A Man with No Plan

There was a time when Comrade Drumpf had a plan to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

There was a time when he told Greta van Sustren,

I do know what to do and I would know how to bring ISIS to the table or, beyond that, defeat ISIS very quickly…And I’m not gonna tell you what it is tonight.

There was a time when he told Simon Conway,

There is a way of beating ISIS so easily, so quickly and so effectively and it would be so nice…. I know a way that would absolutely give us absolute victory … The problem is people will take the idea and run with it and forget where it came from…

There was a time when Drumpf said he even knew more about ISIS than the generals.

So now that Comrade Drumpf had the election won for him, now was the time for his grand plan to defeat ISIS to be revealed. This was the time for his plan to so easily and quickly and efficiently defeat ISIS was to be unveiled. This was the time for his plan to give us absolute victory was to be unleashed onto a grateful nation.

And the time came for that plan when this Presidential Memorandum was released.

And his plan calls for….

[drum roll]

…for the National Security Council…

[dramatic trumpet and coronet fanfare]

…and the Homeland Security Council to…

[sounds of angelic signing]

…to submit to the Secretary of Defense…

[fireworks bursting in glorious Technicolor]

…within thirty (30) days…

[a hush of awed reverential silence now descends]

…a preliminary draft of the Plan to defeat ISIS.

Yep, that’s it.

According to Section 2, subsection (ii) of the Presidential Memorandum, Drumpf’s grand plan is to have his Administration come up with a draft plan.

There was a time when Drumpf had plan to defeat ISIS.

That time was “never”.

 

 

 

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A Plan On Legal Standing

During this first week of the Drumpf Debacle, an organization filed a lawsuit against Drumpf alleging his continued ownership in his business interests violates the Emoluments Clause in the United States Constitution.

One obstacle this lawsuit will have to overcome is the question of standing. For a person to sue another entity, that person has to show it has been harmed in some way. So, does this organization that filed the lawsuit have standing? Has it been harmed by Drumpf taking money from foreign powers (i.e. by having foreign officials stay in Drumpf-owned hotels)?

Michael Dorf, writing in Newsweek, says yes in this article.

Michael McConnell, appearing on National Public Radio, says no in this story.

For this post, I would like to offer my plan on how to sue Drumpf for enriching himself due to the governmental position he holds and how to have standing.

The basis for this plan is the news item that Drumpf’s Florida resort, Mar-A-Lago, has decided to hike its initiation fee to $200,000. This fee had been “only” $100,000, but was raised to $150,000 sometime during 2016 (Reuters says June, CNNMoney says September). So, in the course of a year, when the owner of the organization that runs the resort becomes a hot commodity by being named a major political party’s presidenital nominee and then ascends to the office of the President of the United States, it’s just pure coincidence that said resort raises its initiation fee the same time it sees an uptick in membership.

Yeah, pure coincidence. Just like the pure coincidence that of the seven countries Drumpf listed in his ban (Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya), none of those countries have any business dealings with Drumpf. However, Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers is not mentioned in Drumpf’s Executive Order. The Kingdom of Saudia Arabia is also home to, according to the story linked above, “…several limited liability companies [of the Drumpf Organization] in preparation for an attempt to build a hotel in Saudi Arabia.”

Okay, back to Mar-A-Lago.

It is true that membership to Mar-A-Lago is not open to the public. To be considered for membership, one has to be sponsored by an existing member. So, imagine if you will, that back in January 2016, Donald, a member, invited Carlos to join Mar-A-Lago. Carlos, being a somewhat successful salesman of refurbished accordions, had no issue with paying an initiation fee of $100K. However, as bureaucracies run slow and paperwork takes time, it has taken a year to work through Carlos’s application and he is now asked to pony up $200K for his initiation fee.

It can be argued in court that the doubling of the price of a Drumpf-owned resort is solely due to the increased luster in Drumpf’s brand after his November 2016 victory. This additional fee will go into the Drumpf Organization’s coffers which will ultimately make its way into Drumpf’s bank account. Therefore, Drumpf has profited from his position. The person who has been hurt by this is Carlos – or any other prospective member – who now has to pay a doubling of a fee.

It may not be a perfect standing, but I bet it goes a smidge farther than what the people at the CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) are claiming: that Drumpf’s unethical behavior is harming them because they have to spend resources documenting and fighting against his unethical behavior.

A Drop in the Standings

Only a week into the debacle that is the Drumpf Administration and he has already done wonders to the international reputation of the United States of America.

In short, he has shredded it.

This week, Drumpf, in an interview with ABC News, said that he believes that torture, and more specifically the barbaric practice of waterboarding, works.

It saddens me to no end that I now live in a time when an American president condones the use of torture. That’s the sphere of people like Assad, Hussein, Putin, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Pinochet.

Other people have taken notice of the words Drumpf has uttered and have done something historical. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a magazine that has its logo the Doomsday Clock, a representation of how close the world is to its demise. Since its inception in 1947, the minute hand of the clock has moved forward and backward to represent the growing or decreasing global tensions and the likelihood of the world being destroyed.

In 2016, the Clock stood at three minutes to midnight. At the start of 2017, the folks who run the Clock took the historical measure of moving the minute hand closer to midnight by thirty seconds so that the Doomsday Clock now sits at 11:57.30. This was the first time the Clock had been moved in an increment of less than a minute. As stated in their official announcement, the movers of the Clock’s hands said that this decision was made for one simple reason…

The board’s decision to move the clock less than a full minute—something it has never before done—reflects a simple reality: As this statement is issued, Donald Trump has been the US president only a matter of days…
Just the same, words matter, and President Trump has had plenty to say over the last year. Both his statements and his actions as president-elect have broken with historical precedent in unsettling ways. He has made ill-considered comments about expanding the US nuclear arsenal. He has shown a troubling propensity to discount or outright reject expert advice related to international security, including the conclusions of intelligence experts. And his nominees to head the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency dispute the basics of climate science.
In short, even though he has just now taken office, the president’s intemperate statements, lack of openness to expert advice, and questionable cabinet nominations have already made a bad international security situation worse.

Yes, words matter.

A Leaky Purpose

As I wrote earlier in this post about leaks within the Drumpf Administration and the sources of that information, I inquired, “So why tell this tales? What is to be gained?”

Here, I offer three possibilities.

The first reason why someone might leak information embarrassing to and mocking of the White House is because they are making it up.

One actor that might be using that reason is the owner of the Twitter account @WhiteHouseLeaks. Purporting to be a mid-level staffer within the Drumpf White House, the tweets this person has been putting out paints an office run by an egotistical, petty, and self-aggrandizing man. The Daily Koz has more on this account with this story.

Is this Twitter account and the person behind it a legitimate leaker? At the moment, we cannot tell so the possibility does exists that this person is a fake. Of course, the possibility equally exists that this person speaks more truth than his boss (which given Drumpf’s divorced relationship with the truth would not be that difficult).

A second reason why someone might leak out information that paints Drumpf in a less-than-flattering light is because they truly want to publicize the misdeeds and foibles of Comrade Drumpf. My cases in point here are this story from The Washington Post that I linked to in an earlier post that related about what happened inside the White House on the day after the Inauguration related to Drumpf’s anger. The other example is this story (also from the Post) where it is related the Drumpf pressured the acting director of the National Park Service to find additional photos of the crowd at the Inauguration because Drumpf, according to the story,…

…believed that the photos might prove that the media had lied in reporting that attendance had been no better than average.

The Post’s sources for this story of pressure are identified as “…three individuals who have knowledge of the conversation.” Not one. Not two. But a trio of people came forward to the newspaper to tell tales out of school. That’s pretty good confirmation of a tale when you can get three people to confirm it. Heck, it only takes the confirmation of two people to convict someone of treason, according to Article III Section 3 of the United States Constitution.

I have only listed a pair of examples. This phenomenon of folks with access within the Administration running to the press with their tidbits of damning inside information is to such an elevated degree that it has even drawn the Post’s Chris Cilliza (he of the column “The Fix”) to write in this piece that…

…I’ve never seen so much leaking so quickly — and with such disdain for the president — as I have in the first six days of Donald Trump’s presidency.

“Disdain”. Yeah, that’s a good word.

However, there is a third possibility and it is here that the press will have to watch themselves. This final reason as to why someone might leak information to the press is because they are attempting to humiliate the press. I offer no proof, but I do offer this hypothesis.

During the last week, press reports came out that the Drumpf Administration was planning on reinstating so-called “black sites”, secret prisons located in foreign countries so that terrorism suspects could be held and interrogated using techniques that would be illegal if done in American facilities. This story from The New York Times uses the word “leaked” in the headline in reference to the draft document outlining the reinstatement and it attributes “three administration officials” as the source for the claim that the draft document was circulated among the staff at the National Security Council.

What if this draft document was handed to the press in an effort to discredit said press. The plan is that the Times, Post, and a host of other media outlets breathlessly tout this document and what it means only for Drumpf and his minions to offer conclusive proof that the document is a fake thus bringing scorn and ridicule on the press.

I grant you that this hypothesis may be granting more cunning and strategical thinking to the Keystone Cops currently residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but they did win, so that’s saying something about their shrewdness.

 

How Insecure Can You Get?

Look, I will be the first to admit that I am not a grand scholar of presidential history so I may be on shaky ground here, but I will go ahead anyway.

I don’t know if this has ever occurred in the White House Press Office, but the Drumpf Administration put out a press release highlighting all the positive blurbs the press has thrown its way.

As if the office of the President of the United States was some sort of reality television show, the Drumpf Mouthpiece Organ breathlessly trots out quotes like…

“What Trump Got Right On Day 1” – Chicago Tribune

“57% Of Likely U.S. Voters Approve Of President Trump’s Job Performance” -Rasmussen Reports

“A Majority Of Americans Who Listened To President Trump’s Inaugural Address Gave The 16-Minute Speech A Positive Review” – Washington Examiner

You almost expect the Press Office to mention how many stars the Inaugural Speech received or what their score on Rotten Tomatoes was.

However, just like an experienced movie producer, the Drumpf Propaganda Machine cherry-picked their quotes to the point of manipulating their actual meaning.

My example for your review is the actual first blurb used in the release. From The Atlantic, the press release uses the quote that Drumpf is “…Coming Out As A Winner On Many Issues…”

Oddly enough, the folks over at Drumpf Central don’t mention the rest of the paragraph from The Atlantic (story here) which goes as follows:

Some of these victories may prove to be pyrrhic. Getting shaky and unprepared nominees confirmed is a good way to produce shaky and unprepared Cabinet secretaries. Retaining manufacturing jobs works well until companies start automating and laying people off anyway.  In other cases, it’s simply too early to be too confident. The chaos within the West Wing…bodes ill for an effective administration. Meanwhile, [Drumpf’s] early steps in other areas may still fail, or undo him later. His foreign-policy moves continue to inspire queasiness, as do continued reports about ties to Russia.

The first line of that story is actually “… the…presidency is off to a rocky start…”

Gee, funny how that quote didn’t make the cut.

A Leaky Start

IMHO, every Administration has to deal with leaks, those pesky subordinates who just feel the need to blab to the press about this thing or that thing.

It appears that the Drumpf Administration – not even a week old – has some drips they need to fix.

My example for today comes from a story in Tuesday’s Washington Post. In it, the reporters give the readers an account of Drumpf’s behavior on Saturday when reports of the smaller-than-Obama inaugural crowds were surfacing and the larger-than-Drumpf crowds at the Women’s March were occurring. In the story, Drumpf is described as “…the flashes of anger began to build” and he “grew increasingly and visibly angered.”

“This account”, the reporters write, “comes from interviews with nearly a dozen senior White House officials and other…advisers and confidants, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity…”

This picture of Drumpf is not pretty as it shows a petty individual quick to anger at the slightest slight. Granted this is nothing new as Hillary Clinton famously said, “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons”.

However, it is one thing for a political opponent to denigrate an individual, but it quite the kettle of fish when your own officials, advisers, and confidants tell members of the press you can become unhinged because people are mocking the size of your…crowd.

The story goes on to detail – through the same anonymous sources – of a rift and power struggle between Kellyanne Conway (Counsellor to the President) and Jared Kushner (Senior Advisor…and son-in-law…to the President).

So why tell these tales? What is to be gained?

Obviously for the Post, the story makes for good reading. Conflict and drama always sells.

But what about the sources? What’s their angle?

I don’t know. I wish I had some thoughtful, deep, and terrific insight that I could impart, but I have nothing. What I can say is that this Post story shows that there are folks in Drumpf’s inner circle who have no issue with phoning their contacts in the media and describing all the pettiness that appears to now live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

 

Men and Women in Suits

Well, that didn’t take long.

On the first full working day of Comrade Drumpf’s stint as President, he is hit with a lawsuit by the folks over at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

This lawsuit asserts that Drumpf is violating the Emoluments Clause, a constitutional provision that prohibits federal officials from accepting “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever” from a foreign state without congressional approval.

By mere fact that members of a foreign government are staying at a Drumpf-owned hotel in Washington, D.C. (or anywhere in the world), it is enough that Drumpf is accepting an emolument (fancy name for a profit, salary, or fee) and is therefore violating the document that he swore to protect, uphold, and defend on January 20.

Stay tuned for how this legal matter works out, but hey, this isn’t the only legal game in town when it concerns Drumpf.

Drumpf is also currently engaged in litigation with Geoffrey Zakarian and Jose Andres over a restaurant deal at Drumpf’s Washington hotel.

Plus, Drumpf is being sued for defamation by Summer Zervos.

There almost would have been a third legal cloud over Drumpf’s perfect hair, but he paid out $25 million to settle class-action lawsuits against his – I don’t even know how to classify it – Drumpf University for deceptive practices.

I wonder what the record is for the number of lawsuits against a sitting occupant of the Oval Office.

P.S. Has anyone else noticed that Drumpf has not mentioned China at all on his Twitter feeds or in any of his executive proclamations. Weird, huh? Please let me know if I just happen to be missing anything.

Stars and Lies Forever

At his first press conference, held in front of the stars of the fallen at the Central Intelligence Agency, Comrade Drumpf lied like a rug.

And for no good reason – which makes his lies all the more intriguing.

I had an earlier post that talked about his lie when he broke out his “alternative fact” that the media “…sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community” when in fact Drumpf had tweeted on more than one occasion blistering attacks on the intelligence community.

However, there were other fibs in that speech.

Prior to the lie about the media starting his feud, Drumpf again asserted – falsely – that he was against the war in Iraq. In his remarks at the CIA, Drumpf said, “I wasn’t a fan of Iraq.  I didn’t want to go into Iraq.”

The website snopes.com has rated this statement “false”.

Then Drumpf went back to his falsehoods about the crowd for his Inauguration. He said that “The rest of the 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument, was packed.”

No, Mr. Drumpf, it was not packed. Here’s the picture that shows your “packed” Mall.

However, in a truly bizarre twist (and considering all that has happened so far, it takes quite a bit now to call something Drumpf does as “bizarre”), Drumpf started to lie about the weather at his Inauguration. While supposedly trying to mend fences with the workers at the CIA, Drumpf rambles on about the precipitation at his speech when he says this:

God looked down and he said, we’re not going to let it rain on your speech.

In fact, when I first started, I said, oh, no.  The first line, I got hit by a couple of drops.  And I said, oh, this is too bad, but we’ll go right through it.  But the truth is that it stopped immediately.  It was amazing.  And then it became really sunny.

No, Mr. Drumpf, it did not stop raining. It did not become “really sunny.” Here’s the video that proves it.

Just wrap your mind around this for an instant. If Comrade Drumpf is so easily willing to lie about things that are demonstrably provable (the location of a crowd in relation to the Washington Monument, the start of rain), then the possibility is near 100% that he will lie about things and events that cannot be easily proved.

Such as whether he groped women without their consent.

Such as whether he owes money to Russian business and/or government interests.

Such as whether he really did discriminate against blacks.

Such as whether he really did pay prostitutes to pee on a bed in Moscow that President Obama once slept in.

In Less Than 36 Hours, the First Insult

I had written an earlier post that posed a few questions about the incoming Drumpf Administration. One of those queries was “Who will be the first person Drumpf insults?”

Less than thirty-six hours after being sworn in as the Leader of the Free World, we have our answer.

The answer is the members of the press.

Drumpf, while speaking at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and while standing in front of the stars that represent the personnel of the CIA who have fallen in the service of their country, took the majority of his time in front of this sacred space to lash out against the press – one of the few organizations so important to the lifeblood of our country that they are explicitly mentioned in the United States Constitution.

Drump said

They [the media] are among the most dishonest human beings on earth.

Drumpf labelled the media as dishonest because he said the media “…made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community.”

Really? The media manufactured this feud?

Did the media make it up when Drumpf tweeted the following on January 11?

Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?

Did the media make it up when Drumpf accused the intelligence community of leaking when he tweeted the following on January 8?

Before I, or anyone, saw the classified and/or highly confidential hacking intelligence report, it was leaked out to . So serious!

Did the media make it up when Drumpf accused CIA Director John Brennan of leaking classified information when he tweeted (part one / part two) the following on January 15?

“Outgoing CIA Chief, John Brennan, blasts Pres-Elect Trump on Russia threat. Does not fully understand.” Oh really, couldn’t do…

much worse – just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes. Not good! Was this the leaker of Fake News?

Drumpf, in his own words and tweets, created this feud. The media is only reporting what Drumpf himself has written.

Drumpf may have labeled the media as “among the most” dishonest folk and the only reason he did not use the superlative “most dishonest human being on earth” is because that spot is reserved for himself.

A Batting Average of .055

Dear Drumpfkins, get used to watching your beloved leader make and break promises.

He doesn’t care about you and he never did/has/will. He said what he needed to say so that you would cast your vote for him and now he doesn’t need you anymore.

I was going to take a look at all the promises Drumpf made about what he would do on his first day as President, but the fine folks at ThinkProgress have already done the heavy lifting.

According to their analysis, Comrade Drumpf made thrity-six promises about what he would do on January 20, 2017, his first day in office.

He ony kept two of them.

Among the promises he broke (and get used to the words “Drumpf”, “broken”, and “promise” being in close proximity to each other for next 3 1/2 years) are…

…Drumpf did not label China a currency manipulator,

…Drumpf did not issue a regulation stating that for every new federal regulation, two must be eliminated,

…Drumpf did not cancel billions in dollars in payment to the United Nations,

…Drumpf did not propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution imposing term limits on Congress

…Drumpf did not cancel federal funding to Sanctuary Cities; and

…Drumpf did not commence the removal of “the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country”.

The two pledges he did keep were to:

halt any new federal regulations, and

…impose a hiring freeze in the federal government.

Actually, there was a thirty-seventh promise broken. Drumpf had said his Day One would be the first day he was President. Actually, in his speech at Gettysburg, the term he used was “the first day of my term in office”, which would be the 20th of January. However, that goal post – and his new “Day One” – has been moved to Monday, January 23, according to this story, which says…

Although Trump campaigned on promises to get to work immediately, Trump officials have said they expected Monday as the first big workday of the new administration, his effective Day One.

Because words and promises and pledges apparently don’t mean anything to Drumpf.

That’s about the only thing you can count on when Drumpf opens his mouth.