Saturday, January 31, 2015

For the curious, a clue

The wife and I today got our new Medicare cards in the mail, showing Part B effective 3/1/2015.

We have each had Part A since we turned 65.

Next step, sign up for an advantage plan effective that same date in March.

How I learned the conservatives aren't kidding and are to be dreaded above all things

GW, he of the "humble American foreign policy" and "compassionate conservatism," a man mistrusted and even hated by the "true blue" conservatives of his party, gave us lunatic wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and an attempt at defunding Social Security in his second term.

And now they're back.

GOP attack on SS coming

Bernie Sanders calls for "political revolution"

No kidding.

And, no, "political revolution" does not mean, either literally or in metaphoric use, the same as "populist revolution," though DM cloaks his remark with that false equivalence.

Bernie Sanders is right

I seem to recall DM being driven off MSNBC for not toeing some liberal political line or other.

Hate on Chait

Friends, foes, and practitioners of PC check in.

Who?

So, to state the obvious: Jon Chait is a jerk who somehow manages to be both condescending and wounded in his piece on political correctness. 

He gets the basic nature of language policing wrong, and his solutions are wrong, and he’s a centrist Democrat scold who is just as eager to shut people out of the debate as the people he criticizes. 

That’s true.

That smear (though Chait may be a jerk and a centrist Democrat, for all I know) was from somebody who agrees with Chait there is a real problem here, though apparently only because it drives away novices wanting to learn about and move into the more radical left.

Not exactly Chait's concern.

The truth about "political correctness" is that it doesn't actually exist

Amanda Taub says Chait is totally wrong and lies about the expression.

The concept of political correctness was explained to me decades ago at my first meeting of the DSA in Pittsburgh by people who approved and were all in on the propaganda war the expression belongs to.

The idea shocked and offended me and struck me just as it does Chait as profoundly contrary to liberal values.

AT is far too deep inside the radical left not to realize Chait is right on the money.

Arthur Chu just doesn't like "white moderates," labels Chait that, and buries him in self-righteous snark

Chait talks back

None of this is going to make the least bit of difference to anyone.

I despised this stuff in the 1970s and I despise it now.

I note in passing how interesting it is that he displays a mandatory PC satisfaction (both the display and the satisfaction are mandatory) that people want to conceal their very real racism and sexism.

I note as well with interest the ideological ambiguity of his orthodoxy concerning McCarthyism in which he, as it were, deplores the witch hunt while insisting witches were very real and very dangerous.

[Aside.

Williamson is right that calling a black person "a primate" is not racist per se, though I would guess it was intended to be.

We are, in fact, all of us primates.

Calling a black adult a monkey in a tone of derision is more likely a racial insult than a merely personal one, however, in our society, though calling black (or any) children little monkeys is often an expression of affection or merely playful.

Too, denigrating someone's views as those of a "sad white man," as AT does those of Chait, is both racial and sexual mockery - perfectly PC, though PC requires the existence of anti-white racism anti-male sexism be denied altogether, though it urgently encourages and trades on hatred of whites and hatred of men.

Language policing is neither a science nor an art but an aggressive and essential feature of the PC movement.

/Aside.]

I do not comment on Chait's own PC orthodoxy re the name of the Washington Redskins.

Sameul Goldman at AC

Personally, I would hate to think liberals universally or even generally are really silly enough to value free expression because it ensures truth will prevail.

It doesn't, nor does it ensure society will move progressively toward the (or some) liberal or other leftish ideal of social justice.

On the other hand, censorship or extra-governmental coercion used to control expression only appears to mold minds, if it even achieves that appearance; it only succeeds in molding speech.

Russians were not just relieved but thrilled with the collapse of the Soviet Communist dictatorship that exercised repressive censorship and had total control of culture, media, and education right up to the end.

China saw the ruling reds abandon not just Maoism but any semblance of Communism with the exhausted relief of survivors of a Tsunami.

[Aside.

Delusions about the importance of what is said are ubiquitous in the blabosphere.

Recall Ms. Kirkpatrick's famous nonsense that right wing dictatorships were less objectionable than left because, among other reasons, right wing ones always collapsed in the end, whereas Communism is forever.

This imaginary difference was supposed to be owing in part to the real difference that Communism exercised much more thorough control over all spheres of expression.

/Aside.]

Millions of Germans came out from under the rubble of Nazidom pleading they had never supported any of the madness, and most likely most were telling the truth.

What censorship does for sure is undermine the free politics of modern republics and monarchies.

And free politics is what we do instead of leaving politics to the arbitration of naked violence.

Something to bear in mind.

PS.

Bear in mind that for a lot of those checking in on this matter it's a question in the professional ethics of polemics - which they agree is really a thing, as the kids say.

(Why are all these people under 50? Why are so many under 40?)

Michelle Goldberg at The Nation

She writes about an article that made fun of the idea of paternity leave,

At the same time, it was a reactionary piece, deserving of at least mild ridicule

People who disagreed with it were right to say so. 

If the overall response was overwhelming, that’s not the fault of any one person registering his or her opinion.

The last two sentences are truisms of a free society.

The first is telling.

I think I may have pointed out, once or twice, the essential role of morality in social control and its intimate connection with coercion in any of its many guises.

Recall Chait's characterization of PC.

Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate.

And as I wrote in an earlier post,

Perfectly true, but it will not do as a definition because it leaves out the coercion, menace, threat, and frequently near and sometimes actual violence essential to the thing.

The entire aim of PC is coercive and brutal, and its targets are not limited to the extreme right, or even just the right.

As some of Chait's examples show, their view is that if you are not with them you are against them, and they treat you accordingly.

Vide posts labeled "amoralism."

This Wikipedia article on "politically correct" is not altogether historically correct.

Too much in common with Amanda Taub.

A point to remember in all this is that Nazi thugs were just thugs dressed up to be Nazis because that gave them license.

Likewise the Communist street-fighters of late Weimar, say.

Red Guards, PC thought police, Jihaders, etc.

What's wrong with them is that they are thugs.

What's wrong with the ideas and movements is that they provide license and even careers open to talent to thugs.

Laying on the hate

C&L on Jeb Bush

C&L on Romney

Josh Marshall on Zimmerman

Think Progress on Zimmerman

TPM White girl cop pepper sprays black teacher on phone amid crowd approaching barrier

TPM Clint Eastwood death threat to Michael Moore


Thursday, January 29, 2015

God save us from Portlandia

It is I, an atheist, who cry out to thee, oh Lord!

Save us!

Progressivism is about taming capitalism for the public good.

But it has always drawn for leaders and activists on pigheaded, self-righteous, authoritarian do-gooders and their hypocritical and sometimes criminal allies, frequently banded together in extremely annoying, essentially crank causes.

To that extent, only, Williamson has it right.

O was wrong, again

Obama's college savings tax crashes to earth

O chose to pay part of the costs of Obamacare subsidies for not well off buyers out of the hides of retirees on Medicare.

Recall that during the whole summer of debate on the financing of Obamacare it was pretty much a given part of the cost of those subsidies was going to come by taxing "Cadillac plans," EGHPs providing the best coverage, often plans hard won by decades of union effort, given a disparaging name in Republican and Obamaphile propaganda.

And this time O was attempting to finance his junior college free tuition plan in part by taxing college savings of people contributing to tax sheltered education funds, 70% of which belong to families making less than $ 150,000.

On all three occasions O has chosen to finance benefits for poorer, blacker folks among the traditional beneficiaries of Democratic Party policy partly by taking it out of the hide of better off, whiter folks among the traditional beneficiaries of the Democratic Party.

If the claim is made that he had to do these things as concessions to the GOP I point out that it was the GOP that blew the whistle on all these moves and joyfully took the opportunity to use the wedges he had provided to split into traditional Democratic support.

And note that the proposal concerning the 529 was all his own.

Absolutely nobody pushed him into it and the GOP has laughed at him over it since the first day.

This sort of thing is not the result of GOP pressure.

So, is it just him, or is this what we can expect in the future from a Democratic Party far less interested than in the past in protecting benefits, much less expanding them, for the white working class, whether while young, while of working age, or while retired?

Judging from the attitudes of liberal bloggers I think it's by no means just him.

Liberals have been the enemies of white labor in the Democratic Party since 1968, if not earlier.

They have been pulling the party away from white working people ever since that time, slowly but inexorably.

And of course it is and has been all along impossible to neglect the interests of the white working class without neglecting those of the entire working class, and that is exactly what they have done.

Such race-targeted moves as the above do not make up, for their non-white beneficiaries, for that neglect.

That doesn't make the Democrats the greater evil of the two major parties for the working class, white, black, or all.

But they are a hell of a lot less good than they could be.

Either he's delusional or he knows something about America that I cannot imagine

Raul Castro demands the moon, the stars and the sun

As his price for "normalized" relations with the US.

And we need this why?

Who says they can't, right now, just use GPS to track and record the locations of all vehicles, at all times?

US plan to track drivers went much wider, new documents reveal

Federal agencies tried to use vehicle license-plate readers to track the travel patterns of Americans on a much wider scale than previously thought, with new documents showing the technology was proposed for use to monitor public meetings.

The American Civil Liberties Union released more documents this week revealing for the first time the potential scale of a massive database containing the data of millions of drivers, logged from automatic license plate readers around the US.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Beards of the Week at Sullivan

Beards Of The Week

Every once in a while I start to let my close-trimmed Van Dyke get long, or even think about a return to the shovel I wore for decades.

Or a flat out full beard, even.

But then I remember that at my age and in my weight class I would end up looking too much like Santa Claus, a fat old Karl Marx, or even Gabby Hayes.



Nah.

At a guess, more than half the men in America wear some form of facial hair.

Nobody wears a tie who isn't made to, not even professionals.

Things you would never know watching the evening news.

Especially if you only watch the politicians and journos.

The value of free speech

It's interesting that, though it may not be Chait's view and it may not be Sullivan's that the value of free speech stands of falls with this claim, they both insist on making it and they both insist that it's a defining belief of liberals or liberalism that free speech can advance justice as liberals understand it, specifically in connection to issues of race and sex and identity, and has done so in living memory.

But I think he hit gold when he explained that defense and honoring of the rights of one's political opponents is the very thing to which the PC movement is per se opposed and at the same time a key, defining value of liberalism.

For liberals, free speech is not only, necessarily, or essentially a means toward reaching a better world; it is integral to the very nature of what that better world would be.

The Left’s Intensifying War On Liberalism

(More an infection or a takeover, but never mind).

And an essential point is that such enemies of the PC movement as Chait and Sullivan are not attacking the freedom of speech of the PC police, hypocritically demanding they STFU.

The objection they make to PC is that it aims at winning through political thuggery and subversion of the liberty of thought and speech essential to a regime of liberty, to political democracy.

The enemies of PC are attacking that and defending freedom.

The tu quoque defense of PC is a blatant and shameless fraud; that is the hypocrisy.

Btw, the idea that America or any country in the Occident or the zone of Christian predominance is a patriarchy, homophobic or not, is nonsense.

What you have here is a predominance of men in positions of power, but those positions and their holding them have nothing to do with being Patriachs, which none of them are.

None is even so much as a Roman paterfamilias, no man in Christendom having had such literal life and death power over his family in centuries.

None of them is even a good bourgeois paterfamilias, as would have been possible only a little more than half a century ago.

But actual patriarchy, the real thing, can be found in some parts of the world, even today.

The most notable among them are in the Muslim lands most committed to the harsh desert ways and mores of the medieval origin of that religion.

Making the worst worse

The Nazis inherited the very worst of Christian history and, under the personal inspiration of Der Fuhrer, made it all infinitely worse.

This, for example.

And Then They Came For The Gays

Jonathan Chait vs The Red Guards

How the language police are perverting liberalism

Priceless.

The revolution eats its young.

At a growing number of campuses, professors now attach “trigger warnings” to texts that may upset students, and there is a campaign to eradicate “microaggressions,” or small social slights that might cause searing trauma. 

These newly fashionable terms merely repackage a central tenet of the first p.c. movement: that people should be expected to treat even faintly unpleasant ideas or behaviors as full-scale offenses. 

Stanford recently canceled a performance of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson after protests by Native American students. 

The show is a musical attack on Jackson, the Democratic Party, and America in the hateful spirit of Howard Zinn.

UCLA students staged a sit-in to protest microaggressions such as when a professor corrected a student’s decision to spell the word indigenous with an uppercase I — one example of many “perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies.” 

A theater group at Mount Holyoke College recently announced it would no longer put on The Vagina Monologues in part because the material excludes women without vaginas. 

The play (if you can call it that) was and is a radical feminist landmark, now given the deep six over its insensitivity to victims of that PC hoax, "sex reassignment surgery."

Some left bloggers have taken the trouble to prove Chait's point that liberalism is being seriously infected by this crap by bashing him and defending everything from rude heckling to actual crimes along a spectrum including communicating a threat, vandalism, breaking and entering, assault, destruction of property, etc.

It is the same as the defense of terrorism offered by the more radical left in days gone by.

It is asymmetrical warfare, the only way the powerless can fight back against the powerful, they say.

Reminds you of their ludicrous defense of their generally hateful and often lying propaganda that they are "speaking truth to power."

Except that their attacks are by no means all or even mostly attacks on power-holders, and in fact are generally attacks on people as powerless as themselves who just refuse to endorse or surrender to their psycho PC fanaticism.

The are attacking people for what they say, have said, or would say, sometimes to the point of actual violence, always with the aim of intimidation and pour encourager les autres, and regularly with the aim of ruining careers, taking jobs, destroying personal lives.

Who was it who descried "the politics of personal destruction"?

Oh, yes. Big Bill.

Chait offers this almost as a definition.

Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate.

Perfectly true, but it will not do as a definition because it leaves out the coercion, menace, threat, and frequently near and sometimes actual violence essential to the thing.

The entire aim of PC is coercive and brutal, and its targets are not limited to the extreme right, or even just the right.

As some of Chait's examples show, their view is that if you are not with them you are against them, and they treat you accordingly.

Chait, again.

[P]olitical correctness is not a rigorous commitment to social equality so much as a system of left-wing ideological repression. 

Not only is it not a form of liberalism; it is antithetical to liberalism. 

Indeed, its most frequent victims turn out to be liberals themselves.

Same old self-righteous left wing assholes.

Chait and his sources only remember the PC wave of the 1990s.

But the term is older than that and the thing even older than the term.

I remember the 1960s.

And it can be traced back even further, being older than the New Left, as old as the Old Left.

Chait is aware of this history, though it is not and was not the entire Marxist left that took this view but only the revolutionary Marxist left, the Leninists and their progeny.

The Marxist left has always dismissed liberalism’s commitment to protecting the rights of its political opponents — you know, the old line often misattributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” — as hopelessly naïve. 

If you maintain equal political rights for the oppressive capitalists and their proletarian victims, this will simply keep in place society’s unequal power relations. 

Why respect the rights of the class whose power you’re trying to smash? 

And so, according to Marxist thinking, your political rights depend entirely on what class you belong to.

The modern far left has borrowed the Marxist critique of liberalism and substituted race and gender identities for economic ones.

. . . . 

Liberals believe (or ought to believe) that social progress can continue while we maintain our traditional ideal of a free political marketplace where we can reason together as individuals. 

Political correctness challenges that bedrock liberal ideal. 

While politically less threatening than conservatism (the far right still commands far more power in American life), the p.c. left is actually more philosophically threatening. 

It is an undemocratic creed.

Well, that.

And that anti-liberal, anti-democratic political authoritarianism, coercion, and violence just don't lead to the place liberals want, or ought to want, to go.

On the other hand, once upon a time liberals defended imperialism (J S Mill, for example) and even settler colonialism, even including displacement or expulsion of natives.

Pretty much where I am, actually.

Though I presume not Chait.

Although maybe.

Israel, after all, is the last successful European settler state in Africa.

On the other hand, the current left wave of disapproval of Israel's identity as a specifically Jewish state is using anti-racism and anti-nationalism to undermine its success.

I have no idea where Chait stands on that.

What? So soon?

In office two days and he blinks.

Syriza PM says default is OFF the table.

I thought this guy had more sand.

They won the election promising no more austerity and no way Greece would pay at 100%.

What Syriza wants

And what is his leverage, now?

Europe has given no sign of willingness to change anything and has repeatedly and emphatically insisted they will not budge.

He has already lost the game of chicken.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Time to cut that Greek debt

Cabinet ministers announced, with economics post going to radical who described austerity as ‘fiscal waterboarding’

Another man without a tie.

This one looks like a boxer and says his top priority is to renegotiate downward Greece's debt.

I like the cut of his jib.

Meanwhile, the chief economic spokesman for Syriza says 100% payback is impossible and everybody knows it, though various spokespeople for the creditors insist it is possible and mandatory.

Greece debt repayment in full is 'unrealistic', says Syriza

And Petraeus?

Ex-CIA officer convicted of leaking Iran plan

This makes it all the more imperative he not get off with a slap on the wrist.

Clinton inevitable . . . if Warren doesn't challenge her.

Says Gene Robinson

Nobody else can beat her, he says.

And she looks good against any plausible Republican, right now.

Snow

Less than expected in NY and New England.

More than expected in Pittsburgh.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The murder scene

It's horrible.

Cruel and horrible.

The book's end is brilliant.

Lolita.

Is asking why this book was written and published a little like asking why Hollywood made Caligula?

Justine

After she runs off with Q, after she meets Dick, Humbert finds her and she explains Q is a wonderful genius who wanted her to join in group sex for porn movies.

She refused and left him.

After two years batting around she met Dick and became pregnant.

Humbert muses Justine was 12 at the start.

Lo is 17 now and he loves her, tries to win her back.

No sale.

Humbert is eaten up with guilt for having broken her life, denied her her childhood.

The guilt will not be mitigated by her forgiveness, acceptance, or love.

Lolita.

It's Snow in America

The major media seem to be burying the story of Syriza, putting it well after stories of snow in the Northeast and Obama in India.

What a crock.

CBS News

The last time Greece was on the verge of a default or dropping out of the Euro Zone back in 2010, European and U.S. markets got hammered and that battered U.S. retirement plans too. 

The euro is already down in Asian markets amid fears of a showdown between Greece and its creditors.

I don't see a significant blip for performance of several US money market funds around 2010.

But noted.

The Nation: It's morning in Greece

About Syriza's victory

Maria Margaronis begins,

It was an amazing moment. 

In the Syriza campaign tent in central Athens last night, tall Germans from Die Linke, Italian communists waving their Bandiera Rossa, Podemos activists from Spain, a French couple with a Tricolore, they all clapped and swayed and danced with ecstatic Greeks. 

Strangers wept for joy in one another’s arms. 

Three young Canadians asked me where “the red party” was; a French woman hugged me and said, “Merci, les Grecs.” Rainbow flags waved among the red and purple; people were pogoing and dancing the tsifteteli side by side. 

The square in front of Athens University, where so many protest marches have begun, filled up with people, cameras, flags, waiting for Alexis Tsipras to make his victory speech. 

A giant banner proclaimed Kalimera Grecia e Europa (Good Morning Greece and Europe); a home-made placard read Gute Nacht Frau Merkel. 

So many Greek faces—faces that have been drawn and grey and anxious now for years—were lit up with an energy that felt half new and half remembered. 

Everyone knows it’s going to be hard, but something vital has been won—a battle against fear, for hope, for change.

Not the kind of morning the American right celebrated with Reagan's victory.

Just the opposite.

Morning for the people.

Well, we hope so.

Greeks want "a normal country."

Talking to people voting yesterday in different Athens neighborhoods, from working-class Nea Ionia to leafy Psychiko, one common theme emerged. 

The old corrupt practices—the godfather politics, the jobs for votes, the backroom union deals, the bribes under the table, the yards of red tape and, above all, the asphyxiating power of Greece’s oligarchs, who buy politicians by the dozen and feed the population a debilitating diet of pap on their private TV channels—all that has to go. 

Tsipras’s promises over the last few months to attack the deep subterranean network of financial and political interests that Greeks call “the entanglements” has won him the support of young and middle-class voters who might never have voted for a left party before. 

The young, the middle-aged, the unemployed, private- and public-sector workers whose lives have been blighted by a culture in which you can’t get a job or a contract unless you have the right connections, all say they want meritocracy, transparency, dignity: to become a “normal” country.

And if the only way to do that is to vote for a radical party with a "central committee," so be it.

Oh, about Europe.

Marine Le Pen of the French Front National said last week that she was rooting for Syriza to win to strengthen Euroskepticism. 

But Syriza is emphatically not a Euroskeptic party, which is one reason why the Greek Communist Party will have nothing to do with it. 

Its aim—and the aim of the thousands of European leftists and left sympathizers who were celebrating in Athens last night—is not to destroy the Union but to reclaim it from the bankers and the money men for the European people.

An echo in Spain

Syriza victory cheers Podemos

Since its creation one year ago, Podemos has emerged as a top contender, with polls consistently showing it, the People’s party and the Socialists earning 20 – 30% of the vote each.

Syriza and, for that matter, Podemos, it seems, are not really anti-Euro or anti-Europe.

They are not, so far as I know, anti-immigration.

They are opposed to a Europe dominated by the right, by the banks, by the plutocracy, and by Germany.

They say they want a democratic Europe of the people.

But in reality that may be more any oxymoronic dream than an achievable political goal.

The European left has never been happy with the democracy deficit of Brussels and the de facto control of the EU by Berlin, far more than the popularly supposed Berlin-Paris axis.

If the Germans, the bankers, and the establishment that control the EU won't let it be democratized and won't budge from austerity the left, even in France, may yet decide to scuttle an EU that is no more than a tool of neoliberalism.

The new Greek coalition

Syriza forms government with the Independent Greeks

I have to say, so far this guy Tsipras promises to be a lot of fun.

Read the whole story. It's short enough.

Goodbye to austerity in Greece

Syriza wins in Greece

Says the Journal,

“Today the Greek people have written history,” Syriza’s young leader and likely new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, said in his victory speech late Sunday. 

“The Greek people have given a clear, indisputable mandate for Greece to leave behind austerity.”

Greek stocks fell by more than 3.5% on Monday but wider market reaction to the result was largely muted. 

The euro traded slightly higher against the dollar in early European trading.

A Syriza victory marks an astonishing upset of Europe’s political order, which decades ago settled into an orthodox centrism while many in Syriza describe themselves as Marxists. 

The Greeks have not become a nation of reds.

The establishment parties have totally refused to align with popular opposition to austerity.

They left voters no alternative.

This is not a mandate for communism or an endorsement of Marxism.

It is, however, a mandate to end austerity and even repudiate, if necessary, half of Greece's external debt.

It emboldens the challenges of other radical parties, from the right-wing National Front in France to the newly formed left-wing Podemos party in Spain, and it sets Greece on a collision course with Germany and its other eurozone rescuers.

The Guardian this morning

Historic win

Voters handed power to Alexis Tsipras, the charismatic 40-year-old former communist who leads the umbrella coalition of assorted leftists known as Syriza. 

He cruised to an eight-point victory over the incumbent centre-right New Democracy party, according to exit polls and projections after 99% of votes had been counted.

The result surpassed pollster predictions and marginalised the two mainstream parties that have run the country since the military junta’s fall in 1974. 

What happens in a democracy to establishment parties that refuse to listen.

The result throws into question whether Greece will remain in the eurozone and the union overall, sets a precedent for anti-austerity insurgents elsewhere in Europe – notably in Spain, which will hold elections this year – and underlines public rejection of the policies prescribed mainly if not exclusively by Berlin in recent years.

. . . . . . 

When the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, French president François Hollande, British prime minister David Cameron et al assemble for an EU summit in Brussels in just over a fortnight, they will be joined at Europe’s top table by Tsipras, probably the only man there not wearing a tie. 

The symbolism will be enormous. 

Europe’s anti-mainstream mavericks and populists are no longer just hammering on the doors.

Somebody doesn't seem to know who this change will actually benefit

Cuba leaves talks on US ties insisting it won't make major changes to its system

Well, then, up yours, Cuba.

Tin ear department

The title of an AEI (oligarch owned) op-ed at WAPO.

End Obamacare, and people could die. That’s okay.

Who will ever forget that gleeful shout, "Let them die!" we heard from the audeince at a 2008 primary season Republican debate when the moderator asked what to do about the uninsured?

See the AEI piece.

What a load of amazing crap under a headline that could not be more stupid.

Karoli nailed it

It's going to be a rough two years.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Poverty here, poverty there

BBC says the average wage in Greece is just under $700 a month.

That sort of poverty would be much worse in America.

If you are that poor in America you live among the shitiest people imaginable.

Evidently, if you are that poor in Greece you live among ordinary, decent people.

The Greeks vote today in what could be a critical election.

Good luck to them.

Prohibition, suppression, and sin taxes

Why do liberals who favor an indulgent approach to addiction to harmful drugs - including not just decriminalization but efforts to keep prices down and provide free paraphernalia - take the opposite approach in efforts to discourage consumption of tobacco products, alcohol, or gasoline?

In the face of inelasticity of demand, sin taxes, prohibition, and efforts at suppression considerably encourage crime, both by addicts and by those who produce for them and supply them, while doing little to diminish consumption.

And by government officials corrupted by so much money and so much danger.

Ask the Mexican drug lords about all that.

The Koch agenda

Americans for Prosperity Announces Legislative Agenda, Mirrors Koch Industries’ Corporate Wishlist

AFP is pretty much the Koch boys' personal propaganda and lobbying outfit.

I have bolded agenda items contrary to the interests of non-rich Americans.

Other items, however inadvertently, are congruent with those interests.

At the National Press Club yesterday, AFP president Tim Phillips and several officers with the group laid out their agenda. 

The group is calling for legalizing crude oil exports, a repeal of the estate tax, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, blocking any hike in the gas tax, a tax holiday on corporate profits earned overseas, blocking the EPA’s new rules on carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants, and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, along with a specific focus on the medical device tax.

A lesson in political realism in more than one sense and in the particular egoism of those who, far more than others, use such power and wealth as they have to get more power and wealth.

Always more.

Proof text

Perhaps Nabokov was out to prove that a profoundly immoral book, by the standards of the time that supported morals censorship across the whole Christian world and the whole civilized world, could be written without a single recognizably unchaste word.

A book soiled from beginning to end that even contains frequent passages describing especially repulsive sexual encounters.

As its early publication history makes clear, the authorities of his time generally took that view.

Lolita.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why?

"The bilateral relationship is unshakable," said a source close to Kerry of the US/Israel bond.

Really?

Unconditional love?

Netanyahu 'spat in our face'

Greek drama

Syriza ready to win

I read those lyrics and I confess I don't get it.

Oh, well.

Creditors will get a serious haircut if these guys get a clear majority.

They will repudiate austerity and they will repudiate about half of Greece's foreign debt, they say.

Not much reason to doubt them.

Won't be good for the globo markets.

Workers of the World, watch out for your 401Ks.

Just how stupid ARE Americans, anyway?

Amazingly stupid.

So amazingly, astoundingly, unspeakably stupid that the retirees critically dependent on Social Security as well as Medicare - and many on Medicaid, as well - support Republicans over Democrats by significant margins.

Could The GOP Turn Social Security Into A Perennial 'Crisis' Like The Debt Limit?

I keep wondering, from blatant outrage to blatant outrage, whether this one could at last be the two-by-four to the head that wakes up the mass of stupid Americans who rely on the bounty of progressivism while voting for people sworn to destroy its every gift.

Never seems to happen.

Amazing.

We're right, they're wrong

USA vs Eurozone strategies since 2008

Krugman.

America needed a bigger stimulus, but was significantly helped by the one we had.

The lower orders took a bad beating, but not as bad as it might have been.

Europe is sinking due to its politically motivated misdiagnosis of the problem and resulting policy of relentless austerity.

The beating administered thus to the lower orders has been more pronounced, thorough, and damaging.

Krugman does not quite see that that was and remains the point at which the elites he castigates were actually aiming.

The policy of austerity, there and here, is an intentional policy of class war, part of a broader set of policies aimed at and achieving an enormous spurt in inequality as productivity gains go to the elites while everyone else is still poorer than they were before the collapse of 2008.

The stock market in the US is not liking the deflationary trend in Europe.

People are warning of the definite end of the bull market.

Careful, folks.

Speaking of dumb

Well, stupid, then, of course.

Matt Taibbi doesn't know what "choleric" means.

'American Sniper' Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize

As for me, I haven't seen the movie and likely won't until it's on cable. And cheap.

Why the left can’t tolerate this movie.

Actually, if MT is any indication, it's mostly because the movie celebrates this sniper's service in Iraq.

And as it does so it totally overlooks the facts that the Iraq invasion was based on false pretenses, that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or al-Qaeda, and that Iraq as previously predicted by Bush I pretty much collapsed into sectarian anarchy costing hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars when its government was destroyed by Bush II.

Come to that, the anarchy all over the Maghreb, the Levant, and Central Asia are all in varying measures consequences of American policy blunders in which people like Navy Seal Chris Kyle did their jobs very well.

The movie blinks all the rest to focus on that last, you see.

We could and should have responded to 9/11 by invading nobody and changing zero regimes.

Punitive missile attacks on al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan would have been perfectly adequate, with or without simultaneous or subsequent  military or other operations against al-Qaeda and its affiliates or like-minded Jihaders or terrorists elsewhere.

We blew up way too much to no good purpose, resulting in much expense, slaughter, and devastation but nothing particularly helpful.

Unless you consider first inspiring hundreds of thousands of people to take up the cause of Jihad and then slaughtering them helpful.

Not sure, myself.

But maybe.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The end of human civilization?

Not this time, it seems.

Maybe next time.

Or maybe the next new virus from Africa.

Falling Ebola cases show 'turning point'

Attacks on "Sniper"?

Tuttle: American Sniper Backlash Reveals Continuing ‘Derangement’ Over Bush Years

I have seen many notices in the right wing media concerning liberal ire about this film.

But I have seen little evidence of such ire in the liberal media.

How about that?

They defend when no one attacks.

Root, hog, or die!

George Will: The harm incurred by a mushrooming welfare state

I admit I read it quickly but I didn't see a word about harm thus incurred.

I saw GW just annoyed almost beyond speech that people who are far from rich but not living out of dumpsters are getting so much means-tested help from the government, enabled of course by taxes, themselves coming to so large an extent from the people who have all the money.

Just unendurably un-American, you know.

What would Coolidge think?

Or Hoover?

Even though even if we include everything we might want to count as aid from the government we still have the most income and wealth inequality of any of the Occidental nations, and it's still growing without stint or significant hindrance.

To the evident delight of the plutocracy that rewards people for publishing such toadying and repulsive trash.

Hillary, Podesta, Think Progress in bed with the bankers

Center for American Progress, poised to wield influence over 2016, reveals its top donors

The Center for American Progress, the preeminent liberal think tank in Washington, is poised to exert outsized influence over the 2016 president race and — should Hillary Clinton win it — the policies and agenda of the 45th President of the United States. 

CAP founder John Podesta is set to run Clinton’s presidential campaign, and current CAP president Neera Tanden is a longtime Clinton confidante and adviser.

These folks have a lot of say determining what is the liberal agenda, what do liberals care about, what do liberals want.

DOJ: Ferguson is a bust

U.S. Not Expected to Fault Officer in Ferguson Case

Maybe the upstanding local black citizens will go burn some more stores in an uncontrollable fury at white people in general and cops in particular.

Liberal and black venues will take their side, I am sure.

"Disparate impact" is not discrimination

The Roberts court takes on the Fair Housing Act

Mojo reports,

The question before the court is whether the Fair Housing Act of 1968, intended to fight pervasive residential segregation, bans practices that unintentionally discriminate against minorities.

And there's the rub.

"Unintentional discrimination" is an oxymoron.

Under the FHA, it is illegal to "refuse to sell or rent… to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin." 

Civil rights advocates believe this language is broad enough to include disparate-impact claims, and the courts have historically agreed. 

Some courts, not "the" courts; and it is evident there is nothing in the quoted text to support so violent an act of "interpretation."

Lower courts just play follow the leader, anyway, like so many lemmings trying their best not to poke their heads up.

This is the background of the current controversy.

The Texas case involves a fair-housing advocacy group that alleged state officials were perpetuating racial segregation in the Dallas region by making federal low-income housing vouchers available primarily in minority neighborhoods. 

A district court agreed that state officials were violating the FHA—whether intentionally or not. 

Texas appealed, urging the courts to find that the law only applies to intentional discrimination. 

"The text of the Fair Housing Act unambiguously precludes the 'disparate impact' interpretation adopted by HUD and the court of appeals," the brief from the state says. 

"There is no language anywhere in the Fair Housing Act’s anti-discrimination rules that refers to ‘effects’ or actions that ‘adversely affect’ others."

The Texans are clearly right.

The idea seems to have been that by providing aid only for purchases in minority neighborhoods the Texas law made it easier for minorities to locate in minority neighborhoods than elsewhere, thus perpetuating residential segregation.

That may be right, and I think it's a fair supposition that it was intentional.

Two points.

First, state officials do not seem to have been renting or selling or etc. They were providing assistance to housing-seekers. The law does not seem to address or constrain people or agencies doing that. So the law does not seem to apply in the case at issue.

Second, suppose they could prove an intention to perpetuate residential segregation. That does not seem to be forbidden by the quoted portion of this law. Again, the law does not seem to apply in the case at issue.

It appears to be the liberal view that, regardless of the actual text, (a) the law should be taken as forbidding any policy, rule, law, regulation, or other act in any way related to housing that has a "disparate impact" on different racial groups, (b) whether by intention or not.

It is not only right wing prosecutors or fascist cops out to nail their man who so grossly abuse the law.

And as to (a), you may be sure it has not occurred to them that the federal housing voucher program likely violates that constraint, since at a guess I would say it aids disproportionately more minorities than whites.

And they would tear their hair out at the suggestion that was unlawful discrimination, intentional or not.

Anyway, the entire controversy ignores the difference between compulsory separation of the races and spontaneous separation, perhaps resulting from people preferring to live in more or less homogeneous neighborhoods dominated by their own group, or in which their own group at least has an established presence.

Exactly as does the whole government effort for compulsory integration of schools.

By the way, how is that Fair Housing Act of 1968 constitutional?

On what constitutional peg is hung the power to so constrain local commerce?

If not the general welfare clause or the Fourteen Amendment equal protection clause, I don't see any peg available.

Bit of a stretch, in either case.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chiang Kai-Shek and Meiling Soong

He divorced Jennie to marry Meiling at 40.

She later said that on their wedding night he told her he believed in sex only for procreation.

As he had already fathered all the children he wanted (a son), there would be no sex between them.

Jonathan Fenby, Chiang Kai-Shek.

Oddly, the cover of this Carroll and Graf paperback has his name as "Jonathon," on the front and spine.

The back cover, copyright page, and title page have "Jonathan."

Reality is just too offensive for words

Jews, Outnumbered by Muslims, Suffer Under Mob Rule

JG writes,

And if there were a billion Jews in the Middle East, HarperCollins would never have edited out Israel from its atlas. 

The publisher was recently embarrassed by the revelation (first reported by the British Catholic magazine The Tablet) that it had been selling an atlas "developed specifically for schools in the Middle East," promising "in-depth coverage of the region and its issues" that nonetheless left Israel on the cutting room floor. 

A spokesman for the subsidiary that put out the map told The Tablet that including Israel would be "unacceptable" to their customers in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere. 

And the customer is always right.

Amazing.

Mainstreaming progressivism

Obama's Goal: Be The Left's Ronald Reagan

The conservative takeover of the Republican Party and the presidency of Ronald Reagan threw liberalism and the entire achievement of Democratic progressivism onto the defensive, more rhetorically than politically but in fact in both senses, for decades.

O has tried to reverse that, and is still trying.

The congress will not give him what he wants on much of anything, of course, including his regrettable climate stuff.

One can only hope he is prepared to use his veto to defend not just his own progressive achievements but those of the illustrious past, as well.

After progressive advance, gridlock is second best.

SOTU a home run with the public

President Obama's State of the Union a big hit with voters

Very good numbers for a significantly progressive agenda.

Battle for the Middle Class

O stresses middle class

Transcript

Yes, yes. I know.

"Call no man happy until he is dead."

And call no president excellent until his time in office is over.

But O right now is on track to be one of the progressive greats.

He has not taken us as far into reform as many of the "professional left" would have preferred, and they have not been shy about saying so.

He has done nothing, really, to draw back from America's far-flung military and other global commitments.

Perhaps he could not have.

And people had the same complaints about FDR and LBJ, in their day.

All the same, FDR and LBJ are the two greatest progressive presidents to date, and O is on track to join them in America's historic penthouse.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Is he just stupid?

Catholics don't have to breed 'like rabbits', says Pope Francis

But no change in the church's teaching that contraception and abortion are immoral and not to be countenanced.

Couldn't get more old school, for a Catholic cleric, if you tried.

Also, a Catholic pope had this to say about the "ideological colonization" of Africa.

But he firmly upheld church teaching banning contraception and said no outside institution should impose its views on regulating family size, blasting what he called the “ideological colonisation” of the developing world.

African bishops, in particular, have long complained about how progressive, western ideas about birth control and gay rights are increasingly being imposed on the developing world by groups, institutions or individual nations, often as a condition for development aid.

“Every people deserves to conserve its identity without being ideologically colonised,” Francis said.

He wasn't even smiling.

They are making him a target

Paint a bullseye on his back, why don't you?


Lassana Bathily


Says the BBC story,

Meanwhile, a Malian employee who helped shoppers during the supermarket siege by Coulibaly is due to receive French nationality on Tuesday.

Lassana Bathily, a 24-year-old Muslim, hid customers inside a basement cold store when the gunman stormed the shop and took people hostage.

He will receive a French passport at a ceremony in his honour after his application was fast-tracked.

It comes after a petition was circulated calling for him to be granted citizenship.

He has lived in France for nine years and applied for citizenship last year.

If I were he, I wouldn't have wanted the publicity.

The passport, yes, of course.

But not the publicity.

But it serves the turn of the government, determined to reinforce the message to the French public that the problem isn't with all Muslims and to the Muslims of the world that the French government doesn't think it's a problem with all Muslims.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sex, broccoli, and literature

After the saving death of Charlotte Haze, HH drove Lo all over the country for a year, wheddling, cajoling, and bullying her into satisfying him, despite her indifference and sometimes repugnance, apparently sometimes two or three times a day, and certainly every day at least once.

But he could get her to read nothing better than comics and pop girls magazines, he says.

He says he was torn between the thought of abandoning her when she entered her teens and marrying her so as to have by her a daughter he could start sexual relations with at eight or nine.

He even fantasized a similar relationship with an eventual granddaughter, Lolita the Third.

Lolita.

Snowpiercer


Very engaging, though the end disappoints.

John Hurt was a good choice for his role.

Ed Harris was not.

Far too hale and hearty to play the role of a tired, frail old man who wanders his kitchen in his robe, no longer bothering to shave regularly, looking to surrender his position to a young successor.

Harris could be in his eighties, for all I know, but he still looks like a very fit fellow in his fifties, at most.

I have no idea why, but the flick had something of the look of an old TV show on videotape.

That, too, was odd.

A Walk Among the Tombstones

They altered the ending and not for the better.

OK film, though.

What audience were they aiming at?

Goals of the global left

New Oxfam report says half of global wealth held by the 1%

Expect things to get worse for Americans and Europeans as the elites more and more forsake nationalism and embrace globalism as urged both by the ever more frankly cosmopolitan left and the globalist neoliberal right.

On the other hand, some things urged by the left would certainly help cushion the blow and redistribute some of the pain of globalization upwards.

Consider The Guardian's endorsement of O's expected proposal to shift some $399 billion of the US tax burden onto the shoulders of the wealthy in order to enable tax cuts and other good things for non-rich Americans.

Obama's tax proposals

The centerpiece of the president's tax proposal is an increase in the capital gains rate on couples making more than $500,000 per year to 28 percent, the same level as under President Ronald Reagan. 

The top capital gains rate has already been raised from 15 percent to 23.8 percent during Obama's presidency.

Obama also wants to close what the administration is calling the "trust fund loophole," a change that would require estates to pay capital gains taxes on securities at the time they're inherited. 

Officials said the overwhelming impact of the change would be on the top 1 percent of income earners.

Administration officials pointed to a third proposal from the president as one they hope Republicans would support: a fee on the roughly 100 U.S. financial firms with assets of more than $50 billion.

Raising the capital gains rate, ending the inheritance loophole and tacking a fee on financial firms would generate $320 billion in revenue over a decade, according to administration estimates. 

Obama wants to put the bulk of that money into a series of measures aimed at helping middle-class Americans.

No chance he'll get any of this from a Republican legislature, but it's good to remind Americans whenever possible who is the lesser evil and who the greater for the non-rich of this country.

Oh, this bit at Think Progress is too late for me but still a good idea.

O's plan

Revenue from the tax increases would fund credits of up to $500 for families in which both spouses work. 

Under Obama’s tax plan, nearly 24 million couples with annual income up to $210,000 could benefit from the tax credits.

There's some good stuff for education and job training, too.

Kiplinger

The latest numbers from the IRS—based on just released data from 2012 tax returns—show what it takes to be among the top 1% of income earners: adjusted gross income of $434,682 or more. 

Roman times, Middle Ages were warmer

Global warming dishonesty

But I suppose this is the meat.

When it comes to global warming, “journalism” has come to mean: “copying press releases from government agencies.”

But a few folks decided to do some actual journalism, and Britain’s Daily Mail reports that
the NASA press release failed to mention…that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree—or 0.02C.
The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C—several times as much.
Pause for a moment to digest that. The margin of error was plus or minus one tenth of a degree. 

The difference supposedly being measured here is two hundredths of a degree—five times smaller than the margin of error. 

The Daily Mail continues:
As a result, GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted NASA thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent. 
However, when asked by this newspaper whether he regretted that the news release did not mention this, he did not respond.
This is not exactly a high point in the employment of the scientific method.

If we take into account this margin of error, the most we can say is that 2014 was, so far as we know, just as warm as 2005 and 2010. 

There is no significant difference between these years. 

And that gives the lie to claims of runaway global warming

All the fault of those damned eurowhite imperialist pigs!

Terrorism in Paris, Sydney the legacy of colonial blunders

Always blame the white guys, no matter who is actually doing it or why.

Capitalism, too, if you can work it in, somehow.

MLK Day. The liberal/black message of hate

The FBN and Billie Holiday

Rather than celebrate a man whose aim was to bring us together, BooMan chooses once again to commemorate white viciousness toward black people.

Not just a movie

Maureen Dowd.

I loved the movie and find the Oscar snub of its dazzling actors repugnant. 

But the director’s talent makes her distortion of L.B.J. more egregious. 

Artful falsehood is more dangerous than artless falsehood, because fewer people see through it.

DuVernay told Rolling Stone that, originally, the script was more centered on the L.B.J.-M.L.K. relationship and was “much more slanted to Johnson.”

“I wasn’t interested in making a white-savior movie,” she said.

And so she lied, first and foremost to the black children of America but also to all of us.

She told a really big whopper of a lie to make white people look worse, to make whites who were all in for the cause of civil rights and supporting MLK look like his enemies and enemies of black people.

The same people who tell you white racism is a significant problem in the US talk absolute rot to prove it.

They tell you AIDS and Ebola are white inventions aimed at killing black people, for example.

Or that LBJ and the whole "white power structure" opposed MLK and the civil rights agenda, and wanted him dead.

If they believe these lies they are morons whose hatred is based on stupidity.

If they don't they are evil, hate-motivated liars.

They're probably a mix of both, like the anti-Semites of old.

Like Ms. DuVernay?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Transformers 4

Wahlberg plays his role as you would expect a felon convicted of multiple vicious assaults motivated by racial hatred to.

He should have done more time and never been allowed in Hollywood.

Stanley Tucci is the best thing in this movie because he is kidding all the way.

Kelsey Grammer is perfectly serious and does a fine job in his new career as an action movie hard guy.

It's a real turd, folks.

The greatest butchers

Generally, communists have made the greatest butchers.

Hitler, I think, is the only exception, the only dictator of the right anywhere near as awful as the great reds, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.

Some of the minor reds were pretty awful, too, like Pol Pot.

The flunky red dictators of eastern Europe, perhaps, and maybe Tito compare with that other exception, Castro.

Their regimes seem actually to have been better, in some ways, for the lower orders than capitalist regimes in the same countries were or would have been or would be.

It is safe to guess that Russia, China, and Cambodia would have been better off without the reds.

Likely Spain dodged a bullet with Franco's victory.

Not sure about Chile.

Probably.

He doesn't see Muslim terrorists, either.

Why the lie of Selma doesn't bother BooMan.

Selma

Well, no.

This, too, is a lie.

I’ll tell you another thing. When I watch footage from the Civil Rights Era, whether real or fictionalized, I don’t see “white villains.” I see my political enemies. And they’re still here with us.

If you’re white and you find yourself feeling defensive about the white villains in Selma, there is something wrong with you already. You’re not supposed to belong to that tribe. Didn’t you learn anything in school?

The lie of Selma is the same as other, related lies that black Americans rescued themselves from slavery, Jim Crow, and lots of other nastiness heaped upon them by whites, with no help from whites who in fact resisted their efforts at every step.

It doesn't bother him because he endorses it; it's his lie, too.

He doesn't mind that the lie encourages black hatred of whites.

He actually wants that.

Partly, black hatred of whites is a political tool of Democrats.

And he just hates white people, anyway.

That's a PC and liberal thing.

Marx had nothing but contempt for Jews.

In general, white people who resent and fear such lies as Selma do so for the same reason Jews resented and feared the lies of the anti-Semites.

For the same reasons, they resent truths broadcast in such a way as to make them the objects of hatred portrayed as righteous and even a moral necessity.

Private language

Neo was conceived and gestated in a vat so that, literally, his brain has always been in a vat.

His wiring took place early enough in the process of development so that all of his experience in the vat has been, so to speak, in the Matrix.

In the Matrix he has lived a complete and routine life, growing up to be a minor hacker with a boring job.

All of his experience, so to speak, has been hallucinatory.

He has never spoken to a person, sat on a chair, put on a pair of shoes, gone for a walk, ridden in a bus, or driven a car.

But within the Matrix he has done all these things.

Within the Matrix, he was raised an American and to speak English, the principal language of the country.

When Morpheus and his crew get him out of the Matrix and he awakens to reality for the first time, experiences things and people for the first time, they communicate in English.

While still in his pod, was his experience private?

Did he learn a private language because his experience was private?

Was the private language he learned in fact the same as the public language, English?

Contra Wittgenstein.

The Private Language Argument is a complete bluff.

Could Schloss Neuschwanstein have been a carrot?





Could my filthy old pair of tennies have been a photon?

Could the Brooklyn Bridge have been the Holland Tunnel?

Could Abraham Lincoln have finished his second term?

Could Teddy Roosevelt have been killed big game hunting in the Rockies, never to become president?

Could Teddy Roosevelt have been a filthy old pair of tennies?

Could the bald man in the corner have been neither bald, nor a man, nor in the corner?

Are there some F, G, such that if x is F then x is necessarily F and if x is G then x is not necessarily G?

Is it the case that if x = y then there is some F such that x is the same F as y?

Must what is yellow be extended?

Must what is visible be extended?

Questions about identity and essence.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

America faces a totalitarian political ideology it just is not used to

I left this at a liberal blog tied to a post in which it was pointed out that some conservatives are now joining Geert Wilders in categorizing Islam as a totalitarian political ideology motivating organized terrorism and revolutionary war (Jihad) all over the world.

Jindal - Islam should be denied First Amendment freedom-of-religion protection in America

Those conservatives are right, just as anyone would be who said Leninism or even more broadly Marxism is a totalitarian political ideology that not only in the past but even today motivates terrorism and revolutionary war, though not as much as it used to.

And all of that is true though most Marxists and most Muslims at all times have personally had no part in such violence, though vast numbers were perfectly and even enthusiastically in sympathy with it and supported it in one way or another.

As for the First Amendment, it really doesn’t matter that much that Islam is also a religion, and there is not as much point in absurdly quarreling about that as some people seem to think.

Ideologies, books, meetings, pamphlets, ideas, political parties, and all that sort of thing have been banned before now and are still banned in Europe for fear of the damage that could be produced by the hatred they encourage and the violence they might actually inspire.

And there are people in America who have urged in the past (mostly on the right) or do today (mostly on the left) prosecution, for example, of what they call hate speech and even a legal ban on organizations devoted to the spread of hate.

As far as the First Amendment goes, it is an obstacle to such bans whether or not the expressions or organizations whose ban is sought are religious.

And again so far as the First Amendment goes, pretty much nobody, left or right, is in the least interested in the federal government, or any government, fully and absolutely complying with its breathtakingly casual and careless strictures.

While its sweeping language made sense to Americans before the Civil War, when it was understood that the powers to control or suppress speech and the press, to establish religion, and to suppress religion that the First Amendment denied the federal government were in fact reserved to and vigorously exercised by the states, things are quite otherwise now.

And though nothing relevant in the text of the constitution has changed in all this time, only the most annoying conservatives refuse to accept convenient and useful lies about what the Amendment actually means, at once imposing the Amendment on the states and lying about its import, now this way and now that, to suit our different modern political preferences.

And with that in mind I wrote the below.

Despite the First Amendment, there are federal crimes one commits by speaking, writing, broadcasting, etc.

Some have to do with breaches of government secrecy, but not all.

And some forms of speech that are not criminal PC people want to criminalize under the rubric “hate speech.”

In Europe that has sometimes involved suppression of entire books like Mein Kampf.

Liberals would be the last to deny that there are and have been ideologies of hate and movements of hate that have aimed at and achieved horrific real world political goals, most notably the near extermination of the Jews of Europe by the Nazis.

Not only is Mein Kampf banned, but it is illegal in Germany to form anew under any name a Nazi Party.

I don’t know many PC people who think that ban should be lifted.

It is not only not impossible that such an ideology of hate could assume the guise of a religion, it is actually the case.

The original ideology of the Black Muslims, for example, as well as its current mutation in the teachings of the Nation of Islam, are such pure and toxic distillations of hate.

Imagine something as horrific as The Turner Diaries presented as a sacred text, read from at “religious services,” taught to children in religion classes, and preached on Sundays over the radio and on cable TV.

If we in America are going to suppress hate speech and, one supposes, hate literature, will we end up criminalizing meetings of the American Nazi Party where extermination of Jews is urged in all seriousness as a political goal?

The Koran itself is as toxic as Mein Kampf or The Turner Diaries.

Sure, not every word or every passage.

You can say the same for Mein Kampf.

See where this is going?

I am not urging suppression of any of these forms of speech in America, but we really ought not to blink the fact that there is a lot of hate speech out there, a lot of it informs the ideologies of actual political movements, and a lot of it wears the guise of religion.

Oddly, the most vicious of the hate-religions now preached in the US is not Islam but the filth spread by the Nation of Islam.

But Black Muslims are not much given to terrorism or Jihad urged by their fake religion, though the hatred they spread has a lot to do with American politics of race and American mob racial violence.

The real Muslims, on the other hand, regularly produce exactly that sort of violence, all over the world.

They see themselves as heroic and righteous defenders of true religion and God.

Hitler and his devoted followers saw themselves as heroic and righteous defenders of the German Volk.

Hell, everyone is a hero in his own mind.

Remember Abimael Guzman?

Friday, January 16, 2015

A twist

Ch 29, Part I, Lolita.

At last, she seduces him.

They have intercourse 3 times, HH later reports.

She is not new at this.

Trojan horse?

Controversy

Nancy Pelosi to name first Muslim lawmaker to House intelligence committee

Reputed to be very devout.

During the Cold War, there were in fact anti-communist and fervently pro-Cold War Marxists, and it would not have been absurd to hire them for sensitive national security work.

Is the situation quite the same with American Muslims?

What of this American Muslim?

Personally, I think the likelihood that it is not is unacceptably high.

At the very least, he will almost certainly be an unfortunate "agent of influence."

Let's hope the FBI keeps a sharp lookout.

Oh, also during the Cold War there were pinkoes and red sympathizers in the Congress, too, though perhaps they were more common in the State Department (Alger Hiss and others).

People who ought not to have been and were not trusted.

By the way.

Hottest year! Wow! The sky is falling!

Scientists balk at ‘hottest year’ claims

Is 1/100 of a degree statistically significant in this context?

Not everybody is impressed.

Exceptions to the rule

The rule is that homegrown Jihaders are 1st or 2nd generation Muslim immigrants, overwhelmingly.

But that rule is not without exceptions.

Video shows 'would-be' Jacksonville terrorist making bombs

Shelton Thomas Bell.

Not a Muslim bone in his body.




Some mistakes you never stop paying for.

Or almost.

He's 21 and got a 20 year sentence Wednesday, followed by a lifetime of supervision.

Remember Johnny Walker Lindh?

How we choose a president in the US of A.

Getting ready for 2016?

This is what you will see.

From among those willing, the rich will choose whom to support in the primary season.

Voters who show up for the primaries will, in each state, choose whichever of the plutocrat-certified folks they prefer.

Then the parties will, using a process that does not guarantee the person with the most primary votes, nationwide, wins, choose their candidates from among those same plutocrat-certified folks.

Then the great mass of American voters will get to choose which of the two plutocrat-certified people nominated by the two major parties they prefer, in a process that does not insure that the person with the most votes gets the job of president.

And we will all rejoice in another triumph of democracy.

The Guardian heroically defends boobs.

No kidding.

And it's about time somebody did, don't you think?

It’s time to stop blaming women for having breasts


Couldn't agree more, and the next time someone does that in my presence I will protest mightily.

But how about for slapping us in the face with them?

And then having the nerve to say something like "My eyes are up here"?

Feminists use their bodies as a trap for men, not unlike climbers.

Dykes, on the other hand, just hate it when men look at the them.

Ah, the horrible regiment of women.