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Friday, August 19, 2016

Trump has all the best horcruxes.

Watch out for that one.


jimf said...

He has all the best, er, un-diagnoses, too.
_A Clear and Present Danger: Narcissism in the Era of Donald Trump_
edited by Steven Buser, Leonard Cruz

Disclaimer from the Publisher

Let us be clear: The contributors, editors, and publisher have not
engaged in diagnosis of any public figures mentioned in the pages
that follow. . .

[But get a load of the table of contents!]

And he inspires all the best, uh, art.
These protesters wanted to humiliate ‘Emperor’ Trump. So they took off his clothes.
By Peter Holley
August 19

jimf said...

> Trump has all the best horcruxes.

He has all the best lies, too. ;->

Speaking of lies, there was an interesting article in one
of my local newspapers this morning (no NY Times for
me today) about the predicament of the attorney general of
The broken oath

IT'S NEVER the wrongdoing — it's the lying about it. Pennsylvania Attorney
General Kathleen Kane, who announced her resignation Tuesday in the face
of a possible 14-year sentence for her conviction on perjury charges,
proves the truth of that adage for public corruption cases. Leaking
grand jury proceedings to embarrass a political rival would not have
gotten her sent to prison. But lying about it under oath could and will. . .

To put it bluntly, the truth of testimony under oath is the single
most important component of legal justice. Whether at trial or at
depositions, most factual statements most of the time are not easily
verifiable or disproved. Unless we can treat truth as the default
option, the entire justice system — civil as well as criminal — becomes
little more than a charade.

For roughly 3,000 years, almost all legal systems — Babylonian, Roman,
Jewish, Christian, Islamic, what have you — shared a single solution
to making people tell the truth: the oath. The idea is simple. If
you swear by a god or God you believe in, you won't lie — because
you'll be afraid of punishment.

In a world where it was and remains difficult to check veracity,
the sincere oath is a spectacular ploy to ensure that justice is done.
An oath-based system assumes that people lie frequently in daily life.
But when it really matters that they tell the truth, they will tell
the truth, provided they are put under oath.

Sometime in the 17th or 18th century, the oath system began to break
down, as more and more people stopped believing that God would
punish them for lying. Observers at the time noticed the change,
and were profoundly worried about the consequences for justice.
George Washington put it this way in his Farewell Address:
"Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life,
if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which
are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?". . .

Convicting liars of perjury and sentencing them to harsh prison
terms was the answer. It's a distant second best to divine enforcement.
In fact, punishing perjury is simply the desperate attempt of
the legal system to make do without religious faith. . .

[P]eople, including law enforcement officials, perjure themselves
anyway. One reason is that they know how hard it is to get caught.
But more fundamental to the crime of perjury is that today,
lying under oath may not feel very different from lying in ordinary life.

The eventuality that George Washington feared has come to pass.
An oath no longer creates a sense of awe and terror for most people.

That's probably especially true for lawyers. . .

It's been a couple of hundred years since the legal system lost the
"sense of religious obligation" that powered witness credibility.
We're still limping along without a very satisfactory solution.

jimf said...

> It's been a couple of hundred years since the legal system lost the
> "sense of religious obligation" that powered witness credibility.
> We're still limping along without a very satisfactory solution.

Assuming you're not in favor of a return to superstition, there's
nothing for it but the solution (which is, indeed, the contemporary
solution -- the Bible is little more than a prop in a formal
ritual, these days) that Bertrand Russell once characterized:

(via )

WOODROW WYATT: Well now, if you don't believe in religion,
and you don't; and if you don't, on the whole,
think much of the assorted rules thrown up by
taboo morality, do you believe in any system of ethics?

BERTRAND RUSSELL: Yes, but it's very difficult to separate
ethics altogether from politics. Ethics, it seems
to me, arises in this way: a man is inclined to do
something which benefits him and harms his neighbor.
Well, if it harms a good many of his neighbors, they
will combine together and say, "Look, we don't like
this sort of thing; we will see to it that it
**doesn't** benefit the man." And that leads
to the criminal law. Which is perfectly rational:
it's a method of harmonizing the general and private

WYATT: But now, isn't it, though, rather inconvenient
if everybody goes about with his own kind of private
system of ethics, instead of accepting a general one?

RUSSELL: It would be, if that were so, but in fact
they're not so private as all that because, as I was
saying a moment ago, they get embodied in the criminal
law and, apart from the criminal law, in public
approval and disapproval. People don't like to
incur public disapproval, and in that way, the
accepted code of morality becomes a very potent

-- LP "Bertrand Russell Speaking" (1959)
(Woodrow Wyatt Interviews)

So yeah, it's a cost/benefit analysis -- folks have to weigh
their own perceived likelihood of getting caught against
the likely criminal penalty plus their own sensitivity
(which varies -- folks at one end of the sociopathic
spectrum can be pretty shameless) to public humiliation.

jimf said...

> An oath no longer creates a sense of awe and terror for most people.

Except in historical drama and (speaking of horcruxes)
fantasy literature. ;->

Thomas Cromwell: You wrote this book.

Sir Thomas More: I wrote no part of it. . .

Cromwell: Do you deny you instigated it?

More: It was from first to last the King's own project.

Cromwell: The King says not.

More; The King knows the truth of it. And whatever he may
have said to you, he will not give evidence to support this

Cromwell: Why not?

More: Because evidence is given on oath, and he will not
perjure himself. If you don't know that, then you don't
yet know him.


Meg: Father, "God more regards the thoughts of the heart
than the words of the mouth." -- well, so you've always told me.

Sir Thomas More: Yes.

Meg: Then say the words of the oath and in your heart think otherwise.

More: What is an oath then, but words we say to God?
Listen, Meg. When a man takes an oath, he's holding
his own self in his own hands -- like water.
And if he opens his fingers **then**, he needn't hope to
find himself again. Some men aren't capable of this, but I'd be
loath to think your father one of them.

-- _A Man For All Seasons_

Then Fëanor swore a terrible oath. His seven sons leapt
straightway to his side and took the selfsame vow together,
and red as blood shone their drawn swords in the glare of the torches.
They swore an oath which none shall break, and none should take,
by the name even of Ilúvatar, calling the Everlasting Dark
upon them if they kept it not; and Manwë they named in witness,
and Varda, and the hallowed mountain of Taniquetil, vowing to
pursue with vengeance and hatred to the ends of the World Vala,
Demon, Elf or Man as yet unborn, or any creature, great or small,
good or evil, that time should bring forth unto the end of days,
whoso should hold or take or keep a Silmaril from their possession.

Thus spoke Maedhros and Maglor and Celegorm, Curufin and Caranthir,
Amrod and Amras, princes of the Noldor; and many quailed to hear
the dread words. For so sworn, good or evil, an oath may not be broken,
and it shall pursue oathkeeper and oathbreaker to the world's end.

-- J. R. R. Tolkien, _The Silmarillion_

At Erech there stands yet a black stone that was brought, it was said,
from Númenor by Isildur; and it was set upon a hill, and upon it
the King of the Mountains swore allegiance to him in the beginning
of the realm of Gondor.

But when Sauron returned and grew in might again, Isildur summoned
the Men of the Mountains to fulfil their oath, and they would not:
for they had worshipped Sauron in the Dark Years.

Then Isildur said to their king: "Thou shalt be the last king. And
if the West prove mightier than thy Black Master, this curse I lay
upon thee and thy folk: to rest never until your oath is fulfilled.
For this war will last through years uncounted, and you shall be
summoned once again ere the end."


Aragorn dismounted, and standing by the Stone he cried in a great voice:

'Oathbreakers, why have ye come?'

And a voice was heard out of the night that answered him, as if from far away:

'To fulfil our oath and have peace.'

Then Aragorn said: 'The hour is come at last. . . And when all this land
is clean of the servants of Sauron, I will hold the oath fulfilled,
and ye shall have peace and depart for ever. For I am Elessar,
Isildur's heir of Gondor.'

-- J. R. R. Tolkien, _The Lord of the Rings_

Still sends a tingle up the spine. ;->

Dale Carrico said...

I admit with shame that I had an initial guffaw at the naked Trump statues... but it didn't take long to feel uneasy and then gross and then frankly enraged about them. "Humiliating" Trump because he has an aging flabby body is hardly a relevant critique of him and policing unrealistic bodily norms through proliferating public Trump monuments seems damaging rather than liberating. I am disgusted by Trump's body shaming of other people, and I am disgusted by sexist attacks on HRC's appearance in particular... I don't think this is a matter of turnabout is fair play, I think it is about exacerbating an American disgust with the aging vulnerable "imperfect" body. This disgust is about self-hate and denial, and it is compensated by cruelty, conspicuous consumption, and acquiescence, all of which enable Trumpian politics. Leave it to anarchists to imagine it is some radical intervention to notice that boastfulness is an expression of insecurity rather than confidence and then use that commonplace to police body norms in ways that fuel fascism.