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From Russia with Love: A Tsar is Born (updated)

Those surprised at Russia's annexation of Crimea during their Sochi Olympics shouldn't have been - in 2008 with the world focused the Olympics in Beijing, Russia launched a land, air & sea invasion of Georgia

The Olympics themselves since Soviet times have always been a Russian showcase - extended to Eastern Bloc countries during the Cold War. And some habits die hard, what with 111 Russian athletes banned from the Rio Olympics for doping (originally the whole team), and the announcement yesterday of 1000 athletes implicated in doping.

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby

In 1992, Bill Clinton was under attack for a reported affair with a woman from Arkansas. His wife, likely pissed, could have taken the easy way out, stayed in the shadows, let Bill work it out. Instead she went on camera and gave a speech that largely revived her husband's presidential chances - and cemented her negative opinion in the public eye for all time to come.

Remainders (if 6 turned out to be 9)

It becomes easier and easier to blog the absurdities, but unlike intelligence, time has not distended. So in the interest of keeping up, a few thoughts on where we are. Are we going to pass Peak Trump early? One could only hope, but seems his cohorts and apologists adapt to each new event easily, as like the fake Westworld-like CNN panel on SNL last week.

Trump has ushered in the post-TV era for campaigns. It's not just the free airplay he gets on the networks - he really doesn't need promo anymore - it's all organic. He spent 1/3 of what Hillary spent, and nobody cares - every new tweet or news blip is simply good news for Trump, however bad it sounds. It's all impressions, "likes". Just like Facebook doesn't have any "unlike" button, there's no such thing as bad news for Donald - any mention will do. We have to find a way out of this or we're sunk

[Update to note the right's already absorbed any Taiwan damage - it's either "China can't tell us what to do", "that Trump's a straight-shooter, yay!", or my favorite, "the left is sexist cuz Taiwan's leader is female". Surprised?]

Carrier/United: A Fool & His Money...

For all who whinged about the supposed Clinton Foundation supposed possible appearances of "pay-to-play" for their charity, Donald's not even in office and the pay-to-play and corporate welfare has begun.

In order to look tough on losing jobs to Mexico, he's orchestrated a sweetheart deal of high-level access to United Technologies to keep 1000 jobs in Indiana, half of its planned offshoring. Contrary to the suggestions that this was done with Indiana tax breaks, most of which had already been rescinded due to Carrier going back on its promises).

Imagine, a $56 billion a year company, with $7.6 billion profits, requires handholding from the President-elect to not offshore an operation that's 0.1% of its revenues - a blip. In return, it gets government access for its US government military business likely worth billions, since it sells $5.6 billion to the government yearly.

Double standards

I came across 2 stories this morning that rather shocked me for their overt incitement to race mongering:

"Here’s the gossip: Breitbart is about to replace Drudge as most important White source of journalism", plus

"When Paul Ryan changed political reality. And evangelist culture slapped him down"

I wondered where they got the affrontery to talk like that, the implicit white privilege, and the rather retro political position they've taken as if we were going back to 60's Birmingham.

And then I squinted a bit harder:

Cuban Dependence

This blog was inspired by and draws from Jerry Sierra's summary of Cuba's long struggle and failure to achieve independence.

American's will cheer or lament Fidel's passing and proceed largely ignorant of our involvement in Cuba's history the last 300 years, even as the torch bearers of the budding British presence in the New World (and the benefactors of the chaos unfolding in the Old).

America's Batista, Whorehouse of the Hemisphere

As if we didn't have enough Irony this year and election cycle, Castro's death now invites disturbing parallels.

It's like Cuba went into a deep sleep, and woke up not to the revolution, but to Batista's government back in power - with the new/old values led from Washington - more 5-star hotels, "beautiful women", rigged mafia ties, military/security force backing and a callous disregard for poverty or those disconnected from this wealth.

Yes, America's voted in the Batista of the 50's to be its new Godfather-in-Chief.

White is the new Black

It's interesting, if not disconcerting, watching the right co-opt the plaints and the postures of the left, in a thoroughly cynical but formulaic pattern.

Sure I see some problems with Politically Correct speech on campus shutting down debate. But the irony is palpable - "Yet today free speech is blatantly under attack on multiple fronts, in all of our institutions, especially in the very place where it was supposed to be most enshrined: the universities", one article in the Federalist writes.

Identity's Many Forms

Bernie's hit the trail again to talk about what he thinks is important, and to clue us in that voting for someone just because they're a woman is a dead-end, while blacks should be more concerned about social repression than racial.

Since we had a whole season to get irritated with Bern-splaynin', and we just lost an important election over something we still don't understand, we should take his words for what they are - a cry for help.

Golden Goose vs. Golden Calf (updated)

To hear Trump tell it, the US is in the worst financial shape ever. You'd never guess that unemployment for example had decreased from a Bush-crash high of 10% all the way down to 5%, along with restructuring banks, taking us off the "bankrupt" list, etc. (You'd think that would even produce some gratitude, but don't hold your breath. You see....

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