Yeah, That's Not Working Out

In the aftermath of Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, the Republican National Committee issued a postmortem that recommended, among other things, a change of tone, “especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters.” That evangelical dentist in South Carolina has become a political liability — unless, of course, he’s willing to keep his mouth shut in public.

The plan was straightforward: turn socially conservative Christians into the African Americans of the Republican Party, a bloc of voters with no place else to go but who can be managed and kept at a distance from the party’s new brand.
You might want to reconsider that strategy, if there's still time.

It must seem unfair to Republican grandees. In spite of her campaign slapping Black Lives Matter advocates around, Clinton apparently is pulling a bigger share of the black vote than Obama (although among a much less enthusiastic Democratic primary electorate). Why can't their unwanted-but-needed base voters be as loyal to the party elite?

Life just isn't fair, I guess.


I'm gearing up to run the primary elections here in my precinct, and realized in talking to a brand-new volunteer that I don't at all understand the relationship between the Texas popular vote and the caucuses that are held as soon as the polls close.  Nor did I understand whether Texas was a winner-take-all or a proportional state.  It turns out there was good reason for my confusion:  in an apparent attempt to wire around the Republican National Committee's rules for holding a winner-take-all primary before March 14, the Texas Republican Party put together a complicated mechanism, since modified by an RNC ruling, that . . . does something I can't quite figure out.  Apparently it's mostly proportional by state district popular vote, but some at-large delegates are proportional by statewide popular vote, and there's some kind of mechanism for allocating the delegates that would have gone to anyone who was under 20% of the popular vote, but there's also some kind of special rule depending on whether the top candidate won a majority or only a plurality.  I give up.  Here's a link.  It's Byzantine.


Kuwait: Thank You, America

Via Bob on the FOB.

Don't Ask About Benghazi

Former Marine thrown out of Bill Clinton rally by security as crowd jeers, screams over him.
“To me the story is the crowd,” Fox & Friends host and Army National Guard veteran Pete Hegseth said Saturday. “This guy stands up (and) said ‘I’m a Marine. I’ve done two tours in Iraq’ — You go to a Republican rally, tell it like it is, the crowd erupts in applause for the Marine and says ‘thank you for your service this is fantastic,’ instead silence, crickets (at the Clinton rally).”

“It shows you we’ve got two very different electorates that look very differently towards that service.”
That story was told in the first Democratic debate, when the crowd (and the audience at home) treated a Navy Cross and Silver Star awardee as if he was "creepy" when he made reference to his service at war in the Marines.

UPDATE: Don't ask about BLM, either. In fact, don't even passively display signs that mention it.
Meagan Mwanda and Ashona Husbands never wanted to hold the Hillary Clinton sign in the first place.

Early Friday, the two Georgia State University freshmen walked to Atlanta’s City Hall to hear the Democratic presidential candidate. Last week, they attended a rally by Bernie Sanders at Morehouse College. They wanted a chance to size up Clinton on Friday but say they didn’t get it.

Mwanda and Husbands claim they were kicked out of the rally for writing “Black Lives Matter” on the back of a Clinton sign.

“Why are these three words such a threat to her and her campaign?” Mwanda said.
But I thought Hillary Clinton was inevitable because of her African-American Southern firewall?

We Have the Right People

General James "Mad Dog" Mattis writes on the clarifying effect of combat service.
For the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars—poorly explained and inconclusive wars, the first major wars since our Revolution fought without a draft forcing some men into the ranks—the question of what our service meant may loom large in your minds. You without doubt have put something into the nation’s moral bank.

Rest assured that by your service, you sent a necessary message to the world and especially to those maniacs who thought by hurting us that they could scare us.

No granite monuments, regardless of how grandly built, can take the place of your raw example of courage, when in your youth you answered your country’s call.
We need to do a better job of recruiting these veterans into our politics.

Happy Birthday, Johnny Cash

Apparently he was born on February 26th in 1932. Just two days ago was the anniversary of his singing this song live at San Quentin in 1969. I love most of what Cash did, but this one is my favorite.

What Effect Does Native Tongue Have on Musical Enjoyment?

Before you read the article, decide what you think is most likely. Then let's talk about the results.

CDC, FBI: Bicycles are More Deadly than "Mass Shootings"

Well, that's unexpectedly honest.
[W]hile there were 418 deaths in “mass shootings” from 2000 to 2013, there were 800 deaths by bicycle in 2010 alone.

Moreover, there “were an estimated 515,000 emergency department visits” due to bicycle accidents.

And CDC death statistics for 2010 show there were 26,009 deaths from “falling” for that year alone. That’s right–26,009 deaths in one year from falls from ladders, counters, roofs, mountains, etc.

There were an average of 29.8 deaths a year for 14 years from “mass shootings.”
Round that up to 30, and the US population down to 300,000,000. That makes the math very easy.

It's Not Just Conservatives Getting Banned on Twitter

It's Democrats who object to Hillary, too. And, er, hashtags that oppose her.
In a truly egregious move yesterday, Twitter suspended the account responsible for #WhichHillary, activists @GuerrillaDems. Twitter also removed #WhichHillary from trending status — odd, considering the hashtag received more than 450,000 tweets in less than 24 hours.
Obviously the hashtags were guilty of offensive conduct.

Friday Advertisement

Apparently chewable candies in Scotland have wine in them. Good wine, it looks like:

Via Tartanic, a band that knows a few things about rocking out in a kilt.

In Praise of Congress

The representative branch takes a lot of heat, and much of it rightly, but it is still our best hope in the Federal government. Structurally, for the reasons the Founders identified, it is the one most responsive to the People. Lately, there have been a few signs that Congress is beginning to get some things right.

We saw Congress going after John Kerry in yesterday's post, but they are challenging the State Department's madness on more than one level. A House committee has just approved a bill that would require the State Department to explain why they are not treating the Muslim Brotherhood as a named Foreign Terrorist Organization, expressing the sense of Congress that the Brotherhood has met all of the requirements.

Gowdy's investigations continue to gain access to new information that the Clinton State Department worked to keep hidden from Congress.

And here is a congressman who is also a military pilot, standing up for the ranks of the deployed.

These are just glimmers of hope in a sea of corruption and influence. Nevertheless, they aren't nothing.

Trump Rules

Super Tuesday is around the corner. We can tell we are near, this year, because the Republican debate has descended to the middle-school level.

"I don't repeat myself." "You repeated yourself five seconds ago."

This is being widely commended today as what it takes to stand up against Trump. You've got to show, they say, that you're the Alpha.

Alphas don't yip like puppies, boys.

UPDATE: Governor Chris Christie endorses Donald Trump.

UPDATE: Right-leaning journalists are not happy about it, either. Although I don't think Spencer Ackerman ("Attackerman!") qualifies. I met him once -- and he's a solid journalist, the kind of guy who does the legwork that journalism used to be about. He's just not right-leaning.

Philosophy Major? Fries With That?

Well, that's not impossible, but philosophy tops the humanities in expected salaries according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. So in addition to the real project -- learning to think and understand -- your kids might actually get a decent job, too.

Libertarians for Bernie

Since some of you ascribe to that philosophy, in all or part, Reason has a one-sentence argument in favor of Sanders:
[H]e is the candidate least likely to order a ground invasion of Syria.

The Magisterial John F. Kerry

"Well, Senator, he's not supposed to be doing that."

You don't say?

"The fact is we've got people who've been held without charges for 13 years, 14 years in some cases. That's not American... that's not how we operate."

So we have heard, Secretary Kerry. I believe you prefer to kill people without charges, or trial, or evidence beyond metadata. I notice you forgot to mention the facts about how you do indeed operate, but that's understandable: there must be a dizzying lack of oxygen on your High Moral Ground.

Second Marine Attacked, Left for Dead in DC

Not one but two Marines were brutally attacked on February 12 in two unrelated incidents.

One attack happened at a McDonald's when two teenagers assaulted and robbed a veteran Marine.

A second Marine, 35-year-old Michael Schroeder, was left for dead after a being attacked in Northwest D.C. that same day, according to his family.

Temperatures had dropped down to the teens in weather reports. Laying in the cold, dragged between two cars, face-down, head bashed-in and cash missing is how Schroeder’s family says police found him in the Glover Park neighborhood. Thankfully a dad and son driving by in a taxi saw Schroeder and called the authorities.

"We Cannot Trust Our Government, so We Must Trust the Technology"

The Guardian (UK) hosts an American meditation on the breakdown of trust in our governing institutions.
The debate is being publicly framed on both sides as a deep conflict between security and freedom; between the civil rights of users to maintain their privacy, and the legitimate needs of law enforcement and national security. Yet this is the wrong way to think about it.

The fundamental problem is the breakdown of trust in institutions and organizations. In particular, the loss of confidence in oversight of the American national security establishment.
I think of Raven's comments, just yesterday, that he couldn't help but think when a Census-taker took a GPS reading on his house how useful it would be for a bomb. Nor his remark -- which I have made myself, from time to time -- that Facebook is just what you'd want to roll up networks of enemies of the state. It's exactly the kind of database we used to build in Iraq, identifying family and connections and physical locations and precise relationships, except you fill it out for the state willingly. It would sound paranoid except for the Snowden revelations, which showed that the government was in cooperation with all these technology firms to do spying of exactly that sort. We would dismiss it, in other words, if it were not demonstrably true.

The FBI's move on Apple reminds us all of their coordination with Lois Lerner at the IRS -- it's six years now that the Albuquerque TEA Party has been waiting on its 501(c)3 status. The FBI, having had agents coordinate with Lerner's section, was then assigned to investigate the case. "Surprisingly," after a two-year investigation, no one was charged. Members of Congress are making noises the the effect that they will not accept a repeat of that in the case of former Secretary Clinton, but of course they cannot force the FBI or the DOJ to take action. The President of the United States has repeatedly said that he doesn't think she did anything wrong, and rather than being hustled off to court for her glaringly obvious violations of national security classification law, she is the frontrunner in the Democratic primary to become his replacement in the highest office in the land.

The government has repeatedly failed to hold wrongdoers accountable. More than that, it has protected them. It has enabled corruption in the highest offices, and is currently doing its best to enable its continuance.

If the government wants our trust back, and the legitimacy that comes from having the faith of the American people, it needs to earn it. It needs to start proving that it will prosecute and punish those in power who abuse authority, those in power who break laws, those in power who betray trusts.

If it will not, the Federal government of the United States will begin a long fall. It cannot survive in its current form if it is mistrusted by the American people. Right now, such mistrust is rational. If that is to change, the institutions need to start performing. Anyone in the Federal bureaucracy -- political appointees or not -- who wants Americans to trust and have faith in government needs to take up this charge. Any individuals who want an America that heavily involves government solutions to practical problems needs to devote themselves to pushing for accountability and punishment for the wicked or corrupt.

Otherwise, as this case of technology shows, we the People shall begin finding ways to do without the government of the United States.

Sorities at Sea

Former SECNAV Sean O'Keefe says the Navy should stop worrying about having 300 ships:
"The resignation of one of my predecessors, Jim Webb, was prompted at what he thought was the outrage of falling below the 600-ship Navy," O'Keefe said. "You look back on it as if it was the seminal moment of some strategic shift and it wasn't. It was less a statement of capability and more of just a marker on the wall of what's a measure of merit."

Webb wasn't immediately available for comment.
Will it still be a navy with 271 ships instead of 300? Sure, I suppose. Could it theoretically be as capable with 271 ships as 300? Sure, or even more, depending on the exact mix of ships.

However, is the ~300 ship navy as capable as a 600 ship navy? We'd have to say that increases in ISR and telecommunications and other technologies have improved the capacities of our ships versus the Reagan administration, and that's a big deal for the Navy. Probably one ship can control more sea than it used to do.

Nevertheless, it's not an idle question. 300 ships is just not 600 ships. 250 ships is not 300.

Hillary for Prison 2016 Update: Gee, These Emails Are Worded A Lot Like Top Secret Documents

This is what the Clinton campaign likes to refer to as "overclassification":
U.S. spy agencies have told Congress that Hillary Clinton’s home computer server contained some emails that should have been treated as “top secret” because their wording matched sections of some of the government’s most highly classified documents, four sources familiar with the agency reports said.

The two reports are the first formal declarations by U.S. spy agencies detailing how they believe Clinton violated government rules when highly classified information in at least 22 email messages passed through her unsecured home server…

Under the law and government rules, U.S. officials and contractors may not transmit any classified information – not only documents – outside secure, government-controlled channels. Such information should not be sent even through the government’s .gov email network.
Readers of the Hall understand that this last is a remarkable understatement. Not only must you not transmit Top Secret information through a .gov email, you may not transmit it through a .sgov email -- the secured, air-gapped system for merely Secret information. Top Secret information has an even more tightly controlled system where physical access to the computers is restricted by lock and key, as well as by additional information controls should you manage to physically reach such a computer.

But no, let's just retype the same information into unencrypted, unsecure private email and transmit it via a server kept in some Mom and Pop's bathroom in an industrial park. That's just as good, right? Who'd think to look there?

Why Not Add an Impeachment to the 2016 Election Season?

With the fate of the Supreme Court already hanging in the balance, and one frontrunner promising to prosecute the other if elected, who'll notice a little more drama?
[Speaker of the House Paul] Ryan reminded reporters that Congress voted overwhelmingly for the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains a provision saying the president may not move Guantanamo inmates to U.S. soil.

"We are making legal preparations if the president tries to break the law," Ryan said. "And what boggles my mind, is that the president is contemplating directing the military to knowingly break the law."
No dodging that fight, if he does. Military officers will have to refuse clearly illegal orders, and he'll have to try to prosecute them for insubordination. Think he's got the guts for that?

Sturgill Simpson

Merle Haggard is a fan. I wasn't too impressed the first time around, but tonight I ran into this Outlaw Country jam.

There's a little NSFW language, so don't blast it in the office. Well, unless you have a particularly cool office.

Here's a Gospel piece you can listen to at work just fine.

Trump v. Clinton

A hypothetical monologue.
Trump will capitalize on his reputation as a truth-teller, and be vicious about both Clinton’s sudden changes of position (e.g. the switch on gay marriage, plus the affected economic populism of her run against Sanders) and her perceived dishonesty. One can already imagine the monologue:

“She lies so much. Everything she says is a lie. I’ve never seen someone who lies so much in my life. Let me tell you three lies she’s told. She made up a story about how she was ducking sniper fire! There was no sniper fire. She made it up! How do you forget a thing like that? She said she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, the guy who climbed Mount Everest. He hadn’t even climbed it when she was born! Total lie! She lied about the emails, of course, as we all know, and is probably going to be indicted. You know she said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq! It was a lie! Thousands of American soldiers are dead because of her. Not only does she lie, her lies kill people. That’s four lies, I said I’d give you three. You can’t even count them. You want to go on PolitiFact, see how many lies she has? It takes you an hour to read them all! In fact, they ask her, she doesn’t even say she hasn’t lied. They asked her straight up, she says she usually tries to tell the truth! Ooooh, she tries! Come on! This is a person, every single word out of her mouth is a lie. Nobody trusts her. Check the polls, nobody trusts her. Yuge liar.”
The article goes on to say that some of this is fair and some of it isn't. The only one that isn't fair is the hit on Iraqi WMD. She really did say it, but there really were WMD. That won't save her, though, because her own party's partisans have spent so long convincing the American people that there never were.

UPDATE: An encyclopedia against Clinton from the Daily KOS. The only issue on which she looks better to them than Bernie is guns -- where Bernie looks better to me.

Fast Times in Venezuela

A lonely blogger reports:
Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting....

Online media is next, a city of 645,000 inhabitants has been taken off the internet amid mounting repression, and this blog itself has been the object of a Facebook “block” campaign.

What we saw were not “street clashes”, what we saw is a state-hatched offensive to suppress and terrorize its opponents.
Is it true? Hard to say, because so much is going on that nobody might even notice paramilitary gangs. Caracas has in recent week seen outages of drinking water, a trial of its mayor, hijackings of food trucks, power rationing, a spike in gasoline prices, a Zika outbreak, a plague of frogs... OK, not the last one, but still.

And Now For Something Completely Different

USAJOBS is Bogus

The American Legion reports. This certainly matches my experience.

Killing You on Metadata

[F]ormer Director of the CIA and NSA, General Michael Hayden, explained that the administration's drone kill list, contrary to the narrative, was not a masterpiece of judicial and Solomonic judgment by president Obama but simply the result of a computer program. “We kill people based on metadata,” Hayden said.

He then qualified that stark assertion by reassuring the audience that the US government doesn’t kill American citizens on the basis of their metadata. They only kill foreigners.

Pakistanis, specifically. It turns out that the NSA hoovers up all the metadata of 55m mobile phone users in Pakistan and then feeds them into a machine-learning algorithm which supposedly identifies likely couriers working to shuttle messages and information between terrorists.
A program prints it out. Obama reads it and signs it. In a very real sense occupant of the Oval Office has been partially replaced by a hit-list generator actually called Skynet, as Ars Technica explains.
Foreign Policy reports on an independent review of the White House's drone program that uses a report-card rating system. On not selling drones recklessly to foreign states, they get a C. Overall, they get an F.
The number of civilians killed or wounded in the strikes has also generated controversy and raised concerns that the operations foment more violent extremism directed at the United States. The Obama administration has insisted only a small number of civilians have been inadvertently killed in the strikes. Independent estimates from the New America Foundation and the Long War Journal, which are based mainly on local media reports, have put the number in the hundreds, ranging from about 300 to more than 900 between 2004 and 2014. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates several thousand civilians have died in the drone bombing raids.
This comes to mind in part because of the President's self-congratulatory speech on closing GitMo. The reason he can consider closing that facility's prison is that he does not take prisoners. He kills everyone a computer program thinks even might be associated with terrorism, based on opaque metadata that is not subject to an independent review based on other evidence, nor is this killing subject to due process of any kind.

Nevertheless, the GitMo speech was delivered as yet another lecture from the High Moral Ground.

Apple and the FBI

So I've not seen the debate reach the Hall yet, so I figured this was a good time to put in my $0.02 about it.  And I don't suppose my opinion on the matter will surprise anyone.  That said, let's first explain exactly what the situation is.

Campus Carry Update (and a Floor Debate on the Klan)

The Campus Carry bill has been assigned to the Georgia Senate's Judiciary Committee, chaired by one Joshua McKoon. McKoon is a fairly reliable friend of the NRA, but he is in the news most recently for taking the floor to condemn a fellow Republican -- a state senator from Jefferson, Georgia -- for making a remark that appeared supportive of the original Ku Klux Klan.

It is a little strange that we'd be having that discussion in 2016, when I thought the Klan's place in Georgia history was well understood. Obviously they were a terrorist organization, as McKoon says, carrying on the war by other means. There is a distinction worth making between the Klan that existed immediately after the war and the one that was 'reborn' around the time of the movie Birth of a Nation. There is a distinction worth making between that second Klan and the one(s) that exist now. Those distinctions are for clarity among historians, though: none of them were any good.

This is Legislative Day 26, if you're counting. 14 more working days until they have to go away and leave us in peace.

Introduction to Statistical Mechanics

Via Armed Liberal:
Ludwig Boltzmann, who spent much of his life studying statistical mechanics, died in 1906, by his own hand. Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on the work, died similarly in 1933. Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics.

I'm Pretty Sure That's Not True

Headline: "Hillary Clinton: The Leader You Want When The World Ends."

So, when the world ends, I'll want our enemies read in on all our classified material?

"Authoritarians" Again

How do you take this seriously enough even to rebut it?
[N]ationally, only authoritarian attitudes and fear of terrorism — not income, age, education, or even race — predict with statistical significance whether someone will support Trump....

Individuals with a disposition to authoritarianism demonstrate a fear of "the other" as well as a readiness to follow and obey strong leaders. They tend to see the world in black-and-white terms. They are by definition attitudinally inflexible and rigid. And once they have identified friend from foe, they hold tight to their conclusions.
If a right wing author were describing the Left, particularly in its campus incarnation or its more emphatic activist groups, he could just copy and paste the second paragraph verbatim. But those people are Trump's most devoted opponents, not his supporters. Mote, beam.

As usual when reading the dicta of social psychology, I'm left wondering by their results if there can possibly be any validity to the field at all. If they are blind to flaws as obvious as this, such that repeated studies by practicing professionals replicate these results and publish them as if they were to be taken seriously, how can we trust any aspect of what they are doing?

Religious Groups and Political Leanings

No real surprises here. The Democrats have a mild advantage with all US adults, including those who lean to one party with that party. Catholics are the only religious group that breaks out exactly as the population as a whole does.

Democrats have a huge advantage with non-Christian faiths, and the largest advantage on the charts with Historically Black churches and Unitarians. Republicans have a significant advantage with Anglicans and United Methodists, a significant-to-huge advantage with Evangelicals, and an especially huge advantage with Mormons.

Asatruar didn't make the list. I wonder how they'd break out.

"I Fought Off A Burglar With A Sword"

Technically I think that makes him a "robber," but that's a minor point. Home alone with his ten-year-old daughter in bed, he is confronted by a man bashing in his door even though the house is clearly occupied.

The "burglar" attacked him in spite of him having a sword in his hand, and retreated and then came back multiple times. Being a Briton of the current generation, our hero was doing his best not to hurt the criminal:
I was using the sword to block the blows, while also feigning attack. I was terrified, but I was also very aware that I probably shouldn’t really hit him with the sword; that I should act proportionately. The problem was, I didn’t know how far he was going to go – I don’t think he knew, either.... I started thinking that any moment he would realise I was not trying to hurt him. Then what was I going to do? I was exhausted.

Then, to my relief, he just took off. I was walking slowly back into the house when I heard him behind me. I turned to see him running at full tilt with his arm raised, ready to strike. This was the only time I used the sword as a weapon, swinging at his chest while raising my other arm to block his blow. I got a cut arm and he was injured in the chest – not seriously, because the sword was blunt. Then he was gone again.
It worked, which satisfies the dictum that 'if it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid.' The non-sharpness of the sword and the excessive defensiveness of the combat kept him out of trouble with the law, too, which is a real concern in Britain today.

The 'aggravated burglary' charge got the crazed assailant a whole three years, which under British law only half of which can be served behind bars and the rest on some version of parole.

The Death of Twitter

Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say. I never used the "service" to quit it -- they lost me the minute they decided that the proper way to refer to having posted there was to say that you had "tweeted." There is no room in my life for something as ugly as that.

Jayne Cobb apparently used it, but we all knew where his aesthetics were.

Anyway, he's out too. "Trust and Safety Council," heh.

Second Look at Trump

Headline: 'Trump: As president, I would prosecute Clinton.'

Have we ever had a Presidential election where one candidate was promising to put the other behind bars if elected? It's Clinton's own fault that we're having it now, as she's the one who violated national security law with such casual, regular familiarity. If she had simply obeyed the law, we wouldn't be here.

Still, what an election Clinton v. Trump would be. The one side is promising to ban guns and appoint a progressive Supreme Court that will rewrite the Constitution to outlaw conservatives forever. The other side is promising to send the other candidate's party to prison, build a giant wall on the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it, bomb our enemies to the stone age, and then steal their oil.

Just small potatoes at stake, then.

Campus Carry Passes Georgia House

The Georgia General Assembly has come one step closer to resolving the strange confusion it created last year by passing two different laws on so-called "campus carry." The House passed its bill to allow those who have undergone the appropriate background check to obtain a Georgia weapons-carry license to carry on campus as most anywhere else.

I found out recently that an old friend I grew up with is now a state representative. I suppose this marks the first time I've ever had a friend in 'high' places.

I'm Not Sure You Understood Arendt

A Washington Post writer worries about Trump.
To understand the rise of Hitler and the spread of Nazism, I have generally relied on the German-Jewish émigré philosopher Hannah Arendt and her arguments about the banality of evil. Somehow people can understand themselves as “just doing their job,” yet act as cogs in the wheel of a murderous machine. Arendt also offered a second answer in a small but powerful book called “Men in Dark Times.” In this book, she described all those who thought that Hitler’s rise was a terrible thing but chose “internal exile,” or staying invisible and out of the way as their strategy for coping with the situation. They knew evil was evil, but they too facilitated it, by departing from the battlefield out of a sense of hopelessness.

One can see both of these phenomena unfolding now. The first shows itself, for instance, when journalists cover every crude and cruel thing that comes out of Trump’s mouth and thereby help acculturate all of us to what we are hearing. Are they not just doing their jobs, they will ask, in covering the Republican front-runner? Have we not already been acculturated by 30 years of popular culture to offensive and inciting comments? Yes, both of these things are true. But that doesn’t mean journalists ought to be Trump’s megaphone. Perhaps we should just shut the lights out on offensiveness; turn off the mic when someone tries to shout down others; reestablish standards for what counts as a worthwhile contribution to the public debate.
Arendt's answer to the dangers of totalitarianism was not speech control. Attempting to shut up the ideas of people who believe as Trump claims to believe is how you got here. I think it's accurately said to be the major source of his power: to hear someone speaking the forbidden thoughts shows him to be strong, because he stands in defiance to all the collected power of media and state, intelligentsia and 'decent society.' Clamping down on his ability to put out his message is only going to make that message stronger where it does get out.

What Arendt suggests as an answer to totalitarianism is two things: thought and community. She was worried that the loneliness and collapse of traditional communities associated with modern life were what made us peculiarly vulnerable to the totalitarian draw. It was common sense, by which she meant the way in which we improve our individual views of the world by comparing them with each others', that was robust enough to stand against propaganda and power.

If you want to beat Trump, the way to do it is to make common cause. If left and right agree that Trump is not the answer, they can defeat him if and only if they can come to an answer they can agree upon. If you're on the Left and you want to beat Trump, what are you willing to compromise on in order to make common cause with those on the right who agree? Will you support Ted Cruz in preference to Trump? Rubio? Would you be willing to allow conservatives to reclaim Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court if that were the price of avoiding a Trump presidency?

Those on the right have to decide if they would be willing to accept Sanders or Clinton. For myself, I think Clinton is demonstrably worse. I would dare a Trump presidency gladly rather than vote for someone so corrupt, deceptive, and disdainful of those whose lives she would hold in her hands as Commander in Chief. Sanders has an ideology I don't care for, but I respect him as an honest man. Others may disagree even on Sanders, especially with the Supreme Court hanging in the balance.

If there are no ways in which we can come together in 'common sense' and community, Trump may well win over the objections of both left and right. In a sense, his victory will be deserved -- I mean that the country will deserve him. I speak chiefly to the left, though. You have to defy what Arendt calls 'loneliness.' I mean that you have to rediscover community with the hated right. You have to break out of the bubbles that keep you only with those ideologically aligned with you. It is your 'safe spaces' that are enabling him. Trying to strengthen the walls of those spaces will only allow him to grow stronger in the world without them.

DB: Military Adopts Gender-Neutral Hair Standards

Following the conclusion of a lengthy period of focused testing and evaluation, the Department of Defense is poised to mandate full gender neutral integration of hair standards across the US military.... “For far too long, the US military has propagated an environment of double standards, lowered expectations, and lame-ass haircuts,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, running his fingers through his luscious mane, working carefully to wrap the flowing locks into a compact, gender nonconforming “War Bun” atop his head.

Love Itself

Love went on and on.

Donald Trump Comes to Georgia

And what a speech.
‘Our country does not win any more. We don’t win against ISIS. We don’t win with health care….We don’t win at the border with Mexico. We don’t win anywhere. But we’re gonna win. Oh, are we gonna win. You’ll get so tired of winning, you’re gonna get so tired, you’re going to say, ‘Please, please, Mr. President, we can’t stand it anymore. We don’t want to keep winning. We can’t stand it.’ And I’m going to say, ‘I don’t care, we’re going to keep winning, we’re going to make America great again.’”

Bring Back Dueling!

David Harsanyi, senior editor at The Federalist, argues:
The great Democrat, Andrew Jackson, supposedly participated in six duels with much success. No less an American hero, young Abraham Lincoln was almost involved in a duel before honor was restored.

Is Donald Trump a more honorable man than Abraham Lincoln? I think not. Right now, the leading candidate in the GOP race is celebrated by his fans for his vulgarity and eagerness to attack the dignity of others. People confuse this incivility — and he’s not alone — as a statement against political correctness. It isn’t. That would entail using ideological or cultural rhetoric that others have deemed morally unacceptable. Not calling a rival candidate a “pussy.”

Yet, the more personal and boorish his invective gets, the more Trump fans are awestricken. The belief that tough-guy Trump is a “fighter” propels his candidacy, even though pampered scions of wealth rarely have to fight for anything. And his success will only produce others who’ll ape this strategy.

I think we can all agree dueling would be a much-needed corrective.

As part of his argument, Harsanyi offers a brief discussion of dueling history in the US and links to sites with more, including a duel between women, two famous dueling grounds, the Code Duello and the Project Gutenberg text for “The Code of Honor; Or Rules for the Government of Principals and Seconds in Duelling," written by a South Carolina governor.

Whatever you think of this suggestion, I am greatly amused by the thought of Cruz and Trump squaring off with rapiers at Weehawken.

Doubtless an EEO/SHARP Violation

Doctrine and the perils of staff officer romance. A parody, I think.