Thursday, February 28, 2019
I listened to the Michael Cohen's testimony on and off, and caught the highlight reels later on. You'll have heard much of the endless commentary. What I don't understand is why nobody, Cohen included, is not mentioning the most obvious reason to believe him: if he's caught lying to Congress again, they'll throw the book at him.
In his heart of hearts, I'm sure he's still a sleazebag – but he's in no position to misbehave. It would be very surprising if the Southern District of New York didn't have a laundry list of charges they still could bring; they had a reason to ask for a longer sentence than the one recommended by Mueller.
Cohen's performance was impressive He seemed a lot more intelligent than he was back when he still was a Tr*mp mouthpiece., butI guess that's easier to do when you don't have to do riffs on the lies of an idiot. Now he'll have three years of otherwise unproductive time to work on his book. Maybe I'll read it.
Saturday, February 16, 2019
- National Emergency: He lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but this weekend he's golfing at Mar a Lago again.
- The Green New Deal: Market forces will not address climate change, so radical action is required. More to come.
- Blackface: If you can't recall any stupid, insensitive things you did when you still were in your twenties, you're still in your twenties. Northam should not resign.
- Amazon: The company plans to add 5000 jobs at its New York headquarters – most likely more – with no bribery required. Other cities and states should take note.
- Brexit: The question nobody seems to be asking is cui bono – which powerful individuals and corporations in the UK will profit from a "hard" Brexit?
- Ilhan Omar: Antisemitism? What she forgot to mention was that AIPAC doesn't represent Jews, or even Israel; it represents Likud.
- Howard Schultz: Just what we need! Another messianic billionaire!
Sunday, February 3, 2019
Venezuela is a mess — and in a list of countries that could benefit from a coup d'état, Venezuela would be pretty close to the top. That said, it should be their coup d'état, not ours.
That's when the incompetence kicked in. Valuing loyalty over expertise (sound familiar?), Chavez replaced virtually everybody who knew anything about running an oil company with a political supporter. As time went on, maintenance was neglected, equipment wasn't replaced, corruption flourished, and production fell steadily. Persistent US economic sanctions (the oil companies were really pissed!) didn't help at all.
The Bush Administration organized a coup attempt in 2002, which accomplished nothing but alienating most of Latin America — even though the Bush team at least tried to be sneaky about it. When Chavez died and Nicolás Maduro took over, oil revenues continued to fall, and so did the fortunes of the Venezuelan people. Maduro seems to have no goal other than to stay in power.
Juan Guidó recently claimed the presidency following an encouraging phone call from Mike Pence; and John Bolton cheerily applauded the impending privatization of Venezuelan oil. Guidó comes from a far-right political party that represents only a fraction of Maduro's opposition, but a lot of Venezuelans seem willing to take what they can get, provided it's not Maduro. Even many of the poor are deserting the Chavezistas in the face of economic catastrophe. The oil barons are licking their lips.
If Guidó does come to power, at least Venezuelans will get an influx of sorely needed economic aid. Hopefully, he can do it without the American invasion Our President says is "on the table." Maduro is right when he says it could turn into another Vietnam: numerous past US interventions in Latin America have left us few real friends south of the border. Of course, Tr*mp might invade just to distract attention from the Mueller investigation.
We'll have to wait and see — probably not for long.