Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Eurosceptic Tory MP Dr Liam Fox said there is "no risk of war" if Britain left the EU because it is Nato that was the driving force for peace across the continent, not the European Union as previously suggested by David Cameron.
The guest was Brad Thor, a popular novelist with conservatarian politics.
In his interview, Thor compared Donald Trump to a Latin American caudillo and suggested that Trump, if president, would suspend the Constitution and seize dictatorial powers.
How does he do that?
Does he walk out into the rose garden, close his eyes, and cry out in the name of the Tooth Fairy, "I hereby suspend the Constitution and seize dictatorial powers"?
A lot of splitters will be going with her, this fall, though she has no chance and that's actually a good thing, since what she calls her plan is terrifyingly stupid.
On the other hand, oddly - very, very oddly - , many Sanders fans show a lot of interest in Gary Johnson, a McKinley era free marketeer except for heretical (for a libertarian) catering to social liberalism's equal protection madness regarding gay, feminist, racial, and LGBT stuff, it seems.
You can see the appeal to folks like Ron Chusid.
America has more than 4,000 craft breweries.
Most American adults — 235 million of them — live within ten miles of a local brewery.
And more than 40 percent of Americans 21 to 27 have never tasted Budweiser.
They prefer craft beers (a craft brewer ships no more than 6 million barrels a year; Budweiser shipped 16 million in 2013, down from 50 million in 1988), which perhaps explains Budweiser’s current weirdly truculent commercials, such as this:
“Proudly a macro beer. It’s not brewed to be fussed over. . . . It’s brewed for drinking, not dissecting. . . . Beer brewed the hard way. Let them sip their pumpkin peach ale.”
And this: “Not small. Not sipped. Not soft. Not a fruit cup. Not imported.”
Last year, craft brewers, which are increasing at a rate of almost two a day, won 12.8 percent of the $105.9 billion beer market.
And 2015 was the sixth consecutive year, and the twelfth time in 15 years, in which beer’s portion of the nation’s alcohol revenue declined as more Americans drink cocktails like the characters on Mad Men.
There are four reasons to drink mass market beer.
One is that there is no such thing as a craft light beer.
The second is that mass market beers are much cheaper.
The third is that craft brewers nearly unanimously and steadfastly refuse to put their beers in cans.
The fourth is the drastic overuse of hops in craft beers.
Budweiser, by the way, does not make the best or best selling light beer.
Not leaving it to divine chance, the state Catholic Conference has turned in recent years to some of Albany’s most well-connected and influential lobby firms to help block a bill that would make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice.
The Catholic Conference, headed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, has used Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, Patricia Lynch & Associates, Hank Sheinkopf, and Mark Behan Communications to lobby against the Child Victims Act as well as for or against other measures.
All told, the conference spent more than $2.1 million on lobbying from 2007 through the end of 2015, state records show.
That does not include the conference’s own internal lobbying team.
Filings show the lobbyists were retained, in part, to work on issues associated with “statute of limitations” and “timelines for commencing certain civil actions related to sex offenses.”
Other issues included parochial school funding and investment tax credits.
Much as Hitler and Mussolini were cheered by the original America Firsters.
State outlet DPRK Today published an editorial Tuesday that called the business mogul a "wise politician" and said he could be good for North Korea.
“There are many positive aspects to Trump’s ‘inflammatory policies,' ” the author of the article wrote, according to a translation from NK News.
“Trump said he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North, isn’t this fortunate from North Korea’s perspective?”
. . . .
It's an unusual change in tone for North Korean state media, which has largely avoided talking about the U.S. campaign directly.
The article claims to have been written by a guest contributor — Han Yong Mook, who is introduced as a Chinese North Korea scholar — but the fact that it was published by a notoriously patriotic outlet may well suggest that the ideas contained within it are likely to hold serious sway in Pyongyang.
Trump has made several recent comments about U.S. policy toward the Korean Peninsula.
In an interview with The Washington Post's editorial board in March, he had argued that the U.S. defense deal with South Korea was not fair, adding, "We're reimbursed a fraction of what this is all costing."
In a subsequent interview with the New York Times, Trump had suggested that he would withdraw U.S. troops from South Korea if elected, noting that Seoul may need to build its own nuclear weapons to protect itself.
Trump then told Reuters in May that he would be willing to speak to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
"I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him," he said.
The left is having fun with this.
Tyranny loves company. North Korea endorses Trump.
What they aren't telling you is that Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson's anti-globalism is just as bad (so is Ron Paul's and so is Rand Paul's) and Green Party candidate Jill Stein's is much, much worse.
How seriously can we take leftist attacks on Il Duce for a dangerous anti-globalism that mirrors their own, or is less extreme and so less dangerous?
Monday, May 30, 2016
George Will represents the Wall Street wing of the conservative movement, though he did a few years ago abandon support for our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Political agitation, often involving civil disruption and sometime involving violence, against the US presence in Okinawa was old news when I was there, early 1972 to the second half of 1974.
Crimes of US servicemen against locals provided juicy pretexts.
Protests were organized, encouraged, and often run by the Japanese Communists.
US forces on the island played a big supporting role for the war in Vietnam, beyond their general strategic and Cold War significance.
Le meurtre d’une Japonaise par un ex-marine américain fait monter la colère à Okinawa.
L’affaire survient alors qu’Obama effectue sa visite historique à Hiroshima : un timing désastreux, qui fait couler beaucoup d’encre au Japon.
La colère ne se dissipe pas à Okinawa depuis le viol et le meurtre d’une Okinawaise de 20 ans.
Un ex-militaire américain, arrêté le 21 mai par la police japonaise, est soupçonné d’être l’auteur du crime.
“Le conseil municipal d’Okinawa vient d’adopter à l’unanimité la demande d’un retrait complet des soldats américains, fait inédit depuis qu’Okinawa a été rendu aux Japonais en 1972”, relate l’Asahi Shimbun.
. . . .
L’affaire survient alors que le président Obama effectue sa visite historique à Hiroshima, ce vendredi 27 mai, pour dénoncer l’horreur de la guerre et prôner la dénucléarisation.
“‘J’exprime mes plus profonds regrets pour ce meurtre’ a déclaré le président américain [au sujet de l’assassinat de la jeune fille].
"Mais ces mots ne suffiront pas pour éviter que ce genre de crimes se répète. Je demande à pouvoir rencontrer directement M. Obama”, a déclaré le gouverneur d’Okinawa, Takeshi Onaga, cité dans le Ryukyu Shimpo.
The Rio Olympics have been hit by allegations of a conflict of interest over the dangers of the Zika virus to thousands of athletes and fans travelling to Brazil this summer.
Health experts have accused organisers of failing to take the threat of the virus seriously enough by refusing to cancel or postpone the Games.
They accused the World Health Organisation (WHO) of ignoring the danger to public health and being too close to the International Olympic Committee.
Are all criminals Democrats or only the ones who go in for street violence?
Lord knows, Democrats line up on their side often enough.
Think Baltimore, think Feguson.
And think San Diego, too.
The behavior of Bernie's supporters appears more and more to suit the attitudes of the man, himself.
Two Clinton supporters.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Or even those on Morse, generally, an old TV series based on the novels by Colin Dexter now to be seen on Netflix.
An old British TV series.
BTW, have you noticed that many actors in leading roles in European TV series', old or even new, haven't had their teeth straightened?
Social democratic dentistry?
The energy deal was and is a crime against American workers, American producers, and American consumers
He had lots to say about coal and the fossil fuel biz in general.
They will hear this not only in West Virginia but in Pennsylvania.
Under O, the Pentagon has come down in favor of opening all combat roles to women.
I really don't care whether or how many of the girls want to play with the boys.
The Senate Passed a Unanimous Resolution Supporting Equal Pay for U.S. Women’s Soccer
A sport not all that popular even when men are playing.
The senate unanimously passed this baloney.
His appointees will be DSA leader and black race leader Cornel West, Muslim and black Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), radical environmentalist author Bill McKibben, Arab American Institute head James Zogby, and Native American activist Deborah Parker.
Well, radical party and extra-party and even anti-party activists working in undemocratic venues like party caucuses are responsible for a good fraction of his delegate count, so why wouldn't Bernie think it's just fine to let them write the platform for a party the vast bulk of whose members loathe radicals and their fifty shades of radicalism?
GW loathes Trump and Trumpism.
Is he finding his way away from Wall Street conservatism toward a personal and ideological rapprochement with Buchananism?
Sure, it's low and very, very ugly.
Worth looking at.
If she quits there's at least a 99% chance it will be Bernie and not Joe Biden, the non-candidate who was always, politically, Hillary without the baggage and whose reasons to demur from the beginning must have included that it seemed, to so many Democrats, mostly women, that in a choice between two pols with such similar agendas and views it had to be, finally, the Year of the Woman.
Recall that, at the beginning of the primary season and more than once since, Hillary's surrogates and allies have hit Bernie as insensitive toward women and sometimes as sexist and misogynist, outright.
That was as nothing compared to what their fury toward Joe Biden would have been.
It is unimaginable that anyone would put Joe in against Hillary so late in the process, and almost inconceivable anyone would put him in against Bernie if she withdrew.
And why would he accept either role?
If Hillary is forced to withdraw, before or after the convention, the Democrats' best shot will be to unite behind Bernie.
And Il Duce and the entire American right will get such a boost of campaign joy as we have not seen, on their side, for over a year.
On the other hand, the undeniable fact is that most Democrats are not remotely socialists and do not want to be led by socialists, or anybody whose attitude toward American capitalism is that fundamentally hostile.
The talk is out there.
The email thing is really quite bad.
If she really did withdraw over this the Dems would almost certainly lose the election, especially if they tried to play an old, white, male-but-clean version of Hillary against Bernie for the nomination.
Trying to fob off Hillary's Year of the Woman supporters by adding the ideologically wholly inappropriate Elizabeth Warren to a Joe Biden ticket is not going to cut it with the girls, and certainly would do nothing to sufficiently diminish the fury of the Bernie people.
Democrats have for a long time sought to win by portraying Republicans as the candidates of nobody but white men, wink wink, nudge nudge.
Two women at the top of the Democratic ticket, one of whom famously and hilariously played the minority card for some sort of academic affirmative action benefit, would make it way too easy for Il Duce and his surrogates to just laugh at the Democrats as the girls' team.
He won't even have to say "girls and, oh yeah, anybody who has a problem with white people."
This could be the year the Democrats' option for identity politics, a choice that committed them long ago to a constant rhetorical war on white men, sinks them.
Not a good thing.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
A tiny one or something closer to full size?
The Israel created by the partition of 1948 was minute and extremely vulnerable, a mere fragment of historic Israel and far smaller in area than the Israel the Zionist movement and settlers hoped to re-create.
Recall that British Palestine covered a quite large territory all of which east of the Jordan River became today's Arab state of Jordan.
It is to that that they refer who say that there already is a Palestinian State, and that with the creation of Jordan a two-state solution was built in from the start to the Brit withdrawal from its Palestinian Mandate.
And it was always in the cards that by whatever and various means the restored Jewish State, the re-created Jewish National Homeland, was going to be demographically dominated by ethnic Jews, mostly from Europe.
If you are or ever were on board for Zionism at all, on board for a re-creation of Israel, you were on board for a late European colonialist adventure of which ethnic cleansing was an absolutely essential part - as in varying measures and by various means it had been integral to European colonialism (as distinct from imperialism sensu strictu) and, historically, for any policy of actual colonialism by anyone at any point in history or on the globe.
As for the Americas, think not only of the European peopling of the hemisphere but also its peopling by their predecessors who spent thousands of years of genocide, slave raiding, and ethnic cleansing among themselves before Columbus - and before the Vikings.
In Africa, of course, it was millions of years of genocide, slave raiding, and ethnic cleansing before the modern intrusions of Europeans.
Jesus says in this gospel that he performs miracles so that his claim to authority to forgive sins will be accepted.
He only says it once.
When he isn't preaching parables of the Kingdom that he says he doesn't want anyone to understand but the disciples (he says the hearts of his audiences are hardened so they will not understand and will be cast into Gehenna), he is performing miracles - perhaps by the thousands, they seem so many and so nearly constant - of healing and of exorcism (often of both) on request, providing this service for any who believe he can do it.
Taking that as the model, as itself a parable of the Kingdom, you can see where the idea of forgiveness and salvation (admission to the Kingdom) in return for mere faith can certainly seem to play a role.
Perhaps the parable of the field workers who work to the end of the day and get a full day's pay, regardless of what time during the day they began, is a comment on salvation in return for works.
While stories of lost sheep, prodigal sons, and repentant sinners (and workers who enter the fields almost at the day's end) are comments on salvation in return for faith and repentance.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
ABC suggests the shift may be defections from Bernie Sanders’ campaign, many of whom are furious with Clinton and the establishment.
ABC noted “[a]nother result indicating Sanders-related defections is the number of liberals saying they’d support Trump vs. Clinton — now 24 percent, up 8 points from March.”
“[Clinton is] losing 20 percent of Bernie Sanders’ supporters to Trump,” ABC found.
Sanders supporters, frustrated by what many of them call the DNC “rigging” the primary, are abandoning the Democrat Party over this fight.
A poll last week showed 18 percent of millennials, including many Sanders voters, would support third-party candidate Gov. Gary Johnson.
How on earth does anybody go from the barking hatred of capitalism of Bernie Sanders to the free market madness of Gary Johnson?
Wikipedia reports a point I noticed that seemed especially interesting.
According to Dale Allison, Matthew, unlike Paul and like Luke, believed that the Law was still in force, which meant that Jews within the church had to keep it.
Wikipedia has several very interesting and informative articles on the gospels and other contents of the New Testament, which I first read in its entirety in a one semester course taught by a Protestant scholar at Holy Cross College, during my undergrad years there.
For that and for a mad-paced, two semester course on the OT taught by a Jesuit, we used a hardcover edition of the RSV of the OAB.
The entire OT plus secondary reading adds up to a huge burden for a single two semester course, especially given at the time the required load was five three-hour courses a semester.
Anyway, since then I have gone through the whole Bible twice more, once using the Access Bible (a newer and more popular, leather bound version of the RSV) and once using a pocket, red-letter NIV.
This time I'm using the Access Bible, again, and a compact edition of the NAB for convenience.
Trifocals and arthritis in the hands are a deadly combination for reading anything as big and heavy as the Access Bible.
It's a bit over-annotated and the extensive commentary is often too written-down, anyway.
Reading the New Testament.
Bud Light, by the way, though certainly drinkable, seems inferior to Coors, in turn inferior to Miller Lite.
Don't even consider IC Light.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Still, and though this is not the worst that might happen with a Trump presidency, it's not a desirable future.
What's the worst?
Putin invades the Baltic states, Scandinavians back off from NATO and seek rapprochement with Russia.
China takes all the disputed islands.
North Korea lobs missiles at the South and, reading that Trump wants no part of another Korean War, invades.
Japan makes building nukes in a hurry its top military priority and, seeking accommodations with China and Russia, suggests to a very willing Trump it's time for US forces to leave Okinawa.
Both Iran and Saudi Arabia announce nuclear weapons programs and Trump shrugs.
Somebody in Pakistan provides the makings for radiological weapons to ISIS and Homeland Security, hearing chatter, justifiably freaks.
Consequences of Buchananism.
Against the grain of agitprop on all sides, he sees Trump as a moderate Republican leader and compares him with Eisenhower, as some others did much earlier in the primary season.
Not with George Wallace, though he is much more like the segregationist Democrat than like IKE, in my view.
CB seems particularly sympathetic toward getting serious about immigration.
Thing is, white trash and other rabble apart, fertility among American women is so far down that the country as a whole cannot keep up its current population on its own.
And that does indeed, as Pat Buchanan and many others have noted, put particular strain on funding of entitlements and other programs of the welfare state.
Overall, it's a problem of excess fertility at the bottom of the social pyramid (where children don't grow up and go to work but grow up and go to prison) and a considerable shortfall everywhere above that.
Ideally, the solution is to be found in that same, Eisenhower-ish middle Black thinks Il Duce occupies, requiring policies aimed at diminishing the fecundity of the underclass of thugs, drug addicts, and unemployables while enhancing the fertility of women of the better sort with things like family leave, day care, larger tax breaks for families (not single mom's) raising kids, and so on.
But that could be no more than a pipe dream, so profoundly does the left have its heart set on the irreversible demographic overthrow of white America.
A goal that positively requires mass nonwhite immigration, a demographic explosion among the underclass, and the abandonment of maternity by the white women of the country.
It is of course a ludicrous canard that Trump is literally a fascist.
Those who call Trump a fascist, as the egregious Bob Woodward did a few weeks ago, should remember what a fascist is.
I was asked, on the flagship British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news-comment program Newsnight three weeks ago, if Trump were not a Mussolini.
I gently replied that Trump “doesn’t dress his followers in black shirts, march on the capital, murder his opponents, and is unlikely to repeal democracy, invade Ethiopia, stab Britain and France in the back, turn his country into a vassal state of foreign Nazism, or be apprehended in a German-army uniform fleeing his country and be shot and hung upside-down in a gas station.”
The calming effect on my overwrought questioner was momentary.
Deport 11 million people?
Somehow force Mexico to build a wall?
Not to mention his threats, bluster, lies, bullying, contempt for the separation of powers and lawful, constitutional processes, disdain for the autonomy and integrity of the political parties and their chosen manners of candidate selection, and reported personal admiration for Mussolini and for Hitler's speeches.
Surely enough to make use of the title "Il Duce" uncomfortably apt?
"To the people of Baltimore and demonstrators across America: I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace.’”
So brayed Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby a little over a year ago in announcing charges against six police officers in the death of Freddy Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man who perished following a severe spinal injury sustained in a police van after being arrested.
The case should never have been brought.
It is manifest that Gray’s death was a tragic accident, not a prosecutable homicide.
The absence of incriminating evidence became painfully clear again on Monday, when officer Edward Nero was acquitted on all counts in the first case to go to verdict.
Read the whole thing.
The racist Baltimore show trials, kangaroo courts, summary lynchings of the cops by the gangstas, are cut absolutely to pieces.
When you want to understand so-called "white nationalism" and the wagon-circling outlook of Il Duce's supporters, look at Baltimore, where the criminals and their enablers have taken over not only the streets but important parts of the government.
The state's attorney in Baltimore has the same mind-set regarding race as Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Al Sharpton, and the black convict race gangs found in prisons, as depicted in popular media.
They all shout as one with vehement and undisguised racial hatred, "God damn America!"
They have no idea whether he is really a Christian rather than a secret Muslim.
They have no idea whether he's really a Marxist.
Haley Barbour has no idea whether Vince Foster was murdered.
Il Duce has no idea whether VF was murdered, either.
What, Vince Foster, again?
Are you shitting me?
Meanwhile, The Donald questions whether Hillary is really protecting women.
Trump slams Hillary Clinton for not 'protecting women' in video featuring voices of Bill's sex-assault and rape accusers
And this stuff is not some re-hash of long de-bunked and baseless charges.
Zombie blurbs about Vince Foster may do little damage, but this stuff can do harm because it is substantially true that her response to repeated and evidently true accusations against Bill from women was to conspire with him and others to discredit the women or otherwise undermine the stories.
It was all about protecting Bill's future, protecting the Clinton partnership, protecting her future.
This is part of a true picture of who she is and it's not pretty to look at, and never was.
Monday, May 23, 2016
Chinese find suggests barley was used for booze before being grown for food
. . . .
Chinese villagers could have been raising a pint 5,000 years ago, according to new research.
Archaeologists studying vessels unearthed in the Shaanxi province of China say they’ve uncovered beer-making equipment dating from between 3400 and 2900 BC - an era known as the late Yangshao period - and figured out the recipe to boot.
“China has an early tradition of fermentation and evidence of rice-based fermented beverage has been found from the 9000-year-old Jiahu site.
However, to our knowledge, [the new discovery] is the first direct evidence of in situ beer making in China,” said Jiajing Wang of Stanford University, first author of the new research.
The team examined residues in the vessels to reveal that the brew was made from a wide range of plants, including broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum), Job’s tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) and barley.
The discovery marks the earliest known evidence of barley being used in China, suggesting that the crop arrived in the country around 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.
. . . .
Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, researchers from the US and China describe the analysis of a collection of complete funnels and pottery fragments from the Mijiaya site in the Shaanxi province of China whose shapes and styles, indicate that they were used for different stages of beer-making, a function backed up by analysis of residues within the vessels.
Wang and his colleagues unpicked the brew’s recipe by examining these yellow residues and scrutinising the size and shape of starch grains and phytoliths - tiny pieces of silica that form within plant cells.
Their analysis revealed that broomcorn millet, Job’s tears, lily, yam, barley and even snake gourd root (Trichosanthes pilosa) went into the beer.
What’s more, they say, the type of damage to the starch grains, together with chemical analysis of the residues, suggests the drink was produced by methods familiar to modern brewers.
“The beer was made by going through three processes, including malting, mashing, and fermentation,” said Wang.
But despite cracking the beer’s recipe, the archaeologists admit they can’t say how its flavour would measure up to a modern pint.
“I really have no idea,” said Wang.
“That is beyond our research methods.”
Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams on Monday rejected the state's case against Officer Edward Nero, acquitting him on all counts for his role in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.
The judgment, which followed a five-day bench trial, is the first in the closely-watched case.
Nero, 30, had faced four misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office.
Prosecutors argued that Nero committed an assault by detaining Gray without justification, while the reckless endangerment charge related to Nero's role in putting Gray into an arrest wagon without buckling a seat belt.
In closing arguments Thursday, Williams had skeptically questioned prosecutors about their theory of assault, which legal experts said was unprecedented.
Williams on Monday said there were "no credible facts" to show that Nero was directly involved in Gray's arrest, and said testimony showed Nero's role in putting Gray in the van was minimized by the actions of others and not unreasonable given his training.
It was bullshit from the beginning, Baltimore authorities rushing to placate the mobs that tore up the city in support of the criminal classes, venting their hatred of police as well as their racism, as well as the "riot ideology" of the mob's supporters among the chattering classes.
The state's theory for the assault charge had been described by legal observers as "novel" or even "radical."
When the constitutionality of a police stop is questioned, the typical remedy is for charges to be dropped or evidence suppressed.
Officers can also be sued.
But prosecutors sought to criminalize the interaction, with Deputy Chief State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe remarking that people were "jacked up all the time" and that officers must justify all of their actions.
Williams closely questioned prosecutors on the theory in closing arguments, but made no conclusion on it in finding Nero had no involvement.
The whole article is worth reading, and excellent de-bunking of the trumped up charges and the silly arguments used by the prosecution to support them.
For example, this.
Moreover, warm views of Mr. Sanders increased the liberalism of young Democrats by as much as 1.5 points on the seven-point ideological scale.
For many of them, liberal ideology seems to have been a short-term byproduct of enthusiasm for Mr. Sanders rather than a stable political conviction.
Perhaps for that reason, the generational difference in ideology seems not to have translated into more liberal positions on concrete policy issues — even on the specific issues championed by Mr. Sanders.
For example, young Democrats were less likely than older Democrats to support increased government funding of health care, substantially less likely to favor a higher minimum wage and less likely to support expanding government services.
Their distinctive liberalism is mostly a matter of adopting campaign labels, not policy preferences.
And also their skepticism concerning voter behavior, though they are more than a little cagey about whatever they think is the moral of the tale.
All they really show is that there are other factors involved in determining political loyalties, party identifications, and voting behavior than preferences over competing agendas.
All rather less shocking than the authors seem to think, and if this is supposed to be some sort of de-bunking of democracy I just don't see it.
The notion that elections are decided by voters’ carefully weighing competing candidates’ stands on major issues reflects a strong faith in American political culture that citizens can control their government from the voting booth.
We call it the “folk theory” of democracy.
. . . .
But wishing does not make it so. Decades of social-scientific evidence show that voting behavior is primarily a product of inherited partisan loyalties, social identities and symbolic attachments.
Over time, engaged citizens may construct policy preferences and ideologies that rationalize their choices, but those issues are seldom fundamental.
. . . .
Abraham Lincoln promised Americans “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” a notable departure from the republican system set up by the architects of the Constitution.
In the 150 years since Lincoln, the ideal of government “by the people” has reshaped Americans’ democratic aspirations and their political practices — for example, in the Progressive Era introductions of direct primary elections and referendums and initiatives.
It has also altered the way journalists and analysts see and describe electoral politics.
But that ideal makes sense, descriptively and normatively, only if citizens understand politics in terms of issues and ideologies and use their votes to convey clear policy signals that then determine the course of public policy.
Americans’ commitment to the folk theory of democracy may make them wish that elections worked that way.
But in the case of Bernie Sanders, as so often, belief in the folk theory is an act of faith, not realism.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
A hit job as transparent as a bikini
"Misogyny" may not be quite the word for The Donald's attitude toward women.
And "the woman card" just might not work.
Trump is now ahead of Hillary in most national polls and the RCP averages.
My step-daughter is a professional woman who has advanced degrees, an equally educated and professional husband, and two lovely girls.
She has voted Republican for some decades and now dislikes Trump a lot less than she dislikes Hillary.
She especially admires his total rejection of PC.
She just doesn't seem to be buying the whole "war on women" line.
God knows the men aren't buying it, those who echo it are just faking it, playing along with the demands of interest group, coalition group-think and group-speak.
Trump could actually win, and I continue to think Bernie would not do better than Hillary against him and might actually do worse.
And, frankly, a Bernie nomination would be harmful to the Democratic Party and the country by strengthening the political and cultural clout of the worst elements of the American left.
That would be the Howard Zinn wing of the American left.
Cross your fingers.
America was never great
About two months ago, I wrote a column about the word "again" in Trump's slogan.
I think it's a racist dog whistle. . . .
Of course he does. Or says he does.
What does the word great mean?
What sustained period in the history of this nation, what decade, what era, what generation was truly great for everybody?
The British, Spanish, or French Empires?
The Zulu or Inca or Aztec Emprires?
OK, none of those last three were really great, but it's a mandatory racial courtesy to pretend they were, perhaps similar to the mandatory pretenses that there is such a thing as sex reassignment surgery and that men who dress as women and say they are women are women.
But to return to the point, who has ever thought a necessary condition for national, political, cultural, or civilizational greatness was that life has to be - or things have to be? - great for everybody?
It's just not part of the meaning of these expressions, at all, and no one has ever even pretended it was.
Except, I suppose, for particularly bitter and bitchy anarchists, socialists, reds, and others of history's sore losers.
Such as, now, the professional racial and other certified victims of the grievance industry of the professional and radical left.
What does it mean if the people who say Trump and the Trumpites are racists are the same as the people who say all white people are racists, that America is and has always been dominated by racism, and that that alone justifies and has always justified an angry shout with Reverend Wright, "God damn America"?
Some of history's losers just never get over it.
Even when the loss is way, way in the past.
Especially when there is political, not to mention professional, hay to be made of eternal whinging, eternal blame.
She lived all her life in central Massachusetts.
I moved to Pittsburgh in 1975, my parents moved to Florida a little later, and my brother and his family moved thereafter to North Dakota.
I had not known she was ill, but she was recently diagnosed with stage IV of some form of cancer her son, her only child and my informant, did not know more about.
He and his family live in Florida.
She is survived by a husband with whom she lived all her adult life in Worcester, her son, and two grandchildren as well as two step-brothers and a step-mother.
She and I were not close.
Apart from the usual economic factors, he traces this to the sexual revolution driven by elite rejection of Christian belief and Christian morals.
He is one of those who write online articles about How to Live in Dark Times and about how the death of God in the West has precipitated a steep biological decline.
What he chiefly gets wrong is the relative importance in all this of the parallel declines of Christian belief and coerced observation of Christian morals.
He thinks the chief thing is that belief has fallen off, while I think that the chief things are that belief fell off enough among elites for them to end coerced compliance with clerical demands.
The radical drop in the birth rate is, I think, attributable mostly to that disappearance of coercion.
After all, recall what that change involved.
Almost impossible, if not flatly impossible, divorce has been replaced in most states with much more permissive arrangements.
Social and legal sanctions against pornography, sex outside marriage, adolescent sex, elective single motherhood, and homosexuality have diminished or altogether disappeared, and both abortion and the use of contraception have passed from illegal and seriously punished to lawful and widespread.
The fact is that until the middle of the 20th Century, the law throughout the Occident functioned as the secular arm enforcing the Christian code of sex and marriage with historically varying degrees of rigor – leaving aside, of course, the near absolute impunity granted epidemic clerical pedophilia at all times.
And without all that coercion for which Christianity provided a justificatory and consolatory rationale, it has turned out that neither men nor women are interested in undertaking the burdens involved in having and raising children at even the minimal replacement rate.
It is true, of course, that things might have gone otherwise.
In the West, at any rate, the sexual morality of the Christian churches, though of course based on Biblical divine commands, rested also comfortably on extensive Christian elaboration of strands of morality already native to the pagan Roman world, filtered through Stoicism.
Juvenal’s satires are perhaps the most famous literary examples of wholly pagan though quite fierce moral outrage at divorce, promiscuity, and homosexuality, though not the only examples.
And from the dawn of the Enlightenment through about the middle of the 20th Century elite rejection of Christian faith was by no means universally accompanied by rejection of Christian morals, or of the legal enforcement thereof.
On the contrary, in culture and politics both, liberals who opposed the political coercion of Christian belief nevertheless overwhelmingly and sincerely supported coercion of Christian morals.
That began to change and elites began to support the demands for liberation of people hitherto defined as sexual outlaws about the middle of the 20th Century.
Did that result from the previous rise, among the elites, of Jews and others who had not been educated by Christian clergy, at least not past high school if even that far?
The industrial revolution and the Gilded Age brought vast numbers of people into the political, social, and cultural elites who had not been educated right up through college by the Jesuits, the Franciscans, the Dominicans, or Protestant clergy.
Often they had had barely any formal education, at all.
These were the likes of Ford, Firestone, Edison, J. P. Morgan, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Frick, and so many others, and there was a vast cultural change over the entire Western world that their names represent.
These were people upon whose shoulders sat light as a feather the entire cultural heritage of the Latin West.
They represented and were themselves part of a virtual flood of the uneducated, overwhelming the Occident with new barbarian elites for many of whom spoke Robert Ingersoll and then, a bit later, H. L. Menken.
Does that begin to account for the rise, among the Enlightened and in elite opinion, of receptivity toward a new kind of toleration, not of religious unorthodoxy or diversity but of the sexual kind, pushing back the boundaries of acceptability to accommodate quondam sexual outlaws?
By the time of the GI Bill and the post-Second World War surge in higher education, the educational level of our elites had risen, again.
But much and maybe most of that higher education had been and would increasingly be at public or secular private schools, or at secularized though church-affiliated schools.
Perhaps that is why the post-Christian elites of the second half of the 20th Century were willing and able not only to progressively break the hold on law and custom of Christian belief but also Christian morals, making room in the light for forms of sexuality, sexual practice, and sexual identity heretofore excluded, forced into the shadows, and persecuted.
So by now we have Dreher and all of his ilk attributing the continuing progress of the sexual revolution, with the associated decline in fertility, to the growing power in academia of radical feminism, gender theory, and other sorts of sexual radicalism.
Not only have they missed – or maybe deliberately hidden – the role of coercion in all this, but they have missed entirely that the changes in elite outlook that made the sexual revolution happen occurred decades before the rise of such thought in academia, and resulted not from elite opinion in thrall to then non-existent radical academic opinion but from elite opinion emancipated by lack of education from not only academic opinion but also millennia of Western, Christian cultural and moral tradition.
Or so it seems to me right now.
Acne scaring and arthritis in the hands combine to make nicks a near certainty with anything more aggressive.
All the same, I do have a few unused injectors left for the Schick with which I shaved for so many decades, so I have put that razor back in the rotation, pending exhaustion of the supply, despite its greater exposure to the blade.
So, despite my caution, this morning I did get a small nick – not enough to need a styptic pencil or a bit of TP – on a scar on my cheek.
We’ll see how this goes.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
An individual's choice whether or how to vote makes no difference, at all.
What matters, of course, are the choices of large numbers.
An interesting point is that he uses the insignificance of the individual vote as a premise in an argument against voting for the clearly preferable lesser evil in case the candidates are all evil.
During a panel Q&A, a passenger on the cruise made a strong case for voting Trump.
He ably argued that we know Hillary will be terrible, while we can only suspect Trump will be.
Trump will probably do some things conservatives will like — Supreme Court appointments, etc. — while we know for a fact Hillary will not.
And here’s what I said: I agree.
If the election were a perfect tie, and the vote fell to me and me alone, I’d probably vote for none other than Donald Trump for precisely these reasons.
The questioner declared victory, and many in the audience applauded.
And then I said, “But I will never vote for Donald Trump.”
My vote won’t decide the election.
And I am not bound by hypotheticals like that.
But that raises the question how does somebody qualify as not an evil at all, but a positive good?
Must we refuse to cast our meaningless votes except when it's a choice between saints?
On the other hand, I have been tempted by the idea of sitting this one out, myself.
PS, his push comes to shove hypothetical vote for Il Duce indicates, I think, that for a national security conservative he is seriously undervaluing that Trump as foreign policy leader is much more dangerous than Hillary.
What these people want to do is not end segregation, which is long, long gone.
What they want to do is use the power of government to organize and compel school assignments achieving a degree of homogeneous race mixing (they call it "diversity") in and across American classrooms - all American classrooms - desired by race whiners and addled bureaucrats.
America's schools are still segregated by race and class. That has to end.
The talk about schools dominated by minority students being under-resourced and over-disciplined is a canard, as well, though I believe schools in poorer districts are still less opulently funded than those in districts with a wealthier tax base.
Should that sort of inequality be altogether done away with by whatever means come to hand?
Well, don't do it on my account.
I am not distressed at the mere existence of inequality, per se.
And now Hillary?
Trump and Clinton on guns: two visions of race, justice and policing in the US
[S]he will take on America’s gun lobby from her “very first day” in office.
One of her advisers announced on Friday that she believed a landmark 2008 supreme court decision protecting gun rights had been “wrongly decided”.
“We have just too many guns – on the streets, in our homes, in our neighborhoods,” she said last month.
Does she think that means she gets to ignore it?
And the number of guns is not the problem.
The problem is who has them and the use they make of them.
But not every problem has an acceptable solution.
And this is just wrong, too.
Following a mass shooting at a community college in Oregon last October, which left nine victims and the perpetrator dead, Clinton unveiled an expansive plan aimed at reducing gun violence.
Among its key tenets were universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons, and a push to hold gun dealers and manufacturers accountable for gun violence, including by repealing a 2005 law that bars lawsuits against gun companies when a legally sold gun is later used in a crime.
On the latter, Clinton has clashed with Democratic rival Bernie Sanders, who voted in favor of granting legal protections to gunmakers in 2005.
Clinton, then representing New York in the US Senate, voted against the bill.
Imagine suing Ford because somebody used one of their cars to deliberately run somebody over.
Or to get away after a bank robbery.
A Fox poll shows him getting 10% of the vote, but not enabling a Democratic victory.
Trump still wins in that three way race.
But an even more radical version of Wall Street conservatism would get a lot of publicity, in some measure diminishing any tendency of Trump's candidacy or even a Trump victory to make the GOP less of a radical right tool of counter-revolution against Big Government, entitlements, and a century of progressivism.
At a guess, the folks at Reasonmag and CATO consider this added publicity for the pure strain of their ideological virus a good thing.
Venezuela, where a hamburger is officially $170
The official exchange rate is 10 bolivars to the US dollar.
The real rate - the black market rate - is 1,000 bolivars to the dollar.
That burger at 1,700 bolivars costs $1.70, a much more reasonable price.
Hyperinflation completely wiping out savings is only one of the problems wrecking the country.
Combine it with wage and price controls and you get nullified incomes, empty shelves, and long lines of desperate people waiting for they know not what.
French left-wing intellectuals notwithstanding, this nonsense is the real economic horror.
If the only arrows in the quiver of your blockhead socialism are redistribution, nationalization, land reform, default, and wage/price controls you are in for a rough ride to chaos.
Particularly if you try to finance a hugely magnified welfare state with oil revenues and the global market for oil just collapses.
And you combine all this with a policy of "redistributing" actual businesses from their owners and operators to poor people without the least capacity to operate them competently.
Remember Idi Amin, the Last King of Scotland, kicking the Indians out of Uganda and handing control of the railroads overnight to totally unprepared black Africans?
All this sort of rot lends piquancy to Ayn (pronounced "Ann" by everybody when I was young and she was a living public figure) Rand's characterization of the left as looters.
Venezuela: how the socialist paradise turned into debt and hyperinflation hell
Maduro's only coping mechanism is repeated declaration of states of emergency and further lurches in the direction of dictatorship, no doubt to be followed by socializing surrencheres making an ever greater shambles of things.
Venezuela is now suffering from the effects of a deep recession and hyperinflation as the government prints money to try to plug a gap between revenues and spending that is on course to hit 25pc of gross domestic product (GDP) next year.
The International Monetary Fund has been banned from conducting its annual economic healthcheck of the country since 2004, but believes growth won’t get back to positive territory until the next decade, while inflation is on course to hit 4,505pc in 2021.
A recent study by the Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice ranked Caracas as the world’s most violent city.
Venezuela is also one of the most unfriendly places to do business, ranking 186th out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business index.
Only Libya, Eritrea and South Sudan are further down the list.
. . . .
The Venezuelan government is now desperately trying to reduce its imports in order to close the massive black hole that has opened up in the country’s public finances.
Its efforts have surprised everyone.
“We’ve had a 40pc year-on-year contraction in the first three months of this year, which takes the first quarter back to the same level of imports we had in 2004,” says Alejandro Arreaza, an economist at Barclays.
“If we keep on going at this pace, that would represent a contraction of almost £20bn compared to Venezuela’s imports last year.
These are very aggressive cuts.”
The social costs of such a move have been laid bare for all to see. Hospitals and pharmacies are desperately short of even basic medicines.
“People in Venezuela now say they can’t afford to get ill because when you turn up at the hospital there is nothing,” says Moya-Ocampos.
. . . .
Maduro’s grip on power is weakening.
Around 1.85 million Venezuelans have signed a petition to recall the president.
While this is far above the 200,000 signatures needed to kick-start the process, it has been complicated by the government’s control of the national electoral council.
Even if the names are verified, the opposition must gather more than four million signatures in a second round to secure a recall referendum.
This must be completed before January 10 next year to remove Maduro from office and trigger fresh elections.
Any later, and the constitution states that vice-president Aristóbulo Isturiz will serve out the remaining two years of Maduro’s term.
Isturiz has been a loyal sergeant, claiming that Venezuelans have “acted too late” to meet the January deadline.
“You don’t like Maduro? Deal with it,” he said last week.
During the debates he claimed to be the only candidate on the stage to oppose the Iraq invasion, and that he did so volubly and vigorously.
In fact he rather tepidly supported the invasion.
During the campaign he denounced the overthrow of Qaddafi as a stupidity.
At the time he urged America to put an end to the Libyan dictator's cruelties.
By the way, "Trumperies" is a pun based on Il Duce's name and the French for "deception."
Thursday, May 19, 2016
The primary season isn't even over and I'm already sick of it, all of it, up to and through the generals in November.
Even money Il Duce will be the victor over a Clinton weakened by the Sanders campaign's alienation from her of millions who should be her supporters in November.
20% chance she'll be indicted, most likely after she is nominated.
30% chance or less Bernie will be nominated.
Most people - especially conservative pundits whose cause stands to lose by it - think if Trump wins in November that will cause a lasting change in the defining agenda of the Republican Party, against free trade, against immigration, against NATO expansion, for American nationalism, against the racial, feminist, and LGBT agendas of the left, and against abortion but maybe also for, or anyway much less against, working people, the New Deal, and Big Government.
On the other hand, the people who think they would gain by it, the folks who support the Sanders campaign, are the ones who write about a Sanders presidency changing the agenda of the Democratic Party.
Both groups are probably wrong, since neither of the two outsiders has much if any influence on the selection or ideology of down-ticket candidates or of the personnel who make up the respective party officialdoms, either nationally or at the state and local levels, and none at all on donors or publicists who typically support the two parties.
Even if one or another of the two actually ends up in the White House, he will get at best reluctant support from his own party and "supporters" in the country at large who don't actually support him at all, but only deplore the other fellow even more than the winner.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Bernie won in the cities while Hillary won in the T.
Meanwhile, Trump won in every county.
The steel industry was crushed by foreign trade in the days of Carter and Reagan, and the ghost towns line the valleys of the Ohio, the Monongahela, and the Allegheny Rivers.
Why Pennsylvania Could Decide The 2016 Election
At first they.disrupted Trump rallies, but increasingly they have disrupted Hillary rallies and other Democratic events at which they don't get their way.
They lawlessly denounce normal and peaceful processes as a rigged game controlled by the corrupt establishment and demand things go their way.
Rachel Maddow, nobody's idea of a conservative Democrat, featured video and was visibly not at all happy with the Sanders people.
Sanders' own behavior in this matter has been disgraceful, as related in the following.
Beware author Chez Pazienza's comments on Bernie's alleged egotism, however.
Sanders mob disrupts Nevada convention, Sanders refuses to condemn their behavior
For a while now, there have been those saying that Sanders shouldn't be blamed for the behavior of the delusional "Bernie or Bust" crowd: the shrieking, frothing goon squad that descends both digitally and, more recently, in the flesh whenever anyone shows support for Hillary Clinton or simply isn't adequately "feeling the Bern."
You know who I'm talking about: the tantrum-prone Veruca Salts, oblivious to how politics actually work, who traffic mostly in wrong-headed memes and meaningless buzzwords; the furious dead-enders who over the weekend turned the Nevada State Democratic Convention into a madhouse because they weren't able to bend the rules in favor of their guy; the simultaneously shameless and shameful fanatics who then responded to not getting what they wanted in Nevada by inundating the state's Democratic chairwoman, Roberta Lange, with voicemails calling her a "cunt" and threatening her life.
Yeah -- those pricks.
Maybe there really was a time when Sanders couldn't be held accountable for the actions of these people, who now bear more than a passing resemblance to Donald Trump's dangerously overzealous following.
Those days are gone, though. The beginning of the end was marked by Sanders's refusal to immediately denounce surrogates that were trafficking in conspiracy theory and character assassination.
From there, it moved to Sanders sanctioning a protest in East L.A. where his supporters shouted obscenities at men, women and children who'd come to a Clinton event, forcing them to run a gauntlet of verbal abuse.
Now today there's this: Bernie Sanders's offensively haughty and indifferent response on Tuesday to his followers' unhinged, even violent extended outburst at the Nevada Democratic Convention and his laughably tepid "condemnation" of the misogynistic intimidation tactics that have followed.
All of it over a decision by Nevada's Democratic party that cost Bernie Sanders just four delegates, a thoroughly meaningless number when he still would've been behind Clinton by 278 delegates.
At first, Sanders wasn't even willing to talk about Nevada.
When he was asked about it by an NBC News correspondent early on Tuesday, Sanders abruptly ended the interview, saying, "Okay, I think we’re going to leave that there,” and walking away as the correspondent continued to try to get an answer from him.
Later in the day came the official statement, and boy was it a doozy -- a veritable masterclass in responsibility-dodging and defiant blame-shifting.
"It is imperative that the Democratic leadership, both nationally and in the states, understand that the political world is changing and that millions of Americans are outraged at establishment politics and establishment economics," it begins, right off the bat putting the onus on the Democratic party to tolerate Sanders's disciples' inchoate rage rather than calling upon the disciples themselves to behave like adults.
From there, Sanders traffics in either ignorance or a willful denial of reality.
“Within the last few days there have been a number of criticisms made against my campaign organization. Party leaders in Nevada, for example, claim that the Sanders campaign has a ‘penchant for violence,'" the statement reads.
"That is nonsense."
Given what we saw on Saturday, with chairs being thrown and at least one person knocked to the ground, this claim is nonsense.
It's offensive in its blindness to fact.
The statement follows that up by doing two things that are just ridiculous:
One, it tries to turn the tables and allege equal victimization by claiming that months ago a Sanders campaign office in Nevada was shot at and an apartment used by Sanders's staff was broken into.
Two, it feeds, not refutes or at least mitigates, the conspiracy theories Sanders's supporters in Nevada used to justify the chaos they created on Saturday.
The Sanders campaign is now actively sowing discord by dealing in bullshit it knows its rabid fan base will latch onto with both hands.
The same author has documented the attitudes of Bernie's campaign officials and surrogates towards not only Hillary but the Democratic Party.
Describing them as rabid radicals is kind.
And it comes from the top, according to Josh Marshall, who plentifully documents Bernie's personal responsibility for and participation in the ugly rhetoric and vicious, anti-Hillary and anti-Democratic attitude of his campaign and supporters and their total lack of respect for her, the party, and the republican processes in which they play so integral a role.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
In Book 11, Chapter 1, Fielding attacks critics as slanderers of books.
The charge, odious in any event, would be more so if he did not understand the word as signifying one who seeks out someone's flaws in order to make them known to his harm.
Reading Tom Jones.
By the way, have you tried the Troeg Brothers' Java Head Stout?
Monday, May 16, 2016
A good reminder.
What would have happened to Spain if the reds had won?
To this day, the propaganda of the left controls memory of the Spanish Civil War and the conventional view on who were the good guys and who the bad guys.
Much as the left controls memory of the long civil war in China.
In both cases the propaganda concentrates overwhelmingly on the wickedness of the white (as opposed to red) forces.
Much as the left wing propaganda against the Vietnam War concentrated on the wickedness of government of the South, and of the conduct of the war by the South and the US.
The left had done the same in France against the war in Indochina and the later war in Algeria.
But in the case of Spain the left at the time and to this day hid reality by characterizing its side as "the Republican side."
Of course, the Republic was no better than a red controlled zombie from very shortly after the Nationalist uprising began.
Any law criminalizing discrimination is an invitation to endless improvisation by bureaucrats and courts, and that's why the Social Justice Warriors want them.
And the ERA, too.
Conservatives are freaking out at the cultural left takeover of education, driven from below by SJW students and from above by federal and even state bureaucracies, with faculty collaborators everywhere.
It's hard to figure the Democrats' position on the sexual absurdities of the radical gender fakers.
There really can't be that many votes in all this.
College Kangaroo Courts Are Unconstitutional Disgraces
And how is this change really within the scope of presidential authority?
Or indeed of any federal authority?
New Transgender Rules for Schools Are about Obama’s Culture War
Frederick M. Hess
Obama’s Dictatorial Transgender Proclamation
From 1970s-Era Academic ‘High Theory’ to Transgender Bathrooms on Campus
Heather Mac Donald
The Transgender Straw Broke the Camel’s Back: It’s Time to Declare Independence from Public Schools
The Department of Justice and the Department of Education have declared that they now “interpret” federal law to not only support the fantastical notion that boys can become girls but also to impose new legal requirements that impact every aspect of school life.
The administration’s letter sweeps far beyond bathrooms — imposing a new speech code on school employees and even students, opening girls’ showers to boys, requiring schools to allow boys to sleep in girls’ rooms on overnight field trips, requiring boys to room with girls even in single-sex dorms, and putting boys on girls’ sports teams.
Moreover, schools are prohibited from making any inquiry to ensure that the boys using girls’ facilities are, in fact, transgender.
They can’t ask for medical documentation.
They can’t ask for treatment information.
They can’t ask for identification.
They have to take the boy at his word.
And yet the administration’s letter isn’t significant just for what it says — it’s significant for what it means.
The federal government can and will use extralegal means to override local control, the rule of law, and even the Constitution itself when social justice demands it.
. . . .
The progressive thumb is always on the scales, often nudging and sometimes shoving instruction in a comprehensively leftward direction: Islam is wonderful and peaceful.
American history is a story of unrelenting repression and intolerance.
Academic standards and in-school discipline matter less than social and racial justice.
Orthodox Christians are bigots.
. . . .
States should consider rejecting federal education funding entirely (Texas is considering doing just that).
At the very least, charter schools should be completely disentangled — and not just from public employees’ unions but also from federal funds (in order to insulate them from federal influence); voucher systems should be dramatically expanded — giving every family the option to spend their share of tax dollars at the school of their choice; and private institutions and philanthropists should step up to provide needed funding.