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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,179

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Quick Checklist of [Redacted] and his Administration's YUGE Accomplishments So Far!


Suspend the TPP: DONE! (Needs more coverage. Big celebration. Parties. Fake media trying to downplay this INCREDIBLY MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT!)

Build a Wall: IN PROGRESS-ISH (Taking bids. Lots of bids. Specs already done, though: Gotta look nice on our side and be hard to climb and something else, can't remember, but, you know... it'll be tremendous.)

Make Mexico Pay for Wall: Not so much

Repeal Obamacare: Not so much

Ban Muslims: IN PROGRESS-ISH (We did TWO Muslim bans. So-called "Judiciary Branch" obstructing. Bad.)

Protect Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security: Not so much (Budget things. Complicated. Don't worry, you'll love not having these when you see the YUGE tax cuts you'll get.)

Make NATO Allies Pay Their Share: Not so much

Implement Amazing Total ISIS-Defeating Plan in 30 Days: Not so much

Take No Salary: IN PROGRESS-ISH (Bookkeeping, you know? So, yeah, have to take the checks, but will totally donate "profits" at the end of the year. To, um... someone.)

Appoint Special Prosecutor to Investigate Hillary: Just don't say those words. Don't. Just... don't.

Massive Infrastructure Investment: Not so much

Renegotiate the Terrible, Horrible Iran Deal: Not so much

A whole lot more: Not so much

Stuff Presidents Sorta Have To Do Because It's the JOB:

Appoint a Cabinet: Almost there! Almost!

Appoint 500 or so Other Senior Officials: Not so much

Ensure That No Possible Credible Appearance of Conflicts of Interest can Undermine Credibility: Not so much

Articulate a Coherent Foreign Policy: Not so much unless "America First!" counts as a "foreign policy."

Develop a Budget that Identifies Administration's Priorities for Congress: Done!

Engage Foreign Leaders on a Basis of Mutual Respect: ummm... let's take a "partial" on this

Build a Strong, Effective, Collegial Staff: ditto on the... well... Not so much

Build Credible, Trustworthy Lines of Communication With the Media and the American People: Twitter counts, right? Right? It does! It SHOULD! You NEVER see Fake News on TWITTER!

Build an Effective Relationship With Legislative and Judiciary Branches: Take a "partial" on this, too?

Stuff He Didn't PROMISE TO DO:

Lie About Intell Services of America's Closest Ally: DONE!

Get Embroiled in Major Criminal Investigation Involving Foreign Election Meddling: DONE!

Make Buttloads of Cash on Name-related Patents and Business Deals: DONE!

Golf a Shitload: IN PROGRESS

Advertise Golf Courses: IN PROGRESS

Go ahead and add your own contribtutions to the list of YUGE ACCOMPLISHMENTS!


Humpday Clusterf**k Roundup: March 22 "AHCA" Edition

Today's Clusterf**k Highlight

"Obamacare Repeal/Replace" aka "Affordable Health Care Annihilation" or AHCA

The story so far:

A signature campaign promise, there was SO much support for this among GOPpies in general and Trumpettes in particular that the policy geniuses (genii?) at the White House put it number two (how shatteringly appropriate!) on their "to do" list, right after kicking out the Muslims. Seemed like an easy gimme, with majorities in both houses and six years' work behind the scenes to craft the perfect solution.

So far behind the scenes that, when the time came, no one could find the draft to dust off and send over, so they can run it against the checklist of promises like "you can keep your doctor," "everyone will be covered," "Prescription drugs will be way cheaper," "no more mandate," "no Medicaid for all the undeserving people," "lower cost," and "reduce the deficit," and then add a few tax breaks for the big donors. Before holding the grand unveiling of the Perfect Solution to the Apocalyptic Disaster of Obamacare to universal hosannas and sending back to Congress to pass in a unanimous party-line vote.

Which meant they had to cobble something together from scratch, pulling together all the expert resources on health care, insurance, medicaid, healthcare economics, technology, budget management, state-by-state Obamacare implementation status, and so on and on and on. Fortunately when you have control of the Executive Branch which supplies leadership to all the various departments and functions of government, you can do that in jiggety time. Assuming you've filled all the leadership appointments with people who thoroughly understand and are ready to work with, motivate, and inspire cooperation from their departments.

Oops. So, here we go: Toss the ball to Ryan.

Got it, sir. No problem.

Someone here must remember where we stored all that careful work we were doing for the last six years on a better alternative to the civilization-destroying Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka "ACA", aka "Obamacare." Anybody? Darryl, did you check the closet in your scheduler's office? No?

Dayum. Well, we all know what's wrong with the hellmaw that is Obamacare, and we have this list of campaign promises, we can pull an all-nighter or two and crash out something, right? Someone get Tom Price on speed dial, and Trey, you order the pizza.

Okay, everyone, here we are, ready to craft the perfect replacement for the Nightmare that is the ACA, and here's the list: Has to drop the mandate, we can't force people to participate in the risk pool, right? UnAmerican, that. And it has to be cheaper for the people who DO participate. Somehow. And they have to be able to stick with their doctors... and it has to cost less... and...

Close that door, kick out the press. We'll get back to you.

Sure we can get this done in the first hundred days, no problem, Your Orangitude. Got the interns in there typing now.

SPICEY! Get over here. Haul out the props table. Here's the deal-- we did it, and it's SMALLER!

No, not "the biggest", that's a BAD thing here. Smaller, right? Get it?

Everybody loves it. Promise. His Orangitude's hardly gonna be able to walk for all the roses they're gonna throw. Seriously.

But we gotta get it through FAST, before too many town halls happen. Fast, you hear?

Steve? You got something HELPFUL to add?

Yeah, I know we all complained bitterly about how Obama rushed everything through in a mere four months, this is NOT HELPFUL, Steve, shut up and sit down.

At least we have a stack of paper.

It's got a GREAT name, it's got "America" in the name. THEIR bill didn't have "America" in the name.

F**k the CBO, they're a bunch of liberal shills, we all know that.

No, Frank, you may NOT mention who nominated Keith Hall, sit down and shut up.

How many of the campaign promises does it keep... A couple... well, one at least... The TAX CREDITS! Look at the TAX CREDITS! This is miles better than the rending maelstrom of horror that is Obamacare.

And if you weenie Freedom Caucus snowflakes can't handle a few town halls, just lock yourselves in your offices until the vote. Turn off the phones. Whaddaya mean, Alex Jones knows your "secret number?"

We have ONE HUNDRED PERCENT CONFIDENCE that this bill will pass. Tomorrow.

Because no one would DARE vote against it, and risk the wrath of a President with a massive 37% approval rating.

And access to all of Uncle Vladdy's kompromat files.

Happy Humpday Clusterf**k, everyone!


My 2017 Letter to 1967 Me

Dear Bright,

Memorial Day is just a couple of months away. Young men are being drafted and sent to Southeast Asia to die as cannon fodder for a foreign policy you believe is stupid, counterproductive, and cruel. You're going to join a small-town Memorial Day parade, wearing raggy clothes and carrying a big black flag, as your own way of protesting against the spit-and-polish my-country-right-or-wrong jingoism that supports the deaths of those young Americans.

I wish I could tell you that you spark a movement, or even just that you will make people think, that the Adults in Charge look at you and say to themselves "If we are losing the support of our youth, the future and conscience of our nation, we must be doing this wrong."

I can't. They won't.

They will call your parents. Who will tell them politely that the First Amendment is an important thing here in America. You'd never admit it to them, of course. But you know your parents aren't Adults in Charge, they're Real Grownups. They don't really belong in that small town, either. (Don't worry, you'll all get out. Hang in there.)

This, and a good many more things- things you'll see on television, read in the news, hear from others, and experience personally- will convince you that pretty much all adults are Adults in Charge- comfortable hypocrites who will callously let others suffer and die rather than make any changes to Business As Usual. That they can't be trusted. That as age accumulates, so does denial, selfishness and cowardice.

Here's some of the things they'll say that will make you snort with angry contempt:

"You're not seeing the larger, longer view."

"Change takes time."

"Compromise is a good thing."

"Half a loaf is a good start."

"Anger and extremism will defeat your own ends."

Because right now, in the coming decade or so, you will know, from your vantage point secure on the moral high ground, that you are correct, and that the fight for justice, human rights, an earth that will support life, a sustainable economy for everyone- is the fight. No delays or compromises can or should be tolerated. And anyone who says otherwise has sold out. Been co-opted. Become Part of the Problem.

You're not alone, and over the next ten years, this commitment, energy and conviction from you and thousands of other young people will power some amazing and historic accomplishments.

And then the backlash will come. Won't tell you too much about it. You're going to study history, so you'll recognize how it works. That won't make it any less painful and discouraging. It'll be hard to see past the reverse tide, as the same Adults in Charge who ignored you on Memorial Day push back, undo, and mobilize comfortable indifference and self-interest behind the inertia of Business as Usual.

But here's the thing, Young Me: In spite of that rollback, a lot of important changes will not be undone. They won't be the big, complete, dramatic changes you want, the ones you're fighting for. They'll be smaller things. Incremental things. Compromises. They wouldn't have happened without your energy, and even though they weren't enough for you and they paled beside the dazzling possibilities of the great leaps of progress you want- they endured.

And here's the other thing: Even though a lot of the young people around you right now will get absorbed in their own lives and their personal aspirations for success and security, and some will get lost in their own dramas and excesses, some won't.

Some will keep that youthful passion for justice, human rights, an earth that will support life, a sustainable economy for everyone. And hard experiences, self-discipline, and the assumption of responsibility and integrity will temper them into leaders of principle. Not Adults in Charge, but Real Grownups. They'll learn to listen to the fear behind the anger, and reach out effectively to those who disagree with them.

They'll learn the power and value of delaying a grand leap to secure an unspectacular step forward. They'll learn the difficult and important craft of compromise without sacrificing integrity. They'll grasp the powerful secret: The more credit you assign to others for the slow and difficult steps, the surer you make the achievement of the objective.

Try to be one of them, 1967 Me.

Try really hard.

2017 Bright

The Perez/Ellison DNC Leadership Team- Prospects?

It's already starting.

The attempts to drive a spoke between the newly-elected DNC Chair and his promptly-selected deputy. Wikileaks has revived the tired old Perez/Podesta Doing-the-Dirty-on-Sanders email kerfuffle. Various more-in-sorrow-than-anger voices are raised from those identifying themselves as "true Progressives" lamenting the demise of all hope for the future of the Party. Predicting everything from a Wall Street takeover of the Party (really? Why would they? Don't they have everything they've ever wanted and more in the DicktaterTot's Administration already?) to an "elitist" coup that will leave the Party solidly in the hands of a feeble and malign "establishment."

Well, that was inevitable.

The headline hype and social media augmentation breathlessly painting a "battle for the soul of the Democratic Party" and inflating speculation about primary rehashing and factional squabbles potentially bringing about Democratmaggedon have ricocheted through the media for days.

Instead, we end up with something that could, when the adrenaline dissipates and most of the media moves on to other topics, be regarded as a best-case scenario.

If (and I'm not denying it's a fairly chunky "if" Tom and Keith can put aside the campaign rhetoric and work out a team strategy, we could have a hella powerful engine under the hood, finally. These are both experienced leaders, and their strengths complement each others' deficits and blind spots nicely.

Potentially, we have it all, now: Cool calculation and passionate drive. Populism and pragmatism. Insider knowledge and outsider inspiration.

Knowing Keith very slightly from back when I lived in the Twin Cities, I think that tonight, he might be feeling just a teeny-tiny smidgeon of relief. As a sitting Congresscritter, his plate was already full as it could hold. But his commitment to bringing youth, diversity, and progressive ideals into the process made him a great potential Chair. He's still needed, though, as an African American, a Muslim, and a solid progressive voice, in the House.

It must have been quite a quandary for him, when it looked close. Keith is not the kind of guy who can look himself in the mirror comfortably if he thinks he's not putting one hundred percent-plus into his commitments.

And I imagine Tom's a bit hopeful and relieved as well, with Keith's prompt and cordial acceptance of the Deputy role. Because Keith's got the street cred, the drive, and the lightning-rod quality that Tom has never worked into his own leadership style. And in his own way, Tom is a straight-up kinda guy, who doesn't pretend to be what he isn't.

If it weren't for one thing, I'd be dancing for joy at this outcome, and sending a "thank you" email to every single national committee member.

But the one thing is a big one:

There are some folks who are quite anxious for this partnership to fail, and who will be doing everything they can to bring that failure about.

Some of them are flat-out opponents from the GOP and the right, working under cover within our ranks to submarine any vestige of efficacy in the Party. They disguise themselves as centrist concern trolls, 'true Progressives' on the far Left, disgruntled primary survivors still certain that enough blame and shame will 'turn the Party in the right direction.' (Which, from their standpoint, is no direction at all, a never-ending circular firing squad.)

Some of them have nothing to do with the GOP or the right, and they're not under any kind of 'cover' at all. They sincerely believe that their perspective and ONLY their perspective is the right direction for the Party and if everyone else doesn't see it, the only thing to do is keep throwing sand in the gears and trying to stop the machine to MAKE EVERYONE LISTEN TO THEM because THEY HAVE THE ONLY ANSWER! History proves it! Nothing else has ever worked! Everything they disagree with- business as usual, the horrible results of the last election, everything that's gone wrong is ALL BECAUSE WE WON'T DO IT THEIR WAY! They're sincere. They want the Democrats to be good and strong and true and potent in behalf of the American People.

Bless their hearts.

They've always been with us. I've spent some time in those ranks, myself. We need them, because in fact, a lot of the things they push for are the things we do need to be doing.

Just, maybe, not as fast or as thoroughly or with as much disregard for other points of view and/or the pragmatic realities of politics in America as they would like.

And then, there's the opposite numbers: The ones who believe Money Buys Anything. The ones who really do have nothing but contempt for idealism and passion, other than as exploitable tools to be used and discarded. And the ones (yes, even we Democrats have a few of these) who believe All Change is Bad, and will do whatever it takes to throw sand in the gears and stop the machine to keep things from moving into scary new territory.

We have all of those.

And they're all of them quite vulnerable to manipulation-- by that first group of undercover fifth-columnists, and by the larger cadre of opinion, exhortation, analysis, and more from special interests, pundits, etcetera.

So it comes down to this: Are there enough of us who are determined to make the Democratic Party a true Big Tent for Americans from a broad spectrum of policy, issue, and ideological standpoints, to keep the bus on the road while the passengers work out compromises and disagreements and agendas from all our various perspectives?

Having been to a Congressional Town Hall today, and a Party Ward meeting last week, I think there's a distinct possibility there is.

And that this new leadership team, if we'll work with them and allow them to work with us, could be amazingly effective.

What think you, Democrats?


Just Back From Congressional Town Hall. The Dragon is Awake.

Back in the mists of time, I occasionally helped to organize Congressional Town Halls for the late, great Bruce Vento. So I knew the drill, I thought.

And knowing that a venue is generally selected based on the turnout for the previous Town Hall in that area, I figured it would be smart to arrive early, because there'd certainly be a bigger turnout this time. But, here in cobalt-blue Santa Fe, on a sunny but cold and windy Saturday morning, I estimated it wouldn't be that MUCH bigger. Ben Ray Lujan's popular here, he's more or less doing what a good Democrat should do at the moment, and the meeting was located right in our neighborhood.

Which, as I mentioned last week, is the smallest Ward in the County, and while not exactly inaccessible, it's off the beaten track. And there's another Town Hall scheduled for this afternoon in Rio Rancho (a formerly small town which has become a largish northern suburb of Albuquerque), at the High School auditorium, so I figured most people would be going there.

Rather than the community room of the South Side Boys and Girls Club, a few blocks from where we live.

We could have walked, but as previously mentioned, it's cold and windy this morning, and the Esposo and I are both at the tail end of URIs, so we decided to drive, and timed ourselves to get there 20 minutes early.

We could see from a block away that the Boys & Girls Club parking area was already full, the street parking was filling up, and a line was already forming outside the main entrance to the building. "Good thing we got here early" we told each other.

The parking area across from the Boys and Girls Club, which serves a small office building of businesses mostly not open on Saturday, was almost empty, so we decided to park there, pulling in behind two or three other cars that had the same idea. As we pulled into our spot, another car pulled up beside us. As we got out of our car, a woman got out of the car we'd pulled in next to. "Is it over there?" she asked, waving toward the Club building.

Guess she's not from around here, I thought. And sure enough, as we started walking toward the venue together, she mentioned she was from the other end of Santa Fe. We chatted as we circled the block to go around to the main entrance of the Club building.

A steady stream of people was joining us.

The library parking lot, across the street, was full. People were streaming toward the Club building from there, too.

By the time we reached the line, it was a good half-block long, and there were people in knots and groups up near the entrance.

We began to suspect they wouldn't have room for us all.

I know the Boys and Girls Club facility, the largest space they have would comfortably accommodate maybe 40-50 people in theater-style seating, and if they reeeeeeally squeezed, they could possibly get right up to the Fire Marshall's maximum of 80 for the space.

There were more than that in line as we joined it.

Everyone was cheerful, chatting, exchanging "have you heard about...?" and showing off their signs. As we stood in line some people began coming back from the building entrance. "They're full," they told us. "They can't let anyone else in, but they'll broadcast it out the window. And they say it's really important for everyone to at least get to the entrance and sign up at the sign-in sheets, so they'll get a bigger venue for the next one."

So we stayed in line.

So did everyone else.

More people were joining the line.

I caught sight of a guy with a Santa Fe New Mexican press ID on a lanyard, standing in the basketball court, taking a photo of the venue and the line.

The line moved slowly. A few people, having signed up, trickled back out. A few stayed, up by the windows and around the picnic tables, chatting.

We decided, given the cold and the wind, we'd sign in and trickle back out ourselves. They were saying the video would be posted on the Representative's website tomorrow or Monday, we could catch up with it there.

People were still arriving, when we finally reached the sign up table. There were stacks of filled-out sign-in sheets, one of the organizers was putting them in a folder. They had three clipboards going. I signed us up (the Esposo's handwriting is unreadable.)

We smiled and greeted a few neighbors, and began working our way back along the line, passing on the info about "stay in line and sign in, please" and the broadcast out the window.

No one said "aw, fergit it," and walked away from the line then and there.

More people were still working their way toward the venue, through the parking lot, along the street, in a steady stream. Some had signs. Some wore pussyhats.

By the time we got back to where we'd left our car, that parking lot was full. We'd been one of half a dozen or so cars when we left it. There were easily 20-25 cars there, and as we pulled out, someone else pulled into our spot.

As we drove away from the venue, we could see cars circling, looking for parking. The line outside the door was even longer than when we'd arrived, even longer than when we'd walked past it, leaving. People were still converging on foot, along the sidewalks, making for the main entrance.

The Dragon is awake.

I do not think it will be dozing off again soon.


When the other shoe drops...

That's how someone on Twitter described the feeling on Capitol Hill this weekend: "Waiting for the other shoe to drop."

Most people have heard by now: On Friday, Comey held a tight, closed-door briefing session with members of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. Staff not included. Afterwards, most of the Senators -by then on their way out of town for a long holiday weekend- declined comment.

But ranking Democrat Mark Warner said he had "a high level of confidence" the Committee would have access to the information needed to carry out their investigation.

Late last night, Reuters reported (quoting "five current and former government officials with direct knowledge of the situation," that the FBI is conducting three separate probes related to Russian activity:

  • A cybersecurity-focused investigation into the pre-election hacking of the DNC, being conducted by the Bureau's Pittsburgh field office- this investigation has apparently progressed the furthest.

  • An operation by the San Francisco field office focused on identifying "Guccifer 2"- the hackers who took credit for posting Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's emails.

  • A Washington-based counterintelligence inquiry focusing on foreign communications intercepts and field informants- including (but not limited to) financial transactions conducted through middlemen and front companies, by Russian people and companies with links to >Redacted< associates.

Reuters was unable to obtain comment on this information from the White House, or further on-the-record information from the Bureau to confirm the extent and progress of the investigations.

Intelligence Committee staff, and staff of the Senate committee members, have also denied any knowledge related to Comey's Friday briefing.

>Redacted<, of course, went to Florida to attend a woozy sploogefest of word salad and press-bashing with the local supporters that share his nostalgic jones for campaign-level adulation and excitement. Also job-interview NSA candidates, golf, and schmooze Mar-a-Lago pals.

The White House sent out Reince Priebus for the Sunday morning barbecue rituals, but apart from an ominous response to a query on >Redacted<'s characterization of the press as "enemy of the American people" ("...certainly we would never condone violence" What would you condone, Reince? A little gentle state censorship? Government imposed 'truth standards'?) he merely repeated the same old talking points.

Oh, except for two things: "It never happened" has morphed into "it never happened that I know of" (contact between >Redacted< campaign personnel and Russian Intelligence) and the assertion that Pence WAS aware of the internal probe into Flynn's trustworthiness PRIOR to February 9th. Your turn under the bus, Mikey.

And that's where things stand, as of now.

I expect we'll start seeing more cracks sometime tomorrow. Watch for damage-control trial balloons, and perhaps a major distraction or two from >Redacted< himself, tomorrow or Tuesday.

Then, mid-week, the wheels will start to come off. Probably in slow motion. I don't think it will be a big dramatic explosion. More like a series of cracks, the rushing of water coming in, gathering slowly to a thunderous crescendo over the next few weeks. With a side of noisy, attention-deflecting distractions.

And I think that's deliberate.

For all the anticipatory glee about a really big blow to the clown krewe jammed into the front seat of the Executive Branch bus, no one who's really thought it through wants to see a big smash that would render one third of the mechanism of government (as opposed to policy and leadership) non-functional. There will be plenty of behind-the-scenes negotiations and bureaucratic bunfights about how to keep things running in the mean time.

They'll come up with compromises. We may end up with President Pence. Or not. There may be some off-camera reshuffling, leverage applied, that will leave >Redacted< with a Potemkin Presidency, while a new team of Executive staff managers and Cabinet-level appointees keep cranking from behind the scenes.

And, although we may be able to rejoice in the departure of some of the more egregious neo-nazis and incompetent kleptocrats, the end result will be less than the apocalyptic, Wagnerian comeuppance many of us passionately desire to see visited upon >Redacted<.

Because it will have to be. And that will, in the long run, be a good thing.

We need every hour of every day of the next forty-eight months to rub GOP noses in the mess and pull together a viable clean-up crew.


Today I went to my Democratic Party Ward Meeting.

Last week, someone from the County Democratic Party phoned up to remind the esposo and I that as registered Democrats, we're entitled and invited to attend the annual pre-County Convention Ward Meeting. On the agenda: Elect a Ward Chair and Vice-Chair, and delegates to the County Central Committee. Our ward is eligible to select fourteen delegates to attend the March 25th County Convention.

They gave us the address for the meeting, and the time- 10 am.

So we went.

Good thing we left early because when we got to the meeting location, there wasn't a parking space for blocks.

When we got there, we signed in, and looked around for the sign that would direct us to the room for our ward, 3A (there were about a dozen wards all using the venue at the same time.) County Chair and Vice Chair candidates were circulating, glad-handing, talking about what they'd do to build a stronger Party in the county, but even they looked kind of overwhelmed by the turnout.

We finally had to ask someone at the registration table which room our ward was meeting in, and got told, somewhat apologetically, that since the turnout was so large, they were staggering the meeting times, and ours would begin an hour later.

So, we ran an errand, and came back, thinking we'd be able to park a little closer when the 10 am meetings were over.

We still had to park 3 blocks away.

Our ward is one of the smallest in the county, in both area, and population. So they'd naturally given us a small room.

We were busting at the seams.

More than twice the largest turnout the Ward Chair could remember. "I've been to plenty of these where I was the only one... or me and two or three other people."

He'd never had more people attending than County Central Committee delegate slots to fill. But it was okay, there were several of us who didn't want to be delegates. So we got all the volunteers signed up, voted them as a slate, and moved on to business.

The Ward Chair said anyone could nominate themselves as Chair or Vice Chair, or even Secretary or Treasurer. We hadn't had a Secretary or a Treasurer ever, but the County rules allowed us to elect one. Usually just him and the Vice Chair were the only ones who wanted to serve anyway, and they'd be happy to serve again, but did anyone else want to throw a hat in the ring?

And a young man spoke up- probably in his early 20s? Not very sure of himself but he said he thought it would be a good idea to have some younger people involved, and unless anyone else wanted to go for it, he thought he'd take a swing at Vice Chair.

All eyes turned to the incumbent Vice Chair, a woman maybe in her early 50s, with plenty of experience. She said "I think that's a great idea. Why don't I run for Secretary, then?"

So we asked if anyone else wanted to be considered. There were a LOT of first-timers there- willing to be CCC delegates, but unsure of the process and not ready to step up. So we voted in our slate- Incumbent Chair to continue, brand-new Vice Chair, and our first-ever Ward Secretary-Treasurer.

Then we started talking about what matters to us as south siders. There's a School Board vacancy right now, and we think that since our ward is right smack in the middle of the county's highest percentage of families with elementary and middle school-age children, we should have a say there.

Retired military guy who's an ESL teacher, seemed smart, steady, and allowed as how he supported teaching actual science in schools, bilingual ed, sex education, etc., STRONGLY, we all promised to support him if he'd go file for it.

We put together the contact list. Collected donations for the County Party, but since they'd come from our ward they'd be earmarked for organizing and supporting activities in our ward.

And that was the meeting.

On the way out I talked to one of the County organizers. She was still flabbergasted at the turnout. "It's never been this big. Never. NEVER."

So I guess that's something Captain Chaos can take credit for.

If he wants to.


[Redacted]'s Presser: The Media Has GOT to do Better


I admit it, I had fun watching. I was fascinated. I couldn't believe what an ass he was making of himself.

But then, I already KNOW what a threat to civilization Captain Chaos represents. I'm not "his" audience.

And little by little, I began to notice what WASN'T getting asked.

No questions about getting us sucked into war in Syria.

No questions about emoluments.

Nothing about the future of the >Redacted< Foundation in the state of NY.

Nothing about the effects of trade and immigration policy on agricultural businesses.

Nothing about the manifest incompetence and lack of qualifications among so many of his staff and appointees.

Nothing about the $9/million per month travel costs the taxpayers are picking up for his family members (as opposed to $10 million a YEAR for Obama.)

Nothing about the ACA and what his Administration is doing to work with Congressional #GOP on their vaunted "replacement" plan.

No one pressed him for details on the "jam tomorrow" tax plan that's gonna be 'so tremendous.'

Instead, the media got rope-a-doped into discussing their second-favorite topic: themselves. And their relationship with the Administration.

And he had that shit-eating grin, poking a stick into their cage, making them look like a bunch of yappy little dogs at the dog pound.

Seriously, media. I am disappointed.

Y'all have GOT to do better. The stakes are too high to get suckered like this.


Hate Jews, Love Israel: The Logic of American Anti-Semitism

Seeing the surreal press conference with >Redacted< and Netanyahu today was jarring, to say the least.

The contrast between escalating manifestations of grassroots anti-semitism experienced by Jewish Americans, and the heartfelt rah-rah jingo embrace of Netanyahu's Likud vision for Israel practically defines 'cognitive dissonance'.

How is it possible?

The easiest trope to understand is the extreme Christian Millenialist viewpoint, in which the existence of Israel is a necessary precursor to the apocalypse that will 'rapture' them to their luxury seats in the Skybox of heaven- the ones with a panoramic view of the unbelievers suffering unspeakable tortures, and angelic waitresses to bring them snacks and cocktails. The Millenialists believe they have the libretto, and they're anxious to hurry the action along to get to the good part.

In the Millenialist view, "Israel" doesn't actually have much to do with Jews except insofar as it provides the catalyst for them, as Christ-killing sinners, to get What's Coming To Them when Payback Jesus finally shows up. Which can only happen in Israel, so, yeah... They're total besties with the State of Israel and are eager to do whatever it takes, up to and including kicking off The Big One, to move the show along.

Oh, and in the mean time, having a place that has to take in Jews just because they're Jewish? Two-fer... we can 'encourage' all the world's Jews to go there, which will make it extra convenient for the Destroying Angel to visit them with heinous plagues and so on.

This is the "put all your eggs in one basket, and then drop the basket" genocide strategy. We'll get back to that later, it's the centerpiece of another American anti-semite trope. For now, it's enough to note that there are plenty of opportunistic politicians in Israel who are perfectly well-aware of the Millenialists' motivations but are happy to take their handouts for all they're worth.

The "eggs/basket/drop" strategy is at the heart of the broader American neo-nazi racist version of anti-semitism. If Israel is the Jews' rightful homeland, then it's perfectly logical to convince them to get the hell out of America, and go there. Where, presumably, they and those other non-Aryan non-Christian people will annihilate each other, problem solved. We can go in and take the oil when they're all dead, and the sooner they get on with it, the better.

So, in the mean time, while we're convincing all the Jews in America that they're not welcome (to say the least), these latter-day Final Solution fans support the existence of Israel as a sort of one-stop, voluntary concentration camp.

Finally, there's the more nuanced and sophisticated approach of the old WASP elite. The "gentleman's agreement" they've reached with Israel is, essentially, to be their proxy bulwark maintaining the established order in the Middle East. Their anti-semitism is the most genteel and subtle of the lot. They even allow their children to marry into Jewish families-- wealthy and well-connected ones, anyway. There's always been an appreciation, among the ancient WASP elite, of the role those wealthy and well-connected Jewish families can play in enabling the upper echelons of legal and financial legerdemain, while keeping Jews as a group in reserve for scapegoating when required.

If support for Israel is the bargaining chip for the old WASP elite to enlist that cooperation, they're reasonably happy to oblige. After all, it also provides useful political cover for them. How can they be anti-semitic, when they're such Good Friends of Israel?

In the mean time, the synagogues receive their bomb threats, the flow of vile hate mail ticks up, and Palestinians see their hopes receding. And Jewish Americans who encompass a whole range of political, philosophical, ethical and moral viewpoints on Israel, peace in the Middle East, and America's role there, have frustratingly little success in being heard.


P.S. Many thanks to all my heart donors! I'm so touched and honored by your kindness.

To the People of Japan, and His Excellency, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Dear Japanese friends, and Your Excellency,

America is in your debt. This letter acknowledges the debt, expresses gratitude, and offers you a proposition which I hope you will consider favorably.

First: Abe-Sama, domo arigato. Arigato. Arigato goziemashita. (I'm sorry I don't know the kanji characters, but this keyboard isn't equipped for them, anyway. Please accept the intent and pardon any clumsiness of expression.)

It would have been so embarrassing for us, had the North Korean missile launch last night resulted in a belligerent public statement full of dick-banging and veiled threats from our man-baby Chief Executive, or had it touched off another explosion of childish rage-tweeting.

It was the leverage of your presence, your experienced and rational analysis and response to the incident, and the need to, at least temporarily, maintain some semblance of respect from a world leader of your stature that prevented that. (Of course, all those mulligans and easy-putt gimmes you allowed on the golf course didn't hurt, either. Don't think we don't know about that, Sir. And thank you.)

The actual response was, in the circumstances, the best we could have hoped for and one of the most normal and world-leaderly-appearing actions we've yet seen from The Don Baby. For this, we are much in your debt.

So, here is the proposition: Could you extend your visit for a few days?

Not long, I promise, he has the attention span of a fruit fly and no good influence has much effect over a longer term. And we don't want him to decide you're a threat, throw a tantrum and put you on his encyclopedic Enemies List. But just for a few days. I know you people of Japan can't spare your head of government any longer, in any case.

Just enough to give him a longer glimpse of how an actual head of state appears, acts, speaks, responds to challenging situations, and handles anxiety. He is capable of mimicry, if he thinks he's mimicking something respect-worthy.

I realize this is the equivalent of asking the people of Japan to loan us their head of state as a glorified babysitter, and that is far, far beneath the dignity and importance of your nation and its leader. But consider the stakes. It's not just any baby. The Don Baby has that nuclear football thingie following him around and the economy of your major trading partner trapped in his playpen. You do have an interest in preventing the kind of chaos he's proved himself abundantly capable of creating.

We have a long friendship, many experiences in common, and shared interests in peace and prosperity to consider. And really, that idea about the high-speed train development is worth serious discussion. It could be of great mutual benefit, if we can work out the details. It'd have to be sustainably powerable and operable over the long haul, of course. But our infrastructure sure needs work, and that looks like a potential job-creator, assuming The Don Baby isn't allowed to divert everything to his cheap-labor cronies as contractors. Let's talk, anyway.

With very great esteem and friendship, and most cordial gratitude,


P.S. I apologize for making fun of the Matryomin thing. Really, what you want to do with theramins and Matryushka dolls is your own business, and it's certainly no more bizarre than line dancing or American football. Gomen nasai.
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