Which Cabinet Members Will Turn on Trumpie?

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Remember the first “Ocean’s Eleven” movie? George Clooney lays out the casino robbery plan and asks the assembled crew, “are you in or out?”

Which members of Trump’s cabinet would turn on him because he’s nuts?

Given our dire situation, Vice President Michael Pence may have to find his cojones  very soon. If the President is that mentally ill,  Pence can invoke Amendment 25, Article 4 of the U.S. Constitution. That means he can tell Congress that the President is   unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.

To do this, Pence needs the backing of 8 serving Cabinet members of the Trump Administration.

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So who would do this? Personally, I think Pence would have nine who don’t want their reputations further tarred by Trump. Here they are:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. This guy ran Exxon/Mobil to record profits. Now he walks a dangerous line every day, wondering what the lunatic a few blocks away will Tweet! With the White House dictating foreign policy, Tillerson is clearly tired of having his hands tied. And yeah, Trump saying that there are some good Nazis.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis. This is a general who talks to other generals. We know that all of them are nervous with Trump having the codes. And yeah, Trump saying that there are some good Nazis.

Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin. Shulkin is a government mainstay, a bureaucrat in the best sense of the word. He has a reputation for actually caring about his job and genuinely wants to make VA better. With budget cuts, non-action and phony talk, it is likely that Shulkin sees Trumpie as not helping his agency. And yeah, saying that there are some good Nazis.

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. Trump has been saying that her husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, should resign. Aside from the fact that she can’t get anything done either, that doesn’t go down well. And yeah, Trump saying that there are some good Nazis.

Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta. Acosta realizes that one cannot be an effective Labor Secretary when your President hates working people. And yeah, Trump saying that there are some good Nazis.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. While Zinke is not opposed to use of public lands for development, Trump’s language and lack of actual policy on it is too roughshod for Zinke. While he wants to swing back at regulation like the others, Zinke also understands that wholesale slaughter of public lands isn’t a good legacy for him. And yeah, saying that there are some good Nazis.

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. Treasury is hamstrung by a White House without any time to do analysis of economic policy. Many jobs are vacant and many programs are on hold. Mnuchin is close to Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein, who has given up on Trump. Oh, and he’s Jewish and said not to be thrilled with Trump saying that there are some good Nazis.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Billionaire vulture capitalist Ross saw this job as a prestige move, as did most of his predecessors. It’s not with Trump in the White House. He already divorced one political whack job.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions is temporarily back in Trump’s good graces. Still, it is hard to believe he doesn’t want revenge for being dissed so publicly. He supported Trump before anyone in Congress, and THIS is what he gets? On top of which, if he stays on and Mueller’s report goes easy on his Russian meetings, Sessions might reclaim some small measure of moral ground. At least as much as someone like Jeff Sessions can. I don’t get the sense he cares about the Nazi/KKK stuff that much.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Ben Carson and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry are probably fine with Trump staying. They are active destroyers of their own agencies. They hold locked ideological mindsets and very little understanding of their mission. Given that Trump gave them their jobs as favors, they seem unlikely to defect. OK, perhaps Carson could be swayed by Vice President Pence. On the other hand, he is just as likely to forget how he meant to vote.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue are unknowns. Since General John Kelly took over as White House Chief of Staff earlier in August, the acting Secretary of Homeland Security is Elaine Duke. I have no idea what she’d do if faced with something so daunting.

What do you think?

 

 

 

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Another Way To Interpret “Demon”

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Though he can come off as an opinionated boor, I quite enjoy reading Peter DeLorenzo’s Autoextremist column on the auto industry. Snark aside, he’s smart, knows what’s going on and pulls few punches. I’ve been on his bad side and still respect him.

But I think even “Sweet Pete,” as some call him sarcastically, didn’t realize there would be awful parallels between his take-down of Dodge’s “Roadkill Nights” and the tragedy in Charlottesville.

Earlier last week, salivating auto journalists got a media preview of high-performance Dodge Challengers and Chargers in “Roadkill Nights.” Here is what they do: shut down the famed Woodward Avenue in Pontiac, Michigan, and allow the media fanboys — sorry ladies, but they’re almost always boys — to do real live smoky “burnouts.” It’s like the Sixties, Jan & Dean and The Beach Boys, all over again.

In particular, auto journalists have been salivating over the Dodge Challenger Demon, which has an 800-horsepower V-8 engine and only one front seat. The Demon is not allowed to be legally drag-raced on tracks. That is because Dodge did not install the safety equipment as roll cages and fire extinguishers as required by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).

The fact that this performance potential (0-60mph in under 4 seconds; 11 second 1/4-mile) will be used in the street — and quite illegally — seems to be something that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is proud of. They are even doing “halo” advertising that — wink, wink — suggests hard-core drivers will use a Demon on the street as intended. To drag race, of course.

It’s quite an image, this Dodge Challenger Demon. The engineers did their jobs well. After “Roadkill Nights,” recounts DeLorenzo, the FCA/Dodge marketing mavens all high-fived themselves over the excitement they managed to create for the aged Dodge Challenger platform.

Are you pumped? Do you wish you’d been at “Roadkill Nights?” Good. Now shift focus to images that involve this more beat-up Dodge Challenger.

“Roadkill” indeed. I wonder how the Dodge boys feel now?

 

Blame the Banks: Could They Have Stopped Trump?

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So how does a lousy businessman who declared bankruptcy several times bounce back and become President?

The phenomenon of “The Apprentice” in 2004 is the easy answer. But what took place 12-15 years earlier really set the stage for Trump’s revival. You know what would really be great memoir? One from a former banker who did business with Trump during his 1990-1992 bankruptcies. Then we could really understand how they let him get away with it.

By 1992, the banks could have castrated Trump economically. They could have turned him into a pauper. Instead, upper management feared being soiled by his sleazy businesses and HIS special brand of negative publicity.

In the early Nineties, I was involved on the re-marketing of distressed real estate, mainly due to the savings and loan crisis. The FDIC even formed a government corporation for this, the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC).

While in bankruptcy in 1991, Trump had $450K in monthly living expenses, keeping all his homes, cars, the yacht and running the casinos.

Working with RTC vendors, I got to meet a lot of bank and insurance people. Many quietly discussed Trump and his bankruptcy. There was frustration that he was allowed to operate his cash-generating casinos. He got to hold onto his cars and mansions, drawing $450,000 per month in living expenses. When an insurance premium was due on the yacht he bought from an arms dealer, he told the banks to take the thing away or pay the premium themselves — which they did.

Like the pastor who doesn’t want to be caught at the whorehouse, these banks did not want their association with Trump to become known with blaring headlines.

Trump is not the smartest guy in the world, but he is extremely cunning at knowing when something works to his advantage. This did. So essentially, Trump became the guy who got away with it — without paying back the banks much of the principal. He even bragged about it, as with everything else.

Sure, those institutions blocked him from further credit. But there were always others — like Deutsche Bank, now in the eye of the Russia investigation.

Tim O’Brien of Bloomberg covers some of this well in his excellent 2005 book TrumpNation — for which Trump unsuccessfully sued him.

It’s a great book, but wouldn’t you also want to hear from an ex-banker who was there? The real behind-the-scenes story of WHY Trump was allowed to walk away would help us understand how he continues to perpetuate his stink on a global stage.