CONCERN AT HOME & ABROAD THAT AMERICA HAS LOST IT WAY & VALUES.

By

Harry C. Blaney III

There is deep concern at home and abroad that America has lost it way and its values. The process of “de-construction” or really just destruction of our federal government is real as it seems that we are witnessing major attacks on a broad range of vital and needed programs that have been at the heart of decent and caring government that saves lives, provides for the “common good” and protects our nation from enemies within and without in a very high risk world made even more so by indifferent, spiteful and unbalanced president.

These destructive acts are now on going in our departments and agencies Clear existential dangers that have solutions are instead made worse deliberately by people who have no interests in the common good but very much have the aim to make the rich even richer at the expense of the middle class and poor. We see this in the destruction and non-enforcement of environmental laws and regulation at EPA, we see it at the Energy Department with the gutting of clean energy programs, and we see it in HHS with the forceful effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act which means that thousands of people will lose their life earlier and suffer from sickness than would be the case with decent medial care. The planed Trump efforts to decimate our National Monuments will destroy the beauty and grander of many of America’s key great natural wonders.

Globally, millions of our most vulnerable fellow inhabitants of this earth will die because of Trump brutal and mindless cuts in our assistance programs for food, Health care, medicine and clean water and education efforts to the most needed. This is like committing mass murder!

Undercover the GOP, with encouragement of the right wing media, the GOP Congress has largely gone along with these cuts like climate change research, new clean energy technologies, funding for adequate IRS oversight, massive cuts to EPA and for childhood education in public schools (where 90 of our children go), and on and on. But now we have attacks on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and putting more burdens on retired Federal workers by increasing their health contributions, retirement and other benefits and many other destructive goals. The decimation of our civil service is going on massively as part of a White House  and GOP strategy to eliminate any programs that actually do good for our citizens while expanding those that hurt our citizens.

A key problem is we need our citizens to have better education in order to tell lies from truth, science-based confirmed knowledge from denial of science truth. We also need a media that tells the truth and not repeats Trump’s world of lies and hates without question.

This however is all part of a larger far right or Alt-Right effort to destroy government for the people and by the people to make it a government that protects the very rich. How else can you assess the nefarious tax bill? For the State Department the cuts and gutting of its professional core reflect the desire to run our foreign policy only from the White House where “transactional deal”s can be made to benefit Trump, his family and his rich supporters. This has cost us the respect of the rest of the world. And provides crazily aid and support for some authoritarian states and our opponents.  But not of course help the American people or strengthen our national securit,y or friendship with our allies.

We welcome your comments! (See comments line to give your views.)

TRUMP’S ASTONISHING NATIONAL SECURITY RANT: AN EMBARRASSMENT BEYOND BELIEF.

By

Harry C. Blaney III

As I listened to the speech by Trump that was billed as a serious national security statement, it became very soon a nasty partisan campaign speech of self justification and harsh criticism of every one and especially our allies and those that did so much good for out nation in the past. It sounded a like he was taking revenge on all the wonderful things that were accomplished by others for our nation.

I wanted to run and hide and cringed as so many misstatements and the kind of half crazy petulance that only added to the fear and worry of those who looked for us to lead our international community towards solutions. But he has mostly increased even more to our dangers. Trump’s demand for more money from our allies, while cutting us off from trade and cooperation with others, along with belittling of international institutions that were the great creation after WW II for a more decent world, were signs of a bitter man doing harm to our constructive leadership.

Cooperation for him was simply grabbing all for us, and nothing for them. Not win-win but you lose was his byword. More hostility or “America First” rather than we are here on this common earth to make the entire world better.

Today’s so-called “National Security” speech by Donald Trump was plainly an embarrassment from start to finish. It was an irrational and nasty rant at the rest of the world. It was a denouncement of all that was good that other US leaders did, an attack on our allies, and not least a set of lies about all the wonderful things he has done to make “America great again.”

There was a glaring difference in both tone and substance between the official national security written strategy of 55 pages and much of Trump’s statements in his speech. The document contains some areas of serious policy analysis while Trump’s speech was often much like is irrational tweets and filled with self-praise for things he had no influence upon and just for his own greetness.

He ignored the issue of Russian interference in our elections. Indeed he had praise for Putin and what he call his help in sharing intelligence with Putin on possible terrorist attacks in St. Peterburg.

The document and to a degree Trump acknowledged the “great power rivals” and that Russia and China challenge “American influence, values, and wealth.” But his policies and words in his campaign and in office contradict that phrase regarding values. He had no specific understanding about what needed to be done about these difficult issues. Indeed his “destructive” approach at home and abroad have only exacerbated these potential challenges and lead to more conflict than cooperation.

The disconnects were bizarre with castigating of our friends and allies while the document acknowledges the value of working with our allies. Further, the main document was short on specific solutions often just pointing to problem areas or goals. His language seemed like an off the top confused campaign speeches and having little that is coherent, practical or even beneficial. Trump defaulted to more hate towards his critics and opponents….except for Putin. On China and Russia the document saw them as “strategic competitor.” But no solution for interfering in our elections.

There was also no acknowledgment of the need to act on climate change and none to deal with Russian political interference in US elections. And the repetitive statements of “America first” only increased the sense of our nation being sent off the rails on the global stage.

In reality he has made us a laughing stock. In my 50+ years of following national security statements and polices (and contributing to them), this was the worst ever and shows again Trump ignorance and that of his far right partisan supporters. They are a major danger to America’s constructive leadership and proved e confusion to the rest of the world.

In short, his speech gave no indication that he had learned anything in his time in office.

TRUMP’S IRAN NUCLEAR CATASTROPHE: A BLIND DESIRE TO DESTROY OUR SECURITY FRAMEWORK

By

Harry C. Blaney III,   DATE LINE: Berlin, Germany

The decision to undermine the Iran nuclear deal was sadly but another, albeit momentous, act of destruction of American and global security.  It is apiece with several other actions by Trump that are acts of destruction of key frameworks that support security, peace, justice and prosperity for our nation and for our entire earth and the people who share our fragile planet with us. That is how many European citizens and leaders are feeling and it undermines a global framework of cooperation and peace.

Here in Germany there is a deep fear of what Trump is doing to global security and indeed also unity and democracy here. His model is total destruction of all past structures that were created by anyone except himself. Most apparent is that he wishes to “deconstruct” anything that keeps the peace, respect human rights, supports international cooperation and serves the interest of common people at home and abroad. “America First” sounds not unlike here the Hitler’s similar “Germany Over all.”

In the case of the Trump unbelievable and stupid Iran deal rejection he is also making unhinged belligerent words and actions towards North Korea. It all looks like he is looking for war so as to deflect the move towards the dangers to him and his presidency of revelations and possible indictments of deals with Russia and obstruction of justice or simply his hate of all that is good. Many of his military advisors and civilian cabinet members have all said that the Iran nuclear deal is in American security interests, yet he seems to have chosen the likely path of catastrophic war in both cases.

In Europe there is near total agreement that the Nuclear deal is good for global security, has been adhered to by Iran, and the alternative is for possible immediate action by Iran to renounce the deal and start the move we to build its nuclear program without much limits. Contrary to some right-wing writers some real restrictions continue beyond the 10 years set by the Iran nuclear deal. Fortunately, America can’t unilaterally dissolve the deal since our European allies, EU, Russia and China support it. Europeans look in horror also at the reality that no agreements made now by America can be trusted. Those on the street and others in Berlin that I talked to are truly frightened by what they see in Trump’s actions which are totally contrary to American values and destabilizing of global peace.

Now it is up to the American Congress to act to either do Trump’s cruel bidding to destroy an agreement on which there is almost total support even by some that opposed it originally, or to keep our word and not vote for withdrawal but agreeing to Trump’s demand of imposing new sanctions when none are called for and which the Europeans can and will ignore. We should work via diplomacy on the outstanding issues we have with Iran. That has a much better chance to getting results than blind anger and the cost of war. We all need now to fight for that outcome as the alternative is mutual catastrophic harm for all.

We welcome your comments!!!

AFGHANISTAN: NOW TRUMP’S WAR: A QUAGMIRE, STILL WITHOUT AN END GAME STRATEGY

By,

Harry C. Blaney III

Trump Quote: “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.”

Once again we are entering a merciless mess in Afghanistan led by a man that has not the faintest idea of what he is doing other than sending added, yet unknown numbers, of American armed forces into conflict without even a true strategy or concept of making Afghanistan itself safe and having a chance to recover security and stability.

And by cutting out any “nation building” (that is support the civilian sector and giving its people hope for jobs, education, security and a better decent life), a purely military escalation is likely domed from the start.  And sadly this will be at the cost of many additional American, allied, and civilian lives.

Other than threats and platitudes against the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan for their seen failures which we have tried and tried again to correct and change, Trump offered no new hopeful approaches. Trump remains ignorant of the complexity and the deep ingrained habits of corruption, loyalty to tribes, fear of retribution, etc. Not least, also unaddressed is the embedded drug trafficking including the widespread growing of poppies which all sides greatly benefit from not least the terrorists, for which there is no sign we have any new effective solutions. Even if we had it would likely take decades and much resources to make the necessary changes on the ground even if the Afghan government were to become more honest and effective.

It has been 16 years of American war and massive costs under three administrations and we were not able to make right that poor and beleaguered nation burdened with conflict. Does any one think Trump, at his worst unbelievable behavior (note support for racists and the Phoenix unhinged diatribe today), now has the answer? Clearly, he has no different innovative ideas how to make peace in Afghanistan. And even worse, he has gutted our diplomatic capacity which might have helped towards the serious negotiations towards peaceful or less conflict solutions. Trump even had the temerity to say: “In the end we will win.”

He clearly has no end game other than killing the ISIS, Taliban and Al-Qaeda with an undetermined number of thousands of American troops. Having lived through and watched each administration grapple unsuccessfully with Afghanistan. Now even with the support of the military, clearly now neither the military nor Trump have any idea of a truly new approach. In fact, Trump’s approach is almost exactly what each previous administration tied from time to time and found wanting in any lasting success.

There was not a single sign that Trump or his advisors had better newer answers. Most troubling was his simplistic and even quixotic views on defeating terrorism. He lacks any interest even in proving the people of Afghanistan peace and true stability. There was perhaps another game plan but not to bring peace or security. That is rather simply the idea of saving his administration by becoming a “war president” and thus un-impeccable and un-touchable and diverting attention from the Trump-Putin investigation.

One fact which was not mentioned was the reality that these terrorist groups have learned to spread their activities to other at risk nations and also to regions like Europe, Asia and North America. Killing them in one country is only likely to see them spring up in others, perhaps with even more dangerous outcomes. All this threatened killing brings increased anger and haltered that are at the cause of their strength. Only indeed if we had a effective true strategy against the fundamental sources of terrorism and an effective “nation building” strategy, that could be fully carried implemented, we might address the critical reasons for the spread of terrorism and violence and reduce its impact.

We welcome your comments!!

 

RUSSIA’S PUTIN AND AMERICA’S TRUMP: A DISASTER TRAJECTORY FOR OUR NATION?

By

Harry C. Blaney III

We are coming closer and closer to some kind of determining of the trajectory of both the Trump regime at home and the direction and risks of the inherent divide between Putin’s Russia and its goals and Trump’s own goals or perhaps just incoherent daily utterances and thoughtless unknown schemes. For America this landscape is filled with unknowns and ever growing risks. If we continue as we have with Trump, the ending will likely be danger of more conflicts and with more calamities for both sides and the rest of the world.

For Trump, the world is closing in and his walls of defense are increasingly more desperate and self-contradictory. His efforts to change the direction of attention away from the Trump-Russian contacts and towards diversionary issues confirm his sense of vulnerability. This includes the intensity of his incoherent tweets and acts that indicate at least that he senses serious risk for him, his family and administration. He perhaps sees a point of final dangerous conclusion by the Special Counsel investigation and Congressional inquires.

To put the situation simply, the Trump “walls” are starting to crack (and we do not mean the non existent one on the Mexican border). All of this is solely due to Trump’s own nefarious behavior, his conflicting lies and those of his family and staff. Now we have proof of real collusion between Russian agents and the Trump family and staff according recent reported news on the now infamous Trump Tower meeting. This meeting was held clearly to work with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

The meeting was with a total of eight persons, some with questionable backgrounds. It was focused much more on helping Trump’s election than Trump Jr. reported to the public or US officials originally. The fundamental question that must be in the minds of those alert to the legal and national security implications is that of collusion. The recent revelation of this meeting and that lies were told about it includes the fact that Trump’s son and people were offered Russian government information as a key inducement. And Trump Jr., in response to the offer said that he would “love it.”  Trump Jr. did not put down initially all the people in the room for his security clearance. That in normal times would bar him from access to high level classified information.

The recent revelation of Trump’s “private” and unannounced meeting at the G-20 dinner for about an hour with Putin with only a Russia interpreter present and no American interpreter, has raised many serious questions, not least about Trump’s primary loyalty and judgement. This is, even more so, as it may have been planned earlier with Putin to assure no Americans would know what was agreed.  And we note that Putin had a briefing paper and pen at hand and Trump had nothing!

We have had no real readout of what was discussed at this lone bilateral. Further we initially had strained obstruction regarding getting information on the heart of this meeting by the White House staff.

I can assure all readers, as a former White House staffer and Member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, this was not normal if substance and deals were discussed and there was no planning or debate by officials on what Trump proposed. Efforts to make little of it only reinforce doubt. This was likely a very BIG DEAL! That there was no serious readout of the meeting only intensifies the feeling America may be sold out by our incompetent and unstable president. Does anyone who should be brief on this discussion really know what was agreed? Perhaps his family knows, or others in the White House or the Secretaries of State or Defense??? Or just the Russians?

One further question: is there other material, likely in the hands of the intelligence community or FBI, which should be shared with Special Counsel Robert Muller? If there is full sharing, we may see the start of far more serious inquires by the Special Counsel who already has asked to interview at least one member of that Trump Tower meeting and reportedly more.

At this time — with the President at the lowest point in public opinion polls and with a history of vitriol and lies in almost all that he does — the question is being asked if this nation can stand and be secure for the next three years with this individual and his “disruptive” family and staff. Not least in this regard Stephen Bannon with his Alt-Right views, seems increasingly to be behind some of the more cruel and hateful policies of this administration.

Some say impeachment is not possible with this GOP dominated Congress which itself says a lot about how our democracy has declined and the integrity of our elected GOP officials  as well. Think what the GOP would do if all this was done by a Democratic president? So many have been bought (literally in many cases), by dark wealthy forces wanting to undermine our democracy’s efforts towards fairness, equality, and justice for all. How many disasters will the GOP accept before acting?

Thus the issue is likely in the brave hands of the Special Counsel, the FBI and our overall justice system.  As Robert Mueller and staff examine the case for civil and criminal action against some in the highest levels in our land we many be able to discern who may have desecrated and shown they are disloyal to our constitution. We also need to thank some in the media who have exposed with courage much of the nefarious dealings of this administration.

We welcome your comments! (Click on title and comment section will be at end of post.)

DONALD TRUMP ABROAD: MORE DANGEROUS AND AN UNGUIDED MISSILE ABROAD AS AT HOME

By

Harry C. Blaney III

Donald Trump is soon again going abroad and if this trip is like that of his earlier Europe trip this Spring with considerable maladroit and indeed dangerous statements and behavior with our allies not least at NATO, then the coming journey seems to be not much better. As others have commented, Trump seems increasingly detached from reality and rationality and taken a turn towards irrational bullying and acting beyond normal. The leaders abroad have taken note!

This has already alarmed many Americans according to a recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll and another by Pew. One shows alarming lack of trust in Trump by Americans and another show decrease of respect by people abroad for America likely due to Trump’s behavior.

These polls are confirmed by a recent Quinnipiac University poll, where respondents were asked what word immediately came to mind when they thought of Donald Trump: The No. 1 response was “idiot.” This was followed by “incompetent,” “liar,” “leader,” “unqualified,” and finally, in sixth place was “president.” In addition, superlatives like “great” and a few unprintable names came down on the list.

Looking at his behavior and his words and impulses and the mean spirit that is behind his actions, raises questions of Trump’s stability which in turn diminishes America’s leverage abroad and respect.

Looking at the forth coming trip to Europe there are many pit falls and areas of sensitive issues and concerns in Europe. To say that Europeans are looking at this visit with some disturbing thoughts is an understatement. The key problem is some think Trump’s efforts will be to divide Europe and thereby strengthen Putin and Russian power in the region.

The first reason for this concern is that the initial meeting in Europe, little recognized by much of the media, is to an Easter European bloc of nations under the invitation largely of the far right wing and authoritarian and anti-EU government of Poland rule by the infamous Law and Justice (PiS) party.

In this First part of Trump’s trip is a meeting with a gathering of political leaders from Central Europe, Baltic states and the Balkans that has been called the “Three Seas Summit” which indicates the geographical range of its participating nations. While billed as an event convened by Poland to bolster regional trade and infrastructure within the group, others see it as a mechanism by Poland to create an Eastern Europe bloc against the Western European EU leadership and to weaken EU ties and unity and gain support against EU efforts to signal out Poland for its anti-democratic and human rights violations.

Brussels leaders view the July 6 meeting as a Polish bid to increase its influence vis-a-vis the European Union. The nationalist government has repeatedly clashed with the EU and Germany.. One report has a quote from a Brussels diplomat saying “One cannot but feel a bit suspicious if it isn’t an attempt to break up European unity”

 

So the Poland visit is filled with traps for long held American interests in keeping Europe united and committed to the EU, NATO and democracy and human rights. If Trump take this meeting as another opportunity to criticize the EU or NATO members over added payments for defense, it could end up being, as the earlier trip to Europe, becoming a new Trump debacle. His support for right wing racist and Fascists parties that oppose the EU is part of that concern.

The meeting in Hamburg Germany of the G-20 group of major nations this coming week is another opportunity for Trump ideally to unite the G-20 nations towards cooperation on trade and international financial issues and affirm American engagement towards co-operation. But much of the focus on the Hamburg visit is the side-bar meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin which as both American officials and the public are much concerned that Trump will act irrationally and with views against American security interests.

A face to face meeting could amount to nothing and be just pro-forma, but it could also be historic if dangerous “deals” are made without consulting his expert officials and without consultations with our allies. The background of this meeting is the investigation of Trump’s campaign associates in what may be collusion with Russia on sanctions over Ukraine or even the hacking of American election documents and efforts to push Trump for president and against Hillary Clinton as found by our intelligence agencies. In any case the meet is filled with foreboding.

One of the problems will be how the leaders of the Group of 20 will be looking for leadership from America and Trump. Will it be a stable leader with intent to share efforts that are beneficial for all sides or a confronting “America First” tawdry president who will only further the de-stabilization of our globe by his challenging sands and rejection of decades of coordination and shared interests with our friends or strange actions that further hurt American leadership?

Some have suggested that this trip is an effort to create a distraction (as some think is the case with the Trump effort against MSNBC’s Morning Jo affair), from the congressional and inquires into Trump and his associates dubious connections with Russian agents, lying under oath, and possible obstruction of justice. All of this seems to have unhinged Trump and made him vulnerable in the planned meeting with a more knowledgeable and experienced Putin. At this moment we do not know exactly the context or the issues they will discuss, but likely Syria, Iran, disengagement, North Korea, Ukraine, sanctions and efforts at disruptions of our elections and democracy.

Keep tuned and pray!

We welcome your comments.

CUBA AND TRUMP: MISGUIDED, VINDICTIVE AND DANGEROUSLY WRONG!

By,

Harry C Blaney III

There are few worst things that a president can do and it is to act out of personal spite and racist motivations, listen not to experts in the field, and not care if it hurts our nation or the real chances of moves towards a more opened and democratic society.

President Donald Trump on Friday announced a rollback of his predecessor’s policy engagement and seeking warming relations Cuba. Trump in a meeting said at a boisterous Miami crowd that “our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and for the United States of America.” In fact it is the worst deal, with few remaining key elements of Obama’s initiatives that would provide progress for people on both sides.

Cutting some key ties to Cuba is not the first action which has all these hallmarks sadly. Nor will it likely be the last since all decisions are made based on Trump’s basic stupidity and it seems desire to hurt others that do any good verses. Instead we see his own destructive acts to help a broad grouping authoritarian regimes and hurt our allies and mutual cooperation to make our world just a bit better.

One added cost is the further lost of respect and cooperation with Latin American nations.

But the one constant of much of his acts is his desire to undo anything that President Obama did that is good, helps our country, and contributes to the security and peace of our world. He wins the award for “The World’s Most Dangerous Man.” without much doubt.

In the case of Cuba Trump’s actions will not help democracy or justice in that nation more likely the opposite. Most Cuban Americans want to keep ties to Cuba. Those that are saying it did no good to open our links forget that we did not expect immediate change in the regime in Cuba, but already we did see more engagement and getting to know more about each other. The Cuban people are those that will lose the most from his blind action by Trump which is no more than petty vindictive. In any case our past policies of isolation and antagonism for decades were clearly counterproductive.

One irony is that there are far worse brutal dictatorships that Trump is happy to admire, welcome to the White House, and give assistance to. Our readers could easily name them! In reality it is called dirty narrow politics, in bending to the far right and vindictive Cubans, and not caring about the majority of Cubans that want badly more contact with family and recognize that change will come from contacts. It hurts American long term interests. Its name is hypocrisy and is also self-destructive.

We welcome your comments (see section below)