Apparently Mayor Bill de Blasio Likes To Nap At Work

Is this some sort of new, 21st century office routine I’ve yet to hear about?

According to former aides, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio takes daily naps in his office.

The Democrat does not even show up to work on time to begin his sleep fest. After his morning exercise, the mayor arrives at City Hall an hour after the standard workday is supposed to begin and immediately goes to sleep on his couch.

“He would arrive at 10:00am after working out and then would be napping,” according to one ex-staffer.

de Blasio also seems to have no shame in the routine. His habit is “pretty widely known within the building.” He uses a newspaper to cover his face and block those pesky office lights from disturbing his slumber.

“He would tell his front-office staff: ‘Don’t bother me for the next 30, 45 minutes. I’m going to take a nap,’” a source told the New York Post.

Former staffers also complained about de Blasio’s sleeping habits affecting work flow. They said it became hard to get things done when their boss was constantly unconscious.

“We couldn’t plan our days that first year at City Hall. Regardless of what you think of [previous Mayor Michael] Bloomberg, that guy was professional. Now, we’ve got this incompetence,” the anonymous source mentioned.

de Blasio, leader of America’s largest city, has been guilty of sleeping during busy workdays for many years now. A staffer for his successful 2009 campaign for public advocate claims he would leave in the middle of the day to get shut eye – even as his team was working around the clock.

“Two o’clock, 3 o’clock would come around, and he would go home and take a nap,” the source stated.

News of the mayor’s sleeping routine has caught the eye of his political adversaries.

Sal Albanese, de Blasio’s Democratic opponent for the upcoming mayoral election, said revelations about his naps are proof that he is “lazy.”

Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis spotted de Blasio outside City Hall and offered him a Red Bull. Despite her insistence, the mayor declined the pick-me-up.

“I said, ‘Mayor, I got you a Red Bull to keep you up during the work day,’” Malliotakis explained.

“I’m just trying to help him out so he can stay awake during the day — and doesn’t even need those frequent naps,” she added.


Refilling the Swamp: Trump Issues 5 Times As Many Ethics Waivers As Obama

“Draining the swamp” was a major theme of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign last year. The phrase became a rallying cry for ethics reform and for stopping the “revolving door” that allowed government officials to go to work as lobbyists and vice versa. To much fanfare, Trump signed an Executive Order that modified the Obama Administration policy on lobbying by former government officials as one of his first acts.

Now it seems that the Trump ethics policy is not as stringent as it first seemed. On Wednesday, the White House finally issued a list of “ethics pledge waivers” for the White House staff. The White House had fought the Office of Government Ethics on whether to make the waivers public after initially granting them in secret.

The list, which includes only members of the presidential and vice-presidential staffs, includes a number of former lobbyists and members of the media. The New York Times notes that the 16 known waivers issued by the Trump Administration is “more than five times the number granted in the first four months of the Obama administration.”

Some of the waivers were granted because the White House employees had to have contact with their former employers to do their current jobs. For example, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had to be able to communicate with the Republican National Committee, the organization that he once ran. Likewise, Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to President Trump and a former Republican pollster, “may participate in communications and meetings involving former clients which are political, advocacy, trade, or non-profit organizations” per her waiver.

Other waivers are more problematic for Mr. Trump’s “drain the swamp” pledge. Politico points out that Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who previously headed the right-wing website,, is covered under a waiver that allows White House aides to interact with news outlets in spite of previous ties to those organizations. According to Politico, Bannon can legally engage with Breitbart even when other organizations are excluded. Before the waiver was made public, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had filed a complaint against Bannon for repeated contacts with Breitbart employees in apparent violation of the ethics pledge.

It is uncertain how many lobbyists have been granted approval to work in other departments within the Trump Administration, but at least four former lobbyists are known to have been granted waivers to work within the Trump White House on policy areas that could present a conflict of interests:

  • Michael Catanzaro, a former oil and gas lobbyist, was granted approval to work on energy policy.
  • Shahira Knight, a former Fidelity executive who had lobbied on tax, retirement and financial issues, was approved to work on those policy areas.
  • Andrew Olmem, a bank and insurance lobbyist, is allowed to work with former clients on financial policy.
  • Joshua Pitcock, a former lobbyist for the State of Indiana, is allowed to work with Indiana officials on issues on which he previously lobbied.

Additionally, six former attorneys for the Jones Day law firm were granted a waiver to “participate in communications and meetings where Jones Day represents the President, his campaign, the transition, or political entities supporting the President.” Donald Trump was a client of Jones Day before he became president and White Counsel Don McGahn, along with 11 other Trump Administration lawyers, are alumni of the firm. Jones Day, which is not a lobbying firm, ran ads touting its “insights on the new Administration” in April.

Watchdog groups were critical of the extent of the waivers. “The ethics waivers the White House finally released reveal what we already suspected: that this administration is chock full of senior officials working on issues on which they lobbied, meeting with companies in which they have a financial interest, or working closely with former employers,” said a spokesman for the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The Obama Administration issued about 16 waivers in eight years. The Trump Administration has issued 16 waivers after four months. At this point in the Obama Administration, three waivers had been issued per the Times.

A White House spokesman told the New York Times that the Trump Administration tried to avoid conflicts of interest when possible. The administration also asked its employees not to work on policy areas in which they had worked in the private sector.


Kellyanne Conway Stumbles Over an Ethics Law, in Defending Ivanka Trump

There are certain strict ethical codes and laws that you cannot cross in the presidency, and Kellyanne Conway may have crossed that line.

Conway looks to have stepped all over a federal ethics law that states no one working for an executive government office may use that office for personal gain or to advertise products.

During an appearance Thursday on “Fox & Friends,” Conway promoted Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing and accessories.

“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you,” Conway said. “I hate shopping but I’m going to go get some for myself today.”

“I’m going to give it a free commercial here, go buy it today,” she said.

Chris Lu, a former deputy secretary of labor, under President Obama, was all over it, Thursday morning.

Lu tweeted out the specific violation from Conway:

Conway was referring to a decision by Nordstrom to drop Ivanka Trump’s clothing line.

The president immediately lashed out, as is his way, claiming their move to be unfair treatment of his daughter.

For their part, Nordstrom clarified that their decision was not political, but was based on the sales performance of the line.

That may be completely true.

It may also be true that Conway was not aware that what she was doing was a violation of any ethics laws.

Where this goes from here depends on how fervently those paying attention may wish to chase after it.

Dealing With The Dealing President

Two things emerged from yesterday’s press conference with President-elect Donald Trump. The first is that any news Trump doesn’t like is “fake news.” The second is that this president will make deals in office that will benefit him personally, and he will likely make that information available to those who run his businesses.

As for the “fake news,” blame the press. They went along with Buzzfeed and chose sides, preferring to get ahead of the “news” with stories of how Trump was briefed on the completely outlandish and unverified “dossier.” Only problem was, Trump wasn’t briefed on the most salacious parts.

Like Star Wars fans found out what Darth Vader does with those he doesn’t care about in Rogue One, CNN found out what soon-to-be President Trump does with news he cares not for. We’re less than 10 days from the inauguration. This is what we get for the next four years. Get used to it.

And soon-to-be President Trump sees no reason to exceed legal requirements for things like transparency, or ethics. What was Congress thinking when they exempted the President and Vice President from the federal employee conflict of interest law in 18 U.S.C. § 202? Trump will offer a challenge to Congress–almost daring them to try to nail him on Emoluments Clause violations.

It might not be Trump they go after. I expect the Democrats to make a special case out of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. He is the conduit through which any privileged information could flow in either direction. He is also one of the beneficiaries of Trump administration deals that results in good fortune for the Trump Organization, since he’s married to one of the proprietors.

Kushner needs to be very, very careful and mind his P’s and Q’s. If anyone ends up the Scooter Libby of the Trump administration, it very well could be Kushner, who saw his own father sent to prison on federal charges.

Trump plans to avoid the Emoluments Clause by turning over any foreign-government profits to the U.S. Treasury. He also pledged not to make any foreign deals while he is in the White House. But he refused to completely divest his business holdings. This drew fire from the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter M. Shaub, who called the arrangement wholly inadequate.

“We can’t risk creating the perception that government leaders would use their official positions for profit,” said Mr. Shaub, whose office establishes ethical standards for 2.7 million civilian employees in the White House and more than 130 executive branch agencies. “I appreciate that divestiture can be costly. But the president-elect would not be alone in making that sacrifice.”

What Trump plans to do doesn’t appear to be illegal, at least not on its face. And who will investigate him to see if it is?

Everyone in the executive branch of the government will work for him. Everyone at the top of the Trump Organization is related to him. He refuses to release his tax returns or other sensitive business documents. And he dismisses the press as either lying, or faking when they report something he doesn’t like (again, that’s the press’s fault).

It appears we have no choice, at least at first, but to just deal with the dealing President. Self-dealing, wheeling-dealing, wall-building and all. All I can say is that we better hope Trump meant it when he said he wants to Make America Great Again™. Because if he didn’t mean it, there’s literally nothing standing between him and all the benefits the Clintons could only dream of.

Indiana Could Elect a Clinton to the US Senate

Evan Bayh is a walking ethics disaster of Clintonian proportions.

The former U.S. senator and governor has been the Democratic Party’s best hope to capture the open Senate seat in Indiana this year. After muscling out a former Democratic congressman who the party primary, Bayh immediately rocketed ahead of his Republican opponent, GOP Congressman Todd Young, in the polls.

According to FiveThirtyEight, and as outlined elsewhere on The Resurgent, Indiana is still a likely Democratic pick-up on election night even as polls show the race tightening, and Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton at the top of the ballot. A late breaking poll released Friday morning and sponsored by local television station WTHR showed Young beating Bayh, 46% to 41%, with 7% of voters undecided and the remaining claiming they will vote for the Libertarian Party candidate.

A series of ethics problems in Bayh’s background have come to light or resurfaced over the course of the campaign, bedeviling his ability to portray himself as the candid, honest and moderate Democrat Indiana voters elected in the past. A long-time ally of the Clintons, Bayh even endorsed Hillary Clinton in Indiana’s hotly contested 2008 Democratic presidential primary, his association with scandal-ridden political figures seems to be evolving into his own biography.

On Thursday, POLITICO broke the news that Bayh used taxpayer money to stay at hotels mere miles from his Indiana condo when he visited the state in 2009. Bayh represented Indiana in the U.S. Senate until January 2011.

“Former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh used taxpayer money to stay at hotels in Indianapolis for 14 nights in 2009 despite owning a condominium there, charging more than $2,000 in travel and lodging expenses to his official account, according to his internal schedule and Senate disbursement records.”

Senate rules, POLITICO pointed out, prohibit lawmakers from using taxpayer money for lodging expenses when they are within 35 miles of their “duty station,” defined as their in-state residence during Congressional recess or adjournment and their Washington residence during Senate sessions.

Despite claiming residence at an Indianapolis condo, Bayh never stayed there in 2009, according to POLITICO, and according to an AP investigation he also never stayed there in 2010.

When spending taxpayer money on hotels in his “home” state, Bayh’s preference was for a “quiet room away from the elevators and ice machine” according to an official schedule quoted by POLITICO. Additionally, Bayh liked his room to have extra pillows.

In October, NPR spoke with people who live near Bayh’s condo and found that his neighbors never see him around. Bayh himself even forgot where he lives, “Bayh misstated the address of his Indianapolis condo on local TV news about a month into his contest,” NPR reported.

Another investigation into Bayh’s background found him spending the better part of his final year in office using his Senate connections to find a lucrative private sector job for his post-Senate career. While accepting undisclosed financial favors from one special interest, Bayh also cast votes that directly related to the interests of some of the potential employers he spoke with during that year. Bayh even used taxpayer money to fund some of his job-hunting/networking excursions during his final months in office.

If Bayh wins his race on Tuesday, Indiana voters will be represented in the U.S. Senate by someone whose ethics are eerily similar to those of Hillary Clinton.

No, Donald Trump, The Military Doesn’t Have to Obey All Orders

“I’m a leader. I’ve always been a leader. I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re gonna do it. That’s what leadership is all about.” – Donald J. Trump

In a remarkable display of arrogance, Donald Trump on Thursday night at the Fox News debate in Detroit declared that if he ordered the U.S. military to kill terrorist families or carry out acts of torture, they would do it. The question came from Bret Baier, who recited a list of Trump’s various public statements about torture and interrogation techniques and asked Trump if he was sure the military would carry out orders to that effect.

“They won’t refuse. They are not going to refuse me, believe me,” Trump said before going on to emphasize that he’s a great leader and nobody refuses to do what he tells them to do.

Trump is running for the presidency of the United States. The president is the commander in chief of the military, the military is a part of the executive branch and is responsible to the president and to Congress, which funds it and imposes restrictions on it through laws like the Uniform Code of Military Justice and other portions of the federal code, and treaties the Senate ratifies and makes the nation a party to.

This power structure that governs the military comes directly from the Constitution of the United States.

Officers in all branches of the military take an oath to uphold the Constitution. Like the president himself, they are responsible for fulfilling their duties in accordance with the Constitution of the United States. The officer oath reads in part:

“I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

Enlisted military members, for their part, swear an oath that reads: “I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” [Emphasis added]

Both officers and enlisted Soldiers may refuse to carry out an order if it is an unlawful order. Just because a member of the military disagrees with an order does not make it unlawful. Lawful orders may cost lives, lawful orders may require the destruction of enemy material, lawful orders may involve extreme discomfort, danger, injury and loss of life. They may seem stupid, pointless, unnecessary, inconvenient, unwise, even irrational; but as long as the order does not violate the Constitution of the United States, the UCMJ, any regulation governing the use of force or any treaty the nation is party to, the order is lawful.

Unlawful orders would include the killing of innocent civilians – families of terrorists are not combatants, they are innocents – the killing of enemy prisoners of war, and the carrying out of torture, among other prohibited acts. If a military leader at any level issued an order mandating or requiring such conduct, subordinate leaders and military members would be allowed to ignore that order.

The ability to refuse compliance with an unlawful order is an essential part of the military’s culture, a key tenant of the ethics that govern the development and employment of services with the capability to kill the nation’s enemies. The normal due process protections that limit how the government can punish criminals who happen to be citizens don’t apply in warfare. There is no trial, no finding of fact for each individual enemy engaged; once Congress has authorized the president to use military force, within the rules of engagement those forces have the power to take human life and wreak havoc and destruction.

A force powerful enough to make war is a force powerful enough to seize control of the government, bend popular opinion to its will, and squelch civil liberties. For all of the varied missions it can and does fulfill, the military is raw power applied through different tools and systems in different ways. In our Constitutional Republic, that power is controlled by a system of checks and balances including the oath that members of the military swear to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States.

Donald Trump does not understand our system of government. He lacks even a basic grasp of civics. To him, might makes right, and titles bestow all the credibility and moral authority needed to enforce edicts. That kind of a mentality, that worldview, may be entertaining on television, but it is the mark of a despot when backed by force.

On Friday, Trump’s campaign walked back his remarks about supporting the killing of innocents related to terrorists and other war crimes. Let’s hope his issued statement finds its way into his future debate appearances.

The consequences of a military that mindlessly executes orders up to and including ones that result in war crimes are permanent. Today’s Army leaders still look at the case of the My Lai Massacre in March 1968 amid the swamps of South Vietnam as a warning beacon for what happens when moral bankruptcy meets opportunity on the field of battle.