Stop Defending Donald Trump

Wait, what??

I’m not a fan of killing babies. There is just something so inherently wrong with taking a small, innocent child and murdering them in cold blood. Maybe its my Catholic upbringing. Maybe its my experience fighting so hard to keep a kid, only to lose them after heart surgery. Maybe its because I actually enjoy (most) of the time with my kids. Or maybe its a combination of all these things and more. I don’t really know. But murdering young babies, including unborn ones, is pretty awful.

Murdering babies is so awful that its pretty high on my list of “things I care about when I vote for someone.” Other things high up on the list include not infringing on gun ownership, insisting on following the rule of law, and avoiding dumb overseas conflicts while stepping in when needed to maintain good international order when needed. There is a lot in the middle. For example, I can be persuaded on different economic models, so if one is a bit more “left leaning,” but it has some data behind it, I can be talked into setting down my Ayn Rand novel and trying something new.

I’ve had this world view for quite some time, and then Donald Trump became President. Increasingly, when asked how I could ever vote for such a vile human being, I would find myself saying “I know he’s not a nice guy, but…” Recently, my wife almost had the same argument with a friend, who challenged her on her views on abortion. My wife had written a long response, including the obligatory “I don’t like Donald Trump either, but I agree with his views on abortion.”

When I read that, something clicked in my brain, and I asked out loud “Why do we feel we have to defend Donald Trump’s personal life?”

I’m not related to Donald Trump, nor do I have any control or influence over his decisions. As a politician, I voted for him ONLY based on his positions aligning with my own on a variety of matters. That’s it. His personal life doesn’t mean anything to me. Neither did any previous President’s life.

Almost every politician engages in some ugly behavior, and the ones that don’t seem to simply don’t get caught or highlighted by the media. John McCain dumped his wife for a younger, prettier gal. Joe Biden swam nude around female Secret Service agents and can’t seem to keep his hands to himself. Plenty of elected officials engage in insider trading and abuse their elected position for money. I’m opposed to all this behavior, and it disgusts me when I see it. I’m also not voting for these people to spend time around my kids. I’m voting for them to advocate and legislate for the policies that I agree with, which will cause me to vote for people I don’t like personally.

That vote doesn’t mean I have to defend their personal decisions. After reading my wife’s response, I recommended she take out all the defense of Donald Trump and simply ask “Why are you claiming to be a Christian and yet think its OK to kill unborn children?” Because, really, that’s what it is about.

The next time you hear yourself saying “I don’t like Donald Trump’s tweets/behavior/rhetoric/bombastic nature/etc.” stop yourself. Stop defending Donald Trump’s behavior. It’s not your job to do so. Stay focused on why him, or any other elected official, earned your vote in the first place.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

The blame game

By Christopher Harper

After hundreds—perhaps thousands—of demonstrations over the years in Washington, D.C., how could law enforcement officials have been so poorly prepared for the attack on the U.S. Capitol?

For the most part, that question has gone unanswered as the media and Democrats blame President Trump.

The chaos showed that government agencies had no coordinated plan to defend against an attack on the Capitol.

The U.S. Capitol Police chief, Steven Sund, said he asked his supervisors for the National Guard to be put on alert long before the rioters exploded into the House and Senate. That request was denied.

“If we would have had the National Guard, we could have held them at bay longer, until more officers from our partner agencies could arrive,” said Sund, who, along with other law enforcement officials involved in the mess, has resigned.

Sund said that House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving rebuffed the idea, arguing he was uncomfortable with the “optics” that such a move would bring. Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger told Sund that he should informally reach out to his contacts at the Guard and ask them to be on alert, Sund added.

Both Irving and Stenger have since resigned from their posts in the fallout of the riots.

Despite numerous postings on social media calling for violent action, various federal agencies apparently failed to take the rhetoric seriously.

Dozens of posts listed assault rifles and other weapons that people claimed they were bringing to Washington. People discussed what types of ammunition would be best to carry and whether medical personnel would be available to treat the injured.

“It was such an embarrassingly bad failure and immediately became an infamous moment in American history,” said R.P. Eddy, a former American counterterrorism official.

Despite all of the red flags, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to top federal and local law enforcement officials that warned against massive police deployments. Bowser had complained loudly about the large presence of riot police during last June’s protests by Black Lives Matter.

All of the requests for support came far too late, resulting in National Guard troops arriving hours after the assault started.

“We rely on Capitol Police and federal law enforcement to provide an assessment of the situation,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said. “And based on that assessment that they had, they believed they had sufficient personnel and did not make a request.”

Ultimately, the rioters are responsible for the mess they created.

Now the politicians are shoveling the blame toward Donald Trump when the House and Senate leaders didn’t like the optics of a sufficient number of cops to handle the rioters.

As a result, the optics got a lot worse.

Where did the Capitol protest anger come from? What to do about it?

Kenosha, Wisconsin, after what CNN deemed “a fiery but mostly peaceful protests.”

By John Ruberry

Wednesday was a dark day in American history. Most of the blame for the riot at the US Capitol deservedly goes to the hooligans, about 1,500 of them, who broke through blockades and defied law enforcement and entered the Capitol building–the first such mass hostile group to do so since British forces marched in during the War of 1812 before setting it ablaze.

Many of the thugs who illegally entered the Capitol have been arrested and they deserve, if found guilty, to face the full brunt of the law.

This was not, as the media deemed last year’s many instances of “unrest” in American cities, “a mostly peaceful protest.”

President Donald J. Trump is by no means blameless. He should have conceded his loss to Joe Biden weeks ago. I support Trump’s fight for free and fair elections. But even in states where the vote count was the most questionable, Pennsylvania and Georgia, had their electoral votes magically gone to the president, Trump still would have lost. And while I disagree with the mainstream media blowhards and Democratic politicians who said Trump incited the crowd to riot, he gave some of the protesters hope. Normally hope is a good thing to spread but he gave some people the belief that their protest might have compelled Congress to ignore the Electoral College and keep Trump in the White House. That was never going to happen.

On Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show Thursday night he asked that we look at why the protesters–not just the rioters–attended the rally. They were angry.

Why?

In November a Rasmussen poll found that 75 percent of Republican voters believed the presidential election was stolen. Even many Democrats agreed. As for myself I don’t believe the election was stolen. My view is that the weak standards with mail-in voting, put in place on a widespread basis for the first time in many states because of the COVID-19 epidemic, has something to do with that. Mail-in voting, without safeguards, makes such crimes as voting twice or more, dead people voting, and voting in a jurisdiction when you live someplace else more likely. 

While elections need to continue to be run at the state level Congress should, if such a thing is possible, have an open mind in regards to exploring new nationwide election standards, such as what was done after the Florida recount debacle of 2000. Banning ballot harvesting is a good place to start, as well as replacing early voting, that is “election season,” with–and this is an idea that comes from the liberals–making the day of a general election a work holiday. And photo ID should be required for voting too.

If millions of Americans don’t have faith in the election process then democracy rests on a flimsy leaf.

Now let’s look at the mainstream media and Big Tech. I’ll be brief only for the sake of not overwhelming you. I could bring up dozens of examples of media bias but I won’t for now.

For over four years most of the media flogged a dead horse of a story in Russian collusion. There was no Trump-Russia collusion. Zero. Robert Mueller’s exhaustive investigation found none. That didn’t stop the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC from hawking it, not so subtly, as the way to oust Trump from power for nearly four years nearly every day.

Meanwhile the Hunter Biden laptop story was minimized by that same mainstream media during the 2020 campaign. The younger Biden’s alleged influence peddling activities are not a nothing-burger. And Facebook and Twitter for a while blocked the posting the New York Post story about the deeply troubling news that the former vice president’s son might be compromised by foreign governments, including our greatest rival, China. Twitter, in a preview of 2021’s ongoing purge of conservatives that includes Trump, from the microblogging platform, locked the Post out of its account for nearly two weeks. Free press anyone? The suppression worked. Many people I spoke with, folks who only get their news from Facebook, never heard about the Hunter laptop scandal until I told them about it. 

Mission accomplished. 

After the election Hunter Biden revealed that he has been under federal investigation for two years. He says its for tax reasons but Hunter does not come across to me as a man who can be trusted.

Not a nothing-burger.

Trump’s core base of supporters are voracious consumers of news–and yes, to be fair of course some of their news stories come from Facebook and Twitter, unless of course they’ve been purged from those sites. And the double-standard of most of the media on those two stories seethes the Trump base.

After the riot the media continued its dismissive attitude of Trump supporters. 

Anderson Cooper of CNN, a scion of the Vanderbilt family that got filthy rich during the Gilded Age, said of the protesters after the riot. “And they’re going to go back to the Olive Garden and to the Holiday Inn they’re staying at, or the Garden Marriott, and they’re going to have some drinks and talk about the great day they had in Washington … They stood up for nothing other than mayhem.”

Clearly Cooper dines at what he deems are better restaurants than the Olive Garden. And he can afford to stay at the finest hotels, places that are beyond my financial reach. And yes, I’ve stayed at those hotels Cooper denigrated. I’ve eaten at the Olive Garden a few times.

Another cruel irony of the mainstream media coverage of the Capitol riot is that they deemed it one, while they went to great pains to call the many urban riots of 2020–which occurred almost exclusively in Democrat-run cities–anything but that. While storming the Capitol is clearly a much different dimension than looting and arson, and yes, a very disturbing one, the hypocrisy of the media is apparent to a 10-year-old. 

More than ever we need new media. If you agree with my post, especially if you dine at the Olive Garden, stop seething. Start your own blog. WordPress and Blogger.com are good places to start. Even if you have just ten readers a day–my own blog has many more than that in case you are wondering–you will be making a difference. Besides, much of the mainstream media, particularly daily newspapers, are endangered species. Warren Buffett, no conservative, expects only a few of them to survive and he made that prediction before the COVID-19 outbreak that has devastated their ad revenue. Those papers, for the most part, take their lead in reporting news from the aforementioned Washington Post and the New York Times. It’s where they learn not to use words like “riot” unless it involves conservatives. They invent terms like “mostly peaceful” or sugarcoat the carnage by saying it is “unrest.” Those last two newspapers aren’t going anyhere but we can fight back with reality. An army of mosquitoes can make a difference.

There’s a void coming. Fill it. Bite back.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Update (DTG) I put something like this in as a comment but figured it belonged as a post update as this has gotten instalanched. (Thanks Ed)

John is one one my original magnificent seven bloggers/ He produces quality work and I’m proud to have him here.

I believe he is completely wrong about the election not being stolen, both math, the actions of the left and common sense in my opinion scream it to be the case, but he has the right to his opinion and I respect that he comes by it honestly and have no problem with him expressing it here.

If anyone has problem with him expressing that opinion on my site and want him off for having & expressing it, well that’s too bad.

This isn’t twitter and my name’s not Jack

Readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic

During the 25 years I have taught writing, I have complained frequently about how K-12 educators pay little attention to the building blocks of grammar, punctuation, and style.

In the past, students have accepted the need to learn these elements of writing. Now that’s changed.

I am teaching a month-long course in journalism history, which requires a great deal of writing.

For the first time ever, students feel emboldened enough to complain publicly that I deduct points, generally a full grade, when they make three errors or more.

“You keep dropping me entire letter grades for tiny, insignificant grammatical errors. I’ve never had a teacher complain about my grammar,” one student wrote. “Considering most of your students are juggling school, work, and the ramifications of a global pandemic, I don’t think this is the time for harsh grading.”

Another told me he checked with a website editor who said the grammar was fine. I noted 18 errors in a submission of 500 words.

Here’s what I wrote to all of the students:

After more than 25 years as a journalist at The Associated Press, Newsweek, and ABC News, I decided to teach writing. Since I joined academia, I have written and edited seven books. I’ve also written for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and online publications. 

As such, I take writing quite seriously.

If a writer fails to understand the basic tenets of grammar, punctuation, and style, myriad problems occur.

First, readers and viewers get hung up on the errors, known as creating “noise” in communications theory. For example, I once did a major investigation of prisons, which began with a visual of geese over a Wisconsin jail. I referred to the geese as Canadian geese. Such birds are called Canada geese. At least 100 of the 20 million viewers of the documentary scolded me for the error. That means that at least 100 people stopped watching something important because I made a style error.

Second, readers and viewers may question the accuracy of the information provided if basic rules are not followed.

Third, I had the luxury of having excellent editors who would challenge almost anything I wrote. Today, there are virtually no editors who look over reporters’ shoulders for errors of grammar, punctuation, style, and most importantly, accuracy.

Lastly, if you seek employment in journalism, advertising, or public relations, you will likely have to take a writing test, which is intended to determine your abilities in accuracy, grammar, punctuation, and style.

Since this course is a writing class in the Department of Journalism, I think it’s essential that someone care about such matters.

Social Media Exodus: MeWe

For anyone that remembers Google Plus, it was actually a fairly slick setup for social media. You could have different circles of people, which made it easy to segregate the sections of your life. Maybe you have some super liberal friends, so you put them in one circle and don’t share your news feed with them. Or maybe your brother is a complete moron and loves to comment about your parenting. In that case, you cut him out of the family picture sharing but don’t mind letting him see your posts about deer hunting.

When Google Plus shut down, most of the members went to MeWe. MeWe brags of inherent security, not selling your information and not censoring. I signed up, not even needing an email (I just used my phone number), and blam, I was in.

And it was really empty.

Like, I didn’t know what to do next.

On of MeWe’s biggest downsides is that it is so privacy conscious that it forgets that it forget that people were willing to give up some privacy to get easily connected with their friends. Facebook loves suggesting friends, groups and everything else based on location, contacts and browsing history. MeWe doesn’t do that, and that’s not a bad thing, but the Mewe walkthrough (seemingly run by a chatbot) doesn’t tell you what to do next.

After a lot of frustration, I figured out how to search for groups. Soon I was on a sous vide group, a chainsaw group, and some news media groups. Now my news feed was full of something. Then I found a few friends and added them. I also created a church group so people could have discussions without feeling like Facebook was hanging in the shadows, ready to classify them as a hate group.

After about 2 weeks of use, I did find some great meme groups, which to be honest, was a large reason that I scan Facebook. I’m also on a non-conspiracy theorist conservative group, which is decently uplifting and better than Facebook discussions ever were. But there are a lot of gaps. I can’t livestream or even call anyone (like you can with Messenger) unless you pay money.

To be frank, I’m not jazzed about MeWe. I think its most compelling feature is having a private group that is truly private, so you can talk openly and not worry about being thrown to the angry pitchfork mob of social justice warriors. But as a Facebook replacement? Not in its current form. It would need a way better introduction for new users and more features that I used in Facebook like livestreaming. Until then, MeWe might make temporary gains, but its not going to be a full Facebook competitor.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Iran redux

By Christopher Harper

Joe Biden says he wants to re-establish the nuclear deal with Iran—a move that would almost assuredly embolden the rogue regime.

Earlier this month, the Iranian parliament threatened to expand production of nuclear material in direct violation of a deal, which the Obama Administration negotiated and from which the Trump Administration exited in 2018.

Keep in mind, the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, only slowed Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon rather than stopped it.

If passed into law, the new parliament motion means that Iran would undertake a series of steps if the remaining parties to the agreement don’t provide relief from sanctions.

The steps include stocking 120 kilograms of uranium enriched at over 20% purity and withdrawing from a voluntary protocol, allowing U.N. inspectors access to non-nuclear sites. One hundred and twenty kilograms of 20%-enriched uranium is roughly half the material needed to fuel one nuclear weapon.

But there’s more. Last week Iran executed dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam, who was sentenced to death for inciting anti-government protests in 2017.

The execution of Zam demonstrated Iranian authorities’ willingness to defy international opposition in its suppression of the country’s media and opposition activists and the reach of its intelligence services beyond the country’s borders.

Zam, who had been living in France since 2011, ran a popular news channel, which he used to share news and logistics involving unrest in Iran in 2017. amid efforts by government security forces to suppress it.

Three years ago, he traveled to Iraq, where he was captured by the Revolutionary Guard, Iran’s security force.

But there’s even more. Earlier this year, U.S. officials determined that Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran in 2007, had died in Iranian custody. Last week Iran released a retired U.S. Naval officer, Michael White, for medical treatment to the Swiss embassy. His release was conditioned on his remaining in Iran.

Moreover, the State Department has repeatedly called for the release of three people with dual citizenship of Iran and the United States held by the Tehran regime.

Is Iran really the type of government that the United States can trust to abide by an agreement? I don’t think so, and neither should Joe Biden and his team.

Social Media Exodus: Nextdoor review

Nextdoor’s icon. Kind of like a Monopoly piece

After getting tired of the Facebook, and now YouTube, censorship of anything remotely conservative, I decided to plot my social media exodus. If you read anything online, anyone contemplating leaving Facebook is an idiot, but since I don’t trust the media anyway, I wanted to try it myself. Over the next few Saturdays, I’m going to outline alternatives to Facebook, YouTube and Google, give each the pluses and minuses, and give you a guide on how to transition successfully.

My view of Twitter, even before the election

But I won’t help you with Twitter. Twitter has always been hot garbage. You’re on your own there.

The first platform that you should try is Nextdoor. I found this gem on a list of alternative social media sites, and it does not disappoint. Nextdoor connects you with your neighbors. When you register, you put in your address, which then places you in a pre-defined neighborhood. You then get dropped right into a well-designed home page that shows you posts from your neighbors plus nearby neighborhoods.

The first big difference from Facebook is that there isn’t a friends list to maintain. Nextdoor lets you see only the people in your neighborhood. When you go to post something, you can only post in a number of categories: for sale, safety, general, lost and found and recommendations. When you look at the general feed, its not at all like Facebook. There aren’t annoying Vox articles linked by your liberal friends, or anti-vax memes from that crazy mom down the street. Nope, its just local news.

Which is not a bad thing. I found a city council meeting I had missed, so I got updates on nearby construction projects. I also found out our water metering people were hacked by ransomware, which is why they haven’t sent us a bill. I never saw any of that on Facebook, and those things actually affect me a lot more than most of the things I read on Facebook.

For your interest areas, there are local groups, although not nearly as many as Facebook. It didn’t take long to find a conservative group that was working to support local people running for office. I also quickly found a gardening group and pawpaw (the fruit) group. I had to start a group for dads, but there were a million mom groups already. Although it doesn’t have the number of groups of Facebook, the fact that I can make a group with people in the area only is kind of nice.

The other great feature is the “for sale” section. One of the big benefits of Facebook is the Marketplace section, where you can find a ton of items for sale, or sell your items quickly. I’ve made a killing selling firewood through Marketplace, and that was something I didn’t want to lose. Nextdoor has similar functionality. Even better, I’m not wasting my time looking at items that are hundreds of miles away but offer “free shipping.”

Overall, Nextdoor has about 75% of what I want in social media. I get local things that matter to me, local groups that I care about, and can sell to my neighbors. I miss out on out of area relatives and friends, which is why Nextdoor can’t replicate Facebook. To be fair, they don’t claim to do that, and if you live near most of your family, maybe you won’t mind.

I now find myself checking Nextdoor a lot more than Facebook, and certainly enjoying it more. Maybe you will too, I’d recommend giving it a try.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

China’s continued maritime march and the coming hard reckoning

Despite the Coronavirus, despite the Hague Rulings, despite the Philippines now cozying back up to the United States, China continues its maritime march to dominate its neighbors and eventually the world.

Sounds crazy? Let’s look at the facts:

In 2012, China and the Phillipines agreed to move away from Scarborough Shoals, a shoaling area frequented by Phillipine fishermen and inside Phillipines EEZ. Phillipine forces left, Chinese ones did not. Now, in 2020, we’re worrying about China reclaiming land around these shoals. Reclamation and militarization of other fake islands continued, with Fiery Cross now able to support H-6K bombers.

In 2014, China deliberately moved an oil drilling platform, the Hai Yang Shi You 981, into Vietnamese waters and drilled for oil, all while protecting the platform with a ring of maritime militia vessels. Was it a one-time incident? Nope. China continues to harass fishermen in the area.

In 2020, a Chinese investor purchased a Keswick Island near Australia and is essentially pushing out the Australian residents. At the same time, the Chinese government is working its economic and social media muscle on Australia.

When people discovered China’s 251 dash line, China was quick to dismiss it as a joke. China would never lay claim to Hawaii, they said. They would never work against the United States to separate Hawaii. In case you thought that was old, try tracking the large Chinese fishing fleet that finds itself off the Galapagos, North Korea, and Chile. It won’t be long till they discover the Atlantic Ocean.

The hard reckoning with China is coming. Just like Nazi Germany, they will continue to do as much grabbing as they can without getting a response from the international community. Just like the invasion of Poland, something is going to trigger a conflict. Maybe it’ll be Taiwan, or the Senkakus, or North Korea, or a remote mountain outpost on the Indian border, or even something in Tajikistan or Kazakhstan. Something is going to push another country to a redline, and kinetic weapons are going to fly. Maybe even nuclear ones too. At that point, we’re going to have to pick a side, because its not something we can sit out.

We can’t sit it out because we’re the last “stop” for China. Nothing else is going to stop them except US resolve. We can’t outspend China like we did Russia. China is smart enough to pay people well to steal US secrets, a mistake the Russians made during the Cold War. Relying on patriotism or social justice to insulate the US from China doesn’t work when even Google, supposidly a hot-bed of social justice warriors, looks the other way on issues like Xinjiang and even actively works on a filtered search engine for the Chinese government. The Chinese movements in the maritime are just the precursor for a bigger movement to usurp the world order.

It’s coming, whether its in 2021, 2025 or 2030, that hard reckoning is coming.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Analyzing Mattis’ comments on China

It’s not secret that Jim Mattis and Donald Trump had issues working together. I was surprised to read that Mattis wanted to scrap Trump’s “America First” policy, and while I couldn’t get the full article from Foreign Affairs, the snippets I read said his main criticisms were:

  • Characterizing Afghanistan and Iraq as “forever wars”
  • Undermining our allies
  • Bad views on China

Let’s give the man his due and ask the question: is he right?

We’ve been in Afghanistan (officially) since 2001, and Iraq since 2003, although we withdrew all forces in 2011 per our Status of Forces agreement, and were invited back again in 2014. The Iraqi parliament has been working since early 2020 to get US troops to leave. In sum total, we’ve been in Afghanistan for 19 years (and counting), and Iraq for 8 plus 6 years, total of 14 years, assuming we leave this year.

In comparison, World War Two was from 1939-1945 (6 years), Vietnam was 1964-1975 (if you pick Gulf of Tonkin as the start, 11 years), Korea was 1950-1953 (3 years). The longest of these, Vietnam, has been characterized as a “forever war” before, so its no surprise that to the average American, Iraq and Afghanistan look like forever wars.

But are they investments in peace and stability? I’ve heard them compared to our time in Germany and Japan shortly after World War 2. We’re still technically stationing military in both countries. In Germany, our occupation started in 1945, but by 1949 we had already formed West Germany, and by 1955, West Germany was a member of NATO, and our forces were no longer “occupying” Germany. Japan was similar, with our occupation ending in the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952. While we are still in those countries today, we aren’t there to occupy or provide security. In fact, we expected significant insurgency issues (such as Germany’s Werwolf program), yet they never materialized.

Contrast that to Afghanistan and Iraq, where our troops are providing significant combat support and basic policing. That’s a massive difference between the two, and not dissimilar to Vietnam, where we still had to provide basic protection against an insurgency because of the host government’s inability to perform it themselves.

So to recap, if you militarily stay in country and have to fight an insurgency inside the borders, it feels like a forever war. If you stay and the country does its own policing, it doesn’t feel like a forever war. Or, from a military perspective, if you can’t bring your family to your new duty station, it might feel like a war zone.

What about undermining our allies? President Trump has been on record saying a lot of mean things. The Foreign Policy article argues that he is “undermining the foundations of an international order manifestly advantageous to U.S. interests, reflecting a basic ignorance of the extent to which both robust alliances and international institutions provide vital strategic depth.”

So the question is, has Trump undermined our alliances? Is the international order we have now worse off than before? The United States has mutual defense pacts with NATO, Australia, New Zealand, The Phillipines, Japan, Republic of Korea and the Rio Treaty with a smattering of South American nations. It also supports Taiwan, but the treaty is a bit vague as to whether we would respond to a PRC invasion.

Here we’re probably batting 500 at best. President Trump has worked to expand relationships with India and Japan, and has maintained a normal course with Australia and New Zealand. Trump’s push to pull out of Korea isn’t new, we’ve asked the Koreans to own their defense before. His attempts at directly negotiating with North Korea put us on a much better path to peace…I never thought I’d see a sitting President shake the North Korean dictator’s hands ever. Our relationship with South America hasn’t expanded much militarily or economically, and I’d call that a negative. The economic treaties throughout the world are mixed. In some cases, it got better (USMCA), in other cases, it stagnated (TPP).

NATO is a mixed bag. On one hand, he pushed for and got much needed investment by NATO nations in their own defense, something that nearly every previous Secretary of Defense and President has been asking for years. On the other hand, Europe wanted an Iranian deal so they could get back to buying oil, while Trump wanted to stop Iranian aggression in the Middle East. There’s no resolution to that short of Iran dropping its nuclear weapons program (it didn’t) or Europe or the US dropping their arguments (neither side has). Trump’s response of neutralizing the Israeli issue, first with the UAE and Bahrain and (maybe) with Saudi Arabia is some out of the box thinking. I would argue that NATO is stronger now than before, but some of the individual countries like Germany aren’t happy with the US.

Overall, point to Mattis on this one. Negotiating hard makes sense, but it could have been done with some more finesse, and creating hard feelings isn’t worth it in many cases.

Mattis’ comments on China are odd, given his time as Secretary of Defense and his shift towards Great Power Competition. From the Foreign Affairs article:

“Crucially, the United States should not press countries to choose outright between the two powers,” they said. “A ‘with us or against us’ approach plays to China’s advantage because the economic prosperity of U.S. allies and partners hinges on strong trade and investment relationships with Beijing.”

So, we should work with China? I’d be all about it, and so was William Cohen, opening up US military relations with the PLA in 1999. How did that work for us? China continued to steal technology, threaten its neighbors, build fake islands in the South China Sea, bury US industry with practices illegal to the WTO, and in general act in ways completely at odds of the US. The only difference between Russia and China is that China is happy to pay for this influence. When they needed a port in Sri Lanka, the Chinese invested their own money and worked with Sri Lanka, right up to the point the Sri Lankans couldn’t pay back a loan. China is happy to flex its muscles on every deal it makes, from the one-sided Vatican recognition to its territorial dispute with India. Unlike most other countries, there is no good faith in any of the past deals China made.

The Cohen Group has been happy to look the other way. Yes, there is a ton of money in China. Plenty of Americans are making money in China. Our hope in 1999 was that as China grew, it would naturally democratize. That wasn’t a bad call back then. It’s a terrible call now. The Cohen Group continues to look past this however. It’s founder, William Cohen, not only sided against Trump in 2016, he also has personal connections with the late John McCain and was his best man after he dumped his first wife.

Jim Mattis joining a group of academics that are already naturally anti-Trump and pro-China, and then coming out with a pro-China statement, isn’t that surprising. If we continue to view China like we did in 1999, then yes, everything Trump is doing is a terrible idea. But the last 20 years have shown that Afghanistan is not Germany, NATO wasn’t ready for high-end conflict, and China’s One Party system is happy to crush the United States if we let it do so. If the Cohen Group is happy to make money from this world view, good for them, but don’t be surprised when it doesn’t jive with the average American.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

A Twitter Tale of Two Timestamps

As I noted yesterday twitter has once again upheld my appeal of their 3rd lockdown of me over the Benford’s law post that they’ve been auto locking people over for a week but I noticed something interesting about my latest appeal and reversal.

Take a look at the time stamps on getting my appeal and it being approved.

Here is the stamp of my appeal being reieved

and here is the time stamp of their apology

I submit and suggest that this is now the process at twitter concerning this link

  1. Falsely flag the Benford law’s post to repress it and lock out those who send it out & accuse them falsely of distributing “intimate images without consent” Not only does it discourage the tweet or retweet of the material but it allows them to mark said material unavailable during this time.
  2. When the lock down period is over offer to let them back in if they delete the tweet (thus acknowledging “guilt” and making their account for violating rules giving them a cause to later ban such a person)
  3. if they refuse and appeal set up an auto system to say they made an “error” Sort of like an auto correct.
  4. Return to #1 if you tweet it again

This process involves a series of falsehoods & dishonorable actions by the crew at twitter.

  1. Falsely flagging said link as some type of intimate image without consent
  2. Falsely (and automatically) accusing users in writing of spreading intimate images without consent.
  3. Falsely flagging people who delete said tweets as having broken said rules
  4. Falsely claiming to review appeals
  5. Falsely claiming (in writing) that they have reviewed said appeal and that all of this has been an “error”.
  6. And Falsely apologizing for said “error” with the full intention of repeating it if you dare send out that tweet again.

Now if I expected better from these folks I might be disappointed, after all there is a reason why so many have left this platform or have gone elsewhere, and some have asked why I don’t to the same. Why do I bother to keep fighting this fight here?

My answer is for the same reason I haven’t moved out of Massachusetts. Someone has to make the fight and while with all of this on automatic it doesn’t even amount to the pinprick in the Elephant’s hide I am able to illustrate to the avg person their perfidy and point out that there is no reason to suppose that they will not turn this on them if they so choose.

It’s a small flag I grant you but I’ll carry it.

Update: Welcome Whatfinger readers, take a look around at both my stuff and the stuff from my magnificent seven writers and don’t miss today’s piece: “Mr. Ness, everybody knows where the booze is. The problem isn’t finding it, the problem is who wants to cross Capone.”