Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Well, apparently we’re not going to war today, so that’s nice. Been a weird 72 hours, though, and I’m not sure anyone has any clue what we’re doing, much less the guys who’re supposed to be running the show. Okay, so let’s get up to speed.

As we know, the weekend started off with the U.S. launching a drone strike against Iran’s Republican National Guard General Qassem Soleimani at an airport in Baghdad, Iraq, killing him and a half-dozen other guys connected to the various militias and paramilitary groups fighting the remnants of ISIS. The strike was launched by Trump from his Mar-A-Lago compound without consulting Congress and with apparently minimal input from the military and intelligence agencies. We were told initially that Iran hated this guy’s guts and would be cheering our actions.

However, this is not how it worked out and the people of Iran were pretty pissed off. For that matter, most of the Middle East were a bit fed up and even Israel didn’t want to be pulled into things. As things heated up, Iran launched a couple dozen surface-to-surface missiles at Iraqi military bases where American servicemen were stationed. First we were told 30 or so people, then we were told no Americans were killed, so it didn’t matter. Before all is said and done, we’re being told no one at all was killed in the missile strikes and damage to the installations was minimal. Also, Iran pulled out of the nuclear agreement Obama set up in 2015, which one assumes is all Trump really wanted.

After ducking out on it last night, Trump gave one of his usual rambling, mush-mouthed sniffling speeches, saying whatever they were trying to do was done, the rest of the world needs to take responsibility for what the U.S. does, and it’s all Obama’s fault, anyway. He and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei both put their dicks away, each man saying the othershould be glad they decided to not kick their ass. And while the Cult takes its victory laps, Iran launched two more missile strikes at Baghdad’s Green Zone, again with minimal damage and no casualties.

Congress finally got its briefing on the Soleimani briefing this morning and, naturally, Democrats were unsatisfied with how thin and slapdash it was. Interestingly, a couple Republicans were a bit miffed as well. In particular, Mike Lee and legacy pledge Rand Paul had some discouraging words for how it was handled, Lee especially feeling like Congress’ input was only valued if they didn’t question Trump’s actions. Lee in particular had some harsh words for how the President’s people managed things, calling it the worst one he’s seen since he’s been in Congress.

For their part, Democrats like Sen. Tammy Baldwin pointed out that Trump’s actions may’ve rid the world of a perfectly awful son of a bitch, it also weakened U.S. relations with Iraq and strengthened Iran’s case against the U.S. for no real good reason. Well, apart from throwing some red meat to the base by blaming Obama and wagging the dog for a couple days.

So, where does that leave us? Hell, I don’t know and, disconcertingly, I really don’t think anyone else does, either, particularly not the clowns who’re supposed to be running this circus. It’s not going to shake loose his faithful, a fairly blood-thirsty lot with yet another reason to hate their fellow countrymen, the ones they were issuing vague, surly threats of bloody civil war against just last month. People who don’t think Trump knows what the hell he’s doing nor does he care still don’t think he knows what he’s doing nor does he care.

In that way, it’s a lot like his recent Impeachment or his on-going shady business deals, something that’ll basically be forgotten by this time next and replaced with something even more outrageously stupid, God help us all. So I guess we’ll move on.

Well, Australia’s still on fire, causing more destruction than last year’s Amazon fires, while the Prime Minister stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the reality of climate change because fuck Australia, that’s why. The latest horror to come down the pike was the announcement that over one billion animals have been killed in the conflagrations.

Now, while I’m not one for anthropomorphizing anything, but it’s a useful metaphor to view the ongoing climate crisis is much like a person catching a virus: the Earth is trying to get rid of us because we’re very bad for it. Unfortunately, the animals who’re just trying to do their animal thing will suffer worse than us. We might still could do something about befouling the planet due to greed and mendacity, but I doubt we will and there aren’t enough cute kangaroos with burned paws to make us do the work.

A little closer to home, the much-battered Puerto Rich has experienced more than 500 earthquakes over the last fortnight. The island – full of American citizens despite what some wish to believe – is still recovering from the massive hurricane and gross governmental neglect two years ago. Yesterday saw a 6.4 quake, killing one person, following a 5.8 the day before, knocking out power to much of the island. As of yet, the President of the United States of America has yet to say a word on this, reminding everyone how little of a shit he gives about people under his watch when it comes down to it. If you can give, do so; here are some links and links to links.

Let’s wrap it up. I wrote something at Tumblr about New Orleans and bad decisions if you’re interested. Nothing heavy, just a little maudlin rumination on a decade wandering the bayous. For the ongoing complete mess that is the Mississippi prison system, the excellent Jackson Free Press put together this collection of stories they’ve done on the horrific conditions and the piss-poor management from the state government – specifically outgoing governor Phil Bryant – continually dodge any responsibility for the half-ass job they’ve done. The JFP does great work, do check ’em out.

And in a bit of hopeful news, legalization of medical marijuana will be on the 2020 ballot come November. This comes after Compassionate Care, the group behind the campaign, garnered enough signatures to put it on the ballot. A poll last January found that 67% of Mississippi residents was in favor of legalization and positives include not only help with chronic pain and care for veterans but also a way to combat the plague of meth and opioid use that’s killing Mississippians stone dead just because they’re trying to deal with life in this goddamn state.

Bryant’s against it, of course, but fuck him, he’s leaving and he’s an asshole, anyway. Neither Jim Hood or Tate Reeves would take a stand on the issue during last November’s election, I won’t insult Reeves like I usually do until he does pull the trigger because most of his constituency are for it and I’m not beyond sucking up for a decent connection.

In any event, if a state full of people needed to smoke a bowl of the good stuff and settle down for a bit worse than the Magnolia State, I don’t know who it is. I’m not sanguine about the chances, personally, but you never know. Stranger things have happened. Last couple of days show that.

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