The Thinker: Rich Galen

  
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2017 - Goodbye and Good Riddance

Rich Galen

Monday January 1, 2017

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  • Riddance from Merriam-Webster.com:
    1: An act of ridding

    2: DELIVERANCE, RELIEF -often used in the phrase good riddance especially to express relief that someone or something has gone

  • Let me repeat something many of you have often mentioned in emails: I've been cranky most of the year. And, when I write "most of the year" I mean beginning at just after noon on January 20 (about when Michael Flynn began attempting to monetize his short-lived appointment as National Security Advisor) through about noon December 31.

  • I apologize to all of you for that, and my sole - or at least one of my few - New Year's Resolutions is to lighten up.

  • A lot.

  • Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States. He is our President. Many of you find that good and comforting. I don't, but I'm no longer going to obsess about it.

  • Over the holidays someone asked if I would be happier had Hillary Clinton won the election. I said "No. It would have still been a criminal enterprise; just different crimes."

  • That's better, right?

  • Central to this new approach is giving credit to Trump when credit is due to Trump. Even when it's not.

  • For instance, the unemployment rate has dropped from 4.8 percent in January to 4.1 percent in November (the December numbers will be released later this week).

  • Similarly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed on January 20 at 19,732.40. It closed for the year on Friday at 24,719.22. Even accounting for a final hour drop of over 118 points, that still represents a gain of 25.3 percent.

  • Did Donald Trump have much to do with either number? Probably some. But, I know this: If either or both of those markers were reversed over the course of the year, he would be getting all of the blame.

  • On foreign policy we can whine and roll our eyes over everything from a first-week phone argument with the President of Australia to his ongoing war of words with North Korea's Kim Jong-un, but the only bombs that have been dropped (that we know of) have been in Syria and northern Iraq.

  • "At the end of 2014," according to CNN, "ISIS controlled more than 34,000 square miles in Syria and Iraq, from the Mediterranean coast to south of Baghdad."

  • I was worse than that. ISIS was spreading across the Middle East and North Africa like a locust swarm after a rainstorm in the desert.

  • According to US News & World Report:
    "In January [2017], about 35,000 Islamic State group fighters were in Iraq and Syria controlling more than 17,000 square miles - an area roughly the size of Pennsylvania.

    "Now, between 1,000 and 3,000 extremists are occupying less than 2,000 square miles, according to officials at the U.S. military headquarters in Baghdad overseeing the war."
    [Emphases Mine]

  • The Russians, to be sure, played a huge role in helping to reverse the fortunes of ISIS, but Donald Trump has been Commander-in-Chief and he let his Generals do what they thought necessary.

  • As above, if ISIS were sitting in my old office in the Palace in Baghdad, Trump would be taking all of the flak.

  • They aren't and he's not.

  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is moving along. Notwithstanding the never-ending panels on the cable nets trying to peek behind the curtain, the number of people who know where the investigation is, and where it is going can probably be counted without using all the fingers of those new gloves you got as a Christmas present.

  • Again.

  • It is one thing to watch lawyers and former government prosecutors try to tease out what's going on. It is something else to watch political hacks like me prove that it is possible to know less about The Rules of Federal Criminal Procedure than FEC Commissioner Matthew Peterson demonstrated during his confirmation hearing to be a U.S. District Judge.

  • On the afternoon of New Year's Eve in 1980 I made a resolution to stop smoking. That one has held for 37 years. I'll try to keep this resolution for 52 weeks.

  • Happy New Year!

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Merriam-Webster page, to the Unemployment Data, and to Matthew Peterson.

    The Mullfoto is of the Standing Rib Roast just out of the fridge, continuing the D-Day-like process of prepping and cooking it for New Year's Eve dinner.

-- END --

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