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Scene above:  Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
 

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I appeared on Silvio Canto Jr's talk show from Dallas.  It's here.

 

 

 

AUGUST 1-2,  2023

THE TRUMP THING:  Look, I'm not an expert on the law.  But I think I know a little bit of history.  What is happening now with Donald Trump is unprecedented in the nation's past.  Never before has the United States Government gone after a former president in the courts.  Never before has there been such a crusade to destroy him.  That doesn't make him wonderful, or a hero, or a martyr.  Trump can be grand, but he can be a man who flunked out of finishing school as well.  However, since the founding of this republic we have had a tradition, at times uneasy, of leaving former presidents alone, lest we become like a third-world country, where putting former leaders in jail is a sport. 

We say goodbye to a president, and we expect him to say goodbye to us.  George W. Bush played the part perfectly.  In the eight years of his successor, Barack Obama, we never heard a word from Mr. Bush. 

Trump is different.  He wants to run for president again.  In the American tradition, he should be given the chance.  Make your case, Mr. Trump.  Make your case.  But some wish to prevent him from running by destroying him.  It seems to me that the American people should have the final say on his future.  We will decide.  That is democracy.

Alan Dershowitz, retired Harvard law professor, and a man who has informally defended Trump, gives his view of the latest charges against the former president.  From Daily Mail: 

I can imagine the sound of champagne bottles popping from Martha's Vineyard to Washington D.C., as President Donald Trump's haters celebrate this third, historic federal indictment.

If only they were able to drop their partisan blinders and see the grave damage this legal lunacy is doing to our country!

On Tuesday, U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith revealed felony charges against the former president for allegedly subverting the will of the American people and attempting to overturn the results of an election.

Yes, Trump's behavior following his 2020 loss was wrong. But was it criminal?
Not on the basis of what I've seen thus far.

Have no doubt, corrupting the U.S. justice system to punish a former president and current candidate nudges the country ever closer to tribalism, chaos and collapse.

If the attorney general appointed by the incumbent president authorizes the prosecution of the president's chief election rival, the evidence of a serious crime should be overwhelming.
His guilt should be clear beyond doubt, so as to avoid any reasonable suspicion that the prosecution was motivated, even in part, by partisan consideration.

The paradigmatic 'gun' must indeed be 'smoking'.

I call this the 'Nixon standard,' under which the guilt is so evident that even the defendant's political allies — and certainly less sectarian independents—are satisfied that it is fair.

That admittedly daunting but entirely appropriate standard has not been met by any of the three indictments currently pending against Trump, who stands tied in recent polls against President Joe Biden.

COMMENT:  Read the rest.  Whether you love Trump, or despise him, it is a compelling argument that should be approached with reason. 

August 2, 2023       Permalink


 

A NEW ALARM:  This is the kind of important story that slips in under the radar and is ignored by the all-Trump-all-the-time press.  But we think it's important for you to read it before it comes back and bites us.  From the Jerusalem Post: 

Iran is seeking to take over key parts of the Syrian defense industry, a new report by the Alma Research and Education Center, said on Wednesday.

Alma is focused on security threats to northern Israel and regularly reports on Iran, Hezbollah, and other threats in Syria and Lebanon.

“Syria is still producing and storing chemical substances at CERS with the feasibility of future military use, breaching International agreements,” the report said. CERS is also known as the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC).

The investment in chemical weapons by Syria has been a serious threat for decades. Syria was supposed to dismantle its chemical weapons during the Syrian Civil War. However, the SSRC has continued work on various projects. Iran also plays a role in these sites. Alma raises concerns that in any next confrontation with Israel “would this type of weapon be used against IDF and Israeli civilians?”

The research also notes that any work with chemicals can lead to disasters like the explosion at the Beirut port caused by ammonium nitrate.  

The SSRC which is known in French as the Centre D'Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques (CERS), was established in 1971. It has a number of sites in Syria with some 20,000 employees.

“Iran's major focus is to develop and manufacture precision missiles and rockets, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on Syrian soil, using the CERS Center's institutes in general,” the Alma report says. 

By working in Syria, Iran is able to shortcut the logistics needed to move weapons to Syria and Lebanon via a long distance, such as through Iraq to Albukamal on the Iraq-Syria border. The US has sanctioned hundreds of people linked to CERS. In 2018, US airstrikes targeted CERS and the US said that the strikes had set back the Syrian chemical weapons program for many years. Five years later it appears Iran’s tentacles are growing back and so are these dangerous sites. 

COMMENT:  This is not only a threat to Israel, it is a grim threat to American forces in the region. A chemical attack against American troops, pilots or ships could trigger a major war and produce mass casualties.  Russia is heavily involved in the region, thanks to the generosity of Field Marshal Barack Obama, and it would not shock me if the Russians had some access to these weapons.

I wonder if any of these chemical devices were part of the weapons of mass destruction that we couldn't find in Iraq.  Just askin', but before the Iraq War it was reliably reported that Iraq was moving part of its WMD to Syria.

This story should be taken seriously, especially at a time when tensions in the Mideast are high.  Or maybe we can just sit around and wait for a surprise.

August 2, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

JULY 31,  2023

THERE'S AN ELECTION SOMEPLACE?  REALLY?  Yeah, really.  The United States will hold a presidential election in one year and three months.  That is ten lifetimes in politics.  But you'd think, judging by the "news" reports, that the election will be held next week.

I urge you to be careful about political reports that try to predict the election, or the nominees.  At this stage, most political reporting falls into the infotainment category.  Polls are fun, and meaningless.  Speculation about which candidates are on top, ditto.  We don't even know, to put it bluntly, if some of the leading candidates will even survive medically to the next election.  And events, both world and national, have a way of disrupting political prognostication. 

The stories to avoid are those that generously use the word "may."  This "may" happen if this other thing happens.  This guy "may" get into the race.  (On the other hand, he may not.)  The stories to look for are those that, with authority, identify trends.  They may be polls, but they may also be sharp observations.

It was more than a year ago when a knowledgeable Hispanic commentator told me that the press was getting it wrong when reporting on the Hispanic communities (note the plural).  Hispanics, he said, are going through generational change.  They don't want to wear Che Guevara T-shirts.  They want to wear Brooks Brothers suits, and they are.  They're less interested in the Ivy League than in the great southern schools, especially Texas A&M.  And in the year since my talk with that Hispanic commentator we have seen one story after another confirming that Hispanic Americans are moving to the right.  That is a trend to watch – it follows the traditions of other immigrant groups, and generational change is one of the most permanent trends of all. 

And so we come to another trend worth watching...that black Americans are drifting, if slowly, away from their base in the Democratic Party.  From Daily Caller: 

Democrats are concerned that black voters won’t turn out for President Joe Biden in 2024 like they did during the 2020 election, according to The Washington Post.

Democrats are increasingly worried after the 2022 midterms saw a 10% voting drop among the crucial electorate, despite the party’s victories in the Senate, according to the Post. Party activists are now making it a priority to bolster turnout for black voters, particularly in key battleground states Biden narrowly secured in 2020 — Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

“The Democratic Party has been failing epically at reaching this demographic of black men — and that’s sad to say,” W. Mondale Robinson, founder of the Black Male Voter Project, told the Post. “Black men are your second-most stable base overwhelmingly, and yet you can’t reach them in a way that makes your work easier.”

Robinson argued that Democrats should focus on black men, who are “sporadic or non-voters,” rather than suburban “conservative-leaning white women,” he told the Post. Many Democrats told the Post their concerns are largely over black men and not women, who they expect to continue to show out for Biden so long as Vice President Kamala Harris is on the ballot.

Black voters are significantly less enthused about a Biden reelection campaign than they were in 2020, with only 55% saying they’re likely to support him in 2024, according to an early May AP/NORC poll. The same poll suggests that 81% of Democratic voters say they’d definitely or probably would support the president if he’s the nominee.

“We have to meet them where they are and we have to show them why the political process matters and what we have accomplished that benefits them,” Cedric L. Richmond, senior adviser at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and former Biden adviser, told the Post. “We will not make the mistake that others made of not drawing all the connections.”

Terrance Woodbury, co-founder and CEO of HIT Strategies, a polling firm focused on minority voters, told the Post that Democrats need to emphasize how their policies benefit black voters rather than voicing concern over former President Donald Trump.
Sharif Street, a Democratic state senator in Pennsylvania, echoed Woodbury’s sentiment, and told the Post “being better than the Republicans is not always enough to get people motivated to vote.”

COMMENT:  Fascinating.  Maybe black men are becoming more and more aware that the Democratic Party hasn't lifted a finger for them...unless they're elected officials.  We should remember that, until the modern civil rights movement came along, blacks were a safe Republican constituency.  The GOP was the party of Lincoln, the Dems the party of segregation.

Why the change to the Democrats?  First of all, the Republicans, as usual, were late to the game, whereas liberal northern Democrats embraced Dr. King and his movement.  The voting rights act gave extra power to black voters, and they started turning to the party that marched with them.

It's sad, because the major civil rights laws of the 1960s were passed in part because of Republican support.  

Today, Republicans have a chance to take back a good chunk of black America by showing the economic opportunities that Republican policies will bring.  But will the GOP move?  That is the question, isn't it?

July 31, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 "What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
    - Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
      of The New York Times.


"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
     - Jacques Barzun

"Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain."
     - Schiller

 

 

 

 



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