Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Praise of Trump from the Left
It is sometimes forgotten that American conservatives were traditionally isolationist. Trump hasn't forgotten. And that appeals to some on the Left too -- JR
Yes, Trump plays a bully boy as he appeals to populist (good) – as well as nativist, xenophobic and racist (bad) – sentiments. The bad need to be meaningfully addressed and engaged rather than dismissed by self-styled sophisticates, noses raised. The good should be recognized and encouraged.
Billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Focusing on the negative aspects of his campaign has blinded many people to what’s good in it – and I don’t mean good like “Oh, the Democrat can beat this guy!” I mean good like it’s good that some important issues – like the militarized role of the U.S. in the world – are getting aired.
Trump is appealing to nativist sentiments – as Pat Buchanan did in the 1992 campaign – but along with Buchanan’s “America First” arguments came a distrust of imperial adventures. Similarly, Trump recently said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity. … The Middle East is a total disaster under her.”
Now, I think that’s pretty accurate, though U.S. policy in my view may be more Machiavellian than stupid, but the remark is a breath of fresh air on the national stage. So, at times, Trump is a truth-teller, including when he says politicians sell themselves to rich donors and when he calls out “free-trade” deals for costing American workers their middle-class jobs.
But the mainstream meme about Trump is that he’s a total liar. The New York Times recently purported to grade the veracity of presidential candidates. By the Times’ accounting, Trump was off the scales lying. But I never saw anyone fact-check his assertion about former Secretary Clinton’s record of bringing bloody chaos to Libya, Syria and other Mideast countries. That’s not an argument that establishment media wants to have.
Of course, a few sentences after Trump’s comment about Clinton’s death toll, he turned to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the CIA station in Benghazi, causing Salon to dismiss him as embracing “conspiracies,” which is all that many people will hear, not the fuller context.
Shouldn’t someone who at times articulates truly inconvenient truths be credited for breaking “politically correct” taboos, such as acknowledging the obvious disasters of U.S. interventionism across the Mideast? Trump speaks such truths, as he did during the Las Vegas debate about U.S. wars:
“We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.”
Frankly, that is a stronger critique of military spending than we’ve heard from Sen. Bernie Sanders of late. But Trump’s — or Sen. Rand Paul’s — remarks about U.S. policies of “regime change” and bombings are often ignored. It’s more convenient to focus on U.S. kindness in letting a few thousand refugees in than to examine how millions of displaced people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somali and other countries lost their homes as a result of U.S. government policies.
A Long-Ignored Constitution
Some critics say Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants is unconstitutional (although that argument is debatable as a matter of law regardless of what one thinks of the morality and practicality of his idea).
But there’s also the question of how frequently recent presidents have violated the Constitution in recent years with hardly a peep from the mainstream media. News flash: the sitting Democratic president has bombed seven countries without a declaration of war. We’ve effectively flushed the Constitution down the toilet. Does that justify violating it more? No. But the pretend moral outrage on this score is hollow.
And there’s some logic to the nativist Muslim bashing. It’s obviously wrong on many levels, but it’s understandable given the skewed information the public is given. Since virtually no one on the national stage is seriously and systematically criticizing U.S. policy in the Middle East, such as the multiple U.S. “regime change” invasions and the longstanding U.S. alliances with Saudi Arabia and Israel, it makes sense to say that we’ve got to change something and that something is separating from Muslims.
Some sophisticates also slammed Trump for acting in the Las Vegas debate like he didn’t know what the nuclear triad is (the Cold War-era strategy of delivering nuclear bombs by land-based missiles, strategic bombers and submarine launches).
Well, I have no idea if he knows what the nuclear triad is or if he was just acting that way. But I’m rather glad he didn’t adopt the administration’s position of saying it’s a good idea to spend a trillion dollars to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal so we can efficiently threaten the planet for another generation.
People may recall that for all the rhetoric from President Barack Obama about ending nuclear weapons, it was President Ronald Reagan, after all his bluster about the Evil Empire and basing intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe, who almost rose to the occasion when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev proposed eliminating nuclear arsenals.
For today’s mainstream journalists, it’s just easier to go with the flow and hate Trump, as all the major media outlets want us to do. After all, much of our political culture lives off hate. Apparently hate is what gets people to do what you want them to do. So you scare them by building up villainous bogeymen, such as Saddam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin.
People were so encouraged to hate Hussein that many backed the disastrous invasion of Iraq. They were propagandized into hating Assad so much that U.S. policy helped give rise to ISIS. Putin has been transformed into such a comic-book villain that people who should know better talk casually about shooting down Russian planes and seeking “regime change” in Moscow.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the supposedly “reasonable” Republican “moderate,” says “it’s time that we punched the Russians in the nose.” Who cares about risking nuclear war? Don’t we all just hate Putin?
Now, many Americans – Republicans and Democrats alike – are demonizing Trump. Whatever he says is put in the most negative context with no expectation of balance. He has become the focus of hate, hate, hate. He’s a black-hatted, black-hearted villain. But why can’t we just view people for who they are, seeing both the good and bad in them?
Asking Why the Hate
Trump calls for a cutoff of immigration of Muslims “until we can figure out what the hell is going on” — which, given our political culture’s seeming propensity of never figuring out much of anything might be forever, but the comment actually raises a serious question: why are people in the Mideast angry at U.S. policy?
Says Trump: “There’s tremendous hatred [among Muslims toward the United States]. Where it comes from, I don’t know.” But Trump — unlike virtually anyone else with a megaphone — is actually raising the issue about why there’s so much resentment against the U.S. in the Mideast.
Virtually the only other person on the national stage stating such things is Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, though his articulations have also been uneven and have been a pale copy of what his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has said.
Of course, what should be said is: If we don’t know “what the hell is going on!” — then maybe we should stop bombing. But that doesn’t get processed because the general public lives under the illusion that Barack Obama is a pacifistic patsy. The reality is that Obama has been bombing more countries than any president since World War II – by his own count seven – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.
Half of what Trump says may be borderline deranged and false. But he also says true things — and critically, important things that no one else with any media or political access is saying.
At this week’s Las Vegas debate, Trump said: “When you had the World Trade Center go, people were put into planes that were friends, family, girlfriends, and they were put into planes and they were sent back, for the most part, to Saudi Arabia.”
Granted, Trump’s comment was mangled and imprecise – he may have been referring to President George W. Bush’s extraordinary decision to let rich Saudis, including bin Laden family members, onto the first civilian planes allowed back into the air after 9/11 so they could avoid intensive FBI questioning and possible hostility from the American people – but Trump’s remark raises the legitimate question of Saudi Arabia’s relation to 9/11.
Yes, Trump says he’ll bomb the hell out of Syria, as does virtually every other Republican candidate. (Sen. Ted Cruz wants to see if “sand can glow in the dark,” phrasing usually associated with nuclear war.) But Obama’s already is bombing Syria and Iraq albeit without much media fanfare. So people think it’s not happening and thus believe that Obama’s passivity is the problem.
What Americans are right in sensing is that President Obama, former President Bush and the rest of the Establishment are playing endless geopolitical games and keeping them in the dark. As citizens in what is supposed to be a democratic Republic, they’re right to be sick of it. Many of the people supporting or sympathizing with Trump seem to sense that he may be the only one ready to tip over the furniture and make a fuss.
There’s an old saying attributed to Russians who endured the travails of Soviet totalitarianism: "The future is known — it’s always bright — but the past keeps changing." According to Hollywood Reporter, Apex Entertainment is producing a feature movie entitled "Chappaquiddick," a film whose utterly twisted rationale is revealed by Producer Mark Ciardi: "I’ve done a lot of true life stories, many sports stories, but this one had a deep impact on this country. Everyone has an idea of what happened on Chappaquiddick, and this strings together the events in a compelling and emotional way. You’ll see what [Senator Ted Kennedy] had to go through."
What Kennedy had to go through? How about what Mary Jo Kopechne had to go through?
Hollywood may wish to engage in another Orwellian effort stringing together events in a "compelling and emotional way," but pesky facts are indisputable: After a drunken Kennedy drove his car off Dike Bridge into Poucha Pond, the man who would become the "Lion of the Senate" extricated himself and left the 28-year-old Kopechne to drown.
According to Edgartown search-and-rescue head John Farrar, who reached the scene the next morning, Kopechne’s corpse was positioned in a way that indicated she was searching for pockets of air. Farrar believes she lived for two hours after the crash. In other words, if Kennedy had merely knocked on the door of the nearest house — only yards away — and summoned that rescue squad, Kopechne might have survived. Not that anything Farrar said became part of the public record. "I was told outright by the D.A.’s office that I would not be allowed to testify on how long Kopechne was alive in the car," he told People magazine in July 1989. "They were not interested in the least in anything that would hurt Ted Kennedy."
After leaving the scene, the rest of Kennedy’s "ordeal" consisted of walking back to the party he attended — and trying to get his cousin, Joe Gargan, to say that it was Gargan driving the car. Gargan refused, but insisted that they return to the scene and attempt to rescue Kopechne. When that proved unsuccessful, Ted went back to his hotel room, where he tried to set up an alibi with the hotel clerk. After that he went to bed without notifying authorities until after 8 a.m. the next day.
Kopechne was buried only a day after she died, and a petition by a district attorney to exhume her body was denied by a judge, making it impossible to determine the exact cause of her death. Ultimately, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident causing injury. Judge James Boyle suspended the minimum sentence requirement of two months' imprisonment, citing Kennedy’s "unblemished record." That would be an unblemished crime record: Ted was suspended from Harvard for cheating and was arrested four times for traffic violations as a law student in Virginia. Moreover, proving he remained a person of "integrity" going forward, he and former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd shared in a "sandwich" with a distraught La Brasserie waitress in 1985. We’ll spare you the details in keeping with our standards as a family publication.
Chappaquiddick occurred in 1969. Nonetheless, the liberal voters of Massachusetts kept re-electing Teddy, who remained a senator until his death in 2009, 40 years later. Adding insult to injury, Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, a place where America buries its war heroes.
Kennedy biographer and former New York Times reporter Adam Clymer sums up the liberal mindset regarding Ted’s sordid life, insisting his "achievements as a senator have towered over his time, changing the lives of far more Americans than remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne." Liberal blogger Melissa Lafsky did Clymer one better, grotesquely speculating that because of Kennedy’s "life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded," maybe Kopechne would have felt her own death was "worth it." Author Joyce Carol Oates was equally despicable in the effort to find the right balance between Kopechne’s death and Kennedy’s subsequent career, asking, "If one weighs the life of a single young woman against the accomplishments of the man President Obama has called the greatest Democratic senator in history, what is one to think?"
In a world uncontaminated by a bankrupt political ideology, one would think Obama is lying, Clymer, Lafsky and Oates are sickos who think a young woman’s life is a "reasonable" tradeoff for a privileged politician’s lifelong liberalism, and that Ted got away with murder — figuratively and literally.
But we don’t live in that world. We live in a world where substantial numbers of Americans learn "history" by watching Oliver Stone’s and Michael Moore’s revisionist movies in all their propagandistic glory. According to Hollywood Reporter, "Chappaquiddick" is a "political thriller that chronicles the true story of what is described as the seven most dramatic days of Kennedy’s life. On the eve of the moon landing, Senator Kennedy becomes entangled in a tragic car accident that results in the death of former Robert Kennedy campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne. The senator struggles to follow his own moral compass and simultaneously protect his family’s legacy, all while simply trying to keep his own political ambitions alive."
"Entangled?" Apparently, the car drove itself into Poucha Pond. And no doubt Teddy struggled to follow his own moral compass, give or take a "waitress sandwich" — or his alleged attempt to treasonously enlist the Soviet Communists to unseat President Ronald Reagan in 1984, an utterly unsuccessful plot that was discovered in 1991, when USSR archives were declassified by Boris Yeltsin.
On several occasions, comedian Dennis Miller has asserted that Hillary Clinton will be our next president — because she best exemplifies what America has become. If she does, perhaps it’s because the only thing leftists are better at than airbrushing the contemptible career of a dead Democrat is airbrushing the contemptible career of a living one. And maybe in the midst of next year’s presidential campaign, another leftist hack channeling Lafsky or Oates will assure us that Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Chris Stevens would have felt that dying in Benghazi was "worth it" in return for Clinton’s ascension to the Oval Office.
When it comes to progressive historical revisionism, the sky — or the bottom of a bottomless pit — is the limit.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about Muslims and political correctness
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Posted by JR at 1:27 AM