Don’t Play Identity Politics Games With Veterans

By James Jeffrey

After leaving the army in 2010, I headed to journalism school in Austin. There, I couldn’t get enough of cycling around in the Texas sunshine, my military uniform replaced by shorts, T-Shirt, flip-flops, and a new life of easygoing abandon. That said, if I came to a halt behind a bus or a truck, I couldn’t resist inhaling the exhaust fumes. The delicious smell reminded me of Delta-30 turning over its engines as it idled on the tank park.

Other times, I’d find myself waiting in the cycle lane at the traffic lights opposite an enormous truck driven by a grinning frat boy joshing with his friends as loud music spilled out. I wanted to shout over the din: hey, tough guy! You think that’s a set of wheels—I used to command a f**king 72-ton tank!

It’s strange what a relationship with a main battle tank leaves behind, even if it seems now like part of a different life. It continues to prove hard to let go of.

And it isn’t helped by how I can’t seem to escape running into other veterans. One was parked outside the same laundromat I was at the other day, in the van he shares with his girlfriend criss-crossing the country, living off his Veterans Affairs benefits for his injuries and his PTSD. Lately I’ve even found myself bumping into Iraqis: I spoke to four of them in one day the other week.

These encounters with refugees proved particularly timely. Shortly beforehand, I read a Twitter post by a commentator addressing America’s 18-year war in Afghanistan and how to evaluate its terrible legacy:

!!!! omg i have an idea !!!!!

I know it’s crazy…. But….What if we actually heard from the Afghan people?

In the same post, she quoted a paragraph from an article featured on the Defense One website, entitled, “Who Gets To Tell the Story of the Afghanistan War?”:

Is it angry veterans and war-weary journalists? Is it Pentagon public relations pros, putting the spin on the best story they can for Washington politics and the public? Is it the ground troops and their families who led their men and women through combat, took terrain, won hearts and minds, killed the enemy, and then came home to heroically save each other once again, yet this time from their demons? Is it the Hollywood movies that don’t get the story quite right? Is it the 4-star generals who still methodically and earnestly warn politicians and the public that this war, like all of the United States’ contemporary missions against worldwide violent extremism, will be messy, complicated, and take much longer than 18 years to win? Is it American voters?

Those are some salient points. But I can’t get behind the seemingly dismissive tone regarding “angry veterans” (I think many are just terribly sad) who “came home to heroically save each other once again, yet this time from their demons,” as well as the inference that these stories might be less valid.

For one, it doesn’t appear that the saving is getting the …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Is Viktor Orbán Using the Pandemic to Impose Dictatorial Rule?

By Will Collins

Of all the dire predictions made at the outset of the Trump presidency, the idea that the United States had just elected a would-be dictator was always the most implausible. Corruption, mismanagement, and sycophantism were predictable features of a Trump administration, but a man who cannot stop himself from tweeting is an unlikely tyrant.

Not so for Trump’s Eastern European doppelganger, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has been a political force since the fall of the Soviet Union. Predictions of an authoritarian takeover in Hungary have always been more plausible simply because the man at the top has the instinct—and the ability—to command.

Yesterday, Orbán’s critics’ worst fears were seemingly confirmed when the Hungarian Parliament passed sweeping new legislation to combat the coronavirus. The bill empowers Orbán to rule by decree for the duration of the crisis without any sunset provisions or time limits and suspends elections until the emergency has ended. The legislation also allows the government to jail people for spreading false or misleading information. Parliament can revoke these extraordinary measures at any time, but Orbán’s Fidesz party enjoys a commanding parliamentary majority.

Orbán’s opponents have long said he harbors dictatorial ambitions. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, many of these critics were overheated or unduly influenced by their distaste for Orbán’s politics. Nationalist and conservative sympathies are not evidence of incipient fascism. Before the pandemic, Hungary was still home to a vocal, albeit fractious, opposition. In recent mayoral elections, anti-Fidesz candidates took control of 10 major towns and cities, including Budapest. Large demonstrations rocked the capital last winter without provoking a government crackdown, and the climate of fear that characterizes authoritarian regimes was simply absent from everyday Hungarian life. In pubs, restaurants, and cafes, you would often hear jokes at Orbán ‘s expense, usually about his predilection for building lavish soccer stadiums with taxpayer money. This was not the behavior of a cowed, fearful populace.

There is also a case for strong preventive measures to avoid a major outbreak within Hungary’s borders. Northern Italy was overwhelmed by the coronavirus and Spain seems to be on a similar trajectory. Both countries are wealthier and have better healthcare infrastructure than their Eastern European counterparts. Hungary is an aging society. A major coronavirus outbreak could overwhelm hospitals and devastate rural communities.

The government’s initial reaction to the spread of coronavirus was robust. Two weeks ago, after less than 100 cases had been confirmed within Hungary’s borders, Orbán closed schools, limited public gatherings, and placed a curfew on non-essential businesses. Late last week, non-essential businesses were shut down completely. All of these measures were severe but justifiable responses to an unprecedented emergency.

The new legislation, however, is different. The absence of any time limit on Orbán’s sweeping new authority raises several thorny questions. It is genuinely unclear how long the present emergency will last. China’s recent decision to close movie theaters suggests that it is experiencing secondary outbreaks, a grim warning to European countries that controlling the initial spread …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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David Avella: Coronavirus stimulus money too important to let state, local politicians hijack it

By David Avella As we work our way out of the COVID-19 crisis, the double whammy of reduced revenues and increased costs for state and local programs will need to be confronted once more. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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The Real Presidential Campaign: Trump Versus the Coronavirus

By Patrick Buchanan

“This is the question that is going to dominate the election: How did you perform in the great crisis?”

So says GOP Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma in yesterday’s New York Times.

GOP National Committeeman Henry Barbour of Mississippi calls the crisis “a defining moment…. The more [Trump] reassures Americans, gives them the facts and delivers results, the harder it will be for Joe Biden.”

Indeed, it is not a stretch to say Trump’s presidency will stand or fall on the resolution of the coronavirus crisis and how Trump is perceived as having led us in that battle. Recent polls appear to confirm that.

Though daily baited by a hostile media for being late to recognize the severity of the crisis, in one Gallup poll a week ago, Trump was at 49 percent approval, the apogee of his presidency, with 60 percent of the nation awarding him high marks for his handling of the pandemic.

What was the public’s assessment of how Trump’s antagonists in the media have performed in America’s great medical crisis?

Of 10 institutions, with hospitals first, at 88 percent approval, the media came in dead last, the only institution whose disapproval, at 55 percent, exceeded the number of Americans with a favorable opinion of their performance.

The media are paying a price in lost reputation with the nation they claim to represent by re-assuming the role of “adversary press” in a social crisis where, whatever one’s view of Donald Trump, the country wants the president to succeed.

If Biden begins to mimic a hostile media, baiting Trump at every turn, pointing out conflicts in his views, Joe will invite the same fate the media seem to have brought upon themselves.

Since that Gallup poll, Trump has been seen daily by millions in the role of commander in chief. He speaks from the podium in the White House briefing room or the Rose Garden just outside the Oval Office. He is invariably flanked by respected leaders in medicine, science, business and economics. All appear as Trump allies, and Trump treats them as his field commanders in the war on the virus.

And Joe Biden? He pops up infrequently in interviews out of the basement of his Delaware home where, sheltering in place, he reads short scripted speeches from a teleprompter.

And Biden’s presence has been wholly eclipsed by daily televised appearances of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is at the epicenter of the crisis in New York. Cuomo is taking on the aspect of both rival and partner to Trump.

What Trump is doing calls to mind Richard Nixon’s “Rose Garden strategy” in 1972. Though goaded by the press, Nixon avoided attacking his opponent, George McGovern, and declined to engage him on issues. Instead, Nixon used the Rose Garden to highlight popular initiatives.

Candidate Nixon’s campaign strategy in 1972 was not to campaign.

But if Biden cannot gather crowds to hear him in a time of social distancing, how does he get his message out? How does he attack Trump without appearing to undermine the president in his role as a wartime …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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The Real Presidential Campaign: Trump Versus the Coronavirus

By Patrick Buchanan

“This is the question that is going to dominate the election: How did you perform in the great crisis?”

So says GOP Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma in yesterday’s New York Times.

GOP National Committeeman Henry Barbour of Mississippi calls the crisis “a defining moment…. The more [Trump] reassures Americans, gives them the facts and delivers results, the harder it will be for Joe Biden.”

Indeed, it is not a stretch to say Trump’s presidency will stand or fall on the resolution of the coronavirus crisis and how Trump is perceived as having led us in that battle. Recent polls appear to confirm that.

Though daily baited by a hostile media for being late to recognize the severity of the crisis, in one Gallup poll a week ago, Trump was at 49 percent approval, the apogee of his presidency, with 60 percent of the nation awarding him high marks for his handling of the pandemic.

What was the public’s assessment of how Trump’s antagonists in the media have performed in America’s great medical crisis?

Of 10 institutions, with hospitals first, at 88 percent approval, the media came in dead last, the only institution whose disapproval, at 55 percent, exceeded the number of Americans with a favorable opinion of their performance.

The media are paying a price in lost reputation with the nation they claim to represent by re-assuming the role of “adversary press” in a social crisis where, whatever one’s view of Donald Trump, the country wants the president to succeed.

If Biden begins to mimic a hostile media, baiting Trump at every turn, pointing out conflicts in his views, Joe will invite the same fate the media seem to have brought upon themselves.

Since that Gallup poll, Trump has been seen daily by millions in the role of commander in chief. He speaks from the podium in the White House briefing room or the Rose Garden just outside the Oval Office. He is invariably flanked by respected leaders in medicine, science, business and economics. All appear as Trump allies, and Trump treats them as his field commanders in the war on the virus.

And Joe Biden? He pops up infrequently in interviews out of the basement of his Delaware home where, sheltering in place, he reads short scripted speeches from a teleprompter.

And Biden’s presence has been wholly eclipsed by daily televised appearances of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is at the epicenter of the crisis in New York. Cuomo is taking on the aspect of both rival and partner to Trump.

What Trump is doing calls to mind Richard Nixon’s “Rose Garden strategy” in 1972. Though goaded by the press, Nixon avoided attacking his opponent, George McGovern, and declined to engage him on issues. Instead, Nixon used the Rose Garden to highlight popular initiatives.

Candidate Nixon’s campaign strategy in 1972 was not to campaign.

But if Biden cannot gather crowds to hear him in a time of social distancing, how does he get his message out? How does he attack Trump without appearing to undermine the president in his role as a wartime …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Drs. Frieden and Dooley: Coronavirus safety tips — 6 simple ways to stay healthy

By Tom Frieden, M.D. There are simple things you can do to help stop the virus’ spread and keep yourself and your community safer. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Deroy Murdock: Padding coronavirus stimulus package with pork angers this John Kennedy

By Deroy Murdock Listening to a John Kennedy decry federal spending must be like hearing Ronald Reagan demand tax hikes. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Cal Thomas: People need coronavirus stimulus money but I worry about our growing national debt, too

By Cal Thomas If uncontrolled and unlimited spending continues, we might have to change the nation’s abbreviation from “USA” to “ATM.” …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Cal Thomas: People need coronavirus stimulus money but I worry about our growing national debt, too

By Cal Thomas If uncontrolled and unlimited spending continues, we might have to change the nation’s abbreviation from “USA” to “ATM.” …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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