Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee have taken whatever marbles they hadn't already lost and gone home.  Will their speeches for the rubber chicken dinner circuit now be worth more, or less?  Beats me.

So I was watching a Showtime documentary on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints last night, and realized that Warren Jeffs, their charismatic leader currently doing life plus for child molestation, and Ben Carson, currently leading the polls in the Republican Iowa caucuses, sound exactly alikeBefore you let the media get you too excited about Carson winning Iowa, remember that Mike Huckabee won in 2008.  Will Carson, too, win his own show on Fox?  Stay tuned.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Russia in Syria
The main question: why?  Is Putin acting for internal Russian consumption, continuing his "strong man" routine?  Is he concerned about losing Russia's naval base?  It's not because he likes Assad — nobody likes Assad.  Maybe he's just decided that since Syria probably is the most fucked-up arena in the world, Russia, hoping to re-establish itself as a "world power," just has to be there.

Initially, it seemed inevitable that Russia only could make the megamess worse, but there is a possibility that Russia might make things better, by sharing some of the responsibility for pumping out the cesspool.  After all, Syria can't get much worse.

Hillary and Benghazi

The United States has no valid excuse for admitting so few war refugees, leaving others to shoulder the load.  The idea that we need two years per applicant to filter out potential "terrorists" is nothing but an excuse.  The real motive for the unconscionable rigmarole is xenophobia and racism.

Paul Ryan
Of course.  All the "I don't wanna" was bullshit from word one.  He always had the essential quality: allegiance to the economic policy of soaking the poor to further enrich the rich and pretending it creates "growth."  Despite it's other bizarre obsessions, the Freedom Caucus agrees.

The Primaries
I'm still giving Bernie money, even though it's dead certain now that Hillary will be the Democratic candidate, and that Bernie's pulled her about as far to the left as she's ready to go.

In the meanwhile, the Republican field continues to be a total freak show: Ben Carson!?  He makes Trump seem reasonable (and intelligent) by comparison.  Bush, despite all his money, appears to be dead in the water.  Ted Cruz, who is straight-out evil, is moving up — but he's far too ugly to be elected president.  Rubio, the quintessential opportunist but pretty as a picture, may end up the candidate — and, sadly, he might even win.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


The Democratic Debate
All the Democrats gave the impression of being more serious and sane than any of their Republican rivals, which was not hard.  Hillary came across as human, and held her own, especially with a little help from Bernie.  His endorsement of the fact that the Bengazi/email inquisition is purely political may have been the high point of the evening.  Bernie was on the defensive regarding gun control, even though everything he said made perfect sense.  I don't think it hurt him at all.

Palestinians with Knives
Netanyahu can't blame Hamas or any of his other boogeymen for the recent attacks on Israelis by young Palestinians who armed themselves from their kitchen drawers.  None of them even was particularly religious, so it's not "fundamentalist extremism."  The attackers are understandably frustrated to a point of hopelessness by the Israeli apartheid state, and only the rights and privileges of citizenship can make a difference.  The "two-state solution" is dead.

Tamir Rice
I watched the surveillance video, and listened to the 911 call.  Tamir's movements in the video are those of a boy playing a game, so I believe identifying him as a child from the much closer vantage point of the police should have been easy.  On the other hand, the pellet gun looked very real.  Most disturbing to me was the incompetence of the 911 operator, who seemingly failed to process what she was told by the caller, and failed to communicate to the police the caller's clear belief that the suspect was a child and that the gun "probably" was a fake.  I believe the district attorney should give a jury the opportunity to decide if the shooter was at fault.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Draft Louis Gohmert!

Now that Kevin McCarthy has withdrawn himself from consideration for new Speaker of the House, having made the fatal error of saying out loud what everybody knew — that all those Bengazi committees were purely political, aimed at hurting Hillary's electoral chances — the amusingly fratricidal GOP must come up with an alternative.  Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Daniel Webster (R-FL) have absolutely no "establishment" (i.e. more evil than crazy) support, so neither can be elected.

The movement to "draft" Paul Ryan, who previously said he wasn't interested, has picked up a full head of steam, and probably will succeed.  Ryan is conservative enough to satisfy the Freedom Caucus and evil enough to satisfy the establishment; also, he is smart enough to recognize that the post of Speaker has very nearly as much power as the post of President, and Ryan likes power.  Better yet, there are no term limits on the post of Speaker.

If Ryan still refuses to run, for some incomprehensible reason, allow me to suggest Louie Gohmert — far and away the most intellectually defective person in Congress.  Gohmert never had an original idea, and just might have to learn to read before he can arrange the order of business for the House.  Gridlock will retain its stranglehold on government, and the USofA will bumble and stumble on.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What's with Hillary?

I imagine many of us are looking forward to the Democratic debate next Tuesday, but I suspect Hillary Clinton may be less enthusiastic than some others.  Just the same, she certainly seems to be getting ready.  First, she came out in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline; then she expressed strong reservations about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, leaving herself just the tiniest bit of space to change her opinion when the full text is published.

Clearly, she'd like to enjoy the sort of approbation Bernie Sanders has been receiving from the enthusiastic crowds at his rallies, but I wonder if there's more to it than that.  I wonder if she's finally working at putting some sunlight between herself and her longtime consort and cohort, Bill; and, if so, whether it's reflective of real differences of opinion or just the usual political cupidity.

Back in 2008, I preferred Clinton to Obama, in large part because I thought he was more like Bill than she was, but also because I instinctively distrust glowing, amorphous promises like "hope and change."  True, my own political leanings are very nearly an exact match for Bernie's, but I still can't help hoping that a real liberal might burst forth from Hillary's uncharismatic husk.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Another mass murder
As usual, Republicans are blaming crazy people and Democrats are calling for what would be essentially useless gun control measures even if they could be enacted, which they cannot.  The essential problem is that there are entirely too many guns floating around the USofA, and nobody, really, is "cummin' t' take yer guns."  They're just "cummin' t' flap ther gums."  I have no solutions to offer, and neither, I believe, does anybody else.

Russia in Syria
Weren't things already complicated enough?  I guess not.  Russia is bombing anybody opposed to Assad, and Iran, mainly through Hezbollah, is doing what it can to keep Assad in power.  The USofA sort of supports the Free Syrian Army, recently bombed by Russia, and halfheartedly supports the Kurds, currently being bombed by our "ally," Turkey.  Then we've got those five guys fighting IS but not Assad, even though we want Assad to step down.  France is fighting IS in Iraq, but not in Syria.  IS is fighting everybody, and not especially bothered that everybody is fighting everybody else.  You can't tell the players without a scorecard, and the scorecard keeps changing.

Arne Duncan resigns
It's about time, because Obama's Education Secretary has been a disaster, and through his support for charter schools has done as much as any Republican to advance the privatization of public education.  "Race to the Top" did it's bit to advance corporatist "data based" evaluation of schools and teachers, despite the fact that no useful data at all has been available — only scores on tests of no observable value designed by private contractors.  Happily, Duncan will not be replaced: his bureaucratic duties will be assumed by some bureaucratic lackey, and no further damage is likely to be done through the remainder of the Obama presidency.