Katie Hill: Quel Scandale

Does anyone understand the Katie Hill “scandal”? I had trouble sleeping last night, so I used an article about the scandal as a sleep aid–which worked like a charm–but then I woke up wondering what it was about. So I looked into it. As far as I can tell, this is the whole scandal:

  1. A woman has a three-some with someone plus her husband.
  2. The woman’s marriage goes south, so she ditches her husband and starts up with the someone (or maybe a couple of people).
  3. Somewhere in there, she gets naked, brushes the someone’s hair, and is photographed doing it.
  4. She gets elected to Congress, where some of the preceding breaks some newly-passed rule.

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“Trump Approved the Turkish Invasion of Syria”

Truth, they say, is the first casualty of war. Here’s one:

On Oct. 6, the day President Trump spoke to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and gave tacit approval for a Turkish military invasion, the American military had around 1,000 troops in Syria.

Isn’t there a clear difference between acquiescence in an action and approval of it? I’ve acquiesced in the Trump presidency; it doesn’t follow, and isn’t true, that I “approve” of it, whether explicitly or tacitly. What is the evidence for the claim that Trump approved of, or “gave approval for,” the Turkish invasion of Syria? Continue reading

Everybody’s Somebody’s Asset

Just checking here, but is it an “interesting angle” or “espionage” if Jared Kushner, Stephen Greenblatt, or David Friedman advise the Israeli government on how to circumvent long-standing American objections to the settlement of the West Bank? Or is that not a place where John Woo and Laura Ingraham want to go?

‘Some People Might Call That Espionage’: Fox Panel Questions White House Official Testifying in Impeachment Inquiry

Pizza Lady

No, she didn’t invent pizza. But she was notable in other ways.

Christine de Pizan (born Cristina da Pizzano; 1364-c. 1430 [thus either late mediæval or early Renaissance, depending on your definition]) – poet, historian, essayist, political theorist, political activist, and pioneering feminist – was Venetian by birth; but her father Tommaso, a philosopher and astrologer, had been serving as a temporary advisor at the court of King Charles V of France (a position which he had chosen, in the event perhaps unwisely, over a similar post in Hungary), and when the time came for Tommaso to return to his family in Venice, the king refused to let him leave, and instead insisted that Tommaso bring his family to Paris. Thus Christine grew up in Paris rather than Venice.

Christine de Pizan and the Mutant Head Ladies

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A White Man’s Chance

I keep seeing people online complaining that superhero movies and tv shows are now completely dominated by women and minorities.

So let’s take a peek at what domination looks like. Here are the stats from the past 20 years. (In some cases assigning a show to a particular category was a judgment call, open to reasonable challenge; but the overall shape of the info seems clear enough.)

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Asset Forfeiture

From an article in this morning’s New York Times, “As U.S. Leaves Allies in Syria, Kurdish Commander Struggles with Fallout.

Mr. Trump’s decision to pull United States troops out of the way of a Turkish advance and to begin withdrawing them from Syria deprived Mr. Kobani of his strongest backer and left him scrambling to reach new accommodations with the region’s other powers. This has put him in touch with a surprising number of powerful people for a man who heads a relatively unknown militia in an obscure corner of Syria.

Since the violence started, he has met with senior aides to President al-Assad of Syria, whom the United States considers a war criminal; spoken with top brass from the Russian military, which backs Mr. al-Assad; and had phone calls with prominent Americans like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who opposes Mr. Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria. On Saturday he talked to Mr. Pence, and he spoke with Mr. Trump last week.

“The issues are very complicated,” Mr. Kobani said. “I meet with everyone, and I will make any decision that is in our people’s interest.”

In other words, by Hillary Clinton’s standards, Mazlum Kobani is now an “apologist for Assad” who’s being “groomed” as a Russian asset. Borrowing Clinton’s conspiracy-theoretic assumptions, why is that a strike against Tulsi Gabbard but not against Mazlum Kobani? If those are such terrible things, why should we be supporting the Kurds at all?

Granted, given HRC’s latest venture into geostrategy, it’s doubtful anyone can refer with a straight face to her “standards,” but I think you know what I mean.

Old Philosopher Yells at Clouds

I’m sure I can’t be the first to notice the ways in which Plato’s Protagoras is framed as a response to Aristophanes’ Clouds, but I’m not aware of any previous discussion of the connections I have in mind.

It’s old news, of course, that many of Plato’s dialogues, including the Protagoras (along with, e.g., the Euthydemus, Gorgias, Hippias Minor, Hippias Major, and Sophist) are devoted to distinguishing Socrates’ approach to inquiry and debate from that of the Sophists, and to that extent may be viewed as responding to what Plato saw as a Socrates/Sophist conflation in the Clouds. Continue reading

Tulsi Gabbard vs. Liberal McCarthyism (2)

The New York Times, covering Hillary Clinton’s reputation-destroying claim that Tulsi Gabbard is being “groomed” by the Russian government to undermine the Democrats in the 2020 election.

Headline:

Tulsi Gabbard Lashes Back at Hillary Clinton After Claim of Russian Influence

Why not “Hillary Clinton Floats Unverified Conspiracy Theory About Tulsi Gabbard?” Never mind that she did it while criticizing Donald Trump’s reliance on unverified conspiracy theories (the relevant segment is about 35 minutes into the interview). Continue reading