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? 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? 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"?