Friday, March 31, 2017


Obama Officials Made List of Russia Documents To Keep Them Safe

Obama administration officials were so concerned about what would happen to key classified documents related to the Russia probe once President Trump took office that they created a list of document serial numbers to give to senior members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a former Obama official told NBC News.

The official said that after the list of documents related to the probe into
Russian interference in the U.S. election was created in early January, he hand-carried it to the committee members. The numbers themselves were not classified, said the official.

The purpose, said the official, was to make it "harder to bury" the information, "to share it with those on the Hill who could lawfully see the documents," and to make sure it could reside in an Intelligence committee safe, "not just at Langley [CIA hq]."


Been a lot of these around town lately, especially at Dawn's store.  I assume they're made in the city and then muled on up here.  Old bills of lesser denominations bleached and then re-stamped as old, wrinkly hundreds.  They pass the marker test, since they're printed on real currency.  You think the fuckers that waste their lives making these would put their minds to work on useful shit, like solving cancer.


And then he'll say that he's keeping America safer.  And his fucktard cronies richer.

Your browsing history for sale? White House won’t comment on Trump’s intent to sign bill eroding Internet privacy rules

 Hunter Walker

WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Sean Spicer indicated Trump plans to sign a bill that would wipe out some of the Federal Communications Commission’s Internet privacy protections, but declined to discuss the reasons for supporting the legislation at his daily briefing on Wednesday. The legislation, which was sent to Trump by Congress on Tuesday, would eliminate protections that barred Internet service providers from monitoring their customers’ behavior online and selling that information, which could include browsing history, use of apps, Social Security numbers and location information.

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Yahoo News asked Spicer if Trump plans to sign the bill and whether the president thinks it benefits anyone other than Internet companies and executives. Spicer pointed to a statement of administration policy issued by the White House on Tuesday that said Trump “strongly supports” the bill, but he declined to comment further.

“The House and Senate have just passed that. When they enroll it, then we will have further updates on that,” Spicer said of the legislation, adding, “I believe we have a statement of administration policy on that bill out, and when we have further updates on a signing ceremony, I will let you know.”

The protections affected by the bill were adopted by the FCC last October and were set to take effect at the end of this year. Republican FCC commissioners opposed the regulations, which were supported by online privacy advocates. The bill to eliminate the safeguards passed both the House and Senate on party-line votes.
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Yahoo News pressed Spicer and asked whether the White House is concerned that allowing this personal information to be collected and sold could create a risk of the data being used for “nefarious purposes,” including “hostile nations potentially looking at … what congressmen are browsing online.” Spicer repeated that the administration supports the bill and declined to answer further.

“As I mentioned, we have a statement of administration policy on that bill,” said Spicer. “We will have further updates and, when we do sign it, I’m sure we’ll have further details on why.”

the poet confesses

like february sunlight in
                 frozen fields

like crows


nothing connected to nothing in
the name of progress
and what i do is turn my
back on those who’ve escaped

what i fear is being 40
and then 45 and then 50

time is the enemy

words are for whores
               and addicts

i can never just
make myself shut up


Maybe you can sic yer daughter or yer naked softcore porn wife on 'em, Donny.....

Trump threatens hard-liners as part of escalating Republican civil war

John Wagner, Mike DeBonis, Robert Costa MSN

Trump threatened Thursday to try to knock off members of the House Freedom Caucus in next year’s elections if they don’t fall in line — an extraordinary move that laid bare an escalating civil war within a Republican Party struggling to enact an ambitious agenda.

In a series of tweets that began in the morning, the president warned that the powerful group of hard-line conservatives who helped block the party’s health-care bill last week would “hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast.”

The president vowed to “fight them” as well as Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, a warning that his allies said was intended in the short term to make members of the Freedom Caucus think twice about crossing him again. But Trump’s pledge was met with defiance by many in the bloc, including some members who accused him of succumbing to the establishment in Washington that he had campaigned against.

Later in the day, Trump
singled out three of the group’s members in another tweet, saying that if Reps. Mark Meadows (N.C.), Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Raúl R. Labrador (Idaho) got on board, “we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform.”

Most of the roughly three dozen Freedom Caucus members were elected from safe Republican districts, and many of them faced no primary opposition. To make good on his threat, Trump would have to recruit GOP candidates to make the case that the Republican incumbent they face was unhelpful to an un­or­tho­dox, populist president.

Trump’s frustrations with the Freedom Caucus also reflect only part of his challenge in moving legislation, even in a Congress where his party controls both chambers. If Trump does too much to mollify members of the hard-line group, he risks alienating a similar number of more moderate Republicans in districts won or narrowly lost by last year’s Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

And on many pieces of Trump’s congressional agenda, he’ll need the support of at least some Democrats, particularly in the Senate, an uncertain prospect given the toxic partisan environment on the Hill.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters a few hours after Trump’s first tweet on Thursday that he sympathized with him.

“I understand the president’s frustration,” Ryan said. “About 90 percent of our conference is for this bill to repeal and replace Obamacare and about 10 percent are not. And that’s not enough to pass a bill.”

Ryan said he had no immediate plans to bring the bill back to the House floor, saying it was “too big of an issue to not get right.”

Trump and his White House advisers have been particularly frustrated by the intransigence of several prominent Freedom Caucus members, led by Meadows.

In White House meetings, Trump lobbied them intensively, only to see the bill collapse last Friday after Meadows and some of his allies said they would not vote for it. The bill also faced strong opposition from a group of moderate Republicans who were concerned it went too far in cutting Medicaid and leaving millions more people without insurance.

“This has been brewing for a while,” a White House official said of Trump’s decision to pressure and possibly target Freedom Caucus members.

“Our view is: There’s nothing as clarifying as the smell of Air Force One jet fuel. So if he needs to bring in the plane and do a rally, he’s going to think about doing that,” said the official, who requested anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.

The official added that Trump and White House aides are “sick and tired” of seeing Freedom Caucus members on television in recent days.

Trump’s threat comes as Republican leaders are bracing for a month of potential GOP infighting over spending priorities. Congress must pass a spending bill by April 28 to avert a government shutdown.

Beyond that, the same divide that derailed the health-care legislation could imperil the next marquee legislation that Trump wants to tackle: tax reform.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Thursday that Trump remains committed to “a bold and robust agenda,” adding: “He’s going to get the votes from wherever he can.”

Since Friday’s debacle, Trump and his aides have increasingly talked up the possibility of working with Democrats on a reboot of the health-care bill and other priorities — but that prospect has also divided Republicans on Capitol Hill.

In in a CBS News interview that aired Thursday morning, Ryan said he does not want to see Trump have to work with Democrats on revamping the Affordable Care Act — drawing flak from some members of his own party, including Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who said Trump’s bipartisan overtures should be encouraged.

“He’s irritated,” anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist said in explaining Trump’s decision to lash out at Freedom Caucus members. “During the health-care discussions, the Freedom Caucus would say they’d support him if they got one thing, then they’d want another thing. If you’re Trump, you wonder, ‘Why are these people meeting with me if they’re always going to be a ‘no’ vote?’”

If Trump gets involved in Republican primaries, Norquist said he thinks it’s possible he could “get some scalps.”

Though Trump’s national job approval numbers are historically low for a new president, he remains popular in many of the districts where Freedom Caucus members were elected. At the same time, most of those members won a larger percentage of the vote in their districts than Trump did.

On Capitol Hill, Trump’s tweet was met with a range of reactions: Some members said it could prove counterproductive while others praised him for using the power of his office in a way he hasn’t to this point.

Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who has called for health-insurance reform to work its way through Congress more slowly, said that with Trump’s tweet on Thursday, the president was taking exactly the wrong approach.

“The idea of threatening your way to legislative success may not be the wisest of strategies,” Sanford said Thursday. “His message yesterday was that he wanted to work with Democrats; I guess the message today is, ‘We need to fight against Freedom Caucus members and Democrats.’ . . . It’s a case of shooting messengers who were, rightfully, pointing out problems in a bill that the American public has not shown a proclivity toward.”

Jordan, another Freedom Caucus member, said the break with Trump was based on real policy differences, not a lack of loyalty.

“If the president chooses to support primary challengers to House members who’ve been unhelpful, it wouldn’t necessarily be an ideological challenge,” Steel said. “It would be based on loyalty to the president, or lack thereof.”

But Steel added: “You don’t necessarily have to wait for 2018 for this to have an effect.”

There is precedent for Republican leaders taking aim at Freedom Caucus members. A spate of 2015 ads purchased by the American Action Network, a nonprofit issue advocacy group with ties to House GOP leaders, targeted Jordan and two other hard-liners for opposing a Department of Homeland Security funding bill.
Those ads infuriated members of the caucus, then only months old, and spawned a confrontational relationship that culminated in Boehner’s resignation six months later.

One open question is whether the National Republican Congressional Committee, the GOP’s House campaign arm, would intervene on behalf of incumbents targeted by Trump.

“The president can say what he wants and that’s fine. But we’re focused on the legislation,” Jordan said.

Some of the harshest responses to Trump came via Twitter, his preferred means of provocative communication. Those included a tweet from Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who said that Trump’s support of the health-care bill signaled he was now part of the Washington elite.

“It didn’t take long for the swamp to drain @realDonaldTrump,” said Amash, a member of the Freedom Caucus and one of Trump’s frequent GOP critics. “No shame, Mr. Trump. Almost everyone succumbs to the D.C. Establishment.”

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), a Trump ally, said Trump's focus on the Freedom Caucus was well placed as the White House attempts to steady itself and rethink its congressional coalitions.

Collins, a member of the Tuesday Group, a group of moderate House Republicans, rejected the notion — put forth this week by members of both groups — that there could be an accommodation between them on the health-care bill.

“The Tuesday Group will never meet with the Freedom Caucus, with a capital N-E-V-E-R,” Collins said, spelling out the last word.

Some Republicans said they see potential for Trump forging a governing coalition that includes some Democrats.

“Trump is a New York-type bargainer who wants to get something done,” said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.). “That approach will give him a lot of room to maneuver on taxes and infrastructure. Once you break the barrier that every bill has to have total Republican support, you can be more creative.”

Michael Steel, who was a senior aide to former House speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), said there is potential in some districts for Trump to dislodge Freedom Caucus members.

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), the NRCC’s chairman, chuckled Thursday after a reporter read him Trump’s tweet.

“I want to be very clear: We have a policy of helping out incumbents that pay their dues,” Stivers said, referring to the hundreds of thousands of dollars GOP lawmakers are expected to raise for the committee each election cycle. “As long as they pay their dues, we’re gonna be there for them. . . If I was them, I’d take a look and see how I’m doing on my dues.”

Philip Rucker, David Weigel, Sean Sullivan and Scott Clement contributed to this report.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Seriously, what a  bunch of douchebags.  On the bright side, they'll be dead someday and find out that their fucktard god is a lie. 
Knowledge is a good thing.

Pence and Ailing Senator Deliver Votes to Block Family Planning Money


WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans, aided by Vice President Mike Pence and an ailing Georgia colleague who hobbled into the Senate chamber on a walker, voted on Thursday to proceed with a measure to undo an Obama administration rule preventing states from blocking funding for family planning clinics that also provide abortions.

The vote was one of a string of showdowns to reverse Obama-era regulations, but this one unfolded with all the drama of numerous past conflicts over abortion funding — with Mr. Pence casting the deciding vote in his role as president of the Senate.

Taking money away from Planned Parenthood has been a longstanding goal of congressional Republicans, but each effort has been blocked by Democrats and President Barack Obama.

Even full control of Washington by Republicans has not made the process easy.

The vote set up the measure for a final vote later on Thursday. The measure would return the power to the states to single out abortion providers from receiving Title X money set aside for family planning and related preventive health services for women. Democrats all voted against the bill, as did two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

The vote remained open for more than an hour, as aides scrambled to find Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican of Georgia, who has been away after two back operations, and to summon the vice president. Mr. Isakson, who had been cleared by doctors to travel for a single day, came slowly into the chamber on his walker, flanked by Senate pages, to turn his thumb to the sky with an “aye,” making the vote a tie.

Mr. Pence swept into the chamber to break the tie, something that is usually reserved for significant policy measures that are short 60 votes. This measure falls under an obscure, and until recently, rarely used act that allows a new Congress to undo actions of the old Congress during the first few months of the year.

A handful of Democrats stood on the floor taking in the scene. “This vote was won by a tie vote, and the vice president” was the tiebreaking vote, said Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington.

“It will take one Republican this afternoon on the final vote to say yes for the women in their state,” Ms. Murray said. “That’s all we’re asking. For the women of this country.” The entire exercise seemed likely to be repeated for final passage of the measure later Thursday, after several hours of scheduled debate.

If passed later, the measure would head to the desk of President Trump, a onetime supporter of Planned Parenthood who adopted an anti-abortion rights position during the campaign.

Planned Parenthood is the central target of the measure. A similar fight could occur next month when Congress moves to pass a measure to finance the government for the rest of the year. Ms. Collins and Ms. Murkowski have resisted these moves, saying that family planning clinics provide essential care for women.

“Mike Pence went from yesterday’s forum on empowering women to today leading a group of male politicians in a vote to take away access to birth control and cancer screenings,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “People are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and they will not stand for it.”


Exactly how many times can this asslicker use the excuse "It's not against the law because I say so?" before someone in Congress grows a pair of balls and says "Yes it is."

This is what it looks like when Democracy dies and those with the ability to stop the cancer stand by and do nothing.

Ivanka Trump taking formal role in administration amid ethics concerns


Donald Trump's eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, announced today that she will take an official position in her father's administration, according to a statement.

This comes as her unofficial role has grown in recent weeks, and she was granted security clearance and a West Wing office, drawing scrutiny from some.
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Ivanka Trump will be an assistant to the president but will not take a salary, she said in a statement first reported by The New York Times.

"I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House Office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees," she said in a statement today.

"Throughout this process, I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House Counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role."

She is not the only family member in her household to have a title -- her husband, Jared Kushner, is a senior adviser to the president.The White House released its own statement about the move, saying that it is "pleased."
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"Ivanka’s service as an unpaid employee furthers our commitment to ethics, transparency, and compliance and affords her increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously," the White House statement reads

When her increased security clearance and West Wing office were announced, Ivanka Trump said "there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the president."

At the time, Kathleen Clark, an ethics expert and a professor at Washington University, described the arrangement as “outrageous.”
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“This is extremely troubling because the White House seems to be pretending that it can treat somebody as a government employee — give them an office and responsibilities — and not be bound by government ethics standards,” she said.

“They assert that she will voluntarily comply with government ethics standards. That means they think she doesn’t have to comply,” Clark continued.

ABC News political commentator Cokie Roberts said that "she is solving the ethics issue" with the title as it forces her to comply by existing ethics rules.

The title formalizes her existing role, though she has been no stranger to the White House. She has been present for family events -- like the various inauguration celebrations -- as well as closed-door meetings and sit-downs with foreign leaders.

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In February, she met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House, where they were part of a roundtable discussion on female entrepreneurs, and she met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the White House earlier this month, Ivanka Trump was seated right beside her.
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Ivanka Trump’s involvement in business roundtable discussions could be attributed to her business background at her namesake fashion label and her father’s real estate empire, but she has also had a say in other causes that she is passionate about.

When Trump held a listening session about domestic and international human trafficking on Feb. 23, he started his remarks by thanking his daughter and then–senior counselor for economic initiatives Dina Powell “for working so hard to set this up.”


This is my photo of the journal cover, cuz they seem very shy about promoting themselves.  They say they're on youtube, but their website hasn't been updated in about 3 years.    Not sure how you'd go about buying one of these bad boys, even if you wanted to.....


Seems like the intolerant inbred assfucks of the world are feeling a lot more ballsy knowing that kindred spirit Trump shares their beliefs and has their back.....

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Those Russian hits to the blog are creeping up again.  Obviously a great fear that the definite link between Putin's enemy-killing machine and Trump's numbskull douchebaggery will be made, they're randomly trolling U.S. sites.  Cool.  I was too young to remember anything about all the Nixon impeachment brouhaha, so it'll be pretty damn nifty getting to see it happen to his shitheel doppelganger.

Now hows about some Lisa Germano?


'Stop Shaking Your Head': Spicer Lashes Out at Reporter

Daniella Silva


Spicer got into a heated exchange with American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan at the White House press briefing after Ryan asked how Donald Trump's administration would "try to revamp its image" after two months in office. Ryan cited looming concerns regarding investigations into Russia's interference into the U.S. election, and whether there was any collusion between the Kremlin and Trump's campaign or transition team, as well as other controversies.

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"I've said from the day that I got here that there is no connection," Spicer said of Trump and Russia, cutting off Ryan's question. "You've got Russia!"

"If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection," he added.

Spicer accused Ryan of having an agenda and said she needed to "report the facts."

"At some point, report the facts. The facts are that every single person who has been briefed on this subject has come away with the same conclusion — Republican, Democrat — so I'm sorry that that disgusts you," he said, telling her, "You're shaking your head, I appreciate it."
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"At some point, April, you're going to have to take no for an answer with respect to whether or not there was collusion," he added, even though investigations into the matter are still ongoing and Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has said there is "more than circumstantial evidence" of collusion.

The correspondent then jumped in and said she was asking about how the administration was going to change its image and perception of the White House.

Spicer said Trump's team would "keep doing everything we're doing" in order to enact the platform Trump ran on during his campaign.

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Ryan then followed up with a question about Trump's meeting with former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, whom Trump made a vulgar comment about in 2006. Rice was critical of Trump during the presidential campaign, calling on him to withdraw in October.

Spicer questioned why Ryan asked those two questions back-to-back and again accused her of wanting to push an agenda, telling her again to "stop shaking your head" as they were speaking.

"April, hold on, it seems like you're hell-bent on trying to make that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays," he said.

"I'm sorry, please stop shaking your head again," he added.

Later Tuesday afternoon, Ryan defended her choice of questions on MSNBC and said she felt she was treated like "road kill."

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"I understand what Sean is doing — Sean is being the White House press secretary, talking about and trying to make this administration look better than what it does right now and, unfortunately, I was road kill today," Ryan said.

Fellow reporters rushed to defend Ryan over what they said was unfair treatment of a journalist and a "grown woman."

Ryan herself seemed to respond to the incident on Twitter with just one word:

This was not Ryan's first puzzling encounter with the Trump administration. When Ryan asked Trump during a February press conference if he would be meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss his agenda, Trump responded, "I would. Do you want to set up a meeting? Are they friends of yours?"

"No," Ryan replied. "I'm just a reporter.



Wow - just, wow......  Won't it be awesome when it's your turn or mine to be blamed for this asshole's dishonesty and incompetence?
Hopefully I'm having a good hair day that day. 

Trump tweets Russia probe 'hoax,' rails against Clintons


Amid ongoing questions about the involvement of his associates with Russian officials during the campaign and about the impartiality of the Republican congressman leading one of the probes into the matter, Donald Trump went on a twitter rant Monday night, calling out an old foe -- the Clintons -- and blaming conservative Republicans for his health care defeat.

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In a series of tweets, Trump questioned the actions of the House Intelligence Committee, asking why it isn't conducting a probe into the former Democratic presidential nominee and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

"Why isn't the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech money to Bill, the Hillary Russian "reset," praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!" wrote Trump in two consecutive posts.

The tweets were not the first instance in which Trump sought to blame Hillary Clinton for a deal between Russia's nuclear power agency and a Canadian company. The non-partisan fact-checking organization Politifact has rated the claim "Mostly False," citing Hillary Clinton's "lack of power to approve or reject the deal."

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Investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election are being conducted in both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. The FBI is also investigating any potential ties between Russian officials and Trump associates, a story line Trump has called "fake news."

House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who worked on Trump's transition team, is under fire for briefing the president on findings that left Trump feeling "somewhat" vindicated before mentioning that information to the committee. There were also calls for Nunes to step aside from the Russia investigation after it emerged that he met a source on the White House grounds a day before briefing Trump.

In a later tweet, Trump criticized the conservative House Freedom Caucus for its efforts preventing the passage of the American Health Care Act last week, his first major legislative test.
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"The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. After so many bad years they were ready for a win!" wrote Trump, running counter to his declaration Friday that he would not "speak badly about anybody within the party" and his claim that he preferred for the Affordable Care Act to remain law so that it could "implode" and "explode."

He referred to that position again Monday in an additional tweet, saying, "The Democrats will make a deal with me on healthcare as soon as ObamaCare folds - not long. Do not worry, we are in very good shape!"


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Tuesday, March 28, 2017


I figure they can use the business, and I'm a helluva guy....


Is this even a serious question?  Trump can't even scratch his
old-man  ass w/out 15 people helping him, and they all
still get it wrong.....

Who Is Now the Leader of the Free World? Merkel or Trump?

                                              Stephen Blank,  Newsweek, March 26, 2017

Two months into Donald Trump’s presidency, it is clear that Trump cannot control himself or his own administration.
Sadly, this observation applies across the board in foreign policy. Trump first warmly greeted Taiwan, threatened a trade war with China and then abruptly announced that he recognized the One China principle and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson essentially subscribed to China’s interpretation of the bilateral relationship while threatening war with North Korea.
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These episodes predictably led some to suggest that Beijing would regard him as a paper tiger or that, perhaps more accurately, Trump and his team have no idea what constitutes sound policy.
When it comes to Mexico, his immigration policies, which are distinguished by a lack of policy coordination and respect for U.S. laws, have provoked a furor in Mexico, even though Trump’s own son-in law unsuccessfully tried to mediate the issue.
Stephen Blank writes that we cannot count on a uniform approach to the many policy challenges involving U.S. relations with Europe as long as Trump continues his impromptu comments and powerful forces within the White House conduct their own “back-channel” policies.
On Israel, the White House excluded the State Department from discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then Trump blithely revoked 50 years of U.S. policy by abandoning the two-state solution to Israel’s long-running problems with its Palestinian population. The next day, Trump’s U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley contradicted him, stating that the U.S. still supports a two-state solution.
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On Iran, the administration has both attacked the Iran deal and supported it as the best available option of many bad alternatives. On February 20, Secretary of Defense James Mattis went to Iraq to reassure Iraqis that the United States, despite Trump’s stated desire to seize Iraqi oil, was not really serious about doing so.
But the most serious and unsettling of these multiplying manifestations of dysfunctional policymaking have occurred with regard to European security.
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As Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and advocated a deal with Russia, his administration remained silent about expanded Russian violence over the armistice lines in the Donbas or Putin’s announcement that Russia would recognize the passports and other “official” documents issued by the separatist governments of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.
Yet officials said that sanctions would remain, that we can never trust Russia and that it must return Crimea to Ukraine.
However, at the same time, Trump’s private lawyer and some dodgy Ukrainian and Russian associates tried to deliver their own “peace plan”—that allowed Russia to “rent” Crimea—to Trump’s National Security Council (NSC), whose leader, former Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, was about to be sacked for lying about his contact with the Russian government.

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There is no coherent policy on Europe or Russia. As key members of the administration stated their unwavering support for NATO at the Munich Security Conference and the preceding NATO ministerial meetings, others announced that if allies did not reach spending targets of 2 percent of gross domestic product, the United States would “moderate its commitment” to NATO.
While Vice President Mike Pence praised the EU in Brussels and reinforced Washington’s desire for continued cooperation, Trump adviser and NSC member Steve Bannon attacked it in a meeting with the German ambassador as a flawed organization and stated the administration’s preference for bilateral trade deals.

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Later, in meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump showed that he doesn’t understand how NATO works, and continued to press Germany on its trade balance with Washington and deprecated the EU. Most recently, Tillerson announced he would skip a NATO ministerial meeting and go to Moscow instead.
While some of this incoherence may be attributed to inexperience and the lack of candidates in high-ranking policymaking positions, the overriding impression is one of amateurishness, astonishing ignorance and congenital dysfunction in the White House. Indeed, the State Department, due to the inability to staff its higher echelons, has been virtually sidelined as an effective player in U.S. foreign policymaking since Trump was inaugurated.
European officials like Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, have urged Europe to reject Washington’s demand that Europe increase defense spending, and Federica Mogherini, EU high representative for foreign and security affairs, has urged Europe to resist American interference in its affairs.
Finally, the EU is studying ways to reject Trump’s nominee to be Washington’s ambassador to the EU, Ted Malloch, in advance of his nomination.

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While there will be no deal with Moscow, at least for now, it is by no means clear to what degree the U.S. commitment to NATO will stand or how transatlantic trade issues will be resolved.
Bannon, a self-described Leninist and partisan of the alternative right, has espoused the takeover of Europe by similarly minded right-wing populist parties even if they, like the National Front in France, have received money from the Kremlin. This stance puts a Trump confidante and member of the NSC at odds with Washington’s staunchest ally on the continent, Angela Merkel.
It’s impossible to predict what U.S. policy toward Europe will be and equally difficult to say who will be leading the policy. While we may hope that Mattis, Tillerson and Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster will impart the virtues of consistency, coherence and predictability, as well as a uniform approach to the many policy challenges involving U.S. relations with Europe, we cannot count on that as long as the president continues his impromptu comments and powerful forces within the White House conduct their own “back-channel” policies.

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We have seen too many examples in European history of policymaking by such irresponsible figures like Nicholas II’s court camarilla to be reassured by the presence of strong-willed yet capable people in the Cabinet or the White House as long as the government itself remains subject to extra-constitutional or unaccountable pressures and persons.
Since nature abhors a vacuum, Europe, presumably led by Germany, must take greater responsibility for its future security. Sadly, Jacques Chirac’s taunt in 1995 that the position of leader of the free world is vacant now applies.