Friday, February 12, 2016

"Good or Bad for the Jews"

Many years ago, I would travel frequently to Morocco to visit uncles, cousins, and, above all, my paternal grandmother. Some uncles and cousins lived in Tangiers; others and my grandmother lived in Larache. She had been born there, and eventually died and is buried there. Larache, a big harbor town, was a neat place in the 1950s, 1960s, and even into the 1970s. It had been an important center of Spanish rule during the years of the Spanish Protectorate, 1912-1956. General Franco had been based there and had commanded a detachment of Spaniards and Moors. Those troops had suppressed the Asturian miner revolt of 1934, and formed the spearhead of Franco's 1936 assault on the Republic, flown across the straits by the Luftwaffe.

An odd little lady, grandmother stood no more than five feet tall, and had the bluest of blue eyes. A big ring with what looked like a thousand keys swung from her waist; I never saw her without those keys. She had married at the ripe old age of sixteen; my grandfather, 45, was nearly thirty years her senior. This was common then, and the first marriage for both. Grandad did not live very long after--bad diabetes--but did sire six sons and one daughter before going to his reward, leaving behind a relatively wealthy and young widow. Despite having a few pretenders, she never remarried.

She had left Larache only twice. Once to Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, and another ultimately failed trip during WWII. She sought to go to Madrid, again, and had made it as far as Tangiers, but the captain of the ferry to Algeciras had canceled the transit. The British Royal Navy had gone on the warpath searching for Axis submarines suspected of lurking off Gibraltar and had declared an exclusion zone for the duration of the operation. The better part of valor for the ferry captain, who happened to be another of my uncles, meant not risking an encounter with the angry guns of the Royal Navy. Grandmother, therefore, did not get her second trip "abroad." Thirty-some years later grandmother still resented Churchill for disrupting her trip--this would have consequences, and to this day, naughty British children are frightened into eating their veggies by being told . . . well, perhaps I exaggerate . . . let me know.

My oldest uncle, later a prominent doctor in Tangiers, joined Franco's army at the start of the Civil War in 1936, and rose to the rank of Colonel in the medical corps. This subsequently would prove useful to my youngest uncle who found himself in Republican-controlled Madrid at school when war broke out; he got drafted as a 16-year-old into the Republic's forces. He went on to participate in a famous bombing of a pro-Franco Civil Guards barracks which killed not only many Civil Guards, but wives and children, too. Franco vowed to execute all those involved in the attack. Just after the end of the war in 1939, my uncle the young bomber was captured, and sentenced to death by firing squad. My uncle the elder colonel, put on his dress uniform and medals, and went to see Franco, himself, to seek mercy for the condemned. He reminded Franco of his own loyalty to Franco, of their years together in Larache and the war, and of the young age of the offender. Franco, rare for him, rescinded the death order; my uncle the bomber got sprung from death row, served nearly a year on a labor gang, ended up back in Larache, got married, and then slipped into exile in the French protectorate. He returned to Spain after Franco's death and lived in Barcelona. He spent the remainder of his life trying to get a government pension as a combatant. The Socialist government eventually granted him and other Ex-Republican veterans a pension; a couple of months later he died, never having received a single payment. Not long after, his widow was struck by a car and killed while crossing a street in Tel Aviv where she had gone to visit a son. She was coming out of the Spanish Embassy where she had inquired about the pension's survivor provisions.

At its peak, easily one-third of Larache's population had been Jewish. Jews owned many of the businesses, provided the doctors, the lawyers, and the pharmacists (I had uncles in all three professions) and staunchly supported Spanish rule. Most had backed Spain's monarchy, and had disliked the Republic for the instability it had introduced. Even in the 1970s, Spanish rule long gone, old-timers at the still functioning synagogue and at the Spanish Club, spoke glowingly of Franco, and of his stay in Larache. They admired his honesty, the strict discipline with which he kept his troops under control, the absence of crime and unrest, and his friendliness towards the Jews--not the version in most history books. They also remembered that Franco's diplomats had saved many Jews in Europe from the Nazis by giving them Spanish travel documents.

By the 1970s, the Jewish population of Larache was in serious decline due to emigration. The remaining Jews generally were older folk who, in the manner of such, did not want to give up homes and businesses, and start anew elsewhere. One of my uncles, for example, ran his pharmacy in Larache well into the 1990s--although he had a house in Spain, too, "just in case." They felt fairly safe under King Hassan II, allegedly a direct descendent of the Prophet Mohammed. Young Jews, especially after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, and even more so after the 1973 war, went to France, Spain, Israel, Canada, Latin America, and some to Australia and Britain. A small number made it to the US, mostly Florida. They feared that the growing radicalization of Moroccan Islam eventually would triumph over the "benign" monarchy.

Grandmother's large house had at least five or six floors, and what seemed innumerable rooms, stairways, hallways, coveys, pantries, an interior patio, and doors, doors, doors everywhere--when I was a young child, the house seemed the most amazing place in the world. It had several balconies with views of the city and the port; they were terrific places to sit at sunset, but I preferred going up to the roof to have tea and, Zeus-like, sporting my Art Garfunkel Jewfro, I would sit, watching and listening to the city as darkness crept over it. In the past, a large gaggle of servants had tended to the house and its occupants. Over the years, however, as family size and fortunes declined, so had the staff. My grandmother was now seen after by a large and kind Berber lady named Tamu--maybe in her 30's or 40's and who spoke several languages--and her two almost invisible daughters, who cooked, cleaned, and did whatever Tamu told them to do. These very shy and silent girls slept in a small room off the kitchen. Tamu slept on a mattress in the hall outside my grandmother's room--on call 24/7. I asked grandma once when Tamu got a day off and how much she got paid. Those blue eyes bored into me; she could not hide her contempt for my radical American foolishness, "She lives here. She is like my daughter. She comes and goes as she wishes. Tamu and her children can eat anything, and have anything they need. She's better here than as one of the five wives of her husband!" Tamu's mother and grandmother had worked in the house; Tamu fully expected that her daughters' children would, too. I, therefore, laugh at Downton Abbey.

Before this gets too long and even more boring, let me get to the point: The Special Room. Locked most of the time, it was an honor to gain entry to The Special Room. It was not very large, and had a small window which looked out onto the street three floors below. The Room had a tiny TV set on which grandma watched Egyptian soap operas, a mostly empty bookshelf, a glass cabinet, a few ratty chairs, and a large table full of French, Spanish, and Arabic magazines and newspapers--she spoke all those languages, plus Hebrew, often all at the same time. That table rested next to a wall covered in photographs, some framed, but most just blurry and yellowed pictures cut from newspapers or magazines and taped or pinned to the wall.  The Room contained one other notable item: locked inside the dusty glass cabinet sat a small box which, allegedly, contained the key to the house in Illescas (Toledo province) my ancestors lost when the Catholic Kings expelled the Jews from Spain in 1492. I never got a glimpse inside the Special Box; just too sacred an item to handle.

The Special Wall contained pictures of those who had been "Good for the Jews." Two biggest pictures? Franco and Stalin. This was a shock. I already had heard about the virtues of Franco, but Stalin? I pointed to the mustachioed criminal, and scolded, "You have a picture of Stalin but not of Churchill?"

"Stalin fought the Nazis."

"Churchill fought them a lot longer, and was never their ally." I pointed to a picture of Leon Trotsky on The Wall, "By the way, Stalin killed him."

"Churchill did not want Israel to exist."

She relayed the story of the aborted trip to Madrid. There was no appeal from the Ruling of the Supreme Judge. Having gone on with my argument would have made sound like a defective smoke detector: an irritating chirp which eventually fades into the background of consciousness. Stalin, yes; Churchill, no. Hammer down.

I saw a small fuzzy and faded picture of what looked like a British general from the early 20th century. I asked, "Who is this British officer?"

"Not British. He was a Jewish knight from Oceania whom they had to call to save England and France from the Turks and the Germans."

This served as my introduction to Sir John Monash of Australia, perhaps the best general of the First World War. "A Jewish knight from Oceania," however, has a much nicer sound. Hammer down.

She then said to me, "You study science, right?" Back then, I still had pretensions of becoming a scientist--before realizing that I was quite mediocre. "You should live in Israel."

"Why? I love America."

"To build atomic bombs! Jews have built atomic bombs for everybody else, now we must build them for ourselves!" Hammer down. No further arguments entertained. Grandmother was cutting out pictures to leave on the table for Tamu or her daughters to put on The Wall. My cue to exit: up to the roof, tea in hand, to think about all I had learned.

On another occasion in The Special Room, in fact, the last time I saw her, she relayed to me, scene by scene, the film "Exodus." Two things struck me. First, how had she seen the movie? Second, an awful lot of scenes in her version I did not remember seeing in Otto Preminger's. I asked my pharmacist uncle about this, as he drove me to the airport in Tangiers. He laughed, "She's never seen the movie, but read about it, and developed her own story." Her version was not half bad, actually. Hammer down.

She died about a year later.

Sorry. This has become much too long. Please stop reading.

This rampage was triggered by my wondering what grandma would have said about Bernie Sanders. I think she would have ruled him "Bad for the Jews" since what he wants is "Bad for America." At least, that's what I hope she would have ruled.

By way of a PS: After grandmother died, I asked various cousins about the Special Box. They didn't know anything about it. They assumed that if it had existed it had gone into the trash with most of the other stuff from the house. Soon after her death, the authorities declared the big old house abandoned, and, in accord with Moroccan law, seized it, turned it over to the local population, who chopped it up into many "apartments." I don't know what became of kindly Tamu and her family. I hope, at least, they got to stay in the house.

I last visited Larache in 1986.That proved a mistake. The house was almost unrecognizable and the city seemed definitely run down: not looking at all like the place in my memories. I don't know how the city is today, and would rather recall it as it was when I engaged my grandmother in talk of politics, history, religion, Hollywood movies, and, of course, on what was "good or bad for the Jews."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bernie Sanders is a Communist

The New Hampshire primary is now history. Some of the press is atwitter that on the Democrat side it is the first time a Jewish candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, has won a primary--they didn't seem to be atwitter when Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucus because, I guess, he's the "wrong" sort of Latino, i.e., he's not a liberal Democrat. That's the way it is.

OK, Bernie Sanders has "won," and, yes, he is some sort of vaguely Jewish. Let's give him his due: he absolutely crushed crooked crony Clinton, and apparently did it within every demographic but one (the old folks stuck with Hillary). The Clinton camp is going to have a tough time spinning this one. That said, has it put paid to the Hillary Clinton candidacy? No, probably not at all. She still has the money, the media, and the rigged DNC super-delegate racket on her side. She also has going for her that Bernie, well, how should I put this? Well, he ain't too smart. In fact, I would say that his victory speech after the primary was one of the most insane and clueless speeches given by a major American politician in my lifetime--and that's saying a lot. It was long, about 50 minutes, and it was riveting. Well, riveting in the way that watching two trains headed for each other is riveting. The man is illiterate beyond belief; his illiteracy is perhaps matched or exceed only by that of his followers. The one thing oddly appealing about him is that he seems to believe it. He really does. He is like the nut who thinks he's Napoleon or who thinks he is a woman . . . never mind, strike that last one, the PC police won't let us use that one any more as a sign of derangement.  

Where to start? You can look up the speech, and don't need me to guide you through it, but let me make just a few comments.

He acknowledged that he has promised a lot of stuff, and he kept on promising. A sample follows,
So, are you guys ready for a radical idea? Together we are going to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1%. And, when millions of our people are working for starvation wages, yep, we're going to raise the minimum wage to $15 bucks an hour. And, we are going to bring pay equity for women. And, when we need the best educated workforce in the world, yes, we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition free. And, for the millions of Americans struggling with horrendous levels of student debt, we are going to substantially ease that burden. In America people should be financially distressed for decades for the crime, the crime of trying to get a higher education, that's absurd. 
Well, my critics say, you know, Bernie, that's a great idea, you're into all this free stuff. How are you going to pay for it? I will tell you how we're going to pay for it. We're going to impose a tax on Wall Street speculation. The greed, the recklessness, and the illegal behavior drove our economy to its knees. The American people bailed out Wall Street, now it's Wall Street's time to help the middle class.
Gee. Doesn't all that class warfare sound radical, new, and fresh? Maybe it did in 1932, when those talking points were written in Moscow and sent to the CPUSA, but now? Starvation wages? Looks like he finally got around to reading Grapes of Wrath. He is going to "tax speculation"? He has no idea what he's talking about. Even if you could define "speculation," you could tax it and just about everything else on Wall Street and seize all property owned by the "1%" and you still could not pay for all that he's promising. But, the buffoons cheer.

Pay equity for women? What does that mean? Does he mean that a man and a woman doing the same job and with the same experience get paid differently, i.e., that women get paid less? If that's true, why would anybody hire a man?

I also loved how he declared the debate on "climate change" over. Really? Nice little authoritarian streak you've got going there, Bernie. When is any scientific debate over? How about never: Mr. Newton let me introduce you to Mr. Einstein.

One last observation. Elsewhere in his speech, he says the United States was founded on the principle of fairness. A grotesque lie. It was founded on the principles of individual freedom and checked governmental powers.

One thing Sanders has done successfully, I think, is to put an end to the stereotype that all Jews are smart. For proof we have many items but one is that he spent the day after his victory in New Hampshire in New York having lunch with the "Reverend" Al Sharpton. Yes, Al is a new radical. Right. Wrong. He is an old-time anti-white, anti-Semitic, violence prone, non-taxpaying thug of the first order. Al has gotten rich by blackmailing corporations, a gig on MSNBC, and, of course, by not paying his own taxes or civil judgments against him (Twana Brawley, anyone?) Poor Bernie thinks that Al is the sort of black celebrity that he wants on his campaign to give him some street cred.

Sanders is a power-mad, Communist crank of the first-order. He has had no notable achievements in his public or private life. For support in his campaign to take power, he relies mainly on white "progressive" students and academics all blessed with a content-free education, and is aided, of course, by the fact that he is facing off against one of the most corrupt and tired politicians on the American political scene.

A crook or a Communist. That's the choice. The Democratic Party is absolutely disgusting. No other word fits. Sorry.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Apropos of Nothing: The Queen of Jarandilla

Still stuck on a piece about Reagan, and sitting around waiting on the New Hampshire results. So, of course, my mind turns to thoughts of nothing important to anybody else: my dogs, my cars, my falling stock market investments, and, above all, to long ago dusty memories of when life was a bit more fun.

Spain, early 1970s. More specifically, province of Caceres in the region of Extremadura. Even more specifically, I write of events in the small municipality of Jarandilla. Population back then? About 2,000. Not a big place, but like many small Spanish municipalities, a helluva lot fun when party time hits. These folks know how to party. Small-town Spaniards are among the nicest, funniest, most welcoming people on the planet. They are also extremely politically incorrect, and use language that would make a sailor blush or a delicate modern college student pass out. There is no safe space. Microagressions are at the core of the humor. Any and all human physical features are legitimate targets for ridicule: accent, skin color, hair, weight, nose, butt and shoe size, etc. No wimps need apply. Remember, the Conquistadores who humbled Islam and conquered half the world came from these sort of places. These are not pajama boys.

The town was having a big party for some reason or another: too many years have gone by to remember all the details. There was a lot drinking, smoking, eating, dancing, puking. The big event was to be the election of the town's "Miss" who would go on to compete for "Miss Caceres," who would go on to compete for "Miss Spain," who would go on to compete for . . . well, you got it. Can't place exactly where that big event took place, but recall a crowded, smoky venue, with a dance floor and a small stage. A table with, I think, four judges was on the floor facing the stage. The raucous crowd of men and women sat, stood, roamed, smoked, drank, sang, shouted all over the place. A group of us pushed to the front and stood just behind the judges.

The competing "Miss" candidates, all natives of the town and surrounding areas, paraded onto the stage, and proceeded to do "Miss" things. The hooting from the audience made apparent the lack of popular satisfaction with the ten or twelve candidates on offer. These, mostly sturdy rural girls, clearly felt uncomfortable in make-up, heels and gowns, and the crowd cruelly mocked them. The judges were not happy, either. The main judge, puffing furiously on a Ducados black tobacco cigarette, started looking around. His glance fell upon the future Diplowife. Pointing a cigarette-stained finger at her, he roared, "That one!" Two other judges looked at her and agreed, "Yes! That one! Bring her up on the stage!" The future Diplowife looked mortified. The crowd began to shout "Yes! Yes! That one!" Kong had to have his tribute. The sacrifice would take place.

Helped onto the stage, long brown hair cascading about her shoulders, wearing tight bell-bottom jeans, a half unbuttoned checkered blouse, and clunky clogs she stood there, meekly smiling and waving to the noisy crowd--I vowed to myself that this would be the lady I married. The official contestants, in their ill-fitting gowns and heels, fidgeting and confused, milled about behind her--one stomping away. Upon, however, hearing the future Diplowife say her impossibly Basque name, one judge yelled, "No! No! This is against the rules! She's not even from here! She's Basque!" Nobody else seemed to care. Bam! A sash, a crown, and a trophy appeared, and were placed, respectively, on the shoulders, the head, and into the hands of the future Diplowife by a more than somewhat tipsy official. Loud music blared. She was asked to walk back and forth across the stage: blushing, lamely but gamely waving, trying not to drop her trophy, and holding the crown on her head, she shuffled around. The other "Miss" hopefuls? One began to cry, another to curse, and then all stormed off. Needless to say, we saw no fake tears of happiness or strained hugs of joy for the winner.

The crowd's blood lust had been satisfied: the local gals humiliated, their dreams of fame and glory crushed. The future Diplowife had a crown, a trophy, and a sash. We made it to our cars and out of town alive and whole--we were warned that male relatives of some of the "defeated" contestants were looking for us. A good night's work.

All these decades later, the crown and the trophy still sit on a shelf at her parents' house in San Sebastian-Donosti. As we expected, of course, she was disqualified from running for "Miss Caceres" by higher-up party-poopers in the "Miss" organization. Her father would have never permitted it, anyhow, so that did not matter. He, by the way, couldn't decide if he was furious with his child or proud of her. Given, in subsequent years, that he bragged about having a "Miss" for a daughter, I think he settled on the latter. He, alas, is no longer with us for me to confirm that.

Although having not a drop of royal blood, I eventually married the Queen of Jarandilla. Granted, we could see a new War of the Spanish Succession since some poor misguided souls might dispute the legitimacy of her title, but . . .  never mind. She has the trophy, the sash, and the crown, and the pretenders don't! Possession, as they say, is . . . OK, back to the NH primary.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The GOP New Hampshire Debate

I wasn't going to write about the February 6 GOP debate in New Hampshire as I am running out of things to say about these events, but . . . since I am experiencing writer's block on a piece I started on Ronald Reagan, might as well throw out some random thoughts.

The winner?

I will agree partially with the conventional wisdom: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie "won" the debate portion of the debate. He is smart, tough, quick, plain-spoken, experienced, and articulate; he knows how to throw a verbal punch. It was the Christie we previously have seen in his successful battles with the public sector unions in New Jersey. His main target, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, seemed caught off guard by the ferocity of the Christie assault.

The normally smooth and imperturable Rubio looked at a loss as Christie attacked the one-term senator on having a thin legislative record, his shifting stance on immigration, on never having held an executive office, and on his repeating well-scripted lines. Rubio tried to defend himself by repeating well-scripted lines, and Christie caught him out on it. Was it "fair"? Who said you have to be "fair"? That aside, maybe some of Christie's stuff wasn't fair, but Rubio should have pointed out which and why; he didn't do it. Rubio showed himself still a little green. Christie, himself, of course, also is guilty of repeating lines, "When I was a prosecutor after 9/11 . . .." I say "of course" because after this many debates, all the candidates are repeating themselves. OK, so Christie "won" the debate portion of the debate, but did it do him any good? I don't know. I don't believe the polls and I am not in New Hampshire, so I don't know. Perhaps he has kept his candidacy alive, and, perhaps, he derailed the Rubio "locomotive" which the press had been busy fueling.

I think, however, that the winner overall of the night was Donald Trump. Texas Senator Ted Cruz continued flat and not very interesting. Bush came alive a bit, but it might be too late for him; the others did not, in my view, register much. Trump the apparent front-runner might not have hit any home runs, but he also made no big errors. Nobody really nailed him, even when he said some amateurish things on dealing with China and North Korea, and gave a fragmented exposition on health care. Nobody managed to kill the king or even wound him.

I am not going to discuss the pathetic Democratic party debate between Crooked Clinton and Soviet Socialist Sanders. Beyond the pale . . .

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Iowa Vote: Everybody Gets a Medal!

Went into the early morning hours watching the results and discussions of the results of the Iowa caucuses (IC). For a political junkie it was fascinating. American politics are truly the Greatest Show on Earth. No other country devotes anywhere near as much to politics in terms of resources, effort, and commentary than does the USA. We love to hate our obsession with politics which we love to hate because we love them and . . . never mind. We are bonkers for national politics. Period.

And that, my friends, is about as deep as I can go in my analysis of the IC.  What's it all mean in the long run? I don't know, nor does anybody else. If you win the IC, do you win the nomination? Not necessarily or even usually--at least on the Republican side. Given the uniqueness of the IC and the odd demographics of Iowa--a very nice place, btw--what does a victory there mean for a candidate's prospects? I don't know, and nobody else does either, although that doesn't stop any of us from talking as though we do.  

So, that said, let's talk as if we know what we are about. First, the Dems. As I write, it seems that the Dem IC has produced a tie between Clinton and Sanders. Hillary Clinton did not look happy at her "victory/concession/it's great it's a tie speech." Is it me or is she getting really Crazy Woman eyes? Standing there with her nearly mummified spouse and her dopey "I wanna be a Kennedy" daughter, Hillary Clinton gave off an air of madness: the disjointed word salad, the out-of-sync fist pumping, and that unblinking STARE. This lady is not well and she looked like somebody was going to get the thrashing of his or her life in the bus afterwards, "You told me I was going to win!" Has the Rightful Heir to the Throne been thwarted yet again? Calling King Zog! Calling King Zog! I don't know about that, but I do know I would not want to be around Hillary Clinton today.

Bernie Sanders. Yes. What can we say about Bernie Sanders? He is a life-long lay-about and Communist with an older British brother, Larry--also a politically active leftist crank--who has emerged on the political scene to challenge the Clinton Machine. He has attracted a legion of low-information, economically illiterate followers who "Feel The Bern" given by a 74-year-old mountebank. He is a loon with followers who rely on their no-content education to guide them to his tent. Is he the big winner in Iowa? I don't know. He did deny Hillary Clinton the IC prize, so I guess that's a victory of some sort. It seems, however, that Iowa Dem politics is tailor-made for Sanders and his goofy Marxist mumbo-jumbo: lots of young liberal foolish white students with not much else to do but play at Revolution. Given the odd make-up of the Dem electorate in Iowa, he probably could have done better, I guess, I think, I don't know. You decide.

The GOP? Much more interesting. It would seem that Trump took a Cruz missile hit. Enough to sink his ship? Doubt it, but, what do I know? Trump looked genuinely surprised by his second-place finish, but gave a gracious concession speech. The polling, of course, was way off, and Ted Cruz pulled off a significant victory--if, that is, you consider winning in Iowa significant. He, apparently, had a well-organized ground game that delivered his supporters to the IC sites and kept them loyal. I never got the impression that Trump bothered much with organization, and relied on his name and the enthusiasm shown by his fans to translate into votes. He did come in second, which is nothing to sneeze at, but still, when you brag about never losing, always winning, it must be a shock. Rubio kept himself alive with a strong third-place showing and, apparently, gained some benefits from Trump's failure to appear at the last Fox debate. A dynamic, articulate, and attractive candidate, he would eat Hillary or Bernie for lunch in debate. Is Rubio a PURE conservative? Who is? We all have changed our minds over time. The interesting thing for me is that about 85% of the Republican vote went to four non-establishment or, at least, out of the norm candidates: two hispanic, one black, and one not even a Republican. So, then, which is the party of diversity?

Back to Cruz. He won Iowa, which showed that he can take on Trump. Will that translate into further victories? You know the answer, and it is, I don't know. I thought his victory speech not his best--way too long--and am not sure he won doubters with it. Cruz, however, is very smart, a good debater, and certainly would make a better president than Sanders, Clinton or Obama. At this stage of the game, that's good enough for me.

That's it. I am out of ammo.

Going to walk the dogs who are doing much better, and are eager to spread joy and cheer in the 'hood.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Political Stuff

Dealing with two sick dogs. When my dogs get sick, that's it. All other activities get suspended. I am wracked with guilt whenever these guys get sick or hurt in any way: I feel that I have violated a key tenet of the ancient pact between dog and man, to wit, man shall protect dog from harm. The Diplowife (ret) and I took them to our very good South African vet who determined that they had picked up a nasty intestinal infection at the dog park; he has put them on antibiotics, probiotics, and a special high fiber diet. The boys, of course, refuse to cooperate; they will not allow me to stuff the meds down their throats.

Ssshhh! They're finally napping after eating a bit of the new diet, but without much enthusiasm.  That leaves me a few minutes to comment on stuff, just stuff . . .

OK, the GOP debate.

Meh . . . it was bland. I don't say that because The Donald did not attend, but because by now we all can do the Great Kreskin routine of predicting what each candidate will say in response to the predictable queries. The Fox moderators did not play at the top of their game; their questions seemed a rehash of stuff we've heard before. I have to wonder if we do not have too many of these debates. As with even the best blogger--ahem--a politician in a long campaign finds that he or she repeats lines. That was probably OK back in the day when we did not have millions of different mass media outlets picking up and apart anything said anywhere at any time. In these days of info-overload, frankly, it's hard to remain fresh.

That said, I thought Rubio did best; he came off as articulate, passionate, and as somebody who has thought things through. Cruz, normally quite good, was flat, and his jokes did not go over well. The others? We've heard it before.

Did Trump make a mistake by skipping the debate because of his feud with Megyn Kelly? I have no idea and don't think anybody else does. Nearly every prediction or observation made about Trump--including by this humble blogger--has been wrong. He does and says things no other candidate dares, and that does not hurt him and often, in fact, helps him. Really quite remarkable. Would he make a good President? I don't know. Would he be better for America than Obama, Clinton, Sanders, Biden? I would have to answer in the affirmative--but that's a low bar. Is he the best candidate? I don't know. I, personally, fluctuate among Walker, Cruz, Rubio, even Fiorina. By the way, I thought Carly Fiorina had the best line: "Hillary Clinton has escaped prosecution more times than El Chapo." Brilliant! Heads all across the progressive universe exploded in outrage. Quite funny. Progressives have such a hard time with truth-telling.

As noted before, it does not appear Hillary's email troubles will go away. In fact, they look to be getting worse. We learn today that at least 22 emails on her private server cannot be released--even in heavily redacted form--because of the very high classification of the material they contain. The Clinton response? Stuff is over classified. Kinda missing the point, no? That's not Hillary's call. I might think it ridiculous to have a 70 mph speed limit on the freeway, and that I alone should be allowed to do 90 mph, but . . .

The American public, therefore, will not see emails already seen by foreign intelligence officers and rulers in Russia, China, and Iran, along with several hundred teenaged hackers from Brazil to Singapore to Nigeria. Maybe Kerry can ask his friends in Tehran to free the Clinton emails. Bottom line, and in all seriousness, Clinton belongs in jail. Joe Biden put on your spurs! You have to save the Dems from themselves . . .

The boys are awake. The little guy, if you can call a 100-lb dog little, has run to the back fence to argue with the obnoxious neighbor. Now, the big guy has joined him on stage. I have to go break up that debate . . .

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Giving Hillary Clinton a Pass on Fast & Furious?

I know, I know. You don't need to tell me.

There are so many big scandals featuring Hillary Clinton and husband that it is hard to keep track of them all. She and the spouse have been caught up in mess after mess of their own creation, but, somehow, have managed to find enough well-connected loyalists to pull them out and let them move on and prosper. It is really quite amazing how scandals that would have sunk any other politician--pace Kennedy--bounce like canon balls off ol' Ironsides, leaving nary a mark. Not only are the scandals numerous, it is very difficult to rank them. That would make a good TV game show: Rank the Clinton Scandals!

In my humble opinion, one of the scandals for contender in the top two or three, is one that barely gets mentioned anymore. I refer to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's actions during and after the "Fast and Furious" gun-walking scandal. I have written quite a bit about F&F and you'll find the posts in the archives.

I want to highlight one posting in particular. On June 22, 2012 (here), I noted that,
Under Attorney General Eric Holder, the Department of Justice declared war on the people of Mexico. 
Using the ATF, the Justice Department carried out a covert operation that violated the laws of the United States, supplied thousands of weapons to the enemies of the government and people Mexico, and killed hundreds of Mexican citizens. The operation also produced the collateral damage of one or possibly two murdered US federal agents, and put at risk the lives of other US citizens on this side of the border. In other words, Obama and Holder have lied, and hundreds have died in a war against our southern neighbor.

Never mind Teapot Dome, Checkers, Chappaquiddick, Watergate, or Iran-Contra: "Fast and Furious" is arguably the greatest scandal in American political history. It most certainly is the greatest scandal never reported by the main media outlets. Obama's misadministration sought to launch an attack on the second amendment by "proving" that lax US gun laws led to Mexico's drug-fueled violence. It decided to "prove" that by providing the guns. It was the ultimate in cop weapon throw-down or evidence planting.

I went on to state that,
So, then, what did Hillary Clinton know and when did she know it? She herself went about saying that 60-90% of the weapons in the hands of Mexican drug gangs came from the US, which, of course, meant we needed stronger gun laws in the US. All of us worker bees in the State Department got "mea culpa" talking points to use that said the same thing. 
So was Secretary Clinton in on the DOJ/ATF fraud or was she a victim of it? What is her position? If she was bamboozled by Holder, has she taken the matter up with the President? Does she have a position on the fact that our government was waging a covert war against Mexico? Shouldn't the Secretary of State have a position on this matter? Shouldn't she be demanding the AG's resignation or offering up her own in disgust? 
Why no questions for the Secretary of State? 
None of those questions has been answered or even asked. The issue has gained some renewed urgency in light of reports that,
A .50-caliber rifle found at Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman’s hideout in Mexico was funneled through the gun-smuggling investigation known as Fast and Furious, sources confirmed Tuesday to Fox News. 
A .50-caliber is a massive rifle that can stop a car or, as it was intended, take down a helicopter.
We, therefore, have evidence, yet again, that Obama's deranged war against the Second Amendment led him and his bonkers Attorney General to send thousands of weapons, including .50-cal Barretts, to a mass murderer such as El Chapo. All of this was done as a "false flag" operation to blame law-abiding gun dealers for the guns in Mexican drug dealers' hands. It formed part of the progressive meme of "the drugs flow north, the guns flow south." Secretary Clinton, of course, acted as a major promoter of that false narrative.

You would think a Secretary of State would have an interest in a secret war against our neighbor, a war which killed hundreds of innocent Mexican citizens. When did she learn about it? Did she ask about it? Did she say anything to Obama or Holder about it? What did she say to the Mexican government? What has the Mexican government said to us about it? None of this is asked.

Giving the Clintons yet another pass . . .