Trump’s Top Ten

December 10, 2016

There are many things that can be said about the election of Donald Trump and most will probably get said before 20 January 17. Beyond an unlikely candidacy and an even more surprising election, Trump, long before his inauguration, is an overachiever on many fronts. Indeed, a “Reelect Trump” bumper sticker was spotted in Easton, Maryland just a day after the election. Here are the top ten things Trump has already accomplished before his first term begins.

  1. He Hijacked a Major American Party

Just as the Democrats had a coronation planned for Hillary Clinton in 2016, Republicans had a tiara in mind for Jeb Bush too. Alas, Donald Trump beat the odds, and the party hacks, for the Republican nomination. The Grand Old Party has yet to recover from the insurgent coup.

Withal, Republicans need Trump more than Trump needs a party. Either the old guard adjusts to Trump’s pragmatism or Trump might start a new party. Clearly he has the votes.

The Democrats too were bull-rushed by the Clintons, then gob smacked by Trumpsters.

News on the left keeps getting worse. Democrats are now looking to the Minnesota caliphate for new blood, considering Representative Keith Ellison (D) as party chief. Elevating Ellison is a little like playing Russian roulette with five rounds in the cylinder. Ellison isn’t so much a progressive as he is an outspoken Islamist huckster and anti-Israeli demagogue.

Seems the DNC learned nothing from the election.

  1. He Bitch- Slapped American Media

There’s no polite way to put this. American press and broadcast shills, nationally and universally, tried to cook the 2016 primaries and general election with bias, lies, vitriol, hate, and racism. Both parties and the media insinuated, with little or no evidence, that the Republican nominee was a Kremlin stooge. Trump took it all in and gave as good as he got. He was correct throughout, the press, the federal cops, and Clinton Inc. are “crooked.”

When it counted, America’s productive “deplorables” turned out to be a lot more reliable than America’s dependent barnacles. If there is a demographic schism in America, the divide is between the makers and the takers. Score one this time for “makers” and family Trump.

Next time the media sneers at non-college graduates, blue collar men/ women, or “flyover country;” those cynics would do well to remember that folks with enough moxie to get a job and work for a living are the same citizens who get off their keisters and vote.

The press tried to lynch Trump for what he said while largely giving Hillary a pass on what she has done. Sensible voters took that double standard personally. The country will recover from Trump rhetoric long before voters will forget how badly the Clintons, print and broadcast “professionals” behaved.

Trust is a terrible thing to waste.

  1. He restored Political Integrity

When Hillary drones chirped “I’m with her,” Trump responded “I’m with you.” When the vice president elect was asked about Trump’s character, Mike Pence replied “you can’t fake good kids.”  When Hillary was asked about those huge “pay to play,” checks, she responded, “I took what they offered.” When Trump was asked about his presidential salary, he said that he will be a “dollar a year man.”

Even when the question is relative, character matters.

When asked if Trump might make America great again, deplorables across the country responded with a resounding “yes.”

 

 

 

  1. He Saved the Judicial System

With the election victory, Trump gets a judicial trifecta: some balance on the highest court and the opportunity to clean house at the Justice Department and the FBI. Recall that Justice Sotomayor suggested that race and melanin were unique sensitivities. Also recall that Justice Ginsberg campaigned very publically against Trump, an unprecedented breach of judicial temperament and discretion. With any luck, these two and the Keystone cops at the Justice department should be history or irrelevant under a new court and administration.

  1. He Torpedoed Immigration Inertia

For decades, both political parties have played kick-the-can with border security and immigration. Indeed, associated pathologies like drugs, crime, and terror have been neglected or minimized. Even after the Saudi 9/11suicide bombings, political paralysis prevailed. In the recent campaign, Trump used the now famous “wall” metaphor to illuminate the unalloyed stupidity of open borders and uncontrolled, unvetted immigration of refugees, Muslim or Mexican.

Trump has put an eminently logical question on the table. How do we have open borders and insure national security or the defeat of terror and the Muslim jihad?

A nation is safe, secure, and sovereign – or it is not.

  1. He Made Emigration Fashionable

Many Hollywood poseurs, low-rent music divas, media fan boys, and their big city cohorts have vowed to leave America if Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election.

Poor loser day is here. Flyover country is waiting. If left coasters are moving north this year, they need to start for Canada before the snow flies.

Note to Robert De Niro, Whoopi Goldberg, and Amy Schumer: Please stop on the east coast and pick up Chuck Schumer, Chris Matthews, and Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. on your way out.

 

  1. He Reset the US Foreign Policy Agenda

Trump suggests adjustments to policy with Europe, Russia, Israel, and the Muslim world are needed. Winning is back on the table too. If the various Muslim small wars cannot be won with EU or Ummah partners, then new coalitions make sense. Israel is the indispensable moral center of gravity in the Middle East. Russia is the indispensable ally for defeating Islamism and the jihad.

Stand by for Putin/Trump and Netanyahu/Trump bromances to be consummated.

  1. He Burst the Globalism Bubble

If the fatally flawed assumptions of globalism and world government were wounded by Brexit, a Donald Trump presidency might be the coup de grace. By challenging feckless interventions, naïve foreign policy, weak trade deals, and flaccid partners/alliances; Donald Trump has turned US foreign/ military policy on its ear, all to the good.

New thinking and new players are long overdue. The true path to global diversity is national sovereignty, not the rote of EU or UN globalist conformity. Trump’s skepticism about utopian hokum is fresh air.

  1. He Cashiered Humanitarian Intervention

With Trump, disastrous small wars associated with so-called “humanitarian” interventions may be resolved or allowed to die on the vine. “In it to win it or out” might be the new doctrine from the start. If Europe and the Muslim world care not to finance or fight for the defeat of Islamism, so be it. The target set for America, Russia, and China is thus simplified.

Even James Clapper now agrees that America cannot save Islam from itself.

  1. He purged three Dynasties

Armed only with the wisdom of crowds, Trump brought an end to the Bush, Clinton, and Obama regimes. Call it regicide. Call it a political trifecta. Call it hiatus from breeding lawyers in the White House. Whatever!  The prospects for loony liberals and chronically constipated conservatives are greatly diminished in the next four, or eight, years.

If the president elect is as cost efficient as Commander –in-Chief as he was as a candidate, then America may be well served. In spite of an unprecedented media and Clinton Inc. bias blitz, Trump demonstrated that ground truth is the often the default setting in a digital world – if the internet, not the press, does the vetting.

Epilogue

The most obvious post-election irony comes from the mean streets of American cities, liberal urban sinecures where Clinton/Obama voters riot and vandalize in the wake of defeat, validating the worst about the American Left; first arrogant winners, now bad losers at every turn.

Maureen Dowd at the NY Times once pandered to Barack Hussein Obama as the “black prince.” As is their wont, the Times was only half right. Alas, the euphemistic prince turned out to be just another spooky “gangsta” from Chicago, a black swan who never flew, never set a better standard for America or arsonous constituents.

Withal, a quarter century national nightmare may now be over. There’s much to celebrate in 2016, thanks to “deplorables” across the land.

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Who’ s Afraid of Hillary Clinton?

October 6, 2016

 

Edward Albee died on 16 September. The death of America’s greatest modern playwright was obscured by the run-up to the first 2016 presidential debate. You can’t help but think of the parallels between an evening with Donald and Hillary and an evening with Albee’s George and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) in question was a real literary figure trapped in a failed marriage, a dilemma that was resolved by suicide. Woolf filled her pockets with stones and walked into a pond. Albee’s drama is supplemented by intermittent repetition of Disney’s jingle Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf.

Albee’s metaphorical wolf is illusion; or more precisely, the truth about self, marriage, family, career, and toxic relationships. Albee was no fan of conventional wisdom, human nature, or the status quo.

Albee lived as he wrote, ever the champion of the need to break the mold, embrace reality. His contempt for critics was legendary. Few journalists went one-on-one with Albee. The need to defy critics, even his father, and be his own man was the one big idea in much of Albee’s work.

All of the action in Albee’s classic feud unfolds in a single evening, similar to the drama of the 26 September argument between Trump and Clinton.

The first act of Virginia Woolf is indeed called “Fun and Games,” much like the first 30 minutes of the Trump/Clinton debate. The beginning is genial enough and then slowly succumbs to the heat of acrimony, recriminations, and hypocrisy.

On the evening of 26 September, Trump was suffocated, like Albee’s George, with issues over which he has little or no control. In the play, George was clinically impotent. In the debate, Trump was made to appear inadequate in the end.

Hillary flogged Donald with taxes, bankruptcies, family inheritance, faux racism, portly beauty queens, and Rosie O’Donnell. None of these “issues” has anything to do with domestic or national security.

Throughout, Trump’s one big idea of the campaign was obscured. Trump is the candidate of change. More of the same is Mrs. Clinton’s only game. Hillary doesn’t have a big idea.

Indeed, Hillary offers only two small thoughts for domestic and foreign policy. Both were parroted or pinched form the Sander’s campaign: no-fly zones in the Levant and “free” college/debt relief at home.

No-fly zones in Syria and Iraq are bogus because that would have USAF flying cover for the Turkish oil racket and the ISIS jihad against Damascus.

The free school/tuition forgiveness proposal is a fraud on three counts. First, no school is free. Somebody pays; maybe not the takers, but surely the makers. Whenever the American left uses adjectives like “free,’ hold onto your wallet.

Secondly, schooling at the college level is likely to benefit those who already benefit at the grade and secondary levels. Several minorities, especially blacks, seem to be immune to the opportunity of free schools. Half of black kids who begin high school do not finish and many of those that do finish require extensive and often ineffective remedial help at college.

There’s no evidence to suggest that the kids who need it most will benefit from “free” college, any more than they “benefit” from free high school. Public school is too often custodial, a waiting room for the nearest jail.

And finally, public school has been hopelessly confused with education. Charter schools, alternative schools, and private schools are all symptoms of public school failure, if test scores and school rankings matter.

The public school illusion is supported by those who don’t need it and undermined by cynics who know that, in the end, school is only an opportunity not a right.

Mrs. Clinton does not have one big idea, nor does she have any original small ideas. She does have, however, a host of failures or bad policies for which she might be pilloried: the private server fraud, Wall Street speaking fees, the Clinton Foundation hustle, open borders, the immigration blitz, regime change disasters, a new Cold War with Russia , Islamic apologists, and all those losing Muslim wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

Trump had the hammer; yet he didn’t pound his golden nail, change. He needed to illuminate Mrs. Clinton’s poor ideas; recite Hillary’s manifest failures; and emphasize the poverty of her too few new ideas.

Mrs. Clinton even managed to make Trump look like the liar on the stage; this from a woman married to a serial predator; this from a woman married to a convicted perjurer; this from a woman who lied to the Benghazi families.

The most obscene hypocrisy of the 2016 campaign is to watch either of the Clintons play the honesty or transparency cards.

At the end of the first debate, uncharacteristically, Donald Trump was left mumbling about his microphone and things he could have said but didn’t. It seems that Trump was intimidated by Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea in the first row. Trump was probably thinking of making America’s most infamous sexual predator a campaign issue, but towards the end of round one, he pulled that punch.

Nonetheless, Bill is still fair game. Clintons in the White House have embarrassed themselves and the country before and it’s a safe bet they will do it again.

Oddly enough, Hillary is capable of recognizing young black super-predators she never met, but claims ignorance of her husband’s predations. Willful indifference to Bill’s not-so-secret life as a masher is of a piece to her willful indifference to national security by using a private email server.

If the Republican standard bearer believes that either Clinton will ever spare him any personal or family indignity, then Donald, like George in Virginia Woolf, is delusional.

The last act of Edward Albee’s play is called “Exorcism.” Indeed, a defeat of the Clintons would be just that, a national purge that could signal a new beginning, an awakening from the long Clinton family nightmare.

For the moment, Trump is the only exorcist in town. Either he throws the devils back to Arkansas or the country suffers through four more years of toxic Clinton/Obama humiliations. Trump brings a hundred million souls to the debates. Now he needs to close the deal, persuade that vast audience to vote for change.

No holds barred! There are only two rounds left.

One final thought for the undecided; picture Bill Clinton Barack Obama, or both, on the Supreme Court.

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Hat tip to Edward Albee (1928-2016) who never finished college, yet he insisted that we face the realities of life, relationships, careers, and especially, poor choices.

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Debating Hillary

September 21, 2016

The impending presidential debates are likely to be the best attended in the history of American politics. The viewing and listening audience will set a standard for political discussions past and future. At this point, the draw is Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, Trump is a candidate who packs a house and elevates the ratings.

Whether or not the Trump “draw” translates into votes remains to be seen. Ironically, Trump’s negatives may be the new positive. Those so-called “undecideds,” might be a closet demographic, folks who do not support Trump publicly, but on Election Day will push the button for change anyway.

At this point in the campaign, both candidates represent real choice. Hillary is the establishment, the ancien regime, more of the same if you will. Trump is the parvenu, the rhetorical bomb thrower. The Donald represents change, anxiety, and uncertainty too.

Here Trump has a decided advantage. Call it the enthusiasm gap. Emotion and energy are the important components of any political campaign. Specific issues are, for the most part, window dressing. Most candidates see politics as the art of saying and playing, not doing.

Issues are merely emotional outreach, the hot buttons of cynical voter manipulation. If you can talk-the-talk well enough, you might never have to walk-the-walk.

The great weaknesses of democracy are tenure, inertia, and complacency.

Few candidates feel compelled to deliver on campaign promises anyway, especially reform. American campaigning and governance have now morphed into perpetual spin, a cynical PR ritual. Nonetheless, most aspirants are still expected to make politically correct noises to get nominated, reelected – or elected.

Trump has proven to be the singular exception to this and almost every other bit of conventional wisdom, a quality of uniqueness that is now both an asset and a liability

Prospects are diminished, in any case, for any candidate who fails to touch the emotional G Spot of the electorate. Relative likeability and some sensitivity to the mood and needs of the masses is money in the bank.

With Barack Obama the touchstone was melanin. With Hillary the emotional G Spot is sex, gender, and the usual piñata politics. Hillary Clinton is figuratively flying on her genitals and literally sitting on Obama’s entitlement coattails.

Romney was correct about one thing in the last election; America is now two classes, a decreasing number of makers carrying a growing burden of takers. Alas, establishment Romney couldn’t get away with that kind of Mormon candor wearing a Republican frock.

With Trump, truth is an offensive weapon.  Change is his forte. Thus, remaking America is at once a noble objective for the “deplorables” and a subversive threat to the usual suspects. Oddly enough, critics right and left seem to be fueling the Trump phenomenon with brickbats.

Indeed, you could argue today that Donald Trump has trashed every possible stuffed shirt, touched every third rail, and roasted every sacred cow on the political green. Indeed, Trump’s critics are in danger of exhausting all stocks of metaphor and invective.

From the beginning, Trump has been riding towards the Oval Office on a tsunami of righteous indignation. The “system” is thought to be rigged or broken and public sentiment says, “throw the bums out.”

The debates are one last hurdle. As media events, these spectacles are front-loaded for Hillary.

The moderators are a rainbow coalition from the American left. There’s nothing “moderate” about Trump’s inquisitors. Lester Holt (NBC) speaks for the black vote. Martha Raddatz (ABC) represents the feminist vote, and of course Anderson Cooper (CNN) represents homosexuals and the socially ambiguous. None of these demographics are sympathetic, or even neutral, about Trump. Chris Wallace (FOX) is supposed to be the red bone, a token at best. These debate panels are rigged and Trump needs to make that clear to the national audience at every debate.

Trump has few sympathizers midst the chattering classes. He can expect a barrage of hostile and/or loaded questions. He would be wise to stay with the tactic that served him so well to date.

Offense!

When confronted with leading or hostile questions, Trump needs to confront media spinners as he has done in the past. If he has done nothing else in this campaign, Trump has exposed American journalists as partisan shills. Trashing pundits is a no-lose hedge. The press is about as popular as herpes.

If Trump doesn’t like the question, he might ignore it and introduce a question of his own. Becoming Hillary’s interrogator permits all those questions not likely to be asked by a biased press panel.

Mrs. Clinton avoids press conferences for good reasons. She doesn’t like questions, accountability, or candor — and she gets rattled or hostile on defense.

Topics likely to keep Clinton in a defensive crouch include: her tolerance of husband Bill’s abuse of women from the statehouse to the White House; the Obamacare fiasco; Veterans’ care incompetence; serial foreign policy failures; the Benghazi betrayal and cover up; the private server and email controversy; subsequent FBI corruption; DNC primary fixing; and Clinton Foundation fraud just to name a few areas where the media will try to give Hillary a pass.

Trump is uniquely qualified to grill Mrs. Clinton. She has a policy and program record to defend.  He does not. Trump is only liable for hearsay or those now infamous lip slips. Clinton, in contrast, has real skeletons that have been out of her closet for over a decade.

Trump does not have a horrid family and policy record to defend.  In contrast, Hillary’s private and public behavior is literally indefensible. She is especially vulnerable as the putative “feminist.” Recall how Mrs. Clinton demonized Bill’s female victims and conquests. A Bill Clinton “score” was characterized as a “bimbo eruption.”

Mrs. Clinton’s achievement deficits are relevant in every sense of the word. Her personal peccadillos, integrity, judgment, temperament, and character should be the core issues of the debates.

Hillary’s contempt for common men and women is now, in her own words, a matter of public record. Less well known are the sentiments of those who have witnessed Clintonian behavior out of the public eye. The few Secret Service testimonials available are unanimous about Hillary Clinton.

She is arrogant, patronizing, condescending, abusive, vulgar, often hysterical, and frequently rude, especially to military and police details. The people sworn to protect the presidential family are usually reticent to discuss their wards. Hillary is the one notable exception.

Secret Service agents consider the Hillary detail to be punishment. She’s that bad.

If there are any institutions that do not look forward to another Clinton regime, it’s the military, the Secret Service, and cops at large. Apparently, Hillary abhors uniforms.

Mrs. Clinton apparently suffers from some kind of multiple personality disorder too, smiling and cackling in public and then morphing into an abusive shrew off camera. There may be a medical explanation for Hillary’s mood swings, but those closest to her believe that the ailment is personality.

Pathology or illness is always fair game, but for any politician, its character, or lack of it, that matters most.

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Key words:

Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump, presidential debates, media bias.


Trump’s Trump

October 2, 2015

Donald Trump is a piece of work even by New York standards: tall, white, loud, brash, entrepreneurial, successful, rich, ruthlessly candid, well-dressed, and fond of heterosexual women. He has married at least three delicious ladies in fact. Trump has five children and seven grandchildren. Indeed, his progeny are well above average too, smartly groomed, photogenic, and successful to boot.

As far as we know, Donald does not have any tattoos, piercings, unpaid taxes, or under-aged bimbo interns. He is not a drunk or a junkie either. Trump projects and enterprises probably employ more folks than the NYC school system – or the United Nations.

You could say that Trump is living the life, not the life of Riley, but more like big Daddy Warbucks with a comb over. “The Donald,” as one ex-wife calls him, is not just living the American dream. Trump is the dream – and proud of it.

You could do worse than think of Trump as upwardly mobile blue collar. He is the grandson of immigrants and the product of Long island, a Queens household, and a Bronx education. The Donald survived the Jesuits of Fordham University for two years before migrating to finish his baccalaureate at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

When readers of the New York Times, The New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books speak of “the city”, they are not talking about the Queens or the Bronx.  Growing and schooling in the blue collar boroughs gives Trump a curb level perspective, something seldom found in Manhattan. Or as any “D” Train alumnus might put it, Trump has “a pretty good Bravo Sierra detector.”

So what’s not to like about Donald Trump? He doesn’t just stay in four star hotels. He builds them. He doesn’t just own luxury condominiums. He makes them. He doesn’t just own historic buildings. He restores them. He doesn’t just eat at the best restaurants. He creates them. He just doesn’t belong to the best country clubs, he builds those too.

And Donald Trump, unlike the Manhattan/Washington fantasy Press and every Beltway political pimp, doesn’t just pay lip service to a bigger and better economy, he creates micro-economies every day.

The only thing we don’t know about Donald Trump is why he would like to immigrate to the District of Columbia.

In any case, the merits of entrepreneurs like Trump might best be defined by the character or motives of his critics. Trump detractors are for the most part “B” list politicians, ambulance chasers, and a left-leaning Press corps that lionizes the likes of Nina Totenberg, Dan Rather, Chris Matthews, Andrea Mitchell, and Brian Williams.

If the truth were told, most of Trump’s critics are jealous, envious of his wealth – and they loath his candor.  Donald might also be hated for what he is not. Trump is not a lawyer, nor is he a career politician who lives on the taxpayer dime. Trump is paying for his own campaign. Bernie, Barack, McCain, and Kerry could take enterprise lessons from a chap like Trump.

Unlike most government barnacles, Trump can walk and chew gum at the same time. He knows how to close a deal and build something. He is a net creator, not consumer, of a kind of wealth that provides “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for Americans – real jobs not feather merchants.

Today, Trump has nothing left to prove. Yet, success has allowed him the rarest of public privileges, an electoral pulpit and the courage to speak his mind. Alas, truth is not necessarily a political asset in a socialized democracy.

Indeed, the erstwhile presidential candidate stepped on his crank recently by suggesting that Mexico, already exporting dangerous drugs, cheap tomatoes, and even cheaper labor, was also exporting violent felons to the US.

Truth hurts! Trump’s rude candor is underwritten by nearly half a million illegal felons in American jails. Coincidently, events have conspired to support Trump’s take on Mexican dystopia with the El Chapo Guzman jailbreak and the murder of Kathryn Steinle by Francisco Sanchez.

Senor Sanchez sported a lengthy criminal record and had been deported on four previous occasions. San Francisco, a “sanctuary” city, failed to honor existing warrants and released Sanchez from jail just before he blew Kathy Steinle away.

As serendipity would have it, Trump then went to Phoenix on 12 July and gave a stem winder to a sell-out crowd on the subject of illegal immigration. Senator John McCain was not pleased to have Donald on Arizona’s front lawn and intemperately called Trump supporters “crazies.” Trump returned fire saying that McCain was no hero.

Here again Trump cut to the quick, pointing out that no one qualifies as a hero because he was shot down or captured. Indeed, being a hostage in North Vietnam is not necessarily heroic either. McCain is thought by some to be a heroic because he refused to accept an early release.

In fact, the Hanoi parole offer was a ruse, a Hobson’s choice, designed to embarrass McCain and his father at CINCPAC.

If McCain took the parole and abandoned his fellow POWs, he would have shamed his father and been ostracized by shipmates. Indeed, had John McCain not been the son and grandson of famous, and victorious, Pacific Command flag officers, no one would have noticed him then or now.

Few of the demagogues who have come to John McCain’s defense could name any of the 600 Vietnam-era POWs other than McCain. McCain is famous today because he, like John Kerry, has parlayed a very average Vietnam military service into a three decade political sinecure.

We know of 50,000 Vietnam veterans that might be more deserving than John McCain. Unfortunately, they died in a war that generals couldn’t win and politicians couldn’t abide. A body bag seldom gets to play the “hero.”

McCain is no political hero either.

He is famously ambiguous on domestic issues like immigration. He is also a Johnny-come-lately to Veterans Administration rot which has metastasized as long as McCain has been in office. On foreign policy, McCain is a Victoria Nuland era crackpot, supporting East European coups, playing cold warrior, and posturing with neo-Nazis in Kiev. McCain pecks at Putin too because the Senate, like the Obama crew, hasn’t a clue about genuine threats like the ISIS jihad or the latest Islam bomb.

To date, Trump has run a clever campaign. He is chumming, throwing red meat and blood into campaign waters and all the usual suspects are in a feeding frenzy. McCain, the Press, the Left, and the Republican establishment all have something to say about “the Donald.” It is truly amazing how cleverly Trump manages to manipulate the establishment.

If you are trying to sell an idea or a candidacy, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Who knows where the Trump campaign goes? For the moment, he has scored direct hits on Mexico and McCain. With El Capo on the loose again, every time a toilet flushes in Sinaloa, Mexican garbage is likely spill out in Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that the Left Coast could survive without cheap labor, pistileros, meth, coke, heroin, or weed. Necrotic immigration and its byproducts are ready made targets for a gunslinger like Trump.

Trump is no bigot. He probably employs more Latinos and Blacks than Enrique Peña Nieto or Barack Obama. In his own way, Donald Trump is both immigrant and POW, a refugee from Queens and still a prisoner of Wharton. “The Donald” is the dude, the guy with babes and a role of Benjamins that would choke a shark. He is the wildly successful capitalist that some of us love to hate.

Before democratic socialism, success and effectiveness were measures of merit. It doesn’t take much insight to compare Trump’s various enterprises with federal programs. Public education, banking oversight, public housing slums, poverty doles, veteran’s fiascos, internal revenue hijinks, and even some Defense Department procurement programs are consensus failures. The F-35 “Lightning” fighter is an illustration, arguably the most expensive single DOD boondoggle in history. Pentagon progressives seldom win a cat fight these days, but they still spend like sailors.

If and when Trump fails, he is out of business.

In Trump’s world, failure has consequences.  In contrast, Washington rewards failure with better funding. Indeed, generational program failure is now a kind of perverse incentive for Beltway politicians and apparatchiks to throw good money at failed programs.

The difference between Trump and McCain should be obvious to any fair observer; Trump has done something with his talents. McCain, in contrast, is coasting on a military myth and resting on the laurels of Senatorial tenure.

Any way you look at it, Donald Trump is good for national politics, good for democracy, good for America, and especially good for candor. If nothing else, “the Donald” may help Republicans to pull their heads out of that place where the sun seldom shines.

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The author had two tours in Vietnam as a junior officer and subsequently served as command Intelligence briefer in Hawaii where he updated CINCPAC, John McCain’s father, on POW matters.

 Images:

https://starsimplified.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/trump-family.jpg

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A Sucker Punch

February 19, 2015

“I can think of no better way for the Congress to join me in supporting our nation’s security than by enacting this legislation, which would show the world we are united in our resolve to counter the threat posed by ISIL” – Barak Obama

Leading with your chin is always bad form, especially in politics. The newly minted Republican Congress is just about to step into a sucker punch from the White House. The President claims that he needs a new authorization from Congress to pursue the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); an authority the President didn’t think he needed for the last six years.

Mr. Obama prefers to call the al Qaeda doppelganger, the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL). At the same time, he denies the adjective, claiming that ISIS is not Islamic. Such semantic shenanigans are designed, among other things, to avoid illuminating Iraq and Syria, two of the more notable strategic failures on Obama’s watch. The Levant can now be put in the loss column like Iran, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen. And the “war of necessity” in Afghanistan now looks like a skidaddle too, just as the war in Iraq now looks like the new “war of necessity.” Follow closely, this gets worse.

The troops that remain in Afghanistan and Iraq somehow are not “boots on the ground,” the same kind of boots that bled in the same theaters previously during the Bush administration. Repeat deployments under the Obama regime don’t seem to qualify as combat tours. Does an all-volunteer force deserve such patronizing babble from the Commander-in-Chief? With administration spin, we are lead to believe that American troops deployed to the Ummah in the future will be more schoolmarms than warriors – in little danger of becoming targets.

Such absurdity might be new insult, but not new injury. The Obama regime and the Pentagon have insisted for years that America is not at war. You could be led to believe that all those body bags and wounded warriors passing through Dover AFB for the last decade were simply casualties from workplace violence. If America is not at war, why then is there a need for any new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), nee “war powers” legislation?

For the good part of a decade, the Oval Office has cultivated strategic failure in South Asia, the Mid-East, and North Africa with the Bush charter. Would another AUMF bill from Congress change the effectiveness of heretofore failed leadership?

The paper drill on Capitol Hill and the semantics charade at the White House may not be coherent strategy but these things do have purpose. The Obama legacy and the 2016 presidential election come to mind.

To date, the Obama foreign policy record is a litany of serial fiasco, indeed the ISIS crisis abroad and the AUMF feint at home serve only to divert attention from the engineered chaos in places like Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan. If the White House can persuade a Republican Congress to sign on to a new war powers resolution, then Democrats will surely argue in 2016 that the foreign policy record for the Obama years is a shared or “bipartisan” failure. The Muslim wars are already bipartisan bungles, why give the next fiasco a legal imprimatur?

Mister Obama’s strategic concerns for the next two years are likely to be focused on personal legacy and blame shifting not defeating ISIS or any other Muslim army in detail. Calling for bipartisanship at this late date has little to do with foreign affairs and everything to do who pays the political piper at the ballot box.

The emerging Islamic state now displacing Iraq and Syria is symptomatic of another imperial Muslim success in the East and another allied failure in the West. In 2016, the Democrats would like Republicans to share blame for the foreign policy and military mess that the next American president is likely to inherit.

Betrayal is the unintended consequence of such venality. Tactical incompetence and strategic impotence is measured in lives. Those who have been killed or maimed may have suffered in vain. The best trained and equipped military in the world has been squandered in small wars that the Oval Office and the Joint Chiefs, by their own admission, have no intention of winning. Half-measures and stability seem to be the new strategic euphemisms for defeat or surrender.

Mister Obama doesn’t need any new authorities, nor does he need obvious Republican collaborators. He might, however, need some cover for Hillary in 2016 and that’s what any new war powers resolution is all about.

Alas, if any new paperwork is required, it should be a declaration of war against a named enemy before another soldier is deployed. The alternative might be a presidential finding of surrender. Surely Abu Bakr al Baghdadi would give a brother like Barak Hussein Obama the best of terms.

Withal, team Obama is beginning to lose its chokehold on the American Left and a pandering Media. Stalwarts like NBC and The Atlantic are finally giving Oval Office foreign and military policy some serious scrutiny. Richard Engel and James Fallows are recent examples, although in both cases you might wonder where they’ve been for the past two decades. Fallows, in particular, has become a skeptic but still has trouble distinguishing between “can do” and “should do.”

Still, Fallows is correct to the extent that feckless European and American politicians, Right and Left, continue to dither with timid policies while Islam is spreading the fires of religious recidivism and barbarity. By now it should be clear that the so-called “moderate” Muslim majority is either passive aggressive, cowardly, or suicidal – maybe all three. If Islam will not fight to save itself from Islamists, why not let the apathetic Muslim majority experience the inevitable? Then allow Allah to sort the rubble.

At this point, for America and Europe, doing little or nothing might be the most prudent economy of force option.

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Keywords: Islamism, ISIS, ISIL, terror, war powers, Obama, al Baghdadi, Richard Engel, James Fallows

Baghdadi,


Bibi Netanyahu’s Lament

October 16, 2014

ISIS and Hamas are fruit from the same poisoned tree.” – Netanyahu at the UN

Benjamin Netanyahu is one of a kind among seasoned politicians. He doesn’t just think outside of the box, the Israeli prime minister makes boxes for men like Barack Hussein Obama. Take the perennial impasse in the Middle East, the so-called Palestinian problem. The atmospherics alone tell the story. Netanyahu has been to America a dozen or more times since Obama came to office. In that same period, the American president has been to Israel once and even then reluctantly.

The Israeli PM addresses the American president as ‘Mister President,’ Obama addresses the Israeli PM as ‘Bibi,’ a diminutive of Benjamin. In this, Barack Obama comes across as petty and immature. Surely, there’s no love lost between the two, their relationship is a little like an experienced adult trying to reason with an insecure adolescent.

My way or the highway seems to be Obama’s petulant premise for any domestic negotiation. In contrast, he seems to think the international world of Muslim pathology is win/win game. Foreign policy naiveté might be an attempt to channel the wisdom urban philosophers like Rodney King, “Can’t we just get along?”

Every time that the Israeli prime minister comes to Washington, he reminds the world, and Diaspora supporters, that Israel alone has been at the front in the fight against Islamic terror for 60 years or more. In contrast, the Mediterranean littoral is now littered with the debris of recent American failure, failures among putative Arab and Muslim “allies” of the Obama administration.

In all of this, the American president thinks he is on the right side of history. He likes to whistle in the dark too, telling the American people that they are safer since his national security team came to town. Netanyahu sees the world as it is, the best that might be said of Obama is that he is naïve, frightened, confused – or in way over his head.

Israel is a sovereign successful nation, a rich culture that predates toxic Islamic monocultural illusions by millennia. Indeed, tiny Israel and the Diaspora have made more artistic, scientific, and cultural contributions to humanity in 60 years than the Ummah has made in 500 years. Unlike Arabs, Ottomans and their historical subjects, Jews never cultivated empire – political, religious, or military imperialism.

Calling parts of the traditional Jewish homeland “occupied” territories is a little like calling New Mexico, California, or Scotland occupied. Land lost in war is often lost to history and the enemy. Israel has been more than generous, by any modern standard, with lands returned to ungrateful Arab neighbors who were defeated in existential wars. For Israel, the alternative to military victory is always extinction.

The Arab population within Israel lives better than Muslims in most any state with an Islamic majority. Indeed, most Arab countries are judenfrie by fiat and that includes the lands occupied by Fatah and Hamas. When the subject is Jews, the progressive West and the Islamic East see tolerance as a one-way street. Indeed, anti-Semitism is the bond that now unites the liberal West and theocratic East, a kind of macabre moral suicide pact.

Israel cannot trust fractious Palestine any more than Arabs trust Palestinians.

Any examination of the history of so-called Palestinians in states bordering Israel tells the tale of Arab duplicity. Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt have been ruthless in suppressing Palestinian militants. Indeed, you might argue that, until the advent of al Qaeda, most Muslim autocrats were happy to have the jihad focused on Israel.  Arabia, especially, was happy to let the Palestine chimera fester in the Holy Land.

Arabs care about Palestinian territorial claims in the Levant about as much as New Yorkers might care about Algonquian claims to Manhattan. For too many Muslims, Palestine is seen as the permanent drip torture that erodes the state of Israel.

Alas, the fascist wolf always goes for the weak and lame. Hence, those plump complacent Arab dictators who supported Fatah, Black September, the PLO, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and predictable grandchildren like ISIS, are now surrounded by Islamist carnivores.  You might buy a wolf, but he will never be housebroken.

For once, Joe Biden was correct when he recently called the Turks on similar double dealing in Syria and Iraq. ISIS is a created problem, a descendant of all the other “nefarious characters” that rampage globally in the name of religious war these days.  Biden conveniently failed to mention America, Europe, and Arabia as early co-sponsors of ISIS in the Levant. ISIS is simply another mutation of the global Islamic  jihad.

Bibi Netanyahu is too diplomatic to use a canine metaphor to describe metastasizing Islamic terror. Dogs are haram for Muslims. At the UN  on 29 September he instead compared religious terror to a tree; indeed, he used a Christian homily, a selection from the New Testament, Mathew 7:18.

Say nothing else about the Israeli prime minister, you would have to admit this guy knows how to work a room.

The prime minister’s simile was creatively ambiguous. Examples of bad fruit, Hamas and ISIS, are specified; however, we are left to wonder whether the “poisoned tree” is Islam, Muslims, or just the twisted beards who would behead infidels, apostates, and oil autocrats.

Nonetheless, beneath Netanyahu’s UN lament lay some new thinking on a new approach to the Palestine pot hole and the global jihad; withal, a new direction for Israel and the West.

Without equivocation, the Israeli prime minister calls Islamism a global fight, a threat to Arab regimes as well as the Ummah at large. He puts the burden for a Palestine solution where it belongs, with the Arab nation. Concurrently, he isolates Iran’s nuclear ambition as a threat to Sunni Islam and Israel. Netanyahu suggests that Shia and Sunni Islamists are branches of the same “poisoned tree.”

Heretofore, Israel and America have tended to atomize the threat, attempting to deal with individual manifestations while ignoring the larger phenomenon. A fractured strategy is manifest in whack-a-mole tactics where each terror group is treated as a local problem.

Yesterday it’s the West Bank, today it’s Gaza. Yesterday it’s Fatah, today it’s al Qaeda and Hamas, and tomorrow it’s ISIS. The anthology of firefights and factions is open-ended and global.

Trying to solve the Palestinian problem by talking to Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas is a little like trying to contain global terror by talking to the Taliban’s semi-literate Mullah Omar. Even if success could be had with one faction, little is done to solve the universal problem.

Without saying so much in so many words, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be suggesting that Israel ought to be negotiating directly with Riyadh and Cairo, indeed the Arab League, not Ramallah.  By implication, we might also suggest that America and the EU ought to bypass the UN and negotiate directly with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). If the OIC aspires to speak for the global Ummah, the time has come to speak with one voice.

Islamism is now a universal problem, the defeat of same requires a global solution. And if any boots are required on the ground, they need to be on Muslim feet. And the West doesn’t need to offer too many incentives, as Netanyahu says, for collective Muslim action. Without a new strategy or plan, the oft celebrated “moderate” Islamic majority will be devoured in short order by the beasts of Muslim hell. Ins’allah!

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This essay appeared previously in the American Thinker and the Iconoclast

Image:

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Fear, Inertia, and Islam

October 10, 2014

“Veritas odit moras” – Seneca

The conventional wisdom about strategic inertia, doing too little or nothing, is that whatever might be done might make things worse. No proof is ever offered for such reasoning because none ever exists. The future is unknowable.

A forecast or estimate is not a prophecy, and both have shaky legs. Most deductive reasoning proceeds from asserted conclusions or lame assumptions in any case. The conventional wisdom, or beaten path, is often more convenient than it is wise.

Fear of consequence inspires inaction or timidity. Predators and aggressors thrive on panic, indecision, and weakness. The consequences of fear are well known. The associated behavioral evidence is well understood too.

Vertebrates, including humans, usually react to threats one of four ways: fight, flight, freeze, or faint. Autonomic experts now include related responses like arousal and acute or prolonged stress.

Although there seem to be six possible visceral responses to threat, one or more in combination is likely – and fight might be the most unlikely for modern men. You could argue that a typical human response to fear or threat is a series of half measures – some amalgam of indecisiveness that often confuses friend and foe alike.

The Islamist threat, terror and associated small wars, might be a case study of contemporary collective inertia, decades of half measures in the West where candid analysis and common sense policies are hostage to dread, the unreasonable fear that analytical truth or decisive political/military action will make matters worse.

Boko Haram, the Muslim slave traders of East Africa, is an example. Their depredations are euphemized as “child trafficking.” These Sunni Islamists were exempt from a “terrorist” designation for years until their atrocities went wholesale, seizing an entire girl’s school.

Government and academic analyses of the Egyptian based Muslim Brotherhood (al Ikhwan) suffered from the same immunities. Brotherhood affiliates and derivatives now girdle the globe.  Some peddle rhetorical imperialism while others (like al Qaeda and Hamas) are blatantly kinetic. Terror is a function of propaganda, the knife, the bomb – and passive victims.

Threat inflation is a no-lose hedge, underestimates can be fatal.

The Egyptian and Libyan examples are illustrative. Western Media, Washington, and Brussels tried to put lipstick on the Brotherhood pig (nee Arab Spring). A military coup was necessary to restore civility in Cairo. Any Janissary is preferable to every theocracy.

In Libya, a failed state was the price of regime change. Gadhafi doesn’t look so bad in retrospect. Europe and America now pay lip service to democracy in Arabia for all the wrong reasons.

Boko Haram and al Ikhwan are but two of the dozens of Sunni Islamist groups that are treated with deference or kid gloves. Now comes the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The American Commander-in-Chief (CINC) prefers to call the “new” threat ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant.

Clearly the White House, or John Brennan at CIA, is rebranding another Islamist terror splinter to mask the horrid truth about the latest mutation of Islam. Renaming ISIS also serves to fudge serial military folly and failure in Iraq and Syria. Oval Office spin is an easy sell to a Facebook or Twitter generation that might think the Levant is a hookah bar in Soho.

Indeed, the American air and ground war has now been expanded in Iraq and Syria by fiat, another knee-jerk response to Media, not moral outrage. (Is it possible to stop the “boots on the ground” nonsense? American boots never left Iraq – or Syria, if surrogates and mercenaries matter.)  Nevertheless, if ISIS had not posted beheadings on the internet, one wonders whether the White House or the Pentagon would have done anything differently.

The arts of policy, strategy, and tactics are communal human attempts to anticipate threats and develop political/military options that respond to or eliminate threat. If Washington and Brussels can be said to have any strategy, it is autonomic, reactive only to the moment, the atrocity or regime du jour.

The odd-couple coalition now arrayed against ISIS says all that needs to be said about the absurdity of what passes for foreign/military policy today. Five Arab autocrats are led by a liberal American administration, “flying” against a hirsute nation of Muslim madmen outfitted with the latest American armored weapons! Call it Clinton redux, war from 10,000 feet, two miles too far.

The propaganda war is even more confused than the shooting war. On the one hand the president laments that 80 some odd countries, including America, are sending volunteers to ISIS. Without missing a beat, he holds up an Arab coalition of ‘five’ weak, anti-ISIS autocracies as a solution. A few NATO procrastinators might also join the airshow too. Do the math!

The administration also fails to mention that the American taxpayer has been financing, training, and equipping the very Sunni terrorists who are now beheading Americans. So-called Muslim allies in Syria/Iraq morphed into ISIS just as surely as the mujahedeen morphed into the Taliban in South Asia.  When you consider precedents like Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, and Libya; the Obama national security team seems to have a negative learning curve when the subject is blowback.

An administration that cannot, or will not, define the threat candidly is unlikely to be able to separate friend from foe. Yes, a phenomenon like imperial religious fascism is complicated and sensitive, but it is made more so by apologetics and rationalizations proffered in the name of misguided notions of tolerance.

Terror is often justified as tribal vendetta, a kind an understandable reaction to real or imagined injustice. Such ethical or legal arguments, like Orientalism, drive a stake through the heart of any moral equivalence for Islam. Revenge reduces the Islamist, and their culture, to a lowest moral/legal plane, a universe where true justice and civility is arbitrary if not impossible.

By any moral standard, contemporary Islam is both a growing problem and the unlikely solution. Neither tolerance nor justice is a growth sector in the Ummah. Washington and Brussels seem ready to bleed to death in slow motion before the clear evidence of this threat is accepted. The menace of theocracy is the mimber not the marketplace.

Alas for the moment, there is no plan, no strategic goals, and no consistent policies that might lead to long-term success for the West or reform in the East. Indeed, by his own admission, the American commander-in-chief still insists that we are not at war with a global theocratic civilization. Barak Hussein Obama seeks solutions where there are no “no victors and no vanquished.”

Where victory is off the table, half-measures become the menu. Inertia is always served lukewarm. When Benjamin Netanyahu comes to the UN and tells the world that ISIS and Hamas are “fruit of the same poisonous tree,” he tells a truth that the West does not want to hear.

The threat from the Ummah is atomized in Brussels and Washington because it is more convenient to treat terrorism and religious jihad, wherever it appears, as local “criminal” phenomena with local motives. Acknowledging Muslim Wars as a global, albeit decentralized, existential threat would force the West to admit that Huntington was correct. The clash of civilizations is no longer a speculation. The conflict within and without has been metastasizing globally for 50 years or more.

And civilization is not winning. ISIS is just one more symptom of religious irredentism and cultural decay in the Muslim world, one sixth of the world’s population.  For five decades now, the West retreats fearfully on most fronts behind a smoke screen of euphemism and apology.

Like all illusions of monoculture, Islamism is a greater threat to adherents than it is to infidels or apostates. Muslim “moderates” in such a struggle are mythical, largely an irrelevant, passive, and frightened demographic. If you staged a cage match between a moderate and a fanatic, what are the odds that any smart money picks the moderate?

There are more than a few realists who see conflict as a biological and cultural norm. Darwin, for one, makes a very convincing argument that biological evolution is, in the end, a zero-sum game. Samuel Huntington made a parallel argument for human social or cultural forces, “The fault lines of civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.” Earlier, Douglas MacArthur dispensed similar wisdom about warfare, “There is no substitute for victory.”

Only hubris and fear allow men, or social democracies, to believe that political institutions, especially republics, are now somehow exempt from common sense and the self-evident axioms of military conflict.

If history, or reality for that matter, provides any precedents, war is the human condition past, present, and likely future. And conflict is not immoral by any scientific or ethical standard, nor is it sufficient. But it is often necessary. When war is necessary, picking the right side matters. Historical success, progress, and tolerant cultures are made possible by victors, not victims.

At the moment, the western democracies are both for and against Islam, at once defending the cultural and moral equivalence of Mohammed, the Koran, and Islam and at the same time killing or jailing the imperial Islamic vanguard in the name of saving the Ummah from itself. Playing two ends against the middle in a religious war isn’t strategy; it’s a dangerous game, a kind of Russian roulette.

Such absurdities might mystify even Kafka.

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This essay appeared in the October Small Wars Journal, the online forum for Special Forces/Special operations.