The Talking Dog

November 25, 2015, Flashpoints

We'll start with the shoot-down of Russian fighter planes supposedly barely over Turkish airspace by NATO member Turkey; the Grey Lady provides a little background, and Zero Hedge has a little more (and a bit more here). Bottom line: Turkey is allied with certain insurgents who are (surprise, surprise) notionally aligned with the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL against the Assad regime (as is... the United States), and Russia is allied with the Assad regime against all of its opponents. And so, there is a "war of all against all" over there, in which, "our side" can pretend to feign outrage at the excesses of the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL as it notionally targets White People (recently in Paris), but "our side" isn't trying very hard, because our interests are really about taking out Assad to make the world safe for a lengthy Qatari gas pipeline across Syria that the Assad regime opposes insofar as it would undermine Russia's interests. Hey, boys and girls, this one isn't about oil; it's about gas. But "the grown-ups" seem to have no problem setting a chain of events in motion that could, quite easily, plunge us into a broader regional war, if not a World War, involving parties with nuclear weapons at their disposal.

Meanwhile, in unraveling closer to home, in shades of 1968 (or pick your period of "civil unrest"), protests have broken out in Chicago over the simultaneous indictment (for murder) of a police officer for the killing of a Black teenager and release of the video of the killing. [Similar stuff is going on in Minneapolis, where five were shot at a protest of police, and a Black Lives Matter protester was merrily beaten up at a Nuremberg Donald Trump rally, in Birmingham, Alabama no less.]

Lookit: this started building around four years ago, with the relatively upscale "Occupy!" movement, featuring a large number of middle class kids kvetching about student loan payments, overall income and wealth equality and so forth; the original Occupy! encampment was across the street from my office, in the shadow of the World Trade Center. Anyway, rather than even pretend to meet the (vague, and in any event, not particularly onerous) demands even a little, decisions were made at various levels, coordinated at the federal level, to suppress that movement at all costs. And so, in the last year or two, new and different kinds of protests have become more poignant, more mobile and more aggressive, and have concerned a more basic structural issue of this society, to wit, that there just isn't going to be any kind of "justice," be it in income/wealth distribution or anything else (especially "racial" justice), other than the most vicious and brutal "criminal justice," with continued mass incarceration and brutal on the street violence with an ever-more-militarily-armed domestic police presence... and so, we have a more basic form of civil unrest playing out on the ground (not so amusingly, with a background of potential world war, and the leading candidate for one of the two major political parties hearkening to the rhetoric of the Third Reich, almost seamlessly,)

Thing is, the powerful made a bet that a notionally Black President would be a sufficient salve to the overall raw wounds that quite literally are the organizational principles of this society and culture. While he himself remains popular among the downtrodden, it's quite clear that the grand plan of using an African American man as a bandage on social and economic hemorrhaging probably isn't going to work. Indeed, Clinton or Sanders are probably not going to be much of a solution to the overall problem, as the only candidate with "answers" would seem to be Trump, and those answers would be to take us all the way into an unmitigated open and brutal racist dictatorship, and the clearer he is about this, the more popular he seems to be among his party's constituency.

Pick your temporal metaphor-- 1914, 1968, 1933, whatever... humanity witnesses similar stuff in the past, and it can get really ugly, really fast... at the moment, I have no particular "solution"... but pay attention...

November 24, 2015, A Thanksgiving Prayer

November 21, 2015, Just sayin'

How to reconcile Republican Presidential Aspirant Donald "The Donald" Trump and his recent call for Muslim Americans to be registered [it sounded better in the original German] and the fact that one of the Donald's largest business enterprises (at least, in terms of having his name on it), the Trump Taj Mahal, is named after, well, the Taj Mahal, to wit, the jewel of Muslim art in India. [I leave it as a thought experiment as to why the media is so keen on oh-so-seriously reporting the blatherings of mental defectives pronouncements of Republican governors that they will prevent Syrian refugees from being relocated in their states, when, of course, this ain't something they can do.] The Paris tragedy is, of course, unthinkably horrible. As was the near simultaneous attacks in Beirut (not that we get much coverage there.) Obviously, emotions will be strong... naturally, the powerful (and The Donald) will continue to use the occasion of such horrors to react at the sub-rational, and entirely base emotional level, dragging down whatever discourse there is yet further.

Like demagogues of yore, the Donald seems to have no problem with the cultural appropriation of things Muslim, even as he scapegoats the actual people (and presumably looks forward to appropriating their stuff).

The more atavistically xenophobic and outright racist The Donald gets, the more solid his lead over whoever is next (currently Ben "Doc Gangsta" Carson and Ted "I went to Princeton and Harvard Law and am not really a Dumb-ass Cracker but I Play One on T.V." Cruz), for the right to take on Hillary in our Electoral Super Bowl.

Just sayin'...

November 1, 2015, Happy November

First, we start with the amazing news that Shaker Aamer, last British resident of GTMO, has been released; Andy has a triple play on the subject: (1) his story on Shaker's release, (2) Shaker's own statement on this release, and (3) Andy's friend and former Pink Floyder Roger Waters and his statement on Shaker's release, Candace is on it as well, and she has an update on the GTMO census, now down to 112.

TD's alma mater defeated Mrs. TD's alma mater 17-7 at football, for alma mater's first Ivy League win since 2012 (and its first road win since 2009.) Roar Lion Roar.

And finally, I am pleased to report that I have successfully completed my 14th consecutive NYC Marathon. Roughly 3 1/2 hours after my hero (that would be Meb Keflezghi). I did encounter this guy, Super Dave Obelkevich today, who ran his 40th NYC today (39 of them in a row), putting me.,. 25 behind him. Goals are important.