Friday, May 22, 2015

A repeat of a previous post:

This morning www.washingtonspectacle.com sadly–and happily–remembers the great actor, Robin Williams. And I remember him personally because he played a part in my life, far away from the glitz of Hollywood television and movie studios.
 When I was a young man, growing up in New York City, I used to sit on the steep steps out in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with hundreds of Sunday strollers and tourists. There, slightly uncomfortable with my back wedged against the stiff stone of the steps, I would pass the time watching a young mime perform his smooth magic. At the end of his brief show, he would pass the hat and the people who had been watching his amazing work would eagerly support him with their quarters and dollars. The mime was always gracious, always appreciative, and he would go on to do many shows for the rest of the long afternoon. And then, the next Sunday, he would be back in the same spot.
 Robin Williams made people feel good about life, and about themselves; generations of people laughed and cried along with him. But before the big TV break, or the Academy Award, Robin Williams performed live and made people smile.

 That mime in front of the Metropolitan Museum, all those years ago, was Robin Williams. Good Night, Robin.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why Hillary Clinton is Not Inevitable




Everyone has already made up their minds–Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party as their next presidential candidate. It seems so unavoidable that the candidate is not even bothering to talk to the press, or for that matter, the American people. Why talk to anyone when you can spend that valuable time measuring the drapes for the Lincoln bedroom? But is Hillary really all that inevitable?
A few years back a candidate announced that he was running for Governor of New York. There were all sorts of assumptions about who the next Governor was going to be and there were some pretty formidable candidates already in the field. At some late date, a new name entered the race and I remember thinking at the time that this candidate must be crazy for throwing his hat into an already overcrowded ring. There was absolutely no possibility of this candidate gaining any traction with voters–and besides, there wasn’t enough time left for a viable candidacy to reach the hearts and minds of the huge New York electorate. I remember wondering who this man was, this deluded, confused Democrat who would put all his effort into an apparently Quixotic campaign?
A few months later, the answer came in the form of his resounding victory in the Gubernatorial elections. That sad Don Quixote had moved swiftly past the other more well-known contenders, and won the New York. His name was Hugh Carey.
And I never again assumed anyone was unelectable. Hillary may seem like the next president, but there are many months until election day. The next president may be someone we haven’t heard from yet. Someone by the name of Don  Quixote.

A SPECIAL NOTE: I am about to begin a Kickstarter campaign and I would like to ask anyone who’s interested in this blog, WASHINGTONSPECTACLE.COM to participate. The campaign begins June 1, 2015 and it’s called “Help Me Write a New Novel–And Then Give it Away FREE (FOREVER). I am going to write a 500 page novel called “Magic Blue City” about “swinging” Miami Beach of the 1960s and with the help of Kickstarter supporters I’ll be able to distribute the ebook without cost for the life of the book. This has never been done before. Be a modern day Medici and support the writing of an original novel by a veteran novelist and journalist. Please check out the Kickstarter campaign when it appears next week and support me if you can. My other 8 novels are for sale at Amazon as we speak!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Terrible Nose of the 2016 Political Season




There is an awful lot of noise out there, folks. That’s because–like it or not–the political season has begun (this year, earlier than ever). Unlike other civilized societies (Britain, much of Europe, and even a few third-world countries) the Presidential season in America lasts as long as the politicians feel the need to spew their verbal commercial vomit. In those other countries the campaign season is limited and brief. The UK just elected their new (and old) Prime Minister in a campaign that lasted a whole six weeks!
Here in the U.S. we are faced with the spectacle of a Republican Party where almost every possible candidate has declared, is about to declare, or is threatening to declare a candidacy. The “front runner,” is not even officially running but everyone has decided he’s the one to beat. And by the way, that front runner is the candidate that most people say they do not want to see running at all, Jeb (brother-son) Bush. Why is Bush the front runner? Because everyone thinks he is. On the other side we have the equally distressing spectacle of a Democratic Party that has all but thrown up its collective hands, deciding there is no–and cannot be any–alternative to the presumed party standard-bearer, Hillary Clinton (or as the pundits and anti-Hillary folks like to call her, “Hillary.”
So once again, American voters are confronted with a choice between a Bush and a Clinton. Boring! Boring! Boring! And, of course, this raises the obvious question: if we are going to have to choose between two oh-so-very well known candidates, why is it necessary to have an election cycle that goes on and on for almost two years?
The answer is this: there is so much at stake in the next few years, and there are so many interested parties here, that the parties (that’s small p) want to carry on the discussion as long as possible. And let’s be frank: an awful lot of people love this stuff and want it to go on as long as possible. And there’s money to be made by all those officials, consultants, planners and potential future diplomats.
It’s going to be a long campaign season, the longest ever. Fasten your seat belts, America. There’s going to be a bad case of jet lag after this one.

A SPECIAL NOTE: I am about to begin a Kickstarter campaign and I would like to ask anyone who’s interested in this blog, WASHINGTONSPECTACLE.COM to participate. The campaign begins June 1, 2015 and it’s called “Help Me Write a New Novel–And Then Give it Away FREE (FOREVER). I am going to write a 500 page novel called “Magic Blue City” about “swinging” Miami Beach of the 1960s and with the help of Kickstarter supporters I’ll be able to distribute the ebook without cost for the life of the book. Please check out the Kickstarter campaign when it appears next week and support me if you can. My other 8 novels are for sale at Amazon as we speak!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Why is Washington So Upset over Netenyahu?

So it's happened. Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu has done the unthinkable and appeared in front of the U.S. Congress without first having his visit approved by President Obama and the Democrats. And the Democrats are not pleased. Not pleased at all.
     So we have this: the spectacle of a series of distraught Dems being paraded out in front of the news cameras to denounce Netanyahu's visit in the sharpest possible terms. This is a betrayal of the "special relationship" that Israel has with the United States, they say. Netanyahu has disgraced the President by his actions, he has disgraced the Israeli people, he has spit in the eye of all those who were-and are- so strong in support of the Israeli State and people. How could he have done such a thing-and how could he have done it to the American president who has done so much to show his support for Israel?
     A group of about fifty Democrats did not even bother to attend the speech because they were so outraged. Nancy Pelosi was apparently caught on camera, looking dour and distraught, indeed. The terrible outrage of it all!
     Why has Netanyahu's visit coaxed such vitriol from the mouths of the Democrats, who were always, after all, Israel's biggest supporters? Could it be that the opposition to the Prime Minister's visit has less to do with a perceived breach of protocol, and more to do with a golden opportunity to express a latent antisemitism that has been thus far quashed by a veneer, a pretense of civility? Until now.
     Now the chorus of poo-pooers will say this: whenever anyone disagrees with the Prime Minister of Israel or the policies of the Israeli government, that person is accused of antisemitism.
     But think about this. While it may be true that Netanyahu should not have accepted House Speaker Boehner's rather slippery and ill-timed invitation to address the Congress only two weeks before the Israeli elections, it is also true that the reaction to the visit has been so outsized, so beyond context, that Washington Spectacle can only wonder if the reasons for this "outrage" may have more to do with blatant hatred of the Jews. Yes, folks, that would be the A word-Antisemitism.
     Want proof? Here's a thought: imagine that the Prime Minister of England or the President of France had come to address the Congress, at the invitation of the Speaker of the House. Imagine that the Speaker had extended this invitation only to poke the President of the United States in the eye. Imagine that POTUS and his Party followers were very upset about the visit and the slap in the face by the opposing Party. Imagine that the Party are the Democrats or the Republicans; it doesn't matter.
     Now be honest with yourself. Can you really imagine the opposing Party expressing the kind of hatred, detestation and vitriol that the Democrats have unleashed on Netanyahu in the last two days? Can you imagine a tone of opposition so hard and unforgiving that it often sounds like accusations of treason against the United States by the visiting Dignitary? Forget about it. Would never happen.
     Unless, of course the Prime Minister of England or the President of France happened to be Jewish. All bets might be off at that point.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vladimir Putin, Peacemaker

Another day, another "compromise" from Vladimir Putin. After months and months of sabre rattling, the jolly dictator of Russia has announced that he doesn't think it's likely that Russia and the Ukraine will end up fighting a bloody war that would engulf the region in a cataclysmic catastrophe, probably a precursor to another World War. Isn't that good news? And isn't that just another funny old line from the comedian Vlad, who all along has been leading everyone to think that war is inevitable?

That comical guy just can't stop with the practical jokes. It turns out that Russia never had any troops in Ukraine, to begin with. No, these were all just "sympathetic people" using expensive Russian-made weapons to beat the crap out of the Ukrainian people. Where these "sympathizers" got hold of these weapons is anyone's guess, and Vlad is not venturing to say. Anyway, all is well now, and we can all just lean back and take a collective deep breath. Russian and Ukraine are all ready to play nice. The only ones who haven't gotten this message are those stubborn folks in Ukraine, who just keep dying and dying every day while weapons that came from nowhere continue to bathe their country in rivers of blood. Rivers of blood that aren't manufactured in Russia...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

World War Three Begins

Welcome to World War Three
With each passing day, it is becoming more obvious that the conflict in Syria, Libya and Iraq is something more than a regional conflagration, a set of local issues that will be resolved locally, and without risk to adjoining countries, Europe and the West. It is becoming more obvious that what the world stands on the cusp of is nothing less than world war. That would be World War Three, ladies and gentlemen.
What has the response been to all of this rattling? Confusion and no small measure of shock, minus the awe. With Europe just two hundred miles from the epicenter of a very volatile conflict in Libya, a conflict that has already seen dozens and dozens of beheadings, burnings and barbaric acts, the response has been less than clear and focused. It has been, frankly, weak, ill-focused and flimsy at best.
And what has the nominal Leader of the Free World had to say about all of this? Well, that's a good question, and one that seems to be answered more by deeds--or lack of them--than by serious resolve. Obama seems as frozen-in-place as any of the European leaders. The people who make decisions just don't seem to know what to do about this very new, very untested adversary. And someone had better figure something out quickly because, in a matter of another year or two, we may well find ourselves mired in a conflict that will cost not dozens of human lives--but millions.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson burns, the national media has a collective orgasm

So another day, another riot in America. The dust had far from settled on the decision of the Ferguson grand jury when the rioters were already out on the streets of the small town in Mo. vented their collective distaste for the Jury's decision. Washington Spectacle can easily understand the frustration of the protesters. But it seems to me that there is a more serious issue to address here, and that issue if media complicity in the fires that are raging in Ferguson.
I spent most of the day yesterday watching the coverage of the events in Ferguson from the safe vantage of my bedroom television and frankly, what I saw disgusted me in ways that surprised me. Sure, this is an important news event that is being closely watched all over the United States, and even in far away places abroad. But the coverage of Ferguson yesterday begs the question: when is enough enough?
The press seemed to be collectively salivating like hungry lions at the prospect of a savage riot breaking out if the Jury's findings "went the wrong way." Apparently the media got its wish, because hours later Ferguson was on fire, a fire that the media must take more than a little responsibility for. Let's call it the fire of the agitated broadcasters...

www.robertpricerifkin.com