“Covfefe”–Closing Thought–13Jun17

“Covfefe” Returns!

Awhile back Trump Tweeted the term and the media went batcrap crazy….and yes I wrote about it….read for yourself…….

Source: “Covfefe” – In Saner Thought

It has returned……there is a move to make his Tweets part of the official record…..

First, covfefe made it into the Urban Dictionary. Now it could make it into the Presidential Records Act. Taking inspiration from White House spokesman Sean Spicer—who last week described Trump’s tweets as “official statements by the president”—Illinois Democrat Mike Quigley on Monday introduced the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically For Engagement (COVFEFE) Act, which would add “social media” materials to those preserved as official statements under the Presidential Records Act, reports Reuters. If passed, it would require the National Archives to preserve tweets from Trump’s official and personal accounts. The act would also bar Trump from deleting tweets, reports the Hill.

The COVFEFE Act isn’t meant as a dig at Trump, at least not entirely. It addresses “a legitimate issue,” per NPR, since the Presidential Records Act was crafted in 1978, before social media could’ve been imagined. “Tweets are powerful, and the president must be held accountable for every post,” says Quigley, who previously introduced the Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness (MAR-A-LAGO) Act. “If the president is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference.” The White House has yet to comment. (Here’s Spicer’s take on covfefe.)

I think that it is a stellar idea…..put all this in the presidential record or the Congressional record….it will make future research so much easier…..all other communications are on record….why not Twitter?

Time for me to put IST to bad…..I will go enjoy a nice Paella with a superb Spanish white wine, albarino….see ya tomorrow my friends.  chuq

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Pentagon Papers Turns 46

Where we you on 13 June 1971?

There was a publication that blew the top off the story of the year…….

46 years ago today the first part of the Pentagon papers was published…..

Pentagon Papers, papers that contain a history of the U.S. role in Indochina from World War II until May 1968 and that were commissioned in 1967 by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. They were turned over (without authorization) to The New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg, a senior research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies.

The 47-volume history, consisting of approximately 3,000 pages of narrative and 4,000 pages of appended documents, took 18 months to complete. Ellsberg, who worked on the project, had been an ardent early supporter of the U.S. role in Indochina but, by the project’s end, had become seriously opposed to U.S. involvement. He felt compelled to reveal the nature of U.S. participation and leaked major portions of the papers to the press.

On June 13, 1971, The New York Times began publishing a series of articles based on the study, which was classified as “top secret” by the federal government. After the third daily installment appeared in the Times, the U.S. Department of Justice obtained in U.S. District Court a temporary restraining order against further publication of the classified material, contending that further public dissemination of the material would cause “immediate and irreparable harm” to U.S. national defense interests.

Source: Pentagon Papers | United States history | Britannica.com

On 13 June 2011 the papers were declassified and the question was asked…..do the Pentagon Papers still matter?

The declassification and online release Monday of the full original version of the Pentagon Papers – the 7,000-page top secret Pentagon study of US decision-making in Vietnam 1945-67 – comes 40 years after I gave it to 19 newspapers and to Senator Mike Gravel (minus volumes on negotiations, which I had given only to the Senate foreign relations committee). Gravel entered what I had given him in the congressional record and later published nearly all of it with Beacon Press. Together with the newspaper coverage and a government printing office (GPO) edition that was heavily redacted but overlapped the Senator Gravel edition, most of the material has been available to the public and scholars since 1971. (The negotiation volumes were declassified some years ago; the Senate, if not the Pentagon, should have released them no later than the end of the war in 1975.)

In other words, today’s declassification of the whole study comes 36 to 40 years overdue. Yet, unfortunately, it happens to be peculiarly timely that this study gets attention and goes online just now. That’s because we’re mired again in wars – especially in Afghanistan – remarkably similar to the 30-year conflict in Vietnam, and we don’t have comparable documentation and insider analysis to enlighten us on how we got here and where it’s likely to go.

Source: Why the Pentagon Papers matter now | Daniel Ellsberg | Opinion | The Guardian

The Papers still matter because it shows at what lengths the government will go and the death of Americans matter not.

The “Paper” matter to me because I learned why I was fighting in Vietnam and the disastrous decisions that got me there.

History lesson is over…you may return to your normal day…..

Let The Praise Begin

Have you ever witnessed an event that you know was painfully superficial?

Yesterday was one of those events…..the cabinet fawning over the president was disgusting and sickening…..and a “cheese-eaters” paradise.

A scene out of some egotistic autocratic theater…..I could cite a historical equivalent but few would appreciate it….so straight to the report….

“We’ve achieved tremendous success,” President Trump declared at his first formal Cabinet meeting on Monday, and he certainly wasn’t the only one praising his administration: Asked by Trump to introduce themselves, the group took it in turns to flatter the president before reporters were ushered from the White House’s Cabinet Room, the Guardian reports. Chief of staff Reince Priebus was among the most effusive, saying, “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people,” reports the Telegraph. “It is the greatest privilege of my life to serve as vice president,” said Mike Pence. “The president is keeping his word to the American people.”

“Never has there been a president, with few exceptions, the case of FDR—he had a major Depression to handle—who’s passed more legislation, who’s done more things than what we’ve done,” Trump said, claiming to have delivered on campaign promises at “record-setting pace,” NBC reports. Some Cabinet members gave brief updates on the work of their departments, while others stuck to praise. “Mr. President, what an incredible honor it is to lead the Department of Health and Human Services at this time under your leadership,” said Tom Price. The tone of the meeting was mocked by Trump critics including Chuck Schumer, who tweeted a mock video in which aides showered him with compliments, Reuters reports.

This was a shameless show of egotism……it is pathetic that this man needs to have his ego massaged on a regular basis…..illustrates the quality of the people that he surrounds himself….cowards and spineless slugs.

I can see why most of the cabinet did not serve in the military….they are cowards!

Qatar Mess Heats Up

The situation involving the Saudis and the Qataris is still raging…. and of course the president has to mouth his opinion, which does not help the situation….after all Qatar was considered a source of investment not long ago fpr the Trump Group…..

Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner all repeatedly sought financing for various investments in recent years from leading figures in Qatar, according to sources with direct knowledge of the meetings.

Those previously unreported overtures have taken on new relevance as a diplomatic crisis aggravated by President Trump has left the small Gulf nation blockaded and isolated by its rivals, with tensions in the Middle East reaching historic highs.

President Trump on Friday characterized Qatar as “historically” a “funder of terrorism at a high level,” an accusation that came just an hour after his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appealed for “no further escalation” in the Gulf Cooperation Council squabble, urging dialogue to quickly resolve the crisis, which pits Qatar against Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and Bahrain. Tillerson noted the Qatari emir “made progress in halting financial support and expelling terrorist elements from his country,” comments echoed by the U.S. ambassador to Qatar, Dana Smith, who tweeted “Qatar is a strong partner in combating terrorist financing.”

The problem is, with the president’s help, the Saudis are a destabilizing force, more so than normal….forcing countries to basically….pick sides…..in essence they, the Saudis, are trying to set up a hegemonic control of the region….

Saudi Arabia is making a drive to become a regional hegemon. It has long used its oil wealth to achieve a great deal of influence among neighbors, of course. But it is now flexing military muscles. From a Saudi point of view, they have suffered decades of dangerous reversals, and they are determined to push back foes and ensure not just their security but their control.

The dangers the Saudis see include the revolutionary, Shiite Islam of Khomeinist Iran. It is not only a hated rival branch of Islam but Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who came to power in 1979, said “there are no kings in Islam.” It is republican with a small ‘r.’ The Saudis hate it just as the Austro-Hungarian emperors hated the French Revolution. Inasmuch as Hizbullah in Lebanon adopted Khomeinism and is close to Tehran, it is also seen as a threat by the Saudis. The anti-Wahhabi, Zaydi Shiite Houthi movement in Yemen has made the error of imitating Hizbullah and speaking of overthrowing the House of Saud in Riyadh, and Saudi Arabia has gone to war against the Houthis in Yemen. The Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, dominated by Alawite Shiites who are secular socialists, is seen as an enemy mostly because it is allied with Iran (the Saudis used to support the al-Assads back in the 1970s and 1980s). The Saudis have supported radical fundamentalist guerrillas in Syria such as Jaysh al-Islam.

Source: Trump’s Ally: Saudi Arabia’s drive for Aristocratic Hegemony in the Middle East

This embrace of the Saudis as the “power” of the Middle East could prove to be a dangerous move for the US……Hell even conservatives see the problems brewing…..

Emma Ashford notes Trump’s obliviousness to the costs of siding with the Saudis and Emiratis in the Qatar crisis:

Indeed, despite these concerns – and despite the efforts of Tillerson, Mattis and others to mediate the dispute, and to walk back the President’s rash tweets – Trump himself appears determined to publicly take the Saudi side in this dispute and force unity within the GCC. In doing so, he risks raising regional tensions, and complicating the anti-ISIS campaign that was the cornerstone of his campaign.

Foreign policy often requires trade-offs. It is no doubt possible that long-term pressure from regional states may induce Qatar to scale back the scope of its foreign policy. But this will come at the cost of other U.S. foreign policy objectives in the region.

Source: The Qatar Crisis and Trump’s Dangerous Embrace of the Saudis | The American Conservative

How all this shakes out is still up to speculation….but I see nothing good coming from this silliness.

Let Your Thumbs Do The Talking

Whip out your thumbs and shoot yourself in the other foot!

Awhile back I wrote that Trump was doing more harm to himself and his admin and I suggested that some of his ardent supporters suggest to him that he should shut up and let event progress….

Of course one of his supporters laid into me all about the 1st amendment…that this was still America and we do have rights….on and on and on…..blah blah blah…….

I then pointed out that I was talking about his screwy obsession with Twitter….that every time he goes on one of his tantrums that he was opening himself open to these legal things swirling around him…..

Well I see no one has grown a set of stones yet for he is at it again…..this time it is about Trump’s “travel ban”….his surrogates run to a podium and explain that he does not mean a “ban” per se….and then he takes to Twitter and craps all over his spokespeople…..

While members of the Trump administration have tried to downplay his immigration executive order as simple vetting to keep the country safe, the president himself doubled down Monday on what he considers the order to be, the Hill reports. In an initial tweet Saturday that has since been criticized for politicizing the London terror attacks, Trump noted we need to be “smart, vigilant and tough” and that we need “the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” The Washington Post notes Trump now wants to expedite a Supreme Court hearing on his executive order, which has already been stymied in both its original and revised forms. Trump is apparently disregarding legal issues that may arise from once again using the term “travel ban,” which partly led various US district court judges to halt his plan to keep nationals from six Muslim-majority nations out of the US.

Trump on Monday showed no sign of retreating from this tack, taking to Twitter to reaffirm his belief in his original immigration strategy. “People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” he tweeted. He also said the Justice Department should be pushing for a “much tougher version” of the ban, not the “watered down, politically correct” version that was put before the Supreme Court. “In any event, we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to help keep our country safe,” he tweeted. “The courts are slow and political!” The ACLU alluded over the weekend to the possible legal issues Trump may be conjuring by continuing to throw the “travel ban” phrase around after his team tried to walk it back, noting in a tweet: “Glad we both agree the ban is a ban.”

Someone needs to take his phone and break it in half…….they would be doing him and his policies a favor.

Why Is the World So Unsettled?

Has Anyone noticed the world becomes more and more unstable with every passing year?

A new conflict pops up almost monthly…..and the US seems to have to throw troops and money at each and everyone…..

There was a time when the world thought things would get better….especially after the fall of the USSR….all antagonism would be lessened.

It just did not work out that way now did it?

U.S. foreign policy is likely to be wracked by crises in the coming years. Yet crises are often symptoms of deeper structural transformations, and the fundamental fact of international politics today is that the post-Cold War era has reached its end. That period was defined by uncontested U.S. and Western primacy, a marked decline in ideological struggle and great-power conflict, and a historically remarkable degree of global cooperation in addressing international disorder. Today, however, the international system has reverted to a more contested state. The core characteristics of the emerging era are the gradual but unmistakable erosion of U.S. and Western primacy, the return of sharp great-power competition across all three key regions of Eurasia, the revival of global ideological struggle, and the empowerment of the agents of international strife and disorder. Moreover, the impact of these forces is magnified by growing uncertainty about whether the traditional defenders of the post-Cold War system will be able and willing to play that role in the future. Dealing with the dangers and dilemmas posed by the new global politics will be a generational task. Yet understanding the basic nature of the age is the critical first step.

Source: Why Is the World So Unsettled? The End of the Post-Cold War Era and the Crisis of Global Order | CSBA

WE need an adequate foreign policy but since we got a new prez we also got a crappy State Department…..seems the prez does not think that diplomacy and foreign policy are important when you have a military that will travel the world looking for a fight.

This will be a disastrous 4 years for our standing in the world…..so bad that it will take a generation for the country to recover.