Color and Cliterature

February 15, 2018

“There are three “musts” that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.”  –  Albert Ellis

 

Branding is everything if you are in the “activist” business.

More than a few bizarre brands are trending these days. Black Lives Matter and the Me Too (aka Times Up) movements come to mind. The first arrived with a melanin predicate and the second rides a wave of estrogen angst. Hyperbole, hysteria, and hypocrisy joins the two at the hip.

Black murder rates, nationally, are largely driven by mayhem in liberal (Democrat Party) sinecures like Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Baltimore, and New Orleans. For the most part, American blacks kill other blacks. The number of African Americans killed or injured by white racists or white cops is statistically insignificant compared to the number of blacks maimed by home boys.

Mark more irony. Only one of four murders in places like Chicago ever get solved.  If black lives matter, they seem to matter little to other black Americans – or liberal, white urban politicians either.

Rap and hip-hop icons seldom cooperate with cops, insuring that abysmal closure rates are a permanent certainty. Biggie Smalls takes a bow here.

Three of four or more urban gun slingers are still cruising in a hood near you. Gun violence is worst in liberal cities where gun control laws are draconian.

Blaming cops for social pathology in African American neighborhoods is a little like blaming rest room/bath house sex and AIDS on Ronald Reagan.

The Me Too blame game suffers from similar confusion and contradictions. Such movements are propelled by ego, self-pity, and envy; not facts, data, science, or social justice. The “tell” for both memes is in the titles.

Shouldn’t all lives “matter?” Shouldn’t blue lives matter? Shouldn’t white lives matter? Shouldn’t junkie lives matter? Shouldn’t gay lives matter?  Shouldn’t  jihad  victims matter?

Withal, shouldn’t behavior matter?

How does skin shade, and not behavior,  have more to do with who gets help, goes to jail, who lives or dies in a liberal city? If the subject is social justice, as opposed to special pleading, then the movement might better be called “behavior matters.” Alas, personal responsibility is seldom in the mix when the subject is urban American racial, sexual, or cultural mores.

The problem with tropes is that too many, like tattoos, have evolved into stereotypes. The scabs are dry now. Behavior is, if we are honest, the mother of all stereotypes.

All of which brings us back to that other conversation, the Me Too crowd, the so-called “fourth wave” of feminism.  Me Too and “me” millennials are sisters from the same litter. Note the emphasis is on “me,” not we or thee.

If you chose to emphasize the “too” part of the argument, you can’t help but ask where sisters have been for the last hundred years. Or better still, girls, where was the distaff left when Bill was getting a Monica and Hillary and a liberal press was trashing Billy’s chippies as bimbos?

Say what you will about Donald Trump, America dodged a real bullet with the collapse of Clinton’s second act. If contemporary feminists didn’t have double standards, they wouldn’t have any.

Take Megyn Kelly, formerly at FOX, now flashing her primaries for NBC News. Early on, she entertained her press colleagues with a slut strut and photo ‘spread’ in Gentleman’s Quarterly. Later she made headlines as Donald Trump’s sex inquisitor in the 2016 primary debates. Trump couldn’t believe he was being grilled about sexism by a cheesecake veteran.

Voters couldn’t believe it either. They elected Trump anyway.

Listening to Megyn whine about Donald was a little like listening to a Boston archbishop pontificate about pedophilia. Such is the moral banality of the feminist wing of the American left.

More recently, the feline feeding frenzy caught up with the media boys club with a vengeance. Notable casualties included creeps at PBS, CBS, NBC, and FOX. The most notorious were Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer.

Infamous because both are ‘sandwich anchors,’ newsboys usually squeezed between two almost-famous newsgirls. The wrap for Charlie Rose at CBS This Morning was provided by Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell. Over at NBC’s Today, Matt Laurer was flanked, most recently, by Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb.  Laurer has had a virtual harem of vapid second ladies over the years.

The typical host sandwich at network news has man meat in the middle with distaff salt and pepper on the sides.

When decades of hanky panky finally castrated Rose and Laurer recently, lady co-anchors across the land were faking orgasms and throwing high fives – and pleading ignorance like campfire girls.  For decades, apparently, not a single lady side-kick at CBS or NBC had a giblet groped, had a fanny pinched, or saw Charlie’s or Matt’s schlong.

Not just hard to believe. Simply impossible to believe.

The likely explanation for such vacuity is stupidity, cupidity, cowardice – or brain damage. Yet, the network party line for passive poseurs is that these gal pals are real “journalists” – victims too if you believe in tooth fairies.

You cannot claim to be a serious journalist and still claim not to have seen or heard of Charlie’s Johnson or Matt’s Willie at one time or another. Like Harvey out there in the land of fruits and nuts, media mashers are serial perverts, trashing and flashing a host of marks for decades.

Twas a bit of a jolt then, at ABC, when Brian Ross was caught conjuring fake news with his pants on. Ross now joins another Brian, erstwhile anchor (now posturing at MSNBC), on the fakir walk of shame. Brian Williams got canned for inventing a self-serving yarn about combat heroism.

The most righteous creep kill was National Public Radio’s Garrison Keillor, a major scalp for hypocrites and victims alike. Ever unctuous Keillor and the Washington Post got hung out for defending Barney Frank in print.

To be sure, the Keillor /Post collusion is consistent with a paterfamilias tradition. Iconic editor Ben C. Bradlee at the Post was notorious for conjugating with the help in the 60s and 70s when he wasn’t fronting for John Kennedy’s lechery, the Democrat Party, or the FBI.

Here’s a thought for journalists everywhere. If you wife can’t trust you, why should readers trust you?

One wag famously described Ben’s third mate, Sally Quinn’s contributions to writing as “cliterature.” Quinn is an exemplar of how far a woman can get in Washington by merging regularly with an aging married liberal oligarch.

Deep throats indeed!

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Science now has a name for ‘me too’ egoism, careerism, or adolescent selfishness. The clinical community calls it musterbating. Yes, that spelling is correct.

Musterbation is, as irony would have it, a homophone homonym; in short, indulging yourself  by other means; “me” and “must” posturing as mandates.

The neologism was coined by behaviorist Albert Ellis. According to Dr. Ellis, musterbation is a series of unrealistic expectations or “shoulds” that the egoist imposes on self – and those around them. Musterbation is not to be confused with aspiration.  Should is a demand not simply a desire.

The mustabator is at once self-absorbed and judgmental about the world around them. Neither facts nor experience are relevant to the activist bound by self-serving rigid expectations of the cruel work outside the womb.

For the musterbator, introspection or reflection is impossible, personal and social problems are always someone else’s fault. “It’s your behavior, not mine, that is the problem,” might be their mantra.

Black Lives Matter and Me Too activists are now musterbating in unison. Both fail to see their behavior as relevant to social pathology. Whitey and “the man” is the excuse for BLM. Covetous men or an oppressive patriarchy are the culprits for Me Too mustabators. Courage in both cases is lacking because hindsight is not the same as a stout heart.

BLM excoriates a small, largely innocent demographic; cops. Me Too cuts a wider swath, demonizing men in general, nearly half the population. The two have much in common.

Hypocrisy is a hermaphrodite.

And yes, Ms. Winfrey; time is up. It’s time for professional victims and celebrity whiners, male and female, to grow up and act like adults.

Catherine Deneuve speculates that the Me Too fad is driven by man hate. Bingo!

Speaking of acting, black skirt feminism was a thing at the Golden Globes this year. Ironically, Hollywood press shills honored the lives of Katherine Graham, Ben Bradlee, and Carl Bernstien. Graham was a weak corporate enabler at the Washington Post, while Bradlee and Bernstein were flagrant womanizers. Bernstein cheated most prominently whilst his wife was pregnant. Heartburn anyone?

Adding insult to irony, black skirt prima donna Meryl Streep is the star vehicle in two films that now have   turned two of journalism’s most notorious cheats into national icons.

Indeed, if egoists and special pleaders must do anything, they must take responsibility for their behavior at the moment of truth. Then we can all get on with judging Louie CK, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Megyn Kelly, Sally Quinn, and Senator Pocahontas.

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The author usually writes about national security, only occasionally wandering onto the minefield of social scrimmages.

Tags: Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Times Up, Washington Post, National Public Radio, the Golden Globes, Ben Bradlee, Carl Bernstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, CBS, NBC, and ABC

 

 


Who’ s Afraid of Hillary Clinton?

October 6, 2016

 

Edward Albee died on 16 September. The death of America’s greatest modern playwright was obscured by the run-up to the first 2016 presidential debate. You can’t help but think of the parallels between an evening with Donald and Hillary and an evening with Albee’s George and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) in question was a real literary figure trapped in a failed marriage, a dilemma that was resolved by suicide. Woolf filled her pockets with stones and walked into a pond. Albee’s drama is supplemented by intermittent repetition of Disney’s jingle Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf.

Albee’s metaphorical wolf is illusion; or more precisely, the truth about self, marriage, family, career, and toxic relationships. Albee was no fan of conventional wisdom, human nature, or the status quo.

Albee lived as he wrote, ever the champion of the need to break the mold, embrace reality. His contempt for critics was legendary. Few journalists went one-on-one with Albee. The need to defy critics, even his father, and be his own man was the one big idea in much of Albee’s work.

All of the action in Albee’s classic feud unfolds in a single evening, similar to the drama of the 26 September argument between Trump and Clinton.

The first act of Virginia Woolf is indeed called “Fun and Games,” much like the first 30 minutes of the Trump/Clinton debate. The beginning is genial enough and then slowly succumbs to the heat of acrimony, recriminations, and hypocrisy.

On the evening of 26 September, Trump was suffocated, like Albee’s George, with issues over which he has little or no control. In the play, George was clinically impotent. In the debate, Trump was made to appear inadequate in the end.

Hillary flogged Donald with taxes, bankruptcies, family inheritance, faux racism, portly beauty queens, and Rosie O’Donnell. None of these “issues” has anything to do with domestic or national security.

Throughout, Trump’s one big idea of the campaign was obscured. Trump is the candidate of change. More of the same is Mrs. Clinton’s only game. Hillary doesn’t have a big idea.

Indeed, Hillary offers only two small thoughts for domestic and foreign policy. Both were parroted or pinched form the Sander’s campaign: no-fly zones in the Levant and “free” college/debt relief at home.

No-fly zones in Syria and Iraq are bogus because that would have USAF flying cover for the Turkish oil racket and the ISIS jihad against Damascus.

The free school/tuition forgiveness proposal is a fraud on three counts. First, no school is free. Somebody pays; maybe not the takers, but surely the makers. Whenever the American left uses adjectives like “free,’ hold onto your wallet.

Secondly, schooling at the college level is likely to benefit those who already benefit at the grade and secondary levels. Several minorities, especially blacks, seem to be immune to the opportunity of free schools. Half of black kids who begin high school do not finish and many of those that do finish require extensive and often ineffective remedial help at college.

There’s no evidence to suggest that the kids who need it most will benefit from “free” college, any more than they “benefit” from free high school. Public school is too often custodial, a waiting room for the nearest jail.

And finally, public school has been hopelessly confused with education. Charter schools, alternative schools, and private schools are all symptoms of public school failure, if test scores and school rankings matter.

The public school illusion is supported by those who don’t need it and undermined by cynics who know that, in the end, school is only an opportunity not a right.

Mrs. Clinton does not have one big idea, nor does she have any original small ideas. She does have, however, a host of failures or bad policies for which she might be pilloried: the private server fraud, Wall Street speaking fees, the Clinton Foundation hustle, open borders, the immigration blitz, regime change disasters, a new Cold War with Russia , Islamic apologists, and all those losing Muslim wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

Trump had the hammer; yet he didn’t pound his golden nail, change. He needed to illuminate Mrs. Clinton’s poor ideas; recite Hillary’s manifest failures; and emphasize the poverty of her too few new ideas.

Mrs. Clinton even managed to make Trump look like the liar on the stage; this from a woman married to a serial predator; this from a woman married to a convicted perjurer; this from a woman who lied to the Benghazi families.

The most obscene hypocrisy of the 2016 campaign is to watch either of the Clintons play the honesty or transparency cards.

At the end of the first debate, uncharacteristically, Donald Trump was left mumbling about his microphone and things he could have said but didn’t. It seems that Trump was intimidated by Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea in the first row. Trump was probably thinking of making America’s most infamous sexual predator a campaign issue, but towards the end of round one, he pulled that punch.

Nonetheless, Bill is still fair game. Clintons in the White House have embarrassed themselves and the country before and it’s a safe bet they will do it again.

Oddly enough, Hillary is capable of recognizing young black super-predators she never met, but claims ignorance of her husband’s predations. Willful indifference to Bill’s not-so-secret life as a masher is of a piece to her willful indifference to national security by using a private email server.

If the Republican standard bearer believes that either Clinton will ever spare him any personal or family indignity, then Donald, like George in Virginia Woolf, is delusional.

The last act of Edward Albee’s play is called “Exorcism.” Indeed, a defeat of the Clintons would be just that, a national purge that could signal a new beginning, an awakening from the long Clinton family nightmare.

For the moment, Trump is the only exorcist in town. Either he throws the devils back to Arkansas or the country suffers through four more years of toxic Clinton/Obama humiliations. Trump brings a hundred million souls to the debates. Now he needs to close the deal, persuade that vast audience to vote for change.

No holds barred! There are only two rounds left.

One final thought for the undecided; picture Bill Clinton Barack Obama, or both, on the Supreme Court.

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Hat tip to Edward Albee (1928-2016) who never finished college, yet he insisted that we face the realities of life, relationships, careers, and especially, poor choices.

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Debating Hillary

September 21, 2016

The impending presidential debates are likely to be the best attended in the history of American politics. The viewing and listening audience will set a standard for political discussions past and future. At this point, the draw is Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, Trump is a candidate who packs a house and elevates the ratings.

Whether or not the Trump “draw” translates into votes remains to be seen. Ironically, Trump’s negatives may be the new positive. Those so-called “undecideds,” might be a closet demographic, folks who do not support Trump publicly, but on Election Day will push the button for change anyway.

At this point in the campaign, both candidates represent real choice. Hillary is the establishment, the ancien regime, more of the same if you will. Trump is the parvenu, the rhetorical bomb thrower. The Donald represents change, anxiety, and uncertainty too.

Here Trump has a decided advantage. Call it the enthusiasm gap. Emotion and energy are the important components of any political campaign. Specific issues are, for the most part, window dressing. Most candidates see politics as the art of saying and playing, not doing.

Issues are merely emotional outreach, the hot buttons of cynical voter manipulation. If you can talk-the-talk well enough, you might never have to walk-the-walk.

The great weaknesses of democracy are tenure, inertia, and complacency.

Few candidates feel compelled to deliver on campaign promises anyway, especially reform. American campaigning and governance have now morphed into perpetual spin, a cynical PR ritual. Nonetheless, most aspirants are still expected to make politically correct noises to get nominated, reelected – or elected.

Trump has proven to be the singular exception to this and almost every other bit of conventional wisdom, a quality of uniqueness that is now both an asset and a liability

Prospects are diminished, in any case, for any candidate who fails to touch the emotional G Spot of the electorate. Relative likeability and some sensitivity to the mood and needs of the masses is money in the bank.

With Barack Obama the touchstone was melanin. With Hillary the emotional G Spot is sex, gender, and the usual piñata politics. Hillary Clinton is figuratively flying on her genitals and literally sitting on Obama’s entitlement coattails.

Romney was correct about one thing in the last election; America is now two classes, a decreasing number of makers carrying a growing burden of takers. Alas, establishment Romney couldn’t get away with that kind of Mormon candor wearing a Republican frock.

With Trump, truth is an offensive weapon.  Change is his forte. Thus, remaking America is at once a noble objective for the “deplorables” and a subversive threat to the usual suspects. Oddly enough, critics right and left seem to be fueling the Trump phenomenon with brickbats.

Indeed, you could argue today that Donald Trump has trashed every possible stuffed shirt, touched every third rail, and roasted every sacred cow on the political green. Indeed, Trump’s critics are in danger of exhausting all stocks of metaphor and invective.

From the beginning, Trump has been riding towards the Oval Office on a tsunami of righteous indignation. The “system” is thought to be rigged or broken and public sentiment says, “throw the bums out.”

The debates are one last hurdle. As media events, these spectacles are front-loaded for Hillary.

The moderators are a rainbow coalition from the American left. There’s nothing “moderate” about Trump’s inquisitors. Lester Holt (NBC) speaks for the black vote. Martha Raddatz (ABC) represents the feminist vote, and of course Anderson Cooper (CNN) represents homosexuals and the socially ambiguous. None of these demographics are sympathetic, or even neutral, about Trump. Chris Wallace (FOX) is supposed to be the red bone, a token at best. These debate panels are rigged and Trump needs to make that clear to the national audience at every debate.

Trump has few sympathizers midst the chattering classes. He can expect a barrage of hostile and/or loaded questions. He would be wise to stay with the tactic that served him so well to date.

Offense!

When confronted with leading or hostile questions, Trump needs to confront media spinners as he has done in the past. If he has done nothing else in this campaign, Trump has exposed American journalists as partisan shills. Trashing pundits is a no-lose hedge. The press is about as popular as herpes.

If Trump doesn’t like the question, he might ignore it and introduce a question of his own. Becoming Hillary’s interrogator permits all those questions not likely to be asked by a biased press panel.

Mrs. Clinton avoids press conferences for good reasons. She doesn’t like questions, accountability, or candor — and she gets rattled or hostile on defense.

Topics likely to keep Clinton in a defensive crouch include: her tolerance of husband Bill’s abuse of women from the statehouse to the White House; the Obamacare fiasco; Veterans’ care incompetence; serial foreign policy failures; the Benghazi betrayal and cover up; the private server and email controversy; subsequent FBI corruption; DNC primary fixing; and Clinton Foundation fraud just to name a few areas where the media will try to give Hillary a pass.

Trump is uniquely qualified to grill Mrs. Clinton. She has a policy and program record to defend.  He does not. Trump is only liable for hearsay or those now infamous lip slips. Clinton, in contrast, has real skeletons that have been out of her closet for over a decade.

Trump does not have a horrid family and policy record to defend.  In contrast, Hillary’s private and public behavior is literally indefensible. She is especially vulnerable as the putative “feminist.” Recall how Mrs. Clinton demonized Bill’s female victims and conquests. A Bill Clinton “score” was characterized as a “bimbo eruption.”

Mrs. Clinton’s achievement deficits are relevant in every sense of the word. Her personal peccadillos, integrity, judgment, temperament, and character should be the core issues of the debates.

Hillary’s contempt for common men and women is now, in her own words, a matter of public record. Less well known are the sentiments of those who have witnessed Clintonian behavior out of the public eye. The few Secret Service testimonials available are unanimous about Hillary Clinton.

She is arrogant, patronizing, condescending, abusive, vulgar, often hysterical, and frequently rude, especially to military and police details. The people sworn to protect the presidential family are usually reticent to discuss their wards. Hillary is the one notable exception.

Secret Service agents consider the Hillary detail to be punishment. She’s that bad.

If there are any institutions that do not look forward to another Clinton regime, it’s the military, the Secret Service, and cops at large. Apparently, Hillary abhors uniforms.

Mrs. Clinton apparently suffers from some kind of multiple personality disorder too, smiling and cackling in public and then morphing into an abusive shrew off camera. There may be a medical explanation for Hillary’s mood swings, but those closest to her believe that the ailment is personality.

Pathology or illness is always fair game, but for any politician, its character, or lack of it, that matters most.

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Key words:

Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump, presidential debates, media bias.


Atilla the Hen

January 23, 2016

“If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens.” – Grandma Moses

It all began as a bit of an experiment. Three neighbors discussing the virtues of fresh eggs. My wife eats eggs like a ferret. We all like breakfast and baked goods too. So why not get a modest flock of chickens, thought we all. So the women made plans and the men built a coop; a natty cedar affair with a fenced run, a ramp, a roost, windows, doors, and two nesting boxes.

We started with Silky chicks and then traded them in for six Rhode Island Rock Barreds. The Silkies turned out to be hostile, homely, and oblivious to predators due to a surfeit of head feathers. In fact, the Silky breed looks like a double ended rear end.

In contrast, the Yankee hens are a stately study of chaste pin stripped productivity and, unlike their Silky sisters, they are agnostic about humans – coupled with lethal hostility towards most other critters, including cats, rats, and the neighborhood pit bull.

When the gal pals came of age they served notice on predators large and small. An impudent brown rat tried to raid their duplex and the girls made short work of him. Had we left the prostrate rodent where he fell, I’m fairly certain the sorority would have eaten him too.

Chickens love meat.

If you give them a ham and cheese sandwich, they will fight over the ham, share the cheese, and leave a pile of scat on the bread. Ironically, store bought chicken feed, like dog food, is mostly carbohydrates. Small wonder then that chickens prefer pill bugs, beetles, worms, and the occasional pizza.

Yes, pizza! The morning after a teen soiree on our street we found an unmolested boxed pepperoni pizza pie on our lawn under the butternut tree. We donated the soggy pizza to the hens and the tube steak topping started a feathered food riot.

Hens that eat protein will give protein – omelets, custard, quiche, hollandaise, and cholesterol too. Chicks also eat each other if they get too cranky. Surely, the first real bullies were hens, not tweens and teens.

In all hen parties, there’s usually a bird that ruffles too many feathers for whatever reason. So it was with our Hillary, the runt of her litter. Our petite one is so named because she is more than a bit shifty, ambiguously unpopular, and annoying in ways that only other hens appreciate; in short, a victim by default midst cool gals with attitudes.

Alas, unlike lady lips, chicken lips are lethal weapons. The big hens started with Hillary’s comb and then pecked her bald. “Pecking order,” in the bird world, is no metaphor. Nor is hair pulling. When we saw blood, we had to separate the runt from the rest.

Hillary now roosts with immunities in a big blue recycling bin, safe from abuse. Hens are a little like politicians. Some require special treatment, a kind of aviary affirmative action, if they are to thrive. Martyrs, nonetheless, are still very marketable in their own way.

By day, she is free range, to the everlasting consternation of her sisters. If you let one, or some, of the hens out of the run, and keep some in; the outhouse birds will stay close to the coop. Free-range is a sometime thing for the entire flock. Absent the bonds of sisterhood, a gaggle of hens might play in traffic, become street walkers, or flock back to Rhode Island.

At night, the chickens are confined to quarters, as it is after dark that all girls in violation of curfew become witless or clueless. The fox, the coyote, and the owl dine after nine.

Indeed, at dusk when the birds must be tucked in, it’s a race with the sun. If we are too late, the hens take to the trees. Once aloft, they have to be lifted down with a lacrosse stick which presents its own problems. Having found a good weave, a hen’s talons are reluctant to part with it.

It’s a safe bet that no Chicken is born Jewish either, fond as they are of meat and dairy at the same table. However, they often become converts after being disrobed by feather pluckers. A Christian might begin her days with a cold bath, a kosher chicken ends hers with a healthy salt water soak.  Before the pot, six Yankee hens can be models of Smithsonian productivity, four to six eggs a day, up to 2200 eggs a year.

Without celibacy, chicks might rule the world. On occasion, rainy days it seems, we get twins, seven eggs from six birds; something to cluck about indeed.

Alas, most chickens are virgins without vows, a deficit which may explain demeanor, eye rolling, and mood swings. Roosters are only necessary if you need fertilized eggs, more chickens, or lack an alarm clock. The few dudes in the chicken world make too much noise, get up too early, and only earn their keep in bed – where they seldom snuggle.

Hens make good neighbors, roosters not so much. Indeed, calling a hen house a coop is not necessarily the best moniker. Chicken cloister is more accurate; no boys and perpetual ambient noise.  The muttering of hens and the murmurs of Matins are cell mates.

Alas, chastity is not necessarily voluntary – or a virtue. “No boys” does not equate to no joys. Some girls prefer girls if the night and the light is right. A neighbor kid put a GoPro camera in with the hens overnight; for social research purposes only mind you. Turns out the ladies do snuggle when the lights go out; more than a bit of a surprise when you see how they treat each other in daylight, in public, or at a pizza party.

There’s something to be said about hen hygiene too. When confined, and not squabbling over roosting boxes, the girls all sleep in a neat row, facing the same direction. Even the best of girlfriends know not to turn their backs in close quarters. Every morning there’s a bonus, a very tidy row of shovel-ready guano under the roosting pole, not unlike wedding cake gargoyles.

Indeed, the ladies seldom soil their nesting boxes, leaving only tasteful beige colored eggs in the ovulation bays.

Chickens are an endless source of amusement or jokes for the neighborhood kids too. My favorite so far in 2016 is about aviary ambition. Question: “What do you call a chicken that has gotten to the top of the pecking order?” Answer: “Attila the Hen.”

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The author is a sometime chicken wrangler who usually writes about the politics of national security.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Truth, Noise, and Politics

October 28, 2015

Truth is a tough nut, both fruit and seed. Few people want to shuck their own nuts or work hard enough to discover truth. As with nuts, we usually like someone else to do the work, the shelling. Thus truth, for most, is received wisdom. We are inclined to believe what we hear (hat tip to Goebbels) or believe what we hear most. Truth as a rule is what we believe, correct or incorrect. True or false beliefs are equally difficult to undo or overcome. Belief is a virtual hermaphrodite too; it often serves both sides of an argument.

The received wisdom conundrum is aggravated by the signals/noise enigma. Signal truth is often buried under layers of noise: emotions, passions, bias, frequency, and volume. Between received wisdom and ambient noise, facts often fail to be consumed no less germinate. Political truth, especially before an election, is similar to the leaf litter under an oak tree. Almost all acorns are infested by insects, purloined by rodents, or simply rot in the shell. Few nuts ever become trees.

Alas, signals and noise are endemic in all modern societies.  Nevertheless, signals missed still have grave consequences.

Roberta Wohlstetter’s prophetic analysis of the warning failure at Pearl Harbor is an example of how the message, or truth, gets lost in ambient noise.  Ms. Wohlstetter’s excellent volume was confirmed again by General Mike Hayden, the National Security Agency, and the Bush White House on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

The Saudi/Arab surprise attack on America was the worst Intelligence disaster since Pearl Harbor. Adding insult to injury, Saudi elites were spirited out of the US after the attack and NSA director General Mike Hayden, USAF, was promoted.

The 9/11 disaster confirms Hegel’s aphorism too, “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.”

Political truth is the most elusive. The ambient noise of a political campaign is tsunamic. Modern media might be the biggest noise makers in history, businesses driven by the internet, buzz, trends, likes, polls, profit, controversy, hidden agendas, prurience, voyeurism, partisanship, and often just common venality or banality. “If it bleeds, it leads” is both a literal and figurative truth for American journalists in print, on the net, or on the airways.  Titillation and musterbation are the true north and true south of modern communications arts.

Given a choice between information and entertainment, both media and their marks usually take the low road.

Small wonder then that journalists, politicians, and Muslim clerics are the biggest stake holders in the global trust default. Among the three, over ninety percent of readers and viewers do not trust journalists. A trust score in the single digits is a little like a charity flush in a public toilet – another noise that changes nothing.

It is no accident that Islamic jihadists take special delight in gory public executions of journalists.

The ambient noise around the two leading candidates in the 2016 US presidential race provide illustrations of how difficult it is to separate signal from noise, separate true belief from spin.

Hillary is less of a cipher because no one expects either of the Clintons to tell the truth; not their party, not the Congress, nor the courts, nor their supporters. Like a Santa Claus wife, Hillary’s mendacity is impervious to judgement, an amnesty probably underwritten by partisanship and consistent Christmas tree politics. Mrs. Clinton, like her husband, is an icon for women, urban cliff dwellers, minorities, a host of dependents, and other special pleaders.

Few care what Hillary believes either. After four decades in the public eye, all truth might be inconvenient, irrelevant, and unnecessary in a Clinton household – or administration. Hillary’s candidacy says more about contemporary American values than most sensible folks would like to admit.

Donald Trump on the other hand is a study in contrast. Where Hillary is evasive, Trump’s candor is brutal. Beliefs are often used like a cudgel.  Indeed, Trump is often characterized as loud, insensitive, transitory, boorish, rude, and offensive. These are some of the nicer things said about the Republican frontrunner.

Indeed, with the media, what Trump says is often lost in how or to whom it is said. The conventional wisdom among the political establishment, right and left, is that a chap like Trump is “temperamentally” unsuited for the presidency. He says what he thinks and that will not do in a culture where appearance is lodestar.

Hillary might be taken at face value, but the Trump signal is buried under noise, all the hysterical histrionics necessary to obscure his message. Two examples from the Trump repertoire tell the story; the George Bush kerfuffle and the immigration imbroglio.

Truth and the Bush dynasty

As a general proposition, the truth about the Bush dynasty is threefold. George Bush senior made Clinton possible, Junior made Obama possible, and Jeb Bush might make Hillary possible.

And yes, a sitting president, like a ship’s captain, is responsible for what happens on his watch. Bush junior owns 9/11 – and the all pandering precedents set in concrete after the Arab attack. Examine Bush era verbiage and policy that sought to excuse Arabs, Islamism, or Islamo-fascism, now manifest in the Islamic State! There’s not much difference between Bush era Muslim policy and ongoing Brennan/Obama appeasement cant.

In eight years, George Bush failed to get Osama bin Laden and he did not make the world a safer place either;  not from Islamism – or for very long.

The truth about Intelligence remedies under Bush is worse still. Like his predecessors, he simply threw money at the warning problem and hoped for the best. Spray, pay, and pray is what cynics inside the Beltway call it.

The truth about NSA, as an example of failure, is that it is, simultaneously, too big to fail and too big to succeed; in short, a mismanagement of talent and national treasure at a time when both are in short supply.

The Intelligence problem was never data collection, NSA’s charter, in any case. The problem was, and is, honest analysis, telling politicians the truth, things they don’t want to hear, and truths especially about phenomena like Islamism and jihad.

Indeed, Edward Snowden is walking, talking testimony to NSA’s inability to deal with institutional and external national security threats.  Ironically, the Intelligence business, like public education, is one of those many federal sinecures that reward failure. With federal programs, failure is likely to precipitate promotions and a funding windfall. Reform is usually an orphan.

Trump says you pay to play in politics. Indeed! Once elected, you also get to pay back with other people’s money.

Truth about immigration

Trump is brutally correct about immigration also. Migrants are both criminal and national security problems today. A fourth of the American prison population originates south of the border. And those numbers do not include Mexican born felons still at large midst millions of illegals.

A state without borders or controls is just another place, not a country.

The migrant problem in Europe is illustrative, more cultural than humanitarian crisis. There is little in contemporary European experience with refugees that merits imitation in America. Unfortunately, Europe and America have ceded their sovereignty to NGOs and the United Nations on the migrant issue.

After fifty years of Muslim wars, battlefield commanders are still unable to distinguish friend from foe, “moderate” from terrorist or jihadist. The US State Department, NGOs, and the United Nations have little inclination and virtually no capability to vet large numbers of Muslim migrants.

Racist motives attributed to Trump have no basis in fact. In the interests of sanity, security, civility, and national sovereignty, migrants must get in line, use the front door, or be gone. The alternative is for America to become a multicultural basket case like the European Union.

If the Peace of Westphalia is to be washed away by open borders, that sea change should come from consent not a tidal wave of Muslim migrants.

One final truth

All politicians make promises. Trump wants to “make America great again.” Hyperbole aside, there’s more than a kernel of truth in such sloganeering.

Since the 1960’s, America has undergone a cultural revolution, values like sweat equity, independence, and achievement have been forsaken in favor of excuses, tolerance, and dependency. Indeed, success is demonized. Donald Trump is a living example.

“Children” are now subsidized by government until 30 years of age.

Cultural erosion is not limited to social dependencies or criminal subcultures. Cabinet level satraps, federal department heads, and Pentagon generals all thrive on a performance model where success or victory is rare and failure is an acceptable norm.

Personal and departmental failure has become another beneficiary of intemperate tolerance. Indeed, failure is subsidized in programs like defense, veteran’s affairs, Intelligence, and public education, just to name a few. Incompetence is the only perennial bipartisan issue inside the Beltway.

Most of the rap against Trump is ad hominem at best, political penis envy at its worst. He is successful, rich, much married, and he has the courage to go where few politicians dare venture. With Trump’s critics, the hard nut of truth is indigestible.

If Trump’s message, his signal, is that the Oval Office should stop rewarding personal and institutional failure, he will have disinterred the ghost of Abraham Lincoln.

“You’re fired” is a message not heard in Washington since the Korean War.

Lincoln understood the value and virtue of performance. The first Republican president did not tolerate incompetent subordinates who could not deliver success or victory. In his time, Abraham Lincoln was an outsider. He made America great again. He made the industrial revolution that followed possible too.

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This essay appeared in the American Thinker and the New English Review.


It’s a DINO

October 16, 2015

The first Democrat Party debate was everything we hoped it would not be, a boring coronation. Alas, Mrs. Clinton literally shouted the competition off the stage. She bitch- slapped the boys with the usual Clintonista talking points: gun control, health care, feminism, piñata politics, and Trump bashing.  The selling of baby parts did not come up. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders flew in formation suggesting that they would finance new initiatives by taxing the rich. No news here.

Calling the Clinton/Sanders appearance a “face-off” gives hyperbole a bad name. The NY Times predictably tried to put lipstick on a pig by categorizing the Tuesday séance as a “sharp debate.”

Sanders said nothing that would challenge Hillary on any significant issue. Indeed, Bernie actually came to Hillary’s defense on the private server/email fiasco. By evening’s end Hillary was probably asking herself: “Why am I on the same stage with these clowns.”

Mrs. Clinton’s performance is probably a polished preview of her impending congressional testimony, a real confrontation that, alas, is likely to have similar consequence. The only men likely to be more fey than professional CNN journalists are the faint hearted professional politicians on Capitol Hill.

There were no hard ball questions on foreign policy either, Benghazi or the blatant mendacity that has followed. There were no tough questions about domestic policy or husband Bill, what role he would play in Clinton III. The Media might get personal with Trump, but they dare not with Hillary

Anderson Cooper proved to be a more than adequate ally as a CNN southpaw, throwing soft balls from the left at the Left all evening. Indeed, when asked how she would be different from Obama, Mrs. Clinton actually admitted that she wouldn’t be different. She promised more of the same – only farther to the left. Indeed, Jim Webb, the only voice of reason on the stage, looked out of place, an oddball, a single digit turd in the usual cocktail of liberal promises.

The most telling moments of the evening were when Hillary mentioned gender, several times in fact. When asked about dynasty, or being a certified insider, she retreated to her sex. Asked how she would be different, she chortled: “Who could be more of an outsider than a woman?” With that rallying cry, Mrs. Clinton ran up the genital and victim Jolly Rogers on the same Democrat halyard.

It’s official now. Just as Obama played the melanin card, Hillary is running on her vagina. A “first” is a terrible thing to waste.

The opening democrat debate was not novel, informative, revealing, controversial, confrontational, noteworthy, or even entertaining.

Call it a DINO, a debate in name only.


Regime Change in America?

November 18, 2014

Hold the champagne!

The recent mid-term election in America is not a sweep, a wave, or a revolution.  The same president is still in the Oval Office and the usual suspects still reign in the House and Senate. Sure, Harry Reid might get a smaller office, but his successor as House Majority Leader is not necessarily an improvement. In Congress, the most important values are stasis and tenure. Leadership on the Hill is usually an inherited position not a virtue like character. Pragmatically, you probably couldn’t slip a two dollar bill between the Republicans and Democrats on any major domestic or foreign policy issue.

Yes, that now includes health care too. Once a large government program is underway none dare assault the leviathan.  No matter how bad the program, the civil service jobs are always good. Both political parties agree the least that you can do for any social problem is to throw money at it.

The foreign policy planks of both major parties might be captured in two neologisms, Russophobia and Islamophilia. Republicans and Democrats are in a foot race to the right when the subject is Vladimir Putin and a mad dash to the left, can’t genuflect fast enough, if the subject is Mohamed or Muslims. Never mind that America has everything in common with Moscow and near nothing in common with Mecca.

There were two clear messages from election night, ennui and apathy. Americans are fed up with both parties. If there had been a “none of the above” box to check, nihilism might have won in a landslide. Again, as in almost any American election, apathy is the loudest voice in the public square.

Overall, about 35 percent of eligibles voted. Turnout was down in all states but twelve. If you think of an election as an opinion poll, we don’t know what most folks think. Those unwilling to say or play are a cipher, a true silent majority.

The mid-term elections might not be a champagne moment, but looking towards 2016, we can see the specters of three political futures: the Boehner/McConnell tag team, the Christie/Clinton tarantella, and the Obama legacy quest.

Boehner and McConnell on the bridge

Let’s not kid ourselves about the leadership in Congress.

If John Boehner wasn’t a congressman, he would probably be tending bar in Ohio. He has been a professional politician for nearly thirty years. He might be most notable for tearing up whenever he hears the words, “Mister Speaker.” Boehner is third in line of succession to the presidency.

Mitch McConnell is another professional politician who has served in the Senate for longer than Boehner has been in the House. Like Boehner, he is another invisible man with tenure. McConnell might best be known as “let’s make a deal” Mitch, the go-to-guy for collaboration on deficit spending.

Neither of these two would be thought of as leaders or visionaries in any forum where tenure was not the dominant value. And neither of them has shown the courage to think outside the box. Like most sinecures, a Boehner/McConnell stewardship represents more of the same, business as usual; profligate spending at home and Moscow bashing abroad – complimented by half-measures or appeasement with the Islamist menace.

The mid-term election in any case was not about Republicans, it was about failed leadership, the lack of tactical and strategic vision in Washington. Most Americans obviously would rather not vote than pick from the lesser evil. Such elections might change things at the margins, but that kind of change is never progress.

The Christie/Clinton Dance

Unlike Hillary Clinton for the Left, Governor Chris Christie on the Right is by no means a shoo-in as the next Republican nominee for President. However, as Chair of the Republican Governor’s Conference, Christie picked up some markers in the recent mid-term election. His guys won. The New Jersey governor may be an early front runner also because he is the most visible, and eager, aspirant in what appears to be an attempt to stake out the ‘moderate’ middle of the road. Hopefully the road will not be the New Jersey Turnpike again.

Surely there will be a host of other Republican candidates, but for the moment, among party stewards, Christie seems to be the guy to beat in the next national primary.

Unfortunately, if Mrs. Clinton runs, the optics for Christie are all wrong. The governor is large, loud, and conspicuously rude. He looks and acts like a bully, a macho stenotype that plays into the ‘war on women’ meme. If Hillary runs, she campaigns on her genitals. ‘First woman’ is going to be a lot more persuasive than ‘first black.’ People vote for images not issues anyway. A Jersey Shore heavy gives a liberal Press too much ammunition. Rude will not play well in flyover country.

The only way for Republicans to neutralize the genitals factor is to put a woman, a brown male, or both, on the ticket. Alas, the pale southern specter of the Bush clan is again in the mix. Any Clinton/Bush remix is sure to look like a rerun of Dynasty.

Still, Mrs. Clinton is the formidable politician for the moment. American voters are pregnant with the sentiment that the time has come for a woman – and that time is now.

Hillary has already outflanked clueless conservatives on foreign policy. She is running to the right of all comers in the race back to the Cold War in Europe. When Republicans trot out Russian stereotypes, it’s old hat. In contrast, Putin bashing by the Left reinforces the ‘tough broad’ persona that Hillary seeks to cultivate.

Mrs. Clinton may have blown Benghazi, but that’s of a piece with similar Bush era Republican pandering to Arabs and Muslims after 9/11. Russia and China on the other hand will be a free fire zone for both American political parties in the next two years. Hillary is knocking over straw men early.

Neither party is willing to recognize, nor confront in any meaningful way, the real security challenge of the 21st Century which is a 3rd World War which has already begun, the blitzkrieg of imperial religious fascism. All that Salifi cash doled out to former American officials, academia, and think tanks is insulating the Arabian sanctuary – and making Islamic swords like ISIS possible.

Qatar is hosting the next World Cup, the kind of validation that makes Islamism possible. Sanction Russia! Contain China! Where are the sanctions and restraints for irredentist if not barbaric Islam?

Expect Hillary to run against the Obama record in any case. If the Clintons can hold most women, most minorities, academics, and folks collecting a government check, her bandwagon starts to look more like a freight train – and conservatives start to look more like 2016 road kill.

Surveying the political landscape realistically, Hillary Clinton is already playing man-to-man with a full court press.  Conservative leadership, if we can torture a noun, is still in the locker room backslapping – or just snapping towels.

Legacy Quest

Playing the clock for legacy is all that remains for President Obama, a self-defined victim just a half step from ignominy.

Alas, the eggs of a lame duck are fertilized with ego, dangerous hubris indeed. The peril lies in any 11th hour foreign policy Hail Mary that might come at the expense of the American economy or allies like Israel. Surely there are few legislative miracles to be had with Congress now in Republican hands.

To date, Obama foreign policy is a tale of serial incompetence. Yet the White House still blows in Sunni and now Shia ears as we speak. Cutting Shia Iran some slack on nuclear programs might serve two purposes, Obama legacy and another eye poke for Benjamin Netanyahu. It’s the Chicago way.

With Obama, foreign affairs, as with most of his politics, are personal. National apologists have blithely ignored the Islam bomb in Sunni hands; why not rationalize a level Ummah playing field by appeasing the Shia at the expense of Israel? Desperate deeds and smaller men are constant companions. Or as another Kris used to sing, “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.”

In the beginning, Barack Hussein Obama was thought to be the post-racial, millennial man. Indeed, Obama was the first world leader to get a Nobel Prize for wishful thinking about peace and arms control.  The president has delivered neither. Indeed, he has been so much worse than his two predecessors that the Obama era beggars comparison.

Legacy speculators are already claiming that Obama might be the worst president in modern history. Paul Krugman and Rolling Stone might disagree, but such debates are irrelevant for the moment.

Even a wounded politician is dangerous. Two years is a policy eternity. Weakness, compounded by ego, makes for a perilous mix. Misuse of executive orders puts the rule of law and separation of powers at risk at home. In the national security arena; the next 9/11, ISIS, or Ukraine fiasco could be a tipping point. A damaged president, an inert legislature, and a passive nation are as likely to be undone by ego, apathy, or enemies.

Both parties now elevate the Russian to ogre yet haven’t a clue about what to do with Islamic wolves. And the irony about economic sanctions against Moscow is that American Russophobia is damaging European allies too. The EU is not just on the brink of another Cold War; it’s more like the threat of another ice age in Game of Thrones. Winter in Europe comes early this year.

Irredentism seems to be a war of necessity for Islam. Going backwards with Europe and Asia is still an option for the West too. Myopic politics have no term limits.

Team Obama squanders energy on Russian and Chinese misdemeanors instead of cultivating a grand coalition of secular, dare we say rational, nations to focus on the war against imperial Islam – a war that civilization now seems to be losing in slow motion. If Islam were only a religion, it might be odious, but not necessarily dangerous. Unfortunately, Islam is largely a political construct where religion is not just inseparable from the state, but the mosque is too often a toxic well of imperial inspiration compounded by the regression of reason.

For the next two years Barack Hussein Obama, as the world’s most visible apologist for Islamism, will still be the most dangerous politician on the planet.

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This essay appeared in the 11/16/14 edition of American Thinker