Today’s Phrase for Latin Lovers

Rex in Regno suo superiores habet Deum et Legem.

Translation:
The King in his Realm hath two superiors: God and the Law. -- Henry Care (1646-1688) on English liberties and the Magna Carta

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Ancient History

|Campaign 2016 | Political Prudence

Vote to STOP HILLARY and an Incompetent GOP

 

southporticochristmasI’m heading to the polls today with one primary goal in mind: to stop Hillary. And there’s only one way to achieve that goal: to vote for Donald Trump.

In 2008, I refused to hold my nose and vote for John McCain. I didn’t see the utter destruction to America that wrecking ball Barack Obama could do. Now I know that if Hillary wins today, it will be the end of America as we know it. There will be no chance to ever recover what we have lost. The shameful transformation of America will be locked in.

  • All of Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders will remain.
  • Obamacare will slowly be shifted into a socialist one-payer system, destroying America’s leadership in world-class health care.
  • More regulations will be piled on top business, making the economy further groan under the weight. More spending will beget more taxation and borrowing. Been looking for a better job? A full-time job? Hoping to get better pay? [insert sound of Hillary’s cackle.]
  • Hillary will likely appoint three or more US Supreme Court judges, shifting it into a left-wing Constitution-hating body that will look to international courts for its judgments.
  • The Second Amendment will be restricted. The Fourth Amendment will continue to be neglected.
  • The welfare state will be expanded. Illegal immigration will not be restrained, but rewarded. Terrorists will be imported under the guise of compassion.
  • Our military will continue to disintegrate and our enemies will grow strong and push us around. We will cower before them. We will give in and humiliate ourselves. We will pay more ransoms and let our friends get taken over.
  • And the Clinton years of scandal after scandal and the selling of the White House that occurred from 1992 to 2000 will look like child’s play during the next eight years. It will be utterly exhausting keeping up with their corruption and criminality.

America will be trashed. It will be over.

There will be no looking to finally elect a Republican that will “fix it” in 2020 or 2024. There will be nothing left to fix. The demolition of all we hold dear will be permanent.

So today, I’m voting for Donald Trump, because he is the only one that has any chance of beating Hillary Clinton. A vote for anyone else—or a lack of voting—is a full acceptance of the destruction of America as we know it.

There’s no guarantee that Trump would do the right thing on any of the issues above. At heart, I’m betting he’s as liberal as Hillary—but he’s made a lot of promises to people. Maybe he will keep some of them.

But one thing is for sure: it will be a whole lot easier to impeach Trump than it will be to impeach a Clinton. So a vote for Trump is a vote for a potential President Pence within a year or so.

DOWN BALLOT

For Congress, I’m recommending Trump voters go the opposite way. Unless your Senator or Congressman has been labeled an “extremist” by the GOP and the media, he has likely been part of the problem, part of the aiding and abetting Obama’s transformation of America. They do not deserve reelection.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has destroyed any attempt to fight Obama. It’s no wonder that the Obamacare headquarters just happened to land in Kentucky, his home state. Do you think Mitch is going to try to do anything that takes that political plum away from his voters? Hell no. But reelecting a Republican Senate is just going to put him back at the head of the American giveaway.

What good has Kelly Ayotte or John McCain done? They’ve given the store away to Obama, too afraid to fight him on anything. Mark Kirk wouldn’t take a stand on anything remotely right-wing for fear it would make him unelectable, and he’s STILL unelectable. The list goes on: Richard Burr, Ron Johnson, Lisa Murkowski, Roy Blunt, Pat Toomey. What have they contributed to defeating Obama’s terrible agenda? Nothing. Even Tim Scott, originally elected as a Tea Party favorite, has gone establishment. His pet issue? Education. That is not the job of a US Senator.

When we gave the GOP the House, we were told they couldn’t get anything done unless we gave them the Senate. So we worked hard and gave them the Senate. Ever since, we’ve been chastised and mocked when asking why they can’t get anything done when they control Congress. We’ve been told that all of that means nothing if they don’t have the White House. We’ve been told that controlling the Senate doesn’t carry any weight.

So let’s abide all the lectures we’ve received. Let’s throw all the lazy ones out, the ones without cajones, which is about all of them, save the rabblerousers like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and Rand Paul. It won’t matter if the Senate is controlled by Democrats if we control the White House, right? Because by the GOP argument, the Democrats won’t be able to do a single thing to stop whatever a GOP President wants. They will have to pass all his budgets without any reductions. They’ll have to pass all his nominees. They won’t fight his executive orders. They will be as impotent as the GOP Senate has been.

And if Hillary wins today, having a Democrat Senate will be far better for speeding the collapse of America, for turning us into a socialist paradise just as quick as possible–because the sooner we get there, the sooner the paradise will be revealed as a nightmare, and maybe then, Americans will wake up and clamor for the days when there was something called the American Dream.

Either way, using the GOP leadership’s logic, it’s no big deal if we lose the Senate. The White House holds all the power. We’ll get rid of all the dead weight. We’ll clear the slate for some new right-minded guys. And we won’t have some harrumphing potentate at its head trying to protect Obamacare so that he keeps its shiny corrupt headquarters in his state.

|Campaign 2016 | Political Prudence

In the GOP Primary Odyssey, Trump Is the Cyclops

The cyclops Polyphemus is perhaps the most famous villain in the ancient epic The Odyssey. He’s a giant, rude and violent ogre with one eye, and he could very well be the death of the hero and his companions.

Let me recount the tale for you, and as I do, keep in mind, there’s a newfangled version of it playing out in the GOP primary right now—although we don’t know yet whether, at this pivotal moment, our modern warriors will take the same actions to free themselves or will be gobbled up. (I’ve put our contemporary cast of characters at the bottom of this post, and linked them in the story as footnotes for your convenience.)

TrumpCyclopsWide

The Tale of Polyphemus

On their long, horrible voyage trying to get back home1 from the Trojan war, Odysseus2 and his dwindling band of men3 land on the island of the creatures known as the cyclops. The men are in need of food supplies. A scavenger group leaves their battered ship and comes upon a cave stocked with sheep and milk and cheese. Before they gather up the groceries, however, the hulking cave dweller comes home. It’s Polyphemus4. He’s hideous.

Now in ancient Greece, hospitality was highly prized. If someone showed up to your party without an invite, you were still expected to offer them all the best you had, no questions asked—at least until the stranger had his fill of your wine and roasted meat and perhaps a nap. To do otherwise was gauche.

But Polyphemus wasn’t much for hospitality. In fact, he did the most ill-mannered thing possible. Instead of offering a meal, he snatched up a couple of Odysseus’ men, bashed their heads in and made a meal of them instead.

Unfortunately for the rest of the guests, when Polyphemus came in, he had rolled a massive boulder in front of the cave door. There was to be no escape for Odysseus and his men. The cyclops was going to simply eat them, two by two, until there were none left.

So our conquering hero devises a plan. They must attack Polyphemus, but they don’t want to kill him, because they need him to open the door for them. It’s the only way they can all get out. (Even with their combined strength, the Odysseus crew cannot budge the boulder. They are trapped inside the nightmarish hovel.)

The next morning, Polyphemus awakes and breakfasts on two more of Odysseus’ men. They are frantic with fear. But they watch as Polyphemus rolls the boulder out of the way to let his giant sheep5 out before sealing the door shut again to keep his remaining human quarry inside.

Aha! The best way out is to pretend to be sheep going out to pasture in the morning. But even with just one eye, Polyphemus will be able to see that they aren’t giant sheep. They need to blind him. So they find a giant timber, work one end into a sharp point and stash it away until the opportunity to use it arises.

Polyphemus comes home that night from a day in the fields and feasts on another pair of men. It’s time, urgent time, to put the plan into action.

Odysseus had brought along some undiluted potent wine on their scavenger trip, so he offers the wine to Polyphemus as a gift to wash down his revolting dinner. The cyclops enjoys the wine and actually becomes a little friendly with Odysseus, asking what his name is. Odysseus replies, “Nobody.”

Once Polyphemus passes out, the hero and his men retrieve the hidden timber and harden its point in the fire until it becomes a red-hot poker. Then they muster all their strength, surround the cyclops and plunge the fiery stick into his sleeping eye.

The plan could have all gone awry then, when the neighborhood cyclops6 hear Polyphemus screaming bloody murder. They rush to the boulder at the cave door and ask, “What’s going on in there?” Polyphemus cries out, “Nobody is stabbing me in the eye! Nobody is stabbing me!” The other cyclops all shake their heads and laugh. What a loon that guy in there is, they think, and they leave.

When the blinded cyclops passes out again, Odysseus ties each of his men to the belly of sheep, and in the morning, Polyphemus rolls the boulder out of the way and blindly feels the top of each departing animal to make sure it’s a sheep and not a man.

Once all the men have escaped, they race back to the boat. Their party can set sail and leave the cyclops behind, taking his sheep with them. Phew!

But that’s when Odysseus’ pride takes over, though. He can’t leave well enough alone and be satisfied they had escaped with their lives. When they sail past the blinded Polyphemus, the hero wants his name to be known. He can’t resist letting Polyphemus know that it wasn’t Nobody that defeated him. It was Odysseus!

Bad move. The ancient Greeks disliked hubris, and it turns out that Polyphemus’ father was the powerful god of the sea, Poseidon, who soon takes revenge on the men for his crippled son. But that’s another story. One that the GOP will preferably avoid, happy instead to just be sailing off towards home.

Present-day Cast of Characters

1 Home The White House ↩Return to Tale

2 Odysseus Ted Cruz, of course, in my version, but feel free to make whatever candidate you like to be the hero of the tale. He crafts the plan and executes it, even when lesser men are going weak in the knees. ↩Return to Tale

3 The men The other candidates beyond our hero. It takes all the men to pitch in to defeat Polyphemus. There’s no one hanging back in the corner, thinking he’ll wait it out until all the other guys get eaten and then somehow escape on his own. No, cowards die. There will be no “kleos,” no glory if you don’t get in there and fight. ↩Return to Tale

4 Polyphemus Donald Trump, blustering, boorish, nasty and vicious. Doesn’t have great depth perception of what policies it will take to Make America Great Again. More of a monovision type of guy. Limited, but gets the job done. ↩Return to Tale

5 The sheep The voters that the cyclops shepherds. We need them to escape with the candidates. ↩Return to Tale

6 The other cyclops The media and entertainment wing. They’ll laugh now, write it up later. They are excited about the fabulous ratings, clicks and cocktail party invitations the latest news of that wacky Polyphemus will bring them. ↩Return to Tale

Fast Forward to Texas Debate Night

Men have been eaten. Their bones litter the stage. Each candidate has a collection of shivs carefully prepared by their staff. There’s not many left to have the combined strength to climb up on Polyphemus and incapacitate him!

But wait. What’s this? Oddly, some of the men seem to be eyeing the other men, looking to take down the hero. Oh no. What foolishness is afoot.

Will they come to their senses and free themselves and the cyclops’ voters in time?

Stay tuned.

Special thanks to SooperMexican for the TrumPolyphemus image.

|Campaign 2016 | Mainstream Propaganda

The Black Hand and Flat Feet of Jeb Bush

INSIDE THE MIND OF THINK PROGRESS

Imagine a political activity committee (the Right to Rise PAC supporting Jeb Bush) that wants to produce a mailer to Iowa voters touting their candidate.

Imagine that these poor imbeciles have zero photos of the candidate for whom they have banked over 100 million dollars. Just imagine they are too stupid to go online and look at any of the numerous tweets the Jeb Bush campaign itself has put out to the public. Or any of the photos that Bush fans have tweeted or facebooked. They are beside themselves with despair. How oh how can they produce this mailing with no Jeb photo?

Now imagine someone at the PAC finds a photo, but it only has a head of Jeb. Drats! Oh, wait, another staffer finds a hand! It’s slowly coming together, but they search and search and cannot for the life of themselves find a full-body photo of Jeb.

With time running out, they desperately find a photo of a black man. “That will work!” they cheer. “We only need to photoshop the head and hand of Jeb that we’ve found onto the black guy! No one will be the wiser!”

In a frenzy, they turn the black man into Jeb. But since they are supremely stupid, they do not notice that they have failed to cover up the black man’s other hand. Oopsie! It gets left in the photoshopped cutout of Jeb.

No time to waste, they rush to slap the photoshopped black-hand Jeb onto a picture of an Iowa cityscape and hurriedly snail mail their pamphlet to over 86,000 Iowans. High fives all around at Right to Rise. “Yes!” they shout, and then shut off their phones and go for dinner and drinks.

The Iowa mailer for Jeb Bush, as tweeted by his Right to Rise PAC. The fevered minds of Think Progress and numerous mainstream media outlets will declare the Jeb on the right is actually a black man with a Jeb head photoshopped over him.

THE DIGITAL MANIFESTATION OF THINK PROGRESS’ HALLUCINATIONS

Now here’s where the clever villains of our story come in. ThinkProgress—the master left-wing propaganda think tank that gives the mainstream media their daily marching orders, complete with talking points, graphs and other handy resources—sees the mailer go out and their beady little race-obsessed eyes immediately spot the dastardly deception.

In a fevered frenzy, ThinkProgress’ Judd Legum hastily types up a damning news alert:
Jeb Bush Super PAC Sends Mailer To 86,000 Iowans With Jeb’s Head On A Black Body. Oh my!

A closer examination, however, shows that the flier features Jeb’s head on a black man’s body. In the flier, one of Jeb’s hands appears to belong to a black man.

Here’s the picture they included as the sum total of their research that serves as complete proof of their ThinkProgress investigation.

jebblackhand

There’s no mention of attempting to contact the Right to Rise PAC for confirmation or the Jeb campaign.

At the moment of this writing, the investigative news has been shared on Facebook 11,406 times and Tweeted 2,881 times. That does not include the retweeting of ThinkProgress’ multiple tweets of the story.

THE HANDING OFF TO THE MEDIA FLOCK

It didn’t take long before other foolishly renowned news organizations took this gospel truth of Jeb’s black body, and feverishly typed up their own stories. “Hurry! There’s clickbait to be had!” the cry went out across the mainstream media. “It’s too good to check! Just run it!!”

Time magazine was an early entry into the click bonanza, with whiz kid Zeke Miller’s story titled: Jeb Bush’s Super PAC Has a Bad Photoshop Moment.

Jeb Bush has fallen victim to what appears to be the first Photoshop fail of the 2016 campaign….

Right to Rise USA tweeted a picture of the inaugural mailing, which appears to show Bush posing in front of a bridge in what appears to be Cedar Rapids, the second largest city in Iowa.

But a closer look at the photo seems to show that Bush was actually superimposed on a a stock image of the city, while his left hand appears to belong to someone else.

Federal Election Commission could be partly to blame. The FEC bars coordination between a super PAC and a campaign, so if Right to Rise wanted a photo of Bush in Iowa, they couldn’t just ask for it.

Again there’s no questioning the absolute idiocy of finding a random black man’s body and pasting a famous, white Presidential candidate’s face and hand on it. Miller makes no mention of attempting to verify what he is reporting. (And why should he? After all, it’s been reported by the vaunted Think Progress. In media circles, what they say is truth, even if it’s false.)

Miller also sent out a fabulously snarky little tweet to promote his piece of fine reporting:

Have you, dear reader, begun to suspect that something is amiss with this story? It’s easy to be gullible when you so desperately want to believe something. Let’s see who else did not bother to question the narrative. I don’t want to bore you with repetition, so here’s just a sampling.

The winner of the “Absolute Insanity” reporting prize goes to New York Magazine and their bonkers Chas Danner, taking liberties with already questionable facts: SuperPAC Gives Jeb Bush a Black Hand in Recent Mailer [Note: Bold print added to highlight some particularly amusing texts.]

A flyer put out by the Jeb Bush-supporting SuperPAC Right to Rise USA got a little overzealous promoting the candidate’s diverse appeal this week. The mailer, which R2RUSA sent to 86,000 Iowans, was attempting to answer the essential question, “Why Jeb?” and featured the smiling candidate standing with his hands on his hips — except one of the hands definitely wasn’t his, or white:

“Definitely wasn’t his.” “Definitely wasn’t…white.” Danner knows this information that he is passing on to his loyal readers for an absolute fact. He is definite. Can’t get any surer than that. But Danner isn’t done. Let’s watch him descend into the pits of crazytown:

And if you look at his other (right) hand, you can see that it was digitally colored white as well, as the awkward supposed shadows are the same color as the black hand. This is clearly what happens when, even in a post-Citizen’s United world, candidates aren’t allowed to coordinate heavily enough with their SuperPACs and the poor SuperPACs have to hit the stock images and rely on some communications intern to figure out how to Photoshop their white Republican candidate’s smaller head on a larger black man’s body. Poor Jeb, even his supporters think he needs a better body to win.

We haven’t seen such bad Photoshop analysis since the days of the media trying to prove Anthony Weiner’s “bulge” photo tweet wasn’t really Weiner’s. According to Danner’s expert photo analysis, the “awkward supposed shadows” match up! It must be a fake!

But Danner goes one further. It wasn’t a white hand photoshopped on top of a black hand, with “awkward supposed shadows” added. No, Danner droolingly believes that the Right to Rise PAC went so far as to digitally bleach a black man’s hand.

Most hilariously, after dutifully bashing the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision, Danner attacks the size of Jeb’s head. It’s too small for a big black body! he says. And that body, lawdy, lawdy, the black man’s body is a “better body” than Jeb’s. Oh, Chas.

On the other hand, our liberal friends across the pond at The Guardian (‘Why, Jeb?’ Pro-Bush Iowa pamphlet gives candidate one black hand, by Alan Yuhas) proclaimed Jeb!’s head to be much too large. In fact, the entire photoshop collage disturbed them, getting in some snarky digs:

Closer inspection of the mail, which was sent out by Right to Rise USA, prompted further questions. What, for instance, is going on with the perspective? The leaflet shows Bush with a giant head, a political Godzilla to scale with city hall. Why does Bush appear to hover somewhere over the Cedar River, neither level with the shrubbery nor in any clear relation to the water? Is he supposed to be floating, messianically, over the waves? Is he somewhere else, standing in the blue ether with his name? More mundane explanations are also possible. Perhaps Right to Rise knew that Bush has never grinned with hands akimbo in the center of Cedar Rapids, and a staffer therefore superimposed him awkwardly on to an easily found stock photo of Iowa’s second-largest city. Following that notion, other questions arise. Why does Bush’s shirt appear to glow in florescent tints of turquoise and purple? Is he making a statement as the candidate for bioluminescent conservatives? And what’s with the question itself? It seems to cry out for a comma that would turn the two words into an expression of Americans’ apparent exhaustion with political dynasties: “Why, Jeb?” Clearly, the Super Pac meant “why Jeb?” in the sense of “why should Iowans vote for Jeb?”. But the image and and text have no real context. This could be an ad for almost anything. “Jeb” might be the name of a new cholesterol medicine; the bespectacled man in the distracting shirt could be the doctor you should consult before asking whether Jeb is right for you. Then there’s that hand. It is several skin tones darker than any tan a son of George HW and Barbara Bush has ever managed – and much darker than the skin of man who once registered himself to vote as Hispanic and then tweeted: “My mistake! Don’t think I’ve fooled anyone!” The leaflet and its many questions are not directly attributable to the Bush campaign – under federal law, Super Pacs are not allowed to co-ordinate with candidates. But it is doubtful it fooled anybody either. No mailer is going to introduce the son of one former president and the brother of another as a new political force. Millions of dollars cannot do the work of one good Photoshopper. Jeb Bush is still white. Right to Rise USA did not immediately respond to a query about what happened to Bush’s left hand.

At least Yuhas did not fall prey to reporting with no facts in evidence that it’s a Godzilla Bush head on a black man’s body. At least he mentions that he attempted to contact Right to Rise for information.

JEB’S FLAT FEET GET CROPPED OUT OF PHOTO

I know my readers would have caught the obviously absurd premises of the Think Progress story that started it all. At the time, I tweeted:

The entire imagined scenario at the top of this story did not happen. That is not the body of a black man with a tiny or giant Jeb head on it. It is Jeb with his own head, his own dad bod and his own two white hands.

One thing that the photoshop story does reveal if you look closely is the enormous flat feet on Jeb. His people let this story gain a head of steam with zero rebuttal until almost a whole day went by. Major publications put the story out, and as of this writing, none of the ones mentioned above have updated their story to correction the information.

This would have been a perfect opportunity for the Bush campaign, their PAC and the GOP to mercilessly mock Think Progress and the mainstream media for creating such a ludicrous story. But no. They seem to be content to let it appear to be the truth.

They have apparently not insisted that any of these news organizations should issue corrections and apologies for these stories. The uncorrected ridiculous stories continue to be read and shared on Twitter and Facebook, for all to laugh at a fevered dream being pushed as fact. Tens of thousands have seen it and believed it to be true. Even on the right. Search Twitter and you’ll see it’s bipartisan mockery of an absurdity they accept as real.

I had to dig around to find a publication that was reporting the truth of the story. Wouldn’t you know, it was a British paper, the Daily Mail (Jeb Bush super PAC admits to Photoshop ‘fail’ in mailer to 86,000 Iowans after one of candidate’s hands appeared to be someone else’s) and their reporter Christopher Brennan, that did actual reporting to give some accurate information. [CBS’s Reena Flores also did a story showing the real photo (Jeb Bush super PAC denies Photoshop mishap claim).]

However, Bush had previously been seen wearing the same shirt as the one on the mailer on various occasions.

In response to the allegation Saturday afternoon, Right to Rise spokesman Paul Lindsay directed Daily Mail to a tweet showing the original photo of Bush.

The darkened hand appeared to be caused by a shadow cast from a woman next to the candidate.

But, as you can tell from the headline, even their story spun the photo as a “Photoshop fail.” It wasn’t a fail. Perhaps it could have been better, but it’s highly unlikely any of the 86,000 people receiving the mailer thought twice about his shadowy hand, let alone even noticed it.

The permission to label it a fail came from the Right to Rise PAC’s spokesman. In a staccato, rather cryptic tweet, he himself called it a “Fail.”

Instead of tweeting the rebuttal directly to reporters writing up silly stories on it, instead of mocking Think Progress’ lunacy in his response, he tweets “Mysterious hand revealed. Meant to use Valencia. Fail. Not deleting it from our servers.”

Who or what is Valencia? Was Valencia supposed to be used in place of or in addition to Jeb? Why is he taking the defensive posture of “not deleting it from our servers”? Is this a bad joke using a Hillary reference? Or was someone suggesting they delete it to prevent people from seeing the mailer? What are reporters supposed to do in trying to quote this weirdness in their stories?

Searching Paul Lindsay’s twitter account, it seems he did tweet the photo to Mark Hemingway and Olivia Nuzzi, but not to mainstream or left-wing media. Sadly, the Right to Rise twitter account hasn’t bothered to tweet anything about it.

The frustrating thing for me, an avid opponent of Jeb’s candidacy, is to see such a hideous PR response by a candidate many of us fear will be forced down our throats once he unleashes his hundred million dollars to attack the candidates we prefer. Is this the kind of plodding, flat-footed, half-hearted response we can expect if he becomes a general election nominee? Is the management of this incredibly idiotic falsehood symbolic of the asleep-at-the-wheel candidacy of Jeb Bush?

In the meantime, by being so flat-footed, by taking until the next day to even bother to try to counter the narrative that had now gained international root, it was Donald Trump who got the last laugh. He tweeted the unrebutted story and got over 5,000 retweets and favorites: