Tag Archives: UN

Ivanka won’t seek UN job. Fine, but who would want it?

Ivanka Trump says she won’t be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

She wrote this on Twitter: It is an honor to serve in the White House alongside so many great colleagues and I know that the President will nominate a formidable replacement for Ambassador Haley. That replacement will not be me.

That’s good to hear. Why? Well, for starters, Ivanka Trump is nowhere close to being qualified for the job that Nikki Haley is leaving at the end of the year. Her only credential is that she is a product of the president’s loins. Period. End of story.

She wouldn’t acknowledge, of course, that any such appointment would be totally inappropriate and that it would hand this highly critical diplomatic post to someone who has no business serving in any official adviser capacity in the White House.

Yet the president, Daddy Trump, has said she would be terrific. She’s up to the job. She’s the tops … he says.

I now will quote fictional Col. Sherman T. Potter: Buffalo bagels.

The task now for the president is to find someone who can work within an administration that suffers from maximum chaos and confusion. What’s more, the president is now being served by a national security adviser, John Bolton, who once said of the UN that you could “lose the top 10 floors” of the UN building and not lose a thing. Oh, and that quip came from a guy, Bolton, who served as ambassador to the United Nations.

The next UN ambassador will have to work with Bolton. And with a president who still has to exhibit any understanding at any level of the nuances of international diplomacy.

Who will Trump nominate for this job? That remains the latest parlor game to occupy idle minds in Washington, D.C. He’ll boast about being able to select from an enormous pool of applicants. Of course, we have no way to know about the size of that pool.

Trump will tell us his applicant pool is h-u-u-u-uge and many Americans will believe him. I won’t.

As for Ivanka’s decision to take herself out of running, man, I hope she can tell her father privately in no uncertain terms that she really and truly means it.

She won’t replace Nikki Haley.

Suck it up, Michael Wolff, and take the heat

I am well into Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury” and am finding it an interesting and entertaining piece of work. Much of it rings true as well.

But when the author goes on these national TV talk shows to discuss some of the more, um, salacious elements of the book, he needs to prepare for the grilling he should expect to get.

He got grilled hard this week on MSNBC by “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, who wondered why he would suggest that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley would be engaging in an affair with Donald John Trump.

Wolff took offense at the question. Brzezinski persisted, noting that he implies an alleged Haley-Trump “relationship” near the end of his book.

The back-and-forth continued for a few moments before Brzezinski shut the interview down.

Wolff defamed Haley, according to Brzezinski. Wolff decided to go after the MSBNC co-host in a series of tweets after his appearance on “Morning Joe.”

I won’t comment yet on “Fire and Fury,” as I have a good bit of it yet to read. I do object, though, to assertions he is making about our nation’s U.N. ambassador and the president. This is a serious head-scratcher, given the ubiquitous presence of cameras, recording devices and other gadgets that can detect any kind of, um, “suspicious” behavior.

As for the author’s inability or unwillingness to endure tough questioning from journalists, well, he needs to toughen up.

POTUS set to tell U.N. to go … ?

The president of the United States is getting ready to deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. It’s a big test for Donald J. Trump. Is he up to the task?

Trump is a novice at this worldwide geopolitical stuff. He campaigned for the office he now holds by pledging to “put America first.” That means, according to some observers, that he intends to pull the United States out of its traditional role as the world’s most indispensable nation. We won’t be the “world’s policeman” any longer, according to Trump’s campaign stump rhetoric.

But … now he’s the man in charge. He’s the president of the world’s remaining military superpower.

Trump went to Europe not long ago and scolded our NATO partners about their lack of paying their fair share for its self-defense. It didn’t go well with our military alliance partners.

He already has decided to back out of the Paris Climate Accord, joining just two countries in refusing to join a worldwide agreement to reduce carbon emissions that a vast majority of scientists believe is contributing to the changing worldwide climate. Oh, wait! The president calls all that climate change stuff a “hoax.” Who needs the rest of the world?

Perhaps the biggest issue for Trump to confront will be the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration. It seeks to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. International watchdog groups say Iran is compiling with the agreement. Trump — no surprise here — is suggesting the Iranians aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do.

The president has until Oct. 15 to make a final determination on Iran’s compliance. What … will … he … decide?

I am going to await the tone of Trump’s remarks. He continues to look and sound like someone who has yet to find his comfort zone on the world stage. Sure, he talks about his prowess as a dealmaker and touts his business acumen. He’ll be standing in front of representatives of a couple hundred sovereign states, each with their own set of values, and political agendas.

Putting America first might play well in front of select domestic audiences. On the world stage? I’m waiting to see if he tries to sell that one to an international crowd.

NPR far from being a ‘propaganda’ vehicle

I hate disagreeing with one of the great editorialists of our time, but I feel the need to make a point or two about a news medium that is about to expand its presence in the Texas Panhandle.

Paul Greenberg, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a man I consider to be a friend, has referred to National Public Radio as “National Propaganda Radio.”

Ouch, man!

Greenberg is a noted conservative columnist who works these days for the (Little Rock) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. So, his view of NPR perhaps is tainted a bit by his own political leaning.

The Panhandle version of NPR, High Plains Public Radio headquartered in Garden City, Kan., is set to launch an expanded news/information service that will be located at 94.9 FM on the radio dial. It will broadcast news 24/7. HPPR is having a ceremony on Monday at its downtown Amarillo office to mark the occasion.

This is a big deal on a number of levels.

Understand that the Texas Panhandle is as right wing in its outlook as any region in the country. It once was known to be fertile ground for isolationist groups such as the John Birch Society, the folks who disdain the United Nations, fearing it’s a cover for a worldwide takeover of every nation’s sovereignty.

But HPPR sought contributions from listeners in the region to launch the all-news system. It received them.

Public radio long has been the bogeyman of right wingers, who insist that it’s nothing but a liberal mouthpiece, that is spouts lies, tilts the news toward the left, that it serves as a propaganda organ for squishy liberal thinkers.

As Col. Sherman T. Potter would say: buffalo bagels!

A friend and former colleague of mine who used to work at HPPR in Amarillo once told me that NPR’s gurus made sure that on-air news presenters and reporters avoided using the term “reform” to describe the Affordable Care Act. “Reform,” my friend said, implies an improvement over existing policy and NPR wanted to be sure to avoid the appearance of bias in its reporting of this highly controversial public policy. NPR’s preferred term was “overhaul,” he said. Fair enough.

I learned long ago when I started my career in print journalism that bias — without exception — is a product of one’s own world view. If you disagree with someone else’s view, then that person is “biased.” One rarely sees or hears of people acknowledging their own bias. I received a good bit of that sort of criticism during nearly four decades in journalism, most of which I spent writing opinions for newspapers.

Do I have my own bias? Sure I do. Do I gravitate toward certain news media over others because I perceive some media taint their news with “bias”? Yes again.

Public radio, though, is a different animal altogether. Its presentation of news is as fair as fair gets. It even has fans and followers who often don’t want to acknowledge it.

I recall a conversation I had with a key aide to U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, the Clarendon Republican who has represented the 13th Congressional District since 1995. This source — who also happens to be a friend — actually whispered to me over the phone that many on Thornberry’s staff “listen to NPR.”

Why are you whispering? I asked. My friend said, “Oh, I don’t know. It’s just what we do around here.”

Fear not. NPR isn’t out to poison anyone’s mind. It’s here only to provide news we can use … in whatever way we choose.

And it damn sure isn’t propaganda.

Get well, Mr. President and Mrs. Bush

First, a confession … and then a salute.

I didn’t vote for George H.W. Bush either time I had the chance to do so. Not in 1988 or in 1992 when he ran for president. For that matter, I didn’t vote either for the ticket led by Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 when Bush ran as The Gipper’s vice-presidential running mate.

But as the years have sped by I have developed a tremendous amount of respect for the 41st president of the United States.

In 2007, I had the high honor of shaking his hand and engaging him in about 45 seconds of conversation. They took a picture of the president and me (sorry to be a name dropper) and I display it proudly in my home.

The president isn’t well these days; he is battling pneumonia. I worry about him — and about his wife, Barbara, who’s also in the hospital — as I write these few words.

I’ve said for many years that I have long thought that George Bush was the most singularly qualified man ever to hold the office of president. His life story goes back to his days as the son of a U.S. senator from Connecticut; then he enlisted in the Navy and became a decorated fighter pilot who was shot down over the Pacific Ocean during World War II; he came home to build a business; he served two terms in Congress from Houston; he led the CIA, served as ambassador to the United Nations, led the Republican Party and served as special envoy to China; he was elected twice as vice president and then as president.

That, dear reader, is what I call a full and rewarding life.

The moment I shook his hand I said, “Mr. President, I just want to thank you for your service to this country.” He seemed to actually appreciate the expression of gratitude and thanks. He nodded and gave back a simple “thank you.” I hope he sensed my deep sincerity.

He has been in poor health. Hey, he’s 94 years of age.

Still, I want him to recover from this latest bout. The nation can use his wisdom and his grace.

Get well, President and Mrs. Bush.