Shoulda Coulda Woulda

I've been noticing a 'what if' sentiment regarding Trump's ascendency to the GOP Nomination.

If (only) Jon Stewart were still around, this might not have happened!  What if Lindsay Graham had been able to be at the "big kids table" debate; this might not have happened!

And yeah.  Imo, these are valid speculations.  Comedy can venture into some journalistic realms and make inciting statements that plain-old journalists can't always get away with.  "I'm just joking", says (for example) John Oliver, after accusing the police force in the US of being a paramilitary organization.


Drones are weapons platform, they are not a policy.  The policy is assassination.

The Congress has never defined the term assassination....my argument is that if you're going to say all of these drone strikes are justified, then how to you reconcile that with one of the documents we published that shows that 9 out of 10 people they are killing in drone strikes, they don't know who they are.....how is that smart policy?

Obama has seven wars going right now.....Obama campaigned on the idea that he was going to stop dumb wars, and the first thing he did was to surge in Afghanistan, expand the role of special operations forces.  We have 250 special operators now on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

Obama has totally done away with the idea that he needs to rely on the authorization for the use of military force which was passed in the immediate aftermath of 9-11...he now is claiming something that is the wet dream of Cheney and Rumsfeld, which is that Article 2 of The Constitution, The Commander in Chief Clause, gives him carte blanche to do all of these things.  It's against the very mission that they say they are trying to achieve, which is to stop terrorism.

Jeremy Scahill on Bill Maher, 5/13/16


Jews, Jews Everywhere.

I spent much of the weekend and earlier this week listening to Charlie Rose's recent political interviews, as well as digging through his archives on fashion designers.  And found myself listening to a shocking number of Jews.

And I've mentioned this before on this blog, and I'm not quite sure why it's still a shock....but when three of Rose's last four political interviews are with Jews (Maggie Haberman, Mark Halperin, Andrew Ross Sorkin), and three of the four fashion interviews that I listened to are with Jews (Ralph Lauren, Donna Karin, Isaac Mizrahi), I once again felt startled.


Alexander McQueen:  I really care about a woman's independence and I like her when she walks into the room--I don't like her to looks so naive and so fragile.  I like her to look more stronger, that if a man goes up to her, he's got to have real balls to go up to her.  I don't like her to look like she could be taken advantage of.  

Charlie Rose: Is there a woman that represents that look for you?

McQueen: ...This is going to sound really obscure.  I think one woman that sticks in my mind is Diane Keaton....she has a real independence and she makes me laugh so much that she can't seem to be messed with.  

Excerpt from this interview on 11/17/1997


Larry Wilmore, N-word, what do you think?

I really like Larry Wilmore.  He seems like, well, just a real nice guy.  And the White House Correspondence Dinner performance made me like him even more.

In this interview with Terri Gross, Wilmore talks about this decision to use the n-word, and admits that he knew from the start that he was making a big risk.  He also says that he had to tone down many of the jokes he'd prepared as the atmosphere in the room wasn't receptive; for example his Wolf Blitzer roast joke did not seem to make Wolf very happy!  

I just love that--that Wilmore went into this live high profile performance, in front of millions, and told a joke that he knew was edgy and that might not fly.  


I am running for President because we live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world but most Americans don't know that because the economy is rigged and almost all new income and wealth goes to the top 1%.  The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, it is the great political issue of our time and together we will address that issue.  Let us be very clear, in America today the top 1/10 of one percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%.  The top 20 people in this country in wealth now own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans; half of our population!  We've got one family--the Walton family of Walmart--they are worth 149 billion dollars--more wealth than the bottom 40% of the American people.  And when you talk about a rigged economy, that is exactly what Walmart and the Walton family are all about.  They pay their workers wages that are so low that the American taxpayer has to pay for the food stamps and the Medicaid that many Walmart employees need because their wages are too low.   Now its little bit nuts to my mind when the middle class of this country has to subsidize the employees of the wealthiest family in this country.

Bernie Sanders, Louisville Rally May 3rd 2016


Even Better than the Primaries

As riveting as I found Indiana's primary last night, I found this new exclusive-to-Netflix movie, Special Correspondents even moreso.

Written, directed, and starring Ricky Gervais, Correspondents is perhaps a bit more toned down from the wacky Office but still subtly hilarious.  It tells the story of Gervais' and a journalist's (played by Eric Bana) misadventures on a research trip to Ecuador.  Looks like it's a remake from a French film.

Vera Farmiga plays Gervais' selfish wife.  Honestly, I liked her performance from Up In The Air better; in Correspondents she was just a little to silly and exaggerated.  But she's a good actress and so can't really go wrong.  

And America Ferrera played a role, looking very svelte and attractive.  I haven't seen her in anything since Ugly Betty.

And the movie (no spoilers!) wraps up nicely, it's a clean and crisp and original story.

Recommend it.


Primary Speeches 4/26/16

In listening to the Primary Speeches from last Tuesday (CT DE, PA, RI, MD), Bernie's sounded substantially more substantial than both Hilary's and Trump's.  Trump spoke in his painfully basic vagaries about 'winning', and 'making America great again' and over and over and over again about the media and how they're mis-treating him.  Basically a narcissistic Dick-and-Jane-level speech, you'd call it I guess.

And Hilary had to include a wince inducing emotional tale about some poor pathetic cancer ridden single mother she came across in some mid-western state.  I can't stand these anecdotes, more than likely it's fabricated or exaggerated, and so unconvincing.  Since in a country of millions, how does one person's strife demonstrate that there's a systemic problem?

Bernie, on the other hand, presented some startling statistics about the death rate and age of death in various counties within West Virginia, making the point that people who lived in poorer counties died at significantly lower ages than wealthier counties.  He called, in his speech, poverty a "death sentence".  

This is a real point.  He's actually talking about citizens--not about himself--and about a systemic problem.  

I find it a little disconcerting that neither of the former candidates said anything nearly so substantive, and they're both the likely nominees.


The Sanity Caucus

There's an awful lot of sane rational people roaming around in the area of public policy and in politics and none of them are being expressed in the course of a presidential campaign or the way things work in Washington, it's all the extremes.
There's got to be at some point in the next couple of years a convening of the sanity caucus.  A group of people has got to say we can't just continue as a country in this way......It's time for the grown ups to step back in a little bit.                                             Joe Klein on Charlie Rose, 4/20/16
(Isn't it fair to conclude that by 'insane' Klein's not referencing Sanders, nor Clinton, tho possibly the extreme conservative Cruz, and most certainly, and perhaps exclusively, Trump and his supporters?)

Perhaps one thing we can conclude for certain is many of that these so called political experts; Joe Klein, Axelrod, Plouffe, are somewhat worthless in this political climate--to both predict and interpret what's going on.  Axelrod candidedly admited on Charlie Rose last week that he never anticipated the Trump phonemenon; he thought that it would die out.

And Klein has attributed the Trump phonmenon to Low Information Voters, or in the above instance, to a lot of insane people.

Fortunately some jounalists have dug a little deeper to discover an explanation for the Trump phenomenon; Robert Costa's attributing it to people so disillusioned with the establishment that they're calling for a paradigm shift--and Trump's just the person to bring this about, they feel, since he's a wealthy, unconventional outsider (tho Trump travelled in weathy New York circles, he was always on the outside, Costa explained in his interview with Rose on 4/4)

And as I quoted in this post, Ed Luce said that Trump supporters are giving the finger to the establishment.

And Mike Halpern too, acknowledges a schism between established Washington politicians and a hurting populus; and that Sanders and Trump are able to speak with emotion to these people's losses from the War and the 2007 financial crash.

Perhaps the problem with so many of the pundits we have to suffer through is that they are a part of this priviliged establishement, are living in a bubble, and so can see no other explanation for a person voting for Trump other that insanity.  Probably too, their rantings and 'interpretations' of the political climate will become increasingly vacuous in this (as they see it anyway) unpredictable time.