Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Richard North Patterson Writes Scathingly About Trump. Be Careful What You Help Create!

What's with Erdogan? (See 1 below.)
Maybe a few clarifying facts may help. (See 2 below.)
I have two basic concerns regarding Trump only time  can put to rest:

a) I am concerned he may be more interested in numerically making deals than making sensible ones.

b) Though he is accomplished and has made some great financial deals, I am concerned his tweeting and other behavioral actions reveal a shallowness and lack of depth when it comes to penetrating reasoning. Again, only time will disprove my concerns.

There is no doubt Trump built a large real estate empire, employed a large number of people on whom he relied and was confronted with some significant challenges which he overcame but nothing matches the responsibilities and diverse nature of issues which attack a president. There is probably no job in the world that can prepare a mortal for being president of The United States.

Obama failed the test in my opinion though he reflected an outward coolness and is more articulate than Trump. Obama's judgement has proven unsound unless he purposely intended to diminish our nation's stature, ability to defend ourselves and meant to advantage the Muslim world while disregarding the tragedies occurring around him.

Obamacare proved a disaster, the billions wasted on projects which were billed as ready proved to be pipe dreams, The Iran Deal is  blowing up in our face, the reset button with Russia imploded, the budget deficit swelled beyond comprehension, domestic tranquility and race relations have gone up in smoke and broken glass and the rule of law became unenforced whenever it suited him to cite a few prime examples.

To date Trump has proven to be worthy to the task.  He has been stonewalled at every turn by the Democrats and has been treated with disdain by the mass media. He has made some excellent appointments.  It is way too early to judge what kind of president he will ultimately be and the roadblocks in his path are many and most not of his own making.

He has certainly proven amazingly tireless and has displayed a sense of humor and temperament that should serve him well.

Richard North Patterson is an author, was one of my father's former law partners. I always considered him  a poor man's James Patterson. He has written some entertaining fiction and he lived in California for a while and apparently now lives in the Boston area. I have not spoken with him for about 8 years.

Before he left the firm he wrote a fictional short story about my father that was published in Harper's Magazine.

In the article I have posted, Patterson takes Trump to task and expresses concerns similar to my own but in a far more articulate manner  but  more pessimistic than I feel is currently justified though his fears may come to pass.  Only time will tell. You decide. (See 3 below.)
Liberals helped created students whose behaviour they now criticize? (See 4 below.)
1)  Europe's Turkish Awakening
by Burak Bekdil
The Gatestone Institute

Turkey, officially, is a candidate for full membership in the European Union. It is also negotiating with Brussels a deal that would allow millions of Turks to travel to Europe without visa. But Turkey is not like any other European country that joined or will join the EU: The Turks' choice of a leader, in office since 2002, too visibly makes this country the odd one out.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is now campaigning to broaden his constitutional powers, which would make him head of state, head of government and head of the ruling party -- all at the same time -- is inherently autocratic and anti-Western. He seems to view himself as a great Muslim leader fighting armies of infidel crusaders. This image with which he portrays himself finds powerful echoes among millions of conservative Turks and [Sunni] Islamists across the Middle East. That, among other excesses in the Turkish style, makes Turkey totally incompatible with Europe in political culture.

Yet, there is always the lighter side of things. Take, for example, Melih Gokcek, the mayor of Ankara and a bigwig in Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP). In February Gokcek claimed that earthquakes in a western Turkish province could have been organized by dark external powers (read: Western infidels) aiming to destroy Turkey's economy with an "artificial earthquake" near Istanbul. According to this conspiracy theory, the mayor not only claims that the earthquake in western Turkey was the work of the U.S. and Israel, but also that the U.S. created the radical Islamic State (ISIS). In fact, according to him, the U.S. and Israel colluded to trigger an earthquake in Turkey so they could capture energy from the Turkish fault line.

Europe looks united in not allowing Turkey to export its violent political polarization into the Old Continent.
Matters between Turkey and Europe are far more tense today than ridiculous statements from politicians who want to look pretty to Erdogan. The president, willingly ignoring his own strong anti-Semitic views, recently accused Germany of "fascist actions" reminiscent of Nazi times, in a growing row over the cancellation of political rallies aimed at drumming up support for him among 1.5 million Turkish citizens in Germany.

The Dutch, Erdogan apparently thinks, are no different. In a similar diplomatic row over Turkish political rallies in the Netherlands, Erdogan described the Dutch government as "Nazi remnants and fascists." After barring Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from entering the country by airplane, the Dutch authorities also escorted another Turkish minister out of the country. Quite a humiliation, no doubt. An angry Erdogan promised the Netherlands would pay a price for that.
Europe, not just Germany and the Netherlands, looks united in not allowing Erdogan to export Turkey's highly tense and sometimes even violent political polarization into the Old Continent. There are media reports that the owner of a venue in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, has now cancelled a pro-Erdogan rally, although Sweden's foreign ministry said it was not involved in the decision.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently accused Germany of "fascist actions" and described Dutch leaders as "Nazi remnants and fascists."
Europe's anti-Erdogan sentiment is going viral. Denmark's prime minister, Lars Loekke Rasmussen, said that he asked his Turkish counterpart, Binali Yildirim, to postpone a planned visit because of tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands.

Although Turkey thanked France for allowing Foreign Minister Cavusoglu to address a gathering of Turkish "expats" in the city of Metz, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called on Turkish authorities to "avoid excesses and provocations."
None of the incidents that forcefully point to Europe's "Turkish awakening" happened out of the blue. At the beginning of February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Erdogan held a tense meeting in Ankara. Erdogan clearly rejected Merkel's mention of "Islamist terror" on grounds that "the expression saddens Muslims because Islam and terror cannot coexist."

Erdogan objected to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's use of the term "Islamist terror" on the grounds that it "saddens Muslims because Islam and terror cannot coexist."
The row came at a time when a German investigation into Turkish imams in Germany spying on Erdogan's foes made signs of reaching out to other parts of Europe. Peter Pilz, an Austrian lawmaker, said that he was in possession of documents from 30 countries that revealed a "global spying network" at Turkish diplomatic missions.
At the beginning of March, after Turkey said it would defy opposition from German and Dutch authorities and continue holding rallies in both countries, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern called for an EU-wide ban on campaign appearances by Turkish politicians.

In response, further challenging Europe, Turkey arrested Deniz Yucel, a Turkish-German reporter for a prominent German newspaper, Die Welt, on charges of "propaganda in support of a terrorist organization and inciting the public to violence." Yucel had been detained after he reported on emails that a leftist hacker collective had purportedly obtained from the private account of Berat Albayrak, Turkey's energy minister and Erdogan's son-in-law.

Erdogan's propaganda war on "infidel" Europe has the potential to further poison both bilateral relations with individual countries and with Europe as a bloc. Not even the Turkish "expats" are happy. The leader of Germany's Turkish community accused Erdogan of damaging ties between the two NATO allies. Gokay Sofuoglu, chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany, which is an umbrella for 270 member organizations, said: "Erdogan went a step too far. Germany should not sink to his level."

The most recent wave of tensions between Erdogan's Turkey and Europe, which it theoretically aspires to join, have once again unveiled the long-tolerated incompatibility between Turkey's predominantly conservative, Islamist and often anti-Western political culture and Europe's liberal values.

Turkey increasingly looks like Saddam Hussein's Iraq. During my 1989 visit to Iraq a Turkish-speaking government guide refused to discuss Iraqi politics, justifying his reluctance as: "In Iraq half the population are spies... spying on the other half." Erdogan's Turkey has officially embarked on a journey toward Western democracy. Instead, its Islamist mindset is at war with Western democracy.
Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based political analyst and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
2) What The Repeal Bill Actually Says By Betsy McCaughey

Ignore the grandstanding on Capitol Hill and the noisy town hall protests around the nation. The Republican bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare — will boost your chances of getting a job and cut your tax bill. Not to mention  insurance costs.  The repeal bill — American Health Care Act  — also will stave off a tidal wave of future Medicaid spending that threatens to drown the states and Uncle Sam in red ink.
No More Penalties
If you're among  the 8 million people getting whacked with a tax penalty for not enrolling in an over-priced ObamaCare plan, the repeal bill is good news.  The federal government will no longer compel  you to buy insurance.
The repeal bill also cancels penalties on employers.  ObamaCare forced all but the smallest employers to provide a benefits package far costlier than what they had been offering prior to the ACA.  Employers passed these costs onto workers, raising deductibles by 50% on about 155 million people.
Other employers dropped coverage altogether for millions of workers. Only in Washington D.C. would an employer mandate result in fewer people getting on-the-job coverage.
Still other employers — like community colleges and fast food outlets — demoted workers to part-time status (below 30 hours a week) to avoid the mandate. In New York, some service and manufacturing companies stopped hiring altogether, according to the New York Fed.
Without repeal, there would be 2 million fewer people with full time jobs by 2025, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  The repeal bill is a jobs program.
Lower Taxes
It's also a massive  $600 billion tax cut. It eliminates taxes that pushed up the costs of insurance and  devices like artificial hips. It also  allows people to put aside more earnings tax free in a health savings account for out of pocket health expenses.  And  it eliminates the taxes that targeted people earning more than $200,000 a year, including the  Obamacare payroll tax hike (2.35%) and the 3.8% Obamacare tax on unearned income.
Medicaid Fix
Repeal  rescues the nation from a looming financial  calamity.
Medicaid, the public program for low income people, has grown  explosively under  ObamaCare. Medicaid now covers 74 million people.  The ACA encouraged states to expand enrollment by promising the federal government would pay  90% to 100% of the cost. That's like handing your teenager your credit card.
State politicians eager to rake in federal funds s spent with abandon. More than half of all federal dollars now going  to the states are for Medicaid.
And Medicaid spending per recipient is growing twice as fast as Medicare for seniors. But without improving health measures like blood pressure control.
You pay for Medicaid costs twice: first as a taxpayer and again as a consumer.  Because  Medicaid reimburses hospitals and doctors only 90 cents for every dollar of care, the shortfall  gets shifted on patients with private insurance, adding about $1,800 a year to your premium. Ouch.
Disregard shrill complaints from ObamaCare partisans like Zeke Emanuel that reforming Medicaid  is "cruel." The repeal bill protects Americans who need Medicaid, grandfathering in everyone enrolled through 2019.  No one will lose coverage. But states are put on an allowance after 2019.  Medicaid reform is long overdue, and this repeal bill launches it.
Individual Insurance Buyers
Finally, if you're one of the 19 million people who buys insurance in the individual market, you'll find all the protections of ObamaCare are preserved, including banning lifetime and annual payment caps  and penalties for  pre-existing conditions. True, subsidies for lower income buyers are smaller.
But the most newsworthy innovation is a multibillion dollar fund that states can use to reduce premiums. States will  pay the costs of the sickest insurance customers, so that premiums paid by healthy customers can stay reasonable.  That  feature  has been ignored by the media and repeal critics,  but it's a keeper. With adequate funding it has the potential to deliver what Obamacare never did: affordability.
3) Trump’s dangerous ostrich 
By Richard North Patterson

AMONG THE LEAST remarked, but perhaps most disturbing, of Donald Trump’s disqualifications for leadership is his comprehensive ignorance of geopolitical history. In a president, ignorance is contagious — and potentially lethal. For Donald Trump seeks to implant an ethnonationalist “America First” sensibility which, by erasing 70 years of global reality, endangers us far more than any foreign enemy.
What Trump doesn’t grasp is basic World Affairs 101. The open world we live in arose from a transformative post-World War II vision — that America could lead in forging a more prosperous and peaceful international community, in which nations traded freely and eschewed aggression and oppression in favor of democracy and self-determination. This was often more dream than reality. The mediating institutions of this multi-faceted collaboration — notably the United Nations — were flawed and balky, and war, genocide, and humanitarian disasters have stained the decades since. But the concept worked well enough that cooperation, democracy, and prosperity increased around the globe.
Now come Russia and China. Russia murders and jails dissidents; China strangles dissent while choking the Internet. Russia has invaded Georgia, annexed Crimea, undermined the Ukraine, committed war crimes in Syria, launched cyber warfare against electoral and other institutions in seven European countries, and attempted to influence America’s 2016 elections through systematic hacking. The Chinese assert dominion over the South China Sea in defiance of international maritime rights while failing to constrain the menacing nuclear program of its ally, North Korea. All this breeds the conflict and instability the framework of world order exists to prevent.
Our recent history is hardly blameless — America’s invasion of Iraq ultimately spawned the global threat of ISIS while destabilizing an already volatile region. But that is an argument for a rational world order, not against it. Indeed, our original sin in Iraq was invading a foreign country without sufficient justification or appreciation of the consequences.  
Enter Donald Trump. At a time when the concept of international cooperation is essential, Trump proposes to blow it up. He scorns the idea that America has any interest beyond itself, no matter how pragmatic. He demeans the Paris climate deal, the Iran nuclear accord, NATO, the European Union, and free trade agreements. He says nothing about democracy and human rights — instead, he endorses torture and praises the murderous Vladimir Putin as “a strong leader.” Trump’s world order mirrors the world of his mind, a Hobbesian place subject to his narcissistic whims — and a dangerous place for us and everyone else.
Consider its potential outcomes: Russia dominating its neighbors against their will. Russia using Iran to destabilize the Middle East and spread Russian influence, exacerbating the Shia- Sunni conflict. Russia and the Assad regime slaughtering their way to “victory” in Syria, deepening the humanitarian disaster that also threatens the security of the Middle East, Europe, and ultimately the United States.
China would become the dominant economic, political, and military power in Asia, bending other countries to its will at whatever cost to them and us. The fragmentation of Europe would likely accelerate, another goal of Putin. America would retreat to a defensive crouch, our homeland security posture territorial, our trading relations fractious, our policies hostile to the immigration that has always renewed our energies. The instruments of international order would atrophy. And Trump’s engagement with the world, far from being thought out or systematic, would be spasmodic — random ad hoc responses to whatever threat emerges from our neglect.
And how would these responses be executed? Trump proposes drastically slashing our budget for diplomacy and foreign assistance in favor of beefing up the military — a trade-off deplored by generals who know that diplomatic failure means increased dangers which, quite likely, we would have to meet unilaterally. Somehow Trump imagines we can retreat behind walls, physical and economic, calling on a muscular military to squelch whatever crises may arise in the fatefully small world that eludes Trump’s crabbed imagination.
That real world’s gravest threats transcend borders: nuclear proliferation, transnational terrorism, WMDs, North Korean warheads, climate change, pandemics, cyber warfare, global financial crises, economic dislocation, and mass humanitarian disasters. Only global cooperation can prevent the worst. Like a fly in amber, Trump remains in the zero-sum environment of a venal developer, where one prospers by threatening, blustering, and stifling subcontractors. In this stunted mentality, our engagement with the world has cost us more than all we’ve gained — in prosperity, security, and the spread of human decency.
He may well succeed in proving just how wrong that is.
Richard North Patterson’s column appears regularly in the Globe. His latest book is “Fever Swamp.’’ Follow him on Twitter @RicPatterson.

Some on the Left Now Criticize the Students They Created

Take New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. His latest
column is filled with dismay over the way Middlebury 
College students attacked Charles Murray and a liberal 
woman professor who interviewed him (she was injured 
by the rioters).
In the last few weeks, there has been a spate of columns by writers on the left condemning the left-wing 
college students who riot, take over university buildings and shout down speakers with whom they 
These condemnations, coming about 50 years too late, should not be taken seriously.
I have no doubt that Bruni is sincere. However, sincerity is completely unrelated to wisdom or insight.
Here's the problem:
It is the left that transformed universities into the moral and intellectual wastelands most are now.
It is the left that created the moral monsters known as left-wing students who do not believe in free 
speech, let alone tolerance.
It is the left that has taught generations of young Americans that America is essentially a despicable 
society that is racist and xenophobic to its core.
It is the left that came up with the lie that the university has been overrun by a "culture of rape."
It is the left that taught generations of Americans that everyone on the right is sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, racist and bigoted.
It is the left that is anti-intellectual, teaching students to substitute feelings for reason.
It is the left that removed the portrait of Shakespeare hanging in the English department of the 
University of Pennsylvania because Shakespeare is a white male, thereby teaching college students that 
art is not measured by excellence or by the pursuit of truth but by race, gender and class.
It is the left that has transformed the Founding Fathers of the United States from great men who created 
the freest and most affluent society in human society into rich racist white males who created a racist, 
colonialist, imperialist, women-hating, foreigner-hating, non-white-hating society.
Two of Bruni's fellow New York Times columnists, Paul Krugman and Charles Blow, vie with each 
other to write hate-filled hysteria regarding conservatives, Republicans and the president. What are 
students who reads Blow supposed to conclude when Blow declares President Donald Trump "madman 
of the year," "a parasite" and a "demi-fascist," and writes that the battle against Trump is "about 
democracy and fascism, war and peace, life and death"? Can we expect them to conclude that they 
should be respectful of conservatives who come to campus?
How are students who read Krugman supposed to react to Republicans coming to their campus? In Jan. 
2011, just one day after Jared Loughner murdered six people and gravely wounded former Rep. 
Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, Krugman wrote that the murders were a result of hate-filled 
rhetoric coming from conservatives and Republicans.
He said: "When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were 
you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen? Put me in the latter category. ... It's the saturation of 
our political discourse -- and especially our airwaves -- with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the
 rising tide of violence. Where's that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let's not make a false pretense of 
balance: it's coming, overwhelmingly, from the right."
Why would students want to allow people who engage in "eliminationist rhetoric" to speak on their 
And what about all the leftists who routinely use the word "resistance," a word connoting a battle 
against Nazi-like tyranny, instead of the usual word "opposition" to denote political disagreement? 
What should students conclude about that? Isn't rioting a legitimate form of "resistance" when a 
representative of "tyranny" comes to campus?
To cite but one more example, if students believe the left-wing hate group the Southern Poverty Law 
Center when it labels Ayaan Hirsi Ali an "anti-Islamic extremist," is it any wonder that they and the 
professors at Brandeis University would rescind the university's invitation to this courageous Somali-
American woman, a great defender of women in the Islamic world?
After this half-century of left-wing teaching and hateful rhetoric, the tears of the Frank Brunis and 
others on the left mean nothing. Their leftist thinking spawned this catastrophe. Until they take 
responsibility for it, they are not to be taken seriously.


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