Prison, lost fleets, TV shows, “new jobs,” Easter eggs. Life in Donald land is calculating, so this edition of As The Donald Turns is a “Numbers Game.”
- Donald’s one time campaign aid Carter Page is looking at some numbers. Yes, he has been characterized as a witless doofus…mostly because he is. But don’t be fooled by the goober act. CNN is running the stories that the FBI has had the dirt on Page for a while, that foreign intelligence services have had the dirt on him for a while, that they have him talking to Russian operatives offering quid pro quo exchanges with them on behalf of the Trump campaign. The irony is that Page’s attorney issued a statement saying they intend to sue for violation of privacy, yet never denied the existence of the evidence. Oh, by the way, when the FBI has enough dirt on you to get a FISA warrant, your right to privacy is pretty much shot to heck. If the stories on Page are true there could be some prison numbers in his future.
- Speaking of legal numbers, remember when new attorney general Jeff Sessions kicked 46 US Attorneys to the curb? I mean, it was mostly standard government stuff. A new administration comes in, the attorneys resign, and many, if not most, are hired right back. The difference this time was that Sessions asked for the resignations with little to no notice and had to fire the US Attorney for the Southern Section in NY, who happened to be investigating Donald. So here are the legal numbers I referenced. Do you know how many people have been hired or promoted to fill those 46 spots? ZERO. Between years of the GOP not holding confirmation hearings for federal court judges and now being 46 lawyers short in the various US Attorney’s offices, the legal system in this country has ground to a halt beyond executive fiats.
- The annual Easter Egg roll on the south lawn of the White House also brings us the number ZERO. That is the number of kids from local Washington DC public schools that were invited to the event in their back yard. Nearly all of the youth participants were from private or charter schools. But hey, at least the musical act that was on stage, Martin Family Circus, sang an old slave spiritual. Nothing like a bunch, (bunch is a number….I swear it is), of privileged white folks shutting out the neighborhood kids but serenading them from the inside with gospel music from the slave era.
- Did we mention Carter Page could be going to jail at some point? Just checking.
- Bill O’Reilly had some numbers, lost numbers, paid some numbers, and at the end of it all, his number was up. He owns the ratings for Fox, but he also owned $13 million in payouts to women for sexual harassment cases. He once had the largest number of advertisers of any Fox show. Those numbers dwindled down so much since news of the legal payouts broke that the network was running more promos than paid commercials in his show. As of Wednesday, the number was the contract buyout as he and his show were kicked to the curb. Some are applauding Fox for taking a stand. People with a reasonable thought process are wondering how, when his activities have been known for at least 10 years, it took so long to come to this point.
- Speaking of TV, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is familiar with a show. It has been off the air a couple of years, but for someone like Kelly, that still warrants a contemporary pop culture mention. Kelly is tired of the naysayers taking shots at Homeland Security. He tweeted, “While you’re binge-watching Mad Men on Netflix, TSA is stopping an actual mad man with a loaded gun from boarding a flight to Disney World. While you’re deciding what you want for lunch, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center is teaching law enforcement officers how to respond to an active shooter.” I knew something big was going on while I was making my PBJ sandwich today, but I was not binge watching Mad Men. Few do.
- Maps have numbers. They are called coordinates. Donald’s administration might want to learn to read them so they know where their ships are at all times. Just over a week ago, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal to North Korea. Donald said an armada was on the way. Those pesky numbers on the maps said otherwise. The Carl Vinson, and the three other warships in its strike force were actually sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula. OOOOPS. First the administration blamed the Pentagon for the miscommunication. The Pentagon said the naval exercises had been planned for some time and the ships were on their way when Donald made his bold proclamation. Since it was worldwide news, it became hard to walk back that the ships were actually not on their way, so it took time to reroute the vessels. Wednesday, the administration’s story changed. Sparkle Pony Spicer said when they proclaimed the armada was on its way, they did not mean at that very moment. Anyone think this is intimidating Kim Jong Un in the least bit?
- Donald held a pep rally in Wisconsin this week to tout an executive order that was going to increase jobs numbers. The executive order actually no (as in the number zero) legislative power. It simply calls for the labor department and commerce department to study the use of foreign workers, via the H-1B visa program. It’s part of the America First thingy he likes to talk about. “Buy American and hire American,” said Donald. The thing is there are waivers for companies to continue to “import” workers. You know who has waivers to do this? The Trump Winery. Also several of the Trump golf clubs and Trump hotels. Yes Uday and Qusay…..uh, I mean Donald and Eric Trump continue to uphold the family tradition of doing what they heck they want, regardless of garbage executive orders signed by daddy. There is a whole goose/gander story in here somewhere, but it doesn’t have pictures so Donald would not understand it. You know who else uses the H-1B program for foreign workers? The high tech companies that are the leaders in innovation for this country.
- In that speech Donald, boasted that no president has done more in the first 90 days than him. So, what do we do? We look at the numbers:
- Zero legislative bills passed.
- 24 Executive Orders, most of which had no actual power attached to them, and were primarily just memorandums. Among the ones that had power: instructing the Labor Department to delay implementing an Obama rule requiring financial professionals who are giving advice on retirement, and who charge commissions, to put their client’s interests first. Seriously. Of course there were also the two orders on immigration and refugees, which got shot down in court. There were three orders mandating the Department of Justice fight drug cartels, reduce violent crime and reduce attacks against police. That is when he looked presidential, right?
- Did we mention zero legislative bills passed?
- Did I mention Carter Page may be going to jail, and that if/when it happens, he won’t be the last in what is likely to turn into an unbelievable quagmire?
All this counting and working on numbers has the staff exhausted. We are going to put away the abacus and put our heads down for awhile.