Scott Adams on Trump Getting the Black Voter

The Lion of the Blogosphere blog brought to my attention a post by Scott Adams, Dilbert creator and 2016 election savant that outlines a plan to have Trump co-opt much of the more moderate Black Lives Matter agenda using his famed deal making skills to put together a Republican agenda to attract Black voters:

Create safer neighborhoods to attract jobs and create optimism.

Fix school bureaucracies in communities where students are failing.

Create apprenticeships for unskilled adults

Address the opioid epidemic directly and by improving the environment

Prosecute and jail police that falsify reports.

Police must call an ambulance if defendant complains of illness.

Voting rights for people in prison

Independent prosecutors for police killings of unarmed civilians.

Comprehensive national database of police shootings.

New York holiday for Day of Remembrance for victims of police brutality.

 

Adams addresses these issues individually in his post, but LOTB finds it ridiculous since as he writes, “That is never going to happen. Blacks know which party sucks up to them. Republicans could never suck up to blacks the way Dems do.”  Sadly, I find myself agreeing more with Lion on this one.  It has nothing to do with the most of the list Adams has assembled.  Prosecuting police for false reports is of course something that should (and often does) happen anyway, as well as calling an ambulance of a suspect complains of symptoms.  That is probably standard operating procedure for most law enforcement agencies.  A comprehensive database for police shootings, if the Justice Department isn’t already keeping one, is a good idea as is independent prosecutors to handle police shootings (or any crime handled by the police officer).  But that is already being done by many localities and is definitely a good idea for those that aren’t.  A local prosecutor who deals with the police in putting together cases on a regular basis is put in an awkward position trying to prosecute one of those same police officers.

The real problem is that Adams is a political novice in this area.  He’s basically offering a warmed over Jack Kemp agenda, minus the enterprise zones and school choice.  Kemp spent much of his career working to put together an agenda that would attract Black voters to the Republican Party.  His reward was Republicans attracting fewer Black voters by the end of his career than when he started.  The answer to the GOP making inroads into the Black voter demographic isn’t going to hinge on finding poll tested issues like School Choice.

There are a couple of obvious answers to the Republican’s near total estrangement from Black America.  Sure, the media is quick to label any Republican a racist so that in this point in history the two are nearly synonymous. But there are a couple of deeper answers too.

Color-Blindness: I think that’s one of the issues that make it difficult for conservatives to reach out to Blacks; conservatives in particular and the Republican Party in general have adopted “color-blindness” as their answer to racial issues. They took King’s “Content of our character” speech and stopped there.  For Republicans, the civil rights movement was basically won in 1964, But Blacks, and the Democrats moved on from that. That’s thin offering to a Black population that considers color-blindness as the same thing as being thrown to the wolves of institutional racism and white privilege.

Today “civil rights” doesn’t mean equality before the law and equality of opportunity; it means the exact opposite; affirmative action, set asides, reparations and all sorts of special treatment. So for Democrats to say that Republicans oppose civil rights, they have a point. At least civil rights as they are understood today, not the classical understanding.

Black Leadership:  Republicans have nothing but contempt for what passes for Black leadership now days. Both the now fading Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are considered crooks and con men by most Republicans. And although I’ve met plenty of Black people who tell me that Al Sharpton doesn’t represent them, when you get right down to it, when there is some sort of police shooting or similar incident, at least a majority of black people do recognize Jackson and Sharpton as having some sort of legitimacy to speak on Black issues. Partially it’s white media anointing them, but they couldn’t get away with it unless the majority of Black people agreed.  Who did Trayvon Martin’s parents go to when they felt local authorities were not taking them seriously? Not Colin Powell or Herman Cain.

It’s the Oppression Stupid: Over the years the left learned that they needed to inculcate the Black worldview into the leftist pantheon of grievances. It was easy for the left since they already bought into the history of America being a history of oppression. If you’re African American, that is literally true, so it was easy to add the racial component. The OJ Simpson trial is the last time I recall that a social issue that was racially charged was also split racially more than politically. White conservatives and liberals thought OJ did it, Blacks, by and large, didn’t.  So when Trayvon Martin came along, the left automatically assumed the position of most Black Americans; that it was a racist murder. Following the story as I did, the story was, from the beginning, broken down in a partisan way, with Democrats including almost all Blacks thinking it was a racist murder and Republicans thinking it was probably a legitimate case of self-defense.  So from the African American point of view, which party was on the side of, and supporting, Black people and which side wasn’t?

African American Insecurity: African Americans feel that their position is extremely unsecure. I’m not talking about economically, although that too, but politically. It’s as if the civil rights movement could be unrolled any moment. That’s certainly how the voter ID issue has been presented in the media. Not as a common sense measure to secure voting, but as Bull Connor running the electoral process, ready to turn his water hose on any Black person who dares ask for a ballot. When you have an entire media establishment running with that to support their party and attack the party that they regard as the enemy, that’s going to make a difference. That’s actually worse than the “Republicans are Racist” meme since it creates the idea that all Black people should band together for political survival. That’s why Black Republicans are hated and treated worse than white Republicans; they represent a crack in a unity that’s needed to prevent a rollback to the Jim Crowe era or worse.

As a party, Black people don’t trust Republicans and that’s why some of the craziest advertising can run a few days before the election, like “Republicans want to re-institute Jim Crow” or “Republicans want to chain blacks to the back of a pickup” carry weight. Remember Biden saying that “He is going to put y’all back in chains?” That stuff works, even though it sounds crazy. A minority group that feels threatened and under the gun, as Blacks often do; is susceptible to that sort of message. After all, Jim Crow is actually the memory of many older people, and deep down, they must think if white people ever got a chance…

I don’t think Republicans can win Black votes in any appreciable degree, at least not this generation. The reason is because most people don’t really vote on “issues,” like a Black friendly Scott Adams-Jack Kemp position by position agenda. That’s why although almost all of the Black people I’ve known personally were small “c” conservatives, hardly any of them voted Republican. It’s a matter of trust. And there isn’t any real way for Republicans to win it.

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Crisis on Earth X Crossover

Back in October, I wrote about the upcoming crossover event on the CW, Crisis on Earth-X, and mentioned that it was based on a comic story I read as a kid in the pages of Justice League of America comics.  A pretty good summary of that story can be found here, and hereThe short version of that story is that the Justice League on Earth 1 and the Justice Society on Earth 2 are working on a device that will allow for easy access between the two universes.  A stowaway forces the device to malfunction, stranding both teams on a third Earth, Earth X.  Earth X is a world in which World War II lasted until 1968, with the Nazi’s winning with the creation of a mind control device.  After running into the Earth X super hero resistance, they agree to split up and go after the mind control devices, yada yada yada, and the Nazis are defeated.

Of course the fun part of this story is the yada yada yada part in which mixed groups consisting of teams from all three Earths get together and go on their own separate missions at the same time.  Structurally, it’s probably the best way to handle a storyline that includes a massive number of cast members (Avengers Infinity War take note); split the massive group into easily digestible teams, follow each of their separate missions (which are taking place simultaneously with the other team’s missions), and then all back together for the big finale.

But of course, this is a CW crossover, so other than the basic idea, there isn’t much more to mine from the original source material.  In the Arrowverse (as the CW/DC multiverse is called) the Justice Society is a World War II era superhero team up, and there is no modern equivalent to the Justice League, just Team Arrow and Team Flash on Earth 1 (plus the time traveling Legends of Tomorrow) and Supergirl is from Earth 38 (which Earth holds the movie DCU is anyone’s guess).

I was still anxious to see how the CW would handle this massive story, in the era of “punching Nazi’s,” broken down into 4 TV show sized bits, and so warning, there be spoilers…

Supergirl

There is actually a pretty good plot reason to bring characters from all the shows together; the long awaited wedding of Barry Allen and Iris West. Last year’s crossover started off on Supergirl too, but dragged on and didn’t actually “cross-over” until near the end of the episode.  This time, they went right to Earth-X and started the gathering of heroes right away as they prepared for the wedding.  Even so, there was quite a bit of time wasted over unnecessary drama about Oliver asking Felicity to marry him at the rehearsal dinner and her turning him down.  First, inappropriate time, and second, get with the Nazi’s already! Although…I admit the Sara and Alex hook up with its morning hung over walk of shame was amusing.  Two different Earths, coming together…

But it was worth waiting for the Nazi attack on the wedding.  As super fights go, it was pretty epic, particularly with Green Arrow and Supergirl going up against their parallel Earth counterparts.  I guess Barry and Iris can forget about getting their deposit back for that venue…

Arrow

It’s a half assed, ill thought out plan for the Nazi’s to invade the world (Earth 1 actually) but there is a certain amount of Mirror Universe-like charm in the Nazi Super Friends, consisting of a Harrison Wells look alike Eobard Thawne speedster, Oliver Queen, or as Felicity amusingly referred to him, “Oliver in the High Castle,” and “Overgirl,” the Nazi version of Supergirl.  The fact that this Supergirl and Oliver are not just a couple, but a married couple very much in love; seems to be an inspired choice. What’s apparently so understated that I missed it originally is Oliver Queen is actually the Führer of Earth X. But interestingly Nazi Supergirl seems to be the most nazi-esque of the group of villains.  She’s a true believer and why shouldn’t she be? She actually is demonstrably superior.

Besides the whole taking over the world thing it seems the Nazi power couple have another agenda; Nazi Kara is dying and needs a Kryptonian heart transplant.  Not a lot of places you can get a spare Kryptonian heart. But not only does Supergirl have one, but it’s a dead on tissue match too. So after capturing the good guys they find themselves in a concentration camp on Earth X.

The Flash

After a quickie escape from the concentration camp (while leaving the other prisoners there to rot I noticed) the gang meet The Ray, another Earth 1 refugee with light powers, and are taken to Freedom Fighters HQ where the resistance plans to blow up the dimensional portal while their Führer is off world on Earth 1.  That being the only way home, that’s a plan that doesn’t really work for the Super Friends, but they do have an advantage; Earth 1 Oliver Queen looks just like the dictator of Earth X.  For once, they have a plan that doesn’t seem ridiculously implausible, merely ridiculous.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

After The Flash and The Ray stop Red Tornado (!) from blowing up the facility, they heroes transit back to Earth 1 where the Legends were held in the Star Labs containment facility.  Frankly I forgot all about them after they were captured after the wedding debacle.

The death of Professor Martin Stein brought some real consequence to the story line. Although it was known that actor Victor Garber was going to leave Legend this season, I admit I was caught by surprise.  I had gotten so used to the Arrowverse’s hail of gun fire and nobody getting shot, I hadn’t considered that Stein would be critically wounded from Nazi gunfire, but Stein’s death made everyone put on their serious face so they could do battle with Nazi Oliver and Kara and their Nazi unit.

As a battle royale, the final battle in Central City was both spectacular and extremely dumb.  The Nazi Waverider (wait there are two Waveriders?  Huh?) started firing at innocent civilians, but stopped long enough for a wide angle shot of both heroes and villains lined up in a row before resorting to the sort of melee that worked poorly in the season finale of Arrow’s season 4.  This one, however, worked better by concentrating on three main aspects of it, the battle of the two Waveriders, the battle between Overgirl and Supergirl, and Flash versus Reverse Flash.  Flash lets Thawne get away, Overgirl, bereft of her heart transplant, blows up in spectacular fashion and the good Waverider manages to blow up the Nazi one, and Green Arrow puts an arrow in the heart of Dark Arrow.  So surprise!  The good guys win.

All in all, it was a spectacular crossover event, and I mean it really was an event.  The CW has managed to put together the type of world(s) that the movie DCU would love to do and hasn’t yet managed to pull off.  In the Arrowverse, we have multiple super heroes with quite a bit of entangled history with each other.  This is far more the DC Expanded Universe than the movie version.

Just some general observations…

After the battle with the Nazi’s in Central City, President Trump said there were good people on both sides!

Where did the Nazi Waverider come from?  Did Earth X have it’s own version of Legends, and if so, where were they?  What am I missing?

Oliver Queen is Batman.  Well not really, particularly since they name dropped Bruce Wayne a few episodes back in Arrow, but he does have the same sort of several-steps-ahead planning that had him produce a Kryptonite arrow, even though the odds of needing one are not high when there are no Kryptonians on your Earth and the only one you’ve ever met was pretty and nice.  Not nearly as smart as Batman though.  Oliver Queen is strictly a gentleman’s C’s achiever academically.

This crossover was super gay, and I mean even more than the usual CW show. At this point, there are enough gay superheroes to have their own crossover episode.  So stay tuned for next year’s Crisis on Earth-Fabulous!

The special effects for The Ray/Flash/Red Tornado battle were top notch. I realize they are working with a TV budget here, and a CW TV budget at that, but it looks like they went out of their way to make the special effects hold up.  Tip o’ the hat!

This crossover, unlike last year’s Dominator one, was more of a 4 hour movie or mini-series than bits and pieces of different cast members joining other shows for a “very special” episode.  In fact, I thought it was every bit as good as the far more expensive Justice League.  Maybe the CW guys ought to contribute creatively to the movie side of the DC equation.

I get Oliver Queen and Quentin Lance being unshaven on Earth 1, but it’s hard to believe that their Nazi counterparts would be similarly unshaven.  They were in uniform after all.  Don’t the Nazi’s have any uniform regulations?

Eobard Thawne, the speedster villain allied with the Nazi’s makes either a continuity hint or an error.  While prepping Supergirl for her heart donation surgery, Supergirl threatens Thawne with her cousin, Superman.  Thawne replies that he’s fought her cousin before, in the future.  Here is the thing.  Thawne, the main villain of season one of The Flash, is from Earth 1’s future.  Earth 1 doesn’t have either a Superman or Supergirl. Supergirl and her “cousin” Superman are from Earth 38.  So did Thawne fight Earth 38’s Superman?  Some other Earth’s Superman, or has Superman’s pod not yet arrived on Earth 1?  Or…is Clark Kent actually already on Earth 1 and hasn’t taken up the weekend hobby of superheroing yet?

Inquiring minds…

No Paid Days Ahead for Kathy Griffin

Kathy Griffin, famed D-list comedienne and cousin of Family Guy star Peter Griffin is in somewhat of a career rut according to an article in The Daily Wire.  “I just want you guys to know, when I get home, I do not have one single day of paid work in front of me.”

Whaah.

I watched the first two seasons of Griffin’s show, Life on the D-List, in my never ending search for a truly funny female comedian.  That search is an entire post in itself, but the consequences for the purposes of this post is that I’m familiar with Griffin’s work, and her life somewhat.  Or at least as much as “reality” TV actually shows.  She really only had one unique hook, and that was her willingness to talk trash about other Hollywood celebs.  But of course, that has its own limiting ceiling.  You can’t leave the D-list if you keep trashing the A-list.  Still, Griffin hustled for work and made a pretty good living.  But entertainment is a fickle business.  Rape one teenager, or put out one jihadi picture, and suddenly the prudes start attacking your business model.

Still, there might be a little career left for Griffin.  Her famed jihadi picture was what effectively ended her career in the West.  Even those who hate Trump and love pictures of a Trump beheading hate being embarrassed by having their deepest fantasies revealed.  So are there new horizons that Griffin could explore?

Just a modest proposal, but since Kathy Griffin has worked the USO tour circuit before, she’s familiar with the Middle East.  Why not try working the other side of the street?  With the fall of Raqqa, ISIS and its associated groups must be really in the doldrums right now.  Fleeing from bombing, and losing your sex slaves could be a real kick in the teeth for moral.  So maybe…Griffin could find a fresh comedy market among the various jihadi fighter groups that dot the world.  Those guys could probably use a little fresh comedy, and what may seem stale in the US might be fresh as can be in the deserts of Syria.  “Look Ahmed!  The red headed, uncovered whore!  I would kill her but I am laughing so hard!” To me, this sounds like a win/win for everyone.  Griffin gets a refreshed career, and we have something to take the terrorist’s minds off of bombing something.

But Kathy, save the severed Trump head for the encore.

 

The Establishment Party

So let me get this straight.  During the Republican primary, a Republican candidate or several Republican candidates got together to hire Fusion GPS to start gathering opposition research on Trump. After the primaries, the Clinton campaign and the DNC continued to fund the opposition research. OK, opposition research against a candidate is fairly normal.  But it didn’t end there.

Get this:

“Sometime in October 2016 — that is, at the height of the presidential campaign — Christopher Steele, the foreign agent hired by Fusion GPS to compile the Trump dossier, approached the FBI with information he had gleaned during the project. According to a February report in the Washington Post, Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.””

So according to the Washington Post:

“After the election, the FBI agreed to pay Steele to continue gathering intelligence about Trump and Russia, but the bureau pulled out of the arrangement after Steele was publicly identified in news reports.”

So the FBI was paying a political opposition researcher after the election, to try to collect dirt on the then President Elect.  But wait, there’s more:

“FBI Director James Comey has cited the dossier in some of his briefings with lawmakers in recent weeks as one of the information sources used by his bureau to bolster its probe, U.S. officials briefed on the investigation told CNN… The secret court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) granted the FBI a warrant to monitor the communications of Page, a former national security adviser on Trump’s campaign.”

So to summarize, Republican Party operatives tried to dig up dirt on Trump (never mind that his dirt has been out in the public for years), and when Trump became the Republican nominee, they handed over their research account to Hillary Clinton and the DNC.  During that time, an arm of the Federal government, the FBI, made arrangements for that research with that same firm, and then used that information to get a FISA warrant against a Trump associate.

So if anyone doubts there is an establishment party, there it all is; Republicans, Democrats, and the Federal government, all working together, to go after someone not in the club.

One can also add the media attempting to distract the entire country with a phony Russia collusion story about interfering in the election.  The real collusion are the two political parties cooperating with the Federal government to interfere in the election.

This stinks to high heaven.

 

My So Called CW Life

In response to an online forum topic a few weeks ago, namely, what TV shows are you currently watching; I dutifully listed the shows that I had been following.  Much to my surprise, about 80% of my current TV show viewing was on The CW.  Considering its reputation for teen dramas, that seemed surprising.  On the other hand, with so many of those teen dramas as either science fiction or superhero genre related, it makes a kind of sense.  The CW seems to go by one rule:  Hot young people making out.  Now; with superpowers.

The New

Valor: A military drama seems an unlikely addition to a schedule of teen superhero soap operas, however the IMDB description puts everything in context.  “The boundaries between military discipline and human desire are tested on a U.S. Army base that houses an elite unit of helicopter pilots trained to perform clandestine international and domestic missions.“  Ha!  I couldn’t have written that better if I were a CW publicist!   So the hot young person making out rule is still applicable, in the unlikely scenario of special operations.  Although it’s too early yet to make a definitive ruling on the show, I’ll have to give props to the military technical advisors.  As a veteran, it’s sometimes agonizing watching most television shows depicting the military, as they manage to get it wrong on the simplest things; particularly uniform wear and military customs and courtesy. This show does a great job at working on getting that right.  Or…at least acknowledging when they are getting it wrong.

Returning Shows

Riverdale:  This show, returning for its second season, was one of my more surprising picks.  My curiosity was initially peaked by the idea of a gang of Saturday morning cartoon characters getting a live action make over.  What I didn’t expect was what the CW would actually do with the opportunity.  I’m not sure what I expected, but I don’t think it was the Twin Peaks meets Dawson’s Creek that Riverdale turned in to.  And they started the show turned up to eleven. One of a set of high school twins is murdered which started off the first season mystery.  Frankly, I didn’t care who the murderer was, and by the time I found out in the season finale, it hardly mattered.  The re-imagined characters was the thing.  Miss Grundy as young music teacher; preying on innocent Archie Andrews?  Hilarious!  Jughead as the hamburger chomping noir narrator? Inspired!  And with the spinoff of Sabrina in the works, I expect less magic teenage hijinks and more grim evil spirits (Goth style not included).

Supergirl: In the realm of the CW superhero shows, they almost always include a heavy brood factor, with the fill-in-the-blank hero on the ledge of some building in the dark of night, brooding about some responsibility that’s his or hers alone.  Supergirl has always seemed the least broody of the CW Superheroes, Supergirl being played as an earnest millennial rather than tortured hero-with-a-past.  But the returning season premiere has Supergirl, brooding over the guilt that’s hers alone.  Welcome to the club Kara Danvers.  Whether she continues to try to out brood the other CW Super Friends remains to be seen, but the charm of this show was she often was just as she appeared to be, a mid-20’s go getter, single gal in the big city… who could fly.

The Flash: In the season premiere, Barry Allen returns to Central City from the Speed Force to find himself being out brooded by his girlfriend, Iris West. With the Flash being trapped in the Speed Force for 6 months, Iris picked up the brooding slack and provided the heavy brooding needed by Team Flash. I assume that with the Flash back, he will be back to full brood mode soon.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow continues to be the most off the wall of the CW superhero shows.  Their motto seems to be, “no rules.”  Even when they obey rules, it’s just barely.  A particular moment from last season is classic. When seeking the “Spear of Destiny” the gang is told that it requires the blood of Christ to activate it.  So Sara Lance is like, sure, why not?  Judea  and the Crucifixion, here we come!  Rip Hunter freaks out at the idea but it struck me that time travel shows just don’t “go there” in terms of potentially theologically sensitive moments.  Legends actually brought that up, which tells you that no moment in history is safe from their meddling.  This season, Hunter and the Legends are on opposite sides as they grow bored with their 2017 lives and decide to start time traveling again.

Supernatural, entering its 13th season, amazingly still has more stories to tell.  It’s hard to recall the last time a non-animated show went on this many seasons and still had some juice left.  Frankly, I thought that after thwarting the Apocalypse in season 4, it would be difficult to top, but in season 11 they managed save the entire universe, meet God, and get God and his sister together in a divine family reunion.  After that, dealing with Lucifer’s son and getting their mom back from an alternate universe should be child’s play.

Arrow: Oliver Queen, the King of brooding CW heroes, is back with hopefully fewer flashbacks and more Parkour, this time as a single dad. Juggling fatherhood, being mayor, and being a crime fighting vigilante will fill up a desk calendar.  Because of the over the top brooding I almost bailed out of season 6, but the dropping of the flashbacks is a good sign that has made the show more watchable, and with the upcoming crossover, Crisis on Earth-X, I cannot even think of bailing until we get through that.  This really hits home for me.  As a kid, I read the original Justice League comic which actually introduced “Earth-X,” the world in which the Nazi’s won World War II.  I would never have imagined as a kid that there would actually be a series of TV episodes that would actually adapt that very story.

In some ways, the future turned out to be better than I could have ever dreamed.

And none of this even covers the mid-season replacements!  More to come on that I suppose…

 

Useful Reading on Trump’s Executive Actions on Healthcare

Trump did more to reform healthcare last week than the GOP Congress has done all year. Given the much broader power and authority the Congress has, that’s a bittersweet reminder of wasted opportunity by Congress.  Sigh…Trump’s two healthcare related executive orders don’t invalidate Obamacare, but they do expand some loopholes outside it.

Avik Roy in Forbes gave a pretty good summary of both executive orders in: Sorry Everybody, But Trump Hasn’t Instigated the Obamacare Apocalypse.

“On Thursday, President Trump issued an executive order covering three areas: (1) allowing small businesses to pool together to purchase health insurance; (2) restoring the ability of individuals to buy short-term plans exempt from some Obamacare rules; and (3) examining ways to make employer-funded health savings accounts more flexible. On Friday, the President announced that he would no longer be disbursing the cost-sharing subsidies… until Congress appropriates the funds for them.”

There seems to be more actual reform in that first executive order than in any of the GOP healthcare reform plans.  Short term plan lengths have gone from being valid for 3 months to a full year, going back to rules that existed in…2016.  Yes it was an Obama executive decision to shorten the length they could be offered, no doubt to push more people on to the exchanges.

The other executive order, to suspend payments to health insurance companies to cover low income premiums and deductibles, has resulted in much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, but Trump was merely going along with a US District Court decision from last year that ruled the payments were improperly funded without appropriations from Congress.  Reason Magazine’s take, By Cutting Off Obamacare’s Insurer Subsidies, Trump Might Help More People Get Health Coverage, has a counter-intuitive view that the cutting off subsidies, contrary to Democratic spin, won’t make much difference to poor people covered under Obamacare since the coverage is mandated anyway, and any increase in premium costs are covered by the Obamacare purchase subsidy.

So I recommend both articles.  You’ll end up knowing more about these healthcare changes than any commentator on MSNBC!

Should I have an opinion on Catalan Independence?

Well

“Catalonia will move on Monday to declare independence from Spain, a regional government source said, as the European Union nation nears a rupture that threatens the foundations of its young democracy and has unnerved financial markets.

Pro-independence parties that control the regional parliament have asked for a debate and vote on Monday on declaring independence, the source said. A declaration should follow this vote, although it is unclear when Catalan President Carles Puigdemont earlier told the BBC that his government would ask the region’s parliament to declare independence after tallying votes from last weekend’s referendum, which Madrid says was illegal.”

There is a lot to unpack there, and this all seems like surprisingly major news considering it’s barely been covered in the US media, especially considering the amount of media attention the Scottish Independence Referendum received.  In fact I doubt I would have heard anything about it if I hadn’t been following Julian Assange’s twitter feed.

The Catalonia region of Spain wanted a referendum on independence, the Spanish courts determined it wouldn’t be legal, and Catalonia went ahead and had one anyway.  Independence won and now they’re pushing to go ahead and declare independence by next week.

Wow.

In some ways, the referendum resembles Crimea’s referendum, which was illegal, since the Russians occupied Crimea and ran it, but it won anyway (or maybe because). But there is no big power to help this along in Spain; obviously the EU doesn’t count.  But the EU seems to be part of the problem.  Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that one of the supreme ironies of the European Union, and its goal of creating a United States of Europe, is that it’s existence is probably encouraging European independence movements.  There are multiple European independence movements that are ongoing and the idea that all of these subsidies and trade issues that are the concern of sovereign nations will be taken care of by the EU probably strengthens them.

As a rule, the EU opposes all of these independence movements among their members.  Catalonia fully expects to waltz right into EU membership, in the same way that Scotland intended to jump from leaning on welfare from London to welfare from Brussels. But the fact that the EU is there, willing to handle all of those pesky governmental problems for its member states makes it an attractive excuse/reason on any national independence movement.

But for right now, the EU is supporting Spain, and if Spain is serious about sticking with the court’s decision that the referendum is illegal, then what?  Are we looking at Spanish Civil War II: This Time it’s Regional?  And even worse, if shooting starts, what if Spain invokes Article 5 of the NATO Charter?  Is the US really going to get involved in a military conflict there? That is a real nightmare scenario.

…although, as far as military occupation duties go, Barcelona beats virtually everywhere else our military has been for the past few decades, if you have to fight a war, at least do it in a temperate climate with beautiful local girls.

As a general rule, I think the world would be a better place if each little language group and ethnicity could have their own nation. If I could wave a magic wand and make every national group its own nation, I would do it.  But not every group is going to make it as an independent nation.  It’s possible Catalonia could, but I never thought that about Scotland, even though every fiber of my being wanted to undue the results of the Battle of Culloden, I reluctantly concluded that Scotland, with the North Sea oil drying up, just couldn’t make it on its own, other than as the Venezuela of Europe.

Apparently the Scots agreed since they voted independence down.  And I feel the same way about Catalonia now.  My heart is with the independence movement, but my head is with a unified Spain.  That’s not unconditional however.  Liberals in the US view any call to “Blood and Soil” as straight out of Nazi-ville, but that’s what’s ultimately pushing Catalan secession, and all of the other independence movements both in Europe and worldwide.  Most people in the world have a sense of both place and identity, and although the West tries to pretend it’s an atavistic impulse, as outdated as the appendix, it’s still there, either just below the surface or bursting to the top.  If separation must come, best to do it peaceably.