We’re Asking the Wrong Questions About Syria

By Thomas Knapp

As I write this, two key questions remain unanswered, and a third mostly unasked, about a deadly daybreak  attack on Khan Sheikhoun, a northwest Syrian city of (pre-war) 50,000. Hundreds were wounded and as many as 100 killed, apparently chemical weaponry (Turkey’s health ministry believes the agent in question was the nerve gas sarin), on the morning of April 4.

The two most obvious questions are who did this, and why?

The US government (and unfortunately most American media, acting as stenographers rather than journalists as is too often the case in matters of war and foreign policy) have settled on the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as the culprit. That claim seems very questionable, if for no other reason than that there’s no plausible “why” attached to it.

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Judicial Independence in the Government of the People

By Christopher Mark

The most critical form of judicial independence, that is the independence to decide the law in a fair and impartial way even in favor of unpopular parties (like accused criminals), is rarely defended in popular media. But, when judges become political activists themselves, the (misapplied) concept of judicial independence becomes a critical concept along expected partisan lines.

President Trump’s public criticisms of the Ninth Circuit’s order blocking enforcement of his temporary travel restrictions drew the expected and usual criticism of its own from the media and both ends of our political establishment. Continuing the narrative they have pushed from the time it became inevitable that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee, they cried that the President’s statements and tweets were a threat to the independence of the judiciary itself as enshrined in the United States Constitution. Editorials, op-eds, and articles from the usual suspects including the Washington Post, CNN, and even some conservative organizations sounded the alarm. This, of course, supported the political and media establishment’s primary narrative that the election of President Donald Trump would mean the end of American democracy itself.

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Yours Truly Quoted in Raw Story Article

Well, whaddaya know? I Googled to find an old article I wrote, and I stumbled across this. My “Real Men for Trump” article was quoted in this Raw Story article which was originally published at History News Network. I’m cited as a “right-wing blogger.” I certainly don’t mind being quoted, but I would think the author should have given me a heads up to let me know she had cited me. I generally do that whenever I cite someone.

This is What Liberals Missed About Trump’s Appeal

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Support for my Trump Agenda Thesis

This Mises.org article is making the same point I recently made in my article below “Trump’s Agenda is as American as Apple Pie.” I even specifically referenced the Whigs. I’m not a dogmatic free-trader to say the least, but otherwise I’m not in general a supporter of Whiggism. My point was that people who don’t recognize Trump’s basic policy framework are suffering from historical myopia.

Donald Trump’s Whig is Showing

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Trump’s Agenda is as American as Apple Pie

This recent article at The American Conservative is worth commenting on. It compares Donald Trump to Teddy Roosevelt, and suggests that Roosevelt is the President to whom Trump is best likened. Both Donald Trump and Teddy Roosevelt are complicated and nuanced figures, even by presidential standards, and that makes direct comparisons between the two difficult, but at a broad level at least, the comparison is apt. Donald Trump and Teddy Roosevelt have a similar core issue cluster, not necessarily because of any peculiarities of Roosevelt’s agenda, but because Roosevelt represents typical early 20th century Republicanism.

The author of the article, Stephen Beale, makes the following point:

“It is tempting to see Trump’s nationalism as a foreign import that is of a recent vintage, but the reality is that his ideology—good, bad, ugly, or some combination of all three—is more deeply rooted in the American experience than many would care to admit.”

Mr. Beale is correct. The above point is one I, as a conservative who boarded the Trump Train early, have been making all along. There is nothing foreign or particularly novel about Trump’s basic agenda cluster. Candidate Trump expressed positions that would have been broadly held by Republicans prior to World War II.

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Non-Intervention Plank 2: Withdraw From all Entangling Alliances

George Washington, in his Farewell Address, advised the nascent nation to avoid “permanent alliances.”*

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world

In his First Inaugural Address, Thomas Jefferson similarly warned against “entangling alliances.”

Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.

While we should be careful about basing arguments too heavily on isolated quotes from the Framers, these two quotes have, in my experiences in the trenches of the intra-conservative foreign policy debate, proven quite useful for the non-interventionist side and quite embarrassing for the interventionist side.

Since the intra-conservative debate often comes back to an argument about the nature of America, (Are we a universal “experiment” or “project” or are we a particular nation like others?) two on point quotes from two people as undeniably significant in the genesis of our nation as Washington and Jefferson must be grappled with by those supporting just such permanent and entangling alliances. Both sides want to claim the mantle of the Framers on the foreign policy issue, and since conservatives are ostensibly supposed to be about conserving things, the claim to be carrying on the legacy of the Framers is a powerful one.

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Steak and Ketchup: Trump is Keepin’ it Real

This article was originally published 2 Mar 17 at Lew Rockwell.

It must have been a slow news weekend for the liberal media, and President Trump didn’t give them enough to get hysterical about, so they decide in mass to feign outrage about how he eats his steaks. Apparently, Trump likes his steaks well-done and eats them with ketchup. Look, I’m not a fan of well-done steaks and the idea of putting ketchup on a fine steak horrifies me. If I had to guess, my hunch is that Trump’s penchant for well-done steaks is likely related to his well-documented fear of germs and his desire to not see any blood, rather than his palate. The ketchup thing I can’t speak to. Maybe it’s to flavor up a burnt steak.

That said, the level of vitriol and posturing associated with this revelation about Trump’s eating habits lacks all sense of proportion. It’s alright to feign outrage in an obviously humorous way about such matters. A social media friend, for example, exclaimed that real men don’t eat their steaks well-done, a sentiment I generally concur with, but a lot of the reaction has not been intended as humorous. Check out these bitter invective-filled rants from A.V. Club and Jezebel for example.

See more at Lew Rockwell

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