My Experience With Depression

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In yesterday’s post, I mentioned my experience with depression a couple of times. I’d like to write about a few aspects of my experience that I hope will be helpful to others who have depression or might experience it in the future. And I hope it’s not too depressing. Also, I promise not to write about it again.

First, the psychiatric medicines. My first experience with serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) was about 17 years ago. I’d asked a doctor to recommend an internist, a family doctor. I didn’t have one at that time. At my first appointment, I expected nothing more than a general physical examination; but after the examination, he said, “You know, you look a little depressed.”

I knew that I wasn’t an easygoing, worry-free kind of guy, but I didn’t think I was depressed. Furthermore, the office visit took place after a day of teaching high school English in one of Philadelphia’s public schools. I am sure I looked tired and somewhat stressed, and besides, doctors make me nervous. He offered me a prescription for Zoloft, one of the new miraculous SSRI drugs at that time. I hadn’t heard of Zoloft, but I had read about Prozac, which supposedly had the magical power to correct a chemical imbalance in your brain and thus transform you into the real you, the person you were meant to be – happy, relaxed, intelligent, and likable. Some asserted that if everyone took Prozac, peace would break out the world over and everyone would be happy.

I hesitated to accept the prescription at first, believing that it was probably not a good idea to take a pill to cure an illness you didn’t think you had. But then I thought it would be like taking a mental vacation, and I never thought I would take it long term, so I filled the prescription.

Within days, I really did feel like a new man. Things that used to upset me now rolled off my back. And I really enjoyed the new me.  I didn’t worry about the idea of taking a pill every day, for this pill (I said to myself) merely corrected an abnormal condition in my brain and thus made me “normal.”  What could be wrong with that?  In addition, there were no unpleasant side effects that I could detect.

After a while, my internist sent me to a psychopharmacologist because he didn’t want to prescribe such drugs anymore. The new doctor, an expert in antidepressants, continued prescribing  Zoloft, saying that if I stopped taking it, my depression would return. I forgot that I hadn’t thought I was  depressed when I started on Zoloft, and that if I was depressed, it was a very mild depression. After all, I seemed to function satisfactorily before Zoloft. I managed to graduate from college, earn a graduate degree, stay married to the same woman for more than 30 years, help raise two wonderful children who now have families of their own, and function pretty well in a highly stressful job. But I couldn’t think of a reason to stop taking Zoloft.

Then, one day the Zoloft stopped working. I had heard about “Prozac poop-out,” but neither the internist nor the psychopharmacologist offered to talk about it. I remember asking the psychopharmacologist about it, and he said it wouldn’t happen. When it pooped out, I felt at first intermittent anxiety that, after a while, became almost constant. Clinical, major depression followed, and no other drug helped very much.

According to reports, one in ten Americans is on antidepressants. I assume that many of those people are not clinically depressed. One person I know takes Zoloft to fight what she calls “irritability,” which, to my knowledge, is not a disease or illness. Many who take antidepressants feel fine most of the time, but take the pill because they want to feel even better. Also there are lots of people on SSRIs who function normally but are mildly depressed, meaning they often feel unhappy. Should doctors promiscuously prescribe antidepressants to such people?  From my experience, I think not.

These people, I believe, should be advised to talk to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or even, if they are religious, their pastor. I know many doctors move patients on to another drug before the original drug stops working. But there is no guarantee that the new drug or any of the others will work.

Another problem one must deal with is doctors. I’d advise patients to be very assertive with their doctors when they prescribe antidepressants. My experience is that doctors can be less than forthcoming about a drug’s side effects. Demand to know all of the possible side effects, and ask your pharmacist to give you a list of them before you start taking a drug. Don’t be surprised if a doctor gets very annoyed by your questions. A lot of doctors can be arrogant and patronizing when questioned. A favorite comeback of my first internist was, “What medical school did you go to?” My psychopharmacologist has a repertoire of condescending insults.  Once when I complained about a drug’s very unpleasant side effects, he came out with “I’m biting my tongue,” which I assumed meant, “How dare you question me, you moron.  I’m dying to tell you what I really think of you and your inane questions, and I’m doing my best to restrain myself.”

I would also ask therapists if they have ever experienced depression. A skillful therapist who has actually experienced depression would be ideal, but probably hard to find.

Finally, stay away from hospital psychiatric units unless you are on the brink of suicide. One day, on my birthday it turned out, I went to a local hospital ER because I was feeling panicky about something and I thought an ER doctor might give me something to relieve it. Unfortunately, I had gone there a couple of days before with the same complaint. The first time, they gave me a tranquilizer, and I went home feeling better. The second time, a social worker was called in. I would advise anyone who goes to the emergency room for anything having to do with depression and/or anxiety to beware of social workers. She was there to interrogate me and her subject for the day was suicide: Did I ever think of suicide, did I have a “plan,” and had I ever attempted it? I stupidly responded that, yes, I had thought of suicide. The fact that I said, no, I didn’t have a plan and, no, I’d never attempted to do it didn’t matter to her. I cannot imagine that anyone with clinical depression doesn’t have thoughts of suicide; indeed, many, if not all of the drugs prescribed for depression can cause suicidal thoughts. From my experience, I would conclude that social workers are not trained in the skill of separating those who think of suicide from those who are likely to do it.

So the social worker strongly urged me to go to the psychiatric ward. As I understand it, they can keep you for only 72 hours and only if you sign off on it. She also described the psych ward as a small, homey place, sort of like a spa.  I remembered seeing ads in Philadelphia Magazine (probably in some doctor’s waiting room) that touted the intensive treatment provided  at the psych ward of this hospital . The way I felt, I thought, Why not? It’s only for a few days and I would get intensive therapy from experienced psychiatrists. So I signed the paper and was off for a few days of helpful therapy, I believed.

Almost as soon as I set foot in the ward, I knew that everything the social worker had said was a lie. My wife was also horrified by the place and we told the resident Nurse Ratched that we had changed our minds.  But the doors were locked.  No, she said, you signed the paper, you’re not going anywhere.

I was shown to my room where my roommate was snoring away in the middle of the day. He was obese, and when awake, walked around the place wearing too small pajamas with weird designs. The room next door held a young woman who screamed and cursed both night and day and argued with people who were present only in her mind.

Next they took away all my possessions, including my belt, shoelaces, and even the little strings that held up pajamas. I know they believed that this was a necessary precaution, but it was still demeaning and disheartening.

I spent the next 3 days sitting in a sort of common room trying to read, which was difficult because of the drugs I was given. Still, I was able to observe what was going on. I did see a few doors with psychiatrists’ names on them, but I rarely saw an actual psychiatrist. The only time I saw one was in the morning when they came in, wrote something in a loose-leaf binder, and left.  The only times I talked to a doctor was on the first day “intake” evaluation and the day before I left for discharge. Nothing that took place between us could be defined as treatment. And we met outside in the common room where everyone could hear what was being said. I never saw any doctor take an “inmate” into a private office for treatment.  Needless to say, I was amazed by their unprofessional behavior.

So most of the day, the inmates (mostly the younger ones) socialized with each other and at night watched television. Yes, there was something called “group therapy.” Out of boredom, I attended two such sessions. The first one was a group “project” in which we were supposed to make a truck or something out of pieces of cardboard. I stayed about 10 minutes. In the other one we sat around a table and were asked to identify and discuss our most “positive” experience. During this “group therapy,” the woman next to me continuously drew with her finger imaginary circles in the air. I left after 5 minutes. And that was it for three days, and I cannot get those days out of my mind. It was worse than prison; in prison at least, you are permitted to go outside daily for some fresh air.

So beware of social workers and other “mental health workers” who want to send you to a psych ward. And the ward in which I spent 3 days is reputed to be the best in the area!

To be fair, I have to say that there was one member of the staff who treated me like a real human being. His job was to order and dispense medicine to the inmates, but he did much more. He did everything he could to make me and others as comfortable as he could.  He understood that this was a very unpleasant experience for me and let me know that he didn’t think I belonged there.  He also asked me once why I was doing this to myself. An interesting and, I think, an important question that was the closest I came to therapy during my stay.

A lot of the time, nowadays, I am feeling better. I do things that I avoided before, like going out, talking to friends, and traveling. Writing this blog seems to be therapeutic as well. Still, it has been a rough ride.

Missy

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Missy, her sister, and her mother

Missy is my wife’s sister-in-law. She lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband Allan. Raised in Southern California, Missy at first looked to my wife Eleanor and me to be sort of an airhead Valley Girl. It was probably the way she dressed and her hair style at the time. I think that, at the same time, she considered us to be East Coast, intellectual-wannabe snobs. Anyway, we didn’t like each other when we first met.

However it didn’t take long before we learned how wrong we were about Missy. The first thing I noticed was her wicked sense of humor. Then I discovered her warm smile and kindness. A couple of years ago, we visited Missy and Allen to attend their daughter Lindsay’s wedding. I was beginning to descend into a depression that made me feel that my family and friends disliked me. Missy and I talked for a couple of hours, and she convinced me (at least during that visit) that I was wrong. Her smile, her warmth, and her obvious honesty were amazingly therapeutic.

We also learned that Missy is an extremely talented folk artist. Christmas objects of art is one of her specialties. She crafts beautiful angels and incredibly detailed Santas (with all sorts of handmade miniature toys in his sack), as well as lots of other kinds of folk art. An expert seamstress, she makes clothing: shirts, dresses, and more. Most astoundingly, she is a skilled  woodworker; her bedroom set is just one example of the furniture she has made with powerful, often dangerous (if you aren’t skilled) tools.

But to me, her most impressive quality is her courage, what Hemingway termed “grace under pressure.” Six years ago we all got together in Palm Desert, California for my father-in-law’s 90th birthday (he’s still chugging along today). As I remember it, a couple of days before the party, Missy felt very ill. Allen took her to the hospital where the doctors discovered a tumor in her heart. A few days later, she returned to Vancouver where a surgeon removed a baseball-sized tumor, which was found to be malignant. Doctors gave her 14 months to live.

It was a year and half later that we flew to Vancouver to attend Lindsay’s wedding. And there was Missy–smiling, laughing, funny as usual. It was as if the surgery, the months of unpleasant chemotherapy, and the doctor’s belief that she would soon die had never happened to her. As I mentioned before, it was during that visit that Missy took the time to comfort me when I was moaning and groaning that nobody cared for me.

The wedding was beautiful.  Missy’s brother, sister and mother–all cancer survivors– were there; smiling, warm, and friendly. Just like Missy. Missing was a brother who had died from cancer years ago. Another of Missy’s brothers had had cancer surgery on his jaw, as I remember, and a part of the jaw had been removed, but it didn’t seem to affect his happy, warm demeanor.

Just about two months ago, Missy had a setback.  The tumor in her heart had returned and surgeons removed it again. A few hours after the surgery, Missy was out of her room and smiling as usual for the picture Allan sent us. But soon after, they discovered blood on her brain. They believed she had had a stroke. Whatever it was, she lost most of her peripheral vision. She also developed sarcomas on her scalp and had “spots” on her liver.

Meanwhile, Lindsay was close to giving birth to Allan and Missy’s first grandchild. Missy and everyone else hoped that Missy would make it long enough to see her. She was born recently and Missy was delighted.

This morning I awoke as I usually do since becoming depressed. I call it my morning rant, which the Webster Dictionary defines thusly: “to talk loudly and in a way that shows anger; to complain in a way that is unreasonable.” In the middle of my morning rant, my wife came in with her phone and showed me an email from her brother. Doctors had discovered another tumor, this time in Missy’s brain. The prognosis?  Days, not weeks. The email ended my morning rant of self-pity in an instant.

Allan reminded us that Missy had proven the doctors wrong before and he believed she could do it again.  One thing I know is that, if anyone can do it, Missy can.

A week or so ago, I spoke  on the phone with Allan.  He told me that Missy had said to him recently that the thought of suicide had passed through her mind.  Allan jokingly asked her not to mess up the bathroom.  Missy’s response:  That’s OK, the cleaning lady comes tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

It Was Obama, Not Hillary

Melania, Donald, And Barron Trump At Home Shoot

In my last post, I didn’t get into why I think Obama elected Trump. From Trump’s astonishing victory, I can only conclude that an awful lot of people in this country are utterly fed up with politicians.

Almost all politicians today say nothing that isn’t the result of “focus grouping” and polling. Obama put together his two victories by tailoring every word he publicly uttered to please the groups who came out in droves to vote for him.  Obama (and now all Democrats) suck up to the following constituencies: single women, blacks, gays, public service unions, “intellectuals,” and Hispanics, both legal and illegal. Members of these groups usually live off the government either partially or entirely with Democratic encouragement. Think about that cartoon put out by and promoting the Obama campaign that approvingly depicted the life of a woman under Democratic rule, living from cradle to grave on the taxpayers’ dime.

Obama, the one time social worker, knew how to press all the right buttons, and he never strayed from the “talking points” designed specifically for his voters. To be fair, almost all politicians speak only focus-grouped talking points. It’s just that Obama was really good at it; as they say, he was never “off message.”

This election means that a lot of people finally have woken up to the fact that ultra-liberal politicians like Obama were trying to create a different kind of country from the one they thought they lived in.  And they were fed up with it.

Trump’s brilliant (yes, brilliant) insight was that he recognized that the fed-up constituency could be mobilized by the right kind of personality into a force powerful enough to win the presidency. He understood that such a personality had to be not a little different from the usual politician; rather, he had to be flamboyantly different. Like Max Bialystock,  Mel Brooks’s character in The Producers said, “If you got it, flaunt it.” Well, Trump understood what was going on in the country; he knew he had what the fed-up wanted (a candidate with a lot of chutzpah), and he was more than ready to flaunt it.

Thus Trump never uttered talking points. His style was to be utterly spontaneous; whatever thought ran through his head came immediately out of his mouth – uncensored and uncut. This of course horrified the Obama constituency, particularly the very influential intelligentsia in the media and the universities. The more Trump horrified artistes like actress Meryl Streep (who I very much agree is overrated), the more Trump and his antics delighted Hillary’s “deplorables.” He responded immediately to all in the media who criticized him. The more insulting Trump’s responses, the better. Trump’s people felt, correctly I believe, that these obnoxiously biased media people have been getting away with murder for decades, and no one (even the hated Fox News Channel) could do anything about it. Fox presents an alternative to liberalism while maintaining a modicum of “dignity” traditionally considered appropriate for TV. Trump modeled his persona  on the conservative talk show guys like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin.

Besides the obvious favoritism Obama and Democrats shower upon their voters, the fed-up have had it with racial quotas, political correctness, and of course illegal immigrants. The fed-up saw racial favoritism in the schools, the universities, and even business. Even though various Supreme Court decisions seemed somewhat to limit such favoritism, the fed up saw no evidence that, for example,  the universities were conforming to these limits. Academia always seemed to have a way to get around any limits the courts might impose.  And few politicians had the courage to complain.

American style political correctness, as I remember, started up in the late 1980s and early 90s. As British historian Paul Johnson said, and I paraphrase: In the beginning political correctness seemed a minor nuisance, usually confined to certain universities. But before long, it descended on the West like a phosgene gas. As a result, many  parents were shocked to find their kids returning from college transformed  from teenagers mostly interested in sports and the opposite sex into fully indoctrinated authoritarians behaving like Leninists. These kids employed the new jargon of political correctness to beat the uninformed over the head. So cripples became the “physically challenged” and those we once called bums became “the homeless.” Writer Mark Steyn ironically coined the phrase “undocumented Americans,”  a politically correct term for illegal immigrants or (God forbid) wetbacks. Anybody who didn’t get with the new jargon could expect a tongue lashing. Public figures were especially vulnerable to attack when they spoke at universities.

Illegal immigration, Trump recognized, was an issue that really got to the fed-up. Few politicians were willing to do anything else but pander to the Hispanic vote. The usual talking point was, “Well, we can’t round up and deport thirty million people and their kids.” The fed-up believe, even if they don’t go around saying it, that there are lots of murderers, rapists, thieves and other nefarious types who get away with their crimes. As I have read, it is extremely difficult to get a jury to convict a murderer who is a gang member because witnesses know  the gang will go after them if they testify against the accused. The fed-up believe you can’t catch and deport every illegal immigrant just like you can’t catch or convict every murderer, but that doesn’t mean we give up trying to solve such crimes and punish the perpetrators. So the fed-up say:  Try to arrest and deport those here illegally because they naively believe that the law ought to be enforced. The fed-up are well aware that it is impossible to catch and deport every illegal immigrant. They say: Do the best you can.

Thus, the fed-up really don’t care about Trump’s vulgarity. They are tired of smooth -talking con artists like Obama. They are tired of the biased media and self-righteous movie stars.They are tired of youthful left wing enforcers of political correctness. And they are tired of a government that refuses to enforce the law when it offends their political supporters. They want someone in the White House who  will aggressively fight against the promoters of special interest, identity politics and who will concentrate on what they want: a strong, private sector economy; reasonable tax rates; vigorous law enforcement; free speech; and a culture based on merit rather than color and ethnicity. The fed-up think that of all the candidates running for President, Trump is the only one with the guts and independence to fight for that kind of political culture, for that kind of country. And as far as they are concerned, the more “offensive” tweets responding to the media and self-righteous movie stars, the better.

 

 

You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Til It’s Gone

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Donald Trump will become president in a few days and Barack Obama is leaving. Or is he?  Reportedly, Obama is staying in Washington where he will regularly blast his present and past opponents (in a “dignified” manner, of course) on CNN and MSNBC. Many believe that Trump won because Hillary was a bad candidate, that she is lacking both charisma  and honesty. I think that was part of it, but the bigger problem for her, I believe, was really Barack Obama.

But first I should mention that the Democrats are going through major depression and anxiety  over the thought of Trump as president. Their behavior is more extreme than at any other time I can remember when their candidate lost. Even Nixon’s comeback victory didn’t provoke such an unhinged reaction from liberals. My favorite is the idea that Trump will bring to America the Orwellian, European custom of the midnight knock on the door followed by  storm troopers dragging away some hapless “criminal of the state.”

Meryl Streep most prominently suggested this scenario on some TV awards show.  I didn’t see it, but I read that she singled out actor Ryan Gosling as an example of a prime target of the coming Trump Fascist state. Gosling’s problem, you see, is he is Canadian, so according to Streep, he’d better pack up and return to Canada now before  Trump’s Gestapo knocks down his door and drags him away to the concentration camp.

The other side of the liberal reaction to Trump is the over-the-top tributes and the rending of garments over Obama’s departure. One example is New York Times columnist Charles Blow’s canonization of our next ex-president:

 But there was a calm in the midst of the storm, a rock of familiarity and stability and strength: On Tuesday night, President Obama delivered his farewell address in his adopted hometown, Chicago, as a forlorn crowd looked on, realizing the magnitude of the moment, realizing the profundity of its loss.

As the old saying goes: You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

I believe that “old saying” is from a Joni Mitchell Mitchell song from the 1960’s, but maybe Blow is young enough to think of the 60’s as the old days.

Still when I think of the Obama administration, the words “calm in the midst of the storm, a rock of stability and strength” do not come to my mind. Nor do I consider his leaving a moment of magnitude or a profound loss. First of all, Obama was probably the most divisive president I can remember. He spent almost his entire eight years campaigning around the country standing in front of worshipful groups of supposedly ordinary citizens where he would portray Republicans as obstructionist, Wall Street toadies and himself as a defender of the poor, the sick, the elderly, and the mostly Hispanic immigrants, illegally in the country as they may be.

That wet kiss for Obama wasn’t enough for Blow:

Whether you have approved of the Obama presidency as a matter of policy or not, it is impossible to argue that Obama was not a man of principle. Whether you agree with individual decisions or the content of his rhetoric, it is impossible to argue that he did not conduct himself with dignity and respect and that he did not lead the country with those values as a guiding light.

And the grand finish:

But none of those differences in opinions about strategy injured in any way my profound respect for the characteristics of the man we came to take for granted: bracingly smart, exceptionally well educated, literate in the grand tradition of the great men of letters. He was scholarly, erudite, well read and an adroit writer…And he was an orator for the ages.

A man of principle?  Remember: “If you want to keep your [health insurance] plan, you can”? Remember all the promises Obama made while negotiating tax policy which he always broke later and then blamed the Republicans for the collapse.

Furthermore, he did not conduct himself with dignity and respect. Remember the whisper to the then premier of Russia that after his last election he would be free to reverse himself on Russia policy? Was it dignified to do shtick with Jimmy Fallon on late night TV?

Finally we are told about Obama’s being “exceptionally well educated, literate in the grand tradition” [whatever that means], “erudite, well read and an adroit writer.” How does Blow know that Obama was well educated when we were never allowed to see any of his school records? Remember when Obama pronounced the word corps as corpse? Would an exceptionally well educated person, literate in the grand tradition and erudite do that? Unlike previous presidents Bush, Clinton, and Kennedy, for example, whose records were either voluntarily released or leaked to the press, Obama’s school records were apparently Top Secret. Also, his writing is not adroit; it is amateurish.

Donald Trump was not my first choice for the Republican nomination. He wasn’t even on my list. I was shocked by his victory and have a lot of doubts about him. But I don’t consider his election a catastrophe as the liberal community does.

Somehow I think Ryan Gosling and the “brave” Meryl Streept (because she attacked Trump on TV) have nothing to fear from Trump unless they are terrified that Trump will “tweet” that they are “overrated.”

As Tom Wolfe once wrote about liberal fantasies, “The long dark night of Fascism is always descending on America, but it always actually lands in Europe.”

 

The White Woman Who Would Be Black

Then there’s the story of the white woman who tried to “pass” for black. Was it to get a job with the NAACP, which she apparently has or had? Here’s a white woman with two biological white parents who has been pretending for years that she’s black.

Of course, we’ve been told that to suggest that there might be an advantage nowadays to being black is racist. Light skinned blacks have been “passing” for a long time. Phillip Roth even wrote a book about such a man who was based on a real writer, whose name I can’t recall right now.

The truth is that there are substantial advantages to being black. College admissions and other preferences are one obvious perk. They may be in the service of “diversity”, but they are still an advantage.  Or as George Will recently noted, some people enjoy being  putative victims, which is assumed to be a part of the black identity.

Would white criminals be ever considered victims of police brutality and the cause of mass demonstrations and disruption the way blacks have been in the wake of Ferguson, Baltimore and the rest?

If this woman wanted to be a real victim, she might have tried to pass for Asian. Then she would’ve run into quotas used against her for school admissions and other opportunities.  A recent law suit against Harvard for discriminating against Asians is illustrative of anti-Asian bias. The problem, it seems, is that there are just too many academically talented Asians who would completely dominate the elite educational system if scholastic talent were the only admissions requirement. Again, it’s diversity – not racism; all for a good cause. Forget about the Asian student who is passed over in favor of a “minority” whose test scores are over a hundred points lower than the Asian.

Then again, maybe this woman just likes and admires black people and wants to be one of them. As Jerry Seinfeld once noted:  Is it racist to like another’s race?

 

No More Firsts, Please

Hillary is a woman. That seems to be the only reason she’s basically unopposed for the Democratic presidential nomination. Yes, she has “name recognition” which nowadays is of utmost importance. Who out there knows Bernie Sanders or the former governor of Maryland? Quickly, what’s his name and could you pick him out a lineup? Ok, he’s Martin O’Malley and apparently he once had the dubious distinction of also being mayor of Baltimore, which has come to symbolize all that’s wrong with American inner cities.

So we know Hillary, but what makes her a shoe-in for president? Do I really need to list her non-accomplishments and her truck load of dubious baggage?

OK, just off the top of my head: non-existent “re-set” with Russia. In fact the reset emboldened Russia to go on a rampage in Ukraine and Crimea. She ignored security concerns in Libya and then tried to blame Benghazi on a video. And who can forget the immortal words: “At this point what difference does it make?” if a couple of guys get a yen to go kill Americans. I mean, who cares if they were merely offended TV watchers or Al Qaeda? Well, apparently an awful lot of folks don’t see what difference it makes given the lead Hillary has.

And then there’s the Clinton Foundation money pot. It’s amazing that she and her husband haven’t been indicted.

But the Democrats want their “First Woman President” just like they got their First African American President? Me? I’m ready for a second Harry Truman or Ronald Reagan or an American Margaret Thatcher. If it has to be a first woman, someone like The Iron Lady would fit the bill quite nicely.

Deja Vu All Over Again

I haven’t written for a while. Politics is so repetitive and, frankly, boring. nowadays. There’s Obama who seems to be immune from any scandal. Overall, the media backs him,no matter how incompetent and petulant he is. Scandals come and go despite this or that senator or congressman pledging to “get to the bottom” of every outrage: Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious. The list is endless and no one gets to the bottom of anything and no one is held accountable.

Hillary ought to be considered a joke, but she seems to be on her way back to the White House (with Bill) despite the sleaze she and her husband are mired in.

Except for isolationist Rand Paul, the Republican candidates seem vastly superior to Hillary, but we can count on the media to denigrate them mercilessly. So Jeb Bush misunderstood the question about Iraq: Would he have gone into Iraq knowing then what he knows now? Big deal. Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, Lindsay Graham all seem sensible and knowledgeable and are at least relatively forthcoming about what they really think, unlike Hillary.

The fact is that the weapons of mass destruction argument was only a small part of the rationale for getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He was in violation of more than a dozen binding UN resolutions, and after 9/11, the West, led by America, had to make a stand against Middle East outlaws. The U.S. put up with one Arab/Islamic outrage after another from Arafat’s assassination of the U.S. ambassador to the Sudan to the Achille Laurel, to the blowing up of the Marine barracks in Lebanon and more, culminating in the 9/11 attack.

We should have gone to war against Iran when they took our embassy hostages back in 1979. We should never have allowed the religious fanatics to take over a large important country like Iran. But the fact that they got away with their storming of the embassy and holding of our hostages only encouraged more of this nuttiness, and led directly to 9/11 and the current ISIS obscenity

The Courageous Adam Silver

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Among the many characteristics I find most annoying about liberals is their belief that whatever their stand on a controversy, it is by definition : Courageous.

Take the comically absurd auto-da-fe carried about by  NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the entire media/Obama complex against one rich old guy, LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, for saying something (declared horribly offensive to black people) to his half-black girlfriend who was illegally recording the conversation. As a result Adam Silver has been declared worthy of the Media Medal of Honor which our chief executive will probably bestow on him at a solemn ceremony at the, dare I say it?, White House. Maybe I’m exaggerating the White House ceremony bit, but nowadays I go to bed at night with the firm feeling that They can’t do that, only to awake and find that They did It!

Of course, Silver’s defenestration of Sterling has produced a shit storm of abuse heaped on him by…whom? You wanted to show real courage, Adam? You should have called a press conference and said: What a team owner says in a private conversation (especially one illegally recorded) is none of the NBA’s business, and if the players don’t like it, they can refuse to play and thus not receive their obscenely generous salaries, period (as Barack likes to say).

But just when I think this orgy of self-righteousness could not get worse, I read the following in a story by Matthew Continetti in Commentary Magazine:

“It was real leadership,” consultant Doug Sosnik told Ron Fournier of National Journal, in what has to be my favorite entry in the catalogue of Adam Silver tongue-baths. Sosnik was complimenting the leadership skills of one of his clients; he was cheering Silver for taking his paid advice. And Sosnik was doing this in an interview with his friend Fournier, with whom he (and former Bush adviser Matthew Dowd) co-wrote a book in 2006. The Fournier column, then, is a triple self-advertisement, a free commercial for Sosnik’s business, Sosnik’s book, and Sosnik’s client. Impressive!"

Yes, indeed.

Welcome to the New Age Army

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Among all the questions that need to be answered, but probably never will be given the nature of the Obama administration and its media groupies, is whether or not the Army properly screens its volunteer wannabe soldiers.

Call me out-of-it but shouldn’t the home schooling, the hippy-dippy parents (again with the pony tail), the interest in Eastern religions (not to mention the ballet lessons) have raised a few red flags at Bergdahl’s local Army recruiting office?  Does the Army understand that not everyone is cut out to be a soldier?

What I fear is that to Obama and to those who run the New Age army in a way that satisfies the feminist, gay, LGBT and multiculti industries, a “sensitive soul” like Bergdahl was (and is) just the kind of guy they were looking for.

It’s Over!

The other night, I watched about 15 minutes of a tribute to the great comedian Don Rickles. I turned it off when Rickles came out using a walker and with a frightened, bewildered look in his eyes. This was definitely not the Don Rickles I remember, but I give him credit for having the guts to appear on television in such an alarming state of decrepitude.

No, it wasn’t Rickles that I found so annoying. Rather, it was the many preening “celebrities” the camera kept dwelling on. Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese were present which was tolerable because they actually knew and worked with Rickles, but unless I missed the connection, what the f–k does Johnny Depp have to do with Don Rickles?

 It was kind of like those usually absurd “American Masters” documentaries where someone like Billy Crystal is called upon to hold forth on anyone  from Mark Twain to  Pete Seeger. It’s like the “clergyperson” who’s paid to eulogize a person he or she never met.  Embarrassing.

Just as irritating was the constant cutting away to “celebrities” (none of whom I recognized, but then I’m an out of touch old fart), who were all young and good looking, the sole purpose of which, obviously, was to provide eye candy to the viewers. All of these twenty-somethings looked just as bewildered as Rickles, like who the hell are they talking about up there  and why am I here?

Here’s the bottom line:  Don Rickles is an old guy from another era, so why not have more people in the audience who actually enjoyed Rickles in his prime or even know who he is?

Which leads me to a recent Rolling Stones concert in London that was shown on HBO. Like with the Rickles show, the camera kept going to the audience which seemed to be comprised entirely of sexy 20 year olds with their boobs hanging out. Now I love 20 year old boobs as much as the next guy, but do you (HBO and the Stones) really want me to believe that people that young are really your most ardent fans? Where’s the pot-bellied old bald guy (with the requisite pony tail) who actually comes to your concerts and listens to your songs?

As Don Rickles would say:  Mick, just between me and you: It’s over!Image