Not a witch hunt

The following is an updated brief letter I sent to the editor of my newspaper. It has a 150 word limit. Please feel free to adapt and use.
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This independent and former GOP voter is troubled by members of my former party ignoring an obvious national security risk who resides in the White House. I watched a parade of honorable, dutiful and courageous public servants testify under oath at great risk. We must be concerned by a president seeking personal gain at the expense of national security.

We are already less trusted because our president is untrustworthy, but looking for personal gain with shadow diplomacy is wrong on so many levels. I support the impeachment hearings. So, should Republicans.
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If someone tells you the impeachment is a witch hunt, a funny response is if it is, then then president needs to get off his broom.

Letter to Senators on DoD report on Russian risk

Attached is a letter I posted in several Senators contact forms regarding the underreported story on a recent Department of Defense report. The report shared the DoD concerns of the threat to national security by growing Russian influence. This includes the purposeful influence in elections in western democracies like ours.

Dear Senator,

Recently, I read where the US Department of Defense wrote a report that Russian global influence expansion is a threat to our national security. Russian efforts include significant intrusion into US elections as well as that of other western democracies.

And, yet we have a president and senate leader who don’t seem to share the concerns of the DoD. In fact, the late Senator John McCain described what the president did in Helsinki to acquiesce to Putin over the findings of US intelligence people as shameful.

The Mueller report reiterates the Russians influenced our election and will do so again. But, the president was flippant at a recent press conference in asking Putin to not interfere. This requires seriousness of purpose.

As an American citizen, I am weary of all of this. What will it take for the Senate to act? The House has made an effort and it is now the Senate’s turn. We must have secure elections. It matters not if the president’s feelings get hurt if the Senate pursues this. I also feel the senate leader is doing a disservice to our country by blocking these efforts.

Please act to secure our elections and prevent undue Russian influence. People speak in future tense, but the Russians have likely already started interfering in the 2020 elections.

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I also read today how many members of Congress have not read the Mueller report. This is why what the Attorney General did in his summary was a disservice to the country. This issue of Russian interference is of paramount importance.

Stuck in the mud

The week moves forward, yet two big democratic countries are stuck in the mud. That seems to be as good a metaphor as any to define how political leaders can become the problem rather than solving it.

Across the pond, Parliament firmly knows what they don’t want, but does not know what they can achieve given a hard-bargaining EU. Brexit was sold on faulty data and now the British are headed to a departure without agreement – a hard Brexit. The other option that will likely unfold is another Brexit vote, since politicians seemingly cannot work together. That would lead to a remain vote, in my view as the younger folks would turn out.

In the US, we are coming up on four weeks of a shutdown. Ironically. Republican leaders did not want this, but their boss reneged on a deal and they are forced to go along. What I find interesting that is not getting any play, is the reversal of roles. Previously, it is the boss of the federal government who wants to keep workers working. In this instance, the boss is not going to bat for his employees. Why is that not discussed more? There is a deal to be had, but negotiating with someone who does not use good faith bargaining is not fruitful.

Speaking of less than good faith dealing, the President’s attorney Rudy Guiliani said yesterday that people in the Trump campaign may have colluded with Russia, but the President did not. Next, he lied to the astonished interviewer saying the he nor the President ever said no one on the campaign did. That is obviously disproven by multiple instances of full and adamant denial. It is similar to Trump and Giuliani saying the President had no knowledge of hush payments to Stormy Daniela, only to change that position multiple times.

Stuck in the mud. Brexit, the US shutdown and now the US President. His deception keeps pulling him back into the quagmire. Unfortunately, he is dragging the GOP, America and the rest of the world with him.

 

 

 

 

A military term defines the White House – SNAFU

People who have served in the military have a unique language to define poor management of situations. Borrowing from their vernacular, they might define the modus operandi of the current White House as a SNAFU. The first three letters reference “Situation Normal All,” with the last two letters referencing a more colorful way of defining “screwed up.”

Last year, conservative columnist David Brooks defined the White House as “equal parts chaos and confusion.” It has gotten increasingly worse over time with rampant turnover and turmoil, but now it is in full meltdown mode. The last grown up has announced his resignation – General James Mattis.

To be frank, I have viewed the biggest threat to national security to be Donald J. Trump. Now, my concerns have heightened. The last of the defense filters will be leaving and we will be left with an even more unfettered, mercurial and uninformed man calling the shots.

I would encourage people to read “Fear” by two-time Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Bob Woodward. It is based on over 750 hours of taped interviews with White House personnel. It defines Trump as an unhinged man who does not have the patience or willingness to listen to others or know the details of any issue. Narcissists like to he told they are right, so sycophants who know this, get the President’s ear and he closes others out.

The first key takeaways from the book is Trump’s lack of good faith dealing with others regardless of rank. His word means nothing and he will demean anyone who openly disagrees with him. In business, this is a ominous management style. If you don’t want to know the truth, then any decision will prove problematic. Time and again, people went to great pains to brief him, only to have him ridicule them and the process.

The second is the recognition by everyone that the President is untruthful. There are several colorful ways that people defined this, but the cleanest version came from former National Economic Advisor Gary Cohn who simply said Trump is a “professional liar.”

As the various investigations heat up further and get closer to Trump, he will become further unhinged. And, he will make more impulsive decisions to either appease his base or distract the media. Plus, many of his decisions are based on bumper-sticker assessments of problems and simplistic solutions. When this transactional view is combined with his lack of respect for allied relationships, we end up in a worse place.

The rashness of decisions will be less tempered without Mattis. The President does not understand or appreciate what it takes to execute decisions. The Syria withdrawal caught everyone by surprise and went against the advice of others. But, one thing is for certain, the echo effect has not been fully vetted. Just this morning, I heard the Kurds will have to release 3,000 ISIS prisoners as they have nowhere to keep them. Yet, this is just one example of not studying a problem and getting input from others (think travel ban fiasco that was pulled after two days).

As I shared with Senators by email, this will get worse as the noose tightens. The SNAFU descriptions may undersell the amount of chaos, confusion and imcompetence. This frightens me.