Where there’s Smoke, there’s Smoke
By John D. Turner
18 May 2017

Every day it is the same story, different day. Trump did this. Trump did that. Trump is a bum. Trump is a bigot. Trump should be impeached. Pick your news channel – it doesn’t matter, you hear the same thing on all of them.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, right?

At the beginning of the month, my youngest son and I went on our annual father-son campout, sponsored by our church. As is usual at such events, we got there early, set up camp, and built a fire to grill our steaks and baked potatoes over (a tradition we have). The next morning I got up and decided to restart the fire so as to burn up the last remaining pieces of wood. Besides, there is just something about camping and a fire. So I set about to resurrect the fire from the remaining coals buried under a thick layer of ash.

There were coals. When I put my hand over the fire pit I could feel the heat coming off of them. Usually, coaxing a fire from such is pretty easy. You stir the coals together, put some tinder on top and blow on the coals until you get a flame. Once that happens, you add twigs, and build up to where you can get something bigger to catch.

Try as I might, I simply could not get the fire to light. I got lots of smoke – but no fire. It took me over 20 minutes before I was able to coax a flame. Once I got to that point, of course, it was simple, but I wasn’t sure I was going to get to that point.

I see the same thing happening in our country now. There is a lot of smoke. The media blows on the coals every day, hoping something will catch fire. Every article is written with the intent of “painting a picture” in words that will sway the audience, subtly or not, towards the desired viewpoint.

If a “normal” president were to make a remark, such as “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” it would be a simple statement of fact. When Donald Trump says it, it is “boasting.”

With a “normal” president, uncorroborated anonymous leaks are not to be taken seriously. After all, anyone can say anything anonymously. That is why in America, one is supposed to be able to face one’s accusers. But when the uncorroborated anonymous sources are speaking of Donald Trump, then heck yes! Of course they should be taken as gospel! Because there is nothing that anyone could possibly say about Donald Trump that would be unbelievable to the average Joe on the street, right?

A good example of that was the story that broke prior to the election that said that Donald Trump hired prostitutes to come to his hotel room and pee all over him. Although the story was thoroughly debunked, I bet there are millions of Americans who still, in their heart of hearts, believe it to be true.

There are little to no positive stories concerning President Trump. He’s an idiot (like President George W. Bush, they don’t like the way he talks). He is incompetent (despite being a multi-billionaire). Oh yes, he’s too rich. He is benefitting unfairly by being President; people are using his hotels and resorts – which he gets money from. You never know, when all is said and done, once he leaves office, he might have more money than when he started – making money off his office. So how come no one ever asks how the Clintons are so much wealthier off the salary the taxpayers paid them? Or why the Obama’s are? Or why most Senators and Representatives end up wealthier after their stint in Washington DC than they were when they started? Some are real “rags to riches” stories.

And is it really reasonable for someone to pay 3 million dollars to have an ex-President, even one who is also a Nobel Peace Prize winner, speak at their event? Guess not if it’s Barack Obama. Move along folks, nothing to see. But come the day (however soon) when it’s ex-President Trump, should such a thing happen, and you bet the papers will be full of speculation of pay-off, money laundering, and under-the-table deals with the Russians.

The rules are different when you are Donald Trump because, well, you are Donald Trump and the left does not like you, and will never accept that you are president. They even have a word for their behavior; “the resistance.” Hillary Clinton uses that word in every speech she gives.

So this is what we have in America today. The Left is not the “loyal opposition” of days of yore, but is instead the “active resistance,” fighting with scorched earth tactics everything that Mr. Trump attempts to do. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, their rallying cry seems to be:

“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in the government, we shall fight in the media, we shall fight in the courts from the lowest to the highest in the land, we shall defend our gains whatever the cost may be, we shall fight in the court of public opinion which we shape, we shall fight in the streets and on college campuses, we shall fight in city halls, school halls, and town halls, we shall fight all who support this usurping president, and no response is too extreme or too outlandish, we will never agree, support, or compromise; we shall never surrender”
For the left, removing Donald Trump from behind the Resolute Desk is a moral imperative.

We are only a little over 100 days into this presidency and already it seems like it has been years. The bombardment never stops; it will never stop until Donald Trump is removed from office and everything he has done is ripped out, root, leaf, and branch, whatever it takes. Take Schumer, Pelosi, and all the other braying donkeys at their word; they will never agree or compromise. There will be government shutdown. There will be pain and suffering. There will be whatever it takes for this pestilence known as Trump to be expunged from the body of this nation and relegated to the trash heap of history where it belongs.

And it is working. Look at Trump’s numbers. He has not been able to gain momentum since he took office. For someone who is not supposed to be a conservative (and I don’t believe he is), he has done things that conservatives could only dream of doing before. And yet, not only are there still “never Trump Conservatives still out there in opposition to him, but even the likes of Anne Coulter, who was a bastion of Trump Support during the campaign and after the election, is now pulling back and saying “perhaps I was wrong.”

Why? Because when push comes to shove, Coulter is a one-issue wonder. That issue is illegal immigration and the wall. It doesn’t matter that illegal immigration has fallen by over 70%; the wall was not in the latest budget (Schumer threatened to shut down the government if it was) and that is all that matters to Coulter. Like many conservatives, that one issue they latch onto is their primary focus, and if they don’t get that, then they pick up their marbles and go home.

So the left is in rebellion, the media is pursuing an active infowar campaign against the president, and the right is milling about in disorder as usual. As of now, Trump hasn’t a prayer of getting legislation through the congress to his desk to sign. And that too is Trump’s fault; after all, he is the “great negotiator” isn’t he? He made campaign promises, didn’t he? Why shouldn’t we hold Trump to a higher standard than any other president in history; he’s Trump after all.

Eventually the media will find something that sticks. Perhaps it will be the latest bogus “controversy” over what Trump told the Russians in the meeting they had recently over terrorism, coming from yet another “anonymous” leak. Who knows if the “leaks” are even valid and not just something made up at the Washington Post or New York Times – two papers that seem to make it their business to run Trump and anyone associated with him out of town on a rail?

Just in case you were unaware, the President of the United States can talk to pretty much whomever he or she wishes about any topic they desire. He does not have to get permission from anyone beforehand. In fact, before President Trump, whoever even heard it suggested that might be the case? You might like that, but it’s true.

The President has the authority to declassify anything; that has been established in law. So if the President is having a discussion with a foreign emissary, say from Russia, and he decides to share with them some information that is classified, it is his prerogative to do so. You may not like that either, but that’s the way it is. Not saying he did or didn’t; people at the meeting have gone on record saying that there was nothing discussed that wasn’t available in open source, and that no intelligence methods or sources were revealed, but hey? What do they know? What would you expect them to say, right? And if you are pre-disposed to dislike Trump, why not believe the “anonymous sources” (who, incidentally, broke the law by leaking the information in the first place), and are saying what you want to hear, instead?

Eventually everyone will get fed up with the constant drum beat and demand relief from all the angst. We are Americans after all, with an attention span about as great as the latest tweet. Eventually the Republicans, fearing to lose the House and Senate in 2018, will turn on him as well. That will be the opportunity to file the articles of impeachment and have him removed from office in the Senate.

Don’t believe it? It happened during the election! Many Republicans in office, fearing they would lose the House and Senate in the 2016 election, did not support Mr. Trump. Many still don’t.

Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich), now reported to be the first Republican to hint at possible support for impeachment, is a case in point. Rep. Amash, a four-term libertarian Republican, represents the 3rd District of Michigan; a state that went narrowly for Trump in the election (47.6% to 47.3%), the first time Michigan has gone Republican since 1988. Never a Trump supporter, and leader in the Freedom Caucus, Amash has been very vocal about his opposition to The Donald since even before he took office.

Many Republicans, particularly those in Party leadership, would be far more comfortable with Mike Pence in the driver seat than they are with Donald Trump. Enough of them to join Democrats in throwing him out? We shall see. It’s ironic that with Bill Clinton, we had a president who perjured himself under oath (which is a crime), but somehow, according to Democrats, that did not “rise to the level” of high crimes and misdemeanors – and so even though he became the first President to actually be impeached, he was not removed from office. With Donald Trump, we don’t actually have any actionable crime he has committed, but that doesn’t matter. We’ll fabricate something.

The difference between the two is that many Americans genuinely liked President Clinton. They really didn’t care that he committed perjury – after all, it was about sex. Many men saw themselves in his shoes and would likely have done the same. Many women wished that they had been in Monica’s shoes. And Kathleen Willey’s. And Paula Jones’. And – well, you get the picture.

Donald Trump doesn’t have the rock star following. He isn’t an object of adoration by women. He isn’t getting any sympathy from men. No one is willing to cut him any slack, and the media hates his guts. Not a recipe for survival should an impeachment attempt really gain steam. When it was Bill Clinton in the hot box, Democrats circled the wagons. With Donald Trump, Republicans will form a circular firing squad instead.

So with all the hoopla going on, the smoke is getting blinding. The media is focusing on the smoke – hoping for a blaze – and all along real news is not getting the coverage it deserves. Did you know that Donald Trump met with the President of Turkey here in the US the same week we were focusing on Comey and the Russians? Probably not. This was an important meeting, but it was hardly covered.

Did you know that Trump has met with the President of China, in an attempt to do something about North Korea? Maybe – that was covered to a certain extent, but mainly to complain that Trump didn’t talk about the trade imbalance with China despite campaign promises to “do something about China and their unfair trade practices.” Likely, had he done that instead, they would have complained that he didn’t talk about North Korea.

There are a lot of things that Trump has done that haven’t received the coverage they deserve because the media focus’s instead on Trump’s latest tweet, or the latest liberal judge to strike down one of Trump’s executive orders (which would have been perfectly ok if any other president, other than Trump, had issued them), or the latest leak from an anonymous source.

It isn’t enough to simply report the news and let the listener sort it out, even with the negative twist they usually impart; they feel it necessary to give us their opinion on it to boot. Such is the job of political commentators, not journalists and news anchors – at least that’s what I have been taught. Apparently, things are different in the 21st century; now it’s about “making a difference” and their idea of making a difference is removing Trump from office. Ends justifies the means, and if journalism takes a hit in the process, so be it. Can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

There is a lot of smoke in the air, but little fire. Still, you should note that enough smoke can cook a brisket or cure a ham – you don’t need a fire under it to do that. Will President Trump be smoked out of office? Guess we will have to wait and see. I don’t give him good odds. But then again, the odds of him winning the election at all were pretty slim. So who knows?