That Damn “Libya Model”

This term is getting a workout from dear president Trump…it is one of the insults he has used to explain why Bolton had to resign…..He slammed a mistake Bolton made early in his tenure at the White House when he discussed a “Libyan model” in the context of North Korea — which that country took as a sign that its leadership could meet the fate of former Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi. 

He is conflating two events a  2003 decision  and the civil war that killed Qaddafi……

Let me offer a free lesson in international relations for our dear president…..

After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq toppled President Saddam Hussein in 2003, Libya’s leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi feared he might be next. On Dec. 19, 2003, Gadhafi announced he intended to rid Libya of its weapons of mass destruction.

Within a few months, Libya handed over vast amounts of equipment, documents and centrifuges — all of which were flown out of the country, mostly to Oak Ridge, Tenn. Gadhafi allowed international inspectors into Libya, and, in about two years, they certified that Libya’s nuclear weapons program was no more. Full destruction of Libya’s chemical weapons program was due to be completed by 2016.

This event might have had a round about consequence in the civil war and eventual death of Qaddafi…but that would take a whole bunch of research.

Fast forward to 2011, when the Arab Spring uprisings roiled the Middle East. Riots broke out across the country, including in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. On March 19 of that year, the U.S. and its European allies – the very powers Gadhafi sought to cultivate by foreswearing nukes – launched a seven-month bombing campaign — ostensibly to stop attacks on civilians but in reality to topple his regime. On Oct. 20, 2011, Gadhafi was found hiding in a drainage ditch in Sirte after rebels overran the coastal city. He was beaten senseless by a crowd and shot dead.

And that was what was meant when Bolton mentioned the ‘Libya Model’…..

Only some amateur would conflate the two situations….and a bigger idiot that would do so in the press where he can be fact checked and proven to be uninformed on international issues.

Now Mr. President you may return to your normal daily consumption of shitty news and Tweeting all about it.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

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Then There Is Iran

Ever since Trump came to the power seat in DC Iran has been on his lips. First it was the treaty for their nukes which he decided was bad for no other reason than it was an Obama policy….and then it was more sanctions and then the hard fighting words began in essence the attempt to bully.

Now Trump is open to a meeting at the UN with Iran and on cue the Neocons went batcrap crazy probably one reason Bolton lost his job….and now more news about Iran.

Bolton’s firing may signal willingness to offer concessions

Saying he believes that the US sanctions and pressure have put Iran in a very tough position, President Trump continued to suggest that talks could be held soon. Interestingly, reports also suggest he may be considering some concessions.

A $15 billion EU line of credit to Iran in return for oil sales, an effort to get them around near-term economic problems, seems the most likely immediate move, with Trump and Mike Pompeo both considering giving France permission to do it.

Iran has suggested they would only be open to talks in the event the US lifted sanctions on them. Incredibly, it does appear that this too is under consideration, as Trump is very hopeful for talks, and might actually be willing to do something to make that happen.

The clearest indication of this might be the sacking of John Bolton this week. Bolton was working openly against all of these concessions, and fighting against the Iran talks in general. Trump may have believed getting Bolton out of the way was a necessary first step.

(antiwar.com)

Seriously?

This is a repeat of the North Korean gambit.

Lots of tough talk and insults and then a simpler message of a willingness to meet and talk.

As we inch closer to an armed conflict military leaders have made it clear what they want…..

In an open letter, the former officers said President Donald Trump made it clear that “there is no broader strategy to his desire for military conflict with Iran” and warned that it was “past time for Congress to step in and stop Trump’s constitutionally unsupported march to war.” The letter was organized by retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton of the progressive group VoteVets and its nonprofit affiliate, the Vet Voice Foundation.

“A full-scale military conflict with Iran would be a huge and costly undertaking,” the letter reads. “It’s a lesson we’ve learned before as a nation, at great cost. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us a lot in blood and treasure. We know that war with Iran would require hundreds of thousands of American service members to deploy and could result in even larger numbers of American casualties and injuries ― alongside an unknown number of civilian deaths.”

Closing Thought–12Sep19

Health care has been a point of contention on the campaign trail for 2020….there are a wealth of “plans” to get the American people their health care…..from single payer to Obamacare.

Biden is the one that has hung his reputation and his campaign on Obamacare……but his support for the plan may be in jeopardy….Obamacare may be losing its luster….

The number of Americans without health insurance edged up in 2018—the first evidence from the government that coverage gains from President Obama’s health care plan might be eroding under President Trump, the AP reports. The Census Bureau also said in an annual report Tuesday that household income rose last year at its slowest pace in four years but finally matched its previous peak set in 1999. Median household income rose 0.9% in 2018 to an inflation-adjusted $63,179, from $62,626 in 2017. The data suggest that the economic expansion, now the longest on record at more than 10 years, is still struggling to provide widespread benefits to the US population. Solid gains in household incomes in the past four years have returned the median only to where it was two decades ago.

An estimated 27.5 million people, 8.5% of the population, went without health insurance in 2018. That was an increase of 1.9 million uninsured people, or 0.5 percentage point. More people were covered by Medicare, reflecting the aging of the baby boomers. But Medicaid coverage declined. The number of uninsured children also rose, and there were more uninsured adults ages 35-64. Though the increase in the number of uninsured Americans last year was modest, it could be a turning point, the first real sign that coverage gains under Obama could be at least partly reversed. This year, the number of uninsured could rise again because a previous Republican-led Congress repealed fines under the Affordable Care Act for people who remain uninsured if they can afford coverage.

If this is properly reported then Biden may have an epiphany and worm his way into some other plan…..or he could double down and use the media to help control any fallout from this report.

I prefer the Medicare For All and will vote that way for 2020…..

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Will Biden Stay In The Lead?

Poll after poll and pundit after pundit has told thew American people just what a great guy Biden is and the fine job he is doing as the Dem front runner.

If he is going to be anointed as the “man to beat Trump” then he needs more scrutiny than the press is giving him……the media is white washing everything about the candidate…..his lies and called a “misspoke” or gaffs or “Joe being Joe”…..but the candidate is far from being perfect as a candidate he is the only one to beat Trump…..is the best I can say about him…..

The media wants Biden…..the pundits want Biden….the DNC wants Biden and the DCCC wants Biden…..so do we crown him now?

But how about a closer look…..

Which brings us to Joe Biden. Like Hillary (and Bill) Clinton, he represents the corporate-establishmentarian wing of the Democratic Party. Also like Hillary, his main hook is the undisputable dreadfulness of the Donald.

So what, then, about Biden? Democrats need to talk about Joe. There’s little doubt that the 77-year-year-old former U.S Vice President is suffering from some measure of dementia. Confusing New Hampshire with Vermont, not knowing the name of the college where he just spoke, thinking that he met with Parkland school shooting victims when he was vice president, invading the centrist MSDNC host Joy Reid’s physical space to claim that she advocates “physical revolution,” inappropriate public touching (and sniffing), forgetting thoughts in mid-sentence, saying that the recent Dayton and El Paso mass shootings took place in “Michigan” and “Houston” – all of this and more (including the alarming frequency with which he looks lost and confused) suggest that Biden’s elevator is no longer running all the way to the top floor (if it ever was) as he nears his ninth decade of life. Executive function is no small matter. This is about aging, which some people (e.g. the still on-point Bernie Sanders) do more gracefully and cogently than others (e.g. Joe).

No Joe: On Character, Quality and Authenticity

I am no supporter of Biden and I have criticized him and the DNC for their favoritism in this election…they are firmly in-line with the corporatist Biden and they will bitch slap anyone that opposes Biden…….

The man quickly identified himself as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. He didn’t need to tell me that he was hopping mad.

Ken Martin was angry that my colleagues and I were handing out a flier—providing some inconvenient facts about Joe Biden—to delegates and activists as they entered the New Hampshire Democratic Party convention on Saturday. The headline, next to Biden’s picture, quoted a statement he made last year: “I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we’re in trouble.”

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/09/why-dnc-vice-chair-bawled-me-out-sharing-critical-accurate-information-about-joe

Biden is slightly better than the lying toad in the white house….

Please do not let the DNC and the Media decide who you will vote for in 2020.

How will Biden fare in the 3rd Dem debate tonight in Houston?

That is the question.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Bolton Is Out Excuses

Let me say here and now….I did not like the ideas and policies that John Bolton spent decades pushing…..and he should have known better than go to work for a person that takes NO advice but his own.

The president has lots to say about Bolton now that he is gone…..

The Hill calls it a “public rebuke of a top aide that would have been extraordinary before the Trump White House”: The president on Wednesday elaborated on his firing of John Bolton in an Oval Office meeting with reporters. Five standout things he said about his former National Security Adviser:

  • 1. “He made some very big mistakes.”
  • 2. “Frankly he wanted to do things—not necessarily tougher than me—you know John’s known as a tough guy. He’s so tough he got us into Iraq … but he’s actually somebody I had a very good relationship with. But he wasn’t getting along with people in the administration that I consider very important.”
  • 3. “As soon as he mentioned that, the Libyan model, what a disaster. Take a look at what happened to Gadhafi. I don’t blame Kim Jong Un for what he said after that. And he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton. And that’s not a question of being tough. That’s a question of being not smart to say something like that.” (Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake notes that comment was made 16 months ago. See this story for more context.)
  • 4. “John wasn’t in line with what we were doing and actually in some cases he thought it was too tough what we were doing. Mr. tough guy, you know, you had to go into Iraq.”
  • 5. “I hope we left on good stead, but maybe we haven’t,” the Guardian quotes Trump as saying.
  • CNN sees Trump as keeping his eye on the prize, and needing Bolton out of his way: “Trump’s first term, while succeeding in traumatizing US allies and causing global disruption, is largely bereft of the big wins the great dealmaker promised back in 2016.” With Bolton gone, “US diplomacy is likely to reflect its principal author even more closely. It will be more impulsive, less strategic, and more geared to creating iconic moments, like the President’s stroll into North Korea with Kim Jong Un.”
  • The Wall Street Journal similarly frames Bolton as a now-departed “counterweight” to Trump, and predicts his “exit could remove a barrier to a meeting at the United Nations with Iran’s president later this month, or to talks with members of the insurgent Afghan Taliban movement.”
  • Robert Schlesinger echoes that, writing at NBC News: “Bolton had become a foreign policy Dr. No, tamping down Trump’s desire to go for big, showy deals with North Korea, Iran and the Taliban. Whoever replaces him will know to cheer on Trump’s ideas, no matter how ill-conceived.”

Like I have said…I did not agree with much Bolton had to say but at least he was a professional in a White House staffed with amateurs.

Not all conservatives thought Bolton was a good hire for Trump……

It took far too long to happen, but Bolton’s firing is undeniably good news. Bolton is the embodiment of everything wrong with hawkish Republican foreign policy, and his role in the administration has been without question a purely destructive one. I have to admit I didn’t think it would happen. Bolton had prevailed again and again on policy, and despite pushing his own agenda and doing an abysmal job as National Security Advisor he remained in place. Whatever Trump’s reason was for getting rid of him, it was the right decision. Bolton ends his career as one of the worst National Security Advisors in U.S. history. He should never have been hired, but at least he is out of government. Now he can go shill for the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) full-time.

Good Riddance, Bolton

Now we have another “interim” staffer…..

President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, that joy is likely to be shortlived due to the character of Bolton’s acting replacement, Charles M. Kupperman.

Kupperman has been a member of the boards of a number of defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin and Boeing. He served in the Ronald Reagan administration and boasts a decades-long relationship with Bolton.

The rumor mill is working over time with the departure of Bolton and the newest one involves Pompeo….

…administration officials are discussing the possibility of replacing Bolton with his chief rival, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Under this scenario, the country’s top diplomat would absorb the national security adviser role and do both jobs, according to a senior administration official and a source familiar with the possibilities.

That would make Pompeo the second person in history to have both jobs at the same time. The first, Henry Kissinger, was already President Richard Nixon’s national security adviser when he was appointed secretary of state in 1973, and filled both roles for two years.
 
(cnn.com)
As a foreign policy wonk I will be watching this situation as the results of the firing of Bolton unfolds.  The media likes to state that this is the 4th NatSec adviser in 3 years and they keep emphasizing the point…but keep in mind that them GOP God Reagan had 6 in 8 years….so this is nothing new for a Repub president to go through multiple advisers (that is my history lesson for the day)
 
“Lego ergo Scribo”

That Foggy Mountain Breakdown–Afghanistan

There is a wealth of opinions on the breakdown of the talks between the US and the Taleban…..all said the common opinion is that Trump was right cancel these talks for it gives the US time to revamp its Afghan strategy…..

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he had called off talks with the Taliban at Camp David. The meeting had probably been arranged to finalise a deal for the start of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The deal apparently had four main pillars: a Taliban guarantee not to allow foreign fighters to use Afghanistan to launch attacks outside the country; the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces; an intra-Afghan dialogue; and a permanent ceasefire.

The question marks over that plan are the credibility of any Taliban commitments, the exclusion of the Afghan government from the peace talks, and what happens next.

These problems are well known to any observer of Afghanistan and certainly to the U.S. lead negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad. He may well have reached the best deal he could with the Taliban, but that doesn’t mean it was one worth taking. Fortunately, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump seem to have a perspective that’s different from the negotiating team’s.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/09/11/the_breakdown_of_ustaliban_talks_buys_time_to_reset_the_afghanistan_strategy_114737.html

Was Trump right to cancel these talks?

The new peace agreement thus far, painstakingly negotiated by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad – a skilled former ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations – was between the U.S. and the Taliban only. The Camp David meeting was supposed to be a turning point, wherein the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban could come together, echoing former President Bill Clinton’s bringing together of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the government of Israel in 2000, also at Camp David. (That attempt, too, died stillborn.)

The deal on the table reportedly included a U.S. withdrawal of its 14,000 troops, including a down-payment of around 5,000 leaving within a few months after the accord was completed. The Taliban were to provide guarantees that there would be no return to creating “safe havens” for groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (which is rising in prominence within Afghanistan). There was also a provision to free thousands of Taliban prisoners being held by the Afghan government. All of this was to be cemented with a prolonged cease-fire – and it was that portion of the agreement that the Taliban failed to honor, continuing their attacks and killing another U.S. service member last week.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-09-09/trump-was-right-to-cancel-the-taliban-talks

One of the media’s main sticking points is that there was NO Afghan government representation…..but once the US takes it on the lame the Taleban will once again become the government in power in Afghanistan.

Really the only thing to worry about is to take measures to assure the US that there will be no safe haven for terrorists like AQ and ISIS.

The governmental form matters not….for Afghanistan will be Afghanistan.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

OH The Barbarity!

Closing Thought–11Sep19

Awhile back the big story was the assassination of a NY Times journalist, Khashoggi, and the BS the president came up with as to not criticize his buddies in the Saudi monarchy……the world has condemned the royals for their brutality….and now a transcript of the assassination has been made public…..

Jamal Khashoggi’s murderers tried to force him to send a message to his son, according to Turkey’s Sabah newspaper, which says it has obtained recordings from the day the Saudi journalist was murdered inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate. In transcripts published by the newspaper, a forensic expert tasked with dismembering the dissident’s body discusses cutting up bodies with another member of the Saudi hit squad less than 15 minutes before Khashoggi arrived at the consulate on Oct. 2, 2018, to obtain a document he needed to marry his Turkish fiancée. “I’ve always worked on cadavers. I know how to cut very well,” the doctor says. “I have never worked on a warm body though, but I’ll also manage that easily. I normally put on my earphones and listen to music when I cut cadavers. In the meantime, I sip on my coffee and smoke.”

According to the transcripts, the killers told Khashoggi he had to return to Riyadh because of an Interpol order, the BBC reports. They ordered him to send a text message to his son, telling him not to worry if he doesn’t hear from him, but Khashoggi refused, saying: “How can such a thing take place at a consulate? I’m not writing anything.” Saudi hit squad member Maher Mutreb tells Khashoggi: “Help us so we can help you, because in the end we will take you back to Saudi Arabia and if you don’t help us you know what will happen eventually.” Khashoggi was then drugged and had a plastic bag placed over his head, Sabah reports. His final words, according to the transcript, were: “Don’t cover my mouth. I have asthma, don’t do it. You’ll suffocate me.” The newspaper says the recordings were obtained from the country’s intelligence agency, reports the AP.

This is good now the whole affair can be heard by the world…..and maybe the Saudis will lose some of their prestige in the world of geopolitics….but I doubt it.

Cash will buy them a lot of respect and tolerance……even though  they behead people almost daily (another act of barbarity).

Any thoughts?

“Lego Ergo Scribo”