24 Selected Paragraphs from Trump at the UN that Bear the Subtitle: In Your Ineffectual Face Barack Obama

 
 
A singularly striking thing about President Trump’s speech today to the United Nations is how much of it could not and never would have come out of the mouth of the president who preceded him. From America’s recent economic progress, to the historic success and resiliency of the Constitutional formula, to America’s positive role in the world, to aggressively confronting threats such as North Korea, Islamic terrorism, Iran and its sugar daddy nuclear deal, to opposing the brutality and oppression of Cuba and Venezuela, to resisting the corruption and cynicism of the organs of the United Nations, this speech was the manifesto of an anti-Obama. Below are some excerpts. Enjoy:
 
The United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8th. The stock market is at an all-time high — a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time.
.
But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.
.
Authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems, and alliances that prevented conflict and tilted the world toward freedom since World War II. International criminal networks traffic drugs, weapons, people; force dislocation and mass migration; threaten our borders; and new forms of aggression exploit technology to menace our citizens.
.
In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch. This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution — the oldest constitution still in use in the world today.
.
This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law.
.
As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first. The United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of, or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else.
.
We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.
.
The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries. If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.
.
The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about; that’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.
.
We face this decision not only in North Korea. It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime — one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.
.
The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people.
.
We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it — believe me.
.
It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. And above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.
.
Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror? Or will the Iranian people return to the nation’s proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth where their people can be happy and prosperous once again?
.
In Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamist extremism that inspires them.
.
We will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation, and indeed to tear up the entire world. We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nations. It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban and others that slaughter innocent people.
.
Last month, I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operations, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups. In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS. In fact, our country has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined.
.
For decades, the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere. We have learned that, over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries.
.
For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform, and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms. For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are borne overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.
.
We thank the Secretary General for recognizing that the United Nations must reform if it is to be an effective partner in confronting threats to sovereignty, security, and prosperity. Too often the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process. [snip] it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
.
That is why in the Western Hemisphere, the United States has stood against the corrupt and destabilizing regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom. My administration recently announced that we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms.
.
We have also imposed tough, calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse. The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives to preserve his disastrous rule.
.
The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch. The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.
.
America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their wellbeing, including their prosperity. The United States of America has been among the greatest forces for good in the history of the world, and the greatest defenders of sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.

One Black Man’s Manifesto; One Black Man’s Rebuttal

This week, I encountered two stunning new pieces of writing. Beautiful prose flowed lyrically from each, but, they poured out wholly different ways of thinking and seeing life and race. One, The First White President by celebrated writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, declared Donald Trump a white supremacist lifted to office on dominant currents of white racism. The other, An Open Letter to Ta-Nehisis Coates, by Jamaican immigrant and De Paul Professor of Philosophy Jason Hill serendipitously ran in Commentary Magazine about the same times Coates’s piece appeared online in The Atlantic. It actually was penned to rebut an earlier book by Coates. Hill does not mention Coates’s more recent essay.
 
Despite the misalignment of content, however, the thesis and antithesis of the two men is vivid. Coates declares the American dream a racist fraud and goes on to describe, or to demand, really, a tribal world of endless conflict between white and black, grievance by black, guilt and obligation for white. All thinking, politicking, and transacting in Coates’s world happens under an overlay as inescapable as gravity of tension and distrust among human beings based on race.
.
Hill, in optimistic contrast, describes his hopes and experience as an immigrant meeting other immigrants, a welcoming society, and living out the memorable phrase of Indian immigrant Dinesh D’Souza “writing the script of your own life.”

Consider Coates’s opening paragraph, rejoined by Hill’s starting and finishing words.

First Coates:

.
It is insufficient to state the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact. With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House. Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds. No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Donald Trump—a president who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit.
.
Now Hill.
.
Dear Ta-Nehisi Coates:
I read your book Between the World and Me, an elegant and poetic elegy written to your son on “the question,” as you put it, “of how one should live within a black body, within a country lost in the [American] Dream.”
***
[Y]our book, while moving, reads primarily like an American horror story and, I’m sorry to say, a declaration of war against my adopted country.
.
My fear is that Between the World and Me aims to reach far beyond the scope of the reader’s moral imagination and into the actual lives of Americans, black or white, who share this thing you refer to as the Dream. My concern is that you and your book function as deputized stand-ins for the black male and the black experience in America, respectively. And I believe that as stand-ins, both fail.
Because I write as a black immigrant who chose to live in the United States, whose biggest hope as a child was to become an American citizen, and who chose to embrace the American Dream you condemn, please consider these words my Declaration of Independence—an independence that only my beloved America could have given to me.
 
And Hill’s closing paragraphs:
.
Many more personal dreams of mine continue to be nurtured in and by America. In 32 years of living in this country, the United States has never once failed me. Becoming an American citizen was the greatest privilege of my life.
Your book reads like an American horror story because you have damned to hell the noblest and most endearing trait of those who come to this country and who love it: the Dream. You declare: “This is the foundation of the Dream—its adherents must not just believe in it but believe that it is just, believe that their possession of the Dream is the natural result of grit, honor, and good works.” Well, it is. And we, the Dreamers and achievers who continue to make this country the exceptional wonder that it is, will never capitulate to your renunciation. The world we desired has been won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is ours. And it should be yours, and your son’s.
Coates’s examination should prompt reflective readers to ask if his vision is accurate, and what part if any, the reader might play causing or preserving division. Hill’s declaration should  cause any reader to consider their choices and what they are making of their own circumstances. Each essay is beautifully written and, though long, will reward your time and thought.

Trump’s Political Hits and Misses Between the Storms.

Behind the receding waters of Harvey and the deafening roar of Irma, the Trump administration last week did a fair bit of administrating, not just on emergency response, but on a wide range of policy and legal issues. In a strange way, the hurricanes created a loud white-noise that dominated the agenda and blotted out the media’s fabricated frenzies in search of impeachable offenses. This makes it easier to assess Trump’s moves on their merits rather than through the combat echoes among Never Trumpers, Trump Loyalists, and uncommitted observers. The week offered plenty of fodder for supporters and critics alike.
 
First, there was the federal response to the storms themselves, which, despite inevitable and mostly churlish sniping, generally has been praised as sure footed and reassuring. Presidents are in their strongest position to be seen as presidential while responding to threat or catastrophe.
.
The president’s biggest governing move was his action to rescind, on a six-month fuse, President Obama’s DACA program which granted legal residency and some benefits to certain unlawful immigrants who were brought to America as children. The president’s announcement sparked an intense debate both about the merits of giving cuts to the front of the line for some immigrants, the harshness of deporting young adults to unknown “homes” because of events that happened when they were children, and, the dry but crucial debate over the proper maker of the decision, Congress or the president.
 
In the area of judicial appointments, two stellar Trump nominees, Amy Barret and Joan Larsen had their Senate confirmation hearings last week, and Trump unveiled a new nominee, Greg Katsas. Conservative activists speak in superlative terms of these nominees, particularly Katsas.
 
The Justice Department surprised many conservatives and infuriated a few when it announced it would not reverse the decision of Obama’s DOJ not to prosecute Lois Lerner for her abuse of office, when she directed harassment of conservative activists seeking non-profit status for their groups. This observer gives that decision a thumbs down. If anyone deserves to wear stripes for the stripes she flogged onto the backs of American citizens, it is Lerner. However, some savvy commentators suggest this is the best outcome. With civil lawsuits proceeding against her and the IRS, and with the criminal threat removed, Lerner has no refuge to hide behind the 5th Amendment. She must answer all questions or faced contempt charges. Further, legal investigation, depositions, and documents should provide a trove of information for plaintiffs to expose wrongdoing by the government.
 
AG Jeff Sessions caused controversy this week when he announced he would reverse Obama era restrictions on local police departments using shared federal dollars to purchase surplus military equipment. The debate here is mostly symbolic, as Obama did not actually prohibit local purchase of war implements. He just restricted one pot of money that police departments had relied on: shared revenues seized from criminal suspects in the controversial practice known as “asset forfeiture.” Departments could still buy advanced gear. They just had to dig into their own pockets.
 
Trump’s reversal of the policy is consistent with his campaign promises to crack down on crime and to be more supportive of police work. It strikes some conservatives and civil libertarians as wrong headed, however, both in endorsing the trend toward militarized police departments, and in recognizing and rooting deeper the offensive tactic of seizing property from people who have not been convicted of, or often charged with, any crime.
.
Trump’s other big news this week was blindsiding Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan to cut a deal with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on a short term extension of the national debt limit. McConnell and Ryan had pressed for additional concessions from the Democrat caucus and Trump basically stiffed the Republicans to side with the Democrats.
 
Trump’s Republican fans think it demonstrates a needed new toughness and shot across the bow of the Accomplish-Nothing Republican Congress. His Republican critics cite it as evidence that Trump was always a Democrat and seeking occasion to sell the GOP’s soul.
 
No one, probably not even Trump, knows exactly what he intends. He did seem to drive a weak bargain, asking for little from Schumer and Pelosi for the handshake and with only a three month deal, setting up another shut down showdown in December when other things will be in full boil.
 
Finally, Education Secretary Betsy Devos announced that the DOE will review and modify certain policies of the Obama administration that controlled the way colleges conduct sexual assault and harassment investigations on campus. Supporters of the announcement believe the existing practices are a one-sided travesty that deny accused males fairness and due process. Women’s groups and other activists argue the move turns a blind eye to a campus rape culture and will cause more women to be victimized.
 
Reviewing all these developments affords political animals a certain respite from frenzy fatigue and gives a chance simply to discuss policy pros and cons, rather than be sucked into the great maelstrom of condemning or defending Trump and Trumpism. When the wind and water settle, this will be remembered as a politically consequential week.

Bracing for Ignorant Stormenfreude

Bracing myself for the onslaught of dumb, unscientific Stormenfreude and dufuses saying: “See? Global warming!”
.
So, let me remind alarmists that weather is not climate. An event is not a trend. A hot day in winter does not prove catastrophic global warming. A cold day in summer does not refute it. Two storms are data points, not a long term pattern. And, the world has had a years-long spell of unusually few strong tropical storms. By any natural cycle, we were due for an increase.
.
Oh, by the way, they had big, damaging hurricanes way back before Al Gore invented the Internet and produced a propaganda movie that failed in every dire prediction.

On the Rogue Cop and the Reasonable Nurse, Salt Lake City is Making the Bleeding Worse

So far, Salt Lake City’s response to the rogue cop, Jeff Payne, who manhandled Alex Wubbles, the professional and respectful nurse who refused him access to take the blood of an unconscious accident victim raises more questions than it answers.The questions are serious and go to the competence and integrity of the Police Department.
 
Salt Lake Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Police Chief Mike Brown gave puzzling and unsatisfactory explanations at their Friday press conference. Biskuski said she did not want  “an entire police department to be painted in a bad light due to the actions of one individual. Clearly we believe the actions of this individual were not justified.” But, in fact this episode does paint the entire department in a bad light, starting with the explanation offered by Chief Brown, who stated:
.
To date, we have suspended the officer from the blood draw program. We have already replaced our blood draw policy with a new policy. All remaining officers on the blood draw program have reviewed, and are operating under the new policy and protocol.
.The Chief’s statement raises at least the following questions:
.
Whether the arrest was lawful or not, the nurse was calm and professional. The cop escalated the situation with a sudden outburst of temper and force in a hospital ER room. Why was that not grounds for immediate suspension? What possible justification could any “investigation” uncover for his brutish behavior?
.
Removing Detective Payne from the blood-draw program seems like the merest of administrative wrist slaps. What assurance do Salt Lake residents have that Payne will not be in a position to abuse his authority in other ways? (Under mounting public pressure, Salt Lake City Police Department later announced that Payne has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation).
 
Payne spoke by phone or radio with his commanding officer, a lieutenant at the station who instructed Payne to arrest Wubbels if she did not allow him to draw blood. If Payne’s action was improper, so was the lieutenant’s direction. What accountability does he have? What consequences might he face?
.
Nurse Wubbels was on the phone with a hospital official who advised Payne “he was making a big mistake.” Wubbels further rehearsed to Payne the terms of an “agreement” between the hospital and the Department: Blood may only be withdrawn with a warrant, or with the person’s consent, or if the person is under arrest. Why were these communications not a very serious check on Payne and the lieutenant to make further inquiry before slapping cuffs on an on-duty nurse?
 
Is there a Memorandum of Understanding between the hospital and the Department on this issue? Did Wubbels accurately summarize its terms, demonstrating knowledge of the blood draw rules superior to the Department’s trained phlebotomist?
 
Announcing that the blood draw policy was immediately changed is problematic and raises further questions. Did the lieutenant’s orders, and Payne’s arrest comply with the policy, or did they violate it? If they complied, then the policy itself was seriously flawed. Is it reasonable to single out Payne for disapproval and sanction for obeying a direct order consistent with Department policy? What about the Department’s responsibility to have sound materials and training?
.
If they violated the policy, then what problems or errors it required amending? What changes were made? Will the department publicly release the former and revised versions of the policy? Will there be review or accountability for the authors of the policy? Or for the officials or City legal staff who approved the policy?
.
What training programs and review protocols does the Department have in place to ensure that officer knowledge and written policies and manuals reflect current legal and Constitutional standards?
.
Before public outrage forced Payne’s suspension, who made the decision to leave him on active duty, with removal from on-the-job phlebotomy as the only current consequence? This incident obviously touched a sensitive nerve for the viewing public, but appears initially to have triggered a lesser reaction with the brass. How can the public be confident that the Salt Lake City Police Department is mindful of and protective of the rights of all citizens?
 
 

The Treachery of Obama’s Hounds Who Call His Critics Racist.

Here is what I really resent about Obama’s slanderous defenders who scream “racist!”at his sincere critics. They don’t even take the man at his own word. He declared big intentions. He declared he meant to make America different. He announced Bill Clinton was kind of a wimp, as Democrat Presidents go:
 
“I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.” He wanted to be a Reagan for the Left.
.
He said the Warren Supreme Court was not very radical, because, for all its disruptive rulings, it never decreed a Constitutional mandate for major redistribution of wealth.
.
In his memoirs, he described working in the private sector as like being “a spy behind enemy lines.”
.
On the cusp of his election he promised to “fundamentally transform America.”
.
Barack Obama declared, over and over, his intent to be a transformative president.
 
Well, these are weighty matters and a lot of Americans thought our fundamentals needed some tightening up, but, they were mostly pretty good.
.
Along comes this Social Organizer raised by communists who means to make everything different,. But, he says it in a soft voice, so fools were seduced. And they swooned. Fools like Peggy Noonan and David Brooks. And the national media? Fuggetaboutit. They just became is personal protection mafia.
.
But the ugliest thing of all, is, people who see what he is, what he’s doing, what his administration was pushing cannot even talk about it honestly. Not then, not now.
.
“Racist!” screams his mob. Even now, if you want to reverse the disaster that is Obamacare, you are accused of wanting to erase the legacy of the black man.
 
This is morally bullying rubbish. It is a vicious, cowardly tactic to deflect the debate about bedrock American policies. Obama did not announce he had the agenda of a black man. He announced he wanted to transform.
 
I don’t appreciate being called a racist for not thinking that we should be transformed. Obama said he had big ideas. They were big. I oppose them. And it has nothing to do with his pigment.
Page 1 of 1212345...10...Last »