The US government is dissolving under the Trump regime

Hoist the distress flags. The ship of state under Donald Trump is a mass of floating departments operating with no captains and a skeleton crew.

A paltry 15% of key government positions have been filled by Trump. These are not non-essential jobs as some might argue. These are departments heads, ambassadors to the world, administrators of national agencies, liaisons with global organizations. This scenario resembles an oligarchy where the Trump-appointed, avowedly “loyal” Cabinet members rule their departments with no intermediate secretaries standing in the way of their decisions. Most troubling is the nearly complete absence of government experience by this Cabinet.

Each President is obligated to nominate people to fill over 1200 Executive branch positions. Those nominations are then approved by the Senate. But as seen in The Washington Post graphic (below), this president has abandoned over three dozen agencies, boards and commissions. He has yet to proffer nominations to the Senate for these entities.

Thus, the Export-Import Bank, NASA, the Federal Reserve, the Nuclear Regulatory Board, the Social Security Administration and Railroad Retirement Board, the departments of Labor and Agriculture, the Census Bureau, Equal Opportunity Commission, Defense Nuclear Facilities Board and Office of Personnel Management are functioning without a head. All five positions within the Federal Elections Commission are without a nominee. The same is true for the Federal Trade Commission, the National Science Foundation and the Federal Mine Safety and Review Commission. Career employees and Obama-era administrators keep these significant agencies afloat. And this is an incomplete list.

See a complete breakdown of empty positions here.

Trump’s malfeasance affects our international relations. The U.S. has no ambassadors for our European allies. He has not provided nominees for Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands and Sweden among others. We have no one to represent our country’s interests in South Korea, South America or much of the African continent including hot spots in the Mideast.

These are essential positions. Ambassadors have a transactional job: they keep the president aware of issues and crises and, they report executive policy to the individual countries. They also act as levers to soothe crises. All of these responsibilities have been vacated.

Ironically, Trump did nominate ambassadors to Russia and China. Neither country is an ally of the United States. However, the Trump brand does have extensive business interests in these nations. Manufacturing, trademarks and other investments bring in money for the Trump family. A CNN report stated that Trump and his family have business interests in 25 countries including China, India, Russia, the UAE and Israel.

North Korea’s most recent nuclear missile is capable of reaching Alaska.

Consequences of empty seats in government are surfacing each time there is an international incident. For example, while North Korea is firing nuclear warheads capable of reaching US territory, the State Department is bereft of key executives who can advise on this crisis. Trump has yet to nominate an assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, Near Eastern affairs or South Asian affairs. The same holds for parallel positions in the Department of Defense.

Some news reports say the lack of an Ambassador to Japan and no Secretary of the Navy impeded rescue efforts after the collision of the USS Fitzgerald off the coast of Japan.

The guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald at Yokosuka, Japan. |Photo: C7F.NAVY.MIL|

The recent blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and other aligned countries saw the Secretary of State and the President at odds in their public stands. The President criticized Qatar, home to a significant US Navy base, while Tillerson called for diplomacy. The policy collision is evidence of what Tillerson called a “disorganized” operational structure under Trump.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State just announced he is shuttering the Coordinator for Cyber Security and folding the office into the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. This presents a serious problem. The receiving Bureau has no assistant secretary in place to run it. With the President talking about sharing cyber security with the Kremlin to “safeguard” US elections, the potential perils are horrifying.

Trump and Putin at the G20 summit. |AFP/Getty image|

Within the Department of Homeland Security, there is no FEMA director. Citizens in states susceptible to floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters may wonder how this agency will coordinate efforts during an emergency or catastrophic event.

In the Executive branch, the Science division of the Office of Science and Technology is empty. The last of the Obama staff departed on 30 June and have not been replaced by Trump. This once-robust office advised the President on “STEM education, biotechnology and crisis response.”

In nearly every federal department, Trump has failed to nominate an inspector general or legal counsel. This leaves the Trump government with virtually no independent oversight and no legal guidance or representation.

The list of absent positions is long, deep and shocking. It is akin to a hostile takeover of a multinational corporation where former executives are removed but not replaced. Refusing to staff key positions would cripple such an entity.  In this case, we are talking about the government of the United States.

This is not normal.

Emin – Eyewitness to Trump’s Moscow Kompromat?

Tweets found on a Russian pop star’s official Twitter account look to verify the alleged kompromat on Donald Trump in possession of the Russian government. And, that verification appears to based on his firsthand knowledge of the event.

In my last post, I suggested that one of the unnamed sources in the Christopher Steele dossier was the Russian pop artist, Emin Agalarov. Emin’s name has surfaced recently as the person who requested the meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and a Kremlin-connected lawyer last June. This meeting was preceded by emails to Trump’s son which promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton on behalf of the Russian government.

I also noted that Emin was very likely present for Trump’s notorious Golden Showers escapade at the Moscow Ritz Carlton. This spectacle, supposedly taped by Russian intel, is the damning kompromat hanging over Donald Trump.

A 27 November 2013 tweet on Emin’s official account shows a broadly smiling Donald Trump posing with Emin and his father, Abas Agalarov. This is a response to Trump citing a piece in The Moscow Times promoting an Emin video in which Trump made an appearance.

There’s nothing outwardly incriminating about these messages. The date is significant though. According to the Steele memo, The Ritz Carlton affair occurred in 2013, the same year as these tweets.

Now, the following details emerge:

  • Trump was in Moscow in 2013.
  • Trump lunched with Emin and Abas Agalarov at the Moscow Ritz Carlton at that time. (More here.)
  • Trump’s Golden Showers escapade occurred at the Moscow Ritz Carlton.
  • Steele’s sources say the above scenario occurred in November 2013.
  • Emin Agalarov (and his father) is an intermediary of the Russian government.

What is striking about this 2013 tweet is that it was reshuffled and retweeted after Trump’s election win in 2016. One could conclude that this served as a reminder to Trump that the kompromat exposing his nasty behavior still existed.

However, the most damning of Emin’s tweets comes a week before Trump’s inauguration. In it, Emin gloats over his personal knowledge of “what Donald Trump was doing in a hotel in Moscow.”

The missive to the world also carries an implicit message to Donald Trump from his Russian blackmailers: “We own you. Don’t you forget it.”

If Emin was an eyewitness to Trump’s perverted sexual activity, then it closely mimics another episode in the public record: the 2005 audio clip of Trump vulgarly boasting to the younger Billy Bush about his sexually transgressions. This is just the type of salacious behavior and weak character that Russian agents would seek to compromise.

Christopher Steele Had It Right – And Trump Jr Just Verified The Dossier

Emin Agalarov, Donald Trump and Aras Agalarov from Emin’s Instagram account. Posted upon Trump’s presidential win.

The New York Times articles implicating Donald Trump, Jr, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in what looks like collusion with Russia corroborate the very first entry in the Christopher Steele dossier and give a possible identity to one of his unnamed sources.

In its first bombshell report, the Times verified three crucial points from the memos prepared by Steele, a former official with Britain’s M-16 spy agency:

  1. Putin was engaged in an effort to help Trump and harm Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
  2. The Kremlin had compiled information it believed might damage Clinton.
  3. Sources close to the Trump campaign were coordinating with the Kremlin in the effort to undermine the election.

Specifically, the first Steele memo dated 20 June 2016 lay the groundwork for Kremlin interference and potential Trump team collusion. The entry noted that Putin’s people had delivered “valuable intelligence” to Trump on his “opponents” for “several years.” The wording points to an effort to undermine not just Hillary Clinton but Trump’s Republican rivals during the primary season.

The initial Steele memo from June relies on various unidentified sources. One such person, named “Source D” was a “close associate of Trump” who was directly involved in arranging Trump’s Moscow visits. This same individual was present during Trump’s “perverted conduct in Moscow” at the Ritz Carlton – the so-called golden showers defilement of the bed supposedly used by President and First Lady Obama during a previous visit. This episode is allegedly the highlight of the Kremlin’s blackmail material against Trump. According to Steele, the activity was taped.

Here is the relevant excerpt from the Steele dossier:

While the identity of Source D is not certain, information from the Times article strongly suggests it is Emin Agalarov, the person who requested the meeting with Trump’s inner circle. According to the Times:

“… the beauty competition in Moscow brought the Trump family into partnership with Emin Agalarov, a pop star in Russia, and his father, Aras — a duo that develops major real estate projects in Russia and appears friendly with the Kremlin.

Since then, Emin Agalarov has repeatedly boasted of maintaining a warm relationship with Mr. Trump.

Further on in the Times story, Emin is placed at the Moscow Ritz Carlton with Trump:

Phil Ruffin, Mr. Trump’s partner at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas, who flew to Moscow for the competition, said he and Mr. Trump had lunch with the Agalarovs at the Ritz-Carlton.

This would lend added credence to Steele’s assertion that Emin is Source D and, importantly, that he was present at the infamous golden showers sex play at the hotel – purportedly the kompromat used to compromise Donald Trump.

It looks like Christopher Steele had it right. The Times report validates the Steele dossier and comports with the dates and details of its very first entry. Trump’s eldest son confirmed the explosive meet-up and revealed its purpose in a series of emails released yesterday.

Seen in chronological perspective, the meeting with the Russian lawyer is the start of a coordinated effort between Trump associates and Putin operatives that continued through the presidential election cycle.

It is time to revisit that collection of memos. Christopher Steele’s record gives us insight into how the Kremlin coordinated the attack on the election process and which members of Trump’s campaign team were involved.

And, it alerts us to the the next bombshell report.

Tick, tick, tick…

About That $20 Million

There’s a hubbub in social media circles about a $20 million donation supposedly directed toward Speaker Paul Ryan after his endorsement of Donald Trump. Twitter accounts (like this one) and online mags (such as this one) are making much ado about the money, the timing and the implication of a quid pro quo scenario.

It’s better to be right than righteous. Here are the facts. Continue reading “About That $20 Million”

Ossoff Facing Off Against Multimillion Dollar Opposition Fund

JON OSSOF |Photo Credit: Rolling Stone|

Jon Ossoff, the Democrat’s Congressional nominee for Georgia’s 6th District, is not just battling for votes in this June 20th runoff election. He is in a high stakes skirmish against one of fattest opposition funds around. The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) out of Washington, D.C., has dedicated millions – $5,923,919.27 to be exact – in opposing the 30-year-old millennial and former Congressional aide. Continue reading “Ossoff Facing Off Against Multimillion Dollar Opposition Fund”