Saturday, December 31, 2016

The origin of celebrity culture

Viola:

Orsino! I have heard my father name him.
He was a bachelor then.

Captain:

And is so now, or was so very late;
For but a month ago I went from hence,
And then t'was fresh in murmur - as, you know,
What great ones do the less will prattle of -
That he did seek the love of fair Olivia.

I, 2, ll 28-34.

Twelfth Night, Shakespeare

A figure with the virtue of surprise

Orsino:

O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Methought she purged the air of pestilence.
That instant was I turned into a hart,
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E'er since pursue me.

Act I, Scene 1, lines 18-22.

Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare

So many passages in this play have become Bartlett's, figuratively if not literally.

That this book was still recommended in my high school years by English teachers so utterly dates my youth to the pre-computer, pre-Internet years.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The future of Israel

The Kerry speech defends the two state solution and the commitment to it and to Israel of the Obama administration.

Teresa May criticized the speech in an effort to please Trump.

The NYT speculates on the death of the two state solution.

In some circles, these discussions have reopened more significant fissures between people who accept the existence of Israel and its right to defend itself and those who don't.

And indeed the difference between left wing one-staters who reject the ideal of a specifically Jewish state as inherently racist and right wing one-staters who uphold that ideal and perhaps would uphold it to the point of supporting ethnic cleansing or some sort of second class citizenship for Arabs in the enlarged Israel.

It is not entirely clear that American right wing one-staters are themselves clear what they support, what they want, and what they would support, demographic push come to shove.

The Trump years will be interesting, in that regard.

As a side note, it appears Trump is closer to European populists like Geert Wilders on Israel than he is to one of his foremost supporters, Pat Buchanan.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The cultural revolution moves on

Israel Grapples With Military’s Plan to Open Combat Roles to Women

Women can now serve in the army in mixed units like Caracal, and in positions such as army intelligence and artillery. 

But roles in the infantry and special forces have remained largely off limits due to the physical requirement of carrying heavy loads. 

Now, the military plans to test-run women into those kinds of units.

Other Western militaries are opening up combat roles to women, too. 

Last year the U.S. military said it would allow women in all such positions. 

In July, the U.K. said it would also lift a ban on women serving in front-line combat roles. 

Israel’s shift, however, will have wide implications for a country where military service is mandatory and at the core of the security-conscious society.

What ever happened to "Kinder, Kuche, und Kirche"?

Not everyone is persuaded the time has come for such changes.

A group of Israeli rabbis last month told Army Radio it opposed the introduction of women into combat because it would put religious women in compromising positions with men. 

Some former military commanders labeled the move a plot to undermine the strength of the army.

“I think that in the end the woman’s role is to be a mother and to bring children into the world,” retired Brig. Gen Avigdor Kahalani, a former Israeli tank commander, told Army Radio last month.

Women in combat roles dilutes the prestige of serving in the army for men, according to Martin van Creveld, an Israeli military historian and author who calls mixed gender units like Caracal “summer camp.”

Total waste of time

Gave up watching half way through.

‘Sense8’ Debuts New Capheus Actor; Fans React To Recasting

The episode was an orgy of, well, orgies.

Really heavy on the gay porn aspect, too.

Virtually nothing in the first half (about an hour) to advance the story and seemingly endless, more repulsive than usual gay and group sex scenes.

So we gave up and stopped watching.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Was that an apology for persecution and torture?

The Faithful and the Faithless

Too much credit to the Japanese Shogunate?

Would Anderson defend General Aussaresses, an important figure in the French use of torture, though not so much punitive as investigative, to deal with the Algerian FLN?

(The General was punished by the French Republic, staunch defender of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, not for using torture but for defending its use in a book.)

Or does he mean to defend the supposed aim of the Japanese, though not their methods?

Were the missionaries then, and are missionaries now, somehow in the wrong?

Come to that, does Anderson himself see Christian missionaries as colonialists or imperialists?

They were neither, though of course they were protected by both.

No free speech for them, and no free exercise?

How does Anderson see Western efforts to impose contemporary Western values - women's, gay, and LGBT rights, for example - on non-Western societies?

Hilarious

Trump, Jesus, & Our Culturally Illiterate Elite

Even if they're faking, it's an absolute howler.

Are so many of the elites really that much more distant from Christianity than the rest of the country?

Deckard: Tyrell had told me Rachael was special. No termination date. I didn't know how long we had together... Who does?

Carrie Fisher, actor best known as Princess Leia in Star Wars, dies aged 60

Actor dies in Los Angeles four days after reportedly suffering heart attack on flight from London

Jared Taylor doesn't think Trump is actually "one of us"

'Alt-right' groups will 'revolt' if Trump shuns white supremacy, leaders say

Taylor and other alt.right leaders were dismayed at Richard Spencer's "Hail Trump" and his Roman salute.

But it would be odd, I suppose, if ideologues of American, essentially pan-European white nationalism were sympathetic toward a politically fascist movement dedicated to a specifically German domination over all other eurowhites that crucially incorporated both a genocidal tyranny over the Slavs much more savage than the white domination of the blacks of Apartheid South Africa and an exterminationist policy toward eurowhite Jews.

And many of them don't seem to think The Duce is really their kind of racialist, anyway.

A sample.

Taylor said some on the far-right fell, as did liberals, for what he termed media distortions. 

“Donald Trump was never a racial dissident of the sort that I am. He was never one of us. He’s an American nationalist. The left was wrong to think that he was dancing to the tune of people like myself.”

Taylor said the far right would need patience. 

“Racial nationalism has not triumphed in America. It will some day. But to think it has done so (already) is delusive.”

For these guys, white racial nationalism does not appear to involve fascism at all, and is aimed at securing all eurowhite Americans, not just the Germans, a racially exclusive homeland.

So merely wishing to prolong the cultural, political, and demographic dominance of eurowhites in the actually existing US of A is, apparently, not enough, though that seems to be as much "white nationalism" as the The Duce, himself, and the bulk of his supporters are actually interested in.

Well, there is nationalism and there is nationalism.

Trump disavows the alt.right, jailing Hillary, admits global warming and "some connectivity" to human activities

Taylor and others think he has already abandoned the mass deportation of 11 million illegals and others think the same of any sort of immigration or travel restrictions aimed specifically and seriously at Muslims.

And now denial of global warming seems to be slithering down the tubes.

Was it really O who arranged this?

Israel Threatens to Give Trump Evidence Obama Was Behind U.N. Resolution

Feeds right into the old "secret Muslim" thing about O, doesn't it?

A profound conflict of aims separates O and most Democrats on the one side from The Duce, Bibi, and most Republicans on the other.

Israel braces for more tensions with US as Kerry plans major speech

The further left wants to see Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip incorporated into a single, multi-ethnic, democratic, and secular state.

Many of them seem to think such a state would quickly be dominated politically and culturally by a growing Arab Muslim majority and not mind that, though perhaps the state would become more like internally fissured Lebanon.

That view is not actually in the running, in any case.

Currently, the US, the UN, and Europe support the two-state solution, with the West Bank and Gaza Strip becoming a Palestinian State cheek by jowl with an Israel sunk within its pre-1967 borders.

The capital of this Palestinian State would be East Jerusalem.

But that is a view nowadays favored only by Democrats and the main stream left of both America and Europe.

The American and European further right, and increasingly the mainstream right, agree with Bibi and The Duce, seeming to favor Israel, the West Bank, and maybe even the Gaza Strip uniting to form a single Israel, the Jewish Homeland of traditional Zionism, a state demographically, culturally, and politically Jewish.

And Jerusalem, of course, would be its capital city.

Things have changed

Obama's exit interview: I could've won again

More votes than Il Duce?

Sure, maybe.

But Hillary did that, and it didn't work.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Trump v. Putin

I remind myself that monarchies survive astonishingly incompetent kings.

Well, sometimes.

But nations almost always.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas, Pittsburgh!

Steelers v. Ravens

Wow.

Rod Dreher: A perfect ad for Trumpism

By which, of course, he means the circling of the wagons for which the media can find no more non-condemnatory label than "white nationalism".


Contempt for whites larded with great gobs of misandry.

Though some have called for it, the left's prioritization of anti-white and anti-male identity politics is so far undiminished.

This is not how the Democrats win back the white working class.

On the other hand, if they are betrayed by Trump, if Trump lets Ryan gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as well as abolish Obamacare, and his white working class supporters realize he has sold them out to the GOP establishment rather than succumbing to their and his propaganda that it was the Democrats who wrecked these programs, the Buchananite bubble could burst as soon as 2018.

ISIS's war on Christmas

Europe's future: Merkel or Le Pen?

Pat Buchanan.

Trump and GOP establishment at loggerheads

In case you missed it, Jeet Heer summarizes.

[T]he unified Republican government that House Speaker Paul Ryan has long dreamed of is fraught with contradictions, given President-elect Donald Trump’s numerous policy disagreements with his own party. 

His protectionism, immigration restrictionism, friendliness to Vladimir Putin, promise to protect programs like Medicare and Social Security, and plan for a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill: all face opposition by a sizable contingent of Republicans in Congress.

I have yet to see speculation concerning how far Trump and the Dems - or some of them, anyway - might be open to ad hoc alliances to defend what they have in common - commitments to Social Security and Medicare, for example, the idea of big infrastructure projects, and opposition to free trade.

This will be about three-cornered logrolling.

And surely Putin just figures he can run circles around this clown.

He is an airhead Buchananite.

Blizzard Alley

Blizzard Warnings As Winter Storm Forecast Over Central U.S.

All of North Dakota and the northern half of South Dakota together form a region more beset with blizzards than any other in the US, said the Weather Channel yesterday.

My brother and his family and my mother live in North Dakota, she in Minot and he in a nearby small town (Minot is too small to have suburbs) called "Plaza".

They all knew this was coming so they all got together Friday to celebrate Christmas.

Today, nobody moves.

Marine Le Pen: A right wing, nationalist progressive

MLP promises Frexit

Get France out of the EU and NATO.

Abolish the Euro.

Close the IMF.

Not stupid enough to want NATO to disappear, I think. 

Smart enough to want a free ride for France. 

“Wherever the euro went, there was an increase in prices, taxes and unemployment, a reduction of wages and pensions and citizens became poorer. In Britain, when the economic crisis started, they proceeded to devalue the pound and economic growth soon resumed,” she pointed out.

Le Pen said her goals for the EU to become a “loose confederation of states with respect for national sovereignty” and she called for the outright abolition of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

“Wherever the IMF went, it asked for cuts in wages and pensions, higher taxes, privatisation of public utilities and caused an impoverishment of populations. The IMF prevents all growth,” she said.

If elected president of France, Le Pen said that she would pull the country out of NATO since “it is not needed any more.” 

She noted that NATO was founded to safeguard against the danger of the Warsaw Pact and the expansionism of the Communist Soviet Union, neither of which existed any more. 

“Washington keeps NATO in existence to serve its goals in Europe,” she added.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

O's last stand for the two state solution

Trump warns UN after Israel vote: 'Things will be different' soon

A last slap at Bibi before Trump green lights the Greater Israel.

Watching NARCOS

A dramatization of the career of Pablo Escobar.

If you've read or even heard of Killing Pablo, you may recall who he was and why, as the years and bloodshed went on, the mission changed from arresting and punishing the man in accordance with due process to killing him and his henchmen.

He did as much harm as Osama bin Laden and his cartel was as much a threat to Columbia as the FARC, and far more than M-19.

President Obama did not seek to arrest and try OBL.

All the same, you may say there is war and there are war crimes, and the methods of Colonel Carrillo, as portrayed by the TV series, were well over the line.

But war, after all, is just sending our killers after theirs, anyway.

And atrocity for atrocity, crime for crime, Carrillo was always going to be miles, oceans behind Escobar.

And then Pablo had him killed.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Yes, it was a Jihader

Who the hell else?

Fingerprints in Berlin truck match those of suspect Anis Amri

And there are the usual recriminations based on wholly unrealistic notions regarding what security forces can or should do.

Germany’s security services are facing mounting pressure to explain how Amri could have carried out the attack when he had been under covert surveillance for several months and was known to multiple intelligence agencies for apparent ties to Islamist extremists.

A deputy chairman of Merkel’s Christian Democratic party accused the intelligence agencies of incompetence, saying Wednesday’s reports on security failures had left him shocked.

Amri registered in the North Rhine-Westphalia region when he entered Germany in July 2015 and had been based mainly in Berlin since February this year. 

He may have escaped the security agencies’ scrutiny due to a mix-up between regional authorities.

“So the attitude seems to be: he’s off to Berlin, so the case is closed for us here, now it’s Berlin’s turn,” the CDU deputy chair, Armin Laschet, told Deutschlandfunk radio station on Thursday. 

He called for better coordination between security agencies across the federal state system.

A European arrest warrant for Amri was issued on Wednesday, two days after the attack which killed 12 people and injured dozens more. 

He appears to have used six different aliases and three different nationalities.

Amri, who had his request for asylum turned down in July this year, was already known to several security agencies because of his links to radical Islamism, according to Ralf Jäger, the interior minister for North Rhine-Westphalia.

Jäger said an investigation was launched earlier this year into suspicions Amri might be preparing “a serious act of violence against the state”. 

He was added to the government’s central terrorist watchlist in January and his telecommunications were monitored until September.

US officials said Amri was on a US no-fly list, had researched bomb-making online and had been in contact with Isis at least once, the New York Times reported.

Lesson learned?

Why can’t we elect a Native American like Faith Spotted Eagle as president?

Consider the above in relation to this.

Those people's votes should count for less

This is actually the current Republican defense of the Electoral College in the face of it twice giving the White House to a Republican popular vote loser since 2000.

And phrased in the following way it appears to be about differences in political preferences or cultural outlooks.

The argument goes that voters in New York and California are not like voters in the rest of the country and so it would be bad if their votes counted as much as those of others, when choosing a president.

Those voters are too coastal, too liberal, too Democratic, and too post-Christian, in other words, for it to be proper or wise for their votes to count equally with those of others.

The rejoinder that voters in the states of the Old Confederacy - white voters, anyway - are way not like voters in the rest of the country leaves Republicans wholly unmoved.

People gladly resort to bilge to defend the indefensible.

I heard the argument made in pretty much this way on the POTUS satellite radio station, the other day, Michael Smerconish being the host.

A similar argument was made on Diane Rehm's NPR show.

Trump's People Are Seriously Losing Their Minds Over His Popular Vote Loss

But then there is the openly racial, white nationalist variant of the argument, voiced for example by Bill O'Reilly.

And this I have not seen so often.

CNN pundit likens O'Reilly's race comments to apartheid rhetoric

O'Reilly argued Tuesday on his nightly program, "The O'Reilly Factor," that -- if the Electoral College was abolished -- candidates would secure a majority by campaigning in coastal cities, ignoring the Midwest and Southern states.

He added that those calling for the Electoral College to be dismantled were attempting to take power from the "white establishment."

"The left wants power taken away from the white establishment," O'Reilly said.

"They want a profound change in the way America is run. Taking voting power away from the white precincts is the quickest way to do that."

O'Reilly's comments, while true with a twist, raise and, in their way, answer the frequently asked question, do Republicans want to disempower nonwhites because they are Democrats or do they want to disempower Democrats because they are nonwhite?

Both, I guess.

Not that other Republicans don't just wheel out the old stupidity, "Majority rule equals tyranny."

At a guess, for black Republicans it's a matter of disempowering nonwhites because they are Democrats, and not the other way around.

So The Duce was not kidding about trade?

The Financial Times, advocate of ever more free trade, doesn't like it at all.

How's this for a headline?

It looks like Trump is serious about starting a trade war with China

A Harvard educated economic nationalist will lead a National Trade Council with a big job.

Not a hint how he can get his own party, dominated by free traders, on board.

But Bernie Sanders might go for it.

If not, it will just highlight what cosmopolitan phonies the fair traders are.

The AP story is not so alarmist.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

TV man in the street

Remember the skits on Steve Allen?

"I love winter because of the holidays. Just wonderful."

OK, that takes care of the first eleven days.

And the next eighty?

Even when right The Duce is wrong, in their eyes

Police are looking for a Tunisian.

German authorities scoured the country Wednesday for a Tunisian asylum seeker who is being sought in the truck rampage through a Christmas festival here that killed 12 people and injured 48. 

Investigators don't know if there is more than one perpetrator at large. 

The new suspect emerged after police found documents in the truck belonging to a 24-year-old Tunisian national identified only as Anis A, the German magazine Spiegel reported on its website. 

He was identified from a document relating to asylum that was found in the cabin of the truck, Spiegel and Allgemeine Zeitung reported. 

The document said Anis A. was born in the southern Tunisian city of Tataouine in 1992, Spiegel said. 

It reported that he is also known by two aliases. 

Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that he applied for asylum in April and received a temporary residence permit.

Elsewhere it is reported ISIS has claimed responsibility for this as well as the assassination of the Russian Ambassador in Turkey the other day.

We may not be in a war against Islam, but some Muslims are certainly in a war against both Christians and Christianity, and PC cannot prevent them saying so.

Whether The Guardian wants us to say so or not.


Trump’s readiness to cast blame from afar and to emphasize sectarian division – and the absence of an equivalent statement from his office about an attack on Muslims the same day in Switzerland – has added urgency to concerns that his gut reactions to world events will act as an amplifier and accelerator of global conflict.

Pshaw.

A bit man bites dog, isn't it?

Attacks on random Muslims by others in Europe or America, I mean.

That sort of thing does not measure up by a very long way to the menace of ISIS and Jihad in general.

And the hypocrisy is stunning for the peacenik Guardian to view negatively Trump's refusal of the idiotic exaggerations of Cold War II.

Regarding a summary of The Duce's foreign policy priorities that set dealing with ISIS pretty high, The Guardian notes darkly,

There was no mention of Russia, characterised by the nation’s most senior military officer, Gen Joseph Dunford, as “an existential threat to the US".

The omission only underlined the unanswered questions about the extent of Moscow’s role in Trump’s election victory.

As it turned out

Hillary had five faithless Electors.

She sucked up to racial and sexual minorities and five lefty Electors betrayed her, most notably including some asshole redskin.

Trump had two.

He kicked the Republicans in the teeth and scorned their ideology and agenda both in the primaries and the general and the party Electors stayed with him.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Netflix "Nobel: peace at any price"

Another excellent Norwegian series.

They do wonderful TV.

From the director of "The Heavy Water War," Per Olav Sørensen, what seems to me to be an intelligent rebuff to peaceniks and a lesson in the cost of trying to do a deal with the devil.

This fellow respects soldiers and bravery.

Barack Obama speaks the lesson at the very beginning, in his Nobel Prize speech.

All the same, would the world have been worse off if GW, responding to 9/11, had settled for punitive strikes obliterating al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, omitting the invasions and occupations of both that country and Iraq?

And, really, Libya?

Syria? 

Egypt? 

For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. 

A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. 

Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. 

To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism -- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

Travel advisory

Drove home to Mt Lebanon, PA from Pasadena, MD on Sunday.

Weatherbug said there would be along the way rain in Frederick, an inch of sleet and snow in Breezewood, 1 to 3 inches of snow in Somerset, and an inch of sleet and snow waiting for us in our driveway.

Almost scared us into waiting another day, since the forecast for Monday said clear and dry, all the way.

But we had things to do, so we braved it.

Good thing, too.

We'd have lost a day for nothing.

It rained in Frederick and there was freezing drizzle without accumulation the rest of the way.

Wholly uneventful.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Electors make their choice

The Electors meet in the several states, today, to cast their votes for President and Vice President of the United States of America.

So the thought that they might save the country from Il Duce has dominated political discussion on this fine, cold December Monday.

Much of the discussion has made reference to Hamilton's article 68 of The Federalist Papers, so I have re-read it just now.

Article II, Section 2, of the US Constitution says this.

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

But Hamilton at several places in Federalist 68 clearly assumes the people of the various states will choose the Electors of their states who, in their turn, choose the President.

It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust [viz., the Presidency of the United States. PV] was to be confided. 

This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any pre-established body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture [viz., the Electors. PV]. 


It was equally desirable that the immediate election [of the President. PV] should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.


 A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to so complicated an investigation.


Amusingly, but only obliquely, relevant, given the all but certain victory of the Siberian Candidate, is Hamilton’s concern for foreign efforts to control selection of our president.

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. 

These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. 


How could they better gratify this than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?


But he claims the constitutionally specified manner of choosing our president minimizes this risk.

Ah, more on the role of the people in all this.

Another and no less important desideratum was that the executive should be independent for his continuance in office on all but the people themselves. 

He might otherwise be tempted to sacrifice his duty to his complaisance for those whose favor was necessary to the duration of his official consequence. 


This advantage will also be secured, by making his re-election to depend on a special body of representatives, deputed by the society for the single purpose of making the important choice. 


All these advantages will be happily combined in the plan devised by the convention; which is, that the people of each State shall choose a number of persons as electors, equal to the number of senators and representatives of such State in the national government who shall assemble within the State, and vote for some fit person as President. 


As the constitution had not even been adopted when Hamilton wrote on the subject, he had nothing to say of specific relevance to our case, that in which foreign meddling helps increase the popular vote for a demagogue transparently unfit for the job, who nevertheless loses the popular vote and yet must win in the Electoral College if the chosen Electors vote, as is expected and normally desired, each to support his own party's nominee.

Hamilton does, however, clearly regard it as a feature of the constitution, and not a bug, that the people do not directly choose the president but only those who in turn will choose him.

He expects and thinks it good that the Electors will in some manner or measure defer to the wishes of the people who choose them, but he obviously does not expect or desire that they will or should blindly obey the voters' wishes.

See this, an interesting bit on what the Framers expected to happen, and on what did, regarding the Electoral College.

Here's a piece of championship idiocy from The Guardian's Ben Jacobs.

If all electors voted in accordance with the will of the voters, Trump would receive 306 electoral votes and Hillary Clinton 232.

Um, no; if all the Electors voted in accordance with the will of the voters, Hillary would receive all their votes.

She beat Trump quite soundly, actually, defeating him by a margin greater than the one that kept Obama in the White House in 2012.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sola scriptura

- Above all, believe the scriptures. They alone have authority for Christian belief.

- But what are the scriptures?

- Tradition and the Catholic Church have hitherto claimed authority to define the scriptures and thus, indirectly, the Faith. But I tell you they lie. The scriptures are what I say they are. And I tell you again, believe the scriptures and only the scriptures.

Martin Luther

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Spiral cut ham

In Maryland, this weekend, for our Christmas with the kids and granddaughters.

An 11 pound ham, with bone, produces some 8 or 9 pounds of delicious glazed meat.

That's enough for 16 to 18 adults, given the usual fixings and dessert.

We were 4 adults and 2 little girls.

Jeez.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Hillary speaks, but only privately

Putin has a grudge, she says.

Petty and personal, not political motivation.

And Podesta says the FBI sucks.

The Trump of the Philippines

He is a serial killer.

Duterte: "I killed three men."

Trump for Zionism

Not a surprise, really.

Trump nominates an ambassador to Israel.

That will be interesting in the Senate.

Zionism offends contemporary liberalism both as colonialism and as ethno-nationalism.

Why liberals oppose school choice

It's straight up culture war against Christian beliefs of any kind, but especially moral beliefs concerning sex.

More broadly, any cultural or moral beliefs, or indeed any Weltanschaungen or philosophical views, that seriously oppose the convictions of the liberal elites, their PC morality or their incoherent, secularist, half-atheist half-scientism, are the enemy.

Since the mid-20th Century, federal courts and federal bureaucracies have nationalized our 50 state systems of public education, converting them into increasingly homogenized machines for raising kids with liberal-approved attitudes, habits, customs, ambitions, and beliefs.

Parents have since that same time sought the ability to send their kids to private and especially church-affiliated schools escaping liberal secularist/atheist ideological control as well as liberal racial/ethnic mixing and balancing with at least public aid if not complete public finance.

Just as they used separationism and the federal courts to secularize the public schools, liberals have attempted to use them to disallow school voucher plans, but the courts have so far held that vouchers, like the GI Bill, are assistance to parents or students and not constitutionally impermissible payments to religious organizations.

At the same time, however, liberals have sought to get the courts to impose a degree of compliance with liberal PC ideology on schools getting public funds, specifically regarding science education (global warming and evolution) and racial, ethnic, and moral (LGBT) nondiscrimination in staffing and admissions, as well as in the manner and content of their teachings (forcing homosexuality off the sin list, as Frank Bruni describes it).

So far, that hasn't worked, either.

Too, liberals are unhappy church-affiliated schools can require ideological and moral acceptance of and compliance with church doctrine from staff, though they expect public schools to impose analogous, liberal requirements on their staff.

Trump and the religious coalition.

None of this is necessarily connected to class politics, and both popular Protestantism and Catholicism were allied with progressivism from the beginning until the merger of the latter with social and cultural liberalism, and the attacks of the latter on American clericalism from about the 1950s.

Mess in Venezuela

Venezuela is the world's best current example how not to do progressive government.

It is not an example how not to do socialism because it has not instituted socialism, though its ideological commitment to Leninism and Castro makes the lies of the American right plausible to the many.

Scrapping the hundred Bolivar note.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Siberian candidate will sit in the Oval Office.

Tillerson to be nominated for Secretary of State

You have to wonder how much mileage Vlad will get from his man in the White House.

Meanwhile, O has ordered a fuller investigation of Russian hacking in the election to aid the Trump campaign.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Truth be told

I have often thought that if you were so desperate to get here you would cross a desert on foot to do it, or swim shark infested waters, then despite the law you should be allowed to stay.

Only one of oh so many reasons I could not be an honest law enforcement official.

There are way too many laws I would not want to enforce, and way too many times I would want to play vigilante.

Why do conservatives insist we must all be proud of the entire history of the United States?

Why not use Thanksgiving and Memorial Day and even Columbus Day to celebrate who we are, the America and Americans we are, rather than a past that is, for most of us, not ours in any event and, for none of us, the kind of America we want to be?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"Our ancestors, the Gauls . . . "

As well expect a mestizo child from Mexico, or a Muslim child from Iraq, to look upon the pilgrims of Plymouth or Boston as their ancestors, as an Algerian child from some banlieu to say that without a balk.

Or Sarko's kids.

Or Walls's.

"The Transcendental Ego Can never die."

A professor said that in a graduate seminar on Husserl, in an offhand criticism of Heidegger, at Duquesne University, some time around 1976, or so.

Though I suppose it might as well have been a Kant seminar.

But it wasn't.

A few years later, I had a graduate seminar on Kant at Pitt with Wilfie Sellars.

Of course, his was rather a different view.

I never had the least idea he was an alcoholic.

Apparently, he died of the effects, somehow.

Everybody dies of something.

I knew his disciple, Hoagland, drank a hell of a lot.

But not him.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Why we live here

In Plaza, ND, where my brother lives, it's -17°F right now.

In Orlando, it's 59°F.

But summers are intolerably hot and humid.

In Mt Lebanon, PA, it's 21°F.

38 degrees warmer than Plaza and 38 degrees cooler than Orlando.

Orlando, right now, is 76 degrees warmer than Plaza.

Jeez.

Update, 12/9/16.

This morning it was -30°F in Plaza.

How did Indians in tents survive this?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Maybe a wild card

Steelers travel to Buffalo

This Sunday's game.

The Steelers (7-5) have steered their season in the right direction, winning three straight after a four-game losing streak to move into a tie with Baltimore atop the AFC North standings and within one game of Denver for the final Wild Card spot.

"We are in a good situation right now, but we obviously have to win this game and better," Bell said.

Pittsburgh controls its fate over the final four weeks of this season, but could cede that control with a single loss.

. . . .

After averaging 34 points in their first four wins, the Steelers have not scored more than 28 points in each of their last three wins. 

A more balanced, ball-control offense has featured Bell more and more as winter approaches.

Bell, a Central Ohio native, knows what it takes to thrive along the Rust Belt this time of year.

"I played high school football in this weather," he said. "I was born into this."

Panic in Nannytown

Surgeon General sounds the alarm on teens and e-cigarettes

Yet nicotine can damage the developing teen brain while leading to addiction.

"Compared with older adults, the brain of youth and young adults is more vulnerable to the negative consequences of nicotine exposure," noted Murthy.

Addiction, sure.

Brain damage?

Is this just culturally biased junk science, sort of like doctors when my grandfather was young firmly insisting masturbation causes not only insanity but warts?

You be the judge.

The system is rigged.

It's called the Electoral College, and it's rigged in favor of the Republicans.

Hillary Clinton could get as many votes as Barack Obama did in 2012

She is currently 2.7 million votes ahead.

Buchananism has no bench

Donald Trump Is Staffing His Administration with TPP Supporters

There is pretty much nobody but standard conservatives for him to choose among.

And all of them firmly espouse positions he vociferously departed from throughout his campaign, when he ran against both the Republican establishment and establishment Republicanism.

Not only the Republican congress but his own cabinet will oppose him on every point at which his agenda differs from standard conservatism, in the direction of Buchananism.

Steve Bannon might be the only person wholly on his side.

If even he is.

Of course, he has no problem finding people who stand for views he shares with standard Republicans.

Trump’s Likely Labor Pick, Andrew Puzder, Is Critic of Minimum Wage Increases

That's the Trump who agreed with conservatives that US workers are overpaid.

Trump names Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma attorney general suing EPA on climate change, to head the EPA

That's the Trump who says global warming is a Chinese hoax.

Have I mentioned that anybody who isn't at least a millionaire but votes Republican has shit for brains?

And that the entirety of Trump's mass support is composed of people with shit for brains?

Change and continuity

It's 2016 and still, in the middle of the night, I hear propeller driven aircraft.

As I did as a child.

I was born in January, 1949.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Was bedeutet "white supremacist"?

See this for some good points.

And yet this is the litmus test that Trump must pass, according to some.

He has to build the wall and deport the illegals, and only an idiot doesn't think that's about keeping America a white man's country.

Is political action aimed at preserving majority status, and with it commensurate political clout, in America for American eurowhites "white supremacist"?

The answer to that question is exactly the bone of contention, here.

Although, in truth, the whites who support Trump and this particular key part of the Trumpist agenda very likely find the entire dispute a revolting concession to an ethic of political correctness that is blatantly stacked against them and with which they are sooooo totally through.

Given how much minorities whine about the horrors of minority status, it would be best for my grandchildren, other things equal, if whites retained majority status throughout their lives.

But other things will not be equal, and issues of class are more immediate and more important than race.

Such as, will the GOP get away with such changes to Social Security that the wife and I die of starvation or exposure, freezing in the darkness under a bridge?

Or perhaps will she die before then of medical problems resulting from diabetes, uncontrolled because of what the GOP has done and will yet do to Medicare, especially prescription drug coverage?

The KOS race surenchere

I can't find it, but lately KOS personally wrote that if Trump doesn't ditch Steve Bannon the Democrats should prevent confirmation of any of his nominees for any position until he does.

Because racism.

And KOS, as well as others at his site, is a locked-in supporter of Keith Ellison for the job of DNC chair.

The man has only two features that make him the apple of KOS's eye: he is black and he is a Muslim.

As to that second, he has been shown to be suspiciously close to Muslim radicalism in the US, and he has been shown to be close to the fake Islam of the Nation of Islam, a racist cult for which there is nearly nothing to religion at all but hatred of white people.

Let's see.

Trump won largely because, as KOS himself would be the first to admit, white Americans increasingly see the Democratic Party as the party for everybody but them, and indeed the party for everybody who hates them.

Not least because of the endless hostility toward whites displayed by such Democrats as KOS and many others writing at his site.

Hmm.

PS.

Follow the link for interesting tidbits like this.

Farrakhan’s history of vicious anti-Semitism was already well established when Ellison was helping him organize the Million Man March. 

The Democratic representative says that he rejects anti-Semitism, but he has a long history of sticking up for Jew-hating weirdos, and not only Farrakhan. 

When Kwame Ture — you may remember him as Stokely Carmichael — claimed that Jews had collaborated with the Nazis in the Holocaust as a pretext for establishing the state of Israel, Ellison was there to defend him from criticism. 

When the head of a Minneapolis political group declared that the allegations of anti-Semitism against Farrakhan were made up and insisted that the real problem is racist Jews, Ellison said: “She is correct.” 

He is a defender of the terrorist Sara Jane Olson and the murderer Assata Shakur and the Islamic terrorist Sami al-Arian. 

He is a longtime admirer of the murderous dictator Fidel Castro.

Idiots make his point

People Who Flip Out Over Milo Are Why Milo Has a Career

Make no mistake: It’s not Milo’s fans who have given him his media-celebrity staying power, and the harder people try to stop him, the easier it gets for him to continue. 

Think about it. Yiannopoulos’s entire schtick is that he’s an advocate for “free speech” in a world where “free speech” is under attack, and the best way to keep this narrative going is to keep him from being free to speak. 

What’s more, the people who threaten violence against him — such as the DePaul University students who went so far as to rush the stage, grab his microphone, and threaten to punch him in the face during his speech in May — only manage to make the guy who once wrote that “birth control makes you a slut” seem like more of a sympathetic figure.

Bannon claims WW2 victory for US "deplorables"

Steve Bannon: Fathers and Grandfathers of ‘Deplorables’ Turned War Around After Pearl Harbor

I think he's claiming the victory in that war for white Americans.

That this may seem controversial is interesting, not least because it is so obviously true.

If he is damned for this Trump voters will shrug and say to themselves, "See. We're not allowed to say anything good about white people. Nothing at all."

On the other hand, the only reason this isn't a dog whistle is that everyone can hear it.

Why should they have the vote?

So far, women have shown they have only two fundamental political demands.

First, they demand the right to kill their own babies.

Second, they demand the right to kill everyone else to safeguard their babies.

This is not what anyone thought the franchise was for.

Previously?

Ever.

Race obfuscation

What Does it Take to be White?

Despite the insistance of obfuscators of the left who write silly books like "How the Irish became white," there is no big mystery, here.

The alt.right is interested in eurowhites, not whites in general, and so not much in Pakistanis, Indians, or the peoples of the Maghreb.

And, yes, of course, Jews are whites and eurowhites.

But people who take Hitler too seriously and the effects on the gene pool of two thousand years of diaspora not seriously enough have an attitude problem about Jews, all the same.

And it is entirely possible that such folks take equally to heart the rest of Hitler's hierarchical views concerning such varieties of eurowhites as Slavs and Nordics.

On the other hand, the notorious jibe, "The wogs begin at Calais," tells us nothing about who is white, but a very great deal about who is Colonel Blimp.

Not to mention the numerous American conservatives from Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich to Jonah Goldberg and Victor Davis Hanson for whom the light of all things bright and glorious emanates preeminently, if not quite exclusively, from the British Isles.

Baloney? Well, maybe not.

Incorporation maybe was intended, though via the privileges or immunities clause and not at all via the due process clause.

And incorporation makes the 14th Amendment a lot more radical than it would otherwise be.

There are at least these questions.

Does the P or I clause refer to the rights protected against federal action by the first eight amendments to the US Constitution?

Is the point of the P or I merely to refute the doctrine of Dred Scott that black people do not enjoy the protection of the Bill of Rights - protection, as everyone knew at the time, against federal, but not state, action?

Is the point of the P or I also the genuine novelty, the really revolutionary point, that the protections of the Bill of Rights are to be henceforth also protections against state action?

The discussions and quoted bits of discussions I have seen are sufficiently muddled or lacking context to make it unclear.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Good television

The Heavy Water War, on Netflix.

Did I say this was excellent?

It is.

If the script is accurate, Werner Heisenberg did everything but break a leg to ensure Hitler got the bomb before the allies.

He was offered a position at Columbia when he could have gotten out of Germany, his wife was Jewish, he was arrested and was going to be sent to a camp for being non-Nazi and gay (was he?), and still he chose to stay in Germany and work like mad to give Hitler the bomb.

Partly this was in his mind a race between competing teams for the prestige of a colossal scientific breakthrough, actually making fission happen.

And partly he feared the allies, if they got the bomb first, would use it against Germany.

He worked on a team dedicated to just that one thing, the Uranium Club, and when the German army authorities more than once tried to replace him as team leader he fought to make them understand, as might well have been true, that with anyone else in charge the team would fail.

He, and only he, could and would give Hitler the Bomb, understanding full well the Germany military would certainly use it.

After the war, his prestigious career continued in Germany, apparently paying no penalty whatsoever for his sincere and tireless efforts to give Hitler the Bomb and victory in The Second World War.

Marvels of technology

Weather channel now uses future radar to display its forecasts.

Will wonders never cease.

So, does that entail logical determinism?

Seems to me.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Liberal Imagination

BooMan speculates wistfully on a sort of quiet coup.

Waiting for rescue by the "Deep State"

About Trump actually trying to make a foreign policy in the Middle East that the establishment does not like, he writes this.

It’s hard to see this all happening without substantial pushback from the foreign policy establishment in this country, for both bad and (mostly) good reasons. 

It will also involve pushback from the right. While a Republican president (no matter how unorthodox) can expect the right to bend to his will, there are limits.

If there really is a Deep State as many people like to imagine, the Deep State may move against Trump as a way of protecting American interests. 

Of course, these are interests as they see them, but in this case there is a pretty broad consensus that Trump’s position is reckless, bordering on treasonous.

I despise Trump, but I am not ready to sabotage our republican form of government just yet merely to prevent Trump causing the ship of state to deviate from the course judged best by the dickhead establishment BooMan so admires.

Recall that this is the BooMan who not only defends the equal representation of the states in the senate (and hence the radically unequal representation of people in that body) but favors repeal of the 17th Amendment.

The Electoral College cannot be the last ditch

The Mysterious Stranger

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Giants v Steelers

Defensive squads totally dominating this game.

Wow.

24 to 14, Steelers up.

The Four-Fusher

I fear Trump in the White House will be picked clean by the Republican, Congressional radical right, and that America will suffer serious foreign policy losses to Russia, China, and anybody who wants to take the trouble.

His incompetence and vacuity are frightening.

He thinks he is an American Mussolini.

But he is not even Al Capone.

He seems to be a spineless bluffer as clueless as Chauncey Gardiner.

Philippines' deadly drug war praised by Donald Trump, says Rodrigo Duterte

He seems to be a coward impersonating a thug.

And he is also a clown.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Astonishing effrontery or astonishing stupidity.

You choose.

Eleven years later Megacles, being in difficulties in a party struggle, again opened negotiations with Pisistratus, proposing that the latter should marry his daughter; and on these terms he brought him back to Athens, by a very primitive and simple-minded device. 

He first spread abroad a rumour that Athena was bringing back Pisistratus, and then, having found a woman of great stature and beauty, named Phye (according to Herodotus, of the deme of Paeania, but as others say a Thracian flower-seller of the deme of Collytus), he dressed her in a garb resembling that of the goddess and brought her into the city with Pisistratus. 

The latter drove in on a chariot with the woman beside him, and the inhabitants of the city, struck with awe, received him with adoration.

Aristotle, The Constitution of Athens.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A very weird law of Solon's

Further, since he saw the state often engaged in internal disputes, while many of the citizens from sheer indifference accepted whatever might turn up, he made a law with express reference to such persons, enacting that any one who, in a time civil factions, did not take up arms with either party, should lose his rights as a citizen and cease to have any part in the state.

Aristotle, The Constitution of Athens.

Democratic features of Solon's reforms

There are three points in the constitution of Solon which appear to be its most democratic features: first and most important, the prohibition of loans on the security of the debtor’s person; secondly, the right of every person who so willed to claim redress on behalf of any one to whom wrong was being done; thirdly, the institution of the appeal to the jurycourts; and it is to this last, they say, that the masses have owed their strength most of all, since, when the democracy is master of the voting-power, it is master of the constitution.

Moreover, since the laws were not drawn up in simple and explicit terms (but like the one concerning inheritances and wards of state), disputes inevitably occurred, and the courts had to decide in every matter, whether public or private.

Some persons in fact believe that Solon deliberately made the laws indefinite, in order that the final decision might be in the hands of the people.

This, however, is not probable, and the reason no doubt was that it is impossible to attain ideal perfection when framing a law in general terms; for we must judge of his intentions, not from the actual results in the present day, but from the general tenor of the rest of his legislation.
. . . .

These seem to be the democratic features of his laws; but in addition, before the period of his legislation, he carried through his abolition of debts, and after it his increase in the standards of weights and measures, and of the currency.

There were significant property qualifications for higher office, but most office holders were chosen by lot from among all those eligible or from lists, themselves filled by lot from among all eligible.

Terms ranged from life tenure to one year.

Some were held for life upon completion of a term in another.

Aristotle, The Constitution of Athens.

Solon goes to Egypt

When he had completed his organization of the constitution . . . he set off on a journey to Egypt . . .

He considered that there was no call for him to expound the laws personally, but that every one should obey them just as they were written.

Moreover, his position at this time was unpleasant.

Many members of the upper class had been estranged from him on account of his abolition of debts, and both parties were alienated through their disappointment at the condition of things which he had created.

The mass of the people had expected him to make a complete redistribution of all property, and the upper class hoped he would restore everything to its former position, or, at any rate, make but a small change.

Solon, however, had resisted both classes.

He might have made himself a despot by attaching himself to whichever party he chose, but he preferred, though at the cost of incurring the enmity of both, to be the saviour of his country and the ideal lawgiver.

Aristotle, The Constitution of Athens.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The most revolting episode so far

The numbskull, kitchy sentimentality of the Thanksgiving show was nauseating.

Scorpion.

The "you're another" defense

It is common for atheists with insignificant training in philosophy - or maybe they're just not very bright - to take natural science as the gold standard for rationality, truth, credibility, and unquestionable authority.

Kala Dandekar, a fascinating character in Sense8, was if not the first then the most amusing person to make an impertinent argument, not least because of her Hindu spin.

Challenged in her Hinduism by the German Wolfgang Bogdanow, an atheist whose reflexive deference to science is both uncritical and unshakable, she snaps at him that his faith in the absurdities of physics is no more rationally respectable than hers in Ganesha.

It is said there is going to be a Sense8 Christmas special this month, and a new season this coming year.

Hillary's lead is now above 2.5 million, says NYT

NYT

Well, almost

I share much of his diagnosis, but none of his glee.

If "liberal identity politics" means constant white-bashing then, yes, that is what has driven the alienation of the working and poor whites from the political center left, both in Europe and in America.

And those folks never did have much truck with the outright, anti-capitalist left.

The prioritizing of tribal identities by liberalism has buried class identity and class politics, greatly to the advantage of the classes defended by the right and to the harm of those defended by the left, very notably including those working and poor whites who have been led to see themselves as embattled whites rather than embattled working and poor folks.

In Europe, the reaction is ethno-nationalist in a more or less traditional sense.

Sweden for the Swedes and traditional Swedish identity, France for the French, Italy for the Italians.

That sort of thing.

In the US, the target of PC loathing, abuse, and constant blame is not German, Irish, Italian, or other subsets of white Americans but all of them (us) lumped together.

Hence the reaction in the US is one of whites in general, of what the press has dubbed "white nationalism."

Blame the identity apostles – they led us down this path to populism

Jenkins brushes against but does not explicitly address another aspect of the reaction, a re-affirmation of traditional, defining traits of the Occident in general and one's own little piece of it in particular.

"Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Western Civ has got to go," say both the idiot children of the ultra-left and the radical Imams fomenting terrorism in the basements of European mosques.

And identity liberalism has been for decades far too publicly indulgent to that sort of thing, too.

Consider the role of the historic Catholicity of France in the coming French presidentials.

The Guardian view on France: Fillon v Le Pen is the wrong contest

Fillon

The Socialists are full of PC beans. The Catholics are right.

On freedom of expression.

French MPs debate plan to ban abortion websites that intimidate women

BBC World Service on the radio this morning characterized them as sites that "try to make women feel guilty" about getting an abortion.

My, how dreadful.