Two for One Author: TriSecDate:12/17/2016 13:14:37
We'll start today with a Saturday Ask a Vet Special.
Of course, both of my stories this morning are about "You Know Who". We've been treated to a series of increasingly bizarre and unqualified persons being named to important cabinet posts. But underneath all that is something you may have missed - a number of those appointments have military backgrounds. Generally, that wouldn't preclude anyone from serving. However - several of those persons are only recently retired, one of which will require congressional action in order to serve his post. It all has the effect of seemingly placing the military in charge. I wonder how many of them have already sworn an oath of fealty to Mr. Trump instead of the Constitution?
He's not yet finished picking, but President-elect Donald Trump already has named three retired generals to top posts, raising questions as to why there will be so much military brass in cabinet-level jobs.
Trump on Wednesday named retired four-star Marine general John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees several critical areas including immigration and border control -- signature issues for Trump.
If confirmed by the Senate, Kelly would join retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary and retired Army Lt.Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser. Mattis also needs Senate approval.
While the men bring broad depth of knowledge to the cabinet and considerable expertise, some worry their numbers threaten a cornerstone of American democracy -- that civilians control the military and the government.
"If you have a significant number of [former military members] in your cabinet, you begin to bring into some question whether you actually are maintaining full civil control of a nation," David Barno, a retired general who once led the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, told AFP.
Yet another retired general, David Petraeus, has been floated as a possible pick for secretary of state, and retired Adm. Michael Rogers has been rumored to be in the running for director of national intelligence.
"One more three- or four-star general given a senior appointment, and we can start referring to a Trump junta rather than a Trump administration," retired Army lieutenant colonel and military scholar Andrew Bacevich told Time magazine.
Trump was outspoken during his campaign against the generals currently serving under President Barack Obama's administration, boasting he knew more about the Islamic State group than they did, and claiming the White House had reduced the four-stars to "rubble."
You should also remain concerned about the Daily Briefing thing. Maybe it's a stretch, but when I'm away at Scout Camp, we have a Scoutmaster's meeting every morning after breakfast so we know what the heck is going on in camp for the day. It's really that basic. No daily briefing = daily ignorance. But I wouldn't expect anything less from this 'administration'.
NEW YORK â€” President Barack Obama says any president who shuns daily intelligence briefings would be "flying blind" on national security matters, a stiff push-back against Donald Trump's suggestion that that he doesn't need daily read-ins to fulfill his campaign pledge to "make America safe again."
"I think the president-elect may say one thing and do another once he's here" in the White House," Obama said late Monday on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."
Intelligence agencies, Obama said, "are not perfect, they would be the first to acknowledge that. If you're not getting their perspective, their detailed perspective, then you are flying blind."
Trump said on "Fox News Sunday" he's not interested in daily intelligence briefings unless developments have changed enough to merit his attention. Trump campaigned heavily on making national security his priority, crafting one widely seen ad around the phrasing that he'll "make America safe again." He wrapped several campaign proposals in the national security theme, including a temporary ban on Muslim immigration and immediate deportation of millions of people in the country illegally.
Asked whether he's rejecting valuable intelligence, Trump was defiant.
"I get it when I need it," he said of the top-secret briefings sessions, generally designed to present facts for the president to make decisions on when something's changed and what, if any, action should be taken.
"I'm, like, a smart person," Trump continued. "I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years."
And now we'll shift gears and look down the calendar - in just 7 short days is Christmas Eve!
I am rather thankful that REI doesn't blast the music throughout the store starting on Veteran''s Day. In fact, we still have the regular soundtrack running, although with a random holiday tune thrown in here and there - and all at low volume instead of concert hall pitch.
I've got something unusual to start with today. Ever wonder how those Peanuts kids could dance to California Cool jazz? Well, now you can, too!
Of course, there are actual Christmas tunes to play today. Did you know Prince wrote one? Despite his natural exuberance and pure dance joy, he's gone all dark and possibly wrote the most depressing song of all time.
The "Prince of Darkness" also got into the act along with Bob Dorough back in the 60s. Again another anti-Christmas song, but this one is brilliant. Pay attention to the lyrics.