Puerto Rico Relief Is Hard Enough Without Trump’s Tweetstorm

Over the past few days, as President Trump has come under fire for his response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation of the island of Puerto Rico. Trump’s supporters have taken to Twitter and Facebook to defend the president. Many are claiming that if Texans could help themselves, Puerto Ricans should likewise be able to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. After Trump’s tweets this morning attacking the mayor of San Juan, the level of acrimony will almost certainly increase.

Trump’s defenders do raise a legitimate question: Why can’t the inhabitants of Puerto Rico help themselves rebuild their island and repair the damage from Hurricane Maria? The answer is that the situation in Puerto Rico is very different from the situation in Texas.

As the president so eloquently pointed out on Friday, Puerto Rico “is an island, surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water.” As most students of American geography will recall, Texas is not an island, which made it much easier to bring relief workers and supplies into the affected areas. Because Puerto Rico is an island, almost everything, from food to fuel, must be shipped in.

Adding to the difficulty, the island’s ports, airports and roads were also heavily damaged by the storm. The waiver of the Jones Act will allow more shipping capacity to be directed to Puerto Rico, but the ability of ports to offload the cargo is still a limiting factor.

The problems don’t end as relief supplies are offloaded on the island. There are reports that mountains of supplies are sitting in San Juan, but cannot be delivered due to damaged roads and shortages of trucks, diesel fuel and drivers. KTLA Channel Five in Los Angeles reported that one Puerto Rico trucking company has 3,000 crates of supplies, but has only been able to dispatch four percent of them due the shortages of drivers and trucks.

Another difficulty that Puerto Rico faces that Texas did not is the widespread power outage. Maria destroyed 80 percent of the island’s power lines per reports by CNBC. It will take months to restore power to the island.

Meanwhile, the lack of electricity makes almost everything more difficult. Where generators and fuel are not available, even the simplest tasks must be performed by hand. The lack of lights also means that time available to work is shorter. Communication is difficult both because of the lack of electricity and the fact that the storm damaged or destroyed cell phone towers.

In contrast, after Hurricane Harvey, relief supplies could be trucked directly to Texas from other parts of the country. Roads were damaged, but there were alternate routes available in most cases. Damage from the hurricane force winds was localized in Texas, rather than spread across the whole coast. Ports and airports reopened quickly.

Most the damage in Houston and Beaumont came from torrential rains and flooding. As a result, electricity stayed on in these heavily populated urban areas. This made it easier for both residents of the area and relief workers.

Finally, I have to point out that Texans did not recover our own. We received a lot of help from around the country. When a large part of Houston was underwater, the Cajun Navy arrived on the scene with boats to pluck stranded Texans from their homes and ferry them to safety. Once the flood waters receded, the infrastructure in Houston was largely intact, unlike the infrastructure of Puerto Rico.

It isn’t fair to blame President Trump for the difficulties with a relief effort that makes the Berlin airlift look easy by comparison. For months to come, the island’s population of more than three million people will be almost entirely dependent upon outside assistance. It is unreasonable to assume that the entire effort could be established and bring the island back to normal within a few weeks.

It is also unreasonable for President Trump to lash out at the island’s representatives who are understandably under an enormous amount of stress. President Trump should have overcome his instinctive tendency to immediately counterpunch at any hint of a slight and instead offered calm reassurance that the federal government is doing everything it can to save the lives of the storm victims.

So far, there is no evidence that the federal response to Hurricane Maria has been bungled. There is also no evidence that Puerto Ricans are not doing everything within their very limited ability to make their situation better.

Attacking the mayor of San Juan as a poor leader is a bad idea on several levels. First, it undermines her authority. Second, it sets up an adversarial relationship between federal and local governments at a time when cooperation is badly needed to save lives. That conflict will only be picked up and exacerbated by both supporters and opponents of the president. Finally, it makes President Trump look incredibly small and vain.

One characteristic of a leader is the ability to overlook perceived personal slights and focus on the job at hand. It remains to be seen whether President Trump has what it takes to be a unifying leader, but he has not exhibited those qualities today. Maria is not Katrina, but the president’s mishandling of the situation may well turn the relief effort into a leadership scandal.

Ben Sasse Destroys Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer On Twitter

From time to time, there is a Twitter takedown that is worth repeating and sharing with the rest of the world. When the takedown in question is the utter rhetorical annihilation of an alt-right icon like Richard Spencer, the thrashing is even more delicious.

Richard Spencer, the recipient of the beat-down, is a white supremacist and one of the organizers of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. that turned into a full-blown riot in August. Spencer was previously seen a few weeks after the 2016 election leading alt-right supporters in a Nazi salute and chanting, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” Suffice it to say that Richard Spencer is far out of the conservative mainstream.

In the other corner is Ben Sasse, the junior Republican senator from Nebraska. In three years in the Senate, Sasse has quickly emerged as a leading conservative thinker and outspoken defender of freedom and the Constitution.

The brouhaha started when Spencer called out “goober conservatives” on Twitter in a tweet that defended Russia from charges that it meddled in the 2016 campaign. So, sit back, make some popcorn, and enjoy Ben Sasse’s eloquent and impassioned response.

 

Sasse understands what the protesters on the left and the alt-right do not. That the best answer to offensive and radical speech is more speech. Good ideas, not violent force, should be used to destroy bad ideas.

Double the Twitter Doesn’t Mean Double the Fun

I remember back in 2008 when I first joined Twitter. One of my church communications mentors encouraged it, so I dove in. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but I was hooked the first time I interacted with a celebrity – I think it was the band Gomez.

I have Twitter to thank for the jump start to my writing career back in 2010, and my Twitter friendship with Resurgent founder Erick Erickson helped land my writing gig here. So Twitter has proven useful and beneficial for me. Bear in mind that much of this took place before trolling became the world’s worst art form.

One of the most attractive things about Twitter is the elegance of the 140-character limit. The format forces users to be pithy or clever – or write like Prince – to achieve an acceptable tweet. But now Twitter is undermining what made it so unique in the past and moving toward becoming just another social media outlet by experimenting with doubling the character limit.

It’s a bold idea, and it carries a measure of controversy with it.

“We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters — we felt it, too,” the company said in its blog post. “But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint. We are excited to share this today, and we will keep you posted about what we see and what comes next.”

Now you’re probably thinking what I’m thinking: what about Donald Trump? Breathe easy, because the president is not part of the beta testing group. Know who else isn’t? Marcia Dorsey, the mom of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Needless to say, Twitter users reacted to the news in some of the most glorious ways:

Here’s the thing: Twitter with a longer character limit is really just Facebook with a shorter limit. Longer character limits give trolls more space to say stupid things – heck, it gives users more space to make dumb statements in the first place. Increasing the character limit causes Twitter to lose what made it unique in the first place and muddies up the waters of a social media landscape that has grown increasingly homogenized. I fear that the only people who will utilize 280 characters are the folks who have nothing positive to say but now have twice as much space to use. And ads – oh, the ads will definitely put 280 characters to use.

If Twitter ever introduces “stories,” I’m outta there!

Rep Steve King is Mad at President Trump

“Trump intends on keeping Hillary Clinton’s campaign promises, rather than his own.”

– Steve King

As rumors swirled around D.C. last night about President Trump ‘s dinner with Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrat leaders, he was apparently working out terms on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). This sent resident nationalists into a frenzy, even trending #AmnestyDon on Twitter for several hours. It unveiled real doubt for the first time in the President’s integrity among the Trumpkin faithful.

Finally.

Rep. King went on a rant, including an inaccurate statement claiming fmr. President Reagan’s amnesty failed (it passed the same year with bipartisan support), and that DACA was amnesty. But nonetheless, it was entertaining.

And this…

That last Tweet has since been deleted. Pesky screenshots. /sarc

Whiplash firebrand Ann Coulter got in on the collective depression, as well:

She had no thumb-hangover, though, and kept the tweet in all its inglorious bastardry.

As he cleaned up his Twitter account, Rep. King went on air with cable interviews, expounding his 140 character screeds, telling CNN’s Alyson Camerota, “Something has to get reversed here with this president’s policy or this will just blow up his base.” He continued, “This was a straight up promise all the way through his campaign. What it means is the base will leave him. They won’t be able to defend him anymore.”

Something normal people stopped doing long ago. It doesn’t mean Rep. King can leave his sandbox though. Just that a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.

Legal Immigrants Are Glad DACA Is Finished

The media is already preparing its narrative, that 800,000 poor little children are about to be deported by the evil Trump administration. They are out there looking for little Elián González to film as DHS agents rip him from his home.

But legal immigrants don’t feel the same way. Blogger “Ornery Young Gunz” was “fiercely NeverTrump” prior to the election. Now he, like us here at The Resurgent, is calling them as he sees them.

His Twitter thread lays bare the injustice of DACA.

He told me:

We are a nation of immigrants. We’re also a nation of laws. We should be able to balance these two things in a way that supports entrepreneurship, liberty, and the Rule of Law.

DACA is lawless, unfair, unjust, and compassionless. The media will try to paint its disposal as an act of a heartless president. But it’s not. DACA was the act of a heartless president to begin with, one who would not accept the will of Congress–for ill or for good–and took it into his own hands to decide who gets special treatment, and who gets deported.

Regardless of the costs, following the Constitution is always the best path, and those immigrants who are here legally know it better than all the CNN sob stories you’re about to hear.

This post is also published at The New Americana.

Trump’s Korean Legacy: Shotgun Diplomacy

The last 24 hours have done nothing if not shown the resiliency of the American president’s thumbs. They are dutifully back at work now that he’s done his due diligence in Texas. Unfortunately, his performance in the wake of Hurricane Harvey does not invalidate the actions he takes the rest of the time. His latest tweeting should make us all wish it did.

Yesterday morning, President Trump shot across the bow of South Korean leadership by presuming to tell them – via Twitter, of course – that diplomatic efforts to save their people “will not work.” North Korea had just tested an underground hydrogen bomb that registered a 6.3 on the Richter scale. Maybe he thinks Twitter is a better method of communication than traditional government channels. Apparently, his real estate development experience has honed his foreign policy skills, and informed his knowledge of what North Korea understands. We are to assume his “good brain” knows more about North Korean behavior than South Korean leaders do.

Oh ok. So, after 60 years, they’re NOW finding out what Trump has been telling them for a few months? Got it. Six hours later, presumably to show he means business, he threatened to stop all trade with anyone who does business with North Korea, including China, who represents 83% of all DPRK trade.

So, they still only understand sanctions? Or military threats? Which is it? That itself came hours after he said he’s working on a plan to pull out of our free trade agreement with South Korea, too. Why he’s pushing them around on trade at the time we need military unity is unknown. This has economic leaders there worried. Add to this the disconnect between the public stance of our two countries, which Korean experts are calling “Korean passing,” or, the passing over of Southern interest to deal with North Korea unilaterally.

Yes, the President is literally taking a shotgun to everyone in the room – both our allies, and our enemies, along with the negotiators, all at once.

 

South Korea already has reason to distrust the American president’s impulses, as he once demanded South Korea pay for our military presence there. (They actually do subsidize 30% of operations)

Many felt his several statements over the years indicate he does not grasp the geopolitical value of the region.

If Trump gets his way (at least what he thinks the last 24 hours), our North Korean strategy no longer includes the collaboration of 51 million South Koreans facing probable death in a military conflict with their neighbors. But to make matters worse, we will no longer trade with China, Russia, India and even Brazil or Chile – because they conduct trade with North Korea – and we will no longer have free trade with the South. This means more than $1 trillion of economic activity will cease, if the U.S. government performs according to Trump’s tweets.

No doubt, the reliable defenders will rush to say:

1. He doesn’t mean it,
2. His administration will temper his threats, or
3. That it’s a good idea.

So, in other words:

1. He doesn’t speak the truth,
2. He can’t make good decisions without his administration stepping in, or
3. We’re headed for a global recession in the next year, and millions may die.

Which is it? The fact that we can ask is frightening.

I’m just gonna say it: We told you so.

 

 

Barack Obama’s Record-Breaking Tweet: It’s a Shame He Doesn’t Believe It




In case you missed it, Barack Obama tweeted on Saturday evening in response to the Charlottesville conflict between “alt-right” neo-Nazis and antifa counter-protesters. It was the most liked tweet in the history of Twitter.

The  tweet partially quotes Nelson Mandela. Here’s the full quote:

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

It’s a shame Obama doesn’t really believe this, nor do many of his supporters who buy into the reasons behind white supremacists awful delusions.

Theologically inaccurate

It’s a shame because Mandela’s quote is mostly true. Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Love does not come naturally to the human heart, not since the Fall of Man in Genesis. Cain knew God personally, yet he murdered his brother. If love came so naturally to the human heart, this would not be possible. Hate, envy, rage, these things come naturally to the self-interested human.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.” We are all equal in God’s eyes, and all mankind–regardless of skin color–is tempted with pride, greed, envy, lust, and all the sinful acts in actualization of those temptations.

It is theologically inaccurate to claim that “love comes more naturally to the human heart.”

But Obama didn’t tweet that part.



Born to hate

Is anyone born to hate? I say no. But God is sovereign. He hardens hearts, and he softens them. Who can know God’s thoughts? Isaiah 55:9 declares “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Barack Obama grew up learning a mixture of anti-colonial rebellion, Marxist philosophy, and Black Liberation Theology. James Cone, the father of Black Liberation Theology, realized that the Bible and Christianity, as he understood them, could not coexist with his beliefs on racism. He said “I was within inches of leaving the Christian faith, because that faith as I had received it and learned it no longer explained the world to me satisfactorily.”

So instead of recommitting to his faith, he did what most liberals do: He adapted his faith and the Bible to suit his own understanding. And that meant incorporating Malcolm X’s venomous beliefs into the Gospel. The result led Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor for two decades, to declare: “No, no, no, not God bless America! God damn America — that’s in the Bible — for killing innocent people.”

Wright wasn’t referring to the unborn here. He was referring to racism ingrained in American society that “in which black has been defined as evil.” In this frame, everything else is explained. In the Black Liberation Theology world, people born white and Christian are automatically inculcated in hatred of things black. And it’s the black Christian’s job to oppose this white hate–which is endemic to whiteness.

They believe that white people (especially white males) are born to hate.

Check your privilege

I’ve spent hours and hours arguing with people, mostly on social media, who have permanent chips on their shoulders about “privilege.” The degree to which some white people are willing to self-flagellate in order to quench an unquenchable shame of their inborn hatefulness is beyond sanity. We need only look at Rachel Dolezal, or Shaun King as examples. Both are white, but act as if they are born and bred African Americans.

Then there’s a woman named Cera Byer, who penned a Facebook post in 2014 “To my white male Facebook friends” that got picked up by Salon. An excerpt:

This is a privilege because the others in this case do not have that option. When they leave the conversation, they are still a child, a woman or a person of color (or any combination of the three), occupying a position of less power than you. Living in a world where these things do happen to them, and what’s worse, they now walk away knowing that you, their father, husband, friend, teacher, community member, do not believe them. Won’t defend them. Aren’t willing to help.

In other words, if you’re white, you are born with certain powers conferred by the global society, and can’t possibly know what it’s like to be other than white, and this makes you a racist by the omission of actively agreeing with every peccadillo posed by non-white people and atoning for every sin of every white person on earth.

This belief expressed by Byers and many others, including Barack Obama, is racist. It blames those who because of the color of their skin or their gender at birth for the offenses committed by others with whom they have no connection. It forces people to apologize endlessly for things that happened before they were born by people they will never know. It gives a complete pass for the same kinds of sins and oppressions if they were committed by non-white people.

It is the opposite of what Nelson Mandela wrote.

I was not born a racist

I responded to Byer with almost the same words Mandela wrote and Obama quoted. “The facts are that racism is a heart problem.  It’s not a blood problem or a skin problem.  Nobody is born a racist.”

In order for me, or any white man, or any black man, or any woman, or any person for that matter, to be a passive, invisible, unknown to myself racist—it follows that racism has to be something beyond the heart and mind, beyond our conscious control.  Racism has to be a transcendent state, like original sin, or God’s grace.  That sounds a whole lot like religion to me.  But I don’t think you’re trying to say that “passive racism” is a religious system.  I think you’re trying to say that some essential information, some unknown facts, some personal experience missing from people’s lives is enough to make them racist.

I have to reject that idea.

Byer read my piece and accused me that I “apparently completely missed the point of what I wrote” without ever explaining how I missed her point.

Obama created the environment

Barack Obama was supposed to be the great healer–the first black president. But instead of advocating an environment where individual effort, family support, and strength of character determine one’s destiny, he took up with his natural allies–the race-baiters, social justice crowd who want to exact a penalty from privileged white people.

Eight years of failure to condemn groups like Black Lives Matter, welcoming charlatans like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, advocating against Biblical stances for life and strong families, took a toll on the nation. In fact, it created a backlash that propelled Donald Trump into office.

Under Obama, Democrats’ influence fell more than any time since Reconstruction–he lost over 900 legislative seats nationally and at the state level, governorships, and even mayors for his party. America wasn’t feeling the love.

And now, we have President Trump, who rode a toxic bow wave of thugs, Know-Nothings, and overt racists to power. Yet even with this millstone around his neck (and our necks), Trump has managed to begin scaling back the excesses of Obama’s racism in government. We are arguably moving toward a less racist, more individual achievement-based federal government with Trump in office.

America still faces the challenge of dealing with the now-stirred-up monster of racism, not at all helped by Trump’s ham-fisted, narcissistic and idiotic responses. But instead of engaging in a positive way, Obama disingenuously preened on Twitter.

What a hypocrite.

The Worst Twitter




I’ve seen a lot of outrageous things on Twitter.  It’s the mosh pit of social media, filled with odious personalities, vicious alter-egos, know-nothing opinions and so much plain nastiness that it’s impossible to jump in and come out the other side clean.  To me, though, the worst Twitter is probably stupid Twitter:  the tweet so ill-conceived that it’s hard to believe any rational person would even consider it.  Amazingly enough, a lot of those emanate from members of the national media–you know, those people who consider themselves part of the elite ruling class consider it their job to tell everyone what to think.

Even by that standard, however, this tweet by John Hendrickson from Esquire magazine is in a league of stupid all its own:

https://twitter.com/JohnGHendy/status/897555743712391168

Yes, those are veterans of World War II gathered at the memorial to their comrades in Washington, DC.  And yes, Hendrickson just equated their heroics on the battlefield to the antics of masked Antifa hooligans who smash storefronts, torch cars and smack people upside the head with bike locks.



Dude–when you’re starting to make Sally Kohn look smart by comparison, it’s time to get off Twitter.

Since when has any Antifa tough guy ever put on a uniform, sworn allegiance to something greater than himself, and gone into battle knowing that he might not come back?  And since when has any Antifa poseur demonstrated that he would lay down his life for the man next to him, because the unspoken oath a combat veteran swears to his buddies is every bit as important as the oath he swore to his country?  And when the hell did any Antifa thug pick up a rifle and charge headlong against an armed enemy that exists only to kill him?  The men in that photograph understand these things because they were actual soldiers.  They were sailors and they were Marines.  They had honor–and they didn’t hide their faces from anyone.

If Hendrickson can’t understand that distinction, then he’s an even bigger nitwit than his tweet suggests.