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Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis Quits

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    Jim Mattis Resignation Letter

    From the Washington Post:

    ""Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned from the Trump administration Thursday, saying the president deserved someone atop the Pentagon who is “better aligned” with his views.

    "The retired Marine Corps general’s surprise resignation came a day after President Trump overruled his advisers, including Mattis, and shocked American allies by announcing he would be withdrawing American troops from Syria. Trump declared victory over the Islamic State, even though the Pentagon and State Department for months have been saying the fight against the group in Syria isn’t over."

    His resignation letter reads like a smack down of the president.

    This comes on a day the stock market continues to plunge and Trump has promised a government shutdown if Congress does not submit to his demands. It's described as chaos in the capitol, but Trump doesn't seem to care. He still plans to go golfing in Mar-a-Lago starting on Friday.

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    I led off this thread with a link to Secretary Mattis's resignation letter as I thought it should be the headline. Now Nancy Pelosi in an impromptu press conference is asking all Americans to please read his letter. I agree.
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    Schmidt:

    The resignation letter was GREAT. Although he was more diplomatic than Rex Tillerson, he essentially said the same thing:

    "You're a f****** moron"!

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    It is a smackdown, trump is not a leader, he only thinks he is. And that applies to GOP members too, they could override his vetoes if it really came down to it, republican voters got what they deserve, appointees and a president who are despots.
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    I've heard a lot of people talking about Mattis being one of the few "adults in the room" around Donald, but that always frustrated me because it made him appear as if he's a knight in shining armor protecting America from Donald's worst impulses.

    Matt Yglesias from Vox said it best when he wrote "when toddlers play, it’s good to have a grownup in the room to supervise. But if a toddler is driving a car, it does no good to have a grownup in the passenger seat."

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    Trump is annoyed that Mattis is being called the "last adult in the room". So he unilaterally moved his departure date up from February 28th to January 1st. That plus he didn't like the media fanfare around Mattis's letter that was critical of Trump's policies.

    It gets Mattis out of the way allowing more limelight for Trump. Mattis hanging around through February promised to be a distraction.

    NBC News: Mattis to leave two months early, as Trump announces Patrick Shanahan will replace him

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    The new acting Secretary of Defense will be Patrick Shanahan, a Boeing executive who Trump appointed to the Deputy post in July 1917 and was confirmed by the Senate with a 92-7 vote.

    From the Defnse News: Shanahan poised to rewire the Pentagon with Mattis out

    “He’s not a policy or geopolitics guy. He’s a business guy,” the source said. “But he’s spent the last year learning from the best. And Shanahan is known for having a good relationship” with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

    “Too often we focus on process, or budget, or level of effort,” Shanahan told Defense News. “The Pentagon should focus on outcomes and outputs — our performance. This focus on performance should drive us to field unmatched lethality, execute on our modernization plans and achieve this affordably.”

    “It's all about the system and then the reinforcing mechanisms to make that change enduring. Without a system, things fall apart when the leader moves on,” Shanahan noted. “The system or the environment shouldn't be dependent on the leader's presence.”

    “It’s very easy in a complex environment like this to get distracted. The tactical can consume an enormous amount of time,” he said. “But my job is really to drive change at scale and there’s a formula for doing that. And the formula really has to do with change [which] must be systemic.”

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    Got that? The military will be really impressed with all that business jargon.

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    Schmidt Wrote:

    The new acting Secretary of Defense will be Patrick Shanahan, a Boeing executive who Trump appointed to the Deputy post in July 1917 and was confirmed by the Senate with a 92-7 vote.

    From the Defnse News: Shanahan poised to rewire the Pentagon with Mattis out

    “He’s not a policy or geopolitics guy. He’s a business guy,” the source said. “But he’s spent the last year learning from the best. And Shanahan is known for having a good relationship” with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

    “Too often we focus on process, or budget, or level of effort,” Shanahan told Defense News. “The Pentagon should focus on outcomes and outputs — our performance. This focus on performance should drive us to field unmatched lethality, execute on our modernization plans and achieve this affordably.”

    “It's all about the system and then the reinforcing mechanisms to make that change enduring. Without a system, things fall apart when the leader moves on,” Shanahan noted. “The system or the environment shouldn't be dependent on the leader's presence.”

    “It’s very easy in a complex environment like this to get distracted. The tactical can consume an enormous amount of time,” he said. “But my job is really to drive change at scale and there’s a formula for doing that. And the formula really has to do with change [which] must be systemic.”

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    Got that? The military will be really impressed with all that business jargon.

    There was also a mention on the news that Trump forces Mattis to be out on January 1st while he wanted to stay until February. I guess that must be "revenge". Yes, as I've said many times this country is hitting the "iceberg" right now!

    Grab your life jackets.

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    The key phrase is that he has a good relationship with Trump and Pence, even though he has NO military or government experience, and limited foreign experience. However, a lack of qualifications did not prevent him from being confirmed as Mattis' deputy 92-7.

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    I'll reserve my opinion on Patrick Shanahan. While the military brass might not like that he has no military experience except through his father, Shanahan does have educational qualifications -- two advanced degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering, and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management -- and he has also been a highly successful executive at Boeing. That part of his bio is unquestionably excellent.

    Having served as Deputy Secretary of State since July 2017, he won't be stepping in cold. Furthermore, having not come up through the military ranks, he won't have the "good ole boy" allegiance to many of the generals running amuck with bloated military budgets. If he takes a business perspective of the military questioning the way they spend money and do things, it would then be good to rein in the free spending "making America safe at any cost" and counter the prevailing "I love everything military" populist thinking.

    However, as he reports to Donald Trump, anything can happen. And "the Donald" upon hearing criticism from the likes of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, may decide he indeed needs someone else. Or else Shanahan will have to transform into another Trump protégé to survive.

    We'll see how the winds blow...

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    The picture is very clear to me; getting Shanahan in is again creating another "goldmine" for Trump. This guy used to be an executive at Boeing. This way Trump gets another "back channel" to Boeing, which means any military orders via the "government" (or other commercial deals via Trump's connections as President) then Trump may receive "under the table" payouts; some of which will be to foreign banks or be paid out after he leaves office.

    Mueller already did run into a "brick wall" with an "undisclosed entity" (likely Deutsche Bank) who refuses to provide the data he wants and such "undisclosed entity" has now dropped the case at the Supreme Court.

    There must be a lot of banks with whom the Trump family has dealt with, which will show how the Trump family did get their "money" via "back channels" and "con's". He's known for it; it is all about the "money"; nothing else.

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    This is off topic again but I'll comment anyway.

    Whether it is Deutsche Bank or a Russian or Cyprus bank, the bank probably has a financial reason to not disclose any money laundering that they engaged in with Trump. Although the disclosures would be devastating to the Trump organization, they could also be damaging to the bank in terms of public opinion and fines.

    Furthermore, if the Trump organization collapses because of the disclosure and implications of illegal money laundering activities, the banks could be in the situation of facing unrecoverable loans or bad loans that they will have to write off if Trump goes bankrupt.

    The bank or banks may be up to their necks in bad Trump loans. From my blog article of last year: "Nav, a business score education organization, rates the Trump Organizations with a business credit score of 19 out of 100, some 30 points below the national average and indicating that the Trump Organization “is very likely to default on its credit payments” and that “this will make it difficult to get financing.” That low rating is a testament to his past bad business practices."

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    What I wrote was not off topic; it is related to Shanahan ; just to make it clear "why this choice" read my mail again; the sole purpose is, so Trump can make some more money again. Of course "banks" are another subject.

    Repeat:

    The picture is very clear to me; getting Shanahan in is again creating another "goldmine" for Trump. This guy used to be an executive at Boeing. This way Trump gets another "back channel" to Boeing, which means any military orders via the "government" (or other commercial deals via Trump's connections as President) then Trump may receive "under the table" payouts; some of which will be to foreign banks or be paid out after he leaves office.

    Since I worked in D.C. and also dealt with this industry, I know how it works; guess what; why does an F35 costs so much, especially for other countries?

    I guess most people here have no clue on how corrupt this government is. Trump wanted this job, solely for the money he could make of it.

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    Schmidt Wrote:

    Trump is annoyed that Mattis is being called the "last adult in the room". So he unilaterally moved his departure date up from February 28th to January 1st. That plus he didn't like the media fanfare around Mattis's letter that was critical of Trump's policies.

    If I could draw, I'd draw a lampoon image of Trump forced to dance as the media shoots bullets at his feet, but also show him holding guns in his hands shooting at at own feet. Who does more damage to trump, the media or trump shooting himself.

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    Uri Friedman, The Atlantic: America, Meet Your (Acting) Secretary of Defense

    Friedman discusses the implications of Patrick Shanahan serving as Acting Secretary of Defense. I still withhold my judgment on Shanahan because he is a thinker...an MIT graduate engineer...a problem solver. That is a definite plus for me. On the negative side his lack of military experience could mean that he has to defer to all the remaining generals in the military, or perhaps worse, Donald Trump himself. That and the fact that while Trump's original staffing of his cabinet in 2017 was flush with generals, now he has none.

    Trump is now unencumbered by the likes of a Kelly or a Mattis telling him what he cannot do. Now he can do what his gut tells him to do. Remember he has claimed that he "knows more than the generals do" so he may think he doesn't need any of them around to tell him what he cannot do. So now he has Shanahan in an "acting" capacity...essentially a trial by Trump to see how subservient he is to Trump's wishes. Will Shanahan be the loyal sycophant that Trump wants, or will he go against Trump's whims? Shanahan's critical thinking skills might be trumped by his needed loyalty to Trump to survive in his post without being fired.

    Getting back to Friedman's article, it would appear that at least on the surface, Shanahan's views of military engagements around the world align with those of Mattis. Depending on how strongly he holds those beliefs in the face of "Trump gut think", then his role as acting could be elevated to full secretary or short lived...going back to Boeing. As per Friedman:

    "While visiting U.S. soldiers in Iraq over Christmas, Trump praised Shanahan as a “good buyer” of military equipment, not some master strategist. “I’m in no rush” to replace him, the president declared."

    "Shanahan has embraced some of the president’s pet projects. He’s championed increased sales of U.S.-made military goods and services to other countries, for example, and led Pentagon efforts to establish a new Space Force (an initiative Mattis at first resisted)."

    "“He’s not gonna dictate. He’s gonna follow what the president’s intent is,” Ellison [a friend of Shanahan's] said. Shanahan, who is succeeding a man Trump reportedly resented for slow-walking his directives, is “an efficient doer of things,” he told me."

    Friedman concludes: "Over the past year and a half, Larsen reflected, Shanahan has struck him as “the Sergeant Friday of the Pentagon,” a reference to the fictional Dragnet detective who famously followed the facts wherever they led. The problem, Larsen told me, is that “the president maybe doesn’t like the facts.”"

    I'll watch and see...that's what Trump is also doing...