Friday, April 22, 2011

Dear American Media: Enough "Royal" Wedding BS

The amount of attention US media outlets are paying to the circus of leeches, aka the royal wedding, is simply offensive. On so many levels. It is offensive to the tens of thousands of men and women who died liberating this country from the tyranny of the British monarchy. I don't care if it was 200+ years ago and we now have a "special relationship." This is foundational stuff. It means something. People died. Millions have suffered and died world-wide under the heel of colonial subjugation. That the monarchy now has the face of harmless rich idiot dilettantes who find time in their busy work-week to (laudably) engage in charitable works is irrelevant. If the British public wants to keep their mascots, so be it. But our news media owe us more than devoting hours of coverage to such nonsense. Enough.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Let's Not Forget Zimbabwe

Good opinion piece in the NYT on Zimbabwe today:

In this time of uprisings and intervention on the behalf of those struggling to oust dictators and thieves, it's important to highlight the ones we've been ignoring for years now. The situation in Libya and especially Ivory Coast puts into sharp relief the utter failure of the international community, South Africa specifically, to address the tragedy of Zimbabwe. Mugabe has, for far too long gotten a pass because of his anti-colonial liberation creds. I'm not calling for intervention ala Libya, but like President Obama said the other day, just because some interventions are wrong or ill-advised, doesn't mean they ALL are... or that every situation calls the same solution that we must simply accept or reject. It's time to re-examine what we're doing, and NOT doing about Zimbabwe. Goodwin's got it right: that starts with getting South Africa to do something real and meaningful

Monday, April 18, 2011

GOP to Donald Trump: "You're hired!"

Donald Trump is NOT running for President. Trump, a master of taking his companies into bankruptcy and walking away richer for it, has a new boss and a new bankrupt endeavor to bail out: The Republican party and its chances for 2012.

The GOP has a problem: The American Taliban tea party nutcases. The biggest fear that every old-school party republican has these days is getting “tea partied”: getting primaried or booted out of office by one of the new crazies. 2011 is about building candidacy buzz and momentum up to the convention and for the general beyond. That time is now. But if any tea party nuts (e.g. Palin or Bachman) build traction and actually win or, more likely, push the ultimate republican nominee too far right, the GOP will lose. They need a (seemingly) moderate candidate to take down President Obama. And they also need someone the public would find appealing as a steward to a crappy economy. A business person, a success story. But they can’t have the latter and also alienate the strident but finicky tea baggers.

Enter Trump. It’s a complete waste of time to talk about whether he believes any of the birther nonsense. Of course he doesn’t. But it’s also a complete waste of time to talk about whether he’s actually going to run for President. He won’t. It takes about a nano-second of thought to figure out that the sleazy “Don” is not going to open up his life and all his business deals to the world of presidential campaign politics. It’ll never happen. So, as Spock said in Star Trek V (yes I’m a Star Trek geek), “if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” What remains? That Trump’s nonsense is serving a specific purpose that benefits the Republican party (and of course, him). If it were only about publicity, he wouldn’t need to throw in the presidential politics aspect of all this. He's a stalking horse for hire. The birther nonsense-spouting-media-darling that can take the wind from the sails ("sales" is actually more appropriate for these snake-oil vendors) from the other tea party would-be’s. And with his so-called business acumen he primes the pump for the GOP strategy of appealing to Americans wanting a businessman to fix what they'll claim are Obama's disastrous failings on the economy. He’s making it incredibly difficult for the other real nutcase right wingers to gain that traction. We’ve already seen Palin scramble to come to Trump’s defense. And, I might add, clip after clip of both Romney and Pawlenty (and Rove and Cantor) saying that the question of President Obama’s birthplace and citizenship is beyond the pale. See how moderate they are?

Trump will, at the right moment, fade back into his ridiculous TV show (with freshly boosted ratings) and bankruptcy deals making the eventual nominee look that much more moderate and sane. My guess is that he's been promised a cabinet position in one of these so-called moderate GOP candidate's administration. Of course we’ll never know because they will eventually lose. Unless the plan is just so crazy it might work. For starters because the media is going to keep giving him air. But remember, Trump is chillingly good at taking a bankrupt idea and somehow walking away with a boatload of money and biz-media laurels. He's been "hired" to do just that for the GOP, and the presidency is the prize. If they win, he’ll get an appointment to something. If they lose, he’s garnered months of publicity and ratings for his NBC circus. And as usual, it’s a win-win for Trump. How could he say no?

Jim Morrison