Tuesday, November 10, 2020

To the Shores of Tripoli

They have existed for 245 years; born of the Continental Congress before the country was founded and while the Colonies were subjects of the British Crown.  Although they fought in the Revolution, their most famous engagement was during this Country’s first declared war; a war against Islamic Extremists, known as the Pirates of the Barbary Coast.  Everyone who has heard their hymn knows oft “the shores of Tripoli;” but the battle referred to was not in Tripoli, it was in Derna- a fortified town down the coast.  

They fought on the beaches and in the jungles of Wake, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Guam and Iwo Jima- along with many other arils and rocks in the Pacific , only to return to a country with a President and Secretary of Defense  who believed them unnecessary, wanted them disbanded and cut their budgets severely. While underfunded and under equipped, they were sent ashore in Korea, and proved again to the Congress just how vital to this country they are.

They are known for being the first in, and the last out.   They stand post in very US Embassy around the world.  And every time an Embassy has been attacked, they are the last line of defense.  

They are, the few, the proud, the United States Marines.  

In 2001, while living in Japan, I was honored with an invitation to the Independence Day party and welcome for the new Ambassador at the United States Embassy Tokyo.  I never expected I would “feel” different when I stepped through the gate, and a young Marine welcomed me to the United States of America.    In every country I have traveled too, regardless of the political situation, I have always known that now matter what happened,  if I could make it to the Embassy, I would be in the presence of US Marines.  

In August 2009, I was accorded a tremendous honor.  I attended graduation ceremonies at Marine Corp Recruiting Depot, San Diego.  From that day forward, I have been able to proudly say, “I raised a United States Marine.”

Happy Marine Corp Birthday, to all Marines, past and present, wherever you may be.  

From the Navy Hymn (Eternal Father, Strong to Save):

Eternal Father, grant, we pray,
To all Marines, both night and day,
The courage, honor, strength and skill
Their land to serve, Thy law fulfill;
Be Thou the Shield forevermore
From ev'ry peril to the Corps.


Sunday, November 8, 2020

Obituary for The Trump Presidency

It appears now that we have a President Elect and when the Electoral College meets in December, the final vote will be “official.”  It is now probably safe to accept that former Vice President Biden will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021. (I say probably because any number of things could potentially happen, even though the probability is quite low).

So what happened and why?  I certainly have opinions, and they are just that- opinions.  But, I will attempt to explain the logic behind my opinions and present any facts that support my opinion as well.  

There is no way one can call the Trump Presidency an unparalleled success.   I would argue there were only a few successes.  The biggest success that can be attributed to the Trump Administration is in relation to Israel.   After eight years with a President who said Israel should give up Jerusalem (May 20, 2011 speech is one instance) by calling for a return to pre-1967 borders (borders prior to the Six Day War), US-Israeli relations took a hit.  Now, the US is building an Embassy in Jerusalem (western half) and in effect the US has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  At the same time, additional Arab States have recognized Israel.  That is, at least, a significant change in the Middle East.  The fact of the United States recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and having the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan normalize relations, must be considered a success - especially when one considers that the last time an Arab Nation officially recognized Israel was Egypt in 1979.  That success may have been pushed through and quarterbacked by Jared Kushner, but it was a Trump Presidency which made it possible.  

President Trump also appointed three Justices to the US Supreme Court.   With that said, only one vacancy was from retirement, and therefore was replaced by choice of the retiring Justice.  

President Trump also lowered taxes both on corporations, which does keep prices from rising - when corporate taxes increase, prices of goods increase- and individuals. 

But the border wall to stop illegal immigration, which was to be paid for by Mexico, certainly did not happen.   We also have tariffs and retaliatory tariffs on various products and materials- which only increase prices. 

I cannot blame the President for the fact that COVID-19 exists.   I also do not believe that any President can stop the disease - unless the President single handedly develops a vaccine. Disease has existed for as long as man has existed.   We will continue to have diseases and pandemics regardless of who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Diseases do not care what party one belongs to or how much money one has.   Diseases do not respect international borders.

I am of the opinion and belief that President Trump lost this election due to his own personality and attitudes.   Lest we forget, a significant number of registered Republicans did not support the 2016 Trump nomination.   The “Never Trump” movement was not insignificant. The number of Republicans who opposed President Trump increased as time went on.  

President Trump was ill suited to the Presidency, where working with people and not just ordering them to do what you want is essential.  There were several cabinet members who simply could not work with the White House.  

The fact remains that President Trump lost the White House; President-Elect Biden did not “win” it. (Yes, President-Elect Biden got the most votes, I am not questioning election results). One need only look at the outcome of the House and Senate elections (this far) to see that a large number of voters chose to vote for someone other than President Trump while voting for GOP candidates on the rest of the ticket.   With the exception of the White House, the 2020 elections were incredibly good for Republicans in down ticket races.   President-Elect Biden may have won the Presidency, but he had no coat-tails.  It can be stated that President-Elect Biden may have won the vote- but he has yet to win the country. 

Perhaps, the last four years will serve as a cautionary tale- only time will tell.  


Executive Action and the Biden Administration

From an unnamed source in the Biden Transition team - "I expect [executive action] to be freely used in a Biden administration at this point, if the Senate becomes a roadblock."

Now how about that.  Is the former candidate CLAIMING to be all about Democracy wanting to set up a dictatorship? That’s what “one man rule” is called.   If the Senate doesn’t do what the President wants - he will do it anyway by Executive Action.  That is what has been said.  

Except, I don’t seem to find those two words together in the Constitution.  


The Senate is a CHECK on the House, the Courts and on the Executive.    

It is the LEGISLATIVE BRANCH that is supposed to pass laws- NOT THE EXECUTIVE.   

The fact remains, the Rank and File GOP helped give this election to President-Elect Biden.   There was an enormous amount of “Trump Exhaustion”.  Biden won because Republicans voted against Trump - they did NOT necessarily vote FOR President-Elect Biden.   

We have a constitution that is set up on the concept that the branches of government are separate, equal and can block the actions of the other branches.   That is the entire point of what the Founders envisioned.   They WANTED obstruction.  Obstruction in Government is GOOD.   It ensures that only those laws that all parties find at least tolerable and constitutional are passed (or that is the theory). Obstruction must be tempered and used rationally; not on every single item that is proposed.    Compromise is what is required.   Unfortunately, we have a tendency to see obstruction for the sake of politics as opposed to obstruction based on policy... which is absolutely need.  

Before President-Elect Biden gets carried away, he needs to take a LONG, hard look at how he can achieve consensus, rather than cramming an agenda down the throats of America.