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The End of the Trump Presidency

As of Thursday, 8 June 2017, the Trump Presidency has reached a point where it has no allies. Well before this, Ryan and McConnell had alternately duped Trump into backing stupid ideas (Ryancare) by stroking his ego, or turned their backs on his agenda (taxes and infrastructure). Now they have the cover they need to simply walk away.  And they will.  These are no men of honor.

They’ll still pay lip service to doing the right thing, but they have no intention, and now no motivation, to actually lift a finger to fix anything. Within weeks, Washington DC will be every man for himself.

 This is not a pity party. Much of what we are seeing is Trump’s own doing. Through his open display of ineptitude, undercutting his own people and his mindless tweeting, Trump has made himself easy prey. If he had the least inkling to listen and learn over the last two and a half years, he would not be where he is today.

He won’t be impeached. There is nothing apparent right now which would be impeachable. In fact, he is more useful to his enemies, and those who have abandoned him, in office than he would be if he resigned.

But between James Comey and the news networks’ drama with their dipshit, countdown clocks, there will be almost no place left for the Administration to work its will.

There will be no wall, but we already knew that.

There will be no tax cuts. If there are they will be offset by Ryan’s incredibly stupid import tax.

There will be no real improvements to infrastructure.

There will be little done in the way of improving our position internationally.

Obamacare will remain intact or 80% intact. Again, thank you Speaker Ryan!

The budget will not be cut by one, thin dime.

The deficit and debt will explode as both parties in congress will embark on a vote-buying frenzy the likes of which we have never seen before. Even Obama’s monumental irresponsibility will pale.

History and Context

Source: The Daily Coin, thedailycoin.org. They have an interesting article here. http://thedailycoin.org/2017/05/14/james-comeys-brother-works-law-firm-audited-clinton-foundations-taxes/

Among the most egregious crimes Hillary Clinton committed by keeping her illegal and unsecured server during her time as SecState, was her concealment and destruction of historical records. While not as many people will die from this as those who might due to her sharing of intelligence documents, there are now historical gaps in the record.

She did slick her server, of course. She knew the device was illegal and that she held the information on it illegally. So by trying to cover her misdeeds, she not only made it easier to prosecute her, but when it is important to know what was said when, and by whom, we won’t have the information. And thanks to Comey, the damage will be forever buried.

But these historical documents are as much the concern of the Federal Code and the Federal Records Act as any of the classified documents she stole and destroyed. None of these documents belonged to her. They were entirely the property of the U.S. Government.

There are a few decent, thinking human beings left in this world who understand the importance of keeping a clear history of events for our benefit and the benefit of future generations. Clinton is not in their number. It is by DNA alone that Clinton qualifies as a human being.

Comey seems to have learned a lot from the sham investigation into HRC’s illegal servers. And it has served him well in the estimation of dull-witted people.

For starters, many actions taken by Comey mirror Clinton’s in both intent and motivation. And his explanations even surpass HRC in terms of vanity and self-righteousness. He is nowhere near as slick as Clinton. But he’s trying anyway.

Working backward from this week:

In his congressional testimony, Comey stated affirmatively that he kept memos of his meetings with President Trump because he feared Trump might lie about their conversations. With only one exception, the pleas for loyalty (not a target of these hearings), their stories jive almost perfectly. Not a whole lot of lying going on if you believe either of them.

But beyond that, our previous president had been caught repeatedly throughout his tenure lying outright about all kinds of things. Among the worst could arguably be, “everyone will save $2500 on the health insurance”, “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor,” and the biggee: denying the administration’s knowledge or involvement in Operation Fast and Furious. (This debacle resulted in the death of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. It also got a bunch of those little Mexican people killed as well. Offense was compounded by the harassment and denigration of Brian Terry’s family for pursuing the truth about his death.)

And those are just three of the countless whoppers told by BHO and the spineless people who served under him, including James Comey.

But Comey took no notes of his conversations with BHO. He also kept no record of his interrogation of Hillary Clinton for her crimes. She wasn’t even put under oath. And Clinton can’t go from here to there without lying, stealing or extorting. You can call Trump a lot of things. I make a habit of beating him up often. The one reputation he hasn’t earned is that of a liar. That doesn’t mean he is or isn’t a liar. But he hasn’t had the time to establish himself as one, at least not in his capacity as President.

But poor Jim was worried, so he kept notes.

The Self-Appointed AG

Comey’s story about his dealings with Trump, in sworn statements has gone from never having been pressured to stop any investigation in the spring – to – I felt quite sure he was ordering me to stop the investigation as of early summer. When was he lying? Both statements cannot be true.

source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/22492551342

 So many fascinating things pour off the transcripts here.

First when asked why he didn’t take his impressions and his memos to the DOJ, Comey gave two reasons. First he didn’t want investigators to get the impression the President of the United States wanted the investigation to move in a specific way.

Well! I’d like to thank my personal god that James Comey is the man he is. Imagine the burden he suffered. He was the only FBI guy who could have such knowledge and still remain honest and forthright. Oh heavens! What if all those average, mortal agents heard the president wanted to see Flynn left alone! They don’t possess Comey’s super human fortitude! They would be crippled by the knowledge and would stop investigating.

Oh! Oops! That’s right, they did hear it. Months ago. Comey had already leaked that conversation too. And by some miracle, the investigation continues unabated.

So instead of reporting what he thought was interfering with an investigation, which he saw as his duty (his own words) he decided to keep things to himself. After all, we only had an acting AG at the time. The acting AG was still Comey’s superior and was the correct authority to report to. But Comey appointed himself Deputy Extra Double Secret Attorney General and reported the potential offense to himself and his immediate staff.

So worried was poor Jim about doing the right thing, when he was fired from the FBI he took government documents with him and had a friend leak them to the media.

(Oh yeah, I almost forgot about this self-appointment. Comey appointed himself HMFIC of Ignoring the Federal Records Act. There was a vacancy now that Clinton was gone. He decided the memos he’d written in his capacity as FBI director about official meetings with a sitting president, were his personal property. Those memos were suddenly the equivalent of Comey, sitting in his pajamas, scribbling in his diary about hanging out with his old pal Don at a barbecue. “Dear dairy: spent the day by the pool with Donny. He’s DREAMY! I think he likes me. Tee-hee.”

But in reality he was writing about official business, which, according to Comey, showed possible corruption on the part of the president. In order to use these memos as a weapon of personal vengeance he had to break more rules. So, abracadabra, presto! The memos are now personal notes, his to do with as he wished.)

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But Wait! There’s More!

Comey’s testimony was a circus of self-impeachment and mind-blowing hypocrisy.

  1. Comey volunteered that Loretta Lynch requested he lie to the press and to congress, calling the investigation of Clinton’s illegal servers as “a matter” and not “an investigation”. Comey said he was confused and shocked by the order. This is a lie or gives lie to Comey’s “reason” for taking notes about Trump. Because when shocked or confused by a government official, we already know Comey takes note and leaks them. He did neither in the case of the corrupt lackey, Loretta Lynch.

And he was in no way confused by Lynch’s clear abetting in the Clinton cover-up. Unless he forgot all his years as a prosecutor and his years and head of the nation’s premiere investigative service.

     2. “I am not a legal scholar,” says Comey. WTF!?!? A law degree? Years as an attorney? Years as a federal prosecutor? One of the brave legal minds that held the line against making policy decisions behind AG Ashcroft’s back? Years as head of the FBI? And not a legal scholar? The convenient, disingenuous humility is…

…Excuse me. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

  1. “I leaked information [to get a] special prosecutor appointed.” As a statement without context, that could be true, and rather prescient. But in the context of Comey’s fairy tales on Thursday, a reasonable person must stand incredulous.   As we have established here, the memos the committee were fixated on were not the only information Comey leaked. The memos about “loyalty” and discussions about Trump firing him because of the Russian investigation were leaked as reprisal for being fired. That leaves any claims of honorable motivation in doubt.

The ONLY EVIDENCE we have as to his being fired (Trump’s impetuous tweets not withstanding) is Rosenstein’s memo, which speaks simply and legitimately to Comey’s deplorable handling of the Clinton investigation. I will go a step further and call it Comey’s participation in the Clinton cover-up. There too, he appointed himself Attorney General because he knew no matter what he said about his investigation, the utterly corrupt AG was not going to prefer charges. So, he gave himself a field promotion (from Senior Investigator to Extra Double Secret AG) and declared the case was beneath prosecution, nailing his name in the pages of history as the man who saved the unworthy HRC.

This was the clearest demonstration of Comey’s desire to thwart Trump. Save Hillary, he thought, and Trump is done. Being a creature of the Beltway, he was incapable of seeing that the citizens saw HRC as even more nauseating than Trump.

It’s Academic Now

And so, we are seeing the end of the Trump presidency as an effective entity. Not because Comey was right in any of the things he’s done. Since his July 15 press conference he has rarely put a foot right. He has been motivated by two ambitions: The aggrandizement of James Brien Comey, Jr. and the diminishment of Donald J. Trump, Jr.

And the media has only helped Comey. There was no way the MSM was ever going to warm up to Trump. But the “great deal maker” handled them as poorly as he has almost everything else.  Instead of simply touting good press and ignoring, or even spinning negative reports, Trump showed he is probably the worst deal maker ever. He lacked understanding of the press and refused to approach his PR problems as tactical ones.  He treated every negative news story as a personal vendetta against him. As a result, he made enemies, even in camps with conservative editorial lines.

So Is All Lost?

There is a silver lining here. We can anticipate the actions of our bloated, corrupt federal government. We may now, as a people, have the motivation to do something about it. I have talked about this in the past and will do so in my next piece. We’ll see who is paying attention.

Here’s a good primer.

Matt Jordan is a travel writer and political commentator.  He is the author of Street Politics:  It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore!©

 

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The Price of Apathy – Part 1

Our Apathy Leads to a Beltway Circus

We are seeing a repeat of all the same types of policies from the previous eight years playing out before our eyes. Some intentions are diametrically opposed to those of the previous administration. But the results will be the same or worse.  Apathy is to blame here.  This circus and others I’ll talk about later will continue to play out at our expense because the “swamp” knows you won’t do a thing about it.

The apathy of thinking people, while understandable, is why our government continues to circle the toilet bowl. We are mid-flush. And they will take the country down with them.

How Not to Fight for Our Interests

I listen to people like Chuck Schumer and Adams Schiff decrying the coziness between the Trump campaign and the Russians. While there is some real “there” there, these two and many others have been gleefully fanning this Russian hysteria. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign was twice as cozy with Vladimir Putin than Trump ever was.

The bottom line is this, Chuck Schumer and all the people staging the phony investigation about the Russians don’t give a shit about foreign influence and the White House.  They never have.

Where were these two when B.H. Obama fought tooth and nail against his own Congress in pursuit of Iranian interests over US interests? That fight got downright nasty at times. Obama wouldn’t think twice about throwing an American under a bus in order to see that the Iranians got nukes AND got sanctions lifted. I spoke of this in my book and in this post written in 2015.

So why are the Dems crying now about Trump wanting to lift Russian sanctions (or at least Trump not actually fighting to keep them in place)?

I will stipulate that rewarding either Iranian or Russian bad behavior is not good for the United States. It is far worse for our allies. But favoring such bad actors over American interests has become business as usual inside the Beltway.  So Schumer knows he is full of it every time he opens his whiny mouth on this.

And What the Hell are the Cultists Celebrating?

For months, while Hillary Clinton’s crimes were oozing out, courtesy of Wikileaks, Trump and his mindless band of “ingnoratti” actually praised the source! This is a rogue organization that has never, EVER worked in the interests of the United States.  But your typical, blind Trump-ette has no way of knowing that.  No one ever discussed it in the Facebook echo chamber.

What had become clear to Julian Assange anyway, was by destroying Clinton he just might open the door for Trump, and that would be the worst thing he could do to this country. If it hadn’t, he’d have done something else.  But Julian Assange is no goddamn hero. 

It must have been a near-run thing for poor Julian to come by such a conclusion. Both were locked in a race for the bottom.  But which was the slimiest?  I would have to say Clinton.  She was the actual criminal.  Putin’s buddies paid BJ BIll $500,000 for his lame speeches.  And the phony “Foundation” made a killing selling strategic material to the Russians.  Trump has just shown himself to be a big, impetuous kid with an extremely delicate ego.

Well, it’s still not possible to tell for sure. Obama wanted to help the Iranians at our expense and at the expense of our allies. Trump now seems enamored with Putin, and already had to can three people for being up to their eyeballs in Russian (and other foreign) influence. Rex Tillerson WILL be next.

And Still the Child Tweets!

And how does Trump handle this situation? He tweets. From the first ill-conceived, early-morning tweet about being “bugged’ at Trump Tower to this morning’s I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I-rant (3-20-16), the President has put himself further behind the eight ball than any thinking President would be at this point. The Twitter-twat-in-Chief is either utterly ignorant of sound foreign policy or he truly does believes Russia belongs in Crimea. Either way, because of his gross immaturity, this administration will be mired in an unseemly mess for some time to come, and deservedly so.

While is it 100% true that the Dems and their media lackeys created the myth of the Russians successfully “hacking” or “rigging” the election (they always try), that is not what has placed the Administration in the eye of the storm. It should have been held to ridicule at the very beginning and then treated as a non-issue. But Trump, because his ego insists he poke the lion with a stick, had to make the situation worse for himself.

And thanks to the weak links like Ryan and McConnell (not a gonad between them), the Republicans played right into their opponents’ snare.

Tell me again how brilliant Donald Trump is.

This update:  It was announced on 21 March the Rex Tillerson would not be attending the upcoming NATO Ministerial Meeting.  He will be in Mar-a-Lago.  AND THEN he will visit Moscow the following month.  You just couldn’t make this stuff up.  An administration that wants favors from NATO, has a NATO image problem, trying to tamp down the Russian influence charges…and this is the plan?

Tell me for a third time how brilliant Donald Trump is.

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Giving Trump’s First Week a Thumbs-Up…ish.

I have reason to be happy with the events of the Trump’s first week. Those reasons are important and I will get to those shortly. But I am by no means euphoric. I can say that I am encouraged by the Left’s sudden love of the Constitution. It has not been in evidence for thirty years.

The only person I busted on as much as I did Hillary Clinton, during the previous year’s insanity, was Donald Trump. Both failed to win my vote. Hillary Clinton proved, during the previous 35 years to be a woman devoid of ethics and substance. Trump has always been a face man, a clown and an excellent real estate promoter.

What he has yet to prove what kind of a president he’ll be, his prolific use of executive orders not withstanding. And it is with these orders I will start.

One of the main reasons I am not entirely unhappy with his use of the Imperial Pen, is that much of what he is doing with that pen is disposing of the truly imperial pronouncements of Barack Obama.

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The Executive Orders

These are pulled directly from a published list at FOX News.

  1. An executive order imposing a 120-day suspension of the refugee program and a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from citizens of seven terror hot spots: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.
    • This one has drawn a great deal of rhetorical fire from many directions. Companies, to curry favor with the emotionalist class have come out against this order. Google, Nike, and others have built impromptu marketing campaigns with their stance. John McCain and Lindsay Graham have stated that this order will help terrorists recruit people. (Oh, so the bombing and killing they have carped for over many years won’t. But a temporary hold on admission to this country will be a devastating blow to our security!)
    • One of the complaints you hear about this is that Trump doesn’t have the authority to do it. Well the U.S. Constitution and this law say otherwise. Any objections based on presidential authority in this are simply wrong. 8 US Code 1182 outlines the people and groups that cannot be permitted into the country. The administration has EVERY RIGHT to require immigrants and YES refugees to prove they are not a threat under this law. The problem is for years we haven’t even been asking.
    • For those who can’t read English:  This is not a Muslim ban.   This is a suspension of immigration based on geography and lack of verifiable ID.  If you say it is a Muslim ban, you are intellectually dishonest or intellectually disabled.
    • Score one for Trump.
  2. Multi-pronged orders on border security and immigration enforcement including: the authorization of a U.S.-Mexico border wall; the stripping of federal grant money to sanctuary cities; hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents; ending “catch-and-release” policies for illegal immigrants; and reinstating local and state immigration enforcement partnerships.
    • With the exception of the actually building the wall, all these orders are absolutely within the president’s purview to control as the chief executive. These are already law. He is just insisting the law, as it pertains to these areas, is enforced.
    • But the wall will never be built. Not only does Trump NOT have the authority to spend the billions needed to build it, but the processes by which it would be built are a matter of law. And many of those laws stand athwart such an undertaking. The environmental studies and protests alone will run the clock out before the next president could get it done.
    • Call this one a tie for pro and con. He can do all but the wall.
  3. Two orders reviving the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access piplines. He also signed three other related orders that would: expedite the environmental permitting process for infrastructure projects related to the pipelines; direct the Commerce Department to streamline the manufacturing permitting process; and give the Commerce Department 180 days to maximize the use of U.S. steel in the pipeline.
    • Naturally, the usual suspects will line up to decry everything about this. We’ll be told that the planet will be destroyed by it. And again we’ll hear how the president lacks the authority to do it. [insert loud game show loser buzzer hear]
    • Fact: The previous administration was required by law to allow both these projects to go forward. But hey found a loophole. The State Department, because Keystone was a joint venture between the US and Canada, had to sign off on the project. And they did – twice. But using his usual perversion of “executive authority”, Obama kept sending it back to Foggy Bottom with implicit orders to do it again, and this time be slower about it. Finally, after it was cleared yet again, Obama still defied the will of the people and stopped it anyway. By reviving the projects, Trump is simply bringing policy into line with the law.
    • As for the environment; I am sure there are morons out there that actually believe the use of a pipeline to move oil is bad. Others who claim so know they are talking through their hats. We are seeing history repeat itself.
      1. When the steel industry first started using pipelines to move kerosene and oil, the rail industry erupted in protest. It’s unsafe! It’s not fair! Now we’re hearing a lot of the same things today. 
        Rail car, oil
        If you have the choice of a pipeline, this is just plain stupid.

        pipeline
        Section of pipeline, sitting in Alaska, not derailing.
      2. Question: When was the last time you heard of a pipeline derailing and pouring oil, sometimes burning oil all over the landscape? True pipelines leak, but we’ve lost infinitely more oil through train crashes and derailments than we’ll ever lose from pipeline incidents.
      3. Question: While pipelines move oil, how much exhaust does the big diesel engine pulling the pipeline emit into the atmosphere? Oh, wait…that’s right. There is no big diesel engine. The system runs on pumps that move more gallons per minutes, further and on far less energy than a train does. So the movement of oil through a pipe is FAR cleaner than using a train.
    • I think it is safe to say that people who continue to fight this are being obstructionist. Trump is not operating outside his authority.
  1. An order to reinstate the so-called “Mexico City Policy” – a ban on federal funds to international groups that perform abortions or lobby to legalize or promote abortion. The policy was instituted in 1984 by President Reagan, but has gone into and out of effect depending on the party in power in the White House.
    • This item has been a political football for a generation. Perhaps it can be used to shame Congress into manning up and dealing with it once and for all. It is Congress who should be addressing the issue.   That four Presidents have batted it back and forth for these past decades is just a pox on both your houses.
    • Someone has still to explain to me, in an honest fashion, why I should foot the bill for an abortion on-demand. A purely elective procedure.
  2. A notice that the U.S. will begin withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Trump called the order “a great thing for the American worker.”
    • If Congress ratifies TPP, this order really isn’t worth the paper it is written on. Although, a determined executive can slow-walk its implementation.
    • In that it is not ratified, Trump can do anything he wishes in his treatment of it.
    • The president says he is a free-trade guy. There is no evidence of this, but since the TPP is not an example of free trade, Trump is well within his rights to ignore it for now.
  3. An order imposing a hiring freeze for some federal government workers as a way to shrink the size of government. This excludes the military, as Trump noted at the signing.
    • Trump can run his organization as he sees fit within the law. There is nothing preventing him from taking this step.
  4. An order that directs federal agencies to ease the “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare. It orders agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement” of ObamaCare that imposes a “fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”
    • This one is outside his wheelhouse. There are many, myself included who would love to see the government OUT of the insurance business. But that I want it doesn’t make changing the law by fiat okay. If the law says you have it or pay a penalty, you pay.
    • Of course, much of what the law has become has been the result of the imperial actions by Trump’s inept predecessor. Does that excuse the sweeping nature of Trumps order? No. It should have been focused on those illegal executive orders made by B. Hussein Obama. For example, Obama ordered that the law governing federal money to the states, based on their voluntary participation in the program, be ignored.   That was a huge breach of the legal, executive authority. If Trump had undone things like that, he’d be right on target.
  5. On Monday, 30 Jan, the president ordered that any new regulation must be offset by the elimination of two regulations.
    • We are one of the most over-regulated nations on the planet. That, historically speaking, is a relatively new development. Anything to legally reduce that burden is a good thing. And again, as the chief executive, the president is well within his purview to make pronouncements like this one.

Conclusion

Overall, I’d say Trump had a good first week. Reasonable people can disagree on whether it’s been a typical Trump circus atmosphere. No reasonable person would excuse his continued use of Twitter for shallow argument.

He is starting to show shades of a typical politician in that his tax reform was pushed back to the summer and now until as far as 2018. This is totally unsatisfactory. This will be a true failure on his part and even more so on the part of congressional Republicans. But even this pathetic decision has a silver lining.

You’ve heard me talk a bit about the Convention of States. In my next piece, I’ll show how not messing with taxes right now might payoff in the long run.

So for Trump’s first week, I give the president a 6 for substance and a 10 for showmanship.

Oil car Photo Credit: James St. John Flickr via Compfight cc

Pipeline Photo Credit: US Department of State Flickr via Compfight cc

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Your host, Matt Jordan is the author of Street Politics:  It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore!

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