June 6, 2023

A Mixed Collection Today: Celebrate Some, Worry Some

Today is D-Day

On this date in 1944, the Allies bet it all on an important event that could be the beginning of the end for the war in Europe. And so it was to be. A good date, perhaps, to reflect on what assaults and defenses we need to mount in the common interest. A few events and mindsets rise to the surface.

Some Good News to Share & Reflect Upon

How The Country is Doing: By almost any measure (economy, alliances and security, infrastructure, etc.), America is in far, far better shape than anyone could have hoped just a couple of years ago. Not all is well, of course, but take a moment to listen to Fareed Zakaria’s list of what is worth celebrating. As usual, Zakaria is observant and well focused. And yes, Biden gets a huge share of credit for much of this good news. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ccvoouypo5Q&t=18s

Two New Notes on Violence – These May Not Be a Bad Thing

Violence is generally not a solution to much of anything, but two new reports (one on actual violence, one on potential violence) actually strike me as not bad things to have happen. They may offer something between balance and karma coming to roost.

First, the actual violence. Drones are striking the city of Moscow and some not all that clearly identified groups are attacking Russian territory near the border with Ukraine. I would not endorse anything like the widespread terror caused by Russian attacks on clearly civil targets, but the idea that Russian citizens are now at some risk of attack and their government is unable to prevent such attacks could be a useful step in ending this senseless war. Bring it home to them.

Second, right wing groups have made a habit in some communities of showing up at LGBTQ+ rallies and drag shows heavily armed, pushing people around and seeking to intimidate any participation or support for these activities. In a few places of late, they are surprised to find they are outnumbered by leftists who are also armed and well organized.

The potential for accidental violence is high, but reminding would be bullies that the second amendment cuts both ways seem to me a good tonic. Most of the extreme right would-be bullies seem to be solider-wanna-be’s and not prepared to face equal opposition. The risk of violence in this new balance is worth the risk, in my view.

The Debt Deal: Surprisingly Good News on Many Fronts

Let’s be clear that the debt showoff should never have happened in the first place; we really need to change the law to eliminate this nonsense. When a bill is passed, the associated debt is incurred. This business of deciding later if we will honor our debt is dumb and plays into the hands of those who disparage democracy. And there is a lot in the final deal to dislike (Manchin’s pipeline, arbitrary work requirements at a national level, cuts in IRA funding, etc.).

But overall, good news of several types:

  • The end result is not all that bad. It’s about what one would look for in a divided government budget.
  • Biden was masterful in every element of the negotiations. McCarthy did better than one might have hoped, and Jeffries was really good. Even McConnell was helpful and xxx was quietly supportive.
  • The vote was amazingly lopsided and bipartisan. This was proof the middle of both parties can coalesce and get important work done. It was a delight to see the House extremists so isolated and powerless. This is a road map for the future, but I doubt if McCarthy is smart enough or brave enough to take advantage of the opportunity.

Robert Hubbell has a very good blog on all this, both analytical and reflective. Take a look:

 A Few Assorted Observations

 Heather Cox Richardson has a terrific blog post recently on what is fascism and what is its danger. What’s neat is the whole blog is drawn from a 1943 pamphlet the US Army published to inform WW II troops why and what they were fighting. It is as accurate and timely today as ever. And sounds much too familiar. This is precisely what is in evidence today in our land. Give it a read.

What the heck is it with the current Supreme Court and the environment? I kept their general political and religious tilt, but they are building a real record of being against clean water and air. This is damaging stuff that rejects a valid task for government and ignores the science. Bad stuff on a large scale.

Those who hate abortion are certainly not done with trying to impose their will on everyone. Closely allied are those who hate LGBTQ+ and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). They are attempting to make these groups and terminology something distasteful, as they have tried with Being Woke. They pick easy targets of small groups and bumper sticker type attacks. Let them succeed and who knows who is next. Stand up and call this stuff out.

Republican candidate count continues to grow. The list of those who think they should be the Republican candidate is getting pretty long. Some smell Trump’s blood in the water (although almost all still lack the courage to call him out), others likely are just positioning for recognition and a possible VP nomination. None of this is unusual at this point on the calendar, but caution is called for this time around.

A few good candidates give potential Republican voters some specific options to consider. Too many candidates give Trump much better odds of winning the primaries, with his opposition too fragmented. In the end, I don’t think Trump is likely to get that nomination or win a general election, but that is what I thought last time. Let’s not take a chance.

See You Next Week

It might be time to talk about some nonpolitical ideas again by next week. Before we know it, we will be into the campaign season and full of politics. Oh, boy….

 Bill Clontz

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