Ben Shapiro on POTUS

Here’s the sad truth: your problems right now are of your own making. Democrats were always going to try to pillory you. But you had a defense: they had no evidence. And you could say that freely, because it was true! You could go along with their investigations, just keep saying that you wanted everything out in the open more than they did, and everything would have been hunky dory. If you’re innocent, sunlight would show it.

Instead, you decided that you were so irritated by the necessity of investigation or the possibility that aides had deceived you that you ignored input and then attacked the investigators. In doing so, you looked guilty, you bred accusations of obstruction, and you seemed petty and vindictive. Why is there a special counsel now looking at Trump-Russia issues? Because you hired a National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, that everybody knew had connections to foreign governments, despite all outside advice; you then fired him when those connections became apparent; you reportedly asked the FBI director to let Flynn off the hook; you asked your deputy attorney general to involve himself in creating a justification for firing your FBI director; you fired your FBI director and then admitted on national television that you fired him thanks to frustration over the investigation – necessitating that the deputy attorney general put forth a special counsel.

This isn’t on Democrats. This isn’t on the media. This is on you, because you decided that the political universe would bow to you, and when it refused, you crapped the bed.

Hat tip: Pesky Truth

Yup.

Trump has gone from serial liar to serial victim….just ask him. I’ve never put a lot of stock in the GOP and it’s candidates/nominees……but I never thought they’d gravitate towards such a whiny little bitch.

POTUS and Partisanship

Jonah Goldberg nails it, and I’m not usually a big fan of his writing:

But no one cares, because the signature image of the Trump presidency so far is a goalpost on wheels. Being all-in for Trump means never having to say you’re sorry. Then there are the folks who are mostly-in for Trump.

Every day I hear people say on Twitter, “Yeah, he’s flawed but at least he’s not Hillary.” But what kind of standard is that? I’m glad Hillary’s not president. Truly. But if your yardstick for a Republican president — not candidate, but president — is now “He’s better than Hillary,” then you’ve filed down the yardstick to a couple inches. “Better than Hillary” strikes me as the minimum requirement for a conservative president, not an omnibus justification for anything he does.

More here

Words Matter, Mr. President

Leaving aside the inane use of adjectives and qualifiers [both verbally and tweet based], one would think that by now, POTUS would either have a grasp or keep somebody close at hand, to avoid making empty, false or confusing statements.

Donald Trump said he has given the military “total authorization.” That may sound great, but “total authorization” has no meaning. The military’s dictionary, (yes, it has its very own) includes “diplomatic authorization” and “letters of authorization,” but does not include “total authorization.” Perhaps Mr. Trump chose a non-existent term when he actually meant to say that he, as the commander in chief, had issued an order giving the military specific authorization to conduct operations limited in time and space.

Alternatively, perhaps Mr. Trump simply wanted Americans to know that he will exercise less oversight and control of the U.S. military as compared to his predecessors. Without clarification, we cannot be sure. There are at least fifteen different types of orders that the President, Secretary of Defense and military commanders can issue to those under their charge. They cannot, however, issue “total authorization.”

In the same vein, Mr. Trump’s characterization of recent military operations as “so successful” reveals that he has little idea what military success looks like. Trump’s crowing over a single missile strike against Syria or the use of the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan suggests that he equates action and aggression with success. As history has made clear, nothing could be further from the truth.

President Trump owes the nation – and the world – more careful language. Trump’s empty words may thrill his supporters, but they will not defeat the Islamic State or bring peace to a troubled region. If the American public is to trust him and intelligently support his foreign policies, especially with lives on the line, he must communicate coherently. The president should weigh his words before he speaks, provide clear explanations for his actions and measured assessments of progress. In short, Trump’s words need to mean exactly what they seem to mean.

Why Trump’s Words Matter, RealClear Defense – http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/04/20/why_trumps_words_matter_111211.html

Updated – Peeling back the Trump-Russia Onion

A long read, posted at Just Security……but worth it, to get at the multiple ties and circumstances of Trump financial dealings with Russian entities. Ties that must be taken into consideration given the House, Senate and FBI investigations of potential Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

While names like Carter Page, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn dominate headlines amidst allegations of possible collusion with Russia, there’s another angle to Donald Trump’s connections to the former Soviet Union that’s only beginning to receive the attention it deserves. This is the series of murky financial dealings that often make little business sense. Taken on their own, many of these transactions appear perfectly legal. Viewed together, they show patterns suspicious enough that they should qualify for investigation under U.S. laws aimed at combatting money laundering, tax evasion, and other hard to track financial misdeeds. One particularly good example of this pattern involves Trump’s billionaire Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, and his former role as vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus. His case is just one piece of the puzzle that may be reflective of other dealings that warrant much closer scrutiny.

Read the rest here: https://www.justsecurity.org/39409/money-russia-cyprus-trump-teams-odd-business-dealings/

Another article speaking to the same set of issues, at War is Boring: https://warisboring.com/trump-aides-and-russian-mobsters-pulled-strings-in-putins-massive-ukraine-gas-scheme-2ec3e6cef803

Before Donald Trump was president or a candidate, and when he was hurting for investors as Wall Street had all but shut down loaning operations to him, his businesses established extensive ties to Russian oligarchs, including some allegedly affiliated with organized crime.

At the same time, associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian government and future associates of Trump — most notably Paul Manafort, his future campaign chairman — were allegedly involved in a massive Eurasian natural gas and money laundering scheme worth billions of dollars, and part of Putin’s grand plan to control Ukraine.

At best, Trump may have had no knowledge of this scheme and these ties, but even this scenario highlights serious deficiencies in Trump’s judgment in terms of who he did business and politics with — and it is of urgent interest to the American people as Trump manages the nation as president.

 

The Myth of the Iraqi Surge

We are enduring the fallout today, of the myth that the Iraqi “Surge” was successful…along with the myths surrounding the withdrawal of US forces. These events, lived by the men and women on the ground….have become political memes, myths and talking points…without substance or experience from those who employ them. Having served 15 months in Baghdad during the Surge, I can attest to the sentiments of the author of this article…as well as the whitewashing that continues to this day.

CFR’s three guests — retired Gen. Raymond Odierno, former commander of Multinational Forces in Iraq and now a senior adviser to JPMorgan Chase; Meghan O’Sullivan, former deputy national security adviser under president George W. Bush; and Christopher Kojm, former senior adviser to the Iraq Study Group — had remarkably similar views.

No dissenting voices were included. All three had been enthusiastic promoters of the surge in 2006–2007 and continue to market the myth of its success. While recognizing the unmistakable failure of the post-surge American effort in Iraq, each still firmly believes in the inherent validity of that “strategy.”

I listened for more than an hour waiting for a single dissenting thought. The silence was deafening.

………………………….

In an orgy of killing in Baghdad and many other cities, the two main sects ethnically cleansed neighborhoods, expelling each other into a series of highly segregated enclaves. The capital, for instance, essentially became a Shiite city. In a sense, the civil war had, momentarily at least, run its course.

In addition, the U.S. military had successfully, though again only temporarily, convinced many previously rebellious Sunni tribes to switch sides in exchange for money, support and help in getting rid of the overly fundamentalist and brutal terror outfit, Al Qaeda in Iraq.

For the time being, AQI seemed to the tribal leaders like a bigger threat than the Shiites in Baghdad. For this, the Sunnis briefly bet on the United States without ever fully trusting or accepting Shiite-Baghdad’s suzerainty. Think of this as a tactical pause — not that the surge’s architects and supporters saw it that way.

America’s man in Baghdad, Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, was already in the process of becoming a sectarian strongman, hell-bent on alienating the country’s Sunni and Kurdish minorities. Even 60,000 or 90,000 more American troops couldn’t have solved that problem because the surge was incapable of addressing, and barely pretended to face, the true conundrum of the invasion and occupation — any American-directed version of Iraqi “democracy” would invariably usher in Shia-majority dominance over a largely synthetic state.

The real question no surge cheerleaders publicly asked, or ask to this day, was whether an invading foreign entity was even capable of imposing an inclusive political settlement there. To assume that the United States could have done so smacks of a faith-based as opposed to reality-based worldview — another version of a deep and abiding belief in American exceptionalism.

From MAJ Danny Sjursen  at War is Boring

 

A Lesson for the Trump Bloc

From “Trolling Brilliance” at: Shall Not Be Questioned:

I have to hand it to whoever thought this up. Seriously, this was brilliant. In this, the Era of Trump, this is the smartest bit of opposition activism I think I’ve seen so far. My hat is truly off to you.

For the people who fell for this: shame on you. Educate yourselves. They weren’t passing these flags off to ordinary people on the streets: they were passing them off to what are considered “core conservative activists.” And hey, you waved them with all the red white and blue passion we’d expect from people who only give a fuck about cheering their own team and not a damned thing beyond that.

The stakes are going up folks. If conservatives wants to be taken seriously, it’s time to start acting like that’s the case. Educate yourselves. If you took half the time and resources you spent cheerleading and tried to actually learn something, you might get somewhere.

The GOP would do well to abandon the pursuit of victimhood and political correctness and act like the rational adults they claim to be. For anything else is no better than being  Leftist.

Post Election Assessment

I honestly wanted to give Trump time to settle in and begin the work of managing the Republic. Further, I really wanted to see how the self proclaimed Conservatives who voted for, and support Trump….would react to his Presidency.

I didn’t have to wait as long as I had hoped.

To date, I’ve come to some saddening – and maddening – conclusions about those on the Right, who consider themselves to be Conservatives.

They uniformly don’t hold Trump accountable in anywhere close to the same manner that they held the Obama Administration [and in most of those cases, rightly so]. They don’t balk when Trump attempts to delegitimize any institution or person who dares to criticize him. They are silent when he lies….yet vocal in support of the “fake news” meme. They don’t see him as a thin-skinned, pissy little bitch. They cheer him. How can “fake news” be a threat….when 50% of said falsities come from POTUS?

They appear to gain emotional gratification for “sticking it to” the Left….foregoing any semblance of critical thought and intellectual curiosity [not to mention reason and ration]. They revel still in the stale memes of the Obama Administration, where he is apparently a communist/Kenyan/marxist/Muslim [or “mooslem”], known collectively as “Sotero, bathouse Barry, Zero or Ovomit”. Apparently this is highbrow humor amongst the vacuous mouth-breathers.

They’re hypocrites, pure and simple.

So, either they’re not Conservatives……..or I [as a proponent of fervent intellectual warfare in the pursuit of limiting the size and scope of the federal government] am no longer one….as the political label has been co-opted by the petulant, mental midgets.

Doesn’t matter. The Republic is lost……..sadly, many are too stupid to see that fact.

 

Kellyanne whines….

Trump surrogate/advisor took to the Sunday talk show circuit and ironically called for her bosses dismissal……she just did’t realize it.

“Not one network person has been let go. Not one silly political analyst and pundit who talked smack all day long about Donald Trump has been let go,” Conway said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m too polite to mention their names, but they know who they are, and they are all wondering who will be the first to go. The election was three months ago. None of them have been let go.”

She added that the networks should be “cleaning house,” firing “these people who said things that just weren’t true.”

So……lying should get one fired, right? I’ll welcome President Pence then.

Creepy Patriotism

From Reason:

Politicians have no business directing or defining patriotism, especially when their rhetoric sounds like 1950s-era Soviet sloganeering.

It was creepy when former President Barack Obama declared his first Inauguration Day as “National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation” and called upon us to find “common purpose of remaking this nation for our new century.” And it’s creepy when President Donald Trump declares his Inauguration Day as “National Day of Patriotic Devotion,” one in which “a new national pride stirs the American soul and inspires the American heart.”

This kind of self-aggrandizement is what you see under cults of personality, not American republicanism. Far be it from me to lecture anyone on how to love their country, but if your devotion to America is contingent upon the party or the person in office, you’re probably not doing it quite like the Founding Fathers envisioned. It’s bad enough that these inaugurations are treated as coronations. It can’t be patriotic to treat politicians like quasi-religious figures. Moreover, this kind of devotional ties patriotism—either implicitly or in some cases rather explicitly—to a preferred set of policy initiatives or a political office.

Each major party treats it candidate/nominee like a combination of pop star/life coach/spiritual mentor. I don’t get it. POTUS gets interviewed [in an excruciatingly long and costly process] to be hired to manage the nation, in the People’s name. Why do we pledge such salivating fealty to a man [or woman]….who is in almost every case….nothing more than a facade of the ideals they espouse during their campaign?

Now, to be fair…Trump probably breaks this mold….being every bit as petulant in office as was a candidate….though there have been some marked improvements in policy since his inauguration, so far.

This cult of personality wouldn’t be quite as creepy, were it not for the rank hypocrisy exhibited by their supporters and surrogates when one Administration switches to another.

Is it that difficult to be better than this???

 

 

Our National Honor

It’s no surprise to any who know me, that I don’t care for Trump’s character, demeanor or rhetoric….and I don’t hold much hope for the sanctity of our Constitution, given Trump’s very own narrative and apparent ignorance of our civil liberties.

That said, I hope his assembled team can keep him blissfully distracted with trite and meaningless trivia…allowing Pence and the other adults the latitude to manage the nations affairs as they should be.

On this Inauguration Day, I’m reminded [thanks to War on the Rocks] of James Monroe’s inauguration speech, where he eloquently states: We must support our rights or lose our character, and with it, perhaps, our liberties. A people who fail to do it can scarcely be said to hold a place among independent nations. National honor is national property of the highest value. The sentiment in the mind of every citizen is national strength. It ought therefore to be cherished.