“Exercise the power of God as a Christ-certified believer, the power of the Holy Spirit in you.” – Anonymous, 2018
On the eve of Mother’s Day, May 9 (celebrated in Latin America), I took my newly married niece and nephew-in-law to the Rose Garden Tea Room at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.
This has been a bucket list destination for me, that when I asked if they want to have high tea here, I got a yes and a booking. This tearoom is surrounded by many varieties of roses. One in particular presented itself, a bushy flesh, almost ivory rose variety named Marilyn Monroe, with year 2002, next to another tightly-compact, white rose variety named John F. Kennedy, with year 1965.
This is also where David, a waiter, shared his life principle: “Life is a choice. I am presented with having a great day or a mediocre day. I choose my attitude so that even when it is hard, I choose to make it a great day. After all, I am paid to talk and to walk.”
He has distilled his job’s essence such that to provide great service and when customers take delight in your great service, then, perhaps that translates into a bigger tip. Service first, before money.
It got me thinking about choices, triggered by seeing the roses planted next to each other. Here was John F. Kennedy, a man of power, yet he chose an illicit affair with Marilyn Monroe, even while he was situated in what many Americans consider the highest seat of power, the residence of their elected president. He chose to live outside of his avowed principles of integrity. Had he chosen to remember he has the power of the Holy Spirit in him, perhaps he may not have chosen to have an affair with Marilyn Monroe. But, dead men don’t speak, so we will let that issue rest, and simply use it for illustrative purposes.
President Bill Clinton was linked with Monica Lewinsky, the student intern who worked in the White House, and who had intimate liaisons with Clinton. She tweeted lately that she had been disinvited, after she agreed to the invitation of lifestyle magazine, Town & Country, to attend its social change summit, only to find out that Pres. Bill Clinton had displaced her and attended.
Essential Consultants, LLC and the president’s personal lawyer
Fast forward to the current White House resident, Pres. Donald Trump, and we come to find out that his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has an illusory firm, Essential Consultants, LLC, for the purpose of “funneling funds” using the words of another president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani described it as Michael Cohen “did his job of making this issue go away with Stormy Daniels on October 15, weeks before the 2016 Presidential Election.”
The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson Sorkin on May 9 reported, “As it turns out, companies such as A.T. & T., Novartis, Korea Aerospace Industries, and Columbus Nova—whose largest client is a company controlled by the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who is under U.S. sanctions—had made payments to Essential Consultants adding up to more than four million dollars.”
Oops, $4 million to gain access to the president? The last time I checked, the President’s office is for public purposed-transactions, not for self-dealings, and certainly not to facilitate “favored access” to the federal government’s cache of sanctions and privileges.
Hence, these corporations that were revealed to have contributed to Essential Consultants were quick to label their payments, one for consulting for advice on healthcare, another for merger advice, another for advice on accounting standards on production costs, even if Michael Cohen had no track record nor expertise on any of these issues.
“There are other possible explanations. One is that the companies were paying Essential Consultants because they thought that Cohen could influence Trump, because Trump respected his advice. This scenario is not without shadiness. Cohen does not appear to be a registered lobbyist; and the documentation that Avenatti obtained indicates that Essential Consultants’ dealings were misrepresented to banks. Another explanation is that the companies were paying Essential Consultants because they thought that, for all intents and purposes, it was Trump,” Sorkin continued.
This exposes Cohen to charges of possible bank fraud, money laundering, in addition to his links to Russian oligarchs’ funneling of monies for possible election malfeasance. Issie Lapowsky of Wired Magazine on April 16, 2018 reported, “When Young Mie Kim (professor of journalism) began studying political ads on Facebook in August of 2016—while Hillary Clinton was still leading the polls— few people had ever heard of the Russian propaganda group, Internet Research Agency. Not even Facebook itself understood how the group was manipulating the platform’s users to influence the election. For Kim, a professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the goal was to document the way the usual dark money groups target divisive election ads online, the kind that would be more strictly regulated if they appeared on TV. She never knew then she was walking into a crime scene.”
She also found out that most of these ads targeted voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Virginia and who sought to divide the American electorate.
Current White House resident Donald Trump’s choice
It would seem that the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue has kept many secrets of its past occupants, only to be revealed after, as truth is known. The illicit affair of Kennedy with Marilyn Monroe, the money-laundering case of selling weapons to Iran by Pres. Reagan, the illicit affair of Clinton with Lewinsky, an intern, and for which Clinton was dragged into an unsuccessful impeachment proceeding by the Republicans. Let us not forget the Watergate break-in of the Democratic headquarters by the burglars traceable to Pres. Nixon and how this president kept tapes surreptitiously of White House guests. Recall when Pres. George W. Bush told the American people that we must go to war against Iraq because of the latter country’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.
As to the current White House resident, Trump is presented with a unique choice in his tenure in public office. He can choose to come clean: submit for public scrutiny his federal income taxes, reveal with full transparency what he has done to influence the 2016 presidential election, including his alleged relationships with Stormy Daniels and other women, and to reveal what other illicit choices he has made that will not pass the smell test of public truth and integrity.
Of course, I might be so naïve as to imagine that, when this is the president who has been reported by the Washington Post to make 3,000+ lies in his 400+ days in office.
How naïve might it be for our readers and myself to think that a powerful man just might do this public confession, considering, the choices of president’s lawyers that he has made: the likes of Giuliani who revealed that the president reimbursed Cohen for the hush money he paid to Daniels, essentially validating that the president was linked to her after all, and of course, Cohen whose house and offices were raided by the FBI? Would Trump after all remember his presidential oath of office that he was elected to safeguard the U.S. Constitution?
But, as with anything, I hold out hope that there will be a renaissance from this beleaguered Trump who had to resort to firing James Comey, whom Giuliani described as being fired because he refused to say that the president was not subject to a federal investigation. We now see Vice President Mike Pence eagerly making adulations praising Trump’s leadership to protect the American people, while at the same time, declaring that the special counsel’s investigation of a yearlong has gone on too long without a conclusion.
Pence is mischaracterizing the special counsel investigation, as a year-long investigation has already led to 23 federal indictments, including a jail term for a Dutch lawyer, Alex van der Zwaan, who was prosecuted, pled guilty and tried and now serving a 30 days-prison sentence in Mueller’s Russia probe.
Will Trump trump truth and integrity, as his final ace card, and remake the wholesale taint of his surname as equal to fraud? After all he is the only sitting president ordered by a federal court to pay a settlement of $25 million to 4,000 defrauded students, who went to Trump University to learn supposedly “The Trump’s real estate deals.”
Will he learn from the previous occupant of the White House, Barack Obama, whom television anchors now recall how pure and holy he was, with grace, class, no drama Obama and with elegance? I hold out a special candle on this, as the coherent theme of Trump for the last 15 months in office is to reverse, to rescind and to repeal all the collaborative deals Obama worked on, the latest being the Iran Nuclear deal, lifting sanctions as Iran has shown compliance and verification that no nuclear weapons are being developed to threaten the lives of folks here on earth.
Which will prevail – the dark demons of White House’s past or the light of truth and integrity? President Donald Trump has a choice to lift his name from being synonymous to lies and fraud into its opposite, truth and integrity, after all the first three letters of his name are the first three letters of truth.
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Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, J.D. writes a weekly column for Asian Journal, called “Rhizomes.” She has been writing for AJ Press for 10 years. She also contributes to Balikbayan Magazine. Her training and experiences are in science, food technology, law and community volunteerism for 4 decades. She holds a B.S. degree from the University of the Philippines, a law degree from Whittier College School of Law in California and a certificate on 21st Century Leadership from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She has been a participant in NVM Writing Workshops taught by Prof. Peter Bacho for 4 years and Prof. Russell Leong. She has travelled to France, Holland, Belgium, Japan, Costa Rica, Mexico and over 22 national parks in the US, in her pursuit of love for nature and the arts.