Saturday, April 30, 2022

Meanwhile in a Zoom Meeting in Menotomy...

 The local Democrats decided to host a virtual forum for all the statewide candidates in the selected Democratic Primaries. And Humble Elias, after a too long hiatus, decided to tune in and jot down a few idle...impressions.

Now, mind you, the alleged gubernatorial frontrunner, Maura Healey declined to show, leaving Sonia Chang Diaz with twenty free minutes by which to ruminate unchallenged. I wish Healey has come, one gets better insights into candidates when the compare and contrast is running in real time.

That being said, Ms Chang Diaz, is running as “The Candidate of Passion”, straight out of the Obama/Ayanna Pressley playbook, and Diaz is...passionate, unless she is doubling down on her “detailed policy proposals”, then a tendency to drone on creeps into her rhetoric. She took some inside baseballs swipes at Healey none of which stuck, the details of it I cannot recall, but it is an indicator that Diaz is gonna put up a fight in that primary. Otherwise, it is Straight v. Queer & Jock v. Schoolteacher, I am sure Diaz’ convention speech will be a barn burner whatever else happens.

Brett Bero is running for Lt Governor, and he is a classic presence in that primary, in that he is a town meeting member from Carlisle Ma, running as the candidate of small business. Sound familiar? He is a perfect precis of every minimally experienced starter pol that has been parachuting into that particular primary for the past fifteen years. He seems zealous but predictably unready for the job, he might make an interesting cabinet secretary if he can play his cards right.

Kim Driscoll, the Mayor of Salem Mass, is also running for Lt. Governor, she is polished, articulate, well put together, clearly running as the candidate of the municipalities. She has been a good mayor and good mayors make good Lt. Governors. Your enthusiasm for her candidacy tracks pretty well with how comfortable you are with a ticket headlined by two women.

Tami Gouveia, State Rep from Acton Ma, a Lowell Native, a single mom, also running for Lt Governor, a bit of a droner but thoroughly credible.

Adam Hinds State Senator from the state of mind that is the Berkshires, again a candidate for Lt. Governor, he is earnest, credible, intellectual (so are they all though), his appeal though may lie well out of Rte 495, which could be a good thing.

Eric Lesser, State Senator from Springfield, another western Mass cowboy, running for Lt Governor. He too is running as the candidate of passion, he is earnest and credible, Lesser vaguely reminds me of Vince Vaughn, but in a good way.

None of the worthies assembled were willing to advocate the abolition of that dismal colonial relic, The Governor’s Council, at best they all wanted a return to livecasting said meetings, as if that is gonna change anything. We ask some tough questions in Menotomy.

Otherwise there was an astonishing amount of consensus in the room, perhaps too much at the end of the day, for a democratic primary its an amazingly experienced crew given past primaries. If I had to call it, I think it could be Lesser v. Driscoll, the Atlantic versus the Connecticut River...but we will see.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Welp...We have Accountability...

 in respect of the Chauvin verdict, but I take no joy in it.

My concern is, that we've set a precedent, maybe a very very difficult precedent in that now it is at least theoretically possible to convict a US Police Officer of brutality/homicide only if you have nine minutes of close up video footage with clear audio, multiple witnesses, first responders willing to buck the Blue Wall and or Police Willing to Testify on the record.

The next time (and there have been dozens more since then) will not have nearly as much evidence to tip the scales of justice, and therein lies the problem the bar has at last been set, about a mile above sea level. The fact that it worked in the George Floyd murder case obscures slightly that the standards are so high we may not see them again successfully invoked for another decade.

Meanwhile, thanks to Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs and then George Bush's War on Terror, the Police in this country have basically become Light Mechanized Infantry, so it should come as no surprise they react like Light Mechanized Infantry, shooting first and or last and then asking questions. We got here because the US Public Fears Crime Like a Vampire Fears the Crucifix, We Got Here Because Nobody wants to admit the Police have a In Culture Race Issue and We Got Here Because No One Wants to Discuss These Issues Honestly.

The GOP equates questioning police tactics with treason and the democrats are institutionally inhibited from antagonizing a public sector union, so in reality, no one is in charge, except of course a police culture we can't trust, a mission statement that emphasizes force over sense and all the ammunition and heavy weaponry in the world short of the First Armored Division.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

In Memoriam: "Fritz"

 Late Word comes to Us, of the death of Former US Vice President and the 1984 democratic nominee, Walter "Fritz" Mondale.  Fate in someways dealt well but also perversely to the Former Senator from Minnesota, but for a few hundred thousand votes in three states he might've ended up as Hubert Humphrey's Attorney General in 1968.  As it was, his bona fides as a legit US Senate "Work House" and a liberal stalwart (he was once Fair Housing's Idea of Heinz Guderian) got him the Vice Presidential Nomination with Jimmy Carter in 1976.  It was Mondale's sad fate that in a subsequent administration given over to idealists, outsiders, a few scarred veterans of the Johnson Admin, he the VP was literally the only politician in the room.

Despite a groundbreaking alteration in the status of the VP, where Mondale became an all purpose policy advisor, lightning rod and administrator for the Admin, and finally the office became a pure creature of the Executive Department in the process, I think Carter even today, wishes he'd just listened to Fritz a bit more.  He might've avoided that whole malaise speech thing...Mondale opposed that whole notion, he knew too well that good politicians only announce success, they can never prosper by explaining failure.  Carter's idealism was soon supplanted by Reagan's blatant sky-grifting, and thus we come to campaign '84, wherein Mondale provided two signature services to the electorate, neither was appreciated at the time, but both are of note to historians, y'know the only obit-writers worth reading.

1.) It fell to candidate Mondale to bluntly call the political class' bluff on the subject of the burgeoning budget deficit.  Faced with shortfalls that had quadrupled in four short years, Mondale sighed, rolled up

his sleeves and openly proposed new taxes and budget caps to balance the budget. The punditariat on down, screamed like stuck pigs at this allegedly crass error in tactics, promising to raise taxes in an election years is "bad politics" etc.  However its my own view that Mondale's blunt assessment of the deficit called everyone's bluff, Reagan was always lying about balancing the budget, hiding behind a proposed constitutional amendment that would never be passed by congress to say nothing of being approved by the state, he knew it and yet on he went fantasizing and prevaricating. Mondale also demonstrated that the entire political class inside and outside congress was completely intellectually corrupt on the notion of the deficit, at best as a matter of economics its a worry every four years that never seems to get resolved, thus making it a remarkably intangible threat to our survival.  A liberal democrat running as a deficit hawk was a bold Quixotic Choice in 1984, but really those were the only desperate options open to Mondale.  He exposed something that dogs us to this day, for that he earns the gratitude of history, it's not for nothing that no one has ever revisited the issue in a serious way on the campaign trail since 1984.

2.) It fell to Mondale, to demonstrate in public the imperiled nature of Ronald Reagan's wits in that first presidential debate back in 1984. The President, clearly had an attack of aphasia on live television maundering and wandering off his usually strictly prepared script. It was an early harbinger of things to come with Donald Trump with his four year long narcissistic fugue state. The fact that the whole country got a good long look at Reagan's faltering mentality and still voted for him,  isn't an indictment of Mondale's appeal, it is however a sad testament to the USA's ability to face facts when we think times are good.  But in the end it worked out for the Best, I've always maintained Nancy Reagan was one of the best US President's we've ever had, at least insofar as Arms Control is Concerned.

But the ensuing electoral debacle, even that Mondale survived...he retired, wrote some books, collected his pension, Clinton made him Ambassador to Japan...slowly the chat show called him in on occasional, it may have been a source of grim ironic solace to Mondale at the end that he was right about almost everything he discussed in 1984...even the efficacy of nominating a woman for VP, Kamala Harris owes much to the trailblazing of Geraldine Ferraro.

And if, in the end, we are not, living in Mondale's rational, utilitarian, liberal consensus driven world, then maybe, having seen the ghastly alternatives we ought to give that world a second chance.

R.I.P. Fritz, you are one vote I never regretted.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

This Mook....

 Representative Matt Gaetz a brazen toady to the Ex President, Donald Trump, allegedly has the charming habit of showing risqué smartphone photos of his romantic conquests  on the floor of The US House of Representatives.  Sadly that is not even the worst thing that ever happened on the Floor of the US House but it's pretty cringeworthy and indicative of a person who has yet to mentally graduate High School. And sadly, Gaetz would probably still be on his sexual reign of terror if he hadn't fallen afoul an alleged 17 year old paramour. If I was the DoJ I'd check the birth certificates of all those alleged "conquests" on Gaetz' smartphone, I suspect some additional surprises are thereon.  I get the vibe offa Matt here is that he is pretty unpleasantly aggressive, he'd have to be with a face like that, it's strictly "Post Cosmetic Surgery Frankenstein" going on there.

Health to the investigators, because nothing short of a blizzard of indictments will compel this gruesome nasty man to quit his post, sheer shame simply doesn't work on His Kind.

Monday, March 08, 2021


 Our Governor Charlie Baker (GOP/IBM) has done wonders for manufacturing in Massachusetts. He has a whole assembly line to fabricate excuses when supplies run low, people have to wait forever in line or when the state's website auto destructs. He is really good that way. I'm fifty eight and I've noticed that a lot of my college classmates down in Connecticut are getting vaccinated, meanwhile up here, my sixty six year old brother has spent the last two weeks trying to secure a vaccination appointment from North Adams to the Atlantic...zilch, nada.

Call it whatever you like, but come next year when Charlie runs for his third term, just don't call it managerial genius. In fact this is what we get when we have a Governor who thinks the private sector can fix a rainy day and that cancer can be cured with a tax cut. What you also get is a cheap fragile vaccination website composed literally of check marks on a list, and nothing else!

And thats all we are gonna get until the Governor starts making better use of public resources to battle a public health crisis. Just don't hold your breath on that one, we are simply gonna limp along while Connecticut, New Hampshire and West Virginia laugh at our staggered stumbling pace, sooner or later we'll get to herd immunity and when we do, we'll likely fall right over it.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

There is no linkage...

 between the Governor's sudden decision to ease up on public venue restrictions and the fact that His Excellency was grilled good and proper by the Joint Legislative Oversight, no linkage whatsoever...


Of course there is linkage, all Baker said before the Oversight Committee was that vaccine scarcity was driving our program, he had no explanation as to why the state's vaccination website keeps operating at a crawl when it isn't prompting outright tears of frustration.  So hell to the yeah, Baker suddenly starting easing up on restrictions, he needed to seize control of the news cycle. Regardless of his preposterous approval ratings, Baker must still contend with the possibility of a primary challenge.  Gubernatorial primary challenges are no joke, most end in failure, but then again tell that to Ed King.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

On Sunday The Globe's Jeff Jacoby had this to say...

 regarding our strategically ambiguous policy towards Taiwan:

"When the Carter Administration established full diplomatic ties with China,  it was in the hope that the Regime in Beijing would gradually liberalize, democratize and adhere to the norms of international cooperation. That Hope has proved delusional."

Ahem, we extended full diplomatic recognition to the P.R.C. in 1978 because Washington D.C. and Beijing had a mutual enemy, The U.S.S.R.  In fact at the time China was holding down 200 Soviet Divisions along their mutual border. These were divisions that would otherwise be used to back up the Warsaw Pact in the West.  At the time, for containment to work, the USA needed the PRC to worry & vex Moscow. If poor Taiwan could hold down 200 division's we'd a never have ditched them...President Carter's decision at the time, was very much justified since Taiwan at the time was ruled by an authoritarian Junta that provided no strategic asset.  These days though it is admittedly a different story,  don't blame the current situation in the Taiwan Straits on Carter, he needed a ally who could deliver and that is what he got.  Poor Jimmy, even his realpolitik is misunderstood....