Many wars, too many enemies
Pat Buchanan: 'We have become an empire, committed to fight for scores of nations'
THE IMPERIAL CITY
If Turkey is not bluffing, U.S. troops in Manbij, Syria, could be under fire by week’s end, and NATO engulfed in the worst crisis in its history.
Turkish President Erdogan said Friday his troops will cleanse Manbij of Kurdish fighters, alongside whom U.S. troops are embedded.
Erdogan’s foreign minister demanded concrete steps by the U.S. to end its support of the Kurds, who control the Syrian border with Turkey east of the Euphrates, all the way to Iraq.
If the Turks attack Manbij, the U.S. will face a choice: Stand by our Kurdish allies and resist the Turks, or abandon the Kurds.
Should the U.S. let the Turks drive the Kurds out of Manbij and the entire Syrian border area with Turkey, as Erdogan threatens, U.S. credibility would suffer a blow from which it would not soon recover.
But to stand with the Kurds and oppose Erdogan’s forces could mean a crackup of NATO and loss of U.S. bases inside Turkey, including the air base at Incirlik.
Turkey also sits astride the Dardanelles entrance to the Black Sea. NATO’s loss of Turkey would thus be a triumph for Vladimir Putin, who gave Ankara the green light to cleanse the Kurds from Afrin.
Yet Syria is but one of many challenges to U.S. foreign policy.
The Winter Olympics in South Korea may have taken the threat of a North Korean ICBM that could hit the U.S. out of the news. But no one believes that threat is behind us.
Last week, China charged that the USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, a reef in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing, though it is far closer to Luzon in the Philippines. The destroyer, says China, was chased off by one of her frigates. If we continue to contest China’s territorial claims with U.S. warships, a clash is inevitable.
In a similar incident Monday, a Russian military jet came within five feet of a U.S. Navy EP-3 Orion surveillance plane in international airspace over the Black Sea, forcing the Navy plane to end its mission.
U.S. relations with Cold War ally Pakistan are at rock bottom. In his first tweet of 2018, President Trump charged Pakistan with being a duplicitous and false friend.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
As for America’s longest war, in Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, the end is nowhere on the horizon.
A week ago, the International Hotel in Kabul was attacked and held for 13 hours by Taliban gunmen who killed 40. Midweek, a Save the Children facility in Jalalabad was attacked by ISIS, creating panic among aid workers across the country.
Saturday, an ambulance exploded in Kabul, killing 103 people and wounding 235. Monday, Islamic State militants attacked Afghan soldiers guarding a military academy in Kabul. With the fighting season two months off, U.S. troops will not soon be departing.
If Pakistan is indeed providing sanctuary for the terrorists of the Haqqani network, how does this war end successfully for the United States?
Last week, in a friendly fire incident, the U.S.-led coalition killed 10 Iraqi soldiers. The Iraq war began 15 years ago.
Yet another war, where the humanitarian crisis rivals Syria, continues on the Arabian Peninsula. There, a Saudi air, sea and land blockade that threatens the Yemeni people with starvation has failed to dislodge Houthi rebels who seized the capital Sanaa three years ago.
This weekend brought news that secessionist rebels, backed by the United Arab Emirates, have seized power in Yemen’s southern port of Aden, from the Saudi-backed Hadi regime fighting the Houthis.
These rebels seek to split the country, as it was before 1990.
Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE appear to be backing different horses in this tribal-civil-sectarian war into which America has been drawn.
There are other wars – Somalia, Libya, Ukraine – where the U.S. is taking sides, sending arms, training troops, flying missions.
Like the Romans, we have become an empire, committed to fight for scores of nations, with troops on every continent, and forces in combat operations of which the American people are only vaguely aware.
“I didn’t know there were 1,000 troops in Niger,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham when four Green Berets were killed there. “We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world, militarily, and what we’re doing.”
No, we don’t, Senator.
As in all empires, power is passing to the generals.
And what causes the greatest angst today in the imperial city?
Fear that a four-page memo worked up in the House Judiciary Committee may discredit Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia-gate.
Lawlessness Breeds LawlessnessReplyDelete
Border Patrol agents in San Diego arrested two illegal immigrant “Dreamers” last week over their purported roles in separate smuggling operations, with one 22-year-old admitting to having been part of a number of such smuggling attempts.
The arrests are black eyes on the Obama-era DACA program, which is currently the subject of heated debate in Washington.
In one incident Thursday, agents had just arrested two illegal immigrants and then spotted two suspicious vehicles in the area. They followed on and eventually conducted a stop at a border checkpoint.
The 22-year-old driver admitted to being a scouter for a smuggling crew, and said he’d been informing the other car about Border Patrol operations in the area to help them with their smuggling. The man is currently under DACA protection, the government said.
Agents said they determined the man had been part of successful smuggling operations “on multiple occasions.”
Customs and Border Protection was shielding his identity.
Saw a headline the other day...
The good thing is Trump is turning military matters over to the generals. The bad thing is Trump is turning military matters over to the generals.
In the proposed 2018 FY budget still being argued over, Trump has requested a 10% increase in military spending taking the yearly $640 billion. Indications are he will be asking for an additional 7% increase in the 2019 FY budget proposal which is due to Congress in a couple months.
Trump is also continuing with the $1.5 trillion dollar upgrade of our nuclear program started by Obama. But now there is an emphasis on an additional line of smaller nukes that would give him the unthinkable, the ability to actually wage a nuclear war without the apocalypse todays mega-bombs would produce. This would give the 'world's greatest negotiator' more flexibility and another big threat which fits right in with Trump's go-to negotiating tactic. It will also push the world's nuclear clock to seconds rather than minutes from Armageddon.
Promises made. Promises broken.
Selling the State of the Union
In the latest reminder that it’s never too soon to start campaigning for reelection, President Donald Trump’s camp sent out a fundraising solicitation on Monday: pay at least $35 and your name will appear on the campaign’s livestream of the State of the Union address Tuesday night.
The solicitation reads: “This is a movement. It’s not about just one of us. It’s about ALL of us. Which is why your name deserves to be displayed during Tuesday night’s speech.” It invites donors to choose how much money to give—ranging from the minimum of $35, to a maximum of $2,700, which is the limit allowed per election...
The State-of-the-Union as infomercial.
Obama, the Gangsta PresidentReplyDelete
One year into the Trump presidency, Congress confronts two major problems - the possibility of FBI abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process (FISA), and the dilemma of what to do with illegal immigrants - that are both the residue of the wide-scale lawlessness that characterized the Obama administration.
After all, what’s the point of having laws on the books, if they’re not going to be enforced? In fact, not enforcing a law on the books is worse than never having put the law on the books at all; not only is the social ill that was to be prevented by the law allowed to go unchecked, but failure to enforce the one law encourages erosion of the very concept of the rule of law, and lessens the likelihood of enforcing other laws. Far better not to have a law on the books if it’s not going to be enforced.
Thirty-five years ago, professors James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling published their seminal “Broken Windows,” in which they observed:
“Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.
This is as true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing.”
During the Obama administration, many signals were sent that no one - at least no one in power - cared.
Many, many windows, so to speak, were broken, and virtually all of them were left unrepaired. Breaking more windows cost nothing:
* It began early, when Mr. Obama ordered his administration to use TARP - meant to bail out financial institutions - to take over GM and Chrysler. Then he appointed a “car czar” without Senate confirmation, and directed the Chrysler bailout to favor the unsecured union pension funds over secured bondholders, in direct contravention of bankruptcy law.
* It continued with the implementation of ObamaCare, which featured routine failures to enforce aspects of the law the Obama administration felt were politically inconvenient - like the law’s clear requirement that members of Congress and their staffs enroll in the appropriate ObamaCare exchange (which, incidentally, is the D.C. individual market, which prohibits subsidies from large employers). Not wanting to lose their generous subsidies for health insurance, members of Congress were in an uproar. Mr. Obama came to the rescue by illegally directing the Office of Personnel Management to take care of it, which it did, by fraudulently claiming that Congress was a “small business” and could lie on its ObamaCare applications and enroll in the incorrect exchange.
* And, of course, there was the failure to hold anyone accountable for the IRS targeting scandal, perhaps the worst abuse of government power against its own citizens since, well, since I don’t know when. A determined cabal of left-wing bureaucrats abused IRS rules to prevent their fellow citizens from exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and free association, and to petition their government, and whatever happened to any of those IRS officials? When Congress began to investigate, hard drives “crashed,” tens of thousands of emails were lost, backup drives were destroyed, and witnesses refused to testify before Congress. When a criminal referral was sent to an Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney General, the office declined prosecution.
Was a single person sent to jail? Was a single person ever even prosecuted? Hell, did anyone even lose retirement benefits? Not to my knowledge.
It wasn’t just lawlessness against regular citizens, though. In the summer of 2016, the FBI concluded its months-long “investigation” of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified intelligence, determining that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against her for what was termed her “extremely careless” handling of classified intelligence. We now know, of course, that then-FBI Director James Comey’s statement exonerating Mrs. Clinton was drafted months before she was even interviewed by the FBI; that the original draft was heavily edited, to water it down and remove terms like “grossly negligent” that carry criminal implications; and that - contrary to Mr. Comey’s declaration - then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch knew ahead of his statement that he would not recommend prosecution against Mrs. Clinton. Looking back in hindsight, it sure looks like the fix was in.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Congress seems to be getting ready to address the lawlessness of millions of illegal immigrants not by enforcing the laws that have been on the books for decades, but instead by simply changing the law to ensure they are no longer in violation, because recognizing that they are in violation of the law and enforcing it is politically inconvenient and would require taking action that few wish to take.
Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee has produced a document that seems to indict certain individuals in the FBI and the Obama-era Department of Justice for their abuse of the FISA process and what may turn out to be illegal surveillance of American citizens. What makes this most troubling, of course, is that such actions were taken by the very people tasked with enforcing the law. If it turns out they broke the law, many American citizens are going to wonder, with justification, just who can be trusted?
The rule of law, chronically neglected during the Obama years, requires immediate repair work. If Congress wants to repair the broken windows of the Obama years, it can start by relentlessly pursuing the FISA abuse scandal, and continue repairing as it works through immigration legislation.
The Wrong Focus
Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee has produced a document that seems to indict certain individuals in the FBI and the Obama-era Department of Justice for their abuse of the FISA process and what may turn out to be illegal surveillance of American citizens.
Shining light on the FISA process is one reason I have supported releasing the now infamous Report, not because I believe anything in the partisan GOP memo but because I would like to see the entire secret process revised to protect the privacy rights of all Americans.
The GOP is clearly a partisan effort to distract from the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling but it may at least serve a purpose in highlighting the secret FISA process.
I say the GOP memo is strictly a partisan effort. How can it be judged as anything different. Nunes' staff pulled together what is reportedly a set of GOP talking points. It's also reported Nunes hasn't even read the underlying intelligence himself. Nunes has refused to let the FBI or DOJ see the memo. They have restricted access until they can release it to the public. And now we see this...
Intel Committee Votes To Release Secret GOP Memo, Withhold Democrats' Rebuttal
How can there be anything more partisan and corrupt than this? Even SCOTUS publishes minority opinions. But in the "People's House", the GOP majority refuses to allow the public to see opposing views.
It's about as close as you can get to the authoritarianism of regimes like Russia, Poland, or ME autocracies.
Oh, the humanity!Delete
The FBI's behavior OTOH, has been beyond reproach throughout.Delete
... about as close as you can get to the authoritarianism of regimes like Russia, Poland, or ME autocracies. :-)Delete
But I repeat yourself.
That email investigation was a paragon of Law and Order.Delete
Once again, Dougie, you read a simple statement and choose to ignore the point. Instead, of addressing it you try to obfuscate, deflect, change the subject. Like others here, you try to rationalize the corrupt behavior by pointing out that others do the same thing, or in your opinion, worse.
If you want to talk about the emails instead of the politicizing of the Intelligence Committee why don't you start a separate comment stream unattached to mine.
The memo concerns the FBI, among others.Delete
The FBI conducted the corrupt investigation of the emails.
No obfuscation or deflection there.
FBI stonewalled congress repeatedly, but congress should treat them as the angels they purport to be.Delete
If the GOP wants to make that argument fine. I have no problem with them doing it.
However, declaring the GOP memo, a 'political' document, ok to publish while denying the Dems the chance to put out their own 'political' document rebutting points in the GOP menu is bullshit. Both sides should be put out and let the public decide.
However, Trump and the GOP want to hold off giving the Dems a voice for as long as they can so they can milk this thing.
You guys simply want the fake news to flow only one way.
Just like the authoritarianism of regimes like Russia, Poland, or ME autocracies.Delete
Next thing you know, Schiff will be in the Gulag.
In the meantime, Devin will duct tape his mouth.
You just wait.
The Kenyan Candidate, icon of the radical left, single, most shallow-rooted American President and his legacy of political vandalism, will be repaired one pane at a time by Trump, the builder.ReplyDelete
Did/Does anyone still believe the meme that the GOP is a party of conservatives?
If anyone did/does, the last month should have disabused them of that fantasy.
The GOP tax cut guaranteed to add $ trillions to the debt, military spending increasing and projected to continue increasing, the $ 1.5 trillion upgrade to the nuclear arsenal, and this...
U.S. budget deficit to top $1-trillion in 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As the U.S. Congress limps toward the likely passage next week of another stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown, a Washington think tank has estimated the federal budget deficit is on track to blow through $1 trillion in 2019.
If it does, it would be the first time since 2012 the U.S. economy will have to support a deficit so large, highlighting a basic shift for the Republican Party, which has traditionally prided itself on fiscal conservatism.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a Washington fiscal watchdog, said the red ink may rise in fiscal 2019 to $1.12 trillion. If current policies continue, it said, the deficit could top a record-setting $2 trillion by 2027.
The suggestion that the GOP considered itself 'conservative' in the past and is changing now is absurd. Reagan through his massive spending programs, primarily on defense, and his supply side economics launched us on the path to the debt we have today. Bush Jr. didn't help with his wars of choice. The only thing different now, is that the GOP has dropped the façade.
The GOP effort to print money to give to the rich and the corporations became clear with the tax changes. The second part of the 'conservative' plan, welfare reform, will further clarify who they view as their constituency and it sure ain't us.
Donald Trump, the Kleptocrat President
Speaking of simply not implementing the law...
Congress: Trump Won’t Implement Russia Sanctions—and He Won’t Tell Us Why
Congress is close to powerless in compelling the Trump administration to implement sanctions that it already forced him to sign into law.
When Congress sent President Donald Trump a bill in July that slapped new sanctions on Russia, the president signed the legislation reluctantly while lambasting it as an example of congressional overreach.
The administration has since blown past an October 1 deadline to implement the sanctions. Lawmakers are now searching for answers as to whether the president is even planning to follow the law that they passed and he signed.
“If they don’t cooperate, then further actions need to be taken,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told The Daily Beast on Monday. The Arizona senator, who chairs the powerful Armed Services Committee and has spoken out against the White House on its attitude toward Moscow, said the administration has left him in the dark.
But aside from procedural tactics, Congress is essentially powerless in compelling the executive branch to follow through on the law it forced them to sign.
The legislation, which was approved overwhelmingly by both houses of Congress, slapped sanctions on Russia and codified existing ones over its election meddling and incursions into eastern Europe that have drawn condemnation from the U.S. and its allies.
As The Daily Beast first reported, the Trump administration was engaged in active efforts to weaken a core part of the sanctions bill: that Congress would have the authority to review any attempts by the executive branch to unilaterally roll back or ramp up the sanctions. Despite those reservations and the attempts to water down the bill, support for the measure was veto-proof, and Trump signed the bill into law on August 2...
I wonder what ole Trump will say about the stock market tonight?ReplyDelete
A disaster, It has retreated to where it was a week ago. My God, sell, sell, sell!ReplyDelete
You jump in there with both feet, sell your ash off and check in with me next week and I'll give you a deal selling them back to you.ReplyDelete
The Trouble at the FBI is the Media's FaultReplyDelete
Eight years of media fawning over Obama, have allowed our institutions to go rotten.
Diversion though name art Doug
Back to the media, eh Doug?
What bullshit. You want to see a fawning media? The following video starts talking about Trump insulting McCabe's wife but at about the 9 1/2 minute mark here it switches to Trump and Mueller...
If argument fails, divert.
Yep no difference between media coverage of corrupt lawless Obama and Trump.Delete
Once again, only in QuirkWorld.
Please. There is no way you can compare Trump to Obama.
Skip the policy issues. Trump forces his way into the media headlights every single day with one sort of tweet or another, and that does not even count his 'retweets'. The bulk of his comments are controversial if not downright crass and obnoxious. He attacks everyone, every administration cabinet and agency, the media, individuals, friends and allies alike. You are a friggin naif if you don't expect he will get blowback especially from the very people he attacks. If you send out outrageous tweets every day, you have to expect you are going to get criticized every day.
Also, you are blind if you think the Trump/GOP echo chamber in the media isn't putting out stories supporting him and his positions every day. I won't bother putting out the list again as you seem to lack the ability to read and retain.
Tweets more important than unfettered lawlessness of Obama and corrupt "justice."Delete
Good to know.
You ass, you brought up the media not me.
And the tweets are a huge part of the reason he is criticized. They are on everything, policy issues, personalities, foreign policy, you name it. He can't help himself. And he is the friggin president. Everything he says takes on importance and is going to be reported on.
You stick your head in the sand and say poor little Trump is being picked on.
This is Trump we are talking about. Trump. Do you actually realize how lame that argument is?
Tweets more important than unfettered lawlessness of Obama and corrupt "justice."
And the proof is where?
Please don't say in Nunes' talking points memo.
Proof of what?Delete
IRS targeting conservative groups?Delete
Lois Lerner's Physically Damaged Hard Drive?
Fast and Furious?
Refusing to prosecute voter intimidating thugs?
Refusing to enforce immigration laws/unishing people for enforcing same?
"Justice" "investigation" of same.
Ditto for the FBI
Damn, Doug, you are all over the map tonight. I am old guy so I'm having a hard time keeping up with. I guess I lost you about the time you were complaining about the media's treatment of Trump and I was offering some reasons for it. I guess I lost you when you took that left hand turn down memory lane on the Obama administration.
Justice Department probe eyes McCabe’s role in final weeks of 2016 electionReplyDelete
The Justice Department’s inspector general has been focused for months on why Andrew McCabe, as the No. 2 official at the FBI, appeared not to act for about three weeks on a request to examine a batch of Hillary Clinton-related emails found in the latter stages of the 2016 election campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.
The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, has been asking witnesses why FBI leadership seemed unwilling to move forward on the examination of emails found on the laptop of former congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) until late October — about three weeks after first being alerted to the issue, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.
Maybe they were too busy texting and fucking each other.
Where's the proof?Delete
Oh yeah: It's what they did.
Probly had the best of intentions though.
Doug, you are one sad case.
The Horowitz investigation, the one I have been saying we should wait on and see the results, the one you boys have ignored while anticipating the 'Nunes Papers', this is the one you are now excited about.
And, oh my, who reported on this story. Good lord, it's the WaPo. Suddenly you like their reporting. Hilarious.
Where's the proof?
That's a good question. Do you see any proof in the article you linked to? As far as I can see, there is none. And why is that? Come on, Doug, you can noodle it out. It's what I have been telling since this and the Mueller investigation, and the congressional investigations began? Come on, concentrate. Do you want to take a life line? Make a call?
Oh well, forget it. What I've been telling you right along is let the investigations play out and comment about the results when they're complete. You've got no proof from any of these investigations. Only rumors and speculation. That's not a comment in favor of one side or the other. It's simply a statement of fact. Wait until the official results are released.
You guys take any comment that doesn't support your frantic speculations as saying a crime never happened or in the case of Trump and his bros one did happen when it is merely a caution to wait and see the results when they are complete. The Mueller investigation has been going on for about 10 months, the IG investigation for longer than that, the Senate and House investigations for about the same time. They are likely to go on from months to come. And you boys have been pissing pants in anticipation and whining the whole time.
Well, that settles it then.Delete
Glad you agree.
In her statement, Clinton mentioned that she, too, has experienced sexual harassment. She wrote about the experiences in her memoir, she said, because she does not “want this behavior or these attitudes to be accepted as ‘normal’ for any women, especially those just starting out in their lives.”ReplyDelete
"We can’t go back, but we can certainly look back, informed by the present. We can acknowledge that even those of us who have spent much of our life thinking about gender issues and who have firsthand experiences of navigating a male-dominated industry or career may not always get it right," Clinton said.
She concluded her lengthy statement by expressing her desire for women to “continue to talk and write about their own experiences and that they will continue leading this critical debate, which, done right, will lead to a better, fairer, safer country for us all.”
I'll wait for Juanita Broaddrick's review.Delete
Worker Who Sent Hawaii False Alert Thought Missile Attack Was ImminentReplyDelete
A false ballistic missile alert in Hawaii was sent on Jan. 13 because an emergency worker believed there really was a missile threat, according to a preliminary investigation by the Federal Communications Commission.
The report finds that the false alert was not the result of a worker choosing the wrong alert by accident from a drop-down menu, but rather because the worker misunderstood a drill as a true emergency. The drill incorrectly included the language "This is not a drill."
The top two civilian officials at Hawaii Emergency Management Agency announced their resignations Wednesday, Reuters reports, and the employee who issued the alert was fired. In addition, the agency's military director told the wire service, a midlevel manager is being suspended.
The Associated Press reports that the fired employee had "confused real-life events and drills in the past, the state said in a report. His poor performance has been documented for years, and other members of the team say they were not comfortable working with him in any role." The AP says the state's internal investigation found that the employee was told to cancel the alert, but he "just sat there and didn't respond." Another employee eventually made the correction, as the worker "seemed confused."
According to a presentation by the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, this is what happened:
Hawaii Employee: 100% DemocratDelete
The midnight shift supervisor played a recording over the phone that includes the correct drill language "EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE" — but also erroneously contained the text of an Emergency Alert System message for a live ballistic missile alert, including the language "THIS IS NOT A DRILL." The recording ended by saying "EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE."Delete
The day shift warning officers received this recorded message on speakerphone. While other warning officers understood that this was a drill, the warning officer at the alert origination terminal said he believed that this was a real emergency. In a written statement, the officer said he had heard "this is not a drill" but not "exercise, exercise, exercise."
One lawmaker looked displeased at President Trump’s call to set aside political differences and work toward America’s common good: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). In fact, she seemed to be the only lawmaker in the entire chamber who did not rise.ReplyDelete
As every lawmaker int the chamber then rose to applaud the call for unity, Pelosi appeared to be the only one still sitting, visibly annoyed.
Trump killed tonight.ReplyDelete
The Democratic Politburo looked liked they had a bad bowl of borscht.ReplyDelete
Trump, though, struck a positive and optimistic note in his speech, ending his address to Congress by saying: “Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery.”ReplyDelete
“And they forever remind us of what we should never forget: The people dreamed this country," Trump continued. "The people built this country.
And it is the people who are making America great again."
Notice he did not say it is the Quirks who are making America great again.Delete
Or, the Doug.