Dismissing Security Experts, Trump Invites Putin To Pentagon

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Emboldened by the Mueller report’s lack of finding evidence of collusion, Trump is suddenly becoming very chummy with Putin.  Against the strong advice and dire warnings from security experts, the intelligence community, and Sec. of State Mike Pompeo; President Trump will be dining at the Pentagon with Putin.  The menu will include several Russian classics, including caviar, Pelmeni (a Russian meat pie), Borscht.  The White House chef expressed concerns due to his lack of expertise in such unusual cuisine.  But Trump replied, “You better get used to it.”

In a display of diplomacy and trust, President Trump will then lead Pres. Putin through some of the most high security areas of the Pentagon, and discuss mutual cooperation to defeat any last remnants of ISIS.  A Russian Orthodox shrine will also be erected in Putin’s honor.

GNN’s Tim Acoster was able to catch Trump on his way to greet Putin’s arrival and asked, “Mr. President, why are you ignoring your security experts and even the Sec. of State?”  To which Trump replied, “I don’t need to follow their advice.  I’m a pretty smart guy.”

 

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Trump is making peace, and “liberals” hate him for it!

TrumpQuote1

These are crazy times!

In 1972, Democrat George McGovern ran against then President Nixon on a peace platform.  McGovern (D) was the hippies’ candidate.  McGovern’s supporters were often chastised as “communists” and told to “go to Russia!”

In 2004, Kerry ran against Bush criticizing him for Iraq.  Around that same time, Betty Castor (D) ran against Mel Martinez (R) in Florida for a US Senate seat.  Martinez ridiculed her for calling the US the “global bully”.  Republicans loved putting their Bush/Cheney bumper stickers on their pickup trucks, right next to the “How do you like US now!” with images of bombs falling on the middle east.  Can anyone have imagined then a Republican President leading the charge towards peace, while Democrats chastised him and claimed he was doing it to help Russia?!

Yet here we are!  A few months ago, Trump made an important first step towards peace with N. Korea, and Rachel Maddow chastised him for it and claimed he was doing it to help Russia.  Now, Trump has announced that we will be withdrawing from Syria, as ISIS has been defeated, and surely enough, the “liberals” are chastising Trump for “helping Russia”?

How did we get here?

I have two theories.  1.  “Liberals” hate Trump so much, they will simply oppose anything and everything he is for.  2.  “Liberals” were never really advocates of peace, but of globalism.  It’s unilateral warmongering that they oppose, not warmongering in and of itself.

So, either the “liberals” are blinded by their hatred of Trump, or they are prepared to inflict mass suffering and death on people in the Middle East who did NOTHING to us, just to test out their far-fetched theories of globalism and “nation-building”.  I’m leaning toward #1, the hate theory.  The reason being that Trump is also trying to pass a rather substantial prison reform bill right now (The First Step Act).  Despite the fact that African Americans have for decades lamented racial injustice in the criminal justice system; the entire Congressional Black Caucus (all Democrats) opposes this bill that Trump supports.*

Just in case you think the entire American Left has gone insane, let me reassure you.  There’s a few principled ones left on the left.  Jimmy Dore never fails, and he has said that Trump’s recent announcement is good news, and has called out so-called “liberals” for their hypocrisy.  “Trump has so completely ruined Liberals brains that they now publicly cheer on war and military confrontations with Nuclear powers”

And no, Dore is not shilling for Trump.  He also criticized Trump for not also cutting military spending and re-investing it in America.  You see, Dore has these things called principles.  It’s something I vaguely remember liberals having many years ago, like, early Obama era (pre-Libya).

Another principled lefty, Cornel West, warned us about this two years ago.  He warned us of the Democrats’ hypocrisy.  “…when you actually look at the reinforcement of the new Jim Crow…that occurred under Democrats; it would persist under Hillary Clinton.”  Given that Clinton’s very loyal Congressional Black Caucas is unanimously opposing Trump’s efforts to roll back the new Jim Crow, it seems West was right.  On this matter of peace abroad:

“Can you imagine Russian troops in Mexico and Canada?  What would US response be?  Well that’s very much what NATO troops are vis a vis Russia…but that kind of provocation for Russia that has nuclear arms is the kind of thing that Hillary Clinton supported, and her connections to the Robert Kagans and Henry Kissingers are just frightening!”

I haven’t been able to find Cornel West’s take on Trump’s recent announcement, but I’d be eager to hear it.  West has described the Trump administration as “neo-fascist” on multiple occasions, but he is not afflicted with blind partisan hatred.

Despite a handful of principle, it looks like most of the American “left” would rather hate Trump than give peace a chance.

**TrumpObamaHaveInCommon

 

Note(s):

*Since posting this, the CBC supported the final version of the First Step Act, and I and so many others are grateful for their insistence on a truly substantial bill before passing, rather than just a symbolic gesture.

**I’m not sure where Mr. Chase’s politics are, so I’m not putting him in with West and Dore.  I just shared his post because it’s clever and adds some perspective to this lunacy.

Reflections On Bush – From A Perot Youth

BushPerotClinton

It’s a cosmic injustice when a man is a victim of his own success.  I think that pretty well describes George H.W. Bush in the photo above from 1992, as Bush debated Perot and Clinton in his failed attempt at re-election.

I was about 10-11 years old at the time, and had just developed my love for politics and debate.  I knew then what I know now – Bush was a good man, but he represented America’s past.  Perot was the future.  (Maybe not Perot himself, but the ideas he ran on.)

Bush always had a modesty about him, and that’s part of the reason he was underappreciated at the time.  But he was actually a very significant one-term President.  I recently heard his dear friend, and wise former Sec. of State James Baker say that Bush was the most substantial one-term President in our history.  (More than John Adams?!)  Well, I would maybe give him most significant one-term President of the 20th Century.

Bush represented the end of an era.  It was the bipolarity of the Cold War.  Bush saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, the soaring economy from the second half of the Reagan era, prudently worked with Congress to manage the soaring debt from the Reagan era, and then led the charge to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  I know plenty of good, peace loving people who have labelled Bush a “warmonger” for Operation Desert Storm.  This is misguided.  A war monger looks for reasons to go to war.  A cautious realist goes to war when necessary.  When a dangerous dictator that controls some of the Arab oil supply, conquers a neighbor to control more of the Arab oil supply, war is necessary.  I think Bush used as much force as was necessary, and no more.  Truly, this is the kind of leadership you can expect from a humble man with the kind of character judgement to chose someone like James Baker to be his Sec. of State.

The problem for Mr. Bush was that by the end of his first term, he had finished solving all of yesterday’s problems.  America’s hard hats, and my 10-year old self, were all like “yes yes yes, thanks for winning the Cold War, and winning Operation Desert Storm and all, but now what?  What about our jobs?”

Ross Perot is a true patriot.  I noticed on stage that Perot seemed to have a certain respect for Mr. Bush.  That didn’t stop him from fiercely debating him on his naive trade philosophies.  Bush may have been prudent when it came to foreign policy, but he was idealistic and horribly misguided on trade.

The above photo says it all.  Bush was dignified, but passing.  Perot passionately argued for our country’s future.  But to the right, smugly, stands Bill Clinton.  Opportunistically he positioned himself to take the White House by taking cheap shots against Bush for having compromised on taxes.  Opportunistically did he position himself as a moderate on trade, only to sell out America’s working class at the first opportunity.  Perot’s ideas may be America’s future, but Bill Clinton was America’s present at the time.  It was a present where the greatness built by people like George H. W. Bush would be squandered by political opportunists playing “moderate” like Bill Clinton, and fiercely partisan demagogues like Newt Gingrich.*

Some said McCain’s death represented the end of an era?  No.  McCain was just another “moderate”.  Less sleazy than Clinton? Sure, but that’s a low bar!  Bush’s death does represent the end of an era.  An era where political leaders really were public servants who were self sacrificing, and would lose an election for the good of the country.

RIP Mr. Bush.  You lived a long, amazing life!

 

Note(s):

*Gingrich has his good points, but I meant what I said.  For the record, I actually don’t think “demagogues” are all that bad, but they do rouse passion and impede critical thinking, though they usually represent legitimate grievances.

China Will Not Help US With N Korea

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Regardless of a trade war with China, they will not help us with N. Korea.  Indeed, China does have some sway over N. Korea.  Indeed, China has used that to play us many times over.  For most of Trump’s first year in office, he held off on his campaign promise to implement tariffs on China to reduce our astronomical trade deficit.  (China exports 4 times as much to US, as we export to China, year after year.)  This was because China was promising to convince N. Korea to agree to a nuclear deal.

However, China accomplished nothing during that time as Trump was holding off on the tariffs.  Yet, when Trump started making plans to follow through with his promise, suddenly N. Korea came to the negotiating table and a deal was made.

Despite this, Lyle J. Goldstein with the National Interest claims that Trump must now chose between a trade war with China, and the N. Korean deal.  Where exactly has Mr. Goldstein been this last year?  Trump already tried that!  It didn’t work!  So he went forward with the tariffs, and now we have a N. Korean deal.  It’s not complicated.

Despite this glaringly obvious reality, it’s likely that Mr. Goldstein is not the only one who will make this claim.  If this deal does fall apart, don’t be surprised when most of mainstream media ignores the facts presented above and blames Trump’s tariffs.

After all, this is the same mainstream media that ignored decades of terrible trade policies that have empowered China, only to blame Trump leaving TPP for the rise of China.

China is the greatest geopolitical threat to our superpower since the fall of the Soviet Union.  And what makes China a particularly unique threat is their remarkable ability to get many of our politicians and opinion leaders to shill for them.

What Trump has accomplished, however, is getting them to play their N. Korean card.  It was a big card, a scary card, but now it’s played, and China can’t take it back.  We now know that China has far too much to lose from a denuclearized N. Korea to ever let that happen, despite what they say.  But we also know now that there are no N. Korean consequences to standing up to China.

Trump can’t denuclearize N. Korea, and China wouldn’t even if they could.  If anything is going to get N. Korea to denuclearize, it will be S. Korea.  It’s a long shot, but maybe, just maybe, S. Korea can work out some kind of loose unification, and with that, just maybe, a loosely united Korean state could see the gradual extension of freedoms to N. Koreans and effectively pacify the threat.  N. Korea would still be a nuclear power, but they’d be no more a threat than S. Korea.  We can only hope.

Further Reading:

From Fareed Zakaria of all people!  Trump is Right: China’s a trade cheat If you have access to Wapo.  If you are not subscribed to them, I recommend opening them in a browser you don’t normally use.  You get 2 free articles, but it won’t notice you’ve used your two if you open it in a different browser, like Internet Explorer if you normally use Chrome.

Is Trump a better Democrat than the Democrats?

TrumpAsDemocrat

I used to be one of those obnoxious “white liberal” types, asking my fellow blue collar whites – Why do you vote against your own best interests?  I was even tempted to call it “racism”.

When it came to Trump v. Clinton, though, that just didn’t make sense anymore.  Here was Trump proposing what some of the better Democrats have been pushing for decades, protection of American jobs; and here was the Democratic Party nominating a would be outsourcer-in-chief.  When my fellow “white liberals” picked up the old – Why do you vote against your own best interests? – rhetoric, I was like – ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

As my regular readers know, I am not part of Trump’s cult of personality.  I reluctantly supported him, because it was him or Clinton, and I have been willing to criticize him when I think it’s due.  But this week, Trump is earning my praise!

  1. Trade – Remember when this was the Democrats’ thing?  Little by little, Trump is coming through on his trade promises.  About a month ago, he implemented 30% tariffs on imported solar panels.  I remember in 2009-10ish when the AFL-CIO was denouncing China for their predatory trade practices in relation to solar panels and considering a lawsuit before the WTO.  I worried that this would be as far as Trump would go, but now, here he is about to slap a 25% tariff on imported steel, and 10% on aluminum!  Thank you Trump!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Trump is getting flak from his own party on this because, as I’ve always hoped, Trump is a bad Republican.  On trade, Trump is a much better Democrat than the Clintons, and much of the members of the Democratic Caucuses in Congress.
  2. Repealing the Individual Mandate – Lest we forget, it was the neoconservative Heritage Foundation that originally came up with the idea to force people to buy health insurance.  Obama himself, in 2008, warned that this could put people in a situation where insurance would be so expensive they’d sooner pay the tax penalty.  Then Obama implemented the mandate, and many are, as he warned, paying the penalty because insurance is too expensive.  Thanks Obama!  But if Obama won’t honor his own positions, Trump will do it for him.  Trump first tried to repeal the individual mandate as part of a larger health care reform.  Upon failing to do that, rather than giving up, he worked a repeal of the mandate into his tax reform.  Starting this year, there will no longer be a tax penalty for not buying health insurance.  So while Obama did the bidding of the corporatist Heritage Foundation, Trump turned out to be a better Democrat than Obama on healthcare.
  3. Cautious foreign policy* – Remember when the Republicans were the warmongers? Things were simpler then.  We hated Bush, the war in Iraq was a yuge mistake, and Obama would bring us change we could believe in.  Then Obama made the mistake of appointing Clinton as Sec. of State, and she talked him into Libya, the biggest foreign policy disaster of his entire presidency.  Thank goodness Obama didn’t go all in on Syria!  While Trump isn’t perfect on this, so far he’s proven to be more cautious in practice than Obama, Bush, or either of the Clintons.  While we are continuing to attack ISIS targets in Syria, we’ve mostly avoided conflict with the Syrian government, we’ve backed the Iraqi government just enough to push ISIS out, and there doesn’t seem to be any quagmires on the horizon.  Meanwhile the “Democrats” are red baiting on Russia and beating the war drums themselves towards the Assad regime.  It seems on foreign policy, Trump is a better Democrat than any Democratic President since Jimmy Carter, and better than most of the Democrats in Congress.
  4. Guns – This one is still uncertain, but following Trump’s listening session with the families and friends of victims of the recent shootings, Trump is open to some sensible gun safety regulations. He’s proposed expanding background checks, raising the age to 21 to purchase semi-automatics, and removing firearms from the hands of people with mental illnesses that could be at risk.  We don’t know how much of this Trump will follow through with yet, but it is certainly noteworthy that once again, populist Trump is clashing with the real Republicans (and I don’t mean that as a complement to them) in order to do what’s best for the American people.

I’m not joining the cult of Trump or anything.  I reluctantly supported him in 2016, and I just may again in 2020, depending on whom the Democrats nominate.  I still have plenty of grievances with Trump.  He is deregulating the financial sector like a Clinton and he’s completely blind to the realities of institutional racism in our criminal justice system.  But as a blue collar Democrat, disgusted at the party that ignores our concerns to maintain its unholy alliance of Political Correctness and Neoliberal Corporatism; I’m looking at Trump and thinking –

I voted for some of my own best interests, and I just might do it again. 

 

Read Also:

Defiant Trump Battles Globalists Like No President Before Him (by DC Whispers)

Is Joe the Plumber a Hypocrite for taking a union job?

Why I’m Not A Republican

 

The Media’s Fantastic Coverage of Trump’s “S***hole” Remark

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Over the last several days, I’ve been highly impressed with how the media has covered the claim that Trump referred to certain countries as “s***hole countries”.  They didn’t assume he’d said it.  Instead, they reported that it was claimed that he said it.  First it was Democratic Senator Dick Durban who made this claim.  Lindsey Graham has said something very close to it also.  The media has been on top of every detail as soon as they become available!  I heard George Stephanopoulos this morning saying essentially that Trump “probably said it” on the basis that Trump didn’t deny it at first, and seemed to be feeling around to see how the public was reacting to it.  Trump then started denying it when it became clear that the public wasn’t receiving it well.  Spot on, George!

With the media’s fair and thorough coverage of this issue, it shouldn’t be long before we know for sure whether or not President Trump really did call Haiti, and Africa, and much of Latin America, “s***hole countries”.  They will interview every single Senator who was in that room, and they will get to the bottom of this.  I’m sure that as soon as they are sure, they’ll make sure to report it all over every major network so that we all can be sure of what Trump surely said.

Most importantly of all, I really appreciate the media for not getting distracted.  It seems every time Trump says something horrible, his base supporters use deflection.  Talk about anything but that!  And there’s so many things with which the media could have been deflected from this oh so important story of Trump saying “s***hole countries”.  Here’s a list of all the things the media has not allowed to distract them:

  1. ISIS is defeated in Iraq, and nearly defeated in Syria, but they may be regrouping in still chaotic Syria.
  2. Following the 2010 “no fly zone”, largely pushed into US policy by then Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, Libya has devolved into a semi-anarchic slave trading state . Al Jazeera has been all over this for years, but our mainstream media has only picked it up recently. But I’m glad they’re shelving this minor story to focus on whether or not Trump called Libya a “s***hole”!  #priorities
  3. Trump recently pardoned 5 banksters for fraud charges . Only independent sources like Free Thought Project have wasted their time with this little distraction.
  4. GDP is soaring, unemployment is low, but some experts worry that a recession is just around the corner
  5. Iran has been secretly sending weapons to the Shi’a side of the deadly Yemeni civil war that has been raging since 2015, and the UN has recently confirmed this fact.
  6. Former Haitian dictator Duvalier may have laundered money through Trump Tower. Sure, this kind of thing is part of the reason Haiti would be considered a “s***hole” country, but let’s not deflect!
  7. DACA will soon expire for many, and over the next year, more undocumented immigrants brought here as children, most of whom are peaceful, will find themselves vulnerable to deportation to a native land they barely remember, without serious immigration reform. But let’s not get distracted with the details, like those silly libertarians at the CATO Institute (Oh libertarians with the obsession with policies and how they actually effect regular people!)

Thank goodness our televised media knows how to stay focused!  They won’t rest until they get to the bottom of whether or not Trump said “s***hole countries”, and if so, exactly which countries he was referring to.  Let Huffington Post, and CATO, and independent rabble rousers like the Free Thought Project worry about all these diversions.

Thank goodness though that we have wonderful corporations like Google to protect us from this unimportant news by setting their search engine to show preference to the important stuff.  Mr. Trump!  You are on notice!  We will find out what you said, and the America people will know the truth!

 

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance – Thomas Jefferson

 

*On a serious note, I really appreciate Huffington Post’s Dwayne Wong (cited in number 2 above) for putting this in perspective.  I’m glad to see that semi-mainstream media sources in print and online can get past the sensationalism pushed by televised media and actual engage in the often thankless job of journalism.

 

Related to this Africa issue, you may also enjoy my recent column for The Pavlovic Today “MLK On The Evils Of War

CNN is not exactly “fake news”, but…

cnnignoringalleppogasattack

When Trump and some of his supporters call media outlets like CNN “fake news”, establishmentarians love to snort in derision.  “Oh you Trump supporters.  You just hate facts.”  Neither Trump nor his supporters are known for their eloquence, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong.

The civil war in Syria has been raging since 2010, and it is absolutely crucial for us to understand it.  ISIS has emerged out of the civil war, and as I write this, a new group is emerging called Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, which includes the former Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra Front.  As this group seems to have some of the characteristics of Al Qaeda, and some of ISIS, it is a group that Americans should seriously be warned about.  Instead, CNN would rather devote most of their time to mocking Trump’s gaffs, or something as trivial as eating fried chicken with a knife and fork, and defending their wounded pride (ya know, from the Clinton loss despite expert predictions to the contrary) with more elitist arrogance.

CNN isn’t fake news because of fake facts.  It’s more an issue of relevance.  All mainstream media has done a poor job of informing the American public of what is going on in Syria.  As I’ve explained many times before, if Americans knew about these dangerous terrorist groups, and the fact that the Assad regime, for all their faults, are fighting AGAINST these terrorist groups, we wouldn’t even be considering regime change in Syria.  The only thing we’d be debating at this point is whether to help Assad, or just stay out of the way and let him take care of it.

But, ya know, Trump just says all those crazy things, and we just gotta report that.  And as a southerner, I take deep offense to Trump butchering that fried chicken with a knife and fork.  Pick it up with your hands, foo!

As Trump would say,

Sad!

Now, let me do CNN’s job for them.  The above briefly mentioned gas attack.  We aren’t yet sure who did it.  It may have been the Assad regime, as air craft were likely required.  But it very well could have been a rival terrorist group.  The area that was attacked is firmly held by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham.  So, the attack was on an area held by an Al Qaeda linked group, though this group has no present official ties to Al Qaeda.  It’s just another example of the kind of ruthless tactics that are used in this ongoing, brutal civil war.  If it was indeed by the Assad regime, we should remember that it was directed at a very dangerous terrorist group that is clearly hostile to the US.  But it should also be noted that the attack showed no regard for civilian lives.

There, CNN!  That’s how it’s done!