For the past two weeks as a trekked across China, Myanmar and Thailand, I have been repeatedly asked this question: What do you think of Trump?

Before I answer, I ask the questioners, from businessmen to government officials to tour guides, what THEY think of Trump.

Almost universally, their answer is: We can do business with Trump!

I admit that my survey is far from scientific. My data come mainly from educated people who can speak English and oftentimes are at least middle class. But it’s interesting when the local taxi drivers turn the table on me to ask me questions.

The most telling comments I heard came from Hangzhou, the Chinese city just south of Shanghai that hosted the G-20 conference last year. That was the conference when President Obama had to come down the back stairs of Air Force I in which many Americans saw as an intended slap in the face of the former leader.

The Chinese business people I met saw the gesture as a purposeful slight of a naïve and incompetent leader. They still think it rings true now.

Hillary Clinton was seen as even worse than Obama by many Chinese because she had come full circle from a positive image during her husband’s presidency to a negative one when Obama’s Asia pivot failed miserably.

These same businessmen see Trump using his negotiating tactics to meet the Chinese halfway, particularly when it comes to trade and even North Korea. “It’s like Trump points at one piece of property he wants to buy when he’s actually looking at another. It’s the kind of bargaining we can deal with,” one manager told me.

The Asian media aren’t portraying Trump as the buffoon the U.S. media like to do. Instead, the Chinese media, for example, have taken a relatively neutral stance toward Trump, including limited coverage of the missile defense system being set up in South Korea to counter any threat from the North. Moreover, the meeting between Presidents Xi and Trump received positive coverage, including stories about Trump’s granddaughter singing in Mandarin.

One of the more entertaining conversations I had was in Shanghai with a couple who had immigrated to Canada from Romania in the 1980s. They had grown so weary of the political correctness in our northern neighborhood that they were seriously considering going back home. I guess what attracts some of the leftists in the United States doesn’t sit so well with people who had seen actual dictatorships rather than the imagined notion of Trump as a dictator.

All told, it’s awfully nice to meet an international array of intellectual and political fellow travelers during the latest chapter of my Asia pivot. The view from this side of the Pacific is far rosier than that in the United States.

Kassem Eid survived the 2013 sarin massacre in Syria in which 1,400 people died, so it wasn’t surprising that CNN contacted him to talk about the most recent attack and the Trump administration’s response.

What happened next stunned CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin.

“For the very first time, we see Assad held accountable just for once, held accountable for his crimes against humanity. I was overwhelmed. I felt grateful for President Trump. I felt grateful for the United States. I felt grateful for each and every person who lobbied and kept on talking until someone actually listened,” Eid said.

In an apparent attempt to keep the Syrian survivor on the media talking points about refugees, Baldwin played a video of Hillary Clinton bashing Trump over his immigration plan.

Eid didn’t take the bait.

“Help us stay in our country, and if you just give me a few seconds just to tell President Trump once again, please, sir, what you did was amazing, what you did was powerful message of hope for a lot of people inside and outside of Syria,” he told a dumbstruck Baldwin.

He criticized those who demonstrated against the immigration policies but failed to protest against the sarin attacks in 2013 and now. “I didn’t see you raising your voice against President Obama’s inaction in Syria that led us refugees, that made us refugees get kicked out of Syria. If you really care about refugees, if you really care about helping us, please, help us STAY in our — in our country. We don’t want to come to [the] United States. We want to STAY in our country.”

It’s unlikely that Eid will be asked again for his comments on CNN anytime soon, but his message should be shared and shared again.

Here is his interview on CNN:

As a reporter, I covered Syria for many years. What has occurred over the past six years is one of the worst examples of genocide in history. Although Assad and the self-proclaimed Islamic State bear most of the responsibility for what has happened, the Obama administration’s lack of any coherent strategy except to make idle threats allowed these forces of evil to devastate the country. The Trump administration does not have to commit itself to full-scale involvement in Syria, but the decision to launch missiles gave aid and comfort to Eid and many like him.

Here are some of my most recent columns about Syria:

The media and Syria: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/sep/11/harper-in-syria-war-debate-media-are-missing-in-ac/

The role Hezbollah in Syria: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/19/harper-media-overlook-key-player-in-middle-east-cr/

Bashar Assad and 60 Minutes’ dreadful interview: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/1/christopher-harper-60-minutes-bashar-assad-intervi/

By John Ruberry

Barack Obama’s Model United Nations style foreign policy of be-nice-to-rogue-nations-and-they’ll-be-nice-to-you is a failure.

Five years ago Syria’s thug president, Bashar al-Assad, crossed Barack Obama’s red line by using chemical weapons against his own people.

Obama did not retaliate.

Last Tuesday the brute crossed that red line–and on Thursday President Donald J. Trump fired 59 cruise missiles at the Syrian base from where those chemical weapons were launched. This happened the day after an emergency session of the UN Security Council called in response to this cruel attack predictably achieved nothing.

The spoiled fat boy who savagely rules the starving nation of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, keeps firing missiles in tests, those weapons violate numerous United Nations resolutions. For years the rogue state has been building a nuclear weapons program, one that can possibly be used to attack the United States.

Trump is responding to the aggressiveness of the Norks by dispatching an aircraft carrier to Korean waters. He’s reportedly considering deploying nuclear missiles in South Korea.

Obama did nothing of consequence in regards to the North Korean threat.

Trump understands the lessons of the playground that Obama and his fellow leftists never learned. Bullies only back down when confronted with force, or a credible threat of force. For bullies weakness is an opportunity to be exploited. The historical examples of strongmen attacking their own people and more powerful nations plundering weaker ones are so plentiful that I won’t insult the intelligence of my readers by listing them. And if you need examples, then you are too far gone, my friend.

There is some good news–America’s eight-year long vacation from reality is over.

Oh, is there any hope for the UN? No. Add me to the list of people who believe that the United States and other freedom-loving nations, such as Great Britain, Australia, Taiwan, Japan, and lets say Chile, need to band together and form a League of Democracies.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

It’s difficult to determine which one of the columnists for DaTimes writes the most absurd claptrap. Charlie Blowhard? Paul, Nick, Frank?

Tommy Friedman just moved to the top of my list when he calls Donald Trump a “Chinese agent” in a recent column. Here’s Tommy’s “proof”:

No. 1: Trump ended U.S. support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the TPP. That would be the same economic deal opposed by Hillary Clinton, the AFL-CIO, the Roosevelt Institute, and myriad groups from both the right and the left.

No. 2: Trump tossed out Obama’s plans to shrink the U.S. dependence on coal-fired power and changed mileage requirements on automobiles. Tommy cites China’s plan to build more clean-energy devices that will leave the United States behind.

Tommy lives in a mansion in Maryland of more than 11,000 square feet. That is quite a carbon footprint!

More important, China is a country that chokes its citizens nearly every day and doesn’t even recycle its trash.

No. 3: Trump wants to slash the State Department and foreign aid budgets and make it harder for people to immigrate to America, particularly Muslims.

China has one of the toughest immigration policies in the world and just issued new rules to tighten restrictions for foreign workers and banned wearing Islamic veils and long beards.

Tommy ends his silliness by writing: “So you tell me that Trump is not a Chinese agent. The only other explanation is that he’s ignorant and unread — that he’s never studied the issues or connected the dots between them.”

I have known Tommy since 1979 when we worked across the hall from one another in Beirut. He was at United Press International; I worked for Newsweek. Despite his Pulitzer Prizes and his books, I never thought much of his reporting. I have found out I am not alone.

Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, a longtime Tommy critic, writes: “This is Friedman’s life: He flies around the world, eats pricey lunches with other rich people and draws conclusions about the future of humanity by looking out his hotel window and counting the Applebee’s signs.”

The Huffington Post, not exactly a member of the alt-right, describes Friedman this way: “He’s not just a millionaire or a multimillionaire – he’s member of one of the wealthiest families in the world, and is one of the most influential media voices on the planet, who writes specifically about economic/class issues. If politicians are forced to disclose every last asset they own, you’d think at the very least, The New York Times – in the interest of basic disclosure – should have a tagline under Friedman’s economic columns that says “Tom Friedman is an heir to a multi-billion-dollar business empire.”

One of his many simplistic analyses is called the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention: No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s.

He supported that observation, as a theory, by stating that when a country has reached an economic development where it has a middle class strong enough to support a McDonald’s network, it would become a “McDonald’s country,” and will not be interested in fighting wars anymore.

Not surprisingly, the theory has broken down repeatedly in Panama, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, India, Pakistan and many more places.

Here is how Taibbi ranks Tommy’s batting average on other issues: “To review quickly, the ‘Long Bomb’ Iraq war plan Friedman supported as a means of transforming the Middle East blew up in his and everyone else’s face; the ‘Electronic Herd’ of highly volatile international capital markets he once touted as an economic cure-all not only didn’t pan out, but led the world into a terrifying chasm of seemingly irreversible economic catastrophe; his beloved ‘Golden Straitjacket’ of American-style global development (forced on the world by the ‘hidden fist’ of American military power) turned out to be the vehicle for the very energy/ecological crisis Friedman himself warns about.”

A New York writer has kept a record of all of Tommy’s missteps: http://jilliancyork.com/2011/12/14/the-definitive-collection-of-thomas-friedman-takedowns/

On the right, The New York Observer provides a parody of how to write a Tommy column with a step-by-step guide at http://observer.com/2004/05/write-your-own-thomas-friedman-column/

Tommy has fooled too many people too often. Trump, the alleged China agent, should consider a libel suit against The New York Times for recklessly disregarding the truth on too many occasions.

The big story on the rightside of the blogosphere has been the Susan Rice revelations reported both at Fox:

Multiple sources tell Fox News that Susan Rice, former national security adviser under then-President Barack Obama, requested to unmask the names of Trump transition officials caught up in surveillance.

and at Bloomberg:

White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.”

And MSNBC’s objections not withstanding even more is coming up 

Computer logs that former President Obama’s team left behind in the White House indicate his national security adviser Susan Rice accessed numerous intelligence reports during Obama’s last seven months in office that contained National Security Agency intercepts involving Donald Trump and his associates, Circa has learned.

Intelligence sources said the logs discovered by National Security Council staff suggested Rice’s interest in the NSA materials, some of which included unmasked Americans’ identities, appeared to begin last July around the time Trump secured the GOP nomination and accelerated after Trump’s election in November launched a transition that continued through January.

Powerline writes about it:

If true, this is a bombshell, if not exactly a surprise. We know from her tour of the Sunday morning talk shows to misrepresent Benghazi that Rice was a political hack, more than willing to do dirty work on behalf of President Obama. Her alleged role here would fit with that history.

Don Surber:

There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by President Trump. But plenty of evidence points to Barack Obama’s abuse of power. Let us follow that trail.

Glenn Reynolds:

It is a felony to conspire to “injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States.”

Related: Susan Rice unmasked? Previously said “I know nothing about” Nunes allegations.

PJ Media:

So, let’s review:

  • authorized under the Obama Administration √
  • pretty high up √
  • confidante of friends in high places √√√√

Susan Rice certainly seems to fit. Of course, the remaining question is who did the actual leaking.

And despite CNN and the left considering it a “distraction” and then claiming it is false,  it is a significant development but the real sign that there is some there there comes not so much from these stories, but from this piece by Byron York:

So with Schiff’s visit to the White House, a chance for balance. But after viewing the documents, Schiff has gone nearly completely silent about what he saw. He has kept up his criticism of how Nunes came to view the material, but on what’s actually in the documents, Schiff has said virtually nothing.

That seems rather odd, for quite a while we couldn’t turn on cable news without seeing Congressman Schiff not only making claims about Donald Trump and Russia but hitting the chairman of his committee for talk, but now with Jake Tapper he suddenly came back with this:

Schiff made no public comments on Saturday, and then on Sunday morning appeared on CNN, where Jake Tapper asked Schiff if, having seen the documents, “can you understand why Chairman Nunes might have some issues with the surveillance that was going on?”

“I can’t go into the contents of the documents, Jake,” Schiff said, before a quick pivot to Nunes’ methods. “I can say I don’t agree with the chairman’s characterization, which is exactly why it’s so important you don’t share documents with just one person or even two people. They need to be shared with both full committees.”

Continuing, Schiff said “the most important thing” about the documents is not what is in them but how they were handled

The unwillingness of congressman Schiff to talk about what he saw speaks even louder than the rest of the headlines, it suggests that Kurt Schlichter prediction is coming true

This is all going to blow up in the Democrats’ faces, and when it does I’m going to laugh and raise my vodka glass in a joyous toast to their latest and greatest failure.

The question is this:  When it happens will the media report it?


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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.

Health care. Russia. Travel ban. Wiretapping. Budget cuts. Leaks. And on and on and on.

Work up a lather, rinse, repeat.

O Lord, grant me relief from the endless cycle of “news” based on the possibly informed insights, half-truths, pure speculation and outright lies that pass as journalism these days.

Never has so much blather been spent on issues that are no more real than unicorn dust or three-legged Martians. Talk about Russia’s links to the 2016 election or illegal wiretapping is ridiculous until the probes are done. Fury or relief over health care changes is silly until the legislation gets through the sausage factory known as Congress. Same with the budget.

As for the travel ban, its outcome is uncertain until it finally gets out of the hands of judges who don’t understand executive authority and confuse campaign speeches with the wording of legal action.

You want solid information? You’re better off these days spending time on Pinterest projects or following some nobody’s Twitter account.

The problem is, outside of Donald Trump, news is impossible. It doesn’t happen anymore. He hasn’t just sucked up all the air in the room — he’s inhaled the Earth’s entire atmosphere. If anything that doesn’t involve the Prez is going on, it’s not getting a dab of ink, a digital pixel or a moment of airtime.

It’s all so boring.

When I was a young man, the idea of a 24-hour news channel seemed like a dream. Most people had only three options for national and global news — CBS, NBC and ABC — and they provided just 22 minutes a day. As a Detroit suburbanite, I could watch Canadian news, which offered a broader outlook on the world. I could only imagine what vistas a daylong news station would open up.

Ted Turner once considered news a joke. When the feds told him to add a news program to Atlanta’s WTBS to fulfill its public service requirements, he put a dog on the air alongside a human anchor. But after TBS became a hit on cable systems, Turner figured he could make more bucks with an all-news channel. Thus was born CNN.

From the start, CNN was a disappointment, offering repetitious reports on easy-to-cover news. Soon enough came the parade of talking heads to tell us what the news really meant. Gee willikers! Instead of being bored every Sunday morning with Meet the Press or Face the Nation, we got a chance to hear puffed-up pundits seven days a week.

My hopes rose briefly when MSNBC came along in 1996; at the time, thanks mainly to David Brinkley, NBC’s news operation was respectable. But MSNBC followed CNN’s template from the start and never distinguished itself until transmuting into a lunatic asylum for deranged leftists.

By the time Fox News came along, the mold for 24-hour news had become unbreakable. But at least we finally got news that the other channels ignored, plus some conservative viewpoints.

The basic problem is all three news channels are obsessed by immediacy instead of context. Got a wildfire in California, snowstorm in New York or school shooting in Colorado? Brace yourself for the wall-to-wall coverage. The networks are like a dog with a bone that keeps gnawing away long after the last shred of meat is gone.

Yes, at times, the networks have provided a tremendous service. CNN earned its stripes with its Gulf War reporting, and all three channels were invaluable on Sept. 11, 2001.

But the tendency to dwell on a single topic above all else is worse than ever today. CNN and MSNBC are hellbent on destroying Trump, and Fox is dedicated (sort of) to protecting him. The coverage has been going on nonstop since Nov. 9, and I’m done in by fatigue. Maybe you are, too.

But it has to end sometime, preferably soon. Because I have a tip for the news networks:  Trump ain’t going anywhere, so get used to him.

Politicos may still believe “All politics is local,” as Tip O’Neill famously decreed, but it hasn’t been operative for ages. Republicans turned the ex-House Speaker’s truism upside-down in 1994, when Newt Gingrich nationalized the congressional elections with the Contract with America and swept the GOP to control of the House for the first time in four decades.

The idea that backyard issues trump national concerns is even weaker today. Local affairs barely make a squeak amidst the thunder and bluster now rolling out of Washington. Politics isn’t local any more, it’s WhozOx — short for “It depends on whose ox is getting gored.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the old idiom, oxen are castrated bulls used as draft animals that, like their ballsy brethren, sometime go at each other with their horns. The owner of an ox giving a beatdown isn’t likely to stop it, but he’ll call for the fight to end immediately if the tide turns. Thus, “whose ox” is a term for hypocrisy when your stance on an incident depends on your self-interest, not your general principles.

We’re seeing an abundance of WhoZox these days as the liberals scream over the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court because the GOP-led Senate snubbed President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland last year. That Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer and other Dems have said Republican presidents had no right to name anyone to the high court in an election year is a perfect example of WhoZox.

Similarly, the Left is in full-blown WhoZox outrage over President Trump’s executive orders after showering nothing but praise on Obama’s overreaching — and often unconstitutional — diktats in recent years.

Conservatives historically have faced a huge public relations problem. Thanks to the New York Times, Washington Post, cable and network news, NPR and their collaborators in the mainstream media, the public wasn’t aware of WhoZox. Instead of reporting on political fights as battles of equals, the MSM saw a blood-crazed ox (conservatives) terrorizing an innocent sacred cow (progressives). For the longest time, low-information voters accepted this unbalanced version.

Now, fortunately, the truth is finally getting out. Talk radio, the internet, Fox News and that rarest of birds, honest MSM reporters, laid the foundation, but the change-maker is Donald J. Trump. His fearless approach to the media has blown up the old way.

So who’s ox is being gored? The media is taking on Trump, but its horns are blunted.  He’s getting gored in the process, but he’s giving out a lot more than he’s getting. Let us enjoy their pain while it lasts.

By John Ruberry

“So listen, there’s still a little bit of it to go,” the host of NPR’s witty Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal said as he opened his New Year’s Eve show, “but all the pundits and the pollsters have already called it: 2016 will go down as the worst year ever.” Which led moderator Bill Kurtis, the longtime journalist and Chicago news anchor to reply, “Sure, 1346 had the plague, but at least Black Death was a cool name.”

I’m here to explain, at least for me and people who visit Da Tech Guy and my own blog, Marathon Pundit, that 2016 was a darn good year, and absolutely a better one than 1346.

Defying the “pundits and pollsters,” but perhaps not the same ones Sagal was talking about yesterday, Donald J. Trump was elected president–he’ll be sworn into office in nineteen days. Although not as historic as being the first African-American elected to America’s highest office, Trump will be the first president who was not a prior public office holder or a general. That’s yuge.

Like Bob Dylan in 1964 keeping his love for the Beatles to himself and not, initially, telling his folk-music pals, I secretly hopped on the Trump Train in the autumn of 2015, but I was a vocal passenger well before the Iowa Caucuses. Like Sean Hannity, I saw Trump’s, yes, historic candidacy as the last chance to save America from collectivism and socialism, mediocrity, malaise, globalism, cronyism; and in what would have sealed the unpleasant deal, a runaway leftist Supreme Court. I am not an aberration, there are tens-of-millions of Americans who look at the rise of Trump in a similar manner.

A Hillary Clinton victory could have possibly hobbled America as much as the 19th century Opium Wars did to China. A large and populous nation does not necessarily mean that it will be a prosperous and powerful one, as India and Indonesia show us. And Russia is not prosperous.

I look at Trump’s win as the best news of the decade. But even as blogs and new media continue to prosper–my blog’s readership soared last year–the old guard media, which is dominated by leftists, for the most part despises Trump. Their bad news needs to be your bad news.

My daughter at the old
M*A*S*H set

The old year of course will forever be remembered as the year of so many celebrity deaths, which included Leonard Nimoy, B.B. King, Ben E. King, Dick Van Patten, Omar Sharif, Yogi Berra, and in one last cruel harvest by the Grim Reaper, a beloved actor from the television show MASH, Wayne Rogers, passed away on New Year’s Eve.

Wait…wait…don’t tell me! Yes, those are deaths from 2015. Celebrities die every year. Trust me, they really do.

Okay, second verse almost as same as the first: In 2016 the celebrity departures included David Bowie, Prince, Florence Henderson, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and in one last cruel harvest by the Grim Reaper, a beloved actor from the television show MASH, William Christopher, passed away on New Year’s Eve.

[Editorial note: The WordPress blogging platform does not like words with asterisks within them.]

Admittedly, some of these celebs are a bit different from the Class of 2015. Although enigmatic, Bowie, Prince and Michael meticulously cultivated their public images, they became familiar presences on MTV; so people, even if they weren’t fans, believed they “knew” these performers, and their 1980s videos enjoy eternal life on VH1 and on YouTube.

Fisher played Princess Leia in Star Wars, which was arguably the most influential movie, both artistically and in the business-sense, since The Jazz Singer. If you haven’t seen Star Wars, then you probably haven’t seen many films. Florence Henderson’s TV show, The Brady Bunch, was not a first-run success, but it achieved legendary status on the re-run circuit. Like Bowie’s “Modern Love” video on MTV, sometimes you need to watch something every day instead of once-a-week for it to be properly digested.

Oh, I mentioned earlier that Dick Van Patten of Eight Is Enough died in 2015. And few cared because I’m pretty sure you have to buy DVDs of his show to watch it.

As members of the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation pass on, there are proportionately more self-absorbed people remaining, those of course being the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Snowflake Generation, many of whom view every event, whether it is a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, an election, and of course, a celebrity death, as being about themselves. When Ish Kabibble, a kind of proto-Jerry Lewis, died in 1994, my parents didn’t take it as a personal loss.

John “Lee” Ruberry of
the Magnificent Seven

Here is some more good news from 2016: Third quarter growth in the United States was a robust 3.5 percent, perhaps because the end of the Obama era was in sight. And since Trump’s win, the stock market has been soaring, clearly many people, smart ones, are confident that 2017 will be a year of strong economic growth.

Now if we can only convince the self-absorbed ones to stop thinking about themselves so much, then 2017 will certainly be a great year.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

From Trump’s Twitter feed

By John Ruberry

For as long as I can remember the words “Merry Christmas” have been pushed away from public life, in the both the political and business world. I get it. No one wants to offend people who aren’t Christian, or those few Christians, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who shun Christmas.

However, 83 percent of Americans are Christian, and for many of them Christmas is their favorite time of the year. And I know some secular progressives who set up Christmas trees in their home.

When  President-elect Donald Trump on the later stops of his ‘thank you’ tour replaced his ‘USA’ lectern logo with a ‘Merry Christmas’ one, it got my attention.

And Trump’s Christmas spirit didn’t end there

“We’re gonna start saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” Trump said at a Michigan ‘thank you’ rally. “How about all those department stores, they have the bells and they have the red walls and they have the snow, but they don’t have ‘Merry Christmas. I think they’re gonna start putting up ‘Merry Christmas.'”

About ten years ago the ‘War on Christmas’ compelled Christians who wished to say ‘Merry Christmas’ at their workplace to bite their tongues, including those working extended Christmas shifts at retail stores to accommodate Christmas shoppers. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, one of the defenders in the ‘War on Christmas,’ declares the conflict all but over, as increasingly more retail outlets use the word ‘Christmas” in their holiday advertisements. On Christmas Eve I was greeted with a hearty “Merry Christmas” when I walked into the local Walmart–and when I left.

Meanwhile, the outgoing president’s final Christmas card, oops, I mean holiday card, oh wait, make that a seasonal card, features the first family and a sprig of holly. Nothing else.

I’ll be shocked if Donald Trump’s first presidential Christmas card isn’t much different, even though his oldest daughter is a convert to Judaism.

Howard Kurtz ended today’s always excellent Fox News’ Media Watch program with “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.” Yes, like a rare planetary alignment, Christmas Eve and the first day of Hanukkah share the came spot on the calendar.

And from me to you, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

On the Lead with Jake Tapper Tuesday Jake talked about the situation in Aleppo and how its fate is pretty much sealed.

He rightly pointed out how awful it was, the implication being that we should (or should have) done something about it.

Forgetting for a moment that the name of the president is still a fellow named Obama and that it wasn’t all that many years ago in the days of the Soviet Union when the media repeatedly expressed the idea that the best way to deal with Russia was diplomacy without military confrontations, there is one overriding fact that matters more than anything else.

 

No Amount of sanctions of any type is going to stop the offensive in Aleppo. If Aleppo is to be saved it is going to involve Air Combat with the Syrian and Russian Air Forces to slow them up long enough for American Ground Troops to get there.

 

Furthermore the only way things are going to change in Syria is if we go in a-la Iraq, Take it over and stay two decades at least rather than cutting and running as we did under Obama.

Now one might debate if the ratio of the cost in cash and lives plus the risk of a military escalation with either Russia and/or Iran vs the benefit of a Syria pried from the Russians and Iranians, the Syrians not slaughtering their own people, putting an army on the flank of both Iraqi and Lebanese militants and the reviving of the flypaper strategy where instead of attacking vulnerable western targets ISIS sympathizers flock to Syria to confront and be destroyed by the best trained, best equipped and most deadly military in the entire history of history.

But none of that matters because of one simple fact.

Even if the conclusion was made that the cost benefit ratio to war justified it The American people do not have the will to fight.

This of course is due to the efforts of the left in the culture wars of the last 30 to 50 years (ironically supported by the soviets). Iraq was only possible because of the 9/11 attacks.

And it’s not like the left and the papers who are hitting Trump for trying make friends with the Russians were going to fight such a war themselves or even support such a war if proposed

Until such a time this changes, and such a change is at least a generation away, the best we can do is make noise to save face however both the Russians and the Syrians will recognize such noise for what it is.