The End is Nigh

This morning I was certain the House impeachment inquiry would plod on, only to be dismantled by the machinations of ol’ Mitch McConnell. I’ve changed my mind.

I believe after the events of today, McConnell’s calculations have shifted. With the Syrian debacle, which I believe was crafted during the 2018 Helsinki meeting with Putin, and wrote as much at that time, and this mornings off-the-rails joint press conference with the Italian President doing nothing to quell the world’s unease, added to the unstoppable impeachment inquiry, I believe the time has come.

*I’d like to point out, one of the presumptions I made about the Helsinki meeting with Putin which hasn’t yet fully come to pass, was that we would see an increase in Russian sanctioned assassinations. I believe that time is also upon us. It’s now or never to go after the big fish.*

Also today, Trump held a bipartisan meeting to discuss the situation in Syria and had yet another serious meltdown because he couldn’t take the pressure. A meeting from which the Democrats up and left in the face of his incoherence. Added to this, a truly bizarre letter written by Donny himself that is undoubtedly post dated to 10/9 but certainly more recent, if not today, written to Erdogan:

The time has come. Not that Donny hasn’t been crazy before, but because the real consequences are inevitable now. It’s really happening. We all knew this would happen; everyone knew. The GOP was just willing to pretend it wouldn’t, or willing to believe they could forestall the consequences until the end of Donny’s term, but it’s really happening. Immediate undeniable, world-altering consequences right now are unfolding in tandem with the beginning of Donny’s final breakdown.

Nothing is going to get better. We have always said things are going to get worse…and things are going to get worse than the awful they already are. Donny has truly lost his shit. There is nothing he won’t do now. Nothing. This is the final game, right now. He can get away with altering the world order via Syria. He can, because he just did. He is all powerful you see. He can do anything without consequence. people will cry, sure. They always do.

McConnell has reiterated again today that the Senate will take up the impeachment of Trump as constitutionally mandated (of course he lambasted the Democrats for this whole undertaking while saying this). I had presumed he would just rig it any way he likes, because he can: not call fact witnesses, truncate any questioning, and slam-bang it into a couple days of maddening avoidance of facts. But now, I think his perspective must have changed. Things will get worse and waiting until 2021 is simply too much to ask.

Hey, McConnell still gets to cram the courts full of unqualified ideologues, that’s all he cares about, and that’s all he’s doing anyway. So, if he just makes a deal with Pelosi and Schumer to allow them to present their most compelling evidence, if it’s iron clad, the Senate can be “resigned” to their duty, and he gets to keep the White House and keep his conveyor belt of judicial appointments. Everyone’s happy…or at least DC stays happy.

I don’t expect the House cult members to stop their goofy tirades and distractions, that’s their meal ticket with the cult whether it’s led by Donny or not; whether they remain in the House or employed by Fox News. That won’t change. What I do expect to change, is a suddenly more amenable Senate GOP to the ideas of “listening”or “hearing out the facts” or “doing our duty.”

The time has come, and we can only hope there isn’t any more irreparable damage done to our earth or geo-political stability, but I’m afraid more undesirable and unanticipated events are bound to happen as a part of the play, and they are as unstoppable as the impeachment inquiry.

UPDATE: After I completed this post I learned on the Rachel Maddow Show, that McConnell has told the GOP Senators to plan on spending 6 days a week during, or directly before the holidays on impeachment proceedings. This indicates:

1. He has consulted with Pelosi and Schumer on how they will proceed.

2. He plans on not gimping the trial entirely, but instead plans to take this seriously to some extent.

I believe my analysis is correct.

April 4, 2018

Trump has a Fox News induced, mental breakdown about a caravan of illegals coming to rape everyone in America and shoot us all up with either guns or syringes full of dope.  Trump declares, “Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military.”

He won’t be sending the military.  He won’t even be sending the National Guard unless he wants to either declare war on Mexico or declare a state of emergency.  Any other such executive order will be meaningless unless it’s funded and that takes work from the legislative branch.  No, the DOD doesn’t have a slush fund or petty cash drawer to open to pay for the billions this operation would take.  They can’t steal it from other earmarks.

It cost Obama 110 million just to send 1200 troops for one year (not overall package cost which was much higher).   That had to be funded by Congress.

“The president, who alone cannot formally authorize deployment of the forces, is expected to request $500 million in supplemental funds from Congress to make a state governor’s decision to deploy troops financially possible.”

There’s no doubt, when Trump signs his executive order, it’s going to be vague.  Will it say: NG from which states?  How many?  How long?  Exactly what is their operation?  What is the estimated cost?  It probably won’t have any of this information in it.  Just like many other of Trump’s spur-of-the-moment ideas, he’ll sign a paper, throw his hands up in the air, and expect someone else to figure out what the hell his intentions are.

  1. Military trans ban.
  2. Muslim ban
  3. Iran Nuclear Agreement.
  4. NAFTA
  5. DACA
  6. Steel, Aluminum tariffs
  7. China trade war

Someone else can figure it out.  Generally speaking, no one is figuring out anything.

Sending the National Guard to the Southern Border requires a well reasoned mission with a defined scope and time limit, co-ordination and authorization by each affected State’s Governor, and funding.  Are any of these apparent in, “We’ll send the military until the wall is built”?

Let’s wait to see what form this executive order takes.  I presume that at most, we might see a handful of guys go down there and offer technical expertise for a couple months.  There aren’t going to be Abrams tanks or totally invisible F-35 fighter jets patrolling the border like Trump envisions, that’s for damn sure.

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UPDATE

The Executive order has been released….and it’s a steaming pile of shit.

It opens with a preamble vilifying immigrants with all the usual boogeyman scare tactics.  Our opioid problem is coming from the southern border, MS13 gang members are just pouring in, and we’re about to be overwhelmed.

There is zero framework for the scope of whatever the hell Trump is asking for.  Zero.  As a matter of fact he’s directing the DOD and DHS to take 30 days to generate a report to tell him what the hell he’s talking about.

“Within 30 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Attorney General, shall submit to the President a report detailing their findings and an action plan, including specific recommendations as to any other executive authorities that should be invoked to defend the border and security of the United States.”

He is allowing the DOD to ask the States if the DOD can go ahead and borrow their national Guard for whatever the hell it is they might feel they need to do.

“The President may assign a mission to the Secretary of Defense to support the operations of the Department of Homeland Security in securing our southern border, including by requesting use of the National Guard, and to take other necessary steps to stop the flow of deadly drugs and other contraband, gang members and other criminals, and illegal aliens into the country.”

All of this is subject to there actually being funds available to do whatever it is that the DOD informs Trump about whatever the hell it is he wants to do.

“This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.”

Absolute, utter fucking bullshit.  This is ridiculous.  

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Of greater concern- what is going to happen in Syria.  What?

Trump wants to call home the remaining US forces in Syria.  Folks, there’s only 2000 dudes there now.  We’re pretty much out of Syria.  These remaining forces although militarily insignificant, are symbolically huge.  It says, “We still have interests.”

Forget about the concept of destroying what’s left of Isis.  We have already ceded Syria to Russian and Iranian influences.   If we remove the last troops, we’re giving up the region to the borders of an already wobbly Iraq.

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The Kurds in the north of Syria (arguably the last of the “good guys”) will be between the rock of Syrian forces looking to retake real estate exclusively, and the hammer of our fucking NATO ally, Turkey, whom is looking to erase them from the earth.  Now we could argue about who is the more aggressive party in the whole Turkey-Kurd issue, but in truth, Turkey has been working on a cultural genocide if not actual genocide of the Kurds since the 80s.  Who do we want to blame?  Can’t blame the Kurds for having already been in Turkey when it formed with so much promise…and why the hell has it gone so wrong?

Bottom line,  I believe the Trump administration is pushing Saudi Arabia to drop the gloves with proxy wars, and have at Iran themselves.  I also believe the Russians would love nothing more than outright hostilities in the Middle East so that oil prices can be driven up and so that they have a theater in which to show off and sell more of their military hardware.  I also believe Israel can’t be viewing all of this as totally kosher.

I don’t think this is a coordinated Trump-Putin strategy, I simply believe this is where their interests intersect.

 

March 4, 2018

Twitterer-in-chief is hellbent on further eroding our international trade with the world in general, and allies in particular, through unilateral, brick-headed, and misdirected threats of tariffs on steel and aluminum.

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He is also quick to threaten to escalate an all-out trade war with our allies.

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China could not be happier as the Trump administration continues to cede economic leadership to them all over the world.  Russia could not be more pleased as Trump sews dissent across the board with nearly every single US ally in little more than a year’s time.  Where China’s future economic advantages are becoming well defined, what Russia stands to gain in the international theater from Trump’s bumbling, is a little less clear but possibly more worrisome.

Putin has an election coming up and with thousands of people forced to attend joyfully celebrating Putin’s certain victory at a recent rally, it’s pretty clear he is going to be overwhelmingly re-elected.  That being said, he needs to get working on ways in which to keep the oligarchy in the lavish lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed.  STAT.

Russia continues to be in serious economic difficulties.  With Oil prices climbing back up to $60 a barrel things are less awful (but still awful) for a resource driven economy like Russia’s, but that’s nowhere near the $120 a barrel that Russia road to economic recovery in 2012.  Russia, unlike China, refuses to diversify it’s economy.  The oligarchy/government is perpetually crafting media narratives to sway their public that everything is as it should be.  Sounds familiar, right?

“Russia’s state-owned media juggernaut has been able to turn western sanctions into a scapegoat for the government’s own failures, and to whip up support for foreign adventurism – including the seizure of the Crimea, military intervention in Syria, and meddling in US elections. Most Russians, constantly manipulated by their country’s schools and media, are convinced that conditions are much worse in the west (a hyperbolic claim even in the era of “fake news”).”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/05/there-is-little-reason-to-be-cheerful-about-russias-growth-prospects

With US sanctions not being implemented, and exactly zero fucking response from the White House to Putin’s claim that he could hit anywhere in the world with his latest nuclear weapons and not be stopped(complete with a video of a nuclear missile heading off to the US), the US is giving Putin the greenlight to do as he wishes.

I believe that following Putin’s re-election, we are due for a major Russian event within the proceeding couple of months.  Long enough lead time before the US midterms, for at least the idiot Americans to forget all about it, and start worrying about the imminently more important- Ivanka’s hair style or latest White House scandal.

Possibilities:

  1. Expanded involvement in Syria.  There are myriad reasons why this could happen.  Firstly, military presence.  Their station in Tartus, Syria is their only Mediterranean port.  Hmeymim, Syria is their major airfield for the middle east.  Even though Russia has announced they will be drawing down presence in Syria, I highly doubt that’s likely.  Secondly, Instability in the entire middle east would be a boon to Russian petroleum exports.  Thirdly, Russian military involvement in Syria is a showcase for their arms sales.  Russia just deployed two new SU-57 stealth fighters to Syria.  Don’t doubt for a second there might be a dust-up from the SU-57s, as the US military keeps trying to get close to them for a real good look.  Something’s gonna happen sooner or later.
  2. Overt interference in European politics.  A new Democratic funded congressional report on the Kremlin’s interference in western democracies that no Republican signed on to.  It outlines the problem and states firmly Trump doesn’t care and isn’t doing anything.

 

3. The Magnitsky act.  Bill Browder has been a goddamn, one man wrecking crew when it comes to seriously harming the Russian Oligarchy with lobbying for passage of the Magnitsky Act in country after country.  Expect increased counter lobbying efforts by Putin at best, and at worst- Browder suddenly and mysteriously deciding to jump off of a tall building or accidentally ingesting a deadly toxin.

4. Ukraine?  Not direct military actions.  Perhaps foment real unrest?  Dunno.

 

There may be some other opportunities I am not thinking of at this time that i may add later.  Point is, the time is now and Russia has the greenlight.  The Trump administration will do nothing to stop Russia.