Harry C. Blaney III

The last few days have revealed even more than the proceeding months of follies and the debacle that is the Trump regime. The series of tweets in which Trump accused former president Obama of wiretapping his Trump Tower offices before his election was one of the most bizarre acts by any president in memory and I go back beyond the Nixon administration. This was done without any proof and with denials by both the Obama staff and James Clapper the former Director of Central Intelligence.

It was made clear by former officials that Obama banned any such acts. These wiretaps take place when the court believes there was an actual illegal act committed. To carry out such wire tapping would require a court’s review and approval which would only be done with creditable evidence. This charge many be hashed out by a possible FBI public statement and the intelligence committees of Congress  likely next week  who will hold hearings on this and the Russian hacking of the Democrats.

The issue of Russian actions to undermine our election and democracy and include ties of Trump and his associates don’t seem to go away. This despite Trumps efforts to change the subject. So far they are not going away and are even viewed as deepening. There is something about the Russian “connection” that Trump fears and has responded to almost in a manic reaction. It upset his own staff and only highlighted his obsession or fear of this issue and the desire to push it aside with outlandish actions to change the subject according to some commentators.

Thus we see the focus on the “repeal and replacement” of the ACT (Obamacare), which in a odd way only seem now to further undercut his credibility on many levels and adds to his reputation of repetitive lies and dishonesty. Trump promised cheaper, better and wider coverage which the Bill in the House is the opposite, costing much more and covering millions fewer needed people and transferring the savings to the very very rich via tax breaks at the expense of health services. The culmination of Wiretaps by Obama, Russian ties and attacks on citizens health care and ordering dismantling of climate change regulations, are examples of how Trump manipulates the landscape to his own and our cost.

Other examples of his destructive bent are his action to in effect demolish agencies that are critical to the security, health, environmental protection, education, science research and truth. Yet he has on problem wasting taxpayer money on large additional spending for DOD without any real purpose. All at the expense of cutting massively assistance to the most vulnerable souls at home and not least now abroad by massive cutting back the assistance to threaten refugees and others in conflict zones that are facing mass starvation and certain millions of deaths.. This is making, as I have noted, not a “Great America” but a mean, authoritarian, and selfish “Small America.”

These events in any case, could be the possible start of the further unwinding of the Trump credibility. It furthers the view by some citizens of fear and unease and it has created a perception among some key leaders abroad already of disquiet and distance from American leadership.

Press reports state Trump showed a high level of anger at his staff, denounced Sessions recusal in the Russian hacking case, and along with Trump’s continued accusations against Obama, the intelligence agencies and the media.

So far these series of missteps indicate a leader without good judgment but also a person intent more on destruction of the fabric of a secure and compassionate society. Even in his arrangement of his White House staff there is more chaos and dysfunction as a result of his manic and often unpredictable rule on his own turf with a staff made of equally unbalance types. Creating chaos and his desiring to be the only story of the day by getting more and more bizarre and demoniac does not serve American interests.

We welcome your comments!

The Battle Over the Defense Budget Cuts: Will Reality or Lobbyists Win the Debate?

The Washington Post editorial on Monday, November 7th illustrates the extent to which the Defense industry lobbyists have won over the mainstream mass media in their effort to spare their lucrative high-tech projects and contracts from feared cuts. The Washington Post should be ashamed of its editorial “Defense on the Rocks: mandated spending cuts could decimate U.S. Military might.”  They got it wrong on judging the impact and seem to have become a front for the military industrial establishment. They quote a host of military leaders and DOD Secretary Leon Panetta decrying in hysteric terms the impact of just 10% cuts in a bloated $700 billion budget even as we wind down two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They also seem to want to create a new “Cold War” in Asia to justify keeping half of our entire discretionary budget for the military as we cut away at vital domestic programs at even greater levels if the GOP in Congress has its way.  While many think Congress will come up with a way before 2013 to save DOD these cuts, the impact of that action could mean 20% cuts to everything else including our diplomatic and international programs which respond to conflicts before or instead of putting boots on the ground.

It seems that DOD has largely bought the idea of unneeded weapons systems including funding for impractical and gratuitous nuclear weapons and delivery systems. The savings on excessive nuclear weapons modernization alone could amount to tens of billions.  The focus of our security strategy over the next decade needs to be on confronting pinpointed risks with highly trained and properly equipped troops and preventive diplomacy tools, rather than on the military’s desire for unnecessary and expensive weapons and technologies to fight the cold war that does not protect us from the security landscape that is today.

Panetta’s statements about the need to cut retirement pay, health benefits, base closings, medical programs, etc. seem to be aimed at cutting useful people rather than industrial contracts. While Secretary Panetta hinted at cuts to weapons systems like the expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, with the goal to build 2,400 planes and a pricetag of about $400 billion over two decades, it seems less likely that he will do so. What need do we have for such an expensive system when our key security challenges can’t be addressed by such a force?

According to Panetta, some of the biggest defense savings will come from “reduced levels of modernization in some areas.”  Let’s start with cutting back on nuclear weapons systems and “modernization” that also are of little use against terrorists. In fact, we are planned to have 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 700 launchers under the New START treaty.  Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) announced at a recent press conference that he and 64 other Democratic House members had signed a letter to the “super committee” asking for reductions of tens of billions of dollars to nuclear weapons programs.  They wrote that reducing “outdated and unnecessary nuclear weapons” would “allow us to continue funding the national defense programs that matter most.”

So who will win the battle of the budget cuts?  Cynics would say those who have the most money to influence the media, Congress and DOD. Already they have won one key newspaper and a powerful group in Congress in both parties that depends on defense contracts in their states.  One wonders however why the same GOP Congress members voted against infrastructure funding, clean energy projects and other vital domestic needs with even higher employment outcomes, rather than against bloated defense contracts for systems that will sit useless on bases and create no further economic growth or employment and just higher debt or force further cuts for our poor and middle class?  Which option will really contribute to our national security?

By Harry C. Blaney III.