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Incessant Aggrandizement

Posted by MLGoodell on April 20, 2016 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Just about everything wrong with America today can be summed up in a recent Wall Street Journal article about the campaign to place a woman on the newly designed $10 bill. The author, Nick Timiraos, cites a March, 2015 memo from Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew which revealed that though the decision to honor Susan B. Anthony with the rollout of the new bill in 2020 had already been made, he decided to turn the redesign into a public referendum over which woman should be put on the bill.

 

Now, the fact that it was envisioned that redesigning a piece of currency was envisioned to take at least five years is proof positive that our federal government is fatally sclerotic, but that is not the most damning aspect of the decision. Instead, it had to do with the rationale for turning the decision into a debate. Lew felt the decision would “inspire a feel good campaign about women’s contributions to U.S. history.”

 

Whether it is the role of the federal government to launch “feel good campaigns about women’s contributions” is a reasonable question, but what should be beyond dispute is that it is in no way within the purview of the U.S. Treasury to engage in such social pseudo scientific meddling.

 

Of course, under this administration there is no piece of social meddling beyond its scope, as witnessed by the head of NASA informing us that the president believed one of the highest priorities of the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s was to encourage “the Muslim World” to feel good about its contributions to science and mathematics.

 

Let us be clear. It is not the job of the U.S. Treasury to boost the self-esteem of women, or any other subsection of American society. Nor is it the business of government to encourage fathers to take time to be fathers, as a recent federally funded ad campaign entreats.

 

In an age of steep deficits and steadily mounting debt, with burgeoning entitlement spending and no clear path to reining in the fiscal Leviathan which is the federal budget, it is unconscionable that anyone, let alone the U.S. Treasury Secretary, would spend valuable tax dollars on something so insubstantial, trivial and unnecessary as promoting a “feel good campaign about women’s contributions.”

 

If every federal department could be forced to return to its original remit, with its budget slashed accordingly, not only would we be one step closer to a sound fiscal policy, but everyday life would begin to trend toward freedom, and away from the increasingly stifling embrace of the nanny state.

#NeverMoreClinton

Posted by MLGoodell on March 28, 2016 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

The other day, after listening to my latest anti-Trumpster rant, a friend concluded, “Then you’ll vote for Hillary.”

 

“No,” I said. “I will never vote for Hillary Clinton. The idea of turning the printing presses back on for Clinton, Inc. is just too frightening to contemplate.”

 

Though it is a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of an elective office must be in want of a good fortune, the degree to which Hill and Bill have shown their fealty it is, not surprisingly, beyond the bounds of propriety. If Hillary were to gain the presidency, their monetization of power would approach Third-World-Dictator levels of kleptocracy. They would turn their hundreds of millions into tens of billions. Under the Clinton administration everything would be for sale, except their sense of honor, the sell by date of which has long since expired.

 

What makes her accession so unpalatable is Hillary simply doesn’t have Bill’s gift for guileless graft. His seemingly genuine warmth and affection for people, his folksiness, gained the forgiveness of multitudes of sins. Was Bill caught lying through his teeth again? Oh, that Bill, what a character. Another bimbo eruption? Oh, that Bill, that Ole Hound Dawg. Another woman’s accused him of rape? Oh, that Bill, he’s such a rascal.

 

His wife lacks that common touch. There is something so desperately furtive about her that even when she is telling the truth (one presumes), it is hard to think she isn’t lying.

 

Never is she more hapless than when addressing her four years of foreign policy influence peddling. In an interview with “The Des Moines Register” published Jan. 22 of this year, she dismissed the inflated speaking fees she commanded from special interest groups with business pending with the United States government by declaring, in a tone sounding uncannily like Dirty Harry, “Anybody who thinks they can buy me doesn’t know me.”

 

Then again, one can easily imagine Hill and Bill responding to every attempt to buy their influence by saying, “Go ahead, make my day.”

 

As yet another indication of how unprecedented this electoral season has been, the old saw, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, has been thrown on its ear. When the devil you know is HillBill, the devil you don’t looks better and better.

Conventional Wisdom

Posted by MLGoodell on March 19, 2016 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

There has been a lot of nervous talk lately about a “brokered” Republican National Convention. Allow me to set your hearts at ease. There will not be a brokered convention this year. I guarantee it it.

 

Here’s why a brokered convention is impossible. A brokered convention has been defined throughout American political history as a group of party leaders assembling in smoke-filled rooms and picking their party’s nominee. On October 9, 2006, Quicken Loans Arena, the site of this year’s Republican National Convention, banned smoking throughout the facility. No smoking, no smoke-filled rooms. No smoke-filled rooms, no brokered convention. QED.

 

There may well be an open convention, or a contested one, in which no candidate has won the requisite 1,237 delegates. After the first round of voting, most delegates are released from their commitment, and are free to vote for any candidate they choose. There are some limitations, such as eligibility being limited to candidates who have won at least eight primaries or caucuses during the run up to election.

 

Of course, this rule was set by the Rules Committee, and it can be changed, by a majority vote. Which means, theoretically, the nomination is open to anyone. Except Paul Ryan, who has said he will not accept the nomination. (Of course, Speaker Ryan also stated adamantly that he would not accept the Speaker of the House).

 

Now, Donald Trump has made noises about the possibility of riots if “the Establishment” denies him his nomination. Of this, all we can say is, if you’re Geico, you save people 15% on car insurance. if you’re Donald Trump, you make irresponsible, ill-considered comments. It’s what you do.

 

For all those who think denying Trump the nomination would be a travesty, an act of injustice on a level with, say, Howard Cosell losing his job because of some colorful terminology used to describe certain NFL wide receivers, consider the following.

 

If Trump continues to nail down his usual 35% of the Republican electorate, it basically means for every Republican who supports him, there are two who don’t. Hardly overwhelming support. Hardly a clear example of the people having spoken with one voice.

 

If, after the first ballot the delegates are released and his support drops in subsequent ballots, we will have an open convention. This will be riveting television, on par with a hotly contested “Batchelor,” or even “Dancing With the Hollywood Chefs” episode. If someone comes from outside the ranks of candidates, a Dark Horse, and rides a sudden upwelling of support to victory, then neither Trump nor his supporters can rightfully claim they were cheated. The system worked, and a party, the majority of whose members never supported him, gets its way, and justice is done.

 

His supporters can choose to stay home, or Trump can run as a third party candidate, either of which options will likely result in Hillary Clinton becoming the first president to pardon herself, (unless Brazilian President Dilma Roussef beats her to it). They can have their temper tantrum and punish those who opposed them, but in no way can they lay claim to the heart of the Republican Party.

 

If, on the other hand, Trump’s support rises on the second ballot, matters are trending his way and he will likely win the nomination. If he gains sufficient support, then shame on party leaders or insiders who would attempt to deny him the nomination, to deny party members the right to determine their own path.

 

This is the part of the brokered convention some people fear will occur, even if party insiders aren’t allowed to smoke (or maybe they can use the Boehner Suite). In this scenario “the Establishment” selects a favored candidate, either Mitt Romney 2.0, or Jeb!, say, and they swing the delegates’ support his way.

 

The problem with this is, it won’t work. The Chairman of, say, the Ohio Republican Party can’t say, I’ll throw my 66 delegates behind Eric Cantor, because he doesn’t control them. In the old days of brokered convention, he could do that, and the delegates would fall in line. Today they will fall in line, but only if they agree with the decision.

 

So, there won’t be a brokered convention. Even if there is a contested convention, whoever the nominee is, rightly or wrongly, wisely or foolishly, he or she will be chosen by a majority of the delegates. Then maybe the party can rally behind the candidate, all the Trump supporters will wake up, like Dorothy, back in their own beds, telling the most amazing story about twisters, munchkins and flying monkeys, and the people will unite to defeat the Wicked Witch of the East.

Aye, There's the Rubio

Posted by MLGoodell on March 9, 2016 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Watching this election is kind of like passing a wreck on the highway. You don’t want to look. You tell yourself not to look, but you want to see what made the gawkers pause. So you look. And if you’re unlucky, what you see will stay with you for a long, long time. It will wake you up at night. It will sear your brain in radiant color.

 

(The only thing that could improve that analogy is if Al Gore were running again).

 

After nearly eight years of marveling at how Barack Obama, with whom I shared an identical world view at the age of 25, has managed to make it this far into adult life without changing one iota of it, I face the prospect of seeing other way stations of my youth and childhood made flesh.

 

Bernie Sanders and I shared the same world view when I was 18, one characterized by a 1970’s era Coke commercial, (watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib-Qiyklq-Q), and the world hasn’t changed his outlook in the slightest.

 

Hillary Clinton, in terms of her sense of entitlement and outraged amour propre when things don’t go her way, reminds me of me when I was 12. All these years, and no improvement. And then we come to Donald Trump, who, other than his strip club lifestyle, is pretty much me, circa three years old.

 

This inability to adapt, change or grow is particularly disturbing when you consider two of the three would be the oldest people to assume the office of President, while the third would be the second oldest. Perhaps this intellectual and emotional stasis is the consequence of a life in politics, or in Trump’s case, show business. The constant alteration of opinion to reflect the latest fad or poll result must winnow out their personalities, leaving them nothing to hold onto but some hazy recollection of what they were or thought they were a long, long time ago.

 

During the Cold War, the flawed infrastructure of the Soviet system was illustrated by the decrepitude of its leaders. They were too cowed by the consequences of change, the terror of stepping blindly into the unknown, to countenance anyone who could not hail back to the age of putative glory.

 

So too, this campaign. Of those still standing, only one, Marco Rubio, has had the courage, insight and wisdom to look at the world not as he would like it to be, but as it is. Only Rubio understands that there are challenges afoot, that those who call themselves our enemies will not be content to merely let us walk away. Every other candidate blithely embraces the Pollyanna outlook of the person presently Occupying the White House.

 

Sadly, Republican voters have taken their measure of him, and found him wanting. Too young, too pretty, too shallow, unlike those giants of integrity and character looming over the stage. He launched his campaign with a tale of hope and a positive vision of the future. He tried to stay above the fray, refusing to attack Trump, believing as did so many that the showboater’s time was fleeting.

 

It should have been, but for some reason the public forgave Trump his multitude of sins. He broke every rule of politics, and the public loved him more. They ignored his boasting, they cheered his bullying, and they forgave him his vulgarity.

 

Meanwhile, Rubio, whose Tea Party origins were so pure that he once drove his Senate primary opponent, Charlie Crist, right out of the party, was tarred with the “Establishment” brush. To the fire breathers who have flocked to Trump, ever holding the vicious Ted Cruz in reserve, in whose eyes even Paul Ryan is too liberal, anyone who isn’t willing to torch the White House is tarnished goods, unworthy of their support, consigned to the ash heap of history.

 

Rubio made his share of mistakes. At first not taking Trump seriously, then taking him too seriously, worried about offending the pitchfork and firebrand crowd he was attracting to the party. He played Trump's game, allowing himself to be goaded into a pissing contest with Cruz. It hurt them both, but it hurt Rubio more, because unlike the unlikable Cruz, he was supposed to be better than that. Then, when it became clear he needed to attack Trump, for the sake of his candidacy, and for the future of his party, he made the mistake of responding in kind to Trump’s vulgarity.

 

He couldn’t see a way to remain above the fray and so descended into the pit with the master mud wrestler. Then Rubio learned, as did we all, that the rules do apply. He broke the same rules of decency and courtesy which Trump did, but unlike Trump, the people did not, and will not forgive him.

 

It’s hard to see a way forward for Rubio. Though some are urging him to drop out now, it is only natural that he will try to turn it around by winning his home state. It’s unlikely he will. Thanks to the scourge of early voting, Floridians have been voting for four weeks, which means countless votes were wasted on Jeb! before he dropped out, votes which Rubio could have used to blunt the brute force of the Trump campaign.

 

Rubio made the same mistake so many of us did. He believed sooner or later the scales would fall from the people’s eyes, and they would see Trump for the grotesquery he is. It was H.L. Mencken who said “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” Perhaps there should be a Rubio corollary, “No one ever got elected overestimating the judgment of the American people.”

Pitchforks and Tea Carts

Posted by MLGoodell on February 29, 2016 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

A long time ago, when American diplomats were being held hostage by Islamist thugs in Tehran, and American power was being held hostage by indecision and cowardice in Washington, I came upon a cluster of suits one lunch hour in downtown San Francisco. They were angry, frustrated, frightened and gathered outside the Iranian-owned Bank of Melli, on Sutter Street.

 

They were muttering and occasionally shouting, shaking their fists and taking secret pleasure from the frightened glances the young tellers inside would cast our way. Though they would deny it from that day on, each of those present would knew, in their heart of hearts, that terrifyingly delicious taste of putting fear in the eyes of others.

 

We were a mob. A singularly well-dressed, and well-behaved mob, but a mob nonetheless. We felt a thrill of anticipation when the manager scurried over to lock the door. Our shouts grew louder. At one point I realized I could take control of this mob. I could bend them to my will. It took only the raising of my voice to lead them to riot.

 

I stepped forward, grabbed the door handles and shouted, “We can break this door down!”

 

Okay, I spoke the words conversationally. Maybe I even whispered them. There at the moment of decision, I lost my nerve. I decided I didn’t want to be responsible for them trashing the bank, maybe even punching, stomping, beating the employees. I didn’t have what it took to lead a mob. I was too passive to be an activist. I spent the balance of my lunch hour in the crowd, waiting for someone else to step forward.

 

When the police came to escort the bank employees to safety our impromptu mob cheered. I explained to them you didn’t cheer the police when they arrived, you booed them. But they, like me when push came to shove, were reflexively allied with order and the rule of law.

 

I was reminded of that incident the other day while pondering the mystery of Donald Trump. How is it possible that he can break every rule of politics and see his support grow? How can he be a bully, a boor, an adolescent shambles, a self-gratifying, self-aggrandizing, self-glorifying egotist and watch his numbers grow? How is it possible that people who have learned over the course of a lifetime to despise people like Donald Trump on general principle can turn with a vengeance on anyone who points out exactly who and what the man is?

 

Trump supporters, I came to understand, are like that nascent mob in San Francisco. They are angry, frustrated and frightened. They feel let down by the system, by their culture; for them the American Dream is dead. They don’t embrace Trump because they believe he will, in fact, Make America Great Again, but because they are convinced he will destroy what remains of the City Upon the Hill.

 

They are angry. They are throwing bombs. They don’t care to preserve the system because the system no longer works. How is it possible that the American political system could have failed its citizens so drastically that the middle class are ready to revolt? It is a terrible thing when the middle class advocates revolution, because when the system falls, it falls hardest upon the middle class. It is the middle class which thrives on order, which depends upon the rule of law, which cheers the police when they arrive. If the middle class want to throw things over, things have gotten very bad indeed.

 

These torches-and-pitchfork condemnations of the Republican establishment, of damning people like Paul Ryan, Richard Lowry and William Kristol as RINOS, as liberal hacks, reveal a kind of sickness, a Dantonesque fanning of the revolutionary flames, of kindling a bonfire while will burn more than their enemies.

 

Calling Trump a dictator, a Mussolini, has no impact on his mob because they want a dictator. They want a Mussolini to come in and sweep the old edifice away. They are tired of being lied to by the establishment. They are tired of voting for Conservatives only to have them rule like moderates or even liberals. They believe the system is so broken it corrupts even decent men and women, and the only solution is to tear it down.

 

The break has been a long time coming. It happened, as Mike Campbell said about his bankruptcy, two ways, gradually and then suddenly.

Bedtime Stories

Posted by MLGoodell on February 23, 2016 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Of all the interesting aspects of this most curious of curious elections perhaps the most remarkable is the urgency with which the prevailing media are trying to draw it to the close. Even though a mere four of the 57 American states have voted, pundits are throwing dirt on Marco Rubio’s coffin because he hasn’t managed to win a single election. Donald “Il Duce” Trump, on the other hand, is the hands down winner, having dropped only a single campaign, and that to Ted Cruz, the Emmanuel Goldstein of contemporary American politics, who is incapable of winning because he can’t even poll a plurality of Evangelical voters in South Carolina.

 

No, Tump towers over all other candidates by virtue of his having a ceiling of 35% of Republican primary voters, and as any student of history will tell you, 35% is a yuuuge margin. Hell, the best Hitler ever managed was 34%, and look at how that turned out. I’m telling you, the man knew supply chain management, believe me.

 

On the other side of the spectrum, a quick sampling of Nevada Caucus headlines have Hillary Clinton winning easily, handily, decisively. Her easy, handy and decisive victory pretty much marked the end of Bernie Sanders’ quixotic quest to give free things to everybody (except the evil rich, who will be made to pay, like they are in Denmark).

 

Parsing the numbers shows that Hillary easily nailed down 52.5% of the Nevada caucus vote, while Sanders struggled to convince a paltry 47.5% of Nevada democrats to vote for him. Only among the Clinton faithful is a 5% margin considered a landslide. One wonders if these journalists really, really like Hillary, or are they just bucking for a cushy job at the Clinton Foundation. (Nice work if you can get it, schmoozing with billionaires, jetting off to Davos on private jets, and if you’re lucky, getting full use of Bill’s Penthouse Lounge VIP card).

 

If they were so inclined, they could have spun the Democrat results in an entirely different way. Despite spending months building an infrastructure in Nevada, Hillary barely held on to wrest a much-needed victory from the surging Sanders. The Vermont Senator had essentially written off the state, having spent very little time and money there. Despite this, he came within a fraction of upsetting the struggling Clinton machine. Even more disturbing, Sanders actually outpolled Clinton among the crucial Hispanic vote.

 

Her substantial advantage among African-Americans, Hispanics and other minorities is crucial to counter the fact that everybody else (except aging feminists) favors Sanders by a substantial margin.

 

The election could have been reported this way, except those tasked with creating the rough draft of history have already decided Sanders can’t beat anybody, but Hillary has a decent shot of knocking off Trump. Obviously, conventional wisdom says there’s no way a bullying, buffoonish blowhard like Trump can defeat Hillary in a national election. Of course, conventional wisdom has been sticking a fork in The Donald since last summer and he continues to lead the Republican race.

 

It would be interesting to see what would happen if Trump did in fact face Hillary. Yes, Trump seems to have a ceiling of around 35% in the Republican Party, but where will Bernie’s people go if he loses? To Hillary? Not likely. They seem to hate Hillary more than even Republicans do. It is stunning how many Sanders supporters regard Trump as their second choice.

 

Despite the risk that their advocacy might blow up in their face, certainly Trump gives Hillary the best chance to win. Certainly more so than Rubio. Rubio has polled well against Hillary for months, and has only gotten stronger as his name recognition has grown. Which is why the media felt compelled to make such a big deal about his stumble in the New Hampshire debate, and why his fifth place finishing was regarded as potentially fatal to his prospects.

 

Reporters twist themselves into knots trying to decree that the nominating process is as good as over. The other day one of those dybbuks cited Trump’s “overwhelming lead,” pointing out that he has “nearly six times as many delegates” as his closest competitor. Which is true. He has around 58, while Rubio and Cruz have 10 apiece. Since he only needs 1237, it’s easy to see why those other guys should just pack it in.

 

It reminds me of my schtick on Opening Day, when, say, Miguel Cabrera hits a homer and has 3 RBI. I’ll say he’s on a pace to hit a record 162 home runs and 486 RBI. Of course, I’m kidding. When the CNN Bubble Head says Trump has an overwhelming lead, it’s entirely possible she believes it.

 

Of course, the predominant media are allowed to tell themselves any stories they want if it will help them sleep at night. We the people, on the other hand, are under no obligation to believe them. In fact, one could argue it is our patriotic duty to ignore them.

Against Hillary

Posted by MLGoodell on February 2, 2016 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Following Hillary Clinton’s thrilling, amazing, come-from-behind Iowa caucus victory over the scintillating Bernie Sanders, it may be time to take this bright young politician seriously. There is a very real chance she will win the Democrat Party nomination. We should dread this prospect.

 

There are plenty of reasons why Hillary should not be president, including her husband, the Old Houndog hisself. I he were to return to the White House, no woman in Washington under the age of 60 would be safe, especially those with big, uh, hair. Another is the prospect of listening to that cackle for the next four years. Also, consider her mannerisms. They aren’t natural. She looks like she’s thinking her way through simple human interactions. Compared to Hillary, 70’s era Disneyland animatronics are stunningly lifelike.,

 

Yet another reason to dread another Clinton in the White House is the very real prospect that Hillary would be the first sitting president forced to pardon herself to stay out of jail. These are all compelling reasons not to vote for her, but none of them matter as much as this little gem from her basic stump speech:

 

“We need enough support to be able to really wrap our arms, both literally and figuratively, around every child, and give those kids a chance to show us what they can do, to make their contributions.”

On the surface, this anodyne statement is nothing more than political boilerplate, just words to fill in the spaces, but it is so much more than that. First, when Hillary says “we,” she isn’t talking about parents. “We” to her is the state. So she is saying the state needs enough support to literally wrap its arms around each child. Is there any thought more chilling than that? Well, yes, there is, and it comes at the end of her plea to help the little ones. Why must the state literally wrap its arms around every child? So every child will have a chance to make their contributions.

 

Now, again, this seems to be a noble sentiment, that every child should have every opportunity to contribute to society. But Hillary isn’t talking about society, she is talking about the state. This is the progressive outlook in a nutshell. The state exists to control each individual in order to help that individual make the greatest contribution to the state.

 

This differs only in degrees from that haunting line from “1984,” “If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”

 

Although it’s a popular meme, for jaded millennials and the mouth-breathing Tea Party Taliban alike, that there is no difference between the two parties, it just isn’t true. The Republican Party stands for the individual. Even “liberals” like Paul Ryan recognize the danger of the ever-expanding state. Unfortunately, reining in the state is a massive, thankless, seemingly impossible job. There are more defeats than victories in this fight.

 

The Democrat Party, on the other hand, represents the state. Democrats believe in the essential goodness of the state. They believe the state must be made larger and stronger in order to perfect the human race. This is the state which wraps its arms around children and forces them to make their contributions. It is a hug which ultimately and inevitably becomes suffocating.

 

By her own words, today and throughout her career, Hillary Clinton has made it clear that she believes in the state and wishes to perpetuate and expand it. She will build upon the work the current Occupier of the White House has already achieved. She will complete his mission. She will do so in the name of justice, and progress, and “for the sake of the children.”

13 Hours: Hillary's Disgrace

Posted by MLGoodell on February 1, 2016 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (1)

One of the more disturbing features of George Orwell’s “1984,” is the Two Minutes of Hate, in which all good citizens shout their contempt for the villain du jour at the top of their lungs. The only real world comparative would be sports radio, or the comments section of HuffPo.

 

After watching the film, “13 Hours,” I decided we need something called Thirteen Hours of Shame, in which all good citizens are required to watch this heartbreaking tale of brave men and women left to their own devices because a sclerotic bureaucracy could not bestir itself to find a solution. That only four people did die is a tribute to the courage, the experience and the grace under pressure of a handful of contracted “operators.” It could have been a whole lot worse.

 

“13 Hours” is not a political movie, though it is, by virtue of its existence, a political act. And the result of this act should be the end of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. As is fitting for the would-be-FLOTUS, the assessment I made of her husband, that if he had any character he would resign, though if he had any character he wouldn’t have to resign, is suitable for the Mrs. as well. If Hillary had any character, she would drop out of the race, though if she had any character, she wouldn’t have to.

 

The filmmakers, dedicated to the whole truth, did not mention the Secretary of State, the president or any ranking members of the national security establishment. They were only able to tell the story through the eyes of those who fought to save themselves and their colleagues from a series of concerted and steadily escalating assaults through the early hours of September 12, 2012.

 

Seriously, this movie conveys no sense that anyone was guilty of anything greater than hubris. There is a poignant scene of fighter pilots in their jets, their engines idly spooling, waiting for the command that never came. In retrospect, they might have done some good, but they would have had to have been scrambled almost immediately after the attacks began. It was clear nobody knew how concerted and relentless they would turn out to be. One likes to think if they had known, they would have ordered the jets into the air.

 

If the decision was made, not out of ignorance, but from the determination that the consequences of intervening were greater than the potential massacre of nearly 40 American soldiers, analysts and administrators, it would be acceptable. They knew the risks they were taking. The nature of their job was to put their lives on the line. These weren’t cruise ship passengers or Holy Land pilgrims.

 

It could be justified. In fact, the world would likely be a better place if Jimmy Carter had taken that attitude toward the Americans taken hostage in Tehran in 1979. I don’t suggest he should have acted with callous disregard for their lives, but he could have given Iran an ultimatum, demanding their return in very short order, or face the consequences. If he had been willing to sacrifice their lives, he might well have saved them anyway, without the US being dragged into more than a year’s worth of humiliation. Instead we told the world that we were weak, that we would fold when confronted, that we would always lose.

 

It is not hubris, miscalculations or a hard but justifiable conclusion that if lives were to be lost it was because the price to save them was too high that renders Hillary unfit for office. No, the damning act is she lied. Now, some might argue in her defense, “Hey, she’s a Clinton. That’s what they do.” Point taken.

 

Obviously, there are times when National Security demands a touch of mendacity. As Winston Churchill once said, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she must always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” However, a political campaign is not war, and a lie told to protect one’s campaign theme is not the same as one told to protect the lives of soldiers or to conceal a crucial strategy.

 

If the full force of the United States government is used to construct and protect that lie, then it is worse than offensive, it is morally, and arguably criminally wrong. Thanks to the grudging release of Hillary’s emails we now know that on the very night of the attack the Secretary of State knew this was a terrorist assault on the United States, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. She knew this. She told her daughter this. On that very night.

 

The entire national security establishment of the United States knew this was an act of terrorism. Yet they chose to lie to the American people, and to the grieving parents of those who died that night. Hillary said it was a protest that got out of hand. A protest against an Internet video which showed disrespect to some religious figure. And that’s why she should not be president.

 

That’s what “13 Hours” drove home. The calm courage, the willingness to die that others might be saved, the very honor of the American soldier was on display that night. When Hillary deliberately told lies about how those men fought and died, she dishonored their sacrifices, she demonstrated that she neither valued nor respected them or their service; she effectively spit upon their graves. At the very least she rendered her unfit to fulfill the duties of the office of Commander in Chief.

Benghazi-On-The-Water

Posted by MLGoodell on January 15, 2016 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the good things to come out of the 2012 Presidential election is, having decided America is too stupid to survive, I can actually laugh at the latest Iranian adventurism. The capture and ritualistic humiliation of American naval personnel will go down in history as Benghazi-On-The-Water, Obama’s aquatic version of the Jimmy Carter Desert Classic.

 

Reading the words of people like Secretary of State John Kerry and California Senator Barbara Boxer, describing the incident as a good thing, because we had successfully opened channels through which to more effectively beg the mullahs for mercy and forgiveness, were deliciously Orwellian in their absurdity. But the most profound response came from the President himself, which was silence.

 

Now, some believe his neglecting to mention the incident during his State of The Union address demonstrated diplomatic mastery. His silence was born of the understanding that words spoken in anger cannot be withdrawn, and decisions made in haste might propel an incident to the level of conflict.

 

That’s certainly a reasonable position to take, but when this incident is viewed in conjunction with both the Paris massacre and the Benghazi assault, a different pattern emerges. Rather than judicious silence, what the president’s behavior indicates most strongly is a sense of pique, a resentment that the world is not going the way he wants it to.

 

When 10 US sailors were captured and, at best, psychologically abused, Obama was angry, not at the Iranians, but at the fact that this development was going to mess up his planned SOTU victory dance over the Iranian Nuclear Weapons Development and Terrorism Financing Agreement (or INWDTFA). In other words, what he felt wasn’t concern for the men and women under his putative command, but anger that they were messing up his plans.

 

So, too, with the Paris Massacre. Recall the shock among primarily European journalists, who still labored under the delusion of Obama’s deific qualities, when he described the slaughter of 130 Parisians as “a setback.” It was an untoward intrusion of reality into his constrained approach to ISIS and the Syrian auto-genocide. He was upset at mass murder only to the extent that it inconvenienced him.

 

Consider Benghazi. While not unprecedented, the assassination of an American Ambassador is sufficiently rare as to be noteworthy. Certainly for a president to abandon an American Ambassador to a terrorist attack, leaving him to be burned, mutilated and ritualistically abused while gathering his campaign advisors to figure out the best way to spin it so he could continue to base his reelection campaign on his having successfully defeated terrorism, is a first. Deliberately lying, fabricating some spurious internet video as the cause for a calculated act of terrorism, marks a new low in presidential misconduct.

 

Again, the president’s reflexive reaction to Benghazi was not concern for American casualties, but resentment at how it messed up his preferred narrative. This dispassionate inability to respond to tragedy except as it impacts his own interests, indicates nothing less than a pathological personality.

 

Recognizing the president’s social pathology is actually refreshing. It helps explain just about everything he has said and done during the past seven years. It is reassuring to know that he hasn’t actively conspired to destroy America, he has just acted out from a sense of privilege, of misplaced entitlement, and the delusional belief that he knows better than anyone else what needs to be done.

Scalpel, Clamp, STAT!

Posted by MLGoodell on November 3, 2015 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Every time we drive to the Karmanos Center we pass the Ben Carson High School of Science and Medicine and I am reminded again what a great man he is, and what a phenomenal, inspirational story he has to tell. True greatness is rare to witness, and the honor and intellect the good doctor demonstrates each time he opens his mouth is something to behold.

Obviously, I think highly of Dr. Ben Carson. So why was I not thrilled to see he has leapt to the forefront in the latest WSJ/NBC poll, by a margin of 29% to 23% over Donald Trump? Why wouldn’t I want to see a man of Ben Carson’s stellar qualities in the White House? After all, everything about him just oozes integrity.

Unlike some black politicians, Carson’s white mother didn’t leapfrog around the world in pursuit of suitably third-world lovers, abandoning him to be raised in relative luxury by her left-leaning parents. Instead, he was born in Detroit and raised by a single mother who worked two or three jobs to support him and his older brother, Charles. To rise from such humble origins to become a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins almost defies belief.

Frankly, if a compelling backstory was all it took to be an effective president, Jimmy Carter would be one of the All Time Greats. Why, his brother alone would have landed him a spot on Mt. Rushmore. Unfortunately, it takes a bit more than that. Watching Carson’s performances during debates it is evident this is not his ideal metier. In fact, if Jeb Bush weren’t on stage, Carson would look utterly lost.

Of course it is true that the debate format doesn’t play in the Oval Office, where there are rarely provocateurs trying turn discussions into schoolyard brawls, and the president can end any debate simply by saying, “I’m the president.” Still, the ship of state is vast and unwieldy. It requires a steady hand at the helm. While there are many of us who wish to see it trimmed, there are very few of us, (and none not saddled with massive student loan debt), who want to watch it sink.

Carson’s supporters point to his experience in surgery, where life-and-death decisions must be made in an instant, and the surgeon’s orders must be obeyed immediately and exactingly. Only a true leader can succeed in such a high-pressure environment, they argue.

They are correct, but it is worth noting that Carson only became a great surgeon after years of diligent study and practice. He didn’t presume to separate conjoined twins after a couple games of Operation. Yet that is what he is doing by running for presidency.

One point in his favor though, one which promises greater success than, say, Trump would enjoy, or which has eluded the current White House Occupant, is that he appears to have the humility to ask for help. There is nothing more dangerous than someone too ignorant to know what he doesn’t know.

I would like to see Ben Carson in the White House, just not in the Oval Office. A man of his knowledge and wisdom would be perfect heading Health and Human Services. He would enter with a vision and, assuming the support of the president, quickly find a path to fulfill it. He would be doing a great service to his country, thereby making his story even more inspirational.


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