Friday, October 23, 2015

Mission Accomplished: White House Successfully Covers Up IRS Scandal

Possibly the largest abuse of power scandal in the history of the United States--that seemed to lead back to the White House by the way--was successfully swept under the rug by the most corrupt administration in US History.

Even the timing of the DOJ announcement smells bad. Friday afternoon, on the heels of Hillary Clinton's performance at Congress the day prior.

I don't care if it is Pataki, Santorum or Gilmore. Any Republican candidate who says "If elected my Justice Department will aggressively prosecute the widespread corruption of the Obama Administration up to and including the president" will receive my vote.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Not Exactly A Book Review: The Kennedys: An American Drama by David Horowitz and Peter Collier

I read excerpts of this book in "Playboy" years ago. Years later I would buy a copy and read a hundred or so pages. I was selling books at the time and someone bought it from me. Sales are sales.

A few months ago I read "Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey" by David Horowitz and reviewed it at this blog. I had not previously connected that he was one of the biographers of the twice-started book. I like Horowitz and after reading "Radical Son..." I placed the book back on my reading list.

I like this book. Unlike some people who sympathize with dissident causes, I like the Kennedys. I respect them. I do not idolize them or vote for them but I do not hold them in contempt or wish ill upon them as do certain talk radio hosts and their hostile callers.

Regardless of what one's feelings about the Kennedys, they are interesting people. Horowitz and Collier do not trivialize their subjects nor do they gild any lilies. The chefs make good use of the ingredients provided.

For me, the most interesting character in this saga is not a Kennedy. The most intriguing character is Lem Billings. It is easy to dismiss Billings as a sycophant but that term understates whatever it was he was and whatever it was he did.

From time to time "The Boston Globe" would print obituaries about "a friend of the Kennedys." These would be fairly prominent and successful people whose lives would be summarized by their relationship to the First Family of Massachusetts. I don't recall ever reading an obit about a friend of a Carter or a Ford or even a friend of the Bush Family. The Kennedys might not have invented the entourage but they certainly redefined the idiom.

Billings started out as JFK's best friend in prep school. Odd as this might sound he would make a career and even a life as a "Kennedy friend." He was a confidant at large to the president. After the assassination he made a Barry Sanders maneuver and somehow found himself in Bobby's inner circle. Fast forward and Billings would be hanging out with Bobbie's sons with whom he would drop acid and shoot smack and lecture their peers (for lack of a better term) on the significance of the vocation as a Kennedy friend.

JFK is still my favorite Kennedy and one of my favorite presidents. A sickly kid, it is amazing that he saw adulthood. It's surprising that the Navy accepted him. Because he was so frail, JFK spent a lot of his childhood in bed reading books. He was incredibly well read.

I usually tune out the blah blah blah about declining morals, social media, hook-ups, etc. Didn't anyone have another hobby in the old days? Jackie Kennedy's father bragged about committing adultery just hours into his honeymoon. Marriage actually did slow down JFK. The president was linked to roughly thirty women but the bachelor Kennedy had a steady stream of anonymous waitresses and flight attendants that would make Wilt Chamberlain look like an underachiever. For all of his bad health, JFK's libido never lagged. And he wasn't the only gregarious fellow of his generation either.

One of my favorite JFK stories: As he was courting Jackie, the Auchincloss family were a bit snooty to his clan, whom they regarded as gauche and smelling of new money. At the reception JFK reminded the wedding party of the Auchincloss tradition of smashing their fine crystal in the fire place at the conclusion of the toast. The Kennedys strike back.

Horowitz and Collier load up the bon mots and interesting asides. Times have changed. One cannot imagine an up and coming government attorney getting into a bloody brawl stemming from a touch football game. But that was, if not par for the course in RFK's era, not so out of the ordinary as to be worthy of litigation or investigations.

One is impressed about how fast families can fall. JFK and RFK had great respect for the written word. Bobbie's oldest son would brag that he never read a book from cover to cover. The family's political outlook would follow a similar trajectory. The book was written as Horowitz was undergoing his own philosophical upheaval. The authors don't spend much time on the contrast of JFK's world view and Teddy's perspective.

Pundits like to yammer about the right to left evolution of the family. There is another way of viewing the family's metamorphosis. The Kennedys were outsiders who became insiders. Joe Kennedy, the ambassador, lived with a mentality that the ever-excluded Irish Catholics needed to prove their mettle. They had to demonstrate that they were up to the challenges the establishment might impose upon them.

Sometime circa Camelot the Kennedys became the establishment. The family of anti-Communism and tax cuts and even staunch isolationism became advocates of big government. Why not? They were insiders now. The nation was now Silly Putty in the hands of the elite. Ask what you can do TO your country.

The devolution is sometimes amusing in a car crash spectator sort of way. It is also painful in a car crash spectator sort of way. The decline of the Kennedys dovetails with the decline of our country. This is a book well worth reading.

Watching Hillary

Elijiah Cummings is making his opening statement. I cannot believe how reckless he is. Is he trying to sink Hillary? He recited a series of insults by Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham and others. Rule # 1 of public relations is do not repeat the criticisms....

Oh, now Hillary is speaking.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Not Exactly A Book Review: Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left by David Horowitz

I feel like I am preaching to the choir by recommending this book. Readers of this blog are not as docile as Mitt Romney or John McCain or even George Bush who would not fight in the public square to defend his war or terrorism. If we could get Reince Priebus and all the presidential candidates not named Donald Trump to read this book, we would all be better off.

Let's not leave Trump behind just yet. Horowitz's premise is that the Left is vulnerable and the only way to exploit their vulnerabilities is to expose the human victims of Leftist ideology. Think Detroit. Yes it's a hellhole and a national joke but what might get forgotten is that a half century of Democratic rule has left a toll of human disaster that makes things like hurricanes trivial by comparison.

There are dozens of other US cities under long-term Dem rule following Detroit's trajectory. Think of the disaster that is public education. It's gotten worse just about everywhere but it is especially bad in cities ruled by Democrats. Urban blight and the farce of public education are two examples that Horowitz suggests we throw back in their faces.

Trump threw sanctuary cities back in the faces of the Dems and he was launched directly to the top of the polls. Horowitz would probably approve.

I have not been posting a lot at this blog in part because I can't get excited about the GOP candidates. I like Trump's spirit but I don't think he is the answer. Many of us were hoping someone else might pick up the fight.

Returning to Hororwitz's book, I have a a couple of criticisms. Horowitz is of the opinion that we should parrot the same slogans the way the Dems do. To that I say, we are cats and they are cattle. We fancy ourselves free thinkers and they are obsessed with pruning their thoughts to conform to a rigid orthodoxy called correctness. We concern ourselves with truth and they concern themselves with sentiment. Being largely uninformed, the Democratic base is dependent on slogans. They want to be told exactly what to think and what to say.

But should we want to echo the same verbiage, we would be hard-pressed to beat the Dems. What Horowitz seems to miss is that 90+% of the news media repeat Dem slogans for them. They legitimatize their every viewpoint. War on women, health care reform, Wall Street reform, gun violence, living wage, the gap between rich and poor, global warming/climate change/climate disruption...We cannot compete against the Dems and the media when it comes to cliches.

With the nitpicking out of the way, I will sing my praises to Horowitz. He is one of the richest minds of our era. Given his Leftist background, Horowitz brings more to the table than say, Ann Coulter or anyone at Fox News.

Horowitz scores points with me for admonishing those on our side who call the opposition liberals. Horowitz prefers leftist or radical. Sometimes those labels are apropos but the opposition is dominated by people who are about as ideological as Al Capone or Charles Ponzi or Attila the Hun. Jonathan Gruber is not a liberal, he is a con artist. Lois Lerner is not a liberal, she is a criminal. Eric Holder is not a liberal, he is a thug. Barack Obama is all of the above (except liberal.)

Horowitz lays out a viable strategy. What is so overwhelmingly frustrating is that the truth is on our side. We can show victims of ISIS, victims of body part brokers, victims of Obamanomics, victims of Obamacare, victims of jihad, victims of Fast and Furious, victims of the war on coal, victims of IRS abuse, victims of voter fraud, victims of sanctuary cities, victims of John Corzine...we have a lot to choose from.

This book is well worth reading but I am probably preaching to the choir.