Wednesday, July 19, 2017

It May Be "Legal," but Is It Right?

This is a question posed by Asha Rangappa, an associate dean at the Yale Law School and a former FBI agent, in a recent op-ed article in the Washington Post. In order to answer that question, Ms Rangappa turned to an individual with whom FBI agents are familiar.

Carla F. Bad isn't a real lady, but a mnemonic device to help FBI agents remember the elements they use to assess the suitability of persons for positions of public trust: Character, Associates, Reputation, Loyalty, Ability, Finances, Bias, Alcohol, and Drugs.

As Ms Rangappa writes about the technical question of whether or not Donald Trump and his associates have broken the law,

"... focusing on bright-line rules of criminality misses the point. The deeper question is whether members of Trump’s administration can uphold the trust that has been placed in them as stewards of the government they have been chosen to lead. On this front, the criminal code shouldn’t be the only yardstick. Even if Trump’s aides and family members have managed to toe the line of the law, the news out of the Russia investigation so far leaves little reason to have faith in their judgment."

Let's see how Ms Bad would assess Donald Trump ...

Character: The man is a congenital and unrepentant liar who doubles down on his untruths in the face of evidence to the contrary. His ability to evade censure for the most blatant lies is amazing.

Associates: Vladimir Putin. 'Nuf said.

Reputation: Golden with about 39% of the electorate; in the toilet with the other 61%. And he's not particularly well thought of in financial circles, either.

Loyalty: Demands it of subordinates, but isn't known for returning it.

Ability: During the presidential campaign, he memorably said that the United States was in terrible shape and "I alone can fix it." So far, I haven't seen anything fixed, Congress is a laughable circus bereft of presidential leadership and direction, and the international leadership of the United States has vanished.

Finances: Mr Trump has filed for bankruptcy six times, although in fairness, most involved his casino properties and happened during a period when the casino industry overall was struggling. He has been sued at least 60 times by individuals and businesses seeking payment for services provided to Trump and his properties, and has bragged that not paying taxes means he's "smart." Don't hold your breath waiting for his tax returns.

Bias: Mr Trump does not care for Mexicans or for men who have been prisoners of war*. He also does not want to have any "poor" people in positions of economic responsibility in his administration. In general, he is biased against "losers."

Alcohol: No problems - Mr Trump is reported to be a teetotaler.

Drugs: No reported problems. Although there have been unproven rumors of past drug use, the only drug Mr Trump is reported to be taking is finasteride, which is used to combat male-pattern baldness.

So, how do Mr Trump and Ms Bad get along?

Giving points for a lack of problems with alcohol or drugs, Mr Trump scores only Carla's first name and middle and last initials ... but given the evidence for them, it's bad enough.

Mr Trump may skate at the very edge of what's legal, but if he were a young person trying to get a security clearance, Ms Bad would probably argue against him on seven out of nine grounds.

And we've elected him president. What does that say about us?

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Although he never ran the risk of becoming one, never having served in the armed forces.


Grand Crapaud said...

We're screwed. That what it says.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

He certainly does not provoke me to feel confidence and trust......

Mike said...

I can't imagine how crazy things would be if trump was a drunk too.

allenwoodhaven said...

Amen! I know someone who was stiffed by Trump after providing services. He never got his money and couldn't afford to take him to court.