On North Korea and Trump

Having given my criticisms, let me give the President some praise for what he did.

Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all engaged with North Korea as victims of a shake down artist. The North Koreans would promise, repeatedly, to end their nuclear programs and then saber rattle. The United States would send them money. North Korea would continue starving its people while going back to its nuclear program. The United States, it seems, subsidized their program.

Donald Trump decided to do something different. North Korea saber rattled and President Trump decided to reciprocate with threats of war. It was something no one would have expected given past American precedent. It was something new. And the result was forcing North Korea to the table with South Korea and with us. There are lots of liberal complaints and claims that this meant more or less than it did. But Trump forced new actions on North Korea’s part by taking new actions himself.

He deserves credit for that.

The problem I have with this is that President Trump gives a monster way more credibility than he should have. Claiming the North Korean people love the monster is too much. President Trump loves to engage in diplomacy by flattery and I think he crossed the line here. Republicans would absolutely be outraged if Obama had done this and they should be here. The North Korean monster imprisons, tortures, and murders his people and does so to a greater degree than any other dictator on the planet right now.

We handed the North Korean leader a huge propaganda victory and treated him better than we treat our own allies. The President said far nicer things about the monster who rules North Korea than about the Canadian Prime Minister. That’s just wrong in my mind. The latter is actually an ally and the former would love to send us up in a radioactive fireball.

All that said, if the President can get North Korea to disarm, good. Barack Obama tried several new tactics on the world stage and they ended badly. I’m okay with Trump trying new things too and hope then work out better than with Obama. Our pre-existing North Korean policies have done nothing to stop the advancement of their nuclear weapons program. Perhaps this will.

There is something to be said for getting the little monster to a table to talk. Trump did that. He deserves credit for that. He deserves credit for trying. But I cannot help but think we came away with nothing except more of the same while we handed North Korea more legitimacy than that nation deserves. On top of that, State Department and White House officials say the President did not address human rights issues or the persecution of Christians in North Korea.

Honestly, I would be far more reassured by what happened if I thought there was anyone among the President’s base willing to speak out if things go wrong. But I suspect if we do get nothing and North Korea feels emboldened that all the President’s seal clappers will clap, just like Obama’s team did with Iran.

At least we aren’t sending North Korea a pile of cash.

If Obama Had Done This

Spare me the complaints, oh Democrats. Your precious Obama glad-handed the Cubans who have now used unknown weapons to assault our diplomats. The Cubans run a brutal regime, ruthlessly punish dissidents, and would be glad to house Russian nukes just off the coast. But Obama decided he wanted to be friends.

So spare me your outrage over Trump.

And spare me your belief that Obama got Iran to suspend its nuke program. The Iranians, lest you ignored it, just announced the opening of a new nuclear facility, which means they had to be working on it the whole time. They can’t be built in the two weeks since Trump scrapped the Iran deal. They even admit they started it on before 2015.

I’ll take this on for all of us for consistency’s sake. Like with Obama, President Trump should not have engaged in a glad-handing, face time exercise with the North Korean leader where the communist monster gets a propaganda win of North Korean flags at equal display with the American flag.

And for what?

We got nothing from this it would seem except the promise of more talking. And while we are talking, they are building nuclear weapons. About the only reason, they’ve gotten to this point is because China would very much like for the United States to wind down its military presence in Asia, so China has less to worry about as it expands.

The whole design of this is offensive. The President pees in the punch bowl of the G7, insists the Russians come back into the organization, then flies off to Singapore to make kissy face with a man who routinely murders his own people.

Had Barack Obama done that, Republicans would be demanding his impeachment.

I generally think Donald Trump has run a pretty mature foreign policy that works for American interests. But this past week has been a diplomatic farce, and I suspect those generic ballot numbers that have had Democrats panicking are suddenly going to swing back in their direction.

Having the American President abdicate his leadership of the G7 to flirt with a communist monster is unacceptable. Diplomacy to get rid of North Korea’s nukes would be great. But that’s not what happened. Instead, we gave the North Koreans a considerable PR win in Asia, gave them credibility in South Korea, and came home with just a participation trophy.

On Soledad O’Brien, Jack, and Chick-Fil-A

When Soledad O’Brien and I were on CNN together, we had more than one conversation about division in America and I have to wonder, based on this tweet, if lack of unity is the problem or wrong teams is the problem. The greatest single issue we have facing this country is people who cannot leave other people alone. It reminds me of the C.S. Lewis quote:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

To review, Soledad O’Brien shamed Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, on Twitter, for “boosting” Chick-Fil-A. “Boosting” is a feature of Square, the financial payment company also run by Dorsey. According to Square’s website, “Cash Boost is a rewards program that allows you to receive instant cash back when you make a purchase at some of your favorite merchants using your Cash Card.”

Jack boosted Chick-Fil-A, to which Soledad O’Brien publicly tweeted:

Now, I see a lot of people making excuses here, but when you have 842,000 Twitter followers as Soledad has, you are very aware of what you’re doing when you tweet something like that. Jack, of course, beta’d himself into submission after being shamed.

He “forgot about their background.”

What background is that? Chick-Fil-A gives all its workers off on Sunday so they’re guaranteed at least a day of rest. They also pay their workers above minimum wage and offer insurance. The Cathy family who owns Chick-Fil-A is a Christian family who supports several children’s ministries for children with developmental disabilities. They host camps during the summer for children of several mental and physical disabilities where the children get to play outside, camp, and do other things they might otherwise not be able to. Chick-Fil-A also is a huge sponsor of foster programs and supports foster families. Profits from Chick-Fil-A are directed into these programs.

Of course that’s not why Soledad O’Brien shamed Jack Dorsey. Chick-Fil-A’s former owner, the now deceased Truit Cathy, also funded conservative Christian organizations that advocated for traditional marriage. Chick-Fil-A no longer funds those groups and has not in several years.

Despite not having funded marriage groups in several years, that’s not good enough here. Jack had to be shamed for daring to support an organization that several years ago, but not currently, supported traditional marriage. Chick-Fil-A, you see, has not publicly repented of its secular sins. It just stopped funding the groups. But they have not hoisted the rainbow flag.

For a journalist who has spent so much time exploring division in America, it is a shame to see Soledad shaming someone on Twitter for daring to “wrong eat.” If you are really concerned about division in America, you really need to allow people to agree to disagree and not shame them into your values. That breeds the very hostility now on full display in the country. It promotes division and it promotes team building where the teams are polar extremes and one cannot support certain Americans.

You may not like Chick-Fil-A. You may think people should not eat at Chick-Fil-A or boost the company during Pride month. But siccing your horde of 800,000 Twitter followers or otherwise using a public platform to shame someone else into correct behavior is just being a secular Torquemada.

In fact, that ultimately is what this is. Gay Pride month is a month long celebration of sin and if you do not support it, you are committing a secular sin. It is the Lenten period for secularism. And Jack Dorsey was eating meat on a Friday.

This Is Normal Now. But It Still Isn’t Right.

Everyone keeps saying things like “this isn’t normal” when talking about President Trump’s behavior. But it is normal now. It is normal and it is excused by Trump humpers who refuse to do anything but fluff up the President at the expense of honesty and integrity.

This Administration has done plenty of good, but it continues to debase the integrity of the office with childish behaviors. If the President wanted to not sign a G7 accord, so be it. That is his right and, frankly, given the current members of the G7, it was probably a bad idea anyway.

But to reject it in push a childish manner is disgraceful. Making it about the behavior of the Prime Minister of Canada just makes Her Majesty’s pretty boy matter in ways he never has. President Trump’s antics elevate Prime Minister Empty Suit and give him a credibility he otherwise would not have.

The whole thing is ridiculous and made more ridiculous by a bunch of people cheering on the clownish nature of it all.

This is the new normal. Our President behaves likes a five year old who needs his butt beat by dad. But General Kelly seems to have tired of administering the spankings and Elagabalus has moved on to Singapore.

It is not right that the President of the United States, through child like antics, is elevating Prime Ministers of Canada to higher stature than they deserve while demeaning the trust of our allies as he sucks up to Russia.

I have a long record of rejecting the idea that Trump colluded with Russians to steal the Presidency. But he sure does have Putin related priapism.

Tell Your Senator to Support Brett Kavanaugh

Take action now.

Mollie Hemingway is Right and the New York Times is Wrong

The New York Times claims a Trump Administration official said it would be “impossible” to still hold a summit with North Korea on June 12. President Trump took to Twitter to blast the New York Times. In turn, the New York Times’ reporters raced to Twitter to defend their reporting and criticize the President.

One reporter went so far as to out the background source by producing the audio of the background briefing. Needless to say that is something the New York Times would have never done against the Obama Administration.

At the Federalist, Mollie Hemingway took the time to listen to the recording that the New York Times claims proves its report of “impossible.” Turns out, it doesn’t. As Mollie notes, the White House staffer makes it clear that it would be very difficult to conduct the summit on June 12, but never rules it out or says it would be impossible.

This is a case of reporters hearing what they think to be true when it is not what is said. Mollie Hemingway has it exactly right.

A Conspiracy of Idiocy

Many people love to concoct grand, elaborate conspiracies to explain the world around them. Instead of realizing they made bad decisions, it must have been some malevolent force out to get them. Instead of recognizing they are surrounded by incompetence, there must be some mysterious force pulling the strings working several steps ahead.

Many people sleep better at night convinced of a malevolent conspiracy of sinister forces running government than realizing government is composed of incompetent bureaucrats protecting their turf. Wouldn’t it reassure you to know your government functions at the hands of an evil genius pulling strings than that really it is an idiocracy with no planning just trying to keep afloat?

That brings me to the Russians and our election. We know from various text messages from FBI agents that they felt it their mission to investigate and find evidence to stop Donald Trump from becoming President. For those who dismiss the idea of partisanship, look no further than the IRS, which worked to block conservative groups from getting non-profit status. An internal investigation did reveal partisan motivation.

There were partisans involved at the FBI. The question is how much partisanship was involved and here, both Democrats and Republicans have a vested interest in muddying the water in favor of conspiracies. Democrats believe the Russians stole the election from Hillary Clinton. It is far more convenient for them to believe in an elaborate conspiracy to steal the election than to acknowledge they bet on a horse that should have long ago been sent to the political glue factory.

Republicans also believe a conspiracy theory. They want you to believe the Christopher Steele dossier was the trigger for a host of attacks on and investigations within the Trump campaign paid for and orchestrated by Democrats. It is far easier to believe that than acknowledge the guy who claims to only hire the best people hired a bunch of people in bed with Russians who did not have America’s best interests at heart.

Barack Obama surrounded himself with people who have so much contempt for their political opponents every time they made decisions about furthering investigations into Donald Trump, they presumed the absolute worst about their political opponents and made decisions accordingly. Now, Donald Trump has surrounded himself with people who have just as much contempt for the left as Obama’s advisors do for the right. The Trump team presume the worst about the FBI, the DOJ, and anyone and everyone else. Both sides have reached peak conspiracy.

The truth is that our intelligence community had signal intelligence clearly showing the Russians wanted to interfere in our electoral processes. Our intelligence officials looked around and saw Paul Manafort and Carter Page were working with Trump and both had ties to Russians. They drew conclusions based on that intelligence. Along came Democrats with a dossier of information suggesting Trump was working with the Russians or being blackmailed by the Russians and the Obama political team overseeing the intelligence community drew the worst possible conclusions by presuming the worst they could about Trump.

Manafort and Page did not stay with Trump through the campaign. It is not really believable that they orchestrated a plot within the Trump team to steal the election. There is no evidence they went outside the campaign to execute the plan. But concurrently, it is true that Donald Trump, Jr. was happy to meet with a Russian for dirt on Hillary Clinton. That is not illegal, but is unethical. The Trump team believed the worst about the Clintons and surely believed the Clinton team would pull out all the stops too.

We are where we are because both sides believed the worst about the other. The Democrats never thought Trump would win and would rather believe a conspiracy theory than believe Clinton was a terrible candidate. Likewise, the Trump fans would rather believe the FBI was really out to get Trump than believe he made some staggeringly stupid hires and people around him made staggeringly unethical decisions. Forrest Gump was right. Stupid is as stupid does.

Black Lives Matter Activist Shaun King Falsely Accuses Texas Patrolman of Crime

This is just horrific. Shaun King, the Black Lives Matter activist, has been on social media attacking a police officer in Texas. King claimed the officer kidnapped and raped a lady then held her in jail while the officer deleted his own social media profiles to avoid people targeting him.

King named the officer and claimed to know the “victim’s” lawyer. The victim, Sherita Dixon-Brown, claimed the Texas State Trooper had handcuffed her, put her in the officer’s patrol car, then raped her, after pulling her over claiming she was driving while intoxicated.

The Texas State Patrol released the body and dashboard camera footage of the incident to prove Sherita Dixon-Brown lied. But before they could, Shaun King started trying to generate an online mob to target the police officer, who he named in an effort to expose the guy.

Alex Griswold has screenshots of King stirring the online mob:

At least King finally retracted the story. But yet again a leftwing activist has tried to use social media to destroy a person’s life over false accusations.