Displaying posts published in

December 2017


First:I think rapists and pedophiles should get the Lorena Bobbit surgery. I think physical force with threats of job loss is criminal. I think sexual innuendo and harassment is vulgar and discrediting. So is deliberate and targeted seduction by women vulgar and discrediting.

Last week Carly Fiorina spoke to Chris Wallace about the recent sex-scandals taking down celebrities, media personalities and legislators….all falling like dominoes. She described a vulgar suggestion many years ago that she use sex in order to get a contract. Her reaction then was to run out to her car and cry.

But the weeping gets to me. Fiorina wanted to be the leader of the free world? Would she run to her limo and cry if some banana dictator made a sexual suggestion threatening to withhold a treaty if she did not succumb to sex?

I would vote tomorrow for a woman who slapped or told off a sexual predator employer. Rep. Martha McSally a Republican in District 2 of Arizona is a retired United States Colonel and pilot. This is what she wrote about American female soldiers forced to wear headscarves in Moslem nations.

“To me, the abaya directive, with its different rules for male and female troops and the requirement that I don the garb of a faith not my own, violated the the U.S. constitutional values I pledged to defend and degraded military order and cohesion.”

“Our male and female troops are risking their lives every day in Afghanistan while proudly representing and defending the United States. They are there to disrupt and defeat al-Qaeda while assisting Afghans in securing their future from extremist oppression. With our Afghan partners, trust can be built on a foundation of mutual respect, where no one is expected to submit to others’ cultural and religious guidelines.”

I bet she wouldn’t cry. rsk

The New York Times: Voice of the swamp By David Zukerman

The Times, in its lead editorial, December 1, 2017, “Help Wanted: Top Diplomat,” is troubled about rumors that CIA director Mike Pompeo may succeed Rex W. Tillerson as secretary of state. For the Times, Pompeo “may be too chummy” with President Trump. To boot, he is “a Tea Party conservative and a climate change skeptic.” And more, he is accused of “mixing politics with intelligence”!

Of course, the Times has no difficulty with mixing politics and intelligence when the mix involves former Obama intelligence figures like John Brennan and James Clapper. After all, isn’t “Dossiergate” all about mixing up intelligence with politics for the purpose of forcing President Trump from office?

The Times editorial also expresses difficulty with the rumored appointment of Sen. Tom Cotton to replace Mr. Pompeo as CIA director. Among Cotton’s faults, as perceived by the Times, he “has mocked the idea that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the presidential election.” Perhaps even worse for the Times, Cotton “has also been Congress’s most aggressive opponents of the Iran nuclear deal….” That is to say that we have a president who intends to staff his administration with officials who reflect America’s legacy of liberty, in foreign as well as domestic, policy.

And consider this added criticism: the appointments of Pompeo and Cotton “would add two more white men to a cabinet dominated by them…” (It would be more precise, arguably, to note that “white men” would replace, not add to, other white men.)

Behold the desperation of the Swamp in its frenzy to retain dominance in U.S. politics: play the Russia card; add innuendo of right-wing extremism — and, never forget to hurl the race card, as well. Congressional Republicans should stand with the Trump Administration in its commitment to drain the Swamp, and, thereby, restore to the people our legacy of liberty — and the idea of American greatness.


November is a month for memories. We think of the Pilgrims who celebrated their first year in the New World, in 1621 – and try to make sense of the hardships they endured, all for the cause of freedom to worship as they chose. We give thanks they succeeded. On the 11th of November, we remember the 18 million soldiers and civilians who died in World War I – a day commemorated as Armistice, Poppy, Remembrance and Veterans Day. Sadly, it was a war that did not “end all wars,” but served as prelude to a bigger conflict. But, in the end, freedom prevailed. On November 22nd, 1963 at 12:30PM President John F. Kennedy was assassinated – catapulting the nation into a struggle to understand, why? For us who were young and free, it was as though we also had been struck down. And, that most iconic of American films, Casablanca, premiered in New York City on November 26, 1942 – Thanksgiving Day. It was a movie with relevance today – a story of refugees trapped by events beyond their control, with a majority of the actors and actresses, either foreign born or refugees themselves – all seeking freedom.

The beacon of freedom, more than anything else, defines the world’s conflicts. That was so this month. Some who live in democracies are unappreciative of freedom’s rarity and fragility; for others, it is a distant siren, a promise. Islamic extremists, who despise the concept of freedom – individual, religious, political and economic – were relentless during the month. According to Wikipedia, more than 600 died at Islamists’ hands. Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a native of Uzbekistan now living in New York, drove a truck down a bike lane in lower Manhattan, killing eight cyclists. Before being caught, he shouted Allahu Akbar! God is the greatest! He had left a note pledging allegiance to ISIS. In a mosque on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, ISIS gunmen murdered 305 Sufi Muslims, a sect they consider heretical. On the Korean Peninsula, a North Korean soldier, identified only by his surname, Oh, escaped to the South, carrying with him five bullet wounds from North Korean soldiers, who shot him as he slipped across the border. What motivated Oh? Perhaps he had heard President Trump speak in Seoul of the “dazzling light” of South Korea versus the “impenetrable darkness” of the North – “the glories of freedom versus the toll of tyranny.”

Freedom, or the lack thereof, was at the center of the decision to elevate Xi Jinping last month. It is the crux of the debate between Brussels and London over Brexit – between the vision of Europe articulated by Margaret Thatcher almost forty years ago of a region based on nation-states that cooperate in trade and defense, versus the bureaucratic and liberty-challenged monolith preferred by those like Jean Claude Junker – an unaccountable and under-representative government that serves the needs of bureaucrats, not the wishes of the people – the populous. (Populism has been redefined by European politicians and media, and has assumed a pejorative connotation, to include all those – from nationalists to lovers of liberty – who threaten the comfortable lives led by arrogant elites in Brussels.) In the U.S., freedom lurks behind the debate raging between those who want government to do more, and those who would have it do less – to determine where on the spectrum, between anarchy and tyranny, one would prefer our politics to lie. Freedom is at risk in universities and colleges where conservatives are banned and debate is stifled.

Mueller Investigation: Politics, Not Law Enforcement or Counterintelligence The end game is the removal of Trump, either by impeachment or by publicly discrediting him and making his reelection politically impossible. By Andrew C. McCarthy

Here’s what I’d be tempted to do if I were President Trump: I’d direct the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, including any Obama-administration collusion in that enterprise.

I would make sure to call it a “counterintelligence investigation,” putting no limitations on the special counsel — just as with the investigation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been unleashed to conduct into Trump “collusion” with Russia. That is, I would not restrict the prosecutor and investigators to digging for specified criminal violations. Or, indeed, any criminal violations. I’d just tell the special counsel, “Have at it” — with unbound authority to scrutinize the negotiations surrounding the eventual Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

Would I really expect the special counsel to find that Obama officials conspired with the mullahs to obtain nukes for Tehran? No . . . but hey, as the “Trump collusion with Russia” crowd says, “You never know.” Meantime, under the guise of investigating this highly unlikely “collusion,” I’d want the special counsel to scrutinize closely any variances between what Obama-administration officials were telling Congress and the public about the negotiations and what they were telling the Iranians; to probe any side deals the administration agreed to but failed to disclose to Congress; and to consider whether any laws or policies were violated in such matters as President Obama’s payment of a cash ransom in exchange for American hostages held by Iran.

Why would I do this? Well, because I disagree with Obama-administration foreign policy, of course. Under the Mueller “collusion” precedent, it is evidently now American practice to criminalize foreign-policy disputes under the pretext of conducting a counterintelligence investigation.

It is difficult to come to any other conclusion based on the guilty plea that Mueller just pried out of Michael Flynn.

Let’s think about what has happened here.

The Justice Department did not, as the pertinent special-counsel regulations require, identify specific crimes it suspected had been committed by Trump-campaign officials. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein disclosed no factual predicate calling for a criminal investigation from which Trump’s Justice Department would be ethically required to recuse itself.

Nancy Pelosi–Roy Moore’s Accidental Wingman by Charles Lipson

After all the credible allegations against Roy Moore, after his initial, fumbling denials, you would think he’d be down for the count. But no. The polls show a tight race in Alabama, and the political betting markets actually make him a heavy favorite.


Partly because Alabama is such a deep-red state. And partly because the Democrats’ own sexual scandals have helped Moore. It’s not obvious they would. If the Democrats had condemned their own members promptly and forthrightly, when the evidence against them was compelling, then the party could stand on solid ground condemning Republicans. The cascade of scandals would highlight the seriousness of the problem and give Alabama voters a clear-cut opportunity to rebuke Moore’s alleged predatory behavior and, with it, the atrocious conduct of many others.

That’s not what Democratic congressional leaders did. Instead of standing on moral ground and condemning sexual misconduct, regardless of party, they dug a bunker to protect their own. They adopted a familiar public-relations strategy: look troubled, condemn the general problem, avoid specifics, and call for an inquiry (behind closed doors, of course). No transparency. No public shaming. Most of all, wait and see. Don’t call for one of your own to resign unless the public pressure becomes unbearable.

That’s exactly how Nancy Pelosi responded to multiple, credible allegations of sexual misconduct against senior Michigan Congressman John Conyers. On Sunday, Pelosi went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and genuflected to Conyers, calling him an “icon.” When she asked, rhetorically, “Who knows these women?” she made clear what really matters to her: partisan advantage.

By Thursday, she finally decided where that advantage lay. She called for Conyers to resign. Why so slow? Because the political choice was between two key Democratic constituencies, compounded by her party’s bedrock commitment to identity politics. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders know they gain with women voters (and many men) by condemning sexual harassment and assault. But they lose with many African-Americans when the accused is a prominent black legislator and the resignation call comes from a white one. That was the choice facing Pelosi. Which alternative would cost them more votes and more donations?

In these awkward circumstances, Nancy moved slowly, watching the allegations and evidence pile up, and watching resentment among women grow. Her best solution would have been for Conyers to resign because theCongressional Black Caucus asked him to. No dice. The CBC talked with him but told reporters they would wait for the Ethics Committee to do its work. That would be complete within the decade.

White House Weighs Plan to Move Embassy to Jerusalem Administration considers future recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, breaking with international community By Felicia Schwartz Andrew Ackerman Rory Jones

WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is considering a plan to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy there in the future, U.S. officials said, steps that could trigger Palestinian protests and imperil the restart of a long-stalled peace process.

The Trump administration this week notified U.S. embassies overseas about the plan and a possible forthcoming announcement so envoys can inform their host governments and prepare for possible protests.

Officials said the plans weren’t final, however, and the U.S. was working through additional legal and policy considerations. A formal announcement could come as early as next week, the officials said.

“The president has always said it is a matter of when, not if,” a White House spokesman said when asked about moving the embassy. “The president is still considering options and we have nothing to announce.”

Officials said the administration is mulling laying out a long-term plan to move the embassy that would play out in President Donald Trump’s second term, should he be re-elected.

The disclosures about the potential move come as Mr. Trump faces an early December deadline under U.S. law to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or sign a presidential waiver to keep it in Tel Aviv.

It was unclear what Mr. Trump would decide on the waiver question, but officials said one option would be to recognize Jerusalem as the capital and announce plans for the embassy move, but postpone the actual relocation for several years. In the interim, the U.S. ambassador to Israel could work from Jerusalem instead of Tel Aviv, the current site of the U.S. Embassy.

The administration also could choose to recognize Jerusalem as the “undivided” capital of Israel, one of the officials said.

Any U.S. move to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would likely be taken as an affront by Palestinians, who consider East Jerusalem the capital of a future state. U.S. officials said they were weighing those concerns. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Mathematics of the Culture War On America by Linda Goudsmit

Kurt Lewin, the 20th century German-American psychologist, is recognized as the founder of social psychology – the study of how the personality, attitudes, motivations, and behavior of the individual influences and is influenced by the group.

Lewin studied group dynamics and organizational development and challenged the prevailing “nature vs nurture” debate on behavior. Departing from conventional psychological theory, he developed a mathematical equation of behavior which claimed that an individual’s immediate situation – not necessarily past influences – was a strong determinant of behavior.

Lewin’s equation, B = f (P,E) contends that behavior is a function of the person in his environment, what he called that person’s “life space” or “field.” Lewin theorized that neither nature nor nurture was enough to explain an individual’s behavior – that it was the interaction between the individual and his constantly changing environment that produced the result.

There are fields and vectors in mathematics. Force-field analysis examines all the factors/forces that influence a person or group’s behavior. Lewin believed that a person’s behavior exists as a function of his total field/environment (life space) which is dynamic and constantly changing. It is the psychological equivalent of the famous Heraclitus quote, “No man steps in the same river twice.”

Lewin introduced the concept of “genidentity” defined as identity through and over time. Since no two lives have the same life experience, no two lives can be living in the same reality. This multiple-reality construct denies an objective reality and embraces reality as a subjective perceptual phenomenon.

Consider this example: A man is walking down the street. There are four people nearby. The first person says there is a man walking down the street. The second person says there is a person walking down the street. The third person says I’m not sure who is walking down the street. The fourth person says there is a woman walking down the street.

The West must restore a sense of the sacred David Goldman

In 1890, the nearly-defeated Native Americans of the northern plains embraced a religious movement commonly translated as “Ghost Dance”, which promised to unify the Indian peoples and drive out European settlers. After the disastrous battle at Wounded Knee in December of that year the movement collapsed and Indian resistance to settlement faded into insignificance. It is tempting to dismiss the New Nationalism as a sort of Ghost Dance in which enervated and encircled traditionalists offer a final hopeless last stand against the inevitable encroachment of the globalised economy and postmodern culture. No one seems more confused about the import of the New Nationalism than the nationalists themselves. In Germany, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is a coalition brought together by anger at the Merkel government’s decision to admit well over a million Middle Eastern migrants, but otherwise has no unifying characteristic. After a brief moment in the sun that included dinner with President Trump and a star slot at America’s leading conservative conference last February, Nigel Farage has fallen off America’s radar, and his most prominent admirer in the Trump White House, Steve Bannon, has left the Administration.

Mr Farage campaigned under the Cross of St George rather than the Union Jack; that is, as an English nationalist. But the United Kingdom is not a nation so much as an imperial monarchy, whose head of state is the sovereign of 32 countries. If the Brexit vote embodied more than passing rancour at the meddlesome European Union, what sort of national sentiment does it express? Does President Donald Trump’s call for “America First” mean anything more than a bilateral approach to trade negotiations rather than the multilateralism of the recent past? If that is the case, any change is more likely to be superficial rather than substantive. Mr Trump seems less interested in defining himself than the pundits whose job it is to pigeonhole him. He is neither the creature of the alt-Right nor an Establishment mogul in mufti, but a pragmatist more in the mode of Franklin Delano Roosevelt than Ronald Reagan.

The one European movement that can be termed “nationalist” in the strict sense of the term, namely Catalan independence, has occasioned scant resonance among populist parties on either side of the Atlantic. The Catalans have their own language, after all, and never wanted to be part of Spain; to the extent that a pro-independence majority is in doubt, it is due to immigration into Catalonia from other parts of Spain. Marine Le Pen, the defeated National Front candidate, took the side of the Spanish central government against the Catalans. The Scots Nationalists endorsed the Catalans’ right to hold an independence referendum, a costless call after having lost their own. The Catalans make the formerly separatist Lega Lombarda in Italy squeamish.

US Would Be Wise To Prepare For EMP Attacks On Its Cities by Ilan Berman

Imagine that a hostile nation – say, North Korea – fires a nuclear-tipped missile at the United States. The missile detonates in the upper atmosphere above a major American city such as Los Angeles, releasing a cascade of charged electrons that damages and destroys all technology and electrical systems within line-of-sight of the explosion. Vital infrastructure on the country’s Western seaboard is incapacitated. Large swathes of California and parts of Nevada lose power. Stores, social services and emergency functions that rely on electricity begin to break down, as disorder spreads and the death toll climbs.

Such a scenario isn’t the plot of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, although it well could be. It is, rather, the projected outcome of a man-made electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event of the type that a growing number of America’s adversaries are capable of creating.

Of course, the phenomenon of EMP is not new. It was first discovered well over half-a-century ago as an unintended byproduct of U.S. nuclear testing in the 1940s. Nevertheless, over the decades, a lasting solution to this challenge has proven elusive, for at least two reasons.

The potentially catastrophic consequences of an EMP event have made the issue a difficult one to broach, as a matter of public policy. Debates over the probability of such an occurrence, meanwhile, has led more than a few observers to minimize the associated risk – and to ridicule those who argue for preparedness.

Yet such complacency is ill-advised. The threat of electromagnetic pulse is both real and potentially devastating. More than a dozen years ago, in 2004, the congressionally-mandated Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, colloquially known as the EMP Commission, concluded that the damage caused by an EMP to the United States “could be sufficient to be catastrophic to the nation.” Moreover, given America’s lack of protection against the phenomenon, the commission noted, “our current

Technology is reshaping the global order. America’s diplomats need to start thinking ahead. By Josh Kirshner

There has been considerable interest in the direction of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s ongoing “reimagining” of the State Department, but for all the conversations about the future of American diplomacy, what has been underaddressed is how our oldest Cabinet agency is preparing to deal with the new, but foreseeable, diplomatic challenges presented by emerging technology.

While at the Department, I joined the effort to establish a Coordinator for Cyber Issues reporting directly to the Secretary, because no single bureau was able to represent all of the interests that the U.S. has in the cyber domain, including economic, military, intelligence, and freedom of expression-related issues. In 2011, the United States became the first country to assign a senior diplomat the task of focusing on cyber issues; allies and competitors alike have since set up similar positions, thus moving the international community forward – albeit in fits and starts – in developing norms and standards. Creating an office to focus on international cyber policy was a clear example of senior State Department officials anticipating where our interconnected world was headed and allocating resources to meet the challenge in a truly strategic, long-term manner.

Secretary Tillerson eliminated the Coordinator for Cyber Issues position earlier this year, but Reps. Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with 15 other representatives, have co-sponsored the Cyber Diplomacy Act of 2017 to re-establish it and require the Secretary of State to develop an international strategy for cyberspace. While it is encouraging to see a coordinated push by Congress to ensure the U.S. can fully pursue its national interests in the cyber domain, this move would merely allow us to get back to the former status quo.

Meanwhile, technological innovation in other realms continues at a furious pace. China is spending billions of dollars to surpass the United States as the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030, with an eye towards improving its economy and matching our military prowess. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the country with the best AI “will become the ruler of the world,” and Moscow recently made clear that it opposes international efforts to ban lethal autonomous weapons.