Saturday, September 03, 2016

Does This Updated Presidential Candidate Debate Information Look Fair and Balanced?



Ready for the debates between the presidential nominees? Maybe you are more interested in the debate scheduled for the vice-presidential candidate. Either way, here is the info:

"Journalists from NBC, ABC, CNN and Fox News will moderate the three scheduled debates between U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ahead of the Nov. 8 election, the nonpartisan group organizing the events said on Friday.

NBC anchor Lester Holt will ask questions at the first debate on Sept. 26 in New York, while ABC global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will co-moderate the Oct. 9 "town meeting" style debate in St. Louis, the Commission on Presidential Debates said.
Fox News anchor Chris Wallace will moderate on Oct. 19 in Las Vegas, it said in a statement.
 
CBS journalist Elaine Quijano will moderate the single vice presidential debate on Oct. 4 between Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence and his Democratic rival, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, the commission said.
 
C-SPAN's Steve Scully will be a back-up moderator for all four of the debates, it added."
 
New York, St. Louis and Las Vegas. You may have also noticed that the only shot at a somewhat balanced moderator is Chris Wallace. Sadly, this is what Republicans have come to expect. Is it any wonder that finally Republicans are demanding better from those who make these decisions?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Obama to South Louisiana: F**K You!

You may not have heard about it on your local news broadcast or read about it but South Louisiana drowned about a week ago and the people there could use some help. 

What is the difference of this catastrophic event and say, the last time South Louisiana drowned in Hurricane Katrina? Would it be the difference in a Republican president on vacation and a Democrat president on vacation? Apparently so.

President George W. Bush will forever have his administration's clumsy response to Hurricane Katrina on his record yet the very same reporters and Democrat politicians so eager to write that story are silent. President Bush flew over the damaged landscape and surveyed it en route back to Washington, D.C. and you would have thought he was personally responsible for the event. The record was finally corrected that many preparations were in place but due to Democrats in office - in control locally - the worse results happened.

As of today, there has not be so much as a public statement of concern from President Obama. He did declare the area eligible for federal assistance and FEMA is doing what can be done for the time being, but Obama has failed on a key responsibility of his job - that of comforter-in-chief. He hasn't even bothered to acknowledge the death, destruction and despair in an area already weary from police shootings, shrinking budget and services, and shrinking opportunities.

The American Red Cross would appreciate your help. Over 40,000 homes have been affected and tens of thousands of people displaced. The American Red Cross declares it the worse event since Hurricane Sandy. You may remember that Hurricane Sandy occurred during Obama's re-election bid so he was all over that disaster from the onset of the storm. You may remember the famous photograph of Obama and N.J. Governor Christie walking in full embrace along the coast.

Today there is a story in the Baton Rouge newspaper that Obama has now requested daily updates. Unbelievable.

"Gov. John Bel Edwards said he spoke to Obama Sunday night, when the president made the initial disaster declaration for four parishes. Since then, the disaster declaration has been expanded to 16 others. Obama offered his prayers for the flood victims during that private conversation, according to the White House."

How about a public statement for the people? Sending Jeh Johnson, only today, is a positive step but doesn't fulfill the president's duty. As Lyndon Johnson was told during the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy: "We don't want your best man, we want you." Johnson arrived 24 hours after landfall.

It has gotten to the point of such frustration that the newspaper has published a strong editorial demanding Obama at least make the effort to come to the area and pretend he cares about his fellow Americans, vacation or not.

"The optics of Obama golfing while Louisiana residents languished in flood waters was striking. It evoked the precedent of the passive federal response to the state’s agony in 2005, a chapter of history no one should ever repeat."

The voices outside of Louisiana have been silent in coverage - no mentions from either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Barack Obama has grown the government's reach into our personal lives and expanded controls of our everyday lives to such an extent that more people than ever are wholly dependent on government assistance. Hillary Clinton promises more of the same. Clearly it is all about political control for them. When the chips are down, they are nowhere to be found. Twenty parishes (counties) are underwater in South Louisiana and the president parties on, living large on Martha's Vineyard.

UPDATERepublican nominee Donald Trump and Vice President nominee Mike Pence are visiting South Louisiana Friday, August 19, 2016.  Trump cancelled previous commitments to do so.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Obama Declares Trump "Unfit to be President" - Sets Lowest Bar for Discourse

Today in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Lee of Singapore, the President of the United States declared the Republican nominee for President "unfit to be president" Fundamental change  accomplished, Barack Obama. It is one thing for a sitting president to declare his support for the candidate running in his own party, it is quite another thing to declare the opposition party's candidate as unfit as the world watches.

I challenge anyone to show me an example from another sitting president behaving in this way. It is stomach-turning enough for a sitting president to be so one-sided in his governance that he truly thinks he is making some kind of magnanimous gesture to state he is willing to sit down with people from both sides of an issue - in this case, TPP - but it is quite another to ratchet up the trash talk about one party's nominee for the highest office in the land. The next leader of the free world, no matter the election outcome, deserves better in a civilized society. I am trying to imagine the outrage from the American press if George W. Bush had made such a statement of Barack Obama in 2007. 

A reminder: the President of the United States governs all Americans, not just those in his/her own party. Obama has been the most divisive president this country has seen. A man given the opportunity to unite and inspire the country - as he promised in 2008 - has totally wasted that possibility.

Obama also demanded that Republicans in leadership positions renounce previous endorsements of Trump. His arrogance knows no boundaries.

 

Monday, August 01, 2016

Democrats Shamefully Politicize Capt Humayun S. M. Khan's Service

Were you conned by the Democrats' version of politicizing a grieving Gold Star family at the DNC extravaganza labeled as their patriotic night? I hope not. After a bit of pondering over this latest media- generated kerfuffle and the willing #NeverTrump crew's help, suddenly GOP candidate Donald Trump is attacked for defending himself against the unprovoked rant from a Muslim immigrant from Pakistan via the UAE to Virginia. The willing culprit went onstage at the request of the DNC (Hillary Clinton), along with his wife, and claimed that not only would his son - a patriotic soldier in Iraq killed in action after saving many other soldiers, posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals, not be allowed into this country using Trump's guidelines on Muslim immigration but also that Trump surely has never read the U.S. Constitution.  Dramatically, he then took a pocket-sized edition of the document and waved it while saying he would be happy to lend him his copy to read.

The Democrats, who have to actually set aside a night to proclaim patriotism, as they usually are too busy disrespecting the military and America's defense to be taken seriously, lauded the man as their new hero. The mother remained silent at her husband's side.

Let's contrast this to the reaction that Patricia Smith, the grieving mother of Sean, also killed while serving the United States in the Middle East - in Libya, Benghazi to be exact, - and her treatment from the media after her address to the RNC. She was called everything from a liar to being exploited by the Republicans. Hillary Clinton, as recently as yesterday on Fox's Sunday Show claimed that Mrs. Smith probably doesn't really remember events correctly due to her grief.

I want to be clear here. The Democrats had to reach back to a soldier's death in 2004 - under the command of President George W. Bush - to use a grieving military family as political fodder and allow him to rant against the immigration and homeland security policy of GOP candidate Trump. Mrs. Smith's son was killed under the watch of Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. As Secretary of State, he was her responsibility as he served the U.S. ambassador in Libya. To this day, we have not been told where Hillary Clinton was that fateful night on September 11, 2012 or, for that matter, where President Obama was that night. She failed miserably in answering her 3:00 AM call and now she wants to be Commander-in-Chief. No thanks. Were there no soldiers of Muslim faith killed in action recently with parents willing to use him or her for a get- out- the- vote effort for Hillary Clinton? Probably not. Why? Usually, military families go out of their way to stay out of politics.

So, I questioned why this father wanted his time on the DNC stage. Why did Team Clinton choose him? Then, after reading the transcript of his speech - since I didn't see it live that night - it became clear to me. Clinton's campaign wanted to make a statement about Trump's idea of strict immigration policy for those coming here from countries that are hotbeds of Islamic terrorism. It had nothing to do with disrespect for a Gold Star family - it was all about immigration policy. Again, Democrats don't show respect for military members unless it is to benefit their agenda. Democrats counted on Trump defending himself and he did. Then Democrats and willing helpers in the media and the #NeverTrump crowd reacted. Playing right into the hands of Democrats, there was much pearl clutching and proclamations that Trump has finally gone too far - he is attacking a Gold Star family! How convenient for them.

To fact check Mr. Khizr Khan, he came to the U.S. via the UAE as a Pakistani citizen in 1980. His son was born in the UAE and was two years old when his parents brought him here. His family would not in any way be affected by the immigration policies put forth by Donald Trump today. This is all indignation for political convenience. Shame on them all.

Trump was attacked as he defended himself on social media and on television. Yes, I think Trump is not a finessed man in speaking and wades into areas not usually done by political candidates. I don't rejoice in his crude manner. However, it is just as offensive coming from the provocations of Mr. Khan. His wife was silent and as a mother myself, I understood that. Now, however, a woman who said she can't bring herself to speak about her son and his death 12 years ago suddenly has found her voice in television interviews. I'll let you decide her level of participation in this con job. I do not, as a parent, doubt this couple's level of grief. I do question motivations, especially in politics.

Would a grieving military family with an ordinary middle class Christian or Jewish background have been used as a prop by the Democrats? No, I don't think so. This is why I think all of this will backfire on Team Hillary. Unlike other Republican candidates, Trump will not allow the other side to define him without a fight. This is why the base of the party has embraced him. I would have preferred Trump thank the couple for the ultimate sacrifice their son made for our country and said his policy on Muslim immigration was in direct response to the extreme Islamists wishing to kill westerners, like they did Capt Khan, but I'm not this candidate and he hasn't asked for my advice.

It is interesting that after a weekend of television appearances, Mr. Khan would now like to get out of the spotlight. This is after, of course, Khan has demanded that Republican leaders get rid of Trump. How typical - Khan's Constitution only goes one way.





Tuesday, July 26, 2016

U.K. Bestseller Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris Available August 9, 2016 in the U.S.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Available in the U.S. on August 9, 2016, Behind Closed Doors written by B.A. Paris is a good choice for a late summer read.  If you are looking for a page turner of a piece of fiction, this may be your best bet. 

Paris' first published novel, Behind Closed Doors is a dark thriller of a story about a newlywed wife held hostage by her domineering, sadistic husband.  A successful lawyer in London, Jack Angel is, in fact, too good to be true.  He swept Grace off her feet and after initial hesitation, she left a career of her own to begin a new life with Jack.  He built a beautiful home for them just outside of the city and as they honeymooned in Thailand, the truth began to emerge. 

Grace is left guardian of her mentally disabled younger sister, Millie, when their parents move to New Zealand.  Millie lives in a group home and when she turns eighteen, she ages out of the arrangement.  Grace convinced Jack to arrange for Millie to live with them when the time came.  As the story develops, Jack makes it perfectly clear that he intends to inflict the same abuse to Millie as he does to Grace herself. 

I won't give away the ending but you will not be disappointed.  This novel keeps the reader's interest from the first chapter and is a fast read.  It makes for a great summer's distraction for any reader.  Already a bestseller in the U.K. (with the movie rights sold) , Behind Closed Doors will be available on August 9, 2016 in the United States.



*Full Disclosure*  St. Martin's Press sent a free Early Readers Edition to me in exchange for a written review and social media publicity.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Ted Cruz and His Convenient Conscience Breaks RNC Pledge



From the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Cruz’s sudden burst of “conscience” would be more believable if Mr. Cruz hadn’t played Tonto to Mr. Trump’s Lone Ranger for most of the primary campaign. When it mattered last year, when Mr. Trump still might have been stopped, Mr. Cruz was lip-syncing the businessman’s lines.
While other candidates were opposing Mr. Trump on immigration, Mr. Cruz was imitating him and even moving to his right. Mr. Cruz wrote an op-ed in this paper with Paul Ryan supporting trade promotion authority. After Mr. Trump opposed it, Mr. Cruz came out against the bill right before the Senate vote.

If nothing else, the utter hypocrisy of the Cruz stream of conscience is suspect, given the introduction of the assaults on Melania Trump's character alone laid at the feet of the Cruz campaign.  The pictures of Mrs. Trump from her modeling days are everywhere in the Internet universe and were indeed used by Cruzers.  Using an unflattering photograph of Mrs. Cruz and a tweet from Mr. Trump implying he might mention her past troubles was his response. To clutch pearls and act as though that isn't anything other than ordinary behavior in today's politics is a bit much.

Senator Cruz also noted the silly accusation that perhaps his father, a Cuban immigrant, was somehow involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.  That was bad form coming from a tabloid grocery store rag - hardly an unusual occurrence. Trump says he had nothing to do with that story. It's politics, it's as old as time.

Describing these incidences as just too brutal, Cruz decided to not honor the RNC pledge made at the beginning of the primary campaign season - each candidate agreed to support the eventual Republican nominee in exchange for access to the RNC databank.  Senator Cruz now claims he's entitled to be a sore loser with hurt feelings as the voters hold him accountable for his less than gentlemanly behavior.

The reality is this:  Cruz lost this race and his ego is bruised.  He is a bitter man who is a divider, not a uniter.  He will always put himself over the Republican Party and rely on supporters who are perfectly ok with that.  He will rely on blind support as he calls other Republicans "cartel" members - drug lord thug talk - and think that is bold behavior.  It is not.  It is boorish and juvenile.

Cruz though he'd receive the Republican nomination by pandering to the evangelical voters and those more loyal to him than to the Republican Party - the newbies, the people not familiar with the party system or the workings of the RNC, those looking for an outsider.  Does anyone really think someone who has been working in and around Washington, D.C. and Austin Texas since 2000 is an outsider?  No.  Cruz was caught off guard by two real outsiders - Dr. Ben Carson and Donald Trump.  Neither were office holders in any form.  Both from the real world of business.  (I don't include Carly Fiorina because she ran unsuccessfully for office  and also served as an adviser to previous Republican officeholders - she was a part of the system.) 

Instead of focusing on working to take out Donald Trump during the primaries, Cruz chose to focus on exaggerating and misleading on the records of others - including those he called friends.  Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul were early targets.  He distorted their records for his personal benefit.  This, too, is politics; it is as old as time.  His conscience didn't prevent that.   He called Donald Trump his friend, a great man, and promised to "continue to sing his praises."  Why?  Cruz thought eventually Trump would drop out and Cruz would be the last man standing.  Cruz thought he'd get those Trump supporters for himself.  He was wrong.

Not only did Cruz's overwhelming support from evangelicals not materialize in a significant way - Trump bested him in many states with that group - but he soundly lost in the deep South.  Cruz was using his own Southern strategy and expecting enough early victories to put him in the lead.  Wrong again.  Though Cruz referenced Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as a voice on immigration he listened to, especially leading up to the Alabama primary because he desperately wanted his endorsement, Sessions endorsed Trump in Alabama - the first Senator to do so.  Cruz had done his best to get to the right of Donald Trump on immigration - though in his Senate work, he tried to ride Senator Marco Rubio coattails for immigration reform, only to later deny it  - and again failed.

Ted Cruz has no success of note in his time in the U.S. Senate.  Clearly he ran for that office so that he could use it to run for President.  He had never held elected office before going to the Senate - he served in appointed positions in Washington, D.C. and Austin, Texas - and has proven he is ineffective in elected office.  Most of his failure comes from his inability to work with others - he may boast of not being a team player but that all came back to bite him.  His continued stunts for the camera to keep him in the public's eye - like the faux filibuster to shut down the government - have all been for his own benefit. 

Cruz thought he could disrupt the Republican convention and somehow wrestle the nomination from Trump.  The problem, though, is that grassroots Republicans are loyal to the party, not to a particular politician.  Politicians come and go, the party remains.  The convention delegates were already well on the way to a unified front. The #NeverTrump bunch were never organized.  Those who suddenly voiced support for candidate Cruz when that was their only choice against Trump were doing so because they had no other choice, not because they truly wanted Cruz as the nominee.  They were settling. 

The most amazing result to the Cruz temper tantrum, for me, has been the utter disgust leveled by previously loyal Cruz supporters.  I don't think Cruz is able to understand the depth of damage he has done to his political future.  When Cruz runs for president in 2020, does he think the Trump voters won't be there?  The party has changed because the voters have changed.  The newly energized voters - on the right and on the left - no longer trust or believe politicians.  It's a new world.

Senator Mike Lee made a fool of himself on national television, followed by former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, on the floor of the convention.  Lee wasn't able to make a decision to endorse either Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz during the primaries, claiming both to be good friends.  Then he endorsed Cruz when Rubio suspended his campaign.  He is hardly a voice of courage.  Libertarians have glommed on to Lee.  Libertarians are not Republicans.

Governor Pence endorsed Cruz in the Indiana primary - though he was hesitant to do so.  Cruz lost the Indiana primary and then suspended his campaign.  Pence is now the Vice Presidential candidate.  Prominent members of Cruz super PACs are now working for the Trump campaign.  Loyalty to the party is necessary and will continue. 

I am thankful I could vote for Senator Marco Rubio in the Texas primary.  He is the face of the future of the Republican Party - just not now.  I am a #RubioRepublican.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Miss USA Pageant Puts Politics Into Finalist's Question



Sunday night, the 2016 Miss USA Pageant was held in Las Vegas with the usual array of beautiful young women and a musical performance by The Backstreet Boys.  The contenders were a diverse group and for the first time, the last three finalists- Miss Hawaii, Miss Georgia and Miss District of Columbia-included two black women. The winner was Miss District of Columbia - the first winner serving in the U.S. military (Army Reserves). 

So, it was a pageant of firsts - including inserting politics into the questioning of the finalists. When it came time for the big question posed to Miss Hawaii, the eventual second place winner, she was asked for whom she would cast her vote - Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.


"Chelsea Hardin acknowledged that there was no way to correctly answer the question during the beauty pageant. The question was framed with Clinton's likely status of being the first woman nominated by a major political party for the White House. Hardin responded that gender doesn't matter when deciding the next commander-in-chief. The 24-year-old college student from Honolulu simply said the new president should push for what's right for the country."

Unlike the writer of this account,  I do not think she "punted" her answer.  I think she handled it as gracefully as possible.  And, good for her for not taking the bait.  In this country, we have a private ballot and this pageant's winner is tasked with representing people throughout the country.

Clearly, this was a shot at Donald Trump, the former owner of the pageant and a kiss to Hillary Clinton, the first woman to be nominated by one of the two major political parties.  No doubt the pageant owners and producers fall in line with the demand of liberal women - women have a duty to vote for Hillary.  Fortunately, as we have seen in the voting statistics, young women feel no such obligation.

The reaction on social media was swift and angry when the question was asked.  The audience loudly booed, too.  The pageant had to tweet out an explanation that the question was written by the pageant organization, not the judge stuck with asking the question. Some of the bottom feeders in online journalism immediately took the question to be a slam to Trump. 

I applaud any young woman not willing to allow liberal Hollywood to write the narrative.