Iraq is Imploding – Which Was Inevitable Since 2003

The Bush/Cheney/Neo-Con invasion of Iraq is the slow moving disaster that keeps on disastering. There really was never any hope that it was going to end well. And the fact that once American troops left the country the media and politicians here in the happy happy joy joy of America kind of thought Iraq had ended. No need to pay any attention to that country anymore, it’s on auto-democracy.

The people that banged the gong for that debacle are the same disgusting and shameless Sunday morning gabfest crowd (ahem, John McCain and Lindsay Graham) who are already blaming Obama for what they put in action in 2003.

I’m trying to decide if this is a new low after the latest low of their condemnation of the Bergdahl deal, or is this just their usual assholery. Tough to figure out these days.

Are Debtor’s Prisons Coming Back?

Impoverished Mother Dies in Jail Cell Over Unpaid Fines for Her Kids Missing School

A mother of seven died in a Pennsylvania jail over the weekend while serving a two-day sentence. Eileen DeNino, 55, was put in the cell where she died because she could not pay thousands of dollars in fines relating to her children’s truancy from schools in the Reading, PA area.

So now 7 kids have no mother. How does this help?

This story is just outrageous and maybe the tip of the iceberg.

Thousands of people have been jailed over truancy fines in the county since 2000, and two in three of those jailed have been women, according to the AP. But the criminalization of poverty is a much broader national phenomenon, with court costs and fees magnifying the statutory penalties for a variety of minor infractions such that the financial penalty snowballs into an unpayable debt for low-income people.

It’s always 1830 somewhere I guess.

Ya Think There Might be an Issue When…

1. A proliferation of irresponsible and incendiary hate speech in mass media and, unprecedentedly, from mainstream elected representatives, intended to mislead impressionable minds to anger.

2. Almost unlimited access to guns, ammo and armor.

It’s not a difficult equation really. Dead people, even dead cops will follow. But conservatives and libertarians who condemn the killers like those in Las Vegas persist in not seeing the equation and keep pointing out the mental illness aspect. Yes, you have to be mentally ill to take No. 1 and No. 2 and add them up to killing, but the fact is (a) there are mentally ill people, (b) there will always be mentally ill people and (c) it’s fucking hard to know who will actually go on a rampage and who will not.

So shouldn’t we make it harder for them to get guns?  Doesn’t society have an interest in making the gun part of the equation a lot less problematic?

The free speech part of it is what it is, but Jeebus if I had a radio station I sure as shit wouldn’t give Alex Jones air time on it.  The right wing noise machine can say they’re entertainers whenever one of their listeners takes their rhetoric seriously and shoots up a mall or courthouse, but we know that’s nonsense, right? if these deluded wackos in Vegas were right and it really was the beginning of a revolution Alex Jones would name himself supreme leader for life within 5 minutes.

And conservative commentators whose meal ticket is the tea party can keep saying that mental illness is the problem but not seeing, or acknowledging, the equation brings their mental health into question.

P.S. My latest pet peeve is when the middle of the roader “both sides do it”-ites  like Jon Avlon talk about rightwing crazies they are compelled to mention the leftwing crazies of the 60s and 70s. It was 40-50 years ago but they feel like balance forces them to mention the now elderly men and women of the Weather Underground and such. If there’s anything less relevant to a conversation about the current socio-political zeitgeist and the murderous rages it unleashes, it’s whatever unrelated shit happened 40 years ago. False equivalence to the ulti-max-bullshit power.



70th Anniversary of D-Day

Well, I know where my father was 70 years ago today. 

After spending three years as a training sergeant in North Carolina (think R. Lee Ermey, but a Jew from Brooklyn) he had taken the troop ship to England for training for the invasion. He went over the Channel on D-Day plus 6 so on June 12th.

So on June 6 he was in England – getting plastered and laid.



American Exceptionalism – New EPA Rules Trigger China to Announce CO2 Caps

Seriously, conservatives who scream “American exceptionalism” don’t even know how right they are. When America leads on humanitarian and progressive issues the world does follow. After the EPA announces their new rules to cut carbon emissions 30% by 2030, the Chinese announced a similar effort

But the fact that the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases made unprecedented announcements on climate within 24 hours of each other sparked optimism among observers hoping to see the decades-old deadlock broken. The steps come ahead of a global meet on climate change starting on Wednesday in Germany.

It was always a childish bullshit argument to say that we shouldn’t so anything to limit our carbon emissions if the rest of the world won’t – like saying we should continue to jump off the Empire State Building if everybody else is. In the meantime, while our Republican Party stands athwart history yelling “stop”, the coal industry that we bend over backwards not to offend is shrinking because of the doomed economics of  coal extraction and burning – whether we clap louder for 19th century energy technology or not. Shhhh, don’t tell Mitch McConnell or Alison Lundegan Grimes but there are already more people employed by the solar power industry in the U.S. than the coal industry.  

Coal mining and burning needs to stop, everywhere, as soon as humanly possible and I think, even in Kentucky, acknowledging that out loud might just make you seem smart and leaderlike, but what do I know?