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Fri. November 16, 2018
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The Trump-Russia Fiasco
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A foreign friend of mine asked me about my opinion of Trump. Here is how I responded in writing.  It is not only about Trump (the human) but it is about the entire Trump-Russia election situation.  As you read this, please keep in mind that I have many very good Russian friends. I do not believe that the average, every day Russian citizen represents their government as I don’t believe the same about Americans. I often hope people don’t judge me to be the same as our current POTUS (Trump).

(When asked about my candidate preference…) First of all, Bernie Sanders was my first choice!  He is a successful businessman who has NEVER declared bankruptcy or defauded people out of money like Trump has (Business and government without morality and integrity are nothing but greed and oppression of the masses – that’s my quote J).  He didn’t need campaign contributions; he used his own self-made money. I respect that!  Running a country is similar to running a company or business; they have many of the same elements.  I think Bernie would have been the best person for POTUS.  Of the remaining three (Clinton, Trump, Stein), I didn’t really like any of them but I think Hillary has more experience and less mental health issues than Trump (He would probably claim the “affluenza” defense), and she certainly has better integrity (No one under the microscope can ever look good). Jill Stein also had some good ideas but she lacks experience and reputation.

(When asked about my opinion of Trump & the Russian influence): Trump “bought” the POTUS by1) manipulating voters through big data (ie. The block chains and other manipulations of tracked data), and 2) getting help from Russian hackers who hacked into key states’ voting systems.  He needed both elements to be able to win because without them, Hillary would have won, I think. Trump’s history of dishonesty and bankruptcy should have eliminated him from the presidential election but it did not (the American legal system may need some adjustment and honing).  He settled his fraud case out of court right before Election Day 2016. He defrauded students with his fake online university.  He is also notorious for “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, and for his using his fake non-profit organization’s donation to pay his legal bills when he is sued, and for the fines he is ordered to pay by the court system.

However, I do think Trump is correct that we should try to “make nice” Russia.  Too many Americans are still living in the Cold War Era thinking that Russians are “Commies” and dishonest (A daily reading of American news shows Americans are not extremely honest either…..for example, the Panama Papers).  Russia has the largest amount of millionaires in the world, most living in Moscow.  They have had a free market system for 25 years now, and they are just now starting to feel the social impacts of this new system; the stresses that such a system causes over the quest/greed for money.

Of course, there is government corruption in Russia, but there is here in the US too.  I find it interesting that many activities the US accused the Soviets and Russians of doing (I’m old enough to remember this from the 1970s and 1980s) are the exact same acts the US has been and is still doing to its own citizens (Thanks to Julian Assange and PVT Manning, and other whistleblowers who have suffered for their risks). The Russian free market economy was and still is an untapped income source for international businesses. In fact, Trump has many businesses in Russia, and these felt the financial crunch when the sanctions were levied against Russia in 2014 after the Ukraine Conflict.  So, Trump wasn’t making money either from his business investments he made in Russia.  This further motivated him to ask the Russians to help him win the POTUS (because GREED for money is a GREAT motivating factor). The economic sanctions were levied collectively by the European Union but also singularly by the US. Russia also levied import bans that hurt many European and American business that were still allowed to do business in Russia under the economic sanctions, but Russia said, “Nope, you cannot do business here”.  This also hurt the Russian people, who are just economic “collateral damage”.

I am rather sure that Trump made a deal with the Russians that if they got him into POTUS, he would lift the sanctions against Russia (specifically Putin’s inner circle of extremely wealthy friends who were most affected by the sanctions). Eastern Ukraine has always been rather Russian. The reasons Russia would have made this deal is that 1) Russia’s economy was shrinking because of the sanctions, and 2) Russia’s “bread and butter” is based on oil.  Russian social programs and the government function due to the proceeds of oil sales.  The sanctions against Russia included no sale of replacement parts for the oil drilling rigs, and most of these rigs were purchased from American companies. So, as the parts began to wear out, the Russian oil companies (especially GasProm) could not easily extract oil, therefore, they could not sell much on the world market (but the Russians asked Chinese engineers to design similar replacement parts,  but this took a lot of time for development).  And then the 5 years of oil embargo that mandated that Iran could not sell oil on the world market ended in September 2016.  This flooded the global oil market since Iran started selling oil at a very low price so that they could raise hard currency (US Dollars) to improve their very hurt economy. This further hurt the Russian economy since oil customers could now choose a different supplier (the law of supply and demand).  Oil was selling at about USD30/barrel (it is now only up to about 70USD).  Russia needs at least USD100 per barrel just to break even on its government and social program bills. Russia has drained most of its big money reserve accounts. The long term drop in oil prices has certainly caused devastating effects on countries that rely on income from selling oil on the world market, including Venezuela, which has its own political problems and corruption.

Also, Russia’s currency devalued to the dollar.  At one time, it was at an amazingly high rate of 95 rubles per 1 US dollar (Each bank may have a different exchange rate. The USD/RUB exchange rate was 1:30 before the Ukraine invasion). 

 Since most goods (and travel) are purchased using US dollars as the international purchase currency, the cost of consumer goods in Russia greatly increased while people bought appliances and electronics in bulk (to sell later; again, the law of supply & demand) and people were losing their jobs or taking pay cuts just to keep their jobs because the economy greatly slowed. Many of my clients, friends and students lost their jobs during this time, or they had to greatly tighten their financial belts. For some Russian banks, their supply of USD was greatly limited or cut off because these banks refused to give the names of their American clients to the US government, so the US Federal Reserve refused to sell USD to such banks (as a form of “blackmail” or “leverage”). Many small Russian banks actually closed during the worst of this economic situation.

But Trump wasn’t too “street smart and he allowed his hormones to cloud is otherwise substandard judgment (Please notice that I did not use the word logic here).  The Russians videoed him with various beautiful Russian women in his hotel room. This was released to Trump to show him that the Russians had secret videos of Trump, but he did not know what else the Russians had recorded about him. I’m sure he remembers the not-so-good activities and words he had done and said, and perhaps he was concerned about what was videos or “documented”. This was to make him “behave” and to do his part that he promised to do (lift the sanctions). Videoing Trump was the Russians’ insurance that Trump would do his part.  However, he was not able to deliver the promise of lifting sanctions because of the way the US “checks & balances” work (which work relatively well,  but still need to be honed, obviously since Trump’s past allowed him to become president).  Russia did their part but Trump didn’t deliver his part; a “breach of contract”. 

So, this left Russia in a bind to stimulate their economy since the US and the world sanctions against it are still practiced.  What Trump didn’t realize is that Russia had other options, “Plan B or more” by forming economic trade with other countries such as Venezuela (that does not like the US, and they don’t try to hide that fact). Trump has no “street smarts”; he took a knife to a gun fight with the Russians.  The Russians hung his posterior out over a barrel because of his arrogance and narcissism.  Perhaps he thought that “They will never do that to me because I have lots of money, so they MUST love me!”  However, he forgot about, “Keep your friends close but keep you enemies closer!”

I do think that Trump is similar to Hitler.  Hitler outright killed those he did not like, or who opposed him, or who he felt had a low quality of life. Trump is doing this too by taking away healthcare so that people die.  Trump has taken away healthcare for children of indigent families including a lot of immigrant families (a passive form of ethnic cleansing).  He has taken away educational assistance for children with disabilities (Who remembers the black & white propaganda videos of the German mental asylums? I do). He has taken away the subsidies to help the elderly pay for heat, utilities and prescriptions.  Hitler did an “ethnic cleanse + quality of life cleanse” but Trump is doing an “ethnic cleanse + socioeconomic cleanse + quality of life cleanse” by use of his executive orders and other methods to “Make America Great Again”.  He is trying to kill off anyone who is not VERY healthy, wealthy white people.  All of us “white people” (I am one of these) came here through immigration so he should not be such a hypocrite. 

Hitler also consolidated his power into a dictatorship shortly after being elected. Trump tried this too as soon as he was sworn in. He has still been trying to do it.  He signs executive orders and he also limits communication from government offices.  He has also cut funding to government offices or organizations that he feels are not important such as climate change.  He has made the US a laughing stock around the world to the point that the world is entertaining a new reserve currency instead of the US dollar (which would cause soooooo many problems because international contracts are normally written in US dollars, and the contracts may be for decades with predicted exchange rates. For example, Boeing and Airbus have contracts that may span decades). The US credit rating has been downgraded for the first time in US history, thanks to the Republicans. People in other countries have lost a lot of respect for the US because of Trump. I can say this because I talk to non-American people living in other countries daily in my job.  I always hope that I’m not a “representative of the American government” just because I am American.  I’m not my government, and my personal views and opinions are not reflected in the current US president. 

Traci Seltzer's valuable business experience includes a decade of job titles such internal fiscal and compliance auditor for various government and private sector entities, criminal analyst, and academic teacher in a men’s prison. Additionally, I have over a decade of teaching experience which includes 4 years of online ESL instruction in daily-use English (slang, arguing, conflict in professional & personal situations), industrial & organizational psychology combined with political economics, investor psychology combined with political economics, social psychology, interview English (for students & employment) and international business to fluent adult Russian professionals (mainly businessmen in Moscow), Korean professionals and students (mainly in Seoul), Polish professionals, and Chinese professionals and students via SKYPE and mobile phones. 

Her education achievements includes an MBA (in Leadership & International Business), a Master’s of Science in Psychology, a future Master’s of Education (in International Education; June 2018), a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Relations, and a 140-hour TEFL certificate.

Email: Traci.Seltzer@gmail.com

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