Ugh. Happy New Year, Predictable politics

what seems 100% likely:

(1)  That the GOP President and GOP House and GOP Senate is responsible for a "never put the pickup in reverse" shutdown 1/8 of the government for a border wall policy?

(2)  That the democrats would willingly take poisoned political apple and accept minor border consessions contrived to weaken their future electability?

Lets be clear - I think the answer is both.   One man presently owns the ongoing border policy fiasco and 1/8th government shutdown.   And two parties seem willing to play along with a kind of insanity in order to get candied apples.  

The Republicans get future tidy 15 second campaign soundbites decrying democratic immigrant policy and to bask in the warm afterglow of decisions made in support of a guy that can't seem to make a decision about basic building materials. Will said wall be cement, mud and reeds, pointy 40 foot tall poles or slats of steels?  Voting billions of dollars away on unformed mercurial plan seems the definition of anti-fiscally conservative pork.  

And the Democrats get help for people that need it but not net swing voters by way of short term concessions and equally unformed indeterminate plans for DACA defered action for childhood arivals and maybe healthcare concessions so that the flu fatality rate for the 1500 child immegrants in US custody rises to the expected mean for the US homeless.   I have no data, just a gut feeling, that while most Americans do care about children dying at the border, most Americans are apathetic or confused once conflicting propagandi emerge.  Start the "Democrat Wall Problem" and "Democrate DACA Horror story" campaign boulderdash now.  The democrat problem isn't that they were somehow were the sole architects of this nations presidentially mandated immigrant policy, but rather that they have bad political instincts-- own the problem, save a child, and risk an election to the guy that caused the endangerment in the first place and keeps saying his aim was pure and the reason it didn't work out was the democrats.  Nevermind democrats didn't cause "intervention avoidable" child influenza deaths at the border or put them in crowded chain link dog kennels where sneezes travel.

 2019 when will the madness of king george end?


Treason, High crimes and Misdemeanors?

Capping a month with even more disco dancing at the Washington Vienese ball... this countries executive leadership seems imperilled by its own footsteps.  My dance card shows a suprise Syrian withdrawl, likely Afghanistan withdrawl, a murderous Saudi prince gifting $87 million to reserve a empty Trump hotel ball room for a full year, a government shutdown, unfortunate child death in custody at the boarder, campaign crime indictments, signatures of statements of intent, bearish declines in the stock market, rising intrest rates, a dissolved Trump charitable foundation, jailtime for fixit lawyer Cohen, light jailtime for former national security advisor Flynn, pardon-me-please o please o please from Manafort, a blooming Mueller investigation, threats to fire Fed Chief Banker Jerome Powell, resignation of cheif of staff General John Kelly Cheif and resignation of Defense Secretary Mattis.  

December has not been Washington "business as usual."

I'm personally struck by the number of times our President does exactly what early morning Fox and Friends hosts say he should do.  Seems like Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Erhardt could get a duck pond in Iowa turned into a submarine base with just their air-time filling idle prattle.  And that ?advice? results in expanding drama, not resolution.  So just how is Fox News going to spin that hairy D.C. tar ball and still keep their boy in Washington honoring Rupert's whims?  

The answer is probably with ease, but what do I know about scoreing a dance card?  Rupert likes his ratings, and of course the power - so perhaps a future with a President Pence is but a unlikely and undesired possibility for a media empire spanning the globe in internet, print, radio and television news formats.   But then again, Oh what glorious "unique viewer impression counts" that ongoing saga, and eventual finale, will have.   

Maybe only one impression matters.  Tune in... you really have to even if you only want to pay attention to the things that actually matter - not the ratings, but the fate of the free world.


What is Brexit with and without "Norway Plus" 

As best I can tell, with "Norway Plus" Brexit would be status quo, mostly.  It amounts to "Pay to play without a say."  No voting rights, but England would need to follow EU set rules.  And they would need to pay for access to the EU market.  And the plus refers to "would you please, could you please, please don't tax/tarrif northern Ireland or Scottland and don't force the de-unification of the United Kingdom because those two made votes to stay EU."   Maybe... I'm actually pretty stupid about actually reading international contracts, international law and setting them against soverign rights.  

The upside is Brexit could overfish UK waters and control migrants comming from France to take London jobs.  Washington State secedeing to Canada because Texan's might be taking New York jobs because voters in Florida deceided is an americanized take on Brexit.  Ok, my analogy illustrates my uncomprehension.  

Still, Brexit Norway Plus smells like colostomy bag and this seems to be Theresa Mays best option.  Having her country sit on its hands and rocking back and forth saying "I'll give you a farthing to be my best friend and I promise to do what you say..."

The less optional solution, for May at least, is a market for English goods that is suddenly much smaller, and increased expense of EU imports for now common items like groceries, phamaceuticals and goods.  It would seem May thinks "Prosperity" a small price to pay to keep the French and Itallians from swooping across borders and working on behalf of England... and sadly the rest of her country, excluding the bits that may secede, agree.


Being Ready


Michelle Obama said "I never believed the US was ready for a black president in 2008."

I never believed this country was ready to rekindle the errors of blind hatred in 2016 through 2018.  But here we seem to be.  Some fools believe blind hate might not be so bad if it serves politics- what's a church shooting or lynching or two as long as there is re-election and the victims weren't likely to vote your way?  And there are other fools that believe in speak no evil hygiene that casts millions as forever-flawed and does nothing towards reconciliation, healing and unity.  For we are one people and one nation.  I tell you it is a fool that believes in either “cultural contamination" or "cultural appropriation" as absolute unforgivable sins.  It is a foolish nation that values divide over unity.            

Absolutism does not serve this country well.  Are we not a mixing pot of huddled masses, here, but only for the outrageous luck of our adaptable ancestors?    

Last night at my daughter's 5th grade 'A Christmas Carole' play, a beautiful foreign princess played the Ghost of Christmas Present, in the clothes of her ancestral traditions - veiled beads and dangling gold - but her costume came with an emphasis on red and green.   All the elements were there to offend both liberal and conservative, and yet, let me assure you, new different and included can be ever so beautiful without dimming anything that has been.

It might never be an easy path, but I think that child knows a better way.  I hope the rest of us can follow.  I hope we are ready.


Sacre Bleu, a Review of the Book By Christopher Moore

Perhaps I got off to a bad start with Moore's book 'Sacre Bleu' by listening to it over an uncomfortable dental visit. 

There is a moment in his book "Bloodsucking Feinds" where snapping turtles make a particularly poor impression on a potential mother-in-law.  The moment is genius, doubly so if, quite inadvertly, you've lived through some version of it yourself.  My version includes a forgotten garage door opener in my pants pocket, the love of my life, a partial state of undress, a few moments of youthful lust and a two hour early visit from her parents who were wondering why the garage door was malfunctioning.  Oh, and two pet ferrets, not snapping turtles, and the ferets had nothing to do with lust and that's why they are in this sentence over here.  Christopher Moore's version is better.

I like most of what Christopher Moore writes, so I kept at Sacre Bleu despite a start that included lidocane injections in chapter 6 and some of drill noise and spitting in chapter 7.  And then at some point I realized that the book was not for me.  It isn't just that the book isn't my cup of tea - sure I like impressionist painters, I like Paris, I paint a bit myself with acrylics, I've even build robots that try to paint, I liked Moore's other books, I mostly like his humor, and I'm not adverse to reading something a bit smutty.  All of which suggests, I should enjoy.  But the book stubbornly was not for me, and I was not its intended audience.

I normally breeze through a book, but Sacre Bleu was my own personal literary version of mountain climbing.  I pressed on.  I read the book.  I had to fight myself to finish it, I haven't given up on a book since sixth grade* unless you include reference items like encyclopedia, technical manuals and cookbooks.    Eventually I read all of Sacre Bleu.  

And there was a big pay off at the end.  You should totally go buy the book right now... go go go... just run out right now don't even finish this blog post, just go buy your own copy right away.  Get the audiobook and the ebook.

And I just lied because I really like almost everything else Christopher Moore has wrote, and I want him to do well and write more great things.  Much like humanity has forgiven the long dead impressionists of their sins and those they troubled, I'll forgive Moore for this cryptic liturgy on passion.  Sacre Bleu might even be great, as the story unwinds near the end like a pecular tangled Jimsonweed Georgia O'Keefe that nearly seems to be mooning its audience, there is something real and true in there.  At least if you can ignore the borrowed tropes and reflections Moores plucks from his earlier works.  That what inspires us, truely it can be fickle and cruel.   Inspiration and relentless obsession, once lost, how and where can they be reclaimed?

I haven't read Moores 1994 Coyote Blue book yet... maybe I'll give that one a try next to finish reading his published works.    And maybe leave the dentist visit out of the next story. 

*"Where the Red Fern Grows", I am sorry I do not know you.  

(Image (C)2018, "honoring O'Keefe", acrylic on canvas, painted by my daughter, Tessa)

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