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Messages - Crafty_Dog

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They have been paying this guy big bucks for fourteen years and now, with exquisitely convenient timing , , ,

Politics & Religion / Re: Media, Ministry of Truth Issues
« on: Today at 03:14:20 AM »
No bueno!

Politics & Religion / Re: 2024
« on: Today at 03:12:21 AM »
Tulsi is cute when she was on Tucker, and for a former Dem has some things we like, but not even close to ready for this level.

Noem is cute and on the whole has been a good MAGA gov of a low population density relatively homogenous state, but I'm not sensing the fire in the belly needed to take on the Woken Dead Progs.

I suspect he is mentioning them as a way of giving them respect and to pander to the women's vote.

Cruz is a very good lawyer and a very good Senator but totally lacks the executive chops-- and would not serve well as a vote getter.

Trump is giving a lot of spotllight to Sen. Tim Scott.   Scott could be a good choice for adding oomph to the wedge that Trump is establishing for the black/POC vote.  Scott's relentless positive patriotism could be a really good counterweight.  His emotional IQ seems to be good.  At the moment my first choice.

Politics & Religion / Re: Ukraine
« on: Today at 03:01:24 AM »

Politics & Religion / Re: 2024
« on: February 20, 2024, 03:06:01 PM »
If the Ides of March take out the Obama's Marionette, then I'm thinking Bryll Cream takes out the Cackling Kommie with the help of his aunt.

Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: baseball
« on: February 20, 2024, 03:03:23 PM »
Well, I'm being a bit of a smartass by bringing up from the Memory Hole the Dodgers pushing of these folks.

Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors
« on: February 20, 2024, 02:45:25 PM »
 :-D :-D :-D

Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
« on: February 20, 2024, 02:44:25 PM »
A quality read.

Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics
« on: February 20, 2024, 01:17:00 PM »
Yes, key points we need to hammer made there!

"Yale and MIT estimate the actual 2016 figure was more like 22.1 million)"

This was the study whose authors slipped my mind.   A serious study.   Let's find the link for proper citation!

Politics & Religion / Re: 2024
« on: February 20, 2024, 01:12:44 PM »
"incredible spectacle"

Major click bait for the Prog Pravdas to provide bread & circuses for the plebes until the insiders push Nancy's nephew across the finish line.  Once nominated he greases his way (remember how he foiled Hannity?) on a message of new, young, good looking, blah blah.  The plebes will have their excuse to vote against Bad Orange Man.

Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors
« on: February 20, 2024, 12:55:04 PM »

IIRC:  Dick Harman, of Harman Electronics and the December husband to July bride and my 1992 Congressional opponent Jane Harman (she won haha) bought Newsweek for one dollar.

Science, Culture, & Humanities / PP
« on: February 20, 2024, 09:51:08 AM »
Sister of Perpetual Indulgence charged with child porn: Last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers stubbornly insisted on celebrating the deviant anti-Catholic hate group known as the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence," men who dress as drag queen nuns. Apparently, the Dodgers' brass was more worried about offending the Rainbow Mafia than any of its Christian fanbase. Well, lo and behold, one of these drag queens has been arrested in Wisconsin and charged with possession of child pornography and sexual exploitation of a child. He is a member of the anti-Catholic drag queen group's Wisconsin chapter known as the Brew City Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and he is also a teacher. It seems like willingness to engage in blatant sexual deviancy should be a warning of other possibly more sinister behavior.

Politics & Religion / TANGLE
« on: February 20, 2024, 09:20:09 AM »
I have posted two items today from TANGLE.

I am on its mailing list and today is the first day I have given it a proper read.  Though I disagree with certain things, I am definitely intrigued by today.  Seems to be sincere in its search for integrity in analysis.

Politics & Religion / A thoughtful Dem strategy articulated
« on: February 20, 2024, 09:15:14 AM »

Your questions, answered.
Q: Did you listen to Ezra Klein's recent take on Biden stepping down? What are your thoughts on it?

— John from Bogotá, Colombia

Tangle: I did. And I found it incredibly persuasive.

For those of you who missed it, Klein made the case in a 25-minute podcast monologue that President Biden should step aside and allow the Democratic party to tap his replacement. You can go read or listen to it here. He starts by making the case that Biden has been a good president and that everyone he speaks to who is close to Biden says he is genuinely running the show. I'm not going to get into those arguments here, but it’s what Klein says next that is the most interesting:

Biden is very clearly not the same man he was four years ago, and although he might be able to serve as president, he does not appear to be up for campaigning for president.
Trump is winning right now, and Democrats need an injection of something new to turn the tables.
It is not too late to change course.
Biden needs to realize that his legacy is on the line, and it’d be better for him to concede that it should be someone else and step down now.
Once he does that, Democrats could use the convention to pick a nominee, which would be an incredible spectacle and media bonanza that'd be good for the party.
There is a ton of talent on the Democratic bench behind Biden.
After days of speeches and jockeying for attention, whoever came out as the nominee wouldn't be Biden or Trump, and Democrats could say they listened to the country, and this candidate would immediately be at an advantage.
I think all of this is right. I actually think it is a pretty brilliant reframing of the choices Democrats have. Yes, it is in some ways "anti-democratic" because in this scenario the primaries (where Biden is destroying the other candidates) would be over and the party’s delegates would be the ones choosing. But that blame would mostly fall to Biden for taking so long to step down. And if or when he does, the party has only one option, which is taking it to the convention. On the upside, the delegates picking the next candidate would be representatives from each state, casting votes based on what they hear and see from voters and the candidates. It would have been better to have had a genuinely open primary, but putting alternatives forward at the convention is better than doing nothing at all.

I also think the media spectacle — stealing the attention from Trump and doing something a bit radical to energize the Democratic base — would be very smart. It would be an absolute media blowout, with live speeches from Democrats nationally televised for days on end culminating with a massive reveal of the nominee, followed by all the earned media that nominee would get heading into November. Even better for Democrats is that it'd take weeks or months for the Republican party to gather the opposition research and framing to take the candidate down a notch.

Could it backfire? Definitely, and Klein acknowledges that. But I still think it’s a better option for the party than forcing a second Biden term on unenthusiastic Democratic voters, many of whom will only be casting a ballot to stop Trump.

Politics & Religion / A reasoned assesment of the GA case
« on: February 20, 2024, 09:14:02 AM »
Though I disagree with the take on the 2020 elections, the rest of this is a pretty good attempt at REPORTING on the GA case.

The latter.

Politics & Religion / Newsweek: Gaza War is unique
« on: February 20, 2024, 09:00:20 AM »


OTOH this lays the foundation for DeSantis should something knock Trump out.

Politics & Religion / Panama
« on: February 19, 2024, 01:42:57 PM »
Obviously this is a matter of Homeland Security, and to put it in Latin America would lead it to being hard to find down the road, so I am thinking Panama deserves its own thread, not only for Homeland issues, but to dial in on Chinese footprint, and establishing trail for its flood of fifth column agents.


Politics & Religion / GPF: Venezuela's "transition"
« on: February 19, 2024, 01:39:54 PM »
Could benefit from a goodly dose of cynicism , , ,

February 19, 2024
View On Website
Open as PDF

Washington Remains Committed to Venezuela’s Transition
But its resolve isn’t absolute.
By: Allison Fedirka

It’s no secret that the United States wants regime change in Venezuela. Since 2019, Washington has intensified its efforts toward that end by boosting support for the political opposition, backing a parallel government and employing sanctions against the state’s most lucrative businesses. But none of these efforts has produced Washington’s desired result – and any future ones will likewise encounter strict limitations.

Washington’s interest in Venezuela lies in its interest in securing the Western Hemisphere. Venezuela’s position in the Caribbean basin, its ties to Cuba, its anti-U.S. alignment and its status as a major drug trafficking country make it uniquely suited to potentially disrupt hemispheric security. For the U.S., a secure Caribbean engenders maritime trade, reduces illicit business flows and keeps adversaries at a comfortable distance. Instability in Venezuela, then, threatens vital U.S. interests. Under the government of President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela has grown markedly less stable, and it shows no sign of stabilizing – not with the U.S. sanctions regime against it, and not with its few allies financially unable to assist it. The status quo will continue to spur emigration, social unrest, nationalist sentiment and political radicalization, so Washington wants to make sure whoever replaces Maduro isn’t indifferent or hostile to U.S. considerations.

Sanctions have been Washington’s tool of choice for forcing Caracas’ hand. The U.S. first employed them in 2014 to target high-profile individuals. In 2018, Washington added state-run companies such as oil firm PDVSA and various financial transactions to the list. This latter round proved particularly costly to the Venezuelan economy, so the next year the U.S. began to allow select energy companies to conduct business with Venezuela under specific conditions. It was not until October 2023 that the U.S. government issued a six-month suspension of all sanctions against Venezuelan state-owned companies and financial transactions – a result of a political agreement between the Maduro government and the opposition known as the Barbados accords, which also called for free and fair elections. Yet at the beginning of 2024, Maduro disqualified the candidacy of the winner of the opposition's primary, calling into question his fealty to the Barbados accords. In response, the U.S. reimposed sanctions on Minerven, the state-run gold company, and threatened to reimpose sanctions on the oil industry by April 18 if no conclusive progress has been made.

Notably, American businesses are against the sanctions. Heavyweights like Chevron, Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price and Greylock Capital have much to gain in Venezuela and have thus advocated easing sanctions, arguing that it’s in Washington’s best interest that private U.S. firms are free to counter foreign competitors.

Last year, for example, Russian prospecting company RosGeo signed an agreement with PDVSA that develops technical advising, vocational training and geophysical prospecting for oil and gas deposits. This opens the door for Russian ships to conduct studies off the Venezuelan coast in the Caribbean basin. Certain Wall Street financial firms warned that investors from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus – all places known for funneling Russian money – had purchased billions of dollars worth of Venezuelan bonds. In response, the U.S. government allowed bond purchases to continue instead of sanctioning them again with the gold mining licenses.

Also factoring into Washington’s Venezuela policy is the need to preserve other relationships in the region. ExxonMobil, for example, has said it plans to drill in Guyana this year. And though it said it would do so in uncontested waters (Venezuela disputes the ownership of some offshore oil wells) the announcement nonetheless triggered Venezuela to again deploy a small number of troops to Guyana’s border. Washington is all but forced to side with Guyana, but it has no interest in a military intervention, which would alienate Washington from the rest of Latin America. To help share the responsibility of stabilizing Venezuela, Washington turned to Colombia and Brazil. Brasilia led talks at the start of this year to help reduce border tensions between Venezuela and Guyana. And Colombian politics, not to mention its close ties with both the U.S. and Venezuela, makes Bogota a key player in facilitating a political resolution in Venezuela.

This latter point is particularly important because Venezuela’s domestic political landscape is among the biggest constraints to improving bilateral ties with the U.S. The Maduro government came to office as the hand-picked successor of Hugo Chavez. Maduro still holds a grip on power through a series of economic, illicit, political and security networks, and he still controls virtually the entire state apparatus. But the country’s dramatic economic decline created political fissures within the once-united Chavista camp centered on Maduro supporters, traditionalists and reformers. Maduro supporters agree with the government’s more aggressive foreign policy and are generally content to turn a blind eye to the domestic crackdowns that have occurred to keep political support in line. Traditional Chavistas criticize Maduro for corruption and mismanagement. They favor a return to the political and economic structures that are consistent with Chavez’s original intentions. This camp finds its support largely among the military and lower classes. The reformists support a more pragmatic approach. Many of them studied overseas and come from the middle class and business class in Venezuela. Their pro-business stance leads to a more pragmatic and technocratic approach to governance.

Then there is the opposition, led by Maria Corina Machado. She presents as a technocrat in that she studied finance and public policy both domestically and overseas, but her activism took off in 2013 after Chavez’s death. She is a harsh critic of Maduro and traditional Chavismo. Her political platform calls for systematic reform by reducing the role of state companies, lowering welfare payments, promoting the private sector and weakening the executive’s power. In terms of political capital, she has no rival in the opposition. Her hardline stance has endeared her to the public but has made her a target for the regime.

If the U.S. wants to engage Venezuela, it needs to engage all three groups. It can’t afford to completely circumvent those who control state institutions, nor can it ignore the institutional reformists who, along with the pro-democracy open-economy opposition, would be the vanguard of a political transition, which needs to find a way to allow Maduro to save face. Machado’s rhetoric indicates that she understands Maduro’s position and that there is a greater need to move forward than to retaliate.

All these moving pieces will weigh on Washington’s decision on whether it will renew sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector come April 18. As the political drama unfolds, the U.S. will adjust its calculus – for instance, by determining if it will punish Venezuela for imprisoning political activists and expelling U.N. human rights officials. Washington remains committed to a political transition in Venezuela that includes allowing opposition candidates to run for office, announcing electoral calendars and formally inviting election observers from the European Union. But its resolve is not absolute; even the U.S. must operate within its constraints.

Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Technology (nano, 3D, robots, etc)
« on: February 19, 2024, 11:53:42 AM »
My understanding is that American REE production pollutes a lot and that our increasing regulations drove its production offshore, leading to current Chinese dominance.

Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant/Self Intro
« on: February 19, 2024, 11:36:22 AM »
I forget how we have it posted here, but there is some way to pull things up from the youtube memory hole.

Looking to get my hands on this:

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