2/15/18

In the NY Times this morning, the lead editorial's headline asks why President Trump seems blind to Russia's threat. In response I sent the letter below, with some additions due to the space availability:

Mr. Trump is NOT blind to Russia’s threat: he IS Russia’s threat. Whether as
a contractor for President Putin, or as a sympathetic coordinator with him,
Trump has consistently acted in Russia’s interest and against the interests
of the United States. Mr. Trump has even modeled his recent “infrastructure”
plan on the old Soviet Union’s dissipation of public properties to
politicians and their cronies, people now known as oligarchs. The idea is as
ingenious in its evil as brutal in its consequences. The Soviet Union
legally “sold" its institutions and resources to the oligarchs at ludicrous
prices, rendering vast numbers impoverished and unemployed. Trump will do
much the same: any piece of infrastructure that a favored politician or
crony wants will “need” repair or replacement. The oligarch gets the job,
and thereafter, for nothing more than the cost of the (nonunion) repair, in
all but name owns the road, bridge, railroad or whatever. 
We have already seen trials of this approach, such as the “contract” with a tiny company
from Whitefish, Montana to repair Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure. This incredible selection became less puzzling when we learned that the little hamlet of Whitefish was also home to Trump's Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke. No link between Zinke and the tiny company there has been found, but that isn't surprising. It's child's play for any company to hide its financial ownership.The US, it turns out, is the world's second most secretive company for financial information (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-finance-secrecy-index/global-study-names-switzerland-as-capital-of-bank-secrecy-idUSKBN1FJ2I0).  

It used to be said that the sale of Russia’s infrastructure to the oligarchs
was the greatest theft in human history. But Mr. Trump’s infrastructure plan
will certainly make his America Great Again.

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