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Showing posts from May, 2019

Impeachment may well be warranted, but it's a bad idea- and it isn't going to happen

Will Rogers once observed, "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."

Point taken. Democrats have always tended to be an unruly, ornery bunch, independent-minded and not amenable to regimentation or discipline. This traditionally has contrasted with what at least has been perceived as a buttoned-down, somewhat stuffy sobriety among Republicans. Someone once said that Republicans always draw their drapes, but never do anything that would require privacy, whereas Democrats never draw their drapes- and... well, really should.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the latest national leader to face the unenviable task of trying to keep Democrats in line. The metaphor of herding cats comes to mind. Pope Nancy- who regards herself as an authority on the Catholic position on abortion superior to the magisterium, tradition, Scripture, and the Catechism- has been struggling mightily to resist what appears to be a burgeoning movement on the party's ever-growin…

Abortion in the land of the selectively blind

It seems that Democrats are gearing up to make abortion a major campaign issue in light of the restrictive laws recently passed in Alabama and elsewhere, contemplating the reversal of Roe by the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

Once again, we're hearing that the pro-life Republican position is "extreme." And as the article linked to above makes clear, once again the media are spinning the issue in such a way to make them seem right.

Once again, we're hearing that the American people do not want Roe v. Wade reversed. Well, yes and no.

I've cited this fascinating repository of data on the subject of public attitudes toward abortion many times before. Every year since Roe was handed down, Gallup has asked the American people the same nuanced questions about abortion. And yes, year after year the polls show that the American people don't want Roe reversed. That is until the questions get specific.

Roe guarantees a right to abortion on demand throug…

This just hit me about the last episode of GAME OF THRONES

Jon is Azor Ahai after all, plunging his blade into the heart of Nisa Nisa, his beloved (Dany) in order to save the realms of men- not from the Others, but from her.

That blade is in in a sense endowed with her soul since the blow results in a change from a hereditary to an elective monarchy and an end to all those capricious megalomaniacs and psychopaths who had ruled Westeros for no better reason than who their father was. Kings and queens henceforth will be chosen by merit, for their ability to benefit rather than prey upon the people Daenerys fought for.

Too much of a stretch? Maybe that second part. But I'm pretty sure that I'm right about the first. As time goes on I begin to see more and more what D and D were trying to do.

They just cut so many corners in doing it and did it in such a rush, with so much time (sometimes whole seasons) passing between foreshadowing and actual events that nobody even remembered them. Perhaps, finally, there was nothing wrong with Season …

CAUTION- PROBABLE BOOK SPOILERS: A Game of Thrones post-mortem, and partial apology

Well, Game of Thrones is over, for better or for worse. And at every point but one- which I think, after a night's sleep, may contain the moral George R.R. Martin intends for the entire A Song of Ice and Fire- the leak I reported on in my last post proved accurate.

More about that one point shortly. Season Eight was bad. The writing was bad. The story was rushed. Motivations were obscure because the groundwork was not adequately laid for the characters' actions. The cinematography and the acting, as usual, were superb. That scene with Daenerys briefly appearing to have dragon's wings when Drogon rose behind her in the final episode and the one with the flaming swords of the Dothraki being extinguished in the dark as their charge was repulsed by the White Walkers were among the most visually effective of the whole series.

And while the ending was flawed, I'm one of what are probably the very few who are basically OK with it. I belong to a couple of GOT forums on Facebo…

CAUTION: FAIRLY RELIABLE SPOILERS. Endgame of Thrones- and maybe partial redemption?

This is a link to what seems to be a reasonably credible leak as to what happens on the series finale of GAME OF THRONES on Sunday

Click on the grayed out portions in the article linked to above, paragraph by paragraph, down the page a bit if you want to know. I'm saying this so that only readers who want to know what the alleged "leak" says will risk having anything spoiled.  It should be said that the source from which the "leak" comes has been extremely reliable as to what would happen in the last two episodes.

There apparently were two different versions of the ending filmed (or staged), so some details are unclear. The differences include the survival (or non-survival) of a major character.

A couple of observations. First, I feel a little better about Daenerys's hitherto inexplicable psychotic break- or an episode of narcissistic rage, or apparently both, having read what I linked to above. Her decline into paranoid psychosis apparently was masked b…

HBO's GAME OF THRONES has become a direwolf's breakfast

I'm a huge fan of A Song of Ice and Fire. I've read- and thoroughly enjoyed- the books. I'm emotionally invested in the characters, who have become either virtual friends or virtual enemies and been such for quite a while. How it all turns out matters to me.

I should warn that this post contains HUGE spoilers both for the books and for the TV series right up through its penultimate episode last Sunday night.

I should say at the outset that I do not have HBO and have only seen a few episodes of the show in their entirety. But I have hung on every episode, avidly watching the multitude of highlight and review videos on YouTube and reading what has been written online. What follows is based on these, and on the events of this final season of the series. If not having seen the episodes in their entirety, but only watched highlights with the rest described, deprives what follows of any degree of credibility, then so be it.  But I think that everything I say is valid. Some, per…

McMaster: Many White House staffers seek to either manipulate Trump or save him- and the country- from himself

President Trump's former National Security Advisor, Gen. H.R. McMaster, says that some of his former colleagues in the administration constitute "a threat to the Constitution."

He divides these into two categories: those who seek to manipulate the president in support of their own agendas, and those who are trying to save the country from him.

I get the impression that what concerns him in both cases is that Mr. Trump is not the guy who ends up calling the shots, which is, after all, what he was elected to do. I don't believe that the general intends this as a criticism of the president.

But it is. Neither Mr. Trump nor his true believers would be particularly pleased by an image of him as someone who can be manipulated by his underlings. And neither would they be pleased by the thought that even members of his own administration see the President of the United States as someone from whom the country needs saving!

Gen. McMaster has been described as the world's …

Trump acknowledges and makes partial excuses for those embarrassing tax returns- but has a lot of 'splain' to do!

President Trump- who has an excuse for most things- says that his record business losses were at least partially a "sport-" depreciation on real property, a commonly used tax shelter.

Fine. But that doesn't do much more than begin to explain his reported $1.17 billion in losses between 1985 and 1994. Of course, the losses did permit him to avoid paying any taxes at all for eight of those years.

Part of the way he managed that is his use of a legally dodgy strategy to avoid paying millions in personal income taxes, improperly exempting hundreds of millions of dollars in canceled debt which according to IRS regulations should have been reported as income. Effectively, he avoided paying taxes by using other people's money!

Mr. Trump's lawyers told him that there were at least six reasons why the IRS would likely object. It should come as no surprise that his returns are under audit by the IRS! In fairness, though, he broke no laws which existed at the time and the I…


Maybe now we know why President Trump is so reluctant to release his tax returns- though how his supporter are able to argue with straight faces that this is not a major red light remains something of a mystery.

The New York Times reports that Mr. Trump sustained huge financial losses over an entire decade- in fact, greater losses than any other individual American taxpayer.

The source for the Times' story is the detailed information which the IRS keeps from a sampling of high-income taxpayers each year. It seems that in 1990 and 1991 his core business losses more than doubled those of those nearest to him in income, totaling more than $250 million each year.

Mr. Trump ran in no small measure on his image as an astute businessman. At the time, those who paid close attention questioned whether he was any such thing. Literally every business he has ever run has gone into bankruptcy. That part of his personal fortune that was not inherited was made in real estate investments, not al…

"We have met the enemy, and he is us."

There is a tragicomic aspect of the blatant hypocrisy on both sides of the political divide these days.

Donald Trump and the left-wing fascists on our university campuses are soul mates. It's so obvious that it's amazing that anybody could miss it. And yet neither the Trumpist right nor the intersectionalist, politically correct left recognizes that when either looks at the other, it is seeing its own reflection.

Camille Paglia doesn't fit neatly into anybody's categories. She has been described as an "individualist feminist." I have no idea what that is either.  She confuses people. She delights me. She makes me think, and she and I are similar enough in temperament that I think I "get" her.

Making people think is the idea. It's what drives the woman.

She has always been a contrarian. Carmelia Metosh, her one-time Latin teacher whom Paglia once described as "the dragon lady of Latin studies, who breathed fire at principals and school board…