Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bah, humbug!

Back to substance dualism, or Berkelian idealism.

Or anyway the Augustinian/Platonic conception of the soul.

The immateriality of the self, the Ego, seems to me unnatural to deny.

No version of epiphenomenalism or event or property dualism seems credible to me.

Nor any Aristotelian/Thomist - or neo-Thomist - conception of the soul.

So, an atheist anti-physicalism, then.

And anti-nominalism.

Well, why not?

I could never give up appearances, propositions, properties, numbers, sets, or possibilia, anyway, and a whole lot more.

Given all those ontological commitments, why balk at souls?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Trump courts Bernie supporters

Donald Trump's new target: Bernie Sanders supporters

Trump said on MSNBC: "Bernie Sanders has a message that's interesting. I'm going to be taking a lot of the things Bernie said and using them."

Trump's advisers say these comments are a preview of more explicit overtures the campaign is ready to make to Sanders' supporters once the populist liberal exits the 2016 race. 

That strategy is based on the broad areas of overlap between voters attracted to Trump and those who have flocked to Sanders. 

Both have angrily denounced the political system as corrupt and expressed deep frustration that Washington is not helping ordinary people. 

They both oppose international trade deals, saying they hurt American jobs.

And, of course, targeting Sanders supporters could serve to undermine Clinton.

Anti-Trump canaille riot outside rally

Protests rage outside Trump rally in Orange County; 17 arrested, police car smashed

Rioting morons who will only give him more, and more loyal, voters.

One Trump supporter in a tee shirt was badly beaten by several of the "demonstrators," rescued by police, and taken to a hospital with a savagely smashed up face.

These journos describe these rioters as a "boisterous crowd" and "demonstrators."

The word "protests" in the title refers to what was in fact a riot by people who came to the scene of a giant Trump rally to do this.

Is he really this stupid?

Artificial Intelligence.

Yeah.

You are so fucked.

I will be dead, I hope.

Who cares what happens after machines replace people?

Bernie needs to quit

The Democratic Party is not a socialist party.

The Democratic Party does not regard capitalism or capitalist politics as inherently corrupt.

The Democratic Party is not the Independents Party.

The Democratic Party is not about making his or any "political revolution."

Progressivism is not and never was socialism of any type, and certainly not Bolshevism.

Listening to the annoying Jane Sanders, Bernie's wife and "senior advisor," on Rachel Maddow.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Current polling. Hillary beats Trump

Polling roundup

John Boehner on Ted Cruz

John Boehner talks election, time in office

I really don't see Cruz as a suitable ideological match for Carly Fiorina, but there it is.

Update. 

Boehner also said Kasich is "high maintenance" and "needy," and that he supports Trump.

Anyway, Boehner at Stanford.

When specifically asked his opinions on Ted Cruz, Boehner made a face, drawing laughter from the crowd.

“Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. 

“I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

Trump will pivot from race to sex

Steve M. on how Il Duce will run against Hillary.

I think he's forgetting that Trump has already dubbed her "Crooked Hillary" and attacked her for being weak, incompetent, tired, old, and yes, of course, female.

But by no means is he going to rely only on misogynist provocations that he will easily spin, with the help of quotes from single issue feminist supporters, into charges she only cares about "women's issues."

Obama never ran and never worked as "a race man" or "a race leader."

He ran to be president of all Americans and in his presidency, even when dealing with race issues, he has always been about all Americans and the good of the whole country.

Trump is going to go after her as a women's candidate in a sense in which Obama never was a black people's candidate - as mostly or principally though not entirely a women's candidate.

Anyway, this is Steve.

I don't think this is Trump simply refusing to adjust his tone even though he knows he has to make changes as a general-election candidate. 

I think he thinks he is making changes -- but in target rather than in tone. 

If I'm right, his idea of a "pivot to the general" involves a ratcheting up of sexism, directed particularly at Clinton. 

I think his belief is that establishment types are wrong to think this won't work -- after all, they're the ones who said he couldn't get away with describing Mexican immigrants as rapists or calling for a ban on Muslims. 

Trump, I suspect, thinks talk like this is taboo only because of "political correctness," not because it actually is politically counterproductive.

“I haven’t even started on [Clinton] yet," Trump told Jimmy Fallon back in January. 

In March, he said the same thing on Fox & Friends: "I haven't started on Hillary yet. That will be interesting." 

Last week on Fox & Friends, Trump's son Eric said of his father and Clinton, "He’s going to go after her in a way that no one has gone after her before.”

Trump thinks the vast majority of us hate Hillary Clinton, and hate her in a sexist way -- we just won't say in public that we think she's a hag and a shrew and has an annoying laugh and a shouty voice, at least until he breaks the taboo and says it all for us. 

(Also: Benghazi! Monica! Emails!) 

I don't know at what point he's going to realize that "political incorrectness" works best in all-Republican environments. 

I hope that doesn't dawn on him until the night of November 8, 2016.

I hope Steve is right that this will hurt him rather than help in the general.

Personally, I am by no means sure.

Never married ladies

Fielding regularly refers to Squire Western's never married sister as "Mrs. Western."

He and Tom refer to the young maiden Sophia as "Madam."

Odd.

Reading Tom Jones.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hastert a "serial child molester," says judge.

Judge sentences 'serial child molester' Hastert to 15 months

Boy children, as is usually the case.

Former House speaker Dennis Hastert, who less than a decade ago stood second in line to the presidency, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison Wednesday for a bank fraud case linked to allegations he sexually abused teen boys more than 30 years ago.

Federal Judge Thomas Durkin called Hastert a "serial child molester" and rejected a prosecutor's recommendation of six months in prison. 

Durkin also rejected claims by Haster's lawyers that Hastert didn't understand the banking law he violated when making payments to one of his teen accusers. 

Hastert, 74, was fined $250,000 and must register as a sex offender.

Hastert, who entered court in a wheelchair and needed help standing to address the judge, admitted mistreating some athletes he coached before he began his political career.

“I want to apologize to the boys I mistreated,” Hastert said. “They looked (up) at me and I took advantage of them.”

The foreign policy of Il Duce is "America First"

Pure Buchananism, as far as it goes.

Without a transcript it looks like more bombast and less actual meat than we have had before.

Trump calls American foreign policy under Obama 'a disaster'

And so of course it must be, and his blackshirted legions will cheer and believe.

Donald Trump's foreign policy: 'America first'

Trump opened his speech Wednesday vowing to "shake the rust off America's foreign policy" and said he would outline a vision for a U.S. foreign policy "that replaces randomness with purpose, ideology with strategy and chaos with peace."

He added, "My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people and American security first."

Speaking at the Mayflower Hotel as part of his campaign's efforts to cast him as a more presidential figure and appeal to Republican Party elites., he opened the speech with measured tones and relied on prepared remarks in place of the off-the-cuff style he often deploys on the campaign trail.

. . . .

He panned the Iran nuclear deal, a centerpiece of Obama's foreign policy, and claimed the President has "weakened our military by weakening our economy."

And he sought to wrap former secretary of state Clinton in his criticism of the Obama administration, referring to the "legacy of the Obama-Clinton interventions" as one of "weakness, confusion and disarray."

. . . .

And he laid out stringent circumstances under which he would deploy U.S. troops into combat.

"I will not send our finest into battle unless necessary -- and I mean absolutely necessary," Trump said. "And I will do so only if we have a plan for victory with a capital V."

A subtle signal he is reneging on our treaty commitments and security agreements to NATO, Korea, Japan, and others?

Apparently, no more overt suggestions of abandoning these alliances or our commitment to non-proliferation.

The man is an expert at staying in the headlines by saying as little of substance as possible.

The best account of what he actually said that I have seen so far.

It's over, sort of

Informed comment this morning is taking the races in both major parties as settled, with Il Duce and Hillary the nominees in waiting - waiting for the conventions to make it official.

A relatively conciliatory Sanders statement has been taken as a sort of de facto, if rather graceless, concession speech.

In it, he vowed to continue to the convention in order to write a Sanders platform for Hillary and the Democratic Party in which he has refused membership for going on half a century and which he has lately regularly and robustly damned as hopelessly corrupt, but made no suggestion that he might somehow become the nominee.

And on the other side, Trump declared himself the chosen one and ordered Kasich and Cruz out of the race while scheduling a "presidential" speech on foreign policy for today.

Cruz, mathematically eliminated from any chance of a first ballot victory, has scheduled a speech for 4 pm today, and nobody seems to know what it's about.

Having called a basketball hoop a "ring" while campaigning in Indiana, reputedly his absolutely last ditch if not one ditch past his last ditch, twitter has advised him his goose is cooked in that state.

The short-lived Cruz-Kasich alliance to stop Trump has failed.

Trump, who convinced Republicans Cruz and Rubio were not for them by dubbing them "Lying Ted" and "Little Marco" to their faces during debates and permanently adopting the style of Mussolini, is already denouncing "Crooked Hillary" as weak, tired, old, female, and totally incapable of the job.

Neither he nor anyone else has done anything to convince anyone of the truth of his claims about free trade, immigration, Chinese currency manipulation, the corruption of the establishment and the primary/delegate selection/convention process, his own competence, the possibility and usefulness of throwing out existing trade arrangements, or anything at all.

His entire sales pitch is bombast, aggression, and thuggery, and it has taken him very far, indeed.

Well, to be fair, Bernie's campaign rhetorical style has not been much different, though the worst aspect of his own ad hominem approach has been to smear Hillary by vicious innuendo and the entire Democratic Party - and indeed the entire classe politique and the government of the United States and every state - by explicit accusation of corruption.

Per the newsies, 30% of his voters have said they will absolutely not vote for her, and Trump is already wooing them by continuing Bernie's attacks on free trade and "Crooked Hillary."

An unknown but not insignificant number have already declared for Il Duce.

Meanwhile, diehards on the left are still running against Hillary rather than for Bernie, or even for any of his particular signature issues.

That will not help in November.

Meanwhile, it's perfectly true that more unites than divides Hillary from Bernie, and that the actual agenda in play is not radical at all, but pretty main stream.

PA results: Clinton won in civilized areas; Sanders won in "Alabama"

A Clinton operative once described Pennsylvania as Pittsburgh in the West, Philadelphia in the East, and Alabama in the middle.

Clinton took the state but she did it in the cities, Sanders winning in "Alabama."

On the other hand, Trump won every county in the state.

2016 Pennsylvania primary results

Brutal? Oh, yeah.

Donald Trump attacks Hillary Clinton as wins set stage for brutal election

Putting it mildly.

Can he really win that way?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Maybe not feeling the Bern

At this hour the Sanders campaign says they will fight on all the way to Philadelphia in order to write Bernie's entire agenda into the platform.

Losers get to write the platform for the winners?

Hillary took 4 out of 5, all but Rhode Island.

Trump took 5 out of 5 and crushed both Cruz and Kasich.

Mainline conservatives are still talking the same nonsense, that Trump has in fact won their party's nomination because the party for the last decade at least has not come through on its tea bagger agenda.

And that's nonsense because Trump's agenda is not that, by a long way.

It's Buchananism with a soft spot for Social Security, Medicare, and higher taxes on the rich.

Some 30% of Sanders voters say they will never vote for Hillary, and some say they'll vote for Trump.

No, I guess the Republicans are the stupid party

Because they get the stupid white working class vote.

US unions plan attack on Donald Trump in attempt to derail presidential bid

More union household voters love Trump than love Hillary or Bernie even added together.

Are Democrats really the stupid party?

Too stupid to comply?

Don't care enough?

Phooey.

NAACP to appeal North Carolina judge's ruling on 'discriminatory' voting law

The law, requiring voters to provide photo ID at the ballot box, was upheld by a federal judge on Monday despite claims it disenfranchised minority voters.

. . . .

The law is best known for requiring people to provide photo identification at the ballot box, but it also eliminated same-day voter registration and ended “out-of-precinct” voting, which allowed users to cast ballots in different precincts if they were still voting in their county.

“There is no dispute that African Americans and Latinos have used the challenged measures at greatly higher rates than whites,” said Penda Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project and an attorney for the NAACP.

But in the Monday ruling, US district judge Thomas Schroeder said plaintiffs “failed to show that such disparities will have materially adverse effects on the ability of minority voters to cast a ballot and effectively exercise the electoral franchise”.

Schroeder wrote that while the state has “shameful past discrimination”, there has been “little” official discrimination more recently.

. . . .

North Carolina’s voting laws are widely regarded as the most restrictive in the country, but legal challenges have also recently been mounted against changes to voting laws in Alabama, Texas and Tennessee, where a judge in December 2015 threw out a challenge brought by college students.

In the 2016 presidential election, 17 states will have introduced new voting restrictions since the last presidential election, according to New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice.

ISIS and the Mosul Dam

Italian team arrives as part of Mosul Dam emergency repair

O not backing away from Japan, North Korea

Take that, Donald Trump and all your Buchananite running dogs.

Obama this morning on the dangers in the Far East

Jihad in Bangladesh and the Philippinnes

Al-Qaida Says It Killed Bangladesh Gay Activist, Friend

The Bangladeshi branch of al-Qaida claimed responsibility Tuesday for the killing of a gay rights activist and his friend, undermining the prime minister's insistence just hours earlier that her political opponents were to blame for the attack and for a rising tide of violence against secular activists and writers.

The claim by Ansar-al Islam — which said it targeted the two men on Monday night because they were "pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality" — raised doubts about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's repeated assurances that authorities have the security situation under control.

The victims of the attack were identified as Xulhaz Mannan, an activist who also worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and his friend, theater actor Tanay Majumder. 

Mannan, a cousin of former Foreign Minister Dipu Moni of the governing party, was also an editor of Bangladesh's first gay rights magazine, Roopbaan. Majumder sometimes helped with the publishing, local media said.

At the White House, Press Secretary Josh Earnest took note of Mannan's advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender causes and said there were "reports that indicate that he was targeted because of his advocacy for these human rights and that makes his death even more tragic than it seems." 

He said the U.S. government had been in touch with the government of Bangladesh to make clear that a thorough criminal investigation should be a priority.

At a funeral for Mannan on Tuesday, his brother said free speech was something Islam should protect.

Philippine Troops Hunt Extremists Who Beheaded Canadian

The Philippine military came under increased pressure Tuesday to rescue more than 20 foreign hostages after their Muslim extremist captors beheaded a Canadian man, but troops face a dilemma in how to succeed without endangering the remaining captives.

Abu Sayyaf gunmen beheaded John Ridsdel on Monday in the southern province of Sulu, sparking condemnations and prompting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pledge to help the Philippines pursue the extremists behind the "heinous act."

On the influence of wine in 18th Century literature

After discovering Molly sharing a bed with Square and gladly wishing her good riddance, the inebriated Jones nevertheless some days later falls in with her in the bushes, one night.

Thus Fielding, in prose both amusing and rhymed.

Some of my readers may be inclined to think this event unnatural.

However, the fact is true; and perhaps may be sufficiently accounted for by suggesting that Jones probably thought one woman better than none, and Molly as probably imagined two men to be better than one.

Reading Tom Jones.

At this point in the story, Book 5 Chapter 10, while Sophia loves Tom and he loves her, their affections are not declared and Squire Western has made it abundantly clear several times that he is not the least bit open to Jones gaining possession of his daughter or his estate.

Bernie surrogates whining about closed primaries, denouncing them as undemocratic

Bernie Sanders Condemns Closed Primaries but Facing 4 of Them Next Week

Any independent who wanted to vote for Bernie had until 30 days before the primary to register as a Democrat.

Don't want to register as a Democrat?

Then too bad for you.

Too uninterested or ignorant to know the primary is closed and the deadline to register?

Then too bad for you.

You're not a Democrat and I don't want you to have a vote deciding who is the Democratic nominee.

Would Bernie do better in the general, as his surrogates insist?

Well, he hasn't been red-baited yet, and he surely would be.

And Bernie has so far only proved that some young people don't mind his labeling himself a socialist and then refusing to own up to what that actually means lest the ignorant, at last informed, drop him like a hot tamale.

Most Democrats and surely most people to their right know perfectly well, like the Clintons and like Obama, that they disapprove socialism (however they may feel about social democracy) and explicitly support capitalism.

Down ticket Democrats would in many constituencies be running away from Bernie.

The wife and I just voted for Hillary.

Yeah. And so is ISIS.

A photo at KOS.


Leave my part alone, OK?

Tim Robbins says the machines are rigged

Tim Robbins Calls "Voter Fraud" on Bernie Sanders' Primary Losses

He says a discrepancy between exit polls and votes counted (outcomes worse for Bernie) proves crookedness.

Or maybe not.

Bernie does well with the annoying, crackpot, crackhead left.

Getting emotionally ready for the end

Bernie is going to lose badly today in every one of the five states in play.

Well, he might win something small in New England.

He and his supporters are now thinking about what to do or what they want, given he will not be the nominee.

More them than him, it seems.

Supporters

Cynthia Kral, 38, of Pittsburgh, said she would never vote for Mrs. Clinton. 

“I cannot trust her,” Ms. Kral said, adding that she planned to vote for a third-party candidate or write in Mr. Sanders’s name in the general election. 

“I feel like she can be bought on anything, and for her to be president — that kind of scares me.”

Ms. Kral, an education assistant at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and another Sanders supporter who lives in Pittsburgh, Geoff Sanderson, 31, said they hoped that even if Mr. Sanders loses, the progressive movement he has ignited will continue past his candidacy.

“Part of it feels crushing,” Mr. Sanderson, who manages a theater, said of the race. 

“The other part of it feels hopeful that at least this started something and that this isn’t the end of it.”

What Bernie Sanders wants

Bernie Sanders floats Elizabeth Warren for VP

Whose?

His.

We are at a point where I want Bernie to gracefully exit and urge support for Hillary.

But he is not a Democrat and shows little sign of concern lest the GOP win in November.

Rather, he's sounding increasingly bitter.

Not a good sign.

Trump is maliciously urging Bernie to run as an independent.

Is the Baili a Tech?

Various places on the web say the Baili Victory Shaver is a contemporary Chinese clone of the Gillette Tech razor of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s and that the Tech, though mild to begin with, got milder as the 20th Century progressed.

I suppose there is something to that.

But my Baili, though nowhere near as harsh as the broken no-name or the discarded Long Feng, is definitely more aggressive than the Merkur 180 and so, of course, than the Feather Popular.

Nice shave, though, if you're careful.

That lip scar is an accident waiting to happen.

I used to nick it once in a while when I was using the Schick injector, too.

Still testing the Shark Chrome blades.

Book 5, chapter 5

About Square, stoical philosopher - or philosophe, more like - , discovered in Molly's bed.

Philosophers are composed of flesh and blood as well as other human creatures; and however sublimated or refined the theory of these may be, a little practical frailty is as incident to them as to other mortals.

It is, indeed, in theory only, and not in practice, as we have before hinted, that consists the difference: for though such great beings think much better and more wisely, they always act exactly like other men.

Reading Tom Jones.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Tax avoidance is not illegal. But guess who writes the laws with loopholes only the rich can find and use?

But it is very, very unseemly in a candidate running in "the party of the people," or in a candidate running a populist insurgency against elites and the establishment.

Trump and Clinton share Delaware tax 'loophole' address with 285,000 firms

This squat, yellow brick office building just north of Wilmington’s rundown downtown is the registered address of more than 285,000 companies. 

That’s more than any other known address in the world, and 15 times more than the 18,000 registered in Ugland House, a five-storey building in the Cayman Islands that Barack Obama called “either the biggest building in the world, or the biggest tax scam on record”.

Officially, 1209 North Orange is home to Apple, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Walmart and dozens of other companies in the Fortune 500 list of America’s biggest companies.

. . . .

But it’s not just big corporations that have chosen to make 1209 North Orange their official home.

Both the leading candidates for president – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – have companies registered at 1209 North Orange, and have refused to explain why.

Clinton, who has repeatedly promised that as president she will crack down on “outrageous tax havens and loopholes that super-rich people across the world are exploiting in Panama and elsewhere”, collected more than $16m in public speaking fees and book royalties in 2014 through the doors of 1209, according to the Clintons’ tax return.

Just eight days after stepping down as secretary of state in February 2013, Clinton registered ZFS Holdings LLC at CTC’s offices. 

Bill Clinton set up WJC LLC, a vehicle to collect his consultation fees, at the same address in 2008.

A spokesman for Clinton said: “ZFS was set up when Secretary Clinton left the State Department as an entity to manage her book and speaking income. No federal, state, or local taxes were saved by the Clintons as a result of this structure.”

The Clintons’ companies share the office with several of Trump’s companies. 

They include Trump International Management Corp and several companies that form part of Hudson Waterfront Associates, a Trump partnership to develop more than $1bn worth of luxury condos on the west side of Manhattan.

Of the 515 companies on Trump’s official Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing, 378 are registered in Delaware, he revealed, after being questioned by the Guardian about why so many of his New York-based companies are incorporated in Delaware.

He said he asked his staff to find out how many entities he has in Delaware. “I figured they’d maybe say two or three, right?” Trump said at a rally in Harrington, Delaware, on Friday. “We have 378 entities registered in the state of Delaware, meaning I pay you a lot of money, folks. I don’t feel at all guilty, OK?”

Among them are 40 Wall Street Corporation, Trump’s 72-storey downtown tower that was the tallest building in the world for two months in 1930, and the Trump Carousel in Central Park.

. . . .

The Guardian Media Group, owner of theguardian.com, is registered in Dover, Delaware. 

“Guardian Media Group has business operations in the UK, US and Australia,” a Guardian spokesperson said. 

“The group’s assets are held entirely by companies in these countries and are fully subject to prevailing tax laws and regulations. The group also has a UK endowment fund which holds a mixture of UK and non-UK assets and is fully subject to UK tax laws and regulations.”

O urges European unity

Barack Obama says world needs a united Europe

The world needs a strong, democratic and united Europe, Barack Obama said on Monday, to guard against rising intolerance and authoritarianism within the European Union and across the globe.

In an ambitious and sweeping speech urging modern Europe to remember its emergence from division, war and hatred, the US president said: “We cannot allow fears about security and inequality to undermine our commitment to universal values. That is a false comfort.”

. . . .

Persistent challenges, including the 2008 financial crisis and wage inequality, had led some to question whether European integration could no longer endure, he said, and whether Europe would be better off redrawing some of the barriers and walls between nations.

“If we do not solve these problems, you see those who would like to exploit these fears and channel them in a destructive way. A creeping emergence of the kind of politics that Europe was founded to reject – an us-versus-them mentality. You see increasing intolerance in our politics and loud voices get the most attention.

“So this is a defining moment and what happens on this continent has consequences around the globe. If a peaceful, unified, pluralistic, liberal, free-market Europe begins to question the progress that has been made then we cannot expect the progress that is just now taking place around the world will continue. Instead we will be empowering those who argue that democracy cannot work.”

Looks like

Maybe not the libertarians, but it does in fact look bad for the conservatives.

Especially the Buchananites.

They only want to honor white men: The pathetic conservative meltdown over the Harriet Tubman $20 bill exposes the right’s petty identity politics

But some Democrats, too.

Ah, those Scotch-Irish heroes that Pat Buchanan so admires and Ann Coulter so thoroughly mocked.

Webb defends Andrew Jackson, rips 'political correctness'

Interesting points about Jackson's life and place in American history.

Can any white man who successfully fought against Indians in our history be a hero, today?

Maybe not right now, given the depths of commitment of the left to misandry and race bashing.

Thing is, Jackson is not being removed from the twenty.

He will appear on the back.

And why not put Tubman on the front of the twenty?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

It's all about the ladyparts, for some


Feminism.

In fact, global feminism.

That's the whole thing, for Sady Doyle.

And perhaps nearly the whole thing for Hillary.

This focus is one of the reasons I for so long favored Bernie.

Koch hearts Hillary?

Would he actually support her?

Well, no, not really.

She'd have to change her positions on some things.

Uh huh.

Charles Koch: 'Possible' That Clinton Would Be Better President Than GOP Rivals

NK rattling the sabre

North Korea Claims Successful Test of Submarine-Fired Missile

North Korea said Sunday that it successfully test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine and warned of its growing ability to cut down its enemies with a "dagger of destruction."

O comments on NK provocations

Obama Doesn't Take North Korea's Promise to Halt Nuke Program Seriously

He's not giving any signs America is backing away from South Korea.

President Barack Obama said Sunday that he doesn't take seriously North Korea's claim that it would halt nuclear tests if the U.S. suspends military exercises with South Korea.

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong made the ultimatum in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press Saturday hours after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine.

Getting to be a self-righteous as well as sore loser

Well, I guess in his own way he always was self-righteous.

Bernie Sanders explains his primary losses: 'Poor people don't vote'

And when they do they vote for Hillary, too bad, so sad.

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders reframed his role in the race on Sunday and explained that he has lost primaries in 16 states with high income inequality “because poor people don’t vote”.

Without wavering from his campaign’s insistence that he has a “path to victory”, the senator from Vermont said his goal was to increase voter participation in politics.

“I mean, that’s just a fact,” Sanders said in an interview with NBC News, in response to a question about his losses in states with a large wealth gap. 

“That’s a sad reality of American society. And that’s what we have to transform.”

Sanders has predicated his campaign on a promise to assuage growing wealth and income inequality in the US, and he has received support from a record number of grassroots donors whose small contributions have consistently added up to monthly fundraising totals that dwarf those of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Yet Clinton, owing in part to stalwart support from African Americans, has notched big victories in southern states with some of the lowest median incomes in the country. 

She has also defeated Sanders in states with vast inequality, including in the New York primary vote last Tuesday.

And doesn't this get the cart before the horse?

“If we can significantly increase voter turnout so that low-income people and working people and young people participated in the political process, if we got a voter turnout of 75%, this country would be radically transformed,” Sanders said.

. . . .

Earlier in the day he told CNN that greater participation in elections by low-income and working class voters would “revitalize American democracy”.

Looks like he's down, now, to one issue that really sticks in his socialist craw.

Sanders declined an invitation from CNN’s host to engage in the speculation about who might be chosen to run as a vice-presidential candidate for the eventual nominees.

“I think that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump needs to start talking to the real issue facing the American people, and that is that we have a vast level of income inequality,” Sanders said.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Feminist violence is just fine, eh?

In the most recent episode of Bones, our heroine breaks the jaw of an obnoxious (of course) men's rights activist.

Imagine your favorite white guy TV hero - Gibbs, maybe? Or Booth? - decking some smart-alecky black girl for whining about her violated rights and male, white oppression.

Inequality per se is not, historically, a problem for progressives

But it really bothers Bernie and it really bothers the folks at Salon, at least some of whom have written frankly in defense of Marxism-Leninism, aka Communism.

That would be a particularly vicious form of socialism.

America’s frightening oligarchy: Thomas Piketty on our widening inequality and the right-wing billionaires who profit from it.

What?

Bill Maher might have just ticked off a lot of liberals: In tirade against left-wing PC police, Maher says, “it’s so white.”

“White people need to find some middle ground between racists and people who see racism everywhere,” he began. 

“Because, at this point, I can’t tell who’s more annoying, conservatives who don’t care about anyone who isn’t white or liberals who hate themselves because they are white.”

Wow. Who gives a shit?

Seymour Hersh spills the secrets of Bin Laden’s execution: “He was a prisoner of war. It was a hit.”

Oh, boo hoo.

What new Donald Trump?

Trump Tells Connecticut Voters He's 'Not Toning It Down'

A confident Donald Trump told supporters Saturday that he's "not toning it down," a day after his chief adviser assured Republican officials the GOP front-runner will show more restraint on the campaign trail.

"I'm not toning it down," Trump told a cheering crowd of 3,000 people, packed into a high school gymnasium in Waterbury, Connecticut. 

"Isn't it nice that I'm not one of these teleprompter guys?"

Ann Coulter Said She Hates The 'New' Donald Trump

Early Saturday morning, she retweeted a story about Trump impersonating an Indian call center representative in, what some called, an offensive accent.

"Perhaps I've jumped the gun. The Trump we love is back!"

Hillary's VP

Five women Hillary Clinton could pick for VP

Are we sure it will be a woman?

Has she said so?

A mostly white crowd in a mostly black city

Sanders' bid for black vote in Baltimore highlights struggles to broaden appeal

Even Danny Glover, a flat out red whose support he is far from rejecting, can't help him.

The Republicans would red bait Bernie to death, though Hillary hasn't in any serious way, nor have her surrogates.

She needs as many Sanders people as possible to show up in November. 

Despite efforts of prominent African American supporters and actor Danny Glover, eclectic crowd of 6,000 was mostly white and included man in bear suit.

Sanders, who was preceded by a former head of the NAACP, a prominent local pastor and the actor Danny Glover, tried hard to convince African Americans that he was attuned to the problems of a majority black city with a history of racial tension.

But the crowd of about 6,000 was mostly white.

Despite the efforts of prominent African American supporters and many mentions of his long support for the civil rights movement, Sanders’ campaign has struggled and sometimes failed spectacularly to appeal to African American voters.

Exit polls have shown black voters favor Hillary Clinton by lopsided margins around the country, and the former secretary of state won among African Americans in New York by a 3-to-1 margin on Tuesday.

. . . .

[Sanders] insisted that his campaign is “listening to an African American community”.

“They are asking a simple but profound question,” he said: “How do we always seem to have trillions of dollars for war in Iraq or elsewhere but don’t seem to have money in inner cities?”

The people who introduced Sanders carried an air of profound alienation with politics in the era of Barack Obama.

Determined to do what, is he?

Is Kim Jong Un preparing for another Korean War?

Is this supposed to keep the US out of it?

North Korea tests 'submarine-launched' ballistic missile

North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile on Saturday off its east coast, South Korea said, amid concerns that the isolated state might conduct a nuclear test or a missile launch ahead of a ruling party meeting in May.

The North fired the missile to the northeast from an area off its east coast at about 6:30 p.m. (0930 GMT), the South's office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

North Korea will hold a congress of its ruling Workers' Party in early May for the first time in 36 years, at which its leader Kim Jong Un is expected to say the country is a strong military power and a nuclear state.

Is Kim Jong Un about to test another nuclear bomb?

While some pundits dismiss a North Korean nuclear capability as still several years away, U.S. and South Korean officials have said that Pyongyang has developed nuclear weapons for its No Dong MRBM that would threaten Japan and South Korea. 

Moreover, the U.S. commanders of the Pacific Command, the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. forces in Korea last year stated their belief that Pyongyang had the ability to target the continental United States with a nuclear ICBM.

After analyzing North Korea’s liquid-fueled rocket engine test on March 24, several nongovernment experts concluded that the KN-08 ICBM has a longer range than previously assessed.

The test showed that the KN-08 first stage uses Musudan rather than No Dong engines, along with a more capable fuel. 

That means the KN-08 would be able to reach throughout the U.S., including New York City and Washington, rather than just the Pacific Northwest.

Beer taste tests

Did I say I like beer?

And who does not, eh?

I like Miller Lite better than IC Light, and today found out Coors Light is pretty good, too, though a tiny bit too watery.

But the Coors folks are math challenged, so watch it.

The can says it contains 16 ozs., one pint.

It says a serving is 12 ozs. and the beer runs 102 calories per serving.

And it says the can contains 1 1/4 servings.

It contains 1 1/3 servings, about 135 calories.

Turns out Michelob Ultra is much like the Coors, I think.

Own goal off Hornqvist's skate!

2 to 1, Rangers in game 5, first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in town, right now.

Very annoying.

Update.

Pens won, all the same.

Merde

A conte of my own.

For centuries on the Island of Merde the people had been dominated by their priests.

And over those centuries the Merdians had been profoundly brainwashed by the priests into the most intense guilt and shame about defecation.

But at last there came a period of religious Enlightenment, and then of political liberation that broke the cultural power of the Merdian Church.

Culture warriors of liberation arose, and it came to pass that every play, every novel, every short story, and every new film contained scenes of delightful, delighted, happy defecation.

And parades were held annually in every city featuring veritable orgies of public defecation, vast celebrations of shit.

About that 20 dollar bill

Rachel Maddow last night gave an interesting history lesson about the changes to the front and back of the double sawbuck, over the years, jokingly speculating that Andrew Jackson, who loathed and dreaded paper money (it is, in fact, unconstitutional) and the national bank (itself most fairly regarded as unconstitutional) with all his heart, was put on the bill in 1928 under the Federal Reserve System as an inside joke at his expense.

It's true, isn't it, that these changes will give us a currency that more closely looks like America?

I hope the new bills are much more colorful than our usual, really boring green.

The currencies of other countries are so often much more an aesthetic pleasure than ours.

Too bad.

A cultural dinosaur, our Fielding is.

And those who appreciate his warmth.

At least to all appearances so far, Fielding's satirical life of Jones is intended to celebrate goodness of heart, as he calls it, partly through contrast with those who lack it.

Compare the use Voltaire makes of the goodness of heart of Candide.

Voltaire is not Fielding's opposite, de Sade is.

Reading Tom Jones.

P.S.

We have gone in a single lifetime from cruel and tragic surplus repression to grotesque celebration not simply of sex but of the most animal promiscuity, obscenity, and bizarre perversion.

All that on one side of the culture wars.

With Ted Cruz on the other.

Why do Americans despise politics and the politically committed, the culture wars and culture warriors?

I can't imagine.

I am not saying pornography should be suppressed.

Far from it.

I am saying pornography has its own purpose and value that actual art, literature, drama, and other products of high culture, having their own purposes, do not share.

And vice versa, of course.

Nor am I saying sexual deviance should be punished, though deviance it is.

And I understand the exigencies of coalition politics.

But, really?

Back in the day, Sartre's interview in Playboy only increased my contempt for Sartre.

But not for Playboy.

On this matter, too, Voltaire is not Fielding's opposite, de Sade is.

Friday, April 22, 2016

President Obama, America, and Brexit

It took Barack Obama to crush the Brexit fantasy

Recall Jonah Goldberg's pimping for "the Anglosphere" in The National Review?

Not happening.

O absolutely never fails to be a president to be proud of before the whole world.

He is excellent at the job.

He is a man of great stature, as is apparent in his handling of this issue.

But it’s the wider Vote Leave campaign that has found itself in the wrong place. 

An anti-EU movement can’t also be anti-US, not without looking as if it hates everyone. 

Nor is it good to pit yourself against an American president who, whatever his domestic standing, remains in high esteem in Britain and Europe. 

It’s just too irresistibly tweetable to ask: if Obama’s for remain, and Trump and Le Pen are for leave, whose side are you on?

Above all, the core case advanced by the leavers on the US is flawed. 

Fox and others say Obama is a hypocrite because the US would never accept for itself the limitations on sovereignty demanded of Britain by the EU. 

But the comparison is silly. 

Britain is strong and rich, but it is also a relatively small country adjacent to a continent. 

The US virtually is a continent.

What makes sense for one would not make sense for the other. 

Besides, as Obama explained in Downing Street, the US does trim its sovereignty when it suits its purposes: it agrees to be bound by the trade rulings of the World Trade Organisation and Nafta, even if that means Congress is forced to back down on its own decisions.

All told, the Obama visit has been one of those episodes that say rather more than was ever intended. 

It says that this president retains a lustre even now, eight years on – one that only grows as you contemplate the contest to take his place. 

It says that, for all of the remain campaign’s problems, Leave now has to rebuild – after a dreadful seven days that began with Treasury numbers showing Brexit will make Britons poorer, and ended with a surgical evisceration from the world’s most powerful man.

And it said something about Britain’s relationship with the US. 

Ever needy to hear that we’re still special to the Americans, to hear that their president loves our queen and loves our talisman, Winston Churchill, we still listen to them – even when they tell us there’s no future for just the two of us together, that we need to stay in the marriage we’re in, even if sometimes it feels a little loveless.

The Guardian view on a key week in the EU debate: Obama sends the right message

It has been an important week for the Remain cause. 

In what was clearly a coordinated push, with two months to go before polling day on 23 June, the pro-EU side has played two big cards – economic uncertainty and geopolitical instability – in the same week. 

On Monday this took the form of the Treasury’s 180-page analysis of the economic impact of leaving the EU, a wide-ranging exercise that boiled down to the claim that every household will be worse off by £4,300 from leaving the EU and which was immediately dismissed by Leavers as merely a project fear exercise and as treating voters like children. 

But there is already some evidence that this figure has cut through with the public, for good reason.

In the second half of the week, the focus has shifted to global stability. 

First, eight former US treasury secretaries weighed in to warn that Brexit represents a critical threat to the global economy. 

Plenty of home-grown economists also agree. 

Now, Mr Obama has lent his weight in probably his last visit as president, determined to make a strong appeal for Britain to remain part of Europe. 

So the Leave campaign has tried its best to knock away Mr Obama’s standing too, first challenging his right to express a view and then accusing him of “downright hypocrisy” for wanting Britain to stay in the EU, a position the US has held for decades.

The Leave campaign’s big problem with pinning any charge on Mr Obama is partly that both he and his country have standing to spare. 

Mr Obama has not been the White House’s most assiduously pro-European occupant for the last eight years, so his standing here may be lower now than it was when he succeeded George W Bush. 

But he and his office are both hugely respected, and under this president there is ample evidence that the US has been more internationally minded on issues from Cuba to climate change. 

Mr Obama made sure on his arrival that he cemented his own standing here by arguing in a Daily Telegraph article that America’s sacrifices for Europe in two world wars gave him the authority to make his case, which it is hard to dispute.

On Friday evening Mr Obama went further, appearing alongside David Cameron (who himself has more standing than some might assume) to hammer home the message that America and its partners want Britain to remain fully engaged in multilateral alliances and that British membership of the EU remains central to their stability. 

Barack Obama: As your friend, let me say that the EU makes Britain even greater

I will say, with the candour of a friend, that the outcome of your decision is a matter of deep interest to the United States. 

The tens of thousands of Americans who rest in Europe’s cemeteries are a silent testament to just how intertwined our prosperity and security truly are. 

And the path you choose now will echo in the prospects of today’s generation of Americans as well. 

As citizens of the United Kingdom take stock of their relationship with the EU, you should be proud that the EU has helped spread British values and practices – democracy, the rule of law, open markets – across the continent and to its periphery. 

The European Union doesn’t moderate British influence – it magnifies it. 

A strong Europe is not a threat to Britain’s global leadership; it enhances Britain’s global leadership. 

The United States sees how your powerful voice in Europe ensures that Europe takes a strong stance in the world, and keeps the EU open, outward looking, and closely linked to its allies on the other side of the Atlantic. 

So the US and the world need your outsized influence to continue – including within Europe.

. . . .

Together, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union have turned centuries of war in Europe into decades of peace, and worked as one to make this world a safer, better place. 

What a remarkable legacy that is. 

And what a remarkable legacy we will leave when, together, we meet the challenges of this young century as well.

Nobody in New England has this problem.

Gloucester.

Worcester.

Leicester.

Shakespeare country.

Explaining the Leicester City story to Americans

"Lie-kester."

"No, Leicester."

"Less-ester?"

"No, Leicester. As in Lester."

Ya, we know.

And Glawster and Whuster.

Felons vote Democrat?

If they have the least bit of sense, and despite Bill Clinton's notorious mass incarceration bill.

Virginia restores voting rights to over 200,000 convicts

Andrew Jackson, Buchananite hero

Pat defends the man and his presidency.

Was Jackson responsible for the Cherokees’ “Trail of Tears”? 

Yes. 

And Harry Truman did Hiroshima, and Winston Churchill did Dresden.

Great men are rarely good men.

Quite so.

Think of Stalin, Mao, and even Hitler.

Should those three be on the currency, do you think, of today's Russia, China, and Germany?

As to Stalin and Hitler, Pat might actually see that as appropriate.

Hitler completed the dream of German national unification.

Stalin saved Russia from Hitler and, to be fair, under his leadership Russia won World War Two.

Not sure about Mao.

He is anyway not happy.

Added up, while dishonoring Andrew Jackson, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is putting on the U.S. currency six women—three white, three African-American—and [Martin Luther] King. 

No Catholics, no conservatives, no Hispanics, no white males were apparently even considered.

This is affirmative action raised to fanaticism, a celebration of President Obama’s views and values, and a recasting of our currency to make Obama’s constituents happy at the expense of America’s greatest heroes and historic truth.

Leftist role models for American kids now take precedence over the history of our Republic in those we honor.

. . . .

In the dystopian novel, 1984, Winston Smith labors in the Ministry of Truth, dropping down the “memory hole” stories that must be rewritten to re-indoctrinate the party and proles in the new history, as determined by Big Brother. 

Jack Lew would have fit right in there.

He worships aspects and parts of the past that we do not.

Major figures of the American past that he wants to celebrate we cannot.

Our America is not his and we and he neither praise nor blame the same things in or about America today.

We do not venerate the same past.

Nor do we hope for the same future.

The Sanders Campaign is a dead parrot, says Richard Wolffe

Clinton triumphs; Sanders slumps. Now the real contest can begin

Like the Monty Python parrot, the Bernie Sanders campaign is no more. 

It has ceased to be. 

Its metabolic processes are now history. 

It’s kicked the bucket and shuffled off its mortal coil.

. . . .

Clinton will enter the convention with a clear lead among pledged delegates. 

On that basis, there is no room for Sanders to argue that the superdelegates should ignore the popular vote and the mood of the party to flip their support.

To the Sanders supporters who have already pressed send on their tweets, comments and emails: I know. 

It doesn’t matter. 

Numbers, facts, delegates, convention rules, logic, reason, actual votes, party unity: none of it matters.

In reality, winning never really mattered to Bernie Sanders. 

The exercise of power was never the point, even if it became a self-delusional diversion along the way.

What mattered was ideological purity. 

Like all good Cold War-era socialists, Sanders was far more interested in critiquing the system than running it. 

It was always easier to feel morally superior than engage in the messy business of building a winning and governing coalition.

Then again, the Clintons have some kind of unnatural desire to make you feel morally superior. 

Between the paid speeches and the private email server, Hillary Clinton seems determined to make life difficult for herself and her campaign.

Her great good fortune is that she won’t, ultimately, be compared to a self-righteous socialist. 

Instead, she will be compared to a self-inflated socialite.

There may be a life-form on earth that cannot feel morally superior to Donald Trump, but the planet has probably evolved too far already. 

There are Latin American presidents, with large legal teams in Panama, who can feel smug when they look at the Great Orange Hope.

Trump is the unique political species who urinates on his own party as he celebrates victory. 

“Nobody should take delegates and claim victory unless they claim delegates with voters and voting,” said the man whose previous experience of voting rules involved picking a Miss Universe. 

“It’s a crooked system. It’s a system that’s rigged.”

Thus spoke the winner of the crooked system’s latest contest, as he predicted storming into the rigged party’s convention. 

With a party leader like this, who needs opponents?

. . . .

But it’s past time for Clinton and the Democratic party to turn towards the general election. 

They have an unexpected and historic opportunity to turn a victory into a rout: to win not just the White House, but to take back the Senate and quite possibly the House.

They could use the next two months to press their case, recruit down-ticket candidates and organize early for November. 

Or they could continue to debate the finer points of bank regulations and free trade deals.

It’s time to stop pining for the fjords, and start running against the party that Trump built.

Their very own Donald Trumps

This clown is favored to succeed David Cameron as Tory PM?

Boris Johnson branded 'racist' and likened to the right-wing Tea Party after his attack on the 'part Kenyan' Barack Obama

He and Nigel Farage, both in favor of Brexit to which O is opposed, both refer to the removal of the bust of Churchill from the Oval Office and O's Kenyan ancestry as evidence of anti-British sentiment, specifically anti-British Empire sentiment.

Referring to the removal of Sir Winston's bust, Mr Johnson wrote in The Sun today : 'No one was sure whether the President had himself been involved in the decision,' he said.

'Some said it was a snub to Britain. Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President's ancestral dislike of the British empire - of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender.' 

. . . .

Ukip leader Nigel Farage backed up Mr Johnson's claims.

He told The Guardian: 'Look, I know his family's background. Kenya. Colonialism. There is clearly something going on there.

'It's just that you know people emerge from colonialism with different views of the British. Some thought that they were really rather benign and rather good, and others saw them as foreign invaders.

'Obama's family come from that second school of thought and it hasn't quite left him yet.' 

The White House has previously insisted there was no basis to suggestions that the removal of Sir Winston's statue was influenced by Mr Obama's views on colonialism. 

The facts about the bust in question are not what you might think, anyway.

The story that O had the bust removed is an American, and now British, right wing canard.

Right wing crackup reaches Hollywood

Secretive group of Hollywood conservatives suddenly dissolves

The announcement caught members by surprise and fueled speculation that infighting over Donald Trump’s candidacy, among other factors, had drained commitment. 

Others said the group had been losing steam for years.

Instead of electrifying the organisation, California’s 7 June primary, a final and potentially decisive showdown between Trump and his GOP rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich, appeared to frazzle it.

Lionel Chetwynd, a producer and screenwriter and co-founder of the FOA, recently spoke of the primary campaign causing a “civil war in slow motion”, which fractured friendships and shredded solidarity.

Tell us how you really feel

Democrats?

You're joking.

Sanders supporters on the Democratic Party.

Their self description as "progressives" is a gross distortion.

Sanders supporters on Hillary.

You figure these guys will be much use in November?

Sexual Outlawry, Yippee

Rachel Maddow spent about twenty minutes last night gushing about the career of Prince, with an almost exclusive - and enthusiastic - emphasis on his sexual outlawry and that of others who annoyed Tipper Gore, back in the day.

OK, we get why this might seem really cool to Rachel.

Not so clear why Chris Hayes seemed equally enamored during his hour.

Chris Matthews, not so much.

Matthews, by the way, while good at badgering people into actually answering his questions when he wants to smoke them out, is absolutely horrible as an interviewer of the willing, almost never allowing anybody to complete a sentence.

He may be a mind reader but I am not, and I never have the least idea what his interviewees would have said had he let them.

Rachel Maddow is at the opposite end of the continuum, always politely allowing her guests to speak their minds.

A few weeks back she actually praised Chris as the best interviewer in the business, explaining that he always steps on the replies of his interviewees because he knows what they are going to say and wants to get to the meat.

Of course that was nonsense, and I figured at the time she was just sucking up.

Or maybe it was supposed to be a subtle critique.

She once called him to his face a right-wing tool, and laughed at his stammered objections.

But that was before she was given her own show.

Benevolence

It is easy for one who lives on the labor of others to look favorably upon the morality of giving whatever he needs to the first comer who counts as "deserving poor."

And all who come after him in the like case.

Shouldn't he just give it back?

Allworthy is so annoying.

Reading Tom Jones.

Fielding's Allworthy

It seems to me he talks a talk but does not walk the walk.

A man in a palace sounding like Peter Singer on famine relief.

Well, I suppose that makes sense, after all, since Singer is the poster boy for humbuggery celebrated as a virtue.

Allworthy vs Blifil on benevolence.

Tom Jones, Bk 2, ch 5.

A remake of Ben Hur

What a strange idea.

Did you know Charlton Heston was the only actor ever to play a Mexican in blackface?

Orson Welles, Touch of Evil.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A neglected variety of realist

See this on a dichotomy between realists and interventionists in foreign policy.

The threat of Buchananism in the rise of Trump gives occasion to note there is another kind of realism based on a much more pessimistic assessment of the consequences of a general withdrawal of US forces and commitments to the Western hemisphere, north of the Equator, than that of the Buchananites.

In the past I subscribed to that plank of Buchananism, also supported by many libertarians, paleocons, and the "anti-imperialist," "anti-militarist," "anti-globalist" wing of the American and global left.

But now in the face of the threat of an actual US withdrawal posed by the rise of Trump I have been positively chilled at the thought of how much more dangerous the world would quickly become, for millions upon millions of others but also notably for ourselves, if that sort of foreign policy were adopted.

And only part of that danger is posed by his idiotic views concerning nuclear weapons.

[Update, 12212016. I now regret that last paragraph and have edged back to support for that America First aspect of Buchananism.]

An example of such realism, with a penchant for liberal (definitely not socialist) values, is this essay by Hillary on a book by her friend, Henry Kissinger.

Was Hillary a Nixon Republican rather than, say, a McGovern Democrat, back in the day?

I was.

I sympathized then and do now with efforts of the South to stave off conquest by Ho and the communist North, even after the coup against Diem and under rule by Marshals Ky and Thieu.

And it was worth it to the US to expend some effort to assist.

But it was never important enough for the huge and ultimately futile investment we actually made.

Trump checks in on Harriet Tubman

Donald Trump Calls The Choice Of Harriet Tubman's $20 Bill 'Pure Political Correctness'

On the one side we have a genocidal slaughterer of Indians and notorious ethnic cleanser.

On the other, a woman who helped slaves escape to freedom.

In a choice between the two, which should be honored on our nation's currency?

Tough call, eh?

Not for the loudest and most politically successful Buchananite in America.

Warren for VP?

If Hillary took Pocahontas for her VP, would that help or hurt her chances in November?

Booman thinks it would help, and I think he might be right.

Tickets have never been balanced by sex, anyway, and what men would be put off by this who might otherwise vote for Hillary?

Warren is a smart and capable politician with a solidly progressive outlook.

I'm OK with that.

About that US Constitution, again

Some comments at No More Mr. Nice Blog, provoked by something Ted Cruz said.

Blogger Philo Vaihinger said...
Loving was wrongly decided and the incorporation doctrine is bogus, anyway.

Which tells you we have a largely obsolete constitution, not much like what we really want today.

And Cruz, a natural born citizen of Canada ineligible for the presidency of the US, is right about 5 unelected people in black robes lying about the constitution to force change on society being in general not a good idea, even if historically the lies told by the Supremes of the late 20th Century and more recently have generally been done to very desirable political effect.

Though his support for values pluralism among the states is doubtless fake.

Once upon a time in the 19th Century America refused to admit Utah into the Union unless it abandoned polygamy.

Ask Cruz about that, while you're at it.

9:32 AM Delete
Blogger Philo Vaihinger said...
About incorporation, libertarians and some conservatives currently agree with some liberals in holding that the privileges or immunities clause in fact makes the 14th Amendment do what people used to say the due process clause made it do, make constitutional rights previously only good against the general government equally good against the states.

But the thing is a near-mindless repetition of the privileges and immunities clause of the Articles of Confederation and Article IV of the US Constitution.

To accomplish so revolutionary a change as the Incorporation Doctrine contemplates, language clearly intending just that would have been used and the thing would have been sharply and clearly controverted and discussed during drafting and ratification.

What did happen was considerable muddle and confusion between (a) the rights of persons and the rights of citizens, (b) preventing states from denying rights to the freedmen previously afforded by them to free whites, (c) preventing states from denying rights to freedmen or others that already existed according to the pre-Civil War constitution and (d) extending constitutional guarantees against certain sorts of behavior by the federal government by prohibiting those same sorts of behavior to the states (incorporation).

And in any case the ID is not an unambiguous win for liberalism, given for example the prevailing reading of the Second Amendment.

The equal protection and due process clauses were intended as responses to the behavior of states that in a very literal way denied both to the freedmen, leaving them exposed to terrorism at the hands of both white civilians and white government officials.

Liberal readings of both are useful lies - as is the liberal reading of the Second Amendment and pretty much any liberal reading of any part of the constitution.

The constitution is obsolete, as I said.

Blogger Jeff Ryan said...
@Philo Valinger: To dispense with the obvious first, "conservatives" have purposely misconstrued the Second Amendment for years in order to derive a meaning they like, instead of what is clearly the Amendment's purpose. Which you clearly don't get. (Hint: When Congress means something, they usually allude to it.) Factually, and purposefully, the Second Amendment applies only to the federal government. That is why Madison created it, and why it was enacted. But as a result, your constitutional arguments on other provisions suffer from misunderstanding as well.

There is zero evidence - and zero means "none" - that the "privileges and immunities" clause is to be interpreted in the manner you suggest. For one thing, "libertarians" would have been viewed by the Framers as idiots. And that's just for one. But a pretty big one.

There are certainly very good arguments against the Fourteenth Amendment incorporation principle, though Madison would have applauded it. But to claim that the "privileges and immunities" clause accomplishes what the Fourteenth Amendment incorporation principle accomplishes would have, if true, saved Madison a lot of time. It didn't, because what you and "libertarians" argue is far from the what the "privileges and immunities" clause was ever intended to do. 

History matters. And the Framers weren't fools. 

Ryan is an ignorant noodle, way off on things too numerous to address in even an over-long string of over-long comments.

So I replied only with this.

9:25 PM
Blogger Philo Vaihinger said...
You misunderstand me, I am on the side of the liberals, on most things. 

Even, mostly, when they have to do great and important good things by lying about the constitution, itself an illegal product of an illegal convention that was illegally adopted to replace the Articles of Confederation, themselves the improvised product of bloody revolution.

It would be too much to describe the constitution at any time as wholly satanic, and it would have been better to bring liberal values into it through the amendment process, but surely, for example, somebody had to somehow turn the right to an attorney into a positive right good not only against the general government but also against the states, eh?

Somebody had to somehow rip the power of the law out of the hands of Christianists (as Andrew Sullivan calls them).

Somebody had to somehow rip the power of the law out of the hands of racists who used it to carry out their agenda of hatred and malice.

And nobody else was doing these things, at all.

So liberal judges did them.

Be glad somebody did.