Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Robert Mueller Is No John Dean

Robert Mueller is No John Dean John Dean, former Counsel to the President, was the star of the Watergate Hearings. John Dean was young, telegenic, informative, and knowledgeable He named names, times, and places by memory. He knew where the Nixon skeletons were buried. John has been extremely loyal to President Nixon until he realized that he would probably the next Presidential aide to be thrown under the bus by President Nixon. He also knew the Watergate Tapes would be totally incriminating. He thus became a state witness, substantially reducing the prison time he otherwise would have received. Americans watched John Dean testify live. I was at a computer conference at Stanford. TV’s were placed outside the meeting room to watch the Watergate Hearings. Attendees were glued to the TV’s. Forget the conference. I heard John Dean speak about a decade ago. He was just as riveting and informative as five decades earlier. Robert Mueller was the opposite today. Age has caught up to the distinguished 74 year old public servant. Robert Mueller has a distinguished career. He has served his country for decades, starting as a Marine in Vietnam. He sadly looked his age. (By way of full disclosure I’m 73, still teaching). His memory wasn’t good. He had to often ask for the precise paragraph in the report when asked specific questions. He had to have several questions repeated. If one is trying to sell a product or idea though TV, they need good optics. Robert Mueller's optics were poor. Why did the Democrats hold the two hearings when he had nothing to add to the published Mueller Report? The Special Prosecutor made it clear he would only answer questions within the report. He had nothing to add, and little to provide? He professed ignorance of Fusion GPS. What did Representatives Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler hope to achieve? Were they blinded by their animus towards President Trump? Robert Mueller was never going to give them a smoking gun (a Watergate term). Those who were not in favor of impeachment before today will not be in favor of impeachment tomorrow, or next week, next month, or next year. Ardent liberals, such as filmmaker Michael Moore and Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe were dismayed by the hearings. Even main stream media commentators were disappointed. I felt sorry for Robert Mueller in the time I spent watching. He deserved better in the twilight of his career. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Let's look at the bigger picture. The program of the Democratic House of Representatives was to investigate, impeach, and indict President Trump. They were salivating the past year over the upcoming Mueller Report. It would provide the smoking gun to destroy President Trump. It was a dud: no Russian collusion and no obstruction. The report said they could not exonerate the President. That was a political call to arms - not a statement of law. Prosecutors do not exonerate. They indict and prosecute, or not. They don't exonerate. We know after Robert Mueller's testimony yesterday that he was not heavily involve in the preparation and writing of the report. That would be the work of his assistant, Andrew Weissmann, who hired the partisan staff of liberals, one of whom was at Hillary's victory party and another who represented the Clinton Foundation. Robert Mueller did not forget what was in the 448 page Mueller Report. He didn’t know because he did not write it. It was staff written and he signed off on it.

Boris Johnson is the New Prime Minister of the U.K.; Jeremy Hunt fortunately is Not!

Boris Johnson is the New Prime Minister of England; Jeremy Hunt Would Have Been Incompetent Every once in a while a country is at a crossroads. It has a critical leadership decision to make. England had two in the 20th Century. The first occurred in 1940 when England was losing World War II. Neville Chamberlain, the once popular Apostle of Appeasement, resigned as prime minister on May 10, 1940. The two potential successors were Winston Churchill and Lord Halifax. The Lord had been a backer of appeasement and was willing to seek a peace treaty with Hitler. Winston Churchill steeled the British people and led them through the dark months of 1940 and 1941 when all seemed lost. The second was in the 1970-1990’s. The British economy was in the tank. The coal miner strikes were crippling the economy. Much of the economy was government owned or controlled. The Torys on February 11, 1975 selected Margaret Thatcher as their leader, defeating Edward Heath. She became prime minister on May 4, 1979. The daughter of a grocer became the Iron Maiden. Her policy was called Thatcherism. She broke the coal miners and let people purchase their homes. She privatized much of the economy. Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a British off-shore territory of the United Kingdom, on April 2, 1982. She sent a fleet to recapture the Falklands and kick the Argentines out. Total victory was won in 10 weeks. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on April 2, 1990. Prime Minister Thatcher said to President George H. W. Bush: “Remember George, this is no time to go wobbly.” Iraq surrendered within 100 days. Margaret Thatcher, The Iron Lady. Theresa May – not so much! Boris Johnson is not universally popular with a mixed reputation as irascible, fiery, lothario, semi-Trump. He loves beautiful women and been divorced twice, just like President Trump. Boris Johnson was a journalist, as was Winston Churchill Churchill was a student of history and the classics. So is Johnson, who even published a book, “The Churchill Factor.” . Winston Churchill, the quintessential British stalwart, was half America, being the son of an American mother. Boris Johnson was born on June 19, 1964 to his British parents on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, making him both an U.S. and U.K. citizen. He renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2016 for tax purposes. U.S. law requires all citizens, including those residing overseas, to pay U.S. taxes on overseas income. That’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Then we have Jeremy Hunt. Jeremy Hunt was simply unqualified to be prime minister. Qualified on paper? Yes, on paper A graduate reading Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with first honors from Magdalen College, Oxford. Member of Parliament since 2005. Minister of Culture, Health, and now Foreign Secretary. In his ministry, he led the successful British Olympics in 2012. He’s described as affable. Therein lies the problem; Jeremy Hunt is an affable soul – not a leader. The Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister May have gone wobbly with the seizure of the British tanker Stena Impero by the Iranians on July 19. Worse than that, they were totally unprepared even though they had plenty of forewarning. Gibraltar with the assistance of Royal Marines seized the Iranian tanker Grace I on July 4 for violating the sanctions. Iran vowed retaliation. H.M.S. Montrose, a British frigate, saved a British tanker, the British Heritage, from Iranian attack on July 11. The Montrose was 60 miles away when the Sterna Imperio was seized. Jeremy Hunt was opposed to Brexit, then supported it is now lukewarm on it, and wants a revote. Prime Minister May was anti-Brexit, then pro-Brexit, but then went wobbly trying to negotiate with the EU. His views of Iran’s seizure of a British tanker echos the weakness of Chamberlain 80 years ago. Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood said the British Navy was too small to manage Britain’s interests around the globe. He also said: “It isn’t possible simply to escort each and every single vessel.” Surely the British Admiralty understands the concept of warships protecting convoys! Once upon a time the British could proudly sing “Rule Britannia. Britannia Rule the Waves.” No more – decades of budget cuts. Rumors are that the U.S. offered assistance to the U.K. in ships traversing the Gulf of Hormuz. Rumors are that the British declined the American assistance. Like Theresa May, his Prime Minister, he was dealt a poor hand with the Sterna Imperio, and played it poorly. Theodore Roosevelt a century ago said “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Jeremy Hunt is speaking softly with a small stick. The Foreign Secretary’s response to the seizure of the Stena Impero was “Our priority continues to be to find a way to de-escalate the situation.” He was extremely disappointed with Iran’s action. He acted “We are not looking at military actions.” The British Empire was built on the British Navy and freedom of the seas. The U.K. cannot even protect its ships in the Gulf of Hormuz! No wonder the Mullahs are not AFRAID of the Western powers. They have fond memories of Presidents Carter and Obama. The Iranians were hardly shaking at the Foreign Secretary’s outrage: “That is totally and utterly unacceptable.” President Trump scrapped the Iran accords. The western Europe economic powers are fighting to save the accords to preserve their business with Iran. Foreign Secretary Hunt is a firm supporter of the Accords. He apparently would not let British sovereignty intrude and freedom of the seas interfere with the commerce. Yet, the Foreign Secretary called Boris Johnson a “coward” for ducking a debate. That’s stronger language than he used against the seizing of a British ship. Jeremy Hunt will not get a friendly greeting from Prime Minister Johnson. Jeremy Hunt would have been a prime example of the Peter Principle in Action. The U.K. is facing one of those critical moments in history with Brexit and Iran. Jeremy Hunt may be a good person, but he is not a decisive leader. We will see what the mercurial Boris Johnson will accomplish. He has an advantage – a backbone.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Recall Campaign is Underway Against Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for Mishandling the Homeless Problem

A notice of intent to recall Mayor Eric Garcetti was filed on June 19. It is the first step in a recall campaign against the Mayor. The recall is based on his failure to control the exploding homeless population and the resulting public health crisis in the City of Angels. He quotes statistics to show what LA has done. Here’s the question: Do you believe your eyes or him? Piles of trash Proliferating rats Homeless camps Filth Feces Needles City attorney contracting typhus from fleas accompanying the rat infestation with no response from the Mayor’s office. Police officers sickened at the Downtown Central Police Station. I was wondering when voters in LA, San Francisco, and Seattle would rebel. Voters in blue cities will put up with a lot from their leaders, but pervasive public health, sanitation and safety problems tilt the scales. Homeless encampments, tent cities, drugs, needles, rats, typhus, crime, hepatitis with police looking the other way, failing to arrest, or even ticket, for quality of life offenses. No easy answers exist for the homeless problem in America, but to residents Enough is Enough. They see the homeless encampments expanding out of the skid rows (origin Seattle) into commercial and residential neighborhoods. San Francisco is inundated with urine and poops on the city streets. Check the interactive app for San Francisco. The problem is public health and safety, especially sanitation. Politicians such as Mayor Garcetti and Governor Gavin Newsom are empathetic, warm, fuzzy, feel good politicians. They are great when the good times are rolling. They can be all things to all people. They lack leadership ability when crisis arise. Mayor Garcetti and Governor Newsom were eyeing the presidency. They took their eye off the ball. Garcetti visited Iowa and said they are just like us Angelenos. I’m not an Angeleno living in The O.C.) Mayor Garcetti’s father, District Attorney Gil Garcetti, failed during the O. J. Simpson trial. He made a number of poor decisions resulting in the acquittal of OJ. Mayor Garcetti promised to solve the homeless problem in LA. He convinced the voters to approve a ¼ cent increase in the sales tax to fund $350 million annually, and a $1.2 billion bond issue to fund 10,000 units for the homeless. The Mayor said in 2016: “we can bring these numbers down.” He added “This could be the year we bring the numbers down.” He followed up in 2017: “Our city is in the midst of an extraordinary homeless crisis that requires an extraordinary response.” 2½ years have passed, and no units have been completed as of June 2019. $1.2 billion for ten thousand units = $120,000/unit. What are they building? Shelters don’t cost that much! It’s even worse. LA has now reported that $810 million has been committed for 5,388 units, which comes out to $148,474.10 per unit. 1200 of the units will be low income residents. Absolutely no control over money in the city – a common problem for public expenditures in California. We have an example of poor leadership. Bill Bratton was Police Chief of Los Angeles from 2002-2009. He said the homeless was “the worst situation in America.” It has escalated during Mayor Garcetti’s administration. He didn’t even respond when the homeless hung out at City hall, with the trash and rats piling up and stench pervasive. Steve Lopez, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote about downtown Los Angeles: “A mountain of rotting, oozing, stinking trash – stretching a good 20 yards along a skid road alley. Rats popped their heads out of the debris like they were in a game of Whack-a-Mole, then scampered for cover as a tractor with a scoop lurched towards them ….” Mayor Garcetti did not utter a peep. Leadership has two components. The first is public and the second is private. Winston Churchill during World War II and Mayor Rudy Giuliani were the epitome of public leadership in crises. The private aspect of leadership is following through, to be personally involved, to make something happen. Liberals believe the panacea to most problems is money – just spend throw money at the problem – problem solves, time to move on to the next issue. Mayor Garcetti’s approach to the homelessness problem was to periodically listen to reports of his political appointees and bureaucrats. There was no follow through or personal involvement. It’s shocking that after 2½ years not one unit has been completed. It’s more shocking that in answer to a reporter’s question, the mayor did not know what the status was. He ignored the escalating crisis, focusing his eyes on Iowa and a possible run for the Presidency. The state declared unsanitary the 42 year old LA PD Central Division Station, where officers had become ill. The police union – not the city- bought a $5,000 robot to clean the facility. Having shown an inability to handle over a billion dollars for the homeless, Mayor Garcetti is now leading a mayoral campaign for Congressional enactment of a $13 billion Ending Homelessness Act, sponsored by President Trump hater Representative Maxime waters. This is a typical liberal act. The solution to every problem is ever more money with little accountability. Mayor Garcetti and Governor Newson is true political shifting the blame modus operandi have attacked President Trump for “political cheap shots” from criticizing the homeless problem in their jurisdictions Homelessness is a crisis and a modern American Tragedy (to steal from Myrdal), with little understanding of the problem and its causes. The filing of a notice to recall is the first step in the process. The next step is to file a petition with roughly 315,000 valid signatures to trigger the recall. Then comes the election. Will voter fury coupled with the radio support of John and Ken recall the ineffective Mayor Newsom? A warning shot was fired last May to big city mayors. Denver voters faced Proposition 300, the Right to Survive proposition which would have allowed the homeless to camp on public property. They soundly defeated it by a 5 to 1 margin. Mayor Garcetti responded to the recall petition: “People know the difference between political games and actually doing the work – and I’m doing the work.” Who do you believe? Your eyes and nose? Or The ineffectual mayor” Too early to predict, but it is a necessary step in sending a message to the political leadership in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle that the time to take effective measures is now.

Alfred E. Neuman - "What Me Worry?" You Damn Well Better Worry

Alfred E. Neuman: “What Me Worry?” Damn Straight You Should Worry Alfred E. Neuman – you better worry. You’re about to be consigned to Trotsky’s “dustbin of history.” You, the Harold E. Stassen Perennial Presidential Candidate Award winner, need to hang it up. Your campaign slogan “You could do worse …. And always have” is trite, at best. Your distinct journalistic cousin, the Playboy Bunny, is about to join you. Playboy peaked in November 1972 with 7,161,561 copies sold. It is now down to a quarterly publication with the most recently reported paid circulation of 206,483. Your stupid prehensile grin has worn out its charm. At the age of 63, you don’t have it anymore, no matter how many facelifts you’re had. You ain’t got no mojo. Your fate is regurgitated hard copy. Mad announced that October will be its last regular issue. From then all there will be no more sales at newsstands, assuming you can find one. New issues will only be in comic book stores and direct mail. The issues will simply republish prior published material, except for an annual special edition. You should be worried. Twice warmed-over satire is cold and stale. You should be worried. Rumors are that circulation dropped to 140,000 in 2017, down from its peak of 2,400,000 in September 2973. Mad moved to Burbank, beautiful downtown Burbank, last year, away from New York. Your cache was left behind. How can you be satirical when it’s always warm and sunny? Your designated market of Baby Boomers is dying. Their successors, post-adolescent male college students, surf the web and play video games. You’re not social-media worthy. Mayo Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana said it all. This Presidential candidate, a legitimate presidential candidate, unlike you, was called a Alfred E. Neuman lookalike by President Trump. The 37 year old, almost half your age, whipper snapper admitted he didn’t know who you were: “I guess it’s a generational thing. I had to Google that.” You should be worried. No one knows who you, The cover boy, is. You are a has been, déclassé. Yet, you lead a good life. You outlived the National Lampoon and all other competitors. But now you join the Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals in history. You’re about to join the universe of ESPN Magazine, Glamour, Gourmet, Ladies Home Journal, McCall’s, Modern Bride, Money, Redbook, Seventeen, Teen Vogue, The Weekly Standard, and even Gun World. One-fifth of U.S. Newspapers closed in the past few years. You’re in good company – hard copy company. To quote the once great, now has been Arnold Schwarzenegger “Hasta La Vista, Baby.”

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Songs for the 4th of July

We were watching the spectacular fireworks at Tustin High School earlier tonight when I started thinking of songs for the 4th, songs of love and respect for America. The list's not very original, but here goes anyway: The Star Spangled Banner (our national anthem) God Bless America by Kate Smith The Stars and Stripes Forever Battle Hymn of the Republic God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue by Tobie Keith America the Beautiful Yankee Doodle Yankee Doodle Dandy Battle Cry of Freedom My Country Tis’ of Thee by Marian Anderson Armed Forced Medley You’re a Grand Old Flag America by Neil Diamond

Colin Kaepernick, Betsy Ross and the 4th of July

The 4th of July is the day to celebrate the creation of the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are the documents that gave rise to the greatness of America and the American people. America quickly became a global beacon to immigrants. The American Flag is the symbol of America. We are not one race, one religion, one ethnicity. Together we are Americans. The Declaration of Independence is a revolutionary document in the Revolutionary War and world history. Revolutions have frequently occurred throughout history, but the Declaration of Independence reduced the reasons to a written manifesto based on a revolutionary concept: the freedom of the individual. A people rebelling against the Crown put their grievances in writing. The participants then signed it, pledging their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to the cause. The signers would have been hanged had the cause of Independence been lost. The drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were students of the Enlightenment. America was built on the Mosiac Code, the Judeo-Christian heritage, and the rights and history of the English for the drafters were either immigrants or the sons of English, Scot or Irish immigrants. The legacy of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution opened America to all races, religions and ethnicities from throughout the world. The Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-10 of the Constitution protected the rights of the people against the government, again a novel concept for the times. Article V of the Constitution, the Amendment Clause, allowed the expansion of the rights to all: the slaves, Native Americans and women. Flawed in the beginning, the Constitution over time protected all. That is the greatness of America Colin Kaepernick, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, et al, are representatives of darkness, of abject ignorance. Even a few of the Democrats, Beto and Julian Castro, seeking the Presidency have joined the Kaepernick chorus. Their presidential prospects are slim to none. Kaepernick made his fame by refusing to stand for the pre-game National Anthem, claiming it was a protest over police brutality. Now he’s striking out against Betsy Ross saying her Flag was offensive because it represented a period of oppression and slavery - a novel thought previously unknown to history, uttered by a worn-out football player. The Flag represented the birth of the United States. It represented the 13 original colonies. His beef is not with the National Anthem, Betsy Ross or the American Flag. It’s with America itself. Nike pulled its Betsy Ross sneaker timed for Independence Day. It caved to a washed up quarterback. It explained the decision because it did not want to “offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.” Even a cursory study of Betsy Ross would show that she was a Quaker opposed to slavery. She was also an independent working woman ahead of her time. The nation’s founders risked their lives so that ignoramuses such as a washed out quarterback and members of Congress can utter ignorant statements. The Constitution begins “We the People ….” “We the people” – what an incredible, revolutionary statement. “We the people” – not “We the subjects of the King, Emperor, Sultan, Shah, Tsar, Emir.” “We the people,” who will govern ourselves. That’s the Constitution, a scion of the Declaration of Independence. We take the freedoms for granted today. Sadly, we don’t study them much in school anymore with many educators teaching what’s wrong with America. They have the freedom to spout drivel. That is the greatness of America. The athletes and stars earning millions from the American public have the freedom to show their disdain for Americans. That is the greatness of America. Nike has the freedom to unmarket their Betsy Ross sneaker. The American people have the right to not buy Nike products. The Swoosh may swoosh. Nike has the right to pay coolie wages to third world workers to sell overpriced sneakers in the United States. Nike claims to be proud of its American Heritage, which includes shipping jobs overseas. That is the greatness of the United States. Colin Kaepernick has the right to say what he says. AOC has the right to daily display her ignorance. It’s OK to be an ignoramus in the United States. That is the greatness of the Declaration of Independence. We celebrate the 4th with fireworks, parades and BBQ’s Colin Kaepernick and Nike set off fireworks for the 4th.