It’s Just Sad

Anyone that visits here understands that I am NOT a supporter of Trump…I will admit that during the campaign he did make a few statements that I could agree with on principle…..but since the election any support for ideas has since disappeared.

It is all so much comedy now….more like a sad comedy…..recently there was a love fest by his cabinet members that went around a circle kissing his ring (more like his ass)…that did not need televising but in his need for admiration he made it all too pathetic…..

All the “love” is just destroying reputations of his cabinet members…..

Vice-President Mike Pence set the tone, confiding that serving a president “who’s keeping his word to the American people” is “the greatest privilege of my life”. As Mr Trump clenched his jaw, nodded and threw in an occasional “good job” of encouragement, his cabinet secretaries—who include former governors, retired four-star generals and more than one billionaire—mostly followed suit. They variously reported that his presidency has “thrilled” crime-fighters, excited the world with its “international flair” and inspired “love” in Mississippi. “My hat is off to you!” swooned the energy secretary, Rick Perry, who in 2015 called Mr Trump a “cancer on conservatism”. For as long as cameras whirred this surge of praise rolled round the room like a bureaucrats’ Mexican wave, peaking with a testimonial from Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff. Unabashed by speculation that he is to be sacked, Mr Priebus declared: “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda.” The verdict of a Twitter-user from Toronto, “This is actually the start of ‘King Lear’,” went viral, pinging around the political internet.

Source: Donald Trump’s need for flattery is trashing reputations

All this silliness surrounding the “leader” of the free world is just too scary……we have international crises forming and he will have to handle them as the world leader he should be….but is he capable?

My thought is no way….but some others have also weighed in on this situation…..why?

After 5 months in office his national security team is still not complete….so how could he actually handle a crisis?

Inside the 18-acre White House compound, the National Security Council process—making key decisions and overseeing their execution—is still in transition nearly five months after President Donald Trump took office. The sooner this transition concludes, the better for our security. In the long run, getting this transition right is far more important than any of the administration’s discrete decisions that have dominated the news since January 20. Based on my firsthand experience in the White House coordinating the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during the last such transition—the departure of the Bush administration and the arrival of the Obama team in 2009—there are two fundamental challenges.

First, the national security team must be built. This goes far beyond the early presidential memorandum specifying the members of the NSC and the supporting principals and deputies committees. With the departures of Michael Flynn and K.T. McFarland, the NSC staff is now settling in, with H.R. McMaster at the helm. The 10 to 12 “senior directors” reporting directly to McMaster lead small cells of professionals drawn largely from across the government. But, this is only the nerve center of the national security team. Their counterparts in the State and Defense Departments—where the depth of experience and diversity of views reside, and where responsibility for implementation lays—are still nowhere close to being in place. Incredibly, nearly half a year in, there are still only a very few political appointees in Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon below the deputy secretary level, fewer than 10 percent of those required.

Source: Trump’s Not Ready for a Crisis – POLITICO Magazine

All we can do is hope that calmer heads will prevail and we are not thrown into a major international crisis.

All the while the conditions keep mounting up…..and few are noticing….

On Sunday, a US Navy F/A-18 shot down a Syrian Su-22, marking the first time in over a decade that the United States engaged in air-to-air combat. Syria claims that their aircraft was bombing ISIS troops. We have at attacked Syrian government forces no less than four times in the last month, causing tensions to swell in the complex conflict. Russia has responded by saying they will now possibly target aircraft from the US-led coalition. On the ground, it is estimated that anywhere from 500 to 2,500 American troops are fighting in Syria, despite the President’s claim that “we’re not going into Syria.”

Meanwhile President Trump has followed through with several arms deals that were started under President Obama, helping supply both Saudi Arabia and Qatar with billions of dollars in weapons and aircraft. This comes after Trump criticized Qatar’s alleged funding of terror organizations. Saudi Arabia faces its own allegations of relations with terrorists, all while running a salacious campaign to recruit American veterans to lobby on their behalf.

Source: Sneaking into War: Trump’s Plan to Incite Global Conflict Without Anyone Noticing – The Ring of Fire Network

Please pay attention…before it is too late!  Stop listening to slogans and one liners….there is more at stake for this country.

Please pay attention!

One More Time

On numerous occasions I have written that I do not like the foreign policy that Trump has set out for this country…..I think it is dangerous and ill-conceived…..his dependency on military force over diplomacy is not making the world a safer place…..

A loyal reader and friend of IST posted this the other day on his blog…

In 2016, Spiegel wrote that Donald Trump could be the leader of a new, hate-filled authoritarian movement as a president during which George W. Bush’s America would seem like a place of logic and reason in comparison. Bush, to his credit, never compared migrants to poisonous snakes — something Trump does. And Spiegel was not wrong about the Trump gloal threat. All what he said about Middle East  before his election were just communication tactics. And the US becomes more and more dangerous country under Trump’s hegemony.

Source: Donald Trump Is the World’s Most Dangerous Warmonger | Eyes on Europe & Middle East

Within the ranks of foreign policy wonks there is a growing concern about his, Trump’s, foreign policy…..

Against the backdrop of the counter-Islamic State campaign, the civil wars in Syria and Yemen and efforts to forge strong ties with Israel, recent reports suggest that the Trump administration is placing a renewed focus on combating Iran’s network of sectarian-based militant groups and terrorist organizations, even as inter-Arab tensions are on the rise.

The Trump administration has also, reportedly, engaged in direct military action against Iranian-backed elements, threatening U.S. and U.S.-backed personnel in Syria.  The administration will have to determine how best to manage a more direct and aggressive approach to Iran’s proxy network in the midst of inter-Arab disputes.

Source: Is Trump’s foreign policy more ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ or ‘Press Your Luck’? | TheHill

The world has changed and our State Department needs to keep up with the rest of the world…..as it is today there is NO direction other than a military one.

For as long as they have existed, nations have clung to the illusion that their military strength guarantees their security.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that the military power that one nation considers vital to its security fosters other nations’ sense of insecurity. In this climate of suspicion, an arms race ensues, often culminating in military conflict. Also, sometimes the very military strength that a nation intended for protection ends up emboldening it to engage in reckless, aggressive behavior, leading to war.

By the twentieth century, the devastation caused by wars among nations had grown so great that the general public and even many government officials began to recognize that a world left to the mercies of national military power was a dangerous world, indeed. As a result, after the mass slaughter of World War I, they organized the League of Nations to foster international security. When this proved insufficient to stop the march of nations toward World War II and its even greater devastation, they organized a new and stronger global entity: the United Nations.

Source: National Illusions and Global Realities – Antiwar.com Original

The US needs to work with other countries to solve problems instead of resorting to force at every turn…..mutual agreement is far superior to brute force.

War and violence decoupled from strategy and policy—or worse yet, mistaken for strategy and policy—have contributed to perpetual war, or what has seemed like 15 years of “Groundhog War.” In its wars since 11 September 2001, the United States has arguably cultivated the best-equipped, most capable, and fully seasoned combat forces in remembered history. They attack, kill, capture, and win battles with great nimbleness and strength. But absent strategy, these victories are fleeting. Divorced from political objectives, successful tactics are without meaning.

In theory, we fight wars to fulfill a political purpose and to achieve objectives by aligning the means and methods of war toward that purpose. In theory, the purpose of war is a better peace. In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but as history has shown repeatedly, in practice there is.

Source: The Wages of War Without Strategy | RealClearDefense

There is only so much that can be accomplished without a strategy….a long war will ensue.

Then We Have “Executive Privilege”

WE heard the term many many times during Watergate and now with this hearing thing in full swing we are hearing it again……but what is “executive privilege”?  What do they mean?

Let’s go to the definition….

The Constitution does not specifically enumerate the president’s right to executive privilege; rather, the concept has evolved over the years as presidents have claimed it. As the courts have ruled on these claims, their decisions have refined the notion of executive privilege and have clarified the instances in which it can be invoked. The courts have ruled that it is implicit in the constitutional Separation of Powers, which assigns discrete powers and rights to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. In reality, however, the three branches enjoy not separate but shared powers, and thus are occasionally in conflict. When the president’s wish to keep certain information confidential causes such a conflict, the president might claim the right of executive privilege.

The term executive privilege emerged in the 1950s, but presidents since George Washington have claimed the right to withhold information from Congress and the courts. The issue first arose in 1792, when a congressional committee requested information from Washington regarding a disastrous expedition of General Arthur St. Clair against American Indian tribes along the Ohio River, which resulted in the loss of an entire division of the U.S. Army. Washington, concerned about how to respond to this request and about the legal precedent his actions would set, called a cabinet meeting. Although no official record was kept of the proceedings, Thomas Jefferson described the deliberations in his diary. The participants, Jefferson wrote, concluded that Congress had the right to request information from the president and that the president “ought to communicate such papers as the public good would permit & ought to refuse those the disclosure of which would injure the public.” In the case at hand, they agreed that “there was not a paper which might not be properly produced,” so Washington provided all the documents that Congress had requested. This event, though notable as the first recorded deliberation concerning executive privilege, did not carry precedential value until after 1957, when Jefferson’s notes were discovered. In 1958, Attorney General William P. Rogers cited Jefferson’s remarks as precedent for an absolute presidential privilege. Legal scholar Raoul Berger declaimed Rogers’s arguments as “at best self serving assertions by one of the claimants in a constitutional boundary dispute.” Instead, Berger argued, Washington’s willingness to turn over the requested documents shows his recognition of Congress’s right to such materials.

In subsequent incidents, however, Washington and his successors did choose to withhold requested information from Congress, citing various reasons. In 1794, for example, the Senate requested from Washington the correspondence of Gouverneur Morris, the U.S. ambassador to France, who was suspected of aiding the French aristocrats against the revolutionaries despite the United States’ official stance of neutrality. Washington provided the letters, but he censored them first, acting on the advice of officials such as Attorney General William Bradford, who said that the president should “communicate to the Senate such parts of the said correspondence as upon examination he shall deem safe and proper to disclose: withholding all such, as any circumstances, may render improper to be communicated.” The following year, Washington refused to provide the House with information relating to Ambassador John Jay’s negotiation of a treaty with Great Britain, arguing that the House had no constitutional right to participate in the treaty making process and so had no right to request materials associated with it.

A short history of the situation and its use and legality……

You now more than you did before you read this piece……you are welcome!

Believe me we will be hearing this term a lot in the coming months and now you can write on the phenom with a bit more knowledge….

Crap! Someone Lied!

Yesterday was full of news…horrible news….the high rise fire in London, the shooting of a US Rep and others and then came the proverbial “other shoe”……

After many Tweets about the fact the he, Trump, was not the focus of any investigation…that damn “shoe” was thrown into the mechanism….

It’s not an entirely happy 71st birthday for President Trump as the Washington Post reports what it calls a “major turning point” in the FBI investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election: Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating whether Trump tried to obstruct justice, officials say. Though former FBI Director James Comey repeatedly told Trump he was not personally being investigated, that changed days after Trump fired Comey, officials say. Until now, the nearly year-old investigation has focused on Russia’s meddling and whether the Trump campaign was involved with it. Now, as the probe widens to include the obstruction of justice question, five people who have been briefed on requests from Mueller say that he is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of that examination.

Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Adm. Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’ former deputy, Richard Ledgett, have all agreed to be interviewed, the officials say. The Post has details of exchanges with Coats and Rogers that are reportedly of interest to Mueller, including a March 22 conversation in which Trump allegedly asked Coats to intervene with Comey to get the FBI to back off on Michael Flynn. The response to the story from Trump’s personal lawyer: “The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal.” As for what will happen if evidence of criminal activity is uncovered, the Post explains that it’s complicated. Congress would likely need to review the evidence and decide whether to start impeachment proceedings.

The people in the White House have chimed in…….

When the Washington Post reported its potential bombshell on Wednesday—that a special prosecutor is looking into whether President Trump obstructed justice—the newspaper noted that aides were urging the president not to comment about the development on Twitter. Those requests didn’t work: Trump fired off two tweets Thursday morning denouncing the “phony story,” reports Politico. “You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people!” tweeted Trump, who didn’t specify the people he was talking about.

Trump also suggested that the obstruction development came about because his critics hit a dead end trying to prove his campaign worked with Moscow. “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice,” he wrote. The Post, and later the New York Times, say that special prosecutor Robert Mueller wants to interview three key figures to try to figure out whether Trump improperly sought their help to get James Comey to drop the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn. They are Dan Coats, director of national intelligence; Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency; and Richard Ledgett, former NSA deputy director.

As I heard this news I imagined my Right wing brethren having stroke…..but look at this way…now you guys have something fresh……. some new material to put down in your journals and blogs.

Let the ranting begin…..I look forward to what new insults that can be leveled at those that do not agree with my Right wing brethren.

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!

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.

Is Trump Fighting Terrorism?

Or is he just tweeting about it, while making it worse?

I recall during the election there were promises made about the elimination of terrorism made by then candidate Trump.  Does anyone else recall this?

Well we have had yet another terrorist attack in the UK and Donald has gone back to his thumbs and started Tweeting again about the death of terrorism…..

But is he going about removing terrorism the right way?

So far he is using the same tactics as the last two presidents and they also promised to end this rein of terror….so I say again….is Trump fighting terrorism?

Donald Trump came to the presidency on a wave of overheated rhetoric about the terrorist threat, the failures of his predecessors, and promises, as he said in his inaugural address, to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.” Four months into his term, and on the heels of Saturday’s terrorist attack in London, which killed seven and injured dozens in the third attack in Britain in three months, it’s worth asking: Is Trump actually delivering decisive counterterrorism?

Let’s break it down. Yes, he’s been decisive and even dramatic, from the issuance of his initial travel ban a week after being inaugurated to his May trip to Riyadh, where he tried to galvanize the Muslim world against terror. But it isn’t serious counterterrorism—that is, policy that will diminish the terrorist threat—that he is producing. Instead, Trump’s steps so far seem to be designed to exacerbate the danger and lengthen the life expectancy of jihadism.

Source: Is Trump Fighting Terrorism? – POLITICO Magazine

So far it is the same stale tactics as before….did not work then….will it work now?

Here’s a thought…..since ISIS et al are Sunni extremism then maybe a better tactic would be to align ourselves with Iran, who are Shia…….

In the past quarter century, the United States and its Western allies have suffered much from terrorism, mostly perpetrated by Sunni extremists. America has spent billions of dollars fighting al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups and more recently the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) with little to show for it. Washington has forged new counterterrorism alignments with several Sunni leaders—Arab and non-Arab—across the greater Middle East to contain the threat of terrorism, again to no avail. President Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia and his meetings with the mostly Sunni heads of Arab and Muslim countries are the latest examples of Washington’s feverish pursuit of alliances to fight radicalism and extremism.

Source: Aligning with Iran Necessary to Combat Sunni Extremism « LobeLog

Just a thought…….

Not going yo be a popular idea in some circles…but think about it….who better to take on extreme Sunnis than the Shia?

So far our president has given us promises……promises in 140 characters.