Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

HOW BAD IS IT?

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So many people are bloviating about politics these days on cable television, the radio and on the internet that Americans tend to pay attention only to viewpoints they agree with or they tune out completely. To make things even worse, the American higher-education system is turning out political dunces who don’t know what every eight-grader in public school knew 50 years ago. But now, however, our presidential candidates all agree things are really bad. That must mean they really are.

To attract attention, professional and amateur political commentators increasingly have resorted to extreme language. The left has accused the right of sins the Nazis and the fascists became famous for. The right has accused the left of totalitarian tendencies communists are known for. So when either side makes an extreme accusation, even when they’re true, they often get lost in the background noise.

The ongoing presidential campaigns, however, appear to be rising above the clammer of the crowed. Republicans and Democrats are telling us that the fate of the nation rests on the outcome of the November election. Little is new in this except for the fact that it appears truer now than any time since the Civil War. Although Democrats have been running the Federal government for the past seven plus years, they want us to believe that every ill that’s befallen the country is the fault of Republicans. Republicans tell us that President Obama set out to transform America, he’s almost done it, all we need is another Democrat in the White House to complete what he began. America will be done for. Don’t get me started on climate change.

Listening to the respective presidential debates this year should be eye opening. Bernie Sanders and Hillary outdid Republicans at Thursday evenings debate, portraying the United States in the direst terms. Sanders says, “Almost everyone is getting poorer.” “Ordinary Americans are worried to death about the future of their kids.” “There is massive despair all over this country.” “Seniors are cutting their pills in half…don’t have decent nutrition…can’t heat their homes in the wintertime.” “A rigged economic system and a corrupt political system have created a moment of serious crises.”

Clinton repeatedly agreed with Sanders that too many Americans are getting left behind. “‘Yes, the economy is rigged in favor of those at the top.” Her main critique of the Sanders critique was that it lacked identity-politics specificity, that it didn’t recognize the unique challenges of “really systemic racism” against blacks, of “hardworking immigrant families living in fear,” of women’s rights that are “under tremendous attack,” of “discrimination against the LGBT community,” even of the struggles in coal country and other downtrodden white communities “where we are seeing an increase in alcoholism, addiction, earlier deaths.’”

So how bad is it, really? Like everything else in life, that much depends on your perspective. Not everyone in America is suffering; and Americans have faced extreme adversity in the past (The Civil War, WWII, The Great Depression) and rebounded. What’s so bad this time is that the America most of us knew and loved growing up already has disappeared and likely is unrecoverable. Demographic diversity, pervasive technological change, political correctness and a culture of victimization have overtaken traditional American values and replaced them with values we do not yet fully understand.

Certainly, change frequently is a good thing. America was better after the Civil war when slavery was abolished. It’s taking 150 years and more to adapt to that change, but still we’re better off. The world is better off since World War II, and the US economy blossomed tremendously after the Great Depression. These changes have led us to believe that no matter what befalls America we will always bounce back better and stronger. What scares us now is that it looks more and more as if this time we won’t.

This election is a seminal one. There is a huge difference between Republicans and Democrats. Your country and your life will change for better or worse. It’s time to get out your bullshit detector and vote. Remember, we get the government we deserve.

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MY THOUGHTS ON THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY

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Donald Trump: Those who believed/hoped that Donald Trump would self-implode or that another candidate would surpass him in gathering delegates for the Republican National Convention should snap out of it. Trump is a legitimate, winning candidate, and it will take more that wishful thinking to defeat him. The remaining Republican candidates have to understand Trump’s appeal and address it’s roots as strongly as Trump has. Republican and most Independent voters are fed up with the Republican establishments failure to stand up to President Obama and his destructive policies. Most have done this to a lesser extent, but not with the force and believability Trump has. Cruz has made this the backbone of his campaign, but not as convincingly as Trump. Until his poor performance in the New Hampshire debate, Rubio had been doing this almost as well as Cruz, but now has to dig himself out of the the hole he dug for himself.

John Kasich did well in New Hampshire because of the time and attention he paid to New Hampshire voters and his good ground game. Like Bush, however, Kasich is unlikely to turn his second place showing in New Hampshire into a trend. If the Trump / Sanders victories demonstrate anything they demonstrate that this is not the year for establishment candidates, and Kasich doesn’t have the organization beyond New Hampshire to pull off a repeat.

Ted Cruz has the benefit of being a non-establishment candidate and a strong conservative, and he is likely to remain in the top three as the primaries progress. Nevertheless, he has to fight to get out of Trumps shadow, and after New Hampshire, that has become more difficult.

Jeb Bush turned in his best debate and vote-getting performance in New Hampshire, but he still has an up-hill climb he may not have the strength for.  He was the principle beneficiary of Rubio’s stumble and likely would have finished behind Rubio had that not occurred. Still Bush, more than any other Republican candidate, represents the establishment now so reviled by Republican voters. To paraphrase Rush Limbaugh, Republicans want their party to be a true opposition party and it has ceased being that.

Marco Rubio’s still hangs on by his fingernails and if he does well in South Carolina, he could make a comeback. Even if he does, however, Trump would have to stumble big time for the race for the nomination to become a two-man race between Rubio and Cruz

Chris Christies’ suicide attack on Marco Rubio was effective, but it ruined his chances of finishing in the top four or five. Before the New Hampshire Republican debate Christie made the strategic decision to go after Rubio hard as a way of advancing his own candidacy. That strategy failed partially because of the meanness in which he executed his attack on Rubio and partially because of his incessant bragging about it during interviews after the debate. His behavior came across as un-presidential and downright nasty. As a result, he is out of the race.

Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson: Both are good people, but they did not do well in New Hampshire for different reasons. Carly, in my view, didn’t catch on because Republican voters didn’t buy into her electability in a general election against Hillary Clinton. Memories of devastating personal attacks on conservative women have left cars on Republican voters. Carson was too weak on foreign affairs and too meek as a candidate. This year Republican’s want a fighter. Carly dropped out today and how much longer Carson will stay in the race, I don’t know, but neither stood any chance of becoming the party’s nominee.

Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton:  The conventional wisdom is that from here on out it’s Hillary’s show. She will do better in states where blacks and other minorities make up significant portion of Democratic primary voters. True; however, Clinton is a seriously damaged candidate, and even if she wins the nomination as most pundits on both sides predict, odds of her winning a general election against Trump or any of the other top republican candidate are not good. Hillary has proven a poor, un-energetic campaigner, mired in the past and hobbled by scandals past and present. Today’s young Democratic voters lack the forgiving attitudes their counterparts had 20-years ago; and Bill Clinton is not the adroit politician campaigning on behalf of his wife he was as a younger man. Hillary’s attacks on the the women in her husbands “bimbo eruptions” has her now viewed no so much a victim as an enabler. Comparisons of Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby make the point. Most damaging is Hillary’s email scandal which will likely come to a head before the November election. The FBI already has begun to drop breadcrumbs suggesting the referral of a criminal case to the Department of Justice. The attorney general and President Obama likely will do everything they can to stonewall, but the accusations of cover-up will become deafening and damaging.

Bottom Line: Right now a Trump-Clinton match up in the November election appears most likely. Of course, anything can happen between now and then. The vicious, dirty Democratic campaign, like those we’ve witnessed in the past is about to begin, first on Bernie Sanders then on Donald Trump. Presidential politics is about to become very dirty–again. Hillary’s next book may be titled “Guess What Happened to Me on the Way to the Coronation?”

 

 

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INDICTING HILLARY CLINTON

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With new disclosures in a letter from the Intelligence Community inspector general to the chairmen of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Foreign Relations committee, the Hillary Clinton email scandal has entered a new and precarious phase for the Democratic presidential candidate.

Given the punishments handed out to people like General Petraeus and other high-ranking government officials for disclosing classified information to people without the proper clearance or a need to know, many respected former government officials and legal experts argue the Justice Department must indict her. On the other hand, others say that President Obama, who has shown blatant disrespect for the law, simply won’t indict her; she’d have to commit an axe murder in public before he would allow her to be prosecuted.

For almost any other offense, I would agree with the latter. For this offense, however, I believe the administration has no choice but to indict her. I held a TOP SECRET SENSITIVE COMPARTMENTED INFORMATION (SCI) clearance for 32 years in the department of defense. During much of that time I had access to several special access programs (SAP). Among the most sensitive of them was HUMINT (human intelligence). This is information about clandestine human intelligence collection operations. Disclosure of this information reveals sources and methods which pose not only a grave risk to U.S. national security but puts at risk the lives of foreign agents and U.S. case officers. High-level sources have told FOX News reporter Catherine Herridge that some of those emails referred to in the inspector general’s letter involved HUMINT information. Consider the fuss and the designation of a special prosecutor made over the disclosure of Valerie Plame’s identity, and she no longer was working as a clandestine agent.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ recently stated that, “The odds were pretty high” that governments hostile to the United States accessed Hillary Clinton‘s private server.” This makes Clinton vulnerable. She sent and received classified information thru a personal unclassified email server. According to the law, whether or not it was marked as classified at the time is irrelevant. The secretary of state should be able to recognize classified information when she see’s it. I can tell you from personal experience, recognizing classified information isn’t that hard to do.

Whether or not the Russians, Chinese or Iranians hacked into her email or not, allowing that possibility to exists constitutes gross negligence. Again, under the law [18 U.S.C § 793(f)(1)] such gross negligence is a felony.

I won’t predict that President Obama’s Justice Department will indict Hillary Clinton, but if it doesn’t the damage to our country done by that omission will be greater than the damage Hillary Clinton already has done by her disregard for national security. It would set a precedent that would make it very difficult to prosecute senior officials who commit similar offensives in the future.

To be sure, indicting a former first lade, senator and secretary of State would be unprecedented and would set off a bitter partisan debate. Nevertheless, no American is above the law.

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“13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI”

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“13 Hours” ranks up there with the best war movies ever made. It’s a gripping movie that arouses your patriotism, touches your heart, and peaks your anger. My top ten list of great war movies, in order of release date, are listed below with links to the Internet Movie Database.

They Were Expendable (1945)

Twelve O’clock High (1949)

From Here to Eternity (1953)

In Harms Way (1965)

Patton (1970)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The Patriot (2000)

We Were Soldiers (2002)

American Sniper (2014)

13 Hours (2016) 

What all these movies have in common is that they not only portray combat realistically, it shows those who fight and die for our country as the complex, compassionate and patriotic people they really are. There’s a reason the American Warrior and the U.S. Armed Forces are the most respected class of people and institution in America, and they are it.

War movies at the top of my list, made in the twentieth century, didn’t have the advantage of the sophisticated, real-life-effect computerized graphics movies today have. But great graphics alone don’t make a good movie. Too many filmmakers today believe that all you need is eye-popping destruction and that will drive people to the box office. Moviegoers haven’t changed in the past 100 years. They want a good story, well acted, and well told.

To be sure, “13 Hours” has plenty of great graphic effects, but they don’t overshadow the story of the bravery and sacrifice of a small group of men who fought and died for their comrades. We’ve heard a lot about Benghazi on the news over the past three years. It’s become a hot political topic divided along party lines. For that reason, along with the fact that the story has received scant coverage in the mainstream media, many of not most Americans have tuned out to the story.

Michael Bay did a great job of making the movie as apolitical as possible. There’s no mention of Hillary Clinton or the Obama administration attempt to cover up what really happened in Benghazi. Nevertheless, the debate over Benghazi is too well known, if not well understood, and you can’t watch the move without asking yourself, Why did the President, the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor lie to the American people and believe they could get away with it. Why didn’t AFRICOM deploy assets to support the beleaguered diplomatic post and the CIA annex?

The movie never explains why AFRICACOM or EUCOM never launched an effort to support those fighting and dying in Benghazi; but can you imagine them not taking action unless ordered not to from above? I can’t.

There’s no need for me to summarize the plot of “13 Hours.” You know the gist of the story. But no matter what you think you know, I guarantee you that you’ll come away from the movie with knowledge and insight you didn’t have before. I give “13 Hours” five stars.

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“The Transplants” a novel by Ed Ross. Click on image.

Cover and Photo

 

 

 

 

Filed under: Movies-TV, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

JEB BUSH?

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Is Jeb Bush the answer to the Republican Party’s woes?  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

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FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA THE JIG IS UP

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The trifecta of scandals plaguing President Obama and his administration will get a lot worse before they get better, casting a paralytic pall over his second term and greatly reducing the likelihood American voters will coronate Hillary Clinton as his successor.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

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WHY THE BENGHAZI STORY WON’T GO AWAY

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President Barack Obama has been adept at deflecting Republicans’ continuing questions about the 9/11/12 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Still, the story won’t go away because the explanations he and his administration have provided don’t add up, and a strong odor of cover up lingers in the air. It’s been five months since the Benghazi attack. Even if we accept the Obama administrations explanations for what happened before, during and after the attack, we still don’t know full story. What difference does it make, at this point, whether or not we know the full story? It makes a difference whenever the President of the United States attempts to deceive the American people.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

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WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

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When Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) asked outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to explain how it was that the Obama administration stood by an absurd story for two weeks after Benghazi, Mrs. Clinton indignantly shouted “What difference, at this point, does it make.” She was talking about whether the attack on our consulate in Benghazi was a preplanned terrorist attack or a spontaneous incident. It occurred to me, however, that this was the perfect way to deflect many criticisms in contemporary American Society. (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

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SUCCESSFUL PRESIDENTS AND EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIRS

There is an interesting correlation between the most successful presidents over the past 80 years and those that have had extramarital affairs. Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Bill Clinton all had extramarital affairs before or during their terms of office. Only Ronald Reagan appears to be the exception to the rule. Is it any wonder that voters may be willing to overlook Newt Gingrich’s affair?  (More)

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THE PERENNIAL CHINA-POLICY DEBATE: Conciliation vs. Carrots and Sticks

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Bill Gertz of the Washington Times in his October 20 “Inside the Ring” column reports on the current China-policy debate within the Obama administration. He identifies two opposing groups—the “kowtow” group, and the “sad and disappointed” group. Twenty-five years ago we called them the “convert-them-to-Christianity-and-democracy” group and the “let’s-just-outsmart-them” group. The U.S. players in the perennial China-policy debate change as administrations come and go, but the fundamental differences between two classic approaches to China remain the same. (More)

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THE UNITED STATES AND VIETNAM: China’s Migraine Headache

The visit Sunday to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, cruising off coast of Vietnam, by high-ranking Vietnamese military and government officials was not a big story in the United States. Teams of U.S. military personnel have been conducting MIA-remains-recovery operations in Vietnam for 20 years. U.S.-Vietnam relations have been steadily improving since 1995 when the two countries normalized diplomatic relations. The first U.S. warship visited Ho Chi Minh City in 2003. It was, however, big news in China, especially in the specialized news reports circulated among China’s ruling elite. (More)

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CLINTON VS PALIN IN 2012 – Stranger Things Have Happened

With Democrats headed for a man-made disaster in November and the Obama presidency increasingly looking like a quagmired domestic-contingency operation, speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2012 is on the rise. We know Mrs. Clinton has a strong desire to be the president, but will she step down as secretary of state and challenge Barack Obama, the first African-American president and a fellow Democrat, and if she won her party’s nomination what are her prospects for winning the general election?  (More)

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CLINTON VS PALIN 2012: WHO WOULD WIN?

Comment on EWRoss.com’s June 19, 2012 poll: Which person is more likely to win the 2012 presidential election if they ran against each other, Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin?

  • Hillary Clinton
  • Sarah Palin

Take/Return to Poll

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