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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

My guess is that Hillary suffers from a neurological problem.

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

Monday, September 12, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . . .

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

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

. . . .

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

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

Krugman concludes his opinion piece by declaring:

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

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

Saturday, September 10, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 9, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

. . . .

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 5, 2016

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

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

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

. . . .

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

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

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

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

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

. . . .

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

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

Krugman concludes:

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Karen Heller, "The improbable story of the man who won history’s ‘biggest murder trial’ at Nuremberg": Ben Ferencz, a Five Foot Giant Among Men

In a Washington Post article entitled "The improbable story of the man who won history’s ‘biggest murder trial’ at Nuremberg," Karen Heller tells us of 96-year-old Ben Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials. Read this article from top to bottom. See the video, too. Thank you, Ms. Heller. God bless you, Mr. Ferencz.

My fervent wish? That President Obama, the author of the unsigned nuclear deal with Iran, which continues to call for the extermination of Israel and sponsors Holocaust cartoon contests, also read this article.

How successful is Obama's unsigned deal with Iran? Well, Supreme Leader Khamenei has just declared:

"In a world where the bullying powers are ruling without the least essence of morality, conscience and humanity and are not shy of invading other countries and massacring innocent people, the development of defensive and offensive industries is quite natural.

. . . .

I insist that (we) are required to avoid negotiating with the US, and experience has proven that instead of understanding, the American are seeking to impose their will in the negotiations, a conspicuous example of which was the recent developments."

Mere rhetoric intended for the Iranian masses? I don't think so. Not after Iran's recent placement of a Russian-made S-300 air defense battery to protect its Fordo nuclear facility. Not after recurrent Iranian harassment of US Navy vessels in the Strait of Hormuz over the past week.

Meanwhile, in a Reuters article entitled "Exclusive: U.S., others agreed to 'secret' exemptions for Iran after nuclear deal - report," Jonathan Landay writes:

"The United States and its negotiating partners agreed "in secret" to allow Iran to evade some restrictions in last year's landmark nuclear agreement in order to meet the deadline for it to start getting relief from economic sanctions, according to a report reviewed by Reuters.

The report is to be published on Thursday by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said the think tank’s president David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and co-author of the report.

. . . .

Among the exemptions were two that allowed Iran to exceed the deal's limits on how much low-enriched uranium (LEU) it can keep in its nuclear facilities, the report said."

So, Obamacare is in a death spiral, and Obama's unsigned nuclear agreement with Iran is not worth the paper on which it was not written.

What's left of Obama's legacy? Oh, that's right, $20 trillion in unsustainable federal debt.

But not to worry: Hillary or Donald will soon put America back on course ... not.