Displaying posts published in

April 2018

The Trump Presidency is bigger than the man Irwin Stelzer

No one was more surprised at Trump’s electoral victory than the man himself, unless it was supporters of Hillary Clinton, a candidate who never did explain just why she wanted to be president and who continually badgered her team to come up with a theme for the pudding that was her campaign. How was it possible that this vulgar misogynist could beat Hillary Clinton, she the shatterer of glass ceilings; the defender of abortion on demand, financed if necessary by orders of Catholic nuns; and of young persons’ rights to choose their gender and their toilets regardless of gender; of the right of illegal immigrants to become American citizens. She was consort to beneficiaries of globalisation who filled her coffers with speaking fees, and representative of all that “deplorables”, as she called Trump supporters, find so offensive about the social agenda of the bicoastal liberal establishment. The Russians must have done it. Or the really dumb Founding Fathers who established an electoral system that gave voice to less densely populated states rather than rely entirely on the popular vote. No matter the cause, Trump is an illegitimate president.

Which means that the Democratic minority, with the support of an overwhelmingly liberal-establishment media, is not merely obligated to oppose those of his policies they deem not to be in the national interest, but to have him removed from office, preferably in handcuffs. The virulence of the attacks on the President makes the battle between Momentum and the Blairites seem tame by comparison. Trump’s response is to lash out indiscriminately at anyone who disagrees with whatever his whim-of-the-moment seems to be. His weapon of choice is the tweet, which a frustrated media must report, giving these short bursts of often incoherent, often nasty impulses an even wider audience. Trump supporters liken the tweets to FDR’s use of radio — the famous Fireside Chats — to go over the heads of a hostile press directly to the American people, but a better comparison would be to the “nya, nya, you’re one, too” response of a witless schoolboy to some disagreeable remark by a playmate.

So much for Trump the person, and why his natural propensity to lie — not so much to lie, but to invent an alternative “truth” in which he really, really believes — and to substitute invective for reason, is justified by his supporters. To that 35 to 40 per cent of the electorate, largely white, rural, poor or middle class, religious and male, Trump might be a sinful New York property developer claiming to be a billionaire, but, oddly, he is “one of us”, to borrow a descriptive once popular in Britain, eager to poke a finger in the eye of the elites who remain unaware of our existence and problems.

On to policy. It is important to distinguish Trump the Person from Trump the Policymaker. Trump the person believes that the current international trading system is rigged in favour of the rich, of what David Goodhart calls “the anywheres”, who couldn’t care less about Making America Great Again. This is the New York crowd that kept a thrusting Trump at arm’s length, and only now have found reason to invite him into their more tasteful, less gilt-covered apartments for dinner. Trump the campaigner promised to smash that system in favour of one that protects American interests.

Report: House Democrats Exempted Pakistani IT Aides from Background Checks By Mairead McArdle

Not one of 44 House Democrats bothered with background checks for members of a close-knit group of Pakistani IT aides who ended up gaining “unauthorized access” to congressional data, a new report from The Daily Caller shows.

House security rules require members to start a background check for employees, but they can also put down that another member has vouched for the person.

The background check was waived for all five IT workers, who made headlines last year for what the House inspector general’s report described as activity with “nefarious purposes.”

Pakistan-born Imran Awan, who served as a tech aide in Congress for 13 years, managed to snag congressional IT jobs with salaries as high as $165,000 for his brothers Abid and Jamal, his wife Hina Alvi, and his friend Rao Abbas, who had just been fired from McDonald’s. Together the group was found logging into accounts of representatives who had not hired them, using representatives’ private usernames, and uploading data off of the House network, according to the inspector general’s report.

Abid was working for Representative Yvette Clarke (D., N.Y.) when $120,000 of computer equipment disappeared. Then-congressman Xavier Becerra, who hired Imran, had his server stolen after the inspector general listed it as evidence in an investigation.

Some of the inspector general’s investigators who reviewed the aides’ network activity mused that they may have been ignoring House security protocol simply to share job duties, but others felt it was something more sinister.

Trump EPA to Roll Back Obama-Era Auto-Emissions Standards By Jack Crowe

The EPA announced Monday that it will begin to roll back Obama-era vehicle-emission standards due to concerns the regulations were overzealous and the product of “politically charged expediency.”

The emissions standards, which would have applied to cars and light trucks produced between 2022 and 2025, were a core component of the Obama administration’s commitment under the Paris Climate Accords to cut U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025. The announcement represents the conclusion of the Trump administration’s review of the regulations and the beginning of a months-long rule-rewriting process.“Obama’s EPA cut the midterm evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality and set the standards too high,” EPA administrator Scott Pruitt wrote in a statement.

Pruitt also announced the agency will “reexamine” a waiver granted by the Obama administration, which allows California to set its own, more stringent vehicle-emissions standards. The move will likely prompt yet another legal battle between the Trump administration and California, which has established itself as a bastion of judicial resistance to federal immigration and environmental policy under the administration.

While Democrats viewed the Obama EPA regulations as a necessarily aggressive response to climate change, the agency has been criticized by industry stakeholders and Republican lawmakers for setting unrealistic goals. Automakers missed 2016 tailpipe-emission targets by 9 grams per mile and Obama EPA officials conceded that they would likely come up short of the 54.5 mile per gallon fuel-efficiency target for autos produced in 2025, as well.

‘Chappaquiddick’ Plays 1969’s Ted Kennedy Scandal Straight Ted Kennedy remains the prime example of a politician who retained forgive-anything followers after committing what should have been considered a capital crime.By James Dawson see note please

Long before and after Chappaquiddick, Ted Kennedy was a drunk, a reprobate and a liar. The “lion” of the Senate was a drunk and a sexual harasser of women. He had been expelled from Harvard for cheating on a Spanish test which a surrogate took for him. His military “service” was engineered by his father. In June 1951, he signed up for a four year term which was immediately shortened to a two year term by his father’s cronies. His father’s political connections ensured that he was not deployed to the ongoing Korean War and he was discharged after 21 months. In spite of his sordid history he is buried in Arlington Cemetery….rsk
Donald Trump famously bragged during the last presidential campaign that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody without losing voters. Unless the president actually picks up a pistol to prove that point before 2020, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy will remain the prime example of a modern politician who retained the support of fanatical forgive-anything followers after committing what should have been considered a capital crime.

In July 1969, Kennedy drove off a bridge, left 28-year-old campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne to die in his submerged car, then failed to inform police about the event until 10 hours later. Director John Curran’s “Chappaquiddick” focuses on that tragic night and the immediate aftermath of the scandal that should have killed Kennedy’s political career, but instead became an almost black-humor indictment of American politics and certain voters’ gullibility.

What’s refreshing (if not downright amazing) about Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan’s screenplay, based largely on facts from a lengthy 1970 court inquest, is that it fairly recounts the reprehensible episode without any liberal-Hollywood sugarcoating or raging right-wing hysteria. Although there certainly is little to like about the movie’s Kennedy, who is well portrayed by actor Jason Clarke as a self-serving, deceitful embarrassment, the writers evenhandedly refrain from resorting to any needlessly trashy sensationalism.

While scenes such as backroom damage-control strategy sessions at the Kennedy compound are credibly imagined, for example, the writers resist dramatizing any implied adulterous relationship between Kennedy and Kopechne. With so much documented depravity already on the record, there’s no need to go overboard making up any new misdeeds.

Planned Princesshood Feminist groups want to turn fairy-tale heroines into propaganda tools. Faith Moore

‘We need a Disney princess who’s had an abortion,” tweeted a Pennsylvania branch of Planned Parenthood last week. Though the tweet was deleted, Planned Parenthood Keystone chief Melissa Reed stands by it. “Planned Parenthood believes that pop culture . . . has a critical role to play in educating the public and sparking meaningful conversations around sexual and reproductive health issues and policies, including abortion,” she said in a statement to Fox News.

Feminist critics have been waging war on Disney princesses since the 1990s, and they’re gaining ground. Peggy Orenstein’s 2011 best seller, “Cinderella Ate My Daughter,” called the fairy-tale heroine a symbol of “the patriarchal oppression of all women.”

Disney has been listening. In 2016 the company launched the Dream Big, Princess campaign, which recasts Ariel as a speed-swimming champion, Rapunzel as a gymnast and Cinderella as a dance prodigy. In an obvious nod to the feminist notion that traditional princesses are “damsels in distress,” Disney has edited out the princesses’ signature inner virtues of integrity, courage, optimism and heart, and replaced them with feminist-approved—but ultimately shallow—physical achievement. CONTINUE AT SITE

Climate Alarmists May Inherit the Wind They likened a courtroom ‘tutorial’ to the Scopes Monkey Trial. But their side got schooled. By Phelim McAleer

Five American oil companies find themselves in a San Francisco courtroom. California v. Chevron is a civil action brought by the city attorneys of San Francisco and Oakland, who accuse the defendants of creating a “public nuisance” by contributing to climate change and of conspiring to cover it up so they could continue to profit.

No trial date has been set, but on March 21 the litigants gathered for a “climate change tutorial” ordered by Judge William Alsup —a prospect that thrilled climate-change alarmists. Excited spectators gathered outside the courtroom at 6 a.m., urged on by advocates such as the website Grist, which declared “Buckle up, polluters! You’re in for it now,” and likened the proceeding to the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial.

In the event, the hearing did not go well for the plaintiffs—and not for lack of legal talent. Steve W. Berman, who represented the cities, is a star trial lawyer who has made a career and a fortune suing corporations for large settlements, including the $200 billion-plus tobacco settlement in 1998.

“Until now, fossil fuel companies have been able to talk about climate science in political and media arenas where there is far less accountability to the truth,” Michael Burger of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University told Grist. The hearing did mark a shift toward accountability—but perhaps not in the way activists would have liked.

Judge Alsup started quietly. He flattered the plaintiffs’ first witness, Oxford physicist Myles Allen, by calling him a “genius,” but he also reprimanded Mr. Allen for using a misleading illustration to represent carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and a graph ostensibly about temperature rise that did not actually show rising temperatures. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Wall is National Defense By Christopher Roach

In a report from the Army’s Command and Staff College detailing a tactical success during the French Counterinsurgency in Algeria, we learn the following:

In the spring of 1957, the French began construction of an elaborate barrier–the Morice Line–along 200 miles of the frontier with Tunisia. Anchored by the Mediterranean Sea in the north and the Sahara Desert in the south, it was a miracle of modern technology. Its main feature was an eight foot high electric fence through which a charge of 5,000 volts was passed. There was a 45 meter minefield on either side of it, and on the Algerian side there was a barbed wire entanglement, and then a footpath, patrolled day and night. If the fence was penetrated, an alarm was automatically activated which brought instant fire from 105 mm howitzers and attack from mobile strike forces consisting of helicopters, tanks, and airborne infantry. Some 80,000 French soldiers defended the line. During the remainder of 1957 and 1958, Tunisian-based guerrillas tried every conceivable means of breaching the wire using high tension cutters, Bangalore torpedoes, tunnels, ramps, and even assaults by entire infantry battalions. French countermeasures, however, in every case proved to be decisive. By the end of 1958 the guerrillas had lost over 6,000 men and 4,300 weapons to the deadly combination of the barrier and mobile strike forces.

This accords with the intuitive conclusion of millions of American voters: Walls work.

Billions for the Pentagon, But Not a Penny for the Wall
The pyrrhic budget victory of last week included $718 billion for defense. Republicans gave everything up and allowed funding for Planned Parenthood, midnight basketball, and God knows what else, in order to keep the Department of Defense and its contractors in style. In keeping with their Reagan-era nostalgia, the congressional GOP is acting as if it were 1988, and the Cold War is in full swing. In real terms, the budget exceeds spending at the height of the Iraq Campaign, as well as the Reagan defense buildup.

What is defense? Is it not to make Americans safe from foreign attack? To prevent foreigners from imposing their way of life upon us, through invasion or other means? To maintain the independence, peace, and prosperity of the already-existing American people? Very little of what the government does in the name of defense accomplishes these things.

David Isaac :How Not to Secure Israel Review: ‘Israeli National Security: A New Strategy for An Era of Change’ by Charles D. Freilich

“Surprisingly, perhaps, Israel does not have a formal national security strategy, or defense doctrine, to this day,” writes former Israeli deputy national security adviser Charles D. Freilich. Israeli National Security: A New Strategy for an Era of Change is his effort to move Israel closer to creating one. According to Freilich, David Ben-Gurion was the only “sitting leader to conceptualize an overall national security strategy,” and with the dramatic changes to Israel’s security situation since, a new one is needed. He may be right, but the reader leaves this book hoping that Freilich isn’t the one to develop it.

Freilich describes “a growing sense among both practitioners and scholars alike, that Israel has lost sight of its strategic objectives and course as a nation.” On the practitioner side, he notes that there have been efforts to chart a course, notably the 2006 Meridor Report, and a 2015 document “IDF Strategy.” But the former proposal was never adopted and the latter is a military paper and not the required higher-level strategic overview, something that the report’s authors themselves admit. On the scholarly front, Freilich describes as “remarkable” the lack of comprehensive assessments of Israeli national security strategy in academia–the “vast literature” on Israel’s foreign and domestic affairs notwithstanding.

Freilich sees it as his mission to fill the gap, and he makes a serious attempt to provide a bird’s-eye view of Israel’s strategic situation. He covers a wide-range of topics, from the numerous military and diplomatic threats Israel faces to socioeconomic factors that affect Israel’s strategic posture to the influence of the U.S.-Israel “special relationship.” A good editor could have profitably cut as much as 100 from the book’s 384 pages, given the extent of repetitions.

Despite Freilich’s insistence that “Israel has never been stronger and more secure militarily,” the picture that emerges from his prose is actually quite disturbing. While Israel may not have faced an existential threat since 1973, neither has it won a decisive military victory since Lebanon in 1982. “Indeed, all of the major rounds between Israel and Hezbollah, from 1983 to 2006, ended unsatisfactorily for Israel,” Freilich writes. Hamas’s and Hezbollah’s strategy of a war of attrition seems to be working. Israel is severely limited in its response. It wants to avoid escalation, international opprobrium, and high casualties. It also wants to steer clear of controlling more territory. Freilich notes that the Winograd Commission (the commission that investigated the failures of the 2006 Lebanon War) laid the blame for that war’s operational shortcomings on the “IDF’s mystical fear of conquering additional territory.”

Comey’s book tour is a colossal mistake By James Gagliano,

Announcements of scheduled appearances for the widely anticipated $850-to-attend book tour by fired FBI Director James Comey foreshadow a much-ballyhooed return to the public square. Media outlets eagerly booked the former director, and his opus, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” briefly jumped to No. 1 on Amazon’s best-seller list.

But should Comey — a central witness in special counsel Robert Mueller probe — be making public his version of events which will certainly differ significantly with what President Trump, the central target in the special prosecutor’s probe, has repeatedly stated?

Comey was humiliatingly removed by the president last May and enjoyed a brief period of bipartisan sympathy for the disgraceful manner in which he was dispatched. The FBI’s seventh director learned of his termination via televised news reports while appearing before an FBI audience in Los Angeles. This is not the manner with which career public servants should ever be separated from service. Yet, with the current president, it has become de rigueur.

Initially taking the high road, remaining silent, professional and above the fray, Comey has now resorted to directly confronting the president at his own game. He shed his original anonymous Twitter nom de plume, “Reinhold Niebuhr,” and directly waded in to criticize and taunt his tormentor. In the immediate wake of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s firing and Trump’s Twitter gloating, Comey ominously warned, “Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.”

And, just like that, Comey conceded the tiny sliver of moral high ground he precariously clung to and reduced his position as an advocate of the pursuit of facts into a narcissistic quest to sell books. He unwittingly joined Trump in the pig-wallow that currently serves as civil discourse.

FBI Sister Wives: Noor Salman and Hillary Clinton by Linda Goudsmit

http://goudsmit.pundicity.com/21017/fbi-sister-wives-noor-salman-and-hillary-clinton  http://goudsmit.pundicity.com and website: http://lindagoudsmit.com Noor Salman, wife of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, was exonerated on all charges of aiding and abetting and obstruction of justice even though the jury was convinced she knew her husband was plotting the attack. WHY? The jury foreman in the case, “I wish that the FBI had recorded their interviews with Ms. Salman […]