The Washington Swamp Is Now A Bio-Hazard

Certain events over the past several months are creating great consternation in America. The unsavory actions of politicians, the press and our president are generating an inordinate amount of anxiety. And, most importantly, the behavior and some of the comments made by powerful people and influential institutions are not in the best interests of America.

The election of Donald Trump has been, without a doubt, a disturbing phenomenon. His disdain of statesmanship and presidential tradition has bewildered Americans, our allies and even enemies of the US. But Trump was duly elected and, in spite of all that has transpired, he deserves to be treated with respect.

It has been said many times that the election of Trump was made possible by the incompetence of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the mismanaged and directionless Democratic Party. Without their truly questionable tactics and combative attitude, Trump would likely be peddling real estate to this day, not leading the world, cutting taxes, abrogating lousy treaties and pissing off just about every person he meets.

The vicious attacks by Trump’s political opponents are something that has never happened before. The characterizations of the president are degrading and inappropriate. Future presidents will likely be treated similarly even if their demeanor is more mainstream than Trump’s.

But there are other things happening that are reflective of the poisonous climate in Washington. Take the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) recently mused about the unhinged questioning of Kavanaugh and subsequent comments to the press by Democrats during the confirmation process. He pointed out that until recently, most Supreme Court confirmations were not so confrontational.

Former presidents recognized that a lifelong appointment to the highest court in the land warranted an extensive vetting process. Problems were usually surfaced before nominees faced the Judiciary Committee. Most nominees were unanimously confirmed or received an overwhelming majority.

Today the venom between the majority and the minority is front and center. Opponents of Kavanaugh are blatantly attacking the man and questioning his integrity. Accusations of unsubstantiated perjury and misconduct have occurred every day. An honorable man is being besmirched for political gain. Liberals are “borking” him. This refers to the witch-hunt affiliated with the confirmation hearings of Judge Bork in 1988.

Graham went on to say that it is perfectly reasonable for a conservative president to nominate a conservative justice, and a liberal president a liberal justice. Why all the fuss about Kavanaugh? Did his opponents think Trump would do otherwise?

The fact is that Kavanaugh is a highly respected scholar and judge. He deserves to be confirmed. The disrespectful interrogation by Democrats has been disgraceful.

The presiding president gets to make nominations to the Supreme Court when an opening occurs, and Americans should not be surprised if that nominee is ideologically aligned with his sponsor. The best way to insure that Supreme Court nominees represent your perspectives is to elect a president that will pick people of your persuasion.

There has been a lot of talk about the possibility of impeaching Trump for all sorts of alleged crimes. This is an unproductive debate for many reasons. The most important one is that a president can always be replaced within four years without creating a constitutional crisis.

Impeachment is the accusation by the House of Representatives of crimes and misdemeanors committed by the president. A majority vote is required. Then the impeachment is sent to the Senate where 2/3 must vote to remove the president from office. Given the current division of Democrats and Conservatives in Congress, there is no way that a “trumped up” charge by Democrats (assuming they achieve a majority in the House in November) would ever be supported by a supermajority in the Senate. Frankly, the conversations about impeachment are tearing the country apart.

Liberals are so frustrated that they are moving further left than any time in history. Let me be clear, there should be great latitude for progressives. In fact I support a number of their positions. But to elect self-proclaimed socialists . . .?

Russia, China and India, three of the largest and most powerful countries in the world have given up on socialism. All have elections even though it’s questionable whether they are fair. Each of them embraces capitalism. They have recognized that capitalism and democracy (to some extent) is what most people want. Why is America poised to move in the opposite direction? All socialist countries to date have been abject failures.

At first I thought the concept of Fake News was a joke or a political ploy. Now I think it’s real. Our press that benefits by extraordinary protection in our Constitution is abusing its vaulted position. Too often reporting is editorial. Too often news zealots, who think that they can trick average Americans, twist the truth. To often stories and sources are not vetted. Too often the press walks back bad reporting.

Lastly are the outrageous actions and biases of the Special Counsel. He has refused to give anyone a heads up on his progress in determining whether Trump illegally influenced the elections in conjunction with Russia. The Special Counsel is not above the law, and is responsible to those that gave him his power. He is not a judge, jury and executioner. He should not have unlimited power and resources.

The midterm elections are just a few weeks away, and Americans have learned nothing from the Special Counsel, other than he has indicted several people not involved in Russian collusion.

The country is eroding before our eyes. Americans are at each other’s throats based upon political affiliation. Politics is now everything, and Congress is in a state of paralysis. We must enact term limits and rid the country of those lawmakers who have created such a destructive environment.

The US and North Korea Will Likely Make A Deal For Peace

Kim Jung-un reached out to President Trump to schedule another summit meeting. Is it a ploy to stall for more time to build out North Korea’s nuclear arsenal? Or, is Kim really prepared to give up his nuclear program for a peace treaty with the US?

This essay will explore the possibilities and the issue relating to a North Korean deal.

I have no diplomatic experience, but I recognize the potential for a good deal when I see it. From my vantage point, Trump has all the cards in the impending game of chicken with Kim. There is no conceivable reason, other than ego or stupidity, why a deal for peace should not become a reality in the near future. It will be good for all parties concerned including South Korea, Japan and even China.

Keeping its nukes will bring nothing less than misery and regime change to North Korea. If Kim does not accede, the US will increase economic sanctions and continue to threaten military action.

The people of North Korea are experiencing great hardships. The country is crumbling economically as North Korea continues to spend inordinate amounts of money on its offensive weapons and its huge standing army.

China has begun to support its neighbor to the south, but not enough to offset the economic pressure being applied by the US. North Korea’s standard of living is deteriorating every day because of shortages of food and other supplies, and at some point North Koreans will rebel.

What will happen if Kim’s government falls? Many North Koreans will attempt to leave the country in the fallout. South Korea will likely close its borders as will China. Neither wants a refugee problem or increased costs associated with caring for displaced North Koreans. After a failure of the government, the unauthorized movement of nukes from North Korea could pose a very significant problem for the region, especially if the weapons fall into the hands terrorists or regimes that support them.

Most importantly is Kim’s fate if his regime falls. His life will be threatened if he is unable to find sanctuary elsewhere.

A deal with the US would ameliorate North Korea’s pressing issues and assure Kim a long tenure as its leader. By giving up and/or destroying its nukes, and agreeing to end human rights violations, Kim would bring long lasting peace and prosperity to his country.

What are the benefits to North Korea if it makes peace with the US? Here is a partial list:

 

-The US would agree to officially end the Korean War.

-North Korea would be welcomed into the international community of nations.

-The US would guarantee the security of North Korea. In effect, Kim’s regime would be protected from any outside forces.

-North Korea’s reliance on China would decrease, giving the country more diplomatic and economic options.

-North Korea would no longer need to spend significant amounts of money to finance its nukes and standing army.

-North Korea’s relationships (social, economic and military) with South Korea would flourish.

-All economic sanctions would end immediately.

-North Korea could begin to develop its industrial capabilities.

 

Of great importance is that the US flatly refuses to ease sanctions unless the nukes are disposed of. This is the critical issue, and it will decrease the odds that North Korea does a bait and switch as it has in past negotiations.

It’s imperative that US negotiators clearly indicate that Kim’s regime will be defended with a peace treaty. Kim’s security and longevity are paramount to him.

Diplomatic negotiations are tricky. Many things can sidetrack talks including egos and false expectations. Yet this deal is doable and there is no reason it should not be consummated within a year.

Obama Encourages Americans to Dump Trump

Barack Obama emerged from his cocoon with an expansive denunciation of the Trump administration, along with a personal attack directed at the president. Why did Obama choose this moment to speak up? Does he actually believe his administration left the country in better shape than when he arrived in 2008? Doesn’t Obama remember the bonehead moves he made during his tumultuous years that left the country in dire economic and political distress?

Up to this point, Obama has taken a low profile, and it’s not because he was concerned about violating the unofficial code that former presidents not interfere with current presidents. In the eyes of many, Obama was a failed president. The mention of his name, along with that of Hillary Clinton makes conservatives’ blood boil. His performance between 2008 and 2016 enabled yet another incompetent man to become president.

It would be burdensome to attempt to list all of Obama’s missteps, so I will mention just a few of the notable disasters he inspired.

Right out of the box, the former president misjudged his mandate. He campaigned as a progressive and went all in when he bludgeoned Congress into enacting Obamacare. The problem with this tactic was that the US could not afford a multi-trillion dollar entitlement coming off of large expenditures affiliated with conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover the economy was tanking and needed financial support.

You may not believe this, but misguided health care reform was a principal cause of Obama’s terrible performance. Immediately after Obamacare was enacted, Teddy Kennedy passed away and was replaced by Scott Brown, a Republican. This special election caused Democrats to lose their filibuster-proof majority. From that point, Obama’s agenda went up in smoke.

Democrats then lost their majorities in the House and Senate. Obama became a lame duck shortly after taking control of the White House, as Republicans refused to consider his legislative proposals and obstructed whenever possible.

Why did this happen? The new president was a neophyte, a self-proclaimed genius who attempted to personally manage the colossus known as the US. To make matters worse he surrounded himself with equally inexperienced sycophants. The ultimate result was a series of bonehead decisions, most of which were made by fiat and not with legislation. The most important of which was Obamacare.

A dearth of support in Congress did not stop Obama as he proceeded to initiate a series of regulatory mandates that cost businesses throughout the country billions of dollars and only served to make the economy worse. This deepened the ensuing recession.

To his credit, Obama heeded the warnings of more knowledgeable conservatives and propped up the economy lest it degrade into an outright depression.

All the while Obama kept trying to sell Americans on his pie in the sky ideals relating to social reform, climate change, inequality, the evils of capitalism and the sins of the 1%.

Regarding the last item, Obama encouraged class warfare that severely damaged the country. He made no excuses, and he said affluent Americans did not pay their fair share, and the 99% should join with him and strip 1%ers of their hard earned wealth.

Barack Obama was a not president of all Americans. His crusade, to steal from the rich and give to the poor without conditions, was a major reason his economic agenda was such a disaster. In any case, the US spent trillions on entitlements that exacerbated the economic distress of the day.

Internationally, Barack Obama performed like a true amateur. All of his smooth talking and blathering about inequality throughout the world fell on deaf ears. The world needed American leadership and he gave it platitudes while apologizing for the sins of America.

Most countries around the globe felt abandoned by the US because Obama pulled back in the face of terrorism, tyranny, imperialism, colonialism and nationalism. Russia and China made great strides as Obama stood aside in the Middle East, Asia and Crimea. The president did not have the courage to rein in either of our most important enemies, much less the murderous Assad in Syria.

Specifically, in the Middle East, Israel was abandoned by the Obama administration. If you don’t believe this read Bibi Netanyahu’s public statements regarding existential threats against the State of Israel and Obama’s feeble responses. It was the first time since the establishment of the Jewish State that America abandoned Israel and sided with the Palestinians.

The other major event was the inane nuclear deal with Iran. The stated policy of the US has always been to end the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Iran pact merely delayed the development of nukes by Iran. The ayatollahs despise the US, all non-Islamic people and non-Shiite Arabs. The country contributes to virtually every anti-Semitic activity in the Middle East.

And so, Obama, Clinton and Kerry, for legacy purposes, made a deal that enabled Iran to have nukes in about a decade. Only a totally naive leader would do business with a mortal enemy, an enemy that lies and deceives others at every turn? How could Obama be assured that Iran would not cheat? Thankfully Trump has recognized that this horrible deal needed to be abrogated.

People speak of Trump’s efforts throughout the world in a disparaging manner. On the contrary, walking away from the Iran deal, renegotiating trade deals that cost Americans billions each year and forcing our allies to pay for their fair share of defense costs are noble objectives. The countries on the other side of these situations are understandably upset. Nevertheless, Americans should be ecstatic that Trump is cleaning up costly deals and mandates by Obama and his predecessors.

Barack Obama thinks he is the smartest man on the planet. Even if he is, he has proven that he was and continues to be incapable of leading America or even his own party.

I hope he and Hillary enthusiastically stick their noses into the mid-term and 2020 elections. This will result in great victories for Republicans.

Pandemonium During US Open Ladies Final

Serena Williams stormed through the brackets of the US Open. She faced a 20-year-old woman, Naomi Osaka, in the championship match yesterday. It turned into an ugly scene after Williams lost her cool.

Williams made three grievous errors. She illegally took instructions from her coach in the stands. Serena insisted that she doesn’t cheat (her coach later said that he did give her instructions). For this transgression, Williams received a warning from Carlos Ramos, the chair umpire.

Shortly after, Serena smashed her racket on the ground, which is also a violation. Naomi was awarded a penalty point.

Then, while arguing about the previous violations, Serena called the umpire a “thief” for stealing a point from her. Naomi was awarded a game penalty.

While disputing the actions of the official, Serena played the sexist card to no avail, saying that men frequently behave in a similar manner without receiving penalties. Maybe it’s true, but it doesn’t excuse her behavior.

Serena reminded the umpire that she was a mother and would never cheat. The relevance of this is elusive given that she lied about taking instructions, and being a new mother is hardly germane to the circumstances.

The real story that unfolded at Arthur Ashe Stadium was muted by Serena’s terrible and unsportsmanlike behavior. The facts are that (1) Osaka beat Williams soundly (2) Osaka was mature, composed and incredibly gracious during and after Williams’ outbursts (3) Osaka is a very young woman who won her first major tournament, and it seemed to be an afterthought to the thousands of fans in the stadium.

Regarding the last point, I was in attendance and was astonished when the spectators began to boo. Was it because they thought Serena is above the rules and deserved to win regardless of the amazing performance of her adversary? Was it because they didn’t understand what was going on? And why did the crowd boo after Osaka made great shots?

Frankly, the speaker system was abominable. I could not ascertain what the umpire was saying. Apparently Serena had the same problem, especially when she went ballistic after the umpire awarded a game to Osaka.

I suppose Serena thinks she is above the rules based upon her 23 major wins. The officials did not concur to their credit. Serena violated the rules three times. She took instructions from her coach in the stands and lied about it, smashed her racket and argued vociferously with the umpire. She should have been disqualified.

If things were less heated, the umpire might have warned Serena that any further protest or outbursts would result in a game penalty, thereby giving her one last opportunity to get herself under control. But he did not do so. Yet he was certainly within his authority acting the way he did.

What about Osaka? She received $3.8 million and will likely reap endorsements of tens of millions of dollars more from Japanese sponsors. She is now a bona fide superstar in her country. She has been, and will be lauded for her maturity and class during the match. She avoided any and all controversy. And finally she apologized for beating Serena because the fans were rooting for her, and Serena is her idol.

My harshest criticism is towards the spectators. NYers did not comport themselves well. During the match, they made Naomi feel terrible when they booed her great play. It was a great upset and the winner should have had the best day ever. During all the chaos, Naomi either faced the back wall of the court or covered her head with a towel as Serena ranted and raved.

Congratulations Naomi. You were terrific. And you are the only person on Earth who is 2-0 playing against the great Serena Williams.

Kaepernick And Nike Work Together: Is It Good For Nike?

Colin Kaepernick’s new advertising gig with Nike has resurrected his controversial protest during the playing of our national anthem. Nike has decided to use Kaepernick’s notoriety stemming from his efforts to expose inequality in America to boost sales and make a social statement. But is Nike ill advised in getting involved with such an inflammatory situation not germane to its business?

If more sales are Nike’s objectives it seems to be counterintuitive to alienate half of America that is offended by Kaepernick’s actions. Conservatives and liberals buy Nike products.

If Nike wants to show support for those who think America is fraught with inequities, they probably should have developed a more productive campaign. The commercial, in effect, encourages skate boarders to attempt dangerous tricks- a particularly odd metaphor for never giving up when times are tough.

Kaepernick has not given up and that is the issue. His persistence about denigrating our flag coupled with some really poor play with the San Francisco Forty-Niners ended his career. Other teams avoided him like the plague.

Nevertheless Kaepernick was supported by many football players and by athletes in other sports to a limited extent. Most of them realize that dissing our country is not the best way to encourage social change.

Football fans are particularly nationalistic and the backlash against this type of protest has been strong. Some say that ticket holders around the country are disappointed that football team owners have not been stronger in their reaction to Kaepernick, and more encouraging about exposing inequity off the field.

I would love to have been in the board member when Nike’s CEO presented this great idea to use Kaepernick in a new ad. The company’s stock price tanked the day after the announcement. It has leveled off since then. Nike is potentially creating a schism with many of its customers. From a business perspective the campaign is too risky.

Look for the ad during the new football season and make up your own mind.

McCain Disrespects Trump From His Grave

 

The death and subsequent funeral of John McCain has become an important moment in American history. A great statesman, lawmaker and defender of our country has departed, and most Americans are sad. But McCain’s death has become an unexpected political moment encouraged by a dying man’s intentions before his imminent death.

America is a highly charged political and vindictive place, in great part due to the personal style of President Trump. Ironically his successes as our leader have been unappreciated because of his self-aggrandizing and unstatesman-like demeanor. There are many Americans who are in favor of his agenda, but are disgusted by his combative and in your face attitude.

Every day more important Americans are jumping on the bandwagon and criticizing Trump. Many respond to Trump by playing his game of bare-knuckles politics. From his grave, John McCain continued his tit for tat relationship with the president. He in effect blackballed Trump from his funeral and encouraged his admirers to attack Trump at his funeral. This act, in my opinion, detracted from the greatness of McCain.

McCain has been caught up in presidential politics for years. As discussed by presidents Bush and Obama, the former senator was not shy about telling a sitting president, a world leader or a business tycoon that he disagreed with their decisions. McCain was the resident expert on any number of important issues relating to foreign affairs, torture, abuse of downtrodden people and democracy.

Of note, he berated George W. Bush about the use of certain tactics by CIA officers to obtain intelligence after 9/11, and sparred with Obama on many of his progressive initiatives.

Nevertheless, before his death, McCain did two interesting things. One was to bring Bush and Obama together at his funeral to encourage bipartisanship and to speak against the terrible and unproductive impact of hardball politics that has hurt our country.

The second thing was to disinvite Trump and encourage his eulogizers to assail the president. It’s not the first time that two combatants have carried their feud into the afterlife. But in McCain’s case, it seemed odd. Rather than trying to lure Trump into a conciliatory moment, be squeezed a political pimple and agitated an already bad situation.

When a great person dies, the living should laud his or her achievements. This certainly happened over the weekend, but it was stained by a dying man’s intention to antagonize an already explosive situation. In effect, McCain opted for confrontation rather than conciliation.

Perhaps he would have been better served by asking his eulogizers to encourage less partisanship. After all, Trump has over two years to serve. Maybe the country needed McCain to do his political magic one more time. Maybe Trump would have been moved by a voice from the grave calling for cooperation in Washington.

Instead McCain implicitly used his attack dogs, his daughter and two presidents, who took the bait and added to the partisanship in Washington.

I have been critical of Trump over the last two years and wish his tenure were nearing an end. But it’s not. With a great amount of time remaining, Trump can make things worse by responding with a wounded ego.

It may have been doubtful that Trump would have been moved by a plea from McCain to change his ways, but you never know. What we do know is that the president is likely to forge ahead and continue to turn the world on its ear.

Did Pope Francis Protect A Priest Who Abused Young Boys?

Pope Francis is under fire. He’s been accused of covering up aberrant sexual behavior of a high ranking member of the Catholic Church even after the priest was sanctioned by Francis’ predecessor, Benedict. The accusation comes from another priest who is an opponent of the pope. Some are questioning the intentions of the accuser.

Since he became pontiff, Francis has assured his worldwide flock that sins of priests perpetrated against children would be reckoned with. But what does this mean? In most developed countries sexual abusers are ostracized on the spot and stripped of their positions, if not prosecuted.

Apparently Francis’ plan is to ask for forgiveness and play down the increasing number of crimes that are being reported. But now, in the light of the aforementioned accusation, the pope’s plan may not pan out. The sexual abuse revolution throughout the world has begun to embrace the young boys who were abused by clerics for centuries. And, long-time Catholics want more than lip service.

Crimes against women are despicable, and brave women are identifying offenders every day. The objective is not money or fame. Rather these women want their sisters to know what they experienced years and even decades earlier, and to ensure that abuses end immediately.

In the case of the Church, pedophilia has been running rampant as more and more boys/men are coming forward to tell their horror stories. What makes actual abuse so gut wrenching is that supposed “men of God” used their positions and spiritual influence to obtain sexual favors.

And so the question now being asked is how could the Church allow known predators to continue to be priests while they were raping young boys? Why would Catholic pastors, bishops, cardinals and maybe even popes transfer pedophiles to new locations where they could continue to sate their warped libidos?

Pope Francis has said, or at least strongly suggested, he will deal with this scandal. Perhaps he misjudged the scope of the problem, or maybe he believes the reputation of the Church is more important than admonishing evildoers under his employ.

Francis’ plan, directly and implicitly, refers to the priests who covered up the abuses and moved offenders to different locations. From his latest comments the pope seems to think that this group should be forgiven and receive another chance. This follows because allegations indicate he may be part of the problem.

The dilemma is that Francis cannot bring to task the priests that relocated offenders if he also did the same thing. Forgiveness and “letting bygones be bygones” will not be acceptable in the current environment. The Church will need to do much more to end this multi-century crime wave.

If Francis covered up an offense, and an abuser was relocated and committed similar crimes, the pope is culpable. What would ensue is anyone’s guess, but, for sure, Francis’ administration will be under severe distress and many will call for his resignation.

Francis is charming and many people lauded his ascension. My question is what has he done differently than previous popes? Is he just an extension of the past and antiquated dogma and tradition, or a real reformer? We may never know because now Francis is part of a scandal investigation.

 

Trump Has Proven That He Cannot Lead America

New York Times columnists are having a field day bashing Trump. The president deserves to be treated this way, in spite of some positive results. Most notable are the bull market and some promising prospects relating to trade.

Yet I still scratch my head and wonder how a person like Trump could have gotten elected in the first place. Most New Yorkers knew of his reputation beforehand, as he frequently popped up in gossip columns that documented his questionable relationships with women and the sleazy manner in which he conducted business. Frankly I’m ashamed of the president for not changing his ways and for the suffering and gnashing of teeth he has caused. He has not risen to the office that he now holds.

I hoped Trump would tone down his act. This was a naïve expectation on my part. How could anyone expect a publicity hound, a megalomaniac to mellow after being elected to the most powerful position in the world?

I tried to rationalize Trump’s outrageous behavior to others and myself over the past two years by repeating that he promised to do things to improve the country, and he was accomplishing much. But, it’s not working for me anymore.

His vision is still admirable. He rightly has pointed out that too many countries around the world have lost respect for the US even as we protect them and shower them with foreign aid. Regarding trade, I certainly didn’t know that China has tariffs of 10% on US goods, Europe 5%, Canada 5%, even as US tariffs are 3%. Who made these idiotic deals before Trump took office?

And with immigration, Trump has exposed the missteps of the past. How could our leaders allow 15 million illegal aliens into the country over the past few decades? Why weren’t average Americans aware that these people cost our government (and the taxpayers) over $100 billion annually, net of their contributions? They would have objected. This is money that could have been used to correct social injustices in America. Multiply $100 billion times 20 years, and you can see how much has been frittered away.

Who knew the FBI was out of control? Leaking confidential information and unable to dole out justice fairly has been revealed in our most important police force. It’s shameful that so many of the leaders of the agency would be forced to resign or fired for inappropriate and even illegal behavior. Trump, unprofessionally, has exposed the warts of a once pristine government operation. Note: The problems with the FBI are predominately with the leadership not the rank and file agents.

And finally, Trump has recognized that Washington is a great swamp. Congress people and their staffs are among the most detested individuals in the country. Why you ask? Trump has shown us that maintaining their power and their seats and is their only concern. He has exposed corruption and hypocrisy. One regret is that Trump has not encouraged the implementation of term limits in Congress.

Trump had many things going for him as he assumed the presidency, but he is a sore winner. More and more Americans, even those who voted for him have had serious second thoughts. To be fair, the press has been merciless and elicited aggressive responses from the president, and he takes the bait every time. To his credit, Trump has fought back and pointed out the improprieties of the news establishment in the country. America does not need a partisan press corp. It needs fair and balanced reporting. Every major newspaper has morphed into a series of op-ed pieces. Facts enable Americans to vote wisely.

Liberals have really gone off the deep end in their endless criticisms of the president and conservative perspectives. Bastions of free speech like Berkeley do not allow conservative discourse on campus. Liberals are moving further and further left and now support outright socialists. Socialists have a right to exist and speak their minds but why would any American forsake the chance to excel and be prosperous? Exceptionalism and capitalism can be beneficial to both haves and have-nots.

I’m saddened that Americans are no longer able to have and express different opinions. I want to be conservative. You are a liberal. Fine. You won’t be able to change my mind, and I yours. Why can’t we talk intelligently and find productive solutions to our mutual problems?

I can’t wait for 2020, when we will have the opportunity to oust Trump who is so responsible for the chaos in the country. I only can hope that individuals like Nikki Haley and Mitt Romney step up and challenge Trump in the primaries before the partisanship in the country gets any worse.

Scandals Will Impact Trump’s Reelection

Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen’s travails could be the straws that break the camel’s back. Not because they can attest that Donald Trump broke the law, which is speculative at best. Rather, Trump supporters have to be asking themselves why their leader has terrible judgment. How could he possible trust these two sleazy characters?

Robert Mueller, the special counsel, has been posting some impressive wins and has indicted a whole slew of Trump minions (seven). Unfortunately for Mueller, none of his investigations have proven that Trump colluded with Russia to influence the elections in 2016, the original mandate of the special counsel.

I wrote in an earlier blog that it’s highly improbable that Trump could have orchestrated a comprehensive and massive conspiracy with the US’s mortal enemy. Candidate Trump didn’t have the stature before the election or the brainpower to actually conduct such an operation. Unlike Richard Nixon, neophytes surrounded him. These people were not savvy enough to conspire in such a grand manner.

It’s clear that the Trump team, as in every campaign, was trying to find dirt on Hillary Clinton. This is not an illegal activity. No way Trump would have been able to conduct clandestine meetings with Putin or his spymasters to influence the election and hurt Clinton. Americans should not believe for one second that a real estate developer and his amateur advisors could actually pull this off.

Paul Manafort is a con artist, a thief and a liar. He committed bank fraud, chiseled lenders, stole money from acquaintances and spent it on his lavish lifestyle. He was a lousy crook who was bound to trip over his own feet and be thrown into jail for decades. But none of his crimes had anything to do with the elections and occurred long before Trump’s campaign for the presidency. Yet, Trump said he admired Manafort for defying the special counsel. Really?

Because Manafort is facing a long prison sentence, prosecutors have great leverage over him, if he actually knows of serious crimes committed by Trump. We should all be reassured that Manafort will sing to save his ass, if he knows something.

Cohen is a different story. The feds don’t have any leverage over him because he’s already coped a plea for a few years of prison time. Like all prosecutors, Mueller is ready, willing and able to offer leniency if someone is prepared to give up a larger fish.

Cohen was responsible for making payments to two women who had been with Trump to buy their silence. The principal charge, which seems like a real stretch, is that Trump made the payments to ensure these women would not negatively impact his campaign. And therefore the payments are effectively campaign contributions that should have been disclosed. There are experts on both sides of this controversy. Whether Trump committed a campaign violation may need to be adjudicated in court.

The  indictments (outlined by the New York Times) of people who worked for Trump is going to impact the election even though none of their crimes rise to a high level. Rich Gates pleaded guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators. Alex van der Zwan pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about conversations with Gates. Richard Pinedo pleaded guilty to identity fraud. Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations with the Russian Ambassador. And George Papadopolous pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. Public outrage over these nickel an dime offenses are dwarfed by the most obvious comparisons to Watergate (breaking and entering) and the much more serious offenses of Bill Clinton (lying under oath).

Yet Trump haters, in particular the liberal press, will continue to magnify the crimes of this group of people that over 95% of Americans never heard of before the events of the past few weeks.

And certainly, Democrats will push to impeach Trump if they overtake the Republicans in the House. The odds of attaining a 2/3 vote in the Senate are highly improbable at this point. But the crimes revealed about most of the indicted parties do not rise to the high crimes and misdemeanors standards that would justify impeachment. And, other than paying hush money to an exotic dancer and a Playboy Playmate, Trump has not done anything to warrant such severe action by his adversaries.

But the implications to the 2020 presidential election are growing. The power of the press, especially when it’s so intent on destroying a politician, is very great. Trump is going to be seriously damaged by these sideshows. Ironically, the much more serious accusations about election interference have gone nowhere up to this point.

Trump is vulnerable in his own party and could very likely be challenged by another Republican in the impending primaries. His judgment and leadership is being fairly called into question. He’s a deeply flawed man with character that is not fitting of a US president.

Please see my blog post relating to a possible challenge to Trump by Nikki Haley (https://softballpolitics.com/2018/08/21/nikki-haley-the-alternative-to-trump-in-2020).

 

Nikki Haley: The Alternative To Trump In 2020

After many conversations with friends and acquaintances of all political persuasions, it’s become obvious that more Americans every day are beginning to appreciate President Trump’s efforts to improve the country. However many of the same people are frustrated, disgusted and resentful of the president’s demeanor and style. Frankly, on too many occasions, the man has been an embarrassment to his constituents.

What conservative America needs is a president who is generally in synch with Trump’s policies relating to immigration, trade, foreign policy, economics, regulations and smaller government. Challenging a sitting president, on the other hand would require a daring assault by a brave and determined conservative candidate.

Just imagine the support a moderate female conservative would receive in 2020. A person who is a proven leader, an administrator and diplomat, is what our country needs.

I believe Nikki Haley is the right person for America.

By way of background, Haley is 46 years old. She is married and has two children. Haley is of Indian descent and is a converted Protestant. She graduated from Clemson University with an accounting degree.

Haley is currently the Ambassador to the United Nations. She was the first female and Indian governor of South Carolina. And Haley was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. She was considered as a vice presidential running mate by Mitt Romney and Donald Trump.

Haley has been a restrained supporter of President Trump but has publicly disagreed with him on several issues. She criticized candidate Trump for not immediately disavowing the support of the Klu Klux Klan, and the president’s ban on Muslims.

Haley was the first significant woman in the Trump administration and was confirmed 94-6 by the Senate.

Over the years Ambassador Haley has taken strong stands on a plethora of important issues. They included:

 

-Taking down the Confederate flag outside the South Carolina State Capital building

-Anti-tax initiatives

-Restraint of abortions

-Enforcement of immigration laws

-Israel security and relocation of American Embassy to Jerusalem

-Support of voter IDs

-Death penalty for a 21 year-old murderer who killed 6 women and 3 men in an African American church

-Fought against the Muslim ban

-In favor of strong sanctions against Russia relating to Crimea and influencing US elections

-Denunciation of Hezbollah for terror activities over many years

-Support of strong sanctions against North Korea

-Support of gay rights

-Support of strong sanctions against the treachery of Iran and its nuclear program

 

During her relatively short career, Nikki Haley has taken on substantive positions that have rounded out her resume and involve domestic and foreign policy issues. Additionally she has entered the political fray when she deemed it necessary, defying Trump and other politicians. In 2016 Haley responded to President Obama’s State of the Union Address by saying that he “often [has] fallen far short of his soaring words.”

The road to the Republican presidential nomination will require yet another perfect political storm. Continuing appreciation of Trump’s agenda and economic success, coupled with a resounding recrimination of his un-statesman-like persona, self-aggrandizement, and totally un-American political tactics are keys to the success of a presidential primary challenge.

The table is set for this storm as Trump has failed to realize that his petty battles with members of both parties, all critics and other world leaders is not the path to another term in office.

As mentioned, challenging a sitting president of the same party is a daunting task. But Trump has changed all the rules. Yet his efforts on so many fronts domestically and internationally have been “trumped” by his horrible demeanor and belligerent political tactics.

It’s time for a change, a woman in the White House, a sensible yet strong conservative that can redeem American’s reputation. We need a leader who will tactfully and aggressively use America’s unsurpassed military and economic strength in leading the world in the 21st Century.

Nikki Haley is the perfect candidate for this reformation.