Monday, February 27, 2017
The wall actually being approved and built?
The big investigation of three to five million illegals voting for Hillary?
The new and improved executive order on foreign travel and refugees, to replace the one the courts stopped?
Meanwhile, McCain and Graham in the senate and Issa in the House are demanding, fruitlessly, an independent investigation of the campaign's ties with Russia.
All Democrats and some Republicans, those who have opposed Trump from the beginning both as an individual and especially on his anti-immigrant, pro-Putin agenda, are doing their level best to make it impossible for Trump to lead the country into a significant revision of its defense commitments to NATO and other foreign allies.
The huge dust of suspicion and scandal about Russian meddling in the election and the Trump campaign's possible complicity in it, as well as hints of corruption and even treason, all serve to disable Trump in this area.
And, anyway, The Duce can't find anybody for the role of national security advisor who actually shares his foreign policy views.
HR McMaster is a standard issue establishment globalist who sounds like Obama and Clinton on Jihaders and on our global alliances.
He made a point of firmly stating these views in meetings with White House folks.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Adam Christopher has written a novel based on the TV characters.
Not bad, but his insistence on the politically correct singular they is obtrusive to the point of more than usual annoyance.
And he doesn't seem to know what "salubrious" means.
Reading The Ghost Line.
Friday, February 24, 2017
I saw an ad for some black guy's show on some cable news channel.
Might have been MSNBC.
It said his thing is to attack the most dangerous isms on the planet: racism, sexism, and colonialism.
As the man used to say, I kid you not.
Marxism is so passe, despite China.
And Islamism, aka Muslim fundamentalism?
Not even on the map, though the more or less global war against it dominates and has dominated the headlines since 9/11/01.
And colonialism, gone these 50 years, at least?
That is among the most dangerous isms on the planet?
God, I hate the shithead left.
So, are we all distracted from the fact that it's Friday and we have seen no sign of the promised new executive order on visitors, refugees, etc.?
White House blocks CNN, New York Times from press briefing hours after Trump slams media
Fact-checking President Trump’s CPAC speech
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Dutch media reported earlier this week that a member of the far-right politician’s police security team had been arrested on suspicion of leaking details of his whereabouts to a Dutch-Moroccan criminal gang.
The Algemeen Dagblad newspaper reported on Thursday that the officer and his brother, both previously members of the Utrecht police force, had been investigated in connection with suspected leaks of confidential information.
The DBB security service, responsible for the safety of the royal family, diplomats and high-profile politicians, said the officer – who is of Moroccan origin – was not one of Wilders’ bodyguards but screened locations for his public appearances.
. . . .
The Dutch police chief, Erik Akerboom, told Dutch radio an investigation had been opened but insisted Wilders’ safety had not been compromised, prompting Wilders to reply that if he could not trust the DBB, “I can no longer function”.
The justice minister, Stef Blok, insisted Dutch politicians could “campaign safely on Dutch streets” and said the alleged leak had endangered no one.
[W]hat happened was a guy in Sheffield, England was at a Primark (U.K. department store) with his wife and they saw a "Walking Dead" T-shirt quoting Negan's now infamous line: "Eeny Meeny Miny Moe," with a picture of Lucille, the barbed-wire-covered baseball bat Negan uses to kill.
This guy's mind went immediately to a dark time in history when the "Eeny meeny" rhyme included the n-word instead of the word tiger.
("Pulp Fiction" used the n-word version.)
Pair that with a weapon, and he saw something very different from TWD fans.
. . . .
Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Negan, and he tweeted out a link to the story, including his own commentary on the state of humanity: "Holy crap people are stupid!"
I foresee an extorted apology in Morgan's future.
The Trump administration's reversal of Obama-era protections that allowed transgender students in public schools to use bathrooms that corresponding with their gender identity has angered civil rights groups.
Of course, among anti-Trumpists who don't want to admit there actually is a serious question about America's military role in the word, there are always conspiracy theories.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Other than that, a little air snow and lots of warm days.
And it's February 21.
It is untrue that Nietzsche has no politics.
It is just that his politics are unspeakable.
He is a bloody minded brute of the right.
He makes Hamilton look like a wild-eyed democrat.
Human, All Too Human, Part I, section 8, A Look at the State, for example.
See epigram 460, the great man of the masses, for an anticipation of Donald Trump.
In several of his epigrams, Neitzsche anticipates Ortega y Gasset and Marcel.
In others, he parrots apologists of slavery.
See 457, slaves and workers.
But see 462, my utopia.
A utilitarian, malgré lui!
See also 439, culture and caste.
His utopia, it seems, has been common in history.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Nietzsche is Schopenhauer's greatest student.
He is a profound pessimist whose originality is to rather madly say "Yes" to the very same world from which pessimism has always urged flight.
Reading his biography by Daniel Halevy.
Nietzsche says he is a pessimist in the preface to Human, All Too Human, Part II, aphorism 2.
He says in aphorism 1 that Schopenhauer is his greatest teacher.
He is a pessimist who rejects romanticism, he says.
A pessimist who affirms rather than rejects life.
It is only too obvious that in all successful species of animals of which it seems right to predicate desire and aversion, pleasure and pain, nature has sculpted desire in subordination to reproduction so far that these three, far from being equivalent, fall asunder: individual interest, happiness understood hedonistically, and satisfaction of desire.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Friday, February 17, 2017
Some on the Trump supporting right claim to fear its supposed determination to "take him down," while some on the Trump opposing left have great hopes for it.
Apparently, Russian propaganda is now pessimistic about Trump's supposed efforts to improve relations with Russia, saying the American deep state, committed to Cold War II, won't allow it.
But conspiracy theories and paranoid references to the deep state are unnecessary.
Very nearly to a man, the grim and the powerful of the Washington establishment, regardless of party and including those in Trump's own administration, both the cabinet and the White House, are deathlessly committed to Cold War II, and that is no secret from anyone.
They will resist any effort by Trump to back away from that commitment even to the point - a point some of them have already reached - of labeling such efforts as treason and people engaged in them as traitors.
When Jane Fonda was visiting North Vietnam the Democrats and most of the American establishment accepted the dogma of the left that there can be no crime of treason giving aid and comfort to anyone against whom the US had not at the time declared war.
The word has already been used more than once against not only Flynn but against Trump, himself.
Even lefties one would ordinarily expect to oppose Cold War II, and so be rather pleased at efforts to back away from it, are engaging in relentless scare propaganda demonizing Putin, Russia, and the very idea of better relations with him and his country.
But who knows what Trump is really about, or even if he is really about anything?
In the space of a few days he deserted the one China policy of decades in favor of the Cold War two China policy, and then returned to orthodoxy after freaking everyone out.
As for getting NATO itself to withdraw its protection from all states that used to be controlled by Stalin, or at least those that were part of the Soviet Union, something Anne Applebaum has suggested might be Trump's goal, that does not actually seem to be on the table.
Not now, anyway.
But her call for a new European security pact to tie everyone together from Ireland to Latvia is understandable.
And would make tempering or even ending American defense commitments to Europe a lot easier and safer for everyone, I must say.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced a bill on Thursday to expand Social Security benefits by lifting the cap on earnings subject to payroll taxes.
The progressive lawmakers presented their proposal on the day that Americans with wages of $1 million or more stop paying into Social Security for the year.
Workers now contribute to Social Security based on the first $127,200 they earn every year.
The new legislation would apply the 6.2-percent payroll tax to ordinary earnings of $250,000 or more, as well as to unearned income, like capital gains and dividends, above that threshold.
Rather than increase benefits for those high-earning workers based on their additional contributions, the bill would use the revenue to extend Social Security’s solvency until 2078, and to boost benefits across the board with a disproportionate impact on low earners.
“We can expand benefits, we can extend the life of Social Security, if we have the guts to tell the millionaires and billionaires, yes, they are going to have to pay a bit more in taxes,” Sanders said at a press conference on Capitol Hill.
Sanders was joined by DeFazio; Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.); Democratic Reps. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) and Paul Tonko (N.Y.); and representatives of progressive organizations like Social Security Works, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the Alliance for Retired Americans.
. . . .
There is virtually no chance of the legislation advancing in the Republican-controlled Congress.
Why do you think Breitbart, Fox, and the like so love to publicize this stuff?
White people are not to be portrayed as, in any manner or sense of the term, rescuing people who are not white.
And such portrayals are to be scorned and greeted with contempt.
So, no more movies about Lincoln, LBJ, John Brown, John Quincy Adams, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, and so on.
So when whites play the heroes in action films in which the people they save are not white, a line is crossed, blame and scorn are distributed, guilt assessed, and apologies demanded.
Tom Cruise better be damned careful, is all I can say.
But if you must have white characters fighting to save nonwhites, that is permitted if you portray them as intellectually, morally, or otherwise inferior to the nonwhites, as Jonathan Kim explains.
Also to be scorned and blamed is whitewashing, perhaps by the same people who wanted Idris Elba to be the next James Bond.
Olivier played Othello and the Mahdi in blackface.
Brilliant, both times, though his efforts to have a black walk and black glutes in the former were a bit comic.
If Elba played Macbeth, how would you make him look white?
Thursday, February 16, 2017
A suicide attack in a popular shrine in southern Pakistan has killed at least 72 people, police say.
The bomber blew himself up among devotees in the shrine of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in the town of Sehwan, in Sindh province, police said.
Muslim on Muslim violence.
And you can get so much utter bullshit into an hour and a half that it would take a week for the press to respond.
Basically, he charged the press with lying about him, with putting out an ocean of fake news about him every hour of every day because of their extraordinary hatred for him.
The shortest lived lie, shot down by a journo in a question that came up quickly, was Trump's claim, not even within shouting distance of the truth, to have had the greatest electoral college victory since Reagan.
Perhaps the most pointed truth was his remark that he won the election talking to the press personally in his own free-wheeling way.
The most important point was Trump explaining Putin's recent provocations, including the flyovers and the spy ship off the coast and the deployment of cruise missiles contrary to an agreement with the US, as a result of him concluding, from the constant hoopla in the press about Trump, his people, and Russia, that the improvement in Russo-American relations Trump has been talking about cannot happen.
After giving this remarkable explanation, and in a sense even defense, transparently false as regards deployment of those cruise missiles, of Putin's conduct by laying the blame for the Russian's hardening attitude on the press, a journo asked whether he thought Putin was testing him.
Trump shrugged and said no, and in substance that the explanation of Putin's behavior lies in the bad behavior of the press and the Democrats, who have by their hate-driven attacks undermined his efforts toward improved relations with Russia, though he still hopes for improvement and will continue to try.
Oh, I forgot.
He began the presser announcing nomination of Alexander Acosta for Secretary of Labor.
About Flynn talking to the Russians and perhaps telling them not to sweat the new US sanctions because Trump would be a lot less confrontational, the Democratic news agencies are denouncing the move as a horrifying violation of a "long-standing policy that we have only one president at a time."
Nobody has yet made the comparison to Nixon sabotaging the Paris peace talks during the campaign of 1968, which perhaps actually did prolong the war for another 7 years - certainly not the intended consequence - and which Democrats have damned as a crime of the century.
But that will come, I think.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Trump aide Sebastian Gorka told Breitbart News that he wears a medal associated with a Nazi ally, last spotted on him at one of the President's inaugural balls, in order to commemorate his father’s anti-Communist efforts in mid-century Hungary.
Gorka, a former Brietbart News editor himself, explained in an “exclusive” video the site published Tuesday evening that the medal he wore to the Liberty Ball —shortly before joining the Trump administration as deputy assistant to the President—reminds him of what his parents “suffered under the Nazis and under the Communists.”
Some Hungarian scholars told TPM the medal is identified with a knightly order founded by the Hungarian admiral and statesman Miklós Horthy, who oversaw the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.
“In 1979, my father was awarded a decoration for his resistance to dictatorship, and although he passed away 14 years ago I wear that medal in remembrance of what my family went through and what it represents to me as an American,” Gorka said in the video.
Left unmentioned are the origins of the medal and Horthy's renewed popularity among the ultranationalist Hungarian right-wing.
Those far-right conservatives have started a Horthyite revival over the past few years, with some towns erecting statues to the former admiral and statesman.
They've also taken to dressing in attire like the black braided “bocskai” jacket, which Gorka also wore on inauguration night and was popular in Horthy's time.
Gorka is a member of the Order of Vitéz (Vitézi Rend), an hereditary order of merit which was founded by Miklós Horthy in 1920.
Although required to list and renounce his membership in the Vitézi Rend, an order prohibited along with other Nazi-linked organizations, on his N-400 Application for Naturalization in 2012 when he sought U.S. citizenship, Gorka appeared on FOX News on Inauguration evening dressed in the uniform and wearing the badge, tunic, and ring of the Vitezi Rend.
Trump: Crimea was 'taken' by Russia
He hits back at whatever is hitting him at the moment with whatever right wing meme will sting.
As the set of right wing memes is egregiously inconsistent, so are his tweets and so would be any foreign policy, or foreign policy expectations, erected on them.
Under a firestorm of adverse publicity in which his enemies, who are legion, use his own pro-Putin and anti-NATO posturing against him he flips, complains Obama was too weak and let Putin take the Crimea, insists Putin must stop the violence in eastern Ukraine and return Crimea.
The Graham/McCain team hit him from both sides, Graham demanding investigation of the Trump administration's connections with the Russians while McCain demands we provide lethal aid to Ukraine to fight back against Putin-supported Russian separatists.
Meanwhile, Putin amuses himself and patriotic Russia by publicly slapping Bozo around, buzzing our ships in the Black Sea, deploying cruise missiles forbidden by an arms control treaty with the US, and sending spy ships along our coast from Cuba.
And Mattis, playing to the wrong meme at the wrong time and to Russian amusement, castigates NATO allies over money and threatens the US might "moderate its commitments".
It is notorious that a diplomatic blunder by Dean Acheson, whose public remarks about American security commitments led Stalin to think we would not fight over that country, precipitated the Korean War.
Bozo's remarks at various times have been publicly construed, even by the relevant enemies, as indicating a reluctance to fight North Korea or Russia in defense of threatened allies, though we are committed by treaty to do so and failure on his part to live up to that treaty would be an impeachable offense.
If anybody was in the mood.
Some Democratic legislator was on Rachel, last night, urging alarm about Flynn, Trump, and Putin, doing his best to scare Americans, declaiming in alarm and anger that Putin is out to spread "his brand of authoritarianism" all over the world.
My wife bought it, though I scoffed, expressing skepticism about Uruguay, in particular.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Pharmaceutical company Kaléo – already under fire for raising the price of an overdose antidote – now plans to put an alternative to the EpiPen on the market for more than seven times the cost of the leading $608 drug.
Kaléo’s epinephrine injector, used to stop severe allergic reactions, will go on sale for $4,500 for a pack of two beginning on 14 February.
The auto-injector’s innovative audio instructions walk caregivers through administering less than $5 worth of epinephrine.
There has got to be a better way, consistent with private enterprise leading the march in this area, taking risks and reaping rewards.
Obama blamed for letting Russia take possession of the Crimea.
A little tough talk about standing with Japan and firmness toward North Korea.
As for the Flynn story, Spicer is totally in the dark or a really first rate liar, in my opinion.
I think Flynn was on that call with the Russians, the very same day Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats as spies, on Trump's behalf, promising Putin a turnaround in the US attitude toward Russia, NATO, and Russia's dealings with bordering states that were part of Stalin's USSR.
There is nothing going on that we could not have seen coming, based on Trump's announced skepticism about NATO and rejection of an adversary relation with Russia going back to the campaign in 2016.
It is entirely possible that Pence, a standard-issue globalist Republican, was in the dark about all this.
Anyway, the globalists of both parties and the Democrats, especially, are busy spinning this mendaciously as a corruption and espionage thing, an incompetence thing, a feckless White House thing, a scandal involving possible Russian blackmail of the National Security Adviser, General Flynn.
It's not that, but none of these folks really want to open a public controversy about whether the US really ought to continue as part of, let alone leading, NATO and the other alliance systems around the world America built up in the Cold War years of anti-Communist frenzy, rooted in capitalist panic and a popular "inordinate fear of Communism," as Jimmy Carter once put it.
Communism is gone, and Trump seems to join Bannon and Buchanan and many others in denying the good sense of continuing American involvement in such an, as they think, obsolete globalism.
This looks like something done pursuant to that view of things.
And that is a view of things that is utterly anathema to nearly all of official Washington, of both parties.
Nancy Pelosi, still painting this as some sort of corruption scandal, says Flynn tweeted "Scapegoat," and she will tweet "Stonewall".
Sunday, February 12, 2017
But The Duce's campaign created a climate of fear.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
A quick Google search for poll data on the travel ban finds partisans on both sides announcing recent polls show most Americans, registered voters, or whomever are on their side.
After the shock of Trump, who thinks polls are anything but bullshit?
They are afraid of Trump and the Republican tide.
People who need Obamacare, seniors, Muslims, aliens, minorities racial, religious, and sexual, and many others.
People who fear war.
People afraid what will happen to their jobs, their Medicaid, their savings, or the economy.
This strand of Democratic propaganda is actually true.
Who is pleased?
The plutes whose prospects the Dow celebrates.
The Koch brothers.
Bikers for Trump.
White, working class idiots who could see nothing of Obama but his skin.
Friday, February 10, 2017
Nobody is too strict in his constructions to accept it.
Rachel last night said whopping majorities both disapprove Trump's travel restrictions and disapprove ignoring court rulings to impose them.
But Trump voters support the restrictions and 51 % would be OK with him simply ignoring any court decision or decisions against them.
They elected him to be The Duce, after all, and impose his and their will even against opposition from the rigged, corrupt, and undemocratic system in DC.
At a guess, the idea is widespread on the right that the particular liberal lies about the constitution they object to, the ones that make them insist on strict construction on those issues, are actually wholly usurpatious and illegitimate lies, with no real authority in the eyes of anyone loyal to real constitutional government.
To do it right, liberals should have got amendments passed to make legitimate changes to the constitution affecting these matters rather than imposing their effects via a blatantly mendacious jurisprudence.
What should a people, a movement, a party, or a president do, confronted with a judiciary wedded to egregious lies of which they heartily disapprove about what is and what is not constitutional?
Disobey the courts and obey only the constitution, on these points?
Note that these virtuous almost-rebels who so insist on Article V neither ask nor answer the question why they themselves are not bound to rely on the amendment process to impose their own preferences on constitutional law.
Others, more frank, would insist without apology the constitution ought to be both strictly constructed and too hard to change, though the admission makes nonsense of their pose as champions of democracy and the sovereignty of the people.
That in defense of presidential defiance of the courts, in deference to the constitution as, according to them, it ought to be read.
He just wanted the temporary restraining order lifted.
So now the travel ban cannot be put into effect until somewhere a decision is reached on the questions whether it is illegal or unconstitutional.
Last night on MSNBC every constitutional law professor asked opined it is neither, under current law and precedent.
Romero of the ACLU and at least one other insisted it is unconstitutional, apparently looking for something new, as I have written earlier.
It looks like they rest their hopes on the establishment clause and the equal protection clause to effectively strike down the broad powers of the president in current law - the first to disallow discrimination by religion (the "Muslim ban" claim) and the second to disallow discrimination by nation, religion, or other suspect categorization.
One newsie suggested the president expects to win at least 5 to 3 in the Supreme Court if the issue gets there before Gorsuch, counting on 4 Republicans and at least one Democrat - an expectation he, at least, thought reasonable.
But others did not think the matter would get there before Gorsuch, anyway.
BTW, the 3 judge panel denied the claim of unreviewability, insisting the president's judgment on the question whether the ban served the interests of the United States, in this case regarding national security, was reviewable under the minimal standard of reasonableness.
The court did not rule on the questions of legality or constitutionality.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
A temporary return of winter, they say.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Immigration law prohibits discrimination by race or religion.
But federal law also says the president can temporarily ban any class of people whatever if he views their admission as detrimental to the interests of the United States.
Trump seems to think the claim that it's being done for reasons of national security is unreviewable, and that whether reasons of national security justify the move is also unreviewable.
Totally his call, in other words, so long as he, the president, says it's about national security.
On that point, in fact, law and precedent seem to be on Trump's side, given that exclusion for national security reasons counts as exclusion on the grounds that admission would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.
Was the district court in Seattle already wrong to stop execution of the executive order?
“The exclusion of aliens is a fundamental act of sovereignty,” the Supreme Court held in the 1950 Knauff case, “inherent in the executive power to control the foreign affairs of the nation.”
The courts are not meant to second guess the executive’s conduct of foreign affairs, or intrude on its plenary power in this area.
“It is not within the province of any court,” the court noted in that decision, “unless expressly authorized by law, to review the determination of the political branch of the Government to exclude a given alien.”
Can the president, completely on his own, unreviewable determination, temporarily ban for as long as he wishes entry to the US of any aliens or class of aliens?
Second, it’s hard to get around the relevant federal immigration law, which says, “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
Does the constitution forbid the president to temporarily stop entry by nationality or religion, or the Congress to make an immigration law that so discriminates?
Not according to a recent, relevant case.
Finally, aliens residing outside the United States have no right to come here.
The Supreme Court held in the 1982 Landon case, “an alien seeking initial admission to the United States requests a privilege and has no constitutional rights regarding his application, for the power to admit or exclude aliens is a sovereign prerogative.”
But in any case a law cannot permit what the constitution forbids.
And whether a law does that is not his call, but a call for the courts, which are totally free to disagree with rulings of earlier courts.
So these questions can be raised.
Does the constitution forbid the president, even in the name of national security, to temporarily ban openly by race or nationality?
If not quite openly then de facto?
And does it forbid the Congress to write an immigration law that does either?
Those questions are for judges, and we know where the liberals want the judges to go.
But be careful what you wish for.
It is not difficult to conceive dozens of scenarios in which the president can prevent grave harm to the Unites States, even a nuclear detonation, only by immediately interrupting some or all travel to the US by some or all aliens - or even citizens! - for some period of time, determinable only by him.
It would not be good for a judge to try to suspend such a determination merely because it was costly to a lot of American interests.
And there might be terrifyingly good reason why the reasons for the decision ought not to be bandied about in even a secure court, or even shared among enough people to make that possible.
Does Bozo, at some point, just decide to ignore what a court says?
At which point or points?
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
He makes Bannon seem an unimaginative fibber.
What’s largely and glaringly missing from Trump’s list of terrorist attacks: Non-Western victims
It begins with off-the-cuff bullshit.
On Monday in Florida — the same state devastated by the Pulse nightclub massacre last year — President Trump told members of the military that the news media were purposely not covering terrorist attacks.
“You’ve seen what happened in Paris, and Nice. All over Europe, it’s happening,” he said at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
“It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.”
Then Sean Spicer backs away to a less obvious lie that is still utter crap.
Reporters, who heard the president’s remarks, asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer what Trump was talking about.
Spicer clarified that the president’s beef was actually with terrorist attacks they deemed “underreported.”
Hours later, Spicer offered the reporters a list — with 78 examples from September 2014 through December 2016.
The list was shoddy and slapped together and contained high profile attacks that got enormous coverage.
Among them were the Pulse nightclub massacre, the Bastille Day attack in Nice, France, the coordinated shootings and explosions in Paris, and the holiday party shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.
. . . .
As The Washington Post’s Phillip Bump noted, the list could be Spicer’s way of doing damage control and manipulating the media — a concept called “working the refs” — by whipping journalists into a fact-checking frenzy over global terrorism.
But what’s more telling, perhaps, is not what Trump’s list included — but what it didn’t.
About 95 % of the victims of terrorism are Muslim.
You would never know that from the White House list.
Is this all just a Trump strategy to distract the media with craziness that, to his adorers, make them look like bad guys while his serious crap gets under-reported?
On the other hand, how scared does The Duce want us to be?
Scared enough to be glad of his bullshit efforts to make us all safe again.
How scared should you be?
Trump fears terrorists, but more Americans are shot dead by toddlers
When the president uses his executive powers to ban more than 200 million people from entering America, ostensibly in the interests of security, and then, in the same week, the House of Representatives relaxes background checks for gun ownership, one is compelled to question the sense of proportionality when it comes to security.
Whom do they intend to keep safe?
By what means?
And at what price to liberty?
Let us leave aside for the moment the fact that since 9/11 not a single American has been killed in a terrorist attack by a citizen from the countries on this list.
The reality is that an American is at least twice as likely to be shot dead by a toddler than killed by a terrorist.
In 2014 88 Americans were shot dead, on average, every day: 58 killed themselves while 30 were murdered.
In that same year 18 Americans were killed by terrorist attacks in the US.
Put more starkly: more Americans were killed by firearms roughly every five hours than were killed by terrorists in an entire year.
It is unlikely that scrapping a rule requiring extended background checks for gun purchases by some so
Monday, February 6, 2017
The Monogram Murders, Sophie Hannah.
Ms. Hannah has written and published two Poirot novels, so far, and they are brilliant.
You cannot not see and hear David Suchet.
But where are Hastings, Japp, and Miss Lemon?
Anyway, fine stuff.
Sunday, February 5, 2017
A federal judge has stopped execution of the immigration and refugee order, nationwide.
The federal bureaucracy has told everybody at airports everywhere to go back to the business as usual of the day before the order, as if it never happened, pending continuing litigation.
And it's beginning to look like discrimination in immigration by national origin or religion may soon be declared unconstitutional, though nothing pertinent to that question in the constitution has changed since the Civil War Amendments, and nobody thought the constitution bore any impediment to the frankly discriminatory racism and nationalism of immigration law right up to the 1950's.
Remember that DC establishment he spent his entire campaign denigrating and promising to crush?
That rigged system he was going to smash on behalf of his forgotten men?
It will not go quietly.
Trump is every day more transparently unprepared and unsuited to the job of the presidency, so much so that I find it every day more disturbing that mainstream Republican venues like RCP are still giving equal time to his defenders.
Would they defend Mussolini?
If the courts settle it that discrimination in immigration is in fact unconstitutional and strike down his executive orders on that basis, and then Bozo tells them to go to hell and orders the relevant bureaucracy to carry them into effect, what will these Trumpist Republicans do?
Will they effectively absolutize the power of the presidency by insisting he gets to blow off court rulings and orders he disagrees with?
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Goodness is subjective and relative, and right and wrong are a hoax.
So God's choice cannot follow objective value but only his own subjective desire.
So why does God desire what he desires?
Whence God's utility curve, so to speak?
How can it be necessarily the utility curve that a necessary and perfect being necessarily has?
If that makes no sense, God cannot be a person, and he cannot choose a world, and he cannot prefer one thing to another.
Friday, February 3, 2017
Many of the most fundamental things we believe, we believe without proof.
The external world, the past, the future, other minds, the general reliability of memory, that the future will resemble the past, that logic as we know it is reliable, and so on and on.
Why not God?
Especially me, with my crowded and colorful ontology of abstracta, possibilia, and immateria.
Which is not to say I have not, at various parts of my life, accepted arguments for God.
The argument a contingentia mundi, for example.
Or from the possibility of a necessary being.
But I don't actually see that it makes any practical difference.
No more than believing that there are sets, or propositions, or properties, say.
On hearing my granddaughter, age 12 today, practice the violin.
The Hallelujah Chorus.
It's not even Christmas.
It's her birthday.
The things skeptics say we believe without proof optimists describe as self-evident.
Look up Plantiga and whether the existence of God is self-evident.
And the picture of God presented by that beautiful chorus is wholly wrong.
The idea of God as a king and lawgiver derives from the mythology of the Bible, and is religious fiction with no basis in fact.
In fact, it is by no means clear that or why an infinite, necessary, perfect, immutable, eternal being would create a world of contingency, imperfection, and constant change, at all.
Let alone then ape a needy human monarch, commanding and threatening and posturing like some pathetic Trump.
Don't count on it.
So far, the Republican establishment that runs Congress has given him nothing contrary to its own political proclivities.
They don't even want to give him his stupid wall.
So far, the Trumpist populist revolt is all talk, showmanship, and executive orders.
Even the executive branch has not entirely changed course, with Mad Dog Mattis out there sternly showing the flag in the Far East.
The wheelhouse of the presidency, and he's floundering.
Waving his arms and cackling comically.
They're not just in the FBI.
Criminalization of adultery and fornication?
Legal persecution of gays?
Total legal suppression of porn, obscenity, and profanity?
Legal suppression of contraception?
A regime of carefully inculcated shame and inescapable guilt?
Legally required church contributions and attendance?
Exclusion of Jews and other non-Christians, or reduction of their numbers to insignificance?
Mandatory prayer and religious lessons in public schools?
Who really wants all that back?
Exclusion of non-whites from the vote, from juries, and from political office?
Legally mandated segregation in schools and in residential areas?
Racial discrimination in employment?
The color line in all social relationships?
Exclusion of women from education, from professions, from property ownership, from office, from the vote?
Should the liberal judges who did away with all that by constitutional fabrication really be faulted for it?
Especially in view of Article V and the paralysis, fecklessness, and backwardness of the political branches?
Should the human and legal rights at issue in these matters be left subject to change as easily as the tax laws?
Shouldn't the affirmative right to counsel and the exclusionary rule be protected by the constitution, in state as well as federal courts?
Shouldn't the Bill of Rights, reasonably construed, constrain states and locales as well as the general government?
Shouldn't the constitution be amenable to revision by enlightened and experienced liberal elites, more readily than by masses spurred on by demagogues like George Wallace, Donald Trump, or Steve Bannon?
What kind of country do we really want?
Don't we want responsible and liberal judicial review?
Don't we want strong privacy rights?
Don't we want a government big enough and strong enough and rich enough to protect us and our children and our planet from the arrogance, power, and rapacity of the plutocracy?
Don't we want a vibrant, powerful, and creative economy that works for all of us and not just the few?
Don't we want secular and public, tuition free education and training of all sorts, at all levels?
Don't we want quality universal health care?
Don't we want social insurance and retirement programs to eliminate poverty and secure reasonable comfort and well-being for all?
Don't we oppose exclusion of non-whites and non-Christians from our schools, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and our country?
Stop bullshitting around!
Stand up and say it.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
If you are an ordinary American, the chance of being materially harmed or even killed by Republican domestic policy is far greater than the chance of suffering Jihader violence.
Trump's domestic policy.
Bozo The Duce.
O reportedly said he would have won.
Maybe so, maybe not.
But I sure as hell would have voted for him.
I voted for Hillary and would have for Bernie.
I voted for O, twice, and never regretted it.
Trump is the opposite of O, and that's not a good thing.
Yup, Trump is on their side, all right.
Just a working class hero, he is.
The whole race thing has always been nothing but sucker-bait for the right.
Trump is the perfect betrayer.
They have fallen for him hook, line, and sinker.
Bozo and probably Bannon picked this guy
So American policy under Bozo the Malevolent is to insult, malign, and undermine the EU.
How is this to the advantage of the United States?
How on earth is the EU an enemy of the United States?
Reports like this are increasingly frequent.
Fewer than 2,000 refugees are involved.
This psycho is the president.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
These are presented as damning recordings of a racist, religious bigot and his crazy man ravings.
Seen and heard on MSNBC.
And that was the conservative reading of the 2nd according to which it protects an individual right effectively independent of the individual's membership in either a militia (public or private) or the National Guard.
Nobody has yet said anything about Gorsuch's detailed legal views, alleging only that he is an admirer of Scalia and is the same sort of "strict constructionist" as him.
Originalists, textualists, and other forms of strict constructionists, though sharing a general approach, don't necessarily agree in details.
Crucially and one might say definingly, all species of strict constructionists agree in disapproving and holding as fanciful and, er, not strict, interpretations of the constitution that, while not defensible as narrow, literal, textualist, or adhering to original intent, are crucial to the sexual and civil rights revolutions, as well as many other parts of progressivism in the law.
My concern would be with how far he is willing to overturn past courts in major decisions such as Roe or even Griswold, or overturn established institutions such as Medicare and Social Security via long known readings, preferred as strict, of the general welfare and necessary and proper clauses that flatly rule them both out.
I am, I confess, an old fart, and such things worry me.
And also how far he is in sympathy with conservatives' renewed interest in and respect for Lochner, based though it is on a reading of due process that is not remotely literal, textualist, narrow, or plausibly based on original intent, that threatens just about any form of federal or state regulation of the labor market, wages, working conditions, and the like.
People so easily seem to ignore that the conservative "main stream" is in fact very, very radical in a right wing, counter-revolutionary way.
Everything from unemployment compensation to the affirmative right to counsel, from federal and state workplace and product safety regulation to prohibitions of discrimination in employment, actually the whole and entire ball of wax, depends on rulings of constitutionality that strict constructionists are known to profoundly deplore.
Everything since McKinley is at risk, every day one of these guys sits on any federal court.
In addition to their defections from narrowness, original intent, and adherence to the actual text noted above, I am not aware of anyone of the tribe who, for example, holds that the free exercise clause protects human sacrifice, and pretty much all of them seem to agree it disallows, in some cases (e.g., Quakers refusing to perform military service) if not in all (e.g., parental refusal to provide medical care to their sick children), requiring people to do what their religion forbids.
Gorsuch, for example, is on record as agreeing, in the Hobby Lobby case, it disallows requiring people or even businesses in the hands of people whose religion forbids doing A to provide the means for someone else, not of their religion, to optionally do A.
(How then defend taxation of pacifists to support the military?)
Everyone pretty much accepts that the First Amendment covers electronic or recorded media as well as the paper press and in person, real time speech.
And Republicans are notorious for the conviction that paying somebody else to publish or speak is protected by the Amendment that in so many words protects only speaking and publishing.
But pretty much - though not quite - none of them accepts the blatant absolutism of "Congress shall make no law."
And pretty much everyone agrees wiretaps and most forms of electronic eavesdropping require a warrant.
And there is much else, besides, including the Air Force and paper currency.
Much, much more.
BTW, are any of the judges who might be tempted to overturn Roe of a mind to do so without overturning Griswold?
Without overturning Lawrence?
Would they be content with only that much of restoration of American Christian clericalism and Christian sexual morality?