• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Winging it at Twitter
    Propertius on Winging it at Twitter
    Beata on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    riverdaughter on Winging it at Twitter
    Propertius on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    riverdaughter on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Isabel on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Seagrl on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    April 2022
    S M T W T F S
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Open Thread
      Use to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. Facebook Twitter WhatsApp LinkedIn
  • Top Posts

Can anyone verify what Abbott is doing to truckers?

Check out this video. (Not safe for sensitive ears) This guy is saying that Gov. Abbott is holding up trucking from Mexico in order to slow down delivery of goods. He’s doing it in order to increase costs to the consumer so that higher prices can be blamed on Democrats. Can anyone confirm what’s going on at the Mexico-Texas border?

More on this problem from the Texas Tribune. Abbott is using the end of title 42 as an excuse to slow down trucking. Title 42 prevented migrants from crossing the border during the pandemic. It’s scheduled to end next month. I repeat. It’s scheduled to end Next. Month.

I’m not familiar with Title 42. Ending it

supposedly means that anyone crossing the border can be picked up and returned to Mexico immediately. Instead of waiting in the US for a hearing? I guess that’s what it means. Can someone interpret what’s going on here? Im not an expert on illegal immigration policies.

In any case, Abbott is using the end of Titke 42, Next. Month. to tie up international trucking today and the results are going to hit the consumer in the wallet.

I can’t figure out why a Republican governor of a big state would do something like this unless he was afraid that Republicans were not going to do as well as they think in the polls. Maybe Beto O’Rourke is doing too well.

Biden stops playing Mr. Nice Guy

Yesterday, Biden stopped playing Mr. Nice Guy by calling putin’s actions in Ukraine genocidal. I think we should prepare ourselves for the US to get involved in this war in a major way. Probably not sending troops into the Donbas but helping to create a “No Fly Zone” in Ukraine is more like it. We appear to be waiting for confirmation of chemical weapons but that’s probably convenience at this point. The jets, drones and anti-aircraft equipment are probably already on their way.

And why now? It’s because putin is declaring himself King of the World:

That’s right, his whole plan all along was to create hardship and pain and to export tyranny. He really is like Morgoth deliberately smashing stability and infrastructure just to make sure that no one can have nice things anywhere.

This is not a case of “it’s a dog eat dog world” and everyone is just out for themselves and that’s the way it always is and there’s nothing you can do about it. We know that’s not true because up until putin invaded Ukraine, there were plenty of countries in the world where the standard of living is high and fruits of democratic freedoms are the norm. There are free and fair elections and if you don’t like your leaders or how the government is misusing your trust, you can vote them and it out of office. Ordinary Russians can only dream about those places. There’s no reason to destroy Europe or starve the countries in the Middle East or Africa just so putin’s campaign of learned helplessness of his subjects is secure forever and Russians never feel bad about being in servitude to his kleptocratic state that ignores their needs. It’s a choice.

That leaves the rest of us with choices too. We can continue to play like smart power and sanctions and diplomacy are going to work. They will, eventually, but not in time to save our asses at the polls from voters who are looking for short term relief by electing long term authoritarians to office.

I don’t think MAGA people really want what that. I don’t think regular working class people who are paying more for everything really want that. They just want it to stop and they’re going to take it out on whoever is in office until they figure out, probably decades from now, that they exchanged high gas prices for Trumpian presidents and governors forever. For some reason, it seems to be impossible to craft a simple elegant message to get passed the Fox filter. I’m beginning to think this is a biological problem. If you are susceptible to Fox messaging, there’s little anyone can do to knock it out of you short of a cast iron pan to the side of the head or decades of increasingly restrictive government imposition on your life while your actual quality of life declines.

In short, we will need to live like Russians before anyone actually gets it and by that time, our MAGA nuts will all be too scared to speak up.

So, we have to take on putin in his own backyard. We don’t have a choice. If anyone has taken my suggestions seriously and listened to the myriad podcasts of all of the putin scholars and Ukraine historians or Russian cultural commentators or political scientists saying over and over again, “Ukraine HAS to win. It’s just that important”, then they would know that this day would come. The decisions are being made behind closed doors. The equipment is on its way. putin thinks the west is weak and won’t take him on. He’s counting on it. He thinks he’s frightened NATO into doing nothing. He may have miscalculated. The west may now becoming around to the idea that their own survival depends on crushing putin into a pulp.

In other news, Kyiv is not accepting visits from German politicians:

That may be surprising but it shouldn’t be. Germany has been a beneficiary of the EU and NATO golden years. It protected its own economy at the expense of other EU countries like Greece and Spain while its bankers took unbelievable risks that contributed to the financial collapse of 2008. In the past 20 years, it has been busily decommissioning it’s nuclear power plants and relying heavily on Russian fossil fuels. Oh sure, solar installations on residential buildings is cheap compared to the US, even when Germany has a lower solar index. But Germany lived for today in the last twenty years and didn’t seem to think too far outside its own bubble. Now, it’s expected to make sacrifices by joining sanctions and a possible oil embargo, and it really can’t at the moment because it failed to plan. Not sure how Germans didn’t see it coming. They have a high standard of living and seem to have an abundance of common sense in other areas. But they don’t seem to have a strategic oil reserve of their own and they can’t withstand loss of Russian oil or LNG. So they are continuing the funding of putin’s war by buying Russian oil.

Not only that but they’ve only offered Kyiv some broken Soviet era tanks and those can’t even be delivered at the moment. Then there is the issue of secrecy surrounding Germany’s partnership with private companies that are manufacturers of heavy weapons of the type Kyiv is asking for. Even members of parliament have no access to the procurement process and no idea as to what’s holding things up. It doesn’t smell good.

So, Kyiv is giving the Germans the cold middle finger.

Not surprised. This war has exposed a lot of weak spots in the world and Germany coasting seems to be one of them. Actually, TFG’s administration with the helpful advice of Russia pointed it out but instead of demanding that Germany pay attention to its vulnerability to Russia, the TFG wanted to exploit the weaknesses and eliminate NATO altogether. Now, putin has finally gotten Germany’s attention.

Well, he should enjoy it while it lasts. His lovely wickedness will be of short duration. Let’s hope the rest of us recover in time for the next election.

The Desperate Hour, Again

Just a few nights ago, I watched a movie which I really didn’t know anything about, except that it starred Naomi Watts, one of my very favorite actors, and that it was described as in the genre of “Suspense,” and that it was directed by Philip Noyce, who has made some fine movies in that realm.

I really don’t see too many new movies I like, which is a subject for another essay. But I do not stop trying to find a few good ones, which is why I watched “The Desperate Hour,” a very recent film. The title of course evokes the name of the movie “The Desperate Hours,” the suspense thriller which starred Humphrey Bogart. I was pretty sure that this movie was not a remake, and not about a similar subject. But I really had no idea of what it was about.

It starts with Naomi Watts, the mother of two children, trying to get them ready for school. Her cute five-year old or so daughter is not a problem. But her older son, probably about sixteen or so, does not want to get out of bed, and he says that doesn’t think he will go to school. He is obviously unhappy, we don’t know if it is a somewhat typical teenage boy’s rebelling against things, or something else. Naomi says that he should get ready (he has a truck, and can drive himself), but she does not argue with him.

She makes sure her little girl leaves on the bus, and then, at least as I recall it, she decides to take a run, to try to deal with her obvious stress. She jogs on a pretty path surrounded by trees, not far from the main highways. As she runs, she starts to get calls on her cell phone. She talks to her mother, who is flying back into town. She talks to a woman friend who has scheduled a lunch for them and another female friend. She calls about her car which is in the shop.

But then she gets calls, and hears news on her phone (something I never do, I really am such a luddite that I only use my phone for calls and texts), which begin to worry her. We are learning along with her, what is going on. There is apparently some serious incident at a nearby school, and it involves some kind of threat of shooting.

One thing about Naomi Watts, at least in the films I have seen with her, is that she always seems real, without having to act. She has an open and expressive face, and one can identify with her, irrespective of gender. In this movie, she is a caring mother who does not have a husband, and she must take care of the two children she loves.

She is terrified that her little girl is in danger. She calls her school. She learns that there is a serious incident, not at that school, but there is a general lockdown. Her little girl should be safe, but Naomi’s mother must pick her up after she lands. Naomi tries to call about her car, but she cannot get it right away, nor can she get one of those taxi services. She tries to run toward the school where her son goes. She is not sure if he has left for school or stayed home. She learns that he did apparently go to school, because a helpful person, maybe from the car shop, is able to see his truck by using his phone.

Then things become even more terrifying for her. There is a sense that perhaps her son is the one who is the threat of violence. She has called 911, and spoken to a very caring and helpful woman, who does connect her to the police department. The detective ultimately asks questions about her son; does he have access to guns, what kind? We learn that her son has been devastated by the loss of his father, her husband, in a car crash, and has been having psychological issues.

Naomi cannot allow herself to lose control, or fall apart, even though she still has miles to go to run to the school, and she has slipped and hurt her foot and now is limping. She keeps getting and making calls. It may sound contrived, but watching it, it seemed very real and immediate; and everything she does seems understandable from a reasoning and emotional level.

I will not tell you what happens after that, but the movie is tense and very involving throughout. What it is about is an extension of so many of the stories of the last few years, stories which almost seem to run into one another, so that one tries to remember which was which; the shooting at the schools in Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland Florida; the Pulse Nightclub in Florida; the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; the killing of many people in Las Vegas by a man whose motives never were discerned.

There were more. Who can forget those two teenagers in Oregon who gleefully shot their classmates with long-range guns? I never forgot about the young man who went to a Batman movie, and before it started, put on a mask, and started shooting people.

I may have gotten the facts a bit wrong on some of these, but not too much. One could look them up, if one wants to revisit them. One can look for motives or patterns, but will not find too much, other than that they all involved males with assault weapons who either took their own life soon after killing as many people as they could, or figuratively seemed to do so in what is somewhat glibly called “suicide by cop,” where they fully expect to be killed by law enforcement, but only after they have killed as many adults and children as they can.

We just have had another one, of course. A man who now appears to have been identified, although the police have not yet said that he is the suspect.. A Black man who appears to have written various social posts about homelessness, and attacking the mayor of New York City. I am sure that we will learn much more about him and what he wrote. Will it mean much? Not really, not in terms of preventing the next one or ten of these.

Oh, yes, writing this has just reminded me of the couple whose son went to school and killed people with the assault rifle they had gotten him as a present, and then they, at least the mother, tried to help him evade capture. Clearly, the dreadful shootings which had preceded that, did not cause the parents to make sure that their son did not have an assault weapon; they instead made sure he could have one. There really is not much to learn, at least from a prevention perspective, from these events, and prevention should of course be the most important, if not the only, thing we want to learn.

This latest assault so incredibly seems to have not led to deaths, only to serious injuries, due to the gun misfiring. He also appears to have had bombs and a detonator, it is so easy to find as many weapons as one wants. Officials do not want to term it a terrorist act yet. How is that defined, is that only about political terror? People in the Brooklyn subway were terrified. What do all these delineations ultimately mean?

Taking a brief look at some comments on what is termed the social media, the ethnicity of this individual, African-American, is important to some. Some people want to be sure that everyone knows that this person is not a the typical White male shooter, but a Black one. They accuse the more liberal network of trying to understate this. One wonders how this will affect the elections, with Republicans ready to exploit anything to purvey their “law and order; Democrats want to defund the police; lawless Black people are the biggest internal threat” rhetoric.

It is inevitable, and it provides fuel for discussion, but in my opinion, it is all misdirection. There are a large number of people, mostly all male, who harbor anger, hatred, resentment; and who in his country have the easy opportunity to turn it into mass killing, because of the almost unlimited access to guns. The Far Right Supreme Court, the body that Republicans always said should not legislate, may very well issue a decision this year which makes it unconstitutional for any state to place any limitations on an individual’s right to carry assault weapons in public or anywhere. We are the only country in the world that is so warped in that fashion, and of course we have by far the most gun killings of any nation.

What desperately needs to be done is to do at least some limiting of assault weapons, such as we once did. Without that, all this investigating of “causes” and “motives” will do no more than provide television coverage and talk show fodder, which will then fade out until the next one or ten of these horrible events.

There are indeed many good people, including Shannon Watts, and Fred Gutenberg, and David Hogg, who try so hard to get responsible gun laws passed. Maybe they and others will eventually succeed. Right now, all we have are the stories, and the pontificating which ends in nothing much. Yet if you see the movie “The Desperate Hour,” you will very likely end up in the emotional place of the film’s last words, spoken by one of the protagonists, and wholeheartedly agreeing with it.