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Thoughts on Events the Week of November 4

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on October 4, 2017

Obamacare: The Senate failed, again, with its latest, and let’s hope last, attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare with a plan that doesn’t do anything the Republican president promised it would. You can’t put lipstick on a pig and call it Melania.

Although the whole process seemed like utter chaos, it follows a predictable pattern. Important social progress begins small and under vicious attack from reactionary forces, but as its value becomes recognized, it is accepted, grows in popularity and expands. (Republicans are right about this part.)

Would it be too much to ask now for Republicans to work with Democrats and improve the existing legislation? Two items will make it safer, better and less expensive:

  1. Strengthen the mandate. Require participation from everyone, or make the penalty the same as the cost of the insurance. This will spread the risk (the whole point of insurance), increase the revenue and reduce the average cost per patient.
  2. Enable the government to negotiate prescription drug prices, which is presently prohibited by law – thank you President Bush, you moron. It’s like telling Walmart it can’t charge less than other retailers because, well, it just can’t.

Everyone complains about rising drug prices (I’ve certainly seen me do it). The U.S. government is the biggest purchaser of prescription drugs in the world. How much lower would drug prices be if the biggest customer could use its leverage? Even Ponzi Don could negotiate this deal.

There; that should do it. Though, there are a lot more improvements that could be, and should be made, such as allowing insurance companies to sell health insurance across state lines, a Republican idea I’m fine with. Why do we need 50 insurance regulating agencies rather than just one anyway, other than to inflate state bureaucratic payrolls?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: Ponzi Don is mad at this sorry guy because he says McConnell can’t get anything done, which is utterly laughable. McConnell is the only one who has gotten anything done; Ponzi should be kissing McConnell’s shoes.

Ponzi’s only “win” is the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. But if McConnell hadn’t abused the Constitution egregiously, that Justice would have been appointed by President Obama, as the Constitution intended, and it wouldn’t have been Gorsuch.

Kurds: The autonomous region of majority Kurds in Northern Iraq voted to leave Iraq and become an independent country, and I wish them well. Almost everyone except the Kurds opposes this, including the United States government.

Our opposition is disingenuous, short-sighted and stupid. First, this split is inevitable. It was inevitable even before President George W. Bush lied us into invading Iraq in 2003. Iraq is not a country. It is a triptych cobbled together by Europeans without appreciation of the polar likes – Sunnis and Shiites – they were trying to unite.

Second, the Kurds are our only true Muslim friends in the region. We should support them in every way we can. They have supported us in every way, even our misadventures. This is amazing when you consider that we have betrayed their trust more than once, most egregiously by President George H.W. Bush. What has that family got against the Kurds, anyway?

Iraq doesn’t want to give up the oil under Kurdish soil. But the Kurds owe Iraq nothing. They were persecuted mercilessly under Hussein.

Countries neighboring Iraq with Kurdish minorities are afraid their Kurds will start agitating for more autonomy. Could happen, depending on how they are being treated where they are. Dishes such as independence can become very popular, to wit:

“A patron while dining at Crewe,

found an elephant dong in his stew.

Said the waiter, “Don’t shout

and wave it about

or the others will all want one, too.”

 

Our position is more proof, as if more is needed, that the U.S. will support the status quo, no matter how untenable the status quo may be, in the name of stability.

Women Drivers: Saudi Arabia’s monarchy made the streets of Riyadh less safe this week, by allowing women to drive. Just kidding. This hidebound, ultra-conservative nation is the last to allow women this privilege. At this rate of progress they may stop stoning women for adultery soon.

Football: The Dallas Cowboys played on Monday night in Phoenix and beat the Arizona Cardinals by 11 points – 28 to a 17.  The game was tougher than the score might indicate. All of Dallas’ best offensive players made a great play. DeMarcus Lawrence was a beast on defense.

The Cowboys’ Achilles heel has been its defensive backfield. Bad drafts, bad acquisitions and bad luck have kept Dallas scrambling back there. This year, reasoning there were lots of good defensive backs in the draft, Dallas did a house cleaning, and let a number of their backs go. I agree with many of their decisions – Carr was not worth the investment in him, Clayborn didn’t pan out like I thought he would, etc. – but it was risky.

The Cowboys did get a couple of good backs recently, and had a good draft for them this year, too. But that injury bug has kept biting, with the result on Monday night, Dallas was fielding a defensive backfield with a lot of talent and promise but not a lot of experience.

This caused some serious scrambling, but the young and the backup players responded. What they lacked in experience they made up for with effort and energy. It wasn’t a work of art nor an art of war, but it was enough to win. Cowboy management should be pleased. I was.

Sudden Thought: Let me get this straight. If I buy a ticket for an NFL game (I checked on tickets for the Cardinals v. Cowboys game Monday night. The only ones I could afford cost $115 each), and if any of the players take a knee in protest during the National Anthem, then I should walk out of the stadium without even seeing the kick-off. I watched on TV instead.

More Football: Sunday, the Cowboys lost 35 to 30 at home to a much improved Los Angeles Rams football team, and looked very ordinary doing it. The defensive deficiencies were exposed. The vaunted offensive line couldn’t protect Dallas’ quarterback Dak Prescott, who is having a sophomore slump.  If you score 30 points, you ought to win an NFL game, but the Cowboys didn’t even look like a playoff team today. Have I mentioned recently that I don’t think much of Dallas’ coaching staff?

The Oklahoma Sooners had an open date this weekend. I watched some of some Big XII games, but didn’t see much of interest.

Status of the States: or, who was Moore Strange? Alabama, the most recently enshrined worst state, took the cup for its Republican primary. Voters chose between a candidate who is completely corrupt and one who is completely crazy. Alabama chose crazy (in Louisiana or New Jersey, it might have gone the other way).

 

The oddest thing about this contest, however, was that Luther Strange was marketed as the “establishment” candidate, and was supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (and President Ponzi Don, but that’s a Carol for another Christmas). What the hell was the Republican Party thinking supporting either one of these miscreants, let alone calling Strange an establishment candidate? He’s crooked as a dog’s hind leg.

Thoughts on Events the Week of September 18

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 25, 2017

The un-UN: President Donald Trump went to the UN General Assembly meeting and spewed petulant nonsense. Surely, there has been no bigger fool on the world stage since Yasser Arafat.

Ponzi Don squandered his opportunity to lead the UN – an organization dearly in need of reform – in a better direction. Instead, he called out a number of nations, most particularly North Korea and Iran, and showered them with foolish, empty threats, which is not an ideal negotiating strategy.

Each of these adversaries responded in their own way, which made them seem in much better command of their situations than our blustering, bloviating president.

Ponzi threatened to destroy North Korea, which is not only nonsense, but disconcerting to our close allies in the region. Then, he intimated that he might withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, the most important, unprecedented agreement since the Soviet arms limitation treaties of that era.

If Ponzi were to do tear up the deal, which he won’t, the U.S. would be isolating itself further into the international wilderness. It is not the Iran agreement, but Ponzi Don who is an embarrassment to the United States.

So much for bipartisan agreements: No sooner had Ponzi Don made a deal with Democrats and had moved closer to another on Dreamers, than he joined the chorus of Republican (only) legislators in their latest, smarmy attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare with a sack of bull shit and call it cream puffs. Perhaps he realizes replace is the only way to steal enough money from the poor and middle classes to give a tax cut to the rich.

The recent attempts to replace and Repeal Obamacare differ from the 60 or so attempts before Republicans took control of the Congress and the presidency, in that the post-election variety have specific points, all of them hugely unpopular with everyone but the rich donors who are the only ones to benefit from this legislation via tax cuts on their wealth.

Republicans have this skunk by the tail, which is spraying them directly in the face, yet they are determined not to let go. Perhaps if this latest attempt fails, Republicans will throw and their hands and engage in work to improve Obamacare, and get used to the idea of working with Democrats again, and vice versa. But I’m not optimistic. I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said man clings to nothing so tightly as a bad deal. Repeal and replace is a model example.

Iran: If Ponzi Don’s presidency has a theme at all, it is to erase anything that has President Obama’s name on it, which jerks off his bigoted base. Many good ideas have met this fate, and more are endangered, including at present, the Iran nuclear deal.

Since World War II, nations have tried to limit proliferation of nuclear weapons. Few have made any progress, yet President Obama succeeded in persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program in exchange for relief from sanctions, and win-win if ever there was one. This, as Vice President Biden might say, is a big f#$%&@ deal, and Ponzi Don wants to screw with it.

Football, et al: Ponzi Don insinuated himself vulgarly and stupidly into the news of professional sports players (mostly, but not only blacks) kneeling during the National Anthem in protest against treatment of blacks by police, and society in general. In doing this, Ponzi displayed gross ignorance of:

  1. The First Amendment, the most important paragraph in the English language, which protects speech. This shouldn’t surprise us. Ponzi doesn’t know, or care, about our Constitution, which he has sworn to preserve and protect.
  2. His base are big professional sports fans. (Many of them have an unhealthy identification with their teams. Wife beatings spike when fans’ football teams lose, having little else in their lives to enjoy.) They may love Ponzi, but not as much as they love their teams.
  3. Players are much more popular and influential than Ponzi, and are rich enough not to care a fig what he says or does. These players are not Kim Jung Un, but national sports heroes.
  4. Owners may support, and even donate to Ponzi, but whose investments depend on their players and fans. They’re not about to offend either one by going along with Ponzi on this.

Did I mention Ponzi Don is a bigot?

No college team can get sky high up for every game in what has become a season of at least 11 games. “Every fair from fair sometimes declines,” and so it was with my Oklahoma Sooners Saturday, who beat Baylor with a lackluster effort – 49 to 41. (Am I a Chinaman or what? I just called 49 points a lackluster performance. Well, it was.)

Baylor was easy not to take seriously; they were 0-3, and looked bad getting there. But Baylor played lights out against the Sooners and gave OU a hell of a fight. I was impressed by some of their players.

It will be interesting to see if they collapse after their hard fault but ultimately unsuccessful effort, or if they will continue to improve over the season. If the latter, they will win some conference games.

The Dallas Cowboy don’t play until Monday night, right down the road in Phoenix against the Arizona Cardinals, so I have no thoughts about the game until next Sunday’s blog.

Sudden Thought: I looked out the window during the Autumnal Equinox, and the world was still there. I was not surprised nor disappointed.

Status of the States: I can’t think of anything any of the worst states did that stands out from the rest, so it’s a tie.

Thoughts on Events the Week of September 11

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 21, 2017

Ironic end to the end of the American Century?: It could be argued – I know; I’ve seen me do it – that we have been stuck in a (grid) locked Port-a-Potty since the beginning of the 21st Century. Said another way, The American Century, as Henry Luce dubbed it, may have ended right on schedule.

First, we elected a high functioning moron president in 2000, the worst in history, pending a final grade for Donald Trump. George W. Bush began immediately to ruin ours and the world’s economies and was largely successful.

In 2001, we suffered the 9/11 terrorist attacks (did you see Bush, sitting like a dunce on an elementary school stool when he got the news?), and promptly lost our minds.

Bush responded to 9/11 by exploiting our fears rather than quieting them; adding another layer to our already bloated security apparatus; invading Iraq, an innocent bystander (admittedly a rare occurrence with Hussein); and screwed up the entire Middle East by taking our country back to the Crusade of 1095 CE, as any moronic born again Christian might do.

Meanwhile, the legislative branch was completely unnerved by 9/11 and voters’ reaction to Bush’s fear mongering, and hid behind the bushes, so to speak. Congress has abrogated and/or abused its responsibilities ever since.

In 2008, we elected a sane and intelligent president, who managed to right the sinking economic ship and did what no other president had succeeded in doing since Harry S. Truman first tried in the 1940s – enact a working model toward universal, single payer healthcare. Though based on a Republican plan introduced in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, Republicans fought it tooth and nail for a year and a half, and have tried to repeal it more than half a hundred times ever since, in lieu of actually governing.

In fact, the Republican legislators opposed everything President Obama proposed for eight years, regardless of its merits. If it offended their principles, they opposed it, naturally. If it was a good idea, they still opposed it. If it was their own idea and Obama supported it, they immediately opposed it. Republicans put the country in utter gridlock, even after the country elected Obama to a second term.

Then in 2016, we elected Donald Trump, a known charlatan, unreliable and possibly corrupt businessman, a narcissist, and soon to be recognized as a sociopath, who ran on a campaign of bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, insults and a ridiculous wall. He not only won, improbably, but carried both houses of Congress with him.

Trump began immediately to dismantle everything Obama had done by executive authority with his own. Again, there was no regard given to merit. If Obama did it, it had to be undone, no matter what. (If Trump undoes Obama’s Iranian nuclear treaty, it will be the biggest mistake of his presidency, which is really saying something.) He also placed a Secretary in each cabinet department whose views are inimical to that department.

Oddly, even with one party in control of the White House and Congress, the gridlock did not cease. It turned out that Republicans are effective at blind opposition, but couldn’t govern the country across the street with a green light.

This failure to govern is due to three problems. First, Republicans have crappy, mean-spirited, unpopular ideas helping no one but wealthy donors. Second, during eight years of reflexive opposition, Republicans smeared and demonized some really good ideas, and now they are stuck with having to oppose them still. Finally, Republicans are splintered into factions along the spectrum of bad to worse to worst. They couldn’t agree on gravity.

So, here we are in 2017, with a president so unprincipled and unconcerned with the common good that he would sign any bill without even reading it if it would get him a “win” (When did we start thinking a governance as a zero sum game? Somewhere between 1980 and 1992, I think.), and a Republican Congress that passes gas, but can’t pass a bill.

And then, astoundingly, this president improbably does something that hasn’t been done since before Denny Hastert went to jail (Google Hastert and the “Hastert Rule”). Seeing that he won’t get a “win” with only Republicans, he gets together with some Democrats and knocks one out in an evening.

We can speculate as to Trump’s motives. I know; I’ve seen me do it. (See a reprise of my thoughts on his motives from last week’s blog, below this article.) But an intelligent agreement was reached on an ostensibly bipartisan basis. Ryan and McConnell arguably “lost,” but they were defending the indefensible, so screw them.

Lo and behold, it appears we are going to have another agreement regarding the Dreamers. This one should be easier, as helping the Dreamers is almost universally liked by Americans. Not to do so seems unfair, unjust, illogical and offends our sense of values.

Trump adamantly proposed sending all the Dreamers back home during the campaign. But, of course, he is a pathological liar without a principle in his body, so he will agree with anything to get a “win,” regardless of his previous positions. Like I said, easy peasy.

Could this be the re-start of an idea that has been out of favor for more than a decade: legislating on a bi-partisan basis? Maybe; but maybe not. On the one hand, we have a president who will sign a piece of toilet paper if there appears to be a bill on it. But on the other hand, we have some issues coming up on which the parties’ principles are truly at odds. It will be more difficult going forward. We’ll see. But, we have been reminded of the basic principles of representative government. Wouldn’t it be nice if it caught on again?

Excerpt from last week’s Blog on possible motives for
Trump’s Deal with Democrats

“In this case, there are a number of possible motives. Most likely, Ponzi had a tee-off time and didn’t want to miss it, so he took the quick out. Possibly, he was pissed at Republican Congressional leadership for being so incompetent. Possibly, he decided he could work better with Democrats than Republicans because the Republicans are go divided they can’t agree on gravity. And just possibly, the meeting lasted so long that, with Ponzi’s short attention span, he lost track of which position was held by which Party and took a (wrong) guess.”

Cassini: This week, the astounding voyage of the spacecraft sent to explore Saturn almost 20 years ago, and fully 1.4 billion kilometers away, came to its end when it was deliberately plunged into the planet to take its final pictures before burning up in Saturn’s atmosphere.

When the Cassini-Huygens space probe was launched toward Saturn in October, 1997, the scope and audacity of the plan exceeded science fiction, but the program accomplished more than could ever have been hoped. It was an engineering marvel, and a monument to human ingenuity.

Sudden Thought: Have you noticed that all the late model cars seem to have a vestigial dorsal fin near the rear of their top, just above the rear window? Maybe some of their forebears were fish.

Football: I didn’t watch as much football as I hoped to this weekend. My Oklahoma Sooners played Tulane, such a mismatch that it wasn’t even carried on television, only pay-per-view. I was not going to pay money to watch lions eat Christians, so while I was able to read the box score and get the storyline – OU started sluggishly, but pulled away steadily throughout the game – I have not seen a single image from the game, which OU won 56-14.

That evening, OU’s football nemesis Texas took #4 USC to the brink in a double overtime loss – 27-24, in what was the best game of the weekend. Their freshman quarterback – Sam Ehlinger – and their defense looked unexpectedly good. They have improved significantly since their first game loss to Maryland, damn it.

The Dallas Cowboy game was too painful to watch, so I stopped watching it. It was as poorly as I have seen them play in a couple of years. The Denver Broncos exposed their injuries and suspensions masterfully. (It would be nice if the Cowboys could keep more of their players out of the NFL penalty box.) Dallas had no apparent game plan, they couldn’t cover anybody and they couldn’t tackle anybody. They looked ready to lose from the kick-off.

I did enjoy seeing the Falcons dismantle Green Bay, but it was cold comfort Sunday.

Status of the States: Arizona, my own personal state, gets the cup this week. On sites in Arizona, Motel 6 employees, it was reported, ratted out guests they thought might be illegals to ICE. This was done without the chain’s approval. Questionable customer service.

 

Thoughts on Events the Week of September 4

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 12, 2017

That’s our boy: President Trump pulled the Oval Office rug out from under Republican Congressional leadership not once but twice this week, begging questions, such as: what the hell he is thinking? Is he thinking? Does he even know how to think? To answer these questions, we must discern his motives.

First, as forecast, Ponzi pretended to repeal DACA, but delayed implementation for six months, giving Congress time to come up with a legislative solution. A not unreasonable approach, but one that allows him to claim to have done something, yet pushes all the responsibility somewhere else. Classic Ponzi.

You’ll notice, Ponzi Don didn’t even make the announcement himself. He sent Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to do the dirty work, which was also actually not a bad move. Sessions is the biggest xenophobe in Washington, so he probably had a boner behind the lectern while delivering the news. (Note: this is the same Ponzi who denied Catholic Sean Spicer from meeting the Pope, but let Sessions deliver the DACA bad news.)

Shortly thereafter, however, Ponzi pulled the rug out from Republicans in all branches by saying that if Congress wouldn’t fix DACA, he would, begging the question: what does that even mean?

Was there a motive? I don’t know. Maybe even Ponzi realized he had done something, finally, that didn’t sit well with pretty much anyone, even some reasonably sane members of his own base, so he had to backtrack.

Weirder yet, in a meeting with Congressional leaders of both parties to discuss the possibility of addressing three pressing issues – hurricane relief, a continuing resolution and debt ceiling increase – Ponzi stunned his fellow Republican leaders, and especially his Secretary of the Treasury, who he cut off in mid-sentence, and sided with the Democrats on all points. (The may have needed to clean the Oval Office rug after that one; surely more than one Republican present peed on it in surprise.)

In this case, there are a number of possible motives. Most likely, Ponzi had a tee-off time and didn’t want to miss it, so he took the quick out. Possibly, he was pissed at Republican Congressional leadership for being so incompetent; they are. Possibly, he decided he could work better with Democrats than Republicans because the Republicans are so divided they can’t agree on gravity. And just possibly, the meeting lasted so long that, with Ponzi’s short attention span, he lost track of which position was held by which Party and took a (wrong) guess.

Football: My beloved Oklahoma Sooners achieved a “quality win” against Ohio State in Columbus Saturday by score of 31-16.

“Quality win” in this case is a euphemism for OU opened up a big can of whup-ass on the Buckeyes in OSU’s stadium in front of 109,000 of their loyal fans. Well, there were 109,000 when the game started. By the end, there were only a couple dozen.

So, OU outscored Ohio State by more than two touchdowns, which covered the spread, since Ohio State was favored by seven and a half points!

I thought OU could win this game, but I also thought they could lose it. Make no mistake: these are two excellent teams from great programs. The hype obviously favored the #2 ranked Buckeyes over the #5 ranked Sooners, but the logic just didn’t add up.

OSU’s quarterback J.T. Barrett and OU’s quarterback Baker Mayfield had similar stats during their first games this season, over admittedly overmatched foes, but Mayfield only played for one half last week! Fine as Barrett is, the Sooners have the better quarterback, perhaps the best in college football, and OSU’s weak spot is their defensive secondary. It made sense Mayfield would light it up, and he did.

In Dallas Sunday night, my also beloved Cowboys beat the New York Giants, 19-3 in a mostly defensive battle, which is a good thing. Dallas’s defense has question marks, but they looked pretty good this night. Dak Prescott looked like he was experiencing some Sophomore Blues (Zeek Elliott did not), being frequently a little off target. Perhaps the game indicates Dallas can stay in them based on defense if the need should arrive.

Status of the States: When OU and Dallas win in the same weekend, I don’t pay much attention to states’ sorry governance. Besides, there was a hurricane to follow, again.

Coming Attractions: I wasn’t able to finish my review of Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance. Almost finished. This week for sure.

Thoughts on Events the Week of August 28

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on September 6, 2017

Our Dreamers: I say our Dreamers, because these approximately 800,000 young men and women, boys and girls who were brought here by their parents, who entered the U.S. illegally, are about as American as it is possible to be. Like the children on the Mayflower, they arrived with their parents to our shores without citizenship so their parents could begin a new life, and they have lived here for years, peacefully.

President Obama, through executive order – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – has allowed Dreamers to stay, and since DACA came into force, Dreamers have also lived securely and productively. They have gone to school, gotten jobs, paid taxes, served in the military and otherwise improved themselves.  On the whole, they have become model citizens. (One Dreamer even perished saving others during Hurricane Harvey.)

President Donald J. Trump wants to send all the Dreamers home, though they are already living in the only home they have known, some for many years. He has been tormenting Dreamers, and titillating his xenophobic base, about this since during the campaign. He will announce his “decision” next week.

As of this writing, the reporting is that Ponzi will announce an end to DACA, with a six month delay to give Congress an opportunity to act. That way, he will be able to declare it a campaign promise fulfilled and stick Congress with the responsibility. This may work, but it leaves these DACA children dangling.

Sometimes I criticize Ponzi Don for his heartless or selfish or incompetent actions, and sometimes I just want to smack him upside the head. This is one of those times.

North Korea: North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jung Un keeps working on nuclear weapons capability and insulting Ponzi Don, while Ponzi keeps threatening to use our nuclear capability and insulting Un, like a couple of childish schoolyard bullies, each without the slightest intention of actually fighting. It’s ludicrous.

Think about it. We all know what is going to happen here. Out of the few really lousy choices, we are going to live with a nuclear armed North Korea, just as we live with a nuclear armed Pakistan, unless or until China can be persuaded to do something about it.

Football: My beloved Oklahoma Sooners looked stronger than a bear’s breath beating UTEP, an admittedly overmatched foe, in Norman. But the Sooners looked crisp in execution at least two deep, boding well for the future. New Sooner Head Coach Lincoln Riley played lots of people, which was really smart, in my view. The game against Ohio State in Columbus next weekend should be a dilly.

But there was arguably a better football story coming out of Dallas, regarding my also beloved Cowboys. The teams cancelled the scheduled game between Dallas and Houston so the Texans could return to Houston to be with their families during Hurricane Harvey.

Ever the marketing and promotion genius, Cowboy owner Jerry Jones turned Thursday evening into a telethon to raise money for Harvey relief, throwing in a million dollars from the Cowboy organization (a real million dollars, Ponzi Don, not a specious promise), and raised another $1.3 million in call-in contributions. (The Jones family had already thrown in a $100,000 on their own.)

This shows why Dallas is America’s team, why Jones is the best NFL owner, why Texas is Texas, and why Ponzi Don is such a failure. (I just threw that last one in gratuitously.)

On the downside of Big XII college football, the University of Texas Longhorns looked like a dog’s dinner losing to Maryland 51-41. (But who’s counting? Answer: Sooner fans!) It will be a somber week in Dallas and Austin, I expect.

Status of the States: Texas is the worst state for putting such a sorry football team on the field, but also the best state, along with all the other states, for how it, and we, are responding to Hurricane Harvey.

Coming Attractions: This week, a review of Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance.

Thoughts on Events the Week of August 14

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 26, 2017

Charlottesville: The liberal reaction following the violent protest in Charlottesville, VA was a lot of overwrought political correctness and naïve expectations. The situation is more complicated and nuanced than that.

The word Nazi has been thrown around ceaselessly, carelessly and inaccurately. There were no Nazis in Charlottesville. Even our citizens who call themselves “neo-Nazis” are not Nazis. Nazis live in Germany, and there are very few, if any, left. Let’s put this word on the shelf except when talking about World War II

The protestors at Charlottesville were garden variety bigoted white supremacists. (That our president agrees with them, about which more below.)

An important thing for us to keep in mind about the protestors (and anti-protestors) is that their speech is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. The violence that some of them engaged in is not protected, nor of course the murder of a protestor; that sure as hell isn’t.

These people feel they have grievances, and that their government has let them down. I empathize with this, up to a point. There was ample evidence to support this belief on the scene in Charlottesville. What kind of functioning, responsible government would allow people like these – with anger on their minds and hatred in their hearts – to walk around in public carrying guns?!

Surprising to some, Trump sides with the violent white supremacy protestors, and he was willing to say so in public. There are two flaws to public reaction: first, it is disingenuously ex-post-facto. Trump has been, well, trumpeting his views for two years now. People voted for him in spite of, or perhaps because of, these views. It’s too late to take a dim view of them now.

Second, we can’t prohibit Trump from expressing these views. His speech is protected by the same First Amendment. If he wants to admit that he’s a bigoted, racist, that’s his privilege.

In fact, Trump’s views are shared by a large percentage of our population. He won 62,984,825 votes – 46.4% of the total – about three million fewer than Hillary, but in just the right locations to control the Electoral College.

Every one of Trump’s voters knew exactly what Trump is and what he stands for. Look around you. Almost half the people you see voted for Trump, whether they say so or not (many of them won’t admit it, especially to pollsters). This is not a “fringe.” This is mainstream.

These voters – uneducated, bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic, lazy, prone to violence, currently unemployable and many drug addled – remain a drag on our economy and our society. We must deal with them as best we can; they are our fellow citizens. But I’m damned if I can respect them.

Status of the States: I can’t even talk about the South right now.

Coming Attractions: Apropos of the Trump voters in Charlottesville, in the next week or two, I will review Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance.

Thoughts on Events the Week of August 7

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 19, 2017

North Korea: Two pouty little bully boys stood on either side of a line drawn in the dirt between them, threatening what they would do to the other if he dared cross over the line. For all the bluster and taunting, neither one of them would dare cross the line.

I’ve seen this scene in elementary school playgrounds countless times, and on a cable network news program last evening between presidents Un and Trump. The school yard antagonists looked more menacing and serious. The presidents looked absurd.

White Supremacist Rally: It was shocking, shocking to see a white racist march in the south get out of hand. Ponzi Don said nothing meaningful about it, and many have criticized him for not condemning the violence and urged him to do so. It doesn’t matter. Ponzi’s base doesn’t care when he is lying about anything, and they certainly wouldn’t care if he had condemned the violence, knowing that he would be lying if he did. Ponzi is that kind of a guy.

Diary Entry: Cynthia went to Phoenix for a day of medical tests on Wednesday and won’t be back home until Tuesday. The doctors read the results, threw her in the hospital on the spot, and cut open her skull to remove a marble-sized tumor from her brain the very next day. Unsettling stuff.

It’s gone now (the tumor, not her brain), and she is fine, but there are some hangover effects from having your brain rattled from the inside, and she will undergo various physical, occupational and speech therapies here at home for a few weeks.

Status of the States: Alabama gets the cup because of the three sorry candidates in the Republican primary to replace Senator, now Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. One of these un-worthies will doubtless win the seat eventually, and when he does, Alabama will win the cup again.

Thoughts on Events the Week of July 31

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 11, 2017

President Trump: Ponzi Don has left Washington to spend 17 days at his golf resort in New Jersey. Having complained every time President Obama took a vacation, Ponzi claims this isn’t actually one. The man just can’t tell the truth even about the most innocuous subject. But what if he is actually telling the truth, and is undergoing social media rehab? Is there such a thing as Twitter withdrawal?

Congress: has recessed, sort of, but is staying in session technically to prevent Ponzi from making any recess appointments. What childishness, unheard of until McConnell declared total obstruction of President Obama in 2009.

Congress will be away for five weeks to avoid having to do any more failing. It is astounding how little these people work at our expense. All members and senators may not enjoy their vacations this fall, though. They’ve got some explaining to do to their constituents.

Given these absences from the national stage, I may become more casual about my own posting as well. There are, after all, things in life beyond criticizing our government. Though I don’t do it ordinarily, I may even watch some preseason NFL football.

Football: Some glimmers of light are shining over the dark ridge of the mountain of despair and longing that is football’s off-season. The Oklahoma Sooners have begun fall practice and the Dallas Cowboys have even played a preseason game, or which I watched about five minutes. ESPN said the Cowboys won, as if anyone familiar with professional football even keep score of preseason games.

Sudden Thought: In a perfect world, things can go perfectly wrong.

Status of the States: None of the worst states are not worth the powder to blow up, but let’s see how they each treats its congresspersons and senators during the recess. The one whose legislators get off easiest wins the cup. Meanwhile, I’m washing my hands of them all for a month.

 

Thoughts on Events the Week of July 24

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on August 1, 2017

Obamacare: Son of a bitch! Early in the week, I was depressed, demoralized, discouraged and distraught because the Senate approved a motion to proceed to debate on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.  All but two of the Republicans who said they would oppose their party’s bills caved like a house of cowards and voted Aye, including: Paul, Cruz, Heller (he’s toast), Capito, Lee and Moran.

Arizona Senator John McCain, alas my own personal senator, flew in from brain surgery to cast his Aye vote. I feared that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had succeeded in opening the cave of chaos, and dark bats would fly out and suck the blood from Obamacare.

McConnell did propose three odious repeal and replace bills in succession. Two were defeated handily. The vote on the third – the so called “Skinny” bill – looked like it might end in a tie, which Vice President Pence would be able to break and swing the vote to the Republicans. But lo and behold, Senator McCain cast the third No vote on this bill and dashed Republican plans dramatically.

Senator McConnell made it clear that he has had enough. Some people think McConnell wanted things to end this way, with Obamacare still in place but Republicans able to say to their voters that they really tried. Maybe, but I still enjoyed seeing McConnell get kicked in the balls on the Senate floor.

McCain is receiving “profile in courage” accolades for casting his No vote, but to me he is still the senile senior senator from Arizona. He could have ended all this drama two days earlier by voting against the motion to proceed. He risked letting things get out of hand by not strangling this Damien in its crib.

But, this is McCain’s last hurrah, so let’s let him go with honor, glory and self-satisfaction, just so long as he goes away. Now, about that junior jackass from Arizona, the aptly named Senator Flake. I thought he was beginning to smell the coffee, but he was like all the Republican hypocrites who voted for a bill they prayed would not pass. What leadership. What courage. What bullshit.

Loyalty: Ponzi Don confuses loyalty with servitude. This informs why he can’t attract good people, and has to suffer the mediocre sycophants he can.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions: Seems to have come up with a successful strategy for working with Ponzi Don – the “short attention span” strategy. To implement it, one must have no self-respect, of course, but that’s true of pretty much all of Ponzi’s cabinet and senior people. Session is hanging on and taking the humiliation until Ponzi gets mad at someone else and forgets him. It won’t be long now.

Anthony Scaramucci: Another possible strategy is the “monkey-see-monkey-do” strategy, which the Mooch has adopted. He acts as brazen and vulgar as the president, hoping that Ponzi will like what he see in himself. I don’t think Mooch is going to be successful, though (There’s no room for another Ponzi in the West Wing, only more sycophants. In fact, I think Mooch will take the record for shortest tenure on Ponzi’s team from Michael Flynn. Flynn served a little less than a month. I predict Mooch, who doesn’t take office until mid-August, will be gone before he officially begins.

The Mooch will still leave a legacy, however. Stephen Colbert now refers to Ponzi’s son-in-law Jared Kushner as the Kooch.

Status of the States: Kansas gets the worst state cup this week. Except for McCain, all the senators from all the worst states voted for the repeal and replace bills, but only Kansas Senator Jerry Moran indicated he would vote NO before dropping to his knees in front of Senator McConnell.

Thoughts on Events the Week of July 17

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on July 25, 2017

Obamacare: Again this week, there was no vote on repealing and replacing the current healthcare law, known as Obamacare. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had a good reason not to bring his bill to a vote: it is such a bad bill that even Republicans don’t even want to talk about it, much less vote on it. However, McConnell promises us a vote on some kind of healthcare bill next week, though he nor anyone else knows what that bill will be yet.

What presidential leadership looks like today: For the first four days of the week, President Trump proposed a different course on healthcare each day. In order: Pass a replace and repeal bill, whatever it is; Just repeal, and replace later; Just let Obamacare fail and Democrats will come us; Pass a repeal and replace bill, whatever it is. With leadership like this, how can Congress fail?

“Whatever it is” seems to be Ponzi Don’s mantra for a healthcare bill. Even so, Ponzi said this week that whatever it is, he won’t own it. Again, what leadership. Sorry, Ponzi, but voters, not you, decide what you and the Republicans own, and since Republicans control Congress and the White House, I’m pretty sure you will own it. If you try to sabotage Obamacare, I know you will own it.

The longer Republicans screw around, the more nervous voters are going to become, and the more nervous Congress is going to become, and the more changes to Obamacare are going to be improvements, not repeal or replacement, and at some point, the bill is going to look like what liberals want, i.e. a single payer system, or at least a very robust public option.

Déjà vu: Is it just me, or is the Russia scandal starting to look more and more like Watergate? I eschewed comparisons previously, but consider: Cover-up; Denial (Nixon: “I am not a crook,” Trump: “I haven’t done anything wrong.”); Resignations; Throwings under the bus: Lawyers and loyal aids fired; threats against the justice system investigators, the media and their own party.

If this stays on script, soon a prime investigator will be fired (Nixon: special prosecutor, Trump: special counsel), and then Congress will rise up… or not. It’s a pretty pusillanimous pack in charge there.

I don’t know when Ponzi will leave office, but here is a set of possibilities, in my order of probability:

1. He quits, ostensibly because his businesses need him: with his thin skin and fragile ego, when the opprobrium overwhelms the adulation, it will get him down.
2. He drops dead: Ponzi is old, he is overweight, he’s not healthy, he doesn’t exercise, his diet is fatty, and he is under a lot of stress
3. Impeachment: he’s guilty of a whole lot of wrong doing. I know it, you know it, everybody knows it, even his base.
4. Leaves at the end of one term. Ponzi is at best, or worst, a one term president.

Sudden thought: Tattoos are graffiti on the walls of the temple that is one’s body.

Junior: How many Russians have to be in a meeting for Trump family members to remember it? A bridge game full? A basketball team? A baseball team? A football team? A Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

The “P” word: At the end of the week, Ponzi Don started tweeting about pardons for his aids, his family and possibly for himself. Pardon is a word only used if you burp or are guilty of something.

Ponzi can’t pardon himself, and even if he did he would be admitting guilt, in which case he would be impeached or have to resign. I’m curious what Republican legislators (read elected officials) are thinking about what to tell their voters about this.

Diary Entry: When we returned from our trip to Yosemite, I wrote a review of our Airbnb apartment in Mariposa, CA, near the park, our first Airbnb experience. The next day, we learned that Mariposa had to be evacuated due to the forest fire razing the area. It would be ironic if after I wrote a positive review for possible future guests, the place burned down.

Status of the States: Alabama gets the worst state cup this week, because Ponzi Don signaled he has lost confidence in the state’s native son and Ponzi’s Attorney General. Duh! Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is perhaps the least qualified for his position of any member of Ponzi’s cabinet, and that is really saying something!
It’s not Alabama’s fault, exactly, that Ponzi appointed him to be Attorney General, but it is Alabama’s fault that it re-elected the bigoted cow part to public office for years.