Monday, June 27, 2016

Official languages in the EU

I wonder if Ireland will change its official EU notice-language from Gaelic to English? I bet the only reason the Irish chose Gaelic is because English was already covered. Only 35% of people in Ireland can speak Gaelic (more people in Ireland speak Polish). If the Irish Republic wants the majority of its citizens who speak English to have access to EU documents, they would need the EU to keep English as one of its official languages.

I wonder if the EU rules allow countries to change their notice language? If they don't, I bet the rules will allow it soon.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Trump Effect

With so much weird things happening, we might not fully appreciate this anymore, but can we take a moment to reflect on just how bizarre this year's presidential race has become? We can't go more than a week or two without something that is completely unprecedented.

Follow your conscience

I wonder if the (IMHO) hopeless "dump Trump" movement will be better funded than the actual Trump presidential campaign. Dump Trump can at least afford to run ads.

I'm guessing his name was Hans not Khalid

How can you decide it's not terrorism if the assailant's motive is "not clear"? The motive is what makes an attack terrorism.

UPDATE: Surprise!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Likely effect of the Brexit on Trump's chances of winning the presidency


This is just my opinion (isn't everything on this site?) but this will seem like ancient history by November, Trumps supporters for the most part don't follow international politics and largely won't notice the relationship between any economic fallout that might actually affect them and the Brexit vote from months earlier.

Intransigence just won, let's hope it goes down in history as a big mistake

This is a win for Mitch McConnell and his no-vote-on-the-Supreme-Court nominee-policy.

It's really important that (a) the Republcians lose the Senate in the upcoming election and, (b) that loss be at least partly attributed to the GOP's refusal to move on the Supreme Court nomination. At this point, (b) worries me more than (a).  Because while Republicans losing the Senate is pretty likely, there are several reasons for that: the GOP is defending a lot more seats than the Democrats are this year, the new GOP senators who came in on the 2010 Republican wave are facing reelection for the first time and ace yet to prove they can win in a non-wave year, Republican senators will be on the same ballot as Donald Trump, and finally, Republican senators' unpopular stance to not vote on the President's Supreme Court nominee. While that stance is a big problem, it's hardly clear that it will be foremost on the public's mind when they vote in November, or that they will be thinking of that intransigence, as opposed to all the other examples of intransigence Republican Senators have shown in the Obama era. And more importantly, it is far from clear that issue will be foremost in the minds of political commentators who, on the day after the election, will create the narrative about why the GOP lost the senate (inshallah) that will become prevailing wisdom going forward.

But I really really want there to be a perceived price with not doing their fucking job on this nomination, C'mon bobbleheads! Give me the just-so story I want!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Just curious

If enough corporate sponsors back out, is there a possibility they won't have enough money to hold a convention? Or will the RNC make up the difference, which would force them to use money they would otherwise spend in the election?

I'm not really sure what the corporate money pays for at these conventions. Is it te cost of the basic convention stuff, or just the perks and extras to make it shiny? Will the only effect of all the losses of corporate sponsorship be a bare bones event? Could it cause further damage to the finances of the party?

Still based on religion

I'm willing to bet that when Trump says  "areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism" he does not mean places like Colombia, notwithstanding its proven history of violence against civilians for political reasons. He might have taken religion out of the phrasing of the policy but it is still lurking in the background. 

When violence is committed by Muslims it is called "terrorism" (even when it is not--like when a U.S. soldier gets attacked while on duty in Iraq) and when non-Muslims commit violence that otherwise meets the definition of terrorism it rarely is called "terrorism." A lot of people have the idea that terrorism is committed almost entirely by Muslims because that's what we call any violence by a Muslim. (How many times do we have a shooting or bombing in the U.S. where the first question is "was it terrorism?"--a question that is ultimately decided based on the name of the perpetrator). I have no doubt that assumption would weigh heavily in Trump's decision-making when he decides what regions to ban immigrants from.

Friday, June 17, 2016

To do what how?

I think whenever anyone argues that the U.S. should do a military strike anywhere in the world, they should be required to fill in all the blanks of the below sentence:
The U.S. military should murder human beings in [insert country] to achieve [goal] and the murder will achieve that goal by [detailed explanation of how murder leads to goal].
While most proponents of military force do name the country they want to bomb (but not always!), I rarely see any of them bothering to say what the goal of the bombing is, and even when a goal is named, I never see an explanation of how the military strike would plausibly lead to the goal.

These really are basic questions. If you have a serious policy proposal, you should not have any difficulty answering them.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

An accountability moment

I was wrong on both my primary and secondary prediction in this post. Bernie is still hanging on, why I'm not sure. But he is.


Fewer and fewer people regularly watch television with commercials, so I don't think these ad buys will influence the election very much. But where presidential candidates buy ads does tell us what they think the swing states are. Clinton just bought ads in the following states: Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Colorado and Nevada.

None of those are surprising, but it might get people to drop the persistent, yet out of date, belief that Pennsylvania is a swinger (as in, to swing). PA hasn't gone red since 1988. Prior to 2008, I would have been surprised that NC is on Clinton's swing state list. Prior to 2006, I would have been surprised about VA. I wonder what surprising states will be on the list in 2020.

Abolish registering for the draft or make it equal

The requirement that all males who turn 18 have to register for the draft is stupid. My understanding is that the registration requirement was a compromise between the people who wanted to end the draft and those who wanted to keep it in which the draft would end, but, as a sop to the pro-draft faction, males would have to register when they turned 18 so it would be easy to find them if the country later decided it had to reinstitute the draft.

These days, there is no politically significant pro-draft faction. Even warmongering politicians never propose bringing back the draft because of the widespread belief that a draft would make their wars less popular. As long as the country has enough people in its all-volunteer military and is willing to hand a shitload of money to private contractors to do all the stuff that the drafted U.S. army used to do for itself, the country will be free to pursue its pointless wars and the draft will never be reinstated. The registration requirement is a now-mooted compromise and it is highly likely that the registration requirement is completely unnecessary and pointless.

But if we are going to continue to force boys/men to register when they turn 18, we should impose the same requirement on girls/women. To do otherwise would undermine women's equality in the military by suggesting that males are more valuable as soldiers.

UPDATE (6/17/16): Snarki points out in the comments that "my understanding" in the first paragraph is wrong. And Snarki is right! The Vietnam-era draft ended in 1975 with no registration requirement. In 1980, in response to the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan, President Carter issued Proclamation 4771 which began the requirement that males register for the draft when they reach age 18, so they could be called up more easily if a draft were re-instituted. It was not a compromise when the Vietnam-era draft ended as I had thought. I that doesn't change the overall point of this post.