Yes We Have No SecDef

Closing Thought–21Jun19

First,  good news for US soccer fans…US has moved on from group play scoring 18 goals in 3 games…They start the knock out round with Spain…….the other good news is the French Gran Prix this Sunday……

The first day of Summer and we still have no real SecDef…..

It’s a difficult time for the Pentagon to be without a permanent U.S. defense secretary.

The Trump administration is grappling with an escalating crisis with Iran, an unusual and controversial deployment of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, the nearly two-decade-old war in Afghanistan and stalled talks with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

Amid all that, and more, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan stepped down this week and the man tapped to replace him on an interim basis appears to face legal hurdles that could initially prevent him from serving more than about six more weeks. It’s an unusual level of uncertainty for one of the most important jobs in the administration.

https://www.apnews.com/a6cfc870fb8e4f9ca2dce63471eefce0

Pres. Trump’s acting SecDef Shanahan has tucked tail and ran from the Pentagon….but which war hawk will get the nod as the new chief of the Pentagon?

Arkansas’ senator, Tom Cotton, has be auditioning for a cabinet post for two years……or will Trump be satisfied with another ‘acting” secretary he has appointed Mark Esper……

Who will be the next SecDef?

For the second time in six months, President Donald Trump is searching for his next defense secretary.

After enjoying stability atop Pentagon leadership for the first two years of his presidency, Trump has been unable find a permanent appointee for his Defense Department Cabinet post since Jim Mattis was forced out of office on Jan. 1.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was announced as that replacement last month, but on Tuesday withdrew his name from consideration amid reports of past domestic violence incidents involving his family. Army Secretary Mark Esper will take his place while a new nominee is chosen.

 
So far the five names being floated around show NO indication of being qualified for the job….but that has NEVER stopped Trump from nominating subservient toads…..something the Pentagon does not need.
 
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Tariffs–Winners And Losers And Economics

Our Trade War With China!  Who’s gonna win and who gonna lose?

With all the words flying around about this legal aspect or another…..the news on our trade war with China takes a back seat…..but I think it needs to be in the forefront……

I found an article that tells the winners and losers in this trade war (I am hoping that you will actually read the referenced article)…..areas of our economy like technology, agriculture, steel, etc……

U.S. companies in everything from computer chips to tractors have said President Donald Trump’s trade wars, including disputes with Beijing and global steel tariffs, have had an impact on them.

Even for some of the expected winners, such as steel companies, the benefits of the president’s tariffs are not entirely clear.

Trump said on May 5 he would raise tariffs on $200 billion (£159 billion) worth of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to agree to a deal.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trade-china-winners-losers-factbo/winners-and-losers-in-trumps-trade-war-with-china-idUKKCN1TK1UM

And yet the markets have not tanked on the bad news for the bigger of our corporations…..

Is this a good thing…… these tariffs?

This “Booming Economy” that we hear about from Trump, the GOP and others is looking a lot like the economy……wait for it……under Obama…..

In some key ways, the Donald Trump economy, on fire last year but slowing this year, is starting to resemble the one he inherited from his predecessor .

There are the rock-bottom bond yields, plodding economic growth and, not to be understated, the Federal Reserve seemingly pulling all the strings, a role that was only exacerbated in the days since the financial crisis and Great Recession and continues to the present day.

Those similarities came into even sharper focus this week, when the benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield fell below 2% for the first time since Trump became president, and the Fed’s indication, if something just short of an outright promise, that it soon will be cutting rates about half a year since its most recent hike.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way: The 2017 tax cut and aggressive moves toward deregulation were supposed to pull the U.S. economy out of its glacial move higher. That happened in 2018, but policymakers and Wall Street pros are growing increasingly fearful that a slowdown if not outright recession is on the horizon, and the Fed is being asked again to ride to the rescue.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/20/the-trump-economy-is-starting-to-look-more-and-more-like-the-obama-economy.html

Oh Snap!  All the comparisons to what Obama did…will this make the list for Supreme Beloved Leader?

Me thinks this news will not see the light of day.

There is other news that is missed by the MSM……some economists are predicting a crash is coming…..but can Trump hold it off until after the election…..

If he times it right, Donald Trump might set back the Democratic Party for a generation or more; if he misses, he’ll go down in history along with Herbert Hoover as the guy who brought the nation an economic disaster.

Back in 2007 and early 2008, many of us were convinced that an economic crash was coming, and that George W. Bush and his Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, and Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan, knew it.

And we also thought that they were doing everything they could to hold it off so it would happen after the 2008 election, so if a Democrat was elected they could say the crash was because people were “worried about the incoming Democrats,” and if McCain won it would be his problem, not Bush’s.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/18/can-donald-trump-hold-economic-crash-until-election

What do you think?

Would a crash change your mind on voting this time around?

Damn! That Was Close!

First day of Summer and the temp is 105….and that is not the only place the temps are rising….

For weeks the rhetoric has been steadily ramping up…the Hawks, Pompeo, Bolton and Cotton, have been prodding the president to respond to Iran with force……

And yesterday those voices for war almost got their way…….

A US official says the military made preparations Thursday night for limited strikes on Iran in retaliation for the downing of a US surveillance drone, but approval was abruptly withdrawn before the attacks were launched. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, tells the AP that the targets would have included radars and missile batteries. The New York Times, citing anonymous senior administration officials, reports that President Trump approved the strikes, but then called them off. The White House on Thursday night declined requests for information about whether Trump changed his mind.

According to the official who spoke to the AP, the strikes were recommended by the Pentagon and were among the options presented to senior administration officials. It was unclear how far the preparations had gone, but no shots were fired or missiles launched. The military operation was called off around 7:30pm Washington time, after Trump had spent most of Thursday discussing Iran strategy with top national security advisers and congressional leaders, the official says. Asked earlier in the day about a US response to the attack, Trump said, “You’ll soon find out.” Trump declared that “Iran made a very big mistake” by shooting down the drone over the Strait of Hormuz. But he also suggested that shooting down the drone was a foolish error rather than an intentional escalation of the tensions that have led to rising fears of open military conflict.

For once in a long while Trump shows excellent instinct…..this time a decision that I agree with…..emotions need to be dialed down and a muzzle put on the Hawks.

The US does not need another devastating war….all those calling for a strike on Iran do not take into consideration what that action will mean to our troops.

Return To Political Warfare

First of all we need to explain what “political warfare” entails……

Political warfare is the use of non-military means to manipulate and undermine the political system of a competitor. Political warfare with Russian and Chinese characteristics involves the use of myriad tactics—cyberattacks, disinformation, electoral meddling and others—to disrupt and destabilize the political systems of America and its allies, thereby rendering these countries less geopolitically effective. Authoritarian powers are “using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies,” warns the 2017 National Security Strategy, to “shake our shared commitment to our values, undermine our system of government, [and] divide our Nation.” As the turmoil sowed by Vladimir Putin’s intervention in the U.S. presidential election of 2016 shows, these campaigns are having an impact.

We now know what is meant by the term…..we know about Russia and the others that are trying this back door approach but what about the attempts by the US?

Expanding on weekend reports that the US had been carrying out cyberattacks against Russia’s electricity grid and other infrastructure, Russian news agencies are quoting unnamed security sources who say that the US attacks were thwarted.

Kremlin officials said they consider the reports “worrying,” and that a major cyber war was possible. Security officials said that so far they remain able to neutralize all of the US attempts to infiltrate and plant malware in the systems.

Maybe there is a new way to approach this technique……

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-wage-political-warfare-38802

The Rand think tank has issued a new white paper on political warfare…..

he United States faces a number of actors who use a wide range of political, informational, military, and economic measures to influence, coerce, intimidate, or undermine its interests or those of its friends and allies. This brief summarizes a study that provided a clearer view of these adversarial measures short of conventional warfare and derived implications and recommendations for the U.S. government and military. To this end, at the request of the sponsor, RAND Corporation researchers examined the historical and current practices that fall into this realm of conflict short of conventional war. The starting point was the term political warfare, as defined in 1948 at the outset of the Cold War by U.S. diplomat George Kennan: “Political warfare is the logical application of Clausewitz’s doctrine in time of peace. In broadest definition, political warfare is the employment of all the means at a nation’s command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives. Such operations are both overt and covert. They range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures (as . . . the Marshall Plan), and ‘white’ propaganda to such covert operations as clandestine support of ‘friendly’ foreign elements, ‘black’ psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states.”[1]

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB10071.html

This is the battleground of the future between “major powers”….the days of massive armies attacking each other is all but dead.

Learn the fight or be conquered.