What Happened To Foreign Policy?

I am a foreign policy wonk and spend a lot of time on international issues when not writing about the most broken political system this country has seen in a very long time.

It is not secret that I am not a fan of Trump’s foreign policy….to be honest there were some decisions he made that I agreed with but then he would walk back that decision and he lost me again.

So it leads me to ask….what has happened to our foreign policy?

President Trump campaigned and was elected on an anti-neocon platform: he promised to reduce direct US involvement in areas where, he believed, America had no vital strategic interest, including in Ukraine. He also promised a new détente (“cooperation”) with Moscow.

And yet, as we have learned from their recent congressional testimony, key members of his own National Security Council did not share his views and indeed were opposed to them. Certainly, this was true of Fiona Hill and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Both of them seemed prepared for a highly risky confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, though whether retroactively because of Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea or for more general reasons was not entirely clear.

How did this unusual and dysfunctional situation come about? One possibility is that it was the doing and legacy of the neocon John Bolton, briefly Trump’s national security adviser. But this doesn’t explain why the president would accept or long tolerate such appointees.

https://outline.com/AtAq2z

Part of the problem, other than the president’s temperament, is the country is losing many lifetime diplomats and DoD members…people that put our foreign policy to work…..

This month, December, we will lose 5 of the top people at DoD….

Since Dec. 5, the following officials have tendered their resignations:

  • Tina Kaidanow, senior advisor for international cooperation.
  • Kari Bingen, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence.
  • Randall Schriver, assistant defense secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs.
  • Jimmy Stewart, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
  • Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Separately, Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired then-Navy Secretary Richard Spencer on Nov. 24. Esper later told reporters he was “flabbergasted” to learn that Spencer went behind his back to try to negotiate a deal to allow Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher retire with his trident.

https://taskandpurpose.com/pentagon-leaders-resign

Brookings is  tracking the losses from the Trump admin……

The rate of turnover among senior level advisers to President Trump has generated a great deal of attention. Below, we offer four resources to help measure and contextualize this turnover. The first set of resources tracks turnover among senior-ranking advisers in the executive office of the president (which does not include Cabinet secretaries), whereas the second set of resources tracks turnover in the Cabinet.

Tracking turnover in the Trump administration

Finally. the Trump admin has NOT lost the last of the top advisers in State or DoD…..

2020 will be very telling on the direction this country will travel in the next decade….our foreign policy is no longer a stable instrument for international situations….chaos has replaced stability.

Will we continue to be the joke at international cocktail parties?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

What Happened To Fiscal Conservatism?

Ever since I can remember in my voting life there have been those fiscal conservatives and justn the other day I woke up and realized that they are a dying breed in the age of Trump.

Before you start wandering around the living room talking to yourself…..I feel I need to refresh those people on the definition of a fiscal conserv……

Fiscal conservatism is the belief that the economy functions best with minimal governmental influence. Fiscal conservatives often support lower taxes and less regulations (laws and rules on how a business is allowed to operate). They are proponents of free-market capitalism – the belief that capital (usually defined as money) is best allocated without government direction. Fiscal conservatives believe that individuals and companies can best respond to the demands of consumers, instead of a government bureaucrat. For example, fiscal conservatives oppose socialized medicine, where the government decides how much doctors make, what treatments are allowed, and millions of other decisions. Instead, fiscal conservatives believe that competition between doctors, hospitals, clinics, and pharmaceutical companies will produce the lowest-cost, highest-quality care.

Supporters of fiscal conservatives can have different names and comprise different groups. Most fiscal conservatives are members of the Republican Party, although some may be members of the Libertarian Party. They may consider themselves Tea Party members, libertarians (ideologically, not the political party), or capitalists. They may be entrepreneurs or managers of businesses. Or they may come from any number of occupations but in general support limited government.

I remember for the last 40 years or so all the doom and gloom that these people predicted if we did not get our spending under control…..and yet these same garden slugs are letting Trump spend his ass off.

Is fiscal conservatism dead?

For now it is…..

The year was 2010, and the congressman-elect was Mick Mulvaney, then a 43-year-old restaurateur and developer who rode the tea party wave during President Obama’s first term to defeat 14-term incumbent Democrat John Spratt and be the first Republican to represent South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District since 1883.

The “GOP Young Gun” ran a campaign platform focused on fiscal discipline — harping on the then-$13 trillion national debt, rampant government spending and growth, and the mandates under the Affordable Care Act that conservatives saw as anything but affordable. Mulvaney wasn’t so different from many of his freshman contemporaries, who sought to scale back a Washington that was, as they saw it, spending out of control, if not spending itself out of existence, and burdening future generations with impossible promises.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-happened-to-the-party-of-fiscal-discipline/

The more time passes the more that it looks like fiscal conservatism is only applicable when there are Dems in charge….if so then what I thought all along….it is all a lie.

But not to worry…..these spending giants will once again revert back to the lie of fiscal conservatism.

A naked lie!

One of the ways that Republicans demonstrate that they are the “post-truth” party is that, when Democrats are in office, they prioritize federal deficit reduction, but when they’re in charge, the deficit soars. Right on cue, the Wall Street Journal reported back in October that the federal deficit was about to reach $1 trillion.

It is all a lie….just a slogan for elections and the sentiment is quickly forgotten…..typical GOP thinking.

Learn Stuff!

“lego ergo scribo”

Left Wing Populism?

Just A Thought From The Desk of the Old Professor

The word “Populism” has found a new home in American politics with the election of Trump and the candidacy of Sanders on the Left.

Thing is not many people understand the term “Populism”……

My argument is about the strategic use of populism on the left. This strategy is relatively new, since in most countries, starting with France, the term populism has been used, first, against the surge of far-right xenophobia, and second, by a sort of contagion, against the critical left. In fact, in the last few years, the radical critique of neoliberal policies in Europe has often been dismissed in these terms: either you supported neoliberal Europe or you were accused of being a populist. This is why anti-immigration policies in neoliberal Europe are never labelled ‘populist’. What’s new is that parties on the left, in particular Podemos in Spain and La France Insoumise in my own country, are trying to turn things around and reverse the stigma. The attempt to reclaim this label for the left defines what I call today’s ‘populist moment’. Many have come to the conclusion that this is good politics. And my question is: is it really? In my essay, and in various discussions since, I have left out any personal distaste for this rhetoric: the point is not whether one likes populism or not. I have tried to enter the logic of those whom I criticise. I argue in strategic terms, since this is how the question has been framed. Is it a good strategy? Does it work?

Left-wing populism

But Sanders candidacy some say it was just a fluke because of who was thew front runner in 2016 and that his style of populism will not play any further….

A growing number of pundits and academics now believe that left-wing populism is the best strategy for returning the left to power and implementing policies to help the so-called “losers” of neoliberal globalization. In her new book For a Left Populism, Chantal Mouffe of the University of Westminster argues that “left populism, understood as a discursive strategy of construction of the political frontier between ‘the people’ and ‘the oligarchy,’ constitutes, in the present conjuncture, the type of politics needed to recover and deepen democracy.”

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/siren-song-of-left-wing-populism-by-cristobal-rovira-kaltwasser-2018-09

I am one of those people that thinks Sanders brand of populism could help bring the Left back to the politics where it belongs……we have suffered long and hard from “centrist” politicians.

The Right has tried frame the Dems as some sort of closet socialist for decades….but that is a LIE….they know it but they keep the old 50s meme going for the less educated in their midst.

And yet the MSM will continue to make the “centrist” candidates the front runners…..and look at the “rules” the DNC keeps changing for the debates….they are trying to pick your candidates for you.

Tee last debate proved my point…..look at the stage….6 white guys/gals….and Yang….absolutely NO diversity.

I cannot wait tom hear the DNC explain why this occured in a party that claims its diversity as a plus.

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

This Impeachment Thing

We are in the middle of a gut wrenching process of trying to impeach the president of the United States…..that is all the the news echoes day after day……

I need to let my readers know how I feel about this process.

I have been writing about the process in my other blog, In Saner Thought, but I have not been straight forward with my opinion on this process.

First do I think the president should be impeached?  Yes I do!  Why?  Because I feel that he is gaming the system for his benefit and not that of the country.

After all that said….

I kinda hope he comes out of this okay.

Why would I wish that?

That sometime down the road a Democrat will take office and he can do whatever he likes to the system….insult politicians, investigate political opponents, force corruption with foreign countries, etc.

If Trump walks on this then it will come back a bite the GOP sycophants in the ass…a position that many of them may favor these days.

I want to hear the whining by the sycophants like Gaetz, Jordan and Meadows….their performances ought to be Emmy worthy….just listen to their words….they have nothing to say about the evidence they only bitch about the process.

We can blame the rise of the Tea Party as the start of this breakdown in civility and order……nope….we can blame Newt and his band of radicals in 1994  as the beginning….the hatred for one party for the other began in word and deed with Newt.

In rolling out his proposal for a progressive agenda, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly referenced Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.” On one level that makes sense, since the “Contract with America” is arguably the only example most people can think of where a national political platform of sorts did not come from a presidential campaign. It also played a significant—though sometimes poorly understood—role in altering the trajectory of American politics, and thus it makes sense to reference it when setting out to alter that trajectory again.

A lot of what people remember about the Contract just isn’t so, and a lot of what was so is forgotten. It was not a conservative document so much as it was a targeted GOP play for the support of Ross Perot voters (as described in the book “Three’s a Crowd: The Dynamic of Third Parties, Ross Perot, and the Republican Resurgence” by Ronald Rapoport and Walter Stone), and despite its poll-driven nature (touted by Gingrich at the time), its late release indicated it was less a play for broad political support than it was for shaping elite political discourse after an election Republicans knew they would win. At its core, it was the very essence of political gamesmanship, even as it paraded itself as a populist attack on the establishment.

https://www.salon.com/2015/05/23/the_power_grab_that_destroyed_american_politics_how_newt_gingrich_created_our_modern_dysfunction/

Since those days it is hate for one party or the other and the people within those parties……

Our government is dysfunctional….and to blame it all on the Dems is disingenuous……Repubs have been equally to blame for this disunity…..and we can thank the Tea Pargty for making the sore of dysfunction spread like an all consuming rash on the skin of our nation.

Make no  mistake…it is HATRED for the other party…matters not the issues but rather the membership in one or the other.

It all began with the “Watergate Babies”….

For millions of Americans, from political analysts to readers confronting their morning newspapers, the dysfunction of today’s Congress is a disturbing mystery. The majority, which controls the agenda and schedule of the House, seems riven with division; the leadership seems bereft of methods or muscle for enforcing discipline; distrust pervades relations with Senate colleagues, and the relationship with the White House, controlled by the majority’s own party, is unpredictable and volatile. With the Republicans locked in seemingly intractable conflict with a minority focused on regaining power, the Congress has rarely been less productive or less well-regarded in the public’s perception.

It wasn’t always like this; in some ways, it was worse. For generations, the House was a secretive, hierarchical, tradition-bound institution that gave little regard or influence to newcomers. Power was concentrated so assiduously in the handful of committee chairs that even the elected leadership hesitated to challenge the old men with the gavel. From the dour Woodrow Wilson through the thundering Lyndon Johnson, the House lumbered along in its top-heavy, anachronistic style, incapable of competing with an executive branch that was increasingly agile and expansive, well-suited to modern mass communications, and aggregating power by virtue of its ability to act decisively.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/05/26/congress-broke-american-politics-218544

I admit that I have read and been called so many insulting names over the years that I went against my best interests and started using derogatory terms about others in the government.

I regret that I sank to that level of intolerance but I will refrain when the others also refrain.

I just want the Repubs to remember all this for of the Dems have any cajones at all they will use the GOP play book and play dirty for all common decency is gone from our political process.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Impeachment–Do Not Look To Nixon Or Clinton

These days the impeachment drama is on everybody’s lips…why?  Because it is all the MSM wants to report.

They, the media, like to use the Nixon impeachment process and at times the Clinton process to help explain what is going on….but this is wrong…they should be looking a bit further back in the history books to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson…..

This week, the fact-finding phase of the Trump impeachment inquiry officially ended. Reports were released, hearings were held, articles of impeachment are being drafted. Andrew Prokop helps us break it all down on this week’s episode of Impeachment, Explained.

Then, the impeachment analogue that most closely resembles what we are going through today isn’t Clinton or Nixon, it’s Andrew Johnson. Historian Brenda Wineapple, author of The Impeachers, helps us understand the trial that shaped our nation’s conception of what impeachment means.

Plus, how the GOP has become a definitively anti-Constitutional party.

You can subscribe to Impeachment, Explained on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get podcasts.

I think if a person has not looked at all sides of the process then they are not informed just regurgitating crap from the media.

That is why I call it the “VOMITORIUM”…….

In case you cannot get to the audio…the US Senate has a paper out on the Johnson process…..https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Impeachment_Johnson.htm

But in case you do not trust the Senate to be honest…..

the House voted 126 to 47 to impeach President Andrew Johnson, the culmination of a showdown between Johnson and Radical Republicans in the 40th Congress (1867–1869). The President’s leniency towards the former Confederate states threatened the Radicals’ more drastic southern policy seeking immediate citizenship and enfranchisement, as well as social and economic aid for freed slaves. As a result, Johnson regularly vetoed congressional Reconstruction legislation and Congress overrode his vetoes more than any other President. After failed attempts to introduce articles of impeachment against Johnson, and in an effort to protect like-minded members of his Cabinet, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act in March 1867. The legislation barred the President from removing Cabinet officials appointed during his term in office without the Senate’s consent.

Read On

https://history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1851-1900/The-impeachment-of-President-Andrew-Johnson/

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Those Supreme Court Judges

These days it seems that every president has his dick in a knot over the choices of SCOTUS…..the Right accuses the Left of political stacking of the court and yet the Right is doing the same thing.

Sorry wrong is wrong…I know that is a unique perspective these days but I stand by it regardless of the “desires” of the interested politicos.

The selection process needs changing.

First, there should be term limits on judges…a life time free ride is not in the nation’s best interests.  My thought is a term should be 10 years maximum.

Second there should be NO politics involved or think tanks that pretend to care about the law…..judges move up through seniority.

Third, the judges must have had actual courtroom experience and not some nomination for a political favor.

Those changes would go a long way to fixing the system we now have for finding our Supreme Court judges….

While the Supreme Court is not a representative body, justices on that court have strong, well-developed and significantly different judicial philosophies and approaches to constitutional and statutory interpretation. Presidents openly admit that they make their nominations significantly based on these factors. Under the present system for nominating Supreme Court justices, voters in some elections have two or three times more influence over Supreme Court appointments than those in others.

This is anomalous and unfair because voters in one election usually have the same opportunity to elect government officers as those in another. But because a congressional statute fixes the size of the court at nine, some presidents will have the opportunity to nominate more Supreme Court justices than others, based on the happenstance of deaths or resignations. We think this is backwards: Each president should get an equal number of appointments per elected term and the size of the court should fluctuate over time as vacancies occur.

https://theconversation.com/fixing-a-broken-process-for-nominating-us-supreme-court-justices-104629

As it is now the court is being seen as a political institution and not a justice one….but that can be repair with a little work…..

Faced with at least a generation of conservative justices ruling against them, a growing number of Democrats are rallying around court-packing—that is, to add justices to the court—as a last-ditch solution. Pete Buttigieg, the technocratic and media-savvy mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was among the first presidential candidates to argue for Democrats to take the extraordinary step when they next have the political power to do so. “What we need to do is stop the Supreme Court from sliding toward being viewed as a nakedly political institution,” he said during a CNN town hall in March. “I’m for us contemplating whatever policy options will allow that to be possible.” He reiterated his support for it in an NBC News interview on Monday.

Depoliticizing the Supreme Court sounds like a laudable goal, but it’s a quixotic one. The justices will always play a major role in American governance. They will strike down and uphold legislation passed by duly elected lawmakers. They will weigh in on disputed elections. They will decide matters of national consequences. The question is whether the Supreme Court can still be independent and nonpartisan.

https://newrepublic.com/article/154047/better-way-fix-supreme-court

There should be nothing politic about choosing a justice but in recent years it has been about picking the “right” judges to oversee our government…..and the “right” judges depends on who you talk to….that should stop…..time to change the system of judge appointments…..

I still think that the seniority thing is the better way to do it and leave politics in the toilet where it belongs.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

I Thank The Right

I would like to take this first moment to apologize to my followers of GSFP for being a lazy toad and not posting more…..I shall try to be more diligent since I am an opinionated SOB this site should be loaded with my opinions and observations.

I would like to begin by say THANK YOU to the Right for doing what I tried to do oh so many years ago.

A little background might be helpful here….In my younger years I was a hard Leftist and worked tirelessly to try and carve out a piece of the American society to help promote a division that would assist in leftist ideas take hold in the electorate.

I and my comrades were not very successful.

Back in the 1950s Wisconsin Senator McCarthy warned the nation of what was being attempted by those “Damn Commies”…..but his warning went mostly ignored because this nation was a unified entity and no matter the game “Tailgunner Joe” played  the people saw it for what it was…..BS.

But that was in the days before the spread of social media the prime mover of FAKE NEWS……

All I can do is say Thank You again….for the people on social media did what I and others tried to do…..they have divided this country along “tribal” lines…..

Those divisions were always there but again the country was a unified entity and withstood the attempts to divide the country…..

Then along came the Newt and his gang of fire brands.  This started the country down the path of division and it has continued unabated since 1994.

And HERE WE ARE!

What I tried to do unsuccessfully the MSM has done and the Millennials are the voter that I tried to sculpt…..

AXIOS shows that my attempts have grown into the movement I  envisioned…..

Young Americans continue to lose faith in capitalism and embrace socialism, according to a new YouGov/Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation survey of more than 2,000 Americans 16 years and older.

Why it matters: Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed democratic socialist, is one of the top presidential candidates in the 2020 Democratic field. His flagship health care proposal, Medicare for All, has driven the national conversation and moved the Democratic Party significantly to the left — even among candidates like Elizabeth Warren who consider themselves capitalists.

The big picture: 50% of millennials and 51% of Generation Z have a somewhat or very unfavorable view of capitalism — increases of 8 and 6 percentage points from last year. Meanwhile, the share of millennials who say they are “extremely likely” to vote for a candidate who identifies as a socialist doubled.

https://www.axios.com/millennials-vote-socialism-capitalism-decline-60c8a6aa-5353-45c4-9191-2de1808dc661.html

This observation from the state that gave the country Joe McCarthy….Wisconsin….on why the young are looking beyond the system we have now.

Bernie Sanders may be the public face of American socialism, but if you really want to understand its exploding popularity, you need to understand its pull among millennials. And not just newly-elected U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Poll after recent poll shows one out of three young Americans identify as either Socialist or Democratic Socialist. Fewer than half, 45 percent, view capitalism positively — a 12-point decline in the past two years. America’s youth seems to be making a speedy left turn, and at a pace that surprises even longtime members of the vanguard.

“It’s gone from being a subculture to a movement that has real relevance,” said Bhaskar Sunkara, the founder and editor of Jacobin magazine. “There’s a political ideology out there — not just Democratic Socialism — but a left-wing populist rhetoric that really does capture what people are feeling.”

https://www.wpr.org/why-millennials-are-giving-capitalism-and-turning-socialism

This is good to see….that all my hard work back in the day did not go unrewarded…..just sad that I will not be there for the final chapter of this drama.

Peace Out!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know