I think Hollywood could have saved itself some turmoil this year, and made a few bucks in the process, if it had held off on the new Ghostbusters movie and gone for something a little more current. There's a great story sitting on the scriptwriting tarmac, just waiting for the proper writers to put a little creative wind under its wings. It may be seen as a cross between The Price is Right and a State Department version of Casino Royale.
The plot: shady individuals in the U.S. government load up a huge cargo plane with pallets of stacked hundred-dollar bills - close to $400 million in total - and fly them off to Switzerland, where they are covertly exchanged for Swiss Francs, Euros and other currencies, then sent on to Iran. All this under a shroud of secrecy and in the darkness of night. The cargo plane with the mountain of laundered cash lands in Tehran and moments later, another plane takes off with some American hostages, who are now free to return to the United States.
A spokesman for the U.S. State Department (I see Charlie Sheen in this challenging role) claims that there is "no connection" between the release of the hostages and the $400 million delivered to the very same airport where the hostages were waiting to be flown out. And he flatly rejects a statement from one of the hostages who said that they were kept on the tarmac in Tehran for "hours and hours," while their handler told them they were "waiting for another plane (and) if that plane doesn't come, we never let (you) go. " The cash arrives in Tehran; the hostages leave Tehran. No connection. Pure coincidence.
In real life, this would be very, very hard to believe, but as a movie, it's as credible as any. The problem is that it's not a movie. It's this week's real news. So when U.S. President Barack Obama, wearing the smile of a cat belching on its way past an empty goldfish bowl, tells Americans and the world that the cash and the hostages have "nothing to do" with each other, some people - at least those over the age of 10 who are not employed by MSNBC - are a little troubled.
They are probably the same cynical skeptics who raised an overworked eyebrow when Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton went on national television to tell America that FBI Director James Comey found all her statements to be "truthful," right after he invalidated nearly every statement she had ever made about her private email server.
We should remember that on the matter of truth and how to escape its embracing tentacles, cloud its appearance and erase its presence, Clinton has trained at the dojo of the great sensei himself, the Houdini of equivocation and denial, Bill Clinton. But for Hillary Clinton, it may also be the case that her capacity for taking what has just been said and claiming that it actually meant the opposite derives from a past trauma.
Could it stem from the post-traumatic stress from the time she "was under sniper fire in Bosnia?" After all, battle stress from non-existent bullets fired by non-existent snipers can leave a secretary of state unnerved. This could easily lead her to imagine, for example, that an unseen video triggered the Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead, when all the world knows otherwise - that terrorists saw an under-defended American embassy on an anniversary of 9/11 and stormed it, leaving its ambassador and four others murdered.
But why acknowledge the many confusions and contortions contained in her statements, when she could simply dismiss the truth? As Clinton herself so plangently put it, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" This is the same tact taken by Obama when he declared of his health-care policy - on numerous occasions, I might add - that, "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan; if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor; if you like your hospital, you can keep your hospital." These were all lies - explicit, unqualified, and direct lies - every time they were spoken.
On big things and small, Obama and Clinton seem more alike each day. Perhaps that is why Obama is so invested in seeing her take over from him. They both share an exceptional insouciance when it comes to asserting that what is the case is actually not the case, and what is not the case is the case. Considering this affinity, and their sovereign dexterity in exchanging reality for fiction, it is no wonder he sees her as the "most qualified person in American history to be president."
Exactly. Just like the planeload of cash that had nothing to do with the release of the hostages.