18 August 2019

Portland's "big riot"

As I, among many local folks, fully expected, the Antifa/Proud Boys riot turned out to be pretty much nothing. I believe these things are being blown entirely out of proportion by the sensation-hungry media, where in actual fact both the Antifa overtestosterone infused tiny minority of the left and the Redneck Right are unrepresentative and not really a threat to civil order or anything else. Let's focus on issues and the election; and nonviolent demonstrations, which outnumber these things by orders of magnitude. 


Nature simply does not care what we believe. 


13 August 2019

Maybe there really is a conspiracy with regard to Epstein

 I know the whole Epstein conspiracy theory thing seems to have spun out of control. But sometimes people really do conspire. Consider that all the leaked information about public figures... former NM Gov. Richardson, former Sen. Mitchell, Bill Clinton... has concerned Democrats. Consider that Barr "unrecused"himself (which wasn't even a thing before the great legal scholar Emperor Donald the Munificent invented the idea), and that it is Barr who is in charge of the Bureau of Prisons and any investigations and reports that come out of it, and HE who will spin the results of any FBI probe. MAYBE taking Epstein off suicide watch, wherein protocols were simply ignored, was just a normal SNAFU. But mainly, as David Cay Johnston noted,* from personal knowledge: the Federal lockup ("MCC") where this occurred is not an old fashioned jail. The cells are like dorm rooms, except with high ceilings, no attachment points specifically to avoid suicide and violence. And the bedclothes are not cloth, they are a paperlike material DESIGNED to tear if an attempt is made to use them as a rope. One last fact. Epstein credibly was reported to have told a visitor that the prior suicide attempt was not that, but an attempted murder. His cellmate was a big beefy ex cop on lockup for accusations of corruption. So, tell me again that this is all just normal judicial screw up and nothing to see here.

The Trump administration, of course, is doing their usual: accusing others of what it is that they are the ones most likely guilty of. The Clintons couldn't even rig the election to get their candidate in (that was Trump and the Russians). How could they gain access to a Federal prison under the watchful eye of the attorney general (really Trump's Roy Cohn), to murder Epstein? The biggest fish that has something to gain from hushing up the Epstein case is not Bill Clinton. It's Trump himself.

This is the kind of thing that used to only happen in countries that had a history of swinging back and forth between barely functioning democracy and dictatorship, like Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines. That, my friends, is what we are well on the way to becoming right here in the USA.

03 August 2019

Obama Legacy and What, now, shall we do?

 Farflung correspondents, 

Below is an excerpt of a reader comment on Talkingpointsmemo (which if you don't know you should), on the legacy of Obama.

His first full term was spent trading in his political capital to address a healthcare system that was refusing to care for sick people because greed. He also did the little things like helping to pull us out of the worst recession since the depression and kill OBL. So, yeah, I forgive him for acting in good faith at those moments in history when the world needed the GOP to step up and act like adults. The GOP did the exact opposite and that is the real story here. Literally nobody new the depths they would go to sabotage Obama. The fact they are still getting away with is all the more infuriating.

I agree with this, more or less, but I do argue that Obama reflected the same overly cautious attitude of many Democrats (still, and most of them are less visionary and capable than he). Progressives (hell, let's start calling ourselves LIBERALS, for starters) in our country have become afraid of our own shadows. This is one of the reasons that many younger Democrats are angry and frustrated. I really do believe that decisive action is critical, and is actually popular.

We should not be hemming and hawing about impeachment, for example. Of course the Senate won't convict. Acknowledge that. Bring the impeachment inquiry, conduct it expeditiously and quickly (since we've already wasted two years), lay out the case, censure Trump, and vote not to refer it to the Senate with an explanation that it is deemed a foregone conclusion that the partisan gridlock in the Senate would prevent fair consideration.

Meantime, and I've been saying this since Jan. 1; PASS the damn progressive legislative agenda that we want to enact as soon as we have both houses and the presidency. Write the damn bills. All of them. Talk them up. Go on the political shows and refuse to talk about Trump and his BS and say, we want to talk about the solutions WE HAVE for America. Then our candidates need to run on those issues. Do we disagree about details? Of course. But hash it out. Make the compromises in our own caucus, hammer out the bills, and pass them. Presidential candidates can talk about the tweaks and improvements they'd like to see, but they can all agree to run on the broad outlines of an ALREADY PASSED in the House agenda for America. If Nancy Pelosi were the great master legislator that her admirers claim she is, this is what she would be doing. Schumer is a caretaker; he can do nothing legislatively. But she can. Passing bills, even in only one house, is a way to SET AN AGENDA.

I am deeply disappointed in the leadership in our party and very fearful that a combination of cheating, con-man politics, and poor turnout could even spell defeat for us in 2020 if we don't up our game and soon. And I don't think I need to convince many Democrats, or even many Republicans, that that would be utterly catastrophic for our country.