I’ll just put this here for later reference.
This is a story that I learned from a well respected scholar of Chinese history and archaeology, K.C. Chang. He was, briefly, my graduate advisor. I am not a scholar of Chinese anything, and I can’t remember if this story had a textual source, but I have a vague feeling it was in a book introduction or review article written by Chang, and the subject matter was Chinese historiography. Historiography is the study of historical writing, in other words, the study of methods in history. When one studies Chinese historiography, one is often looking at very ancient texts, written by ancient Chinese historians. Apparently, “historian” was a job, not necessarily that different from “scribe” in some other ancient contexts, and during some times and in some places, the Chinese historian sat in the court of the Emperor.
Every now and then, I look for the original story, or some version of it, but I can never find it. It is a story with a lesson so important that it should be retold many times. I do not attest to its veracity, but I will stand by its meaning. Lacking a source to refer to, I hereby make up, er, reconstruct, a version of it so I can put it here in this blog post and refer to it later.
The story goes like this.
An Emperor was sitting court, and attended to by one historian and the historian’s assistants, and others. A man had been accused of a crime, and the Emperor was to decide his fate. Those arguing on behalf of the man clearly demonstrated that he had not committed the crime, and should be let go, but the Emperor had taken a dislike to this man, and ordered his immediate beheading. And so, he was beheaded.
The historian recorded this event, and included in the record, made right then and there, a phrase such as “The Emperor had the man wrongly beheaded.”
Made aware of this, the Emperor insisted that the historian, right then and there, “correct” the record to indicate that the Emperor was just in his decision. The historian pointed out that this was wrong, and he could not change the record.
The Emperor ordered the historian beheaded, and so he was, right then and there.
The first assistant historian then took over the job of historian, and recorded, “The Emperor had the man wrongly beheaded. Then, on seeing that the Historian recorded this accurately had that Historian beheaded.”
Becoming aware of this entry to the historical record, the Emperor insisted that the new historian “correct” the record to show that the Emperor was just. That historian refused, and under the order of the Emperor, was promptly beheaded.
The next assistant historian then took over, and recorded that the Emperor had wrongly ordered the beheading of a citizen, then, wrongly ordered the beheading of the historian that recorded that fact, then ordered the beheading of the historian that recorded that fact. This historian fully understood that he would now be beheaded as well.
But he was not. The Emperor saw that his own reputation was becoming more and more severely damaged, and he understood that a line of historians would form at his court to record this, because this was the role of historians at this time and place. The Emperor relented, went on with other business, and the third historian lived.
And this is why we know today of what that Emperor did.
… and back.
“It is wrong. It has to stop!”
First, a few important military facts. Tanks are not the main way the US military fights a war. They are certainly used, but less then might be assumed given recent events in Washington DC. Also, our enemies are less and less likely to use tanks against us. Our long distance and air-assault artillery means that any nation we go up against that puts most of its eggs in the tank basket loses in a few days. Tanks for the memory, tanks, but tanks are becoming somewhat passe in regular warfare. Continue reading Don’t be afraid of Trump’s Tanks
Have a look at this piece by Maddow, especially starting around 17.08 where we see the townspeople show up with the torches and pitchforks. Dammit.
It is all about the torches and pitchforks, baby.
As revealed in the shocking new book, Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump, by Rick Reilly
“He cheats at the highest level. He cheats when people are watching and he cheats when they aren’t. He cheats whether you like it or not. He cheats because that’s how he plays golf … if you’re playing golf with him, he’s going to cheat.”*
Reilly has been with Trump on the fairway, the green, and in the weeds, and has seen first-hand how the president plays–and it’s not pretty. Based on his personal experiences, and interviews with dozens of golf pros, amateurs, developers, partners, opponents, and even caddies who have first-hand experience with Trump on the course, Reilly takes a deep and often hilarious look at how Trump shamelessly cheats at golf, lies about it, sues over it, bullies with it, and profits off it.
From Trump’s ridiculous claim to have won eighteen club championships, to his devious cheating tricks, to his tainted reputation as a golf course tycoon, Commander in Cheat tells you everything you need to know about the man.
1) Mueller found no collusion, but does his report explain why a half dozen key Trump Crime Family members blatantly and in apparent coordination with each other lied about their contacts (which did happen) with Russian officials and agents?
This could be explained as follows.
For their part, Russia interfered with the election. This is known.
For their part, the Trump Crime Family attempted to coordinate with the Russians, but the Russians are not stupid. They regarded the Trump people as the Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Strait, and while Trump Jr, Flynn, Pence, and the rest of them, kept trying to open back channels and bend over backwards for the Russians, the Kremlin kept them at arms length. Why allow the idiots to get themselves arrested or impeached, thus becoming useless, rather than useful, idiots?
2) The special prosecutor a) chose to not move forward on obstruction but b) it was Barr and the Justice Department that determined that this is not worth pursuing. It is pretty clear that Trump committed obstruction, he is just going to get away with it. We have to see the report itself to consider this further.
3) Since so much of the left, the Democratic, the blue-wavist, momentum was (unwisely) tied up in this report, that is done now. Trump was polled as behind various Democrats in head-to-head comparisons, and his popularity and approval ratings were all down. The next head to head comparisons will likely show Trump as a possible 2020 winner, and his approval ratings will now go abruptly up. Had this report come out in this exact manner last October 1st, there would not have been as strong of a blue wave.
4) That slightly squishy zone, those who are Trump supporters but who we thought could be convinced to turn on him, will now harden and move fully into the Trump camp. This includes voters, the handful of Republican Senators that occassionally pretended to contemplate doing the right thing, and everyone in between. That particular political strategy for Democrats, not very important to begin with, is surely now zero gone.
5) We are probably left with only one option: To vote Trump out of office, and along with him, a bunch of Senators.
6) Now more than ever, infighting among Democrats is dooming our children, our planet, and ourselves.
This is an important perspective:
Before you spend any more energy criping about Pelosi and impeachment, find out what impeachment is and how it would go.
What people need to understand is that the Senate, i.e., the Republicans, i.e. Mitch McConnell himself, runs the show in the impeachment hearings. It is done by the Senate. They do it. It is them. Not the house.
It is a trial is run by the Senate with the Chief Justice presiding, and the President present the whole time in the front of the room. Trump will be able to call witnesses. Repeat. Trump will be able to call witnesses. McConnell will be able to call witnesses. Repeat. McConnell will be able to call witnesses.
This means that not only will the impeachment fail, but the Republicans in the Senate, led by Mitch McConnell, will basically be putting on Celebrity Apprentice 2.0 staring Donald Trump.
It won’t just be a fail. It will be a multi day show put on and arranged entirely by Trump’s people.
Unless we get to a point where there is the necessary number of Republicans in the Senate to convict, we do not want this to happen. Pelosi is right.
This looks interesting:
And freedom? And why is education power and freedom?
The whole point of the enlightenment is that knowledge sets us free. “Wherever the people are well informed,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “they can be trusted with their own government.” That we are less free than we can, and should, be is the point of Shawn Otto’s book The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It. If you’ve not read it, please do so.
It is also the point of, let’s see … the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Under Trump, these freedoms are threatened daily. We are at a tipping point. A Trump is possible when the politicians and elected officials of this country have taken enough power from the voters that they can make voting itself a non-democratic act. A Trump is possible when ignorance becomes the willed objective of a large portion of the thought leaders of our society. Once a certain point of institutionalized repression of democracy, and a certain point of culturally determined ignorance, are reached, someone like Trump can become president and then, imperialized by whichever powers control him, push us the rest of the way.
That is the point of the best of this year’s Super Bowl commercials. The only one worth watching. In fact, better than the game turned out to be. This is it, from the Washington Post:
Donald Trump has confused the events in a newly released move with reality, and that is why the government was shut down.
I do wish DeNiro, one of the word’s greatest actors, had learned his lines instead of reading them, but its funny anyway.