The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Month: July 2016 Page 1 of 3

Hillary Clinton’s DNC Speech

Hillary Clinton Secretary of State PortraitYou can also read a transcript of Trump’s RNC speech, and an analysis of Trump’s speech. I suggest reading both speeches and deciding for yourself which is stronger and weaker where.

Of note in this speech are a promise for tuition-free college for the middle class and debt-free college for everyone, and for a living wage (during the primary campaign Clinton refused to endorse a $15 minimum wage).

Thank you! Thank you for that amazing welcome.

And Chelsea, thank you.

I’m so proud to be your mother and so proud of the woman you’ve become.

Thanks for bringing Marc into our family, and Charlotte and Aidan into the world.

And Bill, that conversation we started in the law library 45 years ago is still going strong. ​It’s lasted through good times that filled us with joy, and hard times that tested us.

And I’ve even gotten a few words in along the way.

On Tuesday night, I was so happy to see that my Explainer-in-Chief is still on the job.

I’m also grateful to the rest of my family and the friends of a lifetime.

To all of you whose hard work brought us here tonight…

And to those of you who joined our campaign this week.

And what a remarkable week it’s been.

We heard the man from Hope, Bill Clinton.

And the man of Hope, Barack Obama.

America is stronger because of President Obama’s leadership, and I’m better because of his friendship.

We heard from our terrific vice president, the one-and-only Joe Biden, who spoke from his big heart about our party’s commitment to working people.

First Lady Michelle Obama reminded us that our children are watching, and the president we elect is going to be their president, too.

And for those of you out there who are just getting to know Tim Kaine – you’re soon going to understand why the people of Virginia keep promoting him: from city council and mayor, to Governor, and now Senator.

He’ll make the whole country proud as our Vice President.

And…I want to thank Bernie Sanders.

Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary.

You’ve put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.

And to all of your supporters here and around the country:

I want you to know, I’ve heard you.

Your cause is our cause.

Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion.

That’s the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America.

We wrote it together – now let’s go out there and make it happen together.

My friends, we’ve come to Philadelphia – the birthplace of our nation – because what happened in this city 240 years ago still has something to teach us today.

We all know the story.

But we usually focus on how it turned out – and not enough on how close that story came to never being written at all.

When representatives from 13 unruly colonies met just down the road from here, some wanted to stick with the King.

Some wanted to stick it to the king, and go their own way.

The revolution hung in the balance.

Then somehow they began listening to each other … compromising … finding common purpose.

And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation. ​That’s what made it possible to stand up to a King.

That took courage.

They had courage.

Our Founders embraced the enduring truth that we are stronger together.

America is once again at a moment of reckoning.

Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart.

Bonds of trust and respect are fraying.

And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees.

It truly is up to us.

We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together.

Our country’s motto is e pluribus unum: out of many, we are one.

Will we stay true to that motto?

Well, we heard Donald Trump’s answer last week at his convention.

He wants to divide us – from the rest of the world, and from each other.

He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise.

He’s taken the Republican Party a long way…

from “Morning in America” to “Midnight in America.”

He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.

Well, a great Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than eighty years ago, during a much more perilous time.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Now we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against.

But we are not afraid.

We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have.

We will not build a wall.

Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one.

And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy!

We will not ban a religion.

We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight terrorism.

There’s a lot of work to do.

Too many people haven’t had a pay raise since the ​crash.

There’s too much inequality.

Too little social mobility.

Too much paralysis in Washington.

Too many threats at home and abroad.

But just look at the strengths we bring to meet these challenges.

We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world.

We have the most tolerant and generous young people we’ve ever had.

We have the most powerful military.

The most innovative entrepreneurs.

The most enduring values.Freedom and equality, justice and opportunity.

We should be so proud that these words are associated with us. That when people hear them – they hear… America.

So don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak.

We’re not.

Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes.

We do.

And most of all, don’t believe anyone who says: “I alone can fix it.”

Those were actually Donald Trump’s words in Cleveland.

And they should set off alarm bells for all of us.


I alone can fix it?

Isn’t he forgetting?

Troops on the front lines.

Police officers and fire fighters who run toward danger.

Doctors and nurses who care for us.

Teachers who change lives.

Entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem.

Mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe.

He’s forgetting every last one of us.

Americans don’t say: “I alone can fix it.”

We say: “We’ll fix it together.”

Remember: Our Founders fought a revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power.

Two hundred and forty years later, we still put our faith in each other.

Look at what happened in Dallas after the assassinations of five brave police officers.

Chief David Brown asked the community to support his force, maybe even join them.

And you know how the community responded?

Nearly 500 people applied in just 12 days.

That’s how Americans answer when the call for help goes out.

20 years ago I wrote a book called “It Takes a Village.” A lot of people looked at the title and asked, what the heck do you mean by that?

This is what I mean.

None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone.

America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger.

I believe that with all my heart.

That’s why “Stronger Together” is not just a lesson from our history.

It’s not just a slogan for our campaign.

It’s a guiding principle for the country we’ve always been and the future we’re going to build.

A country where the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.

Where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school, no matter what zip code you live in.

A country where all our children can dream, and those dreams are within reach.

Where families are strong… communities are safe…

And yes, love trumps hate.

That’s the country we’re fighting for.

That’s the future we’re working toward…

And so it is with humility. . . determination . . . and boundless confidence in America’s promise… that I accept your nomination for President of the United States!

Now, sometimes the people at this podium are new to the national stage.

As you know, I’m not one of those people.

I’ve been your First Lady. Served 8 years as a Senator from the great State of New York.

I ran for President and lost.

Then I represented all of you as Secretary of State.

But my job titles only tell you what I’ve done.

They don’t tell you why.

The truth is, through all these years of public service, the “service” part has always come easier to me than the “public” part.

I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me.

So let me tell you.

The family I’m from . . . well, no one had their name on big buildings.

My family were builders of a different kind.

Builders in the way most American families are.

They used whatever tools they had – whatever God gave them – and whatever life in America provided – and built better lives and better futures for their kids.

My grandfather worked in the same Scranton lace mill for 50 years.

Because he believed that if he gave everything he had, his children would have a better life than he did.

And he was right.

My dad, Hugh, made it to college. He played football at Penn State and enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor.

When the war was over he started his own small business, printing fabric for draperies.

I remember watching him stand for hours over silk screens.

He wanted to give my brothers and me opportunities he never had.

And he did. My mother, Dorothy, was abandoned by her parents as a young girl. She ended up on her own at 14, working as a house maid.

She was saved by the kindness of others.

Her first grade teacher saw she had nothing to eat at lunch, and brought extra food to share.

The lesson she passed on to me years later stuck with me:

No one gets through life alone.

We have to look out for each other and lift each other up.

She made sure I learned the words of our Methodist faith:

“Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”

I went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, going door-to-door in New Bedford, Massachusetts on behalf of children with disabilities who were denied the chance to go to school.

I remember meeting a young girl in a wheelchair on the small back porch of her house.

She told me how badly she wanted to go to school – it just didn’t seem possible.

And I couldn’t stop thinking of my mother and what she went through as a child.

It became clear to me that simply caring is not enough.

To drive real progress, you have to change both hearts and laws.

You need both understanding and action.

So we gathered facts. We built a coalition. And our work helped convince Congress to ensure access to education for all students with disabilities.

It’s a big idea, isn’t it?

Every kid with a disability has the right to go to school.

But how do you make an idea like that real? You do it step-by-step, year-by-year… sometimes even door-by-door.

And my heart just swelled when I saw Anastasia Somoza on this stage, representing millions of young people who – because of those changes to our laws – are able to get an education.

It’s true… I sweat the details of policy – whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs.

Because it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid – if it’s your family.

It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president.

Over the last three days, you’ve seen some of the people who’ve inspired me.

People who let me into their lives, and became a part of mine.

People like Ryan Moore and Lauren Manning.

They told their stories Tuesday night.

I first met Ryan as a seven-year old.

He was wearing a full body brace that must have weighed forty pounds.

Children like Ryan kept me going when our plan for universal health care failed…and kept me working with leaders of both parties to help create the Children’s Health Insurance Program that covers 8 million kids every year.

Lauren was gravely injured on 9/11.

It was the thought of her, and Debbie St. John, and John Dolan and Joe Sweeney, and all the victims and survivors, that kept me working as hard as I could in the Senate on behalf of 9/11 families, and our first responders who got sick from their time at Ground Zero.

I was still thinking of Lauren, Debbie and all the others ten years later in the White House Situation Room when President Obama made the courageous decision that finally brought Osama bin Laden to justice.

In this campaign, I’ve met so many people who motivate me to keep fighting for change.

And, with your help, I will carry all of your voices and stories with me to the White House.

I will be a President for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

For the struggling, the striving and the successful.

For those who vote for me and those who don’t.

For all Americans.

Tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union:

the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for President.

Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come.

Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between.

Happy for boys and men, too – because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone. When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.

So let’s keep going, until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves.

Because even more important than the history we make tonight, is the history we will write together in the years ahead.

Let’s begin with what we’re going to do to help working people in our country get ahead and stay ahead.

Now, I don’t think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.

Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs. Twenty million more Americans with health insurance. And an auto industry that just had its best year ever. That’s real progress.

But none of us can be satisfied with the status quo. Not by a long shot.

We’re still facing deep-seated problems that developed long before the recession and have stayed with us through the ​recovery.

I’ve gone around our country talking to working families. And I’ve heard from so many of you who feel like the economy just isn’t working.

Some of you are frustrated – even furious.

And you know what??? You’re right.

It’s not yet working the way it should.

Americans are willing to work – and work hard.

But right now, an awful lot of people feel there is less and less respect for the work they do.

And less respect for them, period.

Democrats are the party of working people.

But we haven’t done a good enough job showing that we get what you’re going through,
and that we’re going to do something about it.

So I want to tell you tonight how we will empower Americans to live better lives.

My primary mission as President will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States…

From my first day in office to my last!

Especially in places that for too long have been left out and left behind.

From our inner cities to our small towns, from Indian Country to Coal Country.

From communities ravaged by addiction to regions hollowed out by plant closures.

And here’s what I believe.

I believe America thrives when the middle class thrives.

I believe that our economy isn’t working the way it should because our democracy isn’t working the way it should.

That’s why we need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them. And we’ll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!

I believe American corporations that have gotten so much from our country should be just as patriotic in return.

Many of them are. But too many aren’t.

It’s wrong to take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips with the other.

And I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again.

I believe in science. I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.

I believe that when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to kick them out.

Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together – and it’s the right thing to do.

Whatever party you belong to, or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign.

If you believe that companies should share profits with their workers, not pad executive bonuses, join us.

If you believe the minimum wage should be a living wage… and no one working full time should have to raise their children in poverty… join us.

If you believe that every man, woman, and child in America has the right to affordable health care…join us.

If you believe that we should say “no” to unfair trade deals… that we should stand up to China… that we should support our steelworkers and autoworkers and homegrown manufacturers…join us.

If you believe we should expand Social Security and protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions… join us.

And yes, if you believe that your working mother, wife, sister, or daughter deserves equal pay… join us…

Let’s make sure this economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.

Now, you didn’t hear any of this from Donald Trump at his convention.

He spoke for 70-odd minutes – and I do mean odd.

And he offered zero solutions. But we already know he doesn’t believe these things.

No wonder he doesn’t like talking about his plans.

You might have noticed, I love talking about mine.

In my first 100 days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II.

Jobs in manufacturing, clean energy, technology and innovation, small business, and infrastructure.

If we invest in infrastructure now, we’ll not only create jobs today, but lay the foundation for the jobs of the future.

And we will transform the way we prepare our young people for those jobs.

Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all!

We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt.

It’s just not right that Donald Trump can ignore his debts, but students and families can’t refinance theirs.

And here’s something we don’t say often enough: College is crucial, but a four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job.

We’re going to help more people learn a skill or practice a trade and make a good living doing it.

We’re going to give small businesses a boost. Make it easier to get credit. Way too many dreams die in the parking lots of banks.

In America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it.

We’re going to help you balance family and work. And you know what, if fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the “woman card,” then Deal Me In! (Oh, you’ve heard that one?)

Now, here’s the thing, we’re not only going to make all these investments, we’re going to pay for every single one of them.
​ ​
And here’s how: Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes.

Not because we resent success. Because when more than 90% of the gains have gone to the top 1%, that’s where the money is.

And if companies take tax breaks and then ship jobs overseas, we’ll make them pay us back. And we’ll put that money to work where it belongs … creating jobs here at home!

Now I know some of you are sitting at home thinking, well that all sounds pretty good.

But how are you going to get it done? How are you going to break through the gridlock in Washington? Look at my record. I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people. And if you give me the chance, that’s what I’ll do as President.

But Trump, he’s a businessman. He must know something about the economy.

Well, let’s take a closer look.

In Atlantic City, 60 miles from here, you’ll find contractors and small businesses who lost everything because Donald Trump refused to pay his bills.

People who did the work and needed the money, and didn’t get it – not because he couldn’t pay them, but because he wouldn’t pay them.

That sales pitch he’s making to be your president? Put your faith in him – and you’ll win big? That’s the same sales pitch he made to all those small businesses. Then Trump walked away, and left working people holding the bag.

He also talks a big game about putting America First. Please explain to me what part of America First leads him to make Trump ties in China, not Colorado.

Trump suits in Mexico, not Michigan. Trump furniture in Turkey, not Ohio. Trump picture frames in India, not Wisconsin.

Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again – well, he could start by actually making things in America again.

The choice we face is just as stark when it comes to our national security.

Anyone reading the news can see the threats and turbulence we face.

From Baghdad and Kabul, to Nice and Paris and Brussels, to San Bernardino and Orlando, we’re dealing with determined enemies that must be defeated.

No wonder people are anxious and looking for reassurance. Looking for steady leadership.

You want a leader who understands we are stronger when we work with our allies around the world and care for our veterans here at home. Keeping our nation safe and honoring the people who do it will be my highest priority.

I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.

I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement – now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.

I’m proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia.

I’ve laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS.

We will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so that we detect and prevent attacks before they happen.

We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country.

It won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake – we will prevail.

Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do….”

No, Donald, you don’t.

He thinks that he knows more than our military because he claimed our armed forces are “a disaster.”

Well, I’ve had the privilege to work closely with our troops and our veterans for many years, including as a Senator on the Armed Services Committee.

I know how wrong he is. Our military is a national treasure.

We entrust our commander-in-chief to make the hardest decisions our nation faces. ​Decisions about war and peace. Life and death.

A president should respect the men and women who risk their lives to serve our country – including the sons of Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, both Marines.

Ask yourself: Does Donald Trump have the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief?

Donald Trump can’t even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign.

He loses his cool at the slightest provocation. When he’s gotten a tough question from a reporter. When he’s challenged in a debate. When he sees a protestor at a rally.

Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.

I can’t put it any better than Jackie Kennedy did after the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started – not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men – the ones moved by fear and pride.

America’s strength doesn’t come from lashing out.

Strength relies on smarts, judgment, cool resolve, and the precise and strategic application of power.

That’s the kind of Commander-in-Chief I pledge to be.

And if we’re serious about keeping our country safe, we also can’t afford to have a President who’s in the pocket of the gun lobby.

I’m not here to repeal the 2nd Amendment.

I’m not here to take away your guns.

I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.

We should be working with responsible gun owners to pass common-sense reforms and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and all others who would do us harm.

For decades, people have said this issue was too hard to solve and the politics were too hot to touch.

But I ask you: how can we just stand by and do nothing?

You heard, you saw, family members of people killed by gun violence.

You heard, you saw, family members of police officers killed in the line of duty because they were outgunned by criminals.

I refuse to believe we can’t find common ground here.

We have to heal the divides in our country.

Not just on guns. But on race. Immigration. And more.

That starts with listening to each other. Hearing each other. Trying, as best we can, to walk in each other’s shoes.

So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable.

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job.

We will reform our criminal justice system from end-to-end, and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

We will defend all our rights – civil rights, human rights and voting rights… women’s rights and workers’ rights… LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities!

And we will stand up against mean and divisive rhetoric wherever it comes from.

For the past year, many people made the mistake of laughing off Donald Trump’s comments – excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show.

They think he couldn’t possibly mean all the horrible things he says – like when he called women “pigs.” Or said that an American judge couldn’t be fair because of his Mexican heritage. Or when he mocks and mimics a reporter with a disability.

Or insults prisoners of war like John McCain -a true hero and patriot who deserves our respect.

At first, I admit, I couldn’t believe he meant it either.

It was just too hard to fathom – that someone who wants to lead our nation could say those things. Could be like that.

But here’s the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump…This is it.

And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: that America is great – because America is good.

So enough with the bigotry and bombast. Donald Trump’s not offering real change.

He’s offering empty promises. What are we offering? A bold agenda to improve the lives of people across our country – to keep you safe, to get you good jobs, and to give your kids the opportunities they deserve.

The choice is clear.

Every generation of Americans has come together to make our country freer, fairer, and stronger.

None of us can do it alone.

I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we’ll ever pull together again.

But I’m here to tell you tonight – progress is possible.

I know because I’ve seen it in the lives of people across America who get knocked down and get right back up.

And I know it from my own life. More than a few times, I’ve had to pick myself up and get back in the game.

Like so much else, I got this from my mother. She never let me back down from any challenge. When I tried to hide from a neighborhood bully, she literally blocked the door. “Go back out there,” she said.

And she was right. You have to stand up to bullies. You have to keep working to make things better, even when the odds are long and the opposition is fierce.

We lost my mother a few years ago. I miss her every day. And I still hear her voice urging me to keep working, keep fighting for right, no matter what.

That’s what we need to do together as a nation.

Though “we may not live to see the glory,” as the song from the musical Hamilton goes, “let us gladly join the fight.”

Let our legacy be about “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”

That’s why we’re here…not just in this hall, but on this Earth.

The Founders showed us that.

And so have many others since.

They were drawn together by love of country, and the selfless passion to build something better for all who follow.

That is the story of America. And we begin a new chapter tonight.

Yes, the world is watching what we do.

Yes, America’s destiny is ours to choose.

Book Review of Sociological Insight by Randall Collins Will Go Live Sunday, August 7th

If you want to read it before the review, you have till then do so. I’m putting below here the preamble from the review itself, since it makes the case why this book is worth reading.

Randall Collins has probably influenced me more than any other writer. A sociologist who concentrated on theory, with an encyclopedic knowledge of world history, in particular intellectual history, I regard him as a candidate for greatest intellectual of the 20th century whom no one outside his field knows.

Sociological Insight is a short book, subtitled “An Introduction to Non-Obvious Sociology.”

The dig against sociology is that it mostly discovers stuff that any idiot already knew; it is reified common sense. (A friend and I used to joke that if we ever started a consultancy we’d call it RCS, and not tell anyone what it meant.)

Collins wrote this small book to explain to students considering sociology, and to non-sociologists, why sociology was worth studying. The book is clearly written, divided into short chapters, and clocks in at under 200 pages.  Used copies are cheap, or you can probably still find it at your local university or college library.

If you read only one book of the books I’m going to review this year, I suggest it be this one, or “An Introduction to Weberian Sociology”, also by Collins.

If you enjoyed this article, and want me to write more, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

It’s Clinton’s Election to Lose

President-George-W.-Bush-Mission-Accomplished“He denounced “15 years of wars in the Middle East” — a rebuke of President George W. Bush — and pledged to help union members, coal miners and other low-wage Americans,” this traditionally Democrat-sounding politician continued, “These are the forgotten men and women of our country. People who work hard but no longer have a voice.”
the-new-yorker-who-is-donald-trumpIn another forum Donald Trump spoke, a bit incoherently, of the position where the United States foots 75 percent of NATO bills: “If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries, and in many cases the countries I’m talking about are extremely rich. Then . . . I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, “Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.”
In NatSec think tanks all over the Beltway, heads were exploding. A national correspondent for The Atlantic said, “Trump is creating conditions for the dissolution of NATO, the demise of Europe, and rampant nuclear proliferation.” This from the scribe who claimed POTUS didn’t have the power to close GITMO. Poor Goldberg, always at the tail end of the main issue because he’s too busy brown-nosing to win the race.
I’ve said it before (and I think Trump’s on to it as well), NATO’s usefulness is analogous to that of the Concert of Europe in late 19th century. What began as a Triple Alliance between Great Britain, NATO has been creating the conditions for its own demise for about 25 years now. As I have repeatedly said on multiple occasions: The more nations adopt into the mutual defense alliance, the more the power of said alliance is diluted. It becomes a club that everyone has to be a member of, a sort of stepping stone into the ultimate club, the EU. Although at present the desire to join the EU is at question.
The interviewer then brings up the question of non-monetary value, i.e., good will, with large monetary outlays. Trump is having none of this nasty, pocketed, traded, lost, reheated old chestnut that Think Tankers love to trot out: “We’re spending money, and if you’re talking about trade, we’re losing a tremendous amount of money, according to many stats, $800 billion a year on trade. So we are spending a fortune on [our] military in order to lose $800 billion.” I’ve got ocean-side property in New Mexico, folks, anyone interested?
undated-new-f-35c-marylandBut really, who is this Republican nominee? Where did he come from? Sure, he’s quite the bigot and sexist. But what male senator or Representative in Washington DC isn’t? Look at their legislation. The only thing they care more about than getting their hands into women’s pants via abortion legislation, is getting into people’s pocketbooks with new fees. Unimaginable new fees. Fees with names a woman with an advanced forensic accounting degree couldn’t decipher.
Why, someone has to be asking, the fetish with fees?
Easy: They raise revenue but don’t count as taxes.
Suckers. American taxpayers are flat-out suckers.
But this nominee has problems: His use of grotesque race-baiting, his lack of care for the tragedies faced daily in America when innocent brown and black people die at the hands of white cops who never see any form of punishment. Worse, departments across the country are hiring men and women eager to enforce compliance over their fellow citizens with predictably tragic results. Then there is the stomach-turning use of violence at political rallies. It’s not the violence, per se, that churns the gut. It’s the “Brown Shirt” techniques that are utilized, to be frank, that reek of outright fascism. Are the trains running on time? Oh, wait. . .
Does Donlad’ “Flannel-Moth-Larvae-Head” Trump’s message machine have anything to say about these issues? No, because he’s banking on the silence resonating with a group of voters people see every day but rarely take notice of. People like the following group:
Do they see the man or woman who got the raw deal like the plumber in Wisconsin who took out one too many 25 percent APR credit cards intent on paying for Junior’s cracked front tooth? He, too, had a cracked tooth when he was young and never fixed it. He was too poor. He also always felt it held him back from promotions, getting the right girl, the list was long. He was determined that his son have a better chance, even if he was leaving university soon with upwards of $50,000 in debt with a degree from a mid-level state school in English.
indexHow about the voter down Texas-way who had one hundred acres of land within the city limits of a moderately-sized city in the Texas Hill Country and lost it to imminent domain for letting it lay fallow after racking up so many citations for claiming it to be agricultural land with no farm animals. It wasn’t his fault a group of local hoodlums kept killing the animals he put on the land so as to keep it in good standing with the law. It’s also the voter I sneer at because he or she can’t or won’t move past the slogans; and yet at the same time, is a howling hypocrite, taking advantage of every government program available, going around the neighborhood or attending neighborhood meetings (yes, I’ve been to a few) “hoping to make some converts.”
chicago-is-facing-financial-calamity--and-rahm-emanuel-may-not-be-able-to-save-itFinally, there is the voter who understands every government he or she falls under, be it local, toll road, water district, school district, state or federal, is taking, taking, taking. As a result s/he’s pissed. If only I could just make them see how the Ultimate One-Percenter has swindled them, letting local government gut public service by selling off a crown jewel of revenue to a private company (conveniently owned by friends) to solve a short term budget hole. The company then trebles rates, pockets the rainy day fund set up for emergency maintenance, and now has a 1-800-telephone tree giving the customer nothing but bullshit excuses. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Chicago’s parking system. A cash-cow’s cash-cow!, I won’t vote for him, because, while I doubt he’s as malevolent as Cruz or malignant as someone like Dick Cheney, he’s letting demons out of our collective closet that are best left in said closet. But, beware and be forewarned if you are a Democrat; especially if you’re certain Hillary is going to steam roll this guy.
You’ll have only yourself to blame if Trump wins.
It’s her election to lose.

Trump’s Speech: Not Insane

Donald TrumpOk, let’s analyze what Trump said.

Crime Is Increasing, Cops Are Being Killed, I’m Going to Stop That

I’m more with BLM, but this isn’t a surprising message. In fact, as he’s a Republican, I’d be shocked if he had not used it. (It’s also not true that crime is increasing, but that hasn’t stopped others from proposing hard-on-crime policies. And the perception of high crime is real, because of mass shootings and attacks on police.)

Illegal Immigrants are a Big Part of the Crime Wave, I’ll Deport Them

Immigrants commit less crime than native born Americans, but this isn’t that crazy; he’s just going to do more of what Obama and Bush did. The irony is, of course, that Obama has deported more immigrants than any US president of which I’m aware, but, hey, executing Republican policies doesn’t get you credit with Republicans if you’re a Democrat.

Stop Immigration from Countries Where Terrorists Might Originate

Okay. It’s not going to make much of a difference. But as a logical construct: “There are terrorists over there, we shouldn’t let them come here”, it’s not crazy. I disagree, America has some responsibility (okay, a lot of responsibility) for the refugee crisis, and if you broke it, you get to pick it up. But given how many countries are already refusing Syrian immigrants, this isn’t that far out.

Fix Poverty

He starts with African American poverty stats. He pivots to the fact that Obama is a failure for ordinary people, their wages are down, etc.

Fix Trade

America has lost jobs because of trade and has an 800 billion dollar trade deficit. He’s going to fix that with bilateral trade deals. And an 800 billion trade deficit is a LOT of jobs. And, no, other countries aren’t going to stop selling to Americans.

This is not crazy. It is, in fact, sane.

Better Treaties

He starts with Iran, and moves on to trade deals. He throws a bone to Israel, and so on. The Iran and Israel bits are crazy, but his rhetoric is no worse than Clinton’s.  The Iran deal happened after Clinton was no longer secretary of state for a reason.

Attacking Hillary’s Record

I don’t agree with the entire laundry list, but the argument isn’t a bad one. Libya is in ruins, Syria is in ruins. The Iran nuclear weapons bit is a lie, but it’s one Democrats tell all the time.

And he’s completely right that if Clinton wasn’t so important, the way she handled her email would have destroyed her life. An ordinary person would not have skated on that.

He’s right in the uber argument too: Clinton is corrupt, beholden to various special interests, and to judge on her record in an actual position of power? Incompetent.

I Care for Americans

I’ve hugged this American and listened to that American’s tale of woe. I love you all and I’m going to look out for you.

Any politician who does not say this sort of thing is incompetent.

I am Part of the Corrupt System, but I Will Now Fight for You

Because I’m a billionaire, I know how the system works. But because I’m already rich, I owe nobody anything and I’ll work for Americans. A friend calls this the “sleazy version of FDR’s class traitor.” It’s a good argument, even if one doubts him.


I’ll fix crime by appointing the best people. I’ll fix the inner cities. (Sub Voce: I will care even for those who don’t vote for me.)

An End to Nation Building

Sorry, this is just the right policy. Especially since Libya and Iraq clearly illustrate the results of American “nation building” these days. While I supported the Arab Spring, its success or failure was no damn business of the US’s.

NATO Is Obsolete

People have been squealing about this, but Trump’s position is that Russia is not particularly a threat, terrorism is, and NATO does little against terrorism. He also notes that America foots most of the bill for NATO, while it is intended to protect others (for instance, if Russia does attack, it won’t be sending tanks into D.C.).

I think that the way NATO has been used for the last 20 years (Estonia? Estonia?) has made a nuclear war more likely, not less. Trump’s wrong about the purpose of NATO in a way (control of Europe), but I think Europeans will be better off without large American garrisons.

Bring the Troops Home

They cost less to keep at home.

Sorry, people, but it is way past time for most US overseas bases to be shut down. Sorry.

Immigration Is a Bad Idea Right Now

It can bring in terrorists when it is from countries which breed terrorists, and there aren’t enough good jobs for the people who are here already.

Border Wall

Practically his signature, not surprising it gets a call out.

I’m Going to Look after Americans FIRST

That’s the job description, people. That is not going to go across badly. If America can’t employ the people already in America, decreasing immigration until that is fixed is not insane. And it especially doesn’t look insane to the poor and working class who compete with immigrants for jobs.

The economics on this is dodgy, but the case can certainly be made (in England a BOE study found that immigration was decreasing wages for the poorest 20 percent).

Bring Back the Manufacturing Jobs

Covered above: Initiate bilateral trade deals to bring these jobs back. It’s not insane, despite what the neoliberals and economists who have given you the wonderful economy will say.

Cut Taxes and Regulations

I disagree, but this is a Republican nominee. And many Dems have said (and done) the same thing.

Fix the TSA

Ummm, any politician not for this is committing political malpractice. (Correction: Turns out the platform says this means not allowing unionization. Sigh.)

Allow Political Churches

I disagree, but he’s the Republican candidate. In any case, he just said he’ll fight for it, he’s unlikely to be able to do it except that he will tell the IRS to stop going after said churches, which was the status quo under Bush.

I Love You, I Love You, I Love You

“I grew up around regular people, even if I’m not one now, and I think you’re wonderful. Honest!” This is at least as believable as Clinton trying to pretend to like working class people. Slightly more, even, as with Trump it’s obvious that if they make him feel good about himself, he’ll like them.

Clinton Is the “More-of-the-Same Candidate,” I’m the “Candidate of Change.”

Whether you agree with Trump’s plans or not, if he follows through on even half of them, this is completely true.

My Concluding Remarks

Pundits have been screaming about the conflation of crime and terrorism, and wailing about his NATO remarks. I don’t like the first, and I actually agree about his NATO remarks, but I am not super worked-up about this.

“I’m going to super deport illegals” is not a radical idea. “I’m going to be tough on crime,” which I disagree with about 95 percent, is not a radical idea. Clinton’s husband was responsible for one of the toughest on crime bills ever passed in America.

Now, depending on how far it goes, Trump’s NATO policy could be radical, as could be bringing back troops to America. But it’s not a radical I necessarily disagree with, as noted above.

His trade policies: Well, these could go disastrously wrong, or could go brilliantly right. They’re certainly not stupid prima facie. But if you’re a working class or poor American, the status quo is not in your favor, period. You need a roll of the dice.

I don’t support Trump, nor do I support Clinton, but the demonization of Trump is off the scale. I very much doubt he is Hiter reborn. He actually seems less likely to start a nuclear war than his opponent. I despise some of his policies, but some of what he is proposing is not in the least nuts, it is just not acceptable to the guardians of the neoliberal status quo.

Trump’s positions are reasonably consistent.

Trump is a nativist populist authoritarian. He does not believe in the American Empire.

More on Trump later. And judge for yourself, read the transcript of Trump’s speech.

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Full Transcript of Trump’s Acceptance Speech

Donald Trump(Take the time to read this. It is not the speech the media is saying it is Ian.)

Friends, delegates, and fellow Americans: I humbly and gratefully accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Who would have believed that when we started this journey on June 16, last year, we — I say we because we are a team — would have received almost 14 million votes, the most in the history of the Republican party?

And that the Republican Party would get 60 percent more votes than it received eight years ago. Who would have believed it? The Democrats on the other hand, received 20 percent fewer votes than they got four years ago, not so good.

Together, we will lead our party back to the White House, and we will lead our country back to safety, prosperity, and peace. We will be a country of generosity and warmth. But we will also be a country of law and order.

Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.

Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities. Many have witnessed this violence personally. Some have even been its victims.

I have a message for all of you: The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon — and I mean very soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.

The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.

It is finally time for a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation. I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.

So if you want to hear the corporate spin, the carefully-crafted lies, and the media myths — the Democrats are holding their convention next week. Go there.

But here, at our convention, there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else.

These are the facts:

Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.

Homicides last year increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years.

In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.

In the president’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And almost 4,000 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office.

The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 percent compared to this point last year.

Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.

The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total of 2015.

They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.

One such border-crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska. There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. She was 21 years old and was killed the day after graduating from college with a 4.0 grade point average. Her killer was then released a second time, and he is now a fugitive from the law. I’ve met Sarah’s beautiful family. But to this administration, their amazing daughter was just one more American life that wasn’t worth protecting. One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders.

What about our economy? Again, I will tell you the plain facts that have been edited out of your nightly news and your morning newspaper:

Nearly four in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58% of African-American youth are now not employed.

2 million more Latinos are in poverty today than when the president took his oath of office eight years ago.

Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely.

Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000. That is 16 years ago.

Our trade deficit in goods reached — think of this — our trade deficit is $800 hundred billion dollars. Think of that. $800 billion last year alone. We will fix that.

The budget is no better. President Obama has almost doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion, and growing.

Yet, what do we have to show for it? Our roads and bridges are falling apart, our airports are in third world condition, and 43 million Americans are on food stamps.

Now let us consider the state of affairs abroad. Not only have our citizens endured domestic disaster, but they have lived through one international humiliation after another. One after another.

We all remember the images of our sailors being forced to their knees by their Iranian captors at gunpoint. This was just prior to the signing of the Iran deal, which gave back to Iran $150 billion and gave us absolutely nothing. It will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever negotiated.

Another humiliation came when President Obama drew a red line in Syria and the whole world knew it meant absolutely nothing.

In Libya, our consulate, the symbol of American prestige around the globe was brought down in flames.

America is far less safe and the world is far less stable than when Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy. I am certain it is a decision he truly regrets.

Her bad instincts and her bad judgment, something pointed out by Bernie Sanders are what caused the disasters unfolding today. Let’s review the record.

In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map. Libya was stable. Egypt was peaceful. Iraq had seen a big reduction in violence. Iran was being choked by sanctions. Syria was somewhat under control.

After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region and the entire world. Libya is in ruins, and our ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos. Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis that now threatens the West. After 15 years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before.

This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: Death, destruction and terrorism and weakness.

But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy. The problems we face now — poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad — will last only as long as we continue relying on the same politicians who created them. A change in leadership is required to produce a change in outcomes.

Tonight, I will share with you for action for America. The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents, is that our plan will put America first. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.

As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America first, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect. The respect that we deserve. The American people will come first once again.

First, my plan will begin with safety at home which means safe neighborhoods, secure borders, and protection from terrorism. There can be no prosperity without law and order.

On the economy, I will outline reforms to add millions of new jobs and trillions in new wealth that can be used to rebuild America.

A number of these reforms that I will outline tonight will be opposed by some of our nation’s most powerful special interests. That is because these interests have rigged our political and economic system for their exclusive benefit. Believe me. It is for their benefit. For their benefit.

Big business, elite media, and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place. They are throwing money at her because they have total control over every single thing she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings. That is why Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change. Never, ever.

My message is that things have to change, and they have to change right now. Every day I wake up determined to deliver a better life for the people all across this nation that had been ignored, neglected, and abandoned.

I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country, and they are forgotten, but they will not be forgotten long. These are people who work hard but no longer have a voice. I am your voice.

I have embraced crying mothers who have lost their children because our politicians put their personal agendas before the national good.

I have no patience for injustice. No tolerance for government incompetence. When innocent people suffer, because our political system lacks the will, or the courage, or the basic decency to enforce our laws, or worse still, has sold out to some corporate lobbyist for cash I am not able to look the other way. And I won’t look the other way.

And when a Secretary of State illegally stores her emails on a private server, deletes 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime, puts our country at risk, lies about it in every different form and faces no no consequence — I know that corruption has reached a level like never ever before in our country.

When the FBI director says that the Secretary of State was “extremely careless” and “negligent” in handling our classified secrets, I also know that these terms are minor compared to what she actually did. They were just used to save her from facing justice for her terrible, terrible crimes.

In fact, her single greatest accomplishment may be committing such an egregious crime and getting away with it, especially when others who have been far less have paid so dearly.

When that same Secretary of State rakes in millions of dollars, trading access and favors to special interests and foreign powers, I know the time for action has come.

I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves.

Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it. I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders. He never had a chance.

But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest issue: Trade deals that strip our country of jobs and the distribution of wealth in the country.

Millions of Democrats will join our movement, because we are going to fix the system so it works fairly and justly for each and every American.

In this cause, I am proud to have at my side the next Vice President of the United States: Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. And a great guy. We will bring the same economic success to America that Mike brought Indiana, which is amazing. He is a man of character and accomplishment. He is the right man for the job.

The first task for our new administration will be to liberate our citizens from the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threatens their — our communities.

America was shocked to its core when our police officers in Dallas were so brutally executed. Immediately after Dallas, we have seen continued threats and violence against our law enforcement officials. Law officers have been shot or killed in recent days in Georgia, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, Michigan and Tennessee.

On Sunday, more police were gunned down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three were killed, and three were very badly injured. An attack on law enforcement is an attack on all Americans.

I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police: When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country.

I will work with, and appoint, the best prosecutors and law enforcement officials in the country to get the job properly done. In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate.

The irresponsible rhetoric of our president, who has used the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color, has made America a more dangerous environment than frankly, I have ever seen and anybody in this room has ever watched or seeing.

This administration has failed America’s inner cities. Remember, it has failed America’s inner cities. It’s failed them on education. It’s failed them on jobs. It’s failed them on crime. It’s failed them in every way and on every single level.

When I am president, I will work to ensure that all of our kids are treated equally, and protected equally. Every action I take, I will ask myself: Does this make life better for young Americans in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, and Ferguson who have really come in every way, have the same right to live out their dreams as any other child in America?

To make life safe in America, we must also address the growing threats from outside the country. We are going to defeat the barbarians of ISIS. And we are going to defeat them bad.

Once again, France is the victim of brutal Islamic terrorism. Men, women and children viciously mowed down. Lives ruined. Families ripped apart. A nation in mourning. The damage and devastation that can be inflicted by Islamic radicals has been proven over and over. At the World Trade Center, at an office party in San Bernardino, at the Boston Marathon, and a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And many other locations.

Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted LGBTQ community.

No good. And we’re going to stop it. As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me. And I have to say as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.

To protect us from terrorism, we need to focus on three things.

We must have the best, absolutely the best, gathering of intelligence anywhere in the world. The best.

We must abandon the failed policy of nation- building and regime change that Hillary Clinton pushed in Iraq, Libya, in Egypt, and Syria.

Instead, we must work with all of our allies who share our goal of destroying ISIS and stamping out Islamic terrorism and doing it now, doing it quickly. We’re going to win. We’re going to win fast. This includes working with our greatest ally in the region, the state of Israel.

Recently I have said that NATO was obsolete. Because it did not properly cover terror. And also that many of the member countries were not paying their fair share. As usual, the United States has been picking up the cost. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that NATO will be setting up a new program in order to combat terrorism. A true step in the right direction.

Lastly, and very importantly, we must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place. We don’t want them in our country.

My opponent has called for a radical 550 percent increase — think of this, this is not believable, but this is what is happening — a 550 percent increase in Syrian refugees on top of existing massive refugee flows coming into our country already under the leadership of president Obama.

She proposes this despite the fact that there’s no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from. I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people. Anyone who endorses violence, hatred or oppression is not welcome in our country and never ever will be.

Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers. We are going to have an immigration system that works, but one that works for the American people.

On Monday, we heard from three parents whose children were killed by illegal immigrants Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden, and my friend Jamiel Shaw. They are just three brave representatives of many thousands who have suffered so greatly.

Of all my travels in this country, nothing has affected me more, nothing even close than the time I have spent with the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to violence spilling across our borders, which we can solve. We have to solve it. These families have no special interests to represent them. There are no demonstrators to protect them and none too protest on their behalf.

My opponent will never meet with them, or share in their pain. Believe me. Instead, my opponent wants sanctuary cities. But where was sanctuary for Kate Steinle? Where was sanctuary for the children of Mary Ann, Sabine and Jamiel? Is so sad to even be talking about this. We can solve it so quickly. Where was sanctuary for all the other Americans who have been so brutally murdered, and who have suffered so horribly? These wounded American families have been alone. But they are not alone any longer.

Tonight, this candidate and this whole nation stand in their corner to support them, to send them our love, and to pledge in their honor that we will save countless more families from suffering the same awful fate.

We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities.

I have been honored to receive the endorsement of America’s Border Patrol agents, and will work directly with them to protect the integrity of our lawful, lawful, immigration system.

By ending catch-and-release on the border, we will stop the cycle of human smuggling and violence. Illegal border crossings will go down. We will stop it. It will not be happening very much anymore. Believe me.

Peace will be restored by enforcing the rules for the millions who overstay their visas, our laws will finally receive the respect they deserve.

Tonight, I want every American whose demands for immigration security have been denied and every politician who has denied them to listen very closely to the words I am about to say: On on January 20 of 2017, the day I take the oath of office, Americans will finally wake up in a country where the laws of the United States are enforced.

We are going to be considerate and compassionate to everyone. But my greatest compassion will be for our own struggling citizens.

My plan is the exact opposite of the radical and dangerous immigration policy of Hillary Clinton. Americans want relief from uncontrolled immigration. Which is what we have now. Communities want relief. Yet Hillary Clinton is proposing mass amnesty, mass immigration, and mass lawlessness.

Her plan will overwhelm your schools and hospitals, further reduce your jobs and wages, and make it harder for recent immigrants to escape from the tremendous cycle of poverty they are going through right now and make it almost impossible for them to join the middle class.

I have a different vision for our workers. It begins with a new, fair trade policy that protects our jobs and stands up to countries that cheat — of which there are many.

It’s been a signature message of my campaign from day one, and it will be a signature feature of my presidency from the moment I take the oath of office. I have made billions of dollars in business making deals. Now I’m going to make our country rich again. Using the greatest businesspeople of the world, I’m going to turn our bad trade agreements into great trade agreements.

America has lost nearly-one third of its manufacturing jobs since 1997, following the enactment of disastrous trade deals supported by bill and Hillary Clinton. Remember, it was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA, one of the worst economic deals ever made by our country. Or frankly, any other country. Never ever again.

I am going to bring our jobs back our jobs to Ohio and Pennsylvania and New York and Michigan and all of America and I am not going to let companies move to other countries, firing their employees along the way, without consequences. Not going to happen anymore.

My opponent, on the other hand, has supported virtually every trade agreement that has been destroying our middle class. She supported NAFTA, and she supported China’s entrance into the world trade organization. Another one of her husband’s colossal mistakes and disasters. She supported the job killing trade deal with South Korea. She she supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership which will not only destroy our manufacturing but it will make America subject to the rulings of foreign governments. And it is not going to happen.

I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers, or that diminishes our freedom and Independence. We will never ever sign bad trade deals. America first again. American first.

Instead, I will make individual deals with individual countries. No longer will we enter into these massive transactions with many countries that are thousands of pages long and which no one from our country even reads or understands. We are going to enforce all trade violations against any country that cheats. This includes stopping China’s outrageous theft of intellectual property, along with their illegal product dumping, and their devastating currency manipulation. They are the greatest that ever came about, they are the greatest currently manipulators ever.

Our horrible trade agreements with China, and many others, will be totally renegotiated. That includes renegotiating NAFTA to get a much better deal for America and will walk away if we don’t get that kind of a deal. Our country is going to start building and making things again.

Next comes the reform of our tax laws, regulations and energy rules. While Hillary Clinton plans a massive, and I mean massive, tax increase, I have proposed the largest tax reduction of any candidate who has run for president this year, Democrat or Republican. Middle-income Americans will experience profound relief, and taxes will be greatly simplified for everyone. I mean everyone.

America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world. Reducing taxes will cause new companies and new jobs to come roaring back into our country. Believe me. It will happen and it will happen fast.

Then we are going to deal with the issue of regulation, one of the greatest job killers of them all. Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year, and we will end and it very quickly.

We are going to lift the restrictions on the production of American energy. This will produce more than $20 trillion in job-creating economic activity over the next four decades.

My opponent, on the other hand, wants to put the great miners and steelworkers of our country out of work and out of business. That will never happen with Donald J trump as president. Our steelworkers and are miners are going back to work again.

With these new economic policies, trillions of dollars will start flowing into our country. This new wealth will improve the quality of life for all Americans. We will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of our tomorrow. This, in turn, will create millions of more jobs.

We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice. My opponent would rather protect education bureaucrats than serve American children. That is what she is doing and that is what she has done.

We will repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare. You will be able to choose your own doctor again.

And we will fix TSA at the airports, which is a total disaster. Thank you.

We are going to work with all of our students who are drowning in debt to take the pressure off these young people just starting out in their adult lives. Tremendous problems.

We will completely rebuild our depleted military. And the countries that we protecting at a massive cost to us will be asked to pay their fair share.

We will take care of our great veterans like they have never been taken care of before. My just-released 10 point plan has received tremendous better support. We will guarantee those who serve this country will be able to visit the doctor or hospital of their choice without waiting five days in a line and dying.

My opponent dismissed the VA scandal, one more sign of how out of touch she really is.

We are going to ask every department head and government to provide a list of wasteful spending projects that we can eliminate in my first 100 days. The politicians have talked about this for years, but I’m going to do it.

We are also going to appoint justices to the United States Supreme Court who will uphold our laws and our constitution. The replacement of our beloved Justice Scalia will be a person of similar views, principles and judicial philosophies. Very important. This will be one of the most important issues decided by this election.

My opponent wants to essentially abolish the 2nd Amendment. I, on the other hand, received the early and strong endorsement of the National Rifle Association. And will protect the right of all Americans to keep their families safe.

At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical community because, I will tell you what, the support they have given me — and I’m not sure I totally deserve it — has been so amazing. And has been such a big reason I’m here tonight. They have much to contribute to our policies.

Yet our laws prevent you from speaking your mind from your own pulpits. An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. Their voice has been taken away. I will work hard to repeal that language and to protect free speech for all Americans.

We can accomplish these great things and so much more. All we need to do is start believing in ourselves a in our country again. Start believing. It is time to show the whole world that America is back, bigger and better and stronger than ever before.

In this journey, I’m so lucky to have at my side my wife Melania and my wonderful children Don, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, and Barron: You will always be my greatest source of pride and joy. And by the way, Melania and Ivanka, did they do a job?

My dad, Fred Trump, was the smartest and hardest working man I ever knew. I wonder sometimes what he’d say if he were here to see this tonight. It’s because of him that I learned, from my youngest age, to respect the dignity of work and the dignity of working people.

He was a guy most comfortable in the company of bricklayers, carpenters, and electricians and I have a lot of that in me also. I love those people.

Then there’s my mother, Mary. She was strong, but also warm and fair-minded. She was a truly great mother. She was also one of the most honest and charitable people I have ever known, and a great, great judge of character. She could pick them out from anywhere.

To my sisters, Mary Anne and Elizabeth, my brother Robert and my late brother Fred, I will always give you my love. You are most special to me. I have loved my life in business.

But now, my sole and exclusive mission is to go to work for our country, to go to work for you. It is time to deliver a victory for the American people. We don’t win anymore, but we are going to start winning again. But to do that, we must break free from the petty politics of the past.

America is a nation of believers, dreamers, and strivers that is being led by a group of censors, critics, and cynics. Remember: All of the people telling you you can’t have the country you want, are the same people, that would not stand, I mean they said Trump does not have a chance of being here tonight, not a chance, the same people. We love defeating those people, don’t we? Love it.

No longer can we rely on those same people. In the media and politics who, will say anything to keep a rigged system in place. Instead, we must choose to believe in America.

History is watching us now. It’s we don’t have much time. We don’t have much time. It’s waiting to see if we will rise to the occasion, and if we will show the whole world that America is still free and independent and strong.

I am asking for your support tonight so that I can be year champion in the White House. And I will be a champion.Your champion.

My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: “I’m with her.”

I choose to recite a different pledge. My pledge reads: “I’m with you the American people.”

I am your voice. So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I’m with you, and I will fight for you, and I will win for you.

To all Americans tonight, in all our cities and towns, I make this promise:

We will make America strong again.

We will make America proud again.

We will make America safe again.

And we will make America great again!

God bless you and goodnight! I love you!

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What Happens Now that the Turkish Coup Has Failed

3414031599_2dbf0262e3_oI spent a handful of years living in Turkey, and I’d like to take a little of your time discussing how Turkey went from a typical Eastern European country to the emergent Islamist state it is today.

(This piece is by Sean-Paul Kelley – Ian)

The last time I was in Turkey, in Fall 2015, the tension in the city was palpable. More Turks than ever before expressed, outright, their distaste and even hatred of Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern republic. Vastly different than my first visit in 2001, now it was all tension bordering on rude to inhospitable in late 2015. If you know anything about the Turks you’d have been shocked at the lack of hospitality.

But it was the anger directed towards Ataturk in several conversations that had me so confused. As Walter Russell Mead notes, Atatürk’s accomplishments were great: “Kemal Atatürk rallied the remnants of the nation, defeated a Greek invasion, forced the Allies out of Constantinople and made Turkey a secular republic and an ethnic nation state on the European plan.” He also instituted deep and widespread internal reforms: Women’s rights, education, and the legal system were given rights and responsibilities were overhauled, and he built a new capital in Angora—Ankara—site of the Ottoman’s worst defeat until the 19th century. This defeat by Tamerlane in 1402 set the Ottoman project back by 50 years, and let Constantinople stagger on another 50 wasted years. 2786

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk would let nothing hold him back. He first major achievement came during the defense of Gallipoli. Stopping near the highest point in the area where the Allies advanced he noted their failure to capture the heights. amateurish moves on the part of the British generals, which would cost the souls of hundreds of thousands of men. But Kemal, ever moving forward, ordered his soldiers haul artillery to the top. There they were to pour a merciless, relentless stream of enfilading fire into the Allies lines, halting them permanently.

After WWI, Turkey faced the consequences of the Sykes-Picot Treaty, that dubious deposition of schoolboy skullduggery launched inside the bowels of an English gentleman’s club. Atatürk felt no obligation to adhere to the contemptible treaty and steeled himself for a fight against each of the Allies or, hopefully not, all at once. There would be no rump Turkey. Atatürk was a fighting general and he met the Franco-Armenian army first. They invaded form the East but, possessed by a Seljuk warrior, Atatürk sacrificed land for time until he met and defeated the Franco-Armenian invasion force at Marash in 1920. Rallying his soldiers for more hardship, for the Turks had their backs up against the wall between 1920-22. A year and a half after his defeat of the Franco-Armenian force, he met the Greeks at Sakarya, where he thrashed them so badly that even poor, old Gen. Venizelos, consumed of the great idea, Megali, Greater Greece, at long last conceded it was dead.

The end of the wars brought no respite for Atatürk, by now he had the reigns of the entire nation firmly in his grip. Working harder than ever, there he was, day after day, remaking Turkey along new lines: the nation-state. Here, he changed the alphabet, sent little girls to school, opened the faculty of Turkey’s greatest universities to foreigners, aiming for foreign knowledge and science and suspended Shari’a law in April, 1924. Turkish women gained the right to vote in local elections in 1930. Four years later, universal suffrage came to Turkey, sooner than many of its more “enlightened and advanced” Western neighbors. One of his greatest achievements, although this is beyond the scope of this essay, deserves mention: Ataturk abolished marriage for the misogynist, or what we call polygamy, in 1926. Had Muslim jurists been traveling along with Ataturk whispering in his ears that this is haram (forbidden), that is haram, all is haram, none of his achievements would have lasted a decade. Modern Turkey is impossible without Ataturk’s drive to secularize.

Atäturk, however, failed at two crucial problems, which when left to fester, as they would, troubled the young republic for the remainder of the century and beyond.

First, Atäturk and his brain trust never addressed the bigotry and discrimination shown towards the Alevi (Alawites if you are Suriani or live in Syria), which frequently led to what we would call pogroms. Second, the Kurds. I’m convinced Ataturk ignored the Kurds with a deep and abiding silence as a matter of policy. If he even whispered to someone that they existed then the logical conclusion demanded a state of their own, as Turkey had demanded based on Wilsonian principles of self-determination. Nationalism, that evil virus from Europe was spreading and all it has left the Kurds is death, destruction, blood and tears.

Even now the Kurds are a paradox, to others and to themselves. Turkey’s economic miracle was fueled by Kurdish immigrants willing to leave their dusty Anatolian farms for the balmy Aegean and Black Sea cities like Izmir, Bursa, Sinop and Trabzon have all benefited from the Erdoğonomics. So have the western Anatolian cities like Eskişehir, Afyon, Kayseri, Sivas and Konya. But the immigrants from the far eastern provinces bring their problems with them, especially those from the deep countryside. They are exceptionally conservative, the veil is never even spoken of. Daughter’s are chaperoned, a mother or aunt is fine, “after all,” a young woman friend of mine from Afyon once said, “we aren’t so backwards as the Saudis, although a little of their money would be nice.” This is paradox number one: they have gained tremendously from ‘Erdoğonomics’ even as the AKP and government as a whole treats them like shit. However, go out to Diyarbakir, Van or Urfa and it’s a different story. The Kurds proclaim their undying brotherhood with the Turks, they just “want to speak their own language and maybe watch TV in it. Is this not asking too much,” one young Kurd asked me back in 2009 during a multi-year lull in the violence. The answer: obviously no.

IMG_2855My neighborhood, Tophane, has changed enormously over the last few years. Once a party area for European backpackers, it’s now mostly Kurds, Zazaki speakers, not Kurmanj, and enough Syrian refugees to notice. Both groups wrapped up tight in the comforts of hejab, modest clothing for both men and women. One day even I was chided wearing shorts to the bodega to get a pack of gum. Mead notes that my nieghborhood was like many others across the peninsula. “In Ankara and Istanbul the generals, the statesmen and the businessmen live international and largely secular lives,” he writes, “Women went bareheaded, and, for the daughters of the upper middle class, the freedom of western secular life beckoned.” However, ominous clouds float above the economic success of Erdoğan, “in the cities and villages far from the metropolitan centers, in places like Konya and Gaziantep, something else was happening.” That something else was Anatolian peasants migrating en masse to plentiful jobs in the cities, but these migrants brought their piety with them and demanded everyone else live as they do.

moderate islam notHejab was mandatory in my mahalle, which makes me biased. That said, a novelist friend who lives in the Asian-side, uber-posh mahalle Moda, said even there the intolerance grew. Often it manifested itself as conservative men and women walked through the mahalle shouting at walkers, shaming them. Fatih—where the sumptuous Sulimaniye Mosque is—is terribly conservative. And even benighted Şişhane has been cleaned up a little, brothels moved to Zeytinburnu. In the suburbs it’s now a rough, blue-collar heroin infested mahalle of young unemployed male mayhem.

I loved the old, secular, Turkey.

All this as preamble to the coup, and what it will mean for the future.

The moment I heard about the coup attempt in Turkey yesterday I posted my thoughts without pause or editing. My gut said “I seriously doubt the coup will take hold. Erdoğan cut far into the military muscle with Ergenekon.” The dying optimist in me, however, thought that “maybe it’ll last—and I hope it does—because Erdoğan is a vile, hateful little man.” My loathing for Erdoğan is spectacular, I hope his end resembles Ceaușescu’s, limbs torn from his body into shreds by an angry street mob, and not that of Islam Karimov, the leader who boiled his opponents alive yet will more than likely die peacefully in his large palace on a hill outside Tashkent overlooking the rolling Hungry Steppe.

Turkey’s military deserves an altogether different fate as units were trying to fulfill a constitutional purpose expected of them in the 20th century and/or two, they were lied into believing their movements into the streets of Istanbul were just an exercise. Whether they were lied to or not their highest constitutional duty has been the preservation of the secularism Kemal Atäturk imposed on the young nation he cobbled together in the late 20s and early 30s. Their duty is not the preservation of democracy, but of secularism.

American Liberals, Progressives and a handful of Conservatives usually incorrectly believe the Turkish army’s main goal is to promote and protect democracy. Democracy is not the only good, secularism is a good in an of itself.

But the army was never likely to succeed.

Why not? What was different this time? Why, in the past had the army been successful and Friday it was not?

In a word: Ergenekon.

In the old Turkish myths Ergenekon is a mythical “Land of Darkness,” a homeland cut clean and deep from the Archean rocks of the Tien Shan, a time when Titans and man roamed the Earth and man, terrified of the giants, sought shelter in the deep valleys the Tien Shan are famous for in search of their very own Shangri-la.

wolf sheep clothingErdoğan’s Ergenekon was the persecution of allegedly ultra-secular and nationalist (read: Kemalist) high ranking officers in Turkey’s armed forces, up to and including the general staff. Erdoğan conducted his military purge at great risk to himself, but with very good reasons based his own persecutions and jail-time at the hands of what we now Turkey’s deep state. Erdoğan’s left jail in 2003 and immediately became prime ministership—he feared a large group of officers would coalesced in opposition to the AKP-Gulenist alliance he led in parliament. (Allied at the time, Gulenists and Gulen himself apparently witnessed a bit too much immorality and tattled. This led to an irrevocable break between Erdoğan and Gulen.) There were fears in 2003 that AKP represented a brand of crypto pan-Islamism. Most analysts disputed this, using an analogy Americans would understand. Imagine if Pat Robertson’s hand-picked candidate won the presidency? It would not be a theocracy in America, would it? It sounds great, except that they were wrong.

Protecting Turkey from this kind of pan-Islamism was part of the military’s job description. Under any other prime minister the military would have kicked him or her out office, brought order to the country and help elections as soon as possible thus preserving secularism in Turkey.

Ataturk and his immediate successors had good reason to believe that if a Muslim nation was to be modern it must embrace secularism. He looked at the chaos in Saudi Arabia, the emerging Hashemite Kingdoms and Egypt and their chronic inability to manufacture their own needs and support themselves. He believed in secularism first, then there could be democracy.

A portion of Turkey’s armed forces will soon be tried as traitors for their embrace of the Kemalist constitution. That’s just as Erdoğan would have it, too.

turkey-military-akp-nationalturk-34567A disclaimer is needed here. No one likes generals sticking their noses into politics. Too often they end up like the Sphinx in Egypt: noseless, after the target practice of bored troops. Nor do I like it when generals engage in retail politics. President Clinton should have fired Colin Powell for insubordination when he wrote an op-ed opposing Clinton’s proposed gays in the military policy early in his first term. President Obama did fire one general who had the poor taste of telling the truth and getting caught. But there is a more recent case, this one quite scary, too. General Breedlove, former SACEUR, actively plotted against Obama’s Ukrainian-Russia policy. Breedlove contrary to President Obama’s express orders pushed for war. Once Obama learned of this he should have busted the general down to private and forced him to resign, on a private’s pension. Sadly, this is another example of old, clear lines of separation fraying in many of America’s most hallowed institutions. But I digress.

In America there is a clear separation (still) between civilian leaders and military brass; but, as mentioned above, modern Turkish precedent gives the military a special role, wide latitude to defend Kemal’s most important and lasting achievement: the secularization of Turkey. Secularism is the sine qua non of the Turkish Republic’s existence. Without it, Ataturk knew Turkey would flounder toward modernity, flailing and failing, until turning inward against the enemy within: the Alevi or the the Kurds. The Armenians had left, forcibly, and what few Greeks remaining either assimilated into Turkish culture as to be invisible, or were so old they were left alone and forgotten. Ataturk’s prescience was scarily precise, once the independence of the army was curbed, secularism would die. Turkish secularism perished before our eyes on June 15, 2016, after lasting almost a century.

A little clarity is necessary to avoid confusion: Erdoğan is not the prime minister, who is technically the most powerful individual in Turkey. Erdoğan is president now, one who is fighting to create a new constitutional order in Turkey where the president, a once ceremonial job only becomes the alpha of all alphas.

Is Tayyip America’s stooge? He most certainly is not. He is an Islamist, an elected one. On multiple occasions. But because he also implemented the right conditions for the economy to soar for almost ten years—when he was elected it cost 10,000,000 lira to buy a glass of tea. At one point the Lira to dollar exchange rate was 1.6 Lira to the dollar. He tamed inflation and then European light manufacturing investment money poured in to the country. It was an economic miracle.

This gave him an enormous amount of political capital that he’s been living off of ever since. He also had a skilled foreign minister, Davotoglu, who brought a real peace between the Kurds and Turkey. I was in Diyarbakir in 2008 and it was lovely. Meanwhile, many Kurds began migrating from the countryside to the cities along the Aegean and Black Sea where jobs were to be found.

They also blew Istanbul up like a balloon. In 2003 the population was 7 million. Today it is roughly 14 million. Most of the Kurdish migrants are very conservative religiously and with the peace seeming lasting, combined with the Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan’s death sentence being commuted by Prime Minister Ecevit in 2002, Turkey’s future seemed positive. Add to that a last IMF/World Bank bailout to solidify Turkey’s perennially troublesome, embezzled banks. The growth was impressive. But as Walter Russell Mead writes the wheel turns and those once ignored will soon rule, “Atatürk’s Turkey marginalized the pious Anatolian peasants; now their grandchildren and great grandchildren are building a new Turkey. They see themselves storming the citadels of cosmopolitan, urban privilege in much the same way that Sultan Mehmet Fatih, the Conqueror, took Constantinople from the last Byzantine emperor. They have come to the cities like Mehmet and his warriors, and they are remaking them in their image.” This they did.

After almost a decade a speed bump crept up on Turkey’s leaders. The Arab Spring arrived and to everyone’s surprise the wheels came of economic and foreign policy. The foreign policy he and Davutoğlu implemented, “Zero Problems with Neighbors” fell apart. Had one observed closely signs pointed to the unraveling of the Turco-Israeli Entente. First, Turkey and Israel verbally sparred over who would sit where during negotiations for their next summit meeting. Traditionally the host nation had the high seat but Netanyahu and Lieberman had a new government, necessitating they prove themselves to constituents back home and hatched a plot to humiliate Erdoğan. Erdoğan being a man who never forgets a slight soon saw an opportunity for a propaganda victory against Israel: the Gaza Blockade.

Then Turkey sent the Mavi Mara and it was a PR disaster for Israel. Erdogan learned an important lesson: if there is an enemy abroad he can maintain and increase his power. Why? During this time his party the AKP won an outright majority in a parliament historically fragmented and factious. He has been doing this ever since. I

Turkey has a long history of expecting and appreciating the military stepping in as guarantor of secularism in the country. The military is not and never has been the guarantor of democracy. This is a fundamental support beam in Turkey.

But not on Friday.

turkish-air-forcePepe Escobar autopsies the scene, cutting straight through to the viscera: “in the end they did not have the numbers – and the necessary preparation. All key ministries seemed to be communicating among themselves as the plot developed, as well as the intel services. And as far as Turkish police as a whole is concerned, they are now a sort of AKP pretorian guard.”

Escobar then unloads an idea that floated around NatSec circles on Twitter and Facebook in the hours after the coup seemed doomed: somehow Erdoğan had foreknowledge of the plot, knew it to be weak and let it proceed secure and possibly giddy over the giant power-grab he’d soon achieve.

Escobar explains, “Erdoğan’s intel services knew a coup was brewing; and the wily Sultan let it happen knowing it would fail as the plotters had very limited support. He also arguably knew – in advance— even the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), whose members Erdoğan is trying to expel from parliament, would support the government in the name of democracy.”

Unlike all the windbags and chatterboxes on TV or the earnest but easily mislead Knights of Keyboard Manor thwacking bits and bytes across the ‘net, using words like Reichstag and False Flag without a shred of evidence to support their suppositions other than a gut feeling, Escobar does something radical: he offers some very plausible evidence for his theory. Like a modern day I.F. Stone, cutting through an overload of giga-this and peta-that, Seńor Escobar informs his readers how “[e]arlier last week Erdoğan signed a bill giving soldiers immunity from prosecution while taking part in domestic security ops – as in anti-PKK (but hypothetically this law could be used to excuse soldiers who were unknowingly misled into participating ed. note ~spk); that spells out improved relations between the AKP government and the army. And then Turkey’s top judicial body HSYK laid off no less than 2,745 judges after an extraordinary meeting post-coup. This can only mean the list was more than ready in advance.” (Emphasis mine.) This same thought was expressed by a friend and I’m with her and Escobar: it’s more than plausible, it’s probable.

Turkey-The-captured-soldiers-in-a-courthouse-IstanbulThose who thought Erdoğan had been wounded badly over the confrontation with Russia—even the United States began evacuating non-essential military and diplomatic personnel after the fallout with Russia and a spate of terrorist bombings—are now watching the biggest power grab in Turkey since 1908 when 200 “Young Turks” demanded the reinstatement of the Constitution of 1876. Sultan Abdul Hamid II refused on principle, only to watch revolt spread like wildfire on the steppe across his ever shrinking patrimony, until he capitulated. The Turks may call Erdoğan “the Little Sultan” as an insult on the sly, but he’s got some big ole’ britches now, britches that will only get bigger.

What kind of actions can be expected from Erdoğan once the coup dust settles, a friend asked the evening of the coup? “The immediate consequence,” explains Pablo Escobar, “is that Erdoğan now seems to have miraculously reconquered his ‘strategic depth’” both internally and externally. In laymen’s terms: he’s more powerful now domestically—look for purges—even after the fiasco that was Syria and with Russia’s shot down jet, and more. Plus the unholy Kurdish mess, including its lack of real policy doesn’t much matter. Erdoğan’s much like Bismarck in 1866 after defeating the Austrians at the Battle of Königgrätz. “Bismarck punched his fist on his desk,” writes historian Jonathan Steinberg, “and cried “I have beaten then all! All!’”

Neo-Ottomanism, Turkey’s version of Neo-conservativism, previously almost discredited, is now in the ascendant. Neo-Ottomanism can be described as “a dramatic shift from the traditional Turkish foreign policy of the Kemalist [type], which emphasized looking westward towards Europe with the goal of avoiding the instability and sectarianism of the Middle East (emphasis added).” Instead “Neo-Ottomanism promotes greater political engagement (read: interference) of the modern Republic of Turkey within regions formerly under the rule of the Ottoman Empire” of which it is a successor state. In practical terms this means more intervention in Syria, a continuance in the break with Israel, possible incursions into Iraqi-Kurdistan for which there is a 1990s precedent by former Prime Minister Tansu Çiller.

If Erdoğan was previously perceived as a bit unbearable, something of a hothead, he’ll be insufferable now and for the foreseeable future. How big a chair at the big boys table is he going to demand? With NATOs second largest armed forces of 640,000 troops, it’ll be fairly sizable.

For the foreseeable future Turkey’s fate is inextricably bound with that of President Erdoğan. With Erdoğan in such a commanding role in regards to his peers and the club he wants to join in Davos, it’s going to be tough when he’s ironically bested by the only leader the West cannot stomach, Vladimir Putin. Is this an opening for Putin and Erdoğan to settle the Armenian issue?


Might Putin shave Erdoğan and Turkey away from the Atlantic Alliance? Putin and Erdoğan share similar conservative domestic and foreign policy ideologies. What of the NATO-Turkish partnership? Does Turkey close İncirlik Air Force Base every time it gets an itch, or wants to retaliate for some perceived slight? Erdoğan is notorious for perceiving slights where none exist. For instance, he walked out of a speech by Shimon Peres because Peres hurt his feeling, then Erdoğan used it as an excuse to dissolve the entente between Israel and Turkey. Is this the kind of behavior NATO can expect? Even now İncirlik Air Force Base is closed to US flights. Consider: İncirlik is “home to A-10s, the most reliable manned aircraft the US possesses for providing air support to ground forces fighting Isis.” Is this a temporary bug or long-term feature?

Then there is the domestic American fallout. Facts are curious things. In the case of Turkey the many Islamaphobes in the USA (and some of Western Europe) will no doubt inform everyone, correctly, too, that Turkey is governed by Islamists. Then they, or someone like them will point out how NATO—and by NATO I mean the USA who foots 75% of NATO’s bill—is legally and morally obligated to defend Turkey if attacked by an outside force, be it Iran, Syria, Iraq, Russia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia or even Fiji. Is it plausible to imagine a situation where Turkey’s new found èlan might hold the great Atlantic alliance, and America’s 60-70 tactical nuclear weapons currently based in Turkey, hostage? What price would we be willing to pay? Would we extradite Muhammed Fethullah Gülen, once Erdoğan’s partner but now his bête noire. Would we evacuate İncirlik?

How these questions and many others unfold in the near future depend on voters in other nations, plus those in the United States who get to choose between the fascistic Donald Trump and the corporate sellout and former Goldwater Girl, Hillary Clinton.

The voters of the Western democracies must be bewildered (and a bit exhausted) at present. Consider that the following events have occurred in the span of seven days: Brexit, a new British PM, a possible ITexit, an attempted coup in Turkey, and a terrorist attack in Nice, France. Did I miss anything? I’m certain I did. Regardless, all these events give voters everywhere a complicated set of variables to digest before even considering domestic matters, much less voting on them. No wonder everone wants to be on antidepressants. What a week.

I don’t think Erdoğan is lacking in the pelotas o huevos department. I do think he believes his own PR—and when leaders begin to do that they quickly lose touch with the people who put them where they are. That spells trouble. But, that’s for another post. I want to address another crucial point: “If Gulen and his organization were really behind the coup that means it was orchestrated by the CIA.” For the life of me, and perhaps I am naive or just credulous enough to believe the CIA would never get into bed with the Gulenists, I find this rumor making the rounds implausible. The Gulenists stand for everything the United States is opposed to, at least rhetorically. Further, I don’t see Gulenist-American interests in alignment here, either. If you have more, please elucidate.


Just a short while ago this headline scrolled across the television: Judicial Reform Comes to Turkey at Long Last. As widely known, the courts in Turkey have long proven to be Erdoğan’s prime obstacle in recreating the constitution in his image. The news story implied that in the midst of the coup attempt, members of the courts were being rounded up, detained and/or arrested. 188 arrest warrants were issued for members of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors—Turkey’s highest official judicial body—five members were removed at an emergency meeting Saturday morning..

Ever the cagey one, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is taking no chances. While taking on the Hugh Courts he slashes through the lower courts like Alexander sliced through the Gordian Knot. “2,745 judges of duty [in total],” writes RT, were fired Saturday morning.

All of this leads us inexorably to the possible conclusion that the coup was premeditated and orchestrated by Erdoğan or one of his key allies. An Anglo-American court of law would judge this behavior premeditated, indicating clear intent on the part of the anti-coup party, Little Sultan Erdoğan his own self.

So, why is that important?

I’ll let esteemed Col. Lang explain:

“What I am hearing from sources in Turkey is that this was a pre-emptive false flag designed to fail in which the people sent into the coup were sacrificed by their superiors who are Erdoğans adherents in the armed forces.”

If these judicial dismissals aren’t a smoking gun, they’re at least warm shell casings. They point to further purges in the days ahead. How far Erdoğan goes—civil servants, public school teachers, regional administrative workers—no one knows.

Over the weekend of July 15-17, there were several more developments furthering the claim that the coup was a set-up by Erdoğan or that he knew it was coming. First, there was the demand by Erdoğan and his surrogates in the media that the United States must give up Fethullah Gulen before any activites at İncirlik Air Force Base could be resumed. To prove how serious the Turks were several actions were taken to rattle the Americans based there. First, the power was shut off and remained off for at least three days. Pro-Erdoğan prosecutors then raided the air force base, accusing Americans of hiding pro-coup generals and others loyal to Gulen. Following these incidents the air force base was “blocked by Turkish military authorities” and placed under siege. Nothing is going into the base and nothing is coming out. As of 9:40 PM last night the base was still without electricity and remained surrounded by the Turkish military in what is fast becoming the century’s greatest game of chicken, this one between Erdoğan and NATO.

As of this writing—10:12 am Central Time—the total number of those purged is somewhere between 50,000-60,000 Turks deemed disloyal to Erdoğan, the AKP and/or supporter(s) of the Gulenist-terror organization. The BBC writes, “The purge of those deemed disloyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan widened on Tuesday to include teachers, university deans and the media.”

With these measure Erdoğan is cutting broad and deep, like Stalin, before him; eliminating potential sources of opposition before they can coalesce into revolt. With the sacking of teachers, however, it’s clear one of his main aims is the complete destruction of the Kemalist-Secular order in Turkey. Schools have been the repository of Ataturk’s legacy. Where Turkish children have their first encounter with Ataturk, the father of the modern Republic of Turkey. Sweeping away secular teachers will change Turkey irrevocably.

There is more to the purges than just schools. 9,000 people are in custody, for starters and expected to rise much higher. With numbers like these it’s clear that President Erdoğan’s claim the purges are necessary to “cleanse all state institutions” of members of the Gulenist-clique is a lie.

As of 3:00 AM US Central Daylight Savings, the BBC estimated the following have been purged with more to follow:

  • 7,500 soldiers have been detained, including 118 generals and admirals
  • 8,000 police have been removed from their posts and 1,000 arrested
  • 3,000 members of the judiciary, including 1,481 judges, have been suspended
  • 15,200 education ministry officials have lost their jobs
  • 21,000 private school teachers have had their licenses revoked
  • 1,577 university deans (faculty heads) have been asked to resign
  • 1,500 finance ministry staff have been removed
  • 492 clerics, preachers and religious teachers have been fired
  • 393 social policy ministry staff have been dismissed
  • 257 prime minister’s office staff have been removed
  • 100 intelligence officials have been suspended

Again, the BBC makes a crucial observation: “The purge is so extensive that few believe it was not already planned. And there seems little chance that everyone on the list is a Gulenist.”

Some immediate results of the counter-coup and purges: Turkey’s tourism industry (13 percent of GDP) will die. It is unknown what will happen to the EU manufacturing investments made in country over the last 13 years. Will Turkey remain the Continent’s light manufacturer of choice? At three lira to the dollar odds are it will.

Questions remain, however, festering, itching, and irritating. For example, why does the Civil Service make up such disproportionate numbers? The BBC has an interesting, if sad, answer: “The government is weeding out opponents from Turkey’s Alevi community, which numbers some 15 million.” The Turks spell it Alevi, but President Erdoğan’s enemy to the South, Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria, calls himself an Alawite. The names are identical.

And what of the poor benighted Kurds? More ambivalence, I say. The status quo, but a violent one, if that makes any sense. Continued migration into cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Eskişehir, Balıkesir, Izmir, Trabzon will face more pressure on already aging infrastructure.

What are we to look for next? A few obvious variables come to mind first. Exit visas. For example, just this morning we learned that Erdoǧan issued a blanket foreign travel ban on all Turkish academics. Curfews in selected areas, those known to have opposed President Erdoğan in the past. Detentions without charge are not without precedent in situations such as these in Turkey. Extended purges from the civil service. Reinstatement of the death penalty have been sent up as a trial balloon in several media outlets.

If, as I believe, Erdoğan’s ultimate aim is to remake Turkey into a fully Islamic society, religious judges, or qadis, will be placed in the former positions of their secular counterparts. Moreover, hejab, or modest dress, will be imposed upon women, thus remaking Turkey into an Aegean Iran overnight. This will be followed by the creation of a morality division of the current police departments. All of this might require the abolition of parliament. At that point NATO has a serious decision to make, if Turkey hasn’t already abrogated the North Atlantic Treaty: Stay and tacitly support Erdoğan—supporting despots in the region is SOP—or go, using one of the Balkan nations for operations conducted out of İncirlik Air Force Base. None of this would surprise me now.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for whatever reason, feels compelled to sweep away the entirety of the old order; the Kemalist-Secular order that jailed him multiple times, but also the same order that brought stability and safety to a shaky new Turkish Republic formed in April, 1920.

As of this writing, it appears Erdoğan and his henchmen in the AKP will succeed. Turkey’s civil society will be dragged back 100 years under the guise of modernity and religion, the greatest paradox of our age. For this writer, however, it’s heartbreaking. Turkey was a second home, and I grieve its loss keenly, every day.

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Trump Is Doing What Matters Most for Winning the Election

Melania Trump’s Plagiarism is not important. Look, if you’re a college-educated intellectual like myself, or a college-educated journalist, you think plagiarism is a bad thing.

Most ordinary people do not care very much. It’s just not very important.

So. Is it more important if Melania plagiarized a paragraph from Michelle Obama, or is it more important if Trump can handle the economy better than Clinton?

The argument seems to be that it creates a narrative of incompetence. My guess is that people who would vote Trump will shrug it off as “not important.”

I note, further, that Trump continues to suck the air out of the room. Yes, it’s the convention, but even so, the coverage drum beat, day-by-day, is Trump, Trump, Trump. Good publicity, bad publicity, it’s all publicity.

Recent polling has had Trump winning key swing states, though Clinton is still ahead in more polls.

Trump is far from out of it, and can still easily win.

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Turkey’s Purge

turkish-flagErdogan was gleeful during the coup, and he has used it to clean house.

The number of people arrested with alleged links to the plot reached 7,543. They included more than 6,000 soldiers, 100 police officers, 755 judges and prosecutors and 650 civilians.

Earlier Monday, a senior security official told the Reuters news agency that 8,000 police officers, including those based in the capital Ankara and the biggest city Istanbul, had been removed from their posts on suspicion of links to last weekend’s abortive government takeover.

It seems very unlikely to me that all these people were linked to the coup. Instead most of them were probably on lists of enemies that Erdogan already wanted to get rid of.

Turkey’s remaining secular culture will now be strangled.  Erdogan wants to bring back capital punishment for those “involved” in the coup, saying his followers demand it.

The world continues to darken.  The great project for a secular Middle East, which was championed by many who lived there, appears dead and the Islam that is replacing it, with a few exceptions, tends not to be particularly humane.

This is far more important than whether Melania Trump plagiarized part of her speech, a sin which most ordinary people (contra the media) consider venial at best.

Update: the resignation of all public university Deans in Turkey has now been demanded.

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