|Posted by MLGoodell on February 23, 2015 at 2:55 PM||comments (0)|
In a surprising policy shift, the White House spent last weekend talking up terrorism. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson turned to CNN to warn Americans that terrorists want to blow up their malls. In terms eerily similar to vice president Joe Biden’s Swine Flu counsel, Johnson said, “If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful.”
Why this sudden pivot from “nothing to see here, folks” to “the sky is falling?” After all, this is the same administration which just last week thought a progressive jobs program would eliminate “Violent Extremism.” This comes from a president whose views of Islamic Terrorism have evolved to the point where it has become known as the hate that dare not speak its name.
Though one hopes this isn’t a cynical political ploy, this is the Obama administration. Does this bid to foment panic have anything to do with the fact that DHS funding is due to expire next week if Congress can’t reach an agreement? Could they really be so despicable as to terrify an entire nation solely to make Republicans look bad?
They say the definition of insanity is to continually attribute a particular definition of insanity to Albert Einstein when nobody knows for sure who said it first. Another definition of insanity is the Cruz Caucus of the Republican Party. These are people who will play the same procedural card -- shutting down all or part of the government -- over and over, expecting a different outcome.
Having grown bored with shutting down the entire government, this time the Cruz Caucus decided to just shut down the Department of Homeland Security. Within the realm of brilliance, this qualifies as a supernova. Confronted by a president whose foreign policy can most charitably be described as feckless, whose tap dancing around Islam makes even those not given to fever swamp speculation wonder where his loyalties actually lie, the Cruz Caucus has taken the only action which makes the president look strong on national security.
It is so unfathomable, one wonders exactly who is the Manchurian Candidate here. Is it the president, whom many still insist was born to alien creatures occupying an abandoned nuclear power plant in Springfield, Oregon, or is it Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada?
No matter, because any action which gives aid and comfort to this president is unconscionable. Now, you may wish to argue that in fact it isn’t the Cruz Caucus threatening to shut down Homeland Security, but Senate Democrats, who though a minority, have sufficient votes to prevent cloture. If you were to argue thus, you would be correct, as far as the facts are concerned.
But when it comes to who gets blamed for government shutdowns, facts don’t matter. When Bill Clinton vetoed two consecutive GOP budgets, leading to the government shutdown in 1995, who got the blame? Not the president who with the stroke of his pen actually shut down the government, but Newt Gingrich, the Republican Speaker of the House.
In 2013 Senate Democrats refused to vote on continuing resolutions which would fund the government in lieu of an actual budget. Who got blamed for this? The GOP. So too this time around. Shortly after the 2014 wave election, House Republicans agreed to fund the Department of Homeland Security for just three months, reasoning they would have more flexibility after the new Senate was seated. They singled out DHS not because they wanted to let the president pretend he actually gave a damn about American security, but because it houses US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which has the brief to implement the president’s legally questionable new amnesty program.
Of course even a cursory glance at Senate rules would have shown that even after the wave election, Democrats still retained the power of the filibuster. They could block any bill defunding USCIS. If the Cruz Caucus stick to their guns, which they always do, until just after it’s too late, then the DHS will be defunded, and Jeh Johnson can release more terror videos and point to the GOP saying “These people want to see you die!”
Insane, you might suggest. Perhaps, if facts had anything to do with it. But again, when it comes to government shutdowns, facts have nothing to do with it. The dominant media’s narrative is that government shutdowns are always the Republicans’ fault. Someone needs to tell the Cruz Caucus, “You can’t win.”
Oh, sure, the base knows what you’re doing, and why, and they support you on this. The problem is, you already have the base, and it’s not that big. It’s the whole mass of Middle America, who get their news in snippets between episodes of “The Bachelorette,” who know who really shut down the government: the Republicans.
It may not be true, but if the overwhelming majority believes it, it is the truth. It is the truth, and it hurts your cause and you are insane if you keep doing the same thing over and over and expect the Democrats to get the blame.
|Posted by MLGoodell on January 13, 2015 at 2:10 PM||comments (0)|
It is a staple of B-Grade movie thrillers that a structure built over an ancient Indian burial ground will inevitably become a portal for an alternate evil universe. No doubt president Obama must be wondering who was buried beneath the White House, or even beneath Michelle’s organic vegetable garden, because it’s like he’s stumbled into an alternate evil universe. Every time he turns around, or doesn’t turn around, or does something, or doesn’t do something, it seems he gets the blame.
When Congressional Democrats turned his epic stimulus package into a leftwing grab bag, somehow, that was his fault. When the launch of his incoherently written and inherently unworkable Affordable Care Act was so badly bungled that if it took place in the private sector the company it supported would have gone out of business and someone would likely have gone to jail, Obama got the blame. When his foreign policy descended into a pastiche of leading from behind, resets and pivots, like a bad episode of Dancing With the Stars, everybody pointed their fingers at him. It’s like all of a sudden, everything’s Obama’s fault.
Take the recent man-caused disaster over there in Paris. Suddenly, it’s like a 9/11 moment all over again. Remember when, after the towers fell, a French newspaper, Le Monde, printed the headline, “Nous Sommes Tous Americans?” What a sickening thought that was, right? But there was something scary about it, too. Even Kerry, just for a minute, started making patriotic noises.
Of course, that didn’t last long. But remember when Obama got elected back in 2008? The New York Times could have run a headline announcing, “Nous Sommes Tous Socialistes Europeens.” ‘Cuz it was true, or virtually true. He promised to fundamentally change America, and damned if he didn’t try. Okay, so it turns out the American people didn’t actually want their country fundamentally changed. Well, why the hell did they vote for him then? Didn’t they believe him when he told them what he was going to do?
Turns out Hans Gruber’s assessment of the American voter’s intellectual capacity was spot on.
Anyway, back to the man-caused disaster. Obama said the right things. He warned Charlie Hebdo’s editorial staff of the consequences. Remember, back in 2012, when those lousy man-caused disaster causers torched the American consulate in Benghazi, what Obama said to the United Nations? “The future must not belong to those who slander the name of the prophet of Islam.”
Pretty much told them what would happen, didn’t he. So why this worldwide outrage? What’s with all those lofted pens and those sappy #JeSuisCharlie signs and posters? I mean, who cares, right? But then they have this demo, no biggie, right? Only then it takes off. Who knew Angela would be there? And Cameron, and probably even that cute Danish chick. It got so ridiculous even Holder gets antsy, calls Valerie and asks if maybe he should put in an appearance. Luckily, or so it seemed at the time, Valerie told him, no, get the hell out of Paris. Come home and help us restart that crucial conversation on race. Do you realize there hasn’t been one word about Ferguson in the news since those stupid cartoonists got shot?
Anyway, who knew it would get so big? Who knew Bibi and Abbas would be holding hands and singing Kumbaya, and, who knows, French kissing even? Who knew Proposhenko or whatever that Ukrainian troublemaker’s name is would holding hands and singing Kumbaya with the Russian Foreign Minister, Leadbed, or whatever? Who knew that Obama would get the blame for not showing up? I mean, everybody, and I mean everybody, even Jon-Freaking-Stewart jumped on him over that one.
So what are you going to do? You warn these guys ixnay on the prophet slander. They ignore you. They get shot. And suddenly it’s your fault? Maybe it’s time to exhume some of those native bones.
|Posted by MLGoodell on December 11, 2014 at 4:40 PM||comments (0)|
Today the CDC revealed a frightening new disease called CBDS. If left untreated, CBDS could result in the deaths of hundreds or even thousands of Americans around the world. Some observers have gone so far as to call it a threat to national security. How could a disease as severe as CBDS appear without warning, despite one of best pathological research laboratories in the world? That’s a question the CDC is having trouble answering. “We just don’t know,” one scientist said, with a shake of the head. “Like Ebola, it suddenly popped up and then spread rapidly. But at least we know what Ebola is, and how to treat it. Historically, Ebola has been, if anything, too efficient to spread very far.” While the CDC is reluctant to draw direct comparisons between CBDS and Ebola, clearly ignorance and superstition can result in both diseases being widely transmitted. This certainly seems to be the case with CBDS, which scientists first discovered with the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture. “This release, which was unnecessary, and motivated only by a pathological form of hatred, indicates a mutated form of BDS,” the CDC spokesperson revealed. “We’ve thoroughly documented the source and pathology of BDS, or Bush Derangement Syndrome, which was nearly pandemic during the first decade of the Twenty-First Century. We expected once the original vector was removed from the local environment, BDS would eventually die out, much the same as smallpox did. The last thing we expected was for it to mutate into Chronic Bush Derangement Syndrome.” Chronic Bush Derangement Syndrome, like its precursor, results in delusions, mainly among liberals (and certain libertarians surnamed Paul) that George Bush is evil incarnate. They view him as simultaneously stupid and brilliant, masterfully implementing a plot to take over the world while remaining unable to speak intelligibly or string together a series of rational thoughts. BDS reduced seemingly intelligent people to the same incoherence they ascribed to their nemesis. During these fits of irrationality, liberals took actions contrary to their own interests as Americans. They gladly jeopardized national security if they thought it would hurt Bush. In the six years since Bush left the White House, there have been occasional outbreaks of BDS, generally emanating from the White House where frantic shouts of “It’s not my fault. It’s Bush’s fault,” could be heard during clinical interventions and interviews with sympathetic journalists. The disease cropped up with some frequency in Congress, though it seemed to have been eradicated in the House of Representatives sometime in late 2010. Recent hopes that the Senate would soon be declared BDS-free were dashed this week with the CBDS outbreak. “By all unbiased accounts the Senate Intelligence Report is an unbalanced, poorly researched and often mendacious report whose only objective is to ‘Blame Bush,’” the CDC spokesperson explained. (‘Blame Bush’ is the most common symptom of the BDS patient). “Writing the report is the sort of partisan infantilism characteristic of late stage BDS, but it was only when Senate Democrats and the White House decided to release the report in its entirety that we realized just how severe the BDS mutation had become,” the researcher stated. “Releasing it serves only to damage relations with our few remaining allies, and to lend aid and comfort to our enemies. Even in the throes of CBDS infection victims can recognize those consequences, yet they are unable to resist the urge to ‘Get Bush.’” It really is hard to understand why, six years after he left office Bush Derangement Syndrome remains such a powerful disease. “One theory is that BDS was caused by shame,” said a CDC representative who wishes to remain anonymous because he has not been authorized to tell the truth. “We have anecdotal evidence that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 many liberals sidled up to their more conservative colleagues and murmured, ‘A lot of us are glad your guy’s in the White House and our guy isn’t.’” In other words, according to this theory, BDS and CBDS are caused by a kind of short circuit in the brain occurring when liberals realize they have succumbed, even briefly, to patriotic feelings. “As long as that memory remains, CBDS might never be eradicated,” the CDC spokesperson concluded.
|Posted by MLGoodell on December 5, 2014 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
You remember that scene in “Die Hard With a Vengeance,” where Simon Gruber (apparently no relation to Jonathan, though they are in the the same line of work), taunts FBI agent Bill Jarvis, suggesting he’s chewing on the frame of his glasses in an attempt to “butch up?” Well, there ought to be a whole lot of frame chewing going on in Washington after the article in today’s “Wall Street Journal” explaining what is driving the slowing pace of rising health care costs.
That remarkable reduction is one of the items cited by those few remaining True Believers after NY Sen. Chuck Schumer admitted Obamacare was a mistake. Millions of previously uninsured have insurance, they crowed. The growth in health care cost is at the lowest level in decades, they swooned.
These are all good things, surely. Especially providing health insurance to the previously uninsured. Remember when people like Simon Gruber explained, in a slow, slightly elevated voice, the kind you need to use when addressing stupid people, that once everyone is insured health care costs will actually go down because people will willingly go to the doctor with minor ailments, thereby preventing them from become major, hence more expensive ailments.
Makes sense. Unfortunately, we learned today that there are two main reasons health care costs aren’t rising as quickly. The first is that apparently medical insurance premiums are not included in calculating the cost of health care. The second is since most of the private insurance plans allowed under Obamacare carry huge deductibles and copays, many people have chosen to “delay or put off seeking care.” Which means the cost of health care isn’t going down, but the amount of health care being purchased is.
In other words, while the previously uninsured can get a check up every time they sneeze, the rest of America won’t go to the doctor until that golfball-sized lump in their throat grows up to be a softball. This is absolutely brilliant. What this means is that Obamacare has basically mandated that every individual in America must carry a major medical insurance policy.
You may remember major medical plans. They were a lot cheaper because they only covered serious hospitalization or illness. The difference between those plans and Obama-approved plans is though the latter only provide the coverage of major medical, they are priced like comprehensive plans.
Today this only applies to individuals who pay for their own insurance, but one of these days, once our president finishes gnawing the frame of his glasses, he’s going to have to implement the rest of his eponymous legislative achievement, and revoke most employer-provided plans . Once this is done, the rest of America can stop going to the doctor, too. We’ll all be chronically ill, but our health care cost curve will finally start bending downward.
When Hans Gruber--or was it Simon, or Jonathan? Who can keep these villains straight?--started bragging about stupid American voters, everyone from the president to the former Speaker of the House started denying they even knew him, let alone paid him half-a-million dollars to develop Obamacare.
Of course they were lying. Everything about Obamacare was based on a lie. It wasn’t designed to do what they said it would. It couldn’t do that. It wouldn’t improve the delivery of health care, and it wouldn’t lower the cost. They knew this going in, but they also knew they knew better than we did what was good for us. Whether it actually was good for us was immaterial. The fact is, they decided it was, and we were too stupid to know the difference.
Where are Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson when we need them?
|Posted by MLGoodell on December 1, 2014 at 5:15 PM||comments (0)|
The run up to the riots had more in common with the week before the Super Bowl than a vigil sat for justice. When the decision not to decide was announced the rioters looked more like people going to work than people going to war. The rage seemed a sham, more like a duly scheduled Orwellian Two Days of Hate. Rage is spontaneous. It doesn’t answer the bell, it doesn’t meet a schedule. It explodes, unbidden, unforeseen. It is the opposite of what was on display in Ferguson, last week, and around the country since then. What we have seen is a wholesale co-opting of genuine emotion and, however misguided, compassion and concern. The first miscreants, as is increasingly the case under this regime of fantasists, was the media, who rushed to judgment, who constructed an early narrative and refused to be swayed by facts or deterred by reason. They weren’t there to report the news, they were there to shape their fairy tale of a gentle giant shot down by a brutal, racist cop, while on his knees, hands in the air, begging for mercy. They returned to the scene of their crimes to beat the drums of anticipation, to fan the flames of regularly scheduled rage, and to assure those riding or flying in from around the country that yes, there would be cameras on shoulders and tape a-rolling. Print journalists were almost as bad, each jostling the others to get their spin in print. Some, like the Editorial Page Editor of the Detroit Free Press, went so far as to suggest that black people, such as himself, were fully justified in resenting this country’s very existence. (Why that man still has a job is a mystery to me). Not willing to be outdone, his colleague, Rochelle Riley, dipped her own pen in blood and wrote, “America is built on a bedrock of inequality between blacks and whites that is so strong, laws have been passed for centuries to maintain it.” Given this kind of hatred for their own nation, perhaps it is not by accident that these journalists have been so willingly co-opted by those who have assumed command of the national disruption campaign. As highways across the nations close because protesters have taken over the roads, and shopping malls are forced to close when rioters invade the hallways, three things stand out. One, many of the outraged protesters seem to be smiling when they turn to the cameras for their allotted fifteen minutes. Two, what started out as a predominately black movement, back when liquor stores still had goodies on their shelves, is turning progressively white. In fact, many of the outraged protesters seem to be the same ones who Occupied Wall Street and other streets and parks throughout America not long ago. Who is coordinating these allegedly spontaneous yet surprisingly cookie cutter demos? A Wall Street Journal photo of one of the acts of mall-closing insurrection featured a rather proud looking person holding a banner bearing the logo revcom.us. Revcom.us is the official website of the Revolutionary Communist Party of America, whose Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America states, “In order to bring this new socialist state into being, it would be necessary to thoroughly defeat, dismantle and abolish the capitalist-imperialist state of the USA; and this in turn would only become possible with the development of a profound and acute crisis in society and the emergence of a revolutionary people.” In other words, to quote Barack Obama’s former BFF, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” Given that universities seem to be indoctrinating their Black History students in the belief that this nation was “conceived in tyranny and dedicated to the principal that blacks are inferior to whites,” and that most journalists and television news reporters at the very least don’t want to offend their colleagues by straying too far from the Party Line, the Revolutionary Communist Party seems to have made a good choice in selecting “the Gentle Giant” as their mascot. Whether this latest series of occupations will tip the scales toward revolution is doubtful, but one thing is clear, nearly a quarter of a century after being utterly discredited, communism still exists. Next time your shopping trip is disrupted by a mall-shuttering claque of violent protesters, remember to thank your local commissar.
|Posted by MLGoodell on November 17, 2014 at 5:15 PM||comments (0)|
The American president’s reaction to the recent GOP wave election was extraordinary. In his droning press conference he pointed out that two-thirds of the voting age population didn’t vote. He seemed to suggest that, rather than listen to those who voted, he preferred hear the voices of those who didn’t. Which is an interesting way to hold office, though, to be honest, many of Obama’s actions over the past six years have been characteristic of someone hearing voices in his head.
Undeterred by an historic rejection of his policies, the president and his party have responded by condemning ostriches for being too nosy. Some Democrats have said this wasn’t a wave election, it was an anti-incumbent election. Which it was, as long as the incumbent was a Democrat. Senate Democrats, surveying the ruins of their power, decided they had been neglecting the base. Yes, their conclusion was, let’s move to the left. They appointed Sen. Elizabeth Warren to a new leadership post, Panderer in Chief, or Native American Liaison, or some such thing.
Another extraordinary conclusion reached by Senate Democrats, according to the Wall Street Journal, was that the American people didn’t see any difference between the parties. That’s right. Voters, when confronting a partisan slate, simply chose at random. By some amazing coincidence, all their random choices happened to be Republicans.
Having announced a willingness to work with Republicans, as long as they’re willing to admit defeat, Obama has laid out his agenda of rule by fiat. Since Congress hasn’t yet done what he wanted, and is only less likely to do so once the new Congress has been seated, Obama is doubling down on his extra-legal actions.
Apparently recognizing that cases move slowly through the courts, the president figures he can declare new laws at a faster rate than justices can render justice (especially since a growing percentages of them believe supporting the president’s agenda is more important than upholding the rule of law). This is the point when the president has stopped playing politics and has declared open war on his enemies. (It is a pity that the only enemies this president has are other Americans--oh, right, and Israelis). It is clear he will continue to rule by decree until Republicans are forced to initiate impeachment proceedings.
Only a lunatic fringe (also pronounced Ted Cruz) actually wants this. If forced to impeach it will be reluctantly, with regrets, and knowing full well the consequences. The domesticated media will condemn Republicans for “trying to impeach every Democratic president,” or ascribe it to racism. The Ferguson claque will be sharpening their spears, ready to take their insurrection on the road.
The public, proving again Hans Gruber’s perspicacity, will respond as instructed and blame Republicans for being “too partisan,” and will vote accordingly. (Yes, I know his name is Jonathan, but I wanted to tie this in with the title).
The president will do his finest Brer Rabbit impersonation, begging the GOP not to throw him into the briar patch. (Trigger Warning: The author of this essay would like to apologize to his younger brother and others seeking to identify racism as the underlying theme of all his criticisms of the man currently Occupying the White House).
He really can’t lose. If they don’t impeach, the rule of law will be irrecoverably damaged by his actions. If they do, the Republican party will be irrecoverably damaged by their actions. Beware a president seeking a legacy. While this has long been true, we now confront something called the Obama Corollary: Beware a young president who believes the best job in the world is UN General Secretary.
|Posted by MLGoodell on November 6, 2014 at 4:00 PM||comments (0)|
I love this time of year, when I get to haul out my favorite hashtag, #NaBuMyBoMo. Inspired by the success of #NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, #NaBuMyBoMo stands for National Buy My Book Month. (If you don't currently have a Twitter account, you may be unfamiliar with the whole hashtag business, as well as the concept of a hashtag, such as #NaBuMyBoMo, trending. A trending hashtag is one that is being picked up, repeated and retweeted and generally becoming popular throughout the world of Twitter).
I thought #NaBuMyBoMo could provide a public service by offering an antidote to the mind-fogging silliness of #NaNoWriMo. It is based on one of the pernicious myths ever propagated on a gullible populace, namely that everybody has a novel in them. That, of course, is manifestly not true, as evidenced by the percentage of seat mates on transcontinental flights who don't exchange a single word during the entire trip. It's not that they're antisocial, it's simply that they dread their neighbor might be one of those who labors under the misapprehension that she has a novel inside her.
Even if it were true, that does't mean everybody can write one. I suppose it is as a writer that I find this self-indulgence particularly offensive. It serves to denigrate what I do. It says the only reason everyone hasn't written a novel is because they haven't yet availed themselves of a gaggle of #NaNoWriMo cheerleaders celebrating their daily output. Come on, you can do it! Just 1,500 words a day! Don't worry about quality, or content, the volume is the important thing.
Actually, it's not. It may come as a surprise to the perpetual teenaged girls who populate the realm of #NaNoWriMo, but there is no dearth of published books in the world. Even post-apocalyptic, dysfunctional, urban vampire romance mysteries take up a room or two in the virtual bookstore.
Writing is a skill not everyone shares, sort of like being an electrician, or a mechanic, or being able to hit a 95-mile-an-hour fastball. Not everybody can do it. If I need to rewire my living room, I call an electrician. I don't go to #NaWiMyLiRoMo and announce how many feet of wire I strung today, to the cheers and encouragement of other hashtag electrician wannabes.
Maybe I'll start a new hashtag, to compliment my incredibly successful #NaBuMyBoMo. I'll call it #NaBeAProBaPlaMo, or National Be A Professional Baseball Player Month. Would that be fun? Stepping in against Morgan Fairchild, the San Francisco Giants' World Series MVP, with two out and the game on the line. And why not? I bet everybody's got a walk off home run in them.
I was listening to one of the #NaNoWriMo founders on NPR this morning extol the many wonders of the hashtag sensation, and I got to thinking, "Wow, that guy would kill it at Awesomenessfest." But that's another story altogether. Actually, what the guy said that made me write this screed in the first place, along with nearly driving off the road, was that the best part of #NaNoWriMo is it gives us a chance to focus on ourselves for once.
Yep, that's definitely been the problem with the American culture, we're not sufficiently self-indulgent. I wonder what kind of world he lives in where Americans spend all their time thinking of others, to the detriment of their own self regard and esteem. In fact, we are probably the most self-regarding nation since the last days of the Roman Empire.
Why, I oughta write a book about that.
|Posted by MLGoodell on September 29, 2014 at 4:55 PM||comments (0)|
During an appearance on Sixty Minutes, Barack Obama justified a return to a more aggressive posture toward terrorist groups whose avowed intention is the destruction of the United States. “We underestimated the insurgents’ strength,” the previously infallible president admitted. “After 2012, when our enemies were demoralized, and, at the very least, reduced to a ‘manageable problem,’ I’m afraid the intelligence community took their eye off the ball.”
However, after a summer of disease-ridden children inundating the border, followed by the mass rape, torture, and beheading of Arab Christians and other religious minorities by Islamic State functionaries, Obama’s approval ratings went into the toilet. The numbers got so bad that state controlled media operatives stopped taking public opinion surveys.
“I’ve often said it’s hard being president,” Obama noted wistfully. “It’s not like in China where those guys say ‘Jump’ and the people say ‘Hao hai!’ But it’s worse when you can’t even line up a putt on the 15th green without some aide running up with the latest poll numbers showing even Michigan is in play. You try being reading the break with that going on.
“So, yeah, I’ll admit it. We underestimated our opponents. We honestly thought the Republicans had been degraded to the level of, say, the junior varsity, or even the US Ryder Cup squad. We had no idea they were even relevant, let alone competitive.” This, the president agreed, was a mistake, though it wasn’t really his fault. “Let me be clear, I gave the American people the foreign policy they said they wanted. Hell, they reelected me, didn’t they? How was I to know they hadn’t actually thought it through?”
In fact, as it turned out, the American people had given little more consideration to the consequences of a neo-isolationist policy than the president had himself. This lack of foresight resulted in diminished American influence, enhanced terrorist threats, and the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. Disgusted with themselves, Americans grew disenchanted with the once godlike Occupier of the White House.
“Let me be clear,” the president said, “I never thought the Republicans had a chance of making this a wave election. Have we screwed up? Of course we have. Have we critically weakened the country while giving aid and comfort to America’s enemies? Sure. Have we shredded the constitution through our utter disregard for the rule of law? Naturally, and I’m proud of all those achievements.” Obama shook his head, gravely. “But would I have done it if I thought it might cost us the Senate? No way.”
The president pointed out that these weren’t Iranians or Ukrainian dissidents he was facing. “They were Republicans,” he scoffed. “Republicans,” he repeated, bearing an expression of disgust mixed with awe, with just a soupcon of concern wreathing along the edges of his lips. “These people have no backbone, no values, no beliefs. Their only reason for being, or ‘raison d’etre,’ as Kerry would say, is to win elections.”
Obama shook his head sadly before continuing. “Apparently one thing the Republicans have going for them is they aren’t me, and they aren’t my party. It seems the American people aren’t quite ready to surrender after all. Because of that, the Senate, and according to some, civilization as we know it, is in jeopardy. We underestimated our opponents, so now we have to start bombing trucks and bases and the occasional hospital to show how tough we are. We have a little over a month, but I am confident if we kill enough people we can send the Republicans back to their caves and retain control of the Senate.”
|Posted by MLGoodell on September 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
And so it came to pass that the president was forced to pause in his nation-building at home to reflect on a world coming apart at the seams, or as he preferred to describe it, a world no messier than before, but a mess more visible thanks to 140 character descriptions. Indeed, if it weren’t for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the latest social media outlet, Whathaveyou, no one would know the world was going to hell in a hand basket.
(I have an English friend whose Twitter handle is @Chopper, and suddenly I start to wonder if he is a member of ISIS. Upon further reflection, I recall he was never very good at basketball, and couldn’t make the varsity squad. Hmm.)
Maybe the president has a point. Maybe we ought to force Facebook to install a Don’t Like button. Then we could all Don’t Like ISIS and Putin, and they would have to give up, wouldn’t they? I mean, it’s one thing if the President says there’s no place in the 21st Century for that kind of behavior, but if you lose have your followers overnight, then you know you’re in trouble.
After the second American journalist was YouTubed to death, the president got good and angry. Not as angry as the Veep, mind you, but pretty danged mad. He might not promise to follow ISIS to the gates of hell, but he definitely won’t allow them any three-foot gimmes.
How serious is the president? During a confidence-building stop in Estonia, he vowed to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. In fact, “If we are joined by the international community,” he will degrade and destroy ISIS “to the point where it is a manageable problem.”
The president declined to reveal how many decapitated Americans constitute a manageable problem, and how many more it takes for the world to be “appalled.” Some people were less than impressed with the president’s verbal jujitsu. Or as The Wall Street Journal put it, “The president’s statement drew criticism from Republican critics,” which is to distinguish them from Republican praisers. Apparently some of the Republican critics wondered why it was necessary to qualify destruction with the term manageable.
In response State Department spokesperson Jan Psaki snarked that Republican critics’ criticism was little more than “a word game,” a point she illustrated by tweeting a smirking selfie holding a sign reading #StopNitpickingUs.
Now, about that confidence-building stop, not just Estonians, but all three Baltic States (if you can name them, chances are you didn’t attend an American Public School), breathed a big sigh of relief when the president failed to warn the Russian president that invading them would be tantamount to “crossing a Red Line.”
The bad news was he assured them that NATO will “be here for Estonia. We’ll be here for Latvia. We’ll be here for Lithuania. You lost your independence once before. With NATO, you’ll never lose it again.”
Such a bold, forthright statement has stymied the Russian president. At this very moment he is closeted with his generals, trying to figure out what to do next. Invade Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania? It has to be one of the three. If the American president makes such a specific promise, he obviously doesn’t mean it. (Incidentally, those nude photos of the president circulating on the Internet didn’t come from Kate Upton’s phone. In fact, they were hacked from his new tailor’s iPad).
If the president has made one thing clear over the last six years, it’s that when he speaks his enemies laugh, and only his allies tremble. As should Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. NATO members all, they presumably would fall under the protection of Article 5, which points out that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all of them. Of course, Putin won’t blatantly invade. He’ll go the Sudetenland route, as he did in Ukraine, triggering protests by Baltic-based Russians. He’ll hope for an overreaction by the authorities, and failing that, generate one himself.
Then he’ll arm the same “militants” who “rose up” in Ukraine. By the time NATO acknowledges Russian troops have invaded the Baltics someone will have figured out an escape clause, something along the line that Article 5 only applies to the original NATO members, not the slew of new ones which came in after the USSR imploded.
Putin will be happy to only swallow portions of the tiny Baltic nations, allowing them the appearance of sovereignty, albeit fully within the Russian orbit. Such a partition will allow the American president to pivot from denying he ever said “We’ll be here for Estonia. We’ll be here for Latvia. We’ll be here for Lithuania,” to pointing out that those small parts of the three countries which remain independent constitute yet another “promise kept.”
|Posted by MLGoodell on August 7, 2014 at 2:25 PM||comments (0)|
After listening to a second-hand anecdote involving Vice President Joe Biden, a semi-private dining room, a tipsy woman describing a glass of wine as “da bomb,” and some tightly wound Secret Service agents, I wondered aloud if, should I ever meet the man, I would have the courage to say, “Hey Joe, you’ve come pretty far for the son of a Welsh coal miner.”
Referring, of course, to 1988 when then Presidential candidate Biden appropriated British Labour Party Leader Neil Kinnock’s stump speech as his own. This was not a simple matter of failing to attribute a quote, Biden actually stole Kinnock’s biography. Needless to say, Biden’s campaign vanished faster than those insurance plans his current boss promised you could keep.
Stealing another politician’s go-to speech is wrong on so many levels. It is stupid, for one thing. It is also arrogant, a display of contempt for the public, a reflection of the belief that the people are too stupid to catch on. Most significantly, it demonstrates that the man has no character.
So it’s not surprising Biden’s bid was immolated. What is surprising is thirty years later not only was the man still a sitting Senator, but he was deemed worthy of the office of vice president. Even more amazing, his selection was hailed by many as lending “gravitas” to the untested Democratic Party standard bearer.
There should be no statute of limitations of poor character. Once manifested, that person should be rendered unfit for public office. Stealing another man’s speech shows no character. Bimbo eruptions? No character. Driving your car off a bridge and leaving a young woman to drown, should result if not in a prison sentence, then certainly not in reelection. And definitely, that cur should never have been eulogized as “the Conscience of the Senate.”
This is not a partisan issue. George H. W. Bush should have resigned after vomiting in the Japanese Prime Minister’s lap. Make all the excuses you want, but when he “committed Bushusuru,” he brought shame to his nation and disgrace to the office. He should have resigned. Mark Sanford rightfully deserved to be hounded from office after Appalachian Affair. He never should have been elected again. Again, there should be no statute of limitations of character issues. The good people of South Carolina displayed all the judgment and discretion of ghetto dwellers when they sent the “mad hiker” to Congress.
At a time when elected officials enjoy the same level of public respect as trial attorneys, carjackers and those guys wearing matching jerseys who ride their bikes four abreast on busy highways, it is surprising how little emphasis the electorate places on character. If we continue to elect and reelect men and women who by voice and deed demonstrate they have no character, then why should we be surprised when they put their petty interests above those of the people they were elected to serve?