemic risks” among globally important financial institutions. If the bank were to fail, it could have major consequences for not only Trump’s businesses, which would lose their sole remaining lender, but for the global economy as well.
Arguably, the $14 billion fine the Justice Department is seeking to impose has exacerbated rather than alleviated these struggles. Based the company’s market capitalization—the number of shares multiplied by their price— of roughly $16 billion, the sum would leave Deutsche Bank critically low in liquid assets with which to absorb future troubles. although the institution’s own self-valuation of $68 billion argues otherwise. But given the complexity and potential volatility of the situation, it is important for any decision to be free from outside influence, something Trump’s outstanding debt threatens to jeopardize.

That Secret Service Detail
During the election, the Trump campaign put no small portion of its funds toward paying for use of the candidate’s own properties; perhaps the most notable of these expenditures was the nearly $170,000 the campaign spent in July on rent for its headquarters in Trump Tower. These expenses raised the possibility that, as Trump predicted in 2000, he “could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.” Now that he will be president, he may be able to profit off of the Secret Service by virtue of the fact that he and his family will live in Trump Tower and fly in his private jets—which requires the agents tasked with guarding them to pay him rent and airfare.
The first way Trump could monetize his own protective detail is by having family members travel in his two planes and three helicopters. This is not so much speculative as foregone: Over the course of the campaign, the Secret Service, which traditionally pays for its own travel during elections, spent $2.74 million to fly on a plane owned by one of Trump’s own companies. Once Trump takes office, he will fly exclusively on Air Force One, while Mike Pence will be riding Air Force Two. However, their families may still be flying on Trump’s private planes—along with their protective details, which would effectively direct even more money to Trump. (Previous first families have flown with a detail, whose legal purview covers “the immediate family members,” but none have done so on planes they themselves own.)
A bigger question regards Trump Tower in New York, where the president-elect appears likely to spend a significant amount of time. For the past few decades, it has been common practice for the Secret Service to provide protection for the president and vice president’s non-White House residences, which sometimes entails paying rent to the officeholder. (Joe Biden, for example, received $2,200 per month when the agency rented a cottage he owned near his home in Delaware.)
But Trump Tower is a unique case, as it’s not in Delaware but the middle of Manhattan. Already, pedestrians and tourists are chafing at the increased security around the building, Trump’s frequent use of which has required closing a block of 56th Street and multiple lanes of Fifth Avenue; with multiple outlets reporting that Trump’s wife Melania and 10-year-old son Barron are expected to stay at Trump Tower for at least part of his term, it appears that the consternation will continue, with an enormous price tag for taxpayers: According to the New York Post, it could cost as much as $3 million a year to rent out two of the building’s vacant floors, meaning that Trump will be making money off of his own security detail. Meanwhile, Reuters has reported that the city of New York is calling for federal funds to reimburse the costs of keeping up a security detail around Trump Tower.
This system creates an unusual set of conflicting interests for Trump regarding his own travel and residences. Though presidents as disparate as Dwight Eisenhower and Barack Obama have evoked partisan ire over time spent away from the White House, whether on the golf course or on vacation in Hawaii, only Donald Trump will actually have gained from his and his family’s travels. And if, while in office, Trump visits properties he owns other than Trump Tower—his buildings in other U.S. cities like Chicago and Miami, for example, or his golf course and resort in Scotland, or one of the many international hotels bearing his name—he stands to gain from the stays for which his security detail (and, by extension, taxpayers) may be paying. Moreover, the more his family members fly on his planes, whether they are running his business on his behalf or running interference with foreign leaders, the more the Secret Service will end up paying for seats alongside them.
In fact, there are already signs that the Trump Organization has no qualms about making money off of the New York tower’s new security arrangements in more ways than one. According to Politico, just five days after the election, a prominent New York real-estate firm invoked Trump Tower’s new secret-service detail as a selling point for a $2.1 million condominium, which it described as “The Best Value in the Most Secure Building in Manhattan.” Though the flier was issued by an outside agency, the president-elect’s corporation still stands to benefit from increased traffic through processing and other service fees, making the advertisement a clear example of how Trump stands to benefit off of his new position.

That Property in Georgia (the Country)
Trump’s election has had the effect of speeding up development on a number of his branded properties, even when the president-elect appears not to be pulling any strings himself. As occurred with Trump Tower Buenos Aires, the completion of an embattled Trump-branded building in the former Soviet republic of Georgia is no longer on hold now that Trump has won. The project, which has been in the works in the seaside resort city of Batumi since 2010, was initially scheduled to break ground in 2013, but has been in stasis for several reasons, possibly including the 2013 electoral defeat of President Mikheil Saakashvili, a friend of Trump’s and a supporter of the deal.
According to a report in The Washington Post, the green-lighting of the Trump property in Batumi has not been linked to a specific conversation with Georgian leaders, and a U.S.-based partner on the project has suggested that it has moved forward without any nudging from the government. However, numerous public statements in the days since suggest that Trump’s election was a major factor, including an interview with a real-estate entrepreneur who said, “Cutting the ribbon on a new Trump Tower in Georgia will be a symbol of victory for all of the free world.”
That the property seems to be moving forward solely because Trump was elected suggests his various business interests around the world may play a role not only in his foreign policy but in how other countries seek to deal with the U.S. as well. America’s relationship with Georgia is largely shaped by concerns about Russian influence and potential aggression in the region, most recently manifested in Russia’s 2008 seizure of two regions of Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. With controversy already swirling over Trump’s admiration for Putin and Russia’s alleged role in the U.S. election, some in the foreign-policy community have expressed trepidation that Trump’s potential deferential attitude toward Russia would prove deleterious for the continued independence of former satellite nations like Georgia. So, if Georgia has an ulterior motive behind the approval of Trump’s property in Batumi, it would be to keep Russia at bay and maintain the status quo in the region. It’s alarming that a country like Georgia may be giving Trump’s businesses favorable treatment (whether he asked for it or not) in an attempt to influence his foreign policy.

That Phone Call With Erdogan
One of the worries regarding Trump’s many conflicts of interest is that they may influence policy towards countries whose relationships with the U.S. are currently strained. Such is the case with Turkey, whose president, Recep Erdogan, has been cracking down significantly on civil liberties and democratic institutions within the country after a failed coup last summer. Though Turkey has in the past been a vital U.S. ally as a bulwark against Islamic terror, Erdogan’s authoritarian turn and combative stance toward Europe have led to some reevaluation of that relationship.
Thus, it was troubling news that when Erdogan phoned Trump earlier this month—it was one of the first calls Trump received after his victory—Trump used the opportunity to plug his business partners in Istanbul. According to the Huffington Post, while on the line with Erdogan, Trump relayed praise for the leader from Mehmet Ali Yalcindag, whose father-in-law, Aydin Dogan, owns the holding company that operates the Trump Towers in Istanbul. Dogan has previously drawn Erdogan’s ire by criticizing the leader; in recent years, however, Dogan’s companies, most notably CNN Turk, have shown support for Erdogan’s regime, including broadcasting his first message after the uprising in July.
Trump’s conversation with Erdogan is also worth noting because of a number of Trump’s previous statements regarding the Turkish president. Though Erdogan briefly called for Trump’s name to be removed from the Istanbul property due to his proposed ban on Muslim immigration, Erdogan dropped the demand when, after the overthrow attempt, Trump praised Erdogan for “turning it around” and essentially dismissed concerns over Erdogan’s crackdown on civil liberties by bringing up domestic problems. Michael Flynn, who was recently named Trump’s national security adviser, wrote an election-day op-ed in The Hill arguing against offering asylum to a Muslim cleric whom Erdogan has accused of orchestrating the uprising, which some have interpreted as a diplomatic overture. Erdogan has also bristled at post-election protests in the U.S. and the description of both himself and Trump as part of a “ring of autocrats.” That the two are now talking about their countries’ relationship as in the same conversation as Trump’s business interests further complicates Trump’s strangely effusive comments about Erdogan.
It’s worth noting that Trump himself considers his hotel in Istanbul a potential conflict of interest. In a December 2015 interview with Stephen Bannon, at the time the chairman of Breitbart News, Trump said as much, telling Bannon, “I have a little conflict of interest ‘cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul. It’s a tremendously successful job." That he chose to discuss the towers with Erdogan, albeit obliquely, through his references to his business partners when he has already acknowledged the impropriety of doing so simply reinforces the perception that he may prove unable to separate his business from his official duties once he assumes office.

That Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The White House is not the only new Trump property in Washington, D.C.; there’s also the new Trump International Hotel, which opened in October and is located just a few blocks away in what was formerly known as the Old Post Office Pavilion. Previously, the hotel played a role in the campaign as the site of the event at which Trump recanted (sort of) his belief that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Now, the hotel is at the center of speculation as a symbol of how inextricable Trump’s presidential role may be from his personal interests.
First and foremost, Trump does not own the location outright; instead, he leases the building from the federal government’s General Services Administration, an agency whose next administrator Trump will soon be appointing. The GSA has explicit regulations prohibiting contracts with government employees to prevent conflicts “that might arise between the employees’ interests and their Government duties, and to avoid the appearance of favoritism or preferential treatment.” The Trump Organization’s 60-year lease on the property likewise states, “no ... elected official of the Government of the United States ... shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.” According to House Democrats, the GSA has ruled that Trump “will be in breach of the lease agreement the moment he takes office” and must divest from the property before he does so.
As if its location didn’t pose enough of an ethical question, the hotel has already hosted at least one promotional event specifically aimed at enticing foreign diplomats to stay at the establishment while in town on official state business. On the one hand, direct influence will likely be difficult to prove: The establishment is, after all, a five-star hotel that would have been likely to attract high-class clientele even if Trump had lost the election, a fact to which Trump and those who surround him may well point in order to maintain a patina of respectability around their dealings. Still, the meeting’s proximity to the election reinforces that it will be worth watching the comings and goings at the hotel closely for signs that Trump, who so often accused his opponent (often without evidence) of pay-for-play, may be using his position as president to promote his businesses.
Trump himself acknowledged that his presidency is likely to increase traffic to his Washington, D.C. property. Speaking to The New York Times, the president-elect noted that the property is “probably a more valuable asset than it was before” and that his brand is “hotter” since the election. However, he went on to insist that there was nothing even potentially problematic about his unprecedented situation and that he sees no reason why he couldn’t run both the presidency and his business without conflict.
Multiple events since the election have made Trump’s lease on the hotel a central focus of discussions of his conflicts of interest, including among Democrats in the House. On November 29, Bahrain—a country whose donations to the Clinton Foundation Trump and his campaign decried during the campaign—announced that it would be celebrating the anniversary of its king’s ascension to the throne at the hotel. Other events announced since the election include a Hannukah celebration co-hosted by the Embassy of Azerbaijan and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and a reception for the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation featuring Vice President-elect Mike Pence as its keynote speaker. Numerous ethics experts, many of whom are calling for Trump to generally divest his business holdings, have singled out the building’s lease, which will likely be breached the moment Trump takes office even if he does transfer his company to his children. And on November 30, mere hours after Trump stated on Twitter that “legal documents are being crafted which take [him] completely out of business operations,” Buzzfeed reported that Trump and the federal government were closing in on a tax subsidy for the property that could be worth as much as $32 million. As a result of the increasing scrutiny, the hotel and his handling of the commotion about it have become emblematic of the broader issues surrounding Trump’s conflicts of interest.

That Argentinian Office Building
According to a report by the prominent Argentine journalist Jorge Lanata, the president-elect’s first phone call with his Argentine counterpart Mauricio Macri included a discussion of the permit issues currently holding up construction of a new Trump-branded office building in Buenos Aires. Both Macri and Trump quickly denied the report; according to a statement from the Embassy of Argentina, “The subject both leaders talked about was the institutional relationship, and they briefly mentioned the personal relationship they have had for years.”
As summarized in a tweetstorm here, Trump’s relationship with Argentina’s government and business elites—and the story so far on his property there—is already long and convoluted. The phone call with Macri was apparently set up through Felipe Yaryura, one of Trump’s longtime associates whose company, YY Development Group, is in charge of Trump Tower Buenos Aires. The day after the phone call, the PanAm Post reported that YY Development Group had been approved to break ground in June 2017; evidence has since emerged that the permitting process is not, in fact, finished, although Trump’s business associates are moving ahead as though it is.

Those Companies in Saudi Arabia
Even as Trump was running for president, his company was continuing to operate and open new properties. While the most memorable openings may have been that of his hotel in Washington, D.C., and his golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, the Trump Organization was continuing to work on projects in other countries, including, according to a report the Washington Post, registering eight new companies in Saudi Arabia during the 16-month campaign.
The organization’s endeavors in Saudi Arabia are notable not only because they may further complicate the shaky relationship between the U.S. and an oil-rich gulf state notorious for human-rights abuses but also because of how they relate to Trump’s campaign rhetoric. One of his criticisms of Hillary Clinton was that her charitable foundation had accepted donations from governments with questionable records on human rights, most notably Qatar and Saudi Arabia, always with the implication (or direct accusation) that they were doing so to curry favor with Clinton when she was secretary of state. That Trump was continuing to level this criticism while his namesake organization was actively pursuing new projects in Saudi Arabia not only bodes ill for his ability to separate his personal and presidential interests but also further calls into question the honesty and transparency of his campaign.

That British Wind Farm
As he indicated when he stopped there during the campaign, President-elect Trump takes enormous pride in his recently opened golf course in Turnberry, Scotland. The day after the British public voted for Brexit—over intense Scottish opposition—Trump spoke at the property’s opening, proudly touting how the decision’s deflationary effect on the pound would benefit his business.
However, Trump also has a second golf course in Aberdeen, where it appears Trump has attempted to intercede in the interest of his own pocketbook.* According to The New York Times, Trump had a post-election meeting with Nigel Farage in which he “encouraged Mr. Farage and his entourage to oppose the kind of offshore wind farms that Mr. Trump believes will mar the pristine view from one of his two Scottish golf courses.” Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the president-elect, denied that the two had discussed the subject, only for Trump to later confirm that the topic had, in fact, come up in their conversation.
* This entry originally misstated that Trump intervened at Turnberry, his other golf course in Scotland. We regret the error.

Those Indian Business Partners
It didn’t take long after the election for President-elect Trump to be seen in public with international business partners. According to a November 19 article in The New York Times, Trump took a break from his transition schedule to meet with three Indian real-estate executives who are currently building a Trump-branded apartment complex in Mumbai. According to both Trump and the Indian businessmen, the meeting was essentially congratulatory in nature; a picture posted by one of the executives on Twitter shows the four men smiling broadly and giving a thumbs-up to the camera. However, that the meeting happened in the first place suggests that Trump does not currently have any qualms about forestalling official state business for personal business.
On top of that, the meeting raises questions in the blind-trust realm as well. The president-elect himself was not the only member of his family there; two Facebook photos show that Ivanka and Eric Trump both attended the meeting as well. Their presence serves as a reminder that their father seems so far uninterested in maintaining even the nominal separation between himself and his assets that he repeatedly said he would create during the campaign.
Back to table of contents

That Envoy From the Philippines
One leader with whom Trump already has an advantage over President Obama is Rodrigo Duterte, the similarly brash president of the Philippines. Duterte, who has threatened to “break up with America,” told Obama to “go to hell,” and called the president a “son of a whore,” expressed admiration for Trump, noting that, among other similarities, they both enjoy swearing.
Duterte’s affinity for Trump apparently goes beyond vulgar word choice. Late in October, Duterte appointed a longtime business associate of Trump’s as a special envoy to the United States, an announcement that became public shortly after the election. This appointment in particular raises questions because it is just as open to exploitation by Duterte as it is to Trump, as the Filipino president could intend to use his new envoy’s relationship with Trump to strengthen the Philippines’ hand. Whichever side the appointment does eventually benefit, however, the situation is nevertheless fraught with conflicts between the three men’s personal and political interests.

Trump Says He'll Tell All on Hacking

President-elect Donald Trump, with his wife Melania, speaks with reporters at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 31. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President-elect Donald Trump, with his wife Melania, speaks with reporters at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 31. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President-elect Donald Trump is warning that he knows "things other people don't know" about claims that the Russian government was behind the hacking of political groups during the U.S. presidential election, and is promising to spill the beans "Tuesday or Wednesday."
Trump, who has refused to acknowledge U.S. intelligence assessments that determined the hacking was directed by the highest levels in the Russian government, said he's been skeptical because he wants U.S. intelligence officials to be 100 percent sure.
"I just want them to be sure because it's a pretty serious charge," Trump told reporters in an impromptu New Year's Eve press conference.
"If you look at weapons of mass destruction, it was a disaster, and they were wrong," he said. "So I want them to be sure. I think it's unfortunate if they don't know. I know a lot about hacking, and hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else."
"I also know things other people don't know," Trump added. "So they cannot be sure of this situation."
When a reporter asked Trump what he knew about the hacking situation, Trump said: "You'll find out Tuesday or Wednesday," with no explanation for the delay. His comments were made at Trump's Palm Beach estate.
The president-elect has said he plans to meet with intelligence officials in coming days to learn more about the allegations.
Trump, who says "no computer is safe" when it comes to keeping information private, said, "if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way."
President Obama ordered sanctions on Russian spy agencies last week, closed two Russian compounds and expelled 35 diplomats the U.S. said were really spies. The Russian government has denied the allegations.

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China’s State Media Has Been Mocking Donald Trump’s ‘Unpresidented’ Tweet

"Trump is not behaving as a President who will become master of the White House in a month"

China’s state media has again questioned the leadership qualities of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, gleefully highlighting the misspelling of the word unprecedented in a tweet he sent responding to the seizure of an American underwater drone by the Chinese navy on Thursday. “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it of water and take it to China in unpresidented [sic] act,” Trump tweeted, before deleting and reposting the message with the correct spelling of unprecedented. He took again to Twitter to add: “We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!” Both Washington and Beijing have sought to downplay the spat in official channels. On Saturday, China agreed to return the device, which was taken 57 miles northwest of the Philippine port of Subic Bay. China says the unmanned reconnaissance vehicle, which was apparently collecting unclassified scientific data, was seized to maintain the safety of passing vessels.
“China resolutely opposes these [reconnaissance] activities,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun said, according to Chinese state newswire Xinhua.
On Sunday, the Chinese Communist Party–linked Global Times newspaper questioned Trump’s response in an editorial and highlighted his misspelling in the headline: “‘Unpresidented’ Trump adds fuel to fire.”
“He seemed emotionally upset, but no one knows what he wanted to say,” read the article. “Trump is not behaving as a President who will become master of the White House in a month.”
During his campaign, Trump repeated accused China of currency manipulation and stealing American jobs, and vowed to slap 45% tariffs of Chinese imports. Since his election victory, Trump has further infuriated the Beijing leadership by accepting a phone call from the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen — breaking almost four decades of diplomatic protocol that saw no direct contact between American and Taiwanese leaders.
Beijing claims sovereignty over the self-governing island of 23 million and has vowed to retake it by force should Taipei ever declare independence. When Beijing lodged a formal complaint about Trump’s phone conversation, Trump said that American acknowledgement of China’s position that Taiwan is part of “one China” was up for negotiation.
“Since [Trump] has not taken office, China has kept a calm attitude toward his provocative remarks,” read the Global Times editorial. “But if he treats China after assuming office in the same way as in his tweets, China will not exercise restraint.”
Ordinary Chinese, however, are seeing the funny side of Trump’s spelling error. “Dude, you would have failed the Chinese college English exam,” posted one user on China’s Twitter-like microblog Weibo.
“What if Trump just is pretending to be stupid?” posted another. “Businessmen shouldn’t be this dumb, and Trump is successful in business.”
With reporting by Zhang Chi / Beijing

Trump’s Press Secretary Begs The American People To Stop Mocking Donald Trump

Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer went on national television to complain that the American people are mocking Donald Trump and called on every American to support the president-elect instead of mocking him.

Trump’s Press Secretary Begs The American People To Stop Mocking Donald Trump
Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer went on national television to complain that the American people are mocking Donald Trump and called on every American to support the president-elect instead of mocking him.
Video of Trump press secretary Sean Spicer on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

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Spicer was talking about Trump trying to take credit for jobs that were already announced when he claimed that the American people are mocking and undermining the president-elect:

So the idea is everyone wants to talk about the tweets he sent. But I would actually focus on the action he’s getting. Donald Trump is not president yet and he’s getting action, successes and wins, both abroad and here at home.

Everything he does right now, he gets — he speaks for the head of Sprint, gets 5,000 jobs moved from abroad. And everyone starts to mock him. Oh, those jobs were already announced. They weren’t. The sales jobs have been a previous announce. These jobs were coming from abroad to America.

And instead of trying to mock him or undermine him, it’s time that people started to give him credit for actually getting things done.

Trump is mocked because he isn’t getting anything done. The president-elect is taking credit for things that already happened, or the accomplishments of others. For example, Trump took credit for the good economic numbers in November despite the fact that the growing economy has nothing to do with him because he is not yet the president. Trump took credit for the horrible Carrier deal that Mike Pence negotiated, and Trump is trying to pass off the Sprint job announcement, which he had nothing to do with, as an accomplishment.”

President-elect Donald Trump’s Press Secretary was practically begging America to stop making fun of the incoming president. Trump isn’t going to find much popular support for his presidency because the majority of voters did not support him.
If Trump continues to act like a narcissistic and petty reality television star instead of a president, he is going to mocked.
One can only imagine the howls of laughter from Republicans if Obama’s press secretary would have gone on national television and complained about the American people making fun of him.
Trump isn’t even in office yet, but his team is demanding credit for things that they have not done, which is exactly why the American people will continue to mock the president-elect. 

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Donald Trump praises 'very smart' Vladimir Putin for not expelling US diplomats in response to sanctions

Donald Trump last night praised Vladimir Putin as "very smart" for not engaging in a tit-for-tat row with the US over the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats accused of espionage.
In a piece of high diplomatic theatre, the Russian president defied expectations of a Cold War-style mutual expulsion and instead met the Obama administration's sanctions with a show of magnanimity.
Chiding the outgoing president for a provocation designed to undermine US-Russian relations, Mr Putin chose instead to look forward to the incoming administration of Mr Trump who has promised a re-set with Moscow. 
"We will not create problems for American diplomats. We will not expel anyone," he said. “Furthermore, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the Christmas and New Year tree in the Kremlin.”

He added: "Further steps towards the restoration of Russian-American relations will be built on the basis of the policy which the administration of President D. Trump will carry out."
Earlier Sergei Lavrov, the  foreign minister, publically recommend that Russia expel 35 US diplomats and close down two  US diplomatic compounds. 
"Russia's foreign ministry... has requested that the Russian president approve declaring as personae non gratae 31 employees of the US embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the US consulate in Saint Petersburg," Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said in televised comments.
The move would have amounted to a tit-for-tat response to American sanctions. 
President Barack Obama's said on Friday the US would expel 35 Russian diplomats and close down two diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland in retaliation for Moscow directing hackers to interfere in the presidential elections. 
The announcement provoked fury in Moscow, where many officials attacked Mr Obama personally for the move. 
Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister, wrote on Twitter that the current administration was "ending its term in anti-Russian agony."
The foreign ministry called the decision a "crushing blow to the prestige of America and its leadership."
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry wrote on Facebook: "Today America and the American people have been humiliated as their own President." 
The Russian Embassy in London called it "Cold War deja vu", and said the US "wanted to destroy" ties with Moscow.
The diplomatic officials from the Russian embassy in Washington and its consulate in San Francisco were deemed "persona non grata" and told to leave the country within 72 hours.
Mr Obama said the 35 expelled diplomats were "intelligence operatives".
He also announced it was closing two compounds owned by the Russian government, and used for intelligence operations, in New York and Maryland, from noon on Friday.
At the same time he ordered sanctions against Russia's GRU and FSB intelligence agencies, and six named Russian individuals.
They included Lt Gen Korobov, head of the GRU, and three of his deputies. The other two were Alexei Belan and Yevgeny Bogachev, two Russians wanted by the FBI for cyber crimes for years.
Also sanctioned were three computer companies alleged to have provided "material support" to the GRU.
The developments marked an unprecedented new low in US-Russian relations under Mr Obama's presidency.
Mr Obama accused Russia of "aggressive harassment" and said "all Americans should be alarmed by Russia's actions". He said hacking "could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government".
Mr Obama said: "These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm US interests in violation of established international norms of behaviour. Such activities have consequences."
He added: "This is not the sum total of our response to Russia’s aggressive activities. We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our choosing, some of which will not be publicised."
A US official added: "By imposing costs on the Russian diplomats in the United States, by denying them access to the two facilities, we hope the Russian government reevaluates its own actions."
It was understood that Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, will not be one of those expelled.
It comes after the the CIA and FBI concluded that Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic Party and releasing embarrassing emails with the intention of helping Mr Trump to win the White House.
Russia has repeatedly denied the hacking accusations. A spokesman for Russia's Foreign Ministry said: "If Washington really does take new hostile steps they will be answered. "Any action against Russian diplomatic missions in the US will immediately bounce back on US diplomats in Russia."
Mr Trump said he would meet intelligence officials next week to hear evidence of the Russian hacking.
He said: "It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things.
"Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation."
Kellyanne Conway, one of Mr Trump's top advisers, told CNN that Mr Trump stood by his claims that it was unclear whether Russia carried out the hacks and insisted that alleged Russian hacking was being used to try and delegitimise Mr Trump's victory.
The US State Department said the expelled diplomats had been "acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic or consular status".
It also said the US actions were a response to increased harassment of US diplomats in Moscow over the last year. In 2001 the US expelled 50 Russian diplomats from the country over accusations of spying. Russia responded in kind, ordering 50 US diplomats to leave its own country. 
The Russian Embassy in London added in its 'lame duck' memed tweet: "Everybody, including the American people, will be glad to see the last of this hapless administration."
According to one US official there are a total of about 100 Russian spies in the US, so about one third of them are being ejected.
The compound being closed in Maryland is a sprawling coastal estate purchased by the Soviet Union in the 1970s. It is listed as the summer retreat for the Russian embassy but has been used for espionage, according to US officials.
The Kremlin accused the US of an "aggressive foreign policy" and behaving "like a bull in a china shop".
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said: "There is no alternative here to the principle of reciprocity. We will deliver significant discomfort to the US side in the same areas.
"We consider this decision and these sanctions unjustified and illegal under international law."
US officials said they were aware of reports that Moscow may have ordered the closure of the Anglo-American School in the Russian capital - attended by many children of diplomats - but they could not confirm those reports, said news agency AFP.
Maria Zakharova, the Russian foreign ministry's spokeswoman, denied reports about the school closure on Friday morning. 
Lisa Monaco, Mr Obama's homeland security adviser, said: "These 35 individuals were basically collecting intelligence. They were intelligence officers operating here and using these compounds for intelligence collection.
"We are expelling those 35 intelligence officers and their families and shutting down that intelligence collection activity."
She added: "We are prepared for retaliatory steps the Russian government may take."
The Russian Embassy in Washington said a plane was being sent from Moscow to pick up those who had been expelled.
A spokesman said: "For diplomats and their families to leave the US an aircraft of the Rossiya Special Flight Squadron will be sent to the US."

How could Russia respond?
Vladimir Putin has ruled out direct retaliation for now, but he also says Russia "reserves the right" to respond. Here are a number of options he and his advisers could be considering. 
  • Expel US diplomats. Sending American officials home would be a traditional tit-for-tat response more or less in line with the rules of international diplomacy. The Russians could up the ante by kicking out Ambassador John Tefft (the US has said it is not expelling Russia's ambassador), which would leave a key post for Donald Trump to fill when he takes power on January 20.
  • Shut down US diplomatic compounds. The foreign ministry has denied plans to close the American School in Moscow, which is popular with expat families. However, it could close the Embassy holiday dacha at Serebryany Bor on the Moscow outskirts. 
  • Something else. Previous "asymmetric" responses to American moves have included banning US citizens from adopting Russian orphans and banning food imports from countries that sanctioned Russia over its annexation of Crimea. 
  • Do nothing. With Donald Trump entering the White House on January 20, the Kremlin could decide it is worth refraining from countermeasures as a goodwill gesture to the new president. Instead it may confine itself to insulting Tweets about Barack Obama.  

The Opinion Pages | Letters

Obama, Trump and Russian Hacking

President-elect Donald Trump speaking to the media on Wednesday. Credit Kevin Hagen for The New York Times
To the Editor:

Re “U.S. Punishes Russia Over Election Hacking” (front page, Dec. 30):

The Obama administration’s sanctions on Russia for meddling in our election put Donald Trump in a very difficult position. If Mr. Trump still wants to be friendly with Russia, he is playing right into its hands and becoming Russia’s patsy.
If Russia ends up undermining and manipulating us once again, it will make Mr. Trump look like a weak, foolish and naïve president and could end up severely damaging American interests.
The sanctions are more of a message to Mr. Trump than to President Vladimir Putin, to show that Russia can’t be trusted.

Huntington Beach, Calif.
To the Editor:

While I applaud President Obama for enforcing sanctions against Vladimir Putin and the Russian hackers, I think there must also be harsh financial sanctions. Why aren’t known Russian assets in the United States frozen? Merely kicking spies or alleged spies out of our country and closing compounds isn’t enough. Mr. Putin must be made to feel the full weight of our government’s and citizens’ disapproval of his actions.
No person or potential political candidate should feel threatened by such a preventable act as hacking. I implore our intelligence and security services to work together for the common good, and for our government to seek avenues of repudiation so egregious they make prospective hackers recoil from future criminal activities.

Burbank, Calif.
To the Editor:

Re “Initially Dismissive, Trump Agrees to a Briefing but Reiterates His Call to ‘Move On’ ” (news article, Dec. 30):
Donald Trump’s cavalier and almost bored response to Russian cyberattacks should raise a big red flag for every American regardless of party. This isn’t something we should “move on” from. This is serious stuff. A hostile foreign government successfully interfered in our national election.
Why aren’t Americans marching in the streets, demanding to know exactly how and why this happened? Why did it take Republican politicians many months, until just now, to take this seriously? It is very, very serious and yet much of the country has been asleep at the wheel.
I plead with every American of every stripe to demand information and evidence about why Russia’s goal was to help Donald Trump get elected and hurt Hillary Clinton. We must demand an investigation into Mr. Trump’s bizarre alignment with Vladimir Putin. If this has been investigated by our intelligence agencies, we as American citizens must see the information they have discovered.
Have Mr. Trump’s relentless abhorrent words, deeds and Twitter inanities so deeply distracted us that we have forgotten who we are?

Chappaqua, N.Y.
To the Editor:

It appears as though President-elect Donald Trump is on a collision course with two powerful and politically savvy members of the Republican Party, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. During the campaign Mr. Trump said that Mr. McCain was “not a war hero,” and he publicly released Mr. Graham’s cellphone number. Now these two senators are calling for a thorough investigation into the possibility that Russian hacking interfered with an American election.
So far Mr. Trump’s response has been that of the police officer trying to discourage public attention: “Nothing to see here, folks. Just move along.” He claims that sooner or later he’ll find the time to get a complete briefing from the intelligence community, so that he can learn the truth. But until that time don’t worry, because he’s working on the real big things that confront our great nation. Plus the Russian hacking is so yesterday’s news.
My guess is that Senators McCain and Graham have already found the time to talk to the right people in the intelligence community, and they already know the truth about the Russian hacking, and the truth is not good.

Glenview, Ill.

Donald Trump: The Russian Poodle - by Nicholas Kristof

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"Frankly, it’s mystifying that Trump continues to defend Russia and Putin, even as he excoriates everyone else, from C.I.A. officials to a local union leader in Indiana. Let’s be clear: This was an attack on America, less lethal than a missile but still profoundly damaging to our system. It’s not that Trump and Putin were colluding to steal an election. But if the C.I.A. is right, Russia apparently was trying to elect a president who would be not a puppet exactly but perhaps something of a lap dog — a Russian poodle.  Now we come to the most reckless step of all: This Russian poodle is acting in character by giving important government posts to friends of Moscow, in effect rewarding it for its attack on the United States.  "So it’s critical that the Senate, the news media and the public subject Tillerson to intense scrutiny.  We must be vigilant and recognize what is afoot!" WOOF!

Read the rest of the story HERE:


SundayReview | Op-Ed Columnist

Donald Trump: The Russian Poodle

In 1972, President Richard Nixon’s White House dispatched burglars to bug Democratic Party offices. That Watergate burglary and related “dirty tricks,” such as releasing mice at a Democratic press conference and paying a woman to strip naked and shout her love for a Democratic candidate, nauseated Americans — and impelled some of us kids at the time to pursue journalism.
Now in 2016 we have a political scandal that in some respects is even more staggering. Russian agents apparently broke into the Democrats’ digital offices and tried to change the election outcome. President Obama on Friday suggested that this was probably directed by Russia’s president, saying, “Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin.”
In Watergate, the break-in didn’t affect the outcome of the election. In 2016, we don’t know for sure. There were other factors, but it’s possible that Russia’s theft and release of the emails provided the margin for Donald Trump’s victory.
The C.I.A. says it has “high confidence” that Russia was trying to get Trump elected, and, according to The Washington Post, the directors of the F.B.I. and national intelligence agree with that conclusion.
Both Nixon and Trump responded badly to the revelations, Nixon by ordering a cover-up and Trump by denouncing the C.I.A. and, incredibly, defending Russia from the charges that it tried to subvert our election. I never thought I would see a dispute between America’s intelligence community and a murderous foreign dictator in which an American leader sided with the dictator.

Let’s be clear: This was an attack on America, less lethal than a missile but still profoundly damaging to our system. It’s not that Trump and Putin were colluding to steal an election. But if the C.I.A. is right, Russia apparently was trying to elect a president who would be not a puppet exactly but perhaps something of a lap dog — a Russian poodle.
In Britain, Prime Minister Tony Blair was widely (and unfairly) mocked as President George W. Bush’s poodle, following him loyally into the Iraq war. The fear is that this time Putin may have interfered to acquire an ally who likewise will roll over for him.
Frankly, it’s mystifying that Trump continues to defend Russia and Putin, even as he excoriates everyone else, from C.I.A. officials to a local union leader in Indiana.
Now we come to the most reckless step of all: This Russian poodle is acting in character by giving important government posts to friends of Moscow, in effect rewarding it for its attack on the United States.
Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, is a smart and capable manager. Yet it’s notable that he is particularly close to Putin, who had decorated Tillerson with Russia’s “Order of Friendship.”
Whatever our personal politics, how can we possibly want to respond to Russia’s interference in our election by putting American foreign policy in the hands of a Putin friend?
Tillerson’s closeness to Putin is especially troubling because of Trump’s other Russia links. The incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn, accepted Russian money to attend a dinner in Moscow and sat near Putin. A ledger shows $12.7 million in secret payments by a pro-Russia party in Ukraine to Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort. And the Trump family itself has business connections with Russia.
It’s true that there will be counterbalances, including Gen. James Mattis, the former Marine commander who has no illusions about Moscow and is expected to be confirmed as defense secretary. But over all it looks as if the Trump administration will be remarkably pro-Putin — astonishing considering Putin’s Russia has killed journalists, committed war crimes in Ukraine and Syria and threatened the peaceful order in Europe.

So it’s critical that the Senate, the news media and the public subject Tillerson to intense scrutiny. There are other issues to explore as well, including his role in enabling corruption in Chad, one of the poorest countries in the world. The same is true of his role in complicity with the government of Angola, where oil corruption turned the president’s daughter into a billionaire even as children died of poverty and disease at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world.

Maybe all this from Russia to Angola was just Tillerson trying to maximize his company’s revenue, and he will act differently as secretary of state. Maybe. But I’m skeptical that his ideology would change in fundamental ways.
This is not only about Tillerson just as the 1972 break-in was not only about the Watergate building complex. This is about the integrity of American democracy and whether a foreign dictator should be rewarded for attacking the United States. It is about whether we are led by a president or a poodle.

Ross Douthat and Maureen Dowd are off today.
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Ein lyrisches Portrait von Hilde Domin
Anne MacDonald Canham



Beijing Airpot

Mr. Tigerli in China

Copyright 2016 by Letizia Mancino
translation by Mary Holmes
All rights reserved  

Yes Betty, either or it seems he wanted to fly only with Singapore Airways.

Boeing or Airbus, it’s just the same isn’t it? Aren’t they both just fat birds with 500 passengers?

Yes, but Singapore Airlines has the most beautiful airhostesses: delicate, fine, graceful…  Mr. Tigerli had looked forward to the flight so much!

So the little man was disappointed?

You just can’t imagine how disappointed he was.
 But thank God one of the hostesses was a pretty Chinese girl. Mr. Tigerli purred loudly but she didn’t hear him because the purring of the Airbus 380 was even louder.

The poor cat!

You’ve said it Betty. Mr. Tigerli was in a very bad mood and asked me for a loud speaker.

I’m sure you can get one in 1st Class.

“”Russian Girl” had even heard you over the roar of the Niagara Falls” I said to Mr. Tigerli. “You are a very unfaithful cat. You wanted to get to know Asiatic girls. That’s how it is when one leaves one’s first love”.

And what did he say to that?

“Men are hunters” was his answer.

Yes, my dear cat, a mouse hunter. And what else did he say?

Not another word. He behaved as if he hadn’t heard me.

The Airbus is very loud.

I told him shortly “Don’t trouble yourself about “Chinese Girl”. There will be enough even prettier girls in China. Wait till we land in Guilin”.

Did he understand you?

Naturally Mr. Tigerli understood me immediately. Yes, sweetheart, don’t worry. They will find you something sweet to eat.

And he?

He was so happy.

No problem going through the immigration control?

Naturally!  Lots of problems. How could I explain to customs that the cat had come as a tourist to China to buy shoes?

Fur in exchange for shoes…

Don’t be so cynical Betty!

Cat meat in exchange for shoes?

I said to the officials. He isn’t a cat, he is Casanova.

He came through the pass control with no trouble!

photos and graphics betty family betty and friend

Is this Mr. Tigerli?

Dare we face the question of just how much of the darkness around us is of our own making? - Betty MacDonald
Betty MacDonald ART Photos of ICONS Amazing Ladies Pinter Betty MacDonald Quotes Famous Quotes by Betty MacDonald Quoteswave 1950s showing Betty MacDonald descending a staircase and other images  betty macdonald betty bard macdonald wurde 1908 in boulder colorado  photos and graphics betty family betty and friend photos and graphics betty family betty grandchild photo of Betty MacDonald and two children in 1950 costumes Click images for alternate views BETTY MacDONALD PHOTOGRAPH SIGNED DOCUMENT 281143  photos and graphics betty family betty and don on vashon  

Betty MacDonald

Take an illustrated day trip through Washington state’s largest city with artist Candace Rose Rardon.

Linda White yes,if my health allows.I have a few problems but is something I have always wanted to do,especially as I reread her books.

Linde Lund

Linde Lund Dear Linda I'll keep you posted.

Bella Dillon

Bella Dillon · Friends with Darsie Beck
I still read Mrs Piggle Wiggle books to this day. I love her farm on vashon.

Lila Taylor

Lila Taylor Good morning...Linde Lund
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