‘America First’ Rears its Ugly Head

President Donald Trump kicked off his first presidential trip abroad by making a massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The initial sale is worth over $100 billion, and future commitments will likely result in upwards of $350 billion coming into the US. It’s the most lucrative weapons deal in US history.

This is big. This is a lot of money. This will create jobs and boost the economy in America. This will result in investment from abroad. This shows how effective the President is, like what he’s doing or not.

There’s something else though, a promise kept by the president, and it’s one of many reasons I couldn’t bring myself to vote for him.

Unlike much of Trump’s rhetoric, ‘America First’ is simple and honest. Trump is not interested in the internal affairs of other nations nor the well-being of their people. He just wants America to succeed financially and patriotically. He wants to live in a flourishing and proud nation, and being the man to serve as the catalyst in making that happen would be icing on his cake.

While I certainly want my country to succeed, I do not value the life of any American over any non-American. I see each individual human life and the liberty that comes with it to be uniquely precious. Because of this, I am not willing to participate in forceful interventions that I know will help one innocent person or group while hurting another.

Trump’s arms sale coincides with a long list of actions that prove his willingness to enrich America while showing little regard for the people of the world. In recent weeks, Trump has welcomed leaders from oppressive regimes in Turkey and Russia into the White House. He has expressed willingness to speak with dictators around the world, insofar as including Kim Jung Un.

I support friendly relations with nations the US disagrees with because I believe that is the right path to free trade, free speech, and free movement for all people across the globe. I want everyone to consistently grow closer to reclaiming those rights, and I believe that sanctions and war take the world in the opposite direction. As crazy as it may sound, I’d try to befriend our so-called enemies if I were heading the executive branch too.

However, I fear that Trump favors kinship with these nations for different reasons. Trump appears to be running America like a business (another promise kept) and treating other nations as if their leaders were their owners. The weapons sale, while not unique in American history, takes money from taxpaying Saudis who have little or no say in what their government does with the revenue. The result in America is not quite the same. Our weapons manufacturers are contracted to earn foreign money… a lot of it.

The Saudi Arabian people gain government-owned tools of war; US weapons manufacturers earn a profit, and our nation subsequently grows wealthier.

More importantly, Saudi Arabia supports the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and is currently partaking in a vicious proxy war in Yemen. Both of these conflicts have the Saudis at odds with Iran, a nation I believe the US should start cooperating and trading with immediately.

This furthers the reality of Trump’s explicit ‘America First’ + implicit screw everyone else principle. While Trump has so far proven mostly (mostly…) honest about not wanting to get the US military more deeply involved in conflicts abroad, the weapons sale could lead to Saudi Arabia stepping up their intervention in Syria, Yemen, and wherever else they see opportunity.

Instead of having the US march into Syria outright, Trump could be allowing America to profit from Saudi Arabia’s military conquests there. I can’t decide whether that’s worse than or equally as bad as taking care of the Syrian situation ourselves.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what I want, what Trump promised, what Trump seems to be doing right now, and what Trump might eventually do:

What I support What Trump

said he would do

What Trump seems to be doing What Trump might eventually do
-Stop American interventionism for the sake of the American economy

 

-Stop American interventionism so Syria and other nations can advance by solving their own conflicts independently

 

-Fix the American economy by ending dependence upon the military industrial complex

-Stop American interventionism for the sake of the American economy

 

-Stop American

interventionism because what happens in other countries should not be on America’s radar

 

-Tell other nations to take their turn fighting terrorism

-Stop American interventionism for the sake of the American economy

 

-Use the military industrial complex to boost the American economy with no regard for effects of arms sales on other nations

 

-Tell other nations to take their turn fighting terrorism

-Continue American interventionism to please nations which contribute most to the military industrial complex

 

Perhaps Trump has persuaded Saudi Arabia not to get too involved in Syria and to go the safe zones route in favor of removing Assad. Perhaps Saudi Arabia will use their new weapons to fight terrorism as Trump says he wants them to.

If I’m right about what Trump is up to right now, the America First agenda could be as or far more dangerous than the World Police agenda the US has been following for the past several decades. At that point, the “at least Hillary isn’t president” argument goes out the window.

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‘America First’ Rears its Ugly Head

How #HerEmails Pardon Political Hacks

As I wrote in my most recent post, I did not gnash my teeth over Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. I think she technically broke the law, but I don’t think any real damage was done. Indicting Hillary would have meant indicting a lot of people (including former President Barack Obama), and I don’t blame James Comey for advising against further inquiries. It was too small a transgression to warrant the collapse of the federal government (as fun as that sounds).

What I assume to be the vast majority of American Republicans were not on the same page as me (which makes sense since I am a Libertarian). They mentioned the email scandal as often as possible and spent a vast sum of resources on what was nothing more than a politically motivated witch hunt. I do not buy the notion that a great many of them sincerely believed that Hillary’s error put our nation at risk. They saw an opportunity to take down a political opponent, and went all in.

The Constitution of the United States of America refers to Democracy a grand total of zero times. And I am not a believer in Democracy myself. Democracy is a great danger to liberty, not a sign of its existence. A government with a strictly limited role in society is the only kind of government that I trust to effectively let freedom ring.

As I am not enamored with the Democratic process, I forgive those who use dirty and dishonest tactics to prevent a prospective leader that they hate from gaining power over them. The Republicans used every persuasive tool in the book to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House, and they succeeded.

But by making such a fuss over Hillary’s emails in such an obviously politically motivated manner, Republicans invited their opposition to do the same when Donald Trump took over.

Now, I cannot blame Democrats and others opposed to Trump for their unending hysteria focused on impeaching him. I’m beyond disgusted by the way #TheResistance has been acting, but I can’t blame them for doing it.

And this does not make me a moral relativist. I am not saying that just because someone else does something wrong, you may do something wrong too. In real life, it doesn’t matter how terribly those around you act. You are still responsible for respecting the lives and liberties of people other than yourself. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

But politics is ugly and laced with evil. It’s not like real life. In real life, gaining power requires skin in the game. You must sacrifice to move up the ladder. Politics comes down to pointing a gun at people or checking a box on a ballet. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain for those in or seeking power positions. Therefore, it is unfair to make moral judgments under the same scrutiny in life as in politics.

If you are afraid of Trump, hate Trump, think Trump is unfit to be the president, and/or are a DNC hack, and you are promoting nonsensical hysteria to see that Trump is somehow removed from office regardless of the long term consequences, I don’t blame you. This is what our politics has become.

However, if you actually believe that trying to improve relations with the Russians is a bad idea and that pulling another Iraq War in Syria is a good idea, I think you are stupid and possibly guilty of having a God complex. You can’t learn, you don’t reason well, and you believe you and your country possess capabilities that do not exist. And I pray that you never have power over me or anyone else.

How #HerEmails Pardon Political Hacks

Trump and Russia: A Sober Explanation

It seems as though this Trump/Russia saga will never come to an end.

Evidence of collusion between President Trump and “Russia” during his successful 2016 presidential run has yet to surface, but that has not stopped the president’s detractors from continuing their witch hunt.

I explained why no evidence is needed to keep this story alive a few months ago.

Distrust of today’s mainstream media, the hysteria of social media, heavy partisanship on both sides of the aisle, the Trump administration’s intentionally confusing language and actions, and the dishonest nature of politics in general make assessing just about any current event extraordinarily difficult. Because of this, no one, myself included, has the capacity to tell the whole story about what’s going on inside the Trump White House or what happened on the way in. Everything we read is a more or less accurate version of fan fiction. What you are reading now is too.

I’m going to explain what I believe is likely to be the truth about certain key aspects of the Trump/Russia hullaballoo.

Before I do that, I would like to tout my personal credibility by telling you that I, despite hating her guts, did not make a big deal of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail issues. I believe that she technically broke a law and lied under oath, but that her actions did not put US national security at risk. Hillary is a sneaky, slimy career politician. But so are nearly all of our lawmakers. I wish Trump would pardon Hillary to end that mess.

You can scroll through my blog posts around the time of the election to verify that it’s not something I paid much attention to. It was never the subject of my writing or thinking.

I tell you this because I believe the “connection” between Trump and Russia is, though even less nefarious, similar to Hillary’s e-mail kerfuffle in that laws may have been broken, but no serious harm was done.

The connection between Trump and Russia is General Michael Flynn. Michael Flynn, an early Trump backer, met with Russian officials before Trump’s inauguration and discussed sanctions that could potentially be lifted. This could technically be a violation of the Logan Act. The thing about the Logan Act is that it became law in 1799 and has never been used to prosecute anyone. Like jaywalking and bans on raw milk, it’s a stupid law that has likely been broken without recourse countless times.

The question as to whether Trump or anyone on his team bribed or otherwise convinced Russia to support the Trump campaign is ridiculous. As I explained in my post referenced earlier, the Russian government would have been insane not to favor Trump.

The question as to whether Russia is allowed to favor a candidate in a foreign election and release propaganda supporting that candidate is also ridiculous. Former President Barack Obama traveled to London before the Brexit vote to warn the British people that they could be at the back of the queue if they chose to leave the European Union. A warning or threat from a powerful foreign leader is just as disrespectful of the Democratic process as propaganda. Though Obama’s attempt backfired, and he had been bluffing, it shows the hypocrisy of lamenting foreign meddling in elections. The US has a long history of doing this, so we have no moral high ground.

The Russian minister who met with Michael Flynn was under surveillance by the US government when he spoke of sanctions. This resulted in indirect spying on Flynn, and gave US intelligence agencies proof of these discussions.

Sally Yates notified Trump of this communication in late January, and Trump forced Flynn to resign from his post as national security advisor a few weeks later. The amount of time between Trump finding out about Flynn’s talks and his firing has resulted in conspiracy theories of cover up.

What is being overlooked is the fact that Trump wanted Flynn on his team. Think about being a Patriots fan and finding out that Tom Brady did something stupid that technically violates some arcane law (one even less relevant than slightly deflating footballs) that could cause season-long headaches. Would you be excited to kick Tom Brady off the team? Or would you try to find a way to get around the situation, and reluctantly let him go when all your options were exhausted?

Trump had the same experience with Flynn. He trusted him and knew he was loyal. But, although there is ultimately no fire, Trump couldn’t stand the smoke. Flynn had to go.

The new event that has the media and Washington abuzz is Trump’s “abrupt” firing of FBI director James Comey. The conspiracy theory is that Trump wanted to get rid of Comey because he has intelligence regarding the Russian “connection” that would sink Trump for good. I don’t blame anyone for subscribing to that possibility. It certainly looks fishy on the surface.

What is forgotten is that Trump has never gotten along with Comey. Sure, he praised Comey generously for writing the infamous letter announcing Hillary Clinton was still under investigation not long before Election Day.

But Trump plays dirty. You understand this by now, right? Do you still take Trump at his literal word? Regardless of what you think of Trump overall, if you can’t figure out that he speaks for the sake of persuasion, not the sake of accuracy, it’s time to get with the picture!

Comey was arrogant and insubordinate. Comey disrespected Trump by refusing to brief him on what would be said during his senate testimony on May 3rd. Though the FBI must act independently, showing up the president is asking for it.

And when James Clapper (and Sally Yates?) confirmed under oath that there is still no evidence suggesting collusion between Trump and Russia, Comey’s time had come. Enough reliable sources had vindicated Trump that firing Comey could no longer be associated with a cover up (though that obviously won’t persuade his most determined opponents [whom Trump is not trying to win over]). Trump reminded Democrats and Republicans that both of them are wary about Comey, and laid his tumultuous tenure to waste.

In short, the Trump/Russia connection is weaker than weak, Trump had a hard time firing his pal Michael Flynn, and Comey had reached the end of his rope.

You find me evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians, and I’ll change my tune. But for now, this is the reality I’m calmly sticking with.

Bonus 4-D Chess Theory:

Since Trump didn’t collude with the Russians, and so many of his enemies are imperiling their credibility to prove that he did, the more attention he draws to the Russia narrative the better. When it’s finally proved that nothing happened, Trump’s enemies will have auto-drained every last ounce of integrity from their bodies. Trump comes out looking like the only honest man in the swamp.

Trump and Russia: A Sober Explanation

The Truth About Trumpcare

Lots of misinformation regarding the American Health Care Act has been circulating throughout the internet and news media. So I decided to read through the entire bill for myself to see what’s really inside.

What I found terrified me to my core.

Here are some of the most gruesome provisions inside the GOP’s evil new “healthcare” law:

  • Illegal aliens caught attempting to cross the border will have their organs harvested and preserved as transplants for the top 1/10th of 1% of richest Americans exclusively
  • Women’s uteri will be forcibly removed, thrown into a pile, and burned while white men dance around it like Indians
  • Children will be taught creationism in public schools, and referring to “evolution” will result in a lifetime ban from accessing medical services of any kind
  • Michelle Obama’s school lunch program will be converted into an all beans lunch with the hope that increased flatulence will speed up Global Warming
  • People with preexisting conditions will be pointed and laughed at
  • Trump University will be accredited as a medical school and will receive $646 billion in annual federal funding (this will be paid for by eliminating Medicare)
  • Johns Hopkins will be renamed Bannon Putin
  • Doctors who treat Muslims, Jews, Blacks, or LGBT individuals will have their licenses permanently revoked
  • The Department of the Gynecological Arts will be founded and overseen by head OB/GYN, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
  • Art will be made illegal unless it explicitly honors Ivanka Trump (this one isn’t even related to health care!!!)

It is clear that this bill goes too far. We must resist by calling our representatives in the Senate and telling them to vote “no”. We must resist by holding a March for Healthcare. We must resist by screaming profanities. We must resist by exposing ourselves in public. We must resist by writing long, vacuous, inaccurate Facebook posts and sharing them. We must resist by donating money to the Democratic Party. We must resist. We are the resistance. We are the resistance.

The Truth About Trumpcare