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Monday, October 31, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ugh! Or perhaps double ugh!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cohen continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It just can't get worse.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

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

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

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

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

Of course, Brooks has a solution:

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

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

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

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

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

. . . .

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 21, 2016

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

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

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

. . . .

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

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

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

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

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

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

. . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Thomas Friedman, "WikiHillary for President": Twisted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 15, 2016

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

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

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

. . . .

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 13, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . . .

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

. . . .

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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

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

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

. . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Times editorial mentions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 8, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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