Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The American Quisling; The American Fifth Column; The American Terrorist

Over the weekend, Donald J. Trump did his best to dismantle the Western Alliance, to destroy democracy, and to wreak havoc on the world economy.

To what end? The truth is, no one knows for sure. But we saw it coming.

It was clear from the outset of his campaign for the presidency, that he was really running for the office of dictator.

His supporters need to open their eyes.

And yet - it is not clear to me that Trump is really driving this train. It is the leadership of the Republican Party who have mounted a prolonged, sustained attack on Democracy.

I'm not sure exactly when the attack began, but I believe it was well underway at the time of Bush v. Gore.

The U.S. Supreme Court did not have to intervene in Florida's recount of the presidential election of 2,000. There was plenty of time left to determine who won.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Did Rod Rosenstein Recommend That Trump Fire Jim Comey?

When President Trump fired FBI Director Comey, everyone in the press read Rosenstein's memo as a recommendation to fire Comey. They were wrong.

Here is what I wrote at the time: "According to the Washington Post, Trump had decided to fire Comey ahead of time and then called Sessions and Rosenstein to the White House on Monday May 8th and directed them to put in writing the reasons for firing Comey. They complied.

"But Rosenstein, an experienced Justice Department official, DID NOT INCLUDE IN HIS MEMO A RECOMMENDATION TO FIRE COMEY!

"So Rosenstein had every right to object when Trump claimed in writing that he was only following Rosenstein's recommendation. He had carefully followed the president's direction and put in writing some reasons to fire Comey but he did not make the recommendation to do so.

"My reading is that Trump, unfamiliar and contemptuous of the ways of career government officials, totally missed the subtlety of Rosenstein's memo. Apparently Trump was in such a big hurry that he did not ask anyone familiar with government to review Rosenstein's memo.

"Anyone with experience in government would have spotted what Rosenstein did. More evidence that Trump is not competent to govern. But we already knew that.

What I fail to understand is how experienced national level journalists can have missed this. It isn't rocket science.

Quisling Is An Ugly Word

You may have to be of a certain age to know what "Quisling" means. It truly refers to a turncoat, a prominent person who is disloyal to his own country and works to undermine the interests of his own people. Vidkun Quisling was such a person. He was Norwegian.

I know Norwegians and admire the ones I know. Vidkun Quisling, though, aspired to be the dictator or at least puppet leader of Norway's Nazi government during the German occupation.

Quisling was not loyal to his own people.

He came to a bad end in 1945. You can look it up.

He may have genuinely admired Adolf Hitler - I don't know. But he bet on the wrong horse.

In most cases, betting against your own people turns out badly in the end.

Words to remember from the WWII era:

1. Fifth Column;

2. Quisling;

3. Collaborator.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Trump Fears Toddlers and Babies

So how come our great leader is so afraid of toddlers and babies that he has to throw them in jail? Is this the mark of a leader who is so weak he has to surround himself with yes men in order to control these toddlers?

What gives?

Actually, I have known for most of my life that bullies are fearful and weak. I won't say exactly how I know, but I do.

And I know that is what we have in charge: A weak bully, surrounded by yes men.

We can do better, and we had better start on it right now.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Save So Much Money By Cancelling "War Games" - Trump

First off, military exercises are not games of any kind.

By the same rationale, our hospitals and medical personnel could save a lot of money by cancelling mass casualty exercises. Mass casualties, after all, are very rare. Therefore there is no need to practice.

And there are other ways to save money. Calvin Coolidge, for example, was alarmed at the bill for US Army plans to purchase military aircraft.

"Just buy one airplane," he suggested, "and let the pilots take turns flying it."

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Netflix is showing a TV drama about the CIA employee, Aldrich Ames, who spied for the Soviet Union and later for Russia, who revealed the identities of Russians who provided information to the CIA.

Ames was disloyal. He greatly harmed the US. It is clear from the drama that Russia continued to spy on the US long after the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

I thought the drama was well done and did a good job of revealing the techniques of espionage and counter espionage.

It is by now quite clear that Russia's effort to insure the election of Donald J. Trump as president and prevent the election of Hillary Clinton was a successful espionage effort. It incorporated skills developed in Russia over the centiries by Russian despotic regimes.

I don't claim to be an expert on Russia, though I speak the language pretty well and have studied Russian History, Government and military affairs since about 1957.

Are there any genuine experts on Russia?

Yes. One such expert is Christopher Steele. If I wanted to know what was going on, I would consult him.

Our own most noted home-grown expert on Russia was the late George Frost Kennan, who not long before his death advised against expanding NATO to the east.

He may have been wrong about that, but we should at least have listened.

Back to "Assets."

Over the past several years, it appears that Russia recruited many assets, including many in the Trump campaign.

To understand the dynamics, we need to resurrect some terms from World War II: "fifth column," for example, and "Quisling."

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Read Madeleine Albright

I recently bought a copy of Madeleine Albright's latest book: Fascism.

Like Albright, I lived through much of the Fascist era.

In 1937, it was still uncertain whether Western Democracies would prevail against authoritarian dictatorships.

By 1946 the results were clear! Democracies were stronger.

Historians still debate what was the turning point of World War II?

Was it the Battle of Midway that made victory inevitable? Was it the Battle of Stalingrad? Was it Normandy? Was it the London Blitz?

I personally like the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, but really I believe it was none of these battles.

Instead, I believe it was the signature of the Atlantic Charter at Argentia, Newfoundland on August 18, 1941.

The Atlantic Charter laid the diplomatic foundation for the western alliance and for victory.

Diplomacy is critical.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Nikki Haley Not Confused

With the possible exception of Jim Mattis, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is emerging as the strongest member of Donald J. Trump's cabinet. On Sunday, she announced a strong set of sanctions on Russia, a set of sanctions obviously prepared by the administration. When the president apparently changed his mind, possibly after receiving a complaint from Putin.   Trying to pick up thr pieces, Larry Kudlow (the president's economic adviser who is not an economist) declared that Nikki Haley just got confused.

Nikki Haley made it plain "I don't get confused."

The main conclusion I draw is that this White House would have difficulty organizing a two-car parade.