Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Trump did no wrong in Russian dealings, but must exercise more presidential discipline

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

First published in May 16, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

When it comes to how the liberal mainstream media covers President Donald Trump, facts seem to be eclipsed by unhinged and bitter bias.

Trump has the right to fire anyone in his cabinet for any reason. He also has the right to share intelligence with other nations, including Russia.

The media’s latest hissy fit erupted over a Washington Post report that claimed Trump shared “highly-classified intelligence” about ISIS with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The intelligence was gathered from a U.S. partner about the threat of the terrorist group using laptop computers to down airplanes, said the story.

Granted, the optics look pretty bad.

The Oval Office meeting with the Russians occurred the day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who was conducting an investigation into whether the Trump campaign and Russia colluded in (indirectly) rigging the election.

And the White House allowed only one photographer — a Russian — to attend the meeting.

That’s just not right. Moreover, while Trump may think he’s thumbing his nose at the press, these actions make him look undisciplined.

However, buried beneath the Washington Post’s salacious headline — “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador” — in paragraph six was this:

“As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.”

And more facts were buried in the story:

“Russia and the United States both regard the Islamic State as an enemy and share limited information about terrorist threats. But the two nations have competing agendas in Syria, where Moscow has deployed military assets and personnel to support President Bashar al-Assad.”

So, is it really horrifying that Trump, who campaigned on fighting the Islamic State, would try and work with Russia to topple the terrorist organization?

As far as jeopardizing America’s safety, national security advisor H.R. McMaster dismissed the Washington Post report.

“At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly,” said McMaster, who was at the meeting.

What the media appears to be infuriated over is that time and time again, Trump is playing them like a fiddle and defying the odds. From boycotting the White House correspondents’ dinner, to having the audacity to fire Comey, Trump is running a different kind of presidency.

Some aspects of his style are excellent for disrupting Washington’s colossal, entrenched, and institutionally-corrupt bureaucracy. But the real problem with Trump’s latest unconventional action was the flagrant, sloppy way he executed it — and no less on the day after firing Comey for the “Russia thing,” as Trump described it.

Trump needs to take a big gulp of presidential discipline, and start reading the Presidential Daily Brief, prepared by the National Security Council to help guide him through conversations with foreign leaders.

Being president can’t be boiled down to a page of bullets or tweets. Trump would be wise to start doing more homework, and to curb his penchant for veering off script with a foreign leader to chit-chat about his golf game.

James Comey should have been sacked months ago

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

First published May 10, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

Official Washington gasped when President Donald Trump exercised his legal right to fire FBI Director James Comey.

Frankly, it should have been done months ago and the sacking is hardly the “political explosion” trumpeted by CNN’s Dana Bash.

Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton — despite the liberal media’s relentless polling that predicted a Democrat victory — was truly a “political explosion.” Moreover, liberals calling Trump’s action “Nixonian” are equally laughable.

Republican President Richard Nixon was impeached for using the White House to spy on the Democratic Party.

The Nixon Library tweeted:

“FUN FACT: President Nixon never fired the Director of the FBI.”

Unfortunately, a disgraced, paranoid president sets no standard whatsoever for a president acting lawfully. Correct me if I’m wrong but Comey served at the pleasure of Trump. And that pleasure was clearly exhausted.

The sacking was quintessential Trump. After everyone assumed Comey was here to stay, Trump shocked swamp dwellers in Washington and the FBI director himself, delivering a terse late afternoon letter to Comey.

“While I greatly appreciated you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau,” Trump wrote.

To date, of the three ongoing investigations conducted by the FBI, the Senate and House, no conclusive evidence has been found to prove Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia to rig the election.

Comey’s thirst for political stardom — always eager to testify before Congress and preen in front of TV cameras — reportedly made Trump question his ability to conduct an independent investigation into the Russia controversy.

The president relied on a memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who concluded that Comey was no longer fit to serve as America’s top cop because of his bungling of Hillary’s e-mail investigation.

Legally, the FBI is not supposed to publicly confirm or deny ongoing investigations. Yet, Comey announced in a July 2016 press conference, that no charges would be filed against Hillary.

“It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do,” wrote Rosenstein.

Then, Comey boasted to Congress that he reopened the e-mail investigation days before the election. More recently, Comey announced to Congress and the world that the FBI was conducting an investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.

Regrettably, Trump dismissing Comey months into his presidency only will fuel Democrats’ obsession into the unfounded claims that Trump is trying to cover up a Russia conspiracy.

At the same time, Trump’s timing is brilliant.

Once again the mercurial president took charge of the Washington news cycle, shifting the narrative from Russia to Comey’s incompetence. Now all eyes, reporter ink and yack will be devoted to speculating and (trashing) who will lead “our crown jewel of law enforcement,” as Trump noted in his letter.

But Trump must swiftly nominate a new FBI director whose credentials, not to mention integrity, rivals that of a saint. The winning candidate must be a man or woman without ties to Trump’s campaign or presidency and capable of taking an unbiased look at the Russia investigation — wherever the evidence leads.

GOP House finally repeals Obamacare

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

First published May 4, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

After a decade of being in the political wilderness, House Republicans have realized that they’re in charge: President Donald J. Trump runs the White House, and they now control Congress. Recovering from an embarrassing fumble earlier this year to repeal Obamacare, Republicans finally got the job done on Thursday, voting, 217-213 to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which was never affordable – for patients or insurers.

“What protection is Obamacare if there is no option in your state?” House Speaker Paul Ryan asked in floor remarks before the vote was taken.

Ryan went on to inform the nation that Iowa has only one insurer in the state, and that this particular insurer plans to pull out of 94 of the 99 counties. Why? Because it’s totally unsustainable for this company, from a financial standpoint. Iowa is far from the only state where Obamacare is failing (miserably) to provide healthcare coverage to Americans. Alaska had two insurers and is now down to one single-payer system.

Trump reiterated the obvious in a tweet:

“Insurance companies are fleeing ObamaCare – it is dead. Our healthcare plan will lower premiums & deductibles – and be great healthcare!”


Remember, President Barack Obama famously swore to Americans that “If you like your (health insurance) plan, you can keep it.” Well, that was the first big lie of Obamacare. The second was that insurance would be affordable. I, like millions of others, was forced to dump the plan I liked because it became UNAFFORDABLE. The plan I have now isn’t giving me much care for my dollar. I pay a $367 monthly premium, with a $5,000 yearly deductible … and I’m healthy!

The American Care Act eliminates the individual mandate requiring Americans to have health insurance and and the tax penalty that went along with it. Those who don’t receive insurance through employers will receive tax credits from $2,000-$4,000, depending upon their age. A family could receive a credit for as much as $14,000. For individuals making over $75,000 a year and families making over $150,000, tax credits would naturally be lower.

States can also apply for waivers from Obamacare to allow insurers to charge higher premiums to patients with pre-exsiting conditions. This means healthy people won’t be punished with outsized premiums to pay for other people’s care.

“We want to brag about the plan,” a triumphant Trump declared in a White House Rose Garden press conference after the vote.

And brag he should. The vote happened on President Trump’s 105th day in office. And despite the mainstream media’s relentless attempts to trash his presidency, Trump is following through on his campaign promise. Victory doesn’t taste much sweeter than this.

“Many of us have been waiting seven years to cast this vote,” Ryan added before the House vote.

Let’s hope Republicans in the Senate feel the same way as Ryan, and do their part in righting the wrong that they whined about while President Barack Obama was in office.

“If Republicans can’t follow through now,” observed the Wall Street Journal, the public will conclude that they’re either dishonest or feckless, and then wonder if they deserve their jobs.”

And the choir sang, “Amen.”

Washington media has sold out to advocacy

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

First published May 2, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

President Donald J. Trump eschewed this year’s White House Correspondents dinner — the annual ritual notoriously oozing with journalistic hubris (an event the president of the United States has traditionally headlined) — to “meet with much better people.”

While an elite group of journalists, who mostly despise Trump, were in a fancy D.C. ballroom, heaping self-congratulatory praise upon one another, Trump was in Harrisburg, Pa. at a rally with 7,000 adoring fans of his own.

“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be one hundred miles away from Washington’s swamp,” Trump roared.

This is the first presidential administration in 36 years to shun the ‘Nerd Prom’ dinner event, which is customarily held for the president and the reporters who cover the president — or in this case, mock him.

And what better place for Trump to be than in Pennsylvania? After all, it was one of few blue wall states whose heavily Democrat, union-workers voted for him and helped win him the presidency. Hillary Clinton took the votes in rural Pennsylvania for granted, and the liberal media laughed at Trump for campaigning there. Look who’s having the last laugh (at the press) now!

Reveling in the glory of his Harrisburg visit, Trump ticked off his first 100 days’ accomplishments. Some wins: Confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, bombing Syria after President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his people, a tax reform plan, and demanding China join the U.S. to fight North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Is there more work to be done? Sure, like keeping campaign promises by repealing and replacing Obamacare, and “building a wall.” Yet, the liberal media refuses to give him credit for what he’s done, particularly showing leadership abroad — where president Barack Obama abdicated to dictators.

Back in D.C. — at the Washington Hilton — 190 km away from real Americans with real problems, members of the White House Correspondents Association and their guests were in full-on party-and-trash-Trump mode.

“We cannot ignore the rhetoric that has been employed by the president about who we are and what we do. We are not fake news,” insisted association president Jeff Mason.

Paradoxically, ironically, and hypocritically (had to get them all in!), many of the White House journalists who cover Trump have fueled Russia-Trump campaign conspiracy stories, despite there being any conclusive evidence. As well, they have demonstrated hostility, contempt and sarcasm in their coverage of the president. Trump has gotten zero credit and coverage by the mainstream, liberal media for donating his $400,000 a year presidential salary back to the government. His first quarter 2017 salary of about $80,000 was donated to the National Park Service.

“We are not failing news organizations. And we are not the enemy of the American People,” Mason added.

Yet, Trump supporters trust Trump more than they trust the news media, and it drives the liberal news media crazy. Starting with this past presidential election, the media lost its credibility and influence with many voters by being in the tank for Hillary Clinton. The skewed polls (and biased analysis of results) showed Clinton winning by a landslide over Trump. Now the same reporters are convinced (still, without evidence) that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to rig the election.

Looks a lot like the fake news Trump has described.

“We are here to celebrate the press, not the presidency,” boasted Mason at what he claimed was a “sold-out” dinner.

And herein lies the problem: The Washington media has sold out to ideology and advocacy; objective journalism is no longer being served up by these correspondents.

President Donald Trump’s health-care failure embarrassing

Friday, April 28th, 2017

First published March 27, 2017 in the Toronto Sun


That’s the only word which describes the Republicans’ inability to pass the bill to repeal Obamacare in a House they control.

After President Donald Trump demanded House Speaker Paul Ryan schedule a vote on the bill last week, the joke was on Trump.

Acting like he was still in campaign mode, Trump gambled that his defiance would force Republican members to vote for the bill. It didn’t.

Ryan drudged over to the White House Friday afternoon and informed the President he was pulling the legislation because he lacked the votes to pass the bill.

Rewind to 2010 when Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi successfully used public intimidation and behind-the-scenes cajoling to force her caucus to pass the nearly 3,000-page Obamacare bill so that “we can see what’s in it.”

But that’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans. At big moments of political importance, Democrats win while Republicans fight. For seven years, GOP members fought a useless battle to repeal Obamacare, knowing none of their bills could pass the Democrat-controlled Senate, much less gain two-thirds majority of both chambers to be veto proof.

Now GOP members are fighting against each other to repeal an entitlement program that even Democrats have said is unsustainable. The bill certainly wasn’t perfect but it was a start. As Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz noted: “We appear incapable of passing a bill that all the conference has run on for multiple election cycles. I don’t know if we could pass a Mother’s Day resolution right now.”

Following such an epic failure on a core issue of Trump’s campaign, one would think Ryan and the President’s response would be to work harder and try again.

Instead, Ryan declared: “We will proceed with tax reform,” which is even a more contentious topic for Democrats. Good luck with that.

But total blame can’t be levied at Ryan. Equal or more blame rests on the shoulders of Trump, the head of his party, whose response was to blame the GOP Congress.

“A lot of people don’t realize how good our bill was,” Trump insisted.

That’s probably because instead of selling it to Americans and Congress, he was too busy tweeting insults at Arnold Schwarzenegger and doubling down on wiretap conspiracies.

Why would Trump insist that Ryan schedule a vote for a bill that attracted only 17% of GOP House members’ support and couldn’t pass?

People voted for Trump to get the job done. Not walk away from the responsibility of the job! Obamacare must be repealed and Trump’s job is to roll up his sleeves and make a deal.

Even though Democrat President Barack Obama rode into office in 2009 with control of Congress, he spent one year making sure he had the votes to pass his bill.

It’s called work, negotiating, cutting deals ensuring his signature campaign issue and legacy got passed before Democrats lost control of Congress, which they did in 2010!

Republican President Trump thinks having a super-majority in Congress means sitting in the comfort of the oval office, dictating orders to GOP Congressional members. Perhaps that kind of bullying works when you’re a billionaire orchestrating “the art of the deal” but not in governing.

London mayor should follow Trump’s lead

Monday, March 27th, 2017

First published March 23, 2017 in Toronto Sun

Last year, London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan shrugged off terror attacks as “part and parcel of living in a big city.”

With an attitude like that, no wonder London sadly finds itself recovering from a heinous, terrorist attack.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the Muslim madman who plowed an SUV into a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, then crashed into the fence outside the British Parliament building. Four people were murdered and around dozens others suffered injuries.

Tragically, Mayor Khan’s words from 2016 proved prescient. Khan was visiting New York City after that London terror attack in September.

In an interview at the time, reported by the Independent, Khan explained that major cities like London “have got to be prepared for these sorts of things” to happen.

Well, actually no — not if they have a plan to thwart radical Islam.

Here are two simple, common-sense ideas: Call it the ugly name that it is — “Muslim terrorism” — and tighten immigration laws to keep out Muslim extremists who want to kill its citizens.

Khan’s complacency towards the inevitability of terror attacks against Britain is a consequence of the past decades of Britain’s soft immigration polices and an eagerness to put political correctness above the safety of its citizens. Germany, France and Belgium have seen the same heinous carnage because of Europe’s open-border policy.

After the recent attack in London, Donald Trump Jr. posted a tweet with a link to Independent story from last year:

“You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan”

Trump Jr. is right.

America doesn’t accept the probability or inevitability of terror attacks as a common occurrence in our big cities.

Americans work at the federal, state and local level to prevent them. And there’s a new president committed to stopping ISIS from blowing up, plowing into and killing Americans.

In fact, if Mayor Khan is really committed to “keeping Londoners safe” and “exchanging ideas and best practice” with other world officials as he said last year in New York, he would support a travel ban similar to the American president’s effort — for his nation.

Instead, in January, Khan, the first Muslim mayor of a major western city, railed against Trump’s ban, calling it cruel.

In a haughty interview with Sky News, Khan said: “I am quite clear, this ban is cruel, this ban is shameful, while this ban is in place we should not be rolling out the red carpet for President Trump.

“I don’t think he should be coming on a state visit while the ban is in place, I couldn’t be clearer.”

Khan’s refusal to face the reality that some of his brethren are committing “sick and depraved” acts in the name of Islam, as British Prime Minister Theresa May recently said, makes it appear that he’s rolling out the red carpet for terrorists.