CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEFS WON’T BACK TRUMP’S TRANSGENDER TWEETS
POLITICO reports, “There will be ‘no modifications’ to the military’s transgender policy as a result of President Donald Trump’s tweets, the chairman of the joint chiefs said in a message to top military officers on Thursday.” Now before you scream, “Transgender troops are a distraction!” Step back and observe what this really means: the head of the American armed forces is openly disobeying the so-called Commander-in-Chief and facing no repercussions immediately observable for it. You might say they are tweets but the White House has said over and over again that his tweets should be treated as policy directives. This is a very dangerous moment for civil-military relations. In the U.S., the military is supposedly beholden to the civilian leaders, who in this case, through insolence, a toddler-like demeanor, and acting as a consistent threat to U.S. national security, is openly inviting and indeed receiving the disobedience of the Armed Forces. In any tin pot dictatorship or Third World country, this would presage a coup, but in America? POLITICO reports, “Marine Gen. Joe Dunford wrote in the message to the chiefs of the services and senior enlisted leaders that the military will continue to ‘treat all of our personnel with respect.’” POLITICO reports in part the note read, “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.”
NSC STAFF FIRING OF REPORTED IRAN HAWK
The Weekly Standard reports, “Derek Harvey, a top Middle East adviser to President Donald Trump, has been fired from his position at the National Security Council, effective today.” Fired!? The conservative Weekly Standard reports, “Harvey, a longtime intelligence professional with vast experience in the Middle East, was a key player in the Trump administration’s Iran policy review and its policy development in Syria, Iraq and other regional hotspots.” According to The Weekly Standard, “he was viewed by some top Trump aides as too close to Steve Bannon.” According to The Weekly Standard, “Harvey holds hawkish views on the threat from Iran and global jihadism, but he does not share Bannon’s non-interventionist views.” The Weekly Standard notes, “he was driving a more aggressive approach to Iran than that of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.” According to The Weekly Standard, “Mattis, in particular, had disagreements with Harvey and that he raised the issue with National Security Adviser HR McMaster. McMaster met with Harvey this morning to deliver the news.” CNN flushes out some details adding Harvey “was appointed by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn during his short tenure and continued to serve as the council’s senior director for the Middle East” even after Flynn’s ouster.
SENATE PASSES RUSSIA SANCTIONS BILL
POLITICO reports, “The Senate on Thursday delivered Donald Trump the first big bipartisan rebuke of his presidency, giving final approval to a package of sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea that constrains his bid to defrost relations with Moscow.” According to POLITICO, “The Senate voted 98-2 to approve the sanctions bill that cleared the House earlier this week.” POLITICO notes, “The only no votes on the bill were Kentucky Republican Rand Paul and Vermont independent Bernie Sanders.” Curious, isn’t it? At least no one ever accused Bernie Sanders of knowing anything about the world.
CNN reports, “Russia’s Foreign Ministry demanded Friday that the United States cut the number of diplomatic staff it has in Russia and said it would seize two US diplomatic properties,” in response to the Senate’s passage of the Russian sanctions bill Thursday. According to CNN, “The order — which affects the US Embassy in Moscow and consulates in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok — would reduce the number of US diplomatic and technical staff to 455, the same number Russia has in the US, by 1 September.” Additionally, “Russia is also suspending the use of a US storage facility in Moscow and a country house, or dacha, outside of Moscow by 1 August,” CNN reports.
NEW RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UN NAMED
The AP reports, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed veteran diplomat Vasily Nebeznya as the country’s new ambassador to the United Nations.” According to the AP, “Nebeznya’s appointment, to replace Vitaly Churkin, who died in February, had been expected for months. The decree formally naming him as ambassador was published on the Kremlin website on Thursday.” The AP notes, “Nebeznya had been a deputy foreign minister since 2013. He previously was an adviser to Russia’s UN delegation and deputy Russian representative at the UN office in Geneva.”
From the AP.
RUSSIA TO REMAIN IN SYRIA FOR NEXT HALF CENTURY
Reuters reports, “President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Russia to keep its air base in Syria for almost half a century, official documents show.” According to Reuters, “The original deal, signed in Damascus in January, sets out the terms under which Russia can use its Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province which it has used to carry out air strikes against forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad.” Officially, “Putin approved the agreement on Wednesday, after the two chambers of the Russian parliament backed it earlier this month,” Reuters reports. Accordingly, “The document says Russian forces will be deployed at the Hmeymim base for 49 years with the option of extending that arrangement for 25-year periods,” Reuters reports.
BELARUS INVITES ESTONIA TO OBSERVE ZAPAD 2017
Estonian Public Broadcasting reports, “The Ministry of Defence has received a written invitation to participate in events to be held to introduce the Belarusian-Rusisian joint military exercise Zapad 2017 in Belarus.” Good!
AZERBAIJAN DROPS OUT OF NATO EXERCISES IN GEORGIA
EurasiaNet reports, “When NATO military exercises kick off in Georgia next week, they will include troops from the United States, Germany, Turkey, Ukraine, and Armenia. But they won’t include Azerbaijan, an unexpected, last-minute dropout.” EurasiaNet adds, “Azerbaijan also didn’t participate in another set of recently concluded NATO-affiliated drills in Romania, although in past years they had participated in several previous iterations of the drill.” Nor did Azerbaijan “take part in U.S./Ukraine-hosted naval exercises in the Black Sea, called Sea Breeze, in spite of earlier promises,” EurasiaNet reports. Neither the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense or Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to requests for comment so for now, “It’s not clear why”. While “Armenia’s presence at Noble Partner would justify Azerbaijan staying away,” however, “Armenia wasn’t in the Sea Breeze exercises which Azerbaijan also dropped out of, and both Armenia and Azerbaijan took part, without incident, in the NATO Saber Guardian exercises last year.”
DARKNESS AT NUNES WON’T QUIT RUNNING INTERFERENCE
The Hill reports, “The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is accusing top political aides of President Obama of making hundreds of requests during the 2016 presidential race to unmask the names of Americans in intelligence reports, including Trump transition officials.” Yes that’s DARKNESS AT NUNES at it again, despite a rebuke from the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee Senator Richard Burr that DARKNESS AT NUNES made up the whole unmasking thing. It’s like he’s trying to feed an adversary of the truth’s propaganda machine or something. This time DARKNESS AT NUNES stepped it up, writing a letter to the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats alleging unmasking “requests were made without specific justifications on why the information was needed.”
From The Hill.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
CBS News reports, “Thirty-five percent of Americans approve of President Trump’s job performance,” citing a Reuters poll, ergo roughly one in three Americans is just fine with a fascist authoritarian state. Meanwhile “Fifty-nine percent disapprove of the job the president is doing”. CBS News notes, “less than two weeks ago, on July 14, the president’s approval rating in the same Reuters survey stood at 42 percent, and his disapproval rating stood at 55 percent.” So the Titanic is sinking fast but not nearly fast enough. In other polls, such as those carried out by Gallup and The Economist, the numbers are slightly better but not by much. Gallup has it that “just 37 percent of Americans nationwide said they approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing as president, while 58 percent said they disapprove.” As for The Economist poll, “Mr. Trump’s approval rating among registered voters was 41 percent, and his disapproval rating was 54 percent.” That is not a lot of winning by any measure.
From CBS News.
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: STATE DEPARTMENT
POLITICO reports, “As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson moves to restructure the State Department, he wants to slash dozens of positions known collectively as special envoys — ambassadors-at-large, coordinators and others who deal with specific issues such as food security, labor and LGBT rights.” None of those things are really necessary in an authoritarian state that can rely on the great leader and his wunderkind know nothing son-in-law princeling Jared. We do not need food or rights, nor does anyone else; we need to adore the all-knowing leader. But behold “a fact of Washington life” intercedes! Horrible swamp! POLITICO notes “the power of interest groups and members of Congress willing to fight any threat to their favored causes.” The only cause is and should be the benevolent leader! Who is unhappy? According to POLITICO, “Jewish groups,” “digital gurus,” and “South Asia watchers”. “The State Department’s ranks include 67 special envoys”. How can this be when only the royal family and Trumpistani elite is special? POLITICO notes, “most controversial are envoys focused on sexual and religious identity.” In the era of Trumpistan, the only identity should be Trumpistani! All hail the special Trumpistani elite! Only the Trumpistani elite shall be deemed special!
THE UKRAINIAN “PEACE” PLAN + AN ASPIRATIONAL ENERGY DEAL
Talking Points Memo reports, “When a former business partner of President Donald Trump’s,” Felix Sater, “and a Ukrainian politician,” Andrii Artemenko, “approached an ally of the administration with a ‘peace plan,’ they were already at work on an energy trading deal.” According to Talking Points Memo, “Felix Sater, who worked obtaining financing for Trump projects including the Trump SoHo,” said, “the ‘peace plan’ came up in the course of his attempts to broker an agreement to sell energy abroad from Ukraine’s nuclear power plants with Andrii Artemenko, at the time a Ukrainian parliamentarian.” Sater told Talking Points Memo, “The plan was to refurbish dilapidated nuclear power plants in that country and then sell the power generated by them into Eastern Europe, using established commodities trading companies as a means of retroactively financing the deal”.
From Talking Points Memo.
HILLARY TO WRITE A TELL ALL, “WHAT HAPPENED”
She’s smarter than this title and this concept but in America, intellect is useless. Tales of defeated women are while not quite triumphant are the stuff of mainstream movies of the week. Behold, The Washington Post reports, “Hillary Clinton is calling her new book ‘What Happened’ and promising unprecedented candor as she remembers her stunning defeat last year to Donald Trump.” According to publisher Simon and Schuster, the introduction will include such typical teaser trash as, “In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net… Now I’m letting my guard down.” If you believe that is even possible for a politician at her level, good for you, there are so many delusions you are therefore capable of holding onto. If you do not think whatever she writes will invite another round of misogynistic Clinton bashing, you are probably a white male and think she deserves all the dirt the press and the public can sling at her at this point, or a woman who identifies strongly with mainstream trash culture in America. Obviously it’s her fault her opponent colluded with the Russians and Americans are too stupid to see they sleepwalked into an authoritarian state. You know the public and the press deserves some blame too, but go on deflect to Madame Secretary. Why? Because you can of course! In America, there is no space for self-reflection, not when you can just go shopping instead. Buy the book, or just wait for the movie because reading is hard.
From The Washington Post.
The Hill reports the new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said, “There are people inside the administration who think it is their job to save America from this president”. Scaramucci, the little fascist and new press chimera to distract from other topics with colorful language and manic interviews, objects to this naturally. America should not be saved from Trumpistan, it is Trumpistan that should be made glorious! “Their job is to inject this president into America,” Scaramucci said. O Trumpistan!
From The Hill.
BECAUSE TRUMPISTANIS LOVE TRASH TALKING REALITY TV SHIT SHOWS
The New Yorker reports on a phone call reporter Ryan Lizza fielded from White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. The call came on the heels of Lizza’s report on a dinner Wednesday night Trump had with his favorite propagandists faux news Fox News Sean Hannity, ousted executive Bill Shine, Scaramucci and Melania. The call, in essence, was bonkers and the article Lizza wrote about it is sure to be a blockbuster because the Trumpistani elite shit show is the main reality show for the masses. While getting insanely worked up on the phone, Scaramucci convinced himself Reince Priebus, the White House Chief of Staff, was behind the leak. Meanwhile Scaramucci lamented, “I’ve asked people not to leak things for a period of time and give me a honeymoon period,” adding, “They won’t do it.” Then he turned to Priebus who he described as “a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac”. Scaramucci mocked Priebus, “‘Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’” Scaramucci was also “incensed” about a POLITICO report about his financial disclosure form, which is a publicly available document. “I’ve called the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice,” Scaramucci postured. “They’re trying to resist me, but it’s not going to work. I’ve done nothing wrong on my financial disclosures, so they’re going to have to go fuck themselves,” Scaramucci added. The New Yorker reports Scaramucci “unlike other senior officials,” said, “he had no interest in media attention.” Scaramucci, in his own words: “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock”. The media is going to love him! The people will too. Of course a few hours after the call, Lizza “appeared on CNN to discuss the overnight drama”. Multi-platform synergy! Scaramucci is walking covfefe, chimera to distract the press from creeping authoritarianism, the Russian cancer on our state, anything that matters. They should install a stripper pole in the White House next like Jerry Springer did. Full Trumpistan!
From The New Yorker.
BANNON’S SHADOW PRESS OFFICE MIGHT VIOLATE FEDERAL LAW
LOL we still have laws! Can you believe? The Center for Public Integrity reports, “In an arrangement prominent ethics experts say is without precedent and potentially illegal, the White House is referring questions for senior presidential adviser Stephen K. Bannon to an outside public relations agent whose firm says she is working for free.” Do not believe that and even if it is true, it is illegal. So let’s meet the White House’s shadow press office even though we are not supposed to but TRUMPISTAN WATCH believes inordinately in sunshine! Someone, a drainpipe to suck on and quell thoughts in the brain, quick! According to the Center for Public Integrity, “Alexandra Preate, a 46-year-old New Yorker and veteran Republican media strategist, describes herself as Bannon’s ‘personal spokesperson.’” No doubt she is lovely when she is not wearing a hooded robe and without a swastika armband. Preate “is not employed by President Donald Trump’s administration or paid by the federal government,” the Center for Public Integrity notes, adding “The unorthodox setup means Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, is potentially violating the Antideficiency Act”. Well the deficiency of this regime is off the charts and laws are just tedious barriers to the triumph of the will of the Trumpistani elite. Preate it seems is close to the Mercer family which bankrolled the Trump campaign and a bunch of far right trolls and websites, and it is unclear if Preate is paid by Breitbart News, the hate speech site that launched Bannon’s public profile which he ran before joining the Trump campaign and later the White House.
From the Center for Public Integrity.
FROM RUSSIAN THEATER TO REALITY TV POLITICS
Forgive TRUMPISTAN WATCH for the plug of personal writing resting well outside the mainstream of American thought now, but TRUMPISTAN WATCH has spent 13 years in Eastern Europe off and on and just two years more off than on in Washington. With that preamble, “Imagine you are at the theater but the performance instead of the stage is everything that surrounds you in your everyday real life. Everything is the same but at the same time nothing is.” Now imagine “the performance has lasted for a little over six months, with a nearly three month-long prologue, which itself was preceded by 15 months of commercials.” Behold, “it is Trumpistan, the new American political reality show”! Why is this dangerous and disturbing? Oh because “many are becoming numb.” Do not become numb! But know that “Theatrics were the very path to the rise of Putin, the leader of Russia’s own so-called ‘managed democracy,’ which is no such thing but rather a traditional dictatorship.” In the Russian case, much of the credit goes to “a young ringmaster, Vladislav Surkov,” whose “true talent is an understanding that people love conspiracy theories but they hesitate in the face of genuine conspiracy.” There is more about the collapse of the Soviet Union, intelligence agencies’ roles and a kicker that gives it over to Alexander Herzen in thinking about our future in Trumpistan! And the warnings are more real and dystopian than anything as entertaining political reality TV! Please read. Gratitude.
From Amanda Rivkin.
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