Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: FBI Director Comey Does the Right Thing

Published on July 6, 2016

Jim Comey had the 2016 Election in his hands. He decided not to blow it up. Trump vs. Clinton can go forward. It was the right call.

If Comey had ended his Press Briefing yesterday by stating that he will recommend that the Justice Department seek a federal felony indictment for Hillary’s mishandling of classified documents, her candidacy would have been toast. Neither Attorney General Loretta Lynch nor the President could have saved her.

Nobody has ever run for President as the nominee of one of the two major parties while under federal indictment. If Hillary found herself in the position of trying to be the first, she would have failed miserably.

Prosecutors don’t prosecute every violation of the law. They are allowed to use discretion. On a case involving unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents, 18 USC 1924, a misdemeanor, they are allowed to consider whether there was an intention to harm the United States, whether there was the pursuit of personal gain, or whether there was an attempt to obstruct justice. Misleading, even lying to the public in the political arena, does not rise to the level of obstructing justice.

If she had lied to the FBI in her three and a half hour interview, the FBI clearly would have recommended prosecution. Apparently, Director Comey was of the opinion that she didn’t. Continue Reading…….

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner: A Love Story

My favorite Muhammad Ali story was told by Chuck Wepner a, journeyman heavy weight boxer from Bayonne, New Jersey who fought and lost to Ali over 40 years ago.

Wepner, who is of German and Ukrainian descent, was nicknamed the Bayonne Bleeder for his tendency to cut easily and bleed profusely throughout his 14 year, 51 fight boxing career. He may have been a bleeder, but he was also a big, tough brawler who had beaten some of the best of his era.

Wepner’s career was handicapped because he was not able to devote his full time and attention to the business of boxing. He held full-time jobs to support himself and his family and trained early in the morning and after work.

In early 1975, a promoter was found who was willing to put up the money for a fight between Wepner and then Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali. The deal contained a $100,000 guarantee for Wepner and $1.5 million for the Champ. Ali agreed and the fight took place March 24, 1975 in the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio where, at that time, the NBA Franchise Cleveland Cavaliers played.

Wepner trained diligently for the fight. He spent seven weeks in the Catskill Mountains. When he broke camp, he was in the best shape of his life. He was ready and confident. He was sure he was about to become the next Heavyweight Champion of the World.

On the day of the fight he went out and bought his wife a new nightgown and told her, “Wear this tonight because you’re going to be sleeping with the Heavyweight Champion of the World.” Continue Reading……..

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Not Ready to Hate Trump

I can’t quite get to that “I hate Trump” spot where all sane folks are supposed to be. After all, I’m an Obama guy and have been from day one, so hating Trump should be a piece of cake, right?

It isn’t, trust me. Especially if hating Trump means I have to like Hillary, and, even worse, be on the same side as Rachel “The Queen Of Correct” Maddow and the Uber NeoCons who recognize it’s just going to be a matter of time before Trump says, “Hey, by the way, what are we getting for that $250 Billion (inflation adjusted) we’ve given Israel over the years … Let’s start giving that money to the Hispanics instead … our Hispanics … I love the Hispanics.”

So, let’s apply the wisdom of Kevin Phillips, the Nixon strategist who observed, “The secret to politics is knowing who hates who.” Applying Phillips’ Rule analysis, I find the people who really hate Trump more annoying than Trump himself. At least, so far. For our purposes, we’ll talk about annoying or disliking … not hate.

It’s not a woman thing … I promise. I could be for Amy Klobuchar in a Minnesota minute. She’s strong, good looking, and way above average. I could also be for Elizabeth Warren, who makes the liberal case about as well as anyone.

For me, Hillary grates. She never gives you the complete picture. She’s too clever by half. There’s always an “oh by the way” as the full story dribbles out. Continue Reading…….

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Cruz-Fiorina

If Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina are the answer, what in heaven’s name is the question?

No, no, no … it’s not, who’s going to be the next President and Vice President of the United States … no way, José. That would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Cruz and Fiorina are called to a different line of work. Judging by their constant mention of, and support for, a bizarre Indiana law requiring transgender people to use the public restroom of their birth gender, they seem suited for work in this area. Perhaps they could constitute a two-person strike force of gender verification and enforcement.

Donald Trump, to his credit, has declined to join the Cruz-Fiorina team in this “Bathroom” slime pit.

The forces of the universe have conspired to bring Cruz, Fiorina, The Indiana Bathroom Law, and The Indiana Republican Primary together in a toxic conflagration which will be resolved when Indiana votes Tuesday, May 3. This could, thankfully, constitute the beginning of the end for the strange Mr. Cruz and his extraterrestrial partner, Mrs. Fiorina.

Ted Cruz is a two-trick pony. First, he’s smart. Second, he can speak. Past that, it’s ambition, deception, and creepy obnoxiousness. Continue Reading………….

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Trump is Toast

Published on Apr 6, 2016

Donald Trump, the billionaire builder who says he “loves the Bible” is on track to spend more time with it. He certainly will not have to worry about being encumbered by the responsibilities of public office.

Trump told us that “we would win so much with him as President that we would get tired of winning”. He’s leading by example there, and becoming a loser.

Trump constructed his whole campaign on the shifting sands of his own magnificence. It worked for a while and then it didn’t. Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee.

In a way, it’s too bad. It was a heck of a show while it lasted. He could have been the nominee if he hired a couple of people who knew what terms like “ground game” meant and were aware of the fact that different states had different rules for delegate selection. And maybe one person to whisper in his ear and remind him to keep his story straight on where he stood on things like abortion, NATO, and nuclear weapons.

Before Wisconsin, some betting sites had the probability of a Trump Nomination as high as 71%. Now, the number at Betfair is 54%.

That’s straight out crazy. My number is 5%. He is a one in twenty shot to get the Republican Nomination. And the only reason I give him any chance at all is because he’s got money and he’s unpredictable. Continue Reading………….

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Channeling Reagan I End up for Bernie

Published on Mar 10, 2016

I’m for candidates that are capable of looking at the 7.4 billion people in the world as part of a human family, even if they live in Iran or Israel or Mexico or Mali or Gaza or Gabon.

I’m for candidates that are capable of doing the right thing even though it involves confronting and displeasing important elements of their own base.

For instance, is a Democrat capable of taking an action that is opposed by the Congressional Black Caucus or Planned Parenthood or the Teacher’s Unions. Or is a Republican capable of taking action that is opposed by the National Rifle Association or Big Oil or the Prime Minister of Israel.

If a President is not willing to confront his own base, when necessary, he or she is not worth the money we pay them.

Ronald Reagan did it twice in his first two years against the toughest of tough opponents, the State of Israel.

The first time involved the right of the President to conduct foreign policy unimpeded by foreign interference. It involved the sale of aircraft to the Saudis. The Israelis, under Prime Minister Begin, opposed the transaction. Reagan worked the issue very hard and won a showdown vote in the United States Senate 52-48. Before it was over, Reagan was accused by the Israeli government of “Antisemitism and betrayal”. See, Ronald Reagan, An American Life p. 416.

The second time involved the excessive killing of civilians in the Siege of Beirut in 1982. The Israeli army pummeled Beirut in the summer of 1982, trying to flush out the remnants of the Palestinian liberation organization. Reagan’s request for moderation in the siege was ignored. After civilian casualties reached what Reagan considered completely unacceptable levels, he telephoned Prime Minister Begin on August 12, 1982.

According to Reagan’s Diary, this is what he told the Prime Minister: Continue Reading…………

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Pity the Poor Billionaires

Published on Mar 2, 2016

The most interesting, likable, and authentic candidates in each party (Bernie and Trump) don’t want your money … although Bernie will probably take a check for $27 bucks, his average contribution.

The media is agog, especially at the Trump phenomenon. Their commentary is virtually useless … mostly because they are stuck in political correctness mode and are unwilling to speak plain English.

Case in point, The Establishment. How many times a day do you hear some bozo opine about the Republican Establishment and how they want anybody but Trump. The problem is, they never define what they are talking about. Who, in their opinion, is The Establishment?

Let me give it a shot. There are three Establishments in the Republican Party.

There is the Traditional Values Establishment. They’re pro-life, pro traditional marriage, and pro Second Amendment. If you’re not with them on that package of issues, you are not going to be the Republican nominee. It’s not that hard to make yourself acceptable to them. As John McCain once said, “Say you’re pro-life and stop talking about it.”

Second, there’s the Business Establishment. They want low taxes and less regulation. Everything they’re against like the minimum wage or Affordable Care Act they claim is a job killer. They’re not that hard to please. Just use the Reagan line, “Government is not a solution to the problem, government is the problem.”

Third, there’s the Foreign Policy Establishment.

Here is where the media gets spastic. They can’t quite get their heads around the fact that if you want to get the Republican Nomination for President, you cannot have foreign policy positions that are offensive to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr. Sheldon Adelson, and Mr. Rupert Murdoch. These three gentlemen are of the Jewish persuasion and have strong views about what’s good for Israel and what American foreign policy in the Mideast should be.

Donald Trump is anathema to a lot of people for a lot of reasons. Continue Reading……

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Republicans need a “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” rule

Published on Feb 16, 2016

Barack Obama likes to keep things simple.

Stylistically, he’s no drama Obama. Operationally, the rule for the day, every day, is “Don’t do stupid stuff.”

Our most recent Republican President George W. Bush, who has taken an active role in support of his brother, was sorely in need of a “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” Rule (“The Rule”) in his own administration. Likewise, the assorted collection of food fighters and mud wrestlers who make up the Republican field for 2016 should investigate strategic use of The Rule.

The Administration of George W. Bush

1. In October of 2000, while Bill Clinton was President, the USS Cole was attacked by suicide-bombing terrorists in the waters near Aden, Yemen. The fact that the ship was there, unprotected, operating under inadequate rules of engagement, was Bill Clinton’s fault, no doubt about it. A clear violation of The Rule.

On January 20, 2001, George W. Bush was inaugurated President. On February 4, 2001, his administration was briefed by the CIA to the effect that the Cole was a Bin Laden Al Qaeda operation. According to then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Bush made the decision not to retaliate, saying, “He didn’t want to swat flies.”

President Bush’s inaction after being briefed on the fact that the Cole was a Bin Laden Al Qaeda operation was a colossal failure of leadership … fecklessness at its worst … and a clear violation of The Rule. Bush stupidly did nothing when he should have retaliated.

2. On August 6, 2001, President George W. Bush was on vacation on his ranch in Crawford, Texas. On that day he was visited at his ranch by a CIA briefer, who handed him a document titled, “Al Qaeda Determined to Attack in the United States”.

The Cole incident could not help but have put Bush on notice regarding Al Qaeda’s reach and capabilities. Now, he was handed a document outlining a level of urgency that would cause even the most feckless of leaders to arouse himself from historic torpor. Continue Reading……….

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: After Iowa

Published on Feb 3, 2016

If HILLARY CLINTON is going to be President, she needs the election moved up by six months. Her supporters aren’t getting any younger. In Iowa, Bernie Sanders beat the bejesus out of her with people under 44 and in the under-30 segment, Sanders beat her by six to one. Seriously. The closer people got to Medicare and assisted living, the better Hillary did with them. In Hillary’s favor, it’s clear that she’s had a major upgrade in hairstyling and wardrobe since cashing some of those $200,000 Goldman Sachs speaking fee checks.

BERNIE SANDERS is a revolutionary. He makes no bones about it. He doesn’t speak with the schooled oratorical gestures of a Ted Cruz or the sappy sing-a-long crap of Marco Rubio. He gets up in front of an audience in his rumpled suit and quirky gestures and speaks from the gut about the “disgusting greed” of the ultra-wealthy. He’s a Brooklyn-born Jew with an Irish Catholic wife who delivers a message of social justice far more Christian than the so-called “Christians” on the right who start their rallies with prayers and are most enthusiastic when talking about the death penalty or carpet bombing. As of right now, Bernie is on fire. The question for him is, can he continue to bring the heat and expand the electorate. It’s not out of the question.

DONALD TRUMP is a self-proclaimed “winner” with “unbelievable polls … leading everywhere”. He likes to throw punches and treat his opponents with dismissive contempt. Now that he’s a loser, at least in Iowa, we’ll see if he really wants to be President of the United States. More than anybody in either party, Trump’s campaign has been about the Cult of Personality … Trump as Winner. He’s bleeding now, and that gives a street-fighter like Chris Christie, who has to show well in New Hampshire, an opportunity to see how Mr. Trump reacts when he is the punchee rather than the puncher. Trump has had major setbacks in his business career and overcome them to come back stronger. He was younger then. It’s entirely possible that the air will come out of the Trump presidential balloon in a New York minute.

TED CRUZ is an interesting piece of work. There’s no question that he’s smart. Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who knew Cruz when Cruz was in law school, says his mind is top-rate. He’s also good (like a game show host) before a crowd. He can quote Scripture like those fundamentalist preachers that have hairdos that look like bird nests. Plus, he’s crafty … Nixon-class crafty … and a hard worker. Continue Reading………

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars – Politics 2016: Anger In; Political Correctness Out

Everybody’s angry.

Middle-aged and older white Christian men are angry big time. They think they’re losing status to people they’ve been accustomed to looking down on.

They sit in front of the TV for hours and watch FOX. The owner of FOX, Rupert Murdoch, a Jewish immigrant from Australia, serves up a steady diet of slop for those who need their hate Obama fix. They simply cannot miss a day without marinating in the muck that has made Murdoch a billionaire a dozen times over.

I heard a guy being interviewed at a Trump rally say he “was really angry”. When asked why, his reply was “Look what’s on TV … Look what’s going on in the world”. The interviewer asked him what he was going to do about his anger. His response, “Watch more TV”. Seriously.

A sure-fire applause generator to open a Republican rally nowadays goes something like this: “I don’t know about you, but I’m mad as hell. (Huge applause). And I’m about to tell you why … but first, if there are any of those deeply sensitive, politically correct souls here, I suggest you excuse yourself, because I’m going to tell it like it is, and you’re not gonna like it. Go home and water your plants.” (They’re going wild now).

Whatever is said after that is immaterial. What’s important is that you show that you’re mad and you’re willing to throw your weight around and bully anyone who doesn’t agree with you. That’s leadership!

Talk like that and Murdoch will give you all the airtime you’ll ever need.

While white middle-aged Christian men may register high on the anger meter, they’re not alone. Let me explore the response to angering events with two individuals and one group: a Pakistani-born taxi driver in New York City; the American Jewish community; and my own experience.

The Pakistani-Born Taxi Driver

About a month ago, in New York City, I had occasion to spend about forty-five minutes in a taxi with a driver who was born in Pakistan. As is my custom, I engaged him in conversation about his country and world events. Continue Reading………….