Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: General Milley and the Fine Art of Deconfliction

Posted on September 16, 2021

General Milley is going to be all right. I heard it from a couple of Four Stars. Like, for instance, Retired Four Star General Barry McCaffrey, who comments frequently on MSNBC and Retired Four Star General Jack Keane, who does the same at FOX.

General MilleyChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, under Presidents Trump and Biden has admitted to authors Woodward and Costa, in their Book, Peril, to doing exactly what a person holding his rank and position is supposed to do. Keep us out of accidental wars with nuclear powers.

Its called “Deconfliction.” The word is not in the Constitution. Neither is the term “Nuclear Weapons.” The people at Webster have personally advised me that the first time the word “Deconfliction” was used was 1976, further proof that my history of bringing you up to date material, like “The Dude“, abides.

Deconfliction is the art whereby we tell friends, and powerful foes, what we’re concerned about and seek to ascertain what their concerns are about us. For example, it is not in the interest of the USA for China to be under the impression that our President, no matter who it is, is determined to use nuclear weapons against them. The act of convincing the government of China that their fears are misplaced is in the interest of the USA in that it lessens the likelihood that China would take what they mistakenly thought was “preemptive” action against us. Knowledge of what each adversarial power thinks about the other is useful to achieving an absence of conflict also referred to by liberals and flower children as “Peace.” Continue Reading……..

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Taliban Reshuffles Geopolitical Deck

Posted on August 16, 2021

TALIBAN. The Taliban are a movement that originated in the mid 1990s. They practice a strict fundamentalist version of Sharia Law. The Taliban have 150,000 fighters. They now control Afghanistan, a landlocked country that borders Iran, China, Pakistan and four countries ending in “stan” known as the Stans.

The Taliban now get, for a brief fleeting moment, a second chance to make a first impression. Last time around they cut off heads, brutalized women and blew up priceless monuments. They have a chance to reboot who they are. The Germans remade themselves after WW II. Anything is possible. The American Press will give them about a week to demonstrate that they are not stuck in the Stone Age, after which the conventional wisdom will hold that they’re stone cold irrational killers.

JOE BIDEN. Has bragged about his knowledge of Afghanistan claiming he has taken up to 30 trips there. This is a moment of truth time for Joe Biden. Biden must get all our personnel out of Afghanistan safely. The same for the interpreters who risked their lives to help our troops. Biden’s presidency is on the line. Get us out neat and clean. There is no margin for error. Let your work speak for itself. Don’t over talk it. Use Wendy Sherman, No. 2 at State, as a spokesperson in place of underwhelming Secretary of State, Tony Blinken.

IRAN. Iran shares a 590-mile border with Afghanistan. A couple of million Afghanistan citizens have escaped into Iran. It’s in Iran’s interest to help Biden get all Americans out of Afghanistan safely. Iran helped the US right after 9/11. Continue Reading……….

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Iran and the American Compulsion to do Dumb Stuff

Posted on August 4, 2021
The Biden Team has an early opportunity to do something stupid in Iran.

It’ s an American tradition. Caused, in large part, by a school of thought that holds that there should never be any “daylight” between American policy in the Middle East and Israeli policy in the same region.

Huh? What’s up with that? What’s the point of being a “sovereign” country if we have to adjust our strategic aspirations anywhere to accommodate a country that we generously support, who has spied on us to our severe detriment and has never put a soldier, of their own, at risk with us to fight in any of the wars they’ve advocated. They prefer to hold our coat.

If Israel is our partner, they are a very Peculiar Partner.

Harp on this subject very much and you’ll find yourself the guy with vacant seats on both sides when attending one of those silly assed meetings about “Strategic Imperatives in a Changing World.” It’s considered bad form to bring these matters up. It embarrasses folks who want to think of themselves as warriors for what is right and true, but who know our policy vis-a-vis Israel is indefensible but don’t want to lose their job or welcome in polite company by making a big stink about it. At least they haven’t been willing to do so, so far.

But, let me make a prediction. (Disregarding Yogi Berra‘s advice that “one shouldn’t make predictions, especially about the future.”) My prediction is that Israel has one last misadventure to urge upon us before it hits the fan big time. Which is the working man’s way of saying “sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.”

The Biden Team has already done one stupid thing to Iran. On June 22 of this year they seized an Iranian website that many folks curious about the world would consult. I mean you can’t watch Wolf Blitzer 24/7. The site, www.presstv.com came out of Teheran and I’m sure the Iranian Government dictated its content.

So what? What a juvenile counterproductive thing to do. It was an interesting source on how the Iranians looked at the world. I checked it out occasionally. Does our deeply unimpressive Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, have such a low opinion of American citizens that he doesn’t trust our ability to discern sense from nonsense without his very Israel-Centric guidance? Is Blinken, less in favor of the free flow of speech, than Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who never shut the site down?

C’mon Mr. Blinken. People are starting to talk. Continue Reading……

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Quotes for Fun

Posted on June 14, 2021

I love quotes from the famous and infamous. They stimulate the mind and spring me loose from my default state of…who knows.

There’s a great quote written in cement in front of the building in Washington housing the originals of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, “What’s Past is Prologue.” It’s from Shakespeare, modified, in music, by Justin Timberlake (who I wouldn’t know from a cord of wood), to “what goes around comes around.”

By the way, I love the Tip O’Neill expression “I wouldn’t know him from a cord of wood.” You gotta love Tip! (The Speaker of the House, for Math Majors) I call him “Tip” for two reasons. Most importantly, he’s dead and he can’t say he “doesn’t know me from a cord of wood” and, secondly, I actually did meet him twice and the second time he called me by name. You’ll just have to take that on the, admittedly, flimsy support of, my word.

There are certain people that just cry out to be quoted. Like Dorothy Parker, for instance. She was known for being known, doing some writing and having an acerbic wit. Dorothy described a Broadway starlet who recently arrived from Hungary as “speaking seven languages but unable to say ‘no’ in any one of them.”

Many Jews claim Dorothy as one of theirs. But, without being argumentative, I will point out that her Mother was Celtic (Scotch, Irish, Welsh…not NBA) and Dorothy attended The Convent of the Sacred Heart Elementary School on 79th Street in Manhattan. I’ll always claim her as one of mine, at least partly.

For what its worth, there is a Private Library across from the Convent School on 79th St, of very distinguished history from which my own self and George Washington, at different times in history, enjoyed borrowing privileges. I can report that I am no longer a Member, and my overdue fines have been paid. I have to assume the same for George. Continue Reading……

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Rachael Maddow Should Resign

Posted on May 16, 2021
Rachel Maddow is a “Company Girl.”

The “Company” is Comcast. Its controlling shareholder and CEO is Brian Roberts. Comcast owns MSNBC and decides who, and what goes on their television stations.

Mr. Roberts is Jewish. He is a frequent traveler to Israel and friend of Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Roberts does not want to see or hear “unnecessary” criticism of Israel on the channels he owns or from the employees he pays.

As a “Company Girl”, Maddow doesn’t need to be told what Mr. Roberts wants twice. Just like back in school when she took out the trash and cleaned the blackboards for her teachers, Maddow makes sure Mr. Roberts does not see or hear any criticism of Israel at any time, from her own self. Ever.

Teachers pet always gets an A.

Maddow has gone far in life being careful. She specializes in kicking people when they are down and not liked by Management. People who are up, tough and can fight back she avoids, completely. She might get her feelings hurt.

Last week was GAZA WEEK, in World News. It’s difficult to speak about the war between Israel and Hamas without having something to say about the difference in size and power of the belligerents, Hamas fighters and the Israeli Military.

Israel has a magnificently equipped military, bought and paid for by American Taxpayers. They can kill as many residents of Gaza as they choose without putting a significant number of their own soldiers in harms way. Hamas rockets aimed at Israel are generally destroyed by Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System also courtesy of American Taxpayers. The last time they fought, in 2014, Israel lost 73 dead, including 67 soldiers killed in one face-to-face encounter. The citizens of Gaza suffered 2,200 deaths, including hundreds of children under nine years old. Gaza is one-tenth the size of Rhode Island.

“Company Girl” Maddow solved the possible problem of incurring the displeasure of Mr. Roberts by not mentioning the word “GAZA” once during the entire week just past. Continue Reading…….

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: The Origins of our Political Preferences Part 1

Posted on April 25, 2021

Like most people, my dislikes are bigger drivers of my political preferences than my likes. Hate is a stronger motivator than love. Its a fact. Hate energizes. Love pacifies.

I like and admire Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. They are, and have been, strong figures on the national stage, who have stood the test of time. I’ve made Speaker Pelosi my Person of the Year. And I enjoy reminding Obama haters that Barack Obama is the only President since Eisenhower to win over 51% of the popular vote twice.

I took a flyer in 2020 and gave some money to Tulsi Gabbard. I thought she had potential but the press boycotted her. There is an untold story there. She had called out Netanyahu, by name, for getting us into unnecessary wars. Suddenly, the story changed from Tulsi the hot veteran peacenick to Tulsi the Russian Operative.

What! On what evidence did that charge lie? An off-the-top comment by Hillary Clinton. C’mon, most people need more than that.

I think the Gabbard case may be a case study on how the Israel Lobby handles a public figure whose love for Israel is less than total obeisance (we’re talking Cruz-Pompeo-Cotton-Rubio) levels. They can’t actually say that’s why the person is no good. They didn’t get to be who they are by being stupid. So, they say the person is something other than they purport to be, like a pothead, a wiccan, cult member or a Russian opperative. Whatever works, you get the picture. On line trolls are alerted and any unknowing stooge, like me, who says something good about Gabbard online gets hit with a barrage of nearly identical comments. It cuts off a candidates air and blunts temporary momentum. Continue Reading………

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Israel – It’s Always Something

Posted on March 15, 2021
Remember the Saturday Night Live Character, Roseanne Roseannadanna? Her favorite response to any complication or complaint was to tell the source of the problem, “There’s always something. If it isn’t one thing it’s the other.”

Which reminds me of our friends, the Israelis. It’s always something with them. They want money, so we give them money. In Israel’s case we gave them $383.00 per person in 2017, which comes out to about $3.3 Bil cost to us for that year. The next largest comparable recipient was Jordan who received $153.00 per Jordanian per year from us.

The Congo got $6.00 per person for the year. Everybody got a sandwich…one sandwich. There’s no crying in baseball or foreign aid. Where did you get the idea life is fair?

The Israelis don’t just sit back and see how big a check we send them. On the contrary, it’s a “negotiation” with members of Congress who have received contributions from pro-Israel sources pressing whoever happens to be President to give Israel more. That’s the way the game is played with the Israelis. It doesn’t make them loved. Maybe they don’t care.

Netanyahu and Obama had a sit down at the end of the Obama administration. Subject: The Aid Package. Obama suggested ten years at $3.8 Bil per year. A sizable raise from prior years. Ever so charming Netanyahu, told Obama, in so many words, “I don’t need you I’ll deal with whoever replaces you and get more.” Netanyahu eventually came back and accepted the ten-year at $3.8 Bil per year deal. That’s a pretty big number for Israel, a country that has more billionaires than the entire continent of Africa.

Which raises the obvious question, when is Israel going to support itself? Continue Reading……..

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan – Do the Best you Can

Posted on February 10, 2021

On January 13, 2021 the House of Representatives voted to Impeach Trump for the High Crime and Misdemeanor of Incitement to Insurrection for events leading up to, and on, January 6, 2021, at the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Impeachment in the House is in the nature of an Indictment requiring a trial in the Senate where Conviction requires a two thirds vote of Senators present and voting. Upon obtaining a two thirds vote in the Senate the President is considered to be Convicted and Removed.

The not so smart lawyers representing Trump are arguing that the Senate is powerless to act because Trump is no longer President. It is their position that the remedy for committing Impeachable Acts is Conviction and Removal and you can’t remove someone who has already left and the Constitution requires that you do both, “convict and remove”, or do nothing.

The “both or nothing” argument is silly as Trump’s lawyers would have found out if they had gone to court seeking to enjoin the Senate from seeking to try Trump in the first place. They would have been told by any competent Court that the most reasonable interpretation of the Convict and Remove language in the Constitution does not require the Senate to do the impossible nor does the expiration of time render the Senate a nullity. If, at the conclusion of a Senate Trial, two thirds of the Senate finds that the President has committed high crimes and misdemeanors while President they should enter a Judgement of Conviction. Continue Reading…….

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Convict and Remove

Posted on January 14, 2021
Ten Republicans voting to Impeach is better than it looks. When you serve a two year term, an election is always around the corner and your base is essential. Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming deserves credit for voting to Impeach. Her state went for Trump by over 40 points and she is No. 3 in the Republican Leadership. Her vote took guts.

Nancy Pelosi responded to and unified the Democratic Caucus around a lean and mean one count charge that can be proved out of Trump’s mouth…the speech he gave to the mob before they descended on the Capitol killing a Capitol Policeman and four others.

Mitch McConnell has let it be known that he’s done with Trump. He has announced that he will not call the Senate back into emergency session and that he will follow the evidence to determine his vote. McConnell’s wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigned from the Cabinet, the day after the invasion, assault and murdering at the Capitol. McConnell is a master survivor. Trump is a negative in his life. He will act accordingly.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) has a role to play in the next week. She has reported seeing individuals receiving “tours” of the Capitol on January 5, the day before the assault and murder binge on the Capitol. She has reported her observations through channels. The clear implication is that Trump-Friendly Members of Congress were using their “privileges” to give rioters a detailed preview of the very complex physical layout of the Capitol. Rep. Sherrill is not to be trifled with…Lawyer, Military Helicopter Pilot. She will insist that any Member of Congress aiding riot participants on the day before the riot be expelled from the Congress. Continue Reading……

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Lost for Words

Posted on January 10, 2021

When I’m lost for words, I try and consult the wisdom of the Ages: The Bible, Our Founding Fathers, Philosophers, Yogi Berra. Let’s do Yogi first. “Hey Yogi, what time is it?” Yogi: “You mean right now?”

There, I feel better. At least for 30 seconds.

I have to tell you a story. I’m in New York City a lot. When I go out to get stuff, I can go one way and probably encounter two or three homeless people asking for money. I can go another way and not encounter any. On a cold rainy night about two weeks ago, I went out to get some stuff and my path intersected with a black man, about 70, distinguished looking, but tattered clothing. As our paths crossed, he said “nasty night.” I stopped to chat for a minute. As I started to leave, he looked at me and said “thank you for talking to me.”

That took my breath away. I’ve thought about that interaction every day. It reminded me of a magnificent piece of wisdom from an ancient source, Philo of Alexandria, a Jewish Philosopher, 25 BC, “be kind to everyone you meet, they are fighting a mighty battle.” Isn’t that the truth? Aren’t we all “fighting a mighty battle.” Sometimes it’s up close and personal and other times it’s a little further off. Life is an anxiety producing activity. As an Irish friend reminds me, “nobody gets out alive.”

I like to philosophize a bit from time to time, somewhat of an acquired taste. (Interestingly, I had zero interest in the subject when Jesuit priests, at the three Jesuit Colleges I attended were trying, unsuccessfully, to force feed me Aristotle, Descartes, Aquinas at my father’s expense). Oh well, nobody’s perfect.

Like one of the reasons I started this website was because I was fascinated with the subject of how the Conventional Wisdom becomes the Conventional Wisdom in American Political Life. I’ve solved that problem…those who refuse to be defeated, win. Those staring off into space drooling on themselves lose. Pick the group you’re comfortable with. It’s your destiny. Continue Reading…….