The Donald’s Pragmatic Approach to the Crimea Situation Makes Sense

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is suggesting the U.S. accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea if it would lead to better relations with Moscow and stronger cooperation in fighting Islamic State militants.

In an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Trump suggested that the people of Crimea would rather be part of Russia. That runs counter to the Obama administration, which imposed economic sanctions against Russia for annexing the territory in Ukraine two years ago.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea is a fait accompli that nothing can change now. Putin would rather go to war with the West than withdraw from Crimea.

And by all accounts, it’s true that “the people of Crimea would rather be part of Russia.”

It’s in no one’s best interests, least of all Ukraine’s, to pursue the matter further. It’s over and done with. Time to move on.

Donald Trump’s pragmatic approach in this instance could indeed “lead to better relations with Moscow and stronger cooperation in fighting Islamic State militants.”

And could persuade Vladimir Putin to keep his hands off of the rest of Ukraine.

It’s “The Art of the Deal.” Everyone walks away with something.

Mr. Khan Is Unwittingly Letting The Donald Off the Hook

Under the guise of a bereaved parent wronged by Trump’s earlier inappropriate remarks about his wife’s Muslim faith, the father of the Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq 12 years ago now seems to be trying to stir dissention within the Republican Party leadership.

He has handed an ultimatum to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to withdraw their support for Trump — or else he will continue to speak.

If Mr. Khan’s objective is ultimately to undermine Trump, he probably won’t succeed. Commenters to a Mail Online article, with references to Mr. Khan’s ultimatum, have been overwhelmingly critical of him, many even abusive. And the few who agreed with Mr. Khan drew overwhelmingly more red arrow than green. And bear in mind that the Mail Online has over 220 million regular readers a month.

It is one thing, under the circumstances, to — rightly — speak out against Trump for his insensitive remarks aimed at the mother of a slain American war hero, but something else entirely to attempt moral coercion of the Republican Party leadership (Trumps supporters will simply close ranks around him, even if Ryan and McConnell don’t).

Which is clearly what Mr. Khan was doing:

“It is a moral obligation — history will not forgive them,” he said. “This election will pass, but history will be written. The lack of moral courage [will] remain a burden on their souls.”

What makes Mr. Khan think himself to be the arbiter of what history will write — or what will constitute a burden on anyone’s soul?

His threats against the Republican Party leadership will quickly lose him the moral high ground he has gained in the eyes of many Republican voters, including many of those supporting Trump.

In fact, by blowing the issue totally out of proportion, Mr. Khan is unwittingly letting Donald Trump off the hook.

The Donald’s Motor-Mouth Lands Him in Trouble Again

Donald Trump’s offensive anti-Islam remarks, aimed at the mother of the Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq, were beyond the pale.

The serious doubts many Republican voters had about Donald Trump’s suitability to be the president of the United States of America, that have lately begun to abate, must now be back with a vengeance.

The man’s insensitivity — apart from the inappropriateness of his remarks — is astonishing.

Utterly astonishing!

Shades of his disparagement of Senator John McCain’s war record in Vietnam, when he said McCain wasn’t a hero because: “I like people who weren’t captured.”

Trump got away with it then.

But this time Trump may have gone too far. To insult the mother of an American soldier — over her Muslim faith — who gave his life for his country, may have put Trump beyond the pale in the eyes of many voters.

It may be too late to assuage the hurt he has inflicted, but even so, he needs to apologize to both the mother and father of the slain Captain Humayun Khan.

It’s the right thing to do.

The Donald’s Decision to Choose Mike Spence As His Running Mate Was a Stroke of Genius

Establishment Republicans on Capitol Hill must collectively have breathed a sigh of relief at Donald Trump’s announcement that Mike Pence was to be his running mate.

Pence is a fiscal and social conservative with strong ties to the Republican base and has a successful track record as governor of Indiana.

And he is a man lawmakers in both chambers feel they can trust to be a stabilizing influence on Trump.

There might also be another important reason why establishment Republicans on Capitol Hill are happy about the selection of Pence as Trump’s running mate.

It has to do with the fact that a President Trump would be vulnerable to impeachment were he to mess up, which many feel he is certain to do. Trump’s unpopularity with the establishment would ensure there would be no problem securing the necessary votes from both sides of the aisle.

The Donald’s tenure as President of the United States of America could turn out to be the shortest in U.S. presidential history.

And in that event, Vice President Mike Spence would become the president.

Trump, nobody’s fool, may well have considered the above in determining who to choose for a running mate

If that was indeed the case, Trump’s choice of Mike Spence was a stroke of genius.

The Media’s Blatant Double Standards Over Melania Trump’s Few Lines Apparently Cribbed From a Michelle Obama Speech

There must have been a lot of tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth going on today in the Trump camp over the media revelation “that multiple lines toward the end of the potential first lady’s speech bore a striking resemblance to a speech future first lady Michelle Obama gave in 2008.”

Regardless of whomever was responsible for the cribbed lines, the writing team, surely, should have carried out a comprehensive online check of every phrase in the transcript to ensure that none were part of a previous speech.

Nevertheless, the media frenzy around Melania Trump has also turned the spotlight on President Obama’s second-in-command, Vice President Joe Biden.

“Political insiders have long known about Joe Biden getting caught plagiarizing almost word-for-word a speech given by British Labour politician Neil Kinnock. In fact, that killed his 1988 presidential campaign.

“But a more serious plagiarism charge has been out there even longer — that he plagiarized in law school. That is something that can get you thrown out if proven.”

According to a New York Times article published September 17, 1987:

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democratic Presidential candidate, was accused of plagiarism while in his first year at Syracuse University Law School, academic officials familiar with Mr. Biden’s record said today.

Mr. Biden, who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is presiding over the hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Robert H. Bork, has called a news conference for 9 A.M. Thursday to discuss this charge and reports that he has lifted material from speeches by other politicians to use in his public addresses.

A Biden aide, who asked not to be identified, declined to comment on the plagiarism charge, saying Mr. Biden wanted to discuss it himself. ”It’s his life,” the aide said.

According to the people familiar with the record of the 44-year-old Senator from Delaware, he was called before the disciplinary body at the law school during his first year because of charges that he had committed plagiarism on a paper. Mr. Biden entered the school in 1965 and graduated in 1968.

CBS News tonight quoted an aide to Mr. Biden as saying he had been exonerated. However, an academic official said Mr. Biden had been found guilty, ”threw himself on the mercy of the board” and promised not to repeat the offense. This, according to the official, persuaded the board to drop the matter and allow Mr. Biden to remain in law school. Mr. Biden’s office declined to clarify the circumstances surrounding the case, saying the Senator had insisted on handling the matter himself at the news conference.

Joe Biden’s troubles apparently began after the New York Times reported that he had “appropriated, without attribution, the language of Neil Kinnock, the British Labor Party leader, to close a debate.”

Here’s what Biden and Kinnock said:

Kinnock said, according to The Sentinel: “Why I am the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? . . . Was it because our predecessors were thick? . . . Was it because they were weak, those people who could work eight hours underground and then come up and play football, weak? . . . It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand.”

Biden said, according to The Sentinel: “Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? . . . Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? . . . Is it because they didn’t work hard, my ancestors who worked in the coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania and would come up after 12 hours and play football for four hours? . . . It’s because they didn’t have a platform upon which to stand.”

Melania Trump is being accused of cribbing words from Michelle Obama in two paragraphs in her RNC speech. According to Slate Magazine, “Biden’s misdeeds encompassed numerous self-aggrandizing thefts, misstatements, and exaggerations that seemed to point to a serious character defect.”

History.com says that Biden “even borrowed facts from “Kinnock’s life, stating inaccurately, for example, that he was the first in his family to go to college and that his ancestors were coal miners.” The History site also says that Biden was then accused of taking “passages from Robert F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey, and he was caught on camera exaggerating his academic credentials.”

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the Malania/Michelle passages:

Melania Trump, speaking at the RNC:

“From a young age my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise; that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life.”

“That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

Michelle Obama, speaking in 2008, at the Democratic National Convention:

“And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.”

“And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children – and all children in this nation – to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

The similarities between Malania’s passages and those of Michelle’s is undeniable, but even so, nowhere near as word-perfect as those between Biden and Kinnock.

And President Barack Obama himself has been caught out lifting words from a 2006 talk by Governor Deval Patrick:

As in the Melania speech, it didn’t take long for someone to unearth a YouTube speech of a 2006 talk given by Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, says the site. Says Plagiarism Today, “In Patrick’s speech, he used many of the same quotes as well as very similar phrasing.” Obama said he shared ideas with Patrick, who defended him after the allegations were made, said Plagiarism Today.

There is, however, no proof that Obama had indeed shared ideas with Patrick, other than Patrick’s say-so after the YouTube copy was uncovered and picked up by the media.

And even if Barack Obama had shared ideas with Deval Patrich as he claimed, by not attributing the relevant quotes to Patrick, he was still committing plagiarism.

Rank dishonesty aside, the common denominator linking all of the above plagiarizers has to be sheer stupidity. How did any of them think they would get away with it in this day and age of millions of internet-surfers out there checking up on every word written or spoken in the public domain?

Jobs and Love — Not Force — the Way to Defeat ISIS. . . Say What?!

Get this:

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf explained Monday [2/16/15] that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has marauded through much of the Middle East, leaving thousands dead, won’t be defeated through military force but through responsible governance and better job opportunities.

Harf was ridiculed for that statement. But if you think that kind of mindset in dealing with ISIS is unique, get a load of this:

There’s much to be said for love, but watch out when it’s a moralizing rock star doing the talking — and the subject is not romance, but matters of life and death in a time of accelerating jihadi slaughter.

In the aftermath of the terrorist atrocity in Nice — which ISIS has claimed for its own — the headlines now include reports that Bono, lead singer of the U2 rock band, was dining on the terrace of La Petite Maison restaurant, about half a mile from the Nice seafront Promenade des Anglais, when Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a truck for more than a mile through the festive Bastille Day crowd, wounding more than 200 people and killing 84, including 10 children.

Armed counter-terrorism police “rescued” Bono, along with a number of other celebrities, including Elton John and a former mayor of Nice, who were also dining at the restaurant.

The next day, U2 put out a tweet, signed by all four members of the band, including Bono: “Love is bigger than anything in its way.

That’s Bono up in la-la land again.

Here’s the thing:

It’s comforting to talk about love, but to save yet more innocents from slaughter is going to need honesty, wisdom, backbone and serious strategy — which we currently lack — for winning this global war. The greatest burden of this fight falls on the men and women who carry weapons and operate on the front lines, wherever those may be, to protect the rest of us. They need more than messages of love. They need the backing, in this fight, of people, and leaders, who understand what it takes not simply to emote, but to win.