Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mubarak acquitted

It should come as no surprise to anybody that murder charges against Hosni Mubarak were dropped.  After all, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is considerably more murderous than Mubarak was, and one wouldn't want to set a bad precedent — would one?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving catch-up

There were a number of things I wanted to mention this month, but it's been a little hectic.  Anyway:

Obama acts on immigration
ICE is the largest government agency, and an extraordinary bureaucracy.  Its administrators and agents already have ignored more than a few clear "guidances" from the White House.  Who says they'll follow orders this time.  To wit, Obama has been saying for over a year that he only wants "criminals" deported, to which ICE responded by deporting any "criminal" they caught whose only crime was entering the country illegally.

Bibi and the "Jewish State"
Isn't it bad enough that we already have an "Islamic State," and to hear many on the right express it, a "Christian Nation?"  Arab Israelis already have diminished status in Israel.  The proposed "Jewish State" law would fully institutionalize that, along with the semi-formal apartheid that already exists.

Anybody who ever served on a Grand Jury knows that a prosecutor who makes even a minimal effort gets an indictment, because only the state's version of events is presented to the jurors.  In the Michael Brown case, apparently, the local prosecutor's version was that the police can do no wrong. Robert P. McCulloch, whose whole family was wrapped up with the police force, and whose policeman father was killed by a black man when McCulloch was twelve years old, never should have had jusrisdiction.  The conflicts of interest were just too great.

Chuck Hegel
Chuck's problem, as anybody who was paying attention must know, was that he just wasn't part of Obama's "inner circle," a very exclusive group who have the president's ear, but have not proven themselves especially adept at giving good advice.  Hegel is well out of it, but the Oval Office cabal will be with us for two more years.

Arming the Syrian "moderates"
Who's kidding whom?  All the rebels are intent on overthrowing Assad first and foremost.  They may even work together until he's gone, and only then get down to the business of exterminating each other.

Recip Tayyip Erdogan
The President of Turkey prefers to have Sunni extremists on his border than an independent Kurdistan.  Don't look to him for help in controlling the Islamic State (or in helping to secure the rights of Turkish women.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Keystone XL

The Keystone pipeline is a purely political controversy.  It doesn't much matter, economically, whether it happens or not — albeit, some environmental concerns may have some validity.  If constructed, the general professional perspective is that it will generate between 35 and 50 permanent jobs.  Here and there, some pipeslingers will have work for a year or two, but given current crude oil prices, constructing it is not worth the trouble.

Mary Landrieu, stuck in a probably doomed run-off election, will keep pushing it.  Obama can veto it without losing any support, and maybe gain a little more support from the greenies.  The big problem for Keystone is that oil prices have dropped so low that tar sands oil just can't compete.  Tar sands oil is just too expensive.

Clearly, Obama should use his veto, unless he's still idiotically trying for "across-the-aisle" reconciliation.  That won't happen, so let him screw them every way he can.  Payback's a bitch.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Deporter in Chief vs. "Friend of Latinos"

Barack Obama, whom I have come to sincerely dislike, has presided over more deportations than any previous President — and by a lot.  Latinos in the USofA, who voted overwhelmingly for Our President in 2012, have started to re-evaluate their support, so Our President now is promising Executive Actions to protect, perhaps, five million of the undocumented.  This is the same President, by the way, who told us he didn't think he had legal authority to do so — and not so long ago.

What can we expect of him?  Based on prior experience, we can expect he'll do as little as possible, while spouting as much "inspirational" bullshit as he can.  Will he insist on legal representation for the child immigrants from Central America claiming asylum but already being deported?  Not likely.  Not much matters to him except the "optics."

Okay, maybe now that the Democrats screwed up the midterms, he'll feel "liberated" to take some tough stances against the right wing crazies — but I'm not counting on it.  He spent too much time at the University of Chicago, home of the Hayekian homeboys, and I suspect he was infected.  May the ghost of John Maynard Keynes haunt him, reminding him that he was pretty much a pussy during the financial crisis, and since.  (Is "pussy" politically incorrect?  Sorry. My reference was to a little cat.)


If the Democrats nominate Hillary in 2016, they'll be offering us just more Bill and Barack.  Let's not forget who teamed with Phil Gramm to overturn Glass-Steagle — not to mention who designed the first pro-corporate "health care reform" based on "free market" principles.  Some on the left are talking about nominating Robert Reich, who has a fantastic intellect.  Just the same, I don't think the USofA is quite ready to be led by a dwarf.  Maybe a woman.  Not a dwarf.

Elizabeth Warren, are you waiting for 2020?  I'm an old man, and I need somebody brilliant and articulate and inspiring and (sorry) kind of hot, NOW!  (I have such a crush on Elizabeth Warren!  She's my ideal woman.)

Anyway, I'm not happy — but when am I happy?  I want my new granddaughter to grow up in a caring, ethical environment.  I can't do much, but I'll do what I can.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

US/China "Climate Pact"???

Far be it from me to agree with Republican obstructionists, but the alleged "climate pact" I read about in the Times this morning sounds like — well, how do I put this? — shall we say, bullshit?

The Chinese, it seems, have agreed to stop increasing their carbon emissions sixteen years from now, in 2030.  The United States, as best I can tell, has agreed to just keep on keeping on with the steps in place right now — assuming the Koch brothers don't take over the entire government in 2016, and turn the USofA into New China.

Why did Obama and Xi even bother?  Did Obama feel he needed some kind of asshole "victory?"  Did Xi think he had to suggest to the Chinese that breathing, eventually, would no longer be quite so lethal?

Shall we say, bullshit?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Please! NOT Hillary!

We have had more than enough of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).  Moving the Democrats to the "middle" (into the clutches of Wall Street) may have seemed like "a good idea at the time," but that time, if it ever existed, certainly is over.

Obama has been nothing but Clinton in blackface.  In case you hadn't noticed, Obama actually is not black.  Maybe a lot of blacks may not have noticed that yet, but it's true.  Raised in a middle-class white family and educated in a series of hoity-toity white schools, he's no more black than that asshole friend of his, Arne Duncan (who went to private schools, but occasionally played basketball with so-called "brothers".)  I don't know if the low turnout of black voters in the midterms indicates they've figured out the "not so dark" secret or not, but it's a distinct possibility.

Regardless of whether she will be elected or not, Hillary will be a disaster for progressive Democrats.  There really are progressive Democrats, and they deserve a shot at the presidency, even though they quite possibly might lose.

We deserve a clear choice in 2016.  We deserve clear policy choices, not just "tired old lady" v. "hot shot right wing demagogue," or "safe favorite of the plutocrats not aligned with Hillary."

A pox upon all their houses.  I'm tired of casting protest votes.  Give me a real choice.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Midterms

Years ago, I might have been seriously upset by the outcomes of yesterday's elections.  Now, I don't really care.  Yes, I voted, but I later spent the night watching "Law and Order" reruns rather than election returns.

The problem is that the same crew of billionaire plutocrats — the 0.001 percent — not only get to mightily influence the outcomes of elections, they get to pick the candidates.  Nobody can even think about running for any major office without their financial backing.

According to Lawrence Lessig of Harvard, an ethicist who holds views that span the political spectrum, America has less ability to choose candidates than Hong Kong protesters, who object to a "Committee of 1200" picking their candidates.

It would be nice to get the money out of politics, but it won't happen.  In the USofA, money is politics.