Wednesday, September 12, 2018

House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia



House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia by Craig Unger is the second of three books about Donald Trump that I have acquired this year.  It is a hard read in that the author is methodical in investigating and tracing forty years of Donald Trump's business relationships with the Russians, many of whom are members of the Russian Mafia.

Unger's book begins with a congratulatory announcement that Deputy Vyacheslev Nikonov, Molotov's grandson, made to the Russian State Duma, the equivalent of our House of Representatives, on election day, November 9, 2016:
"Dear friends, respected colleagues!" Nikonov said.  "Three minutes ago Hillary Clinton admitted her defeat in US presidential elections and a second ago Trump started his speech as an elected president of the United States of America and I congratulate you on this."
If that isn't an acknowledgement of Russian interference in our elections, I don't know what is.

Ten days before his inauguration, Donald Trump tweeted, "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me.  I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!"

In the first few pages of his book, Unger declared that Trump had everything to do with Russia.  Unger promised that his book would show:

     That Trump allowed his Trump-branded real estate to be used  by the Russians for money laundering.

     That Trump was $4 billion in debt when Russian money bailed him out, revived his business career, and helped launch his venture into politics.

     That Trump provided a home in Trump Tower for members of the Russian Mafia and that they worked out of Trump Tower.

     That Trump was the subject of one or more Soviet intelligence operations that likely produced kompromat (compromising material) regarding his sexual activities.

     That in James Clapper's words, Trump is a "Russian asset" serving Vladimir Putin.

Trump has repeatedly said that he has had nothing to do with Russia.  But at the end of his book, Unger identifies fifty-nine Trump connections to Russia. And Unger details the actions of these Russian connections throughout the book.

After reading this book, and reviewing the sources and documentation cited, I  have to wonder why Trump was never charged with anything in his forty years of doing business with the Russians––money laundering for sure; a likely reason why he refuses to release his tax returns.  I am astounded by Trump's brazenness: that he believes anything he does or has done is above the law.  I am confident, however, that all will be revealed when Mueller completes his investigation, and Donald Trump will finally pay the piper.

                                     --------------------------------

Here's my review of the first of the three books about Trump that I acquired this year,  Fire and Fury:  Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff.

I am currently reading Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward.  It was no accident that Fear was published on the anniversary of 9/11.  Americans do need to be afraid.






Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Day the Dane Banished Shakespeare From the Dining Room



Here's a picture of marital harmony:  my Shakespeare Collection on my side of the dining room, and my wife's Danish Plate Collection on her side of the dining room.  I snapped this picture six and one-half years ago.  And I included it in my April 2012  My Sentimental Library blog post,  Around the Dining Room Table:  A View of My Shakespeare Collection.





As I mentioned in the post, I brought some of these Shakespeare books back with me from England when I retired from the United States Air Force in 1989.  These books, and their brothers and sisters that I have since added, have travelled all over the Morris house since 1989.  They have moved from the living room, to the master bedroom, to the spare bedroom (converted into a library), to the hallway outside of the library, and then to the dining room, where Hamlet and Romeo and all the other Shakespeare characters rested peacefully for six and one-half years.

But not anymore.

In the last six and one-half years, I have added hundreds of books to my library, many of which I acquired when we went toodling on Fridays to antique stores, and thrift stores, and libraries, and bookstores.  And in the last six and one-half years, my wife has added at least a hundred Bing and Grondahl plates and figurines.  And she even started collecting Royal Copenhagen plates and figurines as well.

Soon, the cabinet on her side of the dining room was overcrowded with Danish dinnerware and vases and figurines.  She really really needed another cabinet for her expanded collection.

And then one day last month she found the perfect cabinet!  But unfortunately for Shakespeare, the perfect place to put this cabinet was on my side of the dining room!


Yes.  On that very day, the Dane banished Shakespeare from the dining room!

I had to empty the bookcase that was on my side of the dining room––or what used to be my side of the dining room––and I spread all the Shakespeare books in piles and piles on the dining room table.  I swear Shakespeare gave me one them stern what-the-hell-are-you-doing looks.




And my bookcase, which looked so happy when it was full...



Now looked sad and forlorn––naked, it was! Completely naked!


Yes, a sad day it was:  the day the Dane banished Shakespeare from the dining room!



But I have to admit that her Danish Collection looks pretty cool in the Dining Room.



And she even has cups and plates on the walls in the kitchen:







Now I am not a poor player––nor am I a fool!  Tomorrow as another day.  So I moved––or I should say, my daughter Anita and my grandson Dylan moved–– my bookcase around the corner into the living room.


The bookcase that used to be on this wall we moved to the other side of the living room next to the front door.





My wife's Obama Collection and her oversized books are located on the other wall:


And in the middle of the living room, on the coffee table, are recent books we have acquired:


No.  I can't complain!  And I don't think Shakespeare  and his characters can complain either!