Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dementia: the Reagan Administration and Right-wing Policies

President Reagan had Alzhemier's disease (a form of senile dementia) during his second term (1984-1988.) Some people reported symptoms earlier.

Let's look at this for a minute: for at least half of Reagan's term, the chief executive was incompetent to be President, though perhaps only at times. The country was rudderless. And there were plenty of people in the government who liked it just fine. They could do whatever they wanted and know that they would never be called to account for it.

When the histories are written, perhaps Reagan will be the mad president. I am put in mind of the history of mad kings and emperors. A quick consult with my wife, something of an expert, gives me the names of Henry VIII and George III. And, yes, the people around them were quick to take advantage, implementing self-serving, often disastrous policies.

On Reagan's dementia:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Conservatives, when you say there's no difference between the parties…

…what I hear is that your side f—d up real bad, and you don't want to admit it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"And it's one, two, three, …

… what are we fighting for?"

So in that speech which, as usual, no-one seems to have listened to, Obama asked for an expansion of Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to Da'esh. He also asked for an expansion of surveillance and to add firearms ownership to the secret terrorist watch list (the "no-fly" list), thereby expanding secret extra-judicial federal authority.

This is the leader of the good guys?

Juan Cole, slightly more optimistic than this cranky old bird, nonetheless comments:
What Obama did not say is that these various measures aren’t all that effective and will only have an impact over several years. Bombing a territory from the air with no ground force to take advantage of it is about as close to useless and a military tactic can get. US training programs have not been effective. Daesh’s kind of terrorism is hard to disrupt, since they attempt to appeal to lone wolves rather than running direct agents. As for peace in Syria, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Whether this message of patience and steadfastness will be enough to assuage anxieties is not clear. And more important than anxieties are the war lobbies, fueled by campaign cash to hawks in Congress, which demand really big wars that are good for their business.
Me, I've got that 1914 feeling. There is so much desire for a war, or rather there are so many factions that each their own little wars. Da'esh, of course. Assad. We have our own home-grown warmongers. China wants oil and the South China Sea. Putin wants more. The fascists are rising in the USA and Western Europe. Now, all these factions want different "little" wars, but take all those "little" wars and put them together, and maybe we get one big war.

"And it's five, six, seven, open up the pearly gates, …" — Joe McDonald, "I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag"

Thursday, December 3, 2015

General Clinton

(A cranky comment I made over at Crooked Timber.)

It occurs to me that, if we could get Hillary Clinton on our side, even a bit, she might just be tough enough to take on the people who are destroying the USA. I love Sanders’ vision, and he is a skillful politician, but the wheels are coming off US democracy. Perhaps, after all, we need General Clinton.

Could Hillary Clinton’s feminism be brought into conflict with her corporatism?