Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Money: The Motive Behind Trump's Love Affair with Murderer Rodrigo Duterte

In the Philippines a reign of terror is underway at the directions of President Rodrigo Duterte.  More than 2,000 have been murdered by police alone.  All one needs to do is accuse someone of being a drug trafficker or drug user and license is granted to have them murdered literally in the streets.  No indictment, no trial, no regard for whether the allegations are even true.  The New York Times has a must read story and accompanying photo series that looks at the horrors being done at the direction of a man Donald Trump wants to bring to the White House.  Here's a taste of what the piece recounts over and over again:
In another neighborhood, Riverside, a bloodied Barbie doll lay next to the body of a 17-year-old girl who had been killed alongside her 21-year-old boyfriend.  “They are slaughtering us like animals,” said a bystander who was afraid to give his name.
What I experienced in the Philippines felt like a new level of ruthlessness: police officers’ summarily shooting anyone suspected of dealing or even using drugs, vigilantes’ taking seriously Mr. Duterte’s call to “slaughter them all.”

Compared to what's happening in the Philippines, Vladimir Putin's political murders look like child's play.  So what is driving Trump's love affair with Duterte?  A piece in the Washington Post suggests money.  Here are article highlights:
Investors looking to buy a condo at Trump Tower in the Philippines would have found, until this week, some high-powered video testimonials on the project’s official website.
There was Donald Trump, in a message filmed several years before he was elected president of the United States, declaring that the skyscraper bearing his name near the Philippine capital would be “something very, very special, like nobody’s seen before.” Then there was his daughter Ivanka Trump, now a senior White House adviser, lavishing praise on the project as a “milestone in Philippine real estate history.”
Four months into President Trump’s tenure, his business relationship with a developer who is one of the Philippines’ richest and most powerful men has emerged as a prime example of the collision between the private interests of a businessman in the White House and his public responsibility to shape U.S. foreign policy.
The potential conflict first came into focus shortly before Trump was elected, when the Philippines’ iron-fisted president, Rodrigo Duterte, named the Trump Organization’s partner on the Manila real estate venture his top trade envoy.
The connection burst back into public view this week, after Trump stunned human rights advocates by extending a White House invitation to Duterte, known for endorsing hundreds of extrajudicial killings of drug users, following what aides described as a “very friendly” phone call.
In a long-term licensing deal, the project’s development company agreed to pay royalties for use of the Trump brand. Trump reported receiving $1 million to $6 million in payments from the project between 2014 and mid-2016, according to his financial disclosures. . . . . Trump left the management of his company to his two adult sons, but he retained his ownership stake and can still withdraw money from his business interests at any time.
 [T]o ethics experts who have warned for months that Trump’s refusal to divest from his business created the potential for his personal financial interests to compete with his public role, Trump’s recent interactions with Duterte serve as a worrisome sign.
“It does look like the way he is handling U.S. policy to the Philippines is consistent with Donald Trump’s business interests,” said Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who is an expert on government ethics. “It is inconsistent with how the U.S. has been relating to Duterte since he came to power. But it is consistent with what is important to Donald Trump.”
“Manila represented a great opportunity for our brand,” Ivanka Trump says in a promotional reel. The video ends with a plug from Donald Trump, who says: “It’s really great working with Century Properties and the Antonio family. True professionals, they really know what they’re doing.” The Trumps and the Antonios also have discussed partnering on new Trump resorts and other projects in the Philippines, Jose Antonio said in interviews late last year.

Disturbing at best.  And what cannot be stressed enough, in my view, is that 81% of evangelical Christians voted for Trump and the baggage that goes with him, including support for a monster like Duterte.  Morally bankrupt doesn't begin to describe these voters.  Please read the New York Times piece.  Yes, it is very disturbing, but one needs to know who Trump may be in bed with.  

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