Trump at the Lincoln Memorial on July 4

June 19, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Conceited, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Enemies of Planet Earth, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Daniel Chester French's statue at the Lincoln Memorial of Abraham Lincoln; photo by Jeff Kubina.

Daniel Chester French’s statue at the Lincoln Memorial of Abraham Lincoln; photo by Jeff Kubina.

President Chump has inserted himself into this year’s July 4 celebration on the Mall.

That is clever, but evil.

Chump will be there to propagandize and mis-inform, not to elevate and inspire.

The Lincoln Memorial is a memorial to freedom, and July 4 is a date that memorializes freedom, unity, and rigorously thought-out principled choices.

Chump – an enemy of American values and of the free world – will pollute that place and that date by his presence, and by his words, and by his whole cast of mind.

If you will be near the Lincoln Memorial when Chump speaks, you might like to:

Bring a sign:

…………President Chump!

…………The Creepy Clown in the White House

…………Don’t Trumpollute the Lincoln Memorial!

…………President Chump, Enemy of the Free World


…………..President Chump! President Chump!
…………………….Take him to the dump!

………….President Chump! Lock him up!

Each time he lies or advocates evil:

——–Boo loudly

——–shout “Liar!, Liar!”

If any entrepreneur is clever enough to be selling miniature Trump Baby balloons:

——–Jiggle yours, especially if the balloon is where Chump can’t avoid seeing it.

You might want to arrive early, to be close to the Lincoln Memorial,
so that cameras filming from the Memorial will show your balloon and signs.

Bring water!

Eugene Robinson, in an insightful column in the Washington Post, explains well the irony of Chump’s presence at this event. Here is a quote from Robinson’s column:
On Feb. 24, Trump posted this alarming tweet: “HOLD THE DATE!
We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C.,
on July 4th. It will be called ‘A Salute To America’ and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”

Note the signature pretentiousness of Chump’s tweet: “the biggest“, and “your favorite President, me!” Notice also the other characteristic of Chump’s statements: the self-serving attempt to pre-empt the way you think about the importance of his speech, and how you categorize him.

Scary Clown, photographed by Graeme Maclean in 2005.

Scary Clown, photographed by Graeme Maclean in 2005.

Religious or Moral Exemptions for Health Care Workers

May 3, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Fairness | Leave a comment
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U.S. Air Force surgeons Dr. Patrick Miller (left), Dr. Michael Hughes (right), and surgical technician SrA Ray Wilson from the 379th Expeditionary Medical Squadron, repair the ruptured achilles tendon of a servicemember on March 11, 2003. The doctors are performing this surgey at a field hospital in a forward-deployed location.

President Chump has just delighted religious conservatives by issuing a rule that will shield doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers who do not want to provide abortions, sterilizations, assisted suicide, unspecified provisions in Advance Directives (presumably statements such as “I do not want medical efforts to keep me alive if …”), compulsary vaccination (!), compulsary hearing screening, and compulsary treatment for mental health problems, and who do not want to even be obliged to tell or counsel patients about abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide.

Three informative news articles on this topic are here (by Ariana Eunjung Cha, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Amy Goldstein), here (by Ariana Eunjung Cha), and here (by Paige Winfield Cunningham).

This is a short-sighted approach.  It should lead to particular types of discrimination in hiring and employment.

In deciding whether to hire, or to re-assign or fire, or to promote a health-care worker, an employer has both the right and the duty to know whether the person is willing to perform all of the duties that are part of a given position, or is willing to perform only some of them. If only some of them, the employer has both the right and the duty to know which activities the employee will not perform.

The employer cannot wait for an emergency to obtain that information. The employer needs to know that information immediately, to ensure that all likely needs are adequately staffed by those who are willing to meet those needs. Any employer of health care workers therefore needs to require signed, witnessed statements by existing employees as well as by potential future employees.

The situation here is very much like that for concientious objectors in military service, except that heath care workers are typically not drafted into their health care roles.

The Weldon Amendment denies federal funds to Federal agencies, state agencies, and local governments if those government entities discriminate “on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions”. But that does not constrain non-govermental hospitals and medical practices.

This issue will inevitably be brought before the Supreme Court.

President Chump at Valley Forge

December 25, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Fairness, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge, John Ward Dunsmore, 1906

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge, John Ward Dunsmore, 1906

Shortly after noon on December 24, President Chump tweeted:
I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security.

(Philip Rucker, in the Washington Post.  The original tweet is here.)

This comes on top of President Chump’s repeated whining deceptive unpatriotic claim that the investigation of Putin’s interference in the US election in 2016 is “a witch hunt”.

All of these statements reek of self pity, and of trying to deflect blame.
Hence they reek of fear.

Can you imagine George Washington whining with self pity like that? Even during the cold, resource-starved, discouraging winter at Valley Forge?

Can you imagine George Washington trying to deflect blame?

President Chump – the weakest President we have ever had.

Because of his bottomless insecurity, President Chump claims superlatives whenever possible. But he did not realize that by his tweets he was inadvertantly claiming to be the ‘weakest President’.

Here are truthful superlatives that apply to President Chump:

– The largest number of whining tweets.

– The Whiner in Chief.

– The Chief Whino.

Eugene Robinson, in the Washington Post, has concisely summarized America’s greatest current problem:

The chaos all around us is what happens when the nation elects an incompetent, narcissistic, impulsive and amoral man as president.

It is difficult, at the moment, to fully assess the damage Trump is wreaking. We have never had a president like him, so history is a poor guide. For his racism, we can perhaps look back to Woodrow Wilson; his general unfitness to hold the nation’s highest office recalls the hapless Andrew Johnson. Maybe Andrew Jackson was as impetuous, maybe Richard M. Nixon as venal.

In connection with Andrew Jackson, “impetuous” should be expanded to “impetuous and cruel”. With that extension, the statement still applies to President Chump.

The New York Times Should Sue President Chump

October 8, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom, Enemies of Planet Earth | Leave a comment
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Upside-down version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

Upside-down version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

President Trump is his official name, but President Chump is his descriptive name.

Chump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, recently threatened that Chump might sue the New York Times for its explosive revelations about Chump’s tax dodges, and those of his father. Tuesday, October 2. David Fahrenthold’s article in the Washington Post is a useful summary, and includes two enlightening videos.

Also galling to Chump was the Times’ evidence that he was not at all a self-made man, but had a huge financial leg up, from his father.

As Paul Farhi notes in an article in the Washington Post, Chump often threatens to sue and then does not sue – exactly the behavior expended of a habitual bully such as himself.

My own reading is that Chump is especially unlikely to sue in this case, because doing so would subject his tax forms to scrutiny by a judge and a jury, and would force the revelation to the public of at least summaries of what he wants to hide.

The shenanigans in Chump’s tax forms are the reason that he never delivered on his repeated promises during the 2016 Presidential campaign that he would release his tax forms.

The New York Times should sue President Chump for libelling the professional integrity and due diligence of its reporters and editors, and the consequent damage the Times’ credibility and reputation, and to the credibility and reputation of the reporters and editors who worked on the story.

If the Times sued Chump, much of what Chump wants to hide would be revealed.

To sue would be the patriotic thing for the New York Times to do, as well as the direct way to undo Chump’s damage to the Times.

Besides defending the Times’ reputation, taking Chump to court would reap widespread public good will, and probably a significant number of new online subscribers.

Kavanaugh’s Rage Is Not Evidence of His Innocence

October 4, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Judicial Misjudgment, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Photo in 1887 of the actor Richard Mansfield, by Henry Van der Weyde (1838-1924; London,

Photo in 1887 of the actor Richard Mansfield, by Henry Van der Weyde (1838-1924; London,


There is intense disagreement about Brett Kavanaugh’s fitness to become one of the Justices on the Supreme Court.

During the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on September 27, 2018, the committee and the world tried to decide whether to believe Christine Blasey Ford’s assertion that a drunken Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a party when she was 15 years old, or whether to believe Kavanaugh’s denial.

Both Ford and Kavanaugh showed strong emotions during the hearing.

This post is about the interpretation of Kavanaugh’s rage, frustration, and dread.

Some Senators and others have interpreted Kavanaugh’s rage as evidence of his innocence. It is not.

About the diverse interpretations, see this article by Lori Rozsa , Brittney Martin and David A. Farenthold.

Kavanaugh’s rage is because the unwritten rules of entitlement that he absorbed as a teenager were violated: he was not allowed to escape being held accountable for acts for which only the less privileged were supposed to be held accountable.

Those rules said that anyone of his social class, of his wealth, with his connections, with his accomplishments and talent, would never suffer the consequences of breaking the rules that apply to lesser mortals.

These unwritten rules are exposed by Shamus Khan, in a revealing article in the Washington Post. Khan explains why Kavanaugh lies so readily, and so self-righteously.  Khan also notes that privilege also makes some kids callous – a notable feature of Kavanaughs judicial rulings, of his work for George W. Bush. It would also lower his internal barriers to sexually abusing others. As noted in an article by Suniyah S. Luthar, those same unwritten rules, combined with greater resources, explain the surprising fact that rich kids are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than are middle class kids or disadvantaged kids. That was another striking feature of the Kavanaugh’s behavior during high school and college.

Parenthetically, similar violations of expectations of special status underlie the rage of white supremicists and of male supremicists.

Kavanaugh also exhibited frustration. Based on media reports and on the current distribution of power between the two political parties, Kavanaugh had become convinced that his bid for a judgeship on the Supreme Court was unstoppable. But now his ascension to the Supreme Court is leaking away, and he doesn’t know how to stop the leak.

At the hearing, Kavanaugh also radiated dread. He knows that his wife and his daughters will no longer look up to him and trust him. He knows that friends and colleagues will re-evaluate him.

It is not just Kavanaugh’s past behavior that is at issue. His present behavior is problematic.

During the Senate hearing, Kavanaugh lied repeatedly, while under oath.

Eugene Robinson and David Ignatius give valuable insights about Kavanaugh’s lies and character.


Molly Roberts shows why it is quite believable that Christine Blasey Ford vividly remembers who attacker was, and who was laughing, while having difficulty remembering other details about the party at which Kavanaugh assaulted her.

Kavanaugh tried to evade answering inconvenient questions by attempting to change the subject (as Trump does). Kavanaugh tries to change a troublesome question about himself into an analogous question about his questioner.

Here is an example of his Kavanaugh’s deflection of an inconvenient question, as quoted from an article in the Washington Post by Sarah L. Kaufman

“He went back to being combative, even at times overly hot, inappropriate and rude. He challenged Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on her questions about whether he’d ever drunk so much his memory was affected. “Have you?” he said.”

A qualified judge would never have put up with a deflecting, topic-changing non-answer like that.

Kavanaugh also tried to claim that the accusations against him were part of a conspiracy. That was another misleading attempt at changing the subject. The time-line of Ford’s accusation refutes Kavanaugh’s claim, as is demonstrated by an editorial in the Washington Post.

Altogether, Kavanaugh’s behavior at the hearing was behavior he would not tolerate from any party who was appearing before him at a trial at which he was the Judge.

Kavanaugh lied repeatedly during the Senate hearing. He lied while under oath. E.J. Dionne Jr. has provided a superb account of Kavanaugh’s lies, and why Kavanaugh is unfit to be a judge. His article has links to extensive compilations of Kavanaugh’s lies. Eugene Robinson also has a penetrating account of Kavanaugh’s lies at the hearing, and how it shows Kavanaugh’s unfitness for serving as a judge.

Kavanaugh’s unjustified sense of entitlement, his lies in the Senate hearing, and his tactic of avoiding answering unwelcome questions by trying to change the subject, are all un-judgelike. They disqualify him from the Supreme Court.

His presence on the Supreme Court would further degrade respect for the Supreme Court’s decisions.

His defects also disqualify Kavanaugh from serving a a judge on any court, including the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is the court he now serves on.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, why have you so sullied your judicial legacy, by recommending someone as unfit as Brett M. Kavanaugh?

Trumpkin Chumpkin for Halloween

September 16, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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A Trumpkin, a President Chumpkin, full of lies, cruelty, arrogance and ignorance. By thepoliblog .

A Trumpkin, a President Chumpkin, full of lies, cruelty, arrogance and ignorance. By thepoliblog .

Note the Trumpkin Chumpkin’s realistic features:
Lies issuing from both sides of his mouth.
Cruel teeth. This abominable person separates children from their parents, and then locks them up in a pantry, for later consumption.
Demented eyes, each looking anywhere except at the facts.
A nose for what his “base” wants to hear, regardless of its falsity.

President Chump tried to pin the label of treason on the anonymous White House official who wrote the OpEd in the New York Times.

Chump, it might be treason to your brand, but it is not treason to the United States.

Chump, treason is what occurred when you talked with Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak in what had formerly been the Oval Office of the White House, in May 2017. You pollute every person and every organization you touch. As long as your presence continues to pollute the White House, the Oval Office is transformed into the Offal Office, the Awful Office.
From President Chump’s mouth to Putin’s ear, via Lavrov and Kislyak.

Treason is Donald Jr’s “I love it!” in anticipation of the June 9, 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in 2016, where he expected to obtain damaging information that Russia had obtained about Hillary Clinton. Given Don’s expectations, his participation was treasonous, because he his statement indicates that he would have been willing to broadcast information obtained by Russian Intelligence Services: information whose broadcast was desired by Russian Intelligence Services, and whose broadcast would have constituted Russian interference in an American election. Don was therefore hoping to collude with a foreign power.

Treason is also Trump fabricating a cover-up story for Donald Jr about that meeting: Trump had Don Jr. claim that the discussion in Trump Tower was about American adoptions of Russian children, not about Don Jr. expected the meeting to discuss, nor about what it actually did discuss.

Treason is Presudent Chump attempting to abort and otherwise impede an investigation of Putin’s interference in the US Presidential election in 2016.

Treason is candidate Trump calling out, “Russia, if you’re listening …” In that July 27, 2016 statement, Trump begged for collusion by Russia, to help Trump win the Presidential election.

An instructive article by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post chronicles the remarkably many people who President Chump has accused of treason. Recall the story of the Emperor with no clothes, who had been flattered into believing that he was stunningly dressed. If that Emperor had been President Chump, he would have charged with treason the person who yelled out the truth.

President Chump often screams “Fake News!”, to devalue unfavorable news.
What a hypocrite!
He deliberately generates fake news. Pretending to sometimes be John Miller, sometimes be John Barron, and sometimes to be John Baron, he told lies about himself to the news media.

President Chump accused President Obama of spending to much time playing golf!
What a hypocrite!

Candidate Chump and President Chump tries to pin the label lyin’ on Hillary Clinton and on everyone else who opposes him.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who is the biggest liar of them all?

Lets return to President Chump’s inability to distinguish between loyalty to himself and loyalty to the country.

This inability is due in part to Chump’s fragile ego. To preserve his self-esteme, Chump hides the fragility of his ego from himself by being an ego-maniac, who sees the world as revolving about himself.

But Chump’s inability to distinguish between loyalty to himself and loyalty to the country also because President Chump is the President who would be King.

Chump thought that being the President meant being a non-hereditary King – not a constitutional monarch, but like Henry VIII. Henry VIII didn’t have to to distinguish between loyalty to himself and loyalty to his country.

Chump boasts that while a student he didn’t read the assigned texts. He is proud of having gotten through by guessing, and takes that to be proof of a superior intelligence. So Chump didn’t know that the US President is not a King.

Chump’s desire to be an old-school King is why he admires authoritarian leaders like Putin, Duterte, and Xi. It is also why Chump thinks that Obama, Merkel, and May are weak.

Chump’s preference for authoritarian leaders is one reason for Chump having become Putin’s chihuahua.

Another reason is that Russian investors close to Putin bailed Trump out of his company’s latest bankrupcy. Putin bought Trump, and Trump knows it.

President Chump’s preference for authoritarian leaders is why he – unlike previous Presidents – is not the leader of the free world. The present leaders of the free world are Merkel, Macron, and Trudeau.

Disloyal Americans in Congress

August 19, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Jim Jordan (R-OH) in the 114th Congress.

Jim Jordan (R-OH) in the 114th Congress.

In a recent Congressional hearing, Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) shouted at Rod Rosenstein, “Why are you keeping information from Congress?”. This question referred to Robert Mueller’s special investigation of Putin’s interference in the Presidential election in 2016. Mueller’s investigation had been approved by Rod Rosenstein.

Jim Jordan’s question was loaded, like “When did you stop beating your wife?”

A question is loaded if it is being used as a vehicle for making an un-proven assertion, usually a derogatory assertion. The question is being used in a sneaky attempt to implant the assertion into the minds of those who hear the question.

Jim Jordan’s question was dishonorable. Indeed, Jim Jordan is both dishonorable and disloyal.

Jim Jordan is posturing at due diligence in Congress, in part to deflect attention to the fact that he either did not exercise sufficient due diligence to learn about Richard Strauss’ widely known sexual abuse of wrestlers at Ohio State University , or else that he knew about it but chose not to do anything about it.

Here are some legitimate questions. They are not loaded questions, because they assert about Jim Jordan only what his actions have proved about him.

– Jim Jordan, why are you opposed to the investigation of the well-established fact that Putin interfered in the Presidential election in 2016?

– Jim Jordan, why are you opposed to the United States and it allies learning from Mueller’s investigation how we and our allies can combat Putin’s future attempts at manipulating public opinion and elections in our country?

Your opposition amounts to obstruction of justice, and delays the improvement of our cyber-defenses.

– Jim Jordan, why are you obstructing justice?

– Jim Jordan, since you are obstructing justice, and are delaying the US’s defense against Putin’s manipulations, why should anyone believe your claim that you didn’t know about Richard Strauss’ sexual abuse of wrestlers at Ohio State University?

– Jim Jordan, when did you cease to be a patriotic American?

As an institution, Congress is worthy of respect. But not all Congressional Representatives are worthy of respect.

Jim Jordan is not worthy of respect.

The same is true of the notorious Devin Nunes, and of Bob Goodlatte, Mark Meadows and Matt Gaetz, who collude with Jim Jordan.

Each of these disloyal Americans in Congress proritizes partisan advantage over justice, and also proritizes partisan advantage over the election-based legitimacy of the United States Government.

This has been eloquently stated by Kathie Sowell and by Beth Kreydatus in their letters to the Editor of the Washington Post.

These disloyal Americans in Congress are opposed to investigating attacks on our electoral integrity, and therefore on the legitimacy of our government.

They are opposed to obtaining the information that is needed for developing defenses of our electoral integrity, and therefore of the legitimacy of our government.

Their loyalty is to their party, in its current degenerate form. Their loyalty is not to their country.

They are colluding in a Trump-Putin disinformation campaign.

None of them merit security clearances.

None of them deserve to be re-elected next November.

They should be impeached, or at least censured.

A “Freedom Caucus”? They are the exact opposite.

Disloyal Americans in government are also found outside of the House of Representatives: Rand Paul in the Senate, by President Chump, Rudi Giuliani (formerly a hero, now a heel), and their cronies in the Administration.

The headline of a Washington Post article by Max Boot: “Trump is ignoring the worst attack on America since 9/11 … we are at war without a commander in chief.

An astute and careful commentator, E.J. Dionne Jr., notes “And Republicans should bear in mind that disrupting Robert S. Mueller III’s probe serves Putin’s interests, not just Trump’s.

In an insightful article about the attempt by Jim Jordan and cronies to impeach Rod Rosenstein, Jennifer Rubin quotes Norman Eisen (a former White House ethics counsel ) and Fred Wertheimer (founder of Democracy 21): “Key House Republicans are abusing their offices and the public trust to blindly provide protection for [President] Trump. They are doing so instead of working to get to the bottom of the worst foreign attack on American elections in our history.

In an update that is included in the online article, Jennifer Rubin then noted: “In case it wasn’t clear that this is all about Jordan’s political aspirations, he [Jim Jordan] indicated today that he is running for speaker[of the House of Representatives].”

You may remember Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who uncovered crucial information about the break-in at the Watergate by Nixon’s team. Margaret Sullivan, of the Washington Post, reports that “Earlier this month, Bernstein said on CNN that he had never seen anything like the political reaction to Trump’s kowtowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a news conference following their Helsinki meeting: “We’ve never had a moment in our history like this where serious people of both parties are questioning the loyalty of the president of the United States. Unprecedented.””

The GOP, AWOL as the U.S. is attacked“. That is the headline of an important article by Joe Scarborough in the Washington Post. Scarborough’s article is well worth looking at. It is a masterful concise summary that includes all of the most important facts.

The active disloyalty of Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Bob Goodlatte, Mark Meadows and Matt Gaetz, and their ilk must be distinguished from the passive disloyalty of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. The passively disloyal deliberately refuse to legislatively forestall Trump’s likely attempt to fire Mueller, much as he fired Comey over “the Russian thing”, and removed Brennan’s security clearance to silence a voice that was pointing out Trump’s errors.

Trump Has Admitted His Guilt

June 1, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Abuse of Office, Crime and punishment, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Men in Bramhall stocks, Bramhall, England, 1900, unknown photographer.

Men in Bramhall stocks, Bramhall, England, 1900, unknown photographer.

Trump has admitted his guilt, without realizing that he has done so.

This point was made recently by Paul Waldman, in an article in the Washington Post.

Quoting from that aricle, “According to a January New York Times story, when Sessions decided to recuse himself, “the president erupted in anger in front of numerous White House officials, saying he needed his attorney general to protect him.” (Emphasis added.)

There would be no need for the Attorney General to protect Trump from the investigation of Putin’s interference in the the Presidential election in 2016, if Trump had not done something illegal in connection with that election.

The Attorney General’s job is to protect the American people from crime, not to protect the President – or anyone else – from the consequences of illegal actions.

About the nature of Trump’s crime, we know only that it pertains to Putin’s interference in the Presidential election in 2016. That is the topic that always presses Trump’s buttons, and elicits his most feverishly desparate reactions.

Further evidence of Trump’s knowledge of his own guilt occured in Trump’s meeting with Sessions in March 2017. According to Paul Waldman’s article, “[Trump’s] grievance was with Mr. Sessions: The president objected to [Session’s] decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Mr. Trump, who had told aides that he needed a loyalist overseeing the inquiry, berated Mr. Sessions and told him he should reverse his decision, an unusual and potentially inappropriate request.” Why would Trump need “a loyalist overseeing the inquiry”, if he wasn’t scared about some fact connected to this particular topic?

See also the previous post on this blog.

I know it won’t happen, but for such a hypocrite I cannot resist: “Lock him up!

If you want to comment on this post, or just want to add your name as endorsing or disputing its assertions, go here. To avoid cluttering the ‘latest postings’ page, WordPress includes the mechanism for commenting only on the page for the individual posting, never on the page that shows all of the recent postings. So click here, scroll to the bottom of the resulting version of this post, and submit your comment.

A Fallacy About Guns

March 2, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Dysfunctional Politics | Leave a comment
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In a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post, Marc A. Thiessen recounted an incident in which a private citizen, Stephen Willeford, used his own AR-15 to interrupt Devin Patrick Kelley from continuing a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland, Texas, on November 15, 2017.

The AR-15 is the same type of assault rifle that Nikolas Cruz used to massacre students and teachers at the at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.

Thiessen uses the incident in Sutherland to argue that it would be perverse to conclude from the incident in Parkland – and from the many other incidents – that access to assault weapons should be restricted.

Thiessen’s argument rests upon a fallacy of omission. He does not mention that Willeford’s gun-assisted intervention would not have been necessary if Kelley had not had access to an assault weapon.

In fact, that would have been a better solution, because it would not have relied on the rare circumstance that a neighbor had an assault weapon, and was at home at the time, and was willing to engage the shooter.

Looking for the best solution to a problem is mathematically equivalent to trying to identify the tallest peak in a region that hosts many hills and mountains.

A mathematician, a scientist, or an engineer would say that Thiessen identified what was merely a local maximum, but didn’t notice the global maximum nearby.

Thiessen spotted the crest of one of several foothills, but failed to notice the mountain that towered in their midst.

To see more clearly why Thiessen’s argument is incorrect, imagine his argument being applied to cars. Someone in a car can pursue a criminal who used a car to commit a crime. Applied to cars, Thiessen’s logic would imply that driving a car should be unrestricted, and shouldn’t require a license.

In fact, the issues in gun control are closely analogous to those in automotive and aeronautical control:

As was noted in a previous blog, and as has recently been noted by others, the argument for restricting acess to assault weapons is the same as the argument for requiring a license for driving an automobile, and for requiring a more restrictive licence for driving 18-wheelers, and for requiring a still more restrictive license for piloting an aircraft.

Freedom to travel within the United States does not mean unrestricted freedom to travel by driving a car, nor by driving a truck, nor by piloting an aircraft. It also does not mean that access to particular locations cannot be restricted to only particular people.

Analogous statements should apply to guns.

A recent very enlightening article by Mike Spies in the New Yorker magazine describes how we started from a reasonable, rational approach to gun laws, that had lasted for at least a century, and how the discussion was perverted into the present frenzied, dysfunctional tug-of-war.

Gun laws today

Gun laws today

The ‘Racist Right’, Not the ‘Alt-Right’, and Not ‘White Nationalist’

May 16, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Posted in Conceited, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom | 2 Comments
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A dune-dwelling Aptostichus sp from Baja California.  Photo by Marshal Hedin.

A dune-dwelling Aptostichus sp from Baja California. Photo by Marshal Hedin.

There is no such thing as the ‘alt-right’.

What presently calls itself the ‘alt-right’ is really the white-racist right.

It is racist because because the group favors people solely on the basis of birth – upon skin color and ethnic ancestry – not upon earned achievement (moral/humanitarian, intellectual, artistic, or athletic).

The present usage of ‘alt-right’ is a ‘framing‘ trick, designed to hide the group’s goals behind a phrase that sounds more benign than ‘white racist’ or ‘white supremicist’.

In part, Richard Spencer’s appropriation of the term was probably because ‘alt-right’ sounds almost like ‘all right’. That would heighten the mask of benignity.

The term ‘alt-right’ is camouflage, like the false surface created by a trap-door spider.

Promyrmekiaphila burrow entrance closed, in northern California. Photo by Marshal Hedin.

Promyrmekiaphila burrow entrance closed, in northern California. Photo by Marshal Hedin.

Spencer also uses another phrase as camouflage: ‘nationalist right’.

In using that phrase he wants to hide behind the long pedigree of nationalism, in an attempt to pass his radical position off as being somewhere on the mainstream spectrum.

But he reveals the racism underneath by having used his new term at demonstrations against the removal of monuments to the Confederacy. No matter how the racists try to deflect attention from the fact, the Confederacy was an attempt to ensure the long-term survival of slavery. That reveals that white-racism underlies the ‘nationalist right’.

When coupled with Spencer’s views and goals, it is impossible to forget an earlier use of ‘nationalism’ as a camouflage for racism. ‘Nazi’ was the abbreviation of the German words for National Socialism.

This is not just guilt by association. There is evidence for a real connection.

John Woodrow Cox interviewed Richard Spencer at a party that Spencer’s group held in Washington, DC, not long after Trump’s election. Some at the party gave a Sieg Heil salute. At one point, Spencer said “Let’s party like its 1933.” Spencer had previously dated an Asian-American woman, but now regrets his deviation from racially-pure behavior. He said that he would never again date a non-white woman and that interracial relationships should be forbidden.  Cox asked, “How, in a nation with more than 100 million blacks, Asians and Latinos, could a whites-only territory be created without overwhelming violence?” Spencer’s answer: “Look, maybe it will be horribly bloody and terrible.”

Just last week, Spencer led two rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, opposing the removal of Confederate memorials there. One of those rallies was lit by torches. Charlotteville’s Mayor pointed out the wrong-headedness of the rallies, evoking a storm of racist tweets. One of them said “I smell Jew.” (The Mayor is Jewish.)

(Interestingly, one of the chants at the second rally was “Russia is our friend”. An echo of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.)

Every time that you say or write ‘alt-right’ or ‘nationalist right’, you are falling into the trap, and are inadvertantly advancing the white racist cause.

Promyrmekiaphila burrow entrance open, in northern California. Photo by Marshal Hedin.

Promyrmekiaphila burrow entrance open, in northern California. Photo by Marshal Hedin.

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