Monday, August 21, 2017

Cruising the Web

Well, good riddance to Steve Bannon, but if people think that this will be the end to his influence on Trump, I'm afraid that those hopes are in vain. We keep hearing that Trump regularly calls his trusted friends and complain about his staff and the media. As long as he has his cell phone, Bannon will be just a call away. And now he'll use his perch at Breitbart to push his agenda even more fiercely. Though I'm not sure how that would be any different from what he's been doing. Does anyone seriously believe that he was holding himself totally independent from Breitbart since he started working for Trump?

The WSJ is crossing its metaphorical fingers that Bannon's departure will end his particularly deleterious effect on the Trump rpesidency.
Yet by any measure the rest of the Bannon Presidency was a colossal failure. The former Breitbart publisher was a major source of White House dysfunction as he brought his brawling campaign style indoors. His Manichean, almost apocalyptic view of politics—us vs. them, patriots vs. “globalists,” America has only a short time to avoid self-destruction—might work in an election campaign. It isn’t suitable to building a coalition to govern.

Mr. Bannon presided over some of Mr. Trump’s biggest debacles, starting with the rushed and legally unvetted travel ban. That began his Presidency with a needlessly polarizing debate when the White House should have been reaching out to persuadable Democrats and wary Republicans, and it set up Mr. Trump for a legal and political defeat.

Mr. Bannon gets credit in some quarters for focusing on the white working class, but he did so in ways that too often trucked with a white version of identity politics. This has played out in destructive fashion since the Charlottesville riot as Mr. Trump catered too much to Mr. Bannon’s “base” and not to the larger duty of a President to provide unifying moral leadership. Mr. Trump was elected President of the country, not the Breitbart readership.
THe WSJ points out how the media will enjoy seeing Bannon go after Republicans like GOP leaders in Congress or H.R. McMaster all of whom he reportedly despises and have been the targets of Breitbart for quite a while.
But what else is new? His allies have been doing the same for months while Mr. Bannon sat in the White House. It’s hard to see how he can do any more damage outside it, assuming that is his plan, and it may not be if he still wants Mr. Trump to succeed. One problem he’ll have on the outside is that millions of Trump supporters have now seen that the Bannon style of politics has failed....

The larger question is what Mr. Trump has learned from the failures of his first seven months. He seems to want less internal feuding, which is why he brought in Mr. Kelly, the former Marine general. But Mr. Trump often contributes to that feuding with his inability to stick to a decision, such as on troops in Afghanistan. Mr. Trump wants better communication, but his ill-considered tweets and unplanned riffs blow up any communication planning. He still traffics in false claims and divisive rhetoric—and that’s against his allies.
Exactly. Little will change because the source of disruption and confusion is the President himself, not Steve Bannon.
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Andrew McCarthy has a very good column about how the right should have been outraged at Trump's equivocation.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t notice the anti-fa thugs were out there. It doesn’t mean I don’t see the hard Left’s seditionist shock troops, at war with the country, much like the Weathermen, the Panthers, and the Black Liberation Army back in the day. As we’ve seen many times now (and will, alas, see many times more), the radical Left doesn’t need tiki-torch twits to spur them to arson and mayhem.

This time, though, in Charlottesville, the white supremacists were the instigators. They caused it. They orchestrated this disgusting event, they came ready for the violence they knew they were provoking, and one of them committed a murder.

If the roles were reversed, we wouldn’t want to hear a bunch of imbecilic “there’s blame on both sides” moral equivalence. We’d want the most culpable bunch called out and condemned, by name — and without any irrational hedging about phantom “very fine people” who confederate with sociopaths on the latter’s terms.

Making that distinction does not mean you can’t or shouldn’t call out anti-fa, too. But a young woman died here. And she didn’t die because, fully aware she was courting danger, she got herself into a scrap. She was standing where she had a right to be standing, expressing what she had a right to express, when she was murdered by a depraved racist who plowed a car into her and other human beings. Anyone commenting on this ghastly event ought to be able to prioritize his righteous rage. Especially if that anyone happens to be the president of the United States.

You have good reason to be upset that this president couldn’t meet that modest standard.
However, as McCarthy writes, people are just sick of how the left glorifies those who support violence and how the media ignores that fact. He points to the story of one leftist terrorist pardoned by Bill Clinton.
Susan Rosenberg was a terrorist in the early 1980s. Like her Weathermen comrades, she would have killed many people had she been a more competent terrorist. She was a fugitive plotting more bombings when she and a co-conspirator were captured in New Jersey, armed to the gills and toting over 700 pounds of dynamite. At her sentencing, she proclaimed, “Long live the armed struggle” against “U.S. imperialism.” Her only regret was that she hadn’t shot it out with the police who arrested her. A federal judge sentenced her to 58 years’ imprisonment.

I know her story well because, when she claimed she was being denied parole unlawfully, I spent over a year as the prosecutor arguing that the court should keep her in the slammer. Finally, the court ruled against her.

So . . . Bill Clinton sprang her.

Her commutation may have outraged most Americans, but it was celebrated by the nation’s “progressive” opinion elites, the same ones who were cool with President Clinton’s release of the FALN terrorists. Granted, Rosenberg didn’t get the hero’s welcome at New York City’s Puerto Rican Day parade received by Oscar Lopez Rivera — the FALN terrorist released by President Obama. The teaching gig the Left arranged for her wasn’t quite as prestigious and long-lived as the ones her fellow Weathermen — and Obama pals — Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn fell into. She’ll never be a t-shirt icon, like Che Guevara or Tupac Shakur. The campaign to pretend she was innocent won’t rival the Alger Hiss fairy tale. There will probably be no statue of her, much less a performing-arts center like the one in Princeton named for Paul Robeson.

But she hates America, so she’ll be remembered fondly in the places where the cultural tune is called. Her books — such as An American Radical: A Political Prisoner in My Own Country — will continue to be taken oh so seriously. Her Wikipedia entry does not describe her as a terrorist; it says Susan Rosenberg is a “radical political activist, author and advocate for social justice.”
We should condemn the neo-Nazis and white supremacists. That should be easy to do. Since when did it become hard to condemn those waving swastikas? But why is the left so slow to condemn those who are violent on their side?
People are fed up. If you dare notice the radical Left, you are not an observer of objective fact, you are a neo-Nazi sympathizer. If you dare notice that many of the “peaceful protesters” were swinging batons and spraying chemicals, you need a re-education course in “unconscious racism.”

News about a radical leftist’s attempted mass murder of Republican House members that left Representative Steve Scalise on the brink of death faded quickly away — just a few days’ Kumbaya coverage along the lines of “Shaken Democrats joined Republicans in expressing outrage, etc., etc.” But on Thursday in Barcelona, when Muslim terrorists reverted to the car jihad they have been using quite notoriously for years, the media speculated that the terrorist killing of 13 people by careening a van along a crowded street might just be a Charlottesville “copycat” attack. You get it: Islamic terrorists are just like the Klan, are just like bourgeois Americans in the Age of Trump.
....What bothers many ordinary Americans is that there is far more uproar over a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville than over one of Vladimir Lenin in Seattle. What bothers us is that elite opinion’s determination to conceal the presence of anti-fa at last weekend’s bloody debacle — the better to smear the American Right with the alt-right — is just phase one. Inevitably, phases two and three will follow: The presence of leftist radicals is grudgingly admitted but rationalized as a necessary defense against monstrous evil; then, in time, their presence is venerated as exemplary courage against a monstrously evil society.

Donald Trump’s buffoonery is self-defeating, but there is shrewdness beneath it. He grasps, in a way the people who cover him don’t seem to, that much of the country is sick of being told the country sucks. There are racists and they should be condemned without equivocation. But their existence in ever smaller numbers does not mean we are living in AmeriKKKa, or that there is high virtue in anti-Americanism.

Jonah Goldberg brings s
ome logic to those who are defending and even praising antifa as somehow noble because they're opposing the neo-Nazis.
Fighting Nazis is a good thing, but fighting Nazis doesn’t necessarily make you or your cause good. By my lights this is simply an obvious fact.

The greatest Nazi-killer of the 20th century was Josef Stalin. He also killed millions of his own people and terrorized, oppressed, enslaved, or brutalized tens of millions more. The fact that he killed Nazis during the Second World War (out of self-preservation, not principle) doesn’t dilute his evil one bit.

This should settle the issue as far as I’m concerned. Nazism was evil. Soviet Communism was evil. It’s fine to believe that Nazism was more evil than Communism. That doesn’t make Communism good.
And the same logic applies to those calling themselves Antifa.

Perhaps someone could get the word to the New York Times that the Soviet Union wasn't quite as much as they're trying to crack it up to be. They've been running a series on the 100-year anniversary of the Communist revolution. This exceedingly stupid article by Kristen Ghodsee arguing that "Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism." You know, because those gulags really did wonders for fun in the sack. No, that was not an Onion parody. Inez Feltscher writes at The Federalist to point out the obvious that, apparently, didn't occur to Ms. Ghodsee.
There is just enough truth in The New York Times article to bolster its radical message. Just as the Roaring Twenties in the United States swept in many changes in women’s social roles, so too the 1920s in the Soviet Union brought a period of genuine sexual libertinism and experimentation, encouraged by the vanguard of communist intellectuals that populated Russian cafes. In the early days after the Bolshevik Revolution, people—especially those far away from the bloody revolution itself—could be more easily forgiven for thinking that communism was going to lead to a happier, more prosperous future, given that most of the twentieth-century examples of its barbarism had yet to occur.

But the reality of life in the Warsaw Pact was decidedly different than the picture Ghodsee paints in her column. My father, who grew up in Communist Poland, describes the women he recalls, married in their 20s and 30s, as “exhausted,” spending most of their time outside of working hours standing in lines and feverishly combing contacts to scrape together the bare necessities for their households.

If American feminists think their “second shift”—working full-time and still remaining primarily responsible for domestic duties—is a burden, they should try to imagine the average woman’s life in communist paradise, where women went without capitalism’s time-saving household appliances and frequently confronted empty grocery shelves.

The laundry list of progressive policies listed in the article—government-paid maternity leave, mandated equality in work, daycare centers to remove parental responsibilities and rear the new generation of homo sovieticus—nowhere near made up for being turned away from the toilet paper line.

And as soon as female liberation came up against the needs of the communist state, those benefits were reversed, as happened in Ceausescu’s Romania. Romania was one of the most “sexually liberated” countries in the Warsaw Pact, but when its government leaders decided it needed more Romanians, contraception and abortion not only lost state support, but became punishable by law virtually overnight.

Yes, Ms. Ghodsee, in communist societies, men and women were equal: equally poor and afraid of their own government.
Aren't there any editors at the New York Times who might have questioned such a column? The fact that they published it tells us a lot about the journalistic practices of the newspaper for which Walter Duranty, Stalin's apologist wrote.

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Charles C.W. Cooke has some fun satirizing the argument put forth in a New York Times column by K-Sue Park, a housing attorney and Critical Race Studies fellow at the UCLA Law School, that the ACLU should stop providing legal help to protect the free speech of those on the right.
Park is correct. It is high time that the ACLU moved onto the right side of History and abandoned the “narrow reading” of the First Amendment that is the result of 50 years of unanimous Supreme Court precedent. In lieu, it must focus on working toward more diverse and productive ends, such as giving Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump the robust censorship powers that they so richly and urgently deserve. The United States federal government is now run at every level by Republicans. So, indeed, are the lion’s share of the governors’ mansions, statehouses, and localities. If the ACLU really knuckles down, it can ensure that these figures — and not pernicious “neutral” principle — determine the edges and contours of America’s civil society.

Don’t bore me with your objections. Park is a smart woman, and she knows what “hate” is. We all do. Hate is hate. It is not speech; it’s hate. Sometimes hate is violence, even when no action is attached. How do I know, you might ask? I know because hate is, by definition, hateful, and that means it’s not speech. And why isn’t it speech? Because it’s hate, and hate isn’t speech. This is basic common sense, rejected only by haters.

The ACLU insists that “preventing the government from controlling speech is absolutely necessary to the promotion of equality.” But more sensible thinkers grasp that quite the opposite is true. As Park notes, any defense of the status quo “perpetuates a misguided theory that all radical views are equal.” They’re not, and, in consequence, an arbiter is necessary. At first, that should be the ACLU, which should simply let some censorship be – or, even better, start endorsing it. And eventually, having been freed up by the ACLU’s backing away from what Park notes correctly is “only First Amendment case law,” the government itself should assume that role. Then, and only then, will some space have been cleared for the wise.

We have an array of differing views in this country, but I think we can all agree that nobody could be better suited to that oversight role than Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump, and the thousands upon thousands of state-level Republicans who have been recently swept into office by the infallible will of the people.

Michael Shermer writes in Scientific American
to trace the roots of intolerance for free speech on college campus back to postmodernism. He points out that there is
a shift in Marxist theory from class conflict to identity politics conflict; instead of judging people by the content of their character, they are now to be judged by the color of their skin (or their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, et cetera). “Postmodernists have tried to hijack biology, have taken over large parts of political science, almost all of anthropology, history and English,” Maitra concludes, “and have proliferated self-referential journals, citation circles, non-replicable research, and the curtailing of nuanced debate through activism and marches, instigating a bunch of gullible students to intimidate any opposing ideas.”
Students are being taught by these postmodern professors that there is no truth, that science and empirical facts are tools of oppression by the white patriarchy, and that nearly everyone in America is racist and bigoted, including their own professors, most of whom are liberals or progressives devoted to fighting these social ills. Of the 58 Evergreen faculty members who signed a statement “in solidarity with students” calling for disciplinary action against Weinstein for “endangering” the community by granting interviews in the national media, I tallied only seven from the sciences. Most specialize in English, literature, the arts, humanities, cultural studies, women's studies, media studies, and “quotidian imperialisms, intermetropolitan geography [and] detournement.” A course called “Fantastic Resistances” was described as a “training dojo for aspiring ‘social justice warriors’” that focuses on “power asymmetries.”
If you teach students to be warriors against all power asymmetries, don't be surprised when they turn on their professors and administrators. This is what happens when you separate facts from values, empiricism from morality, science from the humanities.

Clay Routledge, a psychology at North Dakota State University explains why so many conservatives are feeling antagonistic toward colleges.
They [conservatives] have learned that when the social justice agenda and truth collide, the social justice agenda typically wins. They have learned that professors who offer divergent perspectives are often ostracized and silenced, and that surveys reveal many liberal professors admit they would discriminate against a potential conservative colleague. They have learned that on many campuses conservative speakers or even liberal speakers who do not conform to far-left campus orthodoxy are routinely shouted down or shut out entirely. They have learned that far-left campus activists have destroyed property, threatened violence, and on occasion even engaged in violence with little or no penalty. They have learned that safe spaces, trigger warnings, and bias response teams are often used tactically to silence opinions not deemed sufficiently progressive. They have learned that at some colleges student governments have tried to prevent the existence of conservative student groups. They have learned that many conservative students feel they must keep their political beliefs hidden. I could keep going.

Critically, these are all demonstrably real issues, not right-wing fantasies. It is important to note that daily life on most college campuses is routine and incident free, and this fact is often forgotten. Also, some colleges and universities have done an excellent job avoiding any drama. But it is undeniable that there is a growing authoritarian, anti-free speech, anti-conservative, and, frankly, anti-science, movement happening in American academia.

Try the following thought exercise. Imagine all of these problems in academia and swap the political association from left to right. Imagine conservatives largely control the academy, particularly the fields that have the most to say about social and cultural life. Imagine the social sciences and humanities treat conservative activism as scholarly work. Imagine conservative scholars and activists calling any empirical evidence they don’t like shoddy and prejudiced. Imagine conservative academics ostracizing or silencing anyone who voices a divergent perspective. Imagine that research reveals conservative professors want to prevent liberal academics from joining their ranks. Imagine it is liberal speakers being shouted down or disinvited. Imagine far-right student protestors destroying property and threatening or committing violence against liberal professors, students, and speakers. Imagine conservative controlled student governments trying to prevent liberals from having their own student organizations. Imagine liberal students feeling they need to keep their political beliefs hidden.

With this alternative academic universe in mind, now tell me that liberal media outlets wouldn’t be giving a considerable amount of attention to campus culture and Democrats wouldn’t see colleges as having a negative impact on our country.
I often find such thought exercises very helpful in calibrating how I feel about stories I read. If only liberals could try the same thought exercise. With the list the Routledge just cited and ask yourself is it so bizarre that a recent Pew poll found that 58% of Republicans agreed that "colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country."
Many on the left not only blame conservative media for shifting views among Republicans, they also argue that conservatives are anti-education. First, keep in mind the concerns about campus culture and the ideological biases of certain fields I just discussed. Now, add worries shared by many Americans regarding the economic value of many degrees, the rising cost of a college education, and financially debilitating student loan debt. People shouldn’t assume that faltering faith in American colleges and the academic class reflects a disdain for education. Maybe Republicans see real issues that fall within the liberal blind spot.

Progressive academics and activists often fancy themselves as people who speak truth to power. For many potential students struggling to find their way in an increasingly competitive and economically uncertain world, colleges and universities hold a lot of power. Those in control of colleges and scholarly disciplines need to take a hard look in the mirror and consider some unpleasant facts about the current state of academia....he idea that Republicans don’t care about education and are being manipulated by right-wing media is more of a comforting lie for liberals than an inconvenient truth for conservatives.

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Great wisdom from Charles Barkley.

Here is a handy list of monuments that liberals want to tear down. I'm sure it will grow by the hour.

We can add in Joan of Arc in New Orleans. Somehow, she's an offense to some. And now the horse mascot for USC, Traveler is being criticized because Robert E. Lee's horse was named Traveller.

It does amuse me to hear the Democrats, such as Nancy Pelosi, calling for Paul Ryan to pull down the statues commemorating Confederates in Statuary Hall in the Capitol. Hmmm, wasn't Nancy Pelosi once the Speaker of the House? Why didn't she do anything about it then? Was she held up on that just as she was held up on the dress code that she is also calling on Ryan to change?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Cruising the Web

We can tell how fed up some of Trump's administration are with him by the way they're leaking about him. They've progressed from leaking to attack other people in the administration to talking to the media to make him look bad as we can see from this Politico article.
“In some ways, Trump would rather have people calling him racist than say he backed down the minute he was wrong,” one adviser to the White House said on Wednesday about Charlottesville. “This may turn into the biggest mess of his presidency because he is stubborn and doesn't realize how bad this is getting.”

For Trump, anger serves as a way to manage staff, express his displeasure or simply as an outlet that soothes him. Often, aides and advisers say, he’ll get mad at a specific staffer or broader situation, unload from the Oval Office and then three hours later act as if nothing ever occurred even if others still feel rattled by it. Negative television coverage and lawyers earn particular ire from him.

White House officials and informal advisers say the triggers for his temper are if he thinks someone is lying to him, if he’s caught by surprise, if someone criticizes him, or if someone stops him from trying to do something or seeks to control him.
Gee, what are the chances that a president will be caught by surprise, criticized, have people lie to him or try to get him to do something? If those are his triggers, he must be angry all the time. Politico uses these anonymous leaks to explain the Trump tweet on transgenders in the military.
In one stark example, the president’s dislike of being told what to do played a role in his decision to abruptly ban all transgender people from the military: a move opposed by his own defense secretary, James Mattis, and the head of the Coast Guard, who vowed not to honor the president’s decree.

The president had grown tired of White House lawyers telling him what he could and could not do on the ban and numerous other issues such as labor regulations, said one informal White House adviser. While multiple factors were in play with the transgender ban, Trump has grown increasingly frustrated by the lawyers’ calls for further study and caution, so he took it upon himself to tweet out the news of the ban, partly as a reminder to the lawyers who’s in charge, the adviser said.
Beyond what a crazy way that is for a president to make policy, it's also revealing that his people are still willing to leak stories to make him look bad. Despite all the warnings about hunting out leakers, they're still doing it.

Lots of presidents have had bad temper, but Trump often seems to be driven by his anger. And that fury leads him to make some of the more bone-headed steps of his presidency. The best thing these staffers can say is that his temper isn't provoked by major threats or incidents; it's more about when he perceives that he's been attacked or wronged personally. And given that he's being attacked just about every single day, he is finding a lot to be angry about.

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Guy Benson links to a tweetstorm that Jake Tapper posted noting that there was indeed violence that comes from the left. Tapper links to stories of journalists who were assaulted by Antifa thugs.
Benson notes that the
Antifa defends themselves by saying that the journalist shouldn't have been documenting what they were doing so they attacked him.
A journalist doing his job by filming rioters is a "threat to safety," you see -- not the rioters. And for failing to get their "consent" for doing his job, he's sort of like a rapist. These people aren't just violent liars; they're insane violent liars.
Hmmm, it sounds like blaming the victim, doesn't it?

Peter Hasson does what a lot of journalists haven't done - go read what the Antifa and other far-left say in their own words. And it's pretty horrifying stuff.
A common mantra among far-left groups beginning shortly before the inauguration: make America “ungovernable.”

“We need to make this country ungovernable,” declared a female leader for Refuse Fascism shortly after the inauguration. “We need to do what the German people should have done when Hitler was elected.”

Refuse Fascism was a driving force behind the violent, politically motivated riots in Berkeley....

Another far-left group at Charlottesville last weekend: the Workers World Party, a group of Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries who have declared their support for Kim Jong Un’s murderous dictatorship in North Korea. Workers World’s publication has consistently published propaganda-like screeds supporting Venezuela’s murderous regime.

The communist group “sent many of its members to Charlottesville, Va., to beat back the Nazis and Klan who marched there,” according to a post recapping the group’s participation in the weekend’s violence.

The group took credit for organizing the vandals who toppled a city-owned Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina this week.

Workers’ World’s stated goals are classic Marxism, including igniting an international socialist revolution and “the shutdown of the Pentagon and the use of the war budget” — that is, the funding for the Department of Defense — “to improve the lives of the working class and especially the oppressed peoples.” (links in the original)
Just as it it disturbing that there are people out there who embrace Nazi slogans and paraphernalia, it is also unbelievable that there are such fervent socialists out there that they support Kim Jon Un.

Katherine Timpf has some questions for the nation's socialists whose numbers have grown since Bernie Sanders ran for president. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party (which is most of the party these days) should also provide an answer.
But another part is the way that progressives routinely portray their economic platform as being morally superior. The holier-than-thou branding is everywhere; just think about how often progressives accuse economic conservatives of wanting to kill sick people, just because they believe that the free market can solve problems. The ultra-liberal are the “generous” ones, the ones who want to “give” you things like health care. The conservatives are the mean, old ogres who want to take those things away.

The popularity of the Democratic Socialists seems to suggest that these kinds of tactics are working, and I have just one question: Just how in the hell do so many people seem to believe that it’s “generous” to spend other people’s money?

Let me clear this up for the people who don’t seem to understand: Progressive politicians are not people who are going to “give” you health care, because in order to “give” something, then it has to be yours to give away in the first place. Think about it: If your boyfriend were to surprise you with dinner and a present, then you’d probably be quite happy and thank him for giving you those things. But if you found out that your boyfriend had actually paid for those things using your credit card? Well, then you’d probably think much less of it, and maybe you’d remind him that the only way that that could count as “giving” would be if he were nine and you were his mother. People who advocate for progressive politicians are not advocating gratitude; they’re advocating for big government, plain and simple.

Believing in the ability of big government to solve problems doesn’t make you any better than the people who believe in shrinking government to solve them; it just means that you have a different view of economics. And the politicians who promise to “give” you health care, welfare, and other benefits in exchange for votes aren’t really promising to “give” those things at all; they’re promising to take resources from others in order to fulfill their promises, without ever having to feel the pinch themselves.
Shorter version: There is still no such thing as a free lunch.

Sarah Hoyt is not impressed with the numbers of the white supremacists who showed up in Virginia. One report in the Washington Post gives the number on Friday night at 250. I'm not sure how many were there on Saturday, but Hoyt gives the number at 400. Even if the number is larger, it's still not a very large number.
[I]f there were four hundred neo-Nazis (and that’s assuming some of them weren’t just stupid) there, which there probably weren’t, that’s one in every seven hundred and fifty thousand people in America.

To put this in perspective, the number of people in the U.S. who believe in Big Foot, the number of people who believe in UFOs, the number of flat-earthers, the number of people who believe Star Trek is “all true” and probably the number of people who believe that you, yes, you, Mr. Smith from Main Street in Centerville USA are a dinosaur in disguise -- all these numbers are far more than four hundred.

In fact, you can’t name a belief stupid enough that it doesn’t have at least four hundred adherents somewhere in the USA. And this doesn’t mean that we’re particularly crazy or stupid, no. It just means that in a nation of three hundred million, you’re going to find a lot of crazy, off beat, and strange people.
Yes, it's disturbing that there are any people in the United States who would rally to racist and anti-Semitic slogans to march under Nazi flags. But that's still not a sign of a great wave of racism and Nazi sympathies sweeping the nation. There were over 900 people who were willing to travel to Guyana to follow Jim Jones and followed his directions to commit suicide after having killed a congressman and those with him. The country contains some very wacky and, unfortunately, violent people. But they are the fringe.

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And those white nationalists are finding some unfortunate news for themselves as they take genetic tests to prove their own racial purity. The results are sometimes not quite what they hoped for.
With the rise of spit-in-a-cup genetic testing, there’s a trend of white nationalists using these services to prove their racial identity, and then using online forums to discuss the results.

But like Cobb, many are disappointed to find out that their ancestry is not as “white” as they’d hoped. In a new study, sociologists Aaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan examined years’ worth of posts on Stormfront to see how members dealt with the news.

It’s striking, they say, that white nationalists would post these results online at all. After all, as Panofsky put it, “they will basically say if you want to be a member of Stormfront you have to be 100% white European, not Jewish.”

But instead of rejecting members who get contrary results, Donovan said, the conversations are “overwhelmingly” focused on helping the person to rethink the validity of the genetic test. And some of those critiques — while emerging from deep-seated racism — are close to scientists’ own qualms about commercial genetic ancestry testing.

Panofsky and Donovan presented their findings at a sociology conference in Montreal on Monday. The timing of the talk — some 48 hours after the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. — was coincidental. But the analysis provides a useful, if frightening, window into how these extremist groups think about their genes.
Of course, instead of questioning their odious views, they attack the tests.

Ross Douthat also thinks that people need to calm down and step back to apocalyptic predictions that we're headed for some new civil war If they're not predicting an 1861-style civil war, perhaps, several commentators think we're heading to a period similar to the 1960s and 1970s.
But we are still not close to even that level of breakdown, nowhere close to the social chaos and revolutionary fervor that gave us 2,500 bombings in 18 months during Richard Nixon’s first term. The chaos during Trump’s ascent and presidency has been extreme by the standards of recent politics but not by the standards of America’s worst periods of crisis.
People just seem to want to think that anything they're living through is either the worst of times or the best of times. But let's have some historical perspective. Douthat can explain the "civil-war anxieties" roiling the commentariat. Beyond how the media and Trump exacerbate tensions and social media kick everything up several notches, we have to remember how divided we are these days.
Our divisions are partisan: The parties are more ideologically polarized than at any point in the 20th century, and party loyalty increasingly shapes not just votes but social identity, friendship, where you live and whom you hope your children dominant in

Our divisions are religious: The decline of institutional Christianity means that we have no religious center apart from Oprah and Joel Osteen, the metaphysical gap between the secularist wing of liberalism and religious traditionalists is far wider than the intra-Christian divisions of the past, and on the fringes you can see hints of a fully post-Christian and post-liberal right and left.

Our divisions are racial and ethnic and class-based and generational, conspicuously so in the Trump era. And they are geographic: The metropolis versus the hinterland, the coasts against the middle of the country. It would not be hard to sketch lines on a map partitioning the U.S.A. into two or three or four more homogeneous and perhaps more functional republics. And if you imagined some catastrophe suddenly dissolving our political order and requiring us to start anew, it is not at all clear that we would be able to forge a reunited republic, a second continental nation.
He points out that, while conservative might be dominant today in the federal government and in many states, liberalism rules elsewhere.
Meanwhile liberalism dominates the cultural commanding heights as never before, with not only academia and the media but also late-night television and sportswriting and even young-adult fiction more monolithically and — to conservatives — oppressively progressive.
The result is that people on both sides are feeling threatened and angry. But Douthat does have some optimism.
Thus described, it may sound remarkable that we haven’t plunged into domestic chaos and civil strife already. But not every American is a partisan, there is still more to life than politics for most of us, and under the right circumstances people with deep differences can live together in peace for a great while — so long as events do not force a crisis, so long as the great political or social questions don’t feel so existential and zero-sum that they cannot be managed or endured.

Slavery was such an existential issue — but its closest analogue today, abortion, does not lie so close to the center of our politics. Race, immigration and religious liberty are all volatile, but the specific controversies are more incremental than existential: Voter-ID laws are not Jim Crow, and toppling Confederate statues isn’t Reconstruction; refugee restrictions aren’t internment camps; fights over the rights of Christian businesses and colleges are not a persecution.

An economic crisis can spur a crackup. But our wealth and the welfare state both cushion us substantially, as we saw after the Great Recession....

Things are getting worse in many ways, and the rest of the Trump era does not promise much in the way of healing and reconciliation. But despite what scripture tells us, in politics a house divided against itself can sometimes stand for quite a while — so long as most people prefer its roof to the rain and wind, and relatively few have a clear and pressing incentive to start knocking down the walls.
I find myself finding comfort in Adam Smith's observation after the British lost the battle of Saratoga that "There is a great deal of ruin in a nation."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cruising the Web

Kevin Williamson asks what the "white boys" protesting in Charlottesville are so angry about.
What do these angry white boys in Virginia want?

There is some value in taking them at their word, or the 14 of them that make up the basic creed of the white-nationalist movement: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” Well, all right. I suppose there are a few campus radicals who oppose the existence of white people, though so far as I can tell this is mainly rhetoric rather than a plan of action. The angry white boys talk about “white genocide,” a concept that is as conveniently vague and amorphous as “white privilege,” of which “white genocide” of course is only the rhetorical obverse. If they are outlandish in generality, they are muddy in specificity. They complain that white men are blamed for all of society’s troubles, that racial and ethnic pride is permitted to everyone except whites (no one has informed the Irish Americans of this), and that they are being “displaced” by immigrants....

What does an angry white boy want? The fact that they get together to play dress-up — to engage in a large and sometimes murderous game of cowboys and Indians — may give us our answer. They want to be someone other than who they are. That’s the great irony of identity politics: They seek identity in the tribe because they are failed individuals. They are a chain composed exclusively of weak links. What they are engaged in isn’t politics, but theater: play-acting in the hopes of achieving catharsis. Their online personas — knights, Vikings, reincarnations of Charles Martel — will be familiar enough to anybody with a Dungeons and Dragons nerd in his life. But sometimes, role-playing around a card table isn’t enough: Sometimes, you need a stage and an audience. In the theater, actors and audience both can forget ourselves for an hour or two. Under the soft glow of the tiki torches, these angry white boys can be something else — for a night.

Daniel Henninger is also pondering the pointlessness
of where are politics is going in the wake of Charlottesville.
Charlottesville was a warning. The warning is that America’s politics is steadily disconnecting from reality. Our politics is starting to seem psychotic.

Generally people get into politics to accomplish something concrete or achievable—the passage of a piece of legislation or of identifiable public policies whose purpose is to make things better. In a word, progress.

The right and the left have disagreed for centuries on what works, but they at least shared a belief that the point of their political activity was to accomplish something real.

Charlottesville was a political riot. Is Charlottesville the future?

Some may say the Charlottesville riot was the lunatic fringe of the right and left, with no particular relevance to what falls in between. But I think Charlottesville may be a prototype of a politics that is drifting away from traditional norms of behavior and purpose.

Street protest has become the politics du jour. Groups form constantly in the streets to chant slogans. America’s campuses live amid perpetual protest.

The protests no doubt are based in belief or sentiment of some sort, but it is more often than not difficult to recognize any political goal normally associated with conservatism, liberalism or progressivism. Much of it looks like acting out or pleas for attention.
He then makes a good point about what young people might gather about politics today.
A young person new to politics and paying attention to what the Republicans did with ObamaCare reform, or to the Democrats’ content-free “resistance,” could reasonably conclude Congress is no longer about politics, but about something else. TV face-time or maybe Twitter , but not politics.

Traditional politics is being overtaken by a cult of self-referencing. From the nonstop street protests to what is going on in Washington—everything now is just a selfie.

Amid this torrent, an odd paradox emerges: People are consuming more content and detail about politics than ever, and more people than ever are saying, “I have no idea what is going on.” Someone is at fault here, and it is not the confused absorbers of information.

Charlottesville is being pounded into the national psyche this week as a paroxysm of white nationalism. On current course, the flight from politics is going to look like rational behavior.

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All this has led to a big debate about statues commemorating Confederate leaders. To tell the truth, I hold no brief for Confederates. These are men who fought to divide the United States and so, in my mind, were guilty of treason and they don't deserve honoring. Don't tell me that they were fighting for their heritage. If you examine what the states said at the time they seceded, their quarrel with the federal government was all about slavery. Many of the men who were military and political leaders were themselves slaveowners. So I have always been struck at how much of the South still honors the Confederacy. On the other hand, I'm a history teacher and I dislike the idea of trying to remove uncomfortable history. I prefer the proposals to either move the statues to Confederate cemeteries or museums. Or to add some context around the statues.

I remember when there was a lot of controversy about adding context about what the war was about to Civil War historic sites. Critics tried to differentiate between a military site and the history of the war. I didn't see why it had to be one or the other. Go visit the renovated visitors' center at Gettysburg. I think they did a superb job. They present a history of what led up to the war in interactive displays using primary documents such as the secession ordinances and newspapers. They also have a detailed military history of the war up to that point and the three days of fighting there at Gettysburg as well as information looking at the following events during the war and in the South after wards. One could spend hours there before even venturing out to the actual battlefield.

Some of the debate over taking down Confederate statues revolves around the fact that there is no limiting principle. As Trump said, who will they go after next: George Washington or Thomas Jefferson? Kyle Smith expresses this argument. He's willing to take down Confederate monuments or the statue to Roger Taney, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who authored the Dred Scott decision. He points out that many of these statues were put up, not after the War, but during the civil-rights era. But that won't be the end of it.
But it is a characteristic of leftists that they are always pushing the culture wars into new territory, even territory that the Left itself would have called absurd overreach a few years previously. On Monday, the mayor of Baltimore agreed to take down its Civil War statues...

Let’s consider what that might mean to the Left. At Pepperdine University, a Christopher Columbus statue was taken down after a protest. There are statues of Columbus all over the country, including one in Central Park. If an angry mob surrounds that one and starts pulling it down, how will police react? A statue of Teddy Roosevelt at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City drew an angry crowd demanding its removal (and for Columbus Day to be renamed) last October. If TR doesn’t belong on the Upper West Side, how does he belong on Mount Rushmore?

Up in Boston, a writer hints that the city should remove local statues of historian Samuel Eliot Morison (who “used language in his writings on slavery that chafed readers”), Henry Cabot Lodge (“a staunch believer in American imperialism”), and even, I kid you not, Abraham Lincoln. (Thomas Ball, who sculpted the latter, wouldn’t let a black man into the house to pose for the statue, which depicts a freed slave kneeling at the president’s feet.) This argument isn’t on the fringe: It was contained in a column written by Pulitzer-shortlisted critic Ty Burr and published in one of the most prestigious newspapers in the country, the Boston Globe. My longtime colleague at the New York Post, film critic Lou Lumenick, carried the logic of Confederate-flag removal through to Confederate-film removal and called for Gone with the Wind to be placed in a museum.

Listen to the way the Left talks about the statues: “The truth is that the desperation to preserve this particular ‘heritage’ and ‘past’ is a facade for something more malignant,” wrote Christine Emba in the Washington Post. “It’s privileged status, not history, that’s being protected.” If this is a war on symbols of “privileged status,” it can never end.

Once every Confederate monument in the country is down, what then? How is a statue of an ordinary rebel soldier in Durham, N.C., more offensive than a gorgeous building-sized tribute to slave-owning racist Thomas Jefferson on the Tidal Basin? We are reaching the point where, if the Washington Monument were to be blown up tomorrow, it would be anyone’s guess whether jihadists or the “anti-fascist” Left did it.
And indeed, we're already hearing a Chicago pastor calling for pulling down a statue of George Washington.
Even if taking down the statues is a good idea, this isn’t the moment to do it. Emotions are running hot. When a mob is in a frenzy, maintain order until tempers cool. Don’t give it space to destroy. Rich [Lowry] believes that the statues need to go because they are becoming “rallying points for neo-Nazis,” but I can’t believe that the white supremacists, small and feeble as their movement is, would disappear if all of the old Confederate statues were taken down. If anything, that would give them a fillip of energy, a recruitment tool. The best response to white supremacists is to let them march and let them speak — then ridicule and marginalize them. This isn’t hard: They’re already ridiculous and marginal. Civil War statues may be beloved by white supremacists, but they are a kind of speech, and the antidote to bad speech is more speech. Don’t care for a statue of Robert E. Lee? Fine. I don’t either. Let’s recontextualize it. Let’s put up a statue of Harriet Tubman next to it. History is an ongoing discussion.
Ilya Somin, however, writes at the Volokh Conspiracy, that we shouldn't let slippery slope arguments determine our approach to such statues.
The argument fails because there are obviously relevant distinctions that can be made between Washington and Jefferson on the one hand and Confederate leaders on the other.

One crucial distinction it misses is that few if any monuments to Washington, Jefferson and other slaveowning Founders were erected for the specific purpose of honoring their slaveholding. By contrast, the vast majority of monuments to Confederate leaders were erected to honor their service to the Confederacy, whose main reason for existing was to protect and extend slavery....

Some try to justify continuing to honor Confederates because we honor many other historical figures who committed various moral wrongs. For example, many of the Founding Fathers also owned slaves, just like many leading Confederates did. But the Founders deserve commemoration because their complicity in slavery was outweighed by other, more positive achievements, such as establishing the Constitution. By contrast, leading a war in defense of slavery was by far the most important historical legacy of Davis, Robert E. Lee, and other Confederate leaders. If not for secession and Civil War, few would remember them today....

By Trump’s logic, taking down German monuments to Hitler and Goebbels might lead to the removal of monuments to Immanuel Kant, who expressed racist sentiments in some of his writings. Getting rid of monuments to Lenin and Stalin might lead people to take down monuments to Picasso, who was also a communist. Where will it all stop?
I agree with his argument distinguishing between monuments to the Founders who were also slaveholders and those who fought to secede from the Union because they feared that the election of Abraham Lincoln might lead to limitations on slavery. But I fear that there are many who are advocating tearing down the statues who have bit in their teeth and they won't stop based on rather subtle distinctions. In their minds, nothing the Founders did balances their owning slaves and thus they must all come down. And they won't stop there as they pore over books to find the slightest racist, sexist, or imperialist statement from anyone in the past. With such people, the slope is indeed quite slippery.

I like Condoleezza Rice's answer.
Asked about the value of preserving statues that honor slaveowners in a May interview on Fox News, Condoleezza Rice argued against what she called the "sanitizing" of history. "I am a firm believer in 'keep your history before you' and so I don't actually want to rename things that were named for slave owners," she said. "I want us to have to look at those names and recognize what they did and to be able to tell our kids what they did, and for them to have a sense of their own history."

"When you start wiping out your history, sanitizing your history to make you feel better, it's a bad thing," the former secretary of state added.

Rice's defense in favor of preservation is rooted in an argument that is the basic opposite of the reason white nationalists are rallying for Lee. They believe it to be a persistent reminder of a positive history. Rice, on the other hand, believes preserving monuments to the darker moments of our past ensures future generations are acquainted with history and charge forward rather than backward, away from the mistakes of their ancestors, rather than into their fading bronze arms....

In an interview later that month, Rice addressed Confederate monuments again by remarking, "It's not actually our heritage, it's our history," adding, "We as a people have thankfully moved on."
When in doubt, I like the idea of more history, rather than less history.

And how about pulling down this statue in Seattle if we're going after historic figures who oppressed and murdered others?
Standing in the middle of it all is a statue that has always done its job of attracting second looks. And now, in the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Va., and a statue’s place in clashes that occurred there last weekend, a well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist is drawing new attention to Seattle’s often controversial sculpture, suggesting that it should be removed.

The 16-foot tall bronze sculpture of Russian Communist revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin has stood in Fremont since 1995. According to the Fremont website, it was acquired by an American veteran named Lewis Carpenter who was teaching in Poprad, Slovakia.

The statue was toppled during the 1989 revolution in the former Czechoslovakia that overthrew the Communist Party. Carpenter found it in a scrap yard and worked to get it back to the Seattle area because he was impressed by the skill and craftsmanship of the portrayal.
If he liked it for its art, put it in an art museum.
Venture capitalist Benedict Evans is among those making some noise online, calling for the removal of Seattle’s Lenin, saying it’s a good one to add to the list if you want to pull down statues of “profoundly evil people.”
Evans pointed out that "there are no statues of Hitler. There should be none of Lenin."

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John Stossel has a hilarious response to women working at Google who were so upset over James Damore's memo suggesting that there might be reasons other than sexism why there aren't many female computer programmers working there.
Why aren't there more women criminals?! Men in jail outnumber women by a ratio of 14-to-1. We male stutterers outnumber women, too.

This isn't fair! We need more affirmative action! These disparities must be caused by sex discrimination because everyone knows there are no real differences between genders.

After all, Google fired engineer James Damore for daring to suggest that there is a biological reason men dominate tech leadership.
As he goes on to list differences between females and males, he asserts one fact that struck me.
Even male baby monkeys like playing with trucks more than female monkeys do.
I had never heard that before. A second's research found that it is indeed true according to a study done by researchers led by Janice Hassett of the Yerkes National Primate Center at Emory University .
In their study, the researchers compared how 34 rhesus monkeys living in a single troop interacted with human toys categorized as either masculine or feminine. The “masculine” set consisted of wheeled toys preferred by human boys (e.g., a wagon, a truck, a car, and a construction vehicle); the “feminine” set was comprised of plush toys comparable to stuffed animals and dolls (e.g., a Raggedy-Ann™ doll, a koala bear hand puppet, an armadillo, a teddy bear, and a turtle). Individual monkeys were released into an outdoor area containing one wheeled toy and one plush toy, with the researchers taping all interactions using separate cameras for each toy, identifying all specific behaviors, and statistically analyzing the results.

The results closely paralleled those found in human children. As with human boys, male rhesus monkeys clearly preferred wheeled toys over plush toys, interacting significantly more frequently and for long durations with the wheeled toys. Also mirroring human behavior, female rhesus monkeys were less specialized, playing with both plush and wheeled toys and not exhibiting significant preferences for one type over the other.
I doubt that the monkeys were influenced by sexist monkey culture.

This experiment reminded me of a moment with my two daughters when they were young. I had bought a bag of trucks at a yard sale and gave them to the girls to play with. When my husband went to check on them and asked them how it was going with the trucks, my youngest (then two years old) responded happily that they were having fun and "THe daddy and mommy trucks were taking the baby truck to the park." There went my attempt to give them toys that weren't geared to girls.

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Jason Riley writes that Donald Trump is following the Obama model of "moral equivalence."
initial reaction also evinced an Obama-like reluctance to denounce despicable behavior forcefully and in no uncertain terms.

When five policemen were gunned down in Dallas last year, Mr. Obama said there was no justification for violence against law enforcement—but then he added a comment about racial inequity in the criminal-justice system. After violent demonstrators pillaged Baltimore in 2015 following the death of a black man in police custody, Mr. Obama dutifully condemned the rioters—but not without also noting that “we have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions.”

What we heard from Mr. Trump on Saturday, when he said “many sides” were to blame for what took place in Charlottesville, was more of the same equivocation. Both presidents were less interested in moral clarity than in placating fringe groups out of political expediency. The difference is that Mr. Obama’s caucus mostly indulged his racial innuendo, while Mr. Trump’s called him on it.
Riley points out that getting rid of Steve Bannon doesn't necessarily mean that Trump would sound less sympathetic to the alt-right.
Calls are now multiplying for Mr. Trump to rid his White House of chief strategist Steve Bannon and other alt-right sympathizers, and you’d get no objections to doing so from this columnist. But who’s to say for certain that Mr. Bannon’s presence is the root problem? When Mr. Trump took his time last year disavowing David Duke after the former Klan leader endorsed him for president, Mr. Bannon had yet to join the campaign. Perhaps Mr. Trump’s problem is not his staff.
Sadly, race relations deteriorated even while an African American man was in the Oval OFfice.
Race relations declined sharply under Mr. Obama, according to polling in the final months of 2016; by the time Mr. Trump entered office, they were already at their tensest since the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. The videos captured, and spread widely through social media, of police encounters with black suspects no doubt contributed to the problem. The data show a steep decline in police shootings in recent decades. But anecdotal evidence, no matter how unrepresentative of reality, packs a more powerful punch than the recitation of dry statistics.

Mr. Obama’s attempts to advance black interests through heightened group identity and us-against-them rhetoric didn’t help. He embraced openly antiwhite groups like Black Lives Matter and racially polarizing figures like Al Sharpton. The subsequent rise of the alt-right may be history repeating itself. The Black Power movement of the 1960s was followed by an increase in the number of skinheads and other white-identity groups in the 1970s and ’80s, including among more-educated whites who had previously kept their distance. Similarly, Richard Spencer, who was in Charlottesville on Saturday and is one the country’s more prominent white nationalists, is the son of a physician. He earned degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago before dropping out of a doctoral program at Duke.
But pointing to Obama's moral equivalence and stoking of black identity politics doesn't let Trump off the hook.
It would be unfair to blame Mr. Trump for racial divisions, but it is fair to say he has successfully exploited them and taken little interest in trying to narrow them. The evidence suggests Mr. Trump won the election primarily by flipping former supporters of Mr. Obama. Maybe the president is convinced, like many of his liberal opponents, that the alt-right carried him to victory. His behavior so far certainly suggests at much.

Where does this leave people who reject the politicization of race? In a bad way that could get worse before it gets better. The white supremacists who organized last weekend’s events are reportedly planning several more. The media no doubt will cover these rallies like never before, giving demonstrators, with their Hitler salutes and Tiki torches, all the attention they crave.
I fear we're fated for the rinse and repeat cycle of this depressing story.

Things are so bad in Venezuela that a few of its soldiers had to go to Guyana to beg for food.
A handful of Venezuelan soldiers — armed and in uniform — were caught in neighboring Guyana last week begging for food, local police reported, another sign of Venezuela’s deepening hunger crisis.
If the soldiers are starving, how long can Maduro retain control of the military?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cruising the Web

Senator Rubio had a good thread on what the proper response should have been to the attacks in Charlottesville. And if this president were educable on anything beyond his own ego, this comment should resonate with him. But it won't.

Ask yourself just who was heartened by the President's press conference yesterday and the answer won't be those people in this country who are looking for a lessening of racial tensions. As David French writes, his press conference was an alt-right's dream.
Let’s be very clear about what just happened at Donald Trump’s press conference. He gave the alt-right its greatest national media moment ever. He even called some of them “very fine people.” Don’t believe me? Watch this key statement:...

To understand the significance of Trump’s words, you have to understand a bit about the alt-right. While its members certainly march with Nazis and make common cause with neo-Confederates, it views itself as something different. They’re the “intellectual” adherents to white identity politics. They believe their movement is substantially different and more serious than the Klansmen of days past. When Trump carves them away from the Nazis and distinguishes them from the neo-Confederates, he’s doing exactly what they want. He’s making them respectable. He’s making them different.

But “very fine people” don’t march with tiki torches chanting “blood and soil” or “Jews will not replace us.” The Charlottesville rally was a specific “unite the right” rally that sought to bind the alt-right together with all these other groups. The alt-right wants it both ways. They want the strength in numbers of the larger fascist right while also enjoying the credibility granted them by Breitbart, Steve Bannon, Milo, and — today — the president of the United States.

The most pernicious forms of evil always mix truth and lies. So, yes, there were kernels of truth in some of Trump’s statements. No question there were hateful, violent leftists in Charlottesville this weekend. And on the question of monuments, Trump is right to point out the lack of a limiting principle. We already know that some on the Left have their eyes set on demolishing or removing monuments and memorials that have nothing to do with the Confederacy, but all that pales in importance compared to his stubborn and angry attempts not just at moral equivalence (after all, no one on the Left committed murder this weekend) but at actually whitewashing evil.

What makes this all the more puzzling is that it is so easy to say the right thing here. Do not call anyone at a racist rally a ”very fine” person. It’s not hard to name and condemn an act of alt-right terrorism. It’s not hard to name and condemn the alt-right without equivocation. And it’s not hard to also condemn political violence on all sides. If you think Trump did those things, and sent the right message to the racists, think again. Alt-right Twitter overflowed with gratitude. Richard Spencer declared that Trump “cares about the truth,” and others complimented him for his “uncucking.”
It should be a sign to the President that he received a congratulatory tweet from David Duke. But Trump adores being admired so maybe he doesn't mind that the praise came from an anti-Semitic racist as long as it's praise.

While Trum pis right to blast the violence on those who marched on the left and to call out the media for not talking about those who came armed with cudgels to countermarch against the white nationalists, it was still the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who were marching in the first place. But there is no excuse for talking about the supposedly decent and "very fine people" on both sides. And he didn't need to wait for the facts. As Ben Shapiro points out, when the White House was arguing that Trump's Saturday statement was supposed to be a condemnation of those groups.
Second, Trump knew all the facts. Everybody knew the facts, which is why Trump’s written statement on Saturday reportedly included a condemnation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists. No, Trump isn’t a considered fellow just waiting for all the evidence to arise. He delayed because he wanted to delay.

Then the doozy: Trump defended the alt-right.
Trump said that he watched the march on Friday and thought the rally was people "Protesting very quietly, the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee." He told us that he watched the video from the march more carefully than the journalists did. Apparently, he missed those marchers on Friday chanting "Jews will not replace us."

On Monday, the President made measured comments on the events in Charlottesville and directly spoke against the racism of the groups gathered there. It was a good statement, but a couple of days late if it were going to have any positive effect on the feelings of the country that watched that march. Trump read that statement off a teleprompter. Then, when a lot of the commentary was that the statement was too late, Trump went on Twitter to blast his critics. And he gave an impromptu press conference yesterday in which he stated that he needed more facts before he could speak on Saturday. Really? He needed more facts than the sight of people marching with Confederate and Nazi flags shouting racist and anti-Semitic slogans?

He talked about the good people who were mixed in with the despicable people in the white supremacist march. You know, if you're a good person, you don't march alongside those waving swastikas. That isn't a hard decision to make. But it is for Trump.

WHich statement - the one from the teleprompter or the one in his press conference do you think represents what Trump really thinks?

As always with this guy, his own words and actions bring create the problems that he faces. It has been ever thus since he entered the campaign. You can blame the media and the left, but at the heart of the problem is what Trump says himself.

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Emma Green writes
in The Atlantic about the anti-Semitism of those marchers. They're not just white supremacists; they're all-purpose haters. Blacks, Jews, Muslims, immigrants...they despise them all.
The demonstration was suffused with anti-black racism, but also with anti-Semitism. Marchers displayed swastikas on banners and shouted slogans like “blood and soil,” a phrase drawn from Nazi ideology. “This city is run by Jewish communists and criminal niggers,” one demonstrator told Vice News’ Elspeth Reeve during their march. As Jews prayed at a local synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, men dressed in fatigues carrying semi-automatic rifles stood across the street, according to the temple’s president. Nazi websites posted a call to burn their building. As a precautionary measure, congregants had removed their Torah scrolls and exited through the back of the building when they were done praying....

In the world sketched by white supremacists, Jews hover malevolently in the background, pulling strings, controlling events, acting as an all-powerful force backing and enabling the other targets of their hate. That’s clear in statements made by people like Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who proudly marched with other white supremacists in Charlottesville. Jewish Zionists, he complained to a gathered crowd, control the media and American political system.
It really is horrifying to see these strains of hate groups that we thought had all dwindled down to a few kooks be able to gather a large crowd of people being willing to be videotaped on camera spewing such ugliness.

Ben Shapiro argues that the alt-right and Antifa are serving to expand each other. They exacerbate tensions which leads to more people joining each side. It's a horrifying cycle.
Now they’re growing. And they’re largely growing in opposition to one another. In fact, the growth of each side reinforces the growth of the other: The mainstream Left, convinced that the enemies of social-justice warriors are all alt-right Nazis, winks and nods at left-wing violence; the right, convinced that its SJW enemies are focused on racial polarization, embraces the alt-right as a form of resistance. Antifa becomes merely a radical adjunct to traditional Democratic-party politics; the alt-right becomes merely a useful tool for scurrilous Republican politicians and media figures.
Shapiro goes on to explain what he thinks is causing this: increasing political politicization, media malfeasance, and political convenience.
Finally, there’s political convenience.

Obama’s repeated references to American racism weren’t his only sin. He repeatedly shunned opportunities to tamp down leftist racial radicalism. He made excuses for riots in Ferguson and Baltimore. He used the shooting of Dallas police officers by a radical black activist as an opportunity to lecture Americans about the evils of racist policing. He knew that his political support came in large measure from SJWs, and he cultivated them.

Meanwhile, on the right, Trump did the same. During the campaign, he ignored opportunity after opportunity to break with the alt-right. He refused to condemn the KKK on national television; he refused to condemn his supporters’ sending anti-Semitic messages to journalists; he hired as his campaign strategist Steve Bannon, a man who openly celebrated turning Breitbart into a “platform for the alt-right.” Trump saw the alt-right as convenient allies, his meme-making “deplorable” friends on the Internet. They reveled in both his unwillingness to condemn them and his willingness to share their work.

And so here we are. The mainstream Left has been increasingly suckered into walking hand-in-hand with the SJWs while ignoring the most egregious activities of Antifa; the mainstream Right has been increasingly seduced into footsie with alt-right associates while feigning ignorance at the alt-right itself.

That’s why Charlottesville matters: not only because we saw destruction and terror, but because if all Americans of good conscience won’t do some soul-searching and move to excise the evil in their midst, that evil will metastasize. There is a cancer in the body politic. We must cut it out, or be destroyed.

It should be okay to discuss leftist violence without being tagged as an apologist for neo-Nazis. There were leftist protesters who came primed for violence in Charlottesville and elsewhere.
Namely, that real protestors don’t carry baseball bats, crowbars and mace. Yet Saturday’s bloody clash in Charlottesville showed that many on both sides came ready to rumble.

While attention understandably is focused on the white racist who allegedly killed Heather Heyer with his car, blood was flowing freely before that tragedy. The mutual mayhem was so ferocious that cops withdrew, with one telling Fox News it was “too dangerous” to intervene.

In many videos, not a single cop is visible as dozens of combatants batter each other. One man is seen holding a device that is shooting a flame several feet long.

Similar scenarios have played out across the country in recent months, and many, including on college campuses, follow a pattern. Angry protests, usually against conservative speakers, turn violent, with windows smashed and fires set — and police do little more than watch.

The lax response reflects the contagion of what Heather MacDonald called the “Ferguson effect” after the riots in Ferguson, Mo. three years ago this month.

Recall that the St. Louis suburb was the scene of rampant violence, complete with arson and looting, after the police shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American.

Police were held back as commercial areas burned, and with violence erupting over a period of months, the National Guard was called in — and also initially held back.
But that doesn't excuse the white supremacists and mean that they shouldn't be called out and condemned by name. Guy Benson talks about the problems that both the Right and Left have with "whataboutism."
As I've written, 'whataboutism' definitely can be a problem on the Right, as partisans justify or defend controversial actions from Trump, for example, by raising tendentious "but what about...?" points to deflect from the substance of the criticism at hand. An endless merry-go-round of, 'oh yeah, well your side did this other bad thing' finger-pointing has the effect of excusing bad behavior, and does little to improve anyone's conduct.
But the Left has its own problems with this.
Because Trump loyalists go to the 'whataboutism' well far too often, many liberals' reflexive instinct has become to over-apply that term as a means of delegitimizing any and all reasonable arguments that apply to their "side," regardless of relevance or context....

A national discussion about political violence must include the obviously relevant fascistic thuggery of Antifa Leftists. Noting that Charlottesville police said the clashes were engaged by 'mutual combatants' does not diminish the evil of white supremacy or neo-Nazism. At all. It states a fact about the nature of the violent upheaval on the ground. President Trump's error over the weekend was failing to call out and reject specific hate groups by name; it was not accurately condemning grave criminality on both sides of the armed conflict (in this case, the immorality of one side's aggression dwarfed the other's, due to the heinous, lethal car attack). Antifa's brutality and violence hasn't merely been limited to the horrible spectacle in Virginia. They've assaulted Trump supporters at political events, they've rioted to prevent others' exercise of free speech rights, and they've used threats and intimidation to cancel civic events in which Republicans planned to participate. If we are serious about putting a stop to escalating political violence in America, acknowledging the far-Left's significant contribution to the problem is not "whataboutism." It's aboutism.

I'll also add that the other element of the Times story that irked me was its passing reference to the Scalise shooting, which was name-checked only through the prism of conservatives "seizing on" the incident to make a point. This is an echo of the tiresome "Republicans pounce" trope, in which journalists frame coverage by focusing on the Right's response to an incident, rather than the incident itself. If we're talking about the hate and bloodshed that does exist "on many sides" a recent, politically-motivated attempted massacre of Republican Congressmen by an avowed leftist is a giant, glaring data point. And yes, conservatives did notice that the tone, breadth and duration of the resulting media coverage was markedly different than what we witnessed in the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting -- which turned out not to have been political in nature, in spite of the Left's collective rush to judgment. None of this excuses the White House's grossly insufficient immediate response to the grotesque hatred and deadly chaos in Charlottesville, but it absolutely pertains to the wider debate.

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Some observant viewers of CNN have noted the "fun" that the network is having in writing the chyrons when discussing Mitch McConnell. The chyron is the words written at the bottom of the screen to give viewers an idea of what the story is about. One day the chyron was "Mitch Please" as they talked about the irritation revealed in comments by McConnell and Trump.
Blitzer went on to say that "key" Republican senators are coming out to defend McConnell, but that was lost on several Twitter users who were stuck on the chyron, which alludes to the phrase, "bitch please," and is also the name of a Snoop Dogg song from 1999 featuring Nate Dogg and Xzibit.
And if you think it's all just a coincidence, how about earlier in the day when the chyron was "Mitch slapped"?

Yup, that's mature and dignified.

Our school is preparing to go one-to-one next year meaning that each student is going to have a Chromebook that can be used in class for interactive lessons or research or just for taking notes. Since I like taking notes on a laptop when I'm at a teacher workshop, I would encourage students to take notes on their Chromebooks. However, the research seems to present warnings to students who are taking their notes on a laptop versus writing out in longhand.
Obviously it is advantageous to draft more complete notes that precisely capture the course content and allow for a verbatim review of the material at a later date. Only it isn’t. New research by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer demonstrates that students who write out their notes on paper actually learn more. Across three experiments, Mueller and Oppenheimer had students take notes in a classroom setting and then tested students on their memory for factual detail, their conceptual understanding of the material, and their ability to synthesize and generalize the information. Half of the students were instructed to take notes with a laptop, and the other half were instructed to write the notes out by hand. As in other studies, students who used laptops took more notes. In each study, however, those who wrote out their notes by hand had a stronger conceptual understanding and were more successful in applying and integrating the material than those who used took notes with their laptops.