Criminalize Hate Protest

Americans have made it perfectly clear that certain groups in this country that denigrate minorities, Jews and gays have no standing in our society. Moreover these groups and their repugnant vitriol suggesting superiority over others should be outlawed similar to other forms of speech that incite lawlessness.

Donald Trump unsuccessfully tried to equate Neo-Nazis and supremacists to others who protest for equal rights, civil rights and injustice. He was dead wrong in his misguided off-the-wall diatribe in New York City yesterday.  The stated purpose of the demonstration in Charlottesville was to preserve a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general. Retaining memories of the South when slavery was prevalent along with memorials of those who fought for the cause must end immediately.

The negative response to Trump’s inane perspectives regarding hate protestors and anti-protestors has the been nearly universal. Only David Duke, the former head of the Klu Klux Klan and his colleagues have thanked the president for his supportive words.

Democrats, Republicans, Congress people, corporate executives and even Fox News are bewildered by the rationale of Trump to defend the basest members of our society, people who applaud the efforts of Nazi Germany and indiscriminate lynchings that occurred not long ago in the South.

Up to now our country has defended the “right” of Americans to suggest that they are superior to others, and for them to proclaim that minorities are inferior. The basis of this protection has been free speech. But historically, certain types of “free speech” have not been protected, and for good reason. My essay on this blog yesterday lists the “unprotected” forms of speech in America (https://softballpolitics.com/2017/08/16/freedom-of-speech-perspectives).

The list must be expanded to include speech, protest and assemblies organized by hate groups. We cannot allow these incendiary individuals to spew their disgusting perspectives and incite violence. Nor can we depend upon the authorities to censor these activities as supremacists hide behind the skirt of the Constitution.

Such a move would be a large undertaking, but the support it has, based upon the past few days, should enable the country to ban hate activities by amending the Constitution. Hate activities should be classified as a form of domestic terrorism.

No longer will municipalities and judges need to accommodate these hate mongers. And no longer will the American people need to stand aside and watch as supremacists denigrate our values.

Freedom Of Speech Perspectives

One definition of Freedom of Speech is: the right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction.

A critical question that has arisen from the Charlottesville riot is whether radical, violent groups like the KKK, skinheads and Neo Nazis have a right to demonstrate and protest even if their perspectives are repugnant to most Americans. Simply stated, can one group verbally attack another group on religious or cultural grounds and be protected by the Constitution? The answer is not so simple.

The aforementioned groups would likely cite the Constitution to justify their right to march for white supremacy. But Freedom of Speech is not absolutely free. In fact many scholars believe that there are a number of unprotected forms of expression that include: obscenity, fighting words, defamation (including slander and libel), child pornography, perjury, blackmail, incitement to commit lawless actions, true threats and solicitations to commit crimes. The protesters in Virginia expressed their hatred of minorities and the supremacy of their kind. Surely this would fall into a few of the unprotected categories mentioned above.

Yet the police did not act quickly enough and protesting morphed into a full-fledged riot. Should the police have challenged the right of the marchers on the grounds indicated above? Probably so, but this type of assessment straddles a fine legal and judgmental line. Unfortunately the anti-protestors began to fight with the protestors and one woman died, two police officers lost their lives and scores of people were injured.

Some scholars make the case that censorship is not the best way to fight bigotry, nor is physical engagement by opposing groups. Learned people also say that freedom of speech is the basis for the other rights delineated in the Constitution (freedom of religion, press, assembly and government petition). In other words without free speech, these other rights would be diminished.

Rather, public discourse about repugnant opinions gives everyone an opportunity to openly denigrate cancerous societal perspectives. It is easier to discredit bias and discrimination when the vast majority of Americans can understand the pros and cons of such viewpoints.

Does speech that is insulting to a group cross a line? Can a protestor carry a sign that mocks another group? Can a protestor make a speech that proclaims the supremacy of his group over others? Who must make the determination about the constitutionality of such an event or speech? A judge may not always be available. Usually licenses to protest are granted by municipalities. If there is a resistance to do so a judge may intercede. But seldom will a judge opine about what speakers may say and what kind of signs protestors may carry before the event takes place.

In the case of Charlottesville the protest by supremacists did incite a riot. The interface between the protestors and the anti-protestors led to skirmishes, injuries and property damage. But the reporting indicates that both sides were looking for a fight. The latter is telling. It is the premeditation of violence that may trump the right of free speech.

We must allow all sides of an issue to be aired in public forums if we want to insure real freedom of speech. Unfortunately peace loving, kind and tolerant people must standby and allow hideous people to express their hideous opinions. If not who will be the judge about what is or is not free speech.

One only needs to look back to the 1960s to appreciate how peaceful protest can evolve into chaos. Protestors, anti-protestors and even the police instigated violence. Surely no one would question the objectives of the peaceniks or the freedom fighters during those years. Nevertheless violence was commonplace. In fact the most violent peaceniks (an oxymoron) resorted to explosives and murder, and police beat protestors regularly.

Martin Luther King Jr. and his contemporaries understood that protest must be civil and peaceful to gain an appropriate notoriety and empathy for the cause.

Trump Is Misunderstood

The past seven months have been a political roller coaster ride for the president, his fellow Americans and leaders around the world. Voters frequently say they are in favor of Trump’s agenda items but are completely turned off by his demeanor and style. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone call him an a-hole.

Understanding Trump is an arduous task. He was the master of his real estate kingdom for years. During that time he was pampered by a legion of sycophants and social climbers who were at his disposal- literally.

Trump treated suppliers of all types of services with disdain as if it were an honor to do business with the Donald, even if they lost money.

For some strange reason Trump decided to run for president. What inspired him to give up his idyllic existence where he was an undisputed leader for the pressure packed job of governing America is still a mystery? Most believe ego and arrogance played a large role.

Since his election Trump’s efforts to be dictatorial have been thwarted at very turn. Our Constitution gives third parties in the federal government enormous power. Congress controls the purse strings and oversees every action taken by the president. Additionally it must approve treaties and enact laws. Trump’s horrible relationship with this group that includes members of his own political party is one of the greatest problems he has encountered.

Rogue Republicans in the House and Senate have challenged and stymied various initiatives. Frankly they are traitors, many of whom will be punished in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Most recently the president has lambasted Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader and Republican, from Kentucky. Trump is furious that McConnell has not been able to shepherd any meaningful legislation through the Senate including efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Republican colleagues in Congress have come to the Senate Leader’s defense. Having McConnell as an adversary will not bode well for the Trump administration moving forward.

It is this contemptuous manner that many Americans find disturbing. In his former life Trump used people until they were unable to deliver or turned against him. This group included former employees, suppliers, bankers and attorneys. So long as Trump got his way he was a big fan. God help those that did not come through or defied him.

As president, Trump continues to lead in the same manner. The cavalcade of individuals that have entered and exited the White House is evidence that the president has not changed his belligerent attitude towards his subordinates.

Similarly, Trump’s relationship with world leaders follows the same trajectory. Everyone is great until they disagree or push back. Then they are moved into the incompetent bucket.

Notwithstanding all of his personal faults and egomania, Trump is still admired and supported by many Americans. Even some of the aforementioned people that say he’s an a-hole continue to be in favor of lower taxes, more national security, better healthcare, a strong military and so on. The man’s vision of America is far better than his his personal perception.

Naturally, the president, just like every one who preceded him, has strong opposition. Unfortunately pushback of Trump by his antagonists such as the far left, Democrats in Congress and the press is way out of line. Keep in mind every colorful description of Trump has already been used to describe some president that served before him.

I think Trump is grossly misunderstood and characterized unfairly. Yet his inane use of social media and his thin skin for criticism are fodder for those that mischaracterize him on a regular basis.

North Korea Has Threatened To Strike A U.S. Territory With Nuclear Missiles

Kim Jong-un has decided to increase the tension between North Korea and the U.S. by threatening a nuclear missile strike against Guam, an American territory with a huge air base located in the Pacific Ocean. President Trump responded by indicating that NOKO would “face fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Kim made the threat against Guam through the state-controlled news agency, KCNA. The island territory is American soil and over 200,000 citizens live in Guam and surrounding areas.

Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo” [reassured] the people of Guam that currently there is no threat to our island or the Marianas.” Presumably the confidence he has is based upon the actual capability of NOKO to actually direct a missile to Guam. Additionally the island is protected by THAAD, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. It is designed to shoot down short and medium range ballistic missiles.

This crisis has reached epic proportions. The most important question still remains unanswered. Can NOKU attach a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile and send it accurately to a target many thousands of miles away? The U.S. must concern itself with a strike against not only Guam but also South Korea, Japan and the continental U.S.

For years American presidents were comforted the fact that NOKO would never be able to develop the technology to deliver a missile effectively over a long distance. Based upon recent tests by NOKO military analysts now believe the country may be capable of doing so.

This site recently discussed the options available to the U.S. to discourage further development of NOKO’s missile technology. They included convincing China to step in and stop its ally before it actually uses a nuclear weapon. The U.S. has recently increased economic sanctions, which will devastate further the economic stability of the country. In the medium term economic hardships may foment a regime change in NOKO. And finally there is military action.

Of course NOKO’s current technology is the most important consideration given that the U.S. appears to be considering a military strike. But there are many issues that can have a huge effect on the outcome of a U.S. strike. Here are the most important questions relating to a U.S. invasion.

  1. If the U.S. attacks NOKO will Kim launch nuclear weapons against the U.S., South Korea and/or Japan?
  2. Will the U.S. be able to destroy NOKO’s nuclear capabilities before the country can launch?
  3. If the U.S. attacks NOKO will Kim unleash his million man army and its significant conventional power against South Korea?
  4. If the U.S. attacks NOKO how will China react?

NOKO has about 25 million citizens. Many are located near Pyongyang (2.6 million). A U.S. strike would surely include a barrage of firepower directed at the capital city. NOKO has 1 million men in its military, the majority of which are probably located near the border of South Korea. Similarly the U.S. would likely direct significant firepower to obliterate the NOKO army. The casualties could easily be near 1 million based upon this assessment.

If the NOKO army was not eliminated quickly, South Korea would be vulnerable to a conventional military attack. South Korea has 51 million citizens and its capital city has 10 million citizens. The devastation to South Korea from either a nuclear or conventional  attack would be epic.

Because American presidents have kicked the can down the road for decades, the U.S. is now in the unenviable position of having to deal with a heavily armed NOKO. There are no good options aside from convincing the Chinese they must reason with Kim. This in fact may not have any impact. Military action is around the corner, and the world should prepare for it.

 

 

Trump Will Not Run For A Second Term

Conversations about the future plans of Donald Trump are beginning to dominate news media. Will he run for a second term? Will he quit before 2020 out of frustration?

The administration is only six months old, even though it feels much longer because of never-ending internal conflict and alleged scandal. Exacerbating the situation is the on-going investigation by special counsel relating to inappropriate interference of Russia in our election process and any other issues that tempt Robert Mueller.

The New York Times interviewed 75 Republicans “at every level” and sensed great uncertainty about “whether Trump will be on the ballot in 2020 . . .” Leading the parade of G.O.P. presidential aspirants at this point are Senators Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse along with John Kasich, the Ohio governor. And then of course there is Vice President Mike Pense.

Most are respectful (overtly) about Trump’s prerogatives as the incumbent president, aside from Kasich who is much more “defiant.” Of note, Pense has been trying to elevate his status with the party by meeting with conservative groups and large donors. But The Times reports that Pense has respected his boss in every public forum.

Everything about Trump defies tradition. He took down seventeen Republican “luminaries” in the 2016 primaries as an outsider with no government experience. His unabashed campaign style was a winning tactic for the election. The continuation of his abject defiance of tradition and protocol after he took office has greatly infuriated a wide swath of Americans and people around the world.

Sophomoric tweets about political opponents, uncooperative world leaders and even his own party members have turned Washington upside down. Using social media to communicate with the electorate may be the high tech way to campaign and govern in the future, but Trump’s obnoxious attitude has rubbed many the wrong way.

The irony of Trump’s individualistic approach is that many still believe in his vision. What supporters, and former supporters, object to is the president’s policy of turmoil and change. And there is no end to alleged scandals related to himself and his sycophants.

America has woken up to the fact that good behavior is something we want in our president. Our leaders need not be so sensitive and ready to fight about every comment by the opposing party and the unfair and unkind press.

Yet, Trump has eliminated burdensome mandates imposed by his predecessor. This has improved business conditions for many corporations in diverse industries. Related to this is the surging stock market, which has been bolstered by positive economic expectations to record highs.

And fewer businesses have dared to move operations abroad frightened of being exposed publicly by the president in a tweet or a speech. In fact new investment in America is happening every day.

Huge international dilemmas face the Trump administration representing both a challenge and an opportunity. The most important of which include nuclear showdowns with North Korea and Iran. Russian sanctions have been escalated, based upon aggressive actions by Vladimir Putin. Terrorism is increasing worldwide despite some success relating to ISIS. Trade problems abound. Climate change is up in the air, so to speak.

There is still plenty of time for Trump to excel by managing problems. Congress may even begin to act more professionally and cooperatively because of the impending midterm elections. Trump’s unpredictable governing style could bear some fruit moving forward especially with other leaders who are as defiant as he.

However it is difficult to believe that Trump wants another four years of hell in Washington. And it’s more difficult to believe voters will sign up for another four more years of hell with him in the White House.

 

 

International Conflict Will Keep Trump Busy During The Balance Of His Administration

Congress is in no mood to enact new legislation. The obstruction of Trump initiatives by both parties has disappointed many Americans.

Republicans are deeply divided as conservatives and moderate senators battle with each other. Democrats generally vote as a group on important issues, so new laws will only be possible if Republicans pull together, which is not happening.

Many Republicans are hoping that disloyal senators, who are unwilling to vote for Trump’s agenda, will lose their seats. After riding on Trump’s electoral success these traitors should be ousted by the party that they abandoned.

The Democratic Party is in shambles and led by two weak leaders. The party will not make any sizeable gains in the midterm elections because it has offered no new ideas and has no exciting candidates.

So what will the president focus on moving forward? It’s unlikely that much will change in Congress for the balance of Trump’s first term, although tax reform could gain some bipartisan traction.

The plethora of crazy leaders around the world and the decisions they are making will keep Trump busy. Acts of aggression against America and its allies are happening every day along with crimes against humanity and other atrocities.

Let’s discuss some of the most dangerous players.

North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are the most noteworthy threat to the U.S. If the madman that leads NOKO develops the technology to launch missiles with nuclear warheads that can reach the continental U.S., there will be no end to the trouble he will create.

Trump has four options aside from kicking the can down the road and subjecting the country to extreme existential risk. He can attack NOKU now and destroy the country along with all its weapons, its army and many of its citizens. He can increase sanctions and try to foment regime change. He can attempt to assassinate the leader, not knowing what kind of person would replace the current megalomaniac. He can try in the strongest manner to persuade China that it must convince the despot to give up his nuclear program.

Action must be taken before NOKO actually achieves the aforementioned capability to strike the U.S. And nearly as important, the U.S. must keep China informed about any tactics it intends to implement. And finally the U.S. must be sure that a preemptive attack destroys all of NOKO’s offensive weapons.

The Iran nuclear situation is similar to NOKO in many ways. But a few things are different. One is that Iran probably appreciates the fact that any nuclear action on its part will result in the obliteration of the country. Two, Iran has not exhibited an ability to launch a missile that would threaten any non-Arab country except Israel. Yet, a nuclear storm in the Middle East would be a devastating event for the region and the world.

Another fact is that it is likely that the U.S. and Israel have enough intelligence about Iran’s military capabilities including its nuclear program to successfully attack it preemptively and prevent a counter response.

Russia has decided to rekindle the Cold War. Many analysts are puzzled by this strategy because Russia is being decimated economically by low oil prices and rampant corruption. Moreover the cost of occupying Crimea and conducting a war in Syria along with maintaining a huge army is very costly. Putin is falling into the same trap that engulfed Gorbachev. The country does not have the economic might to be at odds with the West perpetually.

A wiser Russian leader would opt for reconciliation with the U.S. Cooperation between Russia, the U.S. and China could be the formula to deal with major threats to peace globally, including terrorism, NOKO, climate change, African discord, Middle East destabilization, etc. But this is not likely to happen until each country has a leader who wishes to facilitate peace.

The Middle East is a powder keg ready to explode. Frankly there will be no end to the animosity existing between Shia and Sunni. The only way for peace to prevail is with extinction of one of the sects. The destruction of Iran by the U.S. might end the 1,000-year struggle between the sects. But this could have other ramifications including a resurgence of new and more aggressive non-religious regimes.

And finally there is the European Union. The problems between the EU and Great Britain are growing every day. Economic alliances are being terminated. Serious issues are resulting from the diverse immigration standards throughout Europe. Great Britain is becoming more hawkish while Germany is attempting to jam its partners with a liberal immigration system. The problem is that the most receptive country enables violent immigrants to enter, and these people then can move freely to other countries in Europe to make trouble.

It is possible that Trump’s aggressive position towards NOKO, Iran and Russia will be a good thing in the long run. All three have severe and growing internal problems, which can be used to our advantage.

Congress will not be able to limit Trump’s actions internationally especially if national security is at stake. Trump can actually make a name for himself on the bigger stage with some wise diplomacy overseas.

 

“A Better Deal?” Pelosi And Schumer Must Step Down For Democrats To Make A Comeback

A few days ago Nancy Pelosi, the longtime leader of House Democrats, along with Chuck Schumer, the minority leader in the Senate, brought us “A Better Deal.”  Bryon Dean Wright, a Democrat wrote a scathing piece in which he said Democrats were clueless about what they must do to win future elections.

Pelosi said that her “better deal” will be the first step in rebuilding the party’s standing with voters.  Schumer said voters do not know what the Democratic Party stands for. In fact 67% of Americans view the party as out of touch.

Democrats keep repeating Hillary Clinton platitudes as if they were  elixers for the party. The economy is rigged against average Americans, the minimum wage should be increased to $15/hour,  corporate monopolies are bad for America and drug prices are too high. That’s about the extent of the Democratic platform at this time.

Elizabeth Warren was also present at the preview of “A Better Deal.” She said the economy is broken. She probably has not been reading the Wall Street Journal, or she would know that stock prices are soaring, inflation is low, unemployment is down and businesses are reporting good earnings, which will help Americans find more higher paying jobs.

Voters are disgusted with pols who only want to rake in more cash to campaign and retain their seats. This flies in the face of good government. Only term limits and new blood in the halls of Congress will change the attitude and objectives of our lawmakers. Ironically President Trump has called for term limits even as his party is in the majority. There is no way decades old hacks like Pelosi and Schumer would agree to new laws that would limit their tenures in Congress or ability to lobby after their careers end.

Pelosi told the world she is a “master legislator.” This is an incredibly self-serving comment that very few Democrats would subscribe to. But many legislative colleagues need her to raise money for their election campaigns, so Democratic dissent is rare.

Democrats have an opportunity to make gains in 2018 and in 2020, but they will not be successful with their existing tired, cynical and obstructionist leaders. The party needs a fresh face, a person with new ideas. This is unlikely. Party members are going to see the same people making the same suggestions in 2018 that Hillary Clinton offered Americans and lost with.