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Showing posts from April, 2019

The Starting Five

We finally got a taste of our Democratic candidates on stage taking questions from students selected by CNN.  It was a rather stilted affair, not to mention long.  Five candidates each had one hour to face America's young electorate.  It's all about the Millennials this year, for better and for worse depending on your news source.

Mayor Pete was among the five candidates and by far the most popular among the students, although crusty old Bernie still has some pull.  Liz made a direct appeal by saying she would levy a two percent tax on the uber-rich to provide student loan relief and eventually make all education free, from day care to university.  Dear Amy from the Great Purple State of Minnesota was having none of it, telling the audience she wished she could staple a free college diploma under every one of the students' chairs, but no can do as she threw a wet towel on the event by preaching pragmatics.  That left Kamala to take the final turn, another crowd favorite w…

Paranoia, they destroy ya

or Populism isn't dead yet


It doesn't seem other countries have learned the lessons from Brexit and Donald Trump.  Ukraine overwhelmingly elected a television comedian as president this past weekend, largely out of disgust with the current president and "chocolate king," which the creators of "Servant of the People" mercilessly maligned for the past four years.  It seems to be a strategy that works even if it brings no beneficial results, but then Moscow is mostly interested in sowing chaos around the world one nation at a time.

I would have liked to think we had reached a turning point after Theresa May failed to get her EU exit deal through the British parliament, and Trump went to Mar-a-Lago to lick his wounds over Easter weekend.  The deputy prime minister of Italy tried to rally European far-right nationalist leaders, but only three showed up for the infamous conference.  You have to figure the evil Dr. Bannon was lurking in the shadows for the rally t…

So much for total exoneration

but it was nice while it lasted


The aim all along has been to turn the justice department into Trump's own private legal services.  He wasn't able to have his way with Sessions, who despite all his fealty to the president couldn't bring himself to openly defy the Constitution.  However, it now seems Trump has achieved that goal with William Barr, who showed in his press conference yesterday that he is answerable to the president first, not the Constitution, and certainly not the will of the people.

It's not surprising given Barr's track record.  This is a man who has worked tirelessly to insulate Republicans in the White House from the long arm of the law, first acting as George H.W. Bush's fixer and now Trump's fixer.  To hell with Congress and its special investigations.  Short of launching impeachment hearings, there is little chance the House will be able to get to the bottom of the Mueller Report, which only went a short way down the rabbit hole.

For w…
Anyone who has been to Paris has visited Notre-Dame.  The cathedral is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, an international treasure.   It will be rebuilt but the historic loss is incalculable.  The wood construction of the roof was original, dating back to the 12th century, as was much of the wood interior.  This can never be replaced.

Most everyone was left speechless, except CNN of course. Reporters tried to assess the damage as it was happening, stumbling over themselves in the process.  One needs time to process such a great loss. To sort through the ashes and see what can be saved.  To pay tribute to a great building that is now a hollow shell.  We realize in moments like this just how insignificant we are.  As much as we place value on human life, to lose so much of a building that has stood for over 800 years is to lose something even greater than human life.

I remember watching Sokurov's Francofonia a few years back and the question was put near the end of the…
The most disheartening thing about living in the Age of Trump is how pathetically low the level of discourse has become on social media.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, now known simply as AOC, recently said that you can impeach Trump but that won't change the political climate in this country.  There are "much deeper problems" that need to be addressed.  Namely, why have conservatives chosen to embrace Trump so fully?

I've written about this in any number of posts but still am not satisfied with the answers I've come up with, especially when I see the memes my friends post on facebook.  These are people I once knew, thought well of, but when I see memes like this one, I can only ask, what the fuck happened to this person to post some shit like this?

These memes appear on my timeline everyday.  If a person starts posting too many of them, I either put him or her on "snooze" or block his or her posts all together.  It really isn't worth responding to bec…

The Prince

Stephen Miller came to the White House with Jeff Sessions and was widely regarded as the author of the first Muslim travel ban that was blown out of the water by the federal courts.  After two rewritings, the Supreme Court upheld it largely because North Korea and Venezuela were tossed in, no longer making the designated countries exclusively Muslim.  The "90-day" ban has remained in effect since September 2017 because its constitutionality hasn't been fully determined by the USSC.

These are the kind of games Miller plays.  He is a modern day Machiavelli in King Trump's court, finding ways to circumvent the law to achieve the kind of authority the Donald demands.  When others don't oblige, i.e. Kristjen Nielsen, they are let go.  The court jester is now seen as the go-to guy on immigration and so far the Republican Senate has shown little appetite to challenge the President's authority on the matter.

That may change after this latest purge.  It's not jus…

Let the Race Begin!

When I see the media projecting a November 2020 match-up between Biden and Trump, I recall the polls this far out of the 2016 general election.  Hillary had a whopping 40-point lead over Biden and Bernie among Democratic candidates, and led Republican hopefuls Jeb Bush by 13 points and Donald Trump by 25 points.  Yes, Uncle Joe was considering a run in 2016 but felt it was too soon after the death of his son Beau, so he deferred to Hillary, who ended up having a hard time getting past crusty Bernie Sanders in the primaries before bottoming out in November.
Polls mean nothing at this point.  That cannot be stated enough.  The Republican polls saw multiple lead changes heading into the first primaries.  At one point, Ben Carson led all Republican candidates before fizzling out.  After a good showing in Iowa, Marco Rubio was projected as the Republican sure bet, but then Chris Christie mopped the floor with him at a debate before the New Hampshire primary and very soon afterward dropped…

Good Ol' Uncle Joe

We have kind of a good uncle v. bad uncle thing going on right now between Biden and Trump, reminiscent of last year when Biden challenged the president to a fistfight.  Joe was careful to phrase his challenge as what he would have done in high school if a bully said nasty things about his girlfriend, as it is illegal to publicly threaten the president.

Uncle Joe has been described as a "touch-feely guy" by former Senate colleagues, and a warm, compassionate man by friends and admirers. They all say he means no harm in these kisses, hugs and slaps on the back.  It's just the way he operates, a product of the "old school" when such shows of affection were considered commonplace.  The only problem is that today a lot of persons like to maintain a safe personal distance, and ol' Joe has a way of invading it.

Biden hasn't always been this wonderful charming guy.  Back in 1991 he was pretty hard on Anita Hill, determined to rush through the Thomas confirmat…

TrumpMania

Watching John Oliver's segment on the WWE made me think just how interconnected Trump is with the world of wrestling entertainment.  The Donald has made several guest appearances on Vince McMahon's big show, including one where he got to shave the wrestling media mogul's head.  I'm surprised John didn't show that clip.

The WWE is huge, generating nearly a billion dollars in profits per year.  As John pointed out, it got that way by Vince creating a monopoly over the market and treating his stable of wrestlers as independent contractors so that he doesn't have to offer any health care or pension benefits. While the events are almost entirely staged, the wrestlers are expected to perform some incredibly outrageous stunts that put their health at serious risk, not to mention these guys and gals look pumped up on horse steroids.

The string of wrestlers' deaths is a long one.  Their mortality rate is 3 times that of the national average for men, which is the hi…