Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Charlottesville Supplants Collusion. President Arnn and Western Civilization. Will China Decide for Trump? The Bushes.

"From a very dear friend and fellow memo reader: "The Google narrative is quite timely with what happened in Charlottsville. What is going on in our country????   Is there freedom of speech?? Who has the right to say anything they want to say? President Obama supported the rioters say "Pigs In A Blanket, Fry Em like bacon". Where was the rioting supporting the police? None as the supporters of the police are silenced by being called racist. Only certain people have freedom of speech.


Humor about aging:
The mass media now have something new to talk about  since the "Collusion" issue is no longer the hot topic. It will come back, rest assured of that.

All violence is deplorable and if against the law, as it should be, all perpetrators should be jailed. Violence is violence and should not be tolerated nor should it be calibrated whether from the right, the left and/or whatever source and/or direction. (see 1 below.)

There are a variety of views and I subscribe to what Holman Jenkins and Jason Riley wrote in their op ed's. There is no doubt those who came to protest the Supremacists were out for blood but self-serving Liberals and the PC crowd are willing to tolerate law breakers when they agree with their professed  motives.

There are ways to resist hate, there are valid methods one can use to send a clear message regarding haters.  When you resort to thuggery you have sought the level of the haters and I submit, you have undercut your effectiveness and brought into question your own morality..

As for Corporate officials they can be fair weather friends and unreliable if their job security is threatened.

I am sure most are partly sincere but they are more motivated by their bottom line, golden parachutes and tax relief than morality. I did not hear any of them complain about what Google did to one of its outspoken employees. Selective morality is hypocritical. Obama was a master at it.

Far too many corporate executives like their jobs, pensions, stock rights, medical benefits and retirement packages too much to be loyal to a cause beyond self and their companies.

The disparity between corporate pay received by executives and the wages of their employees has widened over the years because government regulations allowed them to bring in consultants and they were able to disengage from caring about their workers.  This is one downside consequence of the use of capitalism by managers that is dangerous and needs to be addressed. How is the question.
(See 1, 1a, 1b and 1c below.)


This from Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, pumping his curriculum on Western Civilization. (See 2 below.)
I remain concerned that N Korea's backing away does not have any permanence to it and simply allows them to continue their nefarious venturing. Furthermore, it establishes a precedence for Iran.

Sanctions have an impact but economic greed, on the part of our allies and our own corporate world,  ,overcomes much of sanction's impact and leaders of both countries know we want to avoid the only appropriate decision - destroy their ability to threaten the world.

Even Trump will probably cave because he would have to go against the mass media, Liberals, the entire Democrat Party and most of the public who would rather live in denial and keep kicking the nuclear can down the field. Also many of his own advisors would rather talk and negotiate than fight. S Korea just told Trump he would need their approval before attacking N Korea. Finally, China has a lot to say about what Trump does.

Watch "Fat Boy's" reaction to next week's annual joint exercise of  American forces with S Korea's. (See 3 below.)

I am now reading Jon Meacham's biography of George Walker Bush ('41.) In time I believe American voters will come to miss both Bushes and historians will treat them far better than Obama.

Stay tuned.
Cliff May points out our disunity is keeping those who are forming Trump's grand strategy from doing so. He also lays out where Obama failed tp do so.(See 5 below.)
1)Confederate statues today, book burnings tomorrow

A crowd of ignorant protesters pulled down a bronze Confederate statue that stood before a county government building in Durham, North Carolina — the angry national backlash to the Charlottesville brouhaha over the Robert E. Lee monument.
This is not how civil societies operate. And yet this is what the left has brought, and now cheers.
What’s next — burning books with offensive content?
Burning books written by those who used to own slaves? At the very least, museums will have to go.
The problem with revising history based on a standard of “feeling offensive” — as this anti-Confederate craze is rooted — is that someone, somewhere will always take offense at something.
For instance, once upon a time in America, women couldn’t vote for the president of this country. Neither could non-property owners, for the most part, or Indians, in addition to blacks. That’s offensive. Shall we tear down American flags — destroy copies of the Constitution — in symbolic protest of the bondage and discrimination to which these so-deemed second-class members of society were subjected? Or should we just go for the big score and burn down the Rotunda of the National Archives Building, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are stored?
What’s more, women ought to feel particularly slighted by the fact that blacks were given the constitutional right to vote decades before they were. Just ask Susan B. Anthony, who was arrested a couple years after the 14th and 15th amendments were passed, all for the crime of trying to vote. Shall women, say, tear down the Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington, D.C., because it’s an offensive reminder of the failure of America to pass the 19th Amendment until 1920, roughly 50 years after blacks won their voting rights?
1a) Trump and the CEOs

A GOP President who loses the business class has a big problem.

By The Editorial Board

An old line in politics is that the Fortune 500 never elected anyone, and that’s truer of Donald Trump than of any recent President. But this week’s CEO resignations from Mr. Trump’s manufacturing advisory council should still concern the President because they are a symbol of his eroding support beyond his core political base.

The CEOs of Merck, Intel and Under Armour resigned from the White House advisory group in the wake of the President’s initial remarks after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. Kenneth Frazier, the Merck boss, was pointed in explaining that “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.” Two more resigned on Tuesday, and others who stayed joined the public criticism.
Mr. Trump dismissed the CEOs as “grandstanders,” and that line will resonate with some of his supporters. Corporate America isn’t popular these days. These advisory councils also don’t do all that much, and perhaps the CEOs were looking for an excuse to dump an obligation that isn’t central to their companies.
Yet with rare exceptions like Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan or Fred Smith of Fedex , CEOs are also politically risk-averse. Most probably didn’t vote for Mr. Trump but they also don’t want to court his wrath with three-and-a-half years left in his term. They joined the advisory group at the start of his Presidency because, whatever their doubts about Mr. Trump as a candidate, they support some of his policies and hope that as President he will sign tax reform and ease regulations to help the economy and thus their companies, workers and shareholders.
Their decision to quit now in such public fashion shows the growing political and cultural pressure that CEOs and others in public life are under to distance themselves from Mr. Trump. The disdain for the President in the media and Hollywood isn’t surprising, and Mr. Trump wears it like a badge of honor. But the business community is, or ought to be, a natural part of a Republican President’s governing coalition.
Mr. Trump began his Presidency amid unprecedented hostility from those who didn’t vote for him. This is all the more reason to govern in a way that seeks to broaden his coalition with new allies. Yet Mr. Trump has seemingly taken every opportunity to escalate feuds and attack even allies in Congress like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
As if to prove this point, Mr. Trump lashed out at Merck’s Mr. Frazier on Twitter Monday with what amounted to a political threat: “@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!” This display of pique does nothing but make others less likely to get anywhere close to Mr. Trump’s orbit.
But then we repeat ourselves. Mr. Trump’s ego won’t allow him to concede error and he broods over criticism until he ends up hurting himself, as he showed again Tuesday by relitigating his response to the Charlottesville violence. This is how he has achieved a 34% approval rating, as even allies flee and his Presidency shrinks in on itself.

1b) Trump Loses Corporate America

There is no point in taking brickbats for a president who does not deliver.

By  Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
Companies get in bed with politicians when it serves their interests and are quick to run away when it doesn’t. Thus nobody is obliged to interpret the flutter of CEOs away from President Trump’s advisory council since the Charlottesville riot as occasions of courage.
Still, these are some of America’s most delicate PR canaries, surrounded by risk-averse advisers. Mr. Trump’s administration is turning out not to be the administration they were hoping for, though probably the one they realistically expected.
Especially he has not made headway on corporate taxes—the issue that bought him whatever benefit of the doubt America’s CEO class was willing to give him.
Now a handful are fleeing his advisory council because he didn’t say the right words over Charlottesville, or didn’t say them quickly enough. This is big news because the media can’t get enough Trump. He insists on making himself the lightning rod. That’s one problem.
If the president or a scraggly someone close to him in the West Wing is soft on white supremacists because he thinks these groups are a vital bloc, this would be the miscalculation of the century. Their adherents couldn’t swing a race for dogcatcher. It is precisely the left’s fantasy of the right that these people constitute a useful electoral base.
None of the departing CEOs likely believe Mr. Trump is a white supremacist or Nazi sympathizer. They just see no upside to being associated with him. Two of those who quit, Merck’s Kenneth Frazier and Intel ’s Brian Krzanich, implicitly cited an unnamed individual’s failure to speak out forcefully enough against racism.
Kevin Plank of Under Armour perhaps indulged a greater honesty when he suggested his company belatedly remembered that it “engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”
There may be a temptation to liken these men to Google’s Sundar Pichai, who overnight acquired a reputation as a moral coward for firing a diversity-policy dissenter. Other CEOs, like Jeff Immelt of GE, found voices to express opposition to white racism without trying to turn themselves into symbols of anti-Trump resistance.
But Mr. Trump hardly helped with his response, a series of tweets about Merck’s high drug prices. Mr. Trump is the one party to these exchanges who doesn’t have three layers of advisers to help him discover his deepest thoughts. If he did, he might not be frittering away his presidency.
But let’s also notice how little this has to do with Charlottesville. Mr. Trump was essentially correct when he warned, in his initial, widely-panned comments, about danger from “many sides.” In one of those quirks of old-style magazine publishing, the Atlantic dropped a story, dated September, that went to press before Charlottesville and yet details the “The Rise of the Violent Left,” especially the Antifa movement that was in the middle of the Charlottesville brawl.
Mr. Trump, who perhaps actually paid attention to his Charlottesville briefing, may just have responded the way 99% of Americans would have to the full story. Or the way European publics in the 1920s and ’30s did when they saw Hitlerites and Stalinists battling in the streets and wanted nothing to do with either.
Happily, the social and political condition of America today is nothing like Germany circa 1930, even as both extreme right and extreme left peddle exactly the same delusive line that Trumpism is the force somehow carrying them to the centers of the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively.
To the extent there’s any truth to this, however, notice what the Atlantic chose as its subject: “Antifa’s violent tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left,” which in the magazine’s reporting includes the Nation and
The overwhelming American sentiment after Charlottesville will be “Where were the cops?” Charlottesville is a Democratic town, in a state run by a Democratic governor. Its Mayor Mike Signer declared the city a “capital of resistance” shortly after Mr. Trump’s inauguration. Its Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy last year was obliged to step down from a high-school teaching job because of misogynistic, homophobic and anti-white tweets.
The Atlantic quotes a pollster’s finding that 71% of Democrats detected “fascist undertones” in the Trump campaign. If the Hitlerites were spoiling for a fight in Charlottesville, they likely lacked any sway with the town fathers to keep the path clear for them. Perhaps not so the left-wing activists of Antifa.
At least the question is worth asking. Nobody is responsible for anticipating that a lone nut will drive a car into a crowd of mostly peaceful protesters. But for some reason, the city’s leaders failed to head off an antifascist rumble they saw coming from a long way off—and that arguably they had a duty to head off once they issued, however reluctantly, a legal rally permit to the white-supremacist groups.

1c) Trump Follows Obama’s Example of Moral Equivalence

When five Dallas cops were murdered last year, the 44th president faulted police as well as the killer

By Jason L. Riley
If you were shocked that President Trump had to be pressured into condemning by name neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists, then you probably haven’t been paying enough attention. His Saturday remarks on Charlottesville, Va., where protesters clashed violently over a statue in a park of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, showed again that Mr. Trump has little use for Oval Office norms. But his initial reaction also evinced an Obama-like reluctance to denounce despicable behavior forcefully and in no uncertain terms.
When five policemen were gunned down in Dallas last year, Mr. Obama said there was no justification for violence against law enforcement—but then he added a comment about racial inequity in the criminal-justice system. After violent demonstrators pillaged Baltimore in 2015 following the death of a black man in police custody, Mr. Obama dutifully condemned the rioters—but not without also noting that “we have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions.”
What we heard from Mr. Trump on Saturday, when he said “many sides” were to blame for what took place in Charlottesville, was more of the same equivocation. Both presidents were less interested in moral clarity than in placating fringe groups out of political expediency. The difference is that Mr. Obama’s caucus mostly indulged his racial innuendo, while Mr. Trump’s called him on it. That’s why the president reluctantly issued a more forceful second statement on Monday.
Calls are now multiplying for Mr. Trump to rid his White House of chief strategist Steve Bannon and other alt-right sympathizers, and you’d get no objections to doing so from this columnist. But who’s to say for certain that Mr. Bannon’s presence is the root problem? When Mr. Trump took his time last year disavowing David Duke after the former Klan leader endorsed him for president, Mr. Bannon had yet to join the campaign. Perhaps Mr. Trump’s problem is not his staff.
The president’s inability to denounce white nationalists properly on his first try is troubling, but more so is these groups’ growing prominence. Race relations declined sharply under Mr. Obama, according to polling in the final months of 2016; by the time Mr. Trump entered office, they were already at their tensest since the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. The videos captured, and spread widely through social media, of police encounters with black suspects no doubt contributed to the problem. The data show a steep decline in police shootings in recent decades. But anecdotal evidence, no matter how unrepresentative of reality, packs a more powerful punch than the recitation of dry statistics.
Mr. Obama’s attempts to advance black interests through heightened group identity and us-against-them rhetoric didn’t help. He embraced openly antiwhite groups like Black Lives Matter and racially polarizing figures like Al Sharpton. The subsequent rise of the alt-right may be history repeating itself. The Black Power movement of the 1960s was followed by an increase in the number of skinheads and other white-identity groups in the 1970s and ’80s, including among more-educated whites who had previously kept their distance. Similarly, Richard Spencer, who was in Charlottesville on Saturday and is one the country’s more prominent white nationalists, is the son of a physician. He earned degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago before dropping out of a doctoral program at Duke.
It would be unfair to blame Mr. Trump for racial divisions, but it is fair to say he has successfully exploited them and taken little interest in trying to narrow them. The evidence suggests Mr. Trump won the election primarily by flipping former supporters of Mr. Obama. Maybe the president is convinced, like many of his liberal opponents, that the alt-right carried him to victory. His behavior so far certainly suggests at much.
Where does this leave people who reject the politicization of race? In a bad way that could get worse before it gets better. The white supremacists who organized last weekend’s events are reportedly planning several more. The media no doubt will cover these rallies like never before, giving demonstrators, with their Hitler salutes and Tiki torches, all the attention they crave. Heaven only knows how the White House will respond.
2)Fellow American,
President Donald Trump recently highlighted the importance of our “Western tradition”—meaning the foundation of Western Civilization—in a speech to the people of Poland. The media took issue with the phrase “Western tradition,” accusing him of promoting an “alt-right manifesto” that only celebrates dead white men.
While the media reacts strongly to anything Trump says, this particular response shows that there is a great misunderstanding of the meaning of Western heritage and its foundations.
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3) China's World
By Andrew Browne

SHANGHAI—By ordering his first trade action against Beijing, while amping up pressure on Chinese leaders to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear menace, U.S. President Donald Trump is bringing to a head two of the most intractable problems that bedevil U.S.-China relations.
There are hints that Mr. Trump’s hard-nosed strategy could be having an impact—at least in the near-term. After repeated North Korean threats to launch missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, Pyongyang suddenly backed away from that threat Tuesday. And China has signed on to U.N. sanctions that will slash North Korea’s already meager foreign revenues by another $1 billion.
But Mr. Trump’s strategy comes with risks; each issue—trade and North Korea—is volatile enough to upend the relationship.
Mismanaged, one could ignite a trade war, the other trigger scenarios that could lead to military conflict.
To avoid these dangers, the two sides would have to reconcile clashing views on Asian security, which shape their divergent approaches to North Korea, and incompatible economic systems, which drive trade frictions.
The Chinese economy is now powerful enough to withstand any trade sanctions; it is less dependent on exports, whereas U.S. corporations are more reliant than ever on access to China’s consumer markets. A tit-for-tat trade war would hurt both sides, and damage U.S. friends and allies in global supply chains that run through China.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping, riding a wave of assertive nationalism he’s helped to whip up, aims to diminish the U.S. presence in Asia and weaken its alliance system. He has no interest in any kind of arrangement for the Korean Peninsula that would strengthen America’s position there, and allow Washington to turn its attention to other flashpoints like Taiwan and the South China Sea.
Beijing’s bottom line: The status quo in North Korea is preferable to the upheaval required to take out its nuclear weapons, most likely including regime change.
White House officials insist there is no linkage between the North Korean issue and Monday’s presidential order to examine whether an investigation is warranted into Chinese requirements that U.S. companies give up technology in return for market access, as well as outright intellectual property theft. China, too, insists that trade disputes and North Korean tensions are separate issues
Yet Mr. Trump has explicitly made the connection. This was the grand bargain he dangled to Mr. Xi: Help me on North Korea, and I’ll go easy on trade. He’s rapidly losing patience, though. “Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade,” Mr. Trump tweeted, “yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk.”
That’s been the U.S. complaint for years. Now, North Korea is on the point of perfecting intercontinental ballistic missiles able to strike the U.S. mainland.
And mercantilist policies, like forced technology transfers, have become an integral part of China’s state-led industrial model, imperiling America’s long-term economic prospects.
We’re moving toward a climax on two fronts in a crisis atmosphere.
To be sure, Mr. Trump is acting cautiously and deliberately, despite heated rhetoric. An investigation into alleged Chinese trade abuses could take up to a year, leaving ample room for compromise
On North Korea, he has stressed the need for cooperation, although his threat to unleash “fire and fury” against North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un was as much intended to scare Beijing into action as to rattle the Korean dictator.
Some think Mr. Trump is deploying Nixonian “Madman Theory” to make Chinese leaders believe he is crazy enough to unleash chaos on their doorstep. In a phone call last week, Mr. Xi urged Mr. Trump to “avoid words and deeds that increase tensions.”
A nightmare for Beijing is a North Korean collapse that brings U.S. troops pouring across the 38th parallel, running into Chinese forces headed in the opposite direction to impose order, prevent a refugee wave and secure “loose nukes.”
Avoiding worst-case scenarios is a challenge as great as any the U.S. and China have facedsince diplomatic normalization in 1979.
Henry Kissinger, an architect of that breakthrough, writes in The Wall Street Journal that instead of subcontracting to Beijing the task of achieving American objectives on North Korea, the only feasible approach is “to merge the two efforts and develop a common position.”
But the gap between Beijing and Washington remains immense.
Hours ahead of Mr. Trump’s announcement on trade, Beijing said it would start implementing bans on coal, iron ore, seafood and other products from North Korea. But it won’t go so far as to cut off fuel and food supplies.
When it comes to trade, Beijing brought so little to the table during the first round of formal talks with the Trump administration they broke up with no joint statements, action plans or even a news conference. The implication is that China feels no sense of urgency, nor does it fear a showdown.
5)In search of a grand U.S. strategy
Anti-extremists should hang together while Trump’s advisers construct it

Nixon’s rapprochement with China, the end of the Cold War, President Obama’s outreach to “the Muslim world,” the growth of the (largely American-funded) United Nations – weren’t such developments supposed to lead to a safer world, one in which the “international community” would embrace “universal values” and pursue common interests -- peace and security key among them? 

Those who thought so were, to put it kindly, credulous. “Conflicts within and between societies have occurred since the dawn of civilization,” Henry Kissinger has observed. I’m betting that will hold true until the sunset of civilization which, unless we’re careful, could be around the proverbial corner. Consider just a few of the threats America now faces.

North Korea is ruled by a dynastic dictator whose psyche we can’t begin to fathom and who has acquired nuclear weapons and increasingly sophisticated missiles to deliver them to targets of his choosing.

Iran’s rulers combine medieval jihadism with even more ancient Persian imperialism. They continue to chant “Death to America!” notwithstanding their promise to delay development of the most efficient means to that end.

China’s Communist rulers have both regional and global ambitions. Russia is ruled by a revanchist tsar/commissar who intends to restore what he can of the Russian empire.

Meanwhile, various non-state actors, motivated by ideologies rooted in Islamist theology, conspire to destroy America both from without and within.

These threats may appear distinct but, in fact, they are intertwined. China supports North Korea. Russia supports Iran. Iran and North Korea cooperate on missile programs and, you may safely bet, on nuclear weapons as well.  Iran is the leading state sponsor of jihadi terrorism.

I could go on but it should by now be apparent that it’s insufficient for the U.S. to sit back and wait for the arc of history to bend. Nor is the answer to play global whack-a-mole. 

To defend American lives and liberties – the central purpose of the government – we need not only sound strategies vis-à-vis specific threats but also a grand strategy designed to address the entire threat matrix.

Why don’t we have that? Following the attacks of 9/11/01, President George W. Bush launched a Global War on Terrorism.  Its conceptual flaw: It failed to name or comprehend America’s enemies. Terrorism is merely a weapon those enemies find useful.

President Obama attacked al Qaeda (a still-dangerous organization) but, beyond that, seemed to think America has no enemies – just friends waiting for their legitimate grievances to be addressed by someone with his unique multicultural sensitivities.

He had no plan for the day after the fall of Muammar Khadafy in Libya. His re-set with Russia, complete with toy button, was a joke and his “pivot” to Asia was unserious. He withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq and refused to support non-Islamist rebels in Syria, thereby giving the Islamic State – which he initially dismissed as a “JV team” -- room to grow, enslave and slaughter.

In return for peace in his time (i.e. so long as he occupied the Oval Office), he promised Iran’s theocrats a key to the nuclear weapons kingdom within a decade or so -- even if they fail to moderate which, in case you’re wondering, they won’t.

And, as recent news has made vivid, he did nothing while North Korea’s nuclear capabilities went critical. He might at least have invested in a comprehensive missile defense system. That interested him not at all.

So what’s the plan now? There isn’t one but President Trump’s National Security Advisor, H. R. McMaster, and his deputies, are working on it, in close consultation with Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly.

That Mr. Trump has assigned this task to military men gives me some comfort. First, because military men are accustomed to taking on missions and accomplishing them. Second, because they tend not to say, “There is no military solution,” thereby removing from the deck the highest card the U.S. possesses. They understand there is no solution that is only military – a very different concept. All instruments of American power, military, cyber, economic and diplomatic, are necessary to achieve solutions – not to be confused with quick fixes.

Are President Trump’s advisors up to this task? I don’t know and, truth be told, they don’t either.

Given the enormity of these challenges, it would be nice if Americans were hanging together. Instead, we are living in what social historian Pankaj Mishra has called the Age of Anger, much of it directed less at foreign enemies than fellow Americans.

Radical identitarians on both the left and the right are setting us against one another. Islamic supremacists, white supremacists, the black-shirted “Antifa” and others who incite and/or employ violence should be vigorously opposed by everyone who embraces American values -- whatever their other policy or ideological disagreements. President Trump was not wrong to attempt to draw attention to this immoral equivalence.

But his timing could hardly have been worse. In Charlottesville, on Saturday, the anger turned lethal. A young woman was murdered by a white supremacist employing jihadist/terrorist tactics. Little reported: He was the member of a cohort that had been chanting. “White Sharia, now!”

Ivanka Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Vice President Mike Pence and Gen. McMaster denounced those responsible by name and without equivocation. Had Mr. Trump not waited so long to join them he would have deprived his enemies of ammunition and the opportunity to further distract from his urgent national security agenda.

Only the credulous believe the many “conflicts within and between societies” can be resolved anytime soon. But strategizing to solve them and bringing together anti-extremists to work cooperatively -- surely that should not lie beyond the realm of the possible.

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a columnist for the Washington Times.

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