Bumbling Bees was dark all last week due to technical difficulties. Our apologies! Now to get back to business, and business is weird!
The one good thing about Hillary Clinton
She’s old and infirm, and, seventeen years after her humiliating electoral defeat, it is highly unlikely that she’ll still be haunting around trying to destroy human civilization for fun and profit. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Al Gore, whose pet foundation, the Energy Transitions Commission, is hard at work attempting to end energy generation for the sake of global fairness and also oh didn’t you see that picture of the polar bears on the ice floe??
In particular, the group has released a report outlining its plan to save the world from the dread existential terror of possibly being very slightly warmer than it is now, while at the same time also battling global inequality and presumably paying off your student loans too. It’s going to take a bit to build toward the punch line on this one, but it’s worth it.
Ah, congress. That branch of the government most beloved by rubes who’ve convinced themselves that they’re being represented, have ever been represented, and should be represented. Speaking for myself, I’ve never been represented in my life; still and all, I’m compelled to admit that there is probably a significant constituency that is quite thoroughly represented by good ol’ Maxine Waters, arguably the stupidest congressman in history.
Poor Maxine. She can’t even get anti-Trump hysteria right. Here’s a charming presser she gave last week in which the press corps deliberately baits her into saying completely false things, and she fails to notice.
Rio de Janeiro has a bit of an image problem lately. Tourists getting murdered on the beach will do that to you, to say nothing of this year’s Plague That Will Destroy Civilization, the dreaded zika virus. Still and all, Rio’s newly-elected mayor has a bold plan that will restore the city to its well-deserved place as the crown jewel of Latin tourism. No, he does. Listen:
"Rio de Janeiro cannot continue treating its tourists as if they were an afterthought," Mr. Crivella, 59, told the audience, emphasizing the need to "shatter" Rio’s "negative image."
"This is something we need to discuss," he said.
You’re on to me, aren’t you. You’ve already guessed that this is going to be something absurd. Still and all, your humble narrator is willing to bet you aren’t guessing anything quite as absurd as the mayor’s actual plan, which is to pay reparations to tourists who are mugged while in Rio. Now, understand this: I don’t mean to say the mayor is setting aside a block of money to pay people who’ve been mugged recently, along with maybe some plan to reduce the muggings going forward. No, the plan is evidently to tell everybody "come to Rio! Sure, you’ll get mugged, but we’ll pay you back!" which I’m not a hundred percent sure is a good sales pitch.
In the early stages of her career, Agatha Christie was known for writing engaging whodunits full of lively characters and utterly madcap plot twists. As she matured as a writer, however, Dame Agatha became less interested in zany new ways to kill the dead bodies, and more interested in pursuing heady philosophical investigations about the nature of justice. Many of the stories from her middle period have barely any mystery to them at all; the cast is so small and the events so clear that the focus becomes less on trying to figure out who the killer is and more on investigating the killer’s motivation and that of the detective exposing the truth — as often as not that indefatigable Belgian, Hercule Poirot.
All of which brings us to Curtain. Written at the peak of Dame Agatha’s career (though not published until the end), Curtain opposes Poirot with a villain who is utterly and unapologetically evil, who commits heinous crimes for the sheer pleasure of it, who cannot be dissuaded, and whose crimes, by their very nature, are beyond the reach of the law. If you’ve never read Curtain, beware the rest of this post, as it will be filled with spoilers. If you have, however (or if you don’t care), read on as we explore what Dame Agatha had to teach us about the relationship of justice, the non-aggression principle, and morality.
Interesting world we find ourselves in, this, what with both major-party presidential candidates claiming that the election is rigged. On the one hand, we have Hillary von Parkinson, Duchess of Slime, beating the war drums by reassuring her supporters that the Soviet Union still exists, and this time it’s hacked into all the elections! Much though I appreciate the incoherent idea that Donald Trump is at once a Nazi and a Soviet, I am still compelled to note that, contra what you may be led to believe, World War II ended a while ago.
On the other hand, Donald Trump has just scandalized the mainstream media — which is to say: the Hillary 4 Eva Super PAC — by refusing to accept the results of an election that hasn’t happened yet. According to the paid Democratic Party interns that pretend to journalism for Politico, this is an unreasonable statement that could destroy democracy and the office of the president, whatever that means. Don’t get me wrong, now: I’m 100% in favor of that outcome, but it’s not going to occur. But just think for a minute: what exactly is Politico so worked up about? Imagine you and I are in a big connect-the-dots tournament, and, three weeks before the tournament is held, I come to you and ask “hey, will you promise to accept that I’m not cheating no matter what happens?” What’s your answer going to be? Are you sufficiently credulous to say yes to that? What if, instead of a plastic "Best Try 2016" trophy, the prize were billions of dollars and world domination? Obviously nobody’s going to agree in advance that the contest necessarily will be fair. Per usual, this is a bunch of nonsensical manufactured outrage.
Julian Assange, the controversial editor of Wikileaks, has been unlawfully confined within the Ecuadorian embassy in London for almost six years now. Throughout all that time, he’s maintained his presence on the internet, continued operating Wikileaks, and assisted whistleblowers (such as Edward Snowden) in escaping the clutches of angry governments. Suddenly, six years into his internment, his internet connection has been "intentionally severed by a state actor." Why now? I’m sure I have no idea.
The U.S. Army’s chief of staff on Tuesday issued a stern warning to potential threats such as Russia and vowed the service will defeat any foe in ground combat.
"The strategic resolve of our nation, the United States, is being challenged and our alliances tested in ways that we haven’t faced in many, many decades," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told an audience at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
"I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm… the United States military — despite all of our challenges, despite our [operational] tempo, despite everything we have been doing — we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that."
Your humble narrator is compelled to point out that history doesn’t contain a very comprehensive set of examples of Russia being beaten before. At least United States Army chief of staff Milley had the presence of mind to clarify which nation he claims membership in — a point that probably needed repeating at the Association of the United States Army’s meeting in the capital of the United States.
Now that the Republican primary season is safely far, far behind us, the real senator Rand Paul has apparently been released by the Borg slavers who captured him in the spring of 2015 and replaced him with a neocon replicant. He’s made waves recently by opposing the Obama administration’s plans to sell the Islamic fundamentalists who run Saudi Arabia yet more weapons of mass destruction — this time totaling more than a billion dollars — to be used to slaughter additional tens of thousands of helpless Yemeni civilians. Paul’s opposition to this senseless waste of human life is based, apparently, on trivial things like law and morality, which came as a tremendous shock to ancient robotic newscaster Wolf Blitzer, who once won a Peabody award for announcing that being annihilated by a hurricane is bad for you, but can’t seem to extend the metaphor to cover annihilation by bombs:
"So for you this is a moral issue," he told Paul during the Kentucky Republican’s appearance on CNN. "Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s going to be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?"
A month ago, a Democratic National Committee staffer called Seth Rich was shot to death in Washington D.C. The police advanced the notion that his killing was part of a robbery, which deranged conspiracy theorist his father refused to believe for no better reason than because absolutely nothing was stolen from the young man, despite the fact that he was carrying cash, credit cards, a cell phone, and a watch, all generally things that robbers display a tendency to rob. The internet picked up the story and ran with it, eventually linking Seth Rich to the DNC e-mail leak that led to the resignation of chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a fairly hefty amount of embarrassment for the Clinton campaign. As snotty media outlets with large onhand supplies of scare quotes explained, though, this was a "crazy conspiracy" and a "fantasy," and as much Donald Trump’s fault as anything he was completely unconnected to could possibly be.
Then last week that crazy Julian Assange stopped just shy of confirming that, yes, Seth Rich was a Wikileaks source:
Our whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material, and often very significant risks. There’s a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, shot in the back — murdered — just a few weeks ago, for unknown reasons, as he was walking down the street in Washington…
I’m suggesting that our sources take risks, and they become concerned to see things occurring like that.
One of the most enduring symbols of the American liberty movement is the Gadsden Flag. Designed by Colonel Christopher Gadsden in 1775, it consists of a bold yellow field emblazoned with a coiled rattlesnake — which had been used as a symbol of the American colonies since the 1750s — and the legend "don’t tread on me." Though it was originally designed as the standard to be flown by Commodore Hopkins’ flagship in the brand-new continental navy, its striking design and powerful message made it popular with liberty-minded sorts, and it was frequently used in the revolutionary government, and has remained in use to this day among the people opposed to what that government has become.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is reportedly investigating the issue surrounding the ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ snake logo after an African American employee of a federal agency complained they [sic] were racially harassed when a co-worker wore a cap showing the symbol.
The complainant said he found the cap racially offensive to African Americans because the flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden, who [sic] he described as a ‘slave trader & owner of slaves’.