Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Trump Foreign Policy Doctrine Explained

The Trump Doctrine

Yesterday in a discussion thread recognizing DPRK Vice-Chairman Kim Yong Chol, I noted the following: “The Trump administration is providing North Korea the first modern day opportunity to create an authentic version of itself“.  In essence, though it is difficult to describe, the Trump Doctrine has a clarity of purpose.
The nature of the Trump foreign policy doctrine, as it has become visible, is to hold manipulative influence accountable for regional impact(s), and simultaneously work to stop any corrupted influence from oppressing free expression of national values held by the subservient, dis-empowered, people within the nation being influenced.
There have been clear examples of this doctrine at work.  When President Trump first visited the Middle-East he confronted the international audience with a message about dealing with extremist influence agents. President Trump simply said: “drive them out.”
Toward that end, as Qatar was identified as a financier of extremist ideology, President Trump placed the goal of confrontation upon the Gulf Cooperation Council, not the U.S.
The U.S. role was clearly outlined as supporting the confrontation.  Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates needed to confront the toxic regional influence; the U.S. would support their objective.  That’s what happened.
Another example:  To confront the extremism creating the turmoil in Afghanistan, President Trump placed the burden of bringing the Taliban to the table of governance upon primary influence agent Pakistan.  Here again, with U.S. support.  Pakistan is the leading influence agent over the Taliban in Afghanistan; the Trump administration correctly established the responsibility and gives clear expectations for U.S. support.

Monday, May 28, 2018

How Can Any American Not Stand?

Taps - Il Silenzio

We Must Never Forget: Memorial Day Is a Solemn Remembrance Day - Not a Happy Celebration Day

We Must Never Forget

"Most of them were boys when they died. They gave up 2 lives - the life they were living and the life that they would have lived. They gave up their chance to be fathers and grandfathers - their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for us. We owe them a debt we can never repay. All we can do is to remember them."

"Don't wish me a happy Memorial Day"

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

America's Greatness Under Attack From Within - A Story That Must Be Told

Outside the Defensible Perimeter

Five years ago, my husband and I bought a house in the emptiest county in America. We went there because the night sky is so dark, you can walk in the high desert by starlight and cast a shadow, so dark you can see distant galaxies and the zodiacal light. Three types of people live in our rural area: amateur astronomers, ranchers, and illegal aliens.
If you climb the mountains behind our house and look south, you look into Mexico. If you climb those mountains to the top, you are on one of the major drug trafficking routes into America. If you stay in the desert at the foot of the mountains, you are in rattlesnake country—the greatest biodiversity of rattlers in America, and the night path of illegal aliens.
It is not even a secret that the 60 miles between the border and Interstate 10 are treated as a no man’s land. We live and vote and pay taxes in America, but the government acts as if we are beyond the defensible perimeter of the country. Border Patrol is everywhere, but even with President Trump, they are just going through the circular motions of catch and release.
They have high tech listening stations in the mountains, trucks equipped with radar on the back roads. They know when drugs are moving through, know regular drop-offs, are adept at finding caches. But if they can’t secure the border, they can’t keep the families that live here safe—and they don’t even try.
We are the deplorables. All of my rancher neighbors have guns. Most are Evangelicals. To Democrats and open-borders Republicans, we are throwaway people. The Other. Disposable.
The reason I am not naming names, even place names, is that these are my neighbors’ stories, not mine, and my neighbors—farmers, cowboys, and ranching families, strong, resourceful, tough people—my neighbors are wary and they are weary. They fear retribution by the drug runners and coyotes who bring the illegals across, because they have seen it happen.
All of my neighbors have had encounters with illegals. Every single family. Everyone knows dozens of families whose homes have been broken into and worse—loved ones tied up, kidnapped, threatened, shot, permanently crippled by a hit and run attack, when they made too much of a fuss to authorities.  
They hear a knock on their door in the dark of night. What would you do?
The Bible says to care for the stranger.  So people here do not pick up a shotgun or a pistol and noisily cock the hammer—all it would take to say, “Be on your way.” You can’t know if it is a decent soul out there, thirsty and lost, abandoned by their “coyote,” or a murderous villain. These Christian ranchers open their doors in the night. There may be someone in trouble in the desert out there, so they open their door.
Sometimes it works out just fine. More and more often, it does not.
Some ranchers, especially right on the border, have finally admitted it is too dangerous. They have sold their beloved land, and walked away from a lifetime of face-to-face relations with neighbors and family, an irreplaceable life, under a big sky, close to land and community and God.
What else can they do? They have petitioned their elected officials. They have spoken to reporters. They have even talked around the kitchen table to the presidential candidates who make the obligatory visit to the border every four years. Some politicians really care and some really do not, but it makes little difference. President Trump is popular here and taken as sincere. But so far, he has been blocked by our contemptuous GOP elite.
The defensible border is moving north all the time. The crime starts here, but it does not end here. It is in your neighborhood, too.
You hear the stories whenever people get together. I hear them when I am driving with a rancher friend and we pass a car with someone she knows. It’s the kind of place where you can stop in the middle of the road and have a chat. Did you hear about so and so?
Neighbors are worried about an 80-something widow who always gives illegals food and water. This time when she opened her door at 3 a.m., the illegals pushed into the house, tied her up and robbed her.  Living by herself was never a problem before. These are not rural Mexicans looking for work, like when she was young. They are dangerous criminals. Will she be able to keep her home?
Neighbors are worried because a crucial member of the community—the man who digs wells—was waylaid on a distant ranch, taken at gunpoint along with his truck, his family’s lives threatened if he ever told, and forced to transport a load of drugs.
Neighbors are worried because the illegal they spotted crossing their ranch was no Mexican. They took a photo with a long lens. I look at their photo. It sure looks like the long, narrow face of a Somali.
Neighbors are worried because an older couple on an isolated ranch (is there any other kind?) were in bed asleep, when they heard men ransacking their kitchen. This was the third time. A few months ago, the wife was forced at gunpoint to take a pregnant woman to the hospital to deliver an anchor baby. How much longer will they be able to keep the ranch?
Another neighbor arrived home from the hour and a half trip to the nearest supermarket. The ground was muddy, so he carried his five-year-old daughter to the front door of his small house. When he turned around with a heavy bag of groceries in each arm, there was an illegal standing in the doorway, between him and his daughter. The illegal was wearing the man’s clothes, his hat, and was holding his gun.
Given the circumstances, the American father ran the guy off with no confrontation. Next day, border patrol called. They’d caught the thief—could he come by to identify his clothes and gun. The answer was sure, but it would be two hours, as he was at a doctor’s appointment. Our neighbor was told, “We’re not allowed to hold him that long. We’ll have to let him go.”
And they did.
I take the story as a metaphor, even though it doesn’t meet the strict meaning of the term. When someone can walk into your country, enter your house, take your gun, your hat, and your clothes and the authorities aren’t allowed to arrest him—that’s not a metaphor for losing your identity, your home, and your country.
It’s the real thing.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Identity Politics in America - The Beginning of the End

By Orin Hatch - The Wall Street Journal

Kanye West, ever the iconoclast, set social media ablaze last month when he donned a red “Make America Great Again” hat in support of President Trump. Whether a genuine expression of political belief or a publicity stunt, Mr. West’s selfie sparked a much-needed discussion on the role of identity in politics.
At the heart of Mr. West’s message is the idea that all of us—no matter our race, religion or background—have the right to be more than one thing. It’s a message that resonates with millions of Americans who refuse to conform to stereotypes—me included.
I grew up in poverty during the Great Depression, the son of blue-collar parents who passionately defended Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. As a young man, I followed my father into the steelworking trade, where I became a card-carrying member of a labor union. When I was elected to the Senate decades later, I became best friends with Teddy Kennedy, the chamber’s liberal lion. Today, I am, among other things, an advocate for the legalization of medical marijuana research and a strong proponent of transgender rights in the military.
I am also a Republican.
In fact, I am a lifelong Republican with impeccable conservative credentials, including multiple honors from the Heritage Foundation and an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association. My record on fiscal policy is so strong that President Reagan dubbed me “Mr. Balanced Budget.” I was the architect of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a key player in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, and the principal author of the tax-reform bill that passed Congress in December.
All of which is to say that I can be more than one thing. I can be the son of working-class parents and also a pro-business Republican. I can be a bipartisan deal maker and also a consistent conservative. I can be an ally to the transgender community and also a committed Christian. As much as my critics would like to pigeonhole me—dismissing more than eight decades of accrued wisdom and life experience based solely on the “R” that follows my name—I can’t be reduced to a party platform.
I am more than the sum of my parts, and so is every American. Yet increasingly we sort each other into groups, making sweeping assumptions based on binary labels: Democrat or Republican, black or white, male or female. These labels are mere pixels in the picture of an individual’s identity; they are not the picture itself. No word—no matter how descriptive—could ever distill all the nuance and complexity that is a single human being.
Our tendency to use labels to box each other in is indicative of a much larger societal problem: the unleashing of identity politics. Identity politics is tribalism by another name. It is the deliberate and often unnatural segregation of people into categories for political gain. Under this cynical program, the identity of the group subsumes the identity of the individual, allowing little room for independence, self-realization or free thought.
Some play down the dangers of this practice, but identity politics is a blight on our democracy. It feeds fear, division, acrimony and anger. Worse, identity politics is inimical to the very idea of what it means to be American.
For more than two centuries, we have been able to weave together the disparate threads of a diverse society more successfully than any nation on earth. How? Through the unifying power of the American idea that all of us—regardless of color, class or creed—are equal, and that we can work together to build a more perfect union. It’s the idea that our dignity comes not from the groups to which we belong but from our inherent worth as individuals—as children of the same God and partakers of the same human condition.
Identity politics turns the American idea on its head. Rather than looking beyond arbitrary differences in color, class and creed, identity politics separates us along these lines. It puts the demands of the collective before the sovereignty of the individual. In doing so, identity politics conditions us to define ourselves and each other by the groups to which we belong. Soon, we lose sight of the myriad values that unite us. We come to see each other only through the distorted prism of our differences. Where identity politics reigns, so, too, do its regents: polarization, gridlock and groupthink.
Identity politics is cancer on our political culture. If we allow it to metastasize, civility will cease, our national community will crumble, and the U.S. will become a divided country of ideological ghettos.
To save the American experiment, we must reject the tribalism of our time. Both on the left and right, we must renounce identity politics in every form. We must resist the temptation to use labels, and we must allow each other room to be more than one thing.
Ideas—not identity—should be the driving force of our politics. By restoring the primacy of ideas to public discourse, we can foster an environment that will allow democracy to thrive, an environment of free thought and open deliberation unconstrained by the excesses of political correctness.
If we let any identity define us going forward, it should be our common identity as Americans, as men and women steadfastly committed to upholding the virtues of liberty and independence upon which our nation was founded. It’s the only way to preserve the American experiment for future generations.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Civil War

 by Jack Minzey Eastern Michigan University 

How do civil wars happen?
  Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can't settle the question through elections because they don't even agree that elections are how you decide who's in charge.  That's the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.
  The Mueller investigation is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that. But it's not the first time they've done this. The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn't really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There's a pattern here.
  What do sure odds of the Democrats rejecting the next Republican president really mean? It means they don't accept the results of any election that they don't win. It means they don't believe that transfers of power in this country are determined by elections.
 That's a civil war.
 There's no shooting. At least not unless you count the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice. But the Democrats have rejected our system of government.
  This isn't dissent. It's not disagreement. You can hate the other party. You can think they're the worst thing that ever happened to the country. But then you work harder to win the next election. When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don't win, what you want is a dictatorship.
  Your very own dictatorship.
  The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to Democrats, is its own. Whenever Republicans exercise power, it's inherently illegitimate. The Democrats lost Congress. They lost the White House. So what did they do? They began trying to run the country through Federal judges and bureaucrats. Every time that a Federal judge issues an order saying that the President of the United States can't scratch his own back without his say so, that's the civil war.
  Our system of government is based on the constitution, but that's not the system that runs this country. The Democrat's system is that any part of government that it runs gets total and unlimited power over the country.
  If the Democrats are in the White House, then the president can do anything. And I mean anything. He can have his own amnesty for illegal aliens. He can fine you for not having health insurance. His power is unlimited. He's a dictator.
  But when Republicans get into the White House, suddenly the President can't do anything. He isn't even allowed to undo the illegal alien amnesty that his predecessor illegally invented. A Democrat in the White House has 'discretion' to completely decide every aspect of immigration policy. A Republican doesn't even have the 'discretion' to reverse him. That's how the game is played That's how our country is run. Sad but true, although the left hasn't yet won that particular fight.
 When a Democrat is in the White House, states aren't even allowed to enforce immigration law. But when a Republican is in the White House, states can create their own immigration laws. Under Obama, a state wasn't allowed to go to the bathroom without asking permission. But under Trump, Jerry Brown can go around saying that California is an independent republic and sign treaties with other countries.
 The Constitution has something to say about that.
  Whether it's Federal or State, Executive, Legislative or Judiciary, the left moves power around to run the country. If it controls an institution, then that institution is suddenly the supreme power in the land. This is what I call a moving dictatorship.
  Donald Trump has caused the Shadow Government to come out of hiding: Professional government is a guild. Like medieval guilds. You can't serve in if you're not a member. If you haven't been indoctrinated into its arcane rituals. If you aren't in the club. And Trump isn't in the club. He brought in a bunch of people who aren't in the club with him.
  Now we're seeing what the pros do when amateurs try to walk in on them. They spy on them, they investigate them and they send them to jail. They use the tools of power to bring them down.
  That's not a free country.
  It's not a free country when FBI agents who support Hillary take out an 'insurance policy' against Trump winning the election. It's not a free country when Obama officials engage in massive unmasking of the opposition. It's not a free country when the media responds to the other guy winning by trying to ban the conservative media that supported him from social media. It's not a free country when all of the above collude together to overturn an election because the guy who wasn't supposed to win did.
 Have no doubt, we're in a civil war between conservative volunteer government and a leftist Democrat professional government. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

“A Foolish Consistency is The Hobgoblin of Little Minds.”

Daily Wire by Michael  J. Knowles

The Iran Deal in tatters, three American hostages safely returned from North Korea, which now offers to denuclearize and end the Korean War after 68 years, five top ISIS leaders captured — and that’s just this week. On the domestic front, in just a year-and-a-half, landmark tax reform has made the U.S. more competitive, fewer illegal aliens are entering our country than at any time in the past 17 years, and dozens of federal judges have taken the bench to defend the rule of law and our constitutional system. According to a poll from CNN of all outlets, more Americans today think the country is headed in the right direction than at any time in over a decade.
The Left unsurprisingly remains steadfast in their opposition to President Trump. What’s disappointing is that a handful of “Never Trump” Republicans remain equally unwilling to admit the obvious: Donald Trump is a good president. Indeed, the remaining anti-Trump voices on the Right seem more desperate than ever to take down the president, if only to prove that, actually, they were right all along.
An oft-abused Ralph Waldo Emerson saying comes to mind. Clumsy pedants misquote the transcendental essayist absurdly insisting, “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” In reality Emerson wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” The distinction is crucial. Logic requires consistency, but logical premises can be proved wrong. The madman who is convinced he's a banana and therefore peels off his own skin follows a consistent logic; the trouble is that his premise isn’t true.
People are stubborn. More precisely, they easily fall prey to commitment bias, whereby individuals become more convinced of their position once they have declared it publicly. The more people defend their opinions, the more difficult those opinions are to dislodge even as evidence mounts to rebut them. Foolish ideologues, presented with evidence that reality contradicts their theories, reject reality for their theories.
Some conservatives and Republicans refused to vote for President Trump in 2016, and they did so for a variety of reasons. Some feared Trump would turn out to be a left-wing wolf in sheep’s clothing. Others insisted that Trump’s rough speech and boorish personal behavior would preclude his governing as a conservative and diminish the United States in the eyes of her citizens and the rest of the world. After 17 months, not only have none of those fears come to pass, but indeed all available evidence points in precisely the opposite direction: excellent governance at home, peace through strength abroad, and a long-absent hopefulness in the hearts of Americans.
Reality has refuted the “Never Trump” premises. That fact ought to be a cause for celebration among all but those who wish our country ill. Nevertheless, some still stubbornly hope President Trump will fail our country so they can avoid the indignity of having been wrong. But changing one’s mind in the light of new evidence is no vice; and consistency in the defense of fantasy is no virtue.