El Chapo’s Downfall? It’s really not that important.

Review of Don Winslow @donwinslow article in the current issue of Vanity Fair. I know next to nothing about Mexican Drug cartels, so this was a fascinating read. Among the things I learnt was Unlike the Mafia, the Mexican cartels encourage their members who have been arrested to tell everything they know if they can cut a deal for a shorter sentence—all they are obliged to do is relay what they’ve given up to defense attorneys, who then pass the information on so the cartels can make the necessary adjustments. For more on the operation of the Sinaloa cartel; and … Continue reading El Chapo’s Downfall? It’s really not that important.

America and Syria – the backstory

President Trump has decided, unilaterally apparently, to pull all America troops out of Syria, both surprising his Chiefs of Staff and allies. The American story with Syria is intertwined with almost everything the west has done in the Middle East since the end of the 2nd World War.  American was the prime enabler of the Assad family rise to to power, and as everything post war seemed to be, all about fighting the rise of Communism and installing “democracy”. Syria gained its independence in 1946 and in 1948 engaged in the Arab-Israeli war. Later in 1949, the Americans were party, … Continue reading America and Syria – the backstory

Ahh Austin…

When Texas Governor Abbott took time out of his busy schedule of subjugating his authority, to call a special session for the “part-time” Texas Legislators(1) to pass a bathroom bill and other discriminatory acts, his statements eloquently tried to trash the Capital of Texas, Austin. As Caleb points out, there are plenty of examples where Austin is screwed by Texas arbitrary regulation, and certainly some of those to be considered in the special session are also aimed at Austin. Naturally, the state-protected view of the dome under which so much anti-regulatory legislation is concocted by worthy statesman from such cultural … Continue reading Ahh Austin…

Sweden, Refugees and that Trump thing

Even before the Trump administration, America has taken pitifully few refugees and asylum seekers from the crisis it started in the post 9/11 era. This is especially true when you look at it’s geographical size, and financial strength. At 20x the size of Sweden, and over 18x the GDP, America has taken just 10% of the refugees Sweden. By now anyone paying attention will have heard about the debacle of Trumps speech where he attempted to justify his Executive Order on Immigration by pointing to “what happened in Sweden last night”. If you have not, you can read the whole … Continue reading Sweden, Refugees and that Trump thing

What’s the deal with guns?

Again, skirting around the election, whenever the topic of guns in America comes up, usually after yet-another-mass-shooting, I simply don’t understand. I have no context. I recently had the chance to hear Guardian journalist Gary Younge discuss his new book “Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives” (via @amazon), with BBC Radio London, broadcaster and journalist, Robert Elms. So much rang true. It was great hearing two people discuss guns and the bizarre attitudes towards them in the USA. Among the qoutes, and the serious discussions about 10 kids being killed by guns, the … Continue reading What’s the deal with guns?

Mark Cathcart for SC House 42

If you arrived here looking for the website of Mark Cathcart, running for South Carolina House of Representatives, district 42, you’ve arrived in the right place. Before you take the link over to the actual website of my namesake, full of the usual rhetoric, unsubstantiated claims, and factless assertions, have a read of this. I emailed the other Mark, hence forward referred to as TOM(The Other Mark) and asked him for his position and action on one, relatively simple topic, Civil Forfiture. For a candidate for State office, would he work to eliminate or seriously improve civil forfeiture in South … Continue reading Mark Cathcart for SC House 42

Way to go Texas

I’ve been quiet recently for no other reason than I’m mid-move from Austin Texas to Louisville Colorado. I don’t think Texas will miss me, or care if I’m gone, but I can’t help but be glad to turn my back on the what must be some of the most vindictive, small minded, and regressive politicians I’ve ever come across. It kind of doesn’t matter where you stand on the abortion issue, I’m pro-choice. However, when you look at the time, effort, money and all the laws, regulations that Texas has pursued in their attempt to de-fund Planned Parenthood, it is … Continue reading Way to go Texas