New War Strategy, Budget Buster

Stratego: President Trump last night laid out what he described as a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan and security issues in all of South Asia, promising to decisively defeat terrorist organizations with new rules of engagement in combat and a clear definition of victory.

“We will fight to win,” the President said. “From now on, victory will have a clear definition — attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.”

Trump offered few specifics about how the US can win the war that’s dragged on for 16 years. He said the US will demand more help from India and cease tolerating Pakistan’s hosting of terrorist organizations. He said, “I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.” And he said, “We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists.”

Trump said a primary shift in strategy will be to abandon time-based goals and deadlines for decisions made according to conditions in the field. He said that, despite his statements over the years that the US should just get out of Afghanistan, the consequences of a rapid exit advanced in advance “are both predictable and unacceptable.”

The President promised, “We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.”

He said battlefield commanders will be relieved of restrictive rules of engagement and freed to make decisions in the field. “Micromanagement from Washington, D.C., does not win battles.”

What I Meant: The President began his speech with an attempt to dig himself out of the hole he made with his remarks over neo-Nazis and the Charlottesville violence.

Speaking to a military audience at Ft. Myer, Va., from a well-written script, he said, “Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people. When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry and no tolerance for hate.”

Covering Mogul: It’s only August and the Secret Service has run through its overtime budget for protecting the world-travelling family of President Trump. The service is responsible for covering the President, codename “Mogul,” and 17 other members of his family, including adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and daughters Ivana and Tiffany. The Secret Service goes everywhere they go.

The service does not have a choice and from here on agents who work overtime won’t get paid for it.

According to USA Today, here are some of the extraordinary costs of protecting Trump, who goes to one of his resort properties almost every weekend:

-Estimated $3m per visit to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida.

-Roughly $60,000 on golf cart rentals at both Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s Bedminster, NJ, golf club.

-Nearly $100,000 on hotels to protect Eric Trump, during a business trip he took to Uruguay.

Bad Numbers: A new NBC News/Marist poll says that more than 60 percent of voters in three states that were instrumental in making Trump president are embarrassed by his performance. The numbers:

-Wisconsin, 64 percent embarrassed, 25 percent proud

-Pennsylvania, 63-25

-Michigan, 64-28

Statuary of Limitations: The University of Texas at Austin suddenly and quietly removed the statues of three Confederate heroes from the campus. Gone are two depictions of Gen. Robert E. Lee and one of Albert Sidney Johnston, and the Confederate cabinet member John Reagan. A statue of James Stephen Hogg, Texas’ 20th governor, was also targeted for removal.

University President Gregory Fenves said in a letter to the University community, “The historical and cultural significance of the Confederate statues on our campus — and the connections that individuals have with them — are severely compromised by what they symbolize. Erected during the period of Jim Crow laws and segregation, the statues represent the subjugation of African Americans.”

Nation: A judge in Steubenville, Ohio who was ambushed and wounded by a man with a gun yesterday, returned fire along with a probation officer and killed the attacker. Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese Jr. was shot about 8 am outside the Jefferson County Courthouse. The dead assailant was the father of a convicted rapist, but Bruzzese had not been involved with that case. The local sheriff said, “This was cold blooded, attempted murder on a judge.”

Terrorist Shot: Spanish police shot and killed a 22-year-old man suspected of being the van driver van who mowed down pedestrians in Barcelona last week. They nailed him in a village about 20 miles west of the city.

Authorities say Younes Abouyaaqoub had killed 13 people and injured 100 before running away. He killed the driver of a car and escaped with the body still inside.

Sunblock: The total eclipse of the sun came off yesterday with no technical glitches. It played across the country to the oohs, aahs, and applause of millions of spectators.

Jan Hudson was on Jackson Peak, Idaho. She said, “A heavenly, fluorescent, beaming halo surrounded the sun, dropping temps 10 degrees.”

Marti Johnson tells us from Manning, SC, “People were focused on nature. The universe. Instead of looking at something on their cellphone or trying to photograph it … That was what struck me: they stopped taking stupid pictures of a natural phenomenon that wouldn’t be nearly as amazing as the personal experience of watching what was going on.”


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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