Draining the swamp: have a billionaire review intel agencies

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by LizKat, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #1
    The NYT has reported yesterday that Trump wants to have a White House review of intel agencies, and install a Cerberus Capital Management co-founder (Stephen Feinberg) to lead the project. While,,,, the FBI is investigating former National Security Advisor Flynn with respect to his Russian contacts.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/us/politics/trump-intelligence-agencies-stephen-feinberg.html

    The piece suggests further that such an appointment would actually be grooming Mr. Feinberg to lead one of the agencies after his review.

    LOL the NYT sometimes has a vague sense of humor even in straight reporting... they note that Mr. Feinberg’s “only experience with national security matters is his firm’s stakes in a private security company and two gun makers”...

    But see the thing about the CIA and DNI appointments that’s a little disappointing to Trump (or, Bannon) is that those picks were GOP establishment picks. One of them hasn’t even been confirmed yet, Dan Coats, the nominee for Director of National Intelligence.

    Nothing like being reviewed before you get there, eh Dan? And found wanting? So leaving a place for Trump to peg in someone else?

    This guy Trump or whoever’s running him, is such a card.

    Feinberg might not want the DNI post. He could finish his review, sign off on the current agency heads and just go back to his land of hedge funds (a new one, of course, having divested from Cerberus meanwhile?) with a boatload of global intelligence that any hedge fund or bank would kill to have a peek at.

    Here’s what I think. Deciding to have a high level White House review of intel agencies while the FBI is investigating who’s on first in the White House national security circles is painting that old “obstruction of justice” devil on the wall. But hey, it’s an option.
     
  2. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #2
    Don't you know that Billionaires are God's gift to humanity and experts at EVERYTHING!! :p See my posted link of a critical opinion regarding Trump's cabinet picks. ;) I don't like the categorization of our intelligence organizations as being part of the swamp unless someone can give me a real reason. Being wary of Trump seems like a smart move at this point.
     
  3. edk99 macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    So maybe Trump should start picking bums that live in cardboard boxes under the bridge?
     
  4. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #4
    Mr Trump should start picking people who are not compromised by actions, or links, or possible loyalties - financial, personal, political - to anyone or anything other than the welfare and well bring of the US.

    Instead, he should choose people who are experienced, competent, can exercise good judgment, and will be able to query and decline to carry out illegal actions or orders.

    Thus far, he has fired the Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, who acted sensibly and advised prudently.

    His choice for Education Secretary barely scraped through her Senate vote; his choice for Labour Secretary has already withdrawn his nomination, and the National Security Advisor, Mike Flynn, either jumped, or was pushed, when he was asked to resign earlier this week by Mr Trump.
     
  5. edk99 macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Yates was on her way out in a few days so that should not not be an issue. She may have acted "reasonably" but the AG should of been involved in the creation of that EO and she clearly wasn't. If she was then she should sided with the president and lets the courts settle it.

    What makes you think Flynn was not experienced and or competent? He was both. He just got stuck between a rock and a hard place and it was a lot easier to get rid of him then defend his actions.

    As for DeVos, Trump thinks she is experienced and competent in the direction he want to take the Department of Education. Clearly picking someone like DeVos that has no public eduction experience enforces that direction the president wants to go. Honestly I'm not for or against her or anyone he picked for that position. That is the farthest position I care about being i have no children (or am going to) nor do I work in education so I will let people who have a stake in that voice their concerns.

    My point is all because "you" don't think he/she is experienced and competent does not mean that they are not from the view of the person picking them. Sure she is a big donor and that does raise some flags but lets go through all Obamas picks and see who the donor are there too. I'm sure there are plenty.
     
  6. LizKat thread starter macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #6
    So because you have no kids you have no stake in whether or how the children of this country are educated?

    The children of any country are its future.They will govern it, or fail to govern it. Or fail to see how it matters...
     
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #7


    As a military officer, Mr Flynn was experienced and competent - but not as National Security Advisor.

    Questions had been raised about his judgement - questions that were vindicated by the actions he took.

    What he did was of doubtful legality, as was advised by Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, before she was fired (over something else).

    Either he acted on his own initiative - which meant atrocious judgement and the possibility that he was "rogue" and not under control (a possibility, I, personally, would discount), or, he was acting under orders, which is even worse.
     
  8. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    #8
    well it worked for trump right?
     
  9. BoxerGT2.5 macrumors 68000

    BoxerGT2.5

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    #9
    We should have just elected the woman who's been taking in foreign donations for the last 20yrs like it's nobodies business to avoid these conflicts of interest.
     
  10. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #10
    Why do you take things to ridiculous extreme polar opposites? No one is saying that his picks must be poor, but must so many of them be billionaires? No offense to people with money, but when you are a billionaire you lose touch with everyday struggles of everyday people.

    A billionaire isn't wondering where his next meal will come from. A billionaire isn't digging in the sofa cushion looking for change so that they may eat or pay for bus fare. A billionaire isn't juggling bills trying to figure out which one they aren't paying this month and hoping the electricity doesn't get cut off. A billionaire isn't worried about how they will send their kids to collage, or how they will look after their kids properly when they work two jobs and aren't home much to watch over them. They can't hire nannies to look after their kids. A billionaire isn't worried about how they will pay for their healthcare. Or that their might not be a supermarket in their neighborhood to get decent food from. On and on it goes in every aspect of everyday life. Two seperate worlds.
     
  11. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

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    #11
    How can you even say that - two days in a row - is puzzling. And I am being very kind.
    Provide the ideal resume for a NSA, come on. Show to me who is a good NSA. Condi Rice was qualified, right? She had almost zero experience on the field. Kissinger the same. How about Lake, a pure old-style politician?

    Seriously, this is beyond ridiculous.
     
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #12
    And you are missing the point that this man's judgment - his political judgment - which is what you need in such a position - was flawed.

    Either on his own initiative - or, at the behest of his boss - who wasn't taking advice from his intelligence staff - he acted in an inappropriate and possibly illegal manner.

    If you can't see that this is a problem, then, with respect, I think you are being wilfully myopic and allowing your political preferences to blind your own judgment.
     
  13. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

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    #13
    The only way to see if he - a multi decorated individual - had a clouded judgment was to put him on the job. There is no other way. His resume is impressive, and I think that we can agree that he is pretty knowledgeable on the matters that are important to the NSC. So, from an external point of view there is NO way to judge him before he gets into action.
    And today we are judging him on a single action that we don't even know if it's illegal (it was kinda stupid), or where it comes from. I am sorry, but if I am being myopic you're doing something much more dangerous: you're ready to cast the first stone, and quite possibly even the second one.
     
  14. Scepticalscribe, Feb 16, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #14
    Wake up, @yaxomoxay.

    First stone?

    This is not something that happened in isolation, this is something that must be set in a wider context.

    Look: For me, my first concern is that Mr Trump didn't attend his security or intelligence briefings during the Transition - I'm sorry, but this is an appalling dereliction of duty. He doesn't have to act on this advice - he does have to hear it.

    And he set about traducing and belittling his intelligence community, at around the same time.

    Secondly, he excluded the head of the Army Joint Chiefs of Staff and the head of the intelligence community from attending NSC briefings unless invited, rather than being there as of right; to my mind, this is extraordinarily irresponsible.

    Thirdly, there are two matters outstanding with Russia: The first is the hacking of the DNC, and the second are the interests and or relationships - personal and business - that members of Mr Trump's entourage - and indeed, himself - seem to have had with Russia.

    All of this combined puts Mr Flynn's chats with the Russians and the subject matter of those chats - before the previous administration had left office - in an unsettling light.
     
  15. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

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    #15
    Don't deflect. We're talking about Flynn as NSA. The fact that you mess up 99 things doesn't mean that the 100th is wrong (and that if you do 99 things right the 100th is wrong).
    Again: you said that Flynn was unqualified. A multi decorated general, with experience in both government and the real world, around the world, and with experience in the intelligence community. Tell me who is more qualified. If he didn't make that blunder (and we don't know yet if it's a blunder. First rumors are that he didn't do anything wrong in the phone calls) you would not say that he was unqualified for the job.
     
  16. Rhonindk macrumors 68020

    Rhonindk

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    #16
    Actually based on selection needs (DT) not a bad choice. Has to be someone outside that arena, not in a government position, and has to be someone DT trusts implicitly. That would be a very short list.
     
  17. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #17
    Sigh.

    I am pointing out that the concerns about Mr Flynn are amplified because of the wider background background that gave rise to this, - the entire relationship with Russia and its context which is increasingly questionable, and cannot be ignored - plus the poor judgment he displayed (or was ordered to display) in meeting Russian diplomats at that time, and discussing what it has been suggested that he discussed.

    Needless to say, it also raises questions about the catastrophically chaotic, shambolic, administration - he served.

    Some of Mr Flynn's comments on the campaign trail would have caused me to question his judgement - doubts were raised about his temperament and his views, but I assumed that he would temper those in office. His military experience I do not doubt, but I do question his political judgment, more so now.

    However, far more questionable is Mr Trump's gross irresponsibility re intelligence briefings which does raise questions about his judgment, and his style of management - or leadership - which is more akin to a chaotic medieval court - where courtiers, or factions are encouraged to fight one another for the dubious reward of access to a narcissistic monarch and all channels to speak truth to power, or question silly, or stupid - or downright dangerous - policies - are suppressed.
     
  18. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #18
    How is it "beyond ridiculous"?

    The man didn't last three weeks into his job. That alone would be a good indication that he lacked competence. Plus there have been questions about his personality and decision-making throughout the campaign and transition. Competence isn't simply a matter of one's experience or resume, it's about the personal tools (which includes experience) that one brings to the job. And from what I've read these past months, his tools weren't the sharpest, and may have been missing a bolt or two.
     
  19. LizKat thread starter macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #19
    Let's say it's ridiculous after all the Russian connections are found coincidental, and so dismissed as irrelevant.

    Look I have no problem with USA making a better relationship with Russia. Or any other country. But we must consider the current situation, whenever we think about how some bilateral or multinational relationhips might be improved.

    Here one must start by acknowledging existence of multinational sanctions on Russia, where we and our allies agreed them. If we are to alter how we see those sanctions, we owe it to our allies to explain ourselves before announcing a unilateral exit. How we behave in this situation will affect how other countries act sometime with or without regard to our views. Someday we'll want a coalition and hear crickets when we call for partners.

    As for cutting deals with Russia while agreed-upon sanctions persist: huh? "Alternative realities"?? Only someone good at setting up shell companies and offshore money shelters would imagine that a possibility. I don't think even the GOP leadership would tolerate discovery that Trump has that in mind or is already there.

    Flynn discussed the sanctions with a Russian official. And then lied, saying he hadn't done that. The one thing, a Logan Act issue, well there's so far no precedent for prosecution. Everyone can say no precedent until there's a first prosecution. His odds on skating are good. But the other, the lie, what's the point?

    If he didn't know he was skating on thinnest of Logan Act ice, why lie. Ignorance no excuse but is sometimes accepted. However, lying to the FBI is a crime in itself. If he did know, then was very foolish to lie on his own account since if found out --as he was-- then he's toast anyway, with the lie still another crime.

    If Flynn lied to protect someone else, then he sends the administration down that road of what did somebody else know and when did he know it. If he lies about that,,, he's really stupid in an era of zero privacy.

    Meanwhile Trump knew Flynn lied for at least two weeks while keeping Flynn on board as his nat-sec guy and letting Pence run around defending Flynn. And what was that about, leaving Pence with egg on his face?

    Lucky Mike Pence, eh? Lucky know-nada Mike Pence.

    I mean we could even surmise that it was intentional to leave ol' Mikey out of the loop. So he could assume the Oval Office when this whole gig comes apart? Hey, you can't make any of this stuff up, so might as well throw that in there. Pence still playing the straight man. He's called in once in awhile. I mean he got to say yeah Flynn had to go. He probably forgives him as a Christian, but as a VP, Pence knew immediately that Flynn had to go. Why Trump didn't is sure beyond me. If he knew and wouldn't pull the trigger, why not? Every day made him look either more compromised, more incompetent or just naive.

    Mikey's the one to be left standing? A little sop from the rest of that crew to the American flag after all? The faux populist comes in , the faux populist goes out, the conserative the GOP wanted all along is sworn in, no harm, no foul?

    The rest of us just wonder right now what that faux populist, who's still here, wants. And on whose behalf.

    Yes it's beyond ridiculous. I'll show you a good NSA. Harward, coming on board, if Trump can't manage to derail him (since I think this is basically a GOP pick). Like Flynn,,, without the temperament and the baggage. And btw I cannot even believe whoever floated Petraeus, speaking of baggage. Maybe Clinton suggested him.

    Harward doesn't look the type to leak anything. He kinda looks like the kinda guy might step out and say Mr. Trump has decided to resign and let Mikey have it. A new and fitting twist on the old Al Haig "I'm in control in the White House now..." but only after the GOP gets its ducks in a row and says Trump has to go. Article 25 looking better and better at this point if you ask me. The guy can't take the stress he's brought on himself.
     
  20. Rhonindk macrumors 68020

    Rhonindk

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    #20
    Then again being targeted and dumped on in the fashion he was exacerbating the issue, factual or fictional data used, would make it a moot point. In every new administration, we have a group that are weeded out for a myriad of reasons. Legitimate or not.
     
  21. yaxomoxay, Feb 16, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017

    yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

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    #21
    You see, this is a dangerous way of thinking, especially when talking about high-ranking officials.
    The fact that he (allegedly) messed up on one thing is not an indication that he lacked competence. It means that he messed up that thing. It's like when a surgeon, with 20 years of experience, makes a mistake and someone dies. Was he lacking competence? No. He lacked focus, or his way of thinking at the moment was messed up.

    Let me bring up another example: the Tenerife Disaster. 583 people died in the worst accident in airline history. Two 747 collided on the runway. Who caused the accident? Van Zanten, one of the most well known pilots, and the most experienced KLM pilot. No one was so respectable as he was. The proof? Not realizing that HE was the cause of the accident (it was not believable), KLM tried to call him at home in order to send him on the scene to investigate. Second proof? He was the face of KLM pilots... he was in the KLM magazine to show how efficient KLM was:

    [​IMG]

    Did he lack the competence? I would say no. He made a bad, bad call. A call so bad that his co-pilot even tried to make sure he understood what was going on. Yet, he made it. Was he tired? Was he in a hurry? Was he just arrogant? I don't know. But those 583 people didn't die because of lack of competence. They died because of something else.

    Surprisingly, we ask the impossible of our high-rank officials: to never make bad calls. It is impossible. The problem is that today we hear about them earlier, and it is easy to make them go viral. What's worse? It's easy to de-contextualize, and it's easy to draw conclusions. Until we know what Flynn said, we can't draw any conclusion.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 16, 2017 ---
    Is the investigation over? Do you have info that no one else has?
     
  22. Rhonindk macrumors 68020

    Rhonindk

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    #22
    For all those who feel SF is the wrong person, who would you recommend?
     
  23. v0lume4 macrumors 68000

    v0lume4

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    #23
    @yaxomoxay I love yours posts, man. A voice of reason amidst all this craziness.
     
  24. yaxomoxay macrumors 68000

    yaxomoxay

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    #24
    Thanks!! :)
     
  25. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #25
    And that doesn't send up red flags everywhere? She only got the job because she donated the most money.
     

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