Wednesday, February 15, 2017

1 is the Loneliest Number

Under the influence of his son-in-law, Steve Bannon and Sheldon Adelson, Trump has abandoned the cornerstone of US policy in the MiddleEast.  Letting the parties decide whether they want a one, or two state, solution has superficial appeal.  But if the parties could reach resolution on their own, this would not be an intractable problem.

Absent a destabilizing military solution, Palestinians and their allies will never accept a one state answer.  Only a muscular mediator can bring the parties together, forcing Israel to accept a Palestinian State, and getting and guaranteeing Palestinian concessions.  But Trump has turned us into the 98 pound weakling getting MiddleEast sand kicked in his face.

Trump's stand isolates us from our allies in the region and in Europe.  The administration's shallow thinking, and bumpersticker mentality, undermine geopolitical stability.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Crazy GOP

In response to the mass murder of children at Sandy Hook and the loss of life in Orlando, Republicans desperately hunted for a rationale to ward off gun control legislation.  They hit upon mental illness.  Even progressives, while denying that Republicans had scored a bulls eye, had to acknowledge they hit the target.

But, Republicans seldom shoot straight. Even rank amateurs can draw a bead from GOP health care think tank proposals, through the platform of presidential candidate Bob Dole and the plan implemented by Romney in Massachusetts, directly to Obamacare.  Their proposal, when adopted by a Democratic president, was a weapon of mass destruction, threatening the economy and our way of life.

So it can come as no surprise that Republicans have voted that mental illness has no bearing on the right to bear arms.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fast and Furious

Trump's angry core supporters are cheering, as he autocratically races through his campaign promises, without the niceties of cabinet agency review, consultation with our allies, or even with the leaders of his own party.

With an inexperienced team going at excessive speeds, the rest of us shudder in horror at the bloody carnage.  Low paid TSA agents without proper guidelines, created havoc at airports, and generated ill will among the very Muslims that can help us fight terrorism.

Relations with key allies, Mexico and Australia are in shambles.  Navy Seals and civilians died in a poorly reviewed raid in Yemen.  A self proclaimed alt-right Leninist, has the pole in the national security grand prix.  Our "master negotiator" lifted a sanction against the Russian intelligence service, getting nothing in return.  Sad!

Incompetence transcends party and policy.  Democrats and responsible Republicans must slam on the brakes, before this country goes careening into the wall.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Bad Principals

The big news is not the refugee ban.  We knew it was coming.  Relying solely on his bungling band of brothers ensured a disorderly roll out of his executive order.  That incompetence has fortunately amplified the push back.  The ban poses a short and long term security threat by radicalizing Muslims.

But the greater threat is reconstituting the Principals Committee, the senior interagency committer for national security.  Ultra-nationalist, conspiracy theorist, Steve Bannon is in.  At the same time participation by the Director of National Security and the Head of the Joint Chief of Staff is limited.  The latter two, need to be included to have the broad picture necessary to protect this nation.

Bad principals, coupled with Trump's bad principles, imperil the security of the United States.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Donald Endangers Democracy

Elections have consequences.  Give a new president a chance and wish him well. These platitudes have power in a normal election.  Progressives can hardly expect to love a Republican agenda.  If my qualms with Trump were merely on policy grounds, I would hope for the best, and work politically, to fend off the worst.

Unfortunately, Trump is not a normal president.  Democracy in its purest form is a clash of ideas.  But the battlefield must be composed of a common set of facts.  Alternative facts and the conspiracy theories they foster, tear the fabric that unites America.  A plurality of Trump supporters believe that George Soros paid women to march on the 21st of January.  The president believes massive voter fraud deprived him of winning a majority of the popular vote.  You cannot argue with crazy.  Democracy suffers when discourse dies.

Equally troubling is the Russia connection.  First lets examine the facts.  Trump has had a campaign manager and foreign policy advisor with close ties to Putin and Russia,  His soon to be Secretary of State received the highest award that can be given to a non-Russian, directly from Putin.  Russia used information from cyberattacks to help Trump and to discredit Hillary.

Trump has taken pro-Russia and pro-Putin positions for no obvious reason.  He changed the plank in the platform supporting the Ukrainian efforts to fend off Russian attacks.  He has floated plans to remove sanctions on Russia and called NATO obsolete.  The pro-Putin stance is almost as unpopular with his supporters as it is with his detractors.  He gains nothing politically.  Trump has fired the senior State Department Officials best positioned to oppose a pro-Putin policy.  The fired four served under multiple presidents.  They were fired on no notice, without replacements ready.  One of the four was on a plane to Rome to attend a non-proliferation conference, and was ordered to turn the plane around and clean out his desk.

Whether it is emotional, financial, or even darker, Putin has an untoward influence over our President.  Absent tax returns, we cannot know if his enterprises our in debt to Russian oligarchs.  Then there is the dossier that alleges that Putin is able to blackmail Trump.  The dossier is not alternate news.  The source is a former British MI6 agent who  has been a reliable source.  The claims in the dossier may not be immediately verifiable.  They may be false.  But the terrible truth is they could be real, and would explain both Russian support of Trump's candidacy and Trump's strangely pro-Russian positions.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

T. Price is not Right

Rep. Tom Price is Trump's choice for Secretary of HHS.  Clearly if the price is right he will support legislation.  He has recently profited by buying stock shortly before voting for a bill specifically helping his new portfolio entrant.  Troubling, but if corruption was dis qualifying there would be no Trump presidency.

More pungent is his passion for contracting medical coverage.  His state of Georgia has among the highest rates of uninsured, and the worst healthcare outcomes for patients.  Tom wants to build on this success for the entire nation.  He has voted against any expansions coverage including the State Children's Healthcare Insurance Program that covered 6 million children.

We will pay a high price if this grim reaper controls the health and well being of all Americans.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

GOP Car Sellers

What would you do if a car salesman asked you to trade your car in, but would not show you the car you are buying?  Worse yet, he will not tell you the specifications, the cost or the delivery date.  Welcome to the GOP controlled government.

How can we evaluate the repeal of Obamacare without a peak at the replacement, if any.  Republicans have had 7 years to build the shiny new plan, but have failed.  Now they are rushing production with ill matched think tank spare parts.  Healthcare is a life or death decision.  Hardly something to be left in the grimy hands of partisan used car sellers.