The Grift that Keeps on Grifting…

Fifty-eight days and counting… but the criminal enterprise shows no signs of slowing. It’s not Rudy Giuliani’s creepy, pathetic “voter fraud” claims, or the Republicans’ silence on the presidential election, not even that America’s biggest loser skipped work to play golf during the G-20 Summit. No, it’s all the other mean spirited obstructionist activity surrounding the Grifter-in-Chief.

So much attention has been devoted to his reluctance to acknowledge Biden’s victory that much of the grift is still below the waterline. Nevertheless, his enablers continue to do damage that will limit the incoming administration’s ability to act in critical areas. Here are the most recent and egregious examples:

  • Last week, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced his intent to “claw back” unspent Congressionally allocated funds from the Federal Reserve. These funds were to provide emergency loans to medium-sized businesses and municipalities in order to stabilize markets. Reclaiming the unspent funds will make it more difficult for the incoming administration to address these problems. Mr. Mnuchin’s action, clearly retaliatory, came only after it was clear Mr. Trump had been defeated.
  • This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is touring of seven European and Middle Eastern countries at US taxpayers expense. The unannounced purpose seems to be to undermine the incoming administration’s ability to stabilize and restore balance in the Middle East. To that end:
    • Last night, he and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia to finalize a secret anti-Iran alliance with Mohammed Bin Salman who, let us not forget, murdered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Their purpose–to subvert Biden’s interest in renegotiating the Iran nuclear treaty. 
      • While there is no legitimate State Department purpose for this eleventh-hour tour at government expense, it works well for him to establish Middle Eastern support for a 2024 US presidential campaign.
      • In Israel, he bestowed United States’ blessings on West Bank settlements, recommended goods manufactured in Palestinian areas be labeled “Made in Israel” rather than “Made in the West Bank.” In addition, he visited the disputed Golan Heights, which taken all together “is tantamount to the US recognizing Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.”
        • These actions by the American Secretary of State, though unofficial, undermine 50 years of US and European policy in favor of a two-state solution to the Palestinian problem. 
  • Earlier in the week, before Pompeo and Giuliani sucked the air out of the room, the Federal Register, promoting another Trump environmental obscenity, posted the Interior Department’s intention to sell oil drilling leases to 1.5 million acres in Alaska’s Arctic Wildlife Refuge, a pristine area bordering on the Beaufort Sea and until now off-limits to oil exploration. The Secretary of Interior said he thought sales could begin before the end of the year, but opposition by environmental and Native American group spokespersons indicate January 17, three days before the new president is inaugurated, is the earliest the sales could commence.
  • With all of this in mind, it’s obvious to a majority of Americans that the country’s reputation has suffered in the Trump years. Trump apparently thought so too, and in September 2019 he appointed Michael Pack to be CEO of the United States Agency for Global Media (parent organization of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, etc). 
    • Prior to his appointment, Mr. Pack claimed Voice of America was a “nest of foreign spies,” and vowed to rid the historically non-political agency of them while reshaping the agency’s message to deliver messages in support of Mr. Trump’s agenda and restrict the free speech of VOA journalists.
    • On Friday, in a suit brought by several former VOA journalists, a federal judge issued a series of preliminary injunctions against Pack and other government-funded news networks, effectively stopping the appointee’s efforts to reshape international broadcasts. The ruling late Friday by Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell, in Washington was a setback for Trump and Pack and a victory to journalists’ free speech protections. (Washington Post)
      • Lee Crain, one of the attorneys who represented the plaintiffs, said Judge Howell’s ruling ensures that journalists at the agencies can “rest assured that the First Amendment protects them from government efforts to control” their reporting. “They are free to do exactly what Congress intended: export independent, First Amendment-style journalism to the world.”

These are last-ditch efforts of Trump allies to disrupt the new administration’s transition and create obstacles as they prepare to take office. Some, like Michael Pack’s position at USAGM, can be quickly reversed. Others, like the West Bank initiatives and the secret alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia are more problematic. Others, such as the ongoing travesty at the Post Office and ICE, will take longer to remedy.

The Biden team was doing what it could without GSA funding and the approval and support of a majority of elected Republicans. Now he can proceed, but the transition funding delays have hobbled the endeavor. Fortunately, the President-elect and many of his staff are familiar with government operations and should be able to affect a smooth transition.

In the midst of a global pandemic it is disgraceful that the outgoing President remains such a sore loser. There is no doubt that Joseph R. Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021. They won’t go away, but it’s time to move on and leave the grifting crowd behind.

“When they go low, we go high.”


  1. Excellent points Jack
    Along these same lines is the recent “Geneva Consensus” signed by Pompeo and Azar supporting rights of the unborn and “family values” and negating LGBT rights. They were joined by Egypt, Brazil, Hungary, Uganda and Turkey. What a lovely coalition!

  2. Jack,
    Regarding the last paragraph: “. . . the President remains such a sore loser.” I think you meant “swell loser”.
    Just before reading this, I had been reading the the first chapter of Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land”. That and the beautiful Preface display a brilliant man who thinks and loves his country.
    Best, Jon

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