What Happened To States Rights?

Closing Thought–19Sep19

The GOP has used the term to justify so many pull backs from the national stage issues like voting, abortion, marijuana and other social issues….now Trump decides a policy or something for a state…..

As expected, President Trump announced Wednesday that his administration is revoking California’s authority to set auto mileage standards stricter than those issued by federal regulators, a move critics said would result in less fuel efficient cars that create more planet-warming pollution. In a series of tweets, Trump said his action would result in less expensive, safer cars. He also predicted Americans would purchase more new cars, which would result in cleaner air as older models are taken off the roads. “Many more cars will be produced under the new and uniform standard, meaning significantly more JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Automakers should seize this opportunity because without this alternative to California, you will be out of business,” Trump tweeted. Trump’s tweet does not address the money consumers would save at the gas pump if cars got better mileage.

Top California officials and environmental groups pledged legal action on Wednesday to stop the rollback, the AP reports. “You can’t get serious about climate change unless you are serious about vehicle emissions,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. “This is such a pivotal moment in the history of the climate change debate.” The state attorney general, who said the action will hurt US automakers and American families, pledged to fight it in federal court. It’s not clear yet what the Trump administration will propose as its final fuel-efficiency rules, but in the past it has favored freezing Obama-era mileage standards at 2021 levels. Under the Obama administration requirements, the fleet of new vehicles would have to average 30 mpg in real-world driving by 2021, rising to 36 mpg in 2025. Currently the standard is 26 mpg. (More on Trump’s claims of cheaper, safer cars and a cleaner environment here.)

Just another governing technique of the Trump regime……spread chaos and take everything to court…..

Will the GOP step up and challenge this attack on states rights…of course they will not for it would prove disastrous at the ballot box.

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Advertisements

Rest Easy, We Have A NatSec Adviser

With Bolton gone there is the hope (by some me not included ) that there will be a reset of American foreign policy…..

Tom Wright makes the case that Trump is about to make a “foreign policy pivot”:

Trump wants to write a new chapter, closing the one marked “Militarism and Maximum Pressure” and opening one called “Dealmaking and the Pursuit of the Nobel Peace Prize.” He wants a summit with Iran’s leaders and deals with the Taliban, Kim Jong Un, and Vladimir Putin on arms control. He does not care about most of the details, as long as he gets the credit.

Few of his officials are particularly enthusiastic about this pivot, but led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, they accept it and will seek to shape it.

The pivot metaphor has been used many times during Trump’s presidency to describe an impending change in direction, but the pivots never seem to take place. Like the expectation that Trump will eventually grow and learn while in office, the expectation that the president will become more responsible in his policies is always disappointed. It would make sense for Trump to deescalate tensions with Iran after creating the current crisis, but I see no evidence that he really intends to do this. Trump absolutely should extend New START, and without Bolton acting as an anti-arms control gremlin he could do this, but there has been no sign of interest in keeping the treaty alive. Trump should conclude negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan, but he just blew up the negotiations earlier this week. Negotiating with Iran requires ending “maximum pressure,” but so far the post-Bolton line from the administration is that “maximum pressure” isn’t going anywhere:

A Foreign Policy Pivot? I Wouldn’t Bet On It

A reset?  Not a chance!

The village peasants may now rest easy.

The revolving door at the NatSec desk is still working….Bolton Out now O’Brien in…..

President Trump has named hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien to be his new national security adviser, reports the AP. Trump tweeted Wednesday that he has “worked long & hard” with O’Brien and that “he will do a great job!” Trump’s announcement about O’Brien comes a week after he ousted John Bolton from the national security adviser’s post, citing policy disagreements. Bolton was Trump’s third national security adviser

He is a professional….maybe not my idea of a good choice but Hell NO one asked me….but that said where does he stand on some of the major issue of the day?

O’Brien – a fierce critic of former President Barack Obama – published a collection of his national security essays in 2016 called “While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis.”

Here are passages from his book that shed light on some of his views:

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trump-adviser-obrien-factbox/factbox-trumps-new-national-security-adviser-in-his-own-words-idUKKBN1W32P2

While he may be a pro he is in direct opposition to Trump’s ideas for making American great again….will he adjust his opinions to conform with the president or will he be a short lived adviser?

Since the only thing on Trump’s mind these days is KSA and Iran and O’Brien fits nicely with Trump’s position…..

O’Brien was a critic of the Iran nuclear deal, and sees Iran’s nuclear programme as a major threat.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world and is building an archipelago across the Middle East using proxies and Revolutionary Guard forces from Yemen to Syria to Lebanon.”

We will see if he makes the transition from Neocon to Trump thug.

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Foreign Policy–WTF?

When Trump was running in 2016 I did like some of his stands on the international stage but after his election I have been disappointed on many levels.

I do not agree with his constant antagonizing of Iran or the embracing of ruthless dictators like Kim, Putin and the Saudis…..to illustrate the problem……

President Trump left a group of officials in “stunned silence” last month when he called out for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in a Paris hotel, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Where’s my favorite dictator?” Trump asked within earshot of several US and Egyptian officials attending the G7 summit. It was unclear whether Sisi heard Trump or was even there, but Trump’s remark highlights uneasy aspects of the US-Egypt relationship. Sisi has been accused of human-rights abuses including torture, mass imprisonment, and silencing the press since seizing power in 2013, per Business Insider. Trump’s administration hasn’t criticized the regime, which claims its actions are justified by its battle against extremists.

Now for that Tweet that explains Trump’s foreign policy……….

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump·14hSaudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!

Waiting to hear from Saudi and waiting for their instructions….think not?  Re-read the Tweet again…..Seriously?

This is pathetic that an American president would even think along these lines much less state it to the press……that is a weak man!

What can we do to explain ……

Trump called for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan early and often before he became president, and has expressed skepticism about the American mission there ever since. But he had also lambasted Obama, his predecessor, for “negotiating with our sworn enemy the Taliban,” and so the news that he had planned to host representatives of the Taliban in Maryland around the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, then scrubbed the plan, then spilled about it on Twitter, was dizzying for critics, supporters, and administration officials alike. As with his waffling last year on North Korean negotiations and his sharing of a classified spy-satellite photo on Twitter last week, this was another example of Trump oversharing and throwing a wrench in the diplomatic works for no apparent reason other than his self-aggrandizement. And in the case of the Taliban talks, it may have been a lie of Trumpian proportions that could lead to thousands more deaths in coming months.

https://newrepublic.com/article/155003/tragedy-trump-diplomacy

The best we can say about Trump’s foreign policy is that it is Theater of the Absurd…..

One might be forgiven for thinking that the foreign policy of the United States is some kind of theatrical performance, like a comic opera, with new characters appearing on stage willy-nilly and then being driven off after committing an incredible faux pas only to be replaced by even more grotesquely clownish figures. Unfortunately, while the musical chairs and plot twists contrived by a Goldoni or Moliere generally have a cheerful ending, the same cannot be said about what has been taking place in the White House.

http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/trump-foreign-policy-as-theater-of-the-absurd/

In closing…the latest attack on the refinery in Saudi Arabia……

The Saudi-led military coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi movement said on Monday that the attack on Saudi Arabian oil plants was carried out with Iranian weapons and was not launched from Yemen according to preliminary findings.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said that an investigation into Saturday’s strikes, which had been claimed by the Iran-aligned Houthi group, was still going on to determine the launch location.

“The preliminary results show that the weapons are Iranian and we are currently working to determine the location … The terrorist attack did not originate from Yemen as the Houthi militia claimed,” Malki told a press conference in Riyadh.

(reuters)

Iranian weapons are not proof they, the Iranians, are behind the attack…….no more so than the US is behind all the civilian deaths in Yemen because they were killed with American weapons.

Why would we go to war so that the Saudis do not have to…..are they that big of a coward that they need out protection?

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Trump’s Trade War

There are a wealth of effects of the trade war that dear leader has set his policies on…..like higher prices and Christmas on the way…..but the one number that Americans will pay attention to is the jobs numbers…..

A job count is depressing……….

President Trump says he is “winning big time, against China.” But his trade war is causing measurable damage to the U.S. economy, with the pain likely to worsen.

Forecasting firm Moody’s Analytics estimates that Trump’s trade war with China has already reduced U.S. employment by 300,000 jobs, compared with likely employment levels absent the trade war. That’s a combination of jobs eliminated by firms struggling with tariffs and other elements of the trade war, and jobs that would have been created but haven’t because of reduced economic activity.

The firm’s chief economist, Mark Zandi, told Yahoo Finance that the job toll from the trade war will hit about 450,000 by the end of the year, if there’s no change in policy. By the end of 2020, the trade war will have killed 900,000 jobs, on its current course. The hardest-hit sectors are manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and retail.

Other data back up the Moody’s Analytics numbers. Employers have created 1.3 million jobs so far this year, down from 1.9 million during the same period in 2018. The manufacturing sector has actually contracted, with many producers struggling with higher prices caused by Trump’s tariffs. Business investment is growing by the smallest amount since late 2016.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trumps-trade-war-has-killed-300000-jobs-194717808.html

Since this trade war will be a drag on Trump’s re-election hde had to come up with something to change the conversation……and he possibly has found his answer…..the problem is it will a deficit buster…..

President Donald Trump promised to unveil an “inspirational” middle class tax cut next year during a political retreat in Maryland late Thursday, just as the Treasury Department said the nation’s budget deficit topped the $1 trillion mark for only the second time on record. 

Trump told House Republicans in the state’s biggest city, Baltimore, that his “substantial” tax cut plans would be “very, very inspirational … for  middle-income folks, who work so hard,” and that details would be released early next year. Congress, however, would need to approve and pass any suggested tax reductions from the executive branch, setting up a potential election-defining fight with Democratic lawmakers heading into next year’s presidential elections.

The pledge will also add further pressure on the nation’s finances after the Treasury reported a $169 billion shortfall in revenues in August, taking the overall deficit for the 11 months ended in August, the government’s fiscal year, to $1.07 trillion. The last trillion-plus deficit was recorded in the three years that followed the 2008 global financial crisis. 

(thestreet.com)

Where are the deficit hawks?  The Fiscal Conservatives are a bunch of low life cowards.

This is just a promise like all his promise hollow and without merit.

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.”

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”

John Bolton Is Gone

Time for a foreign policy wonk and antiwar supporter such as myself to celebrate…..

I asked the question just days ago…Is Bolton Out?  https://lobotero.com/2019/09/05/is-bolton-out/

I guess we now have the answer….and the answer is YES!

John Bolton is out. President Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday that he had fired his hawkish national security adviser, reports the AP. “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” Trump wrote. “I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning.” Trump thanked Bolton for his service and said he would name a successor next week. (Among other things, Bolton disagreed with the administration’s decision to hold talks with the Taliban.)

I cannot think of a better farewell tribute that Ray Charles…

Could not happen to a better person…a more deserving Neocon could not be found…..somewhere in the weeds or under a rock a person like Sen. Tom Cotton will be brown nosing his way up Trump’s ass for the job.

Time for Bolton to return to FOX where his bullshit will be appreciated……

“Lego Ergo Scribo”