TRUMP TWICE?

May 2, 2018

 “Behind every great man is a surprised woman.” – Maryon Pearson

The day before the last presidential election, my wife and I drove from Washington, DC to the eastern shore of Maryland. Inside the Beltway, we saw a few small Hillary signs but not as many as you might expect near a town where Democrats are monolithic. Outside the Beltway, there were no Clinton signs. Trump adverts, in contrast, out in the sticks, were ubiquitous and billboard large. Two years hence, we drove south this time into Virginia and noticed that many rural Trump signs were still up. We even saw “Reelect Trump” buttons at a farmers market. Two years in, working America seems to get, or appreciate, something about Trump that dependent, or should we say liberal, America does not.

If you read city newspapers, watch television, or live in mom’s basement with an iPhone; you might never know that Donald Trump actually has a constituency. You would never know that many folks, beyond the urban cloister, do not see Trump as an ogre. You would never know that the Trump regime puts some porridge in the pot.  Hapless spin and bias of media pundits and pollsters didn’t matter much before the last presidential election and still doesn’t seem to matter today.

Achievement, however, still matters!

Reporters, talking heads, and pollsters persist, nevertheless, still trashing Trump. Indeed, the “dump Trump” movement, right and left, might now be a case of bias metastasizing into bigotry. Excess offends most where it matters most; midst the open spaces, open minded, and the “undecided” voters.

Call them “swingers,” if you must.

Trump’s most virulent critics, if nothing else, are consistently oblivious to national sub-rosa sentiment. Political autism on the robotic left is trending. Keith and Pocohantas are waiting in the wings to succeed Bernie and Hillary. If clueless were clams and spuds, the Democratic National Committee would be chowder.

Trump’s critics have created the very monster populist they so deplore. Strawman indeed! Meanwhile, fair play still matters to open minds, flyover country, swing votes, that fickle middle.

Beltway heartburn on the far right is chronic too, as Trump keeps making noises about “draining the swamp” in Washington; a signal threat to entrenched deep state denizens at DOD, State, Justice, and the Intelligence Community. Trump is the first politician in modern times to suggest that the deep state might actually be the “creep state,” a privileged sty where entrenched, unelected, tenured, self-interested porkers rule indefinitely.

Reduced to essentials, the Trump revolution may be about real democracy, that eternal struggle between the elect and the select. Trump’s critics are a Cobb Salad of timid drones and media camp followers who see Trump as a threat to unelected, tenured power, a threat to federal honey pots and sugar teats.

These days, to put it bluntly; the Civil Service, the Foreign Service, and security services are apparently half truths. A hostile deep state appears willing to destroy democracy in order to save it, denial in fact and in deed.

We hear many complaints about Trump’s taxes, business dealings, and personal finances. Compared to Uncle Sam and Jenkins Hill, the Trump Empire is a model of fiduciary, budgetary, and fiscal rectitude. If Congress were as good at managing the public purse, we might all be living large in cribs like Mar-a-Largo.

For socialists, Trump is a primal threat. Ideology matters most to fanatics. Just as social democrats and globalists were getting over the loss of Stalin, Mao, Castro, Heidegger, and Coco Chanel; along comes Hillary riding in Bill’s shade. Trump didn’t have much of a hand to begin with, but apparently a predator’s wife isn’t the ace of hearts either.

For the American left, Donald’s sins are too numerous to catalogue, yet in the interest of balance we should mention a few. Trump is rich, well groomed, white, successful, much married, sexually active, and fertile. He might wed often, but he supports his children and ex-wives in style. He doesn’t drink, snort drugs, smoke weed, sport tattoos or piercings, wear a man bun, or play Lotto. In short, Donald Trump has all the baggage of success that envy loves to hate.

But let’s be candid, the Donald is still a bit of an odd canard. He comes to high office by way of Queens, Wharton, condo sales, serial wives, game shows, beauty pageants, casinos, and hutzpah. His political chops are more than slightly irregular, but at the same time, very, very New York.  Nothing succeeds like excess. Trump’s civic deficits are many too; he’s not a shyster, not a professional politician, not an orator, not a Bezos bozo, nor is he an accomplished ass kisser.

A Trump Tweet or press conference is often like a bizarre trap shoot. On any given day, he might take out a pigeon – or blow off one of his wing tips. Like no other politician in memory, Donald Trump has weaponized candor. After three thousand years, he had the hutzpah to call Jerusalem the Jewish capital! Talk about brass. Trump’s saving grace with sub-rosa voters may his willingness to butcher the English language and any sacred cow in the public square.

Back in the day, in the east Bronx, I ran with a mug in the same Fordham neighborhood where Trump spent two years in college. My chum was never as wealthy or educated as Trump, but just as arrogant. Tommy D was one of those kids who swaggered like a much larger animal. He didn’t necessarily look for fights, but they seemed to find him anyway. He once clocked a masher on a bus, and then got jumped by four more for his trouble.

Tommy wore his mangled nose like a bent badge of courage. He wasn’t bigger or stronger than other mutts, but he wouldn’t stay down either, he just kept coming, no matter the odds. He intimidated most comers because he never quit. With Thomas, round two was always a certainty.

Hard to know whether Trump was ever that kind of hard case growing up in Queens, although a stint in military school followed by two years at Fordham in the Bronx may explain his moxie. He does love a good fight. Trump will put a rhetorical fist on your snot locker at the drop of a hat.

If we can milk a cliché for a moment; it’s not the size of the dog in a fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Trump is a happy warrior. He is willing to take on the fatties and the fatuous. Critics underestimate his appeal to the every-day poll troll, folks that fib to Pew or Nielsen. Trumpsters, like swallows, fly under the radar.

Sub-rosa support for Trump is a new guilty pleasure.

Thus far, Trump is smarter and more agile than his critics. He is unpredictable and unprecedented, yet his madness has method. For Zuckerberg zombies, an app like Twitter is just another adolescent ego toy. For Trump, Twitter allows the White House to set the table daily at dawn, before critics can brush their teeth or find their panties.

All politics may be local, but all politicians are about personality. Trump is larger than life – and Pocahontas too. Not necessarily a good man, but possibly a great man. American politics has never seen a Presbyterian like Donald Trump. Were he to get hit by a Tesla tomorrow, his time in office will still be historic.

Trump’s great strengths are the excesses of his enemies and the stupidity of his haters. Rosanne Barr gets it. Few other do. Trump thrives in the mystic middle. He doesn’t have anything to lose or gain, except reelection. For the gainfully employed, the harried taxpayer, and all good souls taken for granted; a dollar-a-year man at the top is simple math – and poetic justice.

Trump again in 2020?

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Images:

http://www.eagletribune.com/news/some-mothers-excited-others-fearful-about-trump-win/article_1b044fde-7f07-5e6d-bbd1-5c87e2f6f809.html

https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/Rockland-Maine-Trump-Signs-City-Ordinance-Issues-445811443.html

Key Words; Trump, Rosanne, presidential politics, fake news, swing voters, and 2020 election.


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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Checkmate in Baghdad and Geneva

October 4, 2013

“Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.” – JFK

War is a messy business. Serial wars get even more untidy over time. Often, it’s hard to know where one begins and another ends. Such is the case today as the Arab spring looks like another Muslim winter. America and Europe stumble from one conflict venue to another wondering what happened to all those rosy assertions about jasmine, justice, moderation, and modernity. The Islamic world is a mess and no one has a clue as to where or how the sequential mayhem ends. In Syria, the nanny states of the West are again perched on the brink of another sectarian and/or tribal abyss.

Nonetheless, the optimism of intervention still prevails. Today you hear argument after argument about the responsibilities of power and success – or preaching about very selective humanitarian concerns.  If you read enough foreign policy analysis you might come to believe that someone has the answer, or that somehow Europe and America have the “responsibility” to make the Third World well. Never mind that the very words “developing” and “emerging” have become geo-political oxymorons, triumphs of hope over experience.

Ironically, the grand strategy, if there is one, when you strip away the boilerplate, can be summarized with a single word – that word is “more.” More is the mantra of imprudent expectations; bailouts at home and flailouts abroad. If one “investment” doesn’t work, surely the original sacrifice wasn’t big enough. No thought seems to be given to developing a new game plan. More aid, more pandering, more troops, more drones, or more missile strikes; but never more common sense. It’s always more, and more is never enough.

And now ‘more’ is accompanied by “red line” moralizing, the color coded version of chicken. Alas, the no-fault/default cultures of Europe and America are unlikely enforcers of any kind of norms and standards in the less civilized world. The West insists, ironically, on measures of accountability and restraint that have been abandoned in Europe and America. Political decay, especially in the First World, has consequences.

All the rhetoric about global responsibility is a rehash of the “white man’s burden” trope. Worse still, the hand-wringing and preaching seems to validate “orientalism,” guilt driven theories that excuse and forgive Muslim pathology because the chaos is thought to be the results of European racism, colonialism, or exploitation.

Ironically, much of the confused strategic rhetoric originates with senior military officers and the Intelligence Community.

Since Vietnam, the Pentagon has sought to redefine most wars as either guerilla, insurgent, or conventional conflicts. Conventional conflict is a distant third in most deliberations. Real wars might have to be declared and put to a vote. Unfortunately, the accepted taxonomy ignores ground truth and the worldview of likely opponents.

Most wars in the troublesome Muslim world are in fact religious wars, conflicts where the nexus is a clash between religious and secular values. The most obvious evidence of religious war, external to the Muslim world, occurs at the tectonic plates of religion, those borders where Muslim and non-Muslim polities meet. South Asia, North Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus region, Thailand, and the Philippines are obvious examples. Even China has pockets of Muslim irredentism.

When ayatollahs and imams rant about “jihad,” or holy war, they have few illusions about the nature of contemporary conflict. Indeed, most Muslim clerics seem to grasp global strategic reality better than American generals who insist on parsing various Muslim wars into local insurgencies with local motives. Religion has become the invisible camel in the infidel tent.

The most celebrated version of the official US military view in these matters is contained in Army Field Manual 3-24; Counterinsurgency, the doctrinal bible that David Patraeus helped write and subsequently rode to four star notoriety. Unfortunately, like too many of his over-schooled peers, General Patraeus is more likely to be remembered for his social life than his military insights or battlefield achievements. Equally misguided was the US Marine Corps decision to adopt the Army manual in the interests of tactical ecumenism.

Religious war is now a global phenomenon, thanks in part to the failure of flag officers to acknowledge that threat. The Pentagon doesn’t have any official guidance for religious war beyond political correctness.

Within the Ummah, modern wars are of two types; civil and proxy. Contemporary revolutions in Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the Sudan, Somalia, Mali, and Egypt are religious civil wars. These in turn are of two classes; sectarian (i.e. Shia vs Sunni) or secular/sectarian. Secular military dictatorships, Egypt today for example, have been in the clerical crosshairs since Mohammed’s time. Libya and Syria are examples of secular oligarchies where tribal rivalries created opportunities for Islamists.

Syria is a prominent example of modern proxy war, where principals (Russia and the US or Iran and Israel), once removed, are attempting to settle old scores or exploit a regional opportunity. Any notion of moral “red lines” or WMD thresholds in Syria is just another flight from reality, a veil for political egos and hidden agendas.

The American Ranch Hand campaign (1962-71), which poisoned Southeast Asia for nearly a decade, was the most egregious, sustained modern use of chemical warfare. Granted, the putative aim of the Agent Orange campaign was defoliation; still, the net effect was to poison civilians and water sources under the canopy. No American administration is well-positioned to point fingers at Syria when the US Air Force, the Pentagon, and the White House have yet to acknowledge or accept responsibility for the mutilation of a generation of American GIs and several generations of Vietnamese children.

We might also recall those gassed Kurds and Persians (1988) of recent memory who perished from indifference if not complicity. Or we could mention the million or so Rwandans (1994) who fell to tribal clubs and cutlery. Such events barely make the evening news in the West. With these and Vietnam, ‘moral’ superiority about chemical warfare or genocide, if it ever existed, is a void not a high ground.

The recent gas attack in Syria is not an exception, nor is it a rule. Identifying culprits is probably irrelevant.  Nations adhere to international conventions or “norms” as it suits their interests. Credible force is the only reliable sheriff or deterrent. And a false flag prologue is often the pretense for the use of force.

Clearly there is more than a little overlap in any conflict taxonomy. Nonetheless, the need for a new vocabulary for the age of intervention is underwritten by two indisputable facts: religion underwrites much of the typology and too many conflicts are misrepresented as insurgencies when they are in fact civil wars. If Libya or Syria were true insurgencies, America should have sent guns to Gaddafi and Assad.

The ‘insurgent’ paradigm suits the politics, not the reality, of modern war. Terms like Islamic, religious, or “civil” war are avoided because the US military has no charter, doctrine, or legal authority for intervention in overseas internal disputes; and surely no moral authority for taking sides in religious rivalries. The Sunni tilt in American foreign policy since 1979 speaks for itself, a grim litany of blowback and failure.

At a minimum, you could argue that American intervention has made Shia fanatics, Hezb’allah, the Taliban, and now a global al Qaeda possible. Recall that America helped create a vacuum in southern Lebanon for Hezb’allah to fill. Recall also that clandestine support to the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the Soviet era made the Taliban possible. Imprudent signals to Islamists made the recent Muslim Brotherhood electoral success possible in Egypt too. In the geo-political arena, unqualified support for Saudi and Emirate oil oligarchs makes Salifism and related religious fascism possible worldwide.

The incompetence of intervention has more than a little to do with the caliber of American generals since Korea. Surely, David Patraeus was no guerilla fighter like Joe Stillwell and Martin Dempsey is no cavalry officer the equal of George Patton. At Benghazi, American military honor was compromised by timidity, if not bureaucratic cowardice. General Dempsey claims that he did not act because Mrs. Clinton didn’t give him a green light. Under Dempsey, the military ethos changed from “no man left behind” to “cover your behind.” Victory is no longer a staple of any flag officer’s resume or vocabulary.

The Intelligence Community is also part of the rhetorical decay. While at the White House, John Brennan literally scrubbed any reference to Islam, Islamists, jihad, or holy war from public and administration conversations about national security. He actually convinced most government departments, contractors, and the Press to delete any language that might suggest linkage between terror, religious war, and Islam. The Director of National Intelligence now refers to Islamic terrorists as “nefarious characters.” At CIA, Brennan is now well placed to police the language and analysis of National Intelligence Estimates.

And the chickens of strategic decline are home to roost as America again sides with the Sunni in Syria. Dithering in the West for two years has allowed Bashar al-Assad to regain the tactical advantage on the battlefield. And strategically, the Alawite regime now has a clear victory.  American gun sights have been lowered from regime change to “let’s make a deal.” Never mind that time is as good a gift to Assad as any aid from the Persians and Russians.

And the proxy war is a disaster. Vladimir Putin throws a ‘Hail Mary’ in Syria, and Foggy Bottom and the White House morph into cheer leaders. Worse still, the American administration embarrasses itself by trying to take credit for the Russian initiative. Say what you will about Putin, he is a better friend to Syria than Obama is to Israel. When the next “red line” is in the works, it might have to be drawn around Israel.

The Russian strategy may look a little like a deus ex machina, but compared to the Obama amateurs, Putin plays the great game like Winston Churchill. And putting John Kerry in  a diplomatic cage match with Sergei Lavrov is like watching  a bear  toy with a cocker spaniel. Checkmate in Baghdad and Geneva!

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The author provided intelligence support to Ranch Hand at Tan Son Nhut AB in 1968 and 1971. He writes occasionally about the politics of national security.