What did you expect? It’s the Boy Scouts and it’s Donald Trump

The big annual event for the Boy Scouts is the Jamboree and this year they invited Donald Trump. Rather than deliver the uplifting bromides that are the usual fare at events like this, Donald Trump gave the 30,000 assembled scouts what sounded like his usual political rally speech, boasting about his election victory and ridiculing his opponents, drawing whoops and boos from the assembled scouts as they responded enthusiastically.

This has naturally upset some parents. But I am not surprised. What did they expect from this narcissist? Give him a large audience and, irrespective of their age or the nature of the occasion, he immediately goes into his campaign mode. The Boy Scouts, unlike their Girl Scout counterparts, are a pretty reactionary organization, having to be dragged into the modern era when it comes to social issues like equal rights for the LGBT community. Trump probably felt that these were the kind of people who come to his rallies and behaved accordingly.

The worst cockney accent in film history

Mary Poppins (1964) is quite an enjoyable film with some good songs and humor. But many people will also remember the absolutely awful English cockney accent that American Dick Van Dyke used as the chimneysweep Bert. At a recent event to publicize a remake of the film with Emily Blunt in the title role and in which he makes a cameo, the good-humored Van Dyke apologized for perpetrating on the public “the most atrocious cockney accent in the history of cinema”. Truer words were never spoken.
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Making legalized theft great again

In the recent past, police departments across the country went of a spree, taking advantage of the 1984 ‘civil asset forfeiture’ law that allowed them to confiscate the property of people who were merely suspected of being involved with crime even if they were never actually charged with anything. These people had no means of getting their stuff back even of they were innocent unless they were prepared to hire lawyers for a protracted battle, which many were too poor to do.
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Film review: Z (1969)

I am not going to write a long review of this film by Costa-Gavras because Marcus Ranum has done an excellent job of both the film and the actual events on which the film was closely based. It was reading that review that reminded me that this highly praised film of political intrigue was one that I had missed during its cinematic release in 1969 and then forgotten even after the era of videotapes and DVDs and streaming enabled one to revisit the classics.
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How do you tell if leaked emails are genuine?

In this day and age, leaked emails have become one of the means by which information is released about the machinations of government. ProPublica was recently the recipient of emails that revealed unflattering information about Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz, The publication of these emails set in motion a sequence of events in which Kasowitz let loose a tirade against an ordinary citizen. Since then, Kasowitz has become one of the many people who has been cast out through the revolving door that characterizes the Trump administration.
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Republicans ignore whatever rules they don’t like

The US senate has arcane rules of operation that can mystify those who are not steeped in them. One of them involves the issue of how many votes are needed for procedural votes and to pass legislation. While most bills require a simple majority, some require more and certain votes that precede the final vote, such as whether to consider the bill at all, require 60 out of the 100 votes.
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Buddhist monks behaving badly

Some Buddhist monks in Thailand, where Buddhism is the majority religion, clearly seem to think that evangelical Christians in the US with their fancy mega-churches that provide them with luxury homes, cars, and private jets should not have all the fun. They too have decided to get on that gravy train and are living the high life from money they get from their followers.

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Why neoliberals hate being called neoliberals

I use the labels neoliberal and neoconservative quite frequently. In comments in response to a previous post, there was some discussion of what those labels really represent and whether there existed any meaningful distinctions between people categorized by those labels and those who are called simply liberals and conservatives respectively. Neoliberal seemed to be considered less helpful than neoconservative in identifying political inclinations.
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