Archive:

September 2017, Part 2

Jim Miller on Politics




Pseudo-Random Thoughts



This Week's Collections Of Political Cartoons from Politico and RealClearPolitics.

My favorites:  In Politico, Michael Ramirez's deal, Matt Bors's Trump in Florida, and Ramirez's tackle; in RealClearPolitics, none, though Lisa Benson's debt limit came close.

(This Andy Marlette lineman cartoon didn't make either collection — but I like it.):
- 8:55 AM, 16 September 2017   [link]


Another Loss For The United States — And Donald Trump:  This shouldn't surprise anyone.
More Mexicans view the United States unfavorably than at any time in the past decade and a half.  Nearly two-thirds of Mexicans (65%) express a negative opinion of the U.S., more than double the share two years ago (29%).   Mexicans’ opinions about the economic relationship with their country’s northern neighbor are also deteriorating, though less dramatically:  55% now say economic ties between Mexico and the U.S. are good for their country, down from 70% in 2013.

This erosion of Mexico’s goodwill toward the U.S. coincides with low approval of American President Donald Trump and one of his signature policies.  An overwhelming 94% of Mexicans oppose Trump’s proposed border wall and only 5% have confidence in him to do the right thing regarding world affairs, Trump’s lowest rating among 37 nations polled in 2017.
(Emphasis added.)

In January, I reminded readers of something obvious:  "The United States is better off when Mexico is friendly, stable, and prosperous."  Trump has made Mexico less friendly and may make it less stable, but I now think it less likely that he will make Mexico less prosperous.

Despite his big talk about NAFTA, I think it unlikely that he will do much to modify the treaty.  Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, promised to renegotiate NAFTA and didn't make any substantial changes in it; I now expect that Trump will do the same thing.

You can, I think, understand what is happening better if you think of it as similar to a "professional wrestling" contest.  Trump struts around in his costume, talking about Mexican villains and even pretending from time to time to get in fights with them.

But the conflict isn't real, though it may seem so to much of the audience, especially in Mexico.
- 8:23 AM, 15 September 2017   [link]


Harvard Didn't Intend This Appointment As A Joke:   But even an action that should disgust every decent person can still be hilarious.
A growing backlash over Harvard's appointment of convicted Wikileaks leaker Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow saw CIA Director Mike Pompeo cancel a planned appearance at the Ivy League school Thursday, while former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell resigned his position as a senior fellow.

In a letter to Harvard explaining his decision not to give a scheduled speech at the university, Pompeo described Manning as an "American traitor."
Incidentally, Harvard needs to work on its titles, since Manning would, almost certainly, rather be called a gal (or something similar).
- 7:24 AM, 15 September 2017   [link]


Clothes Can Affect how children behave.
- 7:07 AM, 15 September 2017   [link]


Worth Reading:  Bari Weiss's opinion piece, "A Political Conservative Goes to Berkeley".
Ben Shapiro is a 33-year-old who supports small government, religious liberty and free-market economics and opposes identity politics, abortion and Donald Trump. He is, in other words, that wildly exotic creature: a political conservative.

You’d think that the cosmopolitan denizens of the San Francisco Bay Area would have encountered a few, if not in the form of an uncle at Thanksgiving, then perhaps in, I don’t know, a field trip down to Orange County.  But to judge from the pre-emptive reaction to Mr. Shapiro’s speech scheduled for this Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley, you’d be mistaken.
It isn't surprising that Bari Weiss would write something like this — but it is a pleasant surprise to see it published by the New York Times.
- 4:00 PM, 14 September 2017   [link]


As Far As I Know, The ACLU Has Not Taken Up This 1st Amendment Case — Yet:  Even though the plaintiffs are more sympathetic than most of the people the ACLU defends.
The bikini baristas have caused a stir in some of these cities, with residents and local officials complaining that the employees’ revealing outfits are inappropriate.  Last month, the city of Everett, Wash., about 25 miles north of Seattle, passed ordinances banning bikinis at the town’s drive-through shops, requiring that employees wear at least shorts and a tank top at work.

One of the ordinances prohibits employees at “quick service” restaurants from exposing their midriffs, breasts and the top three inches of their legs.  The other defines a new crime of facilitating lewd conduct.

Now, seven of the town’s “bikini baristas” and an owner of one of the coffee shop chains are suing Everett, saying that the ordinances violate their constitutional right to express themselves freely through their clothing.  The women and their lawyers argue that the new laws are vague and ambiguous, and unfairly discriminate against women.
I look forward to hearing the opinions of our top Constitutional scholars on this case.

As far as I know, no women's groups have taken up their case, though the baristas are, rather obviously, women.

You'll have to decide for yourselves whether — for research purposes only — it is necessary to do an image search on "Hillbilly Hotties", the plaintiffs in this lawsuit.
- 2:31 PM, 14 September 2017   [link]


This Morning, I Began, As I Often Do, by searching for a legal* copy of a cartoon to share with you.

This morning, for the first time, I found a description of the cartoon, instead of the cartoon itself.

Oh well, it's still mildly funny.  In my opinion.

(*In general the easiest way to respect copyrights on cartoons is to link to a site that sells them, which is what I usually do.  Artists deserve to be paid for their work, I think.)
- 1:53 PM, 14 September 2017   [link]


Donald Trump, Swamp Creature:  When I first heard that Trump was promising to "drain the swamp", I cracked up because I immediately pictured a swamp creature, surrounded by other swamp creatures like Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, saying "drain the swamp" — from the middle of a swamp.

(Anyone who doesn't recognize that Trump is a swamp creature — he even lives in a Florida swamp — is refusing to look at the evidence, from his boasting in the first Republican debate that he bribed politicians to the way Trump University operated.)

The picture of the swamp was clear enough in my mind, but the creature croaking "drain the swamp" was not.

Until a few days ago.
This frog has an olive green back and sides blotched with brownish markings and a whitish belly spotted with yellow or grey.  The upper lip is often bright green and males have yellow throats.  It inhabits large, permanent water bodies, such as swamps, ponds, and lakes, where it is usually found along the water's edge.  The male bullfrog defends a territory during the breeding season.  His call is reminiscent of the roar of a bull, which gives the frog its common name.
The location is right, as is the loud, repetitive call.  I think there is even some physical resemblance.

American bullfrog

And I think a bullfrog is about right on a predator scale.  To a fly, a bullfrog is a fearsome predator.  To a lion like General Secretary Xi Jinping, a bullfrog is a small snack; to a fox like President Vladimir Putin, a bullfrog is lunch.  (If I may borrow Machiavelli's metaphor.)
- 4:11 PM, 13 September 2017   [link]


These Are, I Believe, What Bookies Call "Gimmick" Bets:  But it is still interesting that they are being offered by a big bookmaking firm.
Paddy Power have a market up on if Trump were to be impeached, what that reason would be.

I’m sitting out this market for a variety of reasons, mostly because the options in this market are so few, and doesn’t cover the ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’ scenario in Section 4 of Article II of the United States Constitution that allows for a President to be impeached.
Reminder:  You can't make those bets here in the United States, legally.
- 3:01 PM, 13 September 2017   [link]


Who Will Be The Next Seattle Mayor?  City Council President Bruce Harrell, but probably only for five days.
Per city charter, the Council President, Bruce Harrell, will take over as acting mayor for at least five days.  He can decide within that period whether he wants to serve the remainder of the mayor's term.  If he declines, council would select another member to be Mayor.
. . .
Councilmember Harrell would have to give up his seat, if he accepts the job, according to the City Clerk.  If Harrell passes on the role, there's talk Councilmember Tim Burgess could be a likely candidate to serve as acting mayor since he's retiring at the end of his current term.
And then either in November or January — I'm not sure which — the newly-elected mayor, Jenny Durkan or Cary Moon, will take over.

Harrell's seat is extremely safe, so you can see why he wouldn't want to give it up.

(Bruce Harrell and Tim Burgess.

One detail that our news folks don't mention:  Two of Murray's accusers are, judging by appearances, of mixed race.)
- 10:37 AM, 13 September 2017   [link]


This Is A Question to which I do not have even a speculative answer:   "Why does Steve Bannon wear all his shirts at once?"

But I can say that I find his favorite color, black, suggestive.
- 8:39 AM, 13 September 2017   [link]


Some Anniversaries are more important than others.
- 8:24 AM, 13 September 2017   [link]


There's Not Much New in Harry Enten's second weekly poll summary.

One tidbit:  New York staters are in favor of Confederate statues staying up, 59-35 percent.

And one minor omission:  Enten doesn't seem to realize that Dave Reichert's 8th district was made more Republican after the 2010 census, so his earlier close races don't tell you much.  I think Republicans can hold the seat, with the right candidate, even if 2018 is as tough for Republicans as I expect it will be.

(Previous post on Enten's first poll summary.)
- 8:08 PM, 12 September 2017   [link]


There Are Many Ways To Vote:  Including sneezes.
If you want to get something done in an African wild dog pack, you’ve got to be ready to sneeze.

The animals seem to make group decisions based on a system of explosive exhalations — “sneezes” — that determine if they get up and go on the hunt.   If the dogs reach a quorum of sorts, they all fall in line — no “bless you’s” necessary.
Sounds very democratic — though sneezes by top dogs do have more weight in the "voting".

African wild dogs, which are not actually dogs, are "super social" animals, which probably is why they use "voting" for important decisions.
- 7:31 PM, 12 September 2017   [link]


Seattle Mayor Ed Murray Resigns, Effective Tomorrow:  The fifth accuser did it.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has announced plans to resign following multiple accusations of sexual abuse after a fifth accuser -- who is the mayor's younger cousin -- came forward and alleged that Murray repeatedly molested him in the 1970s.
. . .
Accuser Joseph Dyer, who is a dialysis technician and Air Force veteran, says the molestation occurred in New York when he was a teen, according to The Seattle Times.

The 54-year-old Dyer — Murray's first cousin once removed — told the newspaper that he wants the mayor punished for the alleged actions, saying, "I have had enough. ... Something has got to be done."
Ed Murray is denying this accusation, too, but it is getting harder and harder to believe his denials.  And there is more and more reason to think there may be a sixth accuser, and a seventh accuser, and still others, out there.

(Some background on the first accuser.)
- 3:49 PM, 12 September 2017   [link]


Worth Buying:  Today's Wall Street Journal, if only for Carol Swain's op-ed, "What It’s Like to Be Smeared by the Southern Poverty Law Center".
When Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin Jr. started the SPLC in 1971, it was needed and it had noble goals.  In recent years, however, it has become a tool of the radical left.  Domestically, it uses its influence to paint with a broad brush that smears immigration restrictionists, orthodox Christian churches and pro-family organizations as “hate groups.”
For example, if your organization agrees with Barack Obama's 2008 position on gay marriage — he opposed it for religious reasons — it is likely to be listed as a hate group by the SPLC.

(For the record:  Swain believes that Richard Cohen, the president of the SPLC, should not be invited to testify before Congress.  I think he should be, but should be treated as a hostile witness, not an expert.)
- 1:45 PM, 12 September 2017   [link]


Yesterday, "The Wizard Of Id" Commemorated 9/11:   The strip was just right, I thought.

(That was the only mention of the anniversary I saw in yesterday's Seattle Times.)
- 1:20 PM, 12 September 2017   [link]


TV Reporters Love Reporting On Hurricanes:   Love, love, love those shots of them getting rained on and pushed around by the winds.

At least the boys do.  Most of the girls seem to have better sense (or worry more about how their hair will look).

Having been a small boy myself, I can appreciate their feelings — even as I recognize that what they are doing has approximately zero value to viewers.

(The New York Times ran a very serious article by Sopan Deb on this practice.  As should be clear by now, I think Deb missed the main point, that boys just want to have fun.  I did learn one thing from the article; apparently Dan Rather started this practice of live TV coverage of storms.)
- 2:44 PM, 11 September 2017   [link]


Worth Reading:  Glenn Reynolds' "pure speculation" on why the Trump administration isn't prosecuting Lois Lerner.

Sadly, I have to admit that his speculation seems plausible.
- 10:36 AM, 11 September 2017   [link]


Life Under ISIS And Airstrikes:  Somini Sengupta has collected horror stories from people who have escaped from Raqqa.

For example:
Every few minutes, a deafening boom.  Then a whistle of artillery.   Occasionally, the clatter of a pickup truck, piled with soldiers, advancing to the front line.

This was the neighborhood, on the western edge of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital, where I met Hassan Hashem Ramadan on a scorching Thursday in late August.

He had been detained and flogged three times while the Islamic State ruled his city:  Either his beard was too short or his pants weren’t short enough.  When he tried to escape across the Euphrates River, he was marched at gunpoint into the city center.  Finally, on a Tuesday morning in August, his brother was hit by shrapnel from forces fighting the Islamic State.
(The beard length I have known about for years; the pants length is new to me.)

From time to time, we need to remind ourselves that by far the largest number of victims of Al Qaeda and ISIS are at least nominally Muslims, some killed by the terrorists, and some killed, as hostages often are, by counter attacks.
- 10:18 AM, 11 September 2017   [link]


9/11 Jumper:   The New York Times will not show you this picture today, so I will.

9/11 jumper

This man jumped from one of the World Trade Center towers, rather than burn to death.  From the picture we can see that he was a young black man, probably American though he might have been an immigrant, and that he worked in a kitchen.

We can not know whether he knew why he was about to die, though I think it unlikely.  Few Americans then understood how much the fanatics who planned the 9/11 attack hated us, and how little they cared for innocent life.  Whether this victim knew or not, I hope that he rests in peace.

He, and nearly three thousand others, died in order to create a propaganda poster for Al Qaeda.

(I scanned the picture from a New York Times book, Nation Challenged.   I believe this to be fair use because I am criticizing the Times, and most other "mainstream" news organizations, for suppressing this picture, and similar pictures, in the years since 9/11.)

Reposted from 2008.)

Although I think it appropriate to remember the victims of 9/11, including this man, I have come to believe that we make a mistake when we call this a "tragedy", as so many now do.  It was an attack, like Pearl Harbor in 1941, and that's what we should call it.
- 7:23 AM, 11 September 2017   [link]


The Current "Pepper . . . And Salt omelet cartoon is pretty funny.

(Don't know how long it will last.)
- 5:31 PM, 10 September 2017   [link]


This Week's Collections Of Political Cartoons from Politico and RealClearPolitics.

My favorites:  In Politico, Pat Bagley's red lines and Bill Bramhall's Pelosi/Trump; in RealClearPolitics, Lisa Benson's DACA.

(This Andy Marlette debt ceiling cartoon didn't make either collection — but I like it.)
- 8:54 AM, 9 September 2017   [link]


Those Who Follow Professional Baseball will like this cartoon.
- 8:24 AM, 9 September 2017   [link]