Closing Thought–30Jan17

The Electoral College

I wrote a whole series about the college after the last election….most in opposition of keeping it….I believe that the country would be better off without it.

I read recently where our new lord and master thought about getting rid of the EC also……

President Trump told congressional leaders he was considering getting rid of the Electoral College, only to be talked out of it by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

During a meeting with congressional leadership this week, Trump said he was interested in using a national popular vote to determine the presidency, sources who attended the meting told the Journal.

McConnell urged Trump not to do so, pointing out the lengthy recount in Florida in the 2000 presidential election and noting that a national recount would take even longer.

Source: Trump brought up ending Electoral College, but McConnell talked him down: report | TheHill

McConnell’s argument was Bullshit…..he is worried about gerrymandering that is how Trump got elected and in 2020 the GOP can do even more harm to the electoral system…..that is the real reason he talked Trump out of the move…..any other excuse is just plain disingenuous…..

This is it for me today…..today’s one dimensional news is tiring…..I shall be off like a dirty shirt….back in the ‘morrow for more stuff.  TTFN

Like A Cheap Spy Novel

In my younger days I was a fan of the pulp fiction spy novel….my fave character was the CIA’s Sam Durell….he always got the best assignments and the most beautiful women…..it appears that in today’s world these cheap novels are coming to life……

Let me explain……

Surely most of you have an opinion on the Trump “Dirty Dossier”…well it matters not what we want to believe….this post is about a situation around the alleged document….

Do I need to recap the story so far….then go to Google and do your own work….

It appears that one of the players in this supposed incident is no longer with us….

The body of Oleg Erovinkin, who was suspected of helping , was discovered in his car.He was an aide of Igor Sechin – the ex-Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, who now heads up state-owned Rosneft oil.Mr Steele, the former British spy behind the , wrote in an intelligence report that he had a source close to Sechin.

Now it’s suspected that Erovinkin, who’s been called a key liaison between Sechin and Vladimir Putin, was that source.Media reports suggest his death was a result of foul play and it’s been speculated that the Kremlin is to blame.In his report dated July 19, 2016, Mr Steele said his source revealed alleged links between Trump and Putin.
Source: Donald Trump ‘dirty dossier spy’ found dead in back of car in Moscow | Daily Star
I am not siding with one side or the other……my only interests in this situation is the people that keep dying around Putin….I think there is more to these deaths than most want to admit.
Just saying…is it life imitating art?

Whistleblowing

Yep you guessed it!  Time for one of the Professor’s historic perspectives.  (and the peasants weep)

There is a wealth of opinions around those people that have leaked information to Wikileaks….to some they are heroes to others they are traitors….

My first experience with a whistle blower was Daniel Ellsberg and the release of the “Pentagon Paper”(you may dash for the Google button now you need the exercise)….then there was other major “blowers” Manning and Snowden….there have been others but they were minor compared to those three.

you may call these people anything you like but the fact is that whistle blowing is a duty to the nation…..

John McCain and Paul Ryan and numerous other super-patriots condemned President Obama’s pardon of Chelsea Manning.

In 1778 the Continental Congress ruled that “it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds, or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states.”

Other pro-whistleblower legislation has been passed in recent years.

Apparently too many do not understand the term “duty”…..

Our nationalist leaders don’t care about any of this. They just want to make sure no one’s “gonna mess with us.” But as more of our misdeeds go unreported, more and more of the world is learning to hate us.

Personally, I have no problem with whistle blowers….any time we can expose the governmental darkness to the public light then they should be celebrated.

Class dismissed!

Trump And His Syrian Strategy

While everyone was up in arms about this Trump policy or that…his admin hit a mark that should be the focus of all news agencies……

In case anyone is interested.

A US military service member was killed Sunday during a raid against al-Qaeda militants in central Yemen that also left nearly 30 others dead, including women and children. The loss of the service member is the first-known combat death of a member of the US military under President Trump.

I realize this is not important to a great many of American “patriots” but it should….how many more Americans must die for senseless foreign policy?

Finally I got something substantive in foreign policy from the Trump gang…..the problem is that I do not see it helping the situation very much…..Clinton wanted a “no fly zone” and Trump’s answer is similar….a “safe zone”…..

Turkey has long sought an internationally-imposed series of “safe zones” in northern Syria to house refugees, as a way to limit the number of refugees who actually end up crossing into Turkey. The White House resisted, fearing it would be too complicated, and President Trump’s intention to shift Syria policy toward fighting ISIS made it seem like the idea was very unlikely.

Instead, President Trump made a surprise move, ordering the State Department and Pentagon to prepare for the establishment of safe zones in Syria, giving them 90 days to provide a full blueprint for how they would go about it.

Arguments over the theoretical viability of such safe zones centered on the question of airspace control, with Turkey arguing the zones would be meaningless without a no fly zone, and Pentagon officials warning at the time that would mean war with both Syria and Russia.

(antiwar.com)

My problem with this plan is that there are so many aircraft in the region at any one given time…Turkey, Syria, Russia, US…..that the chances of something going wrong is amplified many times over…..

Then there is the new US base on the ground in Syria……

Washington has established a military base in north-eastern Syria, which is currently controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Daily Sabah newspaper reported on January 23, citing a report of the Kurdish BasNews news agency.

The base is in the Syrian city of Al-Hasakah, located 70 km from the Syrian-Turkish border and 50 km from the Syrian-Iraqi border. Reportedly, the US has deployed 800 servicemen on the military base.

Source: More Details about New US Military Base in Syria

Yet another idea that I see as ill thought out before jumping…..for a country that does not want to get involved in a ground war in Syria we are making the wrong decisions to prevent it…..even the Pentagon has questions about the plan…..

Pentagon officials are said to be full of questions today after reports of President Trump planning to order the State Department and Pentagon to develop plans within 90 days for the establishment of “safe zones” in Syria, unclear exactly what is being planned.

US officials have previously suggested it would take a massive ground force to secure this safe zone from attacks, and that even a limited no-fly zone would risk starting a war with Russia. This scared the Obama Administration away from trying anything.

Shooting from the hip in this region is as deadly as trying to have sex with a pissed off rattlesnake….now is not the time for some macho bullshit.

As I was writing this post this morning news came out about a possible change of mind…..

Reports throughout the week that President Trump intended to order the State Department and Pentagon to create plans for the establishment of safe zones inside Syria appear to have fallen through at the last minute, as the final version of the executive order said to contain the clause no longer makes any reference to it.

Trump was reportedly to have said he intended to “do” safe zones in Syria on humanitarian grounds, but the administration offered no real details on what they intended to do. Moreover, the Pentagon discussed the matter with the expectation the order would come, with a spokesman urging people to give Trump a chance to articulate the plan.

Did clearer minds prevail?

Let’s hope so for there have not been much of that lately…….

Balkan War Drums Beat Again

As a foreign policy geek I am unimpressed with the situation around our new president, Trump…..he is just starting his imperial rule and he is faced with many situations that will need attention….North Korea, China, Middle East, Russia but the one that could be his first test on the international stage is the Balkans…..

Back in the 1990’s Clinton had his hands full with the Balkans and now Trump may have to get his hands dirty with the region……

Source: It’s Kosovo Again…… – In Saner Thought

And a newer post on the situation……

Source: It’s Kosovo Again…….(Again) – In Saner Thought

And during the first days of Trump there is more problems brewing in the region……

Putin, like many Russians, views Western intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo as an affront to the Slavic Orthodox world, and he plans on revenge.

In the decade-and-a-half of war in far-flung places since the 9/11 attacks on our country, it’s easy to forget how much time Western spies, soldiers and diplomats spent in the 1990s trying to save the Balkans from themselves. After Yugoslavia collapsed in 1991, leaving violence and turmoil in its wake, it fell to NATO, led by the United States, to sort out that ugly mess. Now, a generation later, the temporary solutions Washington crafted are coming apart, and war may be returning to Europe’s unstable Southeast.

First, Bosnia-Hercegovina, which got the lion’s share of media attention back in the 1990s—by no means all of it accurate—has limped along as a half-failed state for the last two decades. Mired in crime and corruption, not to mention a serious problem with Islamic extremism, Bosnia is ailing politically, economically and socially. The strange, jury-rigged arrangement hashed out by President Bill Clinton in Dayton, Ohio, in late 1995 to keep Bosnia together after that country’s terrible civil war, was never meant to be more than a short-term solution.

Source: Trump’s First Foreign Policy Crisis: Balkan War Drums Beat Again | Observer

Hopefully Trump has someone on the Southern Europe Desk to keep an eye on this situation….if not then the US will be caught with its pants down….again.