Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Cruising the Web

Well, that's it. We're now set for the contest between two extremely unlikable individuals. I've often faced the quandary of choosing the candidate whom I disliked the least. Now, I'm facing the choice between two candidates I absolutely cannot bear to see in the White House. I but the arguments that some in the Republican Party are offering that Trump would be less of a catastrophe for America than Hillary Clinton. The argument seems to be that Clinton would be a sure disaster for everything conservatives believe while Trump might actually mean some of the things he's said. The argument is to choose hope over experience - the hope that Trump won't be as awful as he has been over his lifetime to the experience of how terrible it would be to have the second return of the Clintons.

It's going to take me a long time to get to the acceptance stage of grief.

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This is extremely disturbing and important. Raymond Ibrahim contrasts how the media broadcast the picture of Alan Kurdi, the little boy who drowned in the Mediterranean as his family tried to emigrate from Syria to Europe with how the media never show pictures of the children who are victims of Islamic terrorists. We all saw that first picture because it fit a narrative that the journalists wanted to make, but they neglect to show the grisly pictures of children who have been deliberately tortured or slaughtered by Islamists. Their deaths don't serve the narrative.
Back to our original question:

Why did the MSM – which you now know habitually ignores images of children killed for being non-Muslim “infidels” -- publish and disseminate the image of an ACCIDENTALLY drowned child far and wide?

Simple: For a desired effect. For a political agenda. In this case, the agenda was to prompt “sympathy and outrage at the inaction of developed nations in helping refugees.”

It worked.

Look at how that picture manipulated French President François Hollande:

[Hollande called many] European leaders after the images [of Kurdi] were circulated in the media and told the leaders that the picture must be a reminder of the world's responsibility against refugees.
It also worked on British Prime Minister David Cameron. He said he felt “deeply moved” by the picture.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny found it “absolutely shocking.”

And perhaps the chief representative of the “mainstream media,” the New York Times, used the picture as a club to berate Americans: “Shame on us all for the death of Aylan Kurdi.”

That picture didn’t just encourage words. The widely disseminated image of that accidentally drowned child spurred the desired political outcome, too.

Because of it, countless Muslim migrants -- including ISIS operatives and sympathizers -- have been received into Western nations, far more than might have been received otherwise.

That’s our answer. That’s why they showed you the picture of Alan Kurdi, but none of the pictures above.

If the mainstream media intended to accurately report the news, the pictures you just saw for the first time would have been deemed more newsworthy than the picture of Alan. The pictures you just saw depict children who were INTENTIONALLY killed by Islam-inspired hate, whereas Kurdi died accidentally.

The former deaths we can actually do something about -- if we simply first acknowledge them. Whereas the tragedy that befell Kurdi is of the kind that will always plague man.

More pivotal questions:

Based on the widespread outrage and action elicited by the picture of Kurdi, would a picture of a Christian child killed for being an “infidel” -- if disseminated widely – provoke widespread “sympathy and outrage at the inaction of developed nations in helping” Christian minorities living under Islam?

Would European leaders express how “absolutely shocked” or “deeply moved” they are?

Would the NYT berate us for shirking our humanitarian duties?

Would Hollande proclaim that “the picture must be a reminder of the world's responsibility” for persecuted non-Muslims?
Somehow, I doubt that the response would have been the same.

The British Labour Party is revealing its inner anti-Semitism.
There have been a string of anti-Semitism scandals in the Labour party in recent months. But this week’s began with revelations that Labour MP Naz Shah had made several anti-Semitic posts on Facebook, including one calling for Israel to be relocated to the U.S., and another in which she warned, “The Jews are rallying.” For decades, white racists in Britain have talked of wanting to deport British Muslims like Naz Shah back to Pakistan. So it is all the more sickening to see Shah jesting about the transportation costs for relocating Jews from Israel.

Once exposed Shah apologized and after considerable pressure Corbyn had her suspended from Labour. But despite her own apology, the next day former London Mayor Ken Livingstone caused his own scandal when he not only defended Shah and insisted she wasn’t anti-Semitic, but also chose to claim that Hitler supported Zionism.

Livingstone has been questioned repeatedly on why he would ever have raised the subject of Hitler in the first place. There is, of course, a very simple explanation for why Livingstone said what he did. This was a clear attempt to suggest guilt by association. In the deranged minds of those on the far-Left such as Livingstone, Zionism is an evil ideology that indeed belongs in the same moral category as Adolf Hitler. That notion was expressed far more succinctly the following day when, just as Ken had waded in to support Naz Shah, so former MP George Galloway (who lost his seat in the Commons to Shah last year) marched into the debate to defend Livingstone. And along with insisting that his fellow leftist comrade had done no wrong, Galloway asserted, “Zionism and Nazism were two sides of the same coin.”
These incidents expose the weak tea that has been the liberal argument that one can criticize Israel and Zionism without being anti-Semitic. As Tom Wilson writes, none of this rhetoric has anything to do with simply opposing Israeli actions. Instead we're seeing how deeply such anti-Semitic views have permeated through the Labour Party.
No one is suggesting that there can’t be debate about the decisions of the Israeli government. That, however, is really beside the point. In what way is claiming that Hitler was Zionist a criticism of the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu? In what way does warning that in Britain “the Jews are rallying” amount to a critique of IDF operations? Which Israeli policy was being criticized when Shah discussed the transportation costs for Israeli Jews? That wicked Israeli policy to survive, perhaps?

The other question that British commentators have been clumsily attempting to grapple with is the relation between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Although, one senses that many of those speaking have hardly grasped what Zionism even is. And few Jewish voices have been willing to make the argument strongly enough that, maybe, if anti-Zionists are singling out the Jews as uniquely ineligible for the basic right of self-determination, then that is anti-Semitism.

Having first denied there was any problem, Jeremy Corbyn has now been forced to set up an enquiry. Setting up enquiries is what you do in politics when you want to make things disappear. But Corbyn is himself an expression of Labour’s anti-Semitism problem which proliferates among much of the grassroots of the party that voted for him, even while the more centrist parliamentary Labour party despairs of his unelectable extremism. And the question persists, how can a man who described Hamas and Hezbollah as his friends, and who invited a blood libel promoting Islamist hate preacher like Sheikh Raed Salah for tea in Parliament, possibly be taken seriously when it comes to quashing anti-Semitism.
Kevin Williamson writes on the same theme to address the question of why the Left hates Jews. In addition to the mask falling away from the Labour Party, he cites the example of what happened at a Harvard Law School symposium when a student rose up to ask the former Israeli foreign minister, why she is so smelly.
“OK, my question is for Tzipi Livni, um, how is it that you are so smelly?” the student asked, according to a transcript of the event released Wednesday. When the panel replied with confused looks, the student clarified exactly what he meant: “Oh, it’s regarding your odor.”

“I’m not sure I understand the question,” the event moderator replied.

“I’m question (sic) about the odor of Tzipi Livni, very smelly, and I was just wondering,” the student said.

Insults deriding Jewish people as smelly or otherwise possessing a unique odor are quite old, and the notion was included in anti-Semitic propaganda used by the Nazis.
As Williamson points out, that student is being defended by the leftists on campus.
That student was Husam El-Qoulaq, a Palestinian leftist. The campus Left has, to no one’s surprise, rallied to his defense. Among those defending him were a number of Jewish law students, who insisted that El-Qoulaq couldn’t possibly have known the anti-Semitic history of “smelly Jew” rhetoric, in spite of his having been reared at the world center of such nonsense.

Others insisted that the Harvard case and the Labour cases are — this, too, will be familiar — not at all about anti-Semitism but about anti-Zionism.

That argument does not stand up to two seconds’ scrutiny, and never has. One of the fundamental stories of history is that people move around and bump into each other. It is true that most of the current Jewish population of Israel descends from people who were not precisely sons of the soil they now inhabit. But then, neither are the so-called Palestinians, who are Arabs. Arabs famously come from Arabia, but they are located all over the world. No one talks about the need to get the Arabs out of Egypt or Libya — or Palestine, for that matter — any more than anybody seriously thinks about returning the Americas to the descendants of the aboriginal population, which, of course, wasn’t aboriginal, either, but merely the first to emigrate. The Irish are descended of people not native to Ireland, as indeed ultimately is every population in the world, including those in the African cradle of humanity.

And it isn’t because the establishment of Israel is, relatively speaking, fresh in the historical memory, and therefore an open wound. Before the end of World War II, there was no Pakistan, and to the extent that there was an “India,” it was a geographical rather than a political term, much like “Palestine.” There was no independent Ireland until the 1920s and no Republic of Ireland until 1948. There was no People’s Republic of China until 1949. There was no Zimbabwe until 1980, no Czech Republic until 1993, and no modern Democratic Republic of the Congo until 1997. Israel is an ancient state compared with geopolitical newcomers such as the 30-odd countries created since 1990.
But Israel and Jews are singled out for special, worldwide condemnation. Why is that?
For those who learned at the feet of that old fraud Edward Said, the Jews are the colonialists, the European modernists inflicting capitalism and technology upon the noble savages of their imaginations. The Israeli Jews commit the double crime of insisting upon being Jews and refusing to be sacrificial victims. They were okay, in the Left’s estimate, for about five minutes, back when Israel’s future was assumed to be one of low-impact kibbutz socialism. History went in a different direction, and today Israel has one of the world’s most sophisticated economies.

For the Jew-hater, this is maddening: Throw the Jews out of Spain, and they thrive abroad. Send them to the poorest slums in New York, and those slums stop being slums. Keep them out of the Ivy League and watch NYU become a world-class institution inspired by men such as Jonas Salk, son of largely uneducated Polish immigrants. Put the Jewish state in a desert wasteland and watch it bloom, first with produce and then with technology. Israel today has more companies listed on NASDAQ than any other country except the United States and China. The economy under Palestinian management? Olives and handicrafts, and a GDP per capita that barely exceeds that of Sudan.

The Arab–Israeli conflict is a bitter and ugly one. My own view of it is that the Palestinian Arabs have some legitimate grievances, and that I stopped caring about them when they started blowing up children in pizza shops. You can thank the courageous heroes of the Battle of Sbarro for that. Israel isn’t my country, but it is my country’s ally, and it is impossible for a liberty-loving American to fail to admire what the Jewish state has done.
And it says something quite significant about them when politicians, students, public speakers, professors choose the opposite position.

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Jason Riley writes about his experience being disinvited to speak at Virginia Tech because authorities there were worried about protests on campus because of what Riley has written on race. Those tender snowflakes at Virginia Tech can't bear to have a black man speak who has a different opinion on race issues than they do. And they hold the ultimate hecklers' veto on campus and the authorities have caved to them.
The Obama presidency, high-profile police shootings, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the national debate surrounding mass incarceration have led to more invitations from schools to offer my opinion on race relations. Many of the students I encounter tend to believe that white racism largely explains racial disparities in the U.S. I encourage them to consider other possible explanations given black history. Large parts of these speeches are devoted to what was happening in black America in the first half of the 20th century with respect to employment, schooling, crime and parenting and why so many positive black trends either slowed dramatically or reversed course beginning in the 1960s.

Students who disagree with my lectures don’t hesitate to speak out during the Q&A. The back-and-forth is spirited but civil, and I have never been shouted down or physically threatened.

Still, a disinvitation at some point may have been inevitable. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which fights campus censorship, has compiled a “disinvitation database” that dates to 2000 and today includes nearly 300 incidents. According to FIRE, the “number of ‘disinvitation incidents’—i.e., efforts to prevent invited speakers from conveying their message on campus—has risen dramatically.”

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been approached by conservative students after a lecture to a mostly liberal audience and thanked, almost surreptitiously, for coming to speak. They often offer an explanation for their relative silence during question periods when liberal students and faculty are firing away. “Being too outspoken would just make it more difficult,” a Wellesley student once told me. “You get to leave when you’re done. We have to live with these people until we graduate.”

In April, I spoke at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where the college Republicans who invited me took the precaution of clearing my name with liberal student groups “to make sure they wouldn’t be upset.”

We’ve reached a point where conservatives must have their campus speakers preapproved by left-wing pressure groups. If progressives aren’t already in absolute control of academia, they’re pretty close.
The fact that cowardly and indifferent university leaders allow this situation to continue and grow on school after school. They're just discovering that, once they have handed over the keys to the asylum, they also are targets. Maybe when they wake up to the fact that while first conservatives were the ones being banned, they are also not immune. But now it's too late to take back the sort of authority that they willingly surrendered when it was just conservative speech that was being vetoed.

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Ron Fournier is exactly right. No matter whether it helped Ted Cruz or hurt him to have a seven minute viral youtube of his confrontation with a Trump supporter, we should give him credit for having a lengthy, civil engagement with someone who disliked him.
Confession: I got a kick out of it, too. Then I thought: What if more politicians wandered away from their sympathetic crowds and sycophantic staffs to engage directly with people? People who might not vote for them. People who would never vote for them. People who could help challenge their biases and hold them accountable.
So many times I've seen journalists wish that we had something like the Prime Minister's Question Time that the British government has when a PM has to answer question after question from MPs. While Cruz's encounter wasn't of that caliber, at least he engaged and addressed the guy's rude questions.

Susan Mulcahy, a former editor of Page Six of the New York Post, writes a mea culpa of her role of perpetuating the Trump mythology during the 1980s and 1990s.
All I knew at the beginning was that Trump was big, brash and newsworthy—every building he proposed would be the largest, every deal the most enormous ever. And he loved publicity.

It should be simple to write about publicity hounds, and often it is, because they’ll do anything to earn the attention they crave. Trump had a different way of doing things. He wanted attention, but he could not control his pathological lying. Which made him, as story subjects go, a lot of work. Every statement he uttered required more than the usual amount of fact-checking. If Trump said, “Good morning,” you could be pretty sure it was five o’clock in the afternoon.
So why write about someone so dishonest? Well, for the exact same reasons that the media have covered him so assiduously in the past year.
Trump was so outrageous—and outrageously tacky—it was a constant temptation to write about his antics, particularly because he thought he was the height of sophistication. He didn’t seem to understand, for instance, that if he wanted the respect of Manhattan’s cognoscenti, he should have left the beloved Bonwit Teller building in place on 57th Street, or at least given the bas-relief sculptures on the department store’s façade to the Metropolitan Museum, which wanted them for its collections. He smashed them to bits instead, declaring them of no artistic value, though a prominent art dealer who had agreed to appraise them said they were as significant as the Art Deco sculptures at Rockefeller Center. In 1980, down came Bonwit’s, soon to be replaced by Trump Tower.
She details lie after lie that he told her and other journalists, sometimes to their faces. Truth-telling was just optional for him.
In the late ’80s, I wrote a book about being a gossip columnist in which I devoted half a chapter to Trump’s fondness for falsehood. And in Vanity Fair’s history of Page Six, I expressed regret about contributing to the creation of the never-ending Trump news cycle. He was, I said, “full of crap 90 percent of the time.” The next quotation in the story came from Trump himself: “I agree with her 100 percent.” I had to admire him for that unusual moment of honesty.
Strangely enough, his mendacity is one of the characteristics that some admire him. Apparently, they love having a guy whom no one, including his supporters, can trust.

Victor Davis Hanson has his own theory about why Trump's obvious lies have not hurt him.
In other words, Trump is a postmodern creation, for whom traditional and time-tested rules do not apply. He is neither brilliant nor unhinged, neither ecumenical nor just a polarizer, not a wrecker and not a savior of the Republican party, but something else altogether. He does not defy conventional wisdom. There simply is no convention and no wisdom applicable to Donald J. Trump. For years postmodernists have lectured us that there is no truth, no absolutes, no timeless protocols worthy of reverence; Trump is their Nemesis, who reifies their theories that truth is simply a narrative whose veracity is established by the degree of power and persuasion behind it.

A reality-TV star, Trump appeals to those who despise reality-TV celebs like the Kardashians. A billionaire, he is the hero of those who hate billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett. A vain narcissist, he earns the loyalty of those who are repelled by the vain narcissism of Barack Obama. A man who dyes and does his hair, tans his skin, and stretches his face, he appeals to those who have neither the money nor the desire to do the same.

A self-described Republican, he attacks Republicans more than Democrats. An elite insider, he blasts elite insiders. He is both to the right and to the left of Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio. Trump rails against dirty campaign fundraising — and he assures us that no one knows such corruption better than he himself, since as a donor he used to spread cash around precisely to influence. Why else should anyone give?

If the rules of politics do not apply to Trump, how then can Trump break them? For Donald Trump, there is only one third rail: conventionality. If he, as advised, were to stop calling his rivals liars and crooks; if he, as urged, were to read sober and judicious speeches off teleprompters; if he, as counseled, were to talk in politically correct platitudes, Trump would turn doctrinaire and conformist — and be undone by reviving the very orthodox rules he once strangled, but that otherwise strangle outsider-insiders like himself. If Trump were to listen to a politico and lose 30 pounds, shorten his tie, cut off his comb-over, and wear earth-tone clothes, he would be finished.

His supporters want a reckoning with a system that has not so much failed as infuriated them. What drives their loyalty to Trump — if not the person, at least the idea of Trump — is a sort of nihilism. As a close friend put it to me this week, “I don’t care whether Trump wins or not, I just want him to f— things up as long as he can.”

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