Wednesday, August 17, 2022

I don't give a shit about Liz Cheney

Sure, I'm glad she stood up to Trump, but it doesn't seem like all the attention to her inevitable primary loss is really necessary. We all knew she was going to lose big, even Cheney knew it. So why is it a big news story when what everyone expected to happen happened?

An annoying thing about the political coverage in the U.S., is reporters cover personalities not issues. Issues are what matter. Our coverage doesn't reflect that at all. For example, there is a ton more ink spilled about how Manchin and Schumer managed to secretly negotiate the Inflation Reduction Act, how Sinema almost sunk the deal before signing on to a slightly changed version, how McConnell and other Republicans threw a hissy fit and endangered veterans health in retaliation when they learned about the deal, et cetera, et cetera, than about what is actually in the bill. What is in the bill, now law, is the most important thing! The content of the law is what matters, not the stupid drama leading up to its passage. I don't know why reporters who supposedly cover the lawmaking process are so completely uninterested in what the laws will actually do.

It's the same thing with Cheney. The Republican who sacrificed her political future for her principles is the kind of storyline that our press loves. But it doesn't matter and the fact that Cheney was killing her ability to be elected as a Republican was already obvious to everyone. The story doesn't tell anyone anything they actually need to know. I'm spending forever trying to figure out when would be the best time to get solar panels installed on my roof given the new incentives in the IRA law, but it is extremely hard to find any article that answers those basic questions about how the final legislative actually works. And maybe if the press reported on the substance of bills, it would be harder for opponents to repeatedly utter bullshit about what the bill says.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Trump’s defense is nonsense

Trump claims he has secretly declassified all the documents he was hiding at Mar-a-Lago.  First, it doesn’t work that way. Nuclear secrets can’t just be declassified unilaterally by the President. It requires a sign-off by the Department of Energy. Second, it is still a crime to take those documents even if they have been formally declassified.

And third, if the documents were really declassified, then anyone can read them now. In other words, to get out of legal jeopardy he is trying to let the Ayatollah in Iran, the leaders of Islamic State and all the branches of al-Qaeda, the Chinese government, Putin, hell, pick your international bad guy, all of them get to read some of America’s most closely guarded nuclear secrets now. I can’t imagine that will be allowed to happen, no matter how much the Trumpers scream and cry.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Murdering Iranian officials is bad too

Let me start by saying that I don't approve of murdering anybody, not even a horrible human being like John Bolton. But Bolton approved of the Trump Administration's decision to assassinate Qassim Suleimani. If you think that killing an Iranian national security official (along with several other people near him) is justified, then how is an Iranian plot to kill Trump's national security advisor out of bounds?

Again, I don't approve of either assassination plot. But I just don't get why someone like Bolton wouldn't realize that the American attitude that any Iranian official is fair game for killing won't be used as justification for his own murder, and the murder of any other American official for that matter.

It's also weird how American commentators are pointing to the plot to kill Bolton as proof of some unique Iranian perfidy. Don't they look in the mirror?

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Mal Raid

 It's funny what news stories penetrate my consciousness when I am far away and on the road.

But yes, the search of Mar-a-Lago got my attention. Also, since when did everyone refer to it as MAL? We had 4 years of Trump going there every 5 seconds and it was always "Mar-a-Lago." Suddenly there's a much shorter way to write it, and one that means "bad" in Spanish, French, and probably other romance languages.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

I’m off!

I’m off on a wee trip. I probably will still post as the mood strikes, but not all the time. You know, like always.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

The Post War on Terra Era

I'm not sure when the "war on terror" stopped being something that American politicians and American news sources stopped talking about. In the 2016 campaign, Trump was pushing his Muslim ban, and there was a lot of talk about ISIS. So I think of that as the late war on terror era. Even then it clearly was not as central as it once was. By the latter half of the Trump presidency, the right placed less emphasis on demonizing Muslims and Arabs while it got more openly racist about its perceived domestic enemies.

Yesterday's "targeted killing" (or whatever the current euphemism is for assassination) of  Ayman al-Zawahiri was like a brief war on terror reunion tour. But really that era is ended. Americans, both our politicians and our news media, have lost interest on the non-Israeli middle east. For example, the political turmoil in Iraq this week would have been a top story back in the oughts. I mean, the followers of Moqtada al-Sadr, once America's Hitler of the moment, stormed the Iraqi parliament on Saturday and have occupied it for the past four days, but there has been zero coverage in the U.S. The fact that Sadr's current move is part of an even longer story of political deadlock and disfunction in the government that the U.S. created from scratch a short time ago is not enough to make Americans care.

I guess we have moved back into that September 10th mindset that people used to talk about as a shorthand for naivety or complacency. On the other hand, maybe we have a better understanding of our own domestic issues, that really are an existential threat to the survival of the U.S. in a way that terrorists of 20 years ago never were.

Monday, August 01, 2022

A constitutional convention wouldn't necessarily benefit the right

I don't understand why rightwingers are still trying to convene a Constitutional Convention. Maybe it made sense in the past, but they now have a lock on a Supreme Court that is quite willing to interpret the current Constitution to suit any wingnut preference.

If there is a Constitutional Convention and the Constitution is completely rewritten, everything would be in play. There are a bunch of very popular ideas that the right does not like: like a stronger non-discrimination clause that expressly prohibits discrimination against women and gay people, or an explicit right to abortion, or the abolition of the electoral college, or an express right to healthcare, getting rid of all current Supreme Court justices and starting over from scratch, limits on judicial review, term limits for justices, banning campaign contributions by corporations, etc.

I'm not saying that any of those things would happen. I definitely am against the constitutional convention idea because it would also risk changing things I do like. But that's just it, a convention would be really unpredictable. Just about anything you can image could emerge when it is over. I wonder if the people pushing for a convention realize that risks they are taking.