The Weiner Component Vol.#2 – President Trump, the Mighty Warrior

On Friday, April 8, 2017, President Trump ordered the bombing of a Syrian military airport from where he believed planes, on April 4th  originated, that dropped poison sarin gas upon onto a Damascus suburb killing up to 1,423 people, mostly civilian adults and a large number of children.

 

Trump commented at a news conference about watching television and seeing the results of the raid upon young children.  “I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact.  That was a horrible, horrible thing.  And I’ve been watching it, and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that.”  He spoke about the “beautiful little babies” that had been killed with poison gas.  “It crossed a lot of lines for me.  When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal.  That crosses many, many lines.  Beyond a red line, many, many lines.”

 

On Friday when he met with the Chinese President at his resort in Florida he had ordered as Commander and Chief of the U.S. Military fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles to be sent to the Shayrat Air Base, where the Syrian planes carrying the poison gas had presumably originated.  In doing this Trump changed his “America First” policy.

******************************

To understand both Syria and the Middle East it is necessary to look at this region historically.  The Ottoman or Turkish Empire began toward the end of the 13th Century, when it conquered most of what is today the Middle East.  After 1354 it crossed into Europe conquering the Balkans.  During the 16th and 17th Centuries it became a multinational, multilingual Empire, consisting of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.  For various reasons the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and 19th Centuries.  In the early 20th Century they allied with the Central Powers during World War I.  Its defeat in that war led to the occupation of parts of its territories by some of the Allied Powers.  This resulted in the loss of itsremaining empire.  The Middle East territories were divided between England and France.  A successful revolt against the occupying allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey, which is today modern Turkey.

 

The Middle East was split-up by the two Allied Nations in such a way as to accommodate their new possessions as colonies and protectorates.  The indigenous needs, religions, and otherwise of the people were ignored.  The divisions were decided totally upon requirements or whims of the victorious European nations that took them over as possessions that would be used for essentially economic purposes.

 

After World War II these colonies began revolting in order to gain their independence.  When it was realized that it would be cheaper to grant them independence and trade with them rather than continue to hold them in line militarily the Middle East nations gained their freedom and the Age of Imperialism ended.

 

The boundary lines that were set at the end of the First World War are the same boundary lines that exist today.  The Middle East nations are essentially conglomerates of different groups of peoples.  In a few cases there is a majority but in most instances the countries are made up of many minorities, usually with one of them ruling the country.  Such is the case in Syria.

 

In 2011 the Arab Spring occurred.  It was a movement of a number of Middle East nations attempted to move in the direction of democracy.  In most cases these countries ended up with a new minority ruling and the rest of the population being more or less repressed as they were before 2011.

 

In Syria the Arab Spring generated a conflict between Bashar al-Assad’s regime that represents a minority of its citizens and a majority of different groups that wanted it gone.  Assad is supported by about one third of the population and the army.  Over the last six years the situation has spiraled into an immensely complicated international war.  On the one side there is the government of the country headed by President al-Assad, who is supported by Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia and on the other side innumerable groups, supported by Saudi Arabia and to some extent by the U.S., fighting Assad’s government and each other at times.  Some of the groups are extremely reactionary or radical and some are more moderate but the political positions the groups adhere to changes at times, putting the U.S. in an impossible position as to whom to support militarily.

 

In addition ISIS or ISIL has set up what it calls a Worldwide Caliphate (world state) which it claims has religious, political, and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.  ISIS has controlled a large section in western Iraq and eastern Syria containing an estimated 2.8 to 8 million people.  In addition to warfare they have conducted televised mass beheadings of prisoners and civilians, which have included two American newsmen.

 

In the constant six years of civil war over 4 ½ million people in Syria have been displaced.  This has led to a constant stream of refugees leaving or trying to leave the country.  The mass of refugees have caused strains in other Middle East countries, in Europe, and even in the United States, where   President Donald Trump has unsuccessfully attempted to keep, among others, all Syrian refugees from entering the country, calling them potential terrorists.

 

While earlier the United States under President Barack Obama wanted Assad gone they had largely participated in arming the Kurds, a group situated in a region in both Iraq and Syria, whose agenda is mainly to set up their own Kurd state.  The U.S. is mainly bombing ISIS in both countries while the Kurds are fighting them on the ground.  Largely but not completely the United States had, has avoided specifically supporting anyone in the Syrian Civil War.  But they are continuing to fight ISIS, mainly from the air.

***************************

In 2013, after a chemical poison gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Russia had supposedly removed all poison gas chemicals from Syria after it they were initially used by them.  President Obama, at that time had drawn a red line, the United States would not allow the use of chemical warfare.  Presumably he was stopped from taking any actions by the Republican Congress.  But Assad did agree to give up all his chemical weapons, which were removed by Russia and presumably destroyed.  But it would seem that Assad held back some of the poison gas and this was used in the early April 2017 bombing in the rebel held area of Khan Sheikhoun.

 

The raiders dropped barrel bombs, which in this case were canisters of sarin poison gas. In addition to be breathed in the gas can enter the body through the pores in the skin.  There were some very dramatic television pictures of people trying to wash the poison off the bodies and clothing of young children by hosing them with water.  There were also pictures of children and adults undergoing great torment painfully trying to breathe.  This apparently is what caused Trump’s reaction.

 

Assad claims that he is not responsible, that he gave up his supply of poison gas in 2013.  Putin and Russia support his claim.  The United States and President Trump blame the Assad regime.  Not too long ago Chlorine gas was used against one of the rebelling groups in Syria by Assad.  Apparently chlorine, which is used to etch glass, in not a poison gas!  The situation in Syria is complicated, particularly with issuing blame.

*************************************

My last point concerns President Donald J. Trump.  How sincere is he?  He has stated that he doesn’t like to read, that he gets his information by watching television.  His reaction to the chemical poison gas attack in Syria has been shock, watching young children suffering from poison gas.  His reaction to the sight was to punish the perpetrators of the bombing.

 

There was no investigation of who had dropped the gas bombs.  It was broadly assumed that only al-Assad was capable of doing it.  Assad, backed by Russia, claimed that he did not order it or even that he had any poison gas.  He claimed that his government had turned over their supply of poison gas to Russia in 2013, who had destroyed the supply.

 

Would Assad order the dropping of the poison gas?  I suspect the answer is, yes, if he had a reason to do so.

 

Trump seems to change his attitudes as quickly as a chameleon changes its color.  He has claimed that he wasn’t interested in what was happening overseas, that his basic policy is America first.  Yet, after watching some television newsreel about children suffering and dying from being gassed in Syria he ordered the bombing of the Syrian airfield where the planes are supposed to have come from.  He was emotionally moved and reacted to the sight of the atrocity.

*******************************

It should also be noted that President Trump likes to change the topic at times that the media is using when it is negative.  This is particularly true in terms of him and his staff being associated with Russia during the Presidential Campaign and earlier.

 

In doing this he’s come up with real nonsense, such as President Obama illegally bugging his facilities during the Presidential campaign.  There is no proof of this and it has been emphatically disclaimed by all the government agencies like the FBI, but still Trump persists in this bit of alternate reality.  I get the impression that Trump’s version of a fact is whether, if he were in the other President’s position then it is something he would do.  Apparently, to him, everyone else has the same low code of honor Trump has!

 

One of Trump’s former aids is registering retrogressively as a foreign agent.  Another was fired after lying to the Vice President.  Numerous others have associations with foreign countries.  Trump has stated in different speeches that he both personally knows and that he has never met Vladimir Putin, the Russian premier.

 

It has been suggested that the American bombing of the Syrian air force base was arranged by Trump with Putin’s support and that Assad’s government knew about it in advance.  From what I understand only six Syrians died from the exploding 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles, that is 59 separate tomahawk missiles each costing one million dollars.  Is this true?  I have no idea.  Could it be true?  There were no Russians anywhere in or near the airbase.

 

Will Trump do it again?  President Putin has stated that there will be serious consequences if he does.

 

Looking at what’s happening in Syria from President Trump’s prospective, it’s alright to kill people and children as long as poison gas is not used.  There seems to be something wrong with that attitude.

 

If this is the only effort made against Assad and his government then what was the real point of the 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles dropped on the Syrian air base?  Or was this a message being sent to North Korea, telling them to back down on their atomic bombs and missile development tests?

 

Somehow a lot of what has happen here makes no sense unless it is an outpouring of Trump’s ever-changing emotional states.

The Weiner Component Vol.2 #13 – President Trump, the Mighty Warrior

 

On Friday, April 8, 2017, President Trump ordered the bombing of a Syrian military airport from where he believed planes, on April 4th  originated, that dropped poison sarin gas upon onto a Damascus suburb killing up to 1,423 people, mostly civilian adults and a large number of children.

 

Trump commented at a news conference about watching television and seeing the results of the raid upon young children.  “I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact.  That was a horrible, horrible thing.  And I’ve been watching it, and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that.”  He spoke about the “beautiful little babies” that had been killed with poison gas.  “It crossed a lot of lines for me.  When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal.  That crosses many, many lines.  Beyond a red line, many, many lines.”

 

On Friday when he met with the Chinese President at his resort in Florida he had ordered as Commander and Chief of the U.S. Military fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles to be sent to the Shayrat Air Base, where the Syrian planes carrying the poison gas had presumably originated.  In doing this Trump changed his “America First” policy.

******************************

To understand both Syria and the Middle East it is necessary to look at this region historically.  The Ottoman or Turkish Empire began toward the end of the 13th Century, when it conquered most of what is today the Middle East.  After 1354 it crossed into Europe conquering the Balkans.  During the 16th and 17th Centuries it became a multinational, multilingual Empire, consisting of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.  For various reasons the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and 19th Centuries.  In the early 20th Century they allied with the Central Powers during World War I.  Its defeat in that war led to the occupation of parts of its territories by some of the Allied Powers.  This resulted in the loss of itsremaining empire.  The Middle East territories were divided between England and France.  A successful revolt against the occupying allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey, which is today modern Turkey.

 

The Middle East was split-up by the two Allied Nations in such a way as to accommodate their new possessions as colonies and protectorates.  The indigenous needs, religions, and otherwise of the people were ignored.  The divisions were decided totally upon requirements or whims of the victorious European nations that took them over as possessions that would be used for essentially economic purposes.

 

After World War II these colonies began revolting in order to gain their independence.  When it was realized that it would be cheaper to grant them independence and trade with them rather than continue to hold them in line militarily the Middle East nations gained their freedom and the Age of Imperialism ended.

 

The boundary lines that were set at the end of the First World War are the same boundary lines that exist today.  The Middle East nations are essentially conglomerates of different groups of peoples.  In a few cases there is a majority but in most instances the countries are made up of many minorities, usually with one of them ruling the country.  Such is the case in Syria.

 

In 2011 the Arab Spring occurred.  It was a movement of a number of Middle East nations attempted to move in the direction of democracy.  In most cases these countries ended up with a new minority ruling and the rest of the population being more or less repressed as they were before 2011.

 

In Syria the Arab Spring generated a conflict between Bashar al-Assad’s regime that represents a minority of its citizens and a majority of different groups that wanted it gone.  Assad is supported by about one third of the population and the army.  Over the last six years the situation has spiraled into an immensely complicated international war.  On the one side there is the government of the country headed by President al-Assad, who is supported by Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia and on the other side innumerable groups, supported by Saudi Arabia and to some extent by the U.S., fighting Assad’s government and each other at times.  Some of the groups are extremely reactionary or radical and some are more moderate but the political positions the groups adhere to changes at times, putting the U.S. in an impossible position as to whom to support militarily.

 

In addition ISIS or ISIL has set up what it calls a Worldwide Caliphate (world state) which it claims has religious, political, and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.  ISIS has controlled a large section in western Iraq and eastern Syria containing an estimated 2.8 to 8 million people.  In addition to warfare they have conducted televised mass beheadings of prisoners and civilians, which have included two American newsmen.

 

In the constant six years of civil war over 4 ½ million people in Syria have been displaced.  This has led to a constant stream of refugees leaving or trying to leave the country.  The mass of refugees have caused strains in other Middle East countries, in Europe, and even in the United States, where   President Donald Trump has unsuccessfully attempted to keep, among others, all Syrian refugees from entering the country, calling them potential terrorists.

 

While earlier the United States under President Barack Obama wanted Assad gone they had largely participated in arming the Kurds, a group situated in a region in both Iraq and Syria, whose agenda is mainly to set up their own Kurd state.  The U.S. is mainly bombing ISIS in both countries while the Kurds are fighting them on the ground.  Largely but not completely the United States had, has avoided specifically supporting anyone in the Syrian Civil War.  But they are continuing to fight ISIS, mainly from the air.

***************************

In 2013, after a chemical poison gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Russia had supposedly removed all poison gas chemicals from Syria after it they were initially used by them.  President Obama, at that time had drawn a red line, the United States would not allow the use of chemical warfare.  Presumably he was stopped from taking any actions by the Republican Congress.  But Assad did agree to give up all his chemical weapons, which were removed by Russia and presumably destroyed.  But it would seem that Assad held back some of the poison gas and this was used in the early April 2017 bombing in the rebel held area of Khan Sheikhoun.

 

The raiders dropped barrel bombs, which in this case were canisters of sarin poison gas. In addition to be breathed in the gas can enter the body through the pores in the skin.  There were some very dramatic television pictures of people trying to wash the poison off the bodies and clothing of young children by hosing them with water.  There were also pictures of children and adults undergoing great torment painfully trying to breathe.  This apparently is what caused Trump’s reaction.

 

Assad claims that he is not responsible, that he gave up his supply of poison gas in 2013.  Putin and Russia support his claim.  The United States and President Trump blame the Assad regime.  Not too long ago Chlorine gas was used against one of the rebelling groups in Syria by Assad.  Apparently chlorine, which is used to etch glass, in not a poison gas!  The situation in Syria is complicated, particularly with issuing blame.

*************************************

My last point concerns President Donald J. Trump.  How sincere is he?  He has stated that he doesn’t like to read, that he gets his information by watching television.  His reaction to the chemical poison gas attack in Syria has been shock, watching young children suffering from poison gas.  His reaction to the sight was to punish the perpetrators of the bombing.

 

There was no investigation of who had dropped the gas bombs.  It was broadly assumed that only al-Assad was capable of doing it.  Assad, backed by Russia, claimed that he did not order it or even that he had any poison gas.  He claimed that his government had turned over their supply of poison gas to Russia in 2013, who had destroyed the supply.

 

Would Assad order the dropping of the poison gas?  I suspect the answer is, yes, if he had a reason to do so.

 

Trump seems to change his attitudes as quickly as a chameleon changes its color.  He has claimed that he wasn’t interested in what was happening overseas, that his basic policy is America first.  Yet, after watching some television newsreel about children suffering and dying from being gassed in Syria he ordered the bombing of the Syrian airfield where the planes are supposed to have come from.  He was emotionally moved and reacted to the sight of the atrocity.

*******************************

It should also be noted that President Trump likes to change the topic at times that the media is using when it is negative.  This is particularly true in terms of him and his staff being associated with Russia during the Presidential Campaign and earlier.

 

In doing this he’s come up with real nonsense, such as President Obama illegally bugging his facilities during the Presidential campaign.  There is no proof of this and it has been emphatically disclaimed by all the government agencies like the FBI, but still Trump persists in this bit of alternate reality.  I get the impression that Trump’s version of a fact is whether, if he were in the other President’s position then it is something he would do.  Apparently, to him, everyone else has the same low code of honor Trump has!

 

One of Trump’s former aids is registering retrogressively as a foreign agent.  Another was fired after lying to the Vice President.  Numerous others have associations with foreign countries.  Trump has stated in different speeches that he both personally knows and that he has never met Vladimir Putin, the Russian premier.

 

It has been suggested that the American bombing of the Syrian air force base was arranged by Trump with Putin’s support and that Assad’s government knew about it in advance.  From what I understand only six Syrians died from the exploding 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles, that is 59 separate tomahawk missiles each costing one million dollars.  Is this true?  I have no idea.  Could it be true?  There were no Russians anywhere in or near the airbase.

 

Will Trump do it again?  President Putin has stated that there will be serious consequences if he does.

 

Looking at what’s happening in Syria from President Trump’s prospective, it’s alright to kill people and children as long as poison gas is not used.  There seems to be something wrong with that attitude.

 

If this is the only effort made against Assad and his government then what was the real point of the 59 million dollars’ worth of Tomahawk missiles dropped on the Syrian air base?  Or was this a message being sent to North Korea, telling them to back down on their atomic bombs and missile development tests?

 

Somehow a lot of what has happen here makes no sense unless it is an outpouring of Trump’s ever-changing emotional states.

The Weiner Component #155 – The 2016 Republican Candidate Race for the Presidency

Will Donald J. Trump be the 2016 Republican candidate for the presidency?  An interesting question, with a current high probability.  He now considers himself the presumptive nominee.  Both Ted Cruz and John Kasich have dropped out of the race.  There is no other running officially for that position now except Donald J. Trump.

 

The National Republican Chairman of the political party, Reince Priebus has jumped aboard the Trump bandwagon; he now sees Donald as the future 2016 candidate and backs Trump as the presumptive president.  In essence he is betting that Trump will be the candidate or his career as National Republican Chairman may evaporate as his predecessor’s did.  In fact most Republicans who are making the same bet are making the same assumption.  And it seems that almost every day more and more Republicans are supporting Trump.  Even Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, now supports him.

 

Presumably most of the evangelicals, faced with the question: Trump or Clinton, reluctantly support Donald.  Evangelicals apparently like people who are, for one reason or another, converted to their way of thinking.  Trump currently being against abortion is the sugar that presently makes him palatable to the evangelicals over what would be otherwise totally indigestible.

 

Will he remain with that point of view?  Another good question.  In many instances Trump changes his prospective as often as the weather changes.  It is currently to his advantage to hold this stance.

 

More and more reluctant Republicans are climbing aboard his bandwagon daily.  Will he get the support of the entire Republican Party throughout all 50 states?  Still another good question.  The answer is most likely negative.  Mitt Romney is totally against a Trump candidacy.  And so it would seem are the former living Republican Presidents.

****************************

Donald seems to have modified some of his hard-rock statements by saying that they were suggestions, not demands that he would make as President.  But Donald doesn’t seem able to control his big mouth.  He keeps coming out with non-presidential statements.  For example he recently stated that he has “no doubt” that Syrian refugees will stage a 9/11 attack upon the United States.  His evidence for this statement is the supposed fact that numerous Syrian refugees have cell phones.

 

This is a recurrent theme with him.  In December of 2015 Donald referred to “tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them.”  The probability is that this information originated with a Norwegian news report that authorities had found images and videos of ISIS flags, executions, dead children, and acts of torture on the phones of some refugees entering Norway.  A Norwegian official also pointed out that the presence of these images did not mean a cell phone owner was a terrorist.  The photographs could have been taken by someone who had lived in or passed through an ISIS controlled war zone, which a great many Syrian refugees had done moving Westward.  The single news report was strongly promoted in the right-wing media and on conspiracy sites, both foreign and local.

 

This source was a single incident that was touted throughout the right wing.  Trump translated it into “tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them.”  At a campaign event in Arizona after the debate there Donald wondered aloud for the crowd, why the people in the migration have cell phones?  Who are they calling?  Where do they get the cell phones?  Who’s paying their monthly bills?  How come they have cell phones?  Of course, not everyone has monthly bills because they use a prepaid SIM card, both inside and outside the United States.

 

It seems that in his heart Trump knows that all these multi-thousands of people are all preparing for a 9/11 activity shortly after they reach the U.S.  Of course the fact that all immigrants, refugees and otherwise, are carefully screened by the government before they are allowed to enter the United States is beside the point.  It amazing how much Trump knows instinctively without bothering to check the actual situation.

*******************************

While Ted Cruz and John Kasich have dropped out of the Republican primary race their names are still on the ballots in those states currently holding primary elections.  In the March 17th race in Oregon Trump came out way ahead.  He still hasn’t reached the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the support of the Republican Party.  There are still enough primary elections left so that he should easily achieve this sometime in June.

 

Apparently there is still a possibility that Donald, even if he achieves the support of 1,237 delegates will not achieve the support of 1,237 delegates.  Keep in mind that the rules for the 2016 Republican Presidential Convention will not be established until they meet in Cleveland in July and vote on the rules for 2016.  That will be one of the first orders of business.  The Rules Committee will have met the week before the Convention convenes and will present their version of the rules for 2016 which the Convention will then vote into existence.

 

Traditionally or as a safety valve the Rules Committee has held that the only nominating votes that count are those of closed primaries.  Caucuses and open primaries, where anyone, independent or otherwise can vote for a candidate do not count.  This could conceivably be part of the rules; it has been so in the past; and it would not be out of line if it were.  Will the Convention have with the number of delegates who would support this sort of move or not is still another interesting question?

*****************************

Trump repeatedly lies, prefabricates, or/and exaggerates.  Take your pick.  He is narcissistic, a megalomaniac, totally into himself, and his wonderfulness. He seems to never listen to what anyone says, just  to their tone and attitude toward himself.  He may be well educated in real estate but he’s not in other areas.  He has demonstrated an ignorance of the functioning of the Federal Government, of U.S. foreign affairs, and of basic economics.  His concept of running the country seems to go back to the 1930s when the various nations engaged in high tariffs and isolation.

 

Donald makes outlandish statements such as he watched Muslim’s cheer as the World Center collapsed or his charge that the Mexican government deliberately sends criminals across the border into the U.S.  In point of fact he lies about everything, large or small.  Ted Cruz’s comment that he is a “pathological liar” may not be far off the mark.  The fact-checking website Politifact awarded Donald the “Lie of the Year” award for 2015 as the biggest liar in the United States.

***************************

What I find fascinating is an article that appeared in the Monday, May 16th edition of the Los Angeles Times entitled: “GOP reformers hope for defeat.”  There seems to be a goodly number of Republicans who still can’t stomach Donald Trump and they are also not particularly happy with what has happened to the Republican Party.  They see Donald Trump’s emergence as the standard bearer as an opportunity to remake the Republican Party that has lost the last five of the six presidential elections.  They see a presidential loss in 2016 as begetting a victory in 2020.

 

The schism in the Republican Party over Trump’s likely nomination has split conservatives into several groups.  Some believe that Trump will be a populist aberration, whose loss will bring about a more traditional brand of conservatism.  Others expect him to win in November and change the GOP.  Still others feel that Trump will lose badly in November but his success in the primaries means that the Republicans cannot go back to the previous status quo.  These victories demonstrate a need for a complete updating of the party’s ideology to appeal directly to its increasing blue collar base.

 

Many believe that a big Trump loss would bring about a thorough debate about present party values and possibly fundamental changes in the party.  Some argue that an oblique vision of Ronald Reagan has stunted the party’s ability to forge a 21st Century agenda and a loss can bring about a complete revitalization of the party.

 

It has become clear that the old Republican agenda has lost touch with the electorate; it no longer even moves Republicans; it has become an abstraction which has essentially hindered any progress even with Republican control of both Houses of Congress.

 

Trump’s dominance in the primaries has frustrated many conservative intellectuals.  Many traditional Republicans worry that a Trump victory or a close loss to Hillary Clinton would tighten his hold on the party.  They criticize him for inflammatory rhetoric, a lack of substance, and a lack of a conservative core.  Yet the conservative majority in Congress still seems to be carrying on business as usual totally oblivious of any of the needs of their conservative base.

 

Republican reformers have called upon the party to broaden its agenda even as it keeps its positions on trade, taxes, and smaller government.  They feel the party has not worked hard enough to push serious conservative solutions to the problems that concern middle class suburban voters such as college affordability, middle class wage stagnation, and healthcare costs.

 

After Romney’s loss in 2012 Republicans tried to alter their message.  Party leaders drafted a detailed postmortem.  It called on Republicans to reengage younger and minority voters, pass an immigration overhaul, and ramp down rhetoric about immigrants.  The party failed to do any of these things.  Trump has capitalized on GOP voters’ anger at the party ineptness.  Will another defeat bring about party reform?  It would seem that many GOP reformers hope so.

************************************

Even though Donald Trump has so far during his presidential campaign managed to alienate numerous groups within the society like women, Hispanics, Syrian refugees, other immigrants, the physically handicapped and numerous others he, the presumptive Republican candidate, has stated that he plans to rehabilitate his battered image by publicly addressing some of the most controversial episodes of his campaign.  He will present himself as a really nice guy.  His strategy is to show that he is nothing like the monster he believes his political adversaries and the media have portrayed him as being.  A pro-Clinton super PAC is currently assailing Trump as dangerous and divisive.

 

As a first step he sat down for a television special with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly with whom he has feuded for ten months, since the first Republican Presidential Debate.  It was a pleasant meeting of the two and presumably demonstrated his warm regard for women.  In an interview with the Washington Post he gave a five minute soliloquy explaining himself for making wild arm and hand gestures in November of 2015 to discredit New York Times reporter serge Kovaleski.  The act was widely seen as mocking the journalist’s physical disability.  “I would never say anything bad about a person that has a disability,” Trump said.  “I’ve spent a lot of money making buildings accessible.”

 

Hillary Clinton has commented that, “As he goes after women, as he goes after literally every group, I’m going to be their voice.”  Trump plans to counter the attacks personally during a series of rallies and media appearances.  He will highlight, among other things, his firm’s history of hiring women for senior positions.  Trump is convinced that his political image is fluid and can be easily repaired.

*********************************

Donald Trump has stated in an interview with the Associated Press that he plans to win the White House largely on the strength of his personality.  He has largely discarded the need for a heavy investment in what he calls the “overrated” use of data to shape his campaign strategy and get out the vote.  It seems that Donald will flout all conventions or what professionals consider necessary to win a presidential campaign.

 

Actually the campaign will give priority to data and digital operations.  It will tap the resources of the Republican National Committee.  In his interview, Trump discounted the value of data stating that the “candidate is by far the most important thing.”  He plans a limited use of data in his general election campaign.

******************************

Could Donald Trump become President of the United States?  It is within the realm of possibility.  What would happen if it were to come about?

 

On Sunday, May 15, 2016, President Barack Obama at his commencement speech At Rutgers University in New Jersey, without once directly mentioning Trump’s name, to cast his positions on immigration, trade, and Muslims as part of an ignorance and isolation philosophy that will lead the U.S. down the path of decline.

 

Time and again the president invoked specific Trump policies to denounce or rejecting facts, science, and intellectualism that he saw was prevailing politics.

 

“In politics and in life ignorance is not a virtue.  It is not cool to not know what you’re talking about.  That’s not keeping it real or telling it like it is.  That’s not challenging political correctness.  That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about.”

 

Trump has emphasized the profound concerns of many Americans who feel left behind by the modern global economy.  He has called for keeping Muslim immigrants out of the U.S., gutting Obama’s trade deals with Asia and Europe, and cracking down on immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

 

President Obama further stated that the pace of change on the planet is accelerating, not subsiding.  He stated that recent history had proved that the toughest challenges cannot be solved by isolation.

 

“A wall won’t stop that,” he said, referring to Trump’s proposal to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.  “The point is, to help ourselves, we’ve got to help others – not pull up the drawbridge and try to keep the world out.”

****************************

The Republicans face a massive dilemma.  If they were to win the Presidential Election with Trump the party could conceivably cease to exist as they know it.  They could see the United States following Trump’s “America First” policy going into a phase of isolation from both friends and enemies that would make the world less safe for everybody.

 

If, on the other hand, they lose the Presidential Election they could conceivably recast their party with both their traditional values and the present day needs.  On the third hand, if they lose the Presidential Election they could remain as they are with different groups of conservatives, controlling, at least, one House of Congress.  If this happens the country could continue to face the gridlock we’ve had under President Obama, a Democratic President and a Republican House of Representatives.

 

Again it should be mentioned that after Mitt Romney lost the Presidential in 2012 many in the Republican leadership wanted to broaden their party base to bring in many of the young and disaffected.  These plans went nowhere.

 

The future doesn’t look rosy, no matter what happens.

The Weiner Component #155 – The 2016 Republican Candidate Race for the Presidency

Will Donald J. Trump be the 2016 Republican candidate for the presidency? An interesting question, with a current high probability. He now considers himself the presumptive nominee. Both Ted Cruz and John Kasich have dropped out of the race. There is no other running officially for that position now except Donald J. Trump.

The National Republican Chairman of the political party, Reince Priebus has jumped aboard the Trump bandwagon; he now sees Donald as the future 2016 candidate and backs Trump as the presumptive president. In essence he is betting that Trump will be the candidate or his career as National Republican Chairman may evaporate as his predecessor’s did. In fact most Republicans who are making the same bet are making the same assumption. And it seems that almost every day more and more Republicans are supporting Trump. Even Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, now supports him.

Presumably most of the evangelicals, faced with the question: Trump or Clinton, reluctantly support Donald. Evangelicals apparently like people who are, for one reason or another, converted to their way of thinking. Trump currently being against abortion is the sugar that presently makes him palatable to the evangelicals over what would be otherwise totally indigestible.

Will he remain with that point of view? Another good question. In many instances Trump changes his prospective as often as the weather changes. It is currently to his advantage to hold this stance.

More and more reluctant Republicans are climbing aboard his bandwagon daily. Will he get the support of the entire Republican Party throughout all 50 states? Still another good question. The answer is most likely negative. Mitt Romney is totally against a Trump candidacy. And so it would seem are the former living Republican Presidents.
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Donald seems to have modified some of his hard-rock statements by saying that they were suggestions, not demands that he would make as President. But Donald doesn’t seem able to control his big mouth. He keeps coming out with non-presidential statements. For example he recently stated that he has “no doubt” that Syrian refugees will stage a 9/11 attack upon the United States. His evidence for this statement is the supposed fact that numerous Syrian refugees have cell phones.

This is a recurrent theme with him. In December of 2015 Donald referred to “tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them.” The probability is that this information originated with a Norwegian news report that authorities had found images and videos of ISIS flags, executions, dead children, and acts of torture on the phones of some refugees entering Norway. A Norwegian official also pointed out that the presence of these images did not mean a cell phone owner was a terrorist. The photographs could have been taken by someone who had lived in or passed through an ISIS controlled war zone, which a great many Syrian refugees had done moving Westward. The single news report was strongly promoted in the right-wing media and on conspiracy sites, both foreign and local.

This source was a single incident that was touted throughout the right wing. Trump translated it into “tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them.” At a campaign event in Arizona after the debate there Donald wondered aloud for the crowd, why the people in the migration have cell phones? Who are they calling? Where do they get the cell phones? Who’s paying their monthly bills? How come they have cell phones? Of course, not everyone has monthly bills because they use a prepaid SIM card, both inside and outside the United States.

It seems that in his heart Trump knows that all these multi-thousands of people are all preparing for a 9/11 activity shortly after they reach the U.S. Of course the fact that all immigrants, refugees and otherwise, are carefully screened by the government before they are allowed to enter the United States is beside the point. It amazing how much Trump knows instinctively without bothering to check the actual situation.
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While Ted Cruz and John Kasich have dropped out of the Republican primary race their names are still on the ballots in those states currently holding primary elections. In the March 17th race in Oregon Trump came out way ahead. He still hasn’t reached the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the support of the Republican Party. There are still enough primary elections left so that he should easily achieve this sometime in June.

Apparently there is still a possibility that Donald, even if he achieves the support of 1,237 delegates will not achieve the support of 1,237 delegates. Keep in mind that the rules for the 2016 Republican Presidential Convention will not be established until they meet in Cleveland in July and vote on the rules for 2016. That will be one of the first orders of business. The Rules Committee will have met the week before the Convention convenes and will present their version of the rules for 2016 which the Convention will then vote into existence.

Traditionally or as a safety valve the Rules Committee has held that the only nominating votes that count are those of closed primaries. Caucuses and open primaries, where anyone, independent or otherwise can vote for a candidate do not count. This could conceivably be part of the rules; it has been so in the past; and it would not be out of line if it were. Will the Convention have with the number of delegates who would support this sort of move or not is still another interesting question?
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Trump repeatedly lies, prefabricates, or/and exaggerates. Take your pick. He is narcissistic, a megalomaniac, totally into himself, and his wonderfulness. He seems to never listen to what anyone says, just to their tone and attitude toward himself. He may be well educated in real estate but he’s not in other areas. He has demonstrated an ignorance of the functioning of the Federal Government, of U.S. foreign affairs, and of basic economics. His concept of running the country seems to go back to the 1930s when the various nations engaged in high tariffs and isolation.

Donald makes outlandish statements such as he watched Muslim’s cheer as the World Center collapsed or his charge that the Mexican government deliberately sends criminals across the border into the U.S. In point of fact he lies about everything, large or small. Ted Cruz’s comment that he is a “pathological liar” may not be far off the mark. The fact-checking website Politifact awarded Donald the “Lie of the Year” award for 2015 as the biggest liar in the United States.
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What I find fascinating is an article that appeared in the Monday, May 16th edition of the Los Angeles Times entitled: “GOP reformers hope for defeat.” There seems to be a goodly number of Republicans who still can’t stomach Donald Trump and they are also not particularly happy with what has happened to the Republican Party. They see Donald Trump’s emergence as the standard bearer as an opportunity to remake the Republican Party that has lost the last five of the six presidential elections. They see a presidential loss in 2016 as begetting a victory in 2020.

The schism in the Republican Party over Trump’s likely nomination has split conservatives into several groups. Some believe that Trump will be a populist aberration, whose loss will bring about a more traditional brand of conservatism. Others expect him to win in November and change the GOP. Still others feel that Trump will lose badly in November but his success in the primaries means that the Republicans cannot go back to the previous status quo. These victories demonstrate a need for a complete updating of the party’s ideology to appeal directly to its increasing blue collar base.

Many believe that a big Trump loss would bring about a thorough debate about present party values and possibly fundamental changes in the party. Some argue that an oblique vision of Ronald Reagan has stunted the party’s ability to forge a 21st Century agenda and a loss can bring about a complete revitalization of the party.

It has become clear that the old Republican agenda has lost touch with the electorate; it no longer even moves Republicans; it has become an abstraction which has essentially hindered any progress even with Republican control of both Houses of Congress.

Trump’s dominance in the primaries has frustrated many conservative intellectuals. Many traditional Republicans worry that a Trump victory or a close loss to Hillary Clinton would tighten his hold on the party. They criticize him for inflammatory rhetoric, a lack of substance, and a lack of a conservative core. Yet the conservative majority in Congress still seems to be carrying on business as usual totally oblivious of any of the needs of their conservative base.

Republican reformers have called upon the party to broaden its agenda even as it keeps its positions on trade, taxes, and smaller government. They feel the party has not worked hard enough to push serious conservative solutions to the problems that concern middle class suburban voters such as college affordability, middle class wage stagnation, and healthcare costs.

After Romney’s loss in 2012 Republicans tried to alter their message. Party leaders drafted a detailed postmortem. It called on Republicans to reengage younger and minority voters, pass an immigration overhaul, and ramp down rhetoric about immigrants. The party failed to do any of these things. Trump has capitalized on GOP voters’ anger at the party ineptness. Will another defeat bring about party reform? It would seem that many GOP reformers hope so.
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Even though Donald Trump has so far during his presidential campaign managed to alienate numerous groups within the society like women, Hispanics, Syrian refugees, other immigrants, the physically handicapped and numerous others he, the presumptive Republican candidate, has stated that he plans to rehabilitate his battered image by publicly addressing some of the most controversial episodes of his campaign. He will present himself as a really nice guy. His strategy is to show that he is nothing like the monster he believes his political adversaries and the media have portrayed him as being. A pro-Clinton super PAC is currently assailing Trump as dangerous and divisive.

As a first step he sat down for a television special with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly with whom he has feuded for ten months, since the first Republican Presidential Debate. It was a pleasant meeting of the two and presumably demonstrated his warm regard for women. In an interview with the Washington Post he gave a five minute soliloquy explaining himself for making wild arm and hand gestures in November of 2015 to discredit New York Times reporter serge Kovaleski. The act was widely seen as mocking the journalist’s physical disability. “I would never say anything bad about a person that has a disability,” Trump said. “I’ve spent a lot of money making buildings accessible.”

Hillary Clinton has commented that, “As he goes after women, as he goes after literally every group, I’m going to be their voice.” Trump plans to counter the attacks personally during a series of rallies and media appearances. He will highlight, among other things, his firm’s history of hiring women for senior positions. Trump is convinced that his political image is fluid and can be easily repaired.
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Donald Trump has stated in an interview with the Associated Press that he plans to win the White House largely on the strength of his personality. He has largely discarded the need for a heavy investment in what he calls the “overrated” use of data to shape his campaign strategy and get out the vote. It seems that Donald will flout all conventions or what professionals consider necessary to win a presidential campaign.

Actually the campaign will give priority to data and digital operations. It will tap the resources of the Republican National Committee. In his interview, Trump discounted the value of data stating that the “candidate is by far the most important thing.” He plans a limited use of data in his general election campaign.
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Could Donald Trump become President of the United States? It is within the realm of possibility. What would happen if it were to come about?

On Sunday, May 15, 2016, President Barack Obama at his commencement speech At Rutgers University in New Jersey, without once directly mentioning Trump’s name, to cast his positions on immigration, trade, and Muslims as part of an ignorance and isolation philosophy that will lead the U.S. down the path of decline.

Time and again the president invoked specific Trump policies to denounce or rejecting facts, science, and intellectualism that he saw was prevailing politics.

“In politics and in life ignorance is not a virtue. It is not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness. That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about.”

Trump has emphasized the profound concerns of many Americans who feel left behind by the modern global economy. He has called for keeping Muslim immigrants out of the U.S., gutting Obama’s trade deals with Asia and Europe, and cracking down on immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

President Obama further stated that the pace of change on the planet is accelerating, not subsiding. He stated that recent history had proved that the toughest challenges cannot be solved by isolation.

“A wall won’t stop that,” he said, referring to Trump’s proposal to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. “The point is, to help ourselves, we’ve got to help others – not pull up the drawbridge and try to keep the world out.”
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The Republicans face a massive dilemma. If they were to win the Presidential Election with Trump the party could conceivably cease to exist as they know it. They could see the United States following Trump’s “America First” policy going into a phase of isolation from both friends and enemies that would make the world less safe for everybody.

If, on the other hand, they lose the Presidential Election they could conceivably recast their party with both their traditional values and the present day needs. On the third hand, if they lose the Presidential Election they could remain as they are with different groups of conservatives, controlling, at least, one House of Congress. If this happens the country could continue to face the gridlock we’ve had under President Obama, a Democratic President and a Republican House of Representatives.

Again it should be mentioned that after Mitt Romney lost the Presidential in 2012 many in the Republican leadership wanted to broaden their party base to bring in many of the young and disaffected. These plans went nowhere.

The future doesn’t look rosy, no matter what happens.

The Weiner Component #142 – Terrorism in the World Today

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: View of the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. (Image: US National Park Service ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FBI mugshot of Timothy McVeigh.

FBI mugshot of Timothy McVeigh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Terror is to be afraid of or fearful of something.  Terrorism is, for a group or population, to be intensely frightened of something equally unpleasant.  Usually what is being considered here is some form of death or mayhem!

 

It is a weapon that has been used innumerable times over the centuries to attempt to achieve a political goal usually by minorities over a much larger population.  Usually within a society a group or groups that are not powerful enough to make their will or position known will use the tactics of terror to propagate their beliefs.  In Elizabethan England during the 16th Century, Catholics in this country that had decades earlier reluctantly turned Protestant under King Henry VIII secretly used this strategy to voice their objections during the reign of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth.  During the late 19th Century in Russia and Austria-Hungary, whose population was a polyglot of different Balkan ethnic groups, protest was illegal.  Revolutionaries in both these countries used terror as a form of protest, forcing their will upon the Central Governments by assassinating government officials.  This included rulers in both nations.

 

Generally when a political group is too strong to be forcibly obliterated but not powerful enough to openly influence the existing government they seem to resort to the use of terror.  The direct cause of World War I was the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Frances Ferdinand, in 1914.  Later in the 20th Century the concept of war was broadened to include the entire population of a nation and terror then covered the entire population.

 

In the case of the world today we are dealing with total war, this can cover the entire population of a nation or a group of nations.  Mayhem/ human destruction, terrorism anywhere in a nation is an act of war.  The action can be caused by some individual or groups within the nation or by people from other countries or areas of the world.

 

In the United States in 1995 Timothy McVeigh, an American terrorist detonated a truck bomb in front of a federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19th, killing 168 people and injuring over 600 others.  Presumably McVeigh was getting even with the United States for the Waco siege in 1993.  At that time the Branch Davidians, a sect that separated in 1955 from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was led by David Koresh and lived at Mt. Carmel Ranch in Elk, Texas.  The group was suspected of weapons violations and forcibly refused to allow a search and arrest warrant by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  Because of armed resistance, and the presence of women and children at the Ranch, a 51 day siege resulted.  It ended with a tear gas attack by the FBI, in which a fire engulfed the Ranch.  76 people died that day, including David Koresh.  Timothy McVeigh had been driving to Waco to show support for the Branch Davidians.  Two years later he would explode his home-made bomb.

 

Terrorists can be either citizens of the country where the atrocity is perpetrated or come from other parts of the world to punish a particular nation.  McVeigh was an American citizen seeking revenge for the Branch Davidians.  Whether this was because he had mental problems or not is academic.  He was at heart a terrorist who resented his own government and his killing of people was an act of terror.

 

A number of the mass shootings that seem to become commoner and commoner in the United States seem to be perpetrated by people who have mental problems and should have no access to weapons.  According to an article in the L.A. Times as of Friday, December 4, 2015, there were up to 353 mass shootings in 2015 in the nation.  The problem seems to be that In the U.S. every state has different gun laws, and weapons that are illegal in one state can be easily acquired in another state, particularly at gun shows where no background check is ever required.

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It should be noted that in the case of the world today al-Qaeda, ISIS and other groups from the Middle East and North Africa, make up the majority of the terrorist groups. Their rational is that they are punishing the world for not giving in to them.  In fact the President of the United States and the government of a number of European nations have declared war upon ISIS.  Most of these groups come from nations that until shortly after World War II were colonies or protectorates of Europe and or the United States.  Among the reasons for the uses of terror this fact seems to be one of the causes for their actions.

 

The colonial imperialist empires continued after the Second World War.  It was from the 1950s on that these countries/colonies began rebelling and it became too expensive for the European nations like England, France, Holland, among others, to keep their possessions.  It was far more practical to give them their independence and trade with them.  In this way most of these nations suddenly became ready for independence.

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In the United States on September 11, 2001, the Twin Towers in New York City, the tallest buildings in the world were destroyed killing 2,700 people in the collapsed two buildings, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. was also hit killing 184 individuals, and in a plane crash in Pennsylvania where 40 people died trying to take back control of the jet.  The fuel on the airplanes were the bombs that burst into flames and exploded when the jets crashed into their targets.  Each plane carried as passengers a crew of suicide terrorists, nineteen on all of them, who took over the planes shortly after takeoff on the East Coast and piloted the jets to their targets crashing them, in the first two cases, into the structures.

 

Osama bin Laden the leader of al-Qaeda chose these targets because he believed the United States was a “paper tiger, an easy and inept target.”  His reasoning followed the pattern of U.S. withdrawal from Viet Nam in 1975, leaving Lebanon after a bomb in Beirut in 1983 at the marine barracks killed 241 servicemen, and the withdrawal of American forces from Somalia in 1993 after the deaths of 18 servicemen in Mogadishu.

 

While al Qaeda was highly functional after the attack on the Twin Towers it wasn’t until after the election of Barak Obama as President of the United States that it was effectively gone after.  Using drones the U.S. continually went after its leaders, killing a large number of them.  What eventually became the dominant militant terrorist force was ISIS or ISIL.

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The Boston Marathon is held yearly on Patriots Day.  It is open to anyone from 18 years on who qualifies.  On April 15, 2003 the brothers Tamerlain and Dzhekhar Tsarnev placed two separate backpacks in separate areas near the finish line.  They exploded killing 3 people and wounding 264 others.  Both brothers were born in a Muslim area of Russia and migrated to the United States.  One died in a shootout with police and the other was taken prisoner, tried, condemned to death and executed.  At one point he publically apologized to his victims.  It would seem from the evidence released that these two acted on their own; they were not affiliated with any terrorist organization.

 

To my knowledge there has been one other cases of foreign terror in the U.S. since then, the recent shooting by the young terrorist couple in San Bernardino, California. This couple also largely acted on their own.  The reason, as I understand it, for this small amount of foreign terrorism has been the relentless protection provided by the F.B.I. and other law enforcement services.  Unfortunately there has been assorted terrorist killing in the United States but these have been by our own deranged citizens.  There are no real restrictions, as we’ve seen, on anyone acquiring automatic assault weapons. Freedom to buy guns seems an axiom of Republican Congressmen who will not even require background checks upon the purchasers.

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In the United States the Caucasian population no longer makes up the majority of the population.  They are one of the large ethnic groups but no longer one that is the majority.

 

In terms of religion there are today a multitude of largely different beliefs now existing in the United States.  Traditionally the country was mainly Christian, having mostly Protestant Sects, some Roman Catholics, with a relatively small Jewish population.  There was also a nonreligious group operating as a religion, Ethical Culture.  Today there are also Hindu temples, Moslem mosques, plus numerous other groups existing in the country.  The country has undergone a large number of people coming from other parts of the world for political or other reasons.

 

One of the major causes for the problems that currently exist is that society has gotten complex.  Unfortunately today to economically function successfully in our society one needs a decent education; people need to understand that nothing is simply black and white; that societal and other problems do not have just simple “common sense” solutions.

 

Not too long ago a young, high school dropout, Dylann Roof, who apparently found high school too difficult but who admired former South African apartheid, at age 21, went into a Black Church in South Carolina and, after sitting and watching a Bible class for a while, shot nine people, killing them; then stated that he had to do it because Black people “rape our women” and “are taking over our country.”  His lack of intelligence created a simplistic bigot who, incidentally at the shooting, mostly killed women.

 

Over the last fifteen years there’s been a goodly increase in hate crimes, and at the same time it has become more difficult for a large number of people, with low or no specific skills, to become gainfully employed.  It is easy to find such a reason in demographic change, particularly in a country with a Black President.  The U.S. has had an increase in homegrown domestic terror.  But the Jihad still exists.  ISIS has declared war on all opposing nations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and on the United States.  Evidence of their behavior is evident, practically every day.  There are acts of terror around the world or ISIS is beheading people, both Muslim and non-Muslim in areas it controls.

 

Probably in 2015 the most devastating Terrorist attack or attacks were in Paris, France on November 13th.  Since then the governors of 20 states in the U.S. have stated that they will not accept refugees from Syria.  Legally they don’t have that power but they may forcibly try to stop the process.  President Obama has committed the U.S. to bringing in 10,000 Syrian refugees.  Donald Trump wants to stop any Moslems from coming to the U.S.

 

It is important to remember that Syria has a multi-sided Civil War that has been going on for a number of years with no solution in sight.  ISIS is only one of main rebel groups that controls a fair section of the country.  The current president of the country holds a fair section of the nation and currently has the support of Russia and Iran.  The population has been caught in-between all this fighting and well over a million citizens have been killed.  A percentage of the civilian population has and is continuing to flee the country and flooding Europe.

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In Paris, late Friday, November 13th three well-coordinated simultaneous terrorist attacks in different areas of the city killed 130 people.  There were six random shootings of anyone who happened to be in range by three teams of suicide killers who wore sophisticated explosive vests.  There was no way they could or would be taken alive.

 

As far as we know the Paris attacks were planned in Syria and organized in Belgium.  ISIS has claimed credit for the killings and has promised that the next raid and killings will be in Washington, D.C.  Apparently their actual next raid in the U.S. was in San Bernardino, California.  On December 2, 2015 a married couple attacked an end of year company party, where the man worked, killing 14 people and wounding 22.  They were both killed in a car chase.  The man had been born in the United States of Moslem parents and the woman, his wife, was born in Pakistan.

 

In terms of France the November 13th killings were not the first attacks in France.  Nearly a year earlier there was an attack on the French satirical publication “Charlie Hebdo” that had come out with one edition that had a representation of Mohammed on its front page.  Several staff members were killed.  Not too long afterwards a Jewish Supermarket was attacked either by al-Qaeda or ISIS members.  Several people were killed before the French police assaulted the facility, freed the hostages that were being held, and killed the suspects.  In addition people who swore allegiance to ISIS in several instances ran their automobiles into crowds killing and maiming numbers of people.  There seems to be a strong animosity between extreme Muslim radicals and the French government.

 

Most of the people killed in al-Qaeda or ISIS attacks have been and are Muslims, both in the Middle East and in North Africa.  ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) is a Sunni sect.  The other major Islamic sect is the Shiites, which ISIS considers anathema or blasphemous.  The Middle East is divided mostly by these two sects, of which Shiites are in the majority.  The Shiites are the civilians in ISIS areas who are usually beheaded.

 

Sunni ISIS considers the Shiite and most other interpretations of their religion blasphemous.  They see nothing wrong with attacking their co-religionists as infidels, even during their religious services, with suicide bombers.  If the prophet, Mohammed, were to come back today he would be both shocked and appalled at much of what ISIS is doing in his name.

 

The United Nations holds ISIS responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes.  Amnesty International has charged the group with ethnic cleansing on a massive scale in northern Iraq.  Around the world Islamic religious leaders have condemned ISIS’s ideology and actions arguing that the group has strayed from the path of pure Islam and that its actions do not reflect Islam’s true teachings or virtues.  The U.N. has designated it a terrorist organization.  The European Union and all its member nations, the United States, India, Indonesia, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and other countries, over sixty in all are directly or indirectly waging war against ISIS.

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As a result of the last Paris attack the French and also the British have joined the United States in bombing attacks on ISIS strongholds.  Will all this be effective?  ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is holding large tracts of land in both Syria and Iraq.  The Iraqi government has not been able to mount strong enough ground offensives against them to force them out of their country.  In Syria there well are over a dozen revolutionary groups fighting President Assad and his government, plus each other.  They all have, including ISIS, different versions of what they want for their country.  It is an impossible situation that has been going on for five years.  ISIS holds large tracts of land in the country.  Both Russia and Iran support Assad’s government as the legitimate one.  The United States wants to remove Assad and work out some sort of compromise between a number of the less radical Revolutionary groups.  Millions of Syrian citizens have left the country looking for safety by going west into Europe as refugees, looking to start life over again where they can be safe.

 

For the United States or a European nation or nations to send an army in to help either Syria or Iraq is not a good idea.  There are too many people there who remember the colonial era.  And ultimately which group or groups do they support in Syria?  For that matter which of the Revolutionary group or groups do they really approve of or can trust after they arm them?  It is currently an impossible situation.

 

For the United States or any other Industrial country to send in troops would be an act of utter stupidity as we saw in Iraq where the U.S. sent in any army to dispose of one dictator only to generate another corrupt government that just about expelled the American army.  U.S. troops were not popular no matter what they did.  The same was true for Afghanistan where a small number of Americans were shot by their allies.

 

The situation in the Middle East is a mess.  The only real solution is to have the countries of the Middle East come to the rescue of their own people.  But they don’t seem to want to do that.  But then again they don’t have to with the United States and other Western nations continually intervening.

 

In Iraq incidentally the government, which the U.S. helped to set up, seems to be largely corrupt and very pro-Sunni; about 95% of the country belongs to this Muslim sect of Islam.  The government doesn’t necessarily have the support of its own people, at least not to the point of dying while militarily fighting its enemies, like ISIS for example.

 

If the United States or France or England and Germany, for that matter, were to send troops in either or both Iraq and Syria they would risk keeping them there indefinitely without the support of the people in either of these countries.  The people’s sense of values is completely different from those of the Western nations.  In both Pakistan and Iraq, when the U.S. had a presence in those countries during the administration of President George W. Bush, some of the local military ended up shooting some of the Americans.  It is quite a frustrating dilemma!

 

Currently President Barak Oboma stated, in a national speech made on television in early December of 2015, that the bombing raids by the U.S., that have been going on now for well over a year, in coordination with local military operations have kept ISIS from gaining additional territory in either Syria or Iraq.  The President stated that the Islamic State militants have not waged a single successful major offensive operation since 2014 in either of the two countries.  Currently France and England are also conducting bombing raids against ISIS targets.  Saudi Arabia is also involved in air raids against the Islamic State.

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ISIS has threatened that its next attack will be in Washington, D.C.  Of the American born man and his Pakistani born wife who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California on Wednesday, December 8, 2015, in a shooting rampage at the Inland Regional Center.  The man, Syed Rizwan Farook, aged 28, attended a party with his fellow workers; he quietly slipped away   his jacket draped over a chair.  Then he returned with his wife, Tashfeed Malik, aged 29.  Both were dressed with body armor and unleashed a terrorist attack.  They were at the Center for Disabled People, where his company had rented a large room for their yearly social event.  They killed 14 and injured 21 people.  They were both killed in a police chase, leaving a 6 month old baby with his mother.

 

The annual event was known as a GEM (general education meeting), run by the San Bernardino Health Department.  It began at 8 a.m. and would end about 4 p.m.  It was held in a conference room that was designed to hold around 500 people.  Mr. Farook was there from the start of the meeting.  He had worked for the Department for five years.  At some point he got up and went out.  When he returned with his wife the drama began.

 

They had automatic weapons which had been legally purchased.  The man’s parents had been born in the Middle East and immigrated to the United States, becoming citizens.  His wife was born in Pakistan.  Both were college graduates and both were radicalized enough so that they left a six month old baby with his mother.  Presumably the mother, who lived with them, was told by the woman that she had a doctor’s appointment.

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What emerges here is an interesting point.  In the United States if we compare terrorist shootings, killings and woundings with American shootings, killings and woundings, the mayhem caused by the terrorists numerically is barely noticeable.  Terrorist acts get lots of publicity while American shooting are statistics barely covered by the media.  Republican Congressmen and many others are very conscience of terrorist acts but ignore other shootings because in order to limit American shootings they would have to limit the availability of guns.

 

A solution among many Republicans is to keep Muslims, followers of Islam out of the country.  The problem here is that there are a large number of followers of Islam already in the country.  This is in addition to the number children of immigrants who were born in this country.  There are also the Black Muslims who converted or whose parents converted in the last half of the 20th Century.  They are largely the descendants of slaves that were brought to this nation as prisoners and sold as slaves in the 18th and early 19th Centuries.  They converted originally as a protest to Christianity, the major religion of white America.  How will the Republicans handle them?  By putting them into reeducation centers?

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There is a legitimate fear with the terrorists.  That is that somehow they will smuggle into the U.S. bacteriological disease creating materials that can be easily put into the water supply.  Another possibility is that a stolen atomic bomb can be brought in and exploded in the center of a major city.  All this makes a good plot for Hollywood films.  But is this danger real?  Currently, it seems that the FBI has 900 open cases it is investigating.  This does not include all the other cases that are being worked on by other law enforcement agencies.  Also the possibility of acquiring any of these weapon is almost nonexistent.

 

What should our attitude be toward the current Syrian refugee problem?  Currently under the Obama administration it takes from eighteen months to two years of investigation for any Syrian refugee to be able to settle in the United States.  To the Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Republican governors of twenty some states this screening is inadequate, they want to extend it even further.  One of the terrorists from San Bernardino was born in the United States and was a citizen.  France despite its recent attack has overwhelmingly voted to take in Syrian refugees.  It seems that the Republicans who overwhelmingly believe in all kinds of gun ownership and availability would change our principles about refugees because they do not trust their government to properly monitor refugee immigration from the Syria and the Middle East.  They seem to be fearful for the sake of being fearful.

The Weiner Component #96 – Obama’s Dilemma or the Dilemma of the Middle East

Official photographic portrait of US President...

English: Major ethno-religious groups in Iraq ...

English: Major ethno-religious groups in Iraq Shiite Arabs Sunni Arabs Kurds Assyrians Yazidis Turkmen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Islamic Caliphate State or ISIS or ISIL, which seized large sections of Syria and Iraq, is currently advertising on the internet for female recruits. They need people to cook and have babies, apparently to supply future generations of militants.

ISIS is a group that was expelled from al-Qaida, an organization that makes full use of suicide bombers, for being too extreme. They have publically beheaded captured reporters from the United States and England, as well as a large number of captured Shiite Muslims. ISIS, the Sunnite group, functions by terror and mayhem in the regions they have conquered. Their goal seems to be turning the entire Middle East into a Sunnite Caliphate.

The major question that emerges at this time is whose problem are they? Is it a Free World issue, requiring the Free World under the leadership of the United States, to come in and get rid of them? Of course there is also the question of oil in this fuel rich area. Are they a threat to the Shiite nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran? What about the more liberal Sunni countries in the Middle East? Is it also their problem?

ISIS is an ultra-conservative Sunni group that believes in their way or no way. The people in the areas they conquer have to follow their interpretation of the Sunni Muslim religion or die as non-believers. Arabia in the time of Mohamed was not as extreme as they currently are.

The current situation in the Middle East is a no win situation for the President of the United States. With the beheading of two U.S. reporters it would seem that the country feels a need to get even. Apparently President Barak Obama and a good percentage of the American people have taken the beheadings of the two American reporters as a personal challenge. But what is the reality of this situation?

Beheading seems to be a standard method of execution in the Middle East. The fact that it was advertised on the internet was a direct challenge to the United States. It was the equivalent of holding up a symbolic middle finger to the U.S.

Currently the U.S. is bombing ISIS military positions in Iran and, as of Monday, September 22 has, with a coalition of Arab and European states, begun to bomb similar positions in Syria. France has also begun dropping bombs on ISIS in Iran and Great Britain will be following shortly. The comment has been made by most people interviewed on TV that bombing itself will not wipe the group out, that this will require boots on the ground, a physical invasion by one or all of these nations. This is what President Obama has sworn countless times not to do. Under no conditions, he has stated, will we send troops into Iraq or Syria. What we will do is to train and arm moderate Muslim forces to successfully take over.   We will prepare Syrian and Iraqi forces to successfully fight ISIS in their country.

The problem here is that the United States is so far removed from the Middle East, that our thinking in no way parallels theirs. We would like to set up democratic nations similar to ours in both Iraq and Syria. This was tried three years ago in Iraq and Prime Minister Maliki, a Shiite, took control of the country. Iraq is mostly a Shiite country with a fair percentage of Sunni Muslims in some of its sections. There is also a Kurd population in one area of the country. All were initially represented in the new government but gradually the Sunnis and the Kurds found themselves out of the government with many in jail.

Under U.S. urging Prime Minister Maliki reluctantly gave up his position and a new Prime Minister was elected who is in the process of setting up, once again, a more democratic government. This was the United States requirement in order to help. Will it continue in the same fashion or will it, once foreign help is no longer needed, return to where it was in early 2014. I find this question fascinating, particularly since the United States, one of the world’s great democracies, still has all sorts of problems with its minorities, particularly its Black minority. Legally slavery ended 150 years ago in 1865; but Blacks constitute the greatest majority in U.S. prisons and police seemingly can arbitrarily shoot Blacks as in Ferguson, Missouri. If the U.S. cannot maintain ethnic fairness in its own country how can it ask other nations to do so in their nations? An interesting question!

Will Iraq eventually become more democratic that the United States or will the same issues that made it vulnerable to ISIS come back eventually again?

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In terms of Syria, what can happen there? Syria is currently and has been for the last three years engaged in a civil war. There is the old government headed by President Assad and the protagonists fighting his dictatorship. His protagonists in this war are not just one or two groups; they are innumerable rebelling individual groups that are generally fighting Assad and numerous other rebelling groups. ISIS has evolved from this morass and is probably one of the strongest groups of rebels. From Assad and other rebel groups they have gained control of a large section of southern Syria. They have also moved into Iraq and gained control of a large area of land there. These they have claimed as their Sunni Islamic state; and are attempting to enlarge their holdings in both countries as a Sunni Muslim Caliphate claiming that they will ultimately unify the entire Middle East.

While bombing ISIS in Syria presumably weakens them it also makes the land they are holding vulnerable to attack. Since the bombing is not being followed up by military attacks it leaves those area vulnerable to being taken over by President Assad’s military, the original ruler of the area against whom the civil war is being fought.

When the Civil War began three years ago President Obama publically issued a declaration asking Assad to step down and allow the people of Syria to choose new leaders and a new government. This request was ignored and a multi-civil war continues there.

There are obvious advantages and disadvantages in bombing ISIS in Syria, but it would seem to be a no-win situation for the U.S. and the Western powers. We have very successfully and expensively begun the bombing but to what is this leading? There is no eventual exit plan for the U.S. and the Western Powers. Presumably the bombing will continue until ISIS is destroyed but then what? Presumably, then the Syrians, who are mostly Sunnis, will, with encouragement from their Arab neighbors, form a modern democratic state under the auspices of the United Nations?

In fact, if the Middle Eastern nations do not get involved in destroying ISIS on the ground are we going to send our troops in to do the job? At this point there seems to have been no real planning outside of the bombing and building the coalition against ISIS. In what direction are we going in the Middle East? How long do we intend to stay there? At present we have more questions than possible answers.

 

The Weiner Component #93 – The U.S. & the World

English: U.S. President Barack Obama meets wit...

President Barak Obama has had absolutely no support for anything he does or tries to do by the Republicans in Congress who constitute the filibustering minority party in the Senate and the majority party in the House of Representatives. Their fervent goal has been and is to denounce any action he takes or tries to take.

House Speaker John Boehner has been recently making statements that it is not Congresses job to make policy decisions. But Speaker Boehner is presumably suing the President for taking actions without the consent of Congress.

The country is currently facing a number of international emergencies that defy simple solutions. In fact, each seems to be a no win situation. In the Middle East

Members of both major political parties in Congress have argued for immediate action without specifically stating what the action should be. A number of Democrats want the president to be more resolute while members of the Republican Party seem to want immediate action, the sending of troops to Iraq and Syria. Others want action without suggesting what that action should be. In the Ukraine there seems to be a war going on between the Separatists and Russia. Congress has not passed any resolution supporting any position. And no one in Congress seems to be ready to vote for any kind of war, or for that matter, any kind of action. At least this was their position before they went on vacation for the month of August. They will return to work on the second week of August.

In Syria and Iraq ISIS or ISIL has set up a separate Islamic State in areas they have been able to conquer and control. Here they are freely beheading and otherwise freely killing people. They have attempted genocide of a group within Iraq, forcing these people without food or water, to flee up an arid mountain. They have beheaded an American reporter because the U.S. has refused to pay a ransom of several million dollars and because they objected to the U.S. rescuing the group on the mountain and because of other military participation against them in Iraq. ISIS has also beheaded another kidnaped reporter, presumably because the U.S. did not stop its air strikes against them in Iraq. The effect of this has been the reverse of what they want.

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ISIS or ISIL is reminiscent of the old Nazi Party in Germany. They have essentially been able to organize an army of people who psychologically are losers, not able to successfully function in a normal society. As members of the group they are now the strong, the successful, the leaders, and they have absolute power within the areas they dominate. They can arbitrarily put anyone to death. They are now the feared winners within the regions they rule. Recently, I understand, they have also been providing social services for many of the poor within their state. They follow an old primitive form of the Sunni Islamic faith.

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The U.S. invaded Iraq, under the Bush Administration, in the year 2003 after the al-Qaida suicide attack and destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City and after the invasion of the al Qaida stronghold in Afghanistan. Its stated goal was to search out and remove weapons of mass destruction such as atomic bombs making material and poison gas. Its real purpose, which it failed to achieve, was to gain control of Iraqi Oil.

The United States completed its withdrawal from Iraq in December of 2011, during its ninth year there after helping to set up an elected government. The agreement to leave had been drawn up by the Bush Administration after the Iraqi Government refused to continue a policy toward Americans of immunity from Iraqi law. Actually both the Americans and the Iraqis wanted the U.S. forces out of the country.

Unfortunately Iraq ended with a Shia prime minister, Maliki, and a Shia dominated government which gradually discriminated against the Sunni minority within the country, arresting their leaders and other in the group. The result being that a percentage of the population did not and does not trust the government. ISIS, as we’ve seen, is a Sunni terrorist group that has cut out for itself a state that consists partly of Syrian and partly of Iraqi territory. It has voiced claims to other parts of the Middle East.

The population of Iraq tends to be mixed and confused at this point; the government is largely ineffective. If the United States were to become involved in a full military capacity now it would be in Iraq not only fighting ISIS but also supporting the Shia government against the Sunnis living in the country.

President Obama has called for and continues to call for a democratic reorganization of the Iraqi Government, with both sides fairly represented, before the U.S. takes any large scale decisive action. Under these circumstances he apparently feels Iraq will be able to mount an effective military force against the Sunni terrorist group, ISIS.

Currently the U.S. is effectively supporting the Kurds, another ethnic group within Iraq, with air support.

On Monday, September 1, 2014, President Obama formally notified the U.S. Congress that he had authorized air strikes and humanitarian airdrops over the Iraqi city of Amerli, the preceding weekend where ISIS militants had trapped the civilian population.

Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militias and Kurds on Sunday broke the two month siege of Amerli and entered the city after U.S. military carried out air strikes on the attacking forces.

In this case, with American help, the Kurds, a non-Islamic ethnic group, were able to save their city and defeat ISIS. Will the Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis be able this time to form a democratic government which is fair to all groups living in Iraq; and will this allow them to form an effective military that can successfully fight ISIS? And how long will this take? Can the United States be marginally involved until this occurs? An interesting question.

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What should the U.S. do in terms of Syria which has been involved in a civil war for the last few years? There is the original absolutistic government led by Assad who is fighting over a dozen different revolutionary groups of which ISIS is the most extreme and probably the most successful since it now rules a section of the country. By attacking ISIS there we strengthen Assad’s government, which is in the middle of a civil war, and weaken the Arab Spring in their attempt to reform Syria.

We are, in a manner of speaking, caught on the horns of a dilemma. Any move we make in Syria is a no-win move. We do have drones, pilotless planes, flying over Syria and presumably mapping out everything. This is even though Assad has officially stated that he will allow no planes to occupy Syria’s air space unless that government were cooperating with the Syrian government. What should President Obama do in Syria? Should we aid the more moderate groups with shipments of arms? Eventually we may have to bomb ISIS bases there.

President Barak Obama’s strategy seems to be to gather as many allies as he can, form cooperating coalitions, both in the Middle East and Europe, who are opposed to ISIS as a terrorist state that is both anti-Arab and anti-Occidental. He seems to want to build a coalition that is anti-terrorist. He has also stated in a letter to Congressional leaders on September 1, 2014, of his decision under the War Powers Act that he chooses to broaden the U.S. military role in Iraq. He will deliberate carefully before making final decisions on whether to expand U.S. air strikes into Syria. He has avoided military intervention to date during the three years of civil war.

There is also the situation in the Ukraine with Russia. Under Putin’s leadership Russia is trying to forcibly take over Ukraine. This presents another problem. How does the United States and its European allies (NATO) stop them short of war? The Russian premier, Vladimir Putin, has threatened atomic war. This is something that was never done during the Cold War. During the Cuban Missile Crisis the two countries were on the point of war but both backed off. Chairman Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba and the U.S. secretly agreed to remove our missiles from Turkey six months later. If Khrushchev had not backed down then President Kennedy was ready to openly remove the missiles in Turkey in exchange for the missiles in Cuba. Neither man would consider an atomic war.

As a footnote: Joseph Stalin’s daughter married an American and settled in the United States. Khrushchev’s granddaughter currently teaches at a university in the United States

If Congress wanted to defuse the situation between the two countries it would end its vacation prematurely, return to Washington, D.C., and authorize the President to take whatever action(s) necessary in dealing with Russia, including war. This would give Putin second thoughts and he would be forced to act as an adult in the situation. It would also give President Obama a full range of possible actions in dealing with Russia. It would mean the U.S. is standing together, which it is not doing, with the Republicans jockeying for political advantage against the President and the Democrats.

During the last week of August 2014 President Obama stated that his administration did not yet have a strategy to combat ISIS, at least in the areas it controls in Syria. By the end of the following week in Wales at the summing up of the results of the NATO meeting between its 27 members the President had a fully worked out strategy. Obama spent the week at the Conference building coalitions against the radical Islamic group and also spelling out a response to Putin’s war threat. He specifically stated publically more than once that an attack upon any NATO member would be treated as an attack against all of them. It seems that even though Ukraine does not belong to the group they will be allowed to join.

Toward ISIS the United States and its allies aim to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the militant group. The process will include NATO and the majority of Islamic states including those that are Sunni. ISIS, he believes, is a threat to all the nations.

Even though the Ukraine and Russia are not technically at war on Saturday, September 6, they agreed to a cease fire agreement and an exchange of prisoners. On Sunday, September 7, the truce is holding in Ukraine with a few violations on both side. Will it break down or end up in some sort of peace settlement?

Congress returns on Monday, September 8, the second week of September from its monthly vacation. What will be their response to President Obama’s requests under the War Powers Act and will they support or ignore the President’s actions. It should be interesting to see what happens. Particularly with an interim election coming up early in November.

Official photographic portrait of US President...