(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To The Last Post Of The Week From The Blog’s Favourite Living Canadian)
So, on Friday afternoon, El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago emerged from the pro shop to talk about killing the second-most powerful man in a government with which we are not at war on the sovereign soil of a nation of which we are ostensibly an ally. His wrestling match with the teleprompter aside, the president* dealt the bullshit with a bigger than usual shovel. Bear in mind—there is absolutely no good reason to believe anything these people say about anything, let alone about something as serious as making war in the most volatile region of the world. Anyway…
What the United States did yesterday should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved. We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war. Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him.
No reason to believe him. At all.
Things were even worse elsewhere in the administration*. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked darkly of “imminent attacks,” but he also set this beauty free on the electric Twitter machine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and I discussed the decisive defensive action @realDonaldTrump employed in Baghdad to protect American lives. I emphasized that de-escalation is the United States’ principal goal.
So Congress was not consulted, but the Russian government—and Lindsey Graham—were. Lovely.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence decided it was time to tie this whole thing back to…wait for it…9/11, also on the electric Twitter machine. Soleimani, said Pence, “assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.”
First of all, there were 19 hijackers, not 12. Most of them were Saudis. So was the mastermind of the attacks. Not even the wildest conspiracy theorists back in the day tried to hang the 9/11 attacks on Iran. (Saddam Hussein was the Hitler du jour in those days.) What Pence is talking about is anybody’s guess. If you want to talk about people cutting deals with Soleimani’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, you might start with the people who tried to cut a deal with them to build a hotel.
Nobody knows anything.
Can we please take a break from judging a candidate’s relative viability based on every quarterly financial report? Over the last few days, we have heard endless theorizing about how Bernie Sanders racked up $36 million—which is a tidy sum, no doubt—and what it all means. Meanwhile, Amy Klobuchar, comfortably ensconced in single digits in most polls, raised $11 million and change, and this was attributed to a sudden boomlet that has gone unnoticed by any other metric. Pete Buttigieg, whose polls have pretty much stalled, found this mitigated by the $24 million he raised.
Coincidentally, on Friday, Elizabeth Warren announced that she’d raised a little over $21 million, and this somehow was considered troublesome. From the Washington Post:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised $21.2 million in the last quarter of 2019, her campaign said Friday, a haul that places the Democrat from Massachusetts again among top fundraisers — but below three of her party rivals and even behind the money she raised in the previous quarter…Still, Warren’s fourth-quarter total represented a decrease for her. In the third quarter — a notoriously difficult period for fundraising because of the summer lull — Warren had raised nearly a whopping $25 million, propelling her ahead of the pack with a low-dollar online fundraising program that appeared to match that of Democratic-nomination rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
This is indicative of nothing. Raising $21 million is raising a helluva lot of money. It’s raising enough money to compete strongly everywhere. It’s raising enough money to maintain staff. To spin this as though Klobuchar’s $11 million somehow is a more favorable indicator overall than Warren’s $21 million is to lose yourself completely in the Church of the Savvy. How are they spending the money? What’s their burn rate? Is that increased money buying you a corresponding increase in your polling numbers, and if not, why not? And that’s not even to mention that measuring a presidential candidate by a standard based purely on money should make everyone feel icky.
Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: “Partygirls of Yesteryear” (Royal Fingerbowl; No link available but, trust me, its’ great.): Yeah, I pretty much still love New Orleans.
Weekly Visit To The Pathe Archive: Here are FDR, Churchill, and Stalin at the Tehran Conference in 1943, where they committed Iran to joining World War II on the Allied side. Danger! Camel Crossing! Churchill looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. Stalin demonstrates his kung-fu grip. And FDR has little more than a cameo, albeit one set to rather jolly music. History is so cool.
Is it a good day for dinosaur news, Independent? It’s always a good day for dinosaur news!
A primitive lizard that lived 309 million years ago has been unearthed in Canada with its tail wrapped round its young. It is the earliest example uncovered of parental care in the animal kingdom, shedding light on the evolution of love. The fossilised remains include a juvenile positioned belly-up behind the mother’s hind limb and snugly encircled by her tail. The pair died suddenly in a swamp-like forest in Nova Scotia, where the adult had built a den to raise its family, experts say. Their final embrace was captured in time. The new species, which resembled today’s monitor lizard, has been named Dendromaia unamakiensis – after the Greek words for “tree” and “caring mother.”
This is just adorable.
“The animals were discovered in a fossilised stump showing proposed parental care behaviour,” she said. “It would have been a warmer climate than today. Other small reptiles were around, as well as some larger amphibian-like creatures. It probably fed on abundant insects and other small vertebrates.”
When Mom wraps you in her tail to be safe…they lived then to make us happy now.
The Committee is back on the job after the holidays, and Top Commenter Patrick Fiegenbaum is the first Top Commenter of The Week in 2020. He responded to our post about the Australian wildfires by bringing the ol’ Arkansas Traveler into the discussion.
That Arkansas Traveler sure gets around. “We can’t be talking about climate change when the whole ding-busted continent is in flames!” Once the fires are out: “Climate change? What? Everything’s fine right now.”
Take your 81.11 Beckhams and go clogging somewhere, good sir.
I’ll be back on Monday, unless something, ah, untoward happens in the world. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snakeline, and try to come out from under the bed occasionally.