Friday, July 31, 2015

What is it with the far-left and violence?

Comment from Douglas Murray in Britain.  He might also have mentioned how keen the American Left is on the ghastly Cuban regime

Thanks to Guido Fawkes, I learn that the left-wing author Owen Jones has just appeared at the Sinn Fein summer school in Ireland.  According to Sinn Fein’s own newspaper, Owen used the opportunity to praise Sinn Fein’s ‘progressive’ politics, suggest that people take inspiration from the 1916 Easter Rising and announce what a ‘passionate believer’ he apparently is in a united Ireland.

There are a number of interesting things about this.  The first is that it exposes what a sham the far-left’s attitude towards political violence really is. Owen isn’t the first person of his ilk to have supported Sinn Fein.  For decades there has been a dirty line-up of far-left figures who have done the same.  For instance the man Owen wants to be the next Labour leader – Jeremy Corbyn – was chumming up to Sinn Fein even while their military wing was blowing up ordinary pub-goers, shooting farmers in the head and planting bombs in Britain’s shopping centres.

But just imagine if a British commentator from the political right had recently travelled to address any political party with Sinn Fein’s violent associations.  Using Golden Dawn as a comparison doesn’t really work because Sinn Fein have so much more blood on their hands than Golden Dawn.  Sinn Fein is a party which until recently had a military wing responsible for the torture, wounding and murder of thousands of innocent people.  True, members of the vile Golden Dawn have been involved in plenty of violence and brutality, but to nothing like the extent of members of Sinn Fein.

Yet imagine if they had and that a British conservative commentator had just addressed a Golden Dawn event, even if they had they not used the opportunity (as Owen did) to praise their hosts.  There would now be a tsunami of criticism from across the political spectrum, especially on the far-left.  This would doubtless include much talk of the need to ‘smash’, rather than talk to, fascists.  As I say, it isn’t a very complete thought experiment, because there is no political party of the far-right or anywhere else in Europe as bad as Sinn Fein.

Perhaps Owen is unaware of the party’s history.  Well very many of us are not (and before any of Owen’s stooges try to cast me as an apologist for all British actions in Ireland, they are welcome to read my book on Bloody Sunday).  What we all know is that for decades the leadership of Sinn Fein and the leadership of the IRA were one and the same.  They developed, it must be credited, an exceptionally successful bad-cop / worse-cop technique.

So, for instance, the IRA would plant a bomb in the centre of a busy town, killing a couple of passing children, and Sinn Fein would issue some blandishments about the need for British troops to leave the six counties and Ireland to be united.  Or the IRA would plant a bomb in a British pub and Sinn Fein would talk about something done by other people several decades earlier.

Best of all was the ability of senior figures in the IRA to ‘disappear’ people (that is abduct, torture and generally shoot in the back of the head) like the widowed mother of ten children Jean McConville.  While leaving bodies like hers to rot in unmarked graves (and leaving their families to a state of unimaginable fear and grief), some of those implicated in the murder could then get on with their political careers.

Or perhaps Owen doesn’t care that he’s hanging out with the most murderous political party in Europe.  Which then points to another fascinating aspect of the far-left: the transparent way in which they develop and deploy their alleged ‘priorities’.  For as the Irish News points out, Owen very recently attacked the Democratic Unionist Party. What for? Why for being ‘riddled with homophobic bigotry’ of course.

One could make the cheap point that the highest reaches of Sinn Fein have in recent decades been riddled with such bigotry and far worse (for instance the party was also riddled with paedophiles and those who covered up for them).

Or one could point out (as a prominent local gay rights campaigner has here) that Sinn Fein was never supportive of any gay equality reform until it suddenly became popular to be so.  Then they adopted this stance because the wind had changed and they presumably made the calculation that by pretending to be ‘progressive’ on social issues they could fool some young people who had no idea of the party’s history.

As I say, the priorities are fascinating.  Personally I am happy to forgive people who are not 100 per cent on-board with gay marriage.  But I find it very difficult indeed to forgive – let alone support – people who ripped apart thousands of British and Irish lives in a campaign of violence whose ends could have been achieved without a drop of blood being shed.



How to Kill the Summer Job

By Jonah Goldberg

I had a lot of summer jobs. I was a foot messenger in New York for a couple of summers. I worked as a receptionist and mail room flunky. Before my junior year of high school, I briefly sold ice cream snacks — sort of yuppie bonbons — on the street for a company called Love Bites. The uniform was a tight red T-shirt (with a cupid over the heart), a straw hat, cane and snug brown shorts. When my manager asked me to work weekend nights in the (famously gay) West Village, I defected to a company that sold Italian ices. First, I didn’t want to work nights. But at 16, I also wasn’t ready to say, “Hey mister, would you like a Love Bite?” to the gang leaving the Stonewall Inn.

Truth be told, all I wanted out of most of these gigs was beer money. Today, however, psychologists, educators and economists all talk about the benefits of summer jobs in the context of acquiring “life skills.”

These early part-time or temporary jobs teach young people to manage money. (I learned to buy cheap canned domestic beer, for instance, not the trendy imports or microbrews.) They help develop good work habits: show up on time, follow instructions, be courteous to customers, etc.

Basically, working teaches young people how to work. There’s no substitute for it.

That’s one reason I find the race to raise the minimum wage across the country so problematic. I understand the good intentions underlying it. But the idea that the minimum wage — at least for young workers — should be a “living wage” is absurd, even immoral. Employers are taking a risk when they hire people with no work experience. Why further discourage that?

Subsidize something and you get more of it. Tax it and you get less. There are plenty of ways to subsidize low-skill hiring — an expanded earned-income tax credit, for instance. Instead, a higher minimum wage taxes the employers who hire low-skill workers. That’s nuts.

Meanwhile, the summer job isn’t extinct — yet. In 1999, 52 percent of teens worked summer jobs. These days it’s a third, and dropping. That’s not just because of a bad labor market. This summer, even as the economy picked up, youth employment continued to decline. Indeed, according to the Pew Research Center, teen employment has been going out of fashion since 1990. Why?

The answer for one slice of the labor market — college-bound teens from relatively affluent families — seems to be that they are focusing all of their energy on enhancing their transcripts with unpaid internships (which Charles Murray calls “affirmative action for the advantaged”), self-interested volunteer work and test-prep or other courses. Affluent parents encourage their kids to study Mandarin or sponge oil off sea birds to prove how “selfless” they are to admissions officers.

Kids who’ve already gotten into college have turned their backs on summer work too. Visit summer tourist spots such as North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Delaware’s Rehoboth Beach or Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and you’ll find that the positions once held by students from Eastern colleges are now filled by kids from Eastern Europe. It’s interesting that many of these decidedly liberal communities would rather import labor from Belarus than from Baltimore.

(It’s also telling that the very same unions that campaign for hikes in the minimum wage also want union members to be exempt from it. That way unions can pad their membership rolls while becoming a monopoly supplier of cheap labor to businesses. It’s a disgustingly cynical ploy.)

Affluent kids may be less well adjusted and self-confident because they lack real work experience. Poorer youth truly suffer when they can’t get a foothold in the workforce as early as possible.

But there’s another long-term problem. America is raising a whole generation of “leaders” who see the people they are supposed to represent as abstractions rather than as individuals they have served, worked with or worked for. Just as we want civilian leaders who know what it’s like to wear the uniform, we want policymakers who know what it’s like to work — and hire — in the trenches.



Phony GOP Conservatism Has Worn Out Its Welcome

By David Limbaugh

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (AP File Photo)
The long-simmering disconnect between the Republican Party's conservative base and its leaders in government has degenerated into a full-blown schism.

While President Obama accelerates his increasingly radical agenda, the GOP, despite its congressional majority, can barely muster an objection, let alone block his momentum.

Other than to offer a toothless public rebuke of Obama's destructive schemes, what was the point of the 2014 GOP congressional landslide? It's no longer just a small percentage of conservatives questioning the GOP. Our people are furious — and rightly so.

I've recently shared my opinion that Donald Trump's explosive surge is because of his giving voice to the conservative base's outrage and his refusal to be chastened or muzzled.

Significantly, establishment Republicans are united with liberal Democrats in their contempt for Trump. The latter attribute his popularity to some innate anger of mean-spirited conservatives who are supposedly soaking up Trump's straight talk like bloodsucking vampires. The former refuse to lift a finger against that liberal slander, and some even pile on, saying that Trump supporters are nativists or xenophobes, as opposed to sane patriots determined to protect America's borders and sovereignty.

Let the elites look down their superior noses at us commoners. Be advised, though, that Trump is not the only one railing against the pervasive insanity, including the role that the GOP leadership is playing in it. Sen. Ted Cruz has set his sights on the "Washington cartel" — the quasi bipartisan ruling class that is presiding over the disgraceful dismantling of the United States as we know and love it. Candidate Carly Fiorina is also speaking eloquently about bringing "outside-the-box" changes to Washington to make a real difference, as opposed to merely slowing down the devastating Obama juggernaut.

It's easy for the ruling class and its enablers to dismiss conservative opposition as misplaced fury, but grass-roots anger is anything but random and cathartic. It is not an eruption of malcontents looking for an excuse to air some deep-seated unhappiness.

Generally speaking, conservatives are optimistic and bullish on America. But they have witnessed assault after brutal assault against the Constitution, our liberties and our values, and they are justifiably mad as hell and are not inclined to take it anymore.

Adding insult to injury, they continue to elect Republicans to office based on their promise they will try not only to stop Obama's momentum but also to reverse it and make real headway toward saving this nation.

Time after time, they deliver instead outright betrayal. They always offer the same excuses. "We're doing the best we can. We're powerless to do much, and if we try, the voters will be angry and we'll never win the presidency."

Well, for a long time, I've held my tongue; I've given the leadership the benefit of the doubt and resisted impugning the party leaders' motives, even when I strongly registered my objection to their perpetual caving. But I can no longer assume the best of people who are not simply failing to retard Obama's agenda but, in many cases, facilitating it.

With the Corker bill, Senate Republicans have effectively forfeited their constitutional power to reject the Iran nuclear deal — the most dangerous foreign treaty (yes, it's a treaty) in decades. Over the weekend, the ruling class rebuked and punished Cruz for admirably trying to put a wrench in the scheme to resurrect the Export-Import Bank. And don't get me started on the leadership's performance on Obamacare and Planned Parenthood.

The establishment pretends its outrage against Cruz is based on his alleged breach of Senate rules in accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of lying. These self-righteous patricians pretended to be appalled at this unforgivable incivility.

Well, let me ask you: Are you more worried about what Obama is doing to this nation or alleged violations of Senate decorum? If McConnell really lied to Cruz about a matter that affects the well-being of this nation, are you appalled at Cruz or at those shaming him for trying to represent our interests?

Establishment Republicans are not only emulating liberal Democrats in making Obama's job easier but also acting like liberals in placing form above substance. Their faux ire at Cruz's alleged violation of their prissy rules instead of at Obama's agenda is like the liberal media's outrage at the editing of the Planned Parenthood video rather than at its harvesting of the organs of unborn babies. Instead of joining Cruz, Sen. Mike Lee and others in really opposing Obama, like Democrats, they accuse him of being an opportunist who is interested only in his presidential ambitions.

I am unimpressed by self-serving rules of seniority among the ruling class. What I care about is that our interests are properly represented in Washington, especially by those who deceived us with promises that they would govern as conservatives. Now that, my friends, is opportunism.

God bless Sen. Cruz and all others who are trying to govern precisely as they promised and to give conservatism — and thus America — a fighting chance. We haven't heard the end of this yet.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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