The recent spate of anti-Trump disclosure books has made my convalescence from recent knee surgery the chance to do a lot of background reading on what has to be one of the most bazaar Presidencies ever foisted on our democracy.
Of course, coming amidst the melee of charges and tweets, the pending Kavanaugh confirmation hearings add another meanly divisive twinge to our two political parties dialoguing, something which should never have reached this intensity given the clear stare decisis on Roe. I will perforce have to leave that sorry episode for history to decide if confirmation occurs next Thursday, September 20th as scheduled.
The list of Trumpian thumping books is going to rapidly enlarge, but among the ones I have read is one entitled House of Trump, House of Putin by Craig Unger, which was reviewed by Shane Harris of the Washington Post on August 17th. Harris says that:
Unger believes that Trump was compromised by Russia as early as the 1980s, when the Russian money laundering through his properties probably began. “It’s hard to imagine Donald Trump had no knowledge whatsoever about what was going on,” Unger writes, as hundreds of millions in Russian investment flowed into Trump’s coffers. Trump evinced an “eagerness to turn a blind eye to practices that allowed the Russian mob to launder money.”
There’s never been a proven allegation that Trump was involved in or knew of money laundering through his businesses. But remember, Unger implores, Trump worked at the upper end of Manhattan real estate development. That’s not to say he engaged in organized crime, but he certainly knew what it looked like.
The richer Trump got, the deeper he sank into the Russian criminal underworld, which after the fall of the Soviet Union rose up to form the ruling class, now under Putin’s control.”
This book and others on Trump’s dalliance with the Russians postulate the recruitment of Trump by Putin and his minions so that Trump became a primary asset in the Russians efforts to influence American foreign and domestic policies.
The process so painstakingly elucidated by Unger is how Putin and his aides saw the potential for cooption in Trump and how they provided all the incentives to bring him along into full blown cooperation with the objectives they wished to achieve.
In fact the Newsweek review of 9/17/18 is very specific on Unger’s opinion.
In House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia, veteran journalist and author Craig Unger names 59 Russians as business associates of Trump (who has claimed he has none) and follows the purported financial links between them and the Trump Organization going back decades.
The Trump White House did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s requests for comment. In February 2017, Trump issued a blanket denial to questions about Russian money and his business. “I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away,” he said. “And I have no loans with Russia. I have no loans with Russia at all.”
Newsweek spoke with Unger about ties he claims exist between the Russian mafia, President Vladimir Putin and the Trump Organization, as well as what a guilty verdict for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort could mean for the future of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Key? Manafort could start the process of bringing Trump down. Pictures tell a lot; go to page 148 of Unger’s book and start scanning the 24 pages of color pictures of Trump and the Russians.
What I find fascinating reading about this progression of commercial and venial treats allegedly offered by the Russians to Trump is how they suggest a perfect congruency with the legendary research of the late BF Skinner, the American psychologist.
Many regard Professor Skinner as the most famous psychologist of the 20th century. His work on behavioral motivation which triggers human and animal behavior are basis of scholarly texts for study all over the world.
As an extensive new article on his work reports, “Skinner wasn’t interested in understanding the human mind and its mental processes—his field of study, known as behaviorism, was primarily concerned with observable actions and how they arose from environmental factors. He believed that our actions are shaped by our experience of reward and punishment, an approach that he called operant conditioning. The term ‘operant’ refers to an animal or person ‘operating’ on their environment to affect change while learning a new behavior.”
In short, by carefully offering treats which please people or animals they will relentlessly predict their subjcts behavior.
The time line is very long. As the Harris review’s headline suggests, “Signs of Trump-Putin collaboration, starting years before the campaign?”
From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013
By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
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