Posts Tagged Trump
On May 4, Donald Trump bussed the GOP Members of the House of Representatives to the White House, so they could all grandstand together, to celebrate the passage of the latest iteration of TrumpScam! But, poor Trumpie, in his exuberance, forgot that there’s another House of Congress, the Senate; which, doesn’t have the large majority that the lower house enjoys!
As America has now come to realize, there are some GOPpers in the Senate—and wouldn’t you know that that includes three of the five Female Republicans, along with some of the Gentlemen—who most actually do have Hearts, Minds and Souls. After never feeling comfortable in bringing any of the Senate attempts at TrumpScam to the Floor for a Vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had decided that it was time, to meet with the Democrats and update President Obama’s Affordable Health Care.
Not to take defeat lightly; however, although he merely sat on the sidelines and let the Leadership do the heavy-lifting, Donald Trump decided to hold a command performance, once again, Lunch with the GOP Senators at the White House. But this time, Donald Trump—star of Surreality TV, Asininity and the Twitter World–“ordered” the Senate not to Recess until he has a TrumpScam Bill to sign. Now, this is not one of Donald’s normal irrational comments; rather, in my opinion, that “order” is both a violation of his Oath-of-Office, and the U. S. Constitution!
Donald Trump should be knowledgeable of our Constitution; which, established a government “…of the People, by the People and for the People!” And in it, our Forefathers established three branches of government: the Legislative; the Executive and the Judiciary. This provides for a “System of Checks and Balances,” mostly between Congress and the President, with the Supreme Court acting as referee.
So Donald, the role of the Administrative is not to order or to intimidate, either the Congress or the Courts, as to what to do or how to do it! If you do, you would certainly be usurping the duties and authorities of other co-equal branches of government, and you might possibly be subject to harsh civil or criminal penalties. Either the Senate Majority Leader or the Attorney General should provide you guidance in this matter. STOP IT!
NOTE: As we know, just like the schoolyard bully, warnings don’t work with this Jackass. The GOP must take action; but, how many times can we continue shouting that?
The titled words were offered by Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-born lobbyist who, along with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, and one other Russian, met with members of Donald Trump’s Campaign, on June 6, 2016. In fact, establishing a secret Kremlin-Trump communications link was allegedly mentioned during the meeting, along wth the attorney providing “dirt” on Hillary.
Trump confidantes at that meeting included: Donald Trump, Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and Campaign Manager Paul Manafort. Ironically, Donald Trump began touting Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing Emails on June 9, just three days later.
This meeting has been reported, reprinted and denied ad nauseum; however, I wish to take exception with Mr. Akhmetshin’s response, assumably to a reporter’s question as to whether he had been in Soviet Intelligence. It was a poorly worded question, a somewhat evasive answer was given, and a skilled journalist should have asked a follow-up question.
Back in the late (pre-Digital Age) 1960s, I also was in Army Intelligence, as were at least two readers of this blog. I’m quite sure that none of us were spies. Now, that was the US Army Security Agency. But first, what is a spy?
There are two primary types of Military Intelligence: HUMINT, or Human Intelligence; and COMINT, or Communications Intelligence. The National Security Agency, by the way, was established after WWII because the Army and Navy COMINT agencies preferred to compete with each other, rather than collaborate. (The Air Force and Marines were not separate military branches, as yet.) Spies, per se, would fall into the HUMINT category.
James Bond, perhaps the most well-known spy, thanks to movies based on Ian Fleming’s novels, was merely for the box office. Forget the Aston-Martin, beautiful women, and dinner jackets he wore at the Monte Carlo casinos. Real spying is not flashy: it includes gathering many bits and pieces of information—yes, thats Intel!—and then, connecting the dots. That’s even how the real Ian Fleming did it, “back in the day!”
Let’s get back to the Q & A, between Rinat Akhmetshin and the unnamed reporter. The Trump-Russian Collusion Investigation is not based on HUMINT; rather, it’s about COMINT. Really Cyber-Intel, which might be handed-off to a new (if ever formed) Intel Agency, refers to Electronic Intel. Tapping telephone lines, hacking Email and web sites, data subterfuge, fake news, and the like, surely don’t fall into the “Spy” category. The person who is force-feeding false information onto an adversary, or collecting it from them, by accessing their computers, is usually sitting at a desk, thousands of miles away!
So, leave the spies alone; because they are a dying breed—becoming more obsolescent as I write this!
DO THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF PLAY ANY ROLE IN THE PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION OF TRUMP’S MILITARY POLICY? DOES HE EVEN HAVE A PLAN?
Sure, this question might seem counter-intuitive, since Donald Trump has three generals (two retired and one active) in his Cabinet! In fact, that might be a major cause of the problem! But, let me take you through my scenario.
Donald relies on a very small group of trusted loyalists, basically his children, and his son-in-law. Others seem to move into his orbit—like Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, KellyAnne Conway, Jeff Sessions, etc.,—and then, just as quickly, they’re gone!
There are few Cabinet Officers who have any key staffers—Presidential Appointees—since only a few Deputy and Assistant Secretaries, throughout the entire Regime, have been Confirmed by the Senate. Is there a hearing backlog or, perhaps, qualified people just don’t wish to Pledge their Loyalty to Trump? Isn’t Country and the Constitution sufficient? So, who can the Secretaries delegate responsibility to, or leave in charge when they’re away?
When President John F. Kennedy took the Presidential Oath of Office, in January of 1961, he brought-in a younger, highly educated group of key advisors—which he deemed the New Frontier—perhaps as compared to President Eisenhower’s Old Guard. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, working with the bureaucracy of the Pentagon, and bogged-down in their intra-service rivalries, could not respond to Kennedy’s requests for ideas and plans as quickly as his analytically minded Cabinet cronies could!
In time, President Kennedy replaced the Old Guard at the JCS; however, the new, younger group of Chiefs had the same problems in providing the advice and planning, which the President had wanted. Kennedy pal, Secretary of Defense, Robert S, McNamara became the intermediary, between the President and the Chiefs. Eventually, however, McNamara pushed the Chiefs off into irrelevance. Then, when JFK re-activated retired general Maxwell Taylor, to be his Special Military Advisor, the Joint Chiefs were truly no longer even a consideration, other than for occasional public display.
After President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, in-coming President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was kept mostly in the dark on most policy issues as Vice President, maintained JFK’s Cabinet, and his small advisory braintrust. The Joint Chiefs were again primarily just asked to identify potential targets in Vietnam, rather than to participate in any military planning. In fact, President Johnson was so involved with the 1964 Election, and his signature Great Society Legislation, that he appeared to wish that Vietnam would just go away.
The small group, who advised both Presidents JFK and LBJ were mostly academics and intellectuals. They could grasp comprehensive problems, and possessed all of the necessary tools to arrive at viable solutions. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has seemed to prefer loyalty, rather than competence and, unfortunately, they seem to have lacked the critical thinking, and analytical skills for their jobs.
Additionally, Donald Trump lacks the necessary management skills required to make timely, and relevant executive decisions. Just leaving the general administration to the apparatchiks, has merely led to disruption, and mixed communications. Confusion has been evident, in regard to both domestic and foreign policy!
Why did he tap Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to threaten North Korea with a pre-emptive attack, rather than National Security Advisor (and active General) H. R. McMaster or Secretary of Defense James Mattis? Similarly, why were neither of them present when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, last week at the G-20 Summit?
Since Donald Trump seems to prefer his loyal group of trusted advisors, and appears to lacks any management skills in assigning tasks among his Cabinet Advisors, I doubt that the Joint Chiefs of Staff will ever have much, if any, input into his Military Agenda. By having generals in his Cabinet, that gives the appearance of JCS involvement; but, that might be an incorrect assumption! In fact, does Donald Trump even have a realistic Plan for any of the four wars currently going on in the Middle East?
Once Mattis and McMaster took the positions of Secretary and Advisor, respectively, in the Trump Cabinet, they began working at the pleasure of the President. The soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen are no longer their constituency—but, that of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But, shouldn’t they still be represented too?
NOTE: Welcome to our readers in the Dominican Republic and Serbia!
IF TRUMP INVOKES QUOTAS AND/OR TARIFFS TO PROTECT THE STEEL AND ALUMINUM INDUSTRIES, AMERICA AND THE WORLD WILL SUFFER!
Trade Protection was a major topic at the recent G-20 Summit, in Hamburg, Germany; along with Climate Change, and Immigration, were the primary concerns addressed by the leaders of the 20 largest economies. The evils of Protectionism are widely-known, since it was one of the major causes of The Great Depression, in the 1930s. Donald Trump, however, doesn’t seem to understand History and, for him, it’s just full steam ahead—regardless of the long-term implications!
Quotas and tariffs are generally the two major tools that nations use to overcome price advantages on foreign competitors’ imports. Since the World Trade Organization was established in 1995, to regulate International Trade; however, the imposition of such protective measures has decreased. But, most attendees at the G-20 Summit seemed genuinely fearful; because, the world’s largest economy—representing 25% of global GDP—is threatening to use protectionism against foreign steel and aluminum companies. Such actions, however, generally result in similar response from the targeted countries.
Before a country considers its various courses of action, it should analyze exactly why its products’ sales have weakened! Are the problems incurred industry-wide, or just within one sub-sector? Or only one company? Are the products or services effected of some national security importance? Have the companies impacted maintained industry technological and best practices standards in their production processes? I seriously doubt that the Trump Regime had gone through such a thorough review process, before threatening quotas and/or tariffs? That’s just not his style!
The purpose of the WTO is to diffuse any such disagreements, before trade wars erupt. And yes, when one nation fires the first volley, the other side normally retaliates. In many cases, such trade wars may spread, and the contagion might go global, as it did in the build-up to The Great Depression. Recently, China and the European Union have taken the U. S. to the WTO, regarding these most recent protectionist threats!
Lately, the major American steel and aluminum corporations have been prodding Trump to follow-up on his various threats. Do problems exist only in the major corporations within the two industries, the so-called “integrateds”, which function throughout the full range of products, or are the smaller, specialty companies having the same problems. These industries are not monoliths—and perhaps some companies are more or less technologically efficient, and up-to-date than others.
If foreign corporations are taking unfair advantage—using child or slave labor, or receiving government subsidies—such cases should be addressed by the WTO. On the other hand, there are corporations who hide behind the government when they fail to maintain basic competitive standards. It’s not the role of any government to fight corporate or industry battles, especially when the relevant corporations failed to invest in themselves, in order to enhance profitability!
Government surely should defend businesses and industries, when they are taken advantage of, but it should insure that the true problem(s) are not within the company’s or industry’s own control. I can recall, back during the Reagan Administration, when quotas were imposed on foreign steel imports. Subsequently, the domestic producers raised prices, just because they could!
When countries get into a Trade War–with quotas and tariffs flying in both directions–prices often rise in all nations involved. Higher prices often cause consumer demand to decline, unemployment can ensue, and recession might be the end result–perhaps in all countries involved. It is difficult for the respective governments take rational corrective action during a trade war, when the next round might be just around the corner! So, hopefully these recent Protectionist threats are just one of Trump’s latest rants!
NOTE: Welcome to Tola, in Nigeria!
WAS PUTIN’S “FAKE NEWS” END-GAME SOLELY TO PUT TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE, OR SOMETHING EVEN MORE DEVIOUS?
As a socialist fighting in the Spanish Civil War, George Orwell developed a better understanding of Totalitarianism, than he had before. While the Right was waging war against the Left, he realized that the Stalinists and Trotskyites were likewise trying to eliminate each other. Eventually, he concluded that, whoever wins—whether Fascist or Socialist— will ultimately assume whatever group the wished to overthrow.
Orwell’s epiphany, as such, began to materialize in the first of his two major novels, Animal Farm. The pigs led the upraising of the animals, and as they took over Mr. Jones’ Farm, Napoleon, the porcine leader, claimed that, “All animals are equal!” Eventually, as the pigs moved into the farm house, and began acting more like humans, Napoleon then added: “but some animals are more equal than others,” to the mantra!
Recuperating from a serious neck wound and tuberculosis, back in London, George Orwell started to realize that even the most reputable of newspapers, the Times, reported on battles in Spain, which were never fought, and while omitting others where many were killed! He then began to believe that even the press had managed the news, so as not to print anything that would offend Adolf Hitler; because, British aristocracy and the Intelligentsia preferred appeasement, to war. Way back then, in the 1930s, Orwell dubbed his discovery, “Fake News!”
Managing the news, had been a primary component of Orwell’s second great novel, 1984, as he described the on-going evolution of “Big Brother” actually owning, managing, and disseminating the news, as is the case today in China, Russia, and several other socialist governments. Whereas China has focused mostly on controlling its domestic media, Russia, however, appears to have risen to another level—using external thought control as a political weapon.
Europe has known of Russia’s various attempts for several years, both to sway elections and to splinter continental cooperation—specifically through the European Union and NATO. I cannot say whether Putin’s cyber-warriors had a hand in the Brexit vote; which, might just have been due to frustration with Brussels, or the Independent nature of Great Britain. But, the rest of the E. U., at least for now, has remained together, and willing to reconcile their differences.
The success or failure of thought control, I can only assume, might be dependent upon the basic human rights of the target country. Countries with a strong tradition of free speech, the press and assembly, as well as a good public education, are harder to “reeducate!” The Trump Regime, however, in its dissemination of alternative facts, fake news and lies, appears to be playing into the hands of Vladimir Putin’s cyber-controllers.
Since Inauguration Day (January 29), the White House seems intent on: discrediting any information that comes from reputable media sources; attacking journalists, corporate media outlets, and anyone with opposing points of view; dumbing-down the Public School System through charters and vouchers, which would revert back to the “Segregated and Unequal” Era of some 60 years ago; and Trump’s deemphasizing the value of factual content and individual curiosity. In fact, Donald Trump boasts that he doesn’t even read!
I have no idea as to whether Donald Trump’s Team did, in fact, collude with the Russians. The Great America, which he claims that only he can build, just portrays an idiot’s style of demagoguery, and it possibly—purposely or not—lays the ground for a Russian cyber-invasion. The beauty of any form of cyber-warfare is much more cost-efficient, since troops and equipment don’t need to be transported. Also, consider that our whole system of knowledge—books, education, media—can be easily controlled or edited, on-line.
The 2016 Presidential Election needs to be Invalidated, and all nominations made by Trump must be revoked. Impeachment or Resignation would be insufficient—especially if there was collusion with the Russians, or manipulations by them—because those actions would merely cut-off the head—and leave the corpus in-tact. Recently, the Regime has asked for the Voting History of every American! Can the Thought Police and Book-Burners, from Orwell’s 1984, be far behind?
The Trump-Republicans have gone along with much of Donald Trump’s attacks on our very Democracy, possibly because he seems willing to sign their Draconian legislation into Law. But, what happens when the GOP in Congress transforms to whatever Trump, or perhaps Vladimir Putin, has in mind? With control of all three Branches of Government, Trump’s Party would be the most likely targets. Back in the early 1930s, no one thought that Naziism would arise within Germany, but it did!
Donald Trump, that fellow who resides in the White House, appears to be as narcissistic as The Sun King, and he has the vindictive nature of a small child, who just won’t quite! Donald is so spoiled that he only sees or hear things, which only he “knows” to be true, and his actions bespeak only those that are in his best interest. So, after five and a-half months, holed-up in the Executive Mansion, is he now ready to make Washington into His Kinda Town?
During his time in office, with numerous sabbaticals at his various resorts, he has seemed to be mad at the world, attacking everyone in sight. Here’s the Short-List of his targets: Obama and Clinton; all three major Intel Agencies; members of any and all minority groups; both the DEMs and the GOP; the print and broadcast media, at every opportunity; Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, perhaps as a corporate leader who just won’t kowtow to him; and on, and on. Equally as bad, is the mass disruption, which Donald has spread overseas, in our name!
Donald Trump acts as if HE owns the place, and that anything that he does, while in office, should be whatever he wishes; because, you see, Donald John Trump is above the Law—or so he seems to thinks! Now, we can consider Trumpie to be just another loose cannon; but, his actions certainly appear to be more evil than that. Remember that Donald has literally offended every one of the nations which we have long-term alliances with, while cozying-up to some of our most dangerous adversaries.
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are too ensconced in their long-term leadership roles, as Communist dictators, in systems that have been in existence for some 70 years. But, Donald Trump did invite Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, to visit him in the White House, about six weeks ago. Turkey had been founded in 1923, as a secular democracy, and over the course of time, it had transformed itself into a Western-style nation. It is also a NATO ally Istanbul, its largest city, is strategically located west of the Bosporous Strait, which, separates Europe from Asia.
Erdogan had been thrown out of office in 1998, and imprisoned, when he was the Mayor of Istanbul. e was sacked for trying to spread his conservative Islamic views. He returned to political life as Prime Minister in 2003, and became President of Turkey in 2014. Ever since then, he has once again, been trying to instill his conservative Islamic fervor, and thus transform the nation into one more to his liking.
Just consider any of today’s authoritarian nations—China, Cuba, North Korea, Russia, Turkey—and the many commonalities are quite obvious. Trump is possibly observing how President Erdogan has been re-building Turkish Society, and perhaps getting ideas, but with an American twist.
Human rights have been diminished during the Erdogan Era, as there are other civil rights violations, such as: peaceful civil disobedience has been dealt with harshly; media has been forced to accept the government’s viewpoint; disloyal corporate leaders have been replaced, and many businesses have been nationalized; and Islamic Law is being gradually installed. Also, he has made the Kurdish minority into a boogeyman for many of Turkey’s problems, and questions abound as to whether last fall’s unsuccessful coup was, in fact, staged–thus giving him the reason to take an even harsher stance!
Donald Trump has been moving on many of these same issues. Consider just a few: his Regime is trying to diminish many of the human rights issues by continually attacking the media, and using fake news and falsified facts coming from the White House in order to shift public thinking; middle and upper-level civil servants have been denied work if they do not Pledge Loyalty to Trump; jawboning corporate leaders to follow his wishes; and why are there three generals in his Cabinet?
I cannot honestly say that Donald Trump is trying to transform America into an Authoritarian State; however, there are many similarities with various dictatorships, and one one can be perceived as more insidious than the next. At present, except for the Travel Ban, and the apparent over-active protection given to police officers—in very questionable circumstances—Donald hasn’t tried to change too many of our laws to meet his needs. But, just let your mind wander as to what might be in store for Americans in the future!
DONALD, WITH FOUR WARS WITHOUT END, ALREADY GOING ON IN THE MIDDLE EAST, WE SURELY DON’T NEED YOU TO HELP START ANOTHER IN QATAR!
Does Donald Trump ever think before he opens his mouth, or fires-up his Tweeter?
We are already involved with four local wars in the Middle East, and now he is taking sides in a disagreement, between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the Emirates, on one side, against Qatar on the other, for sponsoring terrorism. The Saudis had delivered an ultimatum with 13 demands, to be complied with in ten days, before a blockade would be imposed
Donald Trump immediately conveyed his wholehearted support for the blockade. Why? In May, the Saudis had feted Trump, and lavished great praise on him; but, that surely couldn’t justify his taking sides in this disagreement! Consider as well what else has changed since Donald’s trip to Riyadh, just 35 days ago.
Within the past week, Saudi King Salman al-Saud, who has failing health, named his 31 year-old son Salman bin-Abdulaziz al-Saud to be the new Crown Prince, and heir-to-the-throne. Previously, Prince Salman had been the bellicose defense minister, who sent the Military to attack Yemen, resulting in numerous Yemeni civilian deaths.
Trump’s unfettered support for the blockade of Qatar appears to have prompted Secretary of State James Mattis to rush to Doha, in order for him to confirm our support for the Persian Gulf nation, and to sign a $12 billion arms deal with the Qataris. The
U. S. Air Force provides air support for our actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, from al-Udeid air force base, just west of Doha. We also have the Headquarters of both the U. S. Central Command and the Central Air Force Command, at that same Qatar location. Why didn’t Donald Trump consider all this before he Tweeted-off this?
Secretary of State Rex Tellerson warned the Saudis, and their allies, to make sure that the demands on Qatar are “reasonable and actionable”. National Security experts confirm that it is not uncommon for State and/or Defense to be on different sides on some issues, from the White House; but, in this case, it is quite peculiar. In fact, Donald Trump appears to be out of the loop, and there appears not to be any coherent rational policy.
Congress, which has the sole authority to Declare War has certainly shirked its duty in the Middle East! Out of the four nations in which we are using military force, War Powers (Act) Resolutions have only been issued for Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), and those are grossly outdated, and should definitely be revoked immediately. The American People should demand more from our Congress, especially with a hands-off President, than to accede to open-ended military actions, without having a defined mission and end-date!
1. The attached article from The Guardian (UK) provides a more in-depth description pop the Trump meddling in the Saudi-Qatar controversy.
2. This recent post provides additional detail on our overall mismanagement of the military in the Middle East.