Trump vs. the Intelligence Community

brennan

So, let me get this straight…yesterday’s Defcon 1  freakout over Trump’s presser with Vladimir Putin was over the fact that Trump did not condemn the Russian leader, in public, for his nation’s meddling in the 2016 election.  Trump also implied, somewhat surprisingly, that he did not accept the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia had, in fact, meddled.  I say “somewhat surprisingly,” because the President has said multiple times, over the past year, that he does accept that assessment.  And, sure enough, today he said that, upon reviewing  the transcript of his remarks, he realized that he “misspoke” (“misspoke” being the new euphemism that politicians use when they are saying that they really stepped in it).

Of course, many of the former leaders of the intelligence community under Obama were quick out of the gate with hysterical, over-the-top accusations of Trump’s blasphemy.  First and foremost of these was the vile John Brennan, CIA Director under President Obama, who tweeted:

“Nothing short of treasonous,” huh?  Says the guy who voted for the Communist Party candidate for president in 1976, during the height of the Cold War.  Not a guy whom I would consider super credible on matters related to Russia.  While head of the CIA, Brennan also contended that there were no innocent civilians killed as a result of Obama’s drone attacks, despite later testifying that the CIA kept a list of those civilians.  Oh, and his CIA  apparently kept tabs on anyone remotely connected to the Trump campaign, who may have spoken to any Russian, during or after the 2016 campaign, despite the fact that all of those Americans had their constitutional rights violated by his agency.  

Last but not least, it was John Brennan who requested that the FBI open an investigation into the Trump campaign, based on unverified information, and without ever providing a defensive briefing to the candidate himself.  And that investigation has done more to divide and harm this country than anything that a bunch of Russian trolls ever did.

But, sure, we’re supposed to accept Brennan’s judgement that Trump committed treason by implying that the CIA and FBI have not always done things on the up-and-up.  We’re also supposed to accept Brennan’s contention that, by meeting with the Russian leader, the US President did something shockingly unpatriotic.   No matter that every US president has met with every Russian leader since FDR and Stalin.

To be sure, Trump is far too prone to shoot from the hip, and, this time, he enraged even many members of his own party.  But the intelligence community has shown itself to be dangerously willing to work against a commander in chief who does not accept its views on foreign relations, and that seems, to me, to be a bit closer to “treasonous” behavior than not punching Putin in the nose, during a televised press conference.   

I’m not always in agreement with Rand Paul on foreign policy,  but his op-ed in Politico today made more sense than 95% of the media and the political class,

“I applaud Trump for both chiding our NATO allies and greeting its expansion with skepticism, and I applaud him for sitting down with Putin. We should be doing more of such self-examination and dialogue.”

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/07/16/trump-is-right-to-meet-putin-219012

Trump and the Truth about NATO

Nato

For decades now, ever since the 1950’s, the US share of NATO spending has risen, from about 50% during the Cold War years, to more than 75% today.  Virtually every US president and defense secretary during that time has spoken to European leaders about the necessity of  having their nations help shoulder the burden of  the defense of their continent.

But, until  Donald Trump, European leaders have ignored American pleas, and continued to pursue a path of massive domestic welfare spending, while relying on the US to invest in the military resources necessary to sustain the alliance.  There is little question that America has been getting rolled by its “best friends.”

Now, since the advent of the European Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open border migration policies, the  Russian annexation of Crimea, and the subsequent rise of nationalist populism,  illustrated by the elections of Trump, Austria’s Sebastien Kurz, Hungary’s Viktor Orban and now Italy’s Luigi Di Maio , the world’s oldest and most successful defense treaty is being sorely tested.  And, predictably, the establishment leaders of Europe are throwing a collective hissy-fit over President Trump’s public  truth-telling about the fact that America’s NATO allies have used the US as a military piggy bank, while reducing their own military spending to a pittance.

Germany, in particular, has benefited from America’s willingness to spend increasing billions on European defense, despite Europe’s own unwillingness to do so.    While the US has invested close to 4% GDP on NATO, Germany’s contribution has dwindled to a mere 1.2%, despite Germany having the world’s 4th largest economy.   And now, Germany has agreed to an $11 billion deal with Russia, to build a natural gas pipeline that will supply up to 70% of Germany’s energy needs.

Trump is right to call out the EU, and especially Germany, for its hypocrisy on NATO. His critics are right in saying that he could probably be more diplomatic in his language.

Sometimes, it takes a less diplomatic approach to get action.

 

 

 

 

 

“Trump’s judges are overwhelmingly white men”

Kand G

Many are not at all qualified for their posts. And they consistently hold extreme, right-wing views.

His nominees have a record of favoring big corporations over workers. They have fought to restrict women’s access to reproductive health services and deny equal treatment to LGBTQ Americans.

Trump’s judges also have a clear record of bigoted views when it comes to race

From  https://demandjustice.org/whatsatstake/  a website run by former Hillary Clinton campaign spokesperson,  Brian Fallon.

This seems to me to be such boilerplate progressive identity politics.  And there are no actual facts on the website, just the usual liberal activist buzz-phrases. 

If I wanted to be convinced that Brett Kavanaugh was a bad choice to be a SCOTUS justice, this wouldn’t do it…   

 

 

 

 

What ever happened to the Congress?

Capitol

We often hear about the “co-equal branches” of American government, but the truth is, that, according to the Constitution, the Congress has more power, in terms of checks and balances, than the Executive or the Judicial branches.

After all, the Congress can impeach and remove members of both other branches, can override a presidential veto, and is empowered to organize/re-organize the court system.  The House and the Senate can create their own rules,  and change those rules, without any input or approval from the president or the courts.  The ability of the Congress to “run the country,” particularly with a super majority,  would be near absolute.   Near absolute, that is, because it would not be able to abolish the executive or the judicial branches.  It would, however, be able to effectively check them almost 100% of the time.

So, why do we have such a weak and ineffective Congress?

 

“Once upon a Time, I was a Liberal”

“but liberalism has changed…I am walking away.”  

The growing #Walkaway movement is NOT an endorsement of the Republican Party, conservatives, or President Trump. It IS a repudiation of the far left, and of the Democrat Party’s embrace of leftism.  As Kanye West might say, it’s a movement of “free thinkers.”

How big is the #Walkaway movement on social media?  Well, not as big as the #Resistance, but it’s definitely growing.  Brandon Straka, the young man in the video, has created a Facebook page for the movement, and between YouTube and Facebook, his video has been viewed millions of times. It has also been trending on Twitter.

I guess we’ll see what happens.  Times change, and people change with them…