Category Archives: National Security

Unfit To Be President

Published / by stevec

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By leaking intelligence and the intelligence sources’ location to the Russians, Trump once again demonstrates that he is unfit to be president. He does not care about employment or healthcare or immigration. He does not care about the greater good. He only uses these issues to score points with his base. His sole motivation is self-aggrandizement. He is a 7 year-old parading as an adult

Maybe even worse, by continuing to support Trump in the face of all the evidence that he is unfit to lead, many republicans are demonstrating that they too do not care about the greater good. These republications seem to only care about power and are thus unfit to represent.

David Brooks has a good piece in today’s New York Times, When the World Is Lead by Child. Here are selected exerts:

At base, Trump is an infantalist. There are three tasks that most mature adults have sort of figured out by the time they hit 25. Trump has mastered none of them. Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency, lack of self-control his leitmotif.

His inability to focus his attention makes it hard for him to learn and master facts. He is ill informed about his own policies and tramples his own talking points. It makes it hard to control his mouth.

Trump seems to need perpetual outside approval to stabilize his sense of self, so he is perpetually desperate for approval, telling heroic fabulist tales about himself.

[concerning leaked secrets] From all we know so far, Trump didn’t do it because he is a Russian agent, or for any malevolent intent. He did it because he is sloppy, because he lacks all impulse control, and above all because he is a 7-year-old boy desperate for the approval of those he admires. …The Russian leak story reveals one other thing, the dangerousness of a hollow man.

“We badly want to understand Trump, to grasp him,” David Roberts writes in Vox. “It might give us some sense of control, or at least an ability to predict what he will do next. But what if there’s nothing to understand? What if there is no there there?”

Trump’s Speech To Congress

Published / by stevec

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Long on rhetoric short on specifics. The speech was clearly scripted. Looking more “presidential” but just a few hours earlier signing an executive order to gut clean water rules.

I watched this on public television. The talking heads there, sans one, gave Trump a thumbs up for it being a good speech. They must have had a special hearing filter. It is revealing to watch the speech with the sound turned off. The body language is revealing. Another source of straight information is tweets by Nicholas Kristof, My Take on Trump’s Address to Congress.

The Trump agenda is a disaster. He is going to kill people with heath care changes, the economy is going to suffer with his trade war and anti-immigration policies, the budget deficit is going to explode, and his national security and diplomacy actions are truly scary.

The Republicans support of Trump shows just how little Republicans care about the economy and our democracy. Their statesmanship is nonexistent.

The Travel Ban

Published / by stevec

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In the words of Dan Rather

In the past few days Mr. Trump has launched a very serious and very dangerous campaign of suggesting that if an attack occurs it will be the fault of federal judges who ruled that his Executive Order on immigration was Constitutionally problematic. And more recently he suggested it might be the fault of the press for not reporting on terrorist attacks – an assertion which any fair read of the evidence shows is a lie. As with the sweeping allegations of millions of fraudulent voters (where is the investigation of that dire threat to our democracy now?), the White House cannot supply facts to back up the President’s claim.

Mr. Trump is the Commander in Chief. The armed services and intelligence community report to him. Searching for scapegoats to blame even before an event occurs is to sow the seeds of destabilization to the very fabric of our republic. These are the tactics of a thin-skinned bully who may realize he is in far over his head… This is a common tactic of authoritarian rulers I have seen around the globe.

… I do not see either judges or reporters backing down. Quite the contrary.

Crazy Scary Stuff

Published / by stevec

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Recent Huffington Post articles caught my attention. One concerns the operations of the White House as inferred from the rash of recent leaks. The other is an article about Steve Bannon which delves into his beliefs.

The Huffington Post 02/07/2017      Leaks Suggest Trump’s Own Team Is Alarmed By His Conduct. Exerts from the full article:

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s volatile behavior has created an environment ripe for leaks from his executive agencies and even within his White House. And while leaks typically involve staffers sabotaging each other to improve their own standing or trying to scuttle policy ideas they find genuinely problematic, Trump’s 2-week-old administration has a third category: leaks from White House and agency officials alarmed by the president’s conduct.

While some of the leaks are based on opposition to his policies – the travel ban on all refugees and on visitors from seven predominantly Muslim nations, for instance – many appear motivated by a belief that Trump’s words, deeds and tweets pose a genuine threat.

“I’ve been in this town for 26 years. I have never seen anything like this,” said Eliot Cohen, a senior State Department official under President George W. Bush and a member of his National Security Council. “I genuinely do not think this is a mentally healthy president.”

The Huffington Post 02/08/2017    Steve Bannon Believes The Apocalypse Is Coming And War Is Inevitable. This article illustrates a truly scary side of Bannon:

Bannon, who’s now ensconced in the West Wing as President Donald Trump’s closest adviser, has been portrayed as Trump’s main ideas guy. But in interviews, speeches and writing — and especially in his embrace of Strauss and Howe (who argued that American history operates in four-stage cycles that move from major crisis to awakening to major crisis. These crises are called “Fourth Turnings”) — [Bannon] has made clear that he is, first and foremost, an apocalypticist.

In Bannon’s view, we are in the midst of an existential war, and everything is a part of that conflict. Treaties must be torn up, enemies named, culture changed. Global conflagration, should it occur, would only prove the theory correct. For Bannon, the Fourth Turning has arrived. The Grey Champion, a messianic strongman figure, may have already emerged. The apocalypse is now.

“What we are witnessing,” Bannon told The Washington Post last month, “is the birth of a new political order.”

Steve Bannon Believes The Apocalypse Is Coming And War Is Inevitable

Facts Not Fear

Published / by stevec

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New York Times Opinion Pages, Feb 2: Op-Ed Contributor Angelina Jolie: Refugee Policy Should Be Based on Facts, Not Fear.

Selected excerpts:

Every government must balance the needs of its citizens with its international responsibilities. But our response must be measured and should be based on facts, not fear.

Refugees are in fact subject to the highest level of screening of any category of traveler to the United States.

Furthermore, only the most vulnerable people are put forward for resettlement in the first place: survivors of torture, and women and children at risk or who might not survive without urgent, specialized medical assistance.

And in fact only a minuscule fraction — less than 1 percent — of all refugees in the world are ever resettled in the United States or any other country.

If we create a tier of second-class refugees, implying Muslims are less worthy of protection, we fuel extremism abroad, and at home we undermine the ideal of diversity cherished by Democrats and Republicans alike: “America is committed to the world because so much of the world is inside America,” in the words of Ronald Reagan.

Trump is Still Acting like a Disturbed Child

Published / by stevec

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The first two Trump weeks have been very dark. I am very worried about his management of national security and defense. See editorial by David Brooks. Also see PBS News Hour video Shields and Brooks, February 3. For a great characterization of Trump’s  psychological profile see Disturbed Children Like Trump.