’67 & ’68

The title of today’s article is a riddle of sort that will be completely explained by the end. If you can guess it at this point you should be a detective or an intelligence officer. If you have it by the end of the first paragraph you must be both a baby boomer and pretty damn smart. I usually make the Sunday article about the biggest political story of the week just ended. For people of my generation another story eclipsed all others last week; the death of Aretha Franklin. In 1967 she asked for Respect and she certainly received a lot of deserved respect upon her passing. (Got it yet Jeff?) Let’s continue.

Last week Omarosa launched a book critical of Trump that he just can’t help himself but tweet about. A skilled president would have simply not commented and if pressed said he was way too busy with affairs of state to pay attention to someone like her. Instead, ala Fire and Fury, Trump was a nonstop publicity machine for the book.

On Wednesday August 15th Trump stripped former CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance and sent Sarah Huckabee-Sanders out to announce it to open a press briefing. That changed the questions from Omarosa – which was largely a self-inflicted wound the questions about which could have easily been deflected by a talented President or Press Secretary. In yet another example of just how incompetent the Trump White House is the supporting memo was dated July 26th. On Thursday Trump made a fool out of Sarah (as if she needed any help) when he admitted to the Wall Street Journal that he stripped Brennan’s security clearance because of Russiagate.

Trump and Huckabee-Sanders have stated that Trump may soon also revoke the security clearances for James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr, Michael Hayden and Dr. Susan Rice. Like Trump, I am not an expert on when FBI personnel automatically lose their security clearance but I know (it has been widely reported, but perhaps not on Fox and Friends) that Comey and McCabe lost theirs some time ago. I assume Strzok lost his when Trump had him fired and that Page probably lost hers when she resigned in May. Ohr is currently employed by the Justice Department and in good standing. There are procedures and 13 recognized reasons for stripping someone of their security clearance; being involved in an authorized investigation of the President of the United States is not among them. Alas, we are talking about Donald Trump who doesn’t think the rules apply to him.

The reason that former senior officials keep their security clearance is that in the event that the current crew, including the President, wants to tap their historical knowledge they can. The concept is called national security which Trump has displayed total disregard for. I am not so naïve as to expect Trump to call on someone like Brennan –he doesn’t even listen to his own people like Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats – but perhaps someone on his team, (for example Coats) might.

Do not lose sight of the fact that America has not had a major national security crisis on Trump’s watch yet. When it happens with people like Brennan removed from the scene we will be less safe.

Perhaps a Trump Doctrine emerged last week. If so it is: create a problem, reverse course taking credit for solving the problem which you blame on someone else and in the process if you can send a dog whistle or two to the racists in your base all the better. After attending a parade in France Trump decided he wanted an even bigger one. (Is that some Freudian thing like his nuclear button?)

Last week reports came out saying the parade would cost around $92 billion (mostly military costs). To put that in perspective it could fund about 4 ½ years of the Mueller probe. June 6th is the anniversary of D-Day (an important military date). As of June 6, 2018 –less than a year and a half into his presidency Trump had spent more taxpayer dollars on trips to and from Mar-a-Lago than Mueller had spent on his investigation. Mueller is investigating an attack on American democracy by a foreign adversary; Trump is promoting one of his for-profit private properties. Which is the better use of tax dollars?

The Defense Department (which was never keen on the parade to start with) issued a statement saying they were delaying the parade. Friday morning Trump sent out the following tweet. “The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it.” In a matter of hours Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser answered with a tweet of her own that read, “Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad).”

Perhaps Mayor Bowser’s wit was sharpened by the $2.6 million her city spent on law enforcement security the Saturday before so that about 30 right wing, white supremacists (and hard core Trump supporters) could stage their little protest. Of course, Trump never saw that because he was away at another of his golf resorts with the taxpayers picking up the tab for that. Is Camp David closed for the duration of this administration or something?

Friday much of America was waiting for a possible verdict in the first of at least two trials for former Trump Campaign Chief Paul Manafort; it turns out we will have to wait until next week. On his way out the White House door for another weekend vacation on Long Island (at our expense) Trump told the press that Manafort is, “A very good person.” That wasn’t the least intelligent thing to come out of Trump’s team on Friday. Kellyanne Conway asked the White House Press Corps why they asked so many questions about Trump. Here’s a hint Kellyanne: Their job is to cover the White House and he is the President.

Trump sent out a very appropriate tweet about Aretha Franklin’s passing. He couldn’t leave it at that. He later made a statement about her working for him. She may have performed at a Trump owned facility at some point in her illustrious career but I can guarantee you she never worked for him! He called Omarosa – who he hired at the White House at $179,000 per year – a “Dog.” He implied that Mayor Bowser was an incompetent crook. What do all three have in common? The answer is they are African-American women. Think that played well with Bubba? I do.

In 1968, although none of us certainly knew it back then, Aretha portended the Trump administration with her hit Chain of Fools. That is an accurate description of Trump and his crew. Of late he is getting even more desperate because the weakness of many of the links is becoming increasingly evident and they, along with Trump, appear about ready to snap.

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One thought on “’67 & ’68”

  1. Got it Larry. Oh, and by the way, according to The Donald, Camp David is a dump. On a more serious note, Trump is the master projectionist. Therefore, when you hear him accuse someone else of an action or behavior, you know that he himself is guilty of those. That’s why he knows so much about “hoaxes”…and “low IQ”…and “collusion”.

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