sent by Rhode Island desk

Weak, weak, weak

The Trump era will end when a Democrat can get in Trump’s face and confidently say this.  American politics is not structured for this kinda face to face thing so maybe it won’t be until 2020.

Jump to 3:42 in this director’s cut to see the almost sexual excitement that explodes when Blair drops the word “weak”:

Sherrod Brown is the Dem who physically resembles Blair here the most, imo.

Once a confident Democrat is calling Trump weak to his face, the fight will enter the pattern laid out by Randall Collins:

How does violence sometimes succeed in doing damage? The key is asymmetrical  confrontation tension. One side will win if they can get their victim in the zone of high arousal and high incompetence, while keeping their own arousal down to a zone of greater bodily control.

Trump will enter a state of high arousal and high incompetence.  Collins continues:

Violence is not so much physical as emotional struggle; whoever achieves emotional domination, can then impose physical domination. That is why most real fights look very nasty; one sides beats up on an opponent at the time they are incapable of resisting.

Unfortch a US president in a state of high arousal and high incompetence has a non-zero chance of ending human life on Earth, so that also must be weighed.

When tyrants tremble sick with fear and hear their death knells ringing

we used to listen to this record when I was a kid.

when friends by shame are undefiled

also a good line.

The first was the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, which led, ultimately, to the ousting and gruesome lynching of the Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi. Afterward, many people who interacted with Putin noticed how deeply Qaddafi’s death troubled him. He is said to have watched the video of the killing over and over. “The way Qaddafi died made a profound impact on him,” says Jake Sullivan, a former senior State Department official who met repeatedly with senior Russian officials around that time. Another former senior Obama-administration official describes Putin as “obsessed” with Qaddafi’s death

reported Julia Ioffe for the Atlantic in February 2018.

Montenegro in the news

Montenegro in the news:

made me think of:

Gatsby is finally telling his backstory to Nick:

       “Then came the war, old sport. It was a great relief and I tried very hard to die but I seemed to bear an enchanted life. I accepted a commission as first lieutenant when it began. In the Argonne Forest I took two machine-gun detachments so far forward that there was a half mile gap on either side of us where the infantry couldn’t advance. We stayed there two days and two nights, a hundred and thirty men with sixteen Lewis guns, and when the infantry came up at last they found the insignia of three German divisions among the piles of dead. I was promoted to be a major and every Allied government gave me a decoration–even Montenegro, little Montenegro down on the Adriatic Sea!”

Little Montenegro! He lifted up the words and nodded at them–with his smile. The smile comprehended Montenegro’s troubled history and sympathized with the brave struggles of the Montenegrin people. It appreciated fully the chain of national circumstances which had elicited this tribute from Montenegro’s warm little heart. My incredulity was submerged in fascination now; it was like skimming hastily through a dozen magazines. He reached in his pocket and a piece of metal, slung on a ribbon, fell into my palm. “That’s the one from Montenegro.” To my astonishment, the thing had an authentic look.

“Orderi di Danilo,” ran the circular legend, “Montenegro, Nicolas Rex.”

“Turn it.”

“Major Jay Gatsby,” I read, “For Valour Extraordinary.”


Henry Adams to young FDR

Henry Adams with dog Marquis from Wikipedia

Young man, I have lived in this house many years and seen the occupants of that White House across the square come and go, and nothing that you minor officials or the occupants of that house can do will affect the history of the world for long.

Believe he said this to FDR when Frank was assistant secretary of the Navy.  Quote from Old Money by Nelson Aldrich.

Checking in on: UK politics

If you enjoy English weirdness as I do jump to 8:17 here to watch the insane reaction Emily Thornberry, PM for Islington South and Finsbury gets for her joke:

Let them overturn Roe.

This is my hot take for today:

Let’s assume you agree with me and think women in the United States should have access to abortion when they need it.

Letting Roe v Wade get overturned could be a positive outcome that would help this cause in the long term.

What would happen if Roe were overturned tomorrow?  Well, in California, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Alaska, etc, I’m estimating about 29 states, I’m guessing: nothing.

In another 30 or so states, legislators might try to make abortion illegal.  This would become an important, contentious issue in state elections.  I believe this would drive voter turnout and galvanize women voters in particular.

We might look to Ireland as an example of what could happen.  The issue of repealing the Eighth Amendment, which banned abortion, came up for a vote.  An electrified, involved, young electorate turned up.  Turnout was 64%, and Yes – the “pro choice” side – won with 66.40% of the vote (source).

I think this was healthy and democratic for Ireland.

Wouldn’t similar debates and votes, or mini versions in legislative elections in the states where abortion would be a contentious issue, be healthy and good for the country?

Or, better yet, have a women’s rights amendment to the Constitution.  That would be great too.

Where in the Constitution is there a right to an abortion?  It’s not in there.  We might like it to be in there, but it’s not.  The Roe decision didn’t find it in the Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.[1]

In fact, if I understand right, the majority in Roe went out of their way to say they didn’t find it there:

The Court declined to adopt the district court’s Ninth Amendment rationale, and instead asserted that the “right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment‘s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the district court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”[38] Douglas, in his concurring opinion in the companion case, Doe, stated more emphatically, “The Ninth Amendment obviously does not create federally enforceable rights.

The majority in Roe found the right in the Fourteenth Amendment, which is ridiculous.  Not at all the intent of that amendment.  At that point you’re making up stuff.

Roe v. Wade is one of the few Supreme Court decisions I’ve read and… it feels flimsy.  It feels like a wire and string solution to get to a result the court wanted.

The Roe decision is cheating.  It’s like the referee giving your team extra points because he wants you to win.  That might get you the result you want.  But it’s not good for the game.

Let the states fight it out!  Let conservative legislators be forced to show how they’re gonna enforce making abortion illegal.  Let them fight it every election cycle.

(lol bc I’m obviously out of my depth, ran this one by our legal counsel, MMW, for comment:

Had to look up the Lochner era.