Closing Thought–25Nov19

I try to not post too much on religion…..one it is a personal choice and being so is of no importance to the dialog IST wants to have…..and two just not something I want to do…..

I read something about the VP….it does not surprise me for Pence is a theocrat and would force me to believe his brand of religious fervor if he had his chance….so when I read he was only using aid to benefit certain religions…..

Last November, a top Trump appointee at the U.S. Agency for International Development wrote a candid email to colleagues about pressure from the White House to reroute Middle East aid to religious minorities, particularly Christian groups.

“Sometimes this decision will be made for us by the White House (see… Iraq! And, increasingly, Syria),” said Hallam Ferguson, a senior official in USAID’s Middle East bureau, in an email seen by ProPublica. “We need to stay ahead of this curve everywhere lest our interventions be dictated to us.”

https://www.propublica.org/article/how-mike-pences-office-meddled-in-foreign-aid-to-reroute-money-to-favored-christian-groups

Then Trump considering a possible benchmark for receiving foreign aid……..

Aides to President Donald Trump are drafting plans to condition U.S. aid to other countries on how well they treat their religious minorities, two White House officials said.

The proposal is expected to cover U.S. humanitarian assistance, and could also be broadened to include American military aid to other countries. If the proposal becomes reality, it could have a major effect on U.S. assistance in a range of places, from Iraq to Vietnam. Its mere consideration shows how much the White House prioritizes religious freedom, an emphasis critics say is really about galvanizing Trump’s evangelical Christian base.

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/11/trump-weighs-foreign-aid-religious-freedom-069595

This is just a way to promote one religion over another….we can call it whatever we want but it is not the business of the US to pick a country’s religion for them…..this will strain relations with Middle East and India for sure.

Keep in mind that most Americans do NOT want religion as part of the government…..

While Americans largely have a positive view of the role of religion in public life, they overwhelmingly want religious institutions to stay out of politics, a new survey from the Pew Research Center has found.

Sixty-three percent of U.S. adults believe churches and other houses of worship should “keep out” of political matters. When asked if religious institutions should endorse political candidates, 76 percent say no. And a plurality of adults—at 37 percent—believe that religious groups already have “too much” political influence.

https://www.newsweek.com/religion-democrats-republicans-politics-pew-poll-1472207

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Thoughts On Impeachment And The Trial

Part One in an IST Series……

As the hearings have wound down and built the case for impeachment before it is sent to the Senate for the trial…..most major pundits analyze the Repubs responses and say that in private the Repubs are disgusted and will do what is best for the country in the end.

This is a huge laugh. Optimism is a wonderful thing but it is in denial if anyone thinks the GOP will turn on Trump…regardless his crimes…..that would take principles nay, a spine.

There will be NO bi-partisanship and the MSM needs to stop using that term for good. What few incidents where there has been some cooperation is negligible and comes with renaming Post Office buildings and such.

It is humorous to listen to the on-air pundits try and spin this as something that will feed the headlines…not of it is reality.

I wish that the MSM would just step up and admit that the chances of the Repubs finding their spines in this process is laughable….

If this were a rom-com, instead of a constitutional crisis, I like to think the ending would go something like this: Senate Republicans, crashing through an airport departures gate (it always involves crashing through an airport departures gate) would catch up with Senate Democrats somewhere around the metal detectors and tearfully acknowledge that, yes, Donald Trump is not merely destroying America but also the soul of the Republican Party, and that although the party has been blind and shortsighted, it has also realized the error of its ways, and yes, it was you all along. And then there would be tears, and clapping and reconciliation, as underpaid TSA workers high-five one another and an optional dance number would break out. The whole thing would be a real Christmas blockbuster.

Despite the fact that this is indeed a constitutional crisis, this rom-com-worthy sentiment has still persisted far too long: Democrats are problematically in love with the notion that underneath all of their politics and posturing, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are still dashing heroes with hearts of molten gold, and, despite years spent playing the bad boys, they’re really just waiting to do the right thing. Once the right moment comes, they will wake up and realize how easy it is to change course, and then, in a blaze of bipartisan glory, they will dump Donald Trump, reinstate shattered norms, and knit the country together into a more perfect union once more. Country before party, Me Before You, Tears and Recriminations. But also Happily Ever After.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/11/stop-assuming-senate-republicans-will-do-the-right-thing.html

Spines are in short supply in the GOP side of Congress…..this whole thing will go down as a waste for it will be nothing but an exercise in partisan bullshit!

Trump will be impeached without a single GOP vote in the House and then it will go to the Senate for the trial where Trump thinks he will be cleared…..

“I want a trial.” President Trump went on Fox & Friends Friday morning and said he looked forward to a Senate trial on impeachment to clear his name, reports Mediaite. After Trump made the statement, host Brian Kilmeade asked, “You want a trial?” And Trump doubled down: “Oh, I would! Look, number one, they should never, ever impeach.” He said Democrats on the House intelligence panel failed to make their case—”there’s nothing here”—and cited analyses he’s heard, including on Fox, to back him up. (Indeed, the testimony does not appear to have changed any Republican minds.) Related:

  • Repeats theory: In the Fox interview, Trump also repeated his belief that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election and did so to benefit Hillary Clinton, taking the focus off of Russia. “Are you sure they did that?” asked Steve Doocy, per the Hill. “That’s what the word is,” responded Trump. This comes a day after former White House adviser Fiona Hill ridiculed the theory in her impeachment testimony and called it Russian propaganda.
  • An accusation: Trump dismissed the testimony of Ukraine embassy staffer David Holmes, who said he overheard a phone call in which Trump asked diplomat Gordon Sondland about Ukraine investigations. “I guarantee you that never took place,” said Trump.
  • What’s next: The House intelligence panel will write up a report and give it to the House Judiciary Committee in the next few weeks, per Axios. The judiciary panel will then draft and vote on articles of impeachment and send them to the full House. The timeline remains very much up in the air, but a vote to impeach could come by the end of December. The matter would then move to the Senate for a trial.
  • Wild card: As of now, the House Intelligence Committee has no more scheduled hearings. But that could change if the courts compel big names such as former national security adviser John Bolton, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify, notes the Washington Post. However, it’s not clear when any such ruling might come, and Democrats have suggested they won’t wait for it.
  • GOP strategy: Republicans are expected to draft a counter-report in the House. And GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham has sent a letter to Pompeo asking for information on Joe and Hunter Biden, as well as other Obama administration officials, suggesting a “conservative counter-investigation” is in the works, per the Post.
  • Another option: In the Wall Street Journal, conservative columnist Peggy Noonan think it’s crystal clear now that “Trump muscled Ukraine for political gain.” She doesn’t think senators will convict, but she thinks “they should take seriously the idea of censuring him for abuse of power.” This hasn’t happened to a president since Andrew Jackson. Of course, Trump has been compared to Jackson before, and “in the end he will probably be proud of a tightening of the connection.”

And the sycophants will dance!  And the peasants will bow down and kiss the shit covered boots of the leader!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Messing With The Military

Recently Trump issued a couple of pardons for war crimes and a reinstatement of rank to another, a SEAL…..I wrote about as it happened…..https://lobotero.com/2019/11/18/will-you-pardon-me/

Since the presidential actions more has come out…..the Navy has decided to ignore the president and continue their process against the SEAL……

President Trump is again coming to the rescue of a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes before his conviction of posing with a dead ISIS captive in Iraq in 2017. “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” Trump tweeted Thursday, less than 24 hours after Gallagher learned of a decision by the Navy to remove him from the elite commando force, reports the New York Times. Though Trump reversed Gallagher’s demotion last week, the Navy believed it was acting with “official approval,” the Times reports. Trump’s tweet came after Gallagher’s lawyer appeared on Fox News, describing the Navy decision as an effort to “stick it right in the president’s eye.”

I stated before and I reiterate….the president needs to keep his grubby LITTLE hands out of the military justice process.

It appears that within the military and its leadership there are those unlike the GOP have found their spines…..

The battle over a tarnished Navy SEAL is heating up in Washington. On Friday, US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer lent his support to a pending Navy panel that will decide the military future of Edward Gallagher—despite President Trump’s assertion that Gallagher remain a SEAL, Reuters reports. “I believe the process matters for good order and discipline,” said Spencer at a security forum in Canada. “I think we have a process in place, which we’re going forward with, and that’s my job.” The rare moment of Defense Dept. resistance to Trump sparked headlines and appeared to infuriate Gallagher’s lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, who said he was “stunned” by this “open defiance of the commander-in-chief by a service secretary, on foreign soil, of all places.”

Parlatore also shrugged off a question about whether his client would appear at next month’s Navy review, which was ordered by Rear Adm. Collin Green: “Let’s see if Green and the Navy secretary are even still around tomorrow,” said Parlatore. But the Pentagon has been quietly seething over Trump’s decision to clear three armed services members, including Gallagher, who were convicted or accused of war crimes, per the New York Times. Gallagher was cleared of charges including the murder of an ISIS captive, but convicted of having discredited the armed services by posing for photos with the man’s corpse. His demotion in rank and pay grade was rejected by Trump in a tweet.

Gallager was cleared by the military court…..it is up to the military to decide his fate…..not some tangerine colored veg in the White House….a veg that has NEVER served in the military and yet he thinks he can do what he likes …….time to draw the line at what this creep can do.

Not to worry because the lap puppy (SecDef) Esper has been ordered to punish the SecNav…..

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer just got fired. Defense Secretary Mark Esper demanded his resignation Sunday amid turmoil over a pending military review of a tarnished Navy SEAL, Fox News reports. Esper sought Spencer’s resignation “after losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor over conversations with the White House involving the handling of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher,” a Department of Defense spokesman said. The firing came after Spencer said the Navy would still review Gallagher’s SEAL status despite a tweet from President Trump saying the Navy “will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin.” Trump also restored Gallagher’s SEAL status after the Navy had demoted him.

The DOD said Esper made the move after hearing Spencer had privately told the White House that Gallagher could retire a SEAL if the Navy review was allowed to proceed—an offer Spencer didn’t reveal publicly, per the Washington Post. “I am deeply troubled by this conduct shown by a senior DOD official,” said Esper. The Gallagher drama was heating up all weekend, with Spencer saying the review would proceed and Gallagher accusing Navy officials of “corruption,” per the Washington Examiner. Sunday reports had the White House agreeing to back off. To recap, the Navy had acquitted Gallagher of grave charges—including murder—while serving in Iraq in 2017, but demoted him for posing in a photo with a dead Islamic State captive.

The closing of the resignation letter…..

“The rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries,” Spencer wrote. “Good order and discipline is what has enabled our victory against foreign tyranny time and time again.”

“Unfortunately, it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline,” he continued. “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defense the Constitution of the United States.”

But for those that do not accept my words I offer up the letter for them to read if they are capable of pulling that off…..

Let the UCMJ do what it is there to do…..keep politician’s grubby LITTLE hands out of the process.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Foreign Policy Spotlight

Yes I am a foreign policy geek…..I studied international relations and conflict management in college……so this whole impeachment thing centers around our foreign policy….and there is where I want to approach this…not from some legalese point of view but the actions within our foreign policy.

In case you hadn’t noticed (and not to notice you’d have to be blind), we’re not exactly alone in this country anymore. We were true pioneers in what might be considered a great American tradition of interfering in the affairs of other nations – think about just how radically the U.S. meddled in other democratic lands like Iran or Guatemala once upon a time.  Now, it’s being taken up big time here by others. Whether we’re talking about the Russians in the 2016 elections, the Ukrainians in the upcoming one, or Saudi royals looking into the Twitter accounts of possible critics to suppress while conducting espionage here on American soil, there seems to be quite a crowd of countries and interested foreign parties jostling illegally for advantage in the good old US of A.

Worse yet, much of that jostling is happening in ways hardly noticed that still pass for perfectly legal, ones that won’t land any country’s representatives (or their lobbyists) in trouble, no less in the clinker here. TomDispatch regular Ben Freeman has been following the all-too-legal part of the growing story of foreign interference in American domestic affairs for some time now. Back in February 2019, for instance, he wrote for this site about the money trail that leads from autocratic allies in the Middle East directly to Washington’s most prestigious think tanks and so into the heart and soul of the Washington establishment. Today, he and Ryan Summers, both with the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy, consider just how ripe the country’s political system is for foreign interference in ways that don’t even faintly break the law. Believe me, it’s a hell of a hellish tale to tell.

How To Make American Foreign Policy Yours

Trump’s idea of foreign policy is to spread chaos and hope something positive comes out of the confusion…..this technique is shredding what use to be a viable foreign policy….now we have hit and miss situations.  Actually that is not some idle chit chat…..there is a need to study this behavior……(chaos theory describes the behavior of certain nonlinear dynamical systems that may exhibit dynamics that are highly sensitive to initial conditions (popularly referred to as the butterfly effect). As a result of this sensitivity, which manifests itself as an exponential growth of perturbations in the initial conditions, the behavior of chaotic systems appears to be random. This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future dynamics are fully defined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos. Since the International System can be considered a nonlinear dynamic system, it is reasonable to take this theory into account for the study of the International Order.)

Thanx to this confusion the US seems to be losing the war on tyranny……

We are at war, under siege from a global alliance that runs from Pyongyang to Havana and Caracas. At the moment we are losing, having failed to bring down the leaders of our main adversaries: Kim Jong Un in North Korea, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, and Ali Khamenei in Tehran, despite monster demonstrations in the latter two countries. We have also failed to support the huge crowds clamoring for greater freedom in Hong Kong, although the regime in Beijing has canceled its law enabling it to transfer dissidents to the mainland.

We are losing because there is a growing sensibility on the conservative side of the political spectrum that the United States is simply too precious and good to sacrifice lives and coin to save failed (and continuously failing) cultures from themselves.

It is not in our national interest to be aggressively internationally engaged, they claim. This attitude is exacerbated by the sensibility on the extreme left-wing, which is increasingly defining the Democratic Party, that American ideals are a myth, its founding an act of injustice and original sin, and the projection of power on their basis an immoral fraud. Namely, it is not in the interests of the world for the U.S. to be aggressively engaged.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-us-is-losing-the-war-against-tyranny

I do not necessarily agree with this article…but I do see where they are coming from and can see the worry that is building.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”