Saturday, May 28, 2016

An Apology Would Be Inappropriate

The image of President Obama, the first US president to visit the site where the nuclear age was unleashed, embracing the survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, marks a moment of an extraordinary acknowledgement of the enormity of nuclear weapons' use--without constituting an apology.

What president now living could apologize for an act which caused such casualties? How would we or could we place such an event in its historical perspective and re-litigate why it ever took place? It is not possible to entirely do so, but the correct approach is what Obama has done--acknowledge what happened, and point to a task to prevent the use of these devastating weapons from ever happening again.

This does not stop his insane detractors on the right, of course, who ignorantly decry an "apology tour" that has not ever happened in the course of Obama's presidency. What such ignorami reveal is a disgraceful inability to respect the idea of soft or even smart power--a total lack of appreciation for the very idea of diplomacy at all, or an understanding that the place of the US as first among nations and its standing and respect must flow from our adherence to some standard of decency. That we ought not torture, or detain without charge, or go to war without valid interest, or commit atrocities abroad should be a matter of our highest interest--on which our national reputation rests. That we reject nuclear attack or the idea of "total war" is a matter of principle.

It would be great if both parties understood this intimately and did not play the unattractive game of calling out our President as somehow being Un-American for trying to do what is fundamentally decent. But this is not how it is. This is not how it is at all.

The current GOP Presidential candidate is in favor of nuclear proliferation and torture, and has the full support of his party, with only some tepid reservations expressed by useless dupes who think the real problem with their guy is his "tone".

This image above is what America should be--big enough and strong enough to embrace the history we have made. I am sorry, myself--sorry that so many Americans are so very, very small.

So That Actually isn't Going to Happen

And this response from Trump regarding the debate that wasn't is everything that was wrong with the idea in the first damn place. It also happens to be an example of a lot that is wrong with the Trump campaign. (Really--"Crooked Hillary Clinton" is how he officially wants to go down with this? Also the troll aspect--reinforcing the idea that the Democratic primary is rigged against Sanders while still treating him like, well, "number two". Also, the idea that the charitable cause that ever would have been used would be "women's health issues"--for the representative of a party that seems to think Planned Parenthood is the devil, this is expert troll level one billionty.)

Basically, this response is why it's kind of not great that Sanders seemed to want to do this in the first place.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Big Hands I know You're the One

Marco Rubio can say all he likes that he isn't thinking about running for the Senate again and is just going to go to the Republican National Convention to be "helpful"--but I just can't help but think back on all that water under the bridge. You don't decide casually to "be helpful" to someone like Donald Trump, who I think probably has a very long memory for slights. Because while I don't know what Rubio gets out of it, I can't help but think that, you know. One day Mr. Trump will have a favor to ask...someday, and that day may never come...

Or maybe Trump will just ask him to run for his seat again even though the man seems to have come to loathe being in the Senate. After all, a new administration needs all the help it can get on the Hill. And if Lil' Marco were anywhere else but Washington, how else could Donald have quite as much fun with him?

Rubio tried to get out, but he gets pulled back in?

(Sorry--couldn't resist juxtaposing two pop culture references in one short post.)

Well, I Don't Think That Will Happen

So, if Senator Sanders doesn't get a debate with Secretary Clinton before the June 7th CA primary, why not have a debate with Donald Trump? And Donald Trump would love to debate Sanders, too, because "he's a dream" and they could raise $10-15 million for a notable charity like women's health or something like that. It could be done at a yuge arena or maybe Cenk Uygur's very generous offer of a million dollars for charity and to host the debate on his news network could bring Trump's idea down to plausible reality--you know, if Trump was "a man of his word."

But I wouldn't take it for granted, because getting Trump to own up to what he promised to the veterans was like pulling teeth. From a frog. And while using the debate with Sanders is a way for Trump to soften up Hillary Clinton by proxy, it might not really be worth Trump's effort. After all, Sanders could show him up.

Sanders wants a last airing of his ideas to present a case to California--understood. A debate with Trump would be a high-publicity way to get that, and while Donald Trump seems to be playing it off as a speculative joke, I can see where a real experience politician would find benefit in doing it. Best case scenario for Sanders, he gets in some lasting digs at Trump as being for the 1%--if not the one out of 7 billion! (Trump, Himself!) But I couldn't believe that Trump would ever let it be about airing serious ideas and comparing different visions of the world. I think it would devolve into the eventual past-time of a Strangely family reunion--

Talking about folks who aren't there. It could become a Clinton pile-on. And that actually would not be a good look for Sanders in terms of going too negative at the tail-end of a primary, and it surely wouldn't be good for party unity. It could be worth a lot of publicity--but let's face it, Donald Trump's empty podium has gotten more airtime than some candidates this cycle, and maybe that publicity isn't the kind you want to take lightly.

I say it shouldn't happen. Sadly, if it does, I'd watch the hell out of it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dirty Donald thinks it's the 1990's

There's something very sad(!) about a guy who isn't worth as much as he says he is, who has to concentrate on tearing others down because he hasn't actually got anything great to say about himself. Take Donald Trump in his weak and antiquated attacks on presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton:

Gross. I'm not even sure how he thinks she's to blame for any of that.

Herding cats is messy.

I'm going to reiterate my impression that the 2016 Democratic primary is basically over, because it appears we are now in the "discussing terms" stage. He's picked five, or about a third, of the people sitting for the Platform Drafting Committee, and Democrats are talking seriously about whether Rep. Wasserman Schultz should stay as DNC chair. It's already understood that as a Senator, Sanders has some say over a Clinton cabinet, but as her main primary opponent, I guess his word has a bit of weight (but not ultimate veto power--how would that even look?)

But the actual "fight" doesn't appear to be laid to bed yet, either. Sanders has called for a re-canvassing of the votes of the narrowly-decided Kentucky contest, but I'm not entirely sure to what end. A "win" might only change the allocation by a couple delegates, and that's not nearly what he needs.  There's also some hard feelings over Clinton declining to debate Sanders before the CA primary in a format televised by Fox News. Well, she agreed to another debate but I can't think of a reason in the world why she wouldn't balk at doing one hosted by Fox goddamn News before CA. Perhaps Team Sanders is hoping a California debate will do him all the good the Brooklyn debate did for him in the NY primary? (Clinton already leads there, as she does in New Jersey. It's over regardless, Sanders is no longer at the point where an upset a la Michigan does him much good--not without something really catastrophic happening, and what kind of weirdo is actually banking on that?)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Climate Monday: It's looking like a problem

Among disturbing signs of the "new normal" is weather that is extraordinarily deadly--like a heat wave in India where the temperature has hit 51C (that's about 124F) and new records are being hit monthly.

Good thing we aren't at risk of electing as president a climate change denier who says the whole thing is a hoax, isn't it?