Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"Taken Aback:" Our President Won't Learn

Earlier today, at an American Embassy in the Middle East a Russian General arrived to alert the government of the United States that within one hour Russia would start a bombing campaign in Syria, and also would be asking the US to move side.
The Pentagon responded with surprise, saying that they had not expected this, and that they were “Taken Aback.”
Aside from the obvious disaster this must that the  Intelligence Services here in America, on which we spend hundreds of billions of dollars, and they still didn’t know this was coming, this is also a disaster of strategy tactics, and a lack of humility.
Our president drew a red line in Syria, saying we would remove Assad from power in Syria if he started killing little children with chemical weapons. He did that, and America backed down, relying on “assurances” that it wouldn’t happen again.
Then Mr. Obama told Russia not to invade Ukraine, Russia ignored him, (after all, Syria, a much weaker nation had done it, and nothing happened to the) and Russia now controls large swaths of Ukraine.
Then Russia started putting men into the Middle East as our nation’s airstrikes were too tentative and our response to ISIS not anywhere near as strong as it should be. we warned Russia to stay away, but who listens to a paper tiger? Putin reasoned, and so he put his men in Syria anyway.
Next, we thought Putin wouldn’t use the men he had there. But Putin is like a drunk teenager who has been handed the keys. Why shouldn’t he drive the car? And so, that brings us to today, where we are right now.
There have been plenty of warning posts on the way but our president, with arrogance worthy of an ancient king of Babylon ha not heeded them. Mitt Romney warned, saying Russia was the most destabilizing country in the world, and the president (literally) laughed at him, saying he was caught in the past. Well, it wasn’t Mitt that was caught in the past, it was Putin.
Our President has a monumental misunderstanding of the situation in the Middle East and indeed around the world. He seems to feel that all nations are like the US and Europe, valuing freedom, wanting the world to be stable, and caring about individual human beings.
But you need only look at the refugee crises to see that isn’t true. No horde of refugees are kicking down the gates to get into Russia. There is no illegal immigration crises of people trying to get into Syria or Iran, looking for a better life. Indeed, the people are fleeing those nations in droves. Not only are the economies bad, but the governments are corrupt, power hungry and unstable.
So when men like Putin or Assad invade other countries or kill little children with chemical weapons, we should not be “taken aback.” We should nod our heads in sadness and understanding that bullies will always be bullies, and mass murderers will always be mass murderers until they are stopped.
Napoleon escaped from Elba, Hitler kept the death marches going even when he knew he was beaten. Megalomaniacs like Putin won’t stop until they are dead or out of options. And our president continues to give Putin options.
In the past our president has been a man who has been slow to learn, but maybe finally he will get it. He’d better. The next time he is “taken aback” it might be with the leaders of Iran, and it might just be that they are announcing they have a nuclear weapon.
Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, September 26, 2015


John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives

In the south there are many ways to make fun of a man. “His elevator doesn’t go to the top floor.” “He is such a gentleman, he gets to his feet when his wife walks in the door…carrying the firewood.” But increasingly, there is a new slight, almost as bad as being called an “Easterner.” It is being called a RINO, or Republican In Name Only.

The deeply conservative, dark red south has become more and more conservative in recent years with the rise of the TEA Party, (Taxed Enough Already), with the resurgence of the prolife progressive movements, and the new belief in fiscal conservatism. But in Washington DC this movement is still starkly under represented, as the Republican Party has become more progressive and more strictly capitalistic and prolife many voters feel that their representatives are still members of the old guard that denies the human rights of a child or the importance of freedom.
And so, slowly, ever since 2010 there has been attempts to kick out the old guard, with the rise of such men as Rubio and then Cruz, and the fall of such men as Jeb Bush, who was once the favorite to become the nominee in 2016, but now can’t get a large enough crowd to fill the utility closet at the convention center.
Eric Cantor, in a major win for progressive conservatism, the house majority leader was kicked out in 2014, and for years there have been rumblings that the conservatives would like to kick out John Boehner, Speaker of the House due to his famous, perceived lack of backbone.
And now, yesterday, surprising everyone within the beltway and few outside of it, Boehner announced he will be stepping down. There are many important points that could be taken away from that, not least of which is that only in America does a man as powerful as Boehner, in line for the presidency, resign his office of his own accord.
Boehner came to office when the Democrats were still a modern party, going to the moon, fighting the communists, and understanding capitalism. But as the party has failed to modernize, as they have more and more been caught in the past, Boehner, a man of great dignity, simply could not bring himself to fight them with the sort of vigor many Republicans wanted. And so, facing a rebellion in his ranks, the speaker seems to have thought that it would be better to go out in his time, rather than someone else’s.
Across the nation the responses were telling. Marco Rubio, in the middle of a stump speech announced that Boehner had resigned. The audience gave a standing ovation. Now the names are swirling, Paul Ryan, Justin Amish, McCarthy, etc. etc. But the vote is in the future, for now the enemies of Boehner can exult in his downfall, while those who don’t have deep opinions on him can only hope for a more progressive, more prolife, pro-fiscal conservative to take his place.
Boehner has been disliked by the rank and file of the GOP for a long time. I asked one member of Politico’s Iowa group recently if he thought it was time for Boehner to go. This man, who is very influential in Iowa politics, replied “Do you mean to jail? Because I thought he should have been removed as speaker long ago.”

Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, September 24, 2015

No peace without victory: The importance of beating China

Landers, CA – During the dark days of World War II, when the racist, hateful, violent and barbaric hordes of the Nazi’s and the Imperial Japanese Empire were sweeping the globe, in one of the few remaining islands of freedom and capitalism, Great Britain, a symbol of defiance and optimism emerged, the famous sign of the two uplifted fingers making a “V” for victory.
As the years have passed, as the World War and then the Cold War ended in defeats of socialism, communism, and racism, and the world has turned to fighting smaller, less dangerous wars which hinge more on the interests of the world’s only superpower, the United States of America, and less on the survival of capitalism, Christianity, and freedom, the symbol of the two fingers raised in a “V” has come to mean peace. The peace symbol.
The President of the People’s Republic of China, (an oxymoron, he is a dictator, not a president, it is not a Republic, and it certainly is not run by the people), Xi, is on his way to visit to the White House. Putting aside for a moment the debate about whether a twenty-one gun salute should be fired for a man who hates freedom so much he only allows the people of his country one child per family, there are larger things at stake here that the White House and the Obama administration need to recognize.
The first one is that China is not our friend. They are enemies of our ally, Japan, and are seeking to gain control and to subjugate our ally of Taiwan, while they remain in control, against the people’s wishes, in Hong Kong. China is a country where liberty is no sacred, where they rely on aggression, and where they care very little about the planet, spewing out carbon at a rate worthy of some eighteen hundred coal refinery.
Mr. Xi Jinping, the communist, hatemongering leader of the anti-freedom rouge state of China
In recent months China has hacked the US government multiple times, and although Xi, who always was a bad liar, says his country had nothing to do with it, there is evidence to the contrary.
China has a weak economy, as any country that does not rely on capitalism is destined to have. Their leaders are overbearing and even access to the internet is strictly controlled. The freedom of the press is not allowed and free elections are only a pipe dream.
But the fact is that China, with its over one billion person population is a nation very much on the rise in many people’s eyes. They are a growing nuclear power, and they are a huge market which many would love to sell to. So, thus, our president refuses to see China for what it is, a threat to global stability, and at best rouge state, at worst a terrorist one.
Nobody wants a war with China, not even a cold one. But conflict must certainly come, either in the form of war and blood spilled as it was with Japan and Germany, or in the form of a long stalemate, as it was with Russia, unless China backs down, realizes there is no rewards for aggression, and becomes a country worthy of the respect of the world, which, at the moment, it does not have, nor should it.
No one, including myself, looks happily on either of these possibilities. The West, with its huge heart, would prefer to be taking in the millions of refugees from the east rather than fighting trade wars or real wars with China.
But what we must realize, what we have to be certain our elected officials understand, is that losing is not an option. We cannot back down. We have the moral high ground, and as the Chinese dragon advances, we have to hold that high ground. The only one who can concede, the only one that can surrender, is them. Their brand of tyranny must crumple up and cease to exist, just as all before them have.
We love peace, and we love to make the peace symbol. But we have to remember that we are only at peace today because we were victorious yesterday, and our children will only be at peace if we are victorious now.
As the president meets with Xi, Mr. Obama needs to remember that he is not talking to an ally; he is not talking to someone who likes us. He is talking to an international enemy of freedom. And Mr. Obama needs to remember, and indeed he should probably tell Xi this in their talks, that America is going to win this one like they’ve won all the others. We aren’t backing up, we aren’t giving in, and we are going to have peace, even if it means peace while standing over a few dead dragons.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Pope has Landed

The Pope has landed.
The most visible, respected, hated, controversial, beloved, feared, and well known spiritual leader on planet earth, Head of the church of Rome, and chief executive of the country known as Vatican City, Pope Francis the First, is arriving in America for an official visit that will take him from meetings with president of the United States of America, to giving a huge speech in the city of brotherly love in Philadelphia, to another before congress.
The most powerful man in the world who has joined the ranks of the progressive human rights movements striving for an end of abortion as well as irresponsible climate change practices worldwide, the Holy Father will be meeting Barak Obama, who agrees with him on the latter but not the former. The Pope is not expected to push him on the subject of a child’s right to life. The president will have to join the modern world all on his own.
While a highly popular Pope who does not wear the old ceremonial garments as often as his predecessors did, who also has a Twitter account, and who sneaks out at night, so the stories go, to give bread to the poor, Francis I does still have some antiquated baggage. For instance, in a desperate harkening back to the past, he remains an opponent of capitalism, still unwilling to bring his church all the way into the 21st century.
The Pope will also meet privately with America’s most powerful and arguably most hated Republican, John Boehner, who is Speaker of the House of Representatives. Who knows what they will talk about? Maybe sports, as the Pope is known to be a fan. (He doesn’t pray for his favorite teams to win, however, saying that that would be an unfair advantage for them.)
The papal visit comes at a time when a high number of candidates or perspective candidates in the presidential race have been forced by the media in recent months to say how their beliefs line up or disagree with the pontiff’s. These include names such as Jeb Bush, Joe Biden, Rick Santorum, and Marco Rubio. The Pope’s visit may prove a trying time for them, as Joe Biden will have to explain why he disagrees with the Pope on the human rights of unborn children, and Jeb Bush could be forced to explain why he disagrees with the Pope on the subject of climate change.
Security will of course be tight, as one of the most visible figures in the world, and probably the only one who can inspire the kind of enthusiasm in America that our own president inspires elsewhere, Francis has been known in the past to disregard official schedules, go out into the crowds, and even give young children rides in his car. It will probably be a security nightmare for his detail.
There are those have been predicting the end of the world, (I think it happens once every year or so) for September 22-23, right smack-dab in the middle of the Pope’s visit. These doomsdayers point to a variety of things, from the Pope’s appearance in the US to the release of the trailer for Disney’s new movie Tomorrowland, as evidence for their odd case. It would be a pity if the world did end, not only because the Olympics would not be played next year, (I understand the absence of a planet makes it difficult for track and field events) but also we would never learn how Clara is scheduled to leave Dr. Who.
But on a more serious note, the Pope’s visit comes during a tumultuous time around the world, with migrants pouring into Europe fleeing the barbarian hordes that make up ISIS, as our own country is beset with doubt and fear on the economic front, and infighting and upheaval on the social and political ones. And now the most powerful member of the most powerful and largest denomination of the world’s largest and most powerful religion has arrived in the most powerful country in human history to give a speech. It’s like a scene from out of a movie.
The world is not going to end, and it isn’t likely the speech will finally bring about the healing our country so desperately needs. But what it might do is bring us all, for one hour, to pause, and reflect that the only place to look when all about you is in chaos, is Heaven.
Andrew C. Abbott

Friday, September 18, 2015

CNN Debate: No one winner, many losers

Solvang, CA - At the Reagan Library, CNN got almost everything it wanted when it came to ratings. They got the highest ratings in CNN’s 35 year history, (although two million less than FOX). But even more than that, if you are a normal person and don’t care how much money a huge corporation makes, the exciting thing was the amount of substance compared with high drama on the night.

In the early debate, unlike last time, there was no clear winner. Some said Graham won, but it certainly was very junior varsity. Basically a scrum. There was a great deal of substance, but both Graham and Santorum could have been more respectful. But again, there was a good deal of substance, and for the millions watching, they got to see that Republicans do have good ideas, even if those four, two senators and two governors, were not the best ones to explain and implement them.
On the big stage, the story of the night was once again Carly Fiorina. She explained clearly what she wants to do in the Middle East: arm the Kurds, support Israel, and scare the living daylights out of Iran. She was clear about what she wanted, while also being inspiring and believable. She took on Trump very well, although she didn’t beat him, (so far nobody has) although she did force him to say that she has a beautiful face, which is the closest he has ever come to apologizing.
Fiorina also laid out an economic plan as well as a tax-reform plan. One is left wondering why Hewlett-Packard ever fired her. However, on Fiorina, we must remember that while many pundits believe she won, last time they thought Rubio won, and he has gone nowhere. The polls, including Drudge, showed Trump as a clear winner.

As for Trump, he didn’t hurt himself, but he did not control the show like he probably would have wanted to. He didn’t say a great deal of substance, but he has repeatedly said that he isn’t very concerned about the debates, so his campaign plan seems to be going ahead like he wants it to.
CNN’s one massive mistake of the night was their constant ignoring of Ben Carson, who, while polling second in the polls, got less much less talking time than Trump, Bush, and Fiorina. He did get off one fantastic line when he said that Trump was an okay doctor. He’s not hurt by the debate, but not helped.
The clear loser in the debate, however, was Jeb Bush. He came across as arrogant, angry at Trump, entitled, and confused why anyone would take Trump seriously. He may have great plans, but he talks about them like everyone should just trust him, he’s knows what he’s doing, almost like he’s been bred for this. Which goes back to the age-old problem of Jeb’s last name. He once again sounds like he thinks he should have been coronated.
Marco Rubio once again did well, laying out his plans, while at the same time sparring a bit with Donald Trump. Not hurt terribly by the debate maybe even helped a bit.
Chris Christie also did very well, with his fantastic opening lines about asking the camera to be taken off him and put on the audience, and asking them to raise their hands if any of them thought that their children would be better off than they were. No one raised their hands. He also got in good jabs at Carson, and some laugh lines. He comes out as winner, but one who is unlikely to get much press for his good debate due to how crowded the field is.
Walker did nothing more than okay, as his campaign continues to sputter, he needed a ragingly awesome debate, and got a mediocre one. He isn’t likely to make it past South Carolina if he doesn’t do something soon.
Huckabee did poorly, not because he had gaffes or sounded confused, but because, again, he couldn’t drive the conversation, he had little of great substance to say, and isn’t eve likely at this point to make it to the first Caucus unless he does better than he is doing right now.
Kasich did poorly. He continues to try to be a moderate Republican in a year when the party has shown clearly it wants no such thing. The only reason that his statements are not being hounded and bashed and Donald Trump is not ripping his face off for his statements is because he is going nowhere in the polls.
Ted Cruz said some things of substance, but he must learn how to drive the news cycle and cause his opponents to mention him to get more time if he wants to emerge as a clear winner in the debates.
And lastly, Rand Paul. He had a terrible night, getting off few applause lines or any great memorable statements. His campaign is nearly done, and it doesn’t look like he can kick start it. He came out of the gate at the debate getting punched by Trump, who said he didn’t deserve to be on the stage. If his downward momentum continues, Trump won’t have to repeat that line, because come next debate, he won’t be.
To sum up, it was a great two debates, with generally good moderation, save for the fact that Jake Tapper let Fiorina interrupt him too often, he should have been firmer with her, and that Carson was not given as much talking time as he should, given his place in the polls. It seems entirely possible that the reason for that was he is not a firebrand, and his way of talking does not make for the most exiting television.
We saw eleven highly capable people with real opinions and ideas on how to move America forward on Wednesday night, and at least six or seven of them have a really good chance to be the next President of the United States. None of them are under five investigations for mishandling government secrets, (Hillary) or has such disregard for the American people that they won’t even comb their hair, (Sanders), or has such disregard for liberty that they will charge you a tax when it rains, (O’Malley). Whether you agree with these men and woman on everything or not, it was a proud night to be a Republican.
Andrew C. Abbott

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This Night will not go quietly: The CNN Debate

“This night will not go quietly” the commercials from CNN for its upcoming debate promise. With the Rocky Balboa fighting music in the background, the commercials look more like ads for a rematch between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao rather than a political broadcast.
There are a lot of things to look for in the debate that will be airing this evening on CNN, but one the most important is probably CNN itself. A network that is struggling to compete with FOX News’ high ratings, CNN would love to use tonight to prove that they should not be counted out as a network, and they are pulling out all the stops to equal or even surpass FOX’s twenty-four million viewers for its debate. On CNN, for the last few days, there has been a bar counting down the time until the debate, and while FOX mainly went after the candidates themselves, with the hand-raising question and Megyn Kelly taking on Trump, Jack Tapper and company plan on letting the candidates go at each other.
Known for being a left-of-center network, and knowing that no matter what they do, being CNN (actually, just not being FOX would have been enough) will cause cries of foul play and bias in the moderating, CNN has brought Hugh Hewitt, a conservative catholic talk show host, along for the ride, to hopefully mitigate some of the accusations.
Fiorina, former executive of Hewlett-Packard will be making her debut on
the big stage this evening.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Hewitt is supposed to keep things too calm, Jack Tapper commenting only days ago that he (Tapper) can barely control his own five year old kid, so trying to control a 55 year old governor who thinks he should run the world is sort of out of the picture.
But enough about the network, let’s get to the fighters, er…I mean candidates.
This time there will be eleven candidates in the main event at 8 eastern, and four in the smaller debate. (Perry dropped out, Gilmore won’t be there.) The new face on the big stage is of course Carly Fiorina, who did so well in the smaller debate last time that she has been surging in the polls ever since. Mainly, tonight, Fiorina is likely to be worried about proving she has the right to be on the big stage. There is also the story over the comment of Trump talking about her face which seems very likely to be brought up.
As for the main reason most people are tuning in, Donald Trump, expect a few choice Trump lines, although it seems doubtful he would be revealing anything big this evening in the ways of policy plans unveiled by him.
For the man who will be next to him, Ben Carson, who is suddenly surging nationally, Carson seems likely to be somewhat more energetic this evening then in the past, as he has been more combative with his rivals, especially Trump, in the last few weeks. You can expect that those two will go head to head at least once during the evening.
There is also Ted Cruz, senator from Texas and now the only Texan running now that his former governor, Rick Perry has dropped out. It seems most likely that Cruz will be asked about the Iran deal, seeing as the final chance for a vote on it is tomorrow. Cruz has been doing well in the polls recently, and could use the evening, if he plays his cards well, to suddenly jump up to where Ben Carson is right now. Just remember how many people will be watching.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, this could well be his final chance
As for the other man who is seeking to garner the Latino vote, Marco Rubio, while having a stellar debate performance last time, Rubio is still having difficulty gaining traction beneath the shadow of Trump Tower. He may, however, manage to capture some establishment support by being the last “reasonable” man standing when all those inside the beltway are gone. He should do well again tonight.
John Kasich, governor of Ohio, has already done irreparable self-inflicted damage on his campaign by supporting gay marriage, something that will get him nowhere in the all important south.
There are Walker and Bush, both are men being shunted to the side, and at this rate neither will make it to Iowa. Bush has promised to come out swinging, but it has never worked in the past, and does not seem likely to work now. Walker can expect to be asked about his recent statements about abolishing federal labor unions and maybe about his idea to build a wall with Canada.
And finally Chris Christie and Rand Paul, both of them doing poorly. Christie being hampered by the fact that this is the anti-establishment year, as well as his own Bridgegate scandal. He is a man very much headed for the exits, and his podium is on the far outside already. As for Paul, this is his final chance. Tomorrow he has a money bomb, and so far he hasn’t been pulling in much cash. It seems likely that unless he has a stellar, unbelievable debate performance, and then rides that tomorrow to raise a huge amount of funds, Paul will also be on his way out of the race. His campaign is struggling visibly, campaign updates sounding more and more whiney and desperate.
All of this will of course be happening at the Reagan Library here in California, against the backdrop of the man whose famous 11th commandment was “Never speak ill of a fellow Republican.” Expect that rule to be broken many times over the course of the evening.
Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, September 14, 2015

"Great Soldiers Never Die"...

On Friday, former Governor Rick Perry of Texas, at one time the frontrunner in the 2011-12 GOP Nomination campaign, showed just how different this campaign is from that of four years ago.

At that time the media considered him one of the biggest outsiders in the race, he was sort of the maverick, and people loved him. He was occasionally gaffe prone, but managed to survive until Iowa.
Now, times have changed. The former air force man, the longest serving governor in the history of Texas, (14 years, three and a half terms), the man who, during his stint in office created one-third of all of the jobs in the US, the man who led the great state of Texas, which, if it alone were its own country would be one of the strongest economies on earth, couldn’t even get off the ground with his campaign this time around.
In times past, Rick Perry would seem to be the man to beat. Indeed, with a few less gaffes in 2012, Perry might very well be sitting in the Oval Office right now, running for reelection.
Perry is a man who this time around never even made it to the big stage, while a brain-surgeon, a governor who would like to build a wall between us and Canada, and a billionaire who never learned there is an off switch on his mouth are all standing up there.
There are rumors that part of what destroyed Perry was that he was too busy being governor, many months ago, to engage in the invisible primary, the bloody, bloody battle for talent, money and endorsements from important people in Texas. He lost to Senator Ted Cruz. Having lost America’s most conservative, diverse, and arguably most powerful single state, and having lost on his own home turf at that, Perry was left to dwindle and die.
Without getting into how great Rick Perry may have or not have been for the country were he to move into the White House, it is a troubling sign that a man as accomplished as him was unable to get anywhere with his campaign, despite the fact that he had obviously proven himself a serious public servant with ideas good enough to make his state the best in the nation for jobs creation, he is losing to men who people say they like because of how they talk.
We probably won’t be seeing a whole lot of the governor after this. Maybe some public policy speeches, and endorsement, if some candidate s really lucky in the future maybe a bit of fundraising. I personally would like to see him in a cabinet, either this one or future ones, in some position that would make the best use of his wide array of talents.
But for now, 65 year old Perry will be going back to his ranch in Texas, with his wife Anita, to whom he has been married over half his life. He’s had a good run, and no one can say he didn’t do his best.
With the Republican Party in turmoil, and the nation’s economy struggling, Perry, a man who didn’t believe in divisiveness, and who knew how to fix economies, could have brought healing. But alas, it was not to be.
Perhaps the best epitaph for Perry is from a man not known for saying nice things about people-Donald Trump. When told Perry was leaving the race, Trump said “Perry is one terrific guy.”

Andrew C. Abbott

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Migration Crisis in a nutsehll: Somebody Goofed up

This harrowing image of a toddler who drowned while his family sought asylum
from ISIS is spreading around the world as a debate ignites about the migration crises.

They are fleeing ISIS, repression, death, and destruction.
On ships and boats, often overfilled with desperate humanity, across the Mediterranean, they are coming. On bicycles and on foot down from the Arctic Circle they are coming. Through any hole they can find in the nation of Hungary’s new razor-wire fence they are crawling, a swarming mass of refugees, in the worst crises of mass migration of human souls since the Second World War
In Eastern Europe, while countries desperately try to figure out what to do, with Germany offering asylum to up to 800,000 refugees, and Britain accepting so far a few hundred, although promising to take 20,000 more, there is no coherent plan to deal with this.
The Greek islands have been overrun with refugees from the Syrian Civil war and those fleeing from ISIS, while the nation of Greece itself is in the middle of political upheavals, a disastrous economy, and an inability to cope with much of anything right now, let alone the swarms of hundreds of thousands of desperate people who are swarming or trying to swarm into Europe.
The response from the industrialized countries has been incoherent at best; with Hungary building its razor-wire fence that is over a hundred miles long, Britain taking a few hundred refugees, and Germany taking hundreds of thousands, while calling on others to do more.
However, in recent days many minds have been changed by the harrowing images of a young Syrian boy, just three years old, who drowned and whose body was washed ashore after the boat he was on capsized as his family fled from the unrest in the Middle East. Since then, there has been a mad scramble by politicians the world over to prove that they have a heart.
While America has not done much so far, yesterday the administration promised that in the weeks and months ahead they would be developing a strategy to try and take more refugees, while at the same time trying to vet and be certain that no members of ISIS or any other terrorist organization was not using this crises to infiltrate Western civilization and attack us. At the same time, former Shadow Prime Minister in the UK Edward Milliband has said that America should probably take about 50% of all the refugees.
The West has always been and continues to be the world’s cornerstone of stability, with strong, capitalistic economies, democratic forms of government, (in recent years, at least) and massively strong armies. We in the west have economic disasters from time to time, but we don’t have coups. We argue with each other, but we don’t kill each other. We throw out our governments at election time, but we do it with votes, not bullets. And our leaders are supposed to be the best the world has to offer.
But they goofed this one up.
The reason these migrants are coming to us and not going farther east, into Iran, or countries like that is because they know in the west they will be free. They may have to worry about their kids getting good grades, but not about getting their head chopped off for not bowing to the twisted, semi-Islamic “religion” of ISIS.
Of course, this is not a problem that has grown up overnight. It has festered for a long time, with more and more people coming in, until suddenly it has exploded over into a breaking point, like water over a dam, and nobody knows what to do.
But that was not where they goofed up, not in the beginning. For the migrant crises, like a line of dominoes knocking each other over, is a direct result of the rise of ISIS, and the inability of America and its coalition to do much about it.
It could be argued that countries like Germany and the UK should have been and should still be more involved in the fight against ISIS, but the American president is called the leader of the free world for a reason. And Mr. Obama has been woefully slow and ineffective in mobilizing the west and the developing and stable members of the eastern world into a real force that ISIS needs to reckon with,
Turkey is not fully engaged, and other middle-eastern nations stand idly by. And while we can debate about how this crises is best fixed in the short term, the only way we are going to fix it in the long run is by this administration showing real leadership in the fight against ISIS, and building the sort of global, massive coalition there was a more than a decade ago when we fought Iraq. There does not need to American ground troops, but there can be Syrian rebels that are armed and trained by us, Turkish troops who do not want to see this spill over into their homeland, Iraqi military who are taught to stand their ground and fight, and Kurds, who have good reason to fight ISIS.
The fix won’t be fast and it won’t be easy, but destroying ISIS, and putting real energy behind the fight so that ISIS finally falls, has to happen. If we don’t fix it, no matter if Hungary takes down its fence, or the UK takes half a million refugees, this is only going to get worse, and worse, and worse.
Our leaders goofed up by not taking ISIS seriously enough, and they haven’t help things very much by letting the wound fester, and now a vast migration rivaling that of the German hordes pouring into Rome, running from the horsemen from the east, has begun. The only way to stop this migration is to kill the horsemen, to destroy ISIS.

Andrew C. Abbott

Monday, September 7, 2015

Avoid Obfuscation: Going down the road to Watergate

Whatever the original scandals were, whatever Nixon may have had to do with the break-in at Watergate,
or Secretary Clinton may have said that was embarrassing in an email or two, the cover-ups afterwards
only made things worse for both of them, and for Hillary, the story goes on.
On June 17th, 1972, there was a break in done by five men at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters that was stationed in the Watergate hotel. While there, as they attempted to steal campaign documents and plant bugging devices so members of the Republican “Committee for the Reelection of the President” could gather information on their “enemies,” they were caught and arrested.

The Watergate Scandal was born.
In the months and years that followed, a chain of lies, deceptions, purposeful confusion, or obfuscation, was forged, until those very chains strangled and killed the presidency of our 37th president, Richard Millhouse Nixon, making him the only President of the United States of America in history to resign his office.
But the thing that brought down the presidency was not the break in to the Watergate Hotel, indeed, it is doubtful the president ordered it or had any hand in the burglary, which really amounted to not much more than a petty break-in of itself. The thing that brought down Nixon and his “palace guard” was what happened afterwards.
As Nixon desperately tried to defend those who ordered the break in, including former US Attorney General John Mitchell. When that did not work Nixon attempted to throw Mitchell to the sharks while keeping those higher up the food chain unaffected. Of course, in the end, this all led to the discovery of Nixon’s tapes, proving he had a hand in the failed attempt to hide Mitchell’s involvement, and thus involved Nixon in charges of obstruction of justice, which forced him to resign.
Now, more than forty years later, another high elite, this time a woman, and this time named Hillary Clinton, is treading down the same path.
It seems that perhaps, , a crime of some sort was committed. However, we don’t know, because Clinton kept the thing which would have housed any evidence, her email server, in a bathroom.
After keeping the evidence for herself, (while handing some of it over selectively to the proper officials) Clinton then destroyed it. Currently of course, there are attempts to retrieve that evidence while Clinton continues to complain that this is a Republican conspiracy to destroy her. One wonders where else one has heard similar sounding charges before, until when returns to the tomes of Watergate, and finds that Nixon often said Watergate was cooked by his enemies, (mostly Democrats) to destroy him.
Whatever the original scandals were, whatever Nixon may have had to do with the break-in at Watergate, or Secretary Clinton may have said that was embarrassing in an email or two, the cover-ups afterwards only made things worse for both of them, and for Hillary, the story goes on.
The drip-drop of the Clinton story continues, with recent findings that some of the information that passed of the former secretary of state’s server was probably classified from the beginning, and also with the revelation that she paid a non-department employee to keep the server. But Clinton did not come clean about these things in the beginning. Drip-drop.
The longer the story continues to grow, the longer the water continues to come in through the hole, the more public trust erodes, and the more we need to turn our eyes not to what happened before the fact, but, rather, in the cover-up that happened  afterwards.
It is obvious to even the most casual observer that Clinton has not always been forthright with the American people about her motives and activities, (case in point: she said she only had one mobile device, we now know she had two) it is, of course, not a crime to lie to a TV camera, if that were true ninety percent of pundits would be in jail for their bad predictions.
But what we need to look for is evidence that probably exists that not only did Clinton obfuscate with the American people, she also stonewalled and obstructed justice with the investigators.
She apparently thought that she could protect herself by handing over emails she wanted to hand over, in effect, the edited version of the tapes. But now of course the entire server is in the hands of the law, although she claims she wiped it. (Burning the tapes, something even Nixon wouldn’t do.) And now the recovery process begins. 
If Clinton had come clean in the beginning, none of this would have happened, and there would have been no possibility, as very real one now exists, that American school children will wake up one day to an image of America’s once most admired woman, standing at the door of a helicopter, giving a defiant symbol of the letter “V” for all the world to see.
Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Why the Doctor is doing so well

Los Angeles, CA - Every two years, when election time rolls around, many people, some of my friends included, go to the polls and vote for protest candidates. People who have little or no chance of winning, but because the electorate feels like nothing is being fixed, they choose not to vote for either major party.

Sometimes they vote for Mickey Mouse, or Bugs Bunny, this year they are voting for Donald Trump. Trump is the voice of the angry Americans, people so fed up they are willing to try anything at all to fix the system.
Some of Trump’s supporters say they want revenge on the establishment for years of lies, others tell me they want entertainment, and some just like to hear Trump continue to bash the political correctness that many on both sides of the aisle are getting tired of. (Perhaps this is why nothing short of shooting Bambi will cause Trump to fall in the polls.)
However, not all Americans are angry at the establishment or want revenge. They are hurt, tired, and disillusioned and they don’t want payback, they want healing. But they don’t naturally turn to the bombast of Trump, but rather to gentler, kinder, some might even say gifted, hands; those of Ben Carson.
Ever since he announced his candidacy, the mild mannered Republican and former neurosurgeon has been a longshot candidate, however, he has managed, save for a few scrapes at the beginning of his run, to avoid incendiary and controversial rhetoric, and, for the most part, and instead talk about his vision for America.
And that approach seems to be helping Carson along quite well, in a poll a few days ago in Iowa; Ben Carson became the first person, since July, to at least tie Donald Trump in any poll anywhere for the nomination. Trump and Carson are, in that poll, tied at 23%.
While Carson is still a long shot, (he has less than half of Trump’s support nationally, and way less money than many other candidates,) at a time when pollsters tell us America is more divided along political lines than at any time since the Civil War, he, a black Republican in a party accused of not liking minorities, a non-career politician at a time when American’s are fed up with career politicians, and a man who came from rags to riches at a time when Americans feel the ruling class does not care about the plight of the less-advantaged, Carson could possibly feel a lot of slots and begin a surge of patriotism across the country. While he seems to be weak on economics and foreign policy, it is not hard to see, at least at first glance, what Carson’s supporters are looking at when they say his name in surveys.
It is almost as if he is another form of Donald Trump, because Carson is certainly a crazy politician, to say the least. His ideas are far out from the norm, and his stances are far right of the center. But he isn’t brash or loud about it, and for all of the Americans that really think the country could use a doctor right now rather than a Trump card, they feel that Dr. Ben Carson is their man.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Congressional Fall

Los Angeles, CA - Fall is almost upon us. For many of us we will be eating pumpkin pies, smelling spices, looking at beautiful colors with an unusual amount of orange and red surrounding us as the beauty of spring and summer give way to a beauty that Autumn has all its own.
But in Washington DC, it will not be sugar and spice and everything nice. Just the opposite, in fact. In exactly one month from now, the US Government will shut down if Obama and the Republicans in congress cannot get their act together and end the funding of the extremist far-left group Planned Parenthood.
In October, Hillary Clinton will testify before congress on Benghazi, and of course, her email controversy. That should cause firestorms and excitement not only in the District but also across the country and around the world, although Hillary is unlikely to suddenly reveal something that either silences critics or turns off her base. However, what is possible is that, while what Clinton says is not likely to be super exciting, the ways she says it, (i.e. if she blows up at Gowdy, starts screaming, etc.) could really make some headlines.
And coming soon, although the vote will take place before fall actually starts, is the final battle over the Iran Nuclear Deal. Although the vote must take place by the seventeenth of this month, the battle could well last into Autumn as, if enough Democratic Senators jump ship from the president that a filibuster is unable to be upheld on the floor of the senate, the president will of course veto it, setting up a potentially close vote to overturn the veto, although, in the senate at least, it unlikely that that will happen.
As if the government shutting down and Clinton being investigated were not exciting enough, all of this happens against the backdrop of the ongoing race for the White House, more GOP debates, and the start of the Democratic debates, none of which have direct influences of congress, but members on both sides will certainly be aware of what the talking heads of their party are saying, and which candidates are getting support for their rhetoric, all of which congress men and women will be filing away for their own upcoming reelection races.
There is some real, nonpartisan business that also need to get done. In July a stopgap funding bill of three months duration was passed on the highway bill. A new measure will have to be passed, although it does seem possible that an amendment could also be added to that to defund Planned Parenthood, causing even the seemingly innocuous act of making sure the roads we drive on are repaired a major Washington showdown.
Foreign guests will also be coming, the communist and authoritarian head of China, and the pope.
Further excitement on capitol hill will also include the final up-or-down vote on the president’s free trade agreement. Republicans seem likely to back it, while Democrats, who were against fast-track authority, seem unlikely to be able to keep it from passing.
And another important thing about this fall is that it is Obama’s last as a president with real power. By this time next year his cabinet will be busy resigning, Obama will be a lame duck president, and the news coverage will be all about the two people fighting to succeed him at 1600 Pennsylvania.
This is the president’s last chance to get kicks in, and get them in he will, if he has anything to say about it.

Andrew C. Abbott