The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Rich Galen

Friday June 19, 2020

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  • John Bolton is a tough guy to fall in love with. Even when I was a full-time Republican, working for Republican office holders or organizations or candidates, I wasn't a fan of Bolton.

  • Even when I was trudging through the Iraqi desert - especially when I was trudging through the Iraqi desert - I wasn't a fan.

  • Who was a fan? Donald J. Trump.

  • He hired Bolton.

  • John Bolton was Trump's third National Security advisor. The first was former General Michael Flynn whose tenure was measured in weeks - three.

  • The second was former General H.R. McMaster who lasted about 14 months.

  • Bolton's term ran a year and five months.

  • When he left, it was another in a series of Trump administration officials who said they had quit, but who Trump claimed had been fired.

  • As to Bolton's book: I ordered an audio copy largely because, not driving back and forth into The District to work, I am piling up credits on, so I used one up on this book.

  • As I am not a major (or minor) journalist, I didn't get a review copy so I can't download it until Tuesday.

  • While we might not have known a lot of the details about Trump's dealings with other autocrats around the world, the problem for me is, none of them surprised me.

  • Asking, as CNN put it, "his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to help him win the 2020 US presidential election," did not surprise me. Trump agreeing with Xi that would be a swell idea to build concentration camps for up to a million Uyghur Muslims, did not surprise me.

  • Bolton's charge that Trump offered to help Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an probe into a Turkish bank by U.S. investigators by saying he would "take care of things," is so Trump-esque as to be redundant.

  • Bolton could have testified before the House committees during the impeachment process but chose not to. Bolton said he would testify during the Senate trial, but the Senate chose not to have any witnesses.

  • I'm not certain how well Bolton would have stood up to cross examination in either body.

  • Bolton says (again according to before the Helsinki Summit with Russian toughguy Vladimir Putin, "Trump asked his advisers if Finland was a part of Russia, or whether it was a 'kind of satellite of Russia.'"

  • The BBC cites the Bolton book in relating a moment during a summit with British Prime Minister Theresa May he learned the Brit have nuclear weapons:
    "According to the book, Mr Trump said: "Oh, are you a nuclear power?" Mr Bolton said he could tell it 'was not intended as a joke'."

  • I ordered an audio copy of Bolton's largely because, not driving back and forth into The District to work, I am piling up credits on, so I used one up on this book.

  • As I am not a major (or minor) journalist, I didn't get a review copy so I can't download it until Tuesday.

  • Like commercials for an upcoming movie, my fear is that we already know the best stuff. How many times have you been suckered into going to see a movie only to find that the really funny lines were in the commercials?

  • Maybe the ONLY funny lines.

  • The Trump administration filed a lawsuit in an attempt to hinder Bolton making any money from the book. The White House is claiming that it hadn't finished with its pre-publication review. According to the NY Times' Maggie Haberman and Katie Benner:
    The lawsuit did not name [publisher Simon & Schuster] as a party, in an apparent nod to the constitutional and practical impediments to trying to stop it.

  • My favorite discovery in the early summaries is a time, according to the NY Times, during a meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un in Singapore, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo passed Bolton a note saying Trump was "so full of s-t."

  • When the Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender interviewed Trump about Bolton's book this week, Bender related that to Trump.

  • From the transcript:
    Mr. Trump: Who is full of shit?
    Mr. Bender: You, sir.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the COVID-19 data page via Reuters, links to two different CNN summaries.

    The Mullfoto is an admission of why I stick with cheap red wine.

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