Amid the killing, the horrors, and the tragedies in Syria, there’s also an ideological civil war among eleven players and even more agendas. In addition to exchanging bullets and bombs, in this war, every claim from one player is instantly challenged by another’s counter-claim.
We might have described Syria as an abyss or black hole had the civil war occurred during Hafez al-Assad’s regime. Under his son Bashar it’s a black box.
Continue reading “Syria Is A Black Box”
In February, former House Speaker John Boehner spoke about Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
“They’ll fix Obamacare … I shouldn’t have called it repeal and replace because that’s not what’s going to happen. They’re basically going to fix the flaws and put a more conservative box around it.”
Terence Burlij. “Boehner: Obamacare Repeal And Replace ‘Not What’s Going To Happen'”. CNN. 2017.
Fast-forward exactly one month. Boehner sounds more elder statesman than hardball politician. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that Trump championed as “tremendous” was dead last Friday before a single vote was cast:
“The most conservative members of the House didn’t think that the American Health Care Act would go far enough to eradicate Obamacare, and moderates were concerned about an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that 24 million Americans would be left without insurance.
Republican leaders bent to the will of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 30 hard-line members, agreeing to remove several federal mandates for minimum benefits, including mental health services and some maternity care. But this move still didn’t go far enough to appease members of the caucus. And the concessions alienated several moderates.”
Katie Rogers. “How The Health Care Vote Fell Apart, Step By Step”. New York Times. 2017.
After House Republicans spent years working on repealing the ACA without a clue of what a replacement would look like, Trump, Ryan, and the rest of their party are shifting what’s left of their congressional capital to massive tax cuts.
Continue reading ““Ryan’s Choice” The Truth about Paul Ryan’s Phantom Majority”
Trading floors are just as real as factory floors because there’s no such thing as a “real economy.”
By this I mean that there’s no easily distinguishable difference between the “real” economy and some “other” economy that’s less real, or, not really real at all.
Continue reading “There’s No Such Thing As The Real Economy”
While it may be probable that Russian agencies or those affiliated with them are responsible for hacking the DNC’s or the Clinton campaigns’ emails, I don’t know for sure.
The 17 intelligence agencies (mostly just two) that Hillary Clinton claims have found a direct link between “the highest levels of the Russian government” and recent Wikileaks revelations don’t really know as much as she wants them to:
Continue reading “The Geopolitics Of John Podesta’s Idiocy”
Poverty is a non-issue in the 2016 Presidential election because we’ve rendered it a non-issue in American life.
At some point during the Reagan / Thatcher era, we stopped talking about class as an economic category and replaced it with an understanding of class as cultural or ideological. Hence, we now have a much richer vocabulary for talking about middle-class values than we do for talking about the social and material conditions necessary for middle-class life.
However, the shift from material conditions to (non-material) values as the lens through which we understand class has had the effect of making it easier for political strategists to shape class interests by shaping cultural values and beliefs.
The long-term effect of poverty becoming a cultural, then a moral issue is that while many people are just a handful of paychecks away from destitution, “the poor” have essentially disappeared from the American imagination.
Continue reading “The Poverty Of How We Talk About Poverty”
The Republican National Convention was raucous, strident, kooky, and simply unhinged to such as extent that this week’s Democratic National Convention should have been at least an easy lay-up, if not a slam-dunk.
Instead, the Democrats’ big party got off on a significantly dissonant note—the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the wake of WikiLeaks releasing 19,000+ of The Democratic National Committee’s emails.
Continue reading “That Other Hillary Clinton Email Scandal (Notes On Information Warfare)”
1. Baby It’s Cold Outside
Punch “more cowbell” into The Urban Dictionary. and you’ll get:
1. Something everything needs more of.
2. A remedy.
And then you’ll come across the immortal words of The Bruce Dickinson:
I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!
The reference is from one of the great SNL skits, a parody of the recording session of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper”:
In the skit, [Will ]Farrell portrayed a member of the [70s] rock band Blue Oyster Cult as they recorded their classic hit “Don’t Fear the Reaper” in the studio. Farrell played the cowbell quite forcefully on that track, much to the dismay of the rest of the band. Yet surprisingly, the studio producer loved Farrell’s cowbell playing, and demanded:
“That was brilliant, man, the track needs more cowbell!”
Continue reading “When In Doubt, More Cowbell”