Friday, April 14, 2017

Don't You Dare Criticize Trump For Betraying His Professed Principles

BTW, I wish everyone a solemn Good Friday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ann Coulter Is Not Shrugging Off The Attack On Syria

April 12, 2017


War is like crack for presidents. It confers instant gravitas, catapulting them to respectability, bypassing all station stops. They get to make macho pronouncements on a topic where every utterance is seen as august. 

On the other hand, Trump's Syrian misadventure is immoral, violates every promise he ran on and could sink his presidency. 

Left to his own devices, uncontaminated by Washington group-think, Trump gets it right. 

Back in 2013, when President Obama was being egged on to attack Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack far more sweeping than this latest one, Trump tweeted: 

-- Aug. 29, 2013: 

"What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.” 

-- Aug. 31, 2013: 

"Be prepared, there is a small chance that our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III.” 

-- Sept. 1, 2013: 

"If the U.S. attacks Syria and hits the wrong targets, killing civilians, there will be worldwide hell to pay. Stay away and fix broken U.S.” 

On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly stated that he had no interest in starting "World War III over Syria," saying, "We have bigger problems than Assad." His policy position was: "Let Syria and ISIS fight. I look at Assad -- and Assad looks better than the other side.” 

Trump was right on every point. 

Assad is one of the least bad leaders in the entire Middle East. He's not a murderous thug like Saddam, has no rape rooms, isn't into jihad, protects Christians and is fighting ISIS. He provided us with intelligence on al-Qaida after 9/11. He does not have crazy Islamic police slapping women around or throwing gays off buildings. (That would be our beloved ally, Saudi Arabia.) 

Trump was also correct about Assad's opponents being far worse, containing large helpings of both ISIS and al-Qaida.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Off Topic: American Carnage

If I was not consumed with the betrayal of a man who I supported and defended over and over only to see him bomb the enemies of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, et al, and push us to the brink of World War III in defense of our worst enemies and to abandon the America First principles and to suck up to the Neo-Cons and the war mongers and to enthusiastically repeat the mistakes of Iraq and Syria and to be played as a fool by the Leftist Establishment and by extension, to allow all of his supporters to be played as fools...Yes I could go on and on. This is bad!

As I was saying, the betrayal has devoured me. Let me put it aside for a minute and focus on another depressing topic: opiate/opioid addiction.

The referenced article provides plenty of food for thought:

Salisbury, Massachusetts (pop. 8,000), was founded in 1638, and the opium crisis is the worst thing that has ever happened to it. The town lost one young person in the decade-long Vietnam War. It has lost fifteen to heroin in the last two years.  
Rhode Island is a small place, too. It has just over a million people. One Brown University epidemiologist estimates that 20,000 of them are opioid addicts—2 percent of the population.

On the edge of the White Mountains in Maine, word spread that the policy at Hannaford, the dominant supermarket chain, was not to dispute returns of under $25. For a while, there was a run on the big cans of extra virgin olive oil that sold for $24.99, which were brought to the cash registers every day by a succession of men and women who did not, at first sight, look like connoisseurs of Mediterranean cuisine. 

This is an informative and alarming article and yet, the author cannot check his political biases at the door. The usual suspects are trotted out once more, including the Gipper himself:

Today’s opioid epidemic is, in part, an unintended consequence of the Reagan era. America in the 1980s and 1990s was guided by a coalition of profit-seeking corporations and concerned traditional communities, both of which had felt oppressed by a high-handed government. But whereas Reaganism gave real power to corporations, it gave only rhetorical power to communities. Eventually, when the interests of corporations and communities clashed, the former were in a position to wipe the latter out. The politics of the 1980s wound up enlisting the American middle class in the project of its own dispossession.

Worse than the "American Carnage" the author reveals a stronger fear as to where widespread addiction might lead us--an acceptance and support for Donald Trump!

Paul LePage, the state’s garrulous governor, has been even more direct. Speaking of drug dealers at a town hall in rural Bridgton in early 2016, he said: “These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty, these types of guys. They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave.” This is what the politics of heroin threatens to become nationwide: To break the bureaucratic inertia, one side will go to any rhetorical length, even invoking race. To protect governing norms, the other side will invoke decency, even as the damage mounts. It is what the politics of everything is becoming nationwide. From town to town across the country, the correlation of drug overdoses and the Trump vote is high.

Despite his political bias, the author does attack silliness where it is obvious.

The drug problem is already political. It is being reframed by establishment voices as a problem of minority rights and stigmatization. A documentary called The Anonymous People casts the country’s 20 million addicts as a subculture or “community” who have been denied resources and self-respect. In it, Patrick Kennedy, who was Rhode Island’s congressman until 2011 and who was treated for OxyContin addiction in 2006, says: “If we can ever tap those 20 million people in long-term recovery, you’ve changed this overnight.” What’s needed is empowerment. Another interviewee says, “I refuse to be ashamed of what I am.”


The culture of addiction treatment that prevails today is losing touch with such candor. It is marked by an extraordinary level of political correctness. Several of the addiction professionals interviewed for this article sent lists of the proper terminology to use when writing about opioid addiction, and instructions on how to write about it in a caring way. These people are mostly generous, hard-working, and devoted. But their codes are neither scientific nor explanatory; they are political.
The director of a Midwestern state’s mental health programs emailed a chart called “‘Watch What You Call Me’: The Changing Language of Addiction and Mental Illness,” compiled by the Boston University doctor Richard Saltz. It is a document so Orwellian that one’s first reaction is to suspect it is a parody, or some kind of “fake news” dreamed up on a cynical website. We are not supposed to say “drug abuse”; use “substance use disorder” instead. To say that an addict’s urine sample is “clean” is to use “words that wound”; better to say he had a “negative drug test.” “Binge drinking” is out—“heavy alcohol use” is what you should say. Bizarrely, “attempted suicide” is deemed unacceptable; we need to call it an “unsuccessful suicide.” These terms are periphrastic and antiscientific. Imprecision is their goal. Some of them (like the concept of a “successful suicide”) are downright insane. This habit of euphemism and propaganda is not merely widespread. It is official. In January 2017, less than two weeks before the end of the last presidential administration, drug office head Michael Botticelli issued a memo called “Changing the Language of Addiction,” a similarly fussy list of officially approved euphemisms.

 I cannot put a happy face on this subject but I do wish that the canards of "libertarian attitudes" and "corporate greed" could be balanced with the an evaluation of the welfare state's volcanic eruption. Does it tell you something when drug dealers are arrested with dozens of EBT cards in their possession? What good are treatment centers if addicts use them to ride out periods of insolvency and to network with others who share their commitment to long-term addiction? Heaven forbid we examine other countries who have instituted policies that are more successful than ours.

Despite the author's overt bias, this is an article worth reading.

Pat Buchanan Weighs In On Trump's Syria Attack

Ann Coulter, Michael Savage and now Pat Buchanan. For a variety of reasons I used to be repulsed by all three of these people. Water under the bridge, I guess. They all seem like bold and forthright individuals now. None of the "bold leadership and decisive tone" horseshit talking points from these people. No Hannity-style ass kissing.  Just stating and restating the obvious.

Now, that gas attack was an atrocity, a war crime, and pictures of its tiny victims are heart-rending. But 400,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war, among them thousands of children and infants.
Have they been killed by Assad’s forces? Surely, but also by U.S., Russian, Israeli and Turkish planes and drones — and by Kurds, Iranians, Hezbollah, al-Qaida, ISIS, U.S.-backed rebels and Shiite militia.

Monday, April 10, 2017

At Least One Never-Trumper Makes Sense

When it comes to foreign affairs, Trump has been all over the map, which is why I find myself agreeing with Jonah Goldberg at National Review when he said that, “The strike on Syria is the single best proof that Trump has no overriding commitment to any ideological position.”

Donald Trump just calls that being “flexible.”

After eight years of Obama’s ineptitude, it’s easy to see how people would crave a man of action. But action simply for action’s sake is no better than inaction. In fact, wars have been started that way.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Syria The Next Iraq?

From fireandreamitchell who is quoting Michael Cernovich and blaming Jared Kushner.

I can live with the one missile strike on Syria, basically to show that for all of Obama’s embarrassments and failures, he is long gone and just an anal wart on history. I do not, and WILL not support a war with Syria. Again, as I said before the missile strikes, Syria is Russia’s problem, not ours. If any country should be on Trump’s radar right now, it should be Iran.
If Trump is going to let Kusher run the war room in the White House and go full George W. Bush on us, then screw him. He will got slaughtered in the 2020 election and Republicans will lose their majorities in the Senate and the House.
Until then, I’ll hold my fire, because at this point it’s just pure speculation. But everyone needs to keep an eye on Kushner.