Trump administration could use military bases to export coal, gas

Zinke said the strategy is being considered as a way to thwart opposition by California, Oregon and Washington leaders to allowing export terminals in their states to sell coal or gas to Asia.

…Zinke said that may involve using “some of our naval facilities, some of our federal facilities on the West Coast.”

In his AP interview, Zinke only mentioned one possible facility for natural gas exports: the Adak Naval Air Facility in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, which closed in 1997.

…They are also working on a plan to keep uneconomical coal and nuclear power plants open, citing national security as the justification.

Trump administration could use military bases to export coal, gas | TheHill

Subverting the rule of law and co-opting the military to prop up failing industries?  Not even pretending the Trump WH isn’t bought and paid for anymore….


Can military commanders refuse an order from Trump?

Allegations that Mattis is intervening regularly to avert national security disasters have once again raised the question of whether military commanders possess the authority to refuse a direct order from the President under certain circumstances.

The reality is that the only basis for interfering with a direct order is if it’s illegal, immoral or unethical. And there is a widely held belief among military commanders that they must resign if they are unable to carry out an order that does not rise to that standard.

Speaking publicly on the issue last November, Gen. John Hyten, top US nuclear commander, said he would push back against an order from Trump for a nuclear strike if it were “illegal.”

Can military commanders refuse an order from Trump? – CNNPolitics


Trump Says He Has ‘Obliterated’ ISIS. The Terror Group Seems Not To Have Noticed.

Trump claims he has “eradicated,” “wiped out” and even “absolutely obliterated” ISIS, there is one group that has ignored the president’s words: the terrorists themselves.

According to recent estimates by the United Nations and the U.S. Defense Department’s inspector general, the self-described Islamic State has between 20,000 and 31,100 fighters ― figures nearly identical to CIA estimates of the terror group’s strength in 2014 when it was near its zenith.

What’s more, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ― or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as it is also known ― actually regrouped somewhat earlier this year. Foreign affairs experts suggest it will concentrate on overseas attacks now that it has lost most of the territory it used to control in Iraq and Syria.

Trump Says He Has ‘Obliterated’ ISIS. The Terror Group Seems Not To Have Noticed. | HuffPost


Trump considering Erik Prince’s plan to privatize Afghanistan war

…[Trump]has shown interest in a proposal by Blackwater founder Erik Prince to privatize the war.

…He envisions replacing troops with private military contractors who would work for a US envoy for the war who would report to the president. [Cutting the Pentagon, Defense Department and the entire Military out]

…Trump’s national security team was reportedly aghast at the idea.

…And a senior State Department official said there’s “not a chance” it will be adopted.

Trump considering Erik Prince’s plan to privatize Afghanistan war


The Shadow Rulers of the VA

Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.

…He is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump’s. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman. None of them has ever served in the U.S. military or government.

….hundreds of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with former administration officials tell …of a previously unknown triumvirate that hovered over public servants without any transparency, accountability or oversight. The Mar-a-Lago Crowd spoke with VA officials daily, the documents show, reviewing all manner of policy and personnel decisions. They prodded the VA to start new programs, and officials travelled to Mar-a-Lago at taxpayer expense to hear their views.

…“Everything needs to be run by them,” the first former official said, recalling the process. “They view themselves as making the decisions.”

The Mar-a-Lago Crowd bombarded VA officials with demands, many of them inapt or unhelpful. 

…Besides advocating for friends’ interests, some of the Mar-a-Lago Crowd’s interventions served their own purposes.

…They proposed inviting private health care executives to tell the VA which services they should outsource to private providers like themselves. It was precisely the kind of fox-in-the-henhouse scenario that the VA’s defenders had warned against for years.

…But it wasn’t just Shulkin — all the officials that the Leinenkugel memo singled out for removal are now gone, replaced with allies of Perlmutter, Sherman and Moskowitz. The memo suggested that Sandoval take charge of the Office of Information and Technology, overseeing the implementation of the Cerner contract; he got the job in April. The memo proposed removing Deputy Secretary Tom Bowman; he left in June, and the post hasn’t been filled. The memo floated Richard Stone for under secretary for health; he got the job on an acting basis in July. Leinenkugel himself took charge of a commission on mental health (the same topic Moskowitz had emailed O’Rourke about). O’Rourke, having hit it off with the Mar-a-Lago Crowd, became acting secretary in May.

The Shadow Rulers of the VA — ProPublica