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Thoughts on Events the Week of March 23

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 29, 2020

Coulda, shoulda woulda: We are in one hell of a crisis right now, the kind that only a national response from the federal government can address. Sadly, this particular administration is egregiously unsuited to the task. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this administration couldn’t help an old lady across the street with a green light. Hell, they wouldn’t even want to.

However, intellectual honesty requires we acknowledge that however incapable President Trump is, there are also other reasons we are in such physical and financial peril today that go back further than Trump, things we should have been addressing for years and chose not to do. These failures are now biting us on the butt.

First, we have been shaving back the staffing and competence of our federal government for decades. Trump is not the first to do this, only the worst. As the country has grown our government has been shrinking inversely. One of our political parties wants it that way.

And, despite all the conservative happy talk, the government has been growing and not in a good way. Layer upon layer of incompetence. Look no further than the FDA, which should be front line with the best and is not.

However, the prize goes to the Department of Homeland Security, an idea which only Dubbya could have been talked into, that added a spectacularly huge and bloated layer on our intelligence services without, I submit, much to show for it. We went for a show of quantity instead of quality.

Second, we have been pissing away money on scandalously wasteful priorities: Senseless wars, bloated military, giveaways to already rich plutocrats and debt service to pay for our irresponsible borrowing.

The Trump administration has been particularly egregious in this regard. It borrowed more than a trillion dollars, probably closer to two, and gave it to the richest of us. Now, we could really use that money and it’s not there.

John Maynard Keynes said we should deficit spend in times of want and pay the deficit down in times of plenty. Politicians remember the first part but ignore the second part. Since World War II, the only president to follow both parts of the dictum was Bill Clinton, who was smart enough to use the windfall he enjoyed from the Dot.com bubble to balance the budget. Contrary to dire warnings, it helped the economy enormously. 

The fact is, Americans want a whole lot of things but don’t want to pay for them, and politicians don’t have the courage to tell us the truth. It’s easier to borrow. We borrow about half of what we spend every year. That’s a disastrous way to manage a budget.

Finally, the government squandered our trust in it. It’s worse than that really. I trace the steep loss of trust back to President Reagan, who told us we shouldn’t trust the government. Conservatives have been echoing that canard ever since and the trust has eroded commensurately.   

Actually, I lay much of the blame for this on Nancy Reagan, considering that the president wasn’t present during his second term, due to Alzheimer’s and Nancy was in charge.

Let them get back to work: Channeling Marie Antoinette, Trump and his economic and political advisors (where does he find these crazies?), advocated – and have since walked back due to outrage, not wisdom – sending people back to work on or about Easter Sunday, in effect prioritizing the economy over human life. This thinking is not only twisted, but misguided, because it wouldn’t resurrect the economy.

Most people, who tend to prefer life, wouldn’t go back to work, and those who did would soon be sick and incapacitated. The economy would collapse anyway and without an economy or federal support, many people would become desperate and bad things would happen. They would certainly take it out on Trump. Wait a minute! Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.  

Cure v Problem? Discuss?: President Trump says he does not want the cure for Covid-19 to be worse than the disease. Well, Covid-19 sickens and kills people. What cure is worse than that?  Personally, I would rather be alive and broke than rich and dead.

Trump is obviously more concerned about the stock market than American citizens. If my 401K is seriously depleted and Covid-19 and Trump are gone, I will consider it a successful political contribution and live with it.

Trump’s guiding characteristics: We all know that our president likes authoritarian leaders, and that, like Miniver Cheevy about the Medici’s, he longs to be one. But at this moment in time, he has authority to deal with Covid-19, but he is not using it aggressively or wisely. So, in addition to his being a narcissist and a sociopath, he is also a coward.

Sudden thought: Could we quarantine Trump and put New York Governor Cuomo in charge for 14 days? We’d be in a lot better shape.

Worst state: Texas gets the cup this week, because Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says at-risk senior citizens (of which I’m) should be willing to die if it will save the country. Note to Patrick: These are not mutually exclusive choices, or even legitimate choices at all. And by the way, Patrick, kiss my rosy red rectum, you disgusting pig part.

Patrick is what passes for a leader in Texas, which is what is the matter with Texas.

Thoughts on Events the Week of March 16

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 23, 2020

Those of you old enough, do you remember when President Reagan said, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem?” It turns out Reagan was right. When you staff the government with thieving gypsies and incompetents and people determined to tear the institutions of government down, when a crisis comes along, Trump’s government does become the problem. We’re seeing that right now.

States, municipalities, corporations, charities, medical professionals and individuals are making Herculean efforts to address Covid-19. The only ones failing miserably at their task is the Federal government.

Actually, the Feds’ performance is worse than failing; it’s exacerbating the crisis. The White House is spewing out misinformation and happy talk while the country is in deep viral doo doo. Like Hurricane Katrina when George W. Bush was president, Covid-19 was always going to be bad, but the president is making it worse. Many people are going to die needlessly due to this pig part.

Pants wetter in chief: Almost immediately after he was elected, President Trump’s detractors questioned his ability to handle a true crisis situation, given his mental weakness, his ignorance, his lack of curiosity, corrupt character, inability to tell the truth and his narcissism.

It’s doubtful these pundits had Covid-19 in mind when thinking about potential disasters Trump might face, but they were spot on in their doubts Trump would handle any crisis competently, even those he created himself. Now we know; he can’t. Leaders walk on water in a crisis. Trump is passing water in this one.

Covid-19 is a perfect storm for Trump. It is dead serious, global and unmoved by tweets. It is egalitarian – an equal opportunity plague that can infect anyone easily and doesn’t check passports or recognize borders. It lays Trump bare for everyone to see what a pathetic human, let alone a leader, he truly is.

He knew it all the time: Trump now says he knew early on that Covid-19 would cause a pandemic. Trump is so stupid he doesn’t realize that if he knew a pandemic was coming while telling the American people it is a hoax, that makes him more despicable than he already is. What must it be like to be incapable of telling the truth and unable to admit a single mistake?

Sickly Senate: Both Romney and Paul have tested positive for Corvid-19 and are self-isolating. On the last Senate vote on a relief package, the vote was 47-47 and the measure failed. (If I were a Democratic Senator, I wouldn’t have voted for the bill either. It resembled Trump’s tax cut, which gave all the benefits to rich corporations and screwed everyone who works for a living.)

This means that only 94 senators voted at all. Presumably, other senators are self-isolating than just Romney and Paul. This raises some interesting possibilities.

Since Republicans, broadly, are taking fewer precautions than Democrats, what if more Republican Senators get sick than Democratic ones to the point Democrats have the majority. Would McConnell still be the Senate Majority Leader? Would it matter? Senate Democrats may be able to take over the senate and put an end to McConnell’s shenanigans.

More interesting still, what if so many senators get sick that the senate can’t raise a quorum? How will the legislative branch function then?

Worst State: The cup this week goes to Texas, thanks to the dumbest sombitch in the House, Louis Gohmert. Gohmert held up the House financial relief bill for a couple of days. When I want to call someone stupid, I call them a Gohmert.  

Thoughts on the Democratic Primaries to Date

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 18, 2020

Primary motivation: Pundits are characterizing the Democratic primary, now down to Bernie v. Biden, as a contest between the progressive and establishment wings of the party. Based on the primary results, actual Democratic voters are not thinking that way at all. They are thinking practically and sequentially.

Consider what happens when a victim of a serious car crash is brought into a hospital emergency room. What does the doctor do first? He or she stabilizes the patient. Stops the bleeding. Applies oxygen. Restores the vitals. Then the doctor can think about recovery, healing and reconditioning.

This is what is going on in the minds of Democratic voters, I think. It is certainly what is going on in mine. America has had a car crash, which is Trump. We need to do first things first. Stop the bleeding. Get Trump and all his corrupt and incompetent family, enablers and sycophants out of the White House. Supply oxygen. Get the government up to full staff with competent people. Restore the vitals. Reinstate traditional institutions and norms. Then we can discuss where we go from here.

But first, get that pig part presidential prick gone. Do it first, do it now. This is why voters are gravitating to Biden, who represents the best candidate to accomplish the crucial first step. Then we can discuss how far left we want to move, which I think is considerable.

By 2018, it was clear what a colossal mistake we had made electing Trump. But he wasn’t on the ballot, so we began tossing out who we could of his minions, often replacing them with considerably more liberal candidates. This is what makes me think the country is ready to move further to the left when government is restored.

In a recent Sunday New York Times, Frank Bruni wrote the predictable piece near the end of every quadrennial primary season that the loser was also a winner, because he or she had succeeded in shifting the dialogue and narrative. This is banal, but it is also true, and it is also a good thing.

Sudden thought: Millennials can no longer vote in large enough numbers to get Bernie nominated, but they can vote in small enough number in November to let Trump sneak in again, which would be a disaster.

“Paradise”

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 17, 2020

POn this rare occasion, President Trump was right about something, but for absolutely the wrong reason, when he said “Paradise” shouldn’t have won the Best Picture Oscar. He said it because he’s a xenophobic bigot and he knew bashing foreigners would jack off his base. “Paradise” didn’t deserve the Best Picture Oscar because “Parasite” was a very good movie, just not the best. Among other things, it had two fatal cinematic flaws.P

The story is of one working class Asian family who by various means infiltrates members of its family into the household of another, very affluent one. Their plan succeeds by means sometimes clever, sometimes devious. Soon, they are the family’s housekeeper, chauffer, tutor of the daughter and so on.  Though the plan was in some ways despicable, I saw nothing illegal about it.

But at this point of success in the plotters’ plan, a Deus ex Machina event occurs when it turns out that the previous housekeepers’ sick husband has been living in a hidden room in the basement of the home. The plotters let the former housekeeper into the house to tend to her husband and all Hell breaks loose. I can’t think of a more implausible plot line.

Near the end of the movie, totally inexplicable violence occurs, as the head of the affluent family is murdered in broad daylight by the head of the plotter’s family, and in the confusion, the head of the plotters’ family ends up hiding from the police in the secret room that formerly was occupied by the former housekeeper’s husband. The denouement, though there is a little poetry in it, is so improbable that it undermines the entire film.

If you haven’t already seen this movie, do so. It’s a good movie but see the one below first.

The best movie of 2017 was “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” It has an interesting, more plausible plot, with much better actors. Francis McDormand is a national treasure and would have gotten my Best Actress Award, as she did for her starring role in “Fargo. Woody Harrelson is in it, and Sam Rockwell, and a good supporting cast.

This story is about a mother who is so despondent over the rape and murder of her daughter and that no progress has been made on finding the killer that she rents out three billboards that goad the sheriff into trying harder. Pathos and redemption ensue.

Thoughts on Events the Week of March 9

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 15, 2020

Incompetence Redux: Having put his incompetence on display Wednesday, President Trump tried to take a do over on his Covid-19 policy Friday, declaring a national emergency and outlining steps being taken, which Trump obviously didn’t develop and probably doesn’t even understand. He was forced to this action to try to cover up the depth of his disastrous performance two evenings before.

A reporter asked Trump whether he took any responsibility for the problems addressing the virus, given that he dismantled the agency and dismissed the experts therein who would otherwise have been there when needed. Trump said he took “no responsibility at all.”

Trump seems to have forgotten he is the president, or he has no understanding of what his job description is. The former is surprising since he talks about being president incessantly. Hell, he’s still talking about his electoral college count and the crowd size at his inauguration more than three years ago.

Regarding the latter, it’s obvious he doesn’t know or care much about his job description, or anything else for that matter, except himself.

But bottom line, Trump doesn’t get to decide whether he takes responsibility or not. Voters do, and they tend to think presidents have responsibility for their administrations.

Trump has been exposed and he has been kicked aside. Others have taken over while Trump sucks his thumb. Governors and municipal authorities are taking their own emergency measures. Business owners are sending employees home temporarily. Any event involving large crowds, including major sporting events, is being reviewed or is already cancelled. Schools, notorious petrie dishes of germs, are beginning to close. Congress put together bipartisan legislation to allocate and distribute emergency funds, which Trump will have to sign, or they will make him eat spinach.

The markets were so relieved they actually went up. (Trump may be happy about this, but the crash left an ugly mark that I think won’t be forgotten in November.)

We may get out of this thing alive yet, but obviously no thanks to our cock-up in chief.

Oil:  The price of gasoline at the pump is about to drop significantly; it is, in fact, already doing so.  This is the perfect time to raise the gasoline tax.

First, gas taxes help reduce gasoline consumption.  When the retail price of gas drops. it encourages Americans to buy more gas guzzling cars. One in every nine barrels of oil produced each day goes into American gas tanks already. This is a bad thing for the globe. Keeping the price up with higher taxes will discourage this.

Second, it will generate revenue for things we need to be doing without additional cost to a tax averse public with zero (or less than zero if they listen to Fox News) understanding of economics, including even things as basic as supply and demand.

It is the intelligent thing to do, which is its weakness.

Full disclosure: I heard experts, real experts, propose increasing the gas tax on NPR. But I had this idea one-and-one-half hours before the broadcast, so I am not mimicking it, and am taking credit for having thought of it, originally.

Ben Carson: This name I had not heard nor thought of in a long time. Carson is an enigma, a brilliant neurosurgeon, apparently, who is in every other way incompetent and even loopy. I assumed the Trump administration had locked him away like Beth Mason, the violently insane wife of Edward Rochester in Bronte’s Jane Eyre.)

Anyway, he came back into the news this week in connection with the administration’s Covid-19 virus response, which did nothing to increase my confidence in how it is being handled.

Caron’s department (I can’t even remember which one it is) was charged with finding space for the American patients and potentially infected passengers from the cruise ship that has been circling around San Francisco with them. I’m surprised Carson could find San Francisco, let alone bed space, even though the former is probably in view through the port holes of the ship.

Football: Having been blessed with great quarterback play, Oklahoma has also attracted good receivers as well. If I were the Dallas Cowboys, and I knew for sure that I could get CeeDee Lamb at #17 in the NFL draft (which I am pretty sure will be held without an audience), I would take Lamb, let Amari Cooper go and use the money saved to pay Dak Prescott and Byron Jones, tagging Jones if necessary.

I have been watching Lamb for years, and he is the goods. I am not exaggerating when I say that his quarterback could take the ball, turn his back on the defense, throw the ball in that direction toward his own goal line, and Lamb would run back there and catch it and go score a touchdown with it. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but he is a fabulous player with perhaps the best pair of hands I have seen, and Dallas is in a tight spot with salary cap money.

Worst State: Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing that the worst states could do would trump the federal government’s misfeasance (read screwup) of the Covid-19 mess. Said someone else about something else, “It’s worse than a crime, it’s a blunder,” and one that is destined to become very costly.

Tom Frieden, former CDC director about controlling contagious diseases that the Bush administration initiated measures to prepare for a possible pandemic and the Obama administration strengthened them. The Trump administration tore them all down.

Frieden said in a worst-case scenario, a million Americans will die of his disease, perhaps even more. Best case? Well, we’ve already surpassed that.

This being the case, I am now jumping Trump over Dubbya as the worst president in modern times, by which I mean post-Civil War.

Thoughts on Trump’s Covid-19 Speech 3/11/20

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 12, 2020

Incompetence vividly on display:  President Trump gave a speech last night to lay out his administration’s plans to address Covid-19. It was a somber speech read from the teleprompter, and Trump stuck to the script.

Here’s the thing. It was filled with stupid, useless ideas. For instance, Trump announced that he is banning entry to all citizens of Europe, except from the UK and Ireland.

(Apparently, Trump doesn’t know that the countries exempted from this ban are not actually European. Britain is not part of Europe and has been trying to get out of the EU – not the same thing as Europe the continent) for years, which it finally succeeded in doing, recently. It’s surprising Trump – or any of his minions – didn’t know these things. Brexit was in all the papers. (Wait, maybe it is not so surprising.)

For this idea to be useful would require that Covid-19 checks the passports of everyone coming from Europe to the U.S. and avoids affecting U.S. citizens, only Europeans. Unlikely.

Worse, the speech was riddled with inaccuracies about Trumps own plan, which the administration had to correct within minutes of the ending of the speech. Jesus Christ, this administration is so incompetent that no one thought to fact check the speech against the plan. Obviously, Trump had little knowledge of or interest in the speech. He probably stopped paying attention to its development when he got to the word “ban,” thinking his base would reflexively approve.

This debacle, involving the most serious crisis since 2008, illuminates with the brightness of the Sun how stupid and clueless is our president, and the quality of staff around which he has surrounded himself. I wouldn’t trust these guys with my burnt match sticks, let alone a serious problem.

The results of this debacle of a speech is that the meltdown of the stock market accelerated, and businesses and individuals kicked Trump to the curb mentally and started taking things into their own hands. Governors are stepping in, the NBA put its season on hold, the NCAA canceled the basketball championship tournament (I’m truly sorry about this one), and individuals started taking their personal responses more seriously.

Churchill said nothing focuses the mind like being shot at without result. Well, this virus is something like that. Plus, coming in a close second in attention getting may be realizing that your leader is a moron and not a high functioning one at that.

In the interest of helping out, here is a modest suggestion: In a well-intended use of technology, many buildings (Margaret, buildings in this case is a Synecdoche, a literary device which uses the container for the thing contained, in this case businesses, or vice versa) installed automatically controlled water spigots to conserve water, and it works, though it’s inconvenient to have to turn the water back on frequently to wash ones hands.

But now, this idea is working against us in containing the virus. I suggest adjusting the spigots to run for exactly 20 seconds, which I think will improve compliance with the 20- second hand washing advice of medical experts to help control Covid-19.

And the nominations are…

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 5, 2020

Caught up in the euphoria of Super Tuesday, I am making the leap to contemplate a Democratic government, after the 2020 election. Call it premature enthusiasm ejaculation.

My ruminations begin with the opinion that every one of the Democratic candidates is competent and has a future in the party at some point. However, if I were going to select candidates from among the Senators among that lot, they would have to be from states where they would surely be replaced by another Democrat, such as…

Secretary of Treasury:  Elizabeth Warren. I would love to see her in this post. The day she is appointed all major bank presidents would move to countries that don’t have extradition treaties with the United States. Talk about self-deportation.

Attorney General: Kamala Harris. She was a tough, successful prosecutor and she hates all the same people I hate. She would be Eric Holder with even bigger cajones. It cannot be anyone from the DOJ’s Southern District of New York. They will be too busy prosecuting Trump family members.

Health and Human Services: Bernie Sanders. Put this guy in a position to act on his ideas instead of standing out in the cold alone.

Amy Klobuchar: I love her, but she must remain in the Senate, because there is no iron clad guarantee that she would be replaced by a Democrat. Another term in the Senate for her in Minnesota. She might then be our next presidential candidate.

Secretary of Defense: Paul Krugman. I don’t know when or why the name of this department changed from War to Defense, but it doesn’t matter. All Defense Secretaries think positively instead of cautiously about going to war. Think Robert McNamara, Donald Rumsfeld, et. al. As a Nobel Laureate, Krugman would cut the defense budget in half and start trimming from there.

If we must have a military man, a close friend of mine is high on Retired Admiral William McRaven. He has the right stuff. He was a superb military officer and he was Chancellor of the University of Texas System. Hey, maybe McRaven would make a good…

Secretary of Education: You could replace Betsy DeVos with any number of education experts (or a dime store mannequin for that matter) and have an upgrade. Bernie Sanders would also be a possibility in this post. He has one important credential I like: he is a mortal enemy of charter schools and vouchers, both of which are tools of racial discrimination.

Housing and Urban Development: Beto O’Rourke. Hispanic Texans are made for this job. He can get more experience and increase his popularity with Hispanic voters for a future run higher up the ladder.

Secretary of Commerce: Pete Buttigieg. Pete lacks experience in many areas, but local business is not one of them, and he is an elegant speaker, which is helpful when promoting our economy and businesses around the world. Another place to get experience in preparation for bigger things.:

Ambassadors to countries in Central or South America: The Cisneros twins.

Mike Bloomberg: It’s said that with any fortune, there is a crime, and this may be true, but I am a fan of Bloomberg, if not of all his positions. First, he seems to have made his vast fortune the right way, by having a great idea and executing it with brilliance and passion. Second, he gets things done effectively as do few others. Finally, he keeps his eye on the ball, as evidenced by his getting in and out of the presidential primary race by focusing on beating Donald Trump. I would sit down with him and ask him what he would like to do for his country now, except…

Vice President: I don’t know who I am ready to pick yet, but it must be a female, and younger. A woman of color would be preferred but not existential. (Kamala Harris might be such a candidate. Susan Rice?)

She must be a good one, not a Danielle Quayle or Michelle Pence. Based on political history and life expectancy probabilities, it’s almost certain that the next VP will be the next president someday.

I just don’t know yet, but I do know who I wouldn’t be interested in today: Stacey Abrams, the black Senatorial candidate who narrowly lost her race in Georgia in 2016. She is talented and articulate, but I am suspicious of her. Democrats have a chance to pick up at least one Senatorial seat in Georgia, maybe even two, and Abrams would be an obvious, ideal candidate, but she passed on the calling.

Emerson wrote, “So nigh is grandeur to our dust, so near is God to man, when duty whispers low, “Thou must,” the youth replies, “I can.” He did not write, “the youth replies, No, I’ll pass on it.” Abrams is going to have to show me a whole lot more before I will trust her again.

Sudden thought: Is it possible Abrams held out thinking she might be the VP candidate? If so, that would be impressive long-term strategic thinking.

Stock tip: Apropos of nothing political, I recommend buying stock in any company that makes hand lotions. We are all going to have chapped hands from alcohol-loaded hand sanitizers when the Covid-19 event, whatever it turns out ultimately to be, is finished.

Thoughts on Super Tuesday

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 5, 2020

With a nod to Joseph A. Heller, Something Happened. I wasn’t quite on the mark when I wrote that the Democratic primary is narrowing quickly to a two-candidate race between Sanders and Biden. I was closer when I wrote that it will be interesting to see if Democrats will move to the left, or if they will prefer to end the drama of the last few years and return to a calmer political tableau. Tuesday, they clearly voted for the latter. In the end, this wasn’t about the candidates, per se, but the atmosphere they wanted.

I think it started with James Clyburn. This idea is not original with me, but when I heard it expressed, I knew it was prescient. I heard Clyburn’s speech endorsing Biden, and when he finished his impassioned yet reasoned words, his brave and eloquent sentiments, I think a whole lot of people realized that this is the kind of principled person – speaking of Clyburn now – who they want back in charge of our government. They thought if a man like Clyburn thinks Biden is this kind of a man, too, then they went all in with him. This is called moral suasion, and we need so much more of it.

Speaking of black turnout, in 2016, black voters preferred Clinton to Trump in the same proportions that they preferred Obama in 2008 and 2012, but not nearly as many turned out. Blacks saw what Trump was doing to Obama’s legacy and learned their lesson. They turned out heavily again in 2018, and heavily again in these primaries. This is a good sign for Biden.

Other observations:

I don’t care a fig about Biden’s wins in southern states. Those states aren’t going to vote Democratic anyway. Hell, Alabama may return Sessions to the Senate! This is probably true of Texas, also, but every new voter who comes into the state these days, broadly speaking, is either an educated metropolitan or Hispanic, and every brown face that appears turns Texas a little bluer. It’s pleasing to watch. If Texas goes Democrat in 2020, which I do not expect yet, it will foretell a complete rout of Trump.

Likewise, I don’t care a fig that Sanders won California over Biden. California is going to vote for the Democratic candidate whoever it is. Hell, I will vote for Trump before California will, and do you see that happening? I suspect the same will be true of Colorado.

I was interested, however, in the turnout and votes in North Carolina, and Minnesota especially. Those are important swing states, and the primary suggests they may swing more heavily Democratic in 2020. The Democrat needs to win some of those recalcitrant midwestern states that went for Trump in 2016. I think Biden, has an advantage there.

The turnout in Virginia was particularly interesting. Clinton won a plurality of the vote there in 2016. In the Democratic primary this year, the voter turnout nearly doubled that of 2016 presidential election! It was even greater than in 2012 when Obama was on the ticket. This suggests Virginia may be solidly blue this election. Virginia is closest to ground zero in Washington and they feel the Trump fiasco perhaps more than any other state.

Clearly, Sanders did not expand his voter base as he hoped and predicted. Even his dedicated youth in California did not turn out as would seem to have been expected. This thing is not over but note to Bernie: if you want to expand your Democratic base, you need to stop calling Democrats who are not presently with you names. As legendary ad man John O’Toole said, to make sales, we must first make friends.

Sudden, tangential thought: If Republicans keep getting all their news about Covid-19 from Trump and Fox News, there may be many fewer Republican voters come November.

The Social Democrat

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 4, 2020

So, it appears that the Democratic primary is narrowing quickly to a two-candidate race between Sanders and Biden. It will be interesting to see how far left the Democrats may want to move, or how tired they may be of the drama of the last few years and just want to return to a calmer political tableau.

As we wait for some indication of the answer to this question, it seems an appropriate time to give one last time my lecture regarding democratic socialism, the actual meaning of which the electorate seems so embarrassingly ignorant, and to add some perspective to the Sanders candidacy.

With only one bizarre exception of which I am aware, no country’s economic system is totally capitalist or totally socialist. They are a mixture of the two. Only a moment’s thought reveals this.

We may think of the world’s economic systems running along a spectrum, from more capitalist and less socialist to more socialist and less capitalist, but with no country actually touching either end of the spectrum, except North Korea, which is actually an authoritarian communist dictatorship, even Cuba.

(Idle thought: why have made peace with Japan after it bombed Pearl Harbor and even Vietnam after it killed 58,000 of our military, and not Cuba or Iran? It’s a rhetorical question. I know the answer. I just can’t respect the illogic of it.)

Some economies will lean more socialist, some more capitalist, with any number of commutations and permutations in between. So, when we abhor socialism out of hand, remember that America is somewhat socialist. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. are socialist programs, bigger than Dallas. What we are really debating is what distribution between the two systems we want to have.

Obviously, Bernie Sanders envisions a distribution more socialist and less capitalist than what we have now. And this is where the term “democratic socialism” comes into play. To his credit, Bernie wants the distribution to be determined democratically, not imposed. Responsible countries do, and it’s a very important distinction.

Full disclosure: I am on the left edge of the spectrum, near Bernie. I don’t agree with all his points precisely, but I believe he has identified important areas where more socialist policies are needed: Education, economic inequality, political inequality and the corruptive influence of money in politics (read plutocracy).

Further disclosure: I am actually way farther to the left on the spectrum than Bernie. I would add at least one important topic to the mix of issues needing more socialism: Food. It is a sin, a scandal and a crime that some people in this country do not all have enough to eat. There is simply no excuse for it, except, well, too much capitalism.

And, of course, I am on the other side of the planet from Bernie on gun control.

So, how does this understanding inform my voting choice? Very little. I am going to vote for which ever candidate polls better against Trump. Getting that bloated, corrupt, pig part of a presidential prick out of the office is all I care about. Thus ends the lecture.

Thoughts on Events the Weeks of February 17 and 24

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 1, 2020

I have experienced two surgeries on the last two successive Thursdays, with the result I have not had energy for blogging, so I will try to catch up now. Fortunately, despite all the drama, only three things of interest to me have occurred over these two weeks, two of them quite recently.

Covid-19: This is bad stuff, enigmatic still and perhaps of high lethality compared to previous viruses. Not to mention threatening to devastate the global economy.

Interestingly, it is the first crisis (a much over used word) that President Trump has had to deal with that is global and beyond his control. I am not optimistic that his handling of the coronavirus will be effective, but I am hopeful that it will be lethal to him politically.

So far, Trump has tried to treat this issue as he would any other, with lies and ignorance. And, of course, calling it a hoax and a political stunt by democrats. I think the facts are a little too obvious for him to get away with this dodge with Covid-19. It’s been in all the papers. Of course, he does have Pence praying over it.

Trump has two problems, well, maybe three. First, he’s criminally ignorant, second, he has rid his administration of technical experts, of science in general, really, and third he lies so pathologically that nobody believes a thing he says anymore except his rabid base. Wash your hands.

Taliban: When these religious fanatics first began taking over Afghanistan, I was appalled. They are a barbaric, hidebound sect and a disgrace to civilized humanity.

Then, I had two realizations. First, the conflict is a religious civil war, and such wars cannot be resolved from the outside. Second, and this is sad but true, many Afghanistan citizens are content with this type of religious fanaticism.

Based on these realizations, I knew that we had no business there and needed to get out ASAP. That was about 15 years ago. With the agreement signed between the Taliban and us (not the Afghanistan government, if there really is such a thing), apparently, we will be leaving over the next 14 months.

Make no mistake, this is a complete and utter defeat. The Taliban will take over this country as soon as we are gone. The shame is this should have happened years ago. Not to do so was, in my view, President Obama’s second biggest mistake as president.

South Carolina: Former Vice President Joe Biden won the primary, and by which probably reduced the Democratic competition into a two-horse race, but nothing can be hypothesized intelligently until after Super Tuesday on March 3.

While I am delighted that the black vote, an important Democratic constituency, turned out in South Carolina, I have never put much stock in this state as a predictor of Democratic fortunes. The fact is none of these rural, hidebound Southern states are going to vote for a Democratic presidential candidate in the foreseeable future. They are red as a beefsteak tomato, so what do their primaries really matter for Democrats?

Show me one break in this pattern – oh, please let it be Texas, or even Georgia – and I’ll change my opinion, but not before.

Worst State: The worst state cup goes hands down to Kansas this week, because of its favorite son and pompous pig part, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, presumably our government official most engaged with world affairs, who would not even deny Trump’s assertion that Covid-19 is a hoax.  These are the kinds of ass kissing incompetents with which our government is infused by the Trump administration.