Paying for Erdogan’s Flunkies to Tell You Your Country is a Bigoted Hellhole

If it seems incomprehensible to you that the British don’t want to be in the EU, consider what the Danes just subsidized with their membership: A high-profile formal report condemning the fifth strongest democracy in the world as a reactionary ethnocracy — and this judgment courtesy of that well-known champion of democratic values, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. (Ooooooops!)

European Parliamentarian Niels Fuglsang, who represents the ruling Social Democrats, has said that he will demand an explanation from the European Commission.   “I don’t think our taxpayer money should go to such a propaganda business for Erdogan.”

“We are so to speak paying for a report that spreads lies and propaganda about ourselves,” notes Social Democrat MEP Christel Schaldemos.

EU to Denmark: Get with the program! Marry your girls off at thirteen, stick ’em in a burqa, and shut the fuck up.

Bird Takes Flight.

Finally, we all have a voice.

Milan keeps saying no to the burqa…

… and various Islamic groups keep lazily saying yes. I mean, they don’t even bother arguing the thing, making a case — they just say dude no problem so what’s your problem?

Ali Abu Shwaima, the chairman of the Lombardy Islamic Center, said there has never been a problem due to women wearing a burqa or veil, thus such a ban is pointless. “Everyone should be free to dress as they wish,” he said.

One, no one is allowed to present themselves to any public realm I’m aware of in any way they wish. Two, a logic issue: If there has never been a problem of this sort, why is northern Italy, along with many regions and countries all over the world, passing burqa bans? UD detects a problem. This guy might at least do everyone the favor of offering reasons why banning burqas is a bad idea. As you know if you follow UD on the subject, burqa fans are strikingly lazy (banners are Islamophobes is about as far as many of them think they need to go) in its defense. I’m guessing it’s because it’s hard to defend.

“[T]he impeachment scandal will not hurt Mr. Trump — and … Democrats who promise to make the lives of people like my neighbors better might actually help him.”

Her neighbors live in rural Arkansas, ground zero for nihilism, American-style. Their worst enemy is Elizabeth Warren, the Plan lady who not only thinks she can improve rural education and health care, but who thinks people in rural Arkansas want to improve them. Au contraire: they appear to like the chaotic destructionism of Trump. “[M]any here seem determined to get rid of the last institutions trying to help them.”

The intense hostility to political establishments of all kinds among what could be called “chaos voters” helps explain what Pew Research and others have found: a growing distrust among Republican voters of higher education as well as empirically based science, both of which are increasingly seen as allied with the liberal establishment.

As for caring whether Trump betrays Kurds and Ukrainians: “It’s an attitude that is against taxes, immigrants and government, but also against helping your neighbor.” If they’re not going to care about their neighbor, imagine how they feel about Kurds and Ukrainians.


Matt Taibbi puts it like this:

Implicit in this campaign of bureaucratic dismantling has been the message that pandemonium is a price Trump is very willing to pay, in service of breaking the “disaster” of government. Many of his top appointees have been distinguished by their screw-it-all mentality.

  The world is ending, so fuck it, let’s party. As crazy as it is, it’s a seductive message for a country steeped in hate and pessimism. Democrats still don’t understand it.

Think of the final scenes of Nevil Shute’s On the Beach. The world is ending (nuclear annihilation), so the inhabitants of the last city the fallout will reach stage endless insane suicidal car races, where drivers who have nothing to lose gun their engines until the final spectacular flame-out.

Leaving nuanced definitions to the philosophers, I would define nihilism as a combination of three basic elements: a refusal to hope for anything except the ultimate vindication of hopelessness; a rejection of all values, especially values widely regarded as sacrosanct (equality, posterity, and legality); and a glorification of destruction, including self-destruction—or as Walter Benjamin put it, “self-alienation” so extreme that humanity “can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure.” Nihilism is less passive and more perverse than simple despair. “Nihilism is not only despair and negation,” according to Albert Camus, “but, above all, the desire to despair and to negate.”

A nihilist is someone who dedicates himself to not giving a shit, who thinks all meanings are shit, and who yearns with all his heart for the “aesthetic pleasure” of seeing the shit hit the fan. Arguing with a nihilist is like intimidating a suicide bomber: The usual threats and enticement have no effect. I suspect that is part of the appeal for both: the facile transcendence of placing oneself beyond all powers of persuasion. A nihilist is above you and your persnickety arguments in the same way that Trump fancies himself above the law.

Another go at it:

[Evidence suggests a] significant share of Trump supporters are as nihilistic and destructive as Donald Trump himself, [which] supplies a sort of Occam’s-razor answer to all the questions about why they put up with him: His worst traits are a feature, not a bug, for those who take pleasure in chaos.

Democrats still don’t understand it, says Taibbi. Okay, so let’s zoom in a bit:

Self-destruction is apparently many Arkansans’ middle name. If they’re not panting piously after the end of days, they’re offing themselves with opiates, or putting one of their abundant guns to their heads. They make the Sex Pistols look like the Lennon Sisters. The Donald Trump Show is what they’re laughing at on tv while kissing their ass goodbye, exactly like their fellow end-stagers from states with similarly massive gun ownership/suicide rates (Montana, Alaska, Wyoming). We’re killing ourselves! But before we do, we’re voting Trump.


And on that chaos thing. UD has always liked William Arrowsmith’s comment about an education in the humanities:

[The] humanities are largely Dionysiac or Titanic; they cannot be wholly grasped by the intellect; they must be suffered, felt, seen. This inexpressible turmoil of our animal emotional life is an experience of other chaos matched by our own chaos. We see the form and order not as pure and abstract but as something emerged from chaos, something which has suffered into being. The humanities are always caught up in the actual chaos of living, and they also emerge from that chaos. If they touch us at all, they touch us totally, for they speak to what we are too.

So, you know, distrust higher education all you like. But be aware that it’s trying to make some serious moves against your chaos, that its novels and poems both acknowledge the foundational reality, and exploit the generative energy, of that chaos as we seek to emerge from it, on occasion, into form and order. Into organized life.

“Trump is in every way pursuing the Russian agenda,” [Galbraith] said. “He’s against NATO. He’s out to destroy the European Union. He’s destroying our alliances and making the United States appear to be unreliable. At home he’s undermining the United States and democracy. There is no ally [Trump] won’t betray and no limit to his treachery. It’s hard to imagine anyone doing a better job for Russia than that.”

UD‘s old friend Peter, long a friend of the Kurds, talks about the situation.

If Turkey does take the battle to the 70,000 men and women who make up the Kurdish forces in northern Syria, it will be a bloody fight, Galbraith said.

“It will not be easy,” he said. “A lot of people are going to die.”

He can also be seen here.

Shuttlecock. Coffin. Tsk, tsk.

It’s not ol’ Boris calling burqas stuff like this. I found these references here.

Why is it not appalling that the common name for this, the most torturing of all burqas, relies on its resemblance to a shuttlecock, and appalling that Boris noted a resemblance between burqas and letterboxes? Shuttlecock! How dehumanizing.

And it ain’t Boris concluding that “we are seriously fucked up as a society” because we put schoolgirls in “coffins.” It’s ordinary Pakistanis, millions of whom have reacted with horror and resistance to some POS in some province mandating shuttlecocks for schoolgirls. The mandate has suddenly been withdrawn. Wonder why.

‘One of the most popular reasons people reject the burqa, however, is that they believe it’s simply “creepy.” These people seem to consider Muslim women who wear burqas as inhuman, and even compare them to ghosts.’

Even compare them to ghosts! Inhuman. And yet how difficult, even for the most enlightened and sympathetic, to police their burqa/niqab language, to rein in their honest belief about the garments. Take Azadeh Moaveni, eager to understand the Isettes as victims of “repressive and patriarchal governments.” (She means England, dummy.) These women, Moaveni writes, “joined the morality police and became the spectres in the niqab.”

Hey you’re a regular Boris Johnson, comparing pious empowered women to ghosts! Bad, bad, Azadeh Moaveni!


Americans by a 45%-38% plurality now support a vote by the House of Representatives to impeach President Trump, a USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds, as allegations continue to swirl around an embattled White House.

By a similar margin, 44%-35%, those surveyed say the Senate, which would then be charged with holding a trial of the president, should convict Trump and remove him from office.

Over $200,000 in Six Days.

Pas mal. Keep it coming.

This blog has had WHAT to say, over many years, about…

… Charles Grassley. Feast your eyes. Three pages of praise for his stewardship of our tax dollars. UD‘s a deep blue Democrat who deeply admires this conservative Republican for taking seriously his charge to disrupt the theft of federal funds wherever it occurs.

Grassley is a true throwback: a midwestern scold with just the sort of moral backbone a Senator needs to do the right thing in the Ukraine mess. UD‘s totally not surprised, therefore, that he has rebuked Trubu and his minions over their, er, unusual reading of the whistle blower laws. Good on you, Chuck, and may there be more where you come from.


[S]upport for impeachment and removal has risen 11 points to 46% among independents and 8 points to 14% among Republicans.

… And so it begins.

We knew that others would enter the fray of the fraying prez. And so it is that two knowledgeable sources tell the New York Times

pushed the Australian prime minister during a recent telephone call to help Attorney General William P. Barr gather information for a Justice Department inquiry that Mr. Trump hopes will discredit the Mueller investigation…

Nice comment from a NYT reader:

Maybe Trump can ring up the ambassador to Nevis and see if he has any dirt on Alexander Hamilton. That way, he can undermine and discredit this pesky thing called the U.S. Constitution.

Trubu Redux

Recognizing Trump as pure Père Ubu, this blog in 2016 featured some posts imagining a new American version of Jarry’s great play whose main character is Trubu. Trump’s Grand Victory silenced UD‘s parodic energy, but the powerful reemergence – under impeachment pressure – of the man’s ubuesque character has me, if not penning an additional scene or two of Trubu Roi, at least turning to one of Ubu’s greatest perceivers, Roger Shattuck.

(A comment of Timothy Snyder’s on the Rachel Maddow Show had me thinking Trubu thoughts again; he described Trump’s “scorn for the idea of law… [For him,] there isn’t really law. It’s just a joke.” Instantly I pictured vile, hilarious, obscene Ubu rolling around the stage slashing and burning because everything except his power over other people is a joke.)


[Ubu is] the representative of primitive earthy conduct, unrelieved by any insight into his own monstrosity, uncontrollable as an elephant on the rampage… [M]ankind in the shape of Ubu dredges the depths of its nature…

Can we really laugh at Ubu, at his character?  It is doubtful, for he lacks the necessary vulnerability,  the vestiges of original sin.  Not without dread, we mock, rather, his childish innocence and primitive soul and cannot harm him.  He remains a threat because he can destroy at will, and the political horrors of the twentieth century make the lesson disturbingly real… Jarry’s humor [in the play] may be regarded as a psychological refusal to repress distasteful images.  He laughed and invited us to laugh at Ubu’s most monstrous behavior, not because we are immune – we are, in fact, deathly afraid of the ‘truth’ of Ubu  – but because it is a means of domesticating fear and pain… [Humor] demands that we reckon with the realities of human nature and the world without falling into grimness and despair.

In other words:

Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

Things are hotting up.

Bless him. Go fund him.

’57 percent of the Jewish Israeli electorate does not want the incoming governing coalition to include or depend on haredi parties.’

When you see all the numbers, it’s astounding that it’s taken this long for the idiotic authoritarianism of the haredim to be pushed aside in Israel.

[A] solid majority of Israeli Jews wants government policy to be far less influenced by Jewish law than it is now.

A total of 64 percent of respondents want there to be separation of religion and state in Israel, while 68 percent want Israel to recognize civil marriages.

Sixty-four percent do not want any religious body to have governmental authority in Israel, according to the poll. At present, Israel’s Orthodox Chief Rabbinate controls marriage, divorce, burial and other affairs in Israel.

A total of 62 percent want Israel to recognize a range of Jewish conversion ceremonies — not just Orthodox ones.

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