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Friday, May 27, 2016

New York Times Editorial, "Hillary Clinton, Drowning in Email": Vote for Her Because He's Worse



In an editorial entitled "Hillary Clinton, Drowning in Email," The New York Times writes:

"Even now, it seems a stretch to say that Mrs. Clinton’s email mishaps should disqualify her for the White House, particularly considering the alternative of Mr. Trump with his manifold evasions — not least his refusal to release tax returns that could shed light on his claims to great wealth, his charitable contributions and other deductions and possible conflicts of interest."

Or stated otherwise, vote for her because he's worse.

The Times concludes:

"But the nation should not be judging leadership as a measure of who is less untrustworthy. Mrs. Clinton has to answer questions about the report thoroughly and candidly. That is her best path back to the larger task of campaigning for the presidency."

And if she doesn't answer those questions thoroughly and candidly? In all honesty - something Hillary is incapable of - there are no good answers.

What a splendid way to elect the next president!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Gail Collins, "Memorial Day Weekend Ranting": Ignoring the IG's Report



Yes, something "bad" happened to Hillary's presidential campaign yesterday, but you would never know it after reading Gail Collins's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Memorial Day Weekend Ranting," which is devoted to airlines fees for checked baggage and $3 snacks. (Gail, it wouldn't harm you to lay off the junk food.)

The State Department IG's Report concerning Hillary's email practices? Why should that bother Gail, who told us one week ago that Hillary "is one of the most qualified people ever to run for the office." Hey, Gail, surely you remember what Hillary told reporters at the UN in March:

"First, the laws and regulations in effect when I was secretary of state allowed me to use my email for work. That is undisputed.

. . . .

I fully complied with every rule I was governed by."

If fibbing was a presidential qualification, Hillary would indeed have this election all sewn up.

More to the point, if Hillary cared more about the United States than herself, she would drop out of the race and save us from Donald Trump.

Sadly, she doesn't.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thomas Friedman, "Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel-Palestine": A "Dark Hour"?



Troubled by Bibi Netanyahu's dismissal of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Thomas Friedman concludes his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel-Palestine" by observing:

"So Netanyahu, who only acts the way the wind blows, purged Yaalon. With that move, said the Hebrew University religious philosopher Moshe Halbertal, we are witnessing 'Israel’s ruling party being transformed from a hawkish nationalist party that used to have a humanitarian and democratic base, into an ultranationalist party that is now defined by turning against the ‘enemies’ from within — the courts, the NGOs, the education system, the Arab minority and now, the army — anyone who stands in the way of their project of permanent occupation of the West Bank. Having failed to deliver a solution for the enemies on the outside, so now Likud is focused on the enemies inside. This is a major transformation in Israel and should be looked upon with great concern.' The army’s leadership, added Halbertal, 'is trying to transcend this war of all against all and impose moral order on chaos rather than inflame it for narrow political gains.'

Netanyahu does just the opposite. For those of us who care about Israel’s future, this is a dark hour."

Yesterday, I voiced my dissatisfaction with Netanyahu's decision. On the other hand, it need be noted that Israel is not Turkey. There will be elections, and I will be very surprised if Netanyahu, currently embroiled in a scandal, will remain Israel's prime minister.

Heck, Tom, a "dark hour"? Spare me! I am more concerned by the American electorate having to choose between Hillary and Donald.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

New York Times Editorial, "A Baffling, Hard-line Choice in Israel": How About Looking at Ploughshares?



In a New York Times homepage lead-in to an editorial entitled "A Baffling, Hard-line Choice in Israel," we are told "Benjamin Netanyahu selected a defense minister badly suited to the Obama administration and to forging peace in the Middle East."

Whoa! I am indeed disturbed by Netanyahu's decision to replace former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon with Avigdor Lieberman, a former IDF corporal, as defense minister, but Lieberman is "badly suited to the Obama administration"? An Israeli defense minister need not be suited to Obama; rather, he/she needs to be the person best suited to keeping the State of Israel safe in the face of death threats from "moderate" Iranian mullahs.

Let us also not forget Obama's appointment of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. The appointment of Hagel, known for his hostility to Israel, was supported by Iran.

In addition, Hagel had been a director of the Ploughshares Fund. According to a Daily Caller article entitled "Revealed: Iran Deal Propaganda Money Made Its Way All Around Washington" by Russ Read:

"Ploughshares also provided over $280,000 to the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) for its work supporting the Iran deal, some of which went directly towards sending NIAC staff to the nuclear negotiations in Vienna. NIAC was accused of engaging in lobbying efforts on behalf of the Islamic Republic around 2007, which led to the organization’s president Trita Parsi bringing suit against journalist Hassan Daioleslam for defamation. Parsi eventually lost the protracted legal battle."

Trita Parsi, NIAC's president? As reported by Michael Rubin in a Commentary article entitled "Ploughshares: The Money Behind the Iran Deal" (my emphasis in red):

"It is a theme supporters of the Iran deal have picked up. Trita Parsi, an Iranian-Swede who leads the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and once declared that everything he does, he does for Iran, marked Senator Harry Reid’s endorsement of the deal by declaring it a defeat for big money, a silly statement given Reid’s own partisanship and acceptance of myriad campaign contributions from lobbying groups. 'The Iran Project,' likewise reported, 'In efforts to sway Iran debate, big-money donors are heard.' The news media has played along. 'Big Money and Ads Clash Over Iran Nuclear Deal,' USA Today reported.

The irony, however, is that many of the staunchest proponents of the Iran nuclear deal feed from the same trough of cash supplied by the Ploughshares Fund, a multimillion-dollar group which defines itself as a foundation seeking nuclear disarmament but which has, for several years, taken a consistently apologetic line toward Iran. Now, too often analysts throw around discussion of funding to cast aspersions on those who disagree with them in the policy debate. Often, this is nonsense. Few analysts on either the left or the right are blank slates that simply follow the money. Those staffing NIAC, for example, have always sought an end to sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Wait! There's more!  Earlier this month, in a New York Times Magazine article entitled "The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru," David Samuels quoted Ben Rhodes, Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, as saying that "We created an echo chamber" to support Obama's unsigned nuclear deal with Iran. More specifically, Samuels wrote (my emphasis in red):

"When I suggested that all this dark metafictional play seemed a bit removed from rational debate over America’s future role in the world, Rhodes nodded. 'In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this,' he said. 'We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.' He is proud of the way he sold the Iran deal. 'We drove them crazy,' he said of the deal’s opponents."

And what did Ploughshares do? Ploughshares ploughed $576,500 to J Street to support the nuclear deal with Iran, i.e. cause Congress to believe that the deal had the backing of those who purportedly care about Israel's security.

Yes, it's time for a Congressional inquiry!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Frank Bruni, "How Facebook Warps Our Worlds": Just Facebook? Consider the Damage Done by Obama!



In an exceptional New York Times op-ed entitled "How Facebook Warps Our Worlds," Frank Bruni writes:

"We construct precisely contoured echo chambers of affirmation that turn conviction into zeal, passion into fury, disagreements with the other side into the demonization of it. Then we marvel at the Twitter mobs that swarm in defense of Sanders or the surreal success of Donald Trump’s candidacy, whose historical tagline may well be 'All I know is what’s on the Internet.'"

First, my philosophy regarding Facebook: Just say no! Sure, I use it to identify myself on rare occasions for purposes of writing comments on the Internet, but beyond that? I have no Facebook friends, and I haven't had a visitor in months (years?).

Back now to Bruni. Odd that he uses the words "echo chambers of affirmation" in the paragraph quoted above without mentioning Ben Rhodes, Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications. Earlier this month, in a New York Times Magazine article entitled "The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru," David Samuels wrote (my emphasis in red):

"In this environment, Rhodes has become adept at ventriloquizing many people at once. Ned Price, Rhodes’s assistant, gave me a primer on how it’s done. The easiest way for the White House to shape the news, he explained, is from the briefing podiums, each of which has its own dedicated press corps. 'But then there are sort of these force multipliers,' he said, adding, 'We have our compadres, I will reach out to a couple people, and you know I wouldn’t want to name them — '

. . . .

As Malley and representatives of the State Department, including Wendy Sherman and Secretary of State John Kerry, engaged in formal negotiations with the Iranians, to ratify details of a framework that had already been agreed upon, Rhodes’s war room did its work on Capitol Hill and with reporters. In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. 'We created an echo chamber,' he admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. 'They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.'"

Did you read George Orwell's "1984"?:

"But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."

Orwell was off the mark by some 30 years.

Maureen Dowd, "Weakend at Bernie’s": Roosevelt Was Wrong



Maureen Dowd concludes her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Weakend at Bernie’s" by observing:

"Hillary can’t generate excitement on her own so she is relying on fear of Trump to get her into the White House. And Trump is relying on fear of everything to get him into the White House.

So voters are stuck in the muck of the negative: What are you most afraid of?"

What am I most afraid of? Allow me to answer that question by referring you to three quotes:

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

- Franklin D. Roosevelt

"We just can't trust the American people to make those types of choices.... Government has to make those choices for people."

- Hillary Clinton

"You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass."

- Donald Trump

Roosevelt was wrong, but then again, he was fortunate enough to have died before Hillary and Donald were born.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Jonathan Weisman Amazed by Anti-Semitic Backlash? Given The New York Times's Behavior, It Should Come As No Surprise!



Yup, it's a classic chickens coming home to roost story.

As noted in a Washington Post item entitled "New York Times staffer tweets out op-ed critical of Trump, faces anti-Semitic avalanche" by Erik Wemple, deputy Washington editor Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times and other Jewish journalists critical of Donald Trump are being overwhelmed with anti-Semitic tweets.

I am horrified by the Trump candidacy; however, I think it is also worth observing how The New York Times has tolerated anti-Semitism from the left. You might want to have a look at the following JG Caesarea blog entries (all can be found in the blog archive under the label "anti-Semitism":

SATURDAY, JULY 18, 2015
Maureen Dowd, "Hi-Ho, Lone Ranger": More Anti-Semitism Courtesy of The New York Times
SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2015
Is The New York Times Anti-Semitic? Absolutely!
SATURDAY, APRIL 18, 2015
New York Times Editorial, "Anti-Semitism in the Soccer Stands": The Pot Calls the Kettle Black
THURSDAY, AUGUST 28, 2014
David Brooks, "The Mental Virtues": What About Anti-Semitism at The New York Times?
MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2014
Frank Bruni, "The Oldest Hatred, Forever Young": Have a Look at Your Own Newspaper!
MONDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2013
Roger Cohen, "A Jew Not Quite English Enough": What About Anti-Semitism at The New York Times?
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2013
Nicholas Kristof, "Meet the Champs": Nick Taking Leave Without Explaining His Filthy Retweet Concerning AIPAC
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2012
Is New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd Anti-Semitic?
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2012
The Stench of Anti-Semitism at The New York Times
Monday, December 19, 2011
The New York Times Sanitizes Critical Response to Thomas Friedman's Anti-Semitic Tirade
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2011
The New York Times and Israel Bashing: Yes, The New York Times Is Anti-Semitic
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2011
Anti-Semitism, The New York Times and Occupy Wall Street
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2010
Sanchez Dismissal Spawns More Anti-Semitic Readers' Comments at The New York Times
SATURDAY, AUGUST 28, 2010
Anti-Semitism: No Response from Charles Blow
FRIDAY, AUGUST 27, 2010
Charles Blow's "Obama and the Jews, Part 2" Evokes Anti-Semitism
THURSDAY, AUGUST 12, 2010
Anonymous Anti-Semitism from the Editorial Board of The New York Times: Netanyahu a "Master Manipulator"
SUNDAY, AUGUST 1, 2010
Vicious Anti-Semitic Reader's Comment in Response to Paul Krugman's "Bad for the Jews"
SATURDAY, JULY 31, 2010
The New York Times, Anti-Semitism and the Mike McMahon Election Scandal: See No Evil
TUESDAY, JUNE 8, 2010
If You Were Revolted by Helen Thomas, Have a Look at The New York Times
TUESDAY, MAY 18, 2010
Return of Anti-Semitism to New York Times Online Comments
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2010
Anti-Semitism and Censorship: Shame on The New York Times!
TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2010
David Brooks' Op-Ed Spawns Online New York Times Anti-Semitism
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2009
Jimmy Carter's "New Anti-Semitism" and The New York Times
THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 2009
Why Is Antisemitism Permitted in Online Comments "Moderated" by The Times? Open Letter No. 2 to Clark Hoyt, Public Editor of The New York Times
FRIDAY, MAY 29, 2009
Weaving Hatred on the Web
WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2009
Roger Cohen's "Obama in Netanyahu's Web"

A New York Times editor is astonished when anti-Semites climb out from under their rocks and bite him in the arse? Spare me!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

American Exceptionalism: Are Donald and Hillary the Exceptions?



Sorry for disappearing these many days. For a believer in American exceptionalism, Donald and Hillary have me in a deep funk. The former doesn't know when he is lying. The latter knows she's lying, but can't help herself.

A few odds and ends ...

You will recall that in a March 31, 2015 Washington Post opinion piece  entitled "Deal or no deal, the Iran talks have borne fruit," David Ignatius wrote:

"Whatever the endgame produces, it’s useful to focus on the process of negotiation itself, which is nearly as important as whether there’s a sustainable deal.

First, there is the fact of U.S.-Iranian engagement. For more than 18 months, Iran has been in direct talks with a power it once demonized as the 'Great Satan.' Iranian hard-liners certainly remain, but the nation that chanted in unison 'Death to America' is probably gone forever."

When I sent emails to Ignatius and provided evidence that he was wrong, he wrote back to me and declared:

"You miss my point entirely. What I said was that the NATION will never again chant it in UNISON. There will still be fanatical hardliners but they are beginning to be outliers."

In the wake of Ben Rhodes revelations concerning the Iran nuclear deal that the Obama administration had "played" America's journalists, I sent an email to Ignatius earlier this week:

"I think it is time to revisit our correspondence from one year ago, particularly in light of Ben Rhodes recent comments to The New York Times Magazine, i.e. the distinction between 'hardliners' (Khamenei) and 'moderates' (Rouhani) was concocted by the administration to sell the nuclear deal.

In any event, "Death to America" chanting has continued and will continue.

Do you feel that you were influenced by Rhodes and friends? I think a follow-up opinion piece might be interesting."

Thus far, Ignatius has graciously failed to reply.

You will also recall Nicholas Kristof's April 23, 2016 New York Times op-ed entitled "Is Hillary Clinton Dishonest?," in which he informed us:

"One basic test of a politician’s honesty is whether that person tells the truth when on the campaign trail, and by that standard Clinton does well. PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking site, calculates that of the Clinton statements it has examined, 50 percent are either true or mostly true.

That compares to 49 percent for Bernie Sanders’s, 9 percent for Trump’s, 22 percent for Ted Cruz’s and 52 percent for John Kasich’s. Here we have a rare metric of integrity among candidates, and it suggests that contrary to popular impressions, Clinton is relatively honest — by politician standards."

Ah yes, "politician standards." How reassuring that half of what Hillary tells us is true or mostly true! But more to the point, I wonder what Kristof has to say of the 13-minute YouTube highlighting Hillary's incessant deceit, which, as noted by WaPo's  Kathleen Parker, has gone viral.

Turning now to the international arena, legislators from Belgium are proposing that Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti, currently serving five life sentences for murder, be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Concurrently, Belgium is refusing to provide financial assistance, amounting to some $17,000, to the two daughters of an Israeli couple murdered in a 2014 attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

Sic[k] transit gloria mundi ...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thomas Friedman, "Trump’s Miss Universe Foreign Policy": Is Friedman Angry at Obama?



Is Thomas Friedman angry at Obama? Is the honeymoon over? In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Trump’s Miss Universe Foreign Policy," Friedman writes:

"The New York Times Magazine just profiled one of the president’s deputy national security advisers, Ben Rhodes, reporting how he and his aides boasted of using social media, what the writer called a 'largely manufactured' narrative, and a pliant press to, in essence, dupe the country into supporting the Iran nuclear deal. The Donald is not the only one given to knuckleheaded bluster and misrepresentation on foreign policy.

. . . .

President Obama has been patting himself on the back a lot lately for not intervening in Syria. I truly sympathized with how hard that call was — until I heard the president and his aides boasting about how smart their decision was and how stupid all their critics are. The human and geopolitical spillover from Syria is not over. It’s destabilizing the E.U., Lebanon, Iraq, Kurdistan and Jordan. The choices are hellish. I would not want the responsibility for making them. But nobody has a monopoly on genius here, and neither Obama’s victory lap around this smoldering ruin nor Trump’s bombastic and simplistic solutions are pretty to watch."

Or stated otherwise, it took Friedman seven and a half years to understand that Obama and friends have destroyed American credibility and deterrent power. Better late than never, I suppose.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Donald Trump or Paul Ryan: Who’s King of the Hill?": The End



"This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes, again"


- "The End," The Doors (1967)

Yes, America's press corps has been duped by Obama. Again. This time involving his unsigned nuclear deal with Iran.

But it should come as no surprise ...

Back in 2009, Obama advisor Anita (Mao is one of "my favorite political philosophers") Dunn explained Obama’s media tactics during the 2008 election:

"One of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe [Obama’s chief campaign manager] videos was not just for our supporters, but also because it was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters. We just put that out there and made them write what Plouffe had said as opposed to Plouffe doing an interview with a reporter. So it was very much we controlled it as opposed to the press controlled it. . . . very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn’t absolutely control."

Ah yes, nothing better than absolute control ...

This weekend we are learning of the shenanigans of top Obama advisor Ben Rhodes, who is quoted by David Samuels in a New York Time Magazine article entitled "The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru" as saying:

"All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus. Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing."

Got it: American reporters are for the most part a bunch of simpletons. Rhodes got that right.

Samuels continues:

"In this environment, Rhodes has become adept at ventriloquizing many people at once. Ned Price, Rhodes’s assistant, gave me a primer on how it’s done. The easiest way for the White House to shape the news, he explained, is from the briefing podiums, each of which has its own dedicated press corps. 'But then there are sort of these force multipliers,' he said, adding, 'We have our compadres, I will reach out to a couple people, and you know I wouldn’t want to name them — '"

"Compadres"? What Price really meant were the ventriloquist's dummies.

More specifically, regarding the Iran nuclear deal, Samuels writes:

"In the narrative that Rhodes shaped, the 'story' of the Iran deal began in 2013, when a 'moderate' faction inside the Iranian regime led by Hassan Rouhani beat regime “hard-liners” in an election and then began to pursue a policy of 'openness,' which included a newfound willingness to negotiate the dismantling of its illicit nuclear-weapons program. The president set out the timeline himself in his speech announcing the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015: 'Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not.' While the president’s statement was technically accurate — there had in fact been two years of formal negotiations leading up to the signing of the J.C.P.O.A. — it was also actively misleading, because the most meaningful part of the negotiations with Iran had begun in mid-2012, many months before Rouhani and the 'moderate' camp were chosen in an election among candidates handpicked by Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The idea that there was a new reality in Iran was politically useful to the Obama administration. By obtaining broad public currency for the thought that there was a significant split in the regime, and that the administration was reaching out to moderate-minded Iranians who wanted peaceful relations with their neighbors and with America, Obama was able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that his administration was making. By eliminating the fuss about Iran’s nuclear program, the administration hoped to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries, which would create the space for America to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. With one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of a large-scale disengagement from the Middle East."

Or stated otherwise, Obama's ends justify Obama's means. Ugh.

And then there was Samuel's revelation concerning Obama's actual readiness to stop Iran from manufacturing its first atomic bomb:

"'As secretary of defense, [Leon Panetta] tells me, one of his most important jobs was keeping Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, from launching a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. 'They were both interested in the answer to the question, ‘Is the president serious?’ ' Panetta recalls. 'And you know my view, talking with the president, was: If brought to the point where we had evidence that they’re developing an atomic weapon, I think the president is serious that he is not going to allow that to happen.'

Panetta stops.

'But would you make that same assessment now?' I ask him.

'Would I make that same assessment now?' he asks. 'Probably not.'"

Yes, Israel was also deceived by the Obama administration. Obama has "Israel's back"? I don't think so. In fact, Obama was actually hoping to have Netanyahu by the short and curlies.

All of which brings me to Maureen Dowd's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Donald Trump or Paul Ryan: Who’s King of the Hill?," in which she sardonically writes of an imaginary meeting between the two men.

Trump? Who gives a damn? The man will probably set a record for the most four-Pinocchio falsehoods in Washington Post history by election day and will be roadkill on November 8. The joke is on us.

Darling Barack Obama on the other hand? We can now add "Reformist Rouhani/Khard-Line Khamenei" to "It was the video" and "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." Maybe Trump has surpassed Obama in quantity, but the "quality" of Obama's fabrications leaves the Donald in the dust.

Hillary's skill at lying? Bosnia, Benghazi, her home server, and "we came out of the White House dead broke." The woman's a legend!

A third party candidate? Please, God! Maybe William Kristol, bless his soul, would care to touch base with Leon Panetta.

 

Friday, May 6, 2016

David Brooks, "Clinton’s Imagination Problem": Is Hillary Nodding Her Head in Agreement?



Mildly critical of Hillary ("We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business") Clinton's apology tour of West Virgina, David Brooks writes in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Clinton’s Imagination Problem" that "she doesn’t sound like an imaginative candidate who is responding with fresh eyes to situations today." Instead of Hillary's promise to "take a hard look at retraining programs," Brooks suggests:

"A daring approach might have been to use the speech to propose a comprehensive drug addiction and mental health agenda. That would have grabbed the attention of all those Americans whose families are touched by addiction and mental health issues — which is basically everybody.

A more imaginative approach might have been to unfurl a vision to reweave social fabric, the way David Cameron has in Britain. In areas of concentrated poverty, everything is connected to everything else — job loss, family structure, alcoholism, domestic violence, neighborliness.."

Daring? Imaginative? Have you ever watched Hillary robotically nod her head in agreement with anything being spouted by her supporters?

This is the Democratic alternative to a misogynist with a severe narcissistic personality disorder? Indeed, we live in sad times.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

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



Gail Collins is in panic-mode.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 2, 2016

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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