Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What's the Frequency, Chaffetz?

(Image absolutely appropriate and ripped off from tokeofthetown.com, who are doing the very best work there is, which is trying to convince people that a plant growing on this earth is actually a decent medicine for real people who we actually know. It doesn't do shit for my brand of arthritis and anxiety, but it helps other people, so basically, people who aren't listening about how pot is medicine, get a good FU from me.)

So, I wanted to take note that the replacement for John Boehner is very much contested. There's Kevin McCarthy, who recently suggested that a 72-week old probe was all about shafting the Hillary Clinton campaign for presidency, which seems to have been a typical moment of bad articulation. There is David Duke without the baggage, except for all the baggage, Steve Scalise. And maybe a player to be named later as a total joke.

This is a real thing that could happen. He's down with a shutdown or fiddling about with the debt ceiling. He bullied the Planned Parenthood lady. So basically, he's an idiot asshole, and completely ready for the job.

I think Chaffetz is the likely favorite, but we can tune in 10/29 to know for sure.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Carly Fiorina Could Be the New Mitt Romney

When considering the news that the Koch brothers and other donors were developing an interest in Carly Fiorina, an outsider candidate, I started considering what her appeal was, and then it hit me--she's credibly a little like Mitt Romney, no? He was a businessman with a thin political resume but a remarkable talent for lying, and she's a former business woman with a nearly nonexistent political resume but with a remarkable talent for lying. What the hell? Jeb Bush is like a dead frog with donors trying desperately to run a current though his ass every once in a while to see if he jumps. Fiorina, to give her her due, jumps all by herself. She's not as conspiracy theory-driven as Carson, as clowny as Trump, as nekkidly grifting and holy-rolling as Huckabee and Santorum, and unlike Ted Cruz, people don't want to sock her in the jibs.

She could be going places.

There's the rub--once you start getting taken seriously, why, people might start taking you seriously! I mean, take her business record. Not so great, actually. I think her story goes like this:

Don't cry for me Hewlett Packard,
The truth is I never left you,
although you shoved me
I think you still loved me,
I made increased revenue
if not shareholder value.

And as for my fortune
and as to blame
I never invited them in
even though it might seem
by an objective record of fact
I got paid for crashing
the stock.

But that's illusions,
you should listen to me,
I think I've been more than that,
I'm all I expected I'd be.

There may be reasons why people who worked for her then, or were laid off by her, aren't really in favor of her candidacy.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Climate Sunday: Jeb Bush Edition

As is the tradition Strangely Blogged (me) just made up this year, this edition of Climate Sunday is named after the not-necessarily-smarter-brother, Jeb! who reveals his energy policy in this slightly dismal-ending Guardian article:

After the former governor left, the press tent was overcome with fumes from one of the several generators that had been set up in the parking lot.

That's sad, but Bush's energy plan is also pretty damn sad as well, what with calling for relaxed EPA regulations (that certainly isn't acknowledging climate reality!) treating fracking for natural gas like it was the holy grail of clean fossil fuel (it ain't) and saying that approving the Keystone XL pipeline is like low-hanging fruit. He's really got no idea--tar sands are dirty, and Alberta's premier, Rachel Notley, says there's no future in tar sands, the particularly dirty source of fossil fuel that the pipeline is intended to carry, the production of which would financially (short term) affect her area more than it would impact ours. (Unless the pipeline sprung a leak in the midst of America's breadbasket or something, like pipelines sometimes do--that would be a nice terrible impact of no small proportion.)

Jeb Bush, a convert to Catholicism, had also name-checked the Pope, who he prefers to ignore regarding the climate-change issue, which gives me an entry to issuing a bit of a mea culpa: although I might have seemed to have been signing on 100% to the Pope's climate message, there is one area in which it falls short: population control. Without reducing our number of eaters and energy-users on this planet, we are going to continue to create climate-deficits.

It seems like Jeb Bush's notions regarding the environment are about as "stuff happens" in nature as his ideas on gun control, or women's health. Which is a pity, because we are already in the midst of the kind of climate changes where an Alaskan village might want to move to a more environmentally secure area, and where extreme weather events affect people globally, and  at home.

The grim reality of the thousand-year flood of South Carolina should tell us that climate change, and the preparations that need to be made, can't be ignored. Some changes will involve new thinking about city planning and updates to more creative and adaptable technology.

But the biggest change has to be not taking a "stuff happens" attitude with so much on the line. An actual leader needs to have vision and a plan that isn't just more of the same, but prepares us for the future.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Voter Suppression Tactics in Alabama

The state of Alabama made an interesting choice regarding the DMV centers where many citizens went to obtain the kind of state-issued picture ID necessary for voting--they closed those offices in 31 locations, all in majority-African-American counties. It was like they made a decision to explicitly make it harder for poor and minority voters to obtain access to the ballot, and then went out of their way to delegitimize the access of even legitimately-registered voters solely on the basis of their minority/income status.

How very fucking poll-tax and Jim Crow of them! It's like SCOTUS Justice John Roberts was totally wrong when he eviscerated the Voter Rights Act insisting that racism was a thing of yesteryear. It's exactly like discrimination in voting on the basis of race is a thing that still exists. It's like modern politicians still espouse discriminatory tactics in determining who has access to the ballot. It's like there is some idea that only acceptable Americans are supposed to be allowed to vote in this country.

There is precious little ID fraud in voting; there is a potential lot of election fraud in that people are being denied their franchise and because partisans can control the voting machinery. This is exactly what the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was supposed to be about.

This needs to not become a trend. Alabama--does your conscience bother you?

Friday, October 2, 2015

This Saudi Arabia Thing--I Might not be Off, Here.

When I talked about the crackdown that seems to be happening regarding Saudi Arabia and dissidents, like the treatment of Raif Badawi and Ali al-Nimr, I suggested their crackdown on dissidents wasn't without a potential threat to their existence--after all, there are signs, They are pumping oil like mad even if that's like beating a horse you know has a tumor. So reading this prediction of a collapse in Saudia Arabia of the current government is pretty interesting. My basic belief is that, because so many Middle Eastern people today being young and having access to internet through phones and such, they want more access to liberty. And they will find a way.

I felt the same way regarding the idea of a "Green Revolution" for Iran though. I'm very romantic about the idea of a positive democratic wave happening in the Middle East. We aren't so separated in our needs or our likes, once the voice of radicalism is bypassed. I don't think Saudis are so generally fond of their repression than Iranians or any other culture held back by religion.

I know this too, means a destabilization, but the fall of a regime that won't even let ladies drive or be out of the house without male escorts is hard to prop for.

The Problem with "Stuff happens"

(Graphic found via this very informative BBC article.)

When Jeb Bush said "look, stuff happens", it reminded me that, well, Jeb Bush is a clod. He just says things in a bog-stupid manner, and it seems to be a family trait. One could easily imagine a future President Jeb Bush (well, not really) meeting with the families of the recently-bereaved, and looking into their eyes to offer words of solace:

"I am so sorry, but you know. Stuff happens."

Now, maybe he didn't mean it in a numb and callous way. But he is a professional politician running for president, and he seems to be saying, when we enlarge upon his comments, that in his experience as governor, things do happen, and we shouldn't just do something about them because Eh! We might be wrong.

Right. And what was Roosevelt supposed to do when the Germans attacked Pearl Harbor? Say "stuff happens" and then slink off until things were cooler and calmer? The thing is, guns in the US kill thousands of people a year, competitive with car crashes and cancer. We do rather a lot to try to stop terrorists, but we don't seem moved to do the least bit more over gun violence, even though gun violence is snuffing our people at a greater rate.

The kicker is--what are politicians for if not policy in reaction to problems? Does he think he doesn't ever have to address issue, because as it happens, there are always recent victims here? We are always in the heat of a moment of some death somewhere in our borders.

It's not just the cloddishness of Bush's words. It's the reality that "stuff happens" might as well be code for "The NRA makes me crap myself." He'd act over Terry Schiavo--see? But not tens of thousands dead each year. Even though we can see that gun laws, enacted state by state, do have an impact.

Bush doesn't have the compassion thing. He doesn't have the vision thing. He doesn't have any of the things that make someone presidential. Even his DNA and name recognition only seem to make his obvious lacks, worse.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

We Are Almost Fighting Alongside Russia in Syria

Yes, that'sTom Cotton, reminding us that there were politics in the 1980;s and the 1930's. What I find interesting, as a student of history and politics, is that Russia and the US were aligned in the conflict that Cotton is alluding to--the fight against Nazi Germany, and were cautiously allies.

What the simpleton from Arkansas doesn't understand is that we--the United States, have been dealing with Syria via diplomacy or direct warfare, for a couple years now. That would be under the leadership of our current president, Barack Obama. We have to be leading from behind in the sense that being the US (not being the leader of the US, Barack Obama, but a representative thereof) is regarded negatively in the world because of things like the Iraq invasion which made so very many things regionally worse for people in the Middle East.  There have been Iraq and Syrian refugee crises.

But here is an interesting thing. Iran, Russia and some Iraq military are allied in going into Syria to allegedly whack ISIL. Ask yourself--what does Russia even want with the dirty candy that is being on Assad's side?