Category Archives: Intgernational news

Human rights need renewed emphasis


If you could list all the key policy issues that went ignored by the Trump administration, you could say that human rights was arguably the most critical unattended issue of them all.

You see, Donald Trump once called North Korean murderer/despot/tyrant Kim Jong Un a “smart cookie” and professed to “falling in love” with the Marxist madman. Trump’s fealty to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has been chronicled on this blog countless times. Indeed, he has given a pass to the conduct of despots all around the world, from Saudi Arabia to Turkey to the Philippines.

So … with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris set to take office in four days it is good insist that they return human rights advocacy to the top of their agenda.

President-elect Biden has heralded the return of the United States to the family of nations, by re-engaging in international treaties and pacts to stem climate change, to fight international pandemics and to prevent rogue nations — such as Iran — from obtaining nuclear weapons.

It is imperative that as president, Biden insists that all nations work toward adhering to basic principles of decency and humanity when governing their own citizens.

Donald Trump never spoke to the nation about those issues in a forthright and authentic manner. He was too busy taking undeserved credit for matters that had nothing at all to do with advancing human rights abroad, let alone at home.

Human rights has been the linchpin of many previous presidential administrations. It is time to restore the issue to the place of prominence at the White House … where it belongs.

Joe Biden has pledged to restore our national “soul.” He contended during the campaign that Trump had inflicted heavy damage on our image abroad, if not at home as well. The quest for adhering to human rights issues should become paramount as part of President Biden’s soul-restoration project.

The first place he can start is by ending the coddling of murderous dictators that infected Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

This is no way for a ‘diplomat’ to conduct himself

Imagine a secretary of state working for, say, Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, Clinton, or George H.W. Bush doing the things that Mike Pompeo reportedly did to a National Public Radio reporter.

Mary Louise Kelly sought to get Pompeo to explain why he didn’t defend former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch after Donald Trump ordered her fired. He said he has “defended everyone” in the State Department. Kelly persisted, asking him to explain when he has said anything in defense of Yovanovitch. Pompeo stuck to his previous answer.

Then, according to Kelly, he summoned her into his office and launched into an f-bomb-laced tirade against her, told her to find Ukraine on a plain map, with no countries identified … which she did.

Then he issued a statement blasting NPR and the so-called “fake news” media.

Imagine that kind of thing coming from, oh, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright or, for that matter, Rex Tillerson … Trump’s initial secretary of state.

Pompeo serves as the nation’s top diplomat, a post that by definition operates on a formula of dignity and decorum.

This man is behaving instead just like the crass individual who at this moment is masquerading as the nation’s current president.

POTUS extols his ‘unmatched wisdom’ Wow!

Check out this Twitter message. It comes from the “stable genius,” the “serial liar/philanderer” and the guy who went to the “best schools” and possesses the “best words.”

Yes, Donald Trump has announced — without warning — a pullout of U.S. armed forces from parts of Syria where our Kurdish allies are fighting Islamic State monsters.

He refers to his “unmatched wisdom” in making the decision.

Oh, my goodness.

POTUS’s “unmatched wisdom” reveals a delusional trait that appears to be boundless. Without limit. There’s no end to it. No top end or bottom end of his self-aggrandizement.

I believe he also said ISIS has been “defeated.”

Nope. It hasn’t. Not by a long shot.

Fake News Purveyor in Chief is at it again

Donald “Fake News Purveyor in Chief” Trump was at it again today.

The president of the United States labeled reports of huge protests of his visit to the United Kingdom as “fake news.” He told a press conference that he “didn’t see” large protests. He said the big crowds were there to cheer his presence.

Hmm. Wrong! Here is yet another example of Donald Trump being unwilling — I won’t say “unable” — to tell the truth, even when there is a mountain of physical evidence to debunk whatever nonsense flies out of his mouth.

There has been plenty of video showing the massive protests in London. The Brits do not like the U.S. president, to which I will acknowledge that they’re in good company; most Americans don’t like him, either.

The Hill reports: It is possible that Trump had not been exposed to the protests as he has spent the vast majority of his time in central London, where police established a large security perimeter in anticipation of his visit.

That’s a fair point. But was he unaware of the protests as they were occurring?

OK, I get that Trump does have solid support among those who comprise his political “base.” Whether it’s in this country or abroad, they’re out there, too.

However, they were not out en masse today as the president toured London with British Prime Minister Teresa May.

But yet … Donald Trump chose to mischaracterize the reception he got. He did so in spite of what the world saw with its own eyes.

It makes me wonder: Is there something seriously wrong with a president whose lying is accelerating at a breakneck pace?

Where’s your Christmas spirit, Mr. POTUS?

Uh, Mr. President . . . you need to rediscover the Christmas spirit you say you possess.

I certainly remember during your winning presidential campaign how you pledged to bring “Merry Christmas” back into style. No more “Happy Holidays” for you. I believe you said that business employees would be required to wish their customers a Merry Christmas if you are elected president  — as if you have the authority to make ’em do such a thing.

Well, here we are. Christmas is practically upon us and your Christmas spirit has morphed into a prideful pledge to shut part of the federal government down by Friday if Congress doesn’t give you the money you want to build that “big, beautiful wall” along our southern border. Your right-wing hatchet man, Stephen Miller, has all but guaranteed you’re intent on following through with it.

I cannot believe you want to shut down the government on the eve of this holy holiday to make some kind of goofy political point. You keep telling us the wall will make us safer, more secure. You don’t seem to care that a wall flies in the face of our American values, that we longer would be a nation that opens its arms to those who seek to “breathe free.”

Don’t take this the wrong way, Mr. President. I do not favor unsecured borders. I do not favor “open borders,” which is your demagogic way of describing how your opponents feel about border security. Good grief, Mr. President, we have plenty of ways to make our border more secure without building that damn wall along the 2,000-mile boundary we share with Mexico.

This nutty notion, though, of shutting down the government at this time of year suggests to me that you didn’t really mean it in 2016 when  you declared your intention to restore “Merry Christmas” as the preferred holiday greeting. That ridiculous notion sought to convey a Christmas-centric idea that you and others declared falsely had been pushed aside in the name of some phony political correctness.

Which is it, Mr. President? Do you really intend to take exclusive ownership at Christmas time, throwing thousands of federal employees out of work when they are wrapping up their holiday shopping? Do you really mean to douse their Christmas spirit with the Grinch-like initiative of shutting down the government that puts beans on their table?

Mr. President, forgive me for saying this, but you, sir, are a phony advocate for Christmas. If you get your way, you’ll still be able to celebrate the holiday with your customary glitz and glitter down yonder in Mar-a-Lago. What about those who are out of work because of your tantrum over building that ridiculous wall?

Happy holidays, Mr. President.

Yep, Trump is a ‘joke’

There he goes again, “telling it like it is” even when it isn’t.

Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a chat the other day, discussing the president’s decision to impose steep tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

He said the imports present a “national security threat.” Trudeau took serious issue with that assertion, to which Trump said, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House” during the War of 1812?

Um. No. They didn’t. The British set the White House on fire.

Is this another “joke” that came from the president? If so, and that’s becoming one of the throwaway responses from the White House. someone will have to tell me how the “joke” is relevant to anything.

If it is a joke, then I also will need an explanation as to how the remark is supposed to generate a laugh.

The president already has demonstrated a shocking lack of historical perspective. To his base, that doesn’t matter. He’s “telling it like it is.”


No war against Islam, but against religious perverts

Barack H. Obama made a critical point the night in May 2011 when he told the world that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden in a daring raid in Pakistan.

The president reminded us that “we are not at war against Islam. Osama bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims.”

The al-Qaeda leader is long dead. His legacy continues to spread mayhem, murder and misery. More than 200 Muslim worshipers died today when terrorists detonated a bomb in a Cairo, Egypt mosque. The killers appear to be affiliated with the Islamic State, the monstrous outfit that has supplanted al-Qaeda as this country’s No. 1 international enemy.

And that brings me to my essential point. It is that we are at war with religious perverts, not mainstream Muslims. President Bush made that point abundantly clear just days after 9/11; President Obama echoed his predecessor’s assessment during his two terms in office.

Are we hearing such rhetoric from Donald J. Trump? Well, the president did fire off a tweet today condemning the “extremist ideology that forms the basis for their existence,” referring to the ISIS offshoot that is taking responsibility for this latest barbaric act.

I want the president to state categorically that our struggle is not against Muslims or the faith they worship. It is against the monstrous perverts who kill indiscriminately.

Here come those ‘damn e-mails’ again


I have been trying for weeks to grasp the significance of the e-mail controversy that keeps swirling around Hillary Rodham Clinton’s quest for the presidency.

Her one-time Democratic presidential primary opponent Bernie Sanders said he was tired of “hearing about your damn e-mails.” Me, too, senator.

But … here they come again, courtesy of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and — more than likely — the former head of the Soviet KGB spy agency and current president of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

They’re leaking these e-mails near the end of a bitter and ugly presidential campaign between Clinton and Republican nominee Donald J. Trump.

Their intent clearly and without equivocation is to embarrass and undermine Clinton’s bid to become president of the United States. They contain communication on a whole array of issues, from her speeches to well-heeled groups and backers, the LGBT response to Clinton’s reaction to the death of former first lady Nancy Reagan and her thoughts on how U.S. policy should deal with the crisis in Syria.

I get the intent, which is my clearest takeaway from it all. Indeed, Clinton hasn’t been very forthcoming on explaining many of these issues raised by the e-mails.

She and Trump are squaring off this week for the third and final (thank God in heaven) joint appearance. I’d bet real American money that moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News is going to ask her some tough questions about the e-mail dump and what it all means about the way she would govern as president.

I’m also willing to bet some serious greenbacks she’ll be ready to respond. Trump? Well, time tell us very soon how he intends to respond to her response.

Perhaps a follow-up question for Trump from Wallace might go something like this: Mr. Trump? You all but invited the Russian government to deliver us the content of those “missing” e-mails. Is this what you had in mind?

Oh, and another one could go this way: You’ve been critical of our intelligence operation and our military. Intelligence officials now seem to believe that President Putin — about whom you’ve spoken quite highly and who has returned the compliment — is responsible for the e-mail dump in these waning days of the campaign. Are they wrong, sir?

Olympics provide welcome relief


Michael Phelps is such a refreshing respite from the vitriol and trash talk of Drumpf  …

Right there, I believe, lies the key to why the Rio de Janeiro Olympics have me so damn spell-bound.

It comes from a friend of mine’s social media post. You go, Jim!

It’s not just Michael Phelps’s quest for more Olympic swimming history, as if he hasn’t made enough of it already while splashing through the water for the United States of America.

And it’s not just Donald J. Trump’s trash talk that’s infuriated me as I watch this miserable presidential campaign unfold … although I admit that the GOP nominee has played the major role in that element of disgust.

Watching these young people compete has been quite joyful for me.

I didn’t expect it.

I instead expected most of the TV coverage to center on the dirty water, the Zika-virus-bearing bugs flying around Rio, the corruption of the Brazilian government and the crime that plagues one of the world’s great cities.

We keep hearing these great stories about Phelps conquering demons, about our U.S. female gymnasts living up to their huge hype and winning all that gold, about friendly rivalries that span the globe.

OK, so not all of it has been warm and fuzzy.

We’ve had the smack-down between a U.S. swimmer and her Russian rival over doping and the controversy associated with the entire Russian team’s participation in the Games; we’ve heard some criticism of one of our gymnasts for failing to put her hand over heart while the National Anthem was played during the medal ceremony; there’s been this and that on the sidelines seeking to distract us from the athletic competition.

It’s all diversionary material.

The presidential campaign awaits us after Labor Day.

Donald Trump will keep talking trash. Hillary Rodham Clinton will respond with her own brand of smack. Our disgust will mount. I am not looking forward to the final days of this campaign, as I’m sure they will bring out the worst in the candidates — not to mention the worst in voters who will work themselves into an all-out lather over what the “other” party’s candidate is saying.

I’m going to focus my attention for the next week on Rio.

The rest of it will be waiting when the Olympic flame goes out.

Bush seeks to dodge 9/11 responsibility


CNN’s Jake Tapper might have asked the most incisive and insightful question of the 2016 president campaign.

Over the weekend on “State of the Union,” Tapper asked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush the following question: “Obviously Al Qaeda was responsible for the terrorist attack of 9/11, but how do you respond to critics who ask, if your brother and his administration bear no responsibility at all, how do you then make the jump that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are responsible for what happened at Benghazi?”

Gov. Bush answered this way: “Well I — the question on Benghazi which, is hopefully we’ll now finally get the truth to, is was the place secure? They had a responsibility, the Department of State, to have proper security. There were calls for security, it looks like they didn’t get it. And how was the response in the aftermath of the attack, was there a chance that these four American lives could have been saved? That’s what the investigation is about, it’s not a political issue. It’s not about the broad policy issue, is were we doing the job of protecting our embassies and our consulates and during the period, those hours after the attack started, could they have been saved?”

Did you follow the former governor’s answer? I had trouble getting the connection.

Bush once was thought to be the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination next year. He’s no longer the front runner, based in part on the stumble-bum answers he’s given to questions regarding whether President Bush — Jeb’s big brother — was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Gov. Bush said his brother “kept us safe” during his presidency. Hmmm. The loved ones of the 3,000 or so Americans who died on that terrible day might disagree with that view.

The attack occurred nine months into Bush’s presidency. He had been briefed by national security advisers about the threat that al-Qaeda posed. He was warned in advance about the possibility of an attack. The massive intelligence apparatus that we employed did not do its job in protecting the nation.

Is that the president’s responsibility? Well, gosh, it seems that the commander in chief ought to be held accountable. However, Gov. Bush chooses to avoid holding his brother accountable for that breakdown.

As for Tapper’s question, it still requires some clarity in the answer.

If George W. Bush doesn’t deserve blame for the tragedy that befell us on 9/11, how can Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama be held responsible for the Benghazi attack that occurred 11 years later to the day?

Is there a double-standard being applied?