As the reports started to surface about connections between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin the New York Times headline reads "Russian Subplot Raises Intrigue". This follows on Anne Appelbuam's Washington Post column "How a Trump Presidency Could Destabilize Europe" where she highlights Trump's connections to Russia and uses Franklin Foer's column in Slate "Putin's Puppet" to detail some of the allegations.
Applebuam writes "Trump has made multiple forays into the post-Soviet world, investing with oligarchs in Russia and Azerbaijan, staging a Miss Universe contest in Moscow, angling to attract Russian money to his projects in North America. He has also surrounded himself with people whose deep links to the corrupt world of Russian business would normally disqualify them from U.S. politics. He brought in a foreign policy aide, Carter Page, who has long-standing connections to Russian companies, including Gazprom, and has supported the Russian invasion of Ukraine. His campaign manager, Paul Manafort, worked for many years in Ukraine on behalf of Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian president ousted in 2014." She goes on "Trump has begun repeating arguments identical to those used on Russian state television. These range from doubts about the sovereignty of Ukraine -- earlier this week, Trump's campaign team helped alter the Republican Party platform to remove support for Ukraine -- to doubts about U.S. leadership of the democratic world."
We know Trump has said he wouldn't automatically come to the aid of a NATO member if they were invaded totally abrogating the Alliance which has led to headlines in European news outlets like the Daily Mail in London fearing for Europe's security.
On Wednesday the smoke around Trump's connections and contacts got even heavier when Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager said "Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit and he will not be releasing them. It has nothing to do with Russia, it has nothing to do with any country other than the United States and his normal tax auditing process." With this statement there is more and more to indicate there is a fire burning and the flames will soon singe Donald Trump. Just hope the flames don't reach his hair or he will be quickly engulfed.
Many of us of a certain age remember growing up during the cold war and having drills in school where we either all went into the hallways or just ducked under our desks to keep us safe from bombs that would come from the Soviet Union. People were building bomb shelters in their back yards and fear was rampant. It has been a long time since there was such fear of Russia but Vladimir Putin has been saber rattling once again, attacking former members of the Soviet Union and moving troops into Ukraine. Trump's statements about Putin clearly support a stronger Russia. With regard to the hacking of the DNC emails President Obama said "What we do know is that the Russians hack our systems, not just government systems but private systems. What the motives were in terms of the leaks, all that -- I can't say directly. What I do know is that Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin."
Foer writes "Vladimir Putin has a plan for destroying the West--and that plan looks a lot like Donald Trump." He goes on "One of the important facts about Trump is his lack of creditworthiness. After his 2004 bankruptcy and his long streak of lawsuits, the big banks decided he wasn't worth the effort. They'd rather not touch the self-proclaimed "king of debt." This sent him chasing less conventional sources of cash. BuzzFeed has shown, for instance, his efforts to woo Muammar Qaddafi as an investor. Libyan money never did materialize. It was Russian capital that fueled many of his signature projects--that helped him preserve his image as a great builder as he recovered from bankruptcy."
There has always been a truth to the idiom 'where there is smoke there is fire' and Donald Trump's statements and actions seem to be fanning a huge blaze. His entire campaign, as evidenced by the Republican convention, is geared to incite the worst in the American people and to scare them into voting for him. Hitler and Mussolini did the same.
He lies about rising crime rates when they have actually gone down and he threatens to close United States borders to Muslims and other immigrants, deporting eleven million people and building a wall across our Southern Border. He pits one group against another insulting Muslims, Women, African Americans, and Mexicans. He is running on a platform which may be the most regressive in Republican Party recent history. It promises to take away all the progress made by the LGBT community overturning marriage-equality; overturning Roe v. Wade; and ensuring Citizens United, which allows unlimited money into campaigns, remains in force.
Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1933 inaugural address said "We have nothing to fear but fear itself". Today we need to fear the fear Donald Trump is trying to instill and encourage in our fellow Americans. We cannot give into fear but instead must reject it; and to do so we must reject Donald Trump in no uncertain terms.
The only way to do that and move the nation forward is to vote for the vision that history making Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton has put forward. A vision that is progressive and shows a clear understanding of the world. Hillary is running under a banner declaring we are 'stronger together'. We must elect Hillary for many reasons but a major one is she knows the only way to conquer our fears is to support each other and love each other.