August 6th 2015
On Jon Stewart-
Tonight is Jon Stewart’s last night of The Daily Show. After 16 years of mocking both news and politics, we’re genuinely going to miss Jon’s hilarious, mostly common sense approach to current affairs. We’re elated to hear that the reason he turned down an alleged 50 million dollars a year was to spend more time with his family, whom he’s rarely been able to sit at the dinner table with. In his own words, America is much worse off than when he started his show but it certainly wasn’t because he didn’t try to make things real for us. It’s because we’ve permissibly acquiesced to what many call leadership, yet most of us recognize as a bad joke with monumental consequences.
During Jon Stewart’s reign, we bared witness to indecision 2000 where an election was largely decided by the courts and 527 Florida votes. We saw the tragedy of September 11th which was largely conducted by Saudi Arabian members of Al Qaida that trained in the mountains of Afghanistan. Yet we watched and stood by as American leadership used this as a pretense to conduct a 2 trillion dollar war in Iraq that will have 6 trillion dollars in consequences for the American people. We saw the rise of right wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh, who today is so desperate for advertisers to fill his advertising slots that he’s had to fill them with his own faux ads. We witnessed the rise of the right wing talking heads of the Faux News Channel while most of us more moderate people cringed. We witnessed the rise of the Koch brothers funded Tea Party in states across the nation that now occupy seats in the federal house and senate. These things all happened because people believe that government was headed in the wrong direction and that fear is one of the most powerful of emotions. Jon Stewart recognized all of this and caused us to think about it.
We don’t know what the future of the Daily Show holds but while we all wait for the reboot of the show with Trevor Noah as the new host, we’d seriously like you to turn your attention to a local and see what she has to say about current affairs. Rachel Maddow is a 42 year old woman from Castro Valley, California. She’s a Stanford educated Rhodes Scholar with a PhD and one of the best people at representing the centrist-progressive views that many of us hold.
On the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty with Iran-
Today we have a very volatile middle east that unfortunately is mostly of our own creation. Years ago we supported a brutal dictator in Iran that held the monarchy title of Shah. 1979 changed all of that and fed up religious zealots overthrew the government and captured 52 Americans and held them for 444 days because we wouldn’t turn the Shah over for crimes against his people. During this crisis, the Shah was granted asylum in Egypt where he died in 1980. Since 1979 the United States has been termed “The Great Satan” by Iranian leadership.
Way back in the 1950’s we helped the Iranian people go nuclear under President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program. Following the 1979 Iranian revolution, the United States and Western Europe cut off the Iranians from all atoms for peace assistance. Earlier in 1976 then republican president Gerald Ford had signed a directive offering to sell the Iranians a U.S. built nuclear fuel reprocessing facility so that they could make their own fuel. With an ambitious goal of building 23 nuclear power plants so that they could export more of their oil, the Iranians also sought to plan for a time when their oil runs out.
The events of 1979 left them with no avenue to refuel their nuclear power plants. In the late 1990’s the Iranians began working on their own nuclear fuel production. Since western powers had supplied Iran with pressure vessel heavy water nuclear technology to power their country, an effortless extension of nuclear fuel production for this technology is to enrich uranium even further and use that enrichment to create nuclear weapons. In 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency declared that Iran had hid its nuclear reprocessing efforts from the world and soon thereafter, sanctions ensued and the Iranians terminated IAEA monitoring of their nuclear facilities.
This history all brings us to the non-proliferation treaty negotiated with Iran by prominent world powers and not just the United States. Under that treaty the world will resume the ability to both monitor and inspect Iran’s nuclear facilities. While the treaty is no panacea by any means, it allows the world to monitor their program, something that we clearly cannot do now.
So what’s the alternative to this treaty? I guess that’s the real question that should be asked. The backdrop of this question lies in the fact that experts will tell you that the Iranians could produce a few nuclear weapons within the next two to three years. Since that’s a non-starter among liberals and conservatives and everyone in between, the American far right agrees with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The only workable alternative is to bomb Iran back into the dark ages and destroy their nuclear program all over the country, exposing 75 million Iranians to the contained radiation of their current facilities and causing who knows how much nuclear fallout. Such a maneuver, which is being brought to you by the same military industrial complex and oil interests that brought you the Iraq war, will end up costing the U.S. taxpayers another 10 trillion or so dollars and a huge impact on our international reputation because we would be mostly going at it alone. This treaty pledges non-proliferation and offers surveillance, monitoring and inspections so that hopefully fifteen years from now we will be able to verify that the Iranian government comes no closer to a nuclear weapon than they are now.
An obvious side benefit is that Iranian oil will be put back in world markets and most Americans will benefit when oil prices stay low which is of no benefit whatsoever to U.S. oil and Canadian tar sands producers, whose profits are dependent on high oil prices. Even moreso than the war in Iraq did because the Iranians can easily control the Strait of Hormuz, a war against Iran would easily serve to quadruple international oil prices overnight and cause another global recession.
On the Fox News Republican Debate Tonight-
We think you’re in for a treat tonight as the demagogue Donald Trump attempts to talk over his Republican rivals with plans that lack any substance whatsover. We predict that the Truthiness emanating from his lips will actually raise his support with ignorant far right that is the tea party and that more deserving republicans will fall further back in the pack. During the last 20 or so years republicans have largely gained on their populist message that government should keep their hands off their guns and out of peoples pockets (except on those issues that capture the following of the religious right, the right to life and the freedom to impose your christian beliefs on others ) and that regulations will damage competitiveness, which picks them up the support of corporate America.
Today, all of those messages are coming to roost, even here in California where we smartly passed additional taxes to unbury us from the “pass the buck to the next generation” Schwarzenegger years. Other states, like Kansas and Wisconsin citizens are reeling with their tea party leadership decisions and under Governor Rick Scott in Florida, state employees are prohibited from uttering the words “climate change”. They find that House of Representatives are unable to even bring to the floor any immigration bill because it’s widely opposed by the shrinking support of old white guys. They want to attach the full repeal of Obamacare to the Federal Highway Trust Fund – so that you can have higher gas taxes and skyrocketing health insurance premiums when the young and the healthy drop their coverage.
These are all issues we would like to see Trump address. Thus far all we’re really seen is “build a fence” and that his opponents are horrible at governing. There’s a lot of truth in the latter and we don’t believe building a fence is going to stop anyone when people routinely tunnel under them or walk around the ends of them.
August 7th, 2015
On the Fox News Republican Debate Last Night-
Polls released this morning indicate that Donald Trump won last night’s adult table debate while an unexpected showing has Carly Fiorina walking away with the kids table debate. While it’s a long haul until November 2016 we’re confident that some of these candidates don’t have a cold chance in hell and should probably drop out of the race. We’ll see who makes it to the next debate. But if there is one thing a strong showing of the Donald does, it is to crush the agenda of the Koch brothers and any of their selected candidates White House bid.
August 8th, 2015
Trump on Fox’s Megyn Kelly-
Donald Trump on Fox’s Megyn Kelly: “You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes…..blood coming out of her….wherever….” Now Megyn Kelly’s questions about Donald Trump’s history of misogynestic, sexist comments really didn’t serve to derail Trump…..he could have quit while he was ahead…..but his comments about Megyn Kelly managed to do what Megyn Kelly couldn’t do with her debate questions and the republican opposition pounced on it and one of his senior campaign advisers quit over them. Trumps approval rating among republican women remains a strong 42% while his approval rating among all women is 20%….yet his disapproval rating among all women climbs to 62%. On the republican side of the fence, a 42% approval rating among republican women is enough for him to be the nominee…..and his approval rating among all women causes him to lose the general election.
Let’s hope Donald does a bit more self-editing so he can win that nomination…… and lose the general election.
August 9th, 2015
On the “Black Lives Matter” takeover of Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle-
Black Lives Matter took over the stage in a rally where Bernie Sanders was going to speak to a Social Security works! rally in Seattle yesterday. There are a whole lot of ironies in this movement targeting Sanders if you know his legislative and activist history. While the black lives matter movement should be targeting people like Donald Trump they target one of the few candidates that actually supports some of their goals, thereby contributing to their declining relevance in their own conversation. It’s a statistical fact that black on black violence takes many more black lives than cop on black violence but the fact of the matter is that cops tend to get away with just about anything with anyone. You only need to watch this white cop in a white neighborhood drawing his gun on a homeowner for videotaping him to see what I mean. This is the kind of unchecked everyone’s a terrorist behavior pervades in our post 9/11 police state. This officer should be forced into retirement or to resign as he clearly does not have the temperament for police work.
August 19th 2015
On “Summer of Trump” could be GOP’s fall
This MSNBC article is a spot-on article about the impact Donald Trump is having on the republican party. His poll numbers continue to rise even though his policies don’t make sense. The cost of building a wall across the Mexican border? According to GlobalSecurity.org the price can jump a whole lot. While the early fences were single layer and made of scrap steel and installed by the national guard, the new vehicle fence + 100 yards of cleared space, lighting, sensors and cameras + a second human fence over rough terrain and built by the Army Corps of Engineers can cost up to 15 million dollars per mile. Now not every area is getting two layer fencing and roughly 700 miles of fencing already exists. The remaining fencing will cost over 20 billion and that’s a conservative estimate. His “deport them all” strategy is projected to cost 200-300 billion and has alienated all immigrant populations. Many of them previously voted republican. While Mr. Trump may even break 30% in the republican polls, he’s going to have a tough time with dems and independents and overall, those numbers will drop come general election time. Donald Trump will likely be the GOP’s fall.
August 27, 2105
On Russia & Ukraine
Ukraine’s situation is perilously close to the situation the nation of Georgia found themselves in just a few years ago. Separatist insurgents and Russian special forces engage the governments of both Georgia and Ukraine by firing artillery or launching missiles and rockets from inside populated areas. When the governments returns fire against the insurgents, the fire reigns down on the population centers. International media documents it all and Russia denies its troops or special forces are involved. Then, because Russia has independently documented proof from the media that the government fired upon predominantly Russian population centers, it acts to protect them by moving their own military forces into town and annexes the area back to mother Russia.
In Ukraine, Russia simply annexed the Crimean peninsula because their only warm water naval port is located there. Then they sank or blocked most of the Ukrainian navy from leaving their own Crimean ports. This is a warm water port that has little value to Russia because the only way out of it goes through the heart of Turkey, a NATO country.
Ukraine has significant strategic importance to the Unites States and NATO as there are numerous companies that were a part of the Russian military industrial complex that were based in Ukraine. For example, the only heavy airlift capability that Russia has is via their inventory of Antonov aircraft. Antonov is based in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. No Ukraine equates to limited heavy airlift capability. Ukraine has also been in the center of every major conflict between Europe and Russia for the past hundred and fifty years because one must go through Ukraine to get where your military forces are going. For that reason, it has other strategic value. So what should be done to change the situation on the ground?
So the dilemma that Ukraine faces is precise, local strikes that don’t hurt the local population and permits the Ukrainians to defend their country. It’s called the javelin shoulder fired missile system.