Wednesday, July 24, 2019


Mueller speaks
It's hard to believe that those who didn't read the Mueller Report watched him on TV for five hours.  The impact of the report on specific individuals will depend entirely on the video clips chosen by their news outlets of choice.  California Republican Tom McClintock's analogy comparing Mueller's report to a flaming sack of sh*t must have had the Congressman's aides rolling on the floor when they wrote it, and I'm sure it will get a lot of play on conservative media.  Less likely to get much play in those quarters will be Mueller's uncharacteristically biting reply.

Wrestling with hate
Watching some video of last week's North Carolina Tr*mp rally took me back to 1967, when I took a date to Pittsburgh's Civic Arena for a heavyweight wrestling show.  The villains back then still included a "Nazi" and a "Jap," along with a more contemporary "Commie."  My date and I left early, not because of the wrestling, but because of the fans — who were dead serious about what they saw in the ring.  Their howls and chants of pure hatred against the "bad guys" — the others — were genuinely horrifying.

The UK's new PM
There's an excellent chance that Boris Johnson will cheerfully lead his country into economic catastrophe with a no-deal Brexit.  Since Conservative MPs are every bit as spineless as Republicans in our Congress, a no-confidence vote seems impossible.  Johnson is far more intelligent and literate than Our President, to whom he frequently is compared; but they share a similar instinct for appealing to the basest populist instincts of their electorates.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Meanwhile, on the Arabian peninsula...

Given all the craziness going on in the USofA lately, our news media have paid scant attention to the ongoing crisis in Yemen — so you may have missed it when the UAE announced that it is ending its military cooperation with Saudi Arabia and withdrawing its forces.  After four years of war, it seems that the Emiratis have concluded that fighting the "Iranian threat" posed by the Houthis just isn't worth the effort and the expense.

This leaves the Saudis in an awkward position: they actually will have to learn how to use the hundreds of billions of dollars in weaponry purchased from the US over the past ten years in order to have any hope of winning their genocidal war, and they will have to take over the task of corralling and controlling the numerous and fractious "pro-government" militias fighting in Yemen.  Given the leadership style of Saudi Crown Prince MbS – macho incompetence – there is little reason to expect the Saudis will achieve those goals.

Emirati forces already have been withdrawn from the port city of al-Hudaydah, where international agencies offload food and medicine to relieve the suffering of the Yemeni people.  Whether the Emirati withdrawal will result in more or less aid getting through remains to be seen.  What is clear, though, is that Our President – who admires macho incompetence – will continue to support the Saudi war effort until a veto-proof majority in Congress acts to stop him.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Epstein Affair

It's hard to believe Jeffrey Epstein kept all those young girls to himself: he seems like a man who likes his consumption to be conspicuous, and so felt compelled to share some of his "conquests" with men he wanted to impress.  I suspect that the main function of the sweetheart plea deal he got from Alexander Acosta was to keep the names of those men confidential — men Acosta thought too powerful to touch.  Since the deal provides immunity for Epstein's co-conspirators, both named and unnamed, one does wonder just whose names were in Epstein's Rolodex.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Dan Barr may have set a new record for "un-recusing" himself from the Epstein prosecution — assuming that "un-recusal" is something that ever happened before.  While it is understandable that Our President has a problem with Attorneys General recusing themselves from investigations, Barr's instant turnaround does make one wonder if there might be more involved in his decision to take charge of the case.

It's hard to imagine any Americans over the age of twelve believing that their country provides "equal justice for all," and the Epstein plea bargain was just one more piece of evidence in support of that belief.  At the moment, Epstein's goose appears to be well-cooked — as a registered sex offender, just the trove of kiddie porn found at his New York townhouse is enough to put him behind bars for years.  The real question now is whether other powerful men will be sucked down in his wake.

Now that Dan Barr has taken charge of the case, I imagine the panic level in the corridors of power is down a notch or two.  Nevertheless, a coverup in 2019 may prove a lot more challenging than the coverup of 2008.