Welcome to a special weekend edition of the Daily Recap! Sorry to have missed you Friday. Hopefully we can get caught up on this absurd travesty known as the news. And who knows, we may even make some sense of it all.
HE’S OUTTA HERE
They say you should always lead with what you were right about. Actually they don’t. You’re supposed to lead with your mistakes. But this is my blog and I do what I want so get ready for this #BigFat I-told-you-so.
Islam apologist and globalist H.R. McRussiaProbe finally saw his last day in the Trump administration this past Thursday; a surprise only to those who haven’t been paying attention. McFriendofMueller was sure to point out the brazen Russian attacks on the 2016 election while failing to mention Trump’s lack of role in it, which put him squarely in the presidential crosshairs, and for good reason. The media are pushing a narrative and McFoundedISIS knows it. He would have to be stupid not to know he was giving them soundbites (on top of everything else he’s probably given them). We’re left with stupidity and malice as possible reasons for his media malpractice, neither of which allow for continued employment in the National Security Council.
McMaster is also of a much more interventionist mindset than makes Trump comfortable; an ideological fault line that made an internal quake inevitable. PDT is no dove, to be sure, but he’s no ideologue, either. He wants overwhelming force (if absolutely necessary) and a quick return home. And although he inherited a global deterrence strategy that requires American troops be stationed around the world, his first instinct toward any sort of occupation is to avoid them at all costs. That agnosticism toward international policing makes it easy for Trump to demand things like a hike in NATO defense spending. When it comes to American troops guarding foreigners, Trump doesn’t want to do it, so they better make it worth our while.
Now that we’ve explored the basics of Trump’s foreign policy philosophy and how it affects who he surrounds himself with, let’s examine the most crucial point:
It has absolutely nothing to do with his choice of John Bolton as National Security Adviser.
Yes, you read that correctly. Although Bolton and Trump agree on much more than many would know or care to admit, their respective outlooks on the world matter only in one very, very important way: both are ardent believers that force must always remain on the table when conducting diplomacy. With Bolton, I would go further to say that he believes force is what makes diplomacy possible in the first place.
And he’s right.
Without the credible threat of force, Kim Jong Un would be full steam ahead in preparing his nuclear ICBM program, not reaching out to see what deal can be struck moving forward. The Iranians would still be laughing in our faces while writing “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” on their ballistic missiles, soon to be outfitted with the very same nukes so attractive to Lil Rocket Man.
Simply put, if people who mean us harm don’t believe we’ll rain down absolute hell on them, their threats are much more likely to come to fruition. Weakness invites conflict. That’s a brute fact of life which should be known to anyone who’s faced down a schoolyard bully. Ivy League degrees may convince one otherwise, but the common sense that defeated the USSR in the 80’s still applies today. It applied 100 years ago and will still apply centuries from now.
Bolton was not hired for his foreign policy advice. He was hired because people like Kim Jong Un read news headlines too. He was hired for his reputation.
PDT is in a Mexican standoff with nukes, folks. He’s not going to hire a hippie to head up his NSC. If his threat of force isn’t taken seriously, WE WILL GO TO WAR. Our only chance of avoiding war is to convince countries like North Korea (especially) that it would be suicide to even consider it. They need to think that PDT is one crazy mofo surrounded by even crazier mofos. Code Pink representatives don’t get Kim Jong Un to disarm his nuclear capacity. People like John Bolton do. Presidents like Donald Trump do. All the eloquence in the world can’t match the effectiveness of one credible threat. The Obama administration should’ve taught us that if nothing else.
Now, given that general overview of the situation, let’s explore some of the reasons Bolton is the right man at this point in history.
BOLTON HAS FAVORED PRE-EMPTIVE MILITARY STRIKES:
This fact gives pause to much of the Trump base who are war-weary and staunchly opposed to any expanded military involvement around the world, which is understandable, but again, it must be put into the context of the situation in which we find ourselves.
It’s important to note that Bolton is most famous for repeatedly called for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea, arguing as recently as last month that the United States must use force to resolve the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang.
“It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first,” Bolton wrote in a Feb. 28 op-ed for the sometimes-failing The Wall Street Journal.
“Given the gaps in U.S. intelligence about North Korea, we should not wait until the very last minute. That would risk striking after the North has deliverable nuclear weapons, a much more dangerous situation.”
I hate to break it to some of the Bolton haters out there, but this is already the Trump position. How many times does he need to declare that Rocket Man will never be allowed to get a deliverable nuke before we believe him? Bolton isn’t bringing a new perspective to the NSC on this issue. He’s toeing the Trump line. And thank God. If you think it’s a good idea to let a man who makes movies about nuking America acquire a missile program that would allow him to nuke us with the push of a button, I strongly urge you to reconsider. No responsible POTUS would allow us to live at the mercy of such a man, whether you take him seriously or not. When a dictator says his country’s destiny is to destroy yours, believe him.
It’s no accident that Bolton was put on the NSC just before the historic talks with Rocket Man. PDT is sending a clear message; that he’s ready, willing and able to turn NK into a parking lot. Without that message, diplomacy is useless.
Bolton has taken an equally hard stance against Iran, writing that the United States should “end the Islamic Republic before its 40th anniversary.” In numerous television appearances and op-eds, Bolton has called for bombing Iran as the best way to stop Tehran’s nuclear arms research.
Again, this is no accident. North Korea and Iran are arguably the two most pressing foreign policy issues of our time; both countries bound and determined to threaten us with nuclear war. Iran could justifiably be considered a bigger threat than North Korea, seeing as how they’re run by fundamental Islamists who feel it their Quranic duty to bring about Armageddon.
Bolton has made no secret of his disdain for government agencies and career officials, and one of his favorite hobbies is going to toe to toe with State Department officials. when he was up for Senate confirmation for the job of Ambassador the United Nations (whom he also hates), 60 retired diplomats sent a letter to lawmakers opposing his nomination.
In 2016, shortly after Trump won the presidency, concerns were again raised over Bolton after his name came up as a potential deputy secretary of State.
Little person Rand Paul was all over that bad boy, promising early on to block the nomination, saying that “there is something to be said for one of the top diplomats in the country being diplomatic.”
There’s also something to be said for diplomats not being welcome mats, #ButTheseAreMinorDetails.
Bolton has taken on the United Nations as an impotent, useless organization (they are) and has a reputation for being hard on bureaucrats under his employ that he deems incompetent or, well, too bureaucratic. This earned him a reputation as a “serial bully” within the UN staff and State Department, although in reality it’s just a matter of government workers never being threatened with a firing before.
The Deep State doesn’t like to feel replaceable. That’s what makes them the Deep State.
HERE’S WHY DEMOCRATS REALLY HATE HIM:
In December of 2016, John Bolton committed the gravest of sins possible in the Trump era: he questioned the #PutinGate narrative. If you’re a hardcore Trumper, you’re gonna love this red meat.
Bolton not only questioned the Russian hacking narrative, he suggested it could have been “a false flag” operation — possibly committed by the Obama administration itself.
In an interview with Fox News, Bolton questioned why FBI Director James Comey said during the investigation of Hillzdawg’s private server that there was no direct evidence of foreign intelligence service penetration. Critics lost their minds at the assertions, citing Russian cyber fingerprints that were found in the alleged presidential election hacks, but if you’ve been with me for a while, you know that those fingerprints are easily faked by people with the technical expertise.
“It is not at all clear to me, just viewing this from the outside, that this hacking into the [Democratic National Committee] and the Republican National Committee] computers was not a false flag,” Bolton said. “So the question has to be asked, why did the Russians run their smart intelligence service against Hillary’s server, but their dumb intelligence service against the election?”
Ohhhhhhh man, Johnny boy has swallowed the red pill and the bureaucracy is panicked.
Fox then took it up a notch and asked Bolton whether he was accusing someone in “the administration or in the intelligence community” of the alleged false flag.
“We just don’t know,” Bolton said. “But I believe that the intelligence community has been politicized in the Obama administration to a very significant degree.”
True true true true true true. And also, true. It gets even better, though.
Bolton was pushed further and asked why intelligence officials would politicize the hack and “go so far to something that could damage the very issue of our republic and what we for 200-plus years have stood for.”
“The whole thing has been called into question, which is why the notion of some kind of independent investigation becomes extremely important,” Bolton said. “I do think it’s critical to answer the question that I posed: If you think the Russians did this, then why did they leave fingerprints?”
STOP IT, JOHN! THAT TYPE OF LOGIC AND UNDERSTANDING OF HOW ESPIONAGE WORKS CANNOT BE ALLOWED INTO THE LEXICON!
See, John Bolton is not “soft on Russia.” He understands that they must be dealt with from a position of strength just like everyone else. But he also believes in this revolutionary concept called critical thought, which allows one to understand the nature of Russia while ALSO questioning the narratives of a corrupt administration and the media that carries its water!
As you can probably tell, I’m worn thin from trying to make that point the last 2 years, and I’m pretty damn happy that there’s someone on the NSC now with the common sense and basic knowledge to apply proper analysis to the situation; analysis that could help us to avoid another nuclear standoff while dealing with problems as they actually exist, not how the media has portrayed them.
And best of all, he’s not shy about putting any of his beliefs on record, no matter how unapproved by the legacy media:
“During my career, I have written I don’t know how many articles and op-eds and opinion pieces. I have given — I can’t count the number of speeches, I’ve had countless interviews … They’re all out there on the public record. I’ve never been shy about what my views are,” Bolton said hours after news of his White House appointment broke.
HE’S ABOUT TO CLEAN HOUSE
Multiple sources report that Bolton is planning major staffing changes at the National Security Council, saying he is preparing to “clean house” and remove nearly all Obama political appointees.
The Hill, who tends to have pretty solid sources within the White House, report one high-ranking source saying that “Bolton can and will clean house,” and that any National Security Council officials appointed under former President Obama “should start packing their shit.”
Straight to the point — I like it.
Foreign Policy magazine reported that Bolton is planning to remove dozens of current officials, with a focus on those who have been “disloyal” to the president. If this is true — and I have every reason to believe it is — this is the exact type of figure we’ve needed in the West Wing.
If it takes a “serial bully” who hates bureaucrats to exterminate the Obama influence in the White House once and for all, by all means, bully away, John.
BOTTOM LINE: Yes, Bolton is a hard ass. No, Bolton isn’t shy about threatening military action. That does NOT mean he’s going to spend all day every day in PDT’s ear trying to bring about war all over the globe.
And let’s get one thing straight. Even if he were the neoconservative caricature portrayed by his critics, PDT IS NOT A PUPPET. He has divergent views throughout this cabinet, which he wants, and ultimately does whatever he thinks is right. We’ve seen it with the Paris Climate Accords, the Jerusalem move, the travel ban, etc. Trump does whatever the hell Trump thinks is the right thing to do. If he’s forced to eradicate Rocket Man’s regime, it will be because he deemed it necessary, not because some war hawk came into the White House and bossed him around.
Bolton is there to send a message that the Obama administration is long gone and this POTUS is serious about not allowing any nukes to be pointed at our citizens.
It really is that simple, and yes, I’m damn happy he’s there.
STUDENTS MARCH FOR THEIR LIVES
Just kidding, they were marching for attention. And I’m giving them the minimum amount in this recap.
I’ve been around shooting too, kids. And it didn’t make me an expert on a damn thing, nor does it you. Put down the picket sign and get your asses back to school. Kids don’t determine policy in this country.
BUILD THAT WALL, MR. PRESIDENT
Let’s cut to the chase. I know why you’re here. You want to know if PDT can find a slick way to maneuver around Congress and #BuildTheWall.
The answer: quite possibly, yes.
“I want to address the situation on border security, which I call national defense,” Trump said shortly after signing the omnibus monstrosity. “I call it stopping drugs from pouring across our border. And I call it illegal immigration. It’s all of those things. But national defense is a very important two words. Because by having a strong border system, including a wall, we are in a position, militarily, that is very advantageous.”
For the first time, Trump underlined the significance of the barrier as a military structure and a matter of national defense. Up to now, PDT promoted the wall as a way to curb illegal immigration and stop the deadly flood of illicit drugs, especially heroin. The introduction of the wall’s military function is very, very significant, especially in terms of funding.
Before we begin, let’s get one thing straight — no one knows for absolute sure right now the outcome of this effort. There is no cut and dried legal language that will decide the issue on its face.
Assuming PDT attempts to use the military budget to fund the wall, which by all appearances appears will be the case, it will quickly become a matter for the judicial branch, as Democrats (and some Republicans) will raise absolute holy hell and push the narrative of an out of control would-be dictator attempting to usurp the power of Congress; a distinction, I must note, that they were far less hesitant to apply to an actual would-be dictator by the name of Barry Soetoro, #ButTheseAreMinorDetails.
We will be relying heavily on the integrity of the federal bench and, in all likelihood, the SCOTUS, which is always a dicey proposition. Every bit of common sense — and even some law — dictates that border security and national security are one and the same. In fact, I would argue that border security is the most fundamental form of national security. There’s not much use in defending America abroad if we can’t defend her at home. Easy peezy logic to understand, right?
If only logic were enough to carry the day.
Let’s go over what we have in our corner and what we don’t, and try to gauge where we’re headed.
DEMOCRATS INCLUDED SPECIFIC LANGUAGE FORBIDDING THE WALL:
The lack of funding for #TheWall is one of the biggest frustration for the president and his supporters. And boy, do the Dims know it. The wall was the first thing mentioned when he threatened to veto the bill, and for good reason. It’s the single most animating issue for the Trump base. Unfortunately, the absurd $1.3 trillion budget includes just $1.6 billion of wall funding, far short of the estimated $25 billion needed to accomplish the task.
To make matters worse, the spending bill specifically prohibits PDT from building the kind of wall he wants. The omnibus stipulates that a majority of border wall funding can only be used for repairs or to build “secondary” barriers where a wall already exists. The remaining money can be used to fund 33 miles of new barriers, but only in the form of levees or border fencing, not the concrete wall prototypes that PDT recently inspected on a trip to California.
What a wretched group of subhuman scum.
This language is likely to be the main weapon employed by those trying to block the military wall funding maneuver, as actions contrary to the specific language passed by Congress and signed by the POTUS himself would be argued to directly usurp congressional powers of the purse and law-making in general.
It’s a sound legal argument that will be hard to defeat in court.
BUT HERE’S THE THING…….
That attack is only effective if the funds specifically allocated for border security are applied contrary to congressional guidelines. In other words, it doesn’t necessarily stop PDT from using fungible monies from other areas of the budget, in this case, the military.
Roughly half of the omnibus is dedicated to the military for a total of over $654 billion allotted to the Pentagon’s base budget and overseas counterinsurgency operations. That’s enough to build the wall 26 times.
This is where things get interesting. Immediately after he alluded to the wall’s military function, PDT called upon Mad Dog Mattis to comment on the newly secured military funds:
“In 1790, in George Washington’s first annual address to Congress, he stated, to be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving the peace,” Mattis said. “Now, it’s our responsibility in the military to spend every dollar wisely in order to keep the trust and the confidence of the American people and the Congress.”
Mad Dog’s allusion to “spending every dollar wisely” stood out in particular because the military would have to secure just 3.8% in cost savings in order to fund #TheWall construction. And not just a “down payment” — the whole damn thing.
As commander-in-chief, PDT has ultimate power over the military. Each branch of the armed forces has a construction division. The Army Corps of Engineers alone employs 37,000 people who specialize in building critical infrastructure. I’ ve long argued that the wall should be a part of infrastructure legislation, but this could work just as well, as it doesn’t get any more critical than preserving our nation’s sovereignty.
It will be hard for the open borders crowd to argue against the military significance of #TheWall. Iran’s terror proxy, Hezbollah, has built up an alarming presence in South America. As Trump ramps up pressure on the Iranian regime, the threat of commandos crossing the border on a suicide mission to cause mass civilian casualties is very real. So real that there isn’t much room for debate at all.
Meanwhile, illegal drugs flooding into the country via the Mexican border are resulting in a tragic loss of life. Fentanyl, a commonly trafficked drug, was responsible for 20,000 American deaths in 2016 alone.
America lost 4,491 troops during the entire eight years of the war in Iraq, which cost the United States roughly $6 trillion by the most liberal estimates. In comparison, building a barrier that can help reduce the staggering loss of life from the drug epidemic is well worth 3.8% of the military budget.
It’s everyone’s favorite Daily Recap feature: the mailbag! And by “everyone” I mean the 2-4 people who ask questions every week. Let’s get all knowledgeable, peeps!
She told the Senate Intelligence Committee that DHS is prioritizing election cyber security above all other critical infrastructure it protects, such as the financial, energy and communications systems. This, as you can guess, was brought on by the prospect of OMG RUSSIAN ELECTION HACKING.
Here is where it could actually benefit us, *could* being the operative word. Nielsen endorsed paper ballot backups for electronic voting systems as an important safeguard in ensuring that tabulated election results are not tampered with. Common sense, right? Use paper ballots as a backup and our issues are resolved, both the electoral fraud that we fear and the OMG RUSSIAN hacking we’re warned of daily by the powers that be.
New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina have no verifiable paper ballot backup across their states, though some are looking to purchase systems that provide such audits. Eight other states, including the all important Pennsylvania, have some electoral districts without paper backups.
Now for the bad news 2.0.
Even in the best case scenario, which is the paper ballot initiative being adopted by the federal government to ensure electoral integrity, states could still do their own thing. Nielsen acknowledged in her Senate testimony that she was unaware of any federal agency, including her own, that had the authority to mandate that vendors comply with security standards. They can recommend until they’re blue in the face, but there is no guarantee that states will follow suit.
What’s worse, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of that very Senate Intelligence Committee, said the need for improvements in election security was “urgent” but even if implemented, it’s unclear if fixes would be in place this year or even by the next presidential election in 2020. Gotta love the speed of government.
Even the voting machine companies themselves aren’t federally mandated to demonstrate their compliance with best security standards. DHS cyber security official Jeanette Manfra gave this decidedly unsatisfying response to a question posed by Democrat Ron Wyden on her confidence in the security of voting machines:
“It is hard for me to judge right now,” Manfra answered. “I do not have perfect insight into the machines that the states buy,” adding that some vendors voluntarily submitted machines to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission for security review.
As far as the motivation of Republicans to curb the all the usual dirty tricks employed by our counterparts, I wish I had a better answer for you, but I’m afraid that no, they don’t actually give that much of a damn about preserving the president’s political power and thus ability to get things done in D.C.
I’m of Rush Limbaugh’s mindset on that question. The establishment on both sides (let’s be real, there’s only one side) have a vested interest in ensuring PDT’s failure. Think about it. If a complete outsider is able to go to D.C. and get things done left and right, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the so-called professional politicians we’re told are so important to moving legislation. They can’t afford for the politically incorrect outsider to show them up, if for no other reason than it threatens the bureaucracy that so successfully protects itself.
PDT is an extension of the People, and if we’re allowed to be in charge for a while, it spells doom for the Deep State. Special interests and unaccountable bureaucrats run the system right now and lots of people stand to lose lots of things should that apple cart be upset.
So in my opinion, no, they don’t give a damn about looking out for the president in the midterms. They care about preserving the power of the Swamp, period. They don’t care about the country. They mock us behind our backs and sometimes to our faces. They need to see this president fail.
We have one hell of an uphill battle ahead. It’s going to take some white hats within our government to put some people in their places and make PDT a truly new sheriff in town.
Oddly enough, though, I’m hopeful, if for no other reason than I know PDT has some things up his sleeve.
A: The chief complain with the omnibus is the lack of wall funding, though there are many other valid complaints as well, such as continued funding for Planned Parenthood to the tune of half a billion dollars and the general insanity of running trillion-dollar annual deficits.
To the second part of your question, frankly, I think the situation with North Korea, Iran, etc. coupled with the piss-poor shape of much of our equipment thanks to the Barry administration put him in a very rough spot. Democrats took our national security hostage in order to push through all their garbage. PDT says he won’t sign anything like it again.
The good news is this may not be the end of the story. I refer you to my piece above regarding use of military funds for #TheWall.
Thanks for a great round of questions, Trumpers! And thank you for waiting an extra couple days to see them answered. I hope it was worth the wait. Here’s to another long, long week of news analysis!
There it is, homeskillet. You know the drill: questions, comments, concerns, memes, insults, compliments, stickers, jokes, emojis and, if we have time, complaints.
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