Venn Diagrams

Oh, my goodness.

Friday Night AMV

Girls. Guns. Oh wait. Magical girls with magical guns.

Gotta work on that aiming though.

Life in the Bubble

Don't Congressfolk get out and talk to their constituents sometimes? Ever?
“It was a scary situation,” said Boxer, a Clinton supporter. “It was frightening. I was on the stage. People were six feet away from me. If I didn’t have a lot of security, I don’t know what would have happened.”
How is it that, representing a state as large as yours in a country as diverse as this, you're so unused to being six feet away from people who disagree with you? Why do you feel you need 'a lot of security' to be close to the people you undertake to represent? Could it be that you aren't really representing them?

Sanders Calls for FOX News Debate before California

“This is the worst-case scenario and the one people feared the most,” said one Clinton ally and former Clinton aide.

“Unfortunately, he’s choosing the path of burning down the house,” the ally said. “He continues with character attacks against Hillary. He continues with calling the Democratic Party corrupt and he not only risks damaging Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party but he's currently doing it."

Clinton allies say Sanders is only piling on by insisting that Clinton join him for a debate ahead of California's primary on June 7. The debate would be aired on Fox News, a network Clinton supporters see as fanning the flames between Sanders supporters and the former secretary of State.
I'd love to see FOX News moderators get ahold of both of these candidates. But I can imagine the questions for Clinton:

1) "We've all seen the news reports of the intensity of the FBI investigation into your mishandling of classified information. Some statements claim that they can't prove intent, but there is no need to prove intent under the law. How much longer do you think you can stay out of jail?"

2) "It's great you mention that, because the happier wing of stories about this are coming out of Justice Department leaks. Now it's a matter of record that high ranking Justice Department officials have donated $75,000 to your campaign this cycle, which represents a substantial investment in you. Isn't this proof of the corruption in the leadership of the Democratic Party that Senator Sanders is alleging, and will you call for an independent prosecutor to resolve all questions about your conduct once and for all?"

Yellowstone Grizzlies

Last year I had a chance to see a grizzly bear in Yellowstone. What amazing (and of course quite deadly) animals they are. There are now approximately 700 of them in the park, and that is causing the Fish and Wildlife Service to consider de-listing them as endangered.

Maintaining the health and natural beauty of America's National Parks is one of those few issues I think we should consider amending the Constitution to give the Federal Government power to do. In general I would like to see the 10th Amendment strictly enforced, but America's National Parks are genuine treasures. That includes the wildlife, especially the megafauna. On a 50 mile hike last year in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the other side of the country, I had a chance to see all the major species up close and in person: elk, black bear, wild boar, and deer. In Yellowstone, I saw many black bear, the grizzly, and bison. In the Tetons, I saw many more bison, pronghorn, more elk -- a small but significant sense of what this magnificent continent was like when we first encountered it.

So, small government guy that I am, here's one exception where I would consider "new" Federal power -- I mean licensing the power they've already seized for themselves, of course. Our National Parks is one area where the Federal government does a good job that is good for all of us.

Not Quite The Intended Effect

I'm on a bunch of political mailing lists. MoveOn just sent out an email titled, "This man is obstructing the President."

Naturally, I thought immediately of sending whoever it was a nice letter. It turns out the man is Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is problem #1 for getting Obama's SCOTUS nominee approved.

That wasn't a hugely urgent Democratic objective before yesterday's poll showing Trump in the lead in the general, I notice. Indeed, I haven't heard about this issue in a while.

Anyway, if you'd like to send Chuck a nice letter, you can reach him through his webpage.

UPDATE: Make that two polls with Trump out front.

Left v. Left

Slightly left Brookings Institute fellow Robert Kagan: Trump is how fascism comes to America.

Quite left outlet Vox: Nope, you're wrong.

Trump is a much better candidate for a democratic demagogue a la classical Greek thought (which Kagan knows enough about to mention). That's dangerous enough without needing to invoke a more-famously bad model that doesn't really fit.

Not a Bad Idea

Create a "collapse" supply list -- based on things that ran out in Venezuela.

Another Historical Article

From the same source as Tex's, a meditation on the Austrio-Hungarian empire as a multi-ethnic state as it relates to Germany's attempts to absorb mass migration.

DB: "Army Forces Reporters into SHARP Training..."

"...for Constantly Mentioning New Secretary's Sexual Orientation."

But how can you signal your virtue if you don't constantly signal?

From the article: "Meanwhile soldiers have expressed their support, or general indifference, towards Secretary Fanning."

That reminds me of a scene from Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War in which, as a Marine 2nd Lieutenant in Vietnam, he was challenged by a sentry.

Sanders Is Not 'Sabotaging Clinton,' He's Trying to Win

He well might win, if the superdelegates elect to abandon her and swing to him -- which they very well might, given his much stronger showing against Trump, her own terrible performance as a candidate, and her rapidly falling poll numbers.

Now, the superdelegates are chiefly loyal party organizers of just the sort who pulled the Nevada spectacle. Nevertheless, it's still two months to the DNC in Philly. If Clinton falls into a tie (or even below) Trump, and Sanders continues to show strong support, she'll be in a bad position to retain their loyalty.

So, no. This isn't sabotage. It's fair play for the prize.

Meanwhile, if it doesn't work, Trump has already moved to seize Sanders' line that the system is rigged. Every bit of rigging Clinton has to do to claw her way past the DNC is proof that Sanders was -- and, therefore, Trump is -- right about the state of American politics.

If I'm right that Sanders and Trump are aligned in the core logic of their campaigns, Trump could easily land a large part of the Sanders vote. Everybody is talking as if this were the usual left-v-right election. I think it is an 'America-First' v. Globalism election. The real driver is economics, but both Trump and Sanders play out the logic also in their foreign policy. Thus, the Trump campaign may seem like a more natural home for Sanders supporters than the Clinton campaign. Especially for the Sanders voters who are genuinely working class, the elitist, internationalist Clinton may seem like a symbol of everything they resent.

So if you don't want that, vote Sanders. Him getting past the DNC as the candidate is right now the #1 best shot for keeping Trump out of the White House -- just as it is the #1 best shot for keeping Clinton out of the White House.

Don't Bury the Lede

Headline: "Donald Trump Releases List of Supreme Court Picks."

How many paragraphs do you think the NYT needs to fulminate before it tells us even one of the names on that list?

Would you believe five paragraphs?

Here's the list, to spare you reading all about how nobody trusts Trump and the list is meaningless (which you get again in the paragraphs following the list):
According to a list released by the campaign, Mr. Trump’s potential nominees include several federal judges: Steven M. Colloton of Iowa; Raymond W. Gruender of Missouri; Thomas M. Hardiman of Pennsylvania; William H. Pryor Jr. of Alabama, Diane Sykes of Wisconsin; and Raymond M. Kethledge of Michigan; and several state Supreme Court justices: Allison H. Eid of Colorado; Joan Larsen of Michigan; Thomas Lee of Utah; David Stras of Minnesota; and Don Willett of Texas.
It's possibly the most consequential issue of the election. What do you think?

Happy 100th Birthday, Sykes-Picot

On the talking point blaming all the ills of the Middle East on a smoke-filled room that produced Iraq's borders.

Two Small Questions

So there's this article about an Oregon Baptist Church with a sign described as "anti-Muslim."
Pastor Michael Harrington placed the words on the reader board outside Belmont Drive Missionary Baptist Church. On one side it reads, “Wake up Christians, Allah is not our God, Muhammad not greater than Jesus.” On the other side, it says, “Only the Bible is God’s word, ‘holy book,’ Koran is just another book.” ...

But locals, including the mayor, don’t want to see the signs.

“I was really annoyed and sad,” Hood River mayor, Paul Blackburn, told KATU. “I am annoyed that in this political season there’s a solid case of ugly going on. I think it norms up this kind of behavior like ‘oh it’s okay to be a bigot now.'”
I have just two questions.

1) What is the difference between bigotry and orthodoxy? This is the official position of the Baptist church. There's nothing in the sign that isn't completely accurate as a statement of church doctrine.

2) What's the difference between Baptist orthodoxy and Islamic orthodoxy as regards what constitutes bigotry? Muslims officially believe the inverse of this doctrine: that there is no God but Allah, that Muhammad is greater than Jesus (who is merely another prophet, and a lesser one, according to Islamic orthodoxy), and that only the Koran is the direct word of God.

It seems the complaint here is either one of aesthetics or one of etiquette. Maybe it's just rude, or ugly, to point this out. But the only way believing in Baptist orthodoxy is "anti-Muslim" is if being a Baptist is anti-Muslim. If that's the case, than any expression of religious sentiment is a form of bigotry, for 'being a Muslim' is anti-Christian by an exactly similar argument.

Is the only way to be fair to everyone to be an atheist? Or is the argument just that it's fine to believe what you want provided you don't say it out loud?

'Crybullies' and the Democratic Party

So, last weekend in Nevada Hillary Clinton supporters used a 'voice vote' to ram through a set of rules and a delegate count out of order with what the majority really wanted, and then refused to pause to actually count the votes. Instead, they declared the results final, gaveled down the session, fled the building, and then called in hotel security and then state police to drive the Sanders supporters away from the scene.

That's bullying. Shout them down, refuse to listen, call in big guys with sticks and guns to shut them up and force them to accept it.

Now comes the crying.
A lot of Democrats don’t want to admit it, but Donald Trump isn’t the only presidential candidate playing with fire and recklessly courting an angry mob.

For the latest round of curse-word hurling, chair throwing, social-media stalking and conspiracy-theory swapping, look no further than the supporters of Bernie Sanders.

Over the weekend, dozens of Sanders devotees lost their minds after the Nevada Democratic Party, meeting for its convention in Las Vegas, awarded a majority of delegates to front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Convinced that the establishment had rigged the rules and that Sanders delegates had been excluded for unfair reasons, they booed and traded barbs with people on stage, including Clinton surrogate and keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The convention ended abruptly, descending into chaos that was captured for the world to relive on Facebook and YouTube.

Death threats and vandalism followed, prompting Nevada Democratic Party offices to close on Monday and its chairwoman, Roberta Lange, to release some downright disgusting voicemails and text messages she had received from Sanders supporters. She also reported threats against her grandchildren.
Even if Ms. Lange is reporting honestly, which would be out of line with the history of these 'crybully' movements, who's to say that these threats were from "Sanders supporters" and not Clinton proxies? Clinton's people have a long history here. Her oppo people and astroturf people started the Birther movement, for example. Why not start a "Bernie Sanders is a thug" movement?

Yet while the charge is audacious enough to come from Clinton and her "unexpected!" allies in the media, it's not plausible. Bernie Sanders hasn't even been rude to Hillary Clinton. His supporters are outraged because they ought to be.

Ancient Irish Horn Survives in India

It's Not Easy Being Green

Speaking to reporters, the practitioner of ancient South American religious rituals involving the hallucinogenic ayahuasca plant explained that, while he was ordinarily happy to share his culture’s spiritual wisdom with others, the constant stream of wealthy Silicon Valley executives seeking transcendental enlightenment had become an increasingly loathsome and disheartening part of his occupation.

“These days, I can’t even look at my calendar without cringing—it’s pretty much all tech execs,” said Salazar, adding that he had thought the developed world’s interest in the ayahuasca tea ceremony was generally a positive until it became his full-time job to provide celestial guidance to Bay Area venture capitalists and app founders who had learned about the practice through a Viceland special.
I have to admit that I first heard about it through the Onion.


A seven thousand year old forest, preserved in peat, with human footprints.

Island Steel Guitar

Starting with the British isles:

But of course the guitar really originates in Hawaii:

There's Almost No Reason for Sanders Supporters to Back Clinton

Salon is worried about the exit polls.
CBS News reported 44 percent said they’d vote for Trump, 23 percent for Hillary Clinton, and 32 percent for neither. These findings—especially Sanders’ supporters shifting to Trump—seem like a stretch, but maybe they’re not.
Trump and Sanders' candidacies are much more alike than different. Both are insurgents, as Salon understands. But Trump and Sanders are also both isolationists on foreign policy. Foreign policy usually doesn't matter much in Presidential elections, but this time the foreign policy views are just outgrowths of the candidates' economic views. Both candidates believe that foreign free trade deals have been too costly to American workers compared with the benefits they spread abroad. Now economic views are usually hugely important in Presidential elections. That their foreign policy lines up with their economic worldviews means that there is a core logic to both of these campaigns that is closely aligned.

Sanders is a socialist, and Trump is not -- Trump thinks he's going to negotiate a better deal for American capitalists and workers. But neither of them is even a little bit like Clinton. She called the TPP deal "the gold standard," and although she's now trying to walk that back it's clear she's only doing so for electoral reasons. Her real economic policy is to pursue the ends set at Davos. Her foreign policy, likewise, is one of international engagement in pursuit of ends set in Turtle Bay, or at Davos, or by wealthy Persian Gulf sheikhs with money to donate to the Clinton Global Foundation.

Sanders voters are not blind. They can see that, in the essence of political views, Trump is far more like them than Clinton is. Those like Salon who see her as the candidate of compromise are missing the boat. When it comes to this essential core of the campaigns, Trump is the candidate of compromise between Sanders and Clinton. This basic failure to grasp the ground of the campaign suggests that Clinton's people -- and Obama's -- badly misunderstand what is going on before their eyes.

UPDATE: Centrist Democrats sense the coming earthquake, begin talking about being ready to work with President Trump.

UPDATE: Bernie fans put together this video of the fix being in at the Nevada convention.

11 Principles For After Blue States Secede

Here's a fellow who is thinking in the right direction, assuming there is any possibility that the blue states will actually secede. Their real interest is in winning a Clinton Presidency, securing a durable Supreme Court majority, and imposing their will on the rest of us forever.

Still, it could happen. If it does, it sounds to me like he's got the right principles for a new America.

And, of course, secession could go the other way too.
The governor of Texas sent a harsh letter to US President Barack Obama on Monday, announcing that his state would not only maintain its sanctions on Iran, but strengthen them...

Governor Greg Abbott explained that the letter was in response to a written appeal made by Obama on April 8, requesting that Texas “review” its economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic – as was promised to Tehran in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers reached in July.

“I strongly oppose the Iran deal because it undermines the national security of the United States and its strategic allies abroad – especially our most important Middle East ally, Israel,” Abbott wrote to Obama. “Entering into an agreement with a country that consistently calls for ‘death to America,’ and repeatedly articulates antisemitic policies is short-sighted and ignores geopolitical realities.”
That sounds like another Federal lawsuit against another US State is in the offing. Ordinarily I'd say that Texas was in the wrong -- not about the advisability of the Iran Deal, about which Abbott is quite right, but about Texas' power to conduct an independent foreign policy. However, if we're entering the first phases of dissolving the Union, the testing of those boundaries is going to occur. North Carolina is testing them from a place where the Federal government is clearly overreaching its duties. Texas is testing them from a place in which the Federal government is failing its duties. So too were Arizona and the other states involved in the immigration lawsuit, demanding the Federal government enforce its laws and stop preventing them from enforcing the laws as well.

"It's a Meat-Based Vegetable Substitute for Cucumber"

Violence in American Politics

Adryenn Ashley posted several live videos (below) from inside the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, where arcane secondary rounds of the delegate selection process of Nevada's Democratic caucus erupted into chaos Saturday night. Bernie Sanders supporters demanded 64 rejected pro-Sanders delegates listed in a "minority report" prepared by their campaign be allowed to participate in selecting delegates for the national convention.

State party chair and DNC executive committee member Roberta Lange refused to reconsider their decision not to allow this, adjourned, and fled the building amid a chorus of boos; leaving hotel security and local police officers to handle the angry Sanders supporters.
A casual conversation with other two hotel guests reportedly turned tense when the subject of the Democratic presidential primary was broached. [Hollywood actor Wendell Pierce], an ardent supporter of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, allegedly assaulted a woman and her boyfriend at the midtown Loews Hotel around 3:30 a.m. The alleged incident took place in The Lobby, an open bar sandwiched between the guest check-in desk and a restaurant, and a go-to venue for private receptions and after-work cocktails for Atlanta’s business and entertainment class.

The couple, said to be supporters of Bernie Sanders, said Pierce became enraged when the unknown woman declared her support for the Vermont senator. Pierce, who most recently co-starred in the HBO drama Confirmation in the role of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, allegedly pushed a male victim and then “went after his girlfriend… grabbing her hair and smacking her in the head,” according to TMZ.
Quite a weekend.

Ignorance is Not a Virtue, but It Can Be A Defense

President Obama has decided that he is going to take a very active hand in campaigning for his preferred successor.
"In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It's not cool to not know what you're talking about. That's not keeping it real, or telling it like it is. That's not challenging political correctness. That's just not knowing what you're talking about. And yet, we've become confused about this."

"When our leaders express a disdain for facts, when they’re not held accountable for repeating falsehoods and just making stuff up, while actual experts are dismissed as elitists, then we’ve got a problem."

UPDATE: "[W]atch this 20 second clip from Charlie Rose this week. In it you’ll see two former Obama administration staffers, Jon Lovett and Jon Favreau, laughing hysterically about the “if you like your insurance you can keep it” Obamacare lie they helped perpetrate. This comes on the heels of last week’s New York Times Magazine brutal profile of ‘Obama’s brain’ Ben Rhodes, who masterminded the journalist-spinning tactics that sold the Iran deal, among others."

The High Feast of Pentecost

WHEN Arthur held his Round Table most plenour, it fortuned that he commanded that the high feast of Pentecost should be holden at a city and a castle, the which in those days was called Kynke Kenadonne, upon the sands that marched nigh Wales. So ever the king had a custom that at the feast of Pentecost in especial, afore other feasts in the year, he would not go that day to meat until he had heard or seen of a great marvel. And for that custom all manner of strange adventures came before Arthur as at that feast before all other feasts. And so Sir Gawaine, a little tofore noon of the day of Pentecost, espied at a window three men upon horseback, and a dwarf on foot, and so the three men alighted, and the dwarf kept their horses, and one of the three men was higher than the other twain by a foot and an half. Then Sir Gawaine went unto the king and said, Sir, go to your meat, for here at the hand come strange adventures.

Donald Trump Really Must Not Be President

We have to come up with a way around this, because of course Hillary Clinton also really must not be President -- she is deeply corrupt, and unrestrained by either law or custom. Neither of these figures is even a little bit fit for the office.

Still, these remarks (h/t: Hot Air) remind me of why I turned against Trump back in September. While I am very much not a feminist, I am a gentleman and I cannot abide men who do not respect women. I think it ought to be disqualifying for an office as powerful and important as the Presidency. Of course, I think the Presidency should become much less powerful and important, in which case it would not matter so much. But for now it is, and it does.

May God open a road for us, I pray this Pentecost, and may we be again a nation worthy of such providence.

An Analysis

It opens with a metaphysical claim about politics:
Perhaps the most evident sign of civilizational devolution is the inability or unwillingness to acknowledge reality, to come to terms with things as they are, and to oppose the suppression of objectivity and its substitution by fantasy, illusion and wish-fulfillment. The resonating dictum of the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Parmenides from his fragmentary poem On Nature—variously translated as what is, is, and what is not, is not!—sounds like an empty tautology. But it has relevance for our present historical moment, with respect to the cultural and lexical inversions of contemporary thought and discourse. Apart from its metaphysical implications, which we won’t go into here, the Parmenidean maxim expresses the criterion for survival, the need to separate truth (aletheia) from opinion (doxa) and to recognize things as they are if an individual, a culture, a people is to transact successfully with the existing world. But when thought and action come to be governed by the anarchic principle that what is, is not and what is not, is, a process of social, political and epistemological disintegration invariably sets in. This is the condition in which the West finds itself today.
Best read alongside this.