Category Archives: Donald Trump

Fear and Normalcy and Fun in America and Over There: from Campuses to Airports……

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“MacDonald, Trump, and Criminal Justice. In a recent article for City Journal titled, “How Trump Can Help the Cops,” Heather MacDonald offers about a dozen recommendations to the White House. In this post, I want to scrutinize a few of those proposals and some of the arguments behind them. Let me begin, however, by saying that Heather MacDonald was recently threatened by a crowd of protestors (I use that term very loosely here) while visiting a college campus to deliver a lecture. That was outrageous and inexcusable. I have met Ms. MacDonald several times, and while we have some strong disagreements on certain subjects, she has always been friendly and courteous. She holds strong views and makes forceful arguments, but her claims should be answered with better arguments, not intimidation. As many others have already noted, it is a sad commentary on the state of our universities that such incidents keep happening………”

These folks are talking, writing as if everything else is normal these days in Trump’s America. This is not normalcy, it is extreme abnormalcy.
There has been no such abnormalcy since at least World War II. As for unusual unfortunate incidents happening: there are many. Not just on college campuses.

Try painting your face brown, carry a book that is written in Arabic, Persian, or even Hebrew at an airport, then you may see not only intimidation. Just a book: but you’ll see and get fear. You may instill fear in some, but you’ll get a worse fear and humiliation given to you, a deja vu type for those who were used to it way back when they were not over here but over there.

But you, since you’d be just slumming, may not appreciate such fear and humiliation because you’ve never experienced them here (or anywhere else). To you it’d be just an experience, not like the only way of life many had known over there.

Part of a new normalcy that is being eased into society these days, and should be resisted. You, we, don’t want “over here” to become like “over there“. It won’t be fun for anyone…

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Donald Trump’s AI War: Alexa, What Should I do about Iran?……

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I can imagine it.

Donald Trump in the Oval Office, or maybe in his official bedroom (not the real one at Mar A Lago). Rapping his fingers on the desk, finally turning to a little blinking cylinder (black or white? probably Bannon-white):

Alexa? Siri? Google? How many missiles should I fire at that empty airbase in Syria to keep the media happy? (Aside): Or maybe I can just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway. Sheldon Adelson would love it too, worth millions for 2020.

Alexa? Why is the Iranian Navy always prowling in the Persian Gulf? Why is it provoking us barely 8,000 miles from Tampa Bay? (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Alexa? What do I do about Putin? How long will the Good Cop (me) vs Bad Cop (Nikki Haley) routine last before Vladimir catches on? (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Alexa? How can I turn down another request by Netanyahu to visit the White House? By the way: what the fuck do my fellow Republican Congressmen see in this guy? I swear they seem to love him more than they love me. Love is blind.  (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Alexa? What do I do about Kim Jong Un? The ChubbtyLittleFuck is messing up my foreign policy plans. I’ve got him sanctioned up to his YouKnowWhere. Next step would be to sanction the Chinese banks and businesses that keep him going. But Ivanka and Jared tell me that is a no no. (Aside): Maybe I’ll just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

King Salman? Hi there, Sal. Salam Aleikom, King, I love you Muslim guys, especially the Wahhabis: my kind of Muslims. Shook hands with one greas….,er, Muslim once in Brooklyn. Sal? I’ve got a problem. Oh, no never mind Yemen. JASTA? not today. I need some advise…….
Salman:  Just ask the stiffs in Congress to tighten sanctions on the heretic Magi in Iran, they’d love it. They’ve been doing it on their own every month anyway.

Bannon? Steve? What do you think I should do? Will the stiffs in Congress tightening sanctions on Iran help make it all go away?

Bannon: Sir? Call Kim Jong Un. You did say during the campaign you’d meet with him. Call him secretly.

Hello, Kim Jong Un? Kimmyyyyyy babe! I’ve got a question for you…

Kim Jong Un: And I’ve got you by les gonades, Donald. Don’t waste my time, Donald. Don’t be wishy-washy. The answer is simple. Just bomb Iran…… Sheldon Adelson would love it, worth tens of millions for 2020 campaign.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Bully Trapped? Trump Fears China and Pyongyang, Focuses Attacks on Iran, Mexico and Canada…..

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So Donald Trump is scared witless of little Kim Jong Un. The Cute Leader of Pyongyang is saber-rattling, begging for attention, knowing he’s got Donald by the little balls (his artillery is focused on Seoul). Trump seems paralyzed by the events on the Korean Peninsula. The chubby dictator apparently means business, won’t be bullied by the bully of Pennsylvania Avenue. What to do?
Simple, exit stage left, threaten faraway Iran (which is abiding by its treaties especially JPCOA nuclear deal even though the US is not, not really). So, if Pyongyang continues its nuclear advance, Trump will provoke a war with Iran, with full approval of the Democrat chickens in Congress. Then escalate the genocidal Arab onslaught against poor Yemen. Maybe hint at firing another few futile Tomahawks on some empty Syrian military base after more phony complaints of WMD use by Jihadi proxies of Arab kings and princes (that should get CNN pundits and fearful Democrats cheering, it did last time).

Nothing as satisfying to a New York brawler as a few cheap shots below the belt. But I do wish they would start wars with someone else: every time they get in trouble they think of waging another Muslim war. Bomb someone else this time: bomb Asia, Europe, Australia, Mars, Uranus (Donald). Just leave the Middle East alone, will you?

Trump is unhappy about the trade situation (including allegations of currency exchange rate manipulation) with China. During the campaign he sounded tough, promised to reshuffle the trade ties. Now he seems scared witless of China (not the least the impact on potential family business interests). So? He spins and attacks Mexico and Canada. More cheap shots below the belt.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Kissing It in Arabia: Saudis Discern a Trump ‘Axis of Adults’, or is it an ‘Axis of Kissers of Trump’s Rump’?………

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“Trump’s ‘Axis of Adults’ sends powerful messages to Iran. In Washington, they call them the “Axis of Adults” — Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley, the ambassador to the UN. These are the pillars of the Trump-Pence administration, if not the pillars of the state. Other influential stakeholders exist. There is the wing led by Jared Kushner, son-in-law of the president, which includes his Wall Street friends Gary Cohen and Dina Habib Powell, who is deputy national security adviser. There is also a rival wing led by Donald Trump’s top adviser, the hawkish Steve Bannon. The so-called Axis of Adults has taken advantage of the tension between the two in the White House to make inroads into Trump’s heart and mind………” Arab News (Saudi)

First time I read, or hear, about “Trump’s Heart and Mind”. Didn’t know he had either. Now that is ‘kissing it’ creatively, Saudi style…..
“How do I dish thee out, oh journalistic rubbish?…..
Let me count the ways……..”

When it comes to hypocrisy towards potentates or towards a new US president, nobody can do it like Saudi semi-official media. Networks (Alarabiya), Newspapers (Asharq Alawsat, Al-Hayat), English Dailies like Arab News. All owned by princes and potentates. They hire the best, most sycophant media writers, mainly Lebanese but also other Arabs.
A few months ago Donald Trump was a pariah in Arab media. They thought their old pal Hillary Clinton will win and Trump was royally trashed in their controlled media. It is quite a different story now. Trump has been transformed into a genius. He hasn’t been elevated to the ranks of the Early Muslim Pioneers, the Sahaba, yet. But watch out!

How does an Axis of Kissers of Trump’s Rump sounds? That is what it is, but British prime minister Theresa May actually beat them to it last January. In front of a hundred cameras at the White House.


Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Wyatt, Doc, Calamity and Beautiful Science: a Day in the Life of Trump Administration…….

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More recent potential Trump Administration news:

An uncharacteristically exasperated Attorney General Jeff Sessions has finally put Sanctuary Cities “on notice”, by yelling: Basta! (actually he did a combo Mexican-Rebel yell: Byeesta!).
Sessions also has temporarily changed his name to Wyatt Earp, and started calling Trump ‘Doc Holliday‘, calling Betsy DeVos ‘Calamity‘. No comment on Elaine Chou yet…….

For his part, Donald Trump asserted from Mar A Lago that: “I love Science. I believe in Science. I have here–> some beautiful Science to share with the American people. Wait for some big news on Science sometime next week, or maybe the week after. Will knock your socks off….”

Secretary of, er, State Rex Tillerson grunted again (at his usual speed of 0.5km/hr) that : “Eyeran represents an imminent danger to the United States national security, piling up their naval warships in the Gulf of Mexico, Oops, I meant the Persian Gulf“.

Rexy was leaving too quickly for a big man, as he is wont to do, when Andrea Mitchell asked if that means Trump is ready to start yet another stupid war. His parting shot was: “all options are on the table, we’re betting the farm on this one. The mullahs should remember what we did to Eyeraq! It took some fifteen years but we totally screwed up their country, our credibility and our economy. Created ISIS too. Never underestimate President Trump.”

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

A Second American Century, But Trump Can’t Lead the Free World: Und Warum Nicht?…….

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The United States has been leading the “Free World” since the second week of December 1941. Seventy Six years of uninterrupted U.S. domination of the West and of the world. It has managed to do so through various presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama. All based on the strength of the US economy, US military, and the attractive American ideals.

But with this last election of 2016, the Shining City on the Hill looks less shiny to more in the world. Don’t get me wrong: the American ideal and its attraction still exist, its pull beckons both the needy and the persecuted and oppressed from across the world. Its freedom of speech and expression is unequaled, so far. But the new American ruling classes are not in sync with the rest of the Industrial World, with the rest of the Western World.

Some years ago in Paris, in my other carnation, I was at a lunch near Avenue Georges V with some French associates. They were curious what I thought the new 21st century would be like. They had doubts about another American Century. Europe was consolidating, asserting itself; China was grown, opening. I surprised and seemingly displeased them by asserting that this new century will also be an American Century, a Second American Century. I said that I can’t see any challenger in Europe or in Asia to the United States of America. The allure, the values, and openness of America continue.

I still do: I can’t see any challenger to America as the world’s dominant power. Nor as the world’s ideal destination, and as the main source of human innovation. Emma Lazarus endures……

But the new ruling classes that took power in January are small and mean by normal American standards. Possibly the worst in the past hundred years. The louder he praises his appointees, the smaller they look. They are not what the world is used to. They are not what most Americans are used to. And they are not nearly as honest as Americans are used to in their ruling classes.

Trump is no Roosevelt, and no Kennedy: a comparison would be an insult to both those dynasties. He has no vision of a New Deal type restructuring. He has no group of the Best and Brightest advising him. No “we are going to the moon” ideal. And he is no war hero, on the contrary…… Instead he has a gaggle of the meanest, greediest, and most selfish people advising him and running government departments. He appeals to some baser instincts in America (every nation in the world has them).

His first legislative act was to try and deprive millions of Americans of their health care coverage. With the goal of clearing up billions of dollars to finance tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, like himself and his associates. That has failed spectacularly. By executive order he has sought to destroy the beautiful natural treasures of this country, turning the treasures over to developers. Making the United States into another Brazil.

I can go on and on. The Second American Century is here. Unfortunately Mr. Trump and his gaggle of extremist ideologues and small thinkers can’t lead it. They are not qualified, and the rest of the world will not follow. His administration is the only Industrial Country Government that denies Climate Change and Evolution and Healthcare as a human right.

America‘s best chance now is that Donald Trump will do something stupid that gets him impeached and convicted.

As he liked to yell during his noisy campaign rallies: Get Him out of Here!

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Trump Foreign Policy: Is There a MOAB in the Pyongyang Kid’s Future……

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“North Korea’s military on Friday directly responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s renewed threats to take “care of” Pyongyang’s nuclear threat amid expectations of a new nuclear test that could come at any time. “Our toughest counteraction against the United States and its vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to allow the aggressors to survive,” according to unnamed spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army. “Under the prevailing grave situation, the United States has to come to its senses and make a proper option for the solution of the problem,” continued the statement, carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency……..”

Donald Trump spent his first two months in office trying his hands at domestic issues.

His first policy Executive Order, a Muslim immigration/entry ban, was thrown out by U.S. federal courts. His second policy try was a sly but direct attempt at screwing the American people, repealing the ACA Healthcare law (Obamacare) without replacing it with a policy that covers those uncovered. He could not get his own party to pass a healthcare bill that he almost certainly did not understand. His attempt at screwing up the healthcare system was opposed by all professional associations of doctors, nurses and hospitals. It failed, so he blamed the Democrats, ignoring that his own party controls Congress.

He faced a rapidly building up crisis about allegations of his and his associates’ connections to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Democrats milked that issue for all its worth, but Republicans helped along by mishandling the investigation.

So what can a president do when he fails in domestic policy?

He can always revive or inflame a simmering crisis in the Middle East, or in some other Muslim country. Hence Trump’s “seeming” flip flop on Syria. Before any UN meeting, before any investigation, he used suspicions and allegations of Assad using chemical weapons against a rebel area to throw about 60 Tomahawk missiles at a nearly-empty Syrian airbase.

The American media loved it: nothing brings Republican and Democrat political elites together than waging or escalating a war in a Muslim land. Some of the more “liberal” news networks went nearly orgasmic, could not have enough of the attack in Syria, some like CNN were sorely disappointed that it seemed like a one-time event.

The Syrian attack quickly distracted from the domestic Russian investigation. But the Russians and the Syrians mounted their own PR blitz and the need arose for more show of foreign toughness. Hence the first use of the biggest baddest non-nuclear bomb, the MOAB. Few people would argue with the target picked: a territory in Afghanistan reportedly boiling with Taliban and ISIS killers. And with few civilians.

Some, including myself, speculated that the MOAB and even the Syrian bombing may have included a message for the chubby dictator of Pyongyang. One Kim Jong Un, a seeming addict to Twinkies and Ding Dongs. But unfortunately the MOAB use also coincides with a time of serious fireworks in North Korea: the birthday of late dictator Kim Il Song. He was the man who established Communist North Korea and blessed it with his dynasty of nasty murderous despots.

They are reported to be planning some nuclear fireworks for the occasion. Now the Pyongyang regime is not an Arab regime. It is not the type that is expected to bend over and take it, even if it is well deserved as in this case. At the least, they have the city of Seoul hostage to their massive artillery: potentially hundreds of thousands of casualties, including many Americans.

And someone like the Pyongyang Kid can’t afford to seem weak. There are probably some among his own family who would gladly dispose of him.

That is why I doubt that Mr. Trump would authorize the use of MOAB in Korea, not without serious provocation. Unless the generals can find a way to have it land right where M. Kim is napping, taking a shower, among other activities.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Will America Join the Jihad in Syria? How Do They Line Up in Eastern Mediterranean……..

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demands that Russia drop its support of Assad in Syria. Sure: Putin, current heir to the rough and tough Soviet and Romanov empires, is almost certain to listen to the Texas oilman and his TV celebrity boss.

Nikki Haley seconds the Tillerson motion and threatens to take the names of anyone opposing it and add it to her famous list of names. And to cut their weekly allowances.

China‘s Xi, a guest of Trump at Mar-A-Lago, grins and remains “inscrutable”, as he is supposed to remain as leader of PRC (Chi-Com to the American Right). But he knows the futile game Trump is playing with him. Too transparent. No doubt, Trump was trying to unnerve Xi by attacking Syria during his visit. The problem with that is that Chi-Com leaders don’t get unnerved easily by television or real estate celebrities. Haven’t done it since the days of Chairman Mao and his Little Red Book. They can smell the bull from far away, they have done their fair share of spreading it.

Russia‘s Lavrov will ask that Trump drop his unwitting (or is that witless) support of Al Qaeda and other Jihadi cutthroats in Syria, including those in Idlib. The latter probably owned the same cache of chemical weapons that were bombed by the Syrian regime last week.

American mainstream media, often copying the media of Arab royal regimes that are as repressive as Assad, are gung-ho on avenging the Alamo, or the Maine. They have been since 2011.

Turkey wants Trump to help install a nice clean-cut Muslim Brotherhood regime in Damascus like the one in Turkey, and as humorless. It would be more repressive, given that it will include former Baathist renegades as well as current fundamentalists with Wahhabi ties.
Saudis want Trump to install a Wahhabi-esque regime in Damascus. Or, barring that, any regime that is hostile to the Iranians and Iraqis and not secular like the Baathists. They promise to shower the “right” regime in Damascus with many billions that they will not have.
UAE rulers don’t seem to care that much, as long as they get to have a naval base somewhere in Syria to protect their “national interests”, whatever the hell that be. In the Mediterranean of course.

The Bahrainis have no money to give to anyone outside the ruling family and their minions. So they will offer to receive the new Trump-anointed Caliph of Syria in their well-policed capital. On the assumption that this would legitimize both their regimes. Yes, they are clueless.
Iranians and Lebanese make the “right” noises, essentially they make the same noises in unison. But they keep on doing the voodoo that they do in Syria. So far.

Bashar Al Assad (America’s bête noire de la semaine) is a man who has had a target on his back for six years. He has been pronounced a dead-man-walking many times, mostly by Arab despots and Jihadis inside Syria and gullible believing Westerners. Yet he doesn’t seem worried about it. In fact I haven’t seen him worried since before the brief 2011 uprising that became a Jihadi insurrection that became a combination civil war and proxy war. Does he know something we don’t? Is he taking something we don’t? 

More on this later….

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Donald Trump’s Brief Airborne Syrian Fling: My Fatwa for Next Year………

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President Trump has managed to gather some sort of consensus, at least within the media and among politicians, around his brief air-war fling with Syria. As usual in the initial phase of a military action, both parties and the media have managed to praise his action, in some cases for fear of looking unpatriotic or “too outlier” (fear of bullying is not confined to school children).

Soon they will be asking: what next? What? No more? Especially cable media will go through severe withdrawal symptoms, being used to some thirty years of covering (ad nauseam) non-stop foreign wars. Some are already beginning to ask the question. Then the absolute rulers of the allied Muslim countries will push him to support a “democratic” Syria (where power can be shared between the Wahhabi Salafists attached to Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood attached to Turkey’s strongman Erdogan). A claustrophobic democratic experience they would never allow their own peoples to enjoy. Apparently Trump has been listening to the potentates lately, and he seems to be impressed.

My guess? My Fatwa: sometime well before the summer of 2018, Democrats will look back and say that Trump did his Syrian fling in order to divert attention from “other” more pressing “America First” issues he could not handle. The quick disenchantment happened with LBJ, Bush (pere et fils), and perhaps others.

A one-week apparent success (meaning no American casualties) while his foes’ knives are being temporarily hidden. Foreign action trumps domestic failure, but only for a while (just ask George H W Bush who presided over the end of the Soviet Union and a swift American victory in the Persian Gulf War).
The infrastructure will still need to be dealt with, and Trump may soon have some Obama-style stonewalling by the Republican Congress on the required spending. Then there is Healthcare, then a mechanism to keep and create jobs inside the USA, then a mechanism to encourage young people to enroll in STEM education (preferably within the excellent traditional mode of a broad American undergraduate college education that we all enjoyed).

The risk is that America First may become America Later. Looks like George Dubya Bush was right: being US president is a hard job……

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Not Coming to Dinner: Mike Pence, a Woman, and the Devil……

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“After this week’s revelation that Vice President Mike Pence prefers not to dine alone with women who are not his wife—or at least didn’t as of a 2002 article in the Hill—many members of both the entire sex he has snubbed and the sex that is still afforded the privilege of sitting across from Pence at a Chili’s have expressed their dismay on social media. How could the second most powerful man in our government treat men and women so differently? But not everyone is outraged, or all that surprised, to find out Pence never eats in the solitary presence of a woman…….”

Mr. Pence has suddenly excited the “socially liberal” half of America with the recent disclosure that he will not dine alone with a woman that is not his wife. I don’t understand all the fuss: many men would do (or not do) the same. Certainly the same applies to many, perhaps most, women. Probably there is some hypocrisy there.

There is an old Middle East saying: “whenever a man and a woman get together alone, the Devil is always present with them.” A threesome. Or something to that effect, allowing for linguistic preferences and differences.

You‘ve guessed by now that the idea is that it means there is no innocent get-together of a man and a woman (unless she is a sister, mother, aunt, etc). Right?

One of my language/religion teachers first told us that saying with suspicious relish in Middle School (Junior High). I rarely believed my teachers in matters of religion, but on that one I did at that time, given my critical age and natural obsession.

It is amazing how Christian fundamentalism is so much like Islamic fundamentalism. And how much they both resemble Jewish fundamentalism (apparently if you take a mixed-gender bus often in certain parts of Jerusalem you’d know what I mean). I suspect that they both got much of their uptightness from ancient Jewish writings. People from arid lands tend to be more uptight than others, I should know. Unless we’re talking about Arizona or Palm Springs. But Indiana? The Hoosier State doesn’t resemble our faraway places that have created Muslim and Jewish jihadis in recent decades…….

Maybe that is not it, maybe Mr. Pence knows himself as well as, say, Mr. Trump knows himself. The latter explained it all to the world in Billy Bush’s tapes. Live and learn….

(Remember: everybody’s house is at least partly made of glass. At least the windows tend to be so…..)

P.S.:  I just remembered a novel I read many years ago, Rain by one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Somerset Maugham.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum