This election is not the clown show of the 2012 Republican Primary, but there are lots of colorful candidates and non-politicians Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina together are polling over 50 percent with no endorsements from the chattering class. This may help explain why Kanye West ended a bizarre rant at the MTV Video Music Awards with the announcement that he is running for president in 2020.
The rant launched from his 2009 VMA escapade grabbing the mic from Taylor Swift to complain that Beyoncé should have gotten the award Swift was accepting. Mid-rant, West blurted out his probable campaign slogan, “I’m not no politician, bro!” Then he admitted he had “rolled up a little somethin’” to “knock the edge off.”
West did not reveal what party nomination he would seek, so we don’t know if President Obama’s description of his 2009 display as “jackass” ran him away from the Democrats.
My Republican cousin Ray Sixkiller was ROFL, so I had to point out that Kanye West would be the second black president and the third to admit smoking weed. “West would lose money as POTUS,” he gasped, “but Kim Kardashian as FLOTUS would make the whole thing worthwhile.”
The current POTUS went to Alaska to talk about climate change and announce an executive order re-naming Denali Denali. William Dickey, a gold-seeking white man who was trying to pump up William McKinley’s campaign, misnamed Denali for the GOP candidate because McKinley favored the gold standard. Alaska Natives ignored Dicky, the gold standard, and the idea that Denali had changed.
The federal government made McKinley “official” much later, after he had been elected and assassinated. McKinley, while not a distinguished POTUS, rose in status like any assassinated official and remains a favorite son of the great state of Ohio. The Ohio Congressional delegation is appalled by Obama stripping away the “honor.”
Ohio’s primary support among presidential candidates came from Donald Trump. After promising to change the name back, The Donald tweeted: “Make McKinley great again!”
Trump bagged a widely sought endorsement from Charlie Sheen, who changed his tune just a couple of months after calling Trump “a sad & silly homunculus.” Sheen tweeted, “If Trump will hv me I'd be his VP in a heartbeat! #TrumpSheen16.”
Trump’s only VP idea so far was Sarah Palin. Public Policy Polling ran numbers on Sheen back in 2011, although for POTUS. Republicans chose Sheen over Obama 37-28. Democrats chose Sheen over Sarah Palin, 44-24. Independents preferred Sheen over Palin 41-36. So, Mr. Trump, just saying…
In other disaster news, Rachel Maddow showed a Jeb Bush campaign video bragging about his response to hurricanes while governor of Florida. Standing next to the man who wants to be Bush III was the man appointed by Bush II to head FEMA, Michael Brown, who did such a sterling job when Katrina hit New Orleans ten years ago. In case anyone missed that, Brown published a piece in Politico blaming the Katrina fiasco on local officials, the head of Homeland Security, and the media. Cousin Ray snarked, “Heckuva job, Brownie.”
The Katrina debacle aggravated the racism problem the Republican Party has had ever since it turned to the Southern Strategy in 1964 to poach the Dixiecrats out of the Democratic Party with opposition to the Civil Rights Act and one racial dog whistle after another.
Running against Mexicans in this election cycle contributes to that problem because Mexicans are…to state the obvious….brown and…to state the less obvious…mostly of indigenous blood. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker seeks to defuse the racism charge against the impractical wall on the Mexican border by proposing an impractical wall on the Canadian border,
Aside from being impossible for any price we can afford, the Canadian wall actually has some cockeyed sense in that all of the radical Islamic terrorists caught at the border so far were caught at the Canadian border.
Meanwhile, Chris Christie proposes solving the immigration problem by bar coding persons who enter legally so they can be tracked and deported if their visa exceeds its shelf life.
Scott Walker told Morning Joe that our principal foreign policy problem is “failure to be aggressive in the Middle East.” Cousin Ray heaved a sigh. “So, we fought a war over Kuwait and we’re shooting at people ourselves or though proxies in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt and Yemen. We’re arms dealers for Israel, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Remind me what other countries are located in the Middle East?”
I reminded him. The Sultanate of Oman.
“Good grief! Scott Walker wants to invade Oman?”
In the longest war in U.S. history, where the neocons will also claim we’re not aggressive enough, the announcement of Mullah Omar’s death has led to a scramble for leadership in the Taliban. To understand who’s on first, Radio Free Europe has posted an interactive chart of leaders and wannabes in the Afghan Taliban.
Unhinged kids decamping their homeland to fight for ISIS cause a lot of head scratching, but now Foreign Policy reported on more than 100 Americans who left their life of comfort to fight against ISIS. Most are with the Kurds, who have done more good against ISIS than anybody else in spite of having no country to call their own.
Taking up this fight without enlisting is a big deal. You have to pay your own way and have a return ticket. The government discourages any travel to the area, let alone fighting, but you won’t go to jail like the folks who go there to fight in favor of Islamic terrorism.
Those who go to the good guys are disproportionately veterans. One is Samantha Johnson, 23, of North Carolina, an Army veteran and mother of three. Her gender got her a photo spread in the Daily Mail taken from her Facebook page, where she posts from a Kurdish unit in Northern Iraq.
For ISIS supporters, there has been a 70 page E-book skipping around the Internet, How to Survive in the West, purporting to teach jihadi wannabes how to make themselves useful. Ryan Faith published a review on Vice News pointing out the incongruity that ISIS wants recruits to learn Krav Maga, a fighting technique from the Israeli military. Maybe not politically correct, but it’s practical. Of the rest of the advice, Faith opines:
If you ignore the fact that this book is about the pursuit of subjugating all of humanity under a regime run by hyperviolent maniacs, the instruction manual is actually kind of adorable in a kittens and hand grenades sort of way. It's pretty clearly written by a young guy who really wants to live a secret life as a holy jihadist 007 type, but would be hard pressed to find his ass with both hands.
Turning to less deadly character flaws, the Ashley Madison hack has embarrassed a lot of people. In last week’s column I noted that the Defense Department was investigating violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for adultery. It turns out that there was a lot more embarrassment than adultery.
Gizmodo published a technical analysis of the Ashley Madison data dump and concluded that the number of real women available to be met on the site is exceedingly small. You can walk though the analysis here, but I’m satisfied it supports Gizmodo’s conclusion that “the overwhelming majority of men using Ashley Madison weren’t having affairs. They were paying for a fantasy.”
In a follow-up report here, the plot thickened. The data showed that Ashley Madison had created an “army of fembots” over 70,000 strong to flirt with human men. The upside is that the fembots are programmed to leave gay people, men and women, seldom contacted by a bot. Those looking for same-sex activity or seeking a person of the same sex to complete a ménage à trois actually have a chance of hooking up. The biggest error in the first report was that bot messages were mistaken for human messages which, I suppose, is the point of bots.
The downside is that there were so few conversations between humans that Ashley Madison was saving the contents of intimate chats in databases not hacked. Knowing those on line flirtations are archived and therefore can be subpoenaed might be keeping some men up at night for reasons having nothing to do with bedroom action.
Adding injury to insult, Ashley Madison charged straight men who caught on for removal from the database. The hack proved Ashley Madison did not really remove those who tried to check out of the roach motel---just took them down from the Web. Cousin Ray noted somebody besides Ashley Madison made money. “Divorce lawyers.”
A historical dispatch from the gender wars reminded me I’m lucky to have dabbled in the pundit game all my adult life, so I’m not immobilized by the immortality of my errors. To do this job, you remember that a baseball player who bats over .500 is a superstar. This observation is directed to the venerable Atlantic, which is digitizing archives, and has discovered an article from 1903 on why women do not support the suffrage movement. Pull quote:
Woman does not wish to turn aside from her higher work, which is itself the end of life, to devote herself to government, which exists only that this higher work may be done. Can she not do both? No!
Rather than risk a comment, I’ll prove my masculine bona fides by turning to football.
The Washington Post and the sports world have been in escalating wonderment for years at how the Washington football team has misused and abused potential superstar Robert Griffin III, failing to provide him with either a playbook suited to his talents or a competent offensive line.
The latest bit of crazy followed another RGIII concussion during practice. The scrambling QB will sit in favor of excellent pocket passer Kirk Cousins. The third QB in the chart, fellow Texan Colt McCoy, is better suited to a Kirk Cousins game than an RGIII game. Pulitzer Prize winning Post columnist Eugene Robinson commented on Morning Joe, “I think the team is cursed until it changes the name.”
“Wow,” I said to Cousin Ray, “the RGIII and Washington team story ought to be a movie.”
“Too late,” Ray replied glumly. “Wes Craven died this week.”