In The Shadow of the Russian Bear

Abandoning a core tenet of western civilization is the opposite of conservatism.

Some things are abundantly clear now. First, Donald Trump lied about the contacts between his campaign staff and Russian government. Second, Donald Trump, Jr. repeatedly lied about a meeting he had with individuals with curious ties to the Russian government. Third, the entire MAGA movement position that the Russian collusion story being a fallacious story concocted by the media created for the sole purpose of discrediting the president is itself a fallacious story concocted by the president for the sole purpose of discrediting the media.

I am not going to pretend to know the details of any of these meetings, or, with any certainty, that they were necessarily dubious in intent. However, after the release of the emails by Donald Trump, Jr. of his correspondence with and the ever changing inconsistent story regarding first even the existence of the meeting, then the nature of the meaning, and even how many people attended the meaning, no rational person can continue to argue that the Trump White House is honest.

The driving force of the Make America Great Again movement was, at least allegedly, a reaction to the perceived rampant dishonesty from the Democratic administration of Barack Obama and the complicit media that, for eight years, strained the credulity of Americans by shoving one bad policy after another onto the backs of the American people while the media simply abandoned any pretense of objectivity or even reality by outright failing to report on stories that were inconsistent with the political needs of the Democratic party.

Americans were simply tired of being lied to, either openly or by simple omission.

“You lie!
-Joe Wilson-

Then along came Donald Trump. In plain, smash mouth rhetoric, Donald Trump waded into the front, hitting back at the partisan media. He called them out on their lies, usually on issues where the media was being obviously deceitful with a clear political agenda, but also in defense of politically ridiculous assertions (such as the matter of Obama’s birth certificate) that the media rightfully pushed back against him.

Among the core principles of “western civilization” (something the MAGA set loudly and often hysterically claim to be staunch defenders of) is that of devotion to personal integrity. This devotion to integrity is, as I just demonstrated, the very reason many Americans were so angry in the first place. When Harry Reid stood on the Senate floor, abusing the privileges of speech within the rules of the Senate and the Constitution, and falsely accused Mitt Romney of tax evasion, Conservatives were outraged because his statements were lies!

When Obama promised that Americans would pay an average of $2500 less a year on premiums, that they could keep their doctors, that if they liked their plan, they could keep their plan, Conservatives were outraged, because they knew that basic economic showed that insurance companies could not offer more services to more people for less cost. When MSNBC purposefully pushed the narrative that “white racists” were threatening violence against Barack Obama, because they some were carrying guns to a protest, Conservatives were justifiably offended when it turned out that the “racist gun toting white protester”  turned out to be a Black conservative gun rights advocate.

The shameless dishonesty of these Democratic Leaders and a complicit media created the very political wave that would lead to Trump’s electoral victory.

“To the best of my knowledge no person that
I deal with [has anything to do with Russia].”
-Donald Trump-

Now that Trump is the president, however, and Republicans control Congress, the same people who once howled in outrage over the bald faced lies of their political opponents now not only tolerate exactly the same bald faced dishonesty from Donald Trump and his brood of conspirators, Fox News, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Breitbart, Info Wars (which should have no more credibility than the side show National Enquirer), they perpetuate the lies.

Even while Trump’s eldest son reveals that everyone around Trump, including high up in his campaign had regular dealings with Russian officials, the MAGA movement proves that it cares even less about the devotion to personal integrity than the radical left they oppose. Abandoning a core tenet of western civilization is the opposite of conservatism. It is a betrayal of it. None that pursue a policy based on deceit and propaganda can be counted among patriots. Not now. Not ever.

Liberty is For The Win!

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The Shoes Begin to Fall

[T]he guiding philosophy of the “MAGA” movement has been “victory at any cost”, from the very start. Unfortunately for them, the bill has come due.

Excepting the misguided opinions of his most delusional supporters, it is undeniable that the Trump Administration is in deep political trouble, though whether Trump is in actual legal trouble is a question for another time. Speaking only in terms of the “optics“, as the American media is fond of calling them, the situation has reached parody level. Tragically, this situation wouldn’t even be possible except for Donald’s own inability to cap his boiling pettiness, shallow conceit, and personal vindictiveness, even when surrounded by men and women who ostensibly know better.

Let’s get this out of the way, just so we understand where we are at: “We told you so.

Whether or not you were on the “Trump Train” or, more appropriately now, the “Donald Disaster“, from the beginning, or you got on board after your preferred candidate dropped out of the primaries, you have hitched your personal integrity and your political fortunes to a demonstrably unscrupulous man whose personality flaws are as obvious as they are mercurial. “MAGA” owns this sideshow freak presidency that, as much as you may protest otherwise, the mainstream media has not only the right to spotlight its inequities, they have a duty to do so.

“He referred to my hands, if they’re small,
something else must be small. I guarantee
you there’s no problem. I guarantee it.”
-Donald Trump-

When Trump talked about the size of his manhood on the stage of a nationally televised presidential debate; you own that. When Trump attacked the wife of another candidate; you own that, too. When the Donald suggested the father of one of his political rivals may actually have been involved in the assassination plot of John F. Kennedy, because he read it in the National Enquirer; you own that, too. And when he bragged about sexual liberties with women and his sexual predation on women; you own that, as well.

These are all inseparable from the person and identity of Donald Trump. Such outbursts are so normal for him that his ability to get through a two hour speech without doing or saying something morally repugnant is applauded as “being presidential“. This was once just considered normal human politeness, and no one was delusional enough to think that reading a carefully prepared speech had anything to do with “being presidential“. Our political leaders cannot be but a reflection of what we as a people esteem to be, and what a reflection it is.

Regardless, the guiding philosophy of the “MAGA” movement has been “victory at any cost“, from the very start. Unfortunately for them, the bill has come due.

“As President I wanted to share [classified
with Russia… which I have the
absolute right to do, 
facts pertaining to
terrorism and airline flight safety.”

Donald Trump

After two days of his White House staff denying Donald Trump had disclosed classified “code word” intelligence with Russian diplomats, he revealed on Twitter that, in fact, he did exactly that. This came just days after he terminated the director of the FBI allegedly for refusing to back off of investigations into connections between the Russian government and Trump’s closest advisors and staff. A termination which Trump has now been accused of bragging about to those same Russian diplomats.

If the president were anyone other than Donald Trump, this reporting would be almost completely inconceivable, but this is the same man that bragged about his genitals in front of a national audience. His total lack of anything resembling a filter, the very thing his “MAGA” supporters said was his greatest asset, is the very thing that makes the many increasingly implausible insinuations of ridiculous outbursts entirely credible. The one thing his supporters could never say is “Trump would never say that.”, because, it is a matter of demonstrable fact he very often has.

As the curtain falls the second to the last time on this three act play that is a comedy for some and a tragedy for many others, with the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the allegations of collusion with a foreign power surrounding the Trump White House, the finale promises to be climactic. Though “MAGA” holds out hope for the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as played by the mainstream media, it is just as likely that their Caesar is set to meet a grizzly end on the Senate floor.

The only certainty is that when the final curtain falls, it will do so with a crash.

Liberty is For The Win!

We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW

Running Out of Rails: Trump’s 100 Days

So 100 days later, how have Donald Trump’s central campaign promises held up?

Every president has 100 days with which to set the stage for his administration, setting the tone for the rest of his tenure as president. Couple this with the great political, economic, and social dilemmas that are rending our nation apart, and that tone grows that much more important to a nation gnawing on anxieties and divisions that spilled over from the previous administration into this one. Let us not forget, however, that this man, so his most ardent supporters assured us, was a political ringer.

Donald Trump was supposed to be a titan of deal making, quite literally “writing the book” on it. His ran on getting things done, ahead of schedule, with everyone involved a winner. In a deeply divided political year, to the true believers, this was exactly what the doctor ordered. After all, for most of eight years, the Republican Party has been playing underdog in practically every political fight on Capital Hill. Finally armed with not only the White House, but a high octane deal making machine White House, the sky was not only the limit, it was promised.

When the starting bell rang and the gates opened on January 20, 2017, what we were told to expect was a thoroughbred champion-to-be. What crossed the finish line, however, has been a horse of a completely different color. With zero significant legislative victories, a handful of largely meaningless executive orders, nosebleed inducing 180º flip flops, a clown car of personnel changes indicative of vicious infighting, and a growing foreign policy scandal that simply will not go away, the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency clearly has not gone as planned.

“We’re going to win so much. You’re going to get tired of winning.”
-Donald Trump-

Let’s start with what we were promised. First, Donald Trump and his stalwart supporters promised us that, despite his numerous flaws, the smash mouth real estate developer tycoon was a brilliant and strategic negotiator, the likes of which has never been seen. His pedigree as a successful deal broker that his vocal supporters claimed made him worth the gamble. With his Midas touch deal making, he promised he’d unify not only the Republican Party but the entire country. After eight years of scorched earth demagoguery in Congress and from the White House, Americans yearned for this.

Second, Donald promised to deliver on priorities that all Americans cared about: jobs. While on the campaign trail, not a week would go by without Donald eviscerating the Chinese for cheating and stealing American jobs through “unfair trade deals”. Donald promised to get America back to work by getting forceful with the Chinese. Once and for all, Donald Trump promised to not allowing China to “rape our country” anymore. He promised, on “day one“, to formally declare China a currency manipulator in breach of international law.

Third, Donald promised to secure the homeland, once and for all. His trashing of the Obama’s demonstrably feckless foreign policy, especially when it came to dealing with ISIL/ISIS. The Donald made a big show of being willing to say “Islamic terrorism“, over and over again, announcing that not only could he defeat ISIS, where Obama had proven to be totally ineffective, he said that he would do so in less than 30 days. He would not only defeat ISIS, he would do so without involving the United States in the Middle East or getting involved in Syria.

Finally, among many policies that Donald Trump (and the Republican Party) promised to do immediately was to repeal (and replace) ObamaCare. Even though legislation repealing and defunding ObamaCare has passed the Congress on numerous occasions, faced numerous court challenges, and has been the source of deep political outrage from Republicans and conservatives ever since it was passed without a single Republican vote, it withstood all of this, largely through the veto power under Obama, and helped along with a shocking betrayal by the Supreme Court. If there was ever a low hanging pitch begging to be smacked out of the political park, this was it.

So 100 days later, how have Donald Trump’s central campaign promises held up?

“…[Donald] is a chaos candidate, and he’d be a chaos president.”
-Jeb Bush-

Take just five minutes to browse any social media site, and you’ll find that the virtual (or too often very real) blood letting has only gotten worse under Trump, far surpassing even the worst days under Obama. After “The Donald” angrily declared war on the House Freedom Caucus, with several of his surrogates openly threatening political retribution, any illusion that Trump is interested in unifying either the party or the nation are simply gone. Quite simply, as far as his promise to unify party and country in his first 100 days is concerned, Trump has been a fantastic failure to the point that it defies description.

In regards to China, Trump’s drumbeat of hard line rhetoric and tough talk has turned into a soggy bowl of noodles. Very obviously, Donald Trump failed to deliver on his “Day One” promise of formally declaring China a currency manipulator. Twenty-four hours quickly became forty-eight. Days and weeks passed. Other than an executive order calling for an investigative review of trade balances, China falls completely off of Trump’s radar. Then, suddenly, Trump has done a complete 180 and said China isn’t a currency manipulator after all. On dealing with China, Trump has failed spectacularly.

Trying to deliver on tough talk on Islamic Terrorism, Donald began his administration by green lighting a military operation in Yemen that cost an American serviceman his life and killed left women and children noncombatants dead. Even after Trump has done several victory laps after the Yemen raid (that has yet to have produced any actionable intelligence) and then dropping a MOAB on some terrorists in Afghanistan a few weeks later, ISIS remains very conspicuously no “defeated“. Then, after promising not to get involved in Syria, he gets involved in Syria. After 100 days, Trump has not only failed to deliver on his promise, he’s broken those promises while getting people killed in the process. Looks kind of like a fail to me.

And as far as the low hanging pitch right in the middle of the strike zone? To be fair, he had help with the aborted “Trump Care” plan. Despite having months to come up with a plan, after conspicuously challenged by Marco Rubio to give details about his big plan to replace the failing ObamaCare, and the Republicans having years to devise their own plan, the American Health Care Act was rolled out onto the launch pad, then quietly rolled back off of the launch pad without a vote. ObamaCare was the one thing Trump and the Republicans were voted in, election after election to do something about. Honestly, 100 days is about 99 more days than should have been necessary to have fulfilled this promise.

“You know what they say about men with small hands…”
-Marco Rubio-

Trump was billed as the king of deal makers. He ridiculed his opponents as being “low energy” politicians that didn’t have what it takes to get the job done. It should be crystal clear 100 days into Trump’s phony phoned in presidency that, if there is one thing that Donald Trump knows a lot about, it’s not having what it takes to get the job done. As far as what tone Trump’s first 100 days in office have set? Probably somewhere along the lines of a flatbed of bag pipes being slowly fed to a rush hour bridge collapse.

Yes, that bad.

Liberty is For The Win!

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Playing with Fire: The Syrian Problem

Inconsistency, it seems, is the only consistent policy between the Obama and Trump administrations.

In 2010, after nearly a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, deposing two tyrannical regimes, the military forces of the United States were on the clock to leave Iraq in December of 2011. Just 4 years earlier, the entire world watched Saddam Hussein, the “butcher of Baghdad“, hang for his countless crimes against the people of Iraq. Whatever direction political opinion of the Iraq War may have been blowing in America, the wider psychological and political impact of seeing the corpse of a hated dictator hanging limply by his neck resonated across a region of the world dominated by such hated dictators.

The seeds of change had been planted in the largely Arabic nations from Morocco, on the western coast of Africa, to Iran, deep in the heart of the Middle East. The tinder of raw nerves of decades of living under repressive dictators that, until Saddam, had seemed simply a fact of life now lay exposed. The entire Middle East became a powder keg of pent of rage that, for the first time in generations, had hope for release. The smoldering discontent that would soon explode into a raging inferno of protests and civil war awaited only a single spark.

“The cause of America is in a great
measure the cause of all mankind.”
-Thomas Paine, Common Sense-

Like countless men before him throughout history, Mohamed Bouazizi did not seek to start a revolution. He was simply a man born poor under a despot in Tunisia. At age 10, he dropped out of school to support his parents and put his younger sister through school. Unable to find steady work, Bouazizi, an honest man who believed in honest work, decided to take his fate into his own hands, becoming a merchant, selling fruit on the side of the street. He would buy his wares on credit, then sell them for a small profit, about $5 (US), the next day.

This was his life, and he embraced it. Through honest work and sheer will, day by day, customer by precious customer, Bouazizi hoped only to better his humble lot in life. One fateful day in December of 2010, a corrupt police official accused Bouazizi of not having paid for a permit to operate his stand, nevermind that no such permit was required by law. Bouazizi protested, partly out of indignation but mostly because he had no money to pay the official’s bribe.

As punishment, the police turned over his cart, spilling his livelihood into the street, and seized the only thing of value Bouazizi had on him, his produce scales. After futilely trying to get his scales back for an hour, with no way to pay back his debt, continue his business, or to pay for his sister’s schooling, Mohamed Bouazizi stood defiantly in the middle of the street in front of government offices with a can of gasoline. Before stunned onlookers, Bouazizi doused himself then screamed, “How do you expect me to make a living!?

The fire he lit set the entire Arab world ablaze.

“It is change , continuing change, inevitable
that is the dominant factor
in society today.”

-Isaac Asimov-

The Arab Spring was a moment in time, a chance for great leaders to do great things, and to change the fate of the world for millions who lived under tyranny. Sadly, for those rising up against their tyrannical governments, the west has long since exhausted its great leaders. When America had an opportunity to stand with the people, who had lived for so long under the yolk of tyranny yearned for freedom and equality, America failed to be America.

The United States and its European allies, instead of siding with the people, tried to prop up dictatorships in countries like Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and even Syria. In the philosophical space that should have been filled by western values of individual Liberty and moral equality, in rushed radical Jihadism, uncontested. The battle lines in people’s hearts had been drawn, and, with the absence of American idealism, the intractable fighting began between the tyranny of political elites on one side and the tyranny of radical Jihadism on the other.

The full cost of Obama’s feckless foreign policy during the Arab Spring is spilling over into our streets, and, in no small part, set the political stage for the rise of Trump. Trump then came into the White House on a wave of bluster, slogans, and pejorative. However, if we objectively compare the “Obama Doctrine” to the “Trump Doctrine“, it’s hard to see any difference after the April 6th bombing of a Syrian and Russian held airfield. In just a few weeks, we went from “regime change” under Obama, to “not our business” briefly under Trump, and now back to “regime change” again.

Inconsistency, it seems, is the only consistent policy between the Obama and Trump administrations.

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence…
the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly
awake, since history and experience prove that
foreign influence is one of the most baneful
foes of republican government.”
-George Washington-

Let’s be absolutely clear on one point. Where there is no clear American interest, the United States should not engage in a policy of “nation building“. By “American interest“, I mean where American lives have been taken by bad actors abroad. If it were not for the lives taken by Barbary pirates, Jefferson would have had no justification to spend American lives in Tripoli. Were it not for the lives taken at Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt would have had no justification to spend American lives in Europe and the Pacific. Were it not for the lives taken on 9/11/2001, Bush would have had no justification to spend American lives in Afghanistan.

As of the time of this article, no American lives have been lost because of the Assad regime in Syria. Despite this, Donald Trump has decided to pick a fight Syria and, by proxy, Russia. By all accounts, the airfield that was bombed by US forces was up and operational again within 24 hours, but the foreign relations damage may be permanent. Whether Assad goes or stays, there is nothing to be gained by intervening on behalf of either side, with the Syrian government being geopolitically aligned with the Russians and the rebels being geopolitically aligned with Jihadists.

If Trump’s intent is truly to do good for the sake of doing good, not simply for his own political aggrandizement or, worse, to deflect attention away from the many suspicious connections between his campaign and Moscow, then there are avenues for a pro-American non-intervention. It would, however, create significant long-term friction between Washington and Moscow. There are no safe alliances to be found in Syria, but there is a group within Syria that has capitalized on the political instability to try to assert their autonomy: the Free Kurdish Movement.

While not perfect, the Free Kurdish Movement has a legitimate and morally justifiable political grievance. Though the United States should not directly involve itself in the military activities and necessities of the Kurds, it is long past time for the United States to take an affirmative stance in support of Kurdish independence, but that is the topic for another time.

Liberty is For The Win!

We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW