Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How I met a member of the Bulgarian ruling class

Imagine you take a vacation to an Eastern European country, a land that was formerly under the auspices of the Soviet Union via the Eastern Bloc. In 1989, in the wake of the Berlin Wall's collapse, this nation's Communist leadership decided to give its people the vote, including a choice for democracy. Because they were hungry for blue jeans and rock'n'roll and toilet paper and most of the other nice things Westerners had, the citizens voted for democracy and the free market.
The only problem with this is that this newly established way of life did not remove the nepotism deeply embedded within the country, nor the corruption. The result is that the police stayed untrustworthy and the establishment of an organized crime syndicate grew to proportions that would have and could have never existed under the former Communist government. The Communist sense of authority and braggadocio remained under a new ruling class.
This country is Bulgaria. The nation isn't the basket case it used to be, granted. But I had my suspicions about the place even before leaving the U.K. It was like a foreshadowing of sorts.
I won't go into specifics about our vacation there, but on the third day, as we were enjoying the indoor jacuzzi, a man walked into the spa complex. Right away, my senses were on alert. His shaven head and square face pointed to an obvious lack of intelligence necessitating the need to be part of a gang, even though he was alone with his 2-year-old child. He immediately discovered that we were wearing flip-flops in the jacuzzi. My wife had slipped while bare-footed in the hot-tub two days prior and we were told by spa reception that flip-flops had to be worn. They did not tell us that they couldn't be worn inside the jacuzzi, which we thought was protocol.
When the shaven-haired goon gave up complaining to us, in Bulgarian, which we don't speak, over his allegation that we had dirtied the jacuzzi with our flip-flops, he fetched the receptionist who also informed us to remove them.
Here's where it gets "good": Once she left, my wife swears that he said "fuck you" to us. I didn't hear that, but I did hear him address me: "You are stupid. This is a baby." When I stared back at him upon this insult, he widened his eyes and demanded, "Problem?!" I rolled my eyes and looked away, at which point he descended into the main pool with his little bastard, loudly muttering, "Motherfucker." Suddenly, this asshat can speak English.
This is what you go on holiday for, right, dear reader?
Now then, this is behavior I would not have tolerated for one moment in either of my home countries of America or Britain. But this is Eastern Europe, this is the Balkans, this is Bulgaria. It was obvious to me that this inbred was mafioso in some way. If I'd risen to his challenge, I could imagine him saying, "We'll settle this after I get dressed," and while in the changing room, make a cell-phone call to his "associates." And if it had been there and then, both of us grappling in our trunks, the police would have been called and, well, God help me. The man could have said anything in Bulgarian to the police who would very likely be persuaded that my Anglo-American (and Brexit-supporting) ass was the source of trouble-making, because I don't believe for one moment in the concept of civil rights being applicable in that place. I am not keen to spend even a second in a Bulgarian jail.
Silence and avoiding further confrontation was the only option and definitely the better part of valor.
I will also add that though it was not the main hotel's fault, as they have no direct jurisdiction over the spa complex, the receptionist at the spa clearly had no intention of making the thug pay for his threatening behavior. In fact, we believe she knows who he is, but—in the manner of a true denizen of the Balkans—she will look after her own. We got the money back that we paid to use the spa, but that was it. 
On a thread from a few years ago on the Just Landed forum, entitled "Mafia in Bulgaria! How bad is it?", one reader responded:
In Bulgaria you cannot have big mouth to somebody, cause guaranted you can be beaten and that goes even to Bulgarians themselves—due to mentality, temperament and old historical background of the people.
You see any big ugly men with muscles, shaved heads, no matter if they wear suits or not, don't stare at them too much. Avoid getting into arguments with them because unlike the West where a murder is usually planned and with a motivation, in the Balkans it tends to be more impulsive since the people have shorter tempers, the mentality is different which means the two most unlikely people to get into a fight with each other are the ones who will end up doing it, depending on the situation.
Sounds pretty accurate given our recent experience. Anyone else want to question why I endorsed and voted for the Leave campaign last year? The Bulgarians are in the E.U.
Then there's this gem from Wikitravel: "There have been several cases of tourists being assaulted by the mafia for improper behavior, such as the brutal beating of an Icelandic teenage girl in the summer of 2007."
I know that people who can bully others with impunity, because they know damn well that they will get away with it and that they cannot lose, are cowards. But damn, these people are real bottom-scrapers.
Well, listen to me, you chalga bouncer faggot and any other brainless hayseed bohunk reading this, try pulling this bullshit in London and see what you will get and where it will land you. Here, we have standards. And here, I will not back down.
Fuck me? No, fuck you.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Eleven-year-old South Florida letters and the waning Trump mojo

Oh, how I wish President Trump would get it.
What are the Obama holdovers still doing in posts for which they could not ever be truly qualified? Why hasn't there been a thorough cleaning of house of White House staff? Glenn Beck and other Trump vilifiers assert that Russia toyed with our elections. Evidence to back this up is not necessary you see, because it's what the good old Establishment and the deep state and the fifth columnists that are the media have proclaimed.
Will Trump launch an investigation and appoint a special prosecutor to look into Seth Rich's murder? Will his computer ever be tapped, assuming it hasn't already been destroyed? Is Trump ever going to call out the media and the Democrats whose sole purpose is to remove him from office? He needs to hold a major press conference and set the record straight. Who the hell is advising this president?
Oh, yeah, and Jerusalem—including the Wailing Wall—is open to negotiation as to whether it is actually in Israel according to National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and, that obvious Rhodes scholar, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. No wall, no enaction of a tax plan yet, no repeal and replace of Obamacare and now we can add betrayal of Israel to the list. Is Trump going to demand a deal from Netanyahu so we don't offend the Jewish state's less-than-genteel neighbor countries? How many times can the U.S.A. pursue the nonsense that is a "two-state solution"?
Anyway, I was doing some spring cleaning and I came across a copy of the Broward-Palm Beach New Times that I had brought home with me from South Florida eleven years ago. The June 29-July 5, 2006 copy of the publication contains letters written in response to a feature piece written by Trevor Aaronson called "Chump Tower," criticizing the construction of Trump International Hotel and Tower, a condominium hotel in Fort Lauderdale.
One reader wrote, "Aaronson's 'Chump Tower' ... gets right to the heart of 'golden calfism' in South Florida. I should know: I live in Holly-Mara-Wood ... [where] our 'let them eat cake' administration bows down to Baal or McDonald Chump or Zyscovich or whatever misbegotten 'rainmaker' strolls into town."
I'm guessing this concerned citizen voted for Bernie in '16, don't you think?
Then there's a gentleman named Rick from Fort Lauderdale itself who wrote:
[T]he sheer one-sided story you recently published regarding the Trump International Project truly gets under my skin ... 
Trump's presence on Fort Lauderdale Beach is part of a revitalization of not a pile of dirt but a city, from the sleepy portside town into an international destination. So perhaps you may like peanut butter and jelly and drinking beer from a can wrapped in a paper bag, but many people like caviar. 
Building a world-class beachfront takes money and lots of it. Trump does know more than you do; that's why he's Trump and you're who? Regardless of his net worth, whatever the number may or may not be, Trump has built, and rebuilt, himself into one of the most recognizable corporate figures in the world.
Rick, you deplorable, you.
These letters are revealing in exposing the fact that long before he ran for the presidency, Donald J. Trump was a man of controversy.
You know, Trump does know more than us. Obama completely shattered the maxim that presidents are wise and have the country's interests at heart. Trump has restored it.
With the sole exception thus far of James Comey, one wonders where his propensity for firing miscreants and losers went. Has the swamp in which he's currently drowning removed that from him?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

No country for partisan political hacks

It's as if they wanted to shut me up.
Over two weeks ago, news broke that the new head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, was targeting WikiLeaks. The same website that did what our "valuable" mainstream media absolutely didn't do, present Hillary Clinton for what she did and what she was to the world: A low-life, amoral criminal committing treasonous acts.
I was prepared to say that, yes, WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange had done a bad thing with the whole sordid Bradley Manning affair (I refuse to address that traitorous boy solider by his "new" identity; I don't care if he officially changed his name or not.) We can all agree, that was terrible and the secrets revealed put lives at risk. Awful stuff.
But consider the flip-side. WikiLeaks also gave us most of everything we could ever want to know regarding Hillary Clinton's e-mails, the underhandedness of the Democratic National Committee under the leadership of Debbie Wasser-woman Schultz, the cheating of Donna Brazile, the killing of Seth Rich—all of that got exposed. Were we ever going to know any of this controversial material if we left it in the hands of the Carl Bernstein-Bob Woodward acolytes? The New York Times or The Washington Post? In fact, the whole Russia narrative against Trump falls completely apart thanks to what WikiLeaks has turned up. And Pompeo seeks to prosecute Assange and ruin perhaps the only truth-telling organisation out there?
I wanted to address Trump himself: Mr. President, I would have beseeched, don't think that I'll let you off the hook for a CIA that continues to overstep its bounds just because you're the guy in charge. I elected you so that you would rein in these governmental/surveillance/deep-state bodies.
Not long after drafting this entry, I got pummeled, a real back-alley beating, and had a chunk torn from me. No lie. From the entire last week of April until just a few days ago—and I'm still convalescing—I'd never been so ill. Fever, delerium, hallucinations, pains in muscles I didn't even know I possessed. The whole nine yards. Polonium poisoning! The Trump-Putin cabal got to me!
Actually, it was influenza. But I digress.
Well, it's amazing what simply lying on your back for two weeks can do. That is, what turnabout in the news can bring when you haven't been paying attention.
On October 21, 2016 , I wrote: "Maybe, once that stratosphere-reaching idiot James Comey is tossed out along with his size 17 shoes, we'll once again have a Federal Bureau of Investigations that will do its job by following up on leads and capturing and prosecuting proven terrorists that are known to them."
Looks like I got my wish.
James Comey, a fool in so many ways that I could write a separate entry on the subject, dragged in Mafia wiseguys but ignored Islamic terror, or at the very least, dropped the ball on it too many times. (Comey had previously said that American citizens, despite having fought for ISIS, are "entitled" to come back into the country.) He was more concerned about running a political organization that sought to indict the President on grounds of "collusion" with Russia, for which no proof exists, than to safeguard American freedoms or go after the real scoundrels and ne'er-do-wells in the government itself, such as what was uncovered by WikiLeaks, for instance.
Comey apparently does not, or does not care to, acknowledge the Fourth Amendment. Trump's connections can be analyzed forwards, backwards and sideways, but Clinton got off because Comey could cite no intent, even though intent was not part of the statute. He did re-open the case in October, only to close it again days later, once again reporting that no intent was evident. Liberals blame Comey for sinking Clinton's campaign at that stage, but conservatives like myself wondered what his real motives were. "Hillary Clinton, innocent again," says the FBI chief. That's what I saw when he re-closed the case against her. 
James Comey is an arrogant goon who only a month ago said that he was there to stay for his term and that he would not be going anywhere. And it irritated me to no end, because as I wrote on April 2: "Comey has made it clear, in Senate testimony, that he will not pursue possible proof of wiretapping by Deep State officials on Obama's order, the source of the leaks against him and his administration, but he will continue to investigate these ridiculous assertions of collusion with Russia—a duplicitous strategy designed to damage Trump's presidency and add fuel to the fire of Democrats calling for his impeachment. What is Trump planning to do about Comey? Damned if I know. Instead of calling him to the carpet as he should, he's letting this traitorous idiot continue with his investigation of his own presidency!"
I agree with Sean Hannity when he recently opined on his FOX News show:
Comey has failed you, the American people, on a spectacular level. And at every single turn, the FBI director disrespected the Constitution. He has shown he does not care about the equal opportunity application of the rule or of law being applied equally to every American. [W]orst of all, he has created in this country now a two-tiered justice system. One for Hillary and Bill Clinton, and one for the rest of America. It’s become a travesty.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders recently told Tucker Carlson, "Director Comey had lost the confidence of the rank and file within the FBI."
Of course, because liberals are profoundly stupid, and the fact that nothing has been found to justify the Trump-Russia angle is obviously being ignored by them, the firing of Comey has Democrats likely to be calling for the establishment of a special investigation on Russia upon Comey's departure. Senator Elizabeth Warren has already jump-started the predictable party line by asserting that "Comey was fired because of the Russians." The airhead "serving" Massachusetts is typifying the liberal Democrat reaction by refusing to let the whole deception over Russia drop by calling for a special prosecutor and whining, "Donald Trump doesn't want anyone coming any place close to an active investigation into the relationship between the Russians, the Trump campaign, and Donald Trump himself."
President Trump saw an opening, a "window" as astronauts call it, to jettison Comey without the baggage that would have come with the move if he had done it earlier. With Sally Yates and James Clapper disgracing themselves in front of Congress, in which they alleged that protections are in place to prevent "unmasking," but cannot for the life of them explain how Mike Flynn's name was given to The New York Times, the time was right.
As Joel B. Pollak recently wrote, "If Trump had fired Comey while there were still serious questions about Russia, then it would have been more plausible to accuse him of trying to interfere in the investigation or cover up whatever happened. It is now clear that nothing, in fact, happened. Monday’s hearing with Clapper and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was meant to reveal a 'smoking gun,' and produced nothing but viral videos of Sen. Ted Cruz." Perhaps this President is a lot more politically shrewd than I've given him credit for. At least he's listening to his brilliant attorney general and he needs to do a lot more of that. "MAGA" may yet come to pass if Trump continues to follow Sessions's leads.
Chuck Schumer can warn the President that he is making "a big mistake" in booting Comey out. Do these Democrats not realize that Comey would have been shown the door on day one of a Madame Hillary presidency? "If Hillary Clinton had won, Director Comey would have been fired immediately, and these same Democrats would be dancing in the streets," Sanders told Carlson. Just Democrats being Democrats, nothing new there.
Comey apparently laughed in front of other FBI agents when he first found out that he had been fired by the President. He believed it was an elaborate joke. It's no joke, Comey. Sling your pack and go. Nobody likes you. This is no longer a country whose operations will harbor incompetent stooges like yourself for any longer. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Trumpsters need to resist their transformation into Trumpbots

I guess we can now call them the Trumpbots.
The people for whom the great Jerry Williams used to say, "they're out there!" The ones who could listen to Trump announce that he was going to declare himself king of the universe with George Soros as his deputy and say, "Uhhhhh ... yeah. Sure! Well done, Mr. President! America First!"
The ones who apparently are so firmly attached to the President's caboose that they absolutely cannot hear anything that doesn't blindly support their guy. Trump's been doing a lot lately that makes me wonder how America will be made great again, but these folks don't want to know.
Even the Obamabots, at least during his first term, were willing to call out the Dear Leader. Remember in 2011 when Matt Damon was asked about him, to which the Mass-hole actor sadly shook his head, sighed and replied, "Not a fan." The Obama butt-kissers, including Damon, soon stepped back into line during his second administration—after all, what could they possibly have not liked?—but when Barry failed to completely bring the hammer of soft socialist dictatorship down on the "bitter clingers" before 2012, they spoke up. I've said it before and I'll say it again, at least you know where you are with the Left.
The Trumpbots, however? Stick your fingers in your ears, a blindfold over your eyes and use your mouth only to shout down the "alt-right" when it rightly expresses concern over the path down which your man is headed. Just sit there like dopes, praise everything he does and question nothing. That's brilliant, folks. What a gang of geniuses. We should be inclined to leave democracy in your hands?
Trump is infinitely better than Hillary the Pantsuit. We have Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. The coal industry has been given a new lease on life and some bureaucratic red tape has been cut. Some jobs have been created and the economy has responded with an uptick. Hell, if this keeps up, Standard and Poor's may give the U.S. back its AAA credit rating. Things are okay. There are green shoots springing up from the decaying matter of the last eight years.
But, listen to me, fellow Trumpsters: You knew the deal. You were aware that he had to be held to his word—by us. You cannot allow yourselves to be so taken in by his aura that you will not question him because you think that's unpatriotic. You have to question those you support. Or else, you risk supporting a cult of personality and nothing more.
Fifteen years ago, I was totally taken in by the rah-rah jingoism of the Iraq War. Saddam Hussein was a bad dude, he had weapons of mass destruction, and, if we searched hard enough, there was probably a link to 9/11 with his regime as well. We had to free the Iraqi people and bestow Jeffersonian democracy on them. Bush, Bush, U.S.A., U.S.A.! I ate that shit up—hook, line and sinker. And now? Oh, what kind of fool was I?
I now loathe the neocons who brought us that war (among so many others). I despise the jingoistic yellow journalism behind "Remember the Maine" and the My Lai massacre. Another conspiracy by the internationalists to keep us mired in a conflict that keeps the war machine churning. As for Dubya, I now cringe at the thought of ever having had that idiot's back. He was just another tool of the global establishment. He promised us in 2000 to keep out of foreign entanglements, and then dropped us in two of them. There was some justification for action in Afghanistan albeit, but we should have got out once we shot every Taliban member out of that tree they were in, and not get bogged down like the Soviets circa 1979.
Bush voters did not hold him to account. In fact, they put him in for a second term. Granted, his opposition was Pepé Le Pew, a.k.a. John Kerry. Still, the "U.S.A! U.S.A!" chants started getting old; obscene, in fact, given the flag-draped coffins that started to multiply.
The lesson we should all have learned? Fight only when we're attacked. Have a massive, well-trained military with plenty of air and sea power on reserve for times when it is genuinely required to defend the homeland. Let's try living as a nation of peace for once and leave the rest of the world to it.
A great place to start is to recognize that avenging the babies of the "sarin" gas attack in Syria is not going to save the whole world. Children die everywhere, it's a grim fact of life. From a metaphysical standpoint, death is death. Why don't we lob a few Tomahawk missiles at Vatican City for the Children's Crusade of 1212? Even better, what about declaring war on the police force of Rio de Janiero for the 1993 Candelaria child massacre? Hey, the deaths of sixty young 'uns still need avenging, don'tcha know! Don't you care about the children?
In fact, among the worst contemporary massacres involving children are the Beslan School attack in 2004 which killed 156 children, the 2014 Peshawar Public School attack in Pakistan that killed 100 children, the Baghlani-jadid factory massacre in Afganistan in 2007 that took out 61 children, and the attack on the Yazidi community in Iraq by ISIS last year and by al-Qaeda in 2007, death toll numbers for which have not been provided but are thought to have wiped out scores of children. All of these attacks committed by ...? Yep, radical Islamists. And we attack Assad's secular regime and take a hard line against Russia, the nuclear superpower we were promised vastly improved relations with by the new President.
So, people, I don't want to hear any more about "the children". I'm sorry to say it, but it's immaterial. And here's the thing: I'm still waiting for the proof that Assad committed the gas attack in Idlib province, and that the gas was even sarin. If you look at the health workers tending to the children after the attack, you will see that they're only wearing gloves and dust masks. Those alone would not have saved them from the effects of sarin—just sayin'. Were the more scientifically agile among us not supposed to notice this?
By the way, a car bomb exploded west of Aleppo on Saturday, killing 24 people who were being moved as part of the "Syrian swap," arranged by the Syrian government and the opposition to evacuate people from towns and cities that have been besieged for years. I suppose Assad whipped this up too, even though suicide bombings are the hallmark of Islamic terrorists in the Middle East? Who's your next bomb going to hit, Mr. President? I certainly hope it'll take out more than just 94 ISIS militants as with your MOAB strike in Afghanistan. Now, 940—then we're talking business.
But enough about that. Let's have a quick review of some of the other bewildering moves by Trump lately and the wackiness of his administration, discounting the previous health care and travel ban disasters:

  • He has reversed his position on the Import-Export bank, one the biggest corporate welfare rackets operating, in which only the biggest companies benefit. (And we all need Facebook and Google and Amazon to be even more powerful than they already are, don't we?)
  • NATO, that anachronism, was declared by Trump to be "no longer obsolete".
  • China will not be declared a currency manipulator. This, despite Trump having talked about this since the 1980s.
  • Chief advisor Steve Bannon was publicly dressed down by Trump while Jared Kushner is seemingly taking the lead in almost every committee meeting.
  • James Comey won't be persuaded to step down as head of the F.B.I., and Trump has indicated that he will not pursue "locking her up," that is, throwing Hillary Clinton in prison where she belongs. And if he won't try to put Hillary away, Susan Rice probably won't be doing the perp walk anytime soon as well.
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer embarrasses himself and the educational reputation of the United States by claiming that "Ashad" is worse than Hitler because the Nazi leader did not use chemical weapons. When asked to clarify this by a member of the press, Spicer noted that indeed Hitler brought gas into "the Holocaust center," but not deliver chemical attacks from a plane. This bumbling idiot is the best Trump can do for his White House Press Secretary, especially when he could have Laura Ingraham in that role?
  • Nicky Haley, our ambassador to the United Nations, as Michelle Bachmann-like a boob as you can get, says that ISIS is "obviously" the problem, but justifies regime change in Syria [OK, so I lied about "enough of that"].
  • Trump has nominated a partner at Mayer Brown, a global legal services provider including advising on trade and visas and work placement for migrants, and former Dubya Bush administration member, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's number 2 guy at the State Department.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told illegal alien students that they "should not be concerned" about losing in-state tuition. In saying this, DeVos parroted Homeland Security leader John Kelly who said last month that, "the least of my worries right now is anyone who falls under the general category of DACA" and also "the least of my worries are undocumented illegal aliens who are living lives."
  • On that subject, the Department of Homeland Security has suspended its sanctuary cities list, alleging the inaccuracy of some of the data used to produce it. In other words, the threat to pull federal funding from municipalities sheltering illegal law-breakers, if that's not a redundancy, is being challenged and, as always, the principled position is taking a back seat to social justice radicalism. So they had to ... uh, you know, "suspend the list".
  • Where are the tax cuts Americans were promised? When will the tax plan Trump laid out during his candidacy be implemented? When will that wall start getting built? When will Trump call that quisling Paul Ryan out for betraying conservative principles by not crafting a budget that will include tax cuts and funding for the border wall?

Incidentally, dear reader, remember how I recently asked if Devan Nunes, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman, would recuse himself regarding the investigation into whether the Obama administration spied on Trump, for which evidence was found and he was excoriated by the Democrats and the media for not first going to Democrat hack Adam Schiff with it? Let me claim to have been among the first to foresee this. I wrote the entry April 2, and Nunes recused himself on April 6. I called it, mes amis. I called it.
I'll tell you what. Maybe we've been snookered here, Trump fans. Did this dude just pull the mother of all arts of the deal on us? If Donald Trump is the Archie Bunker that the nation's deplorables elected, he's been spending too much time listening to Mike and Gloria, in this case, Jared and Ivanka, than following the desires of the base that got him where he is.
This president needs to start listening to us now and put a halt to all the reversals and policy shifts that he and his cabinet have been engaging in. And he needs you, my dear little Trumpsters, to hold him to account.
Don't be a Trumpbot. Support the original Trump message of "America First". Call me crazy, but cozying up to the Wall St. crowd, calling for Middle Eastern regime change and stalling action on illegals is not the nationalist, American citizens über alles protocol that I voted for.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Yes to Gorsuch, coal and sanctuary city crackdowns, but NO TO SYRIA


Well, finally. After all the hullybaloo—the usual Democrat crybaby objections and long-winded rants—the 49-year-old federal appellate judge for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, one Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed by the Senate to take his rightful place on the Supreme Court. This is the victory President Trump had been seeking. After the "wonderful new Healthcare Bill" sank without a trace (and without a vote), because principled conservatives and balking moderates refused to have their names associated with it, Mr. Trump can now point to a result. 
This comes soon after he signed a bill rolling back former president Obama's anti-coal Office of Surface Mining's Stream Protection Rule and also signed a Congressional Review Act that quashed a financial disclosure requirement for energy companies. Both are a very good start in allowing the firms who provide our energy needs—the ones who make it possible for all the good little hippies and hipsters in Starbucks coffee shops everywhere to recharge their iPhones and notebooks—to operate a bit more freely, unencumbered by regulation designed to stifle them.
It also follows after Attorney General Jeff Sessions eventually made himself heard again by appealing to sanctuary cities—municipalities which break the law by sheltering illegal alien law-breakers—to comply with immigration statutes or be denied federal funds. The state I hail from, dear reader, is pretty small. But even Massachusetts has five sanctuary cities as defined by the Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agency: Amherst, Cambridge, Northampton, Somerville and the capital itself, Boston. And, in defiance, Salem joined the list when its city council opted to institute, with no input from the residents they purport to serve, a "Sanctuary for Peace" ordinance. ICE will have to add the Witch City to the list. Six cities in just one New England state. Kinda leaves you with the impression that Sessions and ICE have a mammoth task ahead of them. Of course, it is the right thing to do. This is what I voted for last November.
By the way, have you heard the oh-so-heartbreaking tale of Fatima Avelica? Her daddy, her "coach," was deported back to Mexico, you see, and this young lady needs him back so she can have him by her side as she finishes a marathon. Yeah, it's called the sprint across the border, we've all heard of it, Fatima. Look at it this way: Your father just taught you the importance of following the law and that there are consequences if you do not. He has just taught you, by his absence, that you cannot just doss down in another country because you feel like it and think you are entitled to do so. Incidentally, the kid wants to become an immigration lawyer. Golly gee, you don't say, Fatima! And here I was thinking you wanted to grow up to be a venture capitalist or teach American children math or science. All the DREAMers want to be immigration lawyers, just what the U.S. needs even more of.


Now then ... What I absolutely did not vote for was further antagonism of Russia and a continuation of a policy toward Syria aimed at removing Bashar al-Assad. I was very happy when I heard, only one week ago, that Mr. Trump would not seek to remove Assad from power. This is the news I had longed to hear, and finally, America under Trump's leadership had learned lessons from problematic interventionism in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya, in Egypt and in Yemen.
Syria would be yet another Middle East disaster too far. The Trump administration's signaled reluctance to intervene against Assad was especially of great importance as it would imperil a ceasefire that was brokered by the Russians, Iranians and Turks. In March, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the press in Ankara that in the long run, the status of Assad as leader of Syria would be decided by the Syrian people themselves, many of whom approve of him because he is secular and protects the religious minorities.
Syria is also in Russia's backyard and direct sphere of influence. As talk-show host Jeff Kuhner pointed out on his Thursday show with regard to Russia's view on Syria.
An Islamist Syria will pose a mortal threat to Russia's soft underbelly because they have a huge Muslim problem in the Caucuses and in the southern part of Russia. This is why Putin has said, "For us, Assad leaving is non-negotiable. It's non-negotiable." 
It would be like, flip it—there would be a civil war in Mexico in which one of the sides is ISIS or Muslim terrorists. Would we ever allow an Islamist regime to take power in Mexico City, that could go right up to our border, and then potentially aid and abet Muslim insurgents and Muslim terrorists—ISIS cells—within America? And if Russia was threatening to bomb a secular dictator that we were backing because he was the only option to defeat these Islamic terrorists, would we allow the Russians to do that?
Yet, this kind of scenario is what we are now facing because Trump has reversed his decision, on the drop of a dime, and launched 59 Tomahawk missiles from two US Navy destroyers. The missiles hit the Shayrat Air Base, an air base in central Syria controlled by the Assad government, severely damaging it. This move was made without Congressional approval, although Congress was notified beforehand.
Four children were killed in the airstrike. Are we to believe these children are of lesser value than the babies exposed to sarin gas just because Trump, with the backing of the neocons and the liberal interventionists and internationalists, was at the helm? Those children dying is A-OK, but the children who were gassed are leading us into a war we don't need and over an issue that doesn't involve us.
Does anyone remember Alan Kurdi? He was the 3-year-old who was found washed up on a Turkish shoreline, having drowned in his family's attempt to migrate. We saw that image over and over again. Predictably, it forced all of the West's leaders at the time—Merkel, Hollande, Cameron, Obama—to open the floodgates to "migrants" from Syria, most of whom have been found to be Afghans and Iraqis and others. The government-media complex saw to it that we were emotionally brow-beaten by the image of Kurdi floating lifeless in the tide.
Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, to name just two prominent conservative pundits, are cheering Trump's response along with the likes of Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and the two-headed monster known as John McCain and Lindsey Graham. "American leadership is back! There's a new sheriff in town! The U.S. is going to kick ass and take names, boy, I tell you what!" Rah-rah-rah. Yeah, I feel just dandy that we emboldened the "Syrian rebels" a.k.a. Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and the Saudi-backed Islamic Front, as well as ISIS, by destroying nine Syrian fighter jets and the air base.
The blogger Paul Joseph Watson wrote, in response to the Syrian airstrike, "I guess Trump wasn't 'Putin's puppet' after all. He was another deep state/Neo-Con puppet. I'm officially off the Trump train." How else are those of us who cast our vote for him, convinced he would reverse course from Obama's disastrous Syria policy and who stood as the alternative to Hillary Clinton's vision for the Middle East, supposed to feel?
Former Congressman Ron Paul has said that it makes no sense for Assad to launch a chemical weapon attack with several victories under his belt in the civil war, with ISIS and al-Qaeda retreating and with a ceasefire possibly in the works very soon. As ZeroHedge points out, "Why would Assad put such assurances [by the Trump administration] in jeopardy by launching a horrific chemical attack, allowing establishment news outlets like CNN to once again use children as props to push for yet another massive war in the Middle East?" Watson also wrote:
It's particularly rich to see the same establishment media who were responsible for peddling fake news about "moderate rebels" for years now pushing the same agenda for another giant, endless, bloody war in the Middle East while acting like they have the moral high ground by exploiting images of dead and dying children. 
The Obama administration's intervention in Syria led directly to the refugee crisis and the rise of ISIS. 
If the Trump administration falls into the trap of following that same disastrous policy, many more innocent people will die than those who sadly lost their lives in Khan Sheikhoun.
National security interests are threatened by the Assad regime, we are being told. How are our national security interests bolstered by bombing Syria? What has Assad done to directly threaten us? Putin, on the other hand, has already said that if there are any more attacks, any further acts of aggression, that if this airfield bombing is just the start of further strikes, there will be payback. Maybe a good, hard slap by the Russians will knock some sense back into Trump's noggin. And maybe it'll start World War III. Are we—are you—willing to find out?
Again, I turn to Jeff Kuhner from his following show on Friday, to deftly explain the inanity of this Trump reversal in Syria policy:
Trump was going on yesterday about babies dying, and "beautiful babies" dying and babies shouldn't suffer like this. Hold on, let me get this straight. When Muslim babies die from sarin nerve gas, it's a crime against humanity? Do you know how many babies have died in the Syrian civil war? In fact, do you know how many babies die in wars in general? It's war! It's hell! That's what war is. 
But when ISIS beheads a baby, when ISIS burns a baby alive, when ISIS incinerates and blows up children, how come that's not a crime against humanity? How come there's not video footage of that, how come that's not thrown on CNN and Fox News and all over the world, and suddenly galvanizing the world to intervene against ISIS? 
When Christian babies are getting slaughtered, "hey, hey, let them fight it out." But when Muslim babies are being killed, there's the Saudis on the phone with the president, then the Egyptians are lobbying him, then the Turks are lobbying him. 
We are doing the dirty work of the Sunni Muslims. If they want to intervene in Syria, go on in. It'll be your war. But this has absolutely no impact on the United States.
Here is what bothers me the most. Who has proven that Assad launched the sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun? In what report has it been established that the Syrian government was absolutely responsible for it?
Why—why?—would Assad launch a chemical attack on a community, knowing that would elicit harsh worldwide condemnation and after Trump had said that his administration would not seek his removal from power? In light of this, what motive would he have had? Why would the Syrian strongman deliberately damn himself and risk possibly alienating Russia? Was he testing Trump's resolve?
In 2013, the chemical attacks in East Ghouta were used as a pretext to intervene in Syria, and reports from all the Western nations, including the U.S., pointed to Bashar al-Assad's government. It was a false-flag attack, carried about by ISIS and affiliated groups and that Turkish intelligence was used to commit the attack. Carla del Ponte, a chief prosecutor for the United Nations, alleged that evidence existed that the rebels were responsible. Ultimately, the Syrian rebels admitted their role in the attack.
Would you believe that Madame Hillary, as Secretary of State, according to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, oversaw the transfer of chemical weapons in Libya, previously held by Gaddafi, to Syrian rebel groups, and helped broker a deal in 2012 between the Obama administration and several Sunni countries to commit a chemical attack in Syria to provide justification for regime change. Mrs. Clinton would never be involved in such destructive shenanigans, now would she?
Now here we are again. Trump said we would not seek toppling Assad from power. There is a devastating sarin gas attack in a Syrian village. And the same intelligence agents are demanding regime change as we continue to go without a comprehensive U.S.-led offensive against ISIS. As with the 2013 attack, we presume that Assad had a motive while not daring to think that our precious "friends" in the region, the Sunni Muslim insurgents, could not and would not engage in savagery, point to Assad and lure the West in on humanitarian grounds and to ensure that Syria abides by the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Let me be as clear as I can be. There is NOTHING for the U.S. to gain by toppling Bashar al-Assad. We should be pursuing peace through a ceasefire and enforcing that instead of Obama's useless "red line" against the Syrian government. This is the biggest mistake President Trump could make. Forget befriending Paul Ryan and trying to court Democrats. This is far worse.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Oh Trump, how thou art disappoint me? Let me count the ways

I don't like having to write the following, but here goes.
Dear reader, I voted for Donald J. Trump for President because I believed in his outsider status—that he wasn't an ordinary, established politician—and, more than anything, his message to bring jobs back to America, crack down on illegals by deporting the criminal aliens and building the border wall, renegotiate bad trade deals and institute law-and-order.
I especially wanted Trump because I believed he would stick it to the Clintons, Paul Ryan and the other RINOs, and every Obama holdover in the government. For these people, payback would be a bitch, and I couldn't wait for all of their pyres to be lit.
Regular readers of this blog will recall that I was a Ted Cruz supporter up until the Wyoming and Colorado primaries which were decided beforehand with no voter input. Cruz was fine with accepting voterless victories and that turned me off. And the further into the primaries we got, the more I just couldn't see him winning. He simply did not have the numbers. Cruz is a principled conservative and I'm thankful for his presence in the Senate. But 2016 was not his time; Madame Hillary would have beaten him handily. Donald Trump, already a celebrity, had momentum—and a brilliant message of "Make America Great Again".
I know it's still a while until his first one-hundred days are up. But Trump, having witnessed the defeat of a health-care bill that he somehow seriously believed was the repeal-and-replace effort that he and other Republicans campaigned on and promised us, has turned his fire on the real conservatives, the ones that stick to their word, the ones that are serious about offering Americans free market-based health-care alternatives with no sufferable mandates or punitive taxes. Meanwhile he has said nothing about the considerable majority of moderate Republicans who played a big role in sinking the ACHA.
I expected Trump to chuck that phony, that Howdy-Doody-faced, Eddie Munster look-a-like imbecile Paul Ryan against the wall, Lyndon Johnson style, and tell him, "I know you're against me. I'm against you. If you don't work with me, you're in for a tough ride as Speaker. I'll personally see to it."
Instead, he sided with that Judas and expects Tea Party, grass-roots conservatives—those with the faith in their convictions—to get onboard. Sorry, Mr. President, no can do.
Trump allowed James Comey to stay on as the director of the FBI. Comey has made it clear, in Senate testimony, that he will not pursue possible proof of wiretapping by Deep State officials on Obama's order, the source of the leaks against him and his administration, but he will continue to investigate these ridiculous assertions of collusion with Russia—a duplicitous strategy designed to damage Trump's presidency and add fuel to the fire of Democrats calling for his impeachment. What is Trump planning to do about Comey? Damned if I know. Instead of calling him to the carpet as he should, he's letting this traitorous idiot continue with his investigation of his own presidency!
He failed to stand by Mike Flynn when the accomplished general became the first victim of the propagandist media's assassination attempts. Instead of insisting that Flynn stay, he accepted his resignation, based on nothing more than media hearsay, lies, half-truths and pretexts.
Trump has done nothing about the rest of the Obama holdovers in the government bureaucracy and Deep State positions which are actively seeking to imperil his presidency. He has not brought the hammer down on any of them. Does he really not see the long knives of their treachery?
With regard to Hillary, I expected Trump to "lock her up". But instead, just after the election, he called the Clintons "good people" and that, apparently, is that. The four dead in Benghazi continue to go without justice being done on their behalf.
Rand Paul has had to defend Trump with regard to him being wiretapped because he won't do it himself. All the President has to do is demand the FISA request that was issued in October. Something so simple, yet apparently beyond his ability.
Evelyn Farkas, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, as deep state as a position can get and fervently anti-Russia to boot, as good as exposed the Obama administration when she said March 3 in an interview with MSNBC that she requested that the information gathered on Trump should be released as she feared it would be buried when Trump and his people came in and that is why, she added, we have these leaks. That was a month ago. House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes is under fire, accused of having had access to classified reports provided by the White House itself. What is being done to calm that storm? Will Nunes now have to recuse himself or resign? Another person Trump will slap on the back and say, "Well, see ya'." Is this what it'll come down to?
For a President who looked like he knew how to fight the media and the Establishment, he's become pretty damn tame. 
We Trump-supporters were promised change in the way government works, a complete abandonment of Obama-era, and Bush-era, policies, and a "draining of the swamp". Now, amazingly, Trump has demonstrated a total willingness to swim in that very swamp.
So, business as usual, then? Work with the Democrats in pursuing the "art of the deal"? A new-found appetite for "go along to get along"? Hey, we can't let Chuck Schumer threaten a government shutdown, why that would be the end of the world! We have no choice to work with the moderates, because the conservatives are so inflexible and can't accept yes as an answer, don'tcha know.
This is making America great again?
It's obvious to me now that the President really has no political mind or instincts of his own and is relying solely on Mr. Establishment, Reince Preibus, as well as liberal daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, to dictate his policy going forward. Next we'll be hearing that Trump donated funds earmarked for the wall to George Soros's Open Society Foundation. At this stage, it would not surprise me one bit.
I'm through. I'm done. The next four years will be interesting, to be sure, but nothing at all resembling what I fully endorsed and dared to believe in.
Don't misunderstand me. I will not ally myself with those seeking to bring Mr. Trump down, and I never will. I still have nothing but the deepest contempt for those continuing to fight and resist his presidency and I find their motives ungenuine, asinine, disingenuous, traitorous and, in many cases, flat-out hypocritical. Donald Trump is our legitimately elected President. Whether or not he has any desire for a second term is, as far as I can tell, anyone's guess.
I wonder if Mark Meadows will run in 2020? 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trump and Ryan: Best friends forever?

Looks like the "purists" were right. I can honestly say that a Ted Cruz presidency looks mighty fine to me right now.
Of course, there's no way of knowing how Cruz would have reacted to House Speaker Paul Ryan, but I can say with some confidence that he would not have campaigned for this turkey known as RINOCare. I cannot for the life of me understand how "draining the swamp" involves defending that fraud Ryan and going to bat for his preposterous health care bill which, much in the manner of Obama's TPP agreement, was kept under lock and key.
All the American Health Care Act (re: Obamacare under a different title) would have done is shuffle money around under the guise of "tax breaks," in which people would have received $1,400 per month with which to purchase their health care, but it would have had to include all ten "essential benefits" of Obamacare. Forcing insurers to cover all those benefits would do nothing to drive down costs. It rejected purchasing across state lines. It allowed insurers to charge older customers up to five times as much as younger customers, so no changes there. It would have given the same handouts to illegal aliens as the Senate Finance Committee determined that it had no jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security. The Chamber of Commerce still has its hold on Ryan.
And President Trump has this chameleon's back? Does Trump not know that Ryan said, in October, that no how, no way would he support him as President? Is Reince Preibus keeping that from him? Can he not leave Twitter alone for just one second to read a newspaper or examine web articles on his own? Now then, I can't expect the President, especially before his first one hundred days are even up, to have full and complete knowledge of every enemy, real or potential. That's why a president has advisers. But for Chrissakes, this one was obvious.
Here's the thing regarding this "health care" bill: Does anyone not notice how hypocritical it is to have robbed the Social Security fund blind so that someone currently in their 50s or younger will never see the money in their retirement that they were promised, but to provide everyone with $1,400 every month? Where does the government get this kind of money from? How about just give us our social security and let us keep a lot more of our earnings? How stupid is it indeed that we should send money to Washington in taxes only for the government to say "oh, here's $1,400 of that back. Now buy some crappy health care with it."
What happened to the repeal of Obamacare that the Republicans crafted in 2015, just two short years ago? That seems, by all appearances, to have been stored in the circular file. Instead, Ryan opted to sell a dud to his fellow party, watch it attract nowhere near the amount of votes needed to pass it and then pull the plug on it by cancelling the vote. How embarrassing. The man loses a debate to Joe Biden and he cannot rally his own troops in Congress.
We may as well have John Boehner back. It would at least have been fun to watch him cry as he told everyone to forget it and go home.
Everybody says Paul Ryan is a nice guy. Big whoop. Maybe that's the problem. They finish last, so I've heard. This latest fiasco proves the point.
I know that there are some Right-leaning folks who have affection for Eddie Munster Mr. Ryan, and that's bewildering. What conservative credentials this boob has is a mystery to me.
On Friday, Mark Levin expertly spelled it all out: "Mr. Ryan, you failed to develop a plan that embraced market capitalism and you did not involve the GOP conservatives in the early phases of drafting your plan. You tried to force this plan through, adopted a few changes, but mostly continued with big-government ideas and much of Obamacare's essential elements."
In the The American Spectator, David Hogberg asks regarding the Speaker:
I can't help but wonder if he made a mistake leaving the chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee for the Speakership. For starters, why didn't Ryan sit down with the entire Republican Conference and solicit their ideas on repealing and replacing Obamacare? That would served as a starting point for drafting legislation as it would have given him a sense of the divisions between conservatives and moderates. Instead of taking time to put together a bill that would have been assured of at least 216 votes before it was even introduced, he put forward legislation that split the party and has left him scrambling for votes.
But never mind, we should all be relieved that the ACHA got defeated, right? Not exactly. Ryan and Trump and all of their minions immediately jumped all over the bill's conservative opponents, namely the eighteen members of the House Freedom Caucus, who rightly stuck by their principles in voting against the ACHA. They're being vilified, but not the moderate Republican members of the Tuesday Group or other centrists who took the view that their constituents would not be adequately covered or that, like Obamacare itself, it was unworkable. No, no, just blame the principled conservatives.
Even better—did you hear?—we're going to work with Democrats now! Yes, the same people who want Trump impeached and thrown in prison for unproven "collusion" with Russia are apparently going to help deliver Trump's infrastructure spending bill, tax reform and immigration policies. Oh dear God, good luck with that, buddy.
I thought this new President of ours had the smarts to recognize his enemies and the cojones and wherewithal to stick to a platform that involved conservatives. That honeymoon is over. It would have given me the greatest pleasure to see Ryan kicked back to his Budget Chair position, from which he could never again, and should never again, emerge. I would have loved to see Trump stand up and tell everyone, "This is not the healthcare bill I previously endorsed during the campaign and I won't be making that mistake again."
If Trump wants to swim with the alligators and snakes in the swamp, he can hardly be surprised when he gets bitten.
I'm not saying all's lost and I'm not trying to, God forbid, sound like a Never Trump advocate. Michael Savage has said that even if we only get 10 percent of what we wanted or expected from a Trump administration, we're infinitely better off than under the Pantsuit. But we have a President who has no idea how to defend the principles of the base that got him where he is. At least that is what he seems to be demonstrating. His cabinet can't shoot straight. I've gotten ever so tired of Preibus and Bannon and Conway. Honestly, they're the gang that can't shoot straight and Trump is taking his leads from them.
Cruz-bots, if you turn out to be right on this, then you have my profuse apology. We'd still have had Madame Hillary in office, but at least then there'd be no surprises.