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Friday, December 30, 2016

Rashid Khalidi, "John Kerry and Israel: Too Little and Too Late": More Israel Bashing From The New York Times



Do you remember the controversy surrounding Obama and Rashid Khalidi?  The Los Angeles Times still refuses to release the video of Obama speaking at a 2003 going-away party honoring Khalidi, at which virulent anti-Semitism was expressed by other speakers. Well, it should come as no surprise that today, in the aftermath of John Kerry's speech earlier this week attacking Israeli settlements on the West Bank, Khalidi is being given space on The New York Times op-ed page to vent his spleen at Israel. Described by the Times as "a professor of Arab studies at Columbia who was an adviser to the Palestinian delegation during peace negotiations from 1991 to 1993" (no mention, of course, by the Times of the relationship between Obama and Khalidi or the video stashed away in a Los Angeles Times safe), Khalidi bashes Israel in his Times guest op-ed entitled "John Kerry and Israel: Too Little and Too Late":

"During Mr. Obama’s eight years in office, the illegal Israeli settler population has swelled by 100,000, to well over 600,000. Simultaneously, for eight years Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has directed a barrage of calculated slights, insults and acts of disrespect at the president of the United States. The Obama administration has finally reacted with Mr. Kerry’s speech and by allowing Resolution 2334, which condemns Israeli settlement expansion, to pass in the United Nations Security Council. By doing so, the United States simply acted in accordance with international law and the global consensus of nearly 50 years.

Meanwhile, a third generation of Palestinian children is growing up under a brutal occupation and Gaza has been under siege for a decade. Palestinians are obliged to seek the permission of the Israeli military for the most basic of needs, such as medical treatment, or to travel abroad or even just to Jerusalem."

Fascinating. Khalidi would have us believe that there are no hospitals in the West Bank or Gaza. In fact, there are some 60 hospitals and medical centers in the West Bank and Gaza, and although I am not claiming that Palestinian medical facilities are on a par with Israeli facilities, it is worth noting that average life expectancy in the West Bank is 75.91, compared with 75.69 in Hungary, 75.41 in China, 75.05 in Saudi Arabia, 74.57 in Turkey, 74.35 in Jordan, 73.70 in Egypt, and 71.15 in Iran.

Khalidi describes Israel's "occupation" of the West Bank as "brutal"? Consider what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, now in his twelfth year of his four-year term in office, declared to Jackson Diehl in 2009 (my emphasis in red):

"'I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements,' he said. 'Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.'"

This statement was made after Abbas refused Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's 2008 peace offer, providing the Palestinians with an independent state along the 1967 lines together with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem. 

As for Khalidi's claim that "During Mr. Obama’s eight years in office, the illegal Israeli settler population has swelled by 100,000, to well over 600,000." An answer to this rubbish is to be found in an editorial in today's Washington Post entitled "On Israel, we’re right back where Obama started," which informs us (my emphasis in red):

"THE OBAMA administration is ending eight years of failed Middle East diplomacy exactly where it began in 2009 — with an exaggerated and misguided focus on Israeli settlement construction. As he railed at the continuing growth of West Bank Jewish housing on Wednesday with a prolixity that Fidel Castro would have admired, Secretary of State John F. Kerry sounded a lot like President Obama during the early months of his first term, when he insisted that the Israeli government freeze all construction as a starting point for negotiations on a Palestinian state.

. . . .

Mr. Kerry’s speech was, above all, a vivid demonstration of the administration’s inability to learn from its mistakes or adjust the ideological tenets that Mr. Obama brought to office.

. . . .

In fact, the two-state solution remains entirely viable, as even the settlement statistics cited by Mr. Kerry demonstrate. The administration asserts that the Jewish population in the West Bank has increased by 100,000 since 2009 — but by Mr. Kerry’s account, 80 percent of that growth was in areas Israel would likely annex in any settlement. In eight years, 20,000 people have been added to communities in territory likely to become part of Palestine — an area where 2.75 million Arabs now live. That growth of about 3 percent per annum, the product of a restraint for which Mr. Netanyahu received no White House credit, means that the Jewish population outside Israel’s West Bank fence may have decreased as a percentage of the overall population even as Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have made it the focal point of U.S. policy."

Perhaps the WaPo editorial should have also observed what was acknowledged by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat: Israeli settlements have been built on only some 1.1% of the West Bank (see: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/erekat-olmert-offered-palestinians-territorial-equivalent-of-west-bank-1.393484).


Bottom line: Khalidi's Israel bashing op-ed amounts to just one more effort by The New York Times to discredit Israel during the waning days of the Obama administration. Despicable.


[I sent this blog item to Andrew Rosenthal, former editorial page editor of The New York Times:

Dear Andrew,

I thought you might be interested.

Jeffrey

Rosenthal's response:

I'm not sure why. But thanks.

Andy
Why am I not surprised?]

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

David Sanger, "John Kerry, in a Final, Pointed Plea, Will Outline a Vision of Mideast Peace": Blind Man's Bluff



In a myopic New York Times article entitled "John Kerry, in a Final, Pointed Plea, Will Outline a Vision of Mideast Peace," David Sanger writes of John Kerry's speech today, which is intended "to shape the outlines of a Middle East peace deal":

"The decision to go ahead with his speech in the waning days of the administration is characteristic of Mr. Kerry, a serial negotiator who over the past four years traveled the world on three major missions: an Israeli-Palestinian accord, the Iranian nuclear accord, and a cease-fire and political accord for Syria. He will leave office on Jan. 20 having achieved the nuclear deal, but having tried and failed on the other two."

Kerry's nuclear deal with Iran was an achievement? Oh really. As reported by Jenna Lifhits in a December 25, 2016 Weekly Standard article entitled "U.N. Agency Publishes Secret Iran Deal Docs On Exemptions Obama Admin Dismissed":

"Iran was given secret exemptions allowing the country to exceed restrictions set out by the landmark nuclear deal inked last year, some of which were made public this week by the United Nations nuclear watchdog and others that are likely still being withheld, according to diplomatic sources and a top nuclear expert who spoke to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday posted documents revealing that Iran had been given exemptions in January that permit the country to stockpile uranium in excess of the 300 kilogram limit set by the nuclear deal, experts said. The agreements had been kept secret for almost a year, but recent reports indicated that the Trump administration intended to make them public."

In fact Kerry's unsigned Swiss cheese arrangement with Iran, negotiated in Geneva and shot through with holes, was anything but an achievement.

Sanger goes on to say concerning last week's Security Council resolution denouncing Israeli West Bank settlements:

"'We did not discuss the substance of the resolution at any time with the United States,' Gerard van Bohemen, New Zealand’s ambassador to the United Nations, said later, disputing Mr. Netanyahu’s account that the vote was orchestrated in Washington. 'We did not know how the United States would vote.'

The surprise was palpable. Román Oyarzun Marchesi of Spain, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council, asked for a show of hands in support of the resolution: 14 hands went up. He asked for a show of hands against: zero hands went up. A gasp was heard in the Council chamber. It meant that the United States, which can unilaterally veto a resolution as a permanent member of the Security Council, had not done so."

The surprise was "palpable"? Yeah, right. As reported today in a Times of Israel article entitled "Israel: US pressured Ukraine to support anti-settlement resolution":

"An Israeli official said Wednesday that highest-level US administration officials phoned Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko directly to pressure him to support the United Nations Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements.

'Either Obama or Biden spoke to Poroshenko about the matter,' a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel, elaborating on Israel’s claims that the US worked behind the scenes to bolster the resolution and to ensure that it was supported by all the other countries on the council.

According to one highly placed Israeli official who spoke to Tablet Magazine, it was Biden who personally intervened to ensure that Ukraine would support the resolution. 'Did Biden put pressure on the Ukrainians? Categorically yes,' said a source within the Israeli government. 'That Biden told them to do it is 1000% true,' he said."

Nauseating. Enough said.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Times of Israel, "Feinstein defends Obama over UN settlement vote": Obama's Final Poke in the Eye



In a Times of Israel article entitled "Feinstein defends Obama over UN settlement vote," Senator Dianne Feinstein is quoted as stating:

"I’ve watched with growing concern the increase in Israeli settlements over the years, where approximately 400,0000 individuals now live. I believe the expansion of settlements has but one goal: to undermine the viability of a two-state solution."

Below are my published comments in response to this article and those of someone who answered me:

JG:
Feinstein: "I’ve watched with growing concern the increase in Israeli settlements over the years, where approximately 400,0000 individuals now live." Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat: Israeli settlements have been built on only some 1.1% of the West Bank.

A pity Feinstein is not more concerned with the Hamas covenant, which calls for the murder of all Jews, or Fatah calls for a Palestine "from the river to the sea."


LS · London:
So does building settlements make Israel more or less secure? I dont follow the logic. Will settlements prevent violence or merely forment more ? It certainlhy hasnt made israel more secure or respected in the international community. This What-about-ery rarely seems to address the question. On the only basis it can be determined by men (the legal&equitable one ). Israel will always have the protection of her friends ..... that doesnt mean she will enjoy their support when she breaks international law. I doubt there wil be any serious consequences on Israel as a result of this UNSC statement. It wont prevent her building more settlements - successive governments in Israel have proven committed to settlement buiding. It does however send a message (however laced with Irony that is the US- of all states - that ultimately helped deliver it ).

No state should be above the rule of law. None.


JG:
Sorry, but Israel will never be secure or respected by the "international community." Query for you, Lekan: Where does the "international community" stand regarding the occupation of all of Tibet by China? And what has the "international community" done regarding the atrocities committed by Russia and Iran against civilians in Syria? In fact, the "international community" has done nothing. After all, it's so much more fun to condemn Israel.

And what does the "international community" have to say about "honor killings" against women in the Muslim Middle East, including the West Bank and Gaza? And what does the "international community" tell us about the murders of gays throughout the Muslim Middle East? Again, the "international community" does not care.

By the way, Lekan, are you aware that when Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offered Palestinian Authority President Abbas an independent state along the 1967 lines with agreed land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem, Abbas refused? Do you know that several years earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Barak similarly offered to withdraw from 97 percent of the West Bank and tear down 63 Israeli settlements? In exchange for the settlements that would remain part of Israel, Barak said he would increase the size of Gaza by a third. Barak also agreed to Palestinian control of much of East Jerusalem, which would become Palestine's capital, and Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Arafat, however, also refused.

"So does building settlements make Israel more or less secure?" I favor a two-state solution, i.e. a solution to the conflict that provides for two states accepting one another's right to live in peace. But there can also be no denying that after Israel left Gaza, some 12,000 missiles have been fired at Israeli kibbutzim, towns and cities. How do these missiles, in your opinion, accord with so-called "international law"? Will Israel be "safer" if missiles are also fired from the West Bank at Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem?


LS · London:
Jeffrey Grossman simple question bro - theres alot of what-about-ery here. which as i said in my first post - is beside the point and extraneous to the specific matter in hand. the ills and wrongs of the other side do not legitmise the ills and wrongs of 'our side'

With regard to my knowledge of the history of the differnt negotiations and summits , viz camp david, tabtha, and others (plus the law/resolutions and conventions that should underpin them) the answer is yes, I am aware. I am also aware that Barak was not offering a solution based on the accepted 1967 constraints/borders (despite protestations of some to the contrary). I'm also aware that other offers to stop settlement buildings we tied to conditions and blueprints that werent acceptable to the palestinian people - mainly the lack of a contiguous state untinerrupted by Israeli occupied lands. On top of which the simple principle that the offer of cessation of illegal activity (by a sovereign state) is being used as a bargaining chip - is hardly a legitmate or respectable tactic. The state sponsored illegal activity should stop if we are law abiding nations.
So it isnt quite as straight forward as implying that successive israeli leaders have magnanimously offered to the palestinians (that which is theirs by law incidentally ) and the palestinians have just been unreasonable. That not an accuate or believable version of events from our side. You answer the question of security with a question about the law of missles, which doesnt speak as to whether the evidence supports the implied thesis that settlements make Israel more secure - they clearly do not.

I want Israel and Palestine to be secure in their respective states; but we cant have it all our own way. We cant do provocative acts and expect/demand security any more than the palestinian authorities or Hamas and Hezbollah can expect peace for the firing of rockets.


JG:
"I'm also aware that other offers to stop settlement buildings we tied to conditions and blueprints that werent acceptable to the palestinian people - mainly the lack of a contiguous state untinerrupted by Israeli occupied lands." Sorry, Lekan, but when Arafat and Abbas respectively declined the offers of Barak and Olmert, the issue of a contiguous Palestinian state was never raised. Again, this is because the settlements, built on only 1.1 percent of the West Bank as per Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
, do not stand in the way of a contiguous Palestinian state.

Moreover, Erekat has accepted the principle of land swaps to deal with the issue of Israeli settlements.

Like you, "I want Israel and Palestine to be secure in their respective states," but there is also that small matter of the Hamas Charter, which calls for the murder of all Jews, and repeated Fatah demands for a Palestine "from the river to the sea" without the presence of a single Jew.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Peter Baker and Somini Sengupta, "Trump Pressures Obama Over U.N. Resoution on Israeli Settlements": Yes, There Is a Santa Claus



In a New York Times article entitled "Trump Pressures Obama Over U.N. Resolution on Israeli Settlements," Peter Baker and Somini Sengupta write:

"President-elect Donald J. Trump thrust himself into one of the world’s most polarizing debates on Thursday by pressuring President Obama to veto a United Nations resolution critical of Israel, the newly elected leader’s most direct intervention in foreign policy during his transition to power.

Mr. Trump spoke out after Israeli officials contacted his team for help in blocking the draft resolution condemning settlement construction even as they lobbied its sponsor, Egypt. Within a couple of hours, Egypt withdrew the resolution, at least temporarily, and its president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, called Mr. Trump to discuss how 'to establish true peace in the Middle East,' according to an aide to the president-elect.

. . . .

Frustrated by two failed efforts to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians during his tenure, Mr. Obama has been considering an effort to lay out an American framework during his final days in office. Palestinian leaders and their allies had hoped he would allow the anti-settlement resolution at the United Nations to pass as an expression of frustration at Israeli policies."

Sorry, Obama, but the Egyptians are unwilling to anger an unsuppressed unpredictable president-elect, and as Mark Moyar concluded in a New York Times op-ed entitled "The World Fears Trump’s America. That’s a Good Thing.":

"As the world’s most powerful country, and the only one whose leadership can safeguard the world order, the United States must care more about whether it commands international respect than whether it is loved by international elites. The incoming administration appears poised to return the United States to this precept after an eight-year drought. Americans and America’s allies should be relieved. America’s enemies are right to be afraid."

Or as Niccolo Machiavelli wrote some 500 years ago:

"It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."

At least as regards the Middle East, Machiavelli was right.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Richard Cohen, "Trump’s choice for Israeli ambassador is a danger to American lives": Echoing the New York Times's Hysteria



In a Washington Post op-ed entitled "Trump’s choice for Israeli ambassador is a danger to American lives," Richard Cohen echoes the hysteria of The New York Times re Trump's nomination of David Friedman as America's next ambassador to Israel:

"The Senate will get a crack at Friedman. This is a nomination that must be rejected. He is a danger to peace in the Middle East, to American lives, to moderation and to civil discourse."

"Civil discourse" in the Middle East? A day doesn't go by without calls from Iran for the eradication of Israel. And then there is the Hamas covenant calling for the murder of all Jews.

Friedman poses a threat to American lives? Oh really? Just yesterday the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated, and a semi-trailer plowed into a Berlin Christmas market in a terror attack that killed 12 and injured 48 persons. On Sunday, 10 people were killed and 34 wounded in a terror attack in Karak, Jordan. In fact, the entire Middle East is a tinderbox, having little to do with tiny Israel and having everything to do with conflicting Shiite/Sunni efforts to restore regional historic primacy.

"Moderation" means refusing to acknowledge that West Jerusalem, Israel's capital, has not been an integral part of that country since 1948? The time hasn't come to recognize that reality?

Spare me the bullshit, Dick.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

New York Times Editorial, "A Dangerous Choice for Ambassador to Israel": Friedman's Appointment More Dangerous Than Obama's Neglect of Aleppo?



In an editorial entitled "A Dangerous Choice for Ambassador to Israel," The New York Times begins (my emphasis in red):

"In appointing David Friedman as the next ambassador to Israel, Donald Trump voiced a desire to 'strive for peace in the Middle East.' Unfortunately, his chosen representative would be far more likely to provoke conflict in Israel and the occupied territories, heighten regional tensions and undermine American leadership."

Ah yes, David Friedman's appointment could undermine American leadership of the kind exhibited with respect to Aleppo. See the Times's whitewash of Obama's "benign" neglect of this horrific Syrian tragedy in its editorial on Wednesday.

Today's editorial continues (my emphasis in red):

"Mr. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who has represented the president-elect in matters involving Atlantic City casinos, has no diplomatic experience, unlike nearly every American ambassador who has served in this most sensitive of posts. That might not be quite so alarming if he didn’t also hold extremist views that are radically at odds with American policy and with the views of most Americans."

Okay, Friedman has no diplomatic experience, as did Thomas Pickering, ambassador to Israel from 1985 to 1988, who is now prominently listed by the National Iranian American Council as a member of its advisory board. Maybe it's to Friedman's credit that he has no prior diplomatic experience.

Friedman's extremist views? The Times writes (my emphasis in red):

"In a further sign of Mr. Friedman’s apparent zeal for confrontation rather than diplomatic finesse, he has announced that he expects to have his office in Jerusalem, rather than Tel Aviv, where the American Embassy has been for 68 years, along with the embassies of most other countries. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem, which has sites that are sacred to Muslims, Christians and Jews, as their capital. Like the crucial questions of borders, Israeli security and the fate of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, the contested status of Jerusalem should be resolved by negotiation, not by American fiat."

Excuse me, but the Palestinians are making no claims whatsoever on Western Jerusalem, except, of course, those calling for Israel's eradication. Why shouldn't America's embassy be located in Israel's capital, as in any other country? It is high time for the United States to acknowledge Israel's capital and right to exist as a sovereign nation. Sorry, but this is not something to be "resolved by negotiation" by the P5+1. Jerusalem has been Israel's capital since it declared independence in 1948, notwithstanding ingrained US State Department hostility.

More to the point, America should again take the lead on the international stage. This role was abnegated by Obama with tragic consequences, and his dereliction of responsibility will forever stain in blood whatever remains of this president's "legacy."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Obama Lobbies Against Obliteration by Trump": Down the Drain



In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Obama Lobbies Against Obliteration by Trump," Maureen Dowd begins:

"YOU know how desperate President Obama is — as he contemplates all his accomplishments going down the drain at the hands of a man he has total contempt for — when he is willing to do something so against his nature.

He tried to persuade Donald Trump."

But in fact, Obama's accomplishments are not going down the drain at the hands of Trump. Rather, they already went down the drain at the hands of ... Obama.

Obamacare? You remember, "If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it," i.e. PolitiFact's 2013 lie of the year? Well, this lie was recently compounded by Obama's recent declaration that health care premiums are only going up for a "handful of people." Heck, even Paul Krugman is finally owning up to the fact that the Affordable Healthcare Act is in trouble.

Obama's other "achievement" purportedly forming the basis of his legacy, his unsigned nuclear deal with Iran, is also going down the drain. The dubious value of that deal became apparent when the USS Mason came under Iranian C-802 missile fire off the Yemeni coast last month. Not to mention the ongoing cries of "Death to America!" on the streets of Tehran, and recurring violations of the terms of the deal.

Nice try, Barack. Starting on January 20, you'll have plenty of time driving your golf cart across the links to contemplate the above fiascos, and also the $20 trillion in unsustainable debt that you left your successors. Or is none of it your fault? Better still, what me worry?

Unrelated query to readers: How long do you think Hillary will remain married to Bill, now that her presidential aspirations have gone down the drain?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Paul Krugman, "The Economic Fallout": The Sky Is Falling



I am forced to admit that for the sake of world stability, I preferred the person with the paranoid personality disorder over the world class narcissist. On the other hand, I can't help denying a perverse sense of pleasure (schadenfreude?) at witnessing the comeuppance of someone who thought she was above the law.

Shed a tear for America's would-be Evita? I don't think so. She can continue to rake in money for/from the Clinton Foundation. Or perhaps not. Now that she's no longer going to be president, why would anyone want to "donate" to this would-be philanthropic enterprise (I'm being charitable).

But more to the point, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Economic Fallout," Paul Krugman would have us know:

"It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?

Frankly, I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear.

Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never."

Come on, Paul, don't be a sore loser! I suggest you make an appointment with the Donald and suggest your platinum coin idea for rescuing the American economy. What, even the Donald wouldn't buy into such a stupid idea? Well, I've got a suggestion for you: Have the US Treasury mint the coin with Donald's face etched onto it, and he just may agree.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "The End Is Nigh": Republican vs. Democrat or Narcissist vs. Paranoid?



In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The End Is Nigh," Maureen Dowd concludes:

"The problem with Donald Trump is: We don’t know which of the characters he has created he would bring to the Oval Office.

The trouble with Hillary Clinton is: We do know. Nobody gets less paranoid in the White House."

Or stated otherwise, you might think you have the choice between a Republican and a Democrat, when in fact you are voting either for someone suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder or for someone suffering from paranoia.

Yes, something is rotten in the State of the Union.

Friday, November 4, 2016

David Brooks, "The Banality of Change": A Second Clinton Will Soon Be Impeached



In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Banality of Change," David Brooks tells of his encounter with a handyman from Iowa who is voting for Trump:

"Trump speaks to this man’s situation and makes him feel heard. But when you think practically about which candidate could improve his life, it’s clear that Clinton is the bigger change agent."

Road apples! In case you were wondering, David, the FBI already knows what is in Weiner's computer, and it isn't pretty. There is a good reason why Huma Abedin is no longer travelling with Hillary: Huma, Hillary's second daughter, is about to be disowned.

Or stated otherwise, if Hillary is elected, she is going to be under criminal investigation from day one. Change? During the relatively short period that she will remain in office, she will not be able to effect it.

Brooks continues:

"Many of us disagree strongly with many Clinton policies. But any sensible person can distinguish between an effective operating officer and a whirling disaster who is only about himself."

Hillary isn't only about herself, too? In fact, if she cared an iota about the welfare of the United States, she would not be running for president.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Move Over Bill Murray and Eddie Vedder! I’m a Cubbie": What's Still Right About America



Do you recall how, during the Battle of the Bulge, German soldiers wearing American uniforms were said to be roaming behind Allied lines? And how American soldiers were tested with questions concerning the winners of the last World Series? Well, if anyone was to ask me who won last year's World Series, I would be summarily shot.

The Chicago Cubs? I remember Ernie Banks. And then there was Jim Hickman who left my beloved Mets and had his best season with the Cubs. As a child, I knew the names and statistics of all the players. Today, however, I don't the name of a single player.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Move Over Bill Murray and Eddie Vedder! I’m a Cubbie," Maureen Dowd writes:

"Americans are not feeling inspired as they watch the latest bizarre jolts with the F.B.I. in the most sour race in modern history with the two least popular candidates since polling was invented."

Yes, something is rotten in the State of the Union. God forbid, Trump, a man with a serious personality disorder should be elected. Equally bad, if Hillary should be elected, she will become the second Clinton to be impeached, leaving us with the horrific Tim Kaine.

Indeed, the 2017 election is like a bad case of athlete's foot that won't go away.

Forget the election and root for the Cubs? Why not? But even if the Cubs win game seven, it will all be soon forgotten, and we will still be left with Donald or Hillary.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Working the Refs": Krugo Cries Foul



Accusing FBI Director James Comey of "appeasing the modern American right" in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Working the Refs," Paul Krugman declares:

"Mr. Comey apparently had no evidence suggesting any wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton; he violated longstanding rules about commenting on politically sensitive investigations close to an election; and he did so despite being warned by other officials that he was doing something terribly wrong.

So what happened? We may never know the full story, but the best guess is that Mr. Comey, like many others — media organizations, would-be nonpartisan advocacy groups, and more — let himself be bullied by the usual suspects. Working the refs — screaming about bias and unfair treatment, no matter how favorable the treatment actually is — has been a consistent, long-term political strategy on the right. And the reason it keeps happening is because it so often works."

Comey let himself be bullied? Sorry, Paul, but this is bullshit. Hillary was coasting toward an easy victory, and Comey has now placed himself on the Clintons' enemies list. The expedient move on the part of Comey would have been to reopen the investigation, if at all, after the election.

Believe me, Comey already knows what's in those emails.

So now there are two horrifying possibilities in play: A man with a severe narcissistic personality disorder could become America's next president, or equally bad, Hillary could be impeached, and America could be stuck with Tim Kaine.

Ugh! Or perhaps double ugh!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Frank Bruni, "Comey, Clinton and This Steaming Mess": Hillary's Steaming Turd



In a New York Times op-ed entitled "Comey, Clinton and This Steaming Mess," Frank Bruni writes of the discovery of new emails "pertinent" to the investigation of Hillary's email practices while she was Secretary of State:

"What a steaming mess, and that’s a comment partly on this specific situation but also on this election, which has devolved into a junkyard of innuendo, lies and conspiracy theories. Trump doesn’t bear all the blame for that, but he bears an ample share of it."

A "steaming mess"? Actually, a "steaming turd" that was dropped by Hillary and never cleaned up. Sure, Donald is a poster boy for those many Americans suffering from severe narcissistic personality disorders, but Hillary's email scandal has nothing to do with him.

Sorry, Frank, but pin the blame where it belongs.

Roger Cohen, "Why Israel Still Refuses to Choose": Liar!



In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Why Israel Still Refuses to Choose," Roger Cohen writes (my emphasis in red):

"From Tel Aviv to Ramallah in the West Bank, from the largely Arab city of Nazareth to Jerusalem, I found virtually nobody on either side prepared to offer anything but a negative assessment of the two-state idea. Diagnoses ranged from moribund to clinically dead. Next year it will be a half-century since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank began. More than 370,000 settlers now live there, excluding in East Jerusalem, up from about 249,000 in 2005. The incorporation of all the biblical Land of Israel has advanced too far, for too long, to be reversed now."

Bullshit, Roger! The built-up areas of the settlements constitute only 1.7% of the West Bank, i.e. less than 40 square miles.

Cohen continues:

"Palestinians — whether in Israel proper, where the 1.5 million Arab citizens make up about 17 percent of a population of 8.5 million, or in the West Bank, where they number about 2.6 million — are tired of the humiliations, big and small, that Israel dishes out."

Humiliations handed out to Israeli Arabs? Like when Israeli Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, an Arab Christian, read out former Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's jail sentence? Unlike Cohen, I interact with Israeli Arabs on a daily basis, and if I were to witness any such "humiliation," I would not tolerate it for an instant.

A pity Cohen is not more concerned with the phenomenon of "honor killings" perpetrated against Palestinian women by their fathers, brothers and husbands.

And then there was the recent attempt by the Palestinian Authority and UNESCO to deny the connection of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to the Jewish people, which also goes ignored in this opinion piece by Cohen. This was not an attempt to humiliate and demean Jews in Israel and throughout the world?

In short, more road apples from someone who in 2009 waged a campaign to convince us that Iran is "not totalitarian." Sickening.

New York Times Editorial, "Emails Again, This Time With Anthony Weiner": When Two Scoundrels Ran for President



Apparently, Hillary and friends failed to smash or bleach all of the computers and communication devices housing her emails, and now a new treasure trove of emails has turned up in a computer shared by Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner. It appears that the FBI discovered these new emails as part of an investigation of allegations concerning the use of the computer by Weiner for purportedly exchanging explicit messages with a minor.

In an editorial entitled "Emails Again, This Time With Anthony Weiner," The New York Times concludes:

"Mr. Comey’s failure to provide any specifics about a new, potentially important development, less than two weeks before Election Day, is confounding. As Mr. Comey put it in July, 'The American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest.' They deserve details even more urgently today."

Comey's failure to provide "specifics" is "confounding"? Not at all. He is not the brightest light, as revealed by his responses on July 7, 2016 to Representative Trey Gowdy during the House Oversight Committee's hearing into the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails. He is also exceedingly cautious.

What's in this latest treasure trove of emails? The messages obviously include classified US government communications, otherwise Comey would not have informed Congress that they are "pertinent." If there was any way that Comey could have avoided this disclosure, I'm certain he would have done so.

Where does it all go from here? A pity that Americans cannot be granted a mulligan and be provided the opportunity to choose different presidential candidates.

It just can't get worse.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

David Brooks, "The Epidemic of Worry": Rational Coulrophobia



In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Epidemic of Worry," David Brooks informs us:

"The election campaign isn’t really about policy proposals, issue solutions or even hope. It’s led by two candidates who arouse gargantuan anxieties, fear and hatred in their opponents.

As a result, some mental health therapists are reporting that three-quarters of their patients are mentioning significant election-related anxiety. An American Psychological Association study found that more than half of all Americans are very or somewhat stressed by this race."

Of course, Brooks has a solution:

"[T]he answer to worry is the same as the answer to fear: direct action. If the next president starts enacting a slew of actual policies, then at least we can argue about concrete plans, rather than vague apocalyptic moods."

Yeah, right. I can't wait to see "a slew of actual policies" of the kind enacted by Obama, e.g., the Affordable Care Act (Who cares if US health care costs are to increase by 25 percent next year?) and the unsigned nuclear deal with the crazy mullahs (Who cares if Iran is now firing missiles at the US Navy and John Kerry is receiving a prize for this "achievement"?), and to start arguing about them.

However, more to the point, as observed by Paul Volcker and Peter Peterson in an October 21, 2016 New York Times op-ed entitled "Ignoring the Debt Problem":

"[T]he deficit has grown sharply this year, and will keep the national debt at about 75 percent of the gross domestic product, a ratio not seen since 1950, after the budget ballooned during World War II.

Long-term, that continued growth, driven by our tax and spending policies, will create the most significant fiscal challenge facing our country. The widely respected Congressional Budget Office has estimated that by midcentury our debt will rise to 140 percent of G.D.P., far above that in any previous era, even in times of war.

. . . .

Our current debt may be manageable at a time of unprecedentedly low interest rates. But if we let our debt grow, and interest rates normalize, the interest burden alone would choke our budget and squeeze out other essential spending. There would be no room for the infrastructure programs and the defense rebuilding that today have wide support.

It’s not just federal spending that would be squeezed. The projected rise in federal deficits would compete for funds in our capital markets and far outrun the private sector’s capacity to save, to finance industry and home purchases, and to invest abroad.

Instead, we’d be dependent on foreign investors’ acquiring most of our debt — making the government dependent on the 'kindness of strangers' [China?] who may not be so kind as the I.O.U.s mount up."

Indeed, America's debt is unsustainable, and neither candidate has provided answers to this problem.

Don't worry? In fact, Americans should be quaking in their boots. This is indeed an instance in which coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, i.e. Hillary and Donald, is entirely rational.

Friday, October 21, 2016

David Brooks, "How to Repair Moral Capital": None of the Above



In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "How to Repair Moral Capital," David Brooks savages Donald Trump's decimation of "moral capital," i.e. "the set of shared habits, norms, institutions and values that make common life possible." However, Brooks also takes Hillary Clinton to task for contributing to the dismantlement of American standards of moral conduct. Brooks writes:

"Clinton has contributed to the degradation too. As the James O’Keefe videos remind us, wherever Hillary Clinton has gone in her career, a cloud of unsavory people and unsavory behavior has traveled alongside. But she is right to emphasize that Trump is the greatest threat to moral capital in recent history and that the health of that capital is more fundamental than any particular policy position.

. . . .

The election of 2016 has exposed the staleness of the Republican and Democratic ideologies. It has also established a nihilistic, reality TV standard of conduct that will pull down the country if it is allowed to survive. The one nice thing about Trump is that he has prompted so many people to find their voice, and to turn from their revulsion to a higher alternative."

A "higher alternative"? Pray tell what that would be.

A pity Americans are not being provided on November 8 with the "higher alternative" of voting "none of the above."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Egged On to Get Egg on His Face": What About Iranian Attack on USS Mason?



In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Egged On to Get Egg on His Face," Maureen Dowd writes:

"Continuing to deploy lethal darts from her team of shrinks, Hillary Clinton baited Trump into a series of damaging nails-in-the-coffin statements. And it was so easy. The one-time litigator prosecuted the case against Trump, sparking another temperamental spiral, as effectively as Chris Christie once broke down Marco Rubio.

. . . .

He was so unnerved, he said one of the most shocking things ever heard in a debate, putting his ego ahead of American democracy. Asked by the admirable debate moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, if he would accept the results of the election or reject it as rigged, Trump replied coyly and self-destructively: “I will tell you at the time,’’ adding, “I will keep you in suspense.”"

Sorry, Maureen, but Trump was not "unnerved." Rather, the man suffers from a severe narcissistic personality disorder, he knows he's going to lose, and he is incapable of attributing that loss to shortcomings on his part. Hence, the system must be "rigged."

Chris Wallace was an "admirable debate moderator"? How about an "admirable ringmaster"?

More to the point, why didn't Wallace ask either Donald or Hillary about the Iranian attacks upon the USS Mason last week, which further call into question the value of Obama's bogus unsigned nuclear deal with Iran? As acknowledged yesterday by General Joseph Votel:

"I do think Iran is playing a role in some of this. They have a relationship with the Houtis, so I do suspect there is a role in there."

"[A] role in there"? Houthi rebels in Yemen could possibly have fired sophisticated C-802 anti-ship missiles against the USS Mason on their own? Please ...

But I suppose it's more fun to focus on the performance of the circus clowns than to acknowledge an act of war against the US by the mullahs. Worse still, America's media is doing all it can to preserve the legitimacy of Obama's would-be legacy arrangement with Iran and to ignore this outrage.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Thomas Friedman, "WikiHillary for President": Twisted



After Iranian Revolutionary Guards operating out of Yemen fired C-802 missiles against the USS Mason last week, you might have expected would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman to discuss this imbroglio and how it reflects upon Obama's bogus unsigned nuclear deal with Iran. But instead, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "WikiHillary for President," Friedman deems it more expedient to fawn over Hillary Clinton. Friedman concludes:

"When I read WikiHillary, I hear a smart, pragmatic, center-left politician who will be inclined to work with both the business community and Republicans to keep America tilted toward trade expansion, entrepreneurship and global integration, while redoubling efforts to cushion workers from the downsides of these policies.

I’m just sorry that campaign Hillary felt she could not speak like WikiHillary to build a proper mandate for President Hillary. She would have gained respect for daring to speak the truth to her own constituency — and demonstrating leadership — not lost votes.

Nonetheless, thanks to WikiLeaks, I am reassured that she has the right balance of instincts on the issues I care about most. So, again, thank you, Putin, for exposing that Hillary. She could make a pretty good president for these times."

Ah yes, WikiLeaks. But what about Chris Cillizza's Washington Post article entitled "Hillary Clinton’s email problems just came roaring back," from which we learned two days ago:

"On Monday, however, the various issues associated with Clinton's email setup came roaring back. According to emails released by the FBI, Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy asked the FBI to ease up on classification decisions in exchange for allowing more FBI agents in countries where they were not permitted to go. The words 'quid pro quo' were used to describe the proposed exchange by the FBI official."

All of which is perhaps nothing compared with the access granted to Hillary's attorneys to review her emails notwithstanding the fact that they lacked proper security clearances, and the use of hammers and BleachBit to ensure that all of her communications would never see the light of day.

And all of which is absolutely nothing compared with Hillary's unmitigated support over the years of an ersatz husband engaged in deprivations against women.

As South Park would have us know, America is witnessing a contest between a "turd sandwich" and a "giant douche."

Hillary "could make a pretty good president for these times"? Stick it where the sun doesn't shine, Tom.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Michelle Schools Donald Trump": Sorry, but There's No Connectivity on Trump's Lonely Little Planet



In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Michelle Schools Donald Trump," Maureen Dowd concludes:

"Hillary is in an awkward spot on the subject of licentious behavior by men. But Michelle Obama stepped in as the avenging angel Anita Hill never had. On Thursday at a rally for Hillary Clinton, her voice trembling with disgust, the first lady explained why the 'cruel' and 'frightening' actions of Trump — whom she did not deign to name — could not be written off as 'locker-room talk' or 'a bad dream.'

. . . .

Of course, Michelle’s inspiring message is somewhat undercut by the fact that her husband is ushering the lecherous Bill Clinton back to the White House."

Michelle's message is "somewhat" undercut? Bill Clinton is merely "lecherous"? Please ...

But more to the point vis-à-vis the title of Dowd's opinion piece, no one can school Trump. He inhabits a lonely little planet on which there is no connectivity, and this is what's most frightening about this pitiful excuse for a man. Yes, folks, he's dangerous.

Choose Hillary or Donald? A pity there isn't a third option: None of the above.

Will Hillary shake Donald's hand before and after the next debate? She shouldn't. However, she still kisses Bill in public (she should have divorced Bill decades ago instead of persisting with her sham marriage), and she would probably exchange a hearty embrace with the devil to ensure entry into the White House.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why Did the Editorial Board of The New York Times Fail to Accurately Describe the Attack on the USS Mason?



In an editorial entitled "America’s Moral Duty in Yemen," The New York Times wrote on Tuesday (my emphasis in red):

"On Monday, Houthi rebels who have been fighting with the Yemeni government reportedly launched a ballistic missile deep into Saudi Arabia, and on Sunday they may have fired on a United States Navy destroyer, but missed.

The Saudi strikes killed more than 140 mourners and wounded hundreds at a funeral in Sana, the capital, which is controlled by Houthi rebels, an indigenous Shiite group with loose connections to Iran."

I subsequently noted that the Times's claims that the Houthis "may have fired on a United States Navy destroyer" (they indeed fired on the USS Mason) and that the Houthis maintain "loose connections to Iran" amounted to pure rubbish.

As reported today by DEBKAfile in an article entitled "US Tomahawks destroy Iran's radar bases in Yemen":

"Tomahawk cruise missiles launched by US Navy destroyer USS Nitze early Thursday, Oct. 13, destroyed three Iranian-Yemeni coastal radar stations, after C-802 anti-ship missiles supplied by Iran to Yemeni Houthi rebels were fired at US naval vessels off the Yemeni coast.

. . . .

A highly advanced radar installation is required for the use of the C-802. Two radar stations set up outside Yemen’s two principal Red Sea ports, Mokha and Hudaydah earlier this month were operated by [Iranian] Rev. Guards missile and radar teams until they were destroyed Thursday, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. The third station was added for triangulation. The destruction of all three by a US Tomahawk has knocked out the Houthis’ ability to use C-802 missiles and Iran’s threat to blockade the Red Sea.

. . . .

Contrary to Tehran’s assurance to Washington in August that Iranian arms supplies to Yemeni Houthi rebels had been suspended, the rebels took delivery last week of the largest consignment of Iranian weapons to date.

According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, the shipment included highly sophisticated Scud D surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 800km; and C-802 anti-ship missiles (an upgraded version of the Chinese YJ-8 NATO-named CSS-N-8 and renamed by Iran Saccade).

They came with Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers and radar systems to fine-tune the targeting of these missiles by Iran’s Yemeni proxies."

So why hasn't the Times's editorial board acknowledged its mistake? Could it possibly have anything to do with a desire not to undermine faith in Obama's bogus unsigned nuclear deal with Iran? I wonder ...

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New York Times Editorial, "America’s Moral Duty in Yemen": Houthis "May Have Fired" Iranian Missiles on a US Destroyer



In an editorial entitled "America’s Moral Duty in Yemen," The New York Times wrties:

"Airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition that devastated a funeral in Yemen on Saturday make it clear that the United States must end its complicity in a civil war that has caused a humanitarian catastrophe in one of the world’s poorest countries and fueled extremism. It is within President Obama’s power to do so. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf state allies depend on Washington for aircraft, munitions, training and in-flight refueling. The United States also helps Saudi Arabia guard its borders.

. . . .

The Saudi strikes killed more than 140 mourners and wounded hundreds at a funeral in Sana, the capital, which is controlled by Houthi rebels, an indigenous Shiite group with loose connections to Iran."

"[L]oose connections to Iran"? I don't think so. As reported by Reuters in a December 15, 2014 article entitled "Iranian support seen crucial for Yemen's Houthis":

"A Western source familiar with Yemen also said the Houthis had been getting training and money.

'It's been happening for over a year. We've seen Houthis going out to Iran and Lebanon for military training.'

'We think there is cash, some of which is channeled via Hezbollah and sacks of cash arriving at the airport. The numbers of those going for training are enough for us to worry about,' the source said. The first Yemeni security official said Houthi fighters had received training by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

A senior Iranian official told Reuters that the Quds Force, the external arm of the Revolutionary Guard, had a 'few hundred' military personnel in Yemen who train Houthi fighters."

The Times editorial mentions:

"On Monday, Houthi rebels who have been fighting with the Yemeni government reportedly launched a ballistic missile deep into Saudi Arabia, and on Sunday they may have fired on a United States Navy destroyer, but missed."

"[M]ay have fired ... but missed"? Oh really. As reported by DEBKAfile in an October 10, 2016 article entitled "Yemeni Houthis fire 2 Iranian-made missiles at US destroyer – and miss":

"For the first time in two years, Yemeni Houthi rebels Saturday fired on an American vessel, launching two missiles at the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Mason which was patrolling international Red Sea waters just north of the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait. 'Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship,' Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said. 'There were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship.' DEBKAfile: The failed attack came a week after a United Arab Emirates vessel was badly damaged by a missile launched from the Houthi-controlled Yemeni shore, following which two US destroyers, the Mason and Nitze, were deployed to the region, along with the afloat forward USS Ponce staging base. The UAE never disclosed the extent of the damage to their vessel or the number of casualties.

The Yemeni insurgents have been armed with advanced Chinese-made C-802 (NATO-named CSS-N-8) anti-ship missiles upgraded by Iran, as part of Tehran’s proxy bid to seize control of the strategic Red Sea strait."

In fact, there is no denying that those anti-ship missiles supplied by Iran to the Houthis were intentionally fired at the USS Mason. And now I ask you, boys and girls, do any of you honestly believe that Iran did not provide advance approval for this attack?

Or stated otherwise, the benefits of Obama's unsigned nuclear deal with Iran just never seem to end. Forfeit control over the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait to Iran to preserve the illusion of "peace in our time" with Iran? Sure, anything to buck up this lame duck's crumbling legacy.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Donald Goes to the Dogs": Dragging America Into the Gutter



And all this while, I thought Donald Trump couldn't go any lower than participating in the WrestleMania Battle of the Billionaires, where Trump pinned Vince McMahon and shaved McMahon's head, demonstrating to the world what it takes to be the next American commander in chief. Obviously, I was wrong.

"Grab them by the pussy"? I wonder how Donald would respond if someone was to threaten to grab him by the penis ... provided they could find it hiding under all that corpulence.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Donald Goes to the Dogs," Maureen Dowd concludes:

"[I]t’s not fair to compare Trump to a dog. Dogs are awesome."

I agree with Maureen, as do my two dogs, Arnold and Munchkin, who will tell you that Donald is not going to the dogs. Rather, they will inform you that it is America being dragged into the gutter by this narcissistic buffoon.


 
 
 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

David Brooks, "The Avalanche of Distrust": Or the Avalanche of Lies?



In the aftermath of Hillary's collapse at the New York City ceremony commemorating the 9/11 tragedy, David Brooks writes in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Avalanche of Distrust":

"I’m beginning to think this whole sordid campaign is being blown along by an acrid gust of distrust. The two main candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are remarkably distrustful. They have set the modern standards for withholding information — his not releasing tax and health records, her not holding regular news conferences or quickly disclosing her pneumonia diagnosis. Both have a problem with spontaneous, reciprocal communication with a hint of vulnerability."

Hillary and Donald "have set the modern standard for withholding information"? In fact, the two of them have set the modern standard for lying, e.g., Hillary regarding her health, her emails, Benghazi, Bosnia, etc., and Donald regarding ... almost anything and everything.

Hillary collapsed owing to pneumonia and dehydration? I don't think so. If so, she would have gone to the nearest hospital for an infusion (where, God forbid, the doctors would have insisted on blood tests and an MRI), and she certainly wouldn't have hugged that child (staged) with her germy hands after she emerged from Chelsea's apartment.

My guess is that Hillary suffers from a neurological problem.

Disgusting. It's all about money and power. Trust and intimacy be damned!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Thugs and Kisses": Is America's Media Spin-Doctoring a Hillary Clinton Neurological Problem?



Hillary Clinton collapsed yesterday owing to the deplorable 79 degree heat, as MSNBC would have us believe? I don't think so. How many other people collapsed at the event in New York City commemorating the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers?

Hillary collapsed as a consequence of pneumonia? What kind of pneumonia? Walking pneumonia (Mycoplasma pneumonia)? Again, highly unlikely. Hillary's coughing fits have persisted for far too long, and walking pneumonia is ordinarily self-limiting, i.e. it will run its course after several weeks or, at most, a few months. Also, if she had pneumonia, why did she hug that little girl with her germy hands after emerging from Chelsea's apartment (all staged, of course)?

At the risk of being accused of promoting a conspiracy theory, my guess is that she is indeed suffering from a neurological problem, which is also partially responsible for her incessant nodding like a bobblehead doll. Not true? Then why didn't she go to the hospital after collapsing, as any reasonable person would have done, and reveal the test results?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Thugs and Kisses" (how many people has Hillary kissed since purportedly contracting pneumonia?), Paul Krugman does not mention Hillary's medical episode yesterday. (What a surprise!) Rather, Paul is consumed with Trump's "effusive praise for Vladimir Putin," which is indeed despicable. Krugman proceeds to observe:

"Russia does, of course, have a big military, which it has used to annex Crimea and support rebels in eastern Ukraine. But this muscle-flexing has made Russia weaker, not stronger. Crimea, in particular, isn’t much of a conquest: it’s a territory with fewer people than either Queens or Brooklyn, and in economic terms it’s a liability rather than an asset, since the Russian takeover has undermined tourism, its previous mainstay.

An aside: Weirdly, some people think there’s a contradiction between Democratic mocking of the Trump/Putin bromance and President Obama’s mocking of Mitt Romney, four years ago, for calling Russia our 'No. 1 geopolitical foe.' But there isn’t: Russia has a horrible regime, but as Mr. Obama said, it’s a 'regional power,' not a superpower like the old Soviet Union."

But whereas Krugman makes note of Russian territorial designs upon Crimea and eastern Ukraine, he makes no mention of Russia's involvement in Syria or Obama's pusillanimous surrender to Putin as regards American involvement in that struggle, which affects the future of the entire Middle East. As we are told by DEBKAfile in a September 10, 2016 article entitled "Obama hands Syria over to Putin":

"The Syrian cease-fire agreement that US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Friday night, September 9, in Geneva hands Syrian affairs over to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and the country’s military.

. . . .

According to DEBKAfile’s intelligence and Mid East sources, Putin virtually shut the door on further cooperation with the United States in Syria. He highhandedly informed Obama that he now holds all the high cards for controlling the Syrian conflict, whereas Washington was just about out of the game.

Putin picked up the last cards, our sources disclose, in a secret deal with Erdogan for Russian-Turkish collaboration in charting the next steps in the Middle East.

. . . .

It now turns out that, just as the Americans sold the Syrian Kurds down the river to Turkey (when Vice President Joe Biden last month ordered them to withdraw from their lands to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River or lose US support), so too are the Turks now dropping the Syrian rebels they supported in the mud by re-branding them as 'terrorists.'"

Bottom line, Russia is no longer a mere "regional power," as Krugman would have us believe. Obama has allowed Russia to extend its power and dominance far beyond its borders.

Krugman concludes his opinion piece by declaring:

"When Mr. Trump and others praise Mr. Putin as a 'strong leader,' they don’t mean that he has made Russia great again, because he hasn’t. He has accomplished little on the economic front, and his conquests, such as they are, are fairly pitiful. What he has done, however, is crush his domestic rivals: Oppose the Putin regime, and you’re likely to end up imprisoned or dead. Strong!"

True, "Oppose the Putin regime, and you're likely to end up imprisoned or dead." Whereas if you oppose the Obama regime, you are only apt to have your taxes audited.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

George Wll, "Congress should impeach the IRS commissioner — or risk becoming obsolete": Obama and the Collapse of the Rule of Law



In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Congress should impeach the IRS commissioner — or risk becoming obsolete," George Will calls for the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Will writes:

"At the IRS, Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner participated in delaying for up to five years — effectively denying — tax-exempt status for, and hence suppressing political advocacy by, conservative groups. She retired after refusing to testify to congressional committees, invoking the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination.

Koskinen, who became commissioner after Lerner left, failed to disclose the disappearance of emails germane to a congressional investigation of IRS misbehavior. Under his leadership, the IRS failed to comply with a preservation order pertaining to an investigation. He did not testify accurately or keep promises made to Congress. Subpoenaed documents, including 422 tapes potentially containing 24,000 Lerner emails, were destroyed. He falsely testified that the Government Accountability Office’s report on IRS practices found 'no examples of anyone who was improperly selected for an audit.'"

Will concludes, "Refusing to impeach Koskinen would continue the passivity by which members of Congress have become."

However, Koskinen is only symptomatic of a far larger problem. As I observed in yesterday's blog entry ("There is obviously one set of laws for the Clintons and another for the hoi polloi"), the rule of law under Obama has disintegrated.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Donald Trump’s ‘Big Liar’ Technique": What About Hillary's ‘Adaptive Liar’ Technique?



In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Donald Trump’s ‘Big Liar’ Technique," Paul Krugman would have us examine the lies of Donald Trump, but ignore those of Hillary ("She stands accused of being overly legalistic or overstating the extent to which she has been cleared, but not of making major claims that are completely at odds with reality"). Krugman would have us know:

"Donald Trump has come up with something new, which we can call the 'big liar' technique. Taken one at a time, his lies are medium-size — not trivial, but mostly not rising to the level of blood libel. But the lies are constant, coming in a steady torrent, and are never acknowledged, simply repeated. He evidently believes that this strategy will keep the news media flummoxed, unable to believe, or at least say openly, that the candidate of a major party lies that much."

Okay, Trump employs the "big liar" technique and suffers from a severe narcissistic personality disorder; he should not be president of the United States. But what about Hillary's "adaptive liar" technique? As observed by Marc Thiessen in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Hillary Clinton fails the ABCs of handling classified information" (my emphasis in red):

"The fact is, every single person in America with even the lowest level of security clearance knows what (C) means. Clinton served on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where she regularly received classified information with a (C) marking on it. As secretary of state, she likely read classified documents with (C) markings every single day. And we’re supposed to believe she thought it was an alphabetical marking?

This was a fantastical argument for anyone with a security clearance, but it was totally lacking in credibility for someone with her proven pattern of deceit. Clinton has repeatedly changed her story: First, she told us there was “no classified material” in her private emails (which the FBI says was untrue). Then she told us there was nothing “classified at the time” (which the FBI also says was also untrue). Finally, she told us there was nothing “marked classified” in her private emails (which the FBI says was also untrue). So now she tells FBI interviewers that she does not know what (C) means, and they believe her?"

But lying is the least of it. The rule of law no longer exists in America, owing to Hillary. Allow Cheryl Mills, who had previously been questioned by the FBI, to be Hillary's legal counsel while the former secretary of state was undergoing questioning by the FBI? Ignore the destruction of Hillary's cell phones with a hammer? Sweep the erasure of Hillary's emails, which had been subpoenaed by Congress, under the carpet? Accept Hillary's 40 declarations to the FBI that she "could not recall" information relating to their questions, e.g., "any briefing or training by State related to the retention of federal records or handling of classified information." This is despicable.

There is obviously one set of laws for the Clintons and another for the hoi polloi. But why should any of this trouble Paul "the conscience of a liberal" Krugman?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

David Brooks, "The Incredible Shrinking Obamacare": Only Half the Story



Will Obamacare comprise a part of President Obama's legacy? No, unless that legacy is deemed to consist of impotence (Syria), appeasement (Iran), and half-baked notions of governance costing the US trillions of dollars (Obamacare). Now even David Brooks, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Incredible Shrinking Obamacare," is referring to a possible Obamacare "death spiral." Brooks writes:

"Only about 12 million people are in exchanges. More important, the exchanges are attracting sicker, poorer people, who drain money, and are not attracting the healthier people who pour money in.

Many insurers are suffering catastrophic losses and pulling out. As James Capretta of the American Enterprise Institute has noted, Aetna has lost $430 million since January 2014 on insurance plans sold through Obamacare and is withdrawing from 11 of its 15 states. United Healthcare has lost $1.3 billion on the exchanges and will cut its participation to three states from 34.

That means less coverage; 24 million Americans still lack health insurance. That means less competition. Before too long, a third of the exchanges will have just one insurer in them. That also means higher premiums. Blue Cross Blue Shield has requested a 62 percent increase for next year in Tennessee and an average 65 percent increase in Arizona. Some experts put the national requested increase at 23 percent.

. . . .

The next president will have to deal with all this, especially if the exchanges go into a death spiral, even though the subject has been basically ignored in the campaign."

And what happens if the exchanges go into a death spiral? Who steps in? At what cost? And what will this do to America's expanding budget deficit, which recently reached its highest level in two years? How much will this add to America's burgeoning national debt?

It's not just Obamacare that is facing a death spiral.

Is either Hillary or Donald equipped to pull the US economy out of its dive? Good luck with that.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Hillary Clinton Gets Gored": Want to Vomit This Morning?



You need to vomit this morning? I have the answer. Read Paul Krugman's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Hillary Clinton Gets Gored," in which this Nobel Prize winner, who in 2011 promoted the virtues of Occupy Wall Street, attests to Hillary Clinton's character. Yes, I'm serious. Krugman writes:

"Meanwhile, we have the presumption that anything Hillary Clinton does must be corrupt, most spectacularly illustrated by the increasingly bizarre coverage of the Clinton Foundation.

. . . .

Now, any operation that raises and spends billions of dollars creates the potential for conflicts of interest. You could imagine the Clintons using the foundation as a slush fund to reward their friends, or, alternatively, Mrs. Clinton using her positions in public office to reward donors. So it was right and appropriate to investigate the foundation’s operations to see if there were any improper quid pro quos. As reporters like to say, the sheer size of the foundation 'raises questions.'

But nobody seems willing to accept the answers to those questions, which are, very clearly, 'no.'"

"[V]ery clearly, 'no'"? Consider an August 30, 2016 New York Times editorial entitled "Cutting Ties to the Clinton Foundation," which informs us:

"Mrs. Clinton became involved in State Department deals and negotiations that also involved foundation donors or board members. She prompted multiple investigations with an arrangement that allowed Huma Abedin, her deputy chief of staff at the State Department and now vice chairwoman of her campaign, to be paid simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation and Teneo, a consulting firm run by Doug Band, the former adviser to Mr. Clinton who helped create the foundation — and who sent emails to Ms. Abedin seeking favors for foundation donors.

The newly disclosed emails show that some foundation donors and friends, like Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin al-Khalifa of Bahrain, used foundation channels to seek access to Mrs. Clinton.

. . . .

The Clinton Foundation has become a symbol of the Clintons’ laudable ambitions, but also of their tangled alliances and operational opacity."

Oh, those nasty right-wingers from the Times editorial board, who question the "tangled alliances and operational opacity" of the Clinton Foundation, are obviously up to their nefarious tricks again!

Krugman concludes:

"And here’s a pro tip: the best ways to judge a candidate’s character are to look at what he or she has actually done, and what policies he or she is proposing. Mr. Trump’s record of bilking students, stiffing contractors and more is a good indicator of how he’d act as president; Mrs. Clinton’s speaking style and body language aren’t. George W. Bush’s policy lies gave me a much better handle on who he was than all the up-close-and-personal reporting of 2000, and the contrast between Mr. Trump’s policy incoherence and Mrs. Clinton’s carefulness speaks volumes today.

In other words, focus on the facts. America and the world can’t afford another election tipped by innuendo."

A "pro tip"? Got it! Krugman is now also an expert on "speaking style and body language." Speaking style? Apparently Krugman likes the way Hillary nods her head for hours at a time, like a bobble head doll. But more to the point, how does one judge Hillary's speaking style, when it's been 275 days since her last press conference? It is a bit akin to a quarterback taking a knee to run out the clock, but with more than two months to go before the election, this strategy could prove ill-advised.

Hillary's character? Needless to say, Krugman couldn't bring himself to mention that Hillary, a stickler for detail, told the FBI 39 times that she couldn't "recall" details concerning her email practices, or how her aides destroyed her mobile devices with a hammer.

I'm no fan of Trump, whose little fingers shouldn't be allowed anywhere the launch buttons of America's nuclear arsenal, but Hillary a paragon of honesty, integrity and transparency? Yup, Krugman's op-ed is the perfect emetic.