Follow by Email

Monday, February 29, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Planet on the Ballot": There Is Someone Worse Than Hillary



In a New York Times op-ed entitled "Planet on the Ballot," Paul Krugman begins by observing:

"We now have a pretty good idea who will be on the ballot in November: Hillary Clinton, almost surely (after the South Carolina blowout, prediction markets give her a 96 percent probability of securing her party’s nomination), and Donald Trump, with high likelihood (currently 80 percent probability on the markets). But even if there’s a stunning upset in what’s left of the primaries, we already know very well what will be at stake — namely, the fate of the planet."

The probability of Hillary winning the Democratic nomination is 96 percent? Oh really? Doesn't it depend on whether or not the FBI recommends indicting her? True, there are those who would vote for her even if she was convicted.

The probability of Trump winning the Republican nomination is now 80 percent? Does this take into account his failure to repudiate David Duke's endorsement? In fact, there are those who don't care if Trump has the support of the KKK.

Save the planet? Both Hillary and Donald are guilty of making excessive use of private jets, which poison the environment with carbon emissions. They both "stink" on the environmental issue.

My fervent wish is that Donald goes back to hosting reality shows and Hillary returns to giving speeches to financial institutions, provided they are still willing to pay her if she is no longer a presidential aspirant.

But if worse comes to worst and there is no third party candidate, Hillary's election merely spells the end of the rule of law in America. Also, her foreign policy recommendations as secretary of state were tragic. The alternative? I cannot even begin to imagine allowing Trump's index finger anywhere near the launch button of America's nuclear arsenal. Yes, there is someone worse than Hillary.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Jo Becker and Scott Shane, "Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall": Obama's "Recipe for Success in the Future"



In a New York Times lead article entitled "Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall," Jo Becker and Scott Shane describe Hillary's impact upon the decision of the Obama administration to help topple Qaddafi in 2011:

"Her conviction would be critical in persuading Mr. Obama to join allies in bombing Colonel Qaddafi’s forces. In fact, Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, would later say that in a '51-49' decision, it was Mrs. Clinton’s support that put the ambivalent president over the line.

The consequences would be more far-reaching than anyone imagined, leaving Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven, a place where the direst answers to Mrs. Clinton’s questions have come to pass.

This is the story of how a woman whose Senate vote for the Iraq war may have doomed her first presidential campaign nonetheless doubled down and pushed for military action in another Muslim country."

It is remarkable that the Times is running this story after endorsing Hillary for president.

But this is not what the Times always said about American involvement in Libya. Let's take a short stroll down memory lane. In an August 2011 editorial foolishly entitled "NATO's Teachable Moment," the Times lavished praise upon Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama for intervening in Libya:

"The Western allies, especially the British and French forces backed up by the United States, can be justly proud. So can Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and President Obama, who ignored the naysayers who claimed that Libya was a quagmire and the battle not worth fighting."

And in September 2011, the Times wrote in an equally inane editorial entitled "A New Start for Libya":

"After 42 years of erratic dictatorship, it would be unrealistic to expect a smooth transition in the early days of Libya’s post-Qaddafi era. There have been water and fuel shortages, episodes of vigilante justice, and power struggles among the victorious rebel forces. There are also signs of progress on military, diplomatic, economic and political fronts."

Signs of progress? Yeah, right. But if that was not enough, Obama told Jay Leno in October 2011 that American intervention in Libya was "a recipe for success in the future."

Needless to say, Obama's "recipe for success" in Libya was followed by the pièce de résistance he cocked cooked up in Syria. Maybe Obama should write a foreign policy cook book when he leaves office in January 2017 . . . or maybe he's better off sticking to the links.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Ross Douthat, "From Obama to Trump": Obama's Frankenstein?



In a New York Times op-ed entitled "From Obama to Trump," Ross Douthat makes the case that "Obama-era trends in liberal politics have helped feed the Trump phenomenon." Labeling Trump "a reality TV demagogue leading a populist, nationalist revolt," Douthat writes:

"[T]he reality TV element in Trump’s campaign is a kind of fun-house-mirror version of the celebrity-saturated Obama effort in 2008.

. . . .

He’s also proving, in his bullying, overpromising style, that voters are increasingly habituated to the idea of an ever more imperial presidency — which is also a trend that Obama’s choices have accelerated. Having once campaigned against his predecessor’s power grabs, the current president has expanded executive authority along almost every dimension: launching wars without congressional approval, claiming the power to assassinate American citizens, and using every available end-around to make domestic policy without any support from Congress.

Obama is to blame for Trump's ascendancy? I don't think so. Rather, we live in an age of narcissism, and Americans apparently hunger for the opportunity to call one another stupid, boring, dumb, a total lightweight, a clown, and/or a fool, while cutting others off on the highway.

The real problem is that if Trump wins the nomination, and if the FBI recommends that Hillary be indicted, he just might find his way into the White House. That's when I stop writing this blog and build my underground bunker.

Gail Collins, "Trump Meets the Mean Boys": Will Hillary Soon Meet the FBI?



Two weeks ago,  I observed that The Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, Yahoo News, Bloomberg and UPI had all published articles concerning the State Department subpoena served on the Clinton Foundation, but The New York Times decided to ignore the matter entirely. I asked whether the Times is still a newspaper, or, if it has become a highly politicized, self-serving propaganda machine. Well, it now appears that the Times has belatedly woken up to the stench emanating from the Clinton campaign. First, there was Thursday's editorial asking that Hillary make the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs, et al., available to the public. And yesterday, in a Times article entitled "Unclassified Clinton Emails May Have Consequences for a Key Deputy" by Steven Lee Myers, we were told re the Hillary home email server imbroglio:

"Even admirers of Mrs. Clinton’s record as secretary of state acknowledge that the use of the server had consequences for her select circle of confidants. They include Mr. [Jake] Sullivan, who as director of policy planning and a deputy chief of staff, handled the most pressing policies and international crises during her tenure as secretary. Others were Cheryl D. Mills, her chief of staff, and Huma Abedin, who was then also a deputy chief of staff, and other senior diplomats who sent messages to her now under scrutiny.

. . . .

Several of the emails released so far make clear, even in redacted form, that officials understood the protocol for discussing classified information, including Mrs. Clinton herself."

Can the FBI cannot avoid recommending indictments? I don't think so. This could get very nasty for Sullivan, Mills and Abedin, and later, for their beloved boss.

On the subject of "nasty," Gail Collins has graced us today with a tepid New York Times op-ed entitled "Trump Meets the Mean Boys." Collins again fails to mention any of the "nastiness" involving the Clinton campaign, and instead directs her barbs at the feud that has erupted between Rubio and Trump. Collins, who once received from Trump a copy of her column with "The Face of a Dog!" written over her picture, writes:

"You can understand why Rubio felt that getting personal was the only way to go. Trump has been breezing through the campaign without making any discernible effort to come up with coherent policies, or even to keep his stories straight."

Collins's conclusion:

"The great moment of debate night, as far as I’m concerned, came after the actual debate was over, and Trump suggested in a CNN postgame interview, that the I.R.S. might audit him a lot 'because of the fact that I’m a strong Christian … and maybe there’s a bias.'

Then in a CNN post-postgame interview Trump took it all back. ('I don’t think it applies.') As only he can."

However, Collins misses the point: Trump is a bully sans substance, and finally someone, i.e. Rubio, has shown the courage to needle this flimflam artist, whose Trump University has been exposed as a fraud. Let's hope that it is not too late.

Christie's endorsement of the Republican poster boy for narcissistic personality disorders? Sic [New Jersey] transit gloria mundi, with the emphasis on "sick."

Friday, February 26, 2016

New York Times Editorial, "Donald Trump and Chris Christie Start a Bully Bromance": The Age of Insults



In an editorial entitled "Donald Trump and Chris Christie Start a Bully Bromance," The New York Times says of Christie's despicable endorsement of the Republican poster boy for narcissistic personality disorders:

"After his performance on Friday, Mr. Christie had better hope that Mr. Trump, wherever he winds up, can find a little something for his new apprentice to do. If Mr. Trump should win the presidency, he might want to consider Mr. Christie for transportation secretary, since he already knows so much about traffic patterns on commuter bridges."

Sic [New Jersey] transit gloria mundi.

David Brooks, "The Governing Cancer of Our Time": Is Trump an Inoperable Tumor?



"'Everybody does it,' is an excuse expected from a mischievous child, not a presidential candidate. But that is Hillary Clinton’s latest defense for making closed-door, richly paid speeches to big banks, which many middle-class Americans still blame for their economic pain, and then refusing to release the transcripts.

. . . .

Public interest in these speeches is legitimate, and it is the public — not the candidate — who decides how much disclosure is enough. By stonewalling on these transcripts Mrs. Clinton plays into the hands of those who say she’s not trustworthy and makes her own rules. Most important, she is damaging her credibility among Democrats who are begging her to show them that she’d run an accountable and transparent White House."


- New York Times editorial, "Mrs. Clinton, Show Voters Those Transcripts," February 25, 2016

Indeed, Hillary's refusal to cough up the Goldman Sachs transcripts calls into question her claims of leadership and transparency. Obviously, Hillary's staff has pored over these speeches, and there is good reason why they are not being released. But who could imagine that the Gray Lady was capable of growing the cojones to challenge Hillary on this issue?

And yesterday, Marco Rubio finally filleted Donald Trump in Houston. Could it make a difference on Super Tuesday, or are Republicans crazy enough to nominate a bully suffering from a severe narcissistic personality disorder?

Indeed, it was a night of surprises.

David Brooks, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Governing Cancer of Our Time," addresses "antipolitics people," who "suffer from a form of political narcissism, in which they don’t accept the legitimacy of other interests and opinions." Brooks goes on to say of Donald Trump:

"People say that Trump is an unconventional candidate and that he represents a break from politics as usual. That’s not true. Trump is the culmination of the trends we have been seeing for the last 30 years: the desire for outsiders; the bashing style of rhetoric that makes conversation impossible; the decline of coherent political parties; the declining importance of policy; the tendency to fight cultural battles and identity wars through political means.

Trump represents the path the founders rejected. There is a hint of violence undergirding his campaign. There is always a whiff, and sometimes more than a whiff, of 'I’d like to punch him in the face.'"

It is no wonder that Trump said of Vladimir Putin, "I think that I would probably get along with him very well." Birds of a feather fly together.

Donald against Hillary? A capricious, narcissistic Trump, with his finger on the launch button of America's nuclear arsenal, poses a potential hazard to the entire world, whereas Clinton only threatens the rule of law in the US.

In either instance, the cancer could prove terminal.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Gail Collins, "The Secret Side of Donald Trump": Trump Endangers the World (Hillary Only Threatens American Rule of Law)



Devoting her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Secret Side of Donald Trump" to the "upside of Donald Trump" and scrutinizing his position on health care, Gail Collins concludes:

"The bottom line is that once you really pin him down, Donald Trump is a mail-order conservative Republican, except more trash-talking about Muslims and Mexicans. Surrender hope and be careful not to die in the streets."

Pin Trump down? Actually, it was Trump who pinned Vince McMahon down at the WrestleMania Battle of the Billionaires, thus demonstrating to the world that he has what it takes to be the next American commander in chief. (A pity McMahon didn't pin Trump for the count and shave the Donald's "hair," thereby exposing, once and for all, the secrets of his remarkable coiffure.)

More to the point, I think Gail's opinion piece is too kind. As we are told today in a Washington Post editorial entitled "GOP leaders, you must do everything in your power to stop Trump":

"Now [the Republican Party] is faced with a front-runner who, in the interval between the two Priebus comments cited above, said of a protester, 'I’d like to punch him in the face.' This is a front-runner with no credible agenda and no suitable experience. He wants the United States to commit war crimes, including torture and the murder of innocent relatives of suspected terrorists. He admires Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and sees no difference between Mr. Putin’s victims and people killed in the defense of the United States. He would round up and deport 11 million people, a forced movement on a scale not attempted since Stalin or perhaps Pol Pot. He has, during the course of his campaign, denigrated women, Jews, Muslims, Mexicans, people with disabilities and many more. He routinely trades in wild falsehoods and doubles down when his lies are exposed."

I suppose all of the above effectively counterbalances Trump's rassling techniques. Maybe, just maybe, he is not the person you want with his finger on the launch button of America's nuclear arsenal.

But what about Hillary? Collins tells us what Trump told Scott Pelley on CBS:

"I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody is going to be taken care of."

But regrettably, Collins does not inform us what Clinton told Pelley one week ago:

"PELLEY: You know, in ’76, Jimmy Carter famously said, 'I will not lie to you.'

CLINTON: Well, I have to tell you I have tried in every way I know how literally from my years as a young lawyer all the way through my time as secretary of state to level with the American people.

PELLEY: You talk about leveling with the American people. Have you always told the truth?

CLINTON: I’ve always tried to. Always. Always.

PELLEY: Some people are gonna call that wiggle room that you just gave yourself.

CLINTON: Well, no, I’ve always tried —

PELLEY: I mean, Jimmy Carter said, 'I will never lie to you.'

CLINTON: Well, but, you know, you’re asking me to say, 'Have I ever?' I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever will. I’m gonna do the best I can to level with the American people."


In response to the above interchange, Chris Cillizza wrote in his Washington Post weblog "The Fix":

"I mean, what? W-H-A-T? 'I've always tried to' tell the truth? On what planet is this a good answer for a politician?"

On the subject of lying, Ed Morrissey wrote one year ago in a Fox Nation article entitled "Hillary Fired for Lies, Unethical Behavior from Congressional Job: Former Boss":

"Jerry Zeifman, a lifelong Democrat, supervised the work of 27-year-old Hillary Rodham on the [House Judiciary Committee which was investigating Watergate]. Hillary got a job working on the investigation at the behest of her former law professor, Burke Marshall, who was also Sen. Ted Kennedy’s chief counsel in the Chappaquiddick affair. When the investigation was over, Zeifman fired Hillary from the committee staff and refused to give her a letter of recommendation – one of only three people who earned that dubious distinction in Zeifman’s 17-year career.

Why?

'Because she was a liar,' Zeifman said in an interview last week. 'She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.'"

"Conspired to violate the Constitution"? That sounds kind of serious. Hillary's claim that she came under sniper fire in Bosnia pales in comparison.

And so, whereas a capricious, narcissistic Trump poses a potential hazard to the entire world, Hillary only threatens rule of law in the US.

Go ahead, take your pick.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Michelle Ye Hee Lee, "Why the Clinton email scandal and Petraeus leak are not really alike": Bullshit!



Can you imagine placing Donald Trump's finger on the launch button of America's nuclear arsenal? I can't, but apparently no small number of Republicans from Nevada are willing to risk this potential nightmare. Nauseating.

Meanwhile, District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who was appointed by Bill Clinton, ruled yesterday that top aides of Hillary Clinton can be questioned under oath concerning her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. As reported by Spencer S. Hsu in a Washington Post article entitled "U.S. judge orders discovery to go forward over Clinton’s private email system":

"Sullivan also suggested from the bench that he might at some point order the department to subpoena Clinton and Abedin to return all emails related to Clinton’s private account, not just records their camps previously deemed work-related and returned.

'There has been a constant drip, drip, drip of declarations. When does it stop?' Sullivan said, 'This case is about the public’s right to know.'"

I guess Judge Sullivan wasn't informed by the State Department that what the American public doesn't know, can't hurt . . . Hillary, even if it is already known to Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. (Mention of Judge Sullivan's ruling by The New York Times? I can't find it. Perhaps the story doesn't fall within the category of "All the news fit to print.")

Counterbalance to Hsu's WaPo story? Of course! Today, in a Washington Post "Fact Checker" entry entitled "Why the Clinton email scandal and Petraeus leak are not really alike," Michelle Ye Hee Lee opines:

"Whether the Clinton cases is 'worse' than the Petraeus case is a matter of opinion, and one we can’t fact-check. But we took a look at the factual circumstances underlying both cases. It’s easy to say that they are alike, because they both involve how a high-level government official handled information that was, or potentially was, classified. One can also argue it’s a question of judgment or transparency.

But there clearly are fundamental differences between the two cases that make it an illogical comparison, based on what we know of the Clinton case so far. At the most basic level, there is dispute over whether Clinton’s emails contained 'classified' information. An array of experts we consulted all told us that as long as the dispute exists, it will be difficult to bring the same charge of mishandling classified information to which Petraeus pleaded guilty."

There is a "dispute over whether Clinton's emails contained 'classified' information"? Oh really? Perhaps the public should be allowed to see the emails between Obama and Hillary that passed through this private server. But wait! That would be impossible, because it would implicate Obama in the scandal.

More to the point, Hillary made exclusive use of her unprotected home server while secretary of state. Are we really to understand that nothing "classified" passed through this home server from 2009 to 2013? Or, are we to understand that inasmuch as these emails were not marked "classified," even if their content was cut and pasted from classified materials, this somehow absolves Hillary from charges of gross negligence?

Spare me, Ye Hee Lee.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

David Brooks, "Three Views of Marriage": What About Hillary and Bill's Marriage of Inconvenience?



David Brooks, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Three Views of Marriage," informs us, "If you read the popular literature, there are three different but not mutually exclusive lenses through which to think about marriage decisions." Brooks then goes on to describe the "psychological lens," the "romantic lens," and the "moral lens." Brooks's conclusion:

"The three lenses are operating at different levels: personality, emotions, the level of the virtues and the vices. The first two lenses are very common in our culture — in bookstores, songs and in movies. But the moral lens, with its view of marriage as a binding moral project, is less common. Maybe that’s one of the reasons the quality of the average marriage is in decline."

Fascinating. But what about the psychology, romance and morality of the Clintons' marriage? With respect to the psychological lens, both Hillary (known for her lust for money) and Bill (known for his lust for women) have proven that negative traits do not change over time.

Regarding the romantic lens, Brooks tells us that some couples, particularly in America, believe "that you need a few years of passionate love to fuse you together so you’ll stay together when times get hard." In the case of Hillary and Bill, it sure must have taken a heck of a lot of passion in those first few years to guide them through Monica, et al. Or was there something else lurking in the background.

The moral lens? Is the Clinton Foundation, funded by financial institutions that have engaged in dubious dealings and misogynistic Muslim countries, a "humanity-enhancing project for the secular"? I have my doubts.

Increasingly, Bill is proving a burden to Hillary's campaign for the Democratic nomination, and my guess is that if Hillary is not elected, by reason of an FBI recommendation to indict her or otherwise, this marriage, premised upon a fourth "lens," i.e. mutual advantage, will not last more than another year.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Cranks on Top": Psychiatric Tests for All Presidential Candidates!



In a New York Times op-ed entitled "Cranks on Top," Paul Krugman begins by savaging Ted Cruz and Donald Trump:

"The thing is, one of the two men who may still have a good chance of becoming the Republican nominee is a scary character. His notions on foreign policy seem to boil down to the belief that America can bully everyone into doing its bidding, and that engaging in diplomacy is a sign of weakness. His ideas on domestic policy are deeply ignorant and irresponsible, and would be disastrous if put into effect.

The other man, of course, has very peculiar hair."

But Krugman saves most of his venom for Marco Rubio:

"In short, Mr. Rubio is peddling crank economics. What’s interesting, however, is why. You see, he’s not pandering to ignorant voters; he’s pandering to an ignorant elite."

Mind you, this denunciation of Marco is coming from someone 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."

Mention by Krugman of the repeal of Glass-Steagall by Bill Clinton, the effect of its repeal on the US economy, or Hillary's position on its reinstatement? Not a chance. Again, consider what Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, has to say about this matter:

"Hillary Clinton won’t propose reinstating a bank break-up law known as the Glass-Steagall Act – at least according to Alan Blinder, an economist who has been advising Clinton’s campaign. 'You’re not going to see Glass-Steagall,' Blinder said after her economic speech Monday in which she failed to mention it. Blinder said he had spoken to Clinton directly about Glass-Steagall.

This is a big mistake.

It’s a mistake politically because people who believe Hillary Clinton is still too close to Wall Street will not be reassured by her position on Glass-Steagall. Many will recall that her husband led the way to repealing Glass Steagall in 1999 at the request of the big Wall Street banks.

It’s a big mistake economically because the repeal of Glass-Steagall led directly to the 2008 Wall Street crash, and without it we’re in danger of another one."

I agree with Reich. Moreover, it is no wonder why Hillary is unwilling to release the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms.

More to the point, are we to understand that Hillary, who claimed she came under sniper fire in Bosnia, is not a "crank"? I proposed in my prior blog entry that all remaining US presidential candidates undergo psychiatric testing and that the results be published. Indeed, let's see who are the "cranks"! I am confident the list extends to both parties.

Maureen Dowd, "Escape From Bushworld": Should Presidential Candidates Undergo Psychiatric Exams?



In a New York Times post-mortem entitled "Escape From Bushworld," Maureen Dowd observes that with Jeb's departure from the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the Bush dynasty has "perished, with a whimper." Dowd writes:

"With his uncanny bat-like sonar, sensing how to psychologically gauge and then gut an opponent, Trump went straight for the Bushes’ biggest bête noire: wimpiness.

. . . .

"The country is now aflame with anger and disgust about politicians and bankers who conned trusting Americans and never got punished for it. That fury has led to the rise of wildly improbable candidates in both parties. As the Bush dynasty falls, it must watch in horror knowing that it is responsible for the rise of Donald Trump.

"[W]ildly improbable candidates in both parties"? Dowd is obviously referring to Trump and perhaps Cruz in the Republican Party, but is she also referring to Sanders and Clinton in the Democratic Party?

And now - a drum roll please - I wish to propose: That all remaining Republican and Democratic candidates for president undergo psychiatric tests, and that the results be made public.

Does Trump suffer from a severe narcissistic personality disorder which renders him unfit to be placed in charge of the US nuclear arsenal? I think voters deserve to know.

Hillary? Apparently, she is also no stranger to narcissism, but coming under sniper fire in Bosnia? As reported in a New York Times article entitled "Lies Can Point to Mental Disorders or Signal Normal Growth" by Daniel Goleman:

"Psychiatrists see lying as pathological when it is so persistent as to be destructive to the liar's life, or to those to whom he lies.

The most blatant lying is found in the condition called 'pseudologia fantastica,'in which a person concocts a stream of fictitious tales about his past, many with a small kernel of truth, all self-aggrandizing.

. . . .

'Pathological liars seem utterly sincere about their lies, but if confronted with facts to the contrary, will often just as sincerely reverse their story,' Dr. [Bryan] King said. 'Their stories have a believable consistency, but they just do not seem able to monitor whether they are telling the truth or not.'

Research suggests that this most extreme form of lying is associated with a specific neurological pattern: a minor memory deficit combined with impairment in the frontal lobes, which critically evaluate information, Dr. King said. In such cases, the person suffers from the inability to assess the accuracy of what he says, and so can tell lies as though they were true."

According to this Times article, Dr. King further observed:

"Grandiose lies typify the narcissist, whose deep need to win the constant approval of others impels him to present himself in the most favorable light. They are prone to exaggerate their abilities or accomplisments [sic] in order to seem more impressive. Because narcissists feel entitled to special treatment - for instance, believing that ordinary rules do not apply to them - they can be reckless in their lies."

"[O]rdinary rules do not apply to them"? Like ignoring government regulations and setting up a home email server while secretary of state?" Hmm.

Of course, Hillary might not want to undergo such an exam and have the results published. After all, she has told the electorate that regarding the transcripts of her speeches to financial institutions, she will not release them unless everyone else does. Leadership? Transparency? Why should Hillary give a damn!

So how about all you other candidates calling Hillary's bluff: Undergo those psychiatric exams and release the transcripts of your speeches! Americans deserve to know!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hillary "Regains Her Momentum" After Beating Sanders in Nevada?



Everywhere you look on the Internet this morning you read that Hillary has "regained her momentum" after beating Bernie Sanders, a socialist promoting pie-in-the-sky economics, in Nevada. Well, I suppose she didn't lose.

And then there was the bad news out of South Carolina, which gave all of its 32 primary delegates to Donald Trump. Are Republicans in that state really so stupid?

Will the FBI recommend indicting Hillary and bring Joe into the race? Can Marco garner all of Jeb's support? Or will the United States witness a nauseating battle of the multimillionaire narcissists in November?

Hope burns (not of the Sanders kind) eternal in the human breast.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Gail Collins, "Trump Shows His Inner Rabbit": The Art of Mendacity



"PELLEY: You know, in ’76, Jimmy Carter famously said, 'I will not lie to you.'

CLINTON: Well, I have to tell you I have tried in every way I know how literally from my years as a young lawyer all the way through my time as secretary of state to level with the American people.

PELLEY: You talk about leveling with the American people. Have you always told the truth?

CLINTON: I’ve always tried to. Always. Always.

PELLEY: Some people are gonna call that wiggle room that you just gave yourself.

CLINTON: Well, no, I’ve always tried —

PELLEY: I mean, Jimmy Carter said, 'I will never lie to you.'

CLINTON: Well, but, you know, you’re asking me to say, 'Have I ever?' I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever will. I’m gonna do the best I can to level with the American people."


- Interchange between Hillary Clinton and Scott Pelley, CBS News, February 18, 2016

In response to the above interchange, Chris Cillizza wrote in his Washington Post weblog "The Fix":

"I mean, what? W-H-A-T? 'I've always tried to' tell the truth? On what planet is this a good answer for a politician?"

As long as we're on the subject of lying, Ed Morrissey wrote one year ago in a Fox Nation article entitled "Hillary Fired for Lies, Unethical Behavior from Congressional Job: Former Boss":

"Jerry Zeifman, a lifelong Democrat, supervised the work of 27-year-old Hillary Rodham on the [House Judiciary Committee which was investigating Watergate]. Hillary got a job working on the investigation at the behest of her former law professor, Burke Marshall, who was also Sen. Ted Kennedy’s chief counsel in the Chappaquiddick affair. When the investigation was over, Zeifman fired Hillary from the committee staff and refused to give her a letter of recommendation – one of only three people who earned that dubious distinction in Zeifman’s 17-year career.

Why?

'Because she was a liar,' Zeifman said in an interview last week. 'She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.'"

"Conspired to violate the Constitution"? That sounds serious. Hillary's claim that she came under sniper fire in Bosnia pales in comparison.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Trump Shows His Inner Rabbit," does Gail Collins mention the kerfuffle involving Hillary's interview with Scott Pelley? Not a chance. Instead, she concludes her opinion piece by turning our attention to Donald Trump's denial of his allegation that George W. Bush lied to Americans concerning the rationale for the Second Gulf War:

"In a dramatic highlight of the last Republican debate, Trump accused the Bush administration of deliberately deceiving the American public about the invasion. ('They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none.') It was a potentially historic moment: a top Republican candidate for president attempts to lead his party into a frank reappraisal of the Bush-Cheney administration’s inherent honesty.

Here we are, one week later: 'I’m not talking about lying. ... Nobody really knows why we went into Iraq.'

Meanwhile, reporters continue to ask Trump supporters what the attraction is. And his fans say that he tells it like it is."

Trump tells it like it is? No way. Unless saying whatever pops into your head at any given moment is "telling it like it is."

But whereas Trump's recent declaration and retraction concerning George W. Bush amounted to just another instance of ad-lib chicanery, Hillary takes fibbery to a higher, more carefully spun, level. As observed by Marc Thiessen in a January 25, 2016 Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Clinton’s email excuses are falling apart":

"Lash out as she might, Clinton’s constantly changing email story is rapidly falling apart. First, Clinton claimed there was 'no classified material' on her private server — which turned out to be untrue. Then she claimed none of the intelligence on her server was 'classified at the time' — which also turned out to be untrue. Now, in a National Public Radio interview last week, Clinton said there was no information that was 'marked classified.'"

May Donald go back to hosting reality shows and Hillary return to giving speeches before financial institutions, if they are still willing to pay her when she is no longer a presidential aspirant.

Friday, February 19, 2016

David Brooks, "A Little Reality on Immigration": Only Rocket Scientists Need Apply



In a Times of Israel article entitled "Top Israeli researcher: Robots could take over most jobs within 30 years," we are told (my emphasis in red):

"Moshe Vardi, of Houston, Texas’s Rice University, told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington on Saturday that society’s major challenge in the coming decades will be to find meaning in a mostly automated life.

'We are approaching a time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task,' Vardi said. 'Robots are doing more and more jobs that people used to do. Pharmacists, prison guards, boning chicken, bartending, more and more jobs we’re able to mechanize them.'

With robots eliminating many middle-class jobs, Vardi said unemployment could rise beyond 50 percent."

Thirty years? I most likely won't be around to see it, but it would appear to make sense why people entering the job market today might be a little anxious about their future sources of income.

Which brings me to David Brooks's New York Times op-ed entitled "A Little Reality on Immigration," in which Brooks addresses Donald Trump's plan to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep illegal immigrants out of the US. Noting that "by 2044, America will be a majority-minority country [nice oxymoron, David]," Brooks concludes (my emphasis in red):

"Donald Trump’s G.O.P. is a rear-window party pining for a white America that is never coming back. Ronald Reagan’s G.O.P., and maybe some future G.O.P., will fix the immigration system and attract the people who will make the country innovative, dynamic and interesting for decades to come."

Ah yes, people who are going to make the US "innovative, dynamic and interesting for decades to come." If indeed, unemployment is going to skyrocket to 50 percent, things could indeed become "interesting." Meanwhile, maybe only rocket scientists should apply for Green Cards.

Paul Krugman, "Varieties of Voodoo": Nobel Hypocrisy



Again lashing out at Bernie Sanders's economic policies in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Varieties of Voodoo," Paul Krugman writes:

"Mr. Sanders is calling for a large expansion of the U.S. social safety net, which is something I would like to see, too. But the problem with such a move is that it would probably create many losers as well as winners — a substantial number of Americans, mainly in the upper middle class, who would end up paying more in additional taxes than they would gain in enhanced benefits.

By endorsing outlandish economic claims, the Sanders campaign is basically signaling that it doesn’t believe its program can be sold on the merits, that it has to invoke a growth miracle to minimize the downsides of its vision. It is, in effect, confirming its critics’ worst suspicions."

. . . .

"So Mr. Sanders really needs to crack down on his campaign’s instinct to lash out. More than that, he needs to disassociate himself from voodoo of the left — not just because of the political risks, but because getting real is or ought to be a core progressive value."

"Getting real" should be a "core progressive value"? Yeah, right. Consider the following suggestion from Krugman in his 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."

Krugman is a pragmatic progressive, a sober-minded liberal? Spare me. (I don't even want to bother relating to Krugman's absurd contention in his opinion piece of today's date that "Obamacare, which conservatives insisted would be a budget-buster, actually ended up being significantly cheaper than projected.")

Thursday, February 18, 2016

New York Times Editorial, "China’s Missile Provocation": Obama's Missile Dereliction



In an editorial entitled "China’s Missile Provocation," The New York Times says of China's decision to install two HQ-9 short-range missile batteries on Woody Island:

"China’s decision to station surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island in the South China Sea is the latest in a series of provocative acts that is fueling regional tensions. This unwise move raises new doubts about President Xi Jinping’s pledge not to 'pursue militarization' in a vital waterway and passage for $5 trillion in annual trade.

. . . .

The United States makes no claim to territory in the South China Sea and takes a neutral position on the competing claims [of China, Vietnam and Taiwan]. It has rightly pushed all countries, especially China, to stop militarizing land masses and adding to them. It has also promised to recognize the claims of whichever side wins the arbitration case.

Regardless of that outcome, it is essential for the United States, working with its allies, to ensure the free flow of navigation and to continue sending ships and planes across the sea, in accord with international law."

Fascinating. You will recall that Obama called Chinese President Xi earlier this month in the hope that Xi would curb North Korea's nuclear and rocket testing. Xi is going to pressure North Korea? Don't count on it. As reported by Javier C. Hernandez in a January 15, 2016 Times article entitled "After Nuclear Test, China Resists Pressure to Curb North Korea":

"Since coming to power in 2012, Mr. Xi has pushed the limits of Chinese foreign policy, challenging America’s influence in the Pacific and using China’s financial heft to win allies across the globe. But while Mr. Xi has taken a tougher approach than his predecessors on North Korea, he has resisted inflicting crippling punishments on the North, an ally for six decades and a valuable counterweight for Beijing to American military might in Asia."

Xi of course partnered with Obama in reaching the unsigned nuclear agreement with Iran. And you will also remember how, in a January 17, 2016 editorial entitled "A Safer World, Thanks to the Iran Deal," The New York Times sang paeans to Obama's "visionary determination," which led to his unsigned nuclear deal with Khamenei. This editorial was written one day after Obama lifted sanctions stemming from Iran's nuclear program, yet on the same day that Obama imposed sanctions on 11 persons and companies tied to recent Iranian ballistic missile tests. A confused chickenhearted message to Tehran? You bet! Will Iran halt its ballistic missile program as a result of sanctioning 11 persons and companies? Not a chance.

In fact, as reported today in a Times of Israel article entitled "Pending Iranian Space Launch Contrary to U.N. Nuclear Resolution" by Bill Gertz:

"Iran is expected to conduct a rocket test this month in violation of the recent UN resolution on the Iranian nuclear deal that bans long-range missile tests, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

Intelligence agencies are closely watching preparations in Iran to test a Simorgh space launch vehicle that U.S. officials say is the base for Tehran’s covert program to develop long-range nuclear missiles.

The large liquid-fueled rocket was developed with North Korean technology and was observed on a launch pad at the Semnan satellite launch center, located about 125 miles east of Tehran.

UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which outlines implementation of the recent Iranian nuclear agreement, prohibits Iran from conducting nuclear ballistic missile tests for the next eight years."

Obama will act decisively to prevent the launch? Again, not a chance. He will hand it over the UN, whose member states are only interested in cementing commercial agreements with Tehran, after the recent release of more than $100 billion of Iranian frozen assets.

Which brings me to yesterday's US Government Accountability Office assessment of the Missile Defense Agency's development of a ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) to defend against attacks from North Korea and Iran. The GAO writes (my emphasis in red):

"MDA Has Not Demonstrated Through Flight Testing That It Can Defend the U.S. Homeland Against the Current Missile Defense Threat

DOD’s August 2015 report stated that the BMDS is capable of defending the U.S. homeland against the threat of a limited intercontinental ballistic missile attack from countries such as North Korea and Iran. According to recent testimony from senior DOD officials, the warfighter remains confident in its ability to protect the nation from a limited intercontinental ballistic missile attack. However, several key aspects of this capability have not been demonstrated through flight testing. In May 2015, we reported that MDA previously conducted three successful CE-I intercept flight tests and achieved a major milestone when it performed its first successful intercept test with the CE-II, the first of several needed successful intercept tests to fully demonstrate the CE-II works as intended. Some of the capabilities that both MDA and the warfighter have identified that need to be demonstrated include intercepting a target representative of an intercontinental ballistic missile and performing a salvo intercept where two or more interceptors are utilized against a single target. The salvo capability is particularly important because, during a ballistic missile attack, the warfighter intends to launch a salvo of interceptors to increase the probability of successfully intercepting the incoming missiles and to overcome anticipated in-flight reliability failures.

According to a March 2015 assessment by DOD’s Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), GMD has demonstrated a partial capability against small numbers of simple ballistic missile threats launched from North Korea and Iran; GMD flight testing, to date, was insufficient to demonstrate that an operationally useful defense capability exists; and a quantitative assessment of GMD’s operational effectiveness is currently not possible."

Or stated otherwise, an effective American BMDS is years and billions of dollars away after Obama, intent upon avoiding confrontation, allowed North Korea and Iran to perfect their ballistic missile capabilities. Yikes!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Thomas Friedman, "Who Are We?": Hands Off Hillary!



Yesterday, in a New York Times op-ed entitled "The Roosevelt Approach," David Brooks trashed Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Today, in a Times op-ed entitled "Who Are We?," Thomas Friedman lambastes Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz. Friedman begins his opinion piece by observing:

"I find this election bizarre for many reasons but none more than this: If I were given a blank sheet of paper and told to write down America’s three greatest sources of strength, they would be 'a culture of entrepreneurship,' 'an ethic of pluralism' and the 'quality of our governing institutions.' And yet I look at the campaign so far and I hear leading candidates trashing all of them.

Donald Trump is running against pluralism. Bernie Sanders shows zero interest in entrepreneurship and says the Wall Street banks that provide capital to risk-takers are involved in 'fraud,' and Ted Cruz speaks of our government in the same way as the anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist, who says we should shrink government 'to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.'"

Okay, I have no love for Trump, Sanders or Cruz, but how the heck does Tom Terrific make reference to "the quality of our governing institutions" without making reference to Hillary's installation of a home email server in flagrant disregard for America's national security?

Friedman continues with regard to Sanders:

"Sanders seems to me like someone with a good soul, and he is right that Wall Street excesses helped tank the economy in 2008. But thanks to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, that can’t easily happen again."

Unfortunately, Dodd-Frank addresses past financial abuses, while ignoring newer manipulative and predatory tactics devised by hedge funds to line their pockets. With the cancellation of the Uptick Rule in July 2007 and the advent of high-frequency trading, it can happen again, yet the Obama administration has done absolutely nothing to address this problem.

Also, consider what Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, has to say about the repeal of Glass-Steagall by Bill Clinton:

"Hillary Clinton won’t propose reinstating a bank break-up law known as the Glass-Steagall Act – at least according to Alan Blinder, an economist who has been advising Clinton’s campaign. 'You’re not going to see Glass-Steagall,' Blinder said after her economic speech Monday in which she failed to mention it. Blinder said he had spoken to Clinton directly about Glass-Steagall.

This is a big mistake.

It’s a mistake politically because people who believe Hillary Clinton is still too close to Wall Street will not be reassured by her position on Glass-Steagall. Many will recall that her husband led the way to repealing Glass Steagall in 1999 at the request of the big Wall Street banks.

It’s a big mistake economically because the repeal of Glass-Steagall led directly to the 2008 Wall Street crash, and without it we’re in danger of another one."

I agree with Reich.

It is sickening how The New York Times - with the notable exception of Maureen Dowd - is determined to ignore Hillary's transgressions in order to grease her way into the White House.

Question: If the FBI recommends indicting Hillary, will the Gray Lady push its coverage of this story onto one of its back pages? Actually, news concerning the demise of Hillary's candidacy might well belong on the obituary page.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

David Brooks, "The Roosevelt Approach": A "Dear Hillary, Jeb, Marco and John" Letter? What About Joe?



Declaring in a New York Times op-ed entitled "The Roosevelt Approach" that "Sanders is uninhibited by the constraints of reality" and "Trump speaks from the id, not from any policy paper," David Brooks would have Hillary, Jeb, Marco and John adopt the "neighborliness" of FDR and Ike in combating these outliers. Brooks begins:

"You all find yourselves running against a whirlwind. Hillary, for you the whirlwind is Bernie Sanders. For the rest of you it’s Donald Trump.

Either way, you’re running against a candidate who generates passionate intensity. At some level those candidates’ followers must know that there’s something wildly impractical about the candidacy they are fervently supporting. Trump has no actual policies and Sanders has little chance of getting his passed.

And yet the supporters don’t care. Sanders and Trump make them feel known. Finally, somebody is saying what they feel. Finally, somebody is outraged by the things that outrage them. There’s a deep passion embedded in the Trump and Sanders phenomena, arousing energy, magical thinking and some suspension of disbelief.

And the rest of you are basically asking voters to snap out of it. All of you, but especially you, Hillary, are asking voters to calm down and be pragmatic: Consider electability!"

Stop right there, David! I'm no fan of Sanders or Trump, but you would have us believe that Hillary is running against a "whirlwind" in the form of Sanders? Rubbish! Hillary is running against herself: her greed (charging up to $300,000 to speak at public universities), her entitlement (jeopardizing the security of the US by installing a home email server), her lies ("I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material."), and her hypocrisy ("Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported," except when a woman claims "I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73....it never goes away.").

"Electability"? Hillary is not electable.

Brooks's conclusion:

"The candidate who has the audacity to change the emotional tone of this whole election will win the White House and have a shot at rebinding the civic fabric of this nation."

Indeed, Hillary needs to "change the emotional tone of this whole election" by dropping her bid for the presidency and allowing Joe Biden to run in her stead. She will be doing the United States, the Democratic Party and women a favor, and might even redeem herself in the eyes of many Americans. Will she withdraw from the race? Not a chance, unless the FBI recommends her indictment, but then it will be too late for her and for the nation.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Fred Hiatt, "Diplomacy as anesthetic in Syria": Obama's Odious Legacy; Hillary's Horrifying Complicity



One week ago, even Roger ("Iran is not totalitarian") Cohen, who supported the unsigned nuclear deal with Iran, did not mince his words when lambasting Obama's inaction in Syria in a New York Times op-ed entitled "America’s Syrian Shame":

"Obama’s Syrian agonizing, his constant what-ifs and recurrent 'what then?' have also lead to the slaughter in Paris and San Bernardino. They have contributed to a potential unraveling of the core of the European Union as internal borders eliminated on a free continent are re-established as a response to an unrelenting refugee tide — to which the United States has responded by taking in around 2,500 Syrians since 2012, or about 0.06 percent of the total."

In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Diplomacy as anesthetic in Syria," Fred Hiatt now joins Cohen in holding Obama accountable for this disaster. Noting US Secretary of State John Kerry's optimistic pronouncement at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday that "This is the hinge point" for bringing peace to Syria, Hiatt writes:

"As Kerry was discussing the latest diplomatic development, Russian planes were bombing civilians in the city of Aleppo and cutting off its supply line, raising the possibility that the city will be encircled and 400,000 more people forced to flee or face possible starvation, a favorite tactic of Syrian ruler and Putin ally Bashar al-Assad.

. . . .

I admire Kerry’s doggedness. But diplomacy that perpetually, and falsely, holds out the prospect of imminent progress can end up providing a cover and an excuse for inaction. The options available to Obama from the start were risky, and maybe none would have helped; maybe he was right not to give the rebels missiles to shoot down the helicopters that were dropping barrel bombs on civilian neighborhoods; maybe safe zones would not have spared Europe from its 'near-existential' crisis. But the mirage of negotiated peace has helped spare the administration — and Congress, and the nation — from even having to debate those possibilities seriously as one of the greatest humanitarian and strategic disasters of our time has unspooled."

Admire Kerry, who called Assad "my dear friend," for anything? Below, Kerry and Assad, together with their wives, dining in Damascus in 2009.



And what about Kerry's predecessor at the State Department, Hillary Clinton, who inexcusably came to the defense of  Assad in 2011:

"Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer."

This inane declaration followed Hillary's presentation of a "reset button" to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in 2009.

Recently asked if Obama's failure to enforce his "red line" involving the use of Assad's chemical weapons damaged American credibility, Hillary responded with a non-answer:

"I think as commander-in-chief, you have to be constantly evaluating the decisions you have to make."

David Brock, the head of a Hillary Clinton super PAC, not long ago declared that "cementing [Obama's] legacy is a very important part of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy." May the Lord have mercy on our souls.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "When Hillary Clinton Killed Feminism": Murder, She Wrote?



"There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!"

- Madeleine Albright, speaking on behalf of Hillary Clinton's candidacy

Can you imagine a male candidate for president, Democrat or Republican, applauding and laughing raucously when endorsed by another man, who declares to the crowd, "There’s a special place in hell for men who don’t help each other!" I can't. Such a mistake would be fatal. But then I also couldn't imagine two PBS "NewsHour" journalists, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, moderators of the Democratic debate on  Thursday, failing to ask Hillary a single question about the State Department subpoena served upon the Clinton Foundation. Was this "feminism" or "sexism" at work, or just journalistic ineptitude?

In a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "My Undiplomatic Moment," Madeleine Albright yesterday attempted to explain away her controversial "special place in hell" comment supporting Hillary's candidacy. Albright wrote:

"However, I do want to explain why I so firmly believe that, even today, women have an obligation to help one another. In a society where women often feel pressured to tear one another down, our saving grace lies in our willingness to lift one another up. And while young women may not want to hear anything more from this aging feminist, I feel it is important to speak to women coming of age at a time when a viable female presidential candidate, once inconceivable, is a reality."

Maureen Dowd, however, will have none of this. In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "When Hillary Clinton Killed Feminism," Dowd writes:

"The interesting thing about the spectacle of older women trying to shame younger ones on behalf of Hillary is that Hillary and Bill killed the integrity of institutional feminism back in the ’90s — with the help of Albright and Steinem.

Instead of just admitting that he had had an affair with Monica Lewinsky and taking his lumps, Bill lied and hid behind the skirts of his wife and female cabinet members, who had to go out before the cameras and vouch for his veracity, even when it was apparent he was lying.

Seeing Albright, the first female secretary of state, give cover to President Clinton was a low point in women’s rights."

Ouch!

Any discussion of Hillary and feminism, however, would not be complete without mentioning the millions of dollars donated to the Clinton Foundation by Saudi Arabia, a country which whips and imprisons gang rape victims.

And then there is also that small matter involving Hillary's tweet on November 22, 2015:

"Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported."

Which was followed by Juanita Broaddrick's tweet on January 6, 2016:

"I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73....it never goes away."

With a little luck, all of this talk about Hillary's candidacy will be rendered moot when the FBI weighs in with a recommendation concerning the use of her home server for sending and receiving top secret government communications (including emails exchanged with President Obama, who claims he never knew that his secretary of state was using a private server). Further afield, my guess is that if Hillary is forced to withdraw from the race: a) no one will ever again pay her anything approaching $500,000 for a speech (although maybe she could make a paid guest appearance on "The Biggest Loser"), and b) her marriage to Bill (of convenience or inconvenience) will end within a year.

By the way, it is fast becoming apparent that Elizabeth Warren was wise not to endorse Hillary. Two days ago, in a Boston Globe article entitled "Why Elizabeth Warren can’t endorse Hillary Clinton," Eric Fehrnstrom wrote:

"Stumping for Hillary Clinton before the Tuesday vote, Madeline Albright delivered her now-famous 'special place in hell' warning to women who don’t help other women. If the Clinton campaign was sending a not-too-subtle message to Senator Warren, they’re going to have to wait a long time, maybe until hell freezes over."

Hell, however, could freeze over if Hillary - a narcissist, not a feminist - runs against Donald Trump, also blindly enamored of himself, in November, which is not so far off.

Stay tuned . . .

Friday, February 12, 2016

Gail Collins, "Republicans, Widows and Porn": Sisters in Arms



"There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!"

- Madeleine Albright, speaking on behalf of Hillary Clinton's candidacy

Yesterday I observed that The Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, Yahoo News, Bloomberg and UPI had all published articles concerning the State Department subpoena served on the Clinton Foundation, but The New York Times decided to ignore the matter entirely. I asked whether the Times is still a newspaper or if it has become a highly politicized, self-serving propaganda machine. Well, maybe I was too harsh on the Times. After all, during the PBS "NewsHour" Democratic debate on Thursday, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff remarkably failed to ask Hillary a single question about the subpoena.

I supposed that it should come as no surprise that in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Republicans, Widows and Porn," Gail Collins also fails today to mention the subpoena. Instead she reserves most of her criticism for Ted Cruz ("The run-up to this weekend’s Republican debate was greatly enlivened by the news that Amy Lindsay, an alum of 'Animal Lust' and 'Whose Thong Is It Anyway?,' was starring in a Cruz campaign ad") and Donald Trump ("it might provide the opportunity for someone to recall that the widow in question once referred to the man who is now the leading Republican presidential candidate as 'a maggot, a cockroach and a crumb'").

So what is more important? The pulling of a Cruz advertisement or service of a subpoena upon the Clinton Foundation? We obviously know what's more important for Gail.

But don't worry, Gail! You've got good company! In a guest Times op-ed entitled "My Undiplomatic Moment," Madeleine Albright attempts to explain away her "special place in hell" comment supporting Hillary's candidacy. Albright writes:

"However, I do want to explain why I so firmly believe that, even today, women have an obligation to help one another. In a society where women often feel pressured to tear one another down, our saving grace lies in our willingness to lift one another up. And while young women may not want to hear anything more from this aging feminist, I feel it is important to speak to women coming of age at a time when a viable female presidential candidate, once inconceivable, is a reality."

Hillary is a "viable" candidate? Sorry, Madeleine, but the State Department subpoena (you remember the State Department, don't you, Maddy?) served on the Clinton Foundation did away with that viability. As Chris Cillizza wrote in a Washington Post article entitled "Hillary Clinton’s week just went from bad to worse":

"There is, without question, a desire on the part of many Republicans to cast Clinton in the worst possible light using almost any means necessary. But it strains credulity to believe that Republicans somehow concocted a way to get the State Department and the FBI to look into Clinton's tenure at State."

Hillary's candidacy will unravel when the FBI makes its recommendations. She would be doing the United States, the Democratic Party and women a favor by ending her presidential bid now and not later, unless it is her intention to demonstrate conclusively that female politicians are just as despicable as male politicians.

David Brooks, "Livin’ Bernie Sanders’s Danish Dream"; Paul Krugman, "On Economic Stupidity": The Times Ceases to Be a Newspaper?



Let's play a game: Do a Google search using the words "state department," "subpoena," "Clinton Foundation" and "New York Times." What do you see? I see links to Washington Post (a "top story" on the home page), MSNBC, CNN, Yahoo News, Bloomberg and UPI articles concerning the State Department subpoena served on the Clinton Foundation, but nothing from The New York Times. I also did a search using Yahoo: Again, no sign of the Times.

The significance of the subpoena? Chris Cillizza writes in a Washington Post article entitled "Hillary Clinton’s week just went from bad to worse":

"There is, without question, a desire on the part of many Republicans to cast Clinton in the worst possible light using almost any means necessary. But it strains credulity to believe that Republicans somehow concocted a way to get the State Department and the FBI to look into Clinton's tenure at State."

Indeed, something is rotten in the State of Clinton. But more to the point, is the Times ("All the News That's Fit to Print") a newspaper or has it become a highly politicized, self-serving propaganda machine?

Meanwhile, in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Livin’ Bernie Sanders’s Danish Dream," David Brooks takes aim at the socialist from Vermont:

"American values have always been biased toward individualism, achievement and flexibility — nurturing disruptive dynamos like Bell Labs, Walmart, Whole Foods, Google and Apple — and less toward dirigisme, order and economic equality.

It’s amazing that a large part of the millennial generation has rejected this consensus. In supporting Bernie Sanders they are not just supporting a guy who is mad at Wall Street. They are supporting a guy who fundamentally wants to reshape the American economic system, and thus reshape American culture and values."

Okay, I'm no fan of Bernie Sanders, but it's Hillary Clinton who held herself above the law and who would reshape the American criminal justice system. (Why should she deign to use a secure State Department email address for official business?) Needless to say, no mention of service of the State Department subpoena on the Clinton Foundation in Brooks's opinion piece.

David's colleague, Paul Krugman, writing today in a Times op-ed entitled "On Economic Stupidity" also lashes out at Sanders:

"On the Democratic side, both contenders talk sensibly about macroeconomic policy, with Mr. Sanders rightly declaring that the recent rate hike was a bad move. But Mr. Sanders has also attacked the Federal Reserve in a way Mrs. Clinton has not — and that difference illustrates in miniature both the reasons for his appeal and the reasons to be very worried about his approach."

Krugman, who sang paeans to Occupy Wall Street, is telling us that we should be "very worried" by Sander's approach? Fascinating.

More to the point, Krugman also fails to mention the subpoena served upon the Clinton Foundation. You see, Hillary, having received the Times's endorsement, is now a sacred cow and appears to be immune from criticism. If the FBI recommends indicting Hillary and her aides, I can only wonder if the Times will choose to cover that story.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gail Collins, "Hillary, Bernie and History": Women Can Be Just As Rotten as Men?



Yesterday, in the aftermath of comments from Madeleine Albright ("There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!") and Gloria Steinem ("When you’re young, you’re thinking: 'Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,'"), Ruth Marcus declared in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Hillary Clinton needs to figure out how to talk to women — and fast":

"Feminism doesn’t mean imposing a moral obligation on women to vote a certain way. It means trusting them, not demeaning them, when they choose the candidate they like best, male or female. Even if their mothers disagree."

Marcus's opinion piece followed on the heels of Frank Bruni's New York Times op-ed entitled "Feminism, Hell and Hillary Clinton":

"Clinton’s gender indeed matters. Just as you couldn’t properly evaluate Obama’s arc without factoring in race, you can’t see her accurately without recognizing that she’s a woman of her time, with all the attendant obstacles, hurts, compromises and tenacity.

That informs — and, ideally, illuminates — her perspective. And her presidency would carry a powerful, constructive symbolism that can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

But those are considerations among many, many others in taking her measure and in casting a vote. To focus only or primarily on them is more reductive than respectful, and to tell women in particular what kind of politics they should practice is the antithesis of feminism, which advocates independence and choices."

Well said, Frank.

Gail Collins's "contribution" to the debate over Albright's and Steinem's remarks? In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Hillary, Bernie and History," Collins concludes (my emphasis in red):

"It took almost 40 more years before a woman won a major presidential primary. That was, of course, Clinton in 2008 in New Hampshire. She didn’t win the election, but she was so credible, and finished so strong, that the nation came away believing a woman in the White House was a completely normal idea.

If the younger voters who are flocking to Bernie Sanders don’t share their elders’ intense feelings about needing to elect a woman president right now, it’s partly because Hillary Clinton helped create a different world. So no matter what comes next, everybody’s a winner."

Hillary "helped create a different world"? Yeah, right. No mention by Collins of the acceptance by the Clinton Foundation of millions of dollars in donations from Saudi Arabia, a country which whips and imprisons gang rape victims.

And no mention by Collins of Hillary's tweet on November 22, 2015:

"Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported."

Which was followed by Juanita Broaddrick's tweet on January 6, 2016:

"I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73....it never goes away."

In addition, there's the small matter of Hillary's honesty as perceived by the American electorate. As reported by Chris Cillizza in Washington Post article entitled "Hillary Clinton has a major honesty problem after New Hampshire":

"Hillary Clinton has an honesty problem.

That point is driven home hard in the exit poll following Clinton's 22-point drubbing at the hands of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. More than one in three (34 percent) of all New Hampshire Democratic primary voters said that honesty was the most important trait in their decision on which candidate to support. Of that bloc, Sanders won 92 percent of their votes as compared to just 6 percent for Clinton."

Bottom line, Hillary Clinton has proven that female politicians can be just as despicable as male politicians. Collins writes:

"Strong as the emotions are in the Clinton and Sanders camps, both sides have to feel sort of chipper when they look over at the Republicans, who are engaged in something between professional wrestling and Godzilla Versus Rodan."

In fact, the real battle between Godzilla and Rodan will arrive if Hillary is nominated by the Democrats and runs against Trump in November. And in this case, no matter what comes next, everybody’s a ... loser.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Frank Bruni, "Feminism, Hell and Hillary Clinton": Will Anyone Ever Again Pay Her $500,000 to Speak? No Way in Hell!



Following Hillary's New Hampshire primary debacle, Frank Bruni writes in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Feminism, Hell and Hillary Clinton":

"Clinton’s gender indeed matters. Just as you couldn’t properly evaluate Obama’s arc without factoring in race, you can’t see her accurately without recognizing that she’s a woman of her time, with all the attendant obstacles, hurts, compromises and tenacity.

That informs — and, ideally, illuminates — her perspective. And her presidency would carry a powerful, constructive symbolism that can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

But those are considerations among many, many others in taking her measure and in casting a vote. To focus only or primarily on them is more reductive than respectful, and to tell women in particular what kind of politics they should practice is the antithesis of feminism, which advocates independence and choices."

Thank you, Frank!

Hillary is toast. Will anyone ever again pay Hillary $500,000 for a speech? No way in hell.

The real loser in New Hampshire? Anyone who ever paid money to the Clinton Foundation, hoping to gain influence over or access to the next president. Sorry, boys and girls, a bad bet. Your horse just came up lame.

Joe, opportunity is knocking.