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My Rouge's Gallery of RHINOs

I’m tired of being ashamed that I am a Republican. A bunch of politicians calling themselves Republicans have appeared on the scene saying and doing things that undermine the rule of law, the constitution, and our democracy itself. I want no part of them and what they are doing to our country. In my mind they are republicans in name only — RHINOS —who I believe should be culled from the herd. By their words and actions they do not deserve to call themselves Republicans. Hence, I am forming my own rouge’s gallery of RHINOs, people who do not speak for me or my party. They are figuratively dead to me. These are my top six. Unfortunately, I expect the list to grow.
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Who is Brave and Who is Cynical?
I hope the American people think twice before they follow our supreme leader into the more authoritarian country he seems to prefer. The last time I checked President Trump did not serve in the US military. I heard there was something about his feet or maybe it was his small hands, I don't know. But as a veteran, I feel disrespected by his antics over some young men in the NFL kneeling during the national anthem. It suggests to me that he may not understand that the flag is just a piece of cloth, and that the national anthem is only a song. What is important about both of them is what they stand for--freedom and justice for all. You may agree or disagree with the players kneeling down, but the point they're trying to make is that we as a people, we as a country, are not living up in all respects to what our flag and our national anthem are trying to tell us. I know that the people who voted for President Trump love this country as much as I do. They love their flag. They love the national anthem. If only I felt the same way about President Trump.

His using these sacred symbols in a political gambit makes me think he either doesn't know what these symbols stand for, or doesn't care. His past behavior suggests that it is the latter. Anything that helps him with his base must be good. Me. Me. Me. The game he is playing this time, however, uses our patriotism in the most cynical of ways. Don’t be fooled. Remember folks, although I wouldn't do it, the Supreme Court has ruled that you can actually burn the American flag. I think that's stupid, but the court's ruling is proof positive we live in the land of the free, even when we think the actions taken are wrong or ugly. Please keep in mind that if we find ourselves living in a country where those brave young men can't kneel during the national anthem, we should take it as a warning sign. A warning that we are living in a country that is no longer free.

Unfortunately, I think the point the players are trying to make is valid and something all of us should be concerned about. While I'm not particularly happy about their choosing the flag and the national anthem to make that point, I am much angrier that the President of the United States would close his eyes, or maybe not even care about the message these young men are trying to send to all of us for a headline or two. Where are we heading when the President makes a fuss about a football game for political gain? his actions thus far make me begin to wonder if his slogan, “Making America Great Again,” might not involve a return to some sort of second Jim Crow era. An exaggeration, maybe? I certainly hope and pray I'm wrong.

“O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”


Just saying.

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Surprised but Pleased
Growing up in Arkansas my grandmother taught me to call a spade a spade -- she liked to play poker – but her intention was to remind me that you always tell the truth even when it hurts. This is a reference to her practice of requiring me to select my own switch from her yard when I did something bad. Well that’s the way I feel about President Trump this morning. I have been dumping on him for months, complaining about everything he did and said.
 
Last night the President surprised me. I don’t know if the strategy he has laid out for South Asia will work. Knocking down a hornets’ nest in Pakistan might certainly sting us more than the strategy anticipates. But it was a bold move, and may turn out to be one of the necessary steps in achieving some forward movement. I would certainly like to be a fly on the wall in Islamabad about now. I’ve got my fingers crossed.
 
Especially important to me was the part of the presentation when President Trump admitted his instincts had been wrong on Afghanistan. As best as I can tell it is the first time he has done something like that on anything. Some may label it a flip flop, but I disagree. His admission suggests to me that he has accepted that he can’t do it all himself. He needs help. I also see hints that he has begun to realize there is a limit on how much he can delegate to others. Anything requiring a change of direction -- in this case a strategy, can only be made by the President. That’s not micromanaging. It is what Presidents do. They set goals and objectives. Subordinates prepare a detailed plan requiring Presidential approval. Trying to tell the experts how to implement the details is where the micromanaging comes in.
 
It was also the first change in direction that signaled an orderly national security policy existed in this White House. I think we have General Kelly, the National Security Advisor, and the Secretary of Defense to thank. Kudos to all. Past history suggests for them this may rank as one of their greatest accomplishments. I’m especially pleased that the President listened to the people around him who know what they are doing. Now, if he would only give the State Department something to do, we would be getting closer to a return to a normal way of formulating national security policy. Good.
 
Just saying.
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I Can Talk Crazy Too! -- What a difference a month can make.

We now know why the President hasn’t held anything resembling a news conference since February. His performance today erased any lingering doubt that he has advanced beyond the color by the numbers stage in his understanding of international affairs. Ratcheting up tensions on the peninsula with his threats of a nuclear Armageddon makes matters worse not better. So, does Secretary Mattis’s threats of a preemptive nuclear attack. Frankly, both men scare me. The President because he doesn’t have a clue what he is doing, and the Secretary of Defense because he does. But heads up. As I remember it, the last time we initiated a preemptive war it didn’t go so well. I’ve reached the point where I actually have more faith that Kim Jong Un won’t do something stupid than I do my own President. Stop and think about what I just said for a minute. I’m depending on the “wild hair” of Asia to do the right thing, be the grown up in this situation, not my President. Even talking to Kim, however, won’t be easy now that we have a Secretary of
state that is clueless and seemingly supportive of the President’s penny wise and pound-foolish budget decisions. Unless the Congress intervenes, the two new rookies on the team will have rejected diplomacy in favor of the letting the generals handle such things. His generals are indeed excellent at fighting wars, but the jury is still out on their proficiency in finding peaceful solutions. I think what bothers me most is everything the President has done so far only feeds North Korea’s fears and paranoia. It’s like he is intent on adding another log on the fire just so he can watch the flames flair up. Plus, it makes him feel tough.


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I Can Talk Crazy Too! -- What a difference a month can make.

We now know why the President hasn’t held anything resembling a news conference since February. His performance today erased any lingering doubt that he has advanced beyond the color by the numbers stage in his understanding of international affairs. Ratcheting up tensions on the peninsula with his threats of a nuclear Armageddon makes matters worse not better. So, does Secretary Mattis’s threats of a preemptive nuclear attack. Frankly, both men scare me. The President because he doesn’t have a clue what he is doing, and the Secretary of Defense because he does. But heads up. As I remember it, the last time we initiated a preemptive war it didn’t go so well. I’ve reached the point where I actually have more faith that Kim Jong Un won’t do something stupid than I do my own President. Stop and think about what I just said for a minute. I’m depending on the “wild hair” of Asia to do the right thing, be the grown up in this situation, not my President. Even talking to Kim, however, won’t be easy now that we have a Secretary of
state that is clueless and seemingly supportive of the President’s penny wise and pound-foolish budget decisions. Unless the Congress intervenes, the two new rookies on the team will have rejected diplomacy in favor of the letting the generals handle such things. His generals are indeed excellent at fighting wars, but the jury is still out on their proficiency in finding peaceful solutions. I think what bothers me most is everything the President has done so far only feeds North Korea’s fears and paranoia. It’s like he is intent on adding another log on the fire just so he can watch the flames flair up. Plus, it makes him feel tough.


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Hopefully We Have Come to Our Senses
Talk out of the Administration today is they want to settle our dispute with North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ICBM diplomatically. Thank goodness. Hopefully we have come to our senses. The media hype and tough talk from the Administration playing off each other was getting out of hand. With two loose cannons in charge I had visions that the situation might escalate out of control. 
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A WISE MAN'S THOUGHTS ON CHINA
Not knowing how many dear readers have access to Chris Nelson’s outstanding daily “the Nelson Report” I have taken it upon myself to steal, I mean share an excellent article from today’s report: Xi Jinping's Marco Polo Strategy By Joseph S. Nye. If there is a “obi-wan kenobi” on thinking about China, for me it has to be Joe. I urge you to take advantage of what he has on his mind these days.
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