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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gail Collins, "The Donald Trump New Normal": Monica Lewinsky for VP!

Gail Collins is in panic-mode.

You will recall how, in 2012, Collins made a point of alluding to the Romney "dog on the car roof" story, i.e. her lame running joke, in almost all of her opinion pieces leading up to the presidential election. Today, however, the shoe is on the other foot, given how Trump once sent her a copy of her column with “The Face of a Dog!” written over her picture.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Donald Trump New Normal," Collins writes of Trump's upcoming efforts to land a vice presidential candidate:

"Once you eliminate all the people who have already announced they’d rather be kidnapped by manatees, there’s a pretty short list. Maybe Chris Christie? Never in modern America have we had a presidential ticket composed entirely of guys who specialize in insulting people and yelling at the top of their lungs."

Christie? Not a chance! Heck, my understanding is that Monica Lewinsky is at the top of Donald's short-list.

But before we get there, maybe the Republican convention should adopt a resolution demanding that all prospective presidential candidates undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Better still, testing should be live and formatted along the lines of "The Apprentice," i.e. "You're delusional!"

Please wake me up and tell me that this is just a bad dream ...

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Thomas Friedman, "Trump and the Lord’s Work": Waiting for the FBI to Cast Its Vote

"They have seen all the illusions in my creature emporium, but they have yet to face the greatest illusion: the illusion of reality."

- Dr. Frankenstein, Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971)

Following Donald Trump's victory in the Indiana primary, Thomas Friedman concludes his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Trump and the Lord’s Work" on an optimistic note:

"It’s clear: Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare all need fixes to remain sustainable. It’s clear: Capitalism driven more by machines and robots poses new challenges for both white-collar and blue-collar workers.

Every one of these challenges can be met if we put our heads and hands together. For that to happen, though, this version of the Republican Party had to be destroyed, so a thinking center-right party can emerge. If that is what Trump has done, he’s done the Lord’s work. We also need Democrats to be a center-left party, though, and not let Bernie Sanders pull them to the far left. If both happen, maybe something good can actually emerge from this crazy election."

"Every one of these challenges can be met if we put our heads and hands together"? Who is this "we"? Does it include Republicans who voted to nominate a misogynist with a severe narcissistic personality disorder as their presidential candidate?

Put Friedman's loopy head together with the hands of Trump supporters? That would indeed amount to a Frankenstein monster.

Have we seen the end of this craziness? I don't think so. The FBI has yet to "cast its vote" regarding Hillary's home server.

Sorry, Tom, there is nothing "divine" about Trump's candidacy. Should Sanders win the Democratic nomination owing to an FBI determination that Hillary violated the law, that's when all hell truly breaks loose.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Paul Krugman, "The Diabetic Economy": Europe Bad, America Good

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "The Diabetic Economy," Paul Krugman writes from Lisbon:

"Things are terrible here in Portugal, but not quite as terrible as they were a couple of years ago. The same thing can be said about the European economy as a whole. That is, I guess, the good news.

The bad news is that eight years after what was supposed to be a temporary financial crisis, economic weakness just goes on and on, with no end in sight. And that’s something that should worry everyone, in Europe and beyond."

But not to worry. According to Paul, everything is hunky-dory in the US:

"Meanwhile, the overall economic and political situation in America gives ample grounds for hope, which is in very short supply over here."

Yup, who cares if US national debt has reached some $19.3 trillion.

Who cares if America's gross debt to GDP ratio is 105%, compared with 65% for Holland, 71% for Germany, 89% for the United Kingdom, and 96% for France.

And who cares if Apple just reported its first drop in quarterly revenues in 13 years with increasing competition from Chinese cellphone makers.

Obama and friends have effectively bankrupted the US. Do you remember how Obama declared in 2008:

"The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic."

Well, US debt now amounts to $60,000 "for every man, woman and child." That's irresponsible. It's unpatriotic. More to the point, it's unsustainable.

Who will be the first to whisper that the emperor has no clothes?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk": Trashing American Exceptionalism

Maureen Dowd begins her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk" by observing:

"IT seems odd, in this era of gender fluidity, that we are headed toward the most stark X versus Y battle since Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs."

An X versus Y battle? I don't think so. As far as I'm concerned, neither Donald nor Hillary is a human being. I am praying for a brokered convention and/or an indictment, but the truth of the matter is that you don't always get what you want. And you don't even get what you need.

C'est tout.

Friday, April 29, 2016

David Brooks, "If Not Trump, What?": Meet the Neighbors? Be Real!

"If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

Informing us in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "If Not Trump, What?" that Donald "looks set to be the Republican presidential nominee," David Brooks would have us know that this phenomenon "has reminded us how much pain there is in this country." Observing that Trump is not the "right response" to this pain, Brooks concludes his opinion piece by suggesting:

"Trump will have his gruesome moment. The time is best spent elsewhere, meeting the neighbors who have become strangers, and listening to what they have to say."

Listen to what my neighbor has to say? The one who built the outhouse for his foreign laborers opposite my front door? I don't think so.

More to the point, Trump and Hillary comprise only a small portion of my pain, which is not limited to American politics. There's also the anti-Semitism emerging from the closet of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. And let's not forget Obama's appeasement of Iran, which continues with its apocalyptic ballistic missile program, in open collaboration with North Korea, without opposition from the High Priest of Hope and Change.

Indeed, what does one do with this despair? In my case, I just returned from a chamber music concert given by young musicians at a nearby museum. There's also the spring promise of my vegetable garden; my dogs who know no pessimism; a screenplay in the works which keeps me distracted; and the three companies with which I work, all striving to revolutionize the fields of medicine and medical devices.

Yes, there is still "good" in this world, but forgive me if I retreat inward and attempt to recoup my faith in humanity.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

New York Times Editorial, "A Risky American Expansion in Syria": Obama's Dirty Little Secret

In an editorial entitled "A Risky American Expansion in Syria," The New York Times says of Obama's decision to send 250 more US soldiers to Syria, in addition to the existing 50 "Special Operations" forces currently deployed in a country that no longer exists:

"While American forces will not be leading the ground war in Syria, they will be involved in military operations and working without proper authorization from Congress. Unlike the American troops in Iraq, which are fighting the Islamic State at the request of the Iraqi government, the troops in Syria will be operating in another sovereign nation with no clear legal right."

But what the geniuses at the Times fail to observe is that these troops will primarily be assisting the Kurds, and were the Turks to hear of this dirty little secret (Remember, you didn't hear it from me!), Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan might cease to be one of Obama's best overseas friends.

Now imagine what happens if American troops are killed by ongoing Turkish shelling of Kurdish forces in Syria.

But wait! Just how stupid is this editorial? The Times editorial board goes on to say:

"It has long been obvious that the best way to defeat the Islamic State lies in ending the Syrian civil war between President Bashar al-Assad and opposition forces so that all sides can focus on the terrorists, which Mr. Obama told the Europeans is 'the most urgent threat to our nations.'"

Got it: Assad is not a terrorist, notwithstanding his use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs against Syrian civilians.

Yup, The New York Times is wearing its imbecility on its sleeve.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Paul Krugman, "The 8 A.M. Call": Hillary Is an Economic Genius!

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "The 8 A.M. Call," Paul Krugman informs us that "[b]arring the political equivalent of a meteor strike" (Is an FBI recommendation to indict Hillary the equivalent of a meteor strike?), Hillary will be the Democratic candidate, and she will run against either Trump or Cruz. Krugman says of each of these potential candidates (my emphasis in red):

  • Clinton: "Mrs. Clinton isn’t just the most knowledgeable, well-informed candidate in this election, she’s arguably the best-prepared candidate on matters economic ever to run for president."
  • Trump: "I doubt that anyone will be shocked if I say that Mr. Trump doesn’t know much about economic policy, or for that matter any kind of policy. He still seems to imagine, for example, that China is taking advantage of America by keeping its currency weak — which was true once upon a time, but bears no resemblance to current reality."
  • Cruz: "He chose, as his senior economic adviser, Phil Gramm — an architect of financial deregulation who helped set the stage for the 2008 crisis, then dismissed warnings of recession when that crisis came, calling America a 'nation of whiners.' Mr. Cruz is, in other words, a man of firm economic convictions — convictions that are utterly divorced from reality and impervious to evidence, to a degree that’s unusual even among Republicans.

Got it: Only Republicans are given to fanciful economic thinking. However, it was none other than Krugman who wrote in an October 6, 2011 New York Times op-ed entitled "Confronting the Malefactors":

"Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.

. . . .

It’s clear what kinds of things the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators want, and it’s really the job of policy intellectuals and politicians to fill in the details."

And then there was Krugman's trillion dollar coin proposal, which even Jon Stewart labeled a "stupid f#cking idea."

Or stated otherwise, there are those who might justifiably question Krugman's grip on economic reality.

But maybe Paul is correct in his claim that Hillary is the "best-prepared candidate on matters economic ever to run for president." After all, she has proven extraordinarily adept over the past few years at milking the system for millions of dollars by lecturing to multinational corporations anxious to gain the benefit of her economic acumen. (Of course, there was no possibility that her lectures amounted to one big influence peddling scheme.) And then there was the "expertise" she displayed by turning a $1,000 investment in commodities futures into a gain of nearly $100,000 within 10 months. (Here, too, there was no chance of foul play.) Hillary's just one heck of an economic wizard.

Cruz's economic adviser, Phil Gramm, helped set the stage for the 2008 crisis? Oh really? And all this while I thought that it was President Bill Clinton who repealed Glass-Steagall, thereby setting the stage for the 2008 economic debacle.

And so it goes: On Sunday, we were told by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof that Hillary doesn't lie much given the records of other politicians, and today we have Paul Krugman telling us that Hillary is an economic genius. Spare me!