I’ve been thinking about applying for a job at the White House. Seriously! As I understand it, many positions–from chief departmental personnel to ambassadorships–are available. The most noticeable, of course, is (still pending) Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
What do I know about hiring at the highest level? Not much. But, it does seem to me that highly qualified persons would be standing in line for some of these jobs. There’s always the danger, however, if one makes a mistake of hearing those horrible words “You’re Fired!”
Let me see. I’ve traveled extensively. I met the president of Argentina once. He’s long gone! I saw the Queen of England in Hawaii while serving in the U.S. Air Force. She’s eternal! I’ve had brief conversations with several presidents of the United States from John F. Kennedy to Richard Nixon to Jimmy Carter.
I have education, administrative experience, years of writing and public speaking experience. I’d be perfect. I even have a passport!
But I wouldn’t stand a chance. One look at my social media accounts, my columns and my webzine and I’ll be dead in the water. I’m an avowed liberal!
Looking over the cabinet positions already filled, I realize I don’t have any money in any large, New York financial institution; I’m not head of a major corporation; I wasn’t a major campaign contributor (to Trump’s campaign); I’m not a congressman or a senator; I believe in climate change and know something about the dangers of polluting our air and water (my father and grandfather were coal miners); I taught school at several levels, so I do know something about education.
Then, of course, I believe Planned Parenthood is extremely valuable for the women and children of this country. I support National Public Radio, and I believe we must never do anything to endanger the future of our children. And, definitely, I believe every single person in this country has a right to health care–universal, free health care. I wouldn’t turn anybody away from an emergency room or urgent care facility, even if they were illegal immigrants!
So, I guess President Trump will just have to keep looking for “qualified” people to fill all of those federal jobs.
I’ve got it! I think I have a solution! The president needs to take a look at the incredible number of conservative, right-wing columnists, the talking heads at FOX News and read the columns and Letters to the Editor in the major newspapers like the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the San Francisco Chronicle. They seem to have all the answers!
If the president can’t tear himself away from Twitter, the National Enquirer, Breitbart and their ilk long enough to search for some good help; perhaps, he can dispatch his son-in-law Jared Kushner to take on the job.
Kusher already has the largest portfolio in the Trump administration. What’s one more responsibility?
During his campaign, Donald Trump repeated “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” ad nauseum. He promised better health care, tax relief and infrastructure improvement. Maybe, if he hired some qualified staff people and turned to professionals who know what they’re doing, he could fulfill some of those campaign promises.
If the president would just allow one or two people to tell him the truth about himself and show him how to run the Oval Office, he’d be well on his way.
He could start by firing Sean Spicer!
[Milt Hankins is the publisher and editor of Columnist with a View. His weekly column appears in the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch every Monday morning. He has written and published two books, Ashes on the Snow and A Sensible Theology for Thinking People. Both are available through Amazon.com and/or your local bookstore. He is currently working on his third book which is a study of the book of Genesis.]
…This story about Al Franken dissing Ted Cruz should do the trick
Minnesota Senator Al Franken has a new book coming out entitled Giant of the Senate. From the description, it sounds like a fascinating look at how Franken eked out a razor-thin victory to put him in the United States Senate, and discovered he had a talent for governing:
This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect.
It’s a book about what happens when the nation’s foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.
It’s a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast.
Writing about his time in the Senate thus far, Senator Franken dedicated an entire chapter to just one of his colleagues–Senator Ted Cruz, a man who is reportedly deeply despised by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Jonathon Tilove, the chief political writer for the Austin American-Statesman, has shared a portion of this chapter on Twitter. Senator Franken is careful to detail why he feels justified in calling out Ted Cruz specifically:
For what it’s worth, I feel fully justified in doing so, because Ted Cruz violated basic Senate protocol himself when he went to the floor and called Mitch McConnell a liar. It was the sort of thing that just isn’t done, a breach of decorum so shocking that even I haven’t committed it. And I love calling people liars!
Anyway, here’s the thing that you have to understand about Ted Cruz. I like Ted Cruz more than most of my colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz.
Snort. Senator Franken does not stop there. He relayed this hilarious story about his Minnesota colleague, Senator Amy Klobuchar, asking for guidance with a joke she was going to deliver at the annual Gridiron Club dinner, an event that typically features the president of the United States, various elected representatives, and members of the media. The joke was about Ted Cruz. Senator Franken tagged along as Senator Klobuchar spoke to Senator Cruz about the joke beforehand and, whelp–read the exchange for yourself:
“Ted,” Amy smiled, “I’ve written a joke about you for the Gridiron, and I wanted to get your okay.”
“Sure,” Ted smiled back. “What’s the joke?”
“Well,” Amy smiled, “here it is: ‘When most people think of a difficult cruise, they think of Carnival. But we Democrats in the Senate think of Ted.'”
I noticed, of course, that she had softened the joke a bit, changing “a bad cruise” to “a difficult cruise” and changing “we think of Ted” to “we Democrats in the Senate think of Ted.”
Ted smiled. Then he offered a suggestion. “What if you changed ‘a difficult cruise’ to ‘a challenging cruise’?”
Oh my God. What a putz! Now the joke isn’t funny. I could tell that Amy was thinking the same thing. And so could Ted. So before Amy could respond, he smiled even more broadly and said magnanimously, “I’ll tell you what. I believe in the First Amendment. You go ahead and tell your joke.”
Wow, that was patronizing! I decided to step in.
“Say, Ted,” I smiled. “I did a rewrite of Amy’s joke, and I think it’s a lot better. Want to hear it?”
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Amy having two successive thoughts: 1. “Oh no–Al’s not going to do this!” 2. “But I definitely want to be here if he does.”
Ted was still smiling. “Sure!”
“Okay. Here it is: ‘When most people think of a cruise that’s full of shit, they think of Carnival. But we think of Ted.”
And there went Ted’s smile. For once, he had no words.
I nodded, turned around, and walked away.
From all of us in the peanut gallery, thank you Senator Franken.
[Editor’s Note: This article was reblogged by Daily Kos. Daily Kos has marked this column “Share this article.” We are doing so with that permission. We are suggesting to readers that, if you like liberal political material, you should subscribe to Daily Kos!]
“Treason,” according to the Oxford American Dictionary, is “treachery toward one’s country or its ruler.” “Treasonable,” is “involving the crime of treason.” Only a thin line separates treasonable and treason.
To simplify, an activity might be “treasonable” without intent; that is, not rising to the level of treason per se. I know this distinction to be true. To understand it in strictly legal, indictable terms would require the services of a federal prosecutor, I suspect.
A step below treasonable behavior, as I understand it, could be something like “obstruction of justice;” that is, attempting to intrude upon, delay, or quash an investigation which might expose one to charges of treasonable behavior. As I understand it, if the President of the United States or any of his associates were knowing “colluding with the Russians” during the recent presidential election with a view toward influencing the outcome of that election, it would be treasonable behavior.
If the President of the United States, having discovered that an investigation into such a collusion was underway by any qualified government agency (i.e. the F.B.I.) and interfered, in either a formal or a casual way, to surreptitiously intrude upon, delay, or quash that investigation would be, as I understand it, an “obstruction of justice.”
If, theoretically, the aforementioned investigation, as a result of this high-level interference, was stopped, then this obstruction of justice would contribute to treasonable behavior, as I see it.
As I write, we have clear knowledge that certain members of the Donald Trump Campaign were in regular communication with the Russians. We also know that one of these campaign staff members was very close to Candidate Trump–so close, in fact, that the president actually appointed him to a high-level, high-security position within the administration. Other campaign operatives have been linked directly with Russia, as well.
Let me move beyond generalities. In view of the above, clearly, General Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and others connected with the campaign are dangling over a double-edged sword.
Owing to the testimonies of several high-level officials in the intelligence services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the president himself may, knowingly or unwittingly, be implicated in attempts to obstruct the aforementioned investigations.
One example. According to Reuters, “Trump asked [FBI Director] Comey to end any investigation of Michael Flynn; to end the agency’s investigation….” President Trump has denied this allegation; Director James Comey is on record as having a memo, which he wrote on the subject, and told some associates that he was “uncomfortable” being alone with the president, partly at least because of the president’s attempt to influence him.
Subsequently, the President fired Director Comey.
Allegations, which have risen to the level of Washington, D.C. swamp stench, have brought on, according to CBS news, the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate “possible links between Russia and Trump campaign associates.” The Senate and the House of Representatives are proceeding with their own investigations.
Time will tell whether we have obstruction of justice, treasonable behavior or treason that reaches into the White House.
[EDITORIAL NOTE: The following article first appeared in New York Post. It was reprinted on February 15, 2017 in News Corp. It also appeared in Post Digital Network’s DECIDER. The author has taken considerable material from a US Weekly article. We re-print it, acknowledging all of the aforementioned sources. We took our manuscript from the internet and will assume it is in the public domain unless otherwise notified.]
Melania Trump is secretly miserable as first lady, a new report claims.
Private, self-conscious, and smarting from some harsh, even mocking press, Melania is “struggling with the realities of her new role and the scrutiny that comes with it,” US Weekly says in its Feb. 27 cover story, citing family sources.
“This life wasn’t her dream. It was Donald’s,” a Trump family friend, stylist Phillip Bloch, told the magazine.
“Truthfully, it’s a lot to cope with.”
Since Inauguration Day, Melania has spent almost all her time hiding inside the “gilded cage” of the family’s lavish, $100 million Trump Tower penthouse on Fifth Avenue — where treasured son Barron, 10, has a whole floor to himself.
And she won’t be pressured into giving up her privacy.
Recently, the White House team begged her to come to Washington and give her husband a PR boost by presiding over the traditional first lady tours at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — and posing for press photos, sources told US.
“She was told, ‘All you need to do is show up on one day and take photos,'” one family source said. Melania declined.
Melania couldn’t even be cajoled into accompanying the Japanese prime minister’s wife, Abe, on the traditionally first lady-hosted Capitol tour for spouses of visiting dignitaries.
Negative scrutiny from late-night hosts — Jimmy Kimmel quipped last week that she’s “trapped like Rapunzel” in Trump Tower — and from her libel suit against the UK’s Daily Mail have not helped.
In the much-covered lawsuit, Melania sued the Mail for implying she’d once worked as a high-end escort, an implication that the newspaper later retracted.
Celebrities and fashion designers, critical of her husband’s policies, have publicly shunned the Trumps, another blow.
And while she’s fluent in five languages, Melania is self-conscious of her heavy Slovenian accent, US claims, an accent that has also been fodder for late-night jibes.
With pickets surrounding her building, she’s even given up her chauffeured trips escorting Barron to and from his private school.
After school, they both stay in, with Barron doing his homework and watching cartoons, US said.
She’s happiest at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where she joins her husband on most weekends.
But while she did entertain Akie Abe in Florida — smilingly posed for the requisite photo op at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in nearby Delray Beach — it was a struggle.
“Don’t let her smile [in the photographs] fool you,” the source said. “She hates this.”
The source added, “Melania is unhappy with how her life ended up. She is miserable.”
“Flip-flopping” once sounded the death knell for presidential candidates or politicians. President Donald Trump holds the record for “flip-flopping” and outright lying. It doesn’t seem to hamper his relationship with his base constituency. According to Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post, during the campaign, Trump flip-flopped so often it was impossible to determine his actual policy positions on anything. President Trump still flip-flops and lies on a regular basis!
Candidate Trump asserted many times that he would not reduce funding for Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor. He tweeted: “THE REPUBLICANS WHO WANT TO CUT SS & MEDICAID ARE WRONG.” Now, the president embraces congressional plans to replace Obamacare (ACA), changing the financing base for Medicaid to a block grant system.
In a Fox News interview (Aug. 9), Trump discussed the stock market. “If rates go up, you’re going to see something that’s not pretty. It’s all a big bubble.” Campaigning in Ohio on Sept. 5, he said: “We have a very false economy. The only thing that is strong is the artificial stock market.” Now that the stock market is reacting somewhat positively, presumably, to the Trump presidency, the president has repeatedly celebrated the continued rise of the stock market as evidence that his presidency is positively affecting the U.S. economy. (Kessler, The Washington Post)
Trump maintained that unemployment figures are “a complete fraud as evidenced by the jobless claims number.” He claimed during his campaign that the real unemployment was anywhere from 15% to 43%. He tweeted in August, 2016, the employment rate is “ONE OF THE BIGGEST HOAXES IN MODERN AMERICAN POLITICS.” Now, accepting unemployment numbers as reported, he told WH spokesperson Sean Spicer, “[unemployment statistics] may have been phony in the past, but [they’re] very real now.”
Trump often declared NATO outdated because it doesn’t cover terrorism, and, because the various countries do not pay their dues. After a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jan Stoltenberg, he changed his tune, saying it was no longer obsolete. “The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”
Trump has frequently stated that China is a currency manipulator–as recently as ten days before he announced China is NOT a currency manipulator. He said China was a “‘world champion,’ of devaluing the yuan.” Trump flip-flopped following his meeting with China’s president in Mar-a-Lago, his posh Palm Beach, Florida resort.