Irish Stew #56…

[It’s been awhile. I use this potpourri of news when I want to make a lot of mini-op-eds about current affairs—hence the name. Or, if you like, my Irish temper blows, and then I stew. Because I already had a political op-ed set for tomorrow about the healthcare crisis, I decided to pair this with “Monday Words of Wisdom” and clear my writing to-do list a wee bit. Let’s go to it…]

International

More Saudi duplicity. I’ve often railed against the duplicitous Saudis in this blog. Sometimes I feel like a voice crying in the wilderness. Here’s yet another example of their duplicity: while we’ve been fighting the Taliban, among others, in Afghanistan for years, the Saudis have been playing both sides, but more in support of the Taliban! To quote a recent Times article: “Saudi Arabia is critical [in Afghanistan] because of its unique position in the Afghan conflict: It is on both sides.” Was Machiavelli a Saudi? They represent the primary source for destabilization in the Middle East and are indirectly (if not directly) responsible for countless tortures and murders of innocents. They are NOT our friends.

Taiwan calling. This is one case where government intervention was required—lots of it! During the election, Trump bloviated a lot about his loathing of the People’s Republic of China (like many communist naming inventions, it’s not a republic and certainly doesn’t belong to the people). He took a congratulatory call from the Taiwanese president. Big deal! Irony?  Obama can call a brutal and murdering dictator in Cuba and Trump is criticized for accepting a call from a democratically elected leader?

I never saw the need for hiding the fact that there are two Chinas, the despotic one with minimal human rights and the rabidly capitalistic one that’s a so-called representative democracy (although the first has eschewed all appearances of Soviet-style state planning and opted to create its own brand of rabid capitalism with rewards I call China Inc). Let’s face it: both are capitalistic powerhouses and, like Hong Kong, China Inc covets what they call their rebel province. Pox on their house.

We have North and South Korea. How about East and West China? American diplomacy is so full of you-know-what sometimes! Of course, Nixon caused this fiasco, but succeeding administrations continued it. Crazy! Let’s put a stop to it and recognize Taiwan.

National

EPA or not-EPA? Picking Scott Pruitt to head the EPA is worse than picking Satan for Pope—Satan was a fallen angel, after all, and anti-environment Pruitt, every energy conglomerate’s friend, doesn’t even have that positive. I can just see the official EPA announcements: approval of that Dakota pipeline, relaxing pollution rules, working against international efforts and for Exxon/Mobil-like corporations, and so forth. Liberals and progressives in Congress will have a lot of battles ahead.

Palin out? I sure hope so. Trump was thinking about nominating Mama Bear with lipstick as a veterans’ advocate? C’mon! I can only understand her rants about Carrier as implying he has wisely changed his mind. Let’s get a vet in there who understands all the problems vets face, not some idiot with motor-mouth whose only claim to fame is making Tina Fey’s career.

Other cabinet posts. Those grumpy old Marine guys for SecDef and SecDHS? Good. That Goldman-Sachs guy for SecTreas? Bad. That failed doctor for Health and Human Services? Ugly. The other doctor for Housing? Oh, my lord. That fast-foods mogul for Labor? Bye-bye $15 min-wage. Trump’s son-in-law in the White House? Nepotism. And on and on the roller coaster goes. I’ll take a wait-and-see attitude about how bad a Trump administration will be. There might be a few bright spots, but don’t count on it. And the slate of SecState candidates is looking a lot like the list of those GOP presidential candidates—all zeroes, although Romney has the hair.

Recounting a Dem failure? Both Ben Carson and Jill Stein showed that there were one too many doctors in this election (we got rid of Rand Paul early on). I guess I’ll have to modify my Daddy’s saying: “Too many politicians are failed lawyers.” Failed or not, doctors probably should stay out of politics a lot more than lawyers for multiple reasons, the major one being they generally have no bedside manners and America is a dying patient. We have another Trump admin wannabe, a fellow who would love to kill all current healthcare programs; he will run the Senate-confirmation gauntlet (see below). Maybe an MD politico thinks s/he can heal their political wounds better than other politicos?

It’s ironic that Dr. Stein is pushing the recount effort in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  Have the Dems passed her some funding under the table? She’s obviously doing it for that and PR, but the Dems probably hired this hitwoman (hitman is one word, so I’m coining this one). PA is out now because that state’s voters would have to foot the million-dollar bill. Bigger state, bigger bill? Hypocritical Stein doesn’t care much.

The Dems probably know that these recounts will go nowhere. And it’s too late to scream about the anti-democratic Electoral College—they were planning to use it just like Trump, thinking those swing states would stay forever blue and ensure HRC’s election. Welcome to reality, folks!

The New Orleans road rage incident. What perfect timing? Just when the NRA, emboldened by a fascist gun-lover winning the White House, now wants to make the right to openly carry a firearm federal law, we have a racist individual killing a young black at the same intersection where the racist had a road-rage meltdown a few years earlier. Ku Klucker with wheels. OMG!

Want more irony? He might get off scot free because Louisiana allows a motorist to shoot someone if he even touches the motorist’s car—bad luck for anyone who mistakes a gun-toting SOB’s for her or his own. It won’t matter that the racist actually caused the incident, of course—we’re in the South. Is the NRA celebrating this?  I’m just waiting for Dylann Roof to become a Klan and NRA poster boy.

Want to be a cop? I’m sure the standard patrol uniform in the future will have a target painted on the back of the jacket. When an NFL football player wears socks portraying cops as pigs, you know this country’s in trouble, but the uptick in cop killings is beyond belief. And it’s not just in the big cities. Too many of these cases are first-degree murders too. What’s happening, America?

The flip side. The case of a cop gunning down a fleeing black man is the other side of the coin. One juror is holding out—a white guy, of course (the murdering cop is white too). With emotions running so high, we’ve lost our ability to look for justice in an objective fashion. That’s what’s happening, America!

Oakland fire. Here I am wondering about all the hand-wringing seen in every media story and almost a denial about what caused this tragedy. People were living illegally in this artist collective, folks, not just working there. The building was a fire trap, without fire alarms or sprinklers and two wooden stairs to the second level made from shipping palettes. Shots of artists in the collective at work welding things and spaces filled with flammable decorations and “objets d’art” were shown, providing enough accelerant to satisfy any arsonists, and just needing a spark.

You have to also wonder why that pontificating Oakland mayor (an up and coming CA Dem?) never talked about her inept inspection teams. One councilman said they warned about the fire waiting to happen, but the mayor’s admin dropped the ball. This is one case where government intervention was required—lots of it! She’s talking about making a full study. Too little, too late, mayor. Hippy heaven turned into hippy hell on your watch. Crowded living and working conditions in big cities and landlords who don’t make repairs are bad enough, but allowing rentals to turn into tinderboxes for dozens of people is unconscionable. When people are too desperate and/or too stupid to protect themselves, authorities must step in.

Entertainment

PC redux—or how to ruin a story. Pox on those people (Broadway show writers, readers to kids, and so forth) who are changing Rudolph’s story to make it politically correct. You will recall that Rudolph was bullied by the other reindeer because he was different—he had a red nose.  Some idiots are rewriting that with the bullying taken out. C’mon! The original tale is a lesson about how to overcome bullying—that’s the whole point. Next thing you know, they’ll be rewriting the fairy tale about the ugly duckling.

Local

National Dog Show. I liked the “Herding” category winner—border collies are friendly, smart, and hard-working fellows, and this one looked like a classic. Couldn’t help thinking, though, about why animal and GMO-activists weren’t picketing (see below). Dogs, cats, and most farm animals must be abused by humans because they’re captives and exploited, right? They’re also GMOs, as are corn, rice, and most other cereal crops (the only wild corn is maize).  Even the vegetarian’s beloved soy bean is a GMO. Don’t look for consistency from these fruitcakes!

Let’s annoy the tourists. This time of the year—heck, anytime of the year—NYC rakes in the dough from tourists who come to see the sights, pay exorbitant prices to take in a show or two, visit museums, eat in overly expensive and crowded restaurants, and ride a carriage in Central Park, a jewel in the center of Gotham that provides a good set of lungs for the city. Our infamous Mayor Bill De Bloviator (yeah, that same guy HRC and cohorts didn’t trust because he’s an opportunist) campaigned on getting rid of those carriages (one of many false promises he’ll never keep), encouraging animal rights activists, but the City Council wisely spit in his face.

Now the activists are out in the park harassing tourists and spewing forth more lies than a presidential candidate. The holiday crowds are standing in line waiting for their ride and enduring these harangues.  Talk about false propaganda! The horses are well taken care of, their owners are pampering them, they aren’t starved or thirsty, and they were bred for that job and are happy doing it—oops! I’m going to bring out the anti-GMO protestors too.

And, of course, tourists love to take those rides. What would Seinfeld have been without that episode about the farting carriage horse? Now that was abuse…by Kramer and the script writers.  OK, I’ve seen a carriage horse poop, but it’s a lot easier to clean up than the crap left behind by dog walkers (presumably from the dogs).

Sports

Head injuries. I’m happy to see a strong concussion protocol used in the American football games now (of course, someone still needs to fix NFL Goodell’s head). The Canadian football games I’ve watched seem to follow it well too. I’d like to see it filter all the way down the ranks to any tackle football game because young kids are probably more susceptible to brain injuries. I’ve never seen medical staff at a Pop Warner game…until it was too late. Likewise for other sports. Education and regulation are needed. If we’re going to play or enjoy watching sports, let’s make them as safe as we can.

***

The Collector. Most Nazis stole art not out of appreciation but for money—a famous piece can launder many dollars or be used to finance all sorts of things. What they finance here might give you the creeps. Detectives Chen and Castilblanco swim in the dark seas of illegal art in this mystery/suspense/thriller novel. Can they keep from drowning?

And so it goes…

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