Saturday, February 27, 2016


With Russia suspending it's bombing, in Syria, and  improved prospects for a cease fire between warring factions, it is almost a given that another of Obama's little gems of foreign policy decisions will go unnoticed by  his compatriots.

When Russia entered the Syrian civil war, Obama was handed the choice of acting as his predecessor, confronting them with taunts of "bring it on"  and macho displays, and dealing with rationally and  in a cool manner.  Obama, of course,  figured that Russia was, unwittingly acting against their own interests and in ours.  By operating so close to the borders of Saudi Arabia, in favor of Iranian interests, the Saudi's opened the oil spigots of their nation, lowering global oil prices, further straining a Russian economy already struggling under a foreign war.  

Russia now has an urgent reason to pressure Assad to come to a deal.  Russian interests are aligning with our own and hopes, for a resolution to the Syrian  conflict, are rising in the area.

Of course, few photo ops are generated by behind the scenes diplomatic moves, and can hardly match an aircraft carrier with a "Mission Accomplished" banner for good P.R.  About all that Obama can say is that he's continuing to earn that Nobel Peace Prize that he won. 

Friday, February 26, 2016


I, like many of you, always have believed that Trump's promise to have the Mexicans pay for the wall, on our southern border, was just one of those empty campaign promises.  Upon hearing, from reliable sources, how he intends to do it, I am not so sure.

If reports I hear are right, Trump will have one of his corporations contract with the Mexicans, to build the wall.  When it is time to make the payment, he will just bankrupt his corporation, a time honored practice in his field of business.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Trump's campaign slogan, "Making America Great, Again", presupposes a time in the past, not now, when America was great.

Because of lack of details, we must speculate on when that might be:

  • Was it pre-Civil War America, when slavery was legal in the United States?  Is that what we have to bring back in order to re-achieve greatness? Or,
  • Was it post Civil War when the South was building out from under the destruction of its infrastructure? Was that the time of American greatness?  Shall the South be repressed again? Or,
  • Was it pre-World War I America when we built the Panama Canal and  the great Teddy Roosevelt broke up the monopolies and the trusts?  Should we take back the Canal and break up all the monopolist corporations? Or 
  • Was it during WWI when we instituted a draft and named a French General as CinC of our troops?  Should we bring back the draft and put NATO under French control?  Or,
  • Perhaps it was WW II, when, facing a common enemy, we had rationing, and wage and price controls.  Will Trump choose this period as our model for greatness. Or,
  • Will Trump choose to model his administration after the era of Dwight Eisenhower, when we built the Interstate System, investing in infrastructure and charging a marginal tax rate of 91%?
Since I doubt that the Donald will ever deign to tell us before hand, so as not to dampen the surprize, I guess, I suppose we'll just have to see what he has decided was our greatest era.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Whatever the outcome of the primary election process, Democrats should not fail to harness the energy of  Bernie Sanders, to wield the cudgel of revolution to elicit real social reforms in this country.

There are few spurs, to reforming our American system, as effective as educating ourselves to  prospects inherent in the alternative.


If Republicans successfully block the confirmation of an Associate Justice to replace Scalia, they will, in effect inoculate the Democrats against any criticism for any actions they may take, with respects to the vacancy, in 2017, under any new Administration.  If a Republican President nominates anyone not acceptable to Democrats, all the Republic arguments, that a sitting President's nominee is entitled to an up and down vote, will be moot. Indeed, if Republicans are successful in blocking an up or down vote in the confirmation  of Obama's nominee, they had better have a filibuster proof majority, in the Senate, for any Republican nomination.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


By body count, it is quite difficult to believe in the credibility of Jeb Bush when he says his brother kept Americans safe.  When taking into account the sheer number of lives lost in 9/11, unnecessary and/or mismanaged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Katrina, one could make a solid case that W's was the unsafest Presidency since Nixon.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Reading appreciation not having been a strong suit for many of my Republican friends, I feel, strongly, that a distinction between "nomination" and "confirmation" is in order.

The Constitution mandates that the President shall nominate a candidate to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. It does not say may nominate a candidate.  No such mandate exists to confirm a nomination.  Both Democratic and Republican controlled Senates have  refused to confirm  nominations offered by sitting Presidents.

For the very first time, however, to my knowledge, a majority leader of the Senate has actually asked a President not to nominate anyone, giving rise to speculation that, said leader, wishes to avoid the political embarrassment of the opposition citing his own words, about the necessity of giving a Supreme Court nominee an  up or down vote, or to refer to a 7 year record of his party obstructing a President from the very day of his first inauguration.  

I heard, this day, a Republican spokesman plead that Obama should delay the nomination in order to bring the parties together, as if, at the 11th hour, they, the Republicans, just might give up partisan politics, in return.  Of course, after he does so, it's more likely that they will impeach him for not meeting his obligation under the Constitution.

In any event, it should be appreciated if my Republican friends would cease sending me articles dealing with the blocking of confirmations, by Democrats, as they are not germane.


Poor Antonin Scalia, the great "Originalist" Justice, who wanted to know the intent of the Founding Fathers, before he ruled on anything, is not yet in a grave to roll over in, and the political party, to which he belonged,  wants to use politics, and not the Constitution, as written, to determine the nomination of his replacement. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


At a recent rally, Donald Trump apparently touched a very  raw nerve, in Germany, when he exhorted his security personnel to beat a protester, and he would defray legal expenses.

Hitler, and the Nazis, rose to power aided, by Ernst Rohm's SA "Storm Troopers" who were tasked with causing physical harm to demonstrators at Nazi rallies.

The appearance, in Germany, of a parade float, with a bust of Trump, and a banner reading, "Make Fascism great again", was more than just a clever meme.  The incident at the Trump rally has evoked some very unpleasant memories. 


One of my recent posts, namely, "Poor Judgement" has elicited claims of a pro Clinton bias, on my part.  In defense, I have no dog in that fight.  As an independent voter, for the past 52 years, I am thankful that I am unable to vote in the Democratic primaries; I would be unable to decide between Sanders and Clinton.  I wish it were possible for a co-Presidency.  A consummate policy wonk matched with one of the best motivational speakers we've had in a long time.

What does concern me, extremely so, is the General Election in November.  Bernie should know that every thing he utters is going to be used against the one who gets the nomination.  He can easily counter her allegation that he is inexperienced, in foreign affairs, by pointing out that certainly no less so than Barack Obama who has done pretty well in that regard.  Instead he has provided fodder for the Republican fear and smear machine with a quote questioning her judgement.  No Republican will touch Hillary's comment that Bernie has been soft on gun manufacturers, for fear of losing their constituents,  They will be playing Bernie's quote on a loop.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


If Trump becomes President, I think it is safe to say that we will have few, or no, campaign promises broken.  Of course, to date, he has offered none, unless you want to count such statements as, "I will be great for women, the economy, health care, etc.), where parameters for "great" or "terrific" or other superlatives have not been set, and he will be able to tell us when he has accomplished his goal.  I suppose "Job 1" of his Presidency will be to ask for tenders on his place on Mt. Rushmore, in preparation for the "greatest" administration in the nation's history.

Monday, February 8, 2016


For a Presidential candidate to think that having been correct, about the Iraq war, validates his judgement, in other matters, may be a sign of poor judgement, in itself.

I was against the war, in Viet Nam , even when the Viet Minh was fighting the return of the French, after the end of WW II, to no avail when it came to making poor choices in other matters.

When the drumbeat for war against Iraq began, a couplet, that I had heard, kept echoing in my head: "This be the greatest treason, to do the right deed for the wrong reason".  I,  too, was adamantly against the Iraq war, but I think that Hillary has, in a way, been getting a bum rap, all these years.  I think that had I been a Senator, on October 2, 2002, when the Senate passed the use of force, in Iraq, resolution, I would have voted the same way.  At that moment, U.N. inspectors were prevented, by Iraq, from doing their job, and not to have voted for it, to force Saddam's hand, might have been imprudent, indeed. The U.N. inspectors returned to Iraq in November, 2002.

As far as I am concerned, Hillary misjudged only the depth of the perfidy of the last Republican president who, himself, ordered  the U.N inspectors out of Iraq on March 17, 2003, and began hostilities a scant 3 days later. 

Monday, February 1, 2016


I have concerns about the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.  They do not have anything to do with his competency; I think his campaign, to date. has proven his bona fides in that regard.  To a lesser degree he has proven his ability to get his message across to a large group of the electorate.

No, my concerns aren't about Bernie but they are about the Democrats that could elect him to the Presidency.  We could see a repeat of what happened to the Obama Presidency, with crowds of people voting for him in the Presidential election but who sat on heir hands, in the off years, allowing the Republicans to not only win majorities in both Houses and obstruct Obama that much more but also win statehouses so they could restrict that part of the electorate that constituted the Democratic support.

As Bernie says, he wants and needs a political revolution to accomplish what he wants to do, and I just doubt that he can ever get one with the Democratic electorate as presently constituted. After all, if ever there was an opportunity, it was at the time immediately after the economy tanked in 2009.  When the going got tough, with Republican obstruction, the Democrats jumped ship in 2010.  A political revolution, in good economic times, like now, is probably a bridge too far for Democrats.