Sunday, November 29, 2015

"How To", and my failure to do so

One of the keys to maintaining a relevant blog is to post DAILY.
Sadly, I don't manage this.

On the bright side - I have nothing to say.

Updated "Contact Info"

PrivateBuffoon, having been inactive for some time, was also out of date!
The "Contact Info" navbar to the right, for example, listed "Contact NM1 Congressman Martin Heinrich".
Congressman Martin Heinrich is now Senator Martin Heinrich.
The NM1 Representative is now Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Anyway - the contact list is now up-to-date.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Continuing what is now a 9-year-old tradition:
From al Qaeda in Albuquerque, 22 Nov 2007:
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
It's secular - religious overtones are secondary.
It's American - the rest of world goes on happily without us.

Most of all, for me the basic premise - giving thanks - is a good thing.
Yes, I am thankful for my family, for my undeserved good-fortune in life, for friends.

Most of my family is in town. None of us started out here - we all just ended up here.
I've 3 sisters. 2 of 'em are in town, with their husbands.
My mom is in town.

So: Happy Thanksgiving, with friends & family!
An update is needed:
My mom died in 2012.
One of my sisters died in October of this year.

Yes, there have been losses.

BUT: I've remarried, to a very beautiful, wonderful, caring, generous woman - Melissa.
... and I almost forgot: we have a new grandson! - Hunter:

So... well, YEAH - Thanksgiving continues to be my favorite holiday!

I AM thankful for my family, for my undeserved good-fortune in life, for friends!

So: Happy Thanksgiving, with friends & family!

Too little, too late

Josh Marshall over at TPM hit the nail on the head:
That's Why We Do This
We cover the weird, dark, outrageous and surreal in our politics because these things are much more important than most people - especially most political observers - care to admit. I thought of this when I read this high-minded and starchy editorial in yesterday's Washington Post, the upshot of which is that while they've tried to do the right thing and ignore Donald Trump's clown car campaign, they simply can't do it anymore. The time has now come to stand up to Trump's bullying! And, the Post insists, Republicans must now do so too.
This encapsulates pretty much entirely the myopia of so much American political journalism. Sometimes readers will write in to say 'Why are you writing so much about Trump?' or Steve King or Michele Bachmann or Death Panels or whatever the latest thing is. 'You've just given them oxygen. If people ignored them, they'd go away.'
A lot of people, a lot of liberals, or what we might better call people of cosmopolitan political sensibilities, live in this fantasy world wherein what they ignore either doesn't exist or will be shooed out of existence by their refusal to pay attention to it. This is, needless to say, not true. That's why many Democrats are continually surprised that things they think are straightforward or commonsensical turn out to be deeply controversial or even politically impossible. Or conversely, why so many preposterous claims are widely accepted as either possible or true. Why do so many people think the President is a Muslim?
Since July or thereabouts, the very serious people in the professional political punditry class have been predicting the demise of The Donald.
Each new gaffe, they have claimed, foretells the end of his campaign.


More recently, the very serious professionals have stopped making these predictions.
Good for them!

Now, they're going after Trump - attacking him! ... as evidenced by the "high-minded and starchy" editorial board of the Washington Post cited above.
"By God, if he won't self-destruct, WE'LL launch our nuclear arsenal against him!" - so our wise men now tell us.

The latest salvos?
Trump is a Fascist! - a nascent Hitler!

As it happens, I agree with this assessment... BUT - does anyone really believe that this informally coordinated attack (both liberal & conservative outlets are saying much the same thing) will do any damage?
I don't.

BUT - if The Donald IS elected next November, and the Capitol burns down in February... well, maybe we should have paid attention!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bill Kristol should be happy

Putin Accuses Turkey Of Backing ISIS After It Downs Russian Warplane In Syria
Oh, good - we're going to war with Russia.
Our NATO ally, Turkey, just shot down a Russian fighter.

Bill Kristol should be delighted.
Maybe he'll use his influence to get age restrictions waived and join the military.

Free advice for the GOP (Honest!)

A math problem (just to acknowledge my former profession):
Which is larger:
100% of a 6" personal pan pizza,
51% of a 20" family-size pizza?
Donald Trump continues to lead in polls of likely GOP primary voters.
Latest numbers are above 30%.

I highlighted the target audience, likely GOP primary voters, for a reason.
Here's an excerpt from a speech to stockholders given by Larry the Liquidator in the 1991 film Other People's Money:
And you know the surest way to go broke? Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow but sure.
"Likely GOP primary voters".
Thanks in part to The Donald, that group does NOT include Hispanics, or Blacks, or Muslims, or... well, or just a lot of fairly decent folks.
It DOES include a rapidly shrinking, aging white constituency.

Good luck with that!

Monday, November 23, 2015

As American as Superman!

From loyal reader TedTheCat:

Mental illness & the GOP

Trump Doubles Down On Claim He Saw Thousands Cheer In N.J. On 9/11
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has shown he is not one to back down.

In fact, when he was questioned by ABC News today about his assertion that "thousands and thousands of people" cheered the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 just across the river in New Jersey, Trump doubled down.

"It did happen. I saw it. It was on television. I saw it," Trump said.
But, yes, surely Trump is the ONLY GOP candidate who "saw" this, yes? NO!
Ben Carson joined GOP rival Donald Trump in claiming that he, too, saw news footage of Muslim-Americans cheering as the World Trade Center towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001

The leading GOP candidates have a serious mental illness:
Hallucinations are false perceptions, inaccuracies that affect our senses & cause us to hear, see, taste, touch or smell what others do not. In the acute phases of schizophrenia, patients are likely to insist they are hearing voices that no one else can hear. Sometimes they hear noises, clicks or non-word sounds. On occasion they are disturbed by seeing, smelling or feeling things that others do not.
( Understanding and responding to symptoms of schizophrenia)
Okay - to be fair to Dr. Carson, he later admitted that he'd mistaken the Middle East for New Jersey!
(This could be a pretty good SNL skit, if anyone's paying attention!!!)

"Pay it Forward"

My mind is a-jumble trying to come up with a coherent response to the madness.
In addition to the leading GOP candidates suggesting a database to track Muslim citizens, today there was this:
Gun-Toting Islamophobic Group Protests Outside Texas Mosque
In the latest anti-Islamic incident to take place following the Paris attacks, demonstrators in Irving, Texas, protested on the sidewalk outside a mosque with guns, Islamophobic signs and American flags.

What can I say that has some even slightly positive impact?

My solution: use the theme of the 2000 movie, Pay it Forward.

In the movie, a middle-school student is challenged by his teacher to come up with a project that will change the world.
His solution? Do a kindness for three (3) strangers, and ask each of them to repeat this - each doing a kindness for three other strangers, and so on.
Turns out, it works, and the movie follows the good deeds of the strangers impacted by the kid's original kindness.
(At the end of the movie, the kid is killed by Donald Trump... well, no - not by Trump, but he is killed.)

What has this to do with PrivateBuffoon & the current political mess?
Less than you might imagine, but something.

I'm betting that most of my hundreds of thousands of followers share my political views.
Individually, each one of us has little political power.
BUT - as a bloc, we can maybe help just a little.

If you are not now registered to vote, REGISTER today!
... THEN urge at least three of your like-minded friends to do the same.

Now comes the hard part: VOTE!

At each step, encourage others to REGISTER and to VOTE.

There is some chance - at the moment it looks to be not all that small a chance - that we could be welcoming the bigoted, xenophobic, paranoid "circus clown" into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in a little over a year UNLESS the sane ones among us come out in FORCE to VOTE!

So, do me a favor: mobilize your like-minded friends to vote (for what may indeed be only the lesser of two evils) next November... and ask them to do the same - get others out to the polls next November.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Now I remember...

... at least one of the reasons I stepped away from PrivateBuffoon:
Ben Carson Thinks Giving Up Certain Torture Techniques Would Be Too PC

Donald Trump Says He'd Bring Back Waterboarding

It's all just too depressing.

On the other hand, there are some voices of reason... even in the notoriously conservative Albuquerque Journal:
Threat of a terror attack is worth the risk
By Winthrop Quigley / Journal Staff Writer Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 at 12:05am

Given that only a police state guarantees personal safety, given that the societies that reject new people and new ideas in the name of security have names like North Korea, vulnerability is a price we should be willing to pay, with trepidation, but without hesitation.

There are still sane voices out there.
I just wish they were louder.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Blast from the past

Back in 2012 I declared my candidacy for President.
The campaign was short-lived.
... BUT - I did give a speech.
Here's an excerpt:
My esteemed Republican opponent will need to be reminded that America has ALWAYS been a land of immigrants!... and there has ALWAYS been a fear of immigrants. Benjamin Franklin deplored the presence of lazy, indolent, non-English-speaking Germans in 18th-century Philadelphia. Germans, Irish, Chinese, Poles, Italians, Japanese – all have been the targets of anti-immigrant hysteria. All were at one time viewed as “The Other” who threatened the American Way of Life.


Finally, my Republican opponent will seize on “FEAR” as the basis for his or her campaign. Fear of “illegal immigrants”. Fear of Iran, or of North Korea… Fear of “The Other”.
My Republican opponent will cast “The Other” as Existential Threats to America.

I believe America is stronger than that!... and by building his campaign on Fear of “The Other” my esteemed Republican opponent will demonstrate just what he REALLY thinks about America: he - or she - believes the United States is a weak, vulnerable, beleaguered country, on the brink of failure, defeat and collapse.

We – my Republican opponent and I – have very DIFFERENT visions for America.

I'd say I'm prescient!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Terror suspects killed in St. Denis

3 terrorist suspects killed in French raid in Saint-Denis, police say

Just for fun:
My wife and I visited St. Denis in August 2014.
St. Denis houses the Basilica of St. Denis
The Abbey of St. Denis was one of the largest and most influential in Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The abbey/basilica is named for St. Denis, a patron saint of France:
Legend relates that he was decapitated on the hill of Montmartre and subsequently carried his head to the site of the current church, indicating where he wanted to be buried. According to related legends, a martyrium was erected on the site of his grave, which became a famous place of pilgrimage during the fifth and sixth centuries.

Here's a photo of bas-relief showing the saint carrying his head:

Yes, there's a large Middle Eastern population, but we found it a very pleasant & interesting suburb - next time we visit Paris, we'll go back to St. Denis. ... TV coverage makes it sound like a hell-hole. It doesn't deserve that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"callous, heartless and prejudiced."

Bill De Blasio: Chris Christie's Comments On Syrian Refugees Are An 'Embarrassment To This Country'
"We should not close our borders to any group of people fleeing the atrocities and horrors of terrorism. To do so is to hand terrorists a victory over our democracy, strengthened over the years by Americans who died or risked their lives for it," he [NYC mayor Bill de Blasio] said.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The objective of war...

... is to win the peace.

To date I've heard no one - Democrat or GOP; American or French or German - propose a strategy against ISIS/ISIL that does anything more than blow stuff up and kill the "leaders".

Haven't we learned from past 14 years that killing the "leaders" - of al Qaeda, of ISIS, of this group or that group - accomplishes NOTHING.
We've killed enough "leaders" in the past 14 years to populate a battalion or a brigade.
The groups whose "leaders" we have killed are not diminished.
Hydra-like, each assassinated head grows 2 or 3 or 5 more.

We erred in both Afghanistan & Iraq by believing defeating the enemy militarily would be enough.
Defeat Mullah Omar's minions, capture or kill bin Laden.
Defeat Saddam's Revolutionary Guard, drive into Baghdad.
We've NEVER had a plan to WIN THE PEACE!

Now we face a diffused terrorist threat from ISIS/ISIL.
Bombing, targeted killings of "leaders" - this continues to be our response.
(The "our" here now includes European allies - France today bombed ISIS's self-proclaimed capital: Raqqa, Syria.)

Stop the madness!

Friday, November 13, 2015

I am very lucky

What appears to be multiple terrorist attacks in Paris tonight.

I don't worry about this... getting blown up by terrorists, I mean.
Maybe I should.

As post announces - I am very lucky.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I know the answer to this question!

One of my favorite quotations, from Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi:
"I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know."
Sadly, in this case I DO know the answer:
G.O.P. Fight Now a Battle Over What Defines a Conservative.
Here it is:
The GOP's Vision for America

The players change, the message doesn't.

Yep - I just keep saying the same thing over and over... and I don't get paid to say it over & over!

Repost, somewhat dated now, from 10 Jan 2009

The GOP presidential hopefuls all kowtow to Wall Street.
Here's a repost from 2009... (It's sad that it still seems relevant, going on 7 years later...)

Wall Street bonuses totaled $18.4Bn in 2008.
Intel's 2008 net income? $5.3Bn.
- NOTE: Intel is the largest supplier of microprocessors in the world, with somewhere around 75%-80% market-share. They have cash reserves somewhere in the neighborhood of $12Bn.

In one of Wall Street's worst years, they paid bonuses three (3) times Intel's net income!
What's wrong with this picture?

Note: Intel makes THINGS. You can hold a microprocessor in your hand. The things Intel makes - microprocessors - are in your desktop PC, your notebook PC, your smart cellphone, your iPod.

Wall Street financial geniuses make 'paper'... or, more recently, vapor-ware - fancy financial instruments that somehow represent money, but are not transparently identifiable with tangible things.
They exist only to create the illusion of wealth - they are not in themselves wealth.

Never forget!

The financial wizards are NOT job creators - they create NOTHING, which somehow masquerades as "wealth".

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My thunder has been stolen... by our President, Mr. Obana

As some of you may know, during election cycles I publish a fair number of YouTube vids - all politically themed. ... (YouTube channel "Swordfish1543")

A day or so ago I had a GREAT idea for a vid: "These guys can't stand up to CNBC moderators! - Do you really think they can successfully out-maneuver Putin?"

Then... sigh... Obama stole my thunder, making exactly the same point.

Oh, well.

Full Disclosure

My wife and I are Job Creators.

Yard work? - we contract it out!
House work? - we contract it out. (... to a woman of - shock - Hispanic descent, who does a GREAT job, bi-weekly... or "fortnightly" if you prefer.)

We are currently in middle of a fairly massive renovation project. Nope - we're not doing any of the work.
When the job is completed we'll have contributed more than $100K to local economy.

WE are job creators. We're not entrepreneurs - just folks lucky enough to be able to spend $$$.
I'm not at all sure just WHO are the "Job Creators" envisioned by the Republican candidates... it ain't US!