Saturday, April 22, 2017

Annals of Derp: The Normalizing

Image via Steamspy.
So one of the twitterers I follow is a horrible hasbarist called Omri Ceren, who keeps you up to the minute on the propaganda messaging of the Netanyahu government. I don't usually address him directly, because he's very deep into the ugly, and there are usually about ten presuppositions you'd need to shoot down before getting to his point, but he's been wallowing into the Trumpery lately, naturally, and this particular slur, against former ambassador Michael McFaul, got my goat. It's also a case of The Normalizing, where the author indignantly rejects evidence of the Trump incompetence as if they were just making stuff up out of spite. Happily, Ceren turned out to be just as wrong as you might have hoped.

This is not a bureaucratic distinction without a difference; until the nomination is submitted to the Senate the Senate can't do anything about it. The Post wasn't the only paper that got this wrong, but it wasn't that hard to find out the actual facts, same (first) page of search results. Meanwhile, the Obama holdover who's currently in the position, Bob Work,
is managing 11 separate major reviews that are now underway inside the building, including major looks at current readiness, the question of creating a chief management officer, reforming the military health system, whether U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command, the establishment of cross-functional teams to enhance mission effectiveness and efficiencies, and how best to manage the split of the undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L). 
In addition, Work is herding specific reviews requested by president Trump, including a review of ballistic missile defense, a new Nuclear Posture Review, a plan to defeat the Islamic State group, and looks at getting costs down for both the F-35 joint strike fighter and the replacement for Air Force One.
And his intended replacement Shanahan, the nominee-to-be, a Boeing executive, has never worked in the Pentagon. Which may be why he hasn't been nominated yet, because the nomination is a joke, but that hasn't stopped Trump in the past, and there are plenty of other nominees-to-be still waiting with them (including Tennessee state senator Mark Green for army secretary, who's a noted islamophobe remembered for telling a Tennessee Tea Party conference he's still pissed off about how "Constantinople fell to the Muslim horde" in 1453).

Ceren evidently hadn't even bothered to google that one, unless he did, found out he was wrong, and decided to skip over the fact and limit himself to the bogus information about the Pentagon position, allowing his followers to think he was right on both counts (wrongly believing he was right on one count), which couldn't possibly be the case, because it would be dishonest.

That sweep from Abrams to Huntsman is really mind-boggling, as Kevin Drum said at the time:
This is nuts. How do you go from Elliott Abrams to Jon Huntsman? This is like deciding to buy a Hummer and then changing your mind and deciding that a Prius is a better fit after all. Does Tillerson have any idea what he really wants? Or is this coming from Trump, who thinks that Huntsman has that central casting look he's so fond of in his cabinet?
I'm guessing central casting, Alex.

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