Saturday, April 8, 2017

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


I

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.


II

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.

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