Saturday, May 16, 2015

Can't We Please Have Some Real Candidates?

This is a nation of 350  million people. Out of 350 million people, why don't we have some really good candidates running for president?

If I just wanted something to write about, I should be glad that the Republicans are fielding approximately 17 candidates in the primaries who are either woefully cuckoo or woefully pitiful. They are a writer's delight. Where do they find these people? 

Let's take Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. He looks and speaks so much like goofy Kenneth on 30 Rock that it's very hard to take him seriously even if he would once in a while make some sense. Also noteworthy, Rick Perry is apparently going to come out of the wings on June 4, no doubt still trying to remember three things. Carly Fiorina is back too, though we don't know if her red-eyed sheep will come trailing in behind her.

I can't remember the name of the pizza guy, but I'll never forget his campaign manager who starred in the campaign ads by leering into the camera and blowing cigarette smoke.

I have to stop there. In all honesty, even with the return of some of my favorite clowns,  the GOP wannabes for 2016 are not as bad as the crop in 2012. Nothing particularly clownish leaps to mind about Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Ron Paul. More frightening is the fact that their seriously held ideas and stance are per se idiotic. Unlike the others they have clearly thought through what they are saying. It just happens to be trash. 

What stuns me is that two of these men—Cruz and Paul—inexplicably want to be president of a government they are dedicated to abolishing. As for Rubio, I can't figure out if he's interested in anything except telling us over and over that his parents were immigrants. All of our parents or grandparents or great-grandparents were immigrants. Get over it, Mario.

I haven't listed all of the potential GOP candidates because it's hard to remember them. They're undistinguished, small people with very small ideas, mostly about making the American government small. And, yes, they hate Obama. 

In this field of dingy dreams, one disappointment particularly stands out. Jeb Bush, billed as the candidate supreme, a man of confidence and experience, has turned out to be a jerk on the campaign trail. This past week he first shot himself in the head by saying that, even in light of what we now know about Iraq's nonexistent WMD, he would nevertheless have invaded Iraq as his brother did. With that bullet in his brain, he was yet able to shoot himself successively in each foot and then one hand, giving three additional answers during the next week to the question of invading Iraq in a dismal parade of ineptitude.

Well how about the Democrats, my dear old Democrats? So far, not good. The media is handing the nomination to Hillary Clinton just as it did in the run-up to 2008. The consensus is that the Clinton machine will run over everybody else. You know, just as it did with that little-known one-term senator from Illinois. 

Except maybe this time she really will sweep the field. Not because of the vaunted Clinton machine—the Clintons were never able to put together anything that worked, winning in 1992 only because George Bush Sr. was very unpopular and as much of a jerk on the campaign trail as his sons. No, if Hillary wins it's because nobody is running against her for the nomination. She's sweeping an empty field. Elizabeth Warren says she won't run and seems to mean it. Bernie Sanders is running but is he a real threat?

Well, just maybe. Hillary is eminently beatable. Almost anybody who has it together could beat her. She's a terrible candidate. She's a phony. The big, wide-eye thing. The exaggerated expressions of all kinds. Well, you've seen her. She's a creepy phony. Plus she's a terrible speaker. Tell me one memorable thing she has ever said! 

No matter how much money you have, you can't win if the voters don't like you. Hillary is not likable. She tries and tries. The more she tries, the creepier she is.

Plus she's carrying enough baggage to be a Red Cap union local all by herself. Further she did nothing to burnish her standing by her tour as Secretary of State. She scored zero in accomplishments, as far as I can recall.

There are probably some who think that Hillary HAS to get the presidency because it's high time a woman did. But oddly enough no women I know are saying that this time as they did in 2008. It appears her time to "ride the woman wave" has come and gone. I believe we should have a woman president, but that's no reason to make Hillary the one. She didn't make it on her own. She coat-tailed on Bill, standing by her man so she could ride him into the White House as First Lady and eventually as President. I fought my own way and so did a lot of women. What does it say about Hillary that she did what she did?

For me, the worst thing about Hillary Clinton is that she does not understand politics or power. That's a very dangerous trait in a president. When she grabbed the health care issue as her own as soon as Bill was sworn in, she made several colossal mistakes. First of all, it wasn't hers to grab. No one had elected her to anything.  It was an outrageous power grab. It was also a slap in the face to all the members of Congress who would be necessary to get universal coverage enacted. It was their job, not hers, to create this important legislation for the American people. Congress drafts and enacts the laws, not First Ladies. She compounded this error by then holding closed door hearings. This blatant secrecy allowed the insurance industry to scare the bejeebers out of the American public with those unforgettable ads starring Harry and Louise. A Democratic Congress that could have passed a good law let her ill-starred effort die a quiet death. The saddest thing is that, since then, tens of thousands of American, even hundred of thousands, have died because she destroyed our chance 22 years ago to get health care reform. We knew one of those who died because of Hillary. His name was Steven and he was only 40 years old.  

Nothing since then has shown Hillary Clinton to have any better grasp of political realities. She behaved yourself more decorously in the Senate, but let's ask ourselves—what good did that do her or us? What has Hillary Clinton ever accomplished politically anywhere at anytime for the public good? She seems to want power but has no idea what to do with it when she gets it. 

That is an extraordinary failing in a would-be president. The last time we had a president who didn't understand the use of power we had Jimmy Carter. And the less said the better about that four years. But Hillary's failings are even worse. She not only doesn't understand the use of power; her grab of the health insurance issue shows a strong inclination to the abuse of power.

I hope I'm wrong about everything. But right now I'm afraid 2016 could give us a GOP president or else a Democratic president who would be very scary. 

I sure hope that God still loves dogs, drunks, and the American people. As things look right now, we may be needing some outside help.



Thursday, April 2, 2015

Break Out the Champagne and Toast Obama! Then Let Us Weep for Kenya.

I've been gone for months with a vision problem but what a challenging day to come back.  This is a day of great good news. It is also one of stunning sorrow.

Good news first: Obama has done it again!  He has saved our bacon big-time.

Today he got a strong agreement that blocks Iran from making nuclear weapons. Even some of his critics  -  not the anti-Obamas who oppose whatever he does, but those who are educated and savy  -  have rejected their own prior criticisms and have good words for this agreement

In less than a year he has saved us from two threats of annihilation that were looming over us. First, he got a crucially significant agreement with China to reduce carbon pollution and thus avoid turning our planet into Venus. Now he has staved off the other nightmare: nuclear cataclysm. 

If Iran had made a bomb......! All this world needs is a nuclear arms race between Sunnis and Shiites or between any other divided segments of the Muslim world.  No matter the division, we would have a nuclear arms race. A reignition of bitter religious wars dating from more than a millennium ago, with each side armed with the worst killing capacity there has ever been.  Saudi Arabia was poised to pick up its side of the contest if these talks failed and start its own bomb-making. Already it has come off the sidelines in recent days to fight against Iran and its proxies in several places in the Middle East. With Iran and Saudi Arabia squaring off with conventional weapons, these are not the best of times.

But with a nuclear weapon in Iran's hands, these would certainly have become the worst of times. From Iran where could the bomb have wandered? For that matter, the more countries have the bomb the more likely that ISIS and other extremists groups will steal it.

But as great as is Obama's halting of Iran's bomb ambitions, we cannot rejoice as we would like because of the tragedy in Kenya. No, I misspeak. It's not a tragedy when gunmen invade a college campus and methodically execute over a hundred non-Muslim students and staff.  It's murder.

Sure, these fanatics really believe their warped religious doctrine that drives them to kill, but they are nothing more than cheap vicious criminals who must be caught and jailed if possible or killed on sight if necessary. A plague is lose in the world. We are seeing the early stages of infection which, bad as they are, could be nothing compared to the next phase that could be developing, i.e. Sunni vs Shiite all across the Muslim world and the worst of the extremists groups being fueled by the major antagonists.

That is how the great good news today ties in with the sorrowful news of today. The gunmen who invaded the Kenyan college and massacred people were allied with an Al Quada group. Country by country the infection keeps growing.

We must keep nuclear weapons out of the Muslim world to keep them out of the hands of the extremists. Those who burn people alive and film it and slaughter college students in their beds would never hesitate to unleash a holocaust of atomic weapons should they get them. We should in fact get rid of all the nuclear weapons. It's a miracle that in 70 years since the bomb was developed it has never strayed into the hands of crazy groups or been set off by crazed individuals in the military of one of the nuclear countries as in "Dr. Strangelove".

There is another connection between the good news and the bad.  Kenya is the land of Obama's father. By the strange paths of fate, a descendant of the wonderful country of Kenya today built a major wall against violence while at the same time violence was being inflicted on the people of his father's homeland. Indeed Obama still has relatives there. 

Remember too that Obama is a college professor and those who died today in Kenya were college students. We college professors and other teachers love students. That's why we teach. We love students wherever they are.

As our world gets smaller and smaller, the hurts cut deeper and deeper. We would never dream of asking for whom the bell tolls. We all know too well that the bell tolls for each of us. Today my daughter-in-law in Norway expressed on Facebook great sadness "for all our friends in Kenya."  She means actual friends. She and my son visit in Kenya. We are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, and our brothers and sisters live all over this world.

Thank you, President Obama, for today making the world safer for all of us.  I wish you could have also saved the Kenyan students. I know you wish the same.




Sunday, March 22, 2015

Promises

On Tuesday I go to a better eye doctor, and I hope for a good outcome.  So much is happening in politics and internationally that it's frustrating to be sidelined now.

Please be patient. I shall return. Thank you all for your loyalty.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Not Forgotten

I haven't forgotten you. I shall be back soon, for sure. My eye is progressing well.

How does one thank such a loyal readership?  In spite of my absence and there being no new posts in quite a while, this past month was one of the highest readerships since I began this blog.

Thank you. You make an old lady feel damn good!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Salute to Ukraine and an Apology to All of You

I salute the good people of Ukraine in their struggle. You are, and always have been, a brave people.

I apologize for the long hiatus. Had to have an eye procedure, sort of like cleaning the windshield. I'll be back soon. So much has happened.

Thanks to all of you who have been faithful through this long break. "I'll be back."

Friday, January 16, 2015

I Shall Return

Still recuperating from the evil illness but hope to be back in the next week or so with a few words or lots. Keep well!

Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Year

Thanks to you who have wished me a good recovery from the near-pneumonia that literally knocked me down on December 15.

I'm recovering well but still need to take it easy. Maybe in the interest of our health we should all turn our heads from the sight of the GOP taking over the Senate and installing an even larger majority in the House.

Let us hope they will do a better job of governance with the specter of 2016 staring at them. But nothing indicates that this is likely no matter how devoutly it is to be wished.

We can, however, rejoice in the excellent work Obama has done through executive orders and for how he handled Sony and North Korea. The  North Korea v. Sony contretemps was on balance a remarkable comedy show by the show biz company and the nutcase country.  If there is anybody who doesn't believe Obama pulled the plug on North Korea's internet connection, I have a bridge I'd be willing to sell.  Mr. President, you are so cool!

Just as 2015 opened its arms to us, one of the great liberals of the 20th Century left us:  Mario Cuomo. He spoke eloquently against Ronald Reagan's "shining city" that was really a heartless ice palace. Cuomo likened America to a wagon train headed into out mythic west, thunderously announcing that we would leave no one behind, not the weak nor the elderly, not the children nor the poor. That was our American creed.

I believe and hope it still is. Let us go forward, but always together.

So farewell to Mario Cuomo and all those who left us in 2014, especially dear old Pete Seeger, who was bard to the best in us.

To you all, a very good New Year.  Make it good for others and it will be good for you.