My mind is a terrible thing to waste.
© 2016 jbjd
CORRECTED and UPDATED (IMPORTANT) 01.10.12
Please don’t be misdirected into believing that U.S. Senator (R-TX) Ted Cruz’ latest ‘birth certificate’ shenanigans have put his eligibility matter to rest.
It is Friday, January 8, 2016. Over-sized headlines on Drudge proclaim in huge letters that Presidential candidate Ted Cruz has produced his mother’s birth certificate showing she was born in the U.S.A., implying this alone establishes his Constitutional eligibility to be President (as a natural born citizen). But trust me; thus far he has failed to provide documentary evidence that supports a rational legal conclusion he is even a U.S. citizen, let alone natural born. It’s true. It’s all here.
First, a brief legal primer on determining U.S. citizenship at birth, for a child born in Canada.
The status of U.S. citizenship is determined by examining the U.S. Code in effect at the time of birth. Cruz was born in 1970, in Canada. Does that make him a U.S. citizen? The applicable U.S. Code says,
U.S. citizenship to a child born in Canada [in 1970] whose father [admittedly] is not a U.S. citizen is conditioned on both 1) the U.S. citizenship of the mother; and 2) her having lived in the U.S. for
five (5) 10 (ten) years, two (2) five (5) of which must have occurred past the age of 14. (8 U.S.C. 1401, Act 301 (g)) June 27, 1952, ch. 477, title III, ch. 1, § 301, 66 Stat. 235)
Thus, at a minimum; an application of facts to law that will determine whether Cruz is a U.S. citizen would require at least two additional documents: his birth certificate, and the birth certificate of his mother. And as this Salon article written by Steven Lubet, the Williams Memorial Professor of Law at Northwestern University demonstrates; the fact that determining his citizenship would require both birth certificates has been public knowledge since at least as far back as 2013, the year Senator Cruz took office.
Ted Cruz’s origins continue to haunt him
[subtitle omitted by jbjd]
by Steven Lubett
In order to fulfill his promise to the voters, Cruz must therefore submit proof that he is a U.S. citizen, which will be trickier for him than for most people. Cruz has thus far released only his Canadian birth certificate, which confirms that he was born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1970, and additionally states that his mother was born in Wilmington, Dela. The second part is crucial – Cruz’s only claim to U.S. citizenship through his mother – but it is also hearsay. The birth certificate is primary evidence of Cruz’s own birth, but the entry about his mother merely records her assertion to the Alberta Division of Vital Statistics. Even though I don’t personally dispute what he says, “My mother said so” is not what is usually meant by “proof.”
How, then, can Ted Cruz prove his U.S. citizenship to the satisfaction of the Canadian authorities? He could submit his passport, or perhaps the document called a Consular Certificate of Birth Abroad (if his parents obtained one), but those would have the same hearsay problems as his birth certificate. The only sure-fire evidence, therefore, would be his mother’s birth certificate, presumably issued when she was born in Delaware.
In an article entitled “Dual citizenship may pose problem if Ted Cruz seeks presidency,” The Dallas Morning News reported in August 2013, “For the first time, Cruz released his birth certificate Friday in response to inquiries from The Dallas Morning News.” An image of the document appeared on the site. Information had been filled in on what looks like an official government form captioned: “Division of Vital Statistics, Department of Health Edmonton, Certificate of Birth.” Id. On the line for mother’s birthplace, someone had typed “Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.” Id.
At this same time, Cruz did not release the other document we have established is vital to his U.S. citizenship validation, which is the U.S. birth certificate for his mother.
(Please click on that link above to The Dallas Morning News from August 2013; and keep in mind, we’re talking about events which occurred three years ago. Then, scroll down the page till you reach the embedded Daily Caller video entitled “Trump plays birther card on Ted Cruz”; it shows a clip from of ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos broadcast in August 2013, featuring a segment with Jon Carl on the ground at the Iowa State Fair. Play that whole video. It opens with Stephanopoulos: “Every August the Iowa State Fair features pork tenderloins, deep-fried Twinkies, a whole bunch of ambitious politicians with the White House in their sights. Forget that it’s three years before the next election, it’s never too early, Presidential hopefuls are out in force across the Hawkeye state this week-end.” Then, it cuts to Carl, at the Iowa State Fair. “We even ran into Donald Trump out here… he says that he might run.” What follows is Carl’s exchange with Trump. Carl asks for Trump’s “assessment of the field,” and goes down the names. “Ted Cruz.” Trump loves his opposition to Obamacare. Then, Carl asks about “Trump,” citing his history of questioning Obama’s birth certificate. This leads to a question from Carl about Cruz’ eligibility, pointing out, Cruz was born in Canada, but his mother was an America citizen. Trump’s abbreviated response: “Look, that will be ironed out…”)
Three years later, Presidential candidate Trump raises the specter his fellow candidate, Cruz, might have a problem with Constitutional eligibility. Days later, on January 8, 2016, in the article linked on Drudge‘s headline, Breitbart announced, “The Cruz for President campaign provided Breitbart News exclusively with the birth certificate.” The ‘birth certificate’ they were talking about is for Cruz’ mother; an image of what purports to be that document appeared on the site. Information had been filled in on what looks like an official government form captioned: “State of Delaware, Standard Certificate of Birth.” Id. On the line for mother’s birthplace, someone had written “Wilmington, Delaware.” Id. For whatever reason, Breitbart provided readers with no explanation as to how the Cruz campaign transmitted this ‘document’ to them. The source code for the image displayed in the article contains only a Breitbart electronic trail; it is posted on the Breitbart Scribd page, with no visible attribution to the Cruz campaign.
In no particular order of import; here are just a few of the material facts which trouble me about this ‘Ted-Cruz’-mother’s-U.S.-birth-certificate-presentation’ and have aided my analysis that this is part of a broader well-orchestrated dog-and-pony show. (I am sure I will write additional columns on this issue, as time (and paid employment) allow.)
(I have written extensively about the difference between legally cognizable identification documentation, and a paid political advertising campaign. See, for example, DE-CODER RINGS (1 of 2) and WHY PRESIDENT OBAMA WAITED until APRIL 27, 2011 to RELEASE a FACSIMILE of his LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE.)
PROBLEM #2: This 2016 exclusive presentation on Breitbart marks the first time an image of the birth certificate of Cruz’ mother has become available for public display, notwithstanding as explained above; since he was born in Canada 1) her birth certificate is required to establish whether he is a U.S. citizen; and 2) questions as to his U.S. citizenship have dogged him since at least as far back as 2013. But even with the crescendo of eligibility speculation beginning at least as far back as then; as we said, the only evidence he produced to establish his U.S. citizenship was his birth certificate. And that was it for the next three years. Then, in February 2015, with his run for the Presidency all but guaranteed; The Dallas Morning News reported that rumors of ineligibility resurfaced. Now, with the stakes for establishing his eligibility raised considerably; you might think a smart lawyer like Cruz would produce his mother’s U.S. birth certificate as evidence he was legit. Well, you would be wrong. Because all he coughed up that same birth certificate for baby boy Cruz he had offered up to the same newspaper three years earlier! Id.
PROBLEM #3: Under both the U.S. Code and recent holdings of the U.S. Supreme Court protecting false political speech; unless intended for an unlawful purpose like defrauding the government; pretending to a media outlet that a facsimile of an ‘identification document’ like the image of a birth certificate (or of a form of renunciation of Canadian citizenship) is real, does not violate the law, precisely because as a matter of law, it identifies nothing. Think about it this way. Let’s say, you are applying for a civilian job and, in order to verify your educational background, your prospective employer asks you to provide an “official” school transcript. You wouldn’t go to your school; have them copy your records and hand them over to you; and then deliver these to the employer. No; that’s not “official.” Because you could have tampered with the information in your possession and under your control. Rather, you would likely ask your school, in writing, to mail these records to that employer, on your behalf. (You might also satisfy the request to provide an official transcript by having the record holder place the documents into an envelope and ‘sealing’ the flap with embossing, which you can then hand to the company.)
How might ‘inquiring minds’ similarly obtain official identification documentation with respect to Cruz’ U.S. citizenship status? Well, they might try obtaining the relevant information from Canadian officials. Indeed, the The Dallas Morning News said they tried to obtain such ‘official’ verification of Cruz’ U.S. citizenship status way back in August 2013, in the same report in which they posted the image Cruz provided, of his Canadian birth certificate with his mother’s birthplace filled in as U.S.A.
Officials at Citizenship and Immigration Canada said that without a signed privacy waiver from Cruz, they cannot discuss his case. Id.
And, today, three years later, Breitbart News echoed the Dallas News’ frustration at being unable to access Cruz’ identifying information:
Canadian immigration authorities could not provide Breitbart News with additional documents, citing Canadian privacy laws. Id.
So, for three years and counting; why hasn’t Cruz provided either of these media outlets with the necessary waiver authorization so that they could directly obtain his official identification documentation?
PROBLEM #4: Despite the fact spelled out in PROBLEM #1 that this maternal ‘birth certificate’ displayed on Breitbart has no legal bearing on Cruz’ U.S. citizenship status inasmuch as it was issued by his Presidential campaign; the timing of the campaign’s release is nonetheless way off. Coincidentally, Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina hinted just the other day she found a ‘timing’ dilemma in another aspect of Cruz’ citizenship brouhaha, which tends to bolster my present ‘Breitbart timing’ observation.
Interviewed on January 7, 2016 by FOX’s Greta Van Susteren, Ms. Fiorina was asked to comment on what Susteren characterized as Cruz’ eligibility dispute, begun by Trump and joined publicly just that day by Sen. McCain, who agreed there was some legitimacy to the issue because Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada “to an American mother and a Cuban father.” She asked where Fiorina stood on this “discussion.” Fiorina replied, “Well, I don’t know all the particulars but I would say this. I find it odd that Senator Ted Cruz did not renounce his dual Canadian citizenship until 2014, when it became clear he was running for President.” Van Susteren asked, “Meaning what, meaning that he wanted to be a Canadian until 2014, is that what that means?” The candidate clarified, “I don’t know; I think you oughta ask him.” http://gretawire.foxnewsinsider.com/video/video-fiorina-questions-why-ted-cruz-took-so-long-to-renounce-his-dual-canadian-citizenship/
I have a theory on the answer to Ms. Fiorina’s question.
Here is the full title of the article by Professor Lubett, published by Salon in September 2013, including the sub-heading I omitted above, followed by the ‘money’ excerpt from that article: (all emphasis added by jbjd)
What is keeping Ted Cruz from finally renouncing his Canadian citizenship?
Perhaps Cruz simply hasn’t gotten around to it. In fairness, the Canadian government requires more than a simple shout-out before canceling somebody’s citizenship. The aspiring ex-Canadian has to pay a fee of $100 and submit an official “Application to Renounce Canadian Citizenship,” which could be a bother for someone with a busy schedule of Tea Party meetings and lectures for the Heritage Foundation. On the other hand, the renunciation form is pretty simple. There are only 12 questions on the application, and most of them request basic information such as name, address and date of birth, all of which could be handled by a staffer.
There is one section, however, that could cause Cruz some trouble, and perhaps that is the reason for his delay. Question 5 instructs the applicant to “attach proof” that he is (or will become) a citizen of a country other than Canada. That may seem like it is none of Canada’s business, but in fact the requirement follows from important principles of international law – including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – which call upon governments to protect individuals from becoming stateless. Of course, Canada’s requirement of proof was not established with U.S. senators in mind, but it does reflect an admirable intention to ensure that all individuals have national rights in at least one country. And in any event, it is up to Canada to decide how and in what manner its citizenship may be annulled – the U.S. has similar rules – and Cruz has no choice but to follow the necessary protocol.
Recall that the The Dallas Morning News reported in August 2013; problems were surfacing related to Cruz’ dual citizenship. Id.
The circumstances of Cruz’s birth have fueled a simmering debate over his eligibility to run for president. Knowingly or not, dual citizenship is an apparent if inconvenient truth for the tea party firebrand, who shows every sign he’s angling for the White House….Two visits in recent weeks to Iowa, the first state to winnow the field of presidential candidates, set off a fresh flurry of commentary on the issue. He heads to New Hampshire, another early voting state, on Friday — another strong sign that he’s eyeing a 2016 run.
The Morning News article went on to say that Cruz announced he would resolve the problem immediately by having his team of lawyers research how to “renounce” his Canadian citizenship. Id. And, inasmuch as Professor Lubett’s article in Salon pointed out, renouncing his Canadian citizenship required proving he had citizenship elsewhere, presumably in the U.S.; he would have to establish at this point, his mother was an American citizen. In short, he would need to produce his mother’s birth certificate before officials in Canada could process his Canadian citizenship renunciation. (Lubett also pointed out; Cruz could have used a U.S. passport, which is issued by the State Dept., to prove he is a citizen of the U.S. However, in order to obtain a U.S. passport, one must present evidence of being a U.S. citizen. And, inasmuch as Cruz’ birth certificate evidences he was born in Canada; he could not prove to our State Dept. he had inherited U.S. citizenship through his mother, without producing her birth certificate, anyway.)
The Dallas Morning News reported nine months later. in May 2014, that the process to terminate Cruz’ Canadian citizenship had been finalized; they posted the copy Cruz gave them of what he said was the official letter. (Actually, it wasn’t a letter at all but a form captioned, “Certificate of Renunciation of Canadian Citizenship.” Id.)
This means, the birth certificate for Cruz’ mother was in his possession at the latest, before the date on that letter-cum-Certification of Renunciation.
In sum; before Cruz could obtain the Canada letter-cum-Certification of Renunciation he provided to The Dallas Morning News in May 2014, he must have had possession of his mother’s birth certificate, and it must have shown, she was a citizen of the U.S.A.
So, here’s the problem associated with the relationship between the timing Ms. Fiorina pointed to in her interview with Greta, of Cruz’ alleged renunciation of Canadian citizenship in [May] 2014; and his campaign’s distribution to Breitbart the mock-up of his mother’s birth certificate two years later, in January 2016. Questions as to his status as a U.S. citizen centered on more than his dual-citizenship. This meant that just renouncing his Canadian citizenship in May 2014 only solved some of those pending Constitutional eligibility problems. The other questions related to his eligibility status centered mostly on whether he was born a U.S. citizen, which determination you now know could have been all but resolved as soon as he produced the birth certificate for his mother. And, based on the date that appears on the Canada letter-cum-Certification of Renunciation provided to The Dallas Morning News; we know he held that document by May 2014.
Then, why hasn’t he made that birth certificate available to The Dallas Morning News, or Breitbart, or any other media outlet, between May 2014 and now?
IMPORTANT UPDATE 01.10.15
Today, RCP posted an interview by CNN’s Jake Tapper, on Ted Cruz’ campaign bus. Tapper asked Carly’s question about the timing of Cruz’ renunciation. Let me explain how that has opened up the proverbial can of worms.
The important exchange is 01:10-3:20.
So, what’s so bad about that? I’ll tell you.
Ted Cruz is a smart and politically ambitious man. Here’s the Cruz bio that appears on the Congressional site: graduated Princeton University, B.A., 1992; graduated Harvard University, J.D., 1995; Law Clerk to Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist; Associate Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice; Director of the Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission; Solicitor General of Texas 2003-2008; lawyer; elected to U.S. Senate 2012. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=C001098 And as I pointed out earlier; The Dallas Morning News raised Cruz’ dual citizenship status during the 2013 Iowa State Fair, where the R Presidential nominee wannabes, including Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, had ‘launched’ their campaigns.
There is no way in hell that this man hadn’t fully researched his U.S. citizenship pedigree long before August 13, when The Dallas Morning News pointed out to him, he was likely still a Canadian. Id.
But I noticed something else that stinks about this eligibility play.
On January 7, Heidi Cruz – she’s Managing Director at Goldman Sachs – was interviewed on Boston Herald Radio. Here’s what she said about the eligibility issue (10:00-11:10):
Ted is indisputably a U.S. citizen. He is a natural-born citizen. … He fits that definition without a question.
(Note in that segment, Heidi did not say, Ted is a U.S. citizen ‘because his mother is a citizen.’ However, she does mention maternity in reminding the host that Mitt Romney’s father George – he ran for the R Presidential nomination against Nixon in ’68 – was also a citizen, “born in Mexico, but to a mother who was a U.S. citizen.”)
Now, watch her husband’s January 7 responses to questions about eligibility from Mark Halperin of Bloomberg Politics. (I cannot embed this; but watch from 00:50-02:00):
The very first Congress, in defining a natural born citizen said, the child of a U.S. citizen is a natural born citizen.
(Note that just as soon as Cruz ended that sentence he was off on another tangent, no pause, no breath. He did not interject, ‘therefore, I am a natural born citizen because my mother is a U.S. citizen’ (or leave any room for Halperin to ask that next logical question.)
And, in today’s video, with Jake Tapper; Cruz began by repeating the party line about his U.S. citizenship, sort of:
The Constitution and federal law are clear. The child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural born citizen.
However, Tapper kept on the subject as the exchange continued, asking whether his parents ever voted in Canada, clearly referencing the fact, voting records indicate she was on such a list, meaning, she would have had Canadian citizenship at the time. Cruz answered:
My mother didn’t, because she was a U.S. citizen, and my mother, look, the internet has all sorts of fevered swamp theories…
So, for the first time during any of these interviews, he now claims, “my mother was a U.S. citizen,” apparently in order to quell Tapper’s voting list reference. But notice, he begins another revelation, “and my mother…” and then stops himself, quickly pivoting to something else. But Tapper keeps going until he brought up Carly’s question. Now, listen to what Cruz said right after that:
Look, my mom was born in Wilmington, DE, was an American citizen by birth, she’s been an American citizen all 81 years of her life…
Question: What happened between January 7, when Mr. & Mrs. Cruz would only answer questions from the press as to the candidate’s eligibility, with vague generalities about the law; and January 10, when the candidate specifically alleged, ‘My mother was born in Delaware, USA’?
Answer: Breitbart posted the campaign’s mock-up of Cruz’ mother’s birth certificate on January 8 and Jake Tapper asked why Carly Fiorina thought it ‘odd” that he renunciated his Canadian citizenship in 2014.
As I said, Carly Fiorina hit a home run by positing that question…
My mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Business is booming for the Trump/Coulter/Drudge troika, but I would bet that millions of consumers still have no idea they are the unwitting tools of the tricks of the TCD trade.
Yep, Ann “how-many-fucking-Jews-do-they-think-there-are-in-the-United-States” Coulter is BFF not only with Donald “laziness is a trait in blacks” Trump but with Matt “they-came-up-with-the-name-ISIS-to-be-confused-with-Issa” Drudge, too. Indeed, as you can see for yourself in this clip; the author of ¡Adios America! The Left’s Plan To Turn Our Country Into A Third World Hellhole calls Drudge “blessed.” (The way in which the TCD troika manipulates what you think you know will be explored in another posting. But note that in this video, Coulter hints at Drudge’s subliminal power to lead the blind masses: “I’m just terrified,” she admits, “If Matt Drudge ever goes on vacation, they’re going to pass amnesty in the dead of night.”)
I had suspected for months, Coulter and Trump were joined at the hip, even before she confirmed their partnership by introducing him at his ‘coming out’ in Iowa.
I was alerted to their symbiotic relationship by his newly ramped up anti-immigrant meme. For example, on June 16, Trump proclaimed, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said in the speech. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” June 16. So, I checked and, not coincidentally, Coulter’s ¡Adios America! came out two weeks earlier, on June 1. In fact, as you can see in the next video; an interviewer from BBC’s Newsnight program noticed the striking similarity in their language with respect to people with brown skins. He asked whether Trump took his reference to “Mexican rapists” from her. As you can see; Coulter proudly reveals, Trump initiated contact with her before her book came out to solicit an advance copy.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: In the BBC video, Ms. Coulter alleged ¡Adios America!, the sole focus of which book is immigration, is well-annotated. However, six months earlier, in June; Bill Maher pointed out on his show that the ‘stats’ in her book seemed to him to be way ‘off.’ Specifically, he asked where are the “stats” proving that Mexicans entering this country are “rapists”the discrepancy between the 11,000,000 illegal immigrants the government estimates are living here; and her figure of approximately 30,000,000. Now put on the spot by someone who had not only read her book but also was willing to ‘call her out’ on its contents; she conceded, it’s impossible to get government figures – ‘they don’t keep them’ – so she found alternative means. And, as you can see for yourself in this video from Maher’s show; Ms. Coulter’s alternative means of reaching the real numbers of illegal immigrants living here included an econometric calculation invented by a couple of financial analysts from Bear Stearns. (I am not kidding. You can read the transcript on YouTube, below the video.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhhgrzqN6gI
But what cemented for me Trump’s unholy alliance with Coulter was his gross misrepresentation of the scope of illegal immigration. Dept. of Homeland Security, Pew Research, and the Center for Migration Studies all peg the number at around 11,000.000. He now insists, the U.S. government’s count of 11,000,000 illegals is wrong and, in fact, the numbers is actually closer to 30,000,000 or “it could be 34,000,000.” Id. When asked where he got that number, he says, “I am hearing it from other people…” But those of us who are paying attention know, he got it directly from Coulter’s book. And she admitted, she made up the figures in her book! Id.
In August, Trump came out with his ‘written’ immigration plan. National Review‘s Michael Barone dubbed it “Half-Serious Half-Fantasy.” Coulter gushed it was “the greatest political document since the Magna Carta.” Of course she did; because he based it on her and her book.
As for evidence of the cozy bond between Coulter and Drudge; a picture is worth a thousand words.
They were spotted at the 2014 NBA Finals in Miami by fans watching the game at home.
Here’s a brief video of that same game. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/heres-video-of-ann-coulter-and-matt-drudge-hanging-out-at-nba-finals-game/#ooid=g5NzBhbjpDnpSrcFmraotKkD3AboLbMQ
And they were together to watch the December 15 Republican debate.
Ms. Coulter, the likely brains of the bunch, actually graduated college and went on to earn a law degree! On the other hand, while Donald Trump keeps reminding his audiences, he is “smart’; he has yet to provide documentary evidence he attended college, let alone earned a BA/BS degree. (You might recall that even after Carly Fiorina hinted as such, in a tweet, he could only muster a demand for an apology and, with none forthcoming, he dropped the subject like the proverbial hot potato.) As for gossip-monger Matt Drudge, well, he claims he graduated from high school.
I imagine the thought has crossed Coulter’s bright mind: If the TCD troika can keep flying under the radar then Donald Trump can actually become President.
If that happens; prepare to say hello to Press Secretary Matt Drudge, and Ann Coulter, AG.
My mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Of all the specious claims of competence made by and on behalf of Donald J. Trump in his quixotic bid to become the Republican nominee for President of the United States; this, arguably, is the raison d’être: he is a great negotiator. For example, here is a sample of the over-the-top-hype-bordering-on-religious-zealotry regarding Trump’s negotiating skills, taken from an article appearing on Breitbart and re-posted on the candidate’s blog:
20 REASONS WHY IT SHOULD BE DONALD TRUMP IN 2016
15. Negotiation skills. Presidents have the benefit of being surrounded by highly talented experts in their respective fields – it’s the entire basis for the Cabinet appointments. But, what’s the one area on which a president is on his own? Negotiations. When our leader walks into an international forum, or that one-on-one meeting with the British PM, there is no adviser that can speak for him. It’s the one time the president sinks or swims on his own merits. As such, a stern – even arrogant — president with negotiating expertise is of paramount importance. Governors have keen negotiating skills, sure – so do CEO’s. Trump is so good at it, though, he – literally – wrote the ‘bible’ on it. (Emphasis added by jbjd.)
As you see, Trump wants us on the basis of this ‘fact’ alone, that is, he is a great negotiator, not to dismiss his Presidential candidacy on the grounds of his admitted lack of expertise and knowledge in several disciplines, like foreign policy and military defense, which supporters and detractors alike agree are material to being a successful Commander in Chief. Absent demonstrable competence; he admonishes that an over-sized negotiation prowess earns him an unqualified ‘pass’ to campaign for the job.
Does this mean, assuming he is not a great negotiator then, we can all agree he is not qualified for the job?
I am unequipped to gauge Trump’s greatness when it comes to wheeling and dealing in negotiations related to property. However, when it comes to competence in the arena of Presidential performance, I can confidently pronounce these two things. First, compensating for deficits in knowledge material to successfully lead the Executive branch of the federal government is impossible regardless whether the candidate for President is a skilled negotiator. And second, by flubbing Hugh Hewitt’s question about the “nuclear triad” at the CNN Republican debate on December 15, Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump unequivocally exposed that whatever benefit of the qualification doubt might have been granted to him going in; he cannot overcome his ignorance in the arena of Presidential performance because, when it comes to Presidential politics, he’s a lousy negotiator.
Of course, the first point, that is, the President should not be ignorant about governmental complexities going into office, is only my opinion. And whenever I denigrate Trump’s performance at that last debate, I come under attack by Trumpettes rationalizing in his defense, he may be ignorant when it comes to military parlance but he can be brought up to speed. (Thus far, they haven’t addressed the fact that the strategy of nuclear deterrence which underlies all talk of the triad is a critical tactical consideration that seemingly escaped Trump’s simple mind.) Well, I disagree the man is competent to learn what he needs to know. Indeed, I maintain on December 15, he showed us he is even too stupid to think on his feet.
Let me refresh your memory on how the would-be Republican nominee went so wrong.
Here is a transcript of Hugh Hewitt’s debate question:
HH: Dr. Carson just referenced the single most important job of the President, the command, the control, and the care of our nuclear forces. And he mentioned the triad: the B52’s are older than I am; the missiles are old; the submarines are aging out. (NOTE from jbjd: These are the three (3) legs of the nuclear triad: 1) air, 2) land, and 3) sea delivery systems for nuclear weapons. Dr. Carson had itemized the three, in a response 10 minutes earlier.) It’s an Executive Order, it’s a Commander in Chief decision. What’s your priority among our nuclear triad?
DT: Well, first of all, I think we need somebody absolutely that we could trust who’s totally responsible who really knows what he or she is doing. That is so powerful and so important. And one of the things that I’m frankly most proud of is that in 2003/2004 I was totally against going into Iraq because you’re going to de-stabilize the Middle East – I called it, I called it very strongly – and it was very important. But we have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ball game. Frankly, I would’ve said, ‘get outa Syria, get out…’ If we didn’t have the power of weaponry today, the power is so massive, that we can’t just leave areas that 50 years ago or 75 years ago we wouldn’t care, it was hand to hand combat. The biggest problem this world has today is not President Obama with global warming, which is inconceivable this is what he’s saying. The biggest problem we have today is nuclear, nuclear proliferation, and having some maniac having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon. That ‘s, in my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces.
HH: The three legs of the triad though, do you have a priority, because I’m going to go to Sen. Rubio after that to ask him.
DT: I think just the nuclear, the power, the devastation is very important to me.
HH: Senator Rubio, do you have a response?
MC: I do. First, let’s explain to people at home what the triad is, maybe a lot of people at home haven’t heard that terminology before. The triad is our ability of the United States to conduct nuclear attacks using airplanes, using missiles launched from silos or from the ground; and also from our nuclear subs ability to attack. And it’s important, all three of them are critical, it gives us the ability at deterrence.
(This is a great video of just that exchange; I couldn’t embed.)
In other words, responding to a question on the subject of defense less than 10 minutes earlier, candidate Ben Carson, standing at the lectern right next to Trump, raised the problem of our aging armaments by naming the specific launch mechanisms that currently comprise the triad! And before Hewitt lobbed the question about the triad to Trump 10 minutes later, he – Hewitt – paraphrased Carson’s just-recited identification, now only asking Trump, acting as Commander in Chief, which of the already-named (and repeated) legs of the triad would have his priority (for expenditures aimed at modernization).
Even if they hadn’t been paying attention to Carson’s response to the military defense question; using only the information and cues available during those exchanges I would bet, the majority of his sycophantic bloggers could have fudged an acceptable answer. Not so their feckless candidate.
That said, set aside my opinion that Trump’s stupidity is the reason he didn’t come up with a responsive answer to Hewitt’s question on the nuclear triad at the Republican debate on December 15. Instead, consider this fact: Trump blew Hewitt’s question about the nuclear triad because in the arena of Presidential politics, Donald J. Trump is a lousy negotiator.
For starters, Trump broke Forbe’s Power Negotiation Tip No. 1: Know Your Opponent .
Of course, Donald Trump knows Hugh Hewitt, who has interviewed him at least dozens of times on his show. As a cardinal rule of negotiation, that’s not what “know your opponent” means. So, for the sake of clarification and, as an effective mechanism for putting Trump’s failure in its proper perspective; I invite you to pretend you are a candidate for the Republican nomination for President. Let’s follow how you would have ‘negotiated’ a better job.
As a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, you know you will be participating in a series of scheduled debates with the several other candidates. On October 13, Salem Media Group, which sponsors Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, announces that Mr. Hewitt will be a panelist at the CNN Republican debate on December 15.
Hewitt continues to be the “go to” host for the Presidential candidates. “I’ve done over 50 in-depth interviews with the candidates who remain in the field and will continue to invite them onto my radio show between now and March to pose tough, straightforward questions. There’s no better way for me or for them to prepare,” said Hewitt.
Now on notice Hewitt will be your inquisitor, naturally, you want to learn all you can about the man.
You read his biography, available on his web site.
Professor Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, law professor and broadcast journalist whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in more than 120 cities across the United States every weekday afternoon. Professor Hewitt is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, and has been teaching Constitutional Law at Chapman University Law School since it opened in 1995. Professor Hewitt has been a frequent guest on CNN, Fox News Network, and MSNBC, and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. He has received three Emmys for his work as co-host of the ground-breaking Life & Times program, a nightly news and public affairs program that aired on the Los Angeles PBS affiliate, KCET, from 1992 until 2007. Professor Hewitt also conceived and hosted the 1996 PBS series, Searching for God in America. He is the author of a dozen books, including two New York Times best-sellers.
Professor Hewitt is best known as the host of his radio show, which has an audience estimated at more than 2 million listeners every week. Since its debut in July of 2000, Professor Hewitt has conducted groundbreaking interviews with government officials from both parties and widely respected analysts, authors and pundits. In a 2006 profile of Hewitt for The New Yorker, the dean of the Columbia University School of Journalism told his readers that Hewitt was “the most influential conservative you have never heard of.”
Hewitt writes daily for his blog, HughHewitt.com, which is among the most visited political blogs in the U.S. He is also a weekly columnist for The Washington Examiner and Townhall.com.
Professor Hewitt served for nearly six years in the Reagan Administration in a variety of posts, including Assistant Counsel in the White House and Special Assistant to two Attorneys General. Since returning to California in 1989 to oversee the construction of the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, Hewitt has served as a member of the California Arts Council, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the Orange County Children and Families Commission. He and his wife live in Orange County.
Hewitt’s passions are the Cleveland Browns and Indians, Ohio State and Notre Dame football and running.
This is impressive; no intellectual slouch he. Taking both him and the occasion of the debate seriously; you heed his advice for candidates to “prepare” for the upcoming encounter. You explore his web site, finding links to recordings and transcripts of prior interviews with the candidates. You come across an on-air interview with candidate Donald J. Trump on August 3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNtZ3hJTuaM – and a transcript of that pertinent segment of the interview (12:20 – 14:39). You listen while Hewitt clearly expresses to Trump, there are three legs to the American nuclear triad, and asks, more than once, which leg would he devote resources to modernize.
HH: Now let me ask you about the American nuclear triad.. Is it necessary anymore, Donald Trump, is it affordable?
DT: I think one of the most important things that we have to worry about is nuclear generally speaking. The power of nuclear, the power of the weapons that we have today and that is by the way — the deal with Iran — the concept of it is so important that you have to make a good deal and what they should have done is that they should have doubled up and tripled up the sanctions and negotiate from strength instead of the pathetic negotiators that we had so anything that we had to do with nuclear to me the power of the weapons — the problem is that it is not how many soldiers you have, the power of weaponry today is is utmost important.
HH: Do we need all the three kind of nuclear weapons that we have though?
DT: I think we should have absolutely have — you know we are going to have to build ourselves back up because — I don’t know if you saw that 60 Minute piece about a year ago where our nuclear weapons are so absolute and so outdated, the phones didn’t work, the wires were rotted and frankly to allow that to actually go on television where they are giving tours of places of silos and they are rusting and rotting and I’m Putin and I looking at that I’m saying I’m saying, “Wow these guys don’t have the power we thought they had.”
HH: But do you think we can afford to to just update one of the three legs nor do we need all three of them like the Cold War?
DT: I think we need massive protection and unfortunately you know the nuclear is the protection It’s not just the question of having a million soldiers nowadays. You need the protection because North Korea has it, the deal based on everything that I’ve seen as you know Iran is gong to have it, Pakistan has it, India has it. Hopefully, India is on our side a little more than most but people are getting it and Russia has it big league and China has it, but you know, Putin said about a month ago and I was shocked to hear it — first time I’ve ever heard it from that kind of a power. Essentially he said don’t mess with us, we have nuclear weapons. Do you remember that?
DT: Why would somebody say that from that kind of country?
HH: We are out of time so I just got to close with a couple of pop culture.
You notice that Trump never answers Hewitt’s question and, indeed, seems unaware what he – Hewitt – is talking about. On the contrary, Trump focuses his ramblings on the efficacy of fighting the next war using merely nuclear power versus relying on massive troop strength. You don’t know what is meant by the term “nuclear triad.” But you are determined not to sound like a dunce yourself. So, using the search function on Hewitt’s site, you type in the words “nuclear triad.” And you hit pay dirt, in the form of an interview with Robert C. O’Brien, on November 14. (Emphasis in orange added by jbjd.)
Robert C. O’Brien Gives National Security/Foreign Policy Debate Advice To GOP Candidates And The Media
HH: I’m joined by Robert O’Brien, who was a longtime deputy to John Bolton at the United Nations. He is one of my law partners at Arent Fox. He is an extraordinary authority on all things security. And we’d scheduled to talk today about, on the eve of the Democratic debate, about how to talk about international affairs in a presidential debate. We did not expect it to be this relevant tonight, Robert.
RO’B: Well, the first thing, our hearts go out to the people of Paris. They’ve suffered tragedy before with the Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher deli attacks, and certainly for the many victims, the dead, the wounded. Our hearts and our prayers and our thoughts go out to them and their families, and also to the people of Paris, France, the great ally. In fact, they were our first ally. And this is a terrible unfolding event for them to undergo.
HH: Now Robert, obviously if you’re John Dickerson, you’re tearing up your notes. And I’m getting ready for a debate in December, and that’s what we want to talk about tonight, and how candidates prepare for a major debate on national and international security issues. What would you do is you were Dickerson? What would you ask Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders tomorrow night?
RO’B: Well, certainly the Democrats have been very weak on defense throughout the Obama years. Defense sequestration has led to a budget that is, in real dollars, has fallen over 10% since sequestration was enacted in 2011. So there’s not a strong record on defense. There’s certainly the disengagement from Iraq, the disengagement from Afghanistan, although fortunately, the President is going to leave a couple thousand troops behind in Kabul. But this idea that we could somehow sidestep history, that we could get out of the fight against, that we could end the global war on terror and talk about manmade contingencies, this is a real soft spot for the Democrats, and they’re going to have to, and we’re now seeing with this, the unfolding events in Paris, the Democrats candidates, O’Malley, Sanders and Clinton are going to have to explain to the American people how they’re going to keep them safe and how they’re going to support our allies, and help keep our allies safe.
HH: Now I want to use this time, though, Robert, to focus on the Republican field, because not only do I have to get ready for debates, I think they have to get ready to talk about national security. And it kind of broke out this week, and I want people to understand that not only are you my friend and law partner, but you were Scott Walker’s senior foreign policy advisor prior to Scott Walker withdrawing. You have not committed, am I correct, to any campaign since then? You’re not affiliated with anybody?
RO’B: That’s correct. I’ve got a number of friends that are in the race. I’ve talked to a number of the campaigns, and have given them advice, but I have not endorsed a candidate at this point.
HH: Well, I talked with General Bob Dees yesterday, he’s Ben Carson’s senior national security advisor, about preparing a candidate. And I thought I’d talk to you as a neutral. What do you think candidates ought to know, for example, about nuclear deterrence, because this is not something that’s easy to bring up, and people’s eyes might glaze over, but it’s kind of the essence of being the commander-in-chief.
RO’B: Well, it’s something that we grew up with, Hugh. I mean, you can recall growing up being worried about, you know, the nuclear threat being the number one concern that we all had about national security. I mean, there was, during the Reagan years, there were folks that were pushing for unilateral disarmament. President Reagan took a different approach, and deployed tactical, shorter ranger nuclear weapons, intermediate range nuclear weapons to Europe to counter the Soviet threat. That ultimately led to both sides withdrawing those weapons, and intermediate range nuclear forces treaty being passed by both sides. Unfortunately, that’s one of the treaties that Moscow is currently violating as they covertly develop new intermediate range nuclear forces. But look, our nuclear deterrence, our ability to convince the Chinese, the Russians, the North Koreans, the Iranians, and others that any attack on the United States would be met with such a devastating response that they shouldn’t even consider such an attack, that nuclear deterrent is just critical to keeping America safe. Unfortunately, our deterrent is getting, our forces are getting older. The equipment is getting older. And we need to make some significant investments there to maintain our edge and to maintain our deterrent stance.
HH: Do you think candidates need to be up to speed on the INF, the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and what Putin is doing, because he’s actually violating it with impunity. I don’t even know if Americans know about all of the different things he’s done in just the last three weeks.
RO’B: No, there was a report yesterday from Russian TV that he is developing a nuclear submarine drone to take out submarines. He’s been flying his Blackjack bombers over U.S. and British naval ships. He’s been using his longer range Tupolev bombers to fly into U.S. airspace. Those are the bombers that would launch long range cruise missiles against the American homeland and against our allies in Europe. He’s going back to a very Cold War posture of testing our ability to intercept and deter Russian aggression. And he’s also letting folks know that he’s got nuclear weapons and is prepared to use them if necessary in Russian interest. And so our deterrent is critical. It’s important that our candidates understand the nuclear triad, and that’s something that I think should be a subject at the debate that you co-moderate next month.
HH: Now when they rattle their sabers this way, Chris Christie had a very aggressive response in the undercard debate this week when he said we can use our cyber capabilities to send a message to Beijing. I’ve been reading Ted Koppel’s new book, Lights Out. I was talking about it with Jeb Bush earlier today. What do you make of that, that kind of hawkish, Christie lean forward and making voluble threats that may or may not impress a watching television audience?
RO’B: Well, I think Governor Christie and Senator Rubio, Senator Cruz, to a lesser extent, the other candidates, are going back to the Reagan peace through strength philosophy of national defense, national security policy. That was certainly Governor Walker’s policy before he got out of the race. And what that means is you have to have a next generation of nuclear subs capable of launching a counterstrike, the replacement for the Ohio Class. It means you have to have the long range strike bomber. It means we have to modernize our Minutemen II missiles so that our adversaries know that if they attempted to launch a nuclear attack on the United States, it would result in their, you know, absolutely assured destruction. Number two, it means that we have to get ahead of the game on cyber. I mean, right now, we’re losing the cyberwar. I mean, the Chinese are hacking us at will. Their entire advanced military platform has been hacked, has been stolen from Lockheed and Northrop and Boeing. When you look at their newest ships and their newest aircraft, they’re all clones of American designs with Russian engines. So we’ve got to be tough on cyber, and we’ve got to be ahead of the game on cyber so that again, if anyone launches a cyberattack on us, they have to know that the response will be devastating.
HH: I’ll be back with Robert C. O’Brien.
You smile, smugly. Having read the announcement Hewitt will moderate the debate; read his biography; and diligently explored his work, including his interview with Robert O’Brien, you now know he will ask a question on the “nuclear triad.” And you are prepared to ‘hit it out of the park.’ (When you calm down, you might recall that Donald Trump claimed his “go-to” person for military advice is John Bolton and realize it makes no sense that Bolton doesn’t know as much about the nuclear triad as O’Brien, his long-time deputy at the UN. You might wonder whether Trump actually takes the advice of his learned advisers. Perhaps you conclude, he simply lied.)
But on December 15, Hewitt lobs the “nuclear triad” question at Trump, who, blindsided and unprepared, blathers on, again, like an idiot. Because unlike you, he is a lousy negotiator.
Witnessing Trump implode at the December 15 debate under Hewitt’s questioning; I was struck by the obvious fact, he – Trump – hadn’t anticipated that Hewitt would ask him again about the “nuclear triad.” I couldn’t believe having been stumped on the military phrase – on the air! – nearly four months earlier, he hadn’t been sufficiently embarrassed either by the public exposure of his cluelessness or by his ignorance; to look up the term since that time! By not getting up to speed, Trump had blatantly revealed, he is both stupid and lazy; I hoped his supporters could see. For the first time, I would take a look at the best selling The Art of the Deal; and contrast Trump’s tips for success in a high-stakes confrontation; against his abysmal performance on the stage. In this way, I could reinforce even to his truest believers that just because he wrote a book on the subject doesn’t mean, he is any good at political negotiations; and further, given that the primary ‘skill’ he claims for the job of President is his superior negotiating ability then, this means he is incompetent to do the job.
Only, notwithstanding Trump’s name appears in HUUUGE letters above the title of the book, I discovered that just like Bill Ayers wrote Barack Obama’s inspirational Dreams from my Father; someone else wrote Donald Trump’s ‘negotiating bible,’ too.
My mind is a terrible thing to waste.
I ‘get’ Donald Trump; and in the same way I learned how to interpret Obama-speak, I also developed an ear for his lies. It just took some listening.
Obviously, Trump knows how to tap into Americans’ fear of imminent annihilation at the hands of her enemies, real or imagined; but he is woefully ignorant about foreign affairs and national security. Here’s how you can tell.
Trump lied about having said in advance of our invasion of Iraq in 2003, that the war would be a mistake and de-stabilize the Middle East. In fact, he said that in 2004, along with everyone else, pre-Surge. Interviewer Howard Kurtz caught him in the lie, in this in-person exchange on October 11: ‘You said that in 2004; by then, everyone knew the occupation was a mess. But I can find no evidence that you spoke earlier than that. Did you say that in 2003, before the invasion?’ Trump’s reply: “Yes!”
At the end of that part of the interview with Kurtz, Trump repeated the ‘lie’ indirectly, now fudging the truth. ‘You saw my statement, I was against the war,’ as if Kurtz had actually corroborated his earlier lie instead of calling him on it.
Last night, December 15, during the Republican debate on CNN, Trump repeated the lie Kurtz caught him in more than two months earlier. Only, having failed to pull the wool over Kurtz’s eyes, this time he fudged the lie by changing the date of his anti-war statement so as to ‘cover’ the date of the invasion. ‘I came out against the war in Iraq in 2003/2004, I said it would de-stabilize the Middle East, and I was right.’ After the debate, he was interviewed by Chris Matthews. Now, without being asked a direct question, on point, he re-fudged the lie to counter Kurtz’s previous concerns; by surrounding the newly fudged date – 2003/2004 – with words that now would likely be misinterpreted by the lay listener, as indicating a pre-invasion prediction. ‘I predicted going to war with Iraq would de-stabilize the Middle East, back in 2003/2004!’
You Say Quds Forces, I Say Kurds
Then, there was the radio interview with Hugh Hewitt on September 3. But first, a little context.
Immediately after the U.S. completed negotiations with Iran for that horrendous nuclear agreement in July; Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite military Quds Force, went to Russia to meet officials there in violation of a U.N. travel ban. It was in all the papers.
The U.S. will also raise its concerns at the United Nations and pursue the matter through the Security Council. U.S. officials said they believe Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite military Qods Force, went to Russia in late July to meet officials there in violation of U.N. travel ban.
“We’ve raised this travel (concern) with senior Russian foreign ministry officials and we’re going to raise it and address it further in New York,” Mr. Toner said Wednesday.
The complaint, and Gen. Soleimani’s trip, come at a sensitive time for the Obama administration. It is working to sell skeptical lawmakers on a nuclear agreement it reached with Iran and several other countries that it has said will prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from numerous sanctions. Many critics of the White House’s agreement have said Iranian officials cannot be trusted, and Gen. Soleimani’s trip to Russia despite his travel ban could further inflame critics.
Weeks later, Hugh Hewett conducted a radio interview with Donald Trump, Republican candidate for President.
Here is the video of the pertinent segment of the interview, followed by the transcript of the exchange.
HH: Are you familiar with General Soleimani?
DT: (after a long pause) Yeeees… I… but go ahead, give me a little… tell me…
HH: He runs the Quds forces.
DT: Yes, okay, right.
HH: Do you expect…
DT: And I think the Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by us…
HH: No, not the Kurds, the Quds forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Quds Forces the bad guys.
HH: Do you expect his behavior to change as a result…
DT: Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said Kurds, because I think the Kurds have been poorly treated by us, Hugh. Go ahead.
HH: Agreed. So Soleimani runs the Quds Forces. Do you expect his behavior is going to change as a result of this deal with Iran?
DT: I think that Iran right now is in the driver’s seat to do whatever they want to do. I think what’s happening with Iran is, I think it’s one of the, and I covered it very well. I assume you saw the news conference. I think Iran is, it’s one of the great deals ever made for them. I think it’s one of the most incompetent contracts I’ve even seen. I’m not just talking about defense. I’m not talking about a contract with another country. I’ve never seen more of a one-sided deal, I think, in my life, absolutely.
HH: Well, Soleimani is to terrorism sort of what Trump is to real estate.
HH: Many people would say he’s the most dangerous man in the world, and he runs the Quds Forces, which is their Navy SEALs.
DT: Is he the gentleman that was going back and forth with Russia and meeting with Putin? I read something, and that seems to be also where he’s at.
HH: That’s the guy.
DT: He’s going back and forth meeting with other countries, etc., etc.
HH: That’s the guy.
DT: Not good.
HH: And so do you think…
DT: Not good for us. And what it shows is a total lack of respect, I mean, that the other countries would even be entertaining him, and they’re entertaining him big league, big league.
(Note: this last line of that segment of the interview only makes sense to me if Trump, having no idea what Hewitt was talking about; looked up the name “Soleimani” while on the phone, and came up with a headline about the general’s visit to Russia. Now, everyone else already familiar with that situation opined, Soleimani was visiting Russia to arrange weapons sales. But with no time to bone up on the transaction; Trump appears to have inferred from the headline that the ‘bad’ man from Iran is being welcomed by world leaders, which visits he – Trump – finds disrespectful to the U.S., ignorant of both the implications of the general’s visit to Russia viz-a-viz the newly negotiated (arms) agreement with Iran; and the travel ban violated by that visit.)
Beginning the day after Hewitt exposed Trump’s ignorance of foreign policy, Trump sought to re-cast what had occurred, expanding his criticism now to encompass the incompetence of his host. “I thought he said Kurds, this third-rate radio announcer that I did the show – it was like got you, got you – every question was do I know this one and that one? It was like he worked hard on that. But I thought he said Kurds.”
A full two weeks later, at the September 15 Republican debate on CNN, Trump blamed his confusing for “Kurds” Hewitt’s use of the words “Soleimani” and “Quds Forces”; on the fact, “Hugh was giving me name after name, Arab name, Arab name, and few people anywhere, anywhere that would have known those names.”
Only, as the audio of that earlier Hewitt interview, posted above, clearly evidences, no such “Arab names” were cast, until several minutes after Hewitt asked Trump about “General Soleimani,” who “runs the Quds Forces,” and Trump screwed that up with “Kurds.”
In other words; once Trump is caught in a lie about an issue central to the campaign, here, national security and foreign policy; listen for his follow-up references to that lie, woven into subsequent conversations, each time re-cast in a not-so-veiled attempt to make his telling the original lie seem to portray him as being less dishonest.
And why does he care so much about these particular lies? Because even Trump is smart enough to be scared to death the truth will be revealed: he is woefully ignorant about foreign affairs and national security.
My mind is a terrible thing to waste.
I am Jewish. After much searching, I found the perfect Star of David necklace on-line. It was sold by a military supplier, and is made of stainless steel. I purchased two, one for me, one for my son. He tucks his in; I wear mine outside of my clothing. This bothers him, especially when I am riding the train to school, and even more so once I’m there. He worries that one of my Muslim students will hurt me. I told him, sometimes, I am concerned about advertising my Jewishness, too. But I explained, if I am not brave enough to wear my Jewish Star in public, here, now; would I have lifted a finger in Nazi Germany, to try to forestall the Holocaust?
My landlady, also Jewish, drove me to the store today. She brought up the subject of her grandson Joey, who is spending a college semester abroad studying in Israel. Given the current turmoil there, she lamented she constantly fears for his safety. I did not bite my tongue.
‘You voted for Barack Obama, twice. Elections have consequences.’
I recounted that during the 2008 primaries, I investigated the candidates. Inasmuch as my most important consideration for the Commander in Chief is foreign policy; I began by focusing on their foreign policy advisers. That’s when I found this pronouncement by Samantha Power, now U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., who advised the Obama campaign (emphasis provided by jbjd):
I actually think in the Palestine-Israeli situation there’s an abundance of information and what we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism. What we need is a willingness to actually put something on the line in helping the situation. And putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import. It may more crucially mean sacrificing, or investing I think more than sacrificing, really billions of dollars not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine; investing billions of dollars it would probably take also to support I think what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old, you know, Srebrenica kind or the Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence.
Because it seems to me at this stage–and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses which we’re seeing there–but you have to go in as if you’re serious. You have to put something on the line. And unfortunately imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful, it’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But sadly, we don’t just have a democracy here either, we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide our policy–or they’re meant to anyway. And there, it’s essential that the same set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to people who are fundamentally, politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called “Sharafat.”
I mean, I do think in that sense that both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible, and unfortunately it does require external intervention which–very much like the Rwanda scenario, that thought experiment, if we had intervened early–any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism, but we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are becoming ever more pronounced.
And that was a couple of months before the Rev. Wright fiasco. I pointed out, if I put my arm around Adolph Hitler and call him my spiritual adviser for 20 years, it’s safe for you to conclude, I am not too crazy about the Jews.
P.S. In general, I am not a fan of Henry Kissinger. For me, the Nobel Peace Prize lost most of its luster when it was awarded to him. But he wrote a brilliant article about the current Middle East mess: A Path out of the Middle East Collapse. One of the ‘talking points’ in the piece is his rejection of the favorable comparison between the nuclear deal with Iran, and President Nixon’s opening diplomatic relations with China. (Kissinger was then Nixon’s National Security Adviser, later his Secretary of State.) In short, for reasons stated, he declares these two are ‘applies and oranges.’ And, at least on this account, he would know.
My mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Donald Trump obviously knows a little about federal election law. After all, he finally managed to file papers with the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) to begin collecting money and run for President of the United States on June 22, 2015. DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, INC. But he was talking about running for President back in 2011. As a Republican. He even hinted back then, if he lost the Republican primary, he might run as a 3rd party candidate. Is Donald Trump Serious About a 2012 Run for President? Ultimately, he decided not to run in 2012. Or in 2000, or 1988.
Point is, if Mr. Trump is intellectually (and fiscally) competent to be our President, surely he understands the connection between filing papers with the FEC and conducting a campaign. It’s simple: in order to accept donations and turn them into campaign expenditures, including paid political advertisements; a candidate for President must first file papers with the FEC, which monitors the financial transactions. Sounds simple to me. Then, when President Obama filed his nomination papers on April 4, 2012, and began collecting and spending money for his renomination; why did Trump insist the timing of those campaign expenditures resulted from his – Trump’s – ongoing prodding, and were not just run-of-the-mill paid political advertisements? Why didn’t he take advantage of the opportunity he had, by virtue of his ‘bully pulpit,’ to educate the general public about some of the inner workings of the political process?
A few years ago, I wrote a column entitled TRUMP to LEMMINGS: DO NOT LOOK BEFORE you LEAP! (copied below, for your convenience) in which I detailed support for my opinion, Trump is just another snake-oil salesman, distinguished from Obama only by the color of his skin (and whatever is his latest party designation).
I haven’t changed my mind. Donald Trump is either too stupid to be President; or too sinister. Take your pick.
My mind is a terrible thing to waste.
TRUMP to LEMMINGS: DO NOT LOOK BEFORE you LEAP!
Today, in a calculated display of hubris rivaled only by a production spawned from President Obama’s re-election campaign, Donald Trump has unveiled his much touted October “bombshell“: a “deal” to entice Mr. Obama to produce both his college and passport applications and records. Trump promises that jumping through this hoop “by October 31,” and “to my satisfaction,” and “if it’s complete,” will yield a check for $5,000,000 to Obama’s designated ‘charity.’ (I put the word ‘charity’ in single quotes because in addition to listing a well known outfit like “American Cancer Society”; he lists not only the umbrella enterprise of “AIDS research”; but also the generalized category “inner city children in Chicago.”) He couches his request in terms of acting on behalf of the people, to end their “questions” and “anger.” Yes, he knows that the President will be doing a “great service for the country” by allowing them to “know something about their President.” In short, by releasing the documents Trump mentioned, the President suddenly will “become transparent.”
Of course, some of us know, no “thing” coming out of this dog-and-pony show will inform anyone where Barack Obama was born.
For starters, notice that Trump qualified his reference to Obama’s “long-form birth certificate” by adding (after an obvious pause) “or whatever it may be.” It’s the “whatever it may be” which should have been the tip-off, Trump is wearing his circus barker hat. Why do you suppose he is ‘hedging his bets’ as to the ‘document’s’ authenticity?
As I explained in SHE SAID / HE SAID: SCRIPTING the 04.27.11 LAUNCH of PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE back on April 1, 2012 (and other articles linked therein), what was released on April 27 was the political ad campaign conceived, executed, and launched by the President’s re-election campaign, the contents of which were fully protected by the 1st Amendment’s prohibition on restrictions on political speech. Featuring the image of the mock-up of a long-form birth certificate, the ads ran on internet sites such as WhiteHouse.gov/blog. (Emphasis added.)
Do you suppose that Mr. Trump, in April 2011 still a possible contender for the Presidency; doesn’t recognize a political ad campaign when he sees one?
Trump asserts he forced the President’s April 27 release of this advertising image: “I’m very honored to have gotten him to release his long-form birth certificate…” Presumably, he means, in a desperate attempt to quell doubts as to the President’s birth status which have swirled unabated for more than 3 years, since the primary in 2008; it was his – Trump’s – many references to concerns as to whether Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen, uttered as a (pseudo) Presidential candidate in the spring of 2011 which compelled the release of the document at this particular time. (Again, crediting the release of the certificate – “or whatever it may be” – to the President, as opposed to correctly attributing the release to the President’s re-election campaign, cannot have been an innocent oversight.) But, of course, Trump had no more to do with either the substance or the timing of the April 27 appearance of the long form image; than any of the other millions of Americans challenging the narrative of Obama’s birth and demanding some sort of documentation. In fact, its release was triggered by the formal announcement of the President’s re-election campaign 3 weeks earlier, on April 4, and the accompanying mandatory filing with the FEC which then allowed the solicitation of funds in his name by the newly formed re-election campaign, funds which the campaign immediately translated into expenditures on political advertising such as the long-form ad. In other words, it was the official (read, legal) kick-off of the President’s re-election campaign which provided the first opportunity to address what were ongoing eligibility issues that could jeopardize his re-election. (The formal kick-off of the President’s campaign was also accompanied by previously scheduled events associated with the re-election campaign, including a stint on Oprah and a major NY fundraiser, also on the 27th. Id.)
SHE SAID / HE SAID contains not only a lucid (albeit lengthy) explanation of the long-form image as a campaign expenditure; but also references several other articles on the “jbjd” blog, dispelling the long-form myth, including HOW to WRITE SMART CANDIDATE ELIGIBILITY LAWS in your STATE (and make applying to get on the ballot harder than applying to get into Harvard), which points to the lethal problems associated with allowing candidate ‘self-authentication.’ Indeed, did you notice that Trump’s deal for Obama’s records never specifies who must transmit these records, or to whom these records must be submitted? And while he says, the documents must be “complete” and to his “satisfaction”; he never specifies, who will determine whether these criteria are met. Because he knows better.
For example, during the recent Presidential debates; Obama verified the authenticity of some of his ‘facts’ by citing their source was “reporters.” What if these same “reporters” verify any forthcoming records? (See Pooh-poohing Pulitzer) And recall that Annenberg Political Fact Check staffers with no expertise in document authentication confirmed, the mock-up of the President’s Certification of Live Birth, and accompanying ad copy, were real. (See RUMORS, LIES, AND UNSUBSTANTIATED ‘FACTS’) Assuming she is being sincere in this heated exchange with John Sununu from the Romney campaign; Reporter Soledad O’Brien is only one of millions of Americans who still wrongly believe, what APFC says must be true.
UPDATE 09.17.15: The original video is no longer available. In its stead, here is a link to a page explaining what happened between Ms. Soledad and Mr. Sununu on CNN; and points to the recent metamorphosis to the ‘factcheck’ URL. http://www.tcunation.com/profiles/blogs/soledad-o-brien-political-hack-constantly-getting-caught-in-the
In sum, Donald Trump knows better than to contend that any ‘documents’ forthcoming through this publicity stunt will increase the knowledge of the American people about the circumstances of our President’s birth; or diminish our ire at what many of us feel is a con. On the contrary; by failing to take advantage of media opportunities like this, to educate the public that, legally, the April 11, 2011 long-form release by the Obama re-election campaign was only part of a political ad launch; and worse, by cynically encouraging the Obama campaign this opportunity to repeat that ploy; Trump only broadens the con, and exacerbates our ire.
Obviously, Mr. Trump thinks most Americans are as foolish as does President Obama.
My mind is a terrible thing to waste.