Trump’s Brief Shining Moment

For the briefest of moments, I almost believed. The strategic opportunity of the century seemed within grasp. The official end of the Korean War and a denuclearized North Korea rejoining the world are elusive goals.

The moment shattered by the reality of this Presidency.

North Korea was never serious about abandoning its weapons. They played the “master deal maker” for a chump. They essentially bypassed the US to deal with South Korea directly and maneuvered themselves out of sanctions with the Chinese and potentially the rest of the world.

All without giving up anything except a few well-placed explosives to offer a technically meaningless “coup d’état” to their already collapsed nuclear test site. They know, even if Mr. Trump might not, what the Libya-model means.

How did the “hermit” kingdom manage this? Because they understand Trump better than we do. Those of us who disagree with Trump’s policies and those who agree with them share common ground in one respect.

We all think he acts intentionally from a perspective of beliefs and deeply held philosophies. The difference is in our view of his motivation.

Some think him intrinsically evil and bigoted others seem him as a political outsider who cares little for the diplomacy of politics in favor of accomplishing goals and changing the fundamental nature of government.

Both positions give the man way too much credit. He is much simpler to figure out and to predict.

President Trump is consistent. His life has been one persistent crusade for self-aggrandizement and personal satisfaction. He is neither a bigot nor a buffoon, does not demonstrate savant business acumen or financial wizardry, nor does he follow a deep-seated philosophy of life.

He is a man incapable of empathy, devoid of feelings for others, and unable to concede the reality that everyone, including Donald Trump, makes mistakes.

Trump embraces a sort of twisted Buddha-like philosophy in the way he can ignore the past (as if it never happened) and hold no attachment to anything that does not suit him at that moment.

Trump lives in the now. Anything he said, or did, yesterday does not matter. His thought process, when confronted with past statement or actions, creates a three-pronged self-delusion.

I never said (or did) it.

I was misquoted (or they are lying)

It’s fake news.

And with that, he moves on without another passing moment to consider his actions. Each day for him is like a reboot with the same bug in the operating system.

In personal matters between a President and his wife, I do not believe them to be matters of national concern. They are private matters best dealt with in a private setting. But when the President tries to ignore legitimate questions of his truthfulness, such issues are a concern.

A person of character, when facing a personal crisis, takes responsibility for their actions. When Trump was confronted with a threat to unveil an affair outside his marriage, he opted to buy his way out. Had he addressed the issue within the confines of his marriage, and the story still broke, it would be a quick splash and then fade away.

Instead, it serves as another illustration of the man’s character. (For those of you who will feel the need to point out Bill Clinton did the same thing, yes he did. And the same standard applies. Still waiting on a similar episode with President Obama.)

Trump is neither a bigot nor a white supremacist. If Mr. Trump thought embracing MS-13 would help or enrich him, he’d be flashing gang signs and sporting tattoos.

If Mr. Trump thought for a moment that the “horde” of illegal aliens would support him with their vote, he’d disband the Border Patrol and send buses to the Mexican Border.

If Mr. Trump thought he could find a kindred spirit in Black Lives Matter or Alt-right groups, he’d invite them to the White House (but not the Trump Tower, those people don’t belong there.)

Kim Jong Un understands this. They share the same philosophy. If it’s good for me, it’s good until it’s not, then it’s wrong regardless of the cost.

With North Korea, Mr. Trump saw the shiny Nobel prize and wanted it. Even he might admit he is never getting a Nobel Prize for economics or science, so this was his one chance, Kim Jong Un was his opportunity.

And then it wasn’t.

Even when it appeared Trump had awoken to the realities and complexities of geopolitics and canceled the summit, in his letter to the North Korean leader he couldn’t help but turn it into a juvenile pissing contest.

“You talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” (https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/24/politics/donald-trump-letter-kim-jong-un/index.html)

The US would prevail in a nuclear war. Mr. Trump also knows the personal cost to him would be minimal. He and his family ( maybe Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh as well) would be safely ensconced in the bunker.

But the cost in human lives would be unfathomable. This is immaterial in Mr. Trump’s mind. Collateral damage is insignificant if there is a net benefit to Mr. Trump.

The hope those surrounding Mr. Trump bring sanity and a bigger world-view to the administration is fading. The John Boltons of the world are not known for rational and reasoned policies with any nuanced understanding of global complexities.

The Chief of Staff, John Kelly, despite his admirable record as a Marine, has been reduced to nothing more than a doorman at Trump Tower. He has the power to keep most out but can do nothing about those who have bought they way in.

The concept of Mr. Trump being a complex personality of deep thought and contemplation is a false one. He is a nuclear-armed sociopath with severe ADHD. The trick is to make sound policy attractive and, once it is set in motion, divert the President’s attention with something else.

I wonder if Stormy Daniels would consider helping us out, as a matter of patriotic service?

Unintended Lessons from Nazis

ConstitutionMeeting free speech with arms and violence is tyranny, whether it be alt-right, Antifa, or otherwise. Imposing one’s philosophy by force of arms or violence is the vilest form of Anti-Americanism there is.

We are our own worst terrorists. 620,000 Americans died in the Civil war. More than any other conflict in our history. Our fear of external terror pales against this truth.

In the debate over removing Civil War statues, we are missing the point. In the statues are lessons, lost to the pandemonium of intolerance.

They should serve as reminders that subjugation by one over the other is un-American.

We can learn a lesson from the Germans, not the Nazis who these ignorant fools want to emulate, but the generations who followed. Every German student is taught about the Holocaust. To reinforce the lesson of how people driven by fear and ignorance are capable of horrendous things.

Auschwitz stands in Poland not as a symbol of history, but a reminder of evil. To ensure this never happens again.

Instead of tearing down these statues, we should insist every student understands the vile, evil philosophy they stood for. To ensure it never happens again and to remind us we still have a long way to go.

Brave men fought on both sides of that war. No doubt many in the south saw it as a “war of northern aggression.” Just as many brave Germans fought in their war. But their bravery does not mitigate the fundamental flaw in their cause.

Lincoln saw the Civil War in the terms of preserving the Union. Slavery was a primary motivation for the south seeking to divide the Union.

Lincoln, in a letter to Horace Greeley, addressed the key issue.

Executive Mansion,
Washington, August 22, 1862.

Hon. Horace Greeley:
Dear Sir.

I have just read yours of the 19th. addressed to myself through the New-York Tribune. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend, whose heart I have always supposed to be right.

As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.

Yours,
A. Lincoln.

Lincoln opposed slavery but recognized the best hope of freeing the black men and women lie in the preservation of the Union and the brighter future of an intact Union.

Were that we had a President who recognized the need for “save the union the shortest way under the Constitution.”

Were that we had a President who didn’t hide behind mindless Tweets.

Were that we had an articulate, intelligent, and courageous President who looked at the nation as a whole and was interested in protecting Americans, not fueling the discontent.

If the media is “fake” news, the President should face them. Daring them to refute the truth in his words.

But we do not. Instead, we have a President who lacks the calm demeanor of a leader and panders to the uninformed bigots who no more understand the issue of the Civil War than do the Antifa zealots who see anarchy as a substitute for thoughtful discourse.

Tearing down statues won’t remove the ignorance of those who see the statues as a harmless heritage any more than marching through the streets with torches and swastikas will silence those of us who abhor this blatant ignorance and racial bigotry.

If the President wants to be Presidential, then he should place the full force and power of the Justice Department behind investigating and prosecuting anyone who promotes or engages in violence.

The time to tear them down will be when no could imagine anyone acting in such a callous manner to a fellow human.

Presidential Words

Yesterday I posted something on Facebook that sparked a discussion. I’ve made no secret of my contempt and disagreement with President Trump. However, I was rightfully called out for my statements that, while reflective of many Americans impression of the President, were not factual.

If I am to expect truth and rationality from the President, I should hold myself to the same standard.

Here’s what I posted,

Let me get this straight.
Some individual Muslims commit acts of terror.
We must ban all Muslims, says our President.
Some people enter this country illegally and commit crimes.
We must ban all immigration, says our President.
Some white, racist, supremacists kill and injure people exercising their First Amendment Rights and cause the deaths of two Virginia Troopers. And the President says nothing about banning such violent dangerous un-American idiocy.
The reemergence of racist white vitriol falls squarely on Trump’s shoulders. After all, they are the poster children of “Make America Great (White) Again”

Mr. Trump never said, “We must ban all Muslims.”

Mr. Trump never said, “We must ban all immigration.”

One could argue my last two points, but that is not my purpose here. I am here to set the record straight about what our President has said and why his Presidency puts America at risk.

Muslims.

Mr. Trump has expressed a fundamental misunderstanding of the Islamic faith. Long before he was a candidate, he offered the fallacy of President Obama being a Muslim as something that should concern Americans.

This came in the wake of “fake news” about the “birther” lies of President Obama’s citizenship. Trump finally, I would argue begrudgingly, abandoned that lie when confronted with the evidence.

His vitriolic pre-candidate attention grabbing press releases came back to haunt him when the Supreme Court ruled against his travel ban.  (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/16-1436_l6hc.pdf)

Here’s the language,

The majority concluded that the primary purpose of §2(c) was religious, in violation of the First Amendment: A reasonable observer familiar with all the circumstances—including the predominantly Muslim character of the designated countries and statements made by President Trump during his Presidential campaign—would conclude that §2(c) was motivated principally by a desire to exclude Muslims from the United States, not by considerations relating to national security. Having reached this conclusion, the court upheld the preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of §2(c) against any foreign national seeking to enter this country.

On his stance on immigration reform, in his words.

In August 2015, he retweeted a crude remark aimed at then-presidential candidate Jeb Bush, whose wife is Mexican-American and who is fluent in Spanish. “So true. Jeb Bush is crazy, who cares that he speaks Mexican, this is America, English !!”

“The Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning. They send the bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them. They don’t want to take care of them,” 

Words have meaning and one can infer intent. The man is a bigot. As a bigot, he exemplifies what bigotry involves, ignorance.

On Muslims, in his words.

“A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-muslim-immigration-us_us_5665f75de4b072e9d1c7252b

So now we have a bigot, which implies being uninformed, ignoring the situation in Virginia and we expect him to be the one to deal with North Korea.

Hopeless doesn’t even come close.