Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Omnibus" Used to Mean "For All"

I have been writing sporadically about the current election contest among Republicans. On one hand, I have been overwhelmed by the outrage, anger, vehement comments from my bicoastal friends who maintain that Obama is one of America's greatest chief executives, that his policies are moderate and should receive more "bipartisan" support, and Republicans are insane, controlled by right wing loons.

I, of course, am comfortably ensconced in an alternative universe. I'm of the opinion that Obama will be considered one of our least effective chief executive. Granted, he has accomplished a great deal in terms of his own agenda of fundamentally transforming America. He has institutionalized a national health insurance program, he has withdrawn troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan, he has used executive orders to begin legalization of illegal immigrants and he has taken no steps to either reduce the size of government or address the deficit which is approaching $20 trillion.

Unlike the bicoastals, I am not offended by the lunacy on display among the Republican contenders vying to replace Obama. I've expressed my opinion in other posts about Donald Trump; he is exploiting the anger and powerlessness that's been stewing among Republicans, even moderate ones, for many years. This is not opposition to Obama personally, but a rejection of progressivism and an outrage that Republican leadership has not been more expressive in resisting his ideology.

Other candidates are mining this vein as well, but ultimately are doing so on the coat tails of the media's obsession with Trump. The media are engaged in the ultimate expression of hypocrisy: they ridicule him and his "followers" with gusto, but cannot disengage themselves from the massive audiences and ratings and cash flow featuring him provides. Hillary is comfortably nested on the sidelines, but despite the liberal punditry's assessment that there is far more serious policy engagement taking place during Democratic debates, no one is watching.

So, the billion dollar question, as Donald might say, is whether his dominant polling will turn into primary victories. The accepted speculation today is that Cruz will win Iowa, Trump will triumph in New Hampshire with Christie a surprising second, Trump in South Carolina with Cruz a strong second and Nevada as Rubio's final shot at relevance.

In the background, now, is the firestorm generated by the so called "omnibus" spending bill. It translates from Latin as "for all". It is perceived as another repudiation of the Republican majority in both houses, a resounding victory for Obama and the Democratic minority, a "back room" deal negotiated secretly without public examination or congressional review. The die was cast when the resignation of Speaker Boehner was secured, and Speaker Ryan dutifully delivered. It was an embarrassing performance, artfully engineered by the establishment and cooperation of both parties, and the timing could not have been more appalling.

The Republican "triumph" which seems to have been featured atop the press release was the elimination of the embargo against international sale of domestic oil. I'm sorry. What?? I am aware this embargo has existed and it is ridiculous, counterintuitive and anti-employment (Union employment, no less). Big frikkin whoop. Aside from symbolic gestures like defunding Planned Parenthood, which are hardly significant financially but important stands to take for the base, there isn't the most feeble attempt to reduce spending. When the Administration hails the deal, that's a very bad sign.

I know Trump has spoken out against the deal, but he had done so in ways where few specifics are mentioned. Rubio didn't even make the vote. Cruz at least theatrically opposes the measure with a "hell no" and decries the 2,000 pages which make up the measure. It could not possibly have been analyzed before passage, and Speaker Ryan needed Nancy Pelosi to whip the Democrats to insure passage. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Ryan's speakership is off to an inauspicious start and the Freedom Caucus better be crafting their explanations for not opposing his ascension. A guy who appeared so promising four years ago is either hopelessly compromised or inept at explaining his legislative strategy.

My bicoastal friends who embrace the transfer of wealth embraced by the the Paris climate change agreement; who laud Hillary Clinton as an intellectual champion of middle class economics, multiculturalism and foreign policy innovation; who cower from any engagement with terrorists both foreign and domestic; who brush opponents broadly with epithets culled from the manifestos of 60's iconography, may be slightly surprised by the way the "open rebellion" cited by Sen. Jeff Sessions is made manifest.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hillary's Foundational Principles

I cannot listen to Hillary Clinton's voice anymore. I'm sorry. I can't. That shrill Chicago tonality mixed with the occasional assumption of regional inflection makes me want to run into the street and weep like a child who can't eat candy for dinner. But then. When I hear what words and phrases emanate from that mouth, I begin sputtering like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall when he passes through security in female persona. Now that I think about it, perhaps Hillary is some female representation of a more sensible male Democrat.....wait a minute: there are no sensible male Democrats who might have assumed her physical persona for political advantage.

There was a time when Hillary may have been considered "reasonable" by a segment of American  voters. But since she has become linked inextricably to Barack Obama, whose recent pronouncements about terrorism, ISIS and Syrian refugees have become so marginal - so divorced
from the mainstream - she is perceived as moving as leftward as he. On top of the that, the King of Krazy - that's Bernie Sanders, NOT Donald Trump (although he's just as loony) - continues to push Hillary to the leftward fringe as he pushes for ever-higher levels of taxation to pay for ever-expanding  programs of social benefits.

And she is in serious trouble. When The Washington Post publishes a story - no, an expose - about the billions raised by the Clinton's over the last 40 years, suggesting that these contributions had an implicit quid pro quo and that they were raised by the Clinton's without pretense that bigger "contributions" brought greater access, that's fairly significant. The Post has been supportive consistently of the Obama Reformation Agenda, and this break of sorts with the Clinton's is indicative of a certain level of unease with Hillary's sketchy ethical "standards".

Those of us appalled by the ever-changing nature of Hillary's shifty policy positions know that she is not to be trusted. Her actions during the catastrophe encapsulated by the city within which tragedy occurred - Benghazi - can never be obscured and is linked inextricably to the lies promulgated by her boss, Obama, and her subordinate, Susan Rice. Whatever explanations she may proffer, her prints are everywhere on the events of that night, and she failed to insure her ambassador had adequate protection - for which he begged - and she lied to the families of those who sacrificed their lives with a ludicrous story that no one ever believed and which cheapened their heroic actions.

As horrific as this may be (and I cannot fathom how she doesn't lose sleep), it may not compare to the  deployment of an unsecured email system to circumvent government control over transmission of confidential information. She says it was permitted. Who granted this permission? She served at the pleasure of the President and reported to no one else. No one would ever consider doing something so heinous, so sleazy, unless one wanted to be the final arbiter of what was relevant to be retained by the government. Under what other possible rationale could someone maintain that one had eliminated records that one deemed "personal" and, therefore, irrelevant for retention? It is for reasons of obfuscation and obliteration.

This is so obvious, so repugnant, it is impossible to understand why there isn't more outrage or expose in the press. The only possible explanation is that the press - by and large - has little interest in Hillary's or Obama's actions on the night of the Benghazi raid. The press does not wish to uncover the fundamental decision-making that went into the purchase and networking of a server complex in a barn or basement in the Clinton home at Chappaqua. Can you conceive of something like this occurring during the Nixon administration?

The bias of the American Press has become undeniable and embarrassing. The romantic notion of a Woodward or Bernstein meeting Deep Throat in a darkened garage as they seek to uncover the corruption that inhabits the West Wing is as indistinct and ancient as the blurry photo of Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address. At some level, we know it happened, but the circumstances surrounding it are obscured by time.

Hillary and her husband are figures tarnished by decades of corruption and deception. In this regard, they make Nixon look like a guy who had watched too much bad TV, planning a series of inept burglaries funded with campaign cash. The sophistication of the Clinton's corrupt activities make it clear they studied Nixon's missteps carefully and knew the press would never pursue a liberal with the same intensity. When Bill survived his serial infidelities and even claimed he never received a blow job(s) in the Oval Office without being challenged by the press until a semen-stained dress was produced, Hillary knew there were no reasonable governors on her lifelong pursuit of power and wealth. And Bill would always be at her side.

Is this a bit unfair? Perhaps. Is she really motivated by a sense of service, to improve the lives of those less fortunate than she? In a Teddy Kennedy sense, I suppose so. But it is so selfish, so disgustingly greedy, that she has expended so much personal capital on creating this foundation, dedicated to improving "global health" when "Clinton wealth" was its more accurate objective. Regardless of how it might have enriched her family, it was insulated from scrutiny just as it was from taxation because it was cloaked by liberal orthodoxy and rendered off limits to challenge.

She's a deeply flawed politician who manipulates populism and gender issues without regard to her actual commitment to them. She rationalizes her shifting policy views as evolutionary. Her guiding principles lack direction until the weekly polls are issued. She's as bad as Barack Obama ideologically, but she lacks his total dedication to the cause. Her interest is not in "fundamentally transforming" America. Remember: The Clinton Foundation did not exist until Bill left office.

Can you imagine - really - how much cash that Foundation will attract if Hillary's in office even though her name's been wiped clean from the website? Why would we ever think that having access to enormous amounts of cash would be motivating to the Clinton's?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris Is Beirut

We must discuss Paris.

While explanations and conjecture abound about how the attackers made their way to Paris, how they got their Khalashnikovs, why they attacked the specific locations they did - tbe stuff that takes up hours of "contributors'" time on cable news networks - it's all pretty much bullshit.

Call them ISIS, DAESH, ISIL, Ansar al Sharia, AQAP - their specific appellation or point of origin is irrelevant. As Osama bin Laden has said, "We are the children of an Islamic Nation." And, my friends, that's all you need to know about that.

Are there issues that stretch back to the death of the Prophet that separate the Shi'a from the Sunn'i? Most certainly. But those differences - at least for our current purposes - are of secondary concern. We need only look to the recent suicide bombings in southern Beirut, a state within the state of Lebanon (which, if truth be told, can hardly be described as functioning as a "state" the way our Western minds define it), the capital of the Hizballah nation, where ISIS attacks Shi'a mosques after Friday prayers in retribution for Hizballah's support of Assad, Iran and Russia.

But as Shi'a and Sunn'i blow one another up, which I hardly find disturbing, the fact remains that both are children of the Islamic Nation. Mindful that exceptions to the norm exist in any reasonable situation, there is a broad, murderous current that is present in Islam and it is fanned by governments that have seats in the United Nations. It is supported by the forces of progressivism and multiculturalism that prevail in Europe today, that ignore the dangers of failure to assimilate, that wink at the establishment of "no go" zones in the most ancient capitals of the Old World.

These same forces have, while ignoring the rot of their own internal culture, happily looked outward to isolate and make a pariah of Israel. Apartheid, they charge. Intolerant. Inflexible. Heavens - right wing (micro-aggressive code for fascist)! Do they use these words to describe the murderous regime in Sudan which, darlings of the Left, practiced genocide in Darfur? Why.....no. They're Muslims. Is there any proportional condemnation of Abu Mazen, nom de guerre of Mahmoud Abbas, of the Palestinian Authority (pray, what "authority" does it possibly possess?) who praises the murder of civilians headed to a wedding reception and whose "Red Crescent" fails to render aid? Why.....no. They're oppressed Muslims.

And, please, in what alternative universe is it chic or acceptable or normative to possess a nom de guerre? Particularly for a "head of state"? Nom de guerre's were once the province of Revolutionary Communists, romantic in Cuba then reviled in Cambodia, now assumed by barbarous terrorists, perhaps seeking that same temporal anonymity. There is nothing normal about this whatever. Or when a sovereign nation repeatedly calls for the destruction of another sovereign nation. All of this - all of this - has been rendered "normal" by forces unwilling to confront the unpleasant reality thrown into our faces by no less a character of revulsion than Osama bin Laden.

I do not want to see more war. Children and mothers will die. Sons and fathers who love life will be forced into battle against those who choose - who want - to die in a fantastical devotion to a theology which promises virgins to martyrs and whose adherents hand out sweets in the aftermath of murderous rampages. Islam will never find moderation until it is modified by forces from within. Are there any signs from any segment of the Muslim world that these forces are gathering?

The gesture of cloaking your profile pic on Facebook in a French flag makes me laugh. Post your Eiffel Tower peace sign visage if that makes you feel better. Get your other flags and your other monument images ready. This will go on for some time until the curtain is drawn and the evil is named.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Darwin Rules!

I feel like I have "limited" standing to comment on "white privilege". Of course, I am "white" by today's definition of it, although my background is Ukranian and Eastern European Ashkenazi Jew. Until quite recently, there are many in this country who would hardly consider me "white" in Anglo-Saxon terms and, in fact, many would have considered me an outsider since my ancestors fled their native lands because they were victims of pogroms and other forms of oppression.

I attended a progressive university, Rutgers College, in the early to mid 70's. I marched down College Avenue with the Students for a Democratic Society (a more ironic name has rarely been coined) to protest the Vietnam War and to oppose the university's acceptance of government funding for various research projects. I marched to protest the disparity of minority admittances in comparison to their presence in the New Jersey community which led eventually to a more balanced admissions policy nationwide.

When my patents left Brooklyn in 1958 or so to move to the suburbs, they rented an apartment in a cooperative project in New Jersey that strove to proactively integrate. It might have been the North, but it was unusual to find "negro" and "white" families actively engaged in integrating new neighborhoods. It was an intentionally progressive social experiment and it affected me profoundly. The co-op had its own nursery school (I mean, pre-school) which I attended with all sorts of people. I never saw people of color as odd, abnormal or any different than I.

As a freshman at Rutgers, I was exposed to the possibility of getting drafted into the service and potentially sent to Vietnam. One of my best friends' birthdays was selected #3 in that year's draft, so he enlisted in the Navy rather than being drafted (which was a certainty) and placed in the Army Infantry. We marched, we protested because we fundamentally disagreed with the Vietnam War, but let's be honest - we didn't want to get drafted.

I find this environment difficult to compare with the faux outrage currently sweeping some college campuses. Although racism and irrational hate directed against certain ethnic or religious groups will never disappear completely, it is a shadow of what it once was. And that is especially true in university environments today. Anyone with a child in a university today, who lives near a university and comes into periodic contact with it, knows that they are uniformly home base for progressive culture; they provide gender neutral facilities, they epitomize inclusiveness, in many cases they provide in state tuition to illegal aliens and their curriculum has incorporated many intellectual pursuits once considered outside mainstream "majors" for the awarding of degrees.

At the University of Texas, near where I live, there are degrees offered in Ethnic Studies - African American Studies; Asian American Studies; Mexican American Studies, for example. This is great! This is progress! I'm being completely serious. This is indicative of the university community responding to the changing needs of its student population.

But how is this all being twisted into some outrageous New Protest Movement against institutional racism or "hate speech" that violates one's "safe space"? This is a spurious bastardization of the protest movement of the '60's and '70's. It doesn't mean that the kids out there offended by edgy Halloween costumes don't believe in their "cause" any less fervently than my contemporaries did, but the stakes for society or the political fabric of the country do not seem to compare.

When my parents marched with their black neighbors for civil rights in the '60's, people could not drink from the same water fountains or eat at the same lunch counters. Discrimination was an uncomfortable, accepted norm, not the exception. Black Americans could only hope at that time that maybe someday society would offer them some form of a safe space where they could live in real equality. That has happened in my lifetime. Racism will never fully disappear, just as anti-Semitism, in my personal case, remains ever-present.

But in the context of 2015, it is a bit sad and a tad ironic that progressive universities, that have contorted themselves in exaggerated ways to insure their political rectitude, are being attacked by the very people they tried so hard to cottle and satisfy as being insufficiently inclusive. It is poetic justice that the community elders in an endless search for social justice are being devoured by their young.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Millenium Challenge Corporation

I am rapidly re-evaluating my opinion on George W. Bush. This is actually a very liberating admission for me because it tells me that the gut of my political emergence is true, principled and untied to the past.

I began to get wobbly on W when he retired to the sidelines and pledged he would give Obama space to run his own course. Little did I know that the course he would run had 18 holes and would get played regardless of the crises he heaped upon a deluded populace. In my own delusion, I thought W was just being gracious, preferred the solitude of Crawford and the occasional lecture at SMU. How could George not speak out on the trashing he received regularly at the hands of Obama and the loathsome Davids, Axelrod and Plouffe? What I am only now coming to realize is that he had no motivation to rock the boat because he had been piloting that same boat, too.

As W has chosen to return to the (quasi) public stage to inject some - any - enthusiasm into his brother's campaign for president, his true colors have begun to wear through the heroic costume he wore for me on 9/11. Like his father, he has assumed the mantle (which he has long worn, I suppose, but it escaped my vision) of Republican Establishment embodied. One can almost feel the heat escaping from Kennebunkport and Houston as the Bushes realize that momma was right: Jeb had no cause to seek higher political office.

There is a visceral sense of loathing which seems to emanate from those cities and others occupied by their supporters that those who favor a return to limited government are somehow infected, strangely, by a mysterious bug which renders them devoid of sense or rational thinking. They are joined in this view by Democrats and large swaths of the press who routinely defend the notion of "tax cuts", as one example, as depriving the government of that to which it is rightly entitled as opposed to that upon which it has limited claim.

Hillary's growing email catastrophe has unexpectedly exposed me to another W embarrassment: the Milennium Challenge Corporation. Never heard of it? Me neither. You're gonna love this and you're gonna wonder why something like this is never picked up by the media.

This perverse "corporation" is a bastard offspring of the Department of State (oh, you see it coming! I know you!). It was created during the Bush administration and, like many initiatives of a Big Government, it had aspirational goals of providing aid to developing nations that met certain requirements. It was intended to operate as a public - private partnership overseen by a board representing both sectors. Annual funding requests are in the neighborhood of $3 billion with actual allocations ranging between $1.5 - $2.5 billion. The board is composed of the Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury, two other government officials and four members from the private sector, all selected by the president.

The current board members from the "private"sector are Susan McCue of Message Global and Mort Halperin from Open Society Foundations. Dana Hyde who runs the MCC is the third and Amb. Mark Green of the International Republican Institute is the fourth. Mark Green was at State during the Bush Administration and helped create the MCC. Message Global advances "social action initiatives" and partners with, among others, Media Matters, the Huffington Post, the Senate Majority PAC ("Fighting For the Democratic Majority"), the American Bridge PAC ("holding Republicans accountable"), General Majority PAC ("Republicans have put special interests above the middle class"). Susan McCue is also President of this group. Mort Halperin, of course, is on George Soros' payroll at Open Society which favors open borders and immigration.

Is this anybody's idea of a body that promotes American democracy and free economic systems, and should receive the generous support of taxpayers this agency enjoys? Or is it another example of governmental crony capitalism that favors the notions of social justice and anti-colonialism favored
by Obama, Kerry and Soros? And the establishment Republican class in the form of the Bushes?

What's worse is that this odious organization is wrapped tight with the Clinton Foundation. Cheryl Mills, one of Hillary's closest aides, the uber-creepy Sid Blumenthal and - look who's back! - the offended liar, Joe Wilson, of yellowcake and Valerie Plame fame, were communicating with Hillary via her private email about a business deal under the auspices of the MCC.

No one would have been aware of this chicanery without the Benghazi committee. It is beyond comprehension that she could have devoted any attention to this deal to benefit her "friends" while her embattled Libyan ambassador didn't even have her private email address.

How is it that this repugnant behavior is not exposed by the media? Her limitless corruption is an integral part of her genetic composition and has been so since she was First Lady of Arkansas. She is so utterly unqualified to become President of the United States, it is impossible to understand why the press doesn't vet her more objectively.

This is why people are disgusted with business as usual in Washington. This is why people believe the press is biased and protects progressives. The left screams about Citizens United, that the Koch brothers are trying to buy the country. On what basis does the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation continue to troll for money when one of its namesakes is running for president?

Everything's for sale at the right price. MCC may have been formed for constructive purposes, but it operates under cover, has evolved with progressive leadership and has no business receiving this level of support from taxpayers.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

CNBC Debate Aftermath

It appears, following the "CNBC debate", that the Republican field is beginning to winnow.

Jeb Bush might have plenty of cash, but he has failed to make traction with any significant voter base. John Kasich, too, while rightfully hailed as the accomplished governor of a state without which a Republican cannot win, comes across as a pissed off candidate who cannot fathom his lack of standing in the polls. Carly Fiorina, I'm afraid, has enjoyed her fifteen seconds, Mike Huckabee has not had the impact he had momentarily four years ago.

Essentially, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and, just on the margins, Chris Christie are left standing. Rubio is emerging as the obvious fallback for those wishing to insulate the Establishment. It is reported he will receive the backing of several, very high profile bundlers/contributors which will earn him the target of "insider". He will be excoriated as a Member of the Gang of Eight, attacked for favoring amnesty for illegals (which his big money donors favor), missing important Senate votes, you name it. The Outsiders will tar him as an Untouchable - controlled by the Big Donors of the establishment, no better in essence than Hillary.

I believe the fire in the Republican primary electorate is so intense (not in the sense that the flames are visible and consuming, but like the heart of big 'ol bbq pit) that Rubio will not prevail, despite the big money and the media support that is beginning to coalesce behind him. Jennifer Rubin, one of the  Washington Post's "republican" columnists, wrote a highly personal attack piece on Ted Cruz today, clearly intended to bust a hole in his post-debate favorability rise. The objective in attacking Cruz is to favor another.

Donald Trump can stick around literally as long as he wants to. He neither lacks the funding nor need ever worry about falling out of favor with the media, regardless of his future performance in debates or polls. Trump did force CNBC to cut the most recent debate from three hours to two, despite John Harwood's ludicrous claim to the contrary. And it is foolish for anyone to think that commercials for a Republican primary debate on a highly marginalized cable network could command $250,000 for 30 seconds without Trump. That puts him in a very powerful position which will insulate him from poll fluctuations.

The longer Trump stays in the race, the more it potentially helps Carson and Cruz. One could argue that the huge ratings for these debates (and don't kid yourself: the ratings have been astronomical. The next debate on Fox Business, another marginal cable network ratings-wise, will hit another ratings record, particularly because it comes on the heels of the controversial CNBC performance, and because Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo are perceived as less partisan.) provide Carson and Cruz with audiences magnitudes of size larger than anything they might see without Trump's presence.

[Parenthetically, these debates will stand in stark contrast to the next Democratic "debate". Hillary and Bernie will be questioned by that paradigm of impartiality, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, the most marginal of cable networks. Is it conceivable the spots on that debate may command rates south of $250k?]

Instead of wondering, as we did months ago, how long it would be before Trump either lost interest or support, we're now faced with wondering whether he may actually emerge as the nominee. Will voters, regardless of their anger toward establishment figures, actually entrust the presidency to Donald Trump or Ben Carson who, while smart and successful, have no parliamentary experience whatever? Or will the prevailing wisdom be "how much worse could it possibly get"?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Elijah Cummings: New Advocate for Taxpayers

I find Elijah Cummings to be a despicable public figure. He is a partisan on par with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid who plead for bipartisanship as long as their favored positions prevail. Say what you will about the Select Committee on Benghazi, he has elected to assume the role of Don Rickles: he insults and denigrates the opposition crudely and without intellectual pretense. I cannot fathom how Trey Gowdy maintains any sense of professional courtesy when his opposite's criticisms are so personal and grounded in endless hyperbole.

His most nauseating charge against the Committee, however, is that it has squandered over $4 million in taxpayer funds. That is one of the most uproarious statements ever uttered by a progressive hailing from one of the left's degenerating Great Urban Centers. Wasting $4 million?? That's like losing some pocket change when it spills from your pocket when you get into your car. Oh, hell - I'll just search under the seat for that some other time.

Let's talk about some gen-yoo-wine money wasting, progressive style. This week, a part of the United Nations, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, determined that Rachel's Tomb, one of the most important sites in Judaism, and the Cave of the Patriarchs, where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob are buried, are Muslim holy sites. It was only by the slightest margin that UNESCO bowed to pressure at the final hour and did not declare the Western Wall an integral part of the al Aqsa complex.

Any comment from the Obama administration regarding this secular revisionism on behalf of the oppressed Islamic world? None. Upon what legal foundation does the United Nations get to make territorial determinations about what sites in which sovereign countries should "belong" to which religion? Perhaps the Hebrews should petition UNESCO to declare the Pyramids of Giza a Jewish Heritage Site since they built them.

The more important point, of course, is that UNESCO is a worthless, political tool of progressives and anti-colonialists (see my last post). How could it possibly "enforce" this determination of Rachel's Tomb when it can't protect Palmyra from ISIS? All the ruling does is reinforce this notion of historic revisionism sweeping through the Palestinian and Islamist communities which justify their racist attacks against Jews as geographic interlopers.

But UNESCO is just a symptom of a deeper sickness. The United Nations is a corrupt example of super progressivism - it doesn't "do" anything, it just exists to make its members, particularly those in the First World, "feel better" about promoting global warming initiatives, wealth redistribution and other socialist initiatives. It has never successfully intervened in a conflict and established peace. It has never stepped in to prevent a civilian population from genocide. And it coddles and tolerates totalitarian despots who steal from their populations and suppress their rights to secure their place in power.

The United States pays 22% of all expenses associated with the United Nations. That does not include the astoundingly valuable and non-taxable property the organization occupies on Manhattan's East Side which was gifted to them. If you can conceive of this, no one really has a solid estimate of what US taxpayers give to this masturbatory body annually. That is because our funding comes out of multiple governmental pockets and goes to a wide range of UN bodies.

Ever heard of the World Food Programme? It is a separate arm of the UN established to fight hunger worldwide. Inspiring mission. It received $5.6 billion in "contributions" in 2015 with $2.25 billion coming from the US. That is completely unconnected to our 22% payments of other UN expenses. That budget appears to be about $3 billion with US taxpayers "contributing" $655 million.

If Elijah Cummings is really worried about wasting the money of American taxpayers, his complaint about the Select Committee's spending habits is Lilliputian. He doesn't have a bone in his body that has the slightest concern with saving money for American taxpayers. If he did, he's had ample opportunity over his 19 years in Congress to demonstrate his commitment to reducing spending. Maybe Elijah can recall the Old Testament etymology of his namesake and put a well deserved stake through the heart of UNESCO as a start?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

This Is What Big Government Looks Like

Depending upon your predilection, I understand you must be bored with Benghazi. I understand you must be bored with Hillary. But I do not want to spend time parsing HRH's appearance before the Select Committee. I'd much rather connect it - as is often my objective - to another item in the news which was dropped on a Friday afternoon in order to be ignored as quickly as possible.

The Justice Department announced that it will not bring any charges against Lois Lerner for her work stalling 501(c)(3) applications by conservative groups during the Obama reelection season. Even Lerner herself feared prosecution by declining to incriminate herself during congressional testimony. She even "disappeared" her emails (this is positively contagious in the most scandal-free administration in history) which were subsequently recovered. So the word is out: if you work for the "right" familia, do what you need to do.

We're all familiar with the popular refrain chanted loudly during protests by leftists usually focused on abridging the rights of others: This Is What Democracy Looks Like. I'm starting to believe them. Unfortunately, their definition of "democracy" is looking like a very different version than my own.

There are several broad themes that resonate through nearly eight years of an Obama Administration. You may not agree that these represent tectonic changes in governing, but they undeniably represent changes in the method of of governing. I'm also not trying suggest that these modalities were not present in earlier administrations, just that they have become institutionalized under this president.

1) There is no accountability in the bureaucracy - time and time again, errors of omission or commission have absolutely no consequence in the sphere of government as they do in the private sector. No one bears responsibility for four American deaths in Benghazi; admissions of responsibility are intended for the consumption of a sympathetic press, not because the buck has really stopped somewhere. EPA-triggered releases of mine trailings into Colorado groundwater? Blatant targeting of political opponents by the IRS during a presidential campaign accompanied by destruction of emails? Veterans waiting months for treatment while administrators collect bonuses for "meeting quota"? This has all become business as usual.

2) Truncation of constitutionally mandated legislative procedure - to their credit, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have perfected the legislative end around for the benefit of their members, special interests and party. Using budget reconciliation to pass Obamacare with a simple majority. Passing JCPOA with a minority negative vote. Employing the nuclear option to insure progressive judicial nominees could not be blocked. Using the opposite of the nuclear option - the filibuster - to prevent Republican-favored legislation, like blocking Planned Parenthood's access to taxpayer support, from succeeding. Obama himself has contributed to this effort with his use of executive action as a substitute for generating legislation from the people's bodies.

3) The Obama foreign policy doctrine is "anti-colonialist" in a 19th century sense and isolationist in a libertarian sense - beginning with his now famous "apology" tour epitomized by his Cairo speech, the Obama doctrine can be characterized as sympathetic to "oppressed peoples" in the vernacular of Sixties radical speak and focused on the plight of the Islamic world.

In many ways, Obama adopted the views of Samantha Power, his current UN ambassador, as his own. She believed the US should use its military power as a force for "good", to intervene on behalf of possible genocide or mass civilian killings. She believed Israel to be an "occupying power". She advocated for intervention in Libya to oust Qaddafi. She criticized Russian military actions in the Crimea and Ukraine. Could anything have appalled her more than the use of chemical and barrel bomb armaments against civilians in Syria?

But this Power doctrine, no matter its good intentions (like all progressive initiatives), has collapsed utterly because there are always unintended consequences when one takes action (shouldn't they have learned this from George W?). Like in Libya. Or threatens to take action and then doesn't. Like in Syria. To top it all off, this intercession on behalf of threatened populations became selectively enforced. It was applied in Libya, but not to protect areas terrorized by ISIS where religious minorities and homosexuals have been specifically targeted.

I believe it is this subtle anti-colonialism that colors support for the Arab Spring through North Africa, that explains the tilt toward the Palestinians and the more vocal opposition to Israel, and drove the requirement to secure an agreement with Iran at any cost. It is also the impetus for bringing as many Muslim refugees as politically palatable from the Mideast turmoil wrought in no small measure by the failures of their own doctrine. Note that there is no such support for bringing Christian refugees here though their communities are under systematic siege.

So, we have a weakened foreign policy posture that most closely resembles Jimmy Carter's. An ever-expanding federal government that acts without regard to consequence. A broken legislative process which appears to be controlled by the minority while the majority is too timid to challenge the president's agenda for fear of media criticism. And a $19 trillion deficit which seems to be of no concern to anyone, including those from the president's party who wish to replace him who advocate even more entitlement spending.

For me, the shortcomings of the last eight years are embodied by Hillary Clinton, even more so than Obama himself. She is the ultimate bureaucrat. Has anyone so desperately desired to be taken seriously and uttered pronouncements so filled with mendacity? Responsible for everything that happened at State, accountable for nothing. Overseeing a bloated government agency, she claims no one could be fired because the ARB found no one was derelict. She appointed the ARB! By definition, there could be no dereliction because that would reflect poorly upon her.

No one was derelict? There's been so much of it over the last eight years, it now passes as normal and raises not an eyebrow.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Miley Cyrus Is The Devil

A momentary departure from politics. A small slice of life that deserves some marking before it fades into memory.

I went to an outdoor concert in Austin Friday night at the Old Scoot Inn. It is much like Stubb's, one of our better known, smaller concert venues. Both feature stages at one end of an open area with several places to buy drinks. Stubb's is a venue often favored by bands coming to Austin to play the ACL festival, for example, and get booked at Stubb's for "after festival" shows.

I've lived in Austin for many years and had never heard of the Scoot Inn, let alone seen a show there, until I found out that Chris Robinson Brotherhood was playing a concert there. Robinson was a founder and lead singer of The Black Crowes, of course, a solid if somewhat derivative rock band. Their sound is rootsy Southern rock, Robinson is often described as a younger, wannabe Mick Jagger, but their better known songs are distinctive and original.

The Crowes secured their rock bona fides, though, when they went out on the road with Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin's mastermind, to perform music from the Plant/Page catalogue. Page had largely been off the road, despite his occasional efforts to persuade Robert Plant to do a reunion Zeppelin tour, but there was obviously something about the Crowes and Robinson which must have appealed to him. A double album (remember what those are, millennials?) which chronicled the performance at The Greek Theater in LA is iconic: the Crowes are in powerful form, Page's guitar leads are authoritative and playful and Chris Robinson's vocals, impossible to not compare to Plant's, are soulful, but imbued with an obvious affection for the original.

But the Crowes were also always about a hazy '70's ethos. Clearly inspired by the Stones' Exile on Main Street era, the Crowes were open about their affection for weed which their audiences were only too happy to embrace. The band even looked like they had been plucked from some time capsule: long, shaggy hair, bell bottomed jeans, scarves around Robinson's neck, big, fat guitar sounds. It wasn't 21st century stuff.

Last year, Rich Robinson, Chris' brother and a guitarist in the band, announced that the band had broken apart. Like the Gallagher brothers of Oasis, the Robinsons had a tumultuous relationship which often played itself out in band affairs. Chris started his own band which is Crowes inflected, but also embraces a jam band sensibility: instrumental improvisation, blues and roots influences and, of course, some embrace of the Grateful Dead and the godfather of combining drugs, music and counterculture, Jerry Garcia.

At the Scoot Inn, there were several hundred in attendance at the sold out show. Leftover Salmon, a popular jam band from Colorado appealing to the "legalize it" crowd, opened, but their music was poorly mixed, the vocals muddied and the songs not terribly original (one was about pot smokers' favorite time of day, 4:20 - just seemed like an easy applause line).

Chris Robinson comes out about 10:30 after a leisurely equipment change. He's got two flags hung on the backdrop: an "all seeing" eye which looks like a Stanley Mouse Dead logo and the "freak flag"', a homage to the American flag with violet blue and red stripes with a blue corner in which a psychedelic stylized "F" is displayed.

He opens with a song called "Hello LA, Bye Bye Birmingham", a chugging rocker that sounds like it should have been sung by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. The music is loud, but comfortably so. The band is tight, everybody takes a small solo and the chatter on stage is minimal. The band just moves from song to song without much delay, Robinson constantly flipping laminated pages on a music stand. Nobody changes guitars. The bass guitarist wears a woolen pancho looking like Chris Hillman on a Burrito Bros album.

The remarkable thing about the show is how mellow the crowd is (and it doesn't have anything to do with all the weed references. Really.). Generally speaking, going to concerts in Austin is a throwback experience. It really reminds me of the pleasant times of days gone by. People are considerate, there is minimal assholery and, while we're not Colorado or Washington, there is this tacit understanding that if you want to smoke at an outdoor show, keep it on the down low, don't be a jerk and don't take it outside. There were no cops in evidence at the Old Scoot Inn and there wasn't a need for them.

I have railed against today's music industry, especially as it relates to live performances. Spontaneity is nonexistent, astronomic ticket prices the norm, obnoxious crowds the rule. Who wants to subject themselves to something like that unless one has a young daughter who wants to see Taylor Swift? I addressed this in my own experience with the later stages of The Grateful Dead who became, despite my youthful devotion to them, unwatchable.

Chris Robinson is a legitimate rock star trying to break that mold. He releases original material on high quality vinyl, he makes music that has no easy purchase on radio, he engages one of the Dead's recording engineers to master his live performances for release and his music is clearly inspired by American traditions interpreted by people like Garcia; bluegrass traditionalists like Del McCoury; roots rockers like T Bone Burnett, Jeff Tweedy, and, yes, Robert Plant.

I heard all that stuff as I listened Friday night and I'm grateful to Chris Robinson for not leaving the Black Crowes for some money grabbing, high profile gig I'm sure he could have found. As a fan, it is gratifying that there are a handful of artists today who honor the powerful influences of the past by either interpreting originals or channeling them through original compositions.

After tonight's show in San Antonio, the band's taking a little break. Chris is off to San Francisco. He's playing with Phil Lesh & Friends (from the Grateful Dead) for two nights at Phil's Terrapin Crossroads. THAT should be quite a show.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

I Wanna Be A Democratic Socialist, Too!

Why, yes, friends, I did watch that so-called "Democratic debate". And, you know what, it was neither Democratic nor a debate.

And that's what I loved about it! I think I had an epiphany - my mother, who's convinced she did something wrong when I came out of the liberal closet as a constitutionalist, will be so proud. I decided: I WANT TO BE A SOCIALIST, TOO! I mean, Bernie and Hil made it seem so cool, so millennial, so...NOW. Who needs those down-and-dirty Republicans now that the grown ups have made their appearance? I always hated being at the kids' table when I was younger. The grown up table was the place for me.

That debate was a literal free for all. Bernie and Hil were battling each other to see who could top the other with "free for all" programs for all of us who haven't been smart enough to fleece the system to provide our families with generational wealth. This doesn't really apply to Bernie, of course, because he's a true believer. He was an avowed Socialist before Hil made it cool and...mainstream.

I need a program for free college. I have four boys. How the hell am I supposed to pay for that? Free College. Yeah! Paid for by the Clintons, the Zuckerbergs and, if I'm really lucky, The Koch Brothers. Love it.

And, you know what, evil corporations that are stealing money from us little guys really do need to share their profits. Who the hell do they think they are? Keeping the cash they make overseas to protect it from American taxation. How the hell are we supposed to pay for the massive infrastructure requirements we have, the public (union) jobs it will create? Seize some of that money for the public good! While we're at it, screw that Citizens United group, whoever the hell they are. Corporations should not be able to control our electoral process. Unions are ok because they represent us little guys, but not those corporations governed by CAPITALISTS! Power to the people!

What about those banks and those hedge fund dudes and Goldman Sachs (sounds Jewish, yes?). I think we should take a $300 billion Wells Fargo, for instance, and break it into six $50 billion mini Wells Fargos. What? A $50 billion bank isn't big enough for you? They would be more responsive to the needs of disadvantaged consumers and would provide our Hil with six places to go for campaign contributions, not just one!

How 'bout those foreign policy pronouncements? Who needs those pesky foreigners anyway? Unless, of course, they're here illegally, should be given free college and Obamacare and picture ID's so they can vote for us, Socialistas! But I digress. Do we even NEED a foreign policy for Hil'sHil's first term? I think not. We're going to be waaaay toooo bussssy working on ways to give away FREE STUFF and busting apart greedy corporations to pay for it.

I was all for that confiscation, I mean, repatriation tax, on all that American capital sitting overseas. But then I heard through the OccupyDemocrats grapevine that much of that money belonged - sorry, was in the temporary custody - of companies like Apple, Google and other high tech, Cali businesses. Dude, we cannot start seizing - whoa, I meant taxing - stuff from Tim Cook, who's, well, progressive and with us and those three cool Google dudes who love Obama.

Oh my God, and those emails! Thank goodness the Bern did the right thing and say what all of us were thinking, but couldn't express so eloquently. I have no business running for President, I have no chance in hell, so I might as well suck up to the Hil, and see if I can end up as Secretary of Free Housing and Urban Redevelopment. Bernie, you are one sweet, self sacrificing loon and you will be rewarded. In this life or the next.

I'm pretty sure there were a couple of other dudes on the stage, but I literally have no clue who they were or what the hell they were doing up there. Hil took that shaggy Bernie and snapped that dog collar around his neck. Like the rabbit whose only job in a track race is to set a brisk pace for the favorites, so Bernie - in true Socialist fashion - sacrificed himself for The Greater Good. He told Uncle Joe: don't even think about messing with Her Royal Hillness! And despite his shared ideology with the oppressed Cherokee, Big Squaw Warren, Bernie laid down the law to her, too: don't even think about trying to out-Socialize HRH. If she can out-left me (even though I let her, of course), she will turn you into bread pudding. 

So, that's it, Bernie. Nice work. Pick up your Clinton Global Initiative honorarium at the door. And, yes, your membership requires no further donation and is good until your bones are buried deep within that socialist Vermont soil. Or East New York where the Big Bang of American Socialism occurred. The Bern is finito. Cooked. Done.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Generational Journeys

Anyone stumbling on a page view here cannot be confused about my perspective on Israel. Despite the yin and yang of their internal politics (which should be terribly familiar here), I am an unapologetic supporter and defender of the sole democracy in the Middle East. Think about that: the sole democracy in a region filled with governments controlled by religious zealots, militaristic sects that destroy historical arifacts, countries that sanction female subservience including corporal mutilation, regimes that bless the expulsion and execution of those not like them.

While I confess to some embarrassment at not having visited Israel, I have some undeniable ties to the region. In the early 1900's, as pogroms swept Eastern Europe and the Czar's monarchy teetered on the brink, Jews were forced either by tbe threat of being driven from regions or out of concern for the survival of their families to flee their countries of origin and seek safe haven.

Much of my father's family fled to the US, although they had arrived early enough for my paternal grandfather to be our first native born son. My mother's family didn't anticipate the inevitable as early or perhaps hoped things wouldn't turn out as badly in Russia and the Ukraine. Perhaps the pivotal role played by Jews in the formulation of the Communist Party played a role. Perhaps they believed that proletarian equality would actually be practiced by a different ruling class.

Until his regime was in jeopardy, the Czar determined that Jews were ineligible from conscription. When his family's reign was threatened, he agreed to accept Jews as draftees into the White Army as long as they served for a 25 year term. It wasn't an optional draft notice. The eventual success of the Russian Revolution meant that laws declaring Jews an outlawed people were repealed. But by 1919 the pervasive atheism of the Communists required that synagogues be seized, Jewish education terminated and "rootless cosmopolitans" targeted.

My mother's family split: a portion to America and a portion to be among the original secular settlers of Israel. Those families in both countries have set roots, assimilated, become a part of their nations' essence. One of my cousins, a direct descendant of that group of brothers and sisters, left the US not long ago to emigrate, married an Israeli and will begin her own story. It is a wondrous circle.

We are all witnessing a very dangerous turn of events there, and those who disagree with my world view will take some exception to my assumptions and conclusions.

Never before has Israel been enveloped by such powerful, hateful interests.

Not in 50 years have the Russians been on the ground in the region, nor have they been in such a clear position of support of a regime in a state of war since 1948.

Never before have Iranian generals been on the ground assisting enemy proxies in Syria and Lebanon.

Not since the butchering of Israeli athletes in Munich has the PLO (I'm sorry, the Palestinian Authority) been so emboldened by the local presence of powerful allies, the lack of visible support to the Israelis from the US and the absence of even-handedness by the UN.

Never before has the Iranian nuclear program seen international blessing and crippling financial sanctions waved away.

Not since 1948 has the US presence been so absent.

Finally, the PLO is using an Islamic flashpoint - the al Aqsa mosque - atop the Temple Mount as a trigger for this latest wave of irrational, bigoted, indiscriminate violence. Mahmoud Abbas, who was to serve as "President of the State of Palestine" until 2009, but who has retained his office illegally because of "internal conflicts", has fanned the flames of bigotry by saying the Temple Mount should not be defiled by the "filthy feet" of the Jews. Tonight he accused Israelis of murdering a child (who's actually alive and in a Jewish hospital), although video demonstrates that the child and an accomplice attacked and stabbed two Jews, including a boy leaving a candy store on a bicycle.

Abbas is an anti-Semitic, lying bastard who cloaks himself in the self righteousness of the Palestinian cause while protecting his precious political throne and enriching himself to the tune of at least $100 million, according to a Gatestone Institute report in 2012. Of course, that's a pittance compared to his predecessor's fortune of over $1 billion.

Like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who could take lessons from these PLO extorters, the PLO squeezes tribute from Sunni and Shia alike, from the guilt-plagued EU and, of course, the American taxpayer.

They are without scruple, have demonstrated on numerous occasions their genetic aversion to peace and adhere to a fundamentalist view of Islam which will never permit a peace with the Jews. The leadership has squandered every opportunity to improve the lives of their citizens, and they stoke and exploit the misery of the population to keep themselves in power and keep the tribute coming.

Tbe Obama administration is getting ready to save the day in the form of the ace negotiator, John Kerry. He'll pay homage to Ramallah, just like Carter, just like Clinton, just like Ban Ki Moon. There can be no change. Not without acceptance of the Jewish state, not without renunciation of unending Islamic indoctrination. It is a tragedy that my family and every family living there - in Israel and those subjugated by the PLO - will never see peace until that corrupt leadership cesspool is
eliminated or its financial lifeblood cut. There isn't enough courage in this Obama-dominated world to confront this evil by its name.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Gowdy's Prosecutorial Hammer

Anyone following the events of the last week or so must - MUST - read an incredible letter written by Trey Gowdy to the ranking democrat member of the Benghazi select committee, Elijah Cummings. I have never seen anything like this released to the public. Here is the link to the letter.

It is pointless for me to summarize this or draw your attention to its highlights. This is a blistering indictment of the feckless behavior of Cummings and his democrat colleagues which has obviously reached a boiling point for Gowdy.

In essence, he accuses them of protecting the presidential aspirations of Hillary by selectively leaking testimony offered privately, and defending the results of the Accountability Review Board which "cleared" her of any culpability even though she was never interviewed nor her emails reviewed because, of course, there was no knowledge that her emails were housed on a private server.

But he reserves his most harsh language to describe the sketchy relationship between the Secretary and Sidney Blumenthal whose interests were sickly selfish, whose employment by Clinton in a government position was prohibited by Obama and his honchos and who apparently disclosed highly classified intelligence in an email to Clinton's private server.

The exchanges between Clinton and Blumenthal - at least the portions revealed by Gowdy in this letter - are extragovernmental, expose that Hillary is incapable of terminating relationships with people who undermine her credibility and judgment, and that she and this coterie of associates remain comfortable skirting the edges of legality.

This is a very brave letter. It can only signal that Gowdy has exhausted all reasonable effort to maintain a sense of bipartisanship behind closed doors and that he is incensed that Cummings and company have amped up efforts to embarrass and undermine him.

Democrats have never been interested, their protestations to the contrary, in finding out what really happened that awful night in Benghazi. Whatever the real story, it was inevitable that there would be some damaging revelations which would reflect poorly on Obama, Clinton and others.

When there was a coordinated effort to blame the attack on an amateurish video, when Clinton promised the families of the victims that those responsible for the video would be found and prosecuted, when this bogus explanation was repeated and amplified throughout the Administration, the writing was written on the Watergate wall.

The "stonewall" was in full implementation mode. All the primary actors had bought in. And the story would not fall (and has not yet fallen) until indisputable evidence is uncovered or an integral player rolls to escape prosecution.

Why would Obama blacklist Blumenthal for government work when he was known to be one of Hillary's closest advisers and friends? Perhaps Obama (read: Valerie Jarrett) believed Blumenthal was responsible for some of the more odious attacks on him during the 2008 campaign. When Hillary intimated that Obama may not have been born in the US and might be an adherent of Islam. What would possibly possess Hillary to rely upon a private citizen for intelligence when she could access the full power and authority of the government's intelligence community?

Blumenthal is the emerging figure of tragedy in this Shakespearean saga. Humiliated by Obama. Soon to be placed on the chopping block by Hillary in an effort to save her political fortunes. Gowdy is nothing if not a skilled prosecutor.

My bet is he offers Blumenthal immunity and all hell breaks loose.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Domestic Affairs: A Gut Check

There is so much of consequence occurring almost daily, it is difficult to process, let alone comment upon. Let's try to tackle a few issues in one post with some brevity, shall we? Yes, we shall!

1) Assorted Hillary Clinton Catastrophes - I don't know how she manages it, I really don't. This email disaster which SHE CREATED keeps getting worse, if that's possible. Now, it is discovered that the company, Platte River, she engaged to provide her private server infrastructure engaged another company, Datto, to provide cloud backup for her server contents. Neither company appears to have security clearances, joining David Kendall, her attorney who possessed a thumb drive of said server contents, and Hillary herself of being in violation of the law.

An email from a Datto employee is concerned enough about what they've been engaged to do that he says he's concerned that "this whole thing is really covering up some shaddy [sic] shit". Oh my. Did he say "covering up"? Seems to me that verbal characterization has been used in the same sentence with the word "Clinton" on numerous prior occasions.

2) The Benghazi Committee Dustup - Item 1, of course, gives us a seamless segue into this one. The aspiring Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, stepped in a pile by suggesting that the Select Committee on Benghazi had as part of its charge to undermine Hil as a viable presidential candidate. Of course, Hil seems to be taking care of that on her own, thank you. But this comment has attracted as much attention as anything a republican has said since W uttered something humorously inept.

Hil says, "I told you guys there IS a vast right wing conspiracy!" Others want the committee disbanded TODAY. RIGHT NOW! It's a miscarriage of justice. A witch hunt.

Until this inopportune comment, most observers have given Trey Gowdy the benefit of the doubt. None of the witnesses, including Cheryl Mills, one of Hil's major domos, reported being hectored or abused. We would not even be aware of item 1 without this committee having uncovered it. Perhaps the committee's work has taken too long. Congress could certainly terminate its work by eliminating its funding.

As far as I know (and not a single reporter has asked this of Hil), we still do not know what Chris Stevens was doing in Benghazi; why his multiple requests for increased security were not delivered; what the President was doing that evening; and why a blatantly false narrative was propagated to explain the tragedy. Her testimony in October was always going to be must see TV. This latest dustup insures it.

3) Mr. Trump Blows It - Following his release of a substantial proposal paper on tax reform, Donald has confirmed a position that will enrage conservatives who have watched his personality train from the sidelines with curiosity. That is, he fully endorses the notion of eminent domain to seize private property. This is an odious admission, comparable to yelling from the rafters, "I love huge, cash- sucking big government!"

While many who might not fully comprehend the danger associated with endorsing eminent domain will overlook this French kiss, constitutionalists will find this position to be unsupportable and will terminate any further dalliance with Donald. Regardless of his poll topping numbers, there is a critical segment of voters who will now say - a la the democrats whose worst suspicions about the Benghazi committee have been "confirmed" - WE KNEW IT! Trump is neither a Republican nor a conservative! He is a Donald - he's all for Trump, all of the time.

His numbers will begin to erode unless he repudiates his position. Which would be almost as unbelievable as Hil, say, reversing herself on traditional marriage or Keystone or TPP or...uh,

4)  The Speakership - No sooner did I start writing this post before the shit hit the proverbial fan. Kevin McCarthy has withdrawn from the speakership under the insinuation that he may have had an affair with another member of his conference and that (see #2 above) he stepped in it big time on his description of the target of the Benghazi select committee.

The bigger issue, of course, is that McCarthy is a creature of Boehner. Willing to defer to Pelosi and Obama, placing greater emphasis on the functionality of the body rather than what it functions to accomplish and unwilling to stand on principle to confront the president's constitutional transgressions regardless of consequence. It is a record of compromise fueled by a fear of the media whose sympathy with the minority informs their reporting.

Who cares that the media characterizes this as dysfunction or internal disorder? Is it better for the anointed democrat candidate to be litmus tested as being to the left of Obama or, heaven forbid, the exiled New York socialist, Bernie Sanders? Where could this country possibly be headed if a representative of a major political party advocates $18 trillion of spending over ten years ON TOP OF the extraordinary spending of the party's current titular head?

Up shit's creek, that's where.

So, at this writing, one party wants to take us up the creek without a paddle and the other throws excrement at a fan. Some choice.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Handwriting on the Wall

Regardless of our political persuasions, I think we can all reasonably agree that events in Syria this week - while very disturbing and a harbinger of even more awful things to come - are hardly surprising. In fact, if we make any effort at all to reassemble the tea leaves, any one of us - without access to security clearances or friends at the Pentagon - could have seen this coming.

There have been three tectonic foreign policy failures engineered by Obama during the last few years, each of which was enthusiastically endorsed by his democrat colleagues and implemented without  regard or understanding of their consequences.

1) The complete withdrawal of American forces from Iraq - Obama blamed this decision on an inability of the Iraqi parliament to reach a satisfactory "status of forces" agreement which would have included a provision of immunity from prosecution for American soldiers under Iraqi law. But, as is often the case with Obama who blames others for his actions or inactions, he never wanted a status of forces agreement from the start.

He made a campaign pledge to his adoring lefty "coalition" that he would leave Iraq and bring the troops home. After all, Iraq was the "bad war", initiated by that Halliburton-controlled war monger Dick Cheney, who was really the effective President, because George Bush was too stupid to actually formulate policy. Unfortunately, Obama contrasted this bad war with a "good" one: Afghanistan which is currently sputtering and deteriorating, and will soon join the list of his accomplishments.

2) The failure to act after Assad crossed the "red line" - I will give the administration some minimal credit that they have maintained that Assad cannot remain in power in Syria. But now, the Russians and Iranians disagree and have deployed the forces to prove it.

Obama could have at least sowed some doubt in Assad's own mind that he could survive by following through on his commitment of military response if the Assad regime were shown to have used chemical weapons against Syrian opposition groups. They were. Obama dawdled as he waited until it was "proven" the weapons were used. It was. The promise of military response was unwound and reduced until it became a threat of "pinprick" strikes. And they never were launched.

No further evidence was required that Obama would never act under any circumstances.

3) The singular commitment to securing a "nuclear" agreement with Iran under any conditions - anyone who has happened upon this blog knows I have characterized this deal as the most perplexing foreign policy initiative since the Kennedy administration. Even in the short period of retrospection since the deal was brokered by a stridently anti war Vietnam veteran (whose actions over the years have always been colored by the radical politics of his past) and an Iranian foreign minister whose government has made terrorism and the destruction of Israel an essential element in its conduct of affairs, it is clear it will change the Middle East generationally.

By having committed to an agreement that yielded to Iran seemingly at every turn, the Obama administration has cemented its reputation as incapable of action, as having no set of core principles by which it will stand and whose utter disdain for things military doom it - and this country - to participation from the sidelines.

No one takes this group seriously anymore. We are like Gen George McClellan, the Union commander during the earliest days of the Civil War, who made empty threats and promises, who moved from staging area to staging area, but failed to engage the enemy despite the orders of his commander, Abraham Lincoln. Despite the size, strength and superiority of Union forces, the Confederates knew they had nothing to fear as long as McClellan was in charge.

So, while the powerful air forces of the US launch 11 sorties per day against ISIS, the Russians gather themselves inside Syria, joined by the resorces of Gen Suleiman who leads Iran's Quds Force which funds Hizballah, and the two most powerful anti war radicals in America, Obama and Kerry, plead for "deconfliction" negotiations with the real actors in the region.

This is no mystery. No one should have been caught "flat footed". The signs were everywhere and intentionally ignored by those who have a solemn responsibility to protect this nation's interests and its people.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Roger Ailes Steps in It. Big Time.

Roger Ailes is in big trouble.

I mean, his job's not in jeopardy. He's made a ton for his boss, Rupert Murdoch, and his stockholders. But, oh, man, Fox News has stepped into it big time. They are clueless about what is going on around them and Roger is doubling down.

Permit me to reiterate: I am not a Donald Trump fan for reasons I have explained in other pieces. However, the network has clearly made a decision - at who knows what level - to not just mock the Trump candidacy, but to undermine it actively.

No one is more central to this effort than Megyn Kelly. She is an affronted woman of position and authority. She has been anointed by Ailes as the personification of the network's future: smart, attractive, family-oriented, attorney. Unfortunately, she is also smarmy, sardonic, aloof and thin skinned.

Trump attacked her. Viciously. I think she deserved it to some extent because she undeniably singled out Trump in the Fox debate with an attacking line of questioning that was personal and singular in its focus. I don't know why she went after him and I don't know if Chris Wallace and Bret Baier were consulted beforehand.

Trump did not respond graciously. Ever since (and I have watched her nightly "newscasts" regularly since that episode), she has used her airtime to mock him, to seemingly promote his most vociferous critics and to conduct herself in an unprofessional manner that was not present before the debate dust up.

It is creepy to watch, difficult to imagine it hasn't been blessed by Ailes and has fundamentally undermined the covenant it had with its viewers. While always understood to be a counterpoint to the mainstream and liberal media, it has never been perceived as favoring or disfavoring individuals on the right side of the aisle. That has changed irreversibly.

Trump pissed off Ailes and Fox by attacking Kelly. They circled the wagons and lashed out at Trump. But Fox blew their moral high ground. In addition to Kelly's nightly sarcastic molotovs, she has been joined by the personality emerging as Fox's prince of arrogance, Shep Smith. This good 'ol boy from Ole Miss is taking Ailes' boosterism way too seriously.

In addition to joining Kelly in smarmy "we all know Trump is an idiot" asides, he seems to have positioned himself as a humility-free, cartoonish newsman who is neither reporter nor commentator. He is like some freakish self-generated hybrid, unbelievable as a straight newsman, irrelevant as a serious commentator.

No matter what happens to Trump's presidential campaign, he has successfully made the powers at Fox very uncomfortable. They have jeopardized their long-standing relationship with a very loyal audience by reacting childishly to Trump's petulant tweets. They are putting an extremely valuable franchise in harm's way because Ailes objected to the way Trump handled his hand-picked Talent of the Future.

Now, everybody kinda expects this from Donald. But to date, no one expected this from Ailes. He has left himself vulnerable and he will have to come to some sense of detente with Trump. Who has ever - EVER - heard of a network in effect boycotting a personality who has delivered HUGE ratings because of some perceived personal affront? Never happened. CAN'T happen. Ratings are the lifeblood that course through the veins of any enterprise dependent on advertising.

Trump has delivered Ailes ratings in a way Kelly and Smith can only dream of. Ailes is paid mega bucks to deliver ratings which generate revenue which begets profits which makes stockholders happy which makes the Murdochs ecstatic and rich which leads to another big contract for Ailes! Remarkable!

If I were Ailes, I would fire Kelly and Smith for promoting the candidacy of Marco Rubio to the detriment of my news division's objectivity. They have both become insufferable elites and have long since lost their fresh faced charm. I flash on today's image of Shep pointing to an oversized map of Manhattan as he explains to us rubes how the Pope has insured complete gridlock and inconvenienced his hipster buds because - shit - they'll have to go below ground to take the friggin subway.

Having accomplished that, I would make sure that I have locked down an option on a future services contract with Donald once his candidacy suffocates. His track record of ratings generation is enviable and, by God, we'll find someplace to put him.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Happy Days Are Here! Again!!

There is a fraud of massive proportions blanketing this country today.

No, it is not the Hil email embarrassment, although the details revealed almost daily diminish her proportionately. No, it is not the candidacy of Donald Trump, although the near total absence of policy pronouncements undermines his temporary position atop the polls.

Rather, it is a conspiracy of tectonic forces which often align ideologically, but my memory is challenged to recall anything similar. The heart of the conspiracy is the myth that somehow Obama has rescued us from the economic collapse of 2008 and the economy is in a slow, but undeniable, recovery.

Despite the protestations of Josh Earnest (maybe the smarmiest, most condescending press secretary ever. And that's saying something when you think that intellectual giants like Marie Harf, Jen Psaki and John Kirby are in the same administration), the economy sucks.

When one considers that more than 90 million people able to work cannot find employment; close to 50 million people are on food stamps; and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has the unemployment rate improving on a beautiful bar chart from a high of 10% in October 2009 to 5.1% in August 2015. Holy mackerel, people, Obama has cut the unemployment rate in half! Happy Days Are Here Again!

Except they ain't. The Federal Reserve has been unable to reimpose an interest rate of any kind because the economy - worldwide - is so fragile. The stock market is roiling as of this writing because China's economy, on which so much global success has depended, is in free fall. In the last 3 months, the stock market has dropped 2,000 points.

Today, Caterpillar, one of the bedrock operations in this country and reliable harbinger of global economic health, announced that they were laying off 10,000 employees. Their stock price is down 25% year to date. They said 2015 would be the third consecutive year of lower sales. If they're down again in 2016, it would be the first, 4 year negative stretch in their 90 year history.

Why is Obama wasting his and our time lecturing us on the perils of global warming and embracing the Pope whose theories on economics flange up better with Chavez and Peron than our own? Obama says there is "no greater threat" facing us than climate change.

I think he has reconstituted The Choom Gang and they are in control of Washington. Who cares about global warming if the economy continues its slide and there is a precipitous increase in those requiring government assistance? How are we supposed to pay for that? If more people are falling out of the workforce, but energy costs escalate because of "climate change initiatives", how will normal people absorb these weekly wallet extractions?

There is nothing - with the possible exception of defense preparedness - more critical than fixing this economy which has been in the dumpster since Obama was inaugurated. Please, oh please, explain to me how that is not true without cutting and pasting propaganda from Occupy Democrats or Think Progress.

The sad fact is that Obama's economic initiatives - whatever they might have been - have fallen on their face. Their failure has been masked by painfully twisted statistical reporting from government bureaucracies the administration controls. Those bogus statistics are then parroted by the media who have become masterful at manipulating the Obama Image.

He cannot seem to have been wrong in his actions or policies because they cannot seem to have been wrong in their support of him.

So, we are staring at a complex series of powerful enterprises which are ideologically aligned and tied together by the need to keep the President from harm. They have performed in a manner I have never seen duplicated. The media hated Johnson because he supported the war in Vietnam. They hated the Bushes because the were Republicans. Their support for Clinton was half-hearted because even they were privately disgusted by the notion of a democrat President getting blow jobs by an intern and then lying about it.

But it was close. Very close. Because their common ideological objectives nearly - nearly - convinced them to give him a pass until a blue dress stained with semen caused a momentary pause. Holy Shit, they said. And, despite their best efforts to sweep this scandal under a rug, there was no denying the reality of a semen-smeared dress to be "donated" to the Smithsonian. All went quiet.

Now, his wife resurfaces after having been rejected by a "clean" African American nearly 8 years ago. But her position is shakier than it was then. Her reputation has been influenced undeniably by shifting positions, obfuscating statements and outright lies about the night of Sep 11 in Benghazi. Her email story is ridiculous, an embarrassing coverup that should lead to her indictment - unless the prosecution of Gen. Petreus was politically motivated and no indictments will ever cascade from the insanity of Fast and Furious and the IRS targeting of tea party groups. Any attempt to prosecute her will be parried by forces ironically tied to the Clinton Foundation.

There will never be any Fast and Furious indictments, nor will anyone at the IRS ever be held to account for their use of private information to target groups with which the administration disagreed; goodness, right before Obama's reelection campaign. Amazing!

The sooner this administration is brought to its appropriate conclusion, the better. We need to move beyond it and try to recover which will take more than 2 terms of a new President. Should the Hil or Uncle Joe prevail in November 2016, we will be facing greater uncertainty in the stock market, rising taxes and no improvement in the employment outlook. It will literally mean the end of the country as we know it today.

The likelihood of that happening - when compared with the "no greater threat" global warming paranoia of Obama's current rhetoric - stands in stark contrast with the brain-addled encyclical of the
Holy See and his ideological allies.

There will be no global warming issues with which to concern ourselves if the economy deteriorates
further and the consequence of broadening unemployment drives our deficit to levels which exceed our ability to ever repay.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Clean Gene Must Destroy Stuart Smiley

Minnesota. Fine state. Minneapolis-St. Paul. Prairie Home Companion. Hubert Humphrey. Democrat Farmer Labor Party. Eugene McCarthy. Paul Wellstone.

For millennials, you probably think there is nothing out of the ordinary about politics - particularly democrat - politics in Minnesota. Ah, but that's where you're wrong.

I would suggest, from personal experience, that Eugene McCarthy may have been one of the most significant figures in American politics over the last 50 years. Unassuming, avuncular, apolitical in appearance, McCarthy was a guy who challenged the status quo - in the form of Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War - and ultimately forced LBJ to withdraw from a re-election bid. His candidacy was viewed as frivolous, a distraction, but it galvanized the anti war left in a stunning way.

He also paved the way for Robert Kennedy. Kennedy was reluctant to take Johnson on, given his brother's relationship to LBJ (although it was patently obvious that neither brother could stomach the Texan), but with McCarthy taking the early arrows, Kennedy saw an opportunity to assume the mantle of anti war activists to take Johnson out.

We know the tragic story which ensued, but Gene McCarthy is known more as a footnote than the heroic figure he really was. In fact, I would suggest that McCarthy was a Founding Father of the modern democrat party which has become uniformly left wing and thoroughly anti war. In McCarthy's day, the party was far less doctrinaire and remarkably diverse compositionally. There were military hawks, members who favored tax cuts and reductions in government spending and - holy mackerel - clinging segregationists who had led the charge against voting rights and integration.
Yes, they were democrats, not Republicans.

My, oh my, how times have changed, right? Now, we are blessed with one of the century's blazing intellects as a United States Senator from Minnesota. With all that wonderful history. The Honorable Al Franken. Author of insightful political analyses, like "Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot". Or my personal favorite, "Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them". Is there anyone alive who watched Al Franken on Saturday Night Live who didn't cring a bit when he did his Stuart Smiley routine? Humor was clearly not his professional destiny, so he turned to the next best thing.

Al is the epitome of the 21st century Democratic Party. There is nothing even remotely bipartisan about what he does or says. He is the #1 Senator in that esteemed body to fall in line with his party. He votes with democrats 98.8% of the time. It is interesting to note, if he joins candidates Clinton and Sanders on wanting to rid politics of "big money" (and his 98.8% voting affirmation would suggest as much) that his largest campaign contributor is a law firm, Susman Godfrey, specializing in "commercial litigation", a very fancy term for tort attorneys. They have offices in Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York.

What?? Not Minneapolis? I mean, that doesn't make any sense.

You and I cannot fathom what might link Senator Al Franken to a law firm that is his largest campaign donor and does not maintain an office in his home state. Can we assume, perhaps, that the industry of tort trial lawyers which is deeply intertwined with the democrat party and resists all efforts undertaken by Republican to limit tort litigation and damage awards might be inclined to support someone like Stuart Smiley? Doggone it. People just like me!

Al Franken is the personification of what's sick about American politics in 2015. Hyperpartisan, bombastic in his dismissal of opponents, blindly in lock step with his president, unconcerned seemingly with his active participation in doubling our debt, nearly invisible when it comes to meaningful legislation. In all fairness, Franken seems to be pretty solid in his support of veterans issues and all credit to him for that. But his support of other legislative initiatives are predictably and strictly ideological.

Do not misunderstand: I could just as easily have picked an " establishment" Republican like John McCain, but, wouldn't you know it, he votes with his party only 81% of the time. It is a sad factual commentary that Republicans are far more likely to join their colleagues on legislation than vice versa. And no one captures that with the singularity of Senator Al Franken.

If you kids check out Gene McCarthy on your smart devices, you will read about a quiet, humble man who was willing to sacrifice his political career and challenge a sitting President from his own party because he believed deeply in principle. His affectionate nickname was "Clean Gene" because he seemed to be uniquely unsullied.

Today's Democrats won't even challenge their sitting President to follow constitutional mandates to present treaties to the Senate for advise and consent; no individual with the courage to speak out against a President who follows the laws he chooses and allows those with which he disagrees to go unenforced; and who mock their opponents for their willingness to challenge their own party's leadership on matters of principle.

Nothing ever will change until lemmings like Al Franken are swept from power. We need more men like Gene McCarthy, whether you agree with their positions on policy or not, because they challenge the status quo and are not led by their noses with threats of losing seniority. Voters want to know what candidates really stand for and they utterly reject poll-tested platitudes and stump speeches read from a TelePrompTer.

You'll recognize a political player with real principles. They are generally solitary figures, rejected by their own party's establishment because their causes are intended to bring down those in positions of authority. Drawing attention to their cause is all that matters and they are willing to sacrifice their own positions of power or authority for the cause's sake.

That definition is the complete antithesis of Al Franken and others like him. Including Donald Trump and, especially, Hillary. But there are people on the political scene who do fit this definition. And they must supplant those who do not in order for this ship to begin a change in direction.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Quintessentially Unsubstantial

I would describe myself as a moderate constitutionalist. On social matters, fairly libertarian - I believe government has little cause or standing to involve itself in personal affairs. On fiscal issues, I am a hawkish, face-painted tea partier - I stand with the words of JFK.

Go to americanrhetoric.com and read his address before the Economic Club of New York in December 1962. He describes an America that sounds precisely like this country in 2015. The challenges are the same, though magnified exponentially, and his proposed solutions would get my vote today. There is not a democrat on the planet today that would identify with the policy pronouncements of their icon.

That is precisely what I am looking for from this group of Republican candidates. I would like one person to get up on a stage and say something to the effect of: If I'm elected President within my first 100 days in office, I promise you that I will (for example) reduce the size of the Department of Education by 10% (which is actually too small a number). If I cannot get Congress to implement this change, I will issue an executive order and fight any legal challenge that might arise from it.

Or perhaps he or she might say: If I'm elected President within my first 100 days in office, I will conduct an exhaustive review of the VA (and how about the IRS?) and I promise to take decisive action to streamline the overhead of this agency, hold accountable those bureaucrats who have failed to provide appropriate services to the American taxpayers and outline specifically the functional changes in the agency I will be targeting.

I am tired of platitudes. "Making America Great Again" doesn't cut it for me. "Breaking up the Washington Cartel" is catchy, but excludes any substance. The CNN debate had little to do with policy and much more to do with generating ratings and conflict. It was quintessentially unsubstantial.

On my way home from a dove hunt last evening (yes, bicoastals, I did participate in this Texas tradition), I happened to listen to Megyn Kelly's show via XM radio. She spent 20 minutes of her "news" program on an incident at a Trump town hall meeting where an unstable questioner told Trump we needed to get all Muslims (including the President) out of the country. Donald did not dismiss the questioner's absurd contention, and this apparently turned into a firestorm.

Kelly asked her guests whether all this media attention was warranted, but she was in effect positioning herself in this media slipstream by devoting so much time to this story devoid of substance.

And, so far, that is my assessment of the campaign so far: substance-less. I don't fault the candidates completely because they have to bend to the astounding throw weight of the media. When they're on the stump or appearing at events at which they can address voters without intermediaries, they do address issues and experience. They shy away from attacking fellow candidates and redirect their criticism to Obama and Hil.

Let us not ignore that in the face of the truly ridiculous numbers the first two debates on Fox and CNN have generated, The Hil is drawing hundreds on campaign appearances, even on college campuses. Her numbers are in tectonic slide, the DNC is in full protection mode by not expanding their debate schedule and her platform seems to be....indistinguishable from Obama's. Bernie's platform is: let's take that $18 trillion debt and freakin' double it! Hell yeah.

Somehow, we must return to some place and time where we can find some commonality between the Democratic Party of JFK and the Republican Party of Reagan. Maybe Lindsey Graham is right:
perhaps more drinking is in order. Short of that, we should demand that candidates who wish to be taken seriously must represent themselves with concrete positions of policy.

Believe it or not, Donald Trump has taken the first legitimate step on this golden road. He has outlined (or, more likely, his advisors have) a cohesive, rational policy paper on the Second Amendment. Agree or disagree, it is serious attempt to tackle the tricky question of how to control the legal and illegal possession of firearms.

Instead of analyzing the Trump policy statement - which is dry, wonky and too un-Trump-like to be taken seriously - the media would rather expend its oxygen on magnifying the inadequate Trump response to a questioner a bubble off plumb (Bicoastals - this allegorical phrase relates to a construction instrument that measures "level" with an air bubble in liquid. If you're a bubble off, you're way off center.) who is convinced Obama's a Muslim.

I'm not prepared to generalize about the media, but Megyn Kelly is clearly still fuming about Trump's reaction to her performance in the Fox debate. It was embarrassing and creepy to listen to her last night, encouraging her guests to agree with her assessment that Trump had midhandled this addled questioner. To devote more than 20 minutes to this inconsequential exchange was indicative of Megyn's inability to put the debate exchange in context and her desire to take down Trump with some professional patina. She appears more petty to me than Trump right now.

The next logical step is for debate #3 to be telecast by Bravo and moderated by some reasonable number of Kardashians. Kanye West, an avowed admirer of Donald and known Kardashian affiliate, would have to be barred from partication for obvious conflicts of interest. Ratings would be huge, substance nonexistent, media interest off the charts. Andy Cohen needs to moderate going forward with his Housewives in tow.

Let's cut the reality TV crap and get on with the substance. If CNN or Fox can't figure out how to manage this process professionally, let's find someone who can. And let's also get Hil into a situation where she's got to address legitimate questioning from unbiased journalists (ok, you're right - forget it). Until we get there, these candidates are nothing but ratings pawns in a TV drama and they suffer by sucking up to Roger Ailes and Jeff Zucker who are the ultimate winners.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Puff the Magic Bernie

I have been peppered by bicoastal Friends on Facebook recently regarding the awesomeness that is Bernie Sanders. I don't know whether this is some desperate reaction to the train wreck that is Hillary or a real embrace of socialism which, of course, is a discredited social system.

What seems to have triggered this paroxysm of liberal delight was Bernie's appearance at Liberty University. That school, you will recall, was founded by The Reverend Jerry Falwell, one of liberalism's most hated figures from the last 25 years. And freakin' Bernie ventures right into the belly of the Beast and draws a huge crowd! Wow!

If I'm not mistaken, though, Sanders was invited to Liberty as part of Convocation where students gather to hear guest speakers. He was graciously introduced by Rev. Falwell's son, given a "Sanders" personalized jersey, and, according to nearly every news report, treated cordially and respectfully.

Let's imagine a contrasting (but fictional, unfortunately) contrast. If Ted Cruz, for example, appeared at Columbia University or UC-Berkeley, how might he be received? Would there be an open-minded audience of eager college students, offering a philosophical opponent the opportunity to present his vision? Would the university administration welcome such a forum, let alone actually invite Sen Cruz to address their student body?

The answers are all too obvious. Whether one is comfortable with evangelicism or not, there is an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance on that campus that is all too rare these days. It is ironic that most people who might ally themselves with Sanders view evangelicals with disdain, believing them to be religiously simplistic and intolerant of those who do not share their beliefs. Worse, the dog whistle implication is that they're unsophisticated, so foreign to the bicoastals - a scary Force of The Lord, dedicated to destroying ungodly Liberalism.

But the very opposite has become true. Bernie Sanders and those who share his dogma have become the arbiters of free speech. They have determined what is acceptable these days and what is not. Examples abound. Though 98 Senators voted to approve the Corker-Cardin bill, giving the Senate a limited level of input to JCPOA (which violates Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution), the Democratic minority, including Bernie Sanders, blocked via filibuster any meaningful debate, so no one would have to go on the record with an up or down vote.

Similarly, both Bernie and Hillary have centered their campaigns around reversing the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision. They have both said that if elected they will hold any Supreme Court nominee to overturning this decision. Again, it is ironic to take this stance seriously when the left gets so outraged if someone on "the other side" claims to want to do the same with Roe vs. Wade.

Citizens United gave corporations the ability to contribute to campaigns and PAC's as any individual or union might. Somehow this has enraged the left, but it begs the question: under what circumstances are unions permitted to contribute liberally to political campaigns, but corporations cannot?

Uh, could it be that nearly every dollar contributed by unions goes to Democratic candidates? Please.

And Bernie, like many of his fellow social Democrats, loves to complain about "getting big money out of politics" and always focuses on the Despised Koch Brothers as the devil incarnate of Big Money. What Bernie and Hil never tell you is that, for example, 16 of the top 20 contributors to political campaigns during the 2014 election cycle gave to liberal Democratic causes/candidates nearly exclusively. How does this elude any media scrutiny?

Yes, Koch Industries was on the list at #14 with $10 million in contributions. At the top of the list - oh my goodness - is Tom Steyer's Fahr LLC at $75 million in contributions, all of which went to democrat and liberal causes.

Where is the outrage? Where is the absence of hypocrisy? How dare that evil corporatist Tom Steyer be permitted to influence American electoral politics so blatantly? Bernie and Hil indulge in such offensive, selective outrage; the only way their claims escape media scrutiny is because.....the media does not want to scrutinize these scurrilous claims.

Bernie is no more the "outsider" than Hil is. He may have a lot less money, but he has been inside Washington since 1991 - that's 24 years. He has sometimes labeled himself a "socialist", but now seems to prefer "independent".  But there's nothing the slightest bit independent about him: he caucuses with Democrats, his committee assignments are determined by Democrat leadership, and
he votes with Democrats 98% of the time.

By what conceivable definition of "independent" is he an independent? How does he have the cojones to refer to himself as an "outsider"?

Give me a shout when he denounces Tom Steyer with the same vitriol he reserves for the Koch Brothers and "Wall Street bankers". He is playing the cheapest of all political games, not unlike Donald Trump. He is preying on fear, he is identifying boogie men upon whom we can place blame for the sorry state of this country, and he does all this very selectively. It is demagoguery, pure and simple, culled from his heroes, Noam Chomsky, the Sandinistas and other "revolutionary" heroes from the Sixties.

This is pure political theater that only shines its light on one side of the stage.