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Monday, September 21, 2015

Cruising the Web

How tragic that Jake Brewer, the husband of Mary Katharine Ham died this weekend while participating in a bike ride to raise money to fight cancer. He sounds like he was a terrific man. Mary Katharine is one of the best young conservative writers around. I met her once in person and she was as nice and cheerful in person as her writing would indicate. How absoluting tragic that her husband and father of her daughter and the baby she is pregnant with should die so needlessly. There is a gofundme account to provide for the education of their two children.

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The Washington Post notes that Obama's administration is inviting guests that offend the Vatican to the arrival ceremony for the Pope and draws a contrast to how they treated the Castros.
THE VATICAN has raised objections to a few of the guests invited to the White House arrival ceremony next week for Pope Francis. The Wall Street Journal reported that the guests include transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and a nun who criticizes church policies on abortion and euthanasia. The Vatican worries that photos taken with the pope might be used to suggest his endorsement of activities he in fact disapproves of....

What struck us as we read about this small controversy is the contrast between the administration’s apparent decision to risk a bit of rudeness in the case of the pope and its overwhelming deference to foreign dictators when similar issues arise. When Secretary of State John F. Kerry traveled to Havana to reopen the U.S. Embassy recently, he painstakingly excluded from the guest list any democrat, dissident or member of civil society who might offend the Castro brothers.

And when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to the White House next week, shortly after the pope leaves town, it’s a safe bet that he won’t have to risk being photographed with anyone of whom he disapproves. Chen Guangcheng, the courageous blind lawyer, for example, lives nearby in exile, but he probably won’t be at the state dinner. Neither will Falun Gong activists, democracy advocates or anyone else who might, well, give offense.

A cynic might say it’s easy to explain the difference. The pope, famously, has no army — or, to update the cliche, no carrier-busting missiles, and relatively few U.S. Treasury bonds in his portfolio. On the other hand, Pope Francis, whatever you think of the Catholic Church’s policies on abortion and gay marriage, has been during his short tenure a powerful voice for more tolerance and inclusion, while Mr. Xi is responsible for ever-growing repression. Maybe that should count for something, too, as the guest lists are drawn up.
This administration is quite willing to kiss up to dictators. Non-dictators - not so much. Sadly, the Pope is at risk of displaying the same tendency.
The first victory we can claim is that our hearts are free of hatred. Hence we say to those who persecute us and who try to dominate us: ‘You are my brother. I do not hate you, but you are not going to dominate me by fear.’

Those words were spoken in 2002 by Oswaldo José Payá—a Cuban Roman Catholic and the founder of the island’s Christian Liberation Movement. He was addressing the European Parliament, which had given him the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. He emphasized his dream of Cuban reconciliation: “We are going to seek the truth together. This is the liberation which we are proclaiming.”

Payá was brave, eloquent and dedicated to nonviolent change. That made him dangerous to the regime. In 2012 he was killed when the car he was riding in, according to its driver, was run off the road by another vehicle. The Castro regime did not allow a transparent investigation of the crash.

The Cuban dissident movement that Payá energized is essentially a Catholic movement. Its struggle for human dignity is built on a faith handed down by the earliest Christians, who were brutalized by pagan Rome. Its heroes are also harassed, beaten, imprisoned, exiled and even murdered for peacefully expressing their love of God and neighbor.

This is why Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba that began on Saturday evening and runs until midday Tuesday is generating controversy. Any refusal to acknowledge the men and women of the resistance risks turning the trip into a papal punch in the gut to the island’s devout Catholics. However, the pope would not be in Cuba if Raúl Castro hadn’t thought that his tour would be good for the regime’s image. To express solidarity with dissidents the pope would have to offend his hosts.

The signals ahead of the visit were not encouraging for nonconformists. The Vatican spent months preparing the public for a show choreographed by Castro, his military dictatorship and Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega. Last week Rome said that a meeting with dictator emeritus, Fidel Castro, was “probable.” Catholic activists, who were begging for an audience of their own, were still waiting for an answer.

Another troubling development this summer was a statement by Cardinal Ortega that the dictatorship no longer holds political prisoners. That’s a howler. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported in June that it has documented 71 political prisoners. There are likely many more. The penal code, modeled on the Soviet penal code, makes the mere appearance of “dangerousness” a crime. Anyone not judged sufficiently revolutionary can be, and often is, locked up.

Earlier this month the regime announced that in honor of the pope’s visit it would release some 3,500 inmates from its jails. But the dictatorship said that those who have committed “crimes against state security” or the crime of killing a cow—to get food—are not part of the release. Translation: Desperate acts to feed your family or political transgressions are unforgivable.

Catholic dissidents have not lost hope that the pontiff will see them. Earlier this month five democracy activists holed up in the Cathedral of San Rosendo in the province of Pinar del Rio and issued a statement asking for human rights and support from Francis. Church officials had them arrested.

In the year the Castros took over (1959) they executed more than 1,000 men, many of faith, by firing squad. Valiant cries of “long live Christ the King” are said to have reverberated in those prison courtyards just before the triggers were pulled. Soon priests and nuns were exiled and God was outlawed to make room for Marxism.

George Will is not impressed with what he calls "Pope Francis' fact-free flamboyance."
pe Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert’s indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak — if his policy prescriptions were not as implausible as his social diagnoses are shrill.

Supporters of Francis have bought newspaper and broadcast advertisements to disseminate some of his woolly sentiments that have the intellectual tone of fortune cookies. One example: “People occasionally forgive, but nature never does.” The Vatican’s majesty does not disguise the vacuity of this. Is Francis intimating that environmental damage is irreversible? He neglects what technology has accomplished regarding London’s air (see Page 1 of Dickens’s “Bleak House”) and other matters.

And the Earth is becoming “an immense pile of filth”? Hyperbole is a predictable precursor of yet another U.N. Climate Change Conference — the 21st since 1995. Fortunately, rhetorical exhibitionism increases as its effectiveness diminishes. In his June encyclical and elsewhere, Francis lectures about our responsibilities, but neglects the duty to be as intelligent as one can be. This man who says “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions” proceeds as though everything about which he declaims is settled, from imperiled plankton to air conditioning being among humanity’s “harmful habits.” The church that thought it was settled science that Galileo was heretical should be attentive to all evidence.

Francis deplores “compulsive consumerism,” a sin to which the 1.3 billion persons without even electricity can only aspire. He leaves the Vatican to jet around praising subsistence farming, a romance best enjoyed from 30,000 feet above the realities that such farmers yearn to escape....

Matt Ridley, author of “The Rational Optimist,” notes that coal supplanting wood fuel reversed deforestation, and that “fertilizer manufactured with gas halved the amount of land needed to produce a given amount of food.” The capitalist commerce that Francis disdains is the reason the portion of the planet’s population living in “absolute poverty” ($1.25 a day) declined from 53 percent to 17 percent in three decades after 1981. Even in low-income countries, writes economist Indur Goklany, life expectancy increased from between 25 to 30 years in 1900 to 62 years today. Sixty-three percent of fibers are synthetic and derived from fossil fuels; of the rest, 79 percent come from cotton, which requires synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. “Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides derived from fossil fuels,” he says, “are responsible for at least 60 percent of today’s global food supply.” Without fossil fuels, he says, global cropland would have to increase at least 150 percent — equal to the combined land areas of South America and the European Union — to meet current food demands.

Francis grew up around the rancid political culture of Peronist populism, the sterile redistributionism that has reduced his Argentina from the world’s 14th highest per-capita gross domestic product in 1900 to 63rd today. Francis’s agenda for the planet — “global regulatory norms” — would globalize Argentina’s downward mobility.
I just think it's funny how so many people will cheer and quote this Pope on the climate and economics, but ignore the Church's words on issues like abortion.

Stephen Hayes summarizes the scandal of how this administration treated intelligence on al Qaeda and the connection to the current scandal over intelligence on ISIS.
From 2011 through 2013, top Obama administration and intelligence officials downplayed and discarded intelligence on al Qaeda and its activities. As President Obama sought to convince the American public that al Qaeda was dying, analysts at CENTCOM were quietly providing assessments showing the opposite was true. In 2012, as administration officials made their public claims, the briefings they received from the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, included assessments that al Qaeda had doubled in strength over the preceding two years. A top DIA official was told directly to stop producing reports based on documents collected during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. And when a member of the House Intelligence Committee sought to investigate these allegations of manipulation, he was misled repeatedly.

So the intelligence manipulation now making headlines is not a new scandal, but a broadening of an earlier one—the systematic and willful effort to sell the American people a false narrative about the global jihadist movement and our efforts to defeat it.

While the Pope is here, he plans to make Junipero Serra a saint. Well, Serra wasn't quite as saintly as the Church might pretend.
While Pope Francis has hailed Serra as “one of the founding fathers of the United States,” scholars and descendants of tribes converted by Franciscan missionaries argue that the Mallorca-born priest oversaw a brutal mission system that ultimately led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Native Americans....

Tribes were pushed to convert to the Catholic faith and to live in the missions' sites, where they were taught to farm.

By the time of Serra’s death 15 years later, the missions he founded had baptized about 6,000 Indians, rising to 80,000 before the missions were secularized in the 1830s.

But the evangelization of the natives was done at a very high price, according to author Elias Castillo, who describes it as enslavement in his book “A Cross of Thorns.”

“[Serra] disobeyed orders from the Spanish Crown that Indians should be released after 10 years, once they were educated enough, so they could be full-fledge Spanish citizens,” he said in an interview with Fox News Latino.

“Instead, he used Indians as slave labor and kept them in the missions until they died,” he added.

Castillo recounts how natives would be whipped and beaten if they tried to escape, refused to work, or spoke their language. Serra created a harsh and unforgiving regimen, Castillo says, that would ultimately claim the lives of 62,000 Indians and devastate their civilization, including the extinction of a number of small tribes.

“Serra started a cultural genocide,” he says.

With reference to charges that Serra used corporal punishment on Native Americans, a Vatican official told reporters in April that “it was not [something] to be excluded, but it wasn't genocide.”

It seems that the administration's alleged manipulation of intelligence on ISIS was worse than first thought. It also includes manipulation of intelligence on Al Qaeda.
The Defense Department inspector general and congressional investigators are reviewing claims that intelligence on the Islamic State was manipulated to present a more positive picture of the U.S. strategy's effectiveness. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said these practices, though, extend to how intelligence on Al Qaeda was handled as well.

"I know for a fact this was going on in 2012, because I was told by informants that this was going on back then," Nunes, head of the intelligence committee, told Fox News. "We thought this was foolish, to pull all of our troops out of Iraq, because we thought, just from our own work, that this would be bad, but the administration was able to say, 'No, well, this is what the intelligence says.'"

....Nunes says the same group of CENTCOM analysts who handled the bin Laden documents are now lodging complaints that ISIS intelligence assessments allegedly hyped battlefield damage by the U.S. air campaign, and minimized the group's resilience. A military intelligence source close to the analysts, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the CENTCOM atmosphere was one where a clear direction was implied, described as "daily rudder guidance."

Fox News is told the grievances were on a low boil until May when ISIS rolled through Ramadi with 30 car bombs, 10 the size of the 1995 Oklahoma City attack -- and the so-called happy talk about progress conflicted with the on-the-ground reporting.

Christopher Caldwell examines what Angela Merkel's announcement of a welcome to Middle Eastern refugees and then the reverse of that decision has wrought.
But it was Merkel’s rash invitation that forced Orbán’s hand. Merkel may wind up a kind of twenty-first-century equivalent of Günter Schabowski, the East German functionary who, at a press conference in 1989, misread a list of instructions he had been given and incited the stampede of East Germans who broke through the Berlin Wall. One can blame Merkel for setting millions of migrants on the road to Europe to redeem promises that Europe cannot possibly keep.

The big danger ever since this migration got underway is that it would get stopped up somewhere. The day after Germany closed its border with Austria, there were 20,000 migrants stuck in the Austrian villages of Nickelsdorf and Heiligenkreuz. And the further south you go, the fewer resources residents have to give the travelers a welcome. The migrants are largely young men from rough, tough parts of the Muslim world. There is now a queue of them that stretches all the way east to Bangladesh and beyond, and deep down into sub-Saharan Africa. People have sold cattle, abandoned houses, robbed employers, left wives and children, and burned all sorts of bridges to come. There are now hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of them. Many are war-hardened. They are looking for money, food, and female companionship, and they are convinced that Europeans are gullible sissies. This is where Frau Merkel’s Willkommenskultur has led: With the impending closure of the Croatian border, hundreds of thousands of young Muslim men are about to hit a brick wall in Serbia. Serbia!

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The NY Times reports on how the changes that the RNC made in their rules for this election cycle are not having quite the effect that they hoped they would. The problem is that they never planned for having 16 candidates and the popularity of the outsider candidates.
In interviews, Republican leaders and strategists said that rather than having a presumptive nominee by early 2016, who could turn to the tasks of raising money and making the case against the Democratic candidates, it was doubtful that a candidate would be in place before late spring — or even before Republicans gather for their convention in Cleveland in July.

And they said they were increasingly convinced that Donald J. Trump could exploit openings created by the party’s revised rules to capture the nomination or, short of that, to amass enough delegates to be a power broker at the convention.

“You’ve got a set of unintended consequences that weren’t planned for,” said Richard F. Hohlt, a Republican donor and Washington lobbyist. “So it’s going to be harder for a candidate to get to the magic number, which could open up the process to a convention situation.”

To some extent, this reflects forces beyond the party’s control. Conservative activists have shown little appetite for Republicans who play by traditional rules. They, and the right-tilting candidates they are supporting, may be in even less of a mood to acquiesce at a time when Republican leaders in Washington, despite controlling both houses in Congress, have been unable to stop or even slow Mr. Obama’s nuclear accord with Iran, and are struggling in their bid to deny funding to Planned Parenthood.

More than ever, too, the party is grappling with campaign finance laws that allow candidates with wealthy private backers, such as former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, to stay in the race even if they do poorly in early nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Having just taught my students about the wide-ranging unintended consequences of the reforms that the Democrats instituted back in the 1970s to supposedly open up their nomination process, it's no surprise to me that a political party would find that there is no ideal way to set up their rules for the nomination in today's political world to guarantee the maximum success for the eventual candidate.

Hmmm. This is odd and irritating. I don't give money to candidates, but I certainly like to learn that the candidate was making money off of selling my name and info to other advertisers.
Carly Fiorina's supporters may be signing up for more than they're bargaining for on her campaign website.

Privacy advocates said Friday that they found a startling disclosure tucked away on the surging GOP presidential contender's site: Any names, email addresses and other personal data that people provide are fair game for sale to others, and may be shared with “select third parties who offer goods or services we think may be of interest to you.”

That made Fiorina’s website unique among the 23 presidential campaigns that a group called the Online Trust Alliance scored for their website privacy, security and consumer protections.

Jack Butler, a recent Hillsdale College graduate, explains how Donald Trump has not benefited from his supposed reading of Machiavelli's The Prince.
Trump ought to be wary of excessive delegation to advisers. In fact, he ought to know better. According to presidential historian Tevi Troy, Trump recommended in his book “Trump 101” that aspiring leaders read Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Prince.”

Don’t let your preconceived notions of Machiavelli—or of Trump—mislead you: “The Prince” is a great book, full of profound advice. Trump is wise to recommend it. But he might need to reread it—specifically, “Chapter XXIII: How Flatterers Should Be Avoided.” In this chapter, Machiavelli describes the necessary balancing act a leader must execute when choosing and consulting with advisers: If they know too little, then they will only ever agree with their superior; if they know too much, they will take advantage of him and take control of decision-making.
There follows much wisdom from Machiavelli about how best to use advisers and how a wise leader should beware flatterers and those who don't bring him the full news, bad with the good.
There is, however, another possibility. According to National Review Online’s John Fund, Trump’s secretary once confessed, “I’ve kept my job this long by knowing I must never bring him bad news.” Such unwillingness to tolerate negativity suggests that a President Trump might surround himself not with those who could somehow outsmart him—for how could the Donald allow anyone to outsmart him?—but rather with those who would only flatter him. Neither possibility bodes well for a Trump administration.

Avner Zarmi at PJ Media is rather surprised, even shocked at Rush Limbaugh's pretense of not having picked a favorite in the GOP race as well as his criticism of Jim Geraghty's essay noting that Trumpdoesn't use the words liberty or freedom in his campaign rhetoric.
On September 11th, Limbaugh read Geraghty’s piece on air, and then responded by alleging that Trump doesn’t need to use those keywords because he embodies freedom and liberty in his actions, and is indeed the object of envy for those who don’t innately exhibit those qualities.

The reason I’m shocked comes from Limbaugh’s assertion that he hasn’t endorsed any of the candidates. Yet he and several other talk-show hosts have been instrumental in empowering Trump. They imply consent of his boorishness, effectively egging him on to say ever more outrageous things while Limbaugh and company blow on the glowing coals of rage at the perceived Washington establishment, regardless of party. What Limbaugh has done here is to conflate license and libertinism with freedom and liberty, and he’s surely sophisticated and intelligent enough to know the difference.

I am not suggesting that the frustration may not be justified; I’m suggesting that the rage buoying up Trump’s campaign is a very dangerous and ultimately counter-productive political emotion, one which threatens to trump (pun intended) the principles on which the movement has been based on for the last 60-odd years.

Far from being a champion of liberty in any rational sense, Trump is the embodiment of crony capitalism. In the first Republican debate, and several times subsequently, he has openly boasted of borderline, if not actual, political corruption, quid-pro-quo contributions and payments he has made to politicians at all levels in order to secure favors for his projects. He is (as I mentioned above) wholeheartedly in favor of government misuse of eminent domain and the disastrous Kelo decision of SCOTUS.
Rush Limbaugh used to understand those ideals. Now he seems to have bought into the general disgust at the Republicans in Congress as a reason to support a blowhard like Donald Trump.

And here is the story of how Donald Trump's attempt to open a casino in Florida failed. He lied during the debate, but will his followers care?


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John Hawkins, a noted conservative, makes the conservative argument against Carly Fiorina. Her record at HP can't be ignored.
Fiorina loves to talk about HP’s increase in raw numbers, but if two large computer companies merge, it’s almost a given that the revenue and the number of patents produced by both companies combined are going to increase. What didn’t increase was HP’s stock price. It dropped from $55 a share when Fiorina took over to a little less than $20 a share under her leadership. There is a reason Fiorina shows up on lists of the Worst CEOs Of All Time (See here, here, here, and here among others) and it’s not because the whole business world is engaged in some kind of conspiracy to portray her as an incompetent.

Let me also add that it’s not fair that Democrats will attack her for firing 30,000 workers because unfortunately, that just comes with the territory when you’re a CEO sometimes. However, if you think it wouldn’t be incredibly effective to point out that Fiorina fired 30,000 workers, tanked the price of the company’s stock, damaged Hewlett Packard so badly that it has yet to recover and STILL walked away with 100 million dollars for being one of the worst CEOs of all time, you’re kidding yourself. For all of his flaws, Mitt Romney was a gifted businessman and the Democrats managed to falsely portray him as a heartless, greedy monster for doing far less than that at Bain Capital.
Howkins is still angry that Fiorina rode establishment support to the nomination in 2010 to oppose Barbara Boxer and that she opposed several of the conservative positions that Hawkins supports on immigration, taxes, pro-life issues, and others. She might be better able today to connect conservative principles to her rhetoric in debates, but that doesn't mean that she has a record that will excite conservatives any more than Donald Trump's should.
None of this means Carly Fiorina is a bad person, a liberal, a stalking horse or anything else. If you like Carly Fiorina, support her, but at least know what you’re really getting. If you’re backing Carly Fiorina, you’re backing a 0-1, establishment moderate who was an epic failure at the one thing that is supposed to qualify her for the presidency. On the other hand, Fiorina does seem to be pretty good at debating. Of course, if you’re in the market for a charismatic candidate who’s relatively moderate, Chris Christie or Mike Huckabee would seem to be a much better choice, but opinions vary.

Although it’s very difficult to predict what’s going to happen in a primary season as crazy as this one has been, the difference between what people THINK Fiorina is and what she ACTUALLY is, is so great that we can hazard one guess: Carly Fiorina is going to follow the 2012 pattern. People will initially get excited about her, find out what her record really looks like and then she’ll quickly implode.
I thought it was interesting that Hawkins should be so irritated at Fiorina's less-than-conservative past positions and the weaknesses in her business leadership, yet seems to give Trump a pass because he likes both Trump's immigration plan and brashness. That's what a lot of Trump's followers seem to like about him. But isn't that comparable to what Fiorina's supporters like about her and what they're willing to close their eyes to otherwise?

The latest brouhaha revolves around Trump's not correcting a member of his audience who asked a question that began with the premise that the President is a Muslim and went downhill from there. The Trump team is defending him by saying that he didn't hear the first part of the question. That seems as unlikely as that he was talking about blood coming out of Megyn Kelly's eyes, not elsewhere, or that he was not speaking about Fiorina's looks, but her persona. If you listen to the tape of the question, the guy starts his anti-Obama and anti-Muslim rhetoric and Trump says, "We need this question. This is the first question." Why would he say that if he hadn't heard what the guy said? This is just another example of Trump getting carried away by his own rhetoric or by the crowd and getting himself into trouble and then having to come up with some unbelievable excuse to back his way out. Of course, the media and Hillary have jumped all over this moment. That just demonstrates their own hypocrisy. Allahpundit points out that it was the Clinton campaign in 2008 that first started started some sly hints that Obama was a Muslim or maybe just not a Christian. He reminds us of the racially tinged language that both Clintons used in the nomination fight in 2008. Ryan Cooper at The Week also remembers back to those days. Derek Hunter continues pointing out the hypocrisy from the Clinton camp.
Third, if Hillary wants to talk about rhetoric that “has no place in a political discussion,” remember back in August when she, not some random person at a public event, compared Republicans running for president to terrorists?

Speaking on the push to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest federally subsidized aborted baby organ clearinghouse, Ms. Campaign Civility was singing a different tune. Clinton said then, “Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world, but it's a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States.”

Comparing Republicans who have a problem with the sale of baby parts for profit to inhuman monsters who strap bombs to special needs children and remotely detonate them in public markets is A-OK, but thinking someone is Muslim is “hateful.” Got it, tolerant Democrats.
And Hunter concludes with this zinger,
Donald Trump is no more responsible for what someone asked him as Hillary Clinton is for the sexual predatory actions of her husband. But unlike Hillary, Trump never once tried to justify those actions or smear those who refused to keep their mouths shut and just “put some ice on it” after their encounter with her husband.
Ahh. Notice how the media never ask Hillary if she doesn't owe an apology to all the "bimbos" that she helped shut up and denigrate simply because they spoke up about her husband's philandering.

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The WSJ explains why it's a bad idea to call for a special counsel to look into Hillary's private server. That just freezes everything in place and helps her get past the election with a read answer to any question that she can't respond because of the ongoing investigation.
A special counsel would let FBI Director James Comey pass the buck, relieving pressure on his G-men to subject Mrs. Clinton’s mishandling of classified information to the same standards they have other officials.

That includes former CIA directors David Petraeus and John Deutch, who copped misdemeanor pleas, and former national security adviser Sandy Berger, who snuck classified material out of the National Archives. None of them used a personal email server to willfully dodge the Federal Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

A special prosecutor would also let Mrs. Clinton bury the scandal until well after next year’s Democratic primaries and November election. The Clinton team is desperate to change the subject to anything but the emails, and what better way than to say it’s all being investigated.

Meanwhile, the courts and watchdog groups are forcing more email disclosures each week. Last week former Clinton aide Bryan Pagliano, who set up and maintained her server—and was paid personally by Mrs. Clinton to do so even as he worked at the State Department—took the Fifth in response to a Senate summons.

The court-ordered release of her emails is the reason we now know that her account contained classified information, and that several aides were also conducting business outside of official state computers. A recent Politico review of emails that have now been made public “shows that at least 55 messages now deemed to include classified information appears to have been sent to or from private accounts other than Clinton’s.”

Mrs. Clinton’s email abuses deserve public political accountability so voters can see how she’d operate with all of the government’s power at her disposal. And voters are catching on. A mere 35% of voters now consider her to be “honest” and “trustworthy” in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll. A special prosecutor would let her hide this political character from public view.
The system has actually worked in this case to slowly, but inexorably bring details to light. Let's let it play out. Meanwhile, she can twist in a wind that she herself started.

Kevin Williamson resists the efforts to make the arrest the 14-year old boy, Ahmed Mohamed, who brought a clock he'd made to school to show his teacher as a sign of anti-Muslim bigotry.
Mohamed, a 14-year-old high-school freshman in Texas and the son of an immigrant family from Sudan, is a cause célèbre just at the moment because he was handcuffed, frog-marched out of a classroom, and arrested for the crime of showing off his technological chops by building an electronic clock and bringing it to school to show his engineering teacher. (Let us now praise MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, for the fact that 14-year-olds there have engineering teachers.) Apparently, an English teacher — it had to be an English teacher — thought the device looked like a bomb.

It didn’t. But it looked a hell of a lot more like a bomb than that half-eaten Pop-Tart in the possession of that seven-year-old in Maryland looked like a gun, yet the child was suspended; it was surely more reasonable to think that those circuit boards constituted a bomb than to think that the bang-bang! hand gesture of a ten-year-old in Milford, Mass., constituted a serious threat to shoot somebody; taking a high-school kid into custody after a teacher reports a possible bomb threat is surely no more irrational than arresting an eighth-grader over an NRA T-shirt....

Of course it is the very same self-satisfied lifestyle liberals who want to send your toddler to Gitmo for playing with a cap gun who are so theatrically appalled at what happened to Mohamed. The structures of paranoia that have been so assiduously fortified around our schools are there for a purpose, and that purpose is political: to immerse young people in a culture in which NRA literature is samizdat but how-to-fellate-your-friends literature is mandatory, where whitewashed Islamic studies are part of the standard curriculum and Christian prayer groups are verboten. The paranoia is intentional, it is cultivated with exquisite care — but it isn’t supposed to inflict collateral damage on bespectacled young men named Ahmed Mohamed. Thus, the presidential intervention, etc.

Ahmed Mohamed was mistreated by imbeciles, and he’ll be famous for it, for 15 Warholian minutes, and then again for a 30-second spot when he graduates in a few years and goes off to MIT or wherever. The fact is that he is not worse off because his name is Mohamed, but better off: Nobody would be paying attention otherwise, and he might very well be in jail. Being mistreated by imbeciles is the sine qua non of American public education today, but that fact is of political use only periodically, as in this case.

James Taranto makes a similar point that the treatment of Ahmed is not isolated.
In reality, many Americans’ sons (and some daughters as well) have been similarly mistreated. New Jersey’s Jason Anagnos was only 9 when this happened to him:

Jason’s trouble with the law began on March 29, when his gifted-and-talented class at East Hanover Central School took a field trip to a museum. He had assembled the “Swanton bomb”—it was, in his description, roughly three inches square—as a gag the previous night, using leftovers from the family’s Chinese dinner. During the trip he showed it to his friend Lucas.

“So you could like squish it and it would explode?” Jason quotes Lucas as asking.

“Yeah, I guess,” replied Jason.

Jason’s teacher was not amused. She took him aside and scolded him, saying he might scare somebody. She confiscated the “bomb,” and that was that—or so it seemed. Jason had no idea he was in any trouble.

Until the next morning, that is, when Jason was called out of music class and summoned to Principal Lawrence Mendelowitz’s office. Waiting for him were not only his parents and Mr. Mendelowitz, but a policeman, who interrogated the boy about the Swanton bomb.
Jason was suspended for a week, ordered to see a psychiatrist, and criminally charged for making a “false public alarm.” He was sentenced to a year’s probation after prosecutors warned his father that the penalty would be more severe if he were convicted in a trial.
Here are some more examples.
That story cited more than half a dozen examples: a 16-year-old girl suspended for 45 days for possessing a tiny penknife; a 9-year-old boy suspended for drawing a picture of a soldier; an 11-year-old fifth-grader hauled out of class in handcuffs for drawing pictures of weapons; a 16-year-old girl suspended for 10 days for compiling a list of classmates who “frustrated” her; a 9-year-old charged with felony aggravated assault for allegedly pointing a toy gun at a second-grade classmate; two 8-year-olds charged with “making terrorist threats” after playing cops-and-robbers with “paper guns”; an 8-year-old suspended for pointing a chicken finger at a teacher and saying, “Pow, pow, pow.”

All of these things happened before 9/11, and as best we recall, there wasn’t a Mohamed in there anywhere.
What happened to Ahmed is a result of the zero-tolerance approach that schools are forced to take to ludicrous degrees, not an example of Islamophobia.

Tom Rogan notes the hypocrisy of the left on Muslims as exemplified by this incident.
Yet there’s also a great hypocrisy with how the Left has reacted to Ahmed’s situation. Because the American Left’s broader interest in Muslim human rights is Twitter-thin. Just consider the Left’s reaction to what’s happening in Syria. Having utterly abandoned its predominantly Sunni Muslim people to Bashar al-Assad’s slaughter, President Obama’s Syria policy is the height of moral apathy. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have died from Assad’s starvation, barrel bombs, death squads, and chemical weapons.

And how has President Obama’s responded? By surrendering Syria to Russia and Iran. Even now, facing Russia’s escalating support for Assad, President Obama sits quiet. Rather than call for new sanctions and issue sharp condemnations, he orders John Kerry to call his Russian counterpart. CENTCOM Commander Lloyd Austin summed up President Obama’s strategic lack of interest when on Wednesday he was asked how many U.S.-trained rebels are now in Syria. “Four or five,” he said.

Still, the American Left has little complaint about Mr. Obama’s effective lack of interest in the face of immense human suffering. Instead, the Left proposes inviting a few thousand more Syrian refugees to America: just enough to alleviate any sense of guilt. Of course, this lack of interest doesn’t come from the ether. Consider that last year, when President Obama announced he would bomb ISIS, Sally Kohn penned an op-ed opposing military action. She argued for “serious engagement with Iran” instead — a government, she said, that “shares our goal in stabilizing Iraq.”

While Kohn’s alternative was and is patently absurd — Iran has zero interest in regional stability — it highlights two broader issues. First, facing the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrian Muslims, American liberal humanitarianism has sunk into platitudes. Second, many on the American left believe President Obama’s acquiescence to Iran’s bloodletting is a justifiable price for the Iran nuclear deal.

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Ross Douthat argues that evangelicals are under an illusion if they see Ben Carson as the answer to their political prayers.
Carson, on the other hand, is running a more content-free campaign. Like Trump, he’s underinformed and prone to wild rhetorical flights, but unlike the Donald he doesn’t have a distinctive platform. He’s offering a collection of pieties and crankery; mostly, his candidacy is just about the man himself.

And unfortunately evangelical voters have a weakness for this kind of pitch. From Pat Robertson in 1988 through thin-on-policy figures like Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, even Michele Bachmann briefly in 2012, the evangelical tendency has been to look for a kind of godly hero, a Christian leader who could win the White House and undo every culture-war defeat. (The resilience of evangelical support for George W. Bush as his presidency went sour reflected a persistent hope that Bush might be this hero in the flesh.)

Such unrealistic ideas are hardly unique to the religious right. But evangelical culture, as James Davison Hunter notes in “To Change the World,” his magisterial account of recent Christian engagement with American politics, has a particular fondness for the idea of the history-altering individual, the hope that “one person can stand at the crossroads and change things for good.”

As Hunter’s book points out, neither political nor cultural change usually happens like this. Instead, it comes from networks, institutions, interest groups, and it requires strategy, alliance-building and steady pressure.

This is part of why evangelical Christians, notwithstanding their numbers, tend to have less influence over actual Republican governance than fiscal conservatives or foreign-policy hawks. They’re always looking for a hero (or heroine), while the party’s other factions focus on staffing decisions and policy commitments, where the real work of politics takes place.

In this election cycle, though, the evangelical hero quest is particularly self-defeating. With same-sex marriage established nationwide and social liberalism ascendant, religious conservatives have a clear policy “ask” they should be pressing every major Republican contender to embrace. They need guarantees that the next G.O.P. administration will move proactively — through something like Senator Mike Lee’s evolving First Amendment Defense Act — to protect religious schools and charities from losing grants or accreditation or even tax-exempt status because they maintain a traditional position on sexual ethics.

I’m sure that a President Ben Carson would deliver these protections. I’m equally sure that the longer the fantasy of a Carson presidency persists, the less likely it becomes that religious conservatives will get them.

Just in case you'd like to dive into the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, you can read about "how David Brock became Sidney Blumenthal" and they both live to serve Madame Hillary.

The malarkey over pronouns just keeps getting more and more ridiculous.
Scripps College, a private all-women’s college in Southern California, is giving students ten pronoun options to choose from in their student portal accounts — including “hu, hum, hus, himself,” “Just My Name Please,” and “None”

....The other eight options are “E/Ey, Em, Eir/Eirs, Eirself/Emse,” “Per, Per, Per/Pers, Perself,” “Zi, Hir/Hirs Hirself,” “Ze, Zir, Zir/Zirs, Zirself,” “They, Them, Their/Theirs, Themse” (used as a singular pronoun) and — yes — the archaic “He, Him, His, Himself” or “Her, She, Hers, Herself.”
I guess they'll have to have tutorials so everyone can master this multitude of pronouns. What is the penalty if someone makes a mistake and doesn't use the correct pronoun? And the professors better get with the program. The College Fix reports
Once students select their preference, a note of it appears on class rosters and other documents informing professors and others.
Check the site for the translations and pronunciation.

2 comments:

Gahrie said...

of their two children.

I believe they have two children, you believe they have two children, but according to the Left they have a child and a clump of cells.

Rick Caird said...

During the period that HP stock lost 60%, IBM stock lost 40%. This was the dot com bust that resulted in a recession starting in 2001. IBM had a software and services business that sustained them through this period while HP was almost a pure hardware company. Hawkins is wrong.