The Trump administration seemed to be spiraling out of control just three days ago. The infighting reached an all-time high. With the disastrous selection of Anthony Scaramucci it looked things would only get worse.
A lot has happened since then. Reince Preibus resigned as Chief of Staff. That position should never have gone to someone who had no government experience. He also was given the insufficient authority to do the job.
Enter Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Kelly is a retired Marine general. He certainly has government experience and organizational skills. A number of assignments exposed him to the civilian government so he understands the difference between the two.
President Trump greatly respects military men so Kelly ought to be quite influential. He already has made the excellent decision to send Scaramucci back to his previous position.
The White House finally has some adult supervision. There will certainly be more turmoil but it looks like the administration is ready to rebound.
As I have stated before, President Trump is temperamentally unsuited for the job. He has spent decades running his business as if he were a feudal lord. He seems to have no filter between what he thinks and what he says. His massive ego makes it hard for him to take advice. As a result there have been dozens of unnecessary mistakes.
Every president needs a strong White House Communications Director. They manage all communication regardless of media. They should have extensive media and/or PR experience. They need to be able to stand up to the president. They should also be invisible to the public. Mike Dubke, Jen Psaki, Ellen Moran and Kevin Sullivan have held the job in recent years. I haven’t heard of any of them.
The other day I wrote about Anthony Scaramucci’s lack of experience. I predicted a bumpy ride but had no idea how rough it would be. Recently he tweeted about the felonious lead of information and seemed to imply that Reince Priebus was to blame. It turns out that it was public information. He has since talked about wanting to kill leakers. In a recent interview he said Priebus was a (expletive) paranoid schizophrenic and that Steve Bannon does nothing but perform a sexual act on himself.
He hasn’t even started his job yet and has already done tremendous harm to the administration. Staffers are running scared. The battle among top officials is turning into a war. He seems to be trying to out-Trump Trump. All of this is a massive distraction to what they are trying to accomplish.
The Trump administration is already in some trouble. Every day he is in office will only make things worse.
After six months in office it is apparent that President Trump is not modifying his obnoxious behavior at all. I’m no psychologist but I would guess there are two reasons. Given his gargantuan ego, he probably thinks he can do anything he wants. Since he behaved badly during the campaign and still won, he probably sees no reason to change. Last time he ran against a horrible candidate who used a disastrous strategy. He may not be so lucky next time.
It is now apparent that part of his persona is a total lack of gratitude for those who helped him. Eighteen months ago few expected him to be nominated let alone elected. Jeff Sessions was the first senator to support him. He was an active campaigner and key advisor. Now he is our Attorney General.
He wisely recused himself when the Russia probe began. Nobody would believe the results of an investigation headed by someone so close to the campaign. Trump threw him under the bus by publicly criticizing his decision. Sessions offered to resign but was turned down. I bet he wishes he had stayed in the Senate.
Those working for Trump (and not married to his daughter) probably realize that they can expect no loyalty and could suffer the same fate as Sessions.
Donald Trump would hire an experienced architect if he were putting up a building. Yet when it comes to running the government, no experience is necessary. Neither he nor his three top aides had ever worked for any government for a single day before taking the reins of power.
The White House Communications Director is a key post in any administration. They are responsible for getting the president’s message to the people. This includes speechwriting, media relations, appearances and the internet. It is especially difficult under this administration due to President Trump’s tendency to get off message and throw temper tantrums.
The new director is Anthony Scaramucci. He has run a hedge fund, co-hosted a cable investment show, served on several presidential campaigns in the finance department and wrote three books. His only government experience was with the US Export-Import Bank. He was appointed to that job just last month.
That certainly is an impressive resume. However, none of it makes him the qualified for his new job. Apparently Trump thinks that being a businessman qualifies a person to do anything.
I wish him well but he is likely in for a bumpy ride.
Almost everyone has heard of Charlie Gard and his parents struggle to get him additional treatment. The English hospital and court system has been condemned by the world. I take a different view.
First, the facts. Charlie was born last year on August 4. Soon it became apparent that something was wrong. He was eventually diagnosed with a DNA disorder. He has had seizures that have diminished his mental function. He can no longer hear, move, open his eyes or even breathe on his own. Earlier this year the hospital asked for permission to turn off his ventilator. The case has been in the courts ever since.
On the surface it may seem that I am a heartless person. If he were over here, the cost of his care would have run into the millions. Health care funds are not unlimited. Rather than spend all that money on a hopeless case, it could be spent on dozens or even hundreds of people who can be saved.
The basic problem is that we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want Rolls Royce care at a Ford price. It can’t be done.
President Trump’s oldest child, Donald Jr., has been flying under the radar. That has all changed. His meeting with a well-connected Russian lawyer has brought the collusion investigation back into the headlines. Here is what happened. The son was contacted by a music publicist indicating that a Russian pop star had something to pass along. Supposedly the pop star’s billionaire father had met with a top Russian prosecutor and had damaging information on Hillary Clinton. The email exchange continued and Trump Jr. was asked to meet with a Russian lawyer. It turned out that the actual purpose of the meeting was to discuss a law the Russians wanted changed. The stated purpose of the meeting was just a ruse.
The political impact is enormous. This is the first time even a shred of information has been discovered during the months-long collusion investigations. Democrats and their allies in the media are going crazy. Once again the Trump administration is forced to focus on Russia rather that their agenda. It will make it even more difficult to pass major legislation. Eventually this will pass. People care about jobs, the economy and healthcare, not Russia.
Other than the political ramifications, this is really a small story. A legal dictionary defines collusion as “An agreement between two or more parties to defraud a person of his or her rights or to obtain something that is prohibited by law”. Clearly there was no collusion. Russia, and other countries as well, use many methods to gain influence. They likely engaged in similar efforts with the Clinton campaign. Trump, Jr. is a political newcomer who didn’t use very good judgment. I will give him credit for releasing all the pertinent information once this came to light.
Given the enormous effort put into the multiple investigations, it is possible that something else might turn up. Hopefully politicians will focus on what Americans really care about between these eruptions.
There are those who seem to care more about winning elections than preserving our democracy. While they come in all political stripes, right now we are hearing from those on the Left. They are so upset about Trump winning the election that they are willing to do anything (presumably short of violence) to remove him from office. First they tried recounts and then trying to convince Electors to vote for Clinton. Now they have come up with another hare-brained scheme; using the 25th Amendment to force him out of office.
Section 4 of the Amendment provides that the President can be removed if the Vice President and a majority of the cabinet declare he is unable to perform his duties. However, he can return to office when he certifies that he is able to function.
Right now there is a push to have a congressional committee replace the cabinet as the deciders. Obviously this bill would never pass a Republican congress. If it did, President Trump would veto it. Even if they overrode the veto, they still would need Vice President Pence to cooperate. If Trump were removed, he could write a letter and return to office. It seems clear that those behind this move have never bothered to read the Amendment. While this idiotic plan is laughable, it is disturbing to think that there are those in Congress who are willing to pervert our democracy to achieve their political goals.
These people are so blinded by hate that they don’t realize they are hurting their own party. We want answers on the problems we are facing, not hatemongering. The last election was clear proof.
Today it seems the path from the Declaration of Independence to achieving it was foreordained. Actually the odds of success were very small. When they pledged “our Lives, our Fortune and our sacred Honor”, they meant it. They stood to lose everything including their lives.
The Continental Congress was the only government we had. The only way to fund the war was funded was to beg the states for money and print currency which was quickly devalued. The army consisted of George Washington and a motley collection of ill-trained and ill-equipped militia. They would face the mightiest military power in the world. It could all have ended that summer. Washington suffered a disastrous defeat and was only able to escape because of a nighttime fog.
At least one man, John Adams, saw the future. He wrote his wife Abigail that Independence Day “will be celebrated, by successive Generations, as the great anniversary Festival … from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward for evermore.” The only thing he got wrong was the date. He thought it would be July 2, the day Congress approved independence.
For the last 241 years it has been a beacon of liberty and opportunity to people around the world. There certainly have been mistakes but I was shocked that recent polls showed only 51% of the people were proud of our country. Showing pride should be independent of political belief or whoever happens to live in the White House.
Let’s all enjoy the fireworks and a day off work. However, we should take a moment to think about the first Independence Day.
The once great New York Times has hit a new low. In a June 2 story they revealed the name of the covert CIA agent heading up their Iran operation. This obviously makes him a target for assassination. They put an even bigger target on his back by mentioning his past anti-terrorism efforts. This goes way beyond bad judgment and is bordering on treason.
The Times offered two explanations for their reckless act. They said his name had already appeared in print. They should know because they are the ones that did it. The other rationalization is “he is leading an important new administration initiative against Iran”.
I can think of four explanations for their irresponsible reporting; they hate Trump so much that they want to do harm to the country, they are pro-terrorist, they want the man and his family to be killed or they have taken total leave of their senses. If he is killed I believe the reporters and their editors should be tried as accessories to murder.
Everyone, irregardless of their political beliefs, should condemn the story. Fight terrorism and protecting the lives of those who lead the effort should not be a partisan issue.
The passing of Obamacare and current Republican effort appear to have nothing in common. However, the approach is quite similar.
Each began with a single aim and seemed to have little concern about other consequences. Democrats wanted to decrease the number of uninsured and Republicans want to cut taxes and spending.
Both promised to cut premiums when it would have the opposite effect. Obamacare brought coverage to many sick people so obviously costs went up. There are a number of ways the Republican plan will increase premiums. They are cutting the subsidies. Eliminating the mandate will cause many healthy people to drop their coverage. Cuts in Medicare and Medicaid will likely increase costs elsewhere.
Both parties put their efforts into passing legislation with little thought on how to administer it. Remember the healthcare.gov debacle?
Most important of all, both approaches focus on funding of health care rather than trying to rein in the cost of health care.
If the Republicans pass a bill, I believe they will regret it. It will likely cost them politically and have as many other negative consequences. If they want to succeed, they will focus on controlling the cost of health care first. There is a lot that could be done on a bipartisan basis.
I recognize that my views are well outside the norm for both parties. I have a different perspective because of considerable experience in the health care industry and as a patient.