Thursday, 19 July 2018

Trump-Putin Presser Analysis

The press conference transcript reveal that Trump had two urgencies regarding the 2016 election. Some confusion arises when people read Trump’s answers in light of their own urgencies and not according to context and Trump’s own intention. To avoid this confusion, the presser transcript needs to be read in light of the two urgencies

Trump’s obvious first urgency is that there was no collusion—and despite a year-long furious, prejudiced and highly motivated, well-staffed and well-financed investigation, there remains no evidence of collusion. None of the Mueller indictments have anything to do with the Trump campaign.

When Trump says there was no collusion, he certainly is not disagreeing with US intelligence agencies. When Trump denies collusion, however, the Democrats and the news media (but I repeat myself) hear Trump defending Putin’s denial of interfering in the election. Yet these are two vastly different things. Trump’s denials of collusion in no way convey Russian innocence and contrary to the hysteria, he did not exonerate Russia of election meddling.
Did Russia attempt to influence the election? Trump says yes, emphatically. Did Russian election meddling impact the election? Trump says no, and does so without contradicting his intelligence agencies. Did Trump collude with Russia? Trump says no. These are perfectly reasonable assertions that open-minded people should respect.

Secondly, Trump reviles the Obama administration for its failure to deal with Russian interference. This is reflected in Trump’s focus on the hacked computer network server used by the Democratic National Committee which the FBI did not examine. Trump is right to focus on this since the primary accusation of interference arises from emails that were hacked from the DNC server, and subsequently published by WikiLeaks (which denies that Russia was ever its source). Quizzically, the Obama justice department relied on the word of cybersecurity company CrowdStrike in concluding that the Russians were the source of the hack. It is said that CrowdStrike was led by Clinton loyalists. The fiasco is the fount of all sorts of speculation, rightly so.

Trump noted that his own National Director of Intelligence Dan Coates (former Indiana Republican senator) told him that Russia hacked the server, and Trump added, “I don't see any reason why it [the hacking source] would be [Russia]” which Trump later amended to say, “I don't see any reason why it wouldn’t be.” Trump’s repeated emphasis on the need for the FBI to examine the server highlights that we really have no reason to think the Russians hacked it or didn’t hack it. Thus, both Trump’s original comment and his corrected comment are valid. At any rate, for good reason, there remains tremendous controversy over who hacked the DNC server.

The presser is short and easily digestible. I am no great political genius, but I am capable of reading transcripts, and my analysis is spot on. I find it incredible that so much bogus claims are being made of such straight forward statements and answers. I really think much of the hysteria arises from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

From Trump Voter to Trump Supporter

I have transitioned from being a Trump voter to a Trump supporter.
  • I fully support Trump's blue collar agenda, and the revitalization of the manufacturing industry.
  • I am positively overwhelmed by Trump's tax reform (and I hope for more!)
  • I tend to agree with Trump that we can only have free trade if our foreign trading partners practice fair trade
  • I am surprisingly pleased with how Trump has governed in accord with Constitutional Conservative values, although I have serious reservations about the $1.3 trillion spending bill he recently signed.
  • I am glad that Trump stands up to the liberal media and is willing to fight for factual reporting, etc.
  • I am impressed with Trump's foreign affairs stances and achievements.
  • I am thrilled with Trump's push toward deregulation and energy policy.
  • Anything embarrassing or incompatible with my politics that Trump might have done or might be doing is all forgiven considering his appointment of Constitutionalist judges to the judiciary.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

You're Needed in the Trenches

To save these United States, some of us need to seriously consider getting deeply involved in politics.
In 1862, the Union was beset by several major defeats in the Civil War, despite larger armies, better supplies, and impressive infrastructure. In those early battles, Confederate generals simply out-generaled their northern counterparts.
The quality of commanders largely reflected a difference in culture between North and South. There was a strong military tradition in the South wherein a military life was one which was highly esteemed—there was no shortage of highly capable men seeking military careers. Not so in the North; society’s most capable men went into business, academia, and manufacturing, and not the military. Capable leaders in the North kept their jobs when hostilities broke out, leaving military leadership in the hands of less capable men. Or so they did until they were overwhelmed by repeated defeats on the battlefield.

In 1862, then, some leading citizens in the North began a movement to recruit society’s cream of the crop for military leadership. The movement was successful. Among the leaders of the movement was a Bowdoin College professor named Joshua Chamberlain who anchored the Union defense on the left at Gettysburg and whose extraordinary leadership was instrumental in trapping Lee’s army immediately leading to Appomattox. Chamberlain, however, was but one of many leading citizens who gave up prestigious positions and embraced the hardships of army life to save the union.

If we still think this union is worth saving, then our best citizens, or at least a good number of them, need to answer the call to life in the political trenches. 

Monday, 26 February 2018

Seven Points for a Sane Discussion of Gun Ownership.

Gunsmoke's Marshal Dillon--almost a semi-automatic revolver
  1. European culture was strongly influenced by feudalism. The feudal lord determined what crops you planted in which fields, and at what time, in exchange for promised security against hostile invaders. 
  2. In the New World, the individual was considered his own lord—an aristocracy of one. Thus, individuals had every right to own their own unregulated weapon. The private ownership of weapons was instrumental in overthrowing British rule. This reality ingrained into the American heart a resistance toward any governmental interference of gun ownership.
  3. There are 300 million guns in America. Voluntary surrender of weapons is impractical and the attempt to confiscate them by force would be disastrous. One might reflect on the history of prohibition for instruction.
  4. Gun control legislation reduces the ability of law abiding citizens to protect themselves, while emboldening the lawless.
  5. Senseless violence such as school massacres is a largely post-modern phenomenon. In prior generations, even pre-teenagers would spend mornings out hunting before going to school, without any such violence. Gun ownership is not the problem.
  6. Confiscation of weapons and the repeal of the 2nd Amendment surrenders the right to effective self-defense. 
  7. There is a certain irony in the notion that weapons in the hands of some people (i.e., police, government officials, bank security personnel, air marshals and pilots) is a good idea, but weapons owned for personal self-defense is bad. The notion reflects a European feudalism rather than a New World frontier mentality. If there is justification for the elite's access to weapons, surely there is a similar justification for gun ownership for all law-abiding citizens.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

You Probably Ought Not Vote if....

You probably ought not vote if…
--you are clueless about Pardongate
--if you think the last impeachment was about Monica Lewinsky
--if your only source of news are the networks, BBC, NPR, Rachel Maddow, Huffington Post, and comedy shows
--if you don’t know how North Korea got their nuclear technology
--if you think that George W. Bush killed more people than Communist regimes or that Saddam Hussein was not involved in international terrorism
--if you don’t know who the Arkansas state Attorney General was when Juanita Broddrick was raped
--if you think that the only black lives that matter are those African Americans killed by white cops
--if you don’t understand how Hillary Clinton’s private server was important for Clinton financial gain
 --if you thought it was a great idea to pressure Mubarak to step down

--if you don’t know WHY Hillary Clinton suggested that the Benghazi disaster was the result of an inflammatory youtube video, or why the U.S. even had personnel in Benghazi when all other allies had al
ready abandoned the city, or how Clinton friend Sydney Blumenthal’s financial partnership with a pro-Clinton non-profit factored into it all

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Wedding Bands and Flags: Symbology and Meaning

It's just some metal mined out of the earth, molded and polished into a circle. It has no inherent meaning. You can throw it down the drain if you want. No need to get all upset if your spouse throws it away.

And that's how some people view our current controversy about respect for the American flag. The flag itself has no inherent value. It's made of threads,dies, and cloth. No need to get all upset if people trample on it or show it no respect.

These statements are true enough so far as the raw materials are concerned. Yet behind the reductionism lies a symbology that deserves recognition and even materialization with all due respect. The previous generation understood the connection of symbol and material. They honored the American flag because it represented something important to them; conversely, they hated the Nazi flag because of its represented meaning.

Our society is a symbological society. We're proud to wear ball caps with our team's symbol. Roll up a few sleeves and you'll see tattoos of all kinds of symbols. We spot our favorite restaurant on a busy highway by its trademark symbol. Graphic designers make big bucks designing logos. Words have been replaced by icons in digital interface. Legislators remove Confederate flags from state buildings, all because symbols have meaning.

Given the prevalence and popularity of symbols in this age, the demeaning of the symbol of American ideals is striking. Behind it is an anti-American movement, and in its wake are those Platonists who argue that the material is nothing.

Those who uphold traditional values do not ask people to do the extraordinary to respect the symbol. There's no movement to force people to buy gilded flags worth hundreds of dollars, or even to require that they fly them on certain days. Really, just a communal moment at national pastimes would be enough to express appreciation for the ideals represented by the symbol. And if certain people can't expend the energy to stand in respect of the symbol, then fine. But don't expect the rest of us to respect them and to say nothing in reply.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

If the Top Guys Are This Bad, Might as Well Vote for the Long Shot

Because the front runners of the Republican candidates are equally flawed, you might as well vote for your favorite long-shot candidate.

Trump is no more dependably conservative than Romney was. The biggest difference between Trump and Romney is the 216 miles between I-95 that separates New York from Boston. The next biggest difference between them is that Trump is the wolf that barks the louder. And he wears a finer wool blend.

Cruz has most of the conservative bona fides. What he lacks is leadership. He seems to have been a pretty good litigator, but despite his big talk about stopping the Obama agenda, he was not even able to impact McConnell’s Senate, let alone slow down the Obama agenda. Cruz and a dozen other conservatives could have had a major influence on McConnell’s Senate if a leader had emerged to make the difference. People’s anger is high because people make promises to get elected to Washington but then fail to deliver, and Cruz is the premier example.

So, there you have it. Vote for the erratic Donald Trump who is yet another conservative of convenience like Romney, or vote for a big talking freshman senator who hasn’t yet delivered. Trumps problems offset Cruz’s failures. Both men are equally flawed candidates. If the nomination is ultimately between these two, then why bother.

If neither of the front runners is better than the other, we might as well vote for the long-shot candidate, if the long-shot candidate is highly qualified and who is strongly committed to the conservative agenda.

In 1994, Rick Santorum came into the 435-member House of Representatives as a freshman congressman. He worked with seven other congressional delegates to expose the scandalous practices of the House Bank, working against nearly all incumbent representatives, including Newt Gingrich, but doing so in a way that made a huge impact on the House.