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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk": Trashing American Exceptionalism

Maureen Dowd begins her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk" by observing:

"IT seems odd, in this era of gender fluidity, that we are headed toward the most stark X versus Y battle since Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs."

An X versus Y battle? I don't think so. As far as I'm concerned, neither Donald nor Hillary is a human being. I am praying for a brokered convention and/or an indictment, but the truth of the matter is that you don't always get what you want. And you don't even get what you need.

C'est tout.

Friday, April 29, 2016

David Brooks, "If Not Trump, What?": Meet the Neighbors? Be Real!

"If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

Informing us in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "If Not Trump, What?" that Donald "looks set to be the Republican presidential nominee," David Brooks would have us know that this phenomenon "has reminded us how much pain there is in this country." Observing that Trump is not the "right response" to this pain, Brooks concludes his opinion piece by suggesting:

"Trump will have his gruesome moment. The time is best spent elsewhere, meeting the neighbors who have become strangers, and listening to what they have to say."

Listen to what my neighbor has to say? The one who built the outhouse for his foreign laborers opposite my front door? I don't think so.

More to the point, Trump and Hillary comprise only a small portion of my pain, which is not limited to American politics. There's also the anti-Semitism emerging from the closet of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. And let's not forget Obama's appeasement of Iran, which continues with its apocalyptic ballistic missile program, in open collaboration with North Korea, without opposition from the High Priest of Hope and Change.

Indeed, what does one do with this despair? In my case, I just returned from a chamber music concert given by young musicians at a nearby museum. There's also the spring promise of my vegetable garden; my dogs who know no pessimism; a screenplay in the works which keeps me distracted; and the three companies with which I work, all striving to revolutionize the fields of medicine and medical devices.

Yes, there is still "good" in this world, but forgive me if I retreat inward and attempt to recoup my faith in humanity.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

New York Times Editorial, "A Risky American Expansion in Syria": Obama's Dirty Little Secret

In an editorial entitled "A Risky American Expansion in Syria," The New York Times says of Obama's decision to send 250 more US soldiers to Syria, in addition to the existing 50 "Special Operations" forces currently deployed in a country that no longer exists:

"While American forces will not be leading the ground war in Syria, they will be involved in military operations and working without proper authorization from Congress. Unlike the American troops in Iraq, which are fighting the Islamic State at the request of the Iraqi government, the troops in Syria will be operating in another sovereign nation with no clear legal right."

But what the geniuses at the Times fail to observe is that these troops will primarily be assisting the Kurds, and were the Turks to hear of this dirty little secret (Remember, you didn't hear it from me!), Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan might cease to be one of Obama's best overseas friends.

Now imagine what happens if American troops are killed by ongoing Turkish shelling of Kurdish forces in Syria.

But wait! Just how stupid is this editorial? The Times editorial board goes on to say:

"It has long been obvious that the best way to defeat the Islamic State lies in ending the Syrian civil war between President Bashar al-Assad and opposition forces so that all sides can focus on the terrorists, which Mr. Obama told the Europeans is 'the most urgent threat to our nations.'"

Got it: Assad is not a terrorist, notwithstanding his use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs against Syrian civilians.

Yup, The New York Times is wearing its imbecility on its sleeve.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Paul Krugman, "The 8 A.M. Call": Hillary Is an Economic Genius!

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "The 8 A.M. Call," Paul Krugman informs us that "[b]arring the political equivalent of a meteor strike" (Is an FBI recommendation to indict Hillary the equivalent of a meteor strike?), Hillary will be the Democratic candidate, and she will run against either Trump or Cruz. Krugman says of each of these potential candidates (my emphasis in red):

  • Clinton: "Mrs. Clinton isn’t just the most knowledgeable, well-informed candidate in this election, she’s arguably the best-prepared candidate on matters economic ever to run for president."
  • Trump: "I doubt that anyone will be shocked if I say that Mr. Trump doesn’t know much about economic policy, or for that matter any kind of policy. He still seems to imagine, for example, that China is taking advantage of America by keeping its currency weak — which was true once upon a time, but bears no resemblance to current reality."
  • Cruz: "He chose, as his senior economic adviser, Phil Gramm — an architect of financial deregulation who helped set the stage for the 2008 crisis, then dismissed warnings of recession when that crisis came, calling America a 'nation of whiners.' Mr. Cruz is, in other words, a man of firm economic convictions — convictions that are utterly divorced from reality and impervious to evidence, to a degree that’s unusual even among Republicans.

Got it: Only Republicans are given to fanciful economic thinking. However, it was none other than Krugman 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."

And then there was Krugman's trillion dollar coin proposal, which even Jon Stewart labeled a "stupid f#cking idea."

Or stated otherwise, there are those who might justifiably question Krugman's grip on economic reality.

But maybe Paul is correct in his claim that Hillary is the "best-prepared candidate on matters economic ever to run for president." After all, she has proven extraordinarily adept over the past few years at milking the system for millions of dollars by lecturing to multinational corporations anxious to gain the benefit of her economic acumen. (Of course, there was no possibility that her lectures amounted to one big influence peddling scheme.) And then there was the "expertise" she displayed by turning a $1,000 investment in commodities futures into a gain of nearly $100,000 within 10 months. (Here, too, there was no chance of foul play.) Hillary's just one heck of an economic wizard.

Cruz's economic adviser, Phil Gramm, helped set the stage for the 2008 crisis? Oh really? And all this while I thought that it was President Bill Clinton who repealed Glass-Steagall, thereby setting the stage for the 2008 economic debacle.

And so it goes: On Sunday, we were told by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof that Hillary doesn't lie much given the records of other politicians, and today we have Paul Krugman telling us that Hillary is an economic genius. Spare me!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Nicholas Kristof, "Is Hillary Clinton Dishonest?": Do You Need to Vomit?

You ate something unsavory and you need to vomit? Well, there is no need to stick a finger down your throat. Instead, you can read Nicholas Kristof's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Is Hillary Clinton Dishonest?" in order to achieve the same emetic effect. In his opinion piece, Kristof informs us (my emphasis in red):

"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."

How reassuring! Half of what Hillary tells us is true or mostly true! Needless to say, there is no mention by Kristof of Ed Morrissey's Fox Nation article entitled "Hillary Fired for Lies, Unethical Behavior from Congressional Job: Former Boss" from which we learned (my emphasis in red):

"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.


'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.'"

A liar who "conspired to violate the Constitution"? That sounds kind of serious.

Kristof goes on to say:

"As for the fundamental question of whether Clinton risked American national security with her email server, I suspect the problem has been exaggerated. As President Obama put it, 'she has not jeopardized America’s national security.'"

And we all know that Obama never lies. What difference does it make that PolitiFact (cited by Kristof above) named "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it" the Lie of the Year for 2013. But more to the point, as observed by Myra Adams in a National Review article entitled "The Clinton E-mail Case Transcends Hillary’s Presidential Campaign":

"'I continue to believe that she has not jeopardized America’s national security,' Obama said recently on Fox News Sunday. However, Obama added, 'what I’ve also said is that — and she has acknowledged — that there’s a carelessness, in terms of managing e-mails, that she has owned, and she recognizes.' This leaves one to wonder whether 'carelessness' will become a new defense to be invoked when an elected official, intelligence-community member, government bureaucrat, contractor, or someone in the military is accused of mishandling classified information.

Obama neglected to add that Clinton’s 'carelessness' included 22 e-mails with the highest level of classification found on her private server. Worse, as the New York Post reported, these e-mails 'revealed names of CIA officers serving overseas and foreigners who are on the spy agency’s payroll – potentially endangering their lives.' Moreover, and with lasting consequences, President Obama in defending Clinton has set the bar very high for determining whether classified information 'jeopardizes America’s national security.'"

Yup, Kristof has outdone himself this time, surpassing even his classic, vomit inducing opinion piece entitled "In Iran, They Want Fun, Fun, Fun." Attaboy, Nick!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Roger Cohen, "Bernie’s Israel Heresy": More Horse Manure From the Master

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "Bernie’s Israel Heresy," Roger (Iran is "not totalitarian") Cohen praises Bernie Sanders for his criticism of Israel during his recent debate with Hillary Clinton in Brooklyn. Cohen writes:

"In New York, no less, days before a primary, a candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination declares that Israel used 'disproportionate' force in Gaza in 2014, that 'we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity,' that the United States has to play 'an evenhanded role' and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel 'is not right all the time.'

Wow! Sensation! Hold the presses!."

Yup, the US needs to be more evenhanded, particularly as the Palestinians continue to fire rockets at Israeli towns and cities; continue to stab Israeli civilians, particularly women; and continue to blow up Israeli buses transporting civilians.

Moreover, the  US must treat Palestinians "with respect and dignity" as Palestinians engage in "honor killings" against their sisters and daughters, and oppress homosexuals, who flee to Israel for safety. And then there is the small matter of Palestinian Authority President Abbas,  now in the twelfth year of a four-year term of office. Correct me if I am wrong, but it appears that it is the Palestinians who need to be treating Palestinians "with respect and dignity."

Sanders's claim that the Israeli response to the more than 4,000 Hamas missiles fired at Israeli towns and cities in 2014 was "disproportionate"? Perhaps Bernie would care to explain how many missiles the US should fire back at Iran, if a single Iranian ballistic missile hits New York. Should it be tit for tat, i.e. one ballistic missile for one ballistic missile?

Cohen goes on to tell us in this gem of an opinion piece, "In most of the rest of the world, Sanders’s position would be uncontroversial." How reassuring! But isn't this the same world that turned away Jews seeking refuge before and during World War II, notwithstanding Hitler's abominations?

Cohen denounces "continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank." However, Cohen forgets to mention that Israeli settlements are built on less than two percent of the total territory of the West Bank, and that it has been agreed that most of these settlements will belong to Israel as part of any peace deal which will inevitably involve land swaps. More important, Cohen makes certain not to let his readers know that Netanyahu declared a 10-month settlement freeze in 2009 "to restart peace talks" at the request of Obama; however, Abbas delayed entering negotiations until the last moment and then walked away from the discussions. Yes, it's hard to negotiate peace when someone is not willing to talk peace with you.

And then there's Cohen recital of Netanyahu's "relentless attempt (even in extremis) to stop the Iran nuclear deal." Ah yes, that wonderful unsigned deal, which has allowed Iran to engage freely in ballistic missile tests. The deal purportedly extends Iran's nuclear "breakout time" from three months to one year (What a difference those nine months make . . . not!), but does not prevent Iran from perfecting its nuclear weapon delivery capabilities.

Yes, the ignorance (if only that) of Cohen and Sanders is sickening.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Robber Baron Recessions": Ronald Reagan Is to Blame?

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "Robber Baron Recessions," Paul Krugman addresses the recent strike of Verizon workers and informs us  that "growing monopoly power is a big problem for the U.S. economy." Krugman proceeds to conclude that "we aren’t just living in a second Gilded Age, we’re also living in a second robber baron era." And who, according to Krugman, is to blame for the lack of competition? Ronald Reagan and the Republicans, of course. Krugman's explanation:

"For Reagan didn’t just cut taxes and deregulate banks; his administration also turned sharply away from the longstanding U.S. tradition of reining in companies that become too dominant in their industries. A new doctrine, emphasizing the supposed efficiency gains from corporate consolidation, led to what those who have studied the issue often describe as the virtual end of antitrust enforcement.

True, there was a limited revival of anti-monopoly efforts during the Clinton years, but these went away again under George W. Bush. The result was an economy with far too much concentration of economic power. And the Obama administration — preoccupied with the aftermath of financial crisis and the struggle with bitterly hostile Republicans — has only recently been in a position to grapple with competition policy."

Wrong. With regard to consolidation within the financial industry, for example, it was none other than Bill Clinton who was responsible for the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which in turn gave rise to giant financial institutions, whose rapacity ultimately threatened the collapse of the global economy.

And to whom did Hillary provide a speech in May 2013 for the sum of $225,000? None other than  Verizon. This seemingly relevant information is absent from Krugman's opinion piece.

And does Krugman mention the donation of Verizon to the Clinton Foundation in an amount between $100,001 and $250,000? Not a chance.

Let there be no mistake: I am a strong advocate of corporate competition, but pin all of the blame on Ronald Reagan and the Republicans? Get real!