Drinks On the House

It’s a busy week this week outside the bar so I’m just opening a new thread and all of you can talk amongst yourselves. And the drinks are free. 

Oh, just a few things:

  1. Hillary Clinton is a blatant liar and if she is nominated President, it will be a dark day for the Democratic Party. 
  2. Donald Trump NEVER opposed immigration nor Mexicans. From his opening statement onward, he opposed illegal immigration. 
  3. There is a huge wing-ding underway in New York’s Central Park today to end extreme poverty in 15 years. Am I the only one who finds this preposterous?

What do you think? The bar is open. 

syrian refugees 2015

The Syrian Migration Crisis – What’s O Got to do With It?

Here at the Bar and Grill, the conversation often turns to casting blame for domestic and international problems and the fellow who usually gets blamed by my mostly conservative clientele is Barack Obama. The notion that the humanitarian disaster underway in the Mideast and Europe right now sits at Obama’s feet seems preposterous to me. Every now and then, one of my patrons expresses things far better than I could so when I saw a comment by frequent customer Thorsaurus, I jumped at the chance to promote it to a featured blog post.

So, with his permission (and a tiny bit of editing on my part), and without further ado, here are Thor’s thoughts on the migration crisis. You can find more of Thor’s writing at his blog.

What should Obama have done differently? Are you saying we should support dictators and strong men in order to prevent a Caliphate? Then why did we remove Saddam? I see no rising Crescent, just a rebranding of the Sunnis in the same lust-for-power turf war that has gone on for centuries. Yes, ISIS is brutal. The Saudis are brutal. Saddam was brutal. Assad is brutal. Assad’s father was brutal. Bashir is brutal. Mubarak was brutal. Qaddafi was brutal. The Shah was brutal. Idi Amin was brutal. Nasser was brutal. The Tuareg were brutal. Kubla Khan was brutal. They are like cockroaches. One gets smashed, three more emerge. Peter, Paul and Jesus couldn’t tame this region. How are we supposed to do it?

It will have to come from the people that live there, if it is to last. If it happens at all, it will require a long series of bloody revolutions. Authoritarians don’t give up their empires easily. We had to defeat the throne twice, and its men still came back and screwed with us during the civil war.

Blame Obama if you want, but he is just the latest in a long list of Presidents that couldn’t “solve” the Middle East. And our involvement, really only since the end of WWII, only represents a sliver of the time these people have been fighting this battle. The suffering is hard to watch, but I’m coming to the conclusion that intervening in the Middle East is like trying to help an alcoholic. We can be careful to protect ourselves while giving support, but the only way to end the pain is for the addict themselves to embrace a new way of life.

All I can say is BRAVO! What do you think? The bar is open.


Mental Masturbation Disguised as a Candidacy

For a couple of weeks I’d seen Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig on the tube talking about a potential run for President. The election reformer in me liked what I was hearing. Then I heard a talking head, whose name I don’t remember, on Slate’s Political Gabfest podcast get really irate over Lessig’s proposition. Despite being liberal, she seemed practically insulted by what Lessig had planned. I found her over the top until I gave it more thought. 

Lessig’s idea is to have a referendum presidency. If elected, he would pursue one goal and one goal only, campaign finance reform including the overturning of the Citizens United SCOTUS decision. Once he has achieved his reforms he will resign, handing the presidency over to his VP. 

The idea, of course, is absurd. The world won’t stop while Lessig pursues his single issue agenda. Nations fight amongst each other. Natural disasters occur. Economies go in the toilet. What does Lessig plan to do while these events swirl around him? As far as I can tell, not a damn thing. 

And this is where I understand the Slate panelist’s irritability. As a country we’ve got big problems and we need a President fit to take them on. Lessig represents the bizarro-world polar opposite of Donald Trump. Where Trump has a “just trust me” approach devoid of intellectual rigor, Lessig is an egg head intellectual reinventing the presidency to suit his experimental parameters. 

Lessig has officially declared his candidacy and I, for one, wish he’d just go away. Running for president shouldn’t be some university social lab exercise. Intellectual masturbation should be confined to journal articles and talk shows. It has no place in running to lead a troubled nation. 

What do you think? The bar is open.