Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Colonel Baron Pontmercy

A hero of the wars of the Revolution and of Napoleon, who made him a colonel, a Baron, and an officer of the Legion of Honor during the Hundred Days.

Louis XVIII recognized none of that, nothing that was done during the Hundred Days, as valid.

He is the father of Marius, pushed aside by his father in law, M. Gillenormand, a rich old royalist bourgeois who seized his grandson at his birth, fatal to his daughter.

We have heard of this Pontmercy before.

Wounded and lying on the quiet field at Waterloo, he was robbed by then Sergeant Thenardier, who emptied his pockets and took the cross of the Legion of Honor from his neck.

But he had succored the man, who would remember him for saving his life.

Marius sees his dead father, and it means nothing to him.

He has never seen him before. 

He has a note from the dead man telling him to be of service to Thenardier.

Who does not foresee that will cause trouble?

Les Miserables.

Acts

At 16:37 Paul claims that he and Silas are Roman citizens.

First we've heard of it.

In 17:16-34, Paul preaches in Athens, talking about the God who created everything and controls history, speaking of him to the Greeks from a world historical perspective and, as it were, about God's own world historical perspective.

30 God overlooked people's ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.

31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.

A pause for reflection

There is no God, and there are neither gods, nor demons, nor angels, nor Satan, nor the Devil, nor miracles, nor resurrections.

There were no eye witnesses to any such things.

Much of what is related in the gospels and Acts simply did not happen.

Who told all the lies?

Was there a Jesus?

Were there disciples?

Was there a community of Jews who were followers of Jesus?

It is people who believe these documents are true who believe and have believed there was a Jesus and an early Christian community as the NT says, with a history much as it says.

And there could be some truth at the core of them, as it seems there actually was, or probably was, a Trojan War.

But that suggestion is not very helpful.

And there is no assurance that these documents are true or mostly true, or true on the whole, as it were, except for the supernatural stuff.

Who thinks that if you just take the supernatural stuff out of The Iliad the rest is true?

Not quite the same, sure.

But how far should we accept on the authority of the Christian tradition that at least Paul, the authors of other letters, the apostles/disciples, Jesus, and the major characters of the gospels were real people?


Monday, August 29, 2016

Blather

After 20 odd pages of blather about Paris and gamins, the story resumes "8 or 9 years later."

Les Miserables.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Acts 15

It is decided at Jerusalem that Gentile converts don't need to be circumcised or follow the whole law of Moses.

Peter and Paul and the apostles agree and lay it down in a letter that it is enough for Gentile believers to abstain from food offered to idols, from meat of strangled animals, and from "sexual immorality," presumably as commonly understood by Jewish Christians of that time (15:28,29).

All three are requirements of Jewish law.

I am not aware Jesus ever said a word to revise the Jewish understanding of sexual morality, except to make it stricter.

Nothing in the gospels shows any other sort of revision.

The point is repeated that salvation did and does not come from the law of Moses or observance thereof.

Oh, boo hoo

Democrats point to horrific shootings all the time to make their political points, not just to white on white crackpot massacres but also to black on black drive-buys and the like.

Trump does the same and he is skinned for it.

Trump Comment on Shooting Death of NBA Star’s Cousin Draws Outrage

The left leaning media really are seriously biased and one might even say full of shit.

Not a surprise

Nigel Farage supports Trump at a rally

Farage Trump

Well, no, he didn't quite say that

Pretty close, though.

Maine governor Paul LePage says people of color are the enemy

No, using a wholly inappropriate, even rather shocking, military metaphor for drug couriers and runners from Southern Connecticut and New York City, he said the enemy is mostly people of color and Hispanic, which could well be right.

Not the same thing at all, as the politically motivated spinmeisters of The Guardian are well aware.

And, anyway, this story denouncing his words does not say he was wrong on the fact.

It reports somebody else as good as saying it, but they don't say it.

Addressing the state’s Republican house minority leader, Ken Fredette, a military lawyer, he said: 

“Don’t you? Ken, you’ve been in uniform. You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy and the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in, are people of colour or people of Hispanic origin.”

Their point is that the man is a blatant racist and that does seem to be right, though.

This surely sounds the note of racial contempt.

LePage has made other controversial comments about race. 

In January, he claimed his state’s drug problems were due to “guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” who traveled to Maine and “half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave”.

LePage subsequently said he had meant to say “Maine women” rather than “white women”.

And the guy is certainly out there, a sort of significantly angrier Trump.

But this is untrue and probably just a lie, I think.

At best an invidious stretch.

In a statement, Alison Beyea, executive director of the Maine ACLU, cited LePage’s assertion that Maine police were nine times more likely to arrest people of color for selling drugs than white people, and said: “We know white people are just as likely to commit drug offenses.”

Beyea added: “This alarming disparity in arrests raises significant concerns that Maine law enforcement is participating in unconstitutional racial profiling … We look forward to examining the governor’s records so we can get to the bottom of this and hold our elected officials accountable to the constitution and the rule of law.”

Maybe more delusional than Jill Stein

Libertarian Gary Johnson: crazy election cycle means 'I might be next president'

Things would have to get a lot stranger.

Acts 13

New Living Translation.

Peter has escaped prison and Herod is food for worms.

At the command of the Holy Spirit, Saul and Barnabas take ship from Antioch for Cyprus, their first adventure as designated missionaries (v. 1-5).

They are preaching in the synagogues (v. 5).

We are told Saul is also known as Paul (v. 9a).

Hereafter in Acts, he is Paul, and Acts will be increasingly his story. 

New believers are said to believe in the Lord, in an apparent reference to Jesus Christ.

The gospels are described as the teaching about the Lord (v. 12b) miracles are now done in the Lord's name or done by the Lord (v. 11).

Titles more common in the gospels - Christ, Messiah, Son of Man, Son of God - are less frequent here.

In Antioch of Pisidia (in Anatolia), Paul preaches in a synagogue, beginning (v. 16b)

"Men of Israel, and you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me."

He summarizes the sacred history of Israel (v. 17-37), beginning

v. 17 "The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors and made them multiply and grow strong during their stay in Egypt."

continuing with the promise of a Savior of Israel (v. 23) and announcing he has come in Jesus (v.23), of whose teaching, trial, death, and resurrection he quickly tells.

And ending,
v. 38 "Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins.

39: "Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God - something the law of Moses could never do."

Shortly thereafter (v. 46-52), still at Antioch, some Jews reject Paul's inclusion of the Gentiles.

Paul and Barnabas reply,

46 "It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles.

47 "For the Lord gave us this command when he said 'I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth (Isa 49:6).'"

Paul does not quote Jesus or refer to incidents in his teaching life to justify offering the message to Gentiles.

48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers.

49 So the Lord's message spread throughout that region.

50 Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town.

It is already "you Jews" and "the Jews."

Not "we Jews."

The conflict will continue throughout Acts as Paul continues everywhere to preach in synagogues, with Jews repeatedly rejecting his message, physically attacking Paul and others, and trying to kill him.

Part 3, Marius

Hugo, the old perv, introduces a favorite, the Paris gamin.

Homeless children of the streets, ages 7 through 12, who have doubtless been in all ages exactly what street kids are generally represented to be on contemporary TV.

See The Killing or Major Crimes.

But in Hugo's fictional world they are good-hearted and innocent.

Tom Sawyers and Huck Finns.

Uh huh.

In chapter after chapter, this radic-lib Mau Mauing the Flak Catchers sounds to me like one of those who cheer when the bakery workers spit in the dough, or the restaurant workers piss in the dishwasher. 

Les Miserables.

Acts

New Living Translation.

Saul, a big persecutor of believers in Jesus, is converted by a miracle on the road to Damascus.

Afterwards, he goes about converting people with arguments that had not converted him.

Peter, meanwhile, is on walkabout, performing miracle cures and casting out demons.

In Joppa, he even resurrects Tabitha (Dorcas).

The believers make many converts.

Jesus in his ministry had done a miracle for a centurion.

Now the believers include additional Roman soldiers.

In chapters 10 and 11, God through miracles shows Peter that salvation through faith is available even to Gentiles, and he convinces the others.

11:26b It was at Antioch [of Syria - PV] that the believers were first called Christians.

Actually, the message of at least one of the miracles appears to be that it is unnecessary any longer to keep kosher.

All the same, this is still the Jewish God.

In chapter 12, Herod Agrippa imprisons Peter, but an angel helps him escape.

Later Herod makes a speech.

12:22 The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, "It's the voice of a god, not of a man!"

23 Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people's worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died.

You wonder how many soldiers married locals or went native.

Common enough in our time, young men of the right age, very far from home.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Yup. Crooked, lying Hillary.

'Saving Lives' Or 'Selling Access'? Explaining The Clinton Foundation

Did they sell access?

Hillary Clinton’s honest and trustworthy problem, in one facial expression

Mika Brzezinski is a Democrat. 

She said on Friday's episode of "Morning Joe" that she can't "pretend" to cover Donald Trump objectively at this point, and added her opinion that Hillary Clinton's Trump-bashing speech a day earlier was "incredible."

But even Brzezinski couldn't believe the words coming out of Clinton's mouth when she and co-host Joe Scarborough interviewed the Democratic presidential nominee on MSNBC Friday morning.

. . . .

Brzezinski's face says, "Really? Really? You actually expect me to believe that you wouldn't accuse an opponent of having a conflict of interest?"

Clinton's insistence that she would, on the contrary, "appreciate" her opponent's charitable work just doesn't ring true, even to a sympathetic ear such as Brzezinski's. 

This is politics. 

Recently published emails showing Clinton Foundation donors received access to Clinton's State Department are an obvious vulnerability in an election. 

She wouldn't exploit it, if the tables were turned? 

Come on.

Emboldened by Brexit and Trump

Close all mosques & ban the Koran: Poll-topping Geert Wilders launches ‘de-Islamization’ manifesto

His party is in the lead for coming elections.

He also promises a plebiscite on exit from the EU.

Geert Wilders calls for all mosques to be shut and the Koran banned in Holland - as German right wants undocumented migrants sent to camps

The European anti-EU, anti-immigration, ethno-nationalist right, encouraged by Trump's rise in America, is taking the gloves off and getting closer to openly being the sorts of people their critics have said they were, all along.

These are the sorts of people who cheer and are cheered by Trumpists.

Geert Wilders: Close All Mosques In The Netherlands

Close all mosques? 

Ban the Koran?

During the worst of the Cold War in America, nobody banned books. 

All my life, publishers could print whatever they wanted and I could read whatever I wanted, and I bought at a local newsroom (town of 7,000) and read Marxist and other socialist literature, some of it printed in Moscow. 

What the hell?

To hell with this gutless, eurotrash shit.

Breitbart reports, 

Earlier this year writing exclusively for Breitbart London, Wilders called for a “Patriot Spring” across Europe and North America. 

As Austrian Freedom Party presidential candidate Norbert Hofer leads in polls ahead of the October 2nd Austrian Presidential election, the German Alternative for Germany have become the 3rd largest party in Germany and Wilders PVV  are projected to win at least ten seats more than the current ruling party, the patriot spring may have begun.

The Reno speech

Most of the particular charges to do with racism against Trump in her speech were smears, and given all we know there is more reason to suspect Obama of personal racism than Trump.

Remember Wright, Farrakhan, and Sharpton?

But the reality is that Trump, the white nationalists who support him, and the anti-immigrationists who now dominate the Republican Party stand not for racial fairness, reconciliation, and acceptance for all, but for refusal of the diversity of America and even the world.

"Stronger together" is the only path to a viable future.

"Raise high the Confederate battle flag," "Celebrate Nathan Bedford Forrest," "Build a mighty wall," and "amass a deportation force to cleanse America of 11 million Hispanic men, women, and children, young and old, even infants" is an absurd refusal of reality.

Even if he back pedals, abandoning the wall, mass deportation, or both, after making them his defining issues for so long it's too late to undo what has been done.

Before our eyes and over the course of this campaign, the Republican Party has become the vehicle of a political movement committed at its core to shameful goals and shameful ideals.

Heretofore, it was committed only to relentless class war against the poor, the environment, workers, and consumers.

I am one of those white folks who voted for O twice, and would again.

We are betting on inclusion.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Diplomacy

Fine film on Netflix.

While watching I thought of how Hitler and the Nazis behaved in a more or less civilized fashion toward the French, and how the German Fuhrer admired the British and their empire.

And what Hitler planned for the East, and would have done had he defeated Stalin. 

Success

After frightful maneuvers to leave secretly and reenter acceptably, Valjean is allowed a place working in the convent garden by the prioress, under the name Ultimus Fauchelevent.

Cosette, as his granddaughter, is allowed as a pupil.

The actual Fauchelevent wins regard as high in Catholic circles as the pope, but is as unaware as an ox that he has won a blue ribbon.

Les Miserables.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Baltimore eye in the sky

Baltimore Police Respond To Report Of Secret Aerial Surveillance Program

The program is “not an unmanned drone or a secret surveillance program,” Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith began the Wednesday press conference by saying.

“This is a 21st century investigative tool used to assist investigators in solving crimes. 

The wide area imagery system allows for the capability of seeing 32 square miles. 

This, effectively, is a mobile CitiWatch camera. 

What we gain with this is size, so we see a larger area than we would see with a CitiWatch camera, but what we lose is the clarity that we get from a CitiWatch camera, which is on the ground.”

He credited the program with helping solve a crime involving a pair of elderly siblings being shot in Walbrook Junction in February.

The CitiWatch program is a voluntary registry that contains the location and owner information of privately owned surveillance systems—information that is valuable to the Baltimore Police Department in the event of a crime. 

There are 700 such cameras throughout the city.

Rachel Maddow hearts NATO

Rachel Maddow swoons over what Joe Biden did to save the world from Donald Trump

Interesting.

The further left, most of the Bernie left, was far from hot for NATO expansion, at the time, and is not far from Trump and the paleocons on the matter.

Not that far left, eh Rachel?

"Cleanup on aisle five."

Iranians acting like North Koreans

Axis of Evil.

US fires warning shots at Iranian vessel after close encounter

A US Navy patrol craft fired three warning shots at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat Wednesday after US officials said it had harassed that patrol craft, CNN has learned.

Another US patrol craft and a Kuwaiti Navy ship were also harassed in the incident, which took place in the northern end of the Persian Gulf.

At one point, the Iranian boat came within 200 yards of one of the US Navy boats. 

When it failed to leave the area after the Navy had fired flares and had a radio conversation with the Iranian crew, the US officials said, the USS Squall fired three warning shots. 

Following standard maritime procedures, the Navy fired the three shots into the water to ensure the Iranians understood they needed to leave the immediate area.

Americans don't agree with anti-immigrant forces

This is news just as bad for Cruz and the entire white nationalist wing of the GOP as it is for The Duce.

Poll finds rejection of many of Trump’s views on immigration

Overwhelming rejection of the wall, of negative stereotypes, and of mass deportation.

Trump supporters, of course, are on the wrong side of all of this.

In case you weren't sure of her priorities

Coulter: Trump's 'softening' on immigration remark a panic move

Coulter, a hardline opponent of illegal immigration and one of Trump's most prominent media backers, was speaking to The Hill at a party to launch her new book, "In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!"

In the book, Coulter writes that "there's nothing Trump can do that won't be forgiven. 

Except change his immigration policies."

That remark would make little sense if her position had to do with the adverse economic impact on American workers of excess low-wage immigration, since obviously Trump could do things to jeopardize American workers even more than low-wage immigration would.

And, anyway, the question is largely theoretical since there is little low-wage immigration going on right now, and the actual controversy is about the fate of the illegals already here, many here long since and long since employed.

And Trump's fiscal, industrial, and anti-regulatory agenda as a whole could be suspected of disfavoring citizen workers far more than allowing many of the 11 million illegals already here to stay.

It could even be argued that any serious effort at such a vast program of ethnic cleansing would involve enormous and prohibitive costs that would fall very heavily on America's 99%.

As for Muslim immigration, though I agree with halting it and severely restricting, if not ending, Muslim temporary visits on student or other visas, those are security measures of less than crucial significance.

Broadly speaking, American Muslims play well with others, all told, compared to Muslims in less fortunate lands.

And I think her chief concern and that of much of the anti-immigration vote is the large population of illegal Latinos in the US.

More evidence, if more were needed, that for her the immigration issue is really not much but a eurowhite nationalist issue, and bait for foolish working class white voters a little too nervous for their own good.

But now that Trump is toying with doing just that, Coulter is placed in the awkward position of having to defend a man who is no longer drawing such a hard line on immigration as he once did.

Trump and his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, have signaled that his promised mass deportation force — which Trump said in the primary would be used to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants — may be a thing of the past.

And on Tuesday night, in a televised town-hall event, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity, "There certainly can be a softening, because we're not looking to hurt people."

What is this peace deal?

Victory or surrender?

For whom?

Farc peace deal: rebels and Colombian government sign accord to end war

Colombia faces Brexit-style ‘great dilemma’ in vote to end war with Farc

Too sweet for the FARC, too risky for the government, I think.

"Our Revolution" in trouble


Almost everything they are for I oppose.

Almost everything they oppose I am for.

Strangely absent from their concerns, as listed in this story, is the issue of international trade.

Ah, well.

Fair trade is just free trade made even more profitable for the foreign producers who get our jobs, anyway.

Bernie and the left have always been faux opponents of free trade.

True, they seem to aim at better for retirees, but I doubt that can be trusted.

Far too many of the sorts of young and radical leftists who support Bernie make no effort to hide their anger at and scorn for old white folks.

And the agenda as a whole is too ambitious, largely wrong-headed, and puts at risk what we already have.

Boring, boring, boring

Stay at home, do very little surgical recovery.

Fattening, too.

I feel like I am missing a big piece of summer, lurking in an air conditioned lockup.

Good reading occasion, though.

Burkini

Only in France would politicians declaim against the profound immorality of feminine modesty at the beach.

Sarkozy calls burkinis a 'provocation' that supports radical Islam

And, anyway, skin cancer is a real threat, and sun blocks are less helpful than used to be thought.

Imposture

Fauchlevent attempts to deceive the Mother Superior of the convent, passing off Valjean and Cosette as his brother and brother's granddaughter.

He seeks a place for Valjean on the convent staff and for Cosette in the convent school.

Les Miserables.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hugo against monasticism

Page after page of shameless bombast.

What astonishing self-importance and pompous vanity.

A Maoist of liberalism.

This time, it is about 80 pages of waste material before the story recommences.

I once read a description of the man as "a lunatic who thinks he's Victor Hugo."

Perfect.

Reading Les Miserables.

All the same.

Acts

NRSV.

Generally regarded as a continuation of Luke.

Acts 2:14-47, Peter's sermon at Pentecost begins with an explanation to his Jewish audience of the disciples' speaking in tongues, that they are not drunk.

At verse 16 he says,

"No [they are not drunk - PV], this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 

17 'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young me shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.'"

So we are already in the last days, according to Peter.

2:44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 

45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Peter will go on to perform healing miracles, like Jesus', in Jesus' name.

Arrested and hauled before the high priest and others, Peter goes on the offensive.

4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders,

9 if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed,

10 let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.

11 This Jesus is 'the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.'

12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved."

And again.

4:32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.

A holdout, Ananias, rebuked by Peter, falls down dead. Not knowing this, the wife lies about the money to Peter, who rebukes her, and she falls down dead. Great fear seized the whole church (5:1- 11).

A salutary lesson.

The Kingdom

A little too ethereal to fit well with what has been said of the kingdom of God elsewhere.

This Kingdom, capitalized (but not in the NIV, the NAB, or the NRSV), sounds oddly, harmlessly unearthly.

John 18:36 "Jesus answered, "My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.

37 Pilate said, "So you are a king?" Jesus responded, "You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true."

Ask me anything

John 14:12-14.

12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.

13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!"

Or ask the Father.

Speaking of what is to come after the Resurrection, Jesus says,

16:23 "At that time you won't need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name.

24 You haven't done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy."

Bugging the Pharisees

Jesus cast out devils, performed healing miracles on the Sabbath and otherwise repeatedly waived Sabbath law, and claimed authority to forgive sins.

Very annoying.

But not the main thing or the heart of the reason Jewish authorities, according to John, wanted to kill him.

According to John 9:22, anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah was to be expelled from the Synagogue.

Jesus (John 10:22-38) claims to be not only the Messiah but the unique Son of God.

He says (John 10:30) "The Father and I are one," for which the people pick up stones to kill him for blasphemy, (10:33b) "You, a mere man, claim to be God."

Besides, at John 11:48, in the high council, the leading priests and Pharisees say, 

"If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation."

To which the high priest, Caiaphas, said (11:50) "it's better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed."

Pilate is reluctant to punish Jesus, but

19:7 The Jewish leaders replied, "By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God."

John

New Living Translation, Quiet Strength New Testament, Tyndale.

In the prologue, Jesus is the eternal word become human, come into the world as the Son of God.

A little bolder than the synoptic vision.

7:53-8:11

The woman taken in adultery.

She is supposed to be stoned to death by Jewish law.

Most ancient sources do not have this passage.

Why does Jesus do this?

In this as in the other gospels, Jesus preaches the necessity of faith for remission of sins.

But for those who have faith, their sins are forgiven and punishment is waived.

Examples abound in the gospels.

8:24b Unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be you will die in your sins.

Did you see that I AM?

You don't find claims of quite that nature in the synoptics.

8:58 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM."

John maintains more than once that Jesus is without sin.

8:46, 9:24,25, for example.

On the other hand

In the light of history, reason, and truth, monastic life stands condemned.

Hugo is editorializing for pages on end, again, the occasion being Valjean hiding in Petit-Picpus.

This liberal is far from accepting free exercise.

His propaganda is in some places actually obscene.

Les Miserables.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Obama's Justice Department's perverse reading of the law rejected

Federal judge, siding with Texas, blocks Obama's rules on bathrooms for transgender students

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor of Fort Worth, in issuing a nationwide preliminary injunction, said that federal officials didn't follow proper procedures in creating the directives.

He said the guidelines contradicted existing statutes and regulatory texts.

And he appeared to agree with Texas' assertion that the guidelines "hold a gun to the head" of local school districts.

"The information before the court demonstrates defendants have 'drawn a line in the sand' in that they have concluded plaintiffs must abide by the guidelines, without exception, or they are in breach of their ... obligations," he wrote in a 38-page order.

The decision is a blow for the Obama administration, which had said that schools should allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Federal officials had defended their interpretation that the word "sex" in anti-discrimination statutes also covers "gender identity."

. . . .

Attorneys representing Texas, however, said the guidelines would force school districts "to mix the sexes in intimate areas."

They said the federal policies "obliterate" past rules, putting Texas and other states at risk of losing millions of dollars in education funding.

Speaking truth to power

Johns Hopkins shrinks warn against kids going transgender

A major new study of sexuality and gender by two of the top experts in the field at Johns Hopkins University finds there’s little scientific evidence for the “born that way” theory, nor is gender identity “an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex.”

But the authors, Lawrence S. Mayer and Paul McHugh, expressed alarm at the developing trend in the United States of parents declaring their child to be transgendered and subjecting the child to hormone treatments, behavioral adjustments and even surgery.

. . . .

Children who express any identification of the opposite gender almost always leave those expressions behind as they grow, the scholars argue.

“Despite the scientific uncertainty, drastic interventions are prescribed and delivered to patients identifying, or identified, as transgender. This is especially troubling when the patients receiving these interventions are children,” the authors wrote in the study, “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” published in The New Atlantis.

“We read popular reports about plans for medical and surgical interventions for many prepubescent children, some as young as six, and other therapeutic approaches undertaken for children as young as two.

“We suggest that no one can determine the gender identity of a two-year-old. We have reservations about how well scientists understand what it even means for a child to have developed sense of his or her gender, but notwithstanding that issue, we are deeply alarmed that these therapies, treatments, and surgeries seem disproportionate to the severity of the distress being experienced by these young people, and are at any rate premature since the majority of children who identify as the gender opposite their biological sex will not continue to do so as adults."

Like Nazis experimenting on Jewish kids.

Christian sexual ethics purged of homophobia

Accept gay marriage and you can deplore extramarital sex without homophobia.

Or maybe you could just dial it back to joyful praise of enduring love, family bonds, and committed relationships, and that would work.

Though maybe not without being accused of homophobia by gays not interested in gay marriage, or not shy about claiming promiscuity is crucial to gay identity and demanding acceptance of that very thing.

We have been warned

About the gay commitment to forcing homosexuality off the sin list.

A complete impossibility for sincere, believing Christians.

The race smear will only get worse

Donald Trump’s naming of a new campaign chief linked to a fiercely outspoken far-right movement is a dangerous step, Hillary Clinton is set to warn in a speech

Looks like a bum rap.

Why talk about issues?

Democrats accuse Trump and his allies of racism, while Republicans want to talk about Hillary's emails and the Clinton Foundation.

The attacks would be substantially the same no matter who the GOP candidate, but for any other candidate the GOP would have fought back, denying the charge and counter-charging, from the beginning.

But the GOP really wanted no part of Trump, from the beginning, and so far from defending him they have from time to time even legitimated the attacks, sometimes adding their own.

Remember, in today's American political climate, there is no forgivable manner of asserting pride in the white race or its history, or of embracing white identity.

That is to say, there is no forgivable way for white people to reject race shaming.

But not everybody is happy with that.

Update.

Here is Janell Ross, young black woman, explaining at WAPO today that the GOP has been making shameful racial appeals to whites for sixty years.

So if you are white and voted Republican at any time these last six decades, well, we've got your number.

But the reality is, white voters -- particularly white, college-educated Republicans -- have also voted habitually, for Republican presidential candidates who have made white protectionism, racial fear mongering and scapegoating features of their campaigns for most of the last 60 years. 

Most have simply done it more artistically than Trump. 

Now Trump is trying to mimic that which has worked.

Nonwhites support politics and policies that advance equality for all, she explains.

Whites not so much.

Black voters include a collection of people who, when locked out of the political system, have consistently championed the expansion of equality and opportunity of all kinds of Americans. 

Black voters, as a group, moved en masse from one party to another in support of making the Constitution's promises of equality real and tangible. 

A black-dominated civil rights movement made possible and then real many of the rights that women of all races, immigrants and other people of color enjoy. 

And the number of candidates who can claim they won over a large share of black votes with promises to remove immigrants from the country or restrict the human or civil rights of others is small. 

It is very small. 

History -- distant and recent -- tells us that. 

Latino voters have a similar history.

However, white voters -- as a group -- are a different story.

There is no moral equivalence here, according to her, and white voters who support whatever she labels racism are inexcusable.

She ignores that blacks and Latinos as groups are generally more in need of the economic benefits that the redistributive features of progressivism offer, exactly as Romney pointed out, and how far that goes to explain the overwhelming loyalty of those groups to the Democrats.

On the other hand, it does seem to me that, considering economic benefit to themselves, too many whites vote Republican.

But there are plenty of other explanations for this than racism - think of libertarian convictions, God, guns, and strong national defense - , and in any case I am pretty sure she regards as racist any number of agenda items (voter ID, rejection of affirmative action, rejection of school busing come to mind as possibilities) that are not that or nor necessarily motivated by that.

Frankly, I agree white people need to ignore and are generally right to resent charges and definitions of racism emanating from the left and, generally speaking, from politically interested and racially hostile nonwhites.

How exactly would the left malign the right if America were racially uniform?

Even the Trumpist right, if illegals were of the same race as everybody else?

Race is a propaganda windfall to the left.

Cutting it pretty fine

‘GMA’ Host Amy Robach Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ On Air

In a statement apologizing for her use of the controversial phrase, Robach told the Associated Press that she had made a “mistake,” adding that she meant to say “people of color,” and said it’s “not at all a reflection of how I feel or speak in my everyday life.”

Voter ID and race politics

Gallup: 80 Percent of All Voters, 77 Percent of Nonwhite Voters Back Voter ID

The latest Gallup poll shows 80 percent of all voters, and 77 percent of nonwhite voters, support requiring photo identification in order to cast a ballot.

“Though many of the arguments for early voting and against voter ID laws frequently cite minorities’ voting access, nonwhites’ views of the two policies don’t differ markedly from those of whites,” Gallup states. 

White and nonwhite voters also strongly support early voting, 80 percent and 77 percent respectively.

. . . .

Ninety-five percent of Republicans and 83 percent of independents also support photo ID requirements, with 63 percent of Democrats joining them.

Demanding media rape

These are propaganda lines used almost from the very beginning by Democrats and their allies against Trump.

Trump is so unprecedentedly awful, they say, that abstention from damning him outright and uniquely in news coverage amounts to giving his intolerable and inexcusable wickedness a pass.

"Fair and balanced" journalism, "two sides to the story" approaches, and keeping editorializing out of the news must all be rejected by responsible and honest news media, they say, when it comes to covering Trump.

The man is a bigot, a racist, and a misogynist so egregious that denials are intolerable, offensive, and complicitous, and should be given no air time at all in the news media, they say.

The damning facts about Trump are so blatant, threatening, and immoral that they must be repeated in news reports about him as undeniable, established, objective, and intolerable facts rather than partisan attacks fit only for op/ed pieces.

They say.

Charles Blow On Fire! 'Trump Is A Bigot!'

Actually, Charles Blow is a bigot wholly incapable of believing any American whites do not deserve to be damned for racism.

And have you heard of "media rape"?

That simple, is it?

Fundamentalists versus modernists.

If there are two opposing camps, one must be entirely right.

Reading The Fundamentals, 1958, Biola University. Kregel publications,  Grand Rapids,  Michigan.

ISBN 0-8254-2633-2

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer day

What a gorgeous summer afternoon.

75 F, sunny, not humid.

Listening to the bigs.

The bush roses that form a sort of hedge next to the house on the same side as the lilacs are in full bloom, white and pink with a few red.

Exalting cruelty

At Luke 19:11, we read that on the way to Jerusalem Jesus related a parable (verses 12-27) "because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately."

But the parable does not address that supposition and is one of those, both cryptic and cruel, that subvert liberal idealization of Jesus as a moral teacher, his message exclusively one of love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Passion, death, and resurrection

In the gospels, Jesus repeatedly says, as at Luke 18:31-33, that what was written by the prophets of the Son of Man will be fulfilled in him, as he is to be handed over to the Gentiles, abused, flogged, and killed; and on the third day he will rise again.

Again, repeatedly, we are told of the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish authorities.

See Luke 19:47, 48.

47 Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; 

48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.

Jesus' chronic hostility to the Pharisees, lawyers, and other authorities is shown throughout as bitterly reciprocated.

See also Luke 20:1-8.

For the authorities he is a problem of police, order, religious orthodoxy, and even riot control.

Is Luke 20:9-19 only against "the scribes and the chief priests"?

It recalls parables in which, apparently, his message and kingdom, rejected by the Jews, are passed on to the benefit of others.

The Christian afterlife

There are repeated references throughout the gospels to an immediate afterlife as well as resurrection, both individual and general.

Jesus himself raises many dead, and often refers to the immediate afterlife, of which some detail is given at Luke 16:19-31.

(And see Luke 23:43, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.")

In Luke 17:20-37, Jesus speaks of the suddenness and devastation of the coming of the kingdom, comparing it to the flood "in the days of Noah" and to the destruction of Sodom.

In verses 34-37 he says twice that "on that night" of two together, one will be taken and the other left.

The rapture of the living is a feature of the end, as well as the resurrection of the dead.

The perils of translation: do not kill is different from do not murder.

Compare NAB (kill) with NIV, NRSV (murder) Luke 18:20.

Luke 20:27-40 is, according to the note in my NRSV Access Bible, one of the more complete statements in the NT about the bodily state in the resurrection.

Making little red soldiers in Bolivia

American and global PC radicalism combined get their own military academy.

Future coups will not all be lurches to the right.

Bolivia Launches Special Anti-U.S. Military Academy

A smear borrowed from the other side

In my lifetime, it has always been the conservative noise machine smearing Democrats with this sort of thing.

Not any more.

Robby Mook: 'Is Trump Just A Puppet For The Kremlin?'

On ABC's This Week, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager made an appearance to remind viewers that Paul Manafort may have taken his Ukraine problems away from the Trump campaign with his resignation, but there are still many troubling associations to Vladimir Putin and Russia remaining.

"I would also point out that Paul Manafort has been pushed out," Mook said. 

"But that doesn't mean that the Russians have been pushed out of this campaign. The hand of the Kremlin has been at work in this campaign for some time."

The convent

Hugo describes the horrific self torment of the lives and worship of the nuns with admiration only a little qualified.

Les Miserables.

They all have yellow teeth.

Never did a toothbrush enter the convent.

To brush the teeth is the top rung of a ladder whose bottom rung is - to lose the soul.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Is abandoning neoliberalism the same thing as adopting protectionism?

I think not.

The death of neoliberalism and the crisis in western politics

Globalist, cosmopolitan critics of neoliberalism may note and celebrate, but do not share the aims of, the essentially protectionist and nationalist populist movements opposing free trade and/or free immigration on economic grounds.

These populisms favor the interests of the working classes and poor native to the nations that lose by free trade or open low-wage immigration over those of the workers of foreign nations that gain.

That is, they favor the interests of better off workers and poor over those of worse off.

Fair trading politicians and cosmopolitan global leftists merely pretend to support those native interests, while protectionist politicians actually do.

The populist right has taken over these issues in Europe and America because they are about competition of nations for advantage, and the left in general has, compared to the right, abandoned the notion that the people of a nation have any legitimate moral or political claim to special solicitude from each other or from their own leaders and government, when their economic or power interests clash with those of foreigners.

More particularly, the left in Europe is also more committed to the EU and everywhere is more committed to the UN and other transnational sources of power and legitimacy than to the nations, even their own nations.

Again more particularly, the left in America disapproves US national power per se in any case, as well as using it exclusively or even primarily to further American interests, even if through peaceful avenues of trade and the like.

And the American left expects the votes of immigrants, and wants besides to use immigration to alter the balance of power among the races in America.

The right, on the other hand, pretty much everywhere is using these same issues as bait, to lure working class votes to help undermine progressive economic and social policies and programs of advantage to those working folk, themselves.

They aren't really going to go in for trade and immigration protection of domestic labor all that much, anyway.

This is true both in Europe and in America, of the anti-EU and anti-immigration, populist right of the Old World and the Trumpism of the New.

Trump might personally be sincere in his protectionism, but the party he leads is dead set against it.

Why does this Republican front group have the right to demand answers, at all?

Let alone written answers?

Judge orders Clinton to answer email questions in writing

The Enigma

Valjean and Cosette, newly arrived in Paris, flee their lodgings as Javert, who has sniffed them out, pursues through the night.

They hide in a convent garden where they hear singing.

It is the Convent of Petit-Picpus, at which, two years before, Valjean, as Mayor Madeleine, had got old Fauchlevent a position as gardener.

Fauchlevent, the man whose life he had saved while he was Mayor Madeleine by lifting a cart on his back, at the price of exciting Javert to suspect his identity.

Before the affair of Champmathieu.

Fauchlevent offers shelter and secrecy.

The voices of virgins, Hugo says, are noticeably especially sweet, pure, and celestial.

Javert, we are soon told, by the way, is a monarchist.

Les Miserables.

Luke

In Luke, along about Chapter 10, things get a lot less pastoral and a lot more apocalyptic.

The Kingdom will come before all now alive will pass away (9:27)

Those who do not become disciplines, do not have faith in Jesus and his message, will all be on the wrong end of judgment.

The fate of Sodom will look good to them (10:12).

Earlier in Luke, Jesus says of an unauthorized person casting out demons in his name, "whoever is not against you is for you" (9:49, 50).

Now he says of those who do not accept him, his message, and his role, "whoever is not with me is against me" (11:23a).

"And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God" (12:8,9).

At Luke 21:7-28, Jesus speaks of the signs, mostly wars, calamities, and extraordinary natural disasters, of the coming of the end times. 

At verse 28, he says to his followers,

"Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

And then, still in Luke 21,

29 Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 

30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.  

31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 

32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 

33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 

34 Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 

35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Novelty in literature

Besides his long and frequent digressions, his gassy sermons full of sentimental religion and morality, his bombast and relentless sentimentality, Hugo has occasional authorial interruptions, often of an explicitly biographical nature.

Postmodernism is not entirely new.

In some ways it is a return.

What would really be new in literature?

Some poet inventing meter.

Reading Les Miserables.

P.S.

Sentimentality aside, there is little more irresistible to Hugo than expounding, down to street level detail, the history and geography of Paris.

And there is a little of Mailer in Hugo, with his occasional celebrations of daring convict escapades, even apart from those of his central character, Valjean.

We see it as well in others of his works.

Love

At this point in the story, Valjean is 55 and the newly rescued Cossete is only 8 and looks 6.

The morning after their flight to his secret Paris digs, Valjean watches as she sleeps and is filled with paternal love.

She is the first and only being he has ever loved, says Hugo.

Reading Les Miserables.

Shakeup

Bannon, boss of Breitbart, a mere business manager while Conway takes charge of message control?

Nonsense.

She may have a few successes, but look what happened to Manafort.

Trump is his own boss of messaging, and Bannon will cheer him on, herding others into line behind him.

Paul Manafort resigns as chairman of Donald Trump campaign

Um, do they think Hillary would do better? Maybe not, come to that.

Maybe she's next.

Ageist and body-shaming Trump statue falls short as art and satire

Soulless cruelty of the politically engaged.

Beauty is common as dirt among the young, but evaporates with age.

Surgery, yesterday

Left inguinal hernia repair with mesh, laproscopic using a robot, at UPMC Shadyside.

Abdominal block and general anesthesia.

Arrived at five, out by three.

A bit more than two hours prep, what with reviewing patient and physician ids, medical history, taking the vital signs, review of the nature and purpose of the surgery to come, reviewing and signing consents, discussing and choosing the option of an abdominal block, final draining of the bladder, setup of heart and blood oxygen monitors, doing the block, and discussion of and specific prep for general anesthesia.

Non-medical hospital staff, nurses, a PA, medical technicians, and several doctors of different types were involved.

The surgeon came in for a greeting and a chat, and personally marked on my body the location of the agreed and very thoroughly discussed surgical intervention.

And more.

A little more than an hour in the actual OR, at which I was unconscious throughout.

God knows what happened.

(Joke.)

Afterward, I woke in the recovery room, attended and monitored by cheerful and helpful nurses and other staff.

Then back to the original examining room for further recovery from anesthesia, removal of monitoring gear, and waiting for me to be ready to go home.

During this period I was rejoined by my wife, who had brought me and would drive us home after I passed three checks: could I stand and walk about on my own, could I drink and hold down fluids, and could I pee 100 cc's in a cup.

Dry as a desert even before surgery (nothing by mouth after midnight but permitted medications was the rule), I had been at the ice water since the recovery room.

Though the BPH made it tricky, I had also been on a fluid IV since before the surgery, so I walked about the room on my own and went into the bathroom with no trouble, and passed the pee test on the first try.

On the way home we stopped for another pee and picked up Big Macs and fries for take-out that we ate immediately when we got home, our first food all day.

The dry mouth - and frequent, small pees - persisted the rest of the day and through the night, but cleared up by this morning.

The block has worn off and surface numbness has passed.

I shaved and made coffee but I can't shower until tomorrow.

My wife picked up Oxycondin yesterday, prescribed just in case, though the medical team and printed home care instructions agreed megadoses of ibuprofen alternated with acetaminophen for three days would do.

In fact, I am so far fine using only standard doses of Tylenol.

All usual meds resumed this morning.

I had skipped hydrochlorothiazide the morning of surgery, as instructed.

A tight athletic supporter is prescribed for a week to keep down swelling.

There is a five pound weight limit on lifting for several weeks to come.

No driving for a week.

If I were not retired I could most likely return to work after my two week surgical followup visit.

I had hoped that, as during recovery from an emergency appendectomy a few years back, my appetite for food would be diminished so I would have a bit of effortless weight loss.

No such luck.

I am alert and feeling up for activity though I am forbidden activity beyond routine walking and stair climbs.

I was specifically warned off many things among which were specifically listed aerobics and weight training.

Hah!

So far, so good.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Thenardiers

The  horrible Thenardiers, inn-keepers paid by the agonized sacrifices of Fantine to give a home to her daughter, Cosette, have reduced her to a beaten and viciously exploited, 8 year old Cinderella.

They have no time for church, have never taught Cosette to pray, and join their drunken guests in revelry both blasphemous and obscene.

Reading Les Miserables.

The doll

The doll is one of the most imperative needs, and at the same time one of the most charming instincts, of feminine childhood.

To care for, clothe, adorn, dress, undress, dress over again, teach, scold a little, rock, cuddle, put to sleep, pretend that something is somebody - the whole future of the woman is there . . . .

The first baby takes the place of the last doll.

A little girl without a doll is almost as unfortunate and just as impossible as a woman without children.

Hugo, Les Miserables.

Gender bias in complaining

Think how no one objects to ubiquitous use of "dick" or "dick-head".

And then read this whine.

The Era of 'The Bitch' Is Coming

"Let Trump be Trump"

Bannon, Breitbart, and The Duce.

Stephen Bannon: can Trump's fiery new campaign chief spark a comeback?

The war on cops is actually a (one-sided) race war, says she

Heather Mac Donald

Why Milwaukee Burns

And certainly there's plenty of black mistrust of and hate for whites in America to go around, and it plays a very real part in all this.

But her own previous writings show it's also a rebellion of the criminal underclass, their families, and political/cultural/ideological allies.

Witness the fact that the police shooter of the black criminal victim in Milwaukee was himself black and that he has been visited by a shower of public death threats along with the most shocking abuse by the #BLM criminal mob.

People like that just hate cops and don't want their neighborhoods - and their victims' neighborhoods - policed.

All the same, a piece worth reading.

Refrigerate first.

Valid points about President Obama, too, and even Hillary.

Much to his credit

Tim Kaine Once Said Cheating Politicians Should Resign—Including Bill Clinton

The Democratic vice presidential candidate is pretty much part of the Clinton family at this point. 

But in 2002, he said Bill Clinton should have stepped down in the wake of his affair with a White House intern.

A history of "extreme vetting"

Politico appears to intend this as a defense of Trump, but it tends to show all his noise and shouting is about little more than a tweak to existing vetting.

The Case for Extreme Immigrant Vetting

George J. Borjas writes, "It’s a practice as American as apple pie."

And provides an historical summary to prove the point.

Just so.

By the way, sure, people can lie on these questionnaires, but that is already legal grounds for denaturalization and deportation.

When alternate realities collide

Sharpton trashes Trump’s message for black voters

Having Big Al comment on race politics is only slightly less weird than soliciting the views of David Duke.

This is amusing.

DeRay Mckesson, a Black Lives Matter activist, tweeted that Trump’s speech was intended to be polarizing, summarizing his pitch to black voters as “‘rioters, robbers, looters’ are bad,” “black people are dumb democrats” and Trump isn’t Clinton.

In a phone interview with POLITICO, Mckesson said Trump has made no attempt to connect with the black community and slammed his remarks as racist, problematic and devoid of the truth.

“He was talking about black people to a non-black crowd. That was his intent,” Mckesson said. 

“He was racist even in those remarks. Saying that immigrants are gonna take the jobs of black people is racist. That is a problematic and racist statement.”

What Trump has done, he continued, is create “an alternate reality and forced everybody to meet him there. He is not engaged in the act of truth telling.”

NRO called it a long time ago

The Trump voters aren't a new phenomenon

Donald Trump, Pat Buchanan's heir

Race-baiters at the Times Picayune

Louisiana Paper Depicts First Responders Handing Blacks ‘Last Rites’

"Systemic racism" is a political profanity, much like "rigged system" and "corrupt establishment".

With a non-apology apology from the paper to the people of Louisiana and Baton Rouge.

Erdogan and Islamism

German Minister Says Nothing to Regret About Report Alleging Turkey Islamist Terror Links

The government report, disclosed by German public broadcaster ARD this week, said Turkey had become a hub for Islamist groups and that President Tayyip Erdogan had an “ideological affinity” to Hamas in Gaza, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and groups of armed Islamist opposition in Syria.

. . . .

Turkey reacted with fury to the report.

“The allegations are a new manifestation of the twisted mentality, which for some time has been trying to wear down our country, by targeting our president and government,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Erdogan reacted angrily to the broadcast of a satirical song about him on German television and launched legal action against the comedian who wrote it.

Another row followed weeks later when the German parliament passed a resolution declaring the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a genocide.

In June, there was another, as yet unresolved rift when Turkey appeared to block a visit by German lawmakers to 250 German soldiers stationed at Incirlik air base in southern Turkey.

Trump and deportation of Muslim extremists

‘I’d throw him out’: Trump says he’d deport Omar Mateen’s US citizen father over ‘extreme views’

In a Wednesday night interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that he would deport the father of Omar Mateen, the man who killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando — in spite of his status as a U.S. citizen.

. . . .

Regarding Seddique Mateen, Hannity asked, “What do we do when we find somebody that has extreme views? Do we throw them the hell out?”

“I’d throw him out,” Trump said as the audience cheered. 

“If you look at him, I’d throw him out. You know, I looked at him. And you look, he’s smiling.”

Our government and those of others like the Brits and the French throw out naturalized citizens for a variety of reasons.

Can Your U.S. Citizenship Be Revoked?

Wikipedia has a list of denaturalized and deported US citizens that includes radical Muslims.

Mateen's father Seddique seems to be something of a crackpot, but is also a clear supporter of the Taliban in Pakistan.

Trump's proposal seems to represent a lowering of the bar for denaturalization and deportation, but not by as much as the Raw Story write-up would suggest.

And it would be consistent with his advocacy of ideological screening of prospective immigrants (not actually an innovation - we already screen out anarchists, communists, and revolutionaries in general, and require an oath of allegiance to the country and its laws and constitution) as well as his expressed concerns that American Muslim immigrants both harbor terrorists and give rise to second generation terrorists.

Laughing at Trump's characterization of Seddique's views as extreme is like laughing at Reagan's claim that Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe was an evil empire.

Liberal airheads laughed and mocked both times, and were wrong both times.

But The Duce is running as an always successful hero against the corrupt and rigged system

Christie says not aware of huge Trump N.J. tax reduction

A corrupt favor, or just part of the bankruptcy deal?

So is Trump corrupt or just a spectacular failure?

Donald Trump’s checkered history as a casino operator in Atlantic City includes what was a $30 million tax debt to New Jersey — a figure the New York Times reports was sliced to $5 million in 2011, the year after Gov. Chris Christie took office.

Public records do not create a clear picture of how the settlement was reached or if Christie had direct involvement.

The Times discovered the agreement during a review of the thousands of documents filed in the bankruptcies of the Republican presidential nominee’s casinos. 

New Jersey corporate taxes went unpaid from 2002 through 2006, during which time Trump was leading the casino company as chairman.

. . . .

Said Jon Whiten of New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal think tank: “Most of us New Jerseyans will never have the luxury of having nearly all of our tax debts to the state wiped clean.

“Even more galling is that this pennies-on-the-dollar settlement came at a time when the Christie administration has relentlessly pursued collecting debts of dead college students, and instituted aggressive new screening procedures that have kept over $300 million in Earned Income Tax Credit payments out of the hands of tens of thousands of working poor New Jerseyans,’’ Whiten said.

After Christie dropped his bid for this year’s Republican presidential nomination, he was named chairman of Trump’s presidential transition team.

The appeals to stupidity continue

Hillary, rolling in dough and more conventional in approach, does it in quickie TV ads, as do others including Republicans and their supporters.

Some Democrat ads have a feel the Bern, outsider flavor, comparable to the Trumpist flavor of some Republican ads.

Ads for Katie McGinty, Pennsylvania Democrat running for the senate against conservative Republican Pat Toomey, have her promising to fight the corrupt, rigged system for the little people, while GOP ads label her an insider, a paid and corrupt tool of special interests.

But at the same time other salvos have a more conventional flavor, like the Toomey campaign's comments to the City Paper that label McGinty a pro-tax, weak on national security liberal.

Trump, spending nothing on ads, carries out his appeals to stupidity for the news bites in person, or on his infamous tweets.

Trump: I don't trust U.S. intelligence information

He has said generals have no credibility with him.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is an exception, and he explains why.

"I think he's a great guy. I've gotten to know him. He's been a real fan of mine and defender of mine and he's a terrific guy, a terrific general — tough, smart. Feels like I do about illegal immigration, in particular," Trump told Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. 

"He wants to make sure the right people are coming into our country, not the people that we're probably taking in right now. We don't even know who we're taking in. I mean, we have people coming into our country, we have no idea who they are, where they come from and he's somebody that I believe in."

Asked whether he trusts US intelligence, he replied.

"Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country. I mean, look what's happened over the last 10 years. Look what's happened over the years. It's been catastrophic. And, in fact, I won't use some of the people that are sort of your standards, you know, just use them, use them, use them, very easy to use them, but I won't use them because they've made such bad decisions," said Trump, who will also be joined by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the inaugural briefing. 

"You look at Iraq. You look at the Middle East. It's a total powder keg. It's a — if we would have never touched it, it would have been a lot better. I mean, we would have been much better off. On top of which, we've spent probably $4 trillion. Nobody even knows what we've spent. So, no, I have great people, and Gen. Flynn is one of them."

Flynn, that great guy who supports his views in immigration, is the man he trusts to screen what the intelligence community tells him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mad, but not an utter fool

Valjean/Madeleine confesses his identity to the court and allows Javert to take him to jail.

But he escapes.

Mad enough to risk all to save Champmathieu, he is not mad enough, though guilty, to serve life in the galleys.

Les Miserables.

Beauty in August

On the same side of the house as our lilacs we have a pseudo-hedge made up actually of bush roses that are blooming, now, mostly white with a touch of pink.

If I were not a lazy old fat man I would take care of them rather than just letting them and the weeds among them do what comes naturally.

Yesterday it stormed so hard the power went out over several blocks around us and stayed out for close to four hours, I think it was.

When you feel the house getting hot you value your air conditioning all the more.

GOP craziness about the emails

Talking about tens of thousands of emails, she testified nothing in them was actually classified.

Classified stuff normally is brightly stamped top and bottom with CLASSIFIED or TOP SECRET, or something to similar effect.

On MSNBC this morning it was complained that she lied because there were, in those tens of thousands of emails, exactly three, without the big, bold stamps, that were marginally marked with discreet labels indicating the presence in them of classified information.

The GOP is screaming that's proof of perjury and she belongs in prison.

Nothing of the actual contents of those three emails was revealed.