Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Mad, Lame, Duck

About ten years ago, Barack Hussein Obama was looking like a candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination for president. For those who were interested, there was a wealth of information available about him, if one were to look carefully.

His hometown newspaper ran a series on him in 2007 which were very revealing, yet kept the data of his prior years concealed, as Obama had continually fought to do ever since.

We have not seen his real birth certificate, though he released a fake one. We know very little about his schooling since he has religiously kept those records secret as well

There was, however, plenty of information available to anyone who really looked that told enough about him to raise grave questions about his suitability. Most of what he did as president could have been predicted. For reference, see the series in the Chicago Tribune here. Unlike in 2007, most of it is now behind a paywall, but it is there.

In addition, there were his books, rumored to have been ghostwritten by Weather Underground's Bill Ayers. What was there has been pretty predictive as well.

Then there was his membership in the church of Black liberation preacher and America hater Jeremiah Wright. Any person that heard or saw Wright's "God Damn America" sermon should have seen what Obama was part of, and where he would go.

Most voters didn't read about him, or did not care, so we ended up with him as our president for eight years.

Now, looking back on those eight years, we can see how his past has predicted his presidency. He was born to a black Muslim communist African from Kenya and a white mother who was the daughter and granddaughter of communists. He spent his early years in Indonesia with his mother and an Indonesian Muslim named Soetero. He attended Muslim schools where he prayed to Allah four times a day. Approaching his teens, he went back to Hawaii to be cared for by his communist grandparents, and be mentored by a known communist. He went to college first in California, then to Columbia and on to Harvard Law School. Records from those years have been scrupulously hidden.

His presidency has been about a fundamental transformation of America, and he has pulled out all of the stops to get it done.

The America we have all known and loved had learned through long years that a strong America was necessary to peace. Obama apologized to the world for the strong America, and set out to make it weak. And he has succeeded. He has turned our military into a hollow shell, and has them engaging in social experimentation to the detriment of readiness.

He has offended our friends, and bowed and apologized to our enemies.

He left a political and military vacuum when his red line in Syria meant nothing, and paved the way for Russian and Iran to fill the vacuum.

He has enabled Iran to get nuclear weapons, and provided them the money to finance that, and terrorism, around the world. He has allowed Iran to become a regional power and a formidable enemy.

Essentially, he is leaving the United States a much weaker nation than it was when he took office. There cn be no argument that this was deliberate.

Since the election of Donald Trump, Obama has engaged in multiple acts to try to make certain that American remains weakened.

Probably the worst thing he has done is stab America's friend Israel in the back. For decades, the United States had a commitment to veto UN resolutions affecting Israel. Jimmy Carter made a commitment as part of the Oslo Accords that Israel relied upon in making concessions to the Palestinians. Every president since has honored that until December, when Obama not only failed to veto the resolution that made Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem "occupied" (and therefore Palestinian) territory, his administration actually orchestrated it all.

The worst part is there will likely be more to come. There is strong evidence that another resolution will be rushed through before Trump takes office that would recognize the Palestinian state and give them a seat in the UN.

This is shameful to the extreme. It is also something that one would expect from a man that was raised a Muslim, who in his book said he would side with the Muslims, and who was mentored by communists.

Anybody who wanted to do the research could have seen all of this coming. What will his last fifteen days reveal? We will see him continue to do as much damage as he can.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Trump Phenomenon------And the Winner Is.....

The winner of the election, of course, was Donald Trump and those who supported him. Whether that will result in the electorate being winners will await history. After breaking all of the "rules' of retail politics, Trump scored a rousing victory in the Electoral College, which is what has always counted.

The loser(s)? That almost has to be a tie between Hillary Clinton and her Democrat supporters, and the corporate "mainstream" media, which lost all of their power and influence in one fell swoop. Of course they did so because the public discovered that with few exceptions, the media were Hillary's Democrat supporters as well.

The Democratic Party is now in disarray, with no leadership going forward. They have even sunk so low that the leading contender for their National Democratic Committee chairman is a known associate of and sympathizer with the Nation of Islam and militant Islam.

Also losers were the Republican establishment and the "conservative" pundits who were #NeverTrumpers. The establishment, of course, still holds power with the speakership of Paul Ryan, but that power is waning. If Ryan tries to hold up the programs that got Trump elected, he will be very vulnerable when the next election cycle comes around.

"Conservative" publications like National Review have lost much of their influence. They have clearly lost contact with the people and went off on a rigidly dogmatic series of rants about Trump.

Will Trump make winners of us all? That, of course, remains to be seen, but he is off to a pretty impressive start.

He has most of his cabinet much earlier than most, and has conducted it all quite openly, which is a big change. C-Span has had cameras on the elevators at Trump Tower, and recorded all of the traffic coming in to see Trump. Other administrations have conducted the cabinet search in secret. This is a welcome change.

Trump continues to tweet, which disturbs some. He is the first to ever use this kind of social media. The one thing it does is keep him ahead of the media, which has proved itself to be totally untrustworthy. He says he would not need to do it if the media would cover him honestly. That is pretty true. It is his way of addressing the public over the heads of the media, which will often slant what he says.

Even though the Electoral College has not met to ratify his win, and he has not been sworn in, Trump is already acting to set the tone of his new administration.

He and Pence "persuaded" Carrier to remain in Indiana instead of moving to Mexico. Obama mocked him for saying he would do it, but he got it done.

Trump has also begun to set an important line in foreign policy. During Obama's term, China has been very aggressively extending their power throughout the South China Sea, which is  a very important sea lane for the US and its allies in the region. Obama has not vigorously opposed this and China has become more aggressive as time has gone by. The message from Obama has been that they need not worry about the US, that we would just back off.

Trump put a stop to that and sent a strong message to China (and to the rest of the world) that China could no longer have their way in the South China Sea without serious consequences.

That is the meaning of the telephone call with the President of Taiwan, and of Trump referring to her as the President of Taiwan. This was a break with 40 years of diplomacy with China (started by, you guessed it, Jimmy Carter).

Perhaps the most important message he is sending is with his proposed appointments.

Mattis at Defense signals a tough approach to rebuilding our military, as trump has proposed.

Tillerson at State has spent his adult life negotiating tough international trade deals, including with Putin.

Price at Health and Human Services has long been an advocate of repealing Obamacare.

Puzder at Labor has long fought labor policies of the left.

De Vos at Education is a foe of Common Core and supporter of school choice and charter schools.

Perry at Energy has proposed abolishing the department.

Pruit at EPA has a long record of fighting senseless environmental regulations.

Gen. John Kelly, appointed to Homeland Security is an expert on defending the southern border as the former head of the US Southern Command.

There are more, and the sum total of them signal the direction Trump wishes to move when he takes office.

They also are very successful people, almost all from the private sector, who have long records of accomplishment. They will need that experience in dealing with the entrenched bureaucracies, which will fight very hard to impede change.

Can Trump and his folks succeed? Let us all hope so, for if he does, we all become the winners of this election.

The losers will remain the same.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Trump Phenomenon......The End Game

It is Sunday before the Tuesday election, and over 40 million Americans have already voted. Trump, who has violated a lot of the "rules" of running a political campaign is doing so again.

He is campaigning in the so-called "blue states" that rarely vote for  Republican candidate. He is also drawing huge crowds there. Seven different states are on his schedule today.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is following the "rules" and campaigning in two of the "battleground" states.

Seven appearances for Trump and only two for Clinton with two days left.

That raises the question: does she think she is that far ahead, or can she only physically do two appearances in one day?

Since the last post, Trump has become a much better candidate. He has gotten off of Twitter, and has kept on message. His speeches are smooth and coherent. His advertising is quite well done

He has drawn huge crowds everywhere he has gone. Enthusiastic crowds.

Clinton has been Clinton, with her team only drawing small, unenthusiastic crowds, except of course, when she has an entertainer with her to draw a crowd....entertainers like the crude, vulgar and racist Jay-Z, or the fanny wagging J-LO, or even anti-cop and vulgar Beyonce.

Strange bedfellows, indeed. But they say politics makes strange bedfellows.

Her money has bought the best advertising and "ground game" money can buy. Apparently the money cannot buy love, but it can buy votes. And the Democrat ground game has always been good at stealing votes.

The FBI gave Clinton another clean bill of health for breaking the laws with her email usage. That is not surprising. Obama has totally corrupted the Department of Justice, the FBI and just about every other Federal Agency in Washington. One cannot really believe what they say or do any more.

The polls, as usual, are all over the place, with the average giving Clinton a slight lead within the margin of error. Some are outliers and give Trump a lead. The individual state polls make it a very close race.

Who will win on Tuesday? Will we even know by Wednesday? This is so hotly contested, that barring the quite unexpected landslide for one of them, one can look for lawsuits and challenges from both sides. That, of course, will only divide our population even more. And the courts are not a good place to decide elections.

We should all hope and pray for a landslide for one or the other. Our country really needs to get this election behind us.

That does not seem to be in the cards.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Trump Phenomenon------Falling Into the Trap

After he had lost a lot of momentum after the conventions by taking on the Khans and other errors, Trump got things back together. He did very well most of August and into September, gaining momentum back and even edging past Hillary Clinton in a number of the polls.

The came the debate. It was watched by around 90 million Americans. It was Trump's opportunity to really put Hillary away.

Of course, everyone knew the debate was going to be set up for Hillary, and Trump should have known it as well, and prepared for it. Instead, he was an amateur and did not do the hours of preparation necessary.

The moderator, of course, did not ask Trump important questions. Instead Trump was asked about completely inconsequential things like birtherism and tax returns. Trumps answers were off the cuff and unprepared....just as one might expect from an amateur. There was no effort to turn the questions back on the moderator as he probably should have done.

On the other side, Hillary was asked softball questions that allowed her to give canned responses consisting of the age old Democratic gobbledygook that they have been saying for decades without there ever having been any positive change. Trump was unable to really inject himself into that side of the debate.

This gave the advantage to Hillary, and she ran with it. She clearly was the "winner" of the debate.

The most important part of the debate from her standpoint was that she was able to lay a trap for Trump by asking him about "Miss Piggy." Trump fell for it. This move got Hillary inside Trump's OODA Loop just like he got inside the loops of so many of his Republican opponents in the primaries

Not only did he fall into the trap, like with the Khans, he kept doubling down on the issue instead of moving on. It became the "news" on the mainstream media for a week or more.

Trump lost all of the momentum and gains he had made. He is now back to the post convention situation with a lost lead and lost momentum......and just a bit over a month to go.

There are two more debates. Trump has to take them seriously and prepare while still getting out and campaigning. He also needs to get off Twitter. It only makes him appear to be not serious.

Can he do it? Maybe. There will be a lot more attacks on him from all directions. Will his ego and nature allow him to respond properly, or will he over do the response?

He is doing a lot of advertising into the election as he should. Most of the ads seem effective, but will be only if they are well placed and reach enough undecided voters.

This is an election between two very flawed candidates, one a rank amateur in politics and the other an experienced, hardened politician with a very shady, perhaps even criminal, background.

Who will win?

It is pretty easy to see who will lose.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Trump Phenomenon.......Reality Strikes

As noted before, Donald J. Trump achieved the Republican nomination for President while breaking almost all of the rules for politicians that have been developed over history.

Having done so, he failed to recognize that once he was nominated, the strategy and tactics used during the primaries would no longer work. Once he got in the big arena, the mainstream media put him in their sights, and proceeded to parse every word he said and use them to beat him up.

And he provided them plenty of ammunition in the first weeks. It cost him a month in which the media and the Democrat they serve did their best to brand him however they wanted. In those weeks, his poll numbers fell accordingly. No surprise there.

In August, he has seemed to get things under better control, and he has stopped making the undisciplined statement and tweets that we saw during the primaries. This appears to have helped with the poll numbers.

To have a chance of winning the election, he is going to have to get the branding the media and his opponent have done to him reversed. This is difficult to do now. One cannot do it with rallies, however well attended. There he is preaching to the choir.

To reach the biggest part of the electorate, he is going to have to do it with media. During the primaries, he got free media from everyone. Now, only Fox and a few others report on him positively. The rest of the media, best described as Democrat operatives with bylines will only report him in a very negative way.

That means he will have to buy advertising, and therefore do a lot of fundraising. He has taken some pride in self funding much of his campaign so far, though he has been raising money since the nomination.

He will need to do much more in order to buy the advertising he will need.

Perhaps his biggest issue from the beginning has been illegal immigration. During the primaries, he was able to get by with generalizations. We are going to deport all illegals is very easy to say, and appealing to many, but again ugly reality raises its head.

Trying to deport 12 million illegals immediately is just impossible to do. Even if that is what is wanted, the resources to do so do not exist, nor will they. We have a system of laws in place that deal with the procedures for doing so, and although they are not being used by the current administration they would have to be followed by a Trump administration. The hope that the laws could be changed to facilitate mass deportation is not justified because Democrats would filibuster it in the Senate even if Republicans would pass it.

Trump appears to have realized that, and is modifying the policy a bit. We do not know how much change there would be, but he has said that he would follow the law. That is at least something that Democrats have failed to do for many years.

Some Trump supporter will be critical of any change, but my view is that the change is necessary and proper. Of course, many of those critics are people who would drive the bus over the cliff to stand for "principle." A good leader would not do that.

Trump is meeting today with Enrique Pena Nieto, the President of Mexico, in what is a very interesting development. That will be followed shortly with what is billed as a speech giving details about his immigration policy going forward. These things could very well make or break his candidacy.

Whatever he says and does today, Trump must face the reality that in order to get his ideas into the body politic, he cannot rely on the media for free publicity. He has to raise the money and buy ads.

So, we will see how it goes.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Trump Phenomenon-----The Conversationalist

In my 58 year experience in politics, I have found that one thing that is learned by practicing politicians is to be careful and precise in the language used in a campaign. If one does not, then the candidate leaves oneself open to misconstruction of what is said. And opponents will leap at the opportunity.

The prior two posts talk about how Donald Trump has broken all of the rules of politics, and yet he has emerged as the nominee of the Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. Given the circumstances, that is an amazing feat for someone who is clearly a novice at retail politics.

Once he secured the nomination, he needed to pivot a bit away from the style of campaign he had been running. During the primaries, the media really gave him a lot of exposure that other Republican candidates didn't get. The reason, of course, is that the media is almost entirely Democratic, and they viewed Trump as the easiest for their candidate to beat.

Prior to the nomination, Trump's approach to the campaign was more conversational than a prepared group of talking points. When he spoke, it was right off the top of his head. He talked more like he was having a conversation at a cocktail party (after a couple of hours of drinking). His statements were broad and imprecise. He got away with it because the press let him.

Trump's big mistake has been not realizing that the minute he got the nomination, the press would turn on him with great vigor. He should have seen it coming, but he clearly did not.

Instead of turning his attention toward Hillary and Obama, the morning after he attacked Ted Cruz. Then he gets involved with criticizing the Khans.

He has not seen yet that he must have some discipline over his mouth or let the media destroy him. They will happily do so, and are proceeding with that as I write.

Every undisciplined thing he says will be parsed, misconstrued, and misquoted by almost every media outlet in the world.

Get smart, Mr. Trump. Put a governor on your mouth. Get on message and stay there. Let petty stuff go. You are on the big stage now. Act like it, or you will make Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Trump Phenomenum----Breaking the Rules

It has been a year since Donald Trump announced for the presidency. In that year he has gone from being laughed at for thinking he could actually win to being at least the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. Amazing.

How did he do it? Certainly not in a conventional way. In fact, he broke many of the "rules" for running for office.

My first experience in politics was in 1958, when a student in college. Since then I have been engaged in politics, though I am retired now. As a candidate in eight elections and an active participant in many other campaigns, there were certain rules that one learned the follow.

The first was "money is the mother's milk of politics." In other words, money, and raising a lot of it, is usually the key to winning. Advertising is costly, and has grown even more so as the years go by. As the population has risen, advertising has become more and more the only way to reach most voters. This is why our elected officials spend so much time fund raising. Money provides them the power.

Though not completely, Trump has ignored this rule for the most part. Self funding, with some money volunteered, has financed his campaign to date. He has done very little advertising, and none in the major media. Instead, he worked the media, freely giving interviews to all comers. He has held rallies, but no ad buys.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has raised nearly $200 million, and has already reserved large ad buys for the general election.

The second rule that one learns early on in politics is "you don't pick a fight with someone that buys ink by the barrel and paper by the ton." Of course, that refers back to an earlier time before the electronic media became so dominant, but the point remains the same. Don't fight the media. They can kill you if they want.

Trump, of course, has ignored that rule as well. Every speech I have heard, he has taken on the media, even though they gave him all of the free publicity. Now that he is the presumptive nominee of the GOP, most of the media has now turned on him, and will demonize him as best they can. I suspect it will make what they did to Sarah Palin look mild in comparison.

Another rule in politics is that "you have to go along to get along." That essentially means that you don't fight the party establishment or its powerful members if you want to be successful.

Trump, of course, has done the opposite. He has turned the party establishment on their collective ears. He has apparently won the nomination having done that.

That has embittered most of them, and they continue to oppose him. That means that although he beat them in the primaries, they can still deny him the election. We will just have to wait and see.

In any event, I believe this at least marks the beginning of the end of the Republican Party as it has been. It can either morph into a broader based party with considerably less influence by its old establishment, or go the way of the Whigs.

What Trump has done is hit a real nerve with a large segment of the population. Bernie Sanders has hit much the same nerve, with just a different constituency. Americans have grown tired of the "business as usual" in Washington.

It remains to be seen if enough of them vote to change it.