Category Archives: Etiquette

UPDATED: Rep. Steve Cohen On Bibi’s Bombast

Democrats, Ethics, Etiquette, Foreign Policy, Israel

“Lincoln Bedroom Or The American People’s House?” expressed my objection to the partisan practice of placing the American People’s House for hire by the foreign dignitary favored by the majority du jour. (The “Lincoln Bedroom” alluded to a practice Bill Clinton inaugurated of renting out this White House bedroom to big-time donors and political pals.)

As explained, “it was an abomination when Mexican President Felipe Calderon was allowed to address the Congress in May of 2010, and it is an abomination for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have been permitted to issue forth before a joint session of the American Congress.”

Rep. Steve Cohen, Democrat from Tennessee, and obviously Jewish, had expressed similar disdain for the spectacle, in an official statement:

Speaker Boehner and other Republicans supporting the speech are giving a foreign leader the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as a forum to present a counterargument to the foreign policy peace efforts of the President of the United States who has constitutional authority over foreign affairs. This speech is high theater for a re-election campaign in Israel and a political tool wielded against our President and his Administration by the Speaker of the House.

It is almost certain that, unlike this scribe, Cohen will have proven inconsistent: He likely objected not at all to the Democrats’ choice to pimp the Chamber to their pet client state of Mexico.

Nevertheless, Rep. Steve Cohen’s allusions, after the speech, to “political theatre” are reasonable too:

It was putting Netanyahu on an equal level with the president of the United States,” said Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. “And that was wrong.”


BLITZER: We’ve now just heard from the president of the United States. He’s in a meeting with the new secretary of defense, Ash Carter. And reporters were inside at the start of that meeting. The president said he did not have a chance to watch the Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech before a joint meeting of the United States Congress but he did say he read the transcript, and then added pointedly there was, in his words, “nothing new.” We’ll get that videotape, play it for the viewers as soon as that pool comes out of the Oval Office in the White House.

Let’s get more reaction, a different perspective. Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen is joining us from Tennessee.

Congressman, you didn’t want to attend the meeting. You didn’t attend the meeting. I assume you watched it, though, on television, right?

REP. STEVE COHEN, (D), TENNESSEE: I watched it with a group of AIPAC’s representatives from Memphis, about 15, in my office.

BLITZER: What’s your reaction? Did the prime minister convince you?

COHEN: It was a — no, he didn’t convince me. It was political theater and that’s why I didn’t attend. It used the chamber to put him in a position that the president is often in, address the Congress at the State of the Union. This puts him on equal footing with the president of the United States. I thought that was wrong. I wasn’t going to be part of it. I didn’t attend.

I think the political theater was worthy of an Oscar. It was a great speech for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reelection in Israel, a good speech for Speaker Boehner connecting to the AIPAC and the Jewish republican force that was here, but it was not a good speech for the future of having a denuclearized Iran. That conversation should be taking place in Geneva, not here in Washington before the cameras. I’m afraid it created a greater schism between the president and the prime minister. And that’s not good for Israel and not good for world peace.

BLITZER: I’m sure that the relationship, which was bad to begin with, is a whole lot worse right now, that personal relationship between the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel.

But on the substance, when he said, this current deal is really bad, will undermine potentially Israel’s very existence, what do you say?

COHEN: Well, he doesn’t know what the deal is. And he wouldn’t be in favor of any deal. He talked about a Persian bazaar and you walk away and they go back, and, oh, mister, mister, I’ll take this price. It’s not the same thing. If the Iranians have shown they don’t necessary make a deal. If they don’t make a deal, they’re not going to be down on their knees. They’re going to bend their back, straighten up their back and they may be tougher. I think it will hurt. 200 Israeli generals and security officials said this drives us further away from a good deal with Iran and I think it drove us away. BLITZER: Steve Cohen, the Democratic congressman from Tennessee,


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UPDATED: Girls Behaving Badly (Talking Turkey)

Barack Obama, Etiquette, Family, Republicans

“They’re just teenage girls.” Correction; Malia and Sasha Obama are poorly behaved teenage girls. Or that’s how they came across during the National Thanksgiving Turkey pardon. The two stood beside their father at the annual turkey pardon ceremony pulling faces and rolling their eyes in his direction. Malia looked quite nice, but Sasha’s bare thighs? I don’t think so.

The response of one Elizabeth Lauten—the communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.)—to the display was a little idiotic: pompous, overblown, overemotional, and inarticulate. But that describes 90 percent of America’s journos and politicians. They can’t think. Consequently, they can’t write.

Still, why has it become so hard to pass judgement about etiquette, at least, if not morals? Why do Americans equivocate so much, never calling out rotter behavior? Those of you who allow your kids to behave like trash without correcting them have nothing to be proud of.


The little bitches live at the pleasure of the taxpayer. I happen to like the idea of the president being forced to show mercy for an animal other than his ornamental dog. I would love for the POTUS to do nothing but, the whole day. Again, those privileged girls live at the pleasure of the American people. Let them stand up straight and behave properly. Yet another creepy thing about American society: the Sacred Kid affliction.

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Busybody Buttheads

Celebrity, Etiquette, Family, Feminism, Sport

Good for the forceful Janay Rice for voicing her fury over the “unwanted opinions” about her marriage to Ray Rice, whose “contract with his longtime team was terminated on Monday.” The player “was suspended indefinitely from the NFL after a video was released on of him assaulting his now-wife at an Atlantic City casino.”

“THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get,” Mrs. Rice blasted the busybodies from her Instagram account, this morning.

As is their wont, the professional opinionators—know-nothings—were out and about on media, airing their formulaic theories about Mrs. Rice’s life and personality.

Do the busybodies have to be told to butt out; that Janay is an adult woman who is quite capable of making her own decisions? Apparently.

As to Rice’s termination: If he violated his contract in any way, it is the prerogative of his employer to get rid of him. It is also the right of the same controlling interests to reinstate the player.

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Kate’s Keister

Britain, Etiquette, Feminism, Left-Liberalism, Media, Political Correctness

Unlike Kim and Khloé Kardashian’s “ass elephantiasis,” Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, has a very nice keister. That’s not in question. On American TV, however, no questions are permitted about the propriety of a woman’s attire.

Watch Brook Baldwin, of the PC brigade at CNN, terrify London correspondent Max Foster, who questions Kate’s choice of wearing “the skimpiest knickers in her drawer.” To me it looks as though Kate has no underwear on. “As a woman I get frustrated,” Baldwin hissed at Foster. “Keep it out of the headlines,” she threatened.

(Via Bild)

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UPDATED: Cite Your Sources, Creep!

Ethics, Etiquette, Ilana Mercer, Morality, Paleoconservatism, Race, Reason

I receive the Taki Magazine newsletter in my In-Box.

I often click on it for a quick once-over.

With some exceptions, speed reading is the mode reserved for the stuff. With exceptions like Sailer, of course (Pat Buchanan is read on WND), the reason for this was touched upon in a Feb. 15, Facebook, thread with a Fred Reed fan.

While I too think “Fred Reed rocks,” information-rich work is my preference. I love Reed for his audacity, but riffing does not do it for me. I need information.

Unless I learn something substantive in the process, I’m not interested in other people’s opinions. I have too many of my own. :)

As I was skimming a riff by a character called Jim Goad (one of whose light-reading posts I was decent enough to reference in a January post of my own; naturally I cite my sources)—I came across a remarkably familiar line on a rather obscure matter of logic, also the only analytical part in this riff of a column.

This character was motivating (dah) against an “egalitarian … fallacy, which roughly runs thusly.” And Goad writes:

Differences within any group are greater than those between groups.

The familiar part of the Goad column was this:

“Against every known rule of logic,” he notes,” “this statement is always used as some blanket proof of equality.” Goad promises to “carefully dismantle this super-dumb time bomb.” He continues:

Here’s why the statement is deceptive: Differences between highs and lows WITHIN a group do not discount or magically wash away differences between group AVERAGES.

High and low did I search Barely A Blog, but was unable to locate the familiar point of logic made on BAB so long ago. Finally, it came to me: I would have alluded to inter-group differences. Yes! I found what I was after using the “inter” prefix in the BAB search window.

The post is “The Kindness Of (Caucasian) Strangers (On Brotherly Love).” It’s dated 01.31.10. My identical line of reasoning about this obscure matter is as follows, verbatim:

… no; we’re not all the same. A common liberal refrain (I would like to see what Steve Sailer has said in this regard) is that differences between individuals are statistically more significant than those between cultural, ethnic, and racial groups. I don’t see why the fact of inter-individual differences would nullify inter-group variance. That’s liberal logic for you. [ILANA MERCER]

Moreover, I have never heard of the formal fallacy Goad cites to label his inquiry. However, on perusing the Wikipedia entry, I found empirical refutations but no analytical ones–no allusion was made to the deduction that appears in the Mercer post titled “The Kindness Of (Caucasian) Strangers (On Brotherly Love).”

Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but unacknowledged, lifting someone’s ideas without attribution is disgusting—it tells me all I need to know about a person.

Alas, borrowing of this nature is mostly impossible to prove. This is why passing off the often-idiosyncratic ideas or references of others as their own is “par for the course” in these circles. Nevertheless, shame we shall when we come across this lowly practice.

About the natural law, Sir William Blackstone noted that it should include such precepts as that human beings should live honestly, hurt nobody, and render everyone their due (in Conway, 2004). Clearly, this is an instinct alien to some.

UPDATE (3/2): As my dear (most original) friend professor Walter Block once said to me, when we first met (2000?), “You are a natural praxeologist.” I’m sure I make a lot of mistakes, but this method comes naturally. Mercer columns tend to consist in logical deductions. Other than in similar circles, this is not a common style/habit. (We stand on the shoulders of the brilliant David Gordon.) When you see your reasoning, it’s like seeing an image of your offspring. Others might say, “All babies look the same,” but you know that bundle is yours.

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Government Employees

BAB's A List, Etiquette, Government

Government Employees
By Myron Pauli

For some unfathomable reason, Americans surrender control over their lives, liberty, and property to local, state, and federal governments. After they do this, they often have a sort of buyer’s remorse – perhaps changing the person at the top will do it: Cuomo begat Pataki who begat Cuomo at the state level. Or Clinton begat Bush who begat Obama who begat Clinton at the federal level – as the French say, plus ca change c’est la meme chose (the more things change, the more they remain the same). If “elections” to change the captain of the ship do not bring about Utopia, then perhaps it is the lazy and stupid crew – the “government employees”.

The often heard answer is that the bureaucracy does not work because of the idiot bureaucrats. The fact is that the primary rule of a bureaucracy is “COVER YOU’RE A**” – intelligent vs. stupid or lazy vs. diligent takes a distant place to the prime directive.

LAZY employees! Be careful what you wish for! Do you really want a government of zealous workaholic Torquemadas1? What we need are IRS auditors harassing twice as many small businesses; TSA perverts fondling twice as many women; CIA agents waterboarding twice as many ‘terrorists’; NSA listening to twice as many phone calls; SWAT teams breaking twice as many doors down of suspected dope-smokers in the middle of the night; twice the number of weddings in Pakistan blown up by drones.

And keep in mind that bureaucrats dispense money – so what we need are: twice as many ethanol grants, twice as many Solyndras, twice as many foreign governments bribed, twice as many food stamps handed out, twice as many community organizers, twice as many ‘research grants’ for ‘lesbian studies in amphibians’, twice as many no-bid cost-plus contracts, twice as many grants from the National Endowment for the Arts … And then we have those LAZY regulators – let them get off their butt and write twice as many EPA and OSHA and Medicare and IRS rules – all of them contradicting other rules. After all, these extra regulations will cause jobs for thousands of lawyers and accountants and Bastiat can break a few windows from his grave2.

No, my friends – with most of what government does – pay these guys to take the whole year off except for 1 day of cake and bonuses for the “laziest” bureaucrat who did the least damage to the nation and/or to the world at large. “In spite of the temptation to screw things up, you did less beyond the call of duty”.

STUPID employees! Admittedly, National Institutes of Health might be able to use a Pasteur or Salk but does your local SWAT team need them? Aren’t we better off with Steven Jobs3 innovating at Apple than handing out housing subsidies? Would you want to employ Beethoven dispensing food stamps, Einstein operating drones, Michelangelo listening to your phone calls, and Pythagoras fondling airplane passengers? Can you imagine Sigmund Freud waterboarding! (Please get on the couch, Abdul, while I hook up the hose and ask you about your mother). Given the nature of government, America is far better off if the capable and intelligent are used productively in what remains of private enterprise. Taking useful and innovative people from where they can be constructive and letting them run free “regulating” the state, nation, and planet is a definite prescription for the sadomasochistic. As for stupid presidents – if I have to choose between “stupid” Gerald Ford and our only Ph.D. president, Woodrow Wilson4, give me a harmless mediocrity anytime and anyplace.

For one who believes that government that governs least governs best, I have NO inherent objection to lazy or stupid (under the assumption that the political system will not ever allow a government agency to be dismantled). But I will make one confession – it would be nicer if our bureaucrats were more polite!

—– —- REFERENCES —- —-

Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.

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