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    August 2020
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    • Here was my neighborhood last night
      Because the family of a mentally ill Philadelphia man holding a knife called for an ambulance, and the cops showed up. They claim he “charged” them and they shot and killed him. The mental health unit is a pilot program and isn’t paid to work on the weekends. Protesters didn’t do this, looters did. (Maybe … Continue reading Here was my neighborhood last nigh […]
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    • Interview Part 2: Politics Thru Climate Change
      This second excerpt from my interview is more interesting and longer. This is the second clip from my interview with Ian Welsh (Ian blogs at ianwelsh.net). For this segment, we went on a wild ride discussing the big picture mess that is US politics and society more broadly. I asked Ian what might happen if […]
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The light

The convention opened with a prayer by one of the Nuns on the Bus. She recounts a creation story from genesis about how the divine spirit calmed the waters of chaos and brought forth light. I’m not a biblical person but I love creation stories and that’s a good one.

That was the theme of Joe Biden’s speech tonight. We are mired in noisy, disorienting chaos right now. But the divine spirit is in all of us and we can emerge from this period of chaos into the light.

And what is this light he’s referring to? In this context, the light illuminates, it shows us how things really are. It’s clarifying. Lies have a harder time hiding in the light.

The dark of night makes us feel vulnerable.

The light of day gives us confidence because we can see where we’re going.

It’s hard to argue for chaos, “for the night is dark and full of terror”. Why would anyone want obscurity and confusion? It’s in the dark and chaos where we can be deceived, mislead, misdirected and terrified.

I’d like to see Trump champion darkness and chaos. It’s like cheering for venereal disease. It’s hard to take that debate position, not that he won’t try. How do you persuade people to keep letting might obscure the light?

If it gets Trump to shut the f{}# up and take his ear splitting circus with him, I’m all for it. I’ll take the servant of the light any day.

Nice job, Joe.


O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud �
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says “I burn.”
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

Annnnd Steve Bannon goes under the bus.

Steve Bannon was indicted for fraud for taking money from donors to build the border wall. We wouldn’t even be talking about a border wall if Trump hadn’t made it a campaign promise. He had trouble getting Mexico to pay for it and Congress questioned the efficacy, cost and who was going to get the contracts. What’s a nationalist attention seeking rule breaking president to do??

Here’s what Trump had to say about Bannon’s arrest:

It’s hard to believe Fox would capture such a pithy clip including the reporter asking why so many of his former colleagues end up in jail or indicted and convicted.

I mean, *I* see a president who uses the same routine about how he hasn’t worked with Bannon lately, doesn’t know what he’s been up to but it looks bad and he wishes him luck because it’s a sad story. To me, Trump looks like he’s a crook magnet. They’re drawn to him. He doesn’t seem to attract the benevolent or competent types. One would be justified in asking him why that is.

But I have no idea what a Republican base voter sees. It must be something completely different because this looks pretty damning to me.

Oh, and now he cares about private contractors getting money to do this. 🙄

Almost forgot the gratuitous smack at the Obama administration. I was no Obama fan but scandals wasn’t one of the reasons why. Even I know how risk averse he was about doing anything hinky or appearing to be anything more than an upper middle class professional couple who left their radical youth days behind them decades ago and were comfortable on the country club Republican golf courses. His “scandal” of letting the FBI spy on the Trump admin was likely made without any input from him. If he REALLY wanted to hurt the Trump campaign, he would have spilled the beans about the investigation and how Mitch McComnell was fine with Trump colluding with Russia.

He did not.

And If we’re going to play that game, if Trump’s campaign had nothing to hide, then why be so concerned about surveillance of what the unsavory characters he hired were getting up to? Patriot Act Rules! No touch backs!

Now that I think of it, it’s worse than that. The senate intelligence committee says Trump campaign definitely colluded with Russia and the hacking of the DNC server. Richard Nixon would be in awe right now at the sheer audacity.

So you know, there’s that…

Failure to imaginate

James Fallows takes one for the team:

It’s hard to believe that Republicans are still defending Donald as if the rest of us were knocking the stuffing out of him and shaking him down for his lunch money because we don’t like him.

So let me explain what’s really going on with the big bad radical left. Stop laughing, lefties.

The US government is like a big ship. It has a lot of crew members and compartments and machinery that keep the whole thing running optimally. We are all passengers on this ship and we have paid for the cruise and all of the crew members and machinery and whatnot.

Some of us want the ship to use renewable energy to power the ship. Some of us liked it better when we used coal. Some of us want all of the passengers to get updates on weather conditions. Some of us think that’s an extra service that was once included in the ticket price but is now subcontracted out to a private company. Some of us think everyone should get a life preserver and a seat on the life boats. Some of us think that those preservers and seats should only go to the well connected and wealthy and we all die someday anyway. Some of us sooner than others because we failed to plan to be born wealthy or luck into a commodity that is the flavor of the day. Hey, it is what it is. If you’re in the inside cabins, stop complaining.

There’s a fundamental difference in the values between the two sets of passengers. Some of us appreciate what the crew does to keep the ship running. Some of us think it’s ok to talk down to and abuse the help and stiff their paychecks periodically.

Every four years we hire a new captain. We interview two candidates and choose which one will guide the ship. It’s a lot of responsibility and lives are at stake out there on the open seas so we need to choose carefully.

The last time we picked a captain, most of us rejected the Trump candidate. That’s because we could see from his CV and references and testimonials that he wasn’t a responsible guy and probably wasn’t going to take good care of the ship. So most of us selected the Lady to captain the ship.

But for some reasons we know about and some we don’t know about, Trump is our captain. And just as we predicted, he’s bad at it. He’s firing some of the crew, reassigning others to the air lock, letting his personal assistant actually run everything, has closed down the sick bay and is heading right for a sandbar. Not only that but dysentery is in the water system making everyone really sick.

We have all paid our tickets but some people are getting special treatment. The WiFi is broken, the doctors have been thrown into the brig and all the amenities that were featured in the brochure that we paid for are suddenly no longer available. Oh, you wanted the concierge to take care of getting you clean water to drink? What made you think you were entitled to clean water when you booked this cruise? Is it just because you’ve always had clean water? Do you think you’re entitled to clean water? Ok, so we’re wrecking the water purification system. We think you should pay extra to a private company to have potable water. And we’ll use our guys to take care of it. It used to be a service included in the ticket. Now it’s a luxury.

Some of us, most of us, want to end the contract with this captain as soon as it’s up. But we’re now being told that the captain’s friends are going to make it difficult to change captains. They’re ok taking our money for the cruise but the quality of service is definitely not what we signed up for.

That sandbar is getting closer, the ship is going to run aground, gashing a hole in its hull and take on water. We can see it. If we get a new captain, maybe we can avoid this.

The brochure assured us that we could do this. So we are exercising our rights to get rid of this incompetent dude and get someone who actually cares about the ship and its passengers.

It’s a normal process when we review the performance of the captain every four years. We had our reservations about this one before he was hired. But he promised an ocean view to everyone who voted for him and made the rest of us feel like the cruise directors from hell who will make everyone write essays on War and Peace and schedule compulsory Peloton sessions. And who wants to do THAT when you can gamble your paycheck at the casino and do whatever you like even if it offends other passengers? It’s leading to confrontations among passengers and chaos and insulting the crew and deteriorating service.

So, this captain has to go. We didn’t want to make it personal but he’s always whining about how mean we are to him just about the time he shuts the water off to our cabins.

He’s ugly, overweight, crude and insensitive. But we could have tolerated that if he’d also been smart, hard working and kept the ship in good condition. He’s done none of those things. We have to turn this ship around before we hit that sandbar.

It’s not about him and we’re sick of him bogarting the PA system to rant about passengers who looked at him weird. The noise is getting really old.

We’re about to find out who actually control how this ship operates. All the passengers or just a handful who got a major discount and are seizing parts of the machinery?