hay rickhay rick's Journal
Talking heads in the media were quick to point out that Trump used the inclusive "Happy Holidays" in his message instead of the divisive "Merry Christmas." No wonder he's "ahead in the polls."
In her substack, Letters from an American wrote about Hamas and Gaza on November 17. Link: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/november-17-2023
Hamass goal is not to run Gaza and to bring it water and electricity and such, al-Hayya said. This battle was not because we wanted fuel or laborers, he added. It did not seek to improve the situation in Gaza. This battle is to completely overthrow the situation.
Hamas media adviser Taher El-Nounou told the reporters: I hope that the state of war with Israel will become permanent on all the borders, and that the Arab world will stand with us.
Hamas could be pretty certain that Israel would retaliate with a heavy hand. The governing coalition that took power at the end of 2022 is a far-right coalition, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs to hold that coalition together to stay in power, not least because he faces charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
The emphasis in the excerpt is mine. I view the Hamas infestation as an analogue to the House Freedom Caucus. Their aims do not include governance on behalf of the people. They are here to break things and leave it to others to build from scratch. Both are clients of and proxies for other actors- Iran in the case of Hamas and the economic interests of oligarchs in the USA. "Religion" provides cover in both cases.
The DeSantis presidential campaign is not officially over but it sure looks like dead man walking. Now is as good a time as any to plan for the inevitable. I despise DeSantis and the campaign that he ran and will be happy to see him exit the national stage. He's an unlikeable, fearmongering authoritarian- which, sad to say, is a more or less generic Republican candidate these days.
DeSantis' problem seems to be that he is the number one imitation Trump when the real thing is still out there. Maybe the media, with its last remaining shred of decency, has decided that creating and sustaining one Frankenstein's monster is sufficient professional and ethical malpractice for the time being.
The campaign's hope has been that "the base" would trade Trump in for him because DeSantis could offer all the comfortable hate-infused policies without all the embarrassing corruption and buffoonery. DeSantis has undermined the "like Trump, but competent" narrative with a succession of closely documented pratfalls and now "pudding fingers" is circling the drain.
Life imitates art. An unidentified beast is on the loose and the conch shell is missing.
I watched the second debate, hosted by sworn enemies of American democracy. I truly wish I could ignore them and they would just go away. But no...
The "debate" was predictably chaotic. Candidates felt free to ignore the question being asked, turning to something they wanted to talk about instead, and then ignoring repeated buzzers and feeble requests from the hosts to just shut up. There were multiple occasions when multiple candidates talked over each other for what seemed like hours even though, like other near-death experiences, it was probably less than a minute.
The first question went to Tim Scott about Biden walking a UAW picket line. Scott took the question as his cue to talk about fentanyl (a constant topic for the candidates) and Title 42. Multiple candidates talked about electric vehicles and China (lots of China-bashing, all night). Of interest- both Christie and DeSantis jumped on the Haley train blaming Trump for adding $7 trillion plus to the national debt.
Haley decided to act tough and talked about defunding sanctuary cities like Philadelphia. DeSantis seems to have abandoned his woke messaging and now wants to be the tough on Mexico and China guy. Previewing a new campaign theme, he promised to crack down on "Confucius institutes." Vivek and Scott explained why, in their opinion, the 14th amendment doesn't protect birthright citizenship.
The next section of the debate started off with the "rising crime crisis" illustrated by the Philadelphia looting video that all Americans will be required to watch at least 100 times between now and November, 2024. This led to a lot of tough-on-crime talk including Mike Pence's promise to make sure all mass murderers are executed.
The discussion wandered into education and all the candidates were in favor of "choice." Health care was discussed and everybody is still against Obamacare. Nobody talked about Medicaid expansion. Haley spoke out against state certificates of need and Doug Burgum (the guy with the eyebrows) said a lot of the excess cost was an IT problem...that's why you see a doctor with his back to you.
DeSantis blamed Kamala Harris for the "slave skills" kerfuffle. The only black candidate was paged on the subject and blamed Lyndon Johnson's Great Society for single parent households.
"Parental rights" were discussed and that turned into a gang beating initiation for trans kids. There was a lot of punching down. Vivek called gender reassignment a mental health problem. Entrepreneurs understand this stuff like nobody else.
The next segment started off with a question about Chinese investment in American technology companies. This turned into TikTok bashing and Ramaswamy calling for a prohibition of children's access to social media before the age of 16. The War in Ukraine came up next. DeSantis wants to end American support while Scott, Haley, and Christie lined up behind Ukraine.
More highlights: Nikki Haley wants to use special operations troops in Mexico, "boots on the ground" to interdict fentanyl importation. Vivek wants to rein in a "rogue" Federal Reserve. DeSantis thinks he can win states like Arizona while continuing to double down on the need to prevent "full-term abortions."
I took cryptic notes which I hope were mostly accurate. Watching the debate felt like an exercise in self-abuse. In retrospect, I don't know why I thought it was a good idea. It's like studying poison mushrooms. It enables you to tell them apart but you're still not going to try any of them.
The "Biden border crisis" is inextricably linked to increasingly unlivable conditions in third world countries. The combination of climate change, depletion of resources, and overpopulation make previously stable societies unsustainable. One of the first casualties of the crisis appears to be the rise of authoritarian rulers who are willing to suppress dissent. The resulting repression becomes yet another driver of migration.
American democracy and our prized First Amendment rights are failing in spectacular fashion. If we are not collectively able to take the steps necessary to preserve what is salvageable of a habitable planet, we will not be deserving of that which we inherited and take for granted.
A classic limitation on free speech is the admonition not to shout "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater. Tell me that a similar prohibition should not apply to climate denialism. I'm listening.
We live in biblical times. Donald Trump is going to smash those tablets. Why not? They were given to him so they are his. Sure, the circumstances were cloudy, but he clearly had them when he got off the escalator at Mt. Sinai.
These tablets were written by the Fickle Finger. The gist of the message is "Yahweh or the Highway." It's full of all that no coveting, no groping, no fun stuff. It may be written in stone but soon it will be just a bunch of glittering pebbles.
Next up: The U. S. Constitution. Only he can fix it and he's got a sharpie!
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