A Few Thoughts On The New National Security Advisor

John Bolton is basically Frank Burns from M*A*S*H* with more offensive facial hair. Bolton’s appointment to be the next Assistant to the President – National Security Advisor (APNSA or National Security Advisor for short) is the most recent dog to catch the car within this administration. He has now finally wormed himself into a key position very close to a US president, but like the dog with his teeth locked firmly onto the car’s bumper he has only two choices: he either has to let go or he has to sink his teeth in, hold on for dear life, and pray he doesn’t get dragged to death and/or run over. He’s an unguided, self directing weapon of mass destruction. He will cause so much chaos and confusion that he will actually wind up defeating himself. He will ultimately self destruct.

What pissed the President off about LTG McMaster is that he actually did the job the right way and took his duties and responsibilities seriously. Bolton couldn’t care less about the Interagency and Interagency process. If Secretary Mattis and Gen (ret) Kelly couldn’t get along with LTG McMaster, which, I think, was partially because they’re 4 stars and he’s only a 3 star, yet he was the national-security and foreign policy gatekeeper, they’re definitely not going to get along with Bolton. He will so degrade and destroy the process that the President won’t be able to achieve anything in terms of national security and foreign policy. Remember, the US economy is about to be overrun by the Chinese in the coming trade war. Do you really think Bolton has any idea how to manage the Interagency process to minimize the damage to the US economy? Not a chance.

Bolton is also a terrible supervisor and manager. The personnel on the National Security staff that are not detailed from the various agencies and departments within the government, as in the people that McMaster hired directly and work for the Executive Office of the President, will begin to leave quickly. Those actual detailed from the various agencies to the National Security Staff will ask for their assignments to be ended early and because of his reputation there won’t be volunteers to replace them. So the National Security Staff will atrophy, which will negatively impact the ability of the President’s national security and foreign policy initiatives. And despite a long history of being wrong on almost every national security and foreign policy issue, Bolton thinks everyone else is stupid and wrong. So he will ignore, if not actively piss off, Secretary Mattis, Gen Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the Joint Chiefs themselves, the Secretary of State, Secretary of Energy, Director of National Intelligence, all of their deputies, etc. It is very difficult to conduct national security and foreign policy after you’ve alienated everyone involved in the national security and foreign policy process. Is is equally difficult to conduct national security and foreign policy without a functioning process, which is why the process we have now was created.

I’m not trying to minimize what is definitely a sub-optimal choice. Bolton’s appointment as AP-NSA will definitely make things more chaotic in the White House, while reinforcing the President’s worse instincts about negotiations as zero-sum exercises and cycling willy nilly from being bellicose and threatening to accommodating. But mark my words, it’s not sub-optimal just because Bolton is an always wrong, belligerent, double A type authoritarian (kiss up, kick down). Rather it is sub-optimal because Bolton is going to self destruct, because that’s who and what Bolton is. He can’t help himself.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.

Late Evening Open Thread: Floriduh! Man Hates Chickens

Where there bombs involved? Of course there were bombs involved!

TCPalm take it away:

FORT PIERCE — A man who crafted a bomb inside a whiskey bottle and blew it up in another man’s backyard was charged with a crime Wednesday, investigators said.

Scott Frederick Wegener, 55, of the 500 block of Wendell Road, was charged with possession or discharge of a destructive device.

An anonymous caller Wednesday warned Wegener had detonated an improvised explosive device and was threatening it again, according to Wegener’s arrest affidavit.

The caller said Wegener, nicknamed “Spider,” was in a dispute with someone over the theft of a BB gun and had offered to pay a friend to crawl under the man’s home to plant an IED.

Investigators from the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Pierce Police Department, FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, all responded to Wegener’s home Wednesday.

They didn’t find any bomb-making equipment there, only two empty Canadian Mist bottles in a red golf cart.

At a home in the 800 block of South Sixth Street, they found evidence of an explosion in the backyard. The homeowner, Wegener’s friend, said the incident happened Saturday.

“Wegener pulled up to (the) house on the golf cart. They began to hang out. Wegener said he was going to kill the chickens in (the) yard. Wegener went to his golf cart and retrieved a Canadian Mist bottle filled with black powder, sand and a green fuse,” according to the affidavit.

Investigators said Wegener lit the fuse and threw the IED into the backyard, where it exploded.

They recovered a 1-pound bag of explosive black powder, 8 feet of “cannon fuse” and a coffee cup filled with sand, which Wegener had left at the Sixth Street home, the affidavit said.

Wegener was charged by the Sheriff’s Office. He remained late Friday in the Indian River County Jail, with bail set at $30,000.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.

Russiagate Racist Open Thread: Such A Joker, That Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III


“Lack of candor”, it’s a term of art… and he’s an artistic little bigot!

Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a “lack of candor,” McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly accused Sessions of misleading them in congressional testimony and called on federal authorities to investigate, but McCabe’s previously-unreported decision to actually put the attorney general in the crosshairs of an FBI probe was an exceptional move.

One source told ABC News that Sessions was not aware of the investigation when he decided to fire McCabe last Friday less than 48 hours before McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, was due to retire from government and obtain a full pension, but an attorney representing Sessions declined to confirm that…

Two months ago, Sessions was interviewed by Mueller’s team, and the federal inquiry related to his candor during his confirmation process has since been shuttered, according to a lawyer representing Sessions.

“The Special Counsel’s office has informed me that after interviewing the attorney general and conducting additional investigation, the attorney general is not under investigation for false statements or perjury in his confirmation hearing testimony and related written submissions to Congress,” attorney Chuck Cooper told ABC News on Wednesday…

Always remember, children: It’s not a lie if you actually believe it…

Late Night “Some Politics More Local Than Others” Open Thread: Jared Kushner, Grifter Icarus

Jared and his family are about to have it explained to them why smart slumlords keep a low profile. “Nobody cares” if a sharp operator hustles the schvartzes in some beat-down burb far from the Big Apple. But New Yorkers take their rent control codes seriously — not necessarily sincerely, but seriously — and NYC prosecutors are always looking for a rich, tender would-be wiseguy of whom to make an example. MarketWatch reports:

A New York City Council member and a tenant’s rights group are launching an investigation into the real-estate firm controlled by the family of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, over a report that it regularly falsified building permits.

Politician Ritchie Torres and Aaron Carr, founder of Housing Rights Initiative (HRI), a tenants’ rights watchdog, made the announcement at a press conference outside Kushner Cos. New York headquarters on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, according to media reports. The news comes a day after the Associated Press reported that Kushner Cos. routinely filed false paperwork with New York City, declaring it had no rent-regulated tenants in buildings it owned, when it actually had hundreds.

That allowed the company to move in and conduct extensive construction and renovation that tenants claimed was targeted harassment aimed at driving them out to clear the way for higher-paying renters, said the AP…

In one instance, the Kushner Cos. purchased three buildings in Queens in 2015, in which most of the tenants had some protection that barred developers from evicting them or raising their rents in an effort to turn a quick profit, the AP reported.

But the company ticked a box on construction-permit applications that said the buildings had no rent-regulated tenants, according to an AP review of the documents. Tax records filed a few months after that showed the buildings actually had 94 rent-regulated units. The Kushner Cos., which at the time was headed by Jared Kushner, sold the buildings two years later for $60 million, or nearly 50% more than it had paid.

“It’s bare-faced greed,” said Carr. HRI compiled the work-permit application documents and shared them with AP. “The fact that the company was falsifying all these applications with the government shows a sordid attempt to avert accountability and get a rapid return on its investment.”…

Filing false documents to the city’s Department of Buildings carries a misdemeanor fine of up to $25,000, but it is regularly flouted. Landlords can receive a demand to file an “amended” form with the correct numbers. HRI found that the Kushner Cos. filed dozens of amended forms for the buildings in the documents, many of them a year or two later…

Even apart from the legal danger, imagine the humilation for Big-Time Global Operator Jared Kushner to be exposed in front of his new downtown “friends” as just another chisler sending thugs to intimidate old ladies out of their homes. If only he’d had the sense to keep a low profile!

Breaking: Another Parcel Bomb Explodes in Austin, Texas


Provided this is the same perpetrator for all the bombings, or at least all the parcel/package bombs, then he (it is most likely a he) is rapidly moving through his escalation cycle.

From CBS Austin:

A new explosion has been reported in South Austin, hours after explosive packages were found at FedEx facilities in Schertz and near the Austin airport — and four other explosions over the past several weeks have left two dead and four others injured.

According to Austin-Travis County EMS, the latest reported incident happened at around 7 p.m. near the intersection of Brodie and West Slaughter Lanes.

The Austin Fire Department is reporting the explosion happened at a Goodwill location.

A man in his 30s was transported to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center with potentially serious, but not life-threatening injuries.

Reaction from the Austin American Statesman breaking news editor who lives near the most recent bombing:

And it appears this may have been a two for, which is often used to lure law enforcement and emergency services in with the first device and then attack them with the second.

I’m working with Alain to try to embed the live feed from CBS Austin, as soon as I can I’ll update.

If you receive a package that you did not order, that does not appear to have normal delivery markings, that appears to be discolored or misshapen, or that seems suspicious: call the authorities. This type of very public type of serial killing will inspire copycats. Better safe than sorry.

Update at 9:15 PM EDT

Here’s the live feed from KXAN Austin:

Updated at 9:25 PM EDT

We have some good news:

Looks to be a low grade copycat.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.