This enemy of my enemy is not my friend

The ancient proverb “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is often quoted when strategic partnerships are made with someone unsavory to fight a common enemy. But the word ‘friend’ in this context does not have the positive connotations of generally shared values. The word ‘ally’ is better but is not as catchy.

Donald Trump has been waging war on Jeff Bezos for a multiplicity of reasons. Part of it is likely because Bezos owns the Washington Post that Trump sees as being hostile to him, and part of it may be simple envy because unlike him, Bezos is much richer and did not inherit his wealth. This dislike of Bezos may have persuaded some who despise Trump to view Bezos as an ally. But he is no ally of progressives because the Amazon company that Bezos created is a rapacious predatory entity that abuses its employees and uses its market power to destroy competitors. It has managed to avoid a great deal of negative publicity by staying out of ugly political spats and emphasizing its ability to delver goods quickly to its customers who seem to place a great premium on getting stuff the next day even if there is no real reason for the urgency.
[Read more…]

Matt Gaetz is so sleazy even his colleagues are abandoning him

The scandal around Republican congressperson Matt Gaetz keeps swirling and growing. This story has legs, as the kids say these days, meaning that more and more details will emerge as days go by. My feeling is that, even given the penchant that Republicans have for protecting their own at all costs, his days as an elected official are numbered. Even his stated desire to be a TV personality on a right wing news channel seems unlikely to be fulfilled until he spends some time in the wilderness and people forget. That is assuming he stays out of prison. The key thing to bear in mind is that the really serious offense is that he engaged in sex with an underage woman and transported her across state lines. That is the biggest threat to him. Another charge that could put him in trouble is that he used campaign funds to pay for his personal expenses, including presumably for sex.
[Read more…]

Sometimes a buffoon is just a buffoon

It seems like the season for dish-spilling political memoirs. First we had former Republican speaker John Boehner raking his party over the coals for ending up in Crazytown. Then over in the UK a former Conservative cabinet member Alan Duncan has published excerpts from his diaries while in government in which he castigates Boris Johnson, calling him a buffoon.
[Read more…]

Trump picks a fight with Major League Baseball

The decision by Major League Baseball to pull the big All Star game from Atlanta in protest against Georgia’s passing of restrictive voting laws has provided Trump with another culture war to fight about, since those wars are all he has.

Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson led rightwing backlash after Major League Baseball said it would not play its All-Star game in Georgia because of a new law that restricts voting rights in the state.

The former president and the Fox News host some say is his Republican political heir thereby ranged themselves against current president Joe Biden and the Democrat he served as vice-president, Barack Obama.

“Baseball is already losing tremendous numbers of fans,” Trump said in a statement, “and now they leave Atlanta with their All-Star Game because they are afraid of the radical left Democrats.

“… Boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with free and fair elections. Are you listening Coke, Delta and all?”

Coke and Delta are among companies which have expressed concern over the Georgia law, which restricts early and mail-in voting, measures seen to target minority voters likely to back Democrats.

I think that Trump is making a mistake by picking this particular battle. Previous attempts by conservatives to boycott basketball and football because of their support of protests against police brutality and systemic racism went nowhere. While baseball’s players and fanbase skew more white than the other two sports, I think that this boycott move will also fizzle because Americans love their sports and their junk food too much.

John Boehner describes the Republican party’s journey to Crazytown

John Boehner used to be the speaker of the House of Representatives from the time Republicans got a majority in 2010 until he retired in 2015. He was an old style Republican, following their standard playbook of reducing taxes on the rich and on businesses and opposing progress on social issues. But even that level of commitment to right-wing issues was not enough to placate the crazies that had, aided by Fox News, taken command of the party’s agenda and he retired from Congress in 2015. He started making a lot of money by, among other things, getting involved in the now-legal marijuana business even though as a congressman he had supported strong punitive measures against even the use of small amounts of marijuana, something that resulted in large numbers of people being sent to prison and having their lives ruined.
[Read more…]

Cleveland baseball team distances itself from racist caricatures

The team that goes by the name the Cleveland Indians used to have a grotesque caricature called Chief Wahoo as the team logo. Each year on opening day there would be demonstrations against the logo and the name, leading to confrontations with fans who were determined to hold on to the racist images. The team has been slowly bowing to pressure to change, after long resisting it in the name of ‘tradition’. It no longer has the logo on team uniforms and has promised to phase out the name as well. It has now announced new policies for fans

Cleveland Indians fans will not be able to paint their faces in Native American fashion or wear headdresses to games at Progressive Field this season, according to a new team policy.

The no-tolerance policy also involves abusive or inappropriate language or conduct deemed disorderly or disruptive, and that includes “inappropriate dress.” The team says fans could be ejected or refused admission.

Restricted attire includes headdresses and face paint that references American Indian cultures and traditions. Inappropriate or offensive images, words, dress or face paint must be covered or removed. The prohibition extends to solicitation of contributions and distribution of literature at Progressive Field.

However the team is not willing to hurt its revenue source of selling merchandise because “The policy does not extend to the Chief Wahoo logo on attire, said Curtis Danburg, vice president of communications and community impact.”

The bizarre Matt Gaetz story

I was not sure what would await me from my brief hiatus from blogging when I started following the news closely again. I did not expect to anything as wild as the story involving Matt Gaetz. For those not familiar with him, he is a MAGA-loving Florida congressperson, one of Trump’s most ardent supporters and considered a rising star in Republican circles, who looks like one of those used-car salespersons on late-night TV. Or an extra from the film Grease, what with his high head of slicked black hair. One expects him, Travolta-like, to whip a comb out of pocket and use it whenever he sees himself in any reflecting surface.

[Read more…]