Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Senator Mitt Romney Neither Surprises nor Disappoints Me in His Contempt for President Trump: He Is Who He Is

Yes, I am neither surprised nor disappointed by Senator Romney’s outcries over President Romney. He’s what I expected. He despises President Trump. His OpEd in the Washington Post criticizing President Trump’s character was just more of the same. He echoed Senator Reid’s 2012 lies about Romney’s taxes by speculating during the 2016 primaries that Donald Trump’s taxes contain a bombshell. Donald Trump later replied by calling Mitt Romney “one of the dumbest and worse candidates in the history of Republican politics.” The war of words was on. Romney called Trump “A phony, a fraud … he’s playing members of the American public for suckers.” Candidate Trump called Romney a “choke artist.” The former nominee said he would not vote for Donald Trump in the general election. He said earlier today “I’m keeping a ‘completely open mind’ and am waiting for the facts” on the House impeachment of President Trump. The Senator is who he is. He is brilliant with both a J.D. and MBA from Harvard. He is a successful businessman. He turned the money losing Salt Lake City Olympics into a great success. He is a devout Mormon. He holds himself and others to a strict moral code. He has a natural bent to be a leader. But he’s a lousy candidate and politician. I voted for Mitt Romney in 1994 when he ran against Senator Ted Kennedy in the Senator’s sixth bid for reelection. He would have been better than the profligate Senator. Of course, Mitt Romney lost; he ran a bad campaign. He was running ahead of Senator Kennedy, emphasizing youth and job creation. His Bain Capital created tens of thousands of jobs. Then came Senator Kennedy’s devastating AmPad ad. Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital acquired AmPad, and took millions in fees out of it. AmPad entered bankruptcy. An AmPad worker, one of 250 who lost their jobs in the AmPad bankruptcy, blamed Mitt Romney for their unemployment. Bain Capital reaped $100 million from AmPad while creditors ended up with 2 cents on the dollar. It was compelling and devastating. I immediately knew Mitt’s campaign was dead in the waters. He had no answer for the ad. The ad created an image of Mitt Romney as a cold, ruthless plutocrat. He’s not, but the image carried through his 2012 presidential campaign. He also had no answer for it when Newt Gingrich raised it against him in the 2012 primaries. Governor Perry called Mitt Romney a “vulture capitalist.” I would have voted for Mitt Romney in 2002 when he won the governorship of Massachusetts. I knew he would be better than the Democratic opponent. We left Taxachusetts in 1996 for sunny Southern California. We left Massachusetts before Governor Romney imposed Romney Care, an individual mandate, on the citizens of Massachusetts. He also substantially raised fees, as if he were Governor Michael Dukakis. Governor Romney did not stand for reelection in 2006 because he would have lost. The Mitt Man can wear out his welcome. He sought the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008. He lost the nomination to Senator McCain. Governor Romney spoke at Chapman’s Dodge College in 2008. My friend was impressed by him. I was underwhelmed, quoting the Duck Test: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. I said Mitt Romney looks like a preppie, walks like a preppie, and talks like a preppie. Mitt Romney is a preppie, who could not connect with the people. He was also disbelieved because of his political changes. Republicans successfully seeking statewide office in Massachusetts have to be what’s called a Rhino elsewhere in America. Mitt Romney was necessarily pro-choice. He claimed to be a moderate, but said “I believe abortion should be safe and legal in this country.”. Then came the 2012 metamorphosis. He’s now pro-life. Governor Romney signed the strongest assault weapons ban in the United States, saying “Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts,” but then curried favor with the NRA in running for President. His moral code does not extend to convenient epiphanies by others. He explained “I’ve been as consistent as human beings can be.” Thus he asked and received President Trump’s endorsement in 2016 during his successful run for Senator from Utah after seeking the Secretary of State appointment in the new Trump Administartion. Political necessity trumped his moral probity. He probably wasn’t going to defeat President Obama’s reelection in 2012, but his poor campaign didn’t help. First, he could not attack the President on the unpopular ObamaCare because much of it was modeled on RomneyCare, including the individual mandate. Second his three debate performance was bewildering. A clear consensus exists that he won the first debate. He was knowledgeable, confident, and assertive. President Obama was essentially phoning it in. Instead of building on his strong success in the first debate, he backed off in the final two, looking indifferent and out of it. He let Candy Crowley get away with a blatant misstatement. His debate strategy was inexplicable, as if he was confused by her statement. His presidential campaign died that night. Only he didn’t know it. The Governor’s inability to connect with the voters was clear. He may despise President Trump, but the Trump voters know Trump’s one of them. They don’t care about the President’s personal behavior. They don’t care about his tweets. I wish he wouldn’t send some of them, but that’s who he is. They know the mainstream media will crucify him for anything he says or does. They don’t care. Finally a candidate/President who is not politically correct! And now we know Senator Romney in a secret Twitter account has a nom de plume, “Pierre Delicto,” which sounds like the legal phrase “In pari delicto” It means “equally at fault.”

Michigan Destroyed Notre Dame 45-14; Hurrah to Harbaugh; POTFI

Torrential rain was falling in the Big House Saturday Night. Torrents of Wolverines were sliding through fightless Irish, who prepared a suicidal game plan, or was it arrogance. The Domers had two weeks to prepare for the game; the weather forecast had been ominous for days. Yet they were unprepared! Go figure! Touchdown Jesus doesn’t do road trips. The Four Horsemen on the Apocalypse, Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley, and Layden have long since faded into the sunset. Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, and Holtz can’t help. Brian Kelly was on his own. His face was frozen except when berating players or scowling at officials. Michigan went to the run; Notre dame to QB Ian Book in a driving torrential rainstorm. He recorded 73 passing yards on 11 completions out of 29 attempts. What were they thinking? The score should have been 45-0. The Irish’s first touchdown came after Brad Hawkins cleanly intercepted a Notre Dame pass. An official called a phantom pass interference call against Michigan. Even the broadcast booth couldn’t see a pass interference. (Michigan has received several questionable calls this season). The second touchdown was during garbage time at the end of the game. The rain was pouring; the winds were howling and Notre Dame called passes on 13 out of its first 28 offensive plays. What were they thinking? Michigan ran the ball on 20 of its first 22 plays and 34 of its 38 first half plays. Notre Dame upheld its reputation for weak run defenses. Michigan’s offense gained 303 yards on the ground. Hassam Haskins ran for 149 yards on 20 plays while Zach Charbonnet rushed for 74 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns for the Wolverines. Notre Dame’s total yards gained rushing were 47 and 160 overall. Tony Jones, Jr, Notre dame’s great running, back had 18 yards on 6 carries. His blockers were AWOL. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has a lead contamination cleanup problem. Notre dame football in South Bend has a lead foot problem. Two magnificent catches by Chase Claypool for 42 yards. That was his total. Of course Michigan poured it on Notre Dame in the pouring rain. Notre Dame would have done the same if it had the chance. The Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry has a tortured history. Michigan’s great Fielding Yost believed Notre Dame was cheating, so he stopped scheduling Notre Dame in 1908. He later blocked Notre Dame’s entry into the Big Ten. Notre Dame remained an independent, the most successful in college football history. The two college football goliaths of the Midwest met twice during World War II, but that was just a lull. The Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry resumed in 1978, creating an instant modern rivalry to join the Notre Dame - USC, Michigan - Ohio State, and Michigan - Michigan State rivalries. Notre Dame’s athletic director cancelled the series after the 2014 game – a great loss for college football. The two teams proved their equality after the century hiatus with each winning 17 games in the revival. Some were blowouts, and some final second miracles. All were great games. They won’t play again until 2033 unless they meet in a bowl game.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Kurds, the Turks, and the President Trump

The Kurds and Turks have been fighting seemingly continuously since 1514 when Sultan Selim annexed Western Armenia and Kurdistan into the Ottoman Empire. The Kurds are consistently on the losing side in the Turk-Kurd conflicts.. Yet the Kurds persevere driven by an eternal quest for independence. They are also great fighters; they fight for independence even when it seems futile. Sultan Mehmet in conquering Constantinople in 1453 realized he possessed a once great but now empty city. He needed to repopulate it; hence be brought in people from throughout the Empire, regardless of religion or ethniciy. The Sultans may have denied certain rights to non-Muslims, but tolerated them. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch was moved to Istanbul, the former Constantinople. The Ottoman tolerance for non-Muslims ended with Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1894-6 when he unleashed a series of pogroms against the Armenians, killing an estimated 200,000, initiating three decades of religious cleansing in Turkey. The Three Pashas of the Young Turks initiated the Armenian Genocide in Southeast Turkey, their historic homeland, by slaughtering an estimated 1.5 Armenians, as well as Assyrians and Greeks. Several Kurdish groups assisted the Turks in their genocide, but others sheltered Armenians. The Kurds filled the vacuum in Southeast Turkey by settling in the former Armenian lands. Kurdish leaders have since apologized for their ancestors participation in the genocide. The Turks have not acknowledged the slaughter as a genocide. Turkey Prime Minister Adnan Menderes was heavily involved in the September 1955 Istanbul Pogrom directed at the Greek minority in Turkey. A mass migration of the remaining Greeks followed. Only about 7,000 Greeks remained in Turkey by 1978, down from 119,882 in 1922. The Kurds are Muslims, mostly Sunni, so religious intolerance is not President Erdogan’s problems with them. It’s their eternal guest for quasi-independence if not full independence. The Sultans had reached a modus vivendi with the Kurds. The two would mostly leave each other alone as long as the Kurds were submissive. Then came the breakup of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War II. The Kurds were promised a country of their own in what is now Southeast Turkey, Northern Syria, Northern Iraq, and Northwest Iran. The 1919 Treaty of Serves between the victorious countries and a weakened Sultan dismembered the Ottoman Empire creating an independent Kurdistan. It divided Turkey into pieces with the Greeks getting the larger pieces. Mustafa Kemal, now known as Ataturk, had other ideas. He rallied the defeated Turks, and won Turkey’s independence. The British, French, and Italians saw the writing on the wall and left Turkey. The Greeks were decisively defeated. Ataturk won an independent Turkey with the present boundaries. He was not going to give the Kurds a part of Turkey as an independent country. In addition, the British realized Northern Iraq, the Kurds’ home, contained most of Iraq’s large oil fields. There was to be no independent Kurdistan pursuant to the 1823 Treaty of Lausanne. The Kurds were betrayed for the first, but certainly not the last time of over the past 100 years. The Kurds rebelled against the Turks in 1925, 1930, and 1937-8 and in Iran in 1920. They lost each time. Iraq and Iran fought in 1974-75 with the Iranians providing support to the Kurds. A 1975 settlement between the two required Iran to cut off support of the Kurds. The United States followed suit in ceasing supporting the Kurds. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger famously said: “Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.” Another betrayal! Allies and allegiances in the Mideast are usually allies of convenience. They are transitory, can shift on a moment’s notice. The United States and Israel are locked together, as are most likely the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. The Kurds have already turned to the Syrian Army with the Russians as allies. They had been negotiating with the Syrians prior to President Trump’s decision. President George H. W. Bush during the first Gulf War encouraged the Kurds and other Iraqi to rebel. The war ended. Saddam Hussein unleashed his helicopters and tanks on the Kurds. The U.S. backed off. Another betrayal. Yet, the Kurds persevered and ended up with a quasi-independent Kurdish The media’s sudden concern with the fates of the Kurds is motivated by the desire to disparage President Trump. The media has been oblivious to the three year war President Erdogan has been waging on Turkey’s Kurds. He has unleashed his military and death squads on the Kurds in the name of fighting terrorism. He claims the Syrian Kurds are allied with the PKK, the Kurdish Workers Party, labeled a terrorist organization by both Turkey and the United States. He is also scared that a united Iraq-Syria semi-independent Kurdistan would pose a threat to Turkey, making it difficult to hold onto Southeast Turkey. The media applauded President Obama when he pulled American forces out of Iraq. President Obama started the process of pulling out of Iraq and the Mideast. President Trump is accelerating it. President Erdogan is a Mideast dictator, who emulates the former Ottoman Empire. He is no more capable of restoring the Ottoman’s glory than Benito Mussolini could restore the Roman Empire. President Erdogan is totally untrustworthy. He and his son are corrupt. One of President Trump’s campaign’s promises was to get out of these endless wars in the Mideast in which the United States does not have a stake. The signs were on the wall that he would pull American soldiers out of much of the volatile Mideast. He saw no reason to shed for further precious American blood in these endless conflicts in which the United States does not have a vested interest. President Trump was in a difficult position. American forces in many areas serve as a deterrent. If attacked the result would be an American response. Turkey is a member of NATO, but President Erdogan is a wobbly, untrustworthy ally. The United States was not going to war with Turkey to save the Kurds. Turkey also had great leverage over the United States with Turkey’s Incrilik Air Base. The United States has had a large presence at the base beginning during the Cold War. About 50 nuclear bombs are stored at the base. Therein lies the rub. If Turkey and the United States have a major falling out, the Turkish military could seize the bombs. EU countries complained about Turkey’s invasion of Syria. President Erdogan threatened to unleash 3.6 million Syrian refugees, currently in Turkey, on the EU countries, triggering another humanitarian crisis. President Erdogan claims he want a safety zone 250 miles X 20 miles along the Turkey-Syria border. Just coincidentally this strip of land is a highly fertile agricultural area adjoining desolate land. President Trump is accused of betraying the Kurds, our allies in defeating ISIS. 11,000 Kurds paid with their lives fighting the Kurds. The optics are bad for President Trump and the political consequences foreboding at this time. I agree President Trump made a tragic mistake in abandoning the Kurds. President Erdogan’s attacks were highly predictable and the consequences tragic. The Kurds will survive, as they always have. Someday they will be united.

Friday, October 11, 2019

What if They Give an Impeachment and No One Comes? Reflection on the Democratic-Trump Impeachment Circus

The House Democrats are engaged in a unilateral, not voted on, inquiry on President Trump. The House Republicans are excluded from the “inquiry.” President Trump won’t cooperate with the House Democrats as it is now conducted. Even Representative Adam Schiff’s “not really a whistle blower” whistle blower refuses to appear in public. Speaker Pelosi and representative Schiff are recreating the despised Star Chamber. No notice! No right to defend! No right to face and confront the accuser! No right to present evidence! Not to mention selective quotes out of context! Trump Impeachment is a Catharsis for Democrats, who are still in the stages of anger and denial. Democrats wanted to impeach Donald Trump from moment he was elected. They have yet to accept that this boorish (they think) outsider from reality TV defeated their anointed, brilliant, sophisticated, perfect candidate Hillary Clinton. She’s still in denial, blaming her loss on everything and anyone other than herself. She called President Trump last week “an illegitimate president” – she who rigged the Democratic nomination in 2016 to deny Senator Sanders – she who sought information from England, Russia, and the Ukraine to defeat Donald Trump. They’ve spent almost three years looking for an excuse to remove President Trump from office. They’re grasping at straws with Ukraine. Representative Adam Schiff is the Pied Piper of the Potomac, leading the Democrats where they want to go, but probably shouldn’t. Representative Schiff just won the non-coveted Four Pinocchio Award from the Washington Post for claiming he had no foreknowledge of the whistle blower who worked with his staff to draft the whistle-blower’s complaint, a whistle blower who belatedly went through channels, a whistle blower with only second hand, hearsay evidence. Where are all the other fact checkers quick to condemn President Trump? Where was the Washington Post over the past two years when representative Schiff almost daily announced President Trump colluded with the Russians? Representative Schiff has dusted off his statements from the past two years claiming proof of the Russian Collusion allegation against President Trump. “There was no there, there,” but he never apologized. Now he’s claiming proof of ???? I’m not sure. Schiff’s always shifting. Representative Schiff is the modern “Tailgunner” Joe McCarthy, who saw a communist under every rock. Why did Speaker Pelosi announce the inquiry even before she saw the transcript of the Trump-Ukraine telephone call? The Democrats’ rally call “READY, FIRE, AIM.” This is an extension of the centuries old struggles between a legislature and the formal leader, such as a king or president The United States has three equal branches, but this impeachment is an attempt to subordinate the presidency to the legislative (Congress), reducing the three separate branches to two, followed they hope by stacking the Supreme Court to rewrite the Constitution, thereby giving the Democrats. The House is sending out a flurry of subpoenas, which may end up as wallpaper. The Democrats are trying to quarantine the whistleblower who only had hearsay knowledge. Is it: 1) an attempt to avoid another Robert Mueller? 2) Build up the suspense? 3) For his/her own security? 4) Are they trying to take the steam out of the upcoming Inspector General’s Report? 5) Did Representative Schiff expect President Trump to not release the transcript, and thereby be able to allege quid pro quo? Perhaps all of the above, but the overriding reason is that Representative Schiff knows his ”whistle blower” has nothing; it’s another dud on the impeachment trail. Doesn’t this sound like a replay of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings? They’re still mumbling about impeaching Justice Kavanaugh. The only thing missing this time is Michael Avenatti. How many of the Democrat Representatives know where the Ukraine is? How many even knew or cared about the Ukraine until the chance to pin it on President Trump? How many know who the Kurds are? How many of the Democrats, salivating over the chance to impeach President Trump, have said how painful a process it is? Is it just a coincidence that the Russian Collusion, Russian Dossier and the current “whistle blowers’ emerge from the intelligence Community? Let’s see if we understand the inquiry? 1) President Trump did not threaten to hold up funds pending an investigation of Vice President Biden and his son Hunter, while the braggadocio Vice President is on tape threatening to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees. 2) Ukraine’s President did not know that President Trump had suspended $400 million in military assistance prior to the phone call. 3) The Ukraine had already initiated an investigation into Hunter Biden and the corrupt Borisma gas company Therefore impeachment proceedings are beginning against the President. Memo to Ambassador Marie Yavanovich: Ambassadors are Presidential appointees who serve at the pleasure of the President, just as FBI directors. We are told our Constitution is in danger because of President Trump’s behavior. Our Constitution is in danger because the Democratic House is attempting to impeach the President for personal and policy reason when no acts of Treason, Bribery, “other High Crimes or Misdemeanors” have occurred, at least by this President. The Democrats list their talking points, as of on clue: “Abuse of Power” “Betrayal of Office.” Echoes and cheering by the media doesn’t make it so. Contempt for Congress is not Contempt of Congress. One true statement of Vice President Joe Biden: “We place truth over facts.”