No Room For Amateurs

I am a foreign policy wonk….I studied it in college………I worked for the country in the pursuit of foreign policy and I have been a writer on the subject for decades……so to say that I live and breath foreign policy/international relations/geopolitics would be an understatement….

I have been a fierce critic of our presidents actions for decades from Reagan to Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama and now to Trump….but in all those years I have seen the track of our foreign policy, I did not always agree with their decisions but I could see their end game…..but this administration looks like a 3 Stooges episode……Lincoln had his Team of Rivals but Trump has a Team of Amateurs….especially when it comes to foreign policy….the clueless team is Mulvaney, Pompeo and Rudy…. we have a “Don” overseeing the actions……and dictate our policy.

The truth is I was surprised when Trump picked Tillerson as SecState…..

https://lobotero.com/2016/12/15/tea-for-the-tillerson/

Then he picked a even more clueless person to lead our diplomatic branch, Pompeo……https://lobotero.com/2018/03/14/my-opinion-us-state-secretarys-rex-tillersons-replacement-is-the-presidents-toady/

I have watched our foreign policy be reduced to a pale, very pale reflection of what it use to be….all thanx to Trump and his Team of Amateurs……

US foreign policy is increasingly hostage to a mind that is, as NPR’s Car Talk guys used to say, “unencumbered by the thought process.” That’s embarrassing, but it could also be lethal. If we’re not going to use nuclear weapons, Trump once argued, “then why are we making them?”

Set aside the delegation of Ukraine relations to liegeman Rudi Giuliani and campaign contributor Gordon Sondland, and ignore for a moment whatever caprice inspired last week’s abandonment of Syria’s Kurds. There’s already something amiss when, at any G-20 summit, the most powerful person in the world is also the most ignorant person in the room, an inversion of competence and power that you don’t tend to see in corporate boardrooms or in other organizations that wield significant public influence

There’s a reason society requires the credentialing of people who make highly consequential decisions — lawyers through bar exams, doctors through board certifications and state licensing procedures. It’s the same reason airlines don’t put untrained pilots in the cockpit and pray that they’re quick learners; pilots pass rigorous tests of competence long before they start moving passengers. And yet the most critical job on earth has no test for measuring what other professions call “job knowledge.”

Diplomacy for Dummies: Foreign Policy Is No Place for Amateurs

These same amateurs are helping the US to lose our war on tyranny…..

The dominance of the public debate by these two camps advocating a diminished international role for the U.S. is easily observed by our nemeses, who take great heart at the silence of some, departure from office of others, and tired repetitiveness of yet more of those who advocate a more muscular foreign policy. Absent the U.S., no great power stands in their way, and the regional allies which could have reinforced American power are left hunkering down in defensive postures.

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

All this does not bode well for our foreign policy in the coming years and decades……the damage being done could possible be permanent….why?

The State Department’s civilian workforce shrank more than 6 percent overall during the initial eight months of the Trump administration, but that figure masks significantly higher departure rates in critical areas of the country’s diplomatic apparatus.

In December 2016, the department employed 2,580 people under the foreign affairs occupation series, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management. By September 2017, the most recent data available, that number fell to 2,273, a decrease of roughly 11.9 percent.

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/02/tillerson-trump-state-foreign-service/553034/

That expertise will be missed when we return to a ‘normal’ state department activity until then we are in the clutches of inmates ruling the asylum…..

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Read The Transcript–Part 2

Closing Thought–15Nov19

Just to be honest this the is memo of the second phone call made by the president to Ukraine……Trump has released his second transcript (it is not a transcript and says so on the document)…..(read the warning in highlighted yellow)…….

Trying to head off some of the fallout from the hearings evidence no doubt….

Read the Memo here……https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6429034-White-House-memo-on-Trump-call-with-Ukraine.html

Be sure to watch for my days summary of the Hearing in tomorrow’s blog.

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

How Can A “Stable Genius” Be So Damn Ignorant?

We have been told on several, possibly many occasions that Trump is a “stable genius” and a “really smart person”….and yet every time he opens his mouth he shows just how ignorant he truly is……

When Trump or whoever is sworn in as the president they must take the oath of office…… “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

I guess we could make the case that he has NO ability to to protect and defend the Constitution…..

My biggest problem with Trump is that he wants those around him to protect him and not so much the Constitution…..he wants loyalty to him and him alone…..the Constitution is just a prop to be run out at election time or to make a political point.

Does he, Trump, know what the job of an Inspector General is?

The work of the IG offices involves detecting and preventing fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of the government programs and operations within their parent agencies or organizations. Investigations conducted by the IG offices may target internal government employees or external government contractors, grant recipients, or recipients of loans and subsidies offered through federal assistance programs.

To help them carry out their investigative role, Inspectors General have the authority to issue subpoenas for information and documents, administer oaths for taking testimony, and can hire and control their own staff and contract personnel. The investigative authority of Inspectors General is limited only by certain national security and law enforcement considerations.

Inspectors General are under the general supervision of the agency head or deputy, neither the agency head nor the deputy can prevent or prohibit an Inspector General from conducting an audit or investigation.

The conduct of the Inspectors General is overseen by the Integrity Committee of the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE).

I bring this up because of a report circulating……

President Trump on Wednesday lashed out at the intelligence community inspector general over his handling of a whistleblower complaint raising alarm over Trump’s conversations with Ukraine.

In a series of tweets, Trump described the whistleblower complaint and related controversy as a “hoax” and a “scam.”

Trump also questioned Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson’s handling of the complaint and asserted that Atkinson “should have never let it start.”

“Why doesn’t the ICIG do something about this Scam? He should have never let it start, a Dem Hoax!”

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/465010-trump-lashes-out-at-intel-inspector-general-over-whistleblower-storm

Sorry but I want my politicians to include the president to follow the rule of law and not play word games or demand for personal loyalty over loyalty to the Constitution.

Someone should let the president know what the duties of an IG are….not that the “really smart person” would understand.

His attitude seems to be that NONE of our laws and rules apply to him….everyone else must play by his rules not those of the Constitution.

“Stable” my ass!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

A Coming Nuke Spring?

Trump in his wisdom(?) has left most of the treaties that the US has lived by for decades…..most of the nuclear treaties have been hit the hardest, INF and START….

Kolossal’naya opasnost.” In a recent BBC interview, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev used those two words – “colossal danger” – to sound the alarm of the risk the world faces as tensions rise between Russia and the West. What prompted such strong language to describe the geopolitical standoff? Two more words: nuclear weapons.

Indeed, Gorbachev himself was a key player in unprecedented atomic disarmament a generation ago, signing the landmark 1987 accord with U.S. President Ronald Reagan to reduce arsenals of the then two superpowers with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty). Over the past year, both the U.S. and Russia announced their withdrawal from the INF.

https://www.worldcrunch.com/world-affairs/disarmament-to-rearmament-the-quiet-return-of-nuclear-risk

I am not looking forward to a f*cked nuke policy…..I lived through all the duck and roll drills, all the fear and speculation of the nuclear holocaust to come…..

But it is 2020 and an election year….so which of the Dem candidates is capable of a nuclear policy?

Will the candidates continue to support the policy that gives the US president unfettered authority to start a nuclear war? Or will they instead lower global risk of war and publicly commit the US to a nuclear No First Use policy?

Fifty-seven years ago last month the world breathed a sigh of relief. Most of that October in 1962 had been spent on the brink of nuclear war. A stare down at a naval blockade, dramatic UN Security Council meetings, a somber Presidential address, a shot down spy plane – and through it all tense backroom negotiations and letters between Kennedy and Kruschev. Ultimately peace prevailed and we backed away from nuclear armageddon. Now the anniversary is remembered as a shining example of Presidential resolve in the face of crisis. However, that’s not the whole story.

President Kennedy’s leadership didn’t end with the removal of missiles. In some ways it was only just beginning. What he knew was that his responsibility went further. He couldn’t just prevent disaster, he needed to address the causes to prevent it from happening in the future. Some steps were taken immediately, the famous “hotline” between the Kremlin and the White House was installed. Kennedy and then Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, continued the correspondence they began in the heat of the moment no longer discussing immediate moves and demands but potential long term routes toward nuclear de-escalation. Ultimately, in June of 1963 President Kennedy publicly outlined his “Strategy for Peace” in a speech at American University. In it he committed to ending US nuclear weapons testing, voiced his support of the global nuclear testing ban, and called for the pursuit of “complete disarmament.” By October of 1963, the US Senate had ratified the Limited Test Ban Treaty and the path seemed set for de-escalation.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/11/05/which-2020-candidates-are-ready-address-threat-nuclear-weapons

As I look at the candidates we have left in the race I cannot see any of them with a solid nuclear policy…..my candidate being antiwar may be the only one I would trust to come up with a good solid proposal…..the rest of the 2020 field is just Neocons in Dem clothing.

I Read, I Know, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Could It Get Any More Petty?

Closing Thought–08Nov19

No secret that I do not think much of the White House, its occupants or its staff…..the man in charge is as petty as they come he picks on people, bullies subordinates, insults other Americans that do not agree with him…..and just when I do not think he or his sycophants could get any more petty….they surprise me….especially the leader of the “Free World”……

I thought it was just pathetic when Trump announced that if Session ran in Alabama that he, Trump, would rail against his a fellow GOPer…..and I thought Trump was a mental midget when he called Beto a poor bastard when he dropped out of the race…..and Trump was silly to want the AG to call a press conference to announce that he, Trump, was innocent of the charges being leveled in the House…..but I read a story that takes the cake for pettiness and moronic….

According to a report in the Daily Beast, Donald Trump has been keeping in touch with the creator of the ‘Apprentice TV show over the possibility of re-booting the reality show as a White House version.

The reports states, “Since taking office in early 2017, the president has confided to close associates that he misses hosting ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ on NBC, the reality TV staples he left behind to become the Republican Party standard-bearer and then the leader of the free world.”

Reportedly, the president has spoken with Mark Burnett, the show’s creator, and has fond memories of his time on the show that helped launch his persona as a tough businessman and demanding boss.

“According to three people with knowledge of the situation and another source close to Trump, ‘Apprentice’ creator Mark Burnett and the president have sporadically kept in touch, mostly over the phone,” the Beast reports. “One of the ideas kicked around by Burnett and the president was shooting a new version of the Trump-branded ‘Apprentice,’ tentatively titled ‘The Apprentice: White House,’ and to produce it shortly after the president leaves office. This time, however, the TV program would be explicitly politics-themed and take full advantage of Trump’s status as a former president of the United States and a newfound Republican kingmaker.”

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/11/trump-very-keen-on-doing-the-apprentice-white-house-and-keeps-pitching-it-to-nbc-creator-mark-burnett-report/

Apparently this is a serious want…….this is just silly the leader of the Free World the host of some damn silly Reality Show.

The dignity of the office of president will be lost for all time.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

The Train Wreck

And I cannot look away!

I have people ask me all the time just how I can watch/read about the politics of this country day after day….

It is just fascinating watching the conversation coming from the president change almost hourly…..Trump presidency is truly a train wreck in progress…..

In the corrosive and dangerous Trump presidency, the outrages fly so fast and the chaos mounts so thoroughly that it’s easy to pass off the entire unsettling phenomenon as one more made-for-TV-and-Twitter unreality show. New outrages drive the previous ones from our minds.

In recent days, two questions have dominated the discussion: Did he abuse his presidential power to boost his own political fortunes by pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter? And is he obstructing justice by not cooperating with an impeachment inquiry?

These two questions have such enormous consequences for the nation that they may overshadow other alarming actions and traits. But we must not disregard the many other actions that have led to the hollowing out of our institutions, the cheapening of our spirit, the undermining of our values. Faced with the challenge to unseat, indeed to repudiate, Trump and his pernicious program for America, it’s essential not to forget the true damage he has done, continues to do and threatens to continue.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-10-20/trump-failures-outrages

Image

The nation’s government is looking like a tragedy….in 3 acts……

As the Ukraine scandal unfolds, President Donald Trump and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani are frequently compared to a Mafia boss and his lawyer. We should be so lucky, because that would certainly mean the end of the mob.

It’s difficult to put into words how inept Giuliani is. But we’ll try… by making him a character in one of the most iconic mob movies in history: The Godfather.

It is the story of Don Corleone, a Mafia boss portrayed by Marlon Brando. Trump is often compared to this character while Giuliani is seen as playing the role of Corleone’s right-hand man (consigliere) Tom Hagen.

A key difference is that, while Hagen is extremely capable and effective, Giuliani clearly isn’t. So we thought it would be fun to imagine a mafia film modeled after scenes from the Godfather trilogy.

Our version stars Don Trump and his trusty sidekick Consigliere Giuliani as they hatch a foolproof plan to get prosecutors in the Ukraine to dig up dirt on their hated enemy, Sleepy Joe. We call it “The Ukraine Scandal — a Tragedy (for Democracy) in Three Acts.”

A Tragedy (for Democracy) in Three Acts

This whole drama begs the answer to one outstanding question….Is The US Political System Beyond Repair?

Well is it?

Moving ahead with the impeachment of Donald Trump is a good idea. Indeed, the fact that it is moving forward is a sign of the deep fissures in the ruling class. They are very divided. Even if it is done within the limited parameters hoped for by Pelosi and other mainstream Democrats, the process should expose the criminality of one party of the ruling class and the venality of both.

Despite the claim by some, the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump and others in his administration is not just cosmetic. Furthermore, because it is part of a process to ensure the government continues—to repair it, if you will—impeachment will not change the system.

Is the US Political System Beyond Repair?

Matters not if one is a supporter of Trump or not…..it is just fascinating watching the hole get deeper and deeper with every Tweet…..

So much happening and so little time…..we had better get this whole thing right or we could possibly kiss our way of life goodbye.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Please Explain Syria

We were told that our troops would be leaving Northern Syria and coming home….then they were going to a base in Northwest Iraq (Iraq said they could not stay)…then we were told that a small group of troops would go to Syria to protect the oil fields……..what is the deal here?

https://lobotero.com/2019/11/05/syria-the-confusion-and-the-chaos/

Apparently it is ‘official’ US troops to Eastern Syrian to take Syrian oil…..it must be important because we will build two new bases in Syria…

Reports out of eastern Syria, citing local sources, say that the US appears to be preparing to build two substantial military bases in the Soor area, near major oilfields which the Trump Administration intends to retain.

Since President Trump announced in October that his military goals in Syria were being entirely revised around the idea of keeping control over oilfeilds, and talked of extracting oil from the area, US military deployments have centered on oilfields in the east.

It makes some sense then that the US would be building bases in that area, since it’s where the troops are staying. If anything though, this rush of material shows both how hasty the oil-taking decision was, and how long the US is likely to end up stuck in Syria trying to get oil out of there.

Russian outlets have predicted the oil the US intends to appropriate will be worth around $30 million per month, though President Trump has claimed a much higher value of $45 million per month in his own comments.

Either way, the cost of keeping US troops in Syria exclusively to try to take the oil is not insubstantial, and the cost of building and operating entire new US bases is only going to add to that cost.

The assumption seems to be that the oil will pay for this in the end, though the legal basis for taking the oil simply does not exist, and so far no US company has indicated even a hint of interest in getting drawn into this difficult effort. 

(antiwar.com)

What happened to all the news reporting that Trump was betrayer everybody in the Middle East with his troop withdrawal…..it swas a false narrative that the MSM bought into hiok line and sinker….and they were WRONG!

That noise you can hear is Donald Trump flip–flopping in the sand. Last week, American troops and dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles moved to occupy oil fields in Syria. The escalation came just half an hour after Trump had tweeted that all US soldiers had left the country and would be coming home. As so often, the President says one thing, then orders the military to do the other. On Twitter, Trump is ending the endless wars. In the real world, he is perpetuating them.

Trump’s focus is not really Syria, of course. It is the presidential election next year, and his precious voter base. But he can’t seem to decide if his supporters are peaceniks or bloodthirsty chauvinists. His problem is that they are both and neither. He’s beginning to learn that the relationship between foreign policy and domestic politics is more complicated than perhaps he realised.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/11/the-story-behind-donald-trumps-fake-withdrawal-from-syria/

The troops have returned gto Syria and in a big way…..

We now have troops once again in Syria….so what is their ‘directive on engagement’?

Well right now….there is NOT one!

United States troops stationed in Syria have yet to receive guidance on their mission, including the basic rules of engagement, according to a military official in a CNN report published Monday.

Some military commanders deployed to Eastern Syria were reportedly still waiting to receive their directives to guard oil fields in the region. For some of these troops, it was unclear where their destinations would be and how long they were expected to stay there, according to CNN.

https://www.insider.com/us-troops-guarding-oil-fields-syria-rules-of-engagement-2019-11

The more I read…the more I cannot see what the end game will be….as usual it is chaos nothing disciplined….and that is the foreign policy we get when the 3 Stooges run the policies……and I am not alone here….

Confusion has prevailed regarding the purposes of the U.S. troop presence in Syria, and whether the declared purposes are the actual ones. Originally the expedition was widely understood to be all about combating the Islamic State (ISIS) after the group had established a mini-state on a large portion of Syrian and Iraqi territory. Then hawks within the Trump administration and President Trump himself, in a classic case of mission creep, declared that the U.S. troops were also in Syria to “watch Iran”. Later variations of the creeped-up mission included not only watching Iran but also, through some unexplained mechanism, getting Iran and maybe Russia to abandon their positions in Syria.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/donald-trumps-take-oil-strategy-syria-mistake-92991

All this wrong on many levels….but other than that it will come back and bite the US in the ass…..PERIOD!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”