That is, nothing has changed in the aftermath of Trumps 59 cruise missile attack on a Syrian airbase. The base was destroyed, but not only did prior warnings to the Russian military organize a retreat of all armed forces from the base, but it in fact was up and running by the next day. Nothing changed, precisely because it meant nothing. It was a show piece but attacking an airbase, not a major military platform, not prominent political or military infrastructure, not a direct attack on any forces, means that Assad is now aware that Trump will respond to chemical warfare, but he is also aware that he has no real interest in a direct confrontation or causing a significant impact. Not yet.
And unless a plan is in the works, one that will require a large shift in the resources of the United States towards the Syrian war, meaning troops, armaments and military planning on direct confrontation, that isn’t about to change any time soon. It as dramatic, but it was meaningless.
It also however does represent a shift in doctrine in regards to the American response to the war, that of potentially more involvement, and a direct critique of the Assad regime, and tacitly Russian involvement. Politically there will be no more tolerance regarding much if the regime, and if the rumours are true, Secretary Tillerson is already arranging for a coalition with a number of allies in the middle-east and Europe.
Interesting times, huh. Could do without.
Nunes got kicked off of the house intelligence hearings
Trump authorized bombings of Syrian air bases
The republicans nuked the filibuster.
Remember when politics was synonymous with compromise? I don’t.
So long as this partisan brinkmanship continues, all we’re going to see is more and more conflict, challenges and difficulty. The more of that, the more extreme leaders the US is going to get, people like Trump who will lash it quickly and shortsightedly at anything and everything that they consider a threat.
Compromise. Remember it.
(but seriously can I?)
The removal of Chief Advisor Steve Bannon from the National Security Council represents another shift in the nature of the Trump administration. Currently it appears that the ‘moderate’, conventional republican members of the administration are building momentum and slowly cloistering the populist branch. Admittedly this particular move was orchestrated by McMaster who while aligned with Mattis and his branch seems more interested in getting his work done than building a national profile, or receiving any attention period. Frankly I consider this a good thing, someone much more interested in doing his job and not getting screen time is sorely needed by this lot.
More to the point however it appears that much of these recent moves, the deep involvement of Jared Kushner, his wife and Trumps daughter Ivanka Trumps new role in the administration and the slow turndown of appearances by the more populist branch in the media and in the administration may well be having an effect, enough to drive Bannon into nearly resigning. It was bad enough that Mercer, a significant backer of Trump and Breitbart, needed to convince him to stay.
At this stage the only thing that’s certain is that the internal battle between these factions isn’t going away any time soon, and with Trump in the middle, and influenced by whoever leaves the room last, it’s gonna be an interesting few months four years.
Politico: Mega-Donor urged Bannon not to resign
Politico: Bannons departure solidifies McMaster’s control
Secretary of Defence Mattis has been making outreach attempts. Sending Senior Advisor Kushner to a military base in Baghdad, and meeting with both him and Steve Bannon, a chief advisor to the president, to meet with the Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, and the Defence Minister besides, cements his intent to build bridges among the respective power bases in the administration in an attempt to coordinate and move the administration forward. Given that much has been made of Trumps preference for a chaotic environment, one where the strong and dynamic thrive, this could be considered a desperate attempt to facilitate cooperation with the ideological and moderate bases.
Or it would, if allegedly Trump wasn’t bewildered by the failure of this method in recent weeks. Supposedly the failure of not only the house bill, but the travel ban and the consistent errors in judgment from senior staffers and trusted aides has rattled the President. Turns out inaccurate statements and wild accusations don’t end up on page six news, who knew?
If Mattis attempt can engender some stability and forward momentum for the campaign – sorry administration – maybe they can still recover from this.
On the other hand, do you really trust any of their egos?
Politico: Kushner Iraq trip part of greater Pentagon push
For a great many years, the Republican party has pushed for investigations into alleged voter fraud. This bogeyman, which they have created and maintained, has indeed been investigated during a republican presidency, George W. Bush’s, and what they found was next to nothing. The simple fact is voter fraud does not truly occur.
Now some would argue that the thousands of dead people still on the registration lists is an invitation to fraud, that democrats will use these names to twist votes in their direction. Firstly, no they can’t that’s not how the system works, you cannot stroll in and just vote, even in the most efficient states it still takes hours to vote, which is in the case of a normal vote, and not a caucus vote where they have a single moment of voting and then that’s it. Secondly there has never been any evidence that there as either a method or intent to use the dead legislators to vote illegally.
In fact, of the one case I am aware of regarding voter fraud, it was a trump voter. And she was caught near immediately.
Voter fraud exists more as a reason for republicans to enact strict voting laws, which while objectively could be a public good, are always found to be drafted in such a way as to make voting more difficult for certain groups, be it the youth, blacks, Latinos or others. And that’s not me speaking, that’s the courts.
Still that doesn’t seem to be stopping this latest witch hunt by the Trump administration, certain as their leader is that 3-5 million people voted illegally. Which he cannot confirm, or present any evidence for beyond for, regardless of what a disk jockey might say.
Makes you wonder how they’re gonna screw up the tax bill.
Politico: Republican fear of Voter Fraud
Soon Neil Gorsuch will be up for nomination in the senate. Democrats have stated (though the votes are currently not in) that the party plans to filibuster. The Republican senate majority leader Mitch McConnell meanwhile has stated that Senate Republicans should ‘feel no guilt’ if they use the nuclear option to remove the filibuster on Supreme Court Nominees.
Can the Senate Republicans do this? Yes they have the majority of the Senate and can therefore pass any legislation relating to the filibuster at their discretion.
Should they? Well..
The reality is politics is eternally fluid. That means that inevitably (and perhaps by 2018) there will be a shift in power from the Republicans to the Democrats, who if this passes will have free reign on passing, and denying, senate legislation, cabinet positions, and Supreme Court nominees. McConnell knows this, but also feels that maintaining a conservative majority on the Supreme Court is more important in the short term than the long-term consequences. The reality is not so simple and with the current state of partisan politics within D.C. it is very unlikely for there to be senate moderate enough to restore these rules and recreate the filibuster to encourage a more democratic Senate.
Wonder how much of this was encouraged by talk radio?
Politico: Reeling Republicans Desperate for Win
The healthcare bill failed, a Freedom Caucus secret pact cemented that, though plenty of other people share the blame (right wing media, White House lack of commitment, Ryan), Trumps approval is at his lowest yet (40.4%), Nune’s secret information leak seems to be an intelligence agent, or the White House, or Trump. And Gorsuch might not get the votes due to a Democratic filibuster, which Republicans are calling a terrible double standard. Cause Garland was never nominated in wonderland or something.