The Muslim Question

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A Washington Post opinion piece: “Donald Trump’s sharp contrast from Obama and Bush on Islam has serious implications” written by William McCants, currently appears on the Washington Post website under the subheading: “Acts of Faith.”

This article correctly points out that the essential moral rules of Islam, as proclaimed in the Sharia, are closely and literally followed by some Muslims and, are treated less seriously, more as guidelines rather than commandments, by most other Muslims. This is not news! I think that, by now, most intelligent non-Muslim Amerians understand that not every Muslim is a radical jihadist. We work with Muslims, socialize with Muslims and welcome Muslims to hold important roles in our lives based on their character and behavior, not based on their religion.

The primary point of this article however, implies that proposals such as President-elect Trump’s extreme vetting are not only unnecessary but will lead to more jihadist recruitment. In other words, the implication is: ‘if you fight it, it will only grow larger, so don’t fight it.’ These are not exactly words to live by!

We have, since 9/11/2001, allowed approx. 2 million virtually unvetted Muslims to immigrate to or visit the United States on visas and that has resulted in approximately 50 terrorist acts that are directly credited to radical Islamic teachings, resulting in many hundreds of innocent lives lost (not even counting the thousands lost on 9/11/2001 itself).

Those who oppose Donald Trump have used his positions on border security and on immigration from the Arab world as reasons to label him a ‘racist, an islamophobe, a bigot and even a monster; for the safety of all American citizens, these people and their labels must be ignored! Donald Trump and the people he is naming to his cabinet are dedicated to protecting American citizens from enormous and growing International threats, radical Islam is only one of them.

Note: The author: William McCants, is a fellow at The Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy and is the director of its Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World.

An American Insurrection

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The colors of late fall
seem brighter this year
as a failed president departs
and American values reappear

The “hopes” and “changes” of 2009,
the lies and misdirection,
encouraged a changing of the guard,
and birthed an American Insurrection

(hg, 2016)

After President Obama’s re-election in 2008 my first thought was: ‘How can they do that?’ How can Americans re-elect a man whose entire presidency has been devoted to weakening America financially and internationally? Are they not listening to Obama himself? His often repeated mantra, even before his first term was ‘level the playing field’. That’s the rhetoric of a Socialist State; this is a Democratic Republic and Democracies don’t work like that.

And it didn’t work!

Congratulations to Donald Trump and his team on their significant defeat of rampant Liberalism in 2016.

Paul Ryan’s Conservative Arrogance

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Here’s a Washington Post headline from this afternoon:

“Paul Ryan, House GOP leadership team split on supporting Trump”

That’s not really news, it’s been going on since the day after Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee.

Politicians are arrogant by their very nature and this is Conservative arrogance at its most potent!

Paul Ryan and the GOP elite are essentially telling America’s Republican Primary voters that they voted for the wrong man, that they wasted their vote. These “never Trumpers” certainly have a right to personally dislike the man who will be leading THEIR PARTY through the election cycle after the Convention, but one would think that responsible elected Republican leaders would at least appear to rally around the people’s choice for the nomination, for the sake of the party if for no other reason.

One would think that! But when the Speaker of The House Of Representatives goes on television and announces his personal opposition to Donald Trump and essentially tells the millions of people who voted for him that they have it all wrong, he’s committing a form of political treason by giving the presumptive Democratic nominee an advantage over his own party’s nominee.

If Rep.Paul Ryan continues making public pronouncements like this last one, one can only hope that the Republican voters in his home state of Wisconsin will remember his arrogant words and actions when he’s running for reelection.

Personally, I can see no path to victory for Hillary Clinton in November . . . but then I also bet against Obama’s second term. I was blind to how it could possibly happen. I guess I need to retake the ‘Prophet 101’ home-study course.

Give me that ‘Old Atavistic Nationalism’

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GOPSlit

 

That’s what the New York Times calls Donald Trump’s brand of politics: “atavistic nationalism”, with roots as old as the party itself.” GOP leaders, they go on to say, “fear their party is on the cusp of an epochal split.”

(That’s what I truly love about the New York Times, and I’m not being sarcastic, they don’t allow you to get too far from your dictionary.)

The Times story was basically the same one dominating the news cycle this weekend, about that epic (excuse me, I mean “epochal”) split in the GOP that is threatening and terrifying those who choose to call themselves Conservatives.

A term that I love, used either by or about Donald Trump’s approach to politics is Commonsense Conservatism”, I saw that and said “Voila” (figuratively of course); that’s what was missing in Conservatism, common sense. I always use to hesitate to identify myself as a Conservative because most Conservatives are still piddling around with the “religious” Conservatism that was born in the 1960s and was ingrained by the 1980s. Religious Conservatism is in itself an oxymoron that was created to convince legislators that they have the right to interfere with social issues that have no reasonable link to the Constitution or to the major functions of the federal government.

Even outside of the ‘Religious Conservative’ context, the GOP has been making a fool of itself for the past 4 years by being unwilling or unable to keep the promises made to voters in 2012. These are the same voters who believed the promises and put Republicans in majority roles in the House and Senate with the understanding that, among other things, they will replace ObamaCare with something that gives the power over healthcare back to the people. That didn’t happen, in spite of the supposed “power of the purse” held by the majority of Republicans in the House. Not much else has been accomplished either to undo the damage that Obama, and his cadre of Liberal followers has done to the country and the Constitution.

Considering all this, a “split” in the GOP is almost inevitable unless the powers that be start getting in touch with and in tune with the commonsense Republican ideas that caused a majority of primary voters to flock to Donald Trump.

The GOP Debate/Brawl from Houston

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I watched the GOP Debate from Houston last night; actually it was more of a hands-off bar brawl than a debate.

What is accomplished when three people are talking loudly all at once? Well, it makes them all seem more like three kids arguing over an umpire’s call in their little league game than three educated, talented adults who are contending for the nomination as president of the most powerful country in the world.

The Washington Post was quick to coronate Marco Rubio as the winner in their online article this morning ; of course! They are now, and have been, the biggest supporters of establishment politicians and, while Rubio is not exactly who they wanted as their establishment candidate, he’s all they have since Jeb dropped out of the race.

The Post’s headline reads: “Rubio won the Republican debate by putting Trump on the defensive.” Were they even watching the same debate? Yes! They were referring to the same debate as I was watching, but their spin on Rubio’s performance was simply wishful thinking. Trump stood tall next to Rubio and refuted every attack (and there was a seemingly never ending barrage of attacks). In fact, the biggest laugh line of the evening was at Rubio’s expense; when Marco was badgering Trump about some Polish workers he had hired (and he apparently got into some legal trouble for hiring them) and then accused Trump of hiring illegal aliens, Trumps rejoinder was priceless: “I’m the only one on this stage that’s hired people. I’ve hired tens of thousands of people. You haven’t hired one person in your life!”

The Post article also implied that Cruz’s performance was too weak, which is a short-sighted analysis,. Cruz was smiling and enjoying the Rubio/Trump battle, no doubt hoping that they completely destroy each other, giving him a broader highway to the nomination. I do have to say that Cruz had nothing new to offer last night, and that probably hurt him.

Other great Trump rejoinders of the evening:

To Ted Cruz: “I get along with everybody, you get along with nobody. You don’t have the endorsement of one Republican senator and you work with these people!” (good point!)

To the audience: “These are desperate politicians who are being told to say these things.” (True!)

To Rubio and Cruz: “Keep fighting. Keep swinging for the fences”.

Governor Kasich was impressive last night; he would be a good, strong president (at least as good as the other main players) but it appears that he has a very weak following; almost as weak as Dr. Ben Carson.

Speaking of Ben Carson, I’ve joked to a few friends that electing Ben Carson as president would be like putting an intern in as lead physician during a brain surgery. The intern MIGHT be able to complete the surgery successfully, but it would put the patient in jeopardy. In the worlds of Domestic and International politics, Carson MIGHT be able to save the patient (that’s us) but it’s a hell of a chance to take.

The results of Super Tuesday will be fascinating! For my part, I voted on the first day of early voting . . . and almost immediately started having second thoughts.

NEWS FLASH:

As I was about to publish this post, Chris Christie endorsed Trump for president. He says he has no intention of running for any other elective office until he is finished as governor of New Jersey in 2017. Realistically, I think a nod as a vice presidential candidate under the presumed Republican GOP Candidate (Trump) would make him give that a second thought.

 

The Weakest Leg of the Stool

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From it’s Inception, the American ‘Stool’ Only Needed Three Legs

1) The ‘small, unobtrusive government’ leg to allow citizens to be truly free from unwanted, unneeded political influences in their lives.

2) The ‘strong national defense’ leg to keep citizens safe from enemies who either envy or hate us for being free and strong.

3) The ‘free enterprise’ leg to maintain the American traditions of invention and industry that create an atmosphere amenable to personal wealth building and charitable giving.

To maintain order, this stool sits on a platform of laws that are devised to protect citizens from the greed, jealousy and arrogance that lives within all of us . . . and controls some of us..

The “American Stool” I have attempted to describe above represents a basic Libertarian vision of America; a vision of free men and woman making their own decisions and acting on them with the only restriction being respect for the property and privacy of others. America grew from a fledgling nation to a world power based on the three principles that support that Libertarian vision.

Some will try to make you believe that the ideals of small government, a strong national defense and free enterprise are Conservative ideals, that’s not quite true! If you trade in your ‘Libertarian stool’ for a ‘Conservative stool’, you are likely to get a stool with the same three strong legs, but also a fourth leg that does not quite reach the ground: the Judeo-Christian leg.

Enter the Christian Right

Greed, jealousy and arrogance unleashed, in the hands of those who set aside America’s Constitution and tried to replace it with a Christian Bible began the destruction of the American political system in the late 1970s, when an unsubstantial fourth leg was added to the American Stool; the Judeo-Christian leg (aka the Moral Majority leg). This leg was weaker than the other three legs because it was fashioned out of ephemeral hope and wishes and fueled by a greed for power as well as the arrogance of organized religion, i.e., spiritual desires are served rather than human needs.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision the self-important Christian Right jumped on the decision and eventually, successfully managed to corrupt the Constitution’s clearly implied desire to keep religion and government separate; they did this by inserting Christian ethics into, what was intended by the founders, to be a system insulated from and superior to religious belief.

Remember that first leg of the American stool, the ‘small, unobtrusive government’ leg, intended to allow citizens to be truly free from unwanted, unneeded political influences in their lives? Thanks to the corruption of the American political system caused by the Christian Conservative faction in the government, that leg has deteriorated to the point where, among other things: the logical right of a woman to control or terminate her own pregnancy is being challenged by politicians instead of by pediatricians; and where government officials attempted, and almost succeeded, to preempt the right of two adults to get married unless the match was approved by the state.

It needs to be made perfectly clear to politicians and government agencies that an American with strong religious beliefs is NOT ‘superior’ in any way to an American who does not share those beliefs. We are a nation of laws, not moral edicts.

I do not in any way claim that a set of personal religious beliefs is a bad thing, but Christian Evangelists need to be reminded: that we are a nation of laws that have ascended from centuries of tradition and experience; Christian ethics that harm or diminish personal freedoms and rights must be condemned.

The Wisdom of the Deal

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Back in December, on this blog , I came out strongly for Ted Cruz as my choice for the next resident at 1600 Pensylvania Ave. I’m not backing away from that position, but there are now new revelations that about his management style and his professional relationships that may be making many voters question the effectiveness of his presidency, should he be nominated and then elected.

No, I’m not buying anything negative that the mainstream media has to say about Ted Cruz nor do I believe most things that Donald Trump now has to say about Ted Cruz, especially his judgement that Cruz is “a nasty person.” Trump may, in fact, think he’s making a valid point when he implies that a politician, especially a president, has to make deals and you have to get along with those you work with. In fact, Trump is illustrating the difference between operating as a business man responsible for the bottom line of a company and operating as the nation’s chief-executive who has a direct responsibility for the physical, mental and financial well-being of the many millions of Americans who are his constituents and, at the same time, a responsibility to uphold his oath of office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

If that is your sworn oath, there is not a lot of room for making deals and there is a great need to be very vigilant about who you are dealing with and what results a deal may bring about; there is also an absolute requirement that any deal made will preserve the United States Constitution.

Back in Kindergarten you get graded on your ability to “play well with others” (at least I was, way back then). Whoever created that learning milestone had an amazing amount of foresight into what makes a successfully “socialized” child who may grow up to be a successfully socialized adult. In that wonderful lesson, however, lies a fallacy. As an adult you also have a responsibility to make judgements about your actions and not assume that everyone in your “school yard” has a benevolent objective to their actions.

In the case of Ted Cruz,it appears that he is one of the “adults” in Congress and, as a discriminating adult, he is right not to “play well” with politicians who hold positions that go against his firmly-held beliefs or well-considered judgements. The question is: will the majority of American’s see Ted Cruz’  unwillingness to embrace the political establishment as the asset it is or will they just believe what they read in the newspapers.