Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Cabinet Of Billionaire Sycophants

Yesterday's scene in the cabinet room of all the cabinet members declaring their personal loyalty to Donald Trump was disgusting. It showed what Trump had wanted of James Comey but didn't get. It was not an example of serious people doing the country's business.

In my eighty years, I have never seen or read of such a scene in America.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Comey Testimony - Some Thoughts

I've been reading, watching TV and listening to commentary for the past few days. Conclusions: America's democracy is under serious attack.

The attackers are Russia and the American GOP.

Russia has been attacking our democracy since about 2008.

The GOP has been attacking our democracy since at least 2,000 but in some areas since about 1948.

Only we can protect democracy.


Don't wait for the Lone Ranger.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Comey Hearing

I'm getting ready to watch the Comey hearing.

I have some preliminary conclusions and am waiting for the hearing to either confirm my thinking or call it into question.

I'll have more to say later.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Russian Election Interference

My Russian is a bit rusty, but I still speak it. It has been a few years - maybe a couple of decades since I followed Russian politics in detail, but I have studied Russian and Soviet history, politics, national security policy, etc. since about 1956. So I know a thing or two about Russia.

I have been deeply involved in American elections and related legal and regulatory matters for the past decade. I have spent my adult life in defense of democracy both here and in allied countries.

I'm not an expert, but I know a thing or two.

I spent the Watergate years in Washington DC. I had friends and colleagues in the Pentagon, the White House, the State Department, the Congress and the press. I was interviewed for a job on the National Security Council Staff, but the incumbent decided to stay, so I went to the Pentagon instead..

I know more about international than domestic affairs, but I know a bit about that, too.

I mention these things to make a point - I know much of what I know not from reading books, but because I was there. And I paid attention. I've been paying attention for more than seven decades.

I read books not necessarily to learn things from scratch, but often to refresh my memory or sometimes to fill in some blanks.

Today I'm reading The Plot To Hack America by Malcolm Nance. What a terrific book.

Nance speaks Russian and Arabic and has been in the intelligence business for more than three decades.

I find him immensely credible.

Plainly Russia tried to steal the 2016 US election for Trump.

Did they actually pull it off?  They got the outcome they hoped for, but did they cause it?

I think they did, but I can't prove it. One must avoid the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.

Other possible factors? Jim Comey's intervention, which may have been triggered by deceptive active measures by the Russians. Hard to prove.

There has been heavy criticism the past few days of Hillary Clinton's explanations.

I say baloney.

After every airplane crash, the site is inundated with investigators. Many participants have conflicting interests at risk.  The airlines hope to show that a pilot or some other crew member was at fault. They would be equally pleased at a finding of some structural or design fault in the aircraft. Pilot error lets the manufacturer off the hook.

You get the idea.

But the airline industry as a whole wants to know what caused the mishap so the problem can be fixed.

Someone needs to do that kind of autopsy with failed campaigns. Not to assign blame, but to know what happened. And to fix it.

We all need to know in case the outcome was the result of an attack on democracy.

That's where I would look first.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

D-Day Anniversary Allied Landing In Normandy

Morning Joe this morning on MSNBC called attention to this being the anniversary of the June 6, 1944 allied landing at Normandy. It was the largest amphibious landing in history. Remarkable.

Joe called attention to participating allies, mentioning the UK and Canada.

There were, in fact, nine allied nations whose forces took part in the landing. The main Allied forces came from the United StatesUnited Kingdom, and Canada, but another nine nations sent units, the rest being AustraliaBelgiumCzech Republic, FranceGreecethe NetherlandsNew ZealandNorway and Poland. 

We should not forget the others.

Someone should tell the White House.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Thoughts On Russia

I am a bit puzzled by how anxious Donald Trump and the people around him are to make nice with Russia.

Let's put Russia in perspective.

The per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of Russia is about the same as Mexico. So why isn't Trump and Co. making nice with Mexico?

Russia doesn't make anything the rest of the world wants to buy. What they sell is oil and gas.

There isn't much of an international market for matryoshka dolls.

Russia's GDP is declining.

We will not become prosperous by deals with Russia.

Today's Russia is a kleptocracy. Vladimir Putin is the chief kleptocrat.

Russia is a closed society.

Her most talented young people seek futures elsewhere.

Reminds me of Mississippi.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Russia - Long History Of Autocracy - And Fake News

I am not an expert on Russia, but I know a thing or two.

I started studying Russian history, government and culture in 1956. I speak the language. I worked for years in the Pentagon on Soviet policy issues, studied Soviet economics, Soviet naval affairs, foreign policy, etc. Still, I am no expert.

I am appalled at the ignorance in the White House concerning Russia.

I was taught Russian by former Tsarist naval officers, former Soviet generals, Russian scholars, doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, etc.  I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

I can neither confirm nor deny that I ever knew any secrets.

I am a certified expert in national security policy and in naval warfare.

And I served in Washington during Watergate.

In time, I'll have more to say.

Remember, democracy is under attack.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Covfefe - I don't know what it means, either

Trump tweeted a new word last night - "covfefe."

No one seems to know what it means.

I won't even hazard a guess.