Independence Weekend: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ranger Up warning. Most of you have been around here long enough to know what that means.

Are You Talking About the Queen Again? On Independence Day?

Our new least favorite columnist, Gersh Kuntzman, has decided to go after "God Bless America" on Independence Day weekend.
Part of my outrage stems from ponderous Mussolini-esque introduction of the song, when fans are asked to rise, remove their caps and place them over their hearts.

Reality check, friends: “God Bless America” is not the National Anthem. The only songs Americans should stand for are “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Here Comes the Bride.”
Nice to hear that you're willing to stand for "The Star Spangled Banner," Mr. Kuntzman. I assumed from your last column that the mere mention of rockets and bombs would send you ducking for cover.

Independence Weekend: Knife Hand is a Go

Lynch Claims She WIll Not Make the Call

The plane meeting has created enough of a furor that the Attorney General is repeating her earlier claims that she won't be the one making the decision.
A Justice Department official said the attorney general will accept the “determinations and findings of career prosecutors and lawyers as well as FBI investigators and director [James B.] Comey.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity in advance of Lynch’s remarks.
It's that "as well as" that's the problem. She'd already said that the decision would be made by Justice Department officials. The problem is that top Justice Department officials are just as unreliable, having donated $75,000 to Clinton's campaign in this cycle.

Meanwhile, it turns out the FBI was present at the plane meeting, and ordered journalists not to record it.

Is it possible that the FBI is going to drop the hammer on Clinton, and the real purpose of the meeting was to give Bill Clinton a 'professional courtesy' heads up so they could have time to prepare? I would love to believe that was the case.

We Will Live Forever

Independence Day's weekend is upon us.

Via SSI.

It's a known sentiment.

The outlawing of the tunes and pipes doesn't date to the Medievals, but to the Jacobite rebellions some hundreds of years later. But the Scots were free, eventually, in Georgia and southern Appalachians if not in Scotland. Aye, and shall be again, when they are ready to be. And so shall we.

Department of Injustice, Continued

After yesterday's mysterious meeting on the tarmac inside a private plane, "Attorney General" Loretta Lynch moves to shield the Clinton Foundation from public scrutiny until nearly two years from now.

Grandchildren. Right.

UPDATE: Armed Liberal is right. It's worth reading the comments from the NPR listeners reacting to this story.

Are You Kidding Me?

This election season remains like a bad dream:
[J]ust last week, yet another “Jane Doe” filed a suit in New York accusing Epstein and Donald Trump of raping her at a series of sex parties when she was only 13. Trump has denied Jane Doe’s claims and his reps have said he barely knew Epstein—even though New York media in the ’90s regularly chronicled his comings-and-goings at Epstein’s Upper East Side palace, and even though Epstein had 14 private numbers for Trump and his family in his little black book. Meanwhile, Bill and Hillary Clinton have remained mum about their ties to the Palm Beach pedophile—despite evidence that shows Bill was one of the most famous and frequent passengers on Epstein’s “Lolita Express” and that Epstein donated money to the Clinton Foundation even after his conviction.
Naturally, the accusation does not prove guilt. Association does not prove guilt.

Still, what a nightmare.

Social Class at Yale

Yale isn't the bad guy here -- they have generous programs to try to recruit poorer kids like this writer. However, when so much of your student body is from a narrow social class, it's hard.
Even though my experiences were unique, I never felt like a foreigner in Middletown. Most people’s parents had never gone to college. My closest friends had all seen some kind of domestic strife in their life—divorces, remarriages, legal separations, or fathers who spent some time in jail. A few parents worked as lawyers, engineers, or teachers. They were “rich people” to Mamaw, but they were never so rich that I thought of them as fundamentally different. They still lived within walking distance of my house, sent their kids to the same high school, and generally did the same things the rest of us did. It never occurred to me that I didn’t belong, even in the homes of some of my relatively wealthy friends.

At Yale Law School, I felt like my spaceship had crashed in Oz.
I had a similar experience, switching high schools halway from the rural public schools I'd always been in to an elite public school in Atlanta. I didn't even apply to elite universities, though doubtless I could have gotten in and gotten good financial aid for the same reasons he did. It was just utterly clear that I did not belong.

Proof that Cultural Difference is Real

The Kerala, India government has issued a new rule: bikers without helmets are to be refused gasoline by filling station managers.

I imagine that works out better in India than it would in some other places.

If They Make That Connection, It's Only Because They Are Right

Hillary Clinton looks across the pond, and must loathe what she sees. Average English people have acted out, voting for Brexit like naughty children pulling a prank on the school principal. Despite apocalyptic warnings from business and political elites, they decided to leave the EU.

UK’s leaders were punished for neglecting middle class wages and hopes and instead pursuing grander ambitions – tighter bonds with Europe. Hillary must wonder, will we be next? Will Americans blame stagnant incomes on President Obama who was so busy "fundamentally transforming the United States of America” that he forgot about the people who elected him?

Now, There's A Thought

CNN: Make UK the 51st State.

DB: Early Indicators Women Settling Into Infantry Just Fine

Slaughter, who graduated from the School of Infantry (SOI) last month, also claims that the infantry community isn’t what it was “back in the old Corps,” and she’s now worried about a “POGification” of the service.

Her comments were in keeping with the infantry tradition of hatred and contempt towards just about everyone and everything else.

“It’s not just POGs, but all of our pencil-pushing officers, too,” said Slaughter after downing a protein shake mixed with Wild Turkey and putting a coworker in a rear-naked choke.

A Pretty Strong Speech by Donald Trump

Not according to me... according to The Atlantic.

If he can control his public remarks this well, and give speeches this strong on these issues, he'll have a chance. I think Scott Adams is right, though, that he will still lose unless he can convince Americans that he loves them.

But these are the right ideas for helping out that blue-collar American working class whose analog, the old Labour voters, won Brexit. Would Trump implement these ideas if elected? It's the same problem with the SCOTUS nominee list he put out. They're the right people: would he follow through if elected?

We certainly know Clinton won't.

Well, Yes, That's What We've Been Saying All Along

They're ready to admit that there's no real difference between babies and fetuses now because they think they can win the debate on killing babies.

The whole trick depends on the shift from "it is wrong to kill an innocent human being" to "it is wrong to kill an innocent person." We can say without any scientific doubt whatsoever that a baby is a human being, and by nearly any ethical standard it is an innocent one. But is it a person? Well, now we can play with words!

Beware, of course, who else gets defined out of "personhood." But more than that, we should just refuse to make the shift. We don't need the ambiguous category given that we have the obvious and clear one. Humanity is easy to establish. The whole appeal of "personhood" is that it isn't, and thus can allow for immoral acts to be slid in where convenient.

So, What's Up With That Brexit Vote?

Stathis Kouvelakis was a member of the Syriza central committee, a Greek political party. He was asked about Brexit.
The first thing to note is that the European Union loses all referendums over proposals emanating from the EU or which concern EU authority. The unconditional defenders of the European project have to ask themselves why that is the case. But this is the first time that the question of remaining or leaving has been posed directly. And in my view the fact that one of the three big European countries has chosen to break away from the EU marks the end of the current European project. This result definitively reveals something we knew already, namely that this was a project built by and for elites, and which did not enjoy popular support.
Emphasis added.

7th Circuit Federal Judge: Studying Constitution is a Waste of Time

He has a good point about the SCOTUS being too uniform in background, but his remarks about the Constitution ought to be grounds for removal from office. They ought to be seen, in other words, as disqualifying for the office he holds.
“I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries — well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments),” he wrote. “Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century.”

He added, “let’s not let the dead bury the living.”
Sounds like a remedial course in Aristotle's Politics would be helpful. There's a reason constitutions -- not just ours -- are an important feature in keeping a government from turning toxic. To whit, they restrain the class that exercises power from pursuing its own interests instead of the common good. Constitutions represent a permanent statement about the will of the people. They can be altered but not easily, and only with widespread consent.

Perhaps the most destabilizing American political factor of all in my lifetime has been the transformation of the Supreme Court into a rolling committee on amending the Constitution. Perhaps not: there are several other candidates, such as the vast increase in executive branch legislation-by-regulation, or the success by the global financial/corporate sector in capturing Congress (and certain Presidents) to serve their interests instead of the American people's interests. This sway by the Federal courts toward thinking of themselves as superior to the Constitution, of their will as having priority in determining the content of the Constitution, is at least one of the major factors in destroying the American republic.

NIgel Farage visits the European Parliament

"Now, I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives..."

I Survived, Mostly Intact

Back in early May I wrote about taking a graduate literature course, about which I had some anxiety as the syllabus declared that (to quote myself quoting the syllabus):

... one of the course objectives is to "undermine and subvert" the traditional narratives of "American hegemony and mythology." In both the objectives and the description of the required research paper, it is made clear that we are to use post-structuralist approaches to the readings.

I was fearful; I would have to quickly read up on all this post-structuralism and fake it, and I had no idea what the class discussions would be like. (Okay, so I had studied post-structuralism in history, but literature is a whole other animal. They do some crazy stuff there.)

Well, I'm done, and in the end, my fears were much ado about little. The professor hardly brought any of that up in the discussions, focusing mostly on the literature itself. There were some biased questions we were expected to write about, but not many, to be honest. I employed the tactic of using the authors' words to undermine American hegemony, reporting that author X criticized America for this, and author Y felt disenfranchised for that, and never talked about my opinions on it. And I got an A, so, there we are.

Granted, I could have produced much more creative work if I had not felt constrained by the BS in the syllabus, but on the other hand, the professor did me a favor by declaring his political allegiances up front, so I knew what to avoid.

I'd like to thank everyone who weighed in with advice in the comments to that earlier post: Eric Hines, Eric Blair, Ymar, Grim, AVI, ColoComment, Raven, and douglas. (I hope I haven't forgotten anyone! If so, my apologies, and my thanks!)

It was helpful, and it's good to know I'm not alone. Thanks!

West Virginia Is Not Having Your Looting

Sounds right to me.

Trump Swinging for the Fences

Now if he only had the money to put out fifty ads telling these fifty stories. Or even the best dozen or so.

The Anti-Nazi Rally Will Be Held at the Nazi Rally

In what is becoming a regular feature of American life, left-wing radicals showed up at a right-wing radical event and attacked it. Much like what happened here in Georgia at Stone Mountain not long ago, the counterprotesters greatly outnumbered the protesters.

I don't care for Nazis or Klansmen, so I can't really bring myself to shed many tears over this. On the other hand, we see the same sort of behavior being pointed at Donald Trump rallies -- and he's twice now faced a potential assassin coming after him personally. It seems as if the right to a dissenting opinion is not being undermined only for the Klan and their ilk. Rather, the strategy seems to be to paint a large part of Americans' views as deserving of physical silencing.

Althouse: NYT Readers Not Playing Along

They're supposed to be moved to tears by the injustice of enforcing the laws against illegal immigration, she says, but somehow reader comments don't seem to suggest that they are.

On Following Orders and Media Coverage

In the case of the two US Navy boats captured by the Iranian navy in January, Fox News reports that the helmsman of one of the boats refused an order to take evasive action.

While a young lieutenant was the highest-ranking individual on either of the two 50-foot boats, when the order was given to evade the Iranian forces, the helmsman refused the order.

That sounds pretty bad to me. My first reaction was disbelief and thoughts of a firing squad.

However, one of the commenters there, JeffGauch, brought up an interesting point:

... if that Lieutenant wasn't the coxswain of the lead boat in the formation the helmsman was absolutely correct in disregarding the order.  Far more information than what is presented here is necessary to make an intelligent judgment.

Oddly, this fits with my experience as a rower. We often have both a coach, in a separate motorboat, and a coxswain in our own boat talking to us. The coach is in charge, but when it comes to maneuver we oar-pullers should only follow the orders of the coxswain.

New rowers often get confused by this: We can hear the coach giving maneuver orders to the coxswain, and newbs on their first or second time out will immediately start to follow them, which produces splashing, crossed oars and confusion as the more experienced rowers correctly wait for the coxswain's commands.

The Fox report does explain that the crew was inexperienced. Maybe something similar to this happened to them.

These kinds of details seem highly relevant to the story. Maybe the LT broke the rules by failing to give orders in the proper way. Maybe the helmsman broke the rules by disobeying a proper order. Either way, we need better reporters.

The Killer at the Star Club

If we're having a dance party, you can't do better than this.

Trouble may come tomorrow, but we get few enough chances to celebrate cleanly. Here's some music for a weekend of it. If you've got the energy for it, Jerry Lee has the energy for you.

The dog that didn't bark

From a commenter at Maggie's Farm: what if the Brexit vote is ignored?