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Posts Tagged ‘President George H. W. Bush’

[The following is an opinion / editorial written by former Director of the CIA — John Brennan, titled:  “I will speak out until integrity returns to the White House
The editorial appeared in the Washington Post Newspaper on 1 June 2018.  It also appeared on the Post website:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/
The specific link to the editorial is: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/john-brennan-i-will-speak-out-until-integrity-returns-to-the-white-house/2018/05/31/afbccafa-64e8-11e8-a69c-b944de66d9e7_story.html?utm_term=.7a7512618b79
All rights are reserved by the Washington Post.  I am posting the editorial on my blog site in its entirety simply because I feel an urgent need to address (to “speak out” about) the problems with the Trump Administration.
For those not familiar with the name, John Brennan served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency from March 2013 to January 2017.
  —  KMAB]
My first visit to the Oval Office came in October 1990, when I was a 35-year-old CIA officer.  Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait two months before, and President George H.W. Bush wanted to discuss the implications of a U.S.-led military coalition that would ultimately push the Iraqis out.
I remember the nervousness I felt when I entered that room and met a president of the United States for the first time.  By the time the meeting ended, his intellectual curiosity, wisdom, affability and intense interest in finding the best policy course to protect and promote U.S. interests were abundantly evident.
Over the next quarter-century, I returned to the Oval Office several hundred times during the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  The jitters that accompanied my first Oval Office visit dissipated over time, but the respect, awe and admiration I held for the office of the presidency and the incumbents never waned.  The presidents I directly served were not perfect, and I didn’t agree with all of their policy choices.  But I never doubted that each treated their solemn responsibility to lead our nation with anything less than the seriousness, intellectual rigor and principles that it deserved.  Many times, I heard them dismiss the political concerns of their advisers, saying, “I don’t care about my politics, it’s the right thing to do.”
The esteem with which I held the presidency was dealt a serious blow when Donald Trump took office.  Almost immediately, I began to see a startling aberration from the remarkable, though human, presidents I had served.  Mr. Trump’s lifelong preoccupation with aggrandizing himself seemed to intensify in office, and he quickly leveraged his 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. address and his Twitter handle to burnish his brand and misrepresent reality.
Presidents throughout the years have differed in their approaches to policy, based on political platforms, ideologies and individual beliefs.  Mr. Trump, however, has shown highly abnormal behavior by lying routinely to the American people without compunction, intentionally fueling divisions in our country and actively working to degrade the imperfect but critical institutions that serve us.
Although appalling, those actions shouldn’t be surprising.  As was the case throughout his business and entertainment careers, Mr. Trump charts his every move according to a calculus of how it will personally help or hurt him.  His strategy is to undercut real, potential and perceived opponents; his focus is to win at all costs, irrespective of truth, ethics, decency and — many would argue — the law.  His disparagement of institutions is designed to short-circuit legitimate law enforcement investigations, intelligence assessments and media challenges that threaten his interests.  His fear of the special counsel’s work is especially palpable, as is his growing interest in destroying its mandate.
For more than three decades, I observed and analyzed the traits and tactics of corrupt, incompetent and narcissistic foreign officials who did whatever they thought was necessary to retain power.  Exploiting the fears and concerns of their citizenry, these demagogues routinely relied on lies, deceit and suppression of political opposition to cast themselves as populist heroes and to mask self-serving priorities.  By gaining control of intelligence and security services, stifling the independence of the judiciary and discrediting a free press, these authoritarian rulers followed a time-tested recipe for how to inhibit democracy’s development, retard individual freedoms and liberties, and reserve the spoils of corrupt governance for themselves and their ilk.  It never dawned on me that we could face such a development in the United States.
On the international front, Mr. Trump pursues policies that are rooted in uninformed campaign promises, a determination to upend actions of his predecessors and an aversion to multilateral engagements.  His ad hoc and frequently impulsive approach to national security is short-sighted and dangerous, as allies and partners are left uncertain about U.S. strategy and objectives.
The impact of the Trump presidency will be felt for many years to come.  Most worrisome is that his use of falsehoods, his mean-spirited and malicious behavior, and his self-absorption will be emulated by many young Americans — indeed, young people globally — who look to the president of the United States as a role model.
The damage also will be felt by the millions of Americans who believe in Mr. Trump because of their concern about being left behind in a rapidly changing globalized world.  These Americans have a legitimate gripe that politicians and political parties of all stripes have failed to deliver on the promise that America is the land of opportunity for all, irrespective of race, creed or place of residence.  At a time when deep-seated fears of socioeconomic and cultural change need to be addressed honestly and without prejudice, Mr. Trump grandstands like a snake-oil salesman, squandering his formidable charisma and communication skills in favor of ego, selfishness and false promises.
Many have condemned my public criticism of Mr. Trump, arguing that as a former CIA director, I should bite my tongue.  My criticisms, however, are not political; I have never been and will never be a partisan.  I speak out for the simple reason that Mr. Trump is failing to live up to the standards that we should all expect of a president.
As someone who had the rare privilege of directly serving four presidents, I will continue to speak out loudly and critically until integrity, decency, wisdom — and maybe even some humility — return to the White House.
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On This Day In:
2017 To Laws, Not Office Or Individuals
Beast / General / Civil
2016 Patronage
2015 For Blogs, Too!
2014 Righteous Anger
2013 An Irish Blessing
2012 But Is It Worth It?
2011 Let Us Start

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There was an assumption that I was personally attacking Sarah Palin by impersonating her on TV.  No one ever said it was ‘mean’ when Chevy Chase played Gerald Ford falling down all the time.  No one ever accused Dana Carvey or Darrell Hammond or Dan Aykroyd of ‘going too far’ in their political impressions.  You see what I’m getting at here.  I am not mean and Mrs. Palin is not fragile.  To imply otherwise is a disservice to us both.
  —  Tina Fey
From her book: “Bossypants
[The REAL objection from the Republicans was not Ms. Fey was personally attacking Mrs. Palin because Mrs. Palin is “fragile”.  It was that Ms. Fey was pointing out IN PUBLIC Mrs. Palin’s utter and complete incompetence for the position she was campaigning for (Vice-President) due to her poor education, insufficient experience and lack of intellectual curiosity.  Not only was Mrs. Palin barely able to string words together into a rational sentence (a surprising poor impromptu speaker), she rarely knew what she was talking about (the issues), AND she didn’t care enough to find out what was correct before she spoke (lazy).
It is one thing to not know what you’re talking about; it is another thing to not know that you don’t know what you’re talking about; but, it is all together beyond the pale to know you don’t know what you’re talking about and to not care you don’t know it.
Mrs. Palin was the least competent nominee since Dan Quayle (Bush I’s, VP).  In my opinion, she was FAR less competent than Quayle, and although it does not seem possible, she remains so five years later!
This is what the “right” felt was “personal”: “Don’t point out to the voting public that the person we’re proposing be one-heartbeat from being President is ignorant (doesn’t know anything) AND illiterate (doesn’t read in an effort to learn anything), because she’s a female and we don’t expect much out of her anyway.”
With the number of truly intelligent and competent females in the Republican Party, it is a tragedy (and a continuing insult to the American People) that the GOP has had the hubris to put forward Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann for public office – let alone for the Vice Presidency and President. (Fortunately, Bachmann was forced out of the 2012 race early.)
It was most certainly a personal attack to point out Governor Palin’s intellectual incompetence.  But, it was not mean; it was patriotic!  And for Ms. Fey to imply the objection to her comedy was because Mrs. Palin was somehow “fragile” is equally disingenuous.  The best way to prevent / counter / defeat this type of personal attack is to put forward competent candidates.  Given the Romney / Ryan ticket in 2012, it doesn’t appear the Republicans have learned this lesson.   —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 Giants Win Game 1 Of The World Series 8 to 3!!!
On Death
2011 The Spirit Of Universal Connectivity
2010 SF Giants Pitchers Witness Protection Program
Orange Outside (Too) & Fear The Beard
Non-Taxing Read

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The Republican Party, which had presided over America’s rise to manufacturing preeminence, has acquiesced in the deindustrialization of the nation to gratify transnational corporations whose oligarchs are the party financiers.  U.S. corporations are shutting factories here, opening them in China, “outsourcing” back-office work to India, importing Asians to take white-collar jobs from Americans, and hiring illegal aliens for their service jobs.  The Republican Party has signed off on economic treason.
  —  Patrick J. Buchanan
From his book: “Where The Right Went Wrong
[While I agree with Pat that the Republican party has committed the equivalent of economic treason, I must disagree with the statement Republicans “presided over America’s rise to manufacturing preeminence“.
America rose to manufacturing preeminence during and because of World War II while FDR was President and the Democrats controlled both houses in Congress.  The economy stalled under Eisenhower and was revived by the Kennedy / Johnson period.  We started to falter at the end of Johnson and began our descent under Nixon, mostly because of the gas crisis (72-73) and the long term effects of government spending from Vietnam (Johnson and Nixon).  Both Reagan and Bush (the first) had recessions and it was Clinton’s Administration which brought growth.  Reagan, a “true” conservative, proposed there was no damage to the economy by going into debt (mostly to increase government spending on big ticket military purchases “star-wars” and new aircraft carriers) and then signed off on the largest tax increases in history (actually mostly closing business loopholes) to reduce the debt he had sponsored – although he was NEVER able to come up with a balanced budget let alone get Congress to pass one.  Bush II practically drove the whole planet into bankruptcy and global depression with a combination of deregulation and unpaid for wars.  Granted not all of the deregulation was actually passed into law during “W’s” administration.  His administration merely encouraged the abuses inherent in an unregulated market.
No, Pat.  Sorry.  The Republican Party has not presided over an America’s rise to manufacturing preeminence since the Civil War, and again, the manufacturing increase was because a war effort stimulated the economy and government spending – not because Republican political or economic theories are correct.
It just so happens I DO believe in small government which stays out of the way of the people and in capitalism.  But government must be big enough to defend us from modern day threats: foreign and domestic, terrorist and corporate.  At the moment, the U.S. has more to fear from multinational and “too big to fail” domestic corporations than it does from 200 to 500 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It used to be said the two biggest threats to democracy are an overly efficient tax system and an overly efficient military.  It seems we should now recognize the BIGGEST threat to democracy is an unregulated capitalist economy.  And on this, at least, we can agree – the Republican Party are economic traitors!   —  KMAB]
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