I read last weekend that Donald Trump owns shares in the company building the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Compared to his other holdings, it's a small stake, but nonetheless, if it goes through he'll make plenty of money.
The pipeline's a hot potato because the Standing Rock Sioux oppose its construction near their reservation, on the grounds that "it threatens their public health and welfare, water supply and cultural resources." Even President Obama has now weighed in, saying he's re-considering the route.
Considering Barack Obama has less than two months left as president of the United States, I think it's reasonable to assume that this issue won't be resolved until Donald Trump takes office in January.
Do you really think he'll put Native American rights before his own self-interest?
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there are a truly alarming number of potential conflicts of interest between president Trump and businessman Trump around the world.
Donald Trump is a control freak with an enormous ego who doesn't think rules apply to him.
He (Trump) was asked, during a presidential-primary debate last January, if he'd put his assets in a blind trust if he became president. At the time he said "yes," and then went on to add that he "wasn't sure it would be considered a blind trust if his children Ivanka, Don and Eric (along with corporate executives) were to run his company."
Fact is, it is not a blind trust unless the executive(s) chosen to run the company have no financial relationship with the company owner, an independent trustee, in other words.
Fat chance of that happening. And even if it did, is he suddenly going to get amnesia and forget what assets he's got? Is he suddenly going to become a boy scout and make executive office decisions that don't favour his own best interests?
So we should all get used to the fact that the kids will be in charge (sort of), and he'll continue to be involved in each and every decision that's made or not made. Donald Trump is a control freak with an enormous ego who doesn't think rules apply to him.
Which brings up a very sad fact: In the U.S., conflict of interest laws do not include the president.
He is well within his legal rights to run both the country and his company. There is not a damn thing anyone can do about it.
You could argue that it's corrupt, or that it's unethical, but we shouldn't hold our breath waiting for either Donald Trump or Congress to embrace the notion of ethics, let alone behave ethically. That would be laughable if it wasn't so sad.
Let's face it -- it looks like the billionaire/businessman/wheeler-dealer and now president-elect who commissioned the book, "The Art of the Deal," has outdone himself this time. He may just have hit pay dirt. How long before we see the Trump logo on the American flag?
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