Posts tagged ‘Tillerson’

The Chaos Just Got More Chaotic

First, the Republicans on the Intelligence committee decide there is nothing there, and then the President fires Tillerson. Just another day in the week for President DFF and chaos. Let’s start with the Republican House Intelligence Committee finding that there was no collusion and the Russians did not try to help President DFF. Let’s think about that. These are the boys and girls who could not stop investigating Benghazi but can see nothing bad from Russia, even though really important witnesses refused to answer questions and the Republicans refused to subpoena them and get them under oath. “We don’t need no stink’n facts and answers.” Our intelligence agencies are unequivocal about the Russians helping Trump (or basically anyone else but Hillary) and yet they found nothing. And all those meetings with the Russians? Oh it was just friendly chit-chat. Had this been a Democrat there would have been a firing squad. This is partisanship bordering on treason.

Next, in the world of misdirection and confusion so you stop focusing on the ball, Rex Tillerson is fired (announced on Twitter) and Mike Pompeo moves to Secretary of State. Then he promotes Gina Haspel to CIA Chief. Here is what we know about her:

A 2017 New York Times report says Haspel, in 2002, oversaw the torture of two suspects at a secret prison in Thailand and later was involved in the destruction of videotapes documenting that torture. One of those prisoners was waterboarded 83 times in a single month, had his head repeatedly slammed into walls, and endured other harsh methods before interrogators decided he had no useful information to provide, says the Times.

As a result of such torture, she was shifted out of her role as head of the CIA’s clandestine service.

Haspel was picked to run the CIA’s clandestine operations unit in 2013, but Senator Dianne Feinstein, who was the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, blocked the promotion because of Haspel’s history of torture.

Within the agency, though, Haspel is reportedly widely respected – and has support from members of both the Bush and Obama administrations. Where she stands personally on issues such as extreme interrogation techniques is an unknown, as she has not offered any public comments on policy, as you would expect for an undercover officer.

I, of course, run paranoid and I can’t help wondering if President DFF has a secondary agenda to get control of the intelligence agency. An attempt, I think, to get control of the flow of information to better control news and the Russia investigation. Republicans, of course, will rubber stamp her.

My conclusion? We are in very deep shit. We put government in the hands of Republicans and it turns out, they aren’t Americans any more, just lackeys carrying water for President DFF. Maybe the new oath of office will remove the “to defend and protect the Constitution” and replace it with “to defend and protect the Presidency only if it is Republican.” Yep, that is where we are this morning. You cannot paint this with a normalcy paint brush no matter how hard you try.


So many things out there this morning.  I think we have about beat the Syria attack to death.  At this point we have no idea what comes next, what our policy is, and did this make any sense at all.  It certainly felt good lashing out, but did it really do anything other than provide missile firing footage for the 10 o’clock news?  Of course Chetto-Heads son, Eric, claim that it proved his Dad did not collude with the Russians.  I think after looking at the evidence of who knew what when and how little real damage we did, you could argue just the oppositie with the same lack of evidence, that Cheeto-Head plan this with the Russians to help his numbers and distract back home.  I hope Eric isn’t put in charge of anything important with those critical thinking skills.

I guess I could comment on the Sean Spicer Hitler thing, but he is who he is, has to explain the unexplainable, so misrepresenting history and reality is his job.  To his credit and rare in Cheeto-head circles, he actually admitted he was wrong and apologized.  I think that should end it.  Nancy Pelosi’s call for his firing is rather stupid.  It makes Democrats look shrill and stupid.  The stupid part is do you really want a more effective propaganda minister to replace Sean?  Time for Nancy to move along.

There is the over sold United Airlines flight and dragging the poor guy off the plan.  What is there to say.  Flying except for Southwest, has become an exercise in frustration and discomfort.  There is a good article in the NYT about how we might use rating customer care to improve service in what is mostly a monopolistic industry, but get real, most of us are looking for the cheapest seats because we want a little left over to spend on the destination.  If we got some real competition like high speed rail, the world would really change.

There is Kansas voting Republican, but with much less a margin that before giving Democrats a hope.  I think the real story is that only 30% of Kansas voters voted.  Okay, special election and only one candidate, but really?  And maybe voting is getting like flying and we need to make it a whole lot simpler.  I still think it ought to be mandatory and invent an internet system that is secure and safe.  I pay my taxes on line, why can’t we vote on-line?

North Korea should give you pause.  Once again one has to ask, what’s the plan? We have our navy moving into the area, and what could be a push and shove match could get out of hand very quickly.  Certainly we have to decide what to do with Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but the blow back here could be catastrophic.  I worry we are acting reflexively again, instead of playing the long game.  She who must never be mentioned here thinks that is how Cheeto-Head got through his business life, with bluster and bluffing.  Well with a nut case like Kim, bluffing could turn nasty really quick. Note China just sent North Korean ships back to North Korea, not accepting their coal.  The stakes are rising.

Tillerson is in Russia today and we are waiting to see if Putin will snub him.  Putin is not going to change so I have no idea what we hope to gain unless we give up a lot.  He is partner to Assad; he is trying to retake Ukraine; he is all about disrupting European elections, not to mention our own, and like the Republicans in their eight years of obstructing government, it is working.  I can’t help wondering if this is all a kabuki dance.  Putin wants the sanctions lifted and some real theater here with no real changes could get Cheeto-Head to lift the sanctions and help their failing economy.

And that gets us back to the Russia in America.  The plot, while we are all being distracted with shiny missile blasts and ships heading to North Korea, thickens as we find out there was a FISA warrant on one of Cheeto-Head’s foreign policy advisors during the campaign.  The thing to note here is there has to either be a whole lot of smoke, or flames detected for a FISA warrant issued on an American citizen.  So there was a whole bunch of listening and so we have not seen anything yet.  Meanwhile Spain, at the request of the American Government, picked up one of the Russian hackers.  Will he spill his guts for a deal.  My guess is with all this going on, the Cheeto-Head administration is looking for a lot of shiny objects to distract us.  Letting Sean Spicer blab on is just the tip of the iceberg, and war is the big head turner.  How many days now has he been president?  Seen any jobs?

Clueless in Washington

President Trump warned on Wednesday that he would not tolerate the “heinous” chemical weapons attack in Syria, opening the door to a greater American role in protecting the population in a vicious civil war that he has always said the United States should avoid. The president declined to offer any details about potential action. But he said his horror at the images of “innocent children, innocent babies” choked by poison gas in a rebel-held area of Syria had caused him to reassess his approach. Only days after the White House declared it would be “silly” to persist in trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Mr. Trump said, “My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.” NYT

So what exactly has changed?  Have there not been chemical attacks before?  Are there not people dying by the thousands? Oh wait.  He saw it on TV, maybe Fox News, so now it is real.  This, like trade and healthcare reform, may be a whole lot more complicated than he thought.  That is what happens when you haven’t thought very much about anything.  Some of the more savvy pundits were pointing out that Cheeto-Head does not have a foreign policy, similar to not having any real plans for healthcare* or trade.  Rex Tillerson looks like a ship without a rudder when it comes to North Korea or Syria.  We are just not going to say anything more about North Korea and I guess they will go away.  Isn’t it great to have businessmen in charge of the country?

I don’t know what Americans were thinking (or not thinking) when they elected someone who had no way forward, no plan, no underpinning ideology or vision other than it is really going to be great, really really big, and we will hire the best people.  On that last one, most are inexperienced, incompetent, and fools.  What we are witnessing is the ignorance of the man and his voters.  You know the type, they have an easy answer for everything and everyone else is incompetent or lazy or corrupt.  It means they haven’t looked at the details.  Just cancel all trade deals?  Not if you don’t want to savage the American economy and start trade wars.  Just repeal and replace healthcare, simple right?  Just build a wall, except there is no money if we want to rebuild our infrastructure and it does not address the real problem, our dysfunctional immigration system. Now we are faced with Syria and North Korea and guess what?  All the choices are bad.

And he had no clue.  He is the poster boy for Republicans with all the easy answers that will not cost anybody anything.  When you look at his whole family, they are people carefully shielded from the real world most of the rest of us live in.  But for Cheeto-Head himself, everyday he shows his lack of knowledge about basic things that make this country work.  Don’t get me wrong.  Healthcare is really really impossible if you want to maintain a free market system.  I will get to North Korea and Syria in a moment.  Trade is tough because they are winners and losers and changing how we make sure those left behind don’t get left behind is not easy (there are no Republican solutions unless you think for example that making coal king again is even doable).

Syria is a mess.  Sure we can jump in and be against Assad, but who are we with.  We certainly don’t want to be empowering another radical islamic faction like we did in Afghanistan when we armed the Taliban to get rid of the Russians (I wonder if Cheeto-Head even is aware of this). And of course we would be going up against the Russians who support Assad, which is why I don’t really think Cheeto-Head will do anything.  I think Hillary and others had the the right solution, and oh darest I say it, we will need another coalition with NATO to form a neutral zone.  Will it be costly, deadly, and difficult?  Absolutely.  But if we are a civilized people who understands we are all in this together, then we have to walk our values.  But Cheeto-Head doesn’t have any and he is like a 12-year old waking up to the complexities of life.  It should scare you to death.

North Korea is a problem that has festered too long.  Kim Jung-un is nuts and indications are he may be losing his grip on power. Remember Henry V.  He had all this squabbling Dukes and Lords so he attack France and united them.  Kim Jung-un may need us to attack him.  Suppose Cheeto-Head has read Shakespeare?  Add to that China’s absolute terror that if North Korea fails they will be overrun with refugees.  So we have choices to make.  Can we wait them out and maybe get China to play a stronger hand?  Will we get anything better.  Should we preemptively strike to take out his nuclear capability and will that cause a total war on the Korean peninsula with the death of millions?  Does that threaten Japan?  If we do nothing, will he stay in power and become a real threat to the continental U.S.  Who knew it was so complicated (Obama, Hillary, maybe even Romney and Bush).

We have elected an ignorant and intellectually challenged man to the most powerful office in the world and he has no sense of history, science, or critical thinking, just gut feelings and fake news.  And like almost half this nation he has no understanding of our way forward or the complexities that challenge us.  We should be very afraid.

*Congress (Republicans) are making noise about another attempt at healthcare reform. It is all smoke and mirrors.  Katy Tur, MSNBC talking head, tells us that the two sides just need to come together and fix healthcare.  Was she talking about Democrats and Republicans, or just the Republicans themselves.  And they have no fix if we define fix as keeping the good stuff and getting rid of the bad.  Their only fix is to dump the problem on the individual and walk away.