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Thread: 2018 American Political Scene

  1. #451
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    I suspect Mattis has survived this long simply by dint of having his office elsewhere and being minimally involved in politics, (especially -and obviously- domestic affairs
    At least we've been lucky enough to have Mattis single-handedly running the war against ISIS.

  2. #452
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    At least we've been lucky enough to have Mattis single-handedly running the war against ISIS.
    That's the one thing that Trump has done that I can applaud without reservation.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

  3. #453
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    From The Intercept:

    The real estate firm tied to the family of presidential son-in-law and top White House adviser Jared Kushner made a direct pitch to Qatar’s minister of finance in April 2017 in an attempt to secure investment in a critically distressed asset in the company’s portfolio, according to two sources. At the previously unreported meeting, Jared Kushner’s father Charles, who runs Kushner Companies, and Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sharif Al Emadi discussed financing for the Kushners’ signature 666 Fifth Avenue property in New York City.

    The 30-minute meeting, according to two sources in the financial industry who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the potential transaction, included aides to both parties, and was held at a suite at the St. Regis Hotel in New York.

    A follow-up meeting was held the next day in a glass-walled conference room at the Kushner property itself, though Al Emadi did not attend the second gathering in person.

    The failure to broker the deal would be followed only a month later by a Middle Eastern diplomatic row in which Jared Kushner provided critical support to Qatar’s neighbors. Led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a group of Middle Eastern countries, with Kushner’s backing, led a diplomatic assault that culminated in a blockade of Qatar. Kushner, according to reports at the time, subsequently undermined efforts by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to bring an end to the standoff.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 02 Mar 18, at 14:10.

  4. #454
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Wonder what the odds are that the WH could be become a one man office in a few months?

  5. #455
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Wonder what the odds are that the WH could be become a one man office in a few months?
    There's enough slime in this world to ooze on in there for quite some time, even if they only last for brief periods before being fired or indicted. Or both.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

  6. #456
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    yeah, there will always be enough ambitious young (and not so young) idiots willing to put an oar into the WH...even if it's a sinking WH.

    that's not to say the utter chaos and backstabbing doesn't have an effect-- MOST sane people want to stay away from that hot mess. if the midterms go as predicted, there will probably be another round of rats jumping off.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  7. #457
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    It'll be Kelly. Then the real horrors can begin.
    Yeah, Robportergate which evolved into Clearancegate has turned back into Robportergate and a bag of chips. Kushner has a useful surrogate in Scaramucci making the rounds on cable news shifting the narrative back against Kelly, who's apparently created a "culture of fear", wrongfully imposing "martial order" on a civilian team creating a "toxic" work environment.

    Not to say the Rob Porter issue isn't of merit, but in a broader sense CNN has taken the bait, hook, line and sinker:
    Defiant John Kelly continues to misrepresent his handling of Rob Porter scandal
    Scaramucci says Kelly runs White House through 'culture of fear'

    Kelly's failure to beyond a half-measure and act more decisively when the narrative shifted against Kushner with "Clearancegate", whether it being due to Kelly pulling his punches or because of his sheer inability to do so, Trump being Trump and Kushner being his son-in-law, it's looking more and more likely this may prove to be his undoing.

    Regardless, even if Kushner prevails, he'll be the king of a pile of ash, with Mueller at his heels and questions of conflicts of interests dogging him.

    Hilarious though Kushner and Ivanka have dug in for trench warfare, camping out in the Lincoln bedroom by night, while waging war across the rest of the White House and the media by day.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 03 Mar 18, at 02:29.

  8. #458
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    yeah, there will always be enough ambitious young (and not so young) idiots willing to put an oar into the WH...even if it's a sinking WH.

    that's not to say the utter chaos and backstabbing doesn't have an effect-- MOST sane people want to stay away from that hot mess. if the midterms go as predicted, there will probably be another round of rats jumping off.
    I guess that is so to much lament. So with Russia talking about new nuclear weapons, the stock market lower due to a possible tariff war, Republicans upset about tariffs, gun issues, appointees spending money above and beyond, and his AG taking a shot at him... we instead have him tweeting about Alex Baldwin's impersonations. One thing is for sure and that is Baldwin owns Trump, whether he knows it or not, since he can't ignore and if Baldwin I'd zero in on him even more.
    Last edited by tbm3fan; 03 Mar 18, at 02:21.

  9. #459
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    I guess that is so to much lament. So with Russia talking about new nuclear weapons, the stock market lower due to a possible tariff war, Republicans upset about tariffs, gun issues, appointees spending money above and beyond, and his AG taking a shot at him... we instead have him tweeting about Alex Baldwin's impersonations. One thing is for sure and that is Baldwin owns Trump, whether he knows it or not, since he can't ignore and if Baldwin I'd zero in on him even more.
    You know, you would've thunk that when Putin put out animations displaying MIRVs raining down on Florida, or a hypersonic nuclear-powered scramjet cruise missile skirting around missile defenses before looping over Antarctica to hit the US West Coast, he would have finally had something harsh to say about Putin. But nope, not even then.

  10. #460
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    You know, you would've thunk that when Putin put out animations displaying MIRVs raining down on Florida, or a hypersonic nuclear-powered scramjet cruise missile skirting around missile defenses before looping over Antarctica to hit the US West Coast, he would have finally had something harsh to say about Putin. But nope, not even then.
    However, he has praised Xi for his power grab in China and muses about him doing the same. Priorities, I tell you it is the priorities...

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/03/polit...rks/index.html

  11. #461
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    https://osc.gov/Resources/Conway%20H...l%20Report.pdf

    White House aide Conway violated Hatch Act: Office of Special Counsel

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Kellyanne Conway, one of President Donald Trump’s top advisers, violated federal law in two televised interviews last year by using her White House position to weigh in on a political race, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said on Tuesday.

    In the interviews, one on Fox News Channel on Nov. 20 and another on Dec. 6 on CNN, Conway “impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election,” the independent investigative agency said in a report it submitted to Trump for “appropriate disciplinary action.”
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...-idUSKCN1GI2C1

  12. #462
    Hopefully 2020 will see the end of the political career of the hapless Trump.

    It just depends on the Democrats picking the right candidate.

    Don't forget in 2016 they are universally considered to have chosen the wrong candidate and she still managed to outperform Trump during the campaign, effortlessly won the three televised debates and managed to outpoll him by almost 3 million votes. Imagine what will happen if they manage to choose the correct candidate next time.....

  13. #463
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    It's about time...

    Justice Department Sues California Over Impeding Immigration Enforcement
    Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

    The Justice Department is suing California and two top state officials, accusing them of interfering with federal immigration efforts by passing and enforcing state laws that hinder U.S. operations against undocumented people.

    The lawsuit filed late Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento, Calif., points out that the Constitution gives the U.S. government sweeping authority over immigration.

    ICE Detains More Than 100 In Los Angeles-Area Immigration Raids
    THE TWO-WAY
    ICE Detains More Than 100 In Los Angeles-Area Immigration Raids
    Justice Department lawyers argue that California is blocking enforcement efforts by the Department of Homeland Security and imposing other, impermissible obligations on the federal government. Federal authorities said that evades common sense and has the potential to endanger communities in California and beyond.

    The new federal case represents an escalation of the long-running battle between the Trump administration and California, whose Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, and attorney general, Xavier Becerra, have positioned themselves as ideological opponents to the White House on matters from immigration and climate change to criminal justice.

    Echoing the tone and favored language of President Trump on Twitter, Gov. Brown issued a statement Tuesday night that called the federal lawsuit "SAD!!!" and a political stunt.

    Last year, California lawmakers passed three immigration-related laws that feature prominently in the new lawsuit. One bars private employers from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration officials and requires businesses to notify workers in advance of a federal raid.

    Supreme Court Ruling Means Immigrants Could Continue To Be Detained Indefinitely
    LAW
    Supreme Court Ruling Means Immigrants Could Continue To Be Detained Indefinitely
    A second law restricts state and local law enforcement from voluntarily sharing information with the feds about the release dates of undocumented people in their custody. That law also bars the transfer of undocumented people into federal custody. The third law under federal challenge covers state inspections of detention facilities that hold noncitizens in federal custody.

    The Justice Department is asking for a preliminary injunction to block those three laws. To advance their cause, federal lawyers cite a 2012 Supreme Court dispute, in which the Obama administration sued Arizona over its punitive law meant to crack down on immigrants there.
    https://www.npr.org/2018/03/06/59130...migration-laws

  14. #464
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinskors View Post
    Hopefully 2020 will see the end of the political career of the hapless Trump.

    It just depends on the Democrats picking the right candidate.

    Don't forget in 2016 they are universally considered to have chosen the wrong candidate and she still managed to outperform Trump during the campaign, effortlessly won the three televised debates and managed to outpoll him by almost 3 million votes. Imagine what will happen if they manage to choose the correct candidate next time.....
    Welcome to the WAB.

    We ask that newcomers go to this link and tell us a little about themselves.

    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/sho...62#post1007162

    When you are done there you need to check out this link so you can see how to have a long and enjoyable stay here!

    http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/showthread.php?t=46580
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  15. #465
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    McMaster's problem isn't Trump. It's Mattis and Kelly.
    Mark Perry

    Donald Trump 's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, has spent a lifetime defying the odds - until now. Some in Washington have expressed surprise at the mounting reports that the career Army officer is being eased out of his White House job. But for anyone closely affiliated with the Trump administration's national security operation, where McMaster has few remaining allies, the only surprise was that such reports had taken so long to credibly surface.

    McMaster has always had a tense relationship with President Donald Trump. But for the last several months his relationships with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis, both of whom were once his strongest defenders, have deteriorated irreparably. At issue, several senior Pentagon officials tell Foreign Policy, is not McMaster's discipline or competence, but his temperament and relative lack of experience.

    McMaster now seems fated to depart the Trump White House as a senior military officer who was never the right fit either with Donald Trump, or with the so-called axis of adults shaping the administration's foreign policy. McMaster, it turns out, was probably never a part of the latter club to begin with.

    The White House denies the national security adviser is on the verge of leaving. "President Trump said that the NBC News story is 'fake news,' and told McMaster that he is doing a great job," said Michael Anton, head of communications for the National Security Council, at a press conference last Thursday.

    But one senior Pentagon official admits that McMaster's rat-a-tat command style and habit of giving orders that would be instantly obeyed have proven ill-suited to Washington, where military officers regularly rub shoulders with senior civilians. "He's a strong cup of tea," he tells FP. "It may have helped if he'd had a D.C. tour in the Pentagon or NSC or somewhere."

    McMaster, by all accounts, was at ease in the multiple high-level Army commands in which he previously served. But in Washington, patience, nuance, a certain political deftness and a studied deference to senior civilian officials is prized - traits that were never among McMaster's strongest qualities. McMaster has peremptorily interrupted presentations by civilian officials during NSC meetings which Trump attended, according to Pentagon officials, and, in several instances, was seen to be lecturing the president on the finer points of foreign policy. McMaster also has a bad habit of shaking his head in disagreement when civilian experts present their views during key White House meetings.

    "You can get away with that when you're the commander in charge," a friend of McMaster's for many years says. "But you can't get away with it in the White House." McMaster also has a habit of painting those who disagree with him in stark, and sometimes, offensive terms: Those who agree with him are "patriots," those who don't are "reflecting the enemy narrative."

    While McMaster and Trump never forged a close working bond, it was the national security adviser's deteriorating relationship with Kelly and Mattis that finally tipped the balance against him. Kelly began thinking about replacing McMaster as early as last November, the senior Pentagon official notes, with the chief of staff advising Trump that it might be time to think about finding someone with whom the president was more at ease.

    Kelly's thinking about McMaster has the support of Mattis, according to several Pentagon officials speaking to FP. The defense secretary has been increasingly concerned with McMaster's sometimes volcanic, and unpredictable, temper - and his tense relationship with Trump. For both Kelly and Mattis, the dust-up after McMaster's appearance at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17 - when he declared that evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election was "incontrovertible," only to be publicly contradicted by Trump one day later - was evidence that the tensions with the president would likely get worse.

    "H.R. wears his emotions on his sleeve," his friend of many years notes. "He's volatile, and that's a problem for a guy like Mattis, who prizes self-control. A couple of times Mattis has had to intervene with McMaster to calm him down. He doesn't like doing that - and doesn't think he should have to."

    But McMaster has had his own set of complaints. From the moment he took the job as the administration's national security adviser, he was the odd man out in what was supposed to be a high-powered "axis of adults" shaping the Trump administration's foreign policy. "This is a triumvirate, not a quartet," a senior Marine officer who is close to Mattis confirmed to me several months ago, referring to the threesome of Kelly, Mattis, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "His title is 'national security adviser,' not 'national security paper pusher.' But that's how he's being treated."

    For military officers, even those personally unacquainted with Mattis, Kelly, and McMaster, none of this has come as a surprise. For them, the fact that Kelly and Mattis retired from the military as full generals, while McMaster remained in uniform as a three-star lieutenant general, almost guaranteed that the three would clash. "You have to understand the four-star mentality," one senior retired Army officer says. "These guys are in the stratosphere, and that's how they view themselves. And they're right: the difference between a three-star and a four-star officer is the difference between playing youth baseball and playing the majors. These are the guys who really run things. The only one who gives them orders is the defense secretary and the president. So, you know, for four-star officers like Kelly and Mattis, a guy like H.R. might as well be a private."

    McMaster undoubtedly felt confident nonetheless, because he has spent a lifetime fighting the odds. Although he was one of the heroes of Operation Desert Storm's Battle of 73 Easting, the celebrated tank battle against the Iraqis, many of McMaster's fellow officers predicted that, despite his reputation, he would never make general officer rank - promotion to brigadier general (one star) or above. The word then was that McMaster was too opinionated, a view that was reinforced when he published "Dereliction of Duty," his 1998 account of the U.S. military's senior leadership during the Vietnam War. While the book has been celebrated for its criticism of senior military leaders during that conflict, that was less true in senior military circles and especially among those who knew and worked with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Earle Wheeler and Army Chief of Staff Harold K. Johnson, who are among the targets of McMaster's harshest criticisms.

    Despite this, McMaster not only kept getting promoted, he burnished his reputation in last decade's Iraq War when he deftly dampened the terrorist insurgency in Tal Afar. But even with this success, McMaster was only promoted to general officer rank at the insistence of his mentor, Gen. David Petraeus , who admired his skills. His competence simply couldn't be ignored.

    McMaster continued to defy the odds even after being named as Donald Trump's national security adviser - and even while knowing he wasn't the president's first pick for the job. With Kelly's backing, he imposed discipline on a national security staff that was in chaos after the firing of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, regularized the flow of strategy papers to the Oval Office, stripped the national security council staff of unqualified hangers-on, and weathered a storm of criticism from a gaggle of alt-right partisans that included Steve Bannon - until, that is, his habit of contradicting the president in public and his constant flare-ups became too much for his sometime defenders, John Kelly and James Mattis, to bear.

    Which is why there are those that believe McMaster is more sinned against than sinner. "For John Kelly to say that H.R. is not a good fit is a hell of a thing," a retired but still influential senior Army officer notes. "This is a guy who told the Congress to shut up, called one of its members an empty barrel, supports the president's wacky views on immigration, and lectured the press on the good old days, whenever that was." This officer also worries that McMaster's departure means that America's military policies will now be firmly in the hands of what he calls "the Marine triumvirate" - a list that includes not only Kelly and Mattis, who are both retired four-star Marine officers, but also Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford. In part, the tensions between Mattis and McMaster results from this relationship; Mattis and Kelly admire Dunford's political intuitions. "Ironically, it's Dunford who probably has the best grasp of politics," the senior Pentagon official says to FP.

    The question now is not whether McMaster will be replaced, but where he will go - and just who he will replace him when he does.

    There are those, especially in the army, who would like to see McMaster receive his fourth star. One of the ways to do that would be for him to replace Gen. Mark Milley, who is considered by many to be a weak army chief of staff, but Milley is not yet due for retirement. "That's not going to happen," the retired senior army officer with whom I spoke says. "Milley is a cipher, but this is the William Westmoreland Memorial Chair [a tongue-in-cheek reference to the former Vietnam commander who did nothing when he headed the army], so all Milley has to do is keep the seat warm." And McMaster has been mentioned as the first head of the U.S. Army's new Futures Command - which will be charged with modernizing the service - or in a similar Army-only four star role. But, this last weekend, the option of keeping McMaster in uniform seemed to fade, because doing so would require him to be in regular contact with Mattis as defense secretary. Which suggests the recent reports, that McMaster will likely take a position at the Hoover Institution's Washington, D.C., office, are accurate.

    But if he is to retire, according to North Carolina's Richard H. Kohn, an expert on civil-military relations and McMaster's graduate school adviser, Trump will have to ask him to leave. "McMaster is a solider, and he will soldier on until no longer wanted or needed," Kohn says.

    Of greater importance, at least for John Kelly, James Mattis, and Rex Tillerson will be finding the right person to take McMaster's place. While it might not yet be apparent just who that will be, Kelly, Mattis, and Tillerson are likely to favor someone who will not only get along with the whimsies of Donald Trump, but work well with - that is, follow the lead of - the triumvirate of "adults" now firmly in charge of the nation's foreign policy.

    For those reasons, it now seems likely that the job will go to auto industry executive Stephen E. Biegun, and not the much more controversial John Bolton, long rumored to be among the front-runners for the job. A Pentagon consultant close to Mattis laughs at the mention of Bolton's name, waving off any chance that he might be appointed as McMaster's successor. "No way, there is absolutely no way that Bolton will get the job," this official says. "Kelly doesn't need another power center in the White House and Mattis has a veto here and, believe me, he would veto Bolton. And why wouldn't he? Mattis is up to his neck in worrying about wars - the last thing he needs is another one." Link
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