Killing Soleimani: The end of the world or the beginning of a bolder, better one?

Killing Soleimani
Fars News Agency [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)]

By killing Iranian General Soleimani, America just kicked Iran in the teeth.

Many say his fiery demise was long overdue and will save lives. Not sure about this metric, but one thing’s certain—there’s one less terrorist doing his dastardly worst in the world.

Best of all, Soleimani’s death may trigger the end of an evil Iranian regime and the beginning of real freedom for Iranians.

Worth the risk? It is to them. Risk and reward aside, we’re living in dangerous days.

Is America’s playing with fire and inviting more bloodshed? Absolutely. A leading presidential candidate says we just “threw a stick of dynamite into a tinder box” and he may be right this time.

To be fair, the president has an age-old Iran problem on his hands. It’s a situation he claims was exacerbated by the policies of his predecessor in the form of clandestine cash payoffs, hostage ransoms and flat-out appeasement.

All true. But I would argue that the supreme monument to Barack Obama’s misunderstanding of the Iranian regime (and other truly Islamic nations) is his signing of a worthless and enabling nuclear agreement.

It’s a testament to self-deception or narcissism or naiveté or a blend of all three. No matter. What’s done is done.

Soleimani is dead.

And now leaders of the regime see blood red. Depending on whom you read or watch, Iranians are either enraged and ready for revenge or are secretly overjoyed and itching to rebel.

I’m no foreign policy expert, but based on actionable evidence and word of mouth, I must conclude that Iranians who chant “Death to America! Death to Israel!” likely mean us harm.

Here’s my advice to the administration:

Keep punching them in the mouth. Meet force with overwhelming force. Violent people respect violence; give them more to respect. Draw a real red line in the sand and send this message. Hit us and we’ll hit you back—harder.

This approach will hearten Israel, our only real ally in the region. They daily face Iranian haters with missiles and nuclear dreams. All they hear from their Arab enemies is that the Jews and their Zionist friends deserve death. Israel’s annihilation is the will of Allah, you infidel.

Tough choice, only choice

How does America deal with a regime that refuses to recognize, let alone value, Israel’s right to exist and our right to help them do so?

Refuse to give an inch. Deploy the diplomacy of power. Respond disproportionately. Proportionate responses are for proportionate adversaries. We’re the superpower and they’re not. And their regime may be weaker than we know.

Iran’s leaders are clinging to power by subjugating their people and engaging in tired propaganda and incessant chest beating. The sanctions are squeezing them. The killing of Soleimani has unnerved them.

This strategy seems extreme because it is. It could mean war. But let’s be honest with ourselves for once about Islam and Iran—it’s not a religion of peace, and they’ve been at war with the West for centuries.

Gasp. Truth.

And to those ripping Trump and going all Chicken Little over the killing of Soleimani and its repercussions, what is your strategy? How would you deal with a regime that seeks regional dominance and the destruction of Israel?

End of Part One. Part Two coming soon.

Christianity Today is dead wrong about Christians and Trump

As a Christian, I profoundly disagree with Christianity Today’s call for me to support President Trump’s removal from office for this reason—it’s based on flawed premises.

Flawed premise #1: Unambiguous facts

“But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents.” ~ Christianity Today

No, the facts are not unambiguous—many Christians do not agree that the president attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of his political opponents.

This premise requires us to believe that Trump feared a political opponent so much that he tried to get a foreign leader to discredit him. As an aside, do even casual political observers believe Trump has ever feared Joe Biden?

Christianity Today’s central premise is simply not supported by the context of the infamous phone call.

A fair-minded reading of the transcript reveals Ukraine’s Zelensky gushing over Trump’s attempts to drain the American “swamp.” Clearly, he’s either enamored with Trump or wants him to think he is. The context shows that Zelensky appears to greatly respect Trump. He even credits his win on his promise to drain his Ukrainian swamp. Sound familiar?

I and many other Christians believe Trump made his request in the context of both administrations rooting out corruption in their respective swamps—and with residual anger over the FBI spying of his candidacy, charges of an illegitimate presidency, and the baseless Russia collusion investigation.

Clearly, the phone call is far from “perfect,” but the context of Trump’s request for Zelensky to investigate the Bidens’ Burisma entanglement is perfectly reasonable given the company’s shady nature and the firing of the prosecutor who was investigating it—at Joe Biden’s demand.

Flawed premise #2: Immorality demands removal

Donald Trump is not a moral man. And neither am I. I’m a sinner saved by grace. Our Constitution, written by immoral men, does not call for the removal of presidents based solely on immorality. It calls for removal based on illegality.

In this case and to this point, it has not been proven that this president committed an illegal act that rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.

If it were, the House Judiciary Committee would have presented genuine articles of impeachment and voted to impeach Trump in a bipartisan manner. They have not and did not. And now the majority leader is hesitating to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial. Why? Because they know they’re weak, partisan and will not prove the case for removal.

Flawed premise #3: Clinton’s impeachment = Trump’s

Christianity Today mistakenly compares Trumps’ phone call, and their acceptance of the partisan analysis of it, to the immorality—and illegality—of Bill Clinton’s commitment of perjury and obstruction of justice—high crimes that were accepted as self-evident by republicans and democrats.

Again, if there was a legitimate comparison to be made, the House Judiciary Committee would have produced comparable articles of impeachment. In Clinton’s case there was perjury and obstruction of justice—both charges are legally- and constitutionally-recognized high crimes and misdemeanors.

Trump was (almost) impeached for abusing power and obstructing Congress. If abuse of power is a legally- and constitutionally-recognized high crime and misdemeanor, every single president should be impeached.

Obstruction of Congress is not a valid charge because every president can and does turn to the courts regarding the release of documents and witnesses pertaining to executive privilege. Not only is this article of impeachment nonsensical, it would wither under the slightest scrutiny in a courtroom or Senate impeachment trial.

Flawed premise #4: Serve God or Trump

Christianity Today exhorts its Christian readers to “remember whom you serve” and erects a false dichotomy based on the flawed premise that we as Christians either sacrifice our Christian witness by continuing to support Trump or we protect it by supporting his removal from office.

Clearly, Christians are called to serve God, not presidents. This premise is irrelevant because it’s based on a non-argument. We support presidents; we don’t serve them. We serve God, and we do so by supporting our leaders—until we can’t.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. ~ Romans 13:1-7

Flawed premise #5: Supporting Trump harms Christian witness

Christianity Today encourages Christians who support their president to “Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior.”

Notice how the call for careful consideration is framed with bias and a rejection of any other view other than this: Trump is a moral midget whose continuing sins as president can no longer be tolerated.

Never mind that his presidency has produced greater pro-life and freedom of religion protections. CT refers to these as “political expediencies” and uses the abortion issue in light of our calling as Christians to be witnesses for Jesus Christ in a corrupt world:

“Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?”

Yes and no.

This rigged question is another straw man. Who thinks a president’s character doesn’t matter? How is the self-evident evil of abortion affected by whether a Christian supports the president or condemns him?

To be bent and broken is to be human.

Bent and broken? We’re all bent and broken. The question is not whether this president’s character is bent and broken; it’s whether or not it has propelled him to commit high crimes and misdemeanors. So far, the answer is a resounding no.

Based on the legal and constitutional weakness of the articles of impeachment, I cannot support an unconstitutional removal from office of President Trump. And I believe Christianity Today’s call for me to do so as a Christian is intellectually lazy and unbiblical.

Does preserving my Christian witness require me to accept one side’s understanding of a phone call over the other’s? I think respecting the presumption of innocence and the rule of law are necessary to sharing truth in a world of deception and division.

Donald Trump is our president and authority. Until his actions warrant legitimate impeachment and removal from office, as a Christian, I’ll submit to his God-given authority and resist wrong-headed calls to do otherwise.

If you can’t beat ’em, sue ’em. How to avoid personal and political responsibility in the age of Trump.

suing

I’m a courtroom junkie. I watched hours of the “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius trial and have been known to frequent the gallery of our county courthouse. I guess you could call me a legal barfly … get it? Legal … bar … fly … on the wall? Stretch.

So when I read that the Democratic National Committee is suing Russian hackers, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Trump campaign, and anyone else they hold responsible for their 2016 presidential election loss, I perked right up.

After all, it’s not everyday one of our political parties sues the Russians.

And what’s really interesting is that this impressive legal maneuver made news on the same day the DNC’s losing candidate’s election-night lament came to light. Hillary Clinton’s alleged words when told she’d lost:

“I knew it. I knew this would happen to me. They were never going to let me be president.”

The evil they

Who are they?  Wait, let me guess: men? White men? Members of The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy? The Russians? WikiLeaks? The basket of deplorables? The keepers of the glass ceiling? All of the above?

While her party blames the world for her loss, Clinton blames everyone but herself. Let’s look reality right in the face and get real, Hillary. You lost to one of the worst (and surprising) presidential candidates in our history because of you.

The truth is that you were a bad candidate. You’re unlikable because you appear arrogant, calculating, cold, entitled and dishonest—many of the attributes voters loathe in politicians.  Stop blaming others. They did not fail to generate a solid ground game in several key states.

They did not pay more attention to a thirty-something social media and algorithm guru (campaign manager Robby Mook) than to your husband and two-term president who always knew how to connect with voters.

I know—you’re not Bill. You don’t have his charisma. But you do have smarts, determination and grit. Show a little character and take responsibility for your loss. You tried so very hard, but maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

But don’t try again. America doesn’t like a loser—especially a whiny one.

DNC vs. The World

Speaking of whiny, by suing everyone else for their mistakes and misdeeds, the DNC is taking things to a whole new, hypocritical level. First they cheated Bernie Sanders and his supporters—many of whom were fresh, young voters—by conspiring against the coot and indulging the diva.

Then they failed to safeguard against one of the most basic cybersecurity scams: phishing to gain access to someone’s email account.

Instead of preventing John Podesta (Clinton’s campaign chairman) from falling for this trick, their IT department verified the message as “legitimate.” Legitimate? With a sender email address of ?

And now they’re suing Russian hackers. They should be suing their former IT head. Or themselves … for incompetence and favoritism.

Why go after WikiLeaks? All they did was publish your damning emails; they didn’t create them. Why shoot the messenger when Debbie Wasserman Shultz and associates and several Clinton campaign officials are the ones who wrote and sent the messages?

This is like the Mob suing the FBI for wiretapping them. Or Trump suing Access Hollywood for recording his bragging about groping women.

As I’ve written before, if the Russians and WikiLeaks interfered with our election by hacking DNC servers and exposing the dastardly denigration of Bernie Sanders, please, Russkies and Julian Assange, keep interfering.

If election interference exposes the truth—or as the press likes to say—what we “need to know,” by all means, Russian “Fancy Bear” hackers, hack away. Teach us silly Americans to secure our servers and email accounts. We relish challenges and relations were kinda boring post Cold War.

It’s always about politics

DNC chair Tom Perez defends the lawsuit as “not partisan, but patriotic.” Critics, many in his own party, think it’s “ill-timed” because of the ongoing Mueller investigation.

Bad timing or no, the DNC can’t afford lawsuits anyway. Despite their financial woes, Perez says his party “can’t afford not to” pursue the lawsuit.

“It’s hard to put a price tag on preserving democracy,” he said. I’d say it should be impossible—democracy is priceless and should never be for sale, which begs the question: Why did the DNC pay Fusion GPS to subvert it?

Here’s an idea for preserving democracy, Mr. Perez: Rather than spend your constituents’ money on silly grandstanding lawsuits,

Secure your servers and email passwords.

Give your primary candidates a fair shake, so cream candidates can rise to the top and secure your nomination honestly and effectively.

Don’t engage in kingmaking—no one deserves the presidency—no matter how long he or she has waited to be crowned.

And above all, when you screw up and your candidate loses, take responsibility for your mistakes, make changes, and go get ’em the next time.

This goes for you, too, Hillary. But if you ever gain a smidgen of self-awareness, there won’t be a next time. Nor should there.