Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bias

Jesus.

Ta-Nehisi Coates among 'Genius winners'

Reading The Good Soldier

Beautiful prose from Ford Madox Ford.

His style and peeling the onion approach seem more like James.

Likewise the social class.

The first-person narration by a survivor and his moral, "It is all a darkness," more like Conrad.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The discreet silence of the politically correct

Why no big noise?

It's Muslim and it's gay.

And not Catholic or even Christian.

So, hey.

Obama’s Silence on Afghan Military’s Child Rape

A White House that wants to spend billions to stop “climate change” in the name of saving all the children of the planet can’t bother to stop the violent sexual assaults of boys held hostage right under our noses by our warmly embraced “allies” in the Afghan military.

A White House that splashed social media with pleas to “Bring Back Our Girls” after Boko Haram jihadists in Nigeria kidnapped 300 girls and women has nothing to say about the legions of boys forced into prostitution and pedophilia rings witnessed by U.S. troops.

A White House bent on whitewashing away radical Islam’s sins against Christians, Jews, gays, apostates, cartoonists, genitally mutilated women and child brides would rather celebrate “diversity” than lift a finger to protect the victims of political correctness run amok.

To paraphrase 2009 Nobel Prize winner President Obama: It’s on you.

The annoying and growing counter-cultural commitments of the left

New U.K. Shadow Farming Minister: Treat Meat-Eating Like Smoking

Says the story,

The Labour Party’s new shadow farming minister — a vegan who brags about being a “militant” against meat consumption — has announced that she wants meat-eating to be treated like smoking. 

“I really believe that meat should be treated in exactly the same way as tobacco, with public campaigns to stop people eating it,” Kerry McCarthy, the Member of Parliament for Bristol East, said in an interview with the vegan magazine Viva!life, according to an article in The Daily Telegraph.

“Progress on animal welfare is being made at EU level . . . but in the end it comes down to not eating meat or dairy,” she added.

These are the people who want to crush Big Tobacco and prohibit alcohol but stop the war on drugs.

Trump is right about Syria. And Iraq.

Trump: GOP rivals ‘want to start WWIII over Syria,’ should let Russia fight Islamic State

I suppose everybody is right about something.

Ad hoc constitutionalism

Bolivia's parliament passes law to let Evo Morales run for another term

Never a good idea, American parties talk about this sort of thing only when time's up for their guy and he looks like he's still a winner.

But we don't actually do it.

What's wrong with Francis and the RC Church?

Maureen Dowd

He has not adopted the post-Christian, feminist, PC, LGBT outlook on all things to do with sex, nor has his church.

His anti-capitalist, Argentine Liberation Theology is cool, and all.

But it doesn't really hit her sweet spot.

P.S.

Liberals nowadays insist there is such a thing as gender wholly distinct from and nothing much to do with actual, biological sex.

They are right.

It is a grammatical feature of nouns of many languages including Latin, German, and French.

It is merely vestigial in English.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Why the conservative pope did the unprecedented and walked away from the job

“Mafia” club brought down Benedict XVI to make Church “much more modern”

Cardinal Danneels Admits to Being Part of 'Mafia' Club Opposed to Benedict XVI

Another "existential threat."

Pope Francis to the UN: environmental degradation threatens ‘the very existence of the human species’

The human species won't last forever, anyway.

Not even all that long.

It will eventually go extinct, and some people - mostly but not only a narrow sect of environmentalists or moral philosophers - urge the sooner, the better.

Though I am not among those folks, I am not interested in any sacrifice to delay an inevitable event that is of no concern to myself or anyone who considers well what events, in the world, truly concern him, anyway.

Always assuming that I, like the vast majority of humans who by then will ever have lived, will be already dead before the extinction event.

Probably very long before.

The world's foremost liberal

Pope Francis is just another liberal political pundit

Pope Francis is unquestionably a man of ­uncommon personal grace, the possessor of a genuinely beautiful soul. 

“On Heaven and Earth,” his book-length exchange with Rabbi Abraham Skorka first published in 2010, is a remarkable testament to the breadth of his perspective.

But that’s not exactly the guy who showed up Friday at the United Nations. 

That pope endorsed the Iran deal, the UN’s environmentalist goals and what amounts to a worldwide open-borders policy on refugees — and ­offered a very specific view of how to promote development in the Third World that’s straight out of a left-wing textbook.

“The International Financial Agencies,” the pope said, “should care for the sustainable development of countries and should ensure that they are not subjected to oppressive lending systems which, far from promoting progress, subject people to mechanisms which generate greater poverty, exclusion and dependence.”

. . . .

When the pontiff sounds less like a theological leader and more like the 8 p.m. host on MSNBC or the editor of Mother Jones, what’s a guy to do?

Pope Francis is entirely within his rights to become the world’s foremost liberal. 

But, since that’s what he is, it can’t be wrong to say so.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The view from the top

Jeb Bush says Dems lure black voters with 'free stuff'

Jeb Bush told a South Carolina crowd Thursday that Democrats play to African-American voters by offering "free stuff," a similar comment to a contentious one that Mitt Romney made in the days after his 2012 loss to President Barack Obama.

He speaks to an audience that does not see Republican promises to destroy American social democracy in order to enable huge tax cuts for them as an effort to buy their votes.

So did Romney.

Interesting Bush and Romney did not make the obvious and accurate observation, often made by numerous conservative writers, that Democrats pander to and encourage black racial fears about and hostility towards whites, capitalism, America, and American institutions, as well as demands for special treatment, special programs, reparations, and so on.

Those really are the ways, and the only ways, Democrats appeal specifically and directly to blacks as such.

And Democratic support for American social democracy absolutely is not racially targeted - which is why, for example, Bernie Sanders can talk all day and all night the socialist, communist, social democrat talk while seeming to the black, feminist, and even mainstream left to be totally oblivious to their hot button issues of race and sex.

But American social democracy and the taxation of them upon which it rests, and not affirmative action for cops or the fire department, are what really annoy the GOP's rich contributors.

The guy leaves me speechless, sometimes

Chauncey Gardner does it again.

Pontiff tells general assembly the environment should enjoy the same rights and protections as humanity

Not just tree frogs but trees.

Mountains.

But probably not, say, the smallpox, rabies, or HIV viruses.

Or the tetanus bacterium.

Don't worry.

The environmentalist Pontifex Maximus, Bill McKibben, or The Guardian will sort things out for us, ad hoc, as we go along.

An adviser soon to be fired?

Papal adviser Cardinal Peter Turkson says personal issues of life and death still come first despite pope’s call for climate action

Leave it to The Guardian to conflate abortion, an infallibly defined sin, with the death penalty, something this pope doesn't personally like.

Anyway, they write,

The Vatican official who wrote the first draft of the papal encyclical has said abortion and the death penalty still hold primacy over climate change as issues for the Catholic church, despite the pope’s ringing call for action on the environment.

As the pope moved on to New York for the second leg of his US tour, Cardinal Peter Turkson said personal issues of life and death still came first for the church, notwithstanding the Catholic leader’s efforts to get world leaders to fight climate change and poverty.

The cardinal, who is a key adviser to the pope, also said the Vatican had no plans to rid itself of holdings in fossil fuels, and that the encyclical should by no means be seen as a call by the pope to divest from coal, oil or gas.

Got that right

A Formal Alliance with Israel Is a Terrible Idea

The U.S.-Israel relationship is already a net liability for America, so it doesn’t make sense for the U.S. to bind itself more closely to them and become even more closely identified with them in the eyes of the region and the rest of the world.

America is so being taken to the cleaners by the Zionists that it's just f-ing incredible.

Ever since Truman's day, we have been damned fools about this.

It’s Time for a Formal U.S. Alliance With Israel

Why military pros need to be kept out of government and generally made to STFU on foreign affairs.

And being sworn to defend the likes of Albania and Slovenia are just the tip of the huge iceberg of reasons the US needs to exit NATO, too.

Had enough

Speaker John Boehner's resignation rocks Capitol

Buchanan on a Muslim president

A Muslim President? Was Ben Carson Right?

Has Bill Maher addressed this specific remark of Carson's?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Globalism

Boeing to open assembly plant in China

Chinese firms urged to bid for HS2 work

Blurring the line

Though terrorism is also defined by the non-combatant or civilian status of its victims, terrorist attacks and hate crimes are both partly defined by the mental states of the perpetrators.

In the one case we have the intent to modify political behavior through terror spread by violence.

In the other, infliction of harm out of hate.

In so many cases a single act is both that the public is deluded and mistakes the one for the other.

Both, like the post-Civil War violence of the Klan to keep the Freedmen out of politics.

Or like these.

Meet three people targeted for being 'atheists', and a Muslim leader condemning their beliefs

Politically motivated lies don't help.

Lots of people lie about ordinary hate crimes by whites, for example, branding those who recognize these are not terrorism as racists.

On the other hand, how many times have crimes by Muslims, or even nations, been mislabeled as terrorism though the supposed political effect was never really expected to materialize, the attacks being carried out all the same out of hate?

Is this a hate crime mislabeled as terrorism?

Canada rail plotters get life in prison

"Send 'em a message" is not enough to make any attack a case of terrorism.

That would make lawful reprisal impossible and nonexistent, contrary to the fact.

A set up. By whom?

Girl gets through Pope's security

Somebody colluding with the Vatican, or just relying on the pro-immigration Pope to exploit the opportunity?

TSA ought to reimburse tickets for false alarms

Penis shows up as 'anomaly' at airport

Even for transvestites who think they're transsexuals.

There are no real transsexuals.

Most who claim to be don't even try to look the part, intimately speaking.

People vote for these people


One of the most influential US energy politicians says she will reject the Pope's plea to tackle climate change.

Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, the second-highest ranking member on the House energy committee, says the jury is out on global warming.

Pope Francis told a White House audience on Wednesday further action was needed as the problem could "no longer be left to a future generation".

He is due to speak more on the subject in an address to Congress on Thursday.

Speaking as part of a forthcoming Radio 4 documentary series "Climate Change - Are we Feeling Lucky?", she asserted that the earth had cooled in the last 13 years by 1F.

And she said no evidence would persuade her of man-made warming.

She also rejected the theory of evolution.

Scientists say her views are "complete nonsense".

Personally, I think global warming is likely real and air pollution only less likely its cause.

It's the politically motivated horrors offered as 'solutions' that are revolting.

It will be a global scandal


And this.

Germany's transport minister says Volkswagen has admitted using the same fake emissions test in Europe as it used to falsify results in the US.

Alexander Dobrindt said it was not known how many of the 11 million vehicles affected were in Europe.

He also said other manufacturers' vehicles would be checked.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The threat of the rest, against the West

The Guardian supports the left wing project to revamp the UN.

UN security council must be revamped or risk irrelevance, Kofi Annan warns

So does the Obama White House.

Russian vetoes are putting UN security council's legitimacy at risk, says US

Bad news in this unholy alliance

The Pontifex Maximus of the Climate Cult rejoices.

With Clinton and the Pope on board, the climate movement has wind in its sails

Why fear Muslims in politics

Militant group publishes global hitlist of bloggers, activists and writers

Ben Carson's narrow view of Islam is widely shared – by Islamic extremists

By 'Muslim extremists' The Guardian means 'orthodox' or even 'mainstream' Muslims.

The Guardian thinks the Pope is a Catholic extremist on matters of faith and morals, and mainstream in his views of capitalism and the environment.

Never was just an American problem

WHO says most people in Europe too fat

The promise of stem cell research

Lab-grown kidneys work in animals

'Contraction' means 'recession.'

China factory activity weakens further

Asia shares fall on China factory data

Jail again?

Not getting the concepts of separation of church and state, separation of church and job, and freedom of religion.

US clerk faces new legal challenge

Being a Buddhist does not exempt you from serving burgers if you work at McDonald's.

Psychopath? Sociopath?

There is a theory that hedge fund traders and CEOs are in the same mental family as mass murderers, serial killers, and historic tyrants.

US drug company defends huge price rise

'The most hated man in America'?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Vlad Putin, hero of Syria

Who Wins If Damascus Falls?

Pat Buchanan has a point.

Actually, several, and worth reading.

These are my points.

The US seems again to be facilitating the empowerment of Muslim craziness just to stick a thumb in a Russian eye, something we first did in Afghanistan on Reagan's watch, back when the neocon heroes of GW's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were mere pups.

Too, the Obama/Clinton pair have seriously screwed up in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Maghreb, repeatedly knocking off relatively harmless or even friendly governments allegedly in favor of democracy but in fact to the advantage of Islamic madness.

Assad hits both nerves, being a Russian ally and a not very nice dictator the only real alternative to whom is ISIS.

Other alternatives are the same sort of democracy lover's fantasy that has led Obama/Clinton into one folly after another.

Or maybe the president just really is pro-Muslim, after all.

But who could possibly believe that about Hillary?

A verb created by illiterates makes the Times Op/Ed page

Don’t Coronate Carly Fiorina Just Yet

At coronations people are crowned, not "coronated."

Did it start with Hillary? O is a Muslim, I mean?

Scarborough: The "Obama Is A Muslim" Rumor Originated With Hillary Clinton in 2008

"But for Hillary Clinton to come out and criticize anybody for spreading the rumors about Barack Obama [being a Muslim], when it all started with her and her campaign passings things around in the Democratic primary is rich."

"The Republicans are wrong for doing what they're doing," Scarborough said. "This started with Hillary Clinton and it was spread by the Clinton team back in 2008. That is the truth."

Bill Maher on Ahmed's clock. And Jorge Ramos.

Bill Maher on Ahmed Mohamed's Clock: Young Muslims Are "Blowing Shit Up" All Over The World

I suppose it says a lot about you, which of the two, Maher or Ramos (who frequently pretends not to be white, claims the whole immigration issue is just racism, and insists the whole Muslim thing is about race), you think is the political bullshitter and which dead on right.

Me, I like Bill on this Muslim stuff.

Chickens coming home to roost

Beginning in Reagan's time, the bitterly anti-communist and anti-Soviet, Polish John Paul II's time, Republicans have made a big, big deal out of the Papacy.

Reagan created the American embassy to the Vatican in 1984, the better to cement the alliance of American conservatives with Catholicism at home and US policy with the Polish Pope's in Europe.

But the Papacy is now in the hands of a well-informed fan of Liberation Theology, a man who may well think of Obama as too right-wing not on social issues, about which he seems not particularly radical, but on economic ones and on the deft use of the climate issue as a lever for forcing upon the richer nations really costly economic moves for the advantage of poorer ones.

The Pope vs. the GOP

House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, both Catholics, extended the speaking invitation to Francis, who will become the first pontiff ever to address a joint session of Congress.

A move of unbelievable stupidity for the Republicans.

And a wholly inappropriate move for a secular republic, as was Reagan's creation of the US Embassy to the Vatican.

Department of stupid ideas

Time To Consider Nationalizing The Greedy Pharmaceutical Industry

Amato's is not an especially left wing site and Susie M is not an especially left wing writer.

And yet, this appears to be the year of socialism.

The year of stupid.

It's been a very long time since, contra Hayek, J. K. Galbraith became a famous favorite of the left telling America free market, capitalist competition, instead of encouraging valuable innovation, generated only stupid, trivial, and even laughable product differentiation.

Tail fins on cars, for example.

But some nonsense never dies.

Why doesn't the patent on established drugs just run out quicker?

These are criminally exploitive monopoly prices for goods demand for which is relatively inelastic, and the monopoly seems to be justified by nothing.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The NRA bought this?

Says The Guardian,

The program would push for anyone found to be illegally in possession of a firearm to be sentenced to a minimum of five years in federal prison.


Imposing the Second Amendment on the states would require a constitutional amendment, the Incorporation Doctrine being false and the pre-Civil War Bill of Rights restricting only the general government.

The national concealed carry bill apparently seeks to do that by statute, which is also unconstitutional.

But it is no surprise the NRA and the Republican Party support it.

But it is a surprise that either would accept imposition of mandatory prison time for mere unlawful possession of a firearm. 

Defund Planned Parenthood

I support the bill, but not the shutdown.

I supported abolition of the filibuster when the Democrats controlled the senate and I support it now.

The filibuster is unconstitutional.

House passes bills to defund Planned Parenthood amid shutdown threats

When does the diagnosis come?

Or rather, when would the abortion come?

If before the fetus is recognizably an unborn child this is wrong-headed meddling.

If after then this is fine, there being no reason to euthanize children with this condition, though parents may wish to have done with them.


The Guardian reports,

Kasich is considered one of the more moderate Republicans in the 16-strong 2016 presidential primary field, to the extent that some on the right of the party question his conservative credentials.

He is, however staunchly anti-abortion, being opposed to the procedure except in cases of rape or incest or when it is needed to save the life of a mother.

Actually, this sets him apart from Rubio and, I think, some others who reject abortion even in cases of rape or incest, at all stages of pregnancy.

Personally, I would ban all abortions from the moment the fetus is recognizably an unborn child, except for euthanasia.

Before that I would allow all.

Dawkins did not ask quite this question.

But I will.

Was this a deliberate provocation, much in the tradition of leftists staging fake offenses against PC so they can yell about them?

Richard Dawkins questions Ahmed Mohamed's 'motives' and sparks backlash

Unspeakable views


US Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson says he does not believe a Muslim should become president.

"I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that," he told NBC's Meet The Press.

. . . .

He said he believed the president's faith should be consistent with the US constitution.

Asked if he considered Islam to be consistent, he said: "No, I do not."

No Abrahamic religion and perhaps no major religion at all has a fully satisfactory view on separation of church and state, which I suppose may be the root of Carson's objection.

Or it may just be that Muslims in their politics tend too nearly universally to be anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Zionist, even if they aren't planting bombs or running off to join ISIS.

Ben Carson was asked in the NBC interview on Sunday whether he thought President Obama was born in the United States and is a Christian, to which he responded: "I believe that he is. I have no reason to doubt what he says."

The story isn't over

Greek conservatives admit defeat

Syriza wins.

How odd

That the PC crowd should perfectly agree that calling O a Muslim and denying he is a native-born American are attacks is odd.

But it's perfectly in character for these inveterate race-baiters to characterize them as racist attacks.

'Not my job to defend Obama' - Trump

Jar City

An excellent polar by Icelander Arnaldur Indridason, set in Reykjavik.

Erlandur is a fine investigator with an incompetent, hostile boss and two doltish assistants who don't like him, don't believe in him, and only grudgingly just manage not to fatally undermine his efforts.

And then there is the drug-addled slut daughter, the ex-wife, and the loser son, all of whom blame him entirely for their own stupid wretchedness.

But done well, so it's not ludicrous and camp.

The White House war against old people

Obamacare Medicare provision penalizing hospitals that take care of the sickest, poorest

Obama White House calls the kettle black

White House denounces Trump and his followers

The White House on Friday delivered a sweeping indictment of Donald Trump — and the larger Republican party — for the billionaire businessman's failure to correct an audience member who called the president a Muslim, saying such comments are destructive and pandering to "offensive views."

The man, Trump's first audience questioner at an event, also said O was not an American.

During the campaign of 2011, Trump personally, repeatedly, and urgently questioned O's religion and his status as a native born US citizen, a necessary qualification for the US presidency.

. . . .

“Mr. Trump isn’t the first Republican politician to countenance these kinds of views in order to win votes,” Earnest said. “In fact, that’s precisely what every Republican presidential candidate is doing when they decline to denounce Mr. Trump’s cynical strategy.”

. . . . 

But Earnest didn’t limit his critique to Trump, or even the Republican’s 2016 field. Unprompted, he issued a selected history of the past few years in Congress.

“You will recall that one Republican congressman told a reporter that he was David Duke without the baggage. That congressman was elected by a majority of his colleagues in the House of Representatives to the third-highest-ranking position in the House,” Earnest said, referring to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). 

“Those same members of Congress blocked immigration reform. Those same members of Congress opposed reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. Those same members of Congress couldn’t support a simple funding bill because they were eager to defend the Confederate flag. So those are the priorities of today’s Republican Party, and they’ll continue to be until someone in the Republican Party decides to summon the courage to stand up and change it.”

Just this past Tuesday, Valerie Jarrett was having a nice sit down with some of the #BLM leadership at the White House.

O has always had a problem with race, and many of his closest black advisers and friends do indeed hate America - white America, anyway.

Some of his admirers say he has been freed to be more himself by the constitutional presidential term limit.

He can't run and isn't running in the 2016 election.

He doesn't need white voters, anymore.

As fat as the Manhattan phone book

Or the federal budget.

No such constitution can be adopted wittingly by a legislature, let alone democratically by a people.

Nepal to adopt new constitution

The death penalty

The dead do not suffer.

They have no regrets and no remorse.

Deterrence apart, vengeance apart, economy apart, infallible prevention of future crime apart, the death penalty is a foolish error.

The instant the criminal is dead he is is proof against all harm, all pain.

There is no afterlife, no Purgatory, and no Hell, and so if retribution is really what you want you must make a Hell on Earth, devils included.

Life in prison, but with prison as close to a living hell as you can stomach.

You can lock up a maneater, if you want, at great expense, and torture him until he finally dies at the end of as long a life as possible, all the while risking harm and death to other captives, guards, and spectators.

Or you can just kill him and have done with it.

Transportation for life is second best.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The religion of peace, today

Half million children 'flee Boko Haram'

Taliban 'kill 29' at Pakistan air base

Syria 'launches air raids on Palmyra'

Islamic State launches migration campaign

China. Nervous markets.

Markets fall after Fed holds rates

They would have fallen if the Feds had raised rates.

Many people feared the adverse impact.

The underlying cause of global jitters remains worry about the Chinese economy.

Japan rising

China decries new Japan military laws

Says BBC,

Japan's post-World War Two constitution bars it from using force to resolve international conflicts except in cases of self-defence.

The new security legislation allows Japan's military to mobilise overseas when these three conditions are met:

• when Japan is attacked, or when a close ally is attacked, and the result threatens Japan's survival and poses a clear danger to people

• when there is no other appropriate means available to repel the attack and ensure Japan's survival and protect its people

• use of force is restricted to a necessary minimum

More.

The government says that the changes in defence policy are vital to meet new military challenges such as those posed from a rising China.

But China's defence ministry said on Saturday they "run counter to the trend of the times that upholds peace, development and co-operation", the Xinhua news agency reports.

"The move has breached the restrictions of Japan's pacifist constitution," the ministry added.

Many Japanese who opposed the bills - which prompted large public protests - were also attached to the pacifist provisions in the constitution that banned fighting overseas.

China also urged Japan to "heed the security concern" of its Asian neighbours and do more to promote regional peace and stability.

South Korea, which also has a tense relationship with Japan, has warned Tokyo not to exercise the new defence laws without its approval.

But the US, Japan's ally, and the UK have both welcomed the changes.

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he looked forward to Japan "taking an increasingly active part in peacekeeping operations".

Volkswagen compliance techno-fraud

Volkswagen to recall 500,000 cars in US

Wow.

German carmaker Volkswagen has been ordered by US regulators to recall half a million cars because of a device that disguises pollution levels.

The "defeat device" allows cars to pass lab testing even though they actually emit 40 times the emissions standard.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been taking a more aggressive stance on car pollution and violations of the country's Clean Air Act.

The recall could cost the carmaker up to $18bn (£11.5bn).

It affects 2009-2014 Jettas, Beetles, Audi A3s and Golfs and 2014-2015 Passats.

"Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

The illegal system allowed cars to detect when they were undergoing smog emission test and lowered the rate of pollution.

Those emission controls were then turned off during ordinary use.

Refugees and illegals

Euro-NIMBY.

Croatia 'forces' migrants on Hungary

Friday, September 18, 2015

Made me smile


A study showing that nearly all mammals take the same amount of time to urinate has been awarded one of the 2015 Ig Nobel prizes at Harvard University.

These spoof Nobels for "improbable research" are in their 25th year.

The team behind the urination research, from Georgia Tech, won the physics Ig.

Using high-speed video analysis, they modelled the fluid dynamics involved in urination and discovered that all mammals weighing more than 3kg empty their bladders over about 21 seconds.

Fun fact to know and tell.

Is it always a dirty word?

"Austerity."


Last week, Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila announced plans aimed at reviving the eurozone member's economy after three years of recession.

The plans included cutting back holidays, reducing pensioners' housing allowances, and reductions in employees' overtime and Sunday pay.

"The Finnish state has contracted debt at a rate of almost a million euros (£370,000) per hour for seven years, day and night, every day of the week. We cannot continue like this," Mr Sipila said.

A legitimate use for the word?

"Islamophobia."

Birtherism, too.

Talk about pandering.


At an event in Rochester.

Donald Trump has been criticised for failing to correct a supporter who said US President Barack Obama was a Muslim and "not even an American".

The Republican sought to laugh off the comment, which was preceded by the supporter saying: "We have a problem in this country - it's called Muslims".

. . . .

In a statement, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Mr Trump's "racism knows no bounds".

"This is certainly horrendous but unfortunately unsurprising given what we have seen already.

The vile rhetoric coming from the GOP candidates is appalling," she added, calling on his rivals to denounce him.

Mr Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski sought to play down the incident, telling US media that "all he heard was a question about training camps".

"The media wants to make this issue about Obama. The bigger issue is that Obama is waging a war against Christians in this country," Mr Lewandowski told the Washington Post.

The incident evoked a moment during the 2008 campaign when Republican nominee John McCain took the microphone away from a woman who said she did not trust Mr Obama because he was "an Arab".

President Obama, who has spoken openly about his Christian faith, was born to an American mother and Kenyan father in Hawaii.

But Mr Trump has been one of the leading sceptics, challenging Mr Obama in 2011 to produce his birth certificate to disprove rumours that he was born in Kenya, which the president did.

I did not recall that Trump had been such an ass.

Inequality

Once a man has enough, it is a matter of indifference whether others have vastly more.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Apercu

An ethnic by any other name.

Despair at The American Conservative

The Debates and Republican Foreign Policy

The terrible state of Republican foreign policy was on full display last night, and I imagine the Democratic candidates cannot believe their party’s luck that their opponents are happily embracing such hard-line and dangerous policies.

Ambush at the White House?

White House invites several opponents of Catholic teaching to greet Pope Francis

[President] Obama has invited a series of individuals who publicly flout Catholic teaching, including a pro-abortion religious sister, a transgender woman and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, along with at least two Catholic gay activists.

The White House was illuminated in gay pride colors on June 26, 2015, after the Supreme Court legalized gay same-sex marriage.

Race politics in Obama's house

Valerie Jarrett meets with Black Lives Matter leaders at The White House

The very liberal and firmly pro-Democratic but also very globo-interventionist and Zionist Boston Globe finds Corbyn "worrisome"

The Labour Party’s worrisome leftward lunch

Corbyn’s stands include such outmoded ideas as nationalizing the UK’s railroads and energy companies, imposing a maximum wage on private-sector salaries, and the widespread reimposition of rent control. 

Some prominent Labour MPs are already upset about his refusal to rule out joining the campaign to pull Britain out of the European Union.

On foreign policy, Corbyn has called for unilateral nuclear disarmament for Britain, is against air strikes targeting ISIS, and supports a ban on the sale of weapons to Israel. 

He has talked of having Britain leave NATO, though more recently has called for a rethinking of NATO’s mission. 

He labeled the killing, rather than trial, of Osama bin Laden “a tragedy.”

. . . . 

If Labour is to regain the central role it played from 1994 to 2010, it won’t be under Corbyn. 

Rather, it will take a different leader, a modern-day Blair, to reverse the ideological excess that now holds sway. 

That’s probably at least one general election loss away, but the sooner it happens, the better.

Hillary addresses Hispanics

Democratic boilerplate, but definitely pro-immigrant and pro-immigration.

Sorry, this just seems to be nuts

Carrying gun rights defense a bit too far, don't you think?

NRA Backs Legislation Protecting Gun Rights of People Who Need Financial Help With Social Security

Wow.

Ann Coulter on what the GOP and the country need to debate

The Only People Who Like Him Are The Voters

Reagan is as dead as Julius Caesar and the GOP is totally united on abortion and gun rights, she says.

Talking about those things in a contest for the nomination points up no significant differences.

Today, the fight in the Republican Party isn’t over abortion, guns or the Sandinistas; the dividing line is immigration. 

Will we continue to be the United States, or will we become another failed Latin American state?

On this, it’s Donald Trump (and the people) vs. everyone else.

Immigration, she thinks, is a winner for the GOP if the GOP Wall Street establishment will get out of the way.

And about the "f-ing Jews."

No apologies

"I just tweeted the question – well, actually, I was tweeting all night when all the candidates were pandering, pandering, pandering. I wrote my column about it. They seem to be getting certain boxes: Have to mention Reagan, have to mention that they're pro-life, have to mention Israel."

"The entire Republican Party is pro-Reagan, pro-life, pro-Israel," she added. 

"The last question was: After you're president, how will America be better? And suddenly, we're back to Israel again. It's just this checking off of the boxes, and the virtues boxes and it's one of the things I like about – in fact, I think they're probably pandering … to evangelicals, um, not Jews. It's just pandering, pandering, pandering, something we all agree on is not really separating the candidates."

NRO reports Carly's remarks on Planned Parenthood

Liberal media are having too much fun with Ann Coulter.

These all make good and informative reading.

NRO 1

Carly Fiorina just dared President Obama and Hillary Clinton to watch the series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos that has Republican lawmakers pushing to defund the nation’s largest abortion provider. 

“Anyone who has watched those video tapes — I dare Hillary Clinton [and] Barack Obama to watch these tapes,” she said, her intense delivery drawing the largest applause of any line to that point in tonight’s GOP presidential debate. 

“Watch a fully-formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says ‘we have to keep it alive to harvest it’s brain.’ This is about the character of our nation.”

NRO 2

Let’s have this fight. 

It’s long past time that Planned Parenthood’s unchallenged status as the sine qua non of women’s health care be challenged. 

Why not talk about how Planned Parenthood, despite its vague “women’s health” rhetoric, does not provide services such as mammograms? 

Why not give Planned Parenthood’s $528 million subsidy to the 9,000 local Community Health Centers that provide women with a wider range of services (such as mammograms), that are more responsive to local health needs, and that don’t provide abortions? 

Secretary Clinton: Why not?

NRO 3

Step on a crack

Pig pile on Ann Counter, this morning, for her tweets during the GOP debates last night.

She was denouncing the shallowness and talking points blather of the participants, slamming them for pandering to GOP donors rather than seriously addressing anything, but that's not the way it's being spun.

Faux outrage and smears for anti-Semitism all over the place, especially (but maybe not only) from the left.

Ann Coulter rants about 'Jews' and Israel during GOP debate

How soon they forget their admiration for The Israel Lobby.

Thing is, they hate AC even more than they hate Pat Buchanan.

Quick perusal of several articles about the debate suggest the media are being worthless, focusing on zingers and personalities and saying little to nothing about whatever of substance was actually said.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Early reports are in

Jeremy Corbyn's first day at school

Does not favor "Brexit," but a "social Europe."

Would not resign over Trident, but favors Brit nuclear disarmament.

Has had the habit, all these years, of refusing to sing the national anthem, perhaps out of republicanism.

Does not deny wanting to simply print money to finance his left-ish agenda items, or that such a policy of deliberate inflation would work like a flat tax on wealth and savings with no shelters at all, affecting workers, the elderly, and anyone else among the 99% as harmfully as those of the 1%.

It seems highly unlikely that workers or the elderly would get back in enhanced government largess the value of their savings lost to the government, given he plans to spend it on things like universal free higher education, and in any case they would lose the freedom to spend that value as they choose.

The chief virtues of using actual taxation rather than inflation are that savings are spared while income is taxed progressively, but there are other advantages, too.

What Republicans want in their candidate; what Democrats want in theirs.

Gene Robinson

Why Bernie, tied among white Democrats, trails Hillary among blacks.

The challenge for Sanders is that while he is hugely popular with young voters and progressives, he has not connected with other key segments of the Democratic Party coalition. 

In August, a Gallup survey found that Clinton had a favorable rating of 80 percent among African-Americans compared to just 23 percent for Sanders. 

This doesn't reflect any particular antipathy toward the Vermont senator. 

Rather, it's because just 33 percent of African-Americans told Gallup they were familiar with him.

And then the bad news for the GOP: their conservative base is way out there.

Am I ignoring the big picture? 

Have I somehow missed the fact that the major themes of the campaign thus far have been disgust with politics as usual and rejection of establishment candidates?

No, it's just that I believe the internal dynamics of the two parties are quite different. 

Clinton fatigue among Democrats is one thing, but the total anarchy in the Republican Party is quite another.

Back to the Post-ABC News poll: A full 33 percent of Republican or GOP-leaning registered voters support billionaire Donald Trump for their party's nomination and another 20 percent support retired surgeon Ben Carson. 

That's more than half the party rejecting not only the establishment's favored choices but any contender who has held political office.

Indeed, when asked what kind of person they would like to see as the next president, more than 70 percent of Democratic-leaning voters said they want "someone with experience in how the political system works." 

But more than half of GOP-leaning voters, and a stunning 64 percent of self-described "conservative" Republicans, want "someone from outside the existing political establishment."

This is terrible news for Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz and the other current or former officeholders in the GOP race. 

It's good news for Clinton, because if she gets the nomination she will likely face either a novice whose qualifications and temperament are in question or a veteran politician struggling to consolidate his own fractious party's support.

O'Malley and guns

He drove Marylanders nuts with his anti-gun rights moves.

Martin O'Malley: My promise on guns, NRA

I think I oppose ALL of this.

Hmm.

Establishment, globo-interventionist WAPO attacks Corbyn

The threat of Jeremy Corbyn’s radically anti-American agenda

He's anti-American and anti-Zionist to the point of supporting some of the world's bad guys and idiots.

Which doesn't mean WAPO is right in wanting us to support their enemies and ourselves continue a global interventionism.

And his old style, Labor Party, union-made socialism is pretty silly.

Those coal mines were closed for being big time money losers.

And nationalization is stupid for the same reasons socialism per se is stupid.

Think of everything that's wrong with monopoly and oligopoly guaranteed against any form of competition, forever.

Think of the proven commitment of socialism, especially labor union controlled socialism, to such egregious economic evils as featherbedding and Luddite opposition to innovation.

A view from further right.

The Labour Party's Two Word Suicide Note

Pretty good piece by Alex Massie.

But many writers on the left still like Corbyn, as does Bernie Sanders, for his stand against austerity.

What Hillary Clinton Can Learn From Corbyn

Joe Biden, open borders Democrat, attacks Trump for 'xenophobia'

Biden Slams Donald Trump's 'Sick Message' And 'Xenophobia'

Biden is almost as hawkish as Hillary, too.

The Good Soldier

Ford Madox Ford.

A really fine first chapter.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why is celibacy vicious?

For the heroes of the Enlightenment, this "monkish virtue" was to be deplored because it deprived the nation of offspring, population being its true wealth, though perhaps not only for that.

See Diderot, the Encyclopedia article on Christianity.

And liberals today?

On the other hand, celibacy is not actually a questionable virtue.

It is rather merely a myth, a beard for homosexuality in general and pederasty in particular.

Or haven't you noticed the scandals of abusive clergy that liberals have successfully framed as an outrage by and disgrace for Christian clergy rather than homosexuals?

OK, I exaggerate a bit.

Monday, September 14, 2015

No to immigration? And no to refugees, too, then.

Ann Coulter on Refugees

Adios, America!

Michelle Malkin, who famously wrote a book defending the WW2 internment of Japanese in America.

(Why not the German-Americans, then? Or the Italians? Just asking.)

These are not the voices of Wall Street conservatism, and they know it.

AC likes The Donald for the nomination.

Pat Buchanan shares his opposition to immigration and free trade, and defends his views as well as his candidacy against the plutes who pretty much run the GOP.

Don't know about Michelle.

The new motherhood

‘There’s no stigma’

It's not just for stupid welfare sluts any more.

Climate, schmimate

Environmentalists Will Lose

As always, the plans of Democrats and liberals are (a) inadequate to the alleged problem and (b) aimed mostly at furthering the economic rise of nonwhite tigers, especially China, at the expense of the nations already fairly well off, especially the white ones and especially the USA.

Jon Chait

Why does Hillary lead Bernie among nonwhites?

She was cooler, more arrogant, and more manipulative toward #BLM than Bernie.

But Bernie's nationalist views on immigration and trade have brought him under attack.

Democrats call Trump a racist for his anti-immigration, anti-free trade views.

Republicans have said the same about Bernie for the same offenses.

Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Clinton's Support Drops by a Third

In the Democratic contest, Clinton and Sanders run essentially evenly among whites, 31 vs. 33 percent[.]

Clinton's lead relies on nonwhites, among whom she has 57 percent support, to Sanders' 13 percent. 

It's the only major demographic group in which Clinton still maintains a clear majority.

Clinton's support from nonwhites has dropped, by 14 points, from 71 percent in July. 

But her support from whites has fallen farther, by 25 points, in the same time.

As noted, too, Clinton's support among women has cratered by 29 points since July. 

Among men she's lost 9 points in the same period, from 52 to 43 percent. 

Her gender gap has evaporated.

The phenomenon is so marked that it has been widely noted.

Charles Blow

The race gap accounts for the whole of Clinton's "southern state firewall" to stop Bernie's rise.

How did this happen, by the way?

On Saturday, Sanders campaigned with Dr. Cornel West, who recently issued an endorsement of Sanders.

West’s critique of the president has been so blistering and unyielding — he has called Obama “
counterfeit,” the “black face of the American empire,” a verb-ed neologism of the n-word — that it has bordered on petulance and self-parody.

Reagan (Goldwater?) on steroids

So, does George Will love him?

GOP's Walker proposes vast union restrictions

Says AP,

Experts were taken aback by the scope of Walker's proposals, which seek to undo decades of law and would gut the landmark National Relations Labor Act — adopted in 1935 and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the height of the Great Depression.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Ann Hodges, a professor at the University of Richmond who has studied labor law for more than 40 years. 

"This will take the breath away from anyone who's worked in labor relations for any length of time."

A leftist crock of shit

They foment violence and blame him.

Venezuela opposition leader jailed

Cuban Ladies in White

Brave women get out in front of a movement for change that closer ties with America will only make stronger.

Cuban activists detained after march

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Intolerant atheism on the rise?

All Scientists Should Be Militant Atheists

Will schools start penalizing faculty who are not?

Students who are not?

Admissions seekers who are not?

That's not at all what he's talking about, and his so-called "militancy" is only that.

Come to that, all he seems to want from scientists is that they be frank about the total secularity of their enterprise and view of what goes on in the world.

Not needing to hypothesize a God or any gods in scientific explanation is not actually atheism, however much it may seem it to the general run of believers for whom divine concern, providence, divine influence, and even miracles seem to be integral to their faiths.

Recall why the theology of Epicurus has seemed so profoundly objectionable, so completely on a par with atheism, to believers of all times.

Still, he is anyway on the right side about the Kim Davis controversy.

The job is the job.

If your religion prevents you doing it, get another job or get fired.

Republicans and Christian leaders blathering about religious liberty are talking rot, and most of them know it.

Krauss takes it as a question about people being allowed to break the law for reasons of religion, but it's more a question of whether and when or in what cases (if any) to allow religious exemptions.

I never agreed with draft deferments for religious pacifism, or even for non-religious when the courts went in for that, though I think the draft in America has always been a dreadful imposition dragging innocent people into bloody conflicts of no, or no sufficient, importance to themselves.

Come to that, the US could and in all good sense should have skipped all its wars, without exception.

Yes, the Civil War and even the Revolution not excepted.

All the same, this has no bearing on the question whether a doctor in his own employ, or a hospital not belonging to the government, can reasonably be required to perform or offer abortion or any other services the doctor or the hospital owners may wish not to.

Think of vegan restaurants.

And government interference in provision of public accommodations, hiring decisions, etc. has always struck me as overreaching, even when it was only about race.

Portrait of a Fanatic

Williamson has this right, anyway, about the Davis thing.

The question is not whether religious people should be permitted to violate the law, but to what extent and in what way the law and our public institutions should accommodate people’s religious views. 

For example, those who decline to perform military service when drafted and claim conscientious-objector status are not trying to “break the law,” as Professor Krauss insists, but rather are trying to comply with §6(j) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act — that, too, is the law. 

Quite so, and I have stated my view, above.

As for Hobby Lobby, that employer sought freedom to ignore or violate its employees' rights to insurance coverage under the law on religious grounds.

Phooey.

Victory for the further left



His present compares to Bernie's past.

A view from the right.


Some views from the left.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Plenty of room in Kazakhstan

Not to mention Turkey, the rich Gulf states, and the many other Muslim states that emerged when the Soviet Union broke up.

These refugees and, indeed, the waves of migrants from Libya and elsewhere on the Maghreb would all be so much more at home in these other Muslim lands than in London, Paris, Rome, Athens, or Berlin.

Why haven't Ms. Merkel and her numerous echoes publicly spoken of that possibility?

War has forced half of Syrians from their homes.

More unconstitutional action from the president

The senate confirms treaties by a 2/3 vote; no treaty - and this is a treaty - is valid otherwise.

O pretends that a UN resolution can do this constitutional job that the senate certainly will not do for him.

How Obama Swindled Americans on Iran

All the same, what K and his friends want - a permanently non-nuclear Iran - is impossible without war, and not worth a war to the US.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Protecting Hillary

DNC chair closes door on more debates

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is closing the door on adding more Democratic presidential debates, and says that a controversial clause penalizing candidates for participating in unsanctioned debates will stand. 

Speaking at a breakfast with reporters hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, Wasserman Schultz said the debate schedule was final and there would be no changes.

The only candidate happy with this is Hillary.

The others are volubly not.

Governor Moonbeam backs down

Republicans and many Democrats were opposed, so of course he says it was the oil companies that beat him.

California drops plan for 50% cut in petroleum use

The plans to require a 50% reduction in petroleum use in motor vehicles by 2030 were met with fierce opposition from business groups and oil companies, who warned of negative consequences for California's economy.

. . . .

Republicans, along with many moderate Democrats, had resisted the proposal.

Sense8

This high quality and fascinating in-house Netflix production is, all by itself, a powerful salvo in the culture wars, standing up at once for feminism, cosmopolitanism, racial and cultural diversity, deviant sexuality, and straight sex only in its extramarital variations.

The photography is stunning and the script, acting, and direction are superb.

Did I mention the high porn content and, of it, the very high dosage of gay porn?

Not R rated, but X.

Watching the annoyance grow

George Will's continuing and profound annoyance with The Donald is very amusing to watch.

Donald Trump is a malleable mess

As everyone knows, Will is a dyed in the wool Wall Street Republican.

Trump is so not that that the prospect of a Trump nomination makes him shudder to the bone.

By the way, his comments on foreign companies producing for the US market inside the US are an interesting, if anecdotal and only partially valid, rejoinder to Trump's complaints about the adverse effect on American labor of free trade.

Novelist Mary McCarthy said of playwright Lillian Hellman, “Every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’” 

If that was so, Trump is not even an original.

Naked bombast?

What the hell is this political revolution he keeps talking about, anyway?

Sanders' threat to Hillary

Political revolutions change constitutional arrangements; they change the state; they change the distribution of power or specific powers in identifiable ways.

I am not aware Bernie has actually made a single proposal of the relevant type.

So, just hot air, a way of saying "down with the billionaires"?

This is a very good and thorough story in the DC Examiner.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The N Y Philharmonic in Russia

In 1959, Leonard Bernstein and the orchestra toured Russia to packed houses and wild applause, part of the new cultural exchange program.

He and his wife visited Pasternak at Peredelkino, and the writer attended the final Moscow performance the next day.

Our authors say the New Yorkers wowed audiences with Stravinsky, never before performed in the Soviet Union.

Reading The Zhivago Affair.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Anna Akhmatova on the affair

Anna Akhmatova dismissed Pasternak's ordeal [after foreign publication of Zhivago and his joyful acceptance, and then coerced rejection, of the Nobel Prize for Literature] as inconsequential. . . .

Akhmatova continued to believe that Doctor Zhivago was a bad novel, "except for the landscapes," and that Pasternak was too self-satisfied with his martyrdom and his fame.

Pasternak signed a trumped-up public letter of contrition.

Say the authors,

In Ryazan, a schoolteacher named Alexander Solzhenitsyn "writhed with shame for him."

Still, some people thought a lot of the novel - though perhaps not actually as a work of literature.

Edmund Wilson in The New Yorker wrote,

Doctor Zhivago will, I believe, come to stand as one of the great events in man's literary and moral history. 

Nobody could have written it in a totalitarian state . . . who did not have the courage of genius.

Reading The Zhivago Affair.

Refugees, "Migrants," and the submergence of whites in Europe and America

The Guardian and the left of the entire Occident are now conflating legal and illegal immigration, as well as refugees and other immigrants, all under the heading "migrants."

And demanding Europe, Canada, America, and even Israel open their borders.

The Guardian is running lots of comment in favor of such projects, and has even enlisted the Bible.

NFL hires a dyke to coach men, thrills The Guardian

Jen Welter makes history by becoming the first female coach in the NFL

The Guardian really likes feminism and feminists.

Meryl Streep's equal opportunities plea virtually ignored by Congress

Ugh.

What would they think if the USA women's Olympic basketball team hired a male coach?

The Guardian's inflammatory and racist idiot math

California police killings database reveals 'clear racial disparities'

They don't look out of line with disparate crime rates, though.

Anyway, The Guardian sub-heads the story with this racist lie.

Black men have been killed at eight times the rate of others over past decade

But what does the story itself say?

This.

According to California’s data, 984 homicides by law enforcement officers in the state were recorded between 2005 and 2014. 

A homicide by law enforcement staff was defined as “a death at the hands of a law enforcement officer”, including pre- and post-arrest killings.

Within this total, 196 or 19.9% of the people killed were black. 

According to the state, 5.8% of the population between 2005 and 2013 was black, giving African Americans a death rate – the percentage of homicides per percentage of population – of 3.4.

About 43.8% of people killed in police custody were Hispanic, a group that made up 37.1% of the state’s population during the last nine years, giving a death rate of 1.2.

White people were 30.2% of those killed by police and constituted 41.1% of California’s population, meaning a death rate of 0.7.

The figures mean black people were killed by law enforcement at almost five times the rate of white people and almost three times that of Hispanic people.

Who brought down the House of Labor?

The free/fair trader cosmopolitans of both parties.

The Staggering Decline and Fall of Labor

Who the hell invited him?

Pope Francis to address congress

When Pope Francis addresses Congress later this month, U.S. Catholic leaders expect the popular, groundbreaking pontiff to call on Americans to set aside their political divisions and unite to tackle challenges such as climate change, economic inequality and immigration reform.

Did the Republians invite him?

The Democrats?

Why is this leader of a world religion and head of state of the world's least populous and most absurd city-state speaking to a joint session of the congress of our secular republic?

A finger in The Guardian's eye

David Beckham 'considering' playing James Bond

You mean it won't be Idris Elba?

How does Trump win the White House?

The Democrats let their left paint them as the party of post-nationalism, cosmopolitanism, open borders, illegal immigration, crime, black radicalism, and hatred for whites, Christians, and anybody who isn't a sexual outlaw.

The Black Panthers

Crime Is Back

Polls are already showing that Clinton is barely getting little more than one-third of the white vote.

War On Police Sparks National Crime Wave

Barack Obama and the War on Cops

This year, 24 cops have been gunned down. 

And the day after deputy Goforth’s execution, “Black Lives Matter!” showed up at the Minnesota state fair chanting, “Pigs in a blanket! Fry ’em like bacon!”

Last fall, when mobs blocked highways after the death of Eric Garner in an encounter with police on Staten Island, the hoodlum chant was: “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want ’em? Now!” 

Soon after, two cops in Brooklyn were executed in their patrol car.

Time for Obama to ascend the bully pulpit and call out the racial demagogues in the fever swamps of his own radical left constituency. 

For some of the evils of the last century we thought we left behind seem to be returning, as is the old indulgence of lawlessness when done by those claiming some “grievance” against society.

Violent crime is rising again, a direct result, many believe, of a new police reluctance to be aggressive in enforcing the law, to avoid violent clashes with criminals and suspects, the so-called “Ferguson effect.” 

The lead story in the Sept. 1 New York Times reported a surge in murders in the city after the Eric Garner incident, and even greater surges in Milwaukee, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

. . . .

In the 1960s, Vice President Hubert Humphrey declared that if he had to endure the conditions of the ghetto, he “could lead a pretty good riot” himself, while Nixon ridiculed the Kerner Commission report that blamed the riots on “white racism.”

Nixon and George Wallace got 57 percent of the vote in 1968. 

And a strong stand for law and order helped to give the GOP a near quarter-century lock on the presidency. 

The law and order issue is lying there again, waiting to be picked up. 

Meanwhile we ought to hear from our president about who and what he thinks is responsible for all those wounded and dead cops.

Meanwhile, Trump keeps on ignoring the agenda of Wall Street - open borders, free trade, low wages, repeal of a century of Progressivism - in favor of nationalism and takes the Republican nomination away from the conservatives and the GOP establishment.

And then, remember how Nixon won in 1968 mostly because the Democrats threw the election away.

And then they did it again, only more so, in 1972.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The heresy of ownlife

Reading The Zhivago Affair.

The authors quote John Maury, CIA Soviet Russia Division chief.

Pasternak's humanistic message - that every person is entitled to a private life and deserves respect as a human being,  irrespective of the extent of his political loyalty or contribution to the state - poses a fundamental challenge to the Soviet ethic of sacrifice of the individual to the Communist system[.]

There is no call to revolt against the regime in the novel, but the heresy which Dr. Zhivago preaches - political passivity - is fundamental.

Pasternak suggests that the small unimportant people who remain passive to the regime's demands for active participation and emotional involvement in official campaigns are superior to the political 'activists' favored by the system.

Further, he dares hint that society might function better without these fanatics.

Another opinion

While the Soviets were still trying to prevent its publication abroad, Pasternak gave a copy of his novel to Yevgeni Yevtushenko.

Say the authors,

Yevtushenko . . . was "disappointed."

He said the young writers of the post-Stalin period were attracted by the masculine prose of Hemingway, and the work of writers such as J. D. Salinger and Erich Maria Remarque.

Doctor Zhivago, in comparison, seemed old-fashioned, even a little boring, the work of an earlier generation.

He didn't finish reading it.

Reading The Zhivago Affair.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Oedipe

Voltaire's first play and a brilliant success.

He wrote the play, brilliant as drama and as poetry, before he was twenty.

The words of the high priest to Oedipus pretty well sum up the burden of this ancient myth.

Au crime, au châtiment, malgré vous destiné, 
Vous seriez trop heureux de n'être jamais né.

To crime, to punishment, destined in spite of yourself, 
You would have been only too fortunate never to have been born.

Or his words later, at the end of the play.

Tel est l'ordre du ciel, dont la fureur se lasse; 
Comme il veut, aux mortels il fait justice ou grâce;

Such is the order of Heaven, whose furor now abates;
As it will, to mortals it exacts justice or offers grace.

Voltaire's entire audience would be familiar with the Calvinist/Jansenist/Augustinian doctrine of predestination and the pitiless God of that strand of Christianity, according to which by far the majority of mankind are foredoomed by God himself to sin and eternal damnation.

Indeed, all are doomed by God to sin and to deserve such punishment, and would be damned were it not for God's unaccountable grace, through which he saves a very, very few who, also only through his grace, believe in the sacrificial death of his Son.

Points which make all the more piquant Oedipus' protests against the injustice of the thing.

Je tombais dans le piège en voulant l'éviter. 
Un dieu plus fort que toi m'entraînait vers le crime; 
Sous mes pas fugitifs il creusait un abîme; 
Et j'étais, malgré moi, dans mon aveuglement, 
D'un pouvoir inconnu l'esclave et l'instrument. 
Voilà tous mes forfaits; je n'en connais point d'autres. 
Impitoyables dieux, mes crimes sont les vôtres, 
Et vous m'en punissez!

I fell into the trap trying to avoid it.
A god stronger than you drew me into crime;
Under my fugitive steps he dug an abyss;
And I was, despite myself, in my blindness,
The slave and instrument of an unknown power.
See all my crimes; I know no others.
Pitiless gods, my crimes are your own,
And you punish me for them!

Thus, the story also points up the irony of fate much as the short, pithy tale by Maugham, The Appointment in Samarra.

Death speaks.

There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me.  

She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate.  

I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.  

The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went.  

Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, 

Why did you make a threating getsture to my servant when you saw him this morning?  

That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise.  

I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

The injustice of the gods shows equally in that they have set plague upon the people of Thebes as collective punishment for not having found and punished the killer of Laius, a plague that passes only with the exposure and punishment of Oedipus.

This, too, is a concept Christians of Voltaire's time would find familiar.

Too, Philoctetes speaks for Voltaire and the early days of the Enlightenment in his angry outbursts at insubordinate priests and peoples who are disloyal to their monarchs out of religious passion.

But Jocaste, equally a dupe made unwittingly guilty by divinely ordained fate, has the last word.

Prêtres, et vous Thébains, qui fûtes mes sujets, 
Honorez mon bûcher, et songez à jamais 
Qu'au milieu des horreurs du destin qui m'opprime, 
J'ai fait rougir les dieux qui m'ont forcée au crime.

Priests, and you Thebans who have been my subjects,
Honor my death and remember always
That in the midst of the horrors of the destiny that oppressed me
I shamed the gods who forced me into crime.

PS.

The Greeks wavered between the two views that the gods control fate and that fate controls the gods.

Every major strand of orthodox Christianity has settled firmly on the former opinion, allowance made for difference in theology.