Thursday, January 12, 2017

Daughter as "Acting" or De Facto First Lady of the United States

POTUS and FLOTUS: Real, In Fact, or Otherwise — New Trump Policy Afoot

Rumors continue to fly around DC and the White House and now this slant on the same story ever since Melania Trump said she would be in the White House later in the year and also actually spend more time in NYC (in Trump Tower) than in DC.

Now we have this story from UK the Daily Mail addressing the subject which is that Ivanka Trump, by most accounts will be the “First Lady” even though she has not officially revealed what her plans would be after her father, Donald Trump is sworn into office (January 20, 2017 at high noon).

A couple of key points from this story:

1.  She is already busy behind the scenes by phoning members of Congress in an attempt to rally support tax-free childcare accounts and childcare deductions for families making under $500,000 a year

(I Note: Is it that likely or just weird-ass Trump thinking that a family making $499,000.00 a year needs a tax break to help pay for their childcare, which in essence is a taxpayer’s subsidy).

2.  She also confirmed that she had stepped down from her senior position at the Trump Organization and put her “Eponymous fashion brand” in the hands of the chief brand officer for the company, Abigail Klem. 

(I Note: Eponymous means something or someone that gives its name to something else. For example, Elizabeth I of England is the “Eponym” of the Elizabethan era. Many generalized trademarks such as aspirin are based on their original brand eponyms as are Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, el al).

3.  A decision of sorts, seems to confirm the long-held belief that she will be performing some of the duties which are normally assigned to the first lady while her father is in office.

4.  She will certainly be the most visible first daughter that has ever been in the White House.

Question and Summary: We now have seen already a special favor (going around the nepotism law as it were) to get Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, appointed as White House Special Adviser to the President.

Now, daughter, Ivanka, will be more or less, or so it seems at this point, the de facto First Lady of the United States.

Why these two very special and most-unusual favors for these two close relatives? What’s up, doc, as they say?

Ivanka and Kushner are both very successful in their own ways and business endeavors, so why these unpaid moves? Simply for more fame and fortune and highest level contact connections? Surely can’t be that simple, um?

If not that, what? What is the driving factor – the real reason for these two moves? All we can do is wonder for surely the answers probably are not forthcoming to settle the many unanswered questions as simple as “What authority and duties will they have over or in conjunction with duly-appointed and salaried officials?  

Time will tell as we are in untested waters from the very start of this Trump administration

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Man in the Middle with His Two BFF's Behind Him All the Way

The Donald Front and Center with Pals: Julian Assange and Vladimir Putin

We keep our secrets up here not in public

Astonishing story – Earth-shaking if confirmed as factual … totally astonishing:
My first Q is simple and based on the below story: “Did Trump himself or and anyone close to him get Russia to drop their threat about the info they have on Trump?”

The story from CNN with this headlines: Intel Chiefs Presented Trump with Claims of Russian Efforts to Compromise Him.

That story is here [click].
And, also coverage from these three other sources (various details):

The most-important is this my second Q: “What was so damaging and compromising to Trump that the Russians did not release the info they had on him?”

Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump (multiple U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN).

The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work U.S intelligence officials consider credible
The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.
The classified briefings were presented by four of the senior-most U.S. intelligence chiefs: (1) Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, (21) FBI Director James Comey, (3) CIA Director John Brennan, and (4) NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.
One reason the nation's intelligence chiefs took the extraordinary step of including the synopsis in the briefing documents was to make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, to senior members of Congress, and to other government officials in Washington (multiple sources tell CNN).
These same senior intelligence officials also included the synopsis to demonstrate that Russia had compiled information potentially harmful to both political parties, but only released information damaging to Hillary Clinton and Democrats.
Finally, my Summary:
All this is precisely why I raise this third question: “Why only one sided release and what do the Russians intend to do now, e.g., hold that information over Trump’s head to get something, anything from him that benefits them down the road?”
This is last part is the most-critical of all along with my three questions about this truly astonishing story which can be assessed as far bigger than any hacking of the DNC, et al, except I guess that of Trump’s data that the Russians may now have that the Brits spoke about, or certainly is far bigger than Hillary Clinton’s email server scandal that that public knew about for so such a long time and that is this:
What the Russians have and our Intelligence officials know about, needs to be made public and ASAP since we cannot have our president in the position of being blackmailed or threatened by the Russians or any other foreign entity on any level … this is very, very serious business folks.
So, what info does the Russians have and what if anything has been promised them to hold it, not release it, or to possibly destroy it? We have a compelling right to know, absolutely – regardless the fallout.
Stay tuned for sure.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Trump Ready to Close on His Biggest Business Transaction: Acquiring America

Trump-Pence First Few Days in Office Main Goal is:

Set the Scene: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) laid the foundation for “erasing Obama” stating the GOP #1 priority and goal was “To make Barack Obama a one-term president.” Everything since has been centered about that pledge … so, Mitch old dumb ass, how’d that work out?
But, as a seen here, old Mitch with The Donald about to take over his pledge, well old Mitch is stunned as he announces: It’s alive… it’s alive…!!!”

Image result for it's alive

More to the point of this post is this absolutely great article and assessment of President Obama vis-à-vis the incoming Donald J. Trump from the NY Times here with that same headline:
Note: I have highlighted the parts of the entire article and not change a word or added anything except to emphasize (in RED) the things from the article that I believe most, if not all, if the Trump voters either knew and didn’t give a damn about, or more apt simply did not know, and certainly did not bother to check facts when Trump twisted them to fit his ranting… in short: They seem to have bought into the rant and not hard factual evidence about Mr. Obama and his 8 years in office. This a great review article – enjoy it.
For a soon-to-be nowhere man, he’s everywhere. Sensing “time’s winged chariot hurrying near,” as the poet had it, President Obama is using every hour left in his presidency to ensure that Donald Trump will not erase it all.
It’s one part vanity project. What president doesn’t want to put a dent in history? One man freed four million slaves. Another created national parks and forests that left every American a rich inheritance of public land. A third crushed the Nazis — from a wheelchair, while dying.
And Obama? He bequeaths the incoming president “the longest economic expansion and monthly job creation in history,” as my colleague Andrew Ross Sorkin noted. Trump, the pumpkin-haired rooster taking credit for the dawn, has already tried to seize a bit of that achievement as his own. Thanks, Obama. But he’s also likely to screw it up, perhaps by a trade war, or a budget-busting tax cut.
Already, Trump has flirted with treason, flouted conflict-of-interest rules, bullied dissidents and blown off the advice of seasoned public servants. He has yet to hold a news conference since winning the election. And did another day just pass without a word of the promise to “reveal things that other people don’t know” about Russian interference with our election? Maybe he’s waiting for more whispers in his ear from the Kremlin.
In advance of his farewell address next week, the president has tried to Trump-proof a climate pact that commits the world’s second leading producer of earth-warming pollutants — the United States — to making this little orb of ours a less perilous place for Sasha’s and Malia’s and Ivanka’s kids. Trump has promised to go rogue on the planet, as quickly as he can.
Until Day 1, Trump is just a 70-year-old man with a twitchy Twitter account. But on Jan. 20, he becomes what Grover Norquist wished for in a pliantly conservative president: “A Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen.”
With that pen, the new president can take health care from 20 million Americans, free Wall Street to once again wildly speculate and smash things up for the rest of us, and require schools to let people carry guns into classrooms — all campaign promises.
Make America Sick Again is the slogan floated by Senator Chuck Schumer, who is much better at messaging a negative than Obama ever was at messaging a positive. The people who stand to lose most are Trump supporters. The Affordable Care Act has saved countless lives in red states, and slowed medical costs. So why toss it, without a plan to replace it? To spite the guy on the way out.
The intent of Republicans, poised to push through the most far-reaching conservative agenda in nearly a hundred years, is to act as if Obama never existed — the George Bailey of presidents. It won’t take long for Bedford Falls to become Pottersville.
Trump will cut taxes on the rich, and for those born on third base, eliminate an estate tax that was one of Teddy Roosevelt’s solutions to inequality. He may try to defund Planned Parenthood — for many poor women, the only chance to catch cancer early. He may deport Dreamers, more than 740,000 young people who have been allowed to obtain temporary work permits and avoid being thrown out of the country under Obama.
On his first day in office, Trump will “repeal every single Obama executive order.” That’s the promise of Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Obama issued just under 270 executive orders, well below the number proclaimed by Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, Franklin Roosevelt and even that conservative paragon, Silent Cal Coolidge.
A significant Obama order protected gays in the government contracting system from discrimination. Another prohibited federal employees from texting while driving. There were sanctions against criminals, mobsters and other international monsters, and upgrades in pay for federal employees who earned less than their private sector counterparts.
And get this: repealing “every single Obama executive order” would require Trump to dump four edicts that allowed federal workers to leave early on Christmas Eve.
The War on Christmas heavy breathers at Fox News, who recently declared said conflict dead and won for St. Nick’s side, will surely be outraged. Not.
Obama leaves office with his highest job approval ratings in four years. Most Americans like him and his policies. Trump will enter office with the lowest transition approval ratings of any president-elect in nearly a quarter-century. About half of all American don’t like him, and of course, he got nearly three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton.
Most of the Trump agenda — building a wall, cutting taxes on the rich, ramping up oil and gas drilling at the expense of alternative fuels, taking away people’s health care — is opposed by clear majorities. Trump will erase Obama’s policy legacy at his peril.
What he cannot do is erase the mark of the man — a measured and rational president, a committed father and husband, who is leaving his country much better off, and the office without a trace of personal scandal.
As I said, an absolutely excellent article and a must read and keeper.
Just think only two more Fridays and it all starts, either as predicted or not, here he comes at high Noon, January 20, 2017. 
All the things Mr. Trumps wants won’t happen, but it sure makes one imagine that say if everyone he would or could harm (e.g., the 700,000 “Dreamers” facing deportation) were in fact to take up arms and defend themselves here?
Wow – oh, come on, that is incomprehensible you say. Okay, just imagine it were you and your family, or your life here say for the past 20 years or so, and then you saw it all about to crumble all around you based on a Trump executive deportation order.
As for me, I would rather choose prison or a Trump concentration camp first, then maybe armed revolt rather than face deportation based on his dislike of immigrants at a young age brought here to live a better life and now he wants to shit them. Why? I also wonder, maybe Vlad Putin has room in an old Stalin-style Gulag in Siberia, you think? Tweet him and ask, Donald.
Thanks for taking the time to read it and my highlight therein … The article stands as exactly published (except my red emphasis) (smile). All I can say is hang on tight.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Business Model to Govern America Short Title: Trumponomics

Perfect fit probably one size only
(Guess whose head)

Two faces, Two lines, Two stories
(Who or what to believe and trust)

Before you read below, read this and see what Trump's business successes have been over the last 30 years - 3,500 lawsuits against him. 

Now the main post for today: The Trump business model and strategy to “Make America Great Again.”

1.  Get rid of rules and regulations and departments that he says and believes are hurting job growth.
2.  Downsize or eliminate any/all agencies who make those rules and regulations according to his standard.
3.  Market and sell your methods as best for everyone.

RESULT: The country goes back the future with his new 2-step approach:


Allow lousy uncontrolled products that are dangerous, unsafe, or otherwise unfit for anyone at any time. Why? 

No more government oversight, control, or interference (all those awful rules) that used to monitor shoddy, unsafe, or dangerous products to include food, water, and medicine).


“See, it's working for you and America just as I promised. Aren't I awesome?

Disagree or not – that pretty much is unfolding right in front of us with department picks (nominees) to implement new rules that only one person will approve (guess who that one person is).

Stay tuned – it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Republicans today: “Grand Old Party” or more apropos “Goofy Old Privatizers”

GOP's Medicare Privatization Scheme: A Hard Pill to Swallow 
(They have hated Medicare since 1965)

GOP Replacement Plan for Repealing ACA (Obama-care)
(Hint: Nil, Nada, None, Zero, Goose Egg, Zilch)

We know for a fact that most Republicans have been looking at Medicare with bad intent for many years, dating all the way back to Ronald Reagan’s barnstorming against the program before it was enacted. 
Changing Medicare from a guaranteed health-care-benefit program into one that offers “premium support” for private insurance (though grandfathering current seniors and near-seniors, and in the latest iteration letting people opt to stay in the current system for a while) has been a regular feature of all those Paul Ryan budgets passed by the House since 2011.
Moreover, as reported earlier, House Budget Committee chairman and long-time health-policy opinion-leader Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Trump nominee for Secretary of HHS, has blandly asserted that Republicans might toss Medicare vouchers into the fast-tracked, filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill they are putting together to enact their post-Obama agenda.
Talking Points Memo is ginning up another campaign to force individual members of Congress to take a position on Medicare vouchers (or, as TPM calls it “a Medicare phase-out”), in hopes of making them run for cover as they did during a similar campaign in 2005 against George W. Bush’s Social Security partial-privatization scheme.
Nobel Prize winner, Paul Krugman, also sounded the alarm. He is predicting that Donald Trump and his party will betray their white working-class supporters by going after the very program Trump promised to protect.
Why is important for sure, and so is the “how” part – so, how will the GOP pull off this stunt and look Americans in the face and say: Oh all this is to “Make America Great Again” and say it with a straight face, too?
Pretty simple, actually. They will probably use the decades-old procedural maneuver known as reconciliation. That way they can bypass any Democratic opposition and accelerate Trump’s legislative initiatives, which this is one of many that will deal with the budget and that aspect.
Other stuff on the proverbial table could include: (1) cutting taxes, (2) repealing parts of the ACA (Obama-care), and (3) privatizing Medicare as addressed above, (4) and the VA (which Trump recently mentioned and I posted about see next post).
Also, they could try and turn Medicaid into a block grant down to the states. All they would need is a simple majority vote in the Senate (50 votes) and in a few days with the 115th Congress coming into session, they might pull it off.
My input: Every senior and those close to be being a senior and looking forward to a decent, well-earned retirement with Social Security and Medicare, which all working Americans pay into and are entitled to, to now see those two excellent programs get ready to be flushed down the toilet, well... I say: raise up in holy hell.
How would the GOP react to that, um? Of course, that is the billion dollar question, isn’t it?
I wonder, though if Seniors and near-Seniors are ready or could even get ready? Are they tuned into this yet – 'cause you see, tomorrow could be too late. 
I conclude that at the end of the day, any and all GOP privatization schemes could result in this outcome across the nation – what you think?

Thanks for stopping by and for goodness sake, join in to fight these schemes.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Trump Leans to Privatize the VA: That Must Never Ever Happen

Hey Mr. and Mrs. GOP: Hands off
Quote that Laid the Foundation for the VA
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) slammed a plan floated by President-elect Donald Trump to create a “public-private option” for veterans to seek health care.
Story published from the Hill.
Sanders said in part:Privatizing the VA would be an insult to the more than 22 million veterans who risked their lives to defend our country and it would significantly lower the quality of health care they receive. Our goal, shared by The American Legion and other major veterans’ organizations, must be to improve the VA, not destroy it.”
On Wednesday (December 28), an unnamed senior Trump transition official told reporters that the incoming administration was considering a “public-private option for the VA that would allow veterans to visit private-sector doctors rather than VA doctors.”
That same official also said:We think we have to have kind of a ... public-private option, because some vets love the VA ... and some Vets want to go to the VA. So the idea is to come up with a solution that solves the problem. And it's not the easiest thing in the world because you've got all these little kingdoms out there, which is hard.”

However, I Note: Veterans who already face a long wait time or live a far distance to a VA facility (the 40-miles rule) already can seek and get private care through the Choice Card Program that was approved by Congress in 2014 and signed into law (Public Law No: 113-146)

Some want to expand that Choice Card Program to all Veterans, including candidates Trump is now considering to be the next VA Secretary, e.g., Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove and Pete Hegseth (Iraq-Afghanistan Vet), a FOX News commentator and former head of the Koch brothers-linked Concerned Veterans for America (CVA).

On the other hand, critics, including many leading Veteran organizations, say expanding the Choice Option to all Veterans would in effect be privatization, since it would undermine the VA by shifting resources away from their main and prime goals and duty towards all Vets. 
I conclude: Keeping the choice care program in place and well-funded as well as the VA reinforces the nation’s goal and obligation long ago established by President Lincoln in that famous quote above that was the foundation for the present day VA.
We must never waiver in the obligation. Veterans served and suffered for our country and make huge sacrifices and they never let the country down – and now the country must not let them down, either and especially for some narrow-minded political view, or budget consideration, or some stuck-in-the-mud view about privatizing the VA.
Stand with the Vets who always have stood for the country. Oppose any movement to privatize any part of the VA now and forever.
Thanks for stopping by and tell your Congressional Rep. and Senators to keep their privatization grubby mitts off the VA — either DEM or GOPer.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

One-State or Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Problem: Saga Continues

Map of the Current Problem Area (More of Less)
[click image for larger view]

I can’t or won’t even try lay out the history of the current conflict between Israel and the Palestine. Suffice it to say an excellent historical look is here – that plus the hundreds of books and such on the topic of “a one-state or two-state” solution to the problem. This post offers the most-recent flap that I want to address – that UN vote to condemn a one-state only solution.

So, how will U.S. foreign policy be made and how will domestic problems be solved ala President-in-waiting, Donald J. Trump? This UN flap kind of gives us a hint.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry said on Wednesday (Dec 27) that the United States allowed the passage a U.N. condemnation of Israel’s settlement policies as the only way to preserve a two-state solution on the verge of being destroyed. The U.S. you recall abstained in the final vote.

In response to Israeli criticism that the United States has abandoned and betrayed them, our closest ally in the Middle East, Kerry said no U.S. administration has done more for Israel’s security than the current one adding: “The vote in the UN was about preserving the two state solution. That’s what we were standing up for: Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living side by side in peace and security with its neighbors. That’s what we are trying to preserve, for our sake and for theirs.”

Kerry’s speech was aimed to address some of the issues that have contributed to a toxic atmosphere between the Israeli government and the Obama administration — even though Obama approved military aid for Israel worth $38 billion over 10 years, the largest of its kind in U.S. history.

Then the infamous T-3 kicked in: The Trump Tweets wherein he tweeted:We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but.......not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”

A return tweet from Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu contained his gratitude saying: President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel!”

So, U.S. policy will be comprised of 140 characters or less? This ought to be very interesting, and quite frankly, a bit unnerving and hard to explain.

Nevertheless, the new Trump reality show will continue and he is, as the expression says: “Will be in hog heaven.”

View of the new Oval Office for the part-time president that ties directly into this post:

Trump and Bibi

Thanks for stopping by - and stay tuned, which I am sure you will.

Added after this was posted: John Kerry speech today via C-SPAN explaining our abstain vote was great... worth watching on C-SPAN here:

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Donald J. Trump: Empty Suit Who Thrives on Constant Stardom and TV Show Format

Will Fit Nicely after January 20, 2017

For those who think Trump will lead - ha... prepare to be disappointed.

His department heads will lead and that lead will be down the proverbial drain.

Take a walk down this memory lane to see my point about that strategy of selecting appointees who have a fundamental hostility to the mission of the agencies they will head. That approach is not new. 

Consider this string of such actions in part from here by Mr. Conservative

Yep, back to the days of Ronald Wilson Reagan, who famously declared in his 1981 inaugural address: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Then all the while he campaigned, he promised to eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy as two big and easy targets.

Once in office, he settled for appointments that would undermine these offices from within, a tactic he used for all his selections to other department seats. 

For example these and key actions they took:

1.  Justice Clarence Thomas, at that time was at the EEOC. He stalled on resolving class-action lawsuits charging racial discrimination in hiring.

2.  AG Edwin Meese dropped the pursuit of voting rights violations and instead sought to undo what conservatives saw as the “reverse discrimination” of affirmative action laws.

3.  Reagan also named committed de-regulators to head the FCC, FTC, and OSHA. 

4.  As the assistant secretary of HUD, he got Emanuel Savas, who wrote a book called: “Privatizing the Public Sector: How to Shrink Government.”

5.  William Bennett, as Education Secretary, pushed for a diminished federal role in education.

6.  James Edwards, at Energy, and who was the former governor of SC and before that a dentist, promised to “Work myself out of a job.”

7.  Then the dynamic duo James Watt at Interior and Anne Gorsuch at EPA. She for example was famous for wearing fur coats and smoking two packs of cigarettes while driving a gas-guzzler, while promising to slash EPA regulations. She made clear what rules her staff should not enforce.

So, I kind of expect this kind of future and “leadership” from Mr. Trump. 

Why? Because he will be so busy setting simple 140-word policy via Twitter, or constant attendance at rallies all year round. Or out making deals and promises with world leaders that he won't have time to focus on domestic problems or in most cases, foreign crises, either. 

He will leave the details and responsibility to others to make it happen and to keep all his twitter promises. I like to call that style “The Art of the Con.”  It will fit in that suit nicely kind of like a “Trump T” as it were.

So, stay tuned and see if I am right or wrong. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Major Update: Trump Doubles Down on Nuclear Weapons Expansion (He Remains Insane)

Mother Earth During Trump Nuclear Expansion

Cinder Earth After Trump Nuclear Expansion

This is a major update about the nuclear weapons flap Trump has created via a recent (what else) Tweet. And, yes, it is long, but needs to posted as perhaps the most-critical issue of our time. The original post follows this short introduction and update: 

I have noticed a wide GOP adoration and near love-affair with Vladimir Putin, and that is very troubling to say the least. Let's face it, Vladimir Putin is an autocrat and so is his style of iron-fist rule. To see and hear how Republicans fawn over him is both alarming and troubling – especially all the while how they constantly attack Mr. Obama across many lines and on many issues. 

It’s ironic and quite sick at the same time how Republicans love Putin’s dictatorial style, while accusing Mr. Obama of wearing “mommy jeans” and “being a dictator” like getting health care reform passed w/o any GOP votes and then watching them try to repeal it with over 50 votes to no avail, and ripping into him about his numerous EO’s due aimed at the inaction of the GOP-run Congress to actually help people all across the country.  

Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine and Crimea and now his engagement in the civil war in Syria keeping al-Assad in power by bombing everything and everyone in sight willy-nilly.  

And, now this update to the nuclear subject from Trump and with a lot of my notes inserted along the way.
“Let it be an arms race” Trump doubles down on nuclear proliferation (based on his earlier tweet)
When asked to clarify his Tweet stance on a recent Twitter about expanding the United States’ nuclear arsenal, President-elect Donald Trump reportedly touted the possibility of an arms race — not unlike the ominous standoff between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union during the Cold War, saying: “Let it be an arms race, because we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” [Trump said Friday morning (Dec 23) and according to Morning Joe co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough].
In an off-air phone conversation, Brzezinski had asked Trump to address that tweet from Dec 22 Thursday about building up the nation’s nuclear capabilities when he offered that gem: “a new arms race.”

Trump’s apparent policy contradicts decades of U.S. policy regarding nuclear proliferation and the country’s international commitments.
The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) went into force in 1970 addressing three major concerns in the Atomic Age: disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Virtually every state in the world agreed that countries with nuclear weapons would work toward disarmament, and that countries without nuclear weapons would not seek them and all countries would be able to use peaceful nuclear technology.
In April 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the principles and the goals of the NPT during a speech at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, saying in part:
“I am pleased to stand here today representing a president and an administration that is committed to the vision of a world without nuclear weapons and to taking the prudent actions that are necessary to one day make that possible.”
Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway discussed the president-elect’s disconcerting tweet during a heated interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on also on Dec. 22 Thursday, the day she was appointed counselor to the president.
Maddow had suggested that if the U.S. announced a U-turn on nuclear policy, then countries like India and Pakistan might move their nuclear weapons to launch status. That’s what has happened, she said, when presidents even joke about nuclear weapons.
“We’re getting ahead of ourselves, Rachel,” Conway replied. (I note: Conway is a perfect mouthpiece for Trump: She is dumb, stupid, clever and slick with the words, yet mouthy and always, always in campaign mode with the nastiness and quips and such, but she is also a total jerk and quite frankly a dangerous person to be the White House).
Maddow said that Trump announcing on Twitter that he wanted to expand the nation’s nuclear arsenal is a big deal, and that Trump doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about on that issue.
Conway said that in a perfect world they wouldn’t need to talk about nukes, but that this is not a perfect world, adding, cleverly: 
“In the world in which we live, which is not perfect, in fact, it’s very dangerous and very uncertain, I hope we can all agree, military might has been one of the ways to deter people from doing bad things.”
Then according to Conway, Trump may have been echoing actions President Obama has taken to upgrade our weapons systems (although Trump’s comment to Brzezinski the following morning suggests he actually wants to amass more nukes). (I note: Upgrading technology while also not producing new weapons is not the same as expanding the weapons arsenal, Ms. Conway – get a frickin’ grip, okay).
She took issue with Maddow scrutinizing what Trump says on social media as if it were the official policy of his administration.
“I think that we’re getting a little too far ahead of ourselves that he’s changing policy and making policy in a way that he did not intend,” Conway said.
Maddow fired back: “The president making policy happens whenever the president speaks on a national security matter.”
Added to that exchange, political strategist Sean Spicer, who was recently named Trump’s White House press secretary (moving over from the RNC), was asked to address that same nuclear fiasco during an appearance on Today on Dec 23 Friday morning. He said the president-elect will “take action” to make sure that American interests are protected. (I note for Mr. Spicer: Having more and more nukes does not ensure anyone’s protection or safety … it assures total destruction of mankind – you too need to get a grip – this is not the 1950’s starting all over again).
Spicer continued: “We’re not going to sit back as a country and allow other countries to expand their nuclear capability.” (I note: Hey, Trump threw down the challenge and that Mr. clueless one, is how this stuff gets blown out of shape … other countries will say “Trump and the U.S. is expanding, so will we – which Mr. Spicer is the simple definition of “Arms race.” WTFU).
Spicer was quick to add that Trump only plans to expand the country’s nuclear stockpile if other countries don’t “come to their senses.” (I note: Trump’s statements drive them further away from any senses, common or otherwise, Mr. Spicer).
Spicer concluded with this gem: “Other countries need to be put on notice that he is not going to sit back and allow them to undermine our safety, our sovereignty.”
(I note: that nonsense allows Trump to blame anyone except himself if someone starts a new nuke program to include testing and while their neighbors get nervous and then start shooting – all that becomes Trump’s scapegoat and cause for what – him to start WWIII and blame the world and himself I further note and ask Ms. Conway and Mr. Spicer: Which other countries are now developing or close to developing nuclear weapons that would cause us to "expand our current inventory" ... tick tock, tick tock - what cat got your tongue).
Related: Putin discussed Trump several times during his annual end of the year news conference.
He said that there was nothing unusual about Trump talking about strengthening the U.S. nuclear arsenal and armed forces. He said Russia would not compete in an arms race because it would not be able to keep up. (I note: who in the hell will believe that statement).
Putin concluded: “If anyone is unleashing an arms race, it’s not us. We will never spend resources on an arms race that we can’t afford.” (I note: so Putin would hope we and go broke like they did under Reagan because they couldn’t keep up the spending like Reagan did – are we heading back down that road).
As with many of Trump’s proposals, the backlash has been swift and fierce.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-DE, told CNN’s New Day that Trump could create “chaos for international relations” if he keeps tweeting certain things at 5 am that his press people need to roll back at 7 am, only to be undermined by another tweet at 9 am. That is total insanity run amok, too.
Finally and in my view: If this is how Trump plans to govern then ladies and gentlemen, we are in deep, deep doo-doo and just like that old Kevin Costner Soviet-CIA era movie, “No Way Out” we would have no way out, either.  
We are screwed with Trump any way we slice it. So, Mr. and Mrs. Trump Loyalist Americans, I ask you again: What the hell have you done?
THE ORIGINAL POST STARTS HERE: If you don't already know this is the top news today (three other links are below) then listen read on, and oh, BTW, note how the Trump team tries to spin his latest tweet.

In his Twitter, Trump said: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

He gave no further details, and it still is not clear what prompted his comment.

Now the Spin: However, earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia needed to “strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces.”

Asked about the Tweet, Trump spokesman Jason Miller later said Trump was “Referring to the threat of nuclear proliferation and the critical need to prevent it – particularly to and among terrorist organizations and unstable and rogue regimes.”

Hint: Russia is not unstable in Trump’s mind, I’m a guessin’…

BTW: Has anyone around Trump had the balls to define and explain to him what Nuclear Non-Proliferation actually means?​

The Donald says: “Hey no biggie. We are going to develop many more nukes, better than anyone else I’m telling you, better than anyone, anyone.”

Oh, yeah, the possible outcome if Trump gets his way (check the two pics above).

Planet Earth during and after Trump nuke expansion plan kicks into high gear as it were.

Duck!!! What duck???

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Senate Confirmation Hearings: #1 Biggest is for Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson)

Rex Tillerson and Vladimir Putin

INTRODUCTION: A 2012 Congressional Research Service (CRS) study estimated that there were approximately 1,200-1,400 positions in government that require Senate confirmation.

For the Trump administration it will be no different. All the nominees are important and the confirmation process should be fair, open, with no holds barred in the questioning of nominees to ensure that the country gets the best appointed persons in office whether in the President’s cabinet, in the courts, or in other key positions. This post addresses that importance.

BACKGROUND: Donald Trump’s priorities list for DOD does not list Russia – why is that do you suppose? A Pentagon memo outlining President-elect Donald Trump’s defense priorities does not mention Russia, according to a copy of the memo obtained and published by Foreign Policy. The absence of Russia as a top priority would be a departure from military official warnings that Russia is a top threat to the United States.

That article is from The Hill: Pentagon memo on Trump's priorities doesn't mention Russia: The report

I surmise that Putin must be tickled pink (or red) as it were? I can hear him now:  “Cпасибо старого Дональд, друга.” (Trans: “Thank you, Donald, old friend.”).

Related and directly tied to that story without any doubt is the following; a simple and logical question:

“Will Donald Trump and his Secretary of State (if confirmed), Rex Tillerson (former CEO of ExxonMobil) and a close pal of Putin (in his own words, not mine) deal with Russia in strictly a business fashion or diplomatically? 

This is not a rhetorical question … the cards on the table and the deck appears to be stacked in Putin’s favor. (I note: Or maybe a big fat retroactive bonus check for old Rex for making the the big oil deal - more on that below).

MOSCOW — As a member of the U.S.-Russia Business Council and chief executive of ExxonMobil, Rex W. Tillerson frequently voiced doubts about Russia’s investment climate, saying as late as 2008 that Russia “must improve the functioning of its judicial system and its judiciary. There is no respect for the rule of law in Russia today.”
This past February (2016), however, Tillerson, Trump’s pending choice to be the next Secretary of State, was sounding a very different theme, telling students at the University of Texas that he has “a very close relationship” with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
In the intervening years, oil industry experts and other analysts say, as Putin consolidated his control over Russia’s oligarchs, Tillerson underwent a profound change of outlook.
He came to realize that the key to success in Russia, a country deeply important to Exxon’s future, lay in establishing personal relationships with Putin and his friend and confidant, Igor Sechin, the powerful head of Rosneft, the state oil company.
As Tillerson and other oil executives pivoted from the private sector to the state oil company (Rosneft), the criticism that they had directed toward the Kremlin dried up.
The payoff for Exxon was immense: a $500 billion joint venture in 2011 to drill for oil on the Arctic shelf and the Black Sea and another huge deal to develop shale oil deposits in Siberia. Those projects were shelved in 2014, after the West imposed sanctions on Russia for Mr. Putin’s actions in Crimea and Ukraine.
“This was a man who was deeply skeptical of Russia, and a person who gave every appearance of being unwilling to commit his firm’s famous reputation for sharp investment decisions and careful financial management to the risks of dealing in an anarchic environment (but on the Artic deal), Tillerson had done a 180 on what I understood his views to be,” said Bernard Sucher, a former Russia director of Merrill Lynch.
Tillerson’s personal relationships with Putin and Sechin are expected to undergo microscopic scrutiny during what are anticipated to be rocky Senate confirmation hearings in January. Senate critics, especially rivals of Trump, have voiced suspicions about Tillerson’s Russia ties, not least because Putin pinned an Order of Friendship medal on Tillerson’s suit not long after he signed the Arctic deal.
Senators will also explore the question of how Mr. Tillerson negotiated the narrow line between his interests and those of the United States. Mr. Tillerson can expect to be grilled on how he maintained access to Russia and its vast oil reserves at a time when Washington was trying to isolate Moscow. They will want to know to what extent the interests of the United States took a back seat to those of a company that is the source of his roughly $300 million personal fortune in stock and stands to reap tens of billions if sanctions are lifted.
From roughly 2010 to 2014, every significant global oil company was vying for a piece of the action, and the Russian government handed out various blocks to keep them all in the game. Nobody got a piece quite like Exxon Mobil, however, and a diplomatic offensive that Mr. Tillerson spearheaded is credited.
And as Michael McFaul said, who was the United States ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014: “Exxon was without question the biggest winner, and I think it was because they developed these personal relationships.”
Continue story at the NY Times link above or here.
Finally I conclude: This is very serious stuff to say the least. A serious quid pro quo may be lurking the background with all this: get the $500 billion back on track; get sanctions lifted or lightened a bit for Russia; making it appear like it’s tied to the mess in Syria and “peace” there, you think?). That is not some wild-eyed thinking – it’s a real possibility. Keep in mind Mr. Trump claims to an expert in such matters as he practices “The Art of the Deal.” (He even knows more about ISIS than the Generals he once said).
Shady deals like this usually come out after the fact, that is after someone has been in office awhile, either elected or appointed, but never this far in advance.
As for me, I see this as the first of many Trump administration approaches and possible missteps on the national political standards bar by lowering it a couple of more notches.
I will address my concerns to the Senators who will hold confirmation hearings for Tillerson and I will address this (maybe you can too):
A serious and not a rhetorical question is: “What will be Tillerson’s impact be with our relationship with Russia? I don’t mean their hacking, or their military involvement in Syria, or the economic sanctions imposed due to their invasion of the Ukraine and the Crimea. I specifically mean the impact of lifting those sanctions in favor of moving forward with the $500 billion ExxonMobil deal that Tillerson negotiated with Russia (Rosneft). Also, can we expect or will we see the Trump administration conduct international affairs and run things like a business and not along diplomatic lines? Or if necessary with steps like through the UN or NATO. Any buddy-buddy or palsy-walsy approach is not the best way when dealing with adversaries like Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, or Syria and others of that ilk.” 

All this is my focus. As usual, thanks for stopping by.