Saturday, December 17, 2016

So Much Shit

Apprehension tumbles into despair.  Despair is a poor response, albeit understandable in the face of so much shit.  A brief review of recent saprogenic events:

Cabinet picks
From a comment in the New York Times:
Let’s see, so far we have a guy from Alabama dedicated to upholding the fine Southern tradition of voting prevention heading up the Justice Department, an alleged reincarnation of Patton affectionately known as “Mad Dog” for defense secretary, a general who wants to expand the Al Qaeda terrorist training camp in Guantánamo for Homeland Security, a conspiracy theorist as national security adviser, a fast-food billionaire who opposes health care benefits and better wages as labor secretary, a guy with a plan to dismantle health care access as Health and Human Services, a neurosurgeon with zero leadership experience for Housing, a billionaire who wants to divert funds from public schools for Education, a climate-change denier from fracking earthquake country for the Environmental Protection Agency, an interior secretary who wants to sell off public lands and half of the top management of Goldman Sachs for the rest.
What could go wrong?
Conflicts of interest
If the President-elect fails to divest himself of his financial holdings, he will be in clear violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause.  The only legal remedy is impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate.  Will it happen?  (The Magic 8-Ball says, "Don't count on it.")

The fall of Aleppo is a clear indicator that Assad, backed by Russia and Hezbollah, will win his war.  It is conceivable, though, that the Kurds can carve out and control a piece of the north, which has the potential to inspire an Assad-Ergogan alliance.  How would our president-elect respond?  Might a promise to end current efforts to change the name of Tr*mp Towers Istanbul influence his opinion?  (The Magic 8-Ball says, "Signs point to yes.")

Tr*mp's selection of David Friedman as ambassador to Israel signals the last gasp of "the two-state solution." A Tr*mp-endorsed Israeli annexation of the West Bank might have the unintended consequence of making clear that Israeli policy towards the Palestinians under its control is a policy of apartheid, and create international pressure to grant Palestinians full Israeli citizenship — possibly the best solution to seventy years of conflict. (The Magic 8-Ball says, "Reply hazy try again.")

Russian hacks
Did Russian interference deny Hillary the presidency?  There's no way to know, but Russophobia remains a conditioned reflex among many Republicans in Congress.  The "pivot towards Russia" may prove more difficult than Tr*mp and his heartthrob Putin anticipate. (The Magic 8-Ball says, "Ask again later.")

Death of a hero
Larry Colburn died this past Tuesday.  He was the last survivor of the three-man helicopter crew that intervened in the My Lai massacre, the 1968 atrocity that shook America's faith in its moral superiority.  Colburn testified against Lt. William Calley, the only man convicted for the slaughter of roughly 500 women, children, and elderly men.  Calley was sentenced to life in prison; he served three-and-a-half years under house arrest.

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