Liar, Liar, Pantsuit on Fire

I don’t normally post politics on this site, saving that for “political-woman.com”, however, Hillary’s recent email tranche merits an opinion.  Hillary’s prominent in the news again, but not the kind of prominence she was expecting.

Our gal Hillary

Our gal Hillary

The fact that this woman is seriously running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President shows how thin the bench is on the Democrat side.  If her name were anything other than Hillary Clinton, she’d be living in Martha’s old room at Camp Fed Prison in Alderson, West Virginia.

With Friday’s release of another tranche of Hillary’s emails, the State Department, no less, issued a statement censoring some 22 emails from being released, because they deemed them to contain material requiring one of the highest levels of classification.

“The Associated Press learned ahead of the release that seven email chains would be withheld in full for containing “top secret” information. The 37 pages include messages a key intelligence official recently said concerned “special access programs” —highly restricted, classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes.

 “The documents are being upgraded at the request of the intelligence community because they contain a category of top secret information,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told the AP, calling the withholding of documents in full “not unusual.” That means they won’t be published online with others being released, even with blacked-out boxes.”

And with this latest revelation coming just two days before the Iowa Caucuses, Hillary and her campaign have gone  on offense, demanding the release of these emails.

“We firmly oppose the complete blocking of the release of these emails,” Clinton campaign spokesman Brain Fallon said. “Since first providing her emails to the State Department more than one year ago, Hillary Clinton has urged that they be made available to the public. We feel no differently today.”

The statement is followed by Fallon calling this latest brouhaha, “over-classification run amok.”  The Clinton campaign can afford to issue such a vacuous statement because it already knows full well the emails will not be released by the Feds, so therefore it can proffer the ‘he said, she said’ argument.

However, given Clinton’s poll numbers and the attendance at her campaign events, the public doesn’t appear to be buying the pablum.   Take a gander at her recent campaign appearance in Dubuque, Iowa.  I’d sure call that a half-empty room.

Hillary Clinton campaign appearance in Dubuque, Iowa, January 29, courtesy of Periscope TV

Hillary Clinton campaign appearance in Dubuque, Iowa, January 29, courtesy of Periscope TV

And the FBI continues its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server for official government business, and whether she knowingly mishandled classified materials thus compromising US national security.  The keyword here is “knowingly” for many Clinton supporters and allies.  However, that in my opinion doesn’t wash.

Hillary Clinton is an attorney, former First Lady, and former Senator from New York, who served on the Senate Armed Services Committee.  No one is going to convince me that she didn’t/couldn’t recognize classified, Top Secret, material when she read it.

We’ve already heard Mrs. Clinton change the wording of her statements several times from when she made her first statement on the issue back on March 10 following an appearance at the United Nations, “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email; there is no classified material” to her July 25 statement while in Iowa, “I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received” to a still later statement August 4, released by her campaign that Mrs. Clinton, “did not send nor receive any emails that were marked classified at the time.”  Even the vaunted New York Times, no friend of Republicans and/or Conservatives has been keeping track of Clinton’s changing story.

It has always struck me from the very beginning of the breaking of this story, why Clinton would knowingly send 55,000 pages of her emails rather than the digital electronic versions.  If one employs common sense, it’s to increase the difficulty exponentially of anyone trying to ascertain or discover any potential wrongdoing.  As people who are in the digital forensics business know, or even the little folk who type daily emails, digital leaves a trail.  And for those of us who have followed both Clintons through the years, from Arkansas to the White House, the Clintons don’t like trails.

Finally, prediction time.  With the extensive investigation being conducted by the FBI, starting with Clinton’s use of a home-brew server instead of a specially encrypted State Department model, to her handling of classified/Top Secret/Special Access information on this server, to the role of the Clinton Foundation in State Department business while Hillary was Secretary of State, my predictions:

  1. The FBI will have a strong enough, bullet-proof case to recommend to the DOJ that a grand jury be convened and an indictment.
  2. The Clintons will get wind of the above, a.k.a., advance notice, and Hillary will bow out of the race, due to …
  3. Health reasons.  More and more stories are floating around that Clinton is not well, from her late arrival back on stage during the Democratic debate, to her almost fainting on her way to the limo after her Benghazi Committee testimony, to her recent coughing fit, to her physician travelling with her everywhere on the campaign trail.
  4. Joe Biden will enter the race and end up the Democratic nominee, possibly running with Elizabeth Warren as VP.
  5. Biden/Warren will win?  lose? the general election.  I won’t write what I’m thinking because I don’t want it to come to fruition.

However, one thing I am certain of, Hillary Clinton is a congenital liar, who has had her eye on the Presidency since she left Yale Law School with Bubba.  After all the years of Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, the commodity futures dealings, Monica and all of Bill’s women trashed in the press, the Benghazi and Libya debacles, along with the Clinton Foundation’s questionable dealings, for Hillary to finally see the brass ring within her grasp and be denied … I believe it’s called Karma.

 

 

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Nancy Reagan, R.I.P.

First Lady Nancy Reagan (Diana Walker, Time-Life)

First Lady Nancy Reagan (Diana Walker, Time-Life)

Nancy Reagan, 94, died earlier today from congestive heart failure at her home in BelAir, California.  She served as First Lady from January 20, 1981 through January 20, 1989.

The Reagans were in the White House during the time of “Dynasty” and “ladies who lunch.”  America had come back from some of the worst double-digit interest rates and inflation the country had seen in decades, and was on its way to winning the cold war.

But what I remember most about Mrs. Reagan was not only her style, graciousness and class that she brought back to the White House after the Carter years, but her devotion to, and love for, her husband.  A behind-the-scenes power in the White House, she had no problem being called Mrs. Ronald Reagan.  He was first in her life, and she dedicated her years during her term as First Lady of California and then later in the White House to ensuring her husband had the love and support a man in his position, as leader of the free world, was certain to need.  She was the embodiment of a woman who embodied the phrase, “behind every successful man is a woman.”  Sorry, friends, but you don’t see a too much of that these days, in our self-absorbed, “it’s all about me” culture.

During her years in the White House, she also firmly believed that the White House was the “people’s house.”  She got, what I call a bum wrap during her first two years, as there was the big brouhaha over the White House china episode.  However, the china was purchased through private donations, not taxpayer money.  She also redecorated the private living quarters of the White House, much of which still remains today.

With all this said, the passing of Nancy Reagan during this time in the campaign cycle during the run for the nomination for the Presidency in both parties, is quite poignant.  Ronald Reagan was viciously attacked from all sides as being a right-wing extremist, not very good ex-movie actor, with no chance of getting elected to the highest office in the land.  Yet Reagan did not respond in kind, instead he used humor combined with wit.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan remain as icons of an era they ushered in, believing that America’s best days were yet to come, believing in the power of the people to decide their fate and determine their aspirations.  Small government that stood out of the way of businesses and entrepreneurs.  An America that was respected on the international stage, and led from the front and not from behind.

Ronald Reagan would not recognize the America we have today.  And yet, if he were here, I’ll wager he’d roll up his sleeves, and tell us Americans, “we have work to do.  Now let’s get this done, turn this country around, and ensure that we give our children and grandchildren a better life.”

A truly great couple.  A truly great love story.  Together again.  R.I.P.

First Lady Nancy Reagan and President Ronald Reagan dance at the White House (CNN)

First Lady Nancy Reagan and President Ronald Reagan dance at the White House (CNN)

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The Little Things that Matter

With all the disquiet happening in the US and and throughout the world, whether from fears of another stock market bubble imploding or national security woes, or personal whys and wherefores related to various forms of angst,  we sometimes find ourselves hankering back to memories of a simpler time where structure in our lives equated to stability and safety.

It was the little things like daily routines and how you behaved or spoke a certain way because of societal proprieties and etiquette codes.  While you could behave like a ruffian at home, when you were in polite society, you remembered the manners and politeness taught you by your parents and other senior relatives, as well as schooling.  How you behaved toward colleagues, friends and strangers, both verbally and in deportment, was a considered an indicator of your background and that you were “civilized,” as mother used to say, as opposed to “wild-child” or other boorish behavior.

Earlier this week, I was invited to a business lunch by a client representative of a company that provides the digital platform for my employer’s email communications.  A pleasant young man, millennial, who resides in the ‘hip’ Lincoln Park area of Chicago.

The lunch began nicely enough until I noticed that the little things such as table manners, were either not taught to, or were subsequently disregarded by, subject representative as unnecessary and/or too staid as part of the Old World order.

Merely observing while continuing to speak pleasantries or business, I found myself trying to decide if I was having lunch with a Neanderthal or a three year old.  Verdict:  three year old in millennial clothing.  And, biting my tongue from saying:

“Sir, a bread and butter plate is exactly that. For bread AND butter.  You do not use your knife to continually hack off pieces of butter from the serving plate and spread them directly onto your roll.”

“Sir, you do not hold a fork and spoon as though you are holding a trowel.”

“Sir, when ordering a bowl of soup, you utilize a spoon with which to eat your soup.  You do not place your spoon down and then proceed to lift the bowl to your mouth and drink from it.”

“Sir, do not order carpaccio, if you do not know how to eat it.  It is not chop suey.”

“Sir, please do not apply your “Chapstick” at the table.  Apply it while you are sitting in the privacy of your car, or remove yourself to the men’s room.”

What was the most problematic of the entire luncheon, was that this young man was completely oblivious to his table manners; he probably drinks directly from the milk carton at home.  I think of the poor girl who is going to get stuck with him, unless she has manners just like his.

Yes, it’s times like these that I’m glad I’m a product of the ancient times when when all else failed, you had your resolve and standards to see you through.

 

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ISIS vs. McKinley – At least we know the President’s priorities

Mt.McKinleyAnd with the sweep of a single pen stroke, our POTUS, once again through Executive Action, renames the highest peak in North America, Mt. McKinley as Mt. Denali.  Since 1896, when a gold prospector named the mountain in honor of then presidential candidate, Wm. McKinley, and later ratified by Congress in 1913, Mt. McKinley has well, been Mt. McKinley.  After all, what did McKinley do.  Just put the US on the gold standard resulting in the first of many economic booms in our history.

Earlier this year, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, introduced legislation that would rename the mountain, and once again, the legislation went nowhere.  Yet the President once again finds another reason to thwart Congress in his “if they won’t act, I will” building of his legacy.  So rule by executive fiat continues. The latest reasoning for the switch is that Alaskans have wanted to rename the mountain for decades, since they internally refer to it as Denali.  Perhaps there is an equal number of people living in New York who would like to reinstate the name Idlewild for the JFK airport.  Quite frankly, the only mountain that has Obama’s name on it is our mountain of debt, $18 trillion and counting.

September marks the one-year anniversary of America’s war on ISIS as declared by our President.  How’s that war coming.  Well, what do you know.  What a difference a year makes.  The US finally got some support from the government of Turkey, who agreed to let us conduct strikes against ISIS from the airbase Incirlik.  However, there’s only so much F-16’s and drones can do without additional ground intelligence.  We pretty much took care of that part of the program when we left Iraq.

ISIS Control Zone, July 2014 (Institute for the Study of War)

ISIS Control Zone, July 2014 (Institute for the Study of War)

ISIS Control Zone_0715

ISIS Control Zone, July 2015 (Institute for the Study or War)

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is conducting its own investigation about the rosy assessments of our success against ISIS.  First reported by The New York Times,

“The paper reported that it began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told authorities that he had evidence that officials at US Central Command were improperly reworking conclusions of assessments prepared for policymakers, including President Barack Obama.”

Bottom line is that we’re finding out that for every ISIS leader we take out, he’s replaced quickly by others; the Iraqi troops’ training is not going well and falling behind schedule, with the Iraqis calling the shots, and all those rebel troops we’re training in Syria is another dismal turn of events, with some of the troops kidnapped or missing.

Within Europe, we have a humanitarian diaspora going on as hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees, soon to swell into what European Union governments fear will be millions are fleeing non-stop from North and sub-Sahara Africa, Syria, Afghanistan Iraq and other war zones.  European countries, long known for their generous welfare benefits, are now seeing the possibility of a complete demographic change within their own countries within one or two generations.  Germany and Sweden are two of the countries bearing the brunt of this massive migration.

Immigration route to Germany (BBC)

Immigration route to Germany (BBC)

Migrants by the numbers (Frontex/BBC)

Migrants by the numbers (Frontex/BBC)

But why is this important? Why should we care?

Because the spread of ISIS and the European immigration crisis is a direct result of the vacuum of American leadership in the Middle East.  Over 250,000 Syrians dead, millions displaced as the chemical weapons “red line” was crossed with no recrimination of any kind.

Americans murdered in Benghazi, Ghaddafi overthrown in Libya, and apparently no plan in place by the Administration for what could possibly come next.  A present day debacle.

We leave Iraq with no Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), and retiring US General Ray Odierno, one of the architects of “The Surge,” states unequivocally, the US could have prevented the rise of ISIS.

And as a result of this vacuum, we now witness the real war on women” the continuing medieval barbarism of ISIS, and the erasing of millenniums of history and historical artifacts.

Our politically correct American and European leaders play appeasement, while their countries, their citizens, and millions of displaced populations unseen since the Second World War, bear the brunt, with no end in sight.  Those who have not left their homes, out of choice or because they have none, are suffering unspeakable horrors.

Perhaps the President will perform another executive action — the Washington Redskins are ready and waiting.

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“One Giant Leap for Mankind” ….. July 20, 1969

Neil Armstrong  - US Moon Landing 1969

Neil Armstrong – US Moon Landing 1969

There are times in American history when this country and its people accomplish the truly unbelievable.  Looking at the moon landing in the video below, and for this author, watching the people in Space Center Control, the ones whose brains made this event happen, just boggles the mind.  1969, the defining moment when John F. Kennedy’s dream and challenge were achieved:

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

Those were the good ‘ol days, when our children dreamed of becoming astronauts and exploring space rather than the make-believe world of video games.

And now, in 2015, we experience the poignancy.  Our space shuttles, the great orbiters that followed our moon landings, have long been mothballed to various science centers around the country.  The once proud and mighty space exploration program that fueled the dreams of children, for whom their  heroes were astronauts exploring far-off galaxies, is a shell of its greatness, a victim of federal budget cuts and ho-hum.  As we see in the following, the final voyage of space shuttle Enterprise on its way to, at that time, the Smithsonian Institution.  Now, when Americans go into space, we pay the Russians to take us in their spacecraft.  So who has had the last laugh in the “space race.”

Space shuttle Enterprise atop a 747 in New York (Michael Heiman-Getty Images)

Space shuttle Enterprise atop a 747 in New York (Michael Heiman-Getty Images)

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4th of July 1926 and 4th of July 2015

Declaration of Independence

H/T goes to Powerline, for this quotation from President Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States (1923-1929).  Known for his laconic speech and no-nonsense attitude toward governing, he said this about the Declaration of Independence.  It is especially appropriate given the latest dicta from our own version of “Masters of the Universe” sitting on the Supreme Court and in the White House.

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

Fast forward to 2015, and in our land of the free, home of the brave, we learn that a judge has issued a gag order against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.  You might remember them as the Oregon couple who refused on religious grounds to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.  In January 2014, the Kleins were fined $135,000 for mental and emotional damages suffered by the lesbian couple.

Earlier this week, Oregon Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian, not only finalized the ruling, but then issued a gag order against the Kleins, after they appeared in an interview with the Family Research Council, where Aaron Klein was quoted as saying:  The fight is not over.  We will continue to stay strong.”

Avakian then issued this gag order against the couple:

“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation.”

Whether or not you’re a believer or agnostic, the above gag order is an attack against the 1st Amendment and the fundamental right of free speech.  The people of Oregon should be ashamed that their liberal and so inclusive policies of live and let live, are designed only for those who meet politically correct standards.  Here’s a lesson:

Bill of Rights

Article the third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article the fourth… A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Article the fifth… No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article the sixth… The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article the seventh… No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article the eighth… In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Article the ninth… In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article the tenth… Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Article the eleventh… The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article the twelfth… The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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I Am My Father’s Daughter

This Father’s Day 2015 is full of memories as my life takes on another turn of events.  I’m not certain when the impact occurred as to how much of an influence my father really had on me.

Edwin Kowalski

Is it every time I fill the lawn mower with gas, and remember when Dad would say, “don’t fill it all the way up to the top; the gas needs a little room to expand.”  Or is it when I drive the car in winter, and remember what he said to do when if I hit an ice patch.  Or maybe when I’m in my DIY painting mode, and remember dad’s instructions about using the paint roller and sashing the trim.  Or perhaps, a bigger impact when I see someone having a difficult time, or an accident, and I just automatically, by rote, rush in to help.  I learned the latter when I saw my dad pack me in the car along with some supplies and we drove over to some of his employees’ homes that had been flooded out by heavy rains one year.  Mom told me dad was a softie, because he remembered his own life’s hardships, and yet that “softie” was not a pushover.

Dad had three loves in his life:  his family, his golf game, and his business.  The order was flexible depending upon events of the moment.  He was the oldest of five children, and his own father passed away when he was teenager.  He had to quit school to support his mother and siblings.  He never finished high school, and yet when he finally retired due to health reasons in his late 70’s, he was a proud owner of a manufacturing business employing a significant number of people.  And yes, Mr. President, he did build that.

I grew up with a “Tiger mom”, so dad, with his calmness and practicality, was the perfect foil when Mom and I would go at it over piano practice, and later other mother/daughter duels.  Whereas mother was always miserly in her praise for a job well done, lest I “get a big head”, dad wore a big smile on his face and shared a hug.

But in hindsight, my dad’s greatest impact on my life and the person I am today involves the obstacles of life.  “No one owes you a living,” he would say.  He never dwelt on the hardships, the injustices, or the ingrates.  Instead, he used his energy to solve the issue and make the situation better than it was.  What Dad lacked in formal education, he more than made up for it in determination.  He always had faith in me, and he was my sounding board and shoulder when life’s lessons threatened to overwhelm me.  He believed in family, his country, in the goodness of the Almighty, and that life’s rewards were there for you if you worked hard and treated your fellow man fairly.

When dad passed away suddenly at age 87, his wake spoke volumes to the man he was.  People from the condo building where my parents lived came out in force, employees who worked for him over the many years, industry colleagues, golfing buddies, neighbors from where I grew up.  “Your father always said hello to me,” “he always lent a hand,” “he gave me my first break,” “I learned more from your father than I did my own,” “his face always lit up when he spoke about you and how proud he was of you,” “his family always came first.”

And now, as I honor Father’s Day with some grillin’ and chillin’, I realize that I have not lit a large enough fire on the Bar-B for my intended dinner.  I AM my father’s daughter.

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