Wednesday, June 28, 2017
camels passing through the eyes of needles. God, he assured them, rewards His favorites in this life as well as the next, so their wealth was a sure sign they were saved. It followed that the poor, being congenital sinners, were not deserving of any consideration at all.
The twenty-first century version of Calvinism is called "Meritocracy." Meritocrats assume that those who prosper have earned their wealth by being better than the rest: their success is the fruit of their personal "genius" and "grit." They claim to "make their own luck," and discount the importance of institutional barriers faced by others — like inequality of opportunity or discrimination. Hence, to their minds, those who fail to prosper deserve to fail; and certainly don't deserve any share in the wealth of their betters. It follows that taxing the rich in order to provide health care for their inferiors is nothing less than a crime against nature.
There seem to be some Republican Senators who genuinely believe in the New Calvinism (and some who still believe in the older version.) Many more, though, are just the lazy lackeys of their major donors, content in their safe, Red-State seats, mindlessly voting with their leadership. A few, though, face more complex political situations -- and there even may be one or two who see a moral choice awaiting them after the Fourth of July. Let's hope they bring their camels along.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
A vast majority of the people who voted for Tr*mp also voted for Romney, and the same people voted for Karen Handel. The big winners were the consultants and media outlets in what the Times called "the Lululemon-and-loafer subdivisions of Dunwoody and Roswell."
Warmbier was far from the first young man to lose his life for doing something trivial and stupid, albeit most such deaths do not have geopolitical consequences. Tr*mp now admits his China-North Korea policy is dead. For China (and South Korea), keeping the North stable is more important than restraining its military capability.
The American Health Care Act
It's pretty clear that a lot of Congressional Republicans wish the whole "repeal and replace" controversy would just go away. Fingers crossed, maybe it will.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Tr*mp's friend Christopher Ruddy was interviewed on the PBS NewsHour last night. I had to watch the interview three times.
There is no doubt that Republicans would love to delegitimize Mueller's investigation: special investigations always find something, even when the original focus of those investigations comes to nothing. (Think of Whitewater.) Tr*mp's base would not believe anything bad about their hero even if he did shoot somebody on 5th Avenue — but the rest of the country might not be so cooperative.
If there actually was collusion between Russian intelligence and the Tr*mp team, I'll eat one of those red caps. Why would Russia bother to "collude" with loose cannons like Carter Page or Eric Prince? Of course, that doesn't mean mean Tr*mp associates were not compromised by Russian agents — and who knows what kinds of financial connections might come to light?
Pointing to Mueller's meeting with Tr*mp — not to mention Tr*mp family connections to Mueller's law firm — just might help to shake public confidence in Mueller enough to limit the length and scope of his investigation. Tr*mp won't fire Mueller — even he's not that stupid — but Republicans will do all they can hold him in check.
Friday, June 9, 2017
Just a few things the major media failed to emphasize:
✽ Bill Clinton's tarmac meeting with Loretta Lynch on June 27, 2016, was the straw that broke the camel's back for Comey, leading to his July 5 hatchet job on Hillary. Did Bill intend to screw her, or was it just passive aggression? You decide.
✽ The persistent parsing of the word "hoping" by Senator James Risch is a pretty clear indicator that the Utah Republican really believes Tr*mp is guilty of obstruction of justice. As Queen Gertrude said in Hamlet (Act III, Scene II), "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
✽ Somebody would have had to explain to Tr*mp who Becket and Henry II were, and the relevance of the "meddlesome priest" comments. He probably didn't get it.
Correction: an earlier iteration of this post substituted "turbulent" for "meddlesome." Although more frequently cited as Henry II's description of Becket, it was not the analogy employed by Comey.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Vulcan mind meld?
To anyone who has been paying attention, the Saudi problem with Qatar is clear: Qatar maintains lines of communication with Iran. Saudi accusations that the Qataris "support terrorists," including IS and al-Qaeda, are the height of hypocrisy. Al-Sisi may be more justified in his dislike of Qatar, based on Qatari support for the Muslim Brotherhood: after brutally overthrowing the Brotherhood's democratically elected government in Egypt, al-Sisi might not feel much confidence in the organization's renunciation of violence back in the 1970s.
So, Tr*mp's profound geopolitical ignorance has left America's military and foreign policy establishments scrambling to clean up his mess, even as they scramble to close the rifts he created with NATO allies on his recent European trip, and his alienation of the British arising from his responses to the terrorist assault on London. He's already antagonized Mexico and Canada — even Australia! Who's next? (Probably not Russia.)
It helps to remember what "America First" meant the last time it was a popular political slogan: isolationism — and "peaceful co-existence" with the Nazis.