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Caseythoughts Turkey. Not the country. Tryptophan has taken its toll therefore I will keep Thoughts this week to short manageable bursts. But first, this week’s bumper sticker: “Fake quotes will ruin the internet”-- Benjamin Franklin.

Trump, according to various sources, owes over 400 million dollars in debt, due next year, and apparently a pair of deals to purchase some of his property has fallen through.

Ignoring the emoluments clause in the Constitution (like ignoring the elephant in the room), can Trump be trusted with state security issues after leaving office?

I ask this in a different light than your average media person. I ask as a person who has held some pretty high security clearances in my distant past. To obtain these clearances required a deep background check. I was called in twice as a buck private to “ ‘splain” a few things to the investigators, specifically my “drinking habits” and my connections to known radicals while in college.

I succeeded in mumbling my way past these obstacles and received my top secret clearance. The reason for these questions should be obvious: an alcohol or drug problem can lead to issues of judgment or money, and connections to radicals (whether SDS, Lincoln Brigade, or communist sympathizers), create their own security issues.

But one of the things that didn’t enter my investigation but was considered a prime issue was indebtedness. Owing large amounts of money, or gambling, was a security risk in the eyes of the Army Security Agency (an offshoot of the NSA) and was considered a prime reason for security clearance denial. You are vulnerable to foreign agents, and a quick perusal of the espionage cases in the recent past exposes a lot of money issues.

Is legal debt opposed to gambling debt a security risk? The intelligence field feels it is, and for good reason.

Trump has blown security cover in the past four years ignorantly and blithely and is just as prone to do so out of office. Should he be given access after January 20th? I hope not. Who would want to consult him anyway? The issue of his appointees’ consulting role may be another issue, but a return to the 19th century “To the victor belongs the spoils” can be used to clean the Trump house and get back to a reasonable foreign policy of cooperation versus confrontation. Let our government have its secrets; I think I’d rather a Jonathan Pollard or Eric Snowden sell a small cache of secrets for a pittance than Trump sell us down the road so Putin can pay off his Deutsche Bank loans.

To stay in that realm, I admit that my libertarian bent and admiration for Randian philosophy, may need to be re-examined as we lurch toward a Biden administration.

The last four years have been a major embarrassment for the US in our foreign relations. Yes, the world frequently treated us badly in the past, but bluffing, puffing, and bullying in the last four years has accomplished exactly nothing but a roar from certain groups acting like rowdy British soccer fans.

If we had accomplished “The Deal” it would be different, but let’s face reality. A deal with Russia? No deal. A deal with China? No deal. A deal with North Korea? No deal. A deal with the European Union? No deal. A deal with Arab nations? Only when we dump the Palestinians and their legitimate dreams. Spice that deal with a few F-35s. A deal with Iran? Not with Trump. No deal.

In a nutshell ,the master of “The Art of the Deal” couldn’t deal his way out of a wet paper bag. He huffed and he puffed and he bluffed with a hand that everybody knew was an empty hand.

Do we need to reexamine our rightful place in the world? After ticking practically the entire free world off, we need to reset and this does not mean a return to Obama-land. Obama had no urge or desire to work with Congressional leaders, much less world leaders. This may be Biden’s chance after 40-plus years of experience, to start working closely with world leaders. Biden can hold totalitarians like Xi and Putin at arms- length and observe how cooperation and collaboration can outpace and outperform bluff and sputter.

Rejoining the TPP, the WHO, and renegotiating tariff and nuclear treaties with an open mind and open hand, will hopefully bring rewards slowly and surely. I’ll admit Trump did open our eyes to this issue. It’s now up to Biden, and the world is watching.

One quick, sad and frightening note before we move into a new week. The CDC warnings about large gatherings and family get togethers have an historic background. The 1918-19 flu epidemic had severe ‘second wave’ spikes in occurrence and deaths after initially leveling off. This was proven in dozens of cities and was attributed to lackadaisical public attitudes toward containing the virus. If you are worried as we head into the holiday season, that worry is justified.

Take care of each other, now, more than ever. Thanks for listening.
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