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.