Closing Thought–24Mar17

A Little Something For Your Mind To Consider

Remember a couple of years ago all the hoopla about our internet privacy….we all joined one defense site or another…..once that slid from the headlines we found other crap to rant about….

Then there are all those Obama haters that have blamed him for everything short of World War One….but he did try to protect us on the internet….then we elected this dude named Trump and some thought that sanity would return to government….Hahahaha…..how foolish can we be?

It looks like the Trump government has decided to say f*ck all those internet users………

The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 50 to 48 to repeal regulations requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers’ privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc’s Google or Facebook Inc .

Under the rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission in October under then-President Barack Obama, internet providers would need to obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial information, health information, children’s information and web browsing history for advertising and internal marketing.

The vote is a victory for internet providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp  and Verizon Communications Inc that had strongly opposed the rules.

(Raw Story)

Maybe all you mental midgets that worship this Trump dude should take a good long look at the things his government is doing…..but that is out of the question for that would mean they have to be honest with themselves…..beyond their capabilities.

That be it for the week….I begin my weekend and my relaxation….hope you guys enjoy yours also….chuq

What The Hell Is Going On At State?

As a degree holder in international relations and conflict management I am always interested in the doings at the State department…..since it is suppose to be the diplomatic arm of the US government it gives us wonks a scale by which we judge the actions globally of this country.

Since Pres. Trump nominated Rex Tillerson we have been struggling to get a grip on his attitudes to his new position of power.  So far I am NOT impressed.  This man is an amateur…I do not care how many companies he ran and how many trips he has made overseas….he is an amateur and needs replacing with someone with experience.

For instance. he has decided not to go to the FM meeting at NATO instead he will travel to Russia.  Russia?  Why?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s travel plans aren’t sitting well with his counterparts in Europe. Tillerson will skip a NATO meeting early next month, the first time in more than a decade a secretary of state has done so, reports Reuters. On top of that, Tillerson will travel to Russia later in the month. “No matter how you spin it, this is unfortunate symbolism,” a veteran European diplomat tells Reuters, referring to the perception that the Trump White House is anti-NATO and pro-Russia. The State Department didn’t provide an official reason for Tillerson’s decision to skip the April 5-6 meeting in Brussels, notes CNN, but it appears he’s opting instead to be in Florida for Trump’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on April 6-7.

Tillerson will, however, see foreign ministers from NATO in Washington on Wednesday in a meeting about the Islamic State, notes Politico. The semiannual planning session in Brussels will be more focused on NATO itself, and Tillerson will be represented there by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, who served under President Obama. After the China meeting in Florida, Tillerson will attend a G7 summit in Italy on April 10-11, and the State Department says he’ll visit Moscow after that. Democrats were quick to pounce on the decision—”a grave error,” says one House lawmaker—and ABC News rounds up their criticisms.

Then there was his visit to China…..BTW he blew off part of his South Korea visit because he needed a nap……and his words while there were at best confusing…..

“You said that China-US relations can only be friendly,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday. “I express my appreciation for this.”

Beijing could not be more pleased with Tillerson’s choice of words. Chinese state media is now crowing because the American diplomat, who seemed resolute in Tokyo and Seoul, appears to have turned deferential in Beijing—perhaps unwittingly. In the Chinese capital, he repeated in public the preferred Chinese formulation of relations between the two powers. On the preceding day at a press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Tillerson said ties between the two countries were guided by “non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.”

Source: Tillerson’s Deference to Beijing or Unfortunate Rookie Mistake? | World Affairs Journal

Since Trump has decided that diplomacy is not important I am guessing that the various desks with State are vacant and this leads to moronic words and actions….

His impotent tenure so far is nothing but amateur hour at the cost of the nation’s reputation…..if he is not so good at this job then why would he want to do it?

As the old saying goes: Behind every successful man there stands a woman … making him become the United States’ secretary of state. At least that’s how the adage was apparently interpreted in Rex Tillerson’s household, per an interview with Tillerson that appeared Tuesday in the International Journal Review. “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job,” says the secretary, who IJR notes seems to have a “relative disinterest in the pomp and circumstance” of the job he now holds. In fact, Tillerson reveals that pre-2017, he’d been planning on retiring this month and heading off to hang out with his grandchildren at his Texas ranch. So what changed his mind? A little finger-wagging from his wife, Renda St. Clair.

“My wife told me I’m supposed to do this,” Tillerson tells IJR, noting that St. Clair exclaimed, “I told you God’s not through with you!” when he came home “stunned” after meeting with Donald Trump post-election and finding out the then-president-elect wanted him to run the State Department. Not that Tillerson, who turns 65 on Thursday, hasn’t since come around. “She was right. I’m supposed to do this,” he says, adding he’ll stick around “at the pleasure of the president.” Read the rest of the interview—including his take on how diplomacy mixes with the “America First” concept, and how an aide says he and Defense Secretary James Mattis “get along like gin and vermouth”—at IJR.

My wife told me I wanted the job….well maybe she should have got the nod and left hubby to screw with the oil industry.
This is not the person we need as pilot of American foreign policy…..time for Trump to see the writing on the wall and replace this toad before his does some real damage….but then that may have been the plan all along.
Further reading:

Syria: A Drop In The Bucket

As a combat veteran I feel it is my duty to keep an eye on our many conflicts and especially the ones that involve our troops in the thick of the fighting.

Word came down last week that more troops will be sent to Syria in the final push to the ISIS capital of Raqqa.  This time the Marines got the call of arms….

US forces in Syria have begun airdropping troops behind ISIS lines near the town of al-Tabqa, and near the important Tabqa Dam. The exact details of the airdrop are still emerging but they are said to include some US Marines as well as a number of Kurdish forces.

The area around Tabqa is just the latest in a series of targets for the Kurdish YPG as they attempt to surround the ISIS capital of Raqqa. Tabqa is about 25 miles west of the capital, and Kurdish YPG forces mostly control the area north of the city, though they’ve also made some efforts to take the northeast.

The airdrops, which began on Tuesday, were the first US airdrops of Kurdish forces so far in Syria, and the deployment of US Marines with them points to the continued escalation of direct US military involvement on the ground by the Trump Administration.

In recent weeks, the US has also deployed hundreds of other US Marines with howitzers into the area north of Raqqa, aiming to provide support for advances toward the city. While the Pentagon officially labeled the howitzer Marines “advisers,” there appears to be little doubt that they, along with the new airdropped troops, will be involved in combat in the course of this deployment.

(antiwar.com)

Is this the beginning of the end for ISIS in Syria?  Or will it be the end of the beginning of US troop involvement in Syria?

Of course as usual this mean NOTHING to most Americans…but it worries me for the future.

A Coup Of A Different Color?

I have been writing and speaking about the possibility of a coup happening in Foggy Bottom.  Mostly it is a “what if” scenario.  Students find it a fascinating subject and seem to devour every word during the speech.

At first I was concerned about a possible military coup simply because of the amount of generals that Trump has placing in key positions….I even wrote a bit on this possibility….

A couple of my closing thoughts posts were on this subject.

Source: Closing Thought–13Jan17 – In Saner Thought

Source: Closing Thought–07Mar17 – In Saner Thought

Then I started thinking that all the problems that Trump is having with leaks in his administration I have changed my thinking into a “soft coup”….meaning that it is a takeover of the government without the use of violence and destruction…the Constitution can be used in this coup…the 25th amendment……

The answer lies in Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

The amendment states that if, for whatever reason, the vice president and a majority of sitting Cabinet secretaries decide that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” they can simply put that down in writing and send it to two people — the speaker of the House and the Senate’s president pro tem.

The site Vox took a look at this type of coup……

Source: The 25th Amendment, explained: how a president can be declared unfit to serve – Vox

With all the leaks and the reports of conflict of interests and the ranting, mindless ranting and of course the leaks all seem to be leading down a path for the use of the Constitution.

The American Conservative is also looking into this possibility…..

We Americans have long regarded coups as undesirable political turmoil afflicting nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America in which governments are changed by force rather than through the ballot box. During the past several weeks, political commentators are beginning to use the word when describing the series of events that began last summer with the claim that Russia was somehow interfering in our national election on behalf of one candidate. To be sure, no one expects the country’s armed forces to march on the White House and force Donald Trump out, but some commentators are suggesting that a political environment is deliberately being created that will either make it impossible for Trump to govern or, if the pieces fall together nicely, will provide grounds for impeachment. As those who might be promoting that kind of regime change are civilians who will not be resorting to armed insurrection, it might be most correct to refer to the possible coup as “soft” or even “stealth.” Conservative radio host and author Mark Levin refers to it as a “silent coup.”

Source: A Soft Coup, or Preserving Our Democracy? | The American Conservative

Has anyone heard of Wikileaks?  Of course you have it has been in the news for years and now its founder is writing about a soft coup by Mike Pence…..

Over the weekend we noted chatter that some saw Mike Pence as “the Deep State’s insurance policy,” and now, judging by tweets from Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, that may well be the Clinton/Intelligence Officials plan…

Source: Assange Claims Hillary, Intel Officials “Quietly Pushing A Pence Takeover” | Zero Hedge

I know….I know….all this sounds like some sort of conspiracy theory and it is in a manner….but there are too many analyst and pundits that are starting to think along these lines to not take it a bit more seriously.

Just keep an eye on the upcoming Congressional hearings and investigations…..those could be very telling of something in the wind…..and the Constitution will make it a bit more justified sounding.

Keep in mind that DC is a town full of predators and predators are always looking for a vulnerability…..even the mighty will become prey.

Fighting The Good War

I have been teaching a class on terrorism…so I watch the studies and papers done on the subject….especially the ISIS entity…..

Since the early days of ISIS every politician worth his/her salt has thumped their chest like some sex crazed primate and predicted the defeat of ISIS and a return to normalcy (I threw that part in to see if anyone is paying attention)……and then we elected a new president and now all the players are serious about the defeat of a inhumane foe.

First let me say…BUNK!  Terror is a tactic and not an entity…we may defeat a group but not the ideas.  It makes great slogans to predict the defeat but reality is more sober than some kneejerk slogan.

I have tried to let my readers know what will happen with the defeat of ISIS…..

Source: Defeating ISIS – In Saner Thought

Slowly but slowly after many long years ISIS is being decimated in Iraq ans Syria….it has taken lots of cash and lots of bombs but there seems to be a light at the end of this nightmare……but what are we really looking at these days?

Later this month, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to host a 68-nation meeting in Washington to discuss the next moves by the coalition fighting the Islamic State, a senior Trump administration official said on Thursday.

This comes as the Islamic State, an actual state with territory and population, is on the verge of extinction, but remains a threat to the U.S. and many parts of the world. Since 2014, the group’s control over people has been cut by roughly 80 percent in Iraq and 56 percent in Syria, according to our estimates. The Islamic State is also slowly but steadily losing control of its largest remaining city, Mosul. Its capital, Raqqa, has been isolated and is awaiting assault. Foreign fighter flows to the region peaked in 2016 and have drastically shrunk. Thousands of Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria have been killed, captured, dispersed, or driven underground.

Source: Why a Dying Islamic State Could Be an Even Bigger Threat to America | World Affairs Journal

After two  months of leadership(?) Tillerson does not exhibit much leadership and yet he is going to let the world know…..exactly what?

But say we are successful and we hand ISIS their asses on a plate…..after ISIS just what will the strategy be for fighting terrorism?

The United States is approaching a strategic pivot in its struggle against jihadist terror groups. It appears increasingly likely that ISIS will be militarily defeated, even if the precise timing remains uncertain.[1] The core of ISIS’s self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria will be destroyed; the group will no longer exert control over significant territory or population in those countries. ISIS will go down fighting, of course, and do enormous amounts of harm in its death throes. Yet given the formidable international forces—anchored by the U.S. military—arrayed against it, and the organization’s increasingly desperate military situation, it seems highly probable that ISIS’s days are numbered.

Source: After ISIS: U.S. Political-Military Strategy in the Global War on Terror | RealClearDefense

We, the American people, have heard it all…..the rhetoric is as thick as maple syrup in winter….so far I have not heard anything that would fill me with optimism for the future of our war on terror.

We and our allies, whoever they are, may well kick the screaming crap out of ISIS….but that will not win the war….a successful battle does not win the war.  As of yet I have not heard anything that resembles a good battle plan for the future.

But What Is The Strategy?

The good news is…..thinking……thinking……not much but since we are about to spend our national asses off in defense maybe we should take a look at what we would get for the money.

An essential element is missing from President Donald Trump’s plan for boosting the budgets of the U.S. military services by $54 billion in 2018. How, exactly, does the commander in chief intend to use the world’s most potent fighting force?

Beyond the threat posed by the Islamic State and other militant groups, Trump doesn’t articulate what he’s defending the country from. Defeating what Trump and his aides call “radical Islamic terrorism” doesn’t require an additional investment of tens of billions of dollars. And Trump, whose “America First” mantra suggested an isolationist approach, has viewed Russia as a potential partner, not an adversary.

Source: Trump’s defense budget boost raises questions on strategy | PBS NewsHour

To be fair, and yes I can do that, to Trump there has not been a real strategy for decades……all want to boost the military but none have any idea of how they will be used….I guess the strategy is that we will play it by ear for now……problem is we need to stop wasting time and sit down and look at the future of our services……

There have been many National Security Strategy (NSS) development efforts over the past decades. But it appears we have not had a traditional, thorough, objective national strategy review and update since 9/11. As taught in our military education system, force structure determination must begin with a review of the NSS. The last two NSS products were issued by the Obama Administration in 2010 and 2015. The 2010 strategy was cited as a significant departure from previous strategies, with one point being the elimination of reference to Islamic radicalism.

Source: National Military Strategy Development—Time for a Revolutionary Approach | RealClearDefense

We have a written review every so often….but like most things it does not look deep enough in the international situation….they cover the problems in our face and never tries to find the ones in the shadows….I do not expect too much from the Trump admin…..they seem to think more money means better military…..that is the M-IC talking in the review.

Just a few months into the Trump administration, it still isn’t clear what course the president’s foreign policy will ultimately take. What is clear, however, is that the impulsiveness, combativeness, and recklessness that characterized Donald Trump’s election campaign have survived the transition into the presidency. Since taking office, Trump has continued to challenge accepted norms, break with diplomatic traditions, and respond to perceived slights or provocations with insults or threats of his own. The core of his foreign policy message is that the United States will no longer allow itself to be taken advantage of by friends or foes abroad. After decades of “losing” to other countries, he says he is going to put “America first” and start winning again.

Source: A Vision of Trump at War – Council on Foreign Relations

Time for a real National Security Strategy (NSS)….but that will take thought and that is simply not available in the Trump WH.

Believe me when I tell you that Twitter is not the answer.

God, I Love This Stuff!

I could not leave today until I had my say about health care…..after all the vote is tonight and we will be done with Obamacare.

In case you are not aware there will be a vote (maybe not) on the replacement for Obamacare or as it is now being called Trump care and/or Ryancare.  I love it because these twats in DC make it out like it is rocket science…..

Trump has been having a hard time trying to push this abortion through the House so he decided to flex his political muscle and take on the naysayers….

With a House vote on the American Health Care Act just hours away on Thursday, it still didn’t appear as if the Republican replacement for ObamaCare had the necessary votes, the Washington Post reports. Republicans can only afford for 22 GOP representatives to vote against the bill (it’s assumed no Democrat will vote for it), but 36 are on the record as saying they’ll vote against it. Another 14 GOP reps say they’re leaning toward voting against it. But the vote could’ve still been close, as President Trump held a last-second negotiating session with the super-conservative House Freedom Caucus. At least a dozen representatives said they could switch their vote depending on the results of that negotiation.

The Freedom Caucus—having already gotten Trump to agree to removing a required minimum level of “essential” benefits from insurance plans—wanted all facets of Obama’s Affordable Care Act repealed if its members were going to support the AHCA, Politico reports. That includes two popular parts of the ACA that Trump has vowed to preserve: allowing adults up to 26 years old to stay on their parents’ insurance plans and prohibiting the denial of insurance due to pre-existing conditions. But following Trump’s negotiation attempt, the caucus’s chairman said there’s “no deal,” according to the AP, and Republican lawmakers emerged saying that the Thursday vote might be delayed, notes the Hill. The GOP’s ObamaCare replacement isn’t just unpopular with lawmakers: Vox reports a newly released poll shows only 17% of the public approves of it, while 56% disapproves.

He says parts of Obamacare can stay as part of the new plan….and yet it looks a lot like Obamacare……but with more benefits for the wealthy than the other one….

The vote will be tonight…..

STOP THE PRESSES!

GOP House leaders delayed their planned vote Thursday on a long-promised bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, in a stinging setback for House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Trump in their first major legislative test, the AP reports. The decision came after Trump, who ran as a master dealmaker, failed to reach agreement with a bloc of rebellious conservatives. Moderate-leaning Republican lawmakers were also bailing on the legislation, leaving it short of votes. The bill could still come to a vote in coming days, but canceling Thursday’s vote was a significant defeat. It came on the seven-year anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act.

The Republican legislation would halt Obama’s tax penalties against people who don’t buy coverage and cut the federal-state Medicaid program for low earners. It would provide tax credits to help people pay medical bills, though generally skimpier than Obama’s statute provides. It also would allow insurers to charge older Americans more and repeal tax boosts the law imposed on high-income people and health industry companies. The measure would also block federal payments to Planned Parenthood. In a count by the AP, at least 30 Republicans said they opposed the bill, enough to defeat the measure. But the number was in constant flux amid the eleventh-hour lobbying. The bill would be defeated if 23 Republicans join all Democrats in voting “no.”

Now that just sucks for Ryan and Trump…..all their chest thumping and what did they accomplish?

Absolutely NOTHING!

Time for the alt-Right horde to start their whining and bitching…HAhahaha…God I love this shit!