Three Strikes and We’re Out!

There is a wonderfully appropriate lyric from the Lynyrd Skynyrd song Simple Man that goes, “Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold, all that you need is in your soul. And you can do this, oh baby, if you try. All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied, and be a simple kind of man.”

I am sure the Generals who consulted Donald Trump on the Syrian crisis were cognizant that they had to keep it simple for our Great Orange Leader. Perhaps when Trump played with his little toy soldiers as a young boy, he wanted to command that green plastic army having total world power. Still, he is a simple man.

His telling tweet after those “precision strikes” on known chemical research facilities and factories in Syria clearly showed this president’s lack of sophistication, A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!

Maybe the Donald lives in an alternative universe with his “alternate facts,” but it’s clear that by using the words “Mission Accomplished” he has seriously damaged his brand. Could Trump have forgotten the George W. Bush “Mission Accomplished” speech, which took place on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003? Does our President not remember Bush’s monumental screw up? It remains one of our country’s great punchlines.

Whatever, that didn’t prevent President Donald from using the term after three sites in Syria were targeted, bombed and taken out in retaliation for Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Douma, a town south of Damascus. Now we must deal with the reality that Trump believes this maneuver is a total fix for what has ailed Syria and the world for the last eight years.

The far-right conspiracy theorists quickly latched onto a strange idea. They felt that the chemical attacks were not perpetrated by Assad and the Syrian army but were a photo opportunity and invention of a rebel group or, worse, Russia bating the U.S. into war. I’m not sure why Alex Jones of InfoWars would adopt such a wacko position, but then there is little he does to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

During my research while writing the book If God Could Cry, I was nose down for two years on about a dozen tomes about Islam and the Middle East. I discovered a diverse group of opinions about the challenges on the ground, and I developed a better understanding of the region’s people and what drives their conflicts. My study revealed a never-ending string of decisions and mistakes pushed onto the Middle East nations. Each move was a big foot stomping a tube of toothpaste. What looked like a quick way to solve a problem was simply making a mess.

Back to Syria, aside from the baked-in conflict of the Sunni and Shia family argument that has been going on for 1400 years, we have the geo-political problem of two varieties of leaders in the Levant.

One is the supreme leader based on Sharia Law, basically a theocracy. The other is the totalitarian leader, with fascist and dictator leanings, who applies Sharia to the people they rule. Nowhere in this mix is a democracy. And, make no doubt about it, Bashar al-Assad is that kind of total dictator who was appointed to the position by his late father, Hafez al-Assad, a despicable blood-thirsty king.

There are probably very few people in America who believe the reports from Douma and have seen the video of poisoned children, who would argue that the actions taken by the joint efforts of British, French and American troops were unjustified. But that brings us to the next step in this process. What is our strategy and what happens now?

The Lynyrd Skynyrd song urges the simple people to beware of “lust for the rich man’s gold.” If you believe campaign-Donald, this is the oil living underground in the Middle East. The lyric references that which resides in the simple man’s soul, and here is where Donald Trump gets confused and vague. It makes one wonder if this simple man even has a soul.

He wants the satisfaction of the world thinking he is good, but he dodges the heavy lifting of understanding the true nature of the problem. He never mentions that Assad and his war machine have killed 500,000 people using big bombs and guns – no gas was needed. Politically and morally, our Orange Leader doesn’t want to think about the five million people who left Syria and are now refugees. He has openly classified such exiles as UNACCEPTABLE and DANGEROUS to America.

The real mission in Syria should be regime change, highly unlikely to be accomplished by any country or leader. Israel doesn’t want an Ayatollah in Syria, Iran does. Russia would like to take the place over, like they did in Crimea, but that would cause major problems for the West and would cost the Russian people a mountain of rubles.

So, here we go again. It’s another example of other countries trying to “do what is right” by changing the world when, deep down inside, they know that they cannot go too far without upsetting the apple cart. It would be nice for five million people to return to a peaceful home country. One could say the same thing about the expatriates of Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela or El Salvador.

Donald Trump is finding out the hard way that he cannot be an “America First” president and please all its citizens. He cannot be an isolationist and anti-globalist, while claiming he wants to help the children of the world. Trump doesn’t stay on his own message, and when he uses someone else’s, he looks foolish. Mission Accomplished? Really Donald? You should have run that one by someone smarter than you.

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New Book about Terrorism

One of the most eye-opening stories about terrorism. The famous cable TV talk show host, Jonas Bronck, leaves New York on his quest to find truth. He finds himself in the middle of terror and personal torment in the name of journalism. He once again asks, If God Could Cry, would he be crying for us, or with us?

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Clarity Creates Confidence

Who is the real president, here?

Donald Trump is a dreadful communicator. There is nothing in the rules that says that the President of the United States has to be a good thinker or talker. George W. Bush was no statesman conversationalist. Some of his more famous lines, “For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America,” and of course, who can forget, “I’m the decider, and I decide what is best.” But one of the words most people believe he invented, Strategery, wasn’t his creation, but something he quoted from of all places, a Saturday Night Live skit.

When we hear Donald Trump quote Thomas Jefferson in order to justify his disgracefully inaccurate denouncement of the press, poor Sally Hemings is turning in her grave. Knowing that this was Good Old Jefferson’s anger at the press exposing Jefferson’s long-term and fruitful affair with his favorite slave, it kind of makes Trump complicit with the attempted cover-up. Did he see this on TV?

It’s okay that Trump’s sixth grade vocabulary connects with the masses, but does he use his skills of “propagrandisement” for any good. He continually talks about himself, looks backward and divides us. Fox News was your source for terror in Sweden? That’s how wars are started.

When you paint a whole industry, or a whole group of people, with one brush, there are medical definitions for that; it’s called scapegoating. This is the process where one applies the mechanisms of projection or displacement focused on feelings of aggression, hostility or frustration on another individual or group; the amount of blame being unwarranted. Not all media outlets are bad, not all Mexicans are rapists and not all Presidents are smart.

When Donald Trump gets a chance to make it right and hit the bull’s eye with a real leadership decree, he’s a deer, frozen in the headlights of his own fears, ego and need to be loved.

Mr. President, we know you aren’t anti-Semitic, but we haven’t heard you lead the way with your words. You daughter condemns the hate crimes and your press secretary says you don’t condone those actions, but when do YOU address America and be the leader who really does attempt to bring people together. Are you even capable of this?

George W. Bush knew what to say when crisis hit. Standing on the pile of scorched earth at Ground Zero, he grabbed a bullhorn and said, “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people – and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” And indeed, his words were baked into history. Remember, bin Laden did hear from us. That is leadership Mr. President.

You are living in denial, most-likely wrought by your right-wing hooey, Mr. Bannon. You fail to see the connection between your rhetoric and the emboldened hate speakers and terrible actions such as bomb threats and grave site desecrations. A real President of our country would take to the airwaves and give the haters a piece of their mind. But then, we’ve already seen some of those pieces, not much clarity there.