Friday, April 22, 2016

Cruising the Web

I can't get over those people who are protesting the choice of Harriet Tubman to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Some people are just so silly. First there are the Social Justice Warriors who object because...capitalism. I linked to Feminista Jones' essay yesterdaywho is arguing along with some socialists that Tubman would herself object to being on the money because money is the foundation of capitalism and some capitalists underwrote the slave trade. Ijeoma Oluo writes in The Guardian along these same lines.
Yes, I do get some joy from knowing that white people have to look at Harriet Tubman’s proud and defiant black face every time they reach in their wallet. But the image of Tubman on our currency as some sort of corrective action for centuries of oppression and subjugation, or as a symbol of how far we’ve come in ending racism, is more symbolic of our fundamental misunderstanding of race in America.

Slavery in America was, at its core, an economic system. Slavery was about free labor to quickly grow and cheaply maintain white wealth. Racism was born, not of intrinsic hatred or bigotry, but as a moral justification for the immoral means of production that this nation relied upon to prosper. After the abolishment of slavery, institutional racism continued to be motivated by profit from cheap labor. From sharecropping to our prison industrial complex – it’s always been money.
Putting Tubman on the $20 bill is not about saying that we've ended racism or as a corrective for the centuries of slavery, but to honor a courageous and honorable woman who is an excellent role model for everyone. Celina Durgin comments on these arguments,
These writers are conflating all of capitalism with slavery. They don’t accept as possible the counterfactual scenario in which American capitalism developed without slavery. In a sense, this is the view of Marxism, but with an American-progressive makeover. On this view, the evil is inherent to the system, not in the people who chose to dehumanize and oppress their brothers through that system. They think the substratum of society and the driving force of history is economics, not communities, values, or individual human choices. They elevate to a philosophy the Sunday-school error of misquoting 1 Timothy 6:10 as “money is a root of all kinds of evils,” rather than the love of money.

So it’s understandable why Oluo and Jones don’t want to tarnish Tubman’s historical achievements by putting her face on our money, an evil capitalist tool, even if Oluo does “get some joy from knowing that white people have to look at Harriet Tubman’s proud and defiant black face every time they reach in their wallet.” Never mind that most economic systems throughout history involved slavery at some time. Are Oluo and Jones as ready to blame the socialist system for the forced-labor camps of Soviet Russia?

....Placing Tubman’s image on our currency shouldn’t be understood as a corrective action. Her legacy shouldn’t be wielded as a tool to redeem the cruelty of our ancestors. There should be no intention to “paper over” racism. The action should rather esteem a woman who defied unjust laws, trusted God, and endangered her life for others’ freedom. It should remind us that human goodness can prevail despite the evil that other humans do.

We should venerate people for displaying something that has nothing to do with their race, sex, origins, or social standing: virtue.

The capacity to be — or not to be — virtuous is the most significant source of human equality, and it is inalienable. It is Tubman’s historic selflessness and courage, not her state of oppression, that we honor.

And then there are some on the right who object to the change because...political correctness. Greta Van Susteren thinks that Obama and Jack Lew are dividing the country by replacing Jackson. Are there really all those Andrew Jackson fans who are upset by this change? Those fans should have made the Broadway play "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" as big a hit as "Hamilton" and maybe Jackson would have been preserved. I'm not sure whom Van Susteren thinks is being divided here. Most conservatives that I've read are thrilled that Hamilton was saved on the $10 and think that Tubman is a very good choice. There is even some sly commentary on how nice it is that the Democratic administration chose a gun-toting, Evangelical Christian Republican to put on the money.

But Donald Trump is not one of those who thinks this is a good choice. Or maybe he is. His answer is rather incoherent.
Donald Trump thinks anti-slavery icon Harriet Tubman is "fantastic" -- but he says the move to have her replace seventh president Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill is "pure political correctness."

"Well, Andrew Jackson had a great history, and I think it's very rough when you take somebody off the bill," Trump said during a town hall on the "Today" show on NBC Thursday morning. "I think Harriet Tubman is fantastic, but I would love to leave Andrew Jackson or see if we can maybe come up with another denomination."

Trump suggested -- as Ben Carson also has -- that Tubman be put on the $2 bill, which is no longer printed....

"(Jackson) had a history of tremendous success for the country," Trump said. "(The $20) really represented somebody really that was very important to this country. I would love to see another denomination and that could take place. I think that would be more appropriate."
Put her on a $2 bill? Been there, done that. No one wanted a $2 bill. And I know that Trump has won a lot of fans by being politically incorrect so maybe this appeals to his base, and I don't mind people being politically incorrect, but there are lots of reasons to not like Andrew Jackson and to respect Harriet Tubman that I really wonder how much Trump knows about Jackson. Maybe all he knows is that Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans and knows very little about his political history. I guess I'm not surprised that the first president who used populist demagoguery to harness support for his policies such as killing the National Bank should have a fan in Donald Trump, another populist demagogue.

The political correctness came with the original idea that women need to have a woman on the currency no matter which woman was chosen. Somehow, this became a major issue among some feminists. And now that the Treasury Department has given in to that push, which group will be next? National Review editorializes,
But printing a Who’s Who volume on the currency is sure to prompt calls to include a representative from this cause and that one. After all, why not Cesar Chavez? Why not Harvey Milk? And it prompts straightforward aesthetic concerns: Who wants a dollar bill that looks like a photo album?

This contretemps highlights, once again, the extent to which the histories of particular groups and interests are now so often preferred to a larger, unifying American history. The current administration may have satisfied progressive demands momentarily. But we’ll be fighting this battle again, soon enough. You can put money on it.

Eli Lehrer details some of the reasons why Harriet Tubman is such an admirable role model. In addition to her work leading 300 slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad, she was also a brave spy during the Civil War.
Tubman was one of the most valuable field-intelligence assets the Union Army had. She had hundreds of intelligence contacts and could establish new ones — particularly among African Americans — when nobody else could.

During one of her scouting missions along the Combahee River, she became the first woman and one of the first African Americans to command a significant number of U.S. troops in combat. The raid she organized and helped to command freed far more enslaved people than her decades of work on the Underground Railroad. She also was a strong advocate of allowing African Americans into the Union Army. She knew Robert Gould Shaw, who commanded the almost entirely African-American 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry regiment — the unit at the center of the 1989 film Glory. A (probably apocryphal) legend even has it that she cooked his last meal before the heroic assault in which he and much of his regiment perished.

In her “retirement” — she never really stopped working until she became ill at the very end of her life — Tubman remained a political presence. A friend of Secretary of State William H. Seward, she settled in his hometown of Auburn, N.Y., on land he sold her. There, she helped to build both a church (she was devoutly religious) and a privately run retirement home. She also fought for women’s suffrage, supported Republican politicians, and advocated for fair treatment of black Civil War veterans, which they rarely received.

In short, Harriet Tubman was a black, Republican, gun-toting, veterans’ activist, with ninja-like spy skills and strong Christian beliefs. She probably wouldn’t have an ounce of patience for the obtuse posturing of some of the tenured radicals hanging around Ivy League faculty lounges. But does she deserve a place on our money? Hell yeah.
As Jim Geraghty writes,
If you look at Harriet Tubman and all you see is, “African-American woman,” well then, you’re a historically-ignorant idiot.

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David Freddoso points to the obvious truth that how a candidate does in a primary has nothing to do with how he might do in that state in the general election. So Trumpkins who hug the fantasy that, because Trump wins in blue states, he might be able to win those states against Hillary. That's just a pipe dream. He's struggling in polls against Hillary even in such deep red states as Utah and Mississippi.
But this doesn't follow at all. What people fail to consider is that relatively few Americans vote in primaries, and they aren't representative of the general voting population. The difference of scale between these two types of elections renders the primary results insignificant in divining general election results, which will depend on completely different factors.

Trump has won about 8.8 million votes right now (37.9 percent) in the GOP primaries, and he will finish this year's primary season with something like 12 or 13 million votes. Now consider: This number represents about one-fifth of what a candidate in this year's general election will need just to lose respectably, by a Romney-like margin. After all, about 130 million people will likely cast votes for president.

Now, there's no reason in principle why a candidate who wins "only" 12 or 13 million votes in the primaries (or even just five or six or seven million) could not win a general election. That depends entirely on the candidate and his campaign. But the point here is that even a terrific primary performance offers zero evidence that a candidate actually can win a general election. As all of the head-to-head polling illustrates, it isn't even a sign that that said candidate would perform better in a general election than other candidates who got fewer votes in the primaries.

This is especially true in Trump's case. His hard-core supporters fail to comprehend just how deeply unpopular he is with everybody else outside their relatively small group. According to the last eight polls taken on the question, Trump has an unfavorable rating of between 60 and 70 percent among the general population that will vote in the 2016 election. He is not that much more popular than the ebola virus. (Although no virus has ever tried to run for president, so we cannot be sure.)

One can quibble with a poll here or there, but to deny that Trump would be the most unpopular person ever nominated for president requires the belief that all current polling is wrong — and not just a bit wrong (as some polls were in 2012 in 2014) but completely, uniformly and entirely wrong in a way it never has been in any modern presidential election. Yet in reality, the polls from April and even March of 2004, 2008, and 2012 were, on aggregate, reliable indicators of the eventual winner in those years.

These essential truths perhaps explain this new web ad from the Cruz team. It's really very clever as it gets across the message about how the Clinton team must be eagerly anticipating running against a Trump candidacy.

I'm with Allahpundit in marveling at the look alike actors that they got to play Huma and Hillary in the ad.

Karl Rove for all his faults knows the rules of how presidential politics work. And he writes to explain why Republicans don't need to worry about a disappointed Donald Trump deciding to run as a third party candidate if he loses the nomination at the convention. I particularly like that Rove wrote about how this isn't going to happen this week. I was just reviewing with my AP Government students for the exam in May and we were talking about the difficulties facing third parties and the kids asked me about Trump running as a third-party candidate and I gave this exact answer. So I'm happy to see Karl Rove backing up what I told my students.
Republicans should be concerned about the suggestions of violence, but they can stop worrying about Mr. Trump’s threats to run as an independent. The reason is simple: According to the National Association of Secretaries of State, by the time Republicans gather in Cleveland on July 18, the deadline for Mr. Trump to be listed on the ballot as an independent will already have passed in 12 states with a combined 166 Electoral College votes.

First up is Texas. To be on the ballot as an independent, Mr. Trump must file, by May 9, a declaration of candidacy, slate of electors and signatures from roughly 80,000 registered voters—1% of state turnout during the 2012 presidential contest.

A flurry of deadlines follows in June: Colorado on the 6th, Vermont the 16th, North Carolina the 24th, Illinois the 27th, Rhode Island the 29th and New Mexico the 30th. Five more states close before the convention is gaveled to order: Georgia on July 12 and Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina on July 15.

Rhode Island and Vermont merely require a declaration of candidacy and a thousand signatures, but the others demand more—from 5,000 signatures in Colorado to nearly 90,000 in North Carolina.

One additional state’s deadline comes during the GOP national convention. By Thursday, July 21, the day currently planned for the nominee’s acceptance speech, an independent candidate would have to submit roughly 30,000 signatures in Michigan, which has 16 electoral votes.

In the two weeks after the convention, eight more states with a combined 70 Electoral College votes close, six on August 1: Arkansas, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Then come South Dakota and Wisconsin on August 2. That would require gathering tens of thousands more signatures.

It is possible Mr. Trump could collect them. But to what end, if he has already missed the chance to get on the ballot in a dozen states, whose deadlines passed before the GOP convention concluded? It would be clear to the entire nation that Mr. Trump was a spoiler, bent on handing the White House to Hillary Clinton, and not a serious candidate.

Of course, he could start filing signatures and declarations now, and say that he is keeping his options open. But that would diminish Mr. Trump’s appeal in the remaining GOP primaries, and further undermine whatever good will he has with Republican voters.

Much of what Mr. Trump says is unserious bluster. Republicans can now safely put in that category his threat to run as an independent.

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American feminists might take a few moments from worrying about who is on the currency or a phony pay gap and contemplate what happens to women in Afghanistan.
Since that time [2001], there have been improvements, as millions of Afghan girls are now attending school. Women have served in government, business, and even the military. But despite these advances, Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for women.

“Things are very gloomy for women, and it’s getting worse,” Wazhma Frogh, the head of Afghanistan’s Women Peace and Security Research Institute, told NBC News. “There is much less space for women [in public life].”

“Women are being killed, raped and harassed on a daily basis much more than before — and overtly,” she said. She blamed much of this on generalized lawlessness exacerbated by the dramatic drawdown in foreign troops, which leaves women and girls vulnerable to attack and abuse. In fact, the United Nations calls the rates of violence against women in Afghanistan “exceptionally high,” with up to 87.2 percent of women having experienced some form of violence.

According to activists, the situation is getting worse, with a 31 percent rise in the cases of violence against women in 2015 compared to the year before. “This is a worrisome development that should be addressed — all the gains women made could be lost,” said Soraya Sobhrang, deputy chair of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission.

Despite lawmakers trying to pass the Elimination of Violence Against Women Act, it has been blocked in parliament by conservative Islamists who believe it violates the teaching of the Quran. Hanafi is one of the dominant voices opposing the act, which creates women’s shelters for victims of domestic violence. According to Hanafi, who is from the western Herat province, these shelters are actually “brothels” where revolution can ferment and spread, “killing millions.”

Women who are daring to speak out for their rights are being threatened. If they step outside their homes without a burqa, they become victims of abuse or violence. All the women interviewed by NBC, whether they were politicians, teachers, or activists, said they believed their lives were in danger.

Women are not the only ones threatened. Christians are in danger as well. According to Mohabat News, an independent Iranian Christian news agency, Hanafi has stated that converts from Islam to Christianity should be killed according to sharia law.
Vast numbers of Muslims around the world support sharia law as official law. we are not immune from such opinions among American Muslims.
In the United States, where Muslims are more secularized, 51 percent of Muslims still say “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah.” Also troubling is nearly a quarter of the Muslims polled said, “It is legitimate to use violence to punish those who give offense to Islam by, for example, portraying the prophet Mohammed.”

What Sharia Often Means for Women
While Muslim feminists argue that interpretations of sharia that oppress women have no basis in Islam and are merely misinterpretations by men who want to hold onto power, this is not everyone’s opinion. As outlined by the Clarion Project, while there are various views regarding the rights of women and marriage laws, there are some constants among those committed to sharia. These include:
A man is entitled to up to four wives, but a woman may only have one husband. In Western societies, a man typically only takes one wife.

The husband (or his family) pays a ‘bride price’ or ‘dower‘ (mahr, which is money or property paid to the bride) which she is entitled to keep. This “mahr” is in exchange for sexual submission (tamkin). Sexual submission is traditionally regarded as unconditional consent for the remainder of the marriage.

According to conservative interpretations of sharia, a man can divorce his wife by making a declaration in front of an Islamic judge irrespective of the woman’s consent. She isn’t even required to be there. But for a woman to divorce a man, his consent is required.

The husband is also completely responsible for the financial upkeep of the home, and “temporary marriage” (even for less than a half an hour) is allowed. The arrangement is basically legalized prostitution. A report by the Gatestone Institute charts its development in Britain. Wife-beating is also permitted, according to some scholars. In addition, there is no joint property—the man owns all property (except for what the woman owned before the marriage).

Particularly troubling: there’s no specific minimum age for marriage, even though most agree a woman must have reached puberty before she can be wed. Marriage as young as 12 or 13 is not uncommon in Muslim-majority countries.
Read the rest of D.C. McAllister's description of what women in Muslim country suffer on a daily basis. She concludes,
In light of such horrors, the “war on women” we hear about today in America pales in comparison. Equal pay for unequal work, free birth control, free healthcare, and name-calling in the midst of political debates can hardly be classified as a squabble much less an outright war when compared to what’s happening to Muslim women.

American women are living in the lap of luxury and whining about their “rights” while their sisters in Muslim countries—where the Quran is literally interpreted and applied in the political sphere—live in fear of oppression, violence, and death. Many have stopped going to school because they’re afraid of being attacked on the streets.

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Two professors who have written a book, Passing on the Right, about conservative professors on today's university campuses describe how the few conservatives who hold jobs as professors feel that they have to hide their ideology to protect their jobs.
Many conservative professors said they felt socially isolated. A political scientist told us that he became a local pariah for defending the Iraq war in his New England college town, which he called “Cuba with bad weather.” One sociologist stated the problem well: “To say a strong conservative political opinion with conviction in an academic gathering is analogous to uttering an obscenity.” A prominent social scientist at a major research university spoke of the strain of concealing his political views from his colleagues—of “lying to people all the time.”

Some even said that bias had complicated their career advancement. A historian of Latin America told us that he suffered professionally after writing a dissertation on “middle-class white guys” when it was fashionable to focus on the “agency of subaltern peoples.” Though he doesn’t think the work branded him as a conservative, it certainly didn’t excite the intellectual interest of his peers.

A similarly retrograde literature professor sought advice from a colleague after struggling to land a tenure-track job. He was told that he had “a nice resume for 1940.” As Neil Gross has shown, liberal professors often believe that conservatives are closed-minded. If you got to choose your colleagues, would you hire someone you thought fit that description?
Just think if we weren't talking about conservatives feeling isolated and discriminated against on college campuses, but female professors or gay professors or black professors. People would be horrified at such biases and there would be all sorts of commissions all over the world to figure out what was going on and what could be done to change the situation. There would be directives to hire more of the group being discriminated against. But this concerns conservatives so...crickets.

I'm sure that this is just a coincidence.
It's not just Wall Street banks. Most companies and groups that paid Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak between 2013 and 2015 have lobbied federal agencies in recent years, and more than one-third are government contractors, an Associated Press review has found. Their interests are sprawling and would follow Clinton to the White House should she win election this fall.

The AP's review of federal records, regulatory filings and correspondence showed that almost all the 82 corporations, trade associations and other groups that paid for or sponsored Clinton's speeches have actively sought to sway the government - lobbying, bidding for contracts, commenting on federal policy and in some cases contacting State Department officials or Clinton herself during her tenure as secretary of state.

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