Monday, August 21, 2017

Trump Afghanistan-ME War Speech: "One Viceroy and Mercenaries to Take Part"

First Was Blackwater, then Xe, then Academi. Make up your mind.
(BTW: Still the same old, same old group run by Erik Prince)

When it started: Back  under Dubya and Dark Dick

Original Post Follows this Major Update — Developing/Fast-moving Story:

Modern-day John Rambo Wannabe Redux  

Still led and run by Erik Prince – who is this guy and why U.S. tax-dollars potentially to be in play (again) – this time tied to China – WTF moment for sure … details follow from the story – warning: Pretty dam disgusting to say the least.

Blackwater founder Erik Prince, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has been promoting a plan in major media outlets to turn the war in Afghanistan over to private military contractors. But largely missing from the debate about Prince’s plan is that the former Blackwater CEO currently leads a military contractor that would profit from the proposal and enrich its shareholders — which includes the Chinese government.

Prince made his pitch to the American people Monday with an op-ed in USA Today and an extended one-on-one interview with host Erin Burnett on CNN.

Both USA Today and CNN named Prince’s current company, Frontier Services Group (FSG) — unlike the Wall Street Journal, which ran a Prince op-ed pushing his plan in May with a one-sentence bio that failed to mention his current position — but neither outlet mentioned that FSG is a security contractor partially owned by the Chinese government.

Erik Prince’s pathetic and BS quote of the Century or at least a top contender regarding his ties as well as FSG’s to the Chinese government as seen here: 

We’re not serving Chinese foreign policy goals, we’re 
helping increase trade.” 

Prince’s proposal is to win the war in Afghanistan through privatization of the military effort there, but it’s also a sales pitch for the services of his industry and his company. 

FSG has openly allied itself with the foreign policy goals of the Chinese government and has pursued the creation of a private air force — the same type of air force Prince advocates in his plan.

That plan calls for 5,500 private contractors to advise Afghan combat forces. Prince wants to make those private security forces “military employees of the Afghan government,” he explained to CNN host Erin Burnett.

BTW: Current DOD policy states that private security contractors cannot engage in combat, but can use deadly force in self-defense. 

In Prince’s own words: “Imagine them as a skeletal structure that provides leadership, intelligence, medical, communications and logistic support to all those Afghan battalions so it works reliably.” He went on to say his security forces in his plan could be foreign — like his company, which BTW has HQ in Hong Kong and is traded on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Note: Prince also said private contractors deployed to Afghanistan “could also be American.” Then he clarified this way: “They could be foreign nationals. They could be NATO allies. They can be from the global SAF community of professionals” (The acronym for Security Assistance Forces).

The private contractors could potentially be from the company Prince leads, FSG, where he became the chairman in 2014. He also just happens to be FSG's largest shareholder (according to the company’s 2016 annual report)

Note: Another substantial shareholder is CITIC Group, a state-owned Chinese conglomerate.

This updated story continues here at the link – As I said, all-in-all it's pretty damn disgusting and depressing - that is this level we have reached or perhaps going to reach or should I say “sink” to this new low (and all over again).


My original post follows.

My bottom line even if that's not clear to many is: It's the money and marketing and not much else.

So stay tuned and see what Trump says tonight (re: NPR) – and thanks for stopping by. 

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The original story and main post from here and also from here. Truly amazing to say the least – that headline:

Trump White House weighs unprecedented plan to privatize much of the war in Afghanistan

Astonishing story on top of the fact that Congress just passed nearly a $700 billion DOD spending bill and now floating around is the hair brain idea to pay Erik Prince (formerly CEO of Blackwater, then Xe, then Academi) a full-fledged mercenary contractor (if we are honest about it) some $10 billion to take over the U.S. Forces mission and “win” the war?

(I note: Blackwater in the past has paid operators $600 a day (back in 2007) – so, how much does a PFC infantryman make a day – yeah, ha ha).

(I note: when someone changes their name or business name (like Prince has done three times) it’s got to be for no good reasons – that’s my hunch in this case).

Another Trump WTF moment...!!!

Prince as you may or may not know or remember is also the brother of Ed. Secy. Betsy DeVos (Prince is her maiden name).

A bit more on Erik Prince and what I think is a shitty deal brewing …

More recently, Prince, the Blackwater founder as I said and who is also the brother the Education Secretary Betsy Devos, now has been tied to the Trump administration.

In April, as Common Dreams reported, government officials told members of the press that Prince “took part in a clandestine meeting with a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication’ between Moscow and the White House.”

In June, Prince penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which he outlined five ways he believes President Trump can “fix our approach in Afghanistan,” including the suggestion that the U.S. deploy an “East India Company approach.”

As Common Dreams also reported, one critic described Prince’s plan as “sheer 19th century bloodlust and thirst for empire,” and another noted, “it is hardly surprising that a war profiteer sees profit opportunity in war.”

Then following his Op-Ed, it was revealed that two of Trump’s top aides, W/H chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior adviser, son-in-law, Jared Kushnerreportedly solicited advice from Prince “on how to proceed with the 16-year-long war in Afghanistan.”

That brings us to this story today.

So, what matters with private contractors in war? Take Iraq example:

The use of contractors in Iraq was unprecedented in both its size and scope.
Estimates of the number of contract personnel in Iraq varied.

In 2006, the United States Central Command estimated the number to be around 100,000. (That it turned out to be such a perfectly round figure indicated that the estimate was actually what researchers call a “WAG,” short for “wild ass guess.”)

In 2007, an internal DOD census on the industry found almost 160,000 private contractors were employed in Iraq (roughly equal to the total U.S. troops at the time, even after the 2007 troop surge).

Yet even this figure was a conservative estimate, since a number of the biggest companies, as well as any firms employed by the State Department or other agencies or NGOs, were not included in the census.

What matters is not merely the numbers, but their role – their mission – their conduct.

B/L from my view point: Just work hard and keep the billionaire class happy, right Mr. Trump Empire, Inc. CEO – now running (or ruining rather) the country like so many failed Trump business deals and trying to set and publish policy by tweet.

How pathetic and ironic is that?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

“Collusion” Proof Pudding: IMV is Donnie Jr. / Russian Meeting in June 2016

Trump Kids Reaction (July 2016): Daddy Wraps up GOP Nomination 

My Analysis: The key to any Trump-Russian collusion and yes, it is real, is the Donnie Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016 with the all those Russians (a list that grew with every Donnie Jr. lie over several days) and under the email pretext that the Russian lawyer had info on Hillary Clinton. 

Recall that Donnie Jr. responded: “I love it - especially for later this summer.”

(I Note: That statement alone meant Donnie Jr. was referring to after Daddy had the GOP nomination in hand, which happened on July 19, 2016.)

That meeting is the proof and the link of collusion, also believe it: Donald J. Trump himself knew of that June 2016 Donnie Jr. meeting.

And, Daddy knew of stated purpose: “To get dirt on Hillary.”

Daddy Trump so much as said so when he narrowed down that juicy tidbit when he told the Russians (on July 27, 2016) in a press meeting:

If you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing – I think you will be mightily rewarded by the press.”

Bingo: That is the so-called “dirt” the Russian lawyer had for Donnie Jr. - believe it...!!! You want a smoking gun? That is it…!!!

Here is what Trump said directly to the Russians – remember this from Doral, FL at 11:02 am (EST):

The number of other Trump lies in that short clip is astonishing …  

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Two-Point Memo for Mr. Trump: Day Late and Dollar Short, But Nice Recovery

Trump Fan and Loyal Supporter — So It Seems

Trump Fan Club Message of Support

Updated (August 14, 2017): Seems like the public's and GOP's backlash got to Trump … he spoke today like he should have originally should have on Saturday right after the Charlottesville, VA attack. So, who pushed him to say these words we are left to wonder?

Trump delivered a second modified and more details from the White House explicitly condemning violent white supremacists (my emphasis added) saying:

“Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. As I have said many times before, no matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws,” the president said. “We all salute the same great flag. And we are all made by the same almighty god.”

The new modified and more explicit comments came after Trump had been widely criticized (from all sides) for only knocking violence from “many sides” at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA and the not radical hate group, and also where a car driven by a hate group supporter plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others. Also, two VA state troopers were killed when their police helicopter crashed nearby while covering the scene.

Noteworthy is that in his initial remarks on Saturday (day of the event), Trump did not explicitly call out Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, or other self-identified white supremacists there for being the main cause.

His original statement from his NJ golf resort the day it happened: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”
Odd that the White House did not attach a name to a statement on Sunday even though it went further than the Saturday statement, thus: “The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white Supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.

Of course” was added as if implied his meaning — far from it, however. He should have said that Saturday/not Sunday.

I noted earlier, Trump still didn’t disavow David Duke’s support statement, which was:

“This represents fulfilling the promises of President Trump. This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back, we're going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That's what we believed in, that's why we voted for Donald Trump because he said he's going to take our country back and that's what we have to do.”

Usually, a statement would be signed by the press secretary or another staffer. Not putting a name to one eliminates any individual's responsibility for its truthfulness and often undercuts its significance. Plus, top advisers later struggled to explain Trump's position, offering different responses. 

Finally, I ask honestly: Is this what we have become or are becoming? This is not the country I want, love, have fought for, have bled for, or want for future generations, do you. And, Mr. and Mrs. U.S. Supreme Court: I hope you are paying close attention:

I note their armament needed for a rally. What kind of rally???

I conclude: Wow!!! White House top advisers are struggling with Trump messaging? Nothing new there with that “we’re not a chaotic and disjointed messaging White House,” right? LOL LOL

Maybe a Rick Perry “oops” moment is called for right about now – you think?

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Trump's 1st Historical Moment in History: Ready to Launch Preemptive Nuclear War

Trump Says: “We are Locked and Loaded” for Preemptive War 

Both Cut from the Same Cloth and Both Suffering from the Same NPD

On any given day assume there are 100 “top” stories around the country and globe: Also bet that the vast majority will be are focused on Donald J. Trump.

Also, bet on the facts that he loves it, he seeks it, he strives on it, and he needs a daily dose of attention and affection.

Now he has the ultimate attention of the planet: All eyes are on him, and he loves it...

Trump says he is “locked and loaded” and ready for North Korea… that possibly means a major preemptive strike on North Korea over what? His and Kim’s “war of words” but not much else except to prove who has the biggest ego…!!!  

Define insanity: This is surely it and in 140 character tweets…

Simple Q: Who in the hell around Trump has a cool or level head – 

Simple A: Apparently no one with even half a brain.

Of course, every nation has the right of self-defense but to Trump that means attack first and find and explain a valid reason later – but not against this routine and rather standard and commonly-known raw North Korean propaganda statements we have heard since 1948 under NK's first leader: Kim, Il-Sung (Kim, Jung-Un 's grandfather).

We have only once (by my count) thus far in world history only attacked one country based on words or ideas or thoughts but not deeds or attack on us (like Pearl Harbor in December 1941). 

That of course was in Iraq and launched over our perceived (and later proven to be false) notion that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons and had massive WMD's ready to hit us with. They did not have WMD's and look at Iraq 15 years later – a total mess.

I shudder to think or picture a massive attack from North Korea unleashed on Seoul. Millions would be dead in a matter of hours.

Personal Note: I served in Seoul while in the Marine Corps on active duty with the Naval Advisory Group, and then later as a DOD civilian for over 12 years, plus plenty of temporary duty at various times.

I have many, many friends and relatives there today.

Or is Trump playing this like another billion-dollar product or building adventure deal: That is to hype things to the umpteenth degree and then when it looks most gloomy (always for his opponent) he does what? He inks a deal to avoid disaster or calamity and claims the moral high ground no matter how he got there.

Solve it and claim victory for himself – giving not a single twit about anyone or anything else except his brand name, fame, fortune, and more spotlight and attention for himself. Is that what we see here today?

God help us…!!!

Can we see nuclear war over two crazy men bully each other trying to prove who has the bigger dick? This is utter insanity by any definition.

Highlights of Trump’s off-the-cuff press conference:  Sitting alongside VP Mike Pence and CIA Director Mike Pompeo at his golf club resort in NJ.

Comments by those who observed and those around him are below (my emphasis):

“It was like he was a dam that had suddenly burst free and he was able to unload a lot that was on his mind.” (Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley).

“Relegated to merely watching the spectacle was new W/H CofS, John Kelly. Two things Kelly apparently could not control were what would Trump say and how long he would keep talking.” (Said some reporters in observing the PR show).

“This is what General Kelly will learn very quickly, which is when you put this guy in a cage and think you’re controlling him, things like this happen.” (One Trump confidant in anonymity said).

“All that was vintage Trump – who is a performance artist who loves being on stage. It was very much Trump unshackled and unfettered and reveling in this moment – he was in his element. I don’t think it’s a good thing. Donald Trump in his element is someone who’s living in his own private Idaho, inside his own head. He’s constantly scripting how he sees the world and his role in it. (Said Trump biographer Tim O’Brien).

“Trump lives to be in the arena himself. He realizes that the best way for him to control his message is to be the message” (Said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump adviser).

“Trump was eager to prove that he is hard at work on his vacation and the visibility helps galvanize his base of supporters at a time when polls show his support softening.” (Said some senior White House officials who reached out to say how much their boss enjoyed the exchanges).

“He has been restless for days and ready to share his thoughts on what this “one of the juiciest, newsiest periods of his presidency. The president proved again that he is the best messenger and communicator in his White House. The rest of us are serviceable understudies. From the campaign trail to the presidency, he gets joy on the job, and part of his joy is engaging with the fourth estate.” (Said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Trump).

“This is what has made him a success in everything he’s done for the last 40 years.” (Said Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former fired campaign manager echoing Conway’s remarks).

Other Trump PR points:

Trump made news on North Korea’s nuclear crisis: “Things will happen to them like they never thought possible.”

On his frustrations with GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “Mitch, get to work!”

On the FBI’s pre-dawn raid of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort at his home: “Pretty tough stuff.’

On the opioid crisis: “It’s a national emergency.” 

(But nuclear war is not a national emergency or more apt: Crisis??)

On banning transgender people from the armed forces: “I’m doing the military a great favor.” 

(Do what: Kick out those already serving or degrade those who have served??)

Trump spoke briefly about these points:

Perhaps Trump’s most pathetic remark was to say he was thankful that Putin expelled hundreds of U.S. diplomats from Russia. He said it helped with our budget problems (Loyalists will say it was merely a joke!!)

Said he was still weighing a decision about troop levels in Afghanistan.

Said he still has confidence in a pair of embattled senior aides, NSC adviser H.R. McMaster and AG Jeff Sessions.

Said he is working to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal (Note: That Obama started but which Trump has not and never will admit).

Said he hunting down “leakers” who share sensitive information with journalists.

Assessment of all that:  

Trump’s impromptu answers could cause headaches for his administration in the days to come.

For example, his comments on North Korea are unlikely to calm jitters around the world over the escalating nuclear brinkmanship now brewing between him being erratic and erratic Kim Jong-Un.

This episode reminded some in Trump’s thrill ride orbit of a news conference at the end of the RNC Cleveland after he was nominated in June 2016. Aides had succeeded in keeping him buttoned-up and on-message through the week-long convention. This event in Cleveland was supposed to be a quick thank-you event to honor his local supporters the morning after he gave his formal address accepting the GOP nomination as they moved toward the general election.

Instead, Trump effectively free-wheeled, reviving feuds with former rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich and even defended the journalistic credibility of the National Enquirer after it published an unsubstantiated charge about Cruz’s father.

My Summary: We are in uncharted territory and rough uncertain hours and days lie ahead (and I emphasize “lies” ahead). 

I ask in stark honesty: Has it all boiled down to this??

Sadly, all we the people can do is sit and watch and eat our popcorn as we watch this all-encompassing new Trump Reality Show move to the next segment. 

Bathroom breaks need to be quick and fast or practice holding it.

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Presidential Visit to China: “Daughter and Son-in-Law Setting It Up” – Why??

America's New Diplomatic-Trump Empire, Inc. PR Tag Team

This news headline caught my attention for this post:

My Note: Not are these two novices in such state-to-state arrangements, but she is the president’s daughter and he is the president’s son-in-law – both unpaid White House staffers with no diplomatic experience and also husband and wife – how ironic and bizarre is that?

Meanwhile, more than a half-year after the start of the Trump administration, the job of Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia remains vacant.

Noteworthy: People who have occupied that State East Asia position in the past have included prominent Americans like Averill Harriman, Dean Rusk, William Bundy, Philip Habib, Richard Holbrooke, Paul Wolfowitz, Winston Lord, Richard Solomon, Christopher Hill, and Kurt Campbell (most recently).

But, so far in that state position under SOS Tillerson and Trump: Nobody.

America’s allies and friends in Asia, such as Japan and South Korea, are always nervous about a presidential trip to China. They fear secret agreements or understandings. They need to be regularly briefed and reassured that their own interests are being taken into account. 

I conclude with this: I can’t but help but wonder and ask, will Kushner and Trump-Kushner work the EB-5 visa program ($500,000 a pop) from investors to America and chance for Green Card and avenue to citizenship like Kushner’s sister did a short while back for her brother (Jared)’s monetary building needs?

Various reports about that Kushner family ploy can been seen here (NBC News), here (LA Times), and here (Daily Beast).

This is insane to have one business-linked family like this dealing in such high-level foreign affairs and the like … I’m a bit out of sorts comprehending this whole Trump whatever we choose to call it — like (my choices are): scam, con, shady deal making.

Offer your comments – always welcome and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

RED Line Who Fires First Nuke: U.S. or N.K. Both Saying to Prevent or Preempt War

Who Blinks First to End Mankind on Earth: The $64,000 Question

The difference between preventive and preemptive war now possibly advocated by the Trump administration – outlined here from Newsweek:

Definition Time

Preventive war is launched to destroy the potential threat of the targeted party, when an attack by that party is not imminent or known to be planned (e.g., Iraq invasion was our first preventive war – * the Bush administration said it was to stop Saddam Hussein from getting a nuclear weapon and attacking us or our allies in the ME).

* Preventive war aims to forestall a shift in the balance of power by strategically attacking before the balance of power has a chance to shift in the direction of an adversary. Preventive war is distinct from preemptive war, which is first strike when an attack is imminent. 

Preventive war undertaken without the approval of the United Nations is illegal under the modern framework of international law, Robert Delahunty and John Yoo from the G. W.  Bush administration maintained that standard was are unrealistic.

Preemptive war on the other hand is launched in anticipation of immediate aggression by another party. Further, it is a ** first-strike attack with nuclear weapons carried out to destroy an enemy's capacity to respond, and is based on the assumption that the enemy is planning an imminent attack.

** The United States has a partial, qualified no-first-use policy, stating that we will not use nuclear weapons against states that do not possess nuclear weapons or other WMD.

Large-scale missile defense systems are not first-strike weapons, but certain critics view them as first-strike enabling weapons. President Reagan’s proposed Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI – “Star Wars”) if it would have been deployed and proven successful, would have undermined the fundamental premise of MAD – that is Mutual Assured Destruction (the inevitable outcome of equal and unacceptable destruction for both sides in the event of nuclear war), removing the incentive for the US not to strike first.

These proposed defense systems, intended to lessen the risk of devastating nuclear war, would rather in fact, lead to it. Indeed, according to game theory, the side not building large-scale missile defenses would have an incentive to launch a pre-emptive first strike while such a strike could still get through.

Historical Background since the Cold War: Both superpowers (the former USSR and the U.S.) as well as NATO and the Eastern Bloc, built massive nuclear arsenals – aimed to a large extent at each other. 

However, they were never used, as leaders on both sides of the Iron Curtain realized that global thermonuclear war would not be in anyone’s interest and would likely and most-probably lead to the destruction of both sides, the planet as a whole with a nuclear winter, or total extinction level events and thus the end of mankind.

As far as North Korea  – they have built their decades of survival on threats, some blatant acts, and bragging rights with classic showmanship in their capital while citizens die across the land due to no services to the outside world where in the only see, hear, and do what the regime tells is news and what to believe and trust.

That message is always and only what the NK leadership – namely the “Supreme Leader” or some other fancy name since the founder Kim, Il-Sung, his son, Kim, Jung-Il, and now his son, Kim, Jung-un have ruled since WWII – they always say: We are building our nuclear capability to show you that if you attack us we will attack back and that’s why are getting prepared for your attack on us.” 

Thus, NK's strength is built and sustained on fear of us attacking them first as their justification to “get prepared just like the U.S." and they preach it 24/7.

And, now we say we might? WTF is wrong with this picture?

One thing is missing. As seen here in the run-up to Iraq invasion. 
History may in fact repeat itself but with “end of time” solution.

Boy, oh, boy stay tuned — this may only end up one way: Ugly...!!!