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And these people call the Trump electors stupid.

I can say very sincerely that I don't have much of an opinion of the brains, far-sightedness, or cunning, of the average modern politician. As far as I am concerned the breed of Bismarck and Disraeli, never mind Cavour and Lincoln, is extinct. But for sheer insanity of stupidity, for self-destructive inability to see the nose on your face, for doing the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong way and for the wrong motives, absolutely nothing compares with the pursuit of Russian hacking of Democrat computers. The Democrats should forget about those damned e-mails. They should forget about Russian intrusion, Putin, Assange, the FSB, Russian hackers and everything else. They are doing, quite literally, every wrong thing they possibly could. And if they have any influence on the CIA and the FBI at all, they should tell these bodies to shut up about them, too.

Consider, first and foremost, what a disastrous scene is playing out right now. Leaders of America's “intelligence community”, as they call them these days, are going to the President-elect to, in effect, beg him to show some public support for their position. This places Trump in the position of the receiver of supplications, and the arch-spies in the position supplicants. Now, if they think that Trump will ever give in on the issue in any public way, they are so politically stupid that to remove them from their positions would be a relief: nobody who puts himself in such a humiliating and destructive should be in a position to advise the most powerful man in the world. What the Hell are they thinking? Even if Trump were a good man, he would not have the least incentive to give in to their demands. He has called their credibility into question; to go back on that would be a setback, and also an open sign of creeping compromise with the hated DC establishment he has been elected to trash. And what does he have to lose if he doesn't? Precisely nothing. The half of his supporters who admire him regard his behaviour as all-American, and the half who voted for him in horror at the idea of a third Democrat term had such a low idea of him anyway that nothing could lower it. His core supporters would probably not think of being shocked at nations interfering in each other's internal affairs; as far as they are concerned, that is what they do. And indeed there is something about this that the Democrats, in particular, ought not to be doing, since the idea of American politicians complaining about foreign countries interfering in their elections would make a lot of the traditional left in foreign countries gag. American interference in other countries' politics is part of the hereditary folklore of exactly those forces who ought to be the Democrats' natural allies on the international stage, and to have the CIA of all agencies be the bearer of protests on this subject would rouse the bitter laughter of hundreds of millions from Santiago to Berlin. There are instruments of power that the Democrats should not be seen to be using.

But if the tactics are demented, the strategy is suicidal. The Democrats should have killed talk about those damned hacked e-mails. They should have made sure that everyone forgot that they had ever been published. Because whether or not it was the Russians who hacked them, there is one thing that no Democrat has been able to say: that they are not true. And so long as they are, and so long as they are in public, they show that everything that Catholics and Christians believe about the Democrat leadership and their attitude to them is absolutely true. The ignorance, the brutality, the contempt, the assumption that Catholicism is a remnant to be swept into the trash-can of history, are all there in black and white. And that is exactly what the Democrats should try to make people forget.

Trump has not been elected by the hard-core of unfocussed anger he expresses. He has been elected because millions of Catholics and Evangelicals had become convinced that another term such as the last two would mean the beginning of persecution in earnest, a legal and extra-legal assault on the churches that would lead them to have to make the dreadful choice between apostasy and second-rate citizenship. The split in the Christian communities ran between those who, like me, Catherine Alexander, or Rachel Hamilton, thought that Trump was so bad that he would pollute every cause he touched, and those, like Tony Esolen or Jonathon van Maren, thought that the prospect of a Rodham Clinton presidency had to be avoided even at the price of touching the foul thing. The idea of a widespread Christian enthusiasm for the orange adulterer is grossly overstated. Many people, as Barbara Ehrenreich observed, voted in advance, as if to get the damned thing over with.

But if that is the case, and if the Christian vote made the difference, then, if the Democrats cannot wean themselves of their addiction to abortion and rainbow causes, they should at least do their best not to have it talked about. And that means silence, silence, silence. And if personal documents fall into enemy hands to show what your real attitude is, be superior, ignore them, treat them with contempt. The madder you get, the more you prove that it's all true, and that the enemy has shown you as you are.
fpb: (Athena of Pireus)
I have a suspicion that when a business becomes invincible, when its market position makes it so unchallenged that its leaders are more in the position of hereditary barons than of anyone who has to work to live - even at a very high level - sooner or later a sort of greed for destruction sets in, and they start making decisions that can only be interpreted as weariness of life - as suicide - at least as corporate leaders. So Ford make the Edsel, and Pan Am make a half-dozen decisions that cancel it from the face of the Earth, and Microsoft make Vista.
I think this incredible free comics day from DC belongs to the same area of unconscious greed for self-destruction. I will certainly not take a single one of their 52 free comics; at zero dollars each, they cost at least $520,000.00 more than I think they are worth. In other words, you would have to pay me at least $10,000 to read a single one of the 52. In the words of someone who has gone through the degrading experience, "the whole [story] is a bloodbath in which all the DC heroes are hacked apart and assimilated by some Borg-like Big Bad who's taken over the world. Bruce Wayne, mortally wounded after having his arm graphically chopped off, sends his protege back in time to fix it." And the poor sod in question never even demanded his £10,000 per free comic in advance. What, seriously, does this express, except a weariness and hatred and desire to violate the characters to whom these corporate stooges own their position and their wages? Is this not an infantile fantasy of revenge against things you can no longer bear to see daily? Does it not feel as though DiDio and his helotry feel the very fantasy entity that makes DC as a suffocating, hateful construct that they, consciously or unconsciously, would like to destroy and pervert? How else can it be explained?
But if that is what is actually going on,then their plight is even more miserable than it sounds. They cannot even destroy their company, even with business decisions compared with which the Edsel was a model of fresh, economical, functional, quality engineering. They certainly seem to intend to salt the fields: "Free Comic Book Day" is supposed to attract new readers - and those new readers are treated to a story that Freddy Kruger would think over the top (Wonder Woman's head on a spike...). There goes the reputation of superheroes, to a generation that at any rate looks at games, TV shows and anime first (compare the number of Buffy or Sailor Moon fanfics on the net with the number of Superman or Avengers ones). The supremacy of comics in the lives of kids, that scared Dr.Wertham so much seventy years ago, is now not even a memory; and from now on thousands more kids will regard superhero comics as boring, depressing, and basically worthless. As the Destroyer said to Hela in Simonson's Thor: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
But DC is not its own master and cannot die until TimeWarner says so. And TimeWarner may be a big, stupid corporation, prone to similar errors, but it is still too big to even notice a loss in a corner of its empire that it uses mainly as an R&D department and source of useful franchises. So DiDio and his minions will continue to make a living from concepts and characters they secretly loathe, and Warner will continue to make bad Superman movies and wonder why the character needs to be rebooted every five years.
fpb: (Athena of Pireus)
From now I shall use a new word. The kind of people who argue against a minimum wage are neither conservative (how DARE they?) nor libertarian. They are starvationists. Remember the word: STARVATIONISTS.
fpb: (Athena of Pireus)
This is without a doubt the most horrifying piece of news yet to come out of the Western side of the Cold War.
http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/11/nearly-two-decades-nuclear-launch-code-minuteman-silos-united-states-00000000/
it seems that the American military had effectively worked to remove the supposed control over nuclear weapon from the President, and effectively allow any four officers who wished to to launch a missile. The considerations behind this piece of total insanity were purely military: suppose the C-in-C were disabled or otherwise unable to react, there could be no effective response to any kind of Soviet aggression. Well, DUH!! If the President had been taken out of the equation, then the war leadership would be probably gone, and all that would be left would be stupid, uncoordinated slaughter. Besides, the point with atomic weapon was not to use them, but to avoid using them, and above all to prevent the other side using them. Say what you will about mutual assured destruction, but it kept two power groups that hated each other's guts from replying the horrible, destructive folly of the two world wars.

But never mind the "Dr.Strangelove" option with four junior officers just deciding to go off and fire a Minuteman rocket on their own. Do you have the least idea what would have happened if this piece of idiocy by US armed forces had ever got out? NATO would have been finished, that's what. Are any of you old enough to remember the huge pacifist demonstrations of 1980-1982? I was there, and I can tell you what they were about. They were not Communist-led or pro-Russian; almost everyone who took part despised Soviet Russia as a backward, vicious tyranny. They were about the feeling that the USA were playing dice with the lives and future of Europeans. If WWIII ever came, it would have been fought in Europe. Every one of us was aware of that; many had been through military service - most European armies at the time were still conscript - and we were all aware that we were constantly staring down a lot of Russian barrels. We hated the idea that the American forces could essentially use our countries as a nuclear chessboard. That being the case, I can tell you with absolute certainty that if the European public had known that the armed aliens in their midst could launch nuclear strikes virtually at will, and that they had deliberately cut out both the US civilian leadership AND the European governments, there would have been a political earthquake. No country from Norway to Turkey and from West Germany to Portugal would have allowed a single American soldier to remain on its territory. It would have been the end of the alliance. And for that alone one has to say that the generals who had this bright idea were stupid beyond criminality.

Yet more evidence that "war is too important a matter to leave to generals" (Georges Clemenceau said that, and he knew a thing or two about it). It is an ugly thought that, today, an army that was capable of such folly remains the most respected - or at least least despised - institution in America. A few generations of corrupt and incompetent politicians have salted the fields of democratic institutions, making half the population hate one half of government and the other half the other. Let us just hope that we don't pay for this collective loss of faith.

THE ENEMY

Jul. 21st, 2014 10:48 am
fpb: (Athena of Pireus)
The narrow defeat of the Obama administration in the Hobby Lobby case has sent its supporters into ecstases of rage and hate that have to be seen to be believed, and that in some cases can only be described as murderous. I am glad I don't live in the USA. But this fury, that bewilders many conservatives and independents, does not bewilder me. The Mandate was criminal from the beginning, criminal in its prehistory. Remember how deliberately the President lied to poor Bart Stupak and destroyed his career. And the Mandate is really much more basic to the Obama project than people realize, because they can't see its actual purpose. Le me draw a historical parallel.

Ireland has one of the saddest modern histories of any country in the world. Repeatedly invaded and devastated by the larger neighbouring island, its Catholic majority was reduced to a pulverized peasantry, paying tax they could not afford to Protestant landlords and being tithed for Protestant parsons; a miserable swarm of penniless, ignorant and leaderless grubbers of the soil, fed by potatoes, with no middle class or aristocracy or any consistency. But what you have to realize is that, the destruction of the Irish educated classes, in spite of the frightful massacres and repeated wars, were not the result of military oppression or even of mass murder; they were, in the main, the result of laws. England wrote dozens, indeed hundreds,of laws, to destroy the Irish nation as elaborately and as legally as possible. As the Irish Protestant Edmund Burke said, the English laws against Irish Catholics - or "penal laws", as they are shamefully called - were "a complete system, full of coherence and consistency, well digested and well composed in all its parts. It was a machine of wise and deliberate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”

The Mass, of course, could not be said: to have it said or to say it meant life imprisonment. But neither could Catholics be educated: to set up a Catholic school was equally a matter of life imprisonment. And Catholics were to be robbed by law: "Every Roman Catholic was... to forfeit his estate to his nearest Protestant relation, until, through a profession of what he did not believe, he redeemed by his hypocrisy what the law had transferred to the kinsman as the recompense of his profligacy." The law encouraged Protestants to steal from their Catholic relations, or even pretended relations; and not just large amounts, but everything - every bit of property they had. "When thus turned out of doors from his paternal estate, he was disabled from acquiring any other by any industry, donation, or charity; but was rendered a foreigner in his native land, only because he retained the religion, along with the property, handed down to him from those who had been the old inhabitants of that land before him."

"....Catholics, condemned to beggary and to ignorance in their native land, have been obliged to learn the principles of letters, at the hazard of all their other principles, from the charity of your enemies. They have been taxed to their ruin at the pleasure of necessitous and profligate relations, and according to the measure of their necessity and profligacy,"

"Examples of this are many and affecting. Some of them are known by a friend who stands near me in this hall. It is but six or seven years since a clergyman, of the name of Malony, a man of morals, neither guilty nor accused of anything noxious to the state, was condemned to perpetual imprisonment for exercising the functions of his religion; and after lying in jail two or three years, was relieved by the mercy of government from perpetual imprisonment, on condition of perpetual banishment. A brother of the Earl of Shrewsbury, a Talbot, a name respectable in this country whilst its glory is any part of its concern, was hauled to the bar of the Old Bailey, among common felons, and only escaped the same doom, either by some error in the process, or that the wretch who brought him there could not correctly describe his person,—I now forget which. In short, the persecution would never have relented for a moment, if the judges, superseding (though with an ambiguous example) the strict rule of their artificial duty by the higher obligation of their conscience, did not constantly throw every difficulty in the way of such informers. But so ineffectual is the power of legal evasion against legal iniquity, that it was but the other day that a lady of condition, beyond the middle of life, was on the point of being stripped of her whole fortune by a near relation to whom she had been a friend and benefactor; and she must have been totally ruined, without a power of redress or mitigation from the courts of law, had not the legislature itself rushed in, and by a special act of Parliament rescued her from the injustice of its own statutes..."

It says enough about the power of brute prejudice, of a kind we see in the highest places today, that this unanswerable attack on a disgraceful law lost Burke an election he should have won. The English had been taught to hate Catholics so much that they evidently thought that nothing done to them could be wrong or unjust.

What the Mandate is designed to do, mutatis mutandis, is exactly this. This is why the political and media leadership of your country has fought for it so obstinately, so savagely, and so underhandedly; this is why it took even a narrow defeat with murderous rage. It is because the real purpose of this abomination is to exclude Christians and especially Catholics from economic life. In a world in which money is the only power that can really affect politics - as Obama and his people know all too well - it is intolerable to them that there should be a number, however small, of rich people and of company owners who take their Christianity seriously. In this day and age it is not yet possible to make it legal for a man of the government's party to simply steal the property of his dissenting relatives; and besides, there is not - or not yet - a simple test of identity to separate the government's friends from its enemies, as membership in the "Protestant" church was in Burke's time. But they can impose a tax for a purpose that no Christian can accept, and then savagely penalize them - not by jailing them, which is not what they want, but by fining them into ruin.

Look at it in this light, and the whole mechanism becomes lucid, clear, rational and perfectly designed for its purpose. It is intended to make it impossible for Christians to have any independent economic activity in the USA, by making sure that they either have to resign their principles or be taxed into bankruptcy for them. Of course, they could not possibly declare their purpose; of course they lied from beginning to end. But that, and nothing else, is what this Mandate does.

Incidentally, this also gives you an insight into the real view that Obama and his henchmen have of the political process in your country, and of the nature of political power. This law is not meant to strike at Catholic or Christian faith. It does not try to obtain conversions. It does not set up anything like the imposing apparatus by which republican France, after 1875, worked tirelessly to break the ancestral Catholicism of its masses. The only thing that matters, the thing for which they have fought, the thing for which they have lied, the thing for which they ruined Bart Stupak and compromised the word of the President of the United States of America, was to be sure that no rich Catholics or Christians should exist. Wealth had to remain exclusively among people who had no problem with paying tax to distribute IUDs and abortifacients with a shovel. Because in the eyes of Obama and his crowd, only the very rich are politically significant. This attempt to winnow the Christians from their numbers makes it perfectly clear.
fpb: (Athena of Pireus)
This was meant to look a bit weird. The opening two words are the famous Greek motto "know thyself", in the possibly less famous Greek original. I just thought it might catch a reader's eye. Because the point is not exactly a novelty. Make an effort to know yourself. Seek to be aware of the kind of thing you are. Try and have at least a little understanding of how you react and of the way you do things. Or else you will, if you are lucky, become matter for mirth. I know it's tough. I know I'm not a particularly good example. But good Heavens, there are worse than me.

Take [personal profile] inverarity. Every now and then I poke my nose in his LJ, mainly to see whether the next Alexandra Quick novel is coming along. (So far, bad news.) And just now I had the experience - I guess these things must sooner or later happen - of finding out that, after the way he had treated [personal profile] madderbrad and me, and probably others too, [personal profile] inverarity still imagines that he could find someone to debate him on fundamental issues and challenge his views.
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Slavery never went away. It just crawled into people's souls and settled there. And of all the slave minds, the worst are those who shill for the rich and powerful - people who don't even need advocacy, they can supply their own so well - and praise their banditry. And there is a variety of such shills who is not only repulsive but also comical: those who loudly theorize about their own personal love of freedom, and who insist that nobody else but them really knows what freedom is about.
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...you should never count on anything being withdrawn or altered. You are more likely to be mobbed for your pains, and then to have snarky passive-aggressive posts made about you (without mentioning your name) in which you are called rude and Socialist. (The evidence for the latter being that I said, in the very debate in question, the following words: "I don't even much like the Socialist movement and I don't think I ever voted for them". This is Mr.Wright's definition of a Socialist.)
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Or, to be precise, with this quotation? Two successive titles - successive, mind you - on the conservative news service Townhall.com:

Mike Shedlock:
U.S. Local Governments Cut Payrolls to Lowest Level Since 2006

Chris Edwards:
Plunder! How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives, and Bankrupting the Nation
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WHAT IT SAYS

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

WHAT IT DOES NOT SAY

The ability to kill anyone one pleases being an essential feature of a citizen of a free State, no limit shall be placed on the possession and use of weapons.
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These people force one to be a conservative whether he will or not. For the second time in two damned months, a so-called liberal has utterly refused to read what I had to say on various subjects. These people consider narrow-mindedness and ignorance to be a test of their virtue and of their higher moral evolution.
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Success is very destructive to intelligence, and even more to self-knowledge. It is true, as the article I quote says, that James Cameron is responsible - though not in the penal sense, alas - for two of the most successful movies in history, Titanic and Avatar; but it is also agreed - there is not even room for any real debate - that Cameron also deserves some sort of award for managing to pack in the public for two of the worst-written pieces of gibbering idiocy ever released upon a guilty world. It would be kind to call their writing foetid; it is probably better to describe it as a meaningless free association of dead and buried clichés; the "writer"'s mind reaching instinctively, at each turn, for something old and stupid.

Which is why the text of the following article (actually written almost two years ago, so perhaps he's thought better of it) struck me like the biggest joke since Donald Trump tried to pretend he was Presidential material:

JAMES CAMERON CONFIRMS HE’S WRITING ‘AVATAR’ NOVEL
By Christopher John Farley
Wall Street Journal
February 16, 2010

Original Link

James Cameron has the two biggest movie blockbusters of all time: “Titanic” and “Avatar.” So what’s left for him to conquer? The world of literature.

At a reception held in his honor on Tuesday night in New York City at the Four Seasons Restaurant, Cameron confirmed reports that he’s turning his Oscar-nominated movie “Avatar” into a novel.

“There are things you can do in books that you can’t do with films,” said Cameron.

“Avatar” tells the story of a disabled Marine who travels to a distant moon called Pandora, inhabits a surrogate body, and falls in with a nature-loving alien race fighting military and corporate forces seeking to exploit their land for profit.

He says the book version of “Avatar” will follow the film version “quite closely” in terms of the plot. But the novel will also include “interior monologues” and provide details about the characters and Pandora.

Cameron said he first considered writing the book when he was filming the movie. “I told myself, if it made money, I’d write a book,” the director said.

“Avatar” has grossed more than $666 million domestically.

At the reception, Cameron also said that he wants to use the spotlight that’s been put on him by “Avatar’s” success to bring attention to environmental causes. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the host of the event, said that even though “Avatar” is a work of fiction, it had helped shed light on issues relating to conservation.
posted @ Saturday, February 27, 2010 3:46 AM by David
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As is to be expected, the kind of people who comment on the Daily Jail and related objects have replaced any attempt at thinking with sloganizing and a great deal of insults. I don't want to be drawn into this kind of thing, although I would notify any prospective opponent that where invective is concerned I'm the 500'kilo gorilla; but I do think that people might at least try to avoid speaking of countries and people of which they obviously know as much as I know of playing backgammon.
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http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111207/ap_on_re_us/us_texas_welfare_shootings
Positively perfect. No welfare-state coddlings, but free availability of guns "to defend oneself against the tyranny of the state" (which is NOT what the Second Amendment says).
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Every time I feel I've had enough of conservatives, I find progs who are worse. Just now I've met some sort of monster who claims to teach in a Texas university and refuses to read anything by anyone who is Christian. And claims to be for diversity. How do these people even live within their own yowling contradictions?

And I will say one thing: I haven't yet met a conservative who positively refused to argue. They might argue badly, they might from time to time prove impervious to sense, but they aren't AFRAID of defending their views.
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...the ignorant rubbish about religion that people say not even with arrogance but as a throwaway, commonplace remark, apparently not even realizing that they are being both fabulously stupid (so monotheism inspires beautiful music? and you found this out yesterday?) and unimaginably offensive (so "religion" ought not have anything to do with what the State says or does?). Jesus Christ, at least the Sorry Trinity do have a clear idea that religion is a motive for action. It hurts to admit it, but the average educated and intelligent person today is stupider, in this matter, than Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris.





.... so someone is surprised that "monotheism" can produce beautiful things?

A specimen

Jun. 5th, 2011 09:26 pm
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This is the abstract of an academic article about a mediaeval religious movement. It may seem unchivalrous to give the author's name and the title, but if I had not it would still have been extremely easy to discover her via Google. I rather want to underline that there is no exceptional folly or wickedness about this particular person or her work; rather, that the central badness of it is nothing more than average, symptomatic of a wholly poisonous way of approaching history and other discipline that unfortunately prevails and has prevailed for a very long time.Read more... )

IDIOT

May. 26th, 2011 09:57 am
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The arrogance of the pundit can be excused if s/he has something at least moderately intelligent, interesting or arguable to say. But that a grown man with enough brain cells to move on two feet should deliver himself of the following atrocity and live not to even be mocked or subjected to proper invective (not insult, for to call such a man a moron is not an insult but a description) is quite frankly more than flesh and blood can stand. So, if nobody else will take the trouble to brand Emmett Tyrrell as a mind-repelling moron for it, I will:
Will no one from a younger generation note the obvious -- to wit, in the arts and in politics, the 1960s generation was a bust?

There are no Faulkners, no Hemingways, no Fitzgeralds. There are no Aaron Coplands or Virgil Thompsons. In drama, there is David Mamet, but that is about it. In Europe, there may be a little more life in the 1960s has-beens, but not much.


Jeff Jones, the greatest painter since Picasso, the greatest American painter of all time, has just died. The grief for this terrible loss would be enough to comment on this piece of excreta excreted from the wrong orifice; but that a man should seriously claim the already-forgotten Virgil Thomson as an everlasting glory for the nation that produced Jack Kirby and Robert Altman simply beggars belief. This man has lived through one of the epochs of Western art and has learned nothing from or of it; which can only mean that he has made a conscious decision to reject it - to refuse the best and finest products of his time. Now it might be said that things like the agonizing circumstances of Jones' death - surely due in part to substance abuse in the past and possibly to his/her sex change operation - could point to a destructive and dangerous aspect among Sixties artists; after all, many of them, from Janis Joplin to Jerry Garcia, suffered similar fates. The fact is not in dispute, and a discussion on it could well be constructive. Only that is not what Tyrrell does: on the contrary, he mocks those who have lived into their seventies, from Bob Dylan to Paul McCartney. Evidently, not enough of the greatest and finest of their time have died to satisfy him. One would never have thought that anyone could possibly make Ann Coulter look good, but she, at least, likes the Grateful Dead.
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The best thing about this is that it may at last have killed the insane Trump candidacy (I can't believe there was anyone in the Republican Party disposed to give this lecherous crook the time of day). The only good thing, in turn, about the Trump candidacy, is that it should make us Italians feel less bad about Berlusconi.
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8454002/Puberty-blocker-for-children-considering-sex-change.html
This strikes me as one of those things of which people should say that just because you can do it, it doesn't mean you should. In fact, you shouldn't. The amount of things that could go wrong, and that will, is so enormous as to immensely outweigh any potential good that could be done to any child who was, ex hypothesi, so uncharacteristically clear about such things, and so open about the mattter, as to give a trustworthy answer to the question. This seems to me like an invitation to children to treat their own body and identity as something to play games with, to follow adult suggestions (the idea that all adult experts will be honest and trustworthy,clear about themselves and about their reasons, and not out to prove personal theories or indulge hobby-horses, is nothing except laughable), to receive and seek suggestions they would never have received, and, in the upshot, to have their lives ruined.

Let me be clear: I know that such things happen. As it happens, and by pure chance, I have had more experience of real transsexuals than almost anyone who is not a professional in the field. But one of the things I have seen at close hands is that twelve is much too early to know. The TS I have known have made their decisions well into adulthood - one, indeed, in his/her fifties. To give a child a choice in such a matter is criminally dangerous. And yes, I know that children who become TS often have a hard time: two people have told me so, independently of each other, with long stories of their grim times as children. But does anyone know how many OTHER children have hard times? A happy childhood is by no means the norm, and what is more teen-agers are inherently self-dramatizing and tend to treat their lives as miserable even when they aren't. You want to give a child whom you would not trust to vote which corrupt politician should steal your money, or to drive a goddamn car, with a decision that could ruin every living moment of his or her remaining life? Are you quite demented, good people and ruling classes of Britain?

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