Sunday, April 28, 2019
The Mueller Report
One thing every old person has plenty of is history, some of which one just as soon would forget. Although I like the way Joe Biden led off by characterizing the 2020 election as a battle for America's soul, it's hard to go into battle carrying 50 years of baggage. Maybe he's a "decent" guy, but if he did win the presidency, Biden would fill the White House with the same old gang of neoliberal Clintonistas. I don't know about you, but I've had more than enough of the 1990s.
Elizabeth Warren is right: if there is enough evidence to justify impeachment, the House is morally obliged to open an impeachment hearing. That means House Democrats have to decide between morality and politics — and, so far, politics is winning.
The Democratic Primaries
Did you know Tulsi Gabbard is a Hindu? Did you even know she's running for president? The major media really have been focusing nearly all their attention on the white male candidates: Kamala Harris got a brief spurt of publicity when she announced, but that lasted about two days — and Beto's tabletop antics get more media attention than Warren's detailed policy proposals. The unwieldy, overloaded "debates" scheduled for the end of June can't do much to change the situation. Will the media change their ways? Don't bet on it.
Sunday, April 14, 2019
Meanwhile, Chelsea Manning has spent the past year back in jail for refusing to testify in secret to a grand jury — although she is willing to testify in public. One only can hope that Assange's arrest will speed her release. (Don't bet on it.) At Manning's trial in 2013, there never was any suggestion that Assange helped her access the CIGINT files published on Wikileaks, but that is the basis for the current charge against Assange. His real "crime" was embarrassing the US military and intelligence agencies — and they want revenge.
Clearly, Julian Assange is an asshole — but being an asshole is not a crime. The real question is whether or not Assange is a journalist, and freedom of the press demands that he be given the benefit of the doubt. That decision may be made in the UK, as Assange faces extradition, but the Brits have plenty of problems of their own right now. Fortunately, they do have another option: they can extradite him to Sweden, to face charges of sexual assault. If their government retains any functionality at all, that's exactly what they'll do.
Friday, April 5, 2019
Just wondering: if Joe Biden were Josephine Biden, would he be in trouble right now?
Of course, interactions between the sexes are subject to far more stringent restraints; but women still enjoy more latitude than men do. Biden's "touchy-feely" approach always has violated cultural norms; but those violations never before impeded fifty years of success in politics. His recent apologia on Twitter leaves one with the impression that he still feels his unorthodox displays of intimacy have "worked" for him. Perhaps they have, in the past.
I find it hard to believe that Biden's behavior reflects a sense of "male entitlement," nor a propensity to abuse his "masculine authority." I think it is far more likely that some peculiarity of his brain chemistry or his early socialization made him an outlier on the normal curve; but I also believe that, were he a woman, the current brouhaha never would have materialized. Sexism cuts both ways.
If his recent problems dissuade Joe Biden from seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, I won't mind at all: I'm hoping for a candidate who is a lot more progressive, dissociated from Clintonian "moderation." Some have suggested that Biden is the victim of a left-wing "hit job" aimed at derailing his candidacy — and if that's true, it certainly violates my sense of ethics. Still, if it works...