Friday, July 29, 2016

Islamic Who?

As day two of DNC convention came and went, what became increasingly apparent is just how lost Democrat leaders are in their own culture of political correctness. Speech after speech highlighted and celebrated the fact that Hillary Clinton is the first woman of any major American political party to be nominated for president. “Yay! She’s a woman!” was seemingly the most significant issue facing America. Oh, there was a passing reference to Hillary fighting terrorism listed among a litany of other “qualifications,” but no speeches mentioned the very real threat of radical Islamic terrorism facing America and the West. No speeches ringing the alarm even as news broke of yet another terrorist attack in France that left one Catholic priest murdered and another injured.

No, Democrats seem content to stick their collective heads in the sand over terrorism and instead focus on fighting “threats” to the planet such as fossil fuels, or calling for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment so Americans' tax dollars can be used to fund abortions, or expanding ObamaCare, or promoting the transgendered crusade to fundamentally “transform” America, or pushing for stricter “gun-control” laws, ad nauseum.

Don’t be surprised if the convention comes and goes with virtually no mention of the very real threat of Islamic terrorism. Why? Well, one need not look too hard to see what a dismal record Hillary has on the issue. In today’s politically correct climate, the idea that Islam promotes violence is just a bridge too far for Clinton and the Democrats to even consider crossing.



Hillary wriggling again

If one lives by the vulnerable server, one dies by the vulnerable server. As the week unfolds, America is witnessing the ultimate unmasking of the Democrat Party, an entity whose self-aggrandizing claims of unity, fairness and intellectual honesty have been revealed as utterly fraudulent by a flood of DNC emails released by WikiLeaks. Moreover, a stunning level of hypocrisy attends the entire exposure, as DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is sent packing for this breach of confidential party information, while Hillary Clinton, whose equally accessible private server contained far more critical top-secret information, officially became the party's standard-bearer.

But not to worry, assured FBI Director James Comey, who insisted there was no direct evidence that Clinton's server had been hacked by hostile actors — before adding it was possible that hostile actors "gained access" to Clinton's accounts.

Clinton was equally adept at making semantical distinctions. "If you go by the evidence, there is no evidence that the system was breached or hacked successfully," Clinton said. "And I think that what's important here is follow the evidence. And there is no evidence. And that can't be said about a lot of other systems, including government systems."

New York Post columnist John Crudele obliterates the despicable word-parsing. "Clinton was so careless when using her BlackBerry that the Russians stole her password," he writes. "All Russian President Vladimir Putin's gang had to do was log into Clinton's account and read whatever they wanted."

When it comes to the DNC hack, "The Russians did it" is the theme-du-jour. Clinton campaign manager, Robby Mook stated Sunday that "experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, [and are] releasing these emails for the purpose of helping Donald Trump." The campaign itself echoed that assertion. "This is further evidence the Russian government is trying to influence the outcome of the election."

The reliably leftist Politico — so far left that reporter Ken Vogel remains employed there despite sending a story to the DNC before he sent it to his own editor — is quite comfortable advancing that agenda, using it as a vehicle to buff up Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. "Former U.S. officials who worked on Russia policy with Clinton say that Putin was personally stung by Clinton's December 2011 condemnation of Russia's parliamentary elections, and had his anger communicated directly to President Barack Obama," Politico reports. "They say Putin and his advisers are also keenly aware that, even as she executed Obama's 'reset' policy with Russia, Clinton took a harder line toward Moscow than others in the administration. And they say Putin sees Clinton as a forceful proponent of 'regime change' policies that the Russian leader considers a grave threat to his own survival."

Yet even Politico is forced to admit the payback angle is "speculation," and that some experts remain "unconvinced that Putin's government engineered the DNC email hack or that it was meant to influence the election in Trump's favor as opposed to embarrassing DNC officials for any number of reasons."

Americans would also be wise to remain highly skeptical of this claim for any number of reasons. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asserts there is "there is no proof whatsoever" Russia is behind the hack and that "this is a diversion that's being pushed by the Hillary Clinton campaign." To be fair, Assange is a Russian sympathizer, and leftists aren't the only ones attributing the hack to the Russians. The same FBI that gave Clinton a pass will be investigating the DNC hack, and at some point the bureau will reach a conclusion.

In the meantime, it might be worth considering that this smacks of a carefully orchestrated disinformation campaign similar to the one Clinton and several other Obama administration officials engineered with regard to Benghazi. While Clinton was never held personally or legally accountable for the deaths of four Americans, it is beyond dispute that she lied unabashedly about a video causing the attack, while sending her daughter a damning email at 11:12 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012, admitting the administration knew "the attack had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest."

The theme of this coordinated narrative? Clinton campaign chair John Podesta referred Monday night to "a kind of bromance going on" between Putin and Trump. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook echoed that assertion, insisting the email dump comes on the heels of "changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro-Russian."

The Leftmedia were equally obliging. "The theory that Moscow orchestrated the leaks to help Trump ... is fast gaining currency within the Obama administration because of the timing of the leaks and Trump's own connections to the Russian government," reports the Daily Beast.

Other Leftmedia examples abound.

Ultimately, here's the question: If the Russians could access the DNC server, they could certainly access Clinton's unsecure server. And if they could access Clinton's server, including the 33,000 emails she deleted (maybe some were about how the Clintons profited from selling Russia American uranium), ask yourself who they'd rather have in the Oval Office: Donald Trump, who professed admiration for Putin but remains a highly unpredictable individual — or Hillary Clinton, who could be subjected to blackmail for as long as eight years?

Russia's clear objective would be to have the weakest American leadership they can get. Blackmail aside, what would be weaker than an extension of Obama's presidency?

Moreover, it is just as likely a number of the so-called "experts" as well as Clinton's useful idiot media apparatchiks have considered the blackmail possibility and are trying to divert attention from it with a phony Trump connection story.

Democrats can theorize, complain and blame to their hearts' content, but none of it obscures the reality that the DNC — and by extension Hillary Clinton and the entire Democrat Party — are a conglomeration of morally bereft, utterly incompetent individuals wholly ill-equipped to handle internal security, much less national security. And they are aided and abetted by an equally corrupt media, more than willing to abide that potentially catastrophic reality as long as it gets a Democrat in the Oval Office.

WikiLeaks has promised additional dumps with be forthcoming. How much deeper Democrats sink is anyone's guess.



Democrats show how little they are interested in America's armed forces, the armed forces that have kept the peace since 1945

A warship is a just a warship to them.  No interest in details

On the last night of the Democratic National Convention, a retired Navy four-star took the stage to pay tribute to veterans. Behind him, on a giant screen, the image of four hulking warships reinforced his patriotic message.

But there was a big mistake in the stirring backdrop: those are Russian warships.

While retired Adm. John Nathman, a former commander of Fleet Forces Command, honored vets as America's best, the ships from the Russian Federation Navy were arrayed like sentinels on the big screen above.

These were the very Soviet-era combatants that Nathman and Cold Warriors like him had once squared off against.

"The ships are definitely Russian," said noted naval author Norman Polmar after reviewing hi-resolution photos from the event. "There's no question of that in my mind."

Naval experts concluded the background was a photo composite of Russian ships that were overflown by what appear to be U.S. trainer jets. It remains unclear how or why the Democratic Party used what's believed to be images of the Russian Black Sea Fleet at their convention.

A spokesman for the Democratic National Convention Committee was not able to immediately comment Tuesday, saying he had to track down personnel to find out what had happened.

The veteran who spotted the error and notified Navy Times said he was immediately taken aback.

"I was kind of in shock," said Rob Barker, 38, a former electronics warfare technician who left the Navy in 2006. Having learned to visually identify foreign ships by their radars, Barker recognized the closest ship as the Kara-class cruiser Kerch.



As a Teen Cashier Seeing Food Stamp Use, I Changed My Mind About the Democrat Party

Mamaw encouraged me to get a job—she told me that it would be good for me and that I needed to learn the value of a dollar. When her encouragement fell on deaf ears, she then demanded that I get a job, and so I did, as a cashier at Dillman’s, a local grocery store.

Working as a cashier turned me into an amateur sociologist. A frenetic stress animated so many of our customers. One of our neighbors would walk in and yell at me for the smallest of transgressions—not smiling at her, or bagging the groceries too heavy one day or too light the next. Some came into the store in a hurry, pacing between aisles, looking frantically for a particular item. But others waded through the aisles deliberately, carefully marking each item off of their list.

Some folks purchased a lot of canned and frozen food, while others consistently arrived at the checkout counter with carts piled high with fresh produce.

The more harried a customer, the more they purchased precooked or frozen food, the more likely they were to be poor. And I knew they were poor because of the clothes they wore or because they purchased their food with food stamps. After a few months, I came home and asked Mamaw why only poor people bought baby formula. “Don’t rich people have babies, too?” Mamaw had no answers, and it would be many years before I learned that rich folks are considerably more likely to breast-feed their children.

As my job taught me a little more about America’s class divide, it also imbued me with a bit of resentment, directed toward both the wealthy and my own kind.

The owners of Dillman’s were old-fashioned, so they allowed people with good credit to run grocery tabs, some of which surpassed a thousand dollars. I knew that if any of my [working class] relatives walked in and ran up a bill of over a thousand dollars, they’d be asked to pay immediately. I hated the feeling that my boss counted my people as less trustworthy than those who took their groceries home in a Cadillac. But I got over it: One day, I told myself, I’ll have my own d–ned tab.

I also learned how people gamed the welfare system. They’d buy two dozen packs of soda with food stamps and then sell them at a discount for cash. They’d ring up their orders separately, buying food with food stamps, and beer, wine, and cigarettes with cash. They’d regularly go through the checkout line speaking on their cell phones. I could never understand why our lives felt like a struggle while those living off of government largesse enjoyed trinkets that I only dreamed about.

Mamaw listened intently to my experiences at Dillman’s. We began to view much of our fellow working class with mistrust. Most of us were struggling to get by, but we made do, worked hard, and hoped for a better life. But a large minority was content to live off the dole.

Every two weeks, I’d get a small paycheck and notice the line where federal and state income taxes were deducted from my wages. At least as often, our drug-addict neighbor would buy T-bone steaks, which I was too poor to buy for myself but was forced by Uncle Sam to buy for someone else. This was my mindset when I was seventeen, and though I’m far less angry today than I was then, it was my first indication that the policies of Mamaw’s “party of the working man”—the Democrats—weren’t all they were cracked up to be.

Political scientists have spent millions of words trying to explain how Appalachia and the South went from staunchly Democratic to staunchly Republican in less than a generation.

Some blame race relations and the Democratic Party’s embrace of the civil rights movement. Others cite religious faith and the hold that social conservatism has on evangelicals in that region.

A big part of the explanation lies in the fact that many in the white working class saw precisely what I did, working at Dillman’s. As far back as the 1970s, the white working class began to turn to Richard Nixon because of a perception that, as one man put it, government was “payin’ people who are on welfare today doin’ nothin’! They’re laughin’ at our society! And we’re all hardworkin’ people and we’re gettin’ laughed at for workin’ every day!”



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, July 28, 2016

New study warns Russia could invade Poland ‘overnight’

Russia has long been the lurking giant in the East for Europe and the Soviet era made Russia into a real existential threat.  So when Yeltsin largely destroyed Russia's armed forces and abandoned any ideological claims it was a great relief.

But now that Vladimir Vladimirovich has slowly reconstructed Russia's forces to something commensurate with Russia being the worlds's largest country, hackles are rising again. But Russia is still weak.  And it is primarily weak because of its small manufacturing base and small economy generally.  It would lose any prolonged war with the West.  It won in WWII because   the West supplied the machines (trucks, tanks, planes etc) its own industry could not.  So even the Soviets did not attempt expansion after WWII (Except for the abortive adventure in Afghanistan).

So Russia is just a convenient whipping boy.  Being nasty to Russia is a way for small Western politicians to make themselves look big

Vladimir Vladimirovich has in fact been very cautious.  He could easily have invaded Eastern Ukraine and thus finalized  matters there but has not done so. He too knows Russia is weak.  Even in manpower Russia is weak.  There are twice as many Americans as Russians.  Generations of slaughter by Communists have left their mark

A NEW study has warned Russia could invade Poland “overnight” at any time and NATO forces must be prepared to respond.

The aggressive foreign policy of a resurgent Russia under president Vladimir Putin has countries in the region on high alert after they annexed Crimea from Ukraine, according to The Sun.

The think tank Atlantic Council warns: “Even if Moscow currently has no immediate intent to challenge NATO directly, this may unexpectedly change overnight.”

It talked up the rapid speed of Russia’s military operations and warned Poland and its allies that they must be prepared and arm up as a deterrent.

The report even suggests potential targets to hit in Russia if required, including the Kaliningrad and the Metro infrastructure in Moscow.

It recommends more US missiles be shipped to the region, and urges Poland to find a way to stop ‘fighting age men’ quitting the country to find work abroad, and join their military instead.

Earlier this month, US president Barack Obama announced plans to deploy 1,000 troops to the east of Poland.

It is the biggest escalation of hostilities in the region between Russia and NATO states since the Cold War.

Ben Rhodes, the deputy US national security adviser, denied that the US was escalating tensions in the region.

He said: “What we are demonstrating is that if Russia continues this pattern of aggressive behaviour, there will be a response and there will be a greater presence in eastern Europe.”

Britain is one of the 28 NATO members and also decided to make deployments this month to the region.

500 troops will be stationed in Estonia and 150 in Poland, and a further 3,000 will be put on notice for immediate action in the region if activity increases.



No U.S.flags at the Democrat convention

Initially, the only actual flag to be seen was a Palestinian flag.  After being called out over it, however, they did find a few flags and put them up.

It really tells you all you need to know about what they stand for -- and it isn't America.  It's their own foolish dream of a new Eden, where people are FORCED to behave as Leftists think they should.  Lovely people!


Obama as a Fascist

Thomas Sowell

It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a "socialist." He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.

What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama's point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.

Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous -- something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.

Thus the Obama administration can arbitrarily force insurance companies to cover the children of their customers until the children are 26 years old. Obviously, this creates favorable publicity for President Obama. But if this and other government edicts cause insurance premiums to rise, then that is something that can be blamed on the "greed" of the insurance companies.

The same principle, or lack of principle, applies to many other privately owned businesses. It is a very successful political ploy that can be adapted to all sorts of situations.

One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left.

Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely -- and correctly -- regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg's great book "Liberal Fascism" cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists' consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left's embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s.

Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left.

It was in the 1930s, when ugly internal and international actions by Hitler and Mussolini repelled the world, that the left distanced themselves from fascism and its Nazi offshoot -- and verbally transferred these totalitarian dictatorships to the right, saddling their opponents with these pariahs.

What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people -- like themselves -- need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.

The left's vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves, as superior beings pursuing superior ends. In the United States, however, this vision conflicts with a Constitution that begins, "We the People..."

That is why the left has for more than a century been trying to get the Constitution's limitations on government loosened or evaded by judges' new interpretations, based on notions of "a living Constitution" that will take decisions out of the hands of "We the People," and transfer those decisions to our betters.

The self-flattery of the vision of the left also gives its true believers a huge ego stake in that vision, which means that mere facts are unlikely to make them reconsider, regardless of what evidence piles up against the vision of the left, and regardless of its disastrous consequences.

Only our own awareness of the huge stakes involved can save us from the rampaging presumptions of our betters, whether they are called socialists or fascists. So long as we buy their heady rhetoric, we are selling our birthright of freedom.



What Can Discrimination Explain?

Walter E. Williams

A guiding principle for physicians is primum non nocere, the Latin expression for "first, do no harm." In order not to do harm, whether it's with medicine or with public policy, the first order of business is accurate diagnostics.
Racial discrimination is seen as the cause of many problems of black Americans. No one argues that racial discrimination does not exist or does not have effects. The relevant question, as far as policy and resource allocation are concerned, is: How much of what we see is caused by current racial discrimination?

From the late 1940s to the mid-1950s, black youth unemployment was slightly less than or equal to white youth unemployment. Today black youth unemployment is at least double that of white youth unemployment. Would anyone try to explain the difference with the argument that there was less racial discrimination during the '40s and '50s than today?

Some argue that it is the "legacy of slavery" and societal racism that now explain the social pathology in many black neighborhoods. Today's black illegitimacy rate is about 73 percent. When I was a youngster, during the 1940s, illegitimacy was around 15 percent. In the same period, about 80 percent of black children were born inside marriage. In fact, historian Herbert Gutman, in an article titled "Persistent Myths about the Afro-American Family" in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History (Autumn 1975), reported the percentage of black two-parent families, depending on the city, ranged from 75 to 90 percent. Today only a little over 30 percent of black children are raised in two-parent households. The importance of these and other statistics showing greater stability and less pathology among blacks in earlier periods is that they put a lie to today's excuses. Namely, at a time when blacks were closer to slavery, faced far more discrimination, faced more poverty and had fewer opportunities, there was not the kind of social pathology and weak family structure we see today.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes referred to as The Nation's Report Card, nationally, the average black 12th-grader's test scores are either basic or below basic in reading, writing, math and science. "Below basic" is the score received when a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at his grade level. "Basic" indicates only partial mastery. Put another way, the average black 12th-grader has the academic achievement level of the average white seventh- or eighth-grader. In some cities, there's even a larger achievement gap.

Is this a result of racial discrimination? Hardly. The cities where black academic achievement is the lowest are the very cities where Democrats have been in charge for decades and where blacks have been mayors, city councilors, superintendents, school principals and teachers. Plus, these cities have large educational budgets. I am not arguing a causal relationship between black political control and poor performance. I am arguing that one would be hard put to blame the academic rot on racial discrimination. If the Ku Klux Klan wanted to destroy black academic achievement, it could not find a better means for doing so than encouraging the educational status quo in most cities.

Intellectuals and political hustlers who blame the plight of so many blacks on poverty, racial discrimination and the "legacy of slavery" are complicit in the socio-economic and moral decay. But one can earn money, prestige and power in the victimhood game. As Booker T. Washington long ago observed, "there is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs."



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why Race Relations Have Gotten Worse under Barack Obama

There are three things you need to know about modern American politics: (1) the black vote is hugely important to the Democratic Party, but (2) less than half of black voters actually agree with the Democratic Party’s view of government, and among those who do agree a great many are routinely mistreated by the very politicians they vote for; therefore (3) the only practical way to ensure that the vast majority of black voters reliably and enthusiastically turn out for the Democrats is to avoid debating real issues and focus instead on racial politics.

Roughly one fourth of Democratic voters are black and in some states the majority of all Democrats are black. The implications of these facts are not lost on the Democratic establishment. If, say, one third or even one fourth of black voters voted for a Republican, or if they decided not to vote at all, the results for Democrats would be disastrous.

But why do black voters prefer Democrats? That’s not an easy question to answer. Less than half (47 percent) consider themselves “liberal,” not much different from the number who consider themselves “conservative” (45 percent). And even among the self-described “liberals” black voters seem to get a raw deal from the people they vote for. In our central cities, many black parents send their children to the worst schools, they receive the worst city services and they are exposed to the nation’s worst environmental hazards (think Flint, Michigan). In almost all cases, these cities are run by Democrats.

In a previous post, I reported on the remarkable history of my home town Waco, Texas. During the years of segregation and Jim Crow laws, black voters consistently voted for the very Democrats who enforced those awful practices.

Would they have voted for Republican candidates if the Republicans had campaigned for black votes more aggressively or approached them in a different way? I don’t know. I do think that Democrats today sense there is a danger of losing the relationship. After all, one of the three blacks in the US Senate is a Republican and more than one-fourth of black voters in Ohio voted to reelect Republican Governor John Kasich.

Roughly 90 percent of blacks identify as Democrats. But how can the party ensure that they will stay that way and continue to vote that way? The answer Democrats have chosen is what I call racial politics.

Racial politics is identity politics and that has been a mainstay in the Democratic Party for almost 100 years. People are treated as members of groups and they are encouraged to believe that they are victims of bad behavior by those outside the group. In voting for the Democrats they are encouraged to believe they are getting back at, or protecting themselves from, those who are oppressing them. Identity politics is the politics of division. It is the politics of pitting one group against another. All too often it is the politics of hate.

During the Franklin Roosevelt years, labor was pitted against management. The poor and the middle class were pitted against the rich. In the modern era, more groups have been added: blacks, Hispanics, gays, women. In each case the message is the same: “Vote for us because you are a woman; vote for us because you are gay; and vote for us because you are black ...”

According to a raft of liberal commentators, the Republican Party has been sending racist messages to white voters for years. Both conservative and liberal commentators have accused Donald Trump of the same thing. However, these charges require us to sift through all sorts of subtleties. On the Democratic side, subtlety has never been a problem. After all, if you are subtle some voters might miss the point.

I’ll bet every reader of this column has heard about the Willy Horton commercials that George Bush (41) ran against Michael Dukakis in 1988. They are supposed to be an example of Republicans playing on racial fears, even though the issue was first raised by Al Gore in the Democratic primary. But, have you ever heard about the James Byrd commercials?

On the eve of the 2000 election, the NAACP ran television and radio ads aimed at black voters implying that as governor, George W. Bush was indifferent to the death of James Byrd, a black man who was chained and dragged to death behind a pickup truck by three white racists.

To my knowledge, Al Gore never condemned these commercials and no member of the mainstream media ever pressed him to do so. Race baiting by Democrats was ignored then, just as it is today. (See here, here and here.)

In 2012, George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch coordinator for a Florida gated community, fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a young man with a checkered past, during an altercation. Ordinarily, no one who lived more than 50 miles away would have ever heard about the case. However, “watch coordinator” sounds sort of like “police officer” and it was initially reported that Martin was black and Zimmerman was white. The national news media pounced. Virtually every news report suggested that racism was a factor and that the incident was an example of a national problem.

After it was revealed that Zimmerman was Hispanic and from a multiracial family (that included blacks), the mainstream media didn’t back off. They doubled down. Several media outlets, such as CNN and The New York Times, began describing Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic.” NBC doctored an audio tape in a way that suggested Zimmerman’s wrong doing. Before long, nearly 90 percent of African Americans called the shooting “unjustified.” When Zimmerman was acquitted, that was even more fodder for the race baiting fire.

So how is Trayvon Martin different from the 13,000 other people who are murdered each year, including about 6,000 African Americans? Was he a talented artist? A musical prodigy? A budding entrepreneur? It’s better than that. In the middle of a tough re-election campaign, President Obama announced that “Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago.”

So there you have it. The person George Zimmerman shot and killed could have been a future president of the United States! (Provided voters could overlook his criminal record, that is.)

Barack Obama is the most partisan president in our life time and he seems to understand almost instinctively that racial polarization is essential to the Democratic Party’s electoral strategy. In the aftermath of police shootings in St. Paul and Baton Rouge, the president said, “These are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.”

Did those comments cause Black Lives Matter marchers in Dallas to chant “Pigs in a blanket; fry ‘em like bacon”? It certainly didn’t discourage it.

And although the president’s speech in Dallas on Tuesday was supposed to be unifying and conciliatory, he again brought up the totally fraudulent case of Trayvon Martin and had nothing but praise for Black Lives Matter.

All this is being echoed by Hillary Clinton, whose campaign commercials shamelessly mention Trayvon Martin and who now decries “systematic” and “implicit bias” in police departments.

I believe there is a problem in the interaction of police and black males. Even black policemen seem to say there is a problem. But Hillary isn’t talking about solutions to a problem. She is stirring up a problem. There is no “Trayvon Martin Law” that she is proposing.

The national Democratic Party has a stake in the problem, not in its solution. The national news media is only too happy to help meet their needs.

PS. A new study by a team headed by an African American Harvard economist finds there is no bias against black civilians in police shootings.



The DNC's Grand Illusion

Democrats kick off convention week with a huge and inconvenient email leak

What’s in store at the Democratic National Convention beginning today? Be ready for four days of illusions to hide the party’s dysfunction, as well as truly delusional rhetoric meant to secure a third term of Barack Obama despite almost eight years of American collapse.

Following the earthquake of the WikiLeaks publication of 20,000 emails from key Democrats, Bernie Sanders and his campaign were completely vindicated in accusations of unfair treatment. The Democratic National Committee unquestionably interfered with the voice of the voters throughout the entire DNC primary to assure Hillary Clinton’s ascension to become the nominee. More leaks will continue as details emerge throughout the week.

So clear was the trail that, on the eve of the convention, DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation. It’s more than ironic that the party led by the woman FBI Director James Comey called “extremely careless” in her handling of Top Secret communications is forcing out another woman who was extremely careless in DNC communications. It’s also ironic that Democrats blame Russia for the leaks after Clinton’s (ahem) successful “reset” there.

James Carville, a longtime Clinton friend and operative quipped, “In politics, you need to not only know when to draw your sword, but also when to fall on it.” It was also clear that Clinton was grateful. She named Wasserman Schultz “honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country.”

Still, this is not how Democrats wanted to kick things off in the “City of Brotherly Love.”

The topics and copy of these tens of thousands of electronic pieces of evidence ranged from a Politico writer sending his pre-published articles to the DNC for approval to actual sabotage of Sanders' campaign. There was evidently a mole working within the Sanders campaign, and emails were uncovered plotting an attack on Bernie’s Jewish religion so as to scare southern Democrats.

Bernie was right. If not for the clear orchestration by the Leftmedia, Sanders might very well have beaten Clinton to become the Democrats' nominee. Hillary’s winning formula for coronation, however, included a tag team of superdelegate status awarded to hundreds of Clinton machine political insiders and the inescapable power of the media. Presstitutes who masquerade as journalists created an echo chamber of supportive stories and press for Hillary during her Benghazi failures and her law-breaking personal email scandal.

So much for organizational bylaws, transparency and fairness from the partisans who screech about rights, civility, oppression and disenfranchisement.

This week’s partisan proceedings were meant to only be a formality and a huge pep rally to launch Hillary’s second presidential effort. It was supposed to show how unified Democrats are in contrast to the GOP. Now, the smoke, mirrors and every ounce of pixie dust they can sprinkle are needed to cover up the unindicted felon’s standard operating procedure: Winning through corruption.

More than 1,000 protesters mobilized Sunday evening chanting, “Hell, no, DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary” in the streets of Philadelphia as they waved a flag with the Democrats' donkey in distress — flying upside down. Without question, Wasserman Schultz’s resignation was aimed to stem any uprising by the energetic groupies of Sanders still feeling “the Bern.” But just as those who felt betrayed by elected Republicans ended up supporting Donald Trump, Sanders' supporters are likely fueled by the same treachery on display.

By the way, in sharp contrast to the low-key protests in Cleveland’s RNC convention, the City of Philadelphia expects 35,000 to 50,000 protesters a day, with marches supporting of Sanders daily that may even feature a mock trial of Hillary Clinton.

As part of the Democrats' stage props, every effort will be made to blame the Republicans in Congress for the slowest and weakest economic recovery in history. A pathological processional of lies and liars will be featured that say nothing about “black-on-black crime” as black unemployment is at 8.3% — almost double the rate of white unemployment. Instead, mothers of police shooting victims will be featured to continue the absolute untruth that blacks are disproportionately shot by law enforcement. Will there be any reference to the Washington Post’s data collected that of the 990 fatal police shootings in 2015, some 50% of those victims were white, while about 17% were Hispanic and 26% were black?

More irony to chew on is the response of the media to the Republicans' convention that featured the incredible stories of heroism offered by the family members' of the deceased who were abandoned in Benghazi. The collective harem of Presstitutes pitched a fit when Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith who died at the hands of terrorists, offered her emotional story of how then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stood before her son’s flag-draped coffin and blamed a YouTube video.

Please don’t allow the historical backdrop of Philadelphia, America’s first capital and the seat of our Founding Government, to hide the blatant disregard for America’s Supreme Law of the Land by this political party. The blatant disregard for America’s laws involving the enforcement of legal immigration, the sale of unborn infant body parts, the socialization of our health care (a sixth of our economy) and the pure corruption on display — including the IRS’s political targeting of conservative groups and the weaponization of our government against its people — are the hallmarks of this Democratic National Party.

As these four evenings pass, stay fixed on this reality: America cannot withstand a third term of Barack Obama. Therefore, the defeat of Hillary Clinton and her less-than-centrist VP candidate Tim Kaine must be the top priority.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about Muslims, murders etc


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why Donald Trump will win: Michael Moore lists five reasons

WHETHER you like it or not, Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. At least, according to filmmaker Michael Moore, who has warned the world to be prepared for a Donald Trump victory.

In a new blog entry on his web page, Moore writes he hates to be the bearer of bad news but the reality was Trump will become president in November. Moore, who already predicted the property tycoon would be the Republican nominee for president, writes there are five reasons Trump will win.

He stressed that he has never wanted to be proven wrong so badly in all his life, but the reality was we all needed to get used to hearing the words President Trump.

Moore already caused a stir with similar comments made last week. In a Wednesday night appearance on an online edition of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Moore said he thought the verbal attacks on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the Republican National Convention played to “a lot of people” Trump has to win over to become president.

“I think Trump is going to win. I’m sorry,” he said.
“People are in denial of this, but the chance of winning is really, really good.”

Moore said Trump is going to focus much of his attention on the four blue states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which have turned pro-Republican in recent years.

He warns what will happen in the UK will happen in the US with people felt abandoned by (Democrat) policies which helped lead to job losses and created a protectionist-type outlook. These people feel “screwed over” and while working classes might not agree with him they will end up voting for him because they are simply angry.

Trump’s argument fearmongering about the “Feminazi” is winning and the endangered white male will not put up with “a woman bossing us around” after having eight years of being told what to do by a black man, he warns.

But that’s not the only problem. Moore writes Clinton’s biggest problem is the fact she remains so unpopular, with 70 per cent of voters finding her untrustworthy. He adds another problem is she represents the old way of politics “not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected”.

Moore also reveals how a lack of voter care will mean the average Bernie backer will only be voting for her reluctantly and not convincing five of their mates to do the same thing.

He also reveals how Clinton’s killing the youth vote and few are excited or willing to volunteer to support her campaign.

Finally Moore warns of the Jesse Ventura effect where people will vote for Trump as a joke just to see what happens. He predicts millions will vote for Trump not because they like him but simply because they can and they feel disenfranchised and will wonder what a world with Trump will look like.

He warned this could happen after the “smart state of Minnesota” voted for ex-wrestler and governor Jesse Ventura in 1999. “They didn’t do this because they’re stupid or thought that Jesse Ventura was some sort of statesman or political intellectual,” Moore writes. “They did so just because they could.”



Jeff Jacoby: A hater's guide to Hillary

IF IT WAS said once during the Republican National Convention, it was said a thousand times: The only thing that unites the GOP is its hatred for Hillary Clinton.

A chasm separates the party's pro- and anti-Trump camps, the outward-looking Reaganites from the build-a-wall isolationists, the "Lyin' Ted" Cruz attackers from the "Lion Ted" Cruz admirers. But they all agree that they loathe Clinton. And that leaves liberals dumbfounded.

MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews, broadcasting from the convention on Tuesday, was aghast at what he called "this festival of hating Hillary"; when Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey roused the crowd with an indictment laying out Clinton's record of malfeasance, Matthews sputtered that the "bloodthirsty" delegates were just waiting for Christie to say: 'Kill her now.'" A day later, Time magazine's story out of Cleveland was headlined: "Hillary Clinton Hatred Remains Unifying Theme of Third GOP Convention Night." That was the word from The Atlantic as well: "'Lock Her Up': How Hillary Hatred Is Unifying Republicans."

Something tells me that at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the cup of Trump hatred will overflow. Something also tells me that Matthews & Co. will not grow nearly as perturbed when speaker after speaker gives voice to the party's hostility toward the GOP nominee, or when delegates liken Donald Trump to Nazis and Klansmen. After all, it's hard to see anything wrong with hating a candidate when you hate him too.

I am firmly in the #NeverTrump camp, and will not be surprised if the DNC becomes a "festival of hating Trump." There are compelling reasons to loathe Trump, and in the hothouse atmosphere of partisan politics, loathing frequently evolves into hatred.

But there are compelling reasons to loathe Clinton, too, even if an awful lot of liberals cannot or will not acknowledge them.

The former first lady and secretary of state is at least as unprincipled as Trump, willing to say or do virtually anything in the pursuit of power and wealth. Like other politicians, Clinton's stands on controversial public issues have flipped and flopped, invariably putting her on whichever side has grown more popular: She's been for expanding free trade and against it, for same-sex marriage and against it, for the Iraq war and against it, for more gun control and against it, for a crackdown on illegal immigrants and against it, for the trade embargo on Cuba and against it, for the ethanol mandate and against it — the list goes on and on.

Trump and Clinton both hunger for money, but only Clinton appears to have exploited the levers of US foreign policy for the enrichment of her family. By now the evidence is overwhelming that the Clinton Foundation has been used to extract millions of dollars from foreign governments, corporations, or financiers. The whiff of quid pro quo — financial deals with Bill and Hillary Clinton in exchange for diplomatic access or government approvals — has at times been overpowering. In his 2015 book "Clinton Cash," the Hoover Institution's Peter Schweitzer describes numerous cases that fail the smell test. The scope and extent of the payments made by foreign entities to the Clintons, whether as donations to the family foundation or paid in speaking fees, he writes, "are without precedent in American politics."

The late New York Times columnist William Safire long ago called Hillary Clinton a "congenital liar." Examples have proliferated throughout her career, with the congeries of lies about her private e-mail server only the most recent. Two devastating reports on Clinton's e-mail practices — one by the State Department's inspector general, the other by FBI Director James Comey — methodically shredded every claim she had made in defense of her behavior. Clinton has no more reverence for the truth than Trump.

NBC's Brian Williams lost his job for concocting a self-aggrandizing falsehood about coming under fire in an Iraqi war zone. Clinton concocted a similar falsehood about "landing under sniper fire" in Bosnia and having to run "with our heads down" to safety. It was a tale invented out of whole cloth, as news footage of the event confirms. It may not trouble Clinton acolytes, but it is one more data point in a long dossier of deceit that has convinced so many Americans she cannot be trusted.

Clinton, like Trump, attacks even honest critics without compunction. When she (or her husband) is caught doing something wrong, her instinctive response is to accuse her accusers of hating her. (Sound familiar?) In 1998, amid reports of Bill Clinton's Oval Office trysts with a young intern, Hillary told a TV interviewer that it was all a smear by the "vast right-wing conspiracy" that had always opposed the Clintons. That is still her go-to excuse.

Both Trump and Clinton can be cruel. But whereas his cruelty is that of schoolyard bully mocking a weaker or less popular kid, hers stems from a determination to bulldoze anyone or anything that stands between her and power.

What I still find most jaw-dropping about Clinton's Benghazi performance is not the calamitous failure of security at the compound in Libya, but the shameless and repeated claim that an obscure YouTube video was the proximate cause of the violence. Within hours of the attack, we now know, Clinton had e-mailed her daughter and called Libya's president to say that the attack in Benghazi was a planned Islamist terror operation, for which "an al-Qaeda-like group" had claimed responsibility. Yet days later she brazenly told the father of slain Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods that the YouTube video was to blame. "We are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible," she said to Charles Woods. Even Trump might flinch from such cold and ruthless duplicity.

To be clear, I don't hate Hillary Clinton. I don't hate Donald Trump. But I do find them both to be indecent and unworthy, graspers of low character whose rise to political eminence is a terrible reflection on the Republican and Democratic parties.



Melania Trump Strikes a Blow to Outdated Seventies Feminism


This is supposed to be the year of breaking the glass ceiling on the presidency itself  but -- call me cis-gendered -- I'm far more interested in potential first lady Melania Trump, who was a one-woman smash of poise and glamour speaking at the Republican National Convention opening night Monday. (The writing of the speech was banal, as it almost always is on all sides of the political spectrum.)

As most realize, that presidential glass ceiling could have been broken years ago -- it happened in Pakistan, of all places, in 1988 -- if the right person presented herself and Hillary Clinton (yawn) is (finally, after paying more dues than any of us can imagine) supposed to be that person.

She's about twenty years too late, make that thirty. These days women are outstripping men at virtually every academic level straight up to graduate and professional school and soon enough male presidents will be scarce. The UK is now on its second female PM.  For all we know, Trump may be the last male American president, should he win.  We should treasure him.

But that brings me to Melania.  Why shouldn't that (possibly last) cis-gendered American president have a wife who looks like that?  Give the man a break! (Sexist of me to comment on a woman's looks?   Well, I'm cis-gendered too.  Sorry, as the lady said, I was born that way).

But beyond the looks, Melania is no dummy. She speaks five languages -- that's four and a half more than the average American.  But she doesn't parade her knowledge, as opposed to, say, former Harvard prof turned politico Elizabeth Warren, who apparently speaks one and a half languages. (“My Spanish may not be great, but it’s coming from the heart,” Warren said at an immigration rally.) In deference to Warren, Serbian and Slovenian aren't particularly easy.

Elizabeth Warren, and for that matter Hillary Clinton, are products of the seventies feminist movement that Melania Trump decidedly is not.  That movement dealt with inequalities between the sexes that are largely gone, but as happens with so many movements, the cause lingers on... and on... long after it has outworn its usefulness, often to the point of being counter-productive.  Young women tend not to take Hillary's shrill and dated feminism seriously, as well they shouldn't.  Most people know self-interest when they see it.

So back to Slovenian-born Melania Trump.  What does she and their marriage tell us about the kind of president Donald Trump might make?  Is he a sexist because he likes beautiful women, albeit intelligent ones? Is he sexist because he makes nasty cracks at Megyn Kelly and Rosie O'Donnell (and plenty of men as well)?  Is he a sexist at all, as the Democrats would insist?

I seriously doubt it.  Between his daughter Ivanka and his wife Melania -- who seems destined, after Monday night, to emerge as a new Jackie Kennedy, if Donald is elected -- I would hazard a guess that Trump trusts women, in all probability, more than men  The attack on Trump  as a sexist, like the attack on him as a racist, is a lie based on the exploitation of his sloppy use of language.  Unfortunately, for that reason, Donald gives his opponents far more opportunities than he should to hang these labels on him. (Paradoxically, Trump is at once a terrific and a lousy communicator, riveting and fumbling.  I've never seen anyone quite like that.)

Seventies feminism -- I know from, alas, firsthand experience -- did not make for good and lasting marriages.  Whatever view you may have of its ideology,  it often turned what should have been a union of mates into a perpetual dialectical debate and (sometimes) sexual competition.  The Clintons are an example of a couple who had to deal with this and made compromises to survive that are more than slightly eerie -- almost, to be cruel, a form of Macbeth Family Values.  Everything is held together by ambition -- and then just barely.

This does not compare well with what we have seen of the Trump family, a close-knit group that could almost be the subject of a 1950s sitcom were they not billionaires.  What we saw from Melania on Monday night is something I have never seen from Hillary -- that she really loves her husband.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, July 25, 2016

What gives with

I recently signed up for some web services with Canadian hosting company 247-host.  As usual, I gave them my credit card details and expected that to be the end of it.  Instead I got an email as below.  The email sounded like a classic scam to me so I declined to give the info requested and asked for a refund of what I had paid.  I expected that to be the end of it with my money lost

But here's the funny thing.  They DID refund my money!  They had my money all along but still wanted extra documentation.  Very strange indeed!  If they were crooks, why did they refund my money?  And if they were honest, why did they demand all my personal details?  It makes no sense.

I have been buying stuff off the net for years and I have NEVER had an enquiry such as the one below.  Once a supplier has my  money, that has always been sufficient.  Very strange people indeed!  The best theory I can come up with to explain it is that they are very clever crooks.  Or maybe they just don't want customers.  At a minimum their PR skills are at rock bottom

247-host URGENT Credit Card Validation Needed

Dear Customer,

Due to the recent fraud activity we have been receiving for credit card payments we will require a copy of your government issued ID (for example drivers license, passport etc.) and credit card ending in 9916

Please fax these 2 documents to us at 1-514-439-3249 or you can email it to us.

We need these documents within the next 24 hours for our records.
Inability to provide valid documentation within 24 hours will result in cancellation of the order.

If you are unable to provide this information you can pay using paypal or western union. Please email us back if you have any questions or concerns.

We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.


Phone: 1-877-791-3474


France takes centre stage in the clash of civilisations

by Henry Ergas

When the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille was celebrated on July 14, 1790 in an elaborate “Feast of the Federation”, the 20-year-old Wordsworth rhapsodised that “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven,” while an ageing Kant mused that humanity might finally have “matured”. Two centuries later, at least 10 children and 74 adults lie dead, mowed down as they celebrated Bastille Day on Nice’s iconic Promenade des Anglais.

The timing of the attack, which has been claimed by Islamic State, may have been simply opportunistic and there is considerable uncertainty about the perpetrator. But the conflict between the ideals of the French revolution and Islamic fundamentalism’s world-view is as obvious as the differences are irreconcilable. The revolution extolled reason; the fundamentalists worship at the alter of apocalyptic irrationality. And the revolution proclaimed (although it often failed to respect) freedom, including freedom of religion; the fundamentalists seek a caliphate in which only the laws of Islam prevail.

But the revolution also established an enduring concept of citizenship that underpinned the French nation, “one and indivisible”. Far more than any other European country, it was open to foreigners; it demanded, however, that they join the nation on its terms. As Michael Walzer put it, “foreigners were welcomed — so long as they learned the French language, committed themselves to the republic, sent their children to state schools, and celebrated Bastille Day”.

It was equally insistent on what they were not to do: isolate themselves in ethnic enclaves that clashed with the broader community of citizens. Already in 1791, the refusal of a right to differentiate and divide was expressed in the Legislative Assembly’s debate on the emancipation of the Jews by Clermont-Tonnerre, a deputy of the centre, when he spoke for the majority (which favoured emancipation): “One must refuse everything to the Jews as a nation,” Clermont-Tonnerre declared, “and grant everything to the Jews as individuals.”

That principle — that citizenship was not a mere scrap of paper but a personal act of adherence to the country’s norms and trad­itions — proved remarkably successful, integrating generations of immigrants who were happy to call themselves French citizens. However, as France has grappled with its 4.7 million Muslims, it has completely broken down. Michele Tribalat, who as director of research at France’s National Institute of Demography pioneered the analysis of ethnic data, highlights the trends in her recent book Assimilation: the End of the French Model.

Nowhere are the differences Tribalat examines starker than in respect of religion. Among the non-Muslim population, secularisation is the order of the day, with the proportion declaring themselves to be of no religion climbing from 40 per cent for the cohort born in the years between 1958 and 1970 to 60 per cent for that of 1981-1990. In contrast, for French residents of North African origin, that share has collapsed, with the proportion that are not religious declining from 45 per cent for the older cohort to 20 per cent for the younger.

The disparity is even greater in the numbers who regard religion as very important in everyday life. In the 1958-1970 cohort, there were twice as many Catholics as Muslims for whom religion mattered a great deal; now, in the country which long prided itself on being the “eldest daughter” of the church, there are more devout young Muslims than devout young Catholics and Protestants combined.

Accompanying those trends are others. As young Muslims have become more religious, they have become stricter in observing dietary and dress requirements and in placing emphasis on religious instruction. Meanwhile, intermarriage rates between Muslims and non-Muslims remain extremely low, both absolutely and relative to intermarriage rates overall.

There is, in other words, a growing divide between France’s Muslim and non-Muslim populations. For sure, the country’s notoriously high minimum wage and its rigid labour laws — which together condemn the poorly educated to unemployment — have aggravated that separation. But it would be wrong to view the underlying tendencies as primarily economic: rather, Tribalat shows, they have occurred in every income group and social class, including the relatively well-off.

In and of itself, a renewal of religion would hardly be cause for concern: the world could use more faith. What it does not need, however, is the fanaticism that has accompanied the Islamic revival, in France and elsewhere, and that so readily degenerates into a cult of death. With Islamist terrorists committing 250 murders in France in barely 18 months, the question is where the country goes next.

On that there is no consensus; but it is increasingly clear that familiar remedies, such as the costly “de-radicalisation” programs under way in the region around Nice, have few benefits. As for empowering the imams themselves, as France has sought to do since the early 1990s, that has just entrenched religion as a social dividing line, as Malek Bouthih, a socialist parliamentarian of Algerian origin who authored the official report on last year’s massacres, has repeatedly emphasised.

In their place, there is a growing recognition of realities: even Francois Hollande is unlikely to say, as he did immediately after the attack at Charlie Hebdo, that the terrorists “have nothing to do with Islam”. And as the state of emergency is renewed for another three months, the already extensive security measures are set to become even more far-reaching.

France is therefore paying a high price for the “clash of civilisations” it was so slow to acknowledge. Islam, as Samuel Huntington wrote, “has bloody borders”; now, with the chaos in the Islamic world only deepening, those borders lie within France. As yet more victims are laid to rest, the lodestars of 1789 — liberty, equality and fraternity — seem more urgent, and more elusive, than ever.



VA Supreme Court Strikes Down McAuliffe's Executive Order Giving Felons Right to Vote

Despite Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s sweeping executive order that sought to restore voting rights to felons in Virginia, they will not be able to cast their ballot at voting booths come November thanks to the commonwealth’s Supreme Court, which declared the order unconstitutional on Friday.

The high court heard oral arguments earlier this week. The plaintiffs in the case, led by leaders from the Republican-controlled legislature, argued that McAuliffe’s move was unconstitutional. The court agreed, and ordered the Virginia Department of Elections to “cancel the registration of all felons who have been invalidly registered,” under the April 22 executive order.

As many as 11,662 felons had registered to vote thanks to the executive order. The order was widely viewed as a move to help Hillary Clinton by all-but-ensuring Virginia goes blue in the November general election, since most convicts register Democratic.



Trump Scheduled to Receive Intelligence Breifings

After winning the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, Donald Trump is now set to receive U.S. intelligence briefings, according to ABC News.

This will mark the first time that someone who has never served in government will receive the intelligence briefings.

After each party's convention and each candidate is chosen, both nominees will receive the same briefings about threats from around the world.  The Democratic National Convention concludes on Thursday, where Hillary Clinton is expected to accept the nomination.

Current and former officials have expressed concern over briefing Clinton, due to her handling of classified information when she was secretary of State the use of a  personal email as a means of communication.



Murderous government doctors in Britain

They just can't be bothered with the elderly.  The architects of Obamacare had a similar attitude

Doctors at one of the country's leading hospitals condemned a veteran to die on a notorious 'death pathway' after they wrongly decided he could not be saved.

Great-grandfather Josef Boberek was admitted to Hammersmith Hospital in West London with a chest infection, but died days later after doctors incorrectly told his family that he was at death's door and deliberately withdrew his fluids and normal medication.

Now an official health watchdog report seen by The Mail on Sunday has revealed that the pensioner would have lived and returned to his normal life had he received proper treatment and not been placed on the discredited Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).

Mr Boberek's daughter Jayne, who fought a three-year battle to uncover the truth, said last night: 'My father was condemned to an unnecessary early death by the doctors. They had no right to take his life, and him away from me.'

The damning report by the Health Service Ombudsman found a litany of failings at the hospital, including:

    Doctors claimed Mr Boberek was suffering from terminal heart and kidney failure when he was not;

    Although he was frail, he would almost certainly have lived if he had been properly treated;

    He was not suffering from dementia, as stated in his medical notes.

In what is believed to be the first time hospital chiefs have publicly accepted that the LCP had 'killed' a patient, the Imperial College Healthcare Trust told Miss Boberek that 'if the failings had not happened, on the balance of probabilities your father would have survived and returned to his nursing home'.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, July 24, 2016

An appreciation of Ivanka from Britain

The Trump campaign is absolutely right to concentrate their convention publicity on Donald as a person, as a fine character, as an admirable man with the runs already on the board.  People rarely vote for detailed policies.  They vote for the man who sounds broadly right and whom they like as a  person.  They vote for the man, not the platform.  And Ivanka  pushed that strategy along enormously -- JR.

Last night was the big night at the Republican National Convention. It was the night most people had been waiting for. A night to hear the star of the show telling the watching world how to Make America Great Again. The noise from the crowds showed Trump didn't disappoint.

The surprising thing? The Trump in question wasn’t Donald, it was Ivanka. The 34 year old mum-of-three stole the show. She won the audience in the arena and at home.

On Google there were more searches for Ivanka than for Donald. On Twitter there were 121 tweets mentioning a Ivanka a minute, positive beating negative 3:1.

As I sat watching her, prepared to curl my toes and cringe at a this strange perfect princess, I was suddenly on my feet, applauding with the boys.

I was wrong.  She was outstanding.

I realised, the next woman in the White House might not be Hillary Clinton. It may well be Ivanka Trump. And not because she is a woman, but because she is a worker.

She stole all of Hillary's best material. Not as blatantly as Melania - which became the story of the early week. But with authenticity, gained from her role as mother of three.

She had a baby just a few weeks ago. I thought she might milk that, in the way new mums love to crow about childbirth like they are warriors fresh from the maternity suite, competing to win the gore-fest.  I should have known better. Ivanka was up looking immaculate, doing the school run three days later.

She is a true professional, not playing the woman card transparently - like Hillary. Rather dealing a perfect flush, with poise and purpose.

Her single focus - supporting her father. Her critical mission - showing why women matter, especially to him. And how women will help make America Great Again. She doesn't buy into Clinton's mantra 'I'm with her'. She's there to say to Millennials 'He's backing us'.  And she did it with aplomb.

Before you tut tut and tell me it's easy for a rich kid, she acknowledged she has been more privileged than most.

And I'd argue the Trump kids have turned out to be surprisingly normal, given the nonsense that comes with vast amounts of money.

Running her own business, supporting her family of three and travelling the country for her father's campaign, I suspect there is more hard work and sleepless nights than pamper days in a salon.

She is part of the Family Meeting every morning, agreeing on campaign strategy and spending. And is everywhere on the campaign trail, fast becoming the face everyone wants on their selfie.

She spoke about equal pay for woman, reminding the floor her fathers' company employs more female executives than males, that women with children will be supported not shut out.

She was ripping carpet right out under Clinton's feet. Stealing her lines. Fronting up to claims he is a misogynist or racist with facts about the Trump business.  'He will fight for equal pay for equal work. He is colour-blind and gender neutral'.

At times, she was too liberal for me, too democratic, suggesting the government should offer more help with childcare. Ask British employers what they think about that country’s generous maternity pay that can see mothers take up to a year off.

Having said that, America offers just six weeks unpaid maternity leave, making parents not employers solely responsible for the decision and cost of having a baby.

Importantly Ivanka spoke of equal pay for equal work, not equal pay for all...a subtle but important differentiation. We do not all work equally hard.  She spoke of equitable pay.

Ivanka only switched her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican late last year, missing the deadline to cast her ballot in the April 19 primary and vote for her father.  But last night, she made up for that and more.

As a mum-of-three, on the cusp of losing them to their teenage years, I see success quite differently than I did before. Success is families which still like each other, still want to be together on holiday or for dinner - through choice not obligation.

Success to me is your grown up children being with you because they want to, despite all the other offers on the table. And Trump has succeeded here.

Despite three marriages, some pretty strange looking family photos and five children competing for attention, he has a family that genuinely seem to like each other.

The cynic in me had laughed at their pictures, imagining them all loathing their step-mum, her face frozen in time. And pitying the grown man called Donald Junior, inheriting his dad's name and the catalogue of mockery that goes with it.  But I am happy to acknowledge I was wrong. I was the cynic.

Ivanka reminded us 'if it is possible to be famous and not known at all, that's my dad'. She showed us a side previously unseen.

His kids don't just still talk to him, they speak up for him, supporting the dad they love. I suspect they spend Christmas with him because they want to, and that's the best compliment for which any parent could wish.

They made Trump human. Sharing stories of calling him from school, inside the janitor closet. But a man who had high expectations for them from the off.

When she was little he told her, 'since your going to be thinking anyway, you may as well be thinking big'. And even their harshest critics had only good things to say.

If this Republican Convention showed us anything, it showed us Donald Trump has an impressive set of kids, acknowledging their privilege, but working hard to deliver on the expectation that comes with it.

Ivanka reminded the massive crowds her father sees the struggles faced by middle-class America. "Other politicians see these hardships, see the unfairness of it all, and they say I feel for you. Only my father will say, I’ll fight for you".

And she reminded them UK's be right there, fighting alongside him, for women.

At the Republican Convention it seemed a new political dynasty was born. Like JFK before him, Donald Trump managed to come out on the side of the little guy. A rich man who stands shoulder to shoulder with the bricklayer. A family man with grown children who want to be with him. A famous man who remains strangely unknown. A blue collar billionaire with a big heart.

One man, a Republican delegate in Cleveland, carried a placard all week around the convention that read: 'Ivanka, 2024. First Female President'.  After last night, he didn't seem quite so mad after all


UPDATE:  Ivanka did of course look gorgeous.  So it is no wonder  that the dress she wore -- from her own fashion collection -- is now sold out nationwide!


Notes From Cleveland: The Two-Part Rebellion

Sore loser Ted Cruz destroys his own political future

Charles Krauthammer

The main purpose of the modern political convention is to produce four days of televised propaganda. The subsidiary function, now that nominees are invariably chosen in advance, is structural: Unify the party before the final battle. In Cleveland, the Republicans achieved not unity, but only a rough facsimile.

The internal opposition consisted of two factions. The more flamboyant was led by Ted Cruz. Its first operation — an undermanned, underplanned, mini-rebellion over convention rules — was ruthlessly steamrolled on Day One. Its other operation was Cruz’s Wednesday night convention speech in which, against all expectation, he refused to endorse Donald Trump.

It’s one thing to do this off-site. It’s another thing to do it as a guest at a celebration of the man you are rebuking.

Cruz left the stage to a cascade of boos, having delivered the longest suicide note in American political history. If Cruz fancied himself following Ronald Reagan in 1976, the runner-up who overshadowed the party nominee in a rousing convention speech that propelled him four years later to the nomination, he might reflect on the fact that Reagan endorsed Gerald Ford.

Cruz’s rebellion would have a stronger claim to conscience had he not obsequiously accommodated himself to Trump during the first six months of the campaign. Cruz reinforced that impression of political calculation when, addressing the Texas delegation Thursday morning, he said that “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.” That he should feel so is not surprising. What is surprising is that he said this publicly, thus further undermining his claim to acting on high principle.

The other faction of the anti-Trump opposition was far more subtle. These are the leaders of the party’s congressional wing who’ve offered public allegiance to Trump while remaining privately unreconciled. You could feel the reluctance of these latter-day Marranos in the speeches of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

McConnell’s pitch, as always, was practical and direct. We’ve got things to achieve in the Senate. Obama won’t sign. Clinton won’t sign. Trump will.

Very specific, very instrumental. Trump will be our enabler, an instrument of the governing (or if you prefer, establishment) wing of the party.

This is mostly fantasy and rationalization, of course. And good manners by a party leader obliged to maintain a common front. The problem is that Trump will not allow himself to be the instrument of anyone else’s agenda. Moreover, the Marranos necessarily ignore the most important role of a president, conducting foreign and military policy abroad, which is almost entirely in his hands.

Ryan was a bit more philosophical. He presented the reformicon agenda, dubbed the Better Way, for which he too needs a Republican in the White House. Ryan pointedly kept his genuflections to the outsider-king to a minimum: exactly two references to Trump, to be precise.

Moreover, in defending his conservative philosophy, he noted that at its heart lies “respect and empathy” for “all neighbors and countrymen” because “everyone is equal, everyone has a place” and “no one is written off.” Not exactly Trump’s Manichaean universe of winners and losers, natives and foreigners (including judges born and bred in Indiana).

Together, McConnell and Ryan made clear that if Trump wins, they are ready to cooperate. And if Trump loses, they are ready to inherit.

The loyalist (i.e., Trumpian) case had its own stars. It was most brilliantly presented by the ever-fluent Newt Gingrich, the best natural orator in either party, whose presentation of Trumpism had a coherence and economy of which Trump is incapable.

Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence gave an affecting, self-deprecating address that managed to bridge his traditional conservatism with Trump’s insurgent populism. He managed to make the merger look smooth, even natural.

Rudy Giuliani gave the most energetic loyalist address, a rousing law-and-order manifesto, albeit at an excitement level that surely alarmed his cardiologist.

And Chris Christie’s prosecutorial indictment of Hillary Clinton for crimes of competence and character was doing just fine until he went to the audience after each charge for a call-and-response of “guilty or not guilty.” The frenzied response was a reminder as to why trials are conducted in a courtroom and not a coliseum.



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