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Is Trump’s core base abandoning him?

Giving voters a choice only between unacceptable candidates in both Parties could turn out to have been a prelude to revolution

Eric Zuesse

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The most reliable online real-time measure of Donald Trump’s base voters’ ongoing support for him is at Breitbart News, the reader-comments to their top Trump headlines, as listed under the “Comments” section as “Sort by Best.”

At the very top of their news on March 23rd was the following headline, followed by the top “Sort by Best” comment and the responses to it, each of which also indicates the net number of up-votes by the site’s readership:

By Charlie Spiering, Friday 23 March 2018, 14,005 comments by 4PM
COMMENTS (BEST)
chrism12743 • an hour ago
Oh he is right, his presidency just came to a screeching halt, he can GFH!!! All done with the Trump train, just got run over by it!!
• 451
ricocat1 > chrism12743 • an hour ago
DUMP TRUMP!
• 260
Doctor Nefario > ricocat1 • an hour ago
I’m done with Trump. He let us down. People were not shouting “Build the Military” at his rally’s, they were shouting “BUILD THE WALL”. Swamp dwellers McConnell and Ryan finally did it. They figured out how to split Trump’s base and bring him down.
Go ahead. Impeach Trump. I don’t care anymore. Bring on President Pence to pick up the pieces and shoulder on.
• 298

What this means is that increasing the size of the U.S. Government’s debt is, to Trump’s main base of political support (as reflected by the biggest online news-site that informs his electoral folllowing), absolutely unacceptable.

The day’s second-biggest news-story was:

By Joel B. Pollak, Thursday 22 Mar 2018, 4,085 comments as of 3PM
President Donald Trump appointed former UN Ambassador John Bolton as his new National Security Advisor on Thursday evening. He will replace current NSA General H.R. McMaster.
The move was largely hailed by conservatives — even though some criticized his support for the Iraq War. Bolton is known to be a hawk on North Korea — he has even recommended a pre-emptive attack on the regime if it continues to threaten the U.S. — and his addition to Trump’s foreign policy team sends a strong message ahead of negotiations between the president and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Liberals panicked, and advised each other to do so.
COMMENTS (BEST)
Common sense • 18 hours ago
The libbys panties being in a bunch is proof that he is the right man for the job👍👍
• 436
Ragnar Danneskjold  > Common sense • 18 hours ago
Nothing worse or better than Liberals walking around with WEDGIES….
• 136
Skeptical Shazaam  > Ragnar Danneskjold • 18 hours ago
Wait…. what?
I thought all of Zero’s acolytes wanted to bomb, rape & pillage the world. Zero bombed the most countries ever and all those insane leftists / progressives loved him for it!!
So now these leftists / progressives are anti-war? After complete silence during Zero’s entire “reign of error”? What utter hypocrites!
• 131
amongoose  > Skeptical Shazaam • 18 hours ago
Not to mention that most of those on the left voted for that war.
• 86
John (MAGAnum) > amongoose • 18 hours ago
Bolton = the right man for the right job at the right time !!
After 8 years of OdumbSH!T the world is more dangerous, including America !
• 121
FriendlyNeighborhoodEconomist  > John (MAGAnum) • 17 hours ago
Amen!
• 28
ricocat1 > FriendlyNeighborhoodEconomist • 17 hours ago
President Trump is probably finished regardless IF he signs the $1.3 TRILLION Omnibus bill.
• 50

So: The federal-debt issue is killing Trump politically. His voters don’t much care whether he starts World War III by his respecting and appointing such people as the super-neoconservative John Bolton. Bolton’s being loathed by “The libbys” (liberals) convinces Trump’s followers that Bolton is “the right man for the job.” By stark contrast, they’re rabid against Trump’s signing the Government’s budget bill. And, to them, that’s a much bigger issue than whether there will soon be a WW III.

If Trump’s poll-numbers fall as a result (as I expect they will), then Trump himself will come to be unacceptable to congressional Republicans, who are nervous about keeping their seats. A likely consequence would be a 25th-Amendment removal and replacement of him by the consistently far-right Vice President Mike Pence.

This would not require any impeachment of Trump. A President Pence would likely promise to slash federal spending but likely retain Trump’s new neoconservative foreign-policy team, and many of Trump’s other appointees. However, getting the Democrats to join in his military invasions would be unlikely unless the initial uptick in that White House’s approval-ratings appears likely to last. I doubt that it would.

It seems that we’re heading into chaos in Washington. Giving America’s voters a choice only between unacceptable candidates in both Parties could turn out to have been only a prelude to revolution.

This isn’t just a problem of Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton. It’s now escalating into a problem of this Government’s legitimacy. It’s reaching beyond the question of Trump’s legitimacy, to a challenge testing the existing system’s legitimacy.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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Saudi Arabia trying to squirm free of Khashoggi murder (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 2.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Saudi Arabia’s possible admission to killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi…accidentally, while they were torturing the man inside the consulate in Istanbul.

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Via Zerohedge

Even before the publication of last night’s Saudi trial balloon hinting that the kingdom would soon acknowledge that the extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi – the insider-turned dissident journalist who walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week and never walked back out – was the result of a “botched” kidnapping attempt carried out by “rogue killers” (despite reports that the US intelligence community knew that Khashoggi was being “targeted”), two realities had become increasingly clear. One: That the Saudis would avoid responsibility for the killing by pinning it on some unfortunate underling, and two: that there would be few, if any, lasting diplomatic repercussions.

And as more media organizations confirmed reports about Saudi’s plans to spin Khashoggi’s murder as a botched interrogation (we can only imagine what was said in that room to justify the use of such extreme violence), CNN calculated the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh for approximately 15 minutes early Tuesday, following his 12-hour-plus flight to the kingdom.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia lasted no more than 15 minutes, CNN estimates based on the time the top US diplomat’s motorcade arrived at the royal court and departed.

The motorcade arrived at the royal court at 11:42 a.m. (4:42 a.m. ET) and left 26 minutes later. There is a fair distance to walk from where the motorcade dropped Pompeo off to where he met the king.

While Trump said on Monday that Pompeo would travel to Turkey “if necessary”, the Saudi’s decision to “come clean” about Khashoggi’s death pretty much rendered Pompeo’s fact-finding mission unnecessary.More important are developments in Turkey, where the joint Saudi-Turkish “investigation” is turning its attention toward the home of the Saudi consul, where a black diplomatic van that departed the Saudi consulate just under two hours after Khashoggi entered was captured on camera disappearing into a garage. Some speculate that this is where the killers finished disposing of Khashoggi’s body. This comes after a “nine-hour” search of the Saudi consulate building that, according to leaks published in Al-Jazeera, turned up “evidence of tampering” by the Saudis. On Tuesday, Turkey’s foreign minister clarified that Saudi had yet to admit its role in Khashoggi’s disappearance and probable death.

Turkish investigators will carry out a search of the Saudi Consul General’s residence on Tuesday as the probe into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

CCTV footage released to the media from the day the Washington Post writer vanished show movement of vehicles from the consulate building to the Consul General’s residence nearby.

As speculation mounts that the incident could unseat the increasingly authoritarian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (who has already marginalized or incapacitated nearly every threat to his rule), it’s looking more likely that neither the US nor the rest of the Western world will do much to punish the world’s most important oil exporter, which can “weaponize” the oil market seemingly on a whim.

Any punishment for this flagrant violation of human rights will need to come, therefore, from the private sector, which, according to Bloomberg, could sabotage MbS’s grand Vision 2030 plan, which aims to remake the Saudi economy via a flood of foreign direct investment:

The economic strategy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, is to make investment the main engine of economic growth instead of government spending, but the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi could frustrate these ambitions. Foreign direct investment, a key part of the plan to reinvent Saudi Arabia’s economy, declined sharply in 2017 and is unlikely to return to previous levels, leaving the government’s target for 2020 beyond reach, according to analysis by Bloomberg Economics. Increased policy uncertainty and, after the Khashoggi incident, the risk of reputational damage to foreign companies working in Saudi Arabia won’t help.

 

 

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