OUR HAWKISH ‘WORLD WAR T’ ELITES: On transgender bathroom access in schools, ruling class waging war on common sense. To mash-up Donald Rumsfeld, Thomas Sowell, and Hillary Clinton, when you’re the anointed, you go to war against the deplorables you have.
George Packer, The New YorkerWhenever I think of H. R. McMaster, President Trump’s choice to be his national-security adviser, I picture him throwing a football with his soldiers on a muddy field outside Tal Afar, Iraq. His pale head is clean-shaven, and he has a boyish grin on his thickly lined face, as if he knows he’s in trouble but doesn’t really mind. That was in early 2006, at a dark moment in the Iraq War. Colonel McMaster had spent the first two years of the war at Central Command under General John Abizaid, trying to get their boss, Donald Rumsfeld, the Defense Secretary, to acknowledge that...
“I’ve never seen anything quite like” Trump’s approach to national security, says a former counterterrorism adviser to three presidents.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like” Trump’s approach to national security, says a former counterterrorism adviser to three presidents.
Last week’s raid was an embarrassing and costly failure—in the context of a much larger one.
В Украине часть политического класса поспешила забронировать себе места у барского стола, за которым президенты Дональд Трамп и Владимир Путин, возможно, займутся переделом мира, и где Украина окажется среди главных блюд, чтобы успеть подхватить остатки. […]
Like what you read below? Sign up for HUFFPOST HILL and get a cheeky dose of political news every evening! Today is President Obama’s last full day in office, and Joe Biden’s last chance to wink and make finger guns at all the White House presidential portraits. Donald Trump wants to abolish the National Endowment for the Arts ― and here we thought him appointing the guy who creating that painting of Obama golfing while the world explodes would be the worst possible outcome for the agency. And the military denied the transition missile launchers and tanks for a military parade, a slight Trump’s people will surely remember if the military ever asks for Lee Greenwood or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to undertake a black ops mission. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, January 19th, 2017: DEAR LEADER NOT GETTING THE INAUGURATION HE WANTED - Christ almighty, at least throw in some t-shirt cannons in the mix. If there’s one thing we thought this president would bring, it’d be more t-shirt cannons. Jessica Schulberg: “During the preparation for Friday’s transfer-of-power, a member of Trump’s transition team floated the idea of including tanks and missile launchers in the inaugural parade, a source involved in inaugural planning told The Huffington Post. ‘They were legit thinking Red Square/North Korea-style parade,’ the source said, referring to massive military parades in Moscow and Pyongyang, typically seen as an aggressive display of muscle-flexing. The military, which traditionally works closely with the presidential inaugural committee, shot down the request, the source said. Their reason was twofold. Some were concerned about the optics of having tanks and missile launchers rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue. But they also worried that the tanks, which often weigh over 100,000 pounds, would destroy the roads.” [HuffPost] Reminder: The roads and Metro are going to be all $*ed up. TRUMP RUNNING OUT OF TIME TO BACK OUT - He’s here. Philip Rucker and John Wagner: “President-elect Donald Trump arrived in Washington with flair on Thursday, formally launching the inaugural festivities that will lead to his swearing in as the nation’s 45th president on Friday…. ‘We have by far the highest IQ of any cabinet ever assembled,’ Trump said in a characteristically grandiose declaration before several hundred supporters, lawmakers and allies at an official luncheon.” [WaPo] Trump is super-unpopular. We’ve never really seen anything like this for a new president. The National Archives today published the letters Bill Clinton and George W. Bush wrote to their successors. OBAMA PROVED NOT TO BE SUPERHUMAN - Sam Stein: “On a frigid day in January 2009, after the chief justice of the Supreme Court bungled the oath of office, Barack Obama delivered his inaugural address to a crowd of millions and implored them to understand the gravity of the moment. The time for ‘recriminations and worn-out dogmas’ had ended, the president declared, in a nod to the bitter campaign that had just concluded and the crumbling U.S. economy he was inheriting. ‘We remain a young nation. But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.’ Eight years later, the economy has improved. But those childish things very much remain, and they have clouded Obama’s swan song in office and complicated his legacy.” [HuffPost] Obama pens letter on the non-closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay: “[H]istory will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism and those of us who fail to bring it to a responsible end.” [HuffPost’s Ryan J. Reilly] CHAFFETZ SKIPPED MEETING WITH ETHICS WATCHDOG - This time he means it, though. Dana Liebelson: “ Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, told reporters last week that a government ethics official who had criticized President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to deal with his potential conflicts of interest refused to meet with him. Chaffetz even threatened to subpoena the official, Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub. ‘This is not going to be an optional exercise,’ Chaffetz said. But it was Chaffetz who missed a previously discussed meeting in early December, according to Office of Government Ethics emails The Huffington Post obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. And the ethics office now says the congressman is trying to keep an upcoming meeting — proposed for Jan. 23 — closed to the public.” [HuffPost] MNUCHIN LEFT OUT MASSIVE AMOUNT OF ASSETS IN DISCLOSURES - Y’know what they say, a beach house here, a beach house there… Alan Rappeport: “Steven T. Mnuchin, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s pick to be Treasury secretary, failed to disclose nearly $100 million of his assets on Senate Finance Committee disclosure documents and forgot to mention his role as a director of an investment fund located in a tax haven, an omission that Democrats said made him unfit to serve in one of the government’s most important positions. The revelation came hours before Mr. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker, began testifying on Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee, which has historically been bipartisan in its demands for transparency from nominees. Mr. Mnuchin was ready to outline his vision for the economy and defend himself against claims that he headed a bank that ran a ‘foreclosure machine’ during the financial crisis.” [NYT] Like HuffPost Hill? Then order Eliot’s new book, The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide To Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It’s free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to [email protected] Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill RICK PERRY WILL TAKE YOUR POWER, THANK YOU VERY MUCH - Remember how Rick Perry was going to be the 2012 Republican presidential nominee? Kate Sheppard: “Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he no longer wants to eliminate the Cabinet department he now wants to lead. At his confirmation hearing Thursday, Perry said the remarks he made while running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2011 ― which included vowing to abolish the Energy Department and forgetting its name ― ‘do not reflect my current thinking.’ ‘After being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination,’ Perry told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in his opening remarks. Democrats on the committee probably won’t let Perry forget his previous views, however. Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, the ranking Democrat on the panel, mentioned it in her own opening statement. ‘I suspect that now having had a chance to learn about the importance of this department, you have a very different opinion,’ she said.” [HuffPost] Who says Congress is boring? “Referring to a private meeting they’d had earlier, Franken (D-Minn.) asked Perry, ‘Did you enjoy meeting me?’ Without a trace of irony, Perry replied, ‘I hope you’re as much fun on that dais as you were on that couch.’ After the crowd erupted in laughs, Perry quickly backtracked. ‘May I rephrase that?’ he said. ‘I think we’ve found our ‘Saturday Night Live’ sound bite.’ ‘Oh my lord,’ Franken replied. ‘Let’s move on.’” [HuffPost’s Alana Horowitz Satlin] FIRE UP THE TACO BOWL, BOYS - Not to fret, we’re sure Alberto Gonzalez will be making plenty of visits to advise how best to remove political enemies. Elise Foley: “Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that Latinos shouldn’t be worried that President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet will be the first in decades to lack a Latino member ― they should be more concerned with whether he’s picking ‘the best and the brightest.’ Trump announced his pick for the next agriculture secretary, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), Thursday morning. It was the last open spot in his largely white, male proposed Cabinet, and the last chance for Trump to include a Latino in his Cabinet, as every president has done since 1988. Spicer responded to a question about Latinos on the Cabinet by pointing to other non-Latino minorities in the Cabinet and arguing against looking at one group rather than diversity in general, which he said will likely be ‘second to none’ under Trump.” [HuffPost] FROM THE SAME PARTY THAT GUTTED AN ETHICS OFFICE ON ITS FIRST DAY OF WORK COMES… Austin Wright and Martin Matishak: “Sen. Mark Warner couldn’t believe what his Republican counterpart on the Senate Intelligence Committee had just done. With no advance notice, Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) declared to reporters that his panel wouldn’t look into possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Moscow as part of its investigation of Russian interference in the election. So Warner, a Virginia Democrat who is the panel’s ranking member, promptly enlisted every Democrat on the committee to oppose Burr’s move and presumably boycott the investigation if he didn’t reverse himself, according to congressional sources. Barely 24 hours later, Burr issued a lengthy statement backtracking on his own comments. The committee would indeed examine ‘links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns’ as part of its larger election-hacking probe, Burr wrote in a joint statement with Warner.” [Politico] TRUMP NOMINEES NOT HELD TO STANDARD SCRUTINY - Paul Blumenthal and Christina Wilkie: “Three of President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees for Cabinet positions on Wednesday revealed that they had engaged in illegal or questionable behavior that prior administrations have considered serious enough to necessitate a nominee’s withdrawal. Taken together, the disclosures by Wilbur Ross, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) offered a likely preview of a presidential administration that appears confident in its ability to cross legal and ethical boundaries without consequences…. After President Bill Clinton came to the White House, he had to withdraw two nominees for attorney general after it came to light that they employed undocumented household workers. In 1993, corporate lawyer Zoe Baird withdrew her nomination after it was revealed she employed two undocumented Peruvian workers and failed to pay their payroll taxes. Clinton’s next choice to head the Department of Justice, federal judge Kimba Wood, had also employed an undocumented household worker. She too withdrew her nomination. In 2001, President George W. Bush chose Linda Chavez to head the Department of Labor, but she also withdrew after it was revealed she’d sheltered an undocumented woman from Guatemala in the 1990s who was trying to escape an abusive relationship.” [HuffPost] WE JUST CAN’T WITH THIS - ajkdsfj;wuhgiy Nick Wing: “Corey Lewandowski, the onetime Donald Trump campaign manager turned K Street swamp dweller, is shocked and appalled that a Democratic congressman would challenge his former boss’ legitimacy…. ‘Can you imagine just for a second if a Republican congressman would have gone out and said this about Barack Obama and continued that narrative?’ said Lewandowski. ‘It would be an uproar in the mainstream media.’ … Lewandowski apparently has a short memory when it comes to the GOP’s treatment of Obama…. For months, Trump questioned whether Obama was actually born in the United States, alleging the president’s birth certificate was forged and that there had been a massive, even deadly, conspiracy to hide this information from the public. [HuffPost] PRESIDENT COMMUTES 330 SENTENCES ON FINAL FULL DAY - We’re sure he’s saving his Hillary pardon for the last hour. Ryan J. Reilly and Elise Foley: “President Barack Obama shortened the sentences of 330 federal prisoners on Thursday, less than 24 hours before Donald Trump takes office. With Thursday’s announcement, Obama has now granted commutations to 1,715 federal prisoners. A HuffPost review of Thursday’s list indicates that all of those 330 clemency cases were for drug or drug-related cases. Obama’s announcement followed the Tuesday commutations of the sentences of Chelsea Manning and of more than 200 federal prisoners charged with drug offenses.... Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who will soon become acting attorney general, said in a statement that the Office of the Pardon Attorney had processed 16,000 petitions since April 2014, what she said was ‘as enormous as it was unprecedented.’” [HuffPost] SURELY, ‘HAMILTON’ CAN FIX THIS, SOMEHOW - Or maybe the cast of “Glee,” surely that will do it. Alexander Bolton: “Donald Trump is ready to take an ax to government spending. Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned. The changes they propose are dramatic…. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely. Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.” [The Hill] CAN’T WAIT TO VISIT EXXONMOBIL’S GRAND CANYON X-PERIENCE®! And who hasn’t thought what Yellowstone is missing is a mining camp in the middle of it? Heather Hansman: “In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens…. Essentially, the revised budget rules deny that federal land has any value at all…. [T]he first places to come under attack might include areas adjacent to the majestic Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Those areas hold uranium and copper, respectively.” [The Guardian] BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a slow-motion corgi. OH, GOOD, MORE OF THIS - The far-right really needs their own Donald Rumsfeld whom they can bother. Jessica Sidman: “A group of anti-gay demonstrators holding signs that say ‘homo sex is sin’ and ‘judgment is coming’ have assembled outside Comet Ping Pong, the Chevy Chase pizzeria that’s been the victim of harassment and a gunman incident over the conspiracy theory known as Pizzagate. The group, calling themselves the ‘Official Street Preachers,’ have been harassing passersby and customers over megaphones, calling them ‘wicked perverts’ and ‘sinners.’” [Washingtonian] COMFORT FOOD - Dog is bad at catch. - Some of the best spoofs of Trump’s speech preparation photo. - Slow-motion video of a combustion engine. TWITTERAMA @cwarzel: if u had told me President Elect Donald Trump would hang his head in reverence to 3 Door’s Down “Here Without You” @ Lincoln Memorial i woul @ashleyfeinberg: how are they going to get a tanning bed into the white house without anyone noticing @Trollin_Trump: I’m pissed @3doorsdown canceled their show at Applebee’s this Friday to do the inauguration Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson ([email protected]) -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
The Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday overwhelmingly recommended retired Marine Gen. James Mattis be the next defense secretary.The vote, conducted during a closed-door meeting, was 26-1. The only senator opposing Mattis was Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.Mattis’ nomination, when it's officially made on Friday by the new president, Donald Trump, still must be confirmed by the full Senate.Mattis, who was head of the U.S. Central Command, retired in 2013. He required a waiver to serve as defense secretary since he hasn't been out of uniform for at least seven years. Congress already has approved the waiver, though it still must be signed into law by the president.Gillibrand was one of three Democrats to oppose the Mattis waiver in committee and the only one to also vote against him Wednesday.“Sen. Gillibrand voted 'no' on Gen. Mattis’ confirmation in committee today because she believes civilian control of the military is fundamental,” her spokesman, Marc Brumer, said in a statement.While the committee acted before Mattis has officially been nominated, there is some precedent for it.In 2001, the Senate Armed Services panel advanced Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary on Jan. 19, one day before Inauguration Day, when he was confirmed by the full Senate.Mattis earned bipartisan support from senators during his confirmation hearing last week, and the committee voted on his waiver 24-3 immediately after his hearing concluded.The retired four-star general is one of several members of Trump’s national security team expected to be confirmed on Inauguration Day, including retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to be homeland security secretary and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to be CIA director.Part of the reason for advancing Mattis out of committee before Inauguration Day is the sheer logistics of getting enough senators on the panel in one place for a vote during what will be a chaotic time at the Capitol on Friday, particularly with large crowds and increased security.
Harry J. Kazianis Security, Asia What if Bush stood firm during the EP-3 crisis? What if…? The never-ending question foreign policy practitioners here in Washington love to ask. And it seems like these days we have many reasons to be asking it, given the sheer amount of anniversaries we’ve been looking back on just in the last few months, not to mention the momentous events in our own time. Some examples: What if the Soviet Union never fell? What if Japan never attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor? What if Donald Trump had lost the election? The list can go for miles without end. But there is one what-if that has been stuck in my craw for the last few weeks: What if President George W. Bush had much tougher in his response during the EP-3 Crisis of 2001? What if he had listened to other voices who were whispering into his ear — people like Donald Rumsfeld, for example, who were pushing for a tougher line on Beijing? In light of what can be only be charitably described as Chinese adventurism in the East and South China Seas, and renewed pressure on Taiwan in recent years, it is worth exploring if a tough stand early enough during the period of China’s so-called “peaceful rise” would have made any difference. The Incident: On April 1, 2001, a US EP-3 surveillance plane cruising 70 miles off the coast of China was carrying out what Washington considered to be routine intelligence gathering. However, China had made it well known it considered such flights, in what is international airspace, anything but routine — rather, it viewed them as a violation of the country’s sovereignty, a stance held by Beijing to this day. Forty-four flights had already been intercepted that year, but this time things would turn tragic. While both sides finger the other as the guilty party, most in the US intelligence and defense communities argue that a Chinese pilot simply ventured too close in his intercept and flew into one of the EP-3’s propellers. Tragically, the Chinese plane crashed into the sea, costing the pilot his life. The American surveillance aircraft, badly damaged, had to make an emergency landing. The only place that could conceivably work: Hainan Island…in China. The Initial Response: Read full article
**Adam Tooze**: _[USA: Goodbye to the American Century]_: "The rise and fall of US hegemony. Or Donald Trump and the sunset of American hegemony... >...The American Century is over. We can tell, not only because the Americans have elected a ludicrous President, but because, for all his nationalist braggadocio, Trump’s...
Tim Taylor: Narrative Economics and the Laffer Curve: Robert Shiller delivered the Presidential Address for the American Economic Association on the subject of "Narrative Economics" in Chicago on January 7, 2017. A preliminary version of the underlying paper, together with...
Don't think the fad for "draining the swamp" began on the campaign trail with Donald Trump. It didn't, although the "swamp" to be drained in the days after the 9/11 attacks wasn't in Washington; it was a global one. Of course, that's ancient history, more than 15 years old. Who even remembers that moment, though we still live with its fallout -- with the hundreds of thousands dead and the millions of refugees, with Islamophobia and ISIS, with President-elect Trump, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, and so much more? In the never-ending wake of one of the most disastrous wars in American history, the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, it's hard to imagine any world but the one we have, which makes it easy to forget what the top officials of the Bush administration thought they would accomplish with their "Global War on Terror." Who remembers now just how quickly and enthusiastically they leapt into the project of draining that global swamp of terror groups (while taking out the Taliban and then "decapitating" the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein)? Their grandiose goal: an American imperium in the Greater Middle East (and later assumedly a global Pax Americana). They were, in other words, geopolitical dreamers of the first order. Barely a week after 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was already swearing that the global campaign to come would "drain the swamp they live in." Only a week later, at a NATO meeting, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz insisted that, "while we'll try to find every snake in the swamp, the essence of the strategy is draining the swamp [itself]." By the following June, in a commencement address at West Point, President George W. Bush would speak proudly of his administration's desire to drain that swamp of "terror cells" in a staggering "60 or more countries." Like Washington for Donald Trump, it proved the most convenient of swamps to imagine draining. For the top officials of the Bush administration launching a global war on terror seemed like the perfect way to change the nature of our world -- and, in a sense, they weren't wrong. As it happened, however, instead of draining swamps with their invasions and occupations, they waded into one. Their war on terror would prove an unending disaster, producing failed or failing states galore and helping to create the perfect atmosphere of chaos and resentment in which Islamic extremist groups, including ISIS, could thrive. It also changed the nature of the U.S. military in a way that most Americans have yet to come to grips with. Thanks to that permanent war across the Greater Middle East and later Africa, a secretive second military of startling proportions would essentially be fostered inside the existing U.S. military, the still-growing elite forces of Special Operations Command. They were the ones who, at least theoretically, would be the swamp drainers. TomDispatch regular Nick Turse has long been following their development and their increasingly frenetic deployment globally -- from, as he reports today, an already impressive 60 countries a year in 2009 to a staggering 138 countries in 2016. Those special operators would train and advise allied armed forces, while launching raids and drone strikes against terrorists across a significant part of the planet (including, of course, taking out Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011). In the process, they would be institutionalized in ever more ways, even as the terror groups they were fighting continued to spread. Perhaps you could say that they didn't so much drain the swamp as swamp the drain. Today, as we approach the new era of Donald Trump, in "The Year of the Commando," Turse offers his latest report on their rise and possible future. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
5 декабря с.г. Апелляционный суд США по 9-му округу (Западное побережье) подтвердил, что 12 декабря состоятся устные слушания по делу «Салех против Буша». Председательствовать будут судьи Сюзан Грейбер, Эндрю Хорвитц и Ричард Бульвэр.
Tedo Japaridze Security, Eurasia Europe cannot go back to being divided into spheres of influence. In the 1990s Europe was coming together, politically, economically and institutionally. That was a project associated with the emergence of the United States as the last remaining superpower. One generation down the line, leaders as diverse as Donald Rumsfeld and Angela Merkel agreed that “the West” is no longer a geographic specification. The Euro-Atlantic “community” refers to nations that opt for certain kinds of sovereignty, values, norms and institutions. We live in societies with open markets, a democratic level playing field, rule of law and freedom of speech. And we defend them together. One thing is certain: Europe cannot go back to being divided into spheres of influence, for practical rather than ideological reasons. Location and Governance Georgia is a European democracy, with checks and balances, an electoral level playing field, the rule of law and the freest media landscape in Eastern Europe. On the foundations of strong institutions and political accountability, the country develops an attractive economic narrative. Located between emerging and developed economies, Central Asia and Southeastern Europe, the Caspian and the Black Seas, Georgia is attractive because it facilitates all kinds of flows: data, energy, talent, goods and services. Georgia’s comparative advantage is location, but its location is relevant because of governance. Situated at the tip of the ancient Silk Road, Georgia is contributing to its reanimation. Tbilisi has concluded a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU, preferential trade agreements with the United States and Japan, and is nearing the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement with China. Beyond market access, Georgia offers one of the easiest places to do business in the world, with low regulations and a low taxation regime. Increasingly, the software matches the hardware, with private investment in state-of-the-art infrastructure, in transport and logistics, energy, tourism and human resources. Read full article
**Understanding Trump: Even the Good Scenario Is Bad:** Q: Are we in Europe misunderstanding Trump? A: The non-legislative powers of the president are extremely large. Thus the risks of disaster-from-incompetence are quite high--even leaving to one side the chance of a Berlusconi bunga-bunga governance kleptocratic orgy... Some people do have...