Showing posts with label government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label government. Show all posts

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Some Thoughts On Firing Comey

Sources of confusion. Press reports are that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein threatened to resign unless Trump backed off on the assertion that he fired Comey based on recommendations by Rosenstein and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to fire the FBI director. So what is that about, since all of the TV commentators read the Rosenstein memorandum as making such a recommendation?

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.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Black Lives Matter - Even Children In Flint Michigan

I have been appalled at the White Nationalists like Rudy Giuliani who think the "Black Lives Matter" movement is aimed only at police.

Today's report of special investigators into the poisoning of Flint, Michigan's water system should disabuse people of that notion. Six more public officials with responsibility for water quality in Flint have been charged with felonies in connection with the poisoned water.

When asked why the officials acted as they did, the prosecutor answered that, to those officials, the people of Flint didn't matter.

The majority of the population in Flint is black.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Election And Related Stuff

This has been a busy month. Things have happened too fast to keep up.

I have been following the two party conventions. I have a good idea what is going on. Not least because national security policy, international relations, military affairs, public policy and related matters has been my profession all my adult life.

I know a lot about government, though I have never held high office.

My role has been like that described by C.S. Lewis in his poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:

“No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.” 

Even so, I know a lot and will be sharing my thoughts as  time goes by.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Is The Republican Turmoil In Congress The Final Failure Of Nixon's Southern Strategy?

I want to share a recent article by William Greider analyzing the Republican paralysis in the House of Representatives: GOP

I am not as optimistic as Greider that this represents a "final unraveling."  I do agree that the growing influence in the House of Republicans who have no interest in actually governing and solving problems is a reflection of the inherent tensions within the GOP created by the shotgun marriage between white supremacist former Democrats and Country Club Republicans.

Greider's take: "So what caused the current rebellion in the GOP ranks? It finally dawned on loyal foot soldiers in the odd-couple coalition that they were being taken for suckers. Their causes always seemed to get the short end of the stick. The GOP made multiple promises and fervent speeches on the social issues, but, for one reason or another, the party establishment always failed to deliver.
“We told people Obama was a dangerous socialist"…one Republican lobbyist explained,  "when really we knew he was a moderate. But they believed us.”
"This belated realization stirred the anger that has flared across the ranks of the followers — and not just in the South. The financial crisis, the bailout of the banks, and collapsing prosperity intensified their sense of betrayal. People began mobilizing their own rump-group politics to push back. The tea party protests were aimed at President Obama, of course, but they were also an assault on Republican leaders who had misled and used the party base for so long. Tea party revenge took down long-comfortable legislators and elected red-hot replacements who share the spirit of rebellion."

This started to come to a head in 2010 when Republicans elected 30 candidates to the House of Representatives who had never been elected to any office at any level of government.

The same thing happened at the state level. North Carolina is a case in point.

The General Assembly passed draconian changes to election law designed to suppress voting by African Americans and other minorities, to discourage young people from voting, and to make it harder for women to register and vote. (Women keep changing their last names. How do we know who they really are?) This all served as cover for equally draconian changes to the tax code to the benefit of wealthy North Carolinians and to the detriment of people who actually work for a living.

How long will it take for our local Tea Party types to figure out that they are being duped again?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Julian Bond: 1940-2015

Julian Bond was a smart, articulate, handsome leader of the American Civil Rights movement at a crucial juncture in our history. I was saddened today to learn of his passing. He served his country well.

Not all heroes are military ones.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

US Heavy Weapons In Eastern Europe

Today's New York Times reports the US is planning to preposition heavy weapons in new NATO countries in Eastern Europe:

The purpose is to send a message to our new allies and to Russia's Putin that the US is prepared to quickly come to the assistance of those countries closest to Russia. a half century ago, we would have called this an act of deterrence.

Deterrence was a much simpler concept when we thought we were living in a bipolar world. If we were talking about nuclear deterrence, we called it "mutual  assured destruction." But we no longer live in a bipolar world, if ever we did.

So how do we compel other states to do our bidding? Defense intellectuals spend their lives examining such questions. The answers aren't obvious. Failure is more common than success.

The situation can be very perilous when a stable system of international order falls apart, at least until a new system emerges. We have been in such a period since the late 1980's. It isn't over yet. 

I'll have a few thoughts over the next few weeks about the period's challenges and the historical setting. It isn't just about Russia. It is also about Germany.