I've noted before that there are three times as many male-to-female transitions as female-to-male - because, one assumed, of the famous sex-change surgeon's line that "it's easier to make a hole than a pole". But that was the bad old days, and in the 21st century it's not your father's sex change. I was told recently that some 60 per cent of transgender persons now retain their original genitalia.Read more here.
...I was amused to see that the annual "V Day" production [of The Vagina Monologues] at Mount Holyoke College has been canceled because of its "extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman". Hence, this Guardian headline: "Vagina Monologues playwright: 'It never said a woman is someone with a vagina'..." The revolution devours its own: Less than 20 years after Eve Ensler "empowered" women by "reclaiming" their vaginas, it seems a woman doesn't need a vagina at all, and it's totally cisgenderist to suggest you're not a woman if you're hung like a horse.
On the other side of the ledger, the so-called "pregnant man", famously promoted by Oprah, is only pregnant because he retained his womb. Notice that most of the media were happy like Oprah to play along with the conceit of a "pregnant man". And observe, too, that we have now entirely inverted biology: You can be identified as a man or a woman when you're carrying a child, but when that child emerges from the womb it would be grossly discriminatory to identify it as a boy or a girl.
...Gay marriage wound up getting "father" and "mother" removed from birth certificates (in Spain, it's "Progenitor One" and "Progenitor Two", as I wrote long ago in America Alone), so now it's time to get "boy" and "girl" banished, too.
...Because, after the abolition of biology, what can't be redefined? That huge imbalance between the number of male-to-female and female-to-male transitions is a net demasculation, a remorseless transfer of human capital from the patriarchal oppressors to the ranks of their brutalized female victims, which tells you something about which way the wind is blowing
...Having done an impressive job of demolishing the basic societal building block of the family, the left has now advanced to demolishing the basic biological building block of the sexes. Taken in tandem with the ever greater dominance of women at America's least worst colleges and the dispiriting permanence of the "he-cession" down the other end in the dismal, pitiful redoubt of the "man cave", we're well on the path toward the de facto abolition of man, at least in the manly sense.
...the quiet lifers are deluding either themselves or us by persisting in the belief that one last retreat will do it and we can then draw a line. There is no bottom line--no line and no bottom, just an ongoing bumpy descent into a brave new world.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Mark Steyn writes,
elizabeth Price Foley links to an editorial in the New York Post:
Come Monday, the five senior Taliban officials sprung from Guantanamo in the trade for accused Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl, could all be walking free.
Free to rejoin their terrorist comrades in jihad against America — as at least three of them reportedly have already tried to do.
It’s a reminder of just how bad a deal President Obama struck to free Bergdahl, the man the White House then hailed as a hero but who now faces criminal charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy — charges that could keep him behind bars for life.
Indeed, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal revealed last week for the first time that he’d been informed almost immediately after Bergdahl’s 2009 capture that the soldier “walked off [his base] intentionally.”
Yet years later, in the runup to Obama’s trade, National Security Adviser Susan Rice claimed Berghdal had been “captured on the battlefield” after serving “with honor and distinction.” The State Department dismissed claims he’d deserted as “rumors.”
Under the terms of the deal, the five were shipped to Qatar, where they were banned from travel and subjected to monitoring. That arrangement expires today.
Privately, Obama officials say they’ve been trying to extend the original arrangement or possibly return them to Afghanistan, whose government would decide what — if anything — to do with them. Week’s end, though, brought no new deal.
The danger can’t be overemphasized: These were all senior commanders — one a deputy defense minister, another head of intelligence. At least one has been in touch with the Taliban and two others have met with the al Qaeda-affiliated Haqqani network in the past year.
Now these five terrorists, let go to bring an accused deserter home, may be free to once again target American soldiers. Some bargain, Mr. President.
Glenn Reynolds links to an opinion piece by Heather Mac Donald in the Wall Street Journal:
The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night. Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.Read more here.
In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. “Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro at a May 7 City Hall hearing.
Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.
Those citywide statistics from law-enforcement officials mask even more startling neighborhood-level increases. Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%.
By contrast, the first six months of 2014 continued a 20-year pattern of growing public safety. Violent crime in the first half of last year dropped 4.6% nationally and property crime was down 7.5%. Though comparable national figures for the first half of 2015 won’t be available for another year, the January through June 2014 crime decline is unlikely to be repeated.
The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past nine months.
...This incessant drumbeat against the police has resulted in what St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson last November called the “Ferguson effect.” Cops are disengaging from discretionary enforcement activity and the “criminal element is feeling empowered,” Mr. Dotson reported.
...Similar “Ferguson effects” are happening across the country as officers scale back on proactive policing under the onslaught of anti-cop rhetoric. Arrests in Baltimore were down 56% in May compared with 2014.
“Any cop who uses his gun now has to worry about being indicted and losing his job and family,” a New York City officer tells me. “Everything has the potential to be recorded. A lot of cops feel that the climate for the next couple of years is going to be nonstop protests.”
A New York City cop tells me that he was amazed to hear people scoffing that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown, only looked a “little red” after Brown assaulted him and tried to grab his weapon: “Does an officer need to be unconscious before he can use force? If someone is willing to fight you, he’s also willing to take your gun and shoot you. You can’t lose a fight with a guy who has already put his hands on you because if you do, you will likely end up dead.”
Politicians and activists in New York and other cities have now taken aim at “broken windows” policing. This police strategy has shown remarkable success over the past two decades by targeting low-level public-order offenses, reducing the air of lawlessness in rough neighborhoods and getting criminals off the streets before they commit bigger crimes. Opponents of broken-windows policing somehow fail to notice that law-abiding residents of poor communities are among the strongest advocates for enforcing laws against public drinking, trespassing, drug sales and drug use, among other public-order laws.
“There are no real consequences for committing property crimes anymore,” Los Angeles Police Lt. Armando Munoz told Downtown News earlier this month, “and the criminals know this.” The Milwaukee district attorney, John Chisholm, is diverting many property and drug criminals to rehabilitation programs to reduce the number of blacks in Wisconsin prisons; critics see the rise in Milwaukee crime as one result.
If these decriminalization and deincarceration policies backfire, the people most harmed will be their supposed beneficiaries: blacks, since they are disproportionately victimized by crime. The black death-by-homicide rate is six times higher than that of whites and Hispanics combined. The killers of those black homicide victims are overwhelmingly other black civilians, not the police. The police could end all use of lethal force tomorrow and it would have at most a negligible impact on the black death rate. In any case, the strongest predictor of whether a police officer uses force is whether a suspect resists arrest, not the suspect’s race.
Contrary to the claims of the “black lives matter” movement, no government policy in the past quarter century has done more for urban reclamation than proactive policing. Data-driven enforcement, in conjunction with stricter penalties for criminals and “broken windows” policing, has saved thousands of black lives, brought lawful commerce and jobs to once drug-infested neighborhoods and allowed millions to go about their daily lives without fear.
Eric Limer reports at Popular Mechanics,
Read more here.
Electronics don't have to be rigid chunks of circuit board encased in plastic or metal. They can also blend in seamlessly with the world around you. And, as Google's new Project Jacquard shows, they can also be woven directly into your clothes.
Project Jacquard comes from Google's Advanced Technology and Projects lab, one of the many wings of the tech giant devoted to doing really crazy stuff. But at its core, Jacquard is actually very simple; it's just conductive thread. That, in turn, can be used to turn jeans into a touch-based controller.
The conductive thread Google has developed is not at all rigid, or even metal. In fact, it can be woven into clothes so seamlessly that you won't even notice its there. Google, and fashion designer partners, have been working with designs that hide the touch-sensitive material as well as ones that subtly highlight it for the user. The actual brains behind the controller—the chips and other circuitry—are a little bit more noticeable but Google's been working to get those pieces down to the size of buttons.
It's definitely a neat idea, but what makes it particularly exciting is that it's actually feasible on a large scale. Google has taken pains to make sure this conductive thread is not particularly expensive. Even better, it doesn't even take any special sort of machine to do it; this works with the traditional looms that are already in use all over the world. But to really top it off, on stage at Google I/O today, Levi's announced it will be partnering with Google to put the tech to use. This stuff is coming.
Read more here.
At Instapundit Elizabeth Price Foley links to an op ed written by Peter Alberice at Breitbart:
...With the election of John Kennedy, one could argue that the Democratic Party believed that the United States was a great nation and a beacon of hope for the entire world. Under JFK, the economy grew to the benefit of all through across-the-board tax cuts. We as a nation took an unambiguous stance in understanding the threat of Communism and supported our allies in resisting that threat. We embarked on the space program which has yielded immense benefit to all of us with advances in manufacturing, computer science and medical technology.Read more here.
Lyndon Johnson began the transformation of the Democratic Party of Harry Truman and John Kennedy. With the advent of the Great Society, LBJ created the dependency plantation that has undoubtedly created a multi-generational underclass. The result of this effort is the perpetual poverty that plagues many inner city neighborhoods and rural areas in our country. Jimmy Carter continued the decline by his lack of fortitude in understanding the ongoing threat of the Soviet Union and the rise of Islamic Fascism.
Bill Clinton was a successful president in many ways because he had to pivot after his first term and work with Congress in order to pass welfare reform and other pieces of legislation. He also benefited greatly from the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the window of relative peace the world experienced through most of the 1990s. Clinton, however, pushed for greater home ownership for under-qualified buyers, which ultimately led to the 2008 financial crisis. The rise of single-issue politics as opposed to the broader world view of Truman and Kennedy began to redefine the Democratic Party.
...Under Obama, divisiveness and the politics of envy overrode the unity and a sense of purpose under JFK that the party once stood for. “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” has been replaced by “You didn’t build that.”
“My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man” has become “leading from behind.”
The Democratic Party will continue to champion divisiveness through single-issue political infighting, a failed progressive economic agenda, and an almost nonexistent foreign policy. The party that once stood with our allies abroad and supported robust economic growth has been replaced by whiny radical feminism and an overwrought sense of entitlement.
Mattress Girl and Pajama Boy are the new Democratic Party; Truman and Kennedy would be embarrassed.
Over at Instapundit Elizabeth Price Foley wonders why drunk California legislators can't just call a cab to dive them home. Robert Wilde reports at Breitbart,
As a result of too many high profile drunken driver arrests involving California legislators, state senate officials have hired designated driving employees to drive home inebriated lawmakers.Read more here.
Known as “special services assistants,” the designated drivers work in the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Office and are responsible for providing “ground transportation for Senate members.”
The Bee reported that the two employees—a retired Assembly sergeant-at-arms and a retiree from the Department of General Services—are paid $2,532 per month, of course at taxpayer expense.
A man who turned down the position said that the job description mandated that he work from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. to drive senators home “just if they were drinking too much… and to pick them up and take them home.”
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Juliet Linderman writes at My Way,
Now West Baltimore residents worry they've been abandoned by the officers they once accused of harassing them. In recent weeks, some neighborhoods have become like the Wild West without a lawman around, residents said.Read more here.
"Before it was over-policing. Now there's no police," said Donnail "Dreads" Lee, 34, who lives in the Gilmor Homes, the public housing complex where Gray, 25, was arrested.
"I haven't seen the police since the riots," Lee said. "People feel as though they can do things and get away with it. I see people walking with guns almost every single day, because they know the police aren't pulling them up like they used to."
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said last week his officers "are not holding back" from policing tough neighborhoods, but they are encountering dangerous hostility in the Western District.
"Our officers tell me that when officers pull up, they have 30 to 50 people surrounding them at any time," Batts said.
At a City Council meeting Wednesday, Batts said officers have expressed concern they could be arrested for making mistakes.
Jonah Goldberg wrote,
Sometimes you can’t get to a good place without going through a bad place first. That’s true in our own lives and it’s true of nations.Read more here and here.
Speaking of unwavering principle, I’m reminded of Frank Meyer’s famous argument for using nuclear weapons if required to defend liberty. The first “conservatarian” wrote that: Even granted the most horrendous estimates of the effects of their use, the preservation of human life as a biological phenomenon is an end far lower than the defense of freedom and right and truth. These the victory of Communism would destroy. These it is our duty to defend at all costs.
Jonah Goldberg writes in National Review,
the Clinton strategists and spinners are invested in a theory that electing a woman will be transformative. It will be like that scene in Excalibur where King Arthur, rejuvenated by the Holy Grail, revives the brown and wasted crops and forests simply by riding by. We already had one experiment in this kind of magical thinking. It worked for Barack Obama. I don’t think it will work for Hillary. Obama was new and fresh. Hillary . . . isn’t.Read more here.
...Only the hyper-partisan, the extremely uninformed, the incurably gullible, and, of course, the heavily bribed can get really excited about Hillary Clinton.
As I said last week, the Clintons’ favorite way to lie is by telling the truth selectively. There are a lot of benefits to this oh-so-lawyerly technique. It sounds more plausible. It frustrates journalists. It comes in handy when your lies are exposed or you’re asked about them under oath. The downside is that when you use the truth to tell lies, you embed implied confessions in the silences. “There’s no smoking gun” isn’t a denial, it’s a passive-aggressive way of saying, “You’ll never catch me!”
Josh Feldman writes at Mediaite about yesterday's free speech event in Phoenix:
Jon Ritzheimer, the ex-Marine behind tonight’s anti-Islam rally in Phoenix, told reporters tonight that he’ll be going into hiding for his own safety and the safety of his family.Go here to watch the video.
He said the rally was peaceful throughout, thanked the police for the job they’ve been doing, and said that there have been people “calling for folks to come and behead me,” which he decried as “tyranny” and “terrorism right here in America.”
When asked if it was all worth it, Ritzheimer said to ask the Founders if it was worth it to put their lives on the line in signing the Declaration of Independence. He declared that when you “start trying to oppress American citizens,” people will fight back.
Elizabeth Price Foley writes at Instapundit that if, instead of going to college, our young adults
obtained skills that society actually needs–plumbing, electrician, HVAC, carpentry, mechanics–they would get good, decent-paying jobs very quickly, and they wouldn’t be saddled with debt and forced to work in unskilled jobs. Throwing more money at higher education is akin to giving heroin to an addict: it just enables their destructive behavior, and they’ll greedily take it.Read more here.
Elizabeth Price Foley at Instapundit links to an op ed by a retired social worker in the Hartford Courant.
Cynara Stites points out the perversity of a bill passed this week in the Connecticut Senate:
According to Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly, who spearheaded this bill, college students would be required to “say yes” or indicate nonverbally through “physical cues” that they are willing to have sex with another college student.
A major flaw in this proposed legislation is that it would impose a legal requirement that college students engage in a specific type of speech or behavior in a certain situation. Although this requirement is unenforceable, if a university did find a way to enforce it, the university would be infringing upon students’ constitutional rights to freedom of speech. . . .
Sen. Joe Markey, R-Southington, was correct when he said it is “peculiar” for the state to pass a law that applies only to accused students in university disciplinary hearings and not to defendants in criminal courts. College students are not a special class of citizens who are exempt from the Constitution’s protections of freedom of speech, due process and the presumption of innocence for the accused.
This bill is an example of political correctness gone wild. Why did the majority of state senators who voted for this bill, including many lawyers, fail to recognize that the bill has provisions that would be unenforceable and would infringe college students’ constitutional rights? Hopefully, the House will realize that the proposed legislation would not accomplish its proponents’ objectives and would make colleges and universities vulnerable to lawsuits for violating students’ civil liberties.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Todd Starnes writes at Fox News,
A United States Marine was convicted at a court-martial for refusing to remove a Bible verse on her computer – a verse of Scripture the military determined “could easily be seen as contrary to good order and discipline.”Read more here.
The plight of Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling seems unbelievable – a member of the Armed Forces criminally prosecuted for displaying a slightly altered passage of Scripture from the Old Testament: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”
Sterling, who represented herself at trial, was convicted February 1, 2014 in a court-martial at Camp Lejune, North Carolina after she refused to obey orders from a staff sergeant to remove the Bible verses from her desk.
Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser told me it was outrageous “that such a small strip of paper could so frighten a drill sergeant.”
“This is a very scary time when you are not allowed to have a very small printed Bible verse in your own personal workspace because it might offend other Marines,” Sasser told me. “Our Marines are trained to deal with some of the most hostile people on the planet. I don’t think they are afraid of tiny words on a tiny piece of paper.”
Adam Lerner writes in Politico,
Less than a month after a shooting at a similar event in Texas, an anti-Islam rally in Phoenix has scheduled its own Muhammad cartoon-drawing contest.Read more here.
The competition is set to take place Friday outside the Islamic Community Center in the Arizona city where Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi — the perpetrators of that attack — used to worship.
In a Facebook event for the contest, titled “Freedom of Speech Rally Round II,” organizer Jon Ritzheimer wrote, “This is in response to the recent attack in Texas where 2 armed terrorist, with ties to ISIS, attempted Jihad.”
Ritzheimer, a former Marine, also wrote that protesters should come armed, expecting a confrontation.
“People are also encouraged to utilize there [sic] second amendment right at this event just incase [sic] our first amendment comes under the much anticipated attack.”
So writes Patrick J. Buchanan at CNS News. Buchanan analyzes who has the will to fight, and who does not.
In almost all of the wars in which we have been engaged, those we back have superior training, weapons and numbers. Yet, for whatever makes men willing to fight and die, or volunteer for martyrdom, the Islamic State, al-Qaida, and the Taliban have found the formula, while our allies have not.Read more here.
To be a martyr for Allah, to create a new caliphate, to expel the infidels and their puppets, these are causes Islamic man will die for. This is what ISIS has on offer. And the offer is finding buyers even in the West.
What do we have on offer? What do we have to persuade Iraqi Sunnis to fight to return their Anbar homeland to the Iranian-backed Shiite regime in Baghdad?
Of our Arab allies, the Qataris, Saudis and Gulf Arabs are willing to do air strikes. And the Kurds will fight -- for Kurdistan.
But if the future belongs to those willing to fight and die for it, or to volunteer to become martyrs, the future of the Middle East would seem fated to be decided by Sunni tribesmen, Shiite militia, ISIS and al-Qaida, Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
In the Middle East, the time of the True Believers appears at hand.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Joel Kotkin writes at Real Clear Politics,
...what has not been looked at nearly as much are the underlying conditions that either restrict or enhance upward mobility among racial minorities, including African-Americans, Latinos and Asians. In order to determine this, my colleague at Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism Wendell Cox and I developed a ranking system that included four critical factors: migration patterns, home ownership, self-employment and income.Read more here.
We found, for all three major minority groups, that the best places were neither the most liberal in their attitudes nor had the most generous welfare programs. Instead they were located primarily in regions that have experienced broad-based economic growth, have low housing costs, and limited regulation. In other words, no matter how much people like Bill de Blasio talk about the commitment to racial and class justice, the realities on the ground turn out to be quite different than he might imagine.
...Today almost all the best cities for blacks are in the South, a region that has enjoyed steady growth and enjoys generally low costs. Indeed, of the top 15 cities for African-Americans, 13 are in the old Confederacy starting with top-ranked Atlanta, No. 2 Raleigh, No. 4 Charlotte, No. 6 Virginia Beach-Norfolk, No. 7 Orlando, No. 8 Richmond (a distinction it shares with Miami and San Antonio), as well as four of Texas’ large metro areas: No. 12 Houston, No. 13 Dallas-Ft. Worth and No. 8 San Antonio. The only two other metros are “inside the Beltway”: the metropolitan expanses of Washington and, surprisingly, Baltimore.
...Ironically, blacks – 6 million of whom moved to the North during the great migration -- are once again voting with their feet, but back to the same region in which, for so long, they were so harshly oppressed. Between 2000 and 2013, the African-American population of Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Raleigh, Tampa-St. Petersburg and San Antonio all experienced growth of close to 40 percent or higher, well above the average of 27 percent for the nation’s 52 metropolitan areas with more than 1 million residents.
In contrast, the African-American population actually dropped in five critically important large metros that once were beacons for black progress: San Francisco-Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit. In many cases, most notably in San Francisco, blacks have become the unintended victims of soaring housing prices and rampant gentrification, with little option to move to the also high-priced suburbs. Today, suggests economist Thomas Sowell, the black population of the city itself is half that of 1970; the situation has changed so much that former Mayor Gavin Newsom even initiated a task force to address black out-migration.
Yet if many African-Americans can be seen “going home” to their native region, the South is also doing well among ethnic groups that have historically had little attachment to Dixie. For Latinos, now the nation’s largest ethnic minority, seven of the top 13 places are held by cities wholly or partially in the old Confederacy, led by No. 1 Jacksonville, Fla., as well as No. 4 Houston, No. 6 Virginia Beach, No. 7 Dallas-Ft. Worth, No. 9 Austin, No. 12 Tampa and #13 Orlando.The majority of newcomers to the South, notes a recent Pew study, are classic first-wave immigrants: young, 57 percent foreign-born and not well educated -- but they see the South as their land of opportunity.
In Florida, no stranger to Latino populations, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando and Jacksonville all experienced Hispanic growth rates since 2000 between 100 and 150 percent, well above the average of 96 percent among the 52 metropolitan regions. Lower housing costs and better prospects for advancement drive this change. Despite their historically large populations in Texas, Latino populations still grew at a rapid rate in Houston, at 68 percent, Dallas-Ft. Worth at 70 percent and Austin, 83 percent. "You go where the opportunities are," explains Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C.
Asian-Americans, although their economic and educational performance tends to be better than other minorities, follow a surprisingly similar pattern. Seven of the top 10 regions for them also were in the South, as well as two others, Washington and Baltimore, that abut the old Confederacy. Most of the best metros for Asians were in the Sunbelt, starting with No.1 Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., No. 2 Richmond, No. 4 Raleigh, No. 5 Houston, No. 7 Dallas-Ft. Worth, No. 8 Austin, No. 9 Las Vegas, No. 12 Phoenix, No. 13 Atlanta and No. 15 Jacksonville.
Some of the worst results -- in terms not only homeownership but income -- are ironically in those part of the country that purport to be most sympathetic to minority interests. In New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, between 25 and 30 percent of African-Americans own their own home. In Atlanta it’s nearly 50 percent and well over 40 percent in most of the other Dixie metro areas.
Ultimately what really matters are the economics of opportunity. Many of the cities that scored best for all three groups -- the Washington, D.C. area, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin -- have enjoyed stronger than normal economic growth over the past decade. In the areas around the nation’s capital, government employment has been a critical factor; in the other areas more generalized business growth has taken the lead. In contrast, notes University of Washington demographer Richard Morrill , many regions that have seen rapid de-industrialization and slow housing growth have developed “barbell” economies based on a combination of ultra-high-wage industries, like technology and finance, and low-end service jobs.
There are other policy implications. Blue state progressives are often the most vocal about expanding opportunities for minority homeownership but generally support land use and regulatory policies, notably in California, that tend to raise prices far above the ability of newcomers -- immigrants, minorities, young people -- to pay. Similarly blue state support for such things as strict climate change regulation tends to discourage the growth of industries such as manufacturing, logistics and home construction that have long been gateways for minority success.
Given the persistence of racial tensions, this data begins to give us a clearer understanding of what actually works for America’s emerging non-white majority. Denunciations of racism, police brutality and xenophobia may be all well and good for one’s sense of justice. But if you want actually to improve the lives of minorities, we might consider focusing instead on policies that promote economic opportunity, keep living costs down, and allow for all Americans to enjoy fully the bounty of this country.
Do you think the State should be in the business of issuing marriage licenses? Should your personal relationship be subject to government permission? This week, the Alabama state Senate passed a bill that would end the practice of licensing marriages in the state.
Introduced by Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Bay Minette), Senate Bill 377 (SB377) would end state issued marriage licenses, while providing marriage contracts as an alternative. It passed through the Alabama state Senate by a 22-3 margin on May 19.Read more here.
“When you invite the state into those matters of personal or religious import, it creates difficulties,” Sen. Albritton said about his bill in April. “Go back long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Early twentieth century, if you go back and look and try to find marriage licenses for your grandparents or great grandparents, you won’t find it. What you will find instead is where people have come in and recorded when a marriage has occurred.”
SB377 now moves to the state House, where it must pass through the House Judiciary Committee before it can receive a vote on the House floor.
Victor Davis Hanson writes at National Review,
For a time, reset, concessions, and appeasement work to delay wars. But finally, nations wake up, grasp their blunders, rearm, and face down enemies.Read more here.
...Hitler figured that for a decade America had been unarmed and isolationist. Britain repeatedly had appeased the Third Reich. The Soviets initially collaborated with Hitler.
...Hitler met no opposition after militarizing the Rhineland. He annexed Austria with impunity. He gobbled up Czechoslovakia without opposition. Why shouldn’t Hitler have been stunned in 1939 when exasperated Britain and France finally declared war over his invasion of distant Poland? Six years of war and some 60 million dead followed, re-establishing what should have been the obvious fact that democracies would not quite commit suicide.
By 1979, the Jimmy Carter administration had drastically cut the defense budget. Carter promised that he would make human rights govern American foreign policy. It sounded great to Americans after Vietnam — and even greater to America’s enemies. Then Iran imploded. The American embassy in Tehran was stormed. Diplomats were taken hostage. Radical Islamic terrorism spread throughout the Middle East. Communist insurrection followed throughout Central America. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. China went into Vietnam. Dictators such as the Soviet Union’s Leonid Brezhnev and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini assumed that Carter no longer was willing to protect the U.S. postwar order. Or perhaps they figured that the inexperienced American president was too weak to respond even had he wished to do so.
Then, Ronald Reagan defeated Carter in 1980 on the promise of restoring U.S. power. At first, both America’s friends and enemies were aghast at Reagan’s simplistic worldview that free markets were better than Communism, that democracy was superior to dictatorship, and that in the ensuring struggle, the West would win and the rest would lose.
Barack Obama, like Carter, came into office promising a sharp break from past U.S foreign policy. The public was receptive after the costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the recent financial meltdown on Wall Street.
Troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan on pre-announced deadlines. The post-surge quiet in Iraq fooled Obama into eagerly yanking out all U.S. peacekeepers. A new outreach to radical Islam went to ridiculous lengths. The Muslim Brotherhood was invited to Obama’s speech in Cairo that claimed the West owed cultural debts to Islam for everything from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment.
Terms like radical Islam, jihad, and Islamic terror were excised from the official American vocabulary and replaced by a host of silly euphemisms. In symbolic tours, Obama offered apologies for past American behavior in the Middle East and Asia. He bowed to both theocratic sheiks and the Asian monarchs. The defense budget was cut. Reset with Vladimir Putin’s Russia assumed that the Bush administration, not Putin’s prior aggression in Georgia and threats to Crimea, had caused the estrangement between Moscow and Washington.
Predictable chaos followed as the U.S. became an observer abroad. The Islamic State appeared to fill the vacuum in Iraq. Syria imploded. So did most of North Africa. Iran sent agents, surrogates, and special forces into Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, even as it pressed on to get a bomb.
China stepped up its violations of the waters and airspace of America’s traditional Asian allies. Putin did the same in Eastern and Northern Europe.
By 2015, America’s enemies had created chaos and defined it as the new normal.
The next president will face a terrible dilemma. To restore order, he or she will have to convince our allies that we are recommitted to their security.
Any red lines issued will have to be enforced. Aggressors such as Russia, China, Iran, and the Islamic State will have to be warned to cease and desist or face pushback from far stronger U.S.-led coalitions. Just as Reagan’s return to normal U.S. foreign policy was considered radical after the Carter years, so too the next administration will be smeared as dangerously provocative after Obama’s recession from the world stage.
The Obama foreign policy cannot continue much longer without provoking even more chaos or a large war. Yet correcting it will be nearly as dangerous. Jumping off the global tiger is dangerous, but climbing back on will seem riskier.
Elizabeth Price Foley writes,
Obama’s a master at making liberals feel guilty with insinuations of bigotry. The American Jewish community is being played.She links to this article by Michael Doran in Mosaic Magazine.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Scott Ott is writing profiles in PJ Media of each of the Republican 2016 potential candidates. Today he tells us why Scott Walker should be the nominee. He did the same for Carly Fiorina here, and Marco Rubio here.
In the Wall Street Journal Bret Stephens analyzes Obama's interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic.
Whether the Ayatollah Khamenei gets to act on his wishes, as Eichmann did, is another question. Mr. Obama thinks he won’t, because the ayatollah only pursues his Jew-hating hobby “at the margins,” as he told Mr. Goldberg, where it isn’t at the expense of his “self-interest.” Does it occur to Mr. Obama that Mr. Khamenei might operate according to a different set of principles than political or economic self-interest? What if Mr. Khamenei believes that some things in life are, in fact, worth fighting for, the elimination of Zionism above all?Read more here.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest now admits,
Ace links to an editorial in the Washington Free Beacon in which Aaron Maclean concludes,
There were clearly, as the Iraqis have indicated, some military command and planning problems that occurred. And we saw a pretty effective tactic used by ISIL. And all of that led to a not unsubstantial setback in Ramadi."To which Ace of Spades adds, using the White House's own
passive-voice-style double-negative construction, Obama is a not uncatastrophic president.
it has to be noted that the Obama Team's first, best, and only response to any failure is to claim that it's someone else's fault.
The only thing this Administration actually does is shift blame.
Now, we could talk about why American planes are only making thirteen airstrikes a day in Iraq and Syria. (For comparison, we made 800 per day in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and more than 1300 per day in Desert Storm.)
We could ask, if the US is only bringing air power to this fight, why we are bringing so damned little of it-- almost as if Obama wants to be seen as if he's "trying something," but in fact is set upon losing the war (as usual).
Such talk would bother Obama, who has maintained, since he came into office, that he has not made a single mistake, except for failing sometimes to communicate how awesome his decisions and policies are. (No really -- the press was always asking Bush if he made mistakes. They've only asked Obama a couple of times, and Obama always says no, not one mistake, but he allows his communications may be better.)
So the Iraq forces just lost a major town, and the US forces were doing, basically, doodly-squat while it happened.
So of course Team Obama must go into overdrive insulting the Iraqis.
...The only wars this administration cares about are publicity wars.
Ace links to an editorial in the Washington Free Beacon in which Aaron Maclean concludes,
The only thing being degraded in the campaign against the Islamic State is American prestige.Read more here.
J. Christian Adams writes at PJ Media,
Time has passed Bush’s message by. He’s running a retro campaign with the rules and assumptions of two decades ago. It betrays his lack of comprehension about the fundamental transformation that has befallen America.Read more here.
Ace links to this Reuters report:
We're once again forced to witness the spectacle of a leftwing American President being contradicted by an avowedly socialist, but less leftwing, French administration.
Ace links to this Reuters report:
France’s foreign minister said on Wednesday his country would not back any nuclear deal with Iran unless it provided full access to all installations, including military sites.
“France will not accept (a deal) if it is not clear that inspections can be done at all Iranian installations, including military sites,” Laurent Fabius told lawmakers .
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week ruled out international inspection of Iran’s military sites or access to nuclear scientists under any nuclear agreement. Iran’s military leaders echoed his remarks.
Fabius said he wanted other countries negotiating with Iran in the framework of the so-called P5+1 – also including Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States – to adopt France’s position.
“‘Yes’ to an agreement, but not to an agreement that will enable Iran to have the atomic bomb. That is the position of France which is independent and peaceful.”
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Staff at The Times of Israel report,
A UN envoy has returned from a tour of Iraq and Syria with harrowing reports of the sexual violence systematically committed by Islamic State militants against women and girls.Read more here.
Zainab Bangura, the UN special envoy on Sexual Violence in Conflict (YouTube screen capture)
Zainab Bangura, who had set out for the region in April to address the rampant cases of rape, sex slavery and other sexual violence in the areas under IS control, said the extremists were “institutionalizing sexual violence” as a tactic to terrorize the local populations.
In an interview this week with the Middle East Eye, a UK-based news site, Bangura recounted chilling tales she had heard from refugees.
“After attacking a village, IS splits women from men and executes boys and men aged 14 and over. The women and mothers are separated; girls are stripped naked, tested for virginity and examined for breast size and prettiness. The youngest, and those considered the prettiest virgins fetch higher prices and are sent to Raqqa, the IS stronghold,” she said.
“There is a hierarchy: sheikhs get first choice, then emirs, then fighters. They often take three or four girls each and keep them for a month or so, until they grow tired of a girl, when she goes back to market. At slave auctions, buyers haggle fiercely, driving down prices by disparaging girls as flat-chested or unattractive.
“We heard one case of a 20-year-old girl who was burned alive because she refused to perform an extreme sex act,” she said.
The plight of women and girls from Iraq’s Yazidi minority has raised alarm after hundreds captured by Islamic State fighters were sold in open markets as sex slaves last year.
Bangura explained that the atrocities were not being committed randomly by individual militants but were a key tactic used by the group “to advance key strategic priorities, such as recruitment, fundraising, to enforce discipline and order — through the punishment of dissenters or family members — and to advance their radical ideology.”
Julia Marsh writes in the New York Post about this woman named Claudia Tillery who wants her job as middle school teacher back.
Claudia was cleared of criminal charges
Claudia was cleared of criminal charges
even though DNA, videotape, text and financial records pin her to the dirty deed. But a Department of Education hearing officer found in April that a “preponderance of the credible record evidence” proves that Tillery raped the youngster — then painted him as a “master manipulator” to duck a criminal conviction.Read more here.
Tillery and her young charge exchanged 8,000 text messages over two years using pseudonyms.
The title for this post is found at The Rumford Meteor, which specializes in hilarious headlines he writes about news stories he reads in various newspapers. The actual story was written by Scott Dolan in the Portland Press Herald:
Here's another recent one: Old Town Educators Worry That Local Homeschoolers Are Missing Out on the Educational and Socializing Benefits of Drug Deals and Weapons in Middle School Bathrooms
and this one: Edgecomb Eddy School Show Off Its Incredibly Diverse Staff. One of Them Met a Man Once, for Instance. Didn’t Care for Him
A Portland lawyer who lives in Falmouth has been sentenced to 90 days in jail as part of a plea agreement on a felony child pornography charge.
Lawrence Winger, 64, was taken into custody immediately Wednesday in the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland after pleading guilty to possession of sexually explicit images of children younger than 12.
Here's another recent one: Old Town Educators Worry That Local Homeschoolers Are Missing Out on the Educational and Socializing Benefits of Drug Deals and Weapons in Middle School Bathrooms
and this one: Edgecomb Eddy School Show Off Its Incredibly Diverse Staff. One of Them Met a Man Once, for Instance. Didn’t Care for Him
Kieran Corcoran reports at Daily Mail,
Jim Hoft has additional information at Gateway Pundit:
Liberal billionaire George Soros donated $33million to social justice organizations which helped turn events in Ferguson from a local protest into a national flashpoint.Read more here.
The flood of donations were uncovered in an analysis of the latest tax return by Soros's Open Society Foundations by the Washington Times.
Jim Hoft has additional information at Gateway Pundit:
Earlier this week black protesters staged a protest at at the office of MORE (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment) on Thursday to press their claim that groups led by whites have collected tens of thousands of dollars in donations off of the Black Lives Matter movement without paying the Black participants their fair share.Read more here.
Robert Tracinski writes in The Federalist,
President Obama’s Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery contained an odd and disturbing message.Read more here.
The president proclaimed this year’s ceremony to be “especially meaningful” because “Today is the first Memorial Day in 14 years that the United States is not engaged in a major ground war.” How so? “It is the first since our war in Afghanistan came to an end.”
Except that it hasn’t. Certainly, nobody told the Taliban that the war “came to an end.” I hope no one will try to tell that to our Afghan allies, either, since we’re depending on them to keep fighting after we’ve bugged out.
...what’s odd about Obama’s message is that it sounds almost triumphalist. It is offered up as if he is proclaiming a new era of peace—while the peace our servicemen gave their lives to achieve is actually crumbling at an accelerating pace.
Certainly, this must be something of a bitter Memorial Day for a many of the troops who served in Iraq. The crucial victory in that war was the battle for Anbar province and its capital of Ramadi in 2007, a historic victory in one of the most successful counter-insurgency campaigns ever fought. So it must be a tough moment for veterans of that campaign to see ISIS hoisting its black flag over Ramadi.
There are good men who gave their lives, or left behind an arm or a leg, to keep Islamic terrorists from establishing a home base in Iraq. Having achieved that victory, they then had to watch as it was all thrown away.
...it is disturbing to see the president touting the peace that we are supposedly enjoying after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have “come to an end.” That’s an appropriately passive expression, since President Obama can’t say that we’ve won those wars, only that they have “come to an end”—and only for us. I should also add: and only for now.
It’s one thing to celebrate the end of fighting when the war has been won on terms that secure a lasting peace. In that case, you are paying tribute to what our troops achieved when they risked their lives to protect us. But to applaud the fact that our men and women are out of the fight and standing on the sidelines, while the war is still raging and we’ve lost most of the strategic gains that they won, seems to imply that their deaths were unnecessary after all. They gave their lives for a strategic goal the current administration finds so unimportant that it’s not willing to take decisive action to defend it.
What should worry us is the time frame Obama cites since the last time we didn’t have a ground war: 14 years. What was happening fourteen years ago? Yes, that’s right. We were headed into the summer of 2001 blissfully unprepared, and our leaders were already ignoring a radical Islamic state that provided a base of operations for a jihadist terror group that had launched attacks on US targets and was vowing bigger operations. Returning to those pre-9/11 conditions is hardly something to celebrate.
It’s not that anyone should enjoy the idea of sending US ground troops back into harm’s way again. We would all be better off if the administration had exercised greater caution and vigor in protecting the gains our troops had already won. What’s tragic is that the administration is so eager to proclaim wars are over just because we walked away from them for a while—and that we’ll probably have to go back in again and pay for the same real estate twice.
Mollie Hemingway writes in The Federalist,
When everything is a safety crisis, nothing is. So it should be little surprise that older children are less likely to heed warnings against smoking, drinking and having, in the parlance of modern educators, “unsafe” sex.Read more here.
“Paradoxically,” the psychologists write, “we posit that our fear of children being harmed by mostly harmless injuries may result in more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology.”
So to sum up, letting your child take risks allows them to conquer fear and develop “a sense of mastery.” Irrationally shielding them from risk creates phobias and psychopaths.
...Many parents just can’t accept the reality that we’re not in as much control of our children as we wish. Last week my nephew went to an outdoor camp in Colorado with the rest of his 5th-grade class. They were supposed to stay just one night. Floods hit the region, the roads washed out and filled with boulders. There was nothing anyone could do. After being stranded for three days, the parents heard about plans to airlift the kids out via Chinook helicopter. That plan was halted when some parents complained it was too dangerous. Who knew that helicopter parents would be threatened by actual helicopters?
Never mind that riding on a Chinook would be the adventure of a lifetime for a 10-year-old. Perhaps because there were no other reasonable options, the airlift commenced the next day. Every child survived and my nephew reported that “No one ever had so much fun in a natural disaster.”
...Safety isn’t even a virtue. If you’re teaching your kids more about safety than you are about honesty, kindness, respect for others, responsibility, gratitude, integrity, cooperation, determination, social skills, enthusiasm, compassion and manners, you’re doing it wrong.
...a parenting style that abjures risk at all costs may be at least partially responsible for the country’s economic doldrums. In June, the Wall Street Journal pointed out four trends, observable since the 1980s, that showed a marked declined in risk-taking psychology. “Risk Averse Culture Infects U.S. Workers, Entrepreneurs” notes that ongoing job creation and destruction has slowed, that investors are less willing to back startups, that startups in general are down and that the workforce itself is resistant to migration and job change.
My neighborhood is in Northern Virginia, an area that has been rewarded for playing it safe and going after government cash. Many of my neighbors are government employees, lawyers and lobbyists. Many of them have found success regulating other people’s businesses out of existence, destructive acts all too frequently predicated on fears that somebody somewhere might get hurt. It’s not surprising, in that context, that my neighbors would call for regulation of the lemonade stand or lawn mowing business run by the kids next door.
In order to pull out of this tailspin, it will take a generation or more of parents raising kids to take risks. We need mothers and fathers who encourage their kids to play outside, to mow lawns, to start business ventures and to live freely. Yes, they may face danger and get hurt. That’s a feature, not a bug.
Mark Hemingway writes at Weekly Standard,
Lately, there’s a lot of talk among feminists about the need to keep women safe. The rape culture is allegedly inescapable, and trigger warnings are appended to college syllabi to protect sensitive souls from reminders of any past cause of pain, from “neuro-atypical shaming” to mention of “how much a person weighs.” But it turns out that if you dare to debunk feminist myths, you’re the one that really needs protection.Read more here.
Christina Hoff Sommers speaks at Wagner College in New York, April 7, 2010. At
For years now, Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys, has been promoting what she calls, in the title of her latest book, Freedom Feminism. This view, she writes, “stands for the moral, social, and legal equality of the sexes,” but also for women’s freedom—including the freedom to embrace traditional femininity. “Efforts to obliterate gender roles can be just as intolerant as the efforts to maintain them,” she writes, and “theories of universal patriarchal oppression or the inherent evils of capitalism are not in [freedom feminism’s] founding tablets.” Above all, Sommers’s approach is moored in reality, not utopian notions of social justice.
At Sommers’s speech in April at Georgetown University, multiple undercover policemen were placed in the audience. At Oberlin, also in April, uniformed police officers never let her out of their sight and after her speech escorted her in a police car from the campus to a dinner. In May, she was the guest of honor at a Washington, D.C., meetup of “Gamergate” supporters—video gamers concerned about radical feminism’s influence in the video game industry (more on that later). In response, Salon and Daily Beast columnist Arthur Chu started a social media campaign to pressure the bar where the gamers were meeting to drop the event and sent emails to the venue accusing them of hosting a “right-wing hate group.” Despite the pressure, the owner of the bar, Local 16, emailed Sommers to tell her they “would never keep any group out. This is America.” A bomb threat soon followed, necessitating a heavy police presence and a tour of Local 16 by bomb-sniffing dogs.
...By being poised, persuasive, good-humored, and scrupulous with facts, Sommers is exploding unhelpful feminist stereotypes. It says a lot about contemporary feminism that precious few who claim the feminist label also embrace liberty and reject victimhood—and for that, they’re the ones who are getting bomb threats.
Ann Voskamp notes that
Sometimes people are so quiet and brave, we forget that they are suffering.
...Because sometimes the road you’re on is more important than the bus waiting out on the road that someone else says you have to take.
...Every child is a message that everything is possible again; your past, your story, this world, it all has another chance.
...Time likes to lie and say dreams have become impossible things.
...There comes a place when your world will go all quiet and the only thing that will be left is the last beat of your own heart.
Be still often enough you learn its beating song before its forever gone.
There are only so many bluing spring skies to inhale.
... If you haven’t ever really decided where you’re going, any road will get you there — it’s only when you know where you want to go, that there’s only One Way.
...Sometimes you get so used to something, you forget that anything is possible.
...Who believes in unseen things, in impossible things, in the things you can’t measure and control and deduce and reduce and wrap up in a reasonably neat and timely package and who in this cynical world remembers how to find Hope?
...“We believe that the unseen hand may be at times assuredly felt by gracious souls.” [Spurgeon]
...Time may have hands on the clock but its arms are too weak to rob anybody of hope, steal anybody’s prayers, destroy anybody’s joy.
So what if Time’s got hands on a clock — it’s God who has His Hands on the universe. Every little thing is going to be okay because God is working good through every little thing.
All that’s happening is just happening to make miracles. There are miracles always unfolding under the impossibles.
Circumstances can go ahead and run out of time — but the courageous refuse to run out of hope.
We can always hope because there is always joy traveling to us down the unexpected roads.
And because the thing is: Hope always has a cost and hope is always worth it, because who wants the cheap and deadened alternative?
Hope fuels the soul to impossible places.
...And when we step outside behind my brother and his bride, you can see the storm moving across the fields, down the road —
and there it is, the two of them standing under it, all of us standing under it:
a complete double rainbow arching like a sign of His promise round everything.
Roger L. Simon writes at PJ Media,
Jeb Bush should withdraw from the presidential contest of 2016. He should do so soon to become a true hero to our country that sorely needs one. And he should accompany his withdrawal with a detailed explanation of his reasons. It is not just because his mother Barbara Bush was correct in her original assessment that the United States does not any more Bushes or Clintons. It is far more.
...If Mrs. Clinton were to win the presidency, she would do so under a cloud of distrust unprecedented in any of our lifetimes. She would have no honeymoon period and would not deserve one. And this would be happening at a moment in history when the entire world is on a knife edge because of the rise of radical Islam and ISIS throughout the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, Latin America and, increasingly, Europe, not to mention having to monitor the controversial nuclear deal with Iran, if and when such a thing is signed.
...Jeb Bush is eminently positioned to prevent this from happening. He can sacrifice his own presidential ambitions for the good of the country. In the process he would be free to detail his reasons, free to be specific about the lies and evasions surrounding Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, the erased emails and missing server, the Benghazi prevarications, the ill-conceived and disastrous war in Libya, the dizzying corruption of the Clinton Foundation and then the inability to face the truth when confronted by her own myriad dishonesties, the quasi-fascistic silence of her political campaign during which she avoids substantive questions whenever possible.
I write urging this withdrawal with no special animosity toward Jeb Bush, nor is this about his policies as they may or may not evolve. For all I know, he could be a great president. No matter how smart we think we are, none of us really knows how someone will behave once they assume that office. History plays tricks on almost every president.
And I know I’m not the first to make this suggestion. Others have talked to me about it. But I make it here publicly in the hopes that the potential candidate reads it and considers.
Do it, Jeb.
Monday, May 25, 2015
Nafeez Ahmed writes in Medium,
A declassified secret US government document obtained by the conservative public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.Read more here.
...According to the newly declassified US document, the Pentagon foresaw the likely rise of the ‘Islamic State’ as a direct consequence of this strategy, and warned that it could destabilize Iraq. Despite anticipating that Western, Gulf state and Turkish support for the “Syrian opposition” — which included al-Qaeda in Iraq — could lead to the emergence of an ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the document provides no indication of any decision to reverse the policy of support to the Syrian rebels. On the contrary, the emergence of an al-Qaeda affiliated “Salafist Principality” as a result is described as a strategic opportunity to isolate Assad.
John Hinderaker writes at Powerline,
In my opinion, Hillary’s biggest problem isn’t Benghazi per se, it is the broader issue of Libya. Why were Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans murdered? Because by September 2012, Libya was a terrorist playground. Since then, things have only gotten worse. Libya has become a failed state, a 21st century source of boat people, as refugees from ubiquitous violence stream across the Mediterranean. Libya is now a haven for ISIS and other terrorist groups; it was on the Libyan coast that ISIS beheaded 30 Christians. Some of the “refugees” now making their way into Europe are, in fact, ISIS agents. In short, Libya is a disaster.John has been reading the emails released by the State Department last week. Read more here.
Whose disaster? Hillary Clinton’s. It was Hillary who, more than anyone else, pushed to overthrow Moammar Qaddafi. Why? No compelling reason. Qaddafi had been tame ever since the Iraq war, which he interpreted as a threat to his rule. Almost incredibly, Clinton and her cohorts in NATO overthrew Qaddafi (who was subsequently murdered by a mob) without having a plan for what would come next.
Who says Hillary Clinton is responsible for the Libya fiasco? She does. In fact, at one point she was poised to claim Libya as the notable accomplishment of her term as Secretary of State.
At Ace of Spades, Weirddave thinks we may soon see a backlash:
So what happens, if, having achieved an objective, having convinced society at large of the rightness of their cause, a group keeps pushing further, demanding not just equal treatment, but preferential?Read more here.
Backlash. This backlash can, in this case, take one of two forms. Either it occurs withing the context of the culture and outrageous demands for preferential treatment start being routinely ignored as spurious and even mocked by the population as a whole. This is a best case scenario, what I would call the normal functioning of a free society. On the other hand, if western society has been so weakened by constant attacks on its founding principles that it recoils from those principles and allows the demanding minority to get its way in the name of fairness or in fear of being called homophobic, then that society is ripe for takeover by a society more confident in its own founding principles. That's what is happening in Europe, the confident interloper is Islam, and I really don't think it all ends well for the gays.
Joy Pullman writes at The Federalist,
While Charles Murray has been out promoting measured civil disobedience in an effort to restore individual liberty, thousands of parents and children have been acting upon the same concept. This spring has seen an extraordinary nationwide defiance movement aimed against standardized tests, thanks to Common Core.Read more here.
...In Germantown, Wisconsin, 62 percent of public-school students are sitting out tests. The district has been a hotbed of Common Core opposition, with a local school board among one of the handful nationwide to reject Common Core and decide to run with its own, higher-quality, curriculum. In Maine, “Cape Elizabeth saw 32 percent of its eighth-graders, 18 percent of its seventh-graders and 64 percent of its high school juniors opt out. There are many examples of high opt out rates across the state, but a reliable statewide tally isn’t yet available.” A bill to secure parents’ right to excuse their kids from mandatory tests recently passed the Delaware House 36 to 3 after a blaze of opt-outs left local schools scrambling. “A wide-ranging bill that would eliminate [national Common Core] tests in Ohio and limit state achievement tests to three hours per year passed the House 92-1 on Wednesday,” reported the Columbus Dispatch.
This is nowhere near a set of isolated incidents. In Washington state, every single junior at Nathan Hale High School (natch) refused state tests this spring. Somewhere around 200,000 children refused tests this spring in New York and, contrary to race-baiting from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, substantial numbers of these defiant parents were not white rich people.
...So we’re losing both money and freedom. We’re losing money and our dignity. We’re sacrificing kids’ spirits and futures to bureaucrats who have never taught a child and can’t budget their way into the right amount to tip a waiter.
Michelle Conlin writes in Reuters about Carly Fiorina.
Twelve of about 30 people who worked on Fiorina’s failed 2010 California Senate campaign, most speaking out for the first time, told Reuters they would not work for her again.Read more here.
...The reason: for more than four years, Fiorina - who has an estimated net worth of up to $120 million - didn’t pay them, a review of Federal Election Commission records shows.
Federal campaign filings show that, until a few months before Fiorina announced her presidential bid on May 4, she still owed staffers, consultants, strategists, legal experts and vendors nearly half a million dollars.
...It's not common for campaigns to end in debt but not extraordinary either, said Trevor Potter, a Republican former FEC chairman. Usually wealthy candidates pay off the debts themselves "as a matter of honor and reputation because they feel badly about vendors who are stuck with these debts."
At the end of her 2008 presidential bid, Clinton owed $12 million to nearly 500 staffers, consultants and vendors, according to campaign finance website Opensecrets.org. FEC documents show Clinton paid off the bulk of her leftover debts by the third quarter of 2009.
Clinton did continue to owe money, about $845,000, to one firm, that of her pollster Mark Penn, which her campaign steadily chipped away at over the course of the next three years, the records show. As secretary of state, Clinton was banned from fundraising to clear the debt, but both President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton helped fundraise the money.
...Obama's 2012 re-election campaign ended with $5.6 million in debt. As of April, $2.3 million of that is still on the books, FEC records show. Obama's campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
...A number of former campaign workers said they were upset that Fiorina paid them only once she had decided to run for president. They also complained that around the time she lost her campaign, Fiorina repaid herself $1.2 million of the $6.78 million she had loaned her campaign.
Another source of pique: nine months after she lost the election, Fiorina paid $6.1 million for a 5-acre (2. hectare) waterfront estate in Virginia, near Washington, D.C. The house has no mortgage, property records show.
Will Simon and Garfunkel ever tour together again? That is one of the questions Nigel Farndale asks Art in an interview in the Telegraph. Art's reply:
Well, that’s quite do-able. When we get together, with his guitar, it's a delight to both of our ears. A little bubble comes over us and it seems effortless. We blend. So, as far as this half is concerned, I would say, 'Why not, while we're still alive?'Read more here.
"But I've been in that same place for decades. This is where I was in 1971."
He then seems to address not me but his old friend. “How can you walk away from this lucky place on top of the world, Paul? What’s going on with you, you idiot? How could you let that go, jerk?”
...He adds that at school he felt sorry for Paul because of his height, and he offered him love and friendship as a compensation. “And that compensation gesture has created a monster. End of interview.”
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Finally someone has taken on Obama for his "Michelle Malkin has a new book out entitled, Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs. She also has a column at USA Today in which she reports Obama's diatribe this week
at Georgetown University, President Obama's class-envy diatribe applies to everyone who has earned too much for his taste. "You pretty much have more than you'll ever be able to use and your family will ever be able to use," Obama scoffed — as if capitalists stash their capital like toilet paper in the utility closet.Read more here.
Our president then casually derided America's top achievers as "society's lottery winners" who need to stop being selfish and start being their "brother's keepers."
For radical progressives, life is a Powerball drawing. Success is random. Economic achievement is something to be rectified and redistributed to assuage guilt. Only those who take money, not those who make it by offering goods and services people want and need, act in the public interest. Those who seek financial enrichment for the fruits of their labor are cast as rapacious hoarders in Obama World — and so are the private investors who support them.
Wealth-shaming is a recurrent leitmotif in the Obama administration's gospel of government dependency.
In 2010, the president proclaimed, "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." In the summer of 2012, he openly denigrated American's makers and builders because someone else "invested in roads and bridges." Team Obama argued that his "you didn't build that" remarks were taken out of context. But let's remember what he said immediately preceding that infamous sound bite:
Look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, 'Well, it must be because I was just so smart.' There are a lot of smart people out there. 'It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.' Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
The context then and now makes Obama's incurable contempt for private entrepreneurial accomplishments even clearer. Pushing to raise taxes even higher on wealthy Americans, Obama stoked you-think-you're-so-smart resentment of business owners. His intent was to humiliate those who reject collectivism. The president's message: Innovators are nothing special. Their brains and work ethics are no different from anyone else's. They owe their success to taxpayers, public school teachers, public infrastructure — and unfair dumb luck.
The progressives' government-built-that ethos is anathema to our Founding Fathers' first principles. They understood that the ability of brilliant, ambitious individuals to reap private rewards for inventions and improvements benefited the public good. This revolutionary idea is a hallmark of American exceptionalism and entrepreneurship. Alexis de Tocqueville observed that the doctrine of enlightened "self-interest rightly understood" was a part of America's DNA from its founding. "You may trace it at the bottom of all their actions, you will remark it in all they say. It is as often asserted by the poor man as by the rich," de Tocqueville wrote.
...Here is the marvel Obama and his command-and-control cronies fail to comprehend: From the Industrial Age to the Internet Age, the concentric circles of American innovation in the free marketplace are infinite. This miracle repeats itself millions of times a day through the voluntary interactions, exchanges and business partnerships of creative Americans and their clients, consumers and investors. No federal Department of Innovation or Ten-Point White House Action Plan for Progress can lay claim to the boundless synergies of these profit-earning capitalists.
Of course, they benefit from the "help" of others. But America's best and brightest wealth creators deserve the ultimate credit for the fruits of their individual minds and the untold byproducts of their labor. And no, President Obama, they didn't just get a better roll of the dice. They were smarter, faster, more daring and more hardworking than everyone else, including you and me.
We owe them, not the other way around.
Natalie Wolchover writes in Wired about recent advancements in artificial intelligence. She took this picture of Stuart Russell.
Russell, 53, a professor of computer science and founder of the Center for Intelligent Systems at the University of California, Berkeley, has long been contemplating the power and perils of thinking machines. He is the author of more than 200 papers as well as the field’s standard textbook, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (with Peter Norvig, head of research at Google). But increasingly rapid advances in artificial intelligence have given Russell’s longstanding concerns heightened urgency.Read more here.
Recently, he says, artificial intelligence has made major strides, partly on the strength of neuro-inspired learning algorithms. These are used in Facebook’s face-recognition software, smartphone personal assistants and Google’s self-driving cars. In a bombshell result reported recently in Nature, a simulated network of artificial neurons learned to play Atari video games better than humans in a matter of hours given only data representing the screen and the goal of increasing the score at the top—but no preprogrammed knowledge of aliens, bullets, left, right, up or down. “If your newborn baby did that you would think it was possessed,” Russell said.
Do you support criminalizing hate speech? A poll at YouGov found that 51% of Democrats and 37% of Republicans do. Roger Kimball writes at PJ Media,
But in fact, as the law professor and blogger Eugene Volokh and others have pointed out, there is no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment. As Volokh wrote in the Washington Post, “Hateful ideas (whatever exactly that might mean) are just as protected under the First Amendment as other ideas. One is as free to condemn Islam — or Muslims, or Jews, or blacks, or whites, or illegal aliens, or native-born citizens — as one is to condemn capitalism or Socialism or Democrats or Republicans.”Read more here.
But the law has never defined “hate speech” for the simple reason that it is a nebulous and ultimately subjective commodity, essentially coterminous with the phrase “speech I disapprove of.”
Concerning the death of Hillary's and Barack's "close friend" Ambassador Chris Stevens and other Americans who died that night in Benghazi, Mark Steyn writes,
As was confirmed by yesterday's release of selected emails by the State Department, Mrs Clinton did not even know her ambassador's name:Read more here
From: H [mailto:HDR22@clintonemail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 11:38 PM
To: Sullivan, Jacob J; Mills, Cheryl D; Nuland, Victoria J
Subject: Chris Smith
Cheryl told me the Libyans confirmed his death. Should we announce tonight or wait until morning?
"Chris Smith", huh? At least she got the "Chris" right.
I loathe the fakeness of contemporary politics. Presumably those brave souls who battled through to page 323 of Hard Choices did so because they want to get to know "the real Hillary". But instead it's just a more organized version of the fake Hillary - of the lies she improvised into life on the night her friend Chris Wossname sacrificed himself for the illusions of Obama-Clinton foreign policy.
It was apparently Sid Blumenthal, selfless Clinton Foundation charity worker, who emailed HDR22 to pin the Benghazi attack on "a sacrilegious internet video" - and the thought was so appealing to the Secretary of State that it overrode any alternative suggestions she was getting from career diplomats or the heads of the intelligence agencies, assuming any career diplomats or the heads of the intelligence agencies had her email address. So she and Barack went and made a commercial in which they gave the "sacrilegious internet video" two thumbs down, and then they went and lied over the coffins of the dead.
That service at Andrews Air Force Base is the only sacrilegious internet video in the Benghazi story. It was a fiction from start to finish - a heartwarming fairy tale on a patriotic set - but profoundly sacrilegious in its profane violation of something sacred: the homecoming of fallen heroes, two of whom saved dozens of lives by slogging on valiantly through an all-night firefight to die on a rooftop waiting for the cavalry that never came. No matter. They are merely extras - non-speaking parts - in Hillary's fantasy.
Michael Gerson wrote this week:
Does Clinton really have the political skills to pull this off? Her husband was a master of projecting likability, remorse and good intent. She is plausible as a president but mediocre as a candidate. Her silence is often an improvement on her availability. As new controversies come — and that is close to a political certainty — will her polling hold? I have heard significant Democratic donors wonder about this aloud.
But if Clinton succeeds, it would expand the boundaries of the permissible. It would again define deviancy down. Americans would have rewarded, or at least ignored, defiant secrecy and the destruction of documents. Future presidential candidates and campaign advisers would take note. Americans would have rewarded a skate along the ethical boundaries of money and influence. Future donors would see a green light, no matter what candidate Clinton says about campaign finance reform.
A democracy becomes the image of the virtues it rewards.
But, as Mrs Clinton would say, what difference at this point does it make? Both the awful hollow moral void and the accompanying ruthless unyielding discipline were present in those days after Benghazi. She concocted her fiction and then made everyone else live with it.
Are you following the war between the Wall Street Journal and writer Pat Buchanan? The Journal started it with this lead editorial:
Pat Buchanan responds by asking, who really lost America?
Here we go again. In the 1990s Pat Buchanan launched a civil war within the Republican Party on a platform targeting immigration and trade. Some claimed Pitchfork Pat was the future of the GOP, though in the end he mainly contributed to its presidential defeats.
...This is no way to rebuild a conservative majority. What America’s working families need most after the Obama era is a healthy, vibrant and growing economy that creates more jobs, increases paychecks and expands opportunity. A trade deal that would help open up a market of one billion people to the goods and services produced by the American worker is an excellent place to start.
Pat Buchanan responds by asking, who really lost America?
Now it is true that, while Nixon and Reagan won 49-state landslides and gave the GOP five victories in six presidential contests, the party has fallen upon hard times. Only once since 1988 has a Republican presidential nominee won the popular vote. But was this caused by following this writer’s counsel? Or by the GOP listening to the deceptions of its Davos-Doha-Journal wing?
In the 1990s, this writer and allies in both parties fought NAFTA, GATT, and MFN for China. The Journal and GOP establishment ran with Bill and Hillary and globalization. And the fruits of their victory?
Between 2000 and 2010, 55,000 U.S. factories closed and 5 million to 6 million manufacturing jobs disappeared. Columnist Terry Jeffrey writes that, since 1979, the year of maximum U.S. manufacturing employment, “The number of jobs in manufacturing has declined by 7,231,000 — or 37 percent.”
Does the Journal regard this gutting of the greatest industrial base the world had ever seen, which gave America an independence no republic had ever known, an acceptable price of its New World Order?
Beginning in 1991, traveling the country and visiting plant after plant that was shutting down or moving to Asia or Mexico, some of us warned that this economic treason against America’s workers would bring about political retribution. And so it came to pass. Since 1988, a free-trade Republican Party has not once won Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, or Wisconsin in a presidential election. Ohio, the other great Midwest industrial state, is tipping. The Reagan Democrats are gone. Who cast them aside? You or us?
Since the early 1990s, we have run $3 billion to $4 billion in trade deficits with China. Last year’s was $325 billion, or twice China’s defense budget. Are not all those factories, jobs, investment capital, and consumer dollars pouring into China a reason why Beijing has been able to build mighty air and naval fleets, claim sovereignty over the South and East China seas, fortify reefs 1,000 miles south of Hainan Island, and tell the U.S. Navy to back off?
The Journal accuses us of being anti-growth. But as trade surpluses add to a nation’s GDP, trade deficits subtract from it. Does the Journal think our $11 trillion in trade deficits since 1992 represents a pro-growth policy?
On immigration, this writer did campaign on securing the border in 1991-92, when there were 3 million illegal immigrants in the United States. But the Bush Republicans refused to seal the border. Now there are 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants and the issue is tearing the party apart. Now everybody is for “secure borders.”
We did urge a “moratorium” on legal immigration, such as America had from 1924 to 1965, to assimilate and Americanize the millions who had come. The Journal Republicans called that xenophobia. Since then, tens of millions of immigrants, here legally and illegally, mostly from the Third World, have arrived. Economically, they consume more in tax dollars than they contribute. Politically, most belong to ethnic groups that vote between 70 and 90 percent Democratic. Their children will bury the GOP.
Consider California, which voted for Nixon all five times he was on a national ticket and for Reagan in landslides all four times he ran. Since 1988, California has not gone Republican in a single presidential election. No Republican holds statewide office. Both U.S. Senators are Democrats. Democrats have 39 of 53 U.S. House seats. Republican state legislators are outnumbered 2-to-1.
Americans of European descent, who provide the GOP with 90 percent of its presidential vote, are down to 63 percent of the nation and falling. By 2042, they will be a minority. And there goes the GOP.
Lest we forget, the “Buchanan wing” also opposed the invasion of Iraq while the Journal-War Party wing howled, “Onto Baghdad!” ”Unpatriotic Conservatives,” we were called in a cover story by a neocon National Review for saying the war was unnecessary and unwise. Now, a dozen years after the “cakewalk” war, GOP candidates like Marco Rubio and Bush III are trying to figure out what it was all about, Alfie, and what they would have done, had they only known.
Our agenda in that decade was—stay out of wars that are not our business, economic patriotism, secure borders, and America first.
The foreign debt and de-industrialization of America, the trillion-dollar wars and the chaos of the Middle East, the shortened life span of the Party of Reagan, that’s your doing, fellas, not ours.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Bill Gertz writes in the Free Beacon,
A U.S. Global Hawk surveillance drone lands at the Misawa Air Base in Japan / AP
Read more here.
China tried to electronically jam U.S. drone flights over the South China Sea in a bid to thwart spying on disputed island military construction, U.S. officials said.
Global Hawk long-range surveillance drones were targeted by the jamming in at least one incident near the disputed Spratly Islands, where China is building military facilities on Fiery Cross Reef.
Disclosure of the jamming came as a U.S. Navy P-8 surveillance flight on Wednesday was challenged eight times by the Chinese military to leave the same area.
A U.S. Global Hawk surveillance drone lands at the Misawa Air Base in Japan / AP
Read more here.