Sunday, February 12, 2017
PRESIDENT TRUMP AND THE VEXING OF THE
President Trump in the Oval Office last week.
(Sunday February 12, 2017 NYC) With all the raging force of a wildfire fueled by high winds and dry vegetation the firestorm that has been blazing since January 20, 2017, shows no sign of either abating or being contained. Despite the efforts of the once revered, now chastened Washington “establishment” including long-tenured career politicians, the media, professional political operatives, pundits, pollsters, prognosticators, to say nothing about the entire Democrat Party our new President is forging ahead with a distinctive “damn the torpedoes” belligerence and resolve. Unlike any other President, the 45th did not enjoy so much as a 15 minute “honeymoon” as the press has customarily granted. No, there was to be no honeymoon of any sort nor would there be the institutional respect always afforded to the man in the Oval Office irrespective of political Party.
Let’s concede upfront that President Trump has largely been his own worst enemy; from reckless Tweets and verbal gaffes, from his admitted disdain for briefings, reading, and processing the avalanche of raw data and material churned out for his consumption daily, he has played into the hands of some of his most vociferous critics. At the moment President Trump is running the sprawling federal apparatus with a meager skeleton crew as thousands of primarily bureaucratic vacancies have rendered many Cabinet departments dysfunctional. As he has been forced to steer the Ship of State with a small cadre of loyal advisors and only eight of his Cabinet Secretaries thus far voted on by the childish minority in the Senate led by the Minority Leader Chuckie Schmuck Schumer, he has conducted business in the manner he’s most accustomed to. Obviously the “nonpolitician” candidate now President is bringing his own particularly unique talents and attributes to the highest Office in the United States.
Since taking Office a scant four weeks ago the Trump Administration, such as it is, has often appeared grossly amateurish, overwhelmed while reeling from one blunder to the next. That the Trump Administration has not sought establishment Republicans to fill the vacancies in his Cabinet and the host of federal agencies positions that he is obliged to appoint has given rise to varying degrees of consternation throughout the corridors of power and influence long accustomed to having their way. Perhaps they should have paid more attention to candidate Trump who consistently lambasted such people as political hacks who made “stupid deals” and abandoned the “regular” people for decades and his repeated promise to appoint intelligent successful businessmen to the positions of prominence in his Administration.
President Trump’s nascent Administration has gotten off to a rocky start to say the least. However, as weeks go by and more vacancies are filled the pistons of governing will become better lubricated; the machinery of governance will once again be up and running. The ceaselessness of the news cycle has the mass media trapped in the single minded effort to dissect every decision the President makes, parsing every word from his inner circle, spokespeople, surrogates, and supporters – supporters who have been thrust into the difficult position of defenders. No Administration has been under the gun from the outset as has Trump’s and the media’s insatiable lust for criticism devoid of objectivity, the opposition Party’s determination to act as obstructionists, as well as leaks that appear to have been sprung from within the White House, have severely handicapped the President’s efforts to conduct the nation’s business.
It is difficult to attempt to explain the President’s penchant for lying, harboring deep-rooted conspiracy theories, for being notoriously thin-skinned yet it is also, apparently, as difficult for those within the confines of the Beltway to accept that the 65 million Americans who voted this flawed man into the Presidency remain staunchly in his corner. The campaign talk was more than rhetoric to them; he spoke in a language they understood and he connected with their concerns and fears. They have little regard for the “Establishment” and the media; they view the daily, blistering assault on the President as proof-positive of how he characterized the media during his campaign. Yes, if he is unable to deliver on some of his most controversial campaign promises he will be “one and done”, a single term President whose rise and fall (that is if he fails) will be studied by political scientists, academics, historian and the like for decades to come.
THE FIRST 100 DAYS
Legitimate as a benchmark or not, since the election of FDR in 1933, the “First 100 days” of a first term Presidency has been employed as an indicator of how effective a new President will be. This rather arbitrary timeframe is both antiquated and ill-legitimate. The world has become a vastly more complex web of intersecting domestic and foreign policy issues, increasingly globalized, with issues from national security, trade and fiscal policy, defense, and the myriad of concerns of these times. Given these and all the many other broad and deep issues an American President must confront there needs to be a realignment, a large scale review of all our commitment and relations around the world, every facet of domestic governance, every so many years. This is shaping up to be such a time for reassessment of many of these concerns.
Our federal government in all its multi-layered inherent complexity needs to be closely examined and streamlined where ever possible. Our government has become an unwieldy behemoth the likes of which require the full attention of the President, his Cabinet, and closest advisors and counselors. Candidate Trump often alluded to this concept and he should be granted a fair opportunity to address the issues in all their details. President Trump awoke this morning in the White House on his 24th day in Office. He is being held to an unprecedented level of scrutiny, media bias and criticism, and standards that serve only to undermine his efforts. Given the scale and scope of the responsibilities of his Office, 24 days is hardly sufficient or even a fair amount of time for the media to be so aggressively hostile. His critics are many and varied some blatantly determined to challenge him on every decision.
One need not travel too far back in our history to find similar though not identical Administrations that have been knocked off their stride and suffered very taxing, trying First Hundred days. Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama found themselves caught up in the cross currents of Republican obstinance, conservative obstructionism, and a press corps not always friendly despite their liberal bent. Both endured their tumultuous First 100 Days and went on to be successful two-term Presidents with their successes being measured by the public’s approval of them as they left Office. Perhaps President Trump’s harshest critics and the clamoring naysayers should take a breath here on day 24 and wait to see how this next 76 day unfolds.
Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2017 © All Rights Reserved
Copyright Brooding Cynyc 2017 © All Rights Reserved
Saturday, November 19, 2016
THE HOME OF OUR NEXT PRESIDENT:
NYPD MORE THAN UP TO THE TASK
(Thursday Nov. 9, 2016 100th St., NYC) Several months ago a group of ranking command Officers from various Units of the New York City Police Department began meeting to discuss the challenges they would undoubtedly face if in fact Manhattan resident Donald J. Trump was elected to the Presidency. Those nascent strategy and tactical discussions went into high gear yesterday morning as the reality dawned on New York City and the rest of the country. The NYPD is no stranger to challenges; they have literally written the book(s) not just on modern urban policing but also on the myriad often complicated security issues the City has been confronting particularly in this post 9/11 world. New York City remains a target rich environment and the top prize on terrorists want lists of locations to strike in our homeland. They have done so in the past and will continue to attempt to strike if they are able to exploit a vulnerability. It is no small feat that they have not been able to do so in the 15 years since the World Trade Center attack and that is directly attributable to the efforts of all of the Members of Service (MOS) of the NYPD.
New York City is without rival when it comes to diversity, disparity and density of population. It is the world center for banking, finance, entertainment, fashion, and home to all media outlets; a truly international City by virtue of all its prominent institutions from Wall Street to the federal Reserve Bank. The United Nations is in Manhattan and each member nation/state has at least an embassy, consulate or mission housed here as well. Some of the larger member nations have several facilities from which they conduct business. There is no more experienced and able Police Department in the world better suited for the many and varied complex circumstances and eventualities as the NYPD. Its many specialized Bureaus and Units in many cases are unique for a United States city to have as integral components of their day to day operations. Some in international and domestic security circles cite the NYPD Intelligence Bureau as comparable, and even superior, to that of some countries. After the stunning failures of the national intelligence agencies, NYPD would never again leave the security of our City to chance. It was from the ashes of that catastrophe that the newly reconstituted Intel Bureau was born.
Not since Theodore Roosevelt has a President of the United States been a native New Yorker. There were five other Presidents born in New York state but Teddy Roosevelt Jr., who was born on October 27, 1858, at East 20th Street in New York City, has been the only President from within the Five Boroughs. That distinction came to a surprising end when the Queens born, Manhattan billionaire real estate mogul, Donald J. Trump rode a wave of populist frustration and won the electoral victory that earned the novice politician the mantle of the President-elect of these United States. In a matter of mere hours his home, the 58 story Trump Tower that glimmers at 725 - 5th Avenue, became of the home of the President-elect. Never in our history has a President possessed so many opulent residences; residences that present the secret Service with heretofore unseen challenges. But, as is the simple reality and perhaps a slight to official protocol, the NYPD will be the literal “front line” agency tasked with protecting Trump, his family and Tower whenever he is in New York.
THIS ISN’T CRAWFORD TEXAS
Unlike all his predecessors, Donald Trump’s primary place of residence as well as all of the other locations he owns and frequents, are not easy to secure and protect, to say the least. President George H.W. Bush would vacation at his family coastal enclave at Kennebunkport, Maine while his son, George W. Bush spent his vacations playing cowboy and chopping wood on his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Each of these locations where isolated sufficiently that the Secret Service was able to maintain a secure perimeter on all fronts. President Reagan had a ranch in California almost as isolated at Crawford and president Jimmy Carter would retire to his peanut farm in Plains, Georgia when he wanted to escape the pressures of his job and Washington, DC. All of Trump’s properties present as very complex security challenges that will require some creative thinking to augment the standard dynamics of Presidential protection.
The White House sits on an 18-acre plot of land that, together with the Ellipse to the south (52 acres total), is called "President's Park." Centrally located on Pennsylvania Avenue, the surrounding acres provide a well-defined security perimeter. Since 9/11 the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue fronting the White House has been closed to vehicular traffic and has been lined with concrete fortifications designed to thwart a frontal attack via car or truck bomb. The airspace above the White House and an adjacent area are considered “restricted”. The Secret Service has anti-aircraft missiles on the roof of the White House and other military security hardware of both a defensive and offensive nature. The details of the protective equipment remain highly classified but, suffice to say, it is “robust” according to a retired Secret Service Official who spoke not for attribution.
Conversely, the Trump Tower in Midtown is squarely in one of the most heavily trafficked of airspaces in the country. Three metro area airports operate within a 10-mile radius of Trump Tower with many other smaller airports as well as non-fixed wing aircraft – helicopter – bases. How to secure a finite segment of the airspace over Midtown without seriously impacting airline operations remains to be seen.
As most New Yorkers are well aware there is a vast subterranean critical infrastructure network beneath the streets of our City. This poses another question in just how to secure Trump Tower from all angles. The surface component of this puzzle is a bit easier to plan and implement but it still is a “work in progress” according to an NYPD ESU ranking Officer. Fifth Avenue is a major thoroughfare for car, bus and pedestrian traffic. The feasibility of diverting this volume of people in transit is highly suspect but, there will be some measures taken perhaps to limit such activity when President Trump is in town.
Other aspects of Trump Tower will also be affected. There is a large open access public atrium with shops and eateries housed within. It is a prime destination for tourists and since Trump began his quixotic quest for the Presidency last year, it has seen an ever growing number of visitors. Recently it has also attracted more than its fair share of protestors, belligerents, loonies, oddballs, among others.
THE POLITICS OF PROTECTION
The NYPD and Secret Service are going to need to learn the steps of a new waltz very quickly. The NYPD is naturally protective of its “turf”, and rightfully so. They are as intimate with every aspect and facet of our people, streets, neighborhoods and possesses the most astute and proven tactics, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices possible to handle any and every potential and reality that can occur within our City limits. Just as when the United Nations gathers for the annual General Assembly and each member state arrives in NYC with their own security personnel and the State Department provides an additional layer of protection, matters of jurisdiction and “protocol” are dealt with. Coordinating security details and duties have been worked out over the years. Still, in every way that really matters, the NYPD is in charge, the UN just happens to be in their bailiwick and they never concede responsibility for what transpires within our Five Boroughs no matter the event.
That said, President Trump as a New Yorker will require a level of cooperation and coordination between the NYPD and Secret Service on levels not previously necessary. Some creative thinking is already being undertaken among the Commands of the Intelligence Bureau, Counterterrorism Units, Emergency Services Unit (ESU), as well as all the other Commands. NYPD has a vast array of capabilities and daily protects our City not just on the streets and down in the subways but overhead buy the Aviation Unit and in our surrounding waters by the Harbor Unit. Substantial “show of force” details can be dispatched to any location in the City in a matter of minutes when necessary or simply just to “remind” everyone, friend or foe alike, that we are there.
CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER
If the widespread acrimony and anger in the aftermath of Trump’s victory is any indication, he will likely be a challenge to physically protect from would-be assassins. Other Presidents faced high threat levels but none seem to have engendered the post-election vitriol and protestations as has president-elect Trump. It is true that most of the most visible agitators and demonstrators are nothing more than immature, spoiled, entitled, youngsters who do not really present as a serious threat to Trump’s safety. However, there are other forces of a darker intent and the Secret Service has been voicing their concerns internally and with the NYPD for many months. Now that Trump is the President-elect, their concerns have only multiplied.
WHEN TRUMP’S AWAY
If the Trump Tower were the only security headache for the Secret Service, they could marshal their efforts and forces concentrating on this one site. But Trump owns properties all over the country and has licensed his name to other properties the world over. Clearly anything bearing the Trump name will be an attractive target for terrorists. Among his vacation and resort residences in Bedminster, New Jersey and Palm Beach, Florida, to name two, all are vast properties in scale and scope and will require the curtailing of Trump’s usual vacation habits for the duration of his Presidency. Clearly the Secret Service and local Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) cannot be expected to spend valuable resources on far-flung sites Trump is accustomed to frequent. He will have to settle for the more conventional Presidential retreat at Camp David which is as secure a site as is the White House itself; perhaps, due to its isolation, more so.
The bottom line is that while each President faces untold threats and risks as they live and travel throughout their term in Office, President-elect Trump is in a category all his own but all can be comfortable in the knowledge that the premier Law Enforcement Agency in the world protects and defends the City the next President calls home.
Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2016 © All Rights Reserved
Copyright Brooding Cynyc 2016 © All Rights Reserved