Attack on Syria – Two Day Turnaround in White House Policy

President Trump’s order to attack a major Syrian air base was a dramatic turnaround from a few days earlier. At that time, Defense Chief Rex Tillerson had stated that the removal of Syrian dictator Assad was not a priority for the country.

And then, the attack came. I would guess that watching the video of babies suffocating and dying from poison gas, along with scores of other people, was enough to stun President Trump to take action. At this point, there are several questions: Will the attack speedup the process to get Assad out? How will the Russians react? And what about the rest of the world, most of the nations that turned a blind eye to this genocide?

The apparent destruction of the airbase was a limited use of vast American power, and frugally, the President did not send any Americans in harm’s way. But it was an encouraging sign that Trump was not afraid to admit that the earlier assessment of writing off Syria was wrong. All of us hope the action will save lives.

At the time of the missile barrage, a poll from Quinnipiac University, described by its author as proof of a “downward spiral” in the President’s approval ratings.

It will be interested to see if Americans rally around the decision, or treat it with skepticism. I think they’ll rally as they always have in the initial stages of military engagement.

 

 

A Short Note On An Encounter With The One and Only Don Rickles

Most of the material in this post is about politics. But I can’t escape the passing of Don Rickles, a wonderful talent who made so many people laugh so hard. I had what you might call an encounter with the comic at my 1960 High School senior prom at a hotel in Miami Beach. He was the main event, and he walked through the room, with a “live” microphone , pausing at tables ad making jokes about the people. He arrived at our table, asked me to stand up, put his fingertip on my nose (which is somewhat long) and said simply , “beak”. My table howled and as he left he brushed my curly hair and said, “You’re a man who needs a hair job.” More laughter. Through the years I’ve enjoyed him. Don Rickles, a man who turned insults into laughter! Sadly in our modern political environment, insults are not laughable, but that is for another post coming up shortly.

An Unusual Editorial on Trump. But First, A Real Philadelphia Winner

Before I excerpt one of the most powerful political editorials yet on the Trump presidency, some good news that is a story of victory for one of the most unselfish, talented and decent people  in the modern history of the Philadelphia region. Tonight Dawn Staley  coached her South Carolina team to their first NCAA championship! Dawn is an Olympic Gold Medal Winner, a three time member of a final four team, a former coach at Temple University, the Torch Bearer at the Olympics, and one of the Top 15 greatest WNBA player of all time. But the real story is the example she has set as a mentor, teacher, and advocate for women’s sports  around the country. Over the years, I’ve met Dawn at several public service events. When she speaks she speaks the voice of compassion, humility and giving. She is one of the greats in basketball and entered the Hall of Fame in 2013. Her acceptance speech was amazing. She talked about everyone but herself. Dawn is one of the greatest sports stars in Philadelphia history, She wins and wins, but her greatest accomplishment is the example of winning with humility and respecting her sport and the value of goodness in people.

It all started at Dobbins High school in Philadelphia.

Moving back to Trump World. The Los Angeles Times used to be a conservative newspaper. These days it is more of a middle-of-the road publication. But. either way it goes, the papers editorials are hard hitting. This Sunday, the Times began the first of several editorials on the challenges of Donald Trump. I thought you might either enjoy or rage at it, depending on what you think of the Commander. But it is definitely worth a “look-see” , as John Lennon used to say. Here’s a report on it courtesy of Yahoo.

Since Donald Trump began his stunning ascent from real estate mogul and reality television star to wall-building, Muslim-ban-promising Republican candidate to GOP nominee to president, there have been plenty of piercing editorials about him and his policies.
But perhaps none have been as scathing as the one published Sunday by the Los Angeles Times.
“It was no secret during the campaign that Donald Trump was a narcissist and a demagogue who used fear and dishonesty to appeal to the worst in American voters,” the Times editorial board wrote in the first of a four-part op-ed titled “Our Dishonest President.”
In September, the same editorial board called Trump “unqualified and unsuited to be president” and said his election would be “catastrophic for the nation.”
“Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck,” the paper said Sunday.
The Times pointed to Trump’s executive order on immigration among “dozens of real-life steps that, if they are not reversed, will rip families apart.”
“But, chilling as they are, these radically wrongheaded policy choices are not, in fact, the most frightening aspect of the Trump presidency,” the Times said. “What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself.”
More from the editorial:
 

 

He is a man so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality that it is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation. His obsession with his own fame, wealth and success, his determination to vanquish enemies real and imagined, his craving for adulation — these traits were, of course, at the very heart of his scorched-earth outsider campaign; indeed, some of them helped get him elected. But in a real presidency in which he wields unimaginable power, they are nothing short of disastrous.
 
While Trump’s policies are “variations on classic Republican positions,” the paper argued that they become “dangerous” in the hands of the Donald.
“Many Republicans, for instance, support tighter border security and a tougher response to illegal immigration,” the Times explained, “but Trump’s cockamamie border wall, his impracticable campaign promise to deport all 11 million people living in the country illegally and his blithe disregard for the effect of such proposals on the U.S. relationship with Mexico turn a very bad policy into an appalling one.”
The editorial board said that the four-part series will examine three of the president’s “troubling traits”:
  • “Trump’s shocking lack of respect for those fundamental rules and institutions on which our government is based.”
  • “His utter lack of regard for truth.”
  • “His scary willingness to repeat alt-right conspiracy theories, racist memes and crackpot, out-of-the-mainstream ideas.”
 You can send me your thoughts on Twitter  @larrykane
All points of view are always welcome here.

 

I Have Never Have Seen Anything Like This– Wild Day Ends With Flynn Looking For A Deal

In one 14 hour period, the following has happened.

The New York Times reported that three White House aides gave David Nunes the intelligence information.

Within minutes of that report, the White House suddenly invited congressional intelligence communities to look at (presumably)  the intelligence that Nunes looked at.

Donald Trump fired his Deputy Chief of Staff, presumably over healthcare collapse.

The President declared war on the Freedom Caucus, further escalating conflict in the GOP.

A government expert testifies before Senate committee on how the Russians manipulate the news. It was scary.

and then, the biggest story emerges :  FIRED NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER MICHAEL FLYNN OFFERS TO TESTIFY ON THE RUSSIAN CONNECTION, BUT ONLY WITH IMMUNITY. HIS ATTORNEY SAYS, “HE HAS A STORY TO TELL,” That story broke in the Wall Street Journal.

From the White House to the Capitol, events are developing at a rapid pace.

Standby.