Day: 2015.08.28

A Meandering Consideration of Absolutism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, 3 March 2015.  (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

“Maybe it’s an unfortunate hallmark of contemporary conservative thought?”

Steve Benen

Over at Slate, Fred Kaplan offers an interesting consideration:

It’s looking more and more like Benjamin Netanyahu committed a strategic blunder in so ferociously opposing the Iran nuclear deal and in rallying his American allies to spend all their resources on a campaign to kill the deal in Congress.

SlateIf current trends hold, the Israeli prime minister and his stateside lobbyists—mainly AIPAC—are set to lose this fight. It’s politically risky for Israel’s head of state to go up against the president of his only big ally and benefactor; it’s catastrophic to do so and come away with nothing. Similarly, it’s a huge defeat for AIPAC, whose power derives from an image of invincibility. American politicians and donors might get the idea that the group isn’t so invincible after all, that they can defy its wishes, now and then, without great risk.

It would have been better for Netanyahu—and for Israel—had he maybe grumbled about the Iran deal but not opposed it outright, let alone so brazenly. He could have pried many more favors from Obama in exchange for his scowl-faced neutrality. Not that Obama, or any other American president, will cut Israel off; but relations will remain more strained, and requests for other favors (for more or bigger weapons, or for certain votes in international forums) will be scrutinized more warily, than they would have been.

There is, of course, much more to Kaplan’s consideration, including the implications of current Congressional momentum and the widening gap between the credibility of favoring and opposing arguments. Toward the latter, he notes, “Most criticisms of the deal actually have nothing to do with the deal”, and that’s about as least unfavorable as his critique of the criticism gets.

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None of My Business

Detail of FLCL episode 3, 'Marquis de Carabas'.

Do what you’re gonna do: Roll your eyes, groan, gnash your teeth, bang your head on the desk, throw your hands and declare, “I could have guessed that!”

If you happen to be a woman interested in taking Addyi, the first FDA-approved drug intended to treat low libido in women, your doctor will first tell you this: You absolutely cannot drink — at all — as long as you’re taking the drug, because alcohol has been shown to exacerbate its side effects, including fainting, dizziness, and low blood pressure. When the drug hits the market in mid-October, it will come with a black box underlining the importance of abstaining from alcohol while taking the medication.

But here’s the thing. Nobody actually even knows what would happen if a woman taking Addyi were to cheat and have, say, a glass of wine with dinner — because the research on the effects of drinking while on the medication was done almost entirely on men. The alcohol-safety study included 23 men, and a grand total of two women.

(Dahl)

Okay, so: The good news is that there is a reason this happens, and it is perfectly understandable. The bad news is that this doesn’t actually help anything, and thus doesn’t count as good news.

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Something About Self-Confidence

Triptych composite of Bug Martini by Adam Huber, 27 August 2015.And then there is Adam. Everybody tell him thank you. And, you know, hope he makes it home safe.

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Image note: Triptych composite of Bug Martini by Adam Huber, 27 August 2015.

The Ben Carson Show (War Inside Women)

“They tell you that there’s a war on women. There is no war on women. There may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country.” ―Dr. Ben Carson

“They tell you that there’s a war on women. There is no war on women. There may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country.”

Dr. Ben Carson

In truth, I am uncertain where to begin. Certes, Dr. Carson is not so utterly stupid. This is infamous: How, exactly, do you separate a woman’s body from her person?

And let me preempt even more stupidity, because history suggests quite without grace or subtlety that someone, somewhere, is just itching to try arguing some manner of explanation that Dr. Carson was referring to the zygote or blastocyst or fetus or whatever, so let me simply wonder in advance just how it works for anti-abortion Republicans to declare war against them, and hopefully those inclined to attempt such idiocy will find themselves reasonably forewarned as to why one would have to be dangerously ridiculous in order to try.

And the thing is, conservatives are telling us exactly what the score is. You know, kind of like the time Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) tried arguing that forcible penetration under law as part of a state-sponsored moral lesson was just a means of helping women to get in on “a cool thing”.

Yes, really.

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Image note: Source photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Edwards, David. “Ben Carson: There’s a ‘war on what’s inside of women, but not a war on women'”. Raw Story. 27 August 2015.

Freud, Sigmund. Psychopathology of Everyday Life. Trans. A. A. Brill. New York: MacMillan, 1914.