Tag Archives: White House

Defense boss’s privacy need backfires badly

Lloyd Austin seems to have lost sight of an important fact of a grownup’s life … which is that everyone must answer to someone else.

Therefore, for the U.S. defense secretary to keep his whereabouts hidden from those to whom he reports was a serious mistake. There needs to be some action taken to prevent this kind of keep-away from ever recurring.

Austin was hospitalized for four days before the brass at the White House knew about it. He had gone into the hospital for a routine surgical procedure. He didn’t tell the fellow who hired him, President Biden, nor anyone on the president’s staff.

One of his deputies stood in for him while he was “away,” which in itself is no big deal; Cabinet officials have done more of that since the COVID pandemic ravaged the nation.

It is troubling, though, that the individual who runs the Pentagon, the nation’s military establishment, would treat his absence from public view in such a cavalier fashion. The weirdness of this episode is illustrated by the fact that Austin is a retired Army four-star general who no doubt never would tolerate such secrecy from his subordinates in the military.

Politico reports: White House and Pentagon aides insist that Austin’s job is not in jeopardy — at least not yet. But they are sticking to that line despite seeming to lack full information about what’s actually been going on at the Pentagon. The precise nature of Austin’s surgery, medical complications and even his current condition remain unclear or addressed only in vague terms. Senior Defense Department and White House officials still don’t know the details of the procedure.

What the hell? The White House still doesn’t know the “details of the procedure”? Hey, Secretary Austin isn’t some chump mid-level bureaucrat. He is sixth in line to the presidency. He runs an agency that spends about $800 billion a year to keep us safe from our enemies.

The White House needs to know at all times the defense secretary’s status. For that matter, I want — and I deserve — to know what is occurring when it involves the defense boss.

Must he be fired over this? Probably not … but damn, he needs to shed this misbegotten need for privacy.


Debt-ceiling fight enters critical phase

Congress and the White House are fighting over an issue that doesn’t deserve this level of political bloodshed.

I refer to the debt ceiling. Congress should increase it as it has done always since the beginning of the Republic. But no-o-o-o! The Republican caucus in Congress, led by the MAGA cultists among its members, are seeking to make some sort of idiotic statement about the need to cut spending before increasing the ceiling.

How can I state this more clearly: If the nation defaults on its debts, the economy is going to crash; we will lose millions of jobs; interest rates will skyrocket; the world will feel the pain this nation will inflict on itself.

Do congressional MAGA cultists really believe this is sound fiscal policy? It is nothing of the sort!

I say all this as a way to suggest that I believe President Biden and the congressional leadership are going to find a solution before the June 1 deadline believed to be when the ceiling must be lifted.

If they do, and I believe it will happen, we are surely going to be treated with all kinds of back-slapping, high-fiving and self-congratulations from our political leaders over the courage they showed in ending this crisis.

It’s all crap!

I am afraid that the end will last only until the next debt-ceiling crisis arrives.


‘Retribution’ POTUS? Eek!

Well, I thought I could ride out a third campaign for the White House by the guy who used to live there without commenting on it.

But … I cannot let this notion go.

The 45th president said this to a small gathering at the Conservative Action Political Conference: “I am your warrior, I am your justice, I am your retribution.”

Your retribution?

Well, that’s what the world can expect to hear from the disgraced, twice-impeached former POTUS as he seeks to slither his way back to power.

Retribution? Against what and/or whom? I am going to presume he means the myriad investigators who are examining whether to indict the ex-POTUS on a number of felony crimes. The Fulton County, Ga., district attorney is looking into allegations that the former president sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. The Manhattan, N.Y., DA is looking into that hush money payment to the porn star to keep her quiet about a relationship that the ex-president said didn’t occur.

Then we have the special counsel hired by the attorney general who is trying to determine whether to indict the ex-POTUS for inciting the 1/6 insurrection and whether he broke the law when he spirited classified documents from the White House.

Is this what could await us if hell freezes over and this idiot returns to the White House?

It won’t happen. Of that I remain confident.

This moron’s blathering at CPAC, before a handful of fellow extremists, is worth a note only because — after all — he once sat in the Oval Office and once made decisions on behalf of this nation.

Remember when he told the Republican National Convention in 2016 that “I, alone, can fix” what is wrong with the country?

This individual remains as delusional as ever!


Not a bad start for POTUS

Ron Klain has stepped down as White House chief of staff, turning the keys to the West Wing over to Jeff Zeist.

I watched Klain’s goodbye speech to the staff — and to President Biden — this week and was stunned at what Klain said the administration has been able to accomplish in just two years of the president’s (hopefully) first term in office.

He cited the infrastructure bill, climate change legislation, inflation reduction legislation, managing our involvement in Europe’s largest ground war since World War II, reducing the national budget deficit … and on and on.

Well, here’s the video of Klain’s speech. Let him tell the story.

Watch Ron Klain’s full speech as he steps down as White House chief of staff – YouTube

It’s no tall tale, though. I stand with President Biden as he continues to govern with a sense of compassion and idealism that too often gets trampled by the rough and tumble of D.C. politics.

Thanks for your service, Ron Klain. Don’t go too deeply into hiding, in case the president needs to call you for some advice.


Biden plays into GOP attack strategy

What does one say about President Biden’s squirreling away of classified documents? Well, here’s what I have so far.

Joe Biden is playing directly into the Republicans’ strategy of attacking the president for anything at any time or for any political purpose.

It is particularly unsettling for those of us who continue to support Joe Biden to see this tempest erupt as Justice Department officials are examining a much-worse situation involving documents taken from the White House by Biden’s immediate presidential predecessor.

The Biden team is making a hash out of this story, giving their foes ammunition to fire at him. They are attempting to attach moral equivalence to the men’s actions. They aren’t remotely similar, other than they represent the presence of classified documents in unsecure places.

The White House communications outfit has to get a handle on this matter, in a major hurry. Any further bumbling by the White House “commo team” only heightens the political peril that Biden faces.


WH produces maddening blunders

That White House where President Biden now resides and where the center of the executive branch operates is being abused by the incompetence demonstrated by Biden’s staff.

The feds found classified documents at a D.C. think tank, then found more of them at Biden’s home in Delaware. The White House response? It has been to dissemble and fudge on the whole truth, creating a perception out there of serious wrongdoing.

Good grief! The man made a mistake when he took the documents after serving as vice president from 2001 to 2009. He has vowed to cooperate fully with the Justice Department.

However, we have the morons inside the White House communications office who, quite frankly, aren’t communicating very effectively.

Meanwhile, all this is giving Republicans ammo to fire at President Biden, drawing a direct comparison of Joe Biden’s document kerfuffle to the scandal that plagues Donald John Trump.

They ain’t the same, man!

Trump had to be ordered to turn over documents he took from the White House. He refused to follow the orders. The FBI got word that he had more documents stashed at Mar-a-Lago; it then sought a search warrant from a federal judge, who granted it to the FBI.

Then the G-men (and women) went to Mar-a-Lago to scoop up the documents.

Biden vows cooperation. Trump practices deception and obstruction.

Do you see the difference? Well, it’s clear to me!

The Biden White House, though, needs to get its act together … as in right now!


‘Sham?’ Uhh, yeah!

Brittney Griner is serving a nine-year prison sentence for committing a crime that in most civilized nations would be considered a misdemeanor.

Not in Russia. The Russians have locked her up and have denied an appeal to have her sentence reduced to suspension.

Griner is the former Baylor University basketball star, a native of the Dallas area and a star in the WNBA. She got caught with vape canisters and cannabis oil in her luggage while trying to leave the country via Moscow’s airport.

The White House calls the decision to uphold Griner’s prison sentence a “sham.” Do you think?

It just goes to show the world what kind of “justice” is practiced in Russia, where its leader — thug and goon Vladimir Putin — longs for a return to Marxist doctrine in the Kremlin.

The White House is demanding Griner’s release so she can join her family and resume her life. The decision to keep her locked up, though, bodes poorly — in the short term — for Griner’s release.



Rep. Jackson sings a single note

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ronny Jackson is becoming the master of a one-note samba, except that he’s terribly out of tune when he sings it.

Jackson is the Republican U.S. representative who lives in the Texas Panhandle. He’s a charter member of the Donald Trump cabal of cult kooks. As a physician assigned to care for the president, Jackson did that for Trump and for President Obama.

His time as the White House doc must make him — in what passes for his mind — an expert on the health of Trump’s presidential successor. Jackson keeps yammering about Biden’s mental acuity. He keeps saying incessantly that President Biden needs to submit to a cognitive ability test.


Jackson is no more qualified to question Joe Biden’s mental fitness for the job than I am. He’s never seen the president’s medical record. He’s never examined him. Jackson has never consulted with the president. Indeed, the idiot Trumpkin spends a good portion of his day appearing on right-wing media outlets and putting out Twitter messages talking about matters — such as Biden’s health — about which he knows nothing.

Here’s an idea: How about crafting legislation that will do some good for the Texans he represents in Congress?


Love the tradition

You at this moment are reading the words of a sucker for pageantry, ceremony and even a little bit of pomp. It was with that bias that I was able to watch the return of a longstanding White House ceremony laced with good humor, good tidings and gratitude.

President and Mrs. Biden invited former President and Mrs. Obama back to the White House today to unveil portraits of the Obamas that will hang in the people’s house alongside — as President Obama noted — “George and Martha.”

OK, this isn’t normally the stuff that would fill a blog such as mine. Except for the proverbial elephant that one could almost hear trudging through the White House room where they unveiled the Obamas’ portraits.

That was the memory of the single term of the man who served as president between the terms of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Donald J. Trump could have had a ceremony honoring the Obamas. He chose to throw that tradition aside, alongside other traditions that Trump chose to ignore.

No one mentioned Trump’s name in their remarks to the nation as the pictures were unveiled. There was no need. The Obamas and the Bidens all referred to the “tradition” they were honoring, just as the Obamas did when they unveiled portraits of President and Mrs. Bush, and just as the Bushes did when they welcomed back President and Mrs. Clinton for precisely the same ceremony.

I should point out that in both those instances, presidents of one party honored his predecessor from the opposing party, setting aside partisan differences and disagreements over policy to honor their service to the country.

So, now for The Big Question: Would there be such a ceremony in which Donald and Melania Trump come back to the White House for a portrait unveiling? I almost laughed out loud when I typed those words.

Given all the hatred and the violence that preceded the transition from Donald Trump to Joe Biden’s administration … do not hold your breath waiting for the Trumps to return to the White House.


Some traditions matter

Traditions do matter, regardless of how some of those in power might eschew them, cast them aside and act with an air of self-proclaimed unpredictability.

For instance … we have this event that occurs when presidents move into the White House that features the current first couple welcoming the previous first couple to the White House to unveil official portraits.

President and Mrs. Biden are going to welcome back to the White House former President and Mrs. Obama for the unveiling of the Obamas’ portraits.

The Obamas, under tradition, should have been invited back to the house where they lived for eight years by Donald and Melania Trump. That didn’t happen. Donald Trump saw no need to bring back the man whose constitutional credentials he questioned for years, the man he criticized incessantly during his term in office.

So, the Trumps never chose to make nice with the Obamas. Indeed, President and Mrs. Obama oversaw a marvelous White House ceremony to unveil the portraits of President and Mrs. Bush, who preceded the Obamas in the White House.

Now, the current president and first lady will welcome back the 44th president and his wife.

This begs a two-part question: Is there an official portrait being painted of the Trumps and who — in their right mind — would invite them back for an unveiling? This is a wild guess, but it damn sure won’t be Joe and Jill Biden.