Fake Outrage Over a 70 Year Old South Florida Country Club Golfer

They say Eisenhower spent more time on the course.

First, it was gang-up on Trump when he said that the Obama administration wiretapped his building. When I heard that, I thought, OK, maybe not a Title 18 wiretap, but given all of Trump’s international connections, they’ve got to be listening. Sure enough, it turns out that there were Foreign Intelligence targets in the building, a FISL court order had been obtained, and they were indeed listening in. Trump, not being a lawyer, used imprecise language. But he wasn’t off the mark.

I’m still trying to determine what General Flynn’s crime was. Failing to register as a government agent? Lying to someone? If he lied to a federal investigator, he’s in deep trouble. You can ask his former colleague General Petraeus or Martha Stewart. The fact that he had contact with “the Russians” as national security director doesn’t bother me at all — that’s his job. I would hope that he had contacts with them.

So let’s say Trump says to Comey, “lay off Flynn. If you persist I’ll pardon him anyway.” Doesn’t Trump have the right to say that? How is that obstruction of justice? You don’t have to wait for a conviction to pardon. Look at Ford’s pardon of Nixon, or Nixon’s pardon of POW’s for any violations of the UCMJ committed while in North Vietnamese custody.

Why all the fake outrage about Trump’s meeting with the Russian ambassador? I would hope that they would be in contact. Similarly, if Trump can work out an arrangement with Putin that leads to a diminution of tensions in the Ukraine or Syria, I’m all for it. What’s wrong with that? Most leaders of foreign governments have the U.S. Ambassador on speed dial. Was there any outrage about “Bandar Bush?” No. So what’s up with this Russian-phobia?

And where did the information about the content of Trump’s meeting with the Russian ambassador come from, the substance of the claim that Trump leaked classified information? From Israel. I’m not going to pile on Israel, but let’s say it had come from, say, Ecuador. There would have been outrage and demands for an investigation as to how Ecuador had learned about these private discussions. Instead, there’s nothing and the Wall Street Journal, the paper that broke the story, doesn’t even mention Israel’s involvement until other media sources do. How did Israel know? If Israel knew, why didn’t our intelligence services know? It’s a hall of mirrors.

It’s almost as if the anti-Trump forces are doing their best to restart the Cold War. The Russians hacked Hillary and gave Trump the election — where’s the evidence? The Russians are bad. Putin is a murderer. Look how he’s backing Assad. While we, with our ally Al Qaeda, fight Assad. Oh, wait. How did that happen?

I am not a Trump supporter. My complaints against Trump’s performance in the White House come from another direction altogether, and are, I believe, much more serious than blaming everything on the bad old Russians.

Trump is a 70-something South Florida country club golfer. This is a species of which I have some familiarity. That he is spending so much time on the course? Not surprising. This is what these characters do. That he seems to change course so quickly? Again, not surprising. Usually these characters believe that anything spoken during a game of golf is somehow more worthy than spoken elsewhere, and a personal relationship forged between the 1st tee and the 18th hole is worth almost more than any other. And the last thing you heard, especially if you heard it on the golf course, is probably true. Yesterday’s position matters not. Xi Jinping’s visit to Mar al Lago was a master stroke on his part.\note After the golfing weekend, Trump changed his policy on China completely. If you want to predict what will happen during the next four years, dust off those Ping irons and keep your ears to the South Florida country club ground. \note

Meanwhile, the Republicans are tearing down health care, making the exact same mistakes that were made when Obamacare was enacted by instituting untried programs with no idea as to whether they will work in fact and destroying the goal of universal coverage by permitting insurance companies to offer healthcare to only the healthy. Senator McConnell said that his colleagues were surprised when only 20 or so States formed insurance exchanges under Obamacare. They had assumed that all fifty states would jump for joy at the opportunity. And why weren’t President Ford’s “All Savers” certificates a success? Because neither politics nor law can overrule the invisible hand of supply and demand.

The belief that Trump is in trouble means only an over-reliance on the same media outlets that predicted Hillary Clinton’s triumph.

Noam Chomsky stated the other day that the real revelation of the election was that, had it not been for Democratic party corruption, Bernie Sanders would have been the nominee. Can you imagine Trump in a debate with Sanders? It would be President Sanders today.

\note: A one-stroke penalty for the unintentional pun. The Chinese government at best only tolerates the game, and the last important Chinese official to openly play spent many years under house arrest.

\note: Promotional consideration paid by Ping Golf Equipment, S.A. de C.V. Because that is what golf equipment companies do.