Category Archives: national news

E-mail controversy isn't yet a 'scandal'

Hillary Clinton’s e-mail dustup just won’t go away.

Former House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., had sent the former secretary of state a letter asking about her use of a personal e-mail account. Clinton didn’t respond.

Fox News Channel’s “crawl” across the TV screen, quite naturally, referred to it as a “scandal.”

Hold on. We’re not there. We may never get there.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/15/us/politics/hillary-clintonwas-asked-about-email-2-years-ago.html?_r=1

This is what happens, though, when a candidate declares his or her intention to run for high office. In this case, it’s the highest office in the most powerful country on Earth.

Thus, the e-mail matter is going to keep boiling and roiling.

Is it a “scandal,” which the right-wing mainstream media want to describe it? No. It’s a controversy that needs some more fleshing out.

Clinton admits to using a personal e-mail account to do public business while running the State Department. That was a dumb call. She should have used the government account, which was hers to use. But she wasn’t the first high-ranking Cabinet official to rely on personal e-mail accounts.

Has anyone thought to subpoena former secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condi Rice? Oh, I forgot. They aren’t running for president … nor are they Democrats.

Let’s cool our jets here. Controversy? Yes. Scandal? Not even close.

 

Rubio looks forward … except for Cuba

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign launch Monday contained a lot of soaring rhetoric about the need to look forward.

The Florida Republican sounded the right notes, spoke the right words and paid tribute to his own life story, which is an interesting and compelling one.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/marco-rubio-2016-presidential-bid-116914.html?hp=t1_r

“While our people and economy are pushing the boundaries of the 21st century, too many of our leaders and their ideas are stuck in the 20th century,” Rubio said. “We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them.”

Agreed, Sen. Rubio.

However, why are you locked into a 20th-century view of our nation’s relationship with Cuba?

President Obama is trying to breathe life into a bilateral relationship with the island nation that sits just a few miles off the Florida coast. For decades, dating back to the late 1950s, U.S. politicians have trembled in fear — or so it seems — at the prospect that Cuba would become a launching pad for Soviet missiles. Then the Soviet Union vaporized into thin air in 1991. Cuba’s Marxist regime continued on, repressing its people.

The United States maintained its economic embargo against Cuba.

Now the 44th president of the United States is taking a 21st-century view of U.S.-Cuba relations — but Sen. Rubio will have none of it. Rubio, whose parents emigrated from Cuba, said it doesn’t make sense. He calls Cuba an agent of terror.

I’m all ears as it regards Sen. Rubio’s desire to look forward. I am anxious to hear the rest of his message as the 2016 White House campaign gets ramped up.

Let’s start, though, with refining the senator’s view of Cuba.

 

Obamacare lawsuit: Where does it stand?

Hey, it just occurs to me. There’s a lawsuit pending against the Affordable Care Act.

You remember that, yes? House Speaker John Boehner filed a lawsuit against the ACA, contending that President Obama didn’t have the authority to tinker with it through executive authority.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/obamacare-lawsuit/

He filed the suit after a lot of huffing and puffing about it.

Since its filing, though, some data have suggested something that foes of the ACA — aka Obamacare — don’t want to hear.

It’s that Americans are signing up for it. The ACA is working. Actually working. More Americans have health insurance now who didn’t have it before it was enacted.

Boehner, though, didn’t want to hear those silly thing. He said the president overstepped his constitutional authority by “rewriting the law,” a duty reserved solely for Congress.

I maintain the idea that the lawsuit is intended to please the Republican Party base that hates the idea of government mandating health insurance, even though it’s been done at the state level. Massachusetts, under the administration of then-Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, did so — and it became the model for the federal law enacted by Congress.

Several millions of Americans have health insurance these days. The lawsuit is out there. Somewhere. Waiting to be adjudicated.

The most fascinating political trick of the upcoming presidential campaign, meanwhile, may occur among Republicans who will vow to get rid of the ACA if they are elected — and replace it with … what?

 

Is HRC 'likable enough' to get elected?

A young U.S. senator, Barack Obama, uttered arguably one of the signature lines of the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary campaign when he told fellow Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.”

I’m betting that Clinton didn’t appreciate the “compliment.”

Now, eight years later, she’s launching another bid for the presidency.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/04/12/clinton-campaigns-challenge-make-her-likeable/

And as the Wall Street Journal reports, her task is to make her “likable enough” to get elected president of the United States next year.

As the WSJ reported: “She needs to try to humanize herself, because in some ways she’s kind of become a cardboard cutout figure,” said Douglas Brinkley, a history professor at Rice University.

So, the campaign begins anew for the former first lady, senator and secretary of state.

Many in the media refer to her simply as “Hillary.” Just a mention of that name and you know to whom the reference is being made. Does the first-name familiarity make her likable? Hardly. I continue to believe she needs to translate likability into authenticity.

She remains a political powerhouse. The strength, though, doesn’t always connect with voters in a tangible manner. Clinton at times appears evasive, which hardly lends itself to likability.

I will be among millions of voters looking for signs that she’s capable of understanding the problems, worries and concerns of average American citizens. If she does, she’ll prove she’s for real, that she’s authentic.

And likable.

Running mate selection? Way too early for that

The blog post attached to this short note is meant, I believe, to illustrate the absurdity of handicapping the major parties’ presidential tickets.

http://bell-book-candle.com/2015/04/12/running-mates/

But it’s happening in some quarters.

Who would the candidates, Democrat or Republican, want to run with them?

It’s all a sort of parlor game played by people I believe have too much time on their hands or who see themselves as experts on something about which they know nothing.

I remain somewhat — although less so than before — that the Democrats will nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton at their convention next year. One name being kicked around is Julian Castro, the Texas Democrat who once served as mayor of San Antonio; he’s now the nation’s housing secretary.

Sure thing. Let’s talk about it. Maybe later.

The Republican field is as wide open as it can possibly get.

Besides, I don’t like handicapping these things. No one’s going to ask my opinion, although I might be prone to give it the closer we get to the days of decision.

 

Cuba thaw makes perfect sense, Sen. Rubio

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is a Cuban-American cut from the cloth that prevented the United States from establishing a relationship with Cuba.

He’s among a shrinking core of Cuban-Americans — living mainly in Florida — who think of Cuba as a pariah state that poses an imminent danger to the United States of America.

They are wrong. So is the young junior senator from Florida.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/238531-rubio-obamas-cuba-thaw-ridiculous

Of course, perhaps it is helpful to note that Rubio is likely to run for the Republican Party presidential nomination next year, so he’s got to find as much to criticize the current Democratic administration as he can locate.

I guess Cuba fits the bill.

Well, the overtures that both President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro are making perfect sense in this changing world.

Cuba’s got a horrible human rights record. So do many of the other countries with which we have diplomatic relations. Cuba once was known to have designs on becoming a dominant player in the Western Hemisphere. Those designs were washed away with the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Is Cuba a terrorist haven? Does it sponsor international terrorist organizations?

Come on, Marco. Let’s engage this former enemy and persuade the government in Havana to join us in making life more comfortable for the millions of Cubans who’ve been deprived of economic wellness partly because of a pointless U.S. economic embargo.

 

Benghazi panel to keep on pushing

House Select Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy says Hillary Clinton’s expected presidential campaign have no “impact” on his panel’s probe of the Benghazi matter.

Sure thing, Mr. Chairman. I get it.

If anything, it’s only going to intensify your panel’s search for something with which to torpedo the former secretary of state’s quest for the presidency.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/hillary-clinton-2016-announcement-benghazi-probe-116861.html?hp=l3_3

The chairman says he intends to call Clinton to talk to the committee about what happened — once again — on Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorists stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

We’ve been through this already. But by golly, we’re going to go through it again. And again, if necessary. And perhaps even again after that.

Clinton, you see, remains the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination next year. She also remains a strong favorite to become the nation’s 45th president, even though recent polling data suggest her strength may have weakened.

Meanwhile, her congressional Republicans foes — and let’s include Chairman Gowdy in that crowd — want to do all they can ensure she isn’t the nominee.

Will her candidacy have an “impact” on Gowdy’s Benghazi hunt? If, by “impact,” you mean it lessens it … hell no! If anything, it’s only going to get more heated.

HRC needs to prove she's authentic

Authenticity.

That’s the one word, I believe, that sums up Hillary Rodham Clinton’s major hurdle as she begins her second quest for the presidency.

It starts once again on Sunday. She’ll convene some small-group sessions. She’ll talk to voters who about herself, which is what all politicians do when they discuss campaigns for public office.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hillary-clinton-begins-her-entry-into-the-2016-presidential-race/2015/04/10/f5f08ef0-df9c-11e4-a1b8-2ed88bc190d2_story.html

I’m left to wonder, though. Just who is this person?

I also am going to venture a guess that a lot of Americans are going to seek to find the real Hillary Clinton, whoever she is.

The email kerfuffle and her delayed reaction to it just stokes the flames of those who think she’s a phony. She’s got all that big-time money backing her, yet she’s going to say that the Citizens United case — which allows corporations to give unlimited amounts of money to politicians — needs to be overturned. She told us a while back she and her husband, the 42nd president, were “dead broke” when they left the White House in January 2001; well, a lot of Americans define “dead broke” differently than the way Hillary Clinton defined it.

Is she for real? Does she really connect with me, or you, or most Americans?

Her campaign begins once again in about 24 hours. She’s going to be the Target No. 1 of every Republican running, or thinking of running, for president in 2016. She’s going to draw fire from those on the far left wing base of her own Democratic Party who are looking for signs that she isn’t too cozy with Wall Street.

What’s more, on top of all this, she’s got the baggage she’ll be lugging around from her time as first lady, when the entire Republican Party establishment — and before we knew about the TEA party wing of the GOP — was out to get her husband tossed out of office. She drew her share of enemy fire during that time. Is she ready to take more of it?

Just who is the real Hillary Rodham Clinton?

We’re about to find out.

 

'Don't hire prostitutes'

It’s come down to this.

The attorney general of the United States of America has issued a memo to staff lawyers and law enforcement officials under the Department of Justice authority urging them against hiring hookers.

How bizarre is that?

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/eric-holder-prostitution-memo-116865.html?hp=c3_3

The memo comes from outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder after a report found widespread sexual abuse among several agencies within the DOJ purview. As Politico reported: “Holder wrote that, despite prostitution being legal in parts of Nevada and abroad, department employees are expected to refrain, ‘not simply because it invites extortion, blackmail, and leaks of sensitive or classified information, but also because it undermines the Department’s efforts to eradicate the scourge of human trafficking.’”

As if the department’s legal eagles and investigators didn’t know all that?

I’m not sure if this isn’t somehow Holder’s swan song memo to employees. Whatever it is, doesn’t seem to be understood that the individuals who work for the Department of Justice should know better than to hire hookers to give them, um, pleasure?

We’ve seen report of agents consorting with “businesswomen” in Colombia, of them fooling around while serving on advance teams sent in ahead of the president.

Maybe it’s just me, but I expect better from the individuals hired to do dangerous, sensitive and life-threatening work.

As for the DOJ effort to “eradicate the scourge of human trafficking,” it’s clear that the agency cannot be credible in that effort if its team is engaged in the very behavior that promotes such tragic endeavors.

HRC set to launch bid; now the fun really begins

You may take this to the bank.

The moment Hillary Rodham Clinton declares her candidacy for the presidency is when the campaign for the White House becomes really and truly a blast.

Clinton is set to announce her candidacy on Sunday. She’ll make known what almost every political junkie on Planet Earth has known all along. She wants to make history by becoming the first woman president of the world’s greatest power.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/exclusive-hillary-clinton-to-launch-presidential-campaign-on-sunday-en-route-to-iowa-%e2%80%93-source/ar-AAaFyvT

Why the “blast” factor?

Because the growing horde of Republican candidates are going to set their sights on Clinton. They are going to virtually ignore each other. They’re going to be talking to their party’s base voters, trying to persuade them that only they — and no one else — can defeat the Democratic nominee in November 2016.

As for Clinton’s possible Democratic primary rivals, a couple of them are beginning to show themselves in public. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has talked openly about running. Just this seek, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a one-time Republican who’s turned Democrat, announced plans to form an exploratory committee to help him decide whether to run.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mass.? She says she isn’t running for the White House, but she has yet to make that statement that she won’t run change her mind between today and, say, the day after tomorrow.

Many on the left and far left yearn for an alternative to Clinton. Meanwhile, many on the right and far right think the former U.S. senator, secretary of state and first lady is as evil as her husband, the former president and the current president.

Oh, boy. This campaign is going to be worth watching.

Go for it, Hillary!