Author Archives: Bok

Paltrow Does Politics

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Hollywood political fundraising has become too much even for Hollywood. Gwyneth Paltrow hosted the president and informed him, “you’re so handsome I can’t speak properly”. Then she allowed, “it would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all the power he needs”.

The Paltrow performance sent TMZ over the edge:

It’s the latest example of how demeaning it has become for Presidents to act like circus animals — performing for crowds that will feed them … in this case, feed them with money to line political coffers.

It’s revolting that celebrities and other rich people feel such a need for self-importance — contributing money but ONLY if they can have their picture taken with the president and tell their friends they had dinner with him. If they’re so committed to him, just send him a check and let him stay in Washington and do his job.

Dumb Wars

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Barack Obama called George Bush’s war in Iraq a dumb war. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, doesn’t think his old boss’s own war was so bright either. He says Obama “sort of lost his way”. Panetta’s predecessor, Robert Gates, has said pretty much the same thing. He didn’t think the president “believed in his own strategy”.

Dumb

Speaking of believing in your own strategy, how come these two guys didn’t speak up when it would have made a difference? They both have books to peddle now. They may not be loyal, but they’re not dumb.

Ben Bernanke’s Money

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What good is quantitative easing if Ben Bernanke can’t get a loan? The former Fed chairman confided last week that he was unable to refinance his $850,000 home mortgage. It’s true he’s out of a job but ex-government swells are never out of the money. Bernanke is still making the stuff from thin air (or hot air) by cranking out speeches at more than $200,000 a pop.

Helicopter Ben Bernanke

IBD notes that even Barney Frank now lays some blame on the government for the 2008 banking crisis. It forced banks to lend to risky home buyers and now Dodd Frank is overcorrecting by putting the clamps on the banking industry. Banks have been forced to close branches to pay penalties. They’re sitting on piles of free money but they’re reluctant to lend, even to Helicopter Ben.

In that same speech he also discussed how the government can always avoid deflation by printing more dollars and referred to a statement made by Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winning economist, about using a helicopter drop of money to fight deflation. Since then, Bernanke has had the nickname of “Helicopter Ben.”

 

 

Disney World Government

141005-disney-worldDeparted Secret Service director Julia Pierson wanted the Secret Service to become more like Disney World – more welcoming. Omar Gonzales felt welcome enough to dash through the unlocked front door of the White House with a knife. Former Director Pierson has a legacy. In fact the new culture seems to be taking hold throughout the federal bureaucracy.

Peggy Noonan calls the attitude “the new bureaucratic brazenness”. Actually not so much welcoming as we don’t give a damn what you think.

Everything sounds like propaganda. That will happen when government becomes too huge, too present and all-encompassing. Everything almost every level of government says now has the terrible, insincere, lying sound of The Official Line, which no one on the inside, or outside, believes. The other day, during the big Centers for Disease Control news conference on the Dallas Ebola case, a man from one of the health agencies insisted in burly (and somehow self-satisfied) tones that the nation’s health is his group’s No. 1 priority. And I thought, just like a normal person, “No, your No. 1 priority is to forestall a sense of panic. To do that you’ll say what you need to say. Your second priority, connected to the first, is to assert the excellence and competence of the agency with which you are associated. Your third priority is to keep the public safe.”

Doyle McManus just wants to know what happened to good old American know-how.

I like my Grumpy character – Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. Since Obama threw him under the bus I drew him with tire tracks on his back. Too bad he’s facing you.

Empty Chair for an Empty Suit

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The Obama Under the Bus Body Count rose by one this past week. When the usually reliable Steve Kroft asked the president how ISIS came to power on his watch, Obama blamed National Intelligence boss James Clapper.

Empty Chair

That didn’t sit well with the spooks and they let it be known that Obama is a no show for most intelligence briefings. Obama says, being a 21st Century kind of Commander-In-Chief, he takes his briefings remotely on his I-pad.

Maybe Clint Eastwood was on to something with his empty chair conversation at the 2012 GOP convention.