Walkingstick: OPINION:

Trump promised to wipe out Isis – perhaps he already has …

Sunday 5 March 2017

The president promised he would have a plan to defeat the radical jihadis within 30 days of taking office. I, for one, am willing to believe in this steely man of action

Our current president is like no other. He has achieved that rare feat of being both straightforward and cryptic at the same time. He vowed to curtail Muslim immigration and, immediately on taking office, put the squeeze on the Sudanese. Thank God for that because if they actually had an airport, Sudanese people would be descending on America like drunken coach tourists at a Vegas Hooters.

But then he spiels something about “terrorists” in Sweden that baffles everyone, especially the Swedes, who can’t make a lick of sense of what he’s talking about. And these are the people who invented Ikea.

Let me just say that I understand Trump’s abstruse elocution. After all, I’m a guy who bothered to listen to Dylan’s epically arcane Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands enough times to figure out it was actually about his drummer.

One of Trump’s oft-repeated campaign promises was a “guaranteed” plan to wipe out Islamic State within 30 days of taking office. Understandably, he refused to tell anyone exactly what that plan was. “Everyone will take the idea, run with it, and the people will forget where it came from,” he explained. During the third presidential debate, he tipped his hand slightly: “Whatever happened to the element of surprise, OK? These people have all left. They’ve all left. Douglas MacArthur, George Patton are spinning in their graves at the stupidity of our country.”

I, for one, am willing to believe my president is a man of action. Thus I can only assume that at some point, on or around 20 February of this year, Trump exterminated Isis. Any subsequent media mention of their nefarious activity is “fake news”.

Obviously, we don’t know exactly how this all went down because if Trump revealed that intel, someone would steal it, use it to wipe out other terrorist organisations and forget to give him due credit, which is downright rude.

I’ve taken it upon myself to speculate how and where this epic battle to defeat Isis took place, pieced together from bits of information I have gleaned from the news. I can’t emphasise enough that I’m just spitballing here … but I think it probably happened in Sweden. This explains the mystifying allusion to a lot of terrorists there. Is it not possible that the bulk of Isis’s recruits, concentrated mostly in Mosul and Raqqa were systematically beaten back to the outskirts of Stockholm?

It makes sense. Nobody in Sweden is paying any attention to world events. They’re too busy eyeballing their next-door neighbour’s income-tax statements or watching “slow TV” broadcasts of a train chugging through snowbanks. More importantly, in terms of rendering and extracting vital information from captives, Sweden is the ideal place. It openly condones torture, as anyone who has ever listened to Abba knows.

It is curious that Trump invoked Patton and McArthur in his purposely veiled strategy – two generals obsessed with vanquishing their enemy by chasing them across vast swathes of a continent. They must have been desperate, Isis, churning up the earth in full retreat, tattered, disoriented, pausing only to phone up some department stores in the US, passing themselves off as fashion buyers, demanding Ivanka’s line of haute-couture clothing be dropped. If that’s not the last desperate act of a decimated army, I don’t know what is.

Where exactly was Trump on 20 February? I’ll tell you where. Dining poolside at his swanky Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida, watching fellow members swimming in $100 bills like Scrooge McDuck, and probably conducting a “fake” meeting with cabinet members. The perfect ruse! While diners within earshot could openly listen in on discussions of what they assumed was top-level national security policy, the real policy was being carried out in the suburbs of Stockholm: Isis was being slaughtered wholesale. That’s a bacchanalian scenario straight out of the Third Reich. Although by no means should we make the mistake of comparing Trump to Hitler; Hitler managed to get elected without the help of the Russians.

Whether or not Trump’s achievement will halt the furious rotisserating of dead generals is anybody’s guess. Patton stopped the German army. MacArthur stopped the Koreans. Isis consists of 160,000 recruits. To put this in perspective, there were 160,000 people at a Lionel Richie set at Glastonbury last year. I’m not playing down the evil of Isis. I’m just saying that the appeal of travelling to a jihadi stronghold to engage in spilling the blood of apostates is no more or less appealing than standing in mud and watching a guy sing about dancing on a ceiling.

“Wait a minute, Rich,” you’re probably thinking. “Given Trump’s unbridled narcissism, surely he would have tweeted this monumental event in ALL CAPS by now?” You’ve forgotten that Trump’s strategy is two-pronged. He not only promised to “bomb the shit” out of Isis, he also promised to “take all their oil”. Given the logistical constraints of getting all that oil to America, Trump is probably waiting until the last batch arrives before lording it up over all his detractors. I personally look forward to those Isis-brand gas stations opening soon on American street corners.


Greenclan: Treasury Department burning through cash as debt ceiling approaches


The Treasury Department has been rapidly spending its large cash reserves ever since President Trump took office, a move that complies with federal law, but could also make it harder for the government to stay under the debt ceiling once the limit kicks in again later this month.

On Jan. 20, the day Trump took office, the federal government had $382 billion in cash on hand. As of Thursday, that was down to about $109 billion.

Spending all that cash has helped keep the total national debt under $20 trillion. The total debt has hovered around $19.9 trillion since Trump took office, and would easily exceed $20 trillion by now if the government borrowed money to fund government spending instead of using available cash.

But staying under the dubious milestone is probably not why all that cash is going out the door. Tyler Evilsizer of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget told the Washington Examiner there’s another reason: keeping a low cash balance is required under a law that was passed in 2015.

Stay abreast of the latest developments from nation’s capital and beyond with curated News Alerts from the Washington Examiner news desk and delivered to your inbox.

“The last debt ceiling legislation prohibited Treasury from increasing the cash balance above normal operating balances right before the debt ceiling returns,” he said.

Specifically, Congress passed legislation in late 2015 that suspended the debt ceiling through March 15, 2017. Until that date, the government can borrow whatever it needs to keep funding itself at levels approved by Congress.

Starting March 16, the debt ceiling will be in effect again, and it will be whatever level of debt the government has racked up.

In past years when this has happened, the Obama administration was able to keep the government at current funding levels for several months, in part by limiting borrowing, and in part by using any cash it had to keep things running.

But in the 2015 law, Congress expressly prohibited the government from building up a huge arsenal of cash in order to survive when the debt ceiling was reached.

“The Secretary of the Treasury shall not issue obligations during the period specified in section 901(a) for the purpose of increasing the cash balance above normal operating balances in anticipation of the expiration of such period,” the law said.

Evilsizer said the nearly $400 billion Treasury had at the start of the Trump administration was relatively high. But he said the recent decline actually puts in back in the range of cash levels normally seen.

The Treasury Department did not return requests for comment about its decision to reduce its cash holdings.

Adam Montana

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