Thursday, January 30, 2014

Me and Kati (12(

Kati, my darling cat with the beautiful face, we need to have another conversation. Kati, I fear you are developing an eating disorder. You seem to be constantly hungry. Every time I enter the kitchen you seem to believe you should be fed. You are obviously getting fatter. That grieves me no end as I like you as you were before, sleek and elegant, almost blue in the sunshine, energetic and gorgeous. I try not to give in to your piteous whining. I know you cannot possibly be that hungry, but you always win.

But our personal problems aside, there are apparently those who are worse off than we are, billionaires and multi-millionaires who feel they are being unfairly attacked because they are rich. One of them, a particularly obnoxious billionaire, even went so far as to claim he fears a Kristallnacht targeting them. You don’t remember Kristallnacht, of course, as that was at least half a century before you were born, maybe more. It was a terrible night when the Nazis attacked Jewish stores and property, breaking windows, thieving, brutalizing, and so on. He thinks the progressives are in the process of doing the same thing to the rich. He later apologized for using the term Kristallnacht but it’s obvious he fears something like that may happen to the rich. Personally, I think his fear may be a result of his guilt although you would never know it because of his arrogance and disregard for reality.

It is pretty obvious there is unlikely ever to be a real Kristallnacht here. But it is not unlikely, I think, there may eventually be a dramatic change in the tax code when the filthy rich are finally made to pay their taxes. Not just their “fair share” but real substantial taxes, perhaps even up to the ninety percent they paid under the Eisenhower administration. The fact is that even if they paid that much in taxes their life styles would probably not change much. I mean, after all, they would still have their millions and billions, private airplanes, yachts, gold faucets, Rolexes, and they would still be able to feast on unborn lamb and thousand dollar truffles. They might have to reduce the number of their mansions but it is unlikely they would truly suffer like the single moms that can’t feed their children, or the children themselves who are ashamed to go to school because of their rags. So pity the rich, they have it pretty hard these days.

Not that anything like that might happen to them. You might notice that neither Obama or anyone else is seriously suggesting they might actually have to pay more taxes. The idea is not to increase taxes on the wealthy but, rather, to throw a few more sardines to the poor, to increase the pathetic minimum wage from $7.25 to the outrageous $10.10 per hour. Wow, that’s really going to solve the gap between the obscenely wealthy and the obscenely poor. It is absurd, on the face of it, that any individual person in any society, should have a fortune of a billion or more dollars while the majority lack even enough food to eat. I don’t believe everyone should have the same amount of money but the current imbalance is so great, so unnecessary, so unrealistic, so damaging it simply should not be permitted. I don’t know how much is too much but there should be some kind of formula that allows us to keep things on a much more even keel, so to speak.

The argument that those with money are the job creators is utter nonsense. The idea of trickle- down economics will work is even more nonsensical. I don’t know where this strange economic theory originated but it was certainly put into play by Saint Ronnie the Moron and we are suffering from it still. In spite of President Obama’s speeches and promises it doesn’t appear to me any substantial changes are on the way, the Banks and Wall Street are still in charge, the Insurance companies and pharmaceuticals continue to rip us off as if there is no tomorrow, the military/industrial/political complex still claims most of the national budget, the poor continue to be poor although perhaps with a bit more oatmeal. Capitalism, the greatest boon since the Black Plague continues. But not to worry, Superbowl Sunday is imminent.  

Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self interest backed by force.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Defending the "Big Dog"

I never thought I would be defending Bill Clinton, the ex-President, “Big Dog,” Come Back Kid,” or however you want him called. But as predatory (and opportunistic) politician Rand Paul just labeled him a (sexual) predator I thought I must defend him, at least in the Monica Lewinsky case.

Paul would have us believe, as lots of people apparently do, that a sophisticated, powerful, and predatory President took advantage of an innocent young lady intern in the White House. It is true that he took advantage of an opportunity that was presented to him and that was deplorable. But an innocent young intern, hardly. I have neither the time nor inclination to go back and review the millions of words that were written about this, but as I recall, Monica Lewinsky could hardly be described as an innocent in this affair. First of all she was an adult (20) at the time so it was a consenting affair between two adults. She was clearly not innocent of sex, including oral sex, as she apparently told her friend (or friends) she was “taking her knee pads with her,” when going to Washington, a remark the meaning of which would have been quite obvious to them. There is also no doubt that she flirtatiously, provocatively, and deliberately invited the President’s interest, at least exposing her thong panties (and who knows what else).  

If Rand Paul believes that 20 year-old young women from Southern California are innocents in the matter of sex he must be very poorly informed. It was reported, for example, that High School students were engaging in oral sex. In some cases, at least, a girl could perform oral sex on several boys or men and still claim (reasonably?) to be a virgin! I guess we might thank Hugh Hefner from converting what used to be called by a very derogatory term into the more respectable “oral sex.” No less an authority than Newt Gingrich himself is reported to have said he preferred oral sex because it was not really “cheating,” and Arnold, the Gropenfuhrer, is rumored to have said something very similar. In any case one would have to be na├»ve indeed to believe that Clinton was the only politician in Washington to have had sex in his office or with an intern. But in the Clinton/Lewinsky case describing Clinton as a predator would seem to be far from the truth, no matter what he might have been in other cases.

Lewinsky reportedly was disappointed that Clinton did not have “real sex” (intercourse) with her. This raises an interesting question. When Clinton said “it depends what the meaning of “is, is,” he might well have said it depends upon what the meaning of “sex” is. That is, if one interprets sex to be an act of intercourse between a male and a female, Clinton told the truth when he said “I did not have sex with that woman.” On the other hand if sex includes oral, anal, and even more esoteric practices then he did have sex with Monica (or she with him).

Can it be the case that when an older man, especially one in a position of power and authority, has sex with a woman, especially a younger women, he is invariably a “predator?” Was John Kennedy, for example, a known and dedicated womanizer, a predator? Remember it was only when the Clinton/Lewinsky matter became known through the unprecedented actions of the Republicans that the private lives of politicians became a subject of such scrutiny, a situation that should have probably been left as it was (the Starr report was an absolute obscenity).  As Somerset Maugham once opined, “My own belief is that there is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world at large with surprise and horror.”

Maugham was, of course, a homosexual, but while on this awkward and unpleasant topic let me pose a further question: if the concern is with oral, anal, and other esoteric sexual practices, rather than the more traditional heterosexual form, does it matter if the partners are of the same sex or not? Similarly, if the motive for apparently sexual behavior is not really sexual gratification, is it really sex? For example, there are seemingly homosexual behaviors in parts of New Guinea because it is believed that in order to properly mature and become an adult it is necessary to ingest semen. The young men and boys who are required to participate in these activities do not become homosexuals (except perhaps in very rare instances).
In any case, whatever President Clinton’s behavior might have been in general, describing him as a predator in the Lewinsky case is far from reality. Furthermore, although it seems to be rarely mentioned, females can be, and often are, just as predatory as males, and they possess powers that transcend those of mere males.

“It’s Only Kinky the First Time”

Bumper sticker  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

How the Mighty are Falling

What do I know? Nothing much, I fear. But as it has become clear that many of our elected officials apparently know perhaps even less I have decided to continue blogging, at least for the present.

Let me begin with some comments on our foreign policy (if, indeed, we can be said to have any coherent foreign policy). Let’s begin with Syria. There is an international meeting to discuss the future of Syria. Iran, the primary ally of Syria, was not invited to this meeting. Well, actually, they were invited by the head of the UN, but the U.S. (all powerful and god like) intervened and had them disinvited. Does this make any sense at all? Of course not, the future of Syria is not going to be decided unilaterally by the U.S., in spite of Secretary of State Kerry’s declaration that it must be so. Kerry, announced before the meeting began that President Assad had to go and could have no role in a future government of Syria. In order for Iran to participate in this meeting (in which they have a vital national interest) they would have to agree with this outcome in advance. In other words, agree to our already decided upon outcome or you cannot participate, no matter what you like or what your national interest might be. Is this not stupid, imperialistic, unreasonable, arrogant, and unacceptable to not only Iran but the rest of the participants? Of course it is. And the U.S., in effect, is being told, rightly so, to go “piss up a rope.” Our attempt to continue our hegemony in the Middle East is failing, just as it has already failed in Latin America. The American empire is beginning to implode. Our vaunted military superiority has repeatedly failed, in Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere as we cannot defeat even peasants armed with small caliber rifles. Our estimated 5000 nuclear warheads are as useless as the proverbial “tits on a boar.” Is it any wonder that Iran doesn’t even want such useless and expensive weapons? I hesitate to say it, but the Iranians are much smarter than we are.    

Speaking of Iran, we seem to be doing everything in our power to avoid a diplomatic solution  to their non-problem of nuclear bombs. Even while the negotiations are going on we have Kerry still threatening military action against them should the negotiations fail, and, more importantly, many Congresspersons insisting on devising more sanctions against them should they fail to live up to their agreements, thus risking the failure of the attempt before it can proceed.  This assumes, of course, that Iranians are untrustworthy, cannot be believed, do not want a diplomatic solution, and are not acting in good faith, all false assumptions based upon apparent racist beliefs about Arabs even though Iranians are not Arabs, and Arabs are themselves, of course, not without honor and decency in spite of American stereotypes.

There is another strange situation having to do with our attempt to negotiate a peaceful solution to the Iran question. President Obama, the elected leader of our nation, along with much of the military and others, wants to attempt a diplomatic solution to the question of Iranian nuclear activity. But many member of Congress insist upon trying to impose more sanctions on Iran, sanctions that might well kill the diplomacy prematurely and, in fact, lead to war. The primary opponent of a diplomatic solution is, of course, Israel, who not only opposes the attempt but has lobbied for war against Iran for years. It is not beyond imagination to see a situation where Congress could impose crippling sanctions against Iran, thus ending the diplomacy, and eventually leading to unimaginable hostilities in the Middle East. But if U.S. policy, represented by the President desires diplomacy, and the Congress, representing Israel, does not, where does Congressional loyalty lie, with Israel or the U.S.? And if their loyalties favor Israel over the U.S. is that not potentially treasonous? This begs the question for the moment of why so many Congresspersons in the U.S. continue to uncritically support a nation known to be internationally criminal, racist, genocidal, apartheid, and imperialistic. What is even more unbelievable is that some want to pass legislation requiring the U.S. to support Israel should that country unilaterally attack Iran, essentially putting U.S. foreign policy in the hands of another country! If this is not insanity I do not know what you might call it.

Paradoxically, as the U.S. Empire slowly collapses around the world, as it surely will, the U.S. itself will grow increasingly better. When all that money comes home, the phony “defense budget” shrinks, and we begin to actually rebuild our infrastructure, tackle global warming, education, unemployment, poverty, and yes, even health care, there could be an amazing, even unprecedented  American renaissance.  This certainly will not happen if Israel is allowed to dictate our policy in the Middle East and the mindless Congressional hawks get their way.

  “There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.” 
J.R.R. Tolkien

  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jim Dandy to the Rescue

Where is Jim Dandy when we need him? New Jersey Fats is desperately in need. The Palestinians are desperately in need. John Boehner is desperately in need. In fact, and much more importantly, the human species is desperately in need, but our hero, Jim Dandy, is nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, if he ever shows up, he will be, I fear, too late.
Jim Dandy is certainly too late to rescue me from my penultimate funk. I have been unable to blog for quite some time as there seems to me no point to it. Nothing much happens, the world drags on day to day to the fast approaching “last syllable of recorded time,” as soon there will be no one to record the final and well deserved passing of the human species. If we have not drowned in our own filth, or expired from nuclear radiation, or succumbed to global warming, or starved to death for the benefit or entertainment of the one percent, perhaps something really bad may happen.  
The human species, presumably on top of the food chain, the great chain of being, the apex of civilization, the heights of evolution, the darling of God’s eye, is an absolute dismal failure, unable or unwilling to manage their affairs, incapable of even the most basic of social tasks, oblivious to their own stupidity, morally bankrupt, and on an accelerating path to oblivion. Try as I might I cannot see it differently. I am on the very brink of hopelessness.
I have been aware, of course, that things were not going well for humans, that greed has become the most basic human value, that profit has become more important than human life, that inequality no matter how outrageous was now regarded as acceptable, that untold millions were doomed to poverty while the one percent were deserving while others were not, why poverty was the fault of the poor, why capital was more important than labor, and why, by some bizarre quirk of thought, not working has become more desirable than working at all levels of society. That is, the rich do not work as they do not have to, while the poor prefer not to work because of the untold riches they receive from the government.  
I had become accustomed to this state of affairs however obscene and disgusting it is. I knew that the five or six Walmart heirs together possessed more money than forty or fifty percent of all other Americans, that there were, in fact, not only billionaires but multi-billionaires, and that inequality was just a fact of life. When I was younger we marveled at millionaires, the word billionaire was never even mentioned (an ice cream cone was a nickel, a movie or hamburger was a dime, a hundred dollars a month was a living wage).
When I learned today that 85 people together possess more wealth than three billion plus others on planet earth (I have no reason to believe this is not true) I realized it is all over for us (humans, that is). To me this is demonstrable proof that the human species is bereft of intelligence, oblivious to immorality, unconcerned with human life, and even unconcerned with the tiny planet that sustains them. Having now abused and raped the earth there is talk of colonizing Mars. Good luck with that, mindless, parasitical, bloodsuckers.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Money vs Morality

It appears that more and more Senators are joining the bandwagon for more sanctions on Iran even though the White House is opposed and President Obama has threatened to veto any such legislation. It is not all Republicans calling for more sanctions, both Chuck Schumer and Cory Booker, and some other Democrats as well are in favor of sanctions, even though the President has said more sanctions at this time would be both inopportune and possibly deadly to the diplomacy.

One would certainly have to wonder at the motives involved in this attempt to sabotage the negotiations (if not, indeed, the sanity of the proponents). Why would anyone in Congress apparently favor potentially starting another illegal, unconstitutional, and unnecessary war in the Middle East when there is a very good chance for a diplomatic solution? It is, of course, Israel that is the most adamant about sabotaging the negotiations, having repeatedly failed to force the United States to attack Iran for them. They claim they are afraid of Iran’s nuclear program, afraid Iran will produce a bomb, afraid Iran will attack them with it, and so on. But that is just an excuse as Israel, the U.S., and the entire world knows that could never happen because of the already existing possibly 400 such bombs in Israeli hands and the thousands more in the U.S. The real problem is who is to have hegemony in the Middle East.

In any case, consider what is involved here. Israel has committed numerous war crimes against the Palestinians and continues to do so. The International Community has repeatedly criticized Israel for illegal settlements, stealing Palestinian land and water, herding a million or more into the tiny Gaza strip, withholding supplies, even regulating what can have to eat, assassinating Palestinian leaders, killing Palestinian children, destroying Palestinian orchards, bulldozing their homes, and reportedly torturing Palestinian captives. These things are known, they are not myths and lies. The U.S. has shamefully gone along with what is little more than the slow genocide or, at least, attempted ethnic cleansing Israel has been attempting for years. There is no doubt the Israeli government is a racist, apartheid state. It is also no secret that Israel does not want a Palestinian state of any kind, preferring the status quo that allows them to continue slowly encroaching and building settlements on land that should be part of a Palestinian state. It is clear this is a strategy to make it impossible for a viable Palestinian state to ever be created.  There is no doubt the Palestinians have suffered dreadfully at the hands of the Israelis and continue to do so.

The Senators that now want to sabotage the negotiations by passing even more onerous sanctions on Iran, on behalf of Israel, must be aware of the criminality and immorality of all this. And yet they all want to do what Israel wants them to do. That is, continue the immorality and criminality of the state of Israel, and apparently to hell with the Palestinian and Iranian people. Why are they doing this? They say, of course, that sanctions are needed to put further pressure on Iran even though the President and others fear further sanctions at this time will potentially kill the diplomacy, reveal the bad faith of the U.S., and quite possibly lead to war. The answer, my friend, is “blowing in the wind,” it’s money, and lots of it. Certainly Schumer and Booker are getting money from Israeli supporters, and there is no doubt that many more, certainly Menendez, are as well. In other words, they are apparently unconcerned about Israeli war crimes and mendacity, unconcerned about the fate of the Palestinians and Iranians, but vitally concerned with the size of their war chests. They are selling their honesty and morality, even their souls for money, they are basically high-level, hypocritical prostitutes. Unless, that is, they don’t believe the truth about Israel which at this point in time is well known to all the rest of the world and seems highly unlikely. Whatever else you think about President Obama, if he can stand up to the Israeli warmongers and prevent a war with Iran, he should be given great credit for it.

“Prostitutes operate more responsible than governments; because when you pay them, they do everything to keep you satisfied.” 


Thursday, January 09, 2014

There must be Gods

For a very long time I have thought of myself as an atheist, an ardent believer in evolution, and a true foe of the idea of “creative design.” Of late I have begun having second (third, fourth, fifth, and sixth) thoughts on the subject. The main reason for my possible change of heart has to do with the nagging doubt that the natural process of evolution could have produced anything as utterly ridiculous and awful as the human species.

Nowhere in nature, as far as I know, is there another species so arrogant, short-sighted, mean spirited, greedy, violent, self-destructive and irrational. The human species is unique in these respects. While it is true that some animal species sometimes fight over territory, and often fight over mating, they do not completely destroy each other, and they certainly do not invent horrendous ways to torture, humiliate, and massively kill each other. Nor do they deliberately foul their own nests or ordinarily exhaust the resources they depend on for their very survival. Although human and near-human groups have existed for many thousands of years they still have not been able to live in peace with one another and their continuous history of violence, stupidity, theft, torture, and brutality is unrivaled by anything else we can even imagine. The history of European colonialism by itself is enough to make you doubt the sanity of the species, let alone what happened prior to that terrible period of time. It is as if the species were put on earth for no purpose other than stealing, brutalizing, and killing each other. It is a history so shocking we basically avoid ever telling the truth about it. And it is not that things have changed much over time, the greed, theft, torture, and killing, continue to the present day.

As there is nothing else like this in history, or in the natural order of nature, it makes one wonder how and why this completely unique species could have come about. Einstein said that “God does not play dice with the universe.” As he was a known atheist he did not really believe in God, but he did believe the universe was orderly, playing dice with it would have been out of the question for him. But it seems to me the only place in the universe that might well be out of order has to do with the behavior of the human species. Where one might suspect that reason would prevail among humans it clearly does not. Where it is perfectly obvious that certain activities are clearly not in the best interest of human survival they continue nonetheless. When humans praise peace and goodwill to all they clearly do not mean it. When they say “do not kill” they are apparently joking. Virtually the only thing about the world that is neither predictable nor orderly is human behavior, which is predictable only in the sense that it will be unpredictable in any given circumstance, especially when it has to do with humans and the environment. So it is that humans completely decimated the billions of passenger pigeons in a relatively short time, almost did the same to the untold millions of buffalo, destroyed many of the salmon runs, polluted and overfished the rivers, lakes, and oceans, and continue to destroy one species after another. In addition they have either destroyed or pillaged virtually all of the natural resources, many of which are non-renewable.

Einstein I fear was not much of a crapshooter. God does not place dice with the universe as god  does not play dice by himself. If there are multiple gods, however, that might be a different matter entirely. The existence of the human species might be little more than a fantastic cosmic dice game played by the gods for their entertainment. They might have looked around for a relatively stable ecosystem and placed bets on what would happen if they introduced a species with no instincts but the ability to make their own choices. Earth, being a tiny, inconsequential globe spinning around a lesser sun was a perfect setting for such an experiment (game), just part of their playground. It appears at the moment those who bet humans would destroy the system and themselves are winning. The game is not entirely over but the end is drawing near. I bet it’s at least 8 to five for those betting against the species. Will they win? Roll the dice, man, “Baby needs a new pair of shoes.”

It is entirely possible of course the gods are not merely playing a game. They could have a perfectly legitimate scientific interest in what happens when idiocy is introduced into an otherwise smoothly functioning world. After all, they must be responsible for hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of other inhabited planets. Maybe earth is merely a test case. Who knows, it is beyond my crumbling brainpower.

There is no gambling like politics.


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Freedom and Capitalism

What do freedom and capitalism have in common? In the most fundamental way possible they are both antithetical to human social life, in the case of freedom relatively so, in the case of capitalism, absolutely so.
"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. One man thinks himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they are."
Roussea thought this was so because of the corrupting influence of society and, in a sense, it is. He felt it was necessary for humans to revert to a more natural way of life if they were to live more peacefully and achieve freedom.

While it might well be so that living closer to nature allows one more freedom than living in a more complicated society, there is no known society that allows its citizens unlimited freedom. Even in the most “primitive” societies, such as Australian aborigines or Bushmen/Hottentots, there are cultural proscriptions as well as prescriptions people must abide and live by if their members are going to survive and live in relative peace. Obviously some societies allow their citizens more freedom than others but nowhere is one allowed absolute freedom. Thus you are relatively “in chains” simply by virtue of being born into a social group and living as a human being.  

But nowhere in small, face-to-face communities, in which humans traditionally lived for thousands of years, was there anything comparable to capitalism. The New Guinea “Big Man,” who became “big” because of his organization of huge feasts and gifts of pork, or his skill as a warrior, did not result in his material well being becoming much greater than others, he acquired reputation rather than wealth. Similarly, the Northwest Coast chief who organized huge potlatches and distributed gifts of blankets and other things did not benefit himself materially. In such exchanges there was no “profit” or “profit motive” involved. Indeed, in such societies if an individual attempted to gain at the expense of others he or she would be ostracized and, in extreme case, even murdered. Shameful greed simply was not allowed to exist. There was no capitalism.
As societies grew in size and complexity, some individuals managed to convince the masses they were more powerful and entitled to more, often much, much more, than others. Beliefs in the divine right of kings were enshrined allowing royalty to help themselves to whatever was available. More often than not royalty was bestowed upon those who were, in fact, more powerful than others, wars were the order of the day, might established right, and right meant that everyone had their fixed place in the order of things, peasants and serfs were just that, and nobles likewise held more or less fixed positions in society. Still there was no real profit motive or capitalism as we now have.

When you have a well established profit motive and excessive freedom as in “free market capitalism” you have reached the epitome of an essentially antisocial society, a true oxymoron. You have, in fact, repudiated your human status and reverted back to “the law of the jungle,” a form of primitive Darwinism in which greedy humans cannibalize each other for profit and the losers are cast aside as “collateral damage.” The most basic elements of humanity: empathy, caring for others, community, the basic social contract itself, are simply abandoned as everyone now competes for profit and power, two linked passions that will slowly and inevitably destroy  whatever is left of our humanity and, indeed, our lives.   

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Me and Kati (11)

Well, Kati, what with Christmas, New Year’s Eve and all, we have scarcely had time for even a quiet chat. Happily all of that is over, at least for another year. Reflecting back now it certainly was a difficult year for us and the country also.

We managed to get through a whole year without Linda, our strong “house post” for so many years. I wasn’t sure just how we would manage without her, but we did. I now know how to do many things I could never do before: manage the washer/dryer, scrub the floors, use the dishwasher, pay the bills, vacuum floors, even make the bed (my least favorite task). Even worse, are the problems with having to deal with the computer, printer, and phone without Linda’s help. I know, Kati, this doesn’t sound like much, but when you are 80 years of age and unfamiliar with such domestic tasks it’s not as easy as you might think. I can now appreciate how it is that Linda could do in an hour what it takes me a day to do. Better, however, my cooking has improved immeasurably and I have resisted the temptation to take the easy way out, frozen dinners, pizza, and all that. There is, I have learned, an inordinate amount of waste involved when cooking for one person, but it is still worth it. As an aside, Kati, and I don’t want to upset you, but I notice you are getting heavier and losing your beautiful, lithe, shapely cat figure (like me). Perhaps this is an inevitable part of the aging process.

I guess it is fair to say that we had a pretty good year. But you can’t say the same thing for the nation, what with the government shutdown, the constant squabbling over everything, the dysfunctional Congress, the basically racially based opposition to anything President Obama has tried to do to ease unemployment, create jobs, deal with guns and immigration, infrastructure, and avoid a completely wrongheaded war with Iran. While I don’t approve of his drone warfare, his support of Wall Street and Israel, and his failure to prosecute our known war criminals, if he can manage to keep Israel and the Saudis from leading us into another war in the Middle East, he will have accomplished a basically Herculean task. If he could manage to solve the Israeli/Palestinian problem he would have accomplished the impossible, but, of course, this is not going to happen as long as Israel is In charge of our Middle East policy and our Congresspersons seem to think the slow Israeli genocide of the Palestinians is somehow “God’s will.”

There are signs that things may be about to change. The shameful inequalities of wealth seems to have only recently been noted, there are increasing numbers of strikes, the minimum wage is now seriously on the agenda, more and more people will have health insurance (not the best but better than before), the economy seems to be picking up, the deficit is going down, the filibuster is not so easy to abuse as it has been, and maybe, just maybe, some progress might be made on gun control and immigration. But Kati, you know you cannot count on anything happening for sure. Some say, for example, the Republicans may capture control of the Senate, keep control of the House, the full catastrophe. Personally, I fail to understand why anyone, except for a few racist rednecks, would ever vote Republican after their shameful performances of the last five or more years. But, Kati, no one ever accused the electorate of sagacity and they do have a record of voting against their own best interests. Sometimes, my little grey bundle of joy, mischief, and appetite, I wish I was a cat.

The French, God Bless ‘em, may be a nation of romantics, but they are also very practical minded. They are going to tax people who make too much money at 75%. We should do the same, but make it 90%.

If it looks like a Joe McCarthy, talks like a Joe McCarthy, and acts like a Joe McCarthy, is it a real Joe McCarthy, or just a fake?