Trump’s first 100 days have almost arrived. What’s he accomplished? Not much. He was awarded four pinocchios by the Washington Post for his claim that “no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days.”
[bctt tweet=”Sources say Secret Service agents are wearing stilts and rubber boots. The White House BS is that deep.” via=”no”]
Where’s Waldo or have you seen this aircraft carrier? The USS Carl Vinson and several other vessels that accompany it were supposed to be off the coast of North Korea last week. At least according to our so-called Commander-in-Chief.
Sean Sriracha said it was steaming there. Defense Secretary Mattis said the strike group had cancelled plans to participate in joint training exercises near Australia. So it appears that one of the “adults in the room,” the Secretary of Defense–is as out of the loop and clueless as his boss, Donald Trump. We’re all in trouble when the guys who are supposed to know which end is up don’t know either. Maybe Mattis shouldn’t have got that waiver. Maybe he’s too old to be in this job. Perhaps his faculties have faded. We know Trump’s shortcomings.
But the thought of a preemptive strike on North Korea caused plenty of handwringing among national security and former military types now working as commentators/analysts. Seoul, just 30 miles from the DMZ separating it from North Korea, would likely be obliterated in response, they all say. But hey, our whacked White House visitor (he spends most of his time golfing in Mar-a-Lago and is supposed to be working in Washington) doesn’t know any better. But bellicose talk about Kim Jong Un works great as a deflection from discussion of his conflicts of interest and especially the Russiagate issues.
Speaking of deflection, let’s consider MOAB–the “Mother of All Bombs” dropped on ISIS tunnels in Afghanistan. Never before used in combat anywhere since it’s development in 2002, that managed to grab much attention on the news for its novelty. Was it militarily necessary to drop this very expensive device there? Did cooperative (Trump supporting) military commanders choose this one for its deflection aptitude? Could be.
Discussion about the Syrian strike has just about ended, although Fareed Zakaria (one of my favorites) unfortunately supported it and cautioned against “Trump Derangement Syndrome”–suggesting that there are many who automatically reject anything Trump does. I say unfortunately because this is one of the rare instances when Zakaria completely blew it. See my take (as Fareed often prefaces where to find his most recent op-ed from the Washington Post) explaining how this symbolic shot amounted to much ado about nothing other than serving as a major deflection. Yes, many people besides Zakaria foolishly praised Trump’s response to Bashar Al Assad’s criminal chemical attack–but it’s hard to believe Trump cares much about Syrian children given his refugee ban. But it’s easy to believe he cares plenty about his self-image as a macho man. He also cares much about deflecting attention from his failures and discussion about Russian connections.
Speaking of Russian connections, no one (so far as I know) has paid much attention to this little nugget on how Trump policies have affected tourist visits to America. Possibly people concerned with politics and Russia missed it because it comes from the Washington Post’s Capital Business section. People around the world are canceling trips to the USA–with one exception. Guess from where? Here’s an excerpt from the WAPO piece.
Demand for flights to the United States has fallen in nearly every country since January, according to Hopper, a travel-booking app that analyzes more than 10 billion daily airfare price quotes to derive its data. Searches for U.S. flights from China and Iraq have dropped 40 percent since Trump’s inauguration, while demand in Ireland and New Zealand is down about 35 percent. (One exception: Russia, where searches for flights to the United States have surged 60 percent since January.)
Not to be too cynical/conspiratorial here, but if NSA is going to intercept Russian communications–what better way to avoid that than sending undercover FSB agents to America and meeting in person with Trump administration officials or associates? Makes you think, doesn’t it? Or it could just be more business conflicts–oligarchs or creditors of Trump. Ordinary tourists? I don’t think so!
Remember Alex Jones, of the Infowars conspiracy/fake news show/website? He’s somebody who has had Trump on his show. His claims are among those that Trump relies on or cites from time to time. Birds of a feather you might say. So it’s interesting to note what just came out in a divorce and child custody proceeding involving Jones. A psychiatric evaluation introduced in the case says that Jones is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Guess who else has been accused of having that problem (unofficially of course)? His buddy Trump. Here’s what the Daily Beast had to say in their report:
People diagnosed with NPD typically show traits including a lack of empathy, arrogance, and a propensity for grandiose fantasies. They are also frequently described as manipulative and demanding.
Sounds a lot like our so-called President, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, on the Ivanka conflict front, consider that China granted three trademarks on Ivanka brand products while she and Daddy Donald were dining with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Coincidence? Oh sure! Nothing to see here, the Chinese Foreign ministry says. They handle all applications equally, minister Lu Kang said. But an American trademark lawyer says the usual processing time is 18 months–her application was approved in half that time, 9 months. See this NPR report. Friends get fast-tracked it seems. China’s no currency manipulator after all.
Incompetence and ignorance starts at the top at the Trump White House, as Sean Sriracha, the seldom seen (anymore) Kellyanne Corncob confirm. Then too, the rudeness percolates throughout. DHS Secretary John Kelly recently channeled his inner Steve Bannon in remarks at George Washington University.
“If lawmakers do not like the laws that we enforce, that we are charged to enforce, that we are sworn to enforce, then they should have the courage and the skill to change those laws,” Kelly said. “Otherwise, they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.” [emphasis added]
Of course, those laws don’t require deporting mothers of small children–mothers who have committed no crimes and whose children were born in the US. Those laws don’t require TSA agents to investigate whether pantyliners might be bombs. Those laws are also augmented by intolerant and vindictive attitudes expressed in the Trump travel ban. See also my previous item on how out of control Customs has become. Those aren’t legal issues–they’re training and behavior issues that coincide with a man in the White House that likes to refer to “haters,” when, like so many of his epithets, amounts to a projection. It’s unfortunate, but not surprising, that former general Kelly shares Trump’s perspective–he works for the Hater-in-Chief.
Speaking of immigration issues, an interesting article in the Washington Post details the troubled history of the Trump family with immigration. Like using illegal immigrants on projects. Like using seasonal labor from foreign countries at Mar-a-Lago and elsewhere. Then there’s his recent push to buy and hire American. Sort of falls under the parental shame adage, “do as I say, not as I do.” Import Chinese steel for building. Manufacture his products everywhere but in the US. For more details, read the Post article. Here’s just one snippet:
Businesses run and owned by Trump and his adult children have been certified to legally hire 1,371 foreign visa workers since 2001, a CNN analysis of visa records shows. In addition, Trump-branded real estate has raised at least $50 million in foreign investor money through a program that gives foreign investors access to green cards, according to the company that did the development of the real estate.