Tag Archives: Middle East

‘Middle Easterners’ in the caravan mix?

Donald J. “Fearmonger in Chief” Trump is at it again.

He said the “caravan” of refugees heading for our nation’s southern border contains “criminals” and “unknown Middle Easterners.” Does the president have any evidence of it?

Of course not! He never produces evidence of anything when he makes these bellicose assertions. It makes his crowds cheer. It fires him up. He speaks the language that his “base” understands and to which it is drawn.

The unknown Middle East component, of course, harkens back to 9/11 and the view being promoted by those on the far right that the Middle East is populated by millions of Muslims who “hate America” and will do whatever they can to do harm to Americans.

So now, according to Trump, they’re slipping into the crowd of Latin American refugees and are heading toward our soft underbelly.

I wish I had an answer to what we should do when that “caravan” arrives along our Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California borders. I don’t.

I do not believe the president is helping quell the fear of many Americans by suggesting — without attribution — the notion that the refugees are full of criminals and “Middle Easterners.”

No. Donald Trump is stoking the fear. That’s what he does. It is how he rolls.

This man represents the best in U.S.?

Vanity Fair has published an article in which Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist, has confirmed what many of us have believed all along about Donald John Trump Sr.

He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Read the article here.

Gates has revealed that he had to explain to the president of the United States that HIV and HPV are different diseases, that produce different outcomes. Trump couldn’t grasp the difference between the virus that makes one susceptible to AIDS  and human papillomavirus, which is an STD that can lead to cervical cancer.

As Vanity Fair reports: “Both times he wanted to know if there was a difference between H.I.V. and H.P.V., so I was able to explain that those are rarely confused with each other,” Gates told the crowd.

Trump keeps boasting about how he went to the “best college,” and how he performed so well academically. Maybe he did back in the day. However, his business career after completing college took him down a path that didn’t prepare him in any way imaginable for the job he inherited when he was elected president of the United States.

His lack of preparation presents itself continually in the clumsiness of his public remarks, such as the time he told a roomful of Israelis — in Jerusalem after arriving from Saudi Arabia, “We just got back from the Middle East.”

Huh?

Kushner still has no business doing what he’s doing

Say what you want about Jared Kushner, the young man certainly “married up.”

As the late President Reagan used to joke about his own marriage to Nancy, Kushner enjoys the perks of marrying well. Why, his wife Ivanka’s father used to be a mere billionaire business tycoon. Now he’s the president of the United States.

What did the president do when he took office? He brought his daughter and son-in-law into his inner circle, gave his daughter some policy advisory role and entrusted Kushner with coordinating our nation’s effort to find a lasting peace agreement in the Middle East.

A problem emerged. Kushner didn’t have the proper security clearance to handle the material he saw regularly. Hey, he had as much diplomatic and political experience as his father-in-law; that would be none.

White House chief of staff John Kelly this week reduced Kushner’s access to this material. He now is denied access to the hush-hush stuff he’d been seeing. That’s a good thing. It’s not enough.

Kushner needs to be shown the door. He doesn’t belong in the White House, let alone handling the work he’s been given.

However, as one former Trump campaign and transition insider put it, he is “Mr. Ivanka Trump.” Which means he’s got the job for as long he remains married to the president’s daughter.

Weird, man. Weird.

Donald John Trump: Grifter?

The term “grifter” isn’t one that I toss around as a matter of routine.

It’s a fairly new addition to the English lexicon. I found a definition that read: “Someone who swindles others.”

Grifter equals swindler. Got that? Good.

Well, I heard a contemporary political pundit the other day use the term to describe Donald John Trump, the nation’s 45th president of the United States. My first reaction was “ouch, man!”

The guy on TV didn’t articulate in precisely what context Trump is a “grifter.” I’ll make a bit of a leap right here. I am going to presume he means that the president has swindled Americans into believing the things he said he would do right away if he were elected to the very first office he ever sought.

He’d toss out the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something else; he’d negotiate a deal to secure peace in the Middle East; he would pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Act; he would act more “presidential” and stop using Twitter as much as he did while running for the presidency; he would stay on the job at the White House and forgo golfing outings at any of his many luxurious resorts.

By my count that would be zero for five — and just on those particular pledges he made! Were there others? Sure. Let’s just stick with those for a moment. They’re pretty major things.

I haven’t (yet) mentioned the Trump University matter in which he settled with some plaintiffs who said they were, um, swindled out of money they paid for Trump’s defunct school. How about the money he said he would donate to veterans’ causes, but still hasn’t done so?

I’m not yet certain that the term “grifter” is going to become a regular part of my vocabulary. I get what it means and what it implies about the president of the United States.

It does seem to fit this individual’s modus operandi — as a businessman, TV celebrity and now as our head of state and commander in chief.

Sanity presents itself in Trump White House

Donald Trump pledged to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Then the president thought better of it. He has signed a six-month extension to keep the embassy where it’s been since the founding of Israel in 1948, in Tel Aviv, a relatively safe distance from where terrorists and other sworn enemies of the United States and Israel commit their acts of violence.

http://thehill.com/policy/international/335850-trump-keeps-us-embassy-in-tel-aviv?rnd=1496325457

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to become capital of an independent state, when or if that occurs. The Israelis claim all of Jerusalem as their own holy place.

“We know that peace is possible if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past and commit together to finally resolving this crisis,” Trump said in a speech in Jerusalem. “I am personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement.”

The idea is to broker a peace deal that determines the fate of the holy city, which has been the goal of U.S. presidents of both political parties all along.

Donald Trump has seen the reality of the situation and has backed off his overheated campaign pledge and has decided the status quo isn’t such a bad idea.

Good call, Mr. President.

Melania goes scarf-less? Heaven forbid!

Melania Trump has arrived with her husband, the president of the United States, in Saudi Arabia.

She and her husband, Donald Trump, strode down the stairway from Air Force One and greeted the Saudi king.

Oh, but wait! Her head was uncovered. She wasn’t wearing a scarf, per Muslim custom. Where’s the outrage? The recrimination? The howls of disrespect?

There wasn’t any. Nor should there be.

Hey, let’s hold on! Michelle Obama did the same thing when she and her husband, also the president of the United States, went to the Middle East a couple of years ago. Her head was uncovered, too. Oh, but the conservative media went semi-nuts.

So did at least one notable Republican politician. His name? Donald John Trump! That, truth be told, is what makes this an issue worthy of a brief blog post.

Being of a more tolerant strain as it regards religion, I am not bothered in the least that non-Muslim female dignitaries don’t cover their heads when they travel to Muslim-majority nations. They aren’t “dishonoring” their hosts.

Let’s stay focused on the aim of these visits, which has nothing to do with making fashion statements.

How does a ‘one-state solution’ work?

Let’s revisit for a moment Donald J. Trump’s statement that backs away from a decades-old U.S. policy in support of a two-state solution for lasting peace in the Middle East.

The president, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he could support a “one-state solution” if both sides agree to it.

Hmmm. How would that work?

One side would be the Israelis. The Palestinians are on the other side. A one-state solution, I am going to presume, suggests that Israel would be the sovereign state that would operate under a peace agreement. How do you suppose the Palestinians — who say they want an independent sovereign state — would react to that? My take is that they wouldn’t stand for it.

This is why previous presidents of both parties have supported a two-state solution that would allow Israel and the Palestinians to live side by side.

Yes, there remains a huge hurdle to clear: The Palestinians must accept Israel’s right to exist and they must cease the terrorist attacks — launched by groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah — against Israeli citizens.

If there can be an accord reached, it appears that the only option is for a two-state solution.

Why, then, did the president back away from what all of his predecessors have sought for the embattled Middle East?

Trump: Who needs a ‘two-state solution’?

Donald J. Trump has performed yet another amazing diplomatic deed.

While visiting today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump managed to pull back from the United States’ traditional support for a “two-state solution” in the search for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Trump now all but indicated he’d support a “one-state solution” that doesn’t allow a Palestinian state that could live peacefully with Israel.

Ugghhh!

I’ve long sought to give Netanyahu support in his fight against terrorists who keep bringing violence to Israel. I believe the Israelis deserve to protect themselves using any means necessary to defeat the forces of evil that seek to destroy their nation.

However, U.S. presidents of both political parties have been correct for decades in seeking a peace agreement that sets up an independent Palestinian state that would function alongside Israel.

I understand fully the difficulty facing Israel and the Palestinians in achieving a full-fledged peace. Terrorist groups operating in Gaza, which is run by the Palestinians, keep launching rockets and other ordnance against Israel. West Bank operatives keep bringing havoc as well.

However, to deny the Palestinians an opportunity to have their own state is an utterly insane strategy. It is counterproductive in the extreme. It would inflame the terrorists and it would result in continued violence, death, mayhem and heartache.

How do the two sides reach a “two-state accord”? I have no idea. Neither do the principals. However, they must continue the effort.

For the president of the United States — as the premier broker in seeking a lasting peace agreement — to forgo the search for such an agreement is irresponsible to a maximum degree.

‘Rolling Thunder 2.0’ … perhaps?

B52

Bring on the B-52s.

The Pentagon has deployed an unspecified number of the Cold War-era strategic bombers to Qatar to take part in the fight against the Islamic State.

The brass says the aircraft bring “multi-platform” forms of firepower to rein down on the terrorists. The Air Force describes the weaponry as precise and finely tuned to hit military targets.

Good to hear!

The B-52 remains one of the U.S. Air Force’s most potent weapons. It went into operation in the 1950s and has gone through several upgrades over the decades.

It poured thousands of tons of ordnance on North Vietnamese and Viet Cong targets during the Vietnam War. The planes played a key role in softening up Iraqi troop positions during the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91.

Now the Islamic State is about to feel the wrath of a weapon that our nation’s enemies always have feared on the battlefield.

My very first visual sight of the Vietnam War occurred as I peered out the window of a jetliner en route to Bien Hoa, South Vietnam in the spring of 1969. I looked down and saw a flight of the big birds flying out over the ocean after, I presume, completing a bombing run over South Vietnam.

Once I settled in at our Army aviation base near Da Nang, I could hear the thunder to our west as the planes fulfilled their mission. It was music to our ears, but it meant something quite different to those on the receiving end.

I welcome the news of the B-52 coming back into active wartime duty. I’m quite certain the terrorists who are about to find themselves on the receiving end of some serious pain will not.

 

What will president say about his tenure

right_way

President Obama vows a different kind of State of the Union speech.

Such events usually involve a lengthy laundry list of policy proposals. Frankly, they bore the daylights out of me.

I prefer loftier rhetoric for these events.

What might the president say? The pessimists have laid down their marker. The country is going to hell; we’re in danger of being attacked; the economic recovery isn’t as good as it should be; most Americans think we’re heading along the “wrong track.”

My hunch is that Barack Obama is going to sound significantly more optimistic. To wit:

  • We’ve added millions of new jobs over the past seven years.
  • Joblessness has been cut in half.
  • The budget deficit, which was more than $1 trillion annually when Obama took office, has been cut by more than half.
  • Automakers, the housing industry and financial institutions are back.
  • Stocks are way up (the recent correction notwithstanding).
  • We’re still the most powerful nation on Earth . . . by a long shot.
  • We haven’t been attacked by a terrorist group.
I’m not naïve to think there are no problems. Yes, the Middle East remains a powder keg. Then again, when has it not been?
Barack Obama will have much on which to hang his hat by the time he leaves office.
But he’s not going to assuage the critics. Not for a second.