On March 1, when NBC first raised the probability that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was soon going to get the boot from Pr*sident Trump, word from the White House was dismissive:

National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton dismissed reports of McMaster’s departure, telling CNN, “I was just with President Trump and H.R. McMaster in the Oval Office. President Trump said that the NBC News story is ‘fake news,’ and told McMaster that he is doing a great job.”

At the same time, many analysts predicted John Bolton would most likely be McMaster’s replacement. The hot-tempered anti-diplomat was for 16 months U.S. ambassador to the United Nations as a recess appointment under President George W. Bush. Regarding that body, Bolton said in 2005:

“There is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that’s the United States, when it suits our interests and when we can get others to go along.”

On February 28 this year, in an op-ed he wrote for The Wall Street Journal:

This is how we should think today about the threat of nuclear warheads delivered by ballistic missiles. In 1837 Britain unleashed pre-emptive “fire and fury” against a wooden steamboat. It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current “necessity” posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.

That is scarcely the first time he’s suggesting bombing another country. Iran is also high on his list for some “fire and fury.” 

At Vox, Zack Beauchamp has written a solid, lengthy piece on Bolton that includes this:

Bolton has said the United States should declare war on both North Korea and Iran. He was credibly accused of manipulating US intelligence on weapons of mass destruction prior to the Iraq war and of abusive treatment of his subordinates. He once “joked” about knocking 10 stories off the UN building in New York. That means his new appointment to be the most important national security official in the White House has significant — and frightening — implications for Trump’s approach to the world. […]

Bolton’s elevation illustrates the degree to which the president is influenced by the conservative infotainment sphere, most notably Fox News — where he has long been an on-air fixture. Bolton was, prior to this appointment, a marginal figure in Washington foreign policy circles since his departure from the Bush administration. But he got himself one of the top jobs in the country because of his savvy work in the world of conservative media and advocacy groups.

As a result, American foreign policy may be soon be shaped by someone who seems to truly believe that war is the answer to the world’s most pressing problems.

It’s hard to believe Trump could pick someone worse than the worst people he’s already chosen for top slots. But on that score, he can never be underestimated. 

If you have a strong stomach, here’s more on Bolton in a 2005 Daily Kos post. 

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QUOTATION

“The [National Security Agency]’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. [If a dictator ever took over], the N.S.A. could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.” 
                ~Senator Frank Church, chairman of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, known informally as the Church Committee (1975)

TWEET OF THE DAY

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Whether it’s “kids being pressured into surgery” or “men pretending to be women to abuse people” the public debate on trans rights is centred firmly on things that haven’t happened & for which there is no evidence, whilst ignoring the real violence and prejudice trans people face

— Paris Lees (@parislees) March 21, 2018

BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2012—Troubled Waters: Two Americas, Revisited:

On December 28, 2006, while standing in front of a boarded up home in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans and surrounded by huddled masses of Katrina survivors, John Edwards announced his presidential bid. He chose that locale, he said, because it best illustrated the “two Americas” he had spoken about since 2004. The message was simple and delivered with heartfelt and palpable anger: one America works hard but still struggles while another works little and lives a lavish lifestyle.

This theme of “two Americas” and the twin idea of social injustice permeated almost every aspect of his campaign. Yet, back in 2006 and 2007, his message was met with skepticism in the traditional media. High-paid members of the chattering class shook their heads at his “angry” rhetoric and questioned whether the tone of his message was turning off voters.

Indeed, for many Americans, while they agreed with the principle idea of a divided America, they did so only in abstract sense. While one could sympathize with the 47 million uninsured, the families living paycheck to paycheck, and the senior citizens choosing between food and medicine, many could not empathize with these situations. Poverty, or even the possibility of poverty, was not a daily worry for most Americans.

Sure, in 2005, America was jostled into at least acknowledging the existence of this hidden America when Hurricane Katrina hit. The storm’s waters glistened like a reflecting pool and showed Americans the one facet of our nation that was up until that point hidden in the shadows of national shame.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: The greatest thing since sliced ketchup! Greg Dworkin notes the tide may be turning, but real progress on guns still depends on elections. The Mercers: model scam artists. A series of wacky & treasonous coincidences for Kushner and the Saudish!

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