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Monday, July 25, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Delusions of Chaos": Crime and Abortion

In in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Delusions of Chaos," Paul Krugman refutes Donald Trump's RNC claim that crime is running rampant throughout the US, although Krugman cannot provide the reason for this improvement. Paul writes:

"[A] funny thing happened: Crime plunged instead of continuing to rise. Other indicators also improved dramatically — for example, the teen birthrate has fallen 60 percent since 1991. Instead of societal collapse, we’ve seen what amounts to a mass outbreak of societal health. The truth is that we don’t know exactly why. Hypotheses range from the changing age distribution of the population to reduced lead poisoning; but in any case, the predicted apocalypse notably failed to arrive."

Well, allow me to help Paul regarding the decline in crime rates. As observed by John Donohue and Steven Levitt in the abstract of a National Bureau of Economic Research article entitled "Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime":

"We offer evidence that legalized abortion has contributed significantly to recent crime reductions. Crime began to fall roughly 18 years after abortion legalization. The 5 states that allowed abortion in 1970 experienced declines earlier than the rest of the nation, which legalized in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. States with high abortion rates in the 1970s and 1980s experienced greater crime reductions in the 1990s. In high abortion states, only arrests of those born after abortion legalization fall relative to low abortion states. Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime. "

Given this reduction in crime, Krugman would have us know of Trump supporters:

"America isn’t the country they remember from their youth, and in this case they’re right — it has gotten much better."

Much better, as evidenced by the nominations of Donald and Hillary? I don't think so.

And then there's America's national debt which has reached almost $20 trillion, or $162,000 per taxpayer. In fact, an economic apocalypse is well on its way.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Donald Trump’s Disturbia": Diss-topia or Piss-dopia?

Maureen Dowd, covering the Republican convention in Cleveland, writes in her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Donald Trump’s Disturbia":

"LIKE any masterly comic book villain, Donald Trump is reveling in conjuring a dystopia. And it’s a natural progression, given that he got this far by reveling in conjuring a diss-topia.

. . . .

[H]is dystopia is fueled by diss-information and diss-tortion, insulting rivals with disturbing exaggerated and cherry-picked facts and unsubstantiated assertions and conspiracies."

Indeed, Trump suffers from a severe narcissistic personality disorder, and I continue to believe that he should be examined by a board of leading psychiatrists to determine if he is fit to serve as commander-in-chief with responsibility for America's nuclear arsenal.

Doubts about Trump's mental health? Have a look at a New Yorker article entitled "Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All" by Jane Mayer. Mayer quotes Tony Schwartz, who ghostwrote Trump's "The Art of the Deal":

"'I put lipstick on a pig,' he said. 'I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.' He went on, 'I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.'

. . . .

If Trump is elected President, he warned, 'the millions of people who voted for him and believe that he represents their interests will learn what anyone who deals closely with him already knows—that he couldn’t care less about them.'"

But the problem extends far beyond Donald Trump. Twenty-first century America has descended into the abyss of piss-dopia, and both Donald and Hillary are mere symptoms of this life-threatening malaise.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Donald Trump, the Siberian Candidate": How Does Trump Differ From Obama?

In in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Donald Trump, the Siberian Candidate," Paul Krugman says of Donald Trump:

"[W]e’re talking about a ludicrous, outrageous candidate. And the Trump campaign’s recent behavior has quite a few foreign policy experts wondering just what kind of hold Mr. Putin has over the Republican nominee, and whether that influence will continue if he wins.

I’m not talking about merely admiring Mr. Putin’s performance — being impressed by the de facto dictator’s “strength,” and wanting to emulate his actions. I am, instead, talking about indications that Mr. Trump would, in office, actually follow a pro-Putin foreign policy, at the expense of America’s allies and her own self-interest."

A "ludicrous, outrageous candidate"? You've got that much right, Paul.

But what about Obama's foreign policy vis-à-vis Putin? As observed in a July 1, 2016 Washington Post editorial entitled "Obama retreats from Putin in Syria — again" (my emphasis in red):

"FOR SEVERAL years, the Obama administration’s Syria policy has been stuck in a cycle of failure. Secretary of State John F. Kerry negotiates deals with Russia to end the fighting or create a new government in Damascus, while warning that if they are not respected by Russian President Vladi­mir Putin or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the United States will consider other options, such as stepping up support for Syrian rebels. In every case, the Russian and Syrian regimes have betrayed their commitments, continuing to bomb civilian areas, employ chemical weapons and deny aid to besieged communities. And no wonder: Each time the U.S. response has been to return to the Russians, offering more concessions and pleading for another deal."

Moreover, as reported by The Wall Street Journal yesterday in an article entitled "Russia Bombed Base in Syria Used by U.S." by Adam Entous and Gordon Lubold (my emphasis in red):

"The Russians weren’t bombarding a run-of-the-mill rebel outpost, according to U.S. officials. Their target was a secret base of operations for elite American and British forces. In fact, a contingent of about 20 British special forces had pulled out of the garrison 24 hours earlier. British officials declined to comment.

U.S. military and intelligence officials say the previously unreported close call for Western forces on June 16, and a subsequent Russian strike on a site linked to the Central Intelligence Agency, were part of a campaign by Moscow to pressure the Obama administration to agree to closer cooperation in the skies over Syria.

The risk that U.S. and British forces could have been killed at the border garrison hardened opposition at the Pentagon and the CIA to accommodating the Russians. But White House and State Department officials, wary of an escalation in U.S. military involvement in Syria, decided to pursue a compromise."

So how does Trump differ from Obama? One admires him, while the other kowtows to him. Both empower him.

And while we're at it, let's not forget Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's infamous "reset" of relations with Putin.

A sickening sign of the times.

By the way, Krugman also makes no reference to the nuclear standoff between Obama and Erdogan involving the encirclement of the Incirlik Airbase in southern Turkey, where the US stores nuclear weapons and from which NATO launches strikes against ISIS.

SEE: "David Brooks, "The Death of the Republican Party": Ignoring the Incirlik Nuclear Crisis."

David Brooks, "The Death of the Republican Party": Ignoring the Incirlik Nuclear Crisis

Writing of Ted Cruz's refusal to endorse Donald Trump in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Death of the Republican Party," David Brooks observes:

"I’m not a Cruz fan, but his naked ambition does fuel amazing courage. As the Republican Party is slouching off on a suicide march, at least Cruz is standing athwart history yelling “Stop!” When the Trump train implodes, the docile followers who are now booing and denouncing Cruz will claim they were on his side all along."

Agreed. But how is it that Brooks, Dowd and the rest of America's mainstream media are ignoring Erdogan's encirclement, following a failed military coup, of the Incirlik Airbase in southern Turkey, where the US stores nuclear weapons and from which NATO launches strikes against ISIS?

As reported today by Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News in an article entitled "Turbulence in Turkish-US ties: The İncirlik crisis" by Selin Nasi:

"U.S. President Barack Obama’s message that it supported Turkey’s democratically-elected government was largely dismissed after arriving late. According to daily Hürriyet’s Tolga Tanış, news that many experts in the U.S. had spoken in favor of the coup and that Erdoğan had already escaped abroad added fuel to the fire.

The tension between Ankara and Washington rose even further the day after when Labor and Social Security Minister Süleyman Soylu declared the U.S. to be behind the coup attempt.

. . . .

Those alleging U.S. involvement in the coup attempt have highlighted the role Brig. Gen. Bekir Ercan Van and nine officers at the base played in the attempt, the fact that Van requested asylum in the U.S. before being caught, the fact that jets taking off from İncirlik participated in the bombing of Ankara and the fact that airborne fuel supply planes for the jets also took off from İncirlik."

Now go to the home pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post and search for any mention of Incirlik: Nada.

Do you remember how Ben Rhodes said of the "sale" of Obama's duplicitous unsigned nuclear deal with Iran, "We created an echo chamber"? Well, Rhodes has conveniently disappeared from sight following this ugly admission, but an echo chamber, this time characterized by the silence of the lambs, is once again very much in evidence.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Remainder Night at the Convention": Cleveland or Incirlik? It's More Fun at the Circus!

Yesterday, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman drew similarities between Turkish President Erdogan and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. No mention by Friedman of the standoff at the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, where the US stores nuclear weapons and from which the US Air Force launches strikes against ISIS.

As reported in an NBC News article entitled "Incirlik Air Base: Post-Coup Power Cut Remains at U.S. Site" by F. Brinley Bruton, Abigail Williams and Courtney Kube:

"A Turkish air base widely believed to house U.S. nuclear weapons continued to rely on backup generators Wednesday, five days after a failed coup plunged the country into crisis.

Commercial power was cut to Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey and the airspace above it closed within hours of Friday's attempted military takeover in the NATO country. Turkish commanders at the site were later arrested and led away after they were accused of allowing at least one tanker aircraft to refuel jets involved in the thwarted mutiny.

. . . .

No one is locked anywhere on the base, which has about 2,700 Defense Department civilians and military personnel, officials said. But people were not permitted to leave Wednesday for security reasons."

Regarding this crisis, Erdogan declared yesterday:

"We must not confound the issue of extradition of Gulen and the relations with the United States over air base Incirlik. Relations with other countries should not be built on feelings and emotions, but based on logic. Of course, it would be a big mistake on the part of the United States not to extradite Gulen. We've sent all the necessary documents to the United States, we've begun the extradition process, and we will wait for the decision."

Yes, the US is being blackmailed, and yes, the US needs to remove the nukes from Incirlik ASAP.

Meanwhile, Maureen Dowd, covering the Republican convention in Cleveland, writes in her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Remainder Night at the Convention":

"Suddenly Trump, certainly irritated at not hearing the glorious sound of his own name in an elongated address by a 'loser [Ted Cruz],' entered the arena. He was once more soaring in, drowning Cruz out.

All eyes went to Trump as they dimmed the lights on the stage and the nominee regally walked in, a procession of one, to sit with his family in his stadium box with gold-and-black striped railings. The crowd got even more feral toward the former rival suddenly trapped onstage, looking like he didn’t know how to finish and finally slinking off."

My suggestion to Maureen: Take the next flight to Istanbul and report back from Incirlik, which could have implications for future life on this planet. Yes, I know: It's so much more fun at the circus.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thomas Friedman, "Trump and the Sultan": Obama's Best Friend Erdogan?

Over the course of the first half of his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Trump and the Sultan," would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman disparages Turkish President Erdogan. On the heels of the failed military coup in Turkey, Friedman writes:

"Anyone who has been following Turkey closely knows that Erdogan has been mounting a silent, drip-by-drip coup of his own against Turkish democracy for years — jailing reporters, hounding rivals with giant tax bills, reviving an internal war against Turkish Kurds to stoke nationalist passions to propel his efforts to grab more powers — and by generally making himself into a modern-day sultan for life."

I have no argument with Tom regarding any of the above. But hey, didn't Obama declare Erdogan to be one of his five best overseas friends? And didn't Obama attempt to force Turkish mediation upon Israel during its 2014 war with Hamas?

By the way, as reported today by DEBKAfile in an article entitled "Erdogan locks US airmen, nuclear arms in Incirlik":

"Some 1,500 US airmen and their families have been locked in the southern Turkish air base of Incirlik together with a stock [of] tactical nuclear bombs since President Reccep Erdogan crushed an attempted coup on Saturday, July 16. In the four days up until Wednesday, July 20, therefore, no air strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq have been staged [from] that Turkish base."

Is this indeed an attempt to force the US to extradite Fethullah Gulen, as suggested by DEBKAfile? Why is this not headline news in The New York Times or The Washington Post?

Erdogan is indeed a monster. Where were you all this time, Tom?

In his opinion piece, Friedman next compares Erdogan with Trump:

"Trump relies on the same tactics: He fabricates facts and figures on an industrial scale. He regularly puts out conspiracy theories — his latest is that President Obama’s 'body language' suggests that 'there’s something going on' with the president — hinting that Obama is not comfortable condemning the killing of cops by African-American gunmen and has sympathy for radical Islamists."

Friedman's conclusion:

"If you like what’s going on in Turkey today, you’ll love Trump’s America."

Trump's nomination makes me want to retch. On the other hand, I don't think that I'll be that much happier with the US of Hillary, who is in full blown denial concerning FBI Director Comey's conclusions.

Back to my garden and my dogs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

David Brooks, "Trump Is Getting Even Trumpier!": Is Trump Dangerous?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Trump Is Getting Even Trumpier!," David Brooks writes:

"It’s hard to know exactly what is going on in that brain, but science lends a clue. Psychologists wonder if narcissists are defined by extremely high self-esteem or by extremely low self-esteem that they are trying to mask. The current consensus seems to be that they are marked by unstable self-esteem. Their self-confidence can be both high and fragile, so they perceive ego threat all around."

Trumps suffers from a severe narcissistic personality disorder? Who would have ever guessed? More to the point, could he be dangerous as commander in chief of America's armed forces? Perhaps the answer to this last question is to be found in Brooks's conclusion:

"Suddenly the global climate favors a Trump candidacy. Some forms of disorder — like a financial crisis — send voters for the calm supple thinker. But other forms of disorder — blood in the streets — send them scurrying for the brutal strongman.

If the string of horrific events continues, Trump could win the presidency. And he could win it even though he has less and less control over himself."

My solution: All presidential candidates should be screened by a supreme court of psychiatrists, but then 90 percent of all candidates might be deemed unsuitable.

Make no mistake about it: Hillary is also narcissistic. Are her presidential ambitions about the good of the country? Not a chance. If she cared about the US, she would have given up the race after FBI Director Comey branded her as "extremely careless."

Obama? Also a narcissist, and the revelation yesterday that he hid from Congress a devastating codicil of his unsigned nuclear agreement with Iran attests to his willingness to promote his "legacy" at the expense of the world. And whereas the US State Department yesterday was quick to cast doubt upon the existence of this codicil, Iran today proudly confirmed that it was both real and binding.

All sickening.

Best to tend to my garden and walk my dogs.