Eek part deux

As Glen Reynolds like to say, why is the Democratic primary system such a cesspool of racism and sexism?  Apparently Kamala Harris never had a chance of winning the Democratic party presidential nomination in "Trump's America."  I had no idea Trump had succeeded in co-opting the frantically partisan left wing of the Democratic party.  The man is a legend.  Speaking of which,

Pearl Harbor Day

Few are left now who were there to tell us what they remember. The Navy has people detailed to making sure the rest of us know the story.


The Mayflower Compact Goes West

A review of a review of one of my favorite movies in one of Tom's favorite outlets, Liberty Island.

There's still worth to be had from another discussion on The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Florida naval base shooting

We may never know the motive of this young man, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani.

Oh, Rampant Dishonesty

Apparently the lady has a history.

Points of Disanalogy

All analogies always break. This is because they are comparisons of things that are not the same, and thus at some point the differences will emerge. This is true of even the best analogy. Nevertheless, analogies remain essential tools for reasoning because in life we generally have to make decisions about things that are not the same. Even standardized industrial products -- blue jeans, say, from a particular manufacturer and in a particular size and style -- will differ in slight ways, and certainly can differ in important properties (e.g., ownership: that one is yours, and this one is mine, and you are not free to dispose of mine as you are your own).

So when we are reasoning analogically, the thing to look for is the place (or places) where the analogy fails to hold. Then we have to see if the conclusion being drawn comes before, or after, the point of disanalogy.

For example, in today's impeachment hearings, Professor Karlan made an analogy to explain why she thought the President's conduct was impeachable.
Imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that’s prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding. What would you think if you lived there and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that Congress has provided for? What would you think if that president said, “I would like you to do us a favor? I’ll meet with you, and send the disaster relief, once you brand my opponent a criminal.”

Wouldn’t you know in your gut that such a president has abused his office? That he’d betrayed the national interest, and that he was trying to corrupt the electoral process?
There are three points of disanalogy that leap out at me. Unfortunately for Dr. Karlan, all of the breaking points occur before the analogy could bear the weight she is trying to put on it.

1) She is analogizing to a 'quid pro quo' situation of exactly the kind that the last months of inquiry have not shown to have taken place. The closest we got to that was Amb. Sondland testifying that he had kind of understood that to be the situation, but that no one in the administration -- indeed, not on the whole planet -- had told him that it was the case. This is somewhat like a prosecutor who has failed to prove that a wrongful killing has happened trying to convince the jury with an analogy to a murder. "Wouldn't it be wrong if it had been murder? Wouldn't you know in your gut that was wrong?"

2) A President of the United States has a formal duty to provide disaster relief to Texas or Louisiana that is much stronger than the analog case, treating a foreign country. Even if you want to argue that the President had a particular duty to provide this aid, since Congress had apportioned it, the duty is of a different kind. To refuse to help Americans in need would be a basic betrayal of loyalty in a way that pressuring a foreign government is not.

3) Her 'brand him a criminal' is disanalogous to 'open a formal investigation on this apparently corrupt action, working with the Attorney General as is in accord with our formal treaty governing such investigations.' It's not the same thing at all. The one thing is slanderous, perhaps; the other, given the strong appearance of corruption in the Hunter Biden matter, is a perfectly reasonable exercise of constitutional power by the duly elected officer charged with exercising that power.

It's a pretty sad spectacle. I hope she's a better professor about matters where she is less passionate. Passion is the enemy of reason as we all know, and as Professor Turley rightly pointed out in a far better set of testimony.

Judiciary Pseudo-Impeachment

So far--the Nadler show has adjourned for some House votes after the first 45-minute rounds of questionings--this is what I've seen.

Karlan is astounding in her manufactured dudgeon or her hysteria, you pick 'em. That's all she has, even in her  answers to questions.

It seems clear the Nadler lawyer and the three Progressive-Democrat law professors--each of whom have proclaimed the impeachable guilt of Trump for most of his term--coordinated their questions and answers ahead of time. The professors' answers are too rehearsed and glib. Nadler's lawyer also took a Turley remark in an op-ed out of context and refused to let Turley provide that context.

Gerhart asserted that there is no right to go to court to contest a subpoena. King Congress has spoken; kneel and obey (my phrasing in the last clause of the sentence).

Gerhardt says further that there's no need of an actual crime in order to impeach, only an appearance. This is an instantiation of the Ford view of "high crime and misdemeanor:" it's whatever the Congress says it is. And that's what the Nadler TV show is doing. Making up a convenient beef.

The Progressive-Democrats carefully avoided directing questions to Turley, except for a single one wherein Nadler's lawyer asked if Turley had written a single sentence in a WSJ op-ed (the above comment), carefully excising the context--the caveat, in Turley's terms. When Turley tried to supply the clarifying caveat, Nadler's lawyer told him to shut up and just answer the question about the sentence, "Yes, or no."

When Turley was allowed to testify, in response to Collins and Collins' lawyer, he dismantled the Progressive-Democrats' and their law professor witnesses' case virtually point by point.

It's disappointing that actual lawyers could so misunderstand the law.

If the prior was a Schiff show, this is a Nadler burlesque.

Eric Hines

A Plan for 2020

Angelo Codevilla has suggested one.

He had this admonition: Our temptation to focus on fights regarding Trump has obscured the fact that their [the ruling class'] objection is to us.


This bit, Were Donald Trump to be reelected in 2020, as is likely, there is no reason to think his second administration would loosen the ruling class’s tightening grip on our lives any more than the first did, leads me to my own, somewhat more concrete suggestion of what Trump ought to do:

Demand the resignations of all White House staffers including the staffs of every agency and facility in the White House right down to the cooks and janitors, firing those who, like a lawyer in DoJ, refuse to resign. Put in place the heads of those staff agencies the people whom Trump can trust, and have them as their first order of business go through those resignations and retain those whom the new heads deem worthy. Then hire some (not many), if necessary, to flesh out the staffs.

That at least will give the President a measure of control over his White House staff and should hold leaks to a dull roar.

Eric Hines


There are a surprising number of them in the tortuous explanation of the Steele Dossier in a book recently published by GPS Fusion's co-owners.

Going off-script

Not only is the President's "high crime" turning out to refuse to follow the impeachment script, the whole thing started with a President who had the gall to go off-script in a telephone meeting with a foreign leader.  The smart people gave him his talking points, and he acted like he was an elected chief executive with his own ideas.

Burn the witch.

Sentence first, verdict afterwards

When even Slate has given up on impeachment, you know it's dire. This article jams in just about every stale metaphor we have to describe a boring exercise: clown car, muddying the question, summer rerun season, miring in a sloppy fight, confusing mishmash, food fight, circus, boxes checked, hoops jumped through. My favorite line, though, is
Compared with the staid and productive fact-finding work conducted by the House Intelligence Committee over the past few weeks, this hearing will almost certainly be a disaster.
"Staid and productive fact-finding work." The author is being kind, but it's also damning with faint praise.

I take it back. My real favorite is the Republican complaint that Nadler plans to give the jury instructions before the evidence. That one's actually good, like the Red Queen declaring "Sentence first--verdict afterwards."

The article also bemoans Nadler's probable unwillingness to improve matters by simply gaveling Republicans into silence.  And maybe his stated intention of wearing a big red clown nose with a kangaroo suit.

Cutting Off One’s Nose... spite one’s face.


Ymar mentioned the Georgia Guidestones in the comments below. There's a bit of a secret about who put them up, although it's almost certainly a collection of university professors -- most of the guidelines are ordinary parts of the sensus communis of the sort of folk who used to teach at major Southern universities. It's a little bit liberal, a little bit anti-government, a lot of 'peace and love and beauty.'

It's a nice motorcycle ride through flat country from Athens, Georgia. There's nowhere to eat and nothing to do anywhere near them, but if the ride is the point -- as it was for me -- it's not the worst way to spend an afternoon, riding out to see them.

Demographics and Philosophical Intuition

What if it doesn't matter who you are?

Top Tier

This may be the highlight of the 2020 campaign, so it's worth noticing: Kamala Harris is out. Whatever eventuates now, at least we will not have a President who has already proven her eagerness to prosecute people while withholding exculpatory evidence.

Many thanks to Tulsi Gabbard, who helped this moment come about. In spite of all the reasons why I can't in good conscience vote for her, she has done a service to her country in bringing this day about.

Swinging for the Fences

Virginia, home of the NRA, has recently elected a solid blue government. Bills are already being filed that intend to impose heavy restrictions on 2nd Amendment rights; dozens of localities have passed 'sanctuary' laws or resolutions that defy proposed enforcement.

This is going to be an interesting year.

"People are Very Concerned"

I'd never heard of Peloton before yesterday, but apparently people hate it.

There are a lot of benefits to exercise besides weight loss. It's basically the best thing you can do for yourself. If you exercise more-or-less daily, with occasional exceptions to rest and heal, you will be happier and healthier across the board. It's not crazy to think that a woman who did so in a disciplined way for a year would feel like her life had been transformed for the better. This is true even though she's thin or whatever to start with.

How much of this is really projected guilt, I wonder, from people who know they should be exercising but are not?

Maybe not a bad trade-off

From Jim Geraghty:
It’s not hard to find analysts, usually Trump-leaning, scoffing and confidently predicting that the Democrats will not pass a single article of impeachment. That scenario is hard to envision. The House not impeaching Trump after all of this would set off a civil war within the Democratic party. That scenario would require 15 House Democrats to quietly and privately go to Nancy Pelosi and tell her they can’t vote for impeachment. Only two House Democrats voted against starting the inquiry. Recall that about ten years ago, a lot of House Democrats voted for Obamacare, knowing it would probably cost them their seats; back then, support for Obamacare was lower than the current support for impeachment, around 40 percent in most polls. When the Democratic party really wants to pass legislation, its leaders can make legislators take votes that will end their careers in order to get something passed.

Dangerous Virtue

Theodore Dalrymple cites a passage by Chesterton in a piece on the London attack.
The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues . . . The vices are indeed let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone.
That passage is valuable. Another author, reading Chesterton, commented on the idea. "I had never considered virtues as something potentially dangerous, but that is exactly what Chesterton says is happening."

But of course virtues are potentially dangerous, because virtues are strengths. Strength can help you break chains, but strength also helps you forge them. Worse, if not connected to the virtue of practical wisdom, you may not know whether forging or breaking chains is the better course.

Mission Already Accomplished

Bernie says he wants "population control" as part of his climate agenda.
An audience member asked Sanders about "educating everyone on the need to curb population growth."

"Human population growth has more than doubled in the past 50 years. The planet cannot sustain this growth. I realize this is a poisonous topic for politicians, but it's crucial to face," the audience member asked. "Empowering women and educating everyone on the need to curb population growth seems a reasonable campaign to enact. Would you be courageous enough to discuss this issue and make it a key feature of a plan to address climate catastrophe?"

"The answer is yes," Sanders responded. "And the answer has everything to do with the fact that women in the United States of America, by the way, have a right to control their own bodies and make reproductive decisions."
In fact, we may already be there. Too, it is exactly for the reason Bernie cites as his goal: education, particularly of women. Women are simply deciding to have a lot fewer kids, and medicine has given them the power to control that decision.

In Praise of Censure

Writing in The Hill, a former Republican Congressional staffer offers a proposal: Censure the President rather than impeaching him.

He has a number of arguments in favor of doing this, one of which is important: Nancy Pelosi would get to control the process, rather than turning it all over to the Republican-led Senate. That would allow the Congressional Democrats to escape from the trap they have built for themselves by staging this drama on Ukraine, where not only Joe Biden but Nancy Pelosi herself, along with John Kerry and Mitt Romney, have children with sweetheart deals from energy companies. If this goes to a Senate trial, there's the potential for humiliating blowback once the Republicans are in charge of who gets called as a witness and what they are asked.

He also suggests that a censure might be bipartisan, though he himself wouldn't vote for it. Of course, we have already had a bipartisan vote on this: some Democrats voted against opening the impeachment inquiry, after all.

Jigsaw puzzles

More pieces to fill in:

The Obama holdover heading the Pentagon office reportedly under investigation by the U.S. attorney who is conducting the criminal probe of the Trump–Russia investigation was accused of leaking a classified document, in a recent court filing for retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. The connection hasn't been previously reported.
According to a Nov. 21 report by independent journalist Sara Carter, U.S. Attorney John Durham is questioning personnel in the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment (ONA). ONA awarded about $1 million in contracts to FBI informant Stefan Halper, who appears to have played a key role in alleged U.S. intelligence agency spying on 2016 Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
In addition, however, a court filing indicates that ONA's director, James H. Baker, "is believed to be the person who illegally leaked the transcript of Mr. Flynn’s calls" to The Washington Post. Specifically, the filing states, "ONA Director Baker regularly lunched with Washington Post Reporter David Ignatius."
The filing adds that Baker "was Halper's 'handler'" at ONA.

From Epoch Times (possible paywall) via Ace.

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