Tax Day 2024

Happy April 15, a day most salaried workers in America believe should be recognized as April Fools Day when they compare their effective tax rate to those of real estate developers, day traders and hedge fund managers whose net worth dwarfs their own.  But that’s not what I came here to talk about.  Over the past 48 hours Americans have been subjected to a flood of “malarky” that has taxed the human brain beyond any sense of credulity. 

New Hampshire Governor Chris SuNoNo

During Sunday’s edition of ABC’s “This Week,” anchor George Stephanopoulos asked the New Hampshire governor about his support of Donald Trump in spite of his previous statements affirming Donald Trump’s role in the failed January 6, 2000 coup d’état. “You believe that a president who contributed to an insurrection should be president again?”  In a response that could only be imagined as a future teaching moment in Tying Oneself into a Pretzel 101 at the University of New Hampshire, Sununu explained:

His actions absolutely contributed to that. There’s no question about that. I hate the election denialism of 2020. Nobody wants to be talking about that in 2024. I think all of that was absolutely terrible. The reason I am supporting not just the president, but a Republican administration.

To be clear, an elected official, upon taking office as governor of the Granite State, must affirm, “I, NAME, do solemnly swear, that I will bear faith and true allegiance to the United States of America and the state of New Hampshire, and will support the constitution thereof. So help me God. (exact working and emphasis contained in Article 84. Oath of Civil Officers in the NH Constitution),”   Despite taking that oath, John Sununu admitted he will take the Constitution for granted (or is that “for granite” in native New Hampshirese), putting it before party, in return for lower taxes and less regulation.

But that is just half the story.  Does Sununu really believe a second Trump administration is going to be anything but a RINO (Republican in name only)?  Does he also believe Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Jeffrey Clark, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Vivek Ramaswamy will govern according to the traditional Republican values of Ronald Reagan, much less his own father former NH governor John Sununu. Let me paraphrase the late Texas senator Lloyd Bentsen, “During my time at the National Governors Association, I got to work with John Sununu, I knew John Sununu, I respected John Sununu.  Chris Sununu, you’re no John Sununu.”

The Road Very Seldom Taken

A quote often attributed to Oscar Wilde is, “When opportunity knocks, open the door.”  This was never more true than this weekend when Iran and its supported network of terror organizations launched a barrage of drones and missiles at Israel in retaliation for the targeted strike that killed an Iranian general in Damascus.  Fortunately, there was minimal property damage and a single injury (ironically a young Bedouin girl).  This outcome was due in part to support from U.S., British and (yes) Jordanian defense forces, one more sign Sunni Arab nations understand the value of alliances with Israel to deter Iranian aggression.

On Sunday morning, Iran’s mission to the United Nations released a statement declaring the drone and missile attack to be sufficient retaliation.  “The matter can be deemed concluded.”  In a subsequent phone call with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Biden advised the Israeli government to “take the win” and avoid any regrettable action that might increase the potential for a full-scale regional war.  The Israeli war cabinet has suggested otherwise but only time will tell if that is bluster or a promise of an actual military response.

Biden also suggested Israel’s next moves should be strategic rather than tactical.  It does not take a McArthur Genius Award winner to understand the Iranian attack is an opportunity to address multiple Israeli strategic goals. 

  • Secure release of all the surviving hostages.
  • Reverse widespread condemnation of Israel’s execution of the war by the international community.
  • Grow and solidify alliances with its Sunni Arab neighbors.

On today’s edition of “Morning Joe,” Israeli government spokesman Avi Hyman seemed to have opened that door.  First, he reminded viewers that Israel is still David, not Goliath.  In reference to Iran, Hyman said, “This is a large country attacking a small country.  It is funding its proxies in terror since the Islamic revolution, whether it’s Hezbollah, Hamas the Houthis, etc.”  He then thanked the U.S., Britain, and “allies in the region” who helped repel the missile attack.

However, when Politico reporter Jonathan Lamere asked whether Israel would heed Biden’s advice, Hyman replied:

As a sovereign nation we will have to make decisions in the best interest of defending our country.  At the beginning of the war we were told not to rush into Gaza, do not go in hotheaded. And we didn’t.  We waited it out.  We went in cool, calm and collected.

Yes, the ultimate decision how best to defend itself lies with Israelis and their government.  To suggest that the response to the October 7 terrorist attack was “cool, calm and collected” is less than credible in light of airstrikes less than 24 hours after Hamas’ attack and the use of bunker bombs in civilian-populated areas.

Political leaders seldom get a chance for a “redo.”  And on those rare occasions, they seldom learn the lessons of their own mistakes.  Hopefully, this time will be different.

The Latest Moon Shot

In his September 1962 speech at Rice University, President John F. Kennedy said, “We go to the moon, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”  On Friday, House Speaker Mike Johnson gave Ukraine, Israel and U.S. national security a different kind of moon shot by again complicating the passage of the Senate supplement aid package.  He might as well have explained his actions this way.  “We stall this legislation, not because it is hard, but because MAGA likes to make the easy things hard if not impossible.”

Johnson was not the only MAGite citing the threat to Israel from the largely repelled Iranian drone and missile attack without acknowledging the constant destruction and death in Ukraine resulting from drones and missiles launched from by Putin’s Russia.  Therefore, one must ask, why is it okay for the U.S. to actively participate in the downing of Iranian armaments but the MAGA leadership in the House delays funding for Ukrainians to protect their territory without U.S. military forces involvement?  Could it be the influence of extreme evangelicals on MAGA party policies?  If so, would the situation be reversed if the “rapture” was dependent on every Ukrainian returning to their homeland, instead of Jews returning to Israel?

For what it’s worth.