Category Archives: International news

Ah, yes, more ‘fake news’ from POTUS

Mr. President, you have put forth yet another lie.

Doggone it, sir! I cannot let this one go.

You keep attaching the pejorative term “fake news” to the media and your political foes, but you have turned fake news into an art form.

The terror attack in Spain prompted another careless, reckless response from you, sir. Let me remind you of what you tweeted: Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!

Did you say at that hideous press event the other day that you like to “get the facts straight” before you make a statement? Yeah, you did.

The tweet about Gen. Pershing, Mr. President, is a lie. You defamed the memory of one of our great national heroes all in the name of making some sort of stupid and ridiculous point about the nature of the terror attack that killed at least 13 people in Spain.

That fake story you told during the campaign about Gen. Pershing dipping bullets in pig’s blood and then shooting Islamic prisoners to death is a lie. It didn’t happen. So, you told the lie once again today. You put out fake news. You are a habitual, pathological liar. You, Mr. President, disgrace the office to which you were elected.

You not only defamed Gen. Pershing with that hideous story, you accused him of committing a horrific war crime.

I’ll attach how the National Review reported what you said, in case you haven’t seen it. It’s not often that I agree with the National Review, but we’re on the same page on this one, Mr. President. They can’t stomach you as president; neither can I. Nor can the hefty plurality of Americans who voted for Hillary in the 2016 election.

You keep demonstrating time and time again your total unfitness for high political office.

Fake news? You keep blathering that line at any opportunity.

Well, I got my fill of your so-called “fake news” long ago. The Barack Obama birth issue; the Muslims supposedly cheering the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11; the “millions” of illegal immigrants voting for Hillary; your insistence on voter fraud throughout the nation.

They’re all lies. They’re all “fake news.”

You should be ashamed of yourself. Except that shame requires a conscience. You are sorely lacking in both.

This is how we remember traitors?

I want to discuss briefly a subject that makes me a bit uncomfortable: Confederate memorials and statues.

It’s been in the news of late. Communities across the land are pondering whether to remove statues commemorating leaders of the movement that ignited the Civil War, tearing the nation in half, killing roughly 600,000 Americans on both sides of that terrible struggle.

And for what purpose? The Confederate states wanted to continue to enslave human beings.

It’s news these days, of course, because of what transpired this weekend in Charlottesville (which has become a form of shorthand for “racism,” “bigotry” and “intolerance”).

I join others who are asking: What other country “honors” those who betray their nation, secede from it and then start the bloodiest war in that nation’s history? Slavery is undoubtedly this nation’s most visible scar. We cannot hide it, push it aside, ignore it. It’s part of our past.

In that context, Confederate descendants say that individuals such as Robert E. Lee, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Jefferson Davis and a whole host of others also are part of our nation’s history. Oh, sure they are. Do we honor them? Do we revere their memory or their legacy? I think not.

My wife and I visited Germany this past September. We stayed with friends in Nuremberg, which has a special place in world history: It was the city where Nazi leaders were put on trial for their crimes against humanity.

One of our friends, a journalist and a highly educated man, told us that Germany has come to grips with Nazis’ role in plunging the world into the bloodiest conflict in its history. There’s a place called the Documentation Center in Nuremberg. It tells the story of the Holocaust and the unthinkable misery that the Nazis brought to Europe and sought to inflict on the rest of the world.

“We don’t hide from it,” our friend said. “We are ashamed of that time.”

But the Germans damn sure don’t honor anyone associated with that period of their nation’s otherwise glorious past. One doesn’t see statues of Hitler, Goebbels, Goering or Himmler in public places.

Perhaps we ought to ponder whether these Confederate “heroes” deserve the same level of scorn.

Swastikas are back in the news … for the wrong reasons

The “Greatest Generation” of Americans marched off to war in 1941.

Millions of them went off to fight the Empire of Japan in the Pacific; millions of others went in the other direction, to take up arms against the Third Reich and its fascist allies in Italy.

The Nazis who governed Germany did so under the banner featuring the swastika, which has remained the symbol of unequivocal evil over the decades since the end of World War II.

Events of the past few days have brought that symbol back to the fore in the United States. It’s good to ponder for just a moment the very notion that Americans would associate themselves with that symbol in any fashion.

The Charlottesville riot over the weekend involved Nazis who marched under that very banner yet again. They wore the swastika on their t-shirts, on arm bands. They adhere to the very philosophy that perhaps their grandparents or great-grandparents fought. Perhaps they lost ancestors in that conflict.

How in the name of all that is holy can anyone associate themselves with that philosophy? How can they in good conscience stand with that symbol of evil? Oh, wait! I guess I assumed that such sociopaths even have a conscience. Silly me.

I have my own deep-seated bias against that symbol. My late father enlisted in the Navy in early 1942, not long after our country entered World War II. He wanted to get into the fight right away and Uncle Sam obliged, sending him to Europe to wage war against that swastika.

And he did. His involvement in the Mediterranean theater of operations was intense. It was brutal. Men who fought under that swastika tried to kill my father — repeatedly and I am quite certain with maximum malice. Dad responded with equal intensity.

Quite obviously, he was able to come home at the end of the war. He got on with the rest of his life.

Over time, he talked occasionally about his war experience. He didn’t hate Germans. He did hate the symbol under which those young men fought against him. As I grew up, I was imbued with the feeling of hate as well for that swastika.

As we’ve seen over many years, though, not all Americans share that hatred. Some of us embrace that symbol. For the life of me I cannot fathom it.

But here we are, talking to each other once again about an emblem that symbolizes the very worst in our human existence.

And to think that the president of the United States has just elevated those who today are marching yet again under that evil symbol effectively to the same level of those who oppose them.

What does Kim Jong Un want? Part 5

This concludes my brief examination of the five demands that Kim Jong Un  has made on a world seeking to lessen tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

USA Today has listed five of them. Kim wants the United Nations to lift the sanctions it has imposed on North Korea. Good luck with that one, Mr. Dictator/Goofball.

The only way the sanctions could go away would be if Kim agrees with U.N. and U.S. demands that he cease making nuclear weapons and cease testing the missiles he hopes would deliver them.

Kim has brought a lot of misery to his people by spending so much of his nation’s Gross Domestic Product on militarization. North Korea is bristling with artillery pieces, tanks, fighter jets — but its people are starving. The sanctions imposed by the U.N. ban the export of coal, iron ore, lead and lead ore, depriving the nation of about $1 billion annually.

There needs to be concessions by North Korea for the sanctions to be lightened, or eliminated.

All of this circles back, in my view, to the issue of “containment and deterrence.” If the United States and the rest of the world would accept the notion that Kim is going to keep his nukes and then rely on the threat of immense destruction that would be delivered to his country if he launches any kind of strike, then this crisis might be allowed to settle down.

I have little faith that anyone — whether inside the North Korean government hierarchy or anywhere else — will be able to talk sense to Kim.

Now, if we could just get the president of the United States to keep his trap shut and let the diplomats do their work.

What does Kim Jong Un want? Part 4

The United States of America has followed a nuclear policy that, so far, has worked pretty well.

Call it a policy of “containment and deterrence.”

Thus, is it possible for the United States to get North Korea to toss its budding nuclear stockpile into the crapper? Hardly.

Which brings me to one of Kim Jong Un’s demands: He wants to keep his nuclear arsenal. USA Today’s list of five demands contains this one, which might be central to the current tensions that have escalated between the United States and North Korea.

Check it out here.

You’ve heard of “mutually assured destruction,” aka MAD. It kept the United States and the Soviet Union from nuking each other during the Cold War. The world is full of trouble spots occupied by nuclear-powered nations: India and Pakistan; Israel has them, too; South Africa has been thought to possess nuclear weapons.

Yes, we negotiated an agreement designed to rid Iran of its nuclear weapon capability and the jury is still out on whether that will work ultimately.

North Korea presents a tremendously different situation for us. Donald Trump is blustering, bellowing and bloviating about what he intends to do if Kim’s regime keeps making “overt threats” against the United States and our allies. A “threat” doesn’t constitute military action, so the president is treading on some highly dangerous ground if he intends to hit the North Korean’s first.

My advice to the president — which he won’t ever see, let alone heed — would be to dial back the fiery and furious rhetoric and possibly accept the notion that North Koreans are going to do what they intend to do, no matter how many threats we level against them.

However, the commander in chief can make it known — through back channels — what Kim knows already: Don’t even think about using those nukes.

What does Kim Jong Un want? Part 3

Kim Jong Un has a list of demands he is laying at the feet of the U.S. president.

Most of them seem to present intractable circumstances for Donald J. Trump to ponder.

Such as this one: Removal of all U.S. troops from South Korea.

It’s not going to happen, Mr. North Korean Dictator. It won’t happen at least until North and South Korea sign a peace treaty that comes with ironclad assurances that North Korea won’t ever — ever! — attack South Korea. The agreement also needs to include a denuclearization component, meaning that Kim needs to dismantle and abandon his ambitions to become a nuclear power.

Our troops commitment to South Korea was purchased with lots of blood. The Korean War’s hostilities ended in 1953 after more than 50,000 American personnel were killed in action. We came to South Korea’s defense after North Korea invaded its neighbors three years earlier. Indeed, Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, sent the troops south. So, that means the current North Korean dictator bears a bit of personal responsibility for what transpired, given that he is kin to the man who launched the aggression in the first place.

The ceasefire that both sides signed in 1953 included a commitment from the United States to defend South Korea against the North, given that the two Koreas are technically still in a state of war; no peace treaty means they cannot put their guards down.

There are roughly 28,000 U.S. troops in South Korea. That’s just part of the defense network. We have heavily armed naval vessels throughout the region and immense air power assets in places such as Guam and Japan — not to mention in South Korea.

Should we give all that up without a serious commitment to peace from North Korea?

The boy with the bad haircut — that would be Kim — surely knows we cannot do anything of the sort.

Nuclear threat a boost to tourism? Who knew?

You’re the governor of a remote U.S. territory. The crackpot dictator of a highly militarized regime then threatens to strike your home. The president of the United States calls ostensibly to offer you support.

Then you hear the president say something about how a possible nuclear missile attack could “boost tourism” on your island.

Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo fielded a call from Donald Trump.

Here’s how the New York Times reported a portion of the call: Mr. Trump said: “I have to tell you, you have become extremely famous all over the world. They are talking about Guam; and they’re talking about you.” And when it comes to tourism, he added, “I can say this: “You’re going to go up, like, tenfold with the expenditure of no money.”

I can’t stop laughing. The president is just killin’ it, don’t you think?

The president did say “we are with you 1,000 percent.” I hope that gives the governor some comfort. To be fair, Gov. Calvo didn’t seem disturbed by the seemingly flippant tone of the president’s call.

But really, Mr. President? Tourism is on your mind as you and Kim Jong Un continue to rattle the world with your reckless threats against each other?

What does Kim Jong Un want? Part 2

Donald J. Trump has complicated what ought to be the simplest of Kim Jong Un’s reported demands of the United States of America.

He wants guarantees that he can keep his job as North Korea’s strongman. 

In other words, no “regime change.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounded semi-conciliatory in that regard the other day when he said that United States has no interest in overthrowing Kim and seeks a “diplomatic solution” to the growing crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

Then the president chimed in with comments threatening “fire and fury” and saying that U.S. military is “locked and loaded” in case Kim decides to make any “overt threats” against the United States or its allies.

The term “locked and loaded” means, in military terms, that your weapon is loaded and that you’ve put the first round in the chamber. You’re set to fire said weapon. Is that what the commander in chief meant? Are we now set to launch a first strike against the North Koreans?

Kim is thought to be mindful of past U.S. military actions, providing him with cause to make the demand that he not be tossed out by an invading force.

I present you the March 2013 U.S. invasion of Iraq , which was launched for the expressed purpose of ridding Iraq of its own dictator, the late Saddam Hussein.

President George W. Bush and his national security team told us Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction,” which became the primary selling point for launching the invasion. Our military launched a full frontal assault. It got to Baghdad. We scoured the country from stem to stern looking for WMD. We found none. Nothin’, man.

Oh, we eventually pulled Saddam out of that spider hole. The Iraqis put him on trial, convicted him of crimes against humanity — and hanged him.

Kim doesn’t want that to happen to himself or his closest sycophants.

The secretary of state is trying to sound a reasoned, rational tone. The president, though, keeps pre-empting him with talk of an entirely different nature. What’s more, the secretary of state does serve at the pleasure of the president.

Military option for Venezuela? Huh? What?

Hold on a doggone minute, Mr. President!

You said you wanted to “put America first.” You campaigned in those battleground states pledging to concentrate on Americans’ needs while suggesting the United States no longer should be “the world’s policeman.”

Now you’re saying, as you did today, that you are keeping the “military option” open for — gulp! — Venezuela. Are you serious, sir? Are you pulling our leg? Do you mean to suggest that you just might deploy American troops to that South American nation? To do what? To put down a civil uprising?

Yeah, I get that they in the midst of a political crisis. Venezuelans are upset over their leadership. There’s been violence. People have died.

You said, “The people are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary.”

If necessary? What on Earth would make such a thing necessary?

Good grief, Mr. President! Please put a sock in it. Please stop talking so damn openly about sending our troops into yet another possible danger zone.

That’s not how you “put America first.”

Tillerson gets tossed under the bus … but why?

Rex Tillerson deserves a good word for sounding like a serious adult.

The U.S. secretary of state has declared that Americans should “sleep well at night,” even in the wake of the bellicosity coming from the North Korean dictator and the president of the United States.

What does he get from a member of Donald Trump’s national security team? Sebastian Gorka, a key member of the National Security Council, said that Tillerson is a diplomat and has no authority to talk about military matters.

There you go. A key NSC adviser tosses Tillerson under the bus. For what reason? For suggesting that the North Koreans aren’t about to launch missiles at the United States or that the United States is about to go to war with the rogue regime.

I tend to think of Tillerson as one of the grownups with whom the president has surrounded himself.

Gorka, on the other hand, provides another bullying voice for the president, as if Donald Trump needs any assistance in rattling nerves around the world. The president has done plenty of that all by himself with his “fire and fury” and “locked and loaded” rhetoric.

As for Tillerson, I’m going to presume he’s opened all the back channels he can find between Washington and Pyongyang. Perhaps he’s able to pass along to some North Korean functionary about the grave danger that can result from a foolish act of aggression.