Secretary Of Defense

Are We On The Brink Of A Nuclear War, Or Another Massive Infusion Of Troops In The Korean Peninsula, As In 1950?

Today is Easter, and any sensible person is on tenterhooks as we seem to be on the brink of a nuclear war, or another massive infusion of troops in the Korean Peninsula, due to the crazy North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, striving to be a threat to the United States mainland and to his Asian Pacific neighbors.

Kim Jong Un is unstable, unpredictable, mercurial, dangerous, reckless–but so is our President, Donald Trump.

Trump seems to be on an ego trip over his bombing of a Syrian airfield, and the MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs) dropped on an ISIL (ISIS) stronghold in Afghanistan in the past week.

Military leaders are running the show, while Trump says the North Korean issue will be settled one way or the other.

The ratcheting up of rhetoric on both sides is terrifying, and it means we have the possibility of all out war coming, either by use of nuclear weapons for the first time since World War II, or more likely, a massive infusion of American troops into the Korean Peninsula after an expected North Korean invasion of South Korea, and the raining down of missiles on Seoul, the capital of South Korea, with more than 10 million people, by the North Korean regime.

If a ground war develops, we could see massive loss of life on the part of South Koreans, and Japan is also in danger, as well as the 28,000 American troops already present in South Korea, the reminder that we have had troops in South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

So 64 years later, nearly two thirds of a century, we may be soon engaging in another major war, which could, if things do not go well, lead to the decision to restart the military draft of young Americans, even though there has been no draft since 1973, and only registration required since 1980.

There is no question of the threat of North Korea, but to have an unstable egomaniac in Donald Trump dealing with this, instead of the sane and experienced Hillary Clinton, is a true concern.

Donald Trump had said he wished to put “America First”, and not engage in foreign wars, and yet now, he seems likely to engage in a war with North Korea, that will not easily be won, along with hints of ground troops in Syria, causing a confrontation with Russia and Vladimir Putin.

We must recall that the Korean War was not won, but was simply a truce, and there are no simple answers to this crisis, but we can sense military leadership taking over from civilian leadership, as Trump allows Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster to make final decisions on intervention that could undermine the nature of our democracy for the long term.

Let us not forget that when we commit troops to foreign war, in an age of no draft, who are the victims? They are primarily poor whites, as well as racial minorities, who commit themselves to a military career as the best alternative of occupation in a nation that has a growing poverty level, and the rich getting ever richer while the middle class sinks.

Instead of spending another $50 billion on defense, we should be spending on domestic needs, as we already have a bigger defense budget than the next eight nations combined.

Conflict Within The Trump Circle Undermining Stability Within The White House

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is told he cannot have his choice for Deputy Secretary of State, Elliott Abrams, because of Abrams’ criticism of Donald Trump during the Presidential campaign.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis contradicts Donald Trump’s statement that America should take Iraq’s oil if America were to send troops again to that nation to fight ISIL (ISIS). Also, Mattis does not see Russia as an ally to fight the terrorist group in Syria and does not trust Vladimir Putin, but Trump does, so that presents a problem in strategy.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly contradicts Donald Trump’s statement that the deportation of immigrants to Mexico will require military forces, saying no such scenario will occur.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is ordered by Donald Trump to agree with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on rescinding federal endorsement of transgender students being able to use the bathroom they choose in public schools across the nation, with DeVos issuing statement promoting her view, but giving in to Trump in a White House meeting with Sessions, instead of resigning.

Kelly Anne Conway has been silenced a lot as she was making statements later contradicted by Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary to Donald Trump.

Several potential appointees have refused positions because they do not wish to work for Donald Trump.

The man is a nightmare to be around, and too many appointees and cabinet members have to swallow a great deal in order to work around a true narcissist, with no scruples, ethics or morals, and only interested in promoting his own sick ego!

The best thing that could happen would be for the cabinet members to organize with Vice President Mike Pence, and force Donald Trump out of office based on his total mental instability and danger to the nation, putting their principles ahead of their loyalty.

This could be done by the utilization of the 25th Amendment, Section 4, leading to Mike Pence as President, with all his faults and shortcomings, but not mentally damaged where he is a threat to the nation and the world!

The Power Behind The Throne, Undermining Rationality Of Trump: Michael Flynn, Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller, And Jared Kushner

Donald Trump’s White House advisors are the powers behind the throne, and are a major threat to any sense of stability in domestic and foreign policy, and undermining the rationality of Donald Trump, or whatever of that exists.

And we are just about two weeks into this Presidency, and this is already clear.

Michael Flynn is the unhinged National Security Advisor, while Stephen Bannon is Trump’s Chief Strategist and White House Advisor and Senior Counselor, and Stephen Miller is a key aide to Bannon–all three of them connected to white supremacists and neo Nazi groups, and involved in the decision on the Muslim ban last week, and the Yemen raid, which led to the death of a Navy Seal and killing of many civilians, including children.

And it is clear that Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband, also part of the White House group, is no genius either, far from it, and really an arrogant, overrated person because he is Trump’s son in law.

This group of characters may play a more important role than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, and that is disastrous on its face.

These people are unaccountable to Congress, and they are a sign that Trump will have a disastrous, corrupt administration, and shorten the term of Trump in the Presidency.

Is Donald Trump On Road To Being International War Criminal By His Stated Views On Torture, Oil, And Punishment Of Terrorist Families?

It looks, at least by Donald Trump rhetoric that the 45th President of the United States is on the road to being an international war criminal, if he were to follow through on his stated views on torture, the oil of Iraq, and punishment of terrorist families.

It is clear that waterboarding and similar tortures utilized by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld a decade ago in the Iraq War was criminal activity against the Geneva Convention and international standards of proper behavior toward detainees in war.

The top people around Donald Trump–Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, have all stated their opposition to revival of this tactic, along with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

But that does not mean that Trump would not order it be done, but if so, all of these people should make clear to him that if he does so, that they will resign. Otherwise, they would also be war criminals.

Trump’s statement that America might invade Iraq again, and seize their oil, is also an international war crime, no different than the tactics of Adolf Hitler.

And his idea that the families of suspected or actual terrorists should be subject to punishment, including bombing their homes, and imprisonment and execution, is also, definitely, a war crime.

We have a megalomaniac, a dangerous, mentally unhinged President, who is disgracing us before the world community, and he needs to be arrested and sent to the Hague to the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague, the Netherlands, IF he follows through on any of these threats.

And being an international war criminal is enough grounds for his immediate removal by impeachment, and if the Republican Congress refused to do so, they would be accessories to war crimes.

Trump Cabinet By Far The Oldest In American History: The Senior Citizen Dominance!

One unnoticed issue about the Donald Trump Cabinet is that the 45th President has, by far, the oldest group of Cabinet officers in all of American history.

A total of 11 people around Trump are from age 62 up to 79 as they take over their positions, making our government one run by “senior citizens”.

Understand that this blogger is technically a “senior citizen”, but he also is not taking on the burden of a high pressure, burdensome job working for a President of the United States, and to have the vast majority of those in charge of our future being those who have, probably, no more than 10-15 years left, in a natio in which half the population is under 35, brings up the issue of whether it is proper that so many “senior citizens”, who will not be personally affected long term, should be in charge of government policy that affects 325 million Americans.

Here are the cabinet members who fit into this category:

Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, 62
Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, 64
Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor, 64
Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation, 64
Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 65
Andrew Puzder, Secretary of Labor, 66
Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy, 66
General John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, 66
General James Mattis, Secretary of Defense, 66
Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, 70
Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, 79

And Donald Trump is 70 years and 7 months, 8 months older than Ronald Reagan, when he took the oath of office.

It must be admitted that Hillary Clinton is 69; Joe Biden is 74; and Bernie Sanders is 75, but it is highly likely that they would have brought in a much younger group of Cabinet officers.

Trump’s Pledge To “Drain The Swamp”? Trump Has More Wall Street Corporate Types And Military Leaders Than Any President Since Eisenhower!

Donald Trump pledged to “drain the swamp” of corporate people having influence on government, and this is the first of his pledges that has been totally ignored.

His Secretary of the Treasury (Steve Mnuchin); Secretary of Commerce (Wilbur Ross); Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson); and Chief Strategist (Stephen K. Bannon) are all from Wall Street or from a leading corporation in the case of Tillerson (Exxon Mobil).

Additionally, he has more military people, including those who are not retired for long, and require special legislative approval to serve—Secretary of Defense (James Mattis); Secretary of Homeland Security (John Kelly); and National Security Adviser (Michael Flynn).

So this is more than ever the “Military-Industrial Complex” that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against in his Farewell Address in January 1961.

This is a danger to American democracy, as the wealthy one percent not only dominate this administration, but also, more than ever, members of Congress, who are overall wealthier than any previous Congress in American history.

Where is the concern for the average middle class or poor American?

Joint Party Tickets A Good Idea? History Tells Us NO!

Recently, there has been some discussion of a “fusion” ticket as the way to stop Donald Trump.

One such scenario is to have Hillary Clinton run with John Kasich as her running mate.

That is totally preposterous, and history tells us that when the Vice President is of a different party than the President, it does not work out well.

The first contested Presidential election led to Thomas Jefferson as Vice President under his opponent, John Adams from 1797-1801, and that did not work out well, and in fact, helped to promote the 12th Amendment in 1804.

Then we had John C. Calhoun as Vice President under John Quincy Adams in the years 1825-1829, and that did not work out well.

William Henry Harrison was elected in 1840 with this Whig candidate having a Democrat, John Tyler, as his Vice President.  Within a month, Harrison was dead, and Tyler had constant battles with the Whig Congress, because he did not wish to follow Whig platform ideas.

Abraham Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson as his second term Vice President, despite the fact that Johnson was a Democrat in a Republican Presidency, and when Lincoln was assassinated six weeks later, we had one of the worst struggles in American history, as Johnson fought and resisted the Republican Party which had put him into the Vice Presidency, albeit briefly.

With these four examples, none of them working out well, we have never had such a situation arise again since, but we have had suggestions of doing what has never worked out well.

There were suggestions that Hubert Humphrey select Nelson Rockefeller in 1968, and that John McCain choose Joe Lieberman in 2008.

It simply will not work, and it undermines party loyalty and commitment to a President and his administration, if the next in line, in case of tragedy, transforms the power base in the Presidency.

As it is, we have had top cabinet members who are of the other party, particularly in the War Department as it was known before 1947, and the Defense Department, as it has been known since then., including:

Henry Stimson under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940-1945

Robert McNamara under John F. Kennedy, beginning in 1961, and continuing under Lyndon B. Johnson until 1968.

William Cohen under Bill Clinton from 1997-2001

Robert Gates under Barack Obama from 2009-2011

But the Vice President needs to be “on the team”, not a rival of the President in office!

 

Small States’ (One House Member And Two Senators) Influence In Congress Since 1945

There are seven states that have had only one member of the House of Representatives, along with two US Senators, in the past 70 years. but despite their small populations, these states have had a massive impact on American politics and history!  In addition, for the first few decades since 1945, Nevada also had one House member until growth caused two, and then, three seats in the House.

The seven states are Vermont, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska!

But North Dakota, South Dakota,and Montana had two members of the House until recent decades when reapportionment caused them to lose a second seat.

So only Vermont, Delaware, Wyoming, and Alaska (since 1959) stand alone as consistently having one House member and two Senators per state.

But look at their influence:

Vermont had George Aiken (R) (1941-1975) and has Patrick Leahy (D) for 41 years (1975 to Present) and counting now, and Bernie Sanders since 1990,  who  was the lone House member for 16 years before election to the Senate in 2006,making him the longest serving Independent in the history of both houses of Congress.  Also, Howard Dean, former Governor of the state, was a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2004, and then became head of the Democratic National Committee, and helped the rise of Barack Obama with a “50 state” strategy between 2004-2008.

Delaware had Joe Biden as Senator for six terms from 1973-2009, and now as Vice President.  He became one of the longest serving Senators of all time, and sought the Presidency in 1988 and 2008.

Wyoming had Dick Cheney as its lone Congressman for ten years from 1979-1989, before he ended up as Secretary of Defense under the first Bush Presidency, and Vice President in the second Bush Presidency.  Also, Alan Simpson served in the Senate from 1979-1997 as  a Republican, and Gale McGree from 1959-1977 as a Democrat.

Alaska had Ted Stevens in the Senate for 40 years from 1968 to 2009, the longest serving Republican Senator in American history.  Also, Sarah Palin , while Governor, was the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republicans in 2008.

And if one looks at the other states which had one Congressman at least for the last few decades, we have South Dakota and Senator George McGovern (1963-1981), the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee; Montana, with Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D) (1953-1977) from 1961-1977; Nevada with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) (1987-Present) from 2007-2015; and North Dakota Senators Kent Conrad (1987-2013) and Bryan Dorgan (1992-2011).

So the “small” states have really had a major role in American politics, despite their small populations!

The Top 30 Presidential Cabinet Officers In American History

Presidents do not accomplish their goals and policies on their own, but rather depend on the best advice and counsel of their cabinet members.

Since the Presidential Cabinet idea was formulated by George Washington and the first Congress under the Constitution, we have had the creation over time of 15 Cabinet agencies, and some of those who have held Cabinet posts under Presidents have had a dramatic impact on their times.

Below is a list of what the author believes are those 30 Cabinet officers who have had the greatest effect on American history, without ranking them in any order:

Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington

Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State under James Monroe

William Seward, Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson

Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State under Ulysses S. Grant

Carl Schurz, Secretary of the Interior under Rutherford B. Hayes

John Hay, Secretary of State under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt

James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture under William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft

Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior under Woodrow Wilson

Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman

Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Henry Morgenthau, Jr, Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt

George C. Marshall, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

W. Willard Wirtz, Secretary of Labor under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

George Romney, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Richard Nixon

Cecil Andrus, Secretary of the Interior under Jimmy Carter

Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton

Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bill Clinton

Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior under Bill Clinton

Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Bill Clinton

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama

Note that 25 Presidents and 12 of the 15 Cabinet Departments are included in this list. Nine Secretaries of State; three Secretaries of the Treasury; one Secretary of Defense; one Attorney General; six Secretaries of the Interior; two Secretaries of Agriculture; one Secretary of Commerce; three Secretaries of Labor; one Secretary of Health and Human Services; one Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; one Secretary of Transportation; and one Secretary of Education make up the list.

Also note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had five cabinet members who made the list; Bill Clinton had four; and Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson had three each!

Robert Gates’ Criticism Of Joe Biden On Distrusting Military Is A Plus!

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has made news with his memoir, in which he makes some strong criticism of President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

And yet, he is positive overall on Obama, and thinks both Biden and Clinton would probably make good Presidents.

Most interesting is his criticism of Biden, that he has been critical of military leadership, and that he has, according to Gates, never been right in the past 40 years on any national security matter. And yet he would make a good President, so figure that!

To say that Biden has been wrong for the past 40 years makes us think that, supposedly, every President since Nixon has been right on national security and defense matters. And to say that Biden has NEVER been right is totally preposterous! And what is the record on Presidents since JFK?

Was Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and particularly Bush II, REALLY right all of the time? Give me a break!

When one thinks back, the military leadership misled John F. Kennedy on the Bay of Pigs.

The military leadership misled Lyndon B. Johnson on Vietnam.

The military leadership was wrong on Vietnam under Nixon, as well.

In the brief tenure of Gerald Ford, thank goodness no major flub by the military leadership.

The military leadership misled Jimmy Carter on the Iranian hostage military rescue attempt.

The military leadership misled Ronald Reagan on dealing with “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan, and in dealing with Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein.

The military leadership misled George H. W. Bush on Somalian intervention.

The military leadership misled Bill Clinton on dealing with Al Qaeda.

The military leadership misled George W. Bush on Afghanistan and Iraq.

So if Barack Obama was skeptical and IS skeptical about the military leadership in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, that was good!

And if Joe Biden had, and has, a healthy dose of skepticism about the military leadership, that is VERY GOOD!

And that means Joe Biden would be an excellent successor to Barack Obama, because he questions, has doubts, does not worship the military leadership!

That is the kind of President we have now, and need, in the future!

Thank goodness for who we have in our top two positions in our national government, men with a dose of skepticism, with the reminder that we have a civilian government, not one run by the military, and that is what has kept us free, and will continue to do so!