Archive | October, 2015

October political humor

30 Oct
Hillary Clinton today lambasted GOP fallacies that businesses create jobs. Everyone knows jobs are supplied by 22 year old interns. 

Sidney Blumenthal now becomes the second Jew to gain international notoriety for a job under a Clinton.

CNBC moderators only pretend to favor collective action over dog eat dog competition.  That’s why the dogs bit them when they didn’t look for the union label.

What we saw when we live tweeted the CNBC debate

30 Oct
A different version of this was published yesterday at Breitbart.

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Denounced in all quarters (The Daily Beast went so far as to adopt Governor Palin’s adjective “lamestream”), last night’s performance by the CNBC “moderators” put the lie to the belief that liberals belief favor collective action over dog-eat-dog competition, and showed them to be largely powerless when the GOP candidates formed a solidarity union against media bias.

The consensus is that it was a debate between the GOP and the Democratic media, and that the former won, with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie doing the most to raise their profiles.

After a heretofore unknown (like most CNBC anchors frankly) Eddie Munster doppelgänger, Carl Quintanilla, asked a question about Fantasy Football, which Jeb Bush obediently answered (pathetically demonstrating why he is not qualified for office and has no support among voters), Chris Christie observed that the CNBC crew had asked no question about real issues – the 19 trillion in debt crippling the American economy, the millions persistently unemployed and underemployed under 7 years of Obamanomics,  the rise of ISIS savagery under Hillary’s and Obama’s foreign policy failures, the transformation of America into a third world banana republic where government agencies like the IRS spy on citizens and attack political rivals – instead asking questions about the employment histories and credit card debts of the candidates.  Christie shown as at least a minor star of the evening, along with Rubio, attacking the media bias, at one point observing that “even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude.”  Christie also challenged John Hardwood on the moderators’ constant interruptions and cutting off of the candidates’ attempts to give answers, asking if “you [moderators] would like to give the answers.”  Christie’s common sense responses – which only seemed bombastic compared to the dithering of Bush, the sudden mellowness of Trump, and the persistent underperformance of Rand Paul – reminded me why Ann Coulter found him so welcome in the 2012 campaign.
The unrelenting list of silly, picayune questions made it obvious, as Marco Rubio observed,  that mainstream media corporations are themselves unregulated super PACS that provide the Democratic Party establishment with billions of dark money dollars of free advertising and negative campaigning in every election cycle.  Media analyst Bernie Goldberrg opined that the CNBC troika – John Harwood,  Quintanilla, and Becky Quick – didn’t realize that the cumulative effect of their off topic questions – usually embedded in long statements where allegations of dubious accuracy where presented as facts – was to completely discredit them.  The CNBC moderators began by asking if the large number of GOP contenders weren’t a “comic book version” of a campaign, not realizing they were a reductio ad absurdum of, a comic book version of, media bias.
The CNBC moderators were repeatedly booed by the live audience.  Ted Cruz’s summation of the entirety of CNBC’s silly questions as showing why “the American people do not trust the media” topped Facebook and Twitter.  On the latter over 1,200 tweets used the terms “bad” or “awful” for the moderators, and over 2.000 used “terrible.”
Criticism of CNBC extended far beyond the media analysts at FOX News.  Around the country (and the world) viewers with no dog in the GOP fight denounced CNBC for its shoddy pseudo-journalism. 

Neil Irwin, an economics reporter at the liberal New York Times tweeted “Wait am I correct that there has been a daily fantasy sports regulation question but not a Wall Street regulation question?”

Alicia Dearn, one of the ballot access lawyers for likely Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (who filed a federal anti-trust suit against the Presidential Debate Commission earlier this month) took to social media to reply to my own stream of caustic and somewhat profanity laced live tweeting of the CNBC criminality: “@BruceMajors4DC I’ve never watched CNBC before. I hate them already and will never give them my eyeballs again”. Ms. Dearn added on FaceBook:
So up for more torture watching debates.  I’d like to just listen to people answer questions on policy.
Instead, I’m already irritated by the badgering style of the moderators. This is not a wrestling smackdown. Come on people!  Badgering bothers me in law, too. I have never found a badgerer to be intelligent or worth listening to.  So far, I’ve liked CNN the best. CNBC anchors are monkeys throwing poo at the stage.  I need wine.”  And then added:  “Ted Cruz just let them have it and said exactly what was on my mind. Best moment in any debate so far. Worth the price of admission.”

I tweeted to the official debate hashtag that the few respectable CNBC commentators were going to be damaged by the bias –  “#CNBCGOPDebate crew so crapulent, @SantelliRants and @larry_kudlowreputations damaged by sharing stage with them #tcot” – and Santelli apparently agreed.  While on stage as a co-moderator he immediately favorited my tweet.

The new bride of former Rand Paul speechwriter and book co-author Jack Hunter had the wisest approach to the debates.  Brittany Elisa-Leme Hunter reported: “I watched four hours of Scandal while all of you were getting worked up watching the debates. You guys enjoy Facebook fighting with each other…I’ll be over here enjoying Netflix and eating Sour Patch watermelons. ‪#‎OliviaPope2016‬”. 

Since she didn’t see it Mrs. Hunter doesn’t know a different scandal was showing over on CNBC.


Coming Out As Trans-Everything

30 Oct

Loneliness, Taking the Next Step

30 Oct

"Reagan Allowed Himself to Imagine a World Without The Soviet Union" Q&A…

30 Oct

Mary Katharine Ham Talks About Honoring Her Late Husband

28 Oct

October Libertarian Mailbag

27 Oct

Hump Day – Trump Day recommended reading

27 Oct

A dream achieved – finally "The Nation" magazine gets Americans into Castro’s slave camps

27 Oct

Join us this winter as we travel to Havana, Cuba, and its surrounding regions for a unique experience specially curated for fellow Nation travelers. Recent historic changes in US policy toward the island nation promise to make this a particularly inspiring and extraordinary time to experience the people, politics, culture, and history of Cuba in a way few ever have before.

 Your journey will include an extensive and stimulating daily program and five nights at one of Havana’s most storied four-star hotels, located just a block from the Malecón, a broad esplanade and seawall that stretches five miles along the Caribbean Sea in Havana. We’ll also travel to the scenic Viñales Valley to spend two nights with a Cuban host family at their casa particulare—their private home—which will offer an opportunity to closely interact with residents of the community. The travel dates are January 15–22.

Tour stop 1:  Site where Raul Castro executed opponent

After out chartered jet lands Friday afternoon at Havana’s historic José Martí International Airport, we will spend our days meeting with prominent Cuban professors, government officials, physicians, community activists, farmers, urban planners, business owners, journalists, and artists. Our evenings will be filled with exclusive concerts by renowned musicians, private showings at artists’ studios, and performances by students of Cuba’s internationally acclaimed dance institutes.

We will tour museums with eminent art historians, wander through the markets of Old Havana, experience the scenic beauty of the Pinar del Río province, and savor traditional Cuban food and spirits at the island’s finest restaurants and organic farms.

Tour stop 2:  Food lines for meatless meals reduce carbon footprint

While traveling under The Nation’s license issued by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control to promote people-to-people contact, you will be accompanied by Cuba expert and Nation contributor Sujatha Fernandes. Dr. Fernandes is professor of sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City and author of Cuba Represent!, which examines the forms of cultural struggle that arose in post-Soviet Cuban society. In addition, your hosts will include Charles Bittner, The Nation’s long-serving academic liaison, and Collin Laverty, author of Cuba’s New Resolve: Economic Reform and Its Implications for US Policy. Laverty has visited the island over 100 times, frequently guiding members of the US Congress and their staffs on official fact-finding missions. During the entire week, you will be escorted by a bilingual Cuban tour guide.

The all-inclusive cost of this weeklong tour is $5,550/$5,950 per person (double/single occupancy), and it includes round-trip chartered airfare from Tampa to Havana, five nights at a four-star hotel in Havana, two evenings at a private residence in the Viñales Valley, airport transfers, health and evacuation insurance, Cuban visas, all ground transportation within Cuba, guided tours, seminars, lectures, entrance to Cuba’s preeminent museums and attractions, several private music concerts, dance performances, almost all your meals (including libations), and many other captivating activities and events.

SPACE IS EXTREMELY LIMITED—SO PLEASE REGISTER WITHOUT DELAY!

Additional details and the complete itinerary may be found at TheNation.com/cuba.


Scan and email registration forms to Charles Bittner atcharles@thenation.com.

Or call 617-833-1435.

Two Libertarian Cheers for Donald Trump

26 Oct
This was published last night at Breitbart.

President Obama’s management of foreign policy – droning hundreds of innocent bystanders (more than did President Bush), bombing a hospital and killing 22 doctors and patients, arming ISIS terrorists  – may be precipitating a realignment of Americans in their views on foreign policy.

This week GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Jeb Bush debated whether George Bush kept America safe during his administration, since 9/11 did happen on George Bush’s watch.  It’s not the kind of thing you are supposed to say, just as you aren’t supposed to cast aspersions on Senator John McCain’s war record.  Saying things like that are supposed to get you chased out of American political life.  But Trump keeps saying them, and he doesn’t become any less popular.  His poll numbers may include a swath of that 40% of the electorate that had simply stopped voting in Presidential elections and that previously wasn’t being counted.

Trump’s argument is that Bush didn’t have policies to control the entry of would be terrorists into the United States.  (He could have added that we seemed not to have had anti-aircraft weapons protecting the Pentagon, and as Lawrence White wrote in his Pulitzer prize winning book on 9/11, The Looming Towers, the earlier Clinton administration had been offered Osama bin Laden by the Sudanese government, when it had detained him, and the Clinton regime had helped make 9/11 possible by preventing the FBI and CIA from sharing information).

So far Trump’s challenge has mainly been used by CNN’s Jake Tapper as the second part of his audition for a better paying gig at ABC, NBC, or CBS (the first part having been his GOP debate moderation).  Tapper is appealing to the Democratic Party broadcast organs by doing the regular progressive riff of invoking the oldest moral fallacy, “Eve did it too!”  How can we blame Hillary for letting an Ambassador and three other Americans be murdered in Libya if we do not criticize Bush for letting 3,000 people die in 9/11?

I don’t think many, outside of the hard core Democratic base of low information voters, will be fooled by Tapper’s sophistry, and Rush Limbaugh thoroughly discredited his attempt at an analogy this week, as a craven ploy to provide cover for Mrs. Clinton before she appears at the Benghazi hearing.

The longer lasting and more interesting aspect is Trump’s recurring support of parts of a non-interventionist foreign policy, including his attempt to cite evidence that he too opposed the Iraq war long before anyone else did and his call for getting out of the middle east and letting Russia be trapped in the quagmire.  Trump has actually adopted large helpings of Senator Rand Paul’s (and Congressman Ron Paul’s) foreign policy.  It’s just that he did it without an ideology and without seeming petulant or anti-American.  And perhaps because of this is leading in the GOP primary field with a plurality of the voters supporting him.

Let’s stop and reflect on an this.  Around the world we have people most American’s would like to help, in principle:  Kurds, Syrian and Iraqi Christians, Ukranians.  We’d like to help them though we are already trillions in debt and we don’t really want to be embroiled in foreign wars.  The only argument that would really move us to intervene is that if we don’t the forces attacking these people – ISIS or other terrorists, Putin and his surrogates – will find their way to the American homeland.

But what’s actually been happening?  We built a multi-trillion dollar military empire and it did in fact fail to prevent 9/11.  And now it is in the hands of an anti-American President who is using the resources of that empire to hurt American interests.  And all our allies have become reliant on American protection, which isn’t actually there for them, much as if they were on the dole waiting for Obama’s stimulus to finally produce for them a shovel ready job.  That protection has been outsourced to Russia.  Where the working conditions will not be nearly so pleasant.

Among the orthodox libertarian non-interventionists this week, there were several conferences on foreign policy.  Tuesday the Cato Institute hosted a panel, open to the public, for the book Perilous Partners, on how making allies with local tyrants may have hurt American foreign policy, followed by the second annual Cato conference on Surveillance  (at the inaugural surveillance conference last year Edward Snowden skyped in).  But there was also a panel NOT open to the public or the press, that almost no one knows about, on the threat posed by Chinese expansion, hosted by the Charles Koch Institute.  One of the participants reported to me that the information presented, by PhDs who are former marines now teaching at the various military colleges, was chilling.  China is building aircraft carriers and other craft, and building fake islands in international waters so it can claim those waters as part of its own territory.  It’s interesting that the Kochs (who do do business in Asia) sponsored this.  Earlier this fall they had a panel for Congressional staffers which mainly just covered survey data on how millennials were much less willing to support an interventionist foreign policy.

It may be time for a “deconfliction” among foreign policy factions within – and outside of – the GOP.  One would have to start by convincing some libertarians that supporting a smaller military and less military spending doesn’t commit one to Essenic vows of celibacy and austerity – if in the world as it is now the federal government has monopolized all the weapons and other resources one might donate to Kurds or Yazidis or Ukranians or Poles to defend themselves, then one might want to donate them, just as one might use the public library or the public school rather than stay home and be illiterate,  even while simultaneously working for expanded school choice.  And then you’d have to convince the foreign policy hawks that if they really care about America, and don’t want another Obama or Biden as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and American foreign policy, they have to agree to a smaller, less expensive military and a less interventionist foreign policy, in order to get those with libertarian or non-interventionist leanings – including the Trump supporters – on board.