Category Archives: Politics

Short COVID-19 update

It’s been almost a month since I’ve written a blog post, so here are a few COVID-19 observations.  The politicization of this viral outbreak, while predictable, has been as disturbing as all the rapid governmental orders and edicts, all geared toward “keeping us safe.”   The zeal with which many pundits and politicians abandon our foundational principles and fundamental rights spread way more quickly than this virus and it’s infected many partisans, on both sides of the political aisle.  The measures many people embrace out of fear and the desire to feel “safe” could wreak havoc on our constitutional system, if calmer heads don’t work to quell the zealots wanting to turn America into a virtual police state, all to stop the spread of this virus.  It’s a bit surreal that a “health emergency” has brought out the inner totalitarian instincts among so many of the political class.

Trump, many Dems and many in the media latched onto this crisis as another spin theme to use to advance their political agendas, which has left me even more disgusted with the media and partisans.  I find this new scorched earth spin theater even more appalling than the others, because each day, their spin crap is played out as the death count of Americans succumbing to this virus climbs.  They’re playing their spin antics as thousands of Americans are dying and millions others are suffering extreme hardship and possible financial ruin… but hey, the partisan spin war rages on, regardless.  Trump has been using his daily COVID-19 briefings to get his daily fix of bantering with the media, while Gov. Cuomo, wallows in the media spotlight, as sort of pop culture shrink talking New Yorkers and liberals through each day… while also bolstering his political stature among Democrats.  Pelosi and Schumer continue their sleazy political power plays advancing pet Democrat projects and agendas, even holding up legislation to help millions of suffering Americans, so that their special interests get millions of dollars in federal hand-outs. Pelosi and Schumer give new meaning to being political grifters… 25 millions dollars to the Kennedy Center, for crying out loud.  Most Americans will never attend a single event at the Kennedy Center.

My daily life changed just a little bit.  I had gotten used to having the 3 nurse visits and 3 CNA visits every week to help with my husband’s care, but that all changed with COVID-19.  The home hospice provider stopped CNA visits, unless the caregiver can’t mange the daily care.  And the nurse comes for one visit a week and the other 2 visits are phone calls.  My husband’s nurse told me, they might begin doing home visits once every two weeks soon.  The only other inconvenience has been grocery shopping amidst so many out of stock items, which made me realize just how spoiled I am with so many modern conveniences.

Other than that, I have started sewing cotton fabric face masks for family and neighbors and my husband’s nurse said the other nurses could use some, when I showed her the ones I had made already.  So, I am sewing some to give her next week for the other hospice nurses.  If I get more sewn after that, I’ll donate some to the local hospital.  In my garage I have about a dozen or so large plastic tote containers of cotton fabric, intended for the quilting hobby I never got around to yet.  It felt good washing, pressing and cutting out some face masks with some of this nice cotton quilting fabric.  I ran out of thin elastic and have some on order, but it’s going to take two weeks, but YouTube came to the rescue. I watched a face mask video where the lady recommends cutting up old t-shirts into 1 inch strips.  You just pull those strips and the strips curls into round ties that can be cut into ties for the face masks.  The t-shirt ties work just fine.  Working on this small face mask project, as I have time, feels good.  It sure feels better than watching even a minute of the spin war garbage. 

I miss doing volunteer work.

 

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Trump’s primary concern is the “numbers”

Although a lot of the mainstream media coverage of the corona virus has been framed to generate panic and undercut the entire Trump administration effort to deal with the situation, the glaring truth is President Trump remains the same mendacious, egocentric, corrupt windbag Reality TV star more than he is a serious minded President of the United States, who is willing to put the well-being of American citizens ahead of his spin war against the Dems and the mainstream media.

Sure, both sides in this spin war sink to new lows almost daily in trying to trash each other, but here’s the thing, Trump is President of the United States and has a duty to protect American lives ahead of running his crappy spin attacks and sleazy tweet attacks.

I’ve despised a lot of the Dem/mainstream media spin garbage for decades, but Trump brought that spin sleaze to the Republican Party and unfortunately too many Republicans have bought into excusing Trump’s outrageous comments and antics or bought into the Trump victimhood mythology  that Trump wallows in constantly.  What no one in the Trump GOP does is uphold any standards or principles that apply to Trump too.

Trump corrupts everything he touches, that’s the truth and while it’s makes me cringe every time he disrespects the flag by hugging it at his rally sideshows, that’s nothing compared to when Trump makes a statement that flies in the face of basic human decency and no one in the GOP murmurs a word.

Trump appointed vice president, Mike Pence to head the administration’s corona virus response effort, but in typical Trump fashion, he can’t let Pence and the medical experts handle the public briefings without interfering and undercutting their efforts.

My patience with Trump flew out the window when he rambled on about Americans on a cruise ship off the coast of CA, with a number of passengers, who have tested positive for the corona virus.  Trump made the comment that Pence wanted to get those passengers to shore, but stated he disagreed, because it will drive the numbers up on cases in the US.  Trump was concerned about the numbers, not those American citizens.  It was such an outrageously callous statement from a president that I listened to his comment more than once to make sure I heard him right.

Today, the governor of CA stated that he has had three direct conversations with Pence and they are coordinating getting those cruise ship passengers ashore.

The other news this weekend is a CPAC attendee, who shook hands with Matt Schlapp, Ted Cruz and other Republican pols has tested positive for the corona virus.  All I can predict with certainty is Trump’s glib attitude toward this corona virus situation will change dramatically if any people he’s been in direct contact with or he himself gets the virus.  Nothing sobers people to a dangerous situation as much has having it at your own doorstep.  I’m not wishing illness on anyone, only pointing out human nature makes it easy to trivialize problems, until it impacts you personally.

As in many other situations, once again Trump does more to discredit himself than all of the mainstream media and Dem over-the-top spin attacks against him combined.  Trump made this comment about his concern about bringing those passengers ashore is about how that will affect the “numbers.”  The media and Dems didn’t misquote him or misrepresent what he said.  He keeps touting his early action of restricting travel as containing the spread, but the truth is that while that early action was a good call, it didn’t contain the spread.  In a situation that could easily and quickly become a serious crisis, a leader stuck on hyping his action taken weeks ago rather than proactively working hard to take more steps to get ahead of the situation should worry every American with a functioning brain.  Leadership is about being in front facing down problems as they crop up, not about rambling about an action taken weeks ago that did not resolve the problem.  Leaders need to be able to get in front of problems as they evolve and change.

Trump has already proven he has no clue or real grasp of this corona virus spread.  He’s as incompetent at this national emergency situation as he was with that hurricane last fall where he drew a Sharpie black line, falsifying a weather map and insisting the hurricane was predicted to impact AL, while a hurricane was headed toward the Atlantic coast.

Let’s hope this virus outbreak ends quickly and without a high loss of life, but whatever you do, don’t expect Trump to offer accurate or helpful information.

And let’s hope he lets others in his administration take the lead on informing the public with timely and accurate information.

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A recipe for more chaos

In September of last year, Hurricane Dorian was heading toward the Atlantic coast.  Most Americans have probably forgotten about this hurricane, because it didn’t turn into one of those major catastrophic hurricane hits on the United States.  However, Dorian does provide a clear historical template for how America’s partisan spin warriors (including the vast numbers of media spin warriors, who pose as “objective journalists) fight their petty spin battles in a potential national emergency situation.

The Dems and mainstream media spin warriors and Trump with his FOX News and Twitter spin commandos, are repeating their same stupid spin battles as this corona virus threat escalates.  Of course, it’s too early to know if, like Hurricane Dorian, America will receive only grazing coastal type damage with the corona virus or if it will turn into a Cat 5 level national emergency, but it’s clear that our president, a large number of our politicians, and our media remain more committed to their scorched earth spin war than to putting the welfare of the American people first.

During that Sharpiegate fiasco, I wrote:

“What’s so disturbing to me about this situation is that Trump decided to engage in fighting the media and demanding an apology from the media, all while Hurricane Dorian is still barreling up the Atlantic coast and thousands of Americans are in the path.  This is a weather emergency situation and the POTUS is obsessed, not with providing the most accurate and timely information to Americans affected by this storm, nope he’s fixated on winning a spin battle against the media.  The truth is Trump’s spin fight isn’t part of his DUTIES as president, especially during a weather emergency involving numerous states.

It’s easy to just blow this off as another Trump vs. media spin battle and brush it off as trivial, but here’s why it matters,

The executive branch owns our national emergency response and information, so the President has a duty to manage emergency services and information.  A large part of that information responsibility centers on providing the most accurate and timely information available.  Credibility is crucial.  The president scribbling on an official weather map with a sharpie destroyed the Office of President’s credibility.  Trump’s staff sitting silently throughout this destroyed their credibility too.”

https://libertybellediaries.com/2019/09/06/sharpiegate-matters/

This corona virus spin battle shows every sign of becoming a repeat of the Hurricane Dorian spin battle.  The media launched into attacks that Trump was failing to respond appropriately to the corona virus crisis.  Trump countered by appointing Vice President, Mike Pence, as the administration’s point man on dealing with the crisis.  Dems and the mainstream media responded within minutes launching a massive smear campaign against Pence, to undercut his credibility immediately.  Trump, his Fox news mouthpieces and his Twitter spin commandos jumped into action attacking Dems and the media, but as usual, Trump can’t be quiet and let the government’s medical experts or his point man speak to the corona virus situation.  Trump jumped right into more attacks on the media, more bs statements about the stock market, discounting the danger the virus poses, and he blabbered on about the media creating a “hoax” at a Trump rally.

Yesterday, Michael Brendan Dougherty at National Review wrote:

“The wrong Donald Trump has shown up to deal with the coronavirus. One might have expected Donald Trump, a germophobe who spent much of his campaign lambasting the Chinese, to take an aggressive approach on the Wuhan virus. You’d expect the Trump who breaks taboos and shuts things down until “our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

As the spread of the new and still somewhat mysterious virus ramps up in Italy and Iran, and a few more cases emerge in the United States, maybe that’s the Trump we’ve needed. But we’re getting Trump the market whisperer. We’re getting a Trump who is obviously bothered by the drop in the Dow Jones. We’re getting a Trump who plans to campaign on the conventional measures of success favored by his predecessors. We’re getting a Trump who is downplaying the seriousness of this disease, who is probably acting too late, and who is making promises he can’t keep.”

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/02/coronavirus-president-trump-takes-wrong-approach-to-threat/#slide-1

Trump seems  determined to downplay the virus, all to counter the Dems and mainstream media hysteria about of the virus.  This is becoming the Trump Sharpie map level spin effort during Hurricane Dorian, where Trump insisted Alabama was in the direct path of the storm and he drew a black line, which included Alabama, on an official weather map.  While Trump dug in on his Alabama claim, the media ramped up attacks on Trump’s altered map antic.

During the Hurricane Dorian map situation, Trump was also spinning (lying) about job numbers, which is very similar to the unfolding stock market decline this past week, as fear and uncertainty about the corona virus grew:

“The day after he shared the Sharpie-doctored hurricane map to justify his belated suggestion that Hurricane Dorian was headed for Alabama, Trump tried to spin the state of the US economy, which has emerged as his chief concern heading into the 2020 campaign. “Really Good Jobs Numbers!” he tweeted on Thursday.”

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/06/politics/sharpie-logic-trump-hurricane-economy/index.html

Before this blog post has even been completed, there’s a new twist.  Trump gave a corona virus update on the situation this afternoon.  The first US citizen has died from the corona virus.  The media peppered Trump with questions about Trump’s previous “hoax” comment and Trump-centered matters, not about the actual corona virus situation.  As usual, it appears to be a media determined to take down Trump and Trump determined to bolster Trump, when what America really needs is selfless leadership from our elected officials and a news media, who could step back from wallowing in victim hood and Trump derangement syndrome.

Trump running the Office of the President like a reality TV show comes at a serious cost to not only President Trump’s credibility, but it comes at a cost to the welfare of the American people.  Trump coming out and doing another briefing, trying to erase his mistakes and acting like this is just a Hollywood second take, erodes trust in both Trump and the entire executive branch.

This corona virus seems likely to spread in America and that assuredly will increase the death toll, all while America remains held hostage to a scorched earth partisan spin information war being fought out across American media and on Twitter.

It’s just a recipe for more chaos.

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Filed under General Interest, Information War, Politics

2016 spin déjà vu all over again

Although following politics has taken a backseat in my interests these days… once a political junkie, always a political junkie.  I still catch bits and pieces of our domestic spin information war, which seems to still be blowing hot air, unabated and still driven mostly by the media and political crowd on Twitter.  Last week, I saw President Trump on TV bragging about how important he believes his social media platform is to his political success.  He still remains 100% committed to his spin war effort, just as the Dems and their mainstream media loyalists are committed to their #Resist spin effort.

Our 2020 presidential election portends to be as surreal as 2016 and we can’t blame the Russians for so many Americans buying into Trump’s spin garbage, Dem spin garbage or the Bernie Sanders far-left nuttiness.

2020 being as off-the rails as 2016 is the only concrete prediction that seems incontrovertible at this point.  The Democratic Party now has a front-runner, Senator Bernie Sanders, who isn’t even a Democrat, just like the “GOP Insurgent” in 2016 was a reality TV star, liberal media gadfly, NYC realtor, who spent decades buying influence among prominent Dem. politicians.  With enough influential Republicans willing to sacrifice their integrity to kiss Trump’s ring, an aggressive Fox News spin operation advancing Trump spin and an even more aggressive social media spin operation, Trump weathered the most relentless Dem/mainstream scorched earth spin effort ever.  And that brings us back to another Dem/media Trump-Russia spin effort in recent days.

It’s surreal in the past few days to see Dems and the mainstream media trying to generate another Trump-Russia hysterical spin effort, claiming Russia is trying to interfere in our 2020 election and promoting Trump, citing unnamed US intelligence sources, again.  Russian interference isn’t the largest information war threat to America.  Our own domestic scorched earth spin information war, which Trump, Dems, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, Wapo, NYT and most other media in America, who report on American politics, avidly participate in 24/7, on TV, on radio, but especially on social media poses way more danger to America than anything hostile foreign info war operations do.

Our domestic scorched earth spin information war remains a hamster wheel America can’t stop or get off.

Watching the Dem disarray and in-fighting being played out across the media airwaves and online, it’s rather amusing to think back to the beginning of the Dem primary season and the “we will not attack other Democrats” proclamations.  The long knives, wielded by Democrats, are now out for Sanders, assuring the Democrats will be in disarray, probably up until their convention.  The collapse of moderate Democrat efforts to gain enough momentum to check the far-left surge bolsters Trump’s reelection chances.

This 2016 déjà vu aura still makes me wonder about a Clinton machine effort to stage some sort of convention upheaval and push Hillary as the only real Democrat, who can pull the party together to defeat Trump.  While this sounds impossible, there’s a growing panic mode festering among a large swath of the Dem. chattering class and Dem power-brokers.  All of this simmering panic will feed unconventional gambits and even support for changing the rules to allow the party to put forth a candidate to take down Trump.  If there’s one group of Americans who live by spin, it’s the liberal mainstream media, especially those who were Hillary loyalists in 2016.

Admittedly, this idea sounds far-fetched, but I just feel Hillary’s steady media effort, has all been planned to keep her in the news, while Clinton operatives try to find a way to get her into this 2020 race at the convention.  This is her last chance to become the first female president in America and  I believe she will seize any opportunity (even one orchestrated through a corrupt spin effort and changing the rules) to try again.

Several years ago I bought Robert Bork’s, 1996 book, Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, on sale for $2.99  as a kindle book, but hadn’t read it.  I’ve started reading it, because somehow with both major political parties totally corrupted by liberal cultural rot, Bork’s book seems timely.  Trump is a product of that 60s liberal cultural rot and he’s corrupted the entire GOP with that rot and especially conservatives.  Reality TV culture is unarguably liberal garbage and Trump is a king of that medium, to the point he’s running his presidency as a cheap reality TV show.  Trump assortment of supporters and mindless followers have bought into Trump’s sideshow antics, his Twitter attacks, daily childish and cruel attacks and most will likely vote for him again.  Dems and the Democratic Party are now facing the prospect of far-left, Marxist, Bernie Sanders, also a product of the 1960s turmoil Bork wrote about, looks like he might walk away with their Democratic nomination.  Both major political parties are now in a state of collapse from corruption and abandonment of core principles.

What remains to be seen is if there’s a bottom or any realization by our spin combatants that our domestic scorched earth spin information war, which they are waging, has zero chance of “saving our democracy.”

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Pelosi’s “Italian grandmother’s move” failed

Two weeks into my husband’s home hospice care, some things don’t change.   My husband, laying in a hospital-type bed here at home, still wants his TV on FOX News 24/7, even though he pays very little attention to it.  Likewise,  I didn’t listen to any of the impeachment speechifying, but did catch bits and pieces of President Trump’s State of the Union address.

While I haven’t followed much politics, I’m learning that caring for someone confined to a bed is a challenge and I’m acquiring new skills by watching and talking with the CNAs and the RN, who make several home visits a week.  I’ve mastered changing a bed with a patient in the bed, because they don’t want my husband out of bed (not sure yet if that’s permanent or if he’ll regain enough strength to sit in a chair some) and I’m learning a lot of ins and outs of 24/7 bedside care.  These home hospice CNAs and RN have become my lifeline and I am grateful beyond words for their care and kindness.

Sitting with my husband, I did watch Nancy Pelosi’s staged spin stunt of dramatically tearing up her copy of Trump’s speech at the end.   Our American politics, despite the weeks of dramatic speeches about “upholding our constitution,” remains just endless, boring spin soap opera/reality TV antics.  Our American political class in Washington’s, only bipartisan work seems to be destroying the dignity of our constitutional republic.  It’s embarrassing watching so much of Trump’s reality TV/sideshow presidency, but it’s also embarrassing watching so much of the Dems and media staged spin show too.

When Nancy Pelosi regained the Speaker of the House position last year, the mainstream media tirelessly spun up Pelosi as this larger than life feminist Amazonian warrior/goddess persona, a woman who would beat Donald J. Trump into submission by the sheer awesomeness of her presence.  Pelosi’s daughter, Christine Pelosi, the Democratic Party’s Women’s Caucus Chair, has become a mainstream media fixture since 2019, fabricating and amplifying this “I am woman hear me roar” mystique about Nancy Pelosi’s toughness and political superpowers.  The mainstream media hypes these insipid and disingenuous Christine Pelosi takes on her mother:

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is from San Francisco and her daughter Christine Pelosi, the California Democratic Party’s Women’s Caucus Chair sat down today with ABC7 news anchor Kristen Sze.

She says the Speaker’s move to rip up the President’s speech was completely unplanned and came after a string of events.

Being seemingly snubbed by the President when she extended her hand to shake his before the speech and having to sit through what the House Speaker calls a series of untruths.

In fact, the Speaker was quoted today saying that the President shredded the truth, so she shredded his speech. Christine Pelosi says it’s an Italian grandmother’s move.

The House Speaker’s own mother once took away the dinner plate of a rude guest and then came back to the dinner table and carried on as normal.

Christine Pelosi also dismisses critics who say that Madame Speaker’s move was not reflective of taking the high road and that it’s standing up to the President as she has done many times before.”

https://abc13.com/5906883/

Yet watching the steady stream of Chuck Schumer/Nancy Pelosi staged preemptive spin antics, as they traipsed to the White House to do battle with Donald Trump, this post SOTU Pelosi spin antic came across as weak, pathetic, beneath the dignity of her office and a new low in this destructive spin war, not as some tough “Italian grandmother’s move.”  C’mon, as far as optics go, Pelosi tearing up Trump’s speech comes nowhere close to the impact of the horse’s head in the bed optic in the movie, The Godfather.  Pelosi ain’t the spin warrior queen who can slay Trump and she’s looking sillier and more unhinged the further she goes trying to beat Trump at these absurd spin war antics.

Trump’s loud, lowbrow reality show presidency receives constant criticism from the mainstream media, much of it deserved, but this same media fails to hold Dems to the same standard (just like FOX News and most conservative media make excuses for Trump’s excesses).  Pelosi didn’t come across as strong by tearing up Trump’s speech; she looked like an angry, vicious shrew.  And it appeared to me that she had planned this spin stunt, as tossing a bone to her rabid far-left faction, who wanted to boycott the SOTU address.  Her explanation that tearing up Trump’s speech was “the courteous thing to do” speaks volumes about the complete collapse of ethical standards in Washington.  Her daughter trying to cast tearing up Trump’s speech as some bold “Italian grandmother’s move”  made me wonder how many Dem spinmeisters worked on coming up with that spin line.

Pelosi looked petty, vindictive and frankly afraid of her far-left base, which added to the complete disarray of the Democratic Party’s 2020 primary process, bodes poorly for Dems chances in 2020.  It also makes me still believe that somehow, someway, the Clintons are going to orchestrate a spin narrative and political maneuver for Hillary to swoop in as the avenging angel, who will unite Dems and lead the charge to finally defeat her 2016 nemesis, Donald J. Trump.  How this might come about, I have no clue, but if anyone can finagle a political path for Hillary, Bill Clinton, one of the smartest political minds in America, would be the person to do it.

Yes, I’m still of a mind that the mainstream media’s other feminist goddess might rise from the ashes of her 2016 defeat to try save the Democratic Party… and America from a second President Donald J. Trump term.

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Careening down the road to self-destruction

President Trump went one step further than I predicted in my last blog post, although I’m not feeling any satisfaction for calling Trump’s course of action correctly.  All I feel is increasing concern for America’s future.

Instead of just a victory lap interview, Trump opted for going big, where he went to Toledo, OH last night for a rousing victory lap rally.  He hurled out insults, taunts, plenty of dishonest statements all to a wildly cheering crowd.  He worked hard to ramp up rage against Democrats, while wrapping himself in the American flag.

What he did not do is treat this serious foreign policy crisis seriously.  For Trump it was all about him and how great he handled it, acting as if this one skirmish with Iran means he won.  He also did not buckle down and start personally preparing for the many challenges to come in dealing with Iran and other foreign policy crises that will assuredly follow this change in US policy toward deterrence.

This Trump victory lap rally was an appalling spectacle of poor judgment, venality, lack of seriousness and the same old Trump Reality Show presidency.  The main thing, I believe, galvanizing much of Trump’s support is the Democrats’ alarming Trump derangement spin antics.  Yesterday news broke that the Ukrainian airliner crash, just hours after the Iranian missile strikes against US forces in Iraq, was caused by an Iranian missile attack.   Dems began ramping up a spin effort shifting blame for this very likely major Iranian error by Iran, to blaming Trump.  Here are the Dem spin messaging efforts, which I retweeted with comments:

The two words these Dem spin attacks corrupted were “crossfire” and “collateral damage” absolving Iran from responsibility for their missile taking down a commercial airliner, killing all 176 people on board.  That plane took off from the airport in Tehran, where Iran has total control over that airspace, failed to halt commercial flights and then likely mistakenly shot down a commercial airliner.  There was no “crossfire,” since only Iran was launching missile strikes that night and the “collateral damage,” was caused by Iran firing that missile at a commercial airliner that they allowed to take off from the airport in Tehran.

Interestingly, some liberal journalists and Dem mouthpieces realized this spin attack against Trump was making them look like Iranian propagandists, so they tried to quell this Dem spin attack from amplifying even more. Chuck Todd changed course quickly, as did Michael McFaul, former Obama ambassador to Russia, who has a very active Twitter spin presence, plus I noticed many other Dem spin mouthpieces on Twitter work to try to stop their own Dem spin attack.

It was a disturbing American spin cycle to watch last night, with the Dem spin attack trying to shift blame for Iran’s missile strike to Trump (America) and Trump taking to the stage in Toledo, OH to do an appalling, saber-rattling, dishonest,victory lap rally.  Trump reverted back to form – lying, recklessly disregarding facts and blurring details, but the overarching theme was to incite his followers to hating Democrats and hurling out streams of ad hominem attacks.  Trump leaves all the heavy-lifting duties of his presidency to other people, while he wallows in his trash reality show antics.

Both parties continue to hurl America to a state of being seething, mindless mobs or raging partisans led by shallow, corrupt charlatans.  Even worse, most of the media in America behave even more dishonestly and corruptly than the partisan politicians and operatives, who orchestrates this endless scorched earth spin war.

America continues to careen down this road to self-destruction, with no leaders stepping forward to press on the brakes.  Just full SPIN ahead, 24/7.

 

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A quick Trump score card on the Iran crisis

American foreign policy decisions about America’s role in the world, especially in the Middle East, always remain deeply controversial and hotly debated.  My first interest in foreign policy began at the tail end of the Vietnam War, when I was probably around 11 or 12 and started trying to understand politics.  It’s funny that one of my most vivid memories is watching TV with my paternal great-grandmother, who despised Richard Nixon (and Republicans) and spewed anti-Semitic aspersions whenever Henry Kissinger was mentioned on the news.

As things go in families, my mother was a staunch Republican.  My great-grandmother also loathed my mother even more than she hated Nixon and Jewish people and we lived in the same house.  My mother insisted we care for our ailing great-grandmother each and every day, talk to her respectfully, and my mother did her best to make sure my great-grandmother was properly cared for as her health declined.  My mother never argued with my great-grandmother, no matter how many mean or spiteful things my great-grandmother said and did.

Besides being a Republican, my mother grew up in a neighboring county in northeast PA and my mother told us, the people where my father grew up didn’t like the people where she grew up.  She said they called them Pine Swampers, if you can believe it.  My mother was hated by my great-grandmother for being a Pine Swamper… seriously.

That’s the thing we all have to keep in mind when arguing about politics and foreign policy.  First and foremost, while it’s easy to look at the world with a tribal mind-set, dividing every issue into an Us vs. Them equation, the truth is the world is filled with people – we are all people.  If Americans lose sight of that in our politics and allow ourselves to become rabid partisan animals, then all the virtuous “American values” we claim to be fighting to uphold, will be lost.

Last night when Iran launched some missiles into Iraq and for several hours tensions ran very high, it sure looked to me that America’s already unhinged scorched earth spin war got hit with a massive waft of hostile foreign propaganda messaging.  Twitter turned into an even crazier disinformation and misinformation zone than usual.

President Trump responded today with a careful speech that sounded Reaganesque in tones of deterrence and urging Iran to engage in diplomacy.  It was a pitch perfect speech, I think.

While I firmly support a policy of deterrence and believe President Trump handled this situation appropriately, it always comes back to Donald J. Trump is no Ronald Reagan.  People knew where Reagan stood on politics, especially foreign policy, because he’d consistently articulated where he stood and people, both friends and foes, knew it.  With Donald J. Trump, he’s a complete mishmash of conflicting opinions that often compete in the same word salad sentence.  He’s a man who thrives on being the star of the show, not on setting his ego aside for the good of the team – whether that team is his own national security team, the Republican Party, or the American people.

It was a welcome sign to hear President Trump deliver a speech moving American foreign policy back toward deterrence being a anchor.

However, I felt anything but reassured, after the first moments of genuine relief.  I don’t know if he’ll stick with this, go rogue embracing some other bizarre crap he hears on cable TV, or if he will start lashing out at the sure to follow diplomatic and likely military challenges that will assuredly follow.

Instead of buckling down and working closely with his foreign policy team to develop comprehensive plans, develop an organized, professional White House press operation, beyond his personal Twitter account, or start working to rebuild relations with America’s allies, which are in tatters due to his own reckless disregard for America’s need for friends in the world, I saw on Twitter, that President Trump will be doing an interview with Laura Ingraham, likely a victory lap for Trump to brag and and pat himself on the back.

My gut reaction was Trump’s speech was just an act and his Twitter Trump petty attacks and reality TV show presidency is the real Trump.  All you’ve got in life as a leader is your credibility and Trump’s own one-man show spin circus presidency has greatly damaged Trump’s credibility.  His misguided attacks on America’s allies, while sucking up to America’s enemies in hopes of striking some big deal, has fed Dems and mainstream media endless spin ammo, but even worse than that, he’s burned bridges with America’s friends, while getting nothing in return for sucking up to Putin and Kim Jong Un.

The initial Israeli reaction after Trump’s careless tweet threat about 52 targets and Iran culture sites, seemed hesitant.  I wondered if the Israelis were worrying they might get Twitter Trump handling this Iranian crisis rather than a serious American president.  Once Trump walked back his attacking Iranian cultural sites threat and delivered a serious, calm, professional speech articulating a clear policy, Israel got publicly on board.

America deserves the calm, professional President Trump every day, not just in a crisis.

Trump’s failure to understand the self-inflicted damage he does to himself by feeding his political enemies endless spin ammo, which they beat him with 24/7 boggles my mind.

Even among many Americans who support his policies and his handling of this crisis, there are still doubts about whether Trump can be trusted.

All is not lost, Trump can still begin the process of building trust and rebuilding relations with our allies, but first he needs to realize his own mistakes.

For America’s sake, I hope he does.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Politics

Trump gives “conventional wisdom” the boot

In the wake of the news that President Trump had authorized a military strike to kill Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, I had high hopes that a new American strategy would emerge and perhaps it might, but… President Trump’s thin-skinned outbursts will assure the every step of the way for U.S. diplomats, military commanders and political supporters ends up mired in endless, Trump-inflicted controversies, that were completely avoidable.

I spent the weekend tweeting support for President Trump’s decision to authorize the military strike, but just like with his digging in insisting his call with President Zelensky of Ukraine was a “perfect call,” Trump on Saturday tweeted:

The media leaped on attacking Trump’s mention of Iranian cultural targets as threatening to commit war crimes and it descended into an all-out spin attack against Trump from Dems, mainstream media, and even Iranian officials, playing for international sympathy and support.

All of this could have been avoided if Trump had been more careful about the words he speaks… and tweets.

Instead, on Sunday Trump went on a diatribe – doubling down on his threat to target cultural sites in Iran.  He even went a step further and threatened to impose heavy sanctions on Iraq, if they kick the U.S military out of Iraq.

It sometimes seems like Trump believes his only adversary is the mainstream media in America.  I believe it stems from his anger over the media turning on him in 2016, after months of giving him endless free media to wreak havoc on the GOP primary.  The media turning on him seems to have enraged him to the point that getting even with them is the thing that drives him more than any of his presidential duties and responsibilities.

Trump could have just walked back that Iranian culture comment and selected a less inflammatory choice of words.  Or really he could have just said, “We will follow the law.”

Instead, he chose to lash out.

The mainstream media and Dem hypocrisy will aid Trump, of course, and most Republicans will stick with him too, but his fragile ego over criticism and unwillingness to ever admit to a mistake will assure every step of the way will be much harder, because of his doubling down on a poor choice of words.

For America’s sake, a new approach to dealing with Iranian terror is welcome and long overdue.  Stepping away from the carved in stone “conventional wisdom” also seemed like a breath of fresh air, because for decades, “fear of all-out war with Iran” or “igniting a larger regional war” held American foreign policy thinkers trapped into accepting a self-imposed helplessness.  Trump’s saying no more to taking Iranian aggression as our only option, has created an opportunity to finally check Iran’s reign of terror.  Whether Trump can curb his most self-destructive impulses to follow through and capitalize on this opportunity remains to be seen.   Even if he fails, at least, he threw a wrench into buying into decades of fear-mongering masquerading as sacred “conventional wisdom.”

Too often foreign policy and military strategists become trapped by fear-induced “catastrophic thinking,” that they begin to believe adversaries are omnipotent or any forceful action might precipitate a crisis that propels us into a nightmare scenario that we can’t control.  Of course, catastrophic outcomes aren’t impossible, but neither are they inevitable.  The death toll and carnage from decades of unchecked Iranian terrorist activities has been a very heavy price to pay, all because “conventional wisdom” fearfully warned us we are powerless to do anything forceful to stop it.

We should not let fear control our destiny.

 

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Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Politics, Terrorism

The president said, “he had heard”…

Back in 2012, I was working at my local Walmart Supercenter, where I had worked for many years.  Here’s a story about that time, or as my husband and kids used to call these – “The Walmart Chronicles.”  In my early years at Walmart, whenever I came home with some bizarre or surreal story from my day at Walmart, my husband would tease, and in a singsong announcer voice, say, “Ta-da, The Walmart Chronicles” and my kids picked up that same teasing phrase.  Often, I don’t think they believed some of these strange stories, but they were all true.   And let me assure you, a lot of strange things really do happen at Walmart, especially bizarre incidents of theft. Here is one such tale.

An elderly male associate’s employment at Walmart ended for a valid reason.  One of my young associates told me she felt sorry for him, even though she was the associate who warned me Asset Protection was watching him and that we were supposed to keep an eye on him and call AP if we saw particular suspicious behavior.  This young associate told me this man believed the Mayan Apocalypse was going to happen and that he was stealing stuff to prepare for that event…  True story.

Shortly after this man left Walmart, I arrived at work one morning and an elderly woman at the door greeted me as I walked in and she grabbed my arm to stop me.  This people greeter was the worst gossip in our store and she stopped associates and customers alike, to gather and share gossip, often taking a hold of their arm to stop them and keep them engaged in conversation.  Even my kids complained to me about her, telling me it felt like being held hostage at the front door when she started prying, trying to elicit bits of dirt to spread. My kids told me they went to the other entrance if they saw her at the door, to avoid dealing with her.

This morning, was a day of “sharing” gossip, as this woman animatedly told me this story about how Walmart killed that elderly former employee.  She told me he had a heart attack and died and it was all Walmart’s fault for firing him.  She did not know why he was fired and I assuredly wasn’t telling her.

Our personnel manager was coming through the door at the same time and this people greeter stopped her too to share this Walmart horror story.  As we walked away, I told the personnel manager, “She’s going to tell every customer who comes through the door today that Walmart killed that man.”  I asked the personnel manager if she’d heard he had died, but she hadn’t heard that “news” either and she told me she would make some phone calls.  Later in the morning she informed me that the elderly man was not dead and had not had a heart attack, so I went to the people greeter and told her the story was not true.  I asked her who told her this story and she told me she heard it from an elderly woman, who had worked at our store for many years, but had since retired.  I also asked her to stop repeating that story.

Shortly after that, I ran into the retired associate, whom our store’s worst gossip had named as her source, shopping in the store.  I had known this retired associate many years and I told her about the story and she told me she hadn’t told the store gossip that story and she told me she hadn’t even been in the store for over a week.  I did tell the store gossip this and I asked her if she could think of who else might have told her, because I wanted to try to stop this untrue story from spreading further, because it damaged our store’s reputation.  She couldn’t remember who else might have told her.

All through that day, customers and associates approached me and asked me about that poor old associate, whom Walmart killed… I kept relaying that he was alive and had not had a heart attack.

Friday morning President Trump did a nearly hour-long call in interview on Fox and Friends.  As with every time Trump talks more than a minute, he veers off onto all sorts of tangents, speculations and garbled reports, but mostly Trump’s world revolves around “people told me about so and so or such and such.”  He lives in a world fueled by innuendo and malicious gossip, mostly fixated on gathering gossip about what other people said about him.

The Dems impeachment sideshow revolved around 99.9% hearsay evidence too.

The media reports loads of hearsay reports too, often rushing to tweet out unverified information or retweeting other reporters’ unverified information.

Our entire political class lives and breathes opposition research (gossip and dirt-digging).

Digging for dirt and spreading dirt about each other is the American political ethos, despite all the lofty virtue-signaling about democracy and the  Constitution.

Digging for dirt and spreading dirt about each other is also our cultural ethos, promoted 24/7 by our massive media organizations.

Most disturbing though is we have the President of the United States, whose grievances against the former ambassador to Ukraine, include – Trump claimed Marie Yovanovitch refused to hang his photo up in the embassy for at least a year. Here’s the report from CBS:

“President Trump attacked former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Friday, saying she was “not an angel” and claiming she refused to hang his framed photograph in the embassy in Kiev for at least a year.

A member of Yovanovitch’s legal team said the embassy hung photos of Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the secretary of state “as soon as they arrived from Washington, D.C.” The embassy in Kiev did not return a request for comment.

The president said he had heard “bad things” about Yovanovitch, who was appointed by President Obama in 2016, and claimed she was disliked by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was elected in May.

“This was not an angel, this woman, OK?” Mr. Trump said. “There were a lot of things that she did that I didn’t like.””

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-claims-marie-yovanovitch-refused-to-hang-portrait-in-embassy-in-ukraine/

President Trump behaves just like the worst gossip at my old Walmart store and while she was, unfortunately, talking to every customer walking in the front door, Trump talks to world leaders and the most important people in our government, in business and in the media. 

Reporters analyze and dissect Trump speak and they count up all the lies he tells, but someone should count up how many times he asserts, “people are saying” or “I heard”…

Unfortunately, the absolute worst place for petty, malicious political gossip to marinate and spread is on Twitter and that’s probably why Trump loves Twitter so much.

 

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Filed under General Interest, Politics

Latest Impeachment Spin Theater Takes

I think most people who write about American politics, professionally, or as amateur bloggers, like myself, have devoted way more hours to President Donald J. Trump than he deserves, but even more importantly than is healthy for ourselves or the body politic.

When Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, began releasing transcripts of the private hearings, I started reading them.  I did not get through all of them, but I did watch all of this past week’s open hearings.  With this Trump impeachment push, Trump’s call to the Ukraine president, using his own call record, sounded totally inappropriate to me.  I started out leaning toward supporting impeachment.   After this past week’s open hearings, I went from thinking he should be impeached and removed, to less inclined to think that will do a single thing to uphold our democratic institutions or get America one step closer to bolstering our constitutional system

Watching these hearings led me to be more convinced this was another orchestrated Dem smear/spin operation more than a serious process run out of concern about preserving our democracy or upholding The Constitution.  Funny thing, about watching the Dem political/spin machinations play out in public hearings and with the media pushed me further away from supporting impeachment than supporting it.  I was also sick to death of much of the Republican spin antics, especially Jim Jordan’s fast-talking questioning, where I couldn’t even make logical sense out of his questioning, his summations of the answers and most certainly not his hyped up Trump cheerleading in media appearances.   His pro-Trump spin was as exhausting as Swalwell and Schiff’s  anti-Trump spin.

Trump’s spin attacks, trying to disrupt and hijack the hearings, should have been anticipated by Schiff and Dems, but instead of ignoring him, Schiff played right into Trump’s hands by reading Trump’s live-tweets right into the hearing process and allowing Trump to participate, only when it fed the Dem spin narrative.  Schiff should have allowed Trump to have lawyers present and Republicans to call witnesses, but he refused that.  Instead, Schiff decided to play the spin angel by feeding Trump’s live tweets into the hearing.  Watching the amount of tweeting and fixation on fighting the spin war by House Intelligence Committee members, even during these hearings, drove home the point that this was a political spin production more than a serious, grave constitutional undertaking.

As to the witnesses, I wrote a blog post on Kent, Taylor and Yovanovitch, so here are the other ones who stuck out – Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the EU, LTC Alexander Vindman, David Holmes and the latest mainstream media feminist icon, Dr. Fiona Hill, The Non-Partisan.

LTC Vindman did not answer who the intelligence person was he told about the Trump-Zelensky phone call.  Schiff interrupted Republicans questions and asserted the “whistleblower” must be protected, even though Schiff stated on national TV during these hearings that he doesn’t know who the “whistleblower” is.  Vindman also testified under oath that he doesn’t know who the “whistleblower” is, even though the accounts the “whistlebower” wrote about in his-her complaint are these very witnesses’ stories.  These witnesses stories make up the “whistleblower complaint.”   Dems kept pointing out how detailed and accurate the “whistleblower’s” accounts are and how closely these witnesses stories match those accounts.  Dems say that the witnesses corroborate the “whistleblower’s account”…  NO the witnesses, who directly talked to the “whistleblower” aren’t corroborating, they are the SOURCES of the complaint.  Each witness who talked to the “whistleblower” was a SOURCE of the complaint – not corroborating anything.  Without these witnesses’ stories there is nothing to corroborate with the “whistleblower”.  It’s a logical fallacy the Dems have carefully packaged and sold here.  To corroborate something implies there are separate bits of information or evidence that are bolstering a statement.  These witnesses very accounts make up the sum total of the “whistleblower complaint”.  Minus the witnesses’ stories, there is nothing to bolster.

Gordon Sondland is a wealthy businessman, big Trump donor, who secured an ambassadorship for his support.  In his opening statement he turned on Trump and gave Dems what appeared to be a slam dunk win.  However, in the afternoon, when Republicans started questioning him aggressively, he walked back most of that opening statement.  Dems and Republicans latched onto the parts of Gordon Sondland’s testimony that fed their spin, but it seemed to me that Sondland was a incredible dissembler and wanted to escape this hearing with the least amount of damage to himself.  He was not a credible witness and in many ways like Trump – a person who will say anything to benefit himself.

David Holmes was the aide of Bill Taylor, whom Taylor testified told him about a phone call he overheard between Gordon Sondland and President Trump.  Holmes claimed Trump talked loud and Sondland held the phone away from his ear, so Holmes clearly heard Trump talking.  I did not find Holmes story very credible as to being the exact conversation, but then again often recounting only parts of an overheard conversation can lead to large distortions about what the conversation was really all about.

The mainstream media has gone into raptures about Dr. Fiona Hill, The Non-Partisan, Russia expert, foreign policy guru, latest feminist icon of the Left.  Hill began her testimony with an opening statement berating “GOP conspiracy theories” that are promoting “Russian conspiracy theories” by asserting Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.  This spin that the GOP is promoting Russian conspiracy theories spin line is straight Dem spin that’s being massively spun-up in the mainstream media.  Trump does promote some odd Crowdstrike/server conspiracy theory (which might be a Russian conspiracy theory), for which I’ve seen no open source reporting that bolsters, but there were numerous reports in mainstream media about Ukraine interference in our 2016 election.  The Ukraine meddling was nothing close to the vast scale of the Russian disinformation efforts, but the Ukraine effort did lead to Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigning and later to his prosecution for money-related crimes – connected to his dealing in… Ukraine:

Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire

Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.

Of course, now that Ukraine interference and Russian interference have been conflated to binary choices, the Dem spin tsunami insists only Russian interference occurred and to assert Ukraine also interfered is promoting Russian disinformation.  The truth is many countries interfered in our 2016 election, just like the U.S. interferes in other countries’ elections.

Once Hill dumped that Dem spin bomb in her opening statement, the Fiona Hill, The Non-Partisan aura evaporated for me.  Another amazing Hill revelation was when she related how she read the Steele dossier the day before Buzzfeed published it, when Strobe Talbott showed it to her.  Talbott is a long-time Clinton crony.  He was president of the Brookings Institution, a left-leaning think tank, where Hill was working at the time.  Talbott also is the brother-in-law of Cody Shearer, the author of the second “dossier” about Trump-Russian collusion in 2016.  Hill is very smart and seemed very politically astute, so I kept wondering why on earth she volunteered this information about Strobe Talbott showing her the Steele dossier the day before it was leaked by Buzzfeed.  I wondered if she volunteered that as a CYA move to protect her “credibility as The Non-Partisan”, with nothing to hide.  Talbott’s name was mentioned in a defamation lawsuit against Steele filed by Alfa Bank, where Steele disclosed reporters and people to whom he gave copies of the dossier.  Hill blithely dismissed Steele’s dossier as likely Russian disinformation in her testimony.  Hill struck me as trying to play this elaborate charade in her testimony, throwing out  bits to bolster her “non-partisan” bona fides, while lobbing the Dem spin hits and seeming to struggle to mask her contempt for the Republicans on the committee.  It was an odd performance, but the Dems and mainstream media consider her performance mesmerizing.

Hill was also asked about Kenneth Vogel, who wrote the Politico article on Ukraine interference in 2016, referenced above,  and Hill had nothing but glowing accolades for Kenneth Vogel’s journalistic credentials…

Trump definitely was offering a quid pro quo in the phone call with President Zelensky.  It certainly was totally inappropriate, but I want more information on Biden’s dealings in Ukraine and his son’s dealings with Burisma.  Biden bragged about his effort to pressure Ukraine to fire a prosecutor, who had opened an investigation into Burisma corruption,  Media accounts offer up conflicting accounts and conflicting timelines, so more facts need to be ironed out here.  For me, watching Joe Biden’s recounting of how he pressured Ukraine to fire that prosecutor sounds worse than what Trump did in the “strong-arming a foreign country desperately in need of American aid” department.  Of course, the mainstream media and many of these non-partisan career professionals, who testified this week, assert that prosecutor was a corrupt prosecutor.  The other interesting disparity is with the aid Biden was threatening to withhold, none of these “non-partisan” witnesses are upset about that and they dutifully repeated that Ukrainian prosecutor was corrupt, but Trump’s short hold on aid to Ukraine, well, that  resulted in “Ukrainians dying” while that aid was withheld…  With Biden and the Obama foreign aid, it didn’t even include military aid, so assuredly Ukrainians were dying then too – probably lots of them, but Biden’s threat to withhold aid didn’t even raise a murmur or moment of angst among these “non-partisan” career professionals.   Here’s a link to a video of Biden explaining his Ukraine aid dealings:

https://www.wsj.com/video/opinion-joe-biden-forced-ukraine-to-fire-prosecutor-for-aid-money/C1C51BB8-3988-4070-869F-CAD3CA0E81D8.html

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Filed under Corrupt Media Collusion, Foreign Policy, General Interest, Politics, Trump Impeachment Saga