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"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 

Entries in Politics (390)

Thursday
Nov152018

Of Course He Did Not Know! 

Interesting that Saudi Arabia is indicting and asking for the death penalty for those involved in Khashoggi‘s murder. The Crown Prince is, of course, not involved. This might even be true, but it raises an interesting point, how would these very low level people know that? The Watergate burglars were ultimately acquitted because they thought they were doing government work. These men obviously thought the same thing. Everyone will believe that, of course, the Prince was not involved. Plausible Deniability. 

This does not actually matter one way or the other. Only recently did the US military stop fueling Saudi Arabia’s planes and their war crimes, er bombing in the war in Yemen. The US is still selling weapons to the Saudis. At least 100,000 have died, and millions will starve if the war is not stopped. Only Rand Paul seems interested in the issue. 

Tuesday
Nov132018

E pluribus unum

While I still disagree with Macron's statement on Sunday, after mulling it over I understand it better. It was still designed as a direct insult to Trump and America. Trump did attend a memorial service to commemorate the dead, but he did not attend both of them. I wonder if the Macron insult, which followed an earlier insult, was the reason. 

For a European, nationalism is bound up in which ethnic group you belong to. There is German nationalism, French nationalism, and it is linked to those ethnic groups. One reason for the hard time that the EU is giving Hungary's refusal to allow immigration is that that form of nationalism is against the "European Values" that the EU is trying to foster. But there is no Europe, as a country, right now. Nationalism fights against a future European unity. In a sense, the EU is trying to make the motto of the United States, E pluribus unum, as its unofficial motto, out of many one. To the European mindset, at least the ones that want a Europe as a country, is that nationalism is a form of ethnic pride. It can be, but does not have to be. 

In US history we had considerable reluctance to accept Caucasians from European countries that were not English. You can google for signs that say, "No Irish Need Apply." This is inconceivable today. The "No blacks" part of the sign I chose is unfortunately conceivable. Italians were looked down upon, the fact that they might have a white tone to their skin did not matter. The Know Nothing Party is a good example of this:

The Native American Party, renamed the American Party in 1855 and commonly known as the Know Nothing movement, was an American nativist political party that operated nationally in the mid-1850s. It was primarily anti-Catholicxenophobic, and hostile to immigration, starting originally as a secret society. The movement briefly emerged as a major political party in the form of the American Party. Adherents to the movement were to reply "I know nothing" when asked about its specifics by outsiders, thus providing the group with its common name.

They were the Alex Joneses of the 19th century. 

As I said, this is inconceivable today. 

Does Trump consider himself German because his grandfather was born in Germany? Does Trump consider himself a Scot since his mother was born there? He does not, because out of many (countries) one (country) is formed. (I can picture Trump trolling his adversaries in a kilt.) 

My own family history also indicates this. In 1699 My ancestor Jean De Jarnette arrived in Virginia as an immigrant. He was 19. He married Mary Mumford and had a family. His grandson, James De Jarnette, served as a Major General in the war of 1812. Did James consider himself French? He did not. 

I recently did an ancestry.com test. It showed pretty much what I expected. An English cluster, and a Northwest French cluster. While Jean left La Rochelle, his ancestry was more Normandy than French. But what was surprising was that the second largest nationality in my background was Swedish. Do I regard myself as Swedish, or English or French? I do not. I am American, because out of many one is formed.  

In other words, the nationalism that Trump advocates is Civic Nationalism:

Civic nationalism, also known as liberal nationalism, is a form of nationalism identified by political philosophers who believe in an inclusive form of nationalism that adheres with traditional liberal values of freedomtoleranceequality, and individual rights.[1][2]

Civic nationalists often defend the value of national identity by saying that individuals need a national identity in order to lead meaningful, autonomous lives[3] and that democratic polities need national identity in order to function properly.[4] Civic nationalism is frequently contrasted with ethnic nationalism.

Trump is not advocating a nationalism based on an ethnic group, being both "German" and "Scottish" which would he pick? He is proposing a nation based on shared values. This is quite different. 

Charles De Gaulle, the founder of the current French republic that Macron has the privilege to serve as president had this to say in 1913:

He who does not love his mother more than other mothers and his country more than other countries, loves neither his mother nor his country. 

Sounds right to me. 

Sunday
Nov112018

The New "N" Word

You may have heard the new controversy that President Trump has declared himself a Nationalist. That of course means he is racist. He recently contrasted nationalism with globalism, so that mean he is anti-semitic. Sometimes it is hard to keep track of the memes. 

The goal is to take the average person and change the way they use words. What the desired outcome is that when one hears the word "nationalist," that the listener thinks "white nationalist." Or when one hears the term "globalist," to think the person saying it is anti-semitic. 

This is a weird conformation of George Orwell vision of the future in his novel 1984. The meaning of words changes until you no longer know what a word means. 

Here is what the president of France said: 

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.” 

So being a nationalist is not being a patriot? He said this recently at the 100 anniversary of the end of WWI. Trump attended this event. So why does anyone wonder about Trump's lack of respect for Macron? This was a direct insult to Trump. 

Humpty Dumpty had it right. 

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that's all.”

Remember: 

War is Peace

Freedom is Slavery

Ignorance is Strength 

Yes, one can be a nationalist and not be a racist, and against globalism and not be an anti-semite.

Wednesday
Jun142017

It Is Just Wrong

If some right wing idiot commits terrorist acts, one should not critique all people on the right. In the same way, if some left wing idiot Commits terrorist acts, one should not critique all people on the left. 

Friday
Mar102017

When I'm 64

The Republican repeal and replace is now available. Read it if you want, I won't bother, but I will give an overview. Naturally I will begin with how it will impact older Americans who are too young for Medicare. As I am 62 that is me. The New York Times tells us:

If the law is repealed, the groups say, people in their 50s and 60s could see premiums rise by $2,000 to $3,000 a year or more: increases of 20 percent to 25 percent or higher.

Under current rules, insurers cannot charge older adults more than three times what they charge young adults for the same coverage. House Republican leaders would allow a ratio of five to one — or more, if states choose.

A 20% increase! I really like the "or higher" part. For me this means a quite different health insurance plan for 2018. I have no choice. Later in the article there is one estimate that rates will double for someone my age. Where do they expect people to get this money?

There is also a reasonable chance that another change will lead to many more insurance companies to abandon the business. There will no longer be a penalty if someone does not buy insurance. Then if they get ill they can then buy insurance and only pay 30% in additional costs for that year.  People are going to game the system and this will result in a lot higher costs for insurance companies, which will be passed on. 

The first is more of a personal issue, one that I share with anyone over 55 or so. But the second undermines the whole concept of insurance and the whole financial stability of insurance companies. The proposed bill will make things worse. 

There will be no reform of the basic health care problems we have. This pseudo-reform will makes things worse.