The Talking Dog

March 18, 2015, Another day at the office

If... it's the Israeli Prime Minister's office, which now features the ultra-irresponsible Benjamin Netanyahu for a fourth term, after an apparent big win in Israeli national elections for his Likud party and its right-wing-nut allies. Crazy and irresponsible continue to work in popular elections everywhere... in Israel, that means a reckless politician who has tried to foment a potential world war involving the United States and Iran, who has just promised no two-state solution, neo-liberal economics destroying Israel's economy (the nation was founded on economically egalitarian principles by Central/Eastern European socialists), and, of course, jeopardizing Israel's most important international relationship by deliberately intervening in American domestic politics in the interest of advancing his own domestic political position.

In the end, emotional appeals to fear, distrust and hatred of "the other" have evident universal appeal...and in Israel, it proved to be no exception this election.

An interesting development for the long term is that Israel's domestic Arabs, who vote (as opposed to its Palestinian house-guests in the permanently occupied West Bank and Gaza, who have no vote)... Arab parties now agreed to run together, and as such, have over ten per cent of representation in the Knesset... though they have vowed not to be part of any ruling coalition, and though there may be enough outright right-wingers to form a government on their own without help from the "center left". If not now, perhaps in the next election, the Arab parties could be a pivotal block.

Then again, one suspects that appeals to fear and other baser instincts might well prevail again. Congratulations Bibi. You're still an a**hole.

March 15, 2015, Beware the Ides of March

A finish today at the United Airlines NYC Half today... maybe 500th or so from the end of the field of just under 20,000, in an interesting "reverse split," as an early exercise- induced-asthma "event" caused numerous stoppages in the first mile... nature of a winter from hell which ostensibly prevented me from running outside until today (despite being signed up for four earlier races... which, for various reasons all associated with weather, I bagged.) Well... puts me at three of the nine races I need to qualify for the 2016 NYC Marathon... which, assuming I finish this year and next, will be 15, and, by the grandfathered rules of the game, would entitle me to permanent guaranteed entry (as well as, evidently, moving me into a limited group that now includes, apparently, 113 people with active streaks of 15 or more consecutive NYC finishes.) I'm 25 behind the leader... had I started marathoning in NYC when I was 13, instead of 38, I'd be right there with him. Anyway, nothing like gasping for air and clutching your chest in the middle of an athletic event to remind you that, amidst the bullshit of this world, the sad reality is... we're all mortal.

And now... just how did the world learn about "Hillary E-mail-gate?" Could it be... Satan the vast right-wing conspiracy [TM] Obama White House adviser and closest-of-confidantes Valerie Jarrett? So sayeth Rupert's New York Post. It being the Ides of March, the logical question is, "Et tu Valerie?" (or perhaps "Et tu Barry?") Obviously, the "source" is the very same source (Edward Klein) who suggested (or if you like "reported") that Obama was going to favor Elizabeth Warren over Hillary. And hence... "consider the source."

Still... if [my college classmate] Barack and Hillary [with whom I share a birthday] really do intensely dislike each other... perhaps we finally have something definitive to recommend both (although, to be fair, I suppose they both already hate Bill.)

And c/o her digs-ness, we give you Tom Tomorrow, who tells you all you need to know about the Supreme Court.

March 14, 2015, Sure... wtf... why not?

It's really difficult to respond to a headline like that of the WaPo op-ed by one Joshua Muravchik (who?) that "War with Iran is probably our best option." I'll yield to my friend Scott for some of what's wrong here... aside from the obvious refusal to recognize that the United States military has not actually had a definitive military success against an opponent larger than Panama in seventy years... the question, of course, is exactly "what policy" is being served here? I submit it's the policy of American empire-- the desire of our ruling class to be able to pressure anyone on Earth to go along with our economic empire program (that is, enter an economic relationship favorable to American industrial and financial corporations)... or face... trouble... up to and including American military assaults that won't exactly result in American "victory"... but will kill a lot of people, make a huge mess, and... well... generally be in everyone's interest... to avoid.

Here's the thing with nuclear weapons: they can't be used. In today's world, they serve precisely one purpose-- but it's an important purpose. That, of course, is that possessing nuclear weapons means you are military inviolate against direct American invasion. You see, that is why we are so opposed to Iranian nuclear weapons. It's why all three members of the "Axis of Evil[TM]" rushed to develop nuclear programs-- North Korea successfully [and hence, it is beyond our reach], Iraq bluffed success and Saddam paid with his head [and those of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of his countrymen], and Iran... isn't quite there, and has to rely on a close relationship with club members Russia and China and a rather large conventional military. Having a nuclear weapon would put Iran in the same position as Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, yes, Israel, and to an extent, Britain and France, as countries utterly immune to direct American (or for that matter, Israeli) military assault.

Meanwhile... Mr. Benjamin "Compulsive Liar" Netanyahu can tell us that Iran's leaders vow to "wipe Israel off the map" (a lie, of course, just like Netanyahu's claims of Hamas involvement in the deaths of three Israeli teenagers in his rush to attack Gaza last year was based on lies... the reality is, Israel's own intelligence services tell us Iran is nowhere near ready to produce a nuclear weapon... oh... and an Islamic country extraordinarily hostile to Israel (that would be "Pakistan"... former host of Osama bin Laden) already has nuclear weapons. In the event Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, it could not use them on Israel, because once anyone besides the attacker has nuclear weapons... no one can use them, without risking (or assuring) their own destruction. And in this case, Israel... holder of around 80 nuclear warheads... would not be shy about so responding. Netanyahu should stfu... and confine himself to talking about the evils of Obamacare. Because... he's having problems in his own country's election (coming up, amusingly, on St. Patrick's Day).

I really do wonder exactly who "The Beltway[TM]" is even talking to anymore... I know of no one under eighty years of age who takes anything that comes out of MoscowBeijing Washington as anything other than irrelevant propaganda... but they keep putting it out. And crap like Muravchik's verbal upchuck there doesn't even cause eyebrows to be raised anymore: the business of the United States is the Pentagon, and its contractors, period. All other businesses suffer from "supply and demand"... and, in a worldwide depression soon entering its seventh year, the military-industrial-financial complex and its immense sucking sound of all other economic (and other) activity on this planet is the only game in town, and its life blood is some war, somewhere.

So yeah... let's start a war, somewhere. Anywhere. Who cares why? We'll just bomb away... "as needed." Sure... wtf... why not?

March 4, 2015, Today in Elite Immunity

If your "crime" is to intentionally expose "secrets" that in no way threaten the security of the United States, but instead reveal its crimes and misdeeds (and potentially embarrass its mandarins)... and you dare do so at the lowly rank of Private... thirty-five years in maximum security awaits you.

OTOH, if you have the good sense to be a General, and the CIA Director... you can merrily share the nation's deepest and darkest and potentially most damaging secrets with your mistress, utterly bereft of concern as to what she would do with it ... and you're looking at a misdemeanor, a $40,000 fine (now representing a few days income at your newly vaunted means) and two years probation.

The irony, as I see it, is that General Petraeus has been held accountable at all. If he had the good sense to have been a banker at the time, he would have taken his rightful place as completely above the law.

This has been... "Today in Elite Immunity."