The Watering Hole, Monday, July 25, 2016: Of Interest To Christians

The Christian Post (CP), which calls itself “the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website” (see their Statement of Faith at the bottom of their About page, showing the inherent contradictions in their viewpoints), published two posts detailing thirteen items from the Republican and Democratic convention platforms they deemed to be of interest to Christians. Specifically, Conservative Christians, as explicitly stated in the article on the Republican platform. [NOTE: In order to discuss what CP says about the platform, I will be quoting from their articles. Also note that I am taking the inclusion or not of amendments from the CP articles. I did not compare anything from the actual GOP platform as passed. And, obviously, the DNC is about to begin their convention later today.]

Staring with the Republicans, CP points out that the GOP will no longer be calling for a constitutional amendment to define “marriage” as being between one man and one woman. Instead they’ll say they object to the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and go back to their usual “this is an issue for the states to decide” argument. Except that the Full Faith and Credit clause throws a wrinkle into that plan, as you would still have to recognize a marriage performed in another state. Another plank pointed out was one to support the First Amendment Defense Act, another inappropriately named Republican bill, this one to protect someone’s right to discriminate because they hate Teh Gays. Tony Perkins, the miscreant in charge of the Family Research Council, helped get this plank adopted, then backed away from supporting it because it has been “weakened” in Congress by a change in the language that would further a “two views” approach to marriage. IOW, they wanted the right to say, “Your marriage disgusts me so I don’t have to recognize it as such, or even serve you in a matter unrelated to your marriage,” to be the law of the land. It can’t work. The Anti-Gay Forces had another victory with a measure that “would keep publicly funded adoption agencies from being able to grant custody of children to same-sex parents.”

While up for consideration, the measure was opposed by Annie Dickerson, an adviser to billionaire GOP donor Paul Singer, who called the measure “blatant discrimination.”

“We need children to be adopted, so hooray to the gay community for trying to raise children in a happy and stable home,” Dickerson, who has adopted children, said. “I object to allowing patent discrimination against gays over the right to adopt.”

Interesting that out of the seven things CP felt would be of interest to Christians, the first three are about gay marriage, and how yucky they think it is and they shouldn’t be forced to think about it. Except nobody is making them. The issue is decided. They lost. The only ones making them think about it so much, and they do think about it a lot, are them! CP shifted it up a bit and listed a measure to repeal the Johnson Amendment of 1954. This was an amendment to the US Tax Code that said certain tax-exempt organizations, like churches, could not conduct political activities meant to influence the outcome of an election, including the endorsement of a particular candidate.

IRS explanation of the statute
The Internal Revenue Service website elaborates upon this prohibition as follows:

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

Certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, certain voter education activities (including presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. In addition, other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not be prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan manner.

On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.

In their twisted minds, they are being “silenced.” No, they are not. No one is going to throw them in jail and deny them their freedom for endorsing a candidate from the pulpit. They’ll just have to start paying taxes on the property on which they made the endorsement. And no matter what anybody from the right tells you, being forced to pay taxes is not equivalent to Slavery. The Republicans then added an amendment to support the right of parents to subject their children to the abuse of “conversion therapy” (or as it’s sometimes known, “Pray away the gay.”) It doesn’t work and does more harm than good. The Conservative Christians decided to lump all forms of pornography together and claim it is all a “public health crisis.” But then they specifically call for more “energetic prosecution of child pornography.” Okay, child pornography is a horrific thing and ought to be stopped entirely. But not all pornography involves children. And, yes, some of it involves human trafficking and sex slaves participating against their will. And that should also be stopped. But much of it involves two consenting adults (usually two) doing what consenting adults are allowed to do and letting me watch – I mean, letting other people, not me, watch. It is very much not the same thing, but their broad generalization of pornography, and its availability on the internet, is that it is “harmful to children.” Again, I call bullshit. Better they watch two consenting adults doing it right, then watch them try to kill each other. It isn’t about the children at all. And lastly, they’re looking for a back door way to get Bibles back in the schools, based in part on the common right wing lie that the first Congress specifically authorized putting Bibles in schools. That’s the top things the Christian Post thought would be of interest to Conservative Christians. Nothing about helping people. Probably because there wasn’t any.

In a subsequent post, the CP highlighted items they thought would interest Christians (Conservative ones) from the Democratic platform. They began with an alarm that the Dems want to repeal the odious Hyde Amendment. But, naturally, the CP quotes someone lying about the right to abortion and referring to it as “abortion on demand,” which no serious person on the left is calling for. We’re just sick and tired of Republicans throwing up obstacles over bullshit reasons to make it all but impossible to get an abortion. The Dems also want to support the Iran Nuclear Deal. This is alarming to the right who never seemed to demonstrate any understanding of what was involved in reaching that historic deal. I refuse to believe anything they say now. The CP also points out that a measure to name Israel as an occupying force (which they are) failed along with a measure to join the BDS movement. But then they quote what made it into the draft, and one wonders why they mentioned the opposing failed language.

“A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States because we share overarching strategic interests and the common values of democracy, equality, tolerance, and pluralism,” the draft reads. “That is why we will always support Israel’s right to defend itself, including by retaining its qualitative military edge, and oppose any effort to delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.”

Let’s be honest here, Christian Post. The Conservative Christians in this country support Israel for one and only one reason – The End Times and The Rapture. Israel has to be around for Jesus to return. That is their only concern. It’s a pretty ill-founded and baseless one. (The Bible is not a historical document.) The Democrats also expressed opposition to standardized testing, and want to fight for the right of parents to opt-out. They want free tuition to in-state colleges for families earning less than $125,000 per year. I would support this but ask that the cap be adjusted for cost-of-living differences around the country. And lastly, for the first time ever, the Democratic platform will call for the end to capital punishment. I wholeheartedly agree with this position.

This is our daily open thread. Grab a cup, scoop some water from the watering hole, and chat about whatever you wish.

Sunday Roast: Stupid stuff that makes me giggle

There’s a site on the vast interwebs called “Sad and Useless, the most depressive humor site on the internet,” and it has a post where people on the internet rename animals — which totally makes sense, if you think about it.

We’ve already enjoyed the brilliantly renamed Stab Rabbit, so here are a few more:

OMG, it’s our Wayne!!  Everybody wave!  *waving*

I mean seriously, who would actually call this thing an ostrich?  Pure silliness!

Finally, my favorite…Run for your lives!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!

If you’d like to giggle up even more of a storm, go the site — they have more!!

This is our daily open thread — Make up names for your favorite animals!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 23, 2016: Ego

The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of ego:

Noun:

1.      A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance

1.1    Psychoanalysis The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity

1.2    Philosophy (In metaphysics) a conscious thinking subject.

Synonyms: self-esteem, self-importance, self-worth, self-respect, self-conceit, self-image, self-confidence;

Now, let’s take a brief look at Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s ego:

1. Trump’s self-esteem? Off the charts–his self-descriptions include being “the greatest” this, the “best” that, the “most” whatever. Anyone who claims otherwise is just “wrong” or “stupid”, or has some imaginary personal beef against Trump, because in no way will Donald Trump admit to any ignorance, mistake, lie, or out-and-out wrongdoing. Which leads to…

1.1 Trump’s ego cannot “mediate” between the conscious and unconscious. Reality testing?! Trump’s conscious and unconscious create their own reality, and it’s a reality that he seems to feel no need to test. His “reality” is part-and-parcel of his personal identity, and it is impenetrable by truth, facts, and even Trump’s own previous words or deeds.

1.2 While Trump may be “conscious” in the literal sense of the word, he is not a “thinking” subject.

With his penchant for superlatives, Trump might possibly think that he has a “superego“, but the OED’s definition of superego leads me to believe that Trump’s ego vanquished his superego a long time ago:

Noun:
Psychoanalysis The part of a person’s mind that acts as a self-critical conscience, reflecting social standards learned from parents and teachers

“Self-critical”?  Rarely and barely.  Hell, Trump told evangelicals that he didn’t feel the need to go to confession, since he doesn’t think that anything he does is wrong.  And I learned things like manners, respect and intellectual curiosity from my parents and teachers, apparently unlike Trump.

Trump has a dysfunctional relationship with the truth. According to Politifact, only 8.4% of Trump’s statements have been factual.  Their review of Trump’s statements shows that a whopping 70% of Trump’s statements are rated “Mostly False”, “False”, or “Pants on Fire.” Here’s one of the “Pants on Fire” stories:

“The day after the 2016 Republican National Convention, Trump said his vanquished Republican rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, had never denied that his father was in a 1963 photo with Lee Harvey Oswald, who went on to assassinate President John F. Kennedy that November.

Trump said: “All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast. Now, Ted never denied that it was his father. Instead he said, ‘Donald Trump.’ I had nothing to do with it. This was a magazine that frankly, in many respects, should be very respected.”

[The idea that ‘the National Enquirer should be very respected’ should rate a “Pants on Fire” of its own.]

Politifact gave Trump the “2015 Lie of The Year” award to The Donald.  An excerpt:

“…a little hyperbole never hurts,” Trump wrote in his 1987 best-seller The Art of the Deal. “People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”

[Ah, and that explains “Trump University.”]

Next, here’s a glib, almost superficial, and often sickeningly fawning article from the Washington Post, by AP “reporter” Nancy Benar, titled “For Trump, it’s about America’s ego — and his own.” Some key excerpts:

“Almost every deal I have ever done has been at least partly for my ego,” the billionaire declared in a 1995 New York Times piece titled, “What My Ego Wants, My Ego Gets.”

“The same assets that excite me in the chase often, once they are acquired, leave me bored,” he told an interviewer in 1990, as his boom years were sliding toward bust. “For me, you see, the important thing is the getting, not the having.”

Trump,[sic] stresses his Ivy League education and revels in juvenile jabs, labeling his adversaries “stupid,” ‘’dumb” and “bad.”

“I know words,” he declared at a December campaign rally where he criticized the Obama administration. “I have the best words. But there’s no better word than stupid, right?”

Wrong, Mr. Trump. As a Presidential candidate, now nominee, some of the “best words” that you should memorize the meanings for are:  honesty, integrity, class, civility, respect, humility and responsibility. I know that these terms and ideas are foreign to you, but you should familiarize yourself with them – there might be a quiz between now and November.

This is our daily Open Thread–feel free to talk about this or any other topic.

The Watering Hole; Friday July 22 2016; Proposal For An Amendment To The Constitution

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .

Earlier this week, Congressman Steve King (Repugnant, IA) opened his pie hole on MSNBC, and this putridity fell out in response to Esquire writer Charles P. Pierce, who criticized the role of “old white people” in the Republican party:

“This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie. I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?” King asked.

“Than white people?” MSNBC host Chris Hayes prompted.

“Than Western civilization itself that’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America, and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world,” King responded. “That’s all of Western civilization.”

OK, so there it is: the ‘root’ of Western civilization  is every place where the footprint of Christianity kicked ass and became the dominant culture. The entire rest of the world essentially defines inferiority.

Later on ABC, King reiterated his asininity by saying this:

“What I really said was ‘Western civilization’ and when you describe Western civilization that can mean much of Western civilization happens to be Caucasians. But we should not apologize for our culture or our civilization,” King said, according to the network. “The contributions that were made by Western civilization itself, and by Americans, by Americans of all races stand far above the rest of the world. The Western civilization and the American civilization are a superior culture.”

King said he was open to criticism because it leads to “dialogue.”

“But what we have is people who are trying to parse something, to hyperventilate about that,” King told ABC. “I’m OK if they do that because it starts the dialogue so we can open up more minds so people can think about what’s right for America.”

In brief, it’s Caucasians who did it. who brought forth the culture of Western civilization, apparently aided by Americans of all races (including, I suppose, those that were brought here as slaves, plus alladem uncivilized aboriginal injuns, the Chinks that built railroads for white Christian businessmen, also them Japs, Spics, Kikes, Wops, Chewies) . . . how sad that in spite of our Western Civ’s whiteness and accomplishments, what we have is people who are trying to parse something, to hyperventilate about that.

Hyperventilate: to breathe very quickly and deeply

Parse: to analyze (something, as a speech or behavior) to
discover its implications or uncover a deeper meaning

OK, we can start there. I will hyperventilate, then parse.

(Puff puff pant pant) Let me begin by simply saying that the one human condition that I absolutely and fundamentally ABHOR is the tendency for one segment of the overall species to consider itself superior to all other “different” segments of the same species. In that scenario, “different” is foolishly defined — it can be “race,”  the scientifically invalid taxonomic phenotype based mainly on skin color; it can be religion-based; nationality; language — take your pick, devise a new one, no science required, only irrational fear-based hate.

Steve King’s nonsense is nothing more than directed hatred, fueled by ignorance and fear. He and his hate-filled ilk remind me, for some really “odd” reason, of TS Eliot’s definition of “Hollow Men,” esp. the lines that read,

Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Must have been the Hyperventilation.

Time now to parse. Steve King has revealed himself to be (in case anyone ever had any doubt) the quintessential Supremacist of the White-(faux)-Christian variety. He effectively, in the process, has diminished or dismissed everyone on the planet who is not white, not a (faux) Christian, as being of that inferior ilk that has never and can never accomplish anything useful. The big question that has haunted me since I first read King’s nonsensical diatribe is a simple one: How dumb and/or mis/uninformed must one be to imply that only “white Christians” are responsible for accomplishment (whatever that is) and for civilization?

I’ll not try to analyze King, or any of his ilk — never liked hyperventilating all that much. Suffice to say that he and his bubbas are perfectly willing and able to deny the accomplishments of all but white (faux) Christians. That list would include (but not be limited to) black people (of course), Asians (Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Thais, Indonesians, Philippinos, people from India, Nepal, Mongolia — the Himalayas), also Aboriginal Peoples (Eskimos, N. and S. American “Indians”), and of course, Polynesians; add to all of them anyone who’s not Christian, i.e. all Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Shintoists, atheists (the latter including, of course, moi along with plenty of other old — and young — white guys), and then work to dodge the hate and fear directed toward each and all.

In a word, King’s thesis is DISGUSTING!

I’d like to prove him wrong, of course. I also realize that trying to convince any loudmouthed and stupid (faux) Christian-white-guy is not something one might hope to accomplish in a lifetime. Therefore, I came up with an idea – – an amendment to the US Constitution, one that will serve to either prove or DISprove King’s thesis. And it’s so simple, so logical, and will probably serve to endear “us” to broad-minded people the world over, regardless of race, belief . . . well, you know.

I’ve not fine-tuned the wording yet, but here’s my rough draft for:

Article XXVIII.

Section 1.

All persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof — with the exception of all white males of any religious persuasion — shall be, for a period of 100 years following the date of ratification of this amendment, eligible to become President of the United States. The Presidency will be thus limited to people of any race – any color – other than white male; any religion (including atheism); and with no restrictions on gender expressed or implied other than the one noted above, so women of any and all groups are eligible.

Section 2.

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who does not believe in the absolute equality of every person on the planet regardless of race, skin color, or religious belief (including atheism).

There. It’s a little lengthy, I know, but the wording remains wide open to suggestion from any legitimate quarter — so long as it puts Steve King and ALL like him in their subservient place. But only for a hundred years, not permanently.

I expect that millions of data gatherers will gather data on a daily basis, and that after one hundred years, I’m betting the data will show that in “the greatest country the world has ever known,” one hundred straight years of multi-racial leadership will simply show that white supremacists bring nothing special to the table, and that Steve King and ALL bigots like him are the creatively inferior and insurrectionist IDIOTS they have, over the centuries, demonstrated themselves to be!

******

“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side
of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a
radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the
shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’
society. When machines and computers, profit motives and
property rights are considered more important than people,
the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are
incapable of being conquered.”
(Martin Luther King, Jr.; April 4, 1967)

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OPEN THREAD

 

The Watering Hole; Thursday July 21 2016; The 2016 Republican Convention, Summarized

NOBULL

I decided weeks (maybe years) ago to not watch a single moment of the 2016 Republican Convention because, at my age, I find it’s already way too easy to become dumbed down strictly via life itself, ergo I do NOT need any help from the 15,000 (at least) stupid shits working to make Hair Furor Drumpf our POTUS. Therefore, I decided to begin this Thursday Post on the day the convention began (Monday) and carry forward to posting time simply by pasting aboard the most significant . . . umm . . . analyses(?), by whomever, of events driving the collective absurdity mentioned above.

So here goes, in a word, NOTHING.
First off, Monday:

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Next up, a sample of Tuesday’s spit-back:

Excuses The Trump Campaign Made For Melania Trump’s Plagiarized Speech

1. Trump Communications Director Jason Miller: It “Included Fragments That Reflected Her Own Thinking”
2. Chris Christie: “93% Of The Speech” Was Not Plagiarized
3. Paul Manafort: It’s Hillary’s Fault
4. Trump Spokeswoman Katrina Pierson: Michelle Obama Didn’t Invent English
5. Ben Carson: It Just Shows They Have The Same Values
6. RNC Spokesman Sean Spicer: Actually, Michelle Obama Plagiarized From My Little Pony
7. Anonymous Trump Source: “It’s Piss Poor Staff Work”

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Broad-based summation of the Convention’s Day One:

Might the Convention effectively define Trump’s Katrina?

RNConvent day2

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Wednesday, a quick look back courtesy of Colbert and Stewart

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Fox’s Varney Complains ‘It’s A Disgrace’ For Media To Cover Melania Trump’s Plagiarism

I say the mainstream media is pathetic on this and I mean that in every shape of that word. Pathetic. Last night, Melania Trump came out there and gave a terrific speech. She was poised, she was passionate, she was on target, on message. The crowd loved her, despite the fact that she is an immigrant, English is not her first language, but she wowed that crowd. That was a terrific speech.

This morning, I wake up and I’m looking at the headlines of the major news outlets and they say, “Oh, she is a plagiarist!” They’re doing anything they can to bring her down, to bring the Republicans down. Why is she a plagiarist? Well, in one paragraph that she came out with last night, she used the expression, “Your word is your bond. Do what you say you’re gonna do. Treat people with respect.”

In that one paragraph that was mirrored from a speech given by Michelle Obama eight years ago. From that, the mainstream media says, “Oh, that was plagiarism! What a disgrace!” I think it’s pathetic, Maria, I really do.

I really think the mainstream media wants America to be more like bankrupt, socialist Europe. I think they’re leading us down that path. They just want to get us there as fast as possible. What a disgrace! What a disgrace! Today, the theme on the convention is getting America back to work: growth, jobs, prosperity. What will they find wrong with that? I’m just dying to find out.

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Ben Carson: Transgender People Are ‘The Height Of Absurdity’

It is silly for us to engage in something that we have known for thousands of years. We have known what a man is and what a woman is for thousands of years. All of a sudden, we don’t know anymore. I said that is absurd. […] There are biological markers that tell us whether we are a male or a female, and just because you wake up one day and you say, ‘I think I’m the other one,’ that doesn’t change it. Just — a leopard can’t change its spots.

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And speaking of Transgender, on Wednesday morning there was Caitlyn Jenner’s lengthy interview wherein she basically explained how foolish people who “think” like Ben Carson are, and also why she is a devoted Republican.😯❓

Jenner said there’s needs to be change within the Republican Party and said this year’s GOP campaign has been “downright hostile” to the LGBT community. “I want to help the Republican Party in so many ways,” Jenner said. “I think our best move to get back to a constitutional government is in the Republican Party. I won’t give up hope on it.” . . .

One example is the “non-issue” about transgender people being banned from public bathrooms. Jenner even filmed herself using the restroom at Trump tower in April. “A trans woman in New York, I gotta take a pee. Anyways, Oh my God, Trump International Tower, I love this,” Jenner says in the video.At the convention, she made light of the situation and joked about state legislatures having restricted access. “Maybe we should ban Republican representatives at the state level from being in bathrooms,” she said.

******

Wednesday PM: Plagiarism Clarified; Deniers were all wrong; Trump with new UhOh:

Trump may have violated campaign laws by using private employee to write Melania’s speech: report

According to the Washington Post, it may have been a violation of campaign finance laws for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump to use private corporate resources to write a campaign speech.

According to the Post, Meredith McIver, 65, is a full-time employee of the Trump Organization and not a paid campaign staffer. She took responsibility for lifting two passages from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech for Melania Trump’s highly-anticipated Monday night speech.

“On the face of it, this looks like a corporate violation,” Lawrence Noble, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, told the Post. That is “a violation of federal law. It can result in civil penalties to the corporation and the campaign.”

It’s a criminal offense if the campaign used private resources “willingly and knowingly,” the Post reports.

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NH lawmaker and Trump adviser: ‘Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot’

In case you haven’t noticed, this year’s Republican National Convention has started to resemble Lord of the Flies when it comes to the bloodlust being unleashed against Hillary Clinton.

Buzzfeed notices that New Hampshire State Rep. Al Baldasaro, who also serves as official adviser to Trump on veterans’ affairs, has managed to turn hatred for Hillary Clinton up to a whole new level by calling for her to be executed for treason.

“Hillary Clinton to me is the Jane Fonda of the Vietnam,” Baldasaro told the Jeff Kuhner Show on Tuesday evening. “She is a disgrace for the lies that she told those mothers about their children that got killed over there in Benghazi. She dropped the ball on over 400 emails requesting back up security. Something’s wrong there.”

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As a writer, I think it’s way too easy to compare the
Republican Convention to anything relating
to Germany in the thirties
 ~Frances Langum, C&L

******

So. It’s late Wednesday afternoon and I’m more than a bit sick of all the RNCrapola I’ve been trying to endure. Today is over, afaic. If I should happen to stumble upon any more Trump crap, I shall wash it down with a glass of Sangria and hope that none of it sticks. Sotospeak. Tomorrow’s another day. Yuk. Why is that?

Here’s my final statement, my view of Amurkkka’s Hair Furor “Movement” and all its works and all its ways, perfectly summarized.

GOP training film

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[W]hen the nobility see that they are unable to resist the people, they unite in exalting one of their number and creating him prince, so as to be able to carry out their own designs under the shadow of his authority.”
~Machiavelli, The Prince, ch. IX

OPEN THREAD

 

 

THE WATERING HOLE, Wednesday, July 20, 2016

THE PRINCE

CHAPTER III

CONCERNING MIXED PRINCIPALITIES

But the difficulties occur in a new principality. And firstly, if it be not entirely new, but is, as it were, a member of a state which, taken collectively, may be called composite, the changes arise chiefly from an inherent difficulty which there is in all new principalities; for men change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves, and this hope induces them to take up arms against him who rules: wherein they are deceived, because they afterwards find by experience they have gone from bad to worse. This follows also on another natural and common necessity, which always causes a new prince to burden those who have submitted to him with his soldiery and with infinite other hardships which he must put upon his new acquisition.

In this way you have enemies in all those whom you have injured in seizing that principality, and you are not able to keep those friends who put you there because of your not being able to satisfy them in the way they expected, and you cannot take strong measures against them, feeling bound to them. For, although one may be very strong in armed forces, yet in entering a province one has always need of the goodwill of the natives.

For these reasons Louis the Twelfth, King of France, quickly occupied Milan, and as quickly lost it; and to turn him out the first time it only needed Lodovico’s own forces; because those who had opened the gates to him, finding themselves deceived in their hopes of future benefit, would not endure the ill-treatment of the new prince. It is very true that, after acquiring rebellious provinces a second time, they are not so lightly lost afterwards, because the prince, with little reluctance, takes the opportunity of the rebellion to punish the delinquents, to clear out the suspects, and to strengthen himself in the weakest places. Thus to cause France to lose Milan the first time it was enough for the Duke Lodovico[*] to raise insurrections on the borders; but to cause him to lose it a second time it was necessary to bring the whole world against him, and that his armies should be defeated and driven out of Italy; which followed from the causes above mentioned.

[*] Duke Lodovico was Lodovico Moro, a son of Francesco Sforza, who married Beatrice d’Este. He ruled over Milan from 1494 to 1500, and died in 1510.

Nevertheless Milan was taken from France both the first and the second time. The general reasons for the first have been discussed; it remains to name those for the second, and to see what resources he had, and what any one in his situation would have had for maintaining himself more securely in his acquisition than did the King of France.

Now I say that those dominions which, when acquired, are added to an ancient state by him who acquires them, are either of the same country and language, or they are not. When they are, it is easier to hold them, especially when they have not been accustomed to self- government; and to hold them securely it is enough to have destroyed the family of the prince who was ruling them; because the two peoples, preserving in other things the old conditions, and not being unlike in customs, will live quietly together, as one has seen in Brittany, Burgundy, Gascony, and Normandy, which have been bound to France for so long a time: and, although there may be some difference in language, nevertheless the customs are alike, and the people will easily be able to get on amongst themselves. He who has annexed them, if he wishes to hold them, has only to bear in mind two considerations: the one, that the family of their former lord is extinguished; the other, that neither their laws nor their taxes are altered, so that in a very short time they will become entirely one body with the old principality.

But when states are acquired in a country differing in language, customs, or laws, there are difficulties, and good fortune and great energy are needed to hold them, and one of the greatest and most real helps would be that he who has acquired them should go and reside there. This would make his position more secure and durable, as it has made that of the Turk in Greece, who, notwithstanding all the other measures taken by him for holding that state, if he had not settled there, would not have been able to keep it. Because, if one is on the spot, disorders are seen as they spring up, and one can quickly remedy them; but if one is not at hand, they are heard of only when they are great, and then one can no longer remedy them. Besides this, the country is not pillaged by your officials; the subjects are satisfied by prompt recourse to the prince; thus, wishing to be good, they have more cause to love him, and wishing to be otherwise, to fear him. He who would attack that state from the outside must have the utmost caution; as long as the prince resides there it can only be wrested from him with the greatest difficulty.

The other and better course is to send colonies to one or two places, which may be as keys to that state, for it is necessary either to do this or else to keep there a great number of cavalry and infantry. A prince does not spend much on colonies, for with little or no expense he can send them out and keep them there, and he offends a minority only of the citizens from whom he takes lands and houses to give them to the new inhabitants; and those whom he offends, remaining poor and scattered, are never able to injure him; whilst the rest being uninjured are easily kept quiet, and at the same time are anxious not to err for fear it should happen to them as it has to those who have been despoiled. In conclusion, I say that these colonies are not costly, they are more faithful, they injure less, and the injured, as has been said, being poor and scattered, cannot hurt. Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.

But in maintaining armed men there in place of colonies one spends much more, having to consume on the garrison all the income from the state, so that the acquisition turns into a loss, and many more are exasperated, because the whole state is injured; through the shifting of the garrison up and down all become acquainted with hardship, and all become hostile, and they are enemies who, whilst beaten on their own ground, are yet able to do hurt. For every reason, therefore, such guards are as useless as a colony is useful.

Again, the prince who holds a country differing in the above respects ought to make himself the head and defender of his less powerful neighbours, and to weaken the more powerful amongst them, taking care that no foreigner as powerful as himself shall, by any accident, get a footing there; for it will always happen that such a one will be introduced by those who are discontented, either through excess of ambition or through fear, as one has seen already. The Romans were brought into Greece by the Aetolians; and in every other country where they obtained a footing they were brought in by the inhabitants. And the usual course of affairs is that, as soon as a powerful foreigner enters a country, all the subject states are drawn to him, moved by the hatred which they feel against the ruling power. So that in respect to those subject states he has not to take any trouble to gain them over to himself, for the whole of them quickly rally to the state which he has acquired there. He has only to take care that they do not get hold of too much power and too much authority, and then with his own forces, and with their goodwill, he can easily keep down the more powerful of them, so as to remain entirely master in the country. And he who does not properly manage this business will soon lose what he has acquired, and whilst he does hold it he will have endless difficulties and troubles.

The Romans, in the countries which they annexed, observed closely these measures; they sent colonies and maintained friendly relations with[*] the minor powers, without increasing their strength; they kept down the greater, and did not allow any strong foreign powers to gain authority. Greece appears to me sufficient for an example. The Achaeans and Aetolians were kept friendly by them, the kingdom of Macedonia was humbled, Antiochus was driven out; yet the merits of the Achaeans and Aetolians never secured for them permission to increase their power, nor did the persuasions of Philip ever induce the Romans to be his friends without first humbling him, nor did the influence of Antiochus make them agree that he should retain any lordship over the country. Because the Romans did in these instances what all prudent princes ought to do, who have to regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you wait until they approach, the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable; for it happens in this, as the physicians say it happens in hectic fever, that in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure. This it happens in affairs of state, for when the evils that arise have been foreseen (which it is only given to a wise man to see), they can be quickly redressed, but when, through not having been foreseen, they have been permitted to grow in a way that every one can see them, there is no longer a remedy. Therefore, the Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once, and, even to avoid a war, would not let them come to a head, for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only to be put off to the advantage of others; moreover they wished to fight with Philip and Antiochus in Greece so as not to have to do it in Italy; they could have avoided both, but this they did not wish; nor did that ever please them which is for ever in the mouths of the wise ones of our time:–Let us enjoy the benefits of the time–but rather the benefits of their own valour and prudence, for time drives everything before it, and is able to bring with it good as well as evil, and evil as well as good.

[*] See remark in the introduction on the word “intrattenere.”

But let us turn to France and inquire whether she has done any of the things mentioned. I will speak of Louis[*] (and not of Charles[+]) as the one whose conduct is the better to be observed, he having held possession of Italy for the longest period; and you will see that he has done the opposite to those things which ought to be done to retain a state composed of divers elements.

[*] Louis XII, King of France, “The Father of the People,” born 1462,
died 1515.
[+] Charles VIII, King of France, born 1470, died 1498.

King Louis was brought into Italy by the ambition of the Venetians, who desired to obtain half the state of Lombardy by his intervention. I will not blame the course taken by the king, because, wishing to get a foothold in Italy, and having no friends there–seeing rather that every door was shut to him owing to the conduct of Charles–he was forced to accept those friendships which he could get, and he would have succeeded very quickly in his design if in other matters he had not made some mistakes. The king, however, having acquired Lombardy, regained at once the authority which Charles had lost: Genoa yielded; the Florentines became his friends; the Marquess of Mantua, the Duke of Ferrara, the Bentivogli, my lady of Forli, the Lords of Faenza, of Pesaro, of Rimini, of Camerino, of Piombino, the Lucchese, the Pisans, the Sienese–everybody made advances to him to become his friend. Then could the Venetians realize the rashness of the course taken by them, which, in order that they might secure two towns in Lombardy, had made the king master of two-thirds of Italy.

Let any one now consider with that little difficulty the king could have maintained his position in Italy had he observed the rules above laid down, and kept all his friends secure and protected; for although they were numerous they were both weak and timid, some afraid of the Church, some of the Venetians, and thus they would always have been forced to stand in with him, and by their means he could easily have made himself secure against those who remained powerful. But he was no sooner in Milan than he did the contrary by assisting Pope Alexander to occupy the Romagna. It never occurred to him that by this action he was weakening himself, depriving himself of friends and of those who had thrown themselves into his lap, whilst he aggrandized the Church by adding much temporal power to the spiritual, thus giving it greater authority. And having committed this prime error, he was obliged to follow it up, so much so that, to put an end to the ambition of Alexander, and to prevent his becoming the master of Tuscany, he was himself forced to come into Italy.

And as if it were not enough to have aggrandized the Church, and deprived himself of friends, he, wishing to have the kingdom of Naples, divides it with the King of Spain, and where he was the prime arbiter in Italy he takes an associate, so that the ambitious of that country and the malcontents of his own should have somewhere to shelter; and whereas he could have left in the kingdom his own pensioner as king, he drove him out, to put one there who was able to drive him, Louis, out in turn.

The wish to acquire is in truth very natural and common, and men always do so when they can, and for this they will be praised not blamed; but when they cannot do so, yet wish to do so by any means, then there is folly and blame. Therefore, if France could have attacked Naples with her own forces she ought to have done so; if she could not, then she ought not to have divided it. And if the partition which she made with the Venetians in Lombardy was justified by the excuse that by it she got a foothold in Italy, this other partition merited blame, for it had not the excuse of that necessity.

Therefore Louis made these five errors: he destroyed the minor powers, he increased the strength of one of the greater powers in Italy, he brought in a foreign power, he did not settle in the country, he did not send colonies. Which errors, had he lived, were not enough to injure him had he not made a sixth by taking away their dominions from the Venetians; because, had he not aggrandized the Church, nor brought Spain into Italy, it would have been very reasonable and necessary to humble them; but having first taken these steps, he ought never to have consented to their ruin, for they, being powerful, would always have kept off others from designs on Lombardy, to which the Venetians would never have consented except to become masters themselves there; also because the others would not wish to take Lombardy from France in order to give it to the Venetians, and to run counter to both they would not have had the courage.

And if any one should say: “King Louis yielded the Romagna to Alexander and the kingdom to Spain to avoid war, I answer for the reasons given above that a blunder ought never to be perpetrated to avoid war, because it is not to be avoided, but is only deferred to your disadvantage. And if another should allege the pledge which the king had given to the Pope that he would assist him in the enterprise, in exchange for the dissolution of his marriage[*] and for the cap to Rouen,[+] to that I reply what I shall write later on concerning the faith of princes, and how it ought to be kept.

[*] Louis XII divorced his wife, Jeanne, daughter of Louis XI, and married in 1499 Anne of Brittany, widow of Charles VIII, in order to retain the Duchy of Brittany for the crown.

[+] The Archbishop of Rouen. He was Georges d’Amboise, created a cardinal by Alexander VI. Born 1460, died 1510.

Thus King Louis lost Lombardy by not having followed any of the conditions observed by those who have taken possession of countries and wished to retain them. Nor is there any miracle in this, but much that is reasonable and quite natural. And on these matters I spoke at Nantes with Rouen, when Valentino, as Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander, was usually called, occupied the Romagna, and on Cardinal Rouen observing to me that the Italians did not understand war, I replied to him that the French did not understand statecraft, meaning that otherwise they would not have allowed the Church to reach such greatness. And in fact is has been seen that the greatness of the Church and of Spain in Italy has been caused by France, and her ruin may be attributed to them. From this a general rule is drawn which never or rarely fails: that he who is the cause of another becoming powerful is ruined; because that predominancy has been brought about either by astuteness or else by force, and both are distrusted by him who has been raised to power.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Tuesday July 19, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics

From the NY Times –Donald Trump on the Environment:

Environment

He does not just deny that climate change is occurring; he calls it a hoax, and says those who warn of global warming only want to raise taxes. He is less outspoken on other environmental issues, though he sued unsuccessfully in 2013 to block plans for wind turbines in Scotland that would power 65,000 homes, arguing, in part, that they would mar the view from a golf course he was proposing to build.

Read here.

Per Mother Jones – Mike Pence on the Environment:

“Global warming is a myth.”

Two peas in a pod.

Image result for Trump and Pence

So Happy Together… la la la…    la…

Open thread.