Monday, December 10, 2018

The argument for war in Henry V

The Archbishop of Canterbury advises Henry he is rightful king of France under feudal law.

Then he and other clerics and nobles urge war, not because it would serve the interests of the English people, nation, or state, much less the French people, nation, or state, but because it would serve the glory and thirst for power and wealth of the King and his own feudal vassals.

And vindicate feudal law, thus affirming the unquestioned legitimacy of same.

Which is far from denying national feeling enters the matter.

Perhaps anachronistically.

Lemmings going nuts, again

Stock market now down more than ten percent since it's recent historic high, so it's officially a correction.

It's mostly lemming foolishness.

Nothing actually bad driving these hebbie-jeebies.


They closed 34 up for the day.

Nice recovery.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Three Love Problems

About halfway through the book there is an excellent, charming scene in which Will and Dorothea speak alone in the library.

Eliot's insight, beautiful prose, humor, and lightness of touch are nowhere better.

Reading Middlemarch.

Lynne Schwartz reports she has been often called the greatest of 19th Century British novelists.

Maybe she is.

Her work is very fine.

What a line

"A quibble was to him the fatal Cleopatra for which he lost the world, and was content to lose it."

Samuel Johnson in his Preface to Shakespeare alludes to the Bard's Antony and Cleopatra, and to Antony's content.

What love.


Just as I do not expect all real people to think, feel, and act as I would in like circumstances, I neither expect nor demand that of characters in a play.

Come to that, characters in any play are never so monotonous as to think, feel, and act always all alike.

On that point, Johnson is just silly.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The argument from national security

The president must with impunity be able to ignore the law and perhaps even the constitution to order or empower people to commit what are, or otherwise would be, crimes in order to protect the United States.

He must be able to afford them, too, complete impunity.

And it is equally necessary no one can second guess him or, for that matter, them, unless on his authority.

That position is common in popular culture and entertainment, and was widely ventilated by Republicans during GW's administration, mostly, but not only, in defense of torture in the aftermath of 9/11.

You heard and read it from many sources on the right: "The constitution is not a suicide pact."

But in truth the position and the established practice are as old as the Cold War, at least.

Trump is living proof it's a bad idea.

Powers others used in furtherance of national security he has likely used and will use in connection with crimes committed by cronies, family members, and perhaps even himself that in no way served or were intended to serve our national security.

It is not a good idea to nod our heads and say, yes, Nixon was right: if the president does it, that means it's not illegal.

Nixon, his own conduct an egregious proof of the stupidity of that position.

I hate to be banal but power corrupts.

Thoughts that come to mind watching an episode of Hawaii Five O.

Only Democrats could give a shit about this one

And even they are mostly faking.

The precedent of their own behavior when the Big Dog did his level best to cover up his rather more serious sexual escapades does not help make their claims, utterly absurd on their face, that such attempts at covering up are a shocking and inexcusable, criminal and even maybe impeachable attack on democracy, appear the least sincere or convincing.

It is not even clear the theory of the law under which paying women off for silence about a politician during a campaign counts as a campaign contribution is particularly credible to anybody but Democrats.

Only Cohen's choice to plead guilty put that reading of the law beyond challenge by his lawyers, as he has forfeited his right to trial and appeal.

Too, it is incredible that the coverup of these escapades, exposed only after the election, actually kept people from voting against Trump, despite claims to the contrary by some Democrats.

Everybody knew he was a pussy-hound and a liar with many of the habits and mores of a crime boss, and that was clearly not a deal-breaker for enough people.

Update 12102018.

Was the intention to protect his chances in the election or to prevent his wife finding out?

Or just to prevent any damage to his reputation in a general way?

He's been doing this sort of thing for decades, after all.

On the other hand, covering up at the time that he was during the campaign engaged in secret negotiations related to building a Trump tower in Moscow might have actually prevented many voters rejecting him, during the primaries and in the general.

Was that illegal at the time?

Or has all the illegal lying about that only been lying to the FBI or under oath after the election?

And Trump is not known to have lied under oath or to the FBI.

Lying to voters is not illegal.

Nor in the least uncommon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Personally, I'm with the museum on this

Getty museum must return 2,000-year-old statue, Italian court rules

Cops in bed with neo-Nazis?

Anti-fascists were stabbed at a neo-Nazi rally. Then police tried to charge them.

California law enforcement pursued criminal charges against eight anti-fascist activists who were stabbed or beaten at a neo-Nazi rally while failing to prosecute anyone for the knife attacks against them, according to police records reviewed by the Guardian.

In addition to the decision not to charge white supremacists or others for stabbings at a far-right rally that left people with critical wounds, police also investigated 100 anti-fascist counter-protesters, recommending more than 500 total criminal charges against them, according to court filings from civil rights attorneys.

Meanwhile, for men investigated on the neo-Nazi side of a June 2016 brawl at the state capitol, police recommended only five mostly minor charges, none related to stabbings.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Beto O’Rourke needs to forget it

He should follow the example of Michael Avenatti, who has publicly dropped out, rather than of Bozo, who ran for president with no track record as an office holder.

As the moron in the White House proves every day, though not to the satisfaction of the morons who voted for him, the presidency is not an entry-level position in American government.

We need to keep amateurs out of the job rather than normalize absurdity.

In case you didn't already know who owns the Republican Party

Rightwing taskforce secretly approves anti-environment resolutions

Inside a little-known bulwark of conservative state policy, in a hotel conference room in Washington DC, state lawmakers and corporate lobbyists last week voted for a slate of anti-environment measures.

They approved resolutions supporting stripping tax benefits from electric vehicles and endorsing Donald Trump’s pro-fossil fuel energy agenda.

And they voted down a proposal to limit monopoly control of the power industry, which backers said would give consumers more choice and help grow renewable electricity faster and more cheaply.

The group, a taskforce of the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), did so behind closed doors.

They barred press from the rooms where they called roll.

When voice votes were close and a tally was required, the business representatives weighing in on what kinds of policies state legislatures should pursue voted in secret.