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The Case For [INSERT NAME] as the Next Secretary of State #helpwithdazzleandwow

Posted: 1:38  pm ET

 

Alright, alright, alright. Here is a bonus clip of Mr. Rohrabacher who potentially could end up in Foggy Bottom in one shape or form, calling human rights abuses in Russia “baloney” and “absolutely” comparing Gorbachev to Putin. Vlad is smiling, you guys.

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More on Trump’s Taiwan Call Plus Video Clips From Secretary of State Candidates #suspense

Posted: 2:07 am ET

 

A view from Taiwan, a Trump-Tsai Ing-wen tag team, watch:

Now for the auditions, with some exciting clips below:

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69th Secretary of State Race: New Names Include Stavridis, Huntsman, Tillerson, Manchin #dazzle&wow

Posted: 12:58 ET

 

In addition to the new names floated today, Politico is reporting that “whoever ultimately gets the top job at the State Department, multiple Trump transition sources said former United Nations ambassador John Bolton is widely expected to be offered a chance to be slotted in as one of the secretary’s top deputies, if not as the No. 2.”  Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., is reportedly also likely to be offered a lower post in the State Department, according to unnamed Politico sources.  Also as has been reported previously, Giuliani has told the Trump team directly that he isn’t interested in any other job than secretary of state.  As of this writing, Predictit still has Romney leading the pack, followed by Huntsman, Giuliani, Corker, Bolton, Petraeus, Rohrabacher, Tillerson and Manchin.

Howaboutthisguy? He razzle dazzle, hey? This is pretty doable for the 8th Floor, right?

The Funnies, not funnies over on Twitter:

US Embassy Egypt: PAO Larry Schwartz Thrown Under the Bus Over “Inappropriate Apology”

There was that clip of a badly made obscure movie posted in YouTube which roiled the mob in Cairo on September 11. (AP on Sept. 12, said its search for those behind the film led to a Coptic Christian in California who had been convicted of financial crimes). The US Embassy in Egypt released the following statement:

U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement
September 11, 2012

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney waded in with a statement here, calling “disgraceful” an early response to the assault in Cairo and saying it sympathized with the attackers.  The embassy statement, an apparent reference to the video clip in YouTube, was posted hours before the official death in Libya was reported.

Politifact consulted three apology experts who all agreed that the statement from the US Embassy in Cairo was not an apology because one expert says, 1) it did not use the word “apology” or said “we’re sorry”; 2) the statement condemns the actions of a third party and 3) it does not apologize for the right of free speech. Another expert says “To say that someone who deliberately insults others in the name of religion has acted wrongly isn’t an apology — it’s simply a recognition that those insults go too far.” Still another of Politifact’s experts says “it is a condemnation of ‘abuse’ of the universal value of free speech. A condemnation is not an apology. … The Embassy statement also reaffirms two American values: the American value of respect for religious beliefs and the American value of democracy.”

No matter, that condemnation statement from the US Embassy Cairo has now entered the twilight zone of presidential politics and The Cable’s Josh Rogin has the scoop inside this public relations disaster at our Cairo embassy. Two responsible officials were named in the article — the Deputy Chief of Mission Marc Sievers, who was the acting charge d’affairs and the embassy’s senior public affairs officer Larry Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz was previously Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and a seasoned public diplomacy officer. He, presently, just got thrown under the bus over the apology controversy. And run over twice once more for good measure.

Here is an excerpt:

“In an effort to cool the situation down, it didn’t come from me, it didn’t come from Secretary Clinton. It came from people on the ground who are potentially in danger,” Obama said. “And my tendency is to cut folks a little bit of slack when they’re in that circumstance, rather than try to question their judgment from the comfort of a campaign office.”

But Obama’s remarks belie the enormous frustration of top officials at the State Department and White House with the actions of the man behind the statement, Cairo senior public affairs officer Larry Schwartz, who wrote the release and oversees the embassy’s Twitter feed, according to a detailed account of the Tuesday’s events.
[….]
Before issuing the press release, Schwartz cleared it with just one person senior to himself, Deputy Chief of Mission Marc Sievers, who was the acting charge d’affairs at the embassy on Tuesday because Ambassador Anne Patterson was in Washington at the time, the official said.

Schwartz sent the statement to the State Department in Washington before publishing and the State Department directed him not to post it without changes, but Schwartz posted it anyway.

“The statement was not cleared with anyone in Washington. It was sent as ‘This is what we are putting out,'” the official said. “We replied and said this was not a good statement and that it needed major revisions. The next email we received from Embassy Cairo was ‘We just put this out.'”
[…]
“People at the highest levels both at the State Department and at the White House were not happy with the way the statement went down. There was a lot of anger both about the process and the content,” the official said. “Frankly, people here did not understand it. The statement was just tone deaf. It didn’t provide adequate balance. We thought the references to the 9/11 attacks were inappropriate, and we strongly advised against the kind of language that talked about ‘continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.'”

Despite being aware of Washington’s objections, the embassy continued to defend the statement for several hours, fueling the controversy over it, a decision the official again attributed to Schwartz.

Perhaps it is telling that The Cable’s source are “one U.S. official close to the issue” and “two additional administration officials”, all unnamed.  If this went down as detailed in the report, shouldn’t we at least know who’s pointing fingers?  Considering that one congressman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) is already calling for the State Department to “issue an immediate apology to the American people and fire those officials responsible for the initial statement” — that seems only fair.

Who would have thought that Twitter is such a dangerous sinkhole.

Anyway here’s the thing — Foreign Service officers are really, really excellent at following the chalked lines. You don’t see a lot of rogue and old diplomats for very good reasons. And they, certainly, do not suddenly forget their clearance procedures because they were confronted with a badly made, badly written and badly acted movie clip in YouTube; much less, defy a direct order from the State Department when it comes to an official statement for public consumption. Unless, of course, the officer is looking to commit a career suicide. And I’m not convinced that is the case with man of the hour, Larry Schwartz.

It would be nice to know who in the State Department “directed” Mr. Schwartz not/not to post the statement without changes, wouldn’t it? Was it somebody in the Bureau of Public Affairs? Was it somebody in the regional bureau? Did anyone also tell him that if this sh*t blows up we’ll make sure Foreign Policy knows how to spell your name?

This is what you’d call the bureaucratic duck and cover. It looks like the poor sod under the bus did not get a lot warning.  If he did get some warning, we’d be interested to know if he got a special phone call telling him to take one for the team before they throw him to the sharks on a feeding frenzy.

Update: WaPo’s The Fact Checker has a long item on this here in An embassy statement, a tweet, and a major misunderstanding.

 

 

US Mission Afghanistan: To 2024 and Beyond – That’s A-OK ‘Cuz Our Soldiers for 2024 Entered Kindergarten Last Fall

According to news report, the United States is promising to help defend Afghanistan militarily for at least the next decade after Afghan forces formally take full control of the their country’s security in 2014.

Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta said that under the proposed deal, both sides could agree to extend U.S. military assistance past 2024.  The draft agreement was reportedly signed over the weekend by Spanta and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker during a ceremony in Kabul.

Oddly enough, US Embassy Kabul’s website and social media arms are pretty quiet about this new and important development.  No photos of the ceremony were posted, no draft agreement of the US-Afghan Strategeric Pact posted, not even a Twitter whisper. Just absolutely nothing! Everything and everyone sewed up as quietly as a stuffed mouse.  Although not on the area of condemnation, of which there’s a lot like —

Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker Condemns Actions Depicted in Photos
U.S. Embassy Kabul Condemns Attacks
U.S. Embassy Condemns Attacks in Herat and Helmand Provinces

A related VOA News quotes U.S. Embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall praising  the draft agreement, saying it supports “an enduring partnership with Afghanistan that strengthens Afghan sovereignty, stability and prosperity” and that contributes to the shared goal of defeating al-Qaida and its extremist affiliates.

Wait, wait a minute – didn’t Leon said something about those Al-Qaida dudes in Afghanistan?

In June 2010, CIA Director Leon Panetta told Jake Tapper on teevee that there were “at most” only 50-100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Remember that?

“I think the estimate on the number of Al Qaeda is actually relatively small,” Panetta said. “At most, we’re looking at 50 to 100, maybe less. It’s in that vicinity. There’s no question that the main location of Al Qaeda is in the tribal areas of Pakistan.”

Well, so what? That’s just the CIA, what do they know?

The same report repeated that news item about President Karzai wanting a written commitment of $2 billion a year from the United States after the withdrawal.

Apparently, our government is happy to give him more.  U.S. officials said they could pay up to about $4 billion a year to fund Afghan forces.

*Ching-wah TSAO duh liou mahng!!!

This is absolutely freakin great news!

There are less that 100 Al Qaida “nationals” in Afghanistan and we’re staying there for ten more years until 2024, and maybe beyond. You know, in case they make a mess of our nation-building project mess over there. But it’s all right because our soldiers for 2024 entered kindergarten last fall.

Also, President Karzai whose control spans Kabul and beyond the city limits (as we all know) wanted $2 billion on paper. And we’re giving him $4 billion and change because we are generous people, never mind that our houses are falling down. Or that many of our kids, who will be fighting this war beyond 2024 go to sleep hungry every night in the United States of America.

As an aside – please, somebody, please tell us which International School of Negotiation did you all go to, because we are definitely going to enroll there for our Ph.D.

Um – about being hungry in America? You think, no way, Jose – not in America. Yes, way – Hunger in America 2010, the  largest study of domestic hunger, providing comprehensive and statistically-valid data on the emergency food distribution system and the people Feeding America serves indicates that: 1) Feeding America is annually providing food to 37 million Americans, including 14 million children (an increase of 46 percent over 2006), 2) Feeding America’s nationwide network of food banks is feeding 1 million more Americans each week than the organization did in 2006; 3) The number of children the Feeding America network serves has increased by 50 percent since 2006.

So, I was eating lunch today and all I could think about is Hamid Karzai’s $4 freakin billion every year for the next ten years for starters.  And I hate to admit that I lost my lunch, all over the place.

After I’ve cleaned up my mess, I heard that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) was barred by Hamid Karzai from entering Afghanistan.  And while I am not/not a fan of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), U.S. taxpayers elected that man. And since U.S. taxpayer money is funding Hamid Karzai and the Government of Afghanistan, and will continue to do so until 2024 and on to perpetuity, I say, we should send Congressman Rohrabacher as Pro-Consul to Afghanistan, and make sure our investment is well spent. As our dear, Jerry Bremmer did in Iraq.

Oops! And here is where I’ll make a confession — I’ve just lost all my marbles! It’s that kind of sucky day.

What else is there to say except perhaps remind our government  to better not slash funds for Feeding America, so we’ll have soldiers for Afghanistan for 2024 and beyond.

Domani Spero

*Excuse me for saying – Frog-Humping Son of a Bitch!