Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cruising the Web

Jeremy Corbyn, head of the British Labour Party, is a real piece of work. Almost all of his shadow cabinet has resigned and he's been overwhelmingly rejected in a vote of no confidence as he was on the wrong end of a 172-40 vote by his own party. Yet he refuses to leave office. Eventually, there will be an actual challenge to his leadership and the party will have to vote for a new leader. Corbyn has been an absolute disaster for the Labour Party. Noah Rothman notes that what lost Corbyn support was not his anti-Semitic statements and expression of sympathy for terrorists, but just not having done enough to support Remain.
Corbyn is a man who by any sane calculation should never have been elevated to his present position. He bemoaned the fate of the Taliban after September 11th, and claimed that there had been a “manipulation” of information by the omnipotent but ill defined “they” to manufacture international conflict. This kind of conspiratorial thinking is not new to the man who became the Labour’s leader. In an article for Labour Briefing in 1991, Corbyn called the Coalition ouster of Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait a “curtain-raiser for the New World Order.”

When the United States finally killed Osama bin Laden in a Special Forces operation in 2011, Corbyn called it an “assassination attempt,” in which no effort was made to capture the terrorist and bring him to trial. That rendered the al-Qaeda leader’s death a “tragedy” on par with the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in 2001.

Corbyn has long been infatuated with radical Islamist terrorists, if only because he approves of their targets. He described the Iranian terrorist organization Hezbollah and the murderous Hamas in Gaza as the West’s “friends,” and supported a total arms embargo on Israel. Corbyn has gleefully shared a stage with the most unhinged European Holocaust deniers and defended those fringe figures who claim 9/11 was perpetrated by the Israeli Mossad.

Under Corbyn, the Labour Party has been implicated in one anti-Semitic incident after another. In early May, the Telegraph reported that 50 Labour members had been secretly disciplined over anti-Semitic and racist comments amid an “influx of hard-left supporters following Jeremy Corbyn’s election.” Formerly peripheral views about Hitler and Israel’s support for ISIS, which were once relegated only to the darkest fringes of society, were out in the open. They had found a mainstream champion.

Corbyn is not the disease but a symptom; a lagging indicator of an ideology gone mad. Labour’s leader has recklessly legitimized conspiratorial anti-Western and anti-Semitic thought. Corbyn represents so much more than the British left’s overcorrection away from Blairite centrism. He exemplifies an unattractive impulse among younger liberals in America and Britain to embrace the perpetually adolescent unreconstructed socialists of the 20th Century as they struggle to comprehend and navigate the challenges of their own time. These formerly marginal figures were once consigned to the fringe for a good reason.

It has long been obvious to all but the most blinkered of paranoid basement-dwellers that Corbyn is unfit to lead the Labour Party. His elevation to his current position confirms the belief that the Western left has become reckless and radicalized. It wasn’t Corbyn’s conspiratorial thinking, his anti-Semitism, his flirtation with violence and autarky, or his apologies for terrorists that robbed Labour of confidence in their eccentric leader. It was his failure to campaign hard enough to preserve European subsidies that did him in. That fact alone exposes how truly deep the rot within the British left goes.
The fact that a politician with his record rose to the top of a major political party in Britain is astounding and telling. He should have been ditched before he even got to the leadership position. The only people who would probably want him to stay at the head of the party are members of the Conservative Party.

There have been a lot of facile comparisons between the next likely leader of the Conservatives, Boris Johnson. They both have spotted histories of misleading the public and of carrying on extramarital affairs while also making non-politically correct statements. And then there is the hair. It's hard to believe that there is another prominent politician with hair similar to that thatch on Donald Trump's head. But, as Geoffrey Vaughan writes, these are simplistic comparisons. Johnson is the guy we could only wish that Trump could be.
Johnson possesses many of the characteristics Trump’s conservative detractors wish he possessed. Boris is not only a graceful writer and a fine wit, he is deeply and widely educated to an extent unheard of in American politics. He has written a well-received biography of Winston Churchill, a hero to more American conservatives than British Tories, and recently engaged in a public debate with Mary Beard, the Cambridge University classicist, on whether Roman civilization or Greek civilization left the more positive legacy. He sided with the Greeks, but is as likely to quote Latin in his public addresses as Greek. (Yes, he really does this. He also speaks several living European languages.)
As Vaughan writes, other American politicians today aren't that erudite either. We have had such leaders in the past from the Founders to men like John Quincy Adams and Teddy Roosevelt. The ambidextrous James Garfield could reportedly write Latin and Greek simultaneously. Herbert Hoover had translated a Latin treatise on mining and was also fluent in Mandarin Chinese. We just don't seem to prize erudition in our politicians so much anymore.

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Ace of Spades links to a great tweet storm by Greg Gutfeld comparing the hysterical reaction to the Brexit vote to the indifference the world and media seem to be showing to the meltdown in Venezuela. For example,

Good points.

Ramesh Ponnuru refutes
the idea that, just because Americans think that we're on the wrong track and want a change they'll end up voting for Trump over Clinton.
Americans thought the country was on the wrong track four years ago too: The poll average on June 28, 2012, had 62 percent saying “wrong track” and 30 percent saying “right direction,” only slightly more positive than today. The gap narrowed during the campaign, but even on Election Day a majority picked “wrong track.”

....Trump is a candidate well suited to get the votes of people who are so unhappy with the status quo that they want to blow the system up. (Leaving aside whether he actually would blow it up, he appeals to that sentiment.) But a lot of unhappy voters are more cautious than that; and some of them are left-wing. In November, Hillary Clinton will get the votes of many Americans who are dissatisfied with the state of the country but consider Trump unacceptable for various reasons. Even if people want change, they have to be convinced that the change on offer would be for the better.
Makes sense. Voting is often a question of tradeoffs and people are more likely to pick the choice that is less undesirable than to be actually enthusiastic about their choice.

538 examines the data to see, despite the evidence of deep dislike between Republicans and Democrats throughout society, how many marriages are actually mixed-partisan affiliations. They do find that a scant majority of marriages are between people of the same party. However, they do find mixed marriages.
First, 30 percent of married households contain a mismatched partisan pair. A third of those are Democrats married to Republicans. The others are partisans married to independents. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are twice as many Democratic-Republican pairs in which the male partner, rather than the female partner, is the Republican.
They find that mixed-partisan couples are more common among older couples than younger couples since so many young people are independents. I would also think that there is a tendency over time for couples to start to think more alike. They also find that neighborhoods aren't as divided along partisan lines as you might imagine.
If you have an image in your head of a “battleground neighborhood” that is fiercely divided between Democrats and Republicans, you might imagine tension between neighbors. But the truth is that in these neighborhoods, half of the married couples living under the same roof are not one-party pairs. In fact, except in overwhelmingly Democratic neighborhoods (which tend to be African-American neighborhoods), close to half of households are not Democratic-only or Republican-only. This is likely to contribute to a more tempered political climate in battleground areas than we might first expect.
Interestingly, they also find that couples where both are Republicans are more likely to vote than those in which both are Democrats or in a mixed-partisan marriage.

It's a very interesting study and well worth taking a look at. I don't find this surprising at all. Every year, I begin my AP Government class with discussions of political ideology and how it is transmitted within the family. The students fill out an ideological survey and then I ask them to survey their parents to see if what we've learned about the familial and demographic characteristics of ideology hold true for their own families. I'll ask how many students have parents of the same ideology and only about half will raise their hands. About half my students report that their parents are of either different ideologies or parties. So the transmission to their children doesn't exactly follow any model since the students have to choose which parent they more closely align with ideologically.

I wonder if the likelihood of being registered in different parties is higher than the likelihood of pulling for opposing sports teams. I've heard of couples in which one partner pulls for UNC and the other for Duke and they just have to be quietly careful about gloating during basketball season.

I would also add in that most people are not as avid about politics as those who read political blogs in their free time. Other elements of attraction outrank political ideology. And that is as it should be.

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Jason Richwine notes this exercise in faulty logic from the White House.
A new White House report on why low-skill men have been dropping out of the labor force received favorable coverage last week in the Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal. Each media outlet repeated the report’s main conclusion, which is that labor-force dropout is due primarily to a decline in the availability of low-skill jobs.

However, none of those outlets noted the White House’s immigration hypocrisy. The administration has been claiming for years that the U.S. must have guest workers and amnesty for illegal immigrants in part because of “a lack of available workers” in low-skill industries such as agriculture and food service. The immigration reform bill supported by the White House in 2013 would even have created a new program (the “W visa”) that would add up to 200,000 low-skill foreign workers to the labor force.

Apparently, the U.S. needs more immigrants to meet the high demand for unskilled workers, but natives are dropping out of the labor force because of the low demand for unskilled workers!
Hey, who said liberal arguments had to follow any sort of logic?

Sports Illustrated has a symposium of sports analysts weigh in on the question whether sports journalists should comment on politics. My personal opinion is that I don't want to hear what their political views are. I prefer to have sports be a politics-free zone except when politics enters into it such as when laws and regulations concerning sports are being discussed. I don't want to see politicians being interviewed in the middle of a game. I care as little about their sports picks as I do about sports journalists' political views.

I also shudder at the thought of Barack Obama buying partial ownership of an NBA team. Gag! We'd be seeing him all the time at the games and he'd be mentioned whenever the team played. And if his team got into the playoffs, he'd be on our television sets all the time.

Well, even Rio's acting governor is predicting doom and gloom for the Olympics.
The Rio Olympics have a public relations problem and the top official for the state of Rio de Janeiro isn’t helping.

On Monday, Francisco Dornelles, the acting governor of the state, warned that the Olympic Games could end up being “a big failure” if he doesn’t get a big cash injection from the federal government to shore up the state’s overstressed budget.

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