The “Faking It” Administration

The House just passed a war powers resolution ordering Trump to withdraw forces engaged in hostilities with Iran. I’ll have more to say when I’ve digested the details. But I heartily approve.

To me, the most disturbing part of the administration’s  non-explanation of the recent “immiment threat” is that they apparently don’t think they have to explain anything. Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, in an interview with NPR, found this frustrating.

LEE: As I recall, one of my colleagues asked a hypothetical involving the supreme leader of Iran. If at that point, the United States government decided that it wanted to undertake a strike against him personally, recognizing that he could be a threat to the United States, would that require authorization for the use of military force? The fact that there was nothing but a refusal to answer that question was perhaps the most deeply upsetting thing to me in that meeting. I think it was unprofessional, inappropriate and reflective of a certain cavalier attitude toward the Constitution to refuse to make a commitment on that front.

This tells us that in the administration’s view that is no circumstance in which they feel they must consult with Congress before taking some military action. Greg Sargent:

“It would be hard to understand assassinating a foreign head of state as anything other than an act of war,” Josh Chafetz, a Cornell law professor and the author of a book on Congress’ hidden powers, told me. “It’s appalling that executive-branch officials would imply, even in responding to a hypothetical question, that they do not need congressional authorization to do it.”

And, of course, there was no “immiment threat.” Alex Ward at Vox:

“They did give us a window on the ‘imminent’ threat, but the window was so large that it doesn’t necessarily constitute ‘imminent,’” the lawmaker said, adding that the stated time frame around what the administration has described as an imminent threat was “days” rather than “weeks.”

“They gave us no time, place, or method” when describing the Soleimani threat, the Congress member continued. “Instead, we got a historical overview of decades-long malign activities from Iran. It begs the question: Was the attack on Soleimani more in retribution for what he’s done, or what he was planning?”

Others said the meeting in the House devolved into pettiness. In one instance, according to a House Democratic aide, a Democratic lawmaker asked a difficult question, prompting the briefers to turn to a Republican for an easier question while ignoring the one just asked. In another moment, a Democratic Congress member asked a multi-part question that briefers failed to answer fully. When the lawmaker tried to follow up, “they got shushed.”

What’s more, the defense and military officials were asked multiple direct questions about the legal justification for Trump to order a strike on Soleimani. Both Esper and Army Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs chair, looked uncomfortable, a Democratic aide said, and turned to their legal team because they apparently didn’t have the answers themselves. “There were no justifications,” the Democratic aide said. “It was totally insufficient.”

We’re hearing from multiple sources that the briefers warned legislators not to debate the administration’s actions, because that would “enbolden the enemy.”

The most reasonable explanation for this behavior is that the whole bleeping Trump administration is faking it. They cannot justify the assassination of Soleimani. There was no immiment threat. There is no strategy of how to deal with repurcussions. They lack knowledge of what they’re dealing with. Their entire function is covering Trump’s ass. Trump says jump, and then they scramble around to craft an excuse for jumping.

People who are competent, people who have deep extertise, are not shy about explaning what they do and why they do it. Certainly some matters may be classified, but many members of Congress do have security clearances, I understand. But Trumpers have to keep their actions hidden because they’re stumbling around like drunks and don’t want the world to watch them.

10 thoughts on “The “Faking It” Administration

  1. "Well, thank "god" no Americans were killed in Iran's missile attack on our troops in Iraq!"

    True.  But thanks to presiDUNCE Dumbfuck Von Douchenozzle's killing of Suleimani, a bit later that night, 176 people in board a Ukrainian airliner were killed when an Iranian missile hit the plane when it was (apparently) mistaken for an Amerucan war-plane.  The dead included 63 Canadians, with the rest of the dead condisting of the crew, and Iranian civilans.

    Also, because of presIDUNCE Thinskin Von Narscissistic Sociopath's action, 50+ Iranian civilians died, crushed to death, at Suleimani's funeral.

    But, thank "god," no Americans were killed in retribution for presiDUNCE Impeached Und Scaredshitless's stupid killing of Iran's top general.

    I need s stiff drink! *

    * Apologies for my language, maha.

     

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  2. The most reasonable explanation for this behavior is that the whole bleeping Trump administration is faking it.

    All the competent people have left, and the ones who are left are the complete toadies. It’s just as “Anonymous” warned.

    I’m reminded of the last days of the Roman Empire, when a child was sitting on the Emperor’s throne. The whole thing was running on fumes by then. Surrounded by third and forth rate dolts and empty ceremony.

    The fact that it’s going to be nearly impossible to impeach this guy despite the most blatant crimes, and that he has a good chance of winning in 2020 says it all.

  3. I wish some truly intelligent legal minds could lead us out of the morass we are stuck in.

    We have a clown because the US Senate will not remove his Ada. We have a system that is showing large flaws. The whole commander in chief Bullshit. When there's a demented idiot in the magic chair people die. We seem to have no mechanism for getting him out for getting information out of the ridiculous ly protected executive branch. We need constitutional reform and quick. People are dying.

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  4. Trump's obnoxiousness, amorality, dishonesty, and incompetence haven't gone unnoticed by the American public:

    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

    And his claim of being popular with 90% of Republicans, which is doubtful to begin with, ignores that Republicans are the minority party:

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/274694/party-preferences-steady-during-trump-era.aspx

    It's a good idea to keep in mind we've suffered bad presidents before and survived. There's a good chance for a backlash against Trumpism.

     

    • It's much bigger than Trump. It took over a year, but he finally installed competent henchmen, like Bill Barr to corrupt the government. And then there's McConnell working around the clock to pack the judiciary with right wing judges, who will be around for years, voiding whatever progress a backlash Congress will attempt to make.

      There is a backlash, but it's an open question whether it will be enough. You can bet when Trump is gone, there will be dictators-in-waiting, people more competent than Trump, who will gladly step into the wreckage he created and continue it.

      Trump is simply the current, most visible manifestation of the disease.

      • Agreed. Remember Nixon had a large group of lackeys too, and some of them went to jail. Trump has a head start on that.

        There's always been a danger of authoritarian takeover. Our government was designed to minimize it, but the limits are being tested in ways the Founders didn't imagine, such as on TV and social media. It's interesting Mark Zuckerberg has decided to run political ads with no restrictions, citing free speech rights, which also happen to coincide with his profits. It's possible the majority of Americans will show good judgement, but it still reminds me of the Karl Marx quote: "The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope."

         

        • Zuckerberg reminds me of a joke I heard last year:

          "Mom, when I grow up, I'm going to be a liberatarian!"

          "Well son, which is it? You're going to grow up OR you're going to be a libertarian?"

  5. "Free speech," means the GOVERNMENT cannot restrict anyone's free speech!

    Companies, even small businesses, CAN restrict your speech.

    If you call the CEO a feckin' arsehole in a meeting, or in public, or tell buyers that your product sucks, you have the right to 'speechify freely' – but the company has the 'freedom' to fire your 'speechifying' arse!

    It's kind of like the "shouting 'FIRE!' in a crowded theatre.  You CAN yell that, but it doesn't mean you "CAN'T" be charged with starting a riot.

    So, MotherZucker CAN edit, and CAN, pull hateful and bigoted posts!

    He just doesn't want to!

    Maybe because he's one of them:  the white supremacists.

    And if I keep saying that, and I have a large enough media megaphone, he can probably sue me for libel.

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