Thursday, July 28, 2016

Cleveland and Philadelphia: A Tale of Two Conventions; A Tale of Two Americas

We just watched the two national conventions. History was made in the Democratic Convention – the nomination of a woman for the Presidency of the United States – a moment as significant as the nomination of an African American 8 years ago. We also had Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton delivering perhaps the best speech of her life, but why would you believe anything she says? How good was her speech? Forget the commentators and the polls! Her husband fell asleep, snoring the speech! Let's see if that end up in some political ads. We end up with a Tale of Two Americas. The Republican Convention represented the traditional America – an America of hard working Americans who believe in the American Dream and see it disappearing – an America of what was once referred to as “lunch bucket Democrats.” The Democratic Convention presented a Rainbow representing the Democratic coalition. It also represented today’s version of the McGovern Democrats of 1972 – a fringe out of touch with reality. The Rainbow included every group Donald trump has supposedly offended. The Democratic Party has historically represented the working class of America. Not now, unless they are in the public employee unions. Hundreds of teachers from their unions are normally delegates to the DNC. Political conventions usually feature the main speakers surrounded by scores of American flags and at appropriate times police officers. The Democratic Convention on the first night had a dearth of American flags, but plenty of Russian and Palestinian flags. An Israeli flag was set afire outside the convention hall. The DNC the first three nights featured Black Life Matters and the mothers of young African Americans killed by police officers. The only police present were for security. Secretary Clinton tonight brought the American flags and police officers, but the real message was the first three nights. To combat inequality, the Democrats paraded a host of overpaid celebrities. The DNC delegates represent the fictional Julia of President Obama’s 2012 campaign. They believe they need the federal government to provide for them, whether it be jobs, healthcare, free college tuition, student loan forgiveness, justice and equality, or whatever. Yes, you can get everything you want from this week’s Democratic Party, except police protection and national security. Words like terror, ISIS, and national security were absent the first three nights from the speakers, except last night when former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta, spoke of fighting terror and ISIS. He was roundly booed by the delegates. Tonight though Secretary Clinton mentioned fighting terror and ISIS. She had to, but look at the first three nights for the true feeling of the delegates. “Judge them by not what they say, but by what they do!” Two words missing from the DNC and the nominee's speech: "Inner City." The Democrats have no solution or hope for America's inner cities. The once, and hopefully never future, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi earlier this week explained Secretary Clinton’s problem with white males being “Guns, gays, and God.” She was echoing Senator Obama’s April 2008 comments at a San Francisco fundraiser about the workers in Pennsylvania clinging to their guns and religion. The Democrats have arrogance for the working people, who they profess to represent. Secretary Clinton’s speech had two pieces of plagiarism in one sentence, but the media won’t pick it up. Willie Sutton, the fabled bank robber, was once asked why he robbed banks. He responded because “That’s where the money is.” The 1976 movie “All the President’s Men” about Watergate popularized the famous line “Follow the money.” Secretary Clinton said she would pay for her programs by taxing Wall Street, corporations, and the super rich: “That’s where the money is, and we are going to follow the money.” It’s as much plagiarism as Melania Trump’s. Translated, Secretary Clinton's economic program is to increase government spending and raise taxes; in other words, to double down on President Obama's failing ecomomic rec0overy. Michelle, Barack, and Hillary all tell us how great America is, but the American people feel it slipping away. The Republicans recognize that not only the middle class is slipping away, but Americans in general know it. Their convention was of the real America. The DNC’s is one blind to reality. Secretary Clinton in normal years would be cleaning Donald Trump’s clock in this election. He has offended so many groups in America, many of them in the Democrats Rainbow Coalition. The Democrats offered not stay the course, but more of it. The Republicans offered a reversal in course. Which America will it be November 5?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Wikileaks DNC Papers, Hillary Clinton, and The Big Lie.

Adolph Hitler in Mein Kampf advanced the idea of The Big Lie. People are used to little lies. It’s the Big Lie with a sense of credibility that they fall for because they can’t believe that anyone could advance such a preposterous statement. Joseph Goebbels followed up in 1941 by saying “When one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it.” Don’t back down. The WikiLeaks dump of 20,000 DNC documents again shows us the predictable Hillary Clinton: the lie and the casting of fault on another through the Big Lie. The DNC papers are damning not just for the proof that the DNC and its Chairperson Debbie Wasserman-Schultz were in cahoots with the Clinton campaign to elect Hillary Clinton, and not just because they illustrate the often incestuous link between the Democrats and the mainstream media, but because of the use of racial, anti-Semitic, and religious slurs. If memos leaked from a Republican operative using the phrase “Taco Bell outreach,” the media would be screaming outrage. Not a peep from the media! If the Republicans wrote about using a candidate’s religion to win Baptist votes in Kentucky or West Virginia, the media would be all over it. Not a peep! If the Trump campaign had been caught planting moles in an opponent’s campaign, the media would cry “Dirty Trick!” Not a peep from the media! Instead, Hillary’s Campaign followed her standard operating practice. First, Hilary denied all knowledge of any of it, just like with her emails. Total ignorance is her defense. She sticks to it. We have the most self-proclaimed ignorant Secretary of State in recent decades. CBS’ Scott Pelley spoke for the media when he said: ”I’ve got to tell you, if I am any reader of body language, I’ve known Secretary Clinton for 25 years, and I was struck, as I was reading the emails to her during the interview, her eyes widened as if to say, what is this all about? What are you talking about? She seemed genuinely surprised.” Reading a known liar’s face is no substitute for investigative reporting. She didn’t stop there. Then came her Big Lie. Robby Mook, campaign manager blamed the leaks on Russia trying to tilt the American election to Donald Trump. The “Russian Connection” also served the purpose of deflecting attention from the specifics of the leaks. Mook said: “Experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC…. It’s troubling that some experts are now telling us that this was done for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.” Mook refuses to say whose those “experts” are, which is reminiscent of Senators Richrard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy. Remember, Hillary blamed the Monica Lewinsky scandal on a “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.” The Benghazi attacks were blamed as a response to “The Innocence of Muslims,” an anti-Islamic video nobody had ever watched. Her State Department then spent $70,000 on ads in Pakistan denouncing the video. The media ran with the video theory. The media highlighted the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and echoed the Clinton’s trashing of the Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr. And now the media is lapping up the Russian Connection, kook, line, and sinker. Many also seem to want to believe Secretary Clinton that no one, not the Russians, not the Chinese, no one, hacked into her private email. The media believes because they want to. They seem to fail to learn from the past. The American people though recognize the DNC leaks compound the Secretary’s credibility issues. Hillary believes in the Marx Brothers: "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" Let us remember a famous quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool some of the people all the times, and all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Let Me Get This Straight: Melania Trump is accused of Plagiarism

This week is supposed to be a media lovefest for the Democrats and Hillary unlike its treatment last week of the Republicans and Trump. If only WikiLeaks and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz had stayed out of the news, the media would only have good news to report out of Philadelphia this week. It was different last week for the republicans. The media delivered a message to the Trump Campaign, not that they needed to: Any miscue, even if slight, by the Trump Campaign will be treated as a cardinal sin on the order of capital punishment. The media does not want Donald Trump, or any Republican to win. No matter how flawed and untrustworthy Hillary Clinton may be, she is preferable to Trump. No matter how much free publicity the Donald received during the primaries, that time has passed. He and his campaign will be flyspecked for the silliest of mistakes. He will receive the Sarah Palin and Gerald Ford treatment. The GOP Convention must be made to look unorganized and divisive. Whatever message the Convention is trying to deliver will be obscured by side issues. The plagiarism episode is an example. A few lines were identical to Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention. That is plagiarism because of the uniqueness of the phaselology of the words. Of course, everyone knew Melania did not write her speech. That doesn’t matter. She was attacked for plagiarism. It led off the evening news. Not a word about the magnificence of the contents and sentiments in the speech. Donald Trump, Jr. delivered an outstanding performance. The media’s response – there’s too many Trumps on the program. How about instead: Trump, Sr. raised a number of intelligent, productive, successful children. Chris Christy delivered an electric, mocking speech against Hillary Clinton. The response to the chant of “Lock her up!:” “It’s too negative!” Governor Mike Spence had a great acceptance speech. The media’s response was to drown it out by harping on Senator Ted Cruz’s failure to formally endorse Donald Trump. All side issues with an aura of negativity and failure on the part of the Republicans. Let’s look closely at the plagiarism charge. A couple of lines are identical. That’s plagiarism. Thus, they damned Melania and the Trump Campaign. Yet, the media can conveniently have a very short memory. Michelle Obama plagiarized from Sol Alinsky in the 2008 Speech. Her husband, President Obama, lifted entire passages from a speech by Governor Deval Patrick. The Massachusetts Governor brushed it off, and the media then quickly forgot about it. Then we have Vice President Joe Biden, a serial plagiarizer. He was accused of plagiarism in his first year at Syracuse Law School. Plagiarism, a major form of cheating, is all too common in the academic world with students often claiming they did not know or understand what plagiarism is. The faculty voted that he had to retake the course. He graduated 76 out of 85, but has claimed to have been in the top half. His explanation was he had done nothing “malevolent.” Sounds like Hillary Clinton on her emails. Senator Clinton is the one who noticed Senator Obama’s plagiarism. Vice Prsient is an argument why these tw Senator Biden in his failed 1988 run for the Presidency lifted an entire speech from British politician Neil Kinnock. He is also alleged to have lifted parts of speeches from Hubert Humphrey, Robert Kennedy and President Kennedy. But the media slammed Melania! It’s a side issue that detracted from the campaign’s message until Senator Ted Cruz came along. Donald Trump and his staff better realize that the mainstream media will give him no cover this Election cycle.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump versus Clinton: The Choice is Easy

Trump versus Clinton: A No Brainer Trump Clinton A Breath of Fresh Air Stale An American Original Programed Created tens of thousands of jobs Created 1-10 jobs (aides, assistants and Chauffeurs) Built the Grand Hyatt, New York, Built a House of Cards Trump Tower, Trump Plaza, Trump Place, Trump World, Trump International, Trump Parc, et al New York Values Clinton Values Made it in New York Made it in Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Arkansas, D.C., New York, D.C., and made it with Bill Talks to ordinary Americans Talks about and above ordinary Americans Work Free Law and Order Black Lives Matter Judicial Restraint Judicial Activism Won’t release tax returns Won’t release transcripts of speeches to Goldman Sachs, not to mention emails and billing statements Owns world famous golf courses Husband known for playing golf with Mulligans Tax reform Tax increases Straight shooter Congenital or pathological liar Risk taker Plays it safe Career entrepreneur Career politics Transparent Political expediency True outsider Consummate insider Coal miners mining coal Coal miners receiving welfare Keystone Pipeline No Keystone Pipeline Fracking No fracking Energy Independence Energy dependence Freedom of Speech Repeal Citizens United Right to Bear Arms Repeal Heller Veers off message Disciplined Thin skinned Clintons hold grudges The Apprentice The Last Hurrah Republican Nomination- Earned Democratic Nomination – a rigged coronation Business bankruptcy Moral bankruptcy Publicly insulting to foes Privately insulting, abrasive and arrogant; known to throw things Hair ? Hair – always changing Own Man “I am Woman” He’s for you You’re for her

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Turkish Coup Was Against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; The Purge is Against Fethullah Gulen

The coup failed. The purge is succeeding. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and Freedom of Religion are now dead in Turkey. A three month state of emergency has been declared. President Erdogan said “The virus will be cleansed from all braches of government.” Prime Minster Binali Yeldirin said “I’m sorry, but this parallel terrorist organization will no longer for an effective pawn for any country." He vowed to root out the organization. The total purged, cashiered, terminated, arrested, detained so far is about 60,000. So far 118 admirals and generals, 1/3 of Turkey’s general corps, have been detained, with 85 arrested to date. Among those detained are the President’s Chief Military Aide and his Air Force Advisor. If the coup were that widespread, it should have succeeded.6,038 members of the military have been detained, including the two pilots who shot down the Russian fighter plane a few months ago. If that many of the top brass were involved, the coup should have succeeded. Ironically, the police were one of the main resistors to the coup. The Ministry of the Interior announced 8,777 workers have been terminated, including 30 governors, 52 civil service inspectors, and 16 legal advisors. About 8,000 police officers have been fired and 1,000 arrested. 34 journalists had their press credentials revoked. Some will probably join their colleagues who have been imprisoned in recent years. The Finance Ministry terminated 1,500 employees. No evidence exists to support the premise that lower level finance employees would be involved in the coup. The Ministry of Education canned almost 22,000 to date. The teaching licenses of 21,000 private teachers have been revoked. It has closed 626 private schools and dormitories, presumably the private schools linked to the Hizmet movement. President Erdogan wants Turkey’s children to be raised in pious, Islamic schools. The High Education Board has called for the resignation of 1,577 university deans, at both private and public institutions. Six university presidents were axed. The Board has asked administrators to review the status of every professor. Even more ominous today is that the Board has barred all academicians from leaving Turkey and asked all academicians outside Turkey to return immediately. It’s also known that the President wants a revamp of the 300 existing universities. The President has to be wary of the universities. He knows the secular professional class of Istanbul opposed his administration. He vowed Tuesday night: “We will get into their dens …. We will find them all.” The Directorate of Religious Affairs sacked 492 staffers, including clerics, preachers, and religious teachers. It also forbad religious funerals for supporters of the the coup. The Prime Minister’s Office got in the act. It axed 257 workers. The Family and Social Policy Ministry dismissed 393. The licenses of 24 radio and television stations were pulled. 100 intelligence officers have also been suspended. The total purged exceeds 60,000 to date. 2,745 judges and prosecutors have been detained, including members of the Supreme Court. 80 judges have been arrested, including members of the Supreme Court. 1,481 judges were suspended. Many judges have been following the rule of law, sometimes blocking proposals of President Erdogan. No more! The Rule of Law is dead in Turkey. A new two-fold test for employment, promotion, and retention is now in place in Turkey: 1) Obsequence to Erdogan; and 2) Obsequence to strict Islam. This purge may have been occasioned by the failed coup, but the planning would have been in the works for some time. The only way to know who to arrest or fire outside the immediate participants is either to possess outstanding intelligence before the coup, or to have prepared lists in advance. The former is unlikely. Therefore President Erdogan was waiting for the right time to complete his program of firing all supporters of Fethullah Gulen and his Hismet philosophy. He has been slowly purging the police, military, prosecutors, and judges of supporters of Futhuallah. He is seizing the opportunity to accelerate the purge while he has the Turkish Street supporting him. If the purged are fortunate, all they will suffer is the loss of employment. If they are lucky! The President has bought time for himself, but he cannot defeat the strength of Hizmet or economic reality. Turkey has been a beacon of light in a dangerous part of the world: proof that a democracy and Islam can coexist. That’s no more. President Ergogan is showing how fragile a democracy can be; how the Rule of Law can become the rule of man, one man. The purge is of Turkey’s educated, secular class. Once begun the purge will necessarily extend to the private sector for the “parallel state” is too dangerous a concept for the quasi-paranoid President to ignore. President Erdogan can suppress in the short term Gulen and his Hizmet Movement, but the concept is sufficiently compelling to outlast one man. President Erdogan is on his way to becoming President for Life in a darkening Turkey.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Which Path Will President Erdogan Follow: Vengeance or Enlightened?

President Erdogan Has Two Routes to Go; The vengeful or the Creative: Which Will he Take? The answer is all to obvious. The Coup failed. The mutiny has been quashed. The Erdogan forces are carrying out his will. Over 9,000 have been detained, with more to come. A warrant has been issued for one of the President’s military advisors. The government immediately dismissed prosecutors and judges, with about 200 arrested. The details of the coup’s planners and planning are still murky. It’s unknown who was behind it. What is clear is that Erdogan has had a list prepared of whom he wishes to purge in the judiciary, prosecutors office, and military. He blames the coup of Fethullah Gulen and his Hismet Movement. Gulen’s soft Islam emphasizes democracy, science, and interfaith dialogue. His secular, secular Islam has been very popular in Turkey’s secular class, especially among prosecutors, police officials and the officer ranks of the military. He has been purging these ranks for several years, replacing the ousted officials with more devout Islamicists. He now has the opportunity to fulfill his purge. That’s a foregone conclusion. The question is what will he do with the surviving coup leaders, the list of which seems to be growing. He spoke of vengeance the night of the coup. The prime minister vowed “They will pay a heavy price.” He and his prime minister have demanded, demanded – not requested - the extradition of Gulen from the United States. And he is willing to bring back the death penalty – the historical penalty for mutiny. He said in response to the chants of the Turkish mob after the coup failed: “Enough – Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons, for years to come.” A bullet or hangman’s noose is a lot quicker and cheaper. Everything in his past shows the propensity to become a typical dictator willing to use deadly force to perpetuate his power. Yet, there is an alternative in the history of Turkey. Ataturk won the Turkish War of Independence. The rule of the Sultans was a spent force. If Ataturk had followed the French and Russian Revolution, there would then have been regicide and mass executions. Instead, Ataturk first abolished the monarchy and then the Caliphate. The Ottoman Era was history. His solution was to expel the main members of the House of Osman. The one condition was that they had to sign over the properties of the Royal Family to the new Turkish Government. They were given passports with one year terms and had their citizenship revoked. Thus, they could leave Turkey, but never return. They were deported. Only in the past decades have their descendants been allowed to return and become Turkish citizens if they wish. President Erdogan could do that with the major coup leaders. Deport them. Strip them of their assets. Cut them off forever from the Turkey they love. Let them wander the world stateless: Men Without a Country. They are a spent force. They will do no harm in the future. President Erdogan could do that, but he won’t. He’s too vengeful. Ataturk was an inspired leader seeking the well-being of his people. Ataturk freed his people. What will history say of Erdogan? President Erdogan is increasingly corrupted and consumed by power. He is undoubtedly leading his country into an Islamic based, corrupt dictatorship.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Turkey's Coup in Progress. The Fate of Turkey and the Mideast Are At Stake as the Coup Seems to be Failing

A coup is underway in Turkey, the outcome of which is uncertain as I write. Ironically, the military coup, if successful, will benefit the people of Turkey. If it fails, a vengeful President Erdogan will complete his path to a dictatorship. It appears that the coup is failing as I pen this blog. President Erdogan was elected Mayor of Istanbul in 1994 as a devout Islamist. The military overthrew him in 1998. He was sentenced to 10 months in jail. He was elected Prime Minister of Turkey in 2003, and promptly proceeded to fortify himself against any future military coup. He framed over 300 military leaders, who were convicted in Stalinist show trials in the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon cases. They were replaced by compliant officers. He also suppressed the media. More reporters are in prison in Turkey than anywhere else in the world. He seized control of the largest independent paper in Turkey, Today’s Zaman, on March 4, and then had its archives destroyed. President Erdogan has a very thin skin. He does not take criticism lightly. Turkish Police arrested 52 people, including businessmen and sons of ministers, in December 2013. Erdogan’s son, Bilal, was implicated in the corruption. His dad’s response was to arrest the police officers and prosecutors. He subsequently gained control of the judiciary. Bilal has since been accused of money laundering in Italy. President Oregon and Abdullah Gul created the islamic Justice and Democratic Party (AKP) In 1991. Its been in office 14 years now. Its primary plank at the beginning was "anti-corruption." It is very easy to be against corruption when you are out of office, but not as easy when the temptations are in your grasp. How ironic that the anti-corrupt Erdogan is now presiding over a corrupt government and family. Turkey has been a secular Islamist Republic since 1923. Ataturk won Turkey’s war for Independence and then transformed the country from a deeply religious Islamic caliphate to a secular republic. He and his fellow military leaders blamed the failing sultanate and overreliance on religion for the long term decline of the Ottoman Empire. He not only secularized he country, but also westernized it. He saw how the West had outstripped the Ottomans in economics, industry, and the military. He scrapped Sharia for civil law. The military had been sworn to protect the secular Turkey. His policy is known as Kemalism. (Atatutk’s birth name was Mustafa Kemal). Erdogan wants to break Kemalism. Turkey was a beacon of stability in the Islamic world for 90 years. It has been a reliable ally of the West and NATO for roughly 7 decades. President Erdogan has picked fights with the Syrians, tolerated ISIS and then somewhat turned on it, and has renewed hostility with the Kurds. The result has been bloodshed and terrorist attacks from both the Kurds and ISIS. He is fighting the Turkish Kurds and the Syrian Kurds, allies of the United States. He shot down a Russian jet. Tourism is dead. The economy is collapsing, but he has become emboldened. He’s trying to make peace with the Israelis. He has grandiose plans, some under construction: a third airport for Istanbul, the biggest mosque yet – this one on a hill on the Asian side of the Bosporus, a third bridge crossing the Bosporus, and faux-Ottoman barracks in Taksim Square. His biggest goal is to build a canal paralleling the Bosporus about 15-20 miles to the west. He has built a budget busting, off-the-books, President’s Palace in Ankara. President Erdogan worships Allah. He also yearns for the days of the Ottomans. His ego has been swelling in recent years. He has a messianic personality. He has turned on his initial supporters: Fethullah Gulen (in exile in Pennsylvania) and Abdullah Gul. Fethullah espouses a peaceful version of Islam, known as Hizmet. Erdogan has sought his extradition from the United States. President Oregon wants to read Hizmret. If he survives the coup attempt, he will drop any pretense of democracy. He will become a vengeful dictator. What's the Turkish wood for "purge?" The Parliament has already enacted legislation that will strip members; i.e, the Kurdish representatives, of their immunity. He will further purge the military, the police, prosecutors, and the judiciary. Don’t be surprised if he restores Sharia to Turkey. He believes women should stay at home, giving birth to children. Turkey currently has a large class of women professionals since Ataturk liberated women. President Erdogan has the support of the poor and religious. The mosques sent out a call for the people to turn out to support him in the coup. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he restores capital punishment. If he prevails, Turkey is headed backwards in time. The only remaining stable country in the Mideast will be Israel. Turkey is facing the abyss.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Jan Smuts (1870-1950): The Great, Forgotten Statesman of the 20th century

We were in Cape Town, South Africa a few weeks ago and saw a large statute of Jan Smuts in downtown near the Parliament. It triggered my memory from decades ago. I vaguely remembered that Jan Smuts led a contingent of the Boers in the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and then ended up a Field Marshall in the British Army during World War II. That’s quite a transformation! Forget Wikipedia, I found a 2015 biography of General Smuts, Richard Steyn, “Jan Smuts: Unafraid of Greatness” in a Cape Town bookstore. He truly was amazing! A trivia question would be: Who is the only signatory of both the League of Nations and the United Nations? The answer is Jan Smuts. That’s amazing! Another trivia question would be: Who was the President of the United Nations General Assembly in San Francisco? The answer is again Jan Smuts. Such was his international renown. He also signed both the World War I and World War II peace treaties. He was the son of Afrikaner farmers in the Cape Colony and attended Cambridge. He returned to South Africa to practice law, but was not suited by dint of personality to the private practice. He rose quickly in government circles. He led a contingent of Boer commandos during the Second Boer War (1899-1902). The British forces never defeated him, but the British relentlessly wore down the Boer forces through superior resources and a scorched earth policy. The British placed Boer women and children in concentration camps, in which over 20,000 perished. The British also destroyed the Boer farms and facilities. Smuts led the peace negotiations, in which the British were surprisingly magnanimous. They basically treated the defeated Boers with the same respect General Grant extended to the defeated General Lee and the confederate forces at Appomattox Court House. Indeed, one of the British officials, not Lord Milner, told the Boers it wouldn’t be long before the Boers could practice self-independence. The two British (Cape Town and Natal) and Boer provinces (Republic of South Africa and the Orange Free State) were merged together as the Union of South Africa in 1910. They received nominal self-governance in 1909 and complete independence in 1931 under the Statute of Westminster. Jan Smuts decided South Africa needed to remain in the British Empire as a unified country. He became an Anglophile. He and Louis Botha led the South African forces against the Germans in German Southwest Africa (now Namibia) in World War I. He was then dispatched to fight the Germans in German East Africa (now Ruanda, Zambia and Tanzania). He was less successful. The South African forces could never corner the wily German General Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck and his 15,000 soldiers, but the Germans never posed a risk to the British African colonies. General Smuts was called to England in 1917 to serve in the Imperial War Council. He created the framework for the Royal Air Force. He served as Prime Minister of South Africa from 1919-1924 and 1939-1948. He again served in the British Imperial War cabinet in World War II and was named a Field Marshall in the British Army in 1 941. General Smuts had witnessed the carnage of war first hand. He hoped to avoid more war by adopting the League of Nations and then a stronger United Nations after the Second World War. The League of Nations reflected his vision. He also unsuccessfully opposed the draconian reparations placed on Germany after World War I. He feared for the future if Germany was treated harshly. It was his idea to transform the British Empire into the British Commonwealth of Nations. His legacy to the world was not just the United Nations in general, but the preamble, which he mostly wrote. He provided the phrase which has become a critical foundation of modern international law: “We declare our belief in basic human rights.” On a different note, he wrote a treatise on “Holism” and gave us the word “holistic.” He was though, as befits a man of his time and his background, a segregationist. He did not believe in equal rights for the blacks and his administrations did not advance their rights. He was not though as racist as Cecil Rhodes or the Afrikaners who imposed Apartheid in 1948. His many honors included being named Rector of St. Andrews University in 1931 and the first non-British Chancellor of Cambridge, serving from 1948 to his death in 1950. Jan Smuts by all measure was brilliant in almost everything except politics. He called for elections in South Africa at a bad time. Just as the British threw out Winston Churchill in 1945, the South Africans Afrikaners’ National Party won the 1948 election. His party actually won a majority of the votes, but apportionment favored the opposition’s districts. The National Party ran on a platform of Apartheid. They enacted a series of Apartheid statutes three months after being elected. The National Party remained in power until 1994. His international fame has been replaced by that of Nelson Mandela.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Five Police Officers Dead in Dallas, Five Dead in Dallas; When Will President Obama Stop the Preaching Against "Police Brutality?

Five Dead in Dallas: When Will President Obama Stop Preaching Against Police Brutality Four Dallas Police Officers dead. 11 shot in all as I write this blog. Two snipers are suspected with the picture of one suspect, an African America. The police were protecting a peaceful protest when the snipers shot the protective police. President Obama pontificated earlier today, (is harangued a better word?) on Black Lives Matter with the recent tragic shootings in Baton Rouge and St. Paul. He gets strongly emotional when white police officers shoot blacks. He publicly proclaims his outrage without knowing the facts. The fatal shootings may be justified. They may not be. He doesn’t wait for the facts to express his outrage. He doesn’t wait for justice to run its course because his mind has been made up. The officer is always wrong and the victim right. It actually started with a non-shooting when Sgt. Crowley of the Cambridge Police arrested Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates at the Professor’s house. A neighbor phoned the police saying someone was breaking into the Gates’ house. A tired Professor Gates refused to identify himself to the officer, whereupon the officer detained him. President Obama quickly attacked the Cambridge Police. He later apologized and called it a teachable moment. He asked the protagonists to the White House for a “beer summit.” He didn’t learn from his own teachable moment. The tone was set. He would quickly attack the police without learning the facts. President Obama is highly vociferous when white officers kill black victims. President Obama is highly reticent when blacks kill, sometimes from ambush, police officers, white or otherwise. He’s silent on the scores of homicides in Baltimore and Chicago, his home. President Obama is highly reticent when illegal immigrants murder or rape innocent victims. President Obama is highly reticent when blacks murder, rape, and steal from blacks; i.e. black on black crime, even in his home of Chicago. President Obama consistently, and almost reflexively, takes the side of the victim. Ferguson and the shooting of Michael Brown triggered riots, lootings and arsons from a false narrative. “Burn, Baby, Burn.” The President was reticent, Baltimore burned. Burn, Baby, Burn, as the President was highly silent. FBI Director Comey says there is a Ferguson effect on police officers. Officers hesitate to arrest. His Justice Department denies it. He has unleashed the Justice Department on police departments all over the country. He has said that “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” (a needless tragedy, but not a police shooting). President Obama has consistently sided with the Black community. President Obama has used the Bully Pulpit to fuel the flames of racism. Five police dead in Dallas and he pleads again by rote for gun control. Reap where ye have sown. The public notices.

Alan Paton, "Cry, the Beloved Country" A Very Slow Read on My Part

Alan Paton’s “Cry, the Beloved Country” was one of several books on the summer reading list for an English High School course over five decades ago. You remember those lists, don’t you? Ours had Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and 1 or 2 other seemingly 1,000 page Dostoevsky’s tomes), Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, Kafka’s The Trial, Flaubert’s Madam Bovary, and I can’t remember the rest – maybe George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, because I know we all read them. We can be slow readers at times. Cry, the Beloved Country was a very slow read – 53 years in fact. That’s about as slow as it gets. Even a sloth reads faster. I got to around page 50 that summer and put it down. I just couldn’t go any farther. It made no sense. It was boring. I did Dostoevsky; what more could the teacher ask of me? Where were the Clift Notes when we needed them? Of course, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic- an immediate, and continued best seller. Alan Paton was writing about the rabid segregationist polices of South Africa and the impoverishment of the black majority. He writes about the poverty, the leaking roof of the black church, the hopelessness, pathos and despair of the people. He writes about the 1943 Alexandra/Johannesburg Bus Strike, where the poor blacks, young, old, healthy, infirm would walk up to nine miles each way in protest of a one penny fare increase. One cent, twice a day, several times weekly, was a substantial portion of their earnings He talks about the young blacks going to Johannesburg, only to disappear in the city. The book was globally viewed as an outcry against Apartheid. It opened the world’s eyes against the sordid treatment of South African blacks. Ironically, Alan Paton started writing the book in Norway in 1946 and published it in 1948 four months before the National Party gained control of Parliament and enacted Apartheid. Alan Paton wrote about pre-Apartheid South Africa, analogous to the plight of the emancipated former slaves in Dixie after the Civil War. America’s blacks had one major option. They could join the Great Migration out of Dixie. The streets of Detroit may not have been paved with gold, but Detroit, of the automobile industry, offered good employment to thousands of African Americans. So too with Philadelphia, New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and the other growing areas of America. Their children had a greater opportunity to get an education and a job outside the South. The blacks in South Africa had little opportunity for advancement. Apartheid shut the doors on them. They were trapped in Apartheid. Alan Paton knew what he was writing about. He started as a teacher and then served as Superintendent of the Diepkloof Reformatory (for blacks) from 1933 to the success of his book. He saw the pathos of the young black generation in South Africa. He was the global voice of opposition to Apartheid prior to Nelson Mandela. Indeed, the government lifted his passport from 1960 to 1970. He served as President of the small Liberal Party from 1953 until its disbandment in 1968, when a new Apartheid statute forbade the existence of political parties with mixed races. So here I am, over 5 decades later, when I passed a large bookstore in the V & A Waterfront Mall in Cape Town. A siren voice called to me. It said “Cry, the Beloved Country;” You must. An overpowering force field pulled me in. Miss Brash or Mr. Englander, or whoever the English teacher was, would be proud. There was a copy of Cry, the Beloved Country in plain view, with seemingly my name on it in flashing lights. The time had come. I finished the book, starting back on page 1. This time it was an easy read – no putting it down. Here’s the quick plot in 241 words: Stephan Kumalo, an elderly Zulu Minister, gets a letter from a minister in Johannesburg, asking him to come to find his sister Gertrud who is ailing. Kumalo also seeks his son, Absalom, who also vanished in the milieu of the big city. The long trek begins as lead after lead is pursued in seeking Absalom. The son is arrested with two accomplishes for killing Arthur Jarvis, a young, rising lawyer opposed to the segregationist policies of South Africa. Absalom admits to pulling the trigger, but with no intent to kill. He is convicted, sentenced to death, and reconciles with his father. In addition, prior to his execution, he is allowed to marry the young girl who is bearing his child. Stephan has also found Gertrude, who has a young child and agrees to return home with the minister. She had sunk into working as an alcohol serving prostitute. She seeks the light and does not return. Instead, she becomes a nun, or so we are led to believe. Reverent Kumalo returns home with the child and his pregnant daughter in law. He has temporarily lost faith, but returns to the fold. Arthur Jarvis is the son of James Jarvis, a successful farmer in Reverend Kumalo’s village. Arthur’s young son comes crosses paths with Stephan Kumalo and wants to learn Swahili. James Jarvis has an epiphany and provides needed help to the community during the bad drought and to Kumalo’s church. The title “Cry, the Beloved Country” is used four times in the story. The most memorable is: “Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply … for fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Two Arguably Legitimate Explanations for Why FBI Director Comey Insulted the Intelligence of the American People Today on the Clinton Emails

Only two legitimate explanations can perhaps justify FBI Director James Comey’s Falling on his sword for Hillary Clinton FBI Director James Comey again proved today that the Clintons live by different rules. He found “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges in a case like this. Where is the surprise? The fix was in for months. President Obama months ago said he believed in the innocence of Secretary Clinton because he believed she did not act intentionally to harm the United States. The statute provides liability for intentionally or gross negligence, but no matter! President Obama routinely ignores the Constitution and the gun. FBI Director Comey did his best imitation of Chief Justice Roberts in rewriting the Obamacare statute to sustain it. President Obama and Secretary Clinton flew together on Air Force One to a campaign rally in North Carolina today as Comey was acting. I don’t always believe in coincidences. The President expressly passed the baton, not a subpoena or indictment, to Secretary Clinton at the rally. Former President Bill Clinton talked with Attorney General Loretta Lynch last week. Hillary Clinton is rumored to have said that she would retain the Attorney General in her new administration. No matter! It may be unseemly, but there’s no smoking gun. James Comey understood all along what his job was. He groveled for the appointment as FBI Director by President Obama in 1913. It’s like the Godfather. Comey knew at some point he would have to return the favor. She palpably, grossly, constantly, lied to the American public, but that’s not indictable. She proved, yet again, that she is a compulsive or pathological liar (take your pick), but no matter. Why anyone will believe any of her campaign promises and rhetoric is a great mystery. She committed obstruction of justice by destroying tens of thousands of emails, but the FBI Director ignored that. She was undoubtedly entered into a conspiracy with her aides to obstruct justice. If she were a Republican candidate, he would have thrown the book at her and her aides. No matter. President Clinton proved an expert at obstruction of justice, He got away with it. Why shouldn’t she? And yet we can posit two arguably justifiable justifications for the decision. The first is cold reality. The odds that any jury in Washington, D.C. could convict a Clinton of anything are about the same as winning the Power Ball. The second reason is that it is unwise public policy to indict officials of preceding administrations for criminal acts short of horrific crimes. Such behavior is dangerous to the survival of our democracy. However, an independent prosecutor with the cheer leading of Democrats and the media had no problem indicting members of the Nixon Administration for Watergate. Only a Presidential Pardon by President Ford prevented an indictment of President Nixon. Democrats cheered on Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in trying to indict Vice President Chaney or Presidential aide Karl Rove in the leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity in the CIA. Fitzgerald continued the investigation long after the identity of the discloser was discovered. Neither explanation was given. Instead FBI Director Comey insulted the intelligence of the American people today.

Woodrow Wilson, Princeton, Segregation, Earl Warren, LBJ, et al

The Black Justice League at Princeton staged a 32 hour sit-in in the President’s Office last fall. Their demands included the removal of Woodrow Wilson’s name from programs and buildings at Princeton. Wilson was a rabid segregationist, even as President. We associate him with Princeton, but Woodrow Wilson as a child of the South, the defeated, broken, dispirited South, the South of the Lost Cause. President Wilson was born in 1856 in Staunton, Virginia and raised in Georgia and South Carolina. His parents were ardent supporters of the Confederacy. Woodrow Wilson is of the South, the South, whose political leaders were rabid segregationists well into the second half of the 20th Century. Even President Johnson was a member of the segregationist wing of the Democratic Party, until he became President and was in a position to end segregation through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Wilson grew up in the South which repressed the freed slaves almost as soon as the Civil War ended, and whom the North soon turned its back on. He is of the South where a young Alabama attorney joined the KKK, and became known to history as Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. We honor Justice Black for his service to the country. Two aircraft carriers, the Carl Vinson and John Stennis, are named for ardent segregationist Southern politicians. We honor them because of their Congressional service to the nation’s military. Princeton honors Woodrow Wilson not only for his Presidency of the United States, but also for his Presidency of Princeton. A history of Princeton shows that his changes and reorganization at Princeton set it on its road to greatness over the past century. Princeton rejected the demand of the Black Justice League to remove President Wilson’s name from the prestigious Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Woodrow Wilson Residential College. FDR’s Administration was known for anti-Semitism and turning its back on Jewish refugees. The Roosevelt Administration also made a Faustian bargain with the Southern Segregationist Senators and Representatives to keep them as a critical component of the Roosevelt coalition. Anti-Semitism is spreading rapidly through the progressive, some would say, radical left in Europe and the United States. Let’s take this clearly racist statement: “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. That I am not, nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, not to intermarry with white people, and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe will ever forbid the two races living together in terms of social or political equality. And insomuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.” Quite a racist statement by today’s standards! Who uttered these racist remarks? None other than the Great Emancipator himself, Abraham Lincoln on September 18, 1858 in Charleston, Illinois during the fourth of the famous Lincoln-Douglass Debates. His comments received no criticism at the time because they reflected the times. Abraham Lincoln abhorred slavery, but didn’t think much of the black people. We remember President Lincoln, as we should, by his great deeds, not these racist comments. The Ivies practiced racism and anti-Semitism in their admissions practices until recently. One can argue that they still discriminate against Asian American applicants. An activist minority, often the same voices seeking safe zones and trigger warnings, are seeking to remove all indicia of the Confederacy and slave owners from our historical record: place names, flags, monuments from states to small towns. So far, only Stone Mountain seems exempt. They want to rewrite history. I’ve said many times Chief Justice Earl Warren, leader of the activist Warren Court, in his earlier career as Attorney General of California was one of the two most responsible officials for the internment of our Japanese citizens in concentration camps during World war II. His name remains on the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Justice at the University of California Berkeley, one of the nation’s most progressive universities. Attorney General Warren was not acting as a great civil libertarian in the internment of the Japanese Americans, but as an ambitious politician playing to the biases of the California voters, who practiced a century of anti-Asian discrimination against the “Yellow Peril.”. We honor him because of his contributions to social justice in the United States. The list goes on: the crest of Harvard Law School, Calhoun College at Yale, General Robert E. Lee at Washington and Lee College, the Brown in Brown University How about colleges and universities named for Robber Barons: Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Drew, Stanford, Carnegie-Mellon? How about tobacco money behind Duke University? Rewriting history, excising the unseemly by today’s standards, produces ignorance, dangerous ignorance. Shades of George Orwell’s 1984. We all read 1984 and Animal Farm in high school. I wonder how many students read those books today.